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NARCISSIST TRIANGULATION | DIVIDE AND CONQUER

Triangulation is a very common tactic that narcissist’s use to further the malevolent abuse of their “victim”.

What is triangulation?

 

Triangulation is a passive-aggressive manipulation tactic used by narcissists and sociopaths where a third person, or group, is brought into the equation without that third person knowing it is for the purpose of abusing the target.

Narcissists employ the use of triangulation as a means of power and control over their targets.

The simple definition of triangulation is one individual attacking, discrediting (smearing) or/ and abusing another person with the use of third-party people or institutions.

It doesn’t matter how much integrity you have. The narcissist believes and accuses you of things that you don’t have the capacity to think about, let alone be able to execute.

The narcissist is fully scornful regarding your character, and is  clueless to the fact that your reaction of criticism or anger was triggered as a result of being abused by the narcissist.

Instead, the narcissist only has the capacity to de-humanize and demonize you as the container of the narcissist’s pathological shame.

At this point, the narcissist is now a terrified child in an aggressive adult’s body doing anything to stop the imagined assaults he or she believes are inevitable from you, and that he or she feels (childishly) powerless to defend alone.

Hence the urgent and frenetic need to recruit allies.

“The narcissist uses this triangulation tactic for absolute control of the information shared between the parties. It also serves to provide the narcissist with the power of being the primary contact person and transfer of information.  Since everyone is communicating through the narcissist and not with each other, the narcissist can further his/her agenda by relaying their twisted spin on the information between the parties.”



Video Courtesy of “The Royal We”

By deep personal experience, I believe it’s important in any kind of relationship, that we learn to identify the early warning signs and red flags when interacting with people who display narcissistic and anti-social behaviors. This way, we can better protect ourselves from being exploited and abused, and be able to make good decisions about who we allow into our lives.

And yes, this includes poisoned family members, too.

Triangulation can be defined as an indirect form of communication where one person (usually the narcissist) acts as a messenger between two other people. Or it can be a direct form of communication where one person attempts to draw in an accomplice, to gang up against a third party, to further their agenda. In both cases, the messenger (narcissist) will fabricate or alter a message, sometimes incorporating a sliver of the truth, to advance his/her objective.

“This narcissist is now as a terrified child in an aggressive adult’s body doing anything to stop the imagined assaults he or she believes are inevitable from you, and that he or she feels (childishly) powerless to defend alone.”

Narcissus, the Hunter (predator)

Narcissists are keenly skilled observers. They can identify an honest, kind and generous person that will be easy to exploit in the same way that a lion instinctually knows that the larger water buffalo has a weakness that leaves it vulnerable. With skilled predatory insight learned through a lifetime of manipulating their “prey”, the narcissist’s main goal is to control and dominate not only their target,  but just about everyone they come into contact with.

If you have been allowed into the narcissist’s circle of influence, then you have been studied and any admirable human traits that may leave you vulnerable have been identified for use of future exploitation. The charm offensive phase is key to the narcissist’s success, and no matter how confident you are at the beginning of the relationship, the constant attention, flattery and fraudulent declarations of love sweeps you off your feet, leaving you off-balance and vulnerable by default.

The 3 most common methods of triangulation used by narcissists and predatory people, and the motives behind them.

 

  • Kill two birds with one stone

To maintain control, acquire attention or adulation (supply), narcissists will often manipulate their partner to instill jealousy about how a third-party has been flirtatious with them. This third-party is brought into the dynamic to kill two birds with one stone!

By stirring up feelings of jealousy and insecurity in their partner, it subtlety warns the partner that they are potentially replaceable. Instinctively, the partner tries harder to please the narcissist, to keep from being replaced. Second, it creates an illusion of desirability and encourages rivalry, both of which, fill the narcissist with narcissistic supply, consisting of adulation and control. So, not only does the narcissist get his/her dose of supply, she also increases the amount of power she wields over their partner.

Emotionally healthy people do not purposefully invoke feelings of jealousy and insecurity in their partners, or into their relationships, as they know these are unhealthy and untrue. 

  • Collaborative Re-reinforcements

The second way narcissists use triangulation to manipulate a person into siding with their point of view or acquiesce to their wants and needs is by using third-party reinforcements to substantiate their opinions. This is a form of recruiting allies, or when taken to the extreme, is flat out bullying. The narcissist tries to manipulate anyone who may hold a different opinion or belief by using the help of an unwitting third party, or even a partner in their crime, which of course, has only heard the narcissist’s narrative of the “truth”.

The third-party is usually oblivious to the narcissist’s deceit and believes they’re only trying to help the narcissist. Usually, the third party is a family relative or a member of the narcissist’s clique. The narcissist uses these innocent people as tools to help settle differences and coerce their partner or anyone else into accepting their viewpoint through the use of persuasion, embarrassment, or guilt.

Emotionally healthy people do not recruit third parties or use messengers to settle their differences. They have face-to-face discussions. They don’t coerce the other by using a third person to help influence their partner and do their bidding for them. They respect each other and their relationship.

  • Splitting

Splitting is a very malicious form of triangulation. The entire scenario is deceptive, hurtful and sadistic in nature. This method of triangulation involves pitting two people against each other. The narcissist does this by smearing the character of one or both of the people behind their backs. This enables the narcissist to preserve their false image and ensures that they’re viewed positively among the triangle, through plausible deniability.

In many instances, the narcissist will portray themselves as the victim, especially if they feel their partner is growing tired or aware of their manipulation, hypocrisy, and abuse. The narcissist will react by planning their partner’s discard, by starting a full-fledged smear campaign behind their back. So by the time they dump their partner, the narcissist already has a circle of blind supporters.

The narcissist will seek supporters that she knows will always agree with them, without question. In this way, they set up their target to look like the abuser and/or crazy person in the relationship. For this to work, the narcissist must keep the supporter(s) and target from sharing information, so the narcissist with engage in an instant-kill smear campaign against the target.

What makes this incredibly malicious, is the target of the triangulation has no idea what has been said, and for what reason. Invariably, the recipient of such diabolical manipulations will be the last to know, and by that time, all credibility will have been destroyed.

The narcissist uses this triangulation tactic for absolute control of the information shared between the parties. It also serves to provide the narcissist with the power of being the primary contact person and transfer of information.  Since everyone is communicating through the narcissist and not with each other, the narcissist can further his/her agenda by relaying their twisted spin on the information between the parties.

Emotionally healthy people tend to shy away from the drama that splitting creates. Most people hate to be put in the middle of other people’s arguments, but the narcissist thrives in doing this. Also, emotionally healthy individuals don’t enjoy hurting others by sharing false and totally fabricated comments that others have supposedly said.

Since they are sadists, the narcissist takes much pleasure in the destructive drama that triangulation encompasses. For example, the narcissist will mention to her partner that a family member made a very cruel comment about them, and then pretend to be supportive of their partner’s anger and appear to defend them. This creates a lot of drama and chaos and is a potent source of supply for the drama-driven narcissist.

It doesn’t matter how much integrity you have. The narcissist believes and accuses you of things that you don’t have the capacity to think about, let alone be able to execute.

If you are, or have been a victim of the narcissist’s triangulation tactic of divide and conquer in a familial setting, then, like the scapegoat, you have been chosen for your strengths in character and integrity to your beliefs.

In essence, the targeted person of triangulation is or has been chosen out of fear. An irrational, and illogical fear of being cast as a fraud or a less than perfect character that the narcissist has sculpted into her omniscient persona. 

In order for the narcissist to maintain her superior sense of entitlement and self aggrandizement, she must destroy all abilities to communicate between parties – by any and all means possible.

Because you know the truth of the narcissist’s phony and immoral past that magically re-invents itself with differing identities (masks) from person to person, she must shut you down to make you irrelevant or marginal, at best.

You will also be feared for your intellect, your ability of horizontal (critical) thinking, and a willingness to confront the the accuser. All of which, sends the pathologically deceptive narcissist into a tizzy for the ultimate destruction of your character. 

The Unsuspecting 3rd Party

Unbeknownst to those who have been drawn into the psycho drama of the narcissist, the unsuspecting person(s) have been manipulated and are now being used as pawns in the narcissist’s twisted world.

An unscrupulous world to where there are no boundaries, no rules of decency, and where the results are as manipulated as the “unwilling” players that blindly fall prey of the narcissist.

The responses from these “players” can be outlined by three different groups.

  • Those who take sides with the narcissist without coming to you for verification. These can be narcissists themselves as they have a tendency to flock together.  

They fell for the mask of pretense and superficial charm that hides her true self, never bothering to look beyond the surface and take notice of the contradictions in character.  What’s more, is their knee jerk reaction and assuming an opinion on something they know nothing about and being unforgiving. These are all traits of a narcissist.

  • Those that do nothing and say nothing. They refuse to take sides and maybe have communications with you and the narcissist. These are very likely enablers of the narcissist.

The narcissist depends upon weak-willed people who become co-conspirators by allowing the abuses to flourish. Abusing someone isn’t any fun if it’s only a party of two. With a crowd, there’s unlimited potential for drama. The narcissist can pull a lot more strings that way.

  • The Empathic Soul is going to be your best chance of exposing the narcissist for what she really is, and uncover the truth about the message being narrated. These are the people who ask questions and have doubts about the malicious narrative that the narcissist spews forth.

If you’ve had the misfortune of being triangulated by a severely disturbed pathological narcissist as I have and continue to experience, then you’ll have only one option that remains for your advantage.

Truth! Believe in it, for it cannot change.

It will be time to tap into your inner strength and peace, if you haven’t done so already. As I had, you very well may be faced with a nightmarish reality that shakes you to the bottom of your soul when the realization that your relationship with the covert narcissist was never, and I can’t emphasize this enough, ever what you had thought it to be. Yes, in spite of some questionable characteristics that were obvious during periods in your relationship with your “sister”, you still maintained a sense of unconditional love through virtue of being “family”. 

You simply trusted too much and believed in the power of family. And, with envy, she used these very traits – admirable, human traits – that you carry, against you. Not just once, but for a lifetime.  

Her mask has been permanently removed and you shudder when you see what lies beneath. 

You will need your inner strength when you begin to ask the hard questions, You will need your inner peace to maintain your healthy balance of emotion. 

You will demand answers and she will run away and flip it all onto you, because she knows that she’s been exposed. The triangulation continues and becomes more sinister as she makes you in to a disgruntled, crazy person who has major “issues”. 

None of which is true, of course. The narcissist is now unmasked for all who wish to see beyond the false facade of a “game face”. A face that she has paraded through her life displaying the ultimate of con-jobs.

And we all have fell for the charade. Except, of course, anyone who has been involved with her on a deeper, personal level – such as family, ex-husbands, and their sons and daughters. All have been manipulated and destroyed in one form or another. 

 

 



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