Get Out of the Drama Triangle
I loved my mother.
She was my Mom and no matter what, we’re hard-wired to love our parents … our mothers especially.
My Mother was a very difficult person to be with. Very negative … some would describe her as cantankerous at best.
She was also very much a victim of her life … a martyr … a victim of her circumstances. You know the type. Just being in their presence can negatively impact your energy.
And the not so pretty truth is that my Mother taught me how to be a victim. I was quite good at it, especially after being widowed twice.
Look, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if your victim comes out of the dark at times. I know all of us have a “victim” that resides inside of us ready to appear if we feel cheated, mistreated, or we’ve got something tough going on in our lives.
It’s part of being human. But you know where real power lies? In being able to recognize your inner victim. In being able to identify which people and circumstances trigger that victim-like behavior in you, so you can positively transform your responses to those triggering events.
For some people, it’s all about what’s happened to them. Look at “poor me,” I’ve got this issue with my health or around money or whatever. I’m at the mercy of my circumstances.
For others, certain people trigger your victim.
Family systems theory would tell you that many times in our families of origin, we have a role we each play and that role can continue far into the future.
BULLY … VICTIM … RESCUER
We often play one of these roles, largely subconsciously … mostly in the context of family, but in other relationships as well.
And playing your role reflexively and being unable to escape from it can seriously impact the quality of your life.
Ask yourself, which role might you be playing in one of these “drama triangles?”
Whichever it is, it’s not much fun, is it?
Would you like to shed that role and finally get some peace and freedom to behave in different ways?
Well, it begins with learning to recognize what’s going on, really understanding the roles, and finally saying, “No more. This isn’t serving me, and I’m not going there.”
In our family, my Dad was the bully, my Mom the victim, and we kids were conditioned to be the rescuers. In the process, we also learned well how to be victims.
No matter where you are on the triangle you end up trapped and playing a role … or roles … that ultimately, inevitably lead to victimhood.
(I say roles, because you can cycle through all of these roles, and usually do, as you interact you’re your significant others.)
Here’s the thing. We can’t get off the triangle until we recognize we’re on it!
Once we gain conscious awareness that we’re playing one of these roles, we can ask questions, like, “What hooks me … and where do I enter the triangle once I’ve been hooked?”
We begin to train our “internal observer” to notice, without judgment, what’s going on in our conversations with loved ones, especially those more emotionally charged moments where we walk on eggshells.
Each role has its own language, beliefs and behavior. It helps to study them, to know them, so you’re not so susceptible to being hooked into playing one.
Here’s a great resource where you can learn more:
But here’s the bottom line: You aren’t truly free if you’re locked in to playing a role not of your choosing.
To get free, begin to understand the roles, recognize your triggers, see how your reactions are negatively affecting you, and consciously choose another way of being.
It can change everything. It did for me.
And it still does.
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