Home > Uncategorized > Triangles in your Social World, Workplace, and Love-life or How Triangles Affect your Life

Triangles in your Social World, Workplace, and Love-life or How Triangles Affect your Life

Triangles exist everywhere:

  • Between YOU, your parents and another sibling
  • Between YOU, your boss and his star employee
  • Between YOU, your best friend and her other friend
  • Between YOU, your girlfriend and her old boyfriend
  • Between YOU, your partner and his alcoholism
  • Between YOU, your wife and her child from a previous marriage
  • Between YOU, your husband and his mother.

It’s hard to think of a relationship where a triangle isn’t involved.

Even your relationship with yourself has a triangle: Between YOU (your Adult Self), your Inner Child, and your Outer Child.

Triangles are a given.  They make the world go round.  It’s only when you feel at the short end of the stick that triangles get under your skin.  The feelings can range from vague ripples of discomfort that you hardly notice to outright seething and burning.

The important issue is how well you handle feeling triangulated.   When you sense you’re getting short shrift, does your Adult Self choose a positive course of action?  Or does that overgrown kid of yours – your headstrong Outer Child – get into the act and do things “unworthy of you,” like snipe about a rival behind his back or become over-people pleasing?

In other words, when feeling upstaged by a third party, are you proud of how you handle it?  Does your higher self always take a mature stance when dealing with the occasional bout of envy, resentment, or ruffled feather?  Or does your Outer Child act out your triangulated feelings in ways that do nothing for your reputation or self-respect.

The root cause has to do with your own personal triangle – Adult, Inner, and Outer – the three competing parts of the personality.  This intra-psychic triangle reacts to the other triangles in your life.  Here’s how it works: Your Inner Child beholds all of your yearnings, wants, residual abandonment fears, and vulnerabilities; and your Outer Child is hell bent on acting them out in knee-jerk reactions and defense mechanisms that have become maladaptive; and your Adult Self is overpowered, overruled, and left holding the bag.

The triangles of everyday life mesh gears with your intra-psychic triangle, one turning the other.  Abandonment feelings fuel the machine. When the wheels spin, Outer Child acts out impulsively. It is up to the Adult to apply the clutch to disengage the Outer Child cog and shift into Adult Mode. But this is often easier said than done.

Triangles tend to trigger primal abandonment because they’re about having to share a person’s interest, love, loyalty, allegiance, attention, approval, admiration, affection – with another person.  When your Inner Child gets triggered by the slings and arrows of everyday encounters, your Outer Child tries to push your Adult Self aside and swoops in to “fix it” in its bungling, primitive way.

When we sense that raw universal abandonment nerve of ours jangling, it is incumbent on the Adult Self to step up to the plate and choose constructive ways to handle Inner Child’s needs.  But here comes the problem:  In the intra-psychic triangle, guess which part of you winds up getting triangulated, in the one-down position?  The Adult Self, of course!  Yes, when those wheels mesh, your Outer Child grabs for power, and You are left to observe yourself acting out with sour grapes, defensiveness, anger, or resentment.  This is reversible.

The Outer Child framework allows you to adjust the way you react to triangulation.  When your Outer Child runs rampant with your Inner Child’s feelings, it becomes clear which part of you must get stronger, wiser, take charge – your higher Adult Self.   So, next time your boss shows favoritism, or you’re your friend shows preference for another friend, or your lover becomes distracted by a third party, convert these triangles into spurs for positive growth.  Improve your own internal triangle. Place your higher self on top, thereby creating a healthier relationship with yourself.  Commit to positive change by taking actions that move your life forward.

Related articles:

Twenty Ways Your Outer Child Sabotages Your Success in the Workplace

How Universal Fear of Abandonment Can Undermine Success in the Workplace

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