3 TIPS to Survive The Holidays with a Narcissist
Be 1 Step Ahead of the Narcissist *
This Holiday Season
Narcissists love to ruin holidays.
Hi! I’m Grace Wroldson, author of Co-Parenting with a Narcissist: 7 Self-Rules to Stay Sane & strategy coach for moms co-parenting with a narcissist and/or in custody battles.
I am here to help support you – as you keep yourself safe, your children happy, and *very important* your sanity – when dealing with a narcissistic co-parent.
I have written my story of co-parenting with a narcissist (and custody battle with a narcissist) tips in over 5 books to help you navigate a narcissist. My books are “self-help style” and share with you my tips, tools, and strategies that led to more peaceful holidays and more fairness for me and my child. I want you to experience the joy, peace, structure, and consistency that my child and I enjoy without her father’s drama ruining things.
OUR PAST? = The Holidays Used to Suck!
I spent 15 years in a relationship with the narcissist allowing him to ruin the beauty of the holidays with his complaints, drama, and negative attitude. I usually cried tears of grief, loneliness, and disappointment because I let my holidays depend on the narcissist. My mistake! (Not anymore though!)
Then, unfortunately, when I wasn’t with him and we were broken up, I allowed him to ruin holidays for me using our child as a weapon/pawn/game piece.
I no longer allow this to happen because I implemented boundaries with MYSELF (first and foremost) and then some serious psychological distance from him.
Before I discovered his narcissistic traits/behavior/personality I used to hope that we could share our child and the season so that it would be a wonderful experience for us all. What I didn’t realize was…. that wasn’t what he wanted! He wanted to ruin it for us all because he was so miserable. Me ending the relationship threatened his fragile ego and destroyed his self-esteem. So, if he couldn’t get positive attention (narcissistic supply) he was the type to get negative attention to feel significant enough to affect us. (It’s all about power.)
Please learn from my mistakes and try these 3 tips:
(See if these apply and can help you out this holiday season).
How did I get a regular schedule to count on and the narcissist’s consistent compliance? Well, I didn’t deviate from our court order myself – for about 5 years (to set a standard). That means, out of the goodness of my heart, I didn’t make “deals” with him. I had my lawyer call his lawyer if he was proposing changes that were non-compliant. IF he unilaterally went against the order we put him on notice that possible legal action may ensue if there were grounds for contempt. This sent a strong message to the narcissist that I wasn’t to be pushed around with games and manipulation. It also cost him money to have to use his lawyer (and get concerning/warning calls from his own lawyer). This, in a way, deterred more problems and made him stick more to the schedule. Amazingly, our court order was then adhered to – every year to the “T” – by the narcissist. I didn’t have to scramble, stress, or fret if he would mess with us and if I wouldn’t get my child at noon when my family arrived. Presenting a strong front made a world of difference in my case. It was business-like, professional, and not personal which helped take the drama out of the schedule, too. I took the emotions out of things because getting emotional was how I lost my power. It worked this way because the narcissist wasn’t obeying me, he was obeying the courts/judge and looking out for his “#1” (himself) by complying. It created structure, some semblance of security, and predictability that our child needed – especially around the holidays.
This was an area that he enjoyed. Having the power to mess with me. He loved having last-minute-power to say “No” and change his mind or his agreement to ruin my plans. So, I got smart. I stopped asking and started planning on ONLY my time. This was a boundary that I set with myself for myself. Yes, this meant going to a few Christmas parties without my child some years, but I used the slogan, “How Important Is It?” from the Al-Anon Program to adjust my mindset to still enjoy the holidays. I brought a picture of her and bragged about her accomplishments. I got creative and proactive. I made lunch dates with family and friends so that they could still see her during the holiday parties she missed.
You can’t expect perfect holidays, especially in a situation co-parenting with a narcissist. Shoot for simple, enjoyable, memorable moments and make new traditions. Get creative on how to mark the holiday as one FREE from the narc. Savor your time with your child. Make your Christmas, Hanukkah, holiday, or New Year’s plans on the next day or your weekend day. (Be OK with celebrating on a different day or time.) If you are flexible, you won’t wind up so frustrated and upset. Then, your children will love and enjoy a relaxed mom who celebrates the holidays and traditions NO MATTER WHAT. Show them your resilience. Lead by setting a good example of a good attitude and holiday spirit. You can have a positive influence on your children, despite the narcissist’s sour spirit.
May you learn, heal, and grow.
Remember: You and your children can come out of this stronger than before!
xo – Grace
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—Grace W. Wroldson, mother, survivor, thriver, certified life coach, and author of 5 self-help books available on Amazon
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*Disclaimer: These are helpful tips based solely on the author’s thoughts and opinions. The author is not a qualified mental health professional nor a crisis caseworker. She cannot give legal advice or appropriate counsel and is therefore not liable for any injury or harm. Please follow your doctor’s, therapist’s, counselor’s, and lawyer’s advice, as well as your own good common sense and intuition based on your unique case—to see if these tips could be helpful. Child custody situations may vary where some of these will not be applicable to your circumstance. Furthermore, court orders may dictate otherwise. Please use your own good judgment when reviewing this document. This is for personal Self-Help only. These were created from the author’s own lived experience and not based on any laws or rules of the courts. This is copyright protected by the author and is not to be sold, distributed, or quoted without the author’s written consent.