If living with a narcissist (or someone with a personality disorder) is not hard enough… then the holidays come around every year and things only get much, much worse.
After a couple of years, you may have started to see the pattern. The pattern is everything needs to be about the narcissist, who thrives at being the center of attention and in the middle of everyone’s world. If he’s not getting all of the attention, he’s going to be angry and try to ruin Christmas (or any other special day or holiday) for everyone!
Christmas and Easter are completely about Jesus… but don’t tell the narcissist that!
I’ll never forget the stressful drive as a family of five to holiday celebrations several hours away in another state. I recall many occasions where I would feel so degraded, disrespected and demeaned on the car ride there – most times for merely asking that he not drive so recklessly. Once we would arrive, I was ready to weep, which only made me look like I was the problem. They always accused me of sweating the small stuff! Right!
I became very skilled at holding back my feelings and hiding my tears after all those years of marriage. I wasn’t allowed to have any other feelings besides happiness, even in the face of their dysfunction. I realize now that no matter how I responded or reacted, I was being set up to take the blame for everything that was being done to me. My choices were to be just like them or get out!
Why do narcissists create conflicts and then blame everyone else for the reaction?
Dysfunction loves… company! They try to get everyone on their side to gang up against the family scapegoat. In my family, I was that scapegoat.
I remember one year when my mother, who probably had a borderline personality disorder (similar to narcissistic personality disorder), offered my daughter some pie when she was saying she didn’t want to eat dinner. I wasn’t making a big deal about it, just told her when she was hungry she could get a dinner plate first, then have some dessert.
Instead of respecting what she clearly heard me say, my mother started feeding my young daughter from her dessert plate. This coming from a woman who never allowed her own children, or even nieces and nephews, to eat dessert first. I recall one year, as a child, she yelled at my cousins for eating only the peanut butter off the celery.
What bothered me most about what my mother was doing was when she gave me a side glance with a smirk on her face – proving she was doing this on purpose just to bother me. She was only feeding my child to create a problem. And then blame me for being upset about her deception and manipulation. That’s how toxic people behave, especially during the holidays.
They really do know what they’re doing and they do it for fun. They love the drama and dysfunction of creating these types of problems.
Why do narcissists love drama and division between people?
They cause drama and division by purposely lying to two separate people.
The narcissist will tell his mother that his wife is mad at her. He’ll also tell his wife that his mother is mad at her. Why? Just to get in the middle of the drama at family functions and cause more drama. If there were already issues, this only serves to make matters worse.
Furthermore, the narcissist can’t allow two people to build a better bond, become enlightened to what he is doing, and turn against him. Being the master manipulator, causing division and disharmony, keeps those people apart so he is still at the center of everyone’s world.
And in the meantime, he’s pointing the finger at everyone else for all of this conflict and all of these family problems. This is exactly the place he enjoys being.
Why do personality disordered people discard partners more during the holidays than at any other time of the year?
The narcissist just can’t handle giving so much during this season when all he wants is stuff and attention for himself. And because of his lack of empathy for what other people may be feeling or expecting, he devalues and discards to make his life that much easier. With people gone, there is more for him!
He will also project whatever it is he is feeling and doing onto you, to rid himself of any negative feelings he may have of himself or his current situation (possibly a problem he’s gotten himself into but doesn’t want to take responsibility for). He feels better knowing it was all you, you were doing the same thing he was/is, and most importantly, you’re to blame for everything bad going on in his life. In his mind, it couldn’t possibly be anything he’s done wrong!
Other ways the narcissist ruins the holidays in order to stay at the center of everyone’s attention:
- In order to keep up his perfect image, he will lie, manipulate, devalue, and discard people to protect himself and what people think of him.
- Toxic people intentionally exclude you from meals, gift-giving, and other events – to show you how they can and will treat you if you don’t play along with their games or get in his way of what he wants.
- He’ll do things to intentionally irritate or start an argument with those closest to him to paint themselves as the victim (you are then the abuser/perpetrator).
- The narcissist is skilled at making empty promises causing you to expect more and getting you excited only to let you down in the end; you then get upset and get portrayed as unappreciative and petty when faced with their thoughtless gift (when you have every right to be annoyed at his game).
- Toxic people purposely give cheap, generic gifts to show you how they feel about you – sometimes also for the same reasons as stated above.
- They may act depressed or withdrawn in order to gain sympathy for some made-up reason, while also making fun of you if you have a real mental health or medical condition.
You’re expected to take it all, serve the narcissist, and pretend like everything is fine and wonderful. The narcissist has a perfect image that he (or she) is trying to project and protect. And if you stand in the way of sharing that image with the world, you will be disvalued and/or discarded.
Personally, by Christmas 2012 I was tired of being fake, tired of pretending everything was fine, and that I was to blame for any issues that came up. That is the reason I refused to go visit family that year. I just couldn’t continue to be on that emotional roller coaster… and so I got off and refused to ever get back on. Two months later, after learning about his newest affair, I knew my marriage was over and divorce was the only option. The best option for me!
How has your current or ex-narcissist ruined the holidays for you or your family? When did you get off the emotional roller coaster?
May God bless your healing journey,