We are often told by those who learn about the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ that they experience huge ‘aha’ moments when they witness the three roles of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer that make up the DDT™. It is a curious phenomena as to why putting a name to their behavior would help people gain more personal insight.
In most situations today it is frowned upon to label people or a situation. Pre-assigning qualities to a person because of their skin color, religion, dress, sexual orientation or other traits puts them in a box and may limit how we relate to them.
On the other hand, in some cases labeling helps us to create a social context so we can identify with others. For example, we say we are Washingtonians and Seattleites since we are from the Seattle, Washington area. This label quickly identifies us and helps us to connect with others from this area.
Herein lies the labeling magic we believe exists in “naming” the roles. When people identify with the behaviors of one or more of the DDT roles, they seem to quickly gain insights into their behaviors. We hear comments such as: “Oh my. That explains why I get consistent feedback but didn’t understand the behavior until now.” Or: “I see how that activity has been a thread throughout my life but never connected the dots until this moment.”
Once we see these traits and realize there is a “name” for the behavior, it gives us permission to feel normal. The personal nature of their drama becomes impersonal. “You mean I am not the only one that reacts this way?” is another comment we often hear.
We have a good friend who spent over a year attempting to get a medical diagnosis for a strange set of symptoms that didn’t make sense. After consulting several specialists the diagnosis finally came. It was such a great relief to him to have a “name” that explained his condition. He still had his symptoms but now he had an explanation for why he felt as he did.
The power in naming is that it creates a normalcy and helps us observe our own behavior with less judgment and condemnation. By doing so, we have a better ability to “go to the balcony,” as we described in an earlier “TED* Works!”
As we relax, we learn to appreciate the common human experience which before was a highly personal story of reactivity and drama. If we are lucky, naming will help tame our habits and prepare us for a far more resourceful way of living.
David was aware of the power of labeling before he decided on the names of Creator, Challenger and Coach that make-up the TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™ triangle. By naming these roles as the antidotes to the DDT roles, it has opened people up to new ways of being and relating that they can grow into and embody. The TED* roles are our true essence—who we truly are as human beings — and by naming them we can then claim them.