To avoid the vicious drama triangle we can use assertiveness, leaving the rescuer, victim and prosecutor roles behind us. If assertiveness is unfamiliar territory for you then fear not, the basic principles of assertive behaviour are very straight forward. When being assertive there are four key points to address:
- Acknowledge what has been said. E.g. use statements like ‘I understand’ and ‘I understand what you have said’.
- State the facts about the situation using non-biased language. E.g. ‘It was a gift from everyone’.
- State the impact the situation has had on you, avoiding divisive words like ‘really’, ‘very’ or ‘you’. E.g. I found your statement hurtful and offensive’.
- State what future action you would like to be taken. E.g. ‘I would appreciate it if you could refrain from saying statements like that to me in future’.
If you would like to explore assertiveness in more depth, please refer to April’s series ‘How to free yourself and assert your rights’ which lists our intrinsic rights – the foundations for our most basic boundaries and May’s series ‘Assertiveness: A journey worth taking’ for more of an in-depth look into behaving assertively.
In reality, many players in the drama triangle are so entrenched in their roles they are reluctant to stop. In preparation for my coming up against resistance I role played with my psychologist. I then decided that if I faced any confrontation I would very calmly say ‘I will discuss this issue with you when you can speak calmly and treat me with consideration and respect.’
Next week, the benefits we reap when reacting to the drama triangle assertively.
How do you feel about asserting yourself to avoid drama? Do you have any fears or concerns? Please comment and share your experiences with our community to gain insight, encouragement and support.
- Choose a situation where you find yourself in the drama triangle and write down how you would assertively state the facts, state the impact and state what you want as described above.
- Read Mays series ‘Assertiveness: A journey worth taking’ and role play with someone close to you how you will assert yourself, trying to use the broken record technique, negative assertion and negative enquiry where necessary.