♫ On the first day of Christmas
My true narcissist gave to me,
A guilt trip in a pear tree. ♫
It never, ever, ever fails! Your narcissist will guilt trip you this Christmas. It’s a sure thing. You can set your watch by it. Put money on it. In fact, we got our yearly guilt trip in the mail on Saturday.
Like many of you, my husband and I are No Contact with our families. A few years ago, we both sent No Contact letters to our respective families and stuck to our guns. But that didn’t stop this year’s Christmas card from saying…
Well, my Christmas wish is that you would call
at least once a year.
So there it is: the guilt trip from a woman who taught her son table manners by slapping him hard across the face. A woman who left her four year old son alone with only the care of an abused, older angry sibling who beat and kicked him unmercifully or left him in the broiling sun atop scaffolding for hours. A woman who, when she found that her daughter had wrapped her son’s torso so tightly in masking tape that he couldn’t breathe, bemoaned the waste of tape rather than his suffering. A woman who didn’t bother to leave a prepared a sandwich for her pre-kindergarten child. The woman who never visited her adult son during his multiple hospitalizations, including for a heart attack, though she lived less than five miles from the hospital. The woman who, when confronted with a myriad of neglect, screamed “We did the best we could.” (If that’s her best, I’d hate to see her worst!)
But she’s trying to guilt us into calling. Bah humbug!
As I wrote in my Christmas article last year titled How Narcissism Puts the “Bah Humbug” In Christmas, “You never have to wonder what you’re getting for Christmas. It’s always the same. False Guilt.” And usually the false guilt stems from the narcissist’s need for their family to appear perfect at Christmastime.
My family had a name for the “perfect family” passion that grips narcissists at Christmastime. We called it the Norman Rockwell Delusion. You know the Freedom from Want painting by Norman Rockwell? (See above) Every face around the dinner table is glowing with happiness, interest and the milk of human kindness while an immaculately coiffed grandmother offers a Martha Stewartesque turkey while Grandfather beams in the background.
Suddenly, narcissists start demanding that their family resembles Freedom from Want. After a full year (or rather, a lifetime) of pitting the Golden Child against the Scapegoat(s) and sowing discord willy-nilly, they demand we ignore all the familial fissures and affronts. December finds them insisting we play at Happy Families again. Just so their annual Christmas letter can be properly braggadocio and the Facebook photos of Christmas dinner can get a whole lotta likes.
Enter the (False) Guilt Trip.
So, what should you do about it?
Christmas is just another day, a normal day. Nothing changes. The narcissist doesn’t change from Ebenezer Scrooge to the benevolent Ghost of Christmas Present. And you have no obligation to make them feel or look perfect, even at Christmas.
So viva No Contact! You may be alone at Christmas, but at least you will have peace (on earth), goodwill (to men.)