Recognizing and Resisting Triangulation in Professional Caregiving

Navigating interpersonal dynamics with narcissistic clients

Learn how to recognize and resist triangulation tactics used by narcissistic clients in professional caregiving settings, and protect yourself and the children in your care.

Professional caregivers must be aware of manipulation tactics used by narcissistic clients in order to protect themselves and the children in their care. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.

As a professional caregiver, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of the children in your care. But what happens when the parent or guardian of those children is a narcissist? How can you protect yourself and the children when faced with manipulation tactics such as triangulation?

As a professional caregiver, it is important to be aware of the potential for manipulation by narcissistic clients. Triangulation, the act of bringing a third party into a relationship in order to control or manipulate the dynamics, is a common tactic used by narcissists. In caregiving settings, this may manifest in attempts to persuade the caregiver to side with them against the other parent or to present negative information about the other parent that is immaterial, unsupported, or presented fallaciously using false arguments. It is important to be able to recognize these attempts as triangulation and to resist them in order to protect yourself and the children in your care.

To protect yourself from triangulation tactics, it is important to establish clear boundaries and to be aware of any attempts to manipulate you into taking sides. It is also important to have a thorough understanding of the facts and to be able to discern when information being presented is unsupported, weak, or intended to unfairly harm another party. Additionally, it is important to maintain open communication with other professionals involved in the care of the child, such as the child's therapist or the other parent's attorney.

If you suspect that you are being triangulated by a narcissistic client, it is important to address the issue immediately. This can be done by calmly and respectfully bringing the behavior to their attention and setting clear boundaries. It may also be necessary to involve other professionals, such as a supervisor or attorney, to ensure that the best interests of the child are being protected.

In summary, recognizing and resisting triangulation in a professional caregiving setting is essential in order to protect yourself and the children in your care. By understanding the dynamics of triangulation, setting clear boundaries, and maintaining open communication with other professionals, you can effectively navigate interpersonal dynamics with narcissistic clients and ensure the well-being of the children that you are responsible for.