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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Role Play

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This. Is. Life. Changing.

My mom clued me in recently to the Karpman Drama Triangle. It’s a simple and elegant tool that can help you understand and change dysfunctional relationships (not just romantic relationships – familial, friend and work too). This particular description really resonates with me because I think it is possible for everyone to recognize their own inherent behavioral trends and tendencies even if they fall short of the dysfunctional category.

And once you name it, you own it.

And what you own, you can change.


It’s a long read. But so worth it.

So, pour yourself a of beverage of your choice, find a comfortable seat and be ready to have your world rocked.



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17 thoughts on “Role Play

  1. I can’t tell you how tired I am of grown adults playing the role of victim. Why is it that people just cannot take accountability for their actions and feel such a need to attack and place blame? I don’t think I’ll ever understand. Awesome post!!

      1. Well, I admit that I am a very weak person. I spent the majority of my life relying on others to support me. It wasn’t until this past year that I faced all my fears, got on my own two feet and am now able to support my son by myself. If I can do it (take accountability) so can anyone else. It just disgusts me.

  2. I recently discovered this in my PHP and we were only able to cover the very minimal basics. Thank you for sharing this! I am a SGR, and after reading half of this and telling my story in PHP, I know why. I am so ready to change my behavior. Thank you, thank you!! I will share this with the therapist so she may share with others in the group. I love your blog 🙂

  3. Interesting read…and I see myself in all of the roles at various times throughout various relationships. Isn’t this kind of a human condition of sorts? Obviously any one extreme is not healthy, but I would like to think that being in a position of a rescuer for another person in need (ie. bailing out a friend on hard times by providing groceries) may not always be a bad thing. Or being a persecutor, in a sense, of someone who has done something and they are not seeing the error of their ways (ie. a student in class who is continuously being disruptive) and need guidance. And we all get into a position of feeling victimized at some point or another (ie. someone breaks into your car and steals possessions). I wonder if there is a line where these things can be acceptable and a normal part of the human condition before crossing over into an unhealthy affliction that needs to be addressed.

    1. I definitely see a range in many of these. For example, there is a big difference between stepping in for someone who needs help and taking it to the extreme of enabling. The disfunction comes from the constant shifting of blame and responsibility.

      1. I think the hard part for me is that the blame was shifted to me so often, that I did start to believe that it must be me that was dysfunctional. I was wrong for asking for what I needed. I was wrong for having expectations. I was wrong for needing help. I was wrong for offering suggestions. I was wrong for taking responsibility. etc. Now that I am out of the primary relationship I’m beginning to come out of the fog and realize that there are healthy ways to be all of those things on the triangle…and I tend to lean more to the healthy than the unhealthy. It helps to see it in the context of what traits about each characteristic would classify as taking it too far and being unhealthy. Thanks for the insight. 🙂

      1. Yeah, I’m finding that learning about psychology has the potential to seem like this big rabbit hole of hopelessness and it often triggers my black and white thinking. Now, when I realize that’s what’s happening for me I just stop reading what I’m reading and look for something positive.

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