Narcissist Triangulation

In this article, you will discover the intriguing concept of Narcissist Triangulation. As you delve into the world of narcissism, you will uncover the manipulative tactics used by narcissists to control and manipulate their victims.

Exploring the dynamic of triangulation, you will gain a deeper understanding of how narcissists use third parties to create tension, confusion, and competition within relationships.

Brace yourself for a captivating journey that will shed light on the dark tactics of narcissists and empower you to recognize and protect yourself from their toxic influence.

What is Narcissist Triangulation?


Narcissist triangulation is a manipulative tactic used by individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to maintain power and control over their victims. It involves involving a third person or entity in a relationship or situation, creating a sense of competition, jealousy, and insecurity.


The purpose of narcissist triangulation is to exert control and dominance over their victim by keeping them off balance and constantly seeking validation and approval from the narcissist.

By involving a third party, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the narcissist fuels their own ego while diminishing the self-esteem and confidence of their victim.

Common tactics

Narcissists employ various tactics to implement triangulation, including:

  1. Creating a love triangle: The narcissist may pursue or show interest in someone else, making the victim feel inadequate or threatened in the relationship.
  2. Comparing the victim to others: By constantly comparing the victim to others, the narcissist undermines their self-worth and fosters feelings of insecurity and jealousy.
  3. Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic where the narcissist distorts reality and makes the victim doubt their own perceptions and experiences.
  4. Withholding affection: The narcissist may withhold affection, attention, or validation to make the victim crave for their approval and constantly seek validation.
  5. Engaging in emotional or psychological abuse: Narcissists may use various forms of emotional or psychological abuse to control and manipulate their victim, such as guilt-tripping, belittling, or name-calling.

Narcissist Triangulation

Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Overview of NPD

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.

Individuals with NPD often have a grandiose sense of self and believe they are entitled to special treatment and recognition.

Traits of a narcissist

Some common traits of narcissistic individuals include:

  1. Exaggerated self-importance: Narcissists have an inflated sense of their own abilities and achievements, believing they are superior to others.
  2. Need for admiration: Narcissists constantly seek attention and validation from others and require constant admiration to boost their fragile self-esteem.
  3. Lack of empathy: Individuals with NPD have difficulty recognizing or understanding the feelings and needs of others, as they are primarily focused on their own needs and desires.
  4. Sense of entitlement: Narcissists often believe they are entitled to special treatment, privileges, and recognition, and become outraged when they don’t receive it.
  5. Manipulative behavior: Narcissists frequently engage in manipulative tactics, such as gaslighting, lying, or exploiting others for their own gain.

Impact on relationships

Narcissistic individuals have a significant impact on their relationships, often leaving their partners and loved ones feeling drained, emotionally abused, and powerless.

Their constant need for admiration and validation, coupled with their lack of empathy, can lead to a toxic and destructive dynamic within relationships. The manipulative tactics used in narcissist triangulation further exacerbate these negative effects, causing deep emotional harm to the victim.

Narcissist Triangulation

Triangulation in Narcissistic Manipulation

Explanation of triangulation

Triangulation, in the context of narcissistic manipulation, refers to the act of bringing a third person into a relationship or situation to create tension, competition, and jealousy.

The narcissist gains a sense of power and control by positioning themselves as the central figure, while the victim and the third person vie for their attention and validation.

Why narcissists use triangulation

Narcissists use triangulation as a tool to assert their dominance and maintain control over their victims. By pitting individuals against each other, they create a dynamic where the victim is constantly seeking their approval and attention.

This not only feeds the narcissist’s ego but also keeps the victim emotionally dependent on them.

Psychological impact on the victim

Triangulation can have severe psychological effects on the victim. Constantly being compared to others, feeling caught in the middle of conflicts, and enduring emotional rollercoasters can lead to feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, and isolation.

The victim’s self-esteem may suffer as they struggle to meet the unrealistic demands and standards set by the narcissist, further reinforcing their dependence on the narcissist for validation.

Types of Triangulation

Involving a third person

Involving a third person is a common form of triangulation used by narcissists. This can manifest in romantic relationships when the narcissist pursues or shows interest in someone else, making their partner feel threatened or inadequate.

In non-romantic relationships, the narcissist may favor one individual over another, creating tension and competition between them.

Using social media

Social media has become a platform for narcissists to engage in triangulation. They might post provocative or attention-seeking content to incite jealousy or insecurity in their victims.

By showcasing their interactions with others and creating an idealized image of their life, narcissists manipulate their victims’ perception of reality and fuel their own ego.

Emotional triangulation

Emotional triangulation occurs when the narcissist uses a third person to provide emotional support or validation that they withhold from their victim.

By seeking emotional connection outside the relationship and making the victim feel left out or unimportant, the narcissist maintains control and further undermines the victim’s self-esteem.

Signs of Narcissistic Triangulation

Constant comparison

If you find yourself constantly being compared to others by the narcissist, whether explicitly or implicitly, it may be a sign of triangulation. This tactic is used to make you feel inadequate, insecure, and constantly striving for approval.

Feeling caught in the middle

When conflicts or tensions arise between the narcissist and another person, you may find yourself being caught in the middle. The narcissist may expect you to take their side or prove your loyalty, further creating a sense of competition and insecurity.

Emotional rollercoaster

Triangulation often leads to emotional ups and downs for the victim. The narcissist may alternate between showering you with affection and withdrawing their attention, leaving you constantly guessing and seeking their validation.

Manipulative behavior

If you find yourself being manipulated or controlled by the narcissist’s actions, such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or exploiting your vulnerabilities, it is likely a result of their use of triangulation to maintain power and control.

Effects of Narcissist Triangulation

Damaged self-esteem

Triangulation can cause significant damage to your self-esteem. Being constantly compared to others and feeling like you can never measure up leads to feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.

Confusion and self-doubt

Narcissist triangulation often leaves victims feeling confused and doubtful of their own abilities, perceptions, and worth. The constant push and pull, coupled with the narcissist’s manipulations, can leave you questioning your reality.

Isolation and alienation

Triangulation can result in isolation and alienation from your support network. The narcissist’s manipulation techniques, coupled with their creation of conflicts, can leave you feeling alone and cut off from friends and family.

Emotional exhaustion

Managing the constant emotional rollercoaster of triangulation takes a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. It can leave you feeling drained, exhausted, and emotionally depleted.

Coping Strategies for Victims

Recognize the manipulative tactics

The first step in dealing with narcissist triangulation is to recognize the manipulative tactics employed by the narcissist. Educate yourself about narcissistic behavior and the tactics they use, which will help increase your understanding and ability to cope.

Set boundaries

Establishing and enforcing boundaries is crucial when dealing with a narcissist. Clearly communicate your limits and expectations, and do not allow the narcissist to cross those boundaries.

Seek support

Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can provide you with emotional support and validation. Surrounding yourself with people who understand and believe your experiences can help counteract the feelings of isolation.

Focus on self-care and healing

Prioritize self-care and engage in activities that bring you joy and peace. Invest time and energy in activities that promote your well-being and help you regain your sense of self.

Breaking Free from Narcissist Triangulation

Ending the triangulation cycle

In order to break free from narcissist triangulation, it is important to recognize and disengage from the cycle. Refuse to participate in the competition or jealousy the narcissist attempts to incite and focus on your own well-being.

Cutting off contact with the narcissist

In some cases, cutting off contact with the narcissist may be necessary for your emotional healing and growth. This can be a difficult step but is often crucial in breaking free from their manipulation and regaining control of your life.

Seeking therapy

Therapy can be immensely helpful in recovering from narcissist triangulation. A trained therapist can provide you with tools and strategies to heal from the emotional trauma and rebuild your sense of self.

Rebuilding a healthy sense of self

Rebuilding your self-esteem and sense of self after experiencing narcissist triangulation may take time and effort. Focus on personal growth, self-reflection, and surround yourself with positive influences that support your healing journey.

How to Support Someone Caught in Narcissist Triangulation

Listen empathetically

When someone you know is caught in narcissist triangulation, lend them a listening ear and provide a safe space for them to share their experiences. Practice empathy and validate their feelings.

Offer validation and reassurance

Assure the person that their experiences and emotions are valid. Reinforce their self-worth and remind them of their strengths and abilities.

Encourage professional help

Suggest that they seek professional help from therapists or counselors who specialize in narcissistic abuse. Professional guidance can provide valuable insights and strategies for coping and healing.

Assist in creating a safety plan

If the situation is severe and potentially dangerous, help them develop a safety plan. This can include strategies for maintaining physical and emotional safety, accessing support networks, and contacting appropriate authorities if necessary.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the complexity

Narcissist triangulation is a complex and manipulative tactic employed by individuals with narcissistic personality disorder. It has deep psychological effects on victims, damaging their self-esteem and fostering self-doubt.

Importance of breaking free

Breaking free from narcissist triangulation is essential for the victim’s well-being and recovery. By recognizing the manipulative tactics, setting boundaries, seeking support, and focusing on self-care, victims can regain control of their lives and rebuild their sense of self.

Promoting awareness and education

Raising awareness about narcissist triangulation and its impact is crucial for supporting victims, preventing further harm, and promoting healthy relationships. Education and understanding enable individuals to recognize the signs of narcissistic manipulation and provide the necessary support to those in need.

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