Before we sought out marriage counseling, my husband and I would manipulate each other through triangulation.
Triangulation meaning that one of us would complain to a third person about our marriage, not to gain insight or deal with our problem, but to keep a connection and manipulate each other.
It worked especially well with our children but any family member would do. Even friends could fall into our trap.
We could put anybody in the middle of our arguments.
It was a very destructive cycle, one that was very difficult to break.
It is very easy to triangulate when emotions run hot:
When you have mutual friends and you each want to give your version of why the marriage is or was failing…
When you don’t want to talk to your spouse so you send a message through a child…
When you want to get a jab in and hurt each other…
When you’re feeling the loss of connection and want to create one, even if it is a negative one…
One comment given to the right person can then be relayed to your spouse and cause them to hurt.
It is a very affective technique when you want to “have power” over them.
It is not something you would want to to do in a mutually dependent and loving relationship.
I had no control over what my husband was going to do while we went through our separation and divorce.
I would have to work on my part to stop the triangulation.
It was very difficult.
Sometimes he would say things to our son and I was sure that he wanted me to react to them.
Sometimes he said things to my relatives that caused me to feel pain.
Sometimes he said things to our friends that I felt were untrue.
If I, while my emotions ran high, chose to go to those same people and send a message back, I knew that I could and that my message would cause him pain.
But, using triangulation hurts everyone; all the people involved.
I had to consciously choose not to do this.
At first, I sometimes failed and continued to “act out.” I sometimes bought into his game; hook, line, and sinker. He would say something to my son and I would call my husband and argue with him about what I had heard. I would do the same when I heard the comments he had made to our family and friends. He knew just how to push my buttons and I let him.
Until one day, I made a decision. I decided to not play the game. If I stopped, the triangulation could not continue.
I made a conscious effort not to play. If I wanted to communicate in a different way, it had to begin with me.
“Dear God, guide me in my communications with my spouse. Help me to be adult, loving and kind in all of my interactions.”