Surviving Karpman Dramas


There is an energy condition which effects therapists… counselors… even doctors and nurses…

… teachers… university professors…

… intuitive people… psychics… healers…

… people in families… friends… people in relationships…

… people working in small business… or in large organisations…

Basically, 99% of all humans alive could potentially be impacted by this psychological condition….

… It goes by the name of the Karpman Drama Triangle… and can occur wherever and whenever human beings interact with other human beings.

And I am now going to explain the Karpman Drama Triangle… first by explaining the energy dynamics involved… the design flaw in our human energy field which allows it to happen… and then explain how it plays out in human relationships.

Because once you know how it works, it becomes easier to catch it, and you can take steps to turn the situation around, so you are no longer trapped within this limiting situation (although you never become 100% immune… you just become better at spotting it).

So anyone out there, who goes around trying to live a spiritual life, or take care of others (even at their own expense), and who find themselves always losing out, or being treated badly… who end up being the victim in a situation… please take note… this is important life-changing stuff.


Karpman & Our Meridian System

With Karpman, we need to focus on our Meridian system, in particular on our Heart Meridian.

According to Chinese Medicine, when the energy is flowing correctly through the Heart Meridian, this creates Love… but when the energy cannot flow, and the Meridian is distorted in some way, then Anger is created by the lack of flow.

As shown in the diagram below, the Heart Meridian can be visualized as 3 lines, where each line represents 3 possible energy states… and when the line is straight, Love is created, but when the line is bent to the right then Anger is created.

But here is the first stage of our problem… of the design-flaw…

In some societies… in some families… in some situations and contexts… Anger is not allowed, Anger is not permitted to be expressed, and so to fit in an individual has to suppress it.

For example, if someone is raised believing that Anger isn’t spiritual, and so suppresses their Anger… or a child is raised in a family where they are not allowed to have a voice, and so need to suppress their Anger in order to fit in and toe the line… in fact, there are many situations in life where people have to suppress and swallow their own Anger, and so cannot express it openly.

But now the second stage of our problem…

If you take the suppression of Anger too far, it’s like bending the bow / line the other way (as is shown in a diagram)… so the Meridian is bent over to the left… and into a state of being Too Open Hearted.

Which is like saying you wear your Heart on your sleeve… your Heart is totally unprotected, and so is like a raw and exposed nerve.

Which is a big problem… because… people need their Anger to survive on the Earth Plane, and to create effective personal boundaries to protect themselves (… because some people out there are mean and nasty, and will take advantage of the weak and undefended… sad but true).

Basically, our Anger fuels our Assertiveness (same core energy really)… and Assertiveness is what we need to:

  • Motivate ourselves to go after what we want (otherwise we are always putting the needs of others first)
  • Protect ourselves from other people, and stand-up for our own self-interests
  • Say No to other people when it is not in our own self-interest to say Yes (i.e. “Of course I will babysit the kids this weekend… just need to cancel all my own plans with my friends first… the ones I haven’t seen for 10 years.”)

OK, we don’t want to become an Angry person 24/7…

And like I say, Anger is a useful place to visit when needed, but you don’t want to live there.

But you do want to be able to visit Anger when you need… because if you can’t plug into the Anger / Assertiveness vibe when you need… then other people will take advantage of your good and open nature.

The HUGE problem is that people who are suppressing their Anger, and their Assertiveness, lack the inner muscles to stand up for themselves… and as a result… other people are continually taking advantage of them.

And the person stuck in Victim mode is continually wondering what they are doing wrong… they assume that being open-hearted and 100% giving is a good thing… something which the Universe should be rewarding.

Understand… there is nothing inherently unspiritual about Anger… all the genuine Spiritual Masters down the ages have become Angry when the situation required.

… and to be successful on the Earth Plane… to have strong and effective personal boundaries… you need to have your own Anger / Assertiveness on stand-by for whenever you need it… and that can’t happen if you have locked it in the wardrobe, and thrown away the key.

Which takes us on to Part 2 of our discussion…


Karpman in Human Relationships

In Trans-personal Psychology, the Karpman Drama Triangle is usually shown in the following way… a Triangle with 3 roles… and the 3 roles are… VictimRescuerPersecutor

Now, it is important to realize that you can have variations where there are only 2 people involved and one of the roles goes dormant for a while, before being reactivated…

And you can also have situations with many people being assigned one role (i.e. I know of one particular Karpman Drama situation in Heathrow Airport, London… where one of the “players” was composed of a group of 50 people… so the triangle was composed of them, 2 of their bosses, and the 3 roles was passed around between them as the Game progressed).

But the important thing is that, there are 3 roles, and these roles are passed between the individuals involved in the Karpman situation… and that the role assigned to any individual or group can shift and literally change overnight as the Game progresses… almost as if someone has flipped a switch.

Let’s explain this with an example…

Clare, who is very caring and open-hearted goes to work for a charity, and starts to give up a lot of her spare time, for free, to help out (as they are under-staffed). In the beginning, her boss, Jennifer, is very grateful, and says that she will find a way to reimburse her the extra money for weekend working, and so Clare continues working weekends.

But after a month, Jennifer starts to become more and more negative about Clare’s work, picking on her, finding fault… and when Clare asks for the extra money she was promised (because she is late with her rent, and payments on her car), Jennifer claims she never made such an offer, and that Clare will be paid no extra money, full-stop, and Clare is left seriously out of pocket.

Ouch!… Clare is left feeling hurt, misunderstood, which is something which always seems to happen to her… and other people are so mean… why can’t people be nice and caring, like she tries to be?

So what exactly is going on?

OK, if we were to dissect this situation… we would find that:

For some reason, Clare is suppressing her own Angerand is trying to live her life being open-hearted and 100% caring… but as a result she is suppressing her own needs, and has little / no personal boundaries… and as a result other people do take advantage of her… because in this world of ours, not everyone is nice, or shares her altruistic values.

In terms of the Karpman Triangle:

Clare starts out as rescuer… saving the organization / Jennifer, who are the perceived victims who need saving because they don’t have enough people… (and the persecutor role is inactive at this point)…

But the suppressed Anger needs to be expressed at some point… and Clare has no effective personal boundaries, and so the situation flips into the next stage.

Jennifer starts to pick on ClareJennifer steps into persecutor role, Clare becomes the victim…(and the rescuer role becomes inactive).

With a Karpman situation we need to realize that there is huge amounts of Anger flowing around in the Unconscious mind… because it is not being owned.

And if someone does not want to face and integrate their own Anger… and use it to empower their own life, and set appropriate boundaries… then the Anger will be projected back at them via other people… which isn’t a very nice experience.

Basically… that’s Karpman Drama… a weird Human Game… which is best not to play.

In the Ancient Indian teaching tradition, there is the story of a Tiger that decides to try to become enlightened… and so they find themselves a Guru, who is meditating in the jungle.

The Guru accepts the Tiger as a disciple, but only on the condition that it won’t eat another human being from that point on.

The Tiger returns to the Guru a week later, looking battered and bruised… and the Guru asks what has happened.

Now the villagers know that I am not going to eat them, they are no longer afraid of me… and so they beat me with sticks… and I can’t fight back.”

The Guru says, “Your oath was not to eat anyone… but I never said you couldn’t growl and roar!

Even the most spiritual person alive has to growl and roar from time to time. 🙂

(c) Brian Parsons,

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2 thoughts on “Surviving Karpman Dramas

  • June 5, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Wonderful. I was taught as a child that it was wrong to get angry ‘seen and not heard’. Now I always feel bad if I get angry and thus diminishes the effect of my anger as I go into ‘oh I have hurt someone’ thereby losing my own strength and self esteem.
    Really connected with this article.

  • January 4, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Very eye opening. I love the idea that I can think and act strategically rather than being stuck in a victim mentality. Thank you!

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