Narcissistic abuse is terrible enough, but having to deal with narcissistic triangulation is a whole other level of this illness.

I’ve studied narcissism and other personality disorders for quite some time. I’ve learned about the traits and characteristics, and then, I discovered that we all have a certain level of narcissism within us. Did you know that? Well, it seems I’m learning something new every day, and that’s a good thing. Just recently I learned there was something called, “narcissistic triangulation”, and this has opened up areas in my life that were hard to see.

What is this form of abuse?

The narcissist’s tool of madness – triangulation – is a severe mode of alienating people from others that they love. Triangulation can also mean using gaslighting (convincing outsiders that someone you love is crazy), and it can mean draining life from the victim while gaining popularity with the victim’s loved ones.

I think it’s one of the sickest weapons that a narcissist can use. In fact, I feel nauseated at this moment because I’m learning that I know quite a few people like this.

Are they using narcissistic triangulation on you?

A narcissist, especially a covert kind, will use triangulation often during their abusive actions. It’s a way to cover who they really are. This happens when the victim starts to figure out the true identity of the narcissist. It’s almost a retaliation from being noticed, actually.

If the narcissist can use triangulation to separate the victim from all their loved ones, then the victim will be alone, easy prey for the narcissist. Can you feel the disgust? I can.

So, let’s see if any narcissists are using triangulation on you:

1. Invoking jealousy

Narcissists who use triangulation will attempt to make their partner jealous. One of the most common ways they do this is by using a third party.

For instance, the narcissist may tell their partner that one of her friends flirted with him. This not only makes the victim feel insecure but also makes her try harder to please the narcissist in fear of losing his interest to her friend. It’s sadistic, honestly.

If you’ve noticed your partner talking about girls flirting with him, try not to respond. It’s your response the narcissist craves.

2. Division

Have you noticed your partner saying negative things about certain friends you have? If so, they’re probably telling these friends negative things about you as well. This happens when communication between two particular people could expose the narcissist’s true identity.

Pay close attention to who your partner talks about and his overall demeanor when he does this. He could possibly be using triangulation to keep control.

3. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is when a narcissistic personality convinces others that her partner is crazy or abusive. This is possible because of carefully manipulative instigation.

For example, a narcissist will say derogatory things about her partner until he gets mad. When he retaliates, she will say he is crazy. Sometimes she does this in public so that more people can see just how crazed he gets.

If your girlfriend is starting fights with you for no reason, be careful of gaslighting. This might be what’s about to happen, which proves triangulation.

4. Recruitment

Is your partner often calling in reinforcements from friends and family when you start fighting or having a disagreement? If so, then this could be a form of narcissistic triangulation.

Now, sometimes help is needed when dealing with serious issues, but leveraging people to one side is just not a healthy move in a relationship. You may have noticed how your partner’s family members always take their side, this is common of course, but this, in ways, is triangulation as well.

5. The break-up

If you’re about to break up with your partner, then take a close look at how it’s being done.

Let’s say it’s his idea, and not so much your own. If he is using triangulation, he is telling other people about how bad you are and getting them to agree with everything he says. One of these confidants is probably the woman he wishes to replace you with.

It’s a sick and twisted way of ending a relationship, but it fits right in with how narcissists use triangulation.

What you can do with this information

I’ve been reading about narcissists all day now. I was researching things and then ran off into tangents learning even more about the traits and characteristics of the narcissist. I’m going to be honest with you, this type of personality is complex and difficult to change.

The bright side is, now you have a few facts about narcissistic triangulation and how it works. It’s your choice what to do with this information. I do urge you to consider all aspects of your relationship, whether it be romantic, secular or simply a family relationship.

When you recognize the signs of narcissists and triangulation, it’s time to ask yourself one important question.

“Should I get away, or should I stay and try to help?”

The answer is up to you. Just take care of yourself and remember your self-worth in the process.



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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Linda M Pyle

    Wow there’s a name for this! Thank You Thank YouThank You!

    1. Sherrie

      Unfortunately, I am discovering new ways of abuse and deception every day. This is not a good thing at first, but then you have to realize, it’s still educating me for something. If you’re enduring abuse, for instance, now, and you’ve discovered a name for it, then you are being educated. In the future, you may use this knowledge to help yourself or others. My heart hurts for the way people are being treated, and when I learn new things it does open my eyes to this treatment. Through the dark, to the light and back into the dark again…this means it’s time to climb out once more and take what we’ve learned with us, right?

      Annnnnddd…in rare cases, we discover we are doing these dastardly things, which is the worst but can help us see the truth and change.

      I hope this helped you and brought no additional sorry to any situation you or someone you love endures.

  2. Gary

    Here’s another example of triangulation. I have been reading about narcissism almost daily for 5 months and read a book. I then realised that my two long term exes were covert narcissists (CN). I then bumped into a third one. They are very hard to spot and they go for empaths – loving people. She had a lodger, describing him as a close friend. He shared the same bedroom wall and bathroom without a lock. She had at least three good and appropriate opportunities to inform me they had a previous sexual relationship before I became emotionally attached. I had to raise the subject myself, which I kindly and tactfully did. This put her in an awkward situation and she dumped me immediately. Our relationship only lasted 6 weeks and there were other aspects of her personality and information she gave me which made me wonder. For example, she was in psychotherapy for 4 years and at aged 53 never had a relationship lasting longer than two years. She also described ending ‘successful’ relationships suddenly. Other things too. In particular, I was alerted to the fact that she might be CN when she revealed that the relationship with her mother had been insecure from childhood. The poor mother/daughter relationship has been a common theme with all three CNs I was involved with.

    1. Sherrie Hurd


      I applaud your ability to see truths in these things. Just be careful and make sure you are right. If you’re wrong, people can be hurt.

  3. Bala

    Very Good Article and very interesting

  4. JoeV

    It’s strange to be reading this now, after all has been said and done. It’s almost verbatim of what happened in my marriage. Admittedly this is the newest of descriptions to me, after reading every paper I could find on narcissists and bipolar conditions. My experience with my ex wife is by far the most painful worst thing i could ever imagine could possibly happen to me. All of it. Even worse, if you are an empath by nature, and you do decide to stay and help, I hope to God you know what you are getting deeper into, because just when you think it’s at its worst, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Be ready to lose if not all of your friends, most if them will leave because they cannot stand how you are being treated, and how they and their spouses were treated just by visiting for dinner. Thank you for this article, it brings so many of the little misfit pieces together to make such hard sense of the lesson learned from the most excruciating lesson, no less, in a marriage, what is supposed to be the most blissful part of your life.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Thank you for reading, and thank you for sharing your story. Every time someone shares, more and more people realize they have support. We’re always helping each other learn.

  5. Marie

    I wish I could explain what I’ve been through with a partner who is narcissistic.

  6. Darth Vicious

    I was familiar with the malignant type of NPD but not the covert narcissist who in my case, was my (at the time) my estranged Gf and she used this tactic of triangulation on me and it worked almost flawlessly. I am now more well informed as to the various ways nefarious people can be so now I see it coming.

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