Discover more from The Drama of It All
Intro to the Drama Triangle
For anything you might consider “gone wrong” in the culture of the United States, it can usually be traced back to one thing, a lack of taking personal responsibility. Something happened over the last few decades to incentivize people to blame-shift. Rather than taking personal responsibility for issues in their lives, many shift that responsibility (or “blame”) to another.
3 Co-Dependent Roles
This blame-shifting is what the drama triangle is built upon. Whenever you claim someone (or some outside force like “systemic racism”) is the cause of why something has “gone wrong,” you’re placing that person (or outside force) into the role of “persecutor.” The other two roles are “savior” and “victim.” But each of those roles require there to be an enemy: the “persecutor.” The roles in the drama triangle require each other. You can’t have a persecutor without someone being the victim. A “savior” is always on the lookout for a “victim” to “save.”
No One Wants The Victim To Take Personal Responsibility
No one in the drama triangle wants the “victim” to take personal responsibility to “save themselves.” The savior is getting an ego boost, or “narcissistic supply,” by championing for the “victim.” If the “victim” ever saved themselves, the “savior” would have an identity crisis. The actual, real-world, response of a “savior” role-player, in this situation, is to get mad at the person who was to be their “victim.” In other words, the “savior” turns their “victim” into a “persecutor” if they won’t act like a victim any longer.
The victim is getting sympathy points by complaining, so there’s little social incentive to take personal responsibility. Because of the drama triangle dynamics, someone identifying as a “victim” for a long period of time will be surrounded by fellow complainers and “saviors.” If a “victim” actually wants to start getting better and starts to take personal responsibility, the “saviors” around them will get upset with them. The fellow complainers won’t like it either, because they liked complaining about the “persecutor.” Someone who’s taking personal responsibility isn’t going to want to wallow around complaining any longer, they’re going to be doing things to better themselves. For this reason, breaking out of the victim mentality is socially difficult. Because it’s difficult, there is little social incentive to try. But, when the desire to change becomes greater than the desire to stay the same, this does and will happen.
The “persecutor” may be real or imagined. But, certainly, the persecutor needs a victim who won’t fight back. Abusers attach themselves to people who don’t enforce their boundaries in a co-dependent relationship. If their “victim” does take personal responsibility, the so-called victim will usually extricate themselves from a relationship with the “persecutor.” So, clearly, the “persecutor” doesn’t want the “victim” to take personal responsibility.
The Key To Breaking Free
Breaking out of the drama triangle is all about taking personal responsibility, or recognizing that others need to do the same. If you felt like a “victim” but now take responsibility for things in your life, you will not be caught up in that drama like you were before. If you felt like a “savior,” but now see that those people who you were trying to save have to take responsibility themselves, it’s not your job, then you won’t be so caught up in the drama.
Who Are The Persecutors?
Most don’t want to identify as a persecutor, but oftentimes it’s the saviors who are actually the ones “persecuting” their perceived-persecutors. For example, think back to 2020, someone who believes that everyone could get sick and die of COVID would see people as potential “victims.” These people would think of themselves as the “savior” by equipping a mask. But, let’s say these people see someone in a store without a mask. They would label those maskless people as “persecutors” who might create more sick “victims.” So someone, yelling at a maskless person to put a mask on, believes they’re the “savior.” However, to the maskless person, they’re the “persecutor.”
Being Victimized Vs. Identifying As a Victim
There is a large difference between going through something traumatic as a victim of a crime and forever identifying as a victim. The difference is in taking personal responsibility, in the present, for the rest of your life. It is not a child’s fault that they got victimized. But as they grow up in this world, it is their responsibility to take charge of their mental, physical, and emotional health.
You should be able to tell the difference between someone who is simply discussing a past event in which they were victimized, from someone who has a victim mentality. Look for their response to problems in the present. If they figure out ways to make life easier, they’re taking personal responsibility. If they sit around complaining about why a person or the system is broken, they’re still acting like a “victim.”
Exiting is a Process
Exiting the drama triangle is a process. Our society is deeply entrenched in it, so it takes a while to detox from it. You may meet people who take personal responsibility in one area, but act like a victim in another, or wobble between them. You can have some understanding for why they’re like this. Our society bred it. I can see myself in all of these roles at various times in my past.
The Drama Triangle is Disempowering
However, the drama triangle makes you feel powerless, like a slave to the “persecutors.” I want to share more information in this substack of how this is playing out in our society so that people can exit the drama triangle and find their power again.