Narcissist Triangulation – What it is, why Narcissists do it, and how to deal with it

Narcissists often engage in a manipulative tactic known as triangulation to gain control and maintain power. Triangulation is when two or more people are pitted against each other in order to manipulate them into providing the narcissist with what they want. Whether it be attention, admiration, or resources, the narcissist will use triangulation to get what they desire.

three people arguing

There are several reasons why narcissists use triangulation.

The primary reason is to ensure that the narcissist’s needs are met. They may resort to triangulation if their direct requests for attention or admiration are not fulfilled by the targets of their manipulation.

Additionally, by pitting two people against one another, the narcissist can create drama and chaos which serves to distract from any difficult emotions they may be experiencing.

Finally, the narcissist may also use triangulation as a way of demonstrating control over others – assuring them that he/she has power over those around him/her and any relationships they form.

Narcissistic Triangulation Tactics

How a narcissist will use triangulation in romantic relationships

Triangulation in romantic relationships can take many forms, including introducing third-party “rivals” into the relationship.

They will flirt with other people to make their partner jealous, and play off one person against the other.

By creating tension and rivalry between two people, the narcissist can maintain control over the situation and insure that their needs are met.

Triangulation is particularly common in romantic relationships as it allows a narcissist to fulfill their need for attention and admiration without having to actually commit fully to someone else.

Not only does triangulation create an emotional distance between them and their partner but it also allows them to forge emotional connections outside of the main relationship which serves as validation for them.


How a narcissist will use triangulation to isolate their victim

Narcissists often use triangulation to isolate their victims and maintain control over them.

This can be accomplished by making the person compete for the narcissist’s attention or approval, creating an environment where the victim must constantly strive to appease the narcissist.

The narcissist may also use third-parties such as friends, colleagues or family members to drive wedges between the victim and their loved ones in order to further isolate them.

Such tactics are intended to weaken the victim so that they become more reliant on the narcissist for emotional support.

It also serves as a way of demonstrating power and control over others, showing that despite being outnumbered, the narcissist still reigns supreme.

narcissist triangulation at work

How a narcissist will use triangulation at work

Narcissists often use triangulation as a tool in the workplace to manipulate their colleagues into providing what they want.

By creating tension and rivalry between two people, the narcissist can maintain control over the situation and insure that their needs are met.

This includes playing people off against each other for promotions, assigning projects or tasks. The goal is to create competition amongst team members.

Narcissists may also threaten employees with termination or peer pressure to get them to do what they want.

They may employ flattery and charm towards certain individuals while being critical and dismissive towards others in order to make one person feel special while making the other feel insecure and inferior.

Furthermore, they may gossip about team members behind their back in order to spread negative energy throughout the workspace.


How to deal with Narcissist Triangulation

It can be incredibly difficult and disorienting to deal with narcissistic triangulation but there are some strategies you can implement to protect yourself:

Maintain firm personal boundaries. Make sure you set clear limits for how much emotional energy you’re willing to expend on facing off against someone in a triangle created by the narcissist.

Create distance from your abuser. If possible, distance yourself from your abuser as much as you can so that it’s harder for them to manipulate you with triangulation.

Practice self-care and seek out support. Caring for yourself is essential when dealing with this type of manipulation. Talk about your experiences with someone who understands what you’re going through and take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.

Work on developing healthy coping mechanisms. Engage in positive activities such as reading, exercising, creating art or talking to close friends. These are things that help keep us grounded while we’re dealing with challenging situations like this one.

Focus on moving forward. Remember that it isn’t helpful to dwell on past events caused by narcissistic behavior. Instead, focus on finding ways of breaking free of this unhealthy pattern and reclaiming your right to make choices based on your own values and goals rather than those of others around you.


The Bottom Line about Narcissist Triangulation

The main goal of narcissist triangulation is to create a constant state of anxiety in the victim.

Narcissists use triangulation to make sure that their victims are always feeling on edge, and unsure of what they should do next.

It’s also a way of gaining narcissistic supply from as many people as possible.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are being triangulated by a narcissist, the best thing to do is to try and keep your cool.

Don’t react to their provocations, and don’t get drawn into any arguments.

Try and communicate with them as clearly as possible, setting boundaries and making it clear that any issues are to be discussed directly between the two of you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Narcissism

Frequently Asked Questions About Narcissist Triangulation

What is narcissist triangulation?

Narcissist triangulation is a manipulation tactic used by narcissists to instigate jealousy, create conflict, or to manipulate the perceptions of others. It involves the narcissist, the victim, and a third party.

How does a narcissist use triangulation?

A narcissist uses triangulation by creating scenarios where two people may feel in competition for their attention or approval. They may also use a third person to validate their abusive behavior towards the victim.

Why do narcissists engage in triangulation?

Narcissists engage in triangulation to gain control and power over their relationships. This tactic allows them to keep their victims off-balance and manipulate situations to their advantage.

What are signs of narcissistic triangulation?

Signs of narcissistic triangulation include feeling constantly compared to others, experiencing unnecessary drama or conflict, and feeling isolated from friends or family due to the narcissist’s actions.

How can I cope with narcissistic triangulation?

Coping strategies include recognizing the tactic, maintaining strong boundaries, seeking professional help, and engaging in self-care practices. It can also be helpful to limit contact with the narcissist, if possible.

Is narcissistic triangulation a form of abuse?

Yes, narcissistic triangulation is a form of psychological abuse. It is used to manipulate and control others through deceit and confusion.

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