Drama – The Triangle You Are Stuck In

Many people are stuck in the drama triangle

What comes to mind when you think of drama?

Is it your favorite movie or tv show (Games of Thrones, Shawshank Redemption, Schindler’s List, The Godfather etc.)? 

Is it a specific person? 

Is it over-exaggerated emotions? 

Is it a verb?

While the above can all be types of drama I’m talking about a different type of drama. It’s a triangle people often find themselves stuck in involving your mindset and self-talk.

Drama is a human condition you are hard-wired to operate in. When you are in drama, you feel like life is unfairly happening to you. You feel stuck and powerless to change your situation.

Often you may find the same drama keeps getting enacted time and time again in your life until you resolve it permanently. The truth is usually the one experiencing the drama is the one creating the drama. 

It will feel as if the entire thing is happening to you and it’s out of your control but in reality, you are the one creating it and you are the one who can end it. 

Drama is highly contagious. If you are in drama you are going to invite others around you into drama then you all will dance around the triangle - stuck. 

Help! Get me out of this drama!

If you have ever felt stuck and powerless in a situation, you were likely in drama. The Drama Triangle model is a powerful model to help you understand the roles drama can take, the cost and how to recognize when you are in drama. 

Most of us spend a lot of time, if not most of the time, on the drama triangle. It is human, normal and perfectly fine to be in drama. It’s neither good or bad, it just is a mindset you are in. It’s impossible to avoid. 

You can limit your time on the drama triangle by becoming aware of what it is and what happens to you when you are there.

Key Skill: Self-awareness -knowing the Roles of Drama

Self-awareness is key to being able to notice when you are on the drama triangle. 

It’s all based on where you put your focus, your interpretation of the facts and your own sense of power in the situation.

First, having an understanding of the drama triangle and the roles of the drama triangle will help you to learn to recognize when you may be in drama. 

The Victim role on the drama triangle is the prototypical powerless one. Life is happening to you and you can’t solve problems on your own. You believe there is scarcity and you believe you need something you do not have. When in the victim role you are looking for help or someone to rescue you from your situation. There are feelings of fear, anxiety and trepidation. You may be seeking safety and security. When you are in the victim role you feel you are at the effect of others or outside sources. 

The Villain role is seeking someone or something to blame. You may judge or blame yourself, others, the system, etc. You may feel very righteous about it. When you are in this role you will be criticizing, judging, and critiquing. The Villain knows he or she is right and may stifle open conversation in order to keep attention on the problem instead of ways to resolve the problem. When you are in villain you will often be convinced the victim is powerless. 

The Hero role likes to fix, save and solve problems (temporarily). When you are in this role you want to help and are convinced the Victim needs help and saving. The key here is the Hero fixes things temporarily and your key motivation for fixing is to reduce the suffering now. Whether it is someone else’s suffering or their own. Hero’s do not resolve the problem permanently because they are still in drama themselves. A Hero feels like they can control the situation and they can make others feel better because of their actions. They will apply a solution to a problem. They believe the problem is truly a serious or important threat that needs to be changed. When in Hero mode you are trying to avoid your feelings or feelings of discomfort of any kind. A Hero will seek ways to relieve the pain, soothe a conflict or resolve a problem right away. 

Next Steps?

When beginning this work, the key is not to change the behavior. The goal is you want to begin to recognize these roles within yourself. Start to notice when you find yourself in drama.

Ask yourself: Am I in drama? Am I in hero, villain or victim?

Only when you begin to recognize yourself in drama will you be able to begin to understand how you got there in the first place. Once you are able to recognize the root cause of going on the drama triangle will you be able to take responsibility for it and possibly shift into a different way of operating. 

Take some time to become self-aware of these roles of drama in yourself. Once you are able to recognize yourself in drama you are ready to begin to learn more about how you can try to shift out of the drama.


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