Narcissist Survival Guide: How to Survive the Holidays with Your Ex

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year, but couple that with divorcing a narcissist, and you may be feeling less than jolly. You’ve seen how they have tried to ruin holidays in the past and know this year will be no different. But you can change how you react. And these narcissist survival tips can help.

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Narcissist

Narcissist Survival

The Grinch may have nothing on your narcissist ex, but if there’s a lesson learned, it’s that one person alone can’t ruin the spirit of the holidays unless you let it. So, it’s important to get yourself in that mindset with these freeing reminders: 

  • Narcissists hate the holidays only because they take the focus off them.
  • Nothing the narcissist does is about you; it’s about their need for control.
  • And you will never be able to control what a narcissist does, so don’t plan the holidays around their behavior.

Narcissist Survival During the Holidays

survive your ex

But regardless of how much you’ve prepared your mind and steeled your heart against the antics of your narcissist ex, you’ll still likely need some support to keep the holidays on track. Consider these narcissist survival tips as that reinforcement.

1. Set boundaries

Consider each event your narcissist ex will be part of and envision how you want it to play out. Then set boundaries accordingly. For example, if you want to continue the tradition of taking the kids to see Santa as a family, tell them the time and the place and that you will proceed whether or not your ex is there. 

2. Consider the motive

Manipulation is a narcissist’s number one go-to, especially during the holidays, so make sure you’re wary of anything that seems off. It could be their reason for attending or not attending an event, acting especially nice when you know they’re feeling anything but, or asking you to act a certain way to keep up appearances. As such, don’t take anything at face value; instead, stop and consider the situation as well as the motive to avoid falling into a trap.

3. Do not engage

You know your narcissist ex will try to get a rise out of you to create drama. It will be harder to do that if you don’t give them any bait. So, any communication should be as short and to the point as possible. Stick to the facts and be mindful of getting into any explanations or justifications that could be turned around on you.

4. Adjust your expectations

Not necessarily for the holidays, but of your narcissist ex. No matter how magical the season is or how much you want them to, they will not change. Expecting the worst from them is really the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your sanity during the time you spend with them during the holidays.

5. Detach, detach, detach

It’s a kneejerk reaction to blame yourself for a narcissist’s behavior; they want you to! That’s a key way in which they ruin the holiday, but if you can detach, you’ll have more control over your reactions. One way to do this is instead of looking inward at what you can do (or what you did wrong), look outwardly at them. See their pathetic attempts for what they are, an unhappy, broken, envious person trying to bring others down.

6. Take care of yourself

You know all too well how exhausting it is to deal with a narcissist. That’s why you’re getting a divorce, right? So, make time for yourself this holiday season and do the things you love that relax and ground you. This may be working out, meditating, shopping, bingeing holiday movies, or just hanging out with friends and family away from all the drama.

Narcissist Survival

Another tip for narcissist survival? Make sure your attorney and/or mediator have expertise in high-conflict divorces. For more information on how our mediation services and divorce coaching can help, contact our experienced team today.

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