The Empath & The Winner’s Triangle

A few weeks back, I wrote a post called The Empath & The Drama Triangle. After publishing it, people reached to me wondering what they could do about it. Luckily for us, a follow up to the drama triangle was developed and it was aptly named ‘The Winner’s Triangle.’

Here is my answer:

The world of human relationships can be messy, but it doesn’t have to be. What I love about humanity, is that in the midst of all our messiness, we want to change and we can. We are adaptable, we transform, we endure, we grow. But it takes work, to face your demons, admit your faults and stop lying to yourself. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it because when we transform ourselves, we transform our lives and we transform the world around us.

We make better decisions that cost us less emotional, mental and financial stress. We’re better humans and support systems for those around us, and for the world. We become the person we were born to be and we reach our fullest human potential. The results are profound and not only good for us, but also for our families, humanity and the world.

This is why I’m so passionate about transformation, healing and growth work. But we have to have the courage to begin.

So how can we transform our role in drama? Luckily for us, Acey Choy developed a framework in response to the Drama Triangle in 1990, called the Winner’s Triangle.

First, it starts with awareness of what role you’re entering the drama triangle as—victim, persecutor or rescuer. Then, Choy makes some recommendations:

  1. Victims should be encouraged to accept their vulnerability, problem solve, and be more self-aware.
  2. Persecutors should adopt an assertive posture, and ask for what you want without being punishing.
  3. Rescuers should show concern and be caring, but not over-reach and problem solve for others.

Then, in 2009 new recommendations were added in The Power of TED. This was specifically for those who identify as victims in the drama triangle (which, I imagine, most highly empathic people do). The additional recommendations go as follows:

  • Instead of adopting the role of victim, become a Creator – be outcome-oriented as opposed to problem-oriented and take responsibility for choosing your response to life challenges. Focus on resolving “dynamic tension” (the difference between current reality and the envisioned goal or outcome) by taking incremental steps toward the outcomes that you’re trying to achieve.
  • Also try to see a persecutor as a challenger—a person (or situation) that forces you to clarify your needs and focus on your learning and growth.
  • And finally, instead of enlisting a rescuer, enlist a coach. The key difference between a rescuer and a coach is that the coach sees you as capable of making choices and of solving your own problems. A coach asks questions that enable you to see the possibilities for positive action. 

Something I’ve learned over the past few years is that we choose to be in relationships with others. We do this either consciously or unconsciously, and we choose the dynamic of those relationships.  We are both entirely responsible and entirely not responsible for the dynamic in every relationship we have.

Feel free to leave your questions, comments, and opinions below, and let’s start a conversation!

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