There are dozens of articles and videos describing how narcissists are always miserable during holidays others fully enjoy and make a point out of ruining them for everyone else.

Never having met one, to my knowledge, I  can’t claim to be able to dismiss this criterion; however, if this is one important reason why you have labelled a person as such, please think twice – as there are many valid reasons for not sharing the holiday cheer.

  1. People don’t have a “happy” button they can push for social convenience. The more this is asked of them, the more miserable and antisocial they will become.

Whereas for some, a diversion from their usual existence is more than welcome, for others, this yearly ritual of let’s try to be happy (desperately, clinging to this magnificent day as if we were in danger of missing the boat to move overseas) is just as dry and robotic; difficult to understand, in a way. Here is  an article on the matter, describing a whole nation experiencing feelings of gratitude, being kinder, reacting emotionally to songs and symbols, as if these things suddenly occurred on cue at that time of the year.

For many in the United States, as the month of November approaches, their spirits begin to lift as they start to prepare and decorate for Thanksgiving and they reflect on the blessings that they are grateful for.In December, the holiday songs, decorations and white bearded guy in the red suit reminds everyone to spread goodwill and cheer to others.

Let’s forget about the location for a moment, as people around the world could make the same statement. The first issue I have with this is that feelings are private, not collective; one can’t simply tap into the communal cheer as many claim, and catch it from others. It’s not Ebola FFS.

A human being does not owe these feelings to anybody. It is absurd to claim that someone’s mood should be lifted simply by how other people feel; it is also absurd to claim that joy is a cultural thing, brought on by certain stimuli such as dates or decorations or costumes (much like bulls react in a predetermined way when they see red).

Another common way narcissists deflate holiday bubbles is to buy the worst gift imaginable or cry “poverty” to get out of having to purchase gifts at all. Many narcissists will even purchase something they purposely know won’t be liked, only to delight in the disappointed expression on faces as the gift is opened. (same source)

So that spiritual high is at least partially material, and if one cannot “pay their dues” to the communal happiness by buying gifts, they are somehow inferior?  Perhaps they are themselves fed up with this culture of customs become obligations and happiness derived from what lies underneath the wrapping paper. Giving gifts is wonderful when it actually comes from one’s heart. When the “joy of giving” becomes the stress of where to get money to rise up to everyone’s expectations… it is visibly just another chore on the year’s calendar. Nothing spiritual in the slightest – hence one cannot genuinely claim heartache from not receiving the kind of gift they wanted, for some reason. That is superficial and snobbish, sorry to say. (PS, think of the worst gifts you’ve ever received and then consider the following: a Chuckie doll, a box of toilet brushes, a ticket to see feminist theatre which would scar you for life.)

On the deeper level, Sam Vaknin describes the narcissist’s need of complete autonomy , which manifests by rejecting what society tries to impose – forced cheerfulness and celebration on certain occasions – corroborated with the need to control how others feel and to bring them down. Whereas the latter is indeed toxic, I can safely argue that the need to reject any imposition related to how they should feel is natural. They might just experience a visceral repulsion  towards anything that is artificial, without ever looking down on those who embrace it.

When a person deems a partner cruel and neglectful because of this rejection of conformity, they’re basically stating that they long to be like everyone else, to have and do what everyone has and does around them. In my view this is not a natural and personal need but a culturally imposed one and should not come between two people.

2. They might just be a nonbeliever among a group of believers ceaselessly attempting to drag them into the “holiday spirit”.

This year I had my first Easter as a non-Christian in a very religious country, where for 3 days (although I think it extends to 40) people greet each other with “Christ was resurrected” instead of hello. But during the three days of Easter, if you greet them with a simple hello, they give you some right funny looks. Some older people don’t even reply; they think you’re being dead rude. It’s the type of context of being constantly warned not to work or wash on a Sunday, in spite of repeating you have no fear of any higher power smiting you with lighting for turning the washing machine on. So I can totally sympathise with anyone in that context or any variation.

3. The nauseating commercial mania is enough to put some people off.

As we’ve all become accustomed to, Christmas tends to start in October now. If during the rest of the year major stores (at least) are conniving, annoying and relentless towards making people buy things they don’t need, during the holiday season it’s like they’re all on cocaine. Some folks, myself included, find that this intoxication drains the spirit right out of such occasions.

4. The personal turned impersonal

Nowadays, someone needn’t even write a few lines on a card for a loved one; they can pick from a variety of standard messages and just sign their name in a hurry. Let’s call these depersonalised cards. As to Valentine’s Day (when society assumes every couple enjoys a mandatory evening out and mandatory sex), aside from its blatantly commercial nature, the whole concept of something intimate being celebrated collectively is uncomfortable to say the least. If anything, it’s proof of the robotic nature of our existence, with a preset date for the best quality romanticism.

Slowly, our interest is being compartmentalised, with foreign groups somewhere deciding which days or months are to be dedicated to a particular matter. Not that certain matters weren’t important or worthy of more awareness, yet setting international standards for what people should focus on, on fixed occasions, is not natural.

5. People can also hate larger celebrations due to social anxiety, simply preferring to be alone or in a very small group.

If someone feels out of place in a room full of people they’re not close to, there’s probably nothing you can do to fix them – because they don’t need fixing. It’s just how they are and how they approach life. Some think they’re doing others a favour by forcing them to socialise or that others have a “duty” to attend an event with them, even if they feel out of place the whole time. It’s like putting a drop of oil in a glass of water – it will always end up isolated and taciturn, and will probably make others feel uncomfortable as well.

Perhaps this analysis is somewhat superficial, yet might raise useful points to anyone who places an emphasis on conforming to the norm to the degree that it causes trouble in their relationships with others.