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Author Topic: What does triangulation mean?  (Read 104833 times)
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2012, 08:56:00 AM »

After reading the responses. Some of that makes sense. I thought it was a tool to just create jealousy with other men. But While thinking back over other incidents and reading the responses. I see can be with anybody. Her co-workers, other men, child, friends.


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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2012, 09:21:37 AM »

I thought it was a tool to just create jealousy with other men. But While thinking back over other incidents and reading the responses. I see can be with anybody. Her co-workers, other men, child, friends.

Triangulation is not a tool to create jealousy, although someone may have said that here -- this term is often misused. It's not a substitute word nor bpdfamily jargon for cheating or affair, either.

If your partner starts dating another person at the same time she is dating you "seeing other people" is the term.  If the reason is primarily to make you jealous, then "manipulation" is the term.  If the reason is because you treat her disrespectfully (and the new guy respects her), or she does not feel loved (and the new guy is showering her with affection), or she feels unheard (and the new guy is waiting on every word) - real or perceived - now we are looking at "triangulation" and triangulation dynamics.  

For example, lets say the two of you are having reoccurring arguments about respect and it is not getting resolved - you may be wrong, she may be wrong.  She meets someone that provides her the respect and validates her side of the argument.  Her problem is solved - she has all the good things from the relationship with you and she has solved this one area of deficit.  Triangulation!

If you go to her mother and say she is cheating on you - and mom validates your side - this is more triangulation.

If the new guy then punches you out in the parking lot and she tells him she will never see him again for hurting you- this is more triangulation.  

If you then call the new boyfriend and tell him she lied to him all along - this is even more triangulation stuff.

So, the word "triangulation" without context is pretty meaningless.  Triangulation is a broad generic term for the way that we naturally seek out third parties to feel better when things are off.  In the "disrespect triangle" above, all the parties were involved in the conflict and it became a big mess with everyone feeling like a victim in the end, everyone making it worse, and nothing resolved.

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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2012, 01:35:20 PM »

Common Misuses of "Triangulation"

Following up on misuse of the term, below are some other incorrect uses of the term...  I want to emphasize that this is not intended to criticize any member - the misunderstanding of this term is widespread and involves many more members than listed here. We're just pointing this out so that we may be mindful to others to use this term/concept in a productive way. Here is an good example of the term used constructively <<here>>

Here are some common misuses...

I think I need to read more about the term you used "triangulation " because I often felt like I was somehow involved in a sort of tug of war with her exes, or a competition of sorts, even though I never met them and despite it not being my usual way of relating to people. It's hard to describe but it was like she was  "hinting" about still having some sort of connection to them that was flirty and intimate oriented.

See quote in context

It's just a form of triangulation when they do this. "I've been to see her [another women] because I know it's gonna piss you off. You don't like it? What's your problem? She's just a friend! See how mature I am... "

See quote in context

She won't let NC ever happen and I'm honestly not strong enough to not respond all the time. I was making so much progress but then I'm having a setback and just feel like doing something extreme. I don't know..maybe its a bad idea but I can't take this triangulation anymore.

See quote in context

Do you think she recycled him because she was in constant contact with him because of their son, or did she plan on recycling him all along and just used me for triangulation ?

See quote in context

Triangulation . The more I see this word the more I dislike it.  I struggled with this for so long, (before I knew about BPD) I thought he was confused, or a cheater, or not ready to commit and settle down and now I am learning this is a real trait for a pwBPD.  It is a real term and a common occurrence.

See quote in context

In my experience as she sets the hook in the next one and proceeds with triangulation , she will periodicaly check back on you to see where you are at.

See quote in context

a couple weeks after my ex moved out she was calling/texting vague but suggestive things like "i'll be thinking about you", etc. it felt fake to me, i was still very torn up inside and i felt she was being a fraud b/c her current r/s obviously wasn't all she made it out to be. i knew she was just using me to get some mental relief, which i now realize is what triangulation is.

See quote in context

Triangulation - find alternative relationships

See quote in context

i'm just flowing here--but many people have alluded to this, i just found out about this term here. the "want to have his cake and eat it too" is Triangulation

See quote in context

The other women were triangulation; a BPD gets too close to you, they feel engulfed, need to find someone to idealize, a different phase of the pathology.

See quote in context

Another thing is triangulation.  She will probably show that pic to the new victim, or let him find it himself, to put him on edge and in competition with you, so she's in control right off the bat.

See quote in context

If he starts to triangulate,you make the decision when you've had enough. You'll know it when you see it.

See quote in context

You mentioned that he is seeing someone else...be wary of triangulation.

See quote in context

 "What I want is what I've not got, and what I need is all around me." ~Dave Matthews

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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2012, 01:40:09 PM »

As Skip says in his example, sometimes everyone ends up as a victim.  And while this thread is not about the Karpman drama triangle (which is a different theory than Bowen's triangulation), Karpmen also explains what happens when triangulation takes on a life of its own and all goes wrong.

A Karpman drama triangle where adults are involved requires 3 roles, a victim, a persecutor and a rescuer. Each person enters in a role, but will take turns in all 3 roles as the drama plays out; being on a drama triangle always ends up in "victim", all roads lead to victim despite taking turns in the various positions. It all leads to the role of victim because the purpose of a drama triangle is to avoid self responsibility.  

If we are taking care of self, are engaging in self care and self responsibility, they will not find themselves part of a drama triangle and will not play one of these roles. They step away, they do not engage, they refuse to play any Of the roles and focus instead on keeping their eyes on their own paper.

Drama triangles are a big part of transactional analysis and is well thought of as a map or framework for understanding interpersonal dynamics. It's a extremely valuable framework for understanding patterns in dysfunctional families and relationships where a personality disorder exists. I would not discount the study of drama triangles as "facile". It's probably one of the best tools Ive come across to get healthier and stay healthier. Understanding drama triangles is one if the best things a person can do in detangling from unhealthy relationship patterns.

Mod note: More information here  Karpman Triangles


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« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2012, 05:32:37 PM »

In just about every story you see the same exact themes ...including denial and self abandonment.

MaybeSo, I'm intrigued ... what is self abandonment?
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Players only love you when they're playing...

« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2012, 05:42:31 PM »

When we are not attending to our selves, listening to our guts, caring for ourselves, respecting ourselves, noticing and respecting our own feelings, protecting without explanation our own values.  When we accept or tolerate abuse. When we ignore red flags. When we believe our happiness and well being depends upon another. These are all ways we abandon "self".

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« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2012, 06:01:21 PM »

When we are not attending to our selves, listening to our guts, caring for ourselves, respecting ourselves, noticing and respecting our own feelings, protecting without explanation our own values.  When we accept or tolerate abuse. When we ignore red flags. When we believe our happiness and well being depends upon another. These are all ways we abandon "self".

So we've been involved with someone who may in fact love us, but can't remain consistently close due to abandonment fears. We do everything we can to help alleviate those, but our attempts just help to drive the other person even farther away. Which leaves us as the abandoned ones. In trying so hard to help them not feel so abandoned, to prove that we're not like that, we end up abandoning ourselves.

In the end, coming through our healing, we've still been abandoned by them in some ways but have reclaimed ourselves. They'll wind up both abandoned by us (even if this is just in their own minds) AND by themselves. Such a sad, strange situation.

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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2013, 07:11:08 AM »

Great to have this clarified. I felt often a bite insecure about it, at least with love triangle and triangulation.

“Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground.”  Brené Brown
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2013, 12:01:11 PM »

Triangulation isn't unique to BPD. We do it as well and we've experienced it.

It isn't a "technique" that one studies. It comes naturally to those who seek validation.We see it here on the boards with ourselves.We triangulate the person with BPD with those on the board. In turn,we're validated. We take on the role of victim, the person with BPD as the perpetrator,and those on the boards act as rescuers.

It takes work to get off,and stay off, the "triangle". You no longer see yourself as the "victim" or the pwBPD as the "persecutor". It doesn't mean that they will do the same. This is where you take control of yourself and step back. You no longer participate.

What this does is defuse the situation and releases you from the guilt, control, and obligation. (See how all of this goes hand in hand?)

It took me a long to realize that I don't have to particpate in triangulation.Once you're able to let go though,you learn when to communicate and when not to.That helps greatly in moving forward and sticking to your boundaries.

“Every new day is another chance to change your life.”
"You can never have a happy ending at the end of an unhappy journey."
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2013, 01:59:02 PM »

What term would be used to describe the following situation - Is it a form of triangulation or is it something else?

Your uBPDbf constantly has women in his back pocket - either as an emotional relationship with the possibility of bringing them forward to a romantic relationship if he starts to feel insecure in his relationship with you.  Or, as a way to create space and distance with you if he's feeling threatened - ie engulfment.  

For example, my exBPDbf told me one of the women in his divorce group asked him to be her "date" for a special event.  When I questioned him about it, he said, "Oh, I don't think she's interested in dating me...   "  Right! He said there was nothing for me to worry about and yet there was this situation he put in front of my face that seemed questionable.  With his ex wife, he was always crushing out on her best friend, to the point that it became a "joke" between them.  Even though nothing ever happened between them, even after he and his ex got divorced, there was this third party placed into their relationship.
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