Narcissists and narcissistic people love nothing more than to ruin birthdays, holidays, and special occasions of sentimental import to other people. Why? Because the PTSD flashbacks they cause for targets, preferred scapegoats, and collateral damage victims grant the predator a virtual guarantee of a trophy, meaning with each person damaged and likely to remember the pain or upset they are granted a timeless “narcissistic supply source”.
People who grow up in homes run by Narcissists, Sociopaths, or toxic parents are most acutely aware of the seasonal and holiday abuse phenomenon. You know what it means — when a person says they feel like no matter how hard they try to please the toxic person, they fail to accomplish avoiding them proffering unwelcomed abuses.
Whether a person constantly complains or does something more sinister to spoil a memory, ruin a mood, or destroy a moment, each time the holiday rolls back around or a similar intended festive occasion like a memorial event for graduation or a birthday party happens the victim flashes back. This is the ultimate trophy for a Dark Triad personality — one that claims to hate holidays or who consistently demands they have their name on a guest list solely so they can arrive, sabotage, then subsequently ridicule the host and party guests while on offensive attack.
It’s dumb. It’s lame. And it’s a total waste of time and energy — this striving to please a narcissistic person according to victim’s “Golden Rule” feelings. When a kind person invites or includes an ill-tempered person known for sabotaging events to a private party or family gathering, they do so from a place of naivete — from a place of kindness.
The host who shares an invitation to a person who they know will be difficult if not impossible to please typically understands they are allowing themselves to be abused. Make no mistake — victims agree to be victimized… but the reason for doing so (in the case of children raised in toxic families) is not co-dependence or masochism.
People capable of biologically and intellectually perceiving empathy as well as emotionally comprehending it include Cluster B personalities in family or social gatherings because they don’t ever want anyone to feel alone.
It’s that simple.
And it’s a fatal socially motivated conscience flaw that leaves them wide open for abuse and targeting. The word fatal is not to be taken lightly either — as suffering repeated victimization and witnessing trauma is the number one source of stress-related illnesses like high blood pressure, strokes, ulcers, digestive upsets, chronic fatigue symptoms, debilitating migraines, and eventual death by cancers.
Whoever taught a child to treat others as they wish to be treated themselves was the Flying Monkey who spoke as a representative of all Enablers. It’s a narcissistic perversion of intellect to treat others as YOU would wish to be treated (rather than to teach kids to treat others as the OTHER wishes or requires they be treated).
If a rattlesnake asks to be invited to a children’s birthday party, it’s highly unlikely an intelligent host would feel guilty and say okay. It’s also unlikely that the rattlesnake — once injected into a game of social Hokey Pokey — would not sink its fangs into a tasty looking guest morsel.
Sadly, this is exactly the lesson parents inadvertently teach impressionable young children by insisting Narcy Grandma or Anti-Social grandpa be included in every family social circle. Children forced to tolerate being abused or watching their own parents be victimized endure trauma that teaches lessons.
In the case of the host parent insisting on tolerating abuse happening in their home, children learn to feel toxic shame when and if they stand up for themselves. It’s the key reason why so many people struggle as adult children of narcissists to go low contact or no contact with abusive people — because they “feel” shame at the thought of excluding another human being from their social circle.
If the person has a Cluster B personality disorder, understanding NPD, ASPD, BPD, and HPD personalities don’t feel emotional pain or loneliness the same way others do can be the key to releasing guilt over not feeling warm and fuzzy about including them.
One strategy that can be helpful when dealing with a nasty person on holidays is to plan the party on the holiday date but not include the person. Don’t hide or camouflage that the event is happening — simply make alternate plans to spend time with the toxic person.
- Have Christmas at home with your immediate family, but agree to see one set of in-laws on the 26th and the other the 28th.
- Be tied up or busy on Christmas eve and Christmas day… but offer to spend a less meaningful holiday to you personally with a toxic parent or Cluster B family member. [MLK weekend in January, anybody — we’ll exchange gifts then over the three day weekend?
- Stay busy with work every day from October 1st through January 3rd. Plan an alternate holiday dinner date the first weekend in January to do a gift exchange. Keep all decorations up for the event but take them down immediately the day after to avoid triggers.
- Limit contact access during seasonal months — limiting the person’s access to harm you on special occasions by doing your own thing to celebrate in private while setting healthy boundaries that minimize their abilities to cause trauma.
- Make travel arrangements on actual holiday dates. After all, hard to get abused over Thanksgiving turkey when you are relaxing quietly and people watching while “stuck” happily at an airport. Bonus points for being clever and volunteering to get yourself bounced off a flight in exchange for free airline tickets later. Bringing a comfy puffy jacket to use as a blanket or a pillow is essential — but a nap on an airport floor is far better than having to listen to family fights while sitting on Grandpa’s davenport.
- Book a vacation for days around and overlapping your birthday. Avoid social media, phone calls, and reading email in the days before.
- Separate events for children from those for adults. If an event is for children, no adult should be forced to “endure” (wink wink nudge nudge). Plan the grown-up holiday celebration on the first Saturday evening AFTER. This allows children to have a party or celebrate a festival tradition free from grouchy, Grinch-like personality interference.
- Avoid ever inviting creepy uncles, abusive step-family members, or toxic predators to any event where children are likely to be present to things like Easter Egg hunts.
- Never let a pedophile, envious person, or sexual predator attend a family gathering — and for God’s sake refuse to let them have access to or be in charge of photographing or video taping the event.
But the best advice to give on how to deal with toxic people who love to ruin holidays is LET YOUR PARTNER AS WELL AS FAMILY FRIENDS KNOW. Simply having a person who is clued into the scapegoat victimization game can be an emotional and psychological life saver. Let the partner observe — including watching
Having an objective, non-rattled person who is clued into the scapegoat victimization game can be an emotional and psychological life saver. Let the neutral but protective partner observe — including watching you react and trigger. If a narcissistic personality is situationally abusing, provoking, and baiting, the person with no trigger witnessing the extravaganza can change the game for victims. Validation is key to Narcissistic Abuse recovery is key.
When a target is victimized, it’s typically done in secret. When the Abuser shames a victim into hiding abuse or bullies them into silence, the game — for them — is afoot. The victim then becomes the metaphoric equivalent of fleeing prey.
As the Abuser baits and provokes, making comments in reference to situational abuse incidents that only the victim knows, the result is a trigger PTSD reaction of sorts. The victim flashes back to the abuse incident(s) and is radically re-traumatized. Then, feeling the weight of past abuse complicated by a Machiavellian second abuse tactic being employed — with the Abuser typically feigning innocence while torturing an already traumatized person while pleasuring themselves by acting in ways that are sadistic — they melt down during flight or fight reaction.
Unable to escape the abuse due to the Abuser being invited into the inner circle and granted a position of both honor and trust, the scapegoat feels both powerless and helpless. They suffer further from the toxic shame triggered at the thought of wishing the abuser was never invited to begin with — as only a cold, horrible person would exclude another human being from a holiday celebration, right?
That’s the key to Narcissistic Abuse recovery right there — in the “no win situation”. The guilt/shame reaction prompted in the victim at the very thought of refusing to be abused keeps toxic people of the world in places of familial power and control.
It’s victim stupidity and acceptance of the gaslighting ethic we’ve nearly all — as humans — been collectively taught regardless of culture to do. It is the fallacy that if we exclude toxic people we are somehow being selfish, self-centered, cruel to our abusers, immature, or rude.
Setting healthy boundaries and asking to be treated with respect is not selfish. It’s also practical.
Staying with or around abusers causes psychic injury to all who interact with them. Whether abuse is overt or covert matters not — any person capable psychologically of committing a Birthday Coup or Holiday Sabotage is a person pushing domino pieces with intent to cause a landslide of social chaos.
Having a person watching and observing — making a mental note of suspicious comment quotes as well as texting or emailing themselves reminder progress notes to discuss “post-show” can help a victim feel validated as well as to take back their power. Gaslighting professionals specialize in making victims question their sanity with regard to what they experience or perceive.
Figuring out their game and catching them at it with the help of other people can be incredibly psychologically freeing. It can also be the ah-ha moment when the victims true friends and family start to catch the first glimpse of the persecution black sheep and preferred scapegoat targets who have been pervasively smear campaigned against by toxic family members have been (for a lifetime) left feeling.
If you are reading this article because you found it by search, understand you are NOT imagining it to suspect people with poopy natures almost universally act like seasonal wrecking balls. In a toxic family, everyone is left less of a person after attending memorial events… regardless of whether or not they are the most abusive Antagonist’s primary target or not.
People with Narcissistic personalities strive to turn holidays and birthday celebrations into energy competitions. [A quick refresher read of the book “The Celestine Prophecy” by Jame Redfield can remind or teach empathy on this particular subject to any person needing soul-memory confirmation.]
Since long before the Bible, Koran, or Confucian Analects were first written, Cluster B people have been manufacturing social chaos. They like to do it on holidays because they know that once they really pull a fast one over on a targeted victim and get them to react emotionally that for the rest of that person’s natural like each mention of the holiday or similar event is going to make the target think about their attacker (while revisiting the original memory of the abuse incident).
If a Dark Triad strives to ruin your Christmas party, understand they are likely to make mischief for the sake of the holiday season alone. Acting out like passive-aggressive people, they will either turn the holiday into something they claim is all about greed or commercialism or they will use it as an opportunity to compete for status with other people.
If they try to ruin a person’s birthday? That’s simply outright jealousy — nothing that the more narcissistic and anti-social they are at their core, the nastier an Abuser is likely to be in their attempts to sabotage the birthday celebrations of other people.
If they are covert, they might insist on planning the party to keep their own name in the spotlight. Red flags to this odd phenomenon includes examples of creepy and malicious behavior like the career criminal who decorates their home with a festive tree and party lights, the pedophilic Child Abuser who shows up and takes “pictures” of party guests and young children in unflattering or awkward poses, or the party host who overrides the preferences of an honored individual.