The Drama triangle

In the previous post, I discussed about whiteboards at our workplace. The next thing I wrote in that was Drama triangle

Now it is very simple we all see daily drama in office and we think about different roles we are playing in that drama

Stephen Karpman came up with a drama triangle of human interactions, their roles and information transfer.

This theory says we all play 3 specific roles in our work life

  • Victim
  • Persecutor
  • Rescuer




Victim is usually a poor helpless person .who is seeking for help.

Persecutor is a usual a person with power, authority; who pressurizes, sometimes accuses, can be a troublemaker also .In short he is a bad boy 😉

Rescuer: he is heroic. Always helping around, Handles tough situations, making things easier for victims.


He came up with this triangle. Now I came across different scenarios and thought how I can form this triangle.

A customer who is pressurized by his boss to generate a monthly report immediately. Then he is unable to do it, as there is a technical glitch. Now he goes to the analyst and seeks help. Analyst then resolves the technical issue and helps the customer to generate the report.

Here, Customer is Victim. Hi Boss is a persecutor and analyst become a rescuer.

Situation 2:

Customer reports an issue constantly abuses analyst for not solving the issue quickly. Then a Technical Lead helps analyst in resolving the problem.

Here Customer becomes a persecutor, Analyst a victim and His Manager a rescuer.


This applies to personal life situation also. Let us see how:

Let’s say there is a man who constantly dominate over his wife to do household chores and bashes her if everything is not complete on time and then Son/daughter intervenes and says to his mother “ Mother, Let me talk to dad and make him understand your situation . Let me help you in you work also. “And finally helps in resolving things.

So now I leave you with this thought.

Who are playing what role in above situation and keep thinking about different roles you have played in different situation at your workplace.

Have you been only victimized or been a rescuer too?


Author: theonlysup

Self Motivated. Optimistic , Resilient . Sometimes emotional, most of the Time Happy :)

28 thoughts on “The Drama triangle”

  1. It is funny. When I saw the triangle the first thing that came to my mind was: How to combine them. I don’t see it as three different parts. I see it as three parts of one single being. We all have it all in ourselves and depending on how we think about life, others, and of course ourselves we activate an aspect. That can differ during the day, during happenings and during the personal evolution. I love the triangle as sign of our own ability to choose who we want to be for us and for others.

  2. These days I have learned that the only person we are required to rescue is ourselves (myself being a former victim of abuse). Although, supporting another person so that they are able to rescue themselves is demonstrating compassion. Rescuing another person takes away their own personal power to help themselves in the grander picture of life. My model may not fit in an office model, but I don’t work in an office, I’m raising a child. Some days my son sees me as the good guy and other days I’m the bad guy. Those are his perceptions. My motivations are always for him to grow and to be able to do well in the world when he’s out on his own.

    Very thought provoking post! I like it.

    1. Thank u so much. A thought provoking comment as well . totally agree As u said rescuing someone every time takes away victims ability to help themselves . also rescuer loses focus on his own work while he keeps rescuing others . so your thoughts are also valid

  3. Good way to look at the roles Supreet. Also it need not always be different individuals playing each role. For example in absence of a 3rd person, a victim may assume the role of his own rescuer and speak up for himself.

  4. This is a really good post! I learned many years ago (Eric Berne programm during my upgrading studies). Now I work as a HR specialist and I’m confronted with it every single day.
    It’s very important no to get involved emotionally in order to be able to help people… but most of all, you first have to be able to help yourself in order to care and help for others.
    Have a lovely week :-)c

  5. Just as Giovannoni Claudine stated above, I am also in HR and this is a daily occurrence the dreaded “Drama Triangle”. I did some searching and I found that the triangle is where power is externalized and the outcome is attached to those in the triangle. In an effort to break free from the triangle one may want to utilize some internalized power and remain detached from the outcome. By taking this approach you can seek the truth from all in the triangle, show compassion and empathy towards all parties and yet remain unbiased. I enjoyed the read, thanks for sharing.

  6. LOL None of the above…I would leave and let them fight it out among themselves. Life’s too short to play those kinds of games. I like to be happy and have fun. Although realistically, I imagine we each play all of the parts/roles at some time in our lives, no matter how briefly. Briefly being the key word. 🙂 The energy vampires go around sucking the life out of those who will allow it. Blah. Energy suckers and those who donate…the cycle continues. Maybe playing the roles, whatever they are, makes people happy, who knows. We all have to figure that our for ourselves.

    Being trapped in a job with evil people is the worst, I would imagine. Needing a job is something that can steal your freedom, but that’s what the power set up is, at many companies/jobs. Power over others, abuse, bullying, etc. So you can play with those people and taunt them, laugh at them, ignore them or you can walk away from them. The worst thing you can do is take them seriously and give them what they want…it’s like feeding the demon. Just my opinion, of course. But the two things my mom taught me when I was growing up, a million years ago, have served me well. 1. Always respect yourself. 2. Never settle for anything but what you want.

    1. Great insight. I just loved what your mother taught you. Well live if too short not to play this fun game as well. But yes u will remain a victim as long as you allow someone to make you one .

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