Why does a narcissist use repetition when arguing a point? Are they trying to brainwash the person?

Chris Burgess
2 min readSep 11
Photo by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash

Each time they retell the story they cut out your points a little more and they water down their points a little more. By the time you’re actually done discussing these points, they will have been put through this process so many times that it’ll be a completely different story than what actually happened.

The thing is though, you may just have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you something isn’t right, but you may not be able to point to what exactly you are uncomfortable with in this story. You may even agree with the way they tell the story but still have that unsettled feeling because of the discrepancy between what you know to be true and what you are saying to be true is.

They do this by utilizing circular arguments to bring up the same minute points over and over again over a fight spanning many hours. By the time a few hours roll by you’re so done with the stupid argument that you don’t fight them on their last retelling where you knew some facts had changed. But, you sure as hell don’t want to get back into that circular discussion again so you let it go. What they did was cut out the legitimate points that escalated you and they claimed to have had some terrible treatment from you.

After a few times of fighting like this your fuse is shorter and shorter before you’re just immediately done with this conversation. You’re too the point that if you had seen where you started to argue to where you were now, you’d put the brakes on but because that fact is blinded by a million victim statements and lies, you don’t notice it until that very moment when your narcissist says

‘See, I didn’t do anything wrong here — this is all on you — why are you abusing me?’

At that moment a real lump goes into your throat, but you let it slide just to prevent discussion of this issue again. You let it go and think that it’s okay now — it’s in the past and he/she got your apology, so it is officially over, right?

Nope, because in a few days the conclusion of that fight is the jump-off point of the next one and unfortunately for you — you already agreed and took the blame for everything leading up to a couple of days ago. So, you start out this next fight to blame because it’ll be connected in some obscure way to that last fight and now, you’re in a perpetually blamed cycle. This you cannot exit until you exit.

Good luck.

Chris Burgess

I write opinion columns around mental health and personality. I am not a professional but I do read extensively about the topics I discuss.