If it were normal, the mother who’s supposed to cherish me the most ended up hitting and abandoning me, making me wonder what kind of person I am to be treated that way by my own mother. I don’t know my own worth.


I’ve always found it hard to live. I’m grateful that my uncle and aunt raised me even though I’m not their real child, but there’s always been an emptiness that couldn’t be filled. I wondered why, even though I have a mother, she doesn’t care about me at all.”

“That’s why you came to see her like this, right? Don’t say strange things when you’re trying to get along.”

“There’s no point in her being half-heartedly kind to me now just because she’s being fickle. Go back to the past and love me properly from the start. Do for the past me what I wanted to be done back then.”

“There’s no way I can do that. What are you talking about?”

“If it were normal, the mother who’s supposed to cherish me most ended up hitting and abandoning me, making me wonder what kind of person I am to be treated that way by my own mother. I don’t know my own worth. I can’t get along with people, I’m always scared of others, and I’ve cut off people I wanted to cherish because I believed they were living in a different world from me.”

This is a conversation between Yuki and her mother from the manga “Tomorrow, I Will Be Someone’s Girlfriend.”

Imagine a situation where you feel happy. Isn’t it a situation where your relationships are going well?

Now, imagine a situation where you feel unhappy. Isn’t it a situation where your relationships are not going well?

“All problems stem from human relationships.” This is a quote from Adler, known from the book “The Courage to Be Disliked.”

Traditional psychology has studied “what’s wrong” by gathering sick or unhappy people. In contrast, the field of “positive psychology” studies “what works” by gathering happy people. The idea is to learn from happy people if you want to be happy.

In 2002, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois conducted the world’s first study of “happy people.” The result was simple. The difference between happy and unhappy people was whether they had “good relationships.” 100% of happy people had good relationships.

Look around you. There are people who have good relationships and live happily. On the other hand, aren’t there people who always seem unhappy, speak negatively, and always have some problem?

As a care manager for the elderly and their families, a support specialist for people with disabilities and their families, and a counselor, I often encounter such people.

Some examples are:

  • Unable to form an attachment relationship with parents during childhood

  • Suffering from psychological abuse from a spouse

  • Experiencing power harassment from a boss

  • Dealing with competitive behavior from other mothers

The list could go on. While these situations seem different, they all share the same root cause: troubled relationships.

Troubled and difficult relationships all follow the same pattern. In each case, there are three roles: the victim, the persecutor, and the rescuer. While individuals might be at fault, the problem lies more in the relationships themselves.

“The people who come to see me usually have relationship problems, and they all fit into this triangle.”

In 1968, psychiatrist Karpman named this harmful relationship pattern the “Drama Triangle.”

Fairy tales, animations, and movies often follow this “Drama Triangle.” A clear example is “Doraemon.”

  • Nobita: Victim

  • Gian: Persecutor

  • Doraemon: Rescuer

When Nobita is bullied by Gian, he always relies on Doraemon. Doraemon takes out gadgets from his pocket and solves Nobita’s problems.

At first glance, there seems to be no problem, but the interaction has a big issue. Even if Doraemon temporarily solves the problem with a gadget, Nobita will be bullied by Gian again soon.

  • Nobita: Victim

  • Gian: Persecutor

  • Doraemon: Rescuer

In this relationship, no matter what gadgets Doraemon brings out, the situation doesn’t change.

Even scarier, the “Drama Triangle” roles can shift, continuing the loop like an endless cycle.

  • Cinderella: Victim

  • Stepmother and Stepsisters: Persecutors

  • Prince: Rescuer

“Cinderella” follows this relationship pattern. While “Cinderella” ends with a happy ending, if you imagine the continuation, the cycle of unhappiness might continue.

The prince who was the “rescuer” may become controlling over time, turning into a “persecutor.” Love is like a momentary drug, and once the effect wears off, a person’s true nature appears.

To escape the prince who became a “persecutor,” Cinderella might start looking for a new “rescuer.” When she meets a man who becomes the “rescuer,” they might fall in love. From the prince’s perspective, this is infidelity, making the prince the “victim” and Cinderella the “persecutor.”

In this way, the “Drama Triangle” roles shift and continue endlessly.

Everyone in the “Drama Triangle” tends to blame others. Surprisingly, even the “rescuer” often lives blaming others deep down.

To be continued…