“In the book Psychopath Free by Peace, the method of triangulation is discussed as a popular way the narcissist maintains control over your emotions. Triangulation consists of bringing the presence of another person into the dynamic of the relationship, whether it be an ex-lover, a current mistress, a relative, or a complete stranger.
This triangulation can take place over social media, in person, or even through the narcissist’s own verbal accounts of the other woman or man. The narcissist relies on jealousy as a powerful emotion that can cause you to compete for his or her affections, so provocative statements like “I wish you’d be more like her,” or “He wants me back into his life, I don’t know what to do” are designed to trigger the abuse victim into competing and feeling insecure about his or her position in the narcissist’s life.”
Talking about triangulation… in a clinical setting this can be sometimes a good thing, such as in couples’ therapy, however here they are speaking of the manipulation of a narcissist in the abuser position of a relationship, and how they maintain control both in and out of the relationship.
It doesn’t always have to be a romantic third party. It can be anyone they know will provoke a response from their intended target which, in a break up scenario, is the ex. They know you won’t respond for their sake alone, so they include someone for whom they know you have a good relationship with, a friend, co-worker, family member that you got along with, etc. It’s much harder to ignore someone you like and who never did you harm, than the abuser ex himself or herself.
It doesn’t matter if you feel revulsion, fear, anger, annoyance; the quality of emotion doesn’t matter to the narcissist or abuser. Their only goal is to get a response from you. The minute you reply, they win, and that’s all it is to them, a game with a winner and a loser.
I have been in that position before. It’s been damn hard for me to cut ties with someone outright. It took a LOT of years before I learned to cut hard and fast, but these days I do not hesitate one bit, not once I realize who I am dealing with.
Some handy catch phrases I learned are pretty effective, but give nothing to the abuser to run with or invite any further dialogue.
“Not today, Satan. Not today.” (a personal favorite but granted, slightly inflammatory)