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.
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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net