The Drama Triangle

"Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle is a model of interpersonal roles derived from transactional analysis. This is a psychoanalytic theory and practice develop[ed by Eric Berne in the 1950’s that focuses on how people relate with each other… [It] explains the interdependence of the commonly adopted roles of ‘victim’, ‘rescuer’, ‘persecutor’, which for many people are learned in childhood through the workings of their family dynamics. The model is not static and … people … can ‘switch’ positions: a victim can become a persecutor and a rescuer can become a victim [for example].
The drama triangle does not map directly onto activist dynamics since the position of the ‘victim’ in particular was intended to suggest someone who is, in psychological terms, choosing to take the victim position in an interaction, even if the ‘choice’ is made subconsciously. This is obviously not the same as being the actual victim of an oppression or marginalisation, one that is subject of activism. And nor is it inevitable that experiencing oppression or marginalisation necessarily turns us into a victim; one of the problems with rescuers is their tendency to push people into a victim role they do not wish to occupy."

Anthea Lawson in The Entangled Activist: Learning to recognise the master’s tools (p.73)