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Narcissistic "Love" Triangles and Emotional Unavailability

You Deserve Someone Who Won't Hurt You
You Deserve Someone Who Won't Hurt You
Self

One of the key features of a narcissist is their desire to feel like they are in high demand. They like to feel like they have many options and you should be happy they chose you. The narcissist feels an intense euphoria and a sense of power when they can turn people against each other, especially when it’s over a competition for them. Narcissists will manufacture situations to make you jealous and question their fidelity. In a normal relationship, people go out of their way to prove that they are trustworthy—but the narcissist does exactly the opposite. They are constantly suggesting that they might be pursuing other options, or spending time with other people, so that you can never settle down into a feeling of peace. And they will always deny this, calling you crazy for bringing it up.

There are many ways they pretend that they are in high demand. Many narcissist do not want to relinquish their eligible bachelor status. So, they will not acknowledge you on facebook. For example, it will take them forever to change their facebook status. You are not to take or post any couple's pictures on their facebook page, or tag them in your facebook pictures. When they finally do change their status, they will not mention who they are in a relationship with. Only when you are about to break up with them, do they relent and add your name to their relationship status.

Though there is wide familiarity with the traditional concept of a love triangle: a person simultaneously being romantically involved in two separate relationships with two different love partners, in the case of narcissistic triangulation, it doesn't always involve another "love" partner. Instead it may involve an excessive obsession with certain members of one's family, or even certain friends. What all forms of triangulation have in common is that it makes narcissists emotionally unavailable to their actual life partner which is precisely the intent of the triangulation. Their supposed life partner ends up feeling emotionally betrayed.

Yet, initially the relationship with a narcissist started out like most other relationships with the infatuation phase, where they typically showered you with attention. However, after anywhere from 4 months to a year, when the shallow infatuation (idealization) phase passed and the relationship normally would have transitioned into a deeper genuine love bonding, the narcissistic relationship unexpectedly takes a turn for the worse, and begins to deteriorate. The intensity of the initial excitement is gone, which would have made way for the deeper feelings of true love, but narcissists have an emotional immaturity, so they will have trouble really bonding. It is at this stage that the narcissist begins to emotionally withdraw from the relationship, and they will really ramp up on their triangulation.

They will do anything in their power to make their "significant other" feel insignificant, to maintain their emotional distance and control while continuing the relationship simply for its convenience. You absolutely have no idea what happened for you to become devalued from that "special person" in their lives, to an "insignificant other." It is all terribly confusing. When you try to bring it up, or discuss anything with the narcissist, your concerns are belittled or met with outright denial. There is no apparent intent on working anything out, and if you insist on resolving any issues you might have, you'll most likely be punished with a silent treatment aka disappearing act.

When they finally re-appear a few days later, they will act like nothing happened. The silent treatment is only one frequently used tool in a whole array of abusive manipulative tools intended to keep you at an emotional distance from them.

The triangulation only intensifies. They feel justified in treating you poorly. When the triangulation doesn't involve another romantic interest, the easiest way for the narcissist to triangulate is spending excessive time with a chosen adult child. This adult child starts to pretty much function as a surrogate partner. Incredibly, the narcissist will take their adult child on vacations, to weddings, and all sorts of other events and places that most healthy members of a couple would take their significant other to.

The narcissist will spend excessive amounts of time with their adult child, constantly be texting and calling the adult child while neglecting and ignoring you. He will repeatedly call you crazy and jealous when you mention his lack of attention to you.

Instead of posting couple pictures of you on facebook, the narcissist will inundate his facebook page with couple pictures of himself, with the adult child by his side. The narcissist will try to heighten any jealousy he manufactures by re-posting those same pictures incessantly. Or the narcissist will be posing with other people he wants to triangulate you with, like certain chosen female friends, while avoiding altogether any couple pictures of you and him.

Narcissists hate boundaries. They don't want limits of any kind. They want full access to whatever they want, whenever they want it. Rules don't apply to them, and they love to manufacture the illusion of popularity at the expense of their partner. Instead of the affection of their partner, they prefer the adoration of an entourage. By keeping their adult children immature and dependent on them, they are always assured of a reliable source of adoration.

Using your adult child as your life partner is also called emotional incest. And it gets passed from one generation to another. One of the reasons the narcissist is emotionally unavailable himself is because frequently he too was used as a surrogate partner by his own parent.

As Sam Vaknin says: "The identification with the parent is so strong that many narcissists maintain an on-going relationship with their mother or father - while unable to commit to other meaningful or significant others."

While the fast majority of Narcissists are woefully unaware of their inability to have true relationships, that they are fakers, and are playing destructive emotional mind games with their partner, there are a few that realize it.