Triangulation can be described as manipulation tactics in which one person will not communicate directly with another person.  Instead they will create triangles where they draw in a third person to relay information to the second.

In romantic relationships the narcissist will have you believing that they are the most desired person on the planet.  They delude themselves and tell you stories of their desirability.  They will surround themselves with their enablers, their ex-partners, and quite likely, your successor.  You feel flattered that you are the one who has gained their attention amongst all of their admirers.

One of the ways the narcissist manufactures situations in which they appear to be in such high demand, is to triangulate.  They will create triangles where they will turn people against one another, creating jealousy and rivalry.  Creating jealousy and rivalry does two things. Firstly, it brings about feelings of insecurity in the narcissist’s partner who will feel that they may be replaced. As a result they will try harder to please the narcissist to prevent this from happening. Secondly, the narcissist will gain narcissistic supply when in their deluded mind they feel both desired and in control of this twisted dynamic.

Triangulation can take place in any type of relationship.  In dysfunctional families children can be pitted against one another by a manipulative parent or a parent may try to get the support of one of their children against their partner.  In normal relationships drawing a third person into a disagreement can be helpful and beneficial.  However in a dysfunctional relationship, this tends not to be the case.  The third party often feels pressured into taking sides.  They may be manipulated into becoming part of a conflict that they have no desire to be a part of.

If the narcissist is getting bored in the relationship or believes that their target has sussed them out, they will spread malicious gossip behind the back of the real victim, in an effort to tarnish their reputation.  This often takes place before the relationship comes to an end.  A narcissist will portray themselves as a victim and their target as unbalanced, even crazy and will blame them for the very things that they have done themselves.  Sadly, they are often believed by the listening ears who fail to listen to two sides of a story and pass judgement accordingly.

Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

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4 thoughts on “Triangulation

  1. It’s absolutely incredible how this describes my husband of only a few months. In going through hell with him, trying to figure him out, and understanding how he went from being madly in love with me to manipulating and putting me down constantly, I feel like I’m going insane. I knew he had a disorder and was unstable, but this is EXACTLY what he is doing. And the whole bit about tarnishing my reputation getting someone else involved and accusing me of things he has done himself – this is all spot on. Cannot believe it. – thanks for a great article.

  2. Thank you Anne….I have found this link now and so much of what is written now makes sense to me – I am beginning to understand why I felt so insecure with him. At first I did not pay much attention to some of the things – probably because I was so blown over by the fact that this wonderful, charismatic, caring person could have fallen in love with me so quickly. I was swept off my feet completely….Looking back all the red flags were there – I was just too stupid to see them.

  3. This describes my X-Narc to a tee. She used FaceBook to rub my nose in all her innuendo with “friends” and when I mentioned my hurt feelings I was met with, “you’re just being too sensitive”.

  4. Hello my friend! I want to say that this article is awesome, great written and include almost all vital infos. I’d like to see more posts like this .

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