Who are you in your relationship? (Moving Out Of The Drama Triangle)


Hi, and welcome to part two of the Drama Triangle mini-series.

In the previous post we defined what each of the roles meant and what the individual in those particular roles might be thinking or doing.


In order to improve your relationship, some things need to change.

Communication is key in relationships, so it’s a great place to start!

Neither the rescuer, the persecutor or the victim have good communication skills or good awareness of what they are saying or doing and how this affects their life and the people around them.

In this post, I’d like to leave you with some ideas of how to move out of those roles into healthier ones.

This is usually known as The empowerment triangle.

The word empowerment is key here, as it provides a way for each individual playing each role gets the knowledge and skills they need in order to get themselves into a healthier living position.

Let’s get right to it…


From Rescuer to Coach

In order to stop feeling like you need to help without looking after yourself, in order to not get triggered when you see others being vulnerable, there are some strategies to use in order to still be compassionate and caring, without putting yourself last or doing things that aren’t really your responsibility.

Empowering those around you that you’d usually help or rescue, by verbally telling them that you care for them and that you trust in their ability to resolve and move forward from their current situation, will remove the burden from you whilst still allowing you to be helpful.

Move from  the fixer to the cheerleader.

Sometimes the best thing we can do when we see someone struggling is to listen to them.

Decide what is your responsibility and what isn’t. As a rescuer you’ll need to think about whether someone else’s problem is yours to solve or not.

Think about how you handle your own problems and situations.


Do you let others resolve them for you or do you prefer to solve them in your own terms?

Setting boundaries on the time you spend helping others will allow you to look after yourself and realising that you also have needs to meet, whether that is through asking someone to listen to you or getting the support of friends or professionals, within reason (don’t let others fall into the rescuer role – although that’s their responsibility to sort out, not yours!)

From Victim to Thriver

A major step to take in order to move from victim to thriver, is the realisation that you have needs that you want to meet in order to live a healthier, better life.

You are valuable and valued.

You have strengths within you to achieve what you want.

You have people around you that you can rely on to help you get to where you want, in a healthy way that ensures your autonomy and allows you to be the best version of you that you can be.

The only one that stops you from getting the things you need and want is yourself.

Empower yourself to ask for what you need, as long as it doesn’t encroach on anyone else’s needs or boundaries.3

Find your own boundaries and find ways to cherish those things that you have, and add to that list as you go forward.

From Persecutor to Challenger

As we defined the persecutor in the previous post, they can be dominating, blame often and put others down. Anger and resentment can also take hold and lead to certain behaviours.

If you are in this role more often than not, maybe you can consider working through your anger and other emotions in a therapeutic setting.

This will allow you to differentiate between what’s within you and what is actually happening with the other person in your relationship.

Owning your own emotions will improve your way of thinking about yourself and your relationship, therefore improving the communication levels, as you are clearer on what is going on within you.


Knowing that certain things are beyond your responsibility or remit to solve will also help you not believe that you know better and allow others to know best about their own lives.

Responsibility, reacting, acting, setting boundaries and knowing how to meet our needs is important.

Having healthy levels of communication and self-awareness will help us take what’s ours and let go of what isn’t. Balance is key when it comes to taking responsibility and helping others.

Sometimes things are our responsibility. Other times we must empower ourselves and those around us to take what’s ours and leave what isn’t.

I hope this post has helped you meditate on the behaviours that might impact on your health and on your relationships.

(Stephen Karpman, 1960; David Emerald, 2017)

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