A Case of Paranoia in a Young Woman Patient

In 1915, Freud reports another observation of the onset of psychosis. Embarrassed by one of his clients’ complaints about the persecution she has suffered at the hands of a former lover, a lawyer initiates a meeting with Freud, to whom the young woman tells her story. After she had been courted for a certain period of time by a colleague at work, she finally agrees to meet him in his flat. During their lovemaking she is surprised by a noise – “a kind of knock or click.” [33][33]Freud, S. (1915). A Case of Paranoia Running Counter to the… On her departure she runs into two men who seem to whisper to each other as she passes them, one of them hiding a camera. The woman remembers the noise she heard in the room and imagines that the man must have taken intimate pictures of her. Concerned, she presses her lover with questions, but is not satisfied with his answers and eventually contacts a lawyer.
Since the woman’s account first seems to contradict his conception of paranoia, Freud asks her for another meeting. The young woman then changes her first version slightly and tells him that it was in fact only during the second encounter with her lover that she was disturbed by the strange noise, to which she then attached her suspicions: they have set up a trap in order to compromise her. Freud also learns that the day after their first meeting, the young woman saw her lover at work, in a conversation with her female superior. Observing the scene, she became certain that the man had revealed the secret of their love affair, or worse, that he is having a love relation with her superior as well. According to Freud, the superior represents a maternal figure and the lover, in spite of his young age, a paternal one. He thus refers the triad composed of the young woman, her lover and the superior to the Oedipus complex. Although the young woman is attracted to the paternal substitute, she remains no less under the domination of her maternal attachment, here figured by the superior, towards whom she harbors homosexual feelings. She is therefore confronted with an impossibility – her love for the man – which the delusion is trying to solve: “The [delusion] was at first aimed against the woman. But now, on this paranoic basis, the advance from a female to a male object was accomplished.” [34][34]Ibid., p. 270.
Thanks to this observation, Freud finds a way to confirm his main theses: the subject and his persecutor are of the same sex and the triggering of paranoia functions as a setting up of a defense against an excessively strong homosexual attachment, the latter representing “the paranoic disposition in her.” [


For those subject to triangulation

For those subject to triangulation

Do not believe anything you are told by a triangulator. Don’t allow yourself to become provoked by or engaged in trashy talking. Keep your life well-balanced and empowered through the love of friends, hobbies, family, work and spirituality. Volunteer to help others. Remember, you can’t stop a triangulator from manipulating others, you can’t control how much damage and destruction they will do to themselves and anyone else. You simply cannot help those that want to hurt you. Once you know exactly with whom you’re dealing, you will realise the only thing you can control is the dignity by which you conduct yourself.

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” – Alice Walker Continue reading “For those subject to triangulation”

Recognising triangulation

Recognising triangulation

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”

What is Triangulation?

Triangulation is a standard family systems construct. Nothing new. Nothing exotic. The specific type of “triangulation” involved in the construct of “parental alienation” is called a “crossgenerational parent-child coalition” of the child with the allied and supposedly favored parent against the other parent.Jul 8, 2014


Triangulation (psychology)

Triangulation is a situation in which one family member will not communicate directly with another family member, but will communicate with a third family member, which can lead to the third family member becoming part of the triangle. The concept originated in the study of dysfunctional family systems, but can describe behaviors in other systems as well, including work.

Triangulation can also be a form of “splitting” in which one person plays the third family member against one that he or she is upset about. This is playing the two people against each other, but usually the person doing the splitting will also engage in character assassination, only with both parties.