It’s very difficult to wrap your mind around the fact that the significant other, parent, family member or close friend of yours purposely wants to harm you and/or destroy you (preferably the latter, if we are being honest with each other). After all, most relationships that are rocky, combative, and dysfunctional – want what’s best for the other even if they may not always know the best way to show it.
Holidays, anniversaries and vacations are all proof that both parties are capable of putting their differences aside for special events that mean something – yes, they are willing to put their ego aside for something far more important – for those milestones, those sentimental values that bring even the most incompatible families together.
That is – as long as none of those family members are malignant narcissists.
Malignant narcissists can never put their ego aside, not for anything special – not a celebration, a vacation or even a cremation – it doesn’t matter the event or how special or sacred or sad that event is to the family of the malignant narcissist – they view it as one thing and one thing only – an opportunity to extract narcissistic supply.
Why do they need to do this at important or special events or times of the year?
Once we know why they cannot put their ego aside for anything – we can let go of hoping that one day, one year, one special event or another – they might, just might, allow you to enjoy or at least allow you to give your attention to something or someone other than them.
Narcissists hate when people are able to feel or have things that they themselves are incapable of feeling or having. Close connections with family, bonds of love, acts of kindness, a sincere display of generosity, the desire to truly make another person happy – those are just some of the things a narcissist is incapable of, to mention a few. To see their own family indulge in such things provokes pathological jealousy – and jealousy is according to the bible “rottenness to the bones.” Proverbs 14:30.
So the narcissist is like a toddler, who sees another child having fun without him/her; or sees another child with a toy that h/she does not have – toddlers react with frustration and anger. I remember my daughter at 3 years old getting upset with her twin cousins for playing together and not including her. Well, she took her barbie doll and bopped it on one of her cousins heads. We tease her now and laugh about it because for a three year old – that kind of behavior is common.
It’s not funny however, when it’s a grown adult acting like that. It is so difficult to understand that narcissists intentionally try to ‘bop you on the head’ or hurt you, simply because you are enjoying something that they cannot take credit for nor experience themselves.
Malignant narcissists have a bag of tricks – they don’t all act the exact same way during special occasions, but their underlying motive is the same. Some will rage and have their family walking on eggshells all the way up to the start of the event, when they will suddenly become happy and calm and point the finger at you for being so miserable. Talk about crazy making.
Others will simply refuse to participate – they will never give you a gift (not one that you really want anyway) they will act bored, or criticize every thing you do to make the event special, but they will do it as if they are “helping you” or trying to help you to make it “better.” Regardless, the effect of their lack of love and personal interest is like drinking the coke without the fizz, when it is flat – it’s drinkable but there’s certainly not an ounce of enjoyment in it.
Another reason narcissists hate holidays is due to their self entitlement. They are entitled to govern their feelings and moods (as well as the feelings and moods of their family) so how dare a holiday, or special event – how dare it dictate or obligate them to feel something specific. Nobody tells a narcissist how to feel!!! What makes it confusing to their family is that they will ‘pretend’ around others or in public and until you realize you are dealing with a person with a personality disorder – this is extremely confusing. Narcissists love to use gaslighting to make you think you are crazy for being the only person to view them in a certain light, after all no one else thinks they hate celebrations or special events.
So yes, narcissists are the only people that enjoy serving poison as a gift; they enjoy holding happiness at arms length and raising it each time you jump higher to try to obtain it. Narcissists enjoy getting your hopes up, so that they can pop it like a balloon and watch you deflate emotionally. Narcissists especially enjoy when other family members think that it’s you that has the personality problem, you that is causing the unhappiness at these special occasions, you that is destroying the family. When malignant narcissists achieve any of these things – they are filling themselves of their drug of choice – narcissistic supply.
1) Recognize that your happiness is not dependant on their happiness. If they hate anniversaries – celebrate a “family day” with your children. If you don’t have children, buy yourself something that would allow you to feel loved and beautiful and special. The narcissist wants you to think you can only feel those things if h/she give them to you – but that’s a lie. You CAN generate a self-love and self-respect that is truly empowering!!!
2) If you live with the malignant narcissist and cannot get away on special events, invite people – friends from work, parents and families of your children’s friends, neighbors – people that you feel good around. You may have to use reverse psychology and act as if they invited themselves, or that you felt you couldn’t get out of it – or if there is a way to make the malignant narcissist feel as if they are benefiting in some way to this unexpected change – regardless, narcissists love to perform and if you are dealing with a covert narcissist, at least the presence of others will have them on their best behavior!!! Use what you know to your advantage as opposed to disadvantage.
3) Be willing to say NO!! If you are invited to a friend or families house where you are accustomed to going, yet getting abused – you are allowed to say no, you are allowed to have boundaries. The narcissistic family member will make you feel guilty or fearful of what others in the family are thinking – but truth be told – narcissistic family members ALWAYS talk bad about you behind your back anyway. However, by not allowing yourself to be in a position of getting abused, you are loving yourself and cutting off their narcissistic supply.
4) Know what makes you happy and be willing to give it to yourself. I was speaking recently with someone that I was coaching, and when I asked her what she would like to do, what she would enjoy taking place during a special event where the narcissists in her life consistently attempted to hurt her – she said ” I would love to go dancing, the way I used to in the past.” Knowing what you would love is the first step – being willing to give it to yourself will provide you with a deep sense of inner love that has the ability to help us to feel alive, passionate, loved and empowered.
5) Use the past to help you avoid falling prey to the traps. Ask yourself the following questions: What was done in the past to stamp out your happiness? What did you learn from those events? How can you use that knowledge to help you to avoid falling prey to the same toxic behavior? When you find the answers – trust your gut. Your gut instinct will never send you in the wrong direction – we only wind up in the wrong direction when we choose to ignore that voice within.
Let’s make 2019 a shifting year – a year we shift out from under the power of toxic people, shifting into empowered, confident souls that embrace the happiness that was denied by people who had no right to deny it from us in the first place!!!!
Nobody understands what you're going through more than someone who has been there. I grew up with narcissistic family member and had intimate relationships with malignant narcissists. For the majority of my healing journey, I felt as if I was all alone. I now dedicate my life to being the person for others, that I needed on my own healing journey, so that YOU never feel alone.