The Panic of Birthdays With A Narcissist…

August 19, 2015

I’ve made it through another year. And, while my birthday Tarot Card spread insists that the theme for this year of my life is peace, celebration, harmony, marriage, family, and joy, I have to admit that it sure as Hell isn’t starting out that way…AT. ALL.

I start my morning, by not having a start. I hadn’t slept that night…or the night before. I was exhausted. But that’s beside the point. I chugged some caffeine, put on my big girl panties, and decided to call my husband. I wanted him to be the first person I spoke to this morning (yes, I know, I’m hopeless). I also wanted to make sure he was alright, seeing as how he had been stinking drunk, the night before, and I was a little concerned.

In my head, I saw the conversation going something like this:

ME: Good morning, husband. How are you feeling?

HIM: Good morning, hon. I’m feeling ok. A little sick. Maybe a little tired.

ME: Yeah? Well, I’m sorry you’re not feeling very chipper, at the moment. I’ll let you go back to bed, so you can get some rest. I just wanted you to be the first person I talked to today.

HIM: Really?

ME: Yep. Really.

HIM: Why is that? Is today some special day or something? (Of course, he’d only be pretending not to know what day it was)

ME: Nope. Not at all. (I’d laughingly go along with it…)

HIM: Oh well, in that case, I’d better get back to sleep.

ME: OK. Have a good rest, and call me when you wake up.

HIM: OK. Will do. (Insert dramatic pause) Oh, hey, honey?

ME: Yeah?

HIM: While I’m getting a little rest, could you do me a favor?

ME: Sure, what do you need? (Oooh! I know the good part is coming now)

HIM: Why don’t you think about what you’d like to do today, so that when I wake up, I can make sure that you have the best birthday ever?!

ME: I knew you didn’t forget…

HIM: Of course, not. And today, I am at your disposal…. So whatever you want, you name it, and I’ll make sure it’s done.

ME: You’re awesome!

HIM: Happy Birthday, Babe. I love you.

ME: I love you, too. Now hurry up and get some rest, because I can’t wait for my day to start.

HIM: Hey, I don’t have to go back to sleep, if you want to get started right away.

ME: No, no. I want you well-rested. Get some sleep. Call me when you’re up.

HIM: OK, if you’re sure?

ME: Absolutely.

HIM: Alright, honey. I’ll call you soon.

ME: Ok, good night.

HIM: Good night.

(We hang up the phone)

Can I just say that my phone conversation with my husband that morning….well… It did NOT go the way I intended…(The fact that I actually believed that any form of the above conversation could’ve happened, in reality, I think could be a disconcerting nod to my delusions. But I digress…)

What I got, instead, was a grumpy narc who forgot my birthday, hung up on me after two minutes, and then turned his phone off for three hours, as he obviously felt he was entitled to not to be bothered by me. After all… he was tired.

I sent a few text messages that clearly conveyed my displeasure. Three hours later, I check my phone to see that my husband had read the messages I sent, reminding him that it was my birthday and that he was being a big meanie-head, but had apparently chosen to ignore them. Obviously, he had important things to do at that moment. I guess calling his wife, on her birthday, just wasn’t that important…as usual. And then…this happened…(damn auto-correct)

Birthdays & Narcissists
…I hate auto-correct…
He responds right away, with that chipper “Happy Birthday!”, as though NOTHING HAPPENED, and I literally sit, and stare, at those two little words, on my screen…I notice there is no term of endearment attached to the statemeant. There’s no ‘I love you’… No ‘So, what do you want to do on Your Day?’. No question as to whether, or not, I even had any plans….just two, happy, little words… Two, cheerful, generic, sterile, could-have-been-meant-for-anyone, little words.

How can he fit so much ‘f*ck you’, in those two, little words?

I called him then… I wasn’t going to sit there and continue to text my displeasure, for God-knows-how-long.

I’m not sure why I expected him to sound at all remorseful, or apologetic, over the fact that-on MY BIRTHDAY-  he hung up on me, and then shut his phone off.  Of course, I wasn’t surprised to learn that he was neither remorseful, nor apologetic…. But I definitely had NOT expected what I got instead…

He actually  accused me of insulting him during our first conversation, which was ridiculous. But, THAT was why he hung up, and shut off his phone. I had “attacked him”… (What?!) I had asked if he took something with his ‘one beer’ (obviously a lie- more like several beers, or one beer…and a Xanax, or something), the night before, to get him so plastered…but apparently, that was super insulting. My bad.

What was I thinking?

Obviously, I wasn’t thinking. When it comes to this man, I wonder if my brain even functions properly, at all, anymore. Probably not. After all, I’m still here, aren’t I?

Had I been thinking, I wouldn’t have expected a narc to do something as ‘normal’ as show some appreciation at my concern for his well-being. Or perhaps, the tiniest bit of embarrassment over his drunken behavior.

I definitely wouldn’t have expected him to willingly offer up some sort of apology, or show some basic concern for MY well-being  after (basically) physically attacking me, the night before, in an intoxicated fit of lust.

I wouldn’t have expected him to ask me if I was ok, after he practically ripped a handful of my hair out.

I wouldn’t have expected him to remember that his alcohol soaked breath was the stuff of my nightmares.

Happy Birthday to me…

How the Hell do you deal with something like that? 

Another year has passed me by, and it seems I’ve gotten nothing, but a year older…and not even necessarily wiser. But anyways, back to my birth day…

After hanging up with Narcky, I decided that I would make the trip to my parents’ house. I get the kids dressed. I put on something casual, but nice-ish. I curled my hair, and pretended that I wasn’t doing it to try to look nice for him.

I. Am. An. Idiot. 

I get in the car and begin the two hour drive. On my way, I check the ‘Find My iPhone’ app, and realize my husband is on the move… and he is rather far from his home. So I call and ask him what he’s doing. He tells me that he had just picked up his friend, and they were headed towards the docks, where they would board a super-fun casino cruise ship for the next three hours.

But wait…

Did he just say that, after hanging up with me, he decided to call his friend and make plans to out gambling? On MY BIRTHDAY? Without even calling, or considering, me? Seriously?

Why? WHY am I surprised? 

And do you know what his excuse was?

“I have to make $. I couldn’t plan my day around “but she might show up-unannounced- so I’ll just sit around instead & wait to see. It’s taken me two weeks to get someone to put down the $ & come on the boat. Tried to go yesterday but it was closed for inspection”

Is anyone else getting stuck on the word- ‘unannounced’? As though I’m a neighbor, or some business acquaintance, and not his f*cking WIFE!! How much more insulting could he BE?! Then again, maybe I should consider that I’m  just being over-sensitive… (Right…because THAT line isn’t straight out of the Narcissist’s Handbook). The man is INFURIATING!

So… here’s the million dollar question: Did he immediately turn around and come to me, apologizing profusely for his thoughtlessness? Of course not! But you already knew that, didn’t you?

His cruelty has become pathetically predictable. So much so, that I feel like I don’t even have to tell you how the rest of the day went.  I mean, why do I need to describe all the details? You’ve heard it all before… I’m sure you could already guess that I spent the evening crying my eyes out, while he layed in his bed, laughing at the Chapelle Show. 

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that he just wanted to keep insisting that he tried so hard….ALL DAY…. to be “nice”, and to show that he “loved me”… I mean, he DID cancel his casino plans…. That is, once I’d gotten so fed up that I yelled into the phone that if he got on that boat, he might as well STAY on it, because I was tired of being second place to EVERYTHING on the f*cking PLANET! But that’s beside the point, isn’t it? I’m supposed to be grateful that he cancelled his plans…period.

I’m sure I don’t have to describe his arrogant and self-righteous attitude. Or how, because I was enraged, and devastated, he kept “begging” me to “just be nice”.

I’m sure you could guess that, when I finally cornered him, and demanded that he tell me WHAT PART of his inconsiderate, devaluing, and disgusting behavior, on that day, was supposed to be “nice”… what part of that day was I supposed to understand to mean that he “really cared” about me…. he could think of no logical answer that would excuse his behavior, and so he pulled out his secret weapon, and proceeded to give me the “I can’t live like this” speech.

Other wives of narcissists, I am SURE, know this speech- probably by heart! This is the one where he extols all of his own virtues (how selfless and giving he tried to be for you!) and wishes aloud that he could find some way to satisfy you, because despite his best efforts… despite the fact that he has tried everything he could think of (except being considerate and loving, that is), you’re STILL screaming and crying, and he just can’t handle it anymore. Obviously, you  just REFUSE to be pleased! (Do you know this exquisite, mind-f*cking speech, or is it just my narc that uses this particularly nasty tactic?)

The words of your narcissist’s speech might be a little different, but you’ll KNOW you’re hearing this speech, if all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this overwhelming sense of fear, and dread, descend upon you and it feels like your soul is being ripped out of your body, because no matter what specific words he is using, the message behind those words, is crystal clear. You’ll KNOW  this speech, because in one second flat, your emotions reach fever pitch- everything spins out of control- and you can almost feel some well-worn switch inside of you ‘click’, as panic starts to overtake you.

And, in that moment, you want to stop it….more than ANYTHING, you just want it to stop.. But it doesn’t, of course. It feels like your body is too-full… Like you’re afraid you will literally just spontaneously combust, because a body couldn’t possibly hold this much pain  and anguish, inside of it, without bursting.

You’ll KNOW  that you’re hearing THIS speech when the only words you can think of are screams, and you feel like you’re being stabbed in the heart, literally… And you can FEEL the sharp blade going into your chest… and the air is too thin- there is just not enough of it to sustain you- and it all happens so fast, that you have only a split-second to say goodbye to your dignity, before the world completely comes apart at the seams.

You will KNOW you’re hearing this speech, from the feeling you get in your gut …that feeling that leaves you with the sneaking suspicion that you have no value, in this man’s eyes…that he could turn around, walk away, and never look back….and he wouldn’t shed a single tear over you… In fact, it’d probably be a few days before he even realized you were gone.

It’s crystal clear that, underneath all his pompous, entitled, self-aggrandizing words is a vicious threat, delivered with sugar-coated malice, and it’s meaning couldn’t be more to-the-point: Accept my abuse. Just take it- with a smile- and be grateful I’ve condescended to throw you the scraps of my affection. TAKE IT- and don’t you DARE point it out to me!! Or, I will throw you away, like the trash you are. 

For me, there is a moment of realization, as I look into my husband-turned-monster’s now-cold, empty eyes… My husband is nowhere to be found. He is gone, and I have been left unprotected. And, this monster means what he says. I know he could discard me very easily…he’s done it before. And the fear that grips me, when I think of enduring that horror again, is unspeakable. I can feel myself cracking at the edges, and my shame compounds the fear, because I think, “What have I become? What happened to the strong, confident woman that was here, just a moment ago? The woman who had cornered this narcissist with unarguable logic…the clever girl who cut through ,rationalizations, and brought him face to face with his cruelty… That brave woman who left this monster nowhere to hide… Where is she now, when I NEED her the most?” 

A word to the wise… remember what I forgot… the cardinal rule of survival, when you’re trapped in Hell, with a narcissist… NEVER back the beast into a corner.


Then silence…

For just a split second.

Just long enough to see the all the fight drain out of me…

Just long enough to notice myself crumble… To notice the way my body seems to fold in on itself…

Just long enough to notice how much smaller I seem now…

Just long enough to lovingly shut off the part of me that can’t stand to see the infinite sadness, etched onto my face…..the part that can’t stand to watch my weakness.

The silence lasts just long enough for me to think, “Why?”

“I only wanted to love you.”

…and then the panic and terror take over…

Hi. I’m Story Lynne, (a.k.a. The Narcissist’s Wife). Nice to meet you. I’m the mother of 4 amazing kids, the (soon-to-be-ex) wife of a narcissist, and the author of this blog. I’m also a teacher, a healer, an intuitive empath, and Angel Card Reader.
I love fairies, angels, the color pink, anything sparkly, and Legos. (the Elves are my absolute favorites). I also love fixing cars, building shit, and shooting my bow (as in, bow and arrow).

19 thoughts on “The Panic of Birthdays With A Narcissist…

  • Ruth

    Confronting him won’t work, you know this. He knew it was your birthday and choose not to celebrate it. It hurts and it is disappointing and it completely stinks. I’ll bet he celebrated your birthdays before you were married and had children and that makes it hurt more. The one acknowledgement is given to make sure that you know he didn’t forget, he is purposefully choosing not to celebrate you. What you can control is your reaction. Don’t give him anything. Ignore him, do what you want, eat what you want, but yourself a present. Sadly, you know that this is how you are treated on your birthday. Having expectations that anything will be different only causes pain for you. For him it provides fuel. I even picked out a birthday card for myself this year. Choose a day this month for a redo and take care of yourself. Happy Birthday.

    • Thank you for your comment. You are right. None of these plots and plans work in the end. This article is here as more of a diary entry… to show how I felt at that time. It was written several years ago 🙂

      We go through so many different mind sets in the course of an abusive relationship and I wanted readers to know that whichever “mindset phase” they happen to be in, its normal. I stayed in my relationship longer than I should have because so many articles I found were written from the perspective of someone already healed/healing and so I thought maybe my situation was different. And, that maybe I could fix it. (Wrong!)

      While some of these posts feel a bit embarrassing to me now, they are raw, real, in the moment thoughts and feelings, from all different phases of my marriage. So, I’ve decided to leave them up, as is, in the hopes that more people can connect to the words and hopefully recognize abuse sooner.

      Much love, sister, and thanks for your support and encouragement. 🙂❤️

  • Nelly

    This was a great post, especially when you wrote about ‘the speech’. I would get a lump in my throat and wonder why I didn’t have the power to just hang up or walk away. I think deep down I felt that if I did either of those things, then he would use it to justify even more abuse . . .

    But speaking of birthdays, for me, it wasn’t about him spending money or treating me like a princess or any of that. It was about him acknowledging that it was a day where I generally wake up with a pep in my step and enjoy spending time with those I care about. I recall getting to his place. I had dressed cute and was genuinely happy to see him. He looks at me coldly and says, “So..what do you want to do?” It was then that I tiptoed around him as I had trained myself to and I suggested we go to a cheap restaurant for maybe a glass or two of wine. Over our drinks, he became icy, failed to make conversation, and brought up how he enjoys provoking family members that upset his mother (weird comment to make). I took it as him sort of trying to bully me into submission or wanting me to call him out on his behavior (to which the crazy making would begin for his supply). When the bill came, I paid for my wine. He didn’t offer. (I’m NOT expecting a man to pay for everything, I just thought it would have been a kind gesture on my birthday). The next day was Valentine’s Day of which he was quiet about. I didn’t really care about that, but I did call him to ask why he had a bad attitude on my birthday and why he didn’t offer to pay for just one drink. He then became FURIOUS. Accused me of being materialistic, how he doesn’t have the money (yet he would dine himself out on Palm Beach island often), and then he said, “Well, I drove you to the restaurant, didn’t I?” I then apologized for being so “demanding”. The next few days he gave an ultimatum. that I invite him to meet my parents (he gave me three days to make it happen), otherwise he will break up with me because it means I don’t love him. I sickly agreed and as my parents wined and dined him, I couldn’t help but think to the night of my birthday when he was so cold . . .

    Over the next few weeks he would punish by blocking me on social media and cell phone without letting me know. Or he would do it right after sending me text messages where he tells me I’m a piece of shit, that I’m a bad girlfriend, that I’m a spoiled princess, that I need to fix MY problems, etc. etc. He’d blame me for some mysterious illness he was developing because we were always rocky. When I would ask him what exactly was he suffering from, he would say, “I DON’T WANT TO TELL YOU!”, he would add really scandalous women on Instagram and like their photographs knowing that it upset me when he did that during fights, and one time, he tried to drop me home after I had been hysterically crying because of his abuse. I asked him not to drop me back as my roommates were having a pretty big party and I didn’t want to walk in like that. And so I said, well let’s go to a gas station where I will fix my makeup and from there will call an Uber to get home. I did just that. I called my Uber and he “drove off”. However, when the Uber arrived, he swung his car back around and rolled down his window and said, “you’re coming home with me. I wasn’t going to leave you to go in an Uber anyway.”

    It ended after that (there was more narc abuse that went down throughout the few months I was with him). I am at a phase where I feel so angry at him yet relieved that I can identify why I would allow someone like that into my life and let him stay. I’m working towards establishing healthier boundaries and not giving in to narcissistic demands as well as working with a therapist to cultivate a healthier self-esteem and worth to just look at any type of crazy and say, “NO THANKS! GOODBYE! :)”

    • Good for you. That is really amazing. So often, it takes many years before the targets of abuse even recognize what’s being done to them. And, I’m glad to hear you are being proactive in regards to your healing.

      You’re doing great!

  • Andy

    You actually sound like the narcissist. MY BIRTHDAY. Are you 8 years old? As an adult, it’s just another day full of responsibilities. Get over it, and yourself.

  • Sharon Grant

    Happy birthday !! the ex narcissist husband’s birthday is tomorrow and he has never celebrated it… Now that we are separated and is in the court system he wants to have the kids over

    • Of course he does… he knows it would irritate you. I’d be willing to bet though, that if you made it seem like it would really please you for him to have the kids… he’d never show up to pick them up. He’d change his tune real fucking quick. LOL

      Maybe you might wanna send him a message saying that after thinking about it, you’re really glad he’s asking to have the kids on his birthday. After all, the only thing you’ve wanted this whole time was for him to be a responsible and loving father. As such, you’re thrilled to see him finally come around and decide to start cooperating with you in regards to the whole shared parenting thing.

      I’d almost be willing to bet my right arm that the birthday thing would no longer be an issue. Well, least that’s exactly how it happened for me.

      Knowing that narcs need to have win/lose scenarios…. I simply praised my ex-Narc for being so cooperative… and bam! Problem solved. 😉 It was almost too easy to play him. LMAO

  • Stuart

    Thank you for you post, my birthday was in April and was dumped on that day via a narcissist… suprisingly took her back act of forgiveness.
    2weeks ago I walked away taking our engagement ring and 12 months of me trying to understand narcissistic emotional abuse, I had enough and 3 attempts to leave. I am not weak for wanting it to work though you cannot clap with one hand. I’m lucky I have 2beautiful children to distract me enough, I now need to rebuild my world again…trust that I will not ever be treated Iike this and know a beautiful woman with a great soul will love me and my kids just as we are.
    I am lucky I only endured two years of this. If anyone knows that there gut feeling says it’s not right walk away…keep you sanity and self worth to someone who will care and love you whole heartedly- know one deserves to be treated badly for someone else’s gratification.

    Today is her birthday i will not contact her, as much as I want to, I just can’t.

    One of the greatest gifts one can receive is the act of love- compassion and forgiveness, the best day when we were born, no being should take this right.

    • Congrats! Good for you for walking away. It’s a hard thing to do but, we all owe it to ourselves to be loved, and treated with respect. I’m glad you saw that early on.

      Speaking of finding someone better, in the future…. We attract narcissists because of negative beliefs we hold about ourselves, in our subconscious mind. Unhealed “trauma” (be it big, or small) from our childhood, taught us to believe some wrong-town things, and so… narcissists just fit the picture of what we feel we are deserving of. (It’s not a conscious thing at all.)

      For as long as those beliefs (or, traumas) are unhealed, we will tend to continue to attract one narc after another, until we get the message and attend t what needs attending to. If that makes sense.

      Also, come time for her birthday next year, you would have absolutely NO urge at all- whatsoever- to contact her. She would be absolutely nothing to you. No good feelings. No bad feelings. Just nothing. And, you’d find that much nicer, more loving women would start to show up for you..

      I would recommend that you definitely spend some time healing whatever negative beliefs you have about yourself. Make sure that the next woman you meet is of the best quality- which is exactly what you, and your children, deserve. (I have some great articles about healing coming out soon (right after I fix this disaster of a website! LOL). So, I hope you come back again.

      Best of luck to you!

  • Thank you for writing this. Today is my birthday and I have been absolutely emotionally pulverized by my Narccist. But I promised him and myself that this is the birthday or holiday or special day that I allow him to ruin. The Very Last.

    • Good for you! I’m so proud of you for choosing to take a stand. Always remember that you have so much more power over this situation than you might think you do. And even if you find yourself still in relationship with your narcissist, at the next special day, know that you STILL can keep your promise of not letting him ruin it.

      Keep your head held high, sister. It’s the only way to keep all the filth you’re being forced to wade through out of your eyes. You got this.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Much love,
      ~The Narcissist’s Wife

  • Lookup

    I learned last year when I turned 50 that I was going to take my birthday into my own hands. When I turned 40 he did nothing (no party no big gift). That year he have an affair. So I turned 50 and I wasn’t going to have him make me feel like I don’t exist. I planned a trip to Aruba. My sister, my daughter and myself. Do you know that if I didn’t tell my son to remind my husband it was my birthday and that he should call me. He wouldn’t of even sent a text that said: happy birthday. Nothing else. Later he told me he didn’t want to call because he thought it would cost too much on the cell phone. Yeah ok I believe that. Anyway what I am suggesting….make your own plans when it’s your birthday. Don’t wait or expect anything from them. We know this already, don’t we. I look back now and I’m so proud of myself for treating myself and remembering my 50th in a special way….with family that truly loves me.

    • You are certainly right. We DO know better. This post was from last year, and before this particular birthday, my husband had always made SOME kind of effort on my birthdays- mostly, to put on a show for the kids…”Look how wonderfully Daddy treats Mommy! And look how she doesn’t do the same for me on MY birthday…Poor me!” (Which, of course, isn’t true, but I digress)…

      I do, now, intend to celebrate every birthday, from now on, with people who truly care about me, and with all the enthusiasm that I used to have for my birthday…that is, BEFORE my narcissist sucked the living joy out of every moment of life.
      No more of that, though… those days are over!

      And, I’m so glad that you have found a positive, healthy way to deal with the issue of crappy, narc-infested birthdays. I’m proud of you. A lot of women would just continue to spend their birthday in victim-land, being miserable. It takes incredible strength to do what you’re doing, and to have that kind of positive self-loving attitude- especially when married to a narcissist…and I commend you!
      Keep up the amazing work…Much love to you, Sister. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Lookup

        Oh wow. Me strong. I would never use that word to describe myself. But THANK YOU!! I feel the same as you. Mine SUCKED 25 good years out of my life. He is not going to do that ever again. This just came to mind. I had breadt cancer 8 years ago and had a double mastectomy. He almost didn’t stay with me in the hospital which is 1.5 hours away. When he got in his cot. All he said; this is so uncomfortable. I should just go home. I felt like crying like a baby and wished I had brought my mother with me instead. I just knew he wasn’t going to be compassionate but then again I tried to see. This time it’s serious. I have cancer. NO SYMPATHY FROM HIM EVER!!! I just don’t know why back then I didn’t see this. I was so stupid. But I’m smart now. And I will have my day in court. Lol. Thanks again for replying!!!!!

  • Violet

    I am so sorry to hear that and I do understand where you are coming from. My birthday is coming up in about three days and I too will have to deal with the same awkward coldness. It’s already a “normal” everyday thing, his ignoring me, but this day (my birthday) it’s harder to just ACT like it doesn’t bother me, BUT I MUST or he wins again. I keep telling myself every year, especially lately, not to take it personally when he doesn’t say Happy Birthday, neither verbally by text, or receive a card or a small cheap gift. I had to hide away the pain earlier this year when he didn’t even say Happy Mothers day or remind our son to tell me so. So… here we go again, right?

    Happy Belated by the way!

    • Thanks for the Birthday Wishes! And Happy Birthday to you too, in 14 minutes! It was a miraculous day all those years ago.

      And, thanks, as always, for sharing your experience and your truth. I know how hard it can be to try to PRETEND as though all is well, or that we don’t hurt, or bleed, like everyone else…… but you know what? F*ck Them!! Seriously, F*CK every last douche-bag who thinks he’s got the right to treat people as though they didn’t matter…as though they were objects.

      They feel/are so powerless, that they have no recourse but to try to rob us of our power. Our Dignity.

      But here’s a fun fact, that might help ease your suffering…just a bit, on your birthday: We don’t need them…but they sure as hell need us, to validate their very existence.

      Who’s weak now?

      Now, don’t you have some important stuff to do? Enjoy your birthday. Hang in there…you can do this.

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