Are you being caught in the Drama Triangle at home or at work?

Do you ever get the feeling that you have been caught up again and again in a familiar discussion or argument that ends up the same way: you and usually the other person feeling bad?

You’ve asked for help (or at least you think you have) and end up feeling worse.  Or you’ve offered help or a suggestion and get your head bitten off.  You have asked someone to do something and they have ignored your request: it seems like you are talking to yourself! You are offering lots of suggestions and the other person comes up with reason after reason for why they can’t do that – the Why Don’t You….Yes But Game) and you end up feeling angry and frustrated. The conversation starts off well, and with best intentions and somehow the tone switches and you think “Here we go again – why does this always happen”?

You’ve been caught in the Drama Triangle.

It could be a conversation with your Manager, your partner (or ex-partner) a client, colleague, perhaps a parent or child.

The Drama Triangle is a ‘game’ and it always ends up in the same way.  Before you know it your hooked – feeling angry, upset, frustrated or anxious and wondering how you got there.

‘Games’ are played out of outside of our awareness and they will be played repeatedly until we are aware of them and do something to stop playing ourselves: stepping out of the game and taking responsibility for our part in it by doing something different.

The thing about these games is they often lead us to eat, drink or smoke or do something that’s intended to help us feel better, but actually results in us feeling worse in some way.  They act as a trigger to do something, anything to feel better.

Recognise any of this?

It’s like being caught up in a fishing line – someone throws out a line with a hook that gets to you and you bite: every time!  Then you are in,  playing the game, wanting to win and yet end up feeling bad….even if you do win.

The thing is, it’s take two to play a ‘game’ – so if you are in it, you must be playing too.

So how do you step out of the game?

  • Identify the situations where you hear yourself saying those familiar phrases like: here we go again, how does this always happen, s/he always does that to me etc.,
  • Recognise the familiar thoughts, feelings and behaviours (yours and the other person’s)
  • Explore and assess what you can do or say when you are in that situation again – before it happens
  • Take responsibility for your part in the game and act on it to do something different (even if you find yourself caught up in the middle)

It’s impossible for anyone to play these games by themselves .  Refuse to play: just stop playing, quietly and without judgement.