Definition – An emotional triangle is any three persons
or two persons and a part of a system with a ‘problem’
FIRST LAW OF TRIANGLES: YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE
It is not possible from the position of A to change the relationship of B and C.
SECOND LAW OF TRIANGLES: PROTOPLASM IS PERVERSE
Continued efforts to change the relationship of B and C from the position of A will be converted by homeostatic forces to their opposite intent (pushing them apart will make them ‘fall in love’, and trying to push them together will create polarized opposition).
Start From Here Change in B and C can only come from changing one’s own relationship with either or both, individually.
If from the position of A you become responsible for the relationship of B and C, then you will wind up with the stress for their relationship, if not for the whole system. By “helping” (a synanom for controlling) B and C will not feel it. It may be that they need to feel the anxiety to get unstuck.
Bowen Theory – Notes from lecture by Rabbi Edwin Friedman