Why Do We Cancel Arrangements?




Why are we notorious for cancelling arrangements? You may have been looking forward all week to going out for dinner with us, or we sent a text message suggesting meeting up that evening for a drink only for a message to arrive an hour before hand explaining we cannot make it. I am not referring to those instances where we do not just turn up, but why is it that we make plans with you, be it a month in advance or just hours and we do so with enthusiasm and guarantees of being there, only to then cancel those arrangements?

          There is a central factor behind this behaviour. It is control. As you know, control is of huge importance to us. We once lacked control as the world turned against us and we must never allow that to happen. By exerting control, we gain the validation we need, the fuel we require and we ensure that we are not ambushed, belittled and made to feel weak. By controlling our environment we reinforce that we are a supreme master of our destiny and of the destiny of others and through this control we are able to be that which we want the world to see. Control equals safety.

          Accordingly, we need to control people and especially those which are our appliances in the provision of fuel and other benefits. We derive several benefits from exerting this control over you by dictating how and when we shall meet with you and especially by then withdrawing the meeting.

1.      We can determine how you will react to us taking this step – is it annoyance, irritation, upset, begging to meet up, re-arranging immediately or indifference;

2.      We can gauge from your reaction just how much control we are exerting over you;

3.      We can evaluate the extent of the fuel provision.

As you will have become aware, we operate through the continued and repeated application of contrast. Build you up and knock you down. Idealise and then devalue. Lift up and throw down. Our behaviour when it comes to making arrangements to do something together is no different. We give you the elation of something to look forward to and then we snatch it away and observe the outcome.

          Our sense of entitlement means that we can treat you in this manner. You are not important. Our needs and our time matter far more. Thus, in accordance with our inflated sense of self we will deem it our right to demand to see you with just two hours’ notice and then cancel with barely five minutes’ warning. We of course do not care about how this makes you feel (but we are invested as to how this manifests because it is fuel) nor do we have any concern for whether you have been inconvenienced, put to expense, made to arrange child care, alter other arrangements, travel and so on. It is expected that you will do these things for us.

          By behaving in this manner we reinforce our sense of superiority. Our idea of being god-like able to do as we please on a whim and everything else has to accommodate us and fall into place behind us.

          This propensity to cancel is also indicative of how we perceive time in a different manner to other people. We are notoriously unpunctual, save when it is of crucial importance to us. This is because we do not value anybody’s time but our own, but it is also because we are so focused on what we are doing at that precise moment that pending plans, no matter how imminent will be held at bay, put to one side and ignored as we revel in what is happening in that instant. How many times have you had to stand waiting for your narcissist to turn up (assuming he or she has not cancelled) ? How many times have you been left waiting at a bar, at a bus stop, at your house as you wonder where on earth we have go to? This is because we have been too focused on the activity we have been engaged in, namely drawing fuel and therefore your appointment with us can wait and is forgotten about until something causes a reminder.

          Thus, we may well have made what has seemed like cast iron plans with you for dinner this evening and a reservation has been made along with arrangements about where to meet. You have checked twice that we are still ‘on for this evening’ and then despite this we ring and cancel. We have been distracted by something else and because we are gaining fuel from that something else we want to continue doing that but we will not pass up this opportunity to let you down, exert control over you and gain further fuel.

          What we are doing matters, what you have planned does not concern us. Often arrangements will be cancelled because of the new moment we find ourselves in our because we have a better offer. We have no need to exhibit manners or show loyalty, but whatever serves us best will be done and if this means telling you we cannot make it, then so be it.

          How does this cancelling of arrangements manifest in the various dynamics?


1.      If you are a non-intimate secondary source who is a colleague or family member then we cancel not because we intend to devalue you, but rather because of the existing connection between us (work/familial) it is a given that we can cancel and you should accept it. If you complain, we gain fuel, if you do not but are content to re-arrange this underlines that you are subservient to us and it is as is expected. Since you are a secondary source which is in a near permanent golden period, remember we can pick you up and put you down as we please and cancelling an arrangement is just a manifestation of this dynamic rather than being a specific form of devaluation.

2.      If you are a non-intimate secondary source who is a friend, again there is an expectation that you will just accept this because you are loyal and functioning. We expect some fuel – positive or negative – and for you to want to re-arrange. This again demonstrates to us that you remain well under our control and is more pick you up and put you down behaviour rather than devaluation.

3.      If it is the initial seduction of somebody who we intend to make our primary source, whether you are a Non Intimate Secondary Source or you have advanced to an Intimate Partner Secondary Source then cancelling an arrangement is not done to devalue. It is done as a test. We are hoping for disappointment and a willingness to rearrange. If you fly off the handle with us, whilst we gain fuel, we will consider you as less desirable to be a primary source. If you are indifferent, this is the worst outcome and we are unlikely to continue our seduction of you, since you have become uninterested far too soon. This test will not be used frequently with you however as we have no desire to ruin the seduction and put you off.

4.      If you have been drawn to us and we have embedded you in a golden period as either the IPSS (who may become the IPPS) or as the IPPS then it is highly unlikely that we will cancel arrangements. You are now the apple of our eye and providing delicious positive fuel so we have no desire to interrupt that, let you down or spoil the illusion of us as being attentive, delightful and wonderful. If it does happen, then it may just be a genuine inability to be able to keep to the arrangement.

5.      If you are the IPPS and we keep cancelling arrangements then you are squarely within the devaluation period. This is being done purely to draw negative fuel from you, to upset you, hurt you and anger you. It is also the case that we are more than likely cancelling so we can spend time with the prospective primary source we are cultivating and we are using this as a chance to draw negative fuel from you and continue our manipulative mind games, especially when we tell you we cannot make it because we have to work late and you then later see a post on social media showing us in a bar with somebody else.

6.      If you are a NISS or IPSS devaluation is rare but if you find that we are cancelling repeatedly on you, this is not a test but you should be aware that you are being devalued and that the relationship is swiftly heading towards discard.

26 thoughts on “Why Do We Cancel Arrangements?

  1. Secretariate89 says:

    This article was EYE opening. I have been off and on with mine for 10 years. He disappears when I need him – medical, important events, assisting me with projects at my home. We arent officially dating but we may as well be. Best friends with bene’s. Anyways he drove me to the point of madness in 2016. I got very sick and texted him from hospital and he ignored it. Played it all off…I lost my license for 6 months and he never knew that his mind games contributed to that. He still will text me, hoover, and act like he wants to meet up. He says he will drive 2 hours to see me but doe sit happen? No. I have given him the world and more. He has it VERY good with me but yet he doesnt choose me. He chooses to have me in his back pocket for the wrong reasons. He wont commit to seeing me and he is never around when I need him but I always manage to be there with a shoulder when he is upset. Makes no sense but he doesnt care. NOT at all. Hes good at faking how “REAL” he is with everyone around him but I know how he is. I doubt he knows that I know. The most recent texts were about him getting away for a couple of days and relaxing with me. I texted to confirm that we were on – no answer. Oh well. I will take that as a NO. Time to move on. 🙁

  2. Tina says:

    How come some people have been in relationships for years with this kind of behaviours?

    1. Laura says:

      I am wondering the same thing. My ex mid is married for over 2o+ yrs…

  3. Iridessa says:

    Can you tell me what it means if he discarded you, is in a new relationship 2 days later. Post all the pics you made of him or sent to him or he to you, tagging her in those and using smileys and LOL’s?
    Would this classify as a boomerang narcissist?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is triangulation and a Relationship Bulletin.

      1. Iridessa says:

        Yes I get that. But would this considered a boomerang narcissist? I am not strong enough for a hoover

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I don’t know what you mean by a boomerang narcissist. Do you mean will he hoover you? He has a new primary source so if you stay out of his spheres of influence you will not be hoovered. If you approach him you are likely to receive a malign hoover to make you go away whilst he focusses on his new primary source.

      2. Love says:

        Funny. Back before I knew the name for it, I would call it boomerang too.

  4. Snow White says:

    I agree with Clarece!
    The silent treatments with the cancellations also drove me crazy.
    I’m not doing these for anyone again.

    This article made me look at the relationship from the beginning and the first time my ex did this. It was a test.

    She was already controlling me by taking me to a haunted house because I never ever went because I didn’t like them. It was planned a month in advance and she talked this up big time. A couple days before she started saying
    “Go without me”
    “You don’t need me to go”
    “‘My head is messed up”
    I responded with all the usuals
    PASSED with flying colors.
    That was a few months into the friendship and there were many more times that had the same script.

    My family pointed these out as her being crazy but I didn’t listen. Last minute plans were also made and I rearranged everything to accommodate her. She called and I jumped.

  5. Matilda says:

    Everything your kind does is about control, and entitlement. Control equals safety for you. In the eyes of the awakened among us, control equals insecurity.

    I never asked much of him, but there was one occasion which meant the world to me, I needed him to be there. He knew how much it meant to me. I had made arrangements, looking forward to it, he had said ‘maybe’. When the time came, he told me in a matter-of-fact kind of way, ‘I did not say yes, I said maybe. I am not going’.

    My world finally collapsed, and I fell into the abyss. It is a peaceful place to be, but you know you cannot stay. Life goes on, that’s when the rage takes over, and tables are turned. It is *in our hands* to end the hurt, we shall never forget this!

    These days, when someone replies with a ‘maybe’, and I know it is not genuine, but just a means to try to exert dominance: I code it as ‘no’, and delete the person from my life. No one controls me.

  6. Love says:

    Interesting. Thank you. Do you think narcs that use the cancellation method are often younger and the target is mainly not the primary source?
    I did not experience this with my older narcs.

  7. Brandie says:

    Reblogged this on Speak Out 4 Others and commented:
    Ahhh, yes. How did I forget about how he did this to the point I stopped wanting to make plans. #DontMakePlans

  8. Smoke says:

    Mine would almost never make concrete plans as he may have been needed at “work”. He also would never tell anyone where he was during the work day or where he planned to be. Not even his boss. No one was going to control him.

  9. chandrarowe says:

    Yep, cancelled on me twice. Last time he blocked me right after texting he wasnt coming. 2 days before I was the love of his life and that I always will be. He just needed time. So on Sunday the discard, on Wednesday new relationship. But nope he isnt a narc, I was.
    And to add insult to injury, he knew I still had presents for him and his kids, they know too. And now here I am 3 weeks later with personalized presents, a smear campaign and he just drives off into the sunset.
    The hoovering should be good. Can’t wait for that one

  10. MLA - Clarece says:

    This is golden. This frames my dynamic with JN for over 2 years with the final blow being stood up for a getaway during the 4th of July holiday in 2015. I had to eat the non-refundable hotel. I then drove to his house to talk to him about why he would ditch at the last minute and he would not come out of his house to talk to me. He promised he would come to me in 2 days back in my hometown. So then in 24 more hours, he did a no-show after texting along the whole day as if he was preparing to leave and drive down. Then I get an apology a day later, saying “Sorry about last night. I lost my phone and just got a new one re-programmed. I could not receive calls or texts after 6:00 p.m. Hope you had a great night!”
    This craziness drove me to the brink of madness.
    He constantly did this. Make plans, then drop off and pull a no show. When he felt I was pulling away for good then I would get intermittent reinforcement… a respite…always memorable enough to get my hopes back up.
    This in conjunction with the silent treatments will make me go batsh*t berserk. God help the next person who ever tries to pull this with me because I have zero tolerance.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I think the world is forewarned Clarece!

      1. MLA - Clarece says:

        Ha! You’re included in that bubble of the world.

  11. Christine says:

    This I know well always can’t make definite plans because Of the job and if he does well it can change in a week .. but if you do it to them it’s a different matter . Yes control is the key for them question which is the best way to react when this happens? I don’t react now just pass it off and have no expectations!

  12. Aah yes. I hated this. Daddy Warbucks Narc would tell me to meet him at yacht club. Going on the boat! Drive hour to said club. Get there. No boat. Call and call and call. F him. Go into club eat lunch, have drinks and use his number to sign off. Yes, I peeked. Later on….get the wtf phone call, why did you charge s@#% to my account? Uh, you weren’t there so didn’t want to drive an hour for nothing. Flips out. This happens 2 more times that summer. All my friends got free drinks, and massages and hung out by the pool. Did I tell you about the time on my birthday when we went out to dinner, he bought me a sapphire and diamond ring, took me to his parents house as they were in Florida, left me there for 2 hours waiting , he had an errand, and came back to tell me that his ex wife moved in and that’s why we were at his parents house so we could have sex. Uh? Back up…ex wife moved back in? I became sex Nazi. NO SEX FOR YOU! OK, I caved in a week later. After I fronted ex wife and slapped his face and walked out. He came after me begging. Surely he really did love me? Madness.

    1. Love says:

      Yachts! Massages! Sapphire and diamond ring! Sex natzi – no sex fo yooo! Sapphire and diamonds. Omg! You had me on an emotional rollercoaster with your post ABB. Excuse me while I light my imaginary cigarette. Yes that was good.

      1. Love,
        Plenty more with that one. We were together the longest 2 years. Went to dinner one time at a well known members only club. Finished with my dinner, I turned the fork over and with the knife put across my plate. I grabbed the bread plate and stacked it on top. He grabbed my wrist and said, “Don’t ever do that again. (With the full stare.) They pay people to do that.” We of course had fun that night. Or the time I said hello to the help at his sisters on Thanksgiving. Stare and wrist grab was a go to. Good times on the crazy train.

      2. Love says:

        Lol saying hello to the help?!? As if they’re people too 😁

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Tertiary appliances.

    2. Ollie says:

      What happened to the ring? Lol…

      1. Ollie,
        Kept it of course!

  13. Insatiable Learner says:

    Dear HG, thank you for another insightful article! What about failure to follow through? For example, a narc would suggest doing something in the future but no specific plans are ever made. Alternatively, a narc would promise to do something or say he would do something and then it never happens. I guess it’s like future faking?

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