If you’re planning on gifting a narcissist this holiday season, you know it’s not going to go well, right? You have this someone in your life who is toxic in a bunch of ways. Is it your dad, your spouse, a sister or brother, a colleague you have to please? Toxic can be just so difficult to navigate. That person will complain or be contrary. A narcissist is a toxic person multiplied. That person will find fault with you in every way to control you and make you feel bad. When you feel badly about yourself, you try harder. So holiday gifting is the perfect opportunity for a narcissist to make everything worse and to bring on the drama.
Gifting a narcissist is a set up against you
Here’s what narcissists do. They have a double standard with everything, and gifting is no exception.
Your narcissist will never be pleased with what you’ve done for them or given them. Remember, you’re never enough. Here’s the end game. If your narcissist finds your gift less than it should be, you can’t point out that their gift is even smaller, or not what you wanted, you’ll get stonewalled or punished. Blame is always coming your way. Narcissists take control.
The double standard means you must adhere to a narcissist’s rule. He/she can complain and blame you if a gift has to be returned, but you can’t. It’s your fault if you don’t like a gift, and you better not say anything about returns. You literally have to say it’s the best ever. Sound familiar.
Jeannie had a narcissist husband who always gave her expensive bracelets even though she preferred necklaces and rings. She never wore those bracelets, yet kept getting more. What are you going to do when you just don’t get what you want? She had to say she loved them. They were perfect. Did she stay with him forever? How do you escape a narcissist?
Gifting a narcissist brings on the drama
Say you suggest shopping with your narcissist to make absolutely sure you get the right thing this year. Oh, the drama that will ensure. Shopping this year is not possible because of the Pandemic, and you might not even be together. So online shopping together or long distance shopping can bring up so many ways for your narcissist to claim you are uncaring or unthinking. Taking up their time, not knowing what they like. The conversations are not going to make you feel good.
What if you purchase something your narcissist actually asked for? How could this go wrong? Well, they’re gaslighters, remember? Your narcissist will insist they never asked for that, or else it’s the wrong one, wrong style, a cheap version. You just can’t get it right. How can you stop resentments.
Passive aggressive gift giving
If a narcissist actually gives you what you wanted, or a pricey gift, they will leave the price tag on to let you know how much you owe them, or else they will not wrap the gift. It won’t look good, even if it’s a wonderful gift. Does this sound familiar. The narcissist barely tries to wrap your gifts. In the beginning, you received gifts that looked professionally wrapped. The narcissist was trying to look good. Now you are given gifts that aren’t wrapped and still in the shopping bag. It’s not that the narcissist doesn’t know how to wrap gifts, you’re just not worth the trouble.
Do you have something you want
This is also true about what restaurant you want to go to, where you’d like to take your vacation, or what you want for your birthday. You won’t get what you wanted. Ever. So what’s your line of defense. Never let them know your feelings. Be serene. Accept reality. Don’t give them a reason for the drama. If your narcissist starts complaining, you can stop it by not engaging. You can walk away or say you have to go.
How to help yourself
Self-care is of utmost importance during the holidays, especially when you have a gaslighter/narcissist (or more than one) in your family. Take time every day to do something fun or pleasurable for yourself. Journaling helps because you get get your stress out without confrontation.
Allow yourself to be upset about the person they are, the person they were, and the person they continue to be. Accept that they won’t change and think only about how you can help yourself. Find someone safe to share your feelings, not a family member who will triangulate and spill the beans about what you said. A professional or other neutral third-party can help you find solutions to having a happier and healthier life. Above all, it’s not your fault. Be kind to yourself and others. It can turn you around.