Karpman's Triangle

The Karpman Triangle is a psychological and social model of interaction between people, first described by Stephen Karpman in 1968.

This model describes three familiar psychological roles (or role-playing) that people often take in situations: Sacrifice, Chaser, and Rescuer.

When a conflict occurs between the Victim and the Persecutor, the Rescuer will do everything possible to resolve it and help the victim.

If you like psychology and self-development, then this article is for you.

Karpman's Triangle in Psychology

An interesting feature of the Karpman Triangle is that this situation may not change for quite a long time, somehow arranging each of the parties:

  • The pursuer, representing a strong personality, puts pressure on others;
  • The victim considers it perfectly normal to shift responsibility for his failures to others;
  • The rescuer is confident that he is obliged to help everyone who finds himself in difficult circumstances.

And although all the roles in the Karpman Triangle are strictly marked, they can be modified. Sometimes the Victim is able to become a Chaser, a Rescuer reincarnate into a Sacrifice, etc. However, such metamorphoses are rather temporary.

The role of the Sacrifice

An interesting fact is that in his Triangle Karpman assigns the main role to the Sacrifice. In his opinion, all 3 individuals do everything possible not to be responsible for the situations occurring in their life.

The victim seeks to cause sympathy from others and draw attention to themselves. In addition, in some cases, it can provoke the Chaser and the Rescuer. Having achieved her, she begins to work on them, wanting to receive any compensation.

Later, the Sacrifice itself can turn into one of the opposite characters. However, having entered a new image, she will continue to try not to change her views and avoid responsibility for her actions.

An interesting fact is that in certain cases in the Karpman Triangle all 3 types of characters can be victims. Leaving the role of the Sacrifice is possible only by changing the emotional background. She needs to understand and feel that changes have occurred in her life.

In addition, the Victim must understand that she can change her life only when she is responsible for her actions.

The role of the pursuer

The pursuer is a person who does everything to rule over others. It is curious that by trying to influence the Victim, the Persecutor justifies his actions in every possible way.

If the Victim begins to resist his Chaser, he tries to quell the protest. If he succeeds, he gets satisfaction and asserts himself. As a result, oppression and the manipulation of others become the basic need for the Chaser.

An interesting fact is that the Persecutor finds reasonable rationale from his point of view for all his actions. If this fails to be done, the Chaser’s beliefs may be destroyed.

At the same time, when the Victim begins to offer resistance, this may provide an additional incentive for the Chaser to continue to put pressure on her.

The role of the Rescuer

The rescuer is a very complex character in the Karpman Triangle. He has an inclination towards hostility, which he tries to suppress in every possible way.

Because for a number of reasons he cannot become a Chaser, he has to look for other ways to fulfill his hidden needs. As a result, he finds his own purpose, which is to help the Sacrifice.

In this case, it cannot be said that he tries his best to help her, because then he risks losing the opportunity for his self-realization.

This self-realization consists in the fact that the Rescuer, under the guise of the help of the Victim, manifests imperceptible to others hostility towards the Chaser. Therefore, in fact, he is not interested in leaving the Sacrifice from the Karpman Triangle.

Karpman's Triangle

How to get out of the Karpman Triangle

Any person is subject to negative life situations and even quite often can create them himself.

Leaving the Karpman Triangle is sometimes not as easy as it might seem at first glance.

The more we are affected by society, the more we find ourselves in its intrigues and intricacies. If you begin to experience psychological discomfort, then in this case you should immediately leave the Karpman Triangle.

Initially, we need to objectively consider the current situation and to allowthat it can be a Karpman Triangle. Then everything should be carefully analyzed and determine whether you are the Sacrifice, the Persecutor or the Rescuer.

In the course of introspection an individual can come to very unpleasant conclusions. However, to find a way out of the situation, you need to objectively consider your position.

Tips for the Sacrifice

As mentioned earlier, in the Karpman Triangle, the Sacrifice is considered the most complex figure. How, then, get out of the role of the Sacrifice? Let's look at some recommendations that will help you deal with the problem:

  • you must do everything in your power to improve your own life;
  • should stop blaming others for their failures;
  • realize that you will have to pay for any service you provide;
  • stop constantly making excuses, because you have the right to do what you think is necessary;
  • if a Lifeguard appeared in your life, try to get the most out of communication with him. Do not try to be the initiator of his clashes with the Chaser.

Advice for the Rescuer

To get out of the Karpman Triangle, the Rescuer will be helped by the following tips:

  • do not interfere in other people's relations until you have been asked for help;
  • do not think others are more stupid than yourself;
  • before promising anything, you should consider whether you can keep your promises;
  • if you are going to help someone, do not expect any thanks from anyone;
  • if you decide to provide assistance for personal gain, do not hide it;
  • try to find a way for self-realization that does not imply interference in other people's problems;
  • if you sincerely want to help others, then do it when it is really necessary.

Tips for the Chaser

If the Chaser wants to leave the Karpman Triangle, he should conduct an objective self-analysis and listen to the following recommendations:

  • before manifesting hostility towards someone, one must be sure that it is not unreasonable, but merely the result of something wrong behavior;
  • should accept the fact that you, like all people, erroneous;
  • initially look for the root of your problems and in your actions, and not in the people around you;
  • realize that if you do not listen to the opinions of others, they, in turn, will also not take into account your opinion;
  • find other opportunities for self-realization;
  • strive to achieve your goal by motivating people, not by using pressure.

Examples of the Karpman Triangle

The Ivanov family has a problem. Their son constantly plays around and does not respect his parents. To find a way out of the situation, the Ivanovs turn to the Petrov family to give them some advice.

According to Karpman Triangle, 2 roles have already been defined: boy - Pursuer, father and mother - Victim. Petrov, who played the role LifeguardThey recommend Ivanov to flog the child so that he becomes obedient.

After whipping the boy decides to run away from home. Ivanovs begin to look for those guilty of what happened. Of course, the main culprits, in their opinion, are Petrovs.

Then the Ivanovs begin to complain to their neighbors and friends, lamenting: "Can you imagine what the Petrovs advised us to?"


Your friend is going to buy a jacket and asks you to help her choose. You advise her to buy a white jacket, focusing on your taste.

It soon becomes clear that there was a scandal in the family of a friend. It turned out that her husband does not like clothes of white color, since she often gets dirty. A friend cries and complains that money is thrown to the wind.

But who is to blame? Of course, not she, but you! A friend will start calling friends and tell them what bad advice you have given her. It should be borne in mind that the greater the cost of things, the greater the claims to you.


The school is undergoing tests in chemistry. One of the students easily and quickly copes with all tasks, with the result that she has a lot of free time.

As a result, the girl decides to help her classmates and begins to perform their tasks (acting as the Rescuer). A similar situation occurs several times.

When the teacher notices this, he gives the student a more complex task, which requires much more time to solve. However, classmates still continue to ask her for help. Of course, the girl refuses them and even resents their arrogance (at this moment she becomes the Chaser).

However, in the image of the Chaser it is not for long. Already at the next break, a schoolgirl hears in her address from her comrades a lot of reproaches and even insults. Thus, the student quickly becomes a Sacrifice.