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

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 »

Do You Help Your Teen Too Much? Answer These 5 Questions
Julie was handed her biology test in class. While she studied for the test, the material was difficult. When she saw the red C at the top of the exam, she began to cry. Racked with anxiety, she couldn't believe she barely passed the test. The stress overwhelmed her. One has to wonder why? This is

posted 6:00:30am Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Eating Well: Rules for the Road
I've been commuting between a small town and a large city. The almost four hour rural commute usually requires a meal stop. Here is where the challenge comes. The only food stops on the rural route are fast food restaurants. The temptation is to grab something fast and keep moving-greasy fries, h

posted 6:00:32am Nov. 14, 2014 | read full post »

If You Want a Child Who Sticks To It, Look at Dad!
If you want a persistent child, dads are key. Persistent is a trait most parents want to see developed in their children. When the assignment is difficult, we want  our kids to persist in their studies and do well. When the team is losing, we want a child who stays in the fight until time runs o

posted 6:00:32am Nov. 12, 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.