What comes to mind when you hear the word narcissist? Do you think of someone completely self-absorbed, arrogant, or haughty? If so, you are partially right.
What most people fail to recognize about narcissistic family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. is that they often find little to no pleasure in the most wonderful time of the year, that is, Christmas.
Why? Because Christmas is all about empathy (i.e., helping those less fortunate, reaching out in love and compassion, spreading cheer, etc). Emotional intimacy, empathy, compassion, and love are things the narcissist has trouble comprehending and expressing to others.
This article will offer six ways you can identify and cope with a narcissistic personality during this holiday time.
Today’s society is full of narcissism. All you have to do is search online and you can find millions of search results geared toward the self-absorbed person.
Millions of selfies, tips on how to get rich or become more attractive, articles offering tips on new gadgets to purchase, etc. are all over the internet. It is quite saddening. Research suggests that narcissism affects about 6.2% of the U.S. population, according to the Personality Disorder Awareness Network.
Unfortunately, despite what some websites will tell you about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, most individuals will not be “cured” because many don’t believe they have a problem. The only time people with narcissistic personality traits seek therapy is when someone or something in their life is at risk such as their marriage, job, or other important asset.
Because narcissism can seem most noticeable during the holiday when people are spending large amounts of money, attending multiple holiday parties, and decorating their homes, it is my belief that narcissism can drain the natural energy out of the holiday season. As a result, I have listed these ways you may find helpful in coping with a narcissistic personality:
- Rise above the pettiness: The #1 characteristic of narcissism is shallow interactions, feelings, and desires. Rise above this. If you find the narcissistic person trying to intimidate you, challenge you, one-up you, manipulate you, or anything similar, rise above. Don’t get pulled into his or her tactics. It’s not worth it in the end. Giving in will mean sacrificing your happiness, peace of mind, and entire holiday.
- Keep perspective no matter what: Despite the attitude, thoughts shared, and behaviors of the narcissist, remain focused on what this season truly means. For example, you may have a narcissistic neighbor who competes with you every single year on house decorations. Instead of searching for and putting out the brightest and most aggressive looking display(s), disengage. Don’t feed the fire. You don’t need accolades, attention, or status.
- Disengage with the narcissist: The less you “feed” the narcissist, the better. If you don’t provide the platform for the narcissist to challenge you, things will end up better. Narcissists truly could care less about you or what you think. Why tire yourself out trying to meet their shallow expectations? We must remember that narcissists operate from a weak foundation upon which their shallow character has been built. Once you disengage, they will likely do the same.
- Focus on things other than material wealth: As you know, material wealth is not all there is to Christmas. Many of us look forward to the reactions of our loved ones on Christmas Day, their happiness and joy, spending time with family and close friends, and enjoying the holiday with those we cherish and love. Although it may sound cliche, Christmas is about so much more. Don’t let a narcissist pull you in to ignoring all of the other reasons for why Christmas is a wonderful holiday.
- Teach through modeling: Perhaps you can “model” appropriate behavior for the narcissist. Although most narcissists could truly care less about what others think or believe, their ultimate goal in life is to fit in, be accepted, and be the best. If you model appropriate actions/behaviors, ways of viewing this holiday season, and balanced expectations, you might be surprised to find out that the narcissist will follow in your footsteps.
- Stay focused. It is your day: If you plan to spend Christmas in a low-key fashion, good for you! If you plan to spend Christmas with close family and friends, good for you! If you plan to spend it alone doing what you love to do, good for you! Don’t let a narcissistic personality dictate to you, in any fashion, how you should spend your holiday.
I welcome your comments, experiences, and questions.
See you in the New Year!
All the best