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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  • 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.

  • Lara Stafford

    December 19, 2016 at 8:17 am Reply

    My hubby’s ex is a narcissist…and so is his 20 year old daughter. She sucks the life out of the room with her monstrous self absorption and constant talk of her imaginary life. I’m dreading Christmas. My husband thinks she’s perfect – and she’s horrible. Ten years if this and I’m so tired.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 21, 2016 at 8:35 pm Reply

      Hi Lara,

      That situation does NOT sound fun at all. It would be one thing if he admitted at least to her behaviors but it appears he is blindsided. How does he get along with his ex? I suppose I could understand being blind to the daughter because it’s his daughter AS LONG AS he sees the mom for what she is. But if he appears to be oblivious to both of their flaws…blind to the suffocating narcissism, I’d REALLY have a problem with that. For you, it must be very difficult to stay quiet…I know it certainly would be hard for me. How is your relationship with your husband other than that? Fill in the blanks for me and I can give you a little better advice. Do you have to see the daughter a lot? Do you call her out and he defends her, thinking YOU are in the wrong? Once you are through these holidays, there is a new year and you can plan a new strategy to save your sanity. You deserve to be happy:)

      Zari xo

  • Anne Hawley

    December 16, 2016 at 12:32 pm Reply

    Zara: I am so glad I found your site. It’s so hard to completely condense what I have been through since October 2013 but it has been a horrible ride and completely within the bounds of what you describe, yet I still question “is he an asshole or really a NP?” I was in a long marriage that was on it’s last legs when I met him through a friend of mine that was also married (they were having a little text thing going, I know stupid right? why would I want to mess with someone like that, why would I do that?) I think she is an NP as well and is no longer my friend, but needless to say he soon was onto her game and moved onto me. And I ate it up hook line and sinker. Big good looking guy, smooth talker, in a band. After a year we finally slept together and at 42 I got pregnant by accident. The first time. Now I have forgotten to mention that he had a small child and was with a woman he said was just like his ‘room mate’ …. yada yada. I bought that too. That I was the one he had been waiting for and I was his soul mate, he would die without me, and he was making plans to leave her and we would be together. We even went places where his friends knew we were a thing. Well, the roommate baby mama turns up pregnant with number two. At the same time as me. However, he talked me into an abortion (saying he didn’t put a gun to my head to do it but saying if I didn’t that we could never be together and that everyone would say I was a whore) … he said he would stay with her to see his son born, and get his name, and then leave after the holidays. Well, I ended up divorced, losing my everything (my own fault) and starting over, and then he discarded me the day his son was born (right before the holidays) while he was in the hospital going so far as having the cops call me saying I was harassing him because I sent him a text. I didn’t threaten him with anything it was just the best way to try to control me because he knew I had pics, texts, etc. All I could remember was laying on my bathroom floor bleeding that summer when I had the abortion and asking if he could just call me to make me feel better and he wouldn’t because “she was there.” I sort of lost my mind that someone could just throw me away and lie to me. I had never had someone treat me like that. I then blew him up to her, her family and his family. Which did nothing other than make me look crazy. She took him back and said to stay away from ‘her family’ … He told everyone I was crazy. So 2 months later he pops back up on Facebook after disappearing and begins tap dancing all around showing his ass and commenting after me so I was sure to see him. Then we begin it again, he comes back and this time he promises that he will really go. He gets caught by her a few weeks into it (oh he also proposed to her at xmas day because “everyone hated him and he had to do something and he thought he might as well stay with her because he said I hated him, nice cop out there but I bought it). So for a brief period I thought it was going to work but then it got bad and the lies started again and I realized he was back there with her then we would fight and he would ask me to help him move out. His mother sent them to counseling and then by June he told me to ‘leave him alone’ and he disappeared and I did not respond to that last next. So then it’s August and he does the same thing again, starts commenting after me on FB. Leaving song lyrics. So we start talking. I find out he got a DUI while he was giving me the silent treatment which he has hid from everyone but her because she had to pick him up at the jail. And I stupidly agree to Friends with benefits because I’m dumb. But in that last year I saw him technically 2-3 times. For a hour or so. And I’m realizing I was nothing but supply and a sexting outlet. And he swears they aren’t sleeping together, etc. etc. and I eat all those crumbs because I’m hungry as we are get. We eat those lies because to face the truth of what they are is too much. And sometimes I would get the power to stop talking and he would pop back. But the last time I saw his baby mama pinning baby stuff again on Pinterest and I asked him what the deal was is she pregnant and never got a straight answer. Like how is she pregnant is you aren’t sleeping together? And he stopped talking to me two weeks ago when I asked that. Funny now that stuff is taken down. But I stumbled across him posting on some other young girls page yesterday (I’m now off FB for the duration, it’s too much) really nasty sexual comments to her pictures there were quite revealing. But he claims he never talks to anyone and only ‘looks’ and if he had seen me doing that there would have been hell to explain. It makes me sick and I know he was just a fake and as long as I played the game and ate the crumbs he was gonna keep bleeding me dry. Is there any question this guy is a narcissistic? He only usually went for young girls that are like 10-14 years younger than him. He is 42. His baby mama is 31. I am 45. And just a mess of scars and pain. I even tracked down his old GF that he used to compare as his best relationship and she said he was shallow and she left him because he started needing attention from other females and she just could not trust him. I am taking this day by day. Like an addition. Tho there are still days I want to not wake up anymore ever again.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 26, 2016 at 5:04 pm Reply

      Dear Anne,

      Of course he is a narcissist but the truth is that, even if I told he wasn’t, that he was just an asshole, would that make all of this okay??? OMG no. Get rid of him and move on with your life. This guy is a player and a pathological liar and he doesn’t deserve the time of day. His behavior is almost sociopathic. You know that this isn’t good for you and for your life. He needs to be BLOCKED everywhere…the phone, FB, and all avenues of social media. He will never change because he likes this just the way that it is. All he does is get his girlfriend pregnant to shut her up and then he tells you a lie to do the same. I am sure there are many more in his web that you don’t even know about.

      As sad as it is, this must all end. You deserve to be happy and he could care less if you are EVER happy as long as he can have his cake and eat it along with all the other cakes out there. Start the new year off right and kick him to the curb once and for all.

      Stay strong and do the right thing…

      Zari xo

  • Esmer1974

    December 15, 2016 at 12:57 am Reply

    Hi Zara, thanks for getting back to me so soon. There is no Xmas mentioned in the court order. I suggested alternatives, but my daughter was adamant that she wanted to stay with me and go to his on Boxing day, I said I would seek her views, and he told me that I shouldn’t have asked her, basically the only answer he was after was her there on Xmas eve. He was not happy in messages to me and told me I was manipulating her and shouldn’t have asked her, but it was OK for him to ask her. The text he sent was inappropriate and unacceptable, I have blocked him on her iPod now, so the only way he can contact her is through me. Court order states, week at Easter, summer and some long weekends. These have never happened. He has had her for a period of 4 days at the most. Alternate weekend, and every Wed.. its got 12 to 6pm but thats when she was in nursery. so he has her over night from school finishing. After all the fighting over the weekend and she never went to his (it was his weekend) she was crying in school on Fri and didn’t want to go to his so I stopped her going.. I have not heard from him and he showed up at the school, even though he had said in the texts that he wouldn’t see her for a while. She told me in the morning if he turned up she didn’t want to go to his. He has cancelled numerous weekend, and wed at short notice and leaving me to make other arrangements. He drops her off at my parents in the morning sometimes 7am.. with no breakfast and not even her hair brushed. I am now on medication for my asthma as this is stressing me out. I just want to protect my daughter from his controlling narcissistic ways. When I picked her up yesterday and he was there, when he approached the car, she visibly shrunk in the car and was desperate to get away… it made me so angry to see her like that. Someone that is supposed to love her, makes her feel that way. I think she is scared that he will twist all the conversations, and make her change her mind. Now I think I have to get my lawyer involved again. It was all very amicable until he got told NO for xmas.. and now he is this ogre again.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 19, 2016 at 11:16 pm Reply

      Hi Esmer1974,

      Okay, now the picture is a little clearer. Look, the truth, and I may have already said this, is that narcissists will ALWAYS dig their own parental grave – this is a GIVEN. It sounds to me as if he is in the process of doing this. You may want to see your lawyer if for no other reason than to say the exact things that you wrote to me to see what he thinks. Wouldn’t it be great if he just stopped coming around and gave you both a break this holiday season. Make a commitment to yourself to NOT allow to intimidate you or your daughter in 2017. Stick to your guns and he will fade away out of boredom and disinterest. This is really all about riling YOU up, girl, so show NO EMOTION when dealing with him. Showing only DETACHMENT AND INDIFFERENCE IS KEY to your sanity. keeping all interactions between you two to ten minutes and under (even if you have to use a stopwatch). Don’t talk about him at home and hopefully he will be out of sight, out of mind for your daughter. I know it’s hard, believe me but YOU CAN DO THIS. If you ever want to talk about it, I do provide consultations and perhaps we can get a strategy going. I’m more than willing to help in any way that I can:)

      Zari xo

      • esmer1974

        January 19, 2017 at 3:03 am Reply

        Hi Zara, well its been a month of bliss.. no contact nothing. not even a Christmas or birthday card from him, his daughter turned 9 and he ignored it. on the 18th he showed up at school as if nothing had happened pick her up from school, he has had a letter from my solicitor to state his daughter has no wish to see him at this moment in time. So several Txt messages later and a lot of abuse from him, I will be back to see my solicitor, I was hoping he was gone for good.. but he really is wanting to destroy us.

        Esmer xx

        • Zari Ballard

          January 20, 2017 at 4:56 pm Reply

          Hi Esmer1974,

          He’ll never be gone for good so you are going to have to figure out a way to NOT let him under your skin. The power is yours as to whether he destroys you or not. Just say no. Don’t answer texts. I can’t remember if you said you had primary physical custody. If you do, you can take your paper to the school and tell them he is not allowed to pick her up. I did that. You might even go talk to them anyway. Have someone else show up to pick her up if you can’t. Intercept him. Do not be afraid. He is obviously not worrying about anything…just doing what he wants to do. You need to do the same. It’s okay, girl. This is just a game to him. It will get farther and farther apart (the visits) and the pain will diminish if you allow it. He ain’t nothing but a stupid narc. See him for the bug that he is.

          Thanks for the update…keep them coming:)

          Zari xo

  • Esmer1974

    December 14, 2016 at 4:01 pm Reply

    My ex is at it all again. My daughter is now nearly 9 and he is wanting her for Xmas eve and she doesn’t want to go. So I told him. He has now txt her and said I’ve broken the law and he is taking me to court. And he probably won’t see her until it’s sorted. Then he showed up at school today to take her as If nothing had happened. He has started all his abuse over txt to me now. I didn’t allow him to take her as she didn’t want to go. Her dad was scaring her. I’m so sad and angry that this is all kicking off again. 🙁

    • Zari Ballard

      December 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm Reply

      Hi Esmer1974,

      Don’t be sad, girl. You’ve got to a grip on what he is doing right now and not let it get to you. As you know, this is really nothing new under the sun. He’s going to react the way he’s going to react – no matter what you say or do. Does it say in the visitation order that he gets her Xmas Eve? Does he pick her up and drop her off when he’s supposed to? In other words, does he stick to HIS schedule? Why doesn’t she want to go? Why is she scared of him? No matter what, he shouldn’t be allowed to text her and say that…that you’d broken the law. When you told him she didn’t want to go, was he okay with it and THEN texted her saying he wasn’t? Has your daughter told him that she doesn’t want to go? Sorry about all the questions…I’m just trying to get the story in my mind so I can think of a way to help you deal with it. Write back if you can…


  • Luluka

    December 13, 2016 at 4:50 pm Reply

    Thank you, and I wish the same to you 🙂

  • Lu

    December 12, 2016 at 2:22 pm Reply

    Thank you. I have no idea how you have the energy to write so much about this. I hope you have happiness and peace this holiday season, and beyond. Can you let go of your own story while you are helping so many of us with your wisdom and lessons? You are a remarkable writer and mensch, Zari, thank you for everything. One thing I keep reading is that healing is something we do together. I truly believe we are going through a time where narcs are seeking dominance openly (politics!!) and where regular people with common sense, kindness and decency are creating a powerful counterweight (nodapl water protectors, veterans, forgivers, true gentle leaders). It’s people like you who bring hope. Thank you.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm Reply

      Hi Lu,

      Thank you so much for such a sweet message…it made my day, girl:) In these types of relationships, I do believe that recovery is a team effort….without a doubt. Unless someone has lived this nightmare, they can never understand the level of the betrayal…and this is why we must all stick together as we move through recovery. I am inspired every day to continue the mission by you and everyone who comes here to share stories and comment on articles. You are all very special to me:)

      And I agree…this is a time of spiritual warfare on this planet and we must choose on the side of goodness and love. There is power in knowledge and in numbers and – together – there is nothing that can stop us from moving forward. Thank you again, sister, and have a wonder holiday season…

      Zari xo

  • Luluka

    December 10, 2016 at 12:35 pm Reply

    Hi Zari,

    I doubt that you will remember me, but this time last year, I had found your site (which lead me to discover narcissism) and shared my story with you under one of your posts. I explained how I met two narcissistic girls online, and how the second friendship managed to destroy me even through social media. We exchanged a few comments, and in one of them you told me that you believed I was “a force to be reckoned with.” Last December, that was the complete opposite of what I was–I was beyond a mess. This December, a full year later, that’s exactly what I am–and more. It was a hard journey, but my life is happy and free as never before. I’ve come by to drop a comment here because it’s my birthday today and I simply wanted to let you know how grateful I am for not just your comments to me, but also for running this blog the way you do. You and your blog played a very big part in convincing and encouraging me (and many others) to take control of my life and to get rid of the narcissist that had been poisoning me last year. I don’t want to write too much, so let me just say a massive thank you. You’re a wonderful person and I hope you’re doing well. Keep doing what you’re doing, and thank you once again.

    Luluka xo

    • Sick of BS

      December 11, 2016 at 11:59 pm Reply

      Happy birthday!..& where I just posted before under how Narcs put our expectations down….have a HAPPY MERRY Xmas without them, LOVE everything about urself & everything around U…that will really piss them off! U have every right to be content or happy…don’t let these monsters invade ur life journey & doubt urself.
      Best wishes for the season….& I truly mean that.

  • Sick of BS

    December 9, 2016 at 1:12 am Reply

    Why are some of ur comments here coming from back in March, when ur post states Dec 6th, 2016?

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