Why a narcissist likes to argue and what you can do about it.
It might seem that the narcissist’s default setting is to cause an argument, then manipulate and twist everything around onto you.
Their ability to start an argument is incredible. If you don’t know what they are, you’ll probably think they could happily start an argument in an empty room. They are not interested in an empty room. They are reliant on others to give them praise and attention, to make them feel better about themselves. If they can not get positive attention, then they’ll happily provoke negative attention. Just like positive attention, negative attention is still attention to them. They love provoking people’s emotions and getting reactions. That’s what drives them to get more of any attention.
They can easily cause an argument over anything, everything and simply nothing if they wish to do so when they feel that the attention is slipping away from them. They will manipulate it around through blame-shifting to the fact you caused the argument in the first place. Causing us upset, frustration, anger, and self-doubt
You may not like how they think or agree with how they think. As people with empathy, we also understand everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Yet, we believe people will take on board other people’s opinions. A narcissist cannot or will not do that.
When we understand more of why they argue, we are able to do more about it to help ourselves. We then find ourselves less confused and start being able to think straight again.
Believe in yourself the dark cloud the narcissist gives you or leaves you with can and will lift.
Why do they argue?
1. To provoke you. A narcissist will start an argument out of nowhere, just to get you to react, break your shell down and get emotional reactions from you. All they are after is your emotional response to the argument, so if you give no reaction, be prepared for them to step it up their games. Stay strong and do not react. Remember, by reacting. We’re giving them exactly what they want. When we react to them, we are giving our power to them, and by staying quiet, we are infuriating them. They are then trapped in their own paranoia, trying to work out ways to get us to react as they believe that they should be the centre of everyone’s attention.
What the arguments are about does not matter to a narcissist. It’s just their need to make us feel, angry, frustrated, fearful, or confuse us into doubting and blaming ourselves, so whatever we say back, they’re not interested in the words, only the attention and provoking our emotional reactions from within those words that they will use, the narcissist wants to gain our reactions to feeling better about themselves. Don’t argue back. They’re not actually listening to us. When we argue back, we are wasting our breath while they lap up the emotional responses they gain from us. When we react, the narcissist will, of course, blame us for the argument because of our responses. By simply not responding, we are taking their ability away from them to argue, and that hurts a narcissist. Therefore we get revenge without doing anything wrong. We’re just saving ourselves an argument. Sometimes with some people, the best response is no response, and it’s a powerful one. A narcissist will ignore us with those silent treatments to break down our boundaries, get their needs met, upset us and to get reactions from us. We ignore them so we can leave them in the past and move forward with our life.
2. To hurt us if they perceive, we have hurt them. If the narcissist feels like we have criticised them, they will happily start an argument. Even if we didn’t criticise them intentionally, they either give us the silent treatment, projection, rage, violence or a massive argument. To gain emotions from us, to make themselves feel better. We can avoid this by not criticising them in the first place. Unfortunately most of the time we actually haven’t criticised them. They have just assumed with their own insecurities and paranoia that we have. Don’t respond and if you feel the need to, make sure any response is short, to the point and emotionless. The narcissist might try harder to gain our reactions. We have to stick with our beliefs. Our reality stick to the boundaries of our own values, when the narcissist leaves that argument alone, they may try another tactic to get a rise out of you. Stick with no reaction. Narcissists can get bored easily.
3. To get Control. They argue to gain control over us and all situations around them, they know we prefer living in peace, we prefer to avoid conflict or drama, and we just want a happy, stable and calm life. They know the only way we think we can achieve this, which we never can with a narcissist as the more control they get, the more they want, the more they’ll up their games, and the more they’ll raise the bar. When we try to stop arguments occurring in the first place, walking on eggshells, giving up more and more of ourselves trying to please them, losing our boundaries, gradually giving them more control of us, our life and everything in it, so that they don’t cause an argument. The more we unwittingly give up on ourselves to please them, the more they’ll expect us to give up for them.
Narcissists cause arguments before we go out as they don’t want us going out with other people, as this means, our attention is not on them. It also means other people will get into our heads and explain different opinions about the situations we are in with the narcissist. They only want us to have their opinion. They don’t actually want to lose us as their main emotional response to them, as this takes time and energy away from them in finding and love bombing someone new. If they feel they’re losing control over us, they will find a replacement. They want to isolate us from friends and family, some of the time to confuse us more. Most will smear our name. They might not even argue about what we actually want to do. They’ll cause an argument about something entirely different.
5. To make you feel upset or frightened. So that we no longer feel like we want to go out. Slowly giving us anxiety. They might be more direct, and make an argument about the thing we want to do. Anything so we back down to keep the peace. They cause arguments as a method of intimidation to maintain control over us. By not responding, we are sending them a signal that this method of control is not effective, so carry on with your plans and do not react. They will use children in this by being late to pick up or drop off. Not collecting children on pre-arranged days. Asking to have them on days they’ve not got them. Just to control your life. Suppose you set routines and boundaries on access to when they see the children. So the children have stability and routine. Watch out because if your children are old enough and they know your children’s feelings are important to you, they will use the children to get to you. “ I was going to see you, but your other parent wouldn’t let me”. Just remind your children about routine and stability, they will grow to realise one day. Yes, people with compassion can swap and change plans around, without mind games, children will adapt to this. Sometimes stuff happens. But when the other parent is continually trying to alter when they do and don’t see the children. It’s just another method of manipulation to get to you. Stay strong and stick to the routine and boundaries. If it helps you stick to the routine. Remember the fact that you’ve not responded and stuck with your boundaries, this will hurt them, and you’ve had a victory.
6. To fill their Self-worth, so we lose ours and become dependent on them. They argue with us to maintain they are more powerful than us to keep their superiority over us. To make us feel worthless. The narcissist doesn’t have a sense of self-worth; they get their self-esteem by gaining power over those around them any way they can. By keeping us down, they believe and feel they are empowered, superior and better than us, giving them a false sense of self-worth.
7. Exhaustion. The narcissist’s ability to argue is endless while they are gaining emotional responses from us. They simply keep going to drain us, so eventually, we are so sick and tired that we give in. Even giving in to things that the argument wasn’t about. They will alter the argument until we conform, and once we have, they can start the argument again to get us to agree or do another thing for them. By keeping an argument going, they are grinding us down and exhausting us. This method is excellent to them in making us more forgetful so they can gaslight far easier. We are less able to cope in day-to-day life and let down our defence. We don’t want to fight back, and we unwittingly give in fawning to at the narcissist. This just helps the narcissist to manipulate us even more.
To help yourself in this, recognise why they are causing the argument and do not respond in any way. Stick to your rules and your boundaries for your own sanity and self-worth.
During devaluation, they believe you do not know what they are, and during the relationship, they have slowly and carefully upped your emotional response to them. So they know you can not help yourself and you react. You’re own desire to get them to accept your version of events and your reality. You want to defend yourself. You want them to see sense, they are not interested in any outcome, only your emotional response so they can maintain their power and authority over you. It is just trapping you into their minds and doing exactly what they want you to do by reacting, do not let them know you know what they are. Read all the info you can on them, so you know how best to handle situations and do not react. In any argument do not try to have the last word as the narcissist knows you’ll try to do that because they know you feel like you’ve not been heard and you’re right you haven’t. They are just enjoying the emotional response and manipulation.
Although you will really want to respond and end an argument, don’t. They are not interested in winning the argument, they just want your reaction. For You to give your power to them, for you to give in. The best way to win an argument with a narcissist is just not to play, not responding in any way shape or form.
If you really think you need to, retreat, rethink and only respond if you need to. State your point once and once only, and they will try to keep you going, they’ll try to twist the conversation.
Why narcissists always think they are right.
Stop explaining to the narcissist.
Click the links below to join, Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.
2 thoughts on “Why Do Narcissists like to Argue? What They Mean And How To Help Yourself.”
I’ve learned shutting down the conversation works best (“I’m not going to talk to you about this” & walking away).
Also, do want you intended to do, don’t lose a step. Make yourself happy.
Another good response if they’re complaining, calmly saying: “Can’t help it” look away and say nothing more.
I know some will say that’s sandbagging and unfair, but you can’t ‘fight fair’ with a narcissist. You will lose if you try. I know. I used to.
So true. The only way to fight with a narcissist is cut off their supply and walk the other way. Thank you for sharing great advice.