- How Narcissists Ruin Holidays: It’s Not Your Imagination
- How Narcissists Ruin Holidays
- 1. Narcissists use the holiday season to gain sympathy.
- 2. Starting arguments or breaking up with you on or just before a major holiday.
- 3. Using the sentimental value of the holiday season to hoover.
- 4. Setting up your expectations and then disappointing you.
- 5. Giving elaborate gifts to hold against you later.
- 6. Excluding you from holiday events.
- 7. Using threats and promises about how smoothly the holidays will go.
- Know Their Game Plan and Arm Yourself
- Want more? Get more articles this one delivered straight to your inbox.
- 12 Ways to Cope With Narcissists at the Holidays
- When the Narcissist (or other Such Emotional Abuser) in Your Life Ruins the Holidays
- Why Narcissists Ruin the Holidays
- How to Deal With Narcissists During the Holidays
How Narcissists Ruin Holidays: It’s Not Your Imagination
Narcissists ruin holidays and make what should be a joyful time of year into a time of tears and anxiety–and sometimes even fear.
The holidays can be a painful time of year for people who are in relationships with narcissists. It can feel as if no matter how your relationship has been going with them before the holidays even start, they can find a way to use this time of year to cause additional pain.
By taking advantage of the cultural norms and expectations surrounding holidays or the disruption to normal routines, they can find creative ways to hurt and control. This holds true regardless of what holiday or holidays you’re celebrating or even if you’re not celebrating at all.
It’s not just the holiday season–they also have a tendency to ruin other special days, such as anniversaries, birthdays, and Valentine’s Day, as well as vacations.
This is because the disruptions to normal routines and expectations around these events even for other people. They provide an especially prolonged period of time and many different opportunities for narcissists to hurt others.
Below are seven ways that narcissists can either interfere with holiday conventions or use the holidays to cause chaos. Each has its own motivations and outcomes for the narcissist.
How Narcissists Ruin Holidays
Although the holiday season tends to be stressful, most of us can probably agree that holidays should be a time when appreciation for those you love is elevated and prioritized.
Narcissists, however, have no interest in true harmony. Depending on the type of narcissist, they thrive in chaos for many reasons.
Even when there is no chaos to engineer, they can still use the holidays to manufacture emotions and they do benefit from the emotions of others.
1. Narcissists use the holiday season to gain sympathy.
Some narcissists use every opportunity to get others to feel sorry for them. They told us their sob stories when we first met them about how their past partners mistreated them or about how down on their luck they were.
Holidays with narcissists, however, can take on a whole new significance. They spin tales about how they never got any presents when they were children, or about how their ex always ruined the holidays for them.
Horrible things happen in this world and some people have had some horrible things happen to them, during holidays and otherwise. What we need to keep in mind with narcissists, however, is that these things may or may not have happened as described and it’s that they use these stories as a weapon to manipulate others.
Their histories sometimes are not true–they make up entire personas of things that didn’t happen to them, or exaggerate or project their own behavior onto others in their past and then use those events on those with whom they interact with currently in order to get away with their new behaviors.
This is the precursor or the excuse to the other things they might do during the holidays–if they are mistreating you during this time, they can blame it on the fact that they have bad holiday memories.
2. Starting arguments or breaking up with you on or just before a major holiday.
Narcissists don’t it when your attention is on anything else other than them. They also get jealous when anything but them has the power to bring you joy.
When they see you happy, they may start an argument. To them, this guarantees a spot in your brain space that is at least equally as important as your anticipation of that holiday event.
If what they do to you is bad enough, they can also attach themselves traumatically to your holiday memories. They would rather be the cause of your unhappiness and misery than not be the center of your attention at all.
Why would the narcissist go to all that trouble to cause misery rather than joy?
Narcissists do not competition and know that they have to share you during the holiday season. There are parties, family events, your friends, your children… they don’t that. Not only are all of those other things taking your attention off of them–you may also be sharing in activities that make them feel left out.
3. Using the sentimental value of the holiday season to hoover.
You may have gone no-contact with the narcissist in your life. Now you’re trying to heal from the relationship.
Holidays, however, provide the perfect cover to get a surprise hoover. The narcissist may reach out with a call, email or text to wish you happy holidays.
They are trying to use the harmonious spirit to their advantage, hoping you’ll think it’s rude not to respond.
They may also try to evoke happy memories in you that overcome your instincts not to interact with them.
4. Setting up your expectations and then disappointing you.
Narcissists may make plans with you to go to your parents’ home for a family celebration but cancel last-minute. This leaves you to make all of the explanations to everyone.
They may also ask you what gift you would , making elaborate promises. Then, they will give you something totally different, something very impersonal and cheap. LOr they may give you nothing at all.
In the end, it’s not about the gift.
As with canceling plans, it’s about the lack of care they seem to show for both your feelings and about what they told you they would do.
If you ask them about any of these things, they turn it around on you to make you seem petty or argumentative.
5. Giving elaborate gifts to hold against you later.
Sometimes the opposite of #4 will happen when it comes to gifts.
If you are being love-bombed, they may load you up with elaborate presents, but be warned that they are keeping track. You will hear about those gifts for the rest of the relationship.
During arguments, you will hear about how much they cost. In the devaluation stage, they will act as if they were not gifts at all. They may treat them as favors to avoid paying for things for which they are responsible.
Just be aware of narcissists gift-giving strategy as a way to get something in return. Even if they seem heart-felt in the moment, you are ly to pay in some way for those gifts later.
6. Excluding you from holiday events.
Narcissists are good at playing innocent when they want to. Holiday events give narcissists excuses to stay late at work for holiday parties or spend time with friends outside of regular routines.
Even if they’re don’t celebrate or you don’t, both of you may get many invitations, and attending may be social.
If they are in the middle of juggling several people at once, they may attend a holiday event and “conveniently” forget to invite you or they may use an invitation as an excuse to be somewhere else.
They may also use holiday routine disruptions as an excuse to triangulate you with others or give you a silent treatment.
7. Using threats and promises about how smoothly the holidays will go.
Narcissists may know certain events are important to you because they hold tremendous sentimental value. They may combine all or more of the items on this list to hold this over your head.
This can give them a lot of power over us because we just want to keep the peace, especially if we have children with them.
We feel we have to walk on eggshells and we can’t speak up or be ourselves just to have a somewhat normal holiday season.
This is the ultimate goal of why narcissists ruin holidays. They want to hold the holiday season over our heads so that they can get their way.
Know Their Game Plan and Arm Yourself
Narcissists try to ruin the holiday season by holding our desire for joy and harmony over our heads so that they can get their way.
Knowing narcissists try to ruin holidays and you can’t control it can help you detach from how they behave.
This can help you have peace in your life this holiday season.
If you enjoyed the holiday season before you knew the narcissist, by arming yourself with the knowledge about what to expect, you can continue to enjoy them now.
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12 Ways to Cope With Narcissists at the Holidays
If you have narcissistic family members, holiday visits can be full of emotional land mines. As you think about spending holidays with family, ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered yes to two or more questions, here are 12 things you can do to have a more nurturing holiday.
1) Know your path
Being around narcissists can feel an endless series of battles. One effective way to sidestep skirmishes is to declare that you are on a path to whatever you value most. Perhaps it is healing, growth, learning, love, peace, self-confidence or being the best version of you.
If your number one priority around a narcissist is surviving emotionally, you’ll be focused on survival. If your number one priority is not being controlled, you will focus on avoiding control. Focusing on surviving or avoiding control can make you feel small.
On the other hand, if your number one priority is growth, learning, or being the best you can be, that will be your focus. When something upsetting comes along you can ask yourself, “How can I incorporate this into my path?” “How can this help me learn?” Doing so allows you to make use of anything that happens, no matter how upsetting in the moment.
2) Share judiciously
Narcissists often use personal information you share against you. Be judicious in sharing sensitive information especially about loaded topics such as your love life, finances, diet, politics, religion, lifestyle, goals, feelings, health and work. With extreme narcissists, that may not leave much to talk about! But better to reserve those topics for safer, more trusted people in your life.
When confronted with intrusive questions, borrow a page from political spin doctors. Instead of answering the question you were asked, answer with a topic you want to talk about.
For example, if an intrusive family member asks whether you are sticking to your budget or diet, you could talk about how great your job is or how much your nieces and nephews have grown.
Or you could simply ask the narcissistic person about something you know they would love to talk about.
Who cares if you change the subject. You do not have to answer questions that make you uncomfortable.
3) Have realistic expectations
Holidays can be wonderful but stressful. Many of us tend to regress to earlier family roles or mood states. It is okay to have conflicting feelings. You may feel bored, frustrated, angry, sad, anxious, happy and more. These feelings will pass.
Don’t expect to put a year’s worth of catching up or saying all you have to say in a holiday visit. Holidays should be about relaxing and celebrating, not working.
4) Take care of yourself
Especially during the holidays, maintain helpful routines that support you in your daily life. Pay attention to eating, exercise and sleep habits. Take time to yourself, even if to go for a short walk. Take a nap, read or do other self-care behaviors. You don’t need permission.
One useful technique is “Nine at Nine.” This means that at 9 pm, look back at the day and list nine things you have done or experienced that day about which you feel positive.
You can list anything: doing good things for yourself flossing, accomplishing some small task you’ve been meaning to do, doing something thoughtful for another, sitting for a few moments taking in the beauty around you, trying some new experience, or earning a paycheck.
There is nothing magical about 9 pm or the number nine. Pick any time that you are ly to have a few minutes free to do this. Studies have shown that taking a few moments a day to note things that you feel good about can increase your mood, confidence and optimism.
5) Be a cultural anthropologist
In tense or anxiety-producing situations, sometimes the best course is simply to observe. Try this experiment: Approach a family holiday visit an anthropologist.
From the moment you arrive, make mental notices of what you notice. How do people say hello or greet others? How do people express their needs or feelings? What are the norms and apparent expectations? What seems to be discouraged or forbidden and how are those things communicated?
In quiet moments to yourself during the visit, you can think about what you have observed. You can write in a journal or email or call a friend. What do you make about this particular “culture” you are visiting? What is healthy and unhealthy?
Notice, too, how the environment affects you, the observer. Especially notice thoughts with black-and-white thinking, self-criticism or negative labels about yourself. Would you let anyone else say such negative things to you? Then don’t say them to yourself.
The great thing about research projects such as this is that nothing can go wrong. Anything that happens is data from which you can learn. This can take the pressure and attention off yourself.
6) Have an exit plan
You have the right to take time to yourself or remove yourself from a conversation at any time for any reason. Though narcissists may approach it this way, your holiday is not a command performance for somebody else.
You can always look at your phone and say, “Excuse me, I have a work call I must take.” Or text, email, or call a friend or therapist.
You nearly always have more than one option when dealing with a narcissist, even if it may not initially feel it. In the face of a narcissist’s demands, put downs or attempts to manipulate you, you can say no, excuse yourself, or say you have to think about it.
7) Know where to draw the line
In dealing with narcissists you may have to choose among imperfect choices. To help you make the best choices, think ahead of time about what you will tolerate and what you won’t.
Know where you will draw the line.
A key question to ask yourself is “At what cost?” How much is too much to pay or give up? Once you know that, it is easier to know when to set boundaries, speak up, let it pass, or walk away.
8) Agree to disagree
If things get heated, declare a holiday truce. Tell a family member, “Let’s just agree to disagree.” Find distractions as needed, a game or movie.
9) Don’t lose your voice
Being around narcissistic family members can be tough. If you notice yourself feeling small or as if you have no voice, take a few moments and answer these questions:
- “What is best way to take care of me and meet my needs in this situation?”
- “Is this how I want to treat myself or others?”
- “How do I want to be in the world right now?”
10) Use mistakes to learn
If you say or do things you regret, instead of berating yourself or feeling you failed, ask yourself: What might I have said or done if I had not gotten triggered? What would I to do or say next time if a similar situation comes along?
This is rehearsing, not rehashing. It takes you from regret to action.
11) Remember your rights
You can disagree, say no, or take time to think about requests or comments before responding.
Narcissists assume they know you but in truth you know yourself far better than they do. You know what is good for you. You are the best judge of that, not the narcissist.
12) It’s your choice
It may be worth having an honest conversation with yourself or a trusted friend, partner or therapist about whether you really want to be with family for the holidays.
You may want to list the pros and cons. Ask yourself: What is the worst case scenario if I go or don’t go? You may wish to shorten or adjust a planned trip or forego visiting altogether.
If you want less contact or a different kind of contact, you have the absolute right to seek that. Others may be upset, but that is not your problem. Remind yourself that you are not doing this to hurt anybody. Rather, you are choosing what will take care of you. That’s your right and that’s your job.
Holidays can be a time for connection and renewal. Thinking ahead and making sure to take care of yourself can help you connect and renew rather than disconnect and regress.
Gingerbread family by iofoto / Shutterstock
Turkey by Clickr-free Vector Images / Pixabay
Anthropologist by blambca / Shutterstock
Fighting Santas by mikeledray / Shutterstock
Tree ornaments by rawpixel / Pixabay
12 Ways to Cope With Narcissists at the Holidays
When the Narcissist (or other Such Emotional Abuser) in Your Life Ruins the Holidays
Narcissists and other Cluster B personality disordered individuals seem to thrive on ruining holidays. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you’ve been victim to this phenomenon.
If you stop and think about it, you can look back over the various holidays and personal birthdays and recall yourself trying to appease the narcissistic person in your life. You were most ly trying to make sense of the drama.
But, truth be told, you may have discovered that there is no sense to be made.
Narcissists have a tendency to practice seasonal devalue and discard during the holidays, focusing these abuse tactics on their nearest targets and closest partners. Why do they do this? Because they have no empathy and cannot handle intimate relationships and are compelled to do what it takes to destroy them.
The characterologically challanged individual is hellbent on destruction, particularly relationship destruction, and even more particularly than usual, during a special day, Christmas or your anniversary or your birthday.
You may have the highest of hopes starting out, only to realize that once again, yes, the narcissist is accompanied by a dark cloud or a sinister plot to hurt you in some way. Perhaps his abuse is “merely” detachment and neglect.
He/She probably did not get you a gift (and this is obviously because you don’t deserve a gift after some “terrible infraction” you perpetrated.)
Usually during the holidays the narcissist, being in a heightened state of fantasy-fulfillment-chasing, finds you completely unacceptable as all of your various imperfections come screaming to the forefront of his awareness, demanding improvement.
But, you, being a normal person, is most ly not perfect. This causes a huge narcissistic injury during a special day.
The narcissist’s anxiety is extreme and needs to be ameliorated by his/her belief that his/her external circumstances need to change; you being the primary external circumstance in need of a serious overhaul.
The narcissist has become your judge, jury, and prosecuting attorney. You don’t stand a chance. You may try changing, cajoling, appeasing, catering to, pleasing, or trying to get the narcissist to “see” how ridiculous he/she is being. Nothing works.
You end up feeling stressed out and miserable. Your loved one has caused you to “walk on egg shells,” all worried about minutia because you have become conditioned to believe you can influence this insanity; after all, he’s/she’s blaming you for it!
There is nothing you can do. At least, there’s nothing you can do to change the other person. But, you do have the power to change yourself. Here are some suggestions for overcoming the narcissistic abuse you are experiencing:
- Look within. Stop focusing on the other person’s behavior and start noticing how you’re feeling. I’m sure you’ll notice that you have no peace or serenity. Take note of the negative feelings you are having and make a decision to change that.
- Empower yourself. As you notice your unhappiness think of ways to take care of yourself in the moment. You can walk away and completely avoid the difficult person. Go in another room. Stop trying to change him/her. Remind yourself that you can’t change anyone else, but that you do have power over your own attitude and choices.
- Encourage yourself. Tell yourself that you are a good and amazing person and that you can have a good time regardless of your loved one’s problems. Your life is not dependent on another person’s moods (or personality problems for that matter.) Tell yourself that it’s not your fault.
- Remind yourself that the other person is not sane. A personality disorder implies “disorder.” Your loved one is not going to behave normally because he/she is disordered. Stop expecting normal behavior from this person.
- Hold on to yourself. Don’t allow the other person to make you insane as well. Just because you are dealing with a disordered individual, does not mean you have to become crazy as well. Do whatever it takes to walk away from anything that causes you to lose yourself.
- Trust yourself. Don’t get caught up in the drama and cognitive dissonance the narcissist brings to you. If you are feeling ill at ease, trust that there is a reason and that you have a right and obligation to honor your feelings and take care of yourself.
- Do not accept the other person’s blame. Narcissists are blame-shifters and projectors. That is, they never own their poor behaviors and always blame them on someone else. In addition to this, they project their faults on to you. For instance, when the narcissist tells you you are selfish, he/she is only telling you what he/she is.
- Set strong boundaries. Most people with personality disorders hate boundaries. But, that does not mean you shouldn’t have them. Remember, boundaries describe your behaviors, not the other person’s. You can’t change anything another person says or does, you can only decide how you will respond.Establishing strong boundaries is necessary in order to protect yourself from personal damage. An example of a boundary would be to make the decision to disengage from anyone who causes you to feel defensive. Notice that you are not trying to change the other person’s behavior; you are only trying to change yourself.
Note: Projection is a defense mechanism commonly used by narcissists. Introjection occurs when the targets of the projections internalize them. It is common to introject a narcissist’s negativity and requires strong boundaries to withstand. Being aware of this dynamic will help you understand how to protect yourself.
When the Narcissist (or other Such Emotional Abuser) in Your Life Ruins the Holidays
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 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 I had to walk on egg shells to not upset him further.
He would sit 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 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 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 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 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, 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 you owe them one, they’ll 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 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 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 ly 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 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 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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How to Deal With Narcissists During the Holidays
Let's talk about something many people are dreading and that is dealing with narcissists during the holidays. We all know the best thing is to stay away from the narcissists that you've identified in your life, but for some people, there is at least one time a year they feel forced to interact with this person, and that is the holidays.
Holidays are very difficult for people with narcissistic loved ones. Celebrations, get-togethers, and family time are invariably left in a shambles by these people. They throw tantrums, start arguments, some even destroy property or get into fistfights at gatherings.
They destroy the mood, they create havoc, and they will not be happy until everybody is as miserable as they are for whatever reason has stuck in their craw this time.
So what do you do? Well, you can always:
1. Choose not to attend.
A lot of people don't necessarily realize this is an option. You can indeed choose not to participate in activities where the narcissist will be in attendance. If your narcissistic sister or narcissistic stepfather will be at Grandma's house, maybe you just don't go this year. Or maybe you go visit Grandma after they leave.
Some people protest that this is allowing the narcissist to ruin the holiday and that's at least partially true, but let's tell the truth: aren't they going to ruin it anyway? At least this way, you decide what will happen, rather than getting there and walking on eggshells and having to participate in a big screaming hysterical scene anyway.
It's probably going to get ruined either way, so at least if you don't attend, you don't have to hear the screaming. Now, you may the recipient of some nasty comments for this and if you are, keep strong boundaries.
You don't have to explain yourself or your feelings, but if you choose to do so, tell the truth: You don't feel having your holiday ruined.
Nobody has to be around anyone they don't want to be around. That's the beautiful thing about being an adult. In most situations, you can simply say, “I'm done with you,” and walk away. People sometimes say things , “Well, I know my mom is a narcissist but I want my children to have a relationship with their grandmother.
” A fair question to them would be, “Why?” People often feel beholden to family or obligated to do things a certain way, regardless of how their family members have treated them. This is not healthy nor is it necessary. You can—and should—walk away from toxic people, no matter what their relationship to you is.
Anyone who truly loves you would not want you to put yourself in a situation where you are being mistreated or disrespected.
If not attending isn't something you want to do, you can try:
2. Attending but ignoring the narcissist.
This is a more difficult situation because narcissists hate being ignored and they despise people who refuse to react to their childish provocations. If your narcissistic brother realizes that you are not reacting to his taunts and insults, he's probably going to up the ante. And up it, and keep upping it until you do react.
If your narcissistic husband realizes that his comments in front of company don't seem to be embarrassing you, the comments are going to get worse and worse until something works. When your narcissistic aunt is sobbing hysterically about how everyone is against her, no one can have a good time.
Holidays are impossible with these people because they don't care about togetherness or love or other people at all. They don't care that Uncle Bill flew 5,000 miles just to be here because it may be Grandpap's last Christmas. What they care about are the imaginary rude comments people are making and the fact that no one even noticed their haircut.
Ignoring all of this can be very difficult for a decent person to do, but if you can, you'll still at least be able to see the people you want to see.
If you feel you must attend, hold your temper and don't react. At all. Ignore this person and their drama. If you don't feel you can be civil, simply leave the room when they come in.
You can try to clue your family in on not playing into the drama if you think it's wise, but a lot of times, there are enablers in the family who will defend the narcissist, making the problem worse. This usually happens because either they don't want to be the recipient of the narcissist's rage or because they have spoiled and favored the narcissist their whole lives anyway.
But if it's wise, and you can clue people in, maybe the whole family can simply ignore this person's nasty comments and attempts to cause problems so that they either stop or give up and leave.
Be advised though, that it is very hard to break patterns of behavior.
In situations the holidays, there are a lot of old issues that can come up, and for narcissists, this can be a difficult time, especially when they don't feel they are getting the recognition or attention that they deserve.
They will do whatever they can to get it, and that usually includes causing problems. They may become jealous of the attention, praise or gifts that others are receiving and this always ends badly.
An example might be when one female is receiving a lot of attention from the family for being pregnant. If there is a narcissistic female in attendance, there may be a scene, or she may make a lot of very nasty and cruel comments to the pregnant girl, or about her to others.
She may even lie and say she is pregnant, too. Another example may be where a male family member is receiving a lot of praise for landing a really great job.
If there is a narcissistic male in attendance, he may begin bragging about something that is made up, or he may run down the job everyone is talking about.
Other examples might be openly flirting with family member's spouses, having a screaming argument with their own spouse, bringing up issues that are years or even decades old between people to cause fights, attempting to embarrass or humiliate others, bringing someone to the gathering that is not welcome and many more. If people are drinking, the problems can become exponentially worse.
So if you must go, practice not reacting. Respond if you must, but don't react. Responding is talking. Reacting is emoting. Keep it in neutral and coast. Remember: this person is miserable and that's their problem. Don't let them make it your problem.