Self Drama Diamond
If you're life is full of drama and you feel like you've lost control, it might be because you're caught in the drama triangle. It's a tangled web we weave in life and sometimes it can feel tricky to know how to get out.
Help is at hand. You're not alone and there is a way out.
The first step is to see what's going on. To observe the pattern you're stuck in. This could be the drama triangle.
The Drama triangle
The Drama triangle states that you oscillate between three positions:
- Victim - life is hard because people make it hard for you
- Rescuer - You help because you want someone to like you for it
- Persecutor - You retaliate because of a perceived hurt
Round and round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows! It can be tricky to get out of this pattern. If you see that people or life is hard on you then you may feel like a victim in life. This can make you feel anxious and worried. You may perceive your partner as being the one that's persecuting you - making you feel bad because they don't understand you or don't care. You might react to that and lash out and say something or do something 'wrong' either from yours or their perspective (i.e. you become the persecutor) . They might get upset or angry and feel victimised by you - 'You always do this, you make my life so hard'... (i.e. they become the victim). You then feel bad about what you've done (or they make you feel bad) and then you feel you need to make amends or make them feel better (you rescue them). They will then play the victim until they feel they have discharged enough hurt or suffering onto you or punished you (i.e. move into the persecutor role again) or until things become so raw you have to spend some time apart (playing both the hurt victim and persecutor by ignoring their messages for example.). Rinse repeat rinse repeat again and again and again.
And it might not just be your partners, it might be with your support network too as you might use them as a way to 'drain' your emotional trauma by playing the victim and talking down your partner to your friends, making them into rescuers (which they might or might not want to be). Unfortunately, all this does is reinforce the drama triangle and it's stranglehold on your life.
Does this sound familiar? Join the billions of people on the planet that this is true for. But it really doesn't have to be that way.
So what do I do?
Opt out. The only way out of the triangle is to be the fourth role - Supporter. Be supportive to yourself and to your 'other'. Do not rescue them. Instead Rescue yourself. Recognise that this pattern is abusive to both you and them and that it has to stop. Recognise when the pattern happens and use a pattern breaker to stop it. This can be as simple as saying, "We can do better than this. Let's stop, reconsider and come back to this when we're in a better frame of mind". Sticking to this plan is important as it will start to re-create the boundaries of acceptability that you may have lost as a result of being stuck in the triangle.
Reflect. Remind yourself what you want. Be compassionate to yourself and your partner. Give it space. Give it time. Reconnect with yourself. This is the critical piece as someone who is at peace with themselves is at peace with the world. If you don't know how to reconnect with yourself because it's been too long then it's time to put a plan together and get some help to get back to yourself, reinforce those boundaries and remind yourself how you want YOUR life to be. Not someone else's. If you want help with that then get a coach. Do the work. Break the patterns as only you can really make the changes in your life that will break dramatic habits.
Remind yourself that this is your world and your mind and your heart and your head. Repeat it as a mantra. Regain your strength and use space and time to readdress your situation. When things are tough you often need to take a step back to fix yourself before you reconnect. Learn what works for you to do this - for me it's playing the guitar. Choose something that nourishes yourself like nothing else. Keep doing it. Fill the dramatic void with your own self love and self respect...
Life isn't drama it's a choice. Make the choices that help you to be where you need to be to help others. If you're not in a good place then you're not going to be able to help others and if you're so hell bent on helping others then don't forget that you're included in that too.
If someone is driving you crazy then give them some space. Remind yourself of the positive things that they bring in your life and don't blame them for everything. Life is a mirror so ask yourself 'how is that true of me?'. To recognise it in others we have to understand that pattern. Are you acting with love and compassion? If not, why not? Drama often comes from places other than the people we direct it at so take a step back and reflect, remind yourself what makes you happy and do that.