The Drama Triangle was first introduced by Dr. Stephen Karpman in 1961. He used the words Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer to describe characteristics that we can display at different times in our lives. I will use the terms Victim, Hero, and Villain to describe the Drama Triangle.
As a People Pleaser/ Co-Dependent it is easy to see how we can fall prey to such behaviors. When we are trapped in the blame game, we do nothing more than complain, excuse, and sacrifice ourselves for whatever everybody else wants. We might even think our pride to be under attacked as we do so much for so many.
As a Leading Lady, you wouldn’t want to take on the role of others. Would you want to watch a movie that has one dominate actor speaking the lines for all actors? Can you imagine that? Adapting and allowing others to play their individual roles is important because character development relies on many characters, not just one. Being an attentive Leading Lady means letting everyone play their individual parts and allowing for character development.
We might find ourselves taking away roles from others and trying to be their hero because we think we should. When things don’t go our way and people don’t do what we ask, we can become the victim—full of excuses and blame. Finding fault in others is an easy trap to fall into, as we often feel as if we do more anyone else, so unknowingly we become the villain. To create accountability in our lives we need to make a conscious decision to stop blaming the situation and the actions of others and look inward instead.
Blame is an interesting thing, as we use it so much in our life to explain away anything we might find challenging. Keep in mind that the Drama Triangle is an observation used to recognize our part to escape its grasp. One of the first things you can do to become more aware of its snare is to question your own actions. What is the solution, and is this response going to bring me closer to it or further from it?
So, how do we make sure we don’t fall onto the Victim, Hero, Villain path? Here are three tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of the Drama Triangle:
- When you find yourself making excuses and playing the role of the Victim, ask yourself this question: “What can I choose to create for myself out of this situation?”
- When we go down the road of finding blame and playing the part of the Villain, ask yourself this: “How can I challenge myself to rise above and learn about me from my fault finding?”
- When you find yourself wanting to rescue and be the Hero for someone, ask yourself this question: “Why do I think I have the answers for them and how could I coach them to find a solution on their own?
When you decide to explore your thinking rather than immediately step into another’s role, you are starting to display the characteristics of becoming a Leading Lady in your own life.
Deciding to go from blame to accountability begins with you. When you turn the Drama Triangle from Victim, Villain, and Hero to Creator, Challenger, and Coach you begin to show up as wanting to find solutions so everyone can develop their character qualities as you all grow together.
If you want to know more about the Karpman Drama Triangle, you can find that information at his official website: https://www.karpmandramatriangle.com/
One’s actions and thinking are key to becoming a Leading Lady. Sometimes we can be that Leading Lady and other times we are more like a character that isn’t truly us. That is what I want to explore today; the concept of a safe or growth space and how tapping into your vulnerability is vital in becoming more of the Leading Lady that you truly are.
Let’s explore what a safe space might be. When you think of the phrase “safe place” do you envision a place or person? Does a feeling of comfort come over you? What constitutes a safe place is really in the eyes of the beholder. Someone who enjoys massages, gentle spa music, and relaxation can see a massage room as safe while others feel anxious and uncomfortable because they don’t like to be touched by strangers. The space is the same, yet the viewpoint of each individual is different.
What comes to mind when you think of growth? From infancy to a young lady, we grew and didn’t get to have a say on how or when we grew. Our bodies experienced pain when our molars came in, when our bones grew and when our menstrual cycles began. On top of the physical growth, we were expected to learn math, history, science and so much more. We didn’t know the answers; we had to learn and grow from our mistakes in order to understand the world around us.
As adults it is left up to us if we want to experience self-growth and if we view a situation as being safe or not. There is nothing you need to do to make you more valuable. You already are 100% worthy just as you are and having gone through your growing thus far. Self-growth is not needed to fix anything, Nothing is wrong with you or needs to be fixed. Self-growth is up to you if you want it.
If becoming a Leading Lady seems like a worthy goal to you, then you will want to decide that you are willing to experience an arrange of emotions. You can create this opportunity by being open and willing to be vulnerable to each situation that comes up for you. Believe the space IS safe and be willing to grow.
A safe space will be transformed to a growth space when you open yourself to all emotions that come from all situations. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable as you observe how you are feeling and doing that which will create a purposeful outcome for you.
When we don’t grow as individuals, we are bound to be that character in someone else’s drama. Creating excuses for why we are not where we want to be will keep us hidden in the world. I believe that you are a Leading Lady and your unique role is what this world needs when it comes from a place of Love, Trust, and Hope in yourself.
Just like the growing pains of childhood, there is going to be discomfort. Expect that and find ways to accept that knowledge. Perhaps reflecting on your childhood growth process will help you realize you’ve survived thus far and that by embracing discomfort you cannot only survive but begin to thrive. It is through this discomfort that you will experience personal insight that you otherwise would not have if you didn’t choose growth. The Leading Lady finds a way to embrace growth and moves forward knowing that it is through being vulnerable and believing any space is safe that she develops into who she truly is—a Leading Lady.
When I think of a leading lady, I think of a woman that shows up as cool, calm and collected. You want to be around her, she makes you smile, and you feel so at ease with her. Does she have a spell on you? Is there some witchery going on? Would you believe that the reasons you feel those things are not because of anything she is or is not doing? Maybe, it has everything to do with what you are choosing to think about her.
Let’s explore the possibility that relationships might be as easy or as challenging as we think they are. Is it possible that in order to change a relationship you just have to change your perspective?
There are many roles we can find ourselves playing in our lives when we are choosing not to be the leading lady. I want to explore three general relationships roles we may find ourselves portraying. Keep in mind anyone can fall into these roles.
The first role is what I call the “Everything is fine,” role; you know…the person who portrays nothing is ever wrong. There is nothing to worry about and there is nothing to get to excited about—they are just fine, or so they say. No real opinion.
Another role is the “I am doing what I want” role. This person feels they have been wronged in some fashion and no one is ever going to do them wrong again. They feel sometimes entitled and that they have every right to do what they want to and need never explain or apologize for themselves.
The last role I want to talk about is the “I don’t care, whatever you want” role. This person is always complying and denying oneself. They put on a smile and act like they are ready to help at a moment’s notice. Yet, they feel resentful at times and are usually carrying around emotions of exhaustion and of being overwhelmed.
Can you see yourself at times in your life in any of these roles? Have you said, “everything is fine,” when it wasn’t? Have you done what you want and never thought of how it might affect someone else? Have you thought, “I don’t care, whatever you want” and was feeling resentful while doing it? Taking a moment to truly see yourself in these roles can help you see how others can be portraying these roles too.
Think of a relationship that you find difficult.
What are you thinking when you see that person walk in the room?
Think of a relationship you enjoy.
What are you thinking when you see this person walk into the room?
Recognize the difference between the two, and then look at yourself and see how you can see parts of you in the thoughts you had about the difficult and enjoyable relationship.
Portraying all the roles discussed above is part of the human experience we live; nothing is wrong here. It is when we find moments of awareness in the relationships we have, and have had, that we can find little nuggets of knowledge about ourselves if we are open to it and grow.
Many relationships are just reflections for us and can help you in becoming a leading lady. Cultivating awareness of those reflections, embracing them all, and being willing to view all the thoughts that arises from all relationships will help you in achieving your Leading lady role.
You need to be the Leading Lady in your own story, or you are allowing others to treat you as characters in their drama. Wanting or needing people to like you is an internal relationship situation and only you can fix it, but you have to want to. This has been called many things; being co-dependent, people pleaser, or an enabler. If you are not out rowing your own boat you are standing on the dock waiting for someone to pick you up in theirs. A leading lady would never say, “I don’t like confrontation, I’m fine with being agreeable, I want people to like me.” These are phrases that other characters and those on the dock waiting for a boat would say.
Let me give you an example of how you might know that you are playing a character in someone else’s drama.
You are at a dinner party with friends, and a lady you barely know walks up to you and says, “I’ve seen you; you are such a know it all.”
Words have been spoken that you might not agree with, in fact you may feel insulted. So, you look to your husband and tell him you want to leave, or you look to a friend and ask for the identity of the woman. Either way, you are now portraying a character in this lady’s drama and not yours. Maybe you decide to leave or maybe you complain about her. Your focus is on her so that makes her the Leading Lady.
Same situation same words have been said. But instead of turning to someone else you could approach this situation in a non-abrasive manner and ask her, “That’s interesting, how do we know each other?” Or, “I can see how that might be true,” or you could simply say, “Thank you for bringing that to my attention.” Many words can be said in this situation, but when you respond with grace and self-respect instead of reacting out of anger, always shows that you are a Leading Lady in your own story.
One of the Al-Anon slogans come to mind when exploring this concept, “Don’t be a door mat.” It’s okay to have moments that you wish you could take back. You are human and the goal is never for perfection but always for improvement. Even Leading Ladies get it wrong now and then and know when to ask for help; that is what makes them a Leading Lady. They are open to the possibilities and are willing to question their own thinking.
In the next three blogs I will explore a few concepts on becoming the Leading Lady to your own story. These concepts will center around:
- Roles we play in relationships so you can be aware of the roles and parts you might be playing.
- Exploring a growth space compared to a safe space and how vulnerability is going to make the difference.
- Plus diving a little deeper into blame and responsibility, it can be tricky to detect when we are the victim, villain or hero.
If you are not already signed up for my Sunday Evening Thoughts and Blog sign up now. Stop being a character in someone else’s drama, waiting on the doc for a boat that may never come. Come and discover insights that will help you become the Leading Lady in your life.