Trusting a narcissist is one of those experiences which usually ends up with people swearing an oath to themselves never to trust anyone, including themselves, ever again.
However there is one thing you can always trust a narcissist to do and that is to ruin the holidays for everyone.
Even if you don’t celebrate any of the holidays which others celebrate, if you have a narcissist in your life they’ll find a way to ruin your non-celebration of holidays.
How do they do that?
It’s very complicated and requires superior skills to do it. They put a huge amount of effort into it even if it appears effortless – that’s the sign of a perfect host.
They dedicate themselves fully to the task of spreading misery to one and all. Everyone is equal in their eyes (we’re all beneath them and if we aren’t we soon will be because they’re going to drag us down), no one will be left out, and everyone will be on their list of people who need to feel bad about themselves, their life and the way they’re living it.
“Clearly, she was enjoying herself to see that woman hurt. It was nothing she had desired. Nor did it seem as if she could control it, this inhuman sweet sensation to see another human being squirming. It hit her like a stone, the knowledge that there is pleasure in hurting. A strong three-dimensional pleasure, an exclusive masculine delight that is exhilarating beyond all measure. And this too is God’s gift to man? She wondered.”
― Ama Ata Aidoo, Our Sister Killjoy
Only truly special people have the talent to consistently put everyone else’s light out, often while telling everyone that they, the narcissist, are the life and soul of the spirit of any celebration… and it is absolutely exhausting and burdensome for them to be an angel in a world full of demons, trying to make everyone turn their frowns upside down, for once, ugh! What is wrong with you people!?!
If you’ve made it through a really tough year, and finally get some good news – How dare you have good news when the poor narcissist doesn’t have any!
If you’re using the holidays to take a mini break after months of working yourself to the bone – Since you have nothing to do… don’t worry the narcissist has lots of chores to fill your spare time, being idle isn’t good for you, it’s when the devil gets to you!
Did you get something you always wanted – Don’t forget all those who are starving, dying, have nothing… how could you be so selfish, thinking only about yourself and what you want!
SELFISH, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.– Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
The Covert narcissist in particular will shine their bright spotlight on everything that everyone is doing wrong, one hand pointing a finger at the sin they’ve spotted in someone else while the other hand points a finger at the halo levitating over their head.
They’re the angel on top of your X-Mas tree only don’t be fooled into thinking they’re blessing you benevolently. They’ve spotted that the other X-Mas decorations all have chips, faults, flaws and shouldn’t be on the tree with them. The lights are ugly too. Oh, and this tree is too small for their greatness. They’re offended by your cheapness!
The Covert narcissist is an expert in eradicating things like Christmas cheer. They’re the saint/martyr who reminds one and all what a bunch of sinners we are, giving us all pieces of sooty coal as symbols of our hearts.
Those Christmas Carols you’ve been murdering while practicing to sing with your local choir – whoever told you that you had a beautiful voice was lying to you! Luckily the Covert narcissist has revealed this to you, you wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself any further than you already have with this farce.
The Covert narcissist graduated summa cum laude from the only for special people university of all expertise, they know every song ever written and could have composed them better, and they have a voice angels would kill for, but they never sing because you don’t give pearls to swine. You’re making their ears bleed, do something useful for once in your life and get them something powerful for this migraine your dissonance has caused.
If the Covert narcissist didn’t get everything they wanted from life and others (which is always the case even if they own every piece of property on the Monopoly board and have covered each property in houses and hotels, and made every other player broke and in debt to them), they will let you know just how badly they’re suffering… while putting on a holier than thou brave face which is not designed to cover up just how much they’re suffering but is designed to make you feel like the smallest shittiest shit who somehow owes them everything and more.
One of the Covert narcissist’s favourite tactics is to let everyone know how generous they’re being to all those little insignificant poor souls cluttering up their world.
They’ve given to this charity, and that charity, started several worthy charitable groups, and helped the children of useless parents to have a better Christmas… and they did it all anonymously so no one knows that the Covert narcissist is the real Saint Santa Martyr.
If you’d like an example of the Covert narcissist – there’s one who keeps getting themselves in the news, mainly the celeb gossip news, because they keep selling their poor-me story to any tabloid who will buy it.
They have a rather famous child (the child is an adult, but you’re never an adult when your parent is a narcissist – how dare you grow up!), that famous child is at the moment in a delicate yet happy condition. All the wonderful good news the Covert narcissist’s child has had in recent times has really annoyed the poor-me parent – how dare their child be happy and lucky!
Some of those who write the news have decided to go on the attack against this famous child (they’ve even accused the famous child of being a narcissist) because it sells more, gets more attention from the masses.
The other day those reporters decided to make a huge deal about something so trivial (hmmm… isn’t that a typical narc move?) that the famous child did that it boggles the mind – really, how someone decides to stand is what matters and matters so much that it’s news. Rather than rush to protect their child, the Covert narcissist parent decided to join in on the mean girl fun and attack their child again while playing the poor-me my child doesn’t love me and is neglecting me card.
While the Overt narcissist shares many of the traits and behaviours of the Covert narcissist, they’re not as bothered about covering their tracks, and hiding behind a goody-goody hero facade.
They don’t mind being seen as a villain, being caught manipulating, being seen as narcissistic. In fact they may even enjoy it if you accuse them of being a narcissist – call an Overt narcissist a narcissist and they may see it as a compliment, or as license to up their narcissistic game with you. When the gloves come off things get more exciting for them, more challenging – they still think they’ll win but they may have to sweat a bit more to do it.
The Overt narcissist will take a different tack from the Covert narcissist when it comes to showing off – they prefer to do it openly, brazenly, shamelessly. If they’ve done well then they’ll make sure everyone knows it. IN YOUR FACE people who are inferior to me (that’s all of us), I am King of the World, I am the Queen of Hearts, the High Roller who will roll right over you and flatten you with my magnificence.
At Christmas the Overt narcissist can actually be a truly inspiring not-so-secret Santa. They might pay off a chosen few’s debts… and we’ll all hear about it and look at them with awe (and feel guilty that we’re not being generous and giving as they are). They’ll give handsomely and revel in how handsome it makes them (and how ugly it makes everyone else look compared to them).
They might buy a random child a pony or an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World, and we may all wish we were the child of that amazing gift-giving Overt narcissist because they must be such a great parent! Yeah, about that… their own child will most likely be told that since they are the lucky child of the Overt narcissist they won’t be getting anything this Christmas so as not to become more spoiled than they already are.
“Hypocrissist: A narcissist who has their head so far up their ass they can’t hear the hypocrisy coming out of their mouth.”
― Joel McDonald, AdWords For Dummies
Even if the Overt narcissist hasn’t done well, they’ll want everyone to think that they have because you gotta FAKE IT to BE IT.
I’d hazard a guess that whoever came up with the whole – Fake It to Make It – was a narcissist. If they weren’t they certainly came up with a rule which appeals to both Overt and Covert narcissists, since they don’t actually have to bother to learn how to do something, they don’t have to do anything they just have to say they did it and are it, they can just pretend.
There’s a very famous example of an Overt narcissist who is always in the news. Actually there are several examples of famous Overt narcissists who are always in the news because Overt narcissists love always being in the news even if the news is negative – sometimes negative attention is better than positive attention, it’s more impassioned and obsessive, making the Overt narcissist not only all you can talk about but all you can think about too.
Many years ago when this particular famous Overt narcissist wasn’t as infamous as they are now, they did something rather magnificently magnanimous.
Their chauffeured car broke down on a highway, and some nobodies stopped to help without first knowing who they were helping. They just saw someone with a problem and they helped fix it.
A little while later these nobodies had their mortgage paid off for them by the stranger they’d helped. And the Overt narcissist got a lot of good publicity out of it.
WOW! Kind of inspiring isn’t it… makes you want to stop to help random strangers stranded by the side of the road, right, just in case they’re mega-rich and enjoy showing their gratitude.
“Don’t ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You’re responsible for your own happiness. Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life anyway.”― Isaiah Hankel
But random acts of kindness shouldn’t be about getting a prize for giving, should they?
They should be about the prize of having something to give, even if you don’t have much you can still give of yourself, a helping hand, a smile, a word of encouragement. Although it is really nice when you do something without expecting anything in return and it pays you back with something great.
It’s sort of a good version of that rather sick scientific experiment, the one where lab animals received shocks every time they went to get food, so they eventually stopped trying to eat.
All narcissists tend to do something along those lines in their interactions and relationships with people. We’re all dogs they’re training. Do what the narcissist wants and you get a biscuit. Do what they don’t want and you get a shock.
Now that wouldn’t be too bad if what they wanted from us was reasonable and logical, as in when we’re nice to them we get a biscuit, but when we’re mean to them we get a shock. But with narcissists you may get a shock for being nice to them and get a shock for being mean to them, and they eat all the biscuits.
“If they spit on you,― Kamand Kojouri
collect their spittle to water your plants.
If they throw stones at you,
pick them up to adorn your garden.
If they call you the enemy, a liar and a narcissist.
Plant those very flowers: anemone, lily and narcissus.
Use their crap to cultivate your mind.”
If you’re not happy during the holidays, they’ll get annoyed at you and lecture you about how you’re ruining their Christmas spirit. However if you’re happy… how dare you be happy when they’re not happy! Your happiness is ruining their Scrooge – you’re making them feel bad for being miserable! And they’re right to be miserable!!!
They can turn on a pin – so one minute they’re annoyed with you for being unhappy and the next minute they’re annoyed with you for being happy.
They blame you for ruining their holiday cheerfulness because you were too cheerful. You thought you were joining in with their cheer (admittedly you may have overdone it because you were so relieved that they weren’t in their usual cheerless blackhole sucking all the joy out of the universe mood). You didn’t realise it was a cheerful competition… if you’d known or if you hadn’t forgotten for a moment that everything is a competition with them, you’d have let them win like always.
Now we can all be grinches sometimes. Life has a way of wearing us down to a tiny nub. The holidays can be stressful, especially when they remind us that we’re not as happy as we’d like to be, when they show us that we don’t have as much love, money, time, success, or as many friends and family as we wished we had even after everything we’ve done to try and achieve all those goals.
Holidays like Christmas increase stress levels due to all the hype and commercialism, and the madness which seems to spread from person to person.
Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas you’ll find yourself forced to act a certain way, buy people cards, gifts, go to office parties or other social get-togethers where everyone is being just a little bit too merry… the laughter and smiles covering screams and grimaces.
We can all get a case of the unhealthy narcissistic tendencies. Envy others. Want to see some schadenfreude. Think everyone else is better than us and hate them for it. Judge the lives of others by what we’re projecting onto them, judge them for seeming happier, healthier, wealthier, luckier than us… and they may be doing the same with us.
We can all feel sorry for ourselves and mope around passing the grumblies and groanies onto others. We can be overly sensitive and take everything personally. We can lash out and ruin someone else’s happy mood. We can spoil the fun for others because we’re just not feeling like putting on a smiley face.
We’re human… and being human is a daily mess we keep trying to figure out how to tidy up.
“Sometimes we must undergo hardships, breakups, and narcissistic wounds, which shatter the flattering image that we had of ourselves, in order to discover two truths: that we are not who we thought we were; and that the loss of a cherished pleasure is not necessarily the loss of true happiness and well-being.”― Jean-Yves Leloup
And because we can all be a bit unhealthily narcissistic… we cut narcissists a lot of slack, we empathise with what they’re going through, we wait and wait for them to do what we do which is to stop being like that. It can take us an age to realise that… that’s it, that’s who they are all the time, they’re not just going through a tough phase like we did.
We’re not always like that, even if it sometimes feels as though we are… because we have a narcissist in our lives to tell us constantly how the end of the world is nigh because we exist.
There is a gaping gulf of a difference between the narcissistic tendencies which we all have and having narcissistic personality disorder.
There’s usually a logical reason behind our own unhealthily narcissistic behaviour, whereas a narcissist usually has an illogical reason for why they’re being a bad Santa.
And it’s probably our fault somehow that they’re being a bad Santa because we’re being a bad elf, sitting on the shelf instead of filling all those orders they gave us so that they can deliver gifts to others and be seen as being the super special giver of Christmas cheer to one and all.
Did I leave anything out? If you’d like to add to the list, please feel free to do so.
That’s a very long it from me… over to you!
Featured image is A Christmas Carol by Dante Gabriel Rosetti