The Karpman Drama Triangle
Break the Cycle of the Karpman Drama Triangle
If you are a human trafficking victim service provider, church or employer, please read this article on the Drama Triangle.
Rejuvenating Women is an organization that assists in the healing of victims and survivors of sex trafficking and it is important for us to stay grounded in God’s divine strength.
Most service providers are made up of a team of people who have an empathetic desire to help those who are hurting and because of this, those service providers can become the wrong kind of rescuer. Individuals, churches and organizations can actually cause more harm to those we are helping and not even know it.
Stephen Karpman, M.D., who developed his “drama triangle” – victim, rescuer, persecutor over 40 years ago and is just as relevant today. Now is known as the Karpman Drama Triangle. When you realize that you have become part of the triangle, you need to break the cycle immediately.
The stance of the victim is “poor me!” Victims see themselves as victimized, oppressed, powerless, helpless, hopeless, dejected, and ashamed, and come across as “super-sensitive,” wanting kid-glove treatment from others. They can deny any responsibility for their negative circumstances and deny possession of the power to change those circumstances. A person in the victim role will look for a rescuer, a savior, to save them (and if someone refuses or fails to do that, can quickly perceive them now as a persecutor.
The Drama Triangle
The victim’s stance is of the rescuer is “Let me help you!” Rescuers work hard to help and caretake other people, and even need to help other people to feel good about themselves, while neglecting their own needs or not taking responsibility for meeting their own needs. The rescuer is actually enabling, therefore, hurting the one we are helping.
The stance of the persecutor is “It’s all your fault!” Persecutors criticize and blame the victim, set strict limits, can be controlling, rigid, authoritative, angry and unpleasant. They keep the victim feeling oppressed through threats and bullying.
What’s needed is for anyone on the triangle to “wake up” to the roles they are playing repeatedly. One person shifting out of role can catalyze others to shift out of roles and behaviors. What’s especially helpful is for the victim to begin to “grow up” and take responsibility for their own healing, empowerment and resourcing themselves to meet their own needs.
For organizations, churches, and individuals working with human trafficking victims to get a deeper perspective, Power of Ted provides tools and online training to better equip you to transform organizational and workplace drama into workforce empowerment!
Wikipedia, Karpman Drama Triangle
Power of Ted