You decided to create your own content. At long last, you’re going to shoot something that shows the buyers exactly how to cast you at your on-brand bullseye best. You fleshed out a story idea with a writer who gets you. You’ve gathered an enthusiastic group of collaborators together for the big day and everything is falling into place.

And then it all goes to shit.

There’s a no-show.
There’s a flake-out.
There’s a location that falls out.
There’s a scene that’s just not working.
There’s paperwork that never got done.

Where does this leave you?

If you’re like a handful of my clients lately, you’re squarely in the role of the VICTOR. You swoop in and make up for gaps created by other people. You solve the problems. You do the union paperwork. You chip in more money. You call in favors. You get it done.

But in the aftermath, you’re looking around at where everything spun out and wondering how this happened. You identify some key players in this little drama.

There’s a VILLAIN — this is someone who may not have even intended to be the bad guy (maybe she was a “Hero of the Moment” and promised something that never was gonna come through) and there’s always a VICTIM. Woe is me… a draped wrist across the forehead… a sad story about a car that wouldn’t start or a co-worker who wouldn’t pick up a shift at the last minute.

Here’s the dynamic to notice here: There are always three V’s.

And when we find ourselves in a particular role more than once in a while, we can be sure that we’re setting up all our relationships to lead to this payoff.

Example from my life: I am aaaaalllllllwwwwaaaaaaaayyyyyyyysssss the VICTOR. I will rescue you even if you don’t know you need rescuing. I have optimization notes on every system in every organization and I can help you no matter what it is you’re working through.

Guess who VICTORS end up surrounded by?


Now, in my business, this plays out in a much healthier way! Much like a doctor has a practice filled with patients working on wellness at different stages, I have a steady stream of clients who come to me in search of methods, tactics, and ninja moves that will give them an edge in their lives and creative careers. Yay!

But in my personal life… oof. How did all these drama-magnets get here?

I attracted them.

And wait… here’s where it gets really sticky: When I began to shift my role away from VICTOR — y’know, when I *stopped* being so damn quick on the draw with a solution, a bail-out, a little bit o’ rescuing — I became the VILLAIN. Because only a villain would deprive a VICTIM of a solution she has, right?


I share this dynamic (an adaptation of the Karpman Drama Triangle for you academic purists out there) because especially as we move up through the tiers in our careers, we notice our peer groups shifting.

This. Is. Why.

When we disrupt the dynamic (so, in my case, when I endeavor to no longer put myself in the VICTOR seat but sometimes just sit by and listen to a friend’s problems), we force our friends and colleagues to shift too… and they may not want to!

So, watch them either position us into one of the *other* V roles (this is where my friend the VICTIM sees me as the VILLAIN when I don’t offer up help as the VICTOR) or leave us altogether as they head out in search for other triangles.

Now — in case you’re wondering — we don’t have to live in triangles. Healthy relationships may rarely enter them! But if you trend heavy into anger, you may be a villain more than you’d like. If you’ve got some sadness hanging around, you love that victim role. And if your set-point is fear of loss of control, welp, that’d make you into a victor. So, the triangle presents itself again and again.

Oh, hello Three V’s! We must be in a not-so-healthy situation right now. Hmm…

Of course, the goal is having relationships in which anger, sadness, and fear aren’t prominent players, right? πŸ˜‰ But when they are, see what you can do to get clear on who you want in your creative, collaborative, professional, and personal relationships!

Healthy collaborators needn’t rescue anyone from any snag because snags don’t *inherently* create victims out of anyone. It’s only if someone wants to (or has been brought up to) live in victim mode that they’ll rush to blame a villain for the snag.

Healthy collaborators know snags happen. And they’re just another thing to push through to get the job done.

Where can you surrender a V role you’ve (perhaps inadvertently) taken on a bit too much in life? If it’s happening personally, you can bet it’ll creep in professionally too… so take a wee inventory and scroll down to jam with me in the comments to share what’s giving you an a-ha about the drama triangle!

You’ve got this!

Much love,

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Chelsea July 17, 2018 at 4:40 am

    Wow oh wow oh wow how TRUE this is. Always the victor and it can get exhausting!! But the guilt of not helping is equally taxing so what’s one to do?? This was a great morning read!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 17, 2018 at 9:24 am

      Yay, Chelsea! And YES! The guilt is part of what drives us into another V in that triangle, isn’t it? Withdrawing from the triangle altogether — making the situation blameless and not robbing someone of their journey to learn how to help themselves by being so fast to rescue — is a part of our work. πŸ™‚

  2. Kimberly Logan July 17, 2018 at 7:23 am

    I found this incredibly helpful when my therapist told me about it – With the first step identifying how we get ourselves into these roles, and then realizing that we don’t *HAVE* to play any of them. Enormous shift in emotional & mental energy.
    Hadn’t actively thought to include it in my work relationships, but now that I think about it, it’s totally valuable there too!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 17, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Well, yay! I’m all about taking tools that work in one area of life and applying them to others. No reason not to bring that toolkit with us wherever we go!

  3. q July 17, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Anytime I need some guidance in my personal or professional life, your BonBlasts always do the trick. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today. Thank you for always being there for me. Whether it’s near or far, you always seem to hear me before I speak <3


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