Pulling yourself out of the Karpman drama triangle

Back in the 1960’s a new theory exploded on the psychology scene – TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS (TA). The catch phrase was “I’m OK, you’re OK.”

One of my favorite concepts from TA is the Karpman Drama Triangle. This triangle is a game we all play in life, even though we don’t realize it. The three sides of the triangle are PERSECUTOR, RESCUER, and VICTIM.

  • The persecutor says: “I’m OK and you’re not OK so I’m going to get you.”
  • The rescuer says: “I’m OK and you’re not OK so l’m going to take care of you.”
  • The victim says: “I’m not OK and you’re not OK, so what’s not he use of even trying?”

Typically we are naturally a persecutor or a rescuer. The victim is the highest pay off in this drama – both positions unwittingly try to get to the victim’s position.

The Rescuer says: “I’ve tried to help you and you are still doing the same things, so it’s useless.” The Persecutor says: “I can’t get you, so it’s useless.” They are all fighting for that victim position.

Think about which position feels most like you in your personal interactions. Be aware that this is ALL a game. A BIG DRAMA and you can pull yourself out of this triangle by refusing to play any of those roles. They are all a game. Get back to who you are and control yourself if others try to engage you in this way.