How to Break the Triangle
In the previous post in this series, we looked at worked examples of the Drama Triangle in action. The reason for this is to help you see the applied and real nature of this phenomenon.
The key to breaking the drama triangle is developing awareness of its existence. Once you are familiar with the actors, and you know what role you have a tendency to adopt; you can opt out before the game even gets going.
Spending time reflecting on the drama triangle series of posts and reviewing your different social interactions is the way to develop this awareness. You need to review and reflect so you can spot the patterns.
Remember the past if the past, so do not beat yourself up about previous drama-based interactions. Be grateful that they have happened as this is life teaching you a lesson by giving you the material to become aware of and learn from.
Here are some other strategies you could use to combat/diffuse/avoid the drama triangle…
Stopping it before it starts
- Simply avoid the game players. Choose the people you spend your time with wisely.
- If someone invites you in to a game, mirror their behaviour… If a victim searching for a rescuer just finds another victim moaning, the game cannot start!
- In a work context; staying positive, informative, factual, detached and professional without offering options can also signify that one is aware of the invitation to enter the Drama Triangle and will not assume the rescuer role.
- Asking detailed clarification questions to precisely understand what the others expect from you is another way to offer an opportunity for others to back out and refrain from offering negative relationship invitations. They may then even decide to participate in a more productive dialogue.
Getting out once you are in
- If you find yourself in a game, change the subject of the conversation
- A cheeky way to get out of a game is to introduce another player to take your place. This is not the nicest of strategies, but can be used if you simply need to get out of the situation
- Spot the invitation to enter the game and politely decline. Depending on your relationship with the person, you could even call out the game you think they are going to play and explain why you do not want to enter in to the conversation!
- If you feel a situation escalating such that within the course of verbal iteration there is very little time being allowed for silence between people speaking, or each person’s input is being interrupted before they can finish – suggest it is time to take a short break from the conversation. Interrupt the pattern which is unfolding and let everyone cool down a bit.
- Humour, when it is shared, is also an excellent strategy to transform delicate relational situations. This must be done with enough spontaneity and tact so as to avoid the perception of irony, derision, hypocrisy, mockery or sarcasm: favoured Persecutor tools.
- A more violent response strategy, to be used on rare occasions, is to go full speed ahead into the game and escalate to a very high and unexpectedly powerful degree. Numerous game players want to implement Drama Triangle interactions on a socially acceptable and reasonable level of intensity. They will quickly stop their attempts when they realize that their targeted partner is ready to play on a much tougher level of intensity.
- Simply be honest. If you call out the truth of a situation and get everyone to agree the first principles of what is known and unknow, the game will simply defuse. Make it clear that optimal way to progress is by having everyone collaborate to create a win-win situation for all.
There are lots of different ways to approach handling the drama triangle, but the first and most important step is developing an awareness of what is it, and your tendencies to be involved.
Spending time reflecting on your interactions will help you spot the patters so you can then choose the most effective strategy to break the cycle.
In the next post we will conclude the Breaking the Triangle series and look at the benefits and practical applications.
Enjoy, for now.