Triangulation in relationships is usually considered symptomatic of family dysfunction in systems-oriented therapy where two people are unable to communicate directly with each other. Instead they enlist a third person to express their concerns about the other person and potentially continue a process of “Striangulation”. The third person in the triad may find themselves in a predicament if they do not have the skills. Alternatively the third person can be a child caught between the parents wrath and their family court battles.


Many of the friendships that I have observed over the years have at one stage or another become strained and stuck. It would make sense that two people who have known each other for a time would be able to communicate openly with each other. Unfortunately the blocks to intimacy and the impasse between two friends can result with some serial role playing techniques. The victim-saviour and persecutor positions can be enlisted to gain support and validation of the third person in the Triangualtion.

Perhaps there is competition between two people and the third person is supposed to vindicate one or the other? In any case there are some good assumptions about the relocation of the roles in early family dynamics. In other words the same sibling – parent patterns are transferred to ones adult relationships. The same kind of sibling politics are reinforced so that direct communication or intimacy is avoided. These kind of relationships can go on for twenty years. When things get tough someone else may step in to sort it out.


“C” Needs to be an Adult Mediator and has an opportunity to help A and B

Unfortunately I have often seen the child in the family who falls into the “C” position. The child attempts to take on the Parents issues by being the perfect daughter for each of them. At least in that way she gets to maintain her attachment and safety with her parents. Sometimes the child will be convinced with the plight of one parent or the other by siding with A or B. Perhaps the child needs the attachment with the mother more so than with her father and it serves her to be coerced by the Mother’s victim role in the campaign.

Being “C” in the triangulation means that you get a lot of attention and power in the relationships. A B or C have the potential to make the others feel miserable if playing politics is allowed. Children who find themselves in middle of the striangulation often become highly adapted and somehow must follow one set of parent commands and then with the other parent to maintain dual relationship balance. The child invariably begins to act out the parents issues and becomes stuck between a rock and a hard place. The daughter will be damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t follow each parents wishes.

How can the negative Triangulation process be stopped?

ancientThere are some good books on the subject

These kinds of relationships go on for years. If for example B is not directly involved in the process with with C; then it would make sense for C to break through the triangulation by inviting B into the discussions. “A” may not like this and become angry in the process. However in one way; “A” will be limited in their blaming and bitching because of the exposure that C has with B now.

Its the A B C in the Striangulation.


8 Responses to “STriangulation”

  1. 1 a. December 15, 2008 at 09:54

    If one has become entrenched in a triangle, how does one break free?

  2. 2 kingsley December 15, 2008 at 10:57

    That is a big question A. One needs to find better ways of relating to others and that might mean adjusting what one can in themselves. The process requires validating the persons concerns andtheir expressing of the matter. Identifying behavioural or thinking or feeling traps and understanding the good reasons for needing such a triangle in the first place. The person can practice changing their usual patterns of rescuing or persecuting or their victimstatus for something else. The person cannot do that until they have a good understanding of what that “something else” is firstly. So as you can imagine it might needs some time to get off that wheel. Perhaps awareness is the first step and most useful starting point A.


  3. 3 a. December 16, 2008 at 07:10

    true — it will take time, if it’s a tendency. someone once told me that pluto people tend to triangulate. have you heard that?

  4. 4 kingsley December 16, 2008 at 10:30

    Its not just Pluto people A, however anyone who tends towards coping mechanisms of projection and manipulation and or controlling. I guess Pluto does represent that kind of thing however in my mind the Astrological players in the Drama Triangle (Steve Karpman) are Sun-Saturn (critical -persecutor), Moon-Neptune (Victim) and Sun Neptune (Rescuer do – gooder)

  5. 5 a. December 16, 2008 at 11:11

    in my triangle, one point thinks they are trying to save/rescue the others but in reality they are shitty at it — and i think this person is totally in-denial type, but not nuts

    the other person in the triangle thinks they are the victim; i am the bad guy in their eyes — this one i think may be a bit nuts i.e. not just garden variety neurosis but veering into that other land

    as for me… i think i’m the only one with clear seeing — i really believe that!

    here’s a question, if a person doesn’t have the “opposition” aspect in their chart, do you think they are less likely to project — i wonder if this is true.

    one of the people i’m describing has sun/moon opp – sun in taurus, moon in scorp — a nasty combo in my opinion esp combined with detatched mars in aqu in the 1st house — someone with a lot of detatched aggression. as well, that moon is square pluto so i think they project all their repressed emotions onto others…

    i think i just simplified something very complicated

    suffice to say i wish i could painlessly eject myself from said triangle

  6. 6 kingsley December 19, 2008 at 09:19

    Planets in the seventh or 8th house could be about projection A. We all have a seventh cusp therefore projection happens.

    The moon opp sun is a particularly difficult combination A. Do you react to that Scorpio moon of theirs?


  7. 7 a. December 21, 2008 at 10:18

    Why do you find the moon opp sun particularly difficult in general?

  8. 8 kingsley December 21, 2008 at 10:36

    Moon opp Sun in natal represents the idea of Parents at odds with each other and the vastly different messages that are potential for the development of a person with moon opp sun.

    Mum says one thing, Dad says another, the child will be damned if they do things Dads way and damned if they do it Mothers way.

    There are other considerations between ones needs and wants or the polarizations between ones ego identity and inner world. One can be always left wondering about decisions made.


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