Triangulation speaks of the three positions, roles and attitudes we can take when engaging in negative, drama-filled ways: the Victim, Rescuer and/or Persecutor. We can assume any one of these positions, and the phenomenon of triangulation is that we often move through all three positions – even in one conversation.

Think about your interactions: is someone perceived as the angry, controlling one who people walk on eggshells around? That’s the persecutor. They may do or say something and then we feel like the victim: hurt, upset, things happen *to* us. Then one of you may jump in to rescue: to fix, calm it all down, neglecting yourselves but trying to rescue the situation.

So how do we move around the triangle?

When we feel victimised, what happens? We get angry and then we’re going to fight back. Which means we then move from the Victim position into the Persecutor position, and our partner moves from Persecutor to Victim position. Maybe we then feel bad for being unkind (Persecutor), so we try to pacify and make everything okay – thereby moving into the Rescuer position. Perhaps our partner gets annoyed and goes back into the Persecutor position, and we then return to the wounded Victim position…

And so it goes, moving around the triangle all the time.

This is a big trap to watch out for (especially when three people are involved, because that fits these positions perfectly, but it is just as prevalent in couples or groups of people).

Bring your awareness to this – we are often comfortable being the hard-done-by Victim, and don’t recognise we are also the Persecutor plenty of times.

We can get stuck in triangulation because there’s nowhere else for us to go.

We can really try to be accountable and shift to healthier behaviour:

When we see we’re going into Persecutor, we can rather focus on being Assertive: be direct, share our feelings and state what we want, but we do it without being punishing, overbearing or unkind.

When we’re in Victim, we can breathe into the truth of feeling Vulnerable and share our emotions and pain honestly but without blame.

When we feel ourselves Rescuing, we can work on instead simply being Caring: supportive, kind, empathic, caring of ourselves and others.

So start noticing your exchanges and how these dysfunctional reactions may be playing out and maintaining some unhelpful patterns in how you communicate.

We need to remove the drama from our relationships so we can have more security and genuine, loving interactions with the people we care about.

How To Reduce The Drama

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