Master the Karpman drama triangle and learn to step-out, now!
It’s a dynamic that lives in many (and I’d argue most) families, that we play out together. The triangle consists of 3 main ‘roles’ that we can take on at any given point in time. One person is the victim, oppressor, or rescuer.
The stepmom often intends to be the rescuer. The one that makes it all right. The one that will fix everything for everyone. The one that will ‘save’ this family and put all the broken pieces back together. She will help her partner be a better dad. She will help her stepkids live their best lives. The dad may also take on this role as the peace-keeper and caretaker – overcompensating for his past failures. In some cases, the kids take on this role in an attempt to help save their parents.
More often than not, from my observation I’d say the kids or partner play the victim. They are the ones who need to be saved. They are the blameless innocents of the triangle.
The bio-mom may be the persecutor or oppressor. The one who gets it wrong and harms all those involved…. or maybe it’s dad or the stepmom being cast into that role.
It’s not a static position, and your role can shift.
More often than not, although we may play one role dominantly, we often shift from one role to the next. Helping as the rescuer, then feeling resentful and going into victim mode, and maybe even getting angry about it and become the persecutor towards our partner or stepkids.
As we shift from one role to the next, so do others.
When we start blaming our partner, he goes into victim mode, or maybe lashes out as the persecutor. And so it forms a vicious cycle that is hard to break… until we become aware of it.
Awareness is the key to stepping out of the triangle.
When we notice what role we’re playing, we can choose to step-back and stop engaging in that same old pattern. We can choose to react differently, rather than taking on the traditional counter-role of the triangle. And when we chose to step-out, the energy shifts.
We can’t control others and whether they stay in the triangle together and keep up this unhealthy dance. But we can step out ourselves and lead by example.
How does the Karpman drama triangle play out in your stepfamily dynamics?
Explore how this plays out in your family and you’re one-step ahead of the game. The awareness will allow you to notice when it’s happening, and with practice you’ll be able to take yourself out of this unhealthy dance. Which role do you dominantly play? Which role do others in your family play? How do you dance between roles when there is an argument or ‘drama’ happening?
Becoming aware of this dynamic will open doors of healing and new possibilities for you and your family… and I’d love to hear all about it! What insights have you gleaned from the drama triangle? Have you been able to notice it and step out?
Drop me a comment below, via Instagram or my Facebook page and let me know, I always love to hear from you! Or if you'd rather keep it private send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You've got this mama!