Finding yourself subject to the toxic control of how others see you is debilitating. Believing that a loved one or group of loved ones or those who have control over decisions regarding your income, status as a professional or your ability to parent view you through a lens screened with negativity creates anxiety coupled with feelings of hopelessness and despair.
Feeling humiliated, ashamed and cornered will leave you desperately wanting to clear any defamation of character by setting the record straight. Do not be tempted to act on any provocation. Do not be drawn into confronting or retaliating your triangulator. Fear and anger will allow you to become baited and hooked, betraying your own moral code dragging you into their game of “down and dirty”. These are the mechanisms by which a triangulator can set fathers or mothers against daughters or sons, lifelong friends fall out, colleagues are divided, sexually-coerced students can turn on each other, sibling rivalry turns toxic, and the reason why none of these relationships may ever be resolved.
If called to advocate on behalf of another individual or group, before you do so, ask yourself why you, as is often expressed ‘feel the need’ to do so. As need is not a feeling, what is it that you are really feeling? Find the transference by reflecting on your own feelings. What happens inside your body and your mind when a triangulator is complaining of feeling disrespected, misrepresented, victimised and bullied?
What feelings of injustice does this invoke? Why is your moral compass being called to action? What gratification do you receive from the belief that you are the only one who can provide relief? Why do you feel compelled to look at the narrow view your selective attention has been angled? What are you not seeing? Why take action based on a partial truth?
Self-reflect further: “Why am I prepared to take the risk of falling into conflict with another? As human beings, aren’t we supposed to work together, not against each other? Is fighting the way I want to seek peaceful resolution? That’s not my usual behaviour, so why am I entering into combat?
“Why am I not promoting assertiveness, installing the courage in my triangulator so that they may deal with the situation? Don’t they need independence to move away from stuck patterns? What boundaries am I breaking in order to rescue, and in the process, deny their learning, their growth and development?”
“The educator must believe in the potential power of his/her pupil, and he must employ all his/her art in seeking to bring his/her pupil to experience this power.”- Alfred Adler
Ultimately the question to ask is: “When the triangulator turns on me, how will I feel?” Continue reading “Recognising triangulation”