Drama Triangle: How to BE the change you want to see

By Linda Mattacks

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In my last post here, Drama Triangle – Caught yourself in it lately? we explored being in the Drama Triangle, with or without other people playing the game, and what that does for us, and then we started to look at getting out of that mindset…

For each of the stances of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer, shouldn’t it be possible to take a step back from an emotion-fuelled response and choose a much calmer and more beneficial attitude?

What if we came up with three altogether healthier alternatives:

Creative Triangle

  1. The Victim response is replaced with the behaviour of a Creator:

    The Creator is imaginative in finding solutions, looks to find and exploit processes that have worked, explores all options, copies existing successful strategies, seeks out models of success and invites others to come up with ideas and innovations.

  2. The Persecutor response is replaced with the behaviour of an Implementer:

    Whereas the Persecutor is the equivalent of a critic on the sidelines telling everyone what they should be doing, finding fault and doing nothing to help, the Implementer takes action. The Implementer plans, does, tests, works out what needs to be done, learns from doing and adjusts.

    A Creator and an Implementer working together will make progress in ways the Persecutor and Victim could never imagine possible.

  3. The Rescuer response is replaced by the behaviour of a Mentor:
    The Mentor sets up the conditions where someone can learn in a safe and appropriate way. The Mentor lends support and empathy, not sympathy.

Granted, we’re talking about perhaps digging deep to find the skills that a creator, implementer and mentor would possess, yet the mere act of letting go of attachment to the victim, persecutor and rescuer roles in favour of something more positive is a huge step in the right direction…

The benefits of stepping out of the game

Once we get the emotions out of the way we can start being open to new possibilities and make the good things happen.

  • Right. What is it I want to achieve?
  • What will it take to bring it about?
  • What do I already have that I can make work for me?
  • How can I use these skills or assets?
  • Who would I need to involve?
  • Where am I most likely to find them?
  • Why should they help me – what’s in it for them?
  • And so on

A bit of commonsense

From Drama to Creative
These two triangles and the behaviour demonstrated within them will probably always exist.

Whilst frustration and other emotions are likely, we can choose to be alert to the game we may resort to playing or those others may try to get us to play.

We’re all especially vulnerable when things don’t go to plan and there’s unexpected failure or outcomes: Keeping a cool head and not reacting to others losing theirs can stop the game before it even starts. It helps if we remember to always balance our emotional (knee-jerk) response with our rational (thought-through) response.

We always have a choice:

“I’ve had enough. I’m going to have a full blown tantrum and rail at the world!”

Or:

“Actually, acting like a victim isn’t going to be very productive. Taking a few deep breaths and then working towards a solution would be far better.”

Or, maybe:

“I’m going to have a quiet tantrum where no-one can see me then I’m going to take a few deep breaths and start working towards finding the best solution…”

Or even:

“In this instance letting off steam to the team will serve a useful purpose. Then we’ll work together to se what went wrong, brainstorm ideas to put it right and the checks and measures to prevent this, or something like it, happening in the future.”

This is a relatively simple and easy tool to learn and apply. The ability to recognise and break the emotional games that are played in the Drama Triangle helps us to stop short a potential downward spiral where ‘everything‘ is going wrong and it’s all ‘somebody else’s’ fault…

What thoughts and experiences around this subject would you like to share?

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Linda Mattacks

You know when the' fog' disappears and you get that AHA! moment of absolute clarity of what you 'want' and the beginnings of how to get there? And how great that feeling is? And how it enables you to move forward?

If you're missing that, and it bugs the bleep out of you, you needto have a chat with me. Women aged 40+ are my specialty because you have SO much to give that hasn't yet been tapped into :-)