The situation involving triangulation is one that most people have experienced, but this is particularly true for those of us who have suffered childhood abuse or trauma. “In family therapy, the term triangulation is most closely associated with the work of Murray Bowen. Bowen theorized that a two-person emotional system is unstable in that it forms itself into a three-person system or triangle under stress. In the family triangulation system the third person can either be used as a substitute for the direct communication, or can be used as a messenger to carry the communication to the main party. Usually this communication is an expressed dissatisfaction with the main party.”
“For example, in a dysfunctional family in which there is alcoholism present, the non-drinking parent will go to a child and express dissatisfaction with the drinking parent. This includes the child in the discussion of how to solve the problem of the afflicted parent. Sometimes the child can engage in the relationship with the parent, filling the role of the third party, and thereby being “triangulated” into the relationship, or, the child may then go to the alcoholic parent, relaying what they were told. In instances when this occurs, the child may be forced into a role of a “surrogate spouse.” The reason that this occurs is that both parties are dysfunctional. Rather than communicating directly with each other, they utilize a third party. Sometimes, this is because it is unsafe to go directly to the person and discuss the concerns, particularly if they are alcoholic and/or abusive.”
In these situations, most children are coerced or forced into these triangulated relationships. Many times, the child may be used as a scapegoat or blamed for the problems between the two main parties, as they cannot resolve their underlying problems, thereby simply denying the existence of any problems. This is considered emotional abuse. If the child is sexualized in this triangulation, this is called sexual abuse. If the child is physically harmed in this triangulation, then this is called physical abuse.
This triangulation dynamic exists with most childhood abuse situations. When children are habituated to this dynamic, we become comfortable and even drawn to this type of dynamic as adults. As adults, we begin to seek this triangulation dynamic that feels familiar. When we begin to recognize this triangulation as dysfunctional and destructive, and begin to heal our past emotional wounds, we are able to break this behavioral pattern.
The major difference once we have healed our past emotional wounds is that the triangulation will no longer feel attractive or seductive, but repulsive and uncomfortable in our adults lives. When we have reached this point, we are able to turn our life around to engage in healthier relationships and interact in healthier behaviors. Infinite healing love, Brooke (Copyright 2014 Kundalini Spirit with All Rights Reserved)
Excerpts cited from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulation_(psychology)
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