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?
- As a truth seeker establish the truth that she did not flirt with anybody and the narcissist accepts she did not.
- The narcissist apologises for the false accusation.
What is the narcissist’s mindset?
- Gain fuel;
- 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:-
- State their case once so they know they have, offer no reaction and withdraw;
- 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
- 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.
23 thoughts on “Why Are The Arguments Never Resolved?”
Mb , I was in the same situation as you, I felt I was going crazy. I understand now what happened. Also why I cheated in the first place. But the pain is still there. It hurts.
I’ve been there and I saw that happening once, twice,… ten times then I begun to conserve energy and said to ex narc he was right (maybe because my father is the same, if you want to ruin your day, you can argue with him, uselessly). I didn’t know he was a narc, I just understood I couldn’t win with him, no matter how right I was so each time he begun, I listened to him and approved, listen to him for 5 more minutes until he ended it knowing it won’t bring fuel (argument in my language). Ok..that was for some weeks at most, I was aware I couldn’t build a relationship with someone lying to my face so…escaping was the only way. I saw manipulation and I hate manipulation, I’d rather be called a name (if the person is right and I deserve it) and get over it than running around the same bush for years. Stagnation is death to me. My mind needs another kind of stimulation, reaching new points in life, growing relationships in years.
I don’t know in real life, but when imagining I could live with nex, I got bored only thinking how it would have been like. Routine people, because of your need for fuel: golden, fuel need-arguing, respite, wound, silence treatment/punishment, golden, fuel need…and again, never reaching new ground or happiness points with you-and I mean for real, like when two people get closer after a life challenge their overcame together and learned from it. I don’t need a living full of guests (I don’t have so many friends or room for that), that’s my worst nightmare and a narc needs spectators. I enjoy all people but I don’t need approval or admiration. I felt awkward when my teachers/managers gave me as an example (thinking how bad felt others or some maybe hated me), I imagine that would have “filled” you with fuel.
Your happiness depends on others, that’s sad in your existence, HG Tudor. You fail to understand others manipulate your mind without being aware (them, at least). If a bored person while you speak means wound and fury to you… We (empaths) and introverts most of all can be happy by ourselves, watching a movie, listening to music, reading a book, enjoying a walk. If I get bored, I always find something constructive to do with my life/home (independent of what my son and husband are doing on their own or together).
Ruining others or destroying their self-confidence is not one of my “hobbies”.
My grandfather had an expression, found in many religions and guiding my life: “if you can help, then help, if not- at least don’t damage.”
ARGUING WITH A NARCISSIST IS LIKE BEING IN A FIGHTING MATCH WITH WHAT YOU THINK IS A NORMAL PERSON. YOU ARE WATCHING YOUR RIVALS MOVES AND THEN YOU GET PUNCHED IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD. WHERE IN THE F**K DID THAT COME FROM? CONFUSION SETS IN AND YOU LOSE BECAUSE YOU CANT DEAL WITH THE BARRAGE OF BLOWS COMING YOUR WAY FROM ALL DIRECTIONS. THEN YOU KNOW! THIS ISN’T RIGHT, I’M IN SOME SH*T HERE! HELP HELP HEEEEELP HEEEEE…………. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
This has been the hardest thing for me – no resolution, no goodbye, but just a lot of contrived issues before being discarded. Months have gone by, but I am plagued constantly despite all of my vigorous and best efforts. It is the last things on my mind when I go to bed, if I sleep, and the first thing consuming my thoughts when I wake – months! – my mind is always re-hashing every detail, every word, every action, exploring new angles, questions never answered, ambiguities, crying – sometimes I think if it doesn’t stop, death is the only reprieve. Months and all friends can tell me “you have to stop thinking about it.” Don’t I know that. It’s not as if when you ignore the wound, it will heal. The narcissist knows that this is not that kind of a wound. Nothing I do will heal it, not logic, not understanding, not self-love. Nothing.
and yes, I’ve “gotten out” – I’ve worked at new projects and finished them, been congratulated, met friends and new acquaintances, learned new things, had little adventures, sports, etc. I get out there, but I am never free of the plaguing unresolved discard
My heart breaks for you Stephanie,
The worst is not knowing why when the discard happens. I could have written your post back in 2013. What I would’ve given to have HG and you wonderful ladies to support me at that time. I was completely alone and just wanted the pain to end! I didn’t care how. I am a married woman, so obviously I couldn’t lean on my main support system as the relationship with the narcissist was infidelity. HG tells you why and you can get closure that way; the only way you will get it. Hang in there, it will get easier. Consult with HG if you haven’t already. He will provide you with validation and answers. You will be glad you did, i promise. It was THE BEST money I’ve ever spent.
Thank you MB for your lovely comments. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you not to have a support network, and to keep it all inside – how torturous for you. That you have gotten through gives me strength. I will consult HG, thanks.
Huge hugs to you. You are me in 2004. I understand completely, word for word, how you feel. The blow hits harder than you knew was possible, huh? No one really got why I was so stuck. Be sure you get a good therapist who has dealt with trauma and abuse and keep coming back here. Keeping yourself busy helps keep your mind off of it, but at the end of the day you’re left with your own thoughts.
I put together a good little life, eventually, in the decade after it had happened only to be hoovered back in much, much later, much to my detriment (that’s why I found this site. I wish it had existed before).
Be sure to look at what issues in your past went unresolved that lead you to a relationship with an N and what role that person was filling. There is something there, and it will be painful to work through.
The narc relationship felt so real. So incredible. But it wasn’t. It was an illusion.
You’re going to get through this! You sound like an amazing person with lots going for you. Don’t let him destroy you and win.
Hello Stéphanie, I have experienced (and to some degree I still am experiencing) many issues among those you listed above and one thing helped me immensely: everytime my thoughts would wander to ‘what ifs’ “how could I not see the red flag back then” I would force myself to focus on the learning rather than the wounds. I did not see the red flag when he open my toilette necessaire? Got it, now I will have an improved sense of boundaries. He seemed happy on Facebook on the week after my escape? Got it, I will make sure when I feel happiness it is genuine, not a phony selfie to impress others. He owes me money he will never replay? Got it, when my tax return arrives I will spend the exact amount with a fancy gift for myself.
Amen, opposite action. Win..win situation. What the enemy meant for evil, you reverse for good. You will be compensated for that money and more but not from him.
It takes a lifetime for some of us to get where you are at.. Great advice for all. If we were giving the narc money invest that in self albeit, beauty treatments, Shoes, H.G. books or consult. Self preservation first.
Don’t eat the cookies and buy the shoes; then go home and worry about the narc. Turn your mind completely, do the very opposite with all the energy you have in your soul.
Stéphanie, it seems that either you’re not entirely certain he really was a narcissist or you’re having trouble accepting it and you’re still looking for some logic behind his actions other than acquiring fuel.
Sometimes it does seem counter-intuitive to adopt the very kind of black/white thinking typical for narcissists. But in their case, that is the only thing that will protect you against emotional pain. They are who they are, in all they do, think, feel. Start thinking that there is a regular human being hidden in there, and you’re screwed.
I’ve had the occasional errant thought that I might be doing the narc I was involved with an injustice. But then I remember my state of mind back then and I stop caring. Accepting that he is a narc provides a perfectly logical explanation to everything he did and said. In dealing with narcs, emotional thinking of any kind will screw you over.
Think about him all day and everyday, and don’t stop. Keep venting, ranting, raving, shouting, complaining and raging about all the rotten, evil things he did and the unfairness of it all. Cry, wail and grieve. Explode like a volcano; let it all out. Platitudes and self-love is useless. Feel the fury and dive into the deep well of sadness until you are ready to surface.
Try it; it worked for me.
We can all feel your horrendous pain. I’m soo sorry you are going through this and it is the deepest cut, right to the core. You are not alone. Please please don’t let him win … death is not an option … ever.! Is he really worth that, seriously? Time does heal, it really does.
He’s a mere pathetic male with no morals or scruples, he lies, cheats, he plays games with your head and that’s why they end it the way they do, to destroy your goodness. They all kiss themselves in the mirror and drink their own bathwater. They sit back and smirk at our every move.
We are women …. we are strong, and together we will defeat these complete pyscho nut cases. Forget an ending from him and the why’s and wherefores, think about a new powerful improved beginning for you my sweet. Step by step, falls here n there, but we come out on top and we are better for it. Our perception radar is waaay more in tune after and most importantly our emotional thinking … thanks to Mr Tudor.
You are an absolute darling, a gorgeous wonderful person, that’s why he chose you … he wanted what you had … those special qualities, now show him you have even more special qualities and shove it up his left nostril and the portal where the sun don’t shine.
Heartfelt hugs to you sweet pea
Ps …. your name means “crown” … so rise Queen Stephanie 👸🏼
thank you !
He always ended arguments abruptly by going silent refusing further discussion was this a form of flight or was it done to.provoke negative fuel?
If you were arguing you were most likely providing Challenge Fuel and therefore this response will have been to (a) draw more fuel, but in particular (b) to assert superiority to your perceived challenge to it.
Thank you I think the entire relationship was actually for him to assert his superiority and show me I’m worthless llol so yeah u right
Dear Mr Tudor,
You simply can not reason with a 2 year old … ever!
My resolution was to end it
Thank you for explaining.
“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.”
LOL precisely like that. I just went with it, in a way it was easier since we had an agreed D/s power dynamic and for the longest time I trusted in his superior knowledge and understanding of interpersonal relationships. It just never occurred to me that although he may know close to everything about how relationships work, he may not be able to have a healthy and mutually beneficial one himself.
HG, In scenario 1 and 3 where the IPPS withdraws, does that achieve the aim of the narcissist of maintaining superiority over the victim? In scenario 2, what would “offer a positive reaction” look like? To be sure, it would be difficult for one to offer a positive reaction if they are being accused of something that did not happen.
They never want resolution EVER. Resolution brings closure. Closure = no attention. No attention = NO FUEL.
it really is that simple. The only resolution you get is the one you make and take. The end
I cannot wait to hear what this one-sided sh*tshow says in court.
Unless his lawyer collarizes him, will reveal his 2 yr old self.
I learned to accept the apology I never got…