TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) offers a unique escape from the “Dreaded” Drama Triangle (DDT), first described by Stephen Karpman, M.D.  Dr Karpman was an early student of Transactional Analysis pioneer, Eric Berne.  Berne’s book, Games People Play, established the idea of “transactional games” that we play in our relationships.

According to Berne’s website:

In Games People Play, Berne defined games as:

“A game is an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined, predictable outcome. Descriptively, it is a recurring set of transactions… with a concealed motivation… or gimmick.”

To re-state Berne’s definition, one can think of a game as a series of interactions (words, body language, facial expressions, etc.) between two or more people that follow a predictable pattern. The interactions ultimately progress to an outcome in which one individual obtains a “payoff” or “goal.”  In most cases, the participants of the games are unaware that they are “playing.”

The DDT – and its roles of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer – is definitely such a “game” and each role has its “payoff.”  The Victim gets to absolve themselves of responsibility and power (that may sound like a weak payoff, but “it’s not my fault” relives a lot of anxiety!).  The Persecutor gets to be dominant and “on top.”  The Rescuer gets to be the “hero.”

TED* resets the “game board” with the “antidote players” of Creator, Challenger and Coach (respectively).  By “playing” (i.e. increasing our skill and capacity) these roles, we establish a new and conscious game: that of co-creating envisioned outcomes.


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