Karpman Drama Triangle

Conflict Needs Players

Perpetrator . Victim  Rescuer 

Dr Stephen Karpman’s 1968 idea, was that conflict needs players and players need roles. The consequential objective of each role is just to have its own needs met – even if temporarily – in order to feel justified in its rationale/behaviour/feeling.

Karpman suggests that in each conflict there are three main roles:
  1. The Persecutor: happy to allocate blame and to ensure that other players know they are in the wrong. They are probably angry, accusative, inflexible and feeling very righteous. In order to have their needs met, they require The Victim; someone onto whom they can project their irritation.
  2. The Victim: The Victim takes the brunt of The Persecutor’s wrath. The Victim feels hard-done-by, got-at, powerless, ashamed, unable to do anything. This is obviously a position of anxiety for most, but psychologically it can actually often bring some comfort. You know where you are when you are The Victim, and it’s easy to seek the pity of others. If The Victim role feels natural to you, then you need to seek out The Persecutor (if you haven’t already got one) but also The Rescuer.
  3. The Rescuer: a big ball of guilt, who needs someone to help, because when you’re the hero to others then you don’t have to deal with your own feelings of anxiety or displacement. The Rescuer appears to be The Victim’s saviour from The Persecutor, but actually cements the others in their negative behaviours – almost giving them permission to stay as the bully or the bullied as it makes everyone feel that they have a purpose.

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Big Choices = Big Confusion?

Conflicting Emotions

Have You Ever Felt Full of Conflicting Emotions or Impulses?

Ever heard the saying, ‘we choose to live or we choose to die or.. get busy living or get busy dying.

Living your life or being the ‘living dead’ really is a choice..

Everyday each choice we make we are choosing to live or to die. Think about it..

McDonalds for breakfast or a fruit smoothie at home, walk to the shops or take the car, go to bed at 10.30pm or stay on the net until 1.30am, seek help or drown sorrows in alcohol and drugs every weekend.

In Psychology, the state of being conflicted between two opposing choices is called ‘Cognitive Dissonance’.

Cognitive Dissonance can put you in a complete state of stress and inner conflict.

It happens when you have a very big decision to make and two opposing choices. (For example deciding whether to stay in an unsatisfying relationship).

On one hand you dearly love your partner, so your heart will be saying stay, and on the other hand, you are deeply dissatisfied and not a good match for each other, so your head is saying leave.

Generally very big personal fears come into play in making these life decisions, so be gentle on yourself – this is not a small thing.

Sometimes neither choice feels good but you still have to make a decision and it may seem easier to avoid them both and just go to bed, bury your head under the covers and take no action or keep yourself really busy, working, drinking & socializing (again, burying your head in the sand). People suffer from chronic depression because they avoid painful decisions.

This is not the answer and will only prolong your pain. Even if you can’t make the decision yet, be kind to yourself, be gentle on yourself, accept that this is hard or heartbreaking for you, it’s big, it’s life changing.

If necessary try relaxation techniques. 

Healthy ways to deal with the stress and to self soothe your inner conflict:

Warm comforting baths

Rest and keep warm

Watch inspiring movies

If you are over eating… go with the flow, accept you are going through an emotional upheaval that will be short lived – choose what you eat wisely though – healthy food over unhealthy if you cannot control your emotional stress and hunger.

Fruit smoothies with added raw cashews and fresh dates if you crave sweet & creamy

Comforting meals that you love and that are healthy. Fresh fish, mash and vegies, warming soups etc..

Remember to go with the flow, be easy on yourself, you’ll get there – even if you’re changing your mind like you change your underpants! – it’s ok.

You are going through a deep process, and your head, heart and conscience are all involved and all putting in their piece ..

You will it figure it out. You will get there and you will feel strong & confident again.

Ask yourself these important questions:

 What does my heart want? What does my head want? What do I need? What are my fears? Am I ready for this? Is this the right time? What do I need to do right now? What are my priorities – (what do I need to do first?) Can I do this in baby steps?What ‘feels good’, What feels ‘right?’ What is best for me? Do I need emotional support, money, support, guidance? Where can I get this? Do I need a plan, a goal or a strategy to succeed? Do I need time to gain my strength?

Which decision feels like I’m taking the easy path…and which feels the harder thing to do..?

Does this feel like a life or death decision?

Do you feel like the living dead…?

You may be scared… you may be confused….you may be judged for your choice …or worse be ostracized by loved ones …you may be terrified…you may feel you aren’t strong enough.

Finding the Right Help 

 If you find you’re paralysed and feeling depressed, or your conscience is keeping you up at night, you’re not sleeping well and you’re swapping back and forth with choices , you’ve been stuck for too long, you’re over indulging in alcohol, food, drugs etc..consider seeking professional help, a guide, a role model or someone who can boost your self esteem and help you find the inner strength, confidence and support you need.

You need to find someone who’ll listen & care but will not in any way judge your actions or influence your decision because of their own fears or belief system. Someone who has experience and has changed their own life for the better, someone you trust and someone who believes in you and you ability to find your own answers.

If you can’t find the right person for this, pray for the perfect person to help you to enter your life.

‘Letting it Go’

Another suggestion is that after you’ve processed everything is just to ‘let it go’..

Have faith that when you give your head a much needed rest and ‘let go’ of your logical mind trying to control your intuition that the answer you need will indeed surface and you will just ‘know’ it is the right one for you.

Radical Acceptance

This whole process is part of you radically accepting and coming to terms with what you need to, not necessarily what you want to do. 

The decision you make may not be what you want, but it may just be what you need to become healthy, strong and happy.

There are times when we all have to make heartbreaking decisions for our own health, sanity and happiness.

We have to love ourselves first, because we can not continue living if we are suffering and don’t be afraid to disappoint others especially those who are not living their own lives happily due to their own fears and insecurities.

Have faith that in time the pieces will come together.

It’s Time For You to Live and to Live Well

We all deserve a fantastic life – you deserve amazing love, happiness and peace, a career that is your passion that you can’t wait to wake up and start everyday. A career that gives your life purpose and meaning and that is unique to you.

During this process, stay in the now – don’t look too far ahead,

and remember baby steps, change takes time, it’s a process, be patient, be courageous, believe in yourself, have faith… you’ll get there in the end, and when you do, it will have been worth all the struggle..

You will be proud of yourself that you made the best decision.

Silver Girl

Cognitive dissonance is the excessive mental stress and discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction. For example, an individual is likely to experience dissonance if he or she is addicted to smoking cigarettes and continues to smoke despite believing it is unhealthy.

Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:

  1. “The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance”
  2. “When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance”

Extract from Wikipedia