The act of gift giving by a narcissist is not really an act of giving. For the receiver – they don’t experience the usual happiness that goes with receiving a gift. It becomes a deal they made with the narcissist, it is a gesture that you should be so thankful for that you should supply them with the adoration, power that they want and think they deserve. It is by no means a gift for the narcissist.
As with previous posts, I refer to an incident that I have experienced because I found that speaking in vague terms didn’t help me:
The Gift of Chocolate Liquor
While visiting Don and Lydia (narcissistic couple) just after the Christmas holidays conversation started with ‘how were the holidays, what did u do, etc?’. Part of the day Lydia and I were hanging out and talking when she said oh, here is the Godiva Chocolate Liquor I got from Don this Christmas…she showed me the bottle in the cupboard and I said, ‘oooo very nice, that looks yummy.’ For the rest of the day I didn’t think anything of it.
That evening when we were sitting down and talking after dinner Lydia says to Don, ‘T Reddy wants some of my chocolate liquor that you got me.’ Sitting there surprised at what she said I stayed silent and then became hurt by what Don said next, ‘Absolutely not, she is not getting any of that liquor.’ Lydia said ‘well, it was a gift from you to me so I can decide if she gets some.’ Don replied, ‘I got that gift for you with my money and she is not allowed to have any, I can say who gets the liquor because I got it for you.’
That is no exaggeration of what he said. I was sad for so many reasons. One, I never wanted the liquor but Lydia wanted to open it and try some and she felt she had to use me as an excuse to do so. Next, Don hadn’t given Lydia a genuine gift…he still saw the gift as his. Lastly, he didn’t want to share the liquor with me or my boyfriend…he didn’t see us as friends.
After this incident I actually did not see Don as a friend anymore. I don’t want to be around someone who obviously does not see us as friends and is so materialistic. I felt bad for Lydia, she couldn’t tell her husband what she wanted nor had she enjoyed her Christmas gift. She can’t do this which leads her to utilizing her friends to get what she wants…she obviously wanted to try the liquor…she has to use me to try to get what she wanted from her husband.
Gift giving is never simple with a narcissist. It never is.
The Narcissistic Continuum: Super Santa