Saying no to a narcissist comes with a whole package of crap that can lead you down a road of arguing back and forth, right?
There is nothing that makes a narcissist happier than to throw you into a mess of chaos.
When you’re trying to avoid conflict with the ex, especially around the holidays, it’s easy to let some of your boundaries slide. You don’t want the kids to see you argue, you don’t want to make a scene at church, etc.
Unfortunately, this can create a snowball effect.
What starts with something simple like sitting together during church can quickly escalate into the ex having lunch with you afterwards and coming to your home to watch the kids open gifts!
Suddenly you realize he snuck right back into the middle of your life and you want him OUT.
I’ve been in this very position myself! I started teaching a Sunday School class so naturally the ex did the same thing. Since we were already at church together, he wanted to sit with us. And since we were already sitting together, he wanted to eat lunch with us afterward as well.
We had been separated for two years and he was introducing me to people as his wife!
Week after week this happened, and I didn’t stop it. I was ridiculously uncomfortable but I didn’t want to be the one to make a scene.
It all came to a head when he had come to my condo and was just sitting there, hanging out by my fireplace. I couldn’t believe I had let him inch his way back into my life!
And now it was just like before, with my daughter in the next room and us arguing back and forth.
This was my house, my custody time, and my plans. He was no longer welcome.
I had allowed him to walk all over me and my boundaries.
I realized that I had to give myself permission to say, “No.”
And I needed a plan to handle the fallout that was sure to happen when I did.
So what do you do? How do you stop it?
First, give yourself permission to say, “No.”
That’s it. Nothing more. You don’t have to explain why you don’t want to sit together or eat together. Don’t justify your decision. You have a right to your own plans with your kids on your time with them. You are not a family with the ex anymore and he doesn’t get to inch his way into your plans.
Even if you’ve already agreed to let him come over and watch the kids open gifts, there is still time to change that plan.
Do what’s best for you and your kids to protect your peace and joy this holiday.
Second, you need to practice.
I understand how difficult and scary and overwhelming it is to say no to a narcissist. They can really lay on a guilt trip and take things to the extreme. It takes practice.
You can look in the mirror and practice what you’re going to say. You can practice saying things out loud with a friend or family member.
If saying no this Christmas seems too much for you, practice saying no to smaller things first and work up to saying no to holiday things next year.
When you start saying no to the ex, it’s going to be difficult at first.
- Don’t talk to him in person or on the phone.
- Do it in an email or parenting app so it’s in writing and then put your phone down because he’s going to come back at you.
He’s used to getting his way and he’s not going to back down easily and be agreeable. You know this.
However, I promise you that it does get easier over time!
You will get stronger and stand firm in your power and he will begin to realize he can’t push you around anymore.
Third, make a plan.
Use what you know about the ex to plan for what he will come back with. Does he use guilt, rage, manipulating the kids? Whatever he typically does, make a plan for you and the kids to stay safe and out of his way for a while.
Don’t put any limits on him because you don’t know what level he’s capable of going to.
I don’t say this to scare you, but to make sure you have a plan in place. Just in case. Have someone at your house that Christmas in case he shows up. Make plans to be somewhere else and don’t tell him where you’ll be.
If this is a new level of setting boundaries for you, I want you to know that you can do this.
You are a smart woman. You are a good mom. You just have to start!
I wrote a guide to help you stand in your power and get through the holidays narc-free. You can get it here.
If you want more help in this area, schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me. We can talk about the tools available to you to get you through this holiday season with peace and joy for you and your kids.
God made you for this!
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