It’s that time of year that is often a time of stress for many, especially those who have some kind of contact still with their narcissistic parent.
This is the first year in five years that I have had extended family over – not my own family of origin, but my husband’s family. It seems like much longer than five years that we managed to have most of everyone in one place, especially for a brother-in-law and his wife who haven’t been ‘home‘ for Christmas for years. It just never worked out. This year, they came even though they were going to a hot spot on holiday for Christmas. So, I decided to throw a family dinner for everyone before they took their leave the following morning on holiday.
It went off pretty good actually, even though I was stuck in the kitchen most of the time – but was glad everyone else seemed to be able to catch up with each other. I was exhausted by the time everyone left. Three days of prep work and living with MS left me quite spent. I am still recovering and that was about a week ago.
It was nice. With my family, it would have been a nightmare for me – always wondering what stab she’d take at me ‘this time.’ What thing would she embarrass or humiliate me with ‘this time.’ And there was always something at every family function – every. family. function! I just never knew what would come spewing out of her face to debase me, but it happened every time without exaggeration. It didn’t help that she had the rest of the family turned against me as well, which meant that I was basically looked at like I was a leper, like I was the one with the problem. Nothing was ever good enough for my mother and when she’d talk about me behind my back, even coming off as caring, she was still smearing me – making me look like I was completely weak and or incompetent. And my mother would smear me in this manner to my siblings and even my father. I was her scapegoat … the black sheep of the family … and the one that escaped the tyranny.
This year was nice – having extended family over and not having to tip-toe around everyone … no walking on eggshells. So even though I was run off my feet, and I was feeling completely depleted, it still felt good in that I didn’t once feel like the black sheep. I didn’t once feel ostracized like my family often made me feel.
Going strict no contact with my family of origin proves once again what a wise (yet debilitatingly hard) choice it was to make. It was the best choice for me, my marriage and especially for my kidlets. It’s a decision that I will never ever regret.
Every one of us who grew up with a narcissistic family has to make decisions about boundaries and the amount of contact we have with their toxicity. For many of us, making the choice to go strict no contact takes time … yet eventually, for many of us it ends up being the only choice there is, and it is worth it.
If you do have contact with your toxic and abusive family, I hope that the Lord gives you the strength to get through it and the courage to say what you need to say when it comes to standing up for yourself, even if it means paying for it later – which we often always do when we stand up to the narcissist/abuser.
The stress of the holidays can be so tough to manage with just juggling where what is happening, when, and with who … throw an abusive, toxic, dysfunctional family into the mix that that stress has more than doubled!
Tonight is Christmas Eve … hubby and kids and I will relax at home … we’re going to barbecue burgers and then the kids can unload their stockings … maybe we’ll even watch the extended trilogy of ‘The Hobbit.’ It will be a delightful bliss.
Tomorrow will be another quiet day. My mother-in-law has volunteered to make us a Christmas supper … so tomorrow will be another day of relaxing for me after gifts are opened … maybe a movie at the movie house might even be doable … the point is, not having any contact with a toxic family makes the holidays way less stressful and way more enjoyable.
I hope your Christmas will be that for you too … a delight and not a fight.