The word itself “triangulation” sounds so similar to the phrase strangulation. But when you put triangulated and communications together, both impede communication. Strangulation cuts off any flow of resources needed to exist, while triangulation filters what gets through or what has been said. It can also result in dire consequences for the receiver. Triangulation is just a lighter version of communication strangulation. 

Triangulated Term Defined

Triangulation is an INDIRECT communication sent through a filtering person. That person then decides to convey one of several messages: 

• They can minimize the message, thus causing the communication to appear insignificant. 

• May magnify the sender’s side of the message, giving it more significant force. 

• It can add or take away from the message, thus altering its meaning. 

• Sometimes they “forget” to provide the message, creating an illusion of the sender not caring or being a person who dropped the ball. – OR — 

• As most often is the case, they can appear to join each of the two sides in a dispute, as if they are on one side or the other. 

• Both sides think they have an ally. 

Triangulated vs Communication

Let me use an example of triangulated communications. Our family is a close-knit group of five siblings with our mother still alive, well, and our family’s center. As it is with most families, much of the brother and sister news is transmitted to and from our mother. 

She talks to us all, all of the time. Perhaps we are a bit lazy in staying in touch with our siblings, so Mom can catch us up on what is happening without calling each other. 

The problem comes when at some time, Mom says, “You know, Jeff (a brother). is mad at you.” The family news network has suddenly changed from events to emotions. I answer, “Oh, why, what’s he mad about?” 

Now Mom is doing all the communicating. Why should I want to speak directly to my brother, when I know he is mad anyway? For some reason, Mom seems to be the only one enjoying the triangle of communicating through her. 

Jeff and I come to our senses and decide to call each other DIRECTLY. I’m sure I was the mature one who dialed the phone first, but we did understand. We will speak only to each other when it comes to feelings or misunderstandings. There is no reason for an intermediary. 

Part 2 will discuss the worst yet most common example of triangulation. DIVORCE. 

YOU are the expert on your Child Are you perfect? No. Do you make mistakes? Yes. Can you learn something today that will help you be a more effective Parent? Absolutely!