Relationship Embuffination

Emotional embuffination is great for relationships. It can help you to eliminate conflicts before they've begun and to better understand what your partner needs. It can also help in relationship breakups by preventing conflict from escalating to an out of control fireball of emotions and hurt.

The Drama Triangle

Much of the misery that we experience in romantic relationships can be eliminated by an understanding of the Drama Triangle.

The Drama Triangle is essentially a game we all intuitively play with each other in times of conflict. The problem is that this game generally results in us not solving the problems in front of us. What's worse, it typically inflames conflict.

Each of the points in the triangle are represented by a role we can play. The bottom point of the triangle is a Victim. The Victim is disempowered and simply points at another person or situation that are the cause of his or her suffering.

The Persecutor is someone who lashes out at their perceptions of injustice. The Victim typically points to the Persecutor as the cause of his or her pain.

Finally, there is a Rescuer. The Rescuer wants to come in and feel needed. He or she wishes to solve the problem for the Victim and be a knight in shining armor. The problem is the Rescuer, in his or her desire to be needed by the Victim, essentially reinforces the Victim's victimhood and disempowers the Victim.

Ultimately, blame is a huge factor in the perpetuation of the drama triangle. If the focus of resolution to our problems revolves around pointing fingers, the problems tend to explode.

There are a number of models which help to resolve this kind of gameplay. One is called TED (which stands for "The Empowerment Dynamic."). The TED model reframes each of the roles from Victim to Creator (thereby making the focus on creating the resolution you want instead of why you're held back). The Persecutor becomes a Challenger (which makes the focus on challenging the status quo to create better results in the world, rather than on destroying wrongdoers). The Rescuer becomes a Coach (which results in helping someone seek empowerment, rather than simply solving the problem for them).

Another model is called the "Compassion Triangle" which was developed by Dr. Stephen Karpman (the same person that developed the Drama Triangle in the first place). Dr. Karpman's model focuses on using compassion within each of the three roles to lessen the blame and redirect what you're doing in a situation to more constructive ends.

Whichever model you use, the ultimate goal is to first recognize the role you may be playing in the Drama Triangle and then actively taking steps to avoid playing the game.

For a more detailed look at how the Drama Triangle works, see the video below.