Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


How To Get Out of a Relationship Triangle

posted by Linda Mintle

 

Reader Question: I am in the middle of a big argument with my mom and sister. The issue is between me and my mom but my sister sides with mom and the two of them gang up on me. I am always the outsider. We haven’t talked for 6 months and now my mom wants to bury the hatchet and talk to me again. Nothing ever gets resolved or talked about and I am tired of this. I’m sure something else will come up and she and my sister will gang up on me again. How do I change this?  No one ever says they are sorry but me. 

The question is about a mother, daughter, sister problem, but the principle of getting out of the middle applies to all relationships.

A. You are in something called a relationship triangle. Triangles involve 3 people. When two people have difficulty communicating or dealing with conflict with each other, a third person is brought in to deflect the difficulty. Your sister is that person for your mom. Instead of dealing directly with you, she gets your sister to side with her and justify her position. This is an unhealthy triangle because the two people who need to address the conflict, don’t.

In terms of forgiveness, Christ told us to forgive 70 times 70–in another words, to keep on forgiving. So choose to forgive your mom and sister. But in the future, you need to respond differently. Make sure that you ONLY communicate with the person involved in a conflict. When your mom pulls in your sister, refuse to deal with her and say, “This is between you and me. I’d like to solve this. When you are ready to talk to me and not my sister about this, I am ready.”

You break up triangles by  dealing directly with the person involved in the conflict. This often create tension because people don’t like changing familiar patterns even when those patterns are dysfunctional.

Finally, you can’t control what other people do. If your mom and sister gang up on you, you confront it and they stop talking to you, that’s their choice.

But leave the door open for their re-entry. Repeat your position to only deal with the person involved, not the third party.



Previous Posts

TODAY GIVE THANKS!
I am thankful for a world of beautiful color! For family who loves me and loves God! For a marriage that has endured 40 years with my best friend! For children who honor God and each other! For my dad who at 93 is still with us! For all the many blessings we have....count them one by one! HAPP

posted 6:00:39am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

4 Ways to Cultivate An Attitude of Gratitude
There is a great deal of entitlement in our culture. Daily, we are reminded as to what we deserve. Humility seems to be a lost character trait in a celebrity culture. So how can you intentionally develop an attitude of gratitude? Try these ideas every day, not just at Thanksgiving. 1) Write do

posted 6:00:58am Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »

10 Ways to Encourage Your Partner to Go to Couple Therapy
"Our marriage needs help but my husband won't go to therapy." I've heard this statement often and it is usually filled with frustration, sadness and sometimes anger. A relationship is in trouble but one spouse refuses to get help. If a marriage is going to be helped, both people need to go t

posted 6:00:16am Nov. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Change Whining Into Gratitude
A mom asks: The other day I was so embarrassed because my child whined around when I was trying to talk to another mom. When our children whine, it really bothers us. We want to turn that whining to gratitude. How do we make that happen? When you want to extinguish one behavior and then replac

posted 6:00:32am Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

8 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
Are you irritable? Difficult to live with because you are constantly tired? Time to look at your sleep habits and do something about them. If you are tossing and turning consider these 8 tips: Women take an average of nine minutes to fall asleep at night compared to 23 minutes for men. IF yo

posted 6:00:15am Nov. 19, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.