6 Toxic Arguing Techniques Used By Narcissists And Manipulators
Published in Jun 2019 / Updated in Oct 2021
It is practically impossible to have a normal and healthy discussion with a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath. But this is not to say that anyone without the capacity to participate in a logical argument has a deep character flaw plaguing them.
Nevertheless, normal people want the best out of arguments. But that's not the case with narcissists, who focus on winning, dominating, and attaining their own selfish goals, even if that comes at everyone else's expense.
Getting into an argument with these toxic types can be confusing, intimidating, shocking, and even frustrating. But you can avoid all this once you know a thing or two about these people based on how they argue.
1. Lying, Denying, And Changing Definitions
To a narcissist, an argument is a battle they have to win, not a means to resolve a crisis. That is why they will try to win the argument in any way possible with absolute disregard for the consequences it might have on you or the relationship.
This will include blatantly lying about what happened. They will also try to redefine some concepts in a way that favors them. They also try to minimize the issue in order to seem less guilty if the argument was about something they had done. Gaslighting is also not off the table for them.
2. Provocation, Bullying, And Intimidation
Since the narcissist's end goal is to dominate the argument and feel superior when it's all over, they will often employ underhanded techniques to get the upper hand. This will include aggressive behaviors like bullying, intimidation, and even provocation. Therefore, they will end up calling you names, yelling, making deliberate attempts to hurt you, threatening, lying, and twisting the stories so that you seem like the crazy one.
3. Arguing In Bad Faith
When regular people argue, there is usually a genuine attempt by both parties to hear each other out and to reach an amicable solution. Maybe this does not happen all the time because emotions can get a little out of hand, but in most cases, that's how arguments go down.
However, narcissists argue with bad faith that they have little regard for the concerns the other person has. They might even go out of their way to even misinterpret and misunderstand the other party, throwing in false accusations, deception, false accusations, and so forth just to ensure the argument goes their way.
4. Calling In Other Parties And Acting Out Revenge Fantasies
Narcissists have a grotesque lack of self-esteem, and their egos are very fragile. So, they will think you unfair if you stand up against them for their obnoxious behavior. When you challenge their false sense of superiority, they get very offended.
That is why they so desperately seek validation when in an argument with you by calling in other people to support them. They will even tell these people bad things about you. They might even try to manipulate you, slander your name, and do other things as a way of getting back at you for threatening their sense of superiority.
5. Fallacies, Nonsense, Word Salad
To their minds, narcissists are very good at arguing. But the reality is that they are terrible at it. They will employ techniques they barely know about, and all the while, they will think they are making sound arguments.
They can get so caught up in this that they might accuse you of being unreasonable and even get aggressive and too upset without realizing how incoherent and incapable they are as far as arguments go. They will utter meaningless words or nonsense. Some call it a "word salad."
6. Deflection, Attacks, And Projection
Narcissists often use deflection and attacks to get their way. When arguing, they will use these tactics to take your focus from the issue at hand. This will happen when you bring up an issue that makes them appear to be in the wrong. They will even accuse you of things you have not done or something they have done themselves. All these techniques are used concurrently so that you get overwhelmed and incapable of addressing the issue that started the argument in the first place.
Most normal people look forward to a win-win situation when they get into an argument. But for a narcissist, the ideal goal is a win-lose situation whereby they end up winning the argument. To do this, they have to bully, lie, project, humiliate, threaten, attack, insult, deflect, provoke, make false accusations, and twist the details beyond recognition.
If you don't know what is happening, you might get frustrated thinking that you just need to make your point clearer. But despite all your attempts to resolve the issue amicably, you will realize that you are dealing with someone who cannot be reasoned with and walk away from the whole affair because it will needlessly tire you out.