It’s Christmas time again and the time for giving and receiving gifts. If you’re like me, then gift-giving (at least, when you have the money to do it) is a pleasurable activity. I could spend days thinking of the perfect gift for the ones I love most. Selecting just the right item that says ‘You mean so much to me’. After all, that is the spirit of Christmas.
But, there are other people… people who give gifts that cause more pain and humiliation, than any sort of good. Gifts that are given selfishly, and in the hopes of purchasing the love of another, rather than in the true spirit of love, and giving and unselfishness. I have had to deal with these kinds of gifts more than once. You probably already know the kind I’m speaking of…the kind that come with strings and little poison darts of insult.
This year, it’s my children who have the burden of receiving just such a gift. And not so surprisingly, I guess, from a member of my narcissist’s family. I won’t say which member. I have no ill-will towards this person. In fact, we used to be rather close, until the lies and the lack of defense for my “honor”, on the part of my narcissist, strained the relationship beyond that which this person could handle. They never were much for relationships that actually required work, faith, or sacrifice, anyway (OK, that’s the only negative thing I’m going to say, I swear).
This year my children received the gift of a trip to a wonderful place. A place of merriment and endless fun. A place where other parents, and siblings, had been invited to go to. A place that my husband and I were NOT invited to go along. Well, that is, until I voiced the opinion that I wanted to be the one to take my youngest child to this place for the first time, as it was such a special occasion. Then, that child was easily uninvited, and the rest were encouraged to be allowed. A simple solution, it seems, right?
Well, apparently, since this family member is obsessed with believing that I am on drugs, I could not be invited, though my husband was reluctantly allowed to tag along- IF that was the only way for the children to go (how benevolent). I guess it’s helpful to know that because of a post I wrote, over a year ago, in which I mentioned having to take more prescriptions than I cared to, for the sake of calming the anxiety my husband’s abuse was causing me, this particular member of my extended “family” chose to see me as a drug addict. And yes, I was clear that the “drugs” I took were all legally prescribed. This was a small part of a larger post about the physical signs of emotional abuse. You’d think she would have latched on to the fact that her very own family member was torturing me mentally & emotionally…but no. That seemed to slip right by this person’s keen sense of awareness.
Honestly, I can understand. I guess it is just too hard for a member of the narcissist’s family to come to terms with the fact that one of their own is 5 minutes away from psychopath-land. A person with no conscience, and no qualms with making another human being suffer… and doing so with complete indifference. I could see how that is a hard pill to swallow. But I also know that for the six, or seven, years before this, I was praised highly for being the one who reunited the narcissist with this family member, and for being the one who helped him grow into a better person. Then, in the blink of an eye- poof- I was black-listed. I was “fucked in the head” (as this person felt so entitled to scream at me TWICE in a drunken rage).
Every fucked up thing the narcissist did…every lie he told….every betrayal… I was half the problem. This, even though I mostly sat at home, crying myself to sleep, struggling to figure out how to survive with my children, and trying to figure out which lie or deception would surface next from my narc, in the hopes that knowing would lessen the pain. But it didn’t matter. I was guilty by association, apparently.
So…to this day, this person has never condescended to apologize for their vicious verbal attacks, nor have they expressed the slightest remorse for harpooning me, instead of focusing their attention on asking why their own family member could be so cruel. I still am the one who doesn’t get an invitation to the happiest place on Earth, when this person wants to take MY children there. No, no, no…of course not.
Am I mad? Do I feel insulted and humiliated by this person? Sure. I’m a human being after all, and the fact that this person claimed to love me and be my friend, for so many years, then suddenly turned on me- without even ASKING me if their misconceptions were true…or even asking if I was alright- after being beaten down so many times by their very own family member- well… I can’t say that doesn’t sting a bit… even more so, since the narcissist seems all too eager to let this person continue to believe these disgusting lies about me (it takes the heat off of him a bit, for all the things this person believes about me that are, in reality, only true about HIM).
He could easily show proof that I couldn’t possibly be engaging in illegal drug use, or doing any of the other nasty things I’m sure I’ve been accused of- since I’m drug-tested every month, and three times randomly over the past year (all clean), but no, that might mend the divided between myself and his family- and then I might not be alone and isolated. Then I might not be such an easy target. As we well know, abuse can only happen in silence, and isolation. (At least, I’m taking care of the silence part. Working on the isolation part, as we speak)
God only knows what other lies they believe…but no matter. The whole point of the division is to keep you separated from any true friends, or family. That way you have no one to call for help, when things get to be too much.
If your narc’s family is against you, count yourself lucky. This post is How To Deal….and that’s exactly what I’m going to show you- How To Deal. And like most things, it’s all about your perception. This is no different. So, if you find yourself having to deal with unpleasant people, family, or friends, (or their insidious gits) over the holidays, then remember these few simple, yet vital, facts:
- If it’s the narcissist’s family who is trying to insult, humiliate, or exclude you through the giving of their gifts…then let them- and be grateful. After all, think about it- this is your narcissist’s family…the ones he grew up with. These are the people who CREATED HIM…MADE him the way he is. Do you really WANT to put these people on your Christmas card list? Especially if they’re willing to ignore his mistreatment of you? If they’re so willing to turn their backs and look the other way- simply because it’s easier?If they aren’t treating you well, or trying to help you deal with, and/or escape the abuse you’re suffering, then I think it’s pretty obvious that nothing has changed too much since your narc was a child. These people are NOT real family.These are the people who would abandon you the second the going got tough- the people who would turn on you in a heartbeat, if it served their purpose, or if it were the easy thing to do. These are not the kind of friends/family you need,nor the kind you deserve. You become the average of the five people you engage with most. Do you REALLY want to be like THEM? Sister, respect yourself enough to strive for people who truly care about you.
An Amendment: This is only true, if you know for a fact that the person giving the “gift” is, indeed, guilty of the intentions you suspect. As one commenter pointed out… your narcissist could easily being lying about the intentions of others, in order to keep you isolated and divided. Try to find out what is true first… As for me, the fact that no one in the narcissist’s family, has attempted to reach out to me, I can only assume that they harbor no love for me. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they try? Why not confront someone they once thought was a good person, when they hear vicious lies?
- JUST SAY NO: Refuse to accept any gifts from these people- even if they are offering you food and you’re starving. Fuck that. Say no. People like this often use their money to try to shame you- make you feel “less than” if you don’t have as much as they do- or they try to use their money to buy love, and control you. Offering you a way to fulfill a need, but ONLY IF you do as they want-such as “I’ll give you money to feed your children every week- since I know your struggling- but only if you live where I want you to.”- Super generous, huh?This is NOT a gift- nor is it generosity. This is selfishness, and domination. The Universe will ALWAYS provide for you. It is an abundant place- so have faith. You don’t need to bow down to the will of someone who does NOT have your best interests at heart, in order to survive. Faith will take you so much farther. It’s hard at first, I know. But, trust me, you won’t starve. I promise. Truly kind and unselfish people are abundant in this world, and I have been saved by these very people- more than once. They appear, like angels (probably are) when you need them most. They always will, when you have faith that you are always protected and provided for. I guarantee it.
I know it’s hard to think that because this person is obviously giving you “so much”, that you have the right to say ‘no’, and ‘be ungrateful’. We are people with conscience, and we don’t want to feel ungrateful…but what are you really feeling ungrateful for? A manipulative attempt at controlling you – or putting you down, that’s what. Are you really supposed to be feeling grateful for that? Sometimes it takes looking at things (situations) from the right perspective, in order to overcome the grip that others attempt to place on us through guilt and shame. But, that’s their guilt…it’s their shame- NOT YOURS. And you don’t have to carry it for them. Just politely say “No, thank you.” to others’ attempts at control.
- Understand this: You don’t owe anyone, ANYTHING. Period. End of story. And, that is the fact of the matter. That should release you from feeling as though you have to say ‘yes’, when your heart is telling you to say ‘no’. Or vice versa. Trust yourself. You KNOW what is right for you and YOUR family. If someone is making you feel guilty or pressured through the giving of their “gift”, then it’s no real gift…it’s an attempt to control you- and you have the right- and a responsibility- to say ‘no’ to that. Period. Without guilt.
I hope this helps a bit, this holiday season. I know it can be difficult- fine, damn near impossible,sometimes- to stand up to people who are in your family. But, your TRUE family, are the people who love and accept you UNCONDITIONALLY. The people who have YOUR best interests at heart, and who would NEVER stoop so low as to try to guilt, or shame you into accepting a “gift” on THEIR conditions. Believe that.
We give for the sake of the giving, and we expect nothing in return. If you are giving something, and feel like you’ve earned, or deserve, even a simple ‘thank you’ in return, then you aren’t giving for the sake of giving to that person. You’re giving for recognition, or control, or pride. It may be a hard truth, but a truth nonetheless.
So give, and give with all your heart- expecting nothing in return. And receive…open yourself to receiving, because that is just as important a skill as giving. And do so without guilt, or shame, or the feeling of obligation. And if, for some reason, you feel guilty, obligated, or ashamed, at the thought of receiving someone’s gift, then trust that it is not a gift at all…but much like the Evil Queen’s poison apple “gift” to Snow White…just an attempt to take something from you…whether it be your dignity, or your right to choose your own path in life.
Happy giving this holiday season~
The Narcissist’s Wife