STOP Drama! – THE DRAMA TRIANGLE – PART 2

Author: Ann Grandchamp, Mental Health Editor

Last week, we started looking at the Drama Triangle by Stephen Karpman. If you missed it, you can read it here. There are 3 positions you can find yourself in and none of them is particularly comfortable. We’ve all been in one or several of them, at one time or another. To recap:

  • There is the victim. “I’m not okay and everybody else is”,
  • the rescuer, always helping or rescuing someone. “You need my help”,
  • and the attacker. “This is your fault.” ,”Just do what I tell you.”

The good news is that there are ways to break the “vicious triangle” and become a winner.

My Swiss Story: STOP the drama! The Drama Triangle – Part 2

This is where you start:

Say STOP!

Notice which role you’re in.

Move out of the triangle by flipping the roles. And remember:

You can’t change others. But you CAN change yourself.

A – From VICTIM to SURVIVOR / THRIVER with RESILIENCE

My Swiss Story: STOP the drama! The Drama Triangle – Part 2
  1. Ask yourself: “Given that … (the shitty situation), who do I want to be in spite of that?”. Example: Given that there is a global crisis because of COVID-19, who do I want to be in spite of that? I want to be at peace and hopeful.
  2. State what you want. Example: I want more time to do things I enjoy.
  3. Count your blessings. Acknowledge your strengths, what you have, what you’ve accomplished and what is going well. Keep a gratitude journal and read it regularly.
  4. Remember! You are unique, lovable and resilient.

B – From ATTACKER to CHALLENGER with ASSERTIVENESS

My Swiss Story: STOP the drama! The Drama Triangle – Part 2
  1. Make your boundaries clear. Example: I have 15 minutes to listen.
  2. Practice active listening. Example: I can see you’re upset.
  3. Give choices. Example: You can take a bath now or in 30 minutes.
  4. Make expectations clear. Example: I expect you to have called and made a reservation by 5pm.
  5. Stop the perfectionism. If you’re perfectionist, then you’re a perpetrator to yourself. Instead of saying “You’re not good enough” to yourself, start saying, for example: I am good enough.
  6. Remember! You are unique, lovable and precious.

C – From RESCUER to COACH with EMPATHY

My Swiss Story: STOP the drama! The Drama Triangle – Part 2
  1. Make your boundaries clear. Example: I have 30 minutes to talk and listen.
  2. Ask what support is needed. Example: How can I help?
  3. Practice active listening. Example: I hear you’re upset about what happened today.
  4. Be an encourager. Example: I’ve seen you do this before. You can do it again.
  5. Remember! You are unique and the only person you can change is yourself.

You’ve got this. You can change one step at a time. Choose one or two points to work on, and when these become easy and automatic, move on to another point. Set yourself achievable goals and let go of things outside of your control. And if you need an extra helping hand, get in touch with a professional. I’ll leave you with this very famous and wise quote:

God,

Grant me the SERENITY

to accept the things I cannot CHANGE,

COURAGE to CHANGE

the things I can,

and WISDOM to know the DIFFERENCE.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Take care!


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