Female Covert Narcissist Triangulation
Female Covert Narcissist Triangulation

Have you ever found yourself caught in a web of confusion, where the dynamics of your relationships seemed to shift like sand beneath your feet? It’s not uncommon to encounter complex and challenging individuals in our lives, but when these individuals happen to be female covert narcissists, the situation can become even more intricate.

In this article, we’ll delve into the realm of female covert narcissist triangulation and explore the subtle yet potent forces at play.

Understanding Female Covert Narcissist Triangulation

First … What is Covert Narcissism?

Covert narcissism is a complex and often misunderstood personality trait that exists on the narcissistic spectrum. Unlike their more overt counterparts, covert narcissists are masters of disguise. They hide their grandiosity and self-centeredness behind a facade of humility and self-sacrifice. This makes them particularly adept at manipulating and controlling others while remaining emotionally unavailable themselves.

Behavioral Patterns of Female Covert Narcissists

Low self-esteem

Female covert narcissists typically struggle with deep-seated feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Paradoxically, they cope with these feelings by seeking constant validation from others. This low self-esteem is the driving force behind their need for admiration and narcissistic supply.

Manipulative behavior

One hallmark of female covert narcissists is their manipulative behavior. They excel at playing the victim, tugging at the heartstrings of their targets to gain sympathy and loyalty. They use emotional manipulation to keep their victims entangled in a web of confusion and guilt, all while maintaining a facade of innocence.

Victim mentality

Female covert narcissists often see themselves as perpetual victims of circumstance. They view the world as inherently unfair and unjust, casting themselves as the perpetual underdog. This victim mentality serves as a powerful tool for garnering support and sympathy, making it difficult for others to see through their manipulation.

What is Triangulation?

Triangulation is a toxic relational tactic used by covert narcissists, both male and female, to maintain control and create chaos within their relationships. It involves bringing a third person into the dynamic, either overtly or covertly, to manipulate and control the perceptions and emotions of those involved. In this article, however, we will focus on female covert narcissist triangulation.

Identifying Triangulation in Relationships

Creating Drama

Female covert narcissists are adept at creating drama and chaos within their relationships. They may strategically involve a third person to add complexity and tension to the dynamic. This drama keeps their victims off balance and emotionally invested in the narcissist’s web of manipulation.

Playing the Victim

Triangulation often revolves around the covert narcissist portraying themselves as the victim in need of protection or support. And playing the victim is a classic tactic of a female covert narcissist. They paint the third person as a threat or antagonist, manipulating their victims into feeling responsible for their emotional well-being.

Putting People Against Each Other

The ultimate goal of triangulation is to pit people against each other, thereby securing the narcissist’s control over the situation. By sowing seeds of discord and jealousy, female covert narcissists keep their victims focused on each other rather than on the narcissist’s own toxic behavior.

Understanding these behavioral patterns and the concept of triangulation in general, and female covert narcissist triangulation in specific, is crucial for recognizing and dealing with female covert narcissists in your life.

Motives Behind Female Covert Narcissist Triangulation

Understanding why female covert narcissists engage in triangulation is essential to effectively navigate and address their behavior.

What Drives a Female Covert Narcissist to Use Triangulation?

  1. Control and Manipulation: At its core, triangulation is a tool for exerting control over others. Female covert narcissists use it to manipulate the emotions, perceptions, and actions of those around them. By introducing a third party, they can maintain a sense of power and superiority.
  2. Insecurity and Jealousy: Deep-seated insecurity and jealousy are common traits among covert narcissists. They may fear losing their grip on a relationship or being abandoned. Triangulation allows them to keep their victims emotionally invested and on edge, ensuring their continued attention and validation.

The Role of Control and Manipulation

Covert narcissists, including females, have an insatiable need for control. They often feel a deep sense of insecurity and emptiness within themselves. To fill this void, they seek to control the people and situations around them. Triangulation is a manipulative tactic that grants them a sense of power over the emotions and actions of others.

By triangulating, female covert narcissists create an emotional tug-of-war, ensuring that their victims remain in a constant state of confusion and emotional turmoil. This serves to reinforce the narcissist’s belief in their own superiority and importance.

How Covert Narcissist Women Benefit from This Behavior

Triangulation offers several benefits to female covert narcissists:

  1. Narcissistic Supply: The attention, sympathy, and emotional investment they receive from their victims serve as a steady source of narcissistic supply, feeding their fragile self-esteem.
  2. Maintaining a Web of Control: Triangulation allows them to keep their victims tethered to them emotionally. By creating drama and confusion, they ensure that their victims remain preoccupied with the narcissist’s needs and desires.
  3. Avoiding Accountability: Female covert narcissists can evade responsibility for their actions by portraying themselves as victims in need of protection. This victim role shields them from criticism and consequences. This is a classic ploy you will see in female covert narcissist triangulation.

Understanding these motives can help you grasp the underlying reasons for the manipulative behavior of female covert narcissists.

The Emotional Toll of Triangulation

Triangulation, a tactic frequently employed by female covert narcissists, can exact a heavy emotional toll on both the victims and the relationships entangled in this toxic web.

Impact On Mental Health

  1. Anxiety: Triangulation creates a constant state of anxiety for victims. They are unsure of where they stand in the relationship, constantly second-guessing themselves due to the emotional turmoil created by the narcissist’s manipulations.
  2. Low Self-Esteem: Victims often suffer from diminished self-esteem as a result of triangulation. The narcissist’s tactics make them feel inadequate and unworthy, leading to a perpetual cycle of seeking validation.
  3. Stress: The emotional rollercoaster induced by triangulation is incredibly stressful. Victims find themselves on edge, never knowing when the next manipulation or drama will occur.

Damage to Relationships

Triangulation not only affects the victim’s mental health but also erodes the foundations of various relationships:

Family Dynamics

In family settings, female covert narcissists may employ triangulation to pit siblings against each other or to turn children against a targeted parent. Such narcissistic family triangulation can lead to long-lasting rifts and emotional scars within the family unit. A covert narcissistic mother could also use triangulation in siblings to pit them against each other.


Narcissistic triangulation can spill over into friendships, causing mistrust and jealousy among friends. The narcissist may spread rumors or manipulate situations to create conflict, ultimately damaging these relationships.

Romantic Relationships

Triangulation in romantic relationships can be particularly devastating. The narcissist may use jealousy to keep their partner on edge, fostering an unhealthy atmosphere of competition and insecurity. Over time, this can lead to the deterioration of the relationship.

Navigating the emotional toll of triangulation is challenging, but it’s essential for victims to recognize the signs and seek strategies for dealing with this manipulative behavior.

How To Deal with Female Covert Narcissist Triangulation

Stopping narcissist triangulation of any kind is imperative before it causes irreversible damage. Dealing with female covert narcissist triangulation requires a combination of awareness, empathy, and assertiveness. Let’s delve into each strategy with examples to help you navigate this complex and emotionally draining situation:

#1. Recognize the Signs of Triangulation

Recognizing when triangulation is happening is the crucial first step in dealing with it. Keep an eye out for these subtle manipulation tactics:

Example: Imagine you have a friend named Lisa who constantly plays the victim, complaining about how her other friends mistreat her. She may mention how another friend, Sarah, is excluding her from gatherings. Lisa portrays herself as the innocent target. Recognizing this pattern, you begin to see the signs of triangulation.

#2. Maintain Emotional Distance

Protect your emotional well-being by maintaining a healthy emotional distance from the narcissist. Refrain from getting entangled in their drama or emotional rollercoaster. Remember that their emotions are not your responsibility.

Example: Let’s say you have a colleague who tends to create drama at work by involving coworkers in her conflicts. Instead of being drawn into her disputes, you choose to listen empathetically but maintain a professional distance. This helps you avoid getting emotionally entangled in her issues.

#3. Set Firm Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries with the narcissist. Let them know what behavior is unacceptable and the consequences for crossing those boundaries. Stick to your boundaries consistently.

Example: If you’re in a romantic relationship with someone who frequently involves others to make you jealous, set a boundary by telling him that you won’t tolerate such behavior. Let him know that if it continues, you’ll reconsider the relationship. By enforcing this boundary, you assert your self-worth.

#4. Limit Contact When Necessary

If the narcissist’s behavior becomes too toxic or emotionally draining, consider limiting or cutting off contact. Protecting your mental and emotional health should be your top priority.

Example: Suppose you have a family member, let’s call him Mark, who constantly pits family members against each other during gatherings. If Mark’s behavior becomes unbearable, you might choose to attend family events selectively or reduce your contact with him to preserve your peace of mind.

#5. Avoid Engaging in Drama

Do not engage in the drama or manipulation tactics. Stay calm and composed in your interactions with the narcissist. Respond with empathy and assertiveness rather than reacting emotionally.

Example: Let’s say you have a friend who habitually tries to involve you in her conflicts with other friends. Instead of taking sides or adding to the drama, you remain neutral and offer support without taking on her emotional burdens.

#6. Document Incidents

Keep a record of the narcissist’s manipulative actions and statements. Documentation can be valuable if you need to seek support or legal assistance in the future.

Example: If you’re dealing with a coworker who frequently blames you for his mistakes and tries to involve your supervisor, keep a record of his actions. Document emails, conversations, and incidents to provide evidence if needed.

#7. Practice Empathy and Understanding

While it may be challenging, try to understand the root causes of the narcissist’s behavior. Recognize that they are driven by insecurity and a need for validation, which can help you maintain empathy without being an enabler.

Example: Consider a friend who always seeks validation by exaggerating his accomplishments. Instead of dismissing him, you empathize with his need for affirmation and gently encourage him to focus on genuine self-worth.

#8. Empathize with Gender-Specific Pressures Experienced by Women

Acknowledge that female covert narcissists, like all individuals, may face unique societal pressures and expectations. Empathizing with these challenges can help you approach the situation with compassion.

Example: If you have a female friend who engages in triangulation due to societal pressures to maintain a perfect image, offer her support and understanding. Recognize the external pressures that may contribute to her behavior.

#9. Avoid Gender-Stereotyping

It’s important not to stereotype or generalize based on gender. Not all women exhibit covert narcissistic behavior, and not all covert narcissists are female. Focus on the individual’s behavior and traits rather than making assumptions.

Example: Suppose you encounter a male colleague who engages in triangulation in the workplace. Avoid assuming that only females use these tactics. Instead, address his behavior based on his actions and not his gender.

#10. Know When To Walk Away

In some cases, the best course of action is to disengage completely from the narcissist. Recognize that not all relationships can be salvaged, and your mental and emotional well-being should take precedence.

Example: If you’re in a friendship with someone who repeatedly uses triangulation to manipulate your emotions, you may decide to end the friendship to protect your mental health. Recognize that sometimes, walking away is the most empowering choice.

Dealing with female covert narcissist triangulation is undoubtedly challenging, but with these strategies and a compassionate approach, you can protect yourself and maintain your emotional resilience. In the next section, we’ll conclude our exploration of this topic.


In conclusion, dealing with female covert narcissist triangulation is an intricate and emotionally demanding journey. By understanding the underlying motives, recognizing the signs, and implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you empower yourself to navigate these complex relationships with resilience and compassion.

Remember that your emotional well-being is paramount, and setting boundaries is an act of self-care, not selfishness. While some relationships may be salvaged through empathy and understanding, it’s essential to recognize when walking away is the healthiest choice. In doing so, you honor your worth and create space for healthier, more supportive connections in your life.