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.

13 thoughts on “Why Are The Arguments Never Resolved?

  1. DoForLuv says:

    Dear HG ,

    I’am still confused by the way my Lesser MidRange always behaves he wants me to be his GF returns to his Mother house then he is hot and cold to me . Then I keep asking why he is so distant ends the relationship always 1 month . as I can’t keep my mouth shut I keep texting what I don’t like about it all ; so disengagement follows blocked . So I would contact him with for example New Number or social media account he allows me back in as a NISS until I try to be with someone else then he wants to come over to my place take all the blame or talk about my feelings for him electronic Back to IPSs I guess ? . But he never shelves me or AS .

  2. E. B. says:

    From the narcissist’s perspective, do you mean that when …

    (a) enough fuel has been provided by the victim,
    (b) wounding has been healed,
    (c) the ignited fury decreases and
    (d) his perception of superiority has been regained,

    the problem has been *solved* and that the narcissist harbours *no grudge against his victim*?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Correct, although of course the issue may be re-visited at a later juncture if it is expedient to do so. Nothing is buried dead with us.

  3. E. B. says:

    “The narcissist felt ignored by the IPPS and this ignited his fury …”

    Let’s say the narcissist has been in an intimate relationship with her partner for several years. He knows that he can talk to her about his feelings. He also knows she will understand.

    Why not just tell her that he felt ignored by her during the party instead of provoking an unnecessary argument which is damaging for his relationship?
    Could it be that healing the wound a priority and must be dealt with before everything else?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      If the narcissist can control the ignited fury (which is hard for Lesser and most Mid Range to do) then yes, such a conversation could happen. It is unlikely however because the ignition of the fury is powerful and spontaneous in order to achieve the most effective outcome to address the wounding, which would be the provocation of an argument to draw immediate negative fuel.

      1. E. B. says:

        Thank you so much for clarifying and answering my questions, HG. It is very much appreciated.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome.

  4. Renarde says:

    Spot on. Arguments are NEVER resolved. I saw this dynamic most especially often in my own family.

    A huge ruck would start. Often, I would be the intermediary but I was capable of my moments too.Trying to get everyone to appreciate others’ feelings and points of view was as useful as trying to nail jelly to the wall. I left home when 20 or so, not really old enough to understand emotional dynamics and therefore I was spared the brunt of it.

    What was intresting is that no matter how bad the verbals were the night before,the next morning both parents behaved as if nothing had happened. All back to normal. Of course, when a child you accept this AS normal. It’s only when you begin to examine this after the fact and compare your home life to others’ families you begin to have an inkling that some was way wrong here.

    I have observed with some Greaters and the occasional middle, that there will be an effort to discuss and then a promise to change. More candid ones, both aware Greaters and unaware Middles, accept my point of view but they are not going to promise things they have no intention of fulfilling. Of course, this in itself is a monumental set up to the argument ‘But, I did say? Didn’t I?’ like it absolves their own behaviour in any case. My Dad, a middle, would never, ever, accept he was in the wrong.

    One day he attempted to beat me when he was drunk. It was a close run thing (brother got in between us). I refused to speak to him. Again, he attempted to make conversation as if nothing had happened. He became violent and aggressive at his 15 year old daughter because, ‘I didn’t like the way she was looking at me’. He half-strangled out an apology to me and then attempted to make it up by treating me to something. Talk about insidious. But cunning 15 year old little fox made a diary entry which I was to find in the December of 2016 when I entered therapy.

    He of course denies this incident ever happened.

  5. Rachel says:

    What bothered me very much, was the lack of closure. Every time again, after an argument, he needed space, and ignored whatever I did to try to prove my right. I, for example, wrote a long email, putting much effort in explaining my feelings and trying to make him understand my point of view. I (silly me) would then wait for his understanding answer, only to receive a message saying: “I’m sorry that’s how you see it”. Or: “that is the past”. And that was it. Very frustrating! Treating someone like that is very abusive. It made me feel desperate. Like when playing a boardgame, and you have to go back to square one every time again.

  6. Michelle says:

    I think this is one of the most important articles anyone dealing with a narcissist could possibly read. One of the biggest red flags that came up in conversation with my narcissist friend was when he said, “I think relationships should just be fun.” Not only does this reveal unrealistic expectations, but it sets up a future where any inconvenience to him is seen as diminishing the value of the relationship in his eyes. Emotionally healthy people welcome a degree of sacrifice in a relationship because it is an opportunity to care for their partner and reflects the idea that they expect to be cared for in return. Narcissists expect to be cared for regardless of their investment in their partner and do not feel the need to sacrifice to show love, except perhaps as part of of the seduction. Whereas most people would feel that there is a degree of risk in saying no to a partner’s reasonable request, a narcissist will not share this viewpoint because s/he has nothing to lose. Fuel is available from many sources, so saving the relationship itself is not one of their goals. They can issue ultimatums and take the relationship hostage because of their lack of human attachment. I once heard it said that the person who needs the relationship the least controls it the most, and the narcissist always needs it the least. I replied carefully to my friend, saying that I thought relationships were fun when I could just relax and be myself. I think he had no idea what I was talking about.

    HG has described the narcissist’s lack of interest in negotiation very well — if you negotiate with a narcissist, you have brought a knife to a gun fight.

    1. Caroline says:

      Excellent point: “the one who needs the relationship the least controls it the most.”

      It explains their efforts/self-control during an infatuation period as well… they seem to lose some degree of control there.

  7. Veronique Jones says:

    Question. If narcissist so sure of themselves especially like greater why don’t they take on another narcissist instead of victim like empaths. In the things that you write, to explain yourself for seeing empaths as weak and narcissists having the strength because they feel, I am being fuelled by a empathetic person wouldn’t it be more rewarding ? because it seems like you just saying I’m a bully and that’s okay because it’s me but if anybody says or does anything at all to even inadvertently make you feel attacked in anyway you can’t handle it , to me that’s a weakness . I seriously question how sure narcissists are or if they really are afraid and that’s why they do this , I know you’re never going to admit that because that would show weakness and compromise is out of the question however ii am still perplexed as to what you actually get out of it I assume Some sense of power but if you have to drag someone down to make yourself feel powerful How week are you really

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Most narcissists do not know what they are and nor do they recognise other narcissists at first, plus we are drawn to empathic individuals for all the reasons explained in the book Sitting Target. The modus operandi is not weak, it is about efficiency and effectiveness.

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