How To Handle The Family Narcissist This Holiday Season

How To Handle The Family Narcissist This Holiday Season

The dazzling lights, the snowy weather (location dependent), the caroling (if that’s your thing), and family time mean one thing: the holidays are here. Although that isn’t how everyone’s holiday season plays out, a lot of people associate those things with the holidays. On top of the general holiday and end of the year stress, dealing with family members can prove quite challenging, especially if you have a narcissist in the family. 

There is no need to let one sour grape ruin the bunch. How do you shrug off their behavior and handle the narcissist in your family? The following tips should help you deal with the narcissist because you may not be able to avoid their presence this holiday season. Here’s what to know. 

Always Prepare In Advance

Psychotherapists agree that you should have a plan of action before dealing with the narcissist at your family holiday gathering. Take the time to reflect on the types of boundaries you need to establish. Consider asking yourself how much of your time and effort you want to give to this person. What can you do to make sure that this person’s behavior doesn’t interfere with your holiday joy? Figure out what you are willing to tolerate and where you’ll draw the line in the sand. 

Take Some Time For Yourself

Dealing with a narcissist can be frustrating. It’s almost as if they are trying to bother you on purpose, draining your energy with every second you interact with them. Psychologists explain that toxic people do their best to put you down, insult you, and make jokes about something you’re sensitive about. They do this just to get a rise out of you because they thrive when you squirm. Now that you know that, you can have the wherewithal to take a break and resist the temptation to snap back in person. Be mindful of your own boundaries!

Stay True To Your Boundaries

You can have boundaries, but lacking the ability to keep them in place will only cause you pain. Some people may have a misconception about boundaries. “Please don’t ask me about politics,” is not a boundary. Your boundary should really be, “If you ask me about politics, I will not respond.” The difference between those two statements is that one sounds more like a question, while the other is a firm directive. Don’t wait for the other person to change because you have the power to change yourself. You may not need to change the narcissist’s behavior, because you can take action and adjust to the situation. “I will not participate in family gossip,” is another boundary you can set. 

The Gray Rock Method May Help You

If you have a plan in motion and set your boundaries, you may want to experiment with the gray rock method. This is a method that can help you deal with people who have dark personality types. The gray rock method involves you becoming as boring and uninteresting as a gray rock. Employ this method when you have to interact with a narcissist. Respond in a monotone voice and keep your interactions brief. Minimizing conversations and speaking without real engagement can invite fewer interactions from the narcissist. 

Have A Plan If You Need A Break

If everything you do and plan for goes down the drain, make sure to have an escape route. This is the ultimate way to plan! Check in with yourself throughout the night to ensure that your energy has not been zapped. Remove yourself from the party if necessary, even if that means taking a phone call, walking your dog, or going to the bathroom to regroup. Be sure that you recharge by talking to someone you love before you re-enter the situation.



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