We have had several of our readers ask us questions about whether the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™ and TED* can help explain what’s going on in politics today.   We tend to stay away from partisan politics, but the requests keep coming, so this week we want to share a few ideas about how to escape the drama of politics.

Here’s a sample of actual questions we’ve received:

  • “Seems like only Republicans are Creators and the Democrats are the Persecutors. Could you write an essay about this?”  (or vice versa)
  • “Do you consider protesting President Trump an action of a Persecutor or Victim or a Creator?”
  • “I feel like a Victim today from all the political turmoil. Is there anything you can say to help me feel better?”

These are powerful questions and signal the cultural angst that we are experiencing globally—-not just in the US or the UK.  Even if you don’t pay attention to the political discourse, you may still be feeling the negative effects of the dialogue.

What is important to remember is that none of the 3 DDT roles of Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer are who you or other people really are.   These roles are used by all human beings to manage their anxiety that arises in response to problematic situations.  Placing the roles onto others or yourself as a “label of truth” is very limiting.

The key question to ask yourself is, “How do I see the other person or situation?”

For one person, President Trump is a Persecutor.   For another person, he is a Challenger that is helping them to clarify their beliefs and what they stand for.  One person may feel victimized by Trump while another person may see him as their Rescuer.

It is your relationship with people and circumstances that dictates whether you label someone as a Persecutor, Rescuer or you feel Victimized by them.  Each person is different.  This is why the DDT and TED* roles are so useful.   They help you look at how you are seeing the world, people and events. Once you see how you are relating, you have a better chance to get off the Drama Triangle and make more empowered choices.

When stakes are high and you feel frustrated, it is natural to look for a Rescuer.  Beware!  When you feel vulnerable you can be tricked by people or parties that tell you that they know best and that the other candidate or party is evil or bad.

It is also easy, when stakes are high, to pin the Persecutor role on anyone who doesn’t align with what you believe.   If you see them as out of alignment with your values, then you probably will see them as a Persecutor.   If you see a political leader as either a Rescuer or Persecutor, what role are you playing?  Yes, Victim.

So how do you get off this disempowering political Drama Triangle?  We have a couple of suggestions for starters:

  1. You can ask yourself: “Am I relating in ways that create more drama and disempowerment?  Or, am I relating to people and circumstances in ways that are empowering to myself and others?”  How you answer those questions will give you a clue of where you are starting from.
  1. When sharing your political views, remember to communicate without blame or judgment. When your intention is to learn and grow, sharing your view is less about being right and more about listening.   As Stephen Covey teaches, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

There are true victims in the world of poverty, war refugees, crimes, natural disasters and many other atrocities.   We acknowledge the reality of victimization.  TED* serves as an antidote to the mantle of Victimhood as a self-identify, while acknowledging there is victimization in the world.

Remember you cannot change other people, as we wrote in a previous essay.  But you can take responsibility for your own views as a Creator, stating them clearly without blame or judgment, and then be willing to listen and learn.