Fuel, Fight or Flight

FUELFIGHTOR FLIGHT?

When you engage with our kind, you can expect one of three responses from us. Whether you are a primary source, secondary source or tertiary source, the way you interact with us will generate one of three reactions from us. This is because those responses are designed, engineered and geared around providing for our needs or preserving our position. There are, as you will read, sub-divisions within those reactions, but there are three broad responses which are applicable to every kind of involvement you have with our kind. Various factors influence which outcome it will be, but it will be one of these three.

Fuel

The most common interaction between us, is one of fuel. If you greet me warmly with a smile and your tone is welcoming, you are providing me with positive fuel. A waitress smiles as she passes me my drink, that is positive fuel. If a colleague congratulates me on a success with a particular client then that is positive fuel. Applause from assembled colleagues provides yet more positive fuel. The way you speak, what you say, how you express yourself and what you do all amounts to fuel. Whether you are a remote stranger interacting with me through the internet, a proximate stranger in a bar who I have started talking to, a long-standing inner circle friend, a family member or my girlfriend. All of you are appliances and your positive interactions – praise, love, admiration, joy, happiness, congratulation, adoration, caring – are all forms of positive fuel. You readily provide them and we regularly act in various ways, some subtle and others not, that provoke you to give us this positive fuel.

There is also negative fuel. Thus if I insult a stranger and he tells me angrily to go boil my head, then that is negative fuel. I may just lap that up from him as I stroll down the road, edified by this dollop of fuel. I may criticise a colleague on his performance so he sulkily defends himself. More fuel. I may ignore a friend’s telephone calls so his repeated texts asking what is wrong gives me more fuel. I may call you names so you cry and thus I gain fuel. Whether it is hatred, jealousy, anger, pain, fear, envy, irritation, annoyance, misery and so forth, these are all negative emotions and thus negative fuel.

As you know from the Prime Aims, fuel is the most important aim that we wish to secure from you.

Most people can grasp why we would want positive fuel from our appliances. After all, who does not want to be loved and admired? Sure, some people may want it more than others, but everybody likes to be well thought of don’t they?

People struggle to understand why we want negative fuel. I have explained before that it is about creating a contrast and also because negative fuel is more powerful because people are more inclined to be pleasant and provide positive fuel (especially those who we target in the empathic group) and therefore it underlines our power when we can draw negative fuel from somebody. Of course, other than tertiary sources, we do not look to draw negative fuel straight away from a primary source or secondary source as if this is done before they are embedded then we will lose them. The positive has to come first.

Often one major revelation for our victims is that we want both positive and negative fuel. They understand why we would want to be admired, adored and loved, but why would we want to be insulted, have somebody angry with us, somebody attacking us in a petulant manner. We do because it is negative fuel BUT this leads to the second category concerning our reactions.

Fight

This is where there is a sub-division when we decide that we are going to fight.

Fight – Challenge

Where we decide to engage you and in effect ‘fight’ we do this because you have challenged us. There are two crucial components behind this decision. Firstly fuel provisionand secondly exerting control.

Let us take for example that you react angrily to the fact that we have walked in at midnight smelling of drink when we had promised to take you out. Your angry response is negative fuel and is the fuel provision. Although you may be calling us names and thus an ordinary bystander would regard this as criticism, it is not wounding criticism because the name calling and the savage words are wrapped up in fuel.

We might just accept this negative fuel, push past you and head for bed. More usually however we consider this to be a challenge.

You are giving us fuel which is what we want but we want more. We can readily tell there is more to be obtained and therefore we know that if we argue back,  unleash our manipulations and so forth we can provoke you to give us more fuel. This is an instinctive response on our part. Thus we are maximising the fuel provision.

Secondly, although we are not wounded because your critical comments are bound up in fuel, you are still challenging us and this cannot be allowed. We must have the upper hand, we must be in control and therefore we see this as an opportunity to not only gain more fuel from you but to exert control over you. Thus, we strike back.

Accordingly, if having read my work you wonder why on earth we respond in such a fashion that looks like our fury has been ignited, but you know it could not be because your comments are fuel, the reason we fight back and argue, lash out etc is because this is a way of gaining more fuel and also exerting control.

Fight – Fury

The other sub division of the fight category is where you have ignited our fury and we decide to unleash fury against you.

If you have wounded us through criticism (which is fuel free) this will usually (unless control can be exerted) cause the ignition of our churning fury. Your criticism might come from words but more usually it is from actions which wound us in some way. This wound has to be addressed and the usual way is for the ignition of fury.

Fury, when ignited is either heated (shouting, physical assaults, sexual violence, breaking things, name calling, issuing threats) or cold fury (sulking, silent treatments, cold shouldering, glaring).

In either instance the heated fury or cold fury is an instinctive fight response to what you have done, namely you have wounded us. This response is designed to draw fuel from you (which heals the wound) and also to exert control over you again by stopping your criticism of us and forcing you to give us fuel instead.

Thus, it is similar to the sub division above but it is different because it is caused by wounding, rather than the instinctive knowledge that more fuel can be obtained and control exerted through a fight challenge.

Flight

The third category is one whereby we withdraw.

This is not a silent treatment (although this may follow). Instead it occurs in situations where we have been exposed to ourselves, to others or criticised so that we are wounded. We may well have had our fury ignited but it has failed to draw fuel and instead you keep wounding us. In such circumstances we have no choice but to dis-engage, withdraw and seek fuel elsewhere to heal the wound, thus avoiding your failure to give us fuel and your repeated wounding.

Accordingly, when you deal with us you either.

1 Give us fuel

2a. Give us fuel but we fight back to gain more fuel and exert control ; or

2b. Our fury is ignited and we fight back to gain fuel and exert control

3. We withdraw – flight.

By way of example, suppose a tertiary source bumps into us on the street and immediately apologises. That is fuel. We may accept the fuel and that is the end of the interaction.

We may decide that this person should be taught a lesson and we can get more fuel from them so we fight back and call them an arsehole for not looking where they are going. This annoys them because they apologised to us. They respond angrily and thus give us more fuel. We keep arguing with them in order to provoke them.

If a person bumped into us and did not apologise, we would regard this as a criticism. This would wound us and therefore there is a risk of our fury igniting. If it does (subject to the control threshold of the relevant narcissist) then we lash out at them telling them they are a sleep walking turd in order to cause them to give us fuel either by being upset at our tirade, or to apologise or for them to argue back at us because we have insulted them. We gain fuel and this is drawn until the wound heals.

By way of a further example, the IPPS tells us how wonderful we are. This is positive fuel which we accept.

If the IPPS accuses us of having an affair and if they do so in an upset manner, we gain fuel. We will most likely see this as a challenge – there is more fuel to be gained here AND they are telling us what we can and cannot do, so we need to assert control. We will insult them telling them that it is no wonder we speak to other women because the IPPS is frigid. This causes further upset, generates more fuel and also allows us to exert our control.

If the IPPS fails to give us our birthday present early enough on our birthday, we feel criticised. Our fury ignites and we lash out through cold fury or heated fury to gain fuel from the IPPS for the purposes of healing our wound and at the same time this also ensures we demonstrate who is in charge and thus we exert control.

Accordingly, in all your interactions with our kind be aware that what is happening is that you are either giving us fuel, there is a fight challenge or fight fury or we flee. Being aware of these responses provides you with understanding and also enables you to marshal your responses accordingly.

 

 

 

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68 thoughts on “Fuel, Fight or Flight”

  1. I was in the store the other day. A total loser jumped ahead in line when another register opened up and people were calling him out. He then (if I understand correctly) badgered other patrons on with verbal insults/inviting people to get physical. He was seeking fuel to fix the wounding by being insulted wasn’t he? He was clearly a degenerate piece of shit–a visual spectacle of sorts! I noticed there was zero response from the two women in his company–why–it was business as usual. They are quite funny to watch.

  2. Hi HG 😊 my friend has a Narc Husband. If I should ever come face to face with him should I give fuel? (My Nex Husband used to LOVE when I spent time with friends who he thought were “on his side”) so therefore should I make him think this? 🤔 I want to support my friend, who will not leave the Narc due to finances and because he threatened the kids etc. 😭
    Thank you 🙏💜

    1. You can provide positive fuel pending assisting your friend escaping, since you are just a NISS to him and therefore unlikely to suffer any adverse consequence, but ultimately, once she escapes then your fuel provision halts also.

      1. Exactly what I was thinking HG!! Thank You so much. You are amazing. As you know 🙄 😆💕💕💕

  3. Jenna: Although he would never admit it, Turdor and I are often in intellectual stalemate with each other. If he were an idiot, I would not waste my time posting on his site or discussing anything at all with him. Although I often disagree with him on some of the finer points of narcissism, he has a quality site that is full of intelligent answers for empaths hunting answers. I give the devil his due. The issue of whether or not to mirror and attack with unemotional truth is an example of said stalemate. His narcissism can’t allow someone else to make a logical point that is both valid and contradictory to his own. That’s just narcissists and thus only a stalemate can happen…for now. 😎

    1. Nice try. Your emotional thinking repeatedly clouds your judgment and hijacks your Narcissistic trait of pride by failing to see that your statements breach logic. There is no intellectual stalemate. You are of course entitled to disagree, but you are incorrect. I made several cogent points in terms of advantage v disadvantage with regard to your advocated approach and the correct approach and you failed to address them. I do recognise you approach the discussion in a respectful manner and that’s appreciated. What you ought to understand is that you are discussing your situation and behaviour thus you lack objectivity and there is further the impact of ET. I am commenting on your situation and do so outside of it thus I do so objectively and dispassionately. Your observations are incorrect and problematic and therefore it is axiomatic that I point this out to ensure readers do not embark on similarly problematic courses of action.

  4. Jenna, if I may: Essentially, you are correct. His kind (especially greaters) like such discussions as this with their primary source, “as long as they can “win” the discussion. “Yes” women would bore them, not enough “quality” fuel. It’s like this…If a very smart person tells a narc that they are a genius, it means much more to them than when a dumb person says, “gee, I think you are so smart.”
    quality

      1. For a narcissist? In your language…”win” is to gather the Prime Aims you must have for your survival. 😘

          1. Oh let me count the ways!!! Exactly how it would manifest somewhat would depend on what stage the relationship was in. “Seduction” “Calm Before the Storm” or “Devaluation.” Attention, negative/positive emotions and challenge fuel are a given. Rising to meet the challenge gives way to edifying their sense of superiority, grandiosity, etc. They can pick up character traits, genuine admiration and flex their manipulative muscles. There are a numberless amount of “Prime Aims” that a narcissist could/would get from a primary source in the throws of an intellectual back and forth discussion. Intellectual debate for an empath is full of passion! But then, you already know that. The world runs on the passions of the empaths. It would collapse without us cause narcissists would devour each other without our ocean of emotions and passion filled endeavors!!! 😎

    1. Hi Itdepends,

      I agree with what you have written. I myself am too scared to go into any back and forths with Hg. I did so a few years ago if I remember correctly, and it was scary for me lol. I am a yes person – very boring for hg. But I love teasing him!

      1. You don’t have to go to war to have fun. Do what makes you happy Jenna! We can both love what we do. That’s the entire point of life. Be happy!!!

        1. Hi ItDepends,

          Haha thanks! Just to clarify, I agree with your comment that begins with “Jenna, if I may…”

          I do not agree with your other comment which begins with “Jenna, although he would never admit it…” because narcs are very dangerous. It is very dangerous to mirror them. We have emotions after all, and no matter what, they will manipulate us. That is my opinion and you are entitled to yours of course!

          Just please be careful ItDepends. I don’t want you to get hurt. Anyways, I enjoyed your strength and courage to have a back and forth with HG, something I will never do again! Haha!

  5. Replying to Twilight: You save empaths by educating them and sometimes assist them with relocating, when they are ready for the final breakaway.

    1. It Depends

      In what ways do you assist?
      In what ways do you deal with the narcissist?
      How do YOU play this game with them (narcissist)?
      How do you break the trauma bonds?
      Do you manipulate situations?

      1. Twilight: I am currently on a road trip and will try to answer in better detail later. The trauma bond, once forged, is never completely broken. This is why “no contact” between a “primary source” and their abuser is so VERY important. (Not scared of my former abusers but I know to stay far away.). “Mostly” breaking the bond is about getting the victim to understand that “they are being abused.” They do not initially see that simple fact. Teaching them about narcissism, lots of patience and gently guiding people into self-discovery is the best method I have found to assist other empaths. There are many other ways that I “play this game” with them, I’ll explain “some” of them later, the list would be endless and is only constrained by how creative a person can be. Yes, I manipulate situations. I am harmless as a butterfly. I use my mind to manipulate people and situations in order to help empaths who are trapped by abusers. (Example of mirroring). Narcs are “fooled” into relationships (not romantic) with me. I am not insincere with my emotion filled attention. If someone’s cologne is outstanding, I tell them. If I find them charming and witty, I tell them. The only deception on my part is hiding that I know what they are and how much they enjoy emotion filled attention, “fuel.” (I deal mostly with mid-rangers) They are generally too busy slurping my fuel to notice I am helping their victim escape. Till the end, that is but by then… It’s too late and we are gone like the wind!

          1. Someone once aided my escape. I get better with practice but my mentor taught me…I can’t save everyone.

          2. It Depends

            “e…I can’t save everyone.”
            Emotional thinking is that you can save someone….you can’t save anyone,they have to save themselves. They have to accept what is going on, they have to overcome their emotional thinking, they have to do the work. You do nothing, yes you may provide materials so the have knowledge to what is happening, your not saving them. They are saving themselves. You can provide a safe passage and transportation, that is not saving them only giving them a path to which they must chose to take.

            There is nothing anyone can do to save another, to think you are is emotional thinking conning you to believe a lie that you hold that much influence over another.

          3. Twilight: While I consider this a somewhat pointless argument in semantics, I will attempt to clarify. You are correct, a person must make their own choice to leave an abuser, no one can do it for them. I am simply a facilitator or knowledge and resources such as money and networks. I attempt to help people who need help. One of the definitions of the word “save,” is “to rescue from harm or danger.” While they must choose to remove themselves from harm’s way, some need knowledge and/or resources in order to make that decision and/or carry out that decision. Take it however you wish. No one that I’ve ever helped has ever told me that they wished I did something different than what I do. And so, I continue to do as I do…with no regrets.

          4. It Depends

            I didn’t say what you did wasn’t right, only stating my opinion that to say you save people is emotional thinking. You believe you control situations with narcissists when in fact you do not.

            I am curious do you know which school of empath you are?

          5. Twilight: My “lack of control” in situations involving narcissists is your opinion. You are entitled to it but understand, mine differs. It is quite amazing to me, just how much control I do wield in said situations simply because I “know” what I am, what they are, how their “fuel” needs dictate their behaviors and how they use their fuel/fury matrix both offensively and defensively. Yes, I know what school of empath I am. I have several passions in my life. Some of my favorites are Latin, language etymology, law, verifiable history, puzzle pieces of truth and the study of human behaviors. In essence, I study my kind as much as I study narcissists.

  6. Hello, H.G. Tudor.
    This post is one of the ones I liked the most. Because, it is very well explained, and for me it was easy to understand. Really everything or almost everything he writes is really good, but articles like this one are really brilliant and enlightening. You could say it’s the ABC of narcissism. From my point of view this article and some others should be part of the crown jewels. This is Diamonds Cullinan I or better known as Star of Africa from the narcissistic scepter. Simply dazzling. I liked it so much that I couldn’t stop reading and rereading it.

  7. I finally get why he does what he does i think. Right now he ignores my existence for the most part, but claims I imagine that. I am just needy. So I stop requesting his time in hopes he will spend time with me. He may but briefly, say 1 hour or so here and there. If i get upset that the neglect continues, he will tell me that he doesn’t spend time with because all i so is tell him he is doing things wrong. referencing the neglect complaint. he has lost it a couple of times, but only after i matched him by either not reacting with feeling, or launching similar attacks of to his character as he is mine. such as telling him he is lazy too. he got his business handed to him he did not earn it. etc. he broke things on those occasions. So now, i do not make that mistake. What i am left with is, if I say anything about the neglect he storms out and extends the amount of time i go before he spends time with me again. Even if i do not say anything he goes on in much the same way but he will pop in for a few minutes to an hour and pop back out. if i keep quiet he will suddenly just not pop in or speak to me. which results in me being upset and the cycle begins again.

  8. I have never understood this article, no matter how many times I read it. I find it too difficult to grasp. Hg, does 2b and 3 involve no fuel? Why is it that the mmrn used to say ‘stop’? I thought maybe some don’t like challenge fuel. But you told us in comments recently that they all like challenge fuel.

    1. When Challenge Fuel is issued, the fuel is received but the Challenge must be halted. This is achieved sometimes through arguing, insulting, word salad, blameshifting and/or other manipulations. Those manipulations continue the interaction until the victim backs down. Sometimes the narcissist asserts superiority to end the Challenge by a silent treatment or demanding an end on the part of the victim, e.g. saying stop. That is not a reaction to the fuel but a reaction to the need to assert superiority to halt the challenge.

      1. Thanks HG! I get so excited when I see a reply from you in my inbox. But I am still wondering why the mmrn would rather halt the challenge than gaining more fuel from it in the form of arguing, insulting, word salad, blameshifting etc? He would halt it before any argument even started, like right after my very first or 2nd argumentative statement. It was so hard to not be able to voice my views.

          1. Oh I see. Thank you. So 1 or 2 sentences is enough to halt the argument? Is this dependent on how well fuelled he already is and what’s in the fuel matrix at that moment?

    1. The funny part is when you learn to mirror them. First you “hoover” them, then “wound them with simple and logical truth with no emotions. Then, watch in delightful glee as they run for the hills and hide! So funny!!! 😂

      1. No. Your ET is conning you into thinking you are ‘winning’ by doing this. You are not, you are being duped into maintaining the engagement and you often are not wounding but you are providing Challenge Fuel.

        1. I will concede you are partially correct. Sometimes I accidentally provide challenge fuel when I am intending to deliver unemotional truth. “Ya win some, ya lose some.” It’s a learning curve and I am daily trying to improve my understanding and tactics. You are incorrect in your assumption that I am being “duped.” By definition , it implies I am being deceived or tricked into maintaining my engagements with the narcissists in my life. It is a willful choice, for specific purposes, not deception. I know how to spot them, some taking more time than others but I’m a fast learner. You enjoy ensnaring. I enjoy destroying cages and traps. 😜😛😜. Not sure I can “win” but I do enjoy an interesting chess game.

          1. No, you remain duped. You think you are making a wilful choice but that is the loss of insight. Logic is straight forward – do not engage in any form, once you know, you go. Any form of engagement is contrary to your interests. By maintaining that there is a cogent reason for continuing to have such an engagement demonstrates a loss of insight through emotional thinking – res ipsa loquitur.

        2. Hmm, both law and latin. I despise the fact that you impress me at times. Regardless, there is no negligence if a person knowingly and intently allows themselves to be placed in a dangerous situation. Think skydiving. You seem, though not really, to forget your own sermons. You and I, are different creatures. “Your” logic is straight forward, “do not engage.” I could not save near as many empaths as I have, with this approach. “My” logic is also straight forward. Interact with logic, informed intelligence and caution, for the shortest amount of time necessary to bring about a specific response. You can shout my ignorance from the house-tops but those of us in the trenches who are no longer afraid to go to war with your kind, in order to save our kind, know that telling “all” empaths to run away in fear, is simply put, your flawed logic from our point of view. I have no doubt you’d love to see all empaths cowering in the corners but today, at least, your wish will not be granted. Courage. Condicio sine qua non.

          1. The problem is you are not willingly placing yourself in a dangerous situation, you think it is not dangerous because of the blinding effect of your emotional thinking, thus volenti non fit injuria is not applicable.

            Your response evidence the effect of the emotional thinking. It breaches the first golden rule of freedom, your approach is

            1. Seeking to control, that which cannot be controlled;
            2. Exposing yourself to potential further abuse (because you do not have control) ; and
            3. Maintaining your emotional thinking leading to the risk of further blinded interaction and thus a repetition.
            4. At best you will give Challenge Fuel therefore providing fuel (which the narcissist wants)
            5. Yes, you may feel some satisfaction at your action but this
            (a) Is a feeling designed by your ET to keep going with this incorrect action; and
            (b) Is not worth 1-4.

            You think you are in control, but you are not, why – because your very proposed behaviour demonstrates you are not as I stated res ipsa loquitur – the thing speaks for itself.

            If you obeyed No Contact then, in contrast to the outcome proposed by your course of action

            1. You are controlling yourself, something you can control;
            2. You do not seek to control the narcissist who cannot be controlled;
            3. You remove the risk of further abuse;
            4. You reduce your ET owing to non-engagement.

            All of this should be sought. Yes, you lose that potential for some small degree of satisfaction, but that loss is heavily outweighed by the gains of 1-4.

            I state this for the benefit of readers, because it is clear your ET has blinded you at present and therefore it will

            1. Keep on rejecting what I am explaining because it will corrupt your narcissistic sense of pride whereby you will not want to back down in the face of my logic; and
            2. Keep on rejecting what I am epxlaining because it will corrupt your empathic trait of justice to cause you to believe your attacking method is better.

            I have recognised this approach in a victim numerous times and all that can be done is to state the logical position for the benefit of those reading and leave it there for you to revisist should you reduce your ET through a sustained period of no contact. I need nto add anything further.

          2. HG,

            “1. You are controlling yourself, something you can control;
            2. You do not seek to control the narcissist who cannot be controlled;
            3. You remove the risk of further abuse;
            4. You reduce your ET owing to non-engagement.”

            Thank-you for laying it out straight for us.

          3. It Depends,

            “I have no doubt you’d love to see all empaths cowering in the corners but today, at least, your wish will not be granted.”

            It is *so* not about cowering.

          4. Wrong. Volenti non fit injuria is most certainly applicable. I have no one to blame but myself. I am in full knowledge that what I do is very dangerous and can result in harm. I have been on the receiving end of narcissistic malice more than once. It can hurt at times but I ain’t dead yet and I won’t stop fighting until I am. All of your logic, clear, concise and straight forward as it is (and great advice for many) is not applicable in all situations. It instructs all empaths to always play in defense mode. Some of us prefer a mix of offense and defense. And you are very correct about my narcissistic sense of pride, a gift from my angelic grandmother. If I think my cause is right, there is no back-down in me. Let the readers choose for themselves, whose logic they prefer. Regardless, I appreciate your willingness to let both sides be heard.

          5. Hg (and ItDepends),

            Hg,

            It Depends is quite adamant on her views. I am wondering if this is the kind of exchange you enjoy in your personal life with a super empath? Not about narcissism of course, but about any topic. You’ve stated many times that the super empath is your favorite empath because you like to ‘bring her to heel’? Do you enjoy such back and forth? Or do you prefer someone who just listens and says ‘yes sir’?
            Btw, I really like being back and being able to join the conversations here and being able to talk to you. Thank you for making that available to us (to the alumni lol).

          6. I enjoy robust debate about politics, literature, economics, sport, film, history etc. This kind of back and forth I halt because I’ve stated the correct position and all the responses do is affirm what I’ve explained so it’s a waste of my time to keep responding as it’s unnecessary.

          7. That makes perfect sense hg.

            “I enjoy robust debate about politics, literature, economics, sport, film, history etc.”
            Such an intellectual you are! I would say maybe even a little nerdy?! Just teasing you!

          8. Glasses at the tip of the nose can look very distinguished. Paired with the gloves made out of empath skin (that you talked about some time back)- perfect accessories for a great ootd (outfit of the day). Lol still bugging you!

      2. Hi It Depends,
        Re “The funny part is when you learn to mirror them”
        Please see HG’s article “Never Mirror The Narcissist”.

        1. I have it memorized. It proves he doesn’t know everything but it IS an interesting article!!!

          1. Hi It Depends,
            Who did you mean?
            About mirroring, narcissists observe our body language (and not only what we say) to identify emotions and get fuel from it. They can be very subtle but they can also become emotional to provoke another emotional reaction. *Mirroring the narcissist’s emotional behaviour* is providing him/her with fuel. This is what they want to achieve. They feel powerful because they can control us.

  9. A good read HG. It’s a bit much to understand and I can see why most therapists/helping professionals are inept—the information is so specific and there is so much of it that one possibly wouldn’t delve into it like your readers. I think the truth seeking straits compel my thirst for understanding and it’s also lifeblood at this juncture because I have many more years of being in a state of “quasi no contact” due to having children. Frankly your work has me professionally much more grounded as well because many of my interactions are with narcissists of the anti-social variety. (Most have been incarcerated for non white collar crimes..)

      1. Yes in my work—inner city emergency department with a very high crime rate. Shootings/assaults/stabbings/etc. It in a way was to my detriment—I wasn’t “like them” you see.. My husband wasn’t physical. It allowed me to be oblivious to how much I was suffering. “I was too good for that.” Talk about humility and a great sadness..

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