Dear companions in travel,
There is some good information on the roles we play in life in this
newsletter. Obviously the tools promoted are the ones most suited to this
practitioner. There would be a practitioner with similar but not necessarily
the same techniques near you. Enjoy the information as a guide. The
techniques mentioned do work but may be called by another name with your own
with love Gaele
Inspiration and Transformation Newsletter
Lynne Namka, Ed. D.
Quote for the Week:
"We are each as much a victim of ourselves as we are ever capable of being a
victim or someone else...only when you refuse to be a victim any longer can
you be free of victimization. And when you are willing to accept
responsibility for your own body and your own life, can you be truly
Creating the Escape Hatch--Rising Above the Drama Triangle
(c) 2004 Lynne Namka
Last week I described the roles of the Drama Triangle which keep people
caught in unhappiness. Now here is information of how to get out of acting
in destructive ways.
So who changes? Some family members find it easier to get into recovery and
change than others. Rescuers and Victims are usually more sensitive people
and are more likely to read books, attend self help meetings and come to
therapy to get help. Perpetrators are less likely to change as they seem to
have a bigger dose of arrogance, defensiveness, shame and denial to
overcome. Of course, the recovery is dependent upon seeing and releasing
the underlying needs that the Drama Triangle roles feed into.
Sometimes other family members see the value of getting healthy in their
interactions with others; others do not. You can interrupt your Drama
Triangle role playing and change the way you interact with family members.
The whole recovery movement--therapy, self help books, AA and other help
yourself groups, Oprah and Dr. Phil--teaches you how to change YOUR part of
the dynamics of interacting with others. You can only change yourself. You
can learn to be direct and straight with people without playing games.
Education is the first key. Understand and observe the roles that you play
and how you shift from aggressor to Victim to rescuer. Healthy relationships
can happen if you are willing to work and change yourself and learn to act
in ways that form intimate connections.
Through imagery, see yourself in the middle of the triangle. Observe
yourself when you start to go into thoughts, feelings and behaviors of the
Perpetrator, Victim and rescuer roles. Rise above the roles through being
mindful. Mindfulness is noticing what is happening rather than reacting to
it. Watch how you are about to get hooked back in--observe your emotions
and body reactions that indicate that you are being triggered. From up
above, look down on the behaviors of the people involved--not to judge but
Become accountable and own all thoughts, feelings and behaviors that keep
you in the drama roles. Take care of yourself and your feelings and problems
done. Expect and insist that others take care of their feelings and
problems. Make getting clean your number one priority with your behavior.
Address addictions and co-dependent behaviors through self help groups such
as AA, AlAnon and Codependents of American Anonymous. There is tremendous,
loving help out there if you but reach out and ask for it!
Stop the blame and shame game. Interrupt all blame either for self or
others. Watch for attitudes and behaviors of "Who did it? Who can be
blamed?" Looking for someone to be called on the carpet when something goes
wrong is a constant in dysfunctional families. You can go one of two ways
when there is an issue: You can look for someone to blame OR you can start
The habit of blaming comes from being judgmental. Address your constant
need to judge others when they do not meet your standards and values. Mind
your own business! And don't give too much credence to negative people's
opinion of you. Remind yourself, "What ____ thinks of me is none of my
business. My business is to change so that I think well of myself."
Address any irrational beliefs that you should be perfect. Error correction
is analyzing your mistakes and deciding to act differently next time. The
moment you realize that you have goof up, you have a choice: You can beat
yourself up or you can figure out what you did wrong through problem
solving. Stop self condemnation and learn from your mistakes.
Put yourself around positive people who don't have the need to play the
roles of the Drama Triangle. Insist on equality in relationships. Insist
that people treat each other with respect. Figure out your values and what
you will and will not put up with in your life. Set boundaries and stick to
them giving consequences to those who continually go past the limits you
have set. Your Bottom Line is that place where you decide to walk away when
someone acts in ways you can no longer live with. Discontinue relationships
with friends who use or abuse you.
Examine the dark sides of your personality and make friends with it. The
shadow parts are those denied, repressed, acting out aspects of yourself
which were formed during early family trauma. Keep your ears and eyes open
and learn about your nasty behaviors which you may abhor. Keep your wisdom
and heart open when you revert to the worst of ourself--these parts, when
healed, hold many gifts for you.
Learn release techniques for processing unhappy memories of the past and
current negative emotions. The techniques of hypnosis, imagery, cognitive
behavioral interruption of negativity, Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR),
Thought Field Therapy (TFT), The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), The
Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) and many others help process and release
issues. Yes, you can do a lot to help yourself, but therapy is the fast
track to moving off the Drama Triangle.
When there has been severe dysfunction in families, you can't get to the
depth of your pain on your own without an objective guide. Find a therapist
who does not just let you talk. If you've been with the same therapist for
some time and seem stuck, consider a new approach.
Therapists who know the processing techniques listed above have better
recovery success than ones who just listen to you.
Forgive yourself for learning the roles in the past and understand that you
learned what was modeled for you. Therapists who use spiritual approaches
to therapy are more likely to use techniques that help you forgive yourself
and those who hurt you. One of the best techniques to promote forgiveness
and moving on with your life is the Emotional Freedom Technique. This fast,
effective technique incorporates forgiveness statement along with
affirmations and acupressure to promote relaxation which helps neutralize
strong emotions and attachment to problems.
Learn congruence which is the art of having your outside behavior match your
inside feelings. In congruence, all thoughts, body states, emotions and
actions are similar. When you are congruent, you state your feelings and
act in a direct, fair manner. Make a new contract with friends and family
members that you are going to avoid game playing and speak in fair, firm
ways and express feelings. Learn the "I formula" and use it when
appropriate--"I feel _____ when you _____. Understand that others will not
change just because you express your feelings.
Get professional help early on for children who show signs of the
dysfunction in the family. Anger issues, suicidal gestures, depression, use
of alcohol and drugs and refusal to do school work, failing and dropping
out of school are all signs of a child's cry for help. Often the child's
acting out behavior is a barometer for the family, signaling that there is
unaddressed family pain. Many families find help in getting off some of the
Drama Triangle by first bringing a child who is hurting to therapy.
Interventions--confrontations with loving intent--can help bring insight and
change to the family sometimes. When you come from a place of centeredness
and love, you can ask a family member to look at their abusing, enabling or
staying in Victim attitudes and behavior. Be prepared to get denial, anger
or abuse in return.
The two rules in unhappy families are don't shake up the system and don't
threaten the status quo. Understand that as you get healthy and refuse to
play the Drama game, your family members may become angry and see you as bad
if you refuse to play the old, manipulative games or call them on their
dysfunctional behavior. If you stop bailing out irresponsible family
members with your money and attention, you will be called selfish.
Some people choose to dissociate themselves from their game-playing family
as they become healthy. If they do not pull away completely, they limit the
amount of time they spend with dysfunctional members of their family. They
shorten family visits where there is excessive use of alcohol and verbal
abuse. They drop in on holidays before people become drunk and abusive
instead of spending the entire day.
There is strength in numbers. Get together with members of the family who
are ready to address the pain. Family dysfunction has to be recognized and
processed. If you are the only one in recovery, get a support group of like
minded people who are working on their own releases from Drama Triangle
Healthy Skills for each Role Player to Leave the Drama Triangle Perpetrator
Stop denying that you reject, punish, or persecute others.
Face the horrific reality that you have damaged others by your unrealistic
expectations and anger.
Give up the need to be right and feel self righteous and superior to others.
Stop rationalizing and justifying domineering beliefs and behaviors.
Get honest with yourself--tell yourself the truth! Own the effects of your
loud voice, angry stare and cold shoulder on others. Catch and interrupt
yourself when you increase the volume and force to get your way.
When others disagree with you, ask yourself, "Am I really being threatened
or is it just a difference of opinion?"
Learn how your use of force makes you feel powerful and find healthy ways
to feel good about yourself.
Own how you are energized by getting angry. Identify the adrenalin rush
that anger gives you.
Find new, healthy highs and energizing experiences to replace the adrenalin
high of anger.
Attend anger management classes to learn anger containment and anger release
Attend parenting classes to learn about children's age appropriate behavior
and learn appropriate discipline techniques.
Monitor anger and take a time-out by walking away before you become verbally
or physically abusive.
Learn to feel vulnerable with uncomfortable feelings instead of exploding
out in anger when stressed or threatened.
Learn and use the Intentional Dialogue Technique (Harville Hendrix's Imago
Therapy) to feel empathy and compassion for others.
Apologize to those you have harmed and begin the repair work to set the
family on a healthy course.
Get a life where you can live in peace, without anger!
Catch yourself in the act of feeling good because you helped someone.
Stop basing your self-esteem on helping others.
Give up the need to feel superior because you are the good guy who always
Address your self esteem needs to control others and know what is best for
Address your own problems, shortcomings and negative emotions instead of
focusing on other people.
Set limits about solving other people's problems and put ALL of your energy
in to solving your own.
Learn the "hooks"--how others use guilt and manipulation to pull you into
the Drama Triangle.
Stop rationalizing and justifying your caretaking and enabling behavior.
Stop feeling sorry for other people and giving them advice, money or
When others overwhelm you with their problems, tell them you are not
qualified to deal with such deep issues and suggest they get professional
Get clean and sober with your codependency. Read at least five books on
codependency and do the mind-opening exercises.
Attend Adult Children of Alcoholics and AlAnon, get a sponsor and work the
Deal with your anger of being the good little girl or boy and the
parentified child who did not get to have a childhood.
Read five books on the heavy emotion of shame. Do the exercises in the
books to help release shame.
Interrupt guilty feelings when you refrain from unnecessary giving by
reminding yourself that your old family programming is coming up.
Define your new self esteem as a person who takes care of your own feelings,
thoughts, actions and problems.
Bow out of the drama and encourage the Victim to stand up to the Perpetrator
Take an assertiveness course.
Get a life where you are responsible only for yourself!
Stop expecting someone else to rescue you. Think and problem solve for
yourself. Act boldly.
Take responsibility for your feelings, thoughts and actions that contribute
to your Victim role.
Be authentic with others and learn to state your feelings and your needs
Learn the body sensations and reactions that signal you are about to
collapse into helplessness.
Listen to your constant Victim statements and break into them.
Address the terror and release traumatic memories of being abused by
Learn to handle confrontation and deal with other people's anger.
Study Learned Helplessness and Learned Optimism (Martin Seligman) and apply
the ideas from his research to your life.
Challenge any belief or thoughts that say you are unworthy and can't take
care of yourself.
Decide what you expect and state your minimum standard of behavior that you
consider to be decent treatment from others.
Set limits with Perpetrators and rescuers and walk away if they don't
respect your boundaries.
Stop blaming the Perpetrator and rescuer and focus on getting out from under
Deal with your anger at being scapegoated and punished by others and your
taking on the victim role.
Start a self nurturing, self care program to bolster your ability to take
care of your own needs.
Take an assertiveness training course. Read five books on assertiveness.
Take the course again.
Surround yourself with new, positive friends and define yourself as an
independent person who can handle life's problems.
Get a life where you are responsible for yourself!
Hello. My Name is _____ and I'm in Recovery from the Drama Triangle
>Get honest. Recovery from family dysfunction is a time of facing the truth
about your childhood and delving into the dark hole of lies, manipulations
and devious behaviors that exist inside of you. It is about examining how
you treat others and allow them to treat you.
Drama Triangle work is Soul work. It is a call from your highest self to
address the guilt, shame and sense of unworthiness within that percolates up
and refuses to go away. You can create the space to watch and address your
thoughts and behaviors as they present themselves daily.
Really get it that your playing out the familiar roles of Perpetrator,
Rescuer and Victim does not serve you. It does not serve others. It is
just something you have learned because it was modeled for you. So you need
not have guilt or feel ashamed for what you have
learned living in your family. As learned patterns of habit, the attitudes
and behaviors that make up all the roles of the Drama Triangle can be
unlearned. To do nothing to change the roles guarantees that thing will
remain the same.
Real love in a family is a combination of checks and balances--calling a
person on his inappropriate behavior when necessary and giving enthusiastic
support for strivings for growth.
Unconditional love given to disrespectful or destructive behavior
reinforces the Perpetrator role as it does not provide any motivation for
Unconditional love given to rescuing, enabling or victim behavior enhances
Real love is honest and asks the people in the family to become the best
they can be without shaming or guilting. The ability to share feelings
honestly and respectfully is one sign of healthy behavior in a family.
Real love communicates a belief of positive regard for the person. It
expects and gives respect to all family members.
The undoing of the pain is an ongoing process of emotional and spiritual
maturity across the lifespan. It can be hastened through study, observation
and confrontation of negative behaviors. You learn, stretch and grow each as
you mindfully watch your interactions with
others. The techniques from Energy Psychology Therapy and Imago Therapy are
so easy to learn to help you release negativity with amazing quickness.
Forgiveness is the ultimate key to true change and recovery. It can't be
forced, but by studying this humbling process of release, it comes,
sometimes out of the blue, to take you to a place of higher consciousness.
Forgiveness happens gradually for some as there is a
realization as Virginia Satir said, "We are all victims of victims of
victims." Forgiveness is threefold: forgiveness of self, others and
whatever you call God. Start with yourself to accept that you are a person
with strong feelings that were born of trauma and injustice
that call out now for transformation. That's why the Course in Miracles and
the Emotional Freedom Technique have such depth. They have a process to
touch into forgiveness which you can apply daily to bring about an overall
acceptance and surrender of the injustices and
betrayals that happened in your life to come to a place of calmness.
Remember, recovery from your family pain is a day-to-day process.
Life becomes brighter and more cheerful when you address your personal pain.
With practice and mindfulness, you can break down those walls of delusion of
dysfunctional behavior you have built in a misguided attempt to stay safe.
Make honesty the only language you speak. In your recovery from lies,
deceits, and manipulation, decide to be as
honest as you can and treat those you love with respect. The process of
recovery is being mindful as you heed that call from your Soul to wake up
and become all that you can be.
Forest, Lynn. The Three Faces of Victim.
Gottman, John & DeClaire, Joan. The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide for
Building Better Connections with Family, Friends, and Lovers. Crown
Gottman, John & Gottman, Julie. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail. Simon &
Getting the Love You Want. A Guide for Couples. Henry Holt & Co., 1988.
Namka, Lynne. Goodbye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings.
EFT for Kids of All Ages. Talk, Trust & Feel Therapeutics, 2003.
Namka, Lynne. The Doormat Syndrome. Talk, Trust and Feel Therapeutics,
Namka, Lynne. Violence in Families. www.AngriesOut.com.
Namka, Lynne. The Right Man and Right Woman Theory.
Seligman, Martin, Learned Optimism. Pocket Books, 1990. Utain, M & Oliver,
B. (Eds.) Scream Louder. Through Hell and Healing with an Incest Survivor
and her Therapist. Columbia University Press, 1988.
Peace and joy,
Licensed Psychologist, 6812 N. Oracle, Ste. 130, Tucson, AZ 85704
For ideas on healthy living and anger management, see my award winning web
When living hurts, call a warm, caring, happy psychologist! Dr. Lynne
Namka is a Tucson, AZ psychologist who combines psychological and spiritual
techniques to help people who are on the evolutional journey of self
discovery. If you are in Tucson, schedule a session.
I'm on Blue Cross/Blue Shield and CIGNA insurance; check with your insurance
provider to see if they cover telephone therapy. Telephone consultations
cost $80 per hour for self pay.
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