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Narcissists & The Gifts They Give

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.

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Mother’s Day Is Fast Approaching

The most dreaded day of the year for daughters of narcissistic mothers is upon us.  Mother’s day.  *insert screams of horror here*

 

So what thoughts have been running through your mind?  Let me guess… something like these?

 

  • Where can I find a card that doesn’t make me nauseous by discussing a mother’s constant, unfailing love?  Does anyone sell nice, simple “have a nice day” cards?  (Actually, I’ve found the Dollar Tree stores do, just FYI.)
  • Should I get her flowers &/or a gift?
  • Do I really have to spend time with her?  I just saw her 2 months ago…
  • What fresh hell is she going to put me through this year?  Stories of how miserable she was when pregnant with me, what a terrible child I was or how much I’ve disappointed her?
  • Do I really have to do anything at all?!  I don’t wanna!

 

Take a deep breath, Dear Reader… now exhale.  Try to relax.  You can get through this!

 

Before you opt to do anything, pray for wisdom, strength, & anything else you feel you need.  Once that is done, start thinking logically & calmly about your situation, taking it one step at a time.

 

Do you feel you should get your mother a card?  Yes?  OK, then go shopping for a card.  Look for something very simple that basically says, “I hope you have a nice Mother’s Day”.  Those cards exist!  Or, if you can’t find one, then find a pretty card that’s blank inside & write your own simple message.

 

Do you feel you should get your mother a gift?  If yes, then think about something small you can get her.  There’s no need to go crazy or go into debt getting her something for Mother’s Day, especially when she was a less than stellar mother.  Has she mentioned something she wants recently?  A new purse?  A new casserole dish? A new clock?  Anything?  If so & you can afford it, get it.  Not sure what to get her?  Then how about a gift card from a store she likes?  Cash also works.  Don’t beat yourself up trying to figure out the perfect gift.  It’s not worth the stress or potential debt.

 

Do you feel you should spend time with your mother on Mother’s Day?  If yes, why?  Is it because you want to honor her or because you dread her massive guilt trip &/or smear campaign if you don’t?  Be  brutally honest with yourself on this one.  If it’s simply to honor her, then absolutely do it.  If it’s because you dread the guilt & smear, then do NOT do it!  Giving in to avoid her guilt &/or smear is giving her control.  You know how narcissists are- the more you give into them, the more they expect.  That whole give an inch, take a mile thing.  Another option is a compromise if you aren’t ready not to spend the day with her.  Offer to take her to lunch or dinner on another day.  If you’re a mom, no doubt you want to spend the day with your kid(s), so do it, then take Mom out another day.  She may be mad but tough- it’s perfectly reasonable to put your kids ahead of your mom!  If you don’t have kids, make other plans for that day.  Lunch with a friend.  Pick up an extra shift at work.  Something!  Anything!  You can make it sound like your plans are unchangeable too.  Work really needs you in that day (true- they need you more than she needs to abuse you!).  Your friend is having a tough time lately or this was the only time your friend has available (both of which are entirely possible scenarios).  If your mother starts with her guilt trip, tell her you have to go immediately & will talk to her later.

 

If you’re no contact, that first Mother’s Day can be rough.  Don’t give in to guilt & send her a card or gift!  If you do, your narcissistic mother will see that as you having weak boundaries or you feel guilty for being so “mean” to her.  She also may take it as the end of no contact & before you know it, she’s in your life again.  Don’t let that happen!  Maintain no contact for the sake of your sanity!

 

I know Mother’s Day is a tough day but you can & will get through it.  Really!  You can do this!  xoxo

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Thanksgiving Day, aka “Forced Family Fun”

Since Thanksgiving is a few days away, & many of you feel forced to deal with your narcissistic families on the day, I thought I would write a post for you in that position, Dear Readers.

 

All of us with narcissistic parents or in-laws know they can make the holidays hell on Earth, yet we often feel powerless to avoid these days.  The good news is that you aren’t as powerless as you think.

 

You don’t have to spend holidays with your narcissistic family if you don’t want to.  They don’t have the right to order you around!  You’re a grown up, & have the right to spend the day however you like.  You don’t owe them any explanations, nor should you feel guilty if you opt to go skiing, take a trip or spend the day with friends rather than spend the day with a narcissistic family.

 

If you cannot get out of the “forced family fun,” then maybe next time, you can prepare ahead of time to have other plans.   For now, though, there are ways to cope.

 

Set boundaries on how long you will be at the gathering.  When the time is coming for you to leave, leave.  Don’t be talked into staying longer!  Say you have plans with a friend, & don’t want to be late (not lying since you’re spending time with yourself & hopefully you’re your own best friend).

 

If you have a job that requires people to work on holidays, maybe you could arrange to work on that day.  You’ll get extra pay (a bonus!) & have a legitimate excuse to leave early or not even attend.

 

If you have a significant other, I pray he or she is on your side.  The support will be helpful for you, plus they can help you to escape.  Have a code that tells the person, “I need to leave.”  If you feel unable to go, your significant other can say, “It’s time for us to go.”

 

If you opt to do something without your family or spend less time with them than usual, chances are good they will pull out all the guilt stops on you, but remember- you do NOT have to blindly obey them!  You have the right to do whatever you like to celebrate.  You aren’t hurting them by doing something different- you’re being good to yourself.  That doesn’t make you selfish, a bad son or daughter, etc. by being good to yourself.  They will get over you not being there.  Or they won’t.  If they don’t, let them pout & be miserable if that’s what they want.

 

Take back your power, Dear Reader, & spend holidays however you like!

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The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

After years of talking to my readers, I’ve learned that many of us who have either been raised by or married to narcissists, hate the holidays.  Me too!  My narcissistic mother griped constantly about how much work she had to do (yet never hosted a family dinner or party, barely decorated..) & criticized the fact I enjoyed the holidays as if I was abnormal.  As an adult, my narcissistic ex husband spent holidays with his family, whether or not I went with him.  My current husband also spends holidays with his family.  Some people have tried to guilt trip me into attending holiday parties even though I was unable to because my husband was working or I was unavailable.  Others have shamed me for my lack of enthusiasm & tried to force me to “get into the holiday spirit.”   So yes, like many other people, I am no longer a fan of holidays.

In spite of feeling much like I do, many people often feel forced to participate in Thanksgiving & Christmas get togethers.  It is for you I am writing this post.

First, please know that as an adult, you are not obligated to do as you are told regarding gatherings.  You do not have to attend these events if you don’t want to!  You are allowed to do as you see fit.  Attending or not are within your rights!  No one has the right to attempt to manipulate you into going if you don’t want to!  And if they try, you are perfectlly within your rights to ignore their manipulation.

If you opt to go, you have the right to set boundaries.  You need to, in fact, especially if you’re going to have to deal with narcissists.

Decide ahead of time how long you are going to stay, & leave at the time you have settled upon.  You don’t owe anyone explanations of why you have to leave when you do.

Many relatives want to discuss topics you aren’t comfortable with, such as “why don’t you have a boyfriend”. “When are you two getting married”  or “When are you going to have a baby.”   You don’t have to discuss such topics if you don’t want to.  Change the subject, repeatedly if necessary.  You can say you don’t want to discuss this topic.  You can remind the other person that this topic is none of their business.

If you need to leave, you can do that too.  Spending time with narcissists is hard enough, but it potentially can be worse during a holiday get together.  Maybe after a couple of glasses of wine or just because there is an audience, but it can happen.  It may get bad enough for you to want to leave.  You have that right!  If you don’t feel able to just walk out, make an arrangement with a friend ahead of time.  If you call her & let the phone ring a couple of times, she can call you back or text you saying she needs you to come over immediately.

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy your holiday season the best you can!

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Disliking Birthdays & Holidays

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

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May Your Christmas Be Peaceful & Narcissist-Free!

Good morning Dear Readers!

I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very merry Christmas tomorrow.  May your day be peaceful & full of joy!  I know for many of us with narcissistic parents & in-laws, the Christmas season can be very stressful & full of negativity.  If that describes your Christmas, you’re not alone.  I understand how you feel, which is why I try to make Christmas day a day I can spend relaxing & goofing off, minus the narcissists.  I hope you too can enjoy the day doing whatever you like!  If you must deal with the narcissists in your life, remember, it is perfectly OK to set time limits on how long you spend with them!  You can limit your time with them, then go home & enjoy the rest of your holiday in peace.

I would like to ask for a bit of prayer today, too… I spoke with the visiting nurse today who has been helping out with my father since he returned home from the hospital.  She said she is going to try to talk to my parents about getting some assistance.  Please pray that they will listen to this lady!  My mother hasn’t listened to me on this issue.  If she listens to the nurse instead of me on this issue, that is fine- I don’t care who talks her into it so long as they get the help they need & I can’t give!

And, I am very anxious today.  I have to take my father to the doctor about 30 minutes away today.  It’s raining, there is a lot of traffic out, it’s Christmas eve so drivers will be in a hurry & I’m driving my father’s car instead of mine.  All of this has made my anxiety levels go completely haywire.  Please pray for me to be able to relax!  Thank you!

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Handling Holiday Drama

The holiday season has begun.  This is a lovely time of year & my favorite season – the leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, hoodies & hot chocolate or tea come out.  I absolutely adore fall!

And then there is the stress dealing with demanding relatives.

I used to love the holiday season as a kid.  My parents & I went to my grandparents’ home in northern Virginia on the Sunday between Christmas & New Year’s for a big family get together.  It was always fun.  But then I grew up & got married, & was no longer able to visit my grandparents’ home for the holidays.  My ex husband wanted to spend every Thanksgiving & Christmas with his family that lived about 2 hours away, & it had to be on the exact day- never a visit before or after the holiday.  It also didn’t matter if I was sick or didn’t want to go.  He told me he was going to be with his family.  I could go with him or not- he didn’t care.  Our anniversary was Christmas eve, & to me, it always felt like he endured our anniversary while watching the clock, anxious to get to his family’s gathering the next day.  Not a lot of fun.  Then after our divorce & I later married my current husband, his mother demanded we attend their family get togethers, sometimes at his parents’ home, other times at one of his sister’s homes about 3 hours away. Often, I also had my mother demanding we spend time with my parents on at least one holiday.  Needless to say, after years of this, I no longer love the holidays.  I no longer celebrate them.  In fact, I dreaded them for years.  I’ve been told that is wrong & I need to let go of the bitterness & celebrate the holidays again, but I no longer feel the desire.  I’m fine not celebrating, thank you very much.

Sadly, I know I’m not alone.  Many of my friends feel the same as I do & for very similar reasons, so I am sure there are many of you reading this that also feel the same way.  To those of you who dread the holidays, you’re in good company!  Don’t let others dictate how you feel- you’re allowed to celebrate them or not celebrate them.  If you opt not to celebrate them, why not do as I do?  I take the day as a quiet day to myself.  I often get Chinese take out & relax with good movies all day, or maybe work on my latest book.  It has turned into something to look forward to instead of a day to dread.

If you feel obligated to spend family time with your relatives or in-laws, just remember- you are an adult, & you can determine when you spend time with them & how much time you spend with them.  I know many in-laws are like mine- expecting their daughters in-law to act as if she doesn’t have a family anymore, & spend the holidays with her in-laws, ignoring her parents.  If you feel you must do this yet you resent it, then set a time limit!  Tell your husband you don’t want to spend all day with them, maybe two hours instead, & that you want to spend time at home with him too.  Or, suggest you visit his family the day or weekend before or after a holiday, & spend the actual holiday home with him.

Unfortunately I know some men are more concerned about spending a holiday with their family of origin than their wife.  As I said though, I’ve turned holidays into a day to look forward to & you can do the same thing. It is either do that or be angry, so why not try to turn this negative into something more positive?  Do something you enjoy that your husband doesn’t.  Take a long bubble bath.  Give yourself a manicure.  Participate in your favorite hobby.  Read a good book.  It just makes more sense to me to try to be positive about this than be angry about something that won’t change until & unless your husband wants it to change.

A funny story- about 10 years ago, I was in counseling.  My counselor was great- he was very nice, understanding & supportive.  One time I saw him just after Thanksgiving.  He asked what my husband & I did. I told him- hubby went to his parents’ house, & I stayed home knitting & watching movies.  He was flustered!  He understood why I didn’t speak to my in-laws, so he was shocked my husband went without me.  I told him it’s happened many, many times.  “But aren’t you angry?”  I said no.  “But!  But!  You have a right to be angry!”  I told him I know that. I also know it doesn’t do any good since I can’t change my husband’s behavior.  I prefer to change my perspective & just enjoy my quiet day at home.  Poor man.. he didn’t know what to say!  LOL  He did understand my point, & agreed with me.

Anyway, just remember- don’t give in to holiday pressure from demanding & often dysfunctional relatives!  Do what you feel comfortable doing!  You have every right to celebrate or not celebrate the holidays however works for you!

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing on Thanksgiving?  I’m going to spend my day relaxing, probably with netflix on the TV, furkids by my side & maybe getting in some writing.  My husband will most likely spend the day with his parents.  My mother invited me twice to go to dinner with my parents, but I refused.  She isn’t happy about it, but she will survive. She will survive & I will enjoy a peaceful, relaxing day!

I wish you, Dear Readers, a very happy, peaceful Thanksgiving as well!  xoxo

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Mother’s Day Is Coming

Good afternoon, Dear Readers.

I turned on my television today, & in a very short span of time, saw more ads regarding Mother’s Day than I can remember.  I quickly turned it back off rather than listen to the drivel about how wonderful all mothers are, & how much they deserve jewelry & flowers on May 11th. 

Since I’m hardly the only daughter of a narcissistic mother, I thought I’d write about what Mother’s Day can mean to us.

It is the day we dread most of the year, isn’t it?  It certainly is for me.  It’s so hard to want to celebrate your mother when she has done her best to make your life a living hell ever since you were born.  Plus, you know she expects admiration, gifts & cards.  Not fun.  Especially when it seems like everyone thinks you should fawn all over your mother, no matter how she treats you.

Society can be so dysfunctional.

I know all too well that commandment that says we should honor our parents.  However, I don’t believe it’s honorable to shower any abuser, even a parent, with insincere praise & gifts.  Honoring someone God’s way means showing them respect & courtesy, not being fake.  Besides, such a demonstration rewards bad behavior.  It shows your mother she can do anything to you that she wants to do, & you still will pamper her.  How is that honorable?

So what is a good, honorable way to handle such a difficult day with your narcissistic, abusive mother?  To start with, pray.  Ask God what He wants you to do, & how to handle Mother’s Day.  He will give you the best advice you can ask for.  Also, follow what you feel in your heart that you’re capable of doing.  If it isn’t much, don’t feel bad!  Any abusive mother is blessed if her adult child has any relationship with her at all, because even if she has changed for the better, child abuse causes pain & scars that last a lifetime.  By having a relationship with your narcissistic  mother, you’re showing what a kind, good person you are.

Whatever you do for your mother, do it with excellence.  I’m not saying buy her a huge diamond ring when you barely can pay rent.  What I mean is do your best even if it’s something small.  Every year, I mail my mother the nicest, prettiest card I can find.  I know she takes the messages to heart in cards, so I find the prettiest one I can find, with a picture I know she’ll like, & the simplest verse.  Something like, “Happy Mother’s Day!  Enjoy!”  I’m not above finding a pretty, blank on the inside card if I can’t find one that is simple enough for my liking.  I can’t feel right about giving my mother some fake, “You’re the best mom ever!” kind of card that I don’t mean.  But, I’m fine with a pretty card wishing her a nice Mother’s Day.  And, she seems satisfied with the cards.  It works for us both.

Granted, what I do for my mother isn’t much compared to others, but I’m honestly not capable of doing more after a lifetime of abuse.  I believe God prefers His children to be sincere rather than phoney.  You need to remember that what you do to genuinely bless your mother, on Mother’s Day & every day, will give you peace, & God will be proud of you.

Also, don’t forget to be good to yourself on Mother’s Day! Whether you have kids or furkids like I do, you’re still a mom! Or, if you don’t have either, that’s ok- take care of yourself on a difficult day. You deserve it! 🙂

There is one last thing I feel I should share with you.  I’ve often berated myself for not being a better daughter- for not calling my parents more often, or suggesting we do things together. (Usually this happens around Mother’s or Father’s Day).  Sadly, I can’t make myself improve in these areas- I’ve tried!  But do you know what?  After praying about it, God showed me that under the circumstances, I’m not a bad daughter.  My parents have abused me, & shown no remorse for it.  They’re lucky I speak to them at all, & me not wanting to spend time with them is normal.  They are reaping what they’ve sown.  Keep this in mind regarding your situation, too.  Everyone reaps what they sow, whether they sow good or bad things.  I know it can be hard to remember sometimes, but remember it anyway.  ❤

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December 24, 2013

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas! 

Meet my 9 year old American Eskimo dog, Dixie here to brighten your Christmas eve.

 

Image Image

My prayer is that everyone reading this will enjoy their Christmas, & celebrate the joy of the birth of Jesus.  If you come from a dysfunctional family like I do, I really understand how difficult this time of year can be for you.  It is so hard to enjoy family get-togethers when you are surrounded by dysfunction, manipulation, stress, etc.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m bitter about the holidays myself.  I don’t like the drama & “forced family fun.”  But please, don’t get lost in the bitterness or anxiety of the season.  Do nice things for yourself to help you enjoy the time.  There are many of us out there who share your feelings about holidays for various reasons.  You are NOT alone!  There is also nothing wrong with you for how you feel- you were made to feel this way but less than positive circumstances.  Don’t feel bad for that.  All you can do now is try to enjoy the holidays to the best of your ability, & limit your exposure to negative, abusive people.  I offered some coping tips myself in another blog post- I suggest you go back & read it if you haven’t done so now.  Here is the link: December 14, 2013 

Don’t forget to take good care of yourself, Dear Reader.  & remember, God loves you- He is with you, & loves you so much.  I love you too!  Thank you for being my fan.  ❤

 

 

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December 14, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds everyone well today!  🙂

I was just thinking.. is it me or is it hard to believe that Christmas will be here in only 11 short days?!  TIme sure flies.. wow!  I know like me, many of you can’t wait for it to be a thing of the past.  I was talking to a friend a few days ago who shares this sentiment.  It’s amazing how many of us there are, & how many of us feel this way for similar reasons- family or in-laws have made the holidays so stressful rather than relaxing & enjoyable.  It’s sad.

Have you created some “stay well” strategies to get you through the holidays?  If not, here are some suggestions..

  • Be gentle with yourself.  If you don’t feel up to going to a party or doing something holiday related, then don’t do it.  It’s ok!  The Earth will continue to spin..
  • If you have pushy relatives or in-laws who demand you spend the day with them, you need to do what you are comfortable with, whether they like it or not.  How would it benefit anyone for you to allow others to dictate how you spend the day?  You’ll be miserable, & controlling people get their way.  This just is NOT good for anyone involved!
  • Why not suggest getting together with others on a day near the holidays, not on the day itself?  Would it really be so terrible to get together with Mom & Dad on Christmas eve or the day after Christmas instead of Christmas day? 
  • Do nice little things for yourself. 
  • Don’t over-extend yourself.  If you don’t want to send out Christmas cards, then don’t.  If you can’t afford to get everyone gifts, don’t.  Or, if you feel you must give something, try making special gifts- many people (like me) prefer something home made to store bought anyway.  Try baking cookies for everyone.  Or making special decorations.  Or, make a cake for each family. 
  • Find ways to relax.
  • Talk to understanding friends or relatives about why you feel the way you do about the holidays.  Maybe they can help you change your perspective.  (Even if you don’t end up loving the holidays, you may be able to change how you look at them- instead of them being a day of negativity for you, maybe you can begin to look at them as a day to spend relaxing, either by yourself or with your significant other)
  • Pray.  God loves you & understands you.  He won’t judge you for how you feel.
  • If you have a significant other, see how he/she would feel about creating new holiday traditions for just the two of you.  If you two have kids, why not get the kids in on it too?
  • Speaking of significant others, if he/she wants to spend the day with the parents rather than you, like many adult children of dysfunctional &/or controlling parents do, try looking at the day not as a lonely day for you, but as a day to yourself where you can do whatever you like.  Watch old movies, order Chinese food, read that book you’ve been wanting to read, paint your bedroom, turn up your favorite old music & dance around your house like crazy!  Have fun!   

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December 3, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I thought I’d add a bit to yesterday’s post….  

I didn’t mention it yesterday, but one thing that has made me dislike the holidays is in-laws.  I am on my second marriage, & both sets of in-laws I have had share one thing in common- expecting their adult children & their spouses to spend the holiday with them.  Period.  No excuses.  Why that is, I have no clue, but I don’t believe it’s right.  For one thing I believe the day should be spent with husband & wife together (& small kids at home too, if they have them).  Extended family can be visited within a few days of the holidays.  My grandparents always had their Christmas celebration on the Sunday between Christmas & New Year’s.  That way, everyone could relax on Christmas day & enjoy it.  This always has made so much sense to me.  

For another thing, what about my family?  What if I wanted to spend a holiday with my family rather than his?  I’ve learned that is not something to admit- saying that warranted the evil eye from both mothers in-law.  I quickly learned not to say that, & give up hopes of spending the holiday with anyone in my family.

And lastly, if you have a dysfunctional relationship with your in-laws like me, why would anyone want to spend an entire day together?  How is that a joyous family celebration?  It saps all of the joy out of your day spending it with people who you know dislike you, & who you dislike.  It certainly has for me.  I dreaded the holidays for years, & got depressed each holiday season knowing I would spend a holiday with people who were less than thrilled I was a part of their family.  

I guess I just wanted to say please think before arranging your holiday get together.  It’s not fair to demand your adult children run to your home for a holiday.  There are 364 other days in the year- why not pick one of them to get together?  If you force them or use guilt to manipulate them into coming over, they &/or their spouses will end up resentful.  It can damage your relationship greatly!  I loved my first mother in-law, but when she knew my ex & I were having car trouble, yet still demanded we drive that car (our only one) well over an hour away, in the cold, to the Christmas get together, it greatly damaged my fondness for her.  This was in the days before cell phones, so if the car had left us stranded, I have no idea how we would have gotten home.

And remember, your adult child’s spouse has a family too.  Demanding they spend the day with you tells that person they & their family aren’t as important as you & your family.  That hurts!  It also stirs up strife between the couple.  They feel stuck in the middle since both have families who want to spend a day with them.  It is NOT a pleasant place to be!

Lastly, I understand not everyone is pleased with their son or daughter’s choice of a mate.  Some personalities just clash.  If that describes your relationship with your son or daughter in-law, then please, for your adult child’s sake, try to be civil.  You don’t have to be phoney.  You don’t have to try to become best friends.  Just practice basic politeness & civility.  Showing your dislike of that person not only hurts him or her, but shows an incredible disrespect for your adult child.  It also stirs up problems in their marriage, & makes the adult child feel stuck in the middle.  Do you really want to do that to your son or daughter?

As for daughters & sons in-law, this also applies to you!!  Practice civility with your husband’s or wife’s parents.  I know first hand how hard it can be when an in-law is mean you, but do it anyway!  

Also, don’t run to your spouse complaining about his “psycho mom” or whatever other things you’d like to say.  I know you want him or her to understand your position, but that is still his/her parent.  It’s difficult for someone to accept his/her parent is capable of doing such nasty things, especially to someone they love.  Instead, talk to a friend or relative, or write in a journal.  At a less stressful, busy time, it is more appropriate to discuss in-law problems with your spouse.  Gently & with sensitivity, of course!

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December 2, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

Today has not been a good day.  My mind has been wandering all over the place.  Sometimes it’s like a browser with about 50 tabs that keep opening & closing at random.  Annoying doesn’t even begin to describe it… but I thought I would share some of my random thoughts with you in the hopes that maybe something will help you as well.

The holidays.. God forgive me, I absolutely hate the entire holiday season.  It feels strange to feel this way- I am all about being thankful for the blessings in life (not just on Thanksgiving day) & celebrating Jesus- but I hate the holidays.  I have been out of my parents’ home since 1990, & in these last 23 holiday seasons, I could count the number of enjoyable holidays I’ve had on one hand.  Most of them have been lonely &/or miserable.  Many spent with people I’d rather not be with.  As a result, I admit it- I’ve gotten bitter.  I just don’t want to be bothered with celebrating.  I would much rather just enjoy a quiet day relaxing, maybe watching movies on tv or going out to dinner.  Because of this, I have had a lot of people tell me how wrong I am, how i need to lighten up, let go of the past, etc etc.  I used to beat myself up because this is something I can’t seem to shake, no matter how hard I try to start new traditions or get into the holiday spirit.  I’ve finally realized that it’s ok.  I have overcome a lot of abusive, hurtful things in my life- maybe this “Grinch” attitude will be one of those things at some point, but for now, it isn’t.  

I think a lot of people are like me.  For whatever reason, you just aren’t a fan of the whole holiday season.  I just wanted to tell you to stop beating yourself up over it!  If you can’t seem to change your disdain, it’s ok!  There are quite a few of us out there.  

I’ve found some things that helped me a little at least:  

  • I’ve changed my perspective, thinking of the days as a peaceful day to enjoy myself rather than a holiday.  
  • I also refuse to spend the day with people who I don’t want to spend the day with.  They’ll still be there a couple of days before or after the holiday.  I believe it’s only right for immediate family (spouses & their kids still living at home) to spend the day together anyway.
  • I also try to plan something enjoyable for the day, like picking up dinner & watching movies.  
  • I don’t try to convince others I am right & they are wrong.  Neither of us is right or wrong.  Every person has their own likes & dislikes.
  • And, I am no longer beating myself up for being “abnormal” in feeling the way I do.  Everyone is different, & that is ok.

There are people, too, who get depressed during the winter months.  If that describes you, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder.  SAD is caused by the lack of sunlight during the shorter winter days.  It isn’t necessarily the holidays that depress you, but the lack of sunlight.  Then, all of the work, hustle & bustle of the holidays seem like even more work, which depresses you further.  If that describes you, there are ways to cope with SAD.  A mental health professional can prescribe anti-depressants that you take during the winter months.  Or, if you prefer natural remedies like I do, St. John’s wort & Sam-E (both available in pill form) are wonderful alternatives.  Valerian root (also available in pill form) & lemon balm are very helpful for combating anxiety.  

Whatever the cause of your dislike of the holiday season, there are ways to cope with it, & possibly get rid of your dislike.  

I hope this post helps you!  God bless you!  🙂

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December 24, 2012

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I just wanted to wish all of you a very merry Christmas! I hope your day tomorrow is full of joy & peace. Remember to thank Jesus for all He has done for you, too! 🙂

It should be a quiet day around my house. I’m planning a nice dinner that hubby requested. Making him pork chops using my grandmom’s recipe for a German variation. Other than that, probably we’ll just be hanging out with the furkids. My favorite way to spend a holiday- a quiet day at home.

Take care, everyone, and God bless you!

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