Narcissists & Gifts

Christmas is just around the corner, & those of us with narcissistic relatives know what this means- bad gifts!


Narcissists are notoriously bad at selecting gifts.  To give someone a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to know the person you’re giving the gift to, & understand her tastes.  These are impossible tasks for narcissists.  Since they don’t want to think of anyone but themselves or how people can do for them, they give lousy gifts.  Or, they give someone what they think the person needs to have- clothes in the narcissist’s taste, a CD by the narcissist’s favorite artist even though the receiver doesn’t care for that artist, things pertaining to the narcissist’s interests even though the receiver couldn’t care less about such things.


So what happens when you get these awful gifts?  It’s not like you can say, “This is horrible!”  True as that may be, you’ll end up being accused of being ungrateful, mean, etc etc etc.  The same goes if you nicely ask for the receipt so you can exchange it.  Unless the item is obviously broken & needs replacing, the narcissist will be offended that you don’t appreciate their “awesome” gift.


I have found the best way to handle this is to remember, keep it simple.  Thank the person for the gift (without a lot of fuss, just “Thank you”), take it home, then find someone who will like the item & give it to them.  Don’t know someone?  Give it to the Salvation Army or other charitable organization that has thrift stores- someone will enjoy it!


My mother insisted on giving me clothing in her taste all of my life.  Usually, I hate it.  But, I still thanked my mother & took it home, then gave it to the Salvation Army.  My mother in-law & sisters in-law gave me cooking paraphernalia one Christmas after I said how much I hate to cook.  I gave the big cookbook to my best friend who enjoyed it since she likes cooking.  Other items went to the Salvation Army or were given away.  The giant ugly pasta dish, however, went into my attic when the roof sprung a leak just before we replaced it.  It was the only thing I had that fit in this odd, narrow little area.  (I’m not proud of it, but that made me very happy to


I know, getting iccky gifts from narcissists isn’t fun, but it needn’t be a hassle.  Just keep it simple when you thank them so they don’t get too much narcissistic supply (otherwise you can count on getting more, similar bad gifts in the future), & later discreetly give it away to someone who will enjoy it.


Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

25 responses to “Narcissists & Gifts

  1. Cindy Patterson

    Morning Cynthia! Boy I have one that takes the cake. The first Christmas we were married he gave me 3 paperback books. One on fishing and one on dogs. That showed he knew what I liked. But the other was a book on beauty of hair and makeup. What’s sad is I remember saying to a neighbor that another woman might be offended at a husband giving his wife a book on beauty. This would. E just the start of my always excusing him! Ug!! It’s ok for me to remember as I now know I would never accept that treatment from a man!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. The memories are coming back…a car cleaning kit so that I could detail the family vehicle to be “clean enough” for him….wait- money to our small kids that he immediately took back and told them it was for their college!


  3. Angela

    And there I was bemoaning the fact that in the 40 years I’ve known my mother-in-law she has never, ever bought me a gift but has given me money instead. Lucky me! My mother however, bought me an electric blanket for Christmas when I was 18 and then refused to let me take it with me when I left. I was really disappointed at the time when all my friends were getting something much more exciting.


  4. Simone

    My narc mom obviously gives lousy and insulting gifts on purpose.


  5. Angela

    Yes, I agree. I’ve had the lousy gifts from Mother but I know mil would be horrified to know what I’d spent the money on rather than something “useful” or saving it. I took her shopping once and picked up a couple of items for myself. She said in a loud voice “You shouldn’t be spending any money. You’re not supposed to be spending any money.” “Have you finished shopping?” I asked and went to pay. Despite hints from her and sil, I have never taken her shopping again.


    • Oh my word… that sounds familiar. My mother in-law also seemed to be of the opinion I should never spend money on anything for me, no matter what. So rude of yours not only to think that but to say it so loudly! No wonder you won’t take her shopping again! Smart move!

      Thank you for sharing this by the way.. when my husband & I first got together, prior to me knowing anything about NPD, his mother asked me to go to lunch & shopping with her. I said yes. She said “You WILL be taking Eric’s car when we go, right?” I said no, mine. She dropped the subject. (she hated my car & constantly let me know that). The same conversation happened two more times, & two more times I was angry she was so nasty about my car. Now? I’m glad we didn’t go out. What if I had bought something for me? She would’ve done the same as yours did. Glad now that I never went- saved me some aggravation!


  6. Marti Siegfried

    Great topic Cynthia and have benefitted from reading the comments too. If it wasn’t so rude and bizarre, it could almost be funny (but, of course, it’s really not). One of the Narc’s in my life would give me framed photos of himself. Another one gives dish towels and bags with HER city themes on them. Another gives me scarves although she’s never seen me wear neck scarves ever–SHE’s the one who constantly wears neck scarves. Obviously, couldn’t do much with his framed photos except place in the trash later on in my own house. Wanted to get at least a little something from their “gifts for themselves given to me” so I listed them as new with tags items (as they were) on eBay and at least got a little $ for them and then wasn’t feeling quite as resentful about it. It was empowering to use the money to buy something I DID want.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It really could be a funny topic if it wasn’t so rude & bizarre for sure.

      Good for you! Glad you could benefit from their “gifts”. The pictures of himself made me laugh- my in-laws did Christmas we got several pictures of them. Not even in a frame.. just pictures. I didn’t tell my husband but I thought they’d work nicely on a dartboard… 😉


  7. chainbreakercorporation

    I am sorry you had such an orc mother too! My mother would either buy me nothing, or give me a gift someone else had bought for her and she didn’t like or give me free samples she would get from pharmacies.


  8. Yes you do. Your mother is wrong! She has problems if she can’t see that! ❤


  9. ibikenyc

    My at-least-Borderline middle stepdaughter, now in her early thirties, LITERALLY IGNORES ME except at Christmas when she sends a package to her father and me of, at least in my case, weird, unsuitable, and VERY-obviously regifted crap.


    • Ahhh.. how nice of her. NOT. Sheesh..

      Liked by 1 person

      • ibikenyc

        Last time it happened (2015) I went absolutely BATSHIT about it in Mr. Happy’s presence. It’s not the amount of money (although she does VERY well for herself, and good for her).

        This is the ONLY contact I get from you EVER?

        I found it embarrassing to the point of humiliation and said so.

        Maybe he said something to her; this past Christmas (2016) I got nothing, and he got a card with $50 in it.

        Thank you, dear, and THIS time I mean that sincerely!


  10. ibikenyc

    PS: AND, while I’m on this, if I am ever again invovled with a man and that man says to me, about my birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any other such occasion, “If I had money, I’d a bought you a card,” BELIEVE ME, you will see me on the news.


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