Dreading heading home for the holidays? Throwing a toxic family holiday dinner bash for people you know are unlikely to appreciate your efforts or enjoy YOUR company? Welcome to the world of being a People Pleaser. It’s a thing people who are naturally empathetic but are raised in a toxic family are taught to feel obligated to do.
Whether the special event is Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Easter or some other cultural celebration like the Fourth of July or “Sunday Dinners”, truly… toxic family holidays and special occasions that provide abusive people situational opportunities to traumatize their preferred targets and scapegoats cause victims a lifetime of residual PTSD flashbacks and lingering C-PTSD issues.
Why do so many kind-hearted folks absolutely dread spending holidays, birthdays, and other special events like graduations and anniversaries with toxic family?
Because every year, time and time again, abusive people chose to target the weakest link — namely the person who is happiest about celebrating and try the hardest to please everyone.
If that person is from a toxic family that consists of egocentric people who love to engage in the act of mobbing, holidays become unique situational opportunities to gang up like jackals to target their favorite scapegoat targets for narcissistic abuse.
You know what we’re talking about. One or two people in the family are typically happy-go-lucky. They are delighted by sounds of the season and feel nothing but joy when the Christmas music starts to play in stores.
The same people who are thankful for the little things in life — like puppies, kittens, rainbows, and yes — Christmas tunes — are oftentimes the very same folks who try time and time again to create a festive atmosphere.
Whether they invite friends and family to participate in holiday activities or they are the ones hosting a party (or conversely doing the most work to organize someone else’s), these are the people that those who are narcissistic by nature or nurture choose to emotionally manipulate in order to use.
Plagued with a logical disconnect from the full spectrum of human emotions, narcissistic individuals approach every social situation in life as if it’s a competition. If they are unhappy and bored but someone around them is acting light-hearted and joyous, nothing seems to anger them more.
Mean-spirited, callous, or thoughtless individuals hate people who smile all the time and who (for the most part) live life with an infectious attitude of gratitude. When strangers meet this sort of person they tend to respond well to them — even during an otherwise stressful holiday season — because their aura radiates an appreciative affection for others who also live their lives by the golden rule.
If someone insists on making Grumpy Cat faces at a party, let them say hello if they want but politely let them excuse themselves from attending a party. Let is be okay for folks to refuse to participate in playing party games or celebrating traditional events.
If someone is going to be mean, choosing to avoid having to interact with them is absolutely the healthiest decision one could make for themselves in order to self-protect while respecting the desire of the abusive person to be left out, left alone, or in a bad mood.
Sometimes by not including a narcissist with a case of holiday blues, you might cause them to actually be allowed to have a nice day. If they can’t be pleased by including them, go “gray rock” and leave them alone to do the lame shit they all seem to universally choose to do.
Seriously — do it for the betterment of your own health, self-esteem, and psychology. It’s not cruel or invalidating to refuse to participate in the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse.
It might annoy the person who delights in controlling, manipulating, or cleverly and covertly trying to abuse you to be left out — but oh well. Too bad for them, right?
Offering to celebrate with them on a day other than one that traditionally denotes a holiday is the proper way to acknowledge that you care for them without giving them a seasonally inspired opportunity to carry out their self-centered tradition of spending the holiday season making other people feel used, targeted, victimized, responsible to enable, or abused.
Stop feeling guilty about not including a person at a special event or for a holiday who essentially has never been properly socialized.
Making arrangements to see them on a non-remarkable day like the second Tuesday of next week is the right way to handle politely avoiding a relative, family member, step-family, in-laws, or a narcissistic parent who takes great pleasure in emotionally or psychologically hurting you.
If they tell you outright how much they hate holidays and express they have no idea why people choose to celebrate them? Believe them.
Not only is it the perfect poker tell someone has hidden or covert narcissistic thinking patterns likely to lead them to lash out passive aggressively to sabotage the event, it’s a hall pass.
If they ask later why they were not invited to a family event or special occasion, simply let them know that based on their previous communication you elected not to traumatize them by even asking if they wanted to attend.
Telling them you did not want to inconvenience them by acting needy and insisting they attend your party or special holiday event feeds their ego, allowing you to emotionally put the social and emotional responsibility of why they were not included back on them.
To a person who insists on being included — let them know 6+ months in advance that you will NOT be hosting. Take a break for at least a year to make different, other, or out-of-town plans. Self-care, in this sense, is not being critical or acting hyper-sensitively.
It’s far easier to avoid incidents guaranteed to happen in a Cluster B family if the primary chaos manufacturer, mobbing leaders, and ringmasters of the FLYING MONKEY CIRCUS have no access.