triangulation?

  • 6 Replies
  • 368 Views
*

sevenyears

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 300
triangulation?
« on: February 14, 2020, 06:25:16 PM »
well, back in mediation today, and had a one on one session with mediators - to discuss what the problems are before we go into actual mediation (more on that another time). One of the mediators mentioned that PDs triangulate the children. I didn't completely understand what he meant (this takes place in a language not my own). I get how PDs play the children off each other and the GC/SG dynamic. How do PDs triangulate the children against the other spouse? How does it differ from alienation? Or, does it?

*

Penny Lane

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1410
Re: triangulation?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 06:50:17 PM »
I would say triangulation is a form of alienation when it takes place with the kids.

Really triangulation occurs every time one person (the PD) forces themselves to be the conduit of information that really should be between others (in this case, you and the kids).

The best example I can think of in our lives is that BM tries very hard to keep DH from talking to her parents, who watch the kids every day. Then, she tells HIM that she's with the kids. And she tells THEM that he's not available and that's why it's OK for them to watch the kids for longer than their right of first refusal clause would allow.

An example (more complicated) of how she's tried to triangulate DH and the kids:
We try very hard not to talk to them about money issues. So when she refused to pay for summer extracurriculars, they didn't hear about it from us. But then - as she was telling DH she wouldn't pay - she also told the kids that the reason she didn't go see them practice was because DH hadn't told her when practices were, that he had been responsible for signing them up on her time and he didn't, and that she had paid for half. So then the kids came back all mad at H because of what she said, which wasn't even true!

So I'd consider that triangulation because she told the kids one thing and DH another thing. The only reason it wasn't successful was because the kids told us what she'd said.

I think it also could mean times when she lies to DH about something the kids say. Like, she tells DH the kids say they don't want to do an activity, then tells the kids that they're not allowed to do it. That kind of stuff.

I think she also probably triangulates the kids against each other, so it could mean that as well.

To me, the best way to deal with triangulation is ALWAYS for the two parties to get together and compare notes. But sometimes it's hard when one of those parties is a child and is already a somewhat unreliable narrator.

*

sevenyears

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 300
Re: triangulation?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2020, 04:59:45 AM »
hhhmmmmm, I don't know if that's what he does. But, he definitely discourages them from telling me important things. last year, he told our foster daughter (7) not to tell me about some important developments with her FOO. Instead, DS, who was too young to lie withhold information, let it all out. DD was terrified she should would get into trouble with uocpd xh. Fast forward to two weeks ago. There was another important development in her FOO. DS said something unclear. When I asked DD about it, she denied it.  Fortunately, XH reported it to her social worker, who let me know about it.

And, he certainly wants them to have a bad opinion of me. That seems more like classical manipulation. Everything that mommy does is wrong. There's no need for dr appointments, the fancy shoes are harmful, I make them do things they don't want to do (like basic hygiene).....

*

athene1399

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1174
Re: triangulation?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2020, 10:51:23 AM »
Triangulation is a family therapy term in this context. It's called triangulation becasue it involves three people (like how a triangle has three points). So it's usually when two people are against one. But the one person gets the second person on his/her side against the third. If you google "triangulation in a family" it should pull up examples and explanations.

Penny's examples are great. In my FOO it looks like sis tells M I'm refusing the clean the house, so M asks me "Why aren't you cleaning your house, Athene?" when in fact I am cleaning the house. sis just wants me to look bad in front of M. In my family it also looks like sis asking me to house sit for M instead of M asking me directly. So it can be subtle.

It basically is manipulation. Telling the kids "everything seven does is wrong" would be triangulation. Or anytime xh drags the kids into his conflict with you is triangulation.

*

Stepping lightly

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 981
Re: triangulation?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2020, 11:08:01 AM »
Hi Sevenyears,

We had a therapist tell us at one point that PDs are ALWAYS triangulating.  We often feel like it's always against us, but he said in reality they are always using triangulation based on who is present/available.  I just think of it as teaming up, whatever it may look like for that particular PD.  It absolutely is alienation, things like whispering into a child's ear something negative about the other parent.  It could be something  like, "Of course what your dad said hurt your feelings, he really is mean and you had a right to throw that object at his head".  haha,  a bit dramatic...but just making a point.   It's just a "us and against them" scenario.  My mother in-law used to try and triangulate with me against DH, saying things like, "can you believe he said ABC to me?" until I finally said, "He's my husband, I will not take your side"...then she stopped- We were trying to manage a semi-PD MIL amidst at massive PD infested custody situation *shiver*.

*

Penny Lane

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1410
Re: triangulation?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2020, 07:25:50 PM »
The thing is triangulation only works if you can keep the people from talking to each other. It's harder to triangulate people (you and your kids) who live with each other when you're not around. I know BM tries hard to triangulate us and the kids but it's hard for her to be successful because we, you know, talk to the kids. She's much more successful at triangulating DH with her friends and family.

*

athene1399

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1174
Re: triangulation?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2020, 09:52:46 AM »
Good point, Penny. I know BM has said some stuff to SO to try to triangulate him against SD and SD's already told us about the situation (and BM was of course putting her spin on things). It's like BM doesn't think any of us communicate. She's said things like "i wanted to let you know that..." and it's something SD told us about weeks ago.