Narcissists, Holidays, & the Seasonal Discard

narcissist-holidaysWith the holiday season upon us, those in relationships with narcissistic partners will be doing some extra special suffering. Narcissists are legendary holiday buzz killers and, if the narcissist is your partner, you could end up in any one of a number of situations depending upon your place in the narcissistic queue. Yes, as the holidays roll around, it’s time for the narcissist’s seasonal Devalue & Discard (D & D) and those who are the most convenient in the narcissist’s life will likely take the hit. Sound familiar?

Although it’s likely that you already know exactly what I’m talking about,  allow me to share a story or two about my own holiday experiences with a narcissistic partner and let’s see how close I get to hitting the nail on the head about your relationship:

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Almost every year for thirteen years, my ex, the Narcissist, would steadily ramp up the narcissistic chaos and turmoil until around mid-October and then, after creating some ridiculous blow-out,  he’d vanish until somewhere in January or February. Every year without fail for thirteen years. It was the most blatant narcissistic behavior  ever – the D & D before the holidays – and truly the most painful. I can vividly remember spending many of those Christmases cowered under the blankets in my dark bedroom, unable to get out of bed, while my son played with his new toys alone in the living room. He would leave every October for no reason at all, shutting off his phone and vanishing from whatever apartment he was living in, never to return to me until well after the first of the next year….long after the holidays were over. The pain of being abandoned at this time of year, every year, rendered me inconsolable. I never got used to it.

In December 23rd of 2009, after my N had been gone two months and I hadn’t a clue where he was living, I became determined to smoke him out. During “normal”, much shorter silences, I could usually do this with minimal effort but this time time I was stumped. I knew it called for drastic measures.  On a hunch, I used Facebook to send a quasi-anonymous message to the girl that he had cheated on me with the year before. If he was with her this year, the least I could do was make his holiday as miserable as he was making mine. As it turned out, my hunch was spot-on but the result was over-the-top. Within two days, the N, determined to keep me at bay, had me served with a Temporary Restraining Order on Christmas Eve at 8:00pm (an TRO, by the way, that he would break just a few weeks later when he suddenly returned).  When I heard the knock, I actually felt a wave of relief thinking it was him. I remember taking the paper from the Sheriff’s hands, shutting the door, and crumbling to the floor in my hallway, sobbing uncontrollably. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get this guy to have a heart even though we – my son and I (his “family”, as he would say) – had been by his side for well over a decade.

Now that I think about it, I’m fairly certain that the 2009 Order of Protection was the only Christmas present the N ever gave me!

You see, narcissists are incapable of handling any time of year or any event (birthdays anyone?) where they might be expected to show responsibility and loyalty to the people that care about them. This is not to say that he doesn’t spend the holidays with someone somewhere -because he does. It’s just that he chooses the environment and/or relationship situation that is most self-serving to his seasonal narcissistic needs – whatever those may be – and that is where he’ll spend his time during that part of the year.  A narcissist is seasonal. Without fail.

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To make it work, the N will likely have at least two households where he is able to set up shop during the year – one being for the spring/summer season and the other being for the fall/winter season. Depending on which season he’s in, much of his time will be spent trying to thwart the current girl from finding out about the off-season girl. To eliminate unnecessary hassle, my ex would prepare for his post-holiday discard (from her) and eventual comeback (to me) in advance by getting a new cell number, a new apartment (or no apartment), and a new job (or no job). He would either connect or disconnect various aspects of his life in various combinations to make it happen. He’d make sure he had  everything in order long before he even thought about hoovering

The bottom line is this: when a narcissist comes back to you, he is vanishing from someone else. Of that, you can be sure. Then, when it’s comes time to dump you again, he has to do everything in reverse. The vanishing acts, of course, are also called silent treatments and we’re all familiar with that narcissistic tactic. At some point, it has to stop. At some point, we have to decide how we really want to spend the upcoming new year. Normal people do not act that way – even in the most dysfunctional of relationships. We become so accustomed to the neglect and abuse that we completely forget what “normal” even means.

Yes, the narcissist will ruin every holiday without fail for as long as you allow it. He has no intention of ever doing it differently no matter how he professes that “this Christmas will be different” during your on-season together. A narcissist simply can not keep himself from upping the chaos and turmoil during the events of the year where you or others would most like – or expect – to have his company.  This would include birthdays, anniversaries, births, deaths, and, of course, the festive holiday season. The narcissist’s seasonal D & D is one of his/her most prized strategies for breaking your heart because it never fails to do so. Even if every other narcissistic weapon in his arsenal were to back fire, the narcissist knows there will always be a holiday just around the corner where a disappearance or silent treatment would deliver a foolproof knock-out blow.

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Here’s the deal…our suffering changes nothing. You must remember this!

Don’t let it happen this holiday season. If you’re still in the relationship, the chances are that he will leave. While you can’t control his behavior, you can certainly control your reaction. Let him go and enjoy your holidays. If you’re out of the relationship and having a bit of relationship amnesia about his holiday behavior, let this article be a reminder of what you’re missing and be grateful for every moment that you’re missing it!

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Updated from original post of 10/2014.










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  • Chantelle

    December 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm Reply

    Your articles are so incredibly validating! I am in the first week of no contact with my ex n! It’s hard but I use your many articles to distract me when I get anxiety or the urge to break nc.

    This article in particular blew me away! I am a very passionate woman and find all holidays can be exciting and enjoy putting effort into each one. But for an entire year my n managed to destroy every single one!

    January 1 2014, decided 2 hours before we were to go to a party to go to bed and sleep. Left me all dressed up and disappointed.

    Feb14, took me out only to violently assault me in a humilliating way i would never tell, at the end of the evening.

    Easter went home for a family visit and called me early Easter morning to say he met someone else and we were done!

    He hovered until mothersday when he called the police saying my kids egged his house! ( they were away) but still all I got was crazy mean emails and a police visit!
    Canada day long weekend, I went last minute camping with no online notes of our unexpected middle of no where camping trip imagine my shock and distress when my daughters says my ex showed up! He bought a 4×4 and showed up in our undesignated camp sight with this woman he had dumped me in Easter for! I was totally deeper out, disgusted and angry! Until karma got him and her stuck in a giant mud pit and no one but me to pull them out! I did not help I laughed and they were stuck for 7 hours until finally other pol passed through and pulled the truck out!

    My birthday was next and he refused to see me or give me any attention reminding me I’m not important.

    Oct 29 I had enough and called him on his disrespect! Out of no where he attacked and beat me for 45 minutes dragging me spitting on me choking me pushing me once in the jaw. I had to work the night shift and must have been on shock because here I was dressed as tinker bell when a customer asked about my bruises! Imediayly I had to change and cover up my jaw with make up. After that shift I went home crying and in a lot more pain then during the attack. I could not take my daughter trick or treating I was so incredibly hurt! Infant I could not get out of bed all weekend and of course no apologies intact he implemented silent treatment. Devistated isolated by shame and psyically broken I had no one. A week later he came back it calmed me .

    But I have had enough and I decided I deserve better. I have implemented no contact but it seems like it’s no biggie to him. He has not tried to hover or anything. I find relief he is staying away but it still brings anxiety for me. and it does hurt knowing he truly never cared!

    Thank you for your articles they are keeping me focused and strong. I would buy your books but I have no credit card. So pls keep posting articles!!!

    My best wishes to you all!

    • Zari Ballard

      December 6, 2014 at 9:05 am Reply

      Hi Chantelle,

      Thank you for sharing your story and I’m grateful that you’ve found my articles helpful. I am going to send you my books in PDF format to the email that you used to post here but you have to promise me that you’ll read them starting with When Love Is a Lie. I think all three will give you the empowerment that you need to get away from this monster. Yes, you deserve so much better and he deserves not a second of your time. With a new year around the corner, it’s time to get your life in order and commit to No Contact.

      I’m going to send the books now. You will see yourself on every page, I guarantee it:)

      Zari xo

  • Chachi

    December 1, 2014 at 1:26 am Reply

    Hi Zari. I am in love with a narcissist. He does not have feelings for me. I have been working on improving myself and have lost 102 pounds since January. I decided to send the narcissist I know a christmas card and I also sent him some recent pictures of me as he hasn’t seen me since July and our only communication is text messaging when he feels like texting me back, that is. I feel really good about how I am looking. Well, he got the pictures and texted me saying “everyone knows your are too heavy at 180 at your best…you are acceptable…men want slim” He knows I weigh more than 180,, I am 213 so I’m not sure why he chose 180 for my current weight. I texted him back saying I know what men like and a few men are interested in me already. So be happy I’m not into you anymore…it is what you wanted aferall. Then he is like you are free. we are free. I told him he has always been free, that I never had him and never will and that I know this is how it will be even when i am thin and desirable, u just will never like me no matter what. Then he says goodnight. I say nothing in return. 20 minutes pass and he texts me again and accuses me of baiting him…i told him i am not baiting him and that i am just tired of pursuing him because i get nothing out of it.. then he is like you win. then he tells me his sister says i am looking for a fight. I told him if i wanted a fight i would have started one when he insulted me. then he says once again his sister said i like conflict. one more i told him i am not interested in a fight. then he says ok, no fight and he hasnt texted me since. it was weird, it was like he was accusing me of baiting him and looking for a fight when actually it was he who was bating me and trying to start a fight. why would he project on to me what he himself was doing and try to make it look like I am the one looking to pick a fight? and as for his sister saying this and that…I don’t buy any of it…I think he just wanted to play he said she said…I think truth be told, his sister didn’t say a damn thing…I met her one time for 20 seconds…she knows nothing about me. and if she is gonna judge me after not knowing me, that says a lot about her character as well. why does he play so many games? just last week he texted me saying he saw me out walking and said how great I look and he said i look thin…and now he makes sure to let me know I am still considered fat and that men want slim. I look really good in the photos I sent him…one was a little revealing…i had a little cleavage showing…a friend of mine had told me that the pic turned him on so I thought that it would have the same effect on the narcissist in my life…I am a fool to have thought my pictures would move him. Why did he try to pick a fight with me??? and why does he insult me?

    • Zari Ballard

      December 5, 2014 at 1:47 am Reply

      Hello Girlfriend,

      Thank you for sharing and I’ve been wondering about you and how you’re doing. You should know that you can call yourself Chachi or a million other names and I’m still going to recognize you, sister. Congrats on losing all that weight because that is no easy task and you should be proud as punch about it. I remember when you really got started on that…all the walking (which I envied!)…and you did it in record time. PLEASE do NOT waste your time trying to impress this jerk anymore. The truth is that you never even had a relationship with this guy and that’s a good thing. He has never even been a friend and he has always been involved with someone else. You yourself say that he has no feelings for you and that should be enough. It has been years of this and it’s time to stop the madness for yourself.

      You will find all of the posts that you and I wrote back and forth to each other in the comment section of the article Signs of a Narcissistic Partner/Personality. My opinion about this guy has and never will change. And I honestly don’t believe he’s a narcissist, per se, because you two have never had a relationship and there are no overt signs of that. What he is though – without a doubt – is an ASSHOLE who doesn’t seem to have a problem being mean to you. If he is not and never has been your boyfriend or even your friend and if he’s mean or indifferent each and every time you text (which is infrequent) and if he has no feelings for you at all either way, why are you still pursuing this as if, by some miracle, it’s going to change? You need to move on, sister. Enjoy your new self and flaunt it to the world over the holiday season!

      Zari xo

    • Zari Ballard

      December 6, 2014 at 8:47 am Reply

      Christine wrote to Chachi

      Congratulations on the weight loss, but please only do it for yourself and not for this guy, who isn’t worth it. No one can ever truly please these narcs and these narcs will always find SOMETHING to criticize. I’m a size 2 and mine always told me I was too skinny and criticized me for not eating enough. I know a girl who’s a model and absolutely gorgeous, and her boyfriend will tell anyone within earshot what an idiot she is. Whether you’re tall, short, big, small, whatever…the narc will find something to nitpick and there’s no way to “win” with them. It isn’t really about the person being criticized, but about the narc tearing down that person’s self-esteem to gain control.

      I cringe when I think about the desperate measures I took to keep mine with the new wardrobe, makeup, etc. I even sent him a “hot” photo of me in a bandage dress while I was out on the town with friends (which he claims he never got. Whatever). I feel better after going no contact and not trying to meet his needs any more. I still treat myself to new clothes and beauty products once in a while, but now it’s only for ME (and I’ve even gotten some things that I like but that I know he would have hated, since I no longer live for him). Please do yourself a favor and take the focus OFF him and ON to yourself again.

  • Sally

    November 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm Reply

    We met on a holiday. Then just together a few months, and when summer came, he dumped me. now it’s holiday season again, guess who called! Yeah, it’s true. They are seasonally oriented dumpers. Wow. Just when I think I know everything there is to know about narcs, I learn yet some other disgusting fact about them. I feel sorry for them because of how they got to be narcs, but they make me sick!

    • Zari Ballard

      November 29, 2014 at 12:11 pm Reply

      Hi Sally,

      Thanks for writing and I know it sucks. I got dumped every October until after New Years for 13-years – without fail. Even with all I’ve written about this “disorder” and all I learned from my own relationship nightmare, the concept of narcissism and how they are all one and the same in word and action worldwide never ceases to amaze (and still disturb) me. Don’t feel sorry for them. They are what they are and they like it that way. Save your sympathies for someone who DOESN’T want to destroy your soul.

      It’s time to be happy…a new year is just weeks away!

      Zari xo

    • Christine

      December 6, 2014 at 12:01 am Reply

      It was fascinating to read this. It just occurred to me that perhaps my devaluation was “seasonal” too! We met during the summer and I wonder if it’s just coincidence that he vanished on me as fall rolled around. Now I wonder if I was always destined to be the “summer” girl. He always wanted me to wear dresses around him. At first I thought that it was just a preference. However, after a while it felt more like a marching order and like dresses were my designated “uniform”. The one time I wore jeans around him, you would think I had committed some horrible crime. Since he didn’t want me in pants (the horror!), it sort of makes sense that he then disappeared on me during colder weather, when I’d presumably wear them more often.

      After reading this, now I’m wondering if he’d have the nerve to try to contact me once “my” summer season rolls around again! Well, no matter how he sees it, I see it as a permanent separation and not just an “off” season.

      • Zari Ballard

        December 6, 2014 at 8:45 am Reply

        Hi Christine,

        Oh…he’ll always have the nerve. And, believe me, it was no coincidence that he vanished when fall rolled around. I guarantee that. What a loser, re: the dress requirement. Seriously. If I were you, just to prepare for “your” season rolling in, I’d leave the dresses packed away even as it warms up and buy myself a different pair of jeans for every day of the week. Then, I’d flaunt them all over town…I’d even fucking SLEEP in them! If he shows up, that’d be a surefire way to end this nonsense and ensure his immediate departure. God Almighty…It still boggles my mind what douchebags these guys are!!!

        Zari xo

      • Christine

        December 6, 2014 at 11:14 pm Reply

        I wouldn’t put it past him. He never truly respected my boundaries before so can’t assume he’d do so now. He also had this strange thing against women wearing shorts too. So when it warms up I think I’ll keep the dresses packed away and wear shorts when it’s too hot for my jeans. 🙂 I’m girly girl enough to like dresses now and then, but it felt ridiculous when that became the ONLY clothing I was allowed to wear. It’s a relief now to wear what I want, when I want, silly as that sounds.

        Well I’m now glad to have only been a summer fling, so he doesn’t ruin my Christmas and New Years (and didn’t ruin my Thanksgiving!)

        • Zari Ballard

          December 7, 2014 at 7:23 pm Reply

          No, it sure doesn’t sound silly that you feel that relief at all. The only thing that’s silly is the fact that we would ever let someone dictate to us such nonsense….that we would ever allow this person to so blatantly steal and then manipulate our identity. And we all did just this…many, many times.


      • Christine

        December 8, 2014 at 4:34 am Reply

        Tell me about it. He was savvy enough not to initially command me to dress a certain way, but made it a polite request…like, you look great in everything but even better in a dress. Hey, who can find that objectionable? It wasn’t until later when he was passive aggressive about me wearing jeans that I realized it was an edict. I am determined not to let anyone else ever twist me around like that again.

        • Zari Ballard

          December 9, 2014 at 7:00 am Reply

          Hi Christine,

          All that passive-aggression…they are so good at getting what they want, douchebags that they are. Continue to stay strong and take it one day at a time.

          Zari xo

  • Leah

    November 24, 2014 at 5:36 am Reply

    I love this website! This is fascinating! Yesterday, I began NC with my N.

    I started a relationship with a narcissist last December. While I didn’t see him often, he texted me all day every day, making me think he really liked me and wanted a relationship. Then I’d be terribly confused with how hard he’d make it to see him – we’d only get together when HE wanted to – but the sex was incredible so oh well! It took me 5 months – until his first silent treatment – for me to understand what I was dealing with. I was heartbroken and mortified when I realized that his feelings for me had never been real and he’d only ever wanted to use and hurt me. Lacking closure… could he really care so little about me?… I was super happy when 2 months after we’d stopped talking, he started talking to me again!

    We started texting again every day from August, but this time I understood that he was a shitty selfish guy, and he moved an hour away, and so it became more of a friendship/penpal relationship. I was dating other people. He was dating other people. We were incredibly honest and open about everything. And I had lot of fun. I was fascinated observing him, and I’m a writer and I wrote a character based on him for a TV show I’ve been working on. However, despite understanding that he could never be my boyfriend or treat me the way I deserve to be treated, part of me still clung to a hope that he’d suddenly realize I was perfect for him and transform himself into a human being.

    Then about 2 weeks ago I’d texted him a sexual text and out of the blue he texts me, “that’s nice, but I’ve started seeing someone.” I knew he wasn’t actually leaving me though, so I responded with “lol awesome. Mazel.” I didn’t text for a week. Then gave in and we started texting again. Then he started texting sexual stuff. I said I thought he was back together with his long term (7+ year on and off) girlfriend now… he said that they’d broken up… casually dated a few months then tried exclusive for 2 weeks n it didn’t work out. Suddenly, he was all over me again, trying to make plans.

    So this article is amazing in explaining what’s going on! The long-term girl is his main source, and he left her last week for the holiday discard! I think I was #2 in the cue lol I finally got fed up with his behavior and told him I’d had a lot of fun with him, but I was done being masochistic and I’d like to move on so please no longer text me.

    It’s interesting to think what girl is he focusing on now, now that he JUST broke up with his #1 and then his #2 went NC the next week. hahaha! Maybe they’re already back together thanks to my finally seeing the light. I quit smoking cigarettes last week… I’m dropping all of my filthy destructive habits with ease 🙂 And it’s surprisingly similar dropping the N to dropping the cigs. I get cravings for both and then get increasingly proud the deeper I get into my sobriety/NC!

    Thanks for this site!!

    • Zari Ballard

      December 3, 2014 at 1:06 am Reply

      Leah wrote....Then I’d be terribly confused with how hard he’d make it to see him – we’d only get together when HE wanted to – but the sex was incredible so oh well! Yup, oh well! How funny….

      Hi Leah,

      Girl, please forgive me for taking so long to respond. This month has been too crazy! If you haven’t at least read my first book, When Love Is a Lie, it’s a cheap and easy download from Amazon and you will think you wrote it. Narcissists are amazingly all the same and I base my article content on what I know to be true about narcissism based on my own 13-year relationship. The silent treatments, the blowing hot and cold, staying for the great sex, allowing him back for the great sex, basically asking no questions and allowing him to get away with bullshit, the passive-aggressive manipulation, the hoovering texts….on and on and on.

      Kudos to you for looking at the N like a cigarette habit! Yes, it IS an addiction like any other it seems. It’s a matter of getting off the emotional roller coaster and staying off it and that’s tough because we get addicted to the memories more than anything else. But it sure sounds like you’re in good spirits, sister, and I’m glad for that!

      Thank you for sharing, write anytime, and, again, I’m sorry for the delay in responding. If you can, get the book. You’ll be amazed!

      Zari xo

  • Ella

    November 6, 2014 at 6:44 pm Reply

    OH my! When I found his hardcore sex todays and confronted him (over $2K in anal toys and a set of restraints) he filed a RO against me. I WISH WISH WISH he would come back, just so I could confront him. (Revenge as you state)… I did get a little revenge the day I found them: I put one on display in his home behind some artifacts and pictures, half hidden so that he might not find it right away. And I hoped SHE would see it. Well, he found it. And when I wrote him an email stating that I had found his collection of toys, he went to court. The judge ruled in my favor. But I sure could relate to the intense pain I felt when I was served. It was thee most awful feeling in the world. His anger and rage for me is undeniable, and tell me… there is NO way he will ever come back. I don’t want him, I just want to play him like he played me. Is that wrong? 🙂

    He trashed me to his family I’m sure (and they loved me; we spent many holidays together) because when I tried to talk to them — before the RO — they told me I was no longer welcome there….I had no idea why bc up until then I hadn’t done anything wrong.

    What’s up with the anal toys? And $2K of them? He was into it hardcore. And he revealed only one toy to me, telling me that he had experimented with this before he met me, but that he had never shared it with another woman before me.

    Lies? It’s so hard to believe. I’m gullable and have a hard time believing I wasn’t thee special one. 🙂 A friend of mine slept with him and she said he never used them on her; she had no clue.

    • Zari Ballard

      November 8, 2014 at 12:29 am Reply

      Ella wrote...What’s up with the anal toys? And $2K of them?

      Hi Ella,

      It’s a fact that narcissists swing BOTH ways so don’t be so sure that his initial intention was to even use them with women. When he revealed that one toy and said he had never shared it with a WOMAN before you, he was probably actually telling the truth! I slowly discovered, much to my shock and dismay, that my ex had a thing about transexuals (“chicks with dicks” porn history on MY computer and then old VHS tapes with same porn). When confronted, he admitted being “curious” but then freaked out and disappeared, crushing me until I chose to let it go (being the good victim that I was). Then, over the years, I’d find the usual strange phone numbers for girls but sometimes also for guys. He always had some excuse but it made no sense. Since our sex life together was so excellent (without fail), I let it go, thinking, like you, that I was the special one. I was wrong. Narcissist are always up to something devious sexually.

      Your story and all those toys…believe it or not, is NOT unusual at all. And I wouldn’t be so concerned that whoever he was/is using $2000 worth of anal sex toys with was/is so special either. No one person in a narcissist’s life is any more special than the next. Some are just more convenient and/or serve a different purpose. Be glad it’s over, girlfriend.

      Zari xo

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