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The Drama Dynamic

Nov 07, 2023

Take a look at this illustration.  It’s a model of human relating. It has various names, the Drama Triangle or, Victim Triangle.  I’ll be calling it the Drama to Empowerment Dynamic, since it’s a moving model.  I call to your attention a mental state or attitude that this dynamic shows us very clearly.

This model of human relating is all-too-common.  When young, we learn this pattern watching our families and fall naturally into it.   No one offered our younger self an alternative.  With awareness of the Drama to Empowerment Dynamic, you can change your relationship to yourself and others from conflict and drama, to a creative expression and highly satisfying model of living.

Take a look at the 3 positions on the bottom triangle:  Victim-Persecutor-Rescuer.  Now, notice the 2-way arrows between these positions, which are fluid and dynamic.  You could say this entire model is a volatile drama in which each tries to control the others.  As the victim, you are helpless until pushed far enough.  Then you become rageful and move into the Persecutor role or helpful and move into the Rescuer Role.

As the title suggests, this relationship pattern is marked by crisis, problems and control, all the while trying to fix what doesn’t work, with Persecutor as “Bad Guy '' and Rescuer as “Peace-Keeper” or people-pleaser.  And the Victim?  S/he is the one needing to be rescued because s/he seems helpless.  Until one is pushed far enough and instantly switches to a different corner of the Drama Dynamic.

This is all some people know. They repeatedly react, never knowing they could take charge of their reactions by moving OUT of the Drama Dynamic.  

A large portion of society operates this way, lacking personal power.   In this dynamic, personal power and choice can’t exist, because the drama is about someone else, not yourself.   The arrows point to the “someone else” it’s about. The persecutor corrects “someone else”, the rescuer saves “someone else”, and the victim blame “someone else”.  Interactions are scripted and predictable.  Therefore, there’s no authentic relating available in this Drama Dynamic.

What do you want instead?

What’s needed here, for the dynamic to shift, is interrupting of the script.  Asking questions like “What do you want instead?” can shift the dynamic from Drama into an alternative called the Empowerment Triangle. 

Say the “victim” complains, “People are picking on me.”   In the Drama Dynamic, you have no choice but to rescue or fix the problem.

In the Empowerment Dynamic, you have a choice rather than a script.  You can ask, “What do you want instead?” or, “What’s your part in this?”  Both questions encourage the “victim” to engage actively and responsibly, imagining what they want and could do differently.  In this engagement, they shift from victim to creator.

Speaking from desires and needs moves a person from Victim to Creator.  It allows him/her to voice their desired reality and actions, making them the creator of their experiences.

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