I am Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
Holiday blues are a common occurrence, even among the mentally sound.
In the narcissist, holidays provoke a particularly virulent stream of pathological envy.
The narcissist is jealous at others for having a family, or for being able to celebrate lavishly, or for being in the right, suggestive mood.
The narcissist's cognitive dissonances crumble. He keeps telling himself, look at those inferior imitations of humans, slaves of their animated corpses, how they are wasting their time, how they are 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 metered out to him by his very self.
The narcissist is sad and enraged on birthdays and holidays and special occasions. He wants to spoil it for those who can enjoy. He wants them to share his misery, to reduce them to his level of emotional abstinence and absence.
In short, the narcissist hates humans because he is unable to be one.
A long time ago, I received this letter from a narcissist. He said, I hate holidays and birthdays, including my very own birthday. It is because I hate it when people are happy. And I hate it when they are happy if I am not the cause of their happiness. I have to be the prime mover and shaker of everyone's mood. No one will tell me how I should feel. I am my own master. I feel that their happiness is false, fake, forced. I feel that they are hypocrites, dissimilating joy where there is none. I feel envious, humiliated by my envy and enraged by my humiliation. I feel that they are the recipients of a gift I will never have, the ability to enjoy life and to feel joy.
And then I do my best to destroy their mood. I bring bad news and tidings. I provoke a fight. I make a disparaging remark. I project a dire future. I soar uncertainty in the relationship.
And when the other person is sour and sad, I feel relieved and even elated. It's back to normal. My mood improves dramatically and I try to cheer her up.
Now, if she does cheer up, this time it's real. It's real because it's my doing. I control it and I control her.
Holidays reminds the narcissist of his childhood, the supportive and loving family he never had, of what could have been and never was and as he grows older, he knows never will be. He feels deprived and coupled with his rampant paranoia, he feels cheated and persecuted. He rails against the indifferent injustice of the faceless cold world.
Holidays are a conspiracy of the emotional haves against the emotional have-nots.
Birthdays are a narcissistic injury. As far as a narcissist is concerned, birthdays are an imposition, a reminder of vulnerability, a fake, fake events artificially construed.
The narcissist destroys the happiness of others in order to equalize the misery, to spread it around. He rages in order to induce rage in others. Holidays creating the narcissist an abandon of negative and holistic emotions, the only one he consciously possesses and experiences.
On holidays and on his birthday, the narcissist makes it a point to carry on with his routine. He accepts no gifts. He does not celebrate. He works till the wee hours of the night. This is his demonstrative refusal to participate. It's a rejection of the social norms. It's an in-your-face statement of withdrawal. It makes the narcissist feel unique. It makes him feel even more deprived and punished. It feeds the furnace of hatred, the bestial anger, the all-engulfing scorn that he harbors.
The narcissist wants to be drawn out of his sulking and pouting, yet he declines any such offer. He evades any such attempt. He hurts those who try to make him smile and forget.
In times like that, in holidays and birthdays, the narcissist is reminded of a fundamental truth of his voluptuous, virulent, spiteful, hissing and spitting grudge of the fact that this grudge is all he has.
Those who threaten to take this grudge away from him, with their love, their affection, with their compassion and care, those people are the mortal enemies of the narcissist indeed.