Why Are The Arguments Never Resolved?


Disputes between people always arise. You might label it a debate, a discussion, a reasoned exchange of views, an argument, a fight or a blazing row. That label depends very much on the participants in the exchange.

When one of the participants is one of us, a narcissist, it always seems to be the case that it is never resolved, at least, not to your (the non-narcissist’s) satisfaction.

Let’s start however with a dispute between two people who are not narcissists. Person A states that person B owes him £ 50 000. Person B denies that he owes anything. If they cannot resolve it between themselves, they will have to resort to other means to achieve an outcome, which would invariably mean going to court with the attendant cost in time and money. The dispute is however capable of resolution because of the mind sets of the two participants.

Person A’s mindset is – “I would prefer £ 50 000 but I recognise that in order to reach a resolution I will have to accept a lesser sum. So long as this lesser sum is within a certain range, the problem will be solved.”

Person B’s mindset is – “I would prefer to pay nothing but I recognise that in order to reach resolution I will have to pay something. So long as this something is within a certain range, the problem will be solved.”

You can see from this that there is potential for the parties’ mindsets to align. Neither will be out and out happy but the dispute will be resolved and they can get on with other matters. If they agree at £ 30 000 Person A has made a recovery which is less than he desired but more than nothing. Person B has made a payment which is more than he desired but less than everything. The two people have mindsets which can and do align and thus there is resolution.

This non-narcissistic example demonstrates precisely why there is never any resolution (or at least it seems that way to you as the empathic victim) when engaging with our kind. The reason is that there is no alignment of interests.

Take for instance a situation between narcissist and victim. The victim does not know that they are in a romantic entanglement with the narcissist. The victim is an Intimate Partner Primary Source and the narcissist is a Mid-Range Narcissist. The two attended an event in the afternoon. The narcissist felt ignored by the IPPS and this ignited his fury and now the narcissist, in order to provoke and gain fuel has accused the victim of flirting with a member of the opposite sex. The victim knows that she did not do so and is upset by this accusation as well as bewildered. An argument about this ensues.

What is the victim’s mindset?

  1. As a truth seeker establish the truth that she did not flirt with anybody and the narcissist accepts she did not.
  2. The narcissist apologises for the false accusation.

What is the narcissist’s mindset?

  1. Gain fuel;
  2. Assert and maintain superiority over the victim

Both parties have entirely different aims.

Can the victim’s requirements be fulfilled by the narcissist?

The narcissist will not admit that the accusation was a lie because issuing the lie is causing the victim to be upset, to be angry and thus is providing fuel. Accordingly, the narcissist will maintain the lie in order to preserve the supply of fuel.

The narcissist will not apologise because that is ceding superiority to the victim by admitting that the narcissist is wrong. It will also bring an end to the victim’s hurt/upset/anger and thus the fuel ends.

There is nothing for the narcissist to gain in fulfilling what the victim wants.

Can the narcissist’s requirements be met by the victim?

Yes, but not in an intentional way by the victim. Owing to the fact that victims do not know what they are dealing with, that they do not know they are engaging with one of our kind, that they do not understand the concept of fuel or that we have a different perspective to them, the victim cannot decide to keep giving fuel nor can she decide to give superiority to the narcissist.

Instead, she remains bound by her own mindset and desires which are as a consequence of her perspective. She sees this as the ONLY outcome which is right, because from her perspective she did not flirt, therefore she cannot understand why the narcissist cannot accept that this is the case. She cannot understand why he will not apologise when he is wrong. She does not know that he needs to keep extracting fuel from her. She does not know that he needs to assert and maintain superiority over her.

Accordingly, she keeps trying to get the narcissist to see her perspective and to achieve the apology. This will not happen. She does not achieve the resolution she wants. Moreover, she is bewildered as to why the narcissist cannot achieve this resolution when it seems so obvious (to her) that she is right and he is wrong.

The resolution will not occur on her terms because they are not aligned with what the narcissist wants. Instead, the resolution will only occur when the narcissist is satisfied with the fuel received (thus the wounding has been healed and the ignited fury of the narcissist abates) and that his perception of superiority has been attained. He then halts the argument by walking away, changing topic or even completely perplexing the victim by suggesting going out for dinner together. This rapid switch from argument to suggesting something pleasant, when (from the victim’s perspective) there has been no resolution leaves the victim puzzled and open-mouthed at this sudden switching.

From the narcissist’s perspective it is entirely logical. He has gained fuel and healed the wound, thus the ignited fury abates so he has no need to continue the provocation in the argument. He feels he has asserted his fury because the victim is upset, looks dismayed or dejected. He has achieved his aims which the victim (unintentionally) has fulfilled. He thus ends the argument. The victim is puzzled because from her perspective nothing has been resolved. If she presses on, she is likely to provide Challenge Fuel ( seeFuel, Fight or Flight ) and thus the narcissist will respond to this by deflecting, denying, projecting and a whole host of other manipulations.

Accordingly, whenever a victim argues with our kind, the victim never feels like there is any resolution because their aims are never fulfilled. Even when the narcissist’s aims are achieved and he halts the manipulation, the victim still understandably believing the matter to be unresolved, keeps going. This causes the narcissist to respond to the challenge and then the narcissist sees the victim as maintaining an argument unnecessarily.

It is only when the victim understands that they are engaging with a narcissist and that we adopt an entirely different perspective, which alters the aims we seek from the argument, that the victim can achieve an alternative outcome. Armed with this knowledge, the victim can either:-

  1. State their case once so they know they have, offer no reaction and withdraw;
  2. State their case once, offer a positive reaction to fuel the narcissist whilst avoiding feeling dismayed and hurt in trying to achieve an outcome they cannot ever achieve; or
  3. Withdraw, preferring not to engage and save themselves the aggravation of being subjected to repeated manipulation because of the different agendas of victim and narcissist.

Once you become empowered with this understanding of why you never reach resolution with us, you will approach such entanglements in a completely different and edifying manner.

29 thoughts on “Why Are The Arguments Never Resolved?

  1. Sophia says:


    I’ve never had a true I’m sorry or an apology. An apology includes an acknowledgment of hurt caused, asking for forgiveness and how to make it up to you and a promise not to do it again. I doubt he’s ever given one in his life. When he says ‘I apologize” he doesn’t even sound kind.

  2. jenna says:

    “What is the narcissist’s mindset?

    1.Gain fuel;
    2.Assert and maintain superiority over the victim”

    Ex mmrn does not like negative fuel at all. He hates it. It irritates him, annoys him, aggravates him. He withdraws. He often does not pursue the argument by stating ‘stop!’, so maintaining superiority is important to him. Or he issues a fake apology.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are confusing his maintenance of the facade for his reaction to the provision of fuel.

      1. jenna says:

        Thank u.

      2. jenna says:


        I recognize now the fake apology as facade management. Ty.

        But why does he say ‘stop!’ This would assert his superiority, but the fuel would cease. I am a little confused.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          He knows you are unlikely to stop and thus provide more fuel.

          1. jenna says:

            Ty. But i actually did stop when he wud say ‘stop’, like a soldier, lol!!!😂

    2. Sophia says:

      My ex is MMRN as well. Loves to jab then pretend to dislike fighting. Would say, “I apologize for my behavior”….or “I didn’t mean it that way”….”alright already”….”do you like to argue?”….”why can’t we get along?”

      Last time I was around him I asked him if he ever connected the dots between the good times and the bad times. It’s seriously exhausting.

      1. Jenna says:


        Tell me about it! A slight variation to ur ex’s statements:

        Ur ex: “i apologize for my behavior”
        My ex: “i apologize for my behavior last time. Did u eat anything? Pls go eat my dear. U need energy”

        Ur ex: “I didn’t mean it that way”
        My ex: “i didn’t mean it, sometimes i just can’t help it. Just throw what i said into the river, else why would i be trying now?”

        Ur ex: “do u like to argue?”
        My ex: “u always argue. I can never win an argument with u” (*even tho he usually wins*) OR “no arguments now”

        Ur ex: “why can’t we get along?”
        My ex: “let’s just get along” OR “peace now”

        More statements:

        “I don’t have time for this right now”

        “What did u have for dinner?” (*deflection*)

        “Let’s not talk abt the past”

        “Ur causing me stress”

        ” No drama now”

        “Let’s stop here!”

        1. Windstorm2 says:

          I couldn’t help but laugh when you were talking to Sophia about how your narcs are so similar about arguing. Mine is the complete opposite! He’s always saying things to stir up controversy with everyone, then happily enjoying the chaos! He often says, “can’t we all just get along?” too, but he says it as sarcasm when someone’s trying to stir up drama. He never makes a pretense of being sorry about anything and certainly never apologizes!

          I think it’s funny how once we understand more about narcissism that we can see so clearly how they fall into different categories (schools and cadres). I also find it humorous to think how much they would all hate to be “labeled” by us as just one of a common type, when their very nature makes them want to believe that they’re unique!

      2. Sophia says:


        Oh yes. “Let’s not bring up the past.” Of course, not until you want to. Lol deflections….oh so many deflections. I would say nice political answer.

  3. demoneater says:

    Great post. Thank you.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  4. NFL3 says:

    If only I had known all this earlier. Me explaining, endlessly trying to make a point, ending up frustrated. All the arguing, crying and fighting was just providing fuel. I could never understand how all of a sudden it would end like a reset button had been hit. Negative fuel, was still fuel. Thank you, HG, your writing is providing me with the answers that I’ve been seeking for years. Truly grateful!!!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  5. This:

    “This rapid switch from argument to suggesting something pleasant, when (from the victim’s perspective) there has been no resolution leaves the victim puzzled and open-mouthed at this sudden switching.”

    Since I didn’t know about fuel, and that was all to him, I’d keep up trying to win since I was right, and he would do just that thing!

    After him doing this to me a couple of times, I just gave up whenever he did this strange about face.

  6. H. says:

    I would get apologies, only to later, hear a denial later on. He was good at fake apologies. Even a fake apology is not a trait of a Narc. is it?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is a trait but in isolation does not mean that person is a narcissist.

      1. H. says:

        This was the exception to the norm of typical narc behavior. I believe he used the apology as a weapon to disarm. It worked for a long time.

  7. Windstorm2 says:

    Very good advice. You’ve got to be prepared to withdraw without getting what you want and without showing emotion. And often it’s best to withdraw without even trying to get what you want or at best, state what you’d like as if you’re curious if it’s even possible. I have the best luck with that strategy. Then instead of feeling like your trying to control them, they can feel in control and be a problem solver. Often mine will even come up with a better solution than the one I suggested.

    Of course, also very often I end up withdrawing with nothing. You just cant really care one way or the other, whether they do it or not. That way you don’t get hurt when they refuse and it’s a pleasant surprise when they do.

    1. sarabella says:

      Sadly, my sociopath brother died, hurt and angry that I stopped being there for him. I do feel, he was lost in his childhood hurt and anger. But I got to the point, that withdrawing from all of them was the ONLY way to survive. It never ended the anger, the bitterness I still feel for what they all did to me, and as I finally get the dynamic, that they never saw my withdrawing was of THEIR making. The ONLY choice they gave me in the end. If they hadn’t all be so selfish and self-centered and awful to me, maybe I wouldn’t have withdrawn to save myself.

      1. Windstorm2 says:

        I know what you mean about withdrawing from your narc family to save yourself. I have done the same thing with my extended family. I just got out of a funeral for a narc uncle that I have dreaded attending for the last 3 days (his two granddaughters asked me to come). It was almost as bad as I had dreaded, but I survived. I even asked my narc exhusband to come with me because he is so extroverted I knew he’d draw attention from me – be sort of like a protective wall to stand behind. Lol!

        It was almost soul-crushing being around all those family members and having memories constantly pop up in my mind. Memories, doubts and fears that I wish I could permanently erase. But now it’s behind me and it’s like I’m shrugging the weight of my family off and heading across country to my daughter’s house full of love and grandchildren. The scapegoated girl i was reminded of at the funeral is long dead – the happy woman who created her own loving family is who is in this car. Rejoice in who you are today. Don’t let your family, your past or your memories pull you down!

        1. sarabella says:

          I still get into shock mode when I realize that all these years, all these years of bitter anger and hurt were because I was so hurt my mother never cared much or loved me. And I had gotten so used to being the reason why, it still takes effort to reject her decisions to blame me for her not loving me. But when I lay her choices right at her feet, and I find with my daughter that I am a loving, spontaneous and creative person, all attributes which just die around my mother, I am reminded it is up to me to chose from now on how I want to be and where I feel free to be me. And its not around her at all. I have given up for good. The thing that is hard, a few people tell me that I will love her still as my mother and I don’t feel a thing. I really don’t. The only way I might feel is if I am intentionally reminiscing about the good times with her in my life and they were not in abundence. But how can memories of the past, which ellicit some feelings of warmth, be love because when I think of her now, of calling her, talking to her, I am well, disgusted at the idea. Disgusted at the idea of what I will need to twist myself into in order to be seen and loved by her and because it is so unnatural, I don’t feel love. And then the old, how can a child not love her mother and then that whole trip starts… ugh…

          But yes, now that I see what was going on that whole time, decades, its my turn now to live. No guilt, not shame, no being dragged down anymore. Yes, rejoice in who I am today (and really, always was when she wasn’t trying to beat me down)

          1. Windstorm2 says:

            Sounds like you feel about your mother much like I felt about mine. And it was having children of my own that made me realize that not only am I a valuable and loveable person, but that it is the mother that determines the relationship between mother and child. I was the one with the power to determine what type of relationship I’d have with my children. That was a major turning point in my life!

            Have a very Merry Christmas!!

    2. narc affair says:

      Hi windstorm …great points! Its very important to lower expectations or have none where narcissists are concerned. Its not easy but is necessary to protect yourself.

      1. sarabella says:

        Narc Affair… I wish someone had told me that I learned to lower my expectations due to the ‘training’ I got from my mother and not then apply that to everyone else. 🙁 🙁 There is no honor in the end in not having expectations of people that are reasonable. Human interactions are always threaded with levels of expectations and to not have any, due to emotional abuse, is to allow so much further abuse. We just need to know to not have such expectations of Narcs but do in fact, have them of other loving people. Expectations is the core of reciprocity and a narc trains you to not ever expect reciprocity. And that is a huge disservice to self.

  8. Julie Petkovska says:

    I accept that transaction to a certain degree…
    The truth the real truth not the manipulated truth always comes out
    If you consider all types of attention to be flirting a smile a conversation on the weather as the attention is not on you… your dissorder is twisting what you think you see so you project.. the so called victim is being a normal.human being. Your own insecurity is being projected as you cant handle being weak or being not the centre of attention. Your inability to be normal
    Is the issue..
    All of this work to manipulate, control and dominate is alot of work to maintain yourself??
    Are you not exhausted by the end of the day??? I would be…
    Also we know the non contact rule to escape the clutches of a mad man or woman
    My argument is….if we dont place value in people like yourself we wont think your charming and worth anything??
    Narcissitic people are driven more by emotion than any normal person or empath you need to feel an emotional torturious essay or back n forth manipulation instead of just being in or at peace
    Hence the term rest in peace
    I say this to my empaths our there, there cannot be a world without being hurt or manipulation
    We wouldn’t keep moving growing, stagnant water breads bacteria you can die
    However a tremendous thunderous water fall can kill you but if you survive wow how powerful is that,
    Its like what stallone said life isnt about how hard you hit but its about getting hit and keep rising and moving forward.. no one can break you…only who or what you allow to do so

  9. Bibi says:

    The arguments with my narc experience were always long, circular and went nowhere. I tried to achieve a compromise. Ha! Good luck.

    Compromise = He doesn’t do shit and goes about his ways, unchanged. Meanwhile I am still dissatisfied.

    His view: She needs to accept me as I am. (His exact words.)

    The thing though, if you’re dealing with a mid-range, they actually believe their bullshit, or at least construct rationalizations in their minds that suit their agenda. They can be very clever at doing so and then turn it around on us.

    My narc experience believed that it was in his right to withhold large parts of himself, as in, his name and identity, because, well, he needed to for his own reasons, which were never explained. I need to accept this if I choose to be a part of his life. I need to be understanding, you see.

    Those were his rationalizations. I never could accept them, despite my trying, and hence, I fought and fought. He called me ‘maddening’.

    My god, our emails were so fucking long. ‘You said this but really meant that…no, I said this but really meant this but you thought that, etc., etc., etc.,’

    After so many arguments, I was actually the one who wanted to say fuck it, let’s just forget this and talk about books again. I made some off comment, a joke…and then he responded with, ‘I’m actually offended that you think we could just get over this so suddenly…’

    Can’t win. I never thought caring for someone so much could resort to such cruelty on his behalf. Meanwhile, he is sucking cock and happy as fuck. And I still think about him.

    1. sarabella says:

      Don’t you jus love it when they throw out unconditional love? My narc mother left her family to go off and find unconditional love. She claims that is what she found with her partner she then married and played house to his 5 kids. But what a loser because she will never see that her unconditional love meant removing her unconditional love for her own flesh and blood children. Which meant that her new life WAS entirely conditional…. the condition being that she break up her own family. She thinks that the resulting extreme harm was something we just all had to acept. She is a real loser. Narcs are real losers.

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