About the drama triangle

by Clarissa

Hi Everyone,

I wasn't sure where to post this but this seemed to be as good a place as any! Apologies though, if it's better placed elsewhere.

I have a question about a situation I have going on at the moment, and someone recently told me about the drama triangle which seems to help me explain it. In the past, I have identified quite strongly with the Victim role of the triangle. I work very hard at recognizing this element of myself and attempt as best I can to take care of the wounded child within me, speak honestly about my vulnerability and behave assertively with those around me.

However, there is a person in my life at the moment, who, despite all my efforts, continues to see me in the Victim's role and relates to me as if I am still in that place. I'm finding this very confusing and hurtful. I have had many years of therapy and am quite self aware. Because this person is someone with a good deal of knowledge and experience, I try as hard as I can to relate to her from a place of balance and equality between us. It makes no difference to the way she responds to me; it seems no matter how I behave, she still speaks to me as if I am being manipulative and wanting to be rescued or mollycoddled in some way.

I should mention that this lady is in a supervisory position within the charity that currently provides me with support (for survivors of trauma). I am to have the opportunity soon to have a meeting with her and her supervisor to discuss this, but I am fearful of how it might turn out. I find her attitude towards me so upsetting. Worst of all, the way she relates to me has me second guessing myself as to whether I am indeed 'playing the Victim' once again, which is a truly dreadful, 'crazy-making' feeling.

How can I best deal with this lady? How best can I protect myself and still actually hear what she says to me? How can I 'be an equal' to someone who seems not to see me as such? How can I stay out of the Victim role in the face of someone who seems to want to keep me there?

I would appreciate any insights anyone might have on this issue, especially as I am new to the concept of the drama triangle and it seems to fit this situation.

Thank you,


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Feb 21, 2017
More about the Drama Triangle
by: Don Carter

For anyone else interested in this subject, take a look at the following presentation to learn more about being "triggered" into an unhelpful emotional state (Just click the link below to open the presentation):

Triggers and the Drama Triangle

Jan 08, 2011
Thank you!!
by: Clarissa

Don, this is so useful, Thank you so much! You're quite right, I do have difficulty with finding and remaining in that assertive rather than aggressive or vulnerable state. I will definately follow your suggestions, and those of Kathy, and work on healing the wounded part of me that is getting triggered right now.

Thanks again,


Jan 07, 2011
Right on...
by: Don Carter

Hi Clarissa,

I am with Kathy about being assertive and having a brief conversation with this person...with one caveat -- In order to pull it off you must be able to get into and stay in a resourceful, empowered state so as not to look, sound, and feel as "the victim."

If you have trouble doing that then it is just as much about you as what the other person is doing. I don't know about you, but I have had a lot of time in recovery and personal growth. Even so, from time-to-time I discover another opportunity for growth -- i.e., I find myself in another situation where I get a button pushed or "triggered" into an unresourceful, child-like state. Usually one of the vulnerable or angry variety.

At those times it is really hard to be assertive...my vulnerable/fearful reactions come off as passive and my angry/defiant reactions come off as aggressive when I really intended to "be assertive". Then my inner critic can power-up and tell me how I messed up again and I will never get it right.

Being able to stay resourceful would require staying positive, learning new techniques for self-soothing, restructuring your inner landscape, and giving yourself room to grow. There are a lot of places to go to find the ones that work for you: counseling, 12-step groups, self-help books, prayer and meditation, etc.

When it comes to something as specific as learning to be more assertive, then you need reach out to someone who can help you learn and master that behavior...someone who will be able to help you discover and heal the part of you that gets triggered in these situations.

Hope this helps! AND Just an FYI for anyone who is interested -- I offer a 20-25 minute free telephone consultation for anyone who wants to discuss issues like this and get recommendations. Just click on the "CONTACT" button on the top of any of my web-pages and send me an email or call the number listed there.

Take care,

Jan 06, 2011
Thank you!
by: Anonymous

Thank you Kathie, gonna try my level best! Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.


Jan 06, 2011

Well , you said that you are not a victim anymore.
Prove it. Tell this lady, look I am no longer a vitim so, don't treat like one. Sometime's you have to be assertive, that doesn't mean that you yourself are being mean. Talk up for yourself darlin, you're not a victim anymore.

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