The Drama Triangle

What is the Dreaded Drama Triangle™?

First described by Dr. Stephen Karpman in the late 1960’s, the Drama Triangle roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer, and their interplay vividly describe the most common strategies human beings use to manage their fear and anxiety. Renamed the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™ in David Emerald’s book, The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic), the DDT aptly describes the toxic nature of these roles. All three of the roles have their roots in the Problem Orientation and focus on what they don’t want or don’t like. Each role also sees the others as problems to react to.

The Dreaded Drama Triangle consists of three roles: Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer

The DDT Roles

These drama roles are made-up strategies that the ego creates to manage its anxiety about what it doesn’t like or want. Many aspects of the roles are useful and help human beings learn to cope and survive. If these drama roles are the only strategy to get through life, however, the roles over time become outdated and limiting. They are not necessarily “bad” — they simply limit our effectiveness and prevent more creative ways to work with life’s challenges. By recognizing these patterns when they arise, we can observe them in action and choose a more empowering way to think, relate and take action that is embedded in the TED* roles.

Victim

The Victim role is the central role in the DDT and is the counterpart to the role of Creator in TED*. Victims feel powerless and at the mercy of life’s events and may avoid taking responsibility for their actions, finding it easier to blame others or their circumstances.

Persecutor

The Persecutor is the second role in the DDT, and is the opposite of TED*’s Challenger role. Persecutors can be either people or conditions (such as a health condition) or a situation (such as a natural disaster).

Rescuer

Rescuers look for Victims to save and often are quick to jump-in and save the day, even when others are responsible. By fixing and saving others, a Rescuer believes others will appreciate and value them for their good deeds.

Delete Drama. Transform your Life.