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The Triangle Of Fate In Action - Relations
The Triangle Of Fate In Action - Relations

Video: The Triangle Of Fate In Action - Relations

Video: The Triangle Of Fate In Action - Relations
Video: Finale Episode | Sandugo 2023, June

In problem families, the roles of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer are played over and over again. Children from these families learn this behavior and begin to reproduce automatically in adulthood. This is how they create the script for their lives. This is a danger and a trap for children with such a history

What are these roles and where do they come from?

This is the so-called " Karpman 's dramatic triangle ", or "Fate triangle".

Stephen Karpman is a famous American psychologist (son of an immigrant from Russia), a student of Eric Berne. In the late 1960s, he proposed the idea of three complementary roles, interconnected, merging into one another: Victim, Persecutor, Rescuer. The persecutor is sometimes also translated as Aggressor, but the literal translation of the original persecutor is precisely "persecutor", "persecutor".

Karpman's triangle
Karpman's triangle

In conflict situations, dysfunctional systems, situations arise in which these three roles are played. How are they in action?

For example, a young man confesses to his girlfriend that he uses drugs. She is in the role of the Rescuer: "I will save him from drugs with my love." She boldly marries him. In their marriage, she is the Rescuer and he is the Victim. Perhaps she finds excuses for him: allegedly he is a victim of circumstances, childhood difficulties, stress at work, etc. And the partner supports her illusions and her role as a Victim, because excuses relieve him of responsibility.

So, before us is the wife-Rescuer and the husband-Victim

But drug addiction is a disease, and love saves from it not more effectively than from appendicitis or pneumonia, which means it does not save. Gradually, the heroine of the example begins to get angry, because all her efforts to save do not give results. Then she makes claims to her husband, becomes the Persecutor: "If you have not quit drugs, you do not love me, you do it to spite me!" She makes scandals.

This is already the wife-Persecutor and husband-Victim

The husband is angry. Especially due to the fact that he was deprived of his beloved object of addiction (they poured alcohol, destroyed the drug, broke his laptop). He becomes the Persecutor, yells at his wife, and most likely hits. Then she becomes a Victim: "I give it to you all the time, and you are ungrateful, you don't appreciate it, you also hit me …"

Mise-en-scene wife-Victim and husband-Persecutor

The husband becomes ashamed, he asks for forgiveness, applies ice to his wife's bruises, gives a gift as an atonement, and washes all the dishes so that she can rest.

Before us is the Victim wife and the Rescuer husband

The wife is moved, sees evidence of her importance and need. And also "holiness", "goodness", because she does not abandon her husband, but continues to save! She decides that she will stay with him anyway and with her love will save him from drugs. And he is not to blame for the outburst of anger, she provoked him, or the boss ruined the mood at work.

The circle has closed, again we see the usual roles: the role of the Rescuer for the wife and the Victim for the husband

The destructiveness of this triangle "Victim - Persecutor - Rescuer", or "drama", lies in the fact that all the characters are unhappy. Plus, they actively try to involve others in their "game", who also become unhappy.

So, the wife complains to her mother about her husband who is a drug addict, the mother becomes the daughter's rescuer and the son-in-law's persecutor, begins to make claims to the son-in-law. And at the same moment, the daughter from the Victim turns into the Rescuer and begins to protect her husband from her mother, whom she herself complained to mother five minutes ago.

The destructiveness of the dramatic triangle can have consequences of various scales, including catastrophic ones.

Let us recall the film "Country of the Deaf" (Russia, 1997). The main character Rita (actress Chulpan Khamatova) meets with a gamer. To help him pay off debts, she is ready to become a prostitute, and only a fluke helps her avoid it.

In the dramatic triangle, the functioning of each of the roles is disrupted. “The victim is not really as helpless as he feels; The Rescuer doesn't really help, and the Pursuer doesn't really have a valid claim”(Claude Steiner).

These roles are played not only in the confined space of an individual family, but also in all spheres of life. At work, at school and institute, in circles and sections, friendly companies, neighborhood relations.

A child from such a family carries the scenario of a dramatic triangle and reproduces it over and over again, then exposing others as Persecutors, then encouraging them to be Rescuers, then making them Victims.

In the role of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer, it turns out that dependent, then codependent family members, there is a change, "passing the baton." However, there may be a tendency to be more often in one of the roles.

Let's dwell on each role in more detail.


Despite the apparent inconvenience and danger of the role, the Victim has many secondary (hidden) benefits:

  • attention of others;
  • narcissistic feeling of one's “chosenness” and “holiness”;
  • disclaimer (as in the Soviet film "The Diamond Arm": "I'm not guilty, he came himself!").

The role of the Victim is formed in childhood. Sometimes it is a script borrowed from the victim parent. Sometimes it is a consequence of mistreatment of the child, when his boundaries were violated, while he was not allowed to defend himself, as a result of which he found himself in a passive position without the ability to define his boundaries.

It is important for the victim to understand his behavior pattern, to realize the hidden benefits of such a scenario. Learn to protect yourself in a healthy way, take an active position.


A role that allows you to relieve aggression, feel power and control. The persecutor rationalizes the expression of aggression by believing himself to be right, but usually neither the level of aggression nor the form of expression is appropriate for the situation. So inquisitors in medieval Europe believed that they were doing a good deed.

The role of the Persecutor is formed either as an imitation of the parent-Persecutor, or in an alliance with a weak parent who indulged the child's aggression, and he has learned: through aggression, you can achieve anything you want.

Also, the role of the Persecutor implies a high level of narcissistic omnipotence: the right to judge, “who is right, who is wrong,” and who to punish.

The persecutor needs to admit his aggression, find the true reason, learn to express it in a healthy form, and also, if necessary, contain the aggression and contain it.


Role is insidious in that it is socially acceptable and acceptable. It seems like the Rescuer is doing the right and noble job. But no, he performs this role "crookedly", not saving, but causing harm. Like a child who threw a guinea pig into the sea because she was a “guinea pig” and he wanted to help her, and of course she drowned.

The role of the Rescuer is borrowed from the parent or formed on the basis of a compensatory mechanism: once the Rescuer was not saved, and now he thoughtlessly saves others.

The role of the Rescuer is surrounded by a "halo" of heroism and narcissistic omnipotence, it allows you to feel your grandeur and "goodness", significance and usefulness for others.

The rescuer needs to master topics of self-worth, realistic limitations. Understand what may be the true reason for the compensatory mechanism of "saving" others.

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