Recognize The Signs of a Narcissistic Mother in Law!

Did you know that if a man has a close relationship with his in-laws, the risk of divorce decreases by 20%? Yet if a woman has a close relationship with her in-laws, the risk of divorce goes up by 20%.

Recognizing a narcissistic mother-in-law is crucial to maintaining healthy family relationships.

Common signs may include self-centeredness, lack of empathy, constant need for attention and admiration, apathetic behavior, competitiveness, and avoidance of any responsibility.

Setting boundaries and communicating them clearly can be helpful in maintaining your well-being, even if seeking support from a therapist might be beneficial in the long run.

Key Points from this article

Learn the traits of a narcissistic mother-in-law

The potential impact on the marriage and family dynamics,

Strategies for managing a narcissistic mother-in-law, such as setting boundaries, seeking therapy, or limiting contact.

#1 She’s Very Charming

This may seem like a good trait at first; after all, if she’s charming and you get along with her, that bodes well for the rest of your relationship!

But narcissists are very cunning and know what they’re doing. They’ll manipulate situations to their advantage so they can have ammo in the future.

For example, your Narcissistic mother in law can be extremely charming and agreeable toward you, which means you’ll trust her and let your guard down.

You may end up confiding in her with some of your marriage troubles, thinking you’ll get a sympathetic ear.

But you have to realize that mothers will almost always be on their children’s sides, especially narcissists. What your MIL is doing, is actually gathering some intel she can use in the future.

You’ll soon realize this when she brings up those private details in public discussions or arguments. Or you may realize that your husband knows about things that you’ve only told your mother-in-law.

Knowing how to neutralize the effects of narcissistic abuse can make all the difference when it comes to your mother-in-law and your marriage.

The next time your MIL lays on the charm, don’t take the bait and fall for the narcissistic mother-in-law games they play.

the narcissistic mother in law is very charming

#2 She Needs Frequent Praise and Control

Narcissists are extremely self-involved, which means your mother-in-law may require frequent praise from everyone around her. Along the same line, she also expects everyone to acquiesce to her.

You may feel pressured to please your MIL, especially in the beginning, when you want to be accepted and loved by your husband’s family.

But you may have noticed that if you fail to meet her expectations in just one area, your narcissistic mother-in-law won’t hesitate to tell everyone what a bad daughter-in-law you are.

She’ll probably also tell your husband what a bad wife you are as well.

If you and your husband don’t address this issue at the very beginning, this may cause the eventual deterioration of your marriage. He may feel like you’re not doing enough to please his mother, which can cause friction between the two of you.

Appeasing a narcissist’s behavior only makes things worse, as they’ll never be happy with what you offer them. Instead, they’ll demand more and more from you.

So even if you’re tempted to give in and do everything to try and please your MIL, you have to nip it in the bud.

Communicate calmly and clearly to your spouse about their mother’s concerning behaviors and let them know you won’t play into it.

the narcissistic mother in law needs praise and control

#3 She’s Nosy and Butts Into Your Marriage

Because she craves control, a narcissistic mother-in-law may also butt into your marriage.

There’s a difference between offering helpful advice and trying to commandeer your partnership.

She may frequently come over unannounced, as well as be very intrusive and ask personal questions.

The covert narcissistic mother-in-law will perform these actions subtly at first, but will eventually get pushier and pushier.

This is because she’ll lull you into a false sense of security, and in the end, you’ll feel like you have no choice but to give her answers.

The best way to put control back in your hands is to set some boundaries. Limit the time you spend with your in-laws; for example, be firm about your MIL only coming over on certain days and for set periods of time.

You should also limit the information you give her; this is called an information diet.

the narcissistic mother in law is nosy and butts your marriage

#4 She Lashes out at and Bullies You

Narcissistic people want to be the center of attention and believe that they have all the best qualities someone can have.

So if someone nearby has characteristics or traits that force them to see what they’re lacking in, they’ll lash out to feel better about themselves.

For instance, your overweight MIL may insult you for weighing too little. Your Narcissistic mother-in-law may especially be lashing out because she’s dealing with aging. 

So she may belittle you for minor physical imperfections just because you’re younger.

Most likely, you won’t be able to change her behavior. The best thing is to try and not take things personally and brush it off as narcissistic behavior. Limiting interactions with her by setting boundaries may work in reducing these instances as well.

the narcissistic mother in law is a bully

#5 She Plays Favourites and Is Manipulative

Remember how we said earlier that your narcissistic mother in laws needs frequent praise and admiration? One way they achieve this is through playing favorites.

It may not be noticeable at first, but they may pit their children (or even grandchildren) against one another. For example, they may heap praises on one child while completely ignoring the others.

Reading Suggestion:Narcissists have a Golden Child and a Scapegoat Child

This may cause conflicts between the siblings. And in turn, this can make them fight hard for their mother’s affection. This feeds the narcissist’s ego, so it drives her to do it even more.

Narcissistic MILs may also pit their children’s spouses against one another, so don’t fall for this.

Instead, you need to put on a united front with them. That way, you don’t let your mother-in-law poison your relationships in the family.

It may be hard to get in between a narcissistic mother-in-law and her children.

But if you notice any of the above happenings, you might want to bring it up to your spouse.

Many sons of narcissistic mothers-in-law already know this about their Narcissistic parents; they were raised by them, after all.

But some may be oblivious, so it’s a good idea to bring this up to them. Once you do, you and your husband can be a united front instead of a split one.

the narcissistic mother in law is manipulative

#6 She Tells Lies All the Time

One of the signs of a narcissistic mother-in-law is if she lies all the time.

Narcissists will tell lies if it fits their narrative, which usually entails them being the victim.

Being the victim garners them the most attention and sympathy, which is what they feed on.

Reading Suggestion: Why the Narcissist Lies about Everything

A common technique narcissistic MILs use is gaslighting. She may have responses that have you questioning whether or not you’re remembering things right, especially when in front of other people.

She may also start spreading rumors about you in the community to turn people against you and favor her. In the worst cases, your mother-in-law may even tell lies about you to your own husband.

Don’t try to engage with her behavior, much less return the favor; stooping to her level will only make you look bad as well.

If possible, communicate with the community to let them know the truth, but do so succinct, calm, and rational.

You don’t even have to give them personal details if you don’t want to. Just let them know the things said aren’t true and if anybody has any questions, they can contact you personally.

You should also communicate with your husband to let him know what his mother’s said is untrue.

Adult sons of narcissistic mothers may initially side with their Narcissistic parent, but if there are enough trust and love in your relationship, he should trust your word over hers.

Should he need proof, be prepared to offer it up.

the narcissistic mother in law lies all the time

#7 She Disregards Your Opinion and Is Dismissive

Narcissists have an inflated sense of self, which means they’ll be pretty dismissive of people who they don’t like. They may seem to care about your opinion, but as soon as you give it, they’ll blatantly ignore it.

For instance, she may ask you what your favorite flowers are. If you tell her you’re actually allergic, she may actually bring a vase of flowers over on the next visit because she’s dismissive of your words.

If you ever have any major life accomplishments, she may also be dismissive of them. She’ll also probably try to one-up you in order to push you down and elevate herself.

In these cases, it’s best to detach yourself and again, try not to take it too personally.

You’ll probably never be able to change your narcissistic mother-in-law’s behavior, so learning healthy ways to cope is the best option for you.

the narcissistic mother in law disregards your oppinion

Dealing With a Narcissistic Mother in Law Is Doable

For those of you who are thinking, “my mother-in-law is a narcissist,” it may feel like your marriage is on the verge of collapse at times.

But with our helpful advice, hopefully, dealing with a narcissistic mother-in-law is doable.

Whether it’s putting boundaries in place or going completely no-contact, you have to put your foot down when it comes to your narcissistic MIL.

Otherwise, this may have a detrimental effect on your marriage and it can even end it.

30 thoughts on “Recognize The Signs of a Narcissistic Mother in Law!”

  1. I have the opposite problem. My daughter in law is a narcissist and queen of gaslighting. She has caused complete estrangement from my entire family for a decade. Mother’s day is always a challenge for my broken heart.
    Any advice would be welcome.

    • Then why are you looking at a site about narcissitic mother in laws? Go to a site about narcisstic daughter in laws and stop trying to get attention here.

    • You may want to examine if YOU are a bit narcissistic also. There may be a reason she doesn’t want to come around, especially if the general “opinion” is that she is worthless from a family she is not blood to. I know that is my story.
      I wish you peace though and hope you can get some enlightenment and healing for your whole family.

  2. I have exactly the same problem so I truly sympathise with you. A good book to read is Done With Crying. It helped me a loy

  3. Do you know my MIL?.I swear you were in my head. I’ve cut off all communication wirh my MIL and have limited contact with my other in-laws. My husband and I fight very little now. We’re much happier.

    • what if you live with your narc MIL and your hubz knows deep down but is not admitting to knowing and everytime you bring something up that she was doing he gets defensive. not to mention she has lied (a little white lie) to my 5 year old in an attempt to manipulate him so she can be in control and create chaos! she says he should have run of the house but im trying to not be around her same with my son as much as possible.

  4. Oh gosh! I literally suffer a depression ever since I met that woman. She is manipulative, unpleasant, obsessed with looks, and with me, fake, and self absorbed. She takes advantage of us. She is also obsessed with her son, who she calls every 30 minutes and awkwardly occasionally touch on the thighs, which makes him very uncomfortable. Two weeks ago I decided to not visit her anymore. My mariage is suffering from all of this. I cannot stand that woman another day!

    • Hi Li,
      I have seen counselling twice now to help my situation and am about to start a third round. During my second round of counselling i asked my husband to come and help support me during the sessions(The reason i was there was for my own anxiety…later determined was brought on by MIL) It was the best thing because the therapist ended up focusing on his relationship with his mother and how I am NOT her and my communication methods differ from hers etc. This is likely the first time he saw his mother in another light.
      I’ve learned not to take it personally bc she is like this to anyone that does not do as she sees fit! I’ve distanced myself emotionally from her and share much less of myself/life with her. I am still polite, kind and inclusive of her…for now. There is hope and your marriage can become stronger! Don’t be afraid of seeking some therapy to help you as you need to be strong! Best of luck 🙂

  5. I have been married for 20 years, and I am starting to feel like I am the problem. I don’t know what to do. Everything you said sounds like good advice but my question is what do you do when she guilt trips your husband or BILs. My husband will lie to me or not tell me stuff just to let her have her way. Like if I say no to loaning her money, he will give it to her and lie or not tell me. She always tells him things she has done for us, to get her way. Like she watched are kids. She hasn’t watched are kids in like 2 years, but that was one thing she loves to throw out there. I can’t stand when she buys stuff for us, because that is the one thing she will throw out there.
    I want to give up, and just take the kids and leave. I can’t because that hurts him and the kids. I cant say or do anything, because it upsets her, and she tells him. Then my husband tells me that, we need to work out are differences. When ever I have tried to talk to her, it’s always well I just won’t say anything or I will just leave. My favorite is He is my Son.
    Sorry longer then I meant, I really don’t know what to do.

    • I feel your pain, my marriage is over, MIL won. Her son turned into an alcoholic because he couldn’t cope and our family has paid the price. All my fault apparently. I do hope you and your husband get through this, good luck and stay strong.

    • Omg I feel all that, deeply! I have literally prayed that God would just take her so I can have some peace in life and my marriage. We get into it my husband turns on me instead of seeing her for what she is. She had lied obsessively about me, convinced my husband I was cheating (I was working 10-12 hr shifts and could prove it) but he ended up having an affair because he believed it. Thinks of she helps us in any way that gives her a right to involve herself in every aspect of our life. We’ve been together 26 yrs and it’s just gotten worse. At times he acts like he sees her for what she is but most times he defends her. He’s got his own tendencies because of her and I can’t take much more. Idk what to do. How have you dealt with it?

      • omg!!! the part where you say thinks if she helps us in any way that gives her the right to be involved in every aspect of our life really resonates with me!! my mil has thrown tantrums when I try to set boundaries and then turns into a petty passive aggressive child!! she has straight up said it was not her fault that I woke up and did not know where my son was (I was sick had been throwing up all night)(oh and we live with her) after my husband asked her to watch him bc he had to go to sleep and she decided to take him in her car without a carseat down the street. it wasn’t her fault I did not know where my kid was!!!!! I have that on recording too!!! its just insane the lengths she will go to. I really need to find a way to talk to my hubz tho. I get out as much as possible though. go to the park go for a walk just be outside! music also helps and talking to therapist!!

  6. My MIL stays months at our home I her RV (like 6 months in the last year). When she left two weeks ago, I finally decided to draw boundaries with my husband that they cannot continue to stay with us. Well, they decided to come again and a week and I set boundaries that they are welcome to come over but not stay at our place. This is the response from my husband telling her: “Your kind words and gesture for our request to stay in your driveway was relayed to us. Minner and I have made arrangements to stay elsewhere. Praise the Lord for the locations. We will pray for the Lord to work on your heart. Thanks for the love!!!”

    I have never felt so confident I made the right decision.

  7. I feel so bad for anyone going through this. My soon to be mother in law completely lied to me about the families back ground. She made herself sound like a saint and everyone else is horrible. Come to find out she was abusive to the family, drug problems (she took my pain meds from my surgery) and uses men. Now that she can’t keep a relationship she now has her sites set on my fiancé to support her. She is a mess and draining. She went from pushing ideas for the wedding on me. Now that she sees that I’m not a push over she won’t acknowledge whenever I try to keep her in the loop. My fiancé paid for her home and while he was out in the Afghan war, she sold the house behind his back, he didn’t see a dime of that money. I regret encouraging him to repair the relationship. I haven’t no clue she did so much damage.

  8. My mother in law has my husband fooled. She always has issues with people and the places she works and then blames everyone else and acts like the victim. When we got married she didnt even come and got us a 20 dollar gift (money was not an issue) She spread lies about me on facebook and to others on my husband’s side of the family etc and she wasnt even living here. She moved down recently and lived with us for what was supposed to be a month while getting a job and it ended up being closer to 4 months with her pet and she literally slept in on most days, barely helped around the house and was filthy not even showering for days but finally got a job conveniently when her unemployment ran out. She hated my dog and would do things like cover her ears and complain and roll her eyes (dogs are good judges of character) and that caused my husband to always be scolding our dog. She has now her own place but she always has to tell her son about every ailment she has and what she is needing (she is in her mid 50s) fishing for him to do it and when he says even though he works as his own boss and from home he cant just get up and go to her house she guilt trips him in a very overt way where he ends up doing what she was fishing him to do anyways. If she knows we are having an issue about something she makes very focused subtle comments to get in my husbands head (she seems to know how to puppetier him without him even realizing it) and is causing issues in our marriage. If we have an issue she always tells him to divorce me and then tries to get buddy buddy with me for her own benefit. She even cooks food, brings it over and takes the left overs home saying if my husband want more he has to come over. She is a true Monster in law.

    • Ooh my goodness..after reading more..i think my husband is a narcissist as well. He is never wrong, he hates when i change something. I.e If I want to walk the dogs a different route, he will go in a huff and refuse. Whenever we argue his final words are usually “well thats what i said, you just werent listening properly”. He is constantly saying “you worry about what people think too much”. He exagerates the truth about where we have been on holiday and what we own. I told him i was angry with him and that i was going to bed.(did not elaborate on that statement). When he came to bed he did not say a word and then slept like a baby.

  9. My mil Emilia is exactly as described above. She is the most hateful evil person I’ve ever experienced. A mother who puts her son down and tells him he’s worthless his whole life whenever she doesn’t get her way. She is abusive to her own children which makes it impossible for me to want my child alone with her. She lies too about anything and everything. She will say hateful things then look you in the face stating “I never said that.” She disowned her own son and grandson after getting jealous that my son saw my family for his birthday. Because you know she’s a narcissist so only she matters and my child should not experience love from my family whom is not hateful and toxic like her. Then she lied to everyone telling them her own son keeps her grandson away from her when it’s her who threw a fit and disowned her own son and grandson for years. Honestly she’s lucky we have anything to do with her as most people from an abusive mother like her would not have any contact with her. She talks bad about literally everyone she knows then acts all fake and nice in front of them. Such a hateful disgusting person. It’s very hard to tolerate someone like this and unhealthy to be around. I suggest strong boundaries and limiting contact.

  10. so this is my first time ever commenting on one of these but i couldn’t help share my similar story.
    Since my mil entered my life 8yrs ago, I have never been the same. I am a huge empathetic person and she plays on that very thing. My biggest problem is that her son, my partner, doesn’t see her for who she is. She texts him constantly throughout the day and needs to know what is happening in our household. To complicate matters we have two daughters. And of course that has amplified the tension because i am not comfortable with her watching our children. This was a big problem as my parents would watch them occassionaly (“your parents always get the girls but my mother never does!! that is not fair!! it is always your way!!) These are the comments from my husband, that i later realized where her comments coming through him. She badgers him to the point that he takes it out on me!
    Back to my children, this woman is now trying to place a wedge between my children and I by saying things like, “you scare me! I am afraid of you! You bring out my anxiety! I don’t feel comfortable around when you are there!” in the presence of my children. Along with comments like, “oh we can’t go for a walk because mommy said its too hot or you can’t sleep over and have goodies and pedicures etc. because mommy says no!” The saddest thing is that my partner doesn’t see the damaging effects this will have on our children! I place boundaries but they don’t exist if i am not at home (its easier for hubby to just let her do what she wants than to listen to the victim speech or constant negative jargon). If i leave my husband then she can say and do whatever when they are with him. This makes me feel like i must stay in a relationship instead vs staying in the relationship b/c i want to. Starting counselling again because of this (my 3rd round since meeting this woman; never before). At one point, I thought I was being too strict etc…but that was what she wanted me to feel. Her skills of manipulation and victim playing are top notch! Oh and despite all this i still reach out to her regularly so my daughters can video chat with her, or go on outing with her when hubby is working, all in the name of being ‘fair’ to all grandparents. And i do this because i want my children to have a meaningful relationship with all grandparents as i really value family. (she is currently looking to move closer to us b/c a 35minute drive is too far…especially because my parents are only 20minutes. So she is only looking for places that are less than 20minutes from our home!)

  11. Having witnessed similar outbursts from my MiL it took me some time to work out why the family had just accepted her behaviour for so long. They had been completely brainwashed and manipulated into doing her bidding. From the outset she knew I wasn’t going to allow myself to be drawn in to be her puppet so set about driving a wedge between me, my husband and the rest of her family.

    I discovered some years later she’d physically and verbally abused to her own daughter, up to and including punching her and knocking her out for answering back.
    MiL was and is jealous of the close relationship I have with my children and used to try and poison them against me but failed. She went too far with my daughter and for a time my daughter wouldn’t speak to her.
    My husband has admitted he always has to put his mother first because, as he describes it, it’s his duty, been drummed into him.. He is always trying to please her but can never succeed, she keeps raising the bar.
    Now she is 93yrs and her latest ploy is suggesting he should move to live closer to her, her house is too big for her on her own, hinting he should move back in, so he can help her. He’s in his late 60s and in poor health, but she doesn’t care.
    I wasn’t mentioned so I think her plan is I stay put. I’m disabled so no use to her.
    She ground her husband down and neglected him when he was ill and is now trying to do the same to her son, just commodities to use. If I say anything he flies into a rage so I keep my council. He’s trying to provoke a fight to justify going back to her. He talks about feeling guilty. I’ve never prevented him from calling his mother or visiting her. He often outdoor phoning her because it usually descends into a row or she upsets him.
    His condition is serious but she commands him to tell her he’s well otherwise he makes her ill, she says, more emotional blackmail..
    It’s better to be on the outside, I stayed clear of being dragged in once I recognised her game. Something else I realised a while ago, there’s nothing I can do to help my husband to protect himself against his mother, I tried but he refused to see just how much she messes with his head.
    He hasn’t committed to our marriage, he’s still tied to her and I came to terms with that a long time ago.
    She’s been waging a 46yr long battle to maintain control, the casualties are her own family.

  12. I want to thank all the comments on this page. I thought it was me, going crazy. I started googling how to deal with my overbearing, interfereing mother in law and ended up here. I have only descoved tonight that she is a narcissist. everything sounds so familiar. My husband has been telling me that she doesnt mean what she says, she is just old and forgets things and i am too sensitive and overreacting when she says or does unkind things. My Mother in law lives with us. I cook her meals etc. One day she will like a dinner, then the next time i cook it she will tell me, she does not like it, and has never eat that in her life. She will tell stories when we are in company and asks me to support her distorted recollection of events. I could go on with more examples. I feel like my eyes have finally opened and i feel empowered to take control of my sitution. I just need to figure out how to untangle my husband (her perfect son) from her web.

  13. Wow, I never knew I was not alone in this situation. She became my MIL when I was 20, I dated her son 4 years prior. I was pregnant and ruined her son’s life and the life she planned for him. Her emotional abuse took a huge leap when we needed his parents’ help with a place to live. They opened a portion of their home up to us. The emotional abuse from that moment on could be enough material to create a tv series. I told my friends over the years but was threatened by her to never tell my husband/her son. My husband initially worked out of town every other week. When he was gone my food was served to me on a tray on the floor. When I was done I was to put it back on the floor for her to retrieve it. I was forced to eat food she knew I did not like and made to show appreciation for it. But when he returned, I was welcome to enter the other part of the home but again not allowed to discuss the week prior. She stole my car, accused me of carrying another man’s child, told people in our community how terrible and low life I am, that I was after her family’s money, and she was cruel to my first daughter as she was a reminder of what I did to her son’s life. She always was seeking attention and adoration. When it was time for he and I to move out, I purchased flowers and a card for her; I was thanking her for what she had done for me our family. Her words, “Do you mean every word of this, because I do not accept it if you do not mean it.” How do I not even thank her appropriately. She told several people in our community that no matter what hard times we may fall on in our future, she would never let me live with her again and that she would rather buy us a home than to endure me living with her again. The next several years she was cruel to my first daughter and still continued to spread rumors about me in our community. So many of these stories came back to me, leaving me feeling judged by any and all around me. I didn’t know who all she poisoned against me. Over the years she embarrassingly rejected gifts from me, and ridiculed myself and my children while complimenting herself. My saving grace was that I distanced myself as much as possible. But as the years went on her health declined as did her husband’s. He passed this year and she became completely dependent on our household and her other son’s. The abuse continues as she criticizes my care for her even though myself and my sister n law literally brought her back to life over the last several months. She criticizes me even while changing her diapers. Then in the middle of the night summons me to change the channel on the television. When she’s in my home she complains about the other household that takes care of her so I am fairly certain the tables are turned when she is there. She’s been destroying my self-esteem from the exact first time I met her. And now I have to endure this day in and day out. When she leaves my home for a week at a time it takes 2 days to decompress but with the anticipation of her returning a week later, I spend the last 2 days preparing for her return. I finally told my husband via an email all that she has done…well all that had major impacts on me. There were plenty of small details left out. But the major details took 18 typed pages-single spaced. He believes me, I feared he would not but here’s the difference. If he told me something similar that someone in my family did to him, I would confront my family and then they would be cut off completely. I know, easier said than done but I am telling the god’s honest truth. But instead, she still comes in and out my door as if she is royalty. We purchase all of her favorite foods only for her to decide she no longer wants them. We purchase all her needs and she knows like hell she doesn’t have the money to contribute but acts as though we owe her. I realize I have had a total of 30 years to try to process her abuse and when I presented that information to my husband, he merely had an hour in reading it. I am sure it was difficult. I don’t blame him for any of what she has done to me, but I somewhat have to wonder why he never saw it, saw the changes in me over the years. Now he knows but there’s nothing we can do. She thinks he walks on water so his experiences with her are vastly different than mine. Yes he believes me but no, he has not experienced the pain I have. Recently she told me that I love my dog more than I love her son…why else would I tolerate what she has done to me? It is only because I love him as much as I do. She stole the good in my heart. I am always fearful of the worst intentions in people. I am sorry for those who have had to endure a similar life.

  14. Lord, I wish there was a support group to deal with MIL. I honestly tried to appease her but after I notice the attempts of manipulation. Even saw right through her plan of trying to move in with us not once but twice. She started ignoring me.

    She definitely plays the victim card, especially loud on social media. I have a long list of odd behavior towards me. I even paid for her to put her dog down. I asked her for proof of why the dog needed to be put down. She ignored my text so I told the neighbor of hers, who she claim their dog attacked hers. Not to worry since I couldn’t get her to answer me. But she has told others a deferent story of why the dog had to be put down.

    Recently she has only invited my husband to eat with her. I was raised with family is everything. So to be excluded hurts. But I’m not receiving support from my spouse. He is turning a blind eye to what she is doing and trying to turn it back on me as if I’ve done something to her. It really does suck being around this type of toxic environment.

  15. I wish I could reach out and hug each of you. A year ago last August, at the height of the Covid lockdowns, with my MIL watching on FaceTime, I found my husband of 43 years dead on the couch.

    I am in Monterey California and she is in extreme Southern Texas and in her 80s so I put off his funeral until it was safe for her to travel. It is finally scheduled for next month and I have asked that when the military presents the flag that it go to her instead of me.

    I have done everything I can to be respectful of her. I also live with a daughter with mental health issues. Without saying anything to me my MIL invited another couple that I have never met for the trip and promised them they could drive my second car which is actually my daughter’s car, for the entire week they are here.

    And then I got a call from her niece who let me know that my MIL had said she could also stay in my guest room. So it sounds as if instead of helping me get through what’s been a very difficult time, they are all coming to treat my house like a bed-and-breakfast and the time they are here as a fun stop on a cruise ship. She has always treated my house and everything in it as if it were hers, but I always thought it was because it was also my husband’s house.

    But now that he’s gone she’s gotten even worse. But I have called together my “posse” who know the situation and are prepared to head her off at the pass. I truly hope she will leave me alone enough to let me finally officially mourn and inter my husband.

  16. I am sitting with tears in my eyes after reading your story. Please stay strong and dont let her win. She has not taken the good from your heart, as she can only cause the pain and hurtto you Because you are a good person and because you do care. I really really hope you can open your husbands eyes to whats going on, as it is a bit easier when you are united to her tricks and poisonous lies.
    My new coping strategy for my MIL is not to give a dam about what she says, but be polite and respecful at all times. If she says something nasty to me I remind her in a happy tone “be nice”…….this might just help me hold on to my sanity.
    I used this strategy today when i overheard MIL on the phone to a family member. She was telling them that my daughter (whos is a new mother and was staying overnight) and i dont know how to look after the baby properly and we think she is a doll. She said the baby kept her awake all night screaming, even though she had told me she had a good sleep.
    I wish you all the love and luck in the world

  17. Angela,
    I am sitting with tears in my eyes after reading your story. I think its because it triggered memories I had buried. Please stay strong and dont let her win. She has not taken the good from your heart, as she can only cause the pain and hurt to you, Because you are a good person and because you do care. It sounds like you are going above and beyond on your daughter in law duties and you should be So Proud of yourself. I really really hope you can open your husbands eyes to whats going on, as it is a bit easier when you are a united front to her tricks and poisonous lies.

    My new coping strategy for my MIL is not to give a dam about what she says, but be polite and respecful at all times. If she says something nasty to me,
    I remind her in a happy tone “be nice”…….this might just help me hold on to my sanity if i can do it. (Sometimes i still care and it still hurts)
    I used this strategy today when i overheard MIL on the phone to a family member. She was telling them that my daughter (whos a new mother and was staying with me overnight) and I, dont know how to look after the baby properly and we think she is a doll to dress up. She said the baby kept her awake all night screaming, even though she had told me she had a good sleep and never heard the baby once.
    I wish you all the love and luck in the world

  18. My sons covert narcissist mother inlaw whispered in my wifes ear asking if we had seen my other sons grandchild, knowing full well that we had not. Just before Xmass my son and narrsistic daughter in law have cut of all contact with us. Totally ghosting us this was after giving him a car, which I now regret. I particularly feel for my wife however we realise that they are trying to manipulate us for their gain. The Toxicity of this situation is disturbing in that I feel my son has been brainwashed. But I feel that you can only rescue people who want rescued. I now accept this situation and do not wish to give narcissist supply.

  19. So me and my husband have been on this journey for more than 12 years now. We discovered the narcissism of his mother a couple of years ago together.
    Learning about it has been a great help and we talk about our strategy and her drama all the time. We are a team and our marriage is stronger because we talk.
    There is always a returning pattern, playing out over time and coming back in different situations. But all boiling down to the same issue.
    I am now at this stage where I worry for my husband who deals with this over and over again. She is deeply traumatised in childhood and uses this to silence and berate her children. (and from a very early age) While they are completely innocent in this! My husband has not been able to deal with his own trauma. I know he suffers from anxiety and depression and the constant drama from his mother causes the flair-ups. For this reason I have expressed my hope that he goes low-contact (no contact is virtually impossible as she lives in the same small town as us) I am already in low contact. When bits hit the fan and he is angry about it, he says he will ignore her. But it always sneaks back to ‘normal’ contact after a while, this is part of the pattern. And I don’t want to tell him what to do with his mother but I do tell him that I think less and less of his mother for what she does/has done to her children and to him in particular. He then says he feels responsible for that because I only hear his part of the story…. I feel he is stuck in the details of the reoccurring pattern and in his feelings of guilt/responsibility towards his mother. I will support my husband in all of it but I have trouble with him putting off his own healing. I have told him that I feel he needs to work through his own trauma with a professional. I can only support him, listen to him but I am not a psychologist. I am getting really angry with her and deeply feel like giving her some home truths myself. But I know it’s not my place to do and it will not do any good anyway. I’m considering a consultation with Dr. Alexander for myself….

    • Thank the lord I am not crazy. I am going through this now with my husband of 5 years ( been together 10 years) we have two beautiful daughters together . Unfortunately his mother is what I say a covert narscist! Plays the victim card , she has a golden child which is my husband’s sister and his other sister is the flying monkey. Such passive aggressive weird behavior towards me . Shaming my family. Gaslihhting .overly obsesed with her grandchildren and ay first she was the nicest to me .it was afyer our first daughter I started to see the real side of her . She now is not allowed to watch my children alone and she moved 5 mins away from us but she is not allowed over unless I invite her which is 1 a month. My husband stopped telling her our marriage but still has trouble seeing her for what she truly is. But I do I’m onto her abd she bad mouths everyone. Always has a sob story and has to be center of attention. Our marriage is rocky again because we have to see his family over the holidays . And I have that sick feeling . But going to be strong and tey yellow rocking Similar to grey rocking and hope for the best but I give love to everyone who is going hrouvh Similar things. It’s so good to be able to get all of this out without feeling not validated fully.Happy Holidays to everyone

  20. My favorite therapist, not (sadly) passed, shared his grandmother’s declaration to her own intrusive mother-in-law: “Before he is your son, he is my husband.”

  21. Why is every article about a wife dealing with a narcissistic mother in law? Nevertheless it is a well written article. I am a husband who is dealing with a narcissist mother in law that lives 10 minutes from me. My parents live 8 hours drive away. She totally controls my wife. My parents don’t get involved in my marriage at all. Yes I have been getting counseling on my own and now, I understand (understanding does not mean I forgive or approve.) my mother in law’s outlandish behavior not just towards me but others. I have a 5 year old son and this is the reason I have not left the marriage yet. I know if I leave this marriage, my mother in law along with my wife (who has learned bad behavior from my mother in law) will manipulate my son and turn him against me. She is 75 and she will probably outlive me because “only the good die young.” Part of me wants to leave this marriage anyway for my own sanity’s sake but I want to raise my kid right.

    I am not asking what to do as either choice has bad consequences. What I want is for others to read this and avoid getting into a marriage like this. Don’t fall for the initial love bombs! If you meet someone and her family and it feels like a fairy tale, slow down and wait another year to get married! You don’t want to go through this. Being in a bad marriage with a narcissist mother in law and a spouse whom is controlled by her will be many years of hell.


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