“His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.” (Psalms 55:21)
Triangulation is a manipulative tactic the narcissist uses to create drama or conflict involving three people. A common example would be the narcissist, his wife and another female, maybe the girlfriend. What would happen is that the narcissist would pitch one against the other. It might be a situation where all three go out to dinner and the narcissist would be more attentive to the other female and would almost completely ignore the wife.
He would pay compliments to the female and express awe at the other female’s accomplishments making the wife feel unattractive, insecure, uncomfortable and jealous. After the dinner, the wife would discuss her feelings with the husband and he would dismiss it and claim that she is misreading the situation or is jealous. The goal for the narcissist is to cause the wife to develop low self esteem, insecurities and jealousy.
I have had to counsel wives whose husbands have behaved in the above manner. It’s an emotionally destructive and manipulative act designed to devalue and invalidate the partner.
Another instance of triangulation is the narcissist uses another person against the victim. For example, a if there is a disagreement between a narcissist and his victim, the narcissist will say that he spoke to someone else and they agree with him. Usually the other person is someone whom the victim holds in high esteem or respect. The narcissist obviously would be lying, but his victim is unaware of this and concedes the disagreement to the narcissist. In short the narcissist wins the argument.
What the narcissist will also do is tell his girlfriend that he is no longer in love with his wife and that the wife does not understand him like she does. He will be feeding the girlfriend lies and everything she wants to hear. The girlfriend gets sucked into his lies. And then when he’s bored or the relationship starts to fizzle out, to spike things up he would abruptly discontinue his relationship with the girlfriend and go back to the wife. And he starts feeding the wife lies and stories about the girlfriend and the girlfriend starts begging him to come back. And it goes back and forth; a cycle of abuse, with the narcissist in control of the women’s emotions.
The ultimate goal of the narcissist is to create conflict between two people, to control and gain attention(supply). They take pleasure at people’s hurt feelings. They have no empathy or compassion for others. The best remedy against these tactics is to ignore their actions. They want attention and supply so deny them any whatsoever.