Curiously, I’m involved in two very different relationship triangles. The first is a challenging learning experience. The second is life-giving.
Years ago I learned about relationship triangles via family systems theory. Since then, I have striven to maintain strong one-to-one relationships as well as to avoid participating in unhealthy third person situations.
The challenging triangle happened on this blog in the comment section. To summarize, I re-blogged a post and one of my followers took issue with it’s author. This led to my first ever comment skirmish, which I perceive as a good sign that my blog is maturing. In retrospect, let’s see if I handled it according to this article which sums up my experience with how best to solve problems within a triangle:
1. Don’t talk negatively about a third person in the triangle.
2. If you are going to vent or complain about someone, do it to an unrelated third party.
3. Don’t pass information between people.
4. If you are on the outside edge of a triangle, focus on improving individual relationships.
Phew, I did all of the above. Yet, while I’m thick-skinned, this stuff leaves me feeling knocked around. I wonder, should I give the benefit of the doubt to someone new at my blog? Should I defend a returning member’s point? Should I choose a side or mediate? Should I ignore the situation or stay out of it?
With people I know well, I support both, telling each that I trust they can work things out. In more distant relationships, I look for personality clashes and tend to see the good in each person. But sometimes, conflict isn’t about personality, it’s about right and wrong.
As an inexperienced blogger, I’m not quick on my feet about these matters. Yet. But I do want a plan now because according to experienced blogger, Don Charisma, these encounters happen often. Fortunately, I do know what kind of environment I want at my blog:
My turf (social media and IRL) is a safe place to engage in meaningful content and discussion while also practicing respect and kindness.
When I visit your blog, I will never treat anyone there disrespectfully. Never. For now, if I find myself in a similar comment triangle on my turf I’ll link to this post which explains my newbie dilemma. And I’ll quickly get back to writing about family life.
Which gets me back to my daughter, son-in-law, and me as we wait for their baby to be born. We’re so happy. And as soon as baby is born, the couple will become a family of three, a most beautiful and pure example of the power and joy of a life-giving relationship triangle.
Do family relationship triangles challenge you? How do you stay healthy when drawn into an unhealthy triangle? How do you help all family members to have healthy one-to-one relationships?
Have a terrific day and thank you for your many well-wishes for my daughter’s safe delivery of her sweet baby ❤ ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc
30 thoughts on “Solving #relationship triangles. #family #purpose”
I personally thought it was a rather tame “conflict” and all in all you didn’t lose anything since that was the only post they had commented on anyways on your website. For me it is a bit harder, especially on my website. I try to ignore comments on other people’s blogs and do 99% of the time. The 1% I don’t is when it is on my reblog, which was the case here. Then it becomes a little tricky because I see the comments since I actually visit each reblog (or try to) and link to it. I do that as a courtesy and a return back favor for the reblog.
Anways, I agree with your article and Don and I have talked on this topic a lot privately. It is something us powerbloggers get and we learn to shrug it off. But… sometimes it still bothers us. We are human after all and I consider myself a “blogger” just like everyone else. Thanks again for the mention as always.
Thank you for commenting, Jason. And I agree, this was a tame conflict, likely only striking to me because it was the first at my blog!
What I can say objectively is that you have been only a friend to me. You have generously shared your time, talent, space, and experience with me. Same with Don.
My favorite part of conflict, however small, is that it affords the people involved to get to know each other better. You continue to earn my trust, and I hope I am showing myself to be trustworthy, through my actions. For me, blogging is tricky because my words *are* my most prominent action. My home cooking would be more persuasive, I think 🙂
My best to you too, Jason. Thanks for giving me feedback that I’m on the right track. And any mention I give to you is gladly and freely given. You’re always welcome ❤
Mmmm we may need to have a “cook off.” I am a pretty good cook myself. [sniffs] 😉
You are! So let the cook off begin 🙂 YUM!
Good post hun … “My turf (social media and IRL) is a safe place to engage in meaningful content and discussion while also practicing kindness. ” … like that ethos 🙂 Cheers Don
Thanks for the meaningful content, discussion, and kindness, Don 🙂 And for the feedback. Cheers ❤
You’re very welcome Angie, I’ve always found you to be a positive force around me … I’ve had a similar experience with several OM critics … one is now banned from my blog, and another I gave a stern warning to, but we’ve continued to be friends … I’m not a relationship counsellor, nor do I want to offer support in a situation I don’t know all the facts from both sides … so I tend to stay out, with the caveat I look out for my friends and OM has always treated me with the utmost of care, so I will not support his critics … generally I’m anti them, having suffered some of the same BS he has …
I hope you continue to remain relatively a-hole free on your blog, WordPress in the bigger picture is a pretty nice place to be and so many lovely people around …
But didn’t someone say fore-warned is fore-armed ?
You are right, Don. At some point, a line gets crossed, the truth must be told, and a friend must be supported. As Aristotle is quoted to have said, “A friend to all is a friend to none” so it is never my intention to use kindness, or charisma :), as a way to avoid tough situations or decisions. Thanks again for the fore-warning and for sharing how you have chosen to handle such situations. And thanks for the feedback that you feel my positive vibe 🙂 Double cheers!
I right off think, hey come on you can’t please all the people all the time. Just think of the number of people in the world and how impossible it is to reach 100% satisfaction! It is the most caring and beautiful of all who quickly look inward to be sure they haven’t mistakenly done anything wrong. I think of the old advertising motto that I have learned to love and that is, “All publicity is good publicity!” Now that is not absolutely true but in this case it is! My Mother used to say, “There was only one perfect person and he was drug through the streets and crucified on the edge of town!”
I think it really comes down to being okay with yourself and pleasing yourself and then the reality that you have done the best that you can do and with that be proud. Love you blog bunches… Thanks again and the clock keeps ticking….. claudy
Claudy, you are a sensitive soul! And you are right 🙂 I have no desire to please all the people all the time. Ha, I can’t even please my family all the time, lol. Being at the beginning of my blogging learning curve, I do feel it is important to look at my actions to see if they match my blog goals. And I’m learning a lot quickly thanks to the generosity of kind people like you. And your mother is right, of course! Perfection is not for me on this earth. I’m just here to love to the best of my ability ❤
And thanks for counting down to the big moment with me 🙂 My best to you & yours ❤
Family life is challenging , always, I am not sure I am able to solve the problems appearing ( triangle or rectangle 🙂 ) but I do my best .
I think it is important to keep talking with good arguments , this is what I have learned.
Excellent point, Evi. With loved ones, it is tempting to shy away from saying important truths in order to avoid confrontation. Those of us who are inclined to say hard things risk emotional backlash. None the less, it is critical to “keep talking with good arguments.” No wonder we get along 😉
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Arguments are very important , one has to know for he stands for and why. Personally I have treated my children always like adults concerning conversations, they have to know how to defend themselves and why.
Up to now I think they are doing well, if one looks around what’s going on in society. Hopefully they have developed strong roots, to withstand the tide!
Exactly. We need to articulate our values to our children in a way that makes sense to them at different stages of their lives and in a way that they can articulate to others. As a parent, I like the challenge of making persuasive arguments as well as listening to why others disagree, including my children. It keeps me humble and honest 🙂 I’ll think on this more and hope to turn the topic into a post here. Thanks always, Evi!
Waiting for the post!
Look it is normal and human that we can’t agree to everything, otherwise our life would be very boring. It is important to keep the wheels turning!
Hi there Angie, I hope you are doing well..
Triangle relationships may apply to different scopes, right?… When I Came across the headline It truly caught my attention as I would have expected to see triangles related with loving relationships, and particularly un “menage a trois” … Thanks for providing us such an original approach on relationships …
Best wishes, Aquileana 🙂
Aquileana! I’m chuckling to myself because your interpretation of this title didn’t cross my mind, lol. I was hyper-focused on applying what I know about family systems theory to blogging, but your point is well made. I will pay closer attention to my titles as not to mislead 🙂 And I’m truly glad that you find my approach original.
All is well here, thank you, as I hope all is well with you ❤
Thanks for being for real, Angie! I really liked this post, a lot of food for thought!
Thank you, Diana, for describing me as “real” as compared with “full of failings” or “why hasn’t she figured this stuff out already?” LOL! And I love being “real” with you, friend. Really, thank *you*.
Triangles are never easy – sometimes I think they cause the most pain. I am one of five children, but my parents favour another sister. Talking doesn’t even work, because they don’t see it and if questioned say it’s jealousy. which it isn’t..it’s just an insidious creep of decay…now who thought that would come out from reading this post? I didn’t..but I understand where you stand xxx
Oh Kate, you bring up a very important point, one that deserves it’s own post (thank you for the inspiration.) You are right. One of the most challenging positions to be in (or should we say out of) is the one standing on the outside of an unhealthy triangle, looking in.
I feel strongly that it is a parent’s responsibility to not allow such triangles to happen among their children. My husband and I come from an era and a hometown where favoritism among siblings was very common. One sibling was labeled “the good kid”, another was labeled “the trouble-maker”, another was “the handsome one” or “the smart one,” etc. My husband and I really wanted to not hand this mindset down to our children. The truth is, all children are good, trouble, handsome, smart, etc. Each child has something special to give to the extended family.
You are right again in that talking doesn’t usually work in the case you describe. What can help, but only if there is some type of reciprocity, is focusing on the one-to-one relationships while letting go of the triangle and wishing them well.
As for you, Kate, I’ve never seen a trace of jealousy on your blog. In fact, I see the opposite! You are incredibly generous, you applaud the efforts of others, and you engage with others at a very high and mature level. You are a very intense, creative, and truthful person and the world needs more of these traits. So stay brave, Kate! And know that I’m rooting for you and all those you love ❤
Thank you Angie xxxxx. I’m sure it was the fuel to my drive to become a mother, knowing it could be – should be – different. I recognise it’s very hard to change the foundations you’re brought up with, which is why I try to be very open to learning through others…one day I’ll write a book about it..I suspect it would have to be anonymous!! Sending love xxx
Bravo, Kate! Like you, the key for me is to stay open to learning. Family life is so creative, so much to learn. And I’ll definitely buy your book 🙂 Happy weekend ❤
So thoughtful, Angie.
Comments can be so hard to finagle sometimes. I’ve had lots of what I call “drive by hate” on a post on my old blog, and I was once “attacked” on a political blog because I expressed my personal dislike of a popular band. The guy said he wished he knew were I lived so he could call CPS and have my kids taken away. Over a band! That’s been disbanded for decades! He was one of those commentors that I always refused to engage with because he seemed a bit high strung. It was after that, that my blog friend banned him from commenting anymore.
I’ve always viewed it as a blog is akin to visiting someone’s house during a get-together. The same manners should apply as they would IRL. Free speech rules don’t apply as we think of them, because you are a guest, and ought to behave yourself and not be rude. There is ALWAYS a way to express your thoughts and opinions without being hateful. And if you can’t refrain from being rude, then you absolutely can refrain from commenting at all. Which is surely why I don’t comment on most of the political blogs I follow. 😉
You have done well to go so long before your first comment hash. 🙂
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Exactly. Just exactly! And LOL that’s why I don’t comment all that often either. Sheesh 😉
We need the blog version of those balancing sticks the tightrope walkers use, lol.
I am always the go-between. Always. I do think it’s the only time I have diplomacy.
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It really is very king of you. Now you have me thinking. Much of the work I was doing at the time of my early married life, demanded diplomacy. Maybe was just couldn’t take it anymore 😀
Oh no, I get it.
I don’t write publicly about it, but I have been in so many of those situations. You can only have so much grace. Much of mine was spent dealing with the biological mother of the children I was raising. *polishes halo*
They are grown now.
It was worth it.
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Happy for you! I love a happy ending ❤
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