Fuel, Fight or Flight


When you engage with our kind, you can expect one of three responses from us. Whether you are a primary source, secondary source or tertiary source, the way you interact with us will generate one of three reactions from us. This is because those responses are designed, engineered and geared around providing for our needs or preserving our position. There are, as you will read, sub-divisions within those reactions, but there are three broad responses which are applicable to ever kind of involvement you have with our kind. Various factors influence which outcome it will be, but it will be one of these three.


The most common interaction between us, is one of fuel. If you greet me warmly with a smile and your tone is welcoming, you are providing me with positive fuel. A waitress smiles as she passes me my drink, that is positive fuel. If a colleague congratulates me on a success with a particular client then that is positive fuel. Applause from assembled colleagues provides yet more positive fuel. The way you speak, what you say, how you express yourself and what you do all amounts to fuel. Whether you are a remote stranger interacting with me through the internet, a proximate stranger in a bar who I have started talking to, a long-standing inner circle friend, a family member or my girlfriend. All of you are appliances and your positive interactions – praise, love, admiration, joy, happiness, congratulation, adoration, caring – are all forms of positive fuel. You readily provide them and we regularly act in various ways, some subtle and others not, that provoke you to give us this positive fuel.

There is also negative fuel. Thus if I insult a stranger and he tells me angrily to go boil my head, then that is negative fuel. I may just lap that up from him as I stroll down the road, edified by this dollop of fuel. I may criticise a colleague on his performance so he sulkily defends himself. More fuel. I may ignore a friend’s telephone calls so his repeated texts asking what is wrong gives me more fuel. I may call you names so you cry and thus I gain fuel. Whether it is hatred, jealousy, anger, pain, fear, envy, irritation, annoyance, misery and so forth, these are all negative emotions and thus negative fuel.

As you know from the Prime Aims, fuel is the most important aim that we wish to secure from you.

Most people can grasp why we would want positive fuel from our appliances. After all, who does not want to be loved and admired? Sure, some people may want it more than others, but everybody likes to be well thought of don’t they?

People struggle to understand why we want negative fuel. I have explained before that it is about creating a contrast and also because negative fuel is more powerful because people are more inclined to be pleasant and provide positive fuel (especially those who we target in the empathic group) and therefore it underlines our power when we can draw negative fuel from somebody. Of course, other than tertiary sources, we do not look to draw negative fuel straight away from a primary source or secondary source as if this is done before they are embedded then we will lose them. The positive has to come first.

Often one major revelation for our victims is that we want both positive and negative fuel. They understand why we would want to be admired, adored and loved, but why would we want to be insulted, have somebody angry with us, somebody attacking us in a petulant manner. We do because it is negative fuel BUT this leads to the second category concerning our reactions.


This is where there is a sub-division when we decide that we are going to fight.

Fight – Challenge

Where we decide to engage you and in effect ‘fight’ you this because you have challenged us. There are two crucial components behind this decision. Firstly fuel provision and secondly exerting control.

Let us take for example that you react angrily to the fact that we have walked in at midnight smelling of drink when we had promised to take you out. Your angry response is negative fuel and is the fuel provision. Although you may be calling us names and thus an ordinary bystander would regard this as criticism, it is not wounding criticism because the name calling and the savage words are wrapped up in fuel.

We might just accept this negative fuel, push past you and head for bed. More usually however we consider this to be a challenge.

You are giving us fuel which is what we want but we want more. We can readily tell there is more to be obtained and therefore we know that if we argue back,  unleash our manipulations and so forth we can provoke you to give us more fuel. This is an instinctive response on our part. This we are maximising the fuel provision.

Secondly, although we are not wounded because your critical comments are bound up in fuel, you are still challenging us and this cannot be allowed. We must have the upper hand, we must be in control and therefore we see this as an opportunity to not only gain more fuel from you but to exert control over you. Thus, we strike back.

Accordingly, if having read my work you wonder why on earth we respond in such a fashion that looks like our fury has been ignited, but you know it could not be because your comments are fuel, the reason we fight back and argue, lash out etc is because this is a way of gaining more fuel and also exerting control.

Fight – Fury

The other sub division of the fight category is where you have ignited our fury and we decide to unleash fury against you.

If you have wounded us through criticism (which is fuel free) this will usually (unless control can be exerted) cause the ignition of our churning fury. Your criticism might come from words but more usually it is from actions which wound us in some way. This wound has to be addressed and the usual way is for the ignition of fury.

Fury, when ignited is either heated (shouting, physical assaults, sexual violence, breaking things, name calling, issuing threats) or cold fury (sulking, silent treatments, cold shouldering, glaring).

In either instance the heated fury or cold fury is an instinctive fight response to what you have done, namely you have wounded us. This response is designed to draw fuel from you (which heals the wound) and also to exert control over you again by stopping your criticism of us and forcing you give us fuel instead.

Thus, it is similar to the sub division above but it is different because it is caused by wounding, rather than the instinctive knowledge that more fuel can be obtained and control exerted through a fight challenge.


The third category is one whereby we withdraw.

This is not a silent treatment (although this may follow). Instead it occurs in situations where we have been exposed to ourselves, to others or criticised so that we are wounded. We may well have had our fury ignited but it has failed to draw fuel and instead you keep wounding us. In such circumstances we have no choice but to dis-engage, withdraw and seek fuel elsewhere to heal the wound, thus avoiding your failure to give us fuel and your repeated wounding.

Accordingly, when you deal with us you either.

1 Give us fuel

2a. Give us fuel but we fight back to gain more fuel and exert control ; or

2b. Our fury is ignited and we fight back to gain fuel and exert control

3. We withdraw – flight.

By way of example, suppose a tertiary source bumps into us on the street and immediately apologises. That is fuel. We may accept the fuel and that is the end of the interaction.

We may decide that this person should be taught a lesson and we can get more fuel from them so we fight back and call them an arsehole for not looking where they are going. This annoys them because they apologised to us. They respond angrily and thus give us more fuel We keep arguing with them in order to provoke them.

If a person bumped into us and did not apologise, we would regard this as a criticism. This would wound us and therefore there is a risk of our fury igniting. If it does (subject to the control threshold of the relevant narcissist) then we lash out at them telling them they are  a sleep walking turd in order to cause them to give us fuel either by being upset at our tirade, or to apologise or for them to argue back at us because we have insulted them. We gain fuel and this is drawn until the wound heals.

By way of a further example, the IPPS tells us how wonderful we are. This is positive fuel which we accept.

If the IPPS accuses us of having an affair and if they do so in an upset manner, we gain fuel. We will most likely see this as a challenge – there is more fuel to be gained here AND they are telling us what we can and cannot do, so we need to assert control. We will insult them telling them that it is no wonder we speak to other women because the IPPS is frigid. This causes further upset, generates more fuel and also allows us to exert our control.

If the IPPS fails to give us our birthday present early enough on our birthday, we feel criticised. Our fury ignites and we lash out through cold fury or heated fury to gain fuel from the IPPS for the purposes of healing our wound and at the same time this also ensures we demonstrate who is in charge and thus we exert control.

Accordingly, in all your interactions with our kind be aware that what is happening is that you are either giving us fuel, there is a fight challenge or fight fury or we flee. Being aware of these responses provides you with understanding and also enables you to marshal your responses accordingly.




32 thoughts on “Fuel, Fight or Flight

  1. A Victor says:

    Having just read the Platinum Collection I am now confused about the Supernova Event. Does the fighting back here happen when one of those is going on? Can those be sustained for a very long time, over years maybe but with lulls? Or would each incident be a new one? I think this happened early in our marriage, we dated for 7 years and the dynamic was different during that time, once married I saw things differently, had different expectations etc. But there came a day, I remember it, when I said no more, it was damaging our children, and I did not fight with him again except to protect the children. We went on that way for over a decade and I became more and more squashed. Toward the end it shifted again though I still didn’t fight with him, I was just watching and when he showed the right signs, that he would not change, I was done. Not long after I told him if he was going to live that way (drugs) he should go, rather than take us through it again. Unbeknownst to me at that point, he’s already been setting it up, via a smear campaign, to leave, so he did. My question is really about the fighting/Supernova Event. Wondering what it looks like. Is it differentiated from a Cliff event by what triggers it, feeling at the end or seeing something is wrong and deciding it’s got to change?

  2. Raven says:

    Hello HG

    I’m new to your site, so haven’t gone through a whole lot of it at this point. But so far really appreciating the opportunity to peer into this unique window you open.
    I have watched some YouTube stuff on fuel and read some of the posts on it, as well as some of your earlier posts. And I’m curious about a couple things. I apologize in advance if this has been already addressed.
    Reading on fuel, it sounded an awful like codependency to me. And so I’m curious, how does your ego-self reconcile that awareness to needing others to basically get along in life? Or am I not fully understanding the narc’s psychology? Because to me it seems that someone with a grandiose self-image would pride themselves on not needing others. That others need him/her.

    Additionally, a similar curiosity came up for me reading one of your very early posts, and a surprisingly vulnerable one at that, on sleep. I would think that being aware of your insecurities around sustainability, having to face that the world you’ve built is so inherently flawed that a few hours of sleep could lead to its demise, would produce some sort of shame. No?
    So just curious how you reconcile coming into awareness of all of this. And is it enough of a motivator to provoke change? Because, as I said, it seems to me that the ego of a narc would view all of this as weakness/flaws and be repulsed by that.

    Warm regards

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Most narcissists do not consider themselves as needing other people (through fuel) because they do not know about their need for fuel. My awareness of such a need is such that I despise such a reliance on the very people that I look down on.

      1. MB says:

        HG – OUCH! “My awareness of such a need is such that I despise such a reliance on the very people that I look down on.”

        Honesty is the best policy, but sometimes it just fucking hurts.

  3. Tasch says:

    I think this piece of writing is brilliant, accurate and completely honest. Though you are a narcissist, you have explained exactly what I was never sure of. I can’t completely stop this person’s actions but the no contact is sending him into “obsession” phase. Damn those flying monkeys!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Tasch.

  4. Paula Sarno says:

    Hello , I exposed my ex N to his ex wife and never hear from him again . I was almost sure that it was the dynamic .
    My question to you is , in this particular way , anyway he will be back again , maybe in years ? Because you made so clear that is ” till death tear us apart ” .
    I don’ t want him back , that ‘ s why I am asking you .
    Thank you so much

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, dependent on the Hoover Trigger and the Hoover Execution Criteria. He was wounded by the exposure and is likely to stay away for some time until the effect fades.

  5. Me says:

    Thanks HG!
    Reading up on my mistakes. So to simply not engage at all.. NC and live my life is my prime goal!
    Your E-mail consultations are awesome!!!
    Good to have the hard cold facts on my behavior and what mistakes I made are the key to letting go!
    Also loved the “emotional infection” damn I have felt that since day one!!!! The energy surge and the inner angst I have never experienced until I meet him and supposedly we’re in love. I was under a N spell .. noting more than that!
    You are truly the best damn therapist I have ever had… (read spend loads of money 💰 but no result until now)

  6. AME says:

    What else can cause wounds?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Just criticism, but criticism manifests in many different ways.

      1. Jasmine says:

        Like what? Do you have an article or book on this subject?

    2. GreenTop says:

      With a mid ranger type that i bumped into, she hid from me and avoided me. Now, i would not have thought that would happen, as i thought a narc would come to get fuel.

      So, i guess in this case she was exposed to herself, to others or criticised so that she was wounded, by seeing me. This article is great!

      I was very happy-go-lucky (I didn’t even see her) – i wonder would that have been fuel or a criticism?

  7. GreenTop says:

    Hi HG,

    If one is to criticise a narc boss they have left by writing a report which exposes their behaviour to their seniors, would this cause fuel or wounding? (As writing this report would be bringing things up again?)

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Green Top, in all likelihood it would because the written word is (in general terms) less fuelling and I suspect if it is a report it is likely to adopt a matter of fact tone rather than emotive language thus there would be no fuel and the criticism it contains would wound the narc boss.

      1. GreenTop says:

        Oh brilliant!! I best get cracking on it then!! 🙂

  8. Unhand my identity bitches by your rapt attention, be it positive or negative. Right now. Do it! My facade is crackin’ over here….times a wastin’ step it up! Don’t make me beat it out of you…oh I will. Wait….come back…..you get me!

  9. sarabella says:

    Funny. I told him once, when he was still in pursuit/fuel mode, that he activated my “fight or flight response”. Funny that that response is actually the one that rules his life.

    We stayed perpetually in #3 at the end. His lies were apparent, his love bombing failed, he exposed himself as the fraud, he could not get any fuel from me in a positive way, all he got was negative, I was deeply wounding to him as I found back so he just kept fleeing.

    #4. Game over.

  10. AME says:


    Is there an easy way to be able to access if it’s a discard; silent treatment or fleeing action?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      See the article re Silent Treatment or Discard.

  11. Brian says:

    You’re giving away all the secrets man!
    Do you ever get angry messages from narcs?
    I have seen some in the comments section but they just seem to be saying ‘yeah i’m like that’.

    So, emotionless criticism causes ignition, then some more E.C. makes it unbearable so they have to flee?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Not all of them. Not yet.
      Never because the vast majority do not know what they are so they will not feel compelled to state such a comment and if they did, it would be fuel and a “so what?” from me.

      EC wounds which causes the ignition of fury which aims to draw fuel. If this fails and the wounding continues, withdrawal will be required. Read the book Fury, it is all in there.

      1. Brian says:

        yes I would like to read your books when I am able 🙂

  12. This is completely spot on. Each time I read your blogs I think to myself that the behavior is predictable. The question is, if all narcissists are this predictable then why don’t I “get” it and not let myself be manipulated by it? I keep letting myself get sucked in by different narcissists. It is a complete mind fuck every time.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      A very astute observation.

  13. Iridessa says:

    Excellent once again. Experienced them all.
    Just one remark HG. The fact that your kind exits and flees contradicts the control/power you think you have. A brave and powerful person wouldn’t avoid confrontation. Your kind just exposed to us that they’re cowards. Does your kind realize that this is the general conclusion ? All that hard work just to be called a coward in the end. Of doesn’t really add up. Or does your kind fail to see this?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is not confrontation, it is the wounding that is being fled. Most times there is no need to flee because we are able to draw fuel from you so readily. I never have to flee because I always secure the fuel on the occasions when I am wounded. It is not cowardice, it is a necessary move to ensure survival.

      1. Iridessa says:

        I call semantics!!! But that’s the pov from the other side.
        Us empaths never mean to wound, that would kill us. I cried at the thought of him being hurt unintentionally, just to now learn that everything wounds him. So we both lose I guess.

        I do wonder if your kind ever sees how much you have hurt a person and knows they have gone too far. Nex stood against the wall with this look and asked me to please give up on him. After begging me for a year not to. It makes me wonder…

      2. Jasmine says:

        Never? What makes the greater so different? What sets you apart? Money? Access? Confidence? Awareness?

  14. K-T says:

    If the one of your kind is a mid-range police officer, how does he separate his normal tendency to flee from negative fuel. So at work he would be constantly called names, mistreated, etc. but in his personal life he would choose to flee the scene and impose absent silent treatment. Explain this. This police officer can not stand any negative fuel on a personal level / in any relationship but has self control at work I think.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      At work the name-calling will be done in a way which is giving him fuel, so an abusive member of the public shouting “Oi pig!” with a twisted face gives fuel.
      In his personal life he is using the silent treatment to draw more fuel from you, that is a standard response of a mid-ranger and is actually part of his challenge response.
      Thus, if you are giving negative fuel a Mid Range may stay and argue, he may roll out a Pity Play or he may respond with a Silent Treatment – all of those things are done to draw more fuel from you.
      If you wound and do not give fuel, he i likely to withdraw and the imposition of the silent treatment follows thereafter.
      The distinction is as to whether fuel is being provided or whether there is wounding.

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