Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
Often, mothers-in-law are portrayed in a bad light, with suggestions that they are possessive and reluctant to let go of their sons or daughters.
But what happens when it’s actually the other way round and you’re faced with a narcissistic daughter-in-law who seems to want to separate you from your children? How to cope with a narcissistic daughter-in-law?
If you suspect that your daughter-in-law is a narcissist, it’s tough being on the outside looking in and not being able to help your son or daughter out.
As suggested in previous blog posts, usually the best way to deal with a narcissist is to completely cut them out of your life by ignoring them with the ‘grey rock’ method.
However, in this situation, that’s not really possible if you want to maintain a relationship with your son/daughter and possibly your grandchildren.
Unfortunately, if your son/daughter cannot see that their wife is a narcissist, attempting to reveal her and cut her out may end badly for you.
If you upset her, she may use manipulative strategies to distance you from your son/daughter and you may lose touch with them altogether, and your grandchildren if you have them.
There is no way to ‘deal’ with a narcissistic daughter-in-law in most cases, as realistically it’s not possible to remove her from the picture.
Instead, you have to find ways to ‘cope’ with her and try to stay on her good side.
In this article I will discuss why coping is your best option and include 13 strategies on how to cope with your Narcissistic Daughter in Law.
Why Coping is Really the Only Option
Narcissists are excellent at manipulating people (especially your child) and anything you say will be taken as criticism and held against you, as will any action you try to take to help your children.
Narcissists are also excellent at triangulation, so try to avoid situations where you are alone with your narcissistic daughter-in-law. Triangulation is when a narcissist uses two people against each other to remain in control.
There will be limited or no communication between the two triangulated individuals, except through the manipulator (the narcissist).
It’s a tactic used to drive a wedge between two people and play them off against each other. You don’t want to let this happen with you and your son or daughter.
Question from one of our readers: My son’s wife is a Narcissist; How do I let him know?
It’s a highly effective strategy to gain an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with one another.
Your son/daughter is already being manipulated by your daughter-in-law and will always believe her when she claims you said or did something to try and split them up.
Narcissists are experts at manipulation and you will most likely lose if you try to go head to head with them, so it’s often not worth trying.
It’s hard when you want to protect your children and your grandchildren and speak up, help out and make them see what your narcissistic daughter-in-law is really like.
But unfortunately doing so can alienate you further from your family and you do not want to risk losing contact with them.
You need to focus on the long-term goals, which are:
- Keeping the peace
- Staying in touch with your child
- Staying in touch with your grandchildren
13 Coping Strategies Dealing With a Narcissistic Daughter-in-Law
Remember, you are doing what is necessary to stay in your children’s lives, not to please the narcissist. How to cope with a Narcissistic daughter in law? Here are some strategies you can use:
1.Take a step back
as hard as it is when you can see how toxic the situation is, it’s important not to get involved in your daughter-in-law’s relationship.
This would most likely lead to driving a bigger wedge between you and your child, and your child leaning more on the narcissist for support.
2. Do not take sides
If your son/daughter or even your grandchildren come to you, complaining about your narcissistic daughter-in-law, listen, and only listen.
Avoid taking sides as if you take your child’s side and they tell the narcissist what you said. This may cause the narcissist to go all-out to get rid of you, as they will see you as a threat (1).
As long as the narcissist does not see you as a threat, they will not try to remove you.
Furthermore, if they see you as someone who can be useful in getting what they want, they will want to have you around more.
3. Do not try to give the narcissist advice
Even if they ask for advice, do not give it to them! This never ends well as whatever you say, they will take it as criticism (2).
Try to answer with general answers that can’t be taken critically.
For example, if they ask for advice about how to parent your grandchildren, a good answer could be, ‘you know your children best’.
4. Don’t stop by unannounced
Narcissists are control freaks and will not appreciate you messing up their meticulous schedule by coming round without pre-planning it in advance.
They will want to have their best face on when you do come round and will see you dropping by unannounced as trying to catch them out.
5. Don’t try too hard to be friendly with them
If you overcompensate they will catch on to this and become suspicious of you. Keep your distance without being rude.
6. Try to make everything seem like their idea
For example, if you want to see your grandchildren, try to make it seem like your daughter-in-law’s idea.
You want her to believe she is in control, which is hard to do when you don’t want her to be, but you have to stay focused on your long-term goal of being a part of your son or daughter’s life.
7. Respect your child’s choice
You have to understand that your son/daughter loves their partner, even though you can’t understand what they see in her.
Even if you shared your true feelings about your daughter-in-law, they would probably not agree so it’s best to stay silent and respect their choice.
8. Stay cordial at all times
Try your best to always be polite with the narcissist and avoid confrontation. No matter how manipulative she is, be cool, calm, poised and polite at all times.
9. Follow her rules
Whether you agree or disagree with her, show her you heard her and do as she wishes.
Nothing will annoy her more than you disregarding her rules (3). And you do not want to annoy her.
10. Set your boundaries
Don’t support the union any more than is absolutely necessary to maintain a relationship with your son/daughter. Set clear boundaries from the beginning.
Refuse to join in if she makes nasty remarks about other members of the family don’t allow her to get too close by stopping by unannounced and if you need to.
Tell small white lies to get out of spending time alone with her – being careful not to upset her and keep it positive.
11. Be appreciative when she does do something nice for you
This may not happen often, but when it does, make sure you show your appreciation. Definitely don’t suck up to her but if she does do something you approve of, tell her.
Whether it’s making your son/daughter their favorite meal or dressing the kids nicely, make her feel valued as narcissists crave this.
12. Accept the reality of the situation
If your son/daughter has children with your daughter-in-law, no matter what you think of her, the children will need their mother (4).
Trying to drive a wedge between her and her children or her and your son/daughter is not what’s best for anyone.
You need to accept that she will be in your life and choose to have whatever relationship is possible with her, for the sake of keeping contact with your son and grandchildren.
13. Go with the flow
Learn to be laid back and accepting when it comes to your daughter-in-law.
As long as you’re not saying yes to everything she asks of you and allowing her to run over you with unreasonable expectations for babysitting etc., just go with the flow.
Shrug off any nasty remarks and never say anything critical back – to anyone. Just get along and try to be a stable compassionate influence where you can.
Ultimately, all of these coping strategies are about keeping the relationship with your narcissistic daughter-in-law cordial and amicable.
Remember, she will have a firm grasp on your son/daughter, so you will not likely be rid of her unless this relationship breaks down.
She may even be the mother of your grandchildren in which case the best you can do is to understand that she has the ultimate say over what happens with her children.
Courts do not tend to side with grandparents unless the mother and/or father are declared unfit or have been arrested.
Just try as best you can to keep your relationship workable. The key is to understand who you’re dealing with.
Some things to Consider Concerning Your Narcissistic daughter-in-law
1. You are not the only target of her behavior
Though it may feel like she hates you and is out to get you, the chances are she behaves this way with your son/daughter, her kids, her friends – in any situation where she feels powerless.
But, in her mind, as her partner’s mother, you have the power she wants. Still, that doesn’t make this personal – remember it’s her way of coping with you.
2. Her perception of your power is flawed
In this ‘power struggle’ she sees you as the ‘top dog’. After all, you knew her partner first, so she sees you as a threat over her own power with your son/daughter.
This perception is flawed. As you know, she is actually the one who has all the power when it comes to your son/daughter and your grandkids.
3. Narcissists are very good at acting like the victim
She will be extremely good at making your son/daughter believe she is the victim (5) if you ever actively try to expose her true colors, so this is not always the best action to take.
The more drama there is, the easier it will be for her to play the victim.
Narcissists are manipulative so sometimes you have to be manipulative as well.
No high emotions mean no fuel for the narcissist to escalate the situation.
4. Her behavior will be predictable
Once you recognize that she’s a narcissist, it will be easy to predict how she will act.
You will start to see patterns in her behavior and as you learn more about her it will be easier to know how to cope with her and stay on her good side.
Some examples may be:
She often ‘forgets’ things, like the plans she has agreed with you, to thank you for the nice birthday gift, to tell you about your grandchild’s latest achievement.
She will be able to give you good reasons for ‘forgetting’ but if this becomes a common theme, know that she is doing this on purpose to slight you.
5. She shows up late or cancels/changes plans last minute.
For example, she might leave it to the last minute to tell you about a school play so that you won’t be able to make it. When this happens, act confused.
Ask if you got it wrong and express how terrible you feel about missing things. Don’t be accusative, just confused, and innocent.
6. She will often disappear when you are around.
She may have to ‘work’ in another room or suddenly have to run errands to avoid spending time around you.
This is probably because you are intimate her and narcissists despise feeling vulnerable (6).
Why your narcissistic daughter-in-law will behave in Certain ways
Narcissists never felt safe enough to stand up for themselves in childhood.
They learned to cope with feelings of powerlessness by saying what someone wants to hear and then doing everything to sabotage it (7).
Unless narcissists learn a more constructive way to assert themself, this is the only behavior they know.
They act this way because they’re insecure, have low self-esteem, and want to feel powerful and important (8). She wants you to know the importance of her place in the family.
Although it may not seem like it, she acts this way because she is threatened by you and cares about your opinion. Maybe she thinks you will criticize her or that you don’t trust her methods as a parent.
She might actually feel overwhelmed and stressed out, but this the last thing she will show you. Remember that narcissists are extremely vulnerable and sensitive people when dealing with her.
Wrapping it all Together
When dealing with a manipulative narcissistic daughter-in-law, you have to accept that they will be in your life if you want to maintain contact with your son/daughter and your grandchildren.
As hard as it may be at times, your only real option is to use coping methods to stay on her good side and keep the peace.
Of course, call the authorities if you have reason to fear for your family’s safety seriously.
But only do this in extreme cases. If you try to ‘out’ your daughter-in-law to your family, she will most likely retaliate with manipulative techniques to freeze you out of the family and stop you from seeing them all together.
Suppose you want to continue having a relationship with your son/daughter and grandchildren. In that case, your best weapon is understanding your narcissistic daughter-in-law and learning to cope with her effectively.
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References Used for this Article
- Cavaiola, A. A., & Lavender, N. J. (2000). Toxic coworkers: How to deal with dysfunctional people on the job. New Harbinger Publications Incorporated.
- Brown, N. W. (1996). The destructive narcissistic pattern. Social Behavior & Personality: an international journal, 24(3).
- Wesner, B. S. (2007). Responding to the workplace Narcissist (Doctoral dissertation).
- Kochanska, G. (1997). Mutually responsive orientation between mothers and their young children: Implications for early socialization. Child development, 68(1), 94-112.
- Lubit, R. (2004). The tyranny of toxic managers: Applying emotional intelligence to deal with difficult personalities. Ivey Business Journal, 68(4), 1-7.
- Orth, U., Robins, R. W., Meier, L. L., & Conger, R. D. (2016). Refining the vulnerability model of low self-esteem and depression: Disentangling the effects of genuine self-esteem and narcissism. Journal of personality and social psychology, 110(1), 133.
- Bushman, B. J., & Thomaes, S. (2011). When the narcissistic ego deflates, narcissistic aggression inflates. The handbook of narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder: Theoretical approaches, empirical findings, and treatments, 319-329.
- Hart, W., Adams, J., Burton, K. A., & Tortoriello, G. K. (2017). Narcissism and self-presentation: Profiling grandiose and vulnerable Narcissists’ self-presentation tactic use. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 48-57.
86 thoughts on “How to Cope With a Narcissistic Daughter-in-Law?”
So… I am to devalue myself ? I am to change who I am, and kiss the narcissist’s butt at her every mood change?
Do you know what I did wrong, I said the word “no” with a detailed explanation. If there is not immediate compliance to their demands then we are history. I refuse to tolerate disrespect to have a place in anyone’s world. I have to be able live with myself.
Hi Sydney, these tips are written to find a way to cope with a Narc daughter in law. Often when you fight the daughter in law and the son chooses the side of his wife, the parents are left in pain. You are not sucking up with the Narcissist but finding ways to keep the peace. Keep her at distance but remain close contact with a son or daughter.
You can instead decide to fight it, but some battles can never be won and end in tears.
Hello Alexander, Keeping distance and being non- confrontational is ok. What do you suggest when the Narc DIL manipulates to get material goods or financial benefits?
Hi Brenda, that is a tough question. Is she manipulating you or your son? If she is manipulating you I would suggest strong boundaries but not trying to pick a fight. If she is manipulating your son it’s more complicated. You could try to start a conversation with your son about it without trying to be too judgmental about it But be careful that convincing him to pick a side and see how “evil” your DIL is might push you away from him and choose the side of his wife/your DIL. But if he is okay with her behavior it will be hard to convince him otherwise.
Nonetheless, it is important to create your own boundaries with her AND him. Don’t let them force you to do things you don’t want to do (like paying stuff for them). Good luck with this situation.
Wow, so when it comes to money you advise to refuse and resist the manipulation tactics; whereas, if it is abusive emotional and mental abuse without money involved, you call it “keeping the peace?” IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE A HEALTHY NON-TOXIC RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST, PERIOD! They do not change!!!
Normally you would want to avoid ANY contact with a Narcissist. But when the Narcissist is attached to your son or daughter it becomes more complicated because you don’t want to also lose them. That’s why you have to choose between two evils.
I have a daughter in law like that. I feel sorry for my son and I will always love him, but my dignity and freedom to be myself are more important to me than desparate attempts to keep my son in my life. He is a grown up man, and I have given him enough of myself. I would rather not have a relationship with him/them instead of constantly adapting my behaviour to a cruel narcissist.
I agree, we have given them the tools to navigate in this life. My DIL is a covert narcissist. While she smiles in my face, I have recently been informed that she has been twisting every situation into me being my sons enemy, twisting conversations and saying to my son. I love you, your my man and I’ve got your back. I only recently suspected that she may have character traits of someone with developmental disability issues and goggled this and found exactly what she has been doing and yes, her mother is a selfish witch who told her to abort my grandson and come home, her mother hates my son from all the negative conversations she’s had with her mother but that relationship remains intact. I’ve been a good mom and nana and neither of them deserves me in their lives. My concerns about her manipulating my grandchildren is coming into view now. I will focus on my relationship with my grandchildren. Those two deserve each other and time will prove things out. Do not cast your pearls amongst swine it accomplishes nothing and will drain you of your own energy and break your heart. You will be railing against an unstable situation and nothing you do will change it. Walk away, preserve your relationship with your grandchildren thru other methods. There’s cell phones and internet, game sites and social media. There are many other ways to stay in touch. 😊 Never compromise yourself for the sake of keeping the peace, it only degrades who you are.
I agtee ,but I noy even allowed to contact one of my Grand childrrn ,who is now 13 , as my DIL says this makes him feel uncomforyable .I did this when he had Covid then when he was 13 Any ideas as to how I should go forward with this resp9nse .She obviouslt take his phone and then responds to my messages or ignores them . My younger grandson is nearly 3 so does not yet kboe what is goin on ,other than he is allowed to see me with my son every 3 weeks .I am clearly not allowed to see the ilder boy and I have been told I am the crazy person ?? I am now very low and cannt simply accept all she says when in the pasy she has asked for my help all the time .I am human .
I fully agree.. I always thought my youngest DIL truly valued family. Her own family has lots of problems and we are the only GP our GK’s truly have, as her Mother is a heavy drinker and not able to be present.
This all has changed in the last 4 or 5 years.. with more problems her mother has, the more her Bi Polar Narcissistic habits are showing.
I don’t want to be her best friend, Mom or confidant. i just want to have a relationship with my Son & Grandchildren & her too if she is open. But after last weekend I realize I’ve lost my Son & GS’s to this toxic behavior. Her own Mom told me 5 yrs ago she treated her bad & didn’t know how my Son put up with her. I think many things have happened that I’m not privy to in hindsight
But I refuse to be her doormat, because I came from a toxic Mother, and once you know that kind of abuse, you will not allow others to heap it on you just because they can.
I have been there for both her and my Son when no one else has.. i dropped whatever, to keep the kids so they could have time to themselves..
But at 65 and in my own late stage toxic marriage I can no longer handle the toxicity of a girl I didn’t give birth to.
My husband sides with whoever sides against me, and women today believe its cool to not like MIL’s.. as a hearing impaired person who broke my hearing aids recently, I can tell my DIL thinks its beneath her to speak louder to communicate.. ices me out, and the list of other things is outrageous..
I raised 2 good Men and I can no longer wipe their butts.. or handle a DIL who tries to act like a Kardashian..I never thought my life would be this way..when all I ever tried to be was supportive. I married a Man who came from Dysfunction, but I made my Childrens lives as happy as I knew how.. educated them, helped them as much as I could, now I’m tired.. and just want to be by myself, without a spouse who thinks I should eat garbage so my DIL can feel fulfilled..
Sometimes we have to protect ourselves when no one else will. We need our own boundaries, and the typical GM does not want to interfere in her Gk’s lives, they just want to be there to enjoy them for what little time we may have left, and leave imprints that will make them feel they were so so loved when we’re gone.
I believe that when the Son’s Mom is able & healthy and the DIL’s Mom is not, that creates a kind of jealousy no one talks about. I lived a smoke free, alcohol free life to be able to enjoy my 60’s.. I deserve some decent health, and it should be appreciated by a Son & DIL that I can take their kids on a weekend getaway when they need a break, but not in my case. My life will be different after last weekend, I’ll never be the same again..
I’m not quite sure how to navigate this site, but, having read your response, I can SO clearly relate. Your experiences are almost identical to mine, and I thank you for your input. I will check back here, and hope to hear from you.
Thanks, take care, wishing you the best.
Hello Jeta I could have written your response. Everything and I mean everything is what is I’m currently going through except for the fact that I have one son and one granddaughter. It truly is heartbreaking. Thank you for writing.
I’m so sorry that you are also in this situation but glad to read that someone else feels this way too. I’m still grieving after her lies and manipulation caused a huge rift between our son and grandchildren and ourselves. We no longer have any connection with our son or grandchildren as they have since moved to another country but I do hope that eventually I will see that I am free from his choice of partner and her toxic behaviour. Sadly she has caused and continues to cause many more issues to others including her own family. I just wonder if our son will ever wake up to it but hope to move on and not be drowning in it myself.
That’s not coping it’s helping a very sick person hurt your loved ones by giving the narcissist cover and not even trying to educate your loved ones. Leaving the narcissist free range to destroy lives. I think you may want to reconsider your advice. Advising people to voluntarily continue in a very abusive relationship does not seem wise.
I understand what you are trying to say. But it is often not that simple. You are not helping an abusive relationship, you are doing a trade-off, where you are able to stay in contact with your family. Putting them under pressure to see what you are seeing will often have the opposite effect.
Unfortunately my son his NPD girlfriend and her 3 children lived with me for 3 1/2 years. I had no idea what was happening and why my son was so angry with me all the time. I fought back because the terrible lies about me weren’t true. They finally moved out, without notice and owing money. I missed the kids but was feeling healthier. I haven’t spoken to my son in 2 years and h I s last text to me said to never contact him again.
Yesterday, they came over to tell my 93y old mother that she’s going to be a GG. In 6 Mos. my first GC will be born and I’ll never be a part of the baby’s life. I’m devastated.
Trying to keep her at a distance has only made my situation worse. She claims that I don’t like her because if it. Damned if I do… damned if I don’t.
I am in same situation…my son separated from his narcissist partner nearly 2 years ago… they have a son together. I won’t let his mother manipulate me in any way in fact have no contact at all. After a year of fighting my son does get to have his son stay with him. We live in different countries yet have managed to start to build a relationship via video calls..up until now I have been kept out of her rows and spite. My mum my sons grandmother has Alzheimer’s I am her carer. We can’t travel to see the little chap. My son spoke to his ex about bringing him to us for a visit. At first she agreed now gone back on everything in an incredibly spiteful way… my son has remained so amazingly calm throughout. I am now thinking it’s maybe best if I don’t carry on with these video chats as she will find out and no doubt take it out on my grandson and son….the little lad isn’t 3 yet …yet has had so many people in his life and go because of his mother… maybe it’s best he doesn’t get to know me at all…
A son SHOULD choose sides with his wife. Problems occur when sons and daughters choose their family of origin over their new family. Your article serve to enable toxic in laws and flip the script on the narcissistic mother in laws who treat their daughter in laws with disrespect and feel entitled to rule over their child’s spouse.
All of these pity party comments from narc MILs are easily dissected to realize the MILs are just projecting the problems they cause onto their daughter in laws. I hope you get a lot of website “hits” from narc MIL who have estranged themselves with their obvious self-righteous meddling.
There are no disrespectful, narcissistic “grandparents rights”.
Wow, you really need to read again. Frankly you need to get a dx.
I completely agree with you. I have been struggling for two years trying to keep the peace and the hurt and pain I have endured has cost me way too much. While the hurt of not being able to be a part of my Sons and Grandsons life is huge the disrespect, lies being told about me, manipulations and ugly things said to me hurt even worse and has caused me to harden my heart and that is something I cannot afford to do. Peace is a very valuable commodity and enduring pain to try and have a relationship with someone that doesn’t really want it is not worth my peace. I love my son but I feel just as hurt by him as her because he allows her to do these things to me. My heart cannot take anymore. The best thing for me is to let them live their life and pray for them but protect my own heart. The hurt is just more than I can bear when trying to appease a relationship with them. It’s impossible
This is exactly how I feel about my DIL and son so sad
I know this comes as a really late response but I feel the same way.
“The hurt is just more than I can bear when trying to appease a relationship with them. It’s impossible”
I find it very difficult to make myself available to their impossible needs. Their needs are unrealistic and I often find myself questioning whether or not it’s worth my emotional effort!
I love my little granddaughter with all my heart. The narcissistic DIL has been so creative in putting the stop to not only me but to the rest of my family. It’s very difficult to have a HEALTHY and LOVING relationship with my son and granddaughter. I’m at a loss.
How far does it go?
If you discover the answer as to how far it goes please tell me. My son has left his narcissistic partner yet they have a young son… he gets the brunt of it now. He does have a very strong loving relationship with his dad tho. He doesn’t really know me and I’m scared for him if I allow him to..
I have been growing through something very similar to this recently and feel exactly the same way you do. I love my son and my grandsons but my daughter in law is very hurtful and I just don’t feel I can deal with her tearing me down any more. She speaks to me so disrespectfully and has basically taken over my home. She has told my son that I am trying to break up their marriage and all I have ever done was help. Thank you for sharing. After her latest argument with me I have been torn apart, no one wants to lose their family but I can’t keep accepting being treated like this either.
I agree with you. If our son is so manipulated coming from a loving, supportive environment and is alienating his 4 siblings I have had enough. He tried calli g me for Mother’s Day but not his father for Father’s Day. He made a huge mistake. His father is my husband and he is not going to be treated this way Birthday gifts to our grandchildren and holiday gifts as well. It is to late to sick redemption when one of us pass away’
all you grans should know in the end you will have the last word. be sure that all you have to leave your son and grandkids. goes into a bloodline annuity and even when your son passes it will bypass the DIL and go direct to you grandchildren. irrevocable except by you. no state laws can touch the annuity and will bypass your dil. it will give you great peace to shut her out in the end.
I have had exactly the same experienced with my DIL. To the extent that my cancer diagnosis was ‘put all on her and she was the victim of excessive stress’ how dare I do that to her. She has mentally and now physically endangered my grandchildren and driven a huge wedge into our family so much so that myself my husband and my son’s sibling don’t recognise him anymore. The stress her actions have put on the family are I intolerable but worst of all her total inability to empathise or interact correctly with her children, my grandchildren is so damaging to them it’s truly terrifying. I am at my whit’s end.
Oh my goodness Lesa. I feel your pain. I am experiencing a very similar thing myself. At the moment I cannot bring myself to leave my son daughter-in-law to it, but there may come a time when, for my own health, I may have to do what you have done. I love my son and grandson so much but, like you, the hurt that I experience that my son is letting her do this to me is sometimes unbearable. I have the added complication that my son suffers from psychosis and is on heavy medication to keep him calm. It is all so extremely tiring and heartbreaking.
Please look after yourself.
I wish there was a support group for Moms of Sons.. we don’t want our grown Sons to be little boys again…we just hope to share in our Grandchild’s life.. anyone who grew up without a GM like me, can appreciate that. But we cannot live with animosity and clear cut disrespect so we can get crumbs from a grown Son, who needs peace in their marriage.
If you have a spouse on your side, you are way better off than I am. I learned after 40 years, my husband has dome learning impairment, never picked up in childhood, and it causes him to not be able to connect the dots where human interaction come into play.
I notice neither my husband or son seem to pick up on my DIL’s behavior when we’re together. She ruined my Birthday about 3 years ago, this last Christmas and last weekend when we were invited to their vacation rental hime, she knew I could not hear her getting ready to leave, rather than walking upstairs to say goodbye and allow my 7 yr old GS to say goodbye, she told my husband she didn’t know where I was when I saw her 10 min earlier.. she still did not tell me she was leaving. When I went down to say goodbye, she barely turned around and honestly, I don’g think she said anything. It might sound trivial on my part, but my Son has also become disrespectful.. if I thought I deserved it, I’d be the first to apologize..
Sometimes we just have to know when to let our kids live their life.. so we can live ours without stress and constant turmoil..
I have recently been ‘blacklisted’ from my Narc. DIL who is jealous of how much my GKids love me. My heart is completely broken. She’s told my very young GKids that ‘we can’t see grandma because grandma is mean to mommy’ – a complete lie.
I experience all the above. and I putting all into a annuity. dil can be lying in a ditch and nothing I leave will even help her if she needs it. soon the gk will all be out of the house. yes it hurts but we need remember we can only control what we do ourselves. the dil lnarc dil loves to hurt and she’s trying to daw you into a fight.. I gve up long ago after 25 years trying to cope always staying out of her way. it doesn’t matter. it even makes her more md she can’t draw you into her fight. that’s what they do so just makes sure she’s cut out of your son’s inhertace even in his passing. no state can touch a bloodline annuity inheritance to your son and grandkids.
This is how I’m feeling tonight. My son and his girlfriend stole money from us. When I expected consequences, I was made into the big bad wolf.
My son refused to speak to me because I expected her to take some blame.
I eventually met with them and tried to put things aside.
They will now only communicate with my husband who has absolutely no backbone and want peace at any cost.
So isolated. I was so close
To my son before.
The worst is every single thing I say to him gets repeated to her, I suspect she even replies to his messages to me.
So alone that no-one else
Can see what she’s doing.
It’s affecting my
My husband as I can’t understand how he won’t have my back.
OMG…. this is exactly what happened with me. I said No.
I agree, I blame my son for not being more discerning in choosing a partner. He knows his mother, he knows her character and it’s on him to correct her behavior when she’s making false accusations against his mother. My sons girlfriend I’m finding out is crazy, narcissists are unstable, manipulative and crazy and a stable, considerate sane woman cannot exist in “crazy” and if my son doesn’t see that it’s on him. Why should I allow toxicity to remain a part of my world because of his poor choices and his lack of wisdom? Nope, I don’t do crazy, drama or stupid, even if it’s my own kids. I did my part in raising him in a stable loving environment and he’s chosen crazy to spend the rest of his life in. M grandchildren are experiencing exclusion, favorism now that she has her own children and my son has allowed her to not let me see grandchildren that aren’t even hers….and for years now. No thanks, when they get old enough they will make their own observations and they are already pulling away from them. Toxic is toxic and nothing good ever breeds from it….they will go down in flames when they have no “ triangular” opponent.
I agree, I’m finding out that my DIL is a narcissist. The first clue is when I dressed up for Halloween and when she saw my cute cat costume she immediately went to change into her military fatigues. My son was confused and I thought it strange but now it makes sense. They are vying for position…I have been in my grandchildren’s lives since birth and they have different mothers. This sweet, innocent behaving, non confrontational narcissist convinced me that she was these things. None of my other grandchildren’s mothers have done so much damage to my relationship with my son and grandchildren as her. She has two faces, she poisoned my sons mind against me building me into this monster, but I blame my son, not her. He’s the one that has given her the power to do what she has done, while the other moms he stood up to. This one is manipulative, conniving and plays the victim in everything, however, she does not go postal, she works primarily on him. When the other mothers were dragging him in and out of court I was their best buddy but as soon as things went away with regards to them I became a target and shame on my son for not being man enough to realize what was going on and I have no problem walking away because if someone is that easily turn against you through manipulation It does not have the presence of mind to stand up for you when they know what is being said about you it’s not true then they don’t deserve you to be in their life they don’t deserve to have that relationship because they are not going to do what they need to do to preserve it I’m not gonna fight for something that the person on the other side is not willing to preserve it’s a losing battle I don’t care what you do on this page it doesn’t matter you’re always going to be on the losing end and you’re always going to end up in a heartache because it’s nothing you do is ever going to be good enough and nothing you do is ever going to be right you’re always going to be wrong and if people cannot see the good in you and they cannot see the benefit of you and they cannot Express anything but negative energy towards you then you have to get out of that because now it’s about self-preservation and there are plenty of girls out there who are looking for a mom there are plenty of people out there who have never had the pleasure of having a mom in their life and you can use that energy to be a positive influence in somebody who will value your advice your wisdom and your love and presence in their life ☺️☺️. I am glad that I found this website because I beat myself up for so long because I really really starting to believe everything that my son was projecting against me and when you expose yourself long enough to these narcissist they actually start to convince you that you are who they say you are I don’t care how strong or stable you are I am a retired peace officer and I have seen and experienced this for myself and I have always been A very strong minded person knowing who I am rebuilding myself from a very toxic family situation and only inviting good characteristics purging the dark ones away from my spirit in my mind having to separate myself from my toxic family and yet I had no idea what was happening until just today and this woman has been in my sons life for the last eight years and I had no idea why my son was crying more and more hostile towards me over the years
I agree with everything you say.. I saw my DIL’s behavior that seemed like a spoiled brat around her Mother & Aunt years ago before they were married.
It was narcissistic and Bi Polar but I wasn’t smart enough to see it as mental illness. I had never been around anyone like that. I warned my Son then..
He married her, and its on him now, but I can see its also taking a toll on my Grandsons. They see her toxic behavior.. when I tell my Son that if you want to change a child’s behavior, parents must change theirs.. he knows its true but blew up.. I believe that my DIL was born to a Mother who drank heavily while pregnant, and has a lot of mental illness in her family.
I also suspect my Son has been drinking to cope with her.. he was raised in an alcohol free home..
I can’t tolerate anymore and sadly will not be able to interact with my GS’s who I was very close to..
My marriage is also in shambles because of it, and I’m at the tail end of my life.. would I have done things differently if given a rewind? Yes
How would you do things differently, my son has been poisoned against me. I’m feeling isolated. She’s rallying everyone around her and I’m the bitch.
They will only communicate with my husband and I’m getting the total
Shits that my husband won’t have my back.
You are so correct. I’m tired of my covert DL and my son acting like if I’m good, I get to have some crumbs. I’m out of their lives, skipping the drama, and respecting the boundaries I have. I’m every bit as valuable of a human being as my grandchildren are. I deserve love, kindness and respect as i have given in abundance. They think we need to cow down, behave, be perfect. I was solid gold to my DL. My son should hold his head in shame for letting her treat me so cruel. He’s a coward. I will never let a covert narcissist cross my boundaries to keep the peace. I lost my family but gained peace, dignity, and I’m looking forward to creating a new life surrounds by love and tranquility
I totally agree. My son met and married a woman from a dating website in 6 months. She is from another culture. There are no winners here unless we “obey.” we cannot do anything right and any discussion is called “looking for a fight.” This is our son’s first relationship, she is divorced and 5 years older.
My husband has a good saying “she looks for fly shit in pepper.”
He just disowned his whole family. He has lost all his friends.
To be honest, it was coming sooner or later. She has total control of him and we no longer recognize him. Are we bad for feeling relieved? We can’t walk on eggshells our whole lives to please this woman–no thanks. Good riddance. Our son can figure it out and stay, or not. It’s his decision.
You are right . My daughter in law is like that . And my son won’t take up for us knowing we haven’t done anything to her. That makes me very angry at him.He does everything she says and spend money on what she wants not her the grandkids. It’s her way or the highway.i will not treat her like a child to get her way . She is adult with some mental illness she needs to get under control. And needs to be treated as adult.
I mentioned earlier that this article is so very helpful for me because you provide tools. I have been at a loss with how to remain a part of my son and his family’s life, when his wife displays narcissistic behavior–a lot.
A bad pattern has developed and I could use your help on how best to handle. According to my daughter-in-law, I do something very hurtful or wrong or bothersome to her — often. She goes on and on about it to my son. He then has to defend her, so he can live in some sort of peace with her. I am then told that this will take some time to get over, if we can ever get back to normal. I am told that, “I need to be good and we will see.”
This is where I get stuck. Do I go overboard to try and be nice so that I can have a relationship with my son and young grandsons? Do I step back and wait for them to make the first move? Right now they are not talking to me. They live 30 minutes away and I have not been allowed to see my grandsons for over a month. Would it work to send her a card to apologize? I truly did nothing wrong and have nothing to be sorry about. But, if it will help, I will apologize again. I did in person, but it is never enough. In other words, she constantly looks for me to do something wrong, capitalizes on it, and then am excluded from talking to my son or grandsons. With this constant shaming from my son, I believe he has lost respect for me. For five years she has degraded me and now, it seems that my son now sees me no longer as he used to. I am a strong, independent woman who raised 2 sons on my own, while working and going to college. My strength threatens her. You know the rest. It hurts so much having my son’s love turn into wrath.
Robin, you are wearing my shoes. My son has need so brainwashed by his wife that I hardly recognize him. She manipulates him and convinces him to bully me and lie to me. Sometimes even rage at me. Then my son will cut me out of their lives…2x …this last time was 1.5 years. I grieved so much I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to live. But not suicidal…just hopeless. I was going thru a nightmare divorce with my husband of 30 years, who had been cheating on me the whole time. He’s a covert narcissist, which I had never heard of. Anyway, now the granddaughters miss me so they want back into my life.
Like you, I am torn about doing this destructive dance again. She sees me as an object to use and abuse. I am a very sensitive person, son she knows how to hurt and punish me. It does no good to talk to my son. Deep down, he sees it, but he is like a 6’3″ puppet. Such a waste of life.
Like the author here says, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are no good options. I, too, live 20 min from them, and am close to my granddaughters.
Maybe in a way, I finally have a say in how this goes. Maybe. I’ve worked with an excellent counselor who is an expert on bullying and narcissistic abuse. In know it’s time to let go of any unrealistic expectations, build my life with those I trust, and limit my time and exposure with and to them. I have to build a protective barrier around my heart and soul, and use my brain to have this relationship. It’s sad and takes a lot of grief work and acceptance. But I think a total break is more destructive and permanent. I have learned how to play by her rules:
1. Then one that counts, don’t care. Just give a very little bit. She is most threatened by my heart, compassion, and empathy.
I am determined to keep those traits to myself around her and HER family. Oh and be a sickly person who can’t go to her events…parties, etc.
I relate to every word, Robin. My background and experience in this is similar, I worked to put myself through college and graduate school, and my son and I had a wonderful relationship until several years ago. After his marriage with my daughter-in-law, the tides turned and suddenly she began speaking to me rudely, then raging out of the blue and not even making sense with her accusations. I was shocked when my son defended her and even began to “coach” me on how I should speak to her (because of her traumatic childhood and “sensitivities”). More recently, I’ve tried turning to professional help, and I received very positive feedback from a counselor for the letter I wrote to my granddaughter to try to make amends and “apologize” (even though I also truly did nothing wrong!) The letter did not change a thing. In fact, my daughter-in-law continues to complain to my son that I “must not care” about her, while refusing to speak to me so I can have a chance to demonstrate care. It is agonizing because I was very close to my grandsons before the situation blew up, and I hurt for them as well because I have been the only grandparent active in their life since birth. (My DIL has a restraining order against her own mother and also refuses to let my ex-husband see the grandchildren at all). So, needless to say–I understand and empathize with your stuckness. Completely not the way I envisioned life going after working so hard for so many years to raise my son with love and respect for human beings in general. I still believe in miracles, and will hold onto this hope as well as continue to seek resources. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I wish you all the best.
I believe that the complete opposites we are to a DIL’s Mother, the more threatened they feel. If we are happy and they’re Mom is not, thats a strike against us.. if we have a nicer home and her Mom doesn’t .
.. Another strike.
I’m not bending on this last episode .. I have had this rodeo once before, as I have 2 Sons that are 7 years apart.. and its a losing game..
I have a cordial relationship with my oldest DIL but went through pure emotional turmoil 12 years ago with her and now its happening with DIL No 2..
My husband is reacting the same way now as he did then, siding with a woman he has no DNA with.. just to be cordial with them both and see our GS’s who we are close to
He wasn’t asked to do the things I was, and has no concern that I am treated bad.. so for me, my life has totally changed in the last week.. not only do I need distance from my Son & DIL, but need distance from my husband..
I never thought trying to have a close family would be a challenge.. my family of origin is not close, so I thought I changed the cycle.. nope, my whole life has been for nothing
“Siding with a woman he has no DNA with”? Sounds like you are forcing your son to choose sides between his wife and your your family gang mentality. When a man and woman marry they form a new family and should form a United Front for their family of origin should then be secondary. This entire article just enables toxic mother in law behavior. It’s common courtesy to not drop by unannounced. This entire article is written to appease meddling, controlling mother in laws who always have to come first even after their sons are married adults. Pathetic!
I am right where you are. My son married a narcissistic woman 3 yrs ago. I am damn if I do, damn if I dont. She has banned me frm their house. I use to see my 2 grand girls every week, unless she is mad at me. That’s how I know she’s mad, she wont let the girls or my son come over or call or text. She has blocked me from phone call, text, fb, all of it. It’s almost Thanksgiving and I probably will be alone on the holiday. She has beaten up her own mother and had no contact for over a yr with her. I have lost control of myself and cussed and yelled at her. I am physically scared of her. So right now, I’m just trying to be patient, waiting on her to need me for something again. So sad. I am very close with the girls 3 and 4 yrs old. But I fear that this also makes her mad. My son tells me it easier for him if dont cause trouble. I am so hurt that he doesn’t stand up for his own mother, but maybe he is scared of her also. I could go on and on all day about this. Thx for posting. I know now that I am not alone, in this horrible situation.
“I have lost control of myself and cussed and yelled at her.” You did this in your daughter-in-law’s home and expect to be invited back?
“My son tells me it easier for him if dont cause trouble. I am so hurt that he doesn’t stand up for his own mother,” Again, you cause trouble in your son’s and daughter-in-law’s home and expect him to stand up for YOU? It sounds like your son and DIL have a strong united front against your abuse and troublemaking. Good for them. They will have a happy marriage and she will never “need” your “help”.
Robin, You are meant to be disregarded by your DIL. You are being punished. Never, and I mean never will you be able to kiss her butt often enough, or good enough to make her happy.
The advice in this blog is meaningless to those who’ve searched out answers to this insidious behaviour. By the time we get here the disrespect is at its highest level. Who would advise anyone to tolerate emotional abuse over and over again. It was in mine and my husband’s best interest to walk away. It’s in our son and dil’s best interest to blame everything on us, and it would never have changed.
I have the same issues. I say fine as my DIL you want to be rude and attack me for my imperfections which you clearly have none right. I now have been called a unloving and disrespectful grandparent to my 1 year old grandson. This DIL has been in this family for 10 years now and about every 6 months she come up with an issue of why she is upset with me and what I have done to her again. She constantly tells me how I manipulate my own family members and that no one in my family confronts me because they are to afraid of me getting upset so she has to be the bigger person with the balls and call me out on all my crap. Mean while I have 3 other grandchildren whom either parents of them have no issue with me. I have a very strong relationship with my daughters and SIL’s so where my DIL gets off coming up with all of this ridiculous nonsense is buying me. She is also a huge social media fan thrives on attention and gets upset if I post anything that she fees I am attacking her and makes it seem as I am causing drama I am at a lose and have now stepped away from this situation. My sanity is worth more than to be ran over all the over and over again by this DIL of mine.
This is the first article I found like this. I am a grandmother. The daughter-in-law is a step mom to my grandchildren. I helped raise my grandkids before the second marriage. I had quite a jolt and sudden loss. I wasn’t sure if she was narcissistic but time is showing such. Your article helped ground me in my sense of reality. It sure is painful especially as I can see my grandkids struggle with their coping, but your article helps me know what we are experiencing is real and not something I or my grandkids are doing. Thank you.
We have just had a Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone, while our daughter-in-law’s family celebrated with them. Because of the COVID-19 virus, and the fact that her sister’s children, who go to school, we did not want to be in contact with those children, it is a long complicated story, but to be short and sweet, no time was allotted for us over these days. Your website and information are a lifeline! Thank you! The sadist part is our son is an MFT and cannot see the situation for what it is…our daughter-in-law continually tells him that I am in competition with her…I am his mom, that’s it!
I know how it is . Going through it with my Daughter In law for 26years. They use anything to hurt you even if they have to use the kids . They don’t care.
My situation is complicated. I met my husband 30 years ago, got together 10 years ago. My son and his daughter knew each other in high school and married in 2004. My DIL from day one always showed signs of narcissism. We got married in December of 2014 and John was in a very serious motorcycle accident in May 2015, he got a severe TBI and was in a coma for a month. I lost my father to cancer in March 2015. For years I kept my shut as to not make waves. I was exhausted and blew up one day in the hospital and all the frustration came out in a text where I told her exactly how I felt. There was not one thing in my text that was not true. Needless to say I have not seen my grandkids in 5 years and she has not visited her father. Every year I get a card for the holidays with pictures of the kids I can’t see. This year I told them not to send anymore cards. I miss my grandkids but feel I couldn’t take it anymore. How does someone deprive their children of their grandparents. We have 4 grandkids.
Thank you so very much for addressing this–there is almost nothing I can find addressing this unique situation for a narcissistic (and in my case, also a borderline) daughter-in-law, when the goal is to preserve the relationship with one’s grandchildren. All the advice in books and conversation around this seems to be geared towards intimates, such as spouses, parents, and so on. I cannot thank you enough, though I do wish there was more support. Unfortunately, I have been estranged from my daughter-in-law for two years despite my attempts to “apologize” (even though what I’m apologizing for is unclear because although she rages against me it is not specific or even logical, thus I don’t even know how to make clear amends). Two years ago, I was yet naive and unaware of these disorders, but now I have eyes wide open and feel as if my life will never be the same–the cold reality of what I’m up against in order to be there for my grandchildren and son are sobering, but I am determined for their sake. Fortunately, my son has not alienated me and before Covid we made some arrangements to spend some afternoons together with himself the grandchildren. However, he has definitely distanced from me in order to keep the peace, and he seems himself to be walking on eggshells so all I can do is stay as positive as I can, each and every time we talk. I have tried two different counselors and this article validates my intuition and has been most helpful in putting things into perspective beyond my own grappling with the situation. My heart goes out to every single mother-in-law coping with this heart-wrenching dynamic. Thank you again, Alexander!!
Sara, so good to know I’m not alone. Everything you said is where I’m at with my DIL. I’m always in trouble for nothing. I’m so weary of her always looking for the worst in me in spite of my efforts to always make peace. Super tired of always apologizing but with one 18 month old grandson who doesn’t even know my name….and identical boy twins due in a month….it’s a battle that I feel better equipped to cope with after reading this article . I take solace in the fact that she will have 3 DIL ‘s with all boys someday. Carma is a bi***! Lol
Sure wish we could all find a support group to help each other . Stay positive. Keep it light and surround yourself with people that remind you who you really are!
I am going thru all the same. At one point I thought there is something wrong with me!!!!!! They have way more going on than we could ever imagine. U are not alone
It’s the mother in law who causes the conflict dynamic. There are no articles except this one about narcissistic daughter in laws because there is no such thing. It’s the narcissistic mother in law gaslighting that the daughter or son in law is “trying to keep us apart” due to the MILs always meddling where they don’t belong. Your son is a grown man. Now you need to grow up and quit trying to control a grown man and cause conflict with his wife.
It is so good to know that I am not alone. So much has happened and I daren’t mention any of it in case it will be stumbled upon and the incidents recognised. I’m getting the silent treatment at the moment and I haven’t seen my grandson for weeks. Thank you everybody for telling your stories. You are loving, wonderful people who are being chipped away at like I am. Virtual hugs to you all. xxx
I’m grateful to have found this site. I have felt so alone( except for my husband) in this we are both strugglIng with our daughter-in-law.
We haven’t been treated well for 10 years. She has always had a tight bond with her parents, especially her Mom.
Her attitude towards us has never been fair. We are not included in any functions. I have been asked to make my sons favorite foods for his surprise milestone birthday party, only to find out we weren’t invited. Her parents were invited. When questioned about it our son said she planned the party, he didn’t have anything to do with it.
We wanted to do something to help clean up their first home. We offered to cleanup the yard. We weeded, trimmed trees, replaced dead bushes, spread mulch and power washed the walks and drive. In the 8 hours we were there, she never once came outside. Our son was at work and she never as much as offered us water. Never thanked us, but’s raved about her Dad who helped tile a kitchen.
They moved 2 doors down from her parents, her Mom got a job at the same school. They vacation together, but refuse when we ask them to go somewhere.
Now we have a granddaughter and she uses our love for her as a weapon. We never get to hold her, bathe her, feed her etc. She is 15 months old and we have never babysat for her. We have asked, she says she’s not ready. WE live a mile away but still we are refused. Her Mom has her everyday, we are asked to make an appointment.
I’m so tired of being treated so badly I am about to give up. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this.
Agree this is the best info I have found to confirm my situation with my Dil which is close to yours – she rages at me and is angry I don’t understand what I did because it makes no sense in regard to how she is punishing me/ over a proud of my son fb posts I can not be trusted with the news of their child. It has been a heartbreaking experience and it about broke me in a way I have never felt. Something is wrong with her…. and my son is caught and stands by his wife which hurts all the more that he allowed me to be excluded by her. And so true using my grandchild as a weapon I notice this – its awful!
Im sorry to hear your circumstances. I am living with the exact same
Scenario. Her mom has full access and I have so many restrictions that I am unable to develop a bond or even FaceTime with my 18 month old grandson. Especially hard when these babies were born in Covid and limited access to family. It’s heartbreaking but take what you can get . Don’t give up. Your grandson will need your positive energy in his life and will someday be old enough to recognize the toxicity. Do NOT let DIL rob you of your joy!!! Sending virtual hugs.
Yes children need the positive energy a grandparent can give. Sadly children learn and develop so much from a very early age. It’s not so easy to learn or realise that you have been in a toxic family environment. Sadly it can go 2 ways the child when does realize can blame the grandparents for trying to be in their lives as that could have caused problems or they can blame the grandparents if they decide to walk away from it themselves. There is a no win only damage ….not even sure if there is damage control
You haven’t done anything wrong. It has everything to do with the Narcissist. Educate yourself about it. Look on youtube
This is our exact story. Unbelievable isn’t it?
Hello Deb, Its been two years since you wrote your story and it is exactly the same story as mine. if it doesn’t hurt to share can I please as how is the relationship going with your DIL? Has anything improved ?or did you decide to move on with your life as I have done.
This is an article I wish I found months ago. My dil is pregnant. I thought we were all getting along & everything was good. They were coming over for dinner & playing board games. Then I find out she is expecting, we are so happy & we cheer for them- i find out her parents have known for 4 months before they told me. I am so hurt. The situation escalated to the gifts I reserved she removed our name from & they sold the clothes in their resale store. Trying to sell the stroller I bought off the registry because she did not think I had any intention of giving it, I was not invited to her shower, asked over to see the babys room, I was excluded in every way – this meant so much to me. Very hurt. She smiled & said, “its not my fault she is weaker than me, I have to do what is best for the baby & me “as my mom told her my worst fear was not being able to see the baby. Just feels so evil. – Personal attacks on me as I tried to repair – more & more hate came from her & my son stood on her side because she is his wife. Lots of petty reasons for being angry & hate pouring from her in texts to me. Baby is due now tomorrow & only God can fix this. It felt like I was blindsided – this is the most pain I have ever been caused by someone I love. I missed all of this experience with my son. I told her she is a horrible person – she smiled at me & told me to have a nice day.
It has been a horrible experience. And what matters to me most, I lost – a relationship with my 1st grand child & my son. 💔
Because I didn’t contribute money when asked for by my daughter in law I’m cut out of their lives including the four grandchildren. My son was never a money hungry person before. I had learned my lesson about loaning them money so I decided to not ever again. It’s unbelievable how if I want to see my grandkids I would have to give money to the parents.
Same with me and my husband we had to give money to see our grand kids thats not it should be I rather be left alone …. He was old enough to marry her his old enough to take care of himself and her and leave us alone
I wish I would have found this article a year ago, before calling out my DIL. My narcissist daughter in law has frozen me out of my daughter’s life. She first set a trap for me on FB outright calling me a child abuser, which is not true, and anyone would think this inflammatory. Telling my daughter how toxic I am as a mother etc., trying to paint me as the narc. When I called my DIL a narcissist in the last phone conversation with my daughter, and tried to show her the signs, I was cut out. It is incredibly painful, and we have not spoken in a year. Prior to this relationship with a narc, my daughter and I were extremely close, and now I feel like I will never speak to her again. What can I do? Supportive people in my life keep throwing out platitudes. She will come around just give her time….etc. (it’s nice that folks want to be helpful, but that is not a helpful thing to say to someone who is in so much pain.) I feel like she won’t come around until eventually the narc moves on to a new target. I realize this may be years or months, however long. What can I do to appeal to the narc, and get her to try to let me have a relationship again with my daughter? I am blocked on all social media, and my phone number is blocked. I am absolutely devistated. Any advice would be appreciated.
Actually it’s your daughter that has to stand up to the narcissist. The narcissist will always humiliate you, play games with you, make you think everything is ok and then cut you off. It’s called gaslighting. The best you can do is educate yourself about narcissist. She will make you feel confused and sick. The truth is you need to take care of yourself, grieve. Do not say anything that can be used against you. These people are evil and there isn’t anything you Can do. It has to come from your daughter. I m sorry. They are expert manipulators.
Wow! I can’t believe I found this article and have read e.v.e.r.y. comment – prayers for all of us going through this difficult, heart wrenching situation.
I’m sorry for each person here who is experiencing this pain and anguish, but so relieved that I’m not ALONE!
My DIL has been manipulating and using my GK as pawns since the first one was born (almost 8 years ago). There was a major break in the relationships over a year ago and I’ve not had any (1 or 2 quick phone calls I think my son ‘snuck’ in) real contact.
Your mental health and well being are important, if your boundaries cause a rift in the relationships, take comfort there will come a day of reckoning. My DIL just about a month ago, took the kids, wiped out the bank accounts, took the children (and his birthday dog) – all while he was on a business trip. She has been hiding/keeping the children from my son, filed a divorce and protective order using false information.
Fortunately he has an outstanding attorney who recognized her as a narcissist and we’re both learning – excellent materials out there on the covert, passive-aggressive narcissist – google it to help yourselves.
I kept wondering like ‘why did everything seem so good in the beginning and what did I do wrong’ – then realized, it was the ‘love bombing’ that a narcissist uses, was googling it, and then tried DIL narcissist and came across this article. So helpful…boundaries…have healthy boundaries, even if it means the relationships are paused or terminated.
May each of you find healing in and through this difficult situation.
It’s amazing how similar all our lives are when a DIL with NPD is in the picture. Been at it for over a decade and have concluded that only GOD can take her down. I ask Him for strength to endure the pain of all this and to protect my innocent grandchildren from all the drama of her Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personna. It’s not the life I dreamed of, but it’s the life I’ve got. Coping, is all that’s left. Looking forward to heaven…..a place free from people with NPD.
Thank you for your article. What would you do if the d.i.l. created a wall photo album of her mother and family and one of his mother etc, but put me in the last corner at the bottom of the wall, I am the step mother. Both original families are divorced.? My husband and his son, said nothing. I believe it’s so wrong on many levels but saying nothing about the behaviour, is doubly cruel. So far no grandchildren to consider, however why not consider the d.i.l. could stop at nothing and include the children in her games.
Seriously, I thought for 10 years we were friends, now she has married him the change in her is ugly.
I have been supportive to my son and his second marriage. Current DIL has NPD and Bi Polarity. I kill her with kindness and it is always an issue no matter what takes place. She is a step mom to my 11 and 12 year old GK.
She is extremely volatile and very rude to me in public I remain calm because my son says he will pay the price when he gets home. My heart goes out to him and my GK divorce in future most likely but I still get extreme pressure to pay for a lot things for her children from four other relationships.
Never a thank you or as much as a smile. It leaves me depressed but no one else is wanting to keep a door open. So I can not wait till my GK are young teens so they can visit me and speak to me freely and I will never have to see TOXIC DIL and her obnoxious relatives again.
Wow, we have so much in common! I was a huge fan of my dil. My son caught her cheating on him when they were living together but not married. Then lots of truths came out. He forgave her all and married her. No matter how nice or what I did or didn’t do it was my fault. Their first child is almost 4 months old and despite following all their rules, we haven’t seen her. They did not come to our holidays but went to her family’s. At least I have figured out what’s going on with her being a Narcissist and manipulative person instead of being sad and confused as to what I did. Prayers to all of us.
I totally agree with many of the Narcissistic Abuse experts online..Narcissism is an epidemic.
The DIL Narcissist is not discussed enough in my opinion and I am grateful to read these comments from all of you.
My only son and I had the kind of relationship everyone admired. He respected me and loved me and even admired my character, my fighting for what’s right and my ambitions. His stepfather and I supported him while he was going to college and encouraged him in all his endeavors. Our son had a beautiful baby girl while engaged. We welcomed this blessing and had a great relationship with his fiance even after they broke up. Our son coparented with his Ex beautifully. Our son’s entire world revolved around his daughter for her first 7 years of life. Our son then became involved with a divorced woman with 2 kids saying “he didn’t want to be alone”. He told her that if the relationship was having a negative effect on his daughter then he would call it off. She said she understood and “would be so honored to be in his daughter’s life and that our grandaughter would be such a good influence on her own 2 children” ( I now know this was the Narc love bombing technique)..my son moved in with her and her kids shortly after first date and her making that statement. My DIL’s ex committed suicide. Several of his friends reached out to my son out of concern for his well being to warn him that they witnessed narc abuse from her that eventually drove him to kill himself. My son has been driven to the brink of despair and he reached out to me several times. She tracks my son’s location and phone calls. Whenever we spoke on phone he would only be online with me for 2 min and she would then call him..he would panic and say “I gotta go..my girl is calling!”..and he’d hang-up. Our grandaughter is not doing well. Now that my son married her and she officially landed the “wife” title she has moved into the isolation phase
. isolating my son from me, my husband, our entire side of the family and all of my son’s lifelong friends and worst of all his precious daughter. 4 months ago She convinced my son to abruptly move away from his daughter moving out of state. The only social circle allowed in their lives are the DIL’s “flying monkeys” who back her up in all her evil motives and her rules. The circle consists of her parents and siblings and one other couple back her up in her demands for total control. Our grandauggter has been so damaged, so wounded, so hurt as she feels SO abandoned and wonders why she wasn’t enough for her Daddy. I maintain a relationship with my granddaughter through my son’s Ex. She values our role in our granddaughter’s life and asks for advice in dealing with the profound suffering of our granddaughter. She lets us visit and have our granddaughter as much as we can. There is so.. SO much more..but let me just say that it is no wonder we are all devastated, hurt and in my case most of all worried for my son’s and granddaughter’s survival.
Prayers for strength and healing to all of you
The new law will make it an offence to carry out repeated abusive behaviours to a current or former intimate partner with the intent to coerce or control, and will carry a sentence of up to seven years in jail.16 Nov 2022
NSW passes landmark coercive control reform.
How do we make it that grandparents have rights too?
Wishing everyone strength and healing also.
For the longest time I have felt so alone in this. While my son and DIL were dating she was at our house almost every night eating supper watching TV. Never in my my wildest dreams would I have thought things would have to come to this. My son hasn’t answered a text or phone call from us in almost 4 years. If we want to see the grandkids when have to go through her. Every interaction must go through her. We tried family counseling, I realized we were just punching bags. She said we were neglectful parents because we didn’t put our son on ADHD medicine when he was in elementary school, even though not one teacher ever mentioned it he needed it. When I asked her why does that even matter now she said “because it directly affected her.” She said she “fixed him, your welcome.” And my son just sat there with his head lowered. She even brought up the mother and son dance at their wedding how I cried. Such a sweet moment and she tried to make me feel bad about it. We took a lot in order to try to keep a relationship with son and grandkids. but in the end it didn’t work. He is the oldest of my 4 children and he has shut our entire family out. We are so confused and hurt beyond belief. He was such a big part of our family, so sweet and funny. It’s like we don’t even know him anymore.
“You are not the only target of her behavior.” So important- they abuse everyone.
I’m dealing with the aftermath of not knowing my DIL was a narcissist until after she decided I was toxic and could no longer see my granddaughter. I always treated her with respect and never interfered with her parenting or with her relationship with my son. But, I still can no longer see my 2-yo granddaughter. For the first year of her life, my DIL was working and I would babysit since I am retired and gladly wanted to spend time with her. Sometimes it would even be at the last minute. I loved spending time with my granddaughter and when they picked her up, I’d let them know that I really liked spending time with her. When my granddaughter was close to 2, DIL got various other jobs and no longer needed me to babysit. I would text them asking for them to come and visit and my texts went unanswered. In February, I texted to see what my granddaughter might like or need for her bday. And also asked for her size, but this text also went unanswered. I knew then that something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.
On April 1st, they came to my home unannounced to “try to mend the relationship”. My DIL spent most of the hour and a half telling me that I was toxic and didn’t respect their boundaries. None of this was explained. For example, when I see any of my kids, I always ask “How are you”. She said that by my asking that, I was questioning their marriage. I was in tears for the time they were at my home. She insisted that I apologize, which I did, but I don’t know for what. When they left, she said I would never see my granddaughter again.
It hurt so much to know they weren’t going to let me see my granddaughter that I had thoughts of suicide. I recognized these as symptoms of depression so talked with my physician who referred me to a counselor. This counselor assured me that she couldn’t see anything that I did that should have resulted in my no longer being able to see my granddaughter.
But, I wanted to find out what I did. So, with my counselor’s help I put together an email, that asked what I did and how I could change so we could try to mend the rift in the family. My goal is to be able to see my granddaughter again. The email was to put the control in her hands so that she could lay out the plan for change. I also apologized for anything I had done to hurt them. I got the following reply:
“Jane one of the first times we brought you into our home, it was thanksgiving, I was fat with your sons kid and you wanted to talk about his ex girlfriend in my kitchen after I fed you. You were rude to my family, and you broke the damn flowers off my orchids and put it back. Unless you’d like to blame that on Erin. This kind of garbage has persisted since, even in our brief interactions.
I don’t trust you.
Naomi and I at the least will not be participating in anything.
Have a lovely day.”
She brought up something that happened 3 years ago, that had never been discussed before. The issue with the orchids is a fantasy (attempted gaslighting?) that I don’t remember anything about nor does my daughter, Erin.
So, I’m looking for some way to get to see my granddaughter again. It hurts so much to be excluded from her life.
My DIL has tried to destroy our family since before she joined it. The emotional trauma she has inflicted on every one of us has been devastating and manifested in physical symptoms. My husband has lost weight he really couldn’t afford to lose, I have suffered migraines and hair loss as well as a constantly nervous stomach, my daughter suffered severe alopecia and my other daughter sought therapy for depression and anxiety. DIL has picked fights and made up malicious stories about us and ruined holidays and now she is divorcing my son and claiming to be the victim of abuse though she was the one who was physically abusive to him and the emotional abuse went both ways. She is about to get her way and get permission to leave the state and take our two grandchildren with her. The courts are so biased toward women and “primary caregiver status” that her mental instability and alcoholism don’t seem to matter at all. My wonderful little grandchildren will be raised primarily by a woman who has been diagnosed as bipolar, is addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs and shows every indication of being a narcissistic sociopath. Our society and justice system pay lip service to the validity of mental illness but when it shows itself we ignore its impact. The best we can do is express sympathy for the mentally ill when it is their victims who deserve our compassion.
Thank you for this article. It appears as though you have studied my daughter in law. She ticks every box. She is calculating, controlling, manipulative, entitled, unempathetic, mendacious and vengeful. My daughter in law presents to strangers as very personable and goes out of her way to form relationships with vulnerable people.
I endured a reasonable relationship with her for 17 years of her family’s life until I spoke up about the 17 year old daughter’s extreme rudeness. My son was sent to tell my husband and I that we were not to contact the family for 3 months when our relationship could continue in a limited way. My speaking up about the grandaughter’s rudeness coincided with the 2 elder children being old enough to take on many of the duties my husband and I used to perform such as looking after the younger children after school and ferrying the children to after school activities. Since resuming minimal contact with the family my husband and I have been excluded from all family celebrations, even 18th and 21st birthdays, Chinese New Year and Christmas.
My husband and I are far from perfect but we always tried to be as helpful as possible and be the best humans that we can be.
My mental health has suffered and I have over the last 7 years attempted to take my life 4 times. I am not usually an unhappy or unstable person and would describe myself as an optimist. I now manage my mental health using exercise, gratitude and mindfulness, but I do grieve for my 5 grandchildren from that family as our relationships are very broken.
apologizing won’t help. it will get worse. she will say see I told you she is at fault. she admits it. you have to let her go and let your son and gk know you love them.
I have a DIL who manipulates everyone around her. She uses the kids against me and my husband if she doesn’t get what she wants. I suffer from anxiety and depression when she does these things and don’t want to end up having another nervous breakdown. My husband pays all their bill(so bad) and she continuously does this. I realize I have to protect my health so cutting her out was my only option. I still see the kids because my husband puts up with it. I am now seen as the bad mother-in-law and it saddens me.
Reading these comments have helped me not feel so alone in this nightmare. My 27 year old son met his wife on a dating site after moving to a new state 3 years ago. She love bombed him and manipulated him to no end. After dating 2 years and lots of red flags, he married her 4 months ago. 6 months before he married her, he told me he felt like she was gaslighting him. I did try to talk him into waiting to get married but he insisted this was what he wanted.
It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, I’m damned. Since they are married, she controls everything. Almost all texts I send him are anwered by her, I know this based upon the words and punctuations that are used pretending to be him. And it’s always them playing the victim role and throwing out accusations. My daughter and son have since fell out over him giving every excuse under the sun as to why he couldn’t make my granddaughters (my daughter’s child) 1st birthday party. It boiled down to his wife not wanting to go. So both my children are now not speaking. He hung up on both my daughter and granddaughter on my granddaughter’s birthday which hurt my daughter greatly.
My son and his wife live 4 hours away in another state in her hometown so it’s even easier to isolate him from us.
His birthday was last week and I wanted to buy him something he had mentioned he would like to have and I sent her a text asking if she was getting this for him so we didn’t buy him the same thing and I was met with the response of, I am not buying it however this is something that should come from me, not you. It was an old gaming system, I didn’t see the big deal. I did not respond back to her and feed into her game. I was so hurt though. Then I asked him if I could send him a gift card and he told me he would need to speak to his wife first. This was the first birthday ever I did not buy him a gift since it was obvious I was not allowed.
My son and I have always been so close, we’ve been through a lot together over the years, I’ve always loved him beyond words and supported him through the good and bad. He’s put me through hell and back for years, through all his mental health issues and a battle with addiction. Now that’s he’s clean, we’re dealing with this. I swear I think the devil uses her against him and us since he’s no longer using drugs and alcohol.
I think I’ve decided to distance myself because it doesn’t matter what I try to say or do, she will turn him against me. I need my sanity and peace. I have a husband, daughter and a 1 year old granddaughter I need to still be present for. I cannot do that while being consumed with this drama.
There have been so many things that’s happened with her and her manipulation in such a short time. I cannot imagine how things will progress as the years go by.
My prayer every day is that God opens my son’s eyes. My son has such a kind, loving heart. It’s so hard to sit back and watch him allow her to blatantly disrespect me and him as well. My prayer is also that God does not allow children to be born into this mess. Then my heart will truly be broken for those babies and the control that will continue.