triangles bowen theory

Feeling rejected? Look for the triangles.

This week I’ve been thinking about how our position in relationships can affect our ability to think clearly.

triangle is a three-person relationship system. At any given moment in a triangle, two people are on the inside, and one person is on the outside. When things are tense between two people, you want to be on the outside position, away from the drama. But when things are calm and content between two people, it’s hard to be on the outside looking in.

You might be in the outside position of a triangle if:

  • Your partner is hanging out with a friend.
  • Your boss is praising a coworker.
  • Your kid wants the other parent to help them.
  • Your friends are hanging out without you.  
  • Your in-laws are visiting.
  • Your siblings disagree with you.
  • One of your parents has started dating again.  
  • Your adult children want to get together without you.
  • Your friends are laughing about an inside joke.
  • One parent seems closer to another sibling.

When you are in the outside position of a triangle, it is easier to feel abandoned, unheard, or not supported enough. It’s easy to lash out, accuse others of being unfair, or try to pull one person to your corner.

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