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Is the Karpman Drama Triangle Good for Resolving Conflicts?

Is the Karpman Drama Triangle Good for Resolving Conflicts?

Is the Karpman Drama Triangle Good for Resolving Conflicts?

The Karpman Drama Triangle is NOT a good method to understand how to resolve conflicts, because the method instructs us which behaviours do NOT work, rather than telling us which behaviours do work.

Models which tell us which behaviours do NOT work, are of strictly limited value.

If we learn that the right answer to a problem is NOT nine, or ten, or fifteen, then how much useful knowledge have we gained?

Not much!

Karpman Drama Triangle

The Karpman Drama Triangle gives us three behaviours, which are represented by three points forming a triangle.

We are told that the space inside the triangle represents what NOT to do because these three behaviours do NOT work.

The solutions to our conflict problems are to be found OUTSIDE The Karpman drama triangle - "Somewhere".

The Three Behaviours of the Karpman Drama Triangle.

The three behaviours of the Karpman Drama Triangle are: Victim, Rescuer, Persecutor.

1. The Victim

In conflict situations, don't act as though you are a victim of others. This only serves to weaken your self-image and lends emotional strength to others.

2. The Rescuer

In conflict situations, don't pretend to be the rescuer of victims. Maybe other people don't want to be rescued by you, because they don't have a victim mentality.

And if they DO have a victim mentality, then the arrival of the "Rescuer" reinforces victims' low opinion of themselves.

3. The Persecutor (aka Villain)

In conflicts, don't perform the role of The Persecutor (the Villain) because these terms imply a host of bad behaviours: being aggressive, threatening, oppressive authoritarian, rigid, and bullying.

If solutions to conflict problems are found only outside the Karpman drama triangle behaviours, then what positive skills sets DO we need, in order to best resolve conflicts?

The Clear, Rational, Positive Triangle.

The three correct principles that underpin the correct answers to conflict management are: Clarity, Rationality, Positivity.

Clarity Rationality Positivity

1. Clarity

We manage conflicts using only clear ideas, clearly expressed. We are always able to make ourselves clearly understood.

2. Rationality

We manage conflicts according to rational principles: ie we find solutions by reference to facts, logic, objectivity, written policies and laws.

3. Positivity

Our intentions are always honourable and positive: We intend to find practical solutions that are mutually beneficial to all parties, and which represent a mutual exchange of values.

Conflict Handling Training

If you want to learn exactly how to resolve conflicts according to clear, rational and positive principles, we recommend you attend our Conflict Handling training course.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People

  • De-escalation Skills
    De-escalation of a difficult situation is vital, in order to avoid it becoming a crisis or conflict. Take a look at these de-escalation techniques you should master that will allow you to take control of a situation and defuse a potential conflict.
    Read Article >
  • Top Ten Conflict Management Techniques
    Your organisation needs people to cooperate. However, inevitably people disagree, which can lead to conflict situations. It is important to learn conflict management techniques, since conflicts are costly and disruptive.
    Read Article >
  • Dispute Resolution
    People disagree. But, whatever the cause of a disagreement, a manager must learn how to handle it professionally, before it escalates into conflict and interferes with the business. Here are five common strategies for resolving disputes.
    Read Article >
  • Reason vs Excuse
    Learn to distinguish between a reason and an excuse; be determined, but not stubborn; separate facts from fiction.
    Read Article >
  • How to Handle the Workplace Bully
    People bully others for a number of reasons, but unless you deal with them quickly and decisively, the bullying will just carry on. Here we offer some useful advice on how to handle that workplace bully. Don't be a victim of bullying at work.
    Read Article >

Looking for Conflict Management Training?

If you're looking to develop your Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People Skills, you may find this Conflict Management Training Course beneficial:

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4 April
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25 April
London - Central
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3 May
Birmingham M6 J7
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