It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless you’re married to or the lone codependent in a family of narcissists and other self-pitying, bullying, high drama personality disordered individuals. In which case gird your jingle bells, turn off the porch light and spike your eggnog.
If you have a narcissist in your life, you’ve probably grown to dread the annual quest for the perfect holiday, the perfect family and the perfect gift. Nothing is ever good enough. They need to be the center of attention and there’s never enough attention. Even if you give them every gift on their lists and flood them with attention, they’ll still do their best to ruin the festivities.
Why do narcissists and other disordered abusers often seem so determined to make it a miserable holiday?
There are several possible reasons:
- Control. It’s just another way for the narcissist to control everyone. Narcissists and borderlines tend to act out on special occasions more than usual, which gets you to jump through more hoops than usual, so best get hopping. On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen! Move it! Move it! Move it!
- Center of Attention. It’s all about the narcissist or borderline. By escalating her or his bad behaviors during the holidays, they become the center of attention. You and the rest of the family walk on eggshells to please them and make sure everything is to their liking, which is unlikely to happen anyway. At least not the way you think. What they like is making others tiptoe around and cater to them. The narcissist ain’t happy unless everyone else is unhappy.
- Party Pooper. Narcissists like to turn fun into dys-fun-ction. It’s not enough for them to be sullen and angry; all the Whos in Whoville need to be miserable, too. That’s what warms the narcissist’s two sizes too small heart. You enjoy Christmas trees? The narcissist will insist on accompanying you and then complain the entire time. You like entertaining? The narcissist huffs and puffs in the days leading up to the party and then pretends to be the host or hostess with the most-est.
- Unhappy childhoods. Some narcissists and borderlines have horrible childhood memories of the holidays. Instead of choosing a different path they continue the painful tradition in their adult lives. Bah humbug!
- Isolation. Many narcissists, borderlines and psychopaths wreck the holidays to avoid spending time with your family or keep you from seeing your family. Why? See above.
It doesn’t matter how much you spend or how much thought you put into selecting a present; you’re going to fail. Why not go down in flames with a laugh? Here are some suggestions for what to give the narcissist, borderline, histrionic or psychopath in your life this year:
1. The Disney Princess Magic Talking Mirror Set. This enchanted mirror allows your self-appointed princess or prince to gaze at their reflection and be told, “You look too lovely today! You’re the fairest in the land! You’re the most beautiful princess/prince in the whole world.”
It’s a must-have for every narcissist on your gift list this year. Plus, if you buy a bulk package of batteries from Costco, it will save some time and energy in the undying adoration department. She’ll be thrilled with her new never-ending narcissistic supply and you’ll be a hero for 5 minutes –until she starts to compare you to the mirror. Why can’t you be more like my Magic Mirror? SIGH. . .
2. The Green Hornet Hot Shot Electric Cattle Prod. Think of the endless hours of fun your narcissist will have zapping you when you least expect it. If she or he had any friends, they’d all be green with envy. . . “How dare you criticize me!” Zap. “Who do you think you are to question me!” Zap. “Stop being so sensitive.” Zap. “I shouldn’t have to tell you what I want; you should know.” Zap. “I’m bored.” Zap. Dance monkey!” Zap.
3. A Box of Applause. I was going to write my own description, but it’s impossible to improve upon the sales blurb at Sky Mall:
Craving a little recognition? Someone who gets your jokes? Open the Box of Applause and be greeted with the sounds of cheering and clapping from a very enthusiastic crowd. Close your eyes and imagine yourself accepting that Oscar, Nobel Prize or Best Comedy Emmy.
Yes, this is the real product description. I wonder if there’s an R & D department just for narcissists?
4. GPS Tracking Apps. Tired of your narcissist or borderline’s endless interrogations? Where were you? Who were you with? Who did you talk to? Where did you go after work? You were gone too long to just have been at the store! Who is she?!?!?!? WHO IS SHE?!?!?!???!?!?!?
Indulge her controlling nature and put her pathological jealousy to rest with one of a myriad of GPS tracking apps for your smartphone that follows your every move. Sure it’s abnormal, controlling and abusive, but it’s less invasive than a microchip embedded in your molar or a radio signal device up your butt.
5. Retractable Leash and Collar. It’s the perfect gift to show who’s really in charge. Since narcissists enjoy yanking people’s chains, why not give them the real thing? Why a retractable leash instead of a basic leash? All the better to screw with your head, of course.
Your narcissist will give you just enough lead to let you momentarily experience a sense of freedom. Then with the mere push of a button — CLICK — your feet fly out from underneath you and you’re flat on your back wondering what the heck happened. Changing the length of the leash at will gives the narcissist the added bonus of the element of surprise.
And as long as we’re on a canine theme. . .
6. Your Very Own Dog House. No more move over, Rover! It’s the perfect gift for when you disappoint your narcissist or borderline, displease her or try to do something nice for her. Yes you did all the laundry, but you didn’t fold the towels the way she likes. Yes, you took his car to get serviced on your lunch hour, but you didn’t bring it back with a full tank of gas. You were breathing to loud. You looked at him the wrong way. You didn’t respond to her quickly enough. What can you do? Where can you go? Your very own dog house!
Far enough from the narcissist or borderline, yet close enough to trigger neither fears of abandonment nor fears of engulfment. Genius.
Many narcissists think there’s no greater punishment than giving you the silent treatment or banishing you from their presence. Initially, it may feel very bad being deprived of their very special brand of sunshine. Give it time. If you stay with your narcissist or borderline long enough, you’ll treasure those moments of silence. * Satellite TV hook-up ready.
7. Stigmata Costume. It’s the perfect gift for your favorite martyr/professional victim! Nothing quite says, “See how much I sacrifice for you! I do everything around here. You never lift a finger to help me! Hey! Stop mopping the floor when I’m talking to you! And that’s another thing, you NEVER listen to me. Stop paying the bills and LISTEN TO ME!!! You don’t love me. The only person you think about is yourself!” than some nice oozing stigmata wounds.
Many Cluster B personalities (narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and sociopaths) are notoriously lazy. Wearing fake stigmata will save your martyr precious time from her or his busy Facebook/Instagram schedule by allowing them to shorthand their usual victim shtick. Instead of her “me, victim — you, jerk” routine, a simple hand gesture will do. *Wooden cross not included.
The plastic photo pouch allows your narcissistic wife/girlfriend/ex to personalize her psychotic rage episodes or cold silences when you’re not available or switch out soulmates as they change. She can yell at or ignore Pinky whenever it strikes her fancy. Best of all she can unleash her demons with zero damage to you! He can also act as a stand-in for when she starts one of her pointless, endless grievance sessions right before bedtime after you’ve had a hard day at work.
As an added bonus, when you’re finally ready to end your abusive relationship, your ex will have someone on whom to take out her frustrations. *Air pump sold separately.
*** [Moment of seriousness]: There is no Wife/Girlfriend version of this available. What does that tell you about the domestic violence double standard our society has about female DV victims vs. male DV victims?
9. The Narcissistic Wife Warning Ringtone. Forewarned is forearmed. You’ll know exactly who’s calling when the warning siren sounds. Dive! Dive! Dive! (*Also available in the Narcissistic Husband Warning Ringtone).
10. The Mr Wonderful Talking Doll. Tired of never getting it right? Tired of always saying the wrong thing? Meet your new best friend, the Mr Wonderful Talking Doll. He always knows just what to say to soothe the savage breast.
For example, your wife or girlfriend can give him a squeeze (or throw him across the room) and Mr Wonderful will respond, “Why don’t we go to the mall? Don’t you want some new shoes? You look beautiful in the morning. The ball game isn’t important. I’d rather spend time with you. Let’s talk about our relationship.” And if Mr Wonderful doesn’t get it right? Well, everything’s always your fault anyway, so what’s one more item added to her laundry list of grievances? *Ms Wonderful Doll also available at Amazon.
11. Noise Cancelling Headphones. This one’s for you. No explanation necessary.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Whatever You Celebrate and Happy New Year!
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.
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