Another deep wound suffered by people who have endured triangulation is that even though they are finally able to break free from the triangulating parent, they may find it difficult to build intimacy with their spouse. They fear being “trapped and used” all over again and don’t want to let down their guard. So single men and women, this is something to look out for. If your potential spouse can’t leave their parents, they can’t bond with you. And if they had to force their way out of triangulation, they may be too terrified to let you get too close.
What does this mean for those who are married and are actively raising kids?
- Your marriage is your first priority. When you allow your relationship to drift or dwindle, you set yourself and your kids up for an unhealthy parenting relationship. Work on your marriage first. Parenting comes second. That actually serves the cause of parenting rather than diminishing it.
- If your spouse isn’t fully engaged in your marriage, under no circumstances do you ask a son or daughter to become an emotional surrogate. Pour out your frustrations to a trusted friend or counselor, never to your kids.
- Kids are to be loved and launched, not used and abused. They are not given to us to make us feel proud, important or loved. That’s using.
- Get a life. That may sound a bit harsh, but if you’re seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33), and actively working on your marriage, you won’t have room in your heart for idols, especially not one fashioned out of your children. In this case, the best “defense” is a good “offense.”
- If you sense an unhealthy attachment with one of your kids, bring in a professional. Don’t make things worse by trying to blindly fix this with your child. Go to a competent counselor, alone, and let her or him lead the way to make amends and chart a new future. This is a serious issue. You couldn’t remove an infected appendix on your own, and you likely can’t demolish triangulation on your own, either.
NavPress sent me a complimentary copy of Jay’s book Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing, and I believe this book could be a game changer for how the church addresses what Jay calls repeated “unwanted sexual behavior.” He goes far beyond the typical “bounce your eyes and use accountability software” advice to get to the root of what’s going on in our souls.
This article originally appeared here.