Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option. Maya Angelou
I have mentioned narcissistic triangulation a few times but so far, I have never dedicated a post to it. Today I want to write about it because out of all the manipulation techniques that he used to undermine and control me, it was the most disconcerting and hurtful. Hurtful because it made me feel as if everyone else in his life was more important than me and disconcerting because he claimed I was the most important person in his life and nobody else mattered.
Triangulation was often accompanied by the silent treatment and disappearing act to make it more efficient and rend me totally powerless to confront him and demand explanations for his behaviour. He also added a heavy dose of gaslighting to make me feel as if I was the one acting irrationally.
First there were all his exes whom he kept texting and kept sending crumbs of attention to, in order to keep them hooked and let me know that he was in demand. I always had to fight for attention, while he was giving it freely to them. He pretended that they were just friend but was almost always conducting his texting while locked in the toilet, which made me think that there was more to it than what he claimed.
Now and then, as he was showing me a video on his mobile, a text would pop up, accompanied by hearts and messages of undying love. To this day, I am not sure if he knew that they would text at that particular time. The only other possibility is, that they were so often in touch that a message was bound to pop up. One day, as he was sleeping and had left his phone on my desk, one of his exes texted that she had found a new App that they could use to chat to each other without me being none the wiser. When I confronted him, he claimed that he knew nothing about it.
At the height of devaluation, he would start relating to me what they had said to him. I was jealous and controlling and that he would be much better off with them. “Marta says that you’re controlling and that I should get back with her. “I was extremely puzzled by that comment especially since he had told me that the reason he did not like her was that she was controlling!
Additionally, there were all his new prospects. Mainly his colleagues or clients. He would discuss our relationship with them but always refuse to discuss it with me. Whenever I wanted to talk about the issues we were facing, he always dodged the bullet, pretending he was too busy or too upset to talk about it. However, he made a great show of telling me how understanding they were and how they would tell him that my anxiety was ruining our relationship. He would come home at all hours, telling me that he was late because he had been talking to a colleague as he was trying to save our relationship by talking to other people as he needed to figure out what was wrong.
Finally, another of his triangulation tactics was to constantly ignore any pieces of advice I gave him while taking the same advice from a third party. “My friend told me that it would be a good idea if I did A&B.” I would react in anger because I had told him exactly the same a few days earlier and he had completely ignored me. That made me feel as if I was always talking to the wind, which with hindsight I realised was exactly what I was doing.
In the relationship triangle, also known as the drama triangle, we usually alternatively take on the roles of Victim, persecutor or rescuer. In the narcissistic relationship triangle, the narcissists always see themselves as the victim and his partners alternate between being persecutor or rescuers, depending on what the narcissist wants and what stage of the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle their victims currently are. They never see themselves as persecutors, although they are most of the time.
I could go on and on, giving examples of his triangulation. What I am writing about in this post is only the tip of the iceberg. There were many more incidents, some that I have forgotten and some that I will remember forever. For anybody who has never been involved with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, triangulation may seem trivial. Just a little game to spice up a relationship by creating competition. However, if you have ever had the unfortunate bad luck of being involved with one, you must know how emotionally destructive triangulation is.
No Contact was the only way for me to escape triangulation. There was never a moment of respite from it as long as we were still in touch. It was a relentless attack on my self-esteem and sanity. I deserved better than being a pawn in someone’s tug of war game.
I feel sorry for the people he triangulated me with as they were mainly unaware of his acts. He used me to hurt them and he used them to hurt me. They thought they were being faithful and loyal friends.
I am out of the game. I hope that one day they will realise the part they unwittingly played in my abuse and that they will get out of the game too.