My first time learning about the Drama Triangle was something I would never be able to unsee.

All of the moments of all of the relationships in my life flashed before my eyes, and in an irreversible heartbeat the majority of them snapped to a triangle-shaped grid.

Same sheep, different day. Every day of my life up till that moment.

Okay back up, you special poet, I hear you say.
Uh, triangle? Start there.

Ok, I’ll start there.

Who came up with this thing anyway?
This guy named Karpman. There’s a pretty decent wikipedia article to start with HERE.

The corners of the triangle are

Incidentally, I got this image from a Drama Triangle internet search leading me to this blog which isn’t alive any more. Though I may never read the whole blog, the search included the first words of it: ‘the obstacle is the answer’. Which makes a classy dovetail into some of the ideas I came to while thinking about the Drama Triangle.

As someone who works hard to be positive (and also strives to keep it balanced with being realistic – but I’ll save that for another entry), for me an incredibly important aspect of being positive is this desire:


For those people who want and even love to help, being a rescuer is a normal and natural thing.

Wait a minute.
Being a rescuer is part of the Drama Triangle.

I am telling you that if I go into a scenario to help as a rescuer to save the victim from a villain, maybe in the short term I’ve done some good, but in the long term, all I’ve done is enabled the victim to be a victim and the villain to be a villain and triangle is STILL THERE.

And to boot, I’ve used up some or maybe all of my resources on this short term fix that doesn’t truly fix the issue. It might even be better had I never stepped in at all.


So being a hero doesn’t work.
What does?
Where is the exit of this codependent triangle-shaped toxic slime pit?

Wait for it:

Rescuing yourself. Self-rescue.

Easy enough, poet, I hear you say.
How do I actually DO it? What’s the first step of a self rescue?

What comes to mind with the term ‘self-rescue’?
How about accountability? responsibility? boundaries? How about taking a moment to look before leaping, to give yourself a minute to figure out that you’re stepping onto the Hindenburg?

I bet you just had a ‘That Time I Stepped Onto the Hindenburg’ memory pass through your mind.

Hindsight is 20/20. ‘What wouldn’t I give to have taken just a minute to think about what I was about to do. Maybe I wouldn’t have done it.’

So what is it that gives us that extra buffer breath when only the future knows we need it?

Wait for it:
Gratitude. Appreciation.

More on that later. But for now, work from that assumption that the secret in the sauce is Gratitude. That’s it.

It is being appreciative that gives the opportunity for perspective.
Notice I didn’t say that appreciation is perspective itself. It gives the opportunity for it.
No appreciation, no perspective. No time, no room = all aboard the Hindenburg.

What are you grateful for right now? Whatever that answer is for you in the moment, that is the crack in the mountain where the flowers begin to grow. More on that later.

Gratitude has a way of showing us the ladder out of that codependent triangle-shaped toxic slime pit, one rung at a time. That is self-rescue. ‘The obstacle is the answer’.

I found this fantastic inverted model of the Drama Triangle from Conscious Leadership Group.

With the right perspective (ahem from Gratitude), instead of a victim there is a creator who takes radical responsibility. Instead of a villain, there is a loving challenger who provides critical thinking. And instead of a hero, there is a coach who supports self-rescue and empowerment.