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  • Understanding Narcissist Triangulation: How to Recognize and Deal with It

    Narcissist triangulation is a manipulative tactic used by narcissists to control and destabilize their targets. It involves introducing a third party into a relationship to create tension, provoke jealousy, and maintain control. Recognizing and dealing with triangulation is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships and protecting your mental well-being.

    What is Narcissist Triangulation?

    Triangulation occurs when a narcissist involves a third person in the dynamics of their relationship with someone else. This third party could be a friend, family member, colleague, or even a stranger. The goal is to create conflict, competition, and insecurity among the individuals involved, allowing the narcissist to manipulate and control the situation.

    Signs of Narcissist Triangulation

    1. Creating Jealousy: The narcissist may talk excessively about another person to make you feel insecure or jealous. They might compare you unfavorably to this person, highlighting their achievements or qualities.

    2. Playing the Victim: Narcissists often portray themselves as victims in their relationships. They might tell you about how another person mistreated them to gain your sympathy and manipulate your emotions.

    3. Spreading Misinformation: To create conflict, a narcissist may spread false information or lies about you to others, or vice versa. This tactic is designed to create confusion and mistrust.

    4. Divide and Conquer: By pitting people against each other, the narcissist ensures that everyone is too focused on the conflict to see the manipulation. This allows the narcissist to maintain control over the situation.

    5. Sudden Attention Shifts: The narcissist might alternate between giving you attention and then suddenly withdrawing it to focus on someone else. This keeps you on edge and constantly seeking their approval.

    How to Deal with Narcissist Triangulation

    1. Recognize the Tactics: Awareness is the first step in dealing with triangulation. Recognize the signs and understand that the narcissist is using these tactics to manipulate and control you.

    2. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries with the narcissist. Let them know that you will not tolerate manipulative behavior. Stick to your boundaries firmly.

    3. Avoid Engagement: Do not engage in the drama or competition that the narcissist is trying to create. Stay calm and do not let their tactics provoke you into reacting emotionally.

    4. Communicate Directly: If the narcissist involves a third party, communicate directly with that person to clarify any misinformation. This helps to prevent misunderstandings and reduces the narcissist’s ability to manipulate.

    5. Seek Support: Dealing with a narcissist can be emotionally draining. Seek support from trusted friends, family members, or a therapist who can provide guidance and help you maintain perspective.

    6. Maintain Distance: If possible, limit your interactions with the narcissist. Creating physical and emotional distance can reduce their ability to manipulate and control you.

    7. Focus on Self-Care: Prioritize your mental and emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Practicing self-care helps build resilience against the narcissist’s tactics.

    8. Professional Help: If the narcissist’s behavior is causing significant distress, consider seeking professional help. Therapy can provide you with strategies to cope and protect your mental health.


    Narcissist triangulation is a manipulative tactic that can create significant emotional turmoil. Recognizing the signs and implementing strategies to deal with it can help protect your mental well-being and maintain healthier relationships. Remember, you have the power to set boundaries and choose how you respond to manipulative behavior. At Crossland Counseling PLLC, we are here to support you in navigating complex relationship dynamics and empowering you to take control of your emotional health.