Narcissistic mother in law and husband

The Signs of Narcissistic Parents-in-Law and How to Deal With Them

  • Narcissistic parents-in-law are incredibly cruel, often going out of their way to make sure their son or daughter's spouse doesn't feel welcome, according to trauma therapist Shannon Thomas.
  • If the child from the narcissistic family is oblivious to the harm being caused, it can slowly tear apart their marriage.
  • Sometimes they are wise to it, but it's still incredibly hard to deal with their mind games.
  • For example, narcissistic in-laws will play favorites, isolate the target from their own children, and lie about anything to fit their narrative and make the target feel excluded.
  • Narcissists often act like they're reading from the same instruction manual, so there are some telltale signs that a toxic in-law is what you're dealing with.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
LoadingSomething is loading.

Thanks for signing up!

Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you're on the go.

Imagine marrying into a family and realizing your mother and father-in-law are hellbent on destroying your entire life, relationship, and self-esteem. It may sound like the plot of a psychological thriller, but toxic, narcissistic in-laws are a reality many people live with.

"Narcissistic in-laws are incredibly cruel," trauma therapist Shannon Thomas told Insider. "Everybody wants to be a part of a healthy, fun family, but when you are the target, with that sense of belonging and wanting to be one of them, they make it extremely clear that you are not."

Narcissistic in-laws can destroy a marriage

Narcissistic in-laws can ruin a marriage, Thomas said, especially if the son or daughter is oblivious to the games their parents are playing. Thomas said it's probably because they are in denial about the level of toxicity their family has.

The child of a narcissist will sometimes already be wise to their parent's behavior, but other times they have to be made aware of it by seeing them through their partner's eyes.

"I think it's the partner saying it again and again and pointing it out," Thomas said. "It's pulling the curtain back on the family dynamic, and kind of holding up a mirror so the adult child of the narcissist can see it."

If the child from the narcissistic family is oblivious to the harm being caused, it can slowly tear apart their marriage.

"I get a lot of folks coming in and they're not sure about the marriage because they don't feel supported, and there's a lot of tension, which is exactly the narcissistic parents' goal," Thomas said.

"What we start unpacking is, is this a normal family situation where two personalities don't get along? Or is there something a lot more poisonous going on?"

Narcissists often act like they're reading from the same instruction manual, so there are some telltale signs that a toxic in-law is what you're dealing with.

They love to play favorites

It can sometimes take grandchildren to be in the picture for the narcissistic in-laws to show their true colors. For instance, in one family Thomas knew, two grandchildren had the same name.

"One grandchild would text the narcissistic grandparent but she wouldn't reply," Thomas said. "But then she'd text the targeted grandchild and say 'oh oops I accidentally texted you. I meant to text the other grandchild of the same name.'"

She did this to show she's available but is purposefully ignoring the grandchild of the spouse she doesn't like, Thomas said.

"If it's a one off, sure, but if it happens three different times, you'll notice it's more than just a mistake," she said. "Narcissists are so lacking in self awareness they don't remember that they've already done it four or five times."

There is usually a golden child.

If they can't make headway with tearing apart a marriage, the narcissist may instead try and isolate the targeted spouse from their own children.

"Especially if they're saying, 'Hey, we want to take you to Disney world' or 'We want to take you on this trip, or that trip,'" Thomas said. "And then while the grandchildren are on that trip, they're being poisoned against their targeted parent."

Certain patterns like this emerge, particularly when there are several siblings within the family. The narcissistic parent tends to choose a favorite golden child, while the others are left to fight for attention in different ways. Some become "flying monkeys" and aid the narcissistic parent in their manipulations.

Whatever the dynamic, the narcissistic parent is always working to feed their supply of adoration, all the while pitting the siblings against each other.

They like people who are similar to them, and shun those who aren't

When siblings start their own lives, their partners can slot into the toxic chaos in a number of ways, either being accepted or rejected, depending on how alike they are to the narcissistic parents.

"The cruelty is you'll see them be very close to some family members, and they will definitely bring some in-laws into the fold," Thomas said. "It's because they like the family members that are most like them."

It's common for most of the members of narcissistic families to follow a similar career path, like law. But when one of their children brings in an outsider who goes against the theme of the nuclear family they can see it as an attack.

"Especially if they've not made an attempt to be like them," said Thomas. "If the in-law has continued to stand in their own independence, that's when they really attack."

It can even rile them up if a newly-introduced spouse has a different taste in food. Thomas said they will serve them food they clearly won't eat then "turn around and act like the victim."

For example, a woman recently sent an absurd and disturbing letter to The Cut's "Ask Polly" column, where she explained that her in-laws refused to stop serving her mushrooms even though she is deathly allergic to them.

But Thomas said it was never about mushrooms specifically, it was about control. Narcissists are so desperate for control they favor it even over the safety and well-being of another person.

"That individualization is not allowed at all," Thomas said. "You can't choose your own career. You can't even choose your own food."

You'll notice a lot of mean behaviors

Other games the narcissist in-laws play include:

  • Planning a trip and only inviting the targeted spouse a couple of days before. This way they can say "we invited them, they just didn't want to come."
  • They will sit down very quickly when going to a restaurant, so the targeted partner is left without a place or has to sit alone.
  • They won't say hello when the targeted spouse enters a room. Instead, they might turn to them a few minutes later and say "oh, I didn't see you there."
  • They will try and make it seem like they know their child better than their spouse does. They will lie about things they like or what they've said — anything to fit their narrative.
Siblings are pitted against each other. NadyaEugene / Shutterstock

Complaining about their behaviors sounds petty, but it builds up over time

Trying to explain why these behaviors are hurtful one at a time is difficult because they sound so trivial. But they're not, especially when the spouse has been dealing with it for years.

In fact, narcissists probably plan their behavior very carefully so that any complaint would sound petty. Over time they can make their target feel like they're losing their mind.

"They thrive off the chaos and some of the mean girl or guy kind of behaviors, the bullying behaviors," said Thomas. "They actually enjoy it like any narcissist does. It's that entertainment factor that is very much present for narcissistic parents. They enjoy being cruel."

She said it's important targeted partners realize they are not the distorted version of themselves the narcissistic in-laws are painting them to be. To remind themselves of their worth they should spend time with friends and put boundaries in place with how, where, and when they visit their partner's family.

This is infinitely easier if their partner is also wise to what's going on, she said, because then they can stand strong as a team. Otherwise, the marriage probably won't last, and narcissistic parents are more than happy to fund an incredibly ugly divorce.

But when the couple have a united front, Thomas said it's not unreasonable to choose detached contact in these situations, or in extreme cases, no further contact at all.

"There's a lot of recovery available, once someone comes to terms with what they're dealing with and stays grounded and rooted in the life they have together," she said. "It's choosing health together. And that's really wonderful to watch."

Read more:

17 steps to leaving an abusive relationship with a narcissist

A woman told an advice column that her in-laws won't stop serving her mushrooms despite her deadly allergy, and a trauma therapist thinks it could be a sign of toxic narcissism

Narcissistic parents identify their children as either a favourite or a scapegoat, and they pit them against each other

The 5 most common themes in narcissistic families, from 'flying monkeys' to the 'needy sibling'

Narcissists often recruit people called 'apaths' to help with their games — here's why they're dangerous

Tips for you and your partner to improve the relationship.

Narcissism facts -infographic

A relationship can be quite a challenge when you have a narcissistic mother-in-law (or father-in-law), because of your in-laws’ involvement and the way you and your partner respond to them. The relationship between the narcissist and their children can be very intense or almost non-existent at all. This page focuses mainly on the situation where you are still in touch with your narcissistic mother-in-law.
If you have a narcissistic mother-in-law you’ll notice that:

  • it’s difficult for your partner to set healthy boundaries (regarding your in-laws),
  • for your in-laws to respect your boundaries,
  • that they will probably not like you,
  • that they criticize you and your partner a lot (or refrain from making compliments), and
  • that they are trying to sabotage/harm the marriage.

You may also notice that they like to play the victim and that it’s difficult to feel at ease around them. Despite the fact that you probably have your own issues with them, it’s important for your relationship that you support your partner. This page offers advice for each stage your partner goes through (unawareness, realization, acceptance, adjustment, and change). This page describes each stage briefly and offers advice for you to help and protect you and your partner.

For more information:

  • What is narcissism?
  • NPD symptoms.
  • NPD test.
  • How to live with a narcissistic person?
  • How to deal with a narcissistic parent?
  • Having a narcissistic boss.
  • Facts about narcissism.
  • Online treatment for narcissism or guidance for those living with a narcissist.
  • Take me to the homepage.
At Barends Psychology Practice, narcissistic personality disorder treatment is offered. Contact us to schedule a first, free of charge, appointment. (Depending on your health insurance, treatment may be reimbursed)

Stage 1: Unawareness

Having a narcissistic mother-in-law most likely means that the child has been exposed to emotional abuse, such as manipulation, blackmailing, splitting, gas-lighting, and guilt tripping (click here to read more about these types of abuse). A narcissistic parent uses these techniques to get what they want: control, power, and satisfaction (they enjoy it when they can humiliate someone). For a child growing up in such conditions, it’s likely that they are unaware of the emotional abuse taking place and that they see their narcissistic parent as the person who is always right. They simply have no-one else to compare to and it’s normal to assume that parents are always right. Some children of narcissists even believe that their narcissistic parent is wonderful.

Comparison with other families around them

When these children grow older and become adolescents or even adults, they may notice that other parents are usually kindhearted and friendly. They may also notice that something is odd about the way things go at home, but that’s as far as most children of narcissists go. In this stage, they are not ready to admit to themselves that their parents are not such good parents after all. And this is a huge mental obstacle, because it basically means that all they believed in is a lie: their parents do not love them unconditionally, it’s not normal to be blackmailed, guilt tripped, and manipulated. In this stage it’s often te case that the child of the narcissist defends or trivializes their behaviour.
This stage could be very frustrating, because you can see what’s happening. You can look at their interactions and relationship with a healthy distance, and you can see how badly it affects your partner. At the same time your partner isn’t ready to see this, which creates a lot of tension and probably some fights as well.

Relationship between you and your in-laws

It is likely that your mother-in-law surreptitiously tries to drive the two of you apart. Subtle comments where you feel insulted or unwanted/not accepted, are common examples of such behaviour. By actively opposing your mother-in-law (or by complaining about their behaviour a lot) she gets exactly what she wants: being in control of the situation. A narcissist who is in control of the situation is very dangerous. By complaining a lot or by opposing your in-law, your partner feels forced to choose between the two of you. 9 out of 10 times your narcissistic mother-in-law will act like a victim, which increases the chance that your partner will side with your in-law.
Be aware of the fact that every significant person in your partner’s life means that their narcissistic parent experiences less control over their child (and also that they get less desired attention from them). And this is something that is unacceptable! So you are an enemy.
Another often used strategy narcissist use (especially when they are jealous of their own child) is to win over the friends and partners of their own children. They do this by being very charming and friendly to you, while publicly or confidentially down-talking your partner (their child). At first, you won’t be aware of this strategy, while your partner is suffering by the way they are being treated. It’s even likely that you will start doubting your partner’s complaining, ‘because your in-law is such a kindhearted woman’. <– if this is the case, then it’s very likely you are not aware of the fact that you are dealing with a narcissistic-mother-in-law.   Here are a few signs to take into consideration:

  • They are overly involved in your partners life.
  • They call/message too often.
  • They come over unannounced, sometimes several times a week.
  • They need to be the center of attention, even when it is not appropriate.
  • They make nasty comments about me only when my partner is not around.
  • They do not respect our boundaries at all.
  • They guilt-trip my partner into doing things for them.
  • A great day with them is usually followed by a break-down on their side (moodiness, anger or sadness).
  • They would respond in a disappointing way when we announced something big (marriage, pregnancy, buying a house, moving abroad).
  • I have a feeling that they are trying to isolate me from my partner with their manipulative behaviour.
  • They change or twist facts in their favor.
  • Their sarcastic jokes often make me feel unwelcome, unloved, unwanted or disliked.
  • They become upset or angry when one of us disagrees with them.

We are interested in your experiences. Please fill out the poll and see how your experiences are compared to the experiences of the other visitors.

 Loading ...

What to do when you have a narcissistic mother-in-law?

If your partner is not ready to admit to themselves that their parent may have narcissistic personality disorder, then it’s important to take your time and approach this issue with care. Don’t try to confront your partner with it, because it will most likely end up in a huge fight where your partner keeps defending the narcissistic parent. Instead, focus on the details: every time the narcissistic parent behaves in a narcissistic way, mention it to your partner in a subtle way. Make it look like an observation without judgment. At the same time it’s important to be supportive of your partner. Whenever your partner complains, try to be understanding. Whenever your partner has an issue with the narcissist, emphasize that your partner is not to blame.
Occasionally, you can draw a parallel between a narcissist and the parent, but refrain from labeling your in-law as a narcissist. So: ‘It’s difficult for me to talk to your dad, because he always takes over the conversation and talks about himself. This narcissistic behaviour can be frustrating, especially now that I want to share wonderful news with him’. You can mention the fact that certain behaviour is narcissistic, but not that your partner’s dad is a narcissist.
In short: if you suspect that you have a narcissistic mother-in-law, don’t force it upon your partner. Allow them to figure it out themselves. At the same time, make sure to keep your distance. Do not take everything your in-law says for granted: take compliments with a grain of salt, and don’t take insults personally (it’s not about you, but about the person their child is dating, which could be anyone basically).

Stage 2: Realization

This is the stage where your partner realizes that their parent is narcissistic. This usually comes as a shock and can have a huge impact on your partner: suddenly all your partner believed in was a lie or only partly true. Their trust in others gets a blow just like their self-esteem. For some children of narcissists it’s such a shock that they have trouble identifying who they really are.
At the same time, the puzzle pieces start falling into place: certain situations start making sense now (‘why is mama always super friendly to others, but not to me?’, ‘why do I always have the feeling mama is jealous of me?’). This can be very upsetting to your partner, because they may realize that their parent never loved them the way they perceived it.
For you it may start to become clear as well (in case your narcissistic mother-in-law is jealous of your partner (their child)) that your in-law is playing games. Feelings of confusion, anger and shame are common. Talk about your feelings and the situations that took place with your partner when they are ready for it.

How does our life change when your partner has a narcissistic parent and just starts realizing this? Stage 2 may be the most confusing stage. Despite the fact that you and your partner get a lot of answers, your partner will have even more questions and doubts. Whereas you may want to take action and start setting healthy boundaries, your partner may become irritable, numb, angry, sad, and confused, sometimes at the same time. Right now, your partner can’t move on just yet. This can easily lead to a small crisis if the two of you are not communication well enough.

(Advertisement. For more information, please continue reading)

What to do when you have a narcissistic mother-in-law?

The worst thing to do is say things along the lines of: ‘I told you so…’ or ‘This is what I’ve been telling you all the time’. <– at this moment it’s not about you and your observations. It’s about your partner and their feelings. Here are a few things you can do for your partner:

  • Give your partner some time to process things.
  • Do not demand changes or action right away, because your suggestions/demands can backfire. Instead, let your partner come up with these suggestions.
  • Be empathetic (‘I can imagine it’s a shock to realize that X is a narcissist’).
  • Find some good articles on narcissism and children of narcissists in particular and print them or mention them to your partner. Do not force them upon your partner.
  • Take over some of your partners daily tasks at home (grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, bringing the kids to bed), because they may need some time to process.
  • Do not ask your partner about their feelings all the time. It becomes annoying and it isn’t helpful at all.
  • Do not ask them if there is anything you can do for them now.
  • Try to label certain behaviour are typical for narcissists. This will make it easier on you when they insult you and/or your partner.

Stage 3: Acceptance – Adjustment – Change

Acceptance, adjustment and change will be discussed altogether, because they overlap continuously.
Realizing that your parent is a narcissist is one thing, but accepting this ‘new’ reality is a whole different thing. Not only is it difficult to accept that a healthy parent-child relationship is impossible, it is also difficult to accept certain behaviours, comments, and ways of behaving around others. Your partner may accept something on Monday, get furious over it on Tuesday, and feel sad about it on Wednesday. This can go on for a long period of time, and expect a few relapses because your narcissistic mother-in-law (or father) will keep adding new chapters to this stage.

Your partner’s reaction

How your partner will feel and behave is difficult to predict. Some children of narcissists become very insecure and need to be reassured by others around them. A possible explanation for this insecurity could be the new reality they have to deal with. This new reality tells them that all they used to believe in (child-parent relationship, upbringing, having a great parent) is not true, and that they’ve lived in a fake-reality their entire life. A common question raises: ‘How can I trust my intuition?’. During this stage it’s important to support your partner and the best way to do so is by helping your partner rebuild their self-esteem.Discuss the fact that your partner needs to be reassured all the time and that this doesn’t help your partner grow more confident. Tell your partner that you will not reassure him or her all the time and that you’re doing this to help them.
It’s likely that your partner keeps coming up with new questions and tries to find new answers. This reprocessing-quest is very important for your partner, because it helps them put all the (puzzle) pieces together. At the same time this quest is tiring and frustration for the both of you, because every new discovery or realization (puzzle piece) is associated with emotions and reprocessing. This takes a lot of energy, energy that can’t be spend on other things. This likely results in mood swings and more/longer periods of sleeping.
During this period your partner changes and adjusts to the new situation. Sometimes this means that the relationship with the narcissistic mother-in-law ends or significantly cools down, but it could also affect your partner’s self-esteem and take on life. Your partner may become stronger, more confident, and might want to pursue his or her own dreams and goals, which in turn could lead to more frustration and arguments.

How does this affect me?

For you, as the partner, this could mean that you’ll experience emotions and feelings of despair, frustration, anger, helplessness, and sadness. These feelings and emotions naturally produce the urge to change things and to protect your partner. However, this could backfire when your partner doesn’t feel the support he or she needs. Feeling pressure from two sides, you and the narcissistic mother-in-law, could lead to a marital crisis. Therefore, it’s important to invest in ways of communicating. It’s better to have a good and long conversation about ‘what to expect and how to behave where and when’, rather then making assumptions and causing misunderstandings all the time.
Regarding the previously mentioned feelings of despair, anger, frustration, sadness, and helplessness, find someone else to talk to, keep a journal or find some support groups online. It’s also important to protect yourself by creating a distance between you and your in-laws. The bigger the distance between the two of you, the easier it will be to refrain from being emotionally involved in their ‘games’.

(Advertisement. For more information, please continue reading)

What to do when you have a narcissistic mother-in-law?

During this stage it’s important to be there for your partner, but also to look after yourself:

  • Have a good conversation about the expectations you have of one another. This way you prevent situations from escalating.
  • Finds someone to talk to, someone who listens to you. You need to ventilate as well and at the moment, your partner is probably not the right person.
  • Allow your partner to feel down and depressed. These mood swings are temporary and most likely have nothing to do with you.
  • Give your partner some space and alone-time. Your partner is reprocessing a lot and this requires a lot of energy.
  • Be aware of the fact that your partner will change a little, and that you have to adjust a bit as well.

narcissus - A site for the whole family - LiveJournal

text: Natalia Stilson, gutta_honey

In the male epic about the family, the mother-in-law takes the place of honor of “world evil”. According to some people, it is the mother of the partner who turns family life into horror and suffering, and if it were not for this terrible woman, then life would be happy.

That is, it automatically turns out that “I’m a normal person”, but “mom” ... In fairness, it must be said that no matter what horrors family life sufferers tell about mothers-in-law and mothers-in-law, the conflict has two sides. It happens that a daughter-in-law with her mother-in-law or a son-in-law with her mother-in-law wage such fierce battles without rules that it is even difficult to say which of them is the main villain here. They deserve each other, that's for sure.

But at the same time, of course, on one side there is a person who has certain characterological features and even a personality disorder that immeasurably “decorates” the life of a young family. The situation is often complicated by the fact that it is not possible to simply isolate oneself from the intervention of such a mother. Her child is not quite ready for an independent life in his own family. This is the problem of many children who grew up next to mothers who suffer from personality disorders.

Different mothers are needed

For the normal process of becoming one's own "I" of a person, a good and clear "I" of the mother is necessary. From this whole "I" of the mother in the process of psychological development, the child must push off and begin an independent life. But with this, the parent does not always do well. She may remain attached, one way or another, to the child, and the child itself is used as a support for the realization of her own desires, for the maintenance of her weakened parts of the personality. It is for this reason that a mother and an already grown child are constantly involved in all sorts of psychological movements and interactions, and the partner of the grown child, and his children, and sometimes grandchildren, are often sucked into this whirlpool.

Despite the fact that, it would seem, mothers-in-law and mothers-in-law with a certain personality type should have the same traits, the situation is not so unambiguous. And although quite a lot and actively talk about the fact that there are fewer gender stereotypes in families, in practice this is far from always the case. Daughter and son can mean completely different things to the same woman. The partners of different-sex children may also not be the same for the mother. Much depends on how the parent sees the world and what she expects from it.

Talking about such special characters of partner's mothers is rather long. Therefore, we will focus on mothers-in-law. Or rather, first on one of their varieties:

Narcissistic mother-in-law

The birth of her son was a gift of fate for her. This is what narcissistic women dream about the most. It's not that they just want a son. Unlike ordinary mothers, they need a reliable, self-renewing means of asserting their own greatness and magnificence. Problems with the son begin quite early because he cannot fulfill the mother's expectations. It does not depend on the fact that such children are lagging behind in development or have some kind of problems. It's just that no matter what the child does, everything will be worse than the mother expects. She never gives him enough feedback, telling him that everything is fine with him, does not give clear instructions on what needs to be done to please her. Moreover, it is absolutely not envisaged that the child is somehow seriously separated from her. In fact, she sees in him her part of the body, with which she does as she sees fit.

The son constantly stays within reach, and the mother obliges him to keep in constant contact with her. Wherever he is, whatever he does, he must at any time drop everything and rush to his mother. This reaction has been trained in the child all his life. If the son did not do this, he immediately became a murderer, a parasite, who was born only from her mercy, and since he does not do what his mother asks, then he is not worthy to live. Even as a grown man, the son continues to rush through half the city to his mother to find where the TV remote control hit.

When a son marries, narcissistic mothers develop some ambivalence. On the one hand, the son needs to get married because something bad can be said about her. If the son is not married, then something is wrong in the family, the genes are bad, they were brought up badly. For obvious reasons, this cannot be in principle, because, as a mother, she evaluates herself exclusively positively. In addition, the "son's family" is often included in the picture of her idea of ​​​​life success and is indicative of her image of a "great mother". Therefore, the idea of ​​marriage is fully supported.

But, on the other hand, the future daughter-in-law is a deadly rival. She wastes time, money, and son's attention, at a time when the narcissistic mother believes that all these resources belong exclusively to her. Well, she gave birth to a son and raised her! And then some jerk came and claims something.

Everything is wrong

Almost any son's wife will be bad. Slightly better than "average" will be those that will give her the right and sufficient feedback for her, which would confirm her exclusivity and impeccability. But to indulge her in everything is also not a recipe. The narcissist is such that the more he is given support and admiration, the more he needs. Yesterday she was saddened by the absence of potato pies, tomorrow even black caviar would not look decent enough on the dinner table. It is absolutely impossible to please or surprise her. In addition to ever-increasing needs, everything is always better, more beautiful, tastier, more generous, smarter, and so on. Any gift, even if a year is spent thinking about it, can be perceived as an insult. It will turn out to be too cheap, stupid, unnecessary, hinting at something offensive.

She doesn't care about the problems in her son's family at all. Even if the grandchildren are seriously ill, or there are some unresolved difficulties in the family, all this is just nonsense compared to her needs. She should be given the best, because she is all that the son has, and all the rest are just by-products that she allowed the son to have. She believes that she is always first on the list of those in need, and everyone else, for example, grandchildren, can get by with something cheaper and simpler. Or do without it altogether.

Success is also taken for granted and as an opportunity to gain something for oneself. If the son has money for a car, or he has saved money for a vacation, then this should be her car, and her trip. She can borrow a lot of money from her son's family, up to several million, and spend it on nonsense. She has no intention of returning them. She believes that this is her money and she can dispose of it as she wants. Sometimes she may formally promise to return the debt, but this is only to control the situation and feel her own superiority. After all, everything depends on her: if she wants - she will return, if she does not want - she will not return.

Well, if the daughter-in-law really demands something, oh well, she demands, she just has some needs or claims for something - this is generally unprecedented impudence. She is "no one", and "what does she think she is." And if the son really began to spend money and time on his family, then he is a traitor. However, the narcissistic mother will never throw it away in anger, because "to remain in splendid isolation" is not included in her plans. She designates her child as a "stupid weak fool" who is "twisted by an insidious daughter-in-law", and "this one", it is clear that only money is needed, and she wants to rob the unfortunate mother-in-law. Moreover, "this insidious young woman" literally does not sleep at night and thinks about how to infringe and insult her mother and more firmly tie the poor boy to her.

Between two fires

In order not to upset the mother, the son's family is sometimes forced to hide purchases or trips, because the mother reacts to them as if she saw a stolen item from someone. There is no limit to anger, she can, without embarrassment in expressions, insult, humiliate, threaten and even throw herself with her fists, and as a result slam the door.

But if you think that she is gone forever, you are deeply mistaken. The mother-in-law-narcissist will for some time pretend to be offended in the best of feelings, periodically call and pour a tub of dirt on her daughter-in-law and son, demand compensation for damages and apologies. She sees nothing wrong with her behavior. If there is no apology, then one day she will simply pretend that nothing special has happened and will again come for money or demand the care of her son.

At the same time, few outsiders can believe that the mother-in-law, literally a holy woman, is capable of something like that. Narcissists can quite successfully be included in society and even shine in it. If a daughter-in-law tells someone that her husband's mother was furious yesterday breaking dishes and breaking furniture because they bought her son a laptop, then they will not believe her. Moreover, she will look like she wants to denigrate a worthy lady.

And the “worthy lady”, in turn, can not hesitate to imagine her daughter-in-law in such a way as she would not have dreamed in a nightmare. For example, to the bewildered questions of acquaintances, what happened there with furniture and utensils, a lady can tell that her daughter-in-law is an alcoholic or mentally ill. Here she does all this, and then blames others so that no one finds out about her addictions. And the poor son, so got ... But "it's too late, children, so he lives with this monster." And they believe her. What impression such stories make on the daughter-in-law, who also suffered in the process of defeat, I will not tell.

Given that the son, as a rule, responds to all the antics of the mother-in-law with obedience and guilt in varying degrees of severity, this irritates the daughter-in-law quite a bit. Often a husband is afraid to contradict or is removed from the process of rottenness of his wife by his mother. It pretends that nothing is happening. After a terrible scandal, when the daughter-in-law in her own house was mixed with dirt by the husband’s mother, the next day the husband already abandons the family, neglects family plans and rushes to his mother, who demands something insignificant. The wife can often receive incomparably less attention and gifts for the holidays. Mom can be presented with a diamond ring, and wife - a bouquet of lilies of the valley, bought from the subway. On the demand to decide and prioritize - "wife or mother" - the husband becomes irritated or silent. Or he says “well, she’s a mother, she raised me” or “there can be many wives, but only one mother.”

Although not all men obediently follow their mother. Some may completely isolate themselves from it, wage a continuous struggle with it, or clearly keep their boundaries. However, this does not stop the mother from regular raids and attacks in order to find weaknesses and cracks in family relationships. And, given that the daughter-in-law is regarded as "no one", it is she who is usually regarded as the very "weak link", and she is constantly attacked. Sometimes, if the son is sufficiently critical of the mother's behavior, these attacks are carried out "behind the eyes" or in the absence of the son, sometimes in the form of gossip and slander.

These are those anecdotal cases when, left alone, the mother-in-law can add salt to the borscht, scatter garbage or grab the daughter-in-law's gold to say that she sold it or lost it (and "poor foolish son keeps buying her jewelry, but she doesn’t appreciates"). This, too, can significantly spoil the nerves.

This state of affairs often leads to discord in the family. The daughter-in-law simply runs out of strength to fight mom. The husband often does not take her side, or does not believe that his mother is capable of all sorts of stupid things with gold and salt in borscht. Why does she need it? The wife is seen as some kind of hysterical dreamer.

What are you doing here? You can't do anything with mom. She has been like this for many years, her character has developed. All her attacks do not depend at all on the attitude of the daughter-in-law towards her, and in general on the personality of the daughter-in-law. No matter how you change yourself, how you don’t adapt, you still won’t please her.

What to do

1. Banal advice - take care of your nerves and don't react. Don't make the mother-in-law's psychological problem your own. Don't get involved in the fight. The main relationship is between mother and son. The husband must solve the problem of his relationship with his mother himself. If he doesn't, you are powerless to do it for him. It's quite difficult, but if you are caught by the nit-picking and statements of your mother-in-law, these are your weak points, in your "I", and you need to work with them.

2. Stay away from close contact with your mother-in-law. It doesn't mean hiding from her. Be formal and polite, don't make excuses.

3. Never tell anything about yourself that is personal and emotionally colored for you. Anything said can be used against you.

4. If you notice the mother-in-law's "pranks", in an abstract form, say that you noticed this, without trying to blame or draw the husband's attention.

5. Do not hide purchases and any purchases. It's your money and you spend it how you see fit.

6. Do not respond to provocations. As soon as you feel that the temperature of your emotions has reached 60 degrees, stop communicating.

7. Let your husband know about your feelings about what is happening, but do not put him before a choice. Do not fall for the talk that you have to accept any disgrace in your relationship just because it is his mother, that she had hypertension or had a difficult childhood. The choice should be in your hands - whether you want to live in this family or not. You can love your husband, but sacrificing yourself, and often children, for the sake of his interaction with his mother - there is no point. If he does not want to change himself, your love is powerless here.

8. Try to keep children away from grandma's various games and manipulations.

9. Observe before marriage how your boyfriend feels about his mother's needs and how she feels about him. After a period of falling in love, the bias towards the mother will be even more pronounced. Consider if you need it.

Read also:
Guilt and who is to blame for it
Overprotection: a second life for a child
Family heritage: How our ancestors program us
Grazhina Budinaite: "In Russian families they grow up late"

Tags: Psychology

Monster-in-law: more than hell! - KP.RU

Komsomolskaya Pravda

House. FamilyRelationshipsMAN AND WOMAN


April 23, 2014 1:00

If your husband's mother is a person without deviations, then any disagreements can be resolved with her. The real problem is the mother-in-law with narcissistic personality disorder. ..

In the comedy If the Mother-in-Law Is a Monster (2005), Jane Fonda's character (left) successfully fights her daughter-in-law, played by Jennifer Lopez. Not a movie, but a manual on psychology!

Narcissistic mother: understand...

Look at the root of family history!

You can understand that the mother-in-law is a daffodil already at the stage of getting to know the groom's family. He was once the main gift of fate for his mother. She was waiting for him, begging, and he appeared. And if she has a daughter, she serves as something like a whipping girl. But the mother-narcissist just does not pray for her son. She needs her son as a means of self-affirmation, proof of her greatness. If you look at their relationship, you can immediately see a not very healthy trend. Her requests to her son are always higher than he is able to fulfill. Dissatisfaction with the fact that he does not meet her expectations enough is a hallmark of their relationship. For her, he is property. Like a part of her body, which should serve her faithfully. She seems to carry a message: “I gave birth to you for myself, and you should be grateful to me all your life! So drop everything and come, I don't know where my glasses are." It is impossible to separate from her: she is a noble manipulator and knows how to pull the strings and weak points of her adult son.

Attitude towards the daughter-in-law: both wanting and pricking.

When the son of a narcissistic mother is about to get married, her attitude is twofold. That is, a beautiful, smart and worthy daughter-in-law is good, but internally she perceives her as a competitor. In her opinion, the daughter-in-law should either become an obedient part of her body, report, listen to all her nonsense. Indulging her in everything is a bad tactic, because the demands of the narcissist are growing exponentially. Otherwise, a secret war will be declared on the daughter-in-law.

A narcissistic mother-in-law has exactly the same attitude towards her daughter-in-law - she is nobody for her mother-in-law. Narcissists generally tend to devalue other people. For them, there is only one thing in the world that is important - the narcissist himself and his personal needs. And even children for a narcissist are just a tool to satisfy their desires and pride. Giving gifts to her is a headache. She is always dissatisfied, the gift will not be expensive enough for her, the wrong size, wrong color, wrong shape, etc.

Mother-in-law as a body of control

As soon as her son leaves for a family with children, she will start looking for ways to control and constantly confirm her superiority: for example, borrow a large amount of money from her son, blackmail her with her poor health, etc. Her illness will proceed in such a way as to receive at the right time all the attention, care of the son and be the most important person in the family. No, she doesn't get sick on purpose. This happens unconsciously, her psyche is so arranged, and our body is only a reflection of psychological processes.

If this is really blackmail, then in this case you will feel not pity for the sick person, but anger. Moreover, you will deliberately suppress it, because anger is, as it were, unacceptable from a social point of view in such a situation. However, such anger with a hint of awkwardness is always an indicator that they want to use you, that you are being manipulated. It happens that a person uti-pusi, all kind, affectionate, even gives or gives you something, and you don’t understand why you have such protest and irritation inside him. Haven't done anything wrong yet. And this is a signal that a person wants to play with you for his own psychological selfish purposes.

...and render harmless!

In a confrontation with any narcissist (whether this is mother-in-law or boss) it is almost impossible to win if you do not realize who it is. Because the world has not yet come up with the best manipulators. You can resist them only armed with psychological knowledge.

The main thing is to immediately set the boundaries of your family.

If you realize that you got a narcissistic mother, get ready to practice such a skill as emotional non-inclusion. Whatever she does, build boundaries and stick to your line without irritation, with a smile and friendliness. The son and mother will try to wedge you into their relationship. Arrange a cheerful Karpman triangle: victim - persecutor - rescuer (everyone changes places in a circle, and life is wasted on a cruel tragicomedy). These are normal narcissistic games. The only way not to participate in them is to refuse the role of a rescuer. You don't have to save your husband from your mother. Or mother from her husband. You don't have to become a victim. Let them figure out their own relationship.

Many mothers-in-law can be found to have narcissistic traits - the time was hard, few managed to escape.

It is possible to build quite normal relationships with a mild narcissist. But no matter what the mother-in-law is, if you almost immediately begin to have negative emotions towards her, this is a signal: sort things out with your mother. This is often a projection. Negativity is a signal that everything that you don’t want to admit to yourself in your relationship with your mother, you will soon begin to live with your mother-in-law in an acute form. Listen to your own claims against your mother-in-law: in terms of emotional content, these will be your unspoken claims to your mother. And if you work on your relationship with your mother in the form of constellations, work with a psychologist, meditations for forgiveness and any other techniques, your relationship with your mother-in-law will also change.

Admit your fear of your mother-in-law in order to get rid of it.

Because of the fear of dislike, one person stops seeing the other as a real person. Attributes to him what is not. Treat her like you would your normal loved ones. Proceed from the fact that initially she does not wish you harm.

Success as immunity from mother-in-law

There are three types of relationship building:

1. Flattery. In response to playing oochi-pusi, you will receive either the same flattery or a completely formal attitude as with furniture.

2. War. Conflicts are very painful for all parties and are fraught with a bad outcome. In a war, there are no close winners, only the seriously wounded.

3. Cooperation. The most optimal option. It contains elements of flattery, quarrels, and a showdown. But the main thing remains - you still respect this person, are grateful to him, appreciate his help. This is a living relationship, and they always develop, do not stand still. You will not be accepted immediately. Emphasize that you also know a lot and can do it. Say ten times, on the 11th time she will finally hear it. If you still become so successful that you can show off, then the mother-in-law-narcissist will boldly give you the reins of government of the family. After all, the main thing that she needs is the envious delight of others.

Age category of the site 18+

The online publication (website) is registered by Roskomnadzor, certificate El No. FS77-80505 dated March 15, 2021.



Messages and comments from site readers are posted without preliminary editing. The editors reserve the right to remove them from the site or edit them if the specified messages and comments are an abuse of freedom mass media or violation of other requirements of the law.

JSC "Publishing House "Komsomolskaya Pravda". TIN: 7714037217 PSRN: 1027739295781 127015, Moscow, Novodmitrovskaya d. 2B, Tel. +7 (495) 777-02-82.

Exclusive rights to materials posted on the website, in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation for the Protection of the Results of Intellectual Activity belong to JSC Publishing House Komsomolskaya Pravda, and do not be used by others in any way form without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Learn more