Birthdays For Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Today is my birthday, which gave me the idea for something to write about.  Well, ok, technically I’m writing this before my birthday to publish on the day so I can take that day off..  lol  But anyway..

So many of us adult children of narcissistic parents hate our birthdays.  I’ve been battling this myself for many years, since my seventeenth birthday when my mother ruined my day & spent a good part of it screaming at me.  My eighteenth, when she gave me a gift she said she didn’t even know why she was giving me anything since she didn’t even like me.  There have been plenty of other lousy birthdays over the years, too, that weren’t related to my mother. These bad times set the stage for me to start dreading my birthday once the month of April begins.

A few years ago, a friend of mine messaged me on facebook shortly before my birthday & asked what I was going to do for my birthday.  I said nothing.  At the time, my father had started chemo & wasn’t feeling well- I felt I should be available in case my parents needed me.  My friend proceeded to chew me out. Gently but still.. lol  Birthdays are very important to him, he said, & pretty much ordered me to do something nice for myself that day, even if it was only picking up lunch from my favorite restaurant.  Something in me clicked.  I realized he was right.  Since then, each year my husband & I have gone to our favorite restaurant on the water not far from home with a few friends. We share a meal & some laughs in a cute little place with a scenic view.  It’s always a lot of fun.

In my experiences of meeting many other adult children of narcissistic parents, I’ve realized that I am hardly alone.  Many others dread their birthday because of bad memories their mothers attached to the date.  If that describes you, Dear Reader, please reconsider your feelings. Your birthday is a special day- it’s the day you made your grand entrance into this world. It is the day God assigned for you to bless the world with your presence!  That makes it a very special day.  And, you are a very special person!  In spite of what your narcissistic mother most likely told you, you are a wonderful person, & your birthday is a day that should be acknowledged & celebrated!  Why don’t you decide today to start doing just that?

When I first started to try to celebrate & enjoy my birthday, it felt so strange.  I even felt guilty, like I was doing something bad & wrong. But, as time has worn on, I’ve gotten better at it.  In fact, I’ve even looked forward to my birthday a few times.  Admittedly, I’m still struggling in this area, but at least I’ve made progress.  Progress is so much better than cringing every single time the month of April begins!  It may take you a little time & practice as it has me to start consistently looking forward to your birthday, but it is worth it!

To start, you don’t have to start big, like with a huge party, if you aren’t comfortable with that. Just do a little something nice for yourself.  Like my friend said, get your favorite lunch from your favorite restaurant.  Bake yourself a cake or buy a slice from a nice restaurant.  Buy yourself a nice gift- it doesn’t need to be extravagant if you don’t want it to be or can’t afford it.  A new book would suffice.  Go out for coffee with your best friend(s).  Buy yourself some fresh flowers or plant a pretty garden in your yard.  The point is to do something special just for you, to celebrate the wonderful day that you were born.  xoxo


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

12 responses to “Birthdays For Children Of Narcissistic Parents

  1. Kelly

    Very true. In the last few years, I’ve made sure I do what I want on my birthday. My birthday is on New Years day. Growing up it became the norm that my Christmas and birthday gifts were combined or people just forgot just because of the holidays. Also, it was always disappointing because I rarely would get what I wanted. One year I asked for rink skates and I was given street skates. This didn’t surface till I went to counseling over 30 years later. The reason it stood out is because 3 months later, my GC sister got the gift I had asked for. We both had started going to the rink on Friday nights with our friends. My NM told me I would never use the rink skates so that’s why I got street skates. It was crushing inside to see my sister get the gift I had asked for. I can still see the picture in my head of a photo of her with those skates. Now, I make sure I do something for me. This year, we went to the Bodies exhibit and then we came home and made fresh pasta since I love to cook, I made my own meal. I didn’t mind because it was WHAT I WANTED TO DO FOR ME! Next year, I plan to be on vacation since I will be turning 50. Anyway, happy birthday. I know you will make it special.


    • I’m so sorry you went through that, Kelly! That must stink, having your birthday basically shoved in with Christmas, like it’s an inconvenience.

      Good for you though on making your birthdays special now! You deserve that!!!

      Thank you! Not feeling overly celebratory this year but I think hubby & I are going to dinner once he gets home from work- he’s leaving early today.


  2. Cindy

    Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful one!
    O my,,,,I do know what you mean about bdays…when I turned 19, a week bf hub and I eloped…my mom got this awful pistachio cake from a friend she worked with for our bdays…(hers was 3 days after mine).When I said I didn’t like the flavor,my dad screamed at me.But it was my bday too! My mom always got whatever SHE wanted,and to heck with anyone else.I knew it was one of those deals.
    That pretty much verified for me that I was doing the right thing when we one there really cared about me or my feelings or what I wanted,so to move on with hub was perfectly ok.I know it was just a cake,I just felt it represented everything that was wrong with me living in that house.
    Glad you are having true happy birthdays now!


    • I can understand that- the cake absolutely represented that! Just one more way to ignore what you wanted because her wishes were more important. My mother is the same way. My gifts are what she thinks I need. The music box with butterflies on it she just gave me? She said she got it because SHE loves music boxes & SHE thought the colors on it were so pretty & as an afterthought, “oh, yea, & you like butterflies.” Thanks…


      • Cindy

        Well how thoughtful! (not!)
        Google ‘pistachio cake’ and see what I mean.The cake was GREEN (yuk) I mean really green,and had nuts in and on it.I don’t think nuts go with cake,but that is JMO


        • Wasn’t it thoughtful? lol

          That doesn’t even look natural! I like pistachio, but even so I doubt I’d like that cake at all. It seems like something very few folks would enjoy.


          • Cindy

            She’d gotten those cakes from work bf,and she knew I didn’t like them,So yeah…
            I hope you have a wonderful time at your dinner out! 🙂


            • But she liked them so you should too! 😛 Ugh, these mothers!!

              Thank you! We’re heading to a local bar we like- it’s a small place right on the water & it doesn’t have that bar feel to it. Nice, family place, with nothing but classic rock on the jukebox. 🙂


  3. Happy birthday my dear. May it be filled with peace, joy and happiness. Have a wonderful and blessed day. xo


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