The Drama Triangle in life

When we go about our lives, particularly if we live active lives, we run into the drama triangle.

I did this week.

If you’ve never heard of the Drama Triangle, it relates to how abusers (particularly those who don’t recognize themselves as that) latch on to targets (including those who have intention of playing victim). Targets then need to say “not playing” even if the abuser escalates.

What hooks us

Many of us grew up in the drama triangle; it was wired into us. When we meet abusers, it can feel like quicksand.

Abusers: here’s how to recognize them & what makes them

Abusers follow a script. They verbally or situationally attack and show themselves to be judgmental and self-righteous. Often, they grew up learning to be tough, with empathy taught away as weakness. They find toughness addictive.


Here’s how to cut the abuser’s tentacles. Don’t play his or her game. Remain grounded. Abusers thrive on drama and denial. Truth is an antidote.

Your thoughts

You may think: easy to say, hard to do. Yes. However, once you learn to “cut the wires,” it becomes easier.

If this post interests you, I can provide drama triangle and “undoing the script” insights later this week. (Tomorrow’s post “Suspect employee of lying about COVID to get extra vacation,” with thoughts from a labor attorney as well as myself is already scheduled.)

Just let me know if the topic intrigues you.

5 thoughts on “Drama Triangle Collision & Escape

  1. Good advice for any time, but especially when ignoring all advice and going home to be with one’s dysfunctional, passive-aggressive, bullying family… Not me, but just sayin’

  2. I had a friend who had been a target of abuse for years from the same man. She let him abuse her because she thought she would never find another man and she had mental health issues. She didn’t actually have this man because he had a girlfriend .

    I was with my friend in public once when the abuser tried manipulating her over her son (not his son). He tried making arrangements with the boy of about 7. I told him to talk to my friend and to look her in the eye. He did. His girlfriend was present, but said nothing.

    Shortly after that, we were all in a parking area with no one else around. The abuser and his girlfriend unloaded abuse on me, attacking me and insulting me. When they stopped I said, “I like myself.” I said nothing else. After a few more insults, the abuser and his girlfriend left.

    Days later I had to take my friend to the hospital, so I stayed at her house with her son. The abuser had a key. He stole something from my backpack, then returned it a few days later to let me know it was him. Instead of being scared off, I called the police. The police knew the abuser well and an officer talked to him. The abuser kept his distance from me after that. My friend learned to make better choices.

  3. Thank you, Lynne! I thoroughly enjoy your posts and take your words to heart! You helped me through a very difficult situation at a previous job and I will never forget your kindness! I am very interested in the “Drama Triangle – Collision & Escape”.

    1. Donna, thanks! Due to the positive response from you & others, I’ll definitely put out more posts on the Drama Triangle, including detailed thoughts for how former victims can transition from victim to survivor to healed; how rescuers can transition from rescuer to coach and how to de-magnetize bullies.

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