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‘ The Drama Triangle’ and working with deaf clients. Debbie Joynes Integrative Psychotherapist. Drama Triangle. Rescuer. Persecutor. Victim. Victim . ‘one down’ position “Poor Me” Feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed Looks for a Rescuer

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the drama triangle and working with deaf clients

‘The Drama Triangle’and working with deaf clients

Debbie Joynes

Integrative Psychotherapist

drama triangle
Drama Triangle

Rescuer

Persecutor

Victim

victim
Victim
  • ‘one down’ position
  • “Poor Me”
  • Feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed
  • Looks for a Rescuer
  • If stays in Victim position, will block self from making decisions, solving problems

1 of 4

victim1
Victim
  • ‘Dejected’ stance
  • Stuck in a sense of being unworthy
  • Avoid confrontation
  • Believe their needs do not count
  • Overly sensitive, wish-washy and unable to make and stick to decisions

2 of 4

victim2
Victim
  • Does not take responsibility for own feelings
  • Believe they cannot take care of themselves
  • Anxiety driven
  • Express anger, resentment and retaliation through manipulation and passive aggression
  • Feel angry when they go along with what the Persecutor or Rescuer says to do

3 of 4

victim3
Victim
  • Feels stuck
  • May have had a lenient or overly protective parent who set up expectations of helplessness
  • May have had a parent who feels anxiety when the child has to suffer natural consequences from mistakes

4 of 4

position of victim
Position of Victim
  • Deaf people often invited unconsciously to take up position by their:
      • Families
      • School
      • Medical Model
  • Profound effect on self esteem and confidence
    • “you can’t do that because you are deaf’
rescuer
Rescuer

"Here, let me do that for you"

  • ‘one up’ position
  • Are stuck in a false superiority
  • Feel good at the expense of others rights to take care of themselves.
  • Take the "high moral ground"
  • Need to be in control of others to avoid their own feelings and problems.
  • Garner and boost their own self-esteem by being seen as unselfish for someone else's own good.

1 of 2

rescuer1
Rescuer
  • Use rescuing to connect or to feel important, needed or special.
  • Anxiety driven. Rescue to reduce feelings of anxiety.
  • Feel guilty when not involved with other's problems.
  • Strong sense of entitlement with the Victim.
  • Can become a martyr/Victim

2 of 2

position of rescuer
Position of Rescuer
  • Naturally drawn to the caring professions
  • Danger of reinforcement of helplessness – e.g. Deaf patient and hearing clinician - ‘Hearing knows best’
  • Important driver: to avoid guilt
persecuter
Persecuter
  • ‘one up’ position
  • Needs to be in control
  • Uses blame, criticisms, attacks to release stress.
  • Highly judgmental of others
  • Self righteously judges others weaknesses

1 of 2

persecuter1
Persecuter
  • Has a strong sense of entitlement--"you owe me"
  • Has feelings of frustration that trigger the ‘right’ to get angry
  • Has a strong need to be right and not have their authority challenged.
  • Finds reasons to make others wrong and scapegoats them.

2 of 2

indicators for primary positions victim
Indicators for primary positions: VICTIM
  • Hang-dog expression
  • Pouty
  • Bent over
  • Shoulders hunched
  • Hands wringing
  • Fidgety
  • Sulky expression

1 of 2

indicators for primary positions victim1
Indicators for primary positions: VICTIM
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Looks ‘little’
  • Quiet tone, or monotone use of voice or ‘small’ kind of ‘floppy’ signing …. Not taking up much space. Inviting others to not hear/understand/miss the point
  • Statements like ‘I can’t’, ‘You don’t understand’, ‘Its so hard for me’, ‘Yes, but …
  • Can appear quite child-like

2 of 2

indicators for primary positions rescuer
Indicators for primary positions: RESCUER
  • Concerned facial expression
  • Leaning forward, sitting forward in chair
  • Head tilt
  • ‘If I were you’, ‘you should’, ‘Well, I think …’, ‘Shall I …..?’
  • Feelings of smugness, or superiority, or pity
  • Being condescending

1of 2

indicators for primary positions rescuer1
Indicators for primary positions: RESCUER
  • Anxious compulsion to do something or give something or solve something … and disproportionate sense of responsibility
  • Parental
  • Using touch whether invited to or not – like hugging, scooping, sweeping

2 of 2

indicators for primary positions persecutor
Indicators for primary positions: PERSECUTOR
  • Leaning forward, making self bigger than the other
  • Aggressive or loud tone. Bigger faster signs
  • Sardonic or sarcastic language
  • Fixed glare or stare
  • Frowning

2 of 2

indicators for primary positions persecutor1
Indicators for primary positions: PERSECUTOR
  • Tight jaw, clenched teeth
  • Racing pulse. Tight chest. Feeling hot
  • Aloof or arrogant or dismissive or accustatory or stand-offish

1 of 2

no one wins in the drama triangle
No one wins in the Drama Triangle!
  • All positions:
    • Cause pain
    • Come from denied pain
    • Come from a sense of shame and they cause shame in the other
    • Come from feelings of unworthiness

1 of 2

no one wins in the drama triangle1
No one wins in the Drama Triangle!
  • All positions:
    • Are about a loss of personal power
    • Perpetuate guilt
    • Keep people caught in dysfunctional behaviour

2 of 2

management
Management
  • Self awareness
  • Recognising the process in others
  • Supervision