When It’s Two Against One: Tactics for Escaping Conflict

Does this sound like your life?

You live in continuous turmoil and anxiety, instability and confusion. You don’t know what each day (or moment) will bring, whom to trust, or how to handle yourself.  The only thing you know for sure is you cannot survive much longer.

Then you’re involved in a Victim Triangle.

The victim triangle is when there are 3 people and two of them gang up on the third, but the victim changes from situation to situation. If you are on the “outside”, pretty soon you’ll find yourself on the “inside”. It all depends upon who wants what and who has the power to shift the game of Insider/Outsider.

The victim triangle is a bullying tactic. If you remember back to your schoolyard days, then you understand the insider/outsider game.

The goal of the victim triangle is to gain personal power. They do not care about productivity, teams, or the company bottom-line.

If your goal is a strong, healthy and productive team, then the victim triangle does not make sense to you.

Surviving the victim triangle:

Short term:

  • Awareness. Think about your own situation and determine if you are dealing with the victim triangle phenomenon.
  • Do not negotiate. The goal of the perpetrator is to gain personal power and will not be interested in a reasoned discussion about building a healthy workplace.
  • Avoidance. Do not participate. You will not remain the ‘chosen’ one.
  • Be quiet. Do not gossip because it will create further mistrust among your team.
  • Perform. Do your job and do it well so that you position yourself for advancement.

Long term:

Leave. The price of triangulation is suspicion, doubt, fear, and losing your confidence.

  • me

    what to do when it happens in a family instead of workplace?

  • Kathleen

    It isn’t much different except harder to escape because it can be 24/7. The dynamic is the same. Know that when u try to change the dynamic things will get worse. You are in a ‘system’ and when u change the system, the system pushes back. This doesn’t mean u can’t change things and stop playing your part. Just be aware. Victim triangles can end but someone has to want to stop playing their role. Without more info it is hard to go into a deeper explanation. I wish u well.