Narcissus' -vs- Ekho's Birthdays

Narcissus' -vs- Ekho's Birthdays

A Tale of Two Birthdays - Narcissus’ -vs- Ekho’s Birthdays

One of the early red flags in my relationship that I recognized (and yet ignored) was the disparity between my birthday and that of my narcissist. We started dating in October 2017, so when my birthday rolled around a month later and my narcissist did nothing, I brushed it off as being early in our relationship and, therefore, perfectly acceptable. I come from a family where birthdays after you turn 18 are largely ignored and, at best, you get the obligatory text or phone call from mom and dad. So it didn’t bother me much when my 36 birthday hit and my narcissist did nothing. 

Fast forward to the following May 2018. My narcissist’s birthday was in June, and, for the entire month prior, I don’t think a day went by that he did not remind me that his ‘birthday month’ was approaching. Again, I took this as just a cultural difference, assuming that in his family people celebrated birthdays much more than in my family. I actually thought that it was a green flag because at least he recognized special days as something worth celebrating, unlike my family who got antsy after spending an hour together at Christmas. 

I remember him saying to me a few days before the much-hailed birthday month commenced ‘I cannot wait to see what you have planned for me as a weekend getaway.’ Truth be told, I was paying $3,000 per month in spousal support to my ex-husband (who hadn’t worked in a decade) and was barely able to pay all my bills. Nonetheless, I put together a weekend getaway on my credit card. The weekend of his birthday approached and, I quickly realized that the $1,000 I had planned would not come close to covering his demands and expectations. His alcohol bill at each place we went to exceeded our food prices. And breakfast, lunch, and dinner out were not enough. He needed to stop at the various bars and restaurants along the way to get coffee, snacks, and more alcoholic drinks, as well as ‘birthday presents.’

After the weekend was over, his demands did not cease. For the rest of the month, anytime we did anything, I was reminded that it was still his birthday month, so I had better pay for everything and make it special. I never got so much as a thank you and, instead, at every turn he made sure I knew that my plans were completely inadequate and that he was deeply disappointed. I was never so grateful to see July 1 on my phone so I could quit spending so much money on his wants and start focusing on doing some extra projects to pay down my credit card bill.

In November, my birthday month hit. I was (foolishly) expecting that he would make at least a moderate deal out of it based on the high standard he established during his birthday month. I quickly realized that my birthday month would be met with nothing. I am not the type (thank god) to remind people that it is my birthday. But I did mention around the middle of November that my birthday was approaching. He seemed irritated that I would even bring it up. I remember him asking me ‘Well, what would you like me to do about that?’ Not wanting to put him out, I told him that I would love to have a cheesecake and spend the evening with him. Needless to say, I never got the cheesecake and, for my entire birthday, he ghosted me. I remember crying for hours. I felt shame, embarrassment, remorse, and so many other uncomfortable emotions. I scoured our time together to see if I had done something wrong to make him not want to show me any love or care on my birthday. I could not wrap my head around how someone could demand he get a birthday month and, simultaneously, hold that I should not even get a birthday cheesecake. 

This was the first of five birthdays that I spent crying. I ended up spending every birthday that I was with my narcissist crying. And if I told him how sad I was, he seemed to get an odd sense of satisfaction out of that. He was always trying to teach me ‘a lesson’ and I guess making me feel like trash on my birthday was a means of teaching me my lesson - a lesson that, in hindsight, I should have taken and skedaddled - he was a narcissist.  It was not until I met my current partner, who shows me in every word and action possible that he loves and respects me, that I realized that birthdays were not made for sadness. My 42 birthday was the first one in six years that I felt loved, appreciated, valued, and cared for, and for that, I am so grateful.

I asked other survivors of narcissistic abuse if they had similar experiences with birthdays.

The results were overwhelming. This seems to be a trend amongst this ilk of humans. My Facebook post asking if anyone else had a birthday experience similar to mine netted dozens of comments, all eerily similar.

One person explained, “Mine would even say he had special things planned and really build up the day just to not even acknowledge anything day of.”

Another person shared, “Last year I didn't even get so much as a card or anything…”

Yet another person added “I never did ‘enough’ for his birthday. He rarely did anything for mine, and if he did, it was something that could be used to do or make for him.”

There were so many comments about relatable experiences that it made me wonder if all narcissists read the same playbook on how to hurt people.  

A little internet research confirmed that this is textbook narcissistic behavior.

They actually get pleasure out of ruining your birthday, which matched my suspicions 100 percent. I saw this video by Dr. Ramani on YouTube, as well as almost 11K comments confirming this well-documented trend. I hope you find this video helpful and, if you are dealing with a narcissist, know that you are not alone in crying yourself to sleep on your birthday. There are thousands of us with the exact same experience. And, please, take this as a lesson - but not the one the narcissist wants you to learn. Take it as a lesson in who they are and, don’t make the same mistake I did – rather – skedaddle.

 

 

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