Why Narcissists Ruin the Holidays
T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a narcissist was stirring, not even a text.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that he’d show up – he said he’d be there.
I couldn’t sleep – all nestled in bed.
There were visions of cheating dancing in my head…
It’s no coincidence that during holidays, birthdays and other special occasions, that a narcissist’s ‘unpleasantness’ is in full beast-mode. At a time when most people are looking forward to giving and spending time together, a narcissist’s behavior seems very out of place.
My long-term Narcissist and I used to spend Christmas’s apart. His mother would fly him to her across the country and I would stay at home with my family. On those occasions where he would have to stay in the city with me and my family, he would make my Christmas miserable. I remember feeling like I had to walk on egg shells to not upset him further. He would sit like a lump in a corner somewhere, scowling, not participating and acting completely miserable. He would receive gifts from my family, who tried to include him, while having contributed nothing to the day. All the gifts would be purchased and wrapped by me. I’d put his name, along with mine on the tag and all I would get was an antagonistic attitude. I remember bending over backwards to make him happy and nothing ever did.
When we would get home, he would go off about how materialistic my family was and why would anyone spend so much money on presents. He hated my mother’s mashed potatoes – too creamy. He hated my brother…. He couldn’t get out of there fast enough and would make the whole experience unpleasant for me, to the point where I’d wished I hadn’t brought him. He would act like I was so selfish for having to put him through such an awful ordeal and I had to be extremely grateful that he did me such a service by accompanying me.
I’ve also been involved with narcissists, who would wait about a week or two before a birthday, or a holiday, to pick a fight and break up with me, only to get back together at some point shortly thereafter. “I didn’t spend your birthday with you, or get you a gift, because we were broken up at that time,” is how they’d justify it to themselves. With some of them the timing of the fight would become so predictable that I would brace myself for the inevitable, as the day drew closer. I was being trained to expect nothing from them and nothing is exactly what I got. From my own experiences and those of others I can say with relative certainty that if you’re involved with a Narcissist don’t expect a stress free holiday. Some will be there criticizing and complaining the entire time, while contributing nothing, others will disappear and magically reappear a short time afterwards. once you know what you’re dealing with it makes things a whole lot clearer.
Why Narcissists Make the Holidays so Unpleasant
They Lack Empathy: One of my favorite things about Christmas is watching the faces of the little ones as they open their gifts. I also like giving things to people that I know they wouldn’t dare spurge on for themselves. It brings me a great deal of joy to make other people happy. When you lack the empathy chip, there is no joy in giving or making others happy. It’s not a behavior they attach any significance to. To them it seems like a monumental waste of time and money and they feel incredibly put out to have to suffer through such an occasion with people they loathe.
The disappearing narcissist doesn’t care that it’s the holidays and that they have hurt you deeply and left you all alone. These thoughts don’t resonate with them. As masters of justification, they simply choose a stance and stick to it, making sure that you are wholly to blame.
When an activity is all about someone else, like a birthday, a promotion, or a graduation, a narcissist will find no value in celebrating another’s achievements (unless of course they could obtain supply through proxy). Instead it would activate feelings of jealousy and envy. Because someone else is being put on that proverbial pedestal and getting the attention that should be theirs, a narcissist would find those encounters intolerable and would seek to avoid them at all costs.
Good Attention, Bad Attention, It’s All Good: If it can’t be all about them, where they and everyone else gets to bask in their glorious essence, then they will get attention another way and that’s by being an ornery cuss.
Being miserable means everyone will cater to their needs, in an effort to appease them or make them happy. They love this. If they can get you to feel responsible for their moods, so that you are jumping to their every command and feeling like you owe them one, they’ll like that even more. If it’s not all about them in a good way, they’ll make it all about them in a bad way. Either/Or it makes no difference.
They Don’t Do Intimacy, Responsibility or Obligation: Celebrating the holiday’s with a significant other is a big deal. You’re probably going to end up at somebody’s relative’s place – yours or theirs and when a narcissist accompanies you, or brings you to visit their family – that’s a statement. Unfortunately for many a narcissist, it’s a statement they don’t care to make. Sharing special occasions breeds the kind of intimacy that a narcissist just can’t handle. Things are getting too serious and it renders you important, when they want you to feel like you’re not. It creates expectations that a narcissist doesn’t want you or anyone else to have. With those expectations, comes a responsibility to behave like a significant other. It means getting closer, which they cannot allow. Their anxiety always gets the better of them, so they’d just as well leave you hanging, or start a fight, so they don’t have to deal with it. This anxiety makes them incredibly unreliable. When it’s upon them, their primary goal is to alleviate it, which usually means shutting you out, or making you miserable. Their anxiety paired with their lack of empathy is a holiday recipe for disaster.
They’ve Found Alternate Supply: I’ve had many a client tell me they’ve had solid plans for the holidays, with their narcissists and then find themselves stood up, or on the receiving end of a text, cancelling at the last minute. The next thing they know, they see pictures on social media of them spending the holidays with someone else. They’re devastated and asking – “WTH?”
A good rule of thumb is to always remember that new supply always trumps old supply. New supply turns on the narcissist’s laser focus and obsessive attention. There is no way old supply can compete. It doesn’t mean they’re better – it means they’re newer/unconquered. So if you get that text on New Year’s Eve, after you’ve turned down everyone else’s offer, this is likely what’s happened.
Misery is Their Default Setting: Miserable people create miserable energy and environments everywhere they go. They are dark people, who project their feelings onto other people. Ruining another’s joy is like a trophy for them. It makes them feel important and powerful. If they believe the holidays are foolish and irrelevant, they don’t care that they mean something to you. Your opinions are usually irrelevant unless of course you carry the same opinion as they do.
Only seriously disturbed and twisted people ruin events for other people and suck the joy out of life. I’ve learned a long time ago that if I couldn’t depend on someone 100% that was my cue to leave them behind. Life is so much easier when you know you can trust someone to keep their word.
It’s important that you understand that Narcissists cannot be trusted or depended upon. They feel extremely uncomfortable if you rely on them for anything and will almost always disappoint. It’s their nature. Understand this point. Hoping or expecting them to go against their nature is when you suffer. Know what you’re dealing with, understand the behavior and opt out. Eliminate anyone you can’t trust or depend on. It makes life and the holidays so much more peaceful and enjoyable and it means more wine for you!
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Image courtesy of blanscape at freedigitalphotos.net