Narcasm: Giving Gifts to Narcissists

So it’s Christmas, and you have a narcissist in your life who expects to get what they want or else…

But what is it that they want?

Do they want fame? Fortune? Eternal youth? Immortality? Attention? Everything?

Well, yes… but even if you could give them all of that, there’s probably something else they want which you haven’t given them and that will be the one thing they notice.

What you didn’t give them, what they didn’t get, will be far more important than what you did give and what they did get.

That one person who unfollowed them or that one person who refuses to follow them back on social media will be far more valuable to them than all those people who follow them.

That one insult in a thousand compliments will be all they heard.

The gift which you didn’t give them may become the main subject of every conversation they have with you for the next hundred years.

It’ll definitely be something they tell everyone about. If they’re on social media, they’ll spread the story far and wide…

…maybe they’ll even start a GoFundMe to get others to make up for their disappointment in you and your terrible gift-giving behaviour. They shouldn’t have to pay for it, you and everyone else should!



See that ecard above. If you have a narcissist in your life, then a toothbrush for your anniversary is the sort of gift you’ll get from them, and they’ll expect you to be grateful – they remembered to get you something, didn’t they!

What’s your problem with it, it’s a great and generous gift – they want you to have clean teeth when you smile so that you don’t embarrass them…

…although perhaps you should get your teeth fixed and whitened because they noticed that your smile is wonky and yellow. It’s disgusting and it’s making them look bad for being with you. Maybe you should learn to smile with closed lips… ugh, no, don’t do that, you look like you’re constipated when you do that. They might have to pretend they don’t know you until you get yourself sorted out.

Anyway their gift to you isn’t what matters here because they never give bad gifts, they only give perfect gifts the problem is everyone else… everyone is such a bad gift-receiver, so bloody ungrateful and stupid – they don’t know when they’re blessed!

What matters here is your gift to them – think of them as a god/goddess who expects a worthy offering before they bestow their goodness upon you. Disappoint them and they’ll unleash the wrath of the Harpies and be completely justified in doing so.

They’ve been lenient thus far with your crass taste, but at some point they might demand the sacrifice of a pound of flesh. An arm and a leg will do – not that arm nor that leg… no, no, it’s too late to give them the leg and arm they wanted, they don’t want anything now because you’ve ruined everything!

After everything that they have done for you and your miserable self, life, like putting up with you, no one else would do that… all they’re asking for is a little respect, thankfulness, and a decent gift for once!

Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha)
I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah

If you want my future, forget my past
If you wanna get with me, better make it fast
Now don’t go wasting my precious time
Get your act together we could be just fine

– Wannabe, Spice Girls


How can you figure out what your narcissist really really wants and give it to them?

Should you ask them directly… but what if they get mad at you for not knowing it already? You SHOULD know what they want, they expect you to know… how could you do this to them, how could you not know!!!

Narcissists love to communicate… excessively.

If they’re not talking… I’m not really sure if there’s ever a time when they’re not talking.

Don’t be fooled by the Silent Treatment – they may not be talking to you but they’re talking to someone else, probably about you (well, it’s not really about you, it’s about themselves) and that awful thing you did or said or didn’t do and didn’t say which upset them and led to them giving you the silent treatment.

However their endless stream of communication doesn’t necessarily communicate anything. It’s white noise. But somewhere within that white noise – they’re there… the subtle hints, clues, secrets which you’re supposed to pick up on psychically.

They can’t tell you directly what they really really want because they’re afraid of doing that. It would expose them too much. It might make them vulnerable to attack. You might use it against them… as they use against you what you truly want.

Your dreams, hopes, desires… they see them as weaknesses which give them power over you. And their own dreams, hopes, desires… they see those as weaknesses which others might use to have power over them.

You’re supposed to know what they want without them having to tell you and to give it to them without them having to ask – asking makes them vulnerable too, and weak, it’s like begging and they are not beggars.

AND YET if you do happen to magically and miraculously achieve the epic fairy tale quest of giving them what they want… that is as frightening to them as it is upsetting to not get what they want.

What happens if they get everything they want… and it doesn’t make them happy?

Getting what you want is supposed to make you happy! Why does nothing ever make them truly happy? They deserve happiness! Why does everyone else have it, all those people who don’t deserve it have it… why, why do others get to have it, but not them, it’s not fair!

In a gift-giving to a narcissist scenario, all their narcissistic traits and behaviours come into play and get triggered:

An excessive need for admiration and gaining approval from others

A sense of entitlement, seeing one’s self as exceptional, and condescending behavior

An inability to recognize the feelings and needs of other people

Superficial relationships

Vast fluctuations in mood

Overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior

Distorting facts and making false accusations

Enjoyment of getting away with breaking the rules or violating boundaries

Using psychological manipulation like gaslighting, public shaming, and deflection

Aggression and antisocial behavior

– excerpt from Insider: I’m a professor of human behavior, and I have some news for you about the ‘narcissists’ in your life by Melody Wilding

The gift must:

A – Show them how much you admire them, be something which they can show off, which gets lots of admiration, wins them lots of approval from others, especially their favourite kind of approval – to be envied for having something that others don’t have, something special.

B – Must be fit for a queen or king only better – they don’t want just any old crown, they want the biggest and bestest which no one else has or can ever have. It must make real kings and queens jealous.

C – Must lift them up out of the ordinary carried by magnificent wings – not just any old wings, but the wings torn off of a Victoria’s Secret Angel. And then they can flutter those wings over the less fortunate, and everyone will see how lucky everyone is that the narcissist is so giving and caring.

If you can’t meet this criteria… then it’s all your fault they’re having a tantrum, have discarded you, don’t want to live anymore, can’t ever go out in public again, had to close their Instagram account, are ranting and raving like a lunatic on Twitter, embarrassed themselves on Facebook, can never order coffee from their favourite coffee place again, can’t face their friends who all got such amazing gifts!!!! How could you do that to them!!!!

How could you do that to them, when they told you exactly what they wanted over and over again…

While you were busy watching where you were going as you walked with your narcissist down a busy street, and they were on their phone texting, Googling, socialmedia-ing, and not looking where they were going because that was your job… they’ll have seen something they lacked and desperately needed, wanted, had to have immediately, and… why weren’t you paying attention!?!

Someone on Instagram who your narcissist DOES NOT follow, repeat they DO NOT follow this person, posted a gift their child made for them in kindergarten and that post received 50 billion (50) likes… your narcissist now wants a child who will make them that and give them that so they can post a pic of it on Instagram and get more than 50 billion likes and show that person who they DO NOT follow on Instagram who is better!

If you can get them that then they might just be happy, but of course you were being selfish and not noticing just how tremendously upset they were…

They did bravely try to hide it from you because your narcissist is considerate and knows how unreasonable you are, you get these black moods and your highly evolved narcissist can’t handle your bullshit vibes.

You’re always so unhappy when you’re around them, what is wrong with you!?! You must have some personality disorder, maybe you’re a narcissist… can’t you just take an aspirin and get rid of what they don’t like about you like a normal person would!

But even though they were saving you from one of your terrible tantrums which upset them so… still you should have noticed how hurt they were that the person they DO NOT follow on Instagram was getting attention for some stupid pic they posted of some mangled shit made of addidas or whatever which their dumb child chewed and spat out!!!

Do you think that the diamonds and other expensive shit you gave them is going to make up for the fact that you didn’t get them what they really wanted!? Who do you think you are… How dare you treat them like some superficial person who likes shallow stuff! They’re profoundly deep, y’know!

The seven deadly sins of narcissism described by psychotherapist Sandy Hotchkiss:

Shamelessness – Shame is the underlying factor in all cases of unhealthy narcissism. In a healthy person, shame is processed in a normal manner, whereas narcissists have difficulty processing this feeling in a healthy way. Narcissists also tend to inflict shame on other people, a concept referred to as projection.

Magical thinking – Narcissists tend to perceive themselves as perfect and flawless. The distorted thinking and illusion that causes narcissists to feel this way is referred to as magical thinking.

Arrogance – Arrogance and a disregard for other people’s feelings are typical characteristics of narcissism. Narcissists often have a low self esteem which they try to relieve by insulting or degrading others. This helps to re-inflate their ego when they are feeling deflated or lacking in worth.

Envy – Due to their sense of being superior to others, narcissists may feel insecure when faced with another person’s ability, which they may try to belittle by demonstrating contempt or dismissal of it.

Sense of entitlement – A sense of being perfect and superior means narcissists often expect to receive favorable treatment and for people to admire and agree with their opinions or actions. Failure to comply may be perceived as an attack on their authority and superiority. A person who flouts their authority is often considered to be a difficult or awkward person by the narcissist, who will proceed to demean them or their opinion, especially in front of others. Defiance can also trigger anger in the narcissist which is referred to as “narcissistic rage.”

Exploitation – This refers to the narcissist’s tendency to exploit others and show no regard or empathy for their emotions or interests. This often occurs when the other person is in a subservient position, where it is awkward or impossible to resist the narcissist. On some occasions, this subservience is only assumed rather than real.

Lack of boundaries – Most narcissists fail to understand their boundaries and recognise that other people are individuals rather than extensions of themselves. Those who support the self-esteem of the narcissist are expected to always do so, with the narcissist failing to recognize the independence of the other person.

– from Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism via News Medical Life Sciences

Why are narcissists so incredibly difficult about gifts?

Is it because being difficult puts them in a place of power over others, and therefore they gain more from it and from misusing and abusing that power than they do from not doing any of that.

Are the complications they create caused by a fear of keeping it simple.

What is underneath it all…underneath the superiority, the condescension, the grandiosity, entitlement, the tantrums and tiaras.

Is it perhaps that they have no effing clue what they want, what would really make them happy, what they’d really like to receive. Do they even know what happiness is, have they ever experienced it.

“People that have been consistently hurt by others in life will only see the one time you hurt them and be blinded to all the good your heart has to offer. They look no further than what they want to see. Unfortunately, most of them remain a victim throughout their life.”

― Shannon L. Alder

Is it that they’re intensely frightened of owing you one if you do get them what they want.

And if your gift makes them feel… is that happiness? But why is it so fleeting, one minute they thought they had it and then… where did it go, how can they get it back and keep it their prisoner forever.

You, you’re the source of it and… then they’d really need you because you understood them. How did you do something which they’ve never been able to do – they don’t understand themselves, how can you, how did you understand them.

Or is it that somewhere inside they suspect that nothing and no one will ever make them happy.

They keep hoping that there’s some magical item or being out there which will make them happy, cure them of their wound, remove all the pain, make the suffering vanish, turn them into whoever it is they would like to be which they’re certain will make them happy…

But what if they don’t deserve it, what if it’s too good for them. What if everyone else is better than they are.

But what if something or someone could and did make them happy, would they find a way to destroy that happiness for themselves.

It’s not everyone else who is the problem, is it. It’s them, isn’t it. No… no… no… it can’t be.

“The pain of the narcissist is that, to him, everything is really a threat. What doesn’t surrender in reverence is blasphemous to a high opinion of oneself – the burden of self-importance. The narcissist reconstructs his own law of gravity which states that all things and all creatures must adhere to his personal satisfaction, but when they do not, the pain is far more intense than it is for one who is free from the clamors of ‘I’.”

― Criss Jami, Killosophy   

This post is part of a series. The first installment is here – Narcasm: A Series about Narcissists.

What I’m writing is based on personal experience of being narcissistic and of being the child of narcissist parents.

Getting gifts for my parents… I’m glad that I don’t have to do that anymore. Receiving gifts from them… they always came with strings attached and I’d always end up hopelessly tangled up, even if I refused the gift.

If you have a narcissist in your life at this time of year, please give yourself the gift of taking good care of yourself, as narcissists tend to turn the dial on their stress up to 11 for themselves and thus for everyone around them.

That’s it from me… over to you!


Featured image is from Daily Shirts… inspired by The Good Place TV show.


  1. Ha! I love the ‘Merry Forking Christmas’, as Narcs are given to ‘fork’ the food up from other’s plates, after all, they’re entitled!

    My grandmatrinarc used to give nothing on Christmas claiming her presence was the gift for everyone and made huge scandals when she did not receive gifts worthy of at least two month’s salary.

    My nex used to give me and his whole family the same shitty gift: candles. Only candles. Small, cheap and unimaginative.


    • Thank you, Carol 🙂

      Ah! Yes of course, the goddess has arrived and needs offerings!

      It’s all so obviously narcissistic in retrospect, but it takes a while to see it because it’s considered normal by the family. That’s just how things are, that’s just what she/he does, and everyone puts up with it because that’s just what we do, our role in the life drama.


  2. Ursula, once again right on the nose!! Gift giving to a narc was always the bane of my existence growing up. My mother never really said what she wanted, but when you got it, she had something negative to say about it.

    When I was about 12, she gave me $$ for Christmas shopping. My best friend at the time was staying the night. Although mom gave me $$$, she later reneged on the first instruction and said don’t worry about it. Well, you gave money to a 12 yo so, friend and I went shopping. Once I got home, with the stuff I bought she admonished me passive aggressively in front of best friend. Hurt, I tried to figure out what I did wrong, even questioning my friend who was witness to her saying “don’t worry about it”; my mother brought it up for a while after that😑

    Another time, I bought her a mother’s day chain and crucifix ( But it was at the behest of my father who was in the dog house); I bought it and it was a nice one but she (in her feelings about my dad) knew he had me get it, and straight refused it( I actually put thought into regardless of what my dad contributed which was just $$$)

    A time after that, I gifted her with two gift cards to stores where she could buy clothes( because she was always complaining about her wardrobe); because I split the $200 between two stores and not just one, she griped about it.

    The final time was when me and hubbs went to visit for Christmas. She always was buying disposable cameras, so I bought her a digital one. You know what she wanted? My new Dooney & Burke purse which was gifted to me by my husband, she literally wanted my bag and talked about it the whole visit!! Know what she did with the digital camera? She gifted it to my younger brother.

    This was when I was done with buying her anything forever.

    You say what you want or shut the f*** up, or see the thought behind the gift and appreciate it.

    But like you said, they get you conditional gifts. Unfortunately, one of my younger brothers has fallen under the spell of conditional gift buying. He doesn’t manipulate others but in order to survive peace in her home(he still lives with our parents) he has to get her something. But of course, when and if he pisses her off about not being able to control him, she throw his gift back on face. I don’t play her games anymore but I scratch my head at him🤔


      • Thank you for sharing, Scherezade 🙂

        Never apologise for telling your story, life stories are a valuable gift to share!

        The part about her wanting the bag your Hubbs gave to you – soooo typical of an N! Of course she wanted it, because it was beautiful, because it was given to you by someone who truly loves you, because you loved it, because it was yours, because it wasn’t hers.

        The digital camera was an awesome gift but it was too good and too awesome a gift and she couldn’t handle it, so she had to get rid of it (while appearing really generous) because it would have poked and prodded her with all of her worries, insecurities and fears about it being too good for her. On that day, you won!

        As you know from experience, your younger brother has to figure things out for himself the hard way. Each of us has to get to that end point in our own time, in our own way.


  3. I once spent over a week’s wages on a solid gold neck chain for the man in my life. No, he did not want a St Christopher or crucifix on it (could have got one for a fifth of what I paid), just a heavy duty neck chain.
    Come Christmas Day, I waited to see him open his gift. When everything was finished, I still hadn’t seen him open it, so asked if he’d had it.
    ‘Yeah, ‘ he said. ”You can buy me the crucifix to go on it for my birthday’.
    What did he buy me? A compilation CD that when advertised on TV I had specifically asked not to have as I had them already (and he’d sent one of the kids out to get it).
    He didn’t get his crucifix……. or anything else that was expensive from me after that, and I finally left the relationship in 1989.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing, Pensitivity 🙂

      Sounds like you learned very quickly that it wasn’t worth the effort. Some lessons are worth the price we pay to learn them. It’s so frustrating because getting someone a gift can be such fun, and yet certain people suck all the fun out of it and then spit in your face.

      Terrible gift receivers also tend to be terrible gift givers.

      The great news is that now you’re with someone who is very lovely and gifts are fun again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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