The Grace of Understanding “DDT”

No, I’m not talking about pesticide.  I’m talking about the book TED* (The Empowerment Dynamic by David Emerald) and his Dreaded Drama Triangle which he patterned after Karpman’s Drama Triangle.  It’s a social model that is used to map conflicted or drama-intense relationship transactions.  The Karpman Drama Triangle models the connection between personal responsibility and power in conflicts, and the destructive and shifting roles people play.  Here’s a picture that gives you the general idea:

 

 

Oh, when I think of how many times I ended up on here throughout the years.  I’ll let you guess which role I usually started in!  But, as the theory states we shift roles around the triangle on a regular basis.

The Drama triangle is the stuff movies and songs are made of; every good tear jerker has a villain, a hero and a victim.  Sounds kind of familiar–doesn’t it?  And, those songs–OH those “killing-me-softly-with-his-words” songs that are crafted by master lyricists.  One of my recent favorite artists who does this incredibly well is Ed Sheeran.

I love Ed’s voice and his music.  He’s a good old fashioned story teller and he lays his heart out in his songs.  I just caught one of his songs off his relatively recently released album, “Divide.”  The lyrics are below, but you’ve got to listen to him sing it because his voice adds the necessary dimensions of sadness, longing, awareness, resoluteness, and all those other emotions you experience when you’re on the Drama Triangle.

If you want to listen to it, here’s the link from YouTube:

Save Myself

Ed Sheeran

 

I gave all my oxygen to people that could breathe

I gave away my money and now we don’t even speak

I drove miles and miles, but would you do the same for me?

Oh, honestly?

Offered off my shoulder just for you to cry upon

Gave you constant shelter and a bed to keep you warm

They gave me the heartache and in return I gave a song

It goes on and on

[Chorus] Life can get you down so I just numb the way it feels

I drown it with a drink and out-of-date prescription pills

And all the ones that love me they just left me on the shelf

No farewell

So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself

I gave you all my energy and I took away your pain

‘Cause human beings are destined to radiate or drain

What line do we stand upon ’cause from here looks the same?

And only scars remain

[Chorus) Life can get you down so I just numb the way it feels

I drown it with a drink and out-of-date prescription pills

And all the ones that love me they just left me on the shelf

No farewell

So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself

But if don’t

Then I’ll go back

To where I’m rescuing a stranger

Just because they needed saving just like that

Oh, I’m here again

Between the devil and the danger

But I guess it’s just my nature

My dad was wrong

‘Cause I’m not like my mum

‘Cause she’d just smile and I’m complaining in a song

But it helps

So before I save someone else

I’ve got to save myself

[Chorus] Life can get you down so I just numb the way it feels

I drown it with a drink and out-of-date prescription pills

And all the ones that love me they just left me on the shelf

No farewell

So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself

And before I blame someone else, I’ve got to save myself

And before I love someone else, I’ve got to love myself

 

Want to guess which role he’s playing on the DDT?  The language kind of gives it away although you could make an argument that his lyrics indicate shades of all three.

 

According to my coach, rescuers get burned out and I was curious enough about that (I wonder why?!?) to read more.  Here’s what I found online:

 

The term burnout usually refers to an exhaustion and mental collapse at work, prompting a person to change professions.  It results from a person approaching their work as a Rescuer and repeatedly ending up as a Victim in the Drama Triangle.  Usually they are in the game of “I’m Only Trying to Help You” in which unsolicited work is done for ungrateful people.  In time, the Rescuer begins to feel like a Victim–frustrated, unappreciated and unsorted–burned out.

 

It sort of sounds like the song, doesn’t it?  Can anyone out there relate????  Oh, I have a sneaking suspicion you do!

 

 

 

 

CATEGORY: All Posts, Lessons Learned

Beverly

Learning is my passion and life is my classroom of lessons I experience along the way.

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Comments (4)

I was not familiar with the Drama Triangle, but found it very interesting. And what a poignant song. I have known many "rescuers" over the years, and there is much wisdom in Sheeran's lyrics. I guess it could be said that we all have to love ourselves (no matter where we fall on the triangle) before we can love another.

It's so true, Betsy. And, I'm not sure what the magic formula to getting there is. Faith? Knowing God loves us no matter what so if He accepts and loves us, we can finally forgive our imperfections and love ourselves? Wisdom of living life and realizing if we don't love ourselves no one else will? Not sure. I just know I've spent a lot of time looking for external validation instead of it coming from a deeper source. Slowly it is changing. Slowly.

A gigantic thumb up! 🙂

I can only imagine, Pam, that you've seen this play out with your clientele quite a bit over the years. You've had to teach the "adult to adult" approach, I'm guessing.

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