13 thoughts on “Surviving the Narcissist at the Holiday Dinner Table

  • December 20, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I was raised by narcissistic parents and believe it or not, it was only the very few days in the year my father was decent enough on Christmas Day, meaning he didn’t get nasty, but he was horrendous on about every other day and my mother, who I still engage with, well I see her only twice a month, she sometimes could and still can be horrendous on Christmas Day, especially at Christmas dinner, always finding something to run me down with, although she was better behaved on any other day. My father is definitely narcissist, and my mother has traits of narcissism. It’s totally confusing their behaviour and it takes years to detox from this abuse etc..
    Sometimes I wish I could avoid contact.i.e not going to Christmas dinner at my mothers, but I suppose it would be seen as rude and me having the sulk, with life’s too short and all that other stuff, but I have to endure this shitty behaviour, although she’s totally different to my nephew, her grandson, a man in his early twenties, she do dotes on him all the time, he can do no wrong, but if I put a foot out of place, she’s quick to run me down, and I put up with this crap at 49 years of age!

    • December 25, 2017 at 11:57 am

      I am sorry for all the rotten behavior you have endured, Paul. One trend you can notice in the comments to this blog are that narcissists play favorites and their choices are often counter-intuitive because they are least kind to those who try the hardest to please them. From the perspective of the non-narcissist, it makes no sense and can be terribly hurtful. But remember, if the people you are dealing with are narcissistic, they are oriented primarily to their own ego needs and their choices of whom to favor and whom to punish make sense to them because they seem to serve their needs at the time. For instance, narcissistic parents often play siblings against one another or align with a grandchild against the parent. Those loyalties could often turn on a dime if it suits the needs of the narcissist. What is vital to remember is that it is NOT a comment on your worth or value as a human being. Recognizing that you are worthy of so much more is the first step toward freedom. For a complex case such as yours, the support of a therapist could be very beneficial in helping you to overcome the pain of the past and learn to prioritize your own needs. I wish you healing and a bright future.

  • December 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Why does my son constantly get angry with me and be abusive when I am the only one who tries to help him,he calls me disgusting names and always says he can’t help it because of his mental health he gets irrationally angry about small things he has a personality disorder and is a narcissus. I am dreading Christmas at the family gathering what can I do

    • December 25, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Dear Maligned Mum, please see my response to Paul Bentley above. I think it applies to your case as well. That you for sharing your experience, as it highlights the sad fact that narcissists play favorites and often are most unkind to those who try the hardest to help them.

    • December 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Dear Maligned Mum,
      Please see my comment to Paul Bentley above. I think it may apply to you as well. Thank you for sharing your experience, to help highlight the trend of narcissists often being the most unkind to those closest to them. It sounds as though your son may have a lot of unresolved anger, but being cruel is not the way to resolve it. That will not make the situation better for anyone. Unless he can learn more productive ways to express himself, the best you can do is protect yourself and set healthy boundaries with him. A therapist may help you to learn and practice boundary setting.

  • December 20, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Or if possible you can simply avoid the holidays with the narcissist(s) and create your own somewhat emotionally functional holiday minus said narcissists. Thats always fun, enjoyable and refreshing as well.

    Obviously there are those who have little choice and this article is sound advice for certain. I also implore you to ask yourselves “Do I really have no choice but to be there with THOSE people?” and if you have a choice make it. Make it for yourselves. If you can finally leave those people behind do so and do so with a passion. Afterall this is YOUR life not theirs. Take it back and never look back!

    Happy Holidays everyone. Wishing you the very best.

    • December 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Agreed. Very good point. If we think of our relationships as existing in concentric circles around us, some people are safe to keep close to us and some need to be kept at a distance. If we are spending a lot of time trying to manage painful relationships, we are probably too distracted to focus on building healthy relationships with those with whom we can give and receive love.

  • December 23, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    I have 3 narcissists to deal with, my wife, her brother, and their mother. My wife is a flying monkey and their mother is an enabler of her son. It is incredibly difficult for me to understand how someone can be so loving on the outside and so mean on the inside. What i have learned is that i really have to be there for my kids when they are in contact with their uncle. He is the main narcissist. He is the controller, the god that everyone else is expected to bow down to. I was kicked out of the picture many years ago because I refused to give the brother in law the respect he thought he deserved.So i am going to the parties these coming weeks not for myself, but for the children. This way they will have a barrier between them and their uncle. It will be very hard for me to be there especially because i do not like the uncle at all, nobody really does. And yet everyone is expected to shut up about all of the abuse that is going on. If anyone of the children speaks to me about what is going on, they have the fear that i am going to speak up. If i speak up, they will be verbally punished and banished, no joke. It is a very hard life to live but my number 1 concern is the children.

    • December 25, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      It sounds as though you are in a very complicated situation! This must be awful for you. Your comment really illustrates the ways in which one person, or a few, can set the stage for a whole lot of drama for everyone else. Your intentions sound noble, but it still seems as though you are having to step on the stage with possible narcissists and that they are directing the show. Talking to a therapist may help you to sort out how you can go about taking back your power and getting off the stage, which may be a very valuable lesson to the children involved in the long run.

  • December 23, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. This is exactly what i needed to hear. It will help me a lot in the coming tough times ahead.

    • December 25, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      You are very welcome! Please feel free to report on how it goes for you!

  • January 1, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    One of the items i was able to use, #3-Showing interest in others. I was able to use that one in particular with great success. Rather than let the main narcissist control every conversation and talk about how great of a person they were, I was able to point the conversations towards other people that usually don’t have a voice at all when the main narcissist speaks. I asked them about their job or how their college studies were going. I truly think that those individuals were tickled pink that they became the center of attention for a little bit.It was truly an amazing turn around for the situation at hand. THANK YOU.

    • January 7, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I am so glad it went well and that the more quiet members of your gathering got to feel seen and heard by you. Sounds like you gave a gift of awareness to yourself and others.


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *