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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  • Emma

    January 1, 2018 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Just read the article. Crikey … I didn’t chuckle at the narcs I felt I was back with him. It sent a bit of a chill down my spine. The longest my ex would go for was a month, but he was always in constant touch with me. Keeping his bed warm, I guess. That’s why he doesn’t realise I am done with him now, because I accepted such overt cheating from him in the past. The difference this time is that he was conducting an affair on a daily basis and this woman thought he was her boyfriend. As opposed to his lies and cheating via messages, dating web sites, and the occasional few weeks with an ex. Or the odd one night stand. It might seem strange that I have made a distinction between the latest woman and the other ones, but for me, that was the final straw. The daily betrayal and the fact I was hidden as if I was the other woman. But I see it as her doing me favour. It was just a matter of time before he killed me. He killed most of me but I am going to do everything in my power to heal and come through this. If I had carried on letting him live with me, it would have been a physical death. He did say a few times that this relationship will only end when he has killed me and he’s doing life for murder. Dark times. I still worry he’s going to kill me when he realises I mean it’s over … but I have police and other authorities on board.
    Phew! Sorry for going on! You don’t have to put this in your comments, unless you think it might help someone. X

    • Zari Ballard

      January 10, 2018 at 7:26 pm Reply

      Hi Emma, thank u for sharing. I do think it absolutely can help someone. Stay strong and please check back. Don’t allow your guard to drop and stand strong in keeping him away. He WILL eventually get the idea and then he’ll be on to another target. I know it never seems like that day will come but it does!


  • Dani

    December 9, 2017 at 5:43 pm Reply

    Hi…I think I have been in a relationship with a narcissist for 10 years. Almost every year he breaks up with me around my birthday (October 31) if not on my birthday. It’s a regular pattern and I always wondered how could someone say they love me, more than anyone else in the world and then break up with me during my birthday? He always would come back and make some excuse with some type of gift. We moved in together last year and he told me a week before my birthday that he was done with the relationship and that he was not going to change his mind. I never saw it coming. We had normal relationship problems but I had no idea he wanted to breakup. He has now abandon our home and has gone silent on me. He sleeps somewhere else at least 4 times out of the week and gets angry if I ask if he’s cheating or seeing somone else. He still will not admit to this day that he is cheating. He says that he loves me but will not explain to me as to why he wants to breakup after 10 years. He will not communicate with me at all about the breakup. It is now almost Christmas and I’m so upset that he would do this around the holiday season. I left my family, job, and hometown for this relationship because after 10 years I finally thought he was ready to become seriuously committed. I have invested in buying this new home and now after 4 seasons I have to move out. I’m devasted. I’m sure I should have seen this coming but not so abruptly. I never would have thought he would handle me like this. But after reading more about narcissist I’m learning that I may have been in love with one and I don’t know how to let go.

    • Zari Ballard

      January 10, 2018 at 6:29 pm Reply

      Hi Dani,

      Well, it has taken me this long to get back with you but you through the holidays! I can only hope and pray that 2018 is YOUR year and that you can escape the clutches of the monster. Any guy who shows a pattern of leaving on the holidays or on any birthday IS A NARC THROUGH AND THROUGH. Mine did it every year for 13 years…shame on me for allowing it. Please read my book When Love Is a Lie if you can because I talk all about it. I am so sorry that you gave up so much to be with this jerk….this is a good example of HOW MUCH we WANT TO BELIEVE. You have to let go and save the rest of your life because this is as good as it gets, girl. He just doesn’t care.

      Stay strong,


  • kerry bettis

    November 29, 2017 at 2:19 pm Reply

    I have been back nearly a month from an amazing holiday with my n partner who I only had back in my life because he was getting help . I know I have been used but to use his mental health issues have counselling an then switch on me.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm Reply

      Hi Kerry,

      Narcs are not beyond saying they will get counseling to get you back. At least you had an amazing holiday because I’m sure that YOU deserve it. Now, kick his ass to the curb. Narcs NEVER mean ANYTHING they say. Don’t waste another minute of your precious time….

      Zari xo

    • Emma

      January 1, 2018 at 12:38 pm Reply

      I haven’t read the article yet, was too busy laughing and thinking ‘oh yes, that was my ex’
      it’s been 5 weeks since I found out about his latest other woman and realised he had at last, thank christ, crossed my final boundary.
      He’s hoovering like a mad ‘un now! Lol.he has yet to understand that this is, most definitely, it. He told me she was his contingency plan! Well, let’s see how that one works put for ya!
      And, talk about down grading haha ..
      Sorry, i digress!
      Yup, every Christmas, every Birthday some ramped up narc psychosis would wreck the buzz.
      In three years I never had a birthday card, Christmas card or present. He would storm off to an ex, before Christmas and spend it with them, telling me how they felt sorry for him and bought him a kind and thoughtful they were. Meanwhile my Christmas is ruined. I’m in bits. Never mind all the presents I had bought him and my family had bought him. He came back one year a few days after christmas, and announced to me on january 6th, his birthday, that he was going to another ex for a few days. Again leaving my heartbroken and alone with his birthday cake and the ingredients for a special dinner.
      Jesus, just thinking about that … was i that far gone? That was my existence for 3 years. As well as the violence.
      Any way, I’m going to read the article now and have a good old chuckle at the narcs!
      Thank God I’m free now. Massively damaged but free.
      Your articles are superb,, Btw! Absolutely spot on 🙂

  • Charlene

    September 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm Reply

    He left to his home in Belize for a week he told me. Gone two months. Said he had a breakdown & lost his faith. Sent email 2days before my daughter’s wedding asking for permission to attend. Was back for 2 weeks prior to the wedding. My daughter & future son-law told me ,”No”. He hurt you too much.
    Met me in a park & warned me that he had changed for he lost his faith. Prior woman he loved got married to someone else.
    He wanted two weeks to get himself together and then, he would take me to dinner at one of my favorite rest.
    I sent him an email and told him that this was a good time to end our friendship and please heal as you wish.
    I am still crying on & off. Trying to keep busy. So difficult . Have flashbacks.

    • Zari Ballard

      November 3, 2017 at 4:19 pm Reply

      Hi Charlene,

      I hope you are okay, sister. Listen, I am going to my personal email right now to send you a copy of my book When Love Is a Lie so please look for it. I will sent it to the email that you used to post your story. I believe that it will bring you much comfort. You can do this…..

      Zari xo

  • R

    July 26, 2017 at 1:00 am Reply

    Hi, I was discarded and dumped by my suspected N ex girlfriend on Boxing Day last year.
    My question is would that of been a planned action or a random act?
    She is currently in a new relationship with a man who has a wealthy family after only 5 months of being apart from myself.
    She has shown no remorse or empathy since the breakup towards me, which I didn’t see coming.


    • Zari Ballard

      August 2, 2017 at 10:06 pm Reply

      Hi R,

      Well, it could have been planned because narcs like to break up with us on or around important dates so that we always remember it. And what do you know – it worked! And don’t expect her to feel and remorse or empathy – she’s a narc, after all. If she felt any of that, she’d be at least partially normal. But she’s not, my friend. She’s just doing what narcs do…and female narcs are the worst of the worst…

      Zari xo

  • Jayne

    April 12, 2017 at 5:01 pm Reply

    Hi, thank you for your article. The Narc is 40 tomorrow and earlier today I was discarded and now getting the silent treatment. He’s been giving hints for months how he expects me to make his day ‘special’ yet he’s now spoilt it as the last text I got said he wasn’t seeing any of us, his son included (he doesn’t live with us), How can he make such a fuss over his birthday to then blatantly spoil it? I know from previous family occasions, that I will be to blame for this and how I ruined his birthday to make me feel like the guilty one, yet I’ve tried to reach out to him but I’m just being ignored. I’ve now wasted time and money on activities /bookings that is just going to waste now. No doubt he will be playing the victim on social media and possibly a new supply (which is where I suspect he is), but fair enough discard me but say he’s not even going to see his son is just plain cruel. He has no Regards for how he makes any of us feel when he does this as it’s not the first time but as it was his 40th I thought it would be different – how wrong was I ?!

    • Jayne

      April 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm Reply

      Sorry didnt make it clear, the Narc doesn’t live with us, our son lives with me.

    • Zari Ballard

      April 25, 2017 at 2:59 pm Reply

      Hi Jayne,

      I apologize for the delay in responding. Narcissists don’t really care WHEN they act like jerks. He probably acted like a jerk right before his birthday so that 1) he could go out and celebrate without you, or 2) he could blame you for having a rotten one. That’s really all it is. Now, having said that, he’s a grown man who shouldn’t DEMAND anything for his birthday. I hope you were able to get your money back. He’s not worth a penny, that’s for sure.


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