If you’ve ever been caught in a situation where you were argued down to believe that your hobbies are a waste of time or, the way you plan your vacation is irrational or, your dressing sense could put a crow to shame or, or that the Earth is in fact, flat and thank God for holding Galileo on house arrest till his demise, or he may have fallen off the edge of the Earth. You may have met a typically argumentative narcissist already.
So, why do narcissists like to argue?
Most of the time, the substance has nothing to do with it. It is, instead, an assortment of motives that are aimed at polishing certain behavioral distortions, giving narcs a high that could put methamphetamines to shame.
If you are in constant contact with a certified narc and are tolerating their belligerent excesses on a daily basis, put everything down and get enlightened about why they are ever ready to argue you down to tears. At the end of it, you will go to bed in peace, knowing that it never had anything to do with you!
Table of Contents
Why Do Narcissists Like To Argue?
They need to be right; they crave external validation all the time.
‘Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the fairest of us all.”
Narcissists Need Validation
Narcissists need validation all the time, and they will do anything it takes to get validated, even if it requires dragging you into a meaningless argument. They are hard-wired to rest only when you accept defeat and tell them that they are right. Your validation feeds their ego, which further inflates their self-image.
Without external validation, they shrink like a leech that is left unfed for weeks. When validated and appreciated every passing hour, they flourish like how the unfed leech grows 100 times its size on gaining access to nutrition from the arteries of a prospective host.
To Be In The Illusion Of Control
Narcissists are masters in manipulating and gaslighting. And they use arguments as tools to control how you think, how you feel, how you behave, and how you act, wholly and solely to fit their interests. The idea is to feel superior and validated at your expense. And when you refuse to bow to their dictates on how you should feel, think, believe, and act, they feel free to argue you down to enervation.
Narcissistic arguments are gateways for severe emotional and mental abuse. Survivors usually take a very long to recover from stress, trauma, scarred self-image, depleted confidence, and depression after being exposed to constant narcissistic arguments for a considerable period of time.
To Shift Blame
‘You started the fight’; ‘I wouldn’t have smashed the vase had you not infuriated me,’ ‘I wasn’t bullying! It was only a Joke! Why are you so sensitive?‘
Why do narcissists like to argue? Most of the time, it is for the sake of shifting blame.
Having created a false and brittle self-image of impeccability topped with a cruelly critical inner voice, they dread admitting, leave alone taking responsibility for their actions because that would put them in a kind of shame and guilt-ridden downward spiral. This could further push them into months of depression, self-alienation, and even self-harm.
On being interviewed anonymously, most people with NPD expressed that they couldn’t face themselves in the mirror after taking responsibility for their actions.
Therefore, they tend to argue relentlessly till the time they make you admit it was all your fault and free themselves from the sense of guilt.
To Get Even With You For No Reason
If there was a time long ago when you may have knowingly or accidentally ticked off a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) for some otherwise excusable reason, and they did not get a chance to get even with you, they will grab the very next opportunity to make you pay by drawing you into an argument with the sole purpose of making you swallow your words. They won’t stop till their target is achieved.
To Gain Attention
Starting an unnecessary argument on a flimsy pretext is often a tool that narcissists use to gain attention.
For them, it is an opportunity to magnify the aptness of their views and glorify their opinions while openly discounting the thoughts of others on the same topic.
This is yet another tool to gain validation and revel in their false sense of superiority.
To Win The Battle Of Ego
For people with NPD, winning arguments is just as satiating as winning a trophy that helps them keep their otherwise fragile ego intact.
Being absolutely unreasonable in such arguments is a uniform trait among this group of behaviorally challenged lot, as they wouldn’t even think twice before hurling abuses, hitting, destroying property, dishing out threats, and silent treatments to make you kneel before their ego.
How to Handle An Argumentative Narcissist?
Having fairly answered why do narcissists like to argue, let’s take a look at how to handle an argumentative narcissist, especially if it is someone in close contact with you.
Do Not Engage
‘The thrill is in your reaction… that’s exactly what narcissists crave.’ They want you to scream, cry, fawn, or display any emotion of the sort that brings out your weaker and malleable side.
This is one of the key reasons why narcissists like to argue. Don’t give them what they are seeking.
Smile, wish them a good day, turn around, and walk away like they don’t even exist. They will get the point.
Sometimes, you got to show people the mirror. Be empathetic, but make sure you tell them clearly that you don’t want to participate in any argument that is unreasonable, unnecessary, and unrewarding.
Let them know that there is a difference between arguments and communication. If there is a real issue, it can be solved with proper communication and not manipulative emotional dramas.
Be A Counter-Narcissist
Ask questions like, ‘Why are you doing this’? Are you looking for drama and attention? I’m sorry, you won’t get it from me. I’m not falling into this trap.‘ Say and disappear.
They may not talk to you for days, spread rumors about you being a narcissist, cold-shoulder you stay strong, don’t respond. If the person is behaving this way with you, be rest assured that they have behaved the same with others as well. Given their own reputation, not many would believe their lies anyway.
Being around an argumentative narcissist can leave you questioning your reality, credibility, self-image, and, most of all, mental faculties. Given that you’re as human as any other human on Earth, you need love, care, attention, and understanding too.
You cannot be bullied to be perpetually empathetic towards an individual who feels that it’s their birthright to feed off your genuine care.
Therefore, set strict boundaries. If that doesn’t work, avoid them, ghost them, block them on social media do anything that keeps them miles away from you. You’ve helped enough. Now it’s time to take care of yourself.
Reconsider The Relationship
Dealing with a clinical narcissist on a day-to-day basis can be mentally, psychologically, and physically taxing.
You may empathize with your partner for the emotional abuse they may have encountered, especially while growing up, which eventually made them what they are now, but there’s a limit to how much you can parent a grown-up, oversee red flags, and tolerate narcissistic abuse in the name of empathy.
People enter into relationships to get as much love, happiness, understanding, and contentment as they give to their partners or, maybe, a fraction of it if they are not receiving what is rightfully due to your leave.
Narcissists are often a victim of the circumstances they grew up in. Top behavioral therapists and psychologists assert that in an alarming percentage of studied cases, people with NPD may have faced serious mental / emotional trauma, blame, and punishments on a day-to-day basis from adults that may have done better with some psychological assistance themselves.
Why do narcissists like to argue? Deep down inside, the child in them is trying to protect their self-image, confidence, and happiness from being brutally run over by existing external situations.
They thus always have their guard up. Diving into the mind of a clinical narcissist and seeing what they saw and feeling what they felt may leave your heart broken for days.
But you need to protect yourself too. Therefore, while distancing yourself from people with NPD and their insatiable arguments, try not to nurture any ill feelings for them. If they do come to you eventually with an apology, accept and embrace them. Don’t forget to create boundaries, though.
Have you ever been exposed to narcissistic arguments? Do let us know how you dealt with it. We are always eager to learn and grow.