TRIANGULATION ~ Tired of Dysfunctional Drama?

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Trying to keep toxic patterns out of your life?

Triangulation can be defined as indirect communication where one person acts as messenger between two others, often times altering or fabricating the message to suit the tale bearer’s objective.

We can see this in families when one family member will not communicate directly with another family member, but will communicate with a third family member, forcing the third family member to then be part of the triangle.

In the most dysfunctional sense, triangulation can also be used as a label for 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 try to obtain emotional support by vilifying the person the are speaking about.  They do this to preserve their self-esteem, by seeing the self as purely good and the others as purely bad.

This can also be seen in the workplace, as well as, any group setting.

Some reasons why this is ineffective include:

1. When the message is for a person it is not directly delivered to it can become amplified or dulled (distorted).


2. There is no guarantee that the middle man will deliver the message or assist with a productive bridge to help correct a problem.

3. It can easily turn to gossip and the message (which may be distorted) may be carried to others who may not be productive in resolving matters.

4. The communicator may have misjudged or incorrectly interpreted the other person’s behavior or intentions.  Taking the communication directly to the person is much easier that the round about route.

5. It interferes with growth.  The person being talked about doesn’t have the ability to connect with or address the one who is expressing hurt.  The person avoiding direct communication would likely be empowered if encouraged to communicate directly with the one they are speaking about.

6. It is very likely that the other person will be hurt or may become defensive when they find out that communication is occurring about them without them.

7. If forgiveness is needed, it becomes blocked.



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