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 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 If these drama roles are the only strategy to get through life, however, the roles over time become outdated and limiting.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.