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Abuse Victims Fear Holidays, Birthdays

Uploaded 12/7/2011, approx. 5 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

The holiday season should be a time of family get-togethers, love shared, and relatives and friends brought up to date.

Holidays are supposed to be the reification of the apparent contradiction in terms, mass or group intimacy.

Instead, for victims of family violence and abuse, holidays are recurring nightmares, replete with danger and duplicity.

Holidays become a theater of the absurd, with menacing overtones.

This is especially true when the offender also has narcissistic or antisocial psychopathic personality disorders.

It is therefore important to understand the mindsets of such abusers during the holidays.


First, there is the ending.

Holiday blues are common occurrences, even among the mentally sound and balanced.

But in abusers with narcissistic or antisocial personalities, holidays provoke a particularly virulent strain of pathological envy.

The psychopathic narcissist is jealous at others for having a family, or for being able to celebrate, or even for merely possessing the right festive mood.

The narcissist keeps telling himself, look at his inferior people, wasting their time, pretending to be happy.

Yet, deep inside, the narcissist knows that he is the defective one. He realizes that his inability to rejoice is a protracted and unusual punishment, knitted out to him by his own hands.

Though the narcissist will never admit to it, the narcissistic or psychopathic abuser is actually sad and enraged.

Consequently, he wants to spoil the party for everyone else. He wants them to share his misery, to reduce them to his level of emotional abstinence and absence.

Holidays remind the narcissist of his childhood, of the supportive and loving family he never had.

The narcissistic and psychopathic abuser feel deprived, and coupled with his rampant paranoia, he feels cheated and persecuted.

To the narcissistic and psychopathic abuser and offender, holidays are a conspiracy of the emotional heaves against the emotional heaves, not.


And then there is passive aggressiveness. Holidays and birthdays are injurious impositions and reminders of vulnerability.

The abuser ruins such events in order to make everyone else as miserable as he is, he rages in order to induce rage.

Holidays create in the narcissist an abandon of negative, nihilistic emotions, the only type of feelings that he is intimately acquainted with.

On holidays, on birthdays, and even on his own birthing, the narcissist makes it a point to carry on routinely.

He accepts no gifts, does not celebrate, or obstructively and passive aggressively works till the wee hours of the night.

Such pointed withdrawal is a demonstrative refusal to participate, a rejection of social norms and in-your-face statement.

While such unusual conduct emphasizes the narcissist's uniqueness, because very few people behave this way, it also makes him feel even more deprived and punished.

It feeds the fairness of hatred, it feeds the anger, the all-engulfing scorn that the narcissist harbors.

The narcissist abuser wants to be drawn out of his sulk and pouting, yet he declines all offers and opportunities, and he evades all attempts to draw him out.

He hurts those who try to make him smile and to forget.

In times like these, in holidays and birthdays, the narcissist is reminded of a fundamental truth, is voluptuous, virulent, spiteful, hissing and spitting grudge is all he has.

Those who threaten to take this away from him, with their love, with their affection, compassion, empathy or care, are nothing short of his enemies.

And then there is control frequently.

Psychopathic and narcissistic abusers hate it when other people are happy if they are not the cause of such jubilation and joy.

Narcissists and psychopaths have to be the prime moveries and shakers, the center of attention and the cause of everybody's moods.

In contrast, the narcissist believes that only he should determine how he should feel.

He should be the sole source and cause of his own emotions.

He, therefore, perceives holidays as prescriptions, impositions, instructions coming from Ayyaba as to how he should behave and how he should feel on given days.

Narcissists abhor authority and resent it. They are counterdependent. That's why they abhor holidays.

The psychopathic narcissist projects his own desolate inner landscape onto others.

He is convinced that people are faking and feigning the happiness, that it is forced.

He feels that they are hypocrites, dissimulating joy where there is none.

Envious as the narcissist is, he is humiliated by his own envy and he is enraged by this humiliation.

He feels that other people are the recipients of gifts that he has been deprived of, the ability to enjoy life and to feel joy.

So besieged by this knowing inadequacy, the narcissistic abuser does his best to destroy everybody else's celebratory mood.

He is a party-booker. He brings bad news and tidings. He provokes a fight. He makes disparaging of snide remarks. He disappears suddenly. He projects a dire future. He sows uncertainty in relationships.

When he has rendered his family in social circles sour and sad and downcast, the narcissist is at last elated and relieved. His mood improves dramatically and he tries to cheer everyone up, in other words, to control how they feel.

Now any joy would be real because it is his own doing and it is controlled by him.

So what can you do about such travesties of human beings?

You should act against your better instincts. Do not try to involve your abuser in festivities, family events, birthdays, special occasions and gatherings. Such attempts will only infuriate him further.

Instead, leave him be. Let him sulk, mired and immersed, as is, in his self-pity. Let him dwell upon his seething envy and martyrdom complex.

You go out, join friends and family at their abodes and celebrate with your heart's content.

Chances are that by the time you have returned, your abuser will have forgotten all about it and things will revert to normal.

But, admittedly, not always. Some abusive intimate partners will be spoiling for a fight, no matter what.

There is nothing you can do about it, except set boundaries and punish misbehavior and maltreatment.

Whether you choose to involve your abuser in holiday activities or not is immaterial. He will torment and haunt you, all the same.

With a narcissistic and psychopathic abuser, no good deed goes unpunished. Happy holidays.

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