As magical as the holidays can be, they can feel unmagical if you are dealing with a narcissist. Spending family time means closeness, connection, and emotional intimacy. However, when you’re dealing with a narcissist, their emotional reactivity and need for attention can leave you feeling anxious and emotionally drained.
Tactics you can use
Thankfully, there are some tactics you can use to not allow your narcissist to steal your joy.
- Manage your expectations
- Don’t engage
- Self-care 💛
Manage your expectations
If you expect the narcissist to behave like a healthy adult, forget it. Don’t expect the selfish person to do something they can’t or be someone they aren’t. The narcissist spirals amidst holiday cheer and festivities because the holidays are about connecting, bonding, and loving others—all experiences the narcissist is incapable of. Having realistic expectations and planning accordingly will help ease disappointment, frustration, and hurt.
This is also a good time to practice reparenting your inner child 💗
We can always expect a narcissist to cross our boundaries, if only to try and get a rise out of us. Do your best to not respond to baiting, gaslighting, guilt-tripping, or any other form of manipulation. Instead be mindful about what you reveal and how you respond. Remember that you don’t need to justify your feelings or explain your thoughts. The more you do, the more you are at risk for debate and self-doubt. It is helpful to create a series of rehearsed statements that you can use avoid confrontations such as:
- “I’d like to change the topic”
- “Let’s just agree to disagree”
Care for yourself
Keep up with the self-care routines that help you, like exercising, reading, or journaling. Take time for yourself and remember that the holidays should be enjoyable and peaceful.
Remember, don’t let the narcissist steal your joy. Plan ahead, don’t engage, and wrap yourself in a blanket of warmth and self-compassion.
If all else fails, call your therapist 🙂