A Fresh Take on the Drama Triangle

TED graphic
Sep 23, 2019 | Sara Khaki

The Book We Recommend to Anyone Facing a Big Transition

Long before the days of smartphones, laptops, and Netflix, books were the hot entertainment pastime. In the Elizabethan era, Shakespearean folios brought readers to tears; in the 1850s, Melville’s fictional whale terrorized characters and readers alike. Now, in modern times, readers can go online to buy any novel they want and its words will magically appear on their Kindle in seconds. While access to literature is infinitely easier than it was long ago, here at ADLG, we think it’s safe to say that books are the one invention that has truly stood the test of time.

In honor of National Read A Book Day on Sept. 6, we want to talk about a publication that resonated with our team so much that we often offer copies to clients in times of need. David Emerald penned “The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)” nearly 13 years ago in the hopes of offering readers a deeper look at how they approach moments of transition in their lives.

Emerald’s empowerment paradigm stems from a psychological theory created by Dr. Stephen Karpman known as “the drama triangle.” This triangle consists of three roles: victim (primary role), persecutor (who the victim blames for their suffering), and the rescuer (who tries to take away the victim’s suffering). When relationships mimic the drama triangle, a lot of dysfunction occurs. In a way, all three of these roles need one another to survive. Without a persecutor, there’d be no victim, and without a victim, there’d be no rescuer, etc., and the vicious cycle repeats.

“The Power of TED” offers a positive alternative to this dysfunction by giving people a choice to live out their lives in a healthier way. Through an allegorical narrative, Emerald suggests three new roles for the triangle: creator (instead of victim), challenger (instead of persecutor), and coach (instead of rescuer). What emerges from this book is a resourceful way of living our lives and relating to others, which ultimately increases our ability to make better choices regardless of our circumstances.

If you’re looking for a good read, facing a momentous transition, or needing help to create something new out of your struggles, rather than succumbing to victimhood, we couldn’t recommend this book more.

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