Are your relationships triangulated? – Martha debayle


How do you know if relationships are triangulated? Mario Guerra, our relationship specialist, is going to explain what’s up with that and how to get out of it.

If you are in a relationship that seems to always be triangulated, you may need advice to leave them and get away from them, be careful! They don’t have to be relationships, they can be with friends or family.

Take note if you think you are in a triangulated relationship.

What is triangular in the context of relationships?

It is when you involve a third person in a problem or conflict between two parties, instead of confronting it directly between the original parties involved.

Don’t stop reading: Goodbye to toxic relationships

Triangulation test in relationships

Instructions: Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:

Do you usually talk about your problems with someone else before trying to resolve them directly with the person involved?

Have you found yourself acting as a messenger between two people who have a conflict?

Do you frequently seek support from third parties before addressing a conflict directly with someone?

When you are upset with someone, do you prefer to vent to someone else rather than confront the person who upset you?

Have you felt that someone shares your problems with others without your explicit consent?

Has it happened to you that someone asks you to intervene in a conflict that doesn’t really concern you?

Do you feel that your conflicts often involve more people than necessary?

Do you get the impression that some people in your life create alliances with each other before talking to you about a problem?

Do you avoid confronting problems because you fear direct conflict and prefer to talk about it with others?

Has anyone told you that they feel left out or surprised by how an issue they were directly involved in was handled?

You can also read: I love you, but I can’t stand you with Mario Guerra


0-2 “Yes”: WELL. It looks like you have a low tendency to participate or be part of triangulations in your relationships. This is indicative of direct and effective communication.

3-5 “Yes”: REGULAR. There is moderate evidence of triangulation in your relationships. It may be helpful to reflect on how you interact with others and consider direct communication more.

6-8 “Yes”: BAD. It is likely that triangulation is present in a significant way in your relationships. Consider ways to encourage more direct and healthy communication between you and the people directly involved.

9-10 “Yes”: TERRIBLE. The results suggest a high presence of triangulation in your relationships. It is important to look for strategies to improve direct communication and perhaps consider the help of a professional to develop more effective communication skills.

You can also read: Emotional micro-abandonments: A manipulation tactic in relationships.

How do you know if you are triangulating in a relationship?

What are the most common signs or behaviors that indicate someone is triangulating their relationships? It can be subtle and the people involved are not always aware of these behaviors. Here are some common signs:

  • Indirect communication: The person rarely addresses the person they have the problem with directly. Instead, he communicates through third parties, asking them to pass messages or even intervene on his behalf. Example: A mother tells her son to tell his father that she is upset with him for not helping around the house more. They grab the messenger boy.
  • Find allies: Before addressing a problem, they seek support to strengthen their position and secure support, which can polarize relationships and create factions within a group. To do this, the person may exaggerate, omit important details, or even lie about the situation to get the third party on their side. Example: A person feels that their partner is not devoting enough time to the relationship. Before talking to his partner, he discusses his concerns with mutual friends, exaggerating some things and omitting others, hoping that they will influence the partner to change their behavior.
  • Constant relief to third parties: Instead of resolving conflicts directly, they tend to complain to people who have nothing to do with the problem.Example: After an argument with her partner, a woman repeatedly talks to her sister about the conflict, complaining about her partner but not attempting to resolve the problem directly with him.
  • Frequent change or accumulation of confidants: If they constantly change who they complain to, it could be a sign of triangulation.

¿Why does triangulation occur?

It may be due to personal insecurities, lack of communication skills, or learned patterns. You confuse support with alliances: We all seek validation or understanding of our feelings and choosing to share complaints with third parties who are considered empathetic is normal, as long as:

  • Also talk to the person directly involved.
  • Don’t grab the one who supports as a messenger.
  • Do not pressure the listener to agree with you or intervene.

Confrontation avoidance: Triangulating can be a method to avoid direct confrontations, which could be perceived as difficult or uncomfortable. Now we better send others to show their faces.

Habit: In some cases, it becomes a learned communication habit where the person feels more comfortable talking to someone outside the problem, although it does not solve anything.

People with narcissistic traits are very prone to triangulation.

This is due to several characteristics associated with narcissism, such as manipulation, need for attention and validation, and difficulty handling criticism or direct conflict. Here are some key points about how and why this happens:

  • Control and manipulation: Narcissists use triangulation as a tool to manipulate and control relationships and people in their environment. By involving third parties, they can create alliances and situations that reinforce their perception of power and control.
  • Avoid vulnerability: When confronted directly with conflict, narcissists may feel vulnerable or threatened. Triangulation allows them to handle the situation from a safe distance, protecting their ego and maintaining the image of superiority.
  • Search validation: Narcissists need constant validation of their worth, and by triangulating, they seek and accumulate support and sympathy from others, which reinforces their self-esteem and their position in the conflict.
  • Divide and conquer: By creating divisions between other people (for example, turning one person against another), narcissists may feel that they maintain control over their social environment, ensuring that they remain the central focus and authority figure.

Is triangulating bad in a relationship?

Well, it’s not good, let’s say it has its effects:

  • Avoidance of direct conflict: People who triangulate tend to avoid direct confrontation, which can delay or even prevent a healthy resolution of the conflict.
  • It can create misunderstandings: He who becomes a redeemer ends up crucified, they say. When you bring a third party into the equation, the least important thing is that gossip is made; The worst thing is that you can end up fighting even with the third party or creating an entanglement… Even in some cases of triangulation, the introduced third party could end up being seen as a scapegoat, especially if the original parties to the conflict make up with each other and start blaming them. .
  • Emotional stress: For both the complainer and the listener, especially if they feel pressured to intervene or take sides. This is very common when triangulation occurs within the family.
  • In the end this does not resolve or worsens the conflict.

What can we do?

That depends on whether you are the triangulator or the “triangulated” one.

If you are the one who triangulates:

  • Develop awareness of your actions: Take note of the times you avoid direct communication and choose to speak through third parties. Recognizing the pattern is the first step to changing it.
  • Reflect on your motivations: Ask yourself why you feel the need to involve third parties. Is it because of fear of conflict, insecurity, anxiety or learned habits? If you identify them, you will be able to address the causes.
  • Seek help: In some cases, the tendency to triangulate may be rooted in deeper problems that could benefit from the intervention of an individual or collective therapeutic process.

If your relationship is being triangulated:

  • Set clear boundaries: Communicate clearly that you prefer to be part of the conversation when it comes to issues that involve you. This may discourage the other person from talking about you or your problems with others.
  • Promotes direct communication: Encourage the person you are triangulating to talk to you directly about any concerns or problems. Let him know that you are open and available to resolve conflicts constructively.
  • Avoid engaging in triangulation: If you are asked to act as an intermediary, suggest that the parties involved communicate directly with each other. This not only reduces triangulation, but also encourages healthier conflict resolution. If someone arrives triangulating, appreciate their intention, but don’t resolve anything with them; go directly to the source.

Specialist: Mario Guerra. Psychotherapist, thanatologist, ontological coach, internationally certified hypnotherapist, speaker and our love rockstar.

TW and IG: @marioguerra // FB: // YT: @MarioGuerramx //

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