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Encore Edition: Triangulation: A Toxic Relationship Pattern| 4.13.2022

In this encore episode, Kristen talks about triangulation, how it affects your relationships, and how to stop this toxic pattern.

You'll Learn

  • Toxic triangulation and its impact on relationships
  • The effect of triangulation on children
  • Examples of triangulation
  • How to stop toxic triangulation



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This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about ideas on stress management and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not psychotherapy/counseling in any form.


Welcome to the Close the Chapter Podcast. I am Kristen Boice a Licenced Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice Pathways to Healing Counselling. Through conversations, education, strategies and shared stories. We will be closing the chapter on all the thoughts, feelings, people and circumstances that don't serve you anymore. And open the door to possibilities and the real you. You won't want to miss an episode, so be sure to subscribe

Welcome to this week's close the chapter podcast. Thank you for joining me I am so happy you're here, I wanted to replay one of the most popular episodes on triangulation. It is probably one of the biggest patterns I work with when I see clients. Everybody needs to understand triangulation in the impact. When it's a part of a family system or a relationship dynamic. It can be between a couple, a parent and child, it can be between friends, co-workers, the list is endless. It is critical that I think we all take a look at our own triangulation patterns. And perhaps us being triangulated into things as children that weren't meant for us. And I would love for you to share this with anybody that you think needs to hear this information, because I'm on a quest to help people break unhealthy generational patterns. And I am so grateful you're here listening today. Be sure to share this on social media if you want Kristen D Boice on Instagram, and Facebook or go on Twitter at Kristen Boice. Or I'm entering the world of tic toc. I know I don't know what I'm doing at all. And that's Kristen Boice. If you want to find me there, I'm just trying to learn the ropes on this whole social media situation. So without further ado, here is a deeper dive into triangulation. So let's jump into why did I even want to talk about triangulation? What does it mean? So triangulation is most commonly used to express a situation in which one family member will not communicate directly with another family member, but will communicate with a third family member, which can lead to the third family member becoming part of the triangle. And the concept originated in the study of dysfunctional family systems but can describe behaviours in other systems. And as well, including work friendships, it expands just beyond a family system. The reason we're starting in the family system is that's where it begins. It's important to know triangulation begins in early childhood. Again, we're trying to create understanding of how you developed patterns, how your parents might have developed patterns, how your partner might have developed develop patterns. It's most important you're gaining insight into yourself in your own way you're showing up habitually in relationships and with yourself. So triangulation can also be used as a label for a form of splitting, in which one person plays the third family member against one that he or she is upset about. So you kind of pit one person against another by gathering by pulling in this other family member to kind of take a side. This is playing the two people against each other. But usually the person doing the splitting will also engage in kind of character assassinations. Only with both parties like eventually it doesn't work out. Because you're splitting up connection. There's no connection that comes from triangulation. We think there is we're trying to make ourselves feel better. So it may manifest itself as a manipulative device to engineer rivalry between two people. We can call that dividing and conquering or playing one person against another. This is so important to understand that I want to go layers deeper in here so you could understand the origins of how this developed it's actually birthed in family systems. So I'm a licenced Marriage and Family counsellor. And in graduate school, we've spent a lot of time studying, how do family systems work? What makes them work, what makes them not work? What creates healthy systems, unhealthy systems and multi generational trauma, multi generational patterns that get unconsciously passed down generation to generation and triangulation is one we focus on. a lot. And it required me to go into my own life, which I already knew this was an issue in our own family system. So I'm going to talk about that and give you some real life examples. So this isn't just theory, let's dive into the family systems component of triangulation. In family therapy, that term triangulation is most closely associated with the work of Marie Bowen. If you remember I talked about Marie Bowen, in the differentiation episode. If you go four episodes back, it's an important one to know that he really is a pioneer in family systems. And I spent a lot of time studying bow Linnaean family therapy. And Bowen theorised that a two person emotional system is unstable at times. In that under stress, it forms itself into a three person system or a triangle, meaning the the two people aren't directly talking to each other. So we're pulling in a another person to try to stabilise doesn't work, but we're trying to stabilise ourselves in this dysfunctional relationship. 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, and 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 alcoholic parent, sometimes the child can engage in the relationship with the parent filling the role of the third party in their beat, thereby being triangulated. And to this relationship, this this is what I'm passionate about not doing and healing with other people, it's I'm going to go go through the damage that this creates. Alternatively, the child may then go to the alcoholic parent relaying what they were told by the other parent. And instances when this occurs, the child may be forced into a role of a surrogate spouse, quote, unquote, they take their or become the parental FIDE child or a pseudo spouse. The reason that this occurs is that both parties are dysfunctional. And I hate putting names and labels on this. It's really birthed out of trauma in our unmet needs. So I don't want to label and name but we are going to call out patterns that aren't healthy, that do not create a felt sense of safety. Rather than communicating directly with each other, they pull in somebody else, a third party, a child, a lot of times I see this with a child, sometimes this is because it is unsafe to go directly to the person and discuss the concerns, particularly if they're alcoholic or abusive. And what is important is the parent getting their own help. So they don't make put this on the child. They don't pull the child into it in a triangular family system, the two who have aligned, risk forming and a meshed relationship. Okay, I'm using a lot of psychological jargon. So you're like, speak to me in plain English. What does this mean? It means instead of going directly to the person, so for example, if you're married and you're upset with your partner, or you're in a romantic relationship, and you're upset with your partner, you're pulling in another person, another family member, another friend into the mix, typically, we're pulling in somebody that will listen to us here s, and we are not going directly to the person, if it's a safety issue, we need to pull in a third party, whether that's getting a protective order, that is seeking a group support system or a nonprofit that specialises in emotional or sexual abuse, or physical abuse. We're not going to be focusing on that today. That's a separate entity of what we're talking about. I'm talking about just family systems in general.

And we have to understand some terms. So we can make sense of triangulation. So in typically we'll we'll see someone that's a mesh. So what's a mesh mean? And mashed means that a relationship between two or more people in which personal boundaries are unclear. This often happens on an emotional level in which two people feel each other's emotions, or when one person becomes emotionally escalated. The other family member does as well they're like mirroring their matching. A good example of this is when a teenage daughter gets anxious and depressed, and her mom in turn gets anxious and depressed. When they are enmeshed. The mom is At able to separate her emotional experience from that of her daughter, even though they both may state that they have clear personal boundaries with each other. And measurement between a parent and a child will often result in an over involvement in each other's lives. So that it makes it hard for a child to become developmentally independent and responsible for her. I'm just using this pronoun, but her choices, insert whatever pronoun, that's just an example. And so there's not that differentiation of self that we talked about and four episodes ago. So if you want to go back to that episode, I encourage you to do that. It's important understand this, because if there's a lot of enmeshment, triangulation feels very normal. It feels like you're almost bonding with one person over another. And joining them without having your own thoughts, feelings and opinions. And it's important, you're able to express your own thoughts, feelings and opinions. So that leads me to another term. And no, I'm throwing a lot of terms out, just get the basic concepts. As you're starting to think about your own life, I want you applying this principle of triangulation, which we all have done in a time or two, where you're not going directly to the person, instead of going directly to the person you're going to somebody else, and pulling him into the dynamic and they have nothing to do with the dynamic between you and this person. So if you're upset with a co worker, and you pull in another co worker, instead of going to your co worker, you're upset about, you just keep triangulating people into the mix rather than feeling uncomfortable breathing through the fear and the discomfort and going directly to that coworker that you had the issue with. We've all done this. It's so unhealthy. And you'll see this a lot in family systems Middle School, right, that adolescent time where you're feeling insecure, not worthy, not good enough, a fear of not fitting in or belonging. And you are you pull in people, you might talk about someone else, because you're insecure, we don't talk about other people unless we're feeling shame, maybe some anxiety and we're not feeling good enough. You'll see this a lot where we pull people in and it creates a very toxic unhealthy friendship and dynamic. So it leads me to one more important point about cross generational coalition's so for example, a parent and a child can align against the other parent, but not admit to it to form a cross generational coalition. And we're gonna get into why this is harmful, we already can make some assumptions of why this is harmful. And I want you to be identifying right now. When do you triangulate when you feel a lot of shame, when you're anxious about something, when you're hurt, when you feel left out, when you feel abandoned, when you feel rejected, when you feel afraid. And we triangulate when we are afraid to go directly to the person and have a conversation and tell them how we feel. And that is healthy. going directly to a person and journaling through it. Maybe you need to go to therapy on how to say something or you need to go to therapy to process your fear and shame and anxiety around going to talk to somebody directly. Because you don't want to pass this down and create another system where we have a behind the back conversations and pulling other people in. It creates very unhealthy work environments, family systems, cultures, churches, I mean, we can go on about how systemically this can manifest and be one of the most toxic patterns in a system. And you have to you have to do some evaluation on when do you do it. And when was it done to you?

And helps you gain so much insight in whether or not you're going to become aware and break this pattern. So here's kind of an example of being triangulated. So I'm going to use a quote here I have to be the mediator but this is an example of of somebody that feels triangulated as a child, I have to be the mediator between my parents. My dad has me tell my mom what he needs from her. She tells me how he hurt her when they were married. I always feel like loving one parent means I'm disloyal to the other I'll see this a tonne in divorced families. I love both parents and I can't share that freely and openly. It makes me feel like I'm alone on an island. So this is an example of children who are triangulated into dynamics. So I want to share my own experience with triangulation, because I think it's important to apply it to your own life, and you might not have the same experience. And I encourage you to think about when you've been triangulated into something, maybe you have taken that on, or you haven't known what to say or do. So on my own example, there was a dynamic,

unconsciously about how my mom felt. So my mom decided she wanted to divorce my dad, when I was in third grade. So they got divorced. And there was this dynamic of my mom being upset and angry with my dad. And so she would have my sister collect the child support from my dad, and she wasn't able to kind of self soothe. And I'm not picking on my mom, here, I'm just calling out and sharing vulnerable example of what triangulation looks like. And so my mom felt very insecure. That's part of her work that she's been doing, she has felt abandoned. And that goes back to her parents, as her father travelled the world. He was a renowned research dentist and helped invent fluoride and was just travelling around the world in what he did. So my mom, and she was an only child felt abandoned in that. And so that was the root of her feeling like we were going to abandon her. If we aligned not aligned, if we loved dad, there was a threat there. Or we really liked my stepmom, there was a threat there. And so she would triangulate my sister and I, my sister was more than one that would get triangulated in and I was as well, kind of against, so to speak, my dad. And so it made it very hard to create a connection, because it was so threatening for my mom, if we had a connection with my father. And that really was the dynamic between the two of them. And it really went back to her childhood. And she was very threatened if my sister and I were close. So she would talk negatively about my sister to me, talk negatively about me to my sister. And so my sister and I were not very close, we went from being close before the divorce to not being very close, my sister took on kind of a parental FIDE child, and then I did as well, in a sense. And so we never really felt close to one another because it was too threatening for my mom, to have my sister and I close, and it's very sad. We've done my sister's hope she's okay, sharing. But my sister has been in therapy, I've been in therapy. And we've done a lot of healing work around this and now have a very healthy, connected relationship, where we can identify that that was triangulation, and that was very threatening at the time to my mom. And that's the price that that can. That's the cost. That's the price, if we continue triangulation in present time, is it robs you of real, authentic, vulnerable connection, because it doesn't feel like it's okay. Because one parent is very threatened if you have a relationship with the other parent. And I knew that as a child that it was okay, in my soul, in my spirit self to have a relationship with both my mom and my dad, I knew it was healthy. And so I really wasn't buying into the narrative. But the guilt what it does is it makes you feel like you're doing something wrong or bad, even though intellectually, you know you're not. And so triangulation can be very toxic. And I've really tried to be mindful of, if I'm doing any triangulation, if I feel shame, or guilt or fear or sadness, we've all done it. And I know it doesn't make me feel better. If I'm pulling a third party into the dynamic, and I don't mean a therapist, a therapist is a non.

They're not involved in the family system. They're not a family member, they can have an objective view about the family system, or the couple dynamic, or even the individual that we don't get in a family system because we can create alliances. And I have seen that play out multiple times when there's been a family fracture, and pulling so the parents might have a fracture with one of the children. And they will pull the siblings into the dynamic and then affects the connection with that sibling. So for example, if a parent feels very threatened that they're being abandoned by one of their kids, they'll pull in another child, tell them all their woes and hurts and what the other child has done. And then that child's like yeah, I'm mad at my sibling and it creates family dysfunction it creates family discord, because it should stick, I'm going to use the word should. It means I'm gonna change it to a needs because should ashame it needs to stay between the parent and the child who ever is having the conflict it needs to stay between those two, we do not pull in other family members, we do not pull in cousins, aunts and uncles, siblings, the other parent, it's between the two. And that is what we don't talk about. We don't talk about this, I want to talk about this. I want to talk about what it does in the psyche, and how we then go on to create some of these same patterns if we're not awake to it. So what's the impact on kids and children when there is triangulation? Because we have to go back to our own childhoods, and I invite you to float back. And it could have been in school where there was a lot of triangulation with friends, it could be within your family system. Think about a job, maybe I want you to float back and look at this pattern. So okay, the impact of kids and children, I want to name at least three. One is it gives the child a heavier burden than they should have to bear. Right when triangulated children are put in the position of advising their parents. But adult size problems are much too weighty for a child to handle. It's not okay. It's not the child's problem. If you feel insecure or scared, it's yours, you have to take that on as the parent, it's not the siblings responsibility to make you feel better. If you're having a disagreement with one of your kids. The siblings is not their job or their children or adults to make you feel better period. And this is so important for us to own and acknowledge. Even if a child seems fine or adult child seems fine, as he or she is listening again, insert pronouns listens to one parent vent, the child is internally feeling the pressure to solve the problem or take a side or protect the parent. And they feel unequipped because they are, they aren't equipped to solve the problem or protect the parent or make the parent feel better. They're not equipped to do that, whether they're adults or their kids. Children who are triangulated also will learn that they have to keep their own emotions to themselves to avoid causing more emotional pain for a parent.

Take that in, you learn as a child, if there's a lot of triangulation to not make the other parent worse, like to not make the situation worse. So you shoved down. repress unconsciously your feelings because you don't want to upset the parent. You don't want to make it worse for the parent. And so you kind of split off and abandon yourself in your emotions in the process. It is the Lost self, you come into therapy, not knowing what you feel who you are. Because you try to take care of accommodate protect, nurture your own parent make them feel better. And I see this in adult children too. It's where adult children are trying to make the parent feel better. And it's not their job, they need to be having their own experiences with their emotion. They can't hold that for a parent. It's not their job to solve it. And especially little kids, and we do this to our children, and even grandchildren get pulled into it. And all of a sudden, we're saying to the grandkids, I'm so upset about what your mom or dad did, or what your aunt or uncle did. It's not. That is not okay, you're putting on adult issues onto children. Okay, number two, it threatens children's sense of security. children's sense of security is threatened because it can feel like no adult is in charge of their own emotional state, leaving them to feel the pressure of managing their own emotional lives. Neither adult feels reliable to lean on for leadership, acknowledgement, attention, consistency, emotional availability and nurturing. But children were never meant to leave their own emotional lives. They were at the beginning. They're meant to be co regulated soothe attune to present acknowledged, we as the parents are the ones supposed to be nurturing them, acknowledging them, listening to them, asking them how they feel, processing what they're going through, what are they feeling in their bodies? How are their bodies feeling, what are their fears? What are their griefs, what are their losses? Not them doing that for us? Not us venting to Our kids about how someone's hurt us. That's not on them. That's what therapists are for, or a best friend, not your children, not your grandchildren, not a sibling. It will your sibling could take that on, if you're two siblings and you want to talk about your parents, you know, that's, that's often okay. As long as you go to the parent directly, you don't want to triangulate all your siblings into your issues. You want to talk to the parent directly, again, that's perpetuating the triangulation dynamic. So as we're processing this, you really want to walk the walk of going directly to the person you have the issue with, I really would love for you to make a commitment that you're willing to do that I know it's scary. I know you're afraid they're gonna get upset, they're afraid they're gonna get dysregulated you're afraid you're gonna cause an uproar in the family, in the truth of the matter is, you can't be responsible for their reactivity. You don't want to perpetuate triangulation. Okay, what's the third impact? There's many, but I'm narrowing it down. The third impact is it encourages passive aggressive patterns and manipulation of family systems and in your own relationships. If one parent uses children to get what he or she wants from the other parent, the children learn that passive aggression and manipulation are the means to use to deal with difficult relationships, they learn to go backdoor it, make a passive aggressive comment, sweep it under the rug manipulate, as a way to get a need met instead of going directly to the person. Direct communication, even if it's difficult, and often it is, at the beginning, teaches children to have assertive communication skills. Isn't that what we want for our children to have a voice to be able to say how they feel what they need? What's going on in their bodies, so they don't have to numb it defend against it. Because at the end of the day, triangulation is about suppressing what you really feel.

Breathing into that discomfort of having a hard conversation and going directly to the person. So what are some strategies? Let's talk about that. We've kind of talked about what is triangulation? Why is it toxic? How does it impact children, it impacts so much, and what the bottom line of how it impacts children before I get to the helpful strategies is it stunts their emotional growth, it freezes them in time, it creates a trauma response, where they have survival strategies to shut down, numb it out, move away from drink. I mean, we could go on and on, because they weren't allowed to feel they split off from their true self and how they truly felt because they didn't want to upset their parent they didn't want to pile it on, they felt bad, they were scared. And you didn't get to say how you really felt. So there's a bypassing of yourself, there's an abandonment of yourself, when there's triangulation involved, and it's done to you now you're if you're the one doing it, you're repeating a pattern of not taking a look at what you feel. So we go back to those core emotions. Anger, which can also be secondary can also be cover up. Fear, definitely part of this equation, fear, we can't get out of that sadness, disgust, joy, excitement, sexual excitement, those are the seven core emotions. We're going to talk about why it's important that you're identifying the emotion and where you feel in your body in order to break the pattern. So the first thing we have to number one, the first step is awareness. You have to notice when you're triangulating. And when you're being pulled into the middle of a situation that doesn't involve you. It doesn't involve you than we need to. We're gonna talk about strategy too in a minute, but we're going to talk about boundaries. This might have been a normal part of your system or upbringing. And you can stop it. It doesn't have to be a habitual pattern. It can stop with you now is it hard and scary? Sure. Because it's been a part of your family for so long. It's been a part of you for so long. It's been a part of you to be the person to be the one that everybody calls in the family when they're upset. They call you and they complain and gripe about the other person instead of going directly to them. And this is your opportunity to say hey, I can acknowledge you I can empathise, I hear that's really, you're feel really sad about that. And I would encourage you to talk to them directly. Oh, I can't do that. I can't do that. Maybe it would be helpful to have a therapist involve them because I can't take this on. And it's really uncomfortable, especially if you're the child, when you talk about mom, to me, Dad, you need to you two need to be doing that you need to talk to mom about that directly. Or let's say they're talking about a sibling. So for example, my sister has gotten a lot better of saying, Mom, that's between you and Kristen, you need to talk to Kristen about that. And I have gotten, she doesn't like it. But I say, Mom, I hear you that you're upset. You need to talk to Laura about that. I'm not going to I'm not going to hear that anymore. I'm not listening to that anymore. Because it upsets me it's my sister, I don't want to hear her talk bad about my sister or complain about my sister. That is her inner child, not able to self soothe and self regulate, and identify her emotions. It's it's bypassing her own work. If I keep enabling that. So I'll say Mom, I'm not gonna listen to that. You need to talk to Laura, about that. That's between you and Laura.

And is it uncomfortable? Yeah. But now I'm so at times it is. And I would not be able to be in a relationship, a healthy relationship without saying, That's not okay. You need to talk to my sister about that. I don't want to hear it. And so that's the boundary I've set. And that's the boundary that works for me. You have to come up with what works for you. And so you have to explore why are you triangulating people? And what are you seeking? If you're the triangulator? Are you seeking validation, attention, acknowledgement, empathy, someone to protect you, someone to take your side all the things you wanted from your mom or dad, or your primary caregiver that you didn't get? So you're pulling in this person to function as a nurturing parent, rather than going directly to the person and leaning into that discomfort? What are you trying to get relief from your shame, your anxiety, your guilt, fear, anger, disgust, maybe all the above, we often don't want to feel or connect to our emotions. So we develop these defence mechanisms or these protective ways to avoid experiencing these feelings. And this is a maladaptive defence mechanism. It's a maladaptive survival strategy. And if you're in the middle of being triangulated, and you're getting a payoff from that, because you feel important, you feel wanted, you feel like you're the confidant you feel like, Oh, I'm the helpful one in the family. I'm the peacemaker. I'm the mediator, you've taken on a role. And what's this? What's the gain from that? What are you getting from that? Are you getting attention worth value, significance, importance, and then you get to decide if you're perpetuating an unhealthy dynamic of preventing people from going directly to the person when you put the hammer down, is not a hammer, when you put the boundary up, and say, Hey, I'm no longer going to listen to this. It's really important you go directly to mom, to dad to aunt, uncle to cousin to whoever it is friend, co worker neighbour, instead of me just it's a pattern habitually listening to the same complaint. And then inviting the person to say, hey, there might be something for you to explore. People don't like that. We can acknowledge we can have empathy. There's an invitation for us in all of this. That's what I love about doing my own work. And I also know that at times, I'm like, can we not have any more lessons? Can we not have any more invitations? And yet, I know I will atrophy without growth. It's it's essential to healthy relationships, growth, without growth. It's hard to have a connectable vulnerable, authentic relationship. Okay, so that leads me to point number two on the helpful strategies, setting healthy boundaries, boundaries, what's okay and what's not, okay. We can acknowledge, again, offering that the redirect the person to speak directly to the person, they have the issue with suggest therapy, and they'll go well, no, not gonna do that. That's fine. But I'm not going to I'm not going to function as the therapist. I'm not going to function as this pseudo spouse, I'm not going to function as the peacemaker. I'm not going to function as the enabler. I'm not going to function as the person that they come and vent to, and then don't take any action to actually do their own work. You end up being the stop gap. And as a child, that's a certain you are just surviving you are trying to maintain connection with your parent. That makes a whole lot of sense. Now you have to question whether that's serving you as an adult. You can offer to go to a support group 12 Step programme. Have an accountability partner or a coach, whatever that looks like a therapist that understands family systems is really helpful when it comes to triangulation. The third strategy is direct and clear communication that to the person directly you have the issue with, do not do what I call survey says, Well, you know, Susie hurt me. And I felt like she always is talking behind my back, I might tell the therapist that and the invitation is for me to tell Susie, I feel sad, because the story I'm making up is that you really don't like me. And I feel really sad. When I hear that you've talked about me to Bobby. And it creates a distrust and I really want to trust you and connect. Can we work through this

indirect communication, meaning going behind somebody's back, instead of talking directly to the person creates so much distrust, and feelings of betrayal. And that does not create healthy connection or safety in a relationship. Passive aggressive remarks, does not create trust and safety. When you use I feel statements with a feeling word in there not I feel like you that's a judgement. I feel sad and afraid when you pull away because I'm afraid we will stay disconnected. And then you will leave I'm making this this is an example of reminds me of what I would be upset, my mom would be upset with me. And then she wouldn't talk to me for days, she wouldn't tell me directly how she felt or take ownership of her own feelings. So I was left to guess and walk on eggshells. So see how I owned what I felt I was able to make the connection of where that might be coming from. That takes a lot of awareness. That's why self work is awesome. It is so empowering. It isn't disempowerment, you can't just put things in a box and hope they'll never affect you in your life. It's a sham. It's not true, you can't just put it away and hope it never comes back and impacts you. The truth of the matter is you're a human being. It's okay that you have thoughts feelings, based on what happened to you, it's not wrong. It's important to take action, it's important to look at that reprocess it, so you're not frozen in time, your inner child isn't running the show, because triangulation is rooted in the inner child looking for love looking for acknowledgement and worth and value in nurturing really. And if you're triangulating that's your inner child online, and it's important that you're owning it and taking responsibility for it. So that leads me to point four in the strategies of doing your own work. Work through your family system patterns, take responsibility for them, don't blame it on other people stop projecting it onto somebody else, and making them responsible to make you feel better. We have to stop. When we do our own work, I'm able to offer presence and attunement and empathy because it freely flows out of me because I have space for it because I've done my own healing work and I can offer it up to other people freely. And I love that. It's a deep fracture and not getting your needs met. When you triangulate. You don't feel loved, secure, important. We've already gone over all of the things you're looking for to get your needs met in an unhealthy way it creates exactly what you don't want. It creates triangulation creates disconnection, loneliness, distrust, abandonment, rejection, insecurity, it will not feel the need to be seen, heard, acknowledged, tended to. It creates so much dysfunction and inner child, it's like to two little kids trying to get their needs met, when you pull in a third party and you're trying instead of going directly to the person. That's what we did in middle school because we were afraid. How can we stop the triangulation beyond these four strategies, there should only be two people involved in a given conflict within a family. There shouldn't be a middleman. Here's I'm using those shoulds there needs to not be a middleman or middle person. Teach your children to go directly to the person they have the issue with, they will see this if you're doing that. You if you do that, they will see that and it's important they learn to go directly to the person as scary as that is take deep breaths. That's the one strategy that is on every strategy that I didn't name on the four is taking your deep breaths so you couldn't get the courage up to have these hard conversations set an example, by living this out. That's what's so important about doing your own work, journal about it write out what you want to say write the person the letter that you want to share it with. Go directly instead of talking to everybody else about it, talk directly to the person, even if they don't change. That's not the you can't be based on the outcome. You're based on facing this hard conversation. But we have to cut the cord on the outcome, I don't know, the person may not respond well. And I might have to make a decision about that relationship.

learn and practice these healthy boundaries and assertive communication, teach these to your children by modelling it for them. I can't emphasise that enough. And I want to encourage you to maybe meditate, pray about this, ask for help take classes, read books, a couple of good books. In terms of boundaries, there's boundaries by Dr. Cloud and Townsend that is a Christian book, if you want something not not related to that boundary boss is is helpful by Terry Cole, who's also been on the podcast and listening to this podcast, you can go back and binge listen to these podcast episodes. And all of it ties together on creating healthy relationships. That is the foundational principle. One you have to have healthy relationship with yourself to that creates a healthy relationship with others. So you can be the parent you want to be the partner you want to be the person you want to be in the world. I want to encourage you don't give up I know it's hard. Trust me, I've walking this walk with you. I've had to work through my own pain around triangulation and my own behaviour, sometimes around triangulation and owning it and making amends for it, naming it. I'm sorry, I pulled someone else into this, it really was between you and I. And I see how that was hurtful. And don't go into but we're eliminating, but from our vocabulary, we're not saying the word but just stop talking and let that be a repair. Stop making this about why you did it to tell the other person instead just apologise for the hurt you've caused. If you don't own your contribution to the dysfunction of a family, there will be discord and disconnection. There will be no sense of vulnerability, authenticity, because it doesn't feel safe. You be the pioneer in the family. Don't Own stuff that's not yours, alone, what is yours, and make a change today and heal, maybe some fractures of that, you know, you were a child being triangulated and the things that weren't yours to own. And you've been carrying that sense of responsibility and that burden, it's time to set it free. It wasn't your responsibility to be the gatekeeper between mom and dad, or make mom or dad feel more secure. If you loved the other parent that wasn't on you, you can let that go. You don't have to carry that responsibility, sweetie. I'm talking to your inner child right now. Because you have carried so much responsibility that wasn't yours, it got put on you. And you don't have to carry that anymore. Even now when it gets put on you. Your adult self can know that it isn't your job. It's their job. They're the adult. They have to learn to self soothe. You can't make them feel secure. There is no threat. If you love more than one person. That is what we're made of to pour love out into the world. There's not a pie with a finite amount of love. We can love everyone. And there's no threat to anyone. And when you can release the the pain of having to carry around a parent's pain that wasn't yours to take responsibility for you can free yourself from the bondage, the shackles, the burden of carrying that. I'm here to help you set that free. And it will take maybe some deeper work. And that's okay. Invest in yourself, whatever that looks like. Take the time if you need to re listen to this episode multiple times because I know so I throw out some big concepts here. It's okay. Connect to those emotions, feel them grieve over what you didn't get. nurture yourself through it. Talk to yourself and the most loving, nurturing voice and forgive yourself. I'm so glad you're here with me. I'm so glad you are on this journey. of growth, and uncovering and de layering who you really are. So you don't have to perform and please and perfect and pretend and placate and shut down, disengage numb, that it's okay. It's okay keep walking the walk, keep doing the work. And then I'll see a quote unquote. See. I'll be here next week to continue our journey together. I hope you have a fantastic week. And until next time

thank you so much for listening to the close the chapter podcast. My hope is that you took home some actionable steps, along with motivation, inspiration and hope for making sustainable change in your life. If you enjoyed this episode, click the subscribe button to be sure to get the updated episodes every week and share with a friend or family member. For more information about how to get connected visit Kristen k r i s t e n d Boice b o ice.com. Thanks and have a great day.