Tina and I were introduced to one of Amber’s friends at their usual haunt, the Doghouse. Jessie was a heavy-set woman with native American or Hispanic features. She presented herself as a gifted psychic. She seemed very amiable and she and I were the only members of the party who weren’t drinking.
Early in the night, she said “You two are trying to conceive, aren’t you?”
Tina and I weren’t exactly “trying” to conceive a child, but we weren’t taking any pains not to and we’d been discussing the subject in depth. Tina believed she had fertility issues and after years of unprotected sex not producing a pregnancy, it seemed one of us must have. We had just recently been discussing seeing a fertility specialist, but not until after we were married. In the meanwhile, we were rolling the dice.
Tina acted impressed by her insight, but I didn’t really think she was buying into the notion that Jessie had any real powers of prognostication. Engaged couples will tend to discuss having kids!
At some point, Tina and Jessie disappeared out on to the patio for an extended conversation. After a while, I was craving some nicotine, so I wandered out onto the patio and lit a cigarette. I saw the two of them and approached, but was reproached by Tina. “We’re talking about you right now,” she said. “can you go back inside for a few minutes?”
I shrugged, snuffed my cigarette and went back into the bar where I tried to make conversation with Amber. It was a little awkward. She never warmed to me. After a bit, others in the gang were heading out to smoke so I joined them. I guess the private conversation was over and we all gathered together to chat.
Later in the night, Tina told me that Jessie’s authoritative psychic insight told her that I was not the one for Tina. “I told her she’s wrong,” Tina said, “that I feel connected to you in a way I’ve never felt before and that I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I showed her my ring and told her I was going to marry you.”
I smiled. That was really nice to hear.
“So she said, well, maybe he’d good for you right now, but he’s not the one.”
I was floored by the gall. That was exceptionally pompous and rude on Jessie’s part, especially with a couple she’d just met – if, in fact, that’s how the conversation went. My impression of Jessie plummeted. We weren’t going to be friends. Tina mirrored my reaction. “Yeah, I don’t think I like her,” she said.
I have my doubts that sober Jessie was so utterly tactless, though. This exchange had the hallmarks of triangulation.
Triangulation is a manipulative tactic employed by people with borderline or narcissistic personalities to belittle their victims. The goals of triangulation (it’s no accident) are to make the victim feel insecure and also to garner sympathy and turn the third party into a weapon against the victim.
Tina would often invoke her friends and family in an effort to make me feel insecure while portraying herself as my staunch defender. “My brother is worried about me,” she once told me, out of the blue. “He says I haven’t been myself since I got back together with you, but I told him how much I love you and he said ‘well, as long as you’re happy,’ and of course, I am.”
She told me how her dad was afraid I was going to hurt her and advised her to be careful with me.
On other occasions, she said, “Everyone says you’re not right for me, well, everyone but my Mom – she loves you. She’s your biggest defender. And me, of course.”
That night meeting Jessie at the Doghouse was probably another example of triangulation, but this time with a bizarre supernatural twist. It certainly wasn’t the strangest thing to happen in the course of the Adventures of Dan and Tina.