Birthdays with the Narcissists

Psychology & Self healing
6 min readJan 3, 2022


Photo by Flora Westbrook from Pexels

Birthdays, holidays and other special days often become good memories for us to reminiscence in the future. Unfortunately, special days spent with narcissists are far from being good memories. Birthdays, in particular, can often be filled with drama, boredom, and disappointments. In this article, I will try to explain why narcissists generally dislike birthdays and how they may sabotage them.

If it’s your birthday, it’s not hard to guess why the narcissist might hate this day. Narcissists naturally dislike situations where the spotlight is not on them. They somehow want to be the main focus in every situation. In this case, the focus is naturally on the person who has the birthday. For this reason, the narcissist will either try to spend this day like any other day or somehow make sure that they are the most important person in the room. Possible behaviors you can expect from narcissists on your birthday include:

  • For many people, birthdays are not that important, but if you are a person who enjoys celebrating this day, the most likely behavior from a narcissist is them not caring about your birthday. They may not celebrate your birthday, they may not give you any presents, they may have “something very important to do” on that day, or they may have “completely forgotten” about your birthday. If you express your resentment about it, they may accuse you of being unsympathetic, giving too much importance to birthdays, or being too self-centered.
  • Even if they have known you for years, they may end up giving you a gift that you clearly won’t like, in fact they can even give you something that might offend you in some way or organize an event that you won’t enjoy at all. For instance, if you are a social person who likes to celebrate your birthdays with your friends and family in crowded environments, they may persuade you to stay at home, or on the contrary, if they know that overcrowded environments make you nervous, you may find yourself at an exaggerated celebration instead of a quiet meal in somewhere private. You may often force yourself to look happy about it even if you’re not. Because otherwise, you’ll be seen as not only ungrateful but also impolite and spoiled.
  • Even when there’s no apparent reason for it, the narcissist can cause drama or conflict on your birthdays just to be the center of attention. They may accuse you of flirting with someone else, not liking their gift, or saying something wrong.
  • They can find a way to play the victim. For example; they can talk about a bad memory that conveniently took place on your birthday and say it’s a difficult day for them. At some point, you may even feel somewhat guilty for celebrating such day. They can do this before or during your birthday, and it can cause you to change your mind about celebrating it altogether.
  • If you’re an elderly person and are feeling a little down about it, they can make hurtful comments about your age, often jokingly.
  • If the narcissist is the more covert type or if you are still in the idealizing stage of the relationship, they may plan a huge birthday party for you. They can brag about their grand birthday preparations and how expensive the gift they bought for you was, they can explain everything they planned for your birthday to you and to those around you and thus, become the center of attention. They can expect you to be grateful to them but you’ll probably be feeling like no matter what you do in return, you won’t be able to compete.
  • On your birthday, they may seem extremely interested in you just because there are others around and then turn into someone else when there’s no audience. Thus, they can both make your friends and family believe that they’re such an attentive, caring and loving partner, and can also punish you in their own head. They may start a fight out of nowhere and then put all the blame on you and guilt-trip you for treating them like this when they’ve been nothing but kind and affectionate towards you.
  • Throughout your birthday, they may seem interested in everyone but you, leaving you out deliberately. This can cause you to feel like an outsider on your own birthday. And they can do this so subtly that you’d be the only one who’s aware of the situation.
  • They can even leave you on your birthday or a few days before your birthday, then find a way to return to you afterwards.

As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to your birthday, it is foreseeable that the narcissist will feel bad because the spotlights will not be on them. On the other hand, narcissists are often unhappy on their own birthdays as well.

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The Narcissist’s Birthday

We may think that the narcissist will be happy and won’t cause any drama on their own birthday. After all, that particular day of the whole year belongs to the narcissist themselves. However, the narcissist’s birthday is often far from being a happy and peaceful event. The narcissist may ignore many of the things that went well on their birthday and focus on the things that didn’t. For instance; even if many people showed up to their birthday, they may worry about the people who could not be there for some reason. They may be angry, resentful or even hostile towards these people for not coming. They may resent you for not getting them the gift they had in mind and they’re likely to show this resentment in passive-aggressive ways. If you went out to have dinner at a nice place, things such as the waiter being slow or the table not having a sea view can bother them. Even if you somehow did exactly what they had in mind, what they hoped to be done; they may still feel uncomfortable thinking about why you failed to do so on previous birthdays. Because narcissists already see themselves as superior, they will not appreciate the things you do for them. No matter how hard you try, they will see it as the bare minimum that needs to be done.

Even if all external factors are perfect, if they are a person who attaches great importance to their appearance, youth and beauty; they may still feel blue because they’ve aged a year. In short, even if everything is just fine, somehow it is not good enough for them.

Just like birthdays the other special occasions, holidays and celebrations with narcissists can always result in frustration for a reason you don’t understand. Though of course we can’t accuse someone of being a narcissist just because we spent a distasteful birthday etc. with them. However; if you have formed a friendship or romantic relationship with a narcissist and witnessed all those special days going disastrous, if you have noticed how they always find a way to ruin events that are supposed to be joyful and fun; then this article may shed light on your situation.

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You can also find the articles on


Vaknin, Sam. Authorsden. Narcissists HATE Christmas, Holidays, and Birthdays. Access 1 December, 2016.

Stine, Sharie. Psychcentral. When the Narcissist (or other Such Emotional Abuser) in Your Life Ruins the Holidays. Access 25 December, 2018.



Psychology & Self healing

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