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Exploring the Karpman Triangle


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An in-depth look at the Karpman Triangle & behavioral health.

Published in: Health & Medicine

Exploring the Karpman Triangle

  1. 1. Author-Falling Up, A Memoir of Renewal and Learn To Thrive, An Interven;on Guidebook Educator-Former Faculty SDSU, School of Social Work, SDSU Interwork Ins;tute Director-All About Interven;ons and Past Director of Alcohol and Other Drug Services USD Clinician-LCSW, CDWF Candidate Principal Inves7gator-Department of Educa;on and NI-NIAAA and other grants Woman-Widow, Wife, Mother, Stepmother, Grandmother, Step Grandmother 02
  2. 2. Thank you to Sonia Levine and Brené Brown for all you do for our industry. This presenta;on is inspired directly by your work. 03
  3. 3. Developed by Psychiatrist Stephen Karpman Model of Dysfunc;onal Interac;on in Rela;onships Can Travel Around the Triangle With Yourself or Others Can be Applicable in Roman;c Rela;onships, Friendships, Within Organiza;ons, Schools, Etc. 04 Karpman Triangle a.k.a. the drama triangle Remorse Powerlessness Anger Rescuer Vic7m Perpetrator
  4. 4. 05 Victim (Martyr) I’m not okay, but you are, so fix me! Less than, one down Uses guilt, sympathy seeking, pity to get needs met Acts out of sense of powerlessness Core Belief Coping Mechanism
  5. 5. 06
  6. 6. 07 Rescuer (Caretaker) I’m okay, but you’re not, so I’ll fix you! One up, beTer than Seeks approval / Worthiness through helping / fixing Acts out of a sense of love, compassion or duty May sa;sfy sense of responsibility, or avoid guilt and shame Core Belief Coping Mechanism
  7. 7. 08 Rescuer (Caretaker) Enable, care-take, rescue, fix, people-please, assume Fail to confront, fail to set boundaries Deny, tolerate, join in, keep secrets, buy giWs, be a super-parent/spouse/worker Perfec;onism/overdoing The Ways We Rescue
  8. 8. 09 Perpetrator (Offender) I’m not okay, but you’re not, so you need to do what I tell you! One up, beTer than Feels sense of worth/power through offending Acts out of anger, resentment, revenge, sense of en;tlement, shame Core Belief Coping Mechanism
  9. 9. 10
  10. 10. 11 Perpetrator (Offender) Abuse: Emo;onal, mental, physical, sexual Drinking, ea;ng, affairs, spending, etc. Passive aggressive behaviors Cri;cism, teasing, shaming, withdrawing, being late, sarcasm, cynicism, taking, sighing, raising eyebrows, patronizing, being self-righteous, nega;ve self-talk, illness, etc. The Ways We Offend/Victimize
  11. 11. 12 Payoffs and Costs (Victim) • Receives pity • Get needs met by rescuer: Feels cared about, loved • Controls others through guilt, shame and pity • Avoids responsibility by blaming Payoffs Costs • Feels helpless and trapped • Lacks personal power • Living a half life
  12. 12. 13 Payoffs and Costs (Rescuer) • Feels saintly, superior • May gain a false sense of control • Seeks love, approval, connec;on trough helping • Concentrates on others and can avoid self • Gains respect of other rescuers Payoffs Costs • Helps when they don’t want to, when others have not asked, or even when harmful to self or others • Gets ;red and depleted • Feels unappreciated (self pity) • Consumed with resentment
  13. 13. 14
  14. 14. 15 Payoffs and Costs (Perpetrator) • Avoids discomfort and feelings by offending others • May act out of anger or revenge and feel jus;fied • Feels a sense of pseudo power and worthiness by scaring vic;ms • Able to be irresponsible, feel superior, and avoid fear Payoffs Costs • Experiences loneliness, lacks in;micy • Lacks helpful, honest feedback because of others fear • Lack of respect from others (and self)
  15. 15. 16
  16. 16. 17 To Be Clear... Victim Role Being Victimized Rescuer Role Serving Those in Need
  17. 17. 18 The Way In Unrealis7c Expecta7ons What is the story I am making up? Shame
  18. 18. 19 The Way In Shame I am not enough Vic7m Who do you think you are? PerpetratorRescuer
  19. 19. 20 Shame Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience that “I am flawed and unworthy of belonging”
  20. 20. 21 Victim (Martyr) Shame says: “I will never belong, so...” Correlates with shame shield of “moving away” Vic7m PerpetratorRescuer • If someone doesn’t love me or like me, than I must not be likeable or loveable • I will never have what I need or want • Why me? Poor me! It’s not fair! etc.
  21. 21. 22 Rescuer (Caretaker) Shame says: “I am not enough, so...” Correlates with shame shield of “moving towards” Vic7m PerpetratorRescuer • Let me take care of you • Do for you • Bake you cupcakes, etc.
  22. 22. 23 Perpetrator (Offender) Shame says: “I am unloveable, unlikeable” Correlates with shame shield of “moving against” Vic7m PerpetratorRescuer • If he/she only loved me then he would...
  23. 23. 24 Role Play What roles are the characters playing? Vic7m Watch how they move around the triangle Rescuer Perpetrator
  24. 24. 25 The Way Out: Rising Strong Walk into your story Recognize emo;ons / get curious about our feelings and how they connect with the way we think and behave Own your story Get honest about the stories we are making up about our struggle Challenge these confabula;ons/assump;ons to determine what’s truth, what’s self- protec;on, and what needs to change if we want to lead more wholehearted lives The Reckoning The Rumble Write a new ending to your story based on the key learningsfrom The Rumble Use this new braver story to change how we engage with the world, ul;mately leading to transforma;on The Revolution
  25. 25. 26 Work from assump7ons and inten7ons of compassion and grace Be accountable Explore and set and maintain bounderies Permission slips Self compassion Mindfulness Ques7on expecta7ons The Way Out Tools and Practices Tac7cal Breathing Choose courage over comfort Self care Get curious: Explore your story “SFD”
  26. 26. 27 Resources Rising Strong by Dr. Brené Brown Daring Greatly by Dr. Brené Brown GiHs of Imperfec;on by Dr. Brené Brown
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