The very first Valentine’s Day I spent with my Long-Term Narcissist, many, many years ago, started with him going off on one of his rants about how stupid Valentine’s Day was, that people were just lemmings and he was so above all the stupid, mouth breathing humans. I remember feeling sad and hurt and as we drove back to my city, I remember saying, “So we’re really not going to do anything for Valentine’s Day?” He let out a frustrated sigh and pulled into the first drug store that was open.
As I sat in the car, I thought about how sad it was that I just had to sulk my way into any kind of emotional acknowledgment and also that I was getting a last minute gift from a drug store. But I thought he’ll probably come out with a chocolate heart and maybe a little Valentine’s Day teddy bear and a card and all would be forgiven.
When he came out he handed me a plastic bag. I reached inside and pulled out a card. It was a really inappropriate Valentine’s Day card, something you might get for a buddy or a co-worker. I reached in again and pulled out a hideous stuffed frog, with a ceramic dark green face, in a bunny costume, holding a basket full of colored eggs (clearly an Easter decoration). He and his friend, who was in the back seat, keeled over with laughter. I was dumbfounded, hurt and embarrassed.
Valentine’s Day with my Boomerang Narcissist was worse, if I was lucky, I might get a text saying, “Happy VDay,” followed by some reason we couldn’t be together.
Over the last couple of years my girlfriends and I have spent Valentine’s Day together. It has evolved into a great tradition for all of us and we all hang out when we’re single and even when we’re not. If someone wants to spend the day with their significant other, alone, that’s fine and if they want to come to a great dinner party with their beau and other couples and singles– the more the merrier.
My friend Anna is big on theme parties. Valentine’s Day is no exception. She had random heart decorations throughout her home, fuzzy red heart shaped pillows on the couch, candy hearts in the candy dishes, heart candles, a hanging cupid, who ended up being more of a punching bag than a decoration and a bunch of shiny metallic hearts scattered on the table cloth and the place smelled suspiciously of cinnamon. We all pitched in. I brought all the drink mixes and made everyone cute little Valentine’s Day cocktails, another friend made a red velvet cake, in the shape of a heart, another brought hors d’oeuvres, everyone chipped in something and we all had a great time, even our brave male companions.
As always the conversation got around to Valentine’s Day and I have to say that there were no men in my immediate circle that like Valentine’s Day. For the happily committed and married men, they just didn’t like it, because they say, it’s just a greeting card holiday. It’s just a way for retailers and restaurants to make money. They say that they buy gifts for their significant other whenever they see something they think she might like throughout the year, so they don’t need one day to symbolize how they feel. That sounded nice, but when we dug a little deeper they admitted to some kind of a ‘guy code,’ that makes a celebration of feelings just not cool.
It started me thinking about my ghosts of Valentine’s Day past, like the one I mentioned above. I couldn’t help but think that for a holiday that was supposed to be all about love, it was the one day that I could safely say, I always felt disappointed and sad. It made me realize that if you are involved with a Narcissist, you will more than likely, be disappointed and sad on Valentine’s Day. For one, they don’t like things that aren’t about them and for two, it’s a holiday that celebrates the relationship of two people. The Boomerang Narcissists and the emotionally unavailable are fearful of that, because any action on their part would take the obscurity out of the relationship. They like all their relationships vague and their partners confused. A declaration like a gift or spending time together would surely place some commitment, responsibility and/or obligation on their shoulders and they tend to just avoid that at all cost.
Don’t get me wrong there are many healthy and not so healthy men that do celebrate Valentine’s Day. Narcissist’s do like to be fussed over and don’t like to be alone on holidays either and if you catch one at just the right time, like while in the early pedestal phase, or if they are trying to win you back, you couldn’t ask for a better Valentine’s Day partner. Many of my Narcissists have been of the Boomerang variety and the most I could hope for was a text message. Some would blow cold a few days before, or pick a fight to get out of it altogether, only to reconnect once the dreaded holiday had passed. Looking back, the whole thing was laughable, but it certainly didn’t feel that way at the time.
As we sat and ate, we all regaled and laughed about past Valentine’s Days horror stories. I recognized that I had already gotten the best present anyone could possibly get, a tabled filled with people I loved and respected and who felt the same way about me. The deep conversation and the connection to people who understood me and accepted me, was what I had longed for all of my life. I loved how we created our own little Valentine’s Day safe haven, where no man, or woman, was left behind.
One of the great things about having a group of besties is that you’re all relatively at the same emotional and spiritual level of growth and when one of my nearest and dearest said, “I think the romantic relationships you have with other people is actually the relationship that you have with yourself,” I knew I was precisely in my element. We analyzed that for the next few minutes, even our men were putting in their two cents and it made me think back to those times when I didn’t love myself and my mates reflected that, because they didn’t love me either.
When we left, I felt emotionally and spiritually filled and happy. It was one of the best Valentine’s Days we’d ever shared. It was a great feeling to recognize that as I grew and got healthy, the right people had come into my life. I realized that all the emphasis I used to put on Valentine’s Day, all the flowers and gifts were not an indication of someone’s feelings for me and the more that I sought those things the more they alluded me.
Now I know that I don’t need flowers and teddy bears to feel loved and funnily enough when we got home, that’s just what was waiting for me.
Subscribe to our mailing list and receive our weekly posts right to your inbox and like us on Facebook to get our weekly quotes, quizzes and updates.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
My God, reading these stories! I’m crying my eyes out. Her story with his friends in the car was EXACTLY how my first, and only V DAY in 8 years, went. But I wasn’t in the car, I was waiting at home. Found out later, the only reason he grabbed something, at a gas station, was because one of his friends told him that he better get me something. So I was thrown the smallest stuffed animal ever, in front of his friends, totally humiliated. That was it. How did we stay so long? I’m completely heartbroken by all the suffering this man has put me through. He treated me HORRIBLY last year. And when Christmas came around, I really thought he was going to make up for it. He didnt. Got my crappy gifts 2 days before Christmas while we were together. That was it. Until NYE when I found out he was on a dating website with over 30 friends, and dirty messages. I am beyond devastated amd what’s worse, HE DOESN’T GET HOW THIS IS ALL ON HIM. Somehow, someway, it’s my fault. Now I have his kid to worry about, as I slowly go insane waiting for V DAY to pass. How sad the narc mind is. How sad that they couldn’t take 2 minutes out of thier precious time, to but us 5 bucks worth of crap, to show us they THINK about us. How do I get out without his wrath and with my sanity???
My narc would make the biggest fuss over the holidays. He would shower me with masses of flowers, chocolates and pink champagne. He made sure he done in it in a way that no one else would. I had laughed and told him at the beginning of the relationship that he was the most unromantic man I know. From that day it was a turning point and valentines, birthday and Christmas was the opportunity to be the most romantic and perfect partner anyone could ask for. These times were beautiful but when things went wrong for no reason a week or two later it was like a smack in the face! and then we would break up and I would be left alone, bewildered, with the dying flowers.
Remembering the little effort on Ns part.smh
I was married to a Narc for 26 years. Just about every Valentine’s Day he would give me a bunch of red roses from the grocery store. Not because I liked them or wanted them, but because that’s what he thought he should do. In the 26 years we were married, he never cared enough to get to know me in order to learn what my likes and dislikes were. Maybe in the beginning I gushed about how nice it was to get the flowers and therefore it established a baseline for him. Who knows. And it never changed over the years. Even though our income level rose, I always got a bunch of roses from the grocery store.
I was dating a BPD/NPD long-distance for a year. Last V-Day night I was on FB like an idiot watching the N “like” my pics and posts as well as his old gf/harem member (with the same first name as me). My settings were set so I saw it and I was so hurt. She had a boyfriend and was long distance from him too and I foolishly believed they were friends… I broke up with him a couple months later and lo and behold guess who he took back with him to visit a few months later? I guess they saw each other in between all of their many failed relationships with others all those years. He said he didn’t want anyone to be “jealous” when we first got together… Guess her boomeranging back and forth caused problems with others besides me! It hurt but I’m glad to be rid of him. He has done so many other evil things I later found out about.
Looking back on my Valentine’s days, I’ve found that the nice, healthy guys actually did not do that day the “best” and were a bit awkward with it.
The gas station candies, silly teddy bears and grocery store flowers I received all happened in college — but now I look back on that and laugh and find it endearing. Men at that age are really just learning about relationships and how to date, and don’t have much money or resources. But the non-Narcs I dated at that age all made the effort and really tried.
Now that I’m in my thirties, Valentine’s Day is a day that can make a new relationship or casually dating awkward. What do you on that day when you’re still trying someone on and things are in the early stages? Good men that I’ve dated have posed the question to me, asking what we should do on that day, and my single male friends ask that as well — what they should do for the woman they are dating that is appropriate for the amount of time they’ve spent together.
I’ve found that healthy men really do put a lot of thought into what to do for Valentine’s Day. My married friends have used this weekend as time to take a short getaway with friends or have a quiet night away from the kids. None of their husbands go over the top with this day.
Strangely enough, the most over-the-top Valentine’s Days that I had experienced, that would by commercial standards be considered the “best,” were all with Narcs.
The largest, most expensive bouquet of roses I ever received was sent to my door by a Narc during the pedestal phase, when he was still chasing me. Now I know that it really was an inappropriate amount of money for him to spend on someone that he had only been dating for a month. And once he got me, the relationship was full of disappointment.
My last ex, the biggest and most toxic Narc I had ever been with, shined on Valentine’s Day also, even well past the pedestal phase. But that day was ALL about him, really. He used the gifts and romantic things he’d plan that day as fodder for his social media accounts — “Look at what a good boyfriend I am! I did all this for NarcRepellent!” was how it came across.
Valentine’s day seemed to be the one good day I had with these Narcs. The other 364 days were absolute hell. The awkward love letters and cards I received in my younger days were much more heartfelt and genuine.
Love should be celebrated everyday, not just on Valentine’s Day. My ex thought of it as a money making day for Hallmark. Hence, I usually didn’t receive anything. It always hurt, just like every other day of the week with him by not being acknowledged as loved.
I love your weekly insights. Just love them. This one rings true, as they ALL do. I am no longer with the ex, but when it came to Valentines Day, I sent him three cards, none of which were too mushy, all of which suited him. He not only did not send me a card, but he did not even acknwoledge that it was V day, other than to make some remark about how many cards I sent HIM!! We did nothing. But then, he did not send me a card or a gift for Christmas, either. I am so happy to no longer be with him or expecting something from someone who had nothing to give. Your weekly messages confirm that for me every week. Thank you. Every single one is right on target, and I look forward to Mondays.
I have known my Narc for a year now. I got a calendar for Christmas and he did give me a valentine card a fits all people, nothing lovey dovey. He signed from little old me. I was glad to read your article because I understand more now and actually makes me feel better because I know other people have the same . experiences with their Narc and its not me.
My Narcissist spent the 3 days before Valentines Day last year scolding me for my past, he felt he needed to make sure that I knew how disappointed in me he was. I was 38 years old, had been married, divorced and had been in the dating field, come to find out that HIS past was something he kept from me and was deplorable, something I didn’t know at the time. He said heartbreaking things to me and when I backed off and tried to go No Contact, he turned on the charm and I was showered with a dozen red roses, a “heart-felt” card and a bag full of Victoria’s Secret items, dinner etc.
I am in a much better place now, I look back on this time last year, and WOW!! What a difference a year makes!! So blessed to be where I am now…
That was a really interesting article, Savannah. As it happens, we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day in Britain very much. It just isn’t a big thing here, and mostly only for teenagers to send an anonymous card to someone they fancy, although it’s a bit more commercialised now. Still, in my local shops there’s only about half a shelf devoted to some cards and chocolate as most older adults don’t bother with it.
I do know what you mean though about how narcissists will often get out of anything that highlights a connection with their girlfriends. I remember rants about celebrations being a means of making money for card and sweet manufacturers. I tend to agree with that, too, lol, but it’s always over the top with them and very much like a cop-out so that they don’t have to show caring on their part.
My son’s father (who left 35 yrs ago, but we maintained a friendship of a sort until I went no-contact a couple of years ago)told his girlfriend after me that we were just friends living together…which was news to me, considering we were a couple who’d had a child together. Every time he lived with someone he always said that they were just friends. It was only when I read your blogs about the holiday disappearing act that the penny dropped. He didn’t want the world to see he was connected to anyone.
Thanks again, Savannah, for such excellent information and insights. 🙂
Valentine’s Day with my narcissist was always wonderful, so when I first began reading this post I began to question whether the former narcissist in my life was/is actually a narcissist or if there truly is something intrinsically unlovable and wrong with me (old habits die hard). It doesn’t take me long to remember and realize that there is nothing wrong with me and, yes he is a narcissist.
Valentine’s Day, in my memory, was “wonderful” for us because I worked so hard to make it so special for him. Valentine’s Day was all about him – all he had to do was show up, and he did very little other than to bring the obligatory card and flowers from the grocery store for me. The fact that he was there and with me was all I thought I needed.
As I continued reading, I was particularly struck by this line in your post: “it made me think back to those times when I didn’t love myself and my mates reflected that, because they didn’t love me either”. I realize that because of family dynamics in childhood, I have always chosen narcissistic men for my adult relationships. None of these men were capable of loving me or anyone else, but the real problem was that I didn’t love myself at all, and in fact hated myself for many years.
I have been working hard with a therapist to change my life. I have been away from my narcissist for 1 year (NO contact) and it is just beginning to feel like I am emerging from the hell that has been my life for the past 12 months. I am even beginning to be able to see that the 5 years I spent desperately trying to make the relationship with the “love of my life” work at any cost, was also pretty “hellish” too.
I have been alone and single for a year – the first time in my adult life and while I am still a little shaky from time to time, I am actually doing fine. I am also realizing that as I am growing and getting healthier, the right people have come in to my life (some of them were there all along but I was so consumed by him that I could see them).
I have been reading your posts all year and I often feel as though you have written my thoughts. Thank you Savannah for what you do as you have been a big part of my healing process.
This reminds me of two things: how I never was one to expect something on valentine’s day, so it worked well with my long-term narcissist; I got a card once, and I think that was all in 26 years. Strangely enough, I didn’t even keep that card. Must have been one of those times in which he wished to “prove something.” But mainly it reminds me of how the real love I feel now has nothing to do with a romantic love: I celebrate valentine’s day with the elderly sisters I work with, with my daughter, with one of my best friends who always makes homemade valentine cards and mails them to her best friends. It is about real love, not the imaginary love I had with my narcissist.
Additionally, though, your paragraph about receiving love as we love ourselves really struck a chord with me. Loving myself is what I am working on now, and it is not an automatic task. Yes, not loving myself was why I settled for a relationship without love. And, while I am lonely on evenings of solitude, I do not desire to go out and grab a man, but to spend the time as you describe your valentine parties now–laughing and sharing with real friends. That is where I need to spend my efforts–to develop those social bonds. So I am reaching out. I like your valentine party idea; that is what I need to develop–here, in my remote rural county. But I won’t wait for next Valentine’s Day.
Thanks and that sentence ..”THOSE TIMES WHEN I DID NOT LOVE MYSELF AND MY MATES REFLECTED THAT, BECAUSE THEY DI NOT LOVE ME EITHER”.. Sometimes the phrase is just right for the reader
What I got from my NPD of almost 2 years was I caught him red handed with another woman in his bed. A washed out hooker. One he lied about as being friends but i knew better. I hacked into his phone account and saw everything.