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Transcript – Season 3, Episode 7 – Drama Triangle: Allowed Essentials Minisode

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:00:02]:

You are allowed to be whole. I’m Dr. Caneel joyce. When we are in a state of feeling powerless, it feels like life is happening to us. Then we fall into a mode called the drama triangle. This is a very, very powerful model that I feel is the most important one for anybody who would like to be a conscious leader in their own life. And it’s also a model that allows you to be exactly who and how you are. The drama triangle actually is a construct that was developed by a psychologist named Stephen Cartman in the late 1960s, and he was studying patterns of victimhood that emerge in communities.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:00:45]:

And by victimhood, we just mean that the world seems to be happening to you. It’s not happening by you. You’re not the creator. It happens to you. And in Victimhood, we experience three distinct flavors of powerlessness, and they are the hero, the victim, and the villain. What they all have in common is in all of these situations, there is a perception of a threat. There’s a deep belief that there is a threat out there, and it’s a problem. Now, here are the three flavors.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:01:16]:

Let’s start with a victim. That’s kind of the most prototypical experience off the bat. When they hear that victim word, so many people, they feel it really doesn’t apply to them and their mindset. Now, here I want to be really clear. We are talking about a victimhood mindset, a stance that says, I am not the creator of my circumstances, I am not the creator of my own reality, and I’m not responsible for what’s happening around me. That is very, very different from the use of the word victim. That is completely appropriate and real. And that is when we are the victim of oppression or circumstances that are truly out of our control.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:01:50]:

And that’s a real thing. We could be a victim of abuse. And I just want to be really super clear that’s not what we’re describing on this episode. The victim is the prototypical powerless one. And that’s when we’re in a mode where we’re feeling like life is really happening to us and we are living at the effect of our circumstances. Usually these are circumstances that we don’t see that we had any role in creating these circumstances. So when we’re in this mode, we’re often going to say things like, this is hard. I have to so and so made me.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:02:21]:

There’s nothing I can do. And they can’t solve problems on their own. They need something they don’t have. There’s scarcity, there’s fear. And they feel very, very aware of being threatened. The victim is looking for help. They’re looking for security and safety. They also might be looking for people who want to rescue them.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:02:41]:

They also like to drift away from presence. Worrying, worrying, worrying, worrying. So why do they drift from presence? Because in Presence, they face the reality that might include some feelings that are a lot to hold, a lot more sadness than they want to hold. A lot more fear, a lot more anger, even a lot more joy, and a lot more desire than feel comfortable for them to hold. Then they drift. They go into victim mode and we get that whining, waiting, whinging, complaining, getting sick, confused, overwhelmed, being misunderstood, looking for people to rescue them, pain. Pain and suffering. Sound familiar? When we’re in victim mode, I mean, it could look a lot of different ways.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:03:24]:

We could be the complainer who says why is it this way? And all they need to go into that why mode is any problem whatsoever. It’s no fun. It’s a place of a lot of fear, anxiety, trepidation. So that is the victim flavor. Can you think of a place in your life where you’ve been in victimhood? Can you see it in others? Is there any particular thing that triggers you to go into victimhood? The second flavor is the villain flavor. And the villain is convinced that the victim is powerless and they’re out to find out who is to blame. This is where one of our favorite words might be should. And we might should ourselves and say oh, I should eat differently or I should have done XYZ.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:04:14]:

Or we might blame and criticize and should others. So in this mode, really, we’re most interested in the question of who’s to blame. They might blame themselves, they might blame others, they might blame them, they might blame the system, the man society. They love to blame and they are righteous about it. The villain plays out its role by declaring that it knows what is right. And thus they stifle open conversation and they keep attention on the problem instead of on potential ways to resolve the problem permanently. So they like to criticize, critique and judge. They might judge themselves, they might judge others.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:04:52]:

Same as in the victim position on the drama triangle. They might perceive themselves as powerless or they might perceive others as powerless. The third mode or flavor is Hero. And this know, we get lots of rewards for being in hero mode in corporate America. And Hero is an interesting one, right? Because we think of hero as a really positive character. However, there are some downsides to heroing as we mean it in this context, right? As we mean it in terms of drama. The hero is the one who likes to fix and save and solve problems. They’re the one who wants to help and really is convinced that the victim is powerless and really needs the help.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:05:33]:

And if they don’t give the help, then the victim will never be saved. When we’re in drama mode and we’re heroing, it means what we’re trying to do is really seek temporary relief from suffering. So we’re not trying to resolve issues permanently. We might be trying to fix or save or solve or help somebody or something or ourselves. To make the pain or the suffering or the irritation go away or the stress. We might be trying to numb out, we might be trying to escape. None of these approaches that the hero is taking is really addressing the problem. It’s just providing temporary relief.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:06:07]:

When we are in drama, we are not claiming our full power. When we’re not claiming our full power, we suffer. When you’re not claiming your full power, you also are not owning your full responsibility or your full creativity. And this means we go through life and we actually have the potential to create harm and suffering around us. We invite others into drama and we act in ways that typically are working right against us, against what we most desire. We are not able to make impact, we’re not noticing what’s working for us and therefore we’re leaving a lot of opportunities on the table. And typically the solution to whatever problem that we’re fixated on is laying out there in the land of creative possibility and we’re just not tuned into that at all. So I really, really care about you learning about this so that you can better recognize the sources of any stress or anxiety and so that you can reclaim your power and join us on this journey of doing the work that the world needs us to do.

Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:07:03]:

The goal, again, is not to judge or blame you for any of these as being true for you. In fact, there’s nothing that could be more lovably human. It is so so natural to go into drama and there’s a ton to learn down here. So I really want you to approach this with a great deal of curiosity. Almost like you are a detective hunting through your own life experience, looking for gold nuggets and clues that are going help you find your way to the life that you most want. To the life where you are powerful allowed.

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