The narcissist will always be the Grinch that steals our Christmas.
With that said, I bet I could leave the rest of the page blank, letting you fill in the blanks! Yes, it’s that time of year again, friends! Readers who suffer the Holiday Discard will always understand what I’m talking about because narcissists and holidays never change. We’ve all felt the heartache of being abandoned and/or rejected over the holiday season by the one person – our narcissistic partner – that we yearned to celebrate it with. Typically, it happens over and over to the point that we don’t even expect this person to be around much past October or November. At least it was this way for me. My ex – the narcissist of my books – was the Grinch that stole my Christmas every year for 13-years.
I won’t repeat my entire story because When Love Is a Lie says it all. What I will say is that the memory of those Christmases past is vivid even today. The N was present, of course, for our first holiday season but that was only because we got together in October and he had no choice. After all, the Idolize, love-bombing phase must go on. But after that, my narcissist would disappear every October and not return until – I kid you not – January 2nd. This isn’t to say that he didn’t think of me at Xmas. In 2010, ten days after I tearfully sent a Facebook message to the girl I suspected he was staying with, he was thoughtful enough to have me served with a restraining order at 8:00pm Xmas Eve night. My suspicions, obviously, were confirmed. My heart, obviously, was shattered in a million pieces.
So, why do they do it? Why is every narcissist the Grinch who steals not only our hearts but our holidays as well? Christmas comes but once a year…you’d think that even a narcissist could manage to stick around or at least be pleasant for those few days but they can’t. It’s not in their nature. With the possible exception of the very first Xmas of the relationship, the truth is that nothing and nobody is ever going to turn him into Santa. So, what does the narcissist do over the holidays, then, when he’s not with us? And if he is around for Xmas, why does he have to make it so miserable? I mean, what kind of person plans to ruin the holidays?! Although I can’t, of course, presume to know what every narcissist is thinking at Xmas, I believe it must have something to do with at least one or some combination of the following:
- He’s a seasonal narcissist – meaning that he spends his holidays with someone else every year. This is, of course, refers to the vanishing narcissist. The Houdini of the Holidays. The pattern and the length of time he’s gone will always provide clues as to what he’s up to. Because my N consistently vanished from October until after New Years each year, I wasn’t stupid enough to think that he was really staying at his mom’s during that time as he would insist. He’d turn off his phone and/or change his cell number AND sometimes even move out of wherever he was living. I mean, he disappeared. In the early years, I was able to find him, but later on and towards the end, I had no clue where he was at. I only had suspicions. Towards the end, it occurred to me that it was quite possible that – even after all those years “together” – I was actually the other woman the whole time. Talk about an “a-ha” moment! The bottom line is that if your narcissist is a Holiday Houdini, you can safely assume that he is NOT alone and that when he returns, someone else is getting the silent treatment.
- It’s too much responsibility. No narcissist wants personal responsibility, least of all at Christmas time. If there are children around, all the more reason for him to run for the hills or become sullen – even if the kids are his. The festivity of the season is simply too much and, besides, it’s not all about him. Even a narcissist knows that with certain celebratory events come certain expectations – expectations that he has no intention of filling. So, rather than wing it like a normal guy, a narcissist would rather act like a dick so that no one has a good time OR remove himself from the situation completely. It matters not that your heart will be broken or that you’ll have to explain his absence or surly demeanor to his/your children. A narcissist’s only concern is that he be able to resurface with no repercussions. He’ll fully expect a post-Xmas pass for his bad behavior and then some hot post-Xmas make-up sex…and he usually gets what he wants. And if he’s been gone and the story of where he’s been sounds suspicious, refer above to bullet #1.
- It’s not about him. Narcissists keep us busy day in and day out with one crisis after another…and it’s all about him. No matter what we’re doing, he wants us to be thinking about him and it doesn’t even have to be a positive thought. Negative thoughts work just fine and, in fact, actually work better because negative thoughts that go unresolved will always last longer than happy thoughts. The holiday season, because it automatically causes us to focus on family and friends and gifts and parties and trees and children, is a source of angst for every narcissist on this planet. For this reason, he will start a fight, opt out on presents, give you the silent treatment, go to Xmas parties without inviting you, triangulate, and cause general suspicion until your brain is consumed with figuring out what the hell is going on. The narcissist’s holiday chaos will last until the season is well over and all outside influences and commitments have faded away.
The truth is that the narcissist is a year-long Grinch…he’s the Grinch who steals birthdays and holidays and anything that takes the focus off of him. He is a celebratory buzz kill and he plans all year to be the best buzz kill he can be.
This year, do not allow any narcissistic person to interfere with your celebration. For those who co-parent with a narcissist, your job is more difficult. You will have to mask the anger and/or sadness for the sake of the children. You will have to make up for everything he lacks or doesn’t bring to the party but you will be the better person. For all others, if the narcissist in your life vanishes or refuses to cooperate in a civilized manner, do your own thing and cancel his invitation. Cross him off your Christmas list.
This year, participate in the holiday season as if it were your last one. Make memories with your children or your friends and family and fuck the narcissistic Grinch. We have no clue what life will serve us tomorrow and time is a’wastin. The narcissist only thrives when you suffer so begin to break free one small choice at a time. If you’re not together, commit to a holiday “no contact” like no other and follow-through.
Finally, remember that in two weeks, we get a new year, a fresh start and an empty canvas upon which to paint any fucking picture we please. Let’s make it good, my friends, because life is short. For 2017, paint yourself a masterpiece.
(Updated from 12/15/15)