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Narcissistic Family Triangulation

Triangulation in Narcissistic Families

Triangulation is a tactic used by narcissist family members to devastating effect. I’ve seen how harmful it can be in relationships between mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. Let’s talk about triangulation abuse when you have a narcissistic family member.

What is Narcissistic Family Triangulation

Triangulation is a form of abuse where a narcissist either, 1) puts themselves between two family members to control the dynamic, or 2) attacks a victim indirectly through a third party.

In families, narcissistic triangulation is a common way where the narcissist, typically a narcissist parent, controls and manipulates other members of the family.

Some common forms of narcissistic triangulation in families include —

Narcissistic Mother Triangulation

In my experience researching and coaching people with narcissistic family member’s, I have found narcissistic mothers to be very common.

Because mothers have such a strong bond with children at a young age, they tend to have a profound impact on children as they grow up. And, on the family dynamic as a whole.

Narcissistic mothers tend to choose golden children and scapegoats. They will then try to sour the relationship between the “good kids” and the “bad kids.”

Depending on the mother’s relationship with the father, a narcissistic mother may try to “hoard” her children’s love, and develop lies or exaggerated stories to make her children hate their father. She may try to prevent her children from talking to him, unless she is present or an intermediate. She may also try to follow up any one on one conversation by asking what you talked about — worrying that you might have unearthed her lies — while trying to reiterate and reinforce her version of events.

As children age, especial gild children, a narcissistic mother may grow jealous of them. A jealous narcissist mother may try to use triangulation to ruin her daughters relationships with boy, or to spread embarrassing rumors among her friends.

For more help with a narcissistic mother, see my previous articles on the subject —

Coaching for victims of narcissistic mothers —

Narcissistic Father Triangulation

Narcissistic fathers, in my experience, seem to be more likely to choose the mother as their victim. Although, most of the forms of abuse that mothers use against children, described above, are possible to encounter.

In a family with a narcissistic father, he is likely to try to make himself the center of attention. A narcissistic father may try to sabotage the relationship between mother and children as a form of manipulation and control aimed at the mother.

To this end, among narcissistic fathers it is very common try to upstage the mother. They will bring sweets, play games, and be the “fun parent.” At the same time try to cast the mother as a tyrant we doesn’t allow any fun.

Additionally, narcissistic fathers are more likely to try to separate his wife and children from extend family members. He may try to act as in intermediate, discouraging direct communication and try to be the arbiter of all messages, so he can control the narrative.

Narcissistic Sister Triangulation

When you have a narcissistic sister, she wants to be loved and admired by everyone in the family. She wants to be the pretty, successful, and popular one.

She will also try to pull down her siblings, especially other sisters. Through triangulation you sister may try to embarrass you at school, convince boyfriends to leave you, tattle on you to parents, or lie about things you said or did to other people in order to hurt your reputation.

One tactic particular to narcissistic sisters is playing the victim card with parents. She may prove you, be mean and spiteful, just to provoke a reaction. Then she will turn on the water works and cry to your parents, describing in heinous detail every wrong that you have done to her, perhaps adding in a few made up details to embellish the story.

Narcissistic Brother Triangulation

Like all narcissistic siblings, narcissistic brothers want to be the center of attention. Unlike female siblings, many narcissistic brothers tend to be more focus outside the family with their narcissistic manipulation. This makes narcissistic triangulation attacks against family members less likely.

However, that doesn’t preclude rumor spreading or playing the victim game from their bag of tricks.

Narcissistic brothers sometimes have a fixation on their mother, and a desire to be seen positively by her. So, may go out of their way to separate other siblings from her through falsehoods and trying to limit her alone time with her other children.

What is triangulation in narcissism?

Triangulation is a form of abuse where a narcissist either, 1) puts themselves between two family members to control the dynamic, or 2) attacks a victim indirectly through a third party.

Does narcissistic behavior run in families?

Children of narcissists are more likely to develop narcissism as adults. The prevent theory among psychologists is that narcissism is the result of incomplete childhood development. There is a statistical link between genetics and narcissism, as well as cultural values and narcissism.