The Karpman Triangle
Posted on 12th October 2020 at 14:18
Have you ever been in the position of a Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer, in a situation or a number of situations?
For forty years, Stephen Karpman designed and utilised this three-sided model to reflect itself in daily situations. People over the years and to this day go back into one or all three sides of the triangle to when we originally were conditioned to a thinking method.
So how do we pull ourselves out of the triangle when it comes to “taking the moral high ground?”
We encompass either one of the three sides of the triangle. So, let’s start with the Victim role and what that entails… they bare feelings of oppression, feeling hard done by, helplessness and hopelessness. Individuals who abide by the victim role do not necessarily take responsibility for their actions, as it is something that has happened to them. Emotionally, they are who are deemed as “super sensitives.” A consequence of this side of the triangle, is little ability in problem-solving, making choices, being positive in situations.
So, who does every victim need? A rescuer. And that brings us onto the second side of the triangle. So, who is a rescuer?
A rescuer bares the “I can help you” caretaker mentality for the victim, or anyone who needs help. The downside of this trait is rescuers often forget and dismiss their own needs because they’re too caught up in rescuing others. This can and does result in overtiredness, having a martyr complex and becoming overworked. Often, resentment to others can also fester.
Finally, we have the Persecutor: “It's entirely your fault!”
The relationship the Persecutor has with the victim, is they constantly criticise, insult, display anger and unpleasantness to the victim. All of which never have a resounding resolution for the social situation. Contrast to the victim’s role of helplessness, the Persecutor harbours setting strict measures, and are deemed as controlling and bullies. The origins of the Persecutor is that they have once been exposed to overt abuse. Hence the “you did it” vexation that exists presently.
Of course, all of these three sides of the triangle are the extreme measures and sides, but we all take on more mild forms of them, daily. People find they switch roles without escaping the triangle itself.
How can we adapt to these states?
The answer is by recognising our responses, actions, and behaviours. These can all be changed by monitoring and altering our core belief structures. Any conscious awareness of these roles can be addressed when we feel we’re getting engrossed into the drama triangle. Alongside that, a degree of accountability is important to acknowledge.
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