Dealing with NPD individuals and the holiday season combined can be horrible. I am not going to try to sugar coat it.
For some reason, the holidays seem to bring out the “best” in the narcissist. It seems like they escalate like the Grinch on steroids. Court filings seem to increase along with the dreaded emails which call for the Narc Decoder. Most holiday emails, when processed through my Narc Decoder will read something like this:
“I envy that you can feel joy. I hate when people feel joy because it is a feeling that I will never know. Because the theme of the season is ‘Peace and Joy,’ I am going to strike hard and ensure that you feel as cold, dark and empty as I feel. You are not allowed to experience happiness unless I have approved it and we all know that will never happen.“
You have two choices:
You can accept the wrath of the narcissist and cave into his demands to rid yourself of holiday joy OR you can say a few simple but powerful words: “I control my happiness.”
This may be an extra difficult holiday season for you. You could be in the beginning throes of this battle. You may be facing a court date just days before or after Christmas or you could be feeling beat down by the insanity of this nightmare. You may be facing the sad reality that you can’t provide gifts for your children in a way that you would like to—or maybe you can’t provide anything at all.
I want to share my Christmas from just a few years ago to give you hope.
In late fall of 2009, I spent several days in a women’s shelter which were the darkest days of my life. I honestly did not know that I could cry that hard- deep, soul rocking cries. I was empty and desperate for anyone to believe that this charming man was capable of killing me yet no one believed me. He had never physically harmed me nor had he come right out and threatened me. It was the look of rage in his eyes that said it all. It was the stalking behavior. I was rock bottom emotionally.
By the end of October of 2009, I was able to get my first apartment with the girls. I was depressed about the fact that we were going to reside in a low-income, shoe-box size apartment but I put a smile on my face for the girls. As the holidays approached, I grew more depressed about my situation. Just 11 months prior, I had celebrated Christmas in grand style. I lived in a 4,300 square foot home and had purchased the girls a dollhouse so large that they could not SEE the top floor. It was magnificent and over the top. We had so many gifts that we actually had to break Christmas up into TWO shifts. We opened gifts all morning and then ate lunch, napped and then did a second present-opening session. 2008 was over the top and 2009 was slated to be racked with mom guilt like I had never known before.
December of 2009 came and I was unable to afford a Christmas tree. Besides the money issue, I had no place for a tree in my shoe-box home. I found a small, pink Christmas tree in a box that had previously been a mere holiday ornament in the playroom of my mini-mansion. The few ornaments that I had taken with me were almost bigger that the tree itself. I had an idea- I pulled clay out of our craft box and the girls and I turned it into a fun experience- we made thumb sized ornaments (see picture above) for our little magical pink tree using clay! The ornaments will always hold a special place in my heart because they hold such meaning. They signify where we were and where we are now. While I remember that I couldn’t afford a kitchen table, gifts or a Christmas tree, and the girls remember the fun of making the ornaments together on our kitchen floor!
That Christmas, I turned to my church for assistance in buying a few gifts for the girls and my family also helped to supplement what I was unable to do. As a mother, that was a very difficult year for me not only because of severe money issues but because I didn’t understand NPD and I was still allowing Seth to take my joy and peace away.
In December that year, I found inspiration and a LOT of tears in a song by Carrie Underwood called, “Temporary Home.” Here are the lyrics that carried me through that season:
Young mom, on her own
She needs a little help, got nowhere to go
She’s looking for a job, looking for a way out
‘Cause a halfway house will never be a home
At night she whispers to her baby girl
“Someday we’ll find our place here in this world”
This is our temporary home, it’s not where we belong
Windows and rooms that we’re passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where we’re going
I’m not afraid because I know
This is our temporary home
(To watch the video, click here.)
That song reminded me that the feelings and the apartment weren’t forever. They were temporary. Looking back, it is hard to believe that it was only four years ago. My church, my friends and my family carried me through that season and this season, I am in a place to give back to others who are in their “temporary home” – that is a feeling that is indescribable. To be honest, that Christmas also taught me that my 2008 Christmas was filled with “things” but not the things that were important. I will never again let my joy be based on “things.”
No matter what stage you are in this holiday season, please know that it is temporary and you will get through it. There is light on the other end of the tunnel. I’m sending you joy, peace and huge hugs this holiday season.
Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s book, “Divorcing a Narcissist- One Mom’s Battle” is available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.