Notice:Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/u620191390/domains/ on line 368
The Positive Mindset Tribe Podcast

The Drama Triangle – How to escape the Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor roles

By 19 December, 2022 No Comments
The Drama Triangle is one of my favourite tools to gain awareness of unhealthy interactions with other people and negative patterns in relationships.
In this episode of The Positive Mindset Tribe I covered:
  • The three main roles in the Drama Triangle: Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor.
  • Why we take on these roles.
  • Why this is useful and how to use it.
  • How to escape the Drama Triangle & develop healthier and authentic patterns in relationships.
It is really funny once you understand the Drama Triangle to go to family or friends gathering and see how people get caught in the drama without knowing it. So it is great timing that this episode is released right before Christmas!
When you are able to escape the triangle and become an observer you will find it hilarious how easily people take on these roles (including ourselves!), so grab your popcorn and enjoy the show 🙂
I would also invite you to take some time for self-reflection to understand your patterns and change the ones you don’t like with the tools provided in this episode. This is a simple yet powerful model that can bring really powerful personal transformation.






Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of The Positive Mindset Tribe.

This is your host Verónica, and today I want to share with you everything you need to know about The Drama Triangle or Triangle of Disempowerment  which is one of my favourite tools to become aware of negative patterns in relationships.

In this episode I will cover:

  • The three main roles in the Drama Triangle – victim, rescuer and persecutor
  • Why we take on these roles
  • Why this is useful and how to use it
  • How to escape the Drama Triangle & develop healthier patterns in relationships

It is one of my favourite tools ever, because it is a simple model that can help us become aware of our behaviours, of our patterns and how we interact with other people. And as we have discussed before, becoming aware of something is the first step and probably the most important one to change it. When we are aware of a belief or behaviour that we want to change and we have identified it, we can change it. When we are not aware of what we are doing there is no way we will be able to change or improve. Not being aware of our beliefs and patterns doesn’t mean they are not there, it just means that they are running our life from the subconscious mind, which is very dangerous.

We talked a lot about limiting beliefs in the previous episode, so add that one to your playlist if you want to learn more about how to identify and remove limiting beliefs.

Now back to The Drama Triangle, the Drama Triangle is a triangle because it has three main roles: victim, rescuer and persecutor.

We take on these roles when we don’t know how to meet our needs in a healthy way. When we take on these roles, it gives us an illusion of power, that we are in control.

Now this doesn’t mean that we ARE a victim,  a rescuer or a persecutor, it means that we might have behaviours of patterns that match the description of these roles. We can move through the drama triangle, so we can take on the victim role at work, but be a persecutor with our siblings.

Let’s see some examples as this is the best way to understand the Drama Triangle.


The victim wants to be saved. If we think of an archetype, it would be the Disney princess waiting to be rescued.

We take on the victim role when we don’t take responsibility for whatever is going on in our lives. We wait for someone to save us, we assume someone will do something for us. That can be our parents, our spouse, or the government. We rely on someone else solving our problems.

When we take on the victim mode we are discounting ourselves, we are assuming we don’t have the resources we need to deal with whatever is going on for us and we wait for or expect someone else will do it. When we do this we are leaking our power, we are literally giving our power away.

Common phrases when we are in victim role:

It always happens to me, I am so unlucky, what can I do? There is nothing I can do. Yes but psychological game. Childish behaviour.


The archetype would be the prince fighting the dragons for the princess.

The rescuer is not someone who wants to help, helping is beautiful. The rescuer does something for the victim without being asked. Even though they think they are helping, this is very disempowering for the victim, because when we are in rescuer mode, we are discounting the abilities of the person we want to rescue. We are assuming that the person we want to help is not able to deal with whatever they are going through. And maybe they are perfectly fine without our help!

So please note that asking for help and offering help is perfectly fine.

The unhealthy interaction between the victim and the rescuer comes when the rescuer does more than 50% of the job.

So imagine a friend has been fired and looking for another job and she is feeling overwhelmed, still in shock that she has lost a job she liked, not knowing where to start with the job search, etc. If she asks me for help and we sit together and I offer her a shoulder to cry, or preparation for the job search then that’s fine.

If time goes by and she doesn’t make an effort to look for another job, she doesn’t do anything to move forward, she just sits on the sofa claiming benefits not taking any actions, then she would be in victim mode.

If I were telling her what to do, getting job interviews for her or giving her money without her having asked, then I would be taking the rescuer mode.

So there is a subtle but BIG difference between a healthy relationship of health and support and getting caught in the drama triangle in a victim/rescuer interaction


Following the examples of the archetypes, the persecutor would be the villain.

The persecutor loves criticising, loves complaining about how bad other people do their job or anything in life.

When we take on the persecutor role we tend to show anger, it is kind of an angry role, we have a go at someone out of nowhere.

Even with jokes, so sarcasm and irony are the persecutor’s favourite tools. Because remember, in every single joke, there is some truth. Think about it. Every joke is based on some truth, that’s why they are funny. But many times when someone takes offense, the persecutor will say oh come it is just a joke. I heard once that jokes are a cowardly way to say the truth, which made me think a lot!  I’m not saying that all jokes have bad intentions, not at all, but that idea definitely made me think.

Common phrases when we are in persecutor mode:

I told you. This is all your fault, if you had listened to me, what’s wrong with you, you always do the same.

So in the example of my friend losing her job, if I went to her and said I told you, you should have chosen a different company, I knew this would happen, now see where you are, you’d better hurry up and start looking for something already, what are you even planning to do anyway?

So we have identified the three main roles, and although I have been given kind of dramatic examples or over-exaggerations so the concepts are clear, many subtle interactions can be part of the drama triangle.

When I first studied this model I was fascinated. I find it so simple yet so powerful! And all I could think of is “oh oh I’m being a victim now”, “oh no that was such a persecutor comment” or “oh no here is the rescuer in me again”. But it helped me so much to understand my behaviour, my patterns.

And the funny bit is when you know this information and sit back in a dinner or family gathering and see them get caught in the drama triangle. It is hilarious. So I think it is great timing that this episode is being released right before Christmas  cause you will be at those gatherings laughing inside identifying all those roles.


Now, a very important point I want to discuss here is WHY we take on these roles?

We take on these roles because it is the best way we know to meet our needs. Maybe it’s what we learnt when we were kids. Maybe we copied this way to interact with others from our parents or other parental figures.

No judgement please! When I started to identify all my drama triangle moments, I felt very bad and I thought It was so bad of me to take on these roles so often.

So if by listening to this podcast you have become aware of you taking on some of these roles in certain situations, that is GREAT news. It is not bad, it means that now you are aware of what you do. Because everyone gets caught in the drama triangle sometimes. The difference is do you want to be blind and ignore it? Great, your choice, but your problems are not going to go away by sweeping under the carpet.

But ONLY by becoming aware of these patterns you can change them.

So don’t feel bad, just observe, treat yourself with compassion and assess what needs to be changed if anything.


If the reason why we enter the drama triangle is because we don’t know a better way to meet our needs, the way to escape it is to learn, to find out a healthy way to meet the same needs.

For example if I need a hug, a healthier way to do it would be to say it openly.

Instead of waiting for an argument where I end up being the persecutor, it is better to discuss it before in a calmed way.

In the example of the friend who has lost a job. If I’m her, instead of being a victim and waiting for someone to do the work for me, if I’m overwhelmed and I don’t know what to do, a healthy way to go about it would be to call a friend or a loved one and ask for help openly. I’m feeling overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start. Any ideas? Any contacts? I just need to let it out can we go for a walk together?

If I’m the friend who wants to rescue, instead of saving her, and doing things for her without asking, I could offer my help and LET her decide what she wants to do. I could offer her a shoulder to cry, I could offer her some career coaching, I could ask her if she wants to be put in touch with some contacts. But I offer and let her decide.

And if I take on the persecutor mode maybe there is something I want to tell her but I can do it in a non-offensive way. Because healthy criticism is good, it is healthy. But maybe I’ll wait until she feels a bit better and then I can say would you like me to give you my opinion or some advice? I think you were underrated in your company. I think you could use your skills much better somewhere else. I think you underestimate yourself and you are not embracing your full potential, you could do much more with your skills, etc.

So it is always about finding  a healthy way to carry on these interactions, to meet our needs, that’s the only way to escape the drama triangle. Now this requires:

  • To be an observer, only when you are aware you can change!
  • To do the inner work yourself instead of expecting others to change.
  • Understand your needs, honour them and learn to meet them in a healthy way

Well that was a lot of information I know, I hope you found it useful!

Let’s do a recap first:

The Drama triangle is a simple and powerful tool to become aware of unhealthy social interactions.

The main roles are victim, rescuer and persecutor, a great way to see it is the princess, the prince and the villain.

We get caught in the drama triangle when we don’t know how to meet our needs in a healthy way.

And the way to get out of it is first of all to become aware of our patterns and behaviours, and if something needs to change, do the inner work to understand our needs and we can honour them and meet them in a healthy way.

If would like some help with this this a tool I use very often in my 1:1 sessions, so if you would like more info I’m going to leave a link to a free consultation in the show notes.

OK my loves, I hope you enjoyed this episode, thank you so much for being here and listening to this podcast, thank you being part of the positive mindset tribe!

If you are enjoying this podcast please subscribe, give it a good review and share with your friends and loved ones, invite people to the tribe!

I will leave a link to my website in the description for those of you who want to find out more about my background and the work I do.

And feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions of topics you would like me to cover in future episodes!

Sending much love and light to everyone,

See you next week.

Want to be the first one to know about new episodes, more free content and upcoming events? Subscribe to The Positive Mindset Tribe newsletter here!

Leave a Reply