Drama 101: Post 3

Moving right along in our discussion about “The Drama Triangle” by Stephen Karpman, M.D., today we look at the role of the Rescuer. There is a fine line between supporting someone and saving them; and when we go into rescue mode, we have moved into a need to save. This need is about us, and feels quite personal; often times it will eventually work itself into some built-up resentment when we realize that the person we are trying to help is either not taking our advice or continues to loop through the same self-defeating behaviours. If you have a parent who tends to be a rescuer, they are often seen as a “marshmallow parent” because of their inclination to be too soft (this is where enabling often plays a role.)  The message that gets sent when in rescue mode is “Let me help you,” which can seem quite fundamental, but in reality we need to be able to help ourselves in order to get our problems solved.

The Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer make up the Drama Triangle, and each play their own destructive role in the conflict; needing each other in order to fulfill a subversive feedback loop. When we find ourselves pulled into drama (and often times it creeps up on us!) it is at this point that we can make a conscious decision to get ourselves out of the triangle; tomorrow we will look at how to move towards a healthier place.


Drama 101: Post 2

In our exploration of “The Drama Triangle” by Stephen Karpman, M.D., today we are looking another role, that of the Victim. Sometimes we learn in our lifetime to live as a victim; we have difficulty taking care of ourselves and turn to others constantly for that care. Other times, we feel victimized to a certain situation or relationship; in either case, the feelings are the same. If we are feeling victimized, we begin to feel helpless, hopeless and sometimes oppressed. We have difficulty solving our own problems, trouble making decisions and finding joy seems impossible. Essentially, the message being sent out to others and reinforced to ourselves is either “Poor me,” or “Why me?”

Sound familiar? We have all had one or two situations in our life where we felt lost to it, where we felt stuck as to how to make the decisions we needed to move forward from it, or escape it all together. Sometimes these same feelings come in the form of a relationship; either way it is the feelings of helplessness that are invasive and seem like a hard task to get through.

Tomorrow we will touch on the third role of the Drama Triangle, that of the Rescuer.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Drama 101: Post 1

Although I feel most people would agree that they don’t want drama in their lives, sometimes the conflict that occurs in our relationships or at work, pulls us right into the theatrics of the situation and leaves us feeling lost and overwhelmed. A tool that I often use in therapy is called “The Drama Triangle” by Stephen Karpman, M.D.; we will take the next four posts to explain it, the roles that people play when trapped in the triangle, and lastly, how to get yourself out of drama and feeling more at peace. You may notice yourself or others on the triangle in a general sense, however it is important to note that people can also switch roles at times depending on what is happening in the conflict.

The first role is that of the Persecutor whose m.o. is to blame others as a way to avoid taking responsibility. Persecutors will often use anger as a further means to prove their point and they do so for two reasons: 1. anger keeps them in a defensive position (part of our survival brain) and 2. anger keeps them in denial (which is a perfect way to avoid taking responsibility for their role in the conflict). It is important to note

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When Grief is Raw

We cannot get through this life without experiencing loss and grief; it is part of the human experience and is a process that is far from linear. My blog post today is a link to a Globe and Mail article that my best friend, Kim, wrote after her husband Morgan died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 35; that was eleven years ago today. At the time, it left her with a 2 and 1/2 year old son, a 6 month old daughter and a grief that was raw and unyielding.  She wrote the article four years into her journey and in its story, you will find the heaviness of her experience and the sorrow that followed her days; but you will also discover resilience and hope, courage and strength. I am so proud of her 🙂


Photo credit: http://Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

When a Break Up Happens: Resource

Going through a break up at any stage in life is difficult. We have to be able to try and stay distracted from the desire to completely shut off from the world, while not staying so busy that we completely avoid the feelings we need to process. We have to try and balance the advice of “the less contact, the better” that we instinctively know we should adopt, while at the same time needing our ex for support during a time we feel most vulnerable.

A relationship ending throws us into the stages of grief, and the feelings that come from that loss can feel very invasive and at times overwhelming. I recently heard about an app called “Mend;” it features daily audio training, practical tips and community support. Although many people rely on their support network during challenging times, it is also validating to be connected to others who are also going through something similar, at the same time. Sometimes, it is through the normalizing process of discovering “Okay, someone else is going through this right now too” that leads you to feeling connected and understood.

To check out the app: https://www.letsmend.com/

There is also a blog with articles and interviews: https://www.letsmend.com/blog

Photo credit: http://Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash

PTSD explained

In a recent article I read titled “The Vicious Cycle of Post traumatic Stress: 4 Cornerstones of PTSD” by Sally Nazari, PsyD and featured on Good Therapy, she talked about how PTSD symptoms can often occur after experiencing a traumatic event. Dr. Nazari writes, “Many different types of events can be traumatic. Trauma responses can follow any major change disruption in a person’s life.” She goes on to write, “In the time immediately following a trauma, many people have experiences of PTSD. In some cases, those experiences decrease over time and the person naturally recovers. It can be helpful to think of PTSD as a process where something got in the way of that natural process of recovery.”  

I especially like the last sentence as it helps to normalize to people that very often times their PTSD has developed as a result of not having been able to work through the acute stress response

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