Birthday Blues


They happen every year and you have come to dread the appearance of both your own birthdays and mine. You would much rather neither taken place if you are entirely honest. The day is spent treading on eggshells as you await the inevitable argument and dressing down that you will receive. The annual sense of disappointment will happen again and again and you hope somehow it will change, but it never does.

Let’s begin with my birthday. You dedicate time and money to making my birthday an enjoyable and memorable occasion. I dedicate a degree of energy to ensure that it is memorable, but for the wrong reasons. You plan something special to mark the occasion and go to considerable lengths to organise a surprise party or a trip out somewhere you believe I will like. You scour catalogues and the Internet trying to find that gift you hope will make me break out in a smile. Most normal people will be happy with half the effort you put into pleasing me on my birthday. Not me. The occasion may involve a grand day out and a spectacular gift but just as it did last year and the year before that, it will end in an argument and us lashing out at you.

On the face of it, one would imagine that just for once we would get throughout the day without causing some kind of drama. After all, the day is all about us. Exactly what we like and what we want. People wish us happy birthday, they send us cards, they give us presents and you run around lifting and carrying for us (even more than usual). The spotlight is firmly on us. We drink up all this fuel but still we want more. Every single second has to be about us. Do not expect us to thank you or anyone else who provides us with a gift. Remember, we are entitled to receive them. We may have received gifts of twenty people but you know that all we will harp on about is the person we did not get a gift from whom we expected to. That becomes the focus of our irritation. The brilliant and thoughtful gifts are left to one side as we rail against this one person who has not bought us something. It does not matter that they send a card, it does not matter that we did not send them a gift on their birthday (and never have done), and it does not matter that nobody else would expect this distant relative to send such a gift. We will raise it and repeat it and rant about it.

Woe betides you if you do not give to us the exact gift we expected. If you fail to do this we will comment and lash out at you. You cannot possibly love us since you did not give us the right gift. We conveniently ignore the fact that what you have brought us is still a wonderful gift and we actually do like it. That is not the point. It is not the gift we wanted and you will be subjected to our scathing remarks. If by sheer dint of exhaustive effort you manage, against all the odds, to work out what we want (don’t expect us to help you by explaining what we want, we expect you to know this through telepathy) and give us the right gift, do not expect smiles and thanks. We need to make a scene. Instead, we will remark,

“I see you finally got it right. It does not really make up for all the years you got it wrong does it?”

You can never win when it comes to providing us with gifts. We will always want to put you down no matter what you have done and irrespective of the effort and expense that you have gone to. We will always be unsatisfied and this will manifest in us giving you a dressing down in front of everyone at the party, or storming out of the venue at some sleight. Every year you will hear the same stinging accusation ringing in your ears,

“You’ve ruined my birthday. Again.”

When it comes to your birthday the position is just as bad. We will routinely pretend to forget about it. Do not be fooled by our repeated apparent memory lapses. We have minds that remember everything and our powers of recall are spectacular. We know your birthday is on the horizon and with most things with us it generates two reactions. On the one hand we resent the forthcoming anniversary because it is a day geared towards the individual, namely you. It is not about us and we cannot stand that. It is rare that you ever allow the spotlight to be shone on you (by now you are so used to having to point it at us, you give up on it ever being fixed on you) but you do hold out the futile notion that it might still be done on your birthday, of all days. We find this galling. This is a day that will be about you and thus where will we get our fuel? Its approach generates dread and horror inside of us.

Conversely, we relish your birthday because we know, despite every previous disappointment, you still hold out hope that this year it might just be different. You pray to your own personal god that please, just for once, the day can pass without incident and you can enjoy yourself. You are not particularly bothered about doing anything special, perhaps a meal out somewhere and the gift need not be expensive, just so long as it exhibits that some kind of thought has gone into it. Your thoughts are based on hope as opposed to expectation. It will not be different because we need to spoil it; we need to make you feel upset and demeaned. To achieve this there are various things that we will do on your birthday.

  1. We forget about it completely. If you mention at 6pm that evening that it is your birthday we will lash out at you by explaining how busy we have been at work or that there has been some other pressing matter which means that it has slipped our minds. We deliberately forget about it and we will not countenance you criticising our omission.
  2. We organise something lavish but we know it is not something you will actually like. As usual, you put a brave face on it and fix a rigid smile to your face. We know what you are really thinking because we know it is not something you like. In fact, it is more likely that we have organised something that we enjoy. We do this so that everyone else can see what a grand and delightful gesture we have made and we drink in his or her admiration. It also enables us to poke at you repeatedly suggesting that you don’t like it. We are goading you into making a tiny admission that it is not quite what you expected and then we erupt in self-indignant fury as we castigate you for being ungrateful after all the effort we have gone to.
  3. We buy some token gesture and point out that your 43rd birthday is not really something to celebrate is it? It is hardly a milestone. We then use this to remark on your advancing years and point out your various flaws.
  4. We organise a lovely birthday for you but spoil it by turning the spotlight back onto ourselves. We turn up late, we flirt with a guest or we manufacture some drama so that everyone is looking at us and not you. We complain at waiters when there is a family meal out, when there is not actual need to do so. We want to make a scene and wrench the spotlight back over to us.
  5. We remember your birthday and spend it doing what you want and we are pleasant to you until early evening when we deliberately pick a fight with you over absolutely nothing. The fuel we gain from this behaviour is all the sweeter as we have built you up, your guarded behaviour has melted away as we appear to have done everything that pleases you. We are waiting. We are waiting for you to feel good and happy and then we will cast you down so your emotional reaction is all the more heightened.

This behaviour is not just reserved for your birthday although we enjoy ruining your birthday the most. We do this with the birthdays of our children, friends and family. We hate it being about someone else and we hate seeing him or her being happy. In our world, nobody else is allowed a birthday and we believe that every day is our birthday and everyone should recognise that and act accordingly.

We know that you would rather your birthday be erased from the calendar. It is always a horrible day in one form or another and you would rather it not take place. We put a big red ring around it in the calendar in our mind and scribble next to the day the words, “ Special Fuel Day.”

44 thoughts on “Birthday Blues

  1. Lisa says:

    HG will it have bothered him that I ignored his hoovers 3 weeks ago and ignored his 50th birthday at the weekend ?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The ignoring of his hoovers will have wounded. Assuming that he was still wanting to engage with you by the time of his 50th birthday, the fact you also ignored that will have wounded him too.

      1. Lisa says:

        Thank you

  2. Birthdays aren’t special enough for narcissists because everyone has a birthday. Their own birthday reminds them that they aren’t unique.

  3. nomorenarcs says:

    Yup! Other than my birthday and Christmas that occured in the first year we started seeing each other (i. e., The Golden Period), every other birthday and Christmas were ruined by silent treatments or discards. I came to dread my birthday and holidays.

    On the other hand, I always made his birthday a big deal, buying something special and pricey amd either cooking an elegant, gourmet meal of something he’d never tried before or taking him to an expensive restaurant. In 9 1/2 years, he NEVER ONCE bought a gift for my birthday or Chridtmas or ever treated me to a meal. I tolerated this for so long because he always claimed he didn’t have money. Since I earned double his salary and he had 4 kids to support and a wife he wouldn’t allow to work, I felt sorry for him and tolerated such meglectful behavior.

    The new IPSS got a diamond ring in a bouquet of roses for Valentine’s Day, frequently gets taken out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, etc.

    What a fool I was. But hopefully, with your help H G., I am smarter, stronger, and less suseptible to mistreatment by such individuals. Thank you so much.

    P. S. I find it hysterically funny that after a year of almost total NC, he called twice on my birthday and after I completely ignored his birthday which is a month later, he called twice the day after. I am maintaining NC, and trying to stay strong despite the longing to speak to/see him; both out of wanting to tell him off and missing the illusionary Golden Period. This blog is my dose of reality.

    1. Sillyolperson says:

      Dear nomorenarcs,
      My narc friend did the same, after 2 years of no contact, he ran into me at the shops and told he sent me a Xmas text and Xmas card… reeeeeaaally ?
      I never received the text because Ive blocked him and I never received his Xmas card (cos he probably didn’t send one). 🤥🤥 I asked why he sent those … he said I’m on his “list” …… I asked him to remove me from “his list” …. 3 months later, he ghosted me … my birthday is coming up soon …. maybe I’ll get a birthday card … 😂😂😂😂😂.. can hardly wait .. 😂😂😂😂😂
      PPS. .. I tried to tell my friend off … complete waste of my breath, he didn’t hear a word I said, it was all about HIM … AGAIN ! Stay strong 💜

  4. NarcAngel says:


    That must be some kinda chair to make you stay with someone who beats off to your Mothers feet. His Mother? well ok………but its your Mothers feet and thats just weird.

    1. Mary says:

      I agree with you, NarcAngel. There is nothing about the chair in particular that makes me want to stay. And hell, I would keep the chair anyway. However, it’s the fact that it took a lot of attentiveness, effort and thoughtfulness and if he is capable of that, he may not be a narc after all, and in that case, I wonder if he could change. (Of course, he has also mocked and insulted the fact that I have pain and take meds too, so he’s totally insensitive in that regard.) He does refuse therapy of any kind, solo or couples therapy. Doesn’t think his mind is anyone’s business.

      And I don’t think he knows I know about the pics of mom’s feet. It also is creepy to me that he has pics of women whose computers he worked on. You can tell if pics were downloaded from a porn site or if it’s someone’s personal directory. These folders were named after a local university, and clearly in the “My Pictures” category from someone’s hard drive. And it’s not like he kept any of his backups of men’s computers. It was only women. Attractive women, mostly young, some older, so I know it’s not a coincidence that he kept those and just forgot to delete them.

      I have known about this two years and been frozen and stuck about how to deal with it. I still have not confronted him. He will go ballistic because he takes his privacy very seriously. I understand why, his mom has zero boundaries. I don’t think he’s hiding any real affairs. And I just got out of an online fling/affair, which he could find out if he looked at my phone history and he may, if I bring up his porn sickness. (Looking at porn isn’t a sickness. Preferring it is. Preferring it 99.99% of the time, when you have a sexually available partner, is complete sickness.)

      1. NarcAngel says:


        Youll have to decide if hes a Narc or just an asshole with a fetish (and illegally obtained photos which is more troublesome). Either way, doesnt sound like much fun for you. Keep reading.

      2. Mary says:

        Good point, NarcAngel:

        I don’t mind a fetish if it’s a supplement to a healthy sex life with me. I will indulge it myself. I can guarantee an encounter with him if I just had a pedicure, but that’s it, and only once. A week later, the pedicure looks identical, but he already had sex with me with that polish on my toes, so it’s stale already I guess. It really pisses me off. I can’t get a pedicure every week!

        Oh, and if there’s no fresh pedicure… he generally initiates sex on his own if I’m sick or in terrible pain or something like that. Basically if he knows I’m going to say no. Is sex with me that fucking terrible that he has to ask when he won’t actually have to do it, but make it look like he tried. It pisses me the fuck off. I am low-maintenance in that I don’t even require much foreplay from him, I’m so happy if he wants to, I’m ready to go. And I take care of my own climax, so he won’t have to put in any work besides the act itself. We don’t kiss during sex and he makes no sound. It requires just a few minutes of energy on his part. And after, I’m happy to cuddle for two minutes and then go to sleep. There’s no expression of feelings before, during or after. It’s as easy as it can be. My doc said there’s nothing wrong with me structurally to make it uncomfortable.

        Yes, oversharing again 🙁

        1. NarcAngel says:

          No worry of oversharing with me. Is it worth the hassle when there are great vibrators out there? Sounds like youre doing all the work anyway. Its not you Mary-its his issue. If you havent yet read Sex and the Narcissist I strongly suggest that you do. It will clear some things up for you.

  5. shantily says:

    Every special occasion gets ruined whether it’s before, during or after the celebration … lots of fun 👎

  6. Again broken says:

    I spent a fortune on is even birthday! I gave him gifts nobody have ever and will never give him again. I worked hard for an entire week to cook, clean and set up the party for 50 guests. The party was amazing and everybody walked around amazed that he had finally found a dream woman.. that loves him and his children.
    My birthday not so important and since the split, despite me being stupid sending gifts to him and his children …. not even a happy birthday text! I am still in trauma and the recent events … due to me being such a FFFF empath!!
    He is in massive debt and now having a great time with the new supply he is fooling. Its very hard not to communicate this to her but I will not… I am traumatized and he ruined my life but I will never ever be a stalking revenge bitch!
    She will find out… sooner or later… of course hoping for sooner… but I should be very grateful I am far far away from his constant drama, madness and fake nature. So why am I still crying? Why are the images still popping up in my mind?… Yes, the ever presence.. and I hate it!! I just hate it!!!
    I wish him a terrible life and lots of failure.. I wish him sickness and injury.. I know I shouldnt but I do. Sorry for ranting.. but I am not in a good place right now.

    1. ajo says:

      Again Broken,
      Time will heal. I promise. What you feel, we all have. It does get better and easier. Knowing who they are and that it isn’t you that did anything wrong helps. Also, taking a look within at yourself and where you’re broken and getting healing will be so good. It hurts so much, but you have to do it in order to stop the cycle and prevent yourself from just doing this again with another Narc. They recognize us and another will do the same if you don’t work on your own self worth.

    2. Narc affair says:

      Hi again broken…sorry youre going thru this. Its a shitty thing to be used and thrown away like that. The everpresence is a B but each time it comes up remind yourself of your post. What all you did for him and what you got back. Thatll wash away any of the fakery good you experienced. You were a giver he was a taker ❤

  7. Nat says:

    I planned a romantic trip to Italy on my birthday. Not only I did not get any birthday gift. But he would get into a fury just because he stained his shirt with ice cream on that day. He made me cry in the middle of the street.

    Other times, I got clothes for birthday that were too small (and he know how much obsessed I am with my weight). I got also a business card holder for birthday when I was…unemployed.

    1. Star says:

      Omg Nat! mine would do the opposite buy me clothes that were two or three sizes bigger stating that I look so large to him( I’m not in the slightest, I am pretty tiny , just very tall) My clothing size has never changed. But in retrospect I feel he did so for two reasons: first of all to try to make me feel insecure. Secondly to make me wear the clothes he bought(from the kindness of his beating heart) that were essentially unflattering and covered me up. Which in turn not only made me appear unattractive to others but also made me feel frumpy.

  8. Narc affair says:

    Hg it amazes me when i read your blogs bc when you describe our point of view or how rational thinking is i find it so hard to believe you are a narcissist!! You know what the right way to treat people is and how healthy thinking should be. I guess thats what makes you a greater. I do think if any narcissist could change or modify their behaviour it would be you! Its difficult tho changing patterns learned from childhood. As a codependant i get that.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It arises from years of observation and the input of the good doctors. I recognise what your perspective is and what healthy etc is regarded as. I often fail to understand why people do it and certainly feel no compulsion to be that way. Yes, the Greater can move between the two worlds but feels no compulsion or advantage in joining yours.

  9. Tiny Dancer says:

    I’ve experienced this both with N’s and mine. My N likes to be generous with gifts on birthdays and Christmas because it shows how financially well off she is and also so she can expect reciprocation. But there will always be anger and disappointment and a fight before it’s over. A scroll through our photos and every holiday, including birthdays, throughout the years has a bad memory associated with whatever happy picture was saved.

  10. RecoveringNarcoholic says:

    Mine always gave me well-thought-out birthday and Christmas gifts — then he wanted to be praised effusively for it. And he always expected everyone to make a huge fuss about his birthday. What a child! Would you be surprised to learn he discarded me exactly a week before his birthday, so he could spend it getting fabulous birthday fuel from the new IPPS? (Fortunately I hadn’t spent any money on a gift for him yet!)

  11. Sillyolperson says:

    Dear Mr Tudor,
    My ex narcissist friend hated birthdays and Christmas! The community magazine which he submits articles, he made it very clear a particular event fell on his birthday …. who does that?
    I absolutely love Christmas, so he’d pick a fight with me about him not putting up decorations or a tree. I didn’t know it was deliberate until he actually told me he did it to get my reaction. I remember he was gloating at the time ….. who does that ?
    In the beginning, he almost tripped over his tiny little feet running so fast to give me pressies, then it just stopped right on my big “0” birthday…. who does that ?
    I gave him so much fuel, he thought all birthdays and Christmases came at once …. 😂
    Thankyou Mr Tudor

  12. RS says:

    He was alway conveniently giving me “the silent treatment” when MY birthday rolled around. I always baked him cupcakes and gave him a great gift that a lot of thought went into. Asshole!

  13. M. says:

    All narcissists of my life (except one, very bright exception) were stingy. Or rather, I should say that all stingy men in my life were narcissists. They did not ruin celebrations, though, I cannot complain about that. The last and worst one, however (the one that drove me to research and here)ruined everything-by simply never being there. Never. In not even one celebration, either his or mine. He disappeared. Every time, with no exception. He vanished. And there was never one single gift from him, not even a (delayed) white rose. To be honest, he never seemed to feel comfortable with my (delayed) presents either, except for something he had asked for, which was not connected to a celebration. The good side is that I never had to throw away any reminder of his-I had none.

  14. abrokenwing says:

    It’s my birthday next month and although it reminds me of my cruel discard last year, I have already invited my friends , I have booked a table in my favourite restaurant and I bought myself this beautiful red dress… and for the very first time I’m looking forward to my bday because there is no one who can ruin it.💃🏻

    1. Patricia says:

      YAY! Have the best birthday now you are FREE!

      1. abrokenwing says:

        Thank you Patricia 😊❤️

    2. Twilight says:


      Sounds like you will have an amazing birthday .
      And much to celebrate 🎉

      1. abrokenwing says:

        Thank you Twilight, you are very kind! 🤗

        I cried a river last year so hopefully no drama this time..

        1. Twilight says:


          This year any tears that fall be those of joy and happiness at your rediscovering all the beautiful and wonderful things that make you special!’
          You have much to celebrate 🎉

      2. abrokenwing says:

        Awww… big hug to you !💜

  15. P says:

    hate b-days for this reason. i’d love to get this cake though!

  16. Ali says:

    He has never succeeded in making me fear/cringe/worry about or think negatively of my birthday, I simply stopped bothering with his as he would not bother with mine. His mother’s problem, not mine.

    in any case, It’s tough to celebrate a birthday and shower someone with gifts if they are financially abusive and a financial victim of (self-sabotage) being unable to keep a job because he would get unjustly fired all the time (so he could not hold to his obligations) so he sort of did that to himself really. But I didn’t need to, he celebrated his own birthday ever day, including when he took our child’s ice cream that was given by a teacher for being especially good at school… oh but not being allowed to get away with it chuffed him. I think that’s when our child saw for certain what a monster daddynarc was… but it might have begun when daddynarc and his mother tried to convince me to give out my parental rights. A fight they never did win.

  17. Bel says:

    The ex narc husband would ruin our children’s birthdays , yelling at them also mine . No day was safe . I remember buying him a vintage plane ride, a hot air balloon experience much thought went into every gift . Nothing was ever right … he let the vintage plane tickets expire .

  18. Mary says:

    My hub is the polar opposite of this one. He ALWAYS goes over the top for my birthday, and for most any other occasion. He is not only generous, but his gifts are very well thought out. One year I arrived at work and found a brand new ergonomic office chair at my desk. He had driven there and constructed it while I was still sleeping. This was extra thoughtful since I have pain. I don’t think he’s ever picked a fight on my birthday either. We have fought on our anniversary a few times, badly enough that we avoided exchanging cards.

    Also, he doesn’t like anyone making a fuss about his birthday. It’s almost like he’s embarassed for the spotlight to be on him.

    1. Patricia says:

      That doesn’t sound very narcissistic at all!

      1. C★ says:

        you said what i was thinking!!

    2. 12345 says:

      Are you sure you’re in the right group? He sounds like a gem!!

      1. Patricia says:

        A keeper for sure…where do I get one?

      2. Mary says:

        Yes. He’s not the only narc or potential narc. My hub is great with gifts and he makes me laugh. He also rages several times a week at me and/or our dog. We have sex about 3 times a year and I think even then it’s just so I can’t say we don’t. He doesn’t even look me in the face when we have sex. He looks at porn all the time. He’d rather get off with a pic of me instead of WITH me. 99 times out of 100 the pics he looks at are NOT me. He has a collection of pics of my own mother’s feet on his computer. He took them with his phone and I was there when he took them. Right under my nose. He has naked pics of women whose computer he worked on and I’m pretty sure he didn’t get their permission to use for his pleasure. So yes, he’s a gem in ways, but the opposite in other ways. And he never puts his arms around me if I’m upset or grieving or anything.

    3. C★ says:

      what Patricia said….

  19. 12345 says:

    This is a crazy coincidence. It’s the ex-greater’s birthday today. 68 years old. It’s that few months during the year where he is 18 years older than me instead of 17. I hope everyone around him disappointments and that even his smallest expectations for the day are not met. It would be an incredible gift to me if he maybe lost control of his bowels or soiled himself at a birthday celebration with all his very best friends. A girl can dream.

    1. CM says:


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