7 Strong Boundaries to Protect Yourself from Toxic People This Christmas
Are you in a relationship with someone who ruins every holiday?
Does your friend or coworker have a special mean streak they reserve for occasions when everyone else is feeling festive and fuzzy?
Does your aunt ask questions about your dating situation — and mock you regarding your single status? Or, your sister needs all the focus on her — and creates a scene when she doesn’t get it?
You may be dealing with a narcissist.
Narcissists and other toxic people love the holiday season. But, not for the same reasons you and I do.
While most of us are looking forward to holiday celebrations and extra time with family, narcissists approach Christmas and the new year with dread…and agendas. They are not at all impressed by the happiness and anticipation swirling about. They are incapable of tolerating any time of year or any event where they might be expected to show responsibility and loyalty to the people that care about them (unless they are love-bombing or hoovering).
People who are closest to narcissists often become less focused on them during the holidays, and so narcissists tend to act up more during the holiday season, performing the seasonal devalue and discard, triangulating family members, and generally creating more drama and chaos to force people’s attention back onto them.
If you’ve been with a narcissist a while, I don’t have to tell you how awful they can be during the most-treasured holiday of the year. Let the narcissist throw a fit like a chimpanzee doped on acid …you don’t need to engage with their drama. With these seven boundaries, you can rise above the chaos and still have a special holiday that warms your heart.
1 – Disengage with the narcissist
The less you supply the narcissist with drama, the better. If you don’t provide the platform for the narcissist to oppose you, you’ll be glad for it later. Narcissists truly could care less about you or what you think. Why tire yourself out trying to gain their approval or force them to be nice? Remember that narcissists operate from a crumbling foundation upon which their superficial character has been built. If you engage with them, before you know it hours of your day will be gone, and you’ll have nothing to show for it.
2- Have an exit plan
As an adult who is fully capable of making decisions for yourself, you have the right to exit situations that become unhealthy without waiting for another person’s permission.
There are many methods you can use to exit a negative interaction or situation. For example, you can peek at your watch and say, “Omigod, look at the time, I’m supposed to be arriving at Aunt Betsy’s any minute.” Then leave.
With a narcissist who is being cruel, demanding or unpleasant, every moment you remain in their presence is one more moment you are late for yourself and other people in your life.
Or look at your phone and say, ‘Excuse me, I have to take this call.” Whether there’s a call or not.
Sure, the narcissist may attempt to become more controlling or more verbally abusive, but they’re going to do that no matter what. Might as well stick to your guns and enjoy the holidays despite it all.
3 – Shield yourself emotionally
Since narcissists generally believe their ideas and approaches are better than yours, prepare yourself for push back if you disagree or share your opinion — because their point of view is so firmly rooted in the “I am right” position.
Don’t discuss personal matters. You may be mocked, ridiculed, or dismissed. You certainly won’t get a meaningful dialogue going, unless you cave to their opinions or mockery. Why be present for that?
4 – Pursue your own holiday joy
Do not count on the narcissist to do what they promise to do for you. They make promises to keep you enmeshed in the relationship and hopeful for a healed future with them. It’s Future-Faking 101.
Go out and create your own holiday joy; do not rely on them to provide this for you. They won’t.
5 – Never show the narcissist how their behavior affects you
It’s no mystery that narcissists take pleasure in causing others pain. Normal people typically avoid hurting others because it makes them feel guilty. Not the narcissist. Narcissists get a kick out of causing emotional damage to others, especially during the holidays. This is precisely why they ghost you without explanation, “accidentally” let you see a text coming in from their ex, or use your children as pawns to cause deep sorrow.
Do not let them see your reaction to these behaviors. The best way to deal with situations like these is to ignore them and get your children out of the situation, even if it means staying with a family member or at a hotel.
6 – Do something nice for yourself and for others
When you’re feeling sad, it can be easy to retreat into a shell and spend all your time alone. Instead, make a choice to focus outside of your situation. You can help children in need, sing carols at a retirement home, or spend time at an animal shelter.
You can bake cookies for your coworkers or book a day at the spa for yourself.
One of my followers is going to rent a chalet and spend ten days working the Break Free Bootcamp so she can finally get started on her healed life and create a better 2018 and beyond for herself. She wants to recover so she can pursue her dream of being a Crystal-Alignment Healing Practitioner.
Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you to use your gifts and talents. Nurture the friendships that nurture your soul and bring out the best in you. Be that kind of friend for others, and you’ll experience a constant flow of positive energy that will fuel you toward the happiness you were born to experience.
7 – Be prepared for a backlash, but don’t let it dictate your mood or your plans
Narcissists generally don’t take too well to boundaries. Setting a boundary with them is a direct challenge to overstep your boundaries. Ultimately, though, you are still the one in control.
You may be met with rage, requests to lighten up, or made to feel guilty. Try not to take this personally. The narcissist has always operated this way. Remember, it’s not you, it’s them. Don’t budge on your boundaries because one inch of slack will be like an open door with a welcome sign to the narcissist.
By focusing on others, your own self-care, and hanging around positive people, you can survive and even thrive through the holidays – even after a recent break-up or divorce. Let today be a new beginning and the start of the renewal you crave by changing your perspective and enforcing your boundaries. When you do, you’ll experience a warm and memorable holiday season.
I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions on boundaries that have worked for you…
Need extra reinforcement? Grab your free guide below for navigating the holidays when you have a narcissist in your life.