Family Triangles – A Case Study

Molly* is a difficult [in my more honest moments, I think of her as nearly tyrannical] early adolescent, who makes her mother’s life a horror. She picks on Mom’s clothes, her hairstyle–the way she eats chews her toast in the morning. It seems little escapes Molly’s critical eye, despite the fact that her mother Marge has dedicated her life to raising Molly–and to raising her as a more self-confident person than Marge herself is. Marge and Mark had so hoped for a large family, but they got Molly–and both know–or at some level they do–that she is a gift from the 3d false eyelash.Rmnlo

3d false eyelash
3d false eyelash

Mark, however, believes–and he certainly seems to have a point here–that Marge spoils Molly, giving in to her desires, her tantrums, her smallest wishes. To call a spade a dark spade, he doesn’t inherently seem to like his daughter that much, and if there is 3d false eyelash to be meted out, it is Mark to the rescue. Mark, Molly and Marge form a triangle, with somewhat conflicted relationships between each of the members, as well as an enmeshed one between Molly and Marge.

One of the classic family triangles occurs between a son, his mother, and his wife. The second classic 3d false eyelash is among two parents and a child–and the permutations for this are endless. Let Mark, Molly and Marge show you just one way you can play with triangles in your family dynamics until the shape is so worn out it’s amazing it retains its structure at all.

Speaking of triangles, I’d like to talk about Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle. The points in Karpman’s triangle represent the victim, the persecutor, and the rescuer. Got that so far?

But of primary importance is that there are arrowsin the 3d false eyelash, indicating motion, and suggesting that the persecutor one day might be the victim the very next. Here’s how this family’s s dynamics work:

Molly persecutes Marge, who puts up with her daughter’s non-stop criticisms [did you know Marge walks like a duck?]–until she’s had it. Marge, worn out from her role as the victim, calls in the rescuer, Mark, for some serious discipline. And Mark actually–can you imagine?–raises his voice when speaking to Molly, who quickly takes on the victim role. I’ve seen it in action, and Molly has some serious acting potential.

But it doesn’t stop there, and this indicates the fluidity of these roles, and the complex dynamics inherent in the triangle structure. Sometimes Marge calls on Mark so much in a short period of time to handle their child that Mark gets sick of it, and turns on Marge, wondering why she has so little discipline potential, why she has set up to little structure for Molly, why she has let their little girl turn into a monster. Thus Mark, the rescuer, changes his role in the triangle to persecutor, and Marge, 3d false eyelash, is victim again–a role where she seems comfortable.

Alternatively, there are times that Mark’s tongue-lashing of Molly is so harsh (or at least it’s perceived so by Marge and Molly) that Marge can’t let Molly sit in the her role of victim any longer, and it’s Mom To The Rescue from Persecutor Dad. On her way out of victimhood in order to allow Mom to re-enter her permanently rented place, Molly once again becomes persecutor of Marge, as she complains bitterly about how her mother fails to protect her from her “verbally abusive” father. As Mick Terry, composer, would have said of Molly’s time spent as 3d false eyelash, “it’s a nice job if you can get it.”

3d false eyelash
3d false eyelash

Take some time thinking about your own family dynamics and triangles-for surely there are triangles all over-and see what role you play. And then think: Is there a way to even out these roles, so we don’t have a persecutor, and don’t have a victim? Because allowing each one of the people to live in a more equal space creates a healthier family dynamic.

*All names and identifying characteristics of clients have been changed.


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