Updated: May 5
Victim – “Poor me.”
Victims often feel victimized, trapped, helpless and hopeless. They tend to blame persecutors or may want rescuers to solve their problems. If you are in a situation at work where your coworker blames you for something, you may want to call them to patch things up, and that's where you become a rescuer and caregiver. In such a situation, as uncomfortable as it is, the other person needs to own up. It would be best to start choosing what is acceptable and unacceptable to you by setting boundaries.
Rescuer – “Let me help you.”
Rescuers constantly intervene on the victim's behalf and try to save Victims from perceived harm. They feel guilty about standing by and ‘watching people drown’. By letting someone go through their process, as painful as it is to watch, you are making them accountable for their actions and behaviors. You are doing yourself and them a favor in the long run.
Persecutor – “It’s all your fault.”
Persecutors are like ‘Critical Parents’ who are strict, firm, and set boundaries. Persecutors blame and are critical and good at finding fault and controlling with order and rigidity. They can be a bully.
Steps to avoid the unhealthy drama triangle
Become aware of the pattern that you are repeating.
Observe what's going on without getting emotional. If you are emotional, take a break and look at the situation as an observer.
If you feel you are a victim, ask yourself your part or role in the situation. How can I do things differently?
If you find yourself rescuing or taking too much responsibility for others, remind yourself that you are not responsible for other people's choices.
Refrain from gossiping or blaming, over-reacting, under-reacting, obsessing, lecturing, or threatening. Ask yourself how can I be of service in this situation, or if the situation is unhealthy, remove yourself or ask for help.