A Narcissist-Free Thanksgiving

I didn’t go anywhere for Thanksgiving this year. My husband and I opted to stay in this year and eat some baked ziti that I made. My bonus kids spent the holiday with his ex-wife, and we’ll be doing our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. For us, veterans of retail and call centers, Thanksgiving is just another day.

I did get a text message from my stepmother around 3:00 p.m. wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving. It threw me off a little bit, as I realized that just twenty miles away, my father and his chosen family would be sitting down to a big Thanksgiving meal, and I realized that, outside of a text conversation, I haven’t spoken to him for a year.

Last year at Thanksgiving, he let my stepbrother call me an asshole – twice – and then defended him when I chose to leave dinner.

This is the same stepbrother that told me I looked “like a bull dyke,” asked me if I didn’t have kids because my “babymaker went bad,” showered my kids, his brother’s kids, and his own kids in burning cinders from fireworks lit directly above us and myriad other things that he thinks are acceptable in your late 30s.

I know now that he and my father get along well because they are both narcissistic and alcoholic – a recipe for a friendship built on “misery loves company.”

I don’t know why Andy calling me an asshole was the last straw for me, considering everything I put up with during the five years that I knew him, but I think it was a combination of both the insult and the fact that my father, who only a few weeks before had told me that he wished that he would have been there for me during my hard times to defend me, tried to tell me that it didn’t happen. I realized that he had made his choice, and his choice was to forget whatever he said until it was convenient.

I wasn’t set on going non-contact until Christmas, when he and Andy decided to be horrible on Facebook towards me, insinuating that I only liked him for his money – which I never asked for, nor ever benefited from. At that point, I blocked him from all communication.

At the beginning of September, I had to get some medical testing done, which necessitated medical history from my father’s side of the family. I pleaded with my doctor to avoid having to do that, but he advised me that in order to come up with the best treatment options, I needed to know. I asked my stepmother if she would ask my father the questions, and he began texting me.

He texted me YouTube videos of Dean Martin songs, and finally told me that he would continue until I talked to him. “Block me or be a family. Your choice.”

Ah, yes, the narcissist’s trademark – it’s always my fault, no one else’s.

I responded to him that this lack of communication was on him. He owed me an apology, and he was causing this silence.

He responded by calling my stance stupid and me an adolescent. He then said that one day, one of us wouldn’t be here and we’d “have to endure the rest of existence wondering what if.” I acquiesced and said fine, let’s try. I didn’t send anything else.

I haven’t heard from him since.

This Turkey Day, I have to give thanks to r/raisedbynarcissists for the support and amazing people that populate the community there. Every day, especially during the holidays, there are people there that you don’t have to explain things to. They just understand. They understand that the veiled insults that we hear aren’t normal, but what we deal with. They get what it feels like to be loved with conditions and strings attached. And they know what the mourning process – or the extreme jubilation – is like when we finally go non-contact with toxic people.

Because of them, I know that my childhood, sadly, isn’t unique, and my adulthood isn’t unique either, but I don’t feel like this is my fault anymore. I know what the scapegoat is, and what the golden child is, and that it’s not something I have to be for the rest of my life.

I know what FLEAs are and how to help my husband deal with my extreme frustration if the knick-knacks aren’t arranged perfectly. And so many other people do, too.

So for those of you who maybe just made it through the Thanksgiving From Hell and you’re wondering “How do I stop this from happening again next year?” I suggest you check them out. Network with us who know that it’s not simply a #whitepeoplethanksgiving trope when that lovely parent asks why we don’t ask our sister for makeup advice.

And next year, if you’d like, I’ll send you my recipe for baked ziti.

Al Miller
Resident nerd, glitter goth, and reluctant adult, Al has been writing about the things that make her heart sing for over a decade. She also handles the social media management for The Flounce. Need to have some questions answered or maybe discuss some PR for your upcoming indie game or geek culture project? Want to see if you're soulmates and discuss pizza toppings? Questions about pitching or contributing? email at allison@theflounce.com No dick pics, please.
  • Blahblee

    Thanksgiving used to terrify me. My parents were awful, awful people, and we’d have to spend four days straight with them screaming at each other. One year my dad threw a whole casserole (plus dish) out the window.

    This year, I finally feel like I’m able to do Thanksgiving in a way that’s fun and free of toxic people. I made dinner on Sat night for 5 people, all of whom were chosen friends and family who are sane and awesome. We played Cards Against Humanity and they brought a fancy bottle of scotch. But it took until my mid-thirties to finally have a reason to look forward to this holiday.

    The problem I have with some holidays is that they can push families together who ought to be apart. Like that time this stewardess at the airport forced me to hug my father because I was getting on a plane. I still resent her for that (lol).

    Oh and raisedbynarccisists is great therapy for free. The people on that board are so non-judgmental and insightful.

    • botenana

      I’m so glad that oyu were able to have that!!! Cards Against Humanity is totally my guilty pleasure and I adore it.