Updated: Jun 29
The Christmas season can be full of festive fun and celebrations; that is until you have to face a family gathering where you might come into contact with a narcissist or gaslighter. Although it does mean you have to change what you do as the result of a gaslighter or narcissist, it can be important for your mental health and overall wellbeing to do so. The whole experience can be much less emotional for you, with less fallout afterwards, when you put yourself first, rather than the drama.
One of the first things that you can do is to just say no to being around that person. There is no problem with saying no to an invite to an event or gathering where the gaslighter or narcissist will be there.You don’t need to make excuses too; saying that you can’t make it should be enough. It is best to not say because the gaslighter or narcissist will be there. Unfortunately, this is likely to get back to them, which will make their behaviour towards you worse. There may be some guests or the host that you would still like to see at another point, so arrange to get together separately.
When saying no isn’t always possible
Sometimes there isn’t an option to say no to something like a family gathering. You should ask yourself if it is actually mandatory. For example, if you work with your family and want to attend a Christmas party with them, but they have invited the gaslighter who is an extended member of the family. In a situation like that it can be hard to say no as it could impact your business and working relationship. There might be an instance where a parent is sick and it could be their last Christmas, but you know that your narcissist sibling will be there. You have the choice, but saying no isn’t always going to work.
If you have made the choice to attend, then it can be a good idea to set yourself limits on how long you will stay. If you are going with other family members, such as your children or a partner, then let them know the plan and the time length that you plan to be there. You don’t need to give an explanation of why you're leaving, just that you are leaving at a certain time.
Avoid giving gifts to them
It is clear when giving a gift to a narcissist or a gaslighter that your gift will never be enough for them. So the ideal solution is to just not give them anything, as what you give them just won’t be ‘right.’ Don’t worry about not getting them anything, and don’t worry about what they may give you, as it is likely to be something you don’t need or want, and that is nonsensical. You can always throw it out or give it to someone else.
Be aware that Christmas makes them worse
Sometimes you can, falsely, think that the narcissist has been doing well recently or changed. This won’t be the case. What is most likely happening is that you have experienced the calm before the storm. Christmas and other festive times are when gaslighters can really let it all out. They don’t want to see other people enjoying themselves, so they will go out of their way to make sure that you feel bad about enjoying yourself. They like to have the focus on them too, which is why social gatherings can be tricky. An event like the children opening their presents at a family gathering should be wonderful, but it is at a time like that that they will put on a spectacle, making it all about them.
Being aware of this and knowing that they could even show you a darker side to them is important. You can prepare for it, or take steps to avoid it altogether.
Be kind to yourself
Being kind to yourself is really important, especially at this busy and bustling time of year. It is even more important when there is a gaslighter or narcissist in the family. Make sure that you take some time to do something for yourself each day, even if it is something small. Plan in time to be with people that make you feel good and that are good to be around mentally.
Sticking with your regular routines can help too, as when work and school stops, it can be a little overwhelming for some and can mean reverting back to old habits. Be kind to yourself and learn to forgive yourself. You don’t need to forgive the gaslighter or narcissist, but it can be good for you to be at a point where you know who they are and the person that they will continue to be.
If this is something that rings true for you, talking to one of our team can help, to give some clarity to feelings and to deal with the person that causes so much loss and trauma. We can help to give you solutions to lead a healthier and happier life, beyond the gaslighter or narcissist. Get in touch with us today.