Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holidays with Narcissists Suck...

So how to deal with narcissists during the holidays? The best and most simple answer is to fully disengage! I realize I sound repetitive but 'no contact' is always the best answer bar none to dealing with narcissists. They are poisonous no matter the season but most especially in the seasons of cheer and festivity. Whether the narcissist uses the holidays to grandstand or to poop on everyone's parade they are like ants at the picnic. No, they are like wasps at the picnic. Threatening discomfort just by their hovering presence and getting their stings in when you least expect it.

The consistent advice on this blog is that you put many miles between you and the narcissist -- both geographical and emotional miles. Cut off or drastically minimize contact. So if you're wondering about how to deal with narcissists on the holidays you have obviously not taken my advice thus far. And since my advice on the holidays is the same...what more is there for me to say? I'll see what I can come up with.

If you are in a situation where you have no choice -- come on, let's be really honest here with ourselves about whether we have a choice or not. Sometimes we claim to not have a choice when the truth is we are avoiding discomfort by not rocking the boat! -- then my advice to disengage still applies only the disengagement is purely an emotional one.

Do not let yourself get sucked into their reindeer games. Detach emotionally from all the fantasies you've had about finally having a happy family gathering that includes the narcissist(s). It is fantasy. Pure. Fantasy. Holidays with narcissists are something you just try to get through. In one piece, hopefully. So drop your Happy Family delusions, forget trying to fix anyone, give up thinking that if you sacrifice body and soul the narcissist will appreciate the effort and be nice to you, stop thinking that you can make everyone get along by being 'above it all'. I'm not talking about being 'above it all' when I talk about detachment. I'm talking about being emotionally unavailable. There in body but not in heart. It is the only armor that will help keep you sane and relatively unscathed by the contact. Does this sound like fun? Like the holiday spirit? Obviously not. But holidays with narcissists are never fun. It is a game of survival for you. Focus on survival not festivity because that's as good as it gets. Why, after knowing you are dealing with a narcissist, you would still sign up for this misery is quite beyond me.

Do not allow the narcissist (or his side-kicks) to run you, make you into a servant, or use you as a primary source of supply during the holiday. Be willing and prepared to leave the moment things turn ugly. That assumes, of course, you're smart enough at this point to not actually be the host to family gatherings. Hopefully you know enough going into this holiday season to realize that putting on gala holiday events in your own home is just begging for some narcissist to kick you in the teeth. Hosting holidays with narcissists is an invitation they find irresistible to shove your generosity, your thoughtfulness, and your hours of labor right up your ass. Don't be a sap. Don't set yourself up as such an easy target. Either go to the narcissist's home, another family member's home or a restaurant. Someplace where you can grab your kids and get the hell out of there the moment you see the fangs flashing.

I've said my piece on holidays with narcissists. I'm sure the commenters will have plenty to say on this that I've haven't. Have at it!


none said...

This year is going to be my first no contact holiday. I'm actually looking forward to the holidays for the first time since I was maybe twelve years old. My NF always manages to act like a royal horses arse around the holidays. Last year was one of the worst ever and a contributing factor to my NC status.

JoanOfWork said...

My husband figured out why he likes Thanksgiving so much more, my parents aren't in town.

Christmas is a dreary affair, but made more palatable now that they are required to get a hotel.

No more plastic cups and plates piling up my garbage- brought to avoid using mine and feeling any obligation to help clean though they take over half my small apt.when they stay and come for4 days.

The toliet could still overflow though, my mother still brings her seat cover for my apparently disgusting bathroom.

I am hearing sleigh bells already.

Anonymous said...

My holidays are so much more enjoyable and relaxing now that I don't spend them as a supporting player in the N Sister Holiday show. No more bizarre tantrums to contend with. No more tension and pouting because she didn't like anything anyone gave her. No more silent treatments, cupboard banging, hiding in her bedroom, yelling at her husband, making everyone miserable. No more coming home completely stressed and exhausted. I never knew that holidays could be truly happy until I went NC.

Anonymous said...

"..holidays with narcissists are never fun. It is a game of survival for you. Focus on survival not festivity because that's as good as it gets. Why, after knowing you are dealing with a narcissist, you would still sign up for this misery is quite beyond me."

staying in a relationship with a narcissist is nothing but a struggle to survive, without going mentally insane at the same time. day, after day, after day. what makes you think holidays will even be the tiniest bit better? if anything, it's the best stage for the narcissist to perform on, and really nail it to you. and if they're lucky, possibly in front the other mindless family members, causing you humiliation ontop of everything else.

if this is your first holiday season without them, or you're contemplating going nc for the holidays, then i want you to know, it's hard at first, BUT it gets better every time. most people see this time of year specially for family gatherings, so don't force yourself to be miserable because you happen to share a name or bloodline. you'll be kicking yourself in the butt before the night's over, i promise.

here's to hoping for everyone's happiness, and freedom from the bondage of n's.

Anonymous said...

After going no contact,it was exceptionaly hard for several years during the holidays.Sometimes it still can be rough. I had to let go of what would never be. The very last Christmas spent with them was very painful.My nm purposly hurt me(again) and used my n sis-in-law in the process. My n sis-in-law is gladly to help my nm in anyway she can. The rest of the n family could of cared less.

SM said...

Ah the holidays.. such a glorious time of year. My NMIL actually cut off my DH last year because he couldn't attend her holiday party, and visiting the day before wasn't good enough for her. Holidays with her were always a special kind of hell, because her expectations of what her perfect family *should* be got higher and just about anything could set her off. She dreamed of being the family matriarch hosting the picture perfect Christmas while all her minions paid homage to her. And of course you're right, the best thing you can do is just not be around. I'm looking forward to a MIL free Christmas this year. Thanks for your blogs, as always!

Anonymous said...

I no longer spend holidays with the N's, but one big reason I used to get sucked into them was the sudden "holiday miracle" of amazing caring and respect in their voices when they'd invite me. Hearing their dulcet tones, I'd suddenly question my sanity and my memory.... they sound so nice! So sincere! How could I think they were so bad? What was wrong with me? Then I'd say yes, and the real excitement in their voices was palpable. And when I'd hear that excitement, I'd feel a huge wave of guilt crashing down. They're so HAPPY that I am coming, and I didn't want to go at all! [now I know all too well why it made them happy to hear I was coming]

By the time the holiday arrived, my guard would be back up and I'd have loads of conflicting feelings again. I'd arrive, warily, and be greeted by seemingly pure joy and festivity and warmth. They would be extremely nice for about the first hour or so. During this time I would start to feel like a class A heel for ever doubting them. Then.... once my guard was REALLY DOWN, the abuse would begin. First, ever so subtly. I'd let it go initially, because after all - it was so small and why spoil the fun mood and good times? Then more and more slights, mean spirited jokes, insults, disrespect, one-upmanship, unfair expectations/treatment, smiling accusations, etc. I needn't go into details. You all know the drill... I'd leave feeling like I didn't even know who I was anymore.

I have no idea what they tell people in order to explain my absence, and I don't really care.

Here is a tip if you decide to ditch the N's and find yourself realizing that everyone you know already has some kind of plans with their own relatives: find a soup kitchen that hosts a holiday meal and see if you can volunteer. It can really feel great, actually be fun at times, and you may meet some cool people volunteering.

Anonymous said...

This will be our 2nd Christmas without my DH, and the first one without my mom. It's not the same, and never will be. Girls are too old to Santa, and presents are fewer (the older they get, the more pricey the gifts!).

We will celebrate wtih my sister and her family. We'll have a good time.

Dec. 17 will be the one year date I sent the following email to my FIL:

We have received your cards. In case you haven't noticed, I have not cashed K's birthday check and I will not be cashing the Christmas checke. What was discussed in our last phone conversation was extremely hurtful,
I do not say this lightly.
Do not send any more cards. Do not call. Do not email. Do not write. You are cut off.
- Me.

Yes, it will be a bit sad -- but at the same time, it will be peaceful. The Lord has blessed me abundantly and has "delivered me from evil. Amen."

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

Just finished watching 'Dan in Real Life' and my 18 yr old son commented that he loved those sorts of big family get-together type movies because everyone is so loving and caring.

Frankly, after having lived with a narcissist family on both sides of the marriage, I think it would be too much to have people giving you THAT much attention.

Having said that, I told my son that we were going to create our own big happy family. We were starting again, and it may take another couple of decades to get there, and my husband and I will be the loving grandparents, but we will eventually have a healthy caring family group....with God's help!

Jennaratrix said...

As always, I come to the same problem. The narcissist in my life is a 10 year old child, and going no contact is simply not an option. Although I understand that the focus of your site is adults dealing with adult narcissists, I am so impressed with your views that I would love to hear your thoughts on the type of situation I am dealing with.

What do you do when you just can't go "no contact?"

Anonymous said...


Go to Youtube ...

A great anthem for N avoiders everywhere by a great Australian band....

Here are the lyrics:

Isn't it funny how you never really screamed at my face,
but your anger so unspoken and unchannelled permeates my essence to the point where I
Don't want to see you hear you, be anywhere near you,
you probably think I'm threatened by you but your illusionary power doesn't threaten me
Actually I think it's kind of funny that you create an illusion that is a mirror,
I don't appreciate you and I know that that surprises you
I suppose you see that those who follow their heart always win,
those with integrity have won the match before it's begun

So rather than being kicked around, I'm going to kick you to the curb
So rather than being pushed around, I'm going to push you away first
So rather than trying to protect you, I'm going to cover my basses first
So rather than trying to open my heart, I'm going to lock it with a key
So that only the special ones, so that only the special ones, can ever get through to me

Some can see beyond the barrier of threshold whereas others can't see beyond their sculptured mould,
you could offer me nothing, you could offer me nothing that I need
Do you think I'm asking too much?
A kind of respect and trust that shouldn't even be questioned,
how can I open my heart with dishonesty sitting next to me?
I've honoured your honour to the point of embarrassment,
but innocence in the hands of the guilt-free is kicked to, is kicked to the curb
I was ashamed of my innocence,
I was ashamed of my innocence but now with clarity I see that your bullshit is just not worthy of me

I don't want to be angry....
This is not worthy of me and now with clarity I see that I can walk away, I can walk away

vamomma said...

Thank you...thank you...for this post. Thank you also to the kind person who posted the link to this on my blog!:)

I'm printing it out so I can read it and remind myself of the realities of the situation in my own life before I again succumb to the happy family delusions I get around this time of year.

This year I refuse to, as you so eloquently say, let anyone "poop on my parade"!

Anonymous said...

Jordie, thank you for posting that soulful anthem for N avoiders. So beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Thought of mailing it to my MN sister but frankly, she's not worthy of its poetry.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend was looking forward to meeting my family last christmas, especially my sister... the later only because he saw the emotional wreckage she left behind (even after five+ years of not speaking to her what so ever). And he wondered why I couldn't ever accept a compliment and always avoided attention! Two decades of survival tactics are hard to let go of, especially when you do have to be on your guard a couple times a year.

N sister always has to have the most presents and the most expensive presents (wishes mom and dad always catered to to keep the peace)... and everything else typical of a N. The rest of us were just *wasting* the money our parents could have spent on her (she said as much one year when they bought us -prescription- glasses. That was apparently a, to quote, "unnecessary" expense).

So she was notably angry that, heaven forbid, my family paid some attention to my boyfriend! She couldn't get him to pay undivided attention to her (which probably in her mind would make the attention paid to him *hers*). Worse in her mind, he was paying me (the scape goat) attention - because, you know, he is my boyfriend :)

She had a (typical) blow up because she opened every gift asking if that was the one with the over 100 dollar bottle of perfume she wanted... and it happened to be the last one she opened. Just before that she exploded and went to pout in another room convinced that mom and dad didn't buy her exactly what she wanted. She later claimed she thought we were making fun of her (huh?).

It probably didn't help that she *knew* she couldn't get away with her sly attacks against me or anyone else after a few rebuked attempts. My boyfriend doesn't put up with that, he calls people out on it.

This year she's got a boyfriend of her own, the poor guy. I'm sure he'll be having a special christmas with the family; I'll be far away visiting my boyfriend's family so I won't be able to keep the peace. Imagine that... spending christmas with a family who believes that I deserve to be happy *too*. That made me cry when my boyfriend's dad said that. I never got that feeling from my family since I was always expected to be the sacrificial (scape) goat for the sake of peace.

[I'm sure it'd miff her to know I'm not going to be there to show off her new beau to - the "who has a better boyfriend" contest. Mom already doesn't like my boyfriend because he sticks up for me against my parents' expectations born of years of me offering myself up as sacrifice - his net result is there is less peace in the family. It's a rough road as I learn to stand up for myself, but I'm glad to have help. ]

Oh, the lovely lovely memories. As much as I love my family I'm done with all of my "obligations" to N sister this year - I'll be fully independent of my parents and feel free to finally say "no" to the last of their expectations. I'll be starting the new year free from the role of peace keeper and will do my best to not feel guilty for rocking the boat by being my own person.

I'm tired of being chewed out by my cult-of-peace parents for having friends who don't like my sister (I'm responsible for everyone who doesn't like her, apparently), for making decisions they wouldn't have (repairing the car so I could drive home, for goodness sake), and for being sometimes emotionally unpredictable as you would expect anyone who has been emotional abused to behave while sorting life out.

I can't believe they actually hold me to such high expectations... mom even admitted knowing I was depressed while I was a teen (actually, all but about the first 8 years of my life I was depressed) but they never got me help! Yet I was supposed to sacrifice my happiness for the peace when I was borderline suicidal! I'm shocked that I'm still alive.

Bring on the new year! Out with the unreasonable and in with the soul-discovery!

Once again, sorry for the epic comment. I'm a wordy and meandering person I guess LOL

Anonymous said...

What great timing for this post! I have been no contact with my N for about 2 months (except when he shows up at my church). I was doing a little shopping last night and the flood of memories came back about the two of us. Memories of how every gift I gave him really meant something. I got his mentor who wrote a book to personalize it, etc, etc. I am not saying this to boast, but the things he gave me were all utilitarian. Things I would have to buy myself. He gave me knives for my birthday and I don't even cook. I remember the moodiness, the sulking trying to figure out what was wrong, walking on eggshells. I decided at that moment that this holiday was going to be the best ever. Even though I am alone (family is far away, I am going to put up a tree, put up lights, and have open house for all the good people of the neighborhood. Bless you Anna. You are God's present to us. Without your pain and suffering, we would never know the deceit of an N. Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

I believe my sister is an N. I have virtually no contact with her except for holidays, which I do for my parent's sake. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to bear.

Holidays that I have hosted in my home, I go to a great deal of work to make them enjoyable. My sister shows up empty handed and complains about everything. It's too hot in the house, it's too cold, she doesn't like what is being served as she shovels it in her mouth, and she's "only eating it because she hasn't eaten all day". Then she has the audacity to go in the fridge when she's leaving to take leftovers that have not been offered to her. She cuts a huge slice of the dessert that I have made, takes a small bite, makes a face and pushes it away. The food critic (as I call her), claims she knows how to cook, she just doesn't like to.

I really related to "Hosting holidays with narcissists is an invitation they find irresistible to shove your generosity, your thoughtfulness, and your hours of labor right up your ass." That is exactly how I feel every Christmas when she picks a fight for fun, criticizes the food I have labored over, and sits on her ass while my husband and I clean up and wash the dishes.

I spoke to my father and explained that this Thanksgiving I am giving her one last chance to behave herself, and if she can't, I am done with her.

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh when I saw the title of Anna's most recent post. Because I had recently wakened from a nightmare in which I had gone to the family Thanksgiving dinner at my N-parents' house -- to make my S.O. happy. The dream ended with me trudging alone up a long road away from the holiday festivities.


Anonymous said...

There IS no 'Holiday' with the Narcissist! I just can't stress this enough. Think about it.

Though each of us might be trying to figure out how to keep the peace, how to make everyone happy, how to be 'nice', THEY ARE THINKING NO SUCH THOUGHTS. THEY AREN'T EVEN TRYING TO ENSURE THAT IT IS A GOOD TIME FOR OTHERS. IT IS ABOUT THEM. PERIOD. Once you get this through your head, it'll piss you off and your 'decisions' will be made for you.

If you really WANT to spend that much time and money and energy on a 4 yr. old....who has no thought or appreciation for what you are trying to create...(A GoodSpirit, GoodWill, etc. for the Holidays....)...and ZERO effort towards such.....then you bring it on yourself. I'm not being 'mean' here....(I've suffered it I know..) I'm just being REAL. The REALITY is that it WILL be a nightmare to one degree or another....and you'll end up feeling like the SameOlShit they want you to feel like. Even if you have the nerve and courage to get the hell out 'when it turns nasty' aren't going to feel good about it. Just because it would be the RIGHT thing to do, doesn't necessarily feel GOOD. I don't know about you guys, but I'm tired of feeling BAD.

Best thing I have to offer? Start your own thing with people who love you....keep it your own traditions based on values dedicated to what your Heart has been telling you.

I found this little plaque in the used store the other day....and it really struck me: HOME IS WHERE THEY LOVE YOU. By now, most of us pretty much know what LOVE isn' THAT 'Home'....whether in your Heart or with those who understand what that means. Don't worry that it feels 'odd' not to have the Ns'll get over it. It's only a shadow of some illusion you had (or they created)about Love and Family. Why wouldn't it bug us? It's all we ever knew...or were allowed to know.

Anonymous said...

"Dan in Real Life" is a great feel-good Thanksgiving Day movie. It gave me a vision of what is possible in healthy family dynamics, with lots of humor of course!! Rent it and have a good laugh!! Don't dwell on the things that never were!!

Bess said...

After much discussion, my sister and I decided to ask our mother if she would like us to purchase her a plane ticket to see her sister over the Christmas holiday. Of course, she accepted the gift, but only after wondering aloud if we were trying to "get rid of" her this Christmas. I think she's catching on.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, my n dad made the holidays miserable for everybody.He use to yell and scream when he didn`t get the right gift or size.Then he'd blow up about something else.This was the scene every year at christmas.Course, this was my life growing up with him.He was distant and uncaring of the damage he was doing to everybody.My n mom pretended that everything was ok.He still is a miserable person.Of coarse, no one in my n family has ever confronted him with this behavior.I`m just glad I got out before he was like this with my son.He was already being a jerk to my son behind his back(of coarse, he wasn`t like this with the other grandkids).

Anonymous said...

LOL, Billie!

Anonymous said...

As a kid I usually enjoyed holidays. One Christmas as a teen (maybe 13-14) wasn't pleasant. We had no money, but didn't know it. My mother never mentioned to us that it was going to be really scarce to the point of one small gift each. What did I do? Threw a tantrum, complete with screaming. What they didn't know - inside even while doing this, I was feeling like a dirtbag. It was expected of me by my family. That was the role I played. My mother and sibling sat in silence and afterwards my sibling was silent to her for the entire day.I found this out not too long back when I apologized to her for it. I had worried so many times about if my mom died how I could stand over her and bear the thought of acting like that. I was a very, very angry child right on up through my 20's. My emotional and mental thinking were stunted I now think because of things that took place in my childhood upbringing. It does not excuse my behavior, but merely explains it (to me at least). My mom and sibling were quiet and conviving people who saw my weaknesses and used them accordingly. Cruel. Example; My sibling would say personal things about my body and my mom would respond in a soft voice when I would run and cry and tell her, "Make (blank) stop saying that!", with "Well, "I" have so and so which the sib would say, "But yours don't look like hers."
Not one time did she ever say don't say that to her. Again, years later when I told her this, she said, "Well when you weren't around I told ( ) not to do that." I told her, that didn't help me at the time and I needed to HEAR it. I lived with guilt, remorse, and shame for SO many years over my bratiness and selfishess, but then it occurred to me that I was ALLOWED to do what I did by an adult (at least in body) who then used it against me.Sibling fell right into the same walk. I truly think that I was acting out what they both felt but were too cowardly to show. The open face of the family. I also remember how ashamed I was over a used item I had to take because she didn't have $ to buy a new one. A classmate looked at mine and said, "I'd want a new one." I just stood there silent. Full of shame. Everyone else had new. But me. And mine was OBVIOUSLY old.Of course when my sibling came to the same need, she made payments and got them a brand new one. Yes, I was the raging kid, but it seemed to be the only way I got anything or was heard. According to her, my sibling was a good natured child. I would love to show you our pics and lives now. The sib has shark eyes. Right now given the opportunity, they remind me of my past sins. I have really come to believe that they both have this deep resentment from things they've done towards me and said about/to me even after adulthood. Sometimes I still find myself feeling the shame , but then I have to remember I was a child. I was a CHILD. I payed a dear price for my brattiness, but I finally overcame it through the grace of God and cringe to think about it.
They have me freeze framed into that person and yet, they themselves are still tightly locked into their own prisons. I don't consider myself an N, but I do worry sometimes. Anger, shame, and feeling different was a big part of me in young years. I didn't put my finger on it until I began to examine my life years later. At least I'm happy that I was able to apologize before it was too late. You know, I was literally sobbing and my mother sat there stoically for the most part and began to recount to me what my sibling had done and how that she(mom) had no money and such. It just occurred to me that whenever I've apologized to her over anything she will deflect it somehow and say anything except "I forgive you" or even something close to it. The closest thing will be something like, "Well, sometimes we say things because we are hurt".
What does that say?
My last thing to say in this long winded saga is that I can never change their minds. I can only change me. And that still won't change their minds unless THEY want to change them.

Anonymous said...

My N sister is never happy with anything you give her. She either makes a face or comes right out and says, "It's ugly." I used to agonize over what I was going to buy for her. In a store, I'd drive myself crazy trying to decide if Queenie would like the blue sweater more than the green.

Then I decided to stop wasting my time running around from store to store, and now she gets a gift card. That way I can spend my time shopping for the people I really want to buy gifts for.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you all for sharing your stories here. So much is now making sense for me.
I am one of 6 kids, and no, we didn't always get along, especially when 4 of us were teens at the same time -- but we ALWAYS loved each other.

So often I would tell my kids stories about the pranks we all pulled as kids (stuffing an Oreo into the mouth of a ventriloquist dummy and lowering him out of the upstairs window, tapping on the downstairs window with him, and scaring poor mom!). We would all laugh so hard!! And my husband would laugh too, but never share any stories.

I always found that odd, and I would ask him to tell a story too. He didn't get emotional or anything like that, but he'd just say casually "Oh, I have no stories like that."

Well, c'mon!! Tell us ANY story!!

He'd say "Well, I don't have any to tell." He was one of 5 kids! And NO stories???

I only know 3 stories of him growing up -- and all were told by my N FIL, and all of them are disparaging.

I know my husband was a wonderful man, but I don't know what he grew up with. I suspect it was more neglect and criticism and not physical abuse. I wish I knew more so my children had more.

Sometimes he'd just say "Kath, my family is NOT your family." I think now he was trying to protect me. I think now that's why he was always so happy when we did something with my family - like Thanksgiving and Christmas. He loved being with them, and they loved him.

I'm just a little sad today.

Thank you, All.

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

Your children are fortunate to have such a smart, strong, loving mother. I'm sure they'll have wonderful memories of their father, thanks to you.
God bless,

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I am doing this correctly. I just wanted to connect with someone who understands. I am 62 years old, female, married and only a few days ago discovered what was wrong with my mother! She has had me living under a guilt complex for as far back as I can remember. I have read so much on this website and I discovered it accidentally. I can't tell you how amazing I feel knowing I am not alone. I honestly thought I was. I have never met anyone like my mother and now I hear they do exist. If I am doing this wrong, please let me know. Am I posting this the right way? Thank you so much.

Anna Valerious said...

You're posting just fine! Sorry you have a mother that makes you relate to what you read here...but I'm glad you found an explanation for the insanity here at my blog. As you can see from the comments you are far from alone.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 4:06

Looks like you've found hope to me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you -- but please, I'm not so "strong." I wasn't RAISED with any Ns. I was always encouraged to be my own person. My mom liked to say that each of her children was an only child -- and she was pretty much right. Everyone here who has been raised with this insanity are truly the brave ones -- being open and looking at it honestly and squarely in the face. That has to be scary.

Hey, for you all people who are going N/C? I thought of a perfect Christmas gift to give your N relative!!

Just get a tape recorder and tape yourself saying "Yes, N, you are wonderful." "Wow, you're so clever!" "Golly, how did that company ever do business before YOU came??" You get the drift!!

Give it to them with the cut off. Tell them they can play it again and again and again -- they don't need you in their life anymore!!!

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:07

I was 60 when I stumbled upon an article about NPD. I found it extremely interesting because it described my ex-husband to a T. But as I read it, I kept thinking, "My God, that sounds like my mother."

I was stunned. I knew she was different from other people. I didn't like being around her and felt guilty about it. I had been drawing away from her for years. I went into a routine NC for around three months every time she pulled one of her stunts. I only saw her when I "had to" and Thanksgiving and Christmas was one of those "have to's". I was an only child and my son lived in Europe. I thought I couldn't leave her alone on those days. Believe me, she well deserved being left alone.

It was soon after I discovered NPD that she was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away seven months later. I was free.

I am sorry that I did not know about NPD 20 years earlier but even finding out when I did helped because I no longer feel guilty about anything.

I often wonder how my life might have been different if I had walked away from her when I was 20.

I look forward to Christmas now. I remarried four years ago at the age of 63. My husband came from a normal, loving family. Life is good.

I know that NC is the only way to deal with an N. My son, whose father is a classic N, went no contact with him a year ago. He is much happier and I am too because I no longer have to hear the latest stories about what his crappy father did this time.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, thank you all so much for responding to me. I think I know now why I have always had a terrible inferiority complex! I always thought I wasn't good enough. My mother ruined so many holidays for me. I was always afraid someone would say something to make my mother mad and she would pout and I would feel to blame even though I didn't do anything. I have walked on eggshells for so long. So many things I can't even express right now even though I read some of them on here. I always wanted to have a loving mother who I could go to and tell my troubles to, a shoulder to cry on, someone who really loved me that I could confide in. I learned the hard way not to try that with my mother. I had a father who loved me a lot but he died at 43 when I was a teenager. I often wondered if mother had something to do indirectly with his passing. He had a heart attack. I remember begging him to leave her and take me with him. I am pretty sure she put him on the old guilt trip too and he was a sweet man and I guess he didn't know what to do. They fought a lot and it scared me. One night my mother grabbed a knife from the kitchen and started toward my father. It scared me so bad I ran out of the house screaming. I was about 10 then. After that I was scared to go to bed at night because I was afraid my mother might come in and stab me with a knife. I used to sleep with a pillow over my chest so in case she did maybe the knife wouldn't go all the way through and kill me. I was afraid she would kill us all. Yet I was afraid to tell anyone about it. I loved it when we would have overnight guests because I knew she would be good then or when I was invited to sleepover at a girlfriend's or grandmother's or cousin's or somewhere because I knew I could relax and I would be safe. I didn't like to be at home in the house late at night especially. We had money but I do not think of my childhood as happy. All I ever wanted was a happy Christian home where everybody was peaceful and no one got mad or angry. Of course, I stupidly married at 18 to a guy who turned out to be an alcoholic and 7 years later between him and my mother I ended up having shock treatments. I imagine there are still some things I can't remember about the bad times.

My mother would be so upset if she read this. She can't of course, she is in a nursing home (praise the Lord) and has no idea how to even turn on a computer. Even now I feel that guilt trying to creep in because I am talking about her behind her back. She really hates that. I am a Christian and I hate that too, but I need to let this out to someone who really understands. There are a few people I have told some of this to who got to know her, like her sister, my aunt, who is a wonderful Christian lady and who has also been hurt by my mother. My children, who God forgive me for exposing them to her, she hurt them emotionally, especially my daughter. I feel awful about that. Most of it I didn't know until my daughter was grown, but still. If I had known all these things I have read when I was about 40 or more years younger I might have had the courage to tell her to get out of my life. I did not know, I just did not know and I feel like I have been a coward all my life. I let her push me around all my life and she is still trying to do it. Oh, there is so much to tell and I know you guys are tired of my saga for now. Can I tell more later? Is that okay? The past 62 years I have lived with a malignant narcissist ruining my life and did not know that is what she is. I often wondered how a mother could treat a daughter like that. So many lies she told that really did damage to me and my family. Dear Lord. Thank you all for listening to me go on and on.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found this blog. I am up for the 2nd night in a row unable to sleep and sick to my stomach. I'm going 'home' next week for the first time in 2 years to see my mom and siblings, The queen and her court. My hubby and kids refused to come along-- smart. They're going to his folks. My mom I guess is an N--well I shouldn't say 'I guess' but I'm still not strong enough to commit to saying bad things about her-without feeling really awful about it. she fits the description to a T. My brother called this week. He bought her condo some time ago so she would be able to stay in it--after she promised to make the payments and all that--of course she decided that she wasn't able to work-- she has now managed to drag out having a knee replaced for nearly 3 years. So she has barely been working and not doing what she should and he wants to sell it and she is causing everyone pain over it since she will have to downsize. She is almost 70 and lives in a 3 bedroom, 3 story condo the rent and condo fees are her entire soc. sec. check. Still she insists that if he'd just refinance it she would be able to afford it! I said, why do you want this when its so hard to climb stairs? now all of a sudden when she must move out--she decides her knee is much better, as well as her back etc. NO sense of reality and NO shame about sucking the life and cash out of everyone to get what she wants!

Why am I going? I don't know I guess I need to be reminded one more time why I like to live on the other side of the country. :(

She's been awfully nice to me lately--scares me to death! I know I'm in for a blast. but--I have a back up plan--if I am attacked in any way shape or form, my brother has given me a car to use and an invitation to come to his house--which I will do. What's worse is--feeling guilty for not having been there in 2 years, I planned to be there for 5 days! Stupid stupid stupid.

Anna Valerious said...

My mother would be so upset if she read this. ... Even now I feel that guilt trying to creep in because I am talking about her behind her back. She really hates that. I am a Christian and I hate that too, but I need to let this out to someone who really understands.


You're doing a good thing by talking to people who understand. I was also trained to feel guilt about talking behind my mother's back from a very early age. As you can tell if you've looked around my blog yet...I've gotten over that feeling. I do not blog anonymously to protect myself from my mother. It is the last nice thing I am doing for her. I am exposing her evil without attaching her name to her evil. Because she isn't in a position to ruin the lives of anyone except the willing I don't feel I have to put her name out there. Both you and I know, though, that even my talking about my mother without naming her is a 'sin' in the narcissist mother's book. A good rule of thumb: if your evil mother says doing a particular thing is a 'sin' it most likely isn't. Don't let the immoral narcissist continue to run your life with their twisted codes of conduct.

The strong tug you feel to do things as your mother would have you do them is the result of her diligent brainwashing of you. By going against the feeling that it is 'wrong' you are helping yourself overcome the brainwashing. Read my post on "Stockholm Syndrome and You". Here is a tiny url you can copy and paste:

Your mother is a cruel and evil bitch. I despise her for making you fear going to sleep every night as a child. Your terror was not irrational. You sensed what she was capable of and rightfully feared it. I hope you will grab all the freedom that is yours by God-given right and enjoy the rest of your life without the tyranny of such an evil person as your mother continuing in your life.

Anna Valerious said...

anonymous @ 11:20 pm,

It isn't too late to back out. Do you really need more proof at this point? If so, I can understand that. Sometimes people need extra confirmation before making a big decision that will change how they live their lives. I don't begrudge you that.

The fact that you have an option to get away from your mother's house if things to go to shit is prudent planning. I also commend you for not forcing your husband and kids to go and suffer with you. That is a sign that you have a healthy family: your husband and kids refuse to sign up for abuse and you respect that. Now, if we can get you over the hump so you'll not sign yourself up for abuse! The fact that you have had a couple nights now of feeling sick to your stomach about the upcoming visit means that your gut is pretty sure of what you'll be dealing with. I went through that feeling too on the last holiday visit with my own mother on Thanksgiving of 2002. I tell the story here:

I'm glad you're going alone to visit your mother. At least your children and husband won't have to suffer a ruined holiday with the narcissist. I hope that your siblings are good people and that at least you can enjoy seeing them again. Please keep us updated on what goes down if you do follow through on the visit. I'm sure you'll have interesting things to tell us. If you decide not to go we wanna hear about that too! Whatever you decide to do we're pullin' for ya.

Anonymous said...

I have to get something off my chest and I'm sure many here feel the same way. Guilt is a weapon in the hands of an N and just like a knife -also dangerous in the hands of someone too immature to handle it. Speaking of the Ns minions and some "wellmeaning" but spirtitally childish people. Too many times have I sat in church or in the company of "good christians" only for them to emotionally throw me under the N bus. When you study the bible it is clear about forgiveness. Forgive people who repent. Repent = truly sorry = real change. God himself does not forgive those who are not repentant - are we better than he is?? I think not! The bible says to rebuke your brother and if repents forgive him. IF he repents. Real repenting WILL bear proof.

Christians are to serve God not contriving, evil so called families. You can only have one master. Be graceious, be wise, be Christ-like. We are not to be doormats. We are children of God!

Please do not let guilt be used as a weapon on you! The holidays are no different! (I have to remind myself of this constantly too - we've been conditioned to repsond to guilt)

Sorry all - had to get that out!

Anonymous said...

First NC Thanksgiving & Christmas. Wow. My MIL stopped talking to us last April when I finally called an attorney to find out how really screwed my husband and I were by her and her husband over the "family business." By the time she tried to make contact again, we felt like we were abused kids let out of a basement for the first time and realized we never wanted to go back. It is so hard. It is so hard because we have no friends, family, church, etc. they were our lives. We see people who tell us that my in-laws are heartbroken over losing our daugther, etc. and we feel guilty. But, I know that they would eat my daugther for a dollar. They stole everything from us, everything. They are multimillionaires and tricked us out of everything and everyone, and so much time. I am just hoping that with time, we will stop feeling the disappointment and hurt. I have learned that we can live with nothing material, and that we are stronger without them. But we feel an overwhelming sadness. I just wish I knew why and if it would ever lift. I know that we did everything we could to please them, to our own detriment, and that we had to break free to save our daugther, but I am still disappionted and hurt. I know they will call again, and it just reopens the wounds.

Anonymous said...

"She's been awfully nice to me lately--scares me to death! "

Mine too. It is scary indeed, isn't it? She's maneuvering and manipulating to cut me out of the Thanksgiving gathering this year. I never intended to be there, but it's amusing to observe her methods. I'll come off as the difficult one with an "attitude," but at least I won't endure the gathering itself.

I have given up on any hope of my two older daughters seeing what is really going on. The oldest is her grandmother's creature. My middle child is merely impatient and dismissive when I try to explain how I experience their grandmother.

It's hard to blame my daughters. I am the one who placed my N-mom on the pedestal for years and years. She and their father, my ex-husband, were best buddies. Now I understand that both were actively undermining my mothering and my personhood.

For years, my ex was invited to - and attended!! - every holiday get-together with MY family of origin. A firm policy of dealing with the needs of his children as obstructively and parsimoniously as possible -and yet there he sat at every family party. After many years, I finally decided I didn't have to suffer his presence on such occassions. Said it was me or him. Surprisingly, he was no longer invited -- BUT --- everyone knew it was because I was being petty and vindictive.

You can't win with N's. :)


So, what IS in a heart? said...

Anon--9:49:00 AM

Yes, it'll pass. That sadness is coming from the loss of a dream, and the realization that they didn't love or respect you. They simply used you and would continue to do it as long as they were able. As for "heartbroken", yea right. That's only because it makes them look like the victims and that they no longer have YOU to use.

Like I said, it'll pass when you realize just how great life is without people like your in-laws in your life.

Anonymous said...

Awwww, once again the holidays are here. Every year I dreaded the holidays. What to get my Nfather, OMG, my stomach would be in knots! One year I actually got him something he liked and I remember that year like I had finally won the golden prize. But then, how do I live up to that the next year?! My Nfather's family would all get together and exchange gifts at his mothers house, but he wanted me and my husband (who happens to be an N too) and my kids come to his house so we could exchange our gifts amoung us only. So not only did I set aside time to be with the whole family, but then again another day to be with my Nfather and Nstep-mother. Just even thinking about it right now, makes my stomach tighten.
Each year my Nfather would get my Nhusband some electric gear. Something for the garage, that was expensive. He would get my girls something decent usually and I got a t-shirt. Sometimes it literally was a t-shirt, but I also I'm using that as an example as to the difference in our gifts.
Usually for my Nfather's gift, I had to get my Nstep-mother to get the catalogs he orders his work working equipment from and have him circle the stuff he wanted, (that I could afford) although, that was hard in itself, b\c I father has plenty of money and if he could afford it, he had it. My Nfather likes to BBQ, so one year I was trying to be creative and bought him some BBQ gloves. He threw them back at me and told me I might as well just take those back cuz he wasn't going to use them.
When I was going to call my Dad it would take me days to do it. I never knew what version I was going to get of him. The nice version or the a__hole version.
I'm went NC last year after I left my Nhusband and 10 years of marriage and my Nfather called my Nhusband to see how he was and didn't even try to call me. I finally had had ENOUGH. Last year was hard, b\c it was the first year I left my husband, went NC with my father and had no money b\c the Nhusband wasn't paying child support. My divorce is still not final, so I'm still not getting child support, but other than that I will be having a wonderful Christmas. I will go where I want visit. I will not go where I do not want to visit. I don't feel anymore guilt about it. I'm 46 and I'm fianlly realizing I can choose who I let in my life. The N's are toxic people and I owe nothing to them. Guess I won't be getting any t-shirts this year. HA! Oh, I forgot, I don't have to hear the story of the wonderful bikes and things they got for the needy children at the church they rarely attend. GAG!!!!! Darn, I also missed out on the $25 gift certificate they would have given to me for my bday back on August. Boo Hoo, poor me. GAG again.
Ahhhhhh, is all I can say. Plop plop, fizz, fizz oh what a relief it is! Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Anonymous said...

Krl, your grip on reality of life with Narcs rocks!!! Whenever you post, I'm just thinking, "Yea - what she said!" And of course, Anna, but that goes without saying.

"Home is where they love you" - I've felt, and have been, an orphan much of my life. Would be a blessing to come home some day. That's would be the greatest gift of all - "Home"...where they love me.

Anna's blog is the next best thing and sure feels safe and secure and loving like what a home should be.

Thanks Anna and all the readers, for letting me park myself in Narcs Suck! and giving me the resources to get strong so that I can go out snd kick some ass in the world... Of course, I mean kicking ass in the best way possible -living narc free and destroying them when the need arises!

Anonymous said...

Oh Anna, thank you so much for your kind words. I just read the Stockholm Syndrome and that is me! Yes, I do remember times with my mother where we had a nice time and we actually did things I enjoyed. Which is why I had a hard time admitting to her evil ways. But, I never remember my mother hugging and kissing me as a child or saying something like, "Honey, I love you so much". Like I do my children because I really do love them and want the best for them and I want them to be happy. The older I got I remember it seemed to me that my mother wasn't happy for me if I went somewhere and had a good time. I remember her saying things like, "Well, it must be nice" or something like that. I found myself downplaying having a good time anywhere I went. I'd just say, "It was okay". When I got older she seemed almost as if she were jealous of my friends. She didn't like them and when I spent time with them it was as if it annoyed her. A lot of times she would say hateful cutting remarks to them and embarrass me. In my 40's my best friend lived next door to me and we would visit each other and when my mother would call and I would be next door or my friend would be at my house my mother would say something like, "Yall ought to just move in together", or "Don't you get tired of being around her?" That may sound trivial now but believe me it wasn't then and I can't describe her tone of voice, so sarcastic. Like she didn't want me to have friends. And then sometimes she would want to go out with my friend and me and would act nice and be fun and laugh. I didn't know whether I was coming or going. She also tried to break up my marriage and told terrible lies to try to accomplish this. I will tell about that next time.

This is helping me so much just to tell this to understanding people. It has always been like it was impossible to describe my mother to anyone because like you said, they hide their true self and do it so convincingly it is scary. Good night to all and Happy Thanksgiving next week. Yes, Mother will be here. My son and his wife will be here and they will pick up "Mamaw" from the nursing home and bring her out here as usual. I have discussed this site with him and he has read it and agrees with me about her. It will be interesting to observe her now after what I have learned from you all. Thank you again.

Anna Valerious said...


Your description of how your mother has treated your friends could have been written about my own mother. Every word of it.

The older I got I remember it seemed to me that my mother wasn't happy for me if I went somewhere and had a good time.

Again, you describe my own mother. This was true all the way up to when I cut her out of my life. I also had learned to minimize my expressions when asked about an outing or event so I didn't hand her the power to steal away my happiness. My mother was jealous of all my friendships also until I cut her off. She could vacillate between being nice to my best girlfriend and being a complete monster bitch. Your mother sounds like mine. My mother is the inspiration for this blog. So, in case you wobble on your assessment of your mother's narcissism keep in mind that you grew up with my mother! My own mother is the living embodiment of malignant narcissism. So is yours.

I'm happy for you that your son sees the truth of your mother. Best of luck over the Thanksgiving holiday. Tell us how it went!

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise P

I just wanted to let you know that I experienced the same thing with friends. My mother didn't like for me to have any. It was things like she'd get pretty impatient when she had to wait to drop me off at a friend's birthday party or not wanting to buy a nice (didn't have to be expensive) gift when I went out. She'd scream at my brother when he'd come back from being with friends. So much so that he just stopped going out altogether which then prompted questions about why neither of us had friends. You cannot win with N's, they will find something to criticize. Ditto for any hobbies that involved other people. Why aren't you working on it consistently? You shouldn't spend so much time on it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Anna and Anonymous for sharing with me. As I am still so new to this and am still reeling with so many thoughts, memories and feelings I find I need to get on here and say more. There is so much I am realizing about myself and the way I am that I never understood before. It boggles my mind. One question is this: What now? Did yall tell your mothers that you now knew they were malignant narcissists? I can't even conceive of the fallout from that. Do I wait until she does something ugly again and then call her on it? Also, have you never, ever heard of one of these people ever admitting what they are and wanting deliverance from their evilness? She is 85 and has always been so scared to die. I never quite understood it until I read on here that they know they have done wrong and are afraid to face the judgment. I don't want her to go to hell for eternity. My mother goes to church with us, she says she loves Jesus, she dedicated her life to Christ and got baptized at least twice in her life, the last time about 2 years ago. But she can still do these narcissistic things. Not quite as viciously as when she was younger because her mind is going, but she can still hurt feelings and such. And I myself have caught her in lies lately. I think I am still a bit confused and trying to assimilate a lot of new information about her and me too. Thank you all. P.S. I still have more of my life to tell sometime. It seems to be cathartic for me and I hope I am not using up too much space here. I don't really understand much about computers and how they work.

Anonymous said...

I just had an "aha" moment. My Nnom has isolated me from her family, they live out of state and I'm an only child. My dad died when I was 20. I can remember as a child, I was asking him about his family, never had any contact with them. My Nmom said "it's not nice to ask such personal questions." End of story. Never knew anything about my dad's family, Nmom isolated him from his family too. Wow. I too am coming to terms with how she operates. She is in a nursing home making herself just mildly sick so she can feed off the nurses. She pushed me to the brink of exhaustion and I could give no more. I now see her for what she is. Now, how to go NC? I stay away as much as I can. Coming to terms with that too. Thanks you Anna for this blog and everyone who writes, I am no longer alone.

Anonymous said...

I felt guilty for years. When I started to be enlightened about the truth, I didn`t feel guilty anymore.In a heated argument with my nm, I told her that I didn`t feel guilty anymore.Being a Christian, it just added more into the "guilt trap."

Anonymous said...

I posted the other day to the funerals subject. I dread the holidays. They are never happy. I remember once going all over the place trying to find gifts for Mother from my brother and me. That Christmas afternoon when I was dozing in a chair she said to my brother, "Next year you buy the presents." Apparently what I had bought had not pleased her. Another time I bought her a purple scarf. She loves purple. In front of her friends she rejected it. All our lives we have been told to accept gifts graciously -- and we do. She does not adhere to her own admonition.

She has been banging away in the living room tonight. She spent the whole day cooking, wearing herself out. This is her major form of martyrdom.

I know she does a lot for me. My particular sickeness is that I let her. I pay for it in other ways. I am not looking forward to the holidays and beleive me, when she is gone I doubt that I will "celebrate" them at all.

I find that I don't do perfecly normal, social, "kind" things just because my mother has does them and I am so aware of the underlying motives -- another reason why I am not assertive.

Everyone I meet tells me how sweet my mother is. If they only knew.

She's banging around again now. She will accept my goodnight kiss tonight but will not return it. I have displeased her of late.

I fear being a narcissist myself.

Anonymous said...

I just got back on here and I need to go to bed but I have to comment on anonymous. Talk about dejavu (that doesn't look right but you know). First, the martyrdom, - I always hated for my mother to do anything for me because of the martyr act and the bowing and scraping I was expected to do for every little thing. She would even volunteer to do stuff for me and act like she wanted to and then act like it about killed her to do it and she was so put out! To make me feel guilty because she did something. I too have the sickness to let her do stuff. It has always been so hard not to for some reason I can't put my finger on. When she used to keep my kids for me when I went out of town she would tell me how much time she spent on them and how I needed to appreciate her being so good to them, yada yada yada. Same with my dog and I always hated calling her when I was gone and had a perpetual knot in my stomach and I always dreaded seeing her when I got home.

My nmom kisses the nurses and aides butts at the nursing home so much it makes me sick. She tells them all how pretty they are and how they are her favorite and all this gaggy stuff. Do they believe her? Who knows? Everybody and I mean everybody at the nursing home and at church tells me how lucky I am to have such a sweet and kind mother. I know you guys must know how that makes you feel when they have no idea of the truth about her. What can you say back? You can't say no she is not sweet, she's a fake. There are some ladies at church that she says , "Come here and give me a hug, I just love you so much" (never to me though) She even tells the pastor she wishes his sermons were longer because she enjoys them so much. Then she does this crying thing with real tears like she is so overcome with love for them she can't hold back her emotions. Most times I have to look or walk away because it makes me nauseous. If I told them this they would not believe me because she is so darn convincing. A really great actress. Sometimes just to get relief with humor, I say to myself, "Mother, you should be on the stage - there's one leaving in 30 minutes". But, for all that my mother has no real friends. No one she can bare her soul to or tell her deepest feelings. I often wondered about that. To my knowledge she never had friends she called and talked to on the phone like I talk to mine. Acquaintances, but not friends of the heart as they say. Nothing deep and personal. Maybe that is why she was jealous of mine and threw off on them and made fun of me.

I am beginning to feel such a sense of belonging with you all, to know that you know. It is indescribable to me. Others have tried to understand and a few do to an extent but not like you all who have lived on a daily basis with it and know the agony of having a narcissistic mother. I, too, want to thank Anna again and all of you who tell of the deep hurts you have suffered. You know, my father had a nervous breakdown, I had one and my brother had two. My mother was ashamed of us for having them and didn't want people to know. Both my brother and I had shock treatments and I don't know if my Dad did or not. But he was very nervous. I was told he had clinical depression and my brother and I inherited it from him, now I wonder if living with nmom caused all of us to go haywire. I thought I was only going to say a couple of things and I couldn't stop and am having to make myself stop now. Tell me, is it good for me to type all these memories out like this or should I just try to forget it and get on with my life? To me it feels good to tell it and be validated. Let me know.

Good night all and thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Anonymous said...

Hello Louise P,

I personally believe that it's good to get it out and tell someone. We've spent long enough not being able to tell others what happened because no one would believe us (I lost a few 'good' friends over that who thought she was "nice"). It's validating to hear what everyone else has to say on the matter, from those who have actually been there. You start to see how they are all alike... not the "special" and "unique" people they think they are. They're all the same predator adapted to their local landscape. It doesn't matter if they are siblings, significant others, friends and coworkers, or parents. All that changes is the methods they have on hand to attack.

I know I wouldn't have started getting over it all if I hadn't begun by writing out angry letters venting what happened starting when I was about 10. I never showed those to anyone, and tucked them away to never be seen again. Being the pack rat I was, they were undisturbed under my bed with hundreds of returned homework assignments.

Then when I was about 16 or so I found a boat load of them while cleaning. Each one describing a different incident, each one filled with the same pain, and all consistently spread over the several years before. Many were about three to five pages (front and back) long. I knew I couldn't talk about what was happening to anyone else in my family (parents would always defend N sister, brothers didn't want to be in the line of fire - agreeing with the scape goat wouldn't do them any favors).

That was when I was first forced to face the fact that she had *always* been that way. I have no happy memories of my sister, I was her target from day one. There are not even happy memories from when we both were 3-5 years old (just before kindergarten). Shouldn't we have been happily playing dress up or showing each other the pretty pictures we drew? Shouldn't we have enjoyed picking dandelion bouquets together or something?

There is something wrong when a sibling your parents profess "loves you very much" hasn't said a kind word or done a kind deed toward you your entire life. I would remember if she did -- because I clung tightly to that ONE incident where she wasn't outright MEAN to me. How sad is that? I have one "not bad" memory of her, and it was all because she needed my expertise for about five minutes. Then I was tossed back onto the garbage heap. Of course, you bet she probably took credit for the assistance I gave her.

Given enough time to analyze what was really going down (especially after reading some excellent posts by Anna) helps. I can leave the particular incidents behind, and have actually forgotten a lot of them. The pain and anger is still there, but fading. I don't think I would have worked through any of it if I hadn't let it out somewhere.

In regards to the depression, I think that's a universal side effect of living with a N. People are just not built to sustain daily damage from those who they should least expect it from. N's rip your self esteem, respect, and confidence away from you. People don't need to be pre-disposed to depression to be knocked deep into that hole by a N. It's not a defect in you or your family that you became depressed; it's a virtual certainty of living with a person bent on your destruction.

And don't feel bad about long comment posts, I do them too :) I'm glad Anna puts up with wordy people like us! Just remember that someone else will probably recognize their N in your story and everyone may learn something valuable from it. At the very least, we'll all feel a little less alone in the process :)

Ok, I better stop typing ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Louise P. I had posted last night after a couple of glasses of whine [sic] so I signed on this morning to see how bad it was. Your posting made me feel understood.

As to my comment about possibly being a narcissist -- I find I have to use many of the same ruses my mother does in order to deal with her. Saying things with metamessages yet vague enough to allow plausable deniability when the blame gets passed around. Sometimes that flows over into my relating with others.

The victimhood thing has followed me into the business world to such an extent that the thought of once again entering an office to play the roles required sends me into PTSD.

Mother will not give me her ultimate ultimatum (she says my upsets are not good for her health) until after the Holidays. She needs me at least until after her operation in January. In the meantime, I will try to abide by the advice of a friend and show no reaction to her instigations (boy, is that hard!) and leave the room or the house if it gets too bad.

Thank you all for being there. Having been raised Christian (though does that really matter? - any religion would do) the guilt of being an ungrateful, willfull, selfish person all your life can really wear you down.

Anonymous said...

Louise, Yes, it is very good to express and KNOW that you and your feelings are validated!! THAT'S A HUGE PART OF HEALING!! Welcome aboard to the road of recovery and wholeness!! luv, jackie

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, Sibling Survivor and of course, Anna. I just got on here and want to thank you for responding to me again. It is fantastic to be included with you wonderful people. I am going to tell more of my memories in a day or so. Good night and God Bless all of you.pyrest

Anonymous said...

I love hearing how many invitations the N has received for other functions for Thanksgiving. Isn't it great to listen to these folks talk up strangers/acquaintances and then say how wonderful neighbors are. Then they leave you to draw conclusions about how "awful" you must be (to them) because you aren't bending over to kiss their butt or anticipate their every need. My N enjoys playing these types of games and more. She is one of the most ungrateful, forboding, and evil people on the face of this earth. For years, as a minor child, I had to hear evil stories about her 2 daughters (one of which is my Mom). Imagine telling a grandchild awful things about a parent. I swallowed a lot of that, because I didn't know anything different. I am sorry to say that she has ruined many lives and probably won't stop until her last breath on this Earth. Sad!
And unfortunately, this time of the year only makes me feel angry and empty - but I am working on healing. It is not an easy process.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about "envy" and "covetousness" and found an article where another word was also used -- they BEGRUDGE what you have. That's such an apropos word. They BEGRUDGE. They also compete in their envy - even if it's negative.

I was 47 when my DH was diagnosed with 6 - 8 months to live (he lived for 15 months and we lived it up). But halfway thru his illness his NFather called and said, in a voice like an excited child "Hey!! Guess what! I have cancer too!"
I then received emails of pictures of his NOSE where he had a small melanoma removed. I was supposed to care for my husband AND show proper dismay at my NFIL's condition also. Like I had the energy for THAT??

Then, after my ILs arrived home (hundreds of miles away) after my DH's funeral, FIL called to say:
"Hey! Guess what!! When we got home a neighbor sent over a meal because we had traveled so far"
ME: That was nice of them.
FIL: Yeah. Donald said YOU got meals when he was sick and now WE GOT ONE TOO!

I am so grateful that I have the capacity to NOT begrudge another's blessings NOR their misfortunes.

They are to be pitied -- and avoided.


- Kathleen

Unknown said...

Hi All,
If it were not for your blog, and all of the people who have become part of this community, I think that I would be making a big mistake tomorrow. Through therapy I have come to realize the narcissistic nature of my father, mother and one older brother. I have managed to keep my toxic father and his side of the family out of my life since the age of 16 when my parents split(I am 36 now). I held on soooo long to my mom and brother, realizing that they're really the only family I have. But I'm getting close to letting go of them too. I just can't fully do it. I reluctantly accepted a Thanksgiving invitation from my sister-in-law (the latest victim/wife of my brother), mostly for my mom's sake and for her three innocent kids who I do genuinely love. I began googling 'holiday coping with narcissistic families' early this morning though, and found your blog. You're giving me strength. I called hubbie at work asking what he thought about not going, (making the 6-7 hour car drive down to southern California), and he fully supports me, either way in fact. Mom called just a bit ago, and I'm a little dissapointed to say that I didn't have the strength to tell her outright thoug...rather I feigned that my headache and upset stomach I've been feeling the last few days is MUCH worse than it really is.... and that maybe I'm coming down with the flu. DO you want to know the first thing out of her mouth? Not... "honey, I'm sorry you're not feeling well...."; or "darling, take a hot bath and snuggle up..."! But, "Well, I don't want you to make me sick!" Man.... part of me was horrified, but honestly, the other part of me was relieved. Relieved to get another bit of evidence of how un-mommy-like and narcissistic she really is. I don't thinnk she really is an evil person. I do, however, think she's extremely depressed, anxious, dealing with several chronic health conditions (some diagnosed, some theorized, including diabetes, lifetime obesity, lupus, nervous system issues, musculo-skeletel pains, neuroopathy, chronic insomnia.... etc...) as well as some heavy-duty medications (including ongoing use of opiates, sleep medications, etc.)
My brother is also significantly obese, and so was I until gastric bypass surgery almost 2 years ago. After inviting my then fiance to get married on the Hawaiian Isle wher his family was then living, he verbally abused me, raged on me, brought to my attention the selfish bitch I've been all of my life..... and made me a wreck the eve and day of our wedding. I had major diahreah (sp?) and vommitting throughout, and now look back on that day with sadness, not happiness. After other holidays, back at home, I've found myself literally on the floor, crying my eyes out and in such emotional pain, asking myself over and over - do normal people act this way? Am I being the bitch he says, just by asking that I be treated with some kindness/respect/dignity? People in my away-from-my-family-of-origin life don't belittle me like this. They don't ignore what I say, or sigh when I talk. They don't huff and puff when I make a slight disagreement. And they don't make demands on me without asking, at least politely. I think that has been one of the most damaging aspects of being raised in a narcissistic family. I wonder who's the crazy one... and "me" is always on the list. I question myself, my decisions, my very being. I feel so de-valued after spending time with them. I feel again like a lost, unsure and conflicted little girl who doesn't know who she is, what she thinks and who feels guilty for having a little voice inside that conflicts with the dominant family culture. In my adult life, I'm a professional working in the mental-health field with children, love my life's calling, and love my husband. We're trying for our first child, and in the meantime love our brood of pets. I have learned unconditional love from them, even in the face of my mother's disapproval. (Isn't that wierd? Who disapproves of pet love??)
Well, I'm now in the spot of trying to figure out what we'll do tomorrow. I'm not feeling the soup-kitchen idea. Not sure why, but I'm not. Any last-minute suggestions are surely welcome. And I send love and gratitude to those of you reading/replying. In our way, we are mothering each other in the most pure sense of the word... with true care, wanting what's truly best for each other, lack of conditions, and no underlying or ulterier motives. For you, and so many other blessings, I am grateful.

Dee said...

Congratulations on getting out of spending another holiday with a bunch of N's, and I hope it is the first of many happier holidays. Spend them with those you love and who love you back. As for tomorrow, if you haven't planned a meal for you and your hubby, why not find a place to eat out? There are some places that must be open, even if you have to go early in the day. It might seem strange at first, eating out on a holiday, but while dining, keep your focus on positive things only, not your ungrateful family. Anna is completely right about Thanksgiving being lost on narcissists. Your not like that so give thanks for that, as well as anything else in your life that is a blessing to you. Then go home and give your pets a big hug for loving you unconditionally, something your family won't do. Don't give ingrates a single moment of your thoughts on the one day of the year that they definitely don't deserve. Good luck!

Unknown said...

From a deep place in my heart, thank you for your thoughtful words. I think that I am going to follow your advice - in fact, I've already started hugging and even kissing my pets! After I decided to not visit "home" for Thanksgiving, I've gradually been filling up with absolute JOY!!! A very good friend called this afternoon. I allowed myself to be vulnerable with her, and tell her of my torture... indecision about going, not going, going, not going.... She listened, I cried, and told me she wouldn't accept a not to her invitation to come to her Thanksgiving party. We already accepted an invite to her family's place for Christmas, so I felt a bit odd, really hoping not to impose. Is that another thing children of narcissisits suffer from? Difficulty accepting kindness/generosity from others? Any guidance there? Anyhoo, ever since then, I've been absolutely blissful - whistling, skipping, singing along with radio station Christmas songs.... feeling the real spirit of the season I'd say. Behaving myself into feeling better! I AM SOOOOOOOOOOO GLAD I LISTENED TO YOUR ADVICE. Thank you for sharing your experiences adn your wisdom.
Much love and appreciation, Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, I could have written at least half of your comments. If I get sick my mother is always afraid she will get it and then I don't believe I have ever mentioned an ailment I had that she didn't either have it also or something worse at the same time. I never could get sick by myself. I know exactly how you feel about the other things too and you are not selfish, etc. They are. After finding this blog last week I am seeing my mother in a whole different light. Things I used to think were normal that she says now really stand out to me.

I am curious, does anyone on here smoke? I do, nmom doesn't. Yes, I know I shouldn't. I was just wondering if I am the only one.

Well, I pray we all make it through tomorrow and God Bless you all.

Anonymous said...

It's 1 a.m. Thanksgiving morning and I am sooo sick to my stomache about the thought of going over to my NDad's and mom's house for Thanksgiving. I just know what will transpire. I can't sleep, I found this blog and it has really, really helped. My father is the most evil N ever (i know most of us feel that way). I will try to look at my Dad from a different perspective when I am around him today though. I will silently be psycho-analyzing everything he says and try to understand "why", maybe that will make things bearable for me, I will most likely be looking at him with pity for the first time and try not to be angry. They (N's) really can't help how they are...can they? Anyway, I hope everyone makes the best of this holiday!

Unknown said...

Louise P.
I do wish you well on this Thanksgiving day, and invite you to reach back to the support and SANITY of this community, right in the very moment(s) you're needing us today (tomorrow....?). How about that, rather than the usual? I'm not sure about you, but the "usual" for me would be biting my tongue, questioning my values (i.e. my family always wants to get into political "right" fights - we're on total opposite ends), wondering who the hell I am, and after all that, spending the next few days picking myself up off the floor emotionally... and probably getting sick, for real!
Hey, that sickness thing. You're experience is exactly like mine! I always find myself in competition with my mom when I report any symptoms. She can't even listen... instead she has to tell me for the damn millionth time about her list, and severity of each item on the list. Then, after some time, I think she somehow reminds herself to make the mommy obligatory statement (with minimal emotion, particularly when compared to the emotion dripping off her victim diatribe.) Another thing, rather than marking her life's timeline in years, decades, births of family members, or the like, she refers to the past in terms of illnesses she endured. "If you'll remember back to 1983...." pause from my end, because I don't! Damn, I was 9-years old! Annoyed, she'll continue "yes, back when I was admitted to fancy-dancy medical unit under the care of hot-shit-dr. whose-he-dose...." And another thing, her "illnesses" are her excuse for EVERYTHING! For allowing her house to become a trash bin, for not being able to keep a job, for not this.... for that.... I feel sad about the life she's chosen. I know she became narcissitic for coping reasons I'll likely never know (as when you ask her, she recalls VERY little from her childhood, and what she does was all hunky-dory.... NOT likely in my opinion from my first-hand experiences with her parents during my childhood).
You asked about smoking. I don't personally, but I do have my left-over habits.... mine is eating. SOmething I'd like to share with you. As a human being in your position, you HAD to develop coping strategies. You HAD to. You could have picked from a long list: smoking, eating, drugging, sex, shopping, etc., etc.... That coping strategy served you, and in many ways, probably saved you. It had value. But now that you're healing, it might be time to re-evaluate its value, and its place in your life. Go at your speed with this. As you get stronger and start to develop more now-appropriate coping strategies, maybe the smoking will flake off. Just maybe girl! Try that on for size, and let me know. I'm working on the same thing with my eating.
Much love to you, and I'll be looking for your posts!

Dee said...

"Is that another thing children of narcissisits suffer from? Difficulty accepting kindness/generosity from others? Any guidance there?"
I absolutely believe that this is so due to the fact we were brainwashed from such an early age that we don't deserve anything good to come our way. It's along the same lines with accepting compliments, something I find difficult. Even though when I achieve something I feel proud of myself inside, I just can't let it show on the outside. I use to try so hard in school to get good grades because my NDad preached how important a good education was, but when I made honor roll over and over he would look at me with total disgust. It was so hurtful. I'm so over that now, though, and everything else he dished out because I feel nothing but complete indifference for him. It's my first holiday season without him in the picture since I went no contact in the beginning of October and I, too, feel nothing but joy. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Anna Valerious said...


Here's hoping you can can hang onto your equanimity during the holiday with your Ndad.

You asked:

They (N's) really can't help how they are...can they?

It is my position on this blog that YES they can help how they are. What they are is the end result of a life time of choices. Free will choices. I also use as evidence against them the fact that their use of deception is proof of their knowledge of a law outside themselves that would hold them to account if they could be nailed down. You can only intentionally deceive if you know the truth you're trying to avoid. Also, the fact that they are careful to only show their evil when it is safe for them to do so shows how they are aware of their crimes.

Narcissists are not insane by any definition. They are not even technically mentally ill. They are perverted and evil and they are their own creation.

No pass for narcissists on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your helpful comments. The nmom sickness thing can almost be hilarious sometimes. My mother passed some kidney stones some years ago. Would you believe she saved them stuck between some scotch tape in her billfold? She thought she had to show them to every new doctor she went to. In fact, she would show anyone who cared to look at them. I don't know if she still has them. I don't want to know and I sure don't want them when she passes on.

Thanks also for the smoking thoughts. It does go deep And talk about a guilt trip on that! Guilt, guilt, guilt - my middle name. Since nmom doesn't smoke she sometimes rags on me about it, then next time she will say it doesn't bother her and my kids tell me she tells them how my smoking makes her sick. I eat, too, so I am really messed up. Eat, smoke, eat, smoke. I admit it to you all. Those are my habits. I have tried to quit several times, but then when I get that horrible nervous feeling I frantically go searching for a cigarette and it calms me down. I have prayed to God and then when I don't quit I feel worse. I am a Christian and I do believe that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". I am so weak and I am hooked on nicotine, really hooked. I want to quit and I don't want to quit, if that makes any kind of sense. Like I said, it is deep.

I got through today. Nmom didn't show out as bad as usual. She did say a few sarcastic things. Not as much as usual though, so I am thankful. But, guess what? I was still nervous all day. I guess in anticipation of what might happen. We did something we don't normally do. We ate out and it was great not having to cook and deal with that. No mess in the kitchen and no cleaning up afterward. The older I get the more I like not having to clean up a mess in the kitchen. It was my son's idea and I bless him for it. That was the most relaxing time of the day. My son is a gem and I am so blessed to have him. He is so caring and is one of the good guys.

I hope and pray that all of you had a good day and everything went well for you. God Bless each and every one of you. Thanks again, Jennifer.

Unknown said...

This topic is so big and so exhausting for me. This is the first real year of NC with my N Dad and Borderline Mom (divorced). its so much easier. I made a huge dinner for just the 4 of us (me, husband and my 2 young children). and you know what, I didn't have those tight muscles in my back all day, I didn't feel like my shoulder muscles were boulders ready to crack. It was just not as stressful. I was really shocked. It is my first NC holiday.

I did wake up last nite angry at my family, that is truth. I have a feeling I will continue to struggle with that for some time. At nite, in the middle of the nite I find myself raging awake silently at their treatment. I calm myself and go back to bed. It sucks.

Christmas- really not going to miss my father, I do miss the idea of my children have a grandparent, but then I remember its all false, he sucks in their supply (and trust me its HUGE, GRANDPA! GRANDPA! WE LOVE YOU! big hugs, running leaping into arms hallmark movie stuff, loads of ripe supply for him....)

do you know what *I* got for Christmas last year? which mind you there were a room full of my husbands family (prety normal and fabulous)

I opened up a.....

8 x10 FRAMED picture of......


in an obvious internet/dating type picture recently taken as at the time he was looking for a partner pretty seriously.


I thought I would seriously die of embarassment my MIL (who does a real good job of making everyone look and feel great all the time, this was a big lesson to me because it clashed to my background...._)

even couldn't hide the horror/amazement/tacky shock of it

I just shoved it under other stuff. I wanted to curl up and die.

The year before:

A 3 foot tall Amstel Light real bar sign. He completely forgot that he told me he got 3 of these signs from someone who was closing a bar.

For Free.

Should I also mention that I was 3 days from delivering my 2nd son, heavily pregnant, and already have another young son and have absolutely no use nor desire to put a 3 foot tall BAR SIGN up in my HOME?

Again que In laws in horror. With my MIL offering once she caught her breath as quickly as she could.... a "oh that was a funny gag joke isn't it, now lets see what else we have under this tree..."

to help me cover for being so embarassed.

a 3 foot tall beer bar sign, giving birth in 3 days to my 2nd son and heavily pregnant.

Sorry this is a ramble guys. This year we are going on a mini vacation (today) and one again after Christmas, if you can do it, even its just a 4 hour drive to another town and a hotel for the weekend. DO IT, it takes your mind off family drama and the lie of "what can be" but never can be and keep your spirits up over the holiday in question.

Take Care

ps- obviously I have a blog, I recall when I started it and sent it out to everyone, what was my N' Father's response, "oh I am not into blogs"

of course you aren't, its not about you


Anonymous said...

My father passed away last April and this is the first holiday with NM in all her glory... I have learned the ropes on how to emotionally disengage but it is costing me too much. I am her only child and she has lost her Nsupply ( my dad) so here she comes again- back at it and I know that it is up to me to protect myself and do what I need to keep away from her. It's a dilemma because the expectation is that I be the doting daughter... but I can't be that and breathe at the same time

Unknown said...

Louise P.,
I laughed out loud with your mom's kidney stones! My grandmother did the same damn thing... all of us grandkids got to oooh and aaaahhh over them, and compare them to our morning grape-nuts. Isn't it funny? And the fact that your mom carries them around with her... that cracks me up. My mom doesn't have those gems, (unfortunately for her, I'm sure!), but she does carry around all of her prescriptions, and lays them out wherever she goes, less we forget how important her illnesses are. Something I just remembered. On my wedding shower day, over 5 years ago now, that was held by some very sweet elderly ladies from my water-aerobics class, I remember being so embarassed about how she would grab any ear and go on and on about her illnesses.... the sickness-du-jour at the moment was her back/sciatica. She knew NONE of these ladies, but sure took little time stealing my limelight. I'm shaking my head right now, just remembering. Sad.... really sad.
Congrats to your son for his brilliant idea, and congrats to you for doing what made sense for you... no dishes!! ONe of these days the smoking will likely not make sense for you either. But I doubt you're as messed up as you say. ANd, what is "messed up" anyway? I'd say that you're reaching out to us is a good sign. And if it weren't smoking, what else would it have been? Honestly? How could that beautiful/innocent/vulnerable/precious little spirit of yours have survived the neglect and denial of itself that it had to endure? I really do believe that, because I know how true it was/is for me. When we're wounded, we have to develop scabs to cover that rawness. True, the scab isn't as beautiful as the skin would have been had we not been injured, but its better than the alternative of going around oozing and bloody and raw and hurting all the time. Right? (Hopefully, that isn't too icky of an analogy - but I love concreteness :)) Be kind to yourself. Know that you did/do what you had/have to. Your psyche is intelligent and it wants to preserve itself. You keep on working on your healing, and you might be surprised how smoking takes on less of a need. And hey, I hear a lot of good things about those nicotine blocking medications!
Much love, Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Now you have made me laugh out loud. You are so right, the stones do look like grape-nuts! That is hilarious. You know these n's in our lives are so pathetic it IS funny. Is it possible to get to the point where we all realize how pathetically funny some of the things are that our n's do? Kelli, your description of the big bar sign is a hoot and the glamour shot photo is so typical. I am thankful you have normal inlaws. My mother has embarrassed me for years and years as well as horrified me. Well, I, for one, am tired of it. I, and neither are any of you, responsible for what these nuts do.

Jennifer, thank you so much for making me feel better about everything. You are so kind. It is so good for me to get on here and be understood! My healing won't be all at once but just hearing from you and the rest is already helping me sooo much. Feeling my sense of humor click in is a good thing. Laughter is good medicine, the Bible says so. There are still some raw places but my confidence is slowly building up. And today I had fun. My son and his wife took me to another city about 90 miles away to go on a ghost tour that we have been wanting to do. We ate out at a fancy restaurant too. It is his birthday and we had a great time and nmom wasn't invited. She is not physically able to handle it anyway. She tried her dead level best to make us all feel guilty for not inviting her to go. We just said, "Sorry, there is no way you could make it". She huffed and puffed and pouted to no avail. We went and did not feel one bit of guilt. Truly, not one. If she had gone it would have been totally miserable. As it was we had a blast.

She will be here again tomorrow and we'll just have to see how it goes.

I wish I could convey the closeness I feel to you guys. Sharing something this monumental is utterly fantastic. God Bless Anna for this blog and for all of you who are willing to share your lives.

Anonymous said...

I had originally come here tonight to post a question -- but now I have no need. I've read all the comments that have been posted, and my questions have been answered.

I think everyone (well, maybe not Ns) have a difficult time accepting compliments, but some really struggle with it. Now I understand why my DH had such a hard time with it.

During his last year, my sisters would come (at different times), and bring a meal. They'd stop at the local grocery store first and just walk around and pick up things that MAYBE he could eat -- pudding, ice cream, ice pops, health food shakes, etc. My brothers came one night and sat up with my DH and played cards all night. My parents would come and stay with the kids and tell us to go away for the night. Things like that.

He would CRY! He would say "Why is your family so nice to me?" I always said "Hon, they were always nice to you." And he'd say "I know that, but your family is really doing A LOT now that I'm sick. I'm just Don. I'm nobody special."
That really made me sad because I know he really believed that. I thought he walked on water!

His family barely called him his last year. Their reasoning was "It's too hard on US."

I smoke, by the way. Don't know why, just know it stinks and it's expensive.

Thank you all for posting. Sometimes I think maybe I've got the In Laws all wrong, maybe they're just socially inept.


- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

Well, I got through the holiday really well! The advice from a poster- don't JADE (justify, argue, defend, or explain) worked wonders with my N sister!

When she began to try to pick a fight, I said nothing and let it roll off my back. When I was cooking dinner and she began to tell me that I should do it another way, I again said nothing and continued on my task. On Thanksgiving morning at 6:45 when I was about to get out of bed, I heard her in the kitchen hissing to my Dad that how dare I sleep so late and that SHE could cook the turkey, and who did I think I was. (For the record, my father says that she always says she can cook, however, he's never seen her actually do it!)

I got up, drank some coffee and ignored her. Then I began to prep some vegetables. She asked if she could help, with out looking at her, I said no. She started peeling potatoes anyway. Then she did what she usually does when her bullying tactics fail, she began to cry and accused me of trying to ruin her holiday. I again ignored her and had no expression on my face. She backed off after that and began to behave herself because all of her tried and true crazy making failed. She left early on Friday morning, and we had a fun and peaceful remainder of a weekend.

Anonymous said...

This year is our first christmas going no contact with my mother in law /father in law/ sister and brother in law. Below is the message we recieved recently-

As you know, we came down to see Kirsti, Steve, Maisie and Tali, round about my birthday. It was a nice surprise that Stuart and Emma came down to Wellington as well. Respecting your wishes we didn't make an unannounced visit although we would have liked to have seen you all. Christmas looms large and we would all like you to join us. We are having a family get together at Sway on the weekend after Christmas, 27-28 December and you would be most welcome. We can fix you up with a bed and travel cot. Are you up for this? Please give us a Yes or No soon, so that we can plan accordingly. We hope it is a Yes. I (Dad) have tried to phone you for a chat. Have you changed your mobile number? Love from Mum and Dad. xxxxxx

My husband put a short reply saying we would not be attending-
this is the second response-

Thanks for your prompt reply. We are disappointed that we will not meet up over Christmas. (The time of good will etc) Perhaps we could meet up some when later. Mum and I are hoping to come down to Wellington in January and it would be nice to meet up. Where and when can be your choice depending on your other commitments.
Love Mum and Dad

He has not replied to this one yet-(not sure what to put really) I can't believe mil put 'season of goodwill' in there, she's at her worst at christmas! Also brother in law phoned shortly after my husband wrote his email- he left a forlorn message asking if everything was okay- if there's anything we need- and that he would like to see us for christmas- ( him and mil are thick as theives)
any feedback welcome- what would you reply? would you bother? We dont want to see them but they are like a dog with a bone- My mil is desperate to avoid social embarrasment ( my own family dont bother me because there is no family around to be embarrased in front of)
any comments welcome!

Anonymous said...

Why do we let Ns ruin the holidays? Why are we so compelled this time of year - our goodwill logic doesn't apply to them. Holidays are for fellowship and celebration and they use it as a feeding frenzy. You wouldn't let rabid pit bulls in your house - never! But it's the holidays! Doesn't make sense does it?

Anonymous said...

no more darkness said...

[i]This year is our first christmas going no contact...[/i]

I recommend to keep it short and friendly, yet firm, and let them have the last word.

This makes you feel much better than you would if you have started a fight and it also won't spoil the memories of the nice things you did instead of visiting your npds.

As others have said: don't Justify Argue Defend or Explain. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post anonymous- good advice. I am feeling so rotten, since those emails there's been texts another email and a few phone messages. I am the scapegoat where my husbands family are concerned- mil is the family tyrant and rules them all- she's been bad mouthing me for nearly a decade- she has been feigning ill health recently, when in reality it's me that is totally run down! Do n's ever get their commupence? Im tired of feeling bad about myself- bad about not offering myself up for abuse- how twisted is that?!It's so hard to stay strong when the majority of people believe every twisted lie the n speaks. And so hard when the n is surrounded by devoted friends and family.yuk

Anonymous said...

no more darkness said @ Dec 6, 2008 3:42:00 AM

> Thanks for your post anonymous- good advice. <

Thanks. Going no contact is much easier said than done. Doing it the nice way is very, very hard, but if you succeed you have done something to be proud of. Sounds incredibly sappy but it is true.
I did it and it continually gives me warm feelings of unspoilable happiness.

> I am the scapegoat where my husbands family are concerned [...] Do n's ever get their commupence? <

As far as I know, they don't. One of my brothers, possibly N but definitively N-enabler, is Highpriest of the Church of my Saintly N-mom, who was straight out of the infamous text "Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers". A decade after her death he still punishes me for my transgressions: having gone my way and breaking contact for 4 years before her death. It was that or suicide, but that falls obviously upon deaf ears forever.

> Im tired of feeling bad about myself- bad about not offering myself up for abuse- how twisted is that?!

Offering myself for abuse in private, study and work relations and getting it is something I'm working on right now. Can't help you with that for now.


Anonymous said...

This part in particular stands out for me:

"Hosting holidays with narcissists is an invitation they find irresistible to shove your generosity, your thoughtfulness, and your hours of labor right up your ass. Don't be a sap. "

Not only will they do that for hosting, they will do it for any effort/generosity. I took vacation time & spent money for airfare/hotel/car/gift to attend my brother's (Golden Child) wedding. As scapegoat, I was seated at a table away from the rest of the family. Next to a guy who grilled me about my Nmom wanting to know when it's my turn. What idiot asks that of the grooms 40ish single sister? And the idiot wouldn't let it go after I replied "when I meet the right guy".

GC Bro & SIL later apologized for excluding me (I was asked at the last minute to hold SIL's flowers) when every other family member was included in some way (performing the ceremony/procession, etc). I was not included in any photos until after dinner.

I accepted and tried to smooth things over (ever the peackeeper/scapegoat) only to have SIL who's been brainwashed by Nmom tell me how "your mother loves you very much". After treating me like crap and flat out telling me she's not going to change, I've distanced myself from her, so she tries to get 3rd parties to do her dirty work guilt tripping by whinging to them how much she loves me and wants a closer relationship. I'm now not on speaking terms with all 3 of them. Good work mom! You just drove 2 siblings apart. Most parents actually try to encourage their kids to be close.

Annette Hampton said...

Laura, if my husband had a brother, I would have thought that we shared the same MIL. It never fails to amaze me how they are all cut out of the same cloth and used the same tactics (over and over and over again).

My ILs left a couple of weeks ago. We had banned them, but hubby caved. I actually became another person for four days to get through it with my "uh-huh's" and "really's." I did give up the thought of having a good relationship with them years ago. This really did work; we seemed to gotten through the visit relatively unscathed. We were all emotionally unattached and not expecting anything from them, including a single decent conversation.

BTW, they did stay at a hotel and that helped. However, they took our toilet paper because the hotel toilet paper was unacceptable to them. No, I am not kidding.

R.D. Birdhouse said...

I am still reeling from the revelation that my mother has NPD. What a huge paradigm shift! This is the first peer group I've found. Thank you for being here Anna and everyone.

#453 said...

Six years later, every word written here still applies!!

wishing all here a fantastic Holiday Season!!!

(#453.....was #281 who initially asked Anna a question on how to handle holidays with Narcissists on the previous post!!)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for posting this about holidays. I only recently figured out that my mother has npd after typing into google "Why does my mother hate me?" I had always thought I was doing something wrong these 30 some years when it was never me all along. Holidays were always a disaster growing up and whenever my mother was over. After cooking for hours she would ask what was in the food and when I told her she would say "Oh, I can't eat that!!!" She had a new allergy everytime and of course it was anything that I cooked. So I started cooking her separate meals and as you can tell it just snowballed from there. I was like, what the hell am I doing? I'm doing everything I can to have a pleasant holiday and here is my mother complaining about the food, how long it was taking, that she had to get home etc. It never dawned on me that it was her and not me. I just told her today that we will be away for Thanksgiving even though we won't be. We will be home and she went into her woe is me speech and then slammed the phone down and hung up on me. She is acting childish. My golden child brother was supposed to come over but I guess he's not but that's my fault too. I've hosted every holiday for the past 20 years and he's had not one. That's really f^cked up how I can do everything right my entire life and he's a total screw up but everything is my fault all the time. I'm sick of it, I've had enough. I'm sick of feeling like I'm never good enough, I'm never pretty enough, thin enough for her. I'm finally realizing this is her projecting on me. I'm so sorry for all of us who have had to live like this. I keep thinking things will change as she puts on a "show" when others are around but it's always the same ending. So please don't put yourself through another miserable holiday because I'm not. It's time to think of yourself and your family and have a happy day for yourself!

Unknown said...

I have written my letters to the Ns in my life. I am DREADING the next holiday because it's also my birthday and history has proven that my cousin will latch onto any occasion and grandstand at my expense. I'm sure that since she didn't respond to my letter, she's itching to pull some stunt. She has done some truly hair raising things when I did nothing wrong, so how's she going to react now that I've confronted her (now matter how kindly)? I'm not sticking around to find out. She's not feeding on my lifeblood.

My grandma is taking my cousin's side because she's just like her. I have this creepy feeling she's going to try to force a reunion on my birthday, or just try to intrude on my peace of mind. I want to spend the day with my mom, who is a lovely person. I will try to keep my armor up.

Problem- Dad is very close to Grandma N, and his birthday is right after mine. I love my dad and I want us to have a "joint" birthday because that's what we always do. He's had a rough year, and he deserves a special birthday. But he already wants Grandma to come to his birthday. I am not hanging out with her. She will stick it to me on Cousin's behalf. Dad thinks the way to handle this is behavioral modification. If she's nice, she gets attention. If she doesn't behave, no attention. Good strategy. Maybe she'll behave in front of her brother, or maybe she'll make a show of herself to force the issue. I don't want to find out.

So, I guess I'm in a jam. Grandma would force it so that the only "real" birthday is the one she puts on. I don't want to play games with crooked people. The only rules they have are theirs. Dad is in my corner, he's just not going to cut Mommy Dearest off.

Logically, I know I can do lots of nice things for Dad on his birthday without offering myself up on a platter. But just when I thought I'd got rid of those assholes, they pop back. I AM NOT A FOOD SOURCE.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to go anywhere near my NF for Christmas and play "Happy families". It was always unbearable having to go. My narcissistic, controlling mother would always demand I go to her house on Christmas Eve and stay overnight which was crap. I then took the stand and stopped going there on Christmas Eve because I couldn't stand her terrible moods. She would always run around stressed because of all the hard work she had to do and having to cook when she was so tired. My horrible family were so dark that I no longer attended Christmas Day and then I cut off all contact with them. It's so peaceful now without them and even more peaceful since my narcissistic parents are now long dead. I can finally live and go on to enjoy New Year's Eve with some nice friends.