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How To Survive The Holidays With A Narcissistic Partner

Written by: Lisa Sonni, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Lisa Sonni

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but if you're in a relationship with a narcissist, it can feel more like a nightmare. Narcissists can ruin the holidays with their demanding behavior, selfishness, and need for control. If you're feeling stuck in a relationship with a narcissist, it's important to realize that leaving them or trying to change them might not be possible. Instead, you can focus on setting boundaries, managing your reactions, and finding ways to protect yourself during the holidays. Let’s explore five reasons why narcissists ruin holidays and provide some practical tips to help you survive the season.

woman standing by Christmas tree with decoration feeling stress

Reason 1: They demand attention and control

Narcissists have an insatiable need for attention and control, especially during the holidays when there are more opportunities to be the center of attention. They may have unrealistic expectations of what the holidays should look like, and they'll demand that you and everyone else meet those expectations. To survive, it's important to set boundaries and communicate your own needs and expectations

Reason 2: They thrive off your reactions

In the midst of dealing with narcissists during the holidays, it's crucial to remember that they possess a unique skill set for pushing your buttons and eliciting reactions. As the self-aware narcissist, Lee Hammock, known online as @MentalHealness, wisely advises, "your power is in your reaction." Narcissists derive a sense of power and satisfaction when they succeed in provoking strong emotional responses from others. This holiday season, they might intensify their efforts to garner attention and reactions, making it all the more important to maintain your cool.

The key is not to give them the gratification of witnessing your distress. As Dr. Ramani's DEEP technique teaches us, you can maintain your composure by remembering the acronym: Don't Defend, Engage, Explain, or Personalize. When you find yourself on the verge of reacting emotionally to a narcissist's antics, take a deep breath and focus on staying present and grounded. By refusing to engage in their games and by safeguarding your emotional responses, you reclaim your power and protect your well-being during the holiday season.

Reason 3: They undermine your boundaries

Narcissists don't respect boundaries, and they may try to undermine your choices during the holidays. For example, they may criticize your gift-giving or insist on doing things their way. It's important to set clear boundaries and stick to them, even if it means facing some pushback always keeping your physical safety the top priority. Communicate your boundaries calmly and assertively, and be prepared to enforce them with consequences if necessary. When they do it anyway, you can choose to distance yourself temporarily from their negative comments by leaving the room, ending the conversation and reminding them that the holidays are about spreading joy and love, not criticism.

Reason 4: They create drama and chaos

Narcissists thrive on drama and chaos, and they may create conflict or manipulate situations to get attention during the holidays. To survive, it's important to stay calm and centered, and avoid getting drawn into their drama. Focus on what's important to you, and don't let them distract you with their behavior. If they create conflict or drama, try to defuse the situation rather than engaging with them.

Reason 5: They make everything about them

Narcissists have a way of making everything about them, especially during the holidays. They will monopolize conversations, interrupt others, or insist on doing things their way. Their behavior stems from a deep-seated need for validation and control. They thrive on being the center of attention, and their actions reflect an attempt to fulfill their emotional needs, even if it comes at the expense of others' feelings and desires. It's important to remember that you have the right to your own opinions and priorities, and you don't have to defer to your partner's wishes all the time. If you need to prioritize your own needs or make decisions that don't align with your partner's desires, communicate those calmly and assertively, and stick to them.

The holidays can be a challenging time for anyone, but if you're in a relationship with a narcissist, it can be extra overwhelming. Remember that you have the power to set boundaries, manage your reactions, and protect yourself during the holidays. This is the perfect time of year to consider your New Years Resolution focusing on yourself and building a happy life that doesn’t include narcissistic abuse. There’s a webinar called Overcoming Trauma Bonds: A Step-by-Step Guide to Rebuilding, where you can listen to Self-Aware Narcissist Lee Hammock, Psychologist Dr. Kerry McAvoy, Psychotherapist Jessica McNair, and Survivor Sarah Jessica talk about the specifics of exactly how to overcome this, leave and rebuild.

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Lisa Sonni Brainz Magazine

Lisa Sonni, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lisa Sonni is a survivor of domestic assault and narcissistic abuse, and her first hand experience led her to where she is today ‒ a certified Relationship Coach specializing in abuse education and trauma bond recovery. She helps clients from all walks of life overcome challenges stemming from traumatic partnerships. She is the author of the Trauma Bond Recovery Course, The Trauma Bond Recovery Journal, and Rebuilding After A Trauma Bond: A Self-Love Journal, as well as a popular content creator known as Stronger Than Before across all social media platforms.



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