Monday, November 19, 2007
Thanksgiving -- The Holiday Narcissists Will Never "Get"
One of the bedrock fundamental realities of a narcissist is their absolute refusal to be grateful. For anything.
Think about it. When have you seen true gratitude demonstrated by the narcissist?
Their lack of gratitude is the natural result of their extreme covetousness. They must have it all. All the love, regard, and attention. Especially your share. Every faculty of their mind is focused on this quest to have it all. All the other sins of the narcissist spring from this persistent and pervasive covetousness. Because they must have it all they become predatory. They stalk all sources of human warmth and kindness so as to make sure you don't get a sliver of it...unless they decide to stingily pass a crumb of it to you. That way you have to be grateful to them for anything you have. If there is to be any gratitude in the room it is coming from you and going toward the narcissist. Never the other way around. It is this predation of what rightfully belongs to others that defines their malignancy. Their covetousness leads straight to theft and murder.
The last commandment in the BIG 10 (found in Exodus 20) is usually perceived in the negative...don't covet this, don't covet that, etc. But when turned 180 degrees, the last commandment shows another facet. It is a positive command to be grateful for what you have. Thankfulness is the antidote to the sins that follow in the wake of ingratitude. It protects you and those around you from the negative results that always follow when we are ungrateful. A covetous spirit can lead you to violate the spirit and letter of all the other commandments. If cherished, it will lead to the destruction of the soul. Our narcissists are the living example of this reality. Read Romans chapter 1 with this truth in mind. Paul introduces his letter to the Roman Christians with a picture of the debasing sins of humanity which begins with a spirit of ingratitude. (vs.21). Read verses 28-31 and see if that isn't a description of the behaviors demonstrated by the malignant narcissist.
One of the narcissist's illusion models springs directly from their ingratitude. This illusion is their sense of total self-sufficiency. They need no one. They pretend all day long that they are sufficient to themselves. This thinking is the path to complete degradation of body, mind and soul (see Romans 1). Because they don't need you, they don't appreciate you. They aren't grateful for anything you do for them either. Anything you do for them was theirs by right. You were only fulfilling your duty. (Or they ascribe selfish motives to your generosity. "You're really doing this for yourself.") Lack of gratitude for the kindnesses bestowed upon us is an ugly, selfish and grotesque thing. It warps our hearts and souls to persistently practice this kind of ingratitude. Anytime you need an example of this truth just look at the narcissist again. There it is. Hideous spirit, is it not?
Because the malignant narcissist is not thankful for anything this means they are incapable of truly entering into the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday. It is bereft of meaning or depth for them. It only represents a day off, food, and opportunity to gather the family together so as to feed off their humanity. At its core the holiday is antithetical to the spirit, nature and practice of the malignant narcissist.
I encourage each of you to enter into a spirit of gratitude this Thanksgiving. Even if the narcissist is still in your life and attempting to create havoc...take the week off of thinking about them and their evil little ways and focus on every single thing you have to be thankful for. Even if all you can think of to be thankful for is the air you breathe and sun that warms your face. Even the poorest on this planet have reasons for gratitude.
Once you start counting your blessings the list tends to get longer and longer. This leaves you with a full heart and a sense of quiet joy. A heart full of joy and a sense of fulfillment is something the narcissist never feels. So spend some time this week enjoying what they can't. In doing so, you'll set yourself so far apart from the narcissist that they may as well be from another planet. It is a spiritual experience...one that can be experienced regardless of what circumstances you find yourself in or regardless of religious affiliation (or lack thereof).
Prove to yourself this week how different your spirit is from that of the narcissist. Be grateful. Deeply and profoundly grateful. Thanksgiving is our holiday. The narcissist is left out in the cold. The cold of their darkened and selfish hearts.
Posted by Anna Valerious at 9:50 AM
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This is PERFECT! Thank you, Anna!
This will be the first year that I am not inviting my Nmom or Dad. I am keeping it simple, relaxed, and enjoyable. I'm not even making all HER 'expected' dishes and favorites. Good Lord! I never realized how much I have done over the years....with no 'contributions'...no help with the cooking or cleaning up for the Thanksgiving Dinner. What? 35 years of it. I'm grateful and thankful....even if it is little 'strange' this year....it won't be 'strained'. No hyper-attentiveness....no sniping between my parents...no 'Oh...while you're up (I just sat down), would you get me a little glass of milk?' I get to burn whatever I want if I want to...I get to prepare whatever I want to...I get to set the time of the dinner...Lordy....It's sounding better all the time!
Thank you, Anna! Happy Thanksgiving to you...and ALL of you!
My N mother (non-malignant, but pretty f-ed up) moved away from me this past year as I wasn't giving her enough (read: all) of my time and attention, so this year will be the first in a long time that I'll be able to celebrate Thanksgiving without her.
Something I'm truly thankful for.
She moved to be near my sister, so as to "set her straight" and get her N-supply from greener pastures.
My sister, not an N, but nevertheless good at making excuses for them, is now the proud owner of one mother, childish, clingy and controlling and prone to frequent anger when not getting her way. Let's see how sister excuses and explains away the craziness when it's up close and personal.
I love your blog, and I feel so sad for the little girl that you were that had to deal with so much. You seem like such a strong and good person, so I guess it's true that through fire the finest steel is tempered. You've been forged in the fires of Hades - a toxic and evil mother - and come out the other side a stronger person.
Best wishes for you, Anna - and for us all - for a happy turkey day.
I'm thankful that NC is an option. I'm thankful that there are forums to find out that I am not alone. I'm thankful that I am in control of my own destiny.
Thanks for helping me get to this thankful seat at the table.
I, too am thankful this year. This will be the first set of holidays without my NM and my alcoholic F. I have chosen to go total cut-off and I am thankful that I have had the strength and the courage to leave them to their evil ways. I'm looking forward to a brighter future.
Thank you for your blog--it has helped me significantly.
Thank you , Anna. I love your commentary in general. So insive.
This was a meaningful post and I appreciate your thoughtfulness. Your post, along with my own contemplation, helped me see clearly for the first time, just how diametrically opposite I am from my former N. I also see that they will never change unless they have a "road to Damascus" experience. Anything less will be insufficient at this point in their life.
The Holidays are indeed a time for letting go of the poisonous things of our past and appreciating all that we have that is good in the present. It hasn't been fun or easy, but his post seemed to hit a chord for me and I thank you.
No official thanksgiving down under, but I would like to express how glad I am that I was actually able to figure this out; thank you Anna and to others who take the trouble to maintain blogs, forums, websites etc. to get this information out. I am sure that I am not the only one who wondered (and wandered) around confused for years (actually decades).
I would also like to jump for joy because I can jump for joy.
Dear Anna, THANK YOU! Your writings captured incisively the acute nightmare my NH and ALL his siblings have been, SELFISH, COVETEOUS and PREDATORY. It is bad enough to deal with one N. They all came into FULL BLOOM for me to see two years ago, after both their parents have passed away! I always FELT something was "not right" with my NH but could never put a finger on it until I researched the web and read blogs like yours. The best thing I did for my kids (and myself) was to STOP my NH's bullying, by making a STAND. They really DO suck the joy out of festivities, and my NH did except for his birthday! I am starting to look forward to the future with more strength and hope, WITHOUT NH! Now he is trying to crawl back into our lives and throws big TANTRUMS, which I recognize now and IGNORE !
Thank you for helping so many understand the malignancy of Ns. Good health and happiness to you Anna!
Thank you very much!
I'm very happy to hear that you're doing much better after learning the logistics of N behavior. Stay strong.
I'll never forget the thanksgiving that I cooked an entire organic thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, pie, and gravy just for me and my NM because we live alone and he didn't visit either his mom or mine for TG. He didn't eat a bite of any of it. I froze and eventually threw most of it away. It's possible that he had poisoned it. The reason I say this is because several years later, when I escaped from him, he went to the house and threw out all the food in the refrigerator. I had only been gone 2 days so it had not "gone bad". Coincidentally, all the physical aches and pains I had lived with for years, disappeared as well as the chronic fatigue. Stress? Poison? who knows? but why did he never eat at home and why did he throw my food away?
I am so pleased to find your blog. I am 43 years old and finally went no contact with my N dad after Thanksgiving 2014. I am preparing to go no contact with my mom, just sorting the details... I tried at 25 years old but suffered 4 brief mental breakdown episodes, and was subsequently labeled and treated as 'bi-polar' and took medication for 18 months total. (Praise God I had a psychiatrist who didn't live I suffered from bi-polar, but sought to wean me off my meds). Too bad he did not educate me regarding personality disorders, but better late... Well, it's been 18 years and I haven't had another psychotic episode despite getting married, having children, pursuing meaningful part-time work, while I raise my precious kiddos and create a homestead for husband and family. I learned to effectively use my label as a protection to heal myself. I have the proof of time and education to know that I was mis-diagnosed, and I am learning all about personality disorders now, and how to NOT get brainwashed anymore! What I suffered in my life would point to a father who has: malignant narcissism with anti-social and borderline traits. Mom was a covert narcissist with histrionic traits. Very cookie cutter and un-imaginative people, once you know what to look for. 'The scales have fallen from my eyes.' Anna, I thank you for your well written blog. Your words to me are precious: 'like golden apples in a silver bowl.' As you can imagine, I am using your blog as a personal bible study. I am a new believer and have submitted my will to Christ as of 6 years ago. I no longer sacrifice myself daily to my idols (both my parents), and praise God that he delivered me from a spiritually abusive Roman Catholic upbringing, as well. My Thanksgiving list is long and with tears, I add you to my list. Looking forward to eventually meeting you on either side of the sun!!! Liz P.
Thank you for your post. What a gracious and kind thank you you've given me. It touches my heart deeply. Thank you, too, for sharing a bit of your experience. God bless the broken road you've traveled because it brought into His light. I look forward to meeting you!
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