Because It’s Just Not Christmas Without…

B

Not white hot rage. Not this year.

Tonight was my family’s Christmas party. There were a few people missing this year, my baby boy for one. He had to work. Zach and his girlfriend of two years split a few months ago, so he was solo. One of my cousins had a baby since last Christmas and it was nice to get my baby fix. I passed the baby off to Middle Sister when she got fussy. The baby, not Middle Sister.

Last year, after my family Christmas party, I wrote about an incident with my narcissistic father. I behaved badly in a reaction to him behaving badly.

I thought about last year on our drive down to my aunt’s house and knew that his behavior would repeat itself. He was bound to act the same way and I could either react, or I could ignore it.

I decided to ignore it. He did behave the same way. Same old dad. Fuck everyone else…just make sure he gets what he wants.

This year was different. I didn’t get angry. I mean, I didn’t really talk to my father at all, but that is nothing new. Not getting angry when he behaves selfishly? That is new.

I have been writing less and less about narcissism and how being raised my a narcissist has both shaped me and damaged me. I don’t think it means that I’m cured, but I have found glimpses of peace that has alluded me for years. I know who I am. I know why I deal with anxiety and depression. I don’t know if writing about parental narcissism made a the difference or if my perception would have shifted no matter what.

Only that isn’t really the truth. Writing about it did help. It helped a lot. Learning about narcissistic personality disorder wasn’t easy or fun. It was painful and eye opening and it felt very much like pulling a scab off a wound that wasn’t healed yet. Then I started writing about it and discovered this huge community of people who understood exactly what I was talking about. It was amazing.

I don’t write about it much anymore because I don’t need to.

My anxiety has been off the charts lately. I still have a lot of work to do.

But there has been progress. I need to remember to be proud of the progress I’ve made. I have to remember to be grateful for the elusive sense of peace that I’ve been getting glimpses of.

The Christmas party was better this year. Mostly, it was exactly the same party as it always is. People even sit in the same spots. We exchange the same gifts. Kids run around and make a fuck ton of kid noise. Same as always. But it was still better.

It was better because I am different.

Just because I’ve been damaged doesn’t mean that is all of who I am. Just because I still have anxiety and depression doesn’t mean that my life is bad. I have a good life. I have a great family.

I hope that all of you get a glimpse of that peace. That is what I want for your Christmas present. With no white hot rage.

 

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65 comments

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  • New to your page. I think we might have a lot in common in the dad area. I avoid visiting which is bad of me. I am encouraged by you. Merry Christmas.

  • Dealing with family is something that I usually don’t enjoy. I am glad that you found one way to keep the stress at bay. Narcissistic parents…I have one. I am still figuring out how to undo the damage she did or at least stop living my life according to the damage. Merry Christmas, Michelle. You survived this year’s family event with grace. Bring on 2015!

    • It’s a hard thing to deal with. I don’t understand what it’s like to have an N mother, that had to be really hard.I’m sorry for anyone who has a narc parent. And yes…bring on 2015! We got this!!

  • I just spent some time re-reading all your posts on ACON. Wow, it is so me and my mother. I don’t have to deal with her at family gatherings anymore because she died in 2004, but our family is still broken because of her – some siblings still not talking, others talking only superficially.
    Like you, I am a survivor, and I know that blogging myself and reading your blogs has really helped identify what my ‘flaws’ are all really about. I am learning to have empathy for myself, and that is making decision making easier. At least a little.
    I am glad your party was a good one, and glad you got some baby hugs – they always help me. Merry Christmas, Michelle. I wish you only good and wonderful things in 2015, and hope that anxiety and depression take a very very back seat in the coming years.

  • That’s wonderful, Michelle! You know this post will inspire so many to look more positively, including myself. I’ve just begun writing about my family issues in what I’ve called The Martini Diaries Blog which includes a post about Father dearest. As a therapist explained to me I’m a ‘transaction’ to my father. I know the pain you speak of and the white hot rage. I’m finding that by opening up about these issues I’ve faced in my family it is surprisingly healing. I’m looking to move forward and find peace as well but I’m still tying up some loose ends (that seem to have been dangling for years :)). Peace out Sista!

  • That is my goal for the holidays and beyond — peace and joy where I can find it — even if it is just for tiny moments at a time. Oh, and starting to date again — that’s also on the New Year’s resolution list — it terrifies the shit out of me.

  • This is one of the things I’ve tried to teach my boys. We have no control over how other people behave, but we do have control over how we react to their behavior. I’m glad this brought you some peace this holiday season.

  • Excellent news, so very glad you’ve got to this point and hope the anxiety quietens down soon.
    I’m managing to deal with Christmas this year, well so far so good anyway.

  • Oh, good job, Michelle! We have the same type of father, but unlike you I am still in the “react even though I know I should ignore” phase. With my parents’ divorce I did find Thanksgiving this year was actually pleasant rather than the anxiety-inducing time bomb that it has always been. I paused several times that day to just breathe, noticing how peaceful it was minus one emotion-sucking narcissist. Maybe someday I will be where you are…maybe.

    • You will get there when you do. Or don’t. I still have a long way to go to let go of all the anger and resentment. I will say that it was much more pleasant to not be so angry.

  • That sounds wonderful. I have a couple of people in my family who push my buttons every year. Last year there was a big dust up on Christmas Eve for which the responsible party never apologized. Really the only thing for me to do is get over it. Thanks for the reminder that so much of life isn’t what happens to us, but how we react.

  • Well done, Michelle. You were able to not react, even after being pounded with anxiety for a few weeks now. I’d think that would make you more susceptible. Yay!

  • Merry Christmas !!!!
    I think it’s great that you can see how far you have come – good for you. Taking back the power is the best thing you can do to get through this.
    Sending heaps of hugs your way !
    xox

  • Michelle, thank you so very very much for welcoming me into your world. I am totally new to blogging, and already your posts are … well… not to put too much pressure on you… nothing short of life-sustaining. I look forward to reading what you offer. And I have loved visiting your old posts. You are gold.
    I hope the Christmas break brings you some good laughs with your friends and loved ones… and lots of rest. And I truly hope that you are well enough to enjoy a drink or three.

    • Oh wow, thank you so much.

      It’s Sunday evening and I have to start my third week of work. I’m still just as anxious about it. This is going to have to die down or I’m never going to be able to drink again.

  • Good for you, Michelle. I think that in a way, it’s a matter of will. Choosing to not react to someone’s attempts to push your buttons, when used as a deliberate strategy, can undercut the sick, powerless feeling of having your buttons pushed that would make you want to lash out and end up giving them the attention they were after in the first place.
    My mother once warned me that this approach is “a tough row to hoe”, but I still see it as a necessary first step to recovering one’s dignity.
    So, Merry Christmas!
    And I’ve been having my own fit of anxiety over here because for two days the link to your blog has been returning an “error, not found” message.

  • I’m glad this year is different! Merry Christmas. My mom is in Florida and no one talks to her anymore because she’s nuts. Holidays are nicer. We just act like she doesn’t exist. 😉

  • In my family it isn’t Christmas till someone cries, yeah someone always ends up in tears or someone gets the shits and storms off if that happens we all just shrug and have another drink…………..

  • I never really made peace with my alcoholic parents while they were living, but I’ve been trying my best to do it post mortem, as it were.

    For me, a combination of understanding what made them that way, and never letting them off the hook for abandoning their kids’ needs in favour of alcohol, has made it possible to move on. At least a little bit. And as you say, the white-hot rage is a lot less frequent these days. Good luck to you.

  • Hi Michelle. GOOD FOR YOU! I’m fairly new to your site so didn’t know about the previous drama but you have certainly taken the biggest step that any of us can make regarding healing ourselves and the past. You changed. Everything good that has ever happened to me came when I stopped expecting anyone or anything else to change and instead started working on changing myself. I’m not perfect by any means but as the saying goes, “i’m so much better than I used to be.” Thanks for this reminder and again, congratulations on a good holiday party! ~Kathy

    • Thank you! And you’re right..all I can do is change myself. I just didn’t understand, for so long, why I felt the way I did. It’s been quite a journey and I don’t know how much further I have to go (if I ever get there)..but it’s comforting to at least have a better understanding. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  • You are living to fight the battle for another day undaunted. Good for you. It’s not going to change the world or anything but I nominated you for a Leibster Award – read the linked post and answer the questions if you have some free time. (ha ha)

  • I’m lucky now, where we live there is only one of 4 of my brothers. Him and I are very close but the other three are narcissistic assholes that I used to let bother me. Now with momma having Alzheimer’s they act like she has the plague and don’t even call her. Fuck em’.

  • Every psychiatrist and therapist I or my parents have ever seen has said my father has narcissistic personality disorder. I never really thought about its effect on me until I read your post with that poem about it. I think I’m gonna go google it now to see the implications. My dad’s a total dick, but I honestly thought I escaped any collateral damage. (Although my alcoholism is probably more complex than just enjoying a drink lol.) Great post 🙂

    • Thank you so much! And yes…it’s probably more than just enjoying a drink. I have used alcohol as a crutch for years. Good luck on your journey, I hope you find peace with it.

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