I'll give two examples to try to clarify what kind of word I'm looking for.
"The water diminishes the fire. The fire is diminished by the water." The water and the fire are set against each other, so in a way they are both acting in opposition, and in such a way that only one of them can "win" or "remain". However english seems to favor the water as the "actor" even though they are both acting against each other. It seems that the fact of the water "winning" against the fire promotes it into becoming the active agent, and somehow the fire's loss against the water makes it the object. I am looking for a verb that allows the fire to be the active agent: "the fire V the water", where V is some verb that describes the fire setting itself against the water (object) and losing some or all of its essence as a result.
I'm wondering if there is such a word for V that does not require some sort of help using a preposition, like "the fire dies from the water", which seems to make the water the active agent. I'm really wondering if there is a very direct verb, so that V is just a single word, or at least so that the water is the object.
Another example: Let y ≥ 1, so that y has a certain fixed "strength". The relation x ≤ -y means that "y diminishes x": as y increases, x decreases (without bound). We can also say that "x is diminished by y". What does x do to y? We know that y might have to decrease if x increases. However, this is limited because y ≥ 1, and so x's success "against" y is bounded: x must always be less than or equal to -1. Indeed, x does not increase in response to a decrease in y but we can always increase y by some amount that is large enough to decrease x. In this way the relationship is asymmetric. So clearly x's conflict with y is somehow tragic because its success is bounded and its failure is unbounded. We can say that "x counterposes y", but it doesn't quite capture the fact that x loses to y or is likely to lose to y. What we really want is something like "x (poorly counterposes) y". So is there some word that means "to oppose something poorly/weakly/asymmetrically/badly", or "to oppose something and become weakened as a result"?
One verb that kind of works in these situations is "suffer": "the fire suffers the water", and "x suffers y". However this verb only weakly embeds the opposition between the fire/x and water/y. Another problem with this word is that it doesn't convey that fire/x is at a profound disadvantage, just that its relationship with water/y is somehow "bad" or at least "not good".
So ultimately I'm curious if there exists a transitive verb that is equivalent to something like "oppose at disadvantage", and in particular for the verb to not include any notion that the force of opposition is at all balanced with that which it opposes.
If it seems that no such word exists, is there a technical (language based, non-cultural) reason for it?
EDIT: Global Charm asked for another example:
"Alice humiliates (diminishes the status of) her school rival. Alice's rival is humiliated (status is diminished). Alice's rival V alice."
In my opinion Alice's rival is in some way actively involved with getting humiliated: in one way or another Alice's rival entered into a rivalry, and positioned herself to be defeated by Alice (even if defeat wasn't certain, it was possible). We could guess that Alice's rival probably poorly opposed Alice.