Surviving a relationship with a narcissist who engages in triangulation can be incredibly challenging, as these individuals often manipulate and control others to boost their own ego. Triangulation, which involves bringing a third person into the relationship dynamic to create conflict or competition, is one of the many tactics narcissists use. When you participate in the narcissist’s game by arguing, cajoling, educating, or scolding you are a narcissist’s dream.
Here are some steps to consider if you decide to stay in a relationship with a narcissist.
- Recognize the Situation: You have acknowledged that you are dealing with a narcissist who uses triangulation. This self-awareness is crucial to understanding the dynamics at play and preparing yourself mentally, emotionally and staying one step ahead.
- Educate Yourself: Learn about narcissism, triangulation, and other manipulative behaviors. This knowledge can help you gain perspective and clarity on what you’re experiencing.
- Set Boundaries: Establish clear and healthy boundaries with the narcissist. Be firm but respectful in communicating what you will and won’t tolerate in the relationship.
- STOP ALL Emotional Reactions: Narcissists thrive on emotional reactions. Remain as calm when confronted with their manipulation. Staying calm with reduce the narcissist’s ability to control your thoughts and feelings.
- Give Non-Emotional Statements: “I’m not listening to that.” “Interesting comment.” Shrug or nod, walk away. Use noncommittal phrases and responses, “OH,” “m-h-m,” or “uh-huh” Avoid eye contact. Respond briefly, and without elaboration, to direct questions. End or leave interactions as quickly as is safely possible.
- Maintain Supportive Connections: Maintain friends, family, or engage in mental/emotional assistance to gain support, validation, and an outside perspective. Narcissists often isolate their targets, so maintaining a support network is crucial.
- Practice Self-Care: Focus on your own well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy, reduce stress, and promote mental/emotional healing.
- Document Incidents: Keep a journal or record of instances where the narcissist engages in triangulation or other manipulative behaviors. This will assist you to maintain clarity and provide evidence if needed in the future.
- Avoid Engaging in Drama: Narcissists might work to provoke reactions from you or draw you into conflicts. Resist the urge to engage in their drama or arguments, as this only feeds their ego.
- Seek Professional Help: If the relationship becomes unbearable or emotionally damaging, consider seeking therapy for yourself. A therapist can provide guidance on coping strategies and help you explore options for your well-being.
- Plan an Exit Strategy: If the relationship is causing significant harm and distress, consider creating a plan to leave. This might involve seeking legal advice, finding a safe place to stay, and ensuring you have support during the process.
- Stay Empowered: Remember your self-worth and remind yourself of your strengths. Narcissists often work to make their targets feel inferior; maintaining your sense of self is important.
- Detach Emotionally: As you work towards your exit strategy or dealing with the situation, emotionally detach from the narcissist’s manipulations. This can help you maintain your own sense of stability.
Remember that surviving a relationship with a narcissist can be incredibly challenging, and it’s okay to seek help and support. Prioritize your well-being and take steps to protect yourself from emotional harm. If you believe you’re in a dangerous situation, don’t hesitate to engage with professionals or helpline services for assistance.