New Drama Triangles

The new Drama Triangles, developed by Steve Karpman, MD are the best models for exploring various functional & dysfunctional dynamics in relationships. In fact, it could be the key to saving your marriage or relationship and understanding enabling behavior.

New Drama Triangles

Before going any further here, you may want to review the information on the original Drama Triangle... if you haven't already done so...just to bring you up to speed. The old version has not been changed -- it's been added to with several new versions that will help you really understand how enabling behaviors are acted out.

Now, having said that, here's the first of the new Drama Triangles:

New Drama Triangles


Updates to this new version:
  • Notice the PRV symbols on the inside of the triangle. This represents our inner, or private world of thoughts and feelings.
  • The PRV symbols on the outside of the triangle represent our outer world of behavior and speech, aka our public self, which may or may not be congruent with what's going on inside... In this case they match.
  • Notice also that they "match" because all of the symbols are stated in the negative with a minus sign (-).
  • (P-) = Persecutor... (being verbally, emotionally, and/or physically aggressive or abusive) (R-) = Rescuer... (People pleasing, fixing & rescuing others, lack of healthy boundaries, etc.) and (V-) = Victim...(dependent, needy, passive, in trouble, failing, "unlucky", picked on, etc.)
  • The PRV symbols with a (+) sign mean something just the opposite as you can see in the diagram below.
  • Now notice that in the center of the triangle, in the area that represents the inner world, is a "NOT Ok" symbol. This, of course stands for the Existential Position of this new version.

New Alternative to the Drama Triangle

The following new Drama Triangle is the alternative to the above variation. Dr. Karpman refers to it as the "Ok" Triangle. People have often asked...if I get out of the Drama Triangle then what? Here is the answer...

Im ok Triangle


Intimacy Triangle:
  • Again, notice the PRV symbols on the inside of the triangle. This represents our inner, or private world of thoughts and feelings.
  • And the PRV symbols on the outside of the triangle represent our outer world of behavior and speech, aka our public self, which may or may not be congruent with what's going on inside... In this case they match.
  • Notice also that they "match" because all of the symbols are stated in the positive with a plus sign (+).
  • (P+) = Personal Power (the ability to be assertive & set firm, healthy boundaries)... (R+) = Reach-Out (the ability to be empathetic and reach-out to others in healthy ways)... and (V+) = Vulner-ability (the ability to be open & trusting with other healthy people).
  • The PRV symbols with a (-) sign mean something just the opposite as you can see in the diagram above.
  • Now notice that in the center of the triangle, in the area that represents the inner world, is a "Ok" symbol. I like to call it the Intimacy Triangle. Again, this would indicate the Existential Position of this new version.

New Drama Triangles - False Perception Windows:

The following diagrams represent the distorted perceptions that occur when a person stays stuck in one corner of the Drama Triangle...Its like they can only see the world and others in it through the window they are stuck behind.

Distorted Perceptions


  • From behind the Persecutor Window... Other people either look & sound like Victims or Rescuers. The Persecutor feels compelled to "set them strait".

  • From behind the Rescuer Window... Other people either look & sound like Victims or Persecutors. The Rescuer feels compelled to intervene and save the Victim from the Persecutor(s).

  • From behind the Victim Window... Other people either look & sound like Persecutors or Rescuers. The Victim feels compelled to relate to them as such, by getting a Rescuer to step in and fight their fight with the Persecutor which keeps them stuck in dependency on others.

There are many more new variations on the Drama Triangle... they can be found in the pages below. I recommend that you study them in the order they are listed:

Go from New Drama Triangles to Original Drama Triangle

Where does the "drama" in the Drama Triangle come from?

Self Talk and the Drama Triangle

Addiction Cycle and the Codependent Triangle

Searching for Intimacy on the Drama Triangle