Episode #35: Archetypes of Survival – Victim & the Drama Triangle

We all know people who always seem to be victims of someone or some situation. People who blame others when disappointing or frustrating things happen to them or even when they make a mistake. They don’t discriminate and will blame their boss, peers, direct reports, family, partner, children – anyone is subject to their ability to spin a story to make it look like they are the victims while they in fact are victimizing others.

But don’t try rescuing them, because if you have ever tried helping someone who is trapped in the Victim Persona, you’ve discovered that they really don’t want help – they want you to side with their exaggerated version of whatever story they are telling. If any of these observations apply, you may be dealing with people who suffer from the Victim Syndrome.

In today’s episode, we explore the Drama Triangle and the three personas associated with it: the Victim, the Persecutor / Victimizer, and the Rescuer / Hero (if you are interested in learning more about these roles that keep you stuck and how to power past them, make sure you check out our book, Power Past the Imposter Syndrome by clicking here!). We’ll also recount personal and client Victim stories and share tips and tricks for empowering yourself and leaving the Drama Triangle behind for good. Tune in to make sure you don’t miss out on the gems we share this week!

If you want to know more about Anne & Heather’s work with dismantling dysfunctions in organizations and leadership behavior at Caliber Leadership Systems, check out:




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  • [01:50] Episode introduction and overview
  • [05:21] What is the Victim Archetype?
  • [10:53] Exploring the Drama Triangle
  • [13:00] The Victim Persona
  • [15:20] The Persecutor / Victimizer Persona
  • [20:52] The Rescuer / Hero Persona
  • [38:43] Episode Gem
  • [41:41] Episode wrap up



  • The Victim Leadership Persona is really powerful and often used when we feel hurt or think that we are powerless to do anything about the situation. When we use this Persona, we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves.
  • The Victim Persona is associated with Karpman’s Drama Triangle. The triangle involves 3 distinct positions or roles: Victim (Flight), the Persecutor / Victimizer (Fight), or the Rescuer / Hero (Freeze). Behavior from all three positions may be very different but it has the same intention, which is to gain control of the behavior of others and restore a feeling of power in ourselves.
  • The only way to ‘defeat’ the roles is to ensure you take responsibility for yourself. To experience a fulfilling life requires a conscious willingness to get off the Triangle and extend grace to those still encumbered by their drama.
  • Do you feel like the folks in your personal or work life act out from their Drama Triangle roles? Listen to the full episode to learn what you can do to exit the Triangle and empower yourself!


"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."
episode 18 - quote tile 4 - "Leaders need to watch that they aren't being pulled into the position  of rescuer when interacting with employees."

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