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.

26 thoughts on “Why Are The Arguments Never Resolved?

  1. Mona says:

    These three advice are good for situations at work and for situations when you have to deal with a narc who is not close to you.

    Tell them your own opinion about a topic and then leave them alone. If your idea was really good, they will absorb it and present it next time as their own. Aim reached with a little bad taste. But you get what you want. (how to manipulate a narc)

    Is it a topic which hurts you, there is never a solution in form of an apology, but 20 minutes later they are as friendly as before. And you can spend a lovely day with them or work with them again as if never happened anything. Fuel given they are satisfied.

    Sometimes you can tell them this or that hurts you and of course they cannot resist to do exactly that. Then you play a little bit hurt and they are satisfied, Although this topic did not interest you ever and it is nothing that really hurts you. (how to manipulate a narc)

    It could be a test for you too, if you are insecure whether you have to do with a narc in your private life. Former or later they will use their knowledge about you against you.

    Tell them that you do not like a special musician. Former or later he will play his music at the car to test how much you can accept. Look at his reaction when you tell him, you do not like this music.

    If you recognise the behaviour described above in a close friendship or in a beginning relationship, you know what you have to do. Go forever.

    1. windstorm says:

      Very accurate according to my experience also.

      1. Mona says:

        Thank you, windstorm. Sometimes you have no other choice than to manipulate them too. I do not like it, but it is the best way to cope with them. I do not like lies, but as HG says a conflict will never be solved or there will never be a compromise, it is better to avoid it or distract from it. I was so blind so many years. The difference between a narc`s manipulation and my kind of manipulation : I do not use it to destroy someone and I do not dominate someone. It is not about fuel or power. And I do not twist the facts. It is manipulation- but there is a fine difference.
        I cannot avoid them, therefore I have to cope with them and make the best of it..
        I avoid to provoke them, if possible. (except HG to stay honest)

  2. Geminimom says:

    Will you consider doing a study guide with test questions on narcissism?

    Take for example, Nina’s question and your answer would be great for testing your knowledge at the end of the book.

    And several books will be needed as there are so many questions to be answered that victims keep adding to the blog.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I may prepare something which allows you to test your knowledge. In terms of common questions that are answered, the books Ask, Ask 2 and Decipher assist in that regard.

  3. Donna says:

    Years of conflict including countless accusations, degradations and brutal devaluations along with two humiliating discards and eventually, one escape. During the subsequent Hoover attempts there was absolutely not the slightest acknowledgment that the years of horrid strife even took place. Only a calm statement, “Let’s just start over”. Whaaat??? I finally understand. This understanding quietens the revolving thoughts and unrelenting questions permitting me to move on from the insanity.

    1. K says:

      This is an excellent example of gas lighting.

      “there was absolutely not the slightest acknowledgment that the years of horrid strife even took place”

      “Let’s just start over”.

      Yeah right, as if nothing ever happened?!? WTF!

  4. Caroline says:

    This is so spot on… I instinctively did #2 often, in the FR…and when feeling rundown (lacking energy/feeling trapped) in all the recent Hoovering, I reverted back to this as well. And BAM — the ugly ogre left and “Prince Charming” returned.

    I have to say it actually makes me feel slightly narcissistic doing it, because I know it’s effective. It’s a way to control the narcissist’s behavior… it stops the negativity coming at you. It’s the easiest fix there is.

    I’m not one who has to keep on going to have every little thing resolved either. If it’s not a trust issue or something that makes me feel bad about myself, I can let it go.

    This article adds to my knowledge base… another step toward explaining how the dynamic between my ex-BF and I could be sustained for 3 years in a FR… and not get crazily dysfunctional.

  5. EmP says:

    Witnessing the above RIGHT NOW (business meeting). Norm manager trying to convince narc manager. Good luck with that. Issue has been discussed countless times and they are not getting anywhere, of course. I observe, listen and keep my mouth shut.

    This post is one of my favourite (I have dozens of them btw). Circular conversations had been haunting me for decades. Now I know how narcs view arguments, what they are trying to achieve and how to behave/respond. I put a reminder on my Tudor-board too, so I don’t forget.

    Reading my 20th HG’s book this week-end by the way. Can’t wait.
    #Lifelonglearning #HGNarcademy

  6. Supernova DE says:

    Ultimately this issue is what led me to know something was “off” about him. No argument resolved, no difference of opinion ever resolved, etc. Even when I tried not to argue, just have a reasonable discussion. I kept asking myself why we couldn’t just each state what we wanted and expected from the relationship openly, and either work towards common ground or decide it was too disparate and go our separate ways….like normal adults do in a normal relationship. He repeatedly applied guilt so I thought I was crazy for wanting to “define” an affair relationship. But affairs are relationships too, with two people who have expectations and needs, and all I was trying to do was align them in a reasonable fashion. The longest shelvings I got were when I didn’t respond to these tactics and said nothing, emotionally distanced myself, and didn’t contact him first.

    1. Omk says:

      Framing the relation in any way shape or form is impossible .

  7. windstorm says:

    I do all three of your suggested strategies, but my preference is number 2 – state what I want/think once, give some positive fuel and stay upbeat no matter the outcome. This seems to work best for me. I may not get what I wanted, but the situation stays positive, therefore I am happier.

    1. Omj says:

      I practice that one too mainly for me – it gives me a good swing for the rest of the day.
      He did something very provocative and when he apologized I used that technique I felt good and detached instead of abused and disgusted .

      1. Caroline says:

        Hi, OMJ! XO! 🙂

        I hate arguing too…I pick my battles. I can hardly stand even seeing arguments on this blog — that’s how much full-blown arguing repulses me. Little jabs of significance when needed are one thing… but people that keep on and on to prove their points/defend themselves, etc. – ugh.

        Life is too short, and so many things that people argue about are truly silly.

  8. Omj says:

    Arguments are so frustrating so I emotionally withdraw anytime I knew there was nothing to win or no logic in his arguments.

    1. Caroline says:

      Oops, OMJ. My reply, above, was meant to go here… I guess that proves how much I detest senseless arguing… I wouldn’t even post under the words “arguments.”


      1. Omj says:

        I am such in a weird space … like sitting in my position – not expecting or wanting anything -‘just sitting in my life and keeping him at bay. He is so busy with IPPS and zullionznIPSS – so it’s like if he has no grip on me …

  9. Nina says:

    Hello HG. Is it done intentionally by the narc to obtain more fuel, are they aware of this or just irrationally trying to draw out arguments?

    I’ve been subject to this countless times, and each time trying to get him to believe the facts hasn’t been successful. Begging, pleading, apologizing, nothing really worked. Finally I give up and he comes around, as if nothing has happened. To me it always feels unresolved.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The Lesser and the Mid-Range are not aware of this, it is the narcissism’s self-defence mechanism operating for the purposes of exerting control and to gain fuel. A Greater does it for the same reasons but knows what is being done.

      1. Nina says:

        Thank you

  10. /iroll says:

    Both parties have entirely different aims – one path leads to divinity, the other to sure scumbaggery.

  11. pascaleshealingjourney says:

    Once again I wish I had read this when I was still with him. That would have saved me a lot of pointless negotiating which was leading to nowhere. Thank you again for this very helpful insight into the mind of the narcissist.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome PHJ.

      1. Again. H.g. Your Words Cut Through My Bones. Cut Away My Cancer Open Up Old Wounds. CLEANSE Them, Prepare Them For Healing Every. Question I Had About Parents ,Husband MALE Narc. You In Your. Insight Into This Lonely Dark World Of Yours , Gave Me Answers



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