Narcissists and Valentine’s Day can be a recipe for something bad to happen.
Valentine’s Day is often a sensitive and dreaded day for many people, regardless of relationship status. Yet narcissists are notorious for ruining big days such as birthdays, anniversaries, and other holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. [Read How Narcissists Ruin Holidays]
Valentine’s Day, however, is extra-special. Everything about Valentine’s Day is tailor-made for them to wield it as a weapon to inflict maximum pain.
Valentine’s Day can be triggering for those coming out of abusive relationships with narcissists. It’s a day specifically dedicated to the very emotions the narcissist distorted to gain our trust and then used to violate us. [Read Can a Narcissists Love? It’s Complicated]
Because the day is dedicated to love and relationships, everything about it can be used fraudulently in their illusion with little effort. In each stage of the narcissistic cycle of abuse of idealize-devaluation-discard-and hoover, there’s always something cooking up on Valentine’s Day. [Read The 12 Stages of the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle]
Narcissists and Valentine’s Day: The Tactics
1. Exploding or Disappearing On or Just Before Valentines Day
Starting huge arguments just before or on Valentine’s Day is not uncommon. They may do this to avoid focusing on us or because they enjoy seeing us in pain.
Narcissists may also start an argument because there is someone else with whom they want to spend the day. An argument is an excuse for them to give you a silent treatment so they can spend Valentine’s Day with someone else.
They may use their anger and disappearances to avoid planning or gift-giving or any acknowledgment of the day at all.
In my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, the night before our first Valentine’s Day together, he started an incident at a bar when another man spoke to me. He later told me he threw gifts he had bought me, including an “expensive bracelet” out the car window in anger while driving home.
I will never know whether the gifts ever existed or whether he wanted me to feel that I would have gotten the spoils of his love if I had only done something differently.
2. Holding Valentine’s Day Over Your Head
Narcissists often say that we don’t appreciate anything they do for us–as if the good things they do buys them the right to silence us as equal partners in the relationship and cancels out their abuse.
If Valentine’s Day hasn’t happened yet, they may make threats to leave, cancel plans, take your gifts back because you’re not “appreciating” them if you dare to speak up about anything.
It’s not that you care about Valentine’s Day itself, but what it represents–peace and acknowledgment. They’re conditioning us to walk on eggshells and jump over their bars with their rewards and punishments.
Valentine’s Day gives them a specific day to point to as a supposed testament of their love. Then, once it’s over, if they love bomb you in at all, it’s later used as ammunition.
They may mention it as proof that they love you, and you’re selfish and never happy if you, for example, bring up another lie or tell them you want them to treat you with dignity.
3. Triangulating You with Others
Narcissists have no shortage of past relationship partners to compare you to when it suits them. They may talk about all the wonderful Valentine’s Days they have had in the past, or they may tell you how horrible past partners were to them on Valentine’s Day.
In both cases, they want to condition you to react a certain way. You will jump through hoops to make sure that your Valentine’s Day with them is exceptional either way!
4. Hoovering And Future-Faking
The hoover game is strong around Valentine’s Day, so prepare yourself.
“I was thinking about last Valentine’s Day when we…”
“Are you free on Valentine’s Day? I want to take you to brunch and see you one last time.”
“Your favorite author has a new book out, and it made me think of you when I saw it. I picked it up for you, and I’d like to give it to you on Valentine’s Day.”
Once they get their foot in the door, then come the lavish promises for the future. More trips they’d “have liked” to take you on or things they wanted to do with you if you were still together.
They still love you so much, they say. Won’t you see them one last time?
Stay strong. Valentine’s Day is the one day you can predict potential contact.
It’s not a sure thing that they will reach out. However, the reason why narcissists use the same hoovering tactics again repeatedly is that they work. [Read 23 Narcissist Hoovering Tactics to Watch Out For]
5. Control and Harassment
Valentine’s Day is a specific day when people go on dates and express love for one another works in reverse.
They can punish and reward you with it when it comes to your relationship with them. Still, if Valentine’s Day passed during a silent treatment, their jealousy could become their excuse to harass you.
They may use the holiday as an excuse to subject you to endless questions and accusations about what you were doing with other men or women. They may try to get you to confess to something that didn’t happen because they won’t believe they didn’t.
Valentine’s Day with a Narcissist Can Be a Nightmare
Everyone is supposed to pretend to be happy on Valentine’s Day. If they are in relationships, they are supposed to pretend to be in a happy couple. If they are not in relationships, they are supposed to stifle their grievances and let the “happy couples” celebrate.
Many people perceive Valentine’s Day as a light-hearted holiday, even frivolous. It’s common knowledge that people sometimes suffer depression during the Christmas holidays, but Valentine’s Day?
Any complaints are perceived as envy– either of those in relationships by singles or those in “better” relationships by the attached. People who experience negative emotions around Valentine’s Day may be perceived as just being bitter or jealous.
Yet those who have been in abusive relationships with narcissists go through emotional turmoil on or around Valentine’s Day. The day may stir up old questions about the narcissist and love or left us back in a confused state trying to figure out if the narcissist ever loved us or not. [Read Can a Narcissist Love? It’s Complicated]
You aren’t alone in experiencing trauma because of how a narcissist has used Valentine’s Day to magnify their emotional abuse.
If you can, try to take care of yourself on Valentine’s Day in the way that your partner never really has and talk with other survivors who are going through the same thing.
The ultimate transcendence of the narcissist’s control is to reflect on love beyond what we experienced in the relationship as part of our path to recovery.
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