This is my version of the Drama Triangle which is a model invented by Stephen Karpman. You can research it online and find lots of articles and diagrams.
I hope this version makes sense. To be honest it makes more and more sense to me, and is more and more useful, the more I work with it – on myself and clients.
This if often put forward in quite a CBT style approach.
The model is: If we are addressing unwelcome behaviour that is automatic – unconscious in a shallow sense – then becoming aware of it can lead to change.
My experience is that this is only partly true. It may moderate the behaviour – and maybe only for a time.
If a piece of behaviour is compulsive, then it is coming from somewhere deeper, somewhere genuinely unconscious, then we have to use psychodynamic techniques and uncover the formative experiences that are being acted out in the behaviours.
I would be interested to hear if this makes sense and is useful to you.
It is really helpful to explore these roles in detail. It’s not a case that an individual is always one or the other. We can Rescue to the extent we become Victims ? i.e martyrs. We can be a Victim and use it to Persecute people around us. And it’s worth noting for those of us who identify mainly with the Rescuer, that being a compulsive Rescuer means we come from a place of our needs and may make us insensitive and unskilful.
The moderate, healthy version with increased awareness can be:
It is certainly possible to move to some degree from the unhealthy version to the healthy version by awareness and challenging our habitual behaviour.
However we may find that it goes deeper and in fact the behaviour is not changed much by willpower. We may find the behaviour is really powerful, almost irresistible. – in which case we need to go deeper and try and resolve or at least address the root cause.
My experience and understanding is that the behaviour is the acting out of our own history of having been a victim as in childhood ? not necessarily of gross abuse or trauma but of a range of adverse childhood experiences which have been ignored, kept secret or normalised and therefore never processed.
That is very challenging because if we have had those experiences, we will tend to think about ourselves either as simply having had a happy childhood no questions necessary ? or, if we see the adverse experiences we can see ourselves as courageous Survivors and it requires extra courage and clarity to see and accept the reality that we were also Victims.
It may be a question of moving from feeling generally angry and aggressive or anxious, depressed and sorry for ourselves, to feeling anger and sorrow for the child that we were and in some senses still are. And having those feelings does not necessarily mean either a dramatic or noisy cathartic or a blaming experience.
It can mean gradually letting the anger and the sorrow come up; articulate, ventilate ? saying the previously unsaid, possibly the unsayable. We can then in time achieve a calm, matter-of-fact attitude to our histories and then be able to act more in line with the healthy roles descibed above.