Narcissists, Holidays, & Dealing With the Christmas Grinch

narcissists-and-christmasThe 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.

narcissist-abuse-recovery-zari-ballardI 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.

when-love-is-a-lieThe 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.

Much Love…

(Updated from 12/15/15)




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  • Miss LM

    March 24, 2017 at 12:28 pm Reply

    P.S. The additional laugh was because this was literally my ringtone for him “you’re a mean one Mr. Grinch”!!!!! They truly are the Grinch but only when we allow. I KNOW it is hard, and it can get CONSUMING but we are free!!! And no Grinch could ever steal that. Blessing to you all from your fellow N survivor.

  • Miss LM

    March 24, 2017 at 12:25 pm Reply

    HAHAHH I can’t help to laugh about how accurate this article is. Now looking back after a 2 year separation (still have to have minimal contact due to having 2 kids with the N) I can count how many holidays were ruined, holidays he walked out on, holidays he destroyed (literally threw tree out) etc. How many times I babied him during his holiday depression etc. until we had a baby of our own how he walked out on Christmas day. I could go on and on. Now living through that and having to develop a whole new way of dealing with him and holiday with our kids, this is what I do. I MAKE IT A SEASON ALL THE TIME. Meaning if my daughter wants to turn on Christmas lights in March, that is exactly what we do. If he has them on Christmas morning, I redo Christmas morning when they get home, from scratch. Down to leaving cookies for Santa whatever it may be. The point is that he no longer controls our joy, our happiness our celebrations OUR HOLIDAYS OUR RULES. We live by our own calendar not his. There is hope and you can all do it!

  • Thabi

    March 21, 2017 at 11:11 am Reply


    You are spot on.
    The narcissist in my life was a complete cow during the Christmas season for 2 years.

    It also happens that he was born on January 2. He refused to celebrate huis 35th birthday with me after I’d wanted to make He was unavailable on Christmas, this is 3 weeks after we had enjoyed a cruise holiday together as a “couple”.

    I called it quits with him on January 8…I was fed up after the he pulled a Houdini…we no longer talk…thats a good thing.
    Although we go to the same gym, we walk often past each other like strangers. He greeted me the other day…I responded in kind….he’s never greeted me again since….and I’m cool with that

    • Zari Ballard

      March 22, 2017 at 4:23 pm Reply

      Hi Thabi,

      Yes, the Holiday Houdini…I know him well. So not worth the trouble. I don’t know how you can be at the same gym (I’m hearing that a lot lately!) together and still stay sane but more power to you. Just stay clear and far, far away and have a dumbbell ready to hurl if you have to.

      Stay strong & thank you for writing!

      Zari xo

  • Kim Knaub

    December 31, 2016 at 1:22 am Reply

    I thought I was alone that maybe he was right , an I’m sick in the head!! That I’m the problem an I need to be nicer to him…That everything was my fault no matter what it was..I have spent 21yrs cleaning up after that worthless piece of shit..An honestly I truly hate him an believe his death would be in everyone’s best interest..To morn an move on but no!! He just keeps coming back causing pure hate an discutent in the family then stands back feeding off our pain..Ever day I grow stronger my hate deeper an my desire for lovean happyness a reakiry..I am worth the truth..An I am done being feed on an controlled in order for him to feel like a man ..I want justification!!! But know it will never happen ..So I’ll do next best thing, an take the only thing he cares about other then himself..HIS MONEY !!!!

    • Zari Ballard

      January 2, 2017 at 11:59 pm Reply

      Hi Kim,

      Haha! Love the comment about the money! 21-years is such a long time to put up with the bullshit that these monsters bring into our lives. Hopefully, you know now that YOU were never the problem. he will never admit to that, obviously, but there comes a point that we simply have to be confident in the truth that we know. It doesn’t matter what he thinks or even what those who don’t “get it” think. We will never get our closure that way so don’t wait around for it. The game for them just never gets old and therefore justification never happens. Although they do know right from wrong, their brains are simply not wired to give a shit. So, do what you have to do but be sure to be confident in WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE because THAT will be the only truly worth anything at the end of the day. It’s hard to walk away without him conceding but it will never happen. The best revenge is for you to be happy and free which is something he will never ever be.

      Happy New Year, sister!

      Zari xo

      • Sick of BS

        January 3, 2017 at 3:34 am Reply

        Yes people…LET GO of the Sociopathic Circus that keeps rolling back into town…
        Learn to stay ZEN, stopping feeling the need to prove urself to them – stop letting them try to delude U, when U KNOW what they say is simply NOT true…it’s what they FEED off…coz, altho a Narcissist prides himself of having NO emotion (which he will NEVER admit to U) & deludes himself that it gives him the upper hand…he HAS to chase after ppl WITH emotions….just so he can stir your emotions into a negative state, to prove himself right…that emotions are useless & are just there, so he can gain….to feed his crazy insatiable ego. The truth is…he’s as bored as shit, as he ALWAYS is…with NO emotions about anything…& he silently HATES happy or content people…that’s coz, he can never get there. He can only pretend a lil positivity to LURE people toward him….NOTHING is real with them…just a game.
        So, practise ZEN if U really can’t cut all contact (which is obviously, the BEST move – coz, they can’t change…coz, it’s a mentally wired defect)….learn the story of “Is that so” regarding the Zen Master…
        Learn to stay especially CALM around these type of people, once U identify them as just attention seekers. ANY attention gets them “off”…but esp negative responses which may give them a chance to look in better light. Let them go & make it ur mission to seek out people that have U feel positive on an ongoing basis. And, the first step of that…is needing to get positive & knowing of urself in ur heart. NO, none of us are perfect – but, U don’t need to be…to be a genuine NICE person.

      • Sick of BS

        January 3, 2017 at 4:25 am Reply

        ” There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read ’em but all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em”
        – Kevin Welch
        Don’t waste your time!

  • Holly

    December 23, 2016 at 10:25 pm Reply

    WOW,,,,I always wondered why my husband was a grinch at Christmas,,,,,and disappeared into his room as soon as he could,,,,,,,that happens at family dinners too.

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