The 4 Most Common Narc-Sadistic Triangulation Tactics



Triangulation is one of the favorite manipulation tools used by narcissists and sociopaths. It can also be a learned behavior that many people engage in who have grown up with a narcissistic parent or dysfunctional family dynamic. However, I think it’s important in any kind of relationship, that we learn to identify the early warning signs and red flags when interacting with people who display narcissistic and toxic behaviors. This way we can better protect ourselves from being exploited, and abused, and make good decisions about who we allow into our lives.

I am going to describe the 4 most common methods of triangulation used by narcissists and toxic people, and the motives behind them.

Narcissists are keen observers. They can identify a kind and generous individual the same way a Great White shark can smell one drop of blood in the ocean, from up to one mile away. Narcissists are also skilled observers. Their main goal is to control and dominate their partners and, well, just about everyone they come into contact with. This is why the love-bombing phase is so key to the narcissist’s success. No matter how confident and self-assured you are at the beginning of the relationship, the constant attention, flattery and fraudulent declarations of love that sweeps you off your feet, both literally and figuratively, leaves you off-balance and vulnerable by default.

Triangulation can be defined as an indirect form of communication where one person (usually the narcissist) acts as a messenger between two other people. Or it can be a direct form of communication where one person attempts to draw in an accomplice, to gang up against a third party, to further their agenda. In both cases, the messenger will fabricate or alter a message, often incorporating a sliver of the truth, to advance his/her objective. There are as many different reasons why a narcissist might use triangulation as there are narcissists, but here are the 4 most common methods and motives.

   1. Killing two birds with one stone

To obtain control, attention or adulation, narcissists will often inform their partner about how a third-party, such as a mutual friend or co-worker, has been flirtatious with them. This third-party person is brought into the relationship to kill two birds with one stone! First, it stirs up feelings of jealousy and insecurity in their partner, and subtlety warns the partner that they are potentially replaceable. Instinctively, the partner tries harder to please the narcissist, as to not be replaced. Second, it creates an illusion of desirability and encourages rivalry, both of which, fill the narcissist with narcissistic supply, consisting of adulation and control.  So, not only does the narcissist get his/her dose of supply, he/she also increases the amount of power he/she wields over their partner.

Emotionally healthy people do not invoke feelings of jealousy and insecurity in their partners, or into their relationships, as they know these are big relationship no-nos.

   2. Recruiting reinforcements

One of the ways narcissists use triangulation to manipulate their partners into siding with their point of view or acquiesce to their wants and needs is by using third-party reinforcements to substantiate their opinions. This is a form of recruiting allies, or when taken to the extreme, it is flat out bullying. The narcissist tries to manipulate anyone who may hold a different opinion or belief by using the help of an unwitting third party, which of course, has only heard the narcissist’s rendition of the truth.

The third-party is usually oblivious to the narcissist’s ploy and believes they’re only trying to help the narcissist. Usually, the third party is a relative or a member of the narcissist’s fan club. The narcissist uses these innocent people as tools to help settle differences and coerce their partner or anyone else into accepting their viewpoint through the use of persuasion, embarrassment, majority rules or guilt.

In emotionally healthy relationships, couples do not recruit third parties or use messengers to settle their differences. They have face-to-face discussions. They don’t strong arm the other by using a third person to help influence their partner and do their bidding for them. They respect each other and their relationship, and if they cannot come to an agreement, they will seek a qualified, unbiased third-party, such as a therapist, minister or counselor.

  3. Splitting

This method of triangulation involves pitting two people against each other. The narcissist does this by smearing the character of one or both of the people behind their backs. This enables the narcissist to preserve their false image and ensures they’re viewed positively among the triangle. In many instances, the narcissist will portray themselves as the victim, especially if they feel their partner is growing tired or aware of their manipulation, hypocrisy, and abuse. The narcissist will react by planning their partner’s discard, by starting a full-fledged smear campaign behind their back. So by the time they dump their partner, the narcissist already has a circle of blind supporters.

The narcissist will usually seek supporters that he/she knows will always agree with them, no matter what. This is how they set up their partner, to look like the abuser in the relationship, long before the relationship is over. For this to work, the narcissist must keep the supporter(s) and partner from sharing information, so the narcissist will usually share mean comments each has said about the other to fuel a rift.

The narcissist uses this triangulation tactic to control the information shared between the parties. It also serves to provide the narcissist with the power of being the primary contact person and transferer of information.  Since everyone is communicating through the narcissist and not with each other, the narcissist can further his/her agenda by relaying their twisted spin on the information between the parties.

Emotionally healthy people tend to shy away from the drama that splitting creates. Most people hate to be put in the middle of other people’s arguments. The narcissist thrives on it. Also, emotionally healthy individuals don’t enjoy hurting others by sharing mean-spirited comments that others have said about them. Again, the narcissist takes much pleasure in it. For example, the narcissist will mention to his/her partner that a family member made a very cruel comment about them, and then pretend to be supportive of their partner’s anger and appear to defend them. Not only does the narcissist get to delight in the hurt expression on their partner’s face, but they get to swoop in like the hero, and pretend to defend their partner. This creates a lot of drama and chaos and is a potent fix of supply for the eternally bored, drama-driven narcissist.

    4. The pre-discard and dump

This is the final triangulation tactic used by the narcissist when he/she has decided to end the relationship and discard you. Instead of talking to their partner about this, they will confide in people who they know will agree with them, and believe their rendition of the truth. Sometimes they will confide in people, who hardly even know their partner, if at all. The narcissist will make sure to let their partner know that they have been confiding in other people, and every single one of them agrees with the narcissist. Most likely, one of the narcissist’s confidants will assume the role of the replacement partner.

After the breakup, the narcissist will openly brag about how happy they are with their new partner. And if their ex-partner acts jealous, or tries to beg them back, the narcissist will enjoy the new bonus love-triangle of their own creation.

It goes without saying, that emotionally healthy people don’t talk about something as important as ending a relationship with others without discussing it with their partner’s first. It also goes without saying, that emotionally healthy people don’t shamelessly flaunt their new partners right away since it would cause them to feel embarrassed about entering a new relationship so quickly.

Ironically, in Judo, a triangle choke, is a four-figure chokehold, which strangles the opponent by encircling the opponent’s neck and one arm with the legs in a configuration, similar to the shape of a triangle. The technique constricts the blood flow from the carotid artery to the brain and can cause the fighter to pass out, or even die if left in the hold long enough. For the opponent to release himself from the triangle choke, he needs to tap out, or the referee will jump in to stop the fight. If you see any of the warning signs or behaviors I’ve listed in your relationship, strongly consider tapping out. You may lose the match, but miraculously, when toxic people leave your life, so does anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.



Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and psychopathy in her blog FreeFromToxic. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a dedicated advocate, educator, and facilitates survivor support groups and workshops.


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104 thoughts to “The 4 Most Common Narc-Sadistic Triangulation Tactics”

  1. OMG! I keep thinking maybe I’m crazy or overreacting and labeling him to make myself feel better. But every time I read an article every thing falls into place. He always said FB was bad and interfered in peoples personal lives. Last summer he started using the acct his daughter had created years ago and began friending all his HS alumni he hadn’t seen in over 25 yrs. At this point he started ignoring me as he had a whole new supply of people excited to reconnect. I thought it was strange that he had posted a comment regarding him having some trouble in his past and had turned his life around, pretty much the same BS he gave me in the beginning. He reconnected with his HS sweetheart (I was unaware of that detail) and she was all complimentary and asking if he was single. He said he told her he was involved and told me they were just friends. He admitted to enjoying the attention she was giving him and he thought it was cute that she had been telling her friends about him. He was talking crap about her to me and obviously talking to her along with all his other new friends about me. The last straw was him taking me to a halloween party where all his new friends were looking at me like I was the other woman. We broke up the next day and although he said it was in my head he was dating her the next day. He told me we should have some time apart and date other people (but not sleep with them) to pass the time. From things he told me about her I knew he had no intention of a relationship with her, she had teenage kids and not that I’m fabulous but she wasn’t attractive enough to get him attention. After about 2 weeks he was back with me. She was angry, but he smoothed it over with her so as not to alienate the rest of their friends. Once we were back together he was posting pics of us, leading me on and watching as I was posting all these happy relationship memes all the while telling his friends how much he loved me but that he didn’t feel like he could do anything right in my eyes. He was telling them that I made him feel like he wasn’t good enough for me. He humiliated and crucified me and then pulled me back in at Christmas just to pour salt in the wound. God I hate that evil bastard!

    1. I think you just have to tell yourself that the truth shall prevail. Some guys are really fickle anyway and facebook encourages that to the point of addiction for some. To me thats the stuff of little boys and not a man. I think if someone male or female burns you a few times and you gave a second or third chance, you’ve got to walk away and stay away. Some people are the types who dont respect kindness or forgiveness.

    2. Omg I think I’m married to his twin! Same thing hated fb at first then got involved with a group and began ignoring me. I caught him discussing our marriage with some woman he’s never met and telling these ppl lies about me and his life. After 10 years of marriage it was like night and day. Now he wants a divorce.

  2. My ex did all of what this article described. He used his mother as his back up and of course she believed all he said. Sick sick

    1. Same here, my former partner also enlisted his replacement of me,his stepdad and child protection services and the courts to attack me that way as well.
      The judges don’t read through materials so they keep doing the same orders as other judges without actual facts (he also has a narcissistic lawyer that coaches ppl how to falsify info and try to play the victim& actually did this to his first wife when he first became a lawyer). Child protection agency is used like a pawn that his lawyer used to work at the CAS agency as a social worker ( sicked on his first wife too).
      People are too busy feeling sorry for him to notice he has not given any facts.
      It boils down to whom has a better lawyer or if you are lucky to get an emotionally intelligent and cognizant aware judge; I have already lost with the lawyer bit- mine gave in, gave up and just attended to get paid.

    2. My Narc will never admit his fault despite all the signs.He still wants me back but continues to see the wanted in his triangulation.I let him go.They say third time is a charm.No more for me.Time to be strong and move on for good.He also has phsychopathic and sociopathic tendencies which worries me that he may come after me.

  3. Wow, you just described my ex completely! Only I finally separated from him because the domestic violence agency, our couples therapist, his county therapists etc told me that I must jump on the opportunity the next time he made the threat about leaving. I did secretly hoping that he’d want his family back but one of the women that he was having an affair with moved in immediately after I left. That was 8 years ago & I still have him huanting my dreams every night. I met him at 16 and I’ve never dated and am too afraid to.

    1. I met my ex at 16 too and he’s the single biggest mistake I have ever made. I knew walking down the aisle it was never going to last. For one reason or another we’re so financially enmeshed that every time I want to let him fall flat on his face and see just how smart, talented, business savvy or whatever he’s claiming superiority of plays out, but by his dumb luck , somehow it always involves me having to get screwed over as a result to so I inevitable give in or help to save my own circumstance. Just be thrilled he only took 8 yrs of your life hostage. Don’t ever try to fix him or make a compromise to make it work. I know mine is evil to the core. I have tried this for 30 years and pretty resourceful, patient , empathetic and quite hard headed and I have run face 1st into this brick wall enough times to know better. Consider if you only had 4 months to live. You will have to decide how you want to spend and you’ll having to face the fact that they can’t be fixed in time so you’ll feel more possessive of your peace of mind or drama free life by removing the cancer they unleash in your life. (Ironically that’s his sign). I never give up on anything, and it’s a hard pill for me to swallow, that all this time and energy and sadness and anger and abuse was all for not, but if I objectively look at him I m humiliated to even voice what he’s just done or said after the last time that was at the time outrageous…….what he’s done and yet I am still here. Even a rock can’t withstand a constant drip to it’s self and eventually will be worn down and worn into a compromised version of it’s former state so don’t believe you are weak….Nothing can survive a perpetual onslaught………My ex is a lost cause. It’s not you, they are irreparable because they can’t even see their broken.

    1. Thank you! Great connect. We are both in the same field advocating, educating and supporting those who suffer from PTSD/CPTSD due relationships with Cluster B’s!

      1. It is great to connect and thank you for your very insightful info.
        Being abused by these cluster B people and psychopaths, is something I know personally too and I know the abuse is devastating and takes time to heal.
        Education is vital.
        Especially to know how not to get harmed again and to know the abuse was never deserved.
        Thank you again for all you do, I will be checking out your others posts!

  4. Number 3 Splitting describes my mother perfectly!

    Thank you so much for posting this article because it explains it so well & helps me see that I’m not crazy.

    1. Melinda, keep reading and educating yourself. After a while you will realize they are all pretty textbook and typical. Basically, one trick ponies be ab and you will able to spot them a mile away!

    2. Read read 3 books at least on them get to know all their robotic moves and compulsive cycles..learn how they you do your intuition and instincts return..and magnify

  5. Reblogged this on The Eclectic Poet and commented:
    I haven’t shared an NPD post in a while. I’m at a point where I don’t read any but the most informative and trusted people. I also avoid anyone who was involved as best I can.
    I’ve referred to these people as “Apaths”, they are also known as “Flying Monkeys”, as they do the Narc’s dirty work. Bree’s article gives excellent examples of how the Narc brainwashes (triangulates) people.
    My former fiancé was a master at all four.
    If any of the below sound familiar, you are likely dealing with a Narcissist and getting good information is essential. I can be reached through the “messsge me” tab , if you’d like links.

      1. My pleasure Bree! Thank you for this great article, I know that if more people are aware of a Narc’s tactics, they’ll be less likely to fall into the trap of abusing his / her intended target. All the best to you K~xx

  6. My tormentor of 24 years used my daughter as his tool of manipulation then proceeded to abuse our other two children in the same manner by all of the above mentioned tactics. My children see me rarely. I went from being a mom who did everything with my children to being ostracized by the people I loved the most. My therapist asked how I stayed so long but I learned how to detach from his abuse. Then he went after the children, my Achilles heel, and brought my world crumbling down. I wish I knew how to tell my children they are being abused and manipulated by their father but at this point they would not believe me. I pray they figure out the truth one day.

      1. Letting go, stay strong and keep letting go. It’s gets easier every day that you are free from the drama and abuse. Happiness, peace and freedom will become your normal again.

    1. I am not sure it ever changes. My children and step children still believe he was the best and I was the terrible mom and never really loved or cared for them and my step daughter was a better mom than I could have ever been. He is deceased now and in some ways that makes it worse.

    2. Dear Survivor 394
      This is my story…my kids are young adults..they’ve seen their father’s manipulation and tricks..yet they turned their backs on son was the only one who supported me steadfast…

      1. It is very scary, my children are neglected by their mother, same story. I am scarifying for them financially and physically. I am afraid that it is possible they can turn back on me bc the narscist mother lies every day, kidds may take it as it is true

    3. hi i can totally feel your pain ..i am exactly on the same boat.the narc is a master manipulator and enjoys destroying your life if he can no longer control you.

  7. Pingback: The 4 Most Common Narc-Sadistic Triangulation Tactics | Jacqueline Levett
  8. Fascinating stuff–I stumbled across this page and got sucked in.

    I don’t read much about psychology but wish I did, or maybe it’s more appropriate to say that I feel like I ought to wish that I did, but to be honest every time I do, it is with the hypochondriac’s fear of recognizing symptoms. I mean, I know “something” is wrong with me, right….

    Not that funny, really–but it’s true. I hold my breath.

    What I’m wondering is: are the tactics an instinctive response to the condition, patterns of behavior that human being naturally and statistically fall into because of the disorder–or do such people pathologically seek out ways to control and manipulate? Is the predation cycle conscious–or do both parties think things are progressing naturally, and if so does the narcissist recognize their problem the way I know I shouldn’t be eating that fourth piece of pizza, let alone following it with an ice cream cone?

  9. I have experienced these triangulations. The ex narc partner shared intimate details & “stories” about me, with his new “victims”, how did I know?? because he openly told me after I discovered what was going on behind my back. I should have departed this relationship. Instead I tried to make it all good again! Instead he continued on with new victims and then back to me, with new declarations of love! Slowly I choked…..
    4 years ago he left me for the next victim. After 35 years of emotional abuse I was relieved to be rid of him. I still grieved for what I thought we had & what I thought the future could have been. My psych told me that it was NEVER going to work. I was flawed by this statement. I had twisted & turned myself into accommodating him over 35years. He was never wrong! I developed an auto-immune disease due to the stress that I lived with 24/7x 52 weeks for 35 years.
    Its a blessing that he is out of my life! I stopped all contact with him before our financial settlement. He was texting me even the day before the settlement, he wanted to settle out of court because he didn’t want to pay out the extra dollars for the lawyer.
    Thank you for making all this information available to read. It is so much about MY life with a narc! Truly amazing!

    1. These triangulation tactics was the worst nightmare … totally soul and mindfuck behavior for the normal people!! My heart rhythm got far better at once when I left – and that you you got auto-immune disease is so sad but understandable after that long sentence around the manipulator.
      Take good care of you.

    2. How do you let go of the dream, also all the years of giving and giving, thinking at least we will be together in old age. How can I leave the dream it still might work…..I need that help.

      1. Lyn, try to remember just because you invested your time and emotional energy into this relationship, don’t waste more time and emotional energy in something that is not making you happy. Years from now you will look back with regret. Life is too short. Letting go of your dream is difficult, but holding on to it even though you know it’s not good for you is even worse. You deserve peace & happiness. ~ Bree

  10. Pingback: The Narc-Sadistic No Win Situation Traps | RelationshiPedia
  11. I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years now and was friends with him for 4 years previous to that. Things are horrible and I have finally gotten to the point of just being fine with it all. When I started to study things about narcissist…I he displayed a lot of the characteristics…But that was all…But as our relationship has continued he doesn’t just display characteristics he has played out every pattern and game that your hear about a narcissist playing…and yes to the point I have questioned my own sanity…we are in the final phase and he had slandered my name to everyone even going as far as to try and convince people I should be put in an institution…I have finally accepted he is a complete narcissist…what is hard to accept is that a person is not capable of feeling love.

    1. Rachel, it’s very painful and hard to accept at first but once you accept that they have no ability to love the way normal people do, it can be the very thing that helps makes sense of all the nonsense and allows you to completely let go and move on. Best to you! ~ Bree

  12. i wa in a narcassisic relationship and the lies spread about me i cant change that cause unfortunately people do listen a lot but now i understand what narcassist means n will be more wide eyed to it

  13. Story of my marriage…particularly the end! How does one learn to trust again and not wait for that other shoe to drop?

    1. Jenn, Triangulation is vicious!! A horrible form of betrayal. think that knowing the signs of NPD combined with trusting that little voice in your head is all you can do. You might meet another narc, but you will catch on much quicker and run the other direction. They all pretty much have the same M.O., so luckily with practice they get easier to spot. ~ Bree

      1. Hi Bree, Triangulation ….That was the complete constant heartbreaking confusion, it was very good to read “Triangulation is vicious!! A horrible form of betrayal!” …..I am dealing intencely now trying to wrap my head around this VICIOUS abuse. …It was done in a so entitled but dumb AND kind of “innocent” way – that I for a long time thought he only was unnecessary insecure or something …MY GOD the manipulative idiot. It feels like a sadist has gnawed constant and greedy on my very soul!! I even said he wanted me to fight for him – and I dont DO that!! This middle aged immature clown…actually calls attention from other women – sugar -sugar .sugar 😛 !! It is only a little sugar.!!
        And then to me:
        Dont nag -SILENT TRATMENT – pling gone -and back again next week like nothing should be talked about – smile – THE POWER OF NOW!! Find a place in you to forgive – Live in the NOW -you are so sensitive and wounded ..dont cry over spilt milk.. I SAY I love you, why dont you believe me!! -I SAY it all the time!!
        Yes, I stopped questioning
        But before I left ..I said -if we are going to continue the engagement -I want you too -to start therapy, It can NOT be only me all the time!
        He got sour and said: But THATS the point you see -I will NOT DO that!!! – And wow now you start to remind me of my ex, the ice cold frigde !
        I left soon after
        I need to write down all the triangulations in a journal -because when I finally knew he struggled real hard to destroy me -I felt SO shameful and exhausted -I never use this tactic…I did not understand it was tactics ….mamma mia – I surely did NOT understand why he did all that before I realized he was one of the Narcville clones.
        I will continjue theraphy now to solve the c-ptsd – and feeling MAD more than numb -so Im soon up from this black hole – and I will thrive and use the narc radar we all get once solved and survived this rollercoster ride.
        I find so much help in your blog! You write so good about this topic – thank you for the effort Bree!

  14. Reblogged this on relationshitexit and commented:
    “Triangulation is vicious!! A horrible form of betrayal” And”Miraculously, when toxic people leave your life, so does anxiety, depression and hopelessness.”
    WELL written post on narc tactics – total betrayal ! Sometimes you dont realize this for what it is – but you will get sick and depressed. Dont tolerate any triangulation -it does only get worse with time!!!

  15. My X fits this verbatem and I left him years ago but back the, I wasn’t aware that his charscter was labeled as narcissistic. Fast forward I have a 33 year old daughter who is even more narcissistic than her father. It took the last 8 years of her bullying, narcissistic behavior to succeed, but we haven’t been in each others lives for 4 years, (her choice). She also stopped me from seeing or talking to my grandkids. She has spread so many blatant lies about me the damage is irreversible. She can be so very charming and manipulative that people WANT to believe her. Her answer to people who have a different opinion from hers is to cut them out of her life. A vlose mutual friend stated that she won’t disagree with her about anything because she wants to be able to see the children. She stated to me that she is “afraid” of standing up to my daughter because she fears being cut out of her life if she does. The sadest thing is she is teaching her children of someone hss a different opinion or disagrees with them, stop talking to them because a real friend wouldn’t do that. I miss my grandchildren sooooo much. My daugjter stated to me, and somewhat proudly I might add, that she doesn’t have much empathy for anyone.

    1. Antoinette, I wish there was something I could say or some advice I could give to you, but unfortunately narcissists only surround themselves with people who are tongue biters or believers. I hope that for your sake and your grandchildren, she will reconnect. I can imagine the pain as a mother to not have have a relationship with your daUghter and grandchildren. ~Bree

  16. Wow!!! I am so happy to have found this site. It’s good to know that your not crazy, and there is a name for behavior that is ‘tricky.’ It is worse when it is your mother who has a Phd., I only found out about NPD because I was looking up reasons a 7 year old might not like grandma. Through grandmas lies we moved 25oo miles to find out it was all a lie she needed our help. Now we are stuck because we spent all our money. My daughter who never knew grandma in person except through Skype, has total freak outs before and after seeing grandma. Grandma is always buying her stuff, but my daughter does not care and begs me to not see her. I was confused, because I was not enlightened as I am now, thanks to this website. I am now trying to figure out how to leave this town. Its like they really like you to be stuck and will not help you unless it benefits them in some way. When I was young I was so confused, I left the country to get away from my crazy family, and visit a friend. My mother had everyone convince I was lost in Europe. When I called home for my ‘check in’ the first thing my sister told me was ‘I knew you were not lost” I said, “what!” 3 weeks later I called my dad in another state then her to say hello, he says, “oh your alive, I have been getting cards and flowers from people saying we hope you find your daughter,” I asked him ‘didn’t mom tell you I called her 3 weeks ago” he told me ‘no.’ First it was mean on her part to convince people I was lost when I was not. She told me to not call collect because it was getting expensive so just to send a postcard. Well I forgot to send my post card after 2 weeks so I called home for my check in. When I told her she told me to stop calling collect, to replied ‘I never said that, why would I say that.” She always denied everything and made me feel crazy. This is only 1 tiny example of how she has made me look crazy. In fact my husband and I are married because of her. After that phone call to her I decided to not go home for 2 years, and found jobs and worked to take care of myself. One day I call home and she tells me she is so sick she might die. She told my boyfriend that her friends have a job for him so if we went home we could work and save up to go back to Europe while I help her in recovery. So we go back home, she is not sick, there is no job, we have to find jobs and live in her house. We were so stuck and so was my boyfriend a national from the UK. So she tells us,” if you get married he can stay in the country with you and he wont have to leave” so we figure we will do that so we can work, save up and leave again. After the courthouse wedding, my boyfriend calls his mom in the UK to tell her he will be able to work in the US and stay, when she asked why he told her we had to get married so he could stay in the country. Of course his mom began to cry. So I told my mom to talk to his mom and explain we are married because of her idea so he could stay in the country to work. So…..She gets on the phone, and all she says to his mom is, “I know I think they are too young also to be married, I agree, but what can you do.” It was horrible and then when I asked her to just introduce him as my boyfriend because I felt the marriage was a sham, she would only introduce him as her ‘son in law.’ I was so embarrassed and she ignored my concerns. Just another example of me falling into her trap. And once again, after 13 years of getting away from her, I was sucked back in, now I have a daughter who does not like her, we have only been in this town fo 3 months and I have had panic attacks and feel so so so stuck and angry. I am trying to plan my escape but I have to really save up so I can leave this state. bla bla bla it just goes on and on. Thank you for this site. It may just save my soul while I figure out a plan to leave.

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  20. Pingback: Divorcing a Narcissist…the truth hurts. Part 3 “Splitting” | The Sassy Pure Way Blog
  21. Pingback: Divorcing a Narcissist…the truth hurts. Part 4 “The Pre-Discard & Dump” | The Sassy Pure Way Blog
  22. My mother has done all of the above for years with my siblings and me. She has triangulated all five of us against the other. She is the classic narcissis. My siblings however don’t see this and don’t speak to me as a result of her. I’m now 40 years old and essentially have no immediate family. None of them do anything unless she wants information or are told to speak to me. The book “will I ever been good enough, healing the daughters of narcissistic mothers” pretty much sums up my life. I’m my siblings and in my dad’s eyes I have been painted the spawn of satin and that image and my relationships with they probably won’t change until my mom kicks the bucket and they all do a lot of work on themselves. What’s hard for me, is knowing my sisters d9 the same things to their kids (from the limited interactions I’ve had ) and neither of them question it or realize the damage they are doing. I’m glad I have removed myself from them, and when the day comes and they want to talk, the door will be open.

  23. I think I have a few more.

    When I was dating my narc last year, on two occasions I found posts of his on a forum for pick up artists. Yes, it actually took twice. In both of these, he discussed me in really unflattering ways and in the second round, it made it clear he was in no way being loyal to me. After the first time, I confronted him with what I saw. He got really angry and refused to take my calls for three days. Then it blew over like it was nothing…for him. When I asked him about it in person, he literally said “Wasn’t me” to my face 15 times and I believed him instead of what I saw with my own eyes. I didn’t fully BELIEVE IT, it’s just that letting it slide let me keep my drug, so I let it slide.

    It was only after more than a year of healing from total destruction that I realized this pretty recently: this is a smart guy. Even if I were inclined to believe he made such a stupid mistake (acting suspiciously, routinely taking days to answer my texts and then pouring on the romance and sex so I’d forget it happened, and then leaving something like that open on his computer where I could see it), I can’t imagine the possibility he’d screw that up twice. And realizing that recently led me to an epiphany. He didn’t screw it up once either. The whole thing was a set up. He wrote those things, I was meant to find them, and he probably knew exactly how that whole situation was going to play out. It was some accomplished gaslighting. It was done via triangulating me with his forum and his truth he speaks when he’s anonymous and has no reason to lie.

    I got a call from his second girlfriend (we were concurrent, I had no idea). He seemed completely surprised we’d crossed paths. I don’t believe that anymore either. I called his phone, and weirdly, my name didn’t even show up on it, just my number, like he didn’t know me. She knew my name. How’d she know that if it doesn’t turn up on his phone when I call him? I don’t think anything was an accident or even that he was surprised.

    Also, when a person has an iPhone, there’s a very weird sound you can hear when you’re talking to them and someone texts them. It’s like a tooting sound. More than once in the relationship, I heard it going off multiple times successively, including the last time he came around to hoover. And what a nightmare that turned out to be. Anyway, to my embarrassment, he’d turned me into that person who wants my relationship back and wants to make sense of everything so much, I blew up his phone and email, multiple (okay, possibly thousands) times, so when I hear that going off rapid fire that way, I know that’s what’s happening. He’s done it to someone else, and he’s only back because I provide triangulation. I didn’t figure that out though until he’d worn my resistance down enough to cause devastating pain. By the way, he explained it as “It’s nothing, it’s my mother.” Like anyone’s mother does that. Got that excuse at least twice.

    The last time we connected, he tried to treat me like a hook up for sex and expected me just to go for it. To my credit, I let him walk away rather than go for that. The guy who said he loved me repeatedly and used to be so crazy jealous at my talking to other guys was saying “I’m not looking for a relationship.” This is what happens when you try to play the narc’s game with him; he always, ALWAYS finds some way to throw some insult to your dignity you’d not even imagined into the mix just when you thought you had it handled. Sick, sick. ugh.

    This is the tip of the iceberg with the stories. I could be here all day…and the actual relationship was only 3 months long, then a one month break, then the devastating hoover, then a few incidents in which I was largly pursuing HIM. He sure packed a lot in in a short time! Took me a full ten months to actually let it go. He very nearly killed me, I’m not kidding, I developed some significant health problems from the emotional pain, my hair was falling out, I once projectile vomited and couldn’t make it to the toilet in time….I was stone-cold sober. I still have tinnitus I developed during all of it, but the recovery I’ve accomplished emotionally and spiritually feels to me like a walking personal miracle. Physical health is slowing coming around. Got into meditation, it saved my life.

    1. Hi Jen B,
      thanks for sharing your story. I am so pleased that you are healing. My narc relationship covered 35years with emotional abuse & like you I am now realising that he set me up many times.
      Yes, a slow learner! It’s 41/2 years since he left me for his new supply.
      I am free!!!!
      Well done to you girl! Keep healing. Big (((hugs))). Maree

  24. same tactics with N’s ‘friends’ as well. I remember in the bombing phase how he constantly gifted me with small, free gifts such as cards for Starbux apps. I also clearly remember how as i attempted gifting one on him, he elaborately passed the gift off to another person, instead of accepting it, and turned around and immediately started telling me how very much he liked that person. talk about an early warning sign! Now i know.

  25. Pingback: The Power of Suggestion & Family Ties - Surviving the Narcopath
  26. I can only say get out while you can. My ex pretty much ruined my life. It is so difficult to believe that I once had a career that I loved. And he destroyed it and me with it. The information provided is excellent. I just wish I had known what was happening in my life sooner. Maybe I would have avoided all the stress and pain I went through. It is still so painful to think about my life before him. I truly am destroyed.

  27. My ex used to carry a book around with her all the time: “Get Anyone to do Anything, and Never Feel Powerless Again.” Curiosity got the best of me so I thumbed through it. This book actually describes how to use and utilize these same techniques.

  28. I moved in with the Narc 4 months ago. We have been together for a bit more than 3 years, He has shown his true face to me during our time together but the evil and most ugliest truth came to the surface since I moved in with him. He has been abusing me both emotionally and somewhat physically from the day I moved in. I moved from my country to England with all my belongings so as you can imagine I am trapped! I have no idea how to get myself from this abuse. I feel from the amount of abuse, name calling and all the dirty games he plays with me, I no longer love him. He also has started this pre discard campaign against me, talking behind my back and make victim of himself. The list is long..everything I have so far read about Narcs on the internet and specially this article is describing him. I am now aware of all this and I know soon or later he will make his exit or he is always wants me out of his life when he picks a fight with me. So I am aware of that but I just have no idea how to getaway fram him before he does it. besides I am 49 years old and I was a victim of the narcissistic charm it can happen to you at any age!
    Thanks so much for this article

    1. Similar story, I moved from afar then became trapped financially and isolated, away from friends and family, your world becomes the N’s family, friends,… no accident in that, you were chosen and hand picked partly for that purpose.. stay strong, its not you 🙂

  29. Pingback: References – Losing A Whole Year
  30. Pingback: References – My Year Long Ride with a Covert Narcissist
  31. I am blown away with this information on sociopaths and narcissistic persons..I didnt know what has happeneed to me for the last 6 years had a name for it.. Triangulation..I knew I wasn’t delusional or illusionnal..exactly what you said about that form of control Triangulation to the letter is what I experienced and more these past 7 years..I am bipolar and choose not to take meds..but my x -lover chose me because of my mental illness I suspect..easy to speak..I’m in shock and rather traumatised right my feelings and thoughts are like a roller coaster..but I’m more pissed off that these sick fucks…get away with behavior..and move on to their next victim..and do not get punished in someway for literally destroying peoples life’s..they are walking predators but are I ended up in ICU for 6 days on a ventilater and then sent to a one flew over the coocoos nest hospital for 30 more days..and a year later when I saw my x -lover..he told me I couldn’t even commit suicide right…need I say anymore…

  32. This Narcissist is my sister to a T!!! I’m widowed 15yrs and this toxic personality hurts people!!! She manipulates and lies to her husband and married daughter all the time. Sometimes, I catch her in a lie to me on the phone about something she told her husband and I stop her and call her on it immediately. She justifies it of course. Usually the lie consists of shading/twisting or outright lie concerning something like spending. Whatever she does she wants her husband to think that me, her daughter or someone its else is at fault & she does nothing wrong…. so she can always be viewed as the innocent one, perfect or victim!!! She told me that she told her husband that their neighbor has a crush on her and is always watching her to make him jealous. She tells him also & hints that her ex (secretly) is still attracted to her and hes not happy with his wife. She (my sis) says that whenever she changes her hairstyle that her ex’s wife changes hers to match because shes jealous. She played everybody against everybody else.
    She lied about me a few months ago and it was a big lie right in front of my brother-in-law. She said it 3x in a row. I said no it was not true. Later she told her daughter the lie and it spread. I needed time to heal from her and God told me to back off for awhile. I still talked to her at a social event but was not as overly friendly as normal. She picked up on it immediately because she has to be the center of attention. I communicated softly thru FB but stayed away from going to her home. EVENTUALLY she figured out I’m not going to be a lapdog and has been on a continued campaign where now SHE is HURT and SHE is the victim. She opened up a separate FB account and friend requested everybody BUT ME just to get even. I have friend requested her and she refuses. This woman is unbelievable!!! She can hurt you and turn it around where she is the victim!!! I have sent her countless messages thru text and F and she has blown me off for 6 months. I recently found out she told lies to another sister that lives far away. She would not repeat everything they said but suggested I call her and avoid talking or discussing anything with my brother-in-law. That was weird because hes so naive he has NO CLUE she manipulates him. She tells everybody else any prob with their marriage is HIS FAULT!!! Poor guy. Anyway, I called left a message that I don’t know why she is not responding and mad but we should meet and discuss it. Guess what??? She got her husband to call me!!! Tell me that she is just got too much on her plate right now with personal things and I needed to wait…a few weeks or month!! Its been 1 1/2 and counting. They love it if they can get people to need them and be their LAPDOG. She’s either bragging bragging bragging…about herself, what she owns…what her kids & grandkids have or the biggest victim in the WORLD and retreats to get her husband to feel sorry for her. She does study people and finds their weakness…just like this article! It’s about CONTROL!!!! I believe this is what they call the Jezebel Spirit. Its very evil and they need to repent!!!

    1. I think your sister’s message is that she’s never going to treat you well. Maybe, get some professional help to get out of this psychically-abusive relationship, once and for all. Good luck.

  33. My N uses our 6 year old child in triangulation, its becoming more bizarre and dangerous towards the end of the relationship, she somehow has the child trained to indirectly say just about anything, or atleast it appears that way, the news of something shocking the child said about myself is delivered, the N steps back refusing to hear or discuss anything regarding the bombshell she just delivered. ..probably clicking the record button as she grins…pure evil on so many levels. Last one was the child said I was going to murder her mom, my jaw dropped… my N play victim 24/7, blame storms, silent treatment, just toxic chaos for myself and the child when she is present..without her present, normal peaceful happy like night and day. ..mind numbing dealing with these people, no empathy or concern for the child, just a tool to use for control…. yes these people really do exist.

  34. Reading this makes me realise the last guy I dated has serious issues.
    Not only did he tell me fairly soon into the relationship he loved me but that he also had others interested in him.
    Hence making me feel slightly insecure.
    Also said he usually went for younger.
    Again hence he dumped me abruptly and started dating a much younger lady and posting himself and her in a new fb profile pic. Only 2 mths later. He’d introduced me to people and spoke a lot about having spoke to them about our relationship.
    I never chased him after he dumped me . Don’t know if it was his way of sticking the knife in. These guys are so twisted and cruel it’s untrue

  35. Thanks so much for the insight! I am dealing with a narcissistic sister-in-law who has torn through all four phases after my brother passed recently. There is no one to reign her in now and she excludes my Father and I from family dinners while inviting aunts, cousins, etc. even planning reunions! I have no idea what to do other than disconnect from her completely and hope the older folks see her for who she is before she talks them out of their savings.

  36. This is exactly how I have been treated by a scottish man i’ll call John I met threw work in the bank a few years ago. He is 46, wealth manager. He was married with two boys but I got roped in. He left his wife and moved in with me. I was useful as i own my own house in ballyhaise outside the town. It has been a couple of years of hell since. He lies, cheats, leaves and returns. All games. He has been involved with several other women in Monaghan, Cavan and Meath but denies it all. Thinks I am stupid. My brother and sister in law work for the same bank so we are useful for contacts and I think that is what he needed to establish himself. He played me off against his wife and is always contacting other women he meets from work. He travels and that allows him to cheat. He was so nice in the beginning but it was an act. He runs down co-workers, his harem, bank clients and his family behind their backs and enjoys playing people against each other. Thinks he is wiser than all. My parents hated him from the outset but I was stupid and took him back many times. He has no soul just a fake smile and the ability to mirror everyone to get supply. He blames everyone else for his problems and is never sorry. Is very passive aggressive to control you and then gets bored and starts another affair. It takes time to see the truth behind the lies. He only loves himself.

  37. I recently ended a 8-month long distance relationship, where we say each other every month for a few days, with a man who I was already wondering about. Then he did this: We are Facebook friends and chatted for hours. After he told me for the first time that he loved me, he started “liking” every photo post on a woman – a younger looking version of me – who liked to post up to six selfies of herself a day. He had met her at a convention and she is about 25 years younger than him. Anyway, he “liked” every photo she posted. I was “liking” his posts. Because of this, eventually my newsfeed was flooded with her posts of photos of herself and his “liking” of them. Then she began to leave small comments on his posts. I found out that for about a week, he was leaving our “chat dates” by saying “brb, coffee” etc. and he’d disappear for 20 minutes or so and come back. I felt something was wrong. On my newsfeed the next day was the proof of what he was doing. When I confronted him, he accused me of being jealous, which he had said many times he would not tolerate, and also of spying on him. He knows how Facebook works. He did it on purpose. I asked him if he still loved me. He said, “The honest answer is………I can’t say right now.” I asked him if he was interested in anyone else. He said, “Nope.” I thanked him for answering my questions, which was becoming a miracle and spent the next two days emotionally calming myself to prepare to leave. I think he knew something was up, because all the sudden he got the flu and was feeling “really bad.” The last thing I said to him before blocking him everywhere was “That’s ok. You’ll be feeling a whole lot better in a couple of days.” I do not play triangulation games. If it happens, I’m gone.

  38. This was and is my life, I wish i had known about my Narcissist 16 years ago. I am now divorced after 15 years of marriage to a case book narcissist. You would think that would be cause for celebration, but I had children with him so it will never be over and now I have to watch my children suffer through it. If a man beats you there is something you can do about it but when you describe emotional torture they look at you like you are crazy it couldn’t possibly be that bad. But it is nothing less then a nightmare without end.

    1. Uuuggg….i am going through the same thing with my daughters and their dad! I promise you though…it does get better as we get stronger! My daughters are doing great (they are in their late terns though to) they have set their own boundaries and learned from everything that i have taught them about narcissistic behavior and what to watch out for. I share with them and talk with them. Mostly I have gotten stronger and healthier. They see that and it will be ok…i do know what mean about the visible abuse compared to the emotional beat down that a narcissist can inflict…you can’t show anyone the proof and it literally drove me crazy…all the way to therapy….let me tell you one thing for sure that i know…you are dealing with something evil…but there is hope!!! Pray until you can’t pray anymore…god prevails!!

  39. So glad that the stbxnh “is done with me and filed for divorce” cause boy dealing with that man has been draining to the tenth power. This was good. I hadn’t heard much about triangulation so when someone mentioned it, I had to read about it. This gave me more insight and appreciate it.

  40. Personally I never reacted to his triangulation efforts (at least I don’t I remember I did – he told me about a lot of women that he claimed were “so pretty” and “very interested” in him- there was is this one “amazingly pretty” Thai girl at his work who he claimed asked him if he wanted to take her out on a date…).
    I’ve always thought it was kind of immature, I am not a jealous person so he never really got to play his game.
    So he was talking about all those women but God forbid if once in a blue moon I posted something on my (male) FB friends site- then he got really nuts.
    I now believe he tried to control me with his fits out of nothing and it even kind of worked: sometimes I was about to write something (totally innocent of course) but untimately left it alone because I knew the Narc would -unpon reading it- go crazy and accuse me of being unfaithful.

  41. In dealing with a narsisist, I’ve found triangulation also extends outside the world of romance, i.e , pitting friends of the narc against one another in order to make others ‘fight’ for the narc’s attention. In this particular case, the narc used social media platforms like Facebook to pay attention to certain friends while ignoring others. I noticed a PATTERN of the narc responding to certain posts and being non responsive to others. It was interesting to note this narc ignoring the easier prey…those with a big heart and more empathetic, but responding to others who also had more narc tendencies themselves or were newer narsisistic supply.
    The zinger of all this werror the responses by the narcsissits friends (those who got a response from the narc) were partaking in a battle of words to try to prove to the narc that they cared about the narc the most and we’re in awe of them. This is a classic example of kids fighting with one another to be ‘teachers pet’, or in this case ‘Narc’s Pet’. They wanted the narc to value and pay attention to them more than other friends. In my mind, it’s fascinating to watch the narc set this up, and social media is the perfect platform to do so.
    It is and was intentional on the narsisist’ part.
    I’m sure they get great pleasure over people fighting over them.

  42. I was vulnerable to a Narcissist after my fiance died in 2012, looking back I see that I needed the conflict/drama to have something to focus on other than the grief. He had so many exes and talked to every one of them. His “harem” the well of constant attention. He would say “Whats the big deal” in the meanest way whenI complained. I received the love bombing, tried to break up with him one month in after we started fighting over money, he would spend his whole paycheck over the weekend taking us out to dinner etc then borrow money from me by weeks end. He said “You cant break up with me, Im fuc##ng in love with you.” So I stayed even though I knew something wasnt right, couldnt put my finger on it. After 3 years I was finally able to close the door, he cheated on me with one woman, without shame told me about it, then went out and got a new girlfriend, she was worried bc she hadnt heard from him while we were on vacation. Once I talked to her and compared notes, (told her he was done with me) I knew I couldnt live this way anymore and worked on closing the door. He even messaged my new boyfriend told him we were having sex!! Thankfully the new bf knew he was messed up and believed me. I went no contact and that worked, now in a HAPPY healthy transparent relationship and glad I didnt fall for the ex’s tactics to make me doubt myself, told me I was “drama, crazy, insecure, a stalker….” and on and on.

  43. Pingback: No triangulation here thanks - The Parenting Hotspot
  44. I was involved in a narcissist twist. Both my ex and his ex wife were a splitting image of each other. Everything the ex wife was doing to him and our relationship, he was doing it all to me so I had to deal with two people. Its a miracle i survived with many near death experiences, and the public humiliation caused and twisting everything to say that I was the toxic person. It was soo hard to deal with I would cry every night I still do at times, feeling alienated by all those close to me that he turned against me, but it was the love of god and my parents that have been my strength and support to know the truth. I got involved with him at a young age and I had no idea what manipulation was or narcissm, until I saw it in its full capacity. I truly believe that It was a learned behaviour that he picked up from his ex wife as she has a strong hold on him, and everything she does he mirrors back to me. Its a crazy and sick place to be. Grateful to be out of it, but still dealing with the scars that remain.. one day at a time.

  45. Three wks after I broke up and moved out of my narc ex-boyfriend’s house he moves in his roommate’s girlfriend, informing me that she was his new roommate. Unfortunately for me, we had been talking and had (so I was lead to believe) working things out and gotten back together. I felt betrayed, was hurt and of course, very angry. It took me another two months to finally get my belly full of his triangulation, more lies, more gaslighting, more crazy-making, more verbal and emotional abuse, more excuses. accusations, blame and denial. Last Thursday because of one of our verbal competitions (arguments) and more of his narc drama, I told him that I no longer wanted or needed him in my life. Then I hung up on him. I texted him twice after that. He waited about 24 hrs to reply and asked me if I was still angry at him. I reply in a loving way, but knew it was a mistake. He waited another 24 hrs to reply again asking me if I was still angry at him. I did not reply this time. That was last night. Right now, I’m praying a lot and concentrating on healing and staying away from him. Thankfully we don’t live in the same small town and I don’t work with him. Thank You for article. It is eyeopening and informative and gives me strength to get thru this difficult time!

  46. This is spot on! The tactics he used are textbook. He is still with her. Brought her to my gym while I was there touching her face etc…then later said that she said if she should worry I’d come after he must have told her something untrue..But I can see these tactics clearly now.. also mentioned he had confided in others about our relationship before he broke it off. They are sick sad too..

  47. I have experienced extreme physical with an ex from my past. The current primary relationship I am ending with a narcissist who uses emotional abuse and mental abuse is bar far 100 times worse then the extreme physical abuse I have experienced. Partly because everyone else only sees the enduring mask that people look up to and women swoon for. He is extremely absuive at home games silent treatment abadons us blames us uses sex money everything controls me accuses me constantly. With new supply I worry and my ego thinks he will change for this new woman. I have to know from my own experience he is incapable of change he was wayyyy to controlling and possessive to be anything different to anyone else. Yes in the beginning I’m sure all lahhh deee FN dah perfect. In time she will be the one searching the internet for help in dealing with abuse. Emotional abuse is extremely by far worse then physical. They use whatever insecurities you have against you. They blame you for everything and if you happen to make a mistake be prepared to hear for it forever and for the hold cold love devalue cycle to increase in intensity. You can never move on from someone you love – so the best way to move on is to truly recognize that this was not love !! Maybe for us. We loved. In some sick way they just needed us for whatever. Turn that love inward and love yourself!!! Your kids!!

  48. I’ve endured ALL of this during the last 26 years. If only I had known then what I know now, but I always thought I had done something wrong and needed to change. I could have saved myself 26 years of pain. No contact allows you to see things so clearly without them trying to manipulate and control and brainwash everything. Even now, he’s trying to make me fire my attny, saying horrible things about him, because he’s the one person who is trying to protect me. I’t very hard not to go back into that trauma bond.

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