Beware Of These 5 Narcissistic Triangulation Tactics
If you’re part of this community, by now you’ve probably experienced the destructive triangulation tactics narcissists use to gain dominance and control over you.
It’s insidious and a very painful dynamic that triggers your insecurities.
When you’re caught in this web – whether it’s in a love relationship, at work, with friends or family members – you’ll be made to feel like you’re not good enough and that you must work harder and harder to gain approval or love.
The video I’ve prepared for you today explains the 5 most destructive triangulation tactics narcissists use to get you to participate in their toxic triangle. And beware … they’ll even use your children as pawns in this game to hurt you.
By having clarity on these abusive tactics, I hope you will gain the strength and determination to stop this torment directly and powerfully. Watch the video to find out more.
Today, I want to share with you five destructive narcissistic triangulation tactics so that you can spot them and avoid being abused with them. Let’s just jump straight in.
What Is Triangulation?
Triangulation is bringing a third party into any relationship dynamic so that a narcissist can gain dominance and control. Commonly, you may want to think of this as divide and conquer.
There is very limited and maybe even no contact between the triangulated people, so that means that the narrative and the conversation takes place between people via the narcissist. Now, this keeps people at odds with each other, rather than them understanding that the source of toxicity and abuse is coming from the narcissist.
Triangulation can be very hard to spot, it’s very insidious and it can be very painful to experience.
So, let’s look at these five destructive narcissistic tactics that narcissists use.
Number 1 – Playing People Off Against Each Other
The narcissist simply may tell someone how this person, the other person, is so much better than them. It can be done covertly in indirect ways, or even overtly stated just as I expressed it here, such as, “This person does this better than you do.”
Now, this is designed to make the target feel like they’re not good enough, that they have to do better to earn the narcissist’s approval, or that they are at threat of losing the narcissist’s fidelity in a romantic relationship because they start fearing somebody else.
Or they may fear that they’re going to lose the loyalty within a friendship group, because the narcissist is sidling up to somebody else as a friend, more than them. Or you could be in fear of losing a position or a promotion in a workplace, or love in a family dynamic.
Some examples are the narcissist making comments about how great somebody at work looks, or telling you they love the way he or she dresses or looks. Maybe in an intimate relationship with you, they’re making disparaging comments about your attire or your looks. You think that this person, that the narcissist is talking about, that they could leave you and go to that person instead.
The narcissist could tell you gushingly what a wonderful friend this other person is to them, and they may tell you within this friendship circle that they’re making plans with this friend, rather than you, to purposely make you feel left out.
A narcissistic boss or team leader may tell you how incredible another team member is or how they will go above the call of duty in ways that you don’t, so that you start giving more for less because of your fear of loss of your position in the business.
Within a family, it’s common for one child to be the scapegoat, and forever being told how wonderful the golden child is and how they can’t match up to them. Usually, the sensitive kinder scapegoated child is the one that the narcissistic parent exploits for years, even decades, because it’s this child that’s trying to finally earn their parent’s approval.
Narcissists, when triangulating, may play off both people or more against each other. It could even be the story that you’re hearing about not being good enough is also the story the other person’s hearing as well. Because this keeps people focused on trying to please the narcissist and giving the narcissist more whilst losing their self-esteem and their inner healthy boundaries. That allows the narcissist control and they can be siphoning out people more and more and more for their own self-serving benefit.
Number 2 – The Idolize And Devalue Switch
This is a more aggressive triangulation campaign and it’s deeply toxic and destructive. This is where the narcissist will idolize a person, then devalue them and will have somebody else that they’re devaluing and idolizing as well as the mirror image. So when one’s devalued, the other is idolized and vice versa.
The most common time this is used is in romantic relationships, so let me give you this simple example. The narcissist leaves a current partner who they devalue and then takes up with a new partner who’s idolized and put on a pedestal. The new partner may do something that the narcissist perceives as wrong, and then he or she is devalued and the old partner is picked up again and idolized.
This is a very broken, twisted, immature, and pathologically self-serving narcissistic tactic that sadly is very common. It’s used to punish people covertly in that this may be being hidden from you, especially if the narcissist knows that you wouldn’t tolerate being cheated on, and it would be the end of you being in their life forever.
Or it could be done overtly, even flung in your face with full-blooded callousness, telling you about the other person, and that they’ve gone off to be with them, if the narcissist knows that you will stay around even after knowing that this is happening. By having such drama, surrounded by broken-hearted people warring for the narcissist’s attention, the narcissist gains powerful narcissistic supply. It’s such an ego boost to their significance.
To get such potent narcissistic supply, the narcissist may even lie about perceived difficulties with the other person. For example, he or she may simply say to the new partner, I have to go away for work and I’ll be staying overnight in this location, and then they could come into your bed as the old partner telling you how things are not working out with the new person, and that they’ve made a terrible mistake and they love you and they want to get back with you.
Then you discover after having sex with them and reconnecting that you get discarded and thrown away yet again, and of course the narcissist will find some justification for this, that degrades and destroys you further.
With the idolize and devalue switch, both parties may not be aware this is happening with the other person, yet they will usually suspect and feel that there’s something wrong. You feel it in your gut. A hint could be that they regularly talk about this person. The narcissist will bring this person up and your gut will be churning because your intuition is warning you this is going on.
Or one or both parties may be fully aware and are shockingly hooked into the trauma and the drama and feel like they can’t break free from it, and the narcissist is demonizing both people to each other, and you blame them without realizing that the narcissist is playing everybody involved. It’s shocking.
Number 3 – Inappropriate Relationships
Narcissists can have an inappropriate relationship that threatens their relationship with you. This could be like a best friend, and usually it’s like of the sex that competes with you romantically. This person is their go-to when they’ve got troubles or times of need, or even when you have an argument with the narcissist.
Maybe their best friend was a past lover, or maybe they’ve met up with this person and started with this “best friend” after being in a relationship with you. This is a person that they spend a lot of time with, and maybe they even go to events with them or do some traveling with them or share certain interests with them. It’s incredibly painful for you to experience this.
An inappropriate relationship is very confusing for you because you may believe that you’re a reasonable person and you’re not jealous or paranoid, but yet there’s something that feels really off about this relationship.
If you speak up to the narcissist and express your concerns, the narcissist will accuse you of being jealous and paranoid and controlling, and it’s really confusing because you feel torn between honouring your boundaries and knowing something feels off.
Also, you may feel like, “I’ve got this wrong and there is something wrong with me” and you’re trying to prove to the narcissist that you’re not this insecure, paranoid, inappropriate person.
Maybe this isn’t even a friendship. It could be a relationship that a narcissist has with their sibling or even a parent, and this person seems to be their ultimate person and is used against you with examples or brought up in conversations often. You kind of wonder who they’re having a relationship with, because understandably, this is going to leave you feeling unimportant, insignificant, and replaced.
You may start to suspect there’s more going on with this type of relationship than meets the eye, and it has come to pass in many people’s lives that these were actually sexual relationships, or at the very least emotional infidelity was going on with this so-called “friendship” who is the third wheel in your relationship.
Number 4 – Allies Real Or Imagined
Commonly in arguments with a narcissist, they’ll quote a third party who apparently agrees with the narcissist’s degradation of you.
They’ll say things like, “Your work colleagues have told me that you’re selfish and you don’t care about other people on your team.” Or “I know from people in your past that you’ve been caught out cheating on them.” Or “So-and-so confided in me that they also believe and they’re really concerned that you’ve got serious mental issues.”
Now because you’re a good person and you’re not used to this, you can’t imagine that people would purposefully lie about such things or that they’re capable of feeding people so much of their own twisted versions, effectively turning people against you, that these people have started agreeing with the narcissist. They have said some things about you that the narcissist is quoting or embellishing.
When this happens to you, this triggers intense shame and pain within you – all designed to diminish you and control you. The narcissist is banking on you not discovering the truth about this, so they’ll refuse to give you the source. They’ll say something like, “I gave this person my word I wouldn’t tell you that they said this.” Because you’re a good person, you think, “Well that’s honourable.”
Or they might say who said it, if they feel like you would never have the guts to ask them. This triangulation tactic, allies real or imagined, is especially used when you try to hold the narcissist accountable for their wrongdoings. I’m sure you’ve experienced it, because it’s pretty common.
Number 5 – Using The Children Against You
Our last devastating triangulation technique is setting your children against you, and this can be employed even when you’re still living under the same roof with the narcissist. But it’s especially used after separating with a narcissist. In this case, the narcissist doesn’t speak directly to you, but tries to control communication through the children.
As an example, the narcissist will say awful things about you to your child, have the child deliver you this narrative in order to degrade, anger and hurt you, and then the narcissist will make out to the child that they’re the good parent, that they can come to them for attention and the things that they want. Things that you, as the bad parent, won’t supply them with.
The narcissist may even tell the child that certain information about you and what you’ve done is a secret and not to share it with you. Or tell them that you’re going to deny it and you’re going to pretend that the narcissist did it, so they’re trying to get ahead of your reaction to make the child distrust you and start pulling back from you.
Naturally of course, when you hear this stuff, you get triggered and then this does cause your child to retract even further. Tragically, this can even lead to the child being alienated away from you.
Of course, it’s disgraceful using children as pawns in the game to hurt you. Yet narcissists do this, they do it without conscience and they do it regardless of the effect that it has on the children.
True Solutions To Triangulation
There’s only one way to deal with triangulation and it’s by detaching and doing inner healing. They’re essential ingredients because if you’re triggered – which of course you are because it’s all designed to trigger you – you become emotionally involved. You participate in the toxic triangle, which is exactly where the narcissist wants you to be. You’re trying to bring sense and sanity to it, you’re trying to sort it out, but it only feeds it and it only makes it worse.
There is no possibility of you sorting it out, if you are hooked into what the narcissist is doing. Rather, you need to create a parallel reality, and we do this from the inside out. By turning in and by releasing your fears of traumas of not being good enough, feeling dependent on a certain person for love, approval, security and survival, which is a narcissist. And fearing loss – loss of love or the relationship or the kids or the friendship or whatever it is.
What happens then when you lose the dependency and the loss from the inner healing, is you get in touch with your own truths, values, and limits, and align with them no matter what somebody else does or doesn’t do.
You will leave this lover trying to control you through trying to trigger your insecurities. You can generate a healthier job where you are appreciated and don’t have people pitted against you to exploit you or diminish your worth. You don’t play these games with friendships and family anymore, and that way you can be free to create your own healthy relationships and realities.
It takes time. It takes healing, but it definitely comes because you will start to be able to recognize abuse, break away when you see it and no longer stay attached, trying to fix an unhealthy other who is triangulating you and realize that healthy relationships don’t feel like this. They don’t go like this.
If a narcissist is trying to twist and turn your child against you, you can detach from that, not feed it and heal yourself instead. Don’t get caught up in trying to justify yourself and just become your True Self, where the truth just starts to unravel and it does express itself, and it heals regardless of what anybody throws at you and your children.
Please know, triangulation is one of the narcissist’s favourite tactics. It gets them big bang for buck. It’s a really great way to control people and they all do it.
I hope that today has helped you recognize when and how you’re being triangulated and how abusive this is, and you’re not going crazy, it is happening.
If you know you want power, clarity, and strength to pull away and heal and never have to experience these narcissistic tactics again, then I can’t recommend enough checking out the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP) because it delivers you out of this torment, directly and powerfully.