Why Do Narcissist’s 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.


13 thoughts on “Why Do Narcissist’s Cancel Arrangements?”

  1. The funny thing is I cancelled on him all of the timeeeeee!!!!! But I feel it was a power struggle to some degree. That’s only in looking back that I can see that. However this was also an issue in two other relationships as well. But they were controlling and I was in rebellion from it. In fact I’m sure I cancelled on Marco so much because I felt he was pressuring me to do something too soon and I would initially agree and then later think about it and call and cancel. I know that infuriated and frustrated the crap out of him. He didn’t show it though he just kept his cool but I could feel it from him. I could feel his feelings sometimes or so I felt. Sometimes when we would be talking on the phone , a lot of times I would think I could see expressions on his face even though we weren’t Skyping but only voice. Anyways! Maybe it’s projection…maybe it’s not!

  2. So I’d like to share a story. I will do my best to keep it short as possible.

    I have come to realize that most of my exes have been varying schools of narcs. My 1st bf from high school was a Middle Lesser.

    Fast forward several years and it is the mid 90s. I am in university and I come to learn he attends school less than an hour away. He suggests we get together. I say ok.

    6 pm I get a call from him and he says he will be at my university to pick up at 10 or so. Ok, all is good.

    10pm arrives and he is not here. 10:30. 11:00. I worry that he has gotten lost. This is the 90s and no cell phones or text, so I have to call him at his dorm.

    I call. His roommate answers. I ask when the narcissist left. He was supposed to be here 90 mins ago and I am worried he got lost or in an accident.

    Roommate says narc is in the next room.

    “WHAT?” I ask, in disbelief.

    Narc gets on the phone.

    Me: Why are you there and not here? I have been waiting for you.

    Him: I lost track of time.

    Me: What do you mean?

    Him: I wasn’t near a clock.

    Me: What do you mean you weren’t near a clock?

    Him: There weren’t any clocks hear me.

    Me: You have a watch?

    Him: I wasn’t wearing one.

    Me: What the fuck is wrong with you? How could you have lost track of time?

    Him: Because I was getting laid.

    I yelled at him and hung up the phone. He was the one who wanted to meet. Who the fuck does that?

    Fast forward to 2009. I find him on FB, and we become FB ‘friends’. No big deal, I think. I hold no resentment, as we were kids, after all. (20s).

    I keep him as an inert FB friend (he is never online) up until a few months ago where, after reading HG’s site, I think to myself how this guy has never been nice to me. He even cheated on me while we were high school dating. And I am keeping him around because he meant something to me once.

    But he doesn’t mean anything to me now. So upon this realization, I remove him as a friend. No anger, no bitterness, he is just a bumbling loser and we have zero in common. I was trying to see good in someone where there really was none–or at least very little.

    All because of nostalgia.

    And yet it never occurred to me until my battle with the Mid Ranger that since I was a kid, I have been allowing people to get away with shit.

    I mean what an excuse. I wasn’t near a clock? Fuck me.

    1. That’s a pretty repulsive excuse, Bibi. Makes your mouth pop open and gasp for air. I wonder how rare it is to have one be so honest, though?
      What a dick!

      1. I think I said to him, ‘You are seriously sick in the head,’ when he responded with the getting laid thing. Literally I went from idealization to devaluation in 4 hours.

        I should also add that I was waiting for him outside so he would know where my building was and I didn’t want to run up and call him sooner in case he came by. He left me just sitting out there.

        His roommate did not have kind things to say about him when we spoke.

        He never finished his university degree. He has no discipline. I FB friended him partly b/c I was just curious to see what happened to him, and also I had no current emotional feelings for him by that point.

        When we did reconnect, he said to me, ‘What is your number? I’ll call you so we can catch up!’

        He never called. He will never change. But again, that didn’t hurt me because I had no emotional yearning for him by that point, so I didn’t really care. I suppose you could say I was testing him.

        Yet still keeping this person around, for what purpose? Some people should really just remain in the past.

        Purge, purge, purge!

      2. That had to feel humiliating and degrading… to be standing out there in anticipation of his arrival, too nervous to leave your spot to access a phone out of fear of missing him… then to find out the slimy reason he was a no show. That would wound any woman. Just being excited to see someone, anyone, and experience him not arrive… that chips away at a deeper part of us.

        So I think it is normal, Bibi, to wonder about someone who had this powerful impact on you. Perhaps that is why you wished to follow up on him, just to see how this person who took a tiny piece of your self-esteem was doing in life? You were able to confirm that he’s not much of a man, so there is comfort in knowing it worked out well for you… that you went another direction.

        Sometimes I think that’s why we need to know? We wonder about someone who would act in such a cruel way because their behavior is so curious to those of us who wouldn’t dream of treating another in such a disparaging way.

        But you survived it well, Bibi. And you got the satisfaction of seeing that him not calling when you reconnected didn’t much faze you. Because deep down, you knew he could not be anything that would be good for you. Yet our curiosity still wonders….

        I think it’s because rejection, in any form, opens up our earlier wounds, so we instinctively fight it a bit. In other words, sometimes the rejection is more about us. I know from my personal experiences with rejection, it is as if I become more like the narcissist, wondering why another couldn’t see my value? It is then that I’ll realize that perhaps I’m more upset with the idea of rejection more than the rejector… that the guy is just a replaceable factor in the equation.

        What I’m trying to say is… when you look at the quality of that man Bibi, it wasn’t really HIM that you cared to lose… it was that little piece of dignity that he took. That’s what we want back.

      3. I think looking up sketchy people from the past has to do with hope. You hope that people have changed and become better with time to renew your faith that it is possible. Nope. Theyre still just dicks or bigger dicks. Facebook is a huge Hope cemetery.

      4. BKK:

        I think you said it well.

        Before I got to speak with him that night, I spoke to his roommate for a number of minutes who sounded like an empath.

        His roommate painted a picture of someone who was mentally ill, that he never follows through on things and he told me that narcissist would often do that with him.

        He said something like, ‘Narcissist will go into the other room and then come back and forget why he even went into that room.’

        And that, coupled with his words towards me, painted someone deeply unstable. That’s why I didn’t hold it against him years later because I thought he can’t help himself–he is mentally ill.

        When he was a teenager (after we broke up) he was hospitalized for ‘extreme passive aggression and depression.’

        Now with what I know, what does that really sound like?

        But then when he said he wanted to ‘catch up!’ and never called, I knew he was just the same. Again, it didn’t bother me. I knew he wouldn’t.

        He’s 40 now and can hold a job a at casino, but he chain smokes, drinks Miller Light in the evenings and when I saw his FB pics, I could still see the teenager I once knew poking through his beer gut.

        At least now I won’t have to ever see his pics.

    2. Bibi
      Thanks for sharing that story. I’m sorry that happened to you, although I can so relate to the whole doing something or keeping a connection to an evil person or bad person because of nostalgia. Well you did the right thing erasing him as a friend…what a jerk! But don’t be hard on yourself cause I get the whole nostalgia thing. It can make you do things you know are not good for you just for a glimpse of that feeling just for a moment and then the deeep sigh that follows as your heart flutters for a second you remeber you feel it.

  3. Mine did that several times and at the least- it was usually things that I had planned not she had planned. And twice -on my last two birthdays.
    I am by nature somebody who double checks with people I think it’s just courteous and also to me it’s like kind of fun to relish the time coming up sale especially since I was seeing her almost every other day or so I would occasionally say “so Saturday we’re going to blah blah blah And then Sunday bla -bla..” Sounds like thinking out loud but it was also kind of reviewing things with her and she would get upset right now most angry like “why do you have to bring that up again-twe already discussed this’ like hostile. I would always be kind of shocked like most normal partners with smile and say yeah! And anthem embellishment about how fun it will be in blah blah blah and maybe add in something like about it. But instead I would get hostility really weird. But I think I read about that in one article it’s an accusation or a criticism to ask Annie Basically any question. And towards the end I could barely even say hello to her without getting a silence or ignored in there and when I would complain about it and say- “uh, It hurts my feelings when I say hello to you and you ignore me “ I would get vitriol. Or I didn’t feel like talking. And I’m like it’s a basic human grieving hello are you have to do is like say hey or good day . Incredulous crap Jesus so fucking pissed what time I wasted

    1. Sorry my talking to text is not translating perfectly all the time but… Long story short/ Yep they’re cancelers! can’t count on em for much.


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