Tag Archives: birthday
Like everything in the life of a narcissist, the gifts they give are all about them. They give what will benefit them in some way or what they think will make you change according to what they think you should be. This is why so often, people dread receiving gifts from narcissists.
If they’re trying to win you over somehow such as in the early stages of dating or after an argument, narcissists may give a good gift. That gift is supposed to help buy your love or forgiveness. That gift may be extravagant or something you mentioned wanting. My ex husband gave me only 2 nice gifts in our entire relationship. The first one was about 2 months after we met, for my birthday.
Narcissists also may give a gift to make you indebted to them. Maybe you are supposed to give them a gift in return. Maybe the gift they gave you is very expensive so you feel obligated to tolerate their abuse because they spent so much on that gift. Maybe you showed signs of wanting to end the relationship & this gift was supposed to make you want to rethink that move.
Often, narcissists give terrible gifts. They lack the desire to be a blessing, & that shows in the gifts they give in particular on days like birthdays or Christmas. They’re only giving gifts on these days because they have to in order to look good, not because they want to. As a result, no thought or consideration goes into the gift.
Other times narcissists give awful gifts is when they try to change their victim. For example, my mother gave me clothes for my birthday or Christmas for years. While clothes in general aren’t a bad gift, they are when the clothes aren’t in the receiver’s taste, but are the giver’s. Our tastes are extremely different & that was a problem for her. My mother wanted me to like what she likes, & this was one way to try to force me to dress like she thought I should dress. My late mother in-law did the same. A few months before Christmas one year, I mentioned in passing that I hate to cook. Yes, I do it because I don’t want us to starve, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. For Christmas that year, she & her daughters all gave me a LOT of cooking paraphernalia. Cook books, utensils, food, & a big ugly pasta dish I later used in the attic when the roof was leaking.. lol
Sometimes bad gifts are also a way for a narcissist to let you know they hate you without saying the words. A narcissistic mother in-law who dislikes her daughter in-law will give her terrible gifts, as one example. My late mother in-law gave me a Christmas sweater (I’m NOT into Christmas or Christmas sweaters), polyester slacks (not a fan) & other gifts that were clearly NOT my taste.
Sometimes they may “forget” to give you a gift at all. This is just one way to let you know you aren’t important to them or the gift giving day (your anniversary, Valentine’s day, your birthday, etc) isn’t important to them.
Or, narcissists may give away a gift you gave to them either to hurt you or out of thoughtlessness. My sister in-law gave me this cute little knick knack many years ago. I thanked her & said it was cute. She said she thought so, & was sure her mom would like it. She gave it to her. A few months later, her mother gave it to her & said something like, “I don’t know where this ugly thing came from. You can have it.” She said seeing it hurt her badly so she wanted rid of it. Since I thought it was cute, I could have it. My heart broke for her when she told me that story.
When you get an awful gift, it’s best not to let the narcissist know how awful you think it is. If you do, the narcissist can play the victim & tell other people how ungrateful you are, making you look like a jerk. Rather than ask for the receipt so you can return or exchange the gift, simply thank her for the gift, then when you can, quietly give it to someone who you know would like it or give it to a charity.
Likewise when you get a great gift, it’s best not to let the narcissist know you really like it. If you do, the narcissist is going to get a ton of narcissistic supply from that, & feel that you owe her for giving you this awesome gift. Simply thank her for the gift.
It’s always best to implement the Gray Rock method as much as possible when dealing with narcissists, including when they give gifts.
As I mentioned recently, my birthday just passed. It’s not a happy day for me. I’ve had many miserable birthdays. More bad than good. Thinking about many of them still makes me cringe. As a result, I dread the day every year. For years off & on, I tried to make good birthday memories but nothing helped me shake the yukky feelings attached to my birthday.
One of my lovely readers knows how I feel, & told me about something I could do. I read about it & found it fascinating.
Queen Elizabeth & I share the same birthday (well, different years..). Cool, but not the fascinating part. The fascinating part is there is a royal custom regarding birthdays. The queen’s birthday isn’t celebrated publicly on April 21st, but on the second Saturday in June.
My reader’s suggestion was to follow the Queen’s example with a little change. Celebrate my birthday on a different day with a chosen few people only, thus making my birthday something to look forward to for a change.
The reason I’m sharing this, Dear Reader, is because so many adult children of narcissistic parents or those who were married to narcissists, share my experiences- many lousy birthdays, thanks to the narcissists in their life, have made them bitter about their own birthdays. Hopefully those of you on this same boat will give the Queen’s idea a try.
Besides, it’s simply not fair! Narcissists have stolen so very much from us, & that’s just wrong. They have taken way too much. It’s only right we take back something from them, anything.
Thinking about it now, I’m considering creating my new birthday in the fall. It’s my favorite time of year- the weather is beautiful, the leaves are so colorful & the days are short as I like. I’ve never been overly fond of the spring, so changing my birthday celebration to autumn sounds like a lovely idea.
What about you Dear Reader? When would you like your new birthday celebration to be?
Today is Eric’s birthday!! Like many other adult children of narcissists, it’s a day he’s just as soon forget. But, I’m hoping we can do something to make it a special day. He certainly deserves to enjoy his birthday! Feel free to wish him a happy birthday in the comments if you like- I’ll be sure to share with him. 🙂
Keeping along with the birthday theme, I thought I’d take a moment to remind you, Dear Reader, to remember something. Your birthday is just that- YOURS. When it comes up, you need to celebrate it however you see fit. Please don’t treat the day as your narcissistic mother did. So many made their child’s birthday miserable in some way, & if you experienced that, don’t continue that pattern! It’s your day- enjoy it however you see fit!
If you can, do something special for yourself on your birthday. Even if it’s just grabbing a bouquet of flowers for yourself or taking a bubble bath. It doesn’t have to be on the exact day either- if you can’t take off work, then do something special the following day or over the weekend.
If you’re like my husband & I & prefer to forget your birthday, please know you’re not alone. I tried for a while to enjoy it, but it didn’t last long. My birthday last April was awful. It was just one of many bad ones, & now I’d just as soon forget my birthday completely. While I’d like to encourage you to at least try to enjoy your day somehow, I understand sometimes that just isn’t going to happen. Rather than feeling bad about that, try to keep in mind that at least your birthday is still done on your terms. Ok, admittedly it’d be a lot more fun to do something special for your birthday, but if you don’t feel you can, at least you still are doing your birthday your way. After all, it is your day, so you are allowed to treat it however you like. Nothing says you have to have a big celebration for your birthday or even acknowledge it if you aren’t inclined to do so. You are free to do whatever you want, & that includes doing nothing.
However you wish to handle your birthday, I would like to encourage you to do one thing- refuse to take any phone call or see your narcissistic mother. Make sure you take this one day for yourself, minus drama, minus snide criticisms, minus guilt trips about how being pregnant with you made her incredibly sick for nine months… give yourself that one day a year without all of that nonsense. You truly deserve that.
Recently I was talking with one of my readers about holidays. She mentioned Mother’s Day in particular, & said how much she hates the day. Obviously, she has a narcissistic mother. Anyway, she said she has been working on changing her attitude & focusing on enjoying the day with her children, because she doesn’t like feeling this way about the holiday. It hasn’t gone well. Even after several pleasant Mother’s Days, she still isn’t a fan of the day, & felt guilty about her “failure.”
From my experience, I have seen this as a pretty common scenario for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers. Not just with Mother’s Day, but birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or other special days.
I’m no different. After countless awful birthdays, Christmases, & Thanksgivings, I couldn’t care less about those days. I have tried to enjoy my birthday at least, celebrating with friends each year for the last few years. It has been fun, until this year when I was sick & unable to celebrate. Also, my husband wasn’t able to leave work early like he was supposed to be able to do. We were going to spend the day together. Instead, I wasted my day waiting on him to come home instead of enjoying myself. My old feelings of wanting to ignore my birthday came back with a vengeance as a result, & I realized it may be permanent this time.
While aiming to have a positive attitude about days that have been bad for you is certainly a good thing, I’ve come to realize that sometimes, the best you can do is learn not to hate the day. I don’t mean to sound negative, just realistic.
I’ve heard that it takes ten praises to eliminate the negative effects of one criticism. Honestly, I think it takes more. I also think that bad holidays are much like that- it takes a lot of really pleasant holidays to change your negative feelings. I also think that one negative one thrown in with the good ones can hinder changing how you feel. It can set you back.
The reason I am telling you this, Dear Reader, is so that you won’t feel guilty like the lady I mentioned at the beginning of this post if your attitude isn’t better. Unfortunately this happens sometimes due to bad experiences, & beating yourself up about how you feel won’t help you improve your attitude! If anything, it only makes it worse.
So, Dear Reader, if you are dreading holidays or your birthday, I truly wish you the best with learning to enjoy those special days! I pray you will be able to do so! However, if you are unable to, please don’t beat yourself up over it! Unfortunately it happens sometimes. Just know you are not alone in how you feel. xoxo
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