Thursday’s snowfall in Philadelphia reminded us that the holidays are rapidly approaching, whether we
are ready or not.
Facebook RSVP’s for parties are beginning to pop up. Calendar placeholders for work gatherings are coming. Email trash bins are filled to the brim with Black Friday shopping specials. It’s beginning to feel a lot like,…Christmas?
It is also beginning to feel more anxious, contentious and triggering.
Holidays remind us that the year is rapidly coming to an end and leave us with feelings of unfinished business,unmet goals, or simply exacerbate the dysfunctional patterns of our relationships.
Loving a narcissistic partner can be difficult 365 days a year. However, for the 33 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it can feel like a constant game of holding one’s breath from the beginning of the tunnel until the end.
Gatherings with a narcissistic partner mean constant monitoring of their social behavior to not offend others or worrying that your narcissistic partner won’t cancel on you at the last moment due to “something came up”.
When a narcissistic partner cancels it’s not really because something came up, it’s simply because your narcissistic partner doesn’t have regard for your wants or needs.
According to the DSV 5, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of
grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by
early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the
following: grandiose sense of self, preoccupied with power and ideal love, believes self is more
special than others, requires intense amounts of admiration, and significantly exploits the
needs of others to benefit self.
Surviving the holidays with a narcissistic partner means finding balance and assessing our expectations for the outcome of our holiday plans and ideals. Truth be told, throughout the year, we can be less focused on negative patterns or behaviors in our relationships because there can be less interactions with others, who often observe these patterns and interactions, and we don’t feel as self-conscience.
Being with a narcissist means walking on egg shells about their mood and temperament.
Being with a narcissist can mean putting our wants and needs aside for their focus on the month.
Being with a narcissist can mean feeling constantly let down and wondering, “do they even see me? Why don’t my wants and needs matter?”
If you find yourself in a relationship with a partner that displays narcissistic personality
traits and characteristics, coping skills can include:
1. Engage in Self-Building Activities. A byproduct of loving a narcissist can mean a
decreased sense of self-esteem. Surround yourself with individuals that validate you.
2. Awareness. Being aware of your partners narcissistic tendencies can bring a level of
understanding to yourself so you don’t constantly internalize their behaviors. Learning
more about narcissistic personality disorder and traits can be helpful in figuring out that
next steps in your relationship.
3. Acceptance. Part of the struggle of loving a narcissist is struggling to accept why they
just can’t love you the way that you love them. Accepting that a part of narcissism is a
lack of empathy helps you recognize that their short comings are not a reflection of you.
4. Assessing Expectations. Expectations can be a large source of angst throughout the
holidays and in any relationship. Are you expectations for your narcissistic partner
At In Between the Lines, we believe ‘Everything is Figureoutable’.
Remember, you don’t have to go through this holiday season alone. Reach out to schedule a therapy session at a nearby therapy office. If you find yourself in an unsafe relationship, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. There are a lot of options and sometimes friends and family members just don’t understand.