Losing a Sibling to Triangulation

Marlena Eva
3 min readApr 15, 2024

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Narcissistic parents make it impossible for siblings to get along

Photo by Vika Glitter on Pexels
Photo by Vika Glitter

I’ve written here on Medium a few articles on siblings who grow up in a narcissistic household. That’s because I’m still shaken by the reality of this experience. The reality is that you cannot get along with your brother (or sister) no matter how good of a person you are and how pure your intentions towards them are. And that is so sad.

Narcissists and triangulation

Triangulation is a method of abuse employed by a narcissistic parent to keep her children emotionally and mentally away from each other. Through the process of triangulation, the abusive parent paints an inaccurate picture of you to your sibling. They will feed this sibling a bunch of lies about you and who you are.

For example, a narcissistic mother will say nasty things about you to your sibling. This leads the sibling to be cold or unfriendly towards you.

Then, when you’re with your mother, she’ll criticize this sibling to your face or share something about what they have done so you would grow resentful towards them. This results in siblings not trusting each other and becoming angry or resentful towards each other.

I am estranged from both my brothers. When I went back into contact with my family in 2020, I noticed how changed my brothers were towards me. One time, I overheard my brother talking to his mother about me, complaining about how ‘sick’ and ‘mentally ill’ I am and that I should not be trusted.

My brother’s idea was that my mother should stop talking to me or helping me because I was ‘mentally ill’.

I was so hurt by those words and I think I’ll always carry this hurt with me. Is it my brother’s fault for thinking so poorly of me? No, it isn’t but we are both adults.

We are both equipped with the freedom to think whatever we want to think about ourselves and others. To make decisions and employ critical thinking in situations where we suspect someone may try to manipulate us.

My brother chooses not to think for himself and believes every piece of information my mother feeds him. Now you can see why a healthy relationship with him is not possible.

The narcissist’s talent for abuse and manipulation

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels

From my research about siblings growing up in a narcissistic home, I discovered that to be able to change your brother or sister to get them on your side (and safe from their toxic family) is a Herculean task. The narcissistic parent has done their job so well of brainwashing their adult children and pitting them against each other that you can’t do anything about it.

They have spent years, even decades manipulating their little brains into being resentful towards the scapegoat. And if you are the scapegoat, trying to make them believe your side of the story renders no results.

I have tried for years to educate my brothers about narcissism and narcissistic mothers. I have sent them articles about the topic, and tried to help them connect the ‘dots’. All I got is a ‘Yes, it’s possible’. But nothing else.

I eventually gave up and started entertaining the idea that we may never have a relationship and that it is not my fault. It is sad but I didn’t cause this. Being in a toxic family is tough but trying to get out of the ‘system’ is tougher.

On top of that, I can’t take anyone with me when I leave. I need to fight my own battles alone and that’s OK.

Do you have siblings and did you manage to have a relationship with them despite the abuses you all went through at home?

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Marlena Eva

MA in Social Psychology. Freelance Writer. Poet. Writes about: narcissism (NPD), relationships, mental health.