Triangulation Psychology (A complete guide)

In this article, we’ll describe “Triangulation Psychology”.

We’ll describe what is triangulation, why would people engage in triangulation, how to avoid triangulation, how to top triangulation.

Finally, we’ll highlight Triangulation and Therapy.

What is Triangulation?

Manipulation tactic which is used to avoid direct communication is known as triangulation.

From the name itself, we can say that there are three people involved in this, one is the speaker, the other is the mediator and the third one is the receiver.

In this, the speaker doesn’t talk directly to the receiver but uses a mediator in between, which manipulates before giving the message to the receiver.

These tactics are in existence for so many years and it is commonly used to turn people against each other or create a rivalry.

Triangulation brings confusion and complications because there is no direct communication between the people, these tactics are commonly used in the families, which they usually think would work but ends up drastically.

Well, triangulation can occur in any relationship either in siblings, parents or friends.

It is commonly used by the narcissistic or manipulative people, it creates hostility, negative emotions in the people who are being triangled.

Identifying and Addressing Triangulation:

Triangulation can be identified in the following ways:

  • When there is a lack of communication and there is the need for the third person exit
  • Attention is drawn away from the important issues of the two-person relationship
  • When a third party is pulled into an inappropriate role, for example when the child becomes the problem or the mode of conflict between the parents

Pros and Cons of Triangulation:

  • When there is a conflict in a relationship, interference of the third party helps giving new ideas and perspectives in making the relationship stable. It can be helpful for the couple sometimes, who may need mediating disagreements and finding support for them.
  • Though, it can sometimes lead to unnecessary confusion between the couple as well. The third-party can mislead the couple from the proper solution and lead to a frustrating situation.
  • Conditions, like focusing on the child or conceiving a child for the solution of a breaking marriage, will lead to an extra burden, responsibility, and disputes in the middle of it. This eventually makes the marriage and couple suffer for it.
  • Triangulation also can interfere with the child’s overall development as both the parents give the responsibility of the child to each other and the child gets neglected in the process.

Three Points of Triangulation:

  • The Victim:

This is the person who has a victim complex, either he is the victim or not.

These are the person who makes the triangle, they take others into the confidence that they are the victims and this problem they have.

  • The Manipulator:

This is the person who goes after those in the triangle.

  • The Third Participant:

This person is the one who is considered to be the savior of the victim.


Often people engage in triangulation because of the validation and seeking an alliance with someone to support their position.

When people are faced with problems and they want to get rid of the problems then they try to connect with people they know or they can trust.

They seek affirmation from these people by manipulating them so that they speak for them.

These tactics are utilized by people who are either insecure or emotionally immature.

Although in the start, triangulating may feel good but later when it becomes difficult to break the cycle, it becomes frustrating.  


The first and foremost thing to do is gaining awareness of the triangulation cycle. If the feeling of the need of someone for the validation or affirmation occurs, one must think twice.

One should ask self, why does one need to bring an additional party when direct communicating or confrontation can help.

Keeping as few people as possible in the conversation saves time, energy and misunderstandings. Instead of having a mediator, direct talk benefits both the parties.

Assertive communication can help to save the day and one needs to learn this skill.

Speaking your mind will also help in gaining the confidence and sharing the feeling.


First, we need to recognize the manipulation and then we need to stop it. In order to do so, the following points might help:

  • Boundaries:

Having preset boundaries can help in stopping the manipulation.

A manipulator shouldn’t be able to cross the line you’ve been built and with present boundaries, he wouldn’t dare to cross it which is important to get out of the triangulation easily.

  • Say No and Stay Safe:

It’s not easy to say no but sometimes it is the only word that can save from the problems ahead.

Saying no would make the manipulator away from the lives of the people (not immediately but sooner or later he will), this will eventually help the people in staying safe with the information and they can communicate directly to each other.

If it seems that the problem is not going heal on your own and you need help from the third party, then what better help would be than seeking a professional’s help?

A counselor or therapist can help you with your problems and how to deal with maturity and teach ways to confront others as well.


In a close relationship, it’s normal to have conflict and stress automatically takes the toll and people want to look for help outside their relationship in the hope of having unbiased judgment.

Triangulation is a term from systems therapy and is known as the natural part of therapy.

It helps the members of the relationship to understand the interconnected roles and patterns and also the loopholes in it.

One can talk to the therapist all that he feels, even if he feels he is the victim or being victimized, can open up in front of the therapist easily.

In terms of the couple therapy, triangulation is the entire point.

Here therapist is the one who intervenes and either he can be the victim of the anger between the couple or the rescuer of their relationship.

Although they are supposed to be the mediator of the couple sometimes it is harder to be just in the middle of two people as they have two sides of the story.

The main motive of the therapy and the therapist is to remain objective and he/she should not believe one party because of favoritism as this will end up in the biased discussion.

Either its the therapist or the common people, they need to learn the skill of being factual and non-judgmental.

In this blog, we’ve described “Triangulation Psychology”.

We’ve described what is triangulation, why would people engage in triangulation, how to avoid triangulation, how to top triangulation.

Finally, we have highlighted Triangulation and Therapy.

Please feel free to leave a comment or a suggestion, we appreciate your time.


What is triangulation in narcissism?

Triangulation in narcissism is that the narcissist manipulates the problems of a relationship in such a way that it creates confusion and conflict between the two with the problem and the narcissist or the manipulator wins the battle.

What is emotional triangulation?

Emotional triangulation is the tactic which is used by the emotionally unstable people to manipulate an interaction between two people who are not communicating directly.