Narcissistic triangulation sabotages sibling relationships

Narcissistic parents divide their children through triangulation

Conflict is a normal part of family dynamics. Just because a family argues from time to time does not make it a dysfunctional family unit. What makes a family dysfunctional is the emotional pain and confusion that prevails among its members. Those who grow up in this type of home are saddled with a lifetime of emotional struggles. Some of these struggles are easy to identify, others are not.

Families influenced by narcissistic parents are always dysfunctional. Due to the plethora of crazy dynamics that exist within the family unit, there are many casualties that children suffer. Not only do they suffer as individuals, but relationships between siblings also suffer.

It would seem that siblings suffering together under the stresses of crazy parenting would naturally come together to provide support, but that is not often the case in families headed by narcissistic parents. It is no coincidence that one of the casualties of the NPD family is the relationship between the brothers.

Narcissistic parents are not capable of loving their children. Children are simply a source of “narcissistic supply.” The relationship that NPD parents have with their children is one of control and manipulation. There are many tactics used to achieve that. A common one is called “triangulation.”

Triangulation is a deceptive tactic used by the NPD parent to control and manipulate the balance of power in the family system. The parent’s goal is to prevent siblings from collaborating in ways that might interfere with their calculated goals. It all comes down to ensuring the narcissistic supply from the parents. Like an addict, the father cannot survive without it. They need constant replenishment and will drop to any level to get their “fix”.

To gain control over the flow of information in the family, the father creates indirect communication between the siblings, putting themselves in the role of “go-betweens.” In doing so, he or she controls the content of the information, the way the information flows, and the way it is interpreted. And there are more benefits; with everyone relating directly to him or her, the parent is always in the information loop and always remains the center of attention.

Since the NPD parent cannot prevent all communication between the siblings, he or she tries to create conflict and mistrust between them. The father will fabricate information, tell lies and trust them and then tell them to keep secrets from each other. The father can speak ill of one brother to another. The father may share information with one sibling, hoping that he will reach out to another and create drama. NPD parents really enjoy the turmoil they can create among family members.

NPD parents maneuver in such a way that they can never be called out, either because of the way they carefully phrase their words or the fact that they are careful to make sure no one else witnesses their behavior. They always remain the innocent. If someone tries to call parents out on their behavior, they will erupt into narcissistic rage. Because this rage terrifies children, over time they learn to do everything in their power to avoid it.

Due to the NPD family dynamics, the children easily fall prey to their NPD parent’s manipulations. Attention from the NPD parent, whether positive or negative, is a rare commodity that every sibling must live for. One brother’s loss becomes another brother’s gain. The relationship between the children is sacrificed as each selfishly competes for crumbs of affection and favor from the parents; attention that is activated and deactivated at the will of the parents.

What further upsets the balance of affection dished out to children is the fact that NPD parents assign roles to their children. There is usually a golden child, one who seems to receive the most praise from parents, a scapegoat, one who is blamed for everything that goes wrong in the family, and an invisible child, one who does not receive neither praise nor blame. These roles are not always stationary. They can change at the will of the NDP parents.

NDP parents educate their children well; the control they have over them when they are young continues well into adulthood. That won’t change until all children realize and accept that their parents’ destructive behavior is responsible for all the problems between them.

Adult children of narcissistic parents become a very powerful force once they unite against their abuser. Only then does the NPD parent lose all control over them; a feared fate worse than death.


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