The Big Nope: Narcissists during Christmas and New Year

Every year it seems to get harder and more complex to wish people well at this time of year.

What is the politically correct term to use that will not offend, upset, deeply hurt one person or an entire social group (or an entire social group through one person), cause a debate about some issue which is important but… all you wanted to do was wish them well not discuss what can and can’t be said and how you said the wrong thing (and now you must pay for it with a lengthy angry lecture which you can’t escape because any attempt to do so will get even more insults hurled at you and your name, your character, your identity, will be mud).

It’s a bit like telling someone you love them via text and they reply by pointing out a typo you made or getting annoyed because if you loved them you’d know they hate it when you say I luv u.

You’re supposed to wish people well at this time of year, if you don’t they’ll probably decide that you’re a grinch, a scrooge, that there’s something wrong with you, or that you are a hidden enemy who obviously doesn’t like them as much as you usually pretend that you do – why aren’t you keeping up the pretense especially at this time of year when everyone is being super nice to those they hate!?

This time of year can be a nightmare for a number of reasons, we’re being bombarded with messages (an onslaught which started several months earlier) of who we should be and what we should be doing, saying, giving… and frankly most of those make us feel bad one way or another about ourselves, others, Christmas, New Year, home, family, life, etc, so dealing with the right thing to say on a card, online, in person, is just adding gunpowder to that fire over which chestnuts are being roasted into inedible little black coals (which is all you’re getting for Xmas this year as you’ve been a bad [insert correct gender term here]) which you’ll be expected to eat with a smile on your face thanking the person who is forcing you to eat them with a smile on your face who probably won’t save you when you choke on it.

It really makes you wish you could opt out, get one of those Nope cards below, for the entire season.

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nope-card

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Dealing with society and its constantly changing, contradictory, confused, often hypocritical, self-serving, self-righteous, mixed messages of political correctness and other rules and regulations is difficult enough for the rest of the year, but in December it gets insanely challenging… perhaps because you’re exhausted or because everyone seems to get more sensitive (perhaps because they’re exhausted).

The thing about everything I’ve said up to now is… it comes and goes, and I’ve exaggerated it a bit. Stress tends to do that particularly to the areas where we have already existing tension, where we’re already bent out of shape. The reality is that one or two out of ten people you meet and greet with Merry Christmas may get all huffy and puffy about it, but most people won’t. They get it, you’re wishing them well using language familiar to you. Even if it offends them they’ll most likely brush it off, they don’t need this extra problem either.

The reason this part of social interaction stands out for me is because I grew up with narcissists and… that is politically correct hell gone madder than mad. Everything you say and do is under the microscope and found to be diseased, infected, in need of harsh invasive treatment to stop the spread of it.

That is the norm during all seasons under the rule of a narcissist. You get used to it while never getting used to it. Your wounds develop scarring which protects you to a degree as the skin is harder, tougher, doesn’t bleed as easily when stabbed or cut again and again. However certain areas will always be tender, underneath, hidden… you bleed internally preferring this to bleeding externally which makes the sharks frenzied in their feeding.

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married-to-a-narcissist-in-the-net

excerpt from In The Net! – Emotional Labour and the Seasonal Narcissist, Part I

an excellent post about being married to a narcissist and spending this time of year receiving the kind of gifts which narcissists give written by the very insightful Lynette d’Arty-Cross

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I remember as a child fantasising about the day I would be old enough to leave narc country and venture into that world beyond which was free of narcissists.

I know, I was naive…

but escaping into naivety is a coping mechanism (which serves various purposes).

I imagined being welcomed with open arms, finally accepted as I was, able to heal at last, speak without fear, act without flinching, hesitation, regret, encouraged to grow and develop into a member of a community who offered a home and place for everyone, where everyone felt useful, appreciated, and… that bubble burst and when it did I fell into an abyss, spiraling and burrowing deep into darkness.

Society can feel like one big narcissist, one big narcissist giving you one big nope about who you are, what you say, what you do, what you don’t say, what you don’t do, how you appear, how you don’t appear, how you think, how you don’t think, how you feel, how you don’t feel, everything about you is all wrong, you’re not good enough, fix it, you’ve done it all wrong, you’re a failure, a big nope…

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nope-rating

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… especially to those who’ve been exposed to narcissists, grew up with narcissists, got shown the world through the eyes of the narcissist… terribly, horrible, frighteningly, mean and nasty – build walls, huge walls, barricade yourself in, reject everyone, none shall pass… except for special people, capture them and put them in the tower with the other treasures amassed and hoarded, for their own protection.

Trust no one, not yourself, and especially not the narcissist. They warned you to trust no one and they meant no one – if you trust them and they screw you over then you only have yourself to blame.

Control everyone and everything. Monitor your environment with paranoid precision. If it looks bad it is bad. If it looks good then it must be good, but better hit it with a barrage of test firing to make sure.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, because your enemies are more reliable than your friends… and frankly they’re more fun to be around because human chess is only enjoyable when you’re up against a worthy opponent. Those who hate you love you more than those who love you. You’re everything to them! They’re obsessed with you, their every thought and feeling is all about you, they’re passionate in their hate for you, they are killing themselves with it, dying for you and hurting everyone around them with the poison coursing through their veins – thus they must love you more than those who say they do.

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narcissistic-inspirational-poster

Inspirational poster for narcissists

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Last night I watched a film which wasn’t about Christmas or New Year, but it could have been.

It wasn’t about narcissists, but it definitely was.

A group of friends reunite after several years for a dinner party.

The hosts had just returned from self-imposed exile at a retreat for the wounded by life, and there, thanks to a guru who had found the secret of life, they had discovered food with which to fill the gaping and hungry hole within them. They returned from the wilds refreshed, renewed, with a fervor to share their mindful awakening with all those lost souls they’d left behind. They gathered the friends they had unceremoniously dumped when they had suddenly disappeared and to whom they had given the silent treatment, in their home – a home which had experienced a great tragedy and had recently been refurbished, adding pretty bars to all windows.

After each guest entered, the doors were locked behind them, not to stop them from leaving but to keep them safe inside.

Two new members had been added to the group. Wine was poured. Issues were kept at bay while everyone pretended to be fine, happy, making nice… occasionally something would erupt only to be quelled as everyone wanted to keep things calm.

Tension and trouble rumbled like a storm in the distance… counting to see if it was getting closer or further away. Would things end in tears, blows or hugs and kisses…

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You don’t need to watch the film, the trailer itself is enough – sums up what Christmas and New Year is like in a household ruled by a narcissist. Pretty much sums up what it’s like to be in a relationship all year round with a narcissist. But Holidays… well they’re a bit more stressful, tense, pressurised for a narcissist. Their social persona, public image, has to perform harder for longer, and there’s more competition, more boxes to tick, with rewards for being good shared with others – and narcissists do not like to share what they view as belonging to them. They do however like to share their misery… it loves company! It doesn’t want to be alone, please don’t let it be lonely at such a special time of year…

 

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17 thoughts on “The Big Nope: Narcissists during Christmas and New Year

  1. Just want to wish all those on this website a happy new year. I look forward to making my next year bearable now that I realize I am not the only person person affected by this craziness.

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  2. Thanks to all of you who participate in my “better being”. Once again, I am so comforted to not be alone. Having a spouse that gives John Deere dishes and dog calendars because HE loves them, Crazy, right?!

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    1. That sounds ‘normal’ to me. For some ‘crazy’ is ‘normal’.

      Can’t remember the sort of gifts my mother gave my father for Xmas, can’t even recall if she gave him anything at all except grief for what he gave her and I only remember that because narcissistic grief is the gift which keeps on giving to one and all.

      One day all of this will be a distant memory which you may be able to laugh at without hurting, but for now it’s motivation, the kind which motivational speakers go on about – when pain surpasses pleasure and makes you realise it’s time for an inner change even if the outside stays the same for awhile.

      What did you give yourself?

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      1. In response to your thought provoking question ( which I love!). I most likely gave myself another ulcer. And that is “crazy” to lose my health as a result of choosing the husband I did. I am getting it now… Is it possible that one can suffer bipolar AND narcissist personality?

        Sent from my iPhone

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        1. This is an article about Narcissism and Bipolar – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-you/201310/the-relationship-between-narcissism-and-bipolar-disorder – it discusses the differences, similarities and whether someone can have both. According to the author approximately 1 in every 20 people who have Bipolar disorder also have NPD but getting correct statistics relies on a correct diagnosis and diagnosing a disorder can be difficult.

          It was written a few years ago and research into NPD and Bipolar is ongoing.

          Is it crazy to lose your health due to a relationship? It can definitely seem that way if you approach it from an intellectual angle. It would also appear crazy for a person to work insane hours at a job with little reward and make themselves ill due to that, but millions of people around the world do exactly that and may even shame those who don’t do it because it has become a societal ‘norm’.

          In the side bar of the above article there’s a link to another article which asks – Why do women risk pain and injury wearing high heels? – that’s an intriguing question, unfortunately the article is mainly about how high heels make women attractive to men and that’s a very narrow view of why women wear high heels.

          You could also ask – why do ballet dancers ruin their feet just to dance and isn’t that counterproductive.

          The world of humans is full of things which we do which if you think about it is ‘crazy’ but we often consider it ‘normal’.

          Not so long ago it was considered normal for a woman to sacrifice herself for her husband and children, her job was to make sure her family were well cared for regardless of how much it cost her as an individual. This has in recent times become labeled as ‘crazy’ and women who want to live that way are viewed as traitors to the feminist movement, men who think their spouse should do that are viewed as neanderthals (even though we know little about neanderthal society).

          Who you thought you had married versus who you now think you’re married to has changed how you view your part in the relationship. Don’t judge yourself too harshly for where you are now and what you have been doing, it takes awhile for us to reach that turning point in our lives where we accept things as they are and decide how things are is not good or wise for us. The conscious mind may reach that conclusion ahead of the heart, which means the heart has to play catch up. There are also societal, cultural and familial influences to consider – before we started thinking for ourselves we were programmed with the thoughts of others, of our parents, ancestors, and how the world around us was when we were a sponge absorbing it.

          Use the thorns of life as a spur to motivate you, but don’t self-harm yourself with it. Remember to be gentle with yourself. Things like empathy must also be turned towards the self – self-compassion, self-understanding.

          The more we understand ourselves and our own ‘crazy’ the more we understand other and their ‘crazy’ which in turn helps us see what connects us, what disconnects and how to work with it.

          Take care of yourself, and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t take care of yourself πŸ™‚

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  3. This website gives me so much relief and sense of not being the lone ranger. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Being married to a Narcissist has been a challenge. Not sure why I am still in this relationship. So much pain involved.Ah, cuz it is the right thing to do? For better or worse. When is it OK to say, “enough”?
    JW

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    1. You asked – When is it OK to say, β€œenough”?

      The answer is – when you’ve reached your ‘enough is enough and I’m out of here’ point – which varies for all of us.

      I’m the child of narcissists, so my reaching my personal enough is enough point was never allowed by them or society (try telling society that you’ve had enough of your parents and see how well society deals with that piece of info). It took a real crisis moment, a shock to the coping mechanism system, for me to decide to break all ties with my parents once and for all – it took me seeing that my partner was getting hurt by them through me, and the only way to protect him was by me not ‘putting up with them because they’re my parents’ anymore. I’d had enough of them ages before that moment… I just hadn’t acted upon it enough because with narcissists when you say enough, they hear – bring it on because I haven’t had enough yet.

      You have to figure out what’s best for you, and when you’ve had enough – that can be an exhausting and deeply challenging thing to figure out. Humans can endure ridiculous amounts of pain and still keep going.

      Have you really asked yourself why you’re still in this relationship and have you allowed yourself to hear your own answer – this is very challenging, sometimes more challenging than anything a narcissist can do to you.

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  4. Thank you, Ursula.β™₯ πŸ˜€

    I agree with you about the nope. Society can devolve into one big narcissist and it is like walking a minefield. M and I have minimised a lot, particularly this year. We’ve made it into what we like and want.

    Christmas with a narcissist, though. It really was bad – something to be endured; there certainly wasn’t any joy of any kind. My mother loved to get herself into a real twang and there were some interesting experiences around her throwing whole turkeys and such. When the narcissist hit the fan, I hid in my room with as many distractions as possible and tried to stay out of the line of shit. Christmas wasn’t complete without some sort of major breakdown.

    Fyi, I mysteriously unfollowed you again. But I’m back. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you πŸ™‚

      Great post, looking forward to the next installment!

      Oh, absolutely, Christmas and New Year with a narcissist must always have an explosion of personal drama which reminds everyone who the brightest star in the universe is, and the fun and games is in guessing which inane thing is going to set the narc ireworks fully off. In the meantime you live with a rumbling volcano that spits hot ash and lava chunks.

      Spending the holidays with my partner’s family was a bit like visiting a foreign land, and I have to confess in some ways I found it confusing that no one was living in fear of the monster hiding under the bed of niceness and dreading the moment when it would burst out, rampage, destroying decorations, gifts and the spirit of the Season. Then I realised that they weren’t fearful because the niceness was genuine. It was all rather boring and incredibly refreshing πŸ˜‰

      Usually my partner and I just stay home, keep it simple and let the world pass by.

      I couldn’t access the reader yesterday evening, when I was finally able to do so this morning I saw quite a few posts discussing glitching bells. It seems everyone is getting different types of glitch gifts from WP santa. Mercury just went retrograde in Capricorn – so expect communication structures to be totally topsy turvy until Jan 8th.

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      1. I’ve been having trouble accessing the WP reader on and off as well, and sometimes it loads verrry slowly. Okay, should be better after Jan 8th – good to know. πŸ™‚

        I got hit by a large lava chunk a couple of days ago and have to make a decision around that in the next week or so (it’s the latest in a series of chunks involving a relative that have left me pretty charred a couple of times). Not a happy situation but it has to be done.

        We will have a very quiet time of it with a good meal & some nice wine. I wish you a very Happy Christmas, Ursula. Have a great day letting the world pass by. πŸ™‚

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  5. The invitation was an excellent movie. For a while, you think, is it all in the guy’s head or actually happening… It reminds me of the Schrodinger’s Cat paradox — one of my favorites — where you have to assume that it is both happening and in the guy’s head at the same time to make any sense of what is going on.

    But you’re right — it’s so hard to wish people well during the holidays. Gracious people usually accept your well wishes, but it’s the people who want to make a point, who want to start something, who have that chip on their shoulders that simply cannot accept well wishes because they assume that for some reason, the most well intentioned person who wishes them well has some agenda to make the recipient feel less than. Someone just wants to wish you a Merry Christmas and send good juju/vibes/feelings etc… not make you inferior because you are different or believe differently. People enveloped by this PC bullshit can’t see the good intentions of people because they are mired in the minutae of the delivery.

    But, for me, at least, Christmas has always been a time of eggshells and appearances. Step carefully, don’t do this, when are you getting married, what’s going on with your hair, sit up straight, when are you going to have children, what about your student loans, and just generally things that your mind screams to avoid. You have to dress well, makeup must be perfect, have a list of conversation topics, and be just fake.

    At least in my family. Or dealing with my family.

    And honestly, this is why I’m perfectly okay with spending Christmas by myself, with my two cats, xBox, and a bottle of scotch.

    There’s no one to impress, no one judging you for spending the day in your pajamas,

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    1. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      Christmases with my family of origin was not dissimilar to The Invitation, while watching that film part of my mind kept having flashbacks, memories of moments, ghosts of Christmas, New Year and other family gatherings past. The Christmas/New Year period always ended with an almighty drama explosion on my birthday which falls at the end of that holiday season (trying to explain to others why I used to go into a funk on my birthday was tricky). The ‘is it all in his head’ aspect was a theme in our family. You could have ample proof that it wasn’t in your head but proof can always be spun by those who are regular twisters of truth and scramblers of the minds of others.

      The last time I saw my mother, which was about 15 years ago, she accused me of being pregnant (my being in a relationship with someone other than her was a betrayal, my having a child would have been seen as more betrayal). At the time I was skeletal, had lost loads of weight due to stress, and looked very unhealthy, but she and her new best friend (a con artist she had met on the street who promised her fame and fortune) had gossiped about me due to my ‘acting funny’ around them and decided that I must be pregnant (because that’s the most logical conclusion illogical people could come up with). The feverishness in my mother’s eyes when she believed I was pregnant… was a really good contraceptive. Shortly after that I went No Contact with her, she called me ‘evil’ on the phone because I said ‘No’ to her demand for money to finance her con artist friend’s latest scheme. I only ended things because I finally saw the damage she caused – not in myself but through me she was hurting my partner.

      I’d given up having a relationship with my father awhile before then. I did however call him once to tell him that he had been right about my mother and I was sorry it had taken me so long to understand that. But he wasn’t any better than her. He usually used me to get at her. He liked to call me out of the blue and tell me he was going to kill himself – he wasn’t going to do anything of the sort, but it was dramatic and you’re supposed to take people seriously when they say things like that – this was done to get me to call my mother and pass the news on so she would then contact him and he could use her to annoy his long time mistress.

      So, yes, family and dealing with them…

      I agree, the perfect holiday season is spent with the nearest and dearest who love you as you are and think it’s totally okay and awesome that you haven’t bathed, brushed your hair or changed your clothes in weeks, because they haven’t either, and that nights spent in front of a gently burning fire, nibbling random snacks and playing Skyrim are the best nights ever πŸ™‚

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      1. I understand distancing yourself from family. They think you are shitty or a horrible person for doing it, but sometimes you have to. My favorite thing they say is that I think I’m “better than them.” It’s like I see their own insecurities when they make accusations at me. Picking apart every little thing they can about me and my faults — which in the scheme of things aren’t that bad. I tell my friends I have serious redneck cred. I was told by a mutual friend who worked for the FBI that I couldn’t work for them without completely severing ties with my family because I was related to too many convicted felons.

        But yeah… I know what it’s like having shitty family. Mine haven’t gotten to quite that level, but because of them I had to endure my mom having a meth habit when I was in high school and living in my car for six months after college. Still a bit bitter on that one.

        I appreciate you sharing that. It’s hard, especially during the holidays. I just caved in after telling my S.O. that I was going to spend Christmas by myself, to coming and spending it with him. It’s only an hour and a half drive, but we’ll have to deal with his family. Every point of refuge has a price, I guess. And besides, Christmas would have rolled around and by about 4pm, I would have been lonely and pooky.

        I also love how all your posts and replies are well thought out. I appreciate the detail and openness.

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        1. Thank you πŸ™‚

          I’ve been reading your posts, you have a beautiful style of self-expression, open, vulnerable, strong, questioning, seeking and thoughtful. And you’re not a bad human for finding solace in the messy childhoods and family lives of others – that is a normal and natural part of a very human experience, it connects us and we learn through it.

          Having a mother with a meth addiction sounds like a nightmare – drugs like meth take over a person’s brain and life, it becomes everything to them, and they destroy everyone to get the only thing which means anything to them. Being bitter about it and how it affected you, especially during an important phase of your development is logical. Expecting yourself not to be bitter would be illogical. Maybe one day when that piece of your life puzzle slots into place and you see its part in the bigger picture of you, you can shift from bitter to bittersweet, but for now it is a thorn that spurs you on.

          Sometimes the best things that happen to us are born out of the worst things which happen to us. If you check out the stories of successful people, they often have terrible childhoods, traumatic experiences during their formative years, opposition against their dreams, against them being themselves, intense criticism and adversity, an event which changed the course of their lives and put them on the path to become who they eventually became.

          In retrospect you can see the pattern, how each thing directed the path of your life… it’s easier to see it in the lives of others because we’re detached from their lives and don’t have all the mess inside our heads confusing our vision and perspective which makes it hard for us to see it in our own lives.

          Spending Christmas with your S.O. and his family may not be what you had in mind or wanted to do, but sometimes the best times happen when we cave in and let life take us on an adventure rather than sticking rigidly to a plan. I hope it will be a loving experience. Your S.O. sounds like he has a warm heart, and maybe he needs a close friend to hold his hand while he deals with his own family πŸ™‚

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