Camber Sands

LIFE IN BOTSWANA: Drama Triangles ⚠️

When I accidentally upset a friend, I called another friend for advise.

She’s a professional counsellor and explained the Karpman Drama Triangle, where-by two people continuously switch between three roles – victim, persecutor, and rescuer. 

I didn’t exactly understand but basically, your friend tells you a problem and is the victim. You jump in to provide a solution so you are the rescuer. They shoot down your solution and become the persecutor. You feel like a victim and make another suggestion – rescuer.

And so it goes on.

The upshot – recognise the triangle. Step out. LISTEN! They are not looking for solutions, they simply need to download. GOT IT!

I hung up, feeling sad I unintentionally ‘persecuted’ my friend.

This was me inside:

When the intention had been:

I hear a familiar and pathetic ‘yelp’ from upstairs. It is Coco, my daughter’s miniature sausage-dog. He is still a puppy and has recently learnt how to get up the stairs – but as yet – has not learnt how to get down again. 

I rush up and find the poor little thing looking forlorn, with his tail between his legs. Massive puppy-dog eyes meet mine, melt. 

I go to scoop him up, planning to cuddle him and take him back down. He seems to rally from his sadness and reverses progressively out of my reach, little paws stamping playfully. Then spins around with his tail going like a propeller and speeds off into the bedroom, out of sight. 

I give chase yelling ‘jeeeeeez Coco, you’re a total pain in the arse, I’m late for the school-pickup as it is!’ 

And then it hits me, I’m yelling. And what’s another word for yelling? Persecuting. And what had been my intention not a moment beforehand? RESCUING. Because he was? (Hear the cogs whirling ever-faster here) a VICTIM.



He’s playing me like a fiddle.


I’ll teach him, the wiley little mutt. 

I get the old child-gate out of the garage and place it at the bottom of the stairs.

I’m feeling quite smug until I get home having dropped my daughter at an after-school playdate to find that he has totally and utterly – vanished. 

I search everywhere, increasingly frantic. I’m calling ‘Coco, Coco!’ but no sound can I hear.

I decide to get methodical. One room at a time, not thinking for a minute he would have been able to get past that stair gate.

Then I hear it.


And he’s up there, looking down at me from the top of the stairs.


That bloody dog’s got me by the triangles.

Baaaah humbug : (




Related Posts