Site Update - The Drama Triangle

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Site Update - The Drama Triangle

Post by Jamie »


Most of us unconsciously react to life from a position of victim-hood. Anytime we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves, we are opting to play victim. This leaves us feeling at the mercy of, done in by and un-faired against; no matter what our situation might be.

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Re: Site Update - The Drama Triangle

Post by Bunting »

Jamie thank you for posting this.

A great written piece about the DT and so helpful.

I was put onto the drama triangle by a coach at work and I've used it a lot. It has really helped me with managing my relationships at work by starting to understand how I am approaching them and getting out of the drama triangle.
i can't always do it! But it starts by knowing when you are doing it.

I recommend for anyone interested watching these videos:
This one is a simple explanation but was always the one that was sent around to those of us learning about it.
But this one I prefer as it is a better explanation of the positive alternatives. ... s-presence


Bunting xx
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Re: Site Update - The Drama Triangle

Post by SunshineSmile »

Very thought-provoking and interesting... :)
To the world you may be one person;
But to one person you may be the world.

Dr Seuss

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Re: Site Update - The Drama Triangle

Post by Mishmash »

If I may, I'd like to share my opinion that this drama triangle model is likely not the best way to understand or get to the core of interpersonal dynamics and dysfunctions.

It puts the people assigned to the three 'roles' in positions where they are each open to criticism - or attack. That's undermining right from the start. In fact, the drama triangle was first presented as 'a destructive triangle' of power dynamics.

It shouldn't be any surprise then that it was adapted from the game plays and simplistic positions of players in American football where the only thing that mattered was winning, which is obviously achieved by attacking and undermining the others.

Thus, the drama/destructive triangle doesn't begin to encompass the spectrum of personality characteristics, feelings, events and circumstances in the real world outside the stadium. Apart from this over-simplification, it reduces people to games players as if we are all playing games, consciously or subconsciously. That's understandable if you subscribe to the transactional analysis formulas of Games People Play, which similarly don't encompass the real world and its impact on each of us and on our relationships. Again, TA simplifies relationships, ignores circumstances and focuses on analysis without helping people to collaboratively build solutions.

Both these models arose 60+years ago in a milieu of quite fevered exploration which produced the human potential movement (and that whole business bears further research and critical analysis!). Psychology was lifting itself out of full-on Freudianism. There were then, as now, many forces exerting influence overtly and covertly. (Not least, the construction of a new field of applied psychology to exploit - and opportunities for names and money to be made. It hasn't been termed 'pop psychology' for nothing!).

It's been said that theories and models such as these could only have arisen out of a capitalist environment, where winning, being top dog was the primary goal, where contracts are explicit and each party has a distinct but limited role in any particular transaction which is constructed in a discrete bubble of its own - just as football games are played within the bubble of a discrete football field. The object is always to win a good bargain, a crushing touch down.

To my mind, humans are just not reducible to such 2D games/role-playing constructs. Is that respectful or kind? Do these constructs see the person as a whole human being? I'm not convinced that these models have a place in the approach to child abuse where there are real victims and real persecutors and, in reality, too few rescuers. I'd emphasise that real world victims never choose that position, never act that role: I think it's key to note is that neuroscience is now able to demonstrate physical injuries in the brains of people subjected to chronic abuse and trauma. It may well be that persecutors (and even pathological rescuers?) carry similar brain injuries. It's just not as simple as games playing and 'acting out', and psychology can't fix everything!

Fortunately, there are other ways!
We now have more positive, creative and wholistic models such as the Winners Triangle and The Power of TED* (the empowerment dynamic) to work with - if we must.

Personally, I think that e.g. humanistic psychologies like that of Carl Rogers and Marshall Rosenberg far more realistic, kinder, compassionate and productive. And, if you're looking to build collaboration and sustainable solutions, particularly in workspaces, anything rooted in Total Quality Management and its principles will be respectful, honouring and valuing each person's position, non-competitive and uplifting for all.

But what do you think...?
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