by Aaron Warner
Most of us have a passing familiarity with the word drama. Perhaps the most common use of it is in artistic circles where it’s used to describe a type of plot or story. Drama in that sense indicates a tale involving torrid love affairs or families in conflict or perhaps some inescapable tragedy. For the sake of art, this type of drama is perfectly acceptable, and even desirable to help connect us all to the potential vicissitudes of life we might face. This allows us to reveal and release emotions we might not otherwise. That’s the beauty of art.
There is another type of drama we often find ourselves either drawn or connected to. Rather than drama for the sake of an emotional connection to art this type of drama is cultivated less on a spiritual level and more on a societal and/or spiritual level. Enter, the drama triangle.
As a young man entering into marriage my friends recommended my fiancé and I take some pre-marital counseling classes to prepare us for the potential pitfalls that come after wedded bliss. It was in these sessions I was introduced to the psycho-relational tool called the drama triangle. Our counselor, who was Christian, laid it out in terms we could understand from either a Christian or secular perspective. Essentially the three roles in the triangle are: victim, persecutor and rescuer.
Unfolding the story from the first book in the Bible she explained how Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden and free from drama. God gave them permission to enjoy the garden and it’s features freely, with the lone admonition to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Interestingly, they had the knowledge of good. In fact, that’s all they knew, and, per their relationship to God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) they were in a drama free relationship to Him and one another. What they lacked was a knowledge of evil.
Enter the serpent, the craftiest of all God’s creatures, and Satan’s lobbying suit for his first foray into political strategy among humanity. With him came the knowledge of evil, however cleverly packaged as the secret knowledge that would give Adam and Eve God-like ability. Satan, the original gnostic, was setting the trap for the world’s first drama triangle. Enter stage right…
He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
…and entering with a boastful proposal – drama. Rather than be satisfied with the knowledge of goodness and the assurance of having enough, Eve, then Adam, are tempted by the notion God is holding out on them, something she is deceived is a good thing – ironically – the
knowledge of evil. Adam, in love with her more than God, makes the eternity altering mistake of going along to get along, rather than having a pair and chasing off the slimy deceiver, and what follows plagues us to this day. Everywhere, every day, drama.
One doesn’t need a biblical perspective to appreciate the drama triangle and its effects. However the story from Genesis is perhaps the most well-known and relatable as an illustration. Essentially, Satan cast Eve (and Adam by proxy) as victims, God as the persecutor, and the fruit of forbidden knowledge (and Satan) as the rescuers.
Rather than confined to this story, we can see drama of this sort throughout daily life. In fact, it is an often used political stratagem wielded by those who wish to assume power over the people. The key is a retelling or rebranding of the truth, and one that has enough truth in it to allow for massive deception.
Some current examples:
- America is systemically racist (persecutors)
- People of color are held back (victims)
- Dismantling the system with Critical Race Theory and reparations is the only solution (rescuer)
- SARS-COV2 is deadly (persecutor)
- Anyone can die at any time (victims)
- The vaccine is the only solution (rescuer)
- Republicans hate LGBTQ+ people (persecutors)
- LGBTQ+ won’t have equal rights if the GOP is in power (victims)
- Make everything Pride friendly to save the LGBTQ+ community (rescue)
- The rich are the problem (persecutors)
- The worker is denied equality of labor (victim)
- We must abolish private property and collectivize (rescue)
It’s not enough to create the triangle, but with it, the perpetual motion of shifting positions. Thus, victims can use their perceived victimhood as a rationale for persecuting. For example:
- Dismantling the system means burning down cities (persecution)
- Resistance to the vaccine means job loss (persecution)
- Resistance to gay pride teachings in school means getting cancelled (persecution)
- Disagreeing with wealth redistribution means having your business targeted (persecution)
So how does one avoid the triangle, or, better yet, get out of it once they realize they’re in it?
The first step is to recognize actual victimhood from perceived victimhood. So, an actual victim of slavery would be one who was a slave in the early 1800s, or caught in human trafficking now, not the descendants who now cry racism from university offices with six figure salaries. An actual victim of sexual oppression is someone who gets raped or sexually assaulted by an actual assaulter. Some examples of actual assaulters include:
- Harvey Weinstein
- Jeffrey Epstein
- Andrew Cuomo
- Bill Clinton
Perceived sexual oppression is found among those requiring pronoun coaching or spot phantom menaces like toxic masculinity and mansplainers. Or the reverse, men who confuse confident women for toxic feminists.
Perhaps the most overlooked role in the drama is that of the rescuer. Rescuers are often well intended ideologues or narcissists who confuse their rescuing help as an excuse to play God. Rescuers assume an almighty level of moral superiority that enables them to take action on behalf of otherwise free and autonomous adults who are responsible for their own lives. Christians and bleeding heart liberals are the likely candidates as they often lack the discernment and stomach to ferret out manufactured victims from real ones.
The current debacle in San Francisco both politically and spiritually epitomizes this recipe for disaster. The bleeding hearts have created well intended policies of compassion that have opened the door to a now swelling culture of rampant drug use, unhindered sexual promiscuity, and perceived homelessness that marks the city streets with tent cities, garbage and other piles of human waste. The church uses resources to go out and continue enabling the social parasites by feeding, clothing and providing succor to people who have given up rather than stood up. To wit, have you ever seen this many help wanted signs with this many out of work homeless people?
So how does one escape this madness if they’re stuck in it? The answer is simple but not easy. They have to be willing to be seen as a persecutor. For those who have done AA, NA or been in a co-dependent relationship, that means not rescuing (enabling) those who cry victim as a cover for not being responsible for their own lives.
There is only One who can truly rescue people from their awful decisions and behaviors, and His kingdom is not of this earth.