5 Causes a Narcissist Ruins the Holidays
When you are divorced from a narcissist, you know that being a narcissist can be a bit uncomfortable or uncomfortable on vacation. Why? Because they have all the attention. How dare Santa Claus or Jesus or gift giving or their own children put them in the spotlight?
My ex was the glue that kept our family together. Especially during the holidays. He loved the holidays because he could light the house, bake cookies with the kids, cut the tallest tree on the Christmas tree farm, and get all the credit.
He went out of his way to make our vacation exceptional. It wasn’t about having a nice vacation, but about looking good on vacation. And the living person could make himself look loving, caring, empathetic and full of the holiday spirit.
It was all an act that stalled after our divorce. The divorce forced him to accept the needs of others. His children and their needs and my needs.
We needed him to keep our vacation visit schedules, to behave at festivals during the school holidays, and to pretend he cared about other people’s feelings. That didn’t go down well.
On the first Christmas after our divorce, he found a way to evade the “giving” spirit and stay the center of attention. He flew to his parents’ house. A house that he hadn’t visited in years or that he no longer wanted to visit.
He had a great Christmas. His parents flattered him, his siblings came from near and far to hang out with him, he went out with old high school friends and even went to church with his mother on Christmas Eve so she could show him off.
He had promised the children that he would call them Christmas Day, but the call never came. He was so intrigued by the attention he got that he forgot about his children from Christmas Day.
His mother was so excited that “Johnny” brought light into her house for the first time in decades. My God!
Things have not gone well for him since that first Christmas after the divorce. Since he can no longer be the center of attention in a positive way, he works overtime and tries to be the center of attention negatively.
If he isn’t arguing with me about vacation visits, he won’t show up for vacation visits at all. When he doesn’t ask our children to accept and hug his mistress (the woman he left us for) on vacation, he berates her for placing ornaments in the wrong place on his magnificent Christmas tree.
The Grinch has nothing on my ex for the holidays!
Why is he having such a hard time and working overtime to ruin our vacation? See below.
5 reasons a narcissist ruins the holidays
1. You lack empathy:
One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is watching my kids’ faces as they open their presents. I also like giving things to people I know they wouldn’t dare indulge themselves. I really enjoy making other people happy.
If you lack the empathy chip, there is no joy in giving or making others happy. It is not behavior that narcissists attach importance to. To them it seems like a monumental waste of time and money, and they feel incredibly compelled to suffer such an opportunity with people that they don’t invest in.
The vanished narcissist doesn’t care that it’s vacation and that they have seriously injured their children. These thoughts do not resonate with them.
When an activity is all about another person, such as a birthday, promotion, or graduation, a narcissist finds no value in celebrating someone else’s accomplishments or joy (unless, of course, they could get through an authorized representative).
Instead, it will activate feelings of jealousy and envy. Because someone else is placed on this proverbial pedestal and given the attention that should be theirs, a narcissist will find these encounters unbearable and will try to avoid them at all costs or ruin them for others.
2. Good attention, bad attention, it’s all good:
If it can’t just be about them, where they and everyone else can bask in their glorious essence, then they’re going to get attention in other ways, and that’s by being an ornery kiss.
If they can make you feel responsible for their moods so that you jump through the hoops they set up to keep their bad mood from infecting your vacation, they’ll like that even more. If it’s not just about them, they’re doing bad too. Either / or it doesn’t matter.
3. You do not do intimacy, responsibility, or obligation:
Sharing special occasions creates the kind of intimacy that a narcissist just can’t handle. It creates expectations that a narcissist doesn’t want from you or anyone else. With these expectations comes a responsibility to act as if they care about what is best for others.
It means getting closer to what they cannot allow. Your fear just keeps getting worse, so they might as well let your kids down or start a fight with you so they don’t have to deal with the fear that they won’t be the center of attention.
That fear makes them incredibly unreliable. When it comes to them, their primary goal is to alleviate it, which usually means excluding people or making them unhappy. Their fear coupled with their lack of empathy is a holiday recipe for disaster.
4. You have found alternative narcissistic care:
Many clients have told me that they had solid plans for the holidays with their narcissists and then stood up or canceled at the last minute on the receiving end of a text. The next thing they know is pictures on social media of the narcissist spending the holidays with someone else. You are devastated and ask: “WTH?”
A good rule of thumb is to always remember that the new offer always outperforms the old offer. A new lover trumps the needs of his children and their children (old care) regardless of the season.
The new offering activates the laser focus and obsessive attention of the narcissist. The old offer cannot keep up under any circumstances. That doesn’t mean they’re better – it does mean they’re newer / unconquered.
If your kids receive this text on Christmas Day after making plans and excited to spend the day with their dad, it is likely that they will.
5. Misery is their default setting:
Wretched people create miserable energy and the environment everywhere. They are dark people who project their emotions onto other people. To them, ruining someone else’s joy is like a trophy. You feel important and powerful.
If they believe the holidays are stupid and irrelevant, they don’t care that they mean something to you. Their opinions are usually irrelevant unless, of course, you agree with them.
Only seriously deranged and twisted people ruin events for other people and suck the joy out of life.
Hoping or expecting a narcissist to go against their nature causes suffering. Know what you are dealing with, understand their behavior, and NEVER expect them to play a role in making the holidays a time of joy and giving.
Love your children, make their vacation experience wonderful, and don’t let your narcissistic ex and his behavior cloud your spirit.
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