Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The DRAMA triangle - a way out.

If you found your own drama triangles to play with you may be in need of this blog. Sorry for the delay in publishing it, "No one knows just how much pressure I'm under!" (V)

The simplest escape route is the non-defensive response. This works at any point no matter what the role the other person is taking, as it doesn't give a cue for the next response.

For instance:
Mary: Well maybe if you could have hauled your lazy arse out of your chair for a minute while I was busy, it wouldn't have been burnt! (P) John: Yes, that's true.

Although Mary may attempt to restart the cycle by continuing to scold, if John continues in the same vein, Mary will eventually run out of things to say. Unless Mary is actually abusive, in which case care should be used in employing this method, John's calm response invites discussion rather than continued wrangling. She might realize that she didn't ask him for help, and they might well be able to resolve the situation by planning on a course of action should something similar arise in the future.
It works just as well for the victim role:
John: I do not, I just need time to sit and relax and unwind after working all day! You don't know what it's like... (V) Mary: I'm sorry you're feeling so tired.
This acknowledges any real problem the other person might have without continuing the dance. Again, the other person may attempt to restart the cycle by continuing to complain, but again, with continued non-defensive responses, the other person will run out of things to say.

While the "rescuer" role is seemingly the least problematic of the three points of the triangle, it still is a part of a non-communicative cycle, and thus should be treated in the same manner.
Mary: That's only natural, honey, they are just young. (R) John: Yes, they are young.
Once again, the cycle is broken, and John has made it clear to Mary that he needs no further placating or assistance.
Other excellent non-defensive responses:
"Oh." "I see." "You may be right." 
This is very similar to the communication tool called "The pause button", which we teach couples who are finding themselves in familiar 'toxic dances'. 
It's tempting to get in the 'last word' and prove you're right. It's better for the relationship to leave the dance altogether and come back for a 'slow smooch' later to facilitate repair.

Here is another way to lead out of the triangle by stating what it is you really want or the need which is unmet.
The formula goes:-
"I feel..." 
"I want..."
"I am willing ..."
"Would you..."
For example (Jenny's)
"I feel under pressure" - "I want time to think about things" - "I am willing to give you an answer by the end of the day" - "Would you give me some space?"
For example (Nigel's) (For the boys!)
"I feel randy" - "I want to have sex" - "I am willing to do the washing up" - "would you be prepared to join in?"

Have you got some others that work for you? Want to know more about the pause button and 'relationship dances? Please get in touch. 

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