How narcissists play people off against each other.
Triangulation is another form of narcissists’ manipulation of those around them to distort people’s reality. To gaslight, which is to change one’s reality, so they lose their sanity. The narcissist can then assert their control, gain attention, and exploit people to get their needs met, with a lack of empathy to care for those they hurt by doing this, as they feel entitled to do whatever it takes to get their own way.
When is it used?
- In their word salad.
- In their baiting.
- When they are playing the victim
- When they are trying to provoke a reaction.
- In the idealisation stage.
- In the devaluation stage.
- In the discard stage.
- When they invalidate.
- When they intimidate.
- In their hoover.
- When they isolate.
What is Triangulation?
Triangulation is where the narcissist will act as a messenger between two other people.
Triangulation is where the narcissist will write the script to change people’s reality, Gaslighting. He said, she said, they did, they didn’t.
Triangulation is when they will not communicate directly with one person. Instead, they’ll bring a third person into the conversation to manipulate the person they are talking with, to get them to do something they wouldn’t usually do, to get others to doubt themselves or to bring the attention onto the third person’s behaviour truth or made up, so the narcissist can avoid accountability, or to make the narcissists own behaviour seem reasonable.
Why do they triangulate?
- To gaslight and distort our beliefs, values and reality.
- To isolate us, cutting us off from support networks and reality checks.
- To make us feel guilty, so we conform to the narcissist’s demands.
- To Coercive Control us into doing something we wouldn’t normally do.
- To break down our Boundaries.
- To make us feel sorry for them and help them achieve something or get one over on someone.
- To drive a wedge between people, gain supporters, Enablers and Flying Monkeys for the narcissist by playing people off against each other, to divide and conquer.
- To shame us into not believing we are not worthy or good enough.
- To create a competition with those around them, so we compare what we think, feel and do to another and change ourselves to suit the narcissist.
- To cause jealousy between those around them. The narcissist is extremely Envious and jealous of those around them, and some make this more obvious than others.
- To cause absolute chaos between people.
- To plant seeds of self-doubt in our minds, to get us to question if we are enough.
- To create an atmosphere in friendships.
- To control others.
- Create confusion in those around them.
- Create conflict in those around them.
- Create attention and reality checks going through the narcissist only.
Through triangulation, they can manipulate a relationship between others by controlling the communication between them, getting them to doubt each other, to fight each other over the narcissist, to fall out with each other, and to divide and conquer. The narcissist gaslights people into questioning themselves and shattering people’s self-worth. When they triangulate, people often don’t even know what’s happening, and most of the time, neither party knows the truth.
No one is excluded from triangulation. They will triangulate work colleagues, friends, siblings, children, partners, parents and professionals.
They will twist things, lie and exaggerate to the other people involved.
How do they do this without us knowing?
1. Killing two birds with one stone method. They will often inform a partner of someone flirting with them, to create feelings of jealousy, to then tell you that ”You’re insecure.” If you question them, they will claim their ex never minded or talk about how an ex would have done something for them, which confuses you as they take you off-topic and they’ve already smeared the ex and told you how much they hate them, so if the ex that they hate so much would have done it? And they left the ex. They might leave you, so people can then give in to the narcissist’s demands. We end up feeling jealous and insecure, often losing our boundaries, and trying harder and harder to please the narcissist. Without realising, the narcissist is lying to us. So they make us doubt our thoughts and feelings; if we bring anything up, they will tell us. “You’re insecure.” When, in reality, your instincts are correct. The narcissist gets attention while they gain control of your mind, and you slowly lose control of your mind.
They will play children off against each other, making one The Golden Child And The Other The Scapegoat Child; they will alienate children from the healthy parent.
Bosses will play co-workers off against each other, and friends will also do this.
2. Recruiting reinforcement. They will lie and smear other people in the Smear Campaigns narcissists will play the victim, so you feel bad for the narcissist and want to help them and protect them, unwittingly taking on the narcissist’s opinions, becoming an enabler and assisting the narcissist in bullying and destroying others believing the narcissist is innocent and the third party is at fault.
3. Splitting. The narcissist will extract information from one person. Gossip with another about it. They’ll even lie about what one person has said about another. Then when you defend yourself to the narcissist, the narcissist will then go back to the other party to relay what you said to the narcissist in response; however, the narcissist will completely miss out on the lie they told you that the other person said about you to get your reaction. So you feel bad if the other person comes to you about this as you said it, and you sound like you’re doing the word salad trying to explain that the narcissist said, the whole ”they said, you said, so I said.” Narcissists use this to control information shared between people. Once they’ve fuelled￼ a rift between people, they will then smear one person to all others. They will play the hero and fake their concern for you to others, to gain sympathy, or play the woe is me victim on how badly you treat them. People will then pity the narcissist, which then cuts you off from support and protects the narcissist’s false reality from coming out. So the narcissist can play the victim, and the real victim looks like the crazy abuser to others.
Sometimes the one who sounds crazy is the one trying to explain the truth.
4. Flirt and deny, another one to gaslight your reality, to provoke the feelings of jealousy within you, to provoke your reactions, to create insecurities and self-doubt in you. They’ll not validate your feelings or communicate about how you feel; they’ll not offer any reassurance, as they’ve done this intentionally as they believe they are entitled to do so. They’ll flirt in front of you, then deny all knowledge, and accuse you of being ”Insecure, Jealous, and Hung up on your past.”
A narcissist will provoke you to get a reaction out of you so that they can blame you.
5. Exclusion, when you’re out with friends, they will purposefully leave you out of the conversation, they’ll leave you out of jokes, they’ll leave you out of activities. So you feel excluded, left out, and insecure; if you speak up, they’ll say things like, “They need space.” Or the narcissist’s projection, “You’re too obsessive and controlling.” So you end up questioning yourself. Parents will do this with other family members, co-workers, and friends will also do this; a narcissistic friend might leave you out of an event happening, yet making sure a flying monkey informs you, then they’ll blame a third person as to why you weren’t invited.
6. Extracting information than using it against you in front of others. Again they will use gossip, liesm and use private information; they will shame you in front of other people, so those around you don’t see what they have done. But you know what they said, and if you ask them later about this, they will deny it, causing you to feel frustrated, angry, to doubt yourself.
7. Devalue, so they’ll tell you that someone gossips behind your back, that they are no good for you, so you don’t trust that person to believe the narcissist and cut off the person narcissist has informed you are gossiping. The narcissist might well have made up something you said, told that third person got their response of what they said about you, then come and told you. As those words came from the third person, it sounds very believable; again, the narcissist misses the part of the story where they lied about what you said. They will say how bad it is someone has done something, when they know it’s something you have also done, to make you feel ashamed. They will put you down by talking about a third party.
If you are going through triangulation, Grey Rock or no contact, do not react directly to them or in front of them and only respond if needed. Suppose you get a chance to call them out on it when with the third person and the narcissist, you could say. ” They informed me you’d said this about me. Is this true.” and watch the narcissist squirm. If they are using the court system to destroy you and triangulate you against others, stick to facts, try to have evidence, do not discuss anything with the narcissist everything via the solicitors and courts, speak to those who asked you a question, do not look at or react to the narcissist. Keep control of your own mindset and avoid the traps of the narcissist. Remember, they are doing it to use others, gain control of others and get a response. If at all possible, no contact and take back control of your mind. Narcissists are desperate to control the minds of all those around them. When you see the patterns they cycle around; it becomes easier to break free
No one is safe from manipulation and triangulation.
Some triangulation phrases.
People not on the spectrum of the disorder can say these things; you’re looking for a pattern of behaviour within the nine characteristics.
The Pity play.
“My husband/ wife or partner doesn’t understand me.”
“I’m sure who I’m with is cheating on me.”
“My ex is crazy.”
“My ex abused me.”
“My ex is stalking me.”
“My children have no respect for me.”
“My ex has turned the children against me.”
“My parents don’t understand me.”
“My parents always preferred my sibling.”
“My parents did nothing for me. I was a mistake.”
“My boss is horrible,”
“My boss doesn’t appreciate me.”
“The person I’m training up at work is useless,”
“My neighbours have no respect.”
“My friends always want me to help them out.”
“My children never ring to see how I am,”
“My partner would rather play on TikTok.”
“They don’t like me.”
“They are envious of me.”
“They borrowed a lot of money from me and never paid me back. Don’t talk to them; they are extremely dishonest.”
“The ex made up lies about me because they are bitter; now I’m not allowed to see my own children.”
“I was set up.”
”They got the promotion because they sucked up to the boss.”
To doubt yourself.
”My ex would do it for me.”
“They talk about you behind your back.”
“I don’t trust that friend of yours, and they just use you.”
“Your parents interfere way too much in our lives; we should move.”
“That friend of yours just gossips.”
To intimidate you.
”I wonder what you’re parents would think?”
”I wonder if the children would agree?”
”I wonder how you’re friend would feel?”
“I don’t think your boss would approve.”
Triangulation is to make them look like they are a good honest person and to make the other look bad. To gain control, to get sympathy, to get emotional reactions. To confuse you and make you doubt yourself.
Dealing with the narcissist’s triangulation and smear campaigns is easier than you think once you know why and how.
Knowing who you are and your reality, learning that it doesn’t matter what others think or say about you. They do not define who you are. Just because someone else will do something you will not, good for them, they have every right to, and you have every right to say not to.
They are entitled to think and be who they want to be, and you are also entitled to do the same.
With good intentions, there’s no wrong way or right way to live your life.
If you’re unsure who’s giving the narcissist information about you, tell those you believe it to be a different story about yourself and see which one the narcissist finds out about, you’ll know precisely who their flying monkey is. Once you’ve outed your judas cut contact.
If they are telling your story’s about what someone has said to you, ask that someone in front of the narcissist; yes, you need to be brave; being brave and knowing the truth is far better than questioning yourself.
Smear campaigns leave them to it. Without the fuel of you wasting your breath and good air trying to explain things to others, the fire dyes out faster, yes; I know that can be incredibly difficult as it’s human nature to want to defend ourselves, yet, people have a right to believe what they want. You have the right to stay out of it. Good people will stay with you. Some will be under the narcissists’ spell, those you’ll just have to walk away from.
Live for you and who you want to be, and you don’t need to people-please or be liked by everyone; the right people will love you for you.
The best method to help with triangulation for you is to take yourself out of the triangle, grey rock or no contact, just remove yourself from the situation and stop playing. Narcissistic people find it incredibly hard to play their games with you when you’re no longer playing.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
Why not to bother explaining yourself to a narcissist.