Tag Archives: season

When People Judge You For How You Celebrate (Or Don’t Celebrate) Holidays

The holiday season is a very popular time of year for narcissists.  Overt narcissists love ruining everyone’s joy by causing discord around holidays.  Covert narcissists love throwing parties, cooking, baking, buying tons of gifts & making sure everyone knows how hard they worked & sacrificed.  This sort of thing can lead to a lot of dread of holidays in many of us who have been subjected to holidays with narcissists. 

As if that isn’t bad enough, there are also those who judge those of us who are less than thrilled with holidays or even choose not to celebrate them.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been criticized for not liking holidays or celebrating them anymore.  I wish these judgmental jerks would experience just a part of what I have, then see if they can maintain their “holiday cheer.” 

Since that’s impossible, I figured I would discuss this topic for those of you who share my lack of enthusiasm & give some points you can bring up to the judgmental folks if you need to.

Not everyone is going to think the same about holidays, & there is nothing wrong with that!  Everyone is unique, right down to their fingerprints & DNA.  Just because someone celebrates in a way that is different than you doesn’t mean they’re automatically wrong.  It just means they want to do something different.  What gives anyone the right to say their way of celebrating is the only way to celebrate?

Some people are what I refer to as holiday Nazis.  They want what they want, when they want it for holidays, & there is zero tolerance for disobedience.  My mother in-law was like this as was my first mother in-law.  What makes the wishes of these people so important anyway?  What if someone wants to spend the day at home with their immediate family instead of attending some big party?  Why is that wrong?  I don’t see how it is. Again, it’s different, not wrong.  Besides, these people & their demands can ruin holidays for even the most die hard holiday fanatic.  How is that so difficult to understand?  It’s only normal that after repeated ruined holidays a person comes to dislike them.

Some people are also dysfunctional & not willing to work on it.  For them, holidays are a time to prove that their family isn’t dysfunctional, but a big, happy family.  These people can’t stand those of us who don’t go along with the charade, because we threaten their delusions.  Rather than face the truth, they attack those of us who live in it for not going along with their big happy family act.  How does this make any sense?  It only makes sense in the minds of the dysfunctional fools who behave this way.

And, what if someone has found a way to enjoy holidays that works for them?  Why is that worthy of criticism?  Holidays are supposed to be about joy, peace & love.  Where is any of that in judging how someone spends holidays? 

Those of us who have had more bad than good holidays don’t need judgment & criticism about what we want to do.  We don’t need to hear that we are wrong for how we choose to celebrate or if we choose to ignore the day.  We don’t need to be criticized because we prefer Italian food or some other food over traditional holiday fare.  We don’t need to have our faith brought into question because we don’t celebrate Christmas the way other people do.  Not celebrating Christmas the traditional way has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s faith in God any more than not celebrating Thanksgiving makes a person ungrateful.  No one should be made to feel flawed or “less than” simply because they choose to live their life in a way that brings them peace & joy.  If someone tries to make you feel badly for how you celebrate or don’t celebrate this holiday season, remember that clearly they have the problem, not you.  Functional people don’t try to ruin other people’s joy.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Holiday Stress

The holiday season is officially upon us, which means those of us with narcissistic parents &/or in-laws are filled with dread.  We know the narcissists in our lives have unrealistic expectations of us every day of the year, but holidays often seem to up those expectations.

My late mother in-law would tell me when I was to be where on which holiday.  She never said the exact words, but it was clear there was no excuse for me not to be there.  The same with my ex mother in-law.  Not obeying meant facing their anger.  It also meant spending the day without my husband & being angry with him for choosing his family over me.  Obeying meant spending the day surrounded by people who disliked me, & me resenting them.  Since many others with narcissistic parents or in-laws face this same scenario, I thought I would share some thoughts on the holidays.

Remember, you are an adult.  You do NOT have to blindly obey your parents or in-laws when they demand you spend a holiday with them.  When you disobey their orders, chances are good they will be upset.  They will try to guilt trip you for not wanting to spend time with “family”, or show their disapproval in some other way such as with criticisms or even the silent treatment (if you’re lucky…).  Remind yourself as often as necessary that you have nothing to feel guilty about.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend a holiday with those you love, such as good friends rather than abusive & mean people

Also, if you want to spend a holiday with someone other than your narcissistic parents or in-laws, you can offer a compromise.  My paternal grandparents always had a big Christmas gathering on the weekend after Christmas.  That way, everyone could spend the day with whoever they wished, yet there was still a family Christmas party.  Why not do the same thing?  Does it really matter what day the day is celebrated, so long as it is celebrated?  Celebrating on a weekend also means many people don’t need to be at work the following day so they can relax more & enjoy themselves.  Since narcissists do things more willingly when they can see it benefits themselves, why not approach it from this angle?  “You won’t have to get up early the next day for work if we celebrate on Saturday instead of Tuesday.  That means you can relax/enjoy the holiday/spend more time with your family & friends.”  I know, many narcissists demand holidays be celebrated only on the exact day.  My late & ex mothers in-law were that way.  But if you approach your suggestion in a way that clearly benefits them, you stand a chance of getting your way.  This isn’t a perfect solution since you’ll still be spending a holiday with narcissists, but it does at least free up the actual holiday to spend however you like.  It’s a pretty reasonable compromise!

If celebrating a holiday on another day is not an option, set a time limit.  Determine ahead of time you’ll only spend 2 hours with them, or whatever time seems reasonable to you, then leave at the end of that time.  Tell the narcissist ahead of time that you only have a short window of time to spend with them, so you must leave by 2:00 or whenever.  No, they won’t like it, but don’t back down!  Stick to what you said, & leave at the set time.

If the demanding narcissist in question is an in-law & your spouse wants to spend the day with the narcissist, so be it.  You can’t make him change his mind.  You can, however, refuse to go.  You can stay at home & watch Netflix all day.  You can spend the holiday with friends instead.  You can create a new holiday tradition to enjoy when your spouse isn’t with you.  Trying to think of it as a day off to spend in any way you like definitely helps diminish & disappointment you feel.

Most of all, never forget to pray about your situation.  God will show you the best way to handle it & help you to get through this difficult time of year.  xoxo

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism