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Thursday, June 25, 2015


In a family or group of any kind, it is always preferable to talk directly to a person with whom you have conflict. 

Seems kind of logical, doesn't it?

But in some groups, families, or relationships, a great deal of communication goes on behind the scenes by a very manipulative person: a triangulator. 

The triangulator may set up scenarios where one person is talking to a third person (or a fourth or fifth person) in order to get that person to join the side of the first person...ugh; or where one person is relaying information back and forth between two people in conflict, people who haven't spoken to one another at all, adding their own opinions and slants to the stories; when one person tells a second person that a third person says this about them, thereby provoking anger and dissent between the two; scenarios like where a dominant person slanders or devalues loved ones to a subordinate so that the subordinate becomes more dependent on the dominant person for information, friendship, comradeship. Triangulation.

All of these cases are called triangulation and in of these cases, the person in the middle, the person doing the triangulating, is manipulating situations to be more in his or her favor. The actions of in a toxic triangulating person tend to cause drama, pain, conflict.

Is the toxic person in your life in the habit of pointing out the negative points of your friends, your family, your children, your job, your church, public institutions, or any other support or connection group, thereby putting a barrier or conflict between you and these supports? Are you being slandered to friends, family, etc? Are you left out of the loop? Are you left stranded? Have you been reported to public or social institutions and are now being investigated for unfounded or bizarre claims against you, claims that might actually be true of the toxic person? Is your access to necessary resources cut off? 

But WHY would someone engage in this exhausting and chaotic activity? What sort of gratification can a toxic person possibly obtain through triangulation?

It is all about control.

The toxic triangulator gains allies against you, putting you in the subordinate position. They are extremely deliberate in their approach; they are good at it. You become enmeshed in a never-ending chaos of their creation. You feel as though you cannot get your life back.

What to do?

But be hopeful because there are specific and doable ways to prevent yourself from getting into situations this dire and chaotic.  Maintaining control of your life, not letting go of control, maintaining healthy boundaries, are absolutely essential keys to prevent toxic people from getting control of your life, to avoid toxic relationships, and to create a life where healthy relationships can happen.

I remember a friend years ago telling her therapist I let people in too soon and I reveal myself too early and they hurt me.
The therapist replied Well, don't do that.