Not my family, just a nice random portrait I found.
Narcissists can put up a good front of being sentimental if they need to. For example, if a narcissistic man is trying to win a new conquest for a source of Narcissistic Supply, he will shower his woman with candy, gifts and flowers (sometimes purchased at her expense, as mine did to me) but as soon as he’s conquered her attentions, any shows of sentimentality come to a screeching halt.
It’s my observation, at least in the narcs I have lived with, that they are angered, annoyed, or bored by nostalgia or genuine sentimentality.
My MN mother was notoriously unsentimental. Besides the matter of ditching her first two daughters to their father when they were two and seven years old (which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to them), our home was always sterile–not just of dirt (she was a huge clean freak, which many narcissists are) but also of any evidence of sentimentality. For example, family photos were consigned to bedrooms because to display them in public areas was, in her mind, tacky and declasse. Better yet to keep them in albums and safely tucked away in the attic or on the bottom of a never-used bookshelf.
Not long ago, I emailed my mother about obtaining some of the family photos (I have very few) and never heard back from her. I emailed her again about it, and she said she didn’t know where they were, but she might have thrown them away.
THROWN THEM AWAY? Who DOES that?
When my parents divorced, my mother decided our Christmas tree would be decorated with white lights with red bows and silver and red ornaments ONLY. Anything else was too tacky for her. All my childish creations that my father had hung so proudly from our tree went into the trash. Our tree looked as sterile as our apartment, like a tree in the lobby of a bank.
Narcissists have no feelings of nostalgia for past times or good times shared. That’s because they can’t feel love or the warm and fuzzy feelings that other people do. Or it’s too painful for them and they don’t want to feel that pain.
My MN ex husband was like this too. He couldn’t stand it when people got nostalgic and said nostalgia was “creepy.” (Slight correction: he was creepy). That even extended to listening to old music from our teens and early 20s. He told me once he thought nostalgia was stupid. We had a huge fight about that.
He hated “period” movies or TV shows, especially those that focused on decades during his own lifetime (the 60s, 70s and 80s). He made fun of me for liking “The Wonder Years” and ’80s music. He accused me of living in the past.
He never even liked to look at photos of our two children when they were younger. Although he started out as a wonderful dad (he turned out to be anything but), he told me he hates babies and that’s why he didn’t want to look at their baby photos. These are his own CHILDREN! He got annoyed when I wanted to put some of their old baby and school photos around the house in frames. I have no idea why he had such a strong reaction to my doing this. It was weird.
He doesn’t even like to TALK about the kids when they were young. If you try, he just tunes out or acts irritated.
Once when I asked him why he reacted so strangely to sentimentality and nostalgia, he actually gave me an answer that made sense. He told me it was because his life was always so miserable he didn’t want to remember anything. The past reminded him of his own mother (she was malignant too and very abusive)–even his past with me and our children. The good times we had in the beginning of our relationship were dismissed in his mind as bad times and somehow associated with his mother. He just became enraged if you reminded him that there were good times. In his mind, life was just excruciating in general and nothing was worthy of remembering fondly. ALL memories were tainted by the malignancy of his abusive, cold mother, in his mind.
I think he envies those who are able to feel nostalgia and look upon the past fondly, so he feels the need to denigrate and make fun of them for doing so.
Even I can find joys in my past, as dysfunctional, painful and stunted as it was.
I find it extremely sad that he could never do that.
Fivehundredpoundpeep posted a similar article today so I am linking to it here. She has a wonderful blog.