5.7 min read

Narcissists and Gift-Giving: Why We Should Be Cautious

The narcissist is the ultimate gift giver. Narcissists and gift-giving are part of my financial therapy work because they so often have emotions tied around their gifts and games that they play with gift-giving.

The gift of toxicity, however, is what they truly are giving you. Real narcissists are quite different from the usual individuals with high confidence and initially, it is easy to confuse on the surface.

When someone gives you a gift, even someone with high confidence, they are not looking for anything in return, ever. They will not throw the gift in your face. They will not assume you owe them later on, down the road. When someone healthy gives you a gift, it is because they are doing so out of warmth and organic generosity.

When a narcissist gives you a gift, it is always attached to something else.

They either want to buy your trust or they want to give the illusion that they are a good person.

It’s All About Control: The Narcissist and their Gift-Giving is Not Based on Kindness

Narcissists are not happy or stable people. You will never make them happy, and even when you think they are happy, they are only happy because they think that they have duped you or are controlling you.

Narcissists have learned that the most reliable means of resupplying their energy or filling themselves up is with the energy of other people While interestingly thought that their victims are codependent and that might be true -the narcissist is actually more codependent. They thrive on the other person so they start big like a fisherman with bait, in trying to love-bomb with gifts.

Narcissists Use Gifts and Tools of Manipulation

Narcissists and gift-giving are a due that is dangerous- they use gifts as communication because they simply have no healthy means of communicating. This doesn’t mean that the gift-giving is healthy it is just the easiest- you see the narcissist doesn’t even think their victims are worth a conversation- though they are big at having long conversations where they have endless ideas, opinions, and insights on how you should live your life- and they will open up like they are a victim of every human they’ve ever encountered. This makes their victims think they are “open and emotionally mature”, then they give gifts… to seal the deal.

No gift a narcissist will ever give you will ever be thoughtfully chosen or designed to make you feel of personal value.

The gifts are often showy and impersonal, and they are made to show everyone else that they are a generous person. Everything is over the top.

These are ways that they begin the control.

Narcissists will Elude that Your Gifts are “bad” Gifts

The narcissist will never like your gifts or they will pretend to be overly excited about the gifts. Then the narcissists tend to also make huge errors in the form of accidents, but they are calculated in getting your gifts in error. Let me explain.

Let’s say your shoe size is a size seven, and they know this. Now pretend that you have been eyeing a pair of shoes and they keep telling you that they will get them, or hint that “Santa” already might have purchased them. Now, it’s Christmas morning. You open a box, it is the shoes! … in a size nine. Or a size five.

The narcissist will have every excuse. You will feel mixed feelings. If you complain, you are a horrible person but you are hurt because they knew your size. If you say anything, this is a way that they can be a victim and make you the villain, after all, it is a gift, and are you not compassionate or grateful?

Sure people can make mistakes but if you are a victim of a narcissist, you will know the difference.

Toxic, Misanthropic Generosity: With Strings Attached

A narcissistic person doesn’t give generously without toxic investment in any matter of finances or power. It comes to an indebted self. They give to be seen as powerful, smart, and love the attention. They always have strings attached. They do favors begrudgingly. They are the golden child and assume that they are showing high self-esteem but are only creating negative outcomes for anyone who crosses their gift-giving path, be it philanthropy, Christmas or a birthday gift.

Narcissists Will Give Gifts Primarily For Their Use

Narcissist gifts are often not about you but also about them. A girlfriend might get sexy clothing and shoes constantly, to simply help the narcissist feel sexy themselves – after all, she will usually feel she must wear the items and that makes the narcissist feel like he, in fact, is alluring if she does this – but they give for other reason. They often benefit directly. You will rarely see a narcissist gift his wife a trip to someone with her friends or by herself if she wishes, but he will gift her a cruise for “both of them” to getaway. Again, these are not bad gifts, and it is in the response and motivations in which they are built and created that matter.

Narcissists and Gifts and The Big Question; What is Narcissistic Injury?

If you don’t like the gift or are vocal that they are benefiting, it is not your size or even if you show less than a huge over-the-top reaction, the narcissist will feel upset because, for them, it isn’t about you being happy. or fulfilled, it is about their respect and favor.

They will berate you and punish you for not giving them the adoration that they feel that they deserve. They want energy and if they can’t get it by you being over the top syrupy to them like maybe you were in the love-bombing stage, they will get it by you crying or getting angry. They don’t care how they get it, regardless of what they say.

They might rant that they think you are too emotional or that they hate drama, but you will never see them attempt to better themselves or the relationship. They have underlying psychological immaturities and they will not grow up. Narcissistic injuries are often combined with anger aimed at gaining the things they are chasing.

In Closing…

Remember that every gift that the narcissist gives you is with strings attached and they are looking for emotion, any emotion. They will become even more toxic after the gifts and the cycle of toxicity in both anger, conflict, silent treatments, love-bombing, and gifts will continue until you leave them, to find peace and dignity.

If you would like to read more on this topic, check out the blog or also grab a free chapter from my book, Narcissists, Flying Monkeys, and Financial Abuse.

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