As if life with a narcissist wasn’t bad enough on a regular basis, add the holidays into the mix and it becomes chaotic. Narcissists want the best-looking house on the block with extreme decorating measures just to outdo the neighbors and relatives. The food is Martha Stewart-worthy (even when it is purchased and made to look homemade), the clothes are the latest fashion trend, the parties are legendary but so are the rants and verbal assaults beforehand. And the gifts — well, they are always memorable as either too lavish or too thoughtless.
But the narcissistic relative does not have to get the best of the holiday season. Try these seven tips for surviving the next holiday function.
- Remember who they are. A narcissist acts narcissistic. Expecting them to be anything different because it is a special time of the year is unrealistic. If anything, the charming narcissist will emerge full of colorful stories of their exaggerated, elaborate accomplishments designed to impress everyone. Remember who they are and expect them to act accordingly.
- Resist the temptation to disprove. Any attempts to discount or minimize the narcissist’s achievements will be met with a swift insult or biting sarcasm. The narcissist cannot be upstaged or proven unworthy of praise. Sometimes, they resort to a stare tactic followed by the silent treatment just to demonstrate their total disgust for any show of disrespect. This can be completely avoided by resisting the urge to disprove the exaggerations.
- Don’t take the comments personally. The narcissist is betting that their personal attack, even the subtle or passive-aggressive ones, will disarm anyone trying to discredit them. Think of it as a bully on a playground who makes a quick comment to intimidate any competition. Instead, try to make light of the attack, refusing to show any negative emotion. This might frustrate the narcissist but they will be the ones acting poorly this time.