Triangulation is a favorite tool of the narcissist and the sociopath in their attempts to dominate and control their partner.
What could be better than having a third person brought into an already dysfunctional relationship?
Here is a hypothetical situation demonstrating the mayhem it causes.
You meet the Narc for the first time. It’s just a brief casual greeting. After this initial introduction, there are a few quick exchanges of polite greetings, but nothing more. This goes on for a few days.
The Narc always initiates these greetings and eventually you notice frequent run ins. They all appear to be a coincidence but it happens just a little too often for this to be the case.
At each interaction, the Narc initiates a smile and a friendly greeting. This is soon followed by conversation.
Immediately the questions are personal in nature as he tries to learn about you but in a friendly and compassionate way. The Narc establishes only a small connection, but it’s a start.
Soon after this first connection, the Narc and you share daily greetings. The Narc is still the one who initiates each “Hello” and “Good Morning” but you feel more open to communicate with him.
One day the Narc’s friend asks if you’d like to get a drink with them. You see no harm in getting one drink and agree. At the bar, the friend is asking a lot of personal questions and with the alcohol to help, you reveal a little too much of your past relationship.
The friend says it’s okay and mentioned that the Narc was married twice. You notice the Narc doesn’t look pleased that his private life is being revealed. He responds that he wants to be married but every time he turns around “they seem to have misplaced me”.
The friend eventually leaves the bar, leaving the two of you alone alone. The Narc looks annoyed giving you the impression he wants to leave. You end up walking together, laughing and sharing stories. You are enjoying his company and it seems it’s the same for him.
Immediately after, his greetings are mixed with flirting. It’s playful at first, but intensifies. He isn’t subtle about it and other people around you notice. He starts waiting for you after work, checking on your travel schedule, and you constantly run into each other.
One day, the Narc starts paying attention to another woman in front of you. He ignores you while showing a lot of interest in this new person. She had noticed his attention towards you but is flattered by his charming attention as well.
She decides to let him know she’s available. Each time they openly flirt, the Narc makes sure it’s done in front of you. Afterwards he will look over at you and smile.
The triangulated woman will see this as well and turn her jealousy towards you. She tries harder to turn his full attention away from you and towards her.
You ignore these games and the Narc turns up his attention back to you. He openly displays his interest for others to see. The intensity of his attention feels genuine. He’s exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
He expresses his interest but it’s too soon and you need time. You feel bad and write him a letter trying to explain this, but decide not to give it to him. The triangulated woman is jealous again and tells you that you will end up all alone.
When you work up the nerve to tell him how you feel, the Narc/Psychopath tells you that you made up everything!
He says there was never anything there and denies what he has said. He tells you that you invented a fantasy and you need to get real with yourself.
Devastated, you are crushed, hurt, but mostly confused. The triangulated woman laughs at your humiliation and says to you directly “Oh, did you really think it was real?” before laughing in your face.
The Narc acts sorry and appears to care and says that he is going to straighten things out.
He tells curious co-workers that it was all just a misunderstanding. Once you start feeling a little better, the Narc starts up his flirting again but instead of the intensity on his part, he shows sincerity.
You’re pulled back in.
You both are talking and smiling again. The triangulated woman notices and is livid. She goes through your things and decides to steal the letter you wrote to the Narc and leaves it in an obvious place for all everybody to see.
The Narc is embarrassed and instead of being mature, he smears your name around to everyone you know. You are “slut shamed” and other people believe his story.
The Narc continues his rage by being sexually aggressive towards you. It’s frightening and confusing. He flips his emotions from sincerity, to anger, to sadness, to neutral, and back to disdain in just one interaction.
He follows you around in an aggressive stalking way. Others notice but don’t want to be involved. The triangulated woman is enjoying the drama and laughs at you while you are noticeably shaken. He is angry at you for this spoils his game.
He must now save his reputation by smearing your name and eventually discarding you sooner than he planned. One day he crossed the line and you are left in shock. He in turn laughs at you. But the triangulation isn’t over. It continues throughout the abuse stages.
When you report his behavior, he denies it and the triangulated woman believes you are lying. The Narc continues his leering and following you around.
The triangulated woman is angry at you for keeping him from getting close to her. One day she openly informs him to go home with her, in front of you and others.
The next day, she smirks while saying “Good Morning” to you. She’s pleased with herself and letting you know she got the prize. Meanwhile, the Narc continues to deny his behavior towards you and insists on record that you created a fantasy out of being rejected. As much as you try to ignore their behavior, it continues with more cruelty.
The triangulated woman thinks she’s standing up for her man by insulting your breast size and laughing at your sadness. She even steals one of your lipsticks from your makeup bag and wears the color for you to see.
The Narc is keeping you in his control by slowly and steadily crushing your soul with alternating looks of anger, asking how you’re doing, and laughing at your visible sadness. This is his punishment for your betrayal.
The Narc does this because he needs you until he’s fully done. If he can’t get anymore adoration, he’s going to squeeze out your pain and hate – because any reaction is better than none!