I’ve got them, the good old Christmas blues, it is a bad time for many people; people who have never known a narcissist get the Christmas blues. There is so much hype around Christmas, pressure to be with someone, to belong, to be loved. All the Christmas movies, songs and specials are about miracles happening, lovers reuniting, families patching up differences, Santa bringing the perfect gifts for the children, even the poor people are blessed with a Christmas at the last minute by some millionaire do-gooder or a real Santa, if there is tragedy it is always resolved by the end of the show and everyone has a happy Christmas.
But real life isn’t like that for most people, especially people who are living with a narcissist. If you live with a narcissist you nervously try to anticipate what is going to happen this year, what will he pull to ruin the holidays this year? Do you make plans? do you bother buying him a gift? Do you dare tell him how much you spent on presents or lie? Do you decorate the house or will he end up tearing it all down in a fit of rage, do you dare plan a neighbourhood get-together and hope he is in a good mood that day? If you have children, you worry about whether he will show up at their Christmas school concert, will he be in a good mood on Christmas morning, will he even be home on Christmas morning, will he pick on the kids and make them cry? Is it worth all the worrying? You have come to dread Christmas and try to put on a happy face and remember when Christmas was a happy time.
For me now, Christmas signifies the end of a year, the new year is about to start, where I was, how far I have come or not come, it makes me very aware of how alone I am, reminds me how much I love my son and I reminisce about Christmas’s of his youth. I get very melancholy this time of year; I have to be aware of that. Through self counsel I have come to realize the facts and not mistake my melancholy for missing JC or any part of the life I had with him. Sometimes people who have come out of a relationship with a narcissist mistake their sadness for missing the N instead of realizing, life, just life changes, the natural progression of life can make a person melancholy and we have to do the best we can to accept it. It is not the N you are missing, you are longing for the fantasy, you want the Christmas movie happy ending but it just doesn’t work that way in real life.
My life is frustrating lately, I started the year off on such a positive note and it quickly slid down a slippery slope to a place of uncertainty. I hate uncertainty. I try to look at life as an adventure and that my life is unfolding according to God’s plan. But when you end up in a place you were sure you were supposed to be and it all falls apart it gets harder to get too excited about more changes, not even changes; uncertainty with no prospects that look too promising, but I will trudge along, and see where I end up.
That said, I think a lot of my fear of uncertainty stems from being with JC, life with him was always so uncertain, I never knew day to day if he was going to love me, want me out of the house or if I was going to discover some secret he was keeping from me. Even the good times were uncertain, just because he was loving in the morning there was no guarantee he would love me when he got home from work. If, as he was leaving in the morning he said, “Lets do something special tonight, get dressed up and go for dinner.” I was setting myself up for disappointment if I rushed home after work, showered and dressed in something sexy expecting to be wined and dined because he might not even come home and the likelihood of us actually making it out the door and into a restaurant were slim. It could play out in several ways;
1. I could rush home and be ready to go when he got home and he might not even show up until after work the next day; I could end up sitting waiting for hours, trying to call or text him and him not answer his phone.
2. I could rush home and be ready to go and he might show up at a half decent hour but go out to the shop to start on some “important” project that he says will take “5 minutes”. I could end up sitting and waiting for him for hours, finally getting frustrated, going out to ask if we are going out or not and have him getting angry because I am nagging and putting me off for another “5 minutes”.
3. I could rush home and be ready, NOT say a word, quietly busy myself until he is ready and then have him come in at something like 10 pm to say, “Well, its too late to go now, I’ve been waiting for you for hours.” at that point I can argue it was me waiting for him but what is the point? the night is already ruined why start a fight. It is easier to just go put some sweats on and pretend it doesn’t matter. But that wouldn’t be good enough for him, he would have to pick a fight about something in order to get a reaction.
4. I could not rush home and just carry on with my day, maybe take a nice long walk with Kato and have him call to ask where I am and to tell me that he is just heading home from work and he will meet me at the house. I would get my hopes up and think maybe this time we will actually go out so I rush home only to get there and he’s not there and doesn’t show up until really late or the next day. Sucked in again.
5. The best case scenario would be that we actually get out of the house, then half way there he would hand me his cell phone to get me to phone the restaurant, place our order so we would pick it up and never actually go into the restaurant.
Never, not once, not even when we first started dating did we make plans and actually have them turn out like we planned, he always found a way to either cancel them or diminish the event somehow.
Christmas was no different, it didn’t matter what we planned to do for Christmas it never come to pass. It took me about 5 years to finally stop making plans with him and just did my own thing and went to my family alone. One year we had plans to go to his family in Sechelt and were in the truck ready to leave and he got out and said he would be right back. When I went looking to see what he was doing an hour later he was under the house doing God knows what and said there was no way we could leave until he did whatever he was doing. We never did leave and ended up spending Christmas alone without a turkey or any people around and he spent the whole holiday isolated in his shop.
I think that is what I miss the most, the part of me that looked forward to things like Christmas, I don’t miss JC, I miss the me I was before I met him, or the life I had before I met him. Lots of things have changed, it isn’t just because I was with JC, time changes things, I have no idea where I would be had I never met JC. Some things happened that have nothing to do with JC, Kris grew up and moved away, he is my only child, my grandchild lives with her mother and another man (not my son) so I don’t get the privilege of watching her open her gifts and share in the magic of a small child’s excitement over Santa Claus leaving the exact gifts she asked for, or watching her dumbstruck shock when my dad calls and Ho Ho Hoes into the phone and says he knows she has been a really good girl and to leave him his favorite cookies. Kids make Christmas for me. Entertaining makes Christmas for me, the decorations, the camaraderie, the baking of dozens and dozens of cookies and cabbage rolls and French tourtiere, pate, and antipasto. Christmas has never been about getting gifts, it was always about the home, family, friends, warmth, love, having people over who have no where else to go and eating turkey until you feel you will burst and turkey soup and hot turkey sandwiches for days afterward.
I miss all that. I still decorate, I have my tree up, an artificial one for the first time, but I am dealing with that. I have my collection of nutcrackers displayed and my little Dickens Village that I started collecting again after giving away the huge display I used to have. I have been painting Xmas plates and ornaments but I don’t bake or make cabbage rolls etc any more. For one thing I can’t afford the ingredients, it’s not cheap to bake and for another thing my stove runs on propane and I can’t afford propane so I don’t cook using the stove. I get by using my slow cooker, a griddle, and my microwave, I have even had 8 people for supper and did the whole meal using only those three things and it was delicious. If I really wanted to I am sure I could find a way to cook a turkey but that brings us back to money and I just don’t have the couple hundred $ it would take to make a big Christmas dinner. I used to start baking the first of November, I have pictures of Kris decorating Xmas cookies and behind him the windows have Halloween decorations in them.
The baking thing started before I even moved out on my own, when I was in my teens and I always did up baking and gave it away as gifts. But people are more health conscious than they used to be and if you don’t have kids around, it just doesn’t get eaten.
Other things have changed also, like my cousin is widowed and now works at WalMart making barely enough to live and God awful hours. her husband was nuts for Christmas and they always had a lot of money. (money may not buy happiness but it sure can add a few smiles and dammit whoever said that has not spent Christmas broke, not having money can make life pretty miserable) One year when I lived in my 3000 sq ft house in Chilliwack, with its family room off the kitchen, formal living room and family room downstairs, we had two Christmas trees, and the house was decorated from top to bottom, including bathrooms. I was having Christmas day at my house, with 8 children and a dozen adults and my cousin and her husband arrived with a clown. Yes a real live clown, they hired him and had him drive an hour out to my house to entertain the kids. It was the greatest idea, the kids were entertained for hours by this clown while the adults sat upstairs drinking and eating appetizers.
I loved having a big house and being able to have the whole family over for dinner, it was a lot of work and yes I did bitch about it sometimes and used to give Kris shit for eating the frozen cookies out of the freezer in the middle of the night. (the little bugger had his bedroom downstairs and the deep freezer was only a few feet from his bedroom door, He would sneak out in the middle of the night and eat the Christmas baking I had worked so hard on. One time I went to get a container of cookies and it was empty!) but now I think about it and smile.
There is a country song that I can relate to, I heard it again the other day and it kinda sums up what I am feeling. I won’t give you all the words but this is the part that really gets to me.
It’s sung by Trace Akins
“Five years later there’s a plumber Workin’ on the water heater Dog’s barkin’, phone’s ringin’ One kid’s cryin’ and one kid’s screamin’ And she keeps apologizin’
He says, They don’t bother me I’ve got two babies of my own One’s thirty-six, one’s twenty-three Huh, it’s hard to believe
But you’re gonna miss this You’re gonna want this back You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times So take a good look around You may not know it now But you’re gonna miss this”