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.

18 thoughts on “Why Do We Cancel Arrangements?

  1. cb says:

    “If you are indifferent, this is the worst outcome and we are unlikely to continue our seduction of you,”

    Yeah, guess I won’t meet this guy, or hear from him again.
    I answered his flake & his suggestion to rearrange, with

    “Hi. You’re right about the rainy weather forecast tomorrow (Sat) for Copenhagen.
    But I’ve got some arrangements Mond/Wedn. Could maybe check next weekend.”

  2. jenna says:

    Mine did this often. When i finally told him how much it hurts me, he stopped making plans in advance altogether. He thought that would hurt me less. Ugh!

  3. good tracking in a difficult situation. Sometimes the camouflage is so good not even an experienced analyst can suss the moves out at the right time.

  4. M. says:

    Whenever he started coming late to dates- not extremely late,15 minutes or so- I knew I was put to test, because sometimes he was extremely punctual, some other times no. Of course, if I was a bit late he became really nervous, it was unacceptable. Making plans and counceling? Often. But it was also part of the future faking thing. During the hoovering process, he suggested a nice trip for us-it would be our first one and he wanted “to create a memory”. He was talking and pressuring me about it for 3 months. I did not feel comfortable to go, for many many reasons, but I decided to test him, to see if he meant it. Ok, I will come, I casually told him. Two days later, he caused a small internet fight (he tried to press me about something, knowing I would be annoyed) and after that, although it was resolved, he completely disappeared. I am sure he went to the trip with another woman (he must have proposed the same extravaganza to at least 3 or 4)-not his new wife, though, that I know for sure. Anyway, he failed the test. I am really satisfied that I did not fall into the trap of believing him. But, to be honest, I felt a bit sad about it. Not about the trip, about him still trying to fool me, after all these years. I know it goes with the territory, but still, it saddens me.I wish I could find a reason for my loosing so much time for a piece of garbage like him. I wish I could justify all the pain I went through. But it is not possible.

  5. wompus says:

    My midranger, if he actually showed up, would always be late. Often by several hours. But when he was going to leave, he’d pick a time to leave, announce it & then always left at that time, on the dot. That was when I first started to realize how manipulative he was. I never asked him about it or even acted like I noticed because instinctively I knew he wanted me to. Always the mind games.

  6. Laura says:

    Fortunatelly it did not happen too often. He wanted sex more…

  7. Me says:

    Last time he cancelled “postponed it” I wrote back and said thank you but no thank you. That was one month today… I’ve cancelled him for eternity and today I’ve had the best day ever. NC is the only way…. had to take care of the last thing and now… He can cancel on others since I’m moving on… for real this time. Thanks HG! Tips are working and the last bit with wounding him helped so much. But we’ll have to have a follow up talk soon…. just to keep me sane.

  8. Onemoretime says:

    Into the second month a close friend of mine told me to dump the greater because she couldn’t no longer bear how depressed I got every time he threatened to cancel. He actually only cancelled once despite all the other threats because I pleadied for him not to cancel each time. I was probably fuel supreme to him.

    He kept our appointments during devaluation and cancel threats ceased. Reading this I guess he didn’t feel the need to test me anymore or bother with me much.

    Then I tried to escape and that was it, discarded and he wants nothing to do with me now. I still miss him so much it annoys me, I’m just too pathetic and weak. Grr.

  9. Sunniva says:

    Or if you are a somatic upper lesser like my N you don’t even see the need to cancel.
    When I came around to pick him up he just wasen’t home.
    I failed the test by acting to be indifferent. We didn’t speak for half a year after that.
    Out of the blue (probably a hoover trigger in there) he called me to tell me some great news (about him self of course).
    Forgiving and forgetting as I am we were back on beeing “friends”.

    1. clear communication at all times helps-at least you analyse the lowdown early on whatever form it takes..

      1. Sunniva says:

        Ops…sorry…left my replay to your commet to this post under your other post🙈

  10. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD. says:

    They do what they want …when they want. They may even believe at the time that they wanna see you on a particular day but the day of they aren’t in the mood. I’m so used to it now I don’t even try. It’s hilarious because I used to joke with my friends about my first psychopath – I can never look good for him cause I never know what he’s gonna come through…. lol

    I have never looked nice for that man … ever lol.

  11. Windstorm2 says:

    In my personal experience, at least in the last 10-15 years, my narcs cancel because they live in the moment and what I think or how I feel is irrelevant. I don’t even think it’s conscious on their part. They rarely even remember “plans”. Plans are really just suggested possibilities.

    There is a plus side to this, though. If I want a partner for an outing at the drop of a hat – I can just call a narc. If it sounds interesting or fun, they’re usually game.

    1. Indy says:

      Hi Windstorm2,
      Some may do it without an after thought though my experience is that it is a test on how far can they push boundaries. Boundaries of ones time. I had to learn how to protect my time foundries early and my clinical career when clients would push time boundaries. This was particularly so with those with personality disorders. It’s a lack of respect and recognition of other people because we are an extension of them. Plus they get all that lovely negative fuel when we are angry. The recent UMR did this do often to me that I ended up mirroring it back and canceled on him and made plans on my own. he claimed after I did this to him that he was hurt and understood the pain he caused me, (right) but never changed behavior. It was purposeful for him. He wanted me to stop doing it to him, yet he kept it up. This occurred the most during the last couple months of the formal relationship. So, I kept mirroring this behavior back along with his ST games. Eventually i stopped showing disappointment (after reading about fuel) and I used the breaks from him to read HG and plan escape.

      Yes, some are more in the moment, like ADHD folks or those with no impulse control. However I suspect more do it for the fuel and the control.

      1. Windstorm2 says:

        I have no doubt you’re correct about most. And the first 10-20 years that was often true with me too. Most of my narcs, though, have been in my life for 40 or more years now. I think we’ve all moved beyond the testing stage. I’ve certainly moved beyond showing any emotion when their plans change. If I am angry, I disappear until I can laugh about it. Usually I truly don’t care.

        The most difficult for me is my two narc sons. It’s harder for me to take any abuse from them. My oldest can be particularly obnoxious. I end up avoiding them a lot. They will still test me and I just leave. I figure they will eventually learn.

        My exhusband though and his narc brothers truly just live in the moment. They’ve long given up on negative fuel from me. Same thing for my narc friends. I have learned to never depend on plans made more than a day in advance. But it is refreshing to be able to call on one at any time and get a response. My other friends will have family obligations and commitments, but the narcs are usually willing to give it a shot if they’re bored (which is most of the time). Even something as mundane as running to Walmart with me usually gets a response from my exhusband. He’s guaranteed positive fuel from me, and no telling who else he may meet there. To my narcs all public places are full of possibilities!

    2. Interesting response-what I’ve found is not to attach any expectation to any arrangement-go with the flow with alternatives already prearranged.

      1. Windstorm2 says:

        Sounds like a plan!

      2. Sunniva says:

        Hi Diana:)
        Thank you for your advice.

        This example is from the first months of our friendship.
        I learned to like him (didn’t at first), because he had a huge drive in building his business (as do I), and he is really athletic (as am I), so we equalized on so many levels. We could talk on the phone for hours, and when he felt like he had the upper hand I actually think he liked me as his friend (Mr Tudor has stated that they can like their friends).

        The example above was a test (I think), but I didn’t take the bate. I remember I felt so sad, but never showed him that.
        I can never force someone to be my friend☺️
        Mr Tudor has taught me/us that he called me back into the fuel-matrix for triangulation between his two IPSS, who he still plays Ping-pong with.

        I really do feel bad for those two IPSS:(
        But I have to admit that I hope my silent escape will go as smoothe as possible:)

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