The Drama Triangle


Rules of Play

1. The Drama Triangle is a seductive high-energy blame-game which serves to redirect the focus of attention, energy and dialogue from personal accountability to the engaging interactions of blame, defense and rescue.

2. The Drama Triangle game depicts the human drama found in all great dramatic literature.

3. All drama involves a victim, rescuer and persecutor* (*aka: villain.)

4. Drama games generate excitement but defeat accountability, critical-thinking and personal power.

5. Most people learn the power of being a victim, persecutor or rescuer as potentially powerless children.

6. Wise people realize that drama games invert the truth about interpersonal power. Victims appear powerless, when in fact; victims are the most powerful players in drama games.

7. Dramas are created and sustained by people who exchange the satisfaction of adult-thinking and accountability for the drama of powerlessness, blame and rescue.

8. Wars, politics, and organizational cultures are imbued with drama games.

9. All three roles need each other – and if you play one role on the triangle – in time – you’ll play another.

a. Victims attract rescuers and both need someone to blame.

b. Rescuers need a victim to feel worthwhile.

c. Unwitting rescuers are “do-gooders” without boundaries.

d. Persecutors always find their victims.

e. Unwitting persecutors can be people simply inviting accountability – but become labeled “the bad guy” for interfering with someone’s intent to avoid accountability.

f. The roles and conversations of the drama game players are recognizably consistent no matter what the details of the scenario.

10. The greater the payback for being a victim, rescuer or persecutor, the greater the intensity of the drama.

11. The greater the intensity of the drama the more distracted from the truth - the players will be.

12. Imagine what happens when someone suggests being accountable.

13. Drama Triangle players develop an affinity and therefore skill for participating in interpersonal drama.

14. Most drama players prefer the excitement and adrenalin of drama over the perceived boredom of the truth.

15. There’s a price to pay for participating in the Drama Triangle. At the conclusion of each dramatic interpersonal scenario players experience a descent from autonomy and personal power into a vague sense of ennui; an increased proclivity for guilt, cynicism, and personal isolation; and a declining ability to perceive good intentions and truth.

16. Many Drama Triangle players live their entire lives within the perspective roles of the drama triangle.

17. When players finally release themselves from the “trance” of drama games they experience relief and a renewed sense of personal power and self-confidence.

18. The practice of being accountable for the all the choices we make – empowers us to create a life we can be grateful for and proud to live, share and remember.

How to Get Out of Drama-Games

Ask questions that uncover possibilities for a different view of “the truth,” individual accountability, personal intention and gain, and the full range of choices possible in any given situation.

* discuss the payoff for engaging in the drama game - instead of acknowledging accountability

* expose the power of being a victim, persecutor or rescuer instead of being accountable

* explore the choices that were not made – and the consequences being avoided

* persistently call for truth-telling, accountability, and new choices

ASK: “What truth, accountability, choices, and/or intentions are you not addressing - by playing drama triangle games?”

For more information or a personal e-mail discussion about the Drama Games that may be undermining the quality of your relationships or workplace productivity send an email to:
Please put the words “Drama Triangle” in the subject line.