It’s so vivid.  The confusing times and conflicting feelings Christmas brought to my life after I married my narcissist.  On one hand, I was loving watching my children look through big books of toys.  Making lists of wishes for Santa.  I had a  friend, James, who would call them and pretend he was Santa.  I tried to balance the true meaning of Christmas with the innocent magic and wonder of  childhood while their Dad became the ultimate scrooge. 

 I also took them to church by myself to lay a solid foundation for life.  I used to say to them fear of God and Mom.

I would decorate the house.  I can remember one year he decorated the outside.   It was spectacular! We looked like the happiest family in the whole town. It was beautiful. But inside we lived in hell. He was miserable, always at work because it was a seven-day-a-week job at that point because of the holiday  and he was just plain emotionally unattached to his family.

He always took the time to sit down with the kids and make lists of what they wanted for Christmas. But then he would demand that I make a separate list and rearrange them and it always turned into a fight because he had written the list and I wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted me to change. It ended up with us arguing and fighting and tense and anxious. I was called stupid and ignorant because I didn’t know how to make a list and there were a couple of times he actually left me at the toy store with no money, no car and no way home.   Eventually he would return and we would continue shopping with him being aggressive and combative. It always left me exhausted and sad.   What you need to remember is that even though he took time to sit with the kids, it really was for him. He wanted to be Disney dad. He wanted to shower them with gifts to make up for all the time he was not there.

I wanted to slowly wrap the gifts and hide them so that on Christmas Eve when his time at the store had  finally ended, we could just sit and have a glass of wine and just be together after his holiday hours. But he would insist that we wrap the presents on Christmas Eve which usually meant I would wrap the presents on Christmas Eve and he would be irritable and tired. I can’t tell you the number of times he walked out on  me on Christmas Eve and  told me he was leaving. I was always anxious and panicked that my children would wake up and Christmas would be remembered as the time their father was not there and had left them.

Towards the end, he actually slept on the couch when the kids still believed in Santa and I had to wake him up to move him upstairs. It was such a sad time in my life. And he would present me with these gifts after telling me how he was going to leave me the night before and arguing with me and causing fights and I was supposed to be excited and thankful for what he had purchased. Had it been a normal, loving relationship the gifts he purchased like the sewing machine and the Noah’s Ark would have been prized possessions but they didn’t mean a thing because he had ruined them before he gave them to me. What I really wanted was a happy marriage and one without constant arguing and put-downs and abuse.

I think the hardest part was that the store was his mistress. He would decorate the store for the holiday and it would be shining like a beacon. He would greet customers and receive gifts and just be this person that he really wasn’t. A lot of people might look at it and say that he was just unhappy at home but truth was he was like a toddler at daycare.  Good all day and then would fall a part at home.  It was very difficult for him to be fake at work all day and “good”.  By the time he got home, he couldn’t do it any longer.  

Towards the end of our marriage I decided not to shop with him any longer. I let him do all the Christmas shopping. I refused to be a part of it except for the wrapping.   As much as I wanted to be a part of that because of the kids, it was healthier for me to not be abused in the middle of the store and to allow him to do it. It really didn’t matter anyway because he always got what he wanted for them and never really consulted with me anyway.

Christmas Day usually consisted of him ignoring my family and sometimes even arguing with them over stupid things. Many times he wouldn’t eat Christmas dinner with the kids and I. He just wanted to be left alone. He wanted to play with the kids and enjoy all the gifts he bought for them.  

To this day, I do not understand how his business could come before the kids and I. Especially his kids. At the time we had children he had the store for a while and by the time they really needed him he had been in it long enough that he should have been turning some of the work over to his employees and spending more time at home. But the kids and I never got that. He never started doing any of those things until after we split up.  He was a micromanager extraordinaire.

What made everything about the holidays so particularly sad was that our anniversary was December 29th and most often went unnoticed. It was such a sad time for me. If we did go out on New Years it was not to be together. It was so that he could play in a band and I could sit alone with the rest of the wives while others around me kissed their husbands and significant others at midnight. And here’s the thing, that kiss would not have been as important as it was if I had gotten what I needed from him on a day-to-day basis.

I was physically, mentally,verbally and finanially abused.  He showed no discrimination for the day, time or time of year.  Christmas, first day of school, Easter, 12 a.m. or 6 a.m. if he felt like raging, he did. 

Now my children are gone part of the holiday which I thought would kill me but now that they are young adults, I have adjusted just fine.  New traditions are in place and he still plays Disney Dad but I am a Mom everyday and continue to be a constant in their lives.  I’ll take that role over Disney Dad any day.❤

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