Narcissists and the Holidays – Gifts, Gaslighting and the Grinch


Tony turns to his online group and asks for examples of what gift-giving looks like in a narcissistic relationship. He also tackles an email from someone waking up to their own narcissistic traits and tendencies. 

With the continuing “sheltering” rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think you can’t continue or begin therapy now. can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link, you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your mental health a priority, offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

You can learn more about Tony’s pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting And visit and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the “uh’s” and “um’s” that, in his words, “must be created by wizards and magic!” because it’s that good! To learn more about Descript, click here


[00:00:06] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode 13

[00:00:09] Of Waking Up the Narcissism, I’m your host, Tony

[00:00:10] Overby. I’m a licensed

[00:00:12] Marriage and family therapist. A certified mine will have a coach, writer, speaker, husband, father for creator of the Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program.

[00:00:21] I don’t think I talk much about that on this podcast,

[00:00:23] But if you are interested in learning healthier coping mechanisms, if you are someone who turns to pornography

[00:00:31] As a coping mechanism, maybe you don’t feel it’s

[00:00:33] Connected in your relationship or as a parent or in your faith or your career or your health. Then go to and you’ll find a short book that describes

[00:00:42] Common mistakes that people make when trying

[00:00:43] To put pornography behind them.

[00:00:45] That was just so what I say on the Virtual Couch podcast, so

[00:00:48] I just I rolled right into that,

[00:00:50] But I want to get to today’s episode, and I’m going

[00:00:52] To do a fair amount of

[00:00:53] Reading today. So let me pull up a Google document and let’s begin. This starts out with an email that I received, and this isn’t the normal type of email that I get. So bear with me. The email

[00:01:05] Starts with Dear Dr.

[00:01:06] Overbay and they say, I’m kidding. I know you’re not a doctor. See, does that show you that I’ve binged on episodes

[00:01:12] Of your very good coach

[00:01:13] Podcast? And I

[00:01:14] Just have to stop right here and

[00:01:15] Say this, this guy got me. He’s funny and he gets it, and I want to get to today’s topic.

[00:01:21] So bad. There are so many things that we’re going to cover today, but

[00:01:23] I feel like this email is just so good and you’ll see why in a minute.

[00:01:25] But long story short, I have talked on my virtual couch

[00:01:29] Podcast about one of my own clients

[00:01:31] Years ago saw me wearing a virtual couch jacket. Actually, I’m literally wearing a virtual couch jacket now,

[00:01:37] If you end up finding this on my YouTube channel at some point. And I

[00:01:41] Had just started

[00:01:41] Getting merchandise and they saw the logo and they said, Oh, it’s really neat, and you could see that they were kind of squinting. And this person said, I’ve told

[00:01:49] A lot of my friends about your

[00:01:51] Podcast, and then they

[00:01:51] Squinted to read the writing under the

[00:01:53] Logo and they said, You’re

[00:01:54] Very good coach

[00:01:55] Podcast because I’m guessing that

[00:01:57] From far off, Virtual Couch looked like very good coach

[00:02:00] And bless their heart. They wanted to make me feel good, and I’m guessing

[00:02:03] They were looking for external

[00:02:04] Validation that I would say thank you so much. That means so much to me, and I think I did say that any

[00:02:09] Year or so later, they finally shared that they didn’t even know really how, how to access podcasts or what the podcast

[00:02:15] Was or how to listen. And and so I

[00:02:17] Just I loved that part. So every now and again, I’ve talked on the Virtual Couch podcast about

[00:02:22] My podcast being

[00:02:22] Called The Very Good Coach and on the Dr. Overbay front,

[00:02:25] It’s kind of funny too. I’m a licensed

[00:02:27] Marriage and family therapist,

[00:02:29] So that means I have a master’s degree in counseling and I am licensed by the state of

[00:02:32] California. And many are. I’ll say, most people, I think, have the therapists,

[00:02:37] Psychologists

[00:02:38] And psychiatrist parts confused

[00:02:40] Because it’s confusing. I feel like I was in grad school and I still didn’t really have all that stuff figured out.

[00:02:45] But a therapist like me, I have a master’s degree accumulate three thousand hours as an intern, and then you sit for

[00:02:52] Licensing exams and then you become a licensed

[00:02:55] Therapist. And if you go to school two or three more years and more exams, you get your doctorate and you can get your doctorate in psychology. And now you can write doctor on your checks.

[00:03:05] And I just impulsively want

[00:03:07] To say for those under 30, you can Google.

[00:03:09] What a check is. And I’m kidding, sort of. And finally, a psychiatrist is actually a medical doctor who went to medical school and they literally did all the medical school things they did rounds. I had a psychiatrist client. At one point they talked

[00:03:20] About delivering babies. They talked about working in podiatry, and

[00:03:25] They did all kinds of medical doctor things before specializing in psychiatry and mental health related issues and prescribing medication. So there’s your fun fact the day. So when somebody does call me doctor, which they will do in an email and actually had someone write that on a check one at one point, now I can’t even think of the word photocopied the check, and I thought it was really funny, but it’s not correct.

[00:03:43] But he goes on to say, here’s the good parts of the email.

[00:03:46] He said, I have to say that I wasn’t a fan,

[00:03:48] Not at all, for a month or

[00:03:49] So. He said I felt like my wife was having almost an emotional

[00:03:53] Affair with your

[00:03:54] Podcast, and I was not interested in learning why, why she was so fascinated by your podcast. And he said, I

[00:04:00] Got mad at her. I gaslit her. But then I started listening angrily at first to waking

[00:04:05] Up the narcissism, basically trying to make a mental list of all the things that I could make fun of about you. I would love to get that list, by the way. So if he is listening to this, I please feel free to share that list. That would be kind of fun. And he said also

[00:04:16] To debunk her so

[00:04:18] I could be the special one. He said, What did you know anyway? Who are you? So he said, but then the episode? Am I the narcissist where he said,

[00:04:25] You opened up about your own awakening?

[00:04:27] He said, I’ve listened to it two or three times, and I swear to you, it was like watching the movie The Grinch, he said at the end, when

[00:04:34] The Grinch is heart expanded.

[00:04:35] And he said, Here’s the funny thing I used to watch that movie every Christmas and honestly think to myself, Yeah,

[00:04:41] I wish my heart. I wish my wife’s heart would grow, and then she would appreciate me

[00:04:45] Or my kids. He said, Yes, of course you see where this is going. I made it all about her. I didn’t even think anything about my fault in this situation. He said, What a victim I was. How immature was I? He said, I know you don’t have the explicit tag on your episode, so I can’t. He said, so I will call myself a piece of.

[00:05:05] Dot dot, dot. Garbage.

[00:05:06] But he said, I know that that doesn’t cover it. He said, No, I am

[00:05:09] Absolutely immature, narcissistic.

[00:05:12] I have narcissistic Dustin’s tendencies, traits.

[00:05:15] And honestly, thank you for trying to bring awareness to the

[00:05:16] Fact that we may be misusing that word even a little bit. And let me jump back in. So what I believe he means is that in another episode, I talked

[00:05:23] About people with narcissistic personality disorder, the

[00:05:27] Legitimate. We could diagnose this narcissistic personality disorder and that percentage of the population is is actually fairly low. But I maintain that we all again start off as kids as technically little egotistical.

[00:05:39] Bless their hearts, narcissist. And then we

[00:05:41] Go through life based on a quest to go from self-centered to self confident.

[00:05:46] And it is hard. It really

[00:05:48] Is. You have to do a lot of self confrontation, take ownership of a lot of things,

[00:05:51] And that’s extremely hard. If you were never modeled that right type of parenting when you were growing up and to realize that you are the only version of you and that you need to learn who you are, what makes you tick, what your passions are

[00:06:05] And one of the most amazing things or experiences that you can have is to be able to explore those things with another human being. And when you really step back and think of it, how amazing would that be to feel

[00:06:15] Safe in your own home, your own relationship safe to bring things

[00:06:19] Up and have a spouse? Say, Tell

[00:06:21] Me more about that. What is that like for you? Wow. When you bring that up,

[00:06:24] Here’s what my experience is, and

[00:06:26] Then the conversation goes from there to you’re going to talk more with curiosity,

[00:06:31] Not criticism. Because the goal is not then for the narcissist to put down their spouse to make themselves

[00:06:37] Feel superior or to feel like the special

[00:06:39] One. But it’s to have a genuine connection and not so that then they can

[00:06:43] Get what they want more sex or more control or more power.

[00:06:46] Because no, it comes from a place

[00:06:48] Where they genuinely care about the other person. But it takes that person with the

[00:06:51] Narcissistic traits and tendencies to really do some self

[00:06:54] Confrontation,

[00:06:55] And

[00:06:55] I am starting to get more and more of those. It’s it’s a really small percentage to the ones where I just feel like people are responding and saying they just truly feel heard and understood and the things that we’re talking about

[00:07:05] Here on the podcast. He goes on to say more nice things and to admit that he’s now almost overwhelmed at how much of his behavior of his behaviors he sees as manipulative, of seeking external validation. And he

[00:07:15] Asked me if I ever work with men that are coming to this

[00:07:17] Realization. And yes, I do. So if you are a guy

[00:07:20] That’s starting to process this type of information, please feel free to email me because I’m starting to hear from more and more of you and I appreciate what you’re going through

[00:07:27] Now. With that said, today’s episode is going to be heavy and it’s going to be a lot.

[00:07:32] And here’s here’s one of my warnings

[00:07:34] Is that if you haven’t noticed by now, if you happen to listen to the Very Good Coach podcast, I am joking. Well, it’s actually kind of funny. What I’m going to talk about is I love humor.

[00:07:42] I use humor a lot. I’ve talked about primary and secondary emotions

[00:07:46] Quite a bit on my podcast and what that really means. And I’ll just give you a quick example.

[00:07:50] The primary emotion is what is your reaction? Some people call it the first start reaction, and then secondary emotion is what comes after. And I

[00:07:58] Feel like the clearest example of this is that when I was

[00:08:02] Young father and my kids went through a period where they would like to scare me at any given moment, I would walk around a quarter and they would scare me.

[00:08:10] And if you really step back, that’s funny. It’s a little kid that’s trying to

[00:08:13] Scare you and they just are wanting

[00:08:15] To have some fun. And maybe they’ve seen it in the movie or they played hide and seek, I don’t know. But as an adult,

[00:08:21] We come around the corner. They scare us, and our immediate reaction is like,

[00:08:24] Hey, you know, why did you do that? You? I could have dropped this. I could have hurt myself.

[00:08:28] And so there’s your primary emotion. That primary emotion

[00:08:31] Is actually check that I jumped ahead of myself there. So the primary emotion

[00:08:36] Is embarrassment that I reacted

[00:08:38] The way that I did. And then we will often do is is that

[00:08:41] Embarrassment is the primary emotion. The anger is the secondary emotion.

[00:08:44] So then I

[00:08:45] Get angry about

[00:08:46] The fact that I was embarrassed

[00:08:47] Or that I was

[00:08:48] Scared. And so often, if we can sit with that primary emotion, then we

[00:08:53] Can just be more present. We can be more real, we can be more authentic.

[00:08:56] So if my kid scares me and all of a sudden, Oh my gosh, you got me, you got

[00:09:00] Me, now we’re having a shared experience

[00:09:02] Now. We’re not looking at this with criticism.

[00:09:04] It’s funny, it’s an experience. It’s something that we’re going through together. We’re all human. We’re just trying to we’re trying to just figure things out. We’re trying to connect with each other. And for a little kid, that connection may be in trying to scare their parent. And so the primary emotion maybe was embarrassment. Maybe it

[00:09:18] Was being it was

[00:09:19] It was scary. But then our secondary emotion kicks in and it’s anger and anger is trying to then grab

[00:09:24] Control of that situation instead of just being in the moment and being vulnerable. So my secondary emotion is so often humor, so I will. I realize that when people even are sharing some pretty heavy things with me, sometimes in a session that when we will validate, that sounds hard.

[00:09:39] I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that. And then every now and again,

[00:09:42] Then something humorous will come out. And I feel like a lot of the clients I work with do the same, and sometimes that’s what we need to do.

[00:09:49] Humor can be a great diffuser, but

[00:09:51] It doesn’t mean that we aren’t truly

[00:09:53] Feeling what those primary emotions are or those those first dart reactions

[00:09:57] To the situations that we’re going through in life. So I am going to have

[00:10:01] A, I’m sure, some humorous responses here, but I’m.

[00:10:04] You to know that I do, I see you.

[00:10:07] Humor is my secondary emotion,

[00:10:08] And I, as I’ve shared, I get an incredible amount of email and feedback from the show and I do read it all. So talking about today’s episode, a common theme I hear again is

[00:10:18] That the experts

[00:10:19] And the books and the YouTube

[00:10:21] Videos that they are all wonderful, that right now, most of the people that are going through this awakening to either the narcissism in their lives, whether it’s with the spouse or whether it’s with a parent or a boss or an

[00:10:33] Institution, some people have been writing me. Talking about institutional narcissism

[00:10:37] Is what I like to call it. But from a church or a workplace or that sort of thing where they feel that they are being told what to do, how to feel,

[00:10:43] What to think. And and so whatever that looks like the most

[00:10:48] Powerful thing that I’m hearing or that people really do appreciate the specific stories from people that are in the trenches or people that have been through situations and the stories from survivors of

[00:10:56] Narcissistic abuse is probably one of the most powerful things that that I feel

[00:11:00] That people that are in those situations can hear because you are

[00:11:04] So isolated and you don’t

[00:11:05] Open up to others, the narcissist, whoever that is in your

[00:11:08] Life, the spouse,

[00:11:09] The parent, the institution, the job, the whatever

[00:11:13] That looks like, they they don’t want you to go talk with other people and they call it sequestering,

[00:11:18] Like sequestering a jury that

[00:11:19] Often you will be made

[00:11:20] To feel like you better not open

[00:11:22] Up about this. You need to keep things in

[00:11:24] Within the family. Or I would never

[00:11:26] Say these things about you or whatever that looks like, and that is

[00:11:28] Still a form of control. So we’re going to talk about specific stories

[00:11:32] Today and because the similarities are so, so consistent. So I put a question

[00:11:37] Out in the private women’s group that I have and again, feel free to reach out to me if you’re interested in learning more about it. But here is the

[00:11:43] Question that I put out. I said Podcast help, please. I said I was talking with

[00:11:47] Someone earlier in the week and we were first talking about anniversaries and the

[00:11:52] Disappointment around them. And I’ve got a whole topic of narcissistic traits and

[00:11:57] Tendencies around cards, whether it’s birthday cards, anniversary cards, Christmas cards, you name it, that there’s just a really interesting

[00:12:04] Phenomenon that so often this is where I feel like that human magnet syndrome really kicks in or comes into play that I know that the narcissistic, traded or tendency. And let me just say then for the rest of the episode, I’m just going to say the narcissist. But at this point, I hope that, you know, on my show that when I say the narcissist I’m talking about from

[00:12:20] The spectrum of full blown narcissistic personality disorder all the

[00:12:23] Way to just the light, narcissistic Dustin’s or tendencies. But so in this scenario, so often I will find that the narcissist really does go big on the card at times because they can find

[00:12:33] A card that says certain things that says You are the apple of my eye, you’re the wonderful person and you’re a great mother.

[00:12:41] And then sometimes they’ll sign it. And some of the feedback

[00:12:43] That I’ve even heard is, you know, he would forget to sign it, forget to sign the card. But then here’s where the pathologically kind person then takes the card. And if he did handwrite a message, or if the sentiment of the card is one that they really do want

[00:12:56] To believe about themselves and that

[00:12:58] That’s what they’re narcissistic person does feel about them,

[00:13:02] Then they

[00:13:03] Will keep those cards and I will have people bring cards in and

[00:13:05] Say, OK, but this is who I really think he is on

[00:13:09] The three or four days a year where he would then write or pour what she would

[00:13:13] Feel like his soul is

[00:13:14] Into a card

[00:13:15] And then say these things. But then the next day, then we’re back to to normal.

[00:13:19] And that’s the part where when someone will say when

[00:13:22] They’re in a trauma bond, they’ll say, OK, but he is, but know it was a good week like he is being. He’s being nice, he’s being kind that I will then often identify, OK, is it that now he

[00:13:32] Is understanding and more empathetic and wants to get in your shoes and understand more about what you are going through and then

[00:13:38] What that must be like so that we can have a

[00:13:39] Shared experience so we can both grow? Or is it that things aren’t bad?

[00:13:43] And I found so often that that is the answer that, well, no, I guess it’s been a peaceful week and the narcissistic tendencies

[00:13:50] And traits around even just simply cards

[00:13:52] Is something that’s fascinating. So I was talking with someone about that and then that led into, oh, I was actually reading the post that I sent. That was nice. So I went on a tangent. So I was like, Podcast help, please. This is the post I sent. I was talking to somebody yesterday.

[00:14:06] We were first talking about anniversaries

[00:14:07] And the disappointment around them, and that led to the topic of gifts.

[00:14:11] And with Christmas approaching, I I’m wondering what stories that you might

[00:14:15] Have around gift giving. And I just said, did did the narcissist in

[00:14:18] Your life ever give you a gift for

[00:14:21] Them? And what type of gaslighting

[00:14:23] Did you perhaps experience around gift giving? And I just put a little humorous thing about I know how much you probably all

[00:14:29] Wanted new tools. So I just

[00:14:31] Said any stories that come to mind

[00:14:32] Funny ones or the difficult ones

[00:14:34] I would love for people to share. And then

[00:14:36] I did. And so I want you to know anything that I’m reading here, I said, and I would love to consider any of

[00:14:40] These stories shared fair game for reading on the

[00:14:42] Podcast. So if you want to change up the details, a

[00:14:44] Few of the details feel free. Or if you want to put that, you would rather not have this story, end up in the podcast. Feel free to share that as well. And so some of the most powerful stories are

[00:14:53] The ones where people did say I would. I would rather just keep this one in the group. I do want you to know I respect that, and because I

[00:14:59] Still and every bit of my fiber, I want to protect

[00:15:02] People’s anonymity and. Confidentiality, because I

[00:15:07] Recognize how hard it is, even people that are starting to participate in the group will say this is the first time I’ve ever posted or

[00:15:13] I feel so vulnerable or those type of things. So I’m going to share a lot of examples, and I’m probably going to come in on several. And that’s where I feel like again, some of the jokes may come out. So thanks for joining me on this truly. And again, it’s probably going to get a little bit heavy. Please continue to write and send me your questions and suggestions because for so many people and it’s not just the the women or it’s the men, it’s been like in

[00:15:34] The email that I just read

[00:15:35] Men in relationships with narcissistic tendency,

[00:15:37] Women or with narcissistic mothers or fathers. I really, I see you, I see you all, and I really appreciate what you’re

[00:15:44] Doing and sending me the content that then is going to help

[00:15:47] Create

[00:15:48] Additional episodes of this podcast.

[00:15:50] So we’ll start right out with

[00:15:52] An answer to that post. One of the first things is in just its most simple form, the person said gifts. I don’t remember the last time he gave me one.

[00:16:00] Another reader commented, Gifts, breaks, break parts for my car and here’s.

[00:16:06] So now let’s kind of get into the more detailed ones. The person said, This is my first time posting as I’m new, but this is a really good topic for those of us in this situation. She said I don’t ask for gifts anymore. I buy myself

[00:16:16] Christmas presents and birthday presents, and it’s just not worth the

[00:16:18] Disappointment. Anything that he’s bought in the past has

[00:16:21] Been either one more than our budget to

[00:16:23] Make him feel good about themselves or to something that ends

[00:16:25] Up being for him.

[00:16:27] And she said sexy underwear. And so truthfully, this is where the basis of my joke comment went because I knew I would really want to make a joke that I know what she means that he would

[00:16:36] Buy her sexy

[00:16:38] Underwear. But in context, it sounds like he would buy something that ends up being for him, a.k.a. sexy underwear.

[00:16:44] But I digress. Number three, she said or something that he approves of. So for years, he would give me a really bad time for asking for practical

[00:16:51] Gifts because then he would make it about him. He would say that he feels like you are saying I’m

[00:16:56] Not a good provider. For her birthday this year, she said they went up

[00:16:59] To the mountains with family and she said she had a really good day. But on the way home, he made the following comment to the kids that quote Maybe

[00:17:06] I’ll get a real birthday cake next year.

[00:17:07] And of course, it’s what’s the angle?

[00:17:10] There’s there’s back story here, she said. A month prior on his birthday, she had gotten him gourmet

[00:17:15] Donuts because he had said that he doesn’t like

[00:17:16] Cake every year and the year before that,

[00:17:18] She’d gotten pie because he said he liked it more than cake. In hindsight, it was

[00:17:23] The way for him to then turn her birthday back

[00:17:26] To himself. And this is how it goes any time that the attention is on someone else, which is just so, so true. And I want to stop after

[00:17:34] Every one of these and say, I am so sorry that this person has been through this.

[00:17:37] Another person said for Mother’s Day, they had asked

[00:17:40] People in her family for recommendations of what to get for Mother’s Day, and they were very clear. They recommended that he put together a book with pictures and then have the kids write

[00:17:49] Notes and put that in this photo album. So he ordered the photo album. It came a few weeks late and

[00:17:54] It’s been a year and a half

[00:17:56] Since, and it is still sitting blank in the kitchen. And also, another person had commented that at one point

[00:18:02] They had received a gift certificate to buy jewelry at a jewelry store, and they went

[00:18:08] And bought a very expensive necklace that then

[00:18:10] They also delivered late. And the key part, which I think is such

[00:18:13] A theme, is that the wife

[00:18:16] Had let the person know her husband know for years that she doesn’t really like jewelry

[00:18:20] Anyway, and she said he’s actually known that since

[00:18:23] We were dating.

[00:18:23] On another comment. No, this is my man. This is talking about my own waking up to the narcissistic traits or tendencies I still remember. And it was so long ago

[00:18:31] I remember it was in her first home. We’ve been in our home that we’re in now for literally twenty one years, so

[00:18:36] It was that long ago. I would like to say I

[00:18:38] Was just so much more immature at that time, but I remember wanting, forgetting or not preparing enough to get my wife something for. I think I don’t know if it was Christmas or birthday. I think my brain’s trying desperately to block it out. But I remember going

[00:18:52] On Groupon and seeing

[00:18:53] A Groupon coupon for whitewater rafting and printing

[00:18:57] It up because I knew that that was something she wanted to do at some point,

[00:19:00] And I delivered her the cute, the print printing of the coupon that I never bought, but breaks my own heart for that

[00:19:08] Because that is the I

[00:19:09] Didn’t plan or prepare. Then I did this thing.

[00:19:12] I wanted the kudos. I want her to go, Oh my gosh, I’ve always wanted to do that.

[00:19:15] And then I never felt that. Another person in the group

[00:19:17] Said that she received a fishing rod, and I knew we would get some of these. She said a fishing rod, a very fancy one, and you can probably guess, she says, I don’t even fish. I will go with him on fishing

[00:19:27] Trips and read and maybe have hot tea and listen to the river and the birds. And she just says, Guess who uses my fishing rod? Another person

[00:19:33] Said that she received a do it yourself, fix it book that did have a woman

[00:19:38] On the cover on the front holding a hammer.

[00:19:40] And so he had framed this as this is for the things that that she might want to do

[00:19:45] And fix around the

[00:19:46] House. And she said, I will never use it. Let’s not return it because this book is not cheap.

[00:19:51] And he didn’t return it,

[00:19:52] And he has used it until she says the cover fell off, but it was always known as mom’s book. Again, I

[00:19:59] Don’t know if these are starting to resonate as people hear more. Another person said that she had

[00:20:03] Received a gift in. And this one, we left a little bit blank because I think that this was again one of these common themes that she received a gift and it could have been a gift of anything fill in the blank that she did not ask for. And then she was. He was then upset that

[00:20:18] She didn’t praise him for buying that

[00:20:20] Gift, even though this is something that she

[00:20:23] Had expressed over and over again that she did not care for and she didn’t

[00:20:26] Want. And so even when he would then say, But I want you to have this. And it’s interesting because I can

[00:20:33] Understand where people

[00:20:35] Then will say, OK, but shouldn’t they just be appreciative of the gift? And if

[00:20:38] That’s what you’re feeling or right now, please

[00:20:40] Go back and find the episode I did called death by a thousand cuts because it’s a continued pattern of

[00:20:45] Somebody not feeling heard or not feeling

[00:20:47] Understood. I would like to think now that I know the things that my wife likes or doesn’t like. I had someone in my office just the other day talking about getting See’s

[00:20:54] Candy every year for I think it was mother.

[00:20:57] No Valentine’s Day

[00:20:58] For decades, 20 years or more because

[00:21:01] There was a See’s Candy by

[00:21:02] This, her husband’s office. And she is literally allergic to

[00:21:06] Nuts, and he always gets the nuts and chews because surprise, he likes the nut. And it gets to that point where he doesn’t even say, Oh man, all day. He doesn’t even gaslighter well of saying all they have were the nuts and chews. So I just want you to

[00:21:19] Know I’m Carrie, I care about you.

[00:21:20] And then he eats them. No, she unwraps it. It’s the nuts and chews.

[00:21:23] I think she had spent over a decade

[00:21:25] Of saying, I’m allergic to nuts. I know about the chews.

[00:21:28] There’s that secondary emotion of humor, and

[00:21:30] He would then eat the See’s Candy all the time. Matter of fact, I

[00:21:33] Have to tell a funny here’s where my ad kicks

[00:21:35] In.

[00:21:36] She told me that story, and I was sitting there in the session remembering that my

[00:21:39] Wife had just got me some See’s

[00:21:41] Candy for my birthday and I forgot all about it.

[00:21:43] So I went home that night and I put it in a bag and it is in my bag now and I’d forgotten about it, so I can’t wait to eat the See’s Candy. And of course, she keeps a list of the things that I like from See’s Candy and gets me a custom box, which I do as well. I keep a note, and this is one of those funny things where if I’m doing couples therapy with someone and this is the example that comes up, that he just gets me what he wants, I will have the guy off and say, Well, I can’t keep track of what she wants and and that’s not an excuse. I want to say, guy, it’s not an excuse because this is one of those things where I want the guy to step in and B and

[00:22:17] B take ownership or accountability of. If he is not remembering what she wants, then there are a lot of pretty neat

[00:22:24] Tools you can do. Like the note, I now keep in my phone that has my wife’s favorite type of See’s candy. So when I go in and

[00:22:31] Do I remember?

[00:22:32] No, I don’t. I’m going to take ownership of that that I would forget.

[00:22:36] Every time I forget where the which individual pillows go, where on our bed, when we make it.

[00:22:41] But it’s it’s but I’m going to take ownership with that instead of going. Does it matter, really? Yeah, it does. And actually, I think I’m pretty. I think I know which ones where they go now, but it’s taken quite a long time. But if I needed to

[00:22:52] Write a

[00:22:53] Diagram and put it on my side of the bed that this is how the pillows go, that’s OK.

[00:22:57] It’s actually pretty darn empowering to have

[00:22:59] This list on my. It’s funny now that I’m saying this when I pull out the list and I say,

[00:23:03] Here are the candies

[00:23:04] That my wife likes. I’m actually actually secretly getting external validation from the nice ladies behind the counter that are saying, Oh my gosh, that’s so nice. And they typically they’ll call the other person over and say, Look at him. He keeps a list of what his wife likes. And so then I do feel, Oh, that feels good. But in reality, it is because I need to take

[00:23:21] Ownership of the fact that if I don’t remember, I’m going to get her things that she doesn’t really care for, even though

[00:23:26] She has told me the things that she likes and doesn’t like. It can be that easy. Ok, let’s keep going. Gifts for Christmas, one one person said, have always been a sore spot for me, she said. My in the group, people will just say narc because it’s it’s easier

[00:23:40] Than to type an out narcissist or person with

[00:23:42] Narcissistic traits and tendencies. So my work doesn’t seem to have

[00:23:45] The desire or ability

[00:23:47] And she identified, which I think is so correct,

[00:23:48] Probably a combination

[00:23:49] Of these to put himself into somebody else’s shoes and picture what they might like to receive as a gift. Nice gifts are always given to show off and make him look good. She said he still patent himself on the back for the KitchenAid mixer. He gave me some 20 plus years ago, and I am telling you I KitchenAid could

[00:24:03] Do a commercial about this. Hey, narcissistic husband, do you want to have something that you can go back and praise yourself about forever

[00:24:09] And also be able to make some tasty chocolate chip cookies on the weekends?

[00:24:14] Buy a KitchenAid for your wife because

[00:24:15] The KitchenAid mixer is so brought up in this term, so that’s why I thought this one was so fascinating. So she said he’s still patting himself on the back for the KitchenAid mixer he gave some 20 plus years ago. He wants me to continue to thank him so profusely and so often afterward that she said. I’m sorry that I even got the gift because now I feel like I’m obligated to thank him and singing his praises. And I talked a couple of weeks ago about, you’ll see these examples, where then

[00:24:39] If he’s around it, if he is feeling

[00:24:41] Insecure about himself, then that is a situation where then I could see him saying something like, Man, I am just so glad that I got you this KitchenAid mixer. My wife and I will jokingly say that often about I am just so glad I thought of this thing because it is the way of saying we haven’t talked about me for a little while. Let me tell you what, I’m grateful that I’ve done for you so that then you can make me feel better about myself. There we go again, seeking that. External validation, so she goes on to say that some years, there are no gifts

[00:25:08] From him at all, some years he asked for ideas, but then he gets frustrated because the things I ask for require time and effort to obtain.

[00:25:14] He usually just says, just buy myself something, and he buys himself his own gifts, and then he tries to cover up his issues by deflecting and going on and on about how

[00:25:23] Christmas is too commercialized and everything costs too much. But really,

[00:25:26] She said he can’t or won’t make the time and effort to be thoughtful, and that is so well said. And again, if I go to my own waking up the narcissism I would,

[00:25:33] I remember I would say, Oh, I’m too busy or I work so much, or these sort of things leading up to whatever the particular

[00:25:38] Holiday was. And then I realized, Oh, those are excuses, and I need to take ownership of the fact that I actually can plan into my schedule, time to go, take care of things.

[00:25:48] Or there were years where I would pay

[00:25:49] My kids to go by and I’m going to go right back to the See’s Candy example. But it wasn’t from a last minute, it was from.

[00:25:54] I want to make sure that I

[00:25:55] Want to get my wife to see she loves See’s

[00:25:58] Candy. Her parents grew up around, I think, Cassie’s candy factory.

[00:26:01] And so that was always just a gift.

[00:26:03] And so now I’m on board as well. And no, I’m not looking for

[00:26:05] Unsolicited donations of See’s Candy, especially not the top yet. And that’s a joke, too, because I do enjoy those. But I love the fact that she’s saying you won’t make

[00:26:14] Time or the effort, so you need to take ownership of

[00:26:16] That person listening who is

[00:26:18] Maybe having their own waking up to

[00:26:19] Their narcissistic traits or tendencies that it really does. Just the accountability piece can be

[00:26:25] Rather

[00:26:27] Simple in the sense where I just feel like it’s easier actually to say my bad than

[00:26:32] To try to come up with eight hundred different reasons of gaslighting,

[00:26:35] Of why you couldn’t

[00:26:36] Get to the in your schedule and you work so much. And what are you expecting me?

[00:26:39] And instead of saying, Man, I hadn’t thought

[00:26:41] Of it that way, I really do need to make more time.

[00:26:43] So taking ownership and accountability can be just so incredibly powerful. So then she said he was offended that I

[00:26:50] Oh, she said one year he got me a pair of flannel shirts in his

[00:26:53] Size, and then he was offended that I didn’t love him, she said. He said I’ll just use them then, implying that I was wasting his money. They were three sizes too big and clearly men shirts. She said it’s it’s always

[00:27:04] Hard when

[00:27:05] She has to talk to her family on Christmas and they ask, Hey, what’d you get for Christmas? Because she said, I don’t get anything and I have to do all the

[00:27:12] Christmas purchases for the

[00:27:13] Kids. But I get criticized for my choices and for spending all of his money. It’s so hard and I know that one is going to resonate with a lot of the women that listen to this. I know it is

[00:27:22] Someone else shared.

[00:27:24] She said. I’ve always gotten gifts. He doesn’t. He doesn’t forget, but he puts zero effort into the gift. He goes the day before the day of and then makes

[00:27:30] A grandiose story about it, about how difficult it was or all of the steps he

[00:27:34] Had to go through to then get this gift so that he

[00:27:36] Will then get the praise for going to get it, she said. For example, she

[00:27:39] Had wanted a video game system. She said not badly, but she said that he did

[00:27:43] Want to get it for for her.

[00:27:44] He said he’d been tracking it on Target’s website since this was February 20 20.

[00:27:49] Her birthday was in July.

[00:27:50] She said he got it on the day of my birthday by going to two different targets, so he finally got it.

[00:27:54] He also randomly rapped some coasters in there that were given from a regifting from a friend of over a year ago.

[00:28:00] They’re the ones where you can put pictures in, but we never put the pictures in them. So he wrapped them as she said, a joke question mark. And she said, and I thought he put pics in them, but he didn’t. So she said it was strange, but he was able to very quickly obtain the brand video game system that he wanted a PS5 within a few months because he was then now following all the blogs and the Twitters

[00:28:18] And looking

[00:28:19] At the restocks. And she said that she

[00:28:21] Believed that he probably looked for the video game system she wanted for maybe a day or two before his birthday or before her birthday. Another person, and here’s where we’re going to. There’s going to start to be a little bit heavier, she said the year that she had turned 30. She said despite having a really rough start to the year, she did something nice for his 30th birthday. When that was, she had organized and arranged a small

[00:28:42] Getaway to fly away to a beach. And she said so what she really did was got him exactly what he was asking for. So in

[00:28:49] Between his birthday and hers, so it was a few months her, her dad

[00:28:53] Had had a suicide attempt. So it was a really stressful time and she had to go back to a particular place, a state to deal with that to be the point

[00:29:01] Person to deal with. A lot of people in her family that were struggling with their own mental health. And then she said that her then narcissistic dad

[00:29:10] And then the narcissistic husband who came

[00:29:12] To quote support her but ended up throwing temper tantrums

[00:29:15] Because he wasn’t getting as much attention while she was there dealing with all the family issues. So she said that was in

[00:29:20] May or June. So then her birthday was

[00:29:22] Coming up in July. So a lot of

[00:29:24] Opportunity had been there, months of

[00:29:26] Opportunity to plan at least a few days just to get away anything, really. She said he

[00:29:31] Got her gift the day before. So on the fourth, it was just a random

[00:29:35] Mash of things that he was able to go get last minute at the mall. He also said something to the effect that he had been

[00:29:41] Eyeing a particular purse for a while and it

[00:29:43] Had just come back in stock. She said that she had played along with it, but she said she was so frustrated with that because she said she knew that that was a lie. She said they did some kayaking in the morning and then that was nice and that that was something.

[00:29:55] And then he had planned a dinner.

[00:29:56] And so then we tried to talk about it. She said I was the one saying, what else is planned? And he said, Well, not much, because you said you were

[00:30:02] Tired and here here’s where the

[00:30:03] Gaslighting come. And you said you were tired. So she said we went to one of the most expensive places in town, we didn’t

[00:30:09] Invite any of her good friends and her best friend,

[00:30:11] Which she said the reason was that he

[00:30:14] Had made up a story about it, but that it was

[00:30:15] To his benefit because they were going to an expensive place. So she said, Yeah, I did end up getting some gifts, but at what cost there wasn’t thought behind it. He also did made up stories to make it even sound better about the gifts that than he got last minute. And then he also

[00:30:30] Expected her to give him praise for that.

[00:30:32] She said that she used to believe all the stories, but now she can really see through them, and it does make things really heavy and she feels really sad. She said she will absolutely take ownership and to his benefit. He has gotten some thoughtful gifts over the years, but the time went on and things seem to be getting worse that that happened less and less. There was another person that said I was going to get you this and always promises,

[00:30:53] But never followed through ever. And that one had more and more people

[00:30:57] Saying that I had that experience, too. So the person was saying I was going to get you this. But and then at that point, I felt like instead of them saying, but I

[00:31:06] Didn’t plan early enough or I let time slip away

[00:31:09] Or instead of taking ownership, it was I was going to get you this.

[00:31:11] But then I read, or they were out of stock or. And I think

[00:31:16] That the

[00:31:16] Example that I had read earlier where the person said, I’ve been tracking these things all the time and they were gone and and but in reality, the person was just trying to make up a story to make it sound like all of the effort they had gone through instead of taking ownership of the fact that they had not planned earlier. Another woman

[00:31:31] Wrote, She said, I have a couple of these that come to mind first the second time he left me so that he could quote

[00:31:36] Help me make our marriage better. And she said,

[00:31:38] From what I know now was to go to his bachelor pad. He had left just before Thanksgiving. She said

[00:31:42] Since her birthday’s right after

[00:31:43] Thanksgiving, then he didn’t have to acknowledge Thanksgiving

[00:31:46] Or her birth, which

[00:31:48] Also then he stayed gone long enough that that also he didn’t have to acknowledge

[00:31:51] Christmas or New Year’s or Valentine’s

[00:31:53] Day. And she said it was extra painful to have this dismissal during that time. But honestly, it

[00:31:57] Wasn’t a whole lot different

[00:31:58] Than when he was living at home. And that’s why I think this one’s so powerful, because this is where a lot of people then do start

[00:32:03] To idealize when there is the split, the break up separation, divorce, where they

[00:32:09] Start to say when holidays or those things come around that they will say, I had a woman in my office earlier this week saying, that’s the that’s when it’s really hard because I just wish that we had those holidays back together. But if we continue talking about it in that moment, we and we did this earlier in the week, we got to the place where then she said, OK, but actually, no, the holidays are no different because I actually then had to manage his emotions as well. So back to this example, she said. Again, it was extra painful to have his dismissal during that time, but honestly, it wasn’t a whole lot different than when he was living at home, since

[00:32:36] He usually forgot cards and her gifts on important

[00:32:38] Days. She said I cannot count the times. He told me

[00:32:41] I have a gift or a card, but I forgot to bring it home from the

[00:32:43] Office and I love where she went with this neck, she said. After a few years of the same comment, she said, Well, I suggested, let’s just go to the office and let’s just go ahead and get it. And she said he always said no that

[00:32:53] He’d bring it home tomorrow.

[00:32:54] He knew I didn’t believe him, but he still maintained his fib.

[00:32:57] And interestingly, those cards are gifts rarely, if ever, made it from the office to her. And she so many good things in this one, in that part where she said

[00:33:06] He knew I didn’t believe him, and I have sat in those sessions

[00:33:09] Where that you watch the person with the

[00:33:11] Narcissistic traits or tendencies not tell the truth. And it really is a moment I feel like sometimes I

[00:33:17] Used to refer to that as the moment of truth, where I really felt like I could get the person with the narcissistic traits, tendencies or personality disorder to

[00:33:24] In that moment. That’s where I want them to take ownership and say, Whoa, OK, what is happening here?

[00:33:30] I am 100 percent lying.

[00:33:32] And but no, it’s where that gaslighting is a childhood defense mechanism

[00:33:36] Where they will put it out there. I feel like they

[00:33:39] Do often know nobody’s buying this, but then

[00:33:42] Everyone that’s around them

[00:33:43] Is so used to it. Then they just say, OK, and then it just moves on. Another person wrote. She said, Ha ha ha. I was just thinking about this the other day. A few years ago, he gave me a stand mixer for Christmas. She said, I don’t bake much. He made sour dough bread sometimes and one of the kneading function on the mixer. She said I had been dropping heavy hints for months about some gifts that I actually wanted,

[00:34:03] And he never got them.

[00:34:05] Another person said my first thought was how to turn the fiasco of gift

[00:34:08] Giving into a productive situation, she said. Even in non narcissistic relationships, gift giving is hard and often disappointing on both fronts, and I really

[00:34:15] Like what she’s this person saying about this. She said. I really liked what

[00:34:18] There’s another podcaster named Jody Morris said

[00:34:20] About gifts. And actually, I just was traded

[00:34:22] Messages with for people that are listening here. She has a

[00:34:25] Book out and she said, Come on my other podcast and talk about it. But she said, I really like what Jody Morris said about gifts that the best way to get what you want is to buy them yourself. And this person said, now that might seem cold,

[00:34:34] But it’s super helpful and super practical. She says you can just assume your person loves you

[00:34:38] Regardless of the gifts and get what you want. This relieves the pressure as expectations are released, then anything

[00:34:43] That you get or are or any effort place can be a nice surprise. And the reason I really wanted to read that is, again, I love this person, Jody Moore, and I’ve been on her podcast. She’s been on mine. And the reason I really wanted to bring some awareness

[00:34:55] To this is that that

[00:34:56] Is absolutely true, and I have a virtual couch episode that is literally called You’re coming to my birthday party or something like literally called. And I can’t remember the. That title, but it’s where what I’m talking about my four pillars of a connected conversation, what I’m talking about, the mature version of our childhood

[00:35:11] Abandonment wounds and again, just

[00:35:12] By quick way of review when when we are a kid and we’re egocentric and the world revolves around

[00:35:17] Us and we don’t have

[00:35:19] Real understanding of the plight of our caregiver, AKA,

[00:35:21] Not a lot of empathy, because that’s just what kids.

[00:35:24] That’s how kids are that then when our parent or anyone

[00:35:28] Doesn’t do what we ask them to or

[00:35:30] They don’t meet our, then we

[00:35:31] Feel like it’s not because of that. They may have things going on, but it must be because we feel broken, we

[00:35:36] Feel unlovable or we feel like they don’t care about us. And that comes from that abandonment equals death. Part of our brain. So when we cry

[00:35:43] And express ourselves as a baby, then people

[00:35:45] Run and meet our needs. So then we have that programed in our DNA. So as we move forward into, we

[00:35:50] Just have this wired that then as we especially as we gain a voice and we say, I would like this please that then when someone doesn’t follow through that,

[00:35:58] That means they don’t like us, they don’t care about us or something’s wrong with us when in reality they are human beings going through their own things. Whether it might be financial struggles, emotional struggles or narcissistic

[00:36:07] Traits and tendencies. So back

[00:36:09] To this paragraph and again, this person is so right that

[00:36:12] You it does. It may feel cold. If you really want something, then it’s OK for you to get it, especially as an adult.

[00:36:18] But the part where she says you can assume your person loves you regardless of the gifts. Get what you want, and this relieves the pressure as expectations are released that anything you get or any effort place can be a nice surprise. And that’s where I do feel and we’ve got an episode coming up down the road where it’s going to be called Asterix Narcissism, because for normal relationships that is dead on accurate spot on. But the part where I feel like then

[00:36:41] Someone is continuing to say, OK, he has not met any of

[00:36:44] My needs for 20 years, but I

[00:36:46] Know that he loves me and I know that he’s thinking of me or I know that this is just he has a lot going on that’s going back to that place

[00:36:52] Where the kind pathological person

[00:36:54] Will

[00:36:55] Go to great lengths to come up with reasons why the person is acting off rather than identifying problem personalities for what they are.

[00:37:02] And again, that’s what is called cognitive dissonance, where it goes. So against what we want to think or believe about someone that then we will do

[00:37:09] Anything, create any narrative or story to then help ourselves feel better about

[00:37:14] The way that someone else’s is reacting. And that is where that pathological kindness is a wonderful thing. But it can also then set you up to then really

[00:37:22] Feel a lot of empathy for

[00:37:24] Someone that is not reciprocating with that empathy. So I just wanted to point that out. She said. Though that being said, this is a real issue, she said. Often at Christmas, he would have he wouldn’t have gotten anything for my stocking. At first I was sad, but then I just started buying for

[00:37:37] Myself and it was much better. She said the other

[00:37:39] Situation I run into is gaslighting me about gifts, she said.

[00:37:42] I didn’t recognize it for years.

[00:37:43] He would buy me things, and if I wasn’t thrilled about it, he would say, you’re just too picky. She said it wasn’t until recently that I realized that that was a blame tactic, rather than him owning up to his inability to figure out my taste. It turned into something that was wrong with me, and I walked away feeling

[00:37:56] Like I was spoiled, or I should just be more grateful.

[00:37:57] And she said, Yep, gaslighting, and I hope you can start to see that as a theme. I need to get through these. There’s a few of these that

[00:38:03] Are really good or heavy, and I’m just going to read I’m going to try not to comment for a little bit because we’re we’re running out of time here. For my birthday last year, he only gave

[00:38:09] Me those things that were for activities that he loved doing hiking

[00:38:12] Shoes, headlamp for hiking, skiing,

[00:38:13] Accessories, she said. Even though I had told him exactly what I wanted.

[00:38:17] And then for Christmas last year, it was a card saying he was going to order me contacts for Christmas, which he never did.

[00:38:22] And she said exactly what I want

[00:38:23] For Christmas, right? And for his birthday last year, I had planned a fun

[00:38:26] Weekend away with activities that I knew he would enjoy dinner. And because it wasn’t something

[00:38:30] Outdoorsy, camping or hike or anything that

[00:38:33] He liked, it wasn’t the ideal birthday for him. So then he complained about it. And she said one time she also told him point blank.

[00:38:38] All that she wanted for a particular birthday of hers was a birthday party with all of her friends.

[00:38:42] And no, he didn’t do any of that, and she ended up doing it for herself. There’s another example here someone said Big milestone birthday. She had planned it all out, and I think this is one where it just this is another type of a theme that you will see that the narcissistic person will then say, OK, I’ll do what you

[00:38:59] Want me to do for your birthday,

[00:39:01] But then I am going to complain about it. I’m going to talk about how bothersome it is to have to go to different places or how expensive things are. And so they just complain because it’s inconvenient

[00:39:11] Or it isn’t what they wanted to do for you making this person feel guilty for even a big landmark or milestone birthday.

[00:39:18] Here’s a good one and this one, this is long. This person said Long, she said. Sad but semi funny in hindsight. She said I was always in charge of the gift stocking stuffer as gifts for his family, gifts for my family, gifts for him, gifts for the kids. She said the only thing that he was in charge of at Christmas time was a gift from him to me and my stocking stuffers from Santa. Usually I bought the gift for myself

[00:39:38] Or had a girlfriend of mine buy it and he would just pay for it and wrap

[00:39:42] It a couple of times, he said. He was going to get me this or that, but didn’t because he wanted to make sure I picked out exactly what I wanted. She put a little laughing face emoji. She said We had a tradition that I

[00:39:52] Would put everything out under the

[00:39:53] Tree and the stockings, and then he so that I couldn’t see what he had gotten

[00:39:58] Me before the morning

[00:39:59] Would put my stuff out after I was in bed. She said he didn’t help me put the Christmas out. They did it by myself, he

[00:40:04] Wasn’t interested in sharing on the process,

[00:40:06] Said it’s interesting for me to recognize now that I didn’t think that this his nonparticipation was weird, she said. I see that completely walked in the footsteps of my own mother.

[00:40:14] My dad did or didn’t do so.

[00:40:16] Similarly, she said, anyway, when my son was 10, my daughter was six. We got up

[00:40:20] Christmas morning and the first thing, as was our tradition,

[00:40:22] Began digging into our stockings to see what Santa had left. The kids were very excited and pulled out one thing after another, like kids do. They held up this and then they dug into their stockings and with bright eyed excitement until the stockings were empty. She said her hubby quickly emptied his stocking at the same time, but kept all the focus on them, getting them more and more excited about what they were finding in their stockings. And she said, I sat with them, bathed in the joy

[00:40:44] Of all three of them,

[00:40:45] Enjoying what I had

[00:40:46] So carefully and thoughtfully picked out

[00:40:47] For. Each said I was the loving wife and only slightly bothered at the fact that there was nothing only empty space in my stocking.

[00:40:53] My husband’s overexaggerated

[00:40:54] Excitement for the kids was a nice distraction from the fact that no one was watching me dig into my stocking. She said why I wasn’t ticked off that he’d forgotten over the last three hundred and sixty five days to pick up a trinket or two for me. She said, I don’t know. And she said, I am mad about it today. She said at some point, while the kids were grabbing gifts from under the tree and delivering them to be opened. My six year old sat next to me and held up my stocking with an intense liquid while holding that empty stocking, she said. Why didn’t you get anything from Santa in your stocking, mom? And she said, I smiled and I tried to convince her that it wasn’t a big deal, saying that Santa must have forgotten my stocking. So without skipping a beat with that,

[00:41:26] With eyebrows raised to heaven, she gave me your most

[00:41:28] Intense look of judgment and said, I guess you weren’t very good this year. Me see

[00:41:32] This. She said. My heart broke and my

[00:41:34] Husband wouldn’t look at me, and I was left to try to explain away my empty stocking. So she

[00:41:38] Said from that day forward, I always made

[00:41:40] Sure that I had stocking stuffers for myself and man there. Two people commented immediately. One said, Oh my stars, I could have written most of this myself.

[00:41:46] My heart aches for you.

[00:41:47] Another person said, I could have written that exact same story. I always put oranges and nuts and all the stockings in twenty nine years. If I didn’t put it in the stockings, nothing would be in it. Another person said, When I think about gift giving between my husband and I, it helps me solidify the fact that I think that he has narcissistic traits and tendencies. He’ll often talk about how terrible he is a gift giving, but it’s really simple. You pay attention to the things that other people are interested in. When you see something

[00:42:09] Online or in a store that reminds you of that

[00:42:12] Interest or thing, you make a mental note of it. She said I often have a wish list even on Amazon throughout the year. I will talk about the things that would be nice to have, but I have such a hard time spending money on something that isn’t for him or the kids that I don’t end up getting the things I want, and it really is hard to keep a mental note of such things. She said he could make a note in his phone. He often makes a big deal about how my gifts to him are good, she said. It’s simple pay attention to the other person.

[00:42:34] Another person wrote.

[00:42:34] He will also say that it’s impossible to hide

[00:42:36] A purchase from me. I’ll give

[00:42:37] Him plenty of suggestions,

[00:42:38] But they apparently require too much effort.

[00:42:40] This year, he told me that he wanted to give me something on Amazon, and he told me that he would tell me when he put it

[00:42:44] In the order, so I would know not to look at the order status for a while.

[00:42:47] I explained to him that I get emails and I get notifications all the time about

[00:42:50] The shipments and deliveries, but that I would try to ignore them for a while.

[00:42:53] He told me it would be OK with him if I accidentally ended up seeing what it was, so she felt relieved. She said a couple of days later, she noticed some items in the shopping cart. She said, Oops. Later that day, he told me not to look in the cart. She said he was visibly upset when I told him that it was too late, which I appreciate her honesty. I really do. That should be OK in a relationship. But she

[00:43:09] Said so much for not caring like he had said

[00:43:11] Before. She said I told him I was excited about the gift and then she wanted to have a conversation about it. She mentioned actually, in regard

[00:43:17] To that gift,

[00:43:18] She had

[00:43:18] Done some research about the item and that she had already found a couple of better options than the one that he had in the cart.

[00:43:23] And again, in a healthy relationship. Yeah, that can feel a little bit dismissive to the person that is trying to do the gift giving,

[00:43:29] But that’s where we’re so afraid of

[00:43:30] Contention that we avoid tension altogether. But that

[00:43:32] Tension in a healthy relationship is where the growth can

[00:43:35] Come. So I want to think that if my my wife said, Hey, I didn’t notice this and I appreciate that, but here’s actually what I would really like. I really feel like I would want to say thank you so much.

[00:43:45] I really I’m grateful. I appreciate that.

[00:43:47] But she said she realized that she had visibly popped his

[00:43:49] Bubble and hurt his fragile ego. Another person said For most of our twenty one years of marriage, we pick what we want for ourselves for gifts. Then we give each other a small budget for a surprise gift.

[00:43:56] And she said, I think we need to go back to that. Another person said, I can do with so many examples that have been given.

[00:44:01] I’ve been married for 30 years and I’d given up on reciprocation decades

[00:44:04] Ago, she said. I think he only put any

[00:44:06] Thought into a gift for me the first year we were married

[00:44:08] And that was in nineteen ninety one. She said the heart of it is dulled over the years. She feels little pain as she has zero expectations, but the humiliation of it builds. This is so powerful, she said. The more years that passed, the more humiliating it is. The kids get older and they see more. She said. I used to just buy my own gifts, seriously, fill my own stocking, usually stuff I needed anyway. To be fair, he did make a few attempts.

[00:44:29] Most of them have a narcissistic personality disorder story attached to them.

[00:44:33] But she said that humiliation just stings your kids. See his devaluation of you. My mom will usually buy me an extra gift because she knows he doesn’t get me anything.

[00:44:40] People feeling sorry for you stings.

[00:44:42] She said. I’ve accepted the void of love, but can you not leave me with my dignity? This past Christmas,

[00:44:48] We were supposedly working on things, she said. Lots of stories

[00:44:50] I could tell. But on the topic of his gifts to me, one stands out Christmas morning while I was doing final reading for the children coming downstairs for Santa.

[00:44:57] He brought me a couple of hundred dollar bills to

[00:44:59] Put in the older kids stockings. Then he hands me to one hundred dollar bills. So that was my gift.

[00:45:03] Twenty nine years of marriage, cold, hard cash.

[00:45:06] He probably realized that he hadn’t got me anything, but he had taken a little extra money out. So she said, was it a gift or was it a payment? She said teens love cash, but she said it felt trashy and humiliating to me. Later in the morning, I gave it back to him and he said, Well, you don’t want it, and I said, not like that. And I walked away and I tried to hold on to some dignity. She said the truth is, I really did want it because he was financially abusing me for the entire previous year, but I really didn’t want it that I mean that one. I know that one is going to resonate with a lot of people.

[00:45:31] There’s two more.

[00:45:32] One said the one lady

[00:45:33] Said Holidays are hard. When Christmas, I bought a pair of shoes for my

[00:45:35] Husband and he looked at them and asked if I got them at Wal-Mart. He said, If you’re going to buy me shoes, don’t buy me cheap ones. And she said I told him, Do you want to see cheap shoes? So I started throwing my shoes out of my closet. My family showed up and I felt like a crazy woman. I always made sure Father’s Day was special. I had the kids do something special every year.

[00:45:52] One year I knew he wanted

[00:45:53] To Apple Watch. The kids didn’t want to spend that much, so I told them that I’d pay the rest of what they didn’t pay. When the kids gave it to him, they told him it was from the family and he would tell people, our kids got it for him. One day I finally said, Do you realize I paid for half of that watch? And he looked surprised and said, You put money into something this nice and expensive. She said I could go on and on, but I’m learning if I want something, I just need to buy it myself and plan my own one more. She said I have to share this one because it makes me laugh now.

[00:46:18] She said the first Christmas that we were separated, I had full

[00:46:20] Custody of our five kids and I had them for

[00:46:23] Christmas. He wasn’t working, so I wasn’t getting child support from him, so I paid for everything.

[00:46:27] Santa gifts gifts from me and he got them literally nothing, she said. Not a blessed thing. They celebrated Christmas with him the day after Christmas, and not they had gifts for him from me that I had bought. She said when I called him out on it later said, like months later, he played completely dumb. Like, he said, Oh, I just thought everything was from us. She said, Dude, no. So I hope that some of these resonated. I know that they’re heavy, but this is where I go back to the examples I feel

[00:46:54] Like are some of the most powerful things that people can hear. And I just

[00:46:58] Want you to know

[00:46:58] You absolutely are enough. If you are in relationships

[00:47:01] And I know

[00:47:02] That this is the part where people that are just hearing, even if they just

[00:47:04] Hear this episode

[00:47:05] And they can refer them back to the death by

[00:47:08] A thousand cuts because it’s a pattern of

[00:47:11] Behavior, it’s a pattern of behavior without taking ownership or accountability of their actions. And so if you’re the person hearing this and you are starting to wake up to your own narcissism, honesty, bless your heart and

[00:47:24] An acceptance is an amazing thing. Acceptance is amazing thing vulnerability and taking ownership and accountability is wonderful. It is, and it isn’t done from a victim standpoint. It’s it’s an

[00:47:35] Empowering thing, and it’s a

[00:47:36] Thing that can lead to some amazing change.

[00:47:38] If you are one who is already in these relationships or these situations and you’re waking up to the narcissism

[00:47:43] Around you, which is caused you to feel crazy, then I hope that you feel some sanity.

[00:47:48] And just by hearing other people’s stories and knowing that you’re not alone.

[00:47:51] And so if this is where you’re starting to listen to this podcast and I’m getting emails, I get the ones that say, do not reply because I will delete this right after because I don’t want my husband to read this.

[00:48:01] But keep on your journey. Keep listening to podcasts,

[00:48:04] Reading books, watching YouTube videos,

[00:48:06] Just you’re on a journey. And people again will say over and over again, how long does that journey take?

[00:48:11] And I’m not being dismissive when I say it takes as long as the journey takes.

[00:48:16] But you’re on that journey and the journey is going to eventually lead to you feeling heard, feeling understood and build that community of support around you. And so whether it’s reaching out to me and getting in the group that I have or it’s starting to find a group online or anything, just start to find a group, we all want to be heard. We all want to be understood. And and I hope that you are starting to see that you are seen, you are understood and feel free to email me, even if it just feels like a therapeutic thing. And let me know of your situations, your questions, your concerns. I really I,

[00:48:45] I see you and I see what you’re going through. So thanks for joining me today, and I’ll see you next week

[00:48:49] On another episode of Waking Up the Narcissism.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top