Ten Tells of Triangulation




Triangulation is a staple manipulative device in our arsenal. Triangulation is a convenient way to describe an affair, having a bit on the side, flirting, playing away, investing in a new prospect, having a form of distraction, a plaything and so on. The reality is that triangulation offends the principles of why two people are in a relationship and is a method of manipulation which is used to gain fuel, cause confusion and exert control. The principle reason that we engage in it is because we are able to derive two sources of fuel from two different appliances. Sometimes the fuel is doubly positive and others both positive and negative. This is edifying and invigorating. You may be triangulated with a person or an object. There may be triangles operating within triangles. Triangulation provides fuel but also allows us to generate confusion and engage in distraction tactics whereby you and the other person attack one another, failing to realise (or perhaps not wanting to be seen to realise for fear of being regarded as losing out) that is us that has caused the triangulation. Usually you will not be aware that you are being triangulated with the other person. It is easier to keep you and the other person separated and we enjoy our time with them and then our time with you. We draw fuel from you both and neither of you know about the other. We see no problem in behaving like this. We are never accountable; we are entitled to do as we like. We do not distinguish between you because you are just appliances to us and therefore entirely interchangeable. Before we decide to up the ante and reveal your opponent to you, thus heightening your reactions and responses, you may actually be able to ascertain that you are being triangulated as there are certain tells which exist. These are more obvious amongst the Lesser and Mid-Range of our kind as they may lack the higher function to remember things that they have done or said and occasionally slip up, thereby revealing the tell. If you confront us with this tell we will spin some yarn, persuade you that there is nothing in it, this person is a friend, there is a glitch with the ‘phone, somebody else did it, you are imagining things, you are over-reacting and in our time-honoured fashion we will deny and deflect and even go on the attack if need be in order to protect our investment in both you and the other person. If you do see these tells, do not challenge us about them. You are only giving us a chance to draw fuel from you, confuse you and worm our way out of it. If you see these tells you now know what they mean. You are being triangulated.  Here are ten of those tells.

  1. Our mobile ‘phone will have duplicate messages. We send the same message to you and the other person, often within seconds of the first message.
  2. We will buy you a duplicate gift having already given it to you a week or so ago.
  3. We will tell you something that we have already told you before, more or less word for word.
  4. We will make reference to something you said even though you have not said it (it was the other person who said it).
  5. We will make reference to something we apparently did together which you will not remember. (This is because we did it with the other person).
  6. We will call you by someone else’s name.
  7. You may hear us say things under our breath such as “She wouldn’t do this” or “she would agree to do it”.
  8. We will fail to acknowledge you doing something for us thinking it was done by the other person, for instance a surprise gift.
  9. We will remark we don’t want to do something again even though we have never done it with you. (We did it with the other person).
  10. We will ask a question which is out of context. For instance, asking how your dad is recovering when there is nothing wrong with him. (It is of course the other person’s dad who is ill).

22 thoughts on “Ten Tells of Triangulation

  1. Bee says:

    My narc ex mixed me up with someone who I thought was a rather insignificant ex a couple of times. He was absolutely insistent that we went to events together or that he shared certain songs etc with me. I got suspicious and contacted the ex to ask if they were still seeing each other. She blasted me, without answering my concerns and messaged him. He asked copied the message and sent it to me. She asked what she should say to me! She spoke to him about their relationship in the present tense: “she seems to want to know what’s going on between us”, not “what went on between us”. That gave me the heebies and as she’s polyamorous, I just have to assume they continued to see one another. Or that the relationship latest longer than he admits.

  2. Empower Empaths says:

    How can the Narc Flirt with others or cheat on you and then expect you to stay and still admire and love them and do things for them?!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Easily because our sense of entitlement means we can do as we require and if you react unfavourably to this triangulation our lack of accountability means we blame you for what we have done so it’s your fault actually. Furthermore, the impact of emotional thinking AND your own self doubt (which increases owing to our manipulation) means you cling on harder, try to fix the problem ( not knowing what you’re dealing with and not realising it cannot be fixed) and thus start to blame yourself in some way, which we then exploit.

      1. Empower Empaths says:

        🤯 thank you. Yep, I was told once I “created” the situation of him flirting 🤦‍♀️

  3. Survivor of a Narcissist says:

    My narcissist uses triangulation all the time, mostly with girls he used to sleep with. Very effective because how do you know if or when it’s going to start up. He stays in touch with a lot of former casual flings. His favorite thing is to triangulate on his way out so the new soulmate is thrust into “fight for my man” mode. Then I take the bait and bash the new soulmate. This of course is unjustified and misdirected. Sincerely sorry. What a huge narc boost for Jeff. Please God, let that be the last time I ever, ever let him in my head or heart. No contact.

  4. tyu12 says:

    DO you think HG that triangulating someone is a clear sign the person is a narc?

    Man, I was flirting with a guy long distance (Let’s call him Matthew). He is a big politician. I was accidentally doing a lot of free work for him cuz I had a huge crush on him and I naturally LOVE helping others (I think I am a super empath.) Anyway, we finally met. We were going to give a talk together. I flew a great distance to meet him and give the talk. He arrived almost at the time of the talk. What happened was:
    a) I met his “assistant” before he arrived. His assistant said he would not be coming. [I think this was to panic me, and make me feel bad, like the talk and me were not important so he could bail whenever. I ignored the comment and did not even text him about it. The assistant seemed to be texting all the time with him]
    b) His assistant added herself on my phone to “be in touch” she added herself as Jennifer + the guy’s name. Like: “Jennifer Matthew” so I would remember who she was [this seemed to be so I would feel bad that they were connected to each other? I told her to add herself as “Jennifer Government” since he obviously works in the Gov. She ignored my comment and added herself as “Jennifer Matthew”
    c) He arrived almost at the time of the talk to the event. He ignored me completely and was with his assistant all the time, laughing, touching her shoulder, waist etc. I live in another state so this sucked big time. I ignored his behavior and was doing my own thing meanwhile.
    d) after the talk in the Q&A, although I had presented almost everything , all the questions went towards him; people ignored me, and at the end people got up and only talked to him (like a bunch of fans). I think this was also a ploy from him to make me feel worthless.

    Anyway, my gut reaction was to get the hell out of there. i did not like how I was feeling, so I ran and got out. He was desperately looking for me afterwards. His co-workers told me very worried that he was looking for me. I did not respond to any of his calls etc. I have been ignoring him. he is getting a bit obsessed. He tried to organize to see me, I told him I could not make it. Right now he is texting me about his big global meetings he is having, and making promises of giving me $$ and big opportunities. I am being indifferent.

    HG: do you think this guy is a narc and orchestrated everything to make me feel bad? inferior to him? is doing triangulation a sign that they are a narc?
    What was the best way to react to his triangulation? What is the best way to act now?

    I think thanks to your lectures I identified that he was triangulating me and did not provide any reaction. I also tried to listen to my gut and that helped to get OUT.

    What do you think is the best reaction in a triangulation?

    Thank you and fantastic writing!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Triangulation is a strong indicator but it not determinative in itself. Whether this individual is a narcissist requires more information and therefore is best addressed through consultation.

      1. tyu12 says:


      2. tyu12 says:

        Great writing. Very engaging and interesting.

  5. amom says:

    My nex would try to triangulate me with his chihuahuas. He would ask me over and ignore me for extended periods of time while answering every bark of the dogs with protracted heavy petting/loud make out sessions. Sometimes afterward he’d ask me if I was jealous of the dogs…. yes, this happened and it happened a lot.

    I know he was seriously hoping I’d be jealous of the dogs 🐕

  6. EmP says:

    I remember receiving a text addressed to “Miss…. (mysterious nickname)” once. Miss who??!? Ha.
    It makes me laugh now. It definitely didn’t back then.

  7. narc affair says:

    My narc triangulates a lot. When he becomes obsessed with a certain city or topic i know one of his sources is from there or has something to do with the topic. One of the things learned here i seen right away was how he acquires traits from his sources. Its like a child mimicing a new best friend. He does this.
    Hes triangulated me with celebs, pets, family, friends and online. Its his way to devalue and create insecurity.

    1. Nan says:

      That ‘acquiring traits’ thing is so odd. I noticed it before I knew what it was. Recently ive begun intentionally using new, unusual words and phrases, just to see how long it takes him to start using them himself. If it’s something that he thinks sounds smart or funny, it’s not long.

      1. narc affair says:

        Hi nan…lol ive been doing that too and he does adopt phrases i use or quirks. One thing i did was tell him how much i loved his laugh which was a few years ago bc he very rarely laughed. Now he injects this laugh all the time before he says something. It was true i do love his laugh but i can see where quite often its “put on” which is sad.
        Before learning about acquired character traits here i had a feeling he did this bc he would out of the blue start acting a certain way or using certain words or accents. One of his online sources is from new jersey and he was sending me new jersey things on facebook and when we were together would mimic a jersey accent.
        Before i knew what he was i googled why does a person pretend to be many different people and right away narcissist and in particular socipath narcissist came up. Its like a lightbulb went on and it described him so exact. Hes definitely a sociopath. It was at the same time i learned my mother was a narcissist too.

  8. Isabella says:

    When my Narc triangulate me with a new friend, I would ask if he liked her more than a friend, he would say why would you think I like her that way she is married,deflowered and overweight. He would tell me similar things on and off (old, unavalible,deflowered) during our friendship. He loved bombed, but I was not avalible and I worked with him. So a lot of our conversations were more trying to figure out the person on both ends . ( is he really trying to come on to me or is he playing some weird game) I got alot more hot and cold. One minute he is flirting and next he would say its not going to happen. I would be like what? He would say I’m just kidding, Very confusing!

  9. H. says:

    He called me her name in a text….he used the exact words in her text as he had in mine.

    He used the same word for word in his apologies. I thought he had brain damage.

    Every-time he was enthralled with a new one, the tell was, he would tell me he was thinking of going or moving to the region.

    By the end, I knew every time. It was so in my face, and looking back, it always was, but I guess i chose to look the other way.

    It just got old.

    1. narc affair says:

      Hi H…dont you just love when they “accidently” throw in another womans name into a text. So classy.

      1. H. says:

        Narc Affair, how long have you been cycling with your Narc?

        I thought I could do it…I never wanted to marry him or anything like that. But after 6 years it just started eating away my brain and heart.

      2. narc affair says:

        HI H…too long. Its been 7 years.

  10. Anonymous says:

    My narc triangulates all the time. Thank you, HG, for helping me realize it is useless to react to this behavior. If he mentions his female “friend”, I just listen and say as little as possible. (Saying nothing makes him angry, too, so I have to acknowledge that I hear him.)

  11. Kelli says:


    Are there times the narcissist will say these things on purpose and it was no accident? For example he once got a phone call from a lieutenant and after he told him he was with me he said, “Careful dude I’m on speaker phone right now”. Another time he left his phone on the kitchen table so I could see multiple girls messaging him on Facebook. He also voice texted his ex right in front of me. I’m assuming so I could see that they were still friends? He made sure I saw her name on the screen. I never reacted to any of these things as I could sense he was trying to make me mad, but could never understand why. This was before devaluation or at least I think so.

    1. tyu12 says:

      probably to seem he was in high demand.

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