Am I living with a narcissistic mother-in-law? Has this question been bothering you lately? If yes, then this resource guide will help you with certain key questions that you may be looking answers for:
1. What is Narcissism?
2. Is my mother-in-law narcissist?
2. How should I deal with her to minimize the stress in our relationship?
Living With Narcissistic Mother-in-Law
Marrying into a family, where you have this constant realization that your mother-in-law doesn’t like you is not easy. While you may be trying your level best to make this relationship work, but your mother-in-law might be hell-bent on treating you as an outsider or destroying your confidence, self-esteem, and relationships, sometimes even your marriage. Many may feel it is a storyline of one of those TV series but sadly, living with a toxic and narcissistic mother-in-law is a reality for many people.
It is heartbreaking how many partners stay in a state of denial about the level of toxicity their family has for their partner. In many cases, when the child from the narcissistic family refuses to understand the harm being caused to the partner, it tears apart their marriage.
Many times if you are married into a narcissistic family, you will not feel supported and there’s a lot of tension. Though many may assume it is a normal family situation where two personalities don’t get along. But, when you attempt to uncover, there is a lot more poisonous thing happening.
So, here are some signs that you may look for to understand if you are dealing with a toxic narcissistic mother-in-law.
Before we dive deeper, you need to understand that no narcissistic personality will agree that she is a narcissist. It’s a personality trait that impacts the actions that the individual may find harmless but hurts and damages the other. It might be the major reason behind how mother-in-law’s ignorant behavior could lead to ruining the peace and harmony of the house.
Is Your Mother-In-law Narcisstic Mother-In-Law? Look for these signs.
As they say, we can’t choose our mother-in-law but could definitely choose how to deal with her. Many of us wouldn’t deny that dealing with our mother-in-law could be a great contributor to our happily married life. If we deal with her right, we can bloom and if we don’t, it could completely destroy our mental peace and happiness.
So, before learning how to deal with her, here are 5 signs you may have a narcissistic mother-in-law:
1. Does she have a constant need for admiration?
Like any other narcissistic personality, narcissistic mother-in-law also suffers from the constant need to be admired. She firmly believes that not only the house but also everything in the house – the family members and their lives – all belongs to her. From time to time, she has this constant urge for people to appreciate and respect her for everything that she does.
Many narcissistic people have this constant hunger for power. They enjoy dominating people and controlling their lives. And, in an attempt to do so, they tend to insult people to make them feel lesser and make them prouder.
The situation could be worse if your mother-in-law not only demean you but also your parents and your kids.
2. Is She Manipulative?
Many narcissistic mothers-in-law present themselves as loving in front of others. But, they may create multiple situations where you may look like a culprit or reckless. In those situations, they leave no chance to take advantage.
Basically, they will criticize you behind closed doors, but in public they will show you as their prized possessions.
3. Is She defensive about herself?
She is one hysteric beast when it comes to taking criticism. When a family member tries to take a stand for you, even if it is her husband or son, she would throw fits or create a melodramatic scene leaving everyone wondering if ignoring her behavior was a better choice.
Sometimes, to defend herself, she might go to extremes. Because, to her, her image is very important. From blaming others to manipulating her relationships, she can go to an extent to prove herself right.
4. Is She full of herself? Is She ever interested in you or anyone else?
For a narcissistic mother-in-law, everything in her life is about herself. From her achievements to her parenting to her cooking to her life story, she is only interested in one person i.e. herself.
Even if you try to have a conversation with such a mother-in-law, the chances are really high that she may not be interested in what you have to say; she may not even be interested to know you as a person. But, what one thing she may be interested in would be letting you know what she thinks, what she would have done; what she believes in.
Sorry, but her life is so full of herself that winning space for yourself in her life is next to impossible.
5. Does she love to play favorites?
Narcissistic people tend to play favorites. They love making life a mini competition and let their dear ones compete for their love and attention. From pitting their kids against each other or favoring their kids over their partners, narcissists can do anything.
Can she empathize with you? Does she realize that she may be hurting you or her own son?
This is the worst trait of a narcissistic mother-in-law. She can never empathize with your condition. She can never understand the hurt and agony that she causes you or her other family members.
Narcissistic people have no capacity to love anyone unconditionally. For them, love is an exchange. If they give love to their kids, they want them to succeed in their lives or take care of them when they get old. Even as a mother, a narcissistic mother-in-law fails at showing empathy for her own kids’ feelings.
A note of caution: Sadly, a narcissistic mother usually raises either a very sensitive or a narcissistic child. And, if you, unfortunately, being married to a husband, who is as narcissistic as his mother, then the road ahead is very difficult. But, if you have been a bit lucky and find yourself with an empathetic husband, then things might be a bit easier for you. Fortunately, he understands you and your condition, because he has been a victim of his mother’s personality disorder more than you.
This brings us to another important topic about how to deal with a narcissistic mother in law. We hope that with the above-mentioned list of warning signs, you would easily identify if you are living with a narcissistic mother-in-law. Unfortunately, if you are, then here are the coping mechanism that you can rely on:
1. Draw boundaries and become less available to her
Maintain healthy boundaries with her as these boundaries would allow you to become less accessible to her. Sadly, the more you confront her, the more it will destroy your mental peace and wellness. Here’s an important take: You cannot win over a narcissist. So, it’s better to take steps to maintain your peace.
2. Don’t get sucked in Self-Loathing & Self-Blaming
Dealing with a narcissistic mother-in-law could be very taxing. There might be moments when you start doubting yourself or indulge in self-loathing. Remember, you can’t be responsible for everything. And, while dealing with a narcissist mother-in-law, who is not all interested in your feelings, you need to choose yourself.
You can’t let your narcissistic mother in law tear down your self-confidence and mental peace.
3. Stop making efforts to change her
Dealing with a narcissistic mother-in-law could be really tough. But the most important thing to remember is that you can’t change her. You have to give up all your unrealistic hopes of changing her. The more you push her to change, the more defensive she will become. It’s a part of their personality, which can take many therapist counseling sessions over a long period of time. So, rather than hoping to change her, you start making efforts to maintain a positive distance.
4. Stay Positive & Assertive in your approach
When you are surrounded by so much negativity, criticism, and insults, it is not shocking if the negativity enters you. But, don’t let the negativity enter you. Because that negativity will only ruin your relationship. Knowingly or Unknowingly, you would be passing on that negativity to your husband or children, which will make things even worse.
So, stay positive and assertive. Be kind to others but don’t stop being yourself; Stand for yourself without turning into the same monster that you are fighting against.
5. Focus on yourself and your mental health
Living in the same home, where someone continuously criticizes you, insults you, or demean you is not at all easy. In such a stressful environment, many may suffer from mental illness – anxiety, depression, etc. It is important to indulge in self-care, to focus on mental health, and to not let someone else’s toxicity hamper our well-being. You can use some self-care tips and work on yourself to handle such situations in the most productive manner.
Complaining about her bad behavior towards you may sound petty, but it tends to build up over time.
But dealing with the narcissistic mother-in-law is much easier if the partner is intelligent enough to understand what’s going on. If the husband and wife stand together as a strong team, only then the marriage can survive the narcissistic in-laws.
If you are planning to deal with a toxic, narcissistic mother-in-law then you have to focus on your life, your dreams, your health, and your happiness. Only the positive steps towards a healthy and happy you could help you fight their toxic behavior.
Take charge of your life. Don’t let narcissistic mother-in-law dominate you. Don’t let her shatter you! Don’t let her tear you apart! Don’t let her overpowering personality rule your life!