All over the world children are waking up this morning and the first thought in their little minds is whether Santa visited last night and left presents for them. They will go running to look under the tree and find a bounty of brightly wrapped boxes, a stocking bulging with gifts and the cookies and milk will have been eaten and for one more year their faith in Santa remains intact.
I can’t remember what age Kris was when he stopped believing in Santa but I remember the day like it was yesterday.
I had worked very hard to keep the truth from him. I went to great lengths every Christmas keeping the fairy tale alive. Before Christmas my Dad would call pretending to be Santa Claus calling from the North Pole and talk to Kris. Of course we always visited Santa at the mall and on occasion Santa visited our house. Kris would make out his Christmas wish list and I would pray that he wished for something I could afford.
Christmas Eve we would lay out newspaper from the door to the tree for Santa to walk on, Kris would get a plate of cookies and a glass of milk ready for Santa and carrots for the reindeer and put it on the coffee table. My younger brother would usually come to stay the night and help me get the gifts under the tree, we would drink Grand Marnier and tea, he would eat the cookies, chew up and spit out carrot (the first year I saw him spitting carrots on the floor I was not impressed but he explained that reindeer are sloppy eaters), write Kris a letter from Santa saying thanks for the cookies and we usually stayed up too late talking. I would boil water so I could make mud because the ground would be frozen. I would dig out my old gumboots that I kept just for Christmas Eve and I would go step in the mud and make foot prints on the newspaper.
In the morning we were usually awake before Kris and after we had our morning coffee (and coffee liqueur) we would get bored waiting for Kris to wake up and start ringing the jingle bells and my brother would start yelling “Ho Ho Ho”. Kris believed for a long time, I was actually surprised he still believed when most kids his age had figured it out or been told by some disillusioned older child, but kris staunchly clung to his belief in Santa. I remember overhearing him defending Santa to some little friend, “Maybe you don’t have Santa at your house, but Santa always comes to my house, right Mom?” and I would nod my head, thinking and the child he was talking to would look so confused because parents don’t lie.
Then the day of reckoning came.
We were driving back from our weekly trip across the line for groceries and out of no where Kris says, “Mom, I want to ask you a question and I want you to be honest with me.”
I said, “Ok Kris, I will be honest, what is it.” I was thinking, “Oh God don’t let it be, where do babies come from or some other equally uncomfortable topic”.
He said, “You have to promise mom, it’s really important, the kids at school are teasing me and I really need you to tell me the truth.”
My stomach was in my throat but I promised no matter what I would be totally honest.
He screwed up his courage and asked, “Mom?…………”
Me “Yes Kris, go ahead, ask me anything.”
He went on, “The kids at school are saying there isn’t a Santa, is there a Santa mom? I really need to know.”
A mixture of panic and relief flooded over me and my mind raced, what do I do? I promised to be honest and if the kids are teasing him, and he DID want me to be honest. I looked at him and said, “You really want the truth?”
Kris- “Yes mom. Tell me the truth.”
Me – “No, Kris, there isn’t a Santa.”
He looked at me in utter disbelief, and started to argue with me, “But there has to be a Santa! Who brought all those presents? you never had enough money to buy all those presents and the foot prints, there HAS to be a Santa!!”
Then he wouldn’t believe me and I ended up in the end saying something like, “Santa exists if you believe.” I didn’t know what else to do, he refused to accept the truth and I thought I would just let it sink in and eventually he would accept it.
I often feel the victims of a narcissist are much the same; they go on the net looking for the truth, they have a feeling that the narcissist isn’t real, maybe people have even said something to them. They find my blog (or some other blog) and there is the truth staring back at them, everything they read describes their lives since meeting the N. They have the truth, they wanted the truth but once they have it they don’t want to accept it and will even argue that their man may fit the description of a narc but they are not sure he is one, after all there is so much proof he is really a nice guy deep down inside.
I am not going to argue with anyone, I figure once I put the truth out there it is up to the individual person to digest the information and eventually they will accept the truth and adjust their lives accordingly.
But the narcissist is nothing more than an elaborate lie, just like Santa, he seemed like a jolly, generous, merry, benevolent guy without a mean bone in his body. Much like Santa has little elves as helpers, the Narcissist has “helpers”also, who help him with his charade. The big difference, and why we can get over finding out Santa was not real easier than finding out the truth about the narcissist is; Santa doesn’t go on a smear campaign when you discover the truth about him. Santa doesn’t demand you give him back all the gifts he ever got you and everything else you have. Santa doesn’t go out of his way to make you feel inferior because you aren’t as good as the other children and that is why he doesn’t exist any more and if you would have just believed in him he would still be leaving gifts under your tree. Santa doesn’t haunt your dreams, stalk you, send you nasty text messages, talk shit behind your back, or blame you for everything wrong in his life. Santa is just a good memory, such a good memory we tell the same lie to our children.
The narcissist makes you want to warn everyone about narcissists and protect all the children of the world from his evil. He may be make believe but he is also flesh and blood and the devil in disguise and the sooner you accept that the better off you will be.
We all want to cling to the fantasy, it was such a nice fantasy, and it did seems so real, when we were naive; but it is time to put our big girl panties on and face the truth. It will hurt for a while but there is life after a narcissist just like any of the other fairy tales we cling to. There is no bunny who leaves chocolate eggs around the house, and no tooth fairy who comes and leaves money under your pillow, or a fat jolly man who sneaks in on Christmas eve and leaves gifts for all the good children, the narcissist is not your soul mate who will always love you for who you are and cherish you he just pretended to be.
I know some people are feeling so very all alone today, you are feeling like you are the only one who is miserable this Christmas, the N is off with the new woman and giving her all the wonderful things and more than you ever wanted or got from the N, maybe he has turned the kids against you, or maybe he has left you destitute and you can barely feed yourself or don’t have a place to call home, maybe you are still with the N and walking on egg shells hoping he doesn’t ruin the day and once again there were no gifts for you under the tree. Whatever your circumstances are, know this; you are a precious gift, you are special and loved, you do not need his approval or love to be whole and happy. It was all an evil illusion to make you feel less than, but you are beautiful, and so very loveable, and you are strong, look what you have survived so far! You may feel broken, you have every right to be sad, lonely, angry, ………… whatever you are feeling but this day is only 24 hours long and you are 1/2 way through now, you can get through the rest of the day and then it is only a few days until the new year and with the new year comes a new beginning. You will never be quite this low again, you have been through the worst of it. There is life after the narcissist, just keep saying it until you believe it.