Birthdays with a Narcissist

In my experience, any major event with The Narcissist was stress inducing… holidays, anniversaries, and most definitely birthdays.

Over the years that we spent together the impending doom of this birthday month became something that created so much stress and anxiety for me. It became one of the many hoops that I had to jump through in my life with The Narcissist… a way to prove to him that I loved him and I deserved him… another excuse he could come up with to prove that I wasn’t good enough… another thing he could hold over my head and use to bring out the guilt he needed to manipulate me.

I am the type of person who has always been more about the quality of time spent on my own birthday and less about the extravaganza or the gifts. My favorite birthday’s over the years are the ones where I stayed at home with my family eating Chinese food take out and my favorite cake from the local bakery. Before meeting The Narcissist, the most spoiled birthday event I ever had was when my most favorite uncle sent me a dozen hot pink roses and a Tiffany necklace on my sweet 16th. (He said that every girl deserves the special princess treatment on her 16th birthday!)

Enter The Narcissist and everything became a spectacle. He was famous for love bombing me in a variety of ways including sending me elaborate flower arrangements to the office “just because.” He used his OCD research behaviors to find out about absolutely every and any event that was going on or new and cool gizmo or gadget to buy. He had elaborate themed cakes and cake pops made just for my birthday where we usually just sat home by ourselves. He would buy me expensive gifts that he claimed were super thoughtful and had all of this rationale behind them when really they were just ways of making me more into the version of me that he wanted… or ways to push his likes onto me. He set the bar very high and made the entire birthday planning into a nightmare for me.

On his first birthday that we spent together as a married couple I learned this lesson. I had just moved to the other side of the world to live with him. I didn’t have a car, a private bank account, or even any idea how or where to go to get things like cake and presents in this new country I was still trying to figure out. I attempted to plan something that I thought was thoughtful and loving and celebratory of his life… and it all blew up in my face. I ended up being berated because The Narcissist informed me that his family never celebrated his birthday when he was a kid, and he never had birthday parties, and he was never made to feel special, and that his birthday really felt more depressing to him than anything else. Then all his frustration shifted to how I was just continuing the legacy of him having crappy birthdays and that he shouldn’t be surprised and blah blah blah. He even threw in a few jabs about how his ex-wife had done much more thoughtful things to celebrate his birthday. Basically I was now the one to blame for a lifetime of crappy birthdays… and trust me I was punished for it.

On another birthday, my most favorite uncle (the one mentioned above) had the audacity to die a few days before The Narcissist’s birthday. The Narcissist was beyond frustrated that his entire birthday week was spent flying to America, attending wakes and funerals, and spending lots of time with my family. You can read about the torture and abuse that ensued from that event here.

From there I pretty much exhausted myself each time his birthday came around attempting to make it special and perfect and make this one day make up for ~25 years of apparent crappy birthdays and somehow I still never lived up to his expectations. It  certainly wasn’t easy considering that The Narcissist bought himself any and everything he wanted all of the time. He had pre-ordered every major thing he ever wanted months in advance. He researched every single event and usually got us tickets months in advance. I had to be on my A-game like 6 months before his birthday hit to actually plan a gift or event that he hadn’t already purchased.

In the end, it didn’t matter if I got him in the front row for one of his favorite bands, or had a dozen gluten free, dairy free cupcakes from the hot new bakery in the city, or if I elaborately set up our entire kitchen to look like a party thrown by Gatsby himself (one of the Narc’s movie idols)… there was always something that wasn’t enough… wasn’t thoughtful enough… was something he would have done differently…. etc. etc.

He would often sit there and quiz me… wanting to know why I made a choice to get him that thing, or what my process was for researching, or how I made the decision to do x,y,or z. He would need to understand how I landed on the decision that this was the best thing to do for his birthday. He would exhaust me with questions and discussion and eventually come to the conclusion that I just haphazardly threw something together and didn’t really care about him or love him at all (and clearly didn’t put as much thought or effort into his birthdays as he put into mine.)

Almost as soon as his birthday was over and I had survived whatever chaos ensued the panic attack for Valentine’s day would set in…. and this was my life with The Narcissist… constant eggshells, constant stress, constant jumping through hoops. Today I get exhausted even just remembering it.

11 thoughts on “Birthdays with a Narcissist

  1. Wow. This guy is a monster…but most narcissists are. I understand…believe me.
    It is always all about them. I hope you have or will get to the point where you understand fully…that the problem is with him and not you.
    I know it’s difficult to survive this kind of torture. i wasted forty-one years of my life with one of these maggots and i still haven’t recovered.
    Love yourself…know your worth….survive.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I am so glad. You mentioned favorite birthdays…from your beloved uncle.
        My favorite birthday was long ago. I was raised by my grandparents and they were as poor as church-mouses…but one year for my birthday, they gave me a gallon of milk and a green bell pepper. I sat and drank that milk straight out of the carton and ate the pepper like it was an apple, while my grandpa clapped and sang “happy birthday.”
        I have no idea what they had to do without to afford that gallon of milk and pepper but it is forever etched in my memory as the best birthday I ever had.
        Hang onto the good memories and try to let the bad ones go.
        I have so few good memories but I do cherish them.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. OH MY HELL, I swear I just read my life. Our first year together on his birthday, I had all of his friends and family write a paragraph or two about memories they had with him and put together a book with pictures of him and his friends and family. Then I had a surprise birthday party for him. I kid you not, I left that birthday bawling my eyes out. He picked the party apart because I didn’t invite certain people and he told me how selfish I was. For years he told me I was the worst gift giver because I only thought about what I wanted to give, and not think about what he would want. Come to find out, he hated thoughtful gifts. He wanted BIG EXPENSIVE gifts. He would make my birthday huge with tons of clothes and shoes, but never anything thoughtful. I never cared for the gifts, but I couldn’t ever say that or else I wasn’t grateful or appreciative. I hated all the birthdays and holidays with him. Then you can imagine our children’s birthdays.. I always had to go above and beyond for them. So now being divorced, it’s like a competition. I completely relate to what you posted… I feel your pain, it’s truly crazy how similar and what we experienced. It’s honestly crazy making
    .. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Comingoutfromthedark, OMG! I was told how selfish I was so many times, and also how much I didn’t appreciate him for all of the ‘thoughtful’ things he did for me. It is so crazy how it seems like narcissist’s read from the same script sometimes!! The only bummer thing is that I feel like he made enjoy holidays / birthdays / etc. so much less that I am trying to get back into being excited for the simple version of those things again. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just don’t “remember” it anymore! What a nightmare!!! Anyone else / a sane person would appreciate everything you did! People like him are NEVER happy/satisfied so never be hard on yourself. Spend some energy on yourself on this day (cos it’s hard to forget sometimes!) and have a pamper day or something xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The narc I knew’s birthday is February 1. Good to know his wife will be living another nightmare tomorrow. Not because she deserves it – but because she enables it, and enables the abuse of his own flesh and blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh don’t worry, every day is like this in one way or another… not just birthdays. I get the anger and frustration but definitely try to keep some sympathy. It’s really hard to see the abuse for reality when you’re stuck in that situation. ❤


      1. Thank you. I do keep my empathy – otherwise I would be like him. It’s her decision and it’s her life, and it’s not my business. But for throwing my son under the bus and believing him so blindly – that’s how I cope with the pain – that she is getting her karma. All I ca do is focus on good feelings and leave them behind because like attracts like.

        I’m so glad you got out – I really hope she does too.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Also, it struck me that your uncle supported a belief that you needed to be treated like a princess and you were looking for a Prince Charming – which the whole schtick of some cerebral narcissists. I hope you don’t hold that belief anymore. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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