7 Tools Of Narcissistic Triangulation: The Narcissist’s Triangulation Tactics

Here are a few tools of Narcissistic Triangulation that may assist you to spot narcissistic triangulation and also stop being a part of it.

Being a part of the narcissist’s triangulation can mess up your thoughts and you may also feel underwhelmed. Even before you understand what is happening, you become a part of a narcissist’s triangulation.

The reasons can be varied, but you sure may start feeling stuffy when you get involved in the narcissist’s plan to triangulate the situation. The Narcissist would cleverly put you on the spot to target someone they wish to either get things straight with or violate their boundaries.

There are various ways and tools through which narcissist may triangulate situations to their favor. But what is narcissistic triangulation? How does the narcissistic triangulation work? What are the ways? Below mentioned tools of Narcissistic Triangulation, can help you identify the narcissist’s triangulation tactics and also help you cope with them.

What is Narcissistic Triangulation?

It is a manipulative tactic used by manipulators, especially narcissists when they are one of the parties, trying to win against their competitor by trying to draw in a third party or third person to change the trajectory of the problematic situation.

The goal of triangulation is to be the deciding factor or derivating person who becomes someone of true importance by making a critical situation in a dispute situation.

Triangulation may or may not be done on purpose, whereas narcissistic triangulation differs here, as it is done on purpose with intentions. Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder use consistent and unchanging patterns of triangulation that may include some major roles. These roles are in context with a narcissist’s characteristics and desire to win the third party to win the argument or disagreement.

These major roles are discussed below,

The Victim – Narcissists would present themselves as the victim here. They would present themselves as someone who is being taken advantage of and someone helpless.

The Rescuer – Narcissists would take the role of a rescuer to present the final verdict and smoothen things over. They would also take the responsibility to support the party they are siding with to make them feel guilty.

The Persecutor – Narcissists act as the initiator for blaming, attacking, and using aggression and criticism to highlight the wrongdoer.

Triangulation can happen in friendships, familial relationships, or even workplaces. So let us understand the tools of triangulation used by narcissists.

7 Tools Of Narcissistic Triangulation – Are they using triangulation on you?

Triangulation is one of the commonly used tactics by bullies, as they are tyrants who would purposefully bring up other people in their party reference while having conversations with someone to make them feel bad about themselves and also gain an upper hand if it is a problematic situation.

Narcissists, especially covert narcissists would often triangulate situations to cover up their mistakes and also hide their abusive personalities. What a narcissist would do is separate and target the victim from the loved ones thus isolating them, to make them an easy victim or prey.

Now let us know how they do it. What tools do they use?

1. Division

The best way to redirect attention is by creating a divide. Have you noticed, that your narcissistic sibling or a family member may often try to say negative things, or pass negative comments about a certain someone?

The probability here is they might also be telling that someone about you too. So when the real deeds of a narcissist are exposed, they often use triangulation to save their reputation and control everything.

So when this happens, or the narcissist starts bad-mouthing some friends, you must stay out of it. You may also pay attention to whom your narcissistic partner talks about you and how their personality shifts.

This division is a tool that your narcissistic partners may be using as a part of their triangulation either to gain attention, make things work in their favor or just be the attention seeker by creating a divide between friends.

2. Seeking Reinforcements

Does this often happen with you when you and your narcissistic partners are having an argument they start calling in reinforcements from other family members, friends, or acquaintances. If this is happening to you, then it could be a part of the narcissistic triangulation tactic.

Now seeking help to sort out issues can be helpful and ease the situation, but it becomes an issue when your partner starts leveraging people every time to their side and win the argument.

Leveraging people to their side, may be a sick move and make the relationship unhealthy in certain forms. You may have noticed how people side with the narcissist due to their manipulation, and this can be a tool to triangulate the situations to win the arguments.

3. Telling Different Stories

Narcissists usually have the same story but in different versions to tell different people. They do this so that no one can find a common ground with one another. The main motive behind doing this is that they wish to hide their true personalities and thus different versions of stories serve them as they can gain people’s empathy and cooperation. This is their way of confusing people by involving different people in their versions of stories and thus it is a form of triangulation.

They simply wish to gain different emotional responses by involving people in their life stories and thus secure their narcissistic supply. So if you come across one such story, just comfort them with an ordinary reaction, without making it look like an extravagant attempt from your side to please them or get on their good side.

4. Invoking Jealousy

Invoking jealousy is the primary attempt from narcissists to make their partners feel jealous by involving a third party. Whenever a narcissist wishes to seek attention from their partners, this is the most common way to manipulate them by triangulation.

For instance, they may tell their partner that one of their colleagues passed flirtatious comments on them and showed interest. This would not only make their partner feel insecure but also force them to pay more attention to the narcissist.

By doing so the narcissist is simply suggesting that there are plenty of fishes in the sea, so their partner would have to make extra efforts to please them to retain them in the relationship. This thought displays a sadistic mentality but the narcissist would purposefully make their partners jealous and insecure.

The best way to deal with such situations is by not reacting. Even if your narcissistic partner says that many girls try to flirt with them daily, they are just trying to invoke a jealous reaction from you. So you may either answer with a sarcastic comment that shows that you are unaffected by their attempts or simply ignore them.

5. Gaslighting

Narcissists would deliberately try to say provocative things about their partners, and when their partner reacts to this, they may publically make derogatory comments about them. They may be trying to suggest that there is abusive and crazy, whereas, in reality, they are the abusive and toxic partner.

They may deliberately try to invoke a negative reaction from their partner just to seek support from people around them, and thus this is one of the clever and well-crafted triangulation tactics, that allows the narcissist to gain sympathy from people for being the victim of abuse.

For instance, if your partner starts a fight without any reason, try not to react or just move away from them for a while. This might be their attempt to gaslight you and provoke a reaction to gain concern and care publically by falsely accusing their partners of being abusive and rude.

6. The breaking up

The break-up is a sick and sadistic triangulation tactic, where they might have been the one who might have suggested parting ways but in public, they might be blaming you for their deed.

They may be creating a bad public image for you. They may be using triangulation for this. They may tell people about how rude, uncaring, and disagreeable you are. They may particularly try to collect confidants who might defend them and devalue you in the relationship.

Thus this is one of their twisted ways to manipulate people by involving them in your private relationship and accusing you publically to degrade your image, worth, and existence.

7. Playing Favorites

Narcissists use this manipulative triangulation tactic where they play favorites and shower one person with extreme love, care, and support in the social group and ignore, criticize, and blame others in the social group to create rivalry internally.

They want everyone to focus on them and thus involve themselves with every affair of the social group they use this tactic to create a divide and alliances. This simply creates conflicts, emotional turmoil, and an imbalance in the group making the narcissist the center.

They simply want this as they thrive on attention and they would be more than happy to gain that even at the cost of dividing the social group and creating rivalries. This is also a negative form of attention but it hardly bothers them. They simply want everyone to do as they say.

How To Stop Narcissistic Triangulation?

  • Addressing their behavior through a direct conversation
  • Spotting the signs of Triangulation
  • Changing the subject of conversations
  • Building a strong support network
  • Cutting off communication entirely if needed
  • Talking to a Therapist if required
  • Establishing Boundaries
  • Walking away from the conversation
  • Staying calm in the moment

Important Takeaways

This information can be useful especially if you have a narcissistic partner or have someone in your social circle who may be creating troubles by triangulating situations.

So if you wish that the narcissists should change and stop with their tactics, then this wish is futile as narcissists are complex and differently wired, and it is challenging to change them.

Remember that dealing with narcissists and their manipulative tactics is never easy. Thus dealing with triangulation requires you to believe in yourself, be self-aware, and prioritize and protect your well-being. Also, make sure to protect your emotional and mental well-being.

Believe in yourself, be self-aware, and prioritize and protect your well-being. Also, make sure to protect your emotional and mental well-being.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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