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The Drama Triangle Part 1

At times our life seems to be full of drama. The way we respond or react to the drama around us has been called the Drama Triangle by Stephen Karpman.

The three roles on the drama triangle are Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim.

Victim – “Poor me.”

Victims often feel victimised, trapped, helpless and hopeless. They think they are at the mercy of life. They are unwilling to take responsibility for their circumstances and cannot see they have the power to change their lives.

Victims assume themselves to be powerless or incompetent and blame the Persecutors (other people or a particular situation). They look for Rescuers to solve the problem for them. If the Victim stays in their wallowing ‘poor me’ stance, they will not be able to make decisions, problem solve, feel good about themselves or anything else.

Rescuer – “Let me help you.”

Rescuers constantly intervene on behalf of the Victim and try to save them from perceived harm. They feel guilty standing by and ‘watching people drown’.

Rescuers have good intentions and strive to ‘help’ other people. However, they fail to realise that by offering short-term fixes to Victims, they keep Victims dependent on them and have no time for their own needs. So, Rescuers often find themselves pressured, tired, and not having time to finish their own tasks, as they are too busy rescuing the Victim.

Persecutor – “It’s all your fault.”

Persecutors are like ‘Critical Parents’ who are strict and set firm boundaries. They must win (be right).

Persecutors blame the Victim and criticise the Rescuer, without providing any guidance, assistance, or solution to the problem. They are good at finding fault and try to control with order and rigidity. They can be a bully.

Are you a Victim, Rescuer, or Persecutor?

It is important to point out that the players in the Drama Triangle can switch roles to one of the other roles. If being a victim is not working for me then I might become the persecutor or if being the rescuer is draining me too much, then I could become the persecutor or a victim.  If people avoid the persecutor they could change to a victim.

In what situations are you a Victim, a Rescuer, or a Persecutor?

Adapted from

About David Lawson

Finding the Light is a locally owned and operated counselling and life coaching business based in Bundaberg. We seek to empower our clients to find their way forward to a better life by using the approaches of counselling or coaching. If this blog article has raised more questions please contact us by email or call us on 0407 585 497 to arrange a time for us to discuss the article. Mention this blog and we will give you a FREE 30 minute session to discuss.

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