Not only have I been witness to narcissists and their behaviors during the holidays as an attorney, I’ve also had to deal with narcissists during the holidays in my personal life. Their behavior around the holidays, or any special occasion for that matter, is so curious. Why would anyone want to ruin a special day that is supposed to be joyful for everyone involved? It’s as if their behavior is like a bad rash that seems to flare up in the most inconvenient of times. You’re about to sit down by the Christmas tree to open presents on Christmas morning or you’re about to cut into that turkey on thanksgiving or blow out the candles on your birthday cake, and then boom. There the narcissist is, doing what they do best, and ruining everything! Why on earth do they do this!? Once you find out the cause of their behavior surrounding the holidays, it will become easier for you to prepare for it and react to it when it happens. 

There is often a surge in divorces in January – we call it divorce month. I often believe it is because of all the narcissist’s out there acting up around the holidays leaving their targets finally ready to get out and move on with their lives. If you are dealing with a narcissist over the holidays and you are preparing to see their toxic behaviors flare up, remember to keep your expectations and emotions in check. Do not engage and look forward to the new year and finally getting rid of the narcissist from your life. 

Their need for constant attention.

Narcissists have a need for constant- and I mean CONSTANT- validation and attention. During the holidays or on special occasions – unless it is THEIR birthday- their main source of supply’s attention is typically diverted from them and onto the occasion and the others that might be involved in the special day or event. Narcissists need any endless amount of supply from their main source of supply and do not want to share. If the narcissist feels as if they are not being prioritized, they will do whatever it takes to get the attention back on to them. For narcissists, any attention is good attention. 

They hate obligation.

Another reason why narcissists ruin holidays and special occasions is because they hate obligations. Narcissists are completely self-seeking and so if they feel obligated to meet certain expectations or are inconvenienced in any way, they will likely throw a tantrum. Narcissist’s hate doing things for other people. The only nice things they do are when they are trying to manipulate someone so that they can further receive narcissistic supply from them. If a narcissist doesn’t completely ruin the day by not showing up, avoiding responsibility, or causing a scene, expect the bare minimum from them – if anything. 

Any supply is good supply. 

Similarly to their need for constant attention, another reason that narcissists ruin holidays and special occasions is because to them, any supply is good supply. Narcissistic supply is anything that feeds the narcissist’s ego. So although it can come from validation, adulation, and attention- it can also come from making his or her target feel less than through devaluing, controlling, and through various other abusive behaviors. If a narcissist feels like they are not getting the amount of supply needed to just feel okay, he or she will go to any length to get the amount they are craving. 

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