Co-dependent relationships and the drama triangle

Have you ever found yourself in a toxic situation with people and do not understand how it is happening? Very often when emotions are high situations can get tangled and twisted and it is hard to see the wood for the trees.

The drama triangle is a very powerful model to clearly explain how three different personality types can become co-dependently linked and control each other with the result of keeping each other stuck in place.

The difference of co-dependency and inter-dependence

For the purpose of his explanation I will be using the following (but each person has their own explanation.)

This is where two or more people are clinging to each other keeping themselves trapped in a lack or a victim mindset of control. One feels they cannot survive without the other

This is where people will work together to support each other (or one supports the other) to a pattern of growth and forward movement

The drama triangle Personalities (co-dependency)
In this model there are 3 personalities. The victim, the persecutor and the rescuer

The victim
This is the poor me who wants to stay stuck and claim how hard everything is because they want other people to feel sorry for them. To play this role they need to have something attack them…hence they need a bully. They cannot be the victim without the persecutor (or bully)

The persecutor (or bully)
The persecutor is the attacker. However this does not need to be a person, it can be the victims job, health or financial situation. But if it is a person who attacks then the persecutor and victim will now be co-dependently linked. The persecutor needs and victim and the victim needs a persecutor.

The rescuer
The rescuer although can seem like a good guy is actually also very toxic. To perform a rescuer role the person needs a victim. So the rescuer is actually an enabler. They can trigger the victim into feeling more poor me and that they can't cope, so they turn to the rescuer for support…giving the rescuer a role to perform.

These three roles can be performed within one person or with groups of people and all perform their roles to have a connection with each other. Although it is a toxic co-dependent connection it is still a connection. A person will often rather a toxic connection than no connection at all.

The test for the drama triangle is to go out into society and see how many of these personalities you can recognise. Start today and put them in the comments below

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