Victims Unite

Demands made upon other people for too much attention, protection, and love can only invite domination or revulsion..”

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pg. 44


Karpman’s Triangle.   This idea of this is that in a conflict, there are three components essentially struggling for power.

The victim is the person in the conflict that is being oppressed, feeling hopeless, powerless, ashamed, etcetera.   The only power that the victim holds is the power of escape.

The persecutor is the person placing blame, often being oppressive and authoritarian. This person holds the power of control of the victim.

The rescuer is responsible for helping the victim out of the conflict.  They feel guilty when they’re not able to help the victim.  The primary interest is to avoid their own problems, which are disguised as concern.

The drama triangle begins when someone takes the role of  the victim or persecutor.  That person then feels the need to enlist another party into the drama, and this is where the conflict begins.  The motivations for the players for this is that each gets their psychological needs met in a way they feel justified, without having to acknowledge the harm done in the situation as a whole.  This is in a sense a sub-conscience selfishness for the individual.

The role of the rescuer is, to me, the most interesting person in this situation.   They really have little to gain in the conflict. They may say, “I am acting to help the victim” , where what they are really doing is deflecting or attempting to take another role.  Ego may be the biggest driving factor for this role, everyone likes to feel like the one who rescued.

When you look at the rescuer and victim the triangle, you may notice that there is some codependency happening.  The rescuer may keep the victim maintaining their victim status by encouraging them to continue their behavior.

I suppose my goal in sharing the idea is so that you recognize your role in any conflict.  Be real with your emotions.. Try to avoid being a persecutor, and if you’re the rescuer think of who you’re really rescuing.

Also, I’m aware that “persecutor” is misspelled on the image above. ..just wanted to see if you noticed.

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