The Drama Triangle: Relationship Breakup advice

The Drama Triangle is one of the concepts/theories that I quite often look back at when friends, family, or clients are talking about problems in their relationships, or problems holding down a relationship – it comes up a lot when talking about bad break-ups, especially those where contact is still required because of shared children.

Outside of Copse Magazine, I also work as a mentor for a Co-parenting charity – Dads Unlimited – a charity that is helping to improve the lives of the children of separated families through the provision of advice, support, and a community for Dads and Mums who have gone through family breakdown and need some help transitioning to the next phase of their lives.

It can be really challenging to see clearly when you are within a bad relationship, whether that is a toxic relationship, violent relationship, a loveless marriage, one that has experienced infidelity, or even one where one or both parties have suffered from mental wellbeing challenges such as anxiety, depression, or post-natal depression. It is all hard to deal with and rightly so.

This is where the Drama Triangle can be a useful tool for understanding the possible dynamics within that relationship and how you can get off the merry-go-round that you feel trapped on.

The Drama Triangle: Relationship Breakup advice
The Drama Triangle: Relationship Breakup advice

I am not a trained Counsellor or Talking Therapist – so I cannot emphasise enough how much you should really go and see a professional listener who will be able to help you deal with and reframe issues in your life to help you move on in a positive way. But the Drama Triangle might be something you want to look up first and then ask your therapist or counsellor about as they will be able to use the tool appropriately within your situation.

The DRama Triangle was developed by Steven Karpman, a student of Eric Berne – the man who brought us Transactional Analysis – another excellent starting point for understanding relationship communication challenges.

The key concepts of the Drama Triangle are that there are three points – or roles that an individual can take on; The Victim, The Rescuer, and The Perpetrator. It’s important to note that everyone moves around the Drama Triangle and takes on those different roles at different times. You are not fixed to one role.

Watch the video above/below as I find that the Drama Triangle as a concept is much easier to understand visually than through text and wordy explanations.

The key points to note are that it is possible to escape the Drama Triangle:

  • The Victim needs to transition to becoming the Survivor
  • The Rescuer needs to transition to becoming the Coach or Teacher
  • The Persecutor needs to transition to becoming a Challenger

Watch the video, talk to your therapist or counsellor about it and see if you recognise yourself within the Drama Triangle roles – by freeing yourself from this repeating pattern, you should be able to go on and have better, happier, more positive relationships.

The Drama Triangle explained visually