Narcissist Circular Argument
Narcissist Circular Argument

Narcissistic manipulation can be a harrowing experience, leaving individuals feeling trapped in a never-ending cycle of conflict and confusion. One conversational tactic deployed is the narcissist circular argument. This communication trick is a poignant reminder of the toxic dynamics that can unfold when dealing with someone who exhibits narcissistic traits.

In this article, we will delve deep into the world of narcissistic manipulation, focusing specifically on the circular arguments employed by individuals with narcissistic tendencies. We’ll explore what these arguments entail, how they function, and most importantly, how to break free from their manipulative grip.

Join us on this journey as we unravel the intricacies of narcissism and learn to navigate these challenging interactions with compassion and resilience.

Understanding Narcissistic Manipulation

Navigating a relationship with a narcissist can feel like traversing a complex minefield. To understand how to break a narcissist circular argument, we first need to understand the nature of narcissism itself and how manipulative behaviors are intricately woven within it.

Defining Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Narcissism is a personality trait characterized by an excessive focus on one’s self, a constant need for admiration, and a noticeable lack of empathy for others. While narcissism can manifest in various degrees and may not necessarily indicate the presence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), it becomes more concerning when these traits become deeply ingrained and pervasive. Individuals with NPD often display a range of manipulative behaviors that can significantly impact their relationships.

How Narcissists Manipulate Others

Narcissists have an extensive toolkit of manipulative tactics at their disposal, which they use to maintain control over those around them. These tactics can leave their victims feeling helpless, bewildered, and emotionally drained. Let’s explore some of the key methods narcissists employ:


Gaslighting is a manipulation technique where the narcissist attempts to make their victim doubt their own perceptions and reality. They may deny past actions or statements, making the victim question their memory and judgment. This can leave the victim feeling confused and even doubting their sanity.


Blame-shifting is a common tactic where the narcissist deflects responsibility for their actions onto others. They refuse to acknowledge their mistakes and instead point fingers at their victims. This can lead to feelings of guilt and self-doubt in the victim.

Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation involves playing with the victim’s emotions to gain an upper hand in the relationship. Narcissists may use guilt-tripping, tantrums, or dramatic displays of emotion to control and manipulate others.

Circular Arguments

Our main focus in this article, circular arguments, are conversations that go in endless circles without reaching any resolution. They often involve repetitive themes, shifting blame, and the narcissist’s refusal to accept responsibility for their actions. Circular arguments can be incredibly frustrating and confusing for the victim, trapping them in a never-ending cycle of conflict. We’ll explore these arguments in more detail in the following sections.


Projecting is another manipulative tactic where narcissists attribute their own negative traits or behaviors to others. For example, if a narcissist is controlling, they may accuse their partner of being controlling instead.


Triangulation involves bringing a third party into a conflict to divert attention or create jealousy. Narcissists might seek validation from others or use this tactic to manipulate emotions within the relationship.

Playing the Victim

Playing the victim is a tactic where the narcissist portrays themselves as the suffering party, even when they’re responsible for the conflict. They garner sympathy and deflect blame by emphasizing their supposed victimhood.

Understanding these manipulative tactics is the first step in breaking free from the narcissist’s hold and restoring healthier dynamics to the relationship.

Understanding Narcissist Circular Arguments

Now that we’ve established a foundation for comprehending narcissistic manipulation, let’s delve deeper into the heart of the matter – narcissist circular arguments. Understanding what these arguments entail and how they function is essential to navigating the complex web of narcissistic behavior.

What is a Circular Argument?

A circular argument, in the context of dealing with narcissists, is a conversation that seems to go in endless loops without ever reaching a resolution. It’s a manipulative communication tactic used by narcissists to maintain control, deflect blame, and avoid taking responsibility for their actions. These arguments can be profoundly unproductive and emotionally draining for those on the receiving end.

Some Examples of Narcissist Circular Arguments

To grasp the concept better, let’s explore some real-life examples of narcissist circular arguments. These examples will shed light on how narcissists employ circular logic to manipulate and confuse their victims.

Example 1 – Denial of Responsibility:

  • Narcissist: “I can’t believe you’re upset with me. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
  • Victim: “You did do something wrong; you lied to me.”
  • Narcissist: “I didn’t lie; you’re just too sensitive. You’re always overreacting.”

Example 2 – Projection:

  • Narcissist: “You’re so controlling and manipulative.”
  • Victim: “No, I’m not. You’re the one who’s constantly trying to control everything.”
  • Narcissist: “See? You’re trying to control the conversation right now.”

Example 3 – Gaslighting:

  • Narcissist: “You’re making things up. I never said that.”
  • Victim: “I have text messages where you said exactly that.”
  • Narcissist: “Those messages must be doctored. You’re trying to frame me.”

Example 4 – Shifting Blame:

  • Narcissist: “You’re always causing problems in our relationship.”
  • Victim: “Actually, you started this argument.”
  • Narcissist: “I only reacted this way because you’re so difficult to deal with.”

Example 5 – Circular Guilt-Tripping:

  • Narcissist: “You never appreciate all the sacrifices I make for you.”
  • Victim: “I do appreciate it, but that doesn’t justify your hurtful actions.”
  • Narcissist: “You never understand how hard I work for us. You’re so ungrateful.”

Example 6 – Justification of Behavior:

  • Narcissist: “I had to lie about it because I knew you would overreact.”
  • Victim: “But lying only makes things worse.”
  • Narcissist: “You see, this is why I can’t be honest with you.”

Example 7 – Emotional Manipulation:

  • Narcissist: “I can’t believe you’re making me feel this way.”
  • Victim: “I’m just trying to communicate my feelings.”
  • Narcissist: “You’re twisting everything and making me the bad guy.”

These examples provide a glimpse into the frustrating and confusing world of narcissistic circular arguments. In the following sections, we will dissect common signs and patterns within these arguments, enabling you to recognize and address them effectively.

Common Signs and Patterns in a Narcissist Circular Argument

Understanding the mechanics of narcissist circular arguments requires a keen eye for the common signs and recurring patterns that characterize these manipulative interactions. By recognizing these red flags, you can empower yourself to navigate these situations more effectively. Here are the key signs and patterns to watch out for:

#1. Deflection

Deflection is a tactic where the narcissist redirects the conversation away from the issue at hand. Instead of addressing the problem or taking responsibility for their actions, they shift the focus onto something else entirely. This can leave you feeling frustrated and unheard, as the original concern remains unaddressed.

#2. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a prevalent and insidious technique used by narcissists. They attempt to make you doubt your own reality by denying facts or insisting that events did not happen as you remember them. This manipulation tactic can lead to confusion and self-doubt on your part, as the narcissist distorts the truth to their advantage.

#3. Shifting Goalposts

In a circular argument, narcissists often employ shifting goalposts. They continually change the criteria or standards for what would resolve the issue, making it nearly impossible for you to meet their ever-evolving expectations. This tactic keeps you chasing an unattainable solution while they maintain control.

#4. Projecting

Projecting is a classic narcissistic maneuver where they attribute their own negative traits or behaviors to you. By accusing you of the very things they are guilty of, they deflect blame and create confusion. This projection can leave you feeling unjustly accused and on the defensive.

#5. Circular Logic

The hallmark of a circular argument is, of course, circular logic. These arguments repeat the same points, often without logical progression or resolution. Narcissists use circular logic to keep the conversation going in circles, preventing any meaningful discussion or resolution. Recognizing this pattern is crucial in breaking free from the cycle of manipulation.

#6. Playing the Victim

Playing the victim is a tactic frequently employed by narcissists to garner sympathy and deflect blame. In a circular argument, they may portray themselves as the wronged party, emphasizing their supposed suffering even when they are the instigators of the conflict. This manipulative move shifts the focus away from their actions, leaving you feeling guilty and compelled to comfort them.

#7. Personal Attacks

In the heat of a circular argument, narcissists may resort to personal attacks. They target your vulnerabilities, insecurities, or past mistakes, aiming to undermine your self-esteem and divert attention from the issue at hand. These attacks can be hurtful and damaging to your self-worth, making it crucial to recognize this tactic and protect your emotional well-being.

#8. Triangulation

Triangulation is a manipulative strategy where narcissists bring a third party into the conflict. This third party could be a friend, family member, or even an ex-partner. By involving others, narcissists seek validation for their perspective or create jealousy and insecurity within the relationship. Triangulation can further complicate the argument and manipulate emotions.

#9. Circular Guilt-Tripping

Narcissists excel at circular guilt-tripping, where they repeatedly remind you of the sacrifices they claim to make for the relationship. They may accuse you of not appreciating their efforts, even when those efforts do not excuse their hurtful actions. This tactic aims to instill guilt and compliance, keeping you emotionally entangled in the argument.

#10. Playing the Expert

Some narcissists assume the role of the expert in various matters during a circular argument. They may present themselves as authorities on the topic under discussion, insisting that their viewpoint is the only valid one. This tactic can make you doubt your own knowledge and perspective, contributing to the manipulation.

#11. Selective Memory

Narcissists often conveniently develop selective memory during circular arguments. They may conveniently forget their own words or actions, denying previous agreements or acknowledgments. This selective amnesia is a deliberate attempt to rewrite history and avoid taking responsibility.

#12. Withholding Information

Lastly, withholding information is a tactic used by narcissists to maintain control. They may withhold crucial details or facts relevant to the argument, forcing you to operate with incomplete information. This leaves you feeling uncertain and at a disadvantage, making it challenging to reach a resolution.

Recognizing these additional signs and patterns in a narcissist’s circular argument is vital for effectively dealing with such manipulative behavior. Armed with this knowledge, you can begin to take steps towards breaking free from the cycle of manipulation and regain control over your interactions.

How a Narcissist Circular Argument Can Be Used to Manipulate

Understanding the intricate ways in which a narcissist circular argument can be wielded as a tool for manipulation is essential for breaking free from their control. These circular arguments are not just frustrating conversations; they serve specific purposes in the narcissist’s arsenal of manipulation techniques. Here are ways in which a narcissist uses circular arguments to manipulate:

#1. Distorting Reality

Circular arguments are a means for narcissists to distort reality. By continuously revisiting the same points, they aim to create confusion and make you doubt your version of events. This distortion of reality allows them to control the narrative and maintain their innocence, even when they are in the wrong.

#2. Shifting Blame

Narcissists excel at shifting blame during circular arguments. They deflect responsibility for their actions onto you or external factors, making you feel guilty for things that are not your fault. This tactic helps them avoid accountability while placing the burden on your shoulders.

#3. Confusing the Victim

The circular nature of these arguments is designed to confuse the victim. As the conversation goes in circles, you may become disoriented, questioning your own memory, judgment, and emotions. The narcissist uses this confusion to undermine your confidence and manipulate your reactions.

#4. Maintaining Control

Control is a fundamental objective for narcissists in any relationship. Circular arguments enable them to maintain a grip on the conversation, dictating its direction and pacing. They steer the dialogue away from uncomfortable topics or accountability, ensuring they remain in charge.

#5. Fostering Doubt

Narcissists thrive on fostering doubt in your mind. They aim to make you doubt your perceptions, emotions, and even your own sanity. By sowing seeds of uncertainty, they keep you emotionally invested in the argument, making it difficult for you to disengage or challenge their manipulative tactics.

#6. Provoking Emotional Reactions

Narcissists are skilled at provoking emotional reactions during circular arguments. They may use provocative language, insults, or dramatic displays of emotion to trigger strong feelings in you. By eliciting an emotional response, they maintain control and keep the focus on your reactions rather than the underlying issues.

#7. Preventing Resolution

One of the primary goals of a narcissist using circular arguments is to prevent resolution. They aim to keep the conflict unresolved, as this perpetuates their manipulative power and maintains a constant state of tension within the relationship. This ongoing turmoil allows them to exert control over you.

#8. Reinforcing Their Superiority

Circular arguments often serve to reinforce the narcissist’s sense of superiority. They may continually emphasize their knowledge, wisdom, or moral high ground, making you feel inferior and less worthy. This power dynamic enables them to manipulate your perception of their authority.

#9. Keeping the Victim Off-Balance

Narcissists thrive on keeping the victim off-balance. Circular arguments are a means to unpredictably shift the conversation, making it challenging for you to anticipate their next move. This instability keeps you on edge and more susceptible to their manipulation.

#10. Justifying Their Behavior

Circular arguments are often used by narcissists to justify their behavior. They may repeatedly explain why their actions were necessary, portraying themselves as victims of circumstances or of your alleged provocations. This justification perpetuates their sense of entitlement and victim-hood.

#11. Undermining the Victim’s Confidence

A narcissist’s circular arguments can have a devastating impact on your self-confidence. By repeatedly invalidating your feelings, thoughts, and experiences, they aim to undermine your confidence. This emotional manipulation makes it more challenging for you to assert yourself and challenge their tactics.

#12. Creating Dependency

Ultimately, narcissists may use circular arguments to create dependency. By keeping you engaged in endless conflicts, they foster a sense of reliance on them for validation and resolution. This dependency is part of their strategy to maintain control over you and the relationship.

Understanding these additional ways in which narcissists utilize circular arguments as tools for manipulation is vital for breaking free from their influence. In the upcoming section, we will explore effective strategies to counter and overcome these manipulative tactics.

How To Break the Manipulation of the Narcissist Circular Argument

Breaking free from the manipulative grip of a narcissist’s circular argument requires a strategic approach that empowers you to regain control of the conversation and your emotions. You can use words to disarm a narcissist, sometimes even using humor.

Here are effective strategies to help you navigate a narcissist circular argument:

#1. Stay Calm and Patient

Maintaining your composure is paramount when dealing with a narcissist’s circular argument. Their goal is often to provoke an emotional reaction from you, so staying calm and patient can be a powerful countermeasure. By remaining composed, you disrupt their manipulation tactics and maintain your mental clarity.

#2. Be Persistent and Assertive

Persistence and assertiveness are essential tools in your arsenal. Keep the focus on the issue at hand and avoid being sidetracked by the narcissist’s diversions. Assert your boundaries and insist on addressing the core problem, refusing to be drawn into their circular web.

#3. Use Logic and Reason

Appeal to logic and reason during the conversation. Present facts, evidence, and clear reasoning to support your perspective. Narcissists often struggle to contend with logical arguments, as their manipulation tactics are primarily emotional in nature.

#4. Set a Time Limit

To prevent circular arguments from dragging on indefinitely, set a time limit for the discussion. Inform the narcissist that you are willing to engage in a constructive conversation within a specified timeframe. This not only establishes boundaries but also reinforces your commitment to resolution.

#5. Reframe and Restate

Reframing and restating your points can disrupt the circular pattern. When the narcissist repeats their arguments or tries to shift blame, calmly rephrase your stance and restate the issue. This approach can help you maintain control of the narrative and steer the conversation in a more productive direction.

#6. Empathize and Validate

Empathizing and validating the narcissist’s emotions, while not accepting their manipulative tactics, can be a powerful way to de-escalate the situation. Acknowledge their feelings without necessarily agreeing with their perspective. This approach can diffuse tension and create an opening for more productive communication.

#7. Disengage When Necessary

Recognize that not all circular arguments can be resolved, and sometimes, disengagement is the most prudent choice. If the narcissist continues to employ manipulative tactics without any progress toward resolution, it may be in your best interest to disengage temporarily. This allows you to regain your emotional equilibrium and revisit the conversation later when both parties are calmer.

Closing Thoughts

Dealing with a narcissist’s circular argument is undoubtedly a challenging and emotionally draining experience. However, armed with knowledge, awareness, and effective strategies, you can begin to regain control over these manipulative interactions. Remember that you are not alone, and many individuals have successfully navigated similar situations.

Maintaining your composure, setting boundaries, and using logic and empathy are key tools in breaking free from the cycle of manipulation. Disengaging when necessary is a valid option to protect your well-being.

In closing, by understanding the dynamics of narcissistic circular arguments and implementing these strategies, you can foster healthier relationships and protect your emotional and mental health.