How do you relate to yourself? The Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) is useful to help you observe how you relate to external circumstances and other people. It is also a valuable framework to help you self-observe and listen to the way you relate to yourself.
Donna tells a story about how she “woke-up” to her internal DDT conversation within herself. Once she woke-up, she was able to make a different choice. Here’s the first half of her story and then we will share what happened and how she made “shifts happen” to the TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® roles.
On a recent beautiful summer day, I was walking at the south end of our home along an especially gorgeous view of the water and mountains. The neighborhood is rich with elegant homes and gardens. I love flowers and take some pride in my small garden.
That sunny summer day, as I walked and viewed these spectacular homes and gardens, a loud critical voice inside my head said, “Why do you come out here for a walk? You just upset yourself because you know you will never have a garden or a home like these. You should go back home and walk in your own neighborhood.” I stopped for a moment and heard another voice say, “She’s right. Go back home so you don’t get more upset than you already are.”
I simply turned around and headed to my car. The Rescuer’s suggestion to leave had soothed my immediate pain, so I obeyed.
This story is a great illustration of how all three DDT roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer can operate inside your head at the same time. Donna felt powerless (Victim role) to the dream of having beautiful gardens and allowed her inner-Persecutor to pile on with more blame and judgment when it said: “Why do you come out here anyway? You just make things worse.”
Once the Victim-Persecutor dynamic got started Donna’s inner-Rescuer appeared with its alluring idea of reducing Donna’s frustration by leaving (Rescuer role is often about numbing the pain).
This fast-paced internal conversation happens all day long if you are not awake to how your inner DDT can take over. But we always have a choice.
Here is the rest of Donna’s story.
Unconscious to the power of the DDT within dialogue, I turned and walked back to my car. After taking a few steps, another voice said, “How about shifting your focus? How else might you experience the flowers?” I stopped, realized I had a choice, that I could turn around and create a different experience. This time I got down on one knee, held a beautiful flower in the palm of my hand, looked deeply at the wonder and magic of the petals, the colors, and fragrance. It was a moment of total awe and mystery!
The environment had not changed. The sunny day was the same. The homes and gardens were the same. What had shifted was my internal focus—from the DDT within to the inner-Creator and TED* roles. My inner-Challenger had arisen and said, “You are focusing on what you don’t what. What do you want?” which pushed me to go for what I really cared about. Then another voice said, “How else might you experience the flowers? My inner-Coach was asking me to reflect and choose. They both supported my essence as a Creator of my own experience and supported my best self to experience what I truly wanted.
Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have. One gift of being human is becoming more conscious of your internal conversation. When you slow down, pause, and trust your goodness, your best self as Creator, Challenger, and Coach will guide you.