Confronted A Narcissistic Mother-In-Law

by Michelle Piper

Have you confronted your narcissistic mother-in-law? Ever heard the statement “pick your battles?”

This post will cover some of the predictable tactics of the narcissistic mother-in-law so you may better protect yourself from her dysfunctional behavior.

Narcissistic mothers and narcissistic mother-in-laws play things by their own set of rules.

Her emotional skills aren’t up to par with yours or other healthy, able-minded adults. She won’t step outside herself, see the situation separately from her beliefs, and feel true empathy towards you or anyone else.

Be careful when duking it out with a narcissistic mother-in-law, and know how to do it the right way. Conserve your energy. There’s no point in fighting and arguing with her on every little thing.

Direct confrontation often triggers a “narcissistic monologue” or barrage of words that rarely has anything do do with you or what you are trying to address. She’s in a world of her own, dissociated with agitation.

If you notice this, know there’s little information going in because she’s now self-distracted or walled off in her own intense emotions. You may actually walk away mid-monologue and miss very little content.

She’ll also use tactics ranging from the passive-aggressive variety to talking down to you in an attempt to make you feel small and inadequate.

When asking yourself if you should confront a narcissistic mother-in-law on certain matters, the answer is, “it depends.”

Be prepared for aggression and rage. Narcissists believe they’re always right, so when you inform them otherwise it sets them off. Yet, your opinion will naturally deviate from hers when she acts in a dysfunctional way that’s hurtful to you or the ones you love.

Ask yourself whether your boundaries or values are being violated by the NMIL, and if it’s worth the potential blow up.  If so, prepare for the blast. She wants to win her point and will use whatever means necessary.

Sometimes, she’ll try to use your confrontation as a tool to twist your words and attempt to manipulate your spouse or even your larger support system, such as neighbors and other in-laws, against you. This is a tactic called “splitting.”

If you are seen as a threat to her imagined or real power, a narcissistic mother-in-law will attempt to sacrifice your marriage and sabotage your children if she feels it’s in her best interest.

Ideally, you and your spouse need to let her know that what she’s saying or doing isn’t okay with either of you and that there are consequences (such as less time with her grandchildren) if such behavior continues.

Your spouse, however, may naively take her side over the good of your marriage or children. If this is likely to be the case, educate your spouse about his or her mother if you believe your mother-in-law is a narcissist.

Try to describe her pathology to your partner in a detached manner and provide examples of the dysfunction if at all possible.

Depending on where your spouse has progressed in their journey of recovery from the abuse of the narcissistic mother, his or her ability to defend against a narcissistic parent will vary.

As your spouse heals from the emotional abuse of a narcissistic mother and progresses to a higher level of functioning, the more likely he or she will effectively support you in setting healthy boundaries regarding your narcissistic mother-in-law.

She may also project her bad qualities onto you. This can be something like, “You’re not disciplining the kids right. No wonder they’re so hyper.” To, “Your husband is looking a little skinny, maybe you’re not feeding him enough.”

Of course, when she was raising her kid, your “now spouse,” she didn’t do the motherly things she was supposed to, such as properly enforcing rules or offering unconditional love.

Sometimes, you won’t gain anything by confronting your narcissistic mother-in-law as she may be so toxic that confrontation leads to more dysfunctional behavior on her part. If this is the case, no contact or low contact is useful to protect your marriage and children from narcissistic abuse.

She may try to gaslight you into believing you have no idea what you’re talking about, that you’re crazy for bringing up something she insists never happened.

If you do choose to confront your narcissistic mother-in-law, make sure to hold her accountable for her unacceptable actions and performances.

Set proper limits between what is yours, what is hers, and what you are willing to share.

Compromise only if to do so doesn’t violate your beliefs and values. Watch to see if compromise is at all effective with her. Sometimes, narcissists view compromise as a sign of weakness to be exploited and it stimulates their pathological behavior, instead of encouraging better behavior, the opposite of what’s usual in healthy people.

If you feel in any way uncomfortable about how she’s trying to compromise with you, say no. Stand firm about what you feel is right for you and your family.

If she starts yelling at you, don’t join in her narcissistic rage. It only falsely empowers her. When she is in this mode of attack, she’s not listening, no matter if you’re right and her points are completely invalid.

Your narcissistic mother-in-law won’t admit to being wrong because she truly doesn’t believe she is. She cannot see things from any other perspective but her own.

If you can and when necessary, establish low contact or no contact at all with the narcissistic mother-in-law in order to protect self, marriage and children.

Be honest with her on why things have to be this way and let her know that if her behavior becomes more tolerable, contact may increase but only at your discretion.

You’re the one who gets to set the terms of contact, not your narcissistic mother-in-law. Hold firm to what you say. She may try even harder at this point to wriggle her way into your family’s life, but let her know that this won’t be tolerated.

When it comes to narcissistic mother-in-laws, trying to change them is a grueling and impossible task. Narcissists don’t change no matter how much you want them to and how much you try.

Often, all you can do is change how you handle the situation with a narcissistic mother-in-law. Notice the predictability of her behavior. It will give you more power over effectively crafting your response.

Her emotional state is skewed and you are simply a target on her radar for the time being. Brush off her comments and negativeness and move on. Focus your energy about what you and your spouse want for your marriage and children and remain consistent about how you behave toward the mother-in-law.

Consider low or no contact if she is unresponsive to or draining regarding boundaries. You must protect what is valuable to you.

The narcissistic mother-in-law won’t do it for you, thank you for acting healthy, or give you permission to do so unless it satisfies her ever changing needs at the time.

You’re a capable person with the ability to be empathetic and care for your family. You don’t need to tolerate her criticisms inferring you’re an inadequate spouse or parent.

You and your spouse are the appropriate people to lead your family, not her. A narcissistic mother-in-law may attempt to control everyone and everything around her because that may be how it has always been with her but you can be part of breaking the cycle of abuse.

You, and hopefully your partner, can protect your family and your values to ensure you are happy and healthy. Your capabilities as a person far outweigh hers.

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

Aline November 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I wish I had know this years ago. I was married to a classic Narcissist and his mother is an even more classic Narcissist. Every word written has her name attached to it. It I had know about my ex-husband’s disorder, I don’t know that I would have avoided him – he is INCREDIBLY charming, even now. My ex- mother-in-law was like that all the time I knew her but her behavior got worse once her husband died. Then it was left to the living to fill the role of constant adorer. It was hard on her children and hell for her childrens’ spouses. I’m glad I’m out of the relationship, but both my husband and his mother did a lot of damage and it’s taken me a long time to get over it. (Oh, PS – use an editor for your articles. Typos galore here…)


Michelle Piper November 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Dear Aline,
I hope you continue productively on your healing journey and am glad you are free.
Thanks for reAdinG;),
P.S. Thank you for letting me know about the typos.


Anna November 19, 2012 at 9:15 am

Thank you so much for this post, it really hit home for me. I’ve been searching the web for the past 4 months about NPD and how to deal with a MIL with it. I got married this April after 6 years with my husband, and it still perplexes me how much things have changed from January 2012 through today. My husband has a twin brother who was married a year earlier, and my MIL and SIL had vilified and slandered the other DIL and her mother for years. Unfortunately I was on my MIL’s good side, and she had a way of phrasing everything about the other DIL that it seemed like the truth and my husband and I believed her. Well, my husband’s twin had a baby in February, and all of a sudden my husband and I were accused of being selfish whenever we would talk about our upcoming wedding. We still didn’t know about NPD at this point, so we took it in stride. Our wedding day came, and my MIL said not one word to me all day (even though I had invited her to get ready in our suite, ride in the limo with us, etc). She even threw a scene in the church right before we walked down the aisle because she didn’t like my song choice.
2 months after our wedding, and MIL was still being cold to me, clearly favoring the other twin and DIL and seeming to punish us for something which we didn’t do or know we did to her. My husband finally confronted her about her behavior at the wedding and the months after the wedding and how he felt that , and my MIL threatened to banish my husband (didn’t give a reason why) and immediately played the victim card, that she was there for us despite having had a (small) fire in her home 8 months before, having to worry about a new granddaughter, etc. She hung up on my husband and didn’t talk to him for 6 weeks, instead writing a confusing letter in which she did not apologize for one thing, instead shaming us into takign the blame, we’re the bad ones for speaking up against her emotional abuse. In the meantime, she was slandering my husband and I to my FIL and SIL that they too refused to speak to us (keep in mind they never directly asked us what happened) since we’ve “hurt mother so much”. After being so hurt and feeling guilt and shame, I searched for help online and found out about NPD. For my husband and I, it was like reading the inner diary.
Now it is November, and we are still being ignored in order to bully us into submission. Luckily, my husband has a strong extended family who he has reached out to, and they started to all compare notes. WOW. Let’s just say my MIL has shown her bad side to enough others in the extended family that they know it’s not us but her. It’s comforting to at least have that support system in place despite being essentially banished from my husband’s immediate family.


Stephanie December 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hi Anna,

I have had similar circumstances of relationship sabotage with my SIL as the aggressor and MIL as the passive. However, I have noticed some interesting narcissistic traits emerge in my marriage as well. It is becoming increasingly difficult to provide for my husband’s narcissistic supply as my respect for him falters. Most of the time I feel misunderstood as he views and treats me as a reflection of himself. The more I try to explain myself, his frustration escalates. Next thing I know he has turned something I needed/wanted to share into his problem and becomes defensive. It’s exhausting.

After spending some time today researching the dynamics of NPD, in males and females, it seems increasingly clear that my husband is a carrier. Have you noticed traits in your husband too?


Anna December 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Hi Stephanie,
My husband does display some narcisstic traits, but don’t we all? As we are both learning more and more about NPD, we’ve found (and others in the extended family agree) that my husband was almost always the scapegoat in his family. While this was difficult for him as his brother and sister have pretty much been bred to blame my husband for whatever they can, it did give him the advantage of not turning out like his family. My BIL and SIL are showing themselves to be more and more narcissistic as time goes on. Not quite at the level of my MIL, but others in the family have called my SIL “NPD-in-training”. And my BIL just doesn’t see past his own nose. He would walk right by you in the store and not notice you unless you said something to him.

When my husband does display narcissistic traits, I think of some of it as more as a coping mechanism than him malignantly trying to mess with someone for his own gain. He is very stubborn sometimes, getting angry over minor things (just like his father, the passive), but he does have the ability to take a step back and apologize. He doesn’t distort reality either, which is different than his family who like to re-write history to fit their current story. But he does get very defensive as well at other times.

Have you shared with your husband that you see your SIL and MIL as displaying NPD traits? Perhaps if you talk to him more about his past relationship with them (not necessarily pointing out the NPD if you don’t think he would take it well), you can figure out whether the way he treats you is a reflection of how he coped with his family, so he very quickly goes to that same place in arguments?


Suzie Johnson January 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Anna, your mother-in-law sounds just like mine! But I don’t think that we have support from the rest of my husband’s family. They seem to think that my mother-in-law is perfect and can do no wrong! If she’s in a conflict with anyone (which is me at the moment), that person is always “wrong”. My father-in-law (her ex) and his wife are the only ones who recognize that my MIL is irrational.


Anna January 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Hi Suzie – We have support from my husband’s extended family because they unfortunately have been burned by her at some point, or someone close to them has been burned! The stories we heard after we were ostracized were stomach-churning, but at the same time maddening because my FIL and SIL don’t see the pattern! Or maybe they’re part of the pattern…
I know what you mean about always being wrong, no matter what my husband (or I) do to try to fix the situation and get back to “normal” relations with everyone, we’re the jerks in my FIL and SIL’s eyes.
No wonder your FIL is your MIL’s ex! Hopefully you can both have support from him in getting through this…


D June 19, 2015 at 10:03 am

I know it has been quite a while since this post, but your story is so similar to mine it’s scary. I dated my husband for 4 years before we got married. My husband has two brothers. MIL always talked about the other two girls. The way that stuff happened it seemed like everything she said was valid. I even took her side on a lot of stuff she would talk about. I did notice how she was controlling. She does not like a lot of people or the way that they do things. She is so critical of others. I let her know a few times when she would say things that made me mad. Then I could tell she was mad at me; however it wasn’t to a point to where I ever thought she would betray me like she did for my wedding. My husbands brother got married in 2013. His wife did not include MIL in any planning at all. My husband and I got married in March of this year. MIL always talked about how she was so sad she wasn’t involved in her other son’s wedding, so of course I included her in a lot of stuff for mine. Well that was the biggest mistake I could have ever made. She was not happy on my wedding day I could see it in her face. She did everything possible to annoy me that day. Then at the reception she had nothing to do with me at all. Well the last song of the night played, and I was outside after that for maybe 5 minutes with my sisters and brother talking. She came to the door and demanded that they help pick up tables and chairs when we weren’t even supposed to be picking up tables or anything…that was the agreement when we rented the building. So after a while of her crap we all went help, but I was so mad I cried. She just couldn’t let me have that moment with my family. The next day she claimed we were outside for an hour and a half, my family wasn’t going to help at all…..and the worst thing she said was that it pissed her off when she heard us laughing and having fun. My wedding night was over she said. Needless to say we hashed it out for over 3 hours the next day because I was in such disbelief she did that to me and my husband. She just lied about everything. She even claimed she did everything for our wedding. My husband said he didn’t want to ever hear her say that again because everything she did do she chose to do, and we paid the majority of everything for our wedding ourselves. Come to find out she was rushing us to clean because she got a cut on her half of the building for picking up the tables and chairs. Did we ever see it….Nope. There’s a whole lot of other stuff that went on, but it’s just too much to write.

Our relationship will never be the same again. And the blinders were taken off me and my husbands eyes. We see her for who she really is now, and I am sorry that I ever took her side when it comes to the other sister in laws. She is a narcissist to the max. Everything I have ever read about it is what she does and has always done. I just never realized it before. I deeply regret not being prepared for her crap on my wedding day. If I could go back in time she would not have been involved at all either for our wedding planning.


Michelle Piper December 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Hi Anna,
It was a smart move to get more information from the extended family. Sibling and in-law relationships suffer when a narcissist divides and conquers. The more you can address the narcissist’s behavior as a predictable phenomena, the better. Getting support from healthy others will continue to fuel a more stable support network for you and your husband. Thanks for reading!


Struggling Mum April 26, 2015 at 6:32 am

Hi Michelle. I have just ended a 18 year relationship and have 2 primary school aged boys. I am scared of what the future is going to be due to having to take him to court for property settlement and parenting plan. Unfortunately I am dealing with not only the narcissistic ex but his narcissistic mum also. I have been thinking that it would be easier to move back than to go through what I can see as being something very close to hell for the rest of my life. Do you have any advice or papers you have writhing regards to dealing with the both of them?


tatum December 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm


Reading your story is like reading my own experiences with my husband. My narc MIL has destroyed my husband’s relationships with his siblings, using her bullying tactics and divide and conquer strategies to keep them and us apart. To this day, my husband’s siblings (his brother and sister) have not once reached out to him to ask him his side of the story and see what’s going on. They just clearly listen to my MIL and believe everything she says. It’s really sad. I have been doing the no contact thing for the past year, and I can’t see myself doing anything differently to change that. She is toxic and has manipulated everyone into believing we are the bad ones when she is the one doing all of the damage. Sooo glad I found this blog!


Anna December 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Hi Tatum,
I’m sorry that your husband is going through the same thing as mine. You’re right, there isn’t anything that we can do to change things other than stand by our husbands, offer them the unconditional love that their mothers have never given them, and keep things in perspective (i.e., let them know when things aren’t normal, not let them go off the deep end, etc.).
I only hope and pray that one day the law of natural consequences catches up to my MIL, and any other narcissistic MILs out there. It already seems to be happening to my MIL, thank goodness… if you’re a vile person to enough people, no one will want anything to do with you!
This blog really is wonderful, and has been a great source of strength and knowledge!


tatum December 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I agree. He is forming a letter to them as we speak, telling them why he is choosing to keep his distance. He is expecting major denials and anger from them, but that is exactly what he expects. He has detached emotionally from this woman. I admit I still struggle with how they treat him because he is such a great husband and father…but we can’t allow this woman to “ruin” our lives.


Anna December 28, 2012 at 7:31 am

I think he’s doing the right thing putting his thoughts and words down in writing. My husband’s initial contact with his mother was via phone, and boy did she twist things around when relaying them to my FIL (which is why he’s not speaking to my husband). At least a letter has the words written down in black and white, can’t be denied or changed. From experience, don’t accept anything but a letter back in response, at least initially. At the very least, it will give him time to process a rational response rather than an emotional one.
It sounds like your husband has a lot of support from you, and that you’re able to see him and treat him the way he deserves to be treated. That will be a huge help to him! Good luck!


tatum December 29, 2012 at 2:38 am

Thanks! I told him to be prepared for the anger and denials to come our way. He is sending the letter to both his parents and his siblings; that way, she cant twist things when she retells the story…I will keep you posted!

Anonymous June 29, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Hi this is all v interesting reading. I have been married to my husband for 13 years. We have a relatively good marriage and on the whole I am happy. However, I have battled (mentally) for years with my, what I now believe to be NMIL. When we first met, I began to feel confused by her passive aggressive manner, she has a very gentle, calm demeanor coupled with intelligence, a good education and charm. She would subtly put me down about my figure (too thin), how I dresses, far too material and just about anything she could find. Soon. I began to notice that all of my achievements were minimized and my perceived failures maximized. Not only that, she would spin any attempt by myself to rational,ize her arguments. Poor me is her speciality, then spin and lie. Just this evening my husband bought a new phone, she called insisting she had left a message (I know she has not and this is just another attempt of trying to suggest I have whiped off her message). Every now and then I heard her gentle voice over the phone and I think that I should maybe relent and try again then a few weeks later something else will surface and I am reminded of her illness. My message to anyone who vaguagely gets the hunch that something isn’t right is to follow your gut instinct and get away from them as quickly as you can, these people are highly skilled manipulates who will stop at nothing to meet there own needs. Run now.


afraid to post my name December 17, 2015 at 9:43 am

I have been in a relationship with my husband since high school-I m now 46 years old, married to him for 15 years with 3 kids and suddenly feeling like I woke up from a fog. Unfortunately I lost my dad at 19 after caring fro him since I was 14 years old. He had a heart attack and a debilitating stroke when I was 14 and I was the baby of the family and the only one at home to care for him. I met my husband in high school and fell in love with him. We dated for a year but his parents forbade it and basically caused us to end our relationship because I was’t good enough for their son. He contacted me before we went to college and wanted to resume things. Of course I jumped at the chance because I loved him and never wanted the relationship to be over. Shortly after, my Dad died and I made him and his family my family thinking I was accepted and loved. How wrong I was! My now husband and I lived together while he was in medical school and residency. I worked and supported him financially and emotionally and spent time with his family; I got a B.A. in Nursing and then pursued a Masters Degree and became a Nurse Practitioner while he was training to become a doctor. It was assumed we would get married. Him and I talked about it and planned on it after residency. We did get married after I pushed. His parents were ok with things as long as I was working and supporting him. When we did get married, we just did it before the justice of the peace; saving money because he had expensive loans to pay back. His parents weren’t really happy about the marriage, but the relationship was ok until we had our first child. After that (and there were probably times that I don’t recall before that) his parents, especially his mother became completely inappropriate. Everything I did as a parent was wrong and she had opinions on everything. She would call up my husband and rant about something I supposedly said in a conversation with her that I never said. She would continually twist things to try to create conflict between my husband and me. He would just play peacemaker and pacify her until the next time. This occurred for years and I put up with it thinking I was supporting my husband, trying to keep peace and trying to decrease his stress. I knew there were major problems but just kept quiet for 14 years. My mistake, lack of self-esteem and confidence, whatever. A year ago I received a call form my mother in law demanding to talk to her son. She was having some health symptoms (she is a hypochondriac for many years and at least 2 times per year would have some fatal illness that she would need my husband to help her with-for as long as I have known her and my husband would oblige). I immediately called my husband and told him to call her. Turns out she had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since then, our life has been a nightmare. She told my husband that I knew she had cancer and kept it from him. Since her diagnosis she has all but destroyed our relationship. She has been abusive to her husband more than ever (she was since I have known her) telling him he was useless and was angry that she was sick and he was healthy with no health problems). She has not handled her illness well. Basically won’t talk to anyone but her husband and 2 sons though she has 9 brothers and sisters she could get support from. She totally closed herself off and has been relying on her sons and husband for support. I am the enemy. She and her husband have been telling my husband to divorce me and that I am an “anchor around his neck” because I don’t work and stay at home with the kids and just “take” from him. So not true but anyways, my father-in-law committed suicide 1 month ago. He left no note, but I know she was so abusive to him and he was miserable. My husband agrees. She is apparently cancer free now but told him before he died that the chemo wasn’t working, he was useless, had no right to be alive…that day he committed suicide. She is doing great now no sign of cancer. Since her husband’s death she has been more vocal that ever about how useless and unsupportive her sons, grandchildren and spouses are…her boys need to leave their spouses and significant others. This is all despite the fact that my husband was instrumental in making sure she got the appropriate treatment for her cancer and talks to her twice a day. She has been living with her other son (since she will have no contact with me) and his family since her husband died. She attempted to get my brother in law’s significant other to hit her the other day to try to get him to kick her out of the house. When that didn’t happen, she called my husband to drive her 4 hours to her home, which he did. She verbally abused him constantly during the drive and has in every conversation she has had with him since her cancer diagnosis. He keeps taking it out of loyalty and guilt over his father’s suicide. She has a mental illness clearly. He has tried to protect me and our kids and doesn’t talk about what she is doing but he is so emotionally drained and depressed, it is obviously affecting our relationship. I think he needs to cut her off, but I could never tell him that because he is in the abuse cycle and would think I am being cruel. My kids don’t know their Grandpa took his own life-we didn’t tell them that in trying to protect them. Their Grandmother is so narcissistic all she can think of is her feelings and thoughts. Basically she has told her 2 sons if they don’t leave their respective spouses she does not want contact with them or their kids. I am truly at a loss….


Jamie Bevan January 2, 2013 at 8:59 pm

I am sooooo glad to read all of your comments. You all have helped me so very much. How do we help our hubby’s?


tatum January 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I think the best way to help is by listening and just being there for them. One thing I also did was find sites like these and others that discuss narc behavior. My hubby (the scapegoat in his family) just needed reassurance that he wasn’t crazy. So I would print out articles about other people’s journeys and that would help him…just knowing that what was going on in his family is a very real phenomenon.


Freed DIL January 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Relate to all been said. My NMIL even got engaged at our wedding breakfast!! Ha! I’m only just learning to laugh at the sadness of it all because we’ve had a blissful year of no contact and my SIL has recently seen the light & cut her off too. FIL is just relieved to have escaped and so it looks like monster in law has finally been consigned to history! HAPPY DAYS!! Hang in there… was worth playing the waiting game, gave her enough rope and eventually she got caught up & hung herself. Nasty bit of work. My poor hubby can start to build up his confidence now. Work in progress. Be strong ladies (& men too!) ;-)) HAPPY DIL


Lynn January 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

My MIL is a narcissist. Reading about the characteristics is like reading a psychiatrist’s report on her – just put her name on the blank line. Some examples include:
– Saying she had “enough credit” for a college degree when she’s never taken a single college class ever. This was said when I graduated college, because she wouldn’t allow anyone to talk about it in her presence. We had to talk about her “credit” from the classes that she never took.
-Saying she was a twin and that her twin died at birth. She said this ONLY after my husband and I had twins, and she saw the attention they and we were getting. Even members of her own family confirmed she wasn’t a twin, but she still insists that she was and THAT is the reason we had twins.
-My MIL got pregnant by her long-time boyfriend and had her first baby at 18. She gave the baby up for adoption. When the child reached the age of 18, she wanted to get to know her. However, she wouldn’t admit what she had done. She then decided to tell everyone that she was raped, and never had sex. So it wasn’t even her fault that she got pregnant, she said. Then she said that her mother and sister held her down in the hospital and made her sign the adoption papers. That wasn’t true either, but she said it wasn’t her fault that she got pregnant or that she gave the baby away. Both her mother, sister and all family members say it is all a lie. She was not raped, and she gave the baby up for adoption because she was so young.

She tells big lies, but she’ll also lie about little things or things that don’t matter just to take all of the attention in any given situation. One day my husband and his father were talking about someone being in an accident and losing part of their finger. She then holds her finger up and says, “look, look, I had the end of my finger cut off as a child and reattached.” There was no scar, and no one had ever heard of this story. Ever! She only said this, because she couldn’t handle everyone in the room talking about someone else and not her.

I could give COUNTLESS examples, but there just isn’t enough time in the day. This has damaged me emotionally. I was very young when I married her son, and never even heard of someone like her. I kept trying to be the dutiful wife. My husband is her golden child, and his sister is the scapegoat. My MIL loves division, and leaves a path of destruction wherever she goes. And she is NEVER WRONG or never at fault. She is always a victim. Always right. Always in charge. Always the one who was there first and did it bigger and better.

I WISH I had known about this before I married her son. I have not been equipped with the tools to even remotely handle this crazy woman. As much as I love her son, he refuses to see his mom for what she is. Everyone else sees it, but she always cowtows to her. He either doesn’t see it or doesn’t want to see it. Help! Any suggestions you have in gaining peace while setting boundaries with this woman would be helpful. After 22 years of marriage, she is used to manipulating me/him and I hope it isn’t too late to get him to see her for what she is: a true narcissist.


Denise January 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm


Reading your post is like therapy for me. First of all, I am sorry for the mental torture you have been put through. I can relate 10000000%. My husband is the GC and my SIL is the SG. My MIL was awesome when I was dating her son. She was so charming and sweet and fun. Everything changed after we walked down that aisle.

One night when it was just me and her, she had a lot of wine and started balling. She told me she felt totally unloved by us because of all of the time we spent with my FIL (they are divorced). She said we always put her last during the holidays, and we continuously break her heart. It didn’t matter that she went on a cruise with her boyfriend every Christmas. She said she only did that because we made her feel unwanted. Now, keep in mind, my parents and FIL live in the same town. MIL is the one that decided to move away. So it’s hard to see all three families on a regular basis, especially when she is the one who moved away. But that didn’t even make her flinch.

She then proceeds to tell us that we and SG SIL have hurt her so badly, we caused her to get breast cancer from all of the stress we have put on her. The sad thing is, I really believed this. I cried and begged for forgiveness. After that, we put her first. We revolved each holiday around her. When I brought my newborn home from the hospital, I asked MIL to stay with me and I know that hurt my mom’s feelings, but I was really trying to prove something. I bent over backwards to make her feel “loved” so to speak. But nothing was ever good enough.

Finally on one Christmas night, she snapped. We were with my parents Xmas eve, FIL Christmas morning, and her house Xmas evening (always travelling to please other people). She had way too much to drink and started screaming at us…we always put her last, we didn’t love her, she would never be close with her grandkids because we never brought them around, we were horrible, unloving, hateful…

I could go on and on and on with examples of victimization. She ruined my first born’s christening because my FIL brought his girlfriend to the church. Even though MIL and FIL have been divorced for 25 years, in her eyes, girlfriend is a whore. So she made a big scene and pulled me to the side and said she would never attend any family functions if this woman was there, and how I put this woman before her, etc. etc.

I could go on and on and on. Thank God for forums like this. I know that I am not crazy, although I am getting there 😉


Lynn January 30, 2013 at 10:46 am

Thank you for sharing this, Denise. You’re not crazy, but it strange how someone with a mental disorder (such as narcissistic personality disorder) can make you feel that you’re the problem. They’re extremely manipulative people. I wish I had been armed with this information years ago. Once you know what to look for, it becomes so apparent. The selfishness of these people goes beyond what any rational person can comprehend. I would like to hear from a professional, but from what I’ve read it doesn’t seem that many of these people ever seek treatment. They get far too much enjoyment from what they’re doing, and they lack empathy so they don’t care whether they hurt others by their actions. I’m learning to set boundaries. I can no longer live in a fantasy world where my MIL is everything and has done everything bigger and better and nothing or no one else matters. Ever.


2C February 2, 2013 at 12:30 am

I just had an hour long (heated) telephone conversation with my husband about his NM. I am getting to the point where we must have these conversations by phone (we are married) so that I don’t get overly upset by his body language. She is the focus of most of our arguments. I have a NM as well, but both are quite different. My NM is very cold and distant at times. My NMIL is overbearing and entitled. My NM is much too busy to spend much time with our family. My NMIL will never leave. When my FIL passed away a few years ago we invited her to live with us (MISTAAAAAAAKE!) for 6 months. During this 6 months I never once witnessed her crying or upset about her husband passing away. She never helped with chores or cleaning, and once gave me $100 to “help with bills” and acted as if she’d just given me a million bucks. Her 6 months stretched into 18 months of absolute HELL for me. During this time I tried to be considerate of the loss of my husband’s father and my NMIL’s husband, but the day-to-day interaction with her and her mindless chatter and inability to just be QUIET once in a while drove me over the brink. My husband told me on numerous occassions that I was being “insensitive” to the fact that they’d lost their family member, simply because I complained (a lot…especially after the 6 month agreement came and went) that I needed our HOME back. Did I mention that we also had a 1 and 2 year old at that time, and that the 1 year old NEVER slept through the night the entire time she lived with us? In addition, I worked full time as a teacher and we were facing SEVERE $$$ issues due to my husband getting laid off (TWICE!) Our marital communication STOPPED altogether, and it got to the point that when I would come home from work I’d feel physically ILL at the sight of her car in my driveway. During this time she refused to look for work as well, so she logged A LOT of time on Judge Judy episodes. Weekends with her hanging around and eating our food and watching endless TV were torture. My husband and I stopped being intimate and we stopped talking. At 18 months I finally gave my husband the ultimatum — HIS MOTHER or US. I was prepared to move out, let the house go and watch them spiral (neither were working at the time.) I even told her “Get the F*CK outta my house! You are RUINING my marriage!” She laughed at me. The next day she found a room to rent (with my husband’s help of course) and got herself an interview. She was out within the week.

Fast forward to now: 3 years later she is still renting that same room, after repeated “plans” to move to a bigger, better, “more cultured” city. She shys away from having our kids come spend the night (probably because she is renting a room and not her own place.) She has my husband on a STRING (he is her only surviving child) and is very competitive with both of us. Just the other day she was asking me what size our flat screen TV was and wondered if she should put an even bigger one (of course!) than ours on layaway. Who cares? She has lied, exaggerated, insinuated that I am a racist (we are a mixed race family) and made up stories told to my husband about things I have NEVER done. She will tell me to my face that I am a great mother to her only grandchildren, yet then say that my husband is a pushover and can’t stand up to me (never to my face…I have seen it in text exchanges between them.) My husband and I are both highly educated. She is not, yet she continually makes up stories about what she “knows” or has “read” or has “heard on NPR.” Right.

Our latest argument causing issue is on her coming over to visit: a dinner invitation by my husband often morphs into staying the night (her vision is terrible for the dark drive home) and breakfast and hanging out ALL DAY the next day. I finally put my foot down tonight and said “NO WAY – she CANNOT stay over.” I feel like I am getting better with the boundaries, but also feel like she is doing her damndest to ruin our marriage. My husband does not put me first. If he must choose between disappointing me or his mother, he will always choose to disappoint me. Tonight I told him that I will no longer stand for being treated like #2 and that I MUST be #1 – ALWAYS. I am willing to compromise on spending some time with her, but it is difficult when you were forced to live with her for sooooo long. I do believe that if I’d not ever given that ultimatum that she might be still living with us. Gah!

I am looking for some ideas to help us build back our marriage. I want our children to grow up in a calm and peaceful home, not a crazy home with NO boundaries and NO respect for other people’s privacy! I am confident that continued therapy (my husband and I both see therapists but I bet he’s NEVER even thought to bring up his NM!) will help me to heal. I want very much just to get some peace on this.


Lynn January 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Oh, and my MIL sneaks into the kids’ school games to avoid paying $4. When caught she still refused to pay, argued and then claimed she was a “teacher” in order to get in free. In true narcisstic fashion, she’ll spend $50,000 on a car for herself, yet won’t pay $4 to benefit her grandchild’s school sports team.

My MIL NEVER attended church during my husband’s entire childhood. Yet when we found a church and became active, she then started telling us and everybody else that she used to be a Sunday school teacher. She then joined our church in order to feed her narcissistic supply (her son). She refused to go to her age group’s Sunday school class. She said she was going to be in our class. She would sit either between us or next to him. She would race us to church in the morning, then look at me and say “where have you been?” She would get there early, sign herself and her son in but not me. She would then say something like, “I didn’t know if you’d be here.” It wasn’t good enough to do it, she wanted to bring it to my attention. She put tabs on each book of the Bible, and then would quickly flip to the book and look and me and say something like, “you’re still trying to find it?” She would then rush to the sancutary, grab and seat and then tell us she “saved” a seat for us and where we were to sit. We found another church. She followed. She said she was going to go wherever her son went. And he refused to even say anything to her.

I suppose I’ve given enough examples for now. I have plenty more. This woman is impossible!


Leslie Campbell January 22, 2013 at 6:12 am

what does “website” mean after “Speak your mind”?


Leslie Campbell January 22, 2013 at 6:13 am

Hi Anna…
I am so thankful to have read your letter about your MIL. Can I share my story with you?


Sheila January 27, 2013 at 9:45 am

The above article describes my MIL. Have I ever confronted her? I’ve confronted her many times over the course of my 20 something year marriage to her oldest son but she wasn’t always listening. People like her have their own agenda & if you don’t do what they want, they can get very annoyed with you. They often don’t understand they are not the boss of you & they are not to dictate your life. When you point that out to them, they often view it as you challenging them. In their minds you are not to stand up to them or claim your own life for your very own. When I was young, I didn’t know how to deal with a person like my MIL (as I was raised with a mother whom I believe was also narcisstic). Over time I learned how to deal with different behaviours in people & I learned some things to say to people like my impossible MIL. The following are a few phrases I have used with my own MIL to alleviate a lot of the stress she has had in my life. Using these particular phrases have actually made my MIL less likely to open her mouth because she knows I’m not listening to her. She knows I’m going to do my own thing regardless of what she says.

“Your kids turned out just fine, & my kids will turn out just fine too. Professional people have told me I’m doing a good job”. This statement counteracted all my MIL’s “know it all” child rearing advice, opinions, etc. & she could no longer guilt trip me into feeling like I was a bad parent who was doing everything wrong.

“I’m going to do things differently because I was raised differently. I have different experiences than yourself & I come from a different generation than you. I know what I’m doing regardless of whatever you say to me”. In my situation, I noticed a big difference in my MIL’s narcisstic behaviour when I said this particular statement. My MIL actually backed off quite a bit or she’s definitely been more careful around us. I don’t care that my DH is her son. That’s irrelevant. Her son & I formed a “new” & “separate” family when we married. MIL needed to respect that things were going to be done differently in our home simply because of that union.

In conclusion, I understand some MIL’s are impossible to deal with & you have to cut off all contact. In my case, I’ve learned to “manage” my MIL. It made a huge difference in what was once a very stressful situation. My MIL knows I’m the boss in my life, not her. She is not to challenge me (or my DH) when it comes to our authority in our own home, our children, our life, etc. She had her turn to be in charge. I can only imagine how frustrating it can be for someone like her who obviously has trouble “letting go” & allow someone else to be in charge. No wonder my MIL was often so difficult to deal with.


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mary January 29, 2013 at 4:01 am

Wow, this website is really helping to “Heal” the hurt and anger I have for my MIL. The hurt is because she has abused my husband physically and emotionally. Resulting in a deeply hurt man who struggles with his own emotions, I am totally gobsmacked and appalled at the way she blames us for everything including, her actions of violence towards me, (She slapped me) and for not seeing her grandchildren. She has a Granddaughter who she has never even met and a grandson who she hasn’t seen for half his life. I have never stopped her, she has not bothered. She has never attempted to fix things with the rift she has caused. She is the Ignoring Narc and my husband is the SG whilst his brother, who adores her, is the GC. The GC does not speak to us any more, as he also blames us for causing the family rift that happened 2 years ago. For my daughter’s birthday we received a letter, telling us how happy everything in her life is, she is marrying again. The letter was like a mills and boon story. She is so sad and upset that she does not know her grandchildren and feels unable to buy birthday or Christmas presents for them. Instead she wrote a poem and has asked us, if we do not want it, to send back so she can put it in her keepsake box, and hopefully in the future she will get to share these things and her grandchildren can get to know the real her?! She also asked us, to suggest a way of meeting up in peace and harmony. My blood was at boiling point and my husband has clammed up. I feel I have the opportunity to write back and throw it all back to her… How does she suggest we meet up in peace and harmony, why has she not tried to make contact with her own grandchildren, and why does she not question the sad and upsetting situation for my husband. This woman is pathetic, but she is my husband’s mother after all, and he would like to see her… I have told him that she is not allowed to see the grandchildren until she can be accountable and accept that her behaviour was wrong when she visited us last time (Slapping me, throwing things in my house that hit the family cat, storming out of the restaurant because we dared speak up to her) She gave a “fauxpology” for hitting me. I accept that as Narc person she will never apologise properly though. I would also like to say, without being rude, how she can say that her wedding day will be so happy, when it will be so fractured because she will have family members missing? Eeeekkkk. The scary situation is that she is marrying a very strange man who is a child physiologist. This will be her 3rd marriage and in the time she has been with this man, she has split up 3 times, and moved away from him. Any support and ideas in the letter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks People for reading my gripe moan! Xxx


Daiane September 10, 2017 at 2:01 am

My MIL never came to meet my children. She never appeared in any moment in my husb’s life, after he Said to her he wouldn’t break up with me.
I decided to stop seeing her, my FIL and BIL, too. I canto understand who is her Gold child because everybody told me It was my husband, and evento he was negkected and spancked. Sonetimes, i think my FIL is It.
She’s never wrong… And im exausted for being blamed.


Maggie January 31, 2013 at 2:11 am

Michele Piper, this is so enligtening and unfortunatley I do have a mother in law with this disorder. Needless to say, my mother also had it. What I did have in my life was a father who I chose to mentor. He never enabled my mother’s behavior; therefore I knew the difference with my mother in law. I have not spoken to her in years, when her husband passed away, she got worse. I would call her in good faith to ask her how she was doing and she in turn would not answer, but ask me how we were. I would state fine, she would then ask where my husband was? I would state at work. Then she would ask me again how we were?
I again would say fine. Then here come the attacks on me. When I confronted her once after calling our home and leaving this really bizarre and out of content message on our answering machine. Attacking her son my husband stating that she had not heard from him in three months and asked is everything alright? This is your mother demanding that he call her. I walked outside and asked my husband what the heck is this about? It was bizzare. He said I don’t know. I called her back asking her what the phone call was about. She was breathing hard and said, that her son had not called her in three months. I said hes busy, she got upset and hung up on me. I did not appreciate her upsetting our home like this, was not the first time either. Another time, she called attacking me because I was back in college. Theres more, I have refrained from talking to her. When she has been confronted, at another time, she responds with I don’t have to listen to you and hangs up. We live 12 hours away from her. I could write a book about this lady, but I don’t want to empower her by giving her all this attention. You see, narcisstic behavior is all about them wanting attention, anyway they can get it. I don’t exist to her anyway and frankly I married her son, not her. When my husband has confronted her, she apologizes and says she didn’t do it on purpose, this is when she has done things to me. He falls for it too. I don’t, I respond to him to no she does it deliberately, gets your attention and then spins it all out to manipulate her narcissistic fix. These type of people are bad for your health. Blame, blame, blame. Its my fault for marrying her son. Too much.


TCM March 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Hi ladies,

I’m still very new to this as I didn’t become aware of my MIL’s NPD until after our wedding late last year. I was in her good books until that day and now ever since its been hell with her trying to get my husband and SIN to compete for love/attention or guilt tripping my husband in various ways and most recently trying to cause a rift between my husband and I. After the wedding my husband and I became pregnant with our first child and soon after the SIN who was astranged from them for nearly 2 years but living only half an hour away with their only grandchild came back into the mix stating she was pregnant too (surprisingly is not anymore). She had us against my husband’s sister for so long with what she would say that when the SIN came back into the picture and was more golden than ever that we became the “bad” ones with little digs that blame it on me more than anything but also because my husband works so much he “doesn’t have time” for them but his sister does. The main problems came to light when we told them we were pregnant but it was still too early so we didnt want anyone knowing and not an hour later it was up on her facebook page. i was what i believed to be understandably upset with this as was my husband but when she apologized it was always “I’m sorry youre mad that im excited about my grandchild”, and “dont be mad at M(my husband)”, and still is bringing up the fact that i never forgave her for that!! There’s way too much to even get into but I’ve kept peace by keeping my distance, the only thing is it seems as we get closer and closer to our due date she’s trying more and more to create problems or get my blood boiling. I should mention that they are not originally from Canada so she tries to play dumb a lot and act like she didn’t say certain things or it was a problem with her English but of course it always when no one else has heard it. Anyway my husband goes from being aware of how she is to oblivious to it and gets very defensive. I’m looking for some help of how to bring this to light for him once and for all but also of how to deal with her before we bring this child into all of this. Please help!!


Bluefreckles July 1, 2013 at 11:58 am

Hi, TCM,
The key to your NMIL’s behavior is that she is after ATTENTION in a big way. And, like a small child (because that’s what she is emotionally) it doesn’t much matter if it’s positive or negative attention – ie if you’re ‘in’ or ‘out’ with her, happy or sad at her behavior, so long as you are still paying her attention. And that’s all it is.
Most N’s are profoundly emotionally disabled and will never improve. They have the bodies, minds and powers of an adult but simply no capacity to see the havoc that they cause. Sadly someone who has grown up with a N parent may be so used to this havoc that they view it as normal.
TCM – you are stealing her thunder! You have taken HER son away from her, had a lovely wedding that I suspect she’s a bit jealous of and are about to have a baby! Everyone might be looking at you instead of her! Oh, my!! So she’s swinging to and fro, making sure she’s not forgotten anyway she can. Underneath a thin cloak of cunning, there’s no deeper meaning to her actions than that.
Keep your distance, ignore as much of the stirring as you can and get on with making your own life happy. You’ll never change her and eventually she’ll get her come-uppance. Sadly she’ll never recognise it herself. Never leave your child alone with her for any extended period of time.
I had exactly the same – except I’m looking back on 30+ years of an NMIL. My son is 16 and has got along fine with only one grandparent – my Mum, who is a complete gem.
Good luck and keep taking the vitamins!
Distance is the only thing that works


Anna February 16, 2017 at 8:21 am

Do you have any advice or suggestions on what you said to your children about not having you NMIL in your lives? It’s only been a few months of no contact from me (He still has contact though limited. I have yet to share my belief if she is a narc but all the evidence points to it. I reached a point of no return and refuse to be a victim of her sick games ever again. My oldest child hasn’t asked why we haven’t spoke with her or why she hasn’t visited or called on holidays. Honestly him and I haven’t had a conversation since I brought it all to his attention and he confronted her (she apologized to him but not me as she was the hurt one). I can’t imagine having much to talk about as I will not bend any further from the years I spent attempting to be peace maker and allowing myself to be walked all over.
When children or even other people ask about her I am unsure how I should reply. /’y mention makes me feel so sick. I’ve been working hard to try to heal the past few months and continue to live our lives. Anything less and I feel it’s exactly what she wants.. to be the center of all of our issues and key to our happiness.


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Hopeful WSA August 9, 2013 at 10:27 am

Thank you! Have been on a long painful journey along with my Husband, it almost cost us marriage. Until we begin idenifying her characteristic traits of NMIL.
She manipulates and controls her husband, children, and Father in an unbelievable and destructive way. And until recently was doing the same thing to my family (her son and grandkids). My husband now idenitfys her as a Narcissist and has taken drastic measures to protect us from her. It took great courage from my husband to reduce her interference in our marriage. He is the 1st and only person who has stood up to her. We endured severe verbal and emotional abuse as a result of setting up boundaries- from my father-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, uncles, etc.. full-force “splitting” all while she managed to look like a victim. She has done this while living in another country, she came uninvited during the birth of my daughter, also during my 2nd pregnancy, and of course our wedding.and would spend up to 3 months in my home.
While I am aware that this will be an on-going effort as she tries to wiggle her way back into our lives, the only way to block her destructive-diabolic— influence is for my huband and I to be on the same page, seeing eye-to-eye on this issue. My huband and I will do what is right for our family; overlooking the opinion of the “spliting”.

This article has served as a reinforcement to follow though with our boundaries. As a wife it is my God given right to protect and love my children. She is like Carbon monoxide — subtle, u can’t see it or smell it, but invasive and deadly.

If this is helpful to someone else going through a broken marriage due to a NMIL,, I read this and has become my encouragement:”For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat.” Psalm 147:13-14


NPD SIL MIL NIL September 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

I have a NPD MIL and a NPD sister in law, who is training her own daughter to be an NPD. I have been attacked by my NPD sister in law numerous times, harassment to no end, death threats only when no one else is around….She leaves angry voicemails demanding me to stay away from my husbands family. She has had her daughter and her best friend both harass me as well. This has gone on for years….. Just recently my husband and I came to realize his mother is an NPD as well….she was caught in a number of manipulative lies…..long story short I have been banned from all family functions by my SIL, but only me, not my husband… MIL is also behind it… They both believe that God told them to dis invite me from his Grandmothers birthday party ?!? Which is the craziest thing I have ever heard in my life! I have never done anything to provoke any of it….and I really don’t understand it at all……My husband is distraught and I am in tears…We need advice…I have done a lot of research on NPD and believe that we should tell them that until they stop all the craziness, we BOTH will not attend any of his family functions, and not have any contact with his family. He’s not so sure it will help at all…..and I’m not even positive it will work….does anyone have any advice on what we should do? Any advice would be well appreciated!


Sheila September 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

I would ask myself “why would I even want to be involved with people who treat me like this?”. When a mosquito bites you, if you don’t swat it dead the first time, you keep trying to look for it in order to get rid of it permanently. You don’t keep it around so it can bite you some more. These people are like mosquitoes, always looking to nip with no consequences to their behaviour. They suck the life out of you until you have scars from their hurtful bites. They want to make you feel weak so you get tired & exhausted from trying to fight back. If you don’t react to them (as I once thought “ignoring” would make my MIL stop her cruelty), they continue to dig deeper & deeper with their stinging behaviour. The more they hurt you, the happier they seem to be. If I could go back in time to when I was 20 something years old (& my MIL was pulling her crap with me. She was definitely at her worst in the early years of my marriage), I would’ve CUT HER OFF & had nothing to do with her. I also would’ve cut her off of seeing my children (less grandchildren time). I wouldn’t have cared about fighting with my DH over this. I was willing to respect his mom, & I expected respect from her in return. I would NOT have given her chance after chance to change her behaviour towards me or ever expected she would eventually treat me with far more respect. You either keep getting bitten or you swat this mosquito where it will sting the most. When these people don’t have you to bite, the game is over for them. My MIL did NOT deserve my respect, my kindness, or visits with my kids, especially after all the negative stuff she put me through. She was old enough to know how to be respectful, & I truly believe she knew better & also knew how to treat me better. She chose a negative & destructive path with me instead of a positive one. Too bad I rewarded her crappy behaviour with being nice over numerous things (hoping she would change). To this day, I tell myself, “she’s lucky I even allow her access to my family”. My DH won’t cut MIL off (he doesn’t want to HURT her feelings). However, I will swat her attitude because after 20 some years of marriage, I’m not going to continue to let her bite me at her convenience. MIL does behave herself better now because she knows her treatment of me does mean more or less grandchildren time, & more or less time with her son (my DH). I have far more power over this situation than I ever thought I did. Too bad I was too busy being “nice” rather than assertive. Who’s the boss now Grandma?! Get out your fly swatter. It’s time to swat this problem away so there aren’t any more bites!


Sierra February 25, 2014 at 2:08 am

Wow, I am so glad to have found all of you!!! And this article of course!

I am married to the son of a NMIL, and oh what a battle it has been. I can honestly say I had never before in my whole life come across someone like her (or her husband the “enabler”) until the day I started dating my husband. And that was only a year and a half ago. We got engaged after 3 months, and married within 7 months because we needed to marry and get away from her.

I knew my MIL for YEARS before I started dating her son, and thought she was a very sweet lady. In fact, I was working as a stand-in nurse at the same children’s camp as her a year and half before the relationship, when she had a stroke early in the morning before anyone was awake. I found her by chance, woke up her son, and rushed her to the hospital, all in time and she made a full recovery. She loved me after that.

Then the day we let her know we were dating, was the end of the woman I thought I knew for years. Immediately I met with animosity every time I came over, and I lived 3 hours away! She would expect me to spend all my time with her instead of my boyfriend, and do stuff with her instead, day in day out. When I would come over, she would immediately dispatch her son to clean the garage, or do dishes, while I was over until I dragged him away and stopped agreeing to come over. The whole family immediately hated me because I was making their mother upset, but all I wanted was to go to movies and dinner with my boyfriend, who was 26 at the time almost 27 (who had never had a girlfriend).

When he started making conscious choices of me over her, then the lies started to fly. She told him that I had called her to tell her “I want your son, and he’s going to be all mine”. She told everyone in their church that. She started calling everyone she knew to tell all the lies about me to. Lies that I was controlling her son, manipulative, and a liar. (I think this is what is called projection…because she was doing all these things to him). She would always remark to him that I was just a pretty girl and that was all.

When he begin to “doubt reality” and not know what to think anymore, I knew something was TERRIBLY wrong with this woman and her family. His stepfather just enabled my MIL and would shout at me that I was a liar and that I had his son whipped. Little did I know at the time that they had their son paying $1500 a month for rent and neither of his parents really worked. She valued him for the mortgage.

All hell broke loose when he bought a ring and told them he was going to marry me. She did everything in her power to prevent the wedding from happening. She even went to the pastor who was to marry us and told him all the lies till he agreed not to marry us unless we went through pre-marital counseling with him. All while she could keep tabs on our discussions through him. My MIL stooped so low as to tell my husband things like “the family doesn’t trust you anymore” and “your sisters come to me crying because they don’t understand why your fiancee hates them so much.” All lies of course. Something I’ve learned about NM’s…..they like to control information so they can twist it to keep their alliances.

Nobody believed me who were involved in his life or close to his family. She had already gotten through to them and now they had made up their minds. I got severe stomach aches and nausea when we would have to go to their house, or get near them. Even the pastor had his doubts about me until it came to the day of our wedding when he saw her for what she truly was. He still apologizes to this day for the speculation.

My own mother could only feel sorry for me throughout the whole process. She even listened in once to a “skype” call with my MIL while she tried to manipulate me into letting her plan things for the wedding. She warned me to be careful what I was getting into.

Now that we are married, she hardly talks to us, and now keeps us away from his sisters, who are now clueing into what their mother’s game is. I try to take them shopping, and she makes all the excuses in the book as to why they can’t go, and then when they ask her why I never come try to take them shopping, she snidely says “oh it’s probably never going to happen. Just false promise you know.”

I can only imagine what it will be like when we decide to have babies!

To all of you, my condolences. We are all in this together. The best thing we can do is gather more information to better understand the problems our NMIL’s have, so we can protect ourselves from shame, guilt, blame, and anger.

Thanks for the article


Nate January 11, 2015 at 8:24 pm

So, what if it is your soon to be MIL? She’s the efinition of controlling narcissist. She’s shamed my fiancé out of the original wedding dress she wanted. The mother is constantly telling my fiancé that I’m cheating, not good enough, aren’t doing enough, I’m controlling, and the list goes on. Should I confront her on this? My StBMiL is playing a war of attrition with my fiancé and it wears her down, which leads to arguments with us. My fiancé is aware that her mom is narcissitic, but it has been hard for her to break from her mother’s influence completely.

The statements she says about me, I don’t care about, but the statements the mother is making greatly upset my fiancé and our wedding is 8 months out still and the attacks have only gotten worse, and at some points the entire family joins in; and even when my fiancé asks them to stop, they say she just can’t take a joke or is being a sissy. That is what drives me nuts!

Should I confront her about this or wait until after the wedding? Her parents are paying for the wedding, but the attacks on my fiancé are getting far out of hand. The only advice most people give me is to pray about it, but narcissists seem to jot answer to even the higher authority.


Anne July 15, 2015 at 7:58 am

Hi, im looking forward to reading this book….very much. Ive been in analysis for many years. My second hus and and i married a vew years ago but our marriage broke up because of continual interference of both of our mothers. My husband was diagnosed chronic paranoid s hizophrenia when he was 19. Now i fend myself from my mother’s naRcissistic rages. Shes successfully turned my pOor son away from me. 2 years later, my husband comes back……alcohol and drug free ! I hope you can give me suggesstions thank you kindly, Anne


Jacaue November 3, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Thank you. This has really help me make my decision to allow my sons have a relationship with their narcissistic grandmother. Especially since i haven’t heard from my narcissistic ex since he abandoned me and his children five years ago.


Nicola November 16, 2015 at 6:02 am

I dream of confronting my NMIL & NSIL but I know there is no point. To make myself feel better I write letters to my MIL, telling her exactly what I think of her but I never send them. It does help though as it gets it out of your head for a while. I feel so sad & helpless as I watch my husband & his sister (who was the scapegoat) still struggling with the repercussions of their abusive upbringing. Thankfully MIL lives abroad & my husband limits contact with his narcissistic sister, mainly because she kicks off at what she perceives as the slightest criticism & also because she is a narcissistic mother to her 3 kids & he can’t bear to see it. It is harder to get him to see his mother for what she is but that is testament to the excellent job she did on him. He feels so much guilt & duty because of her ‘sacrifices’ but she didn’t do any more than any other mother! In fact, she did far less, as she never attended to any of her kids emotional needs at all. I think people need to take narcissism more seriously because these people are incredibly dangerous, especially when they have kids under their control.


Gail December 19, 2015 at 10:06 am

Wow guys these ppl are real…unbelievable that there are so many around creating havoc.
Last Christmas I found out I have a nmil and initially I was over the moon at realising that all her crazy making wasn’t in my head! Don’t let your children be alone with her…especially young children and even babies! The abuse starts young usually before they are two!
Lucky for me I fed on demand till both mine were old and am a sahm but both my little girl s told me what was going on and she had already chosen a scapegoat and a golden child. I would be lying if I said that just a little alone time with her hasn’t affected my lg. It has!
She parented my husbands siblings differently. My husband was the hero child and because he was his dads favourite he never suffered any overt abuse. Its frustrating because of his loyalty toward her but I have managed to go low contact for the last year. I developed ptsd and needed to see a therapist which is when I insisted low contact til my therapy was completed.
She has now started exploiting my bil to try get to me. It has as he is so very vaunerable and needs her. We have fallen out and I was the only constant in his life! She will stop at nothing to get back at me and even using her own son! I have recently found out that to break free from the narc you need to have no contact with anybody who is close to her. Sad to the bitter end!


LISA February 16, 2016 at 6:00 pm

I really needed this article, I have been abused for 13 years by a NMIL, it all started with her daughter who is a vile, manipulative, cruel , jealous individual. I am basically a nice person I help others and would do anything to help or give to anyone in need. I was so young and innocent when I was confronted with this woman and her daughter. The result was me blowing up and a separation of family. I was used as a scapegoat for all the family problems that existed before me . The denial of so many bad behaviors: they talked about my salary, the way I spent money , my weight, my hair, my shoes . I was not prepared for these type of people . I did not grow up that way. I am angry that I even put up with the behavior at all.
Now that I have 13 years of freedom from them the mother who is close to 90 is still blaming me . She is annoyed by my very existence. My spouse wanted me to go visit her recently and she said “oh I did not know you were coming”. The pissing contest began and I just would not give in and won in the end . Yet she was pissed and her disdain showed. Her daughter is her queen and I am always the Devil . The only way is no contact stay away . Unfortunately, the person I know I am will never be known to her and I am saving it for my family and my child. As I venture out as a single mom at present . I will not take the negative I will always take the high road and remove myself from Toxic , nosy, manipulative , people who have no business in my personal affairs. When the boundaries are set intentionally,and initially , ex:” I don’t feel comfortable discussing this ” is the only response needed and walk away . Thank you again and again


Dingdongthe..... March 2, 2016 at 8:56 am

Think you have it bad? How about a Malignant Narcissistic to the bone MIL that calls TEN, or more times per day? EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! How about a nasty MNmil that sends “selfies” (yes, kissy, pouty lips taken in the bathroom, breast half exposed) to her son, my husband every week? And then tells me I act like a jealous girfriend when I found them? (Projection much?) One that have seen her grand kids 16 and 11yr old twins….ONLY one time ever in her life? Forget presents, no birthdays, graduation, holidays acknowledgements…EVER!! Yes, I said they were (kids) 16 and 11. No, that’s not a typo. I could go on and on with the stories, but to what avail? He (as in my soon to be ex husband) sees nothing wrong with any of this behavior, yes including the “selfies”. (Insert jaw-dropping icon here)!!

So off to see a psychologist I go. Not a clinical therapist, nor, behavioral specialist…a psychologist! Who skillfully explained the dynamics between mother and son, son and mother…that they are BOTH sick! That it takes two to tango and BOTH are enjoying the dance. The name of the dance…enmeshment, parentification, oedipal complex, the works!!

Ladies and gents alike, please google enmeshment. Then google parentification, then oedipal complex, and it’s opposite…electra complex. Then, if you still have the ‘stomach’ to learn even more, I suggest the following books: 1. When He’s Married to Mom and 2.Silently Seduced: When Parents Make Their Children Partners (both by: Kenneth Adams Ph.D.) Jaw freaking dropping does no justice to the enlightment I’ve recieved!! So much so I’ve reached out to the author of the books, as he is still a practicing psychologist today. I gaved him a longer, more detailed description of what I described in the above… to make a much longer story shorter, I’m out of there! Picked up and packed up MY home, (which will be sold at a later date, another story) my children and LEFT!! This is my conclusion to the madness! There is no “fixing” this! No “helping” him “come around”. I didn’t cause it! It’s nt my responsibility to fix anything. His circus, his monkeys..

Something is fundamentally, psychologically, spiritually (or lack of) wrong with these, these, these……”people”. An extremely strong willed, twisted, evil child. That describes her best. You can’t go back and fix six! (She’s 63). Think Norma and Norman Bates….I’m OUT!! This Malignant, narcissitic MIL of mines can have at it! Oh, and by the way whoever coined the phrase…KARMA is a bitch was right!! After years of playing the “oh I’m so sick, son drop everything including your children, run and come take care of me card”, the heifer was diagnosed with end stage 4 uterine cancer of rare form 2 years ago. Clinical trial is her last option and it’s not working.

To sum it all up: Not even sickness, a chronic illness (such as stage 4 rare cancer) changes these types. Not even on her death bed, does my soon to be “ex-narcissistic MIL”, who is very HIGH on that spectrum (malignant describes her best) show any signs of ‘dealing with her issues’. You’ll think now is a good time as any, as she lay there dying.. but no. Blatant denial at best is her fortress! No death bed confessions will be forthcoming. This “woman” has and still IS doing great damage to her two sons (one of which I’m walking away from, as he has picked up a major infestation of her fleas/flaws, the ‘golden child’). It’s truly a matter of the will. I believe in God. I believe in Karma….even so; as she makes her last curtain call, her grand finale, may God see fit to have mercy on her soul. Then and only then, will the scale be balanced…

Good luck all


Rebecki May 31, 2016 at 3:32 am

Oh my goodness I’ve just read your comment and I truly believe this is what I’m currently dealing with (maybe on a lower level). The selfies! I was sick to my stomach when I saw these selfies although there was no pouting but selfies?! From an old woman to her son? And then there’s the rubbish she writes in birthday cards to my son (her only grandchild), she even put pictures of herself in them! I’m desperate to talk to you would you be able to email me at all?


dingdongthe..... September 1, 2016 at 7:23 am

Rebecki. Hi there. I just saw your message right now. I don’t check in here often as it was just a good venting place at the time. I’m so sorry that we had to meet under such circumstances, but we didn’t choose this. Who the heck would? I would love to chat with you, but not sure how to post my email without the whole world to see. Any suggestions?


dingdongthe... February 20, 2017 at 11:58 am

I’m still here holding on!! They’re out for blood and to gain access to my kids!! I’m in a fight of my life for sole custody of the children. May God help me.


Kay April 30, 2016 at 8:16 pm

My husband and I went to counseling regarding my NMIL. I was so confused every time I talked with this woman or interacted with her. I never knew exactly what she meant and when I asked for clarification I was usually, even more confused. My counselor told me to try everything I could to mend the relationship. For 2 months of weekly sessions I tried different things the counselor suggested. Until finally, the counselor said enough cut off contact. It felt good know I had tried everything I could. But it feels even better now knowing there is no contact. Except occasionally when she sees our daughter. When the negativity goes away, life is easier and she isn’t there bringing us down. My advice to anyone with a NMIL is go to counseling is you can afford it, the counselor will hear the symptoms and know what you’re dealing with. Then run.


anonymous June 28, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Hi Michelle
Thank you for your Article.
Please could you respond with some help as I feel I have come to the end of the line in terms of tolerance and good will.
I love my husband and although he has narcisistica traits I have learnt to deal with it and he is learning very slowly to improve towards me. We have had very tough times but we are in love so we still carry on trying after 9 years.
My problem is that I have a NMIL. She is just the opposite of the mil I would have like to have. She is not always openly agressive in front of me.on the contrary she is sickenly sweet and exageratedly smiley…but she throws hurtful comments like a roller coaster when you least expect it.
The problem is not only her being hurtful towards me with personal comments but she is manipulative towards anyone especially her husband. As her husband died years ago when he was a teenager she has used this to keep him always concerned about his poor depressed and lonely mother and has made him become the carer while she was doing bugger all to look after her kids.
She behaves constantly like a teenager…She gets hyper about things that a mature person wouldn’t be bothered about while she gives it a great deal of her appearance and looks amd clothes and stuff like that.
She plays the victim card constantly and the abandoned mother card.
All this is extremely annoying but I can live with it all.
The ones thing driving insane is her obsession with my kids…which are not even born yet…potential kids.
She stated numerous times she will come and live with us when we have kids and I can go work and bring the money home. When I say not a chance she cries in front of everyone and my husband then tells me off.
She is also extremely invasive and overpowering ..i really feel sick thinking about her sorry.i am absolutely powerless.
This has made me anxious to the point that I have delayed having children as I’m afraid to have this person in my life when I have a family. I am now 37 and needing to decide if I am going to go for kids before its too late and I am petrefied of her. Unfortunately my husband is still under her grasp so doesn’t support like I would need to feel secure. I am also the bread winner in a high fly job and therefore feel lots of pressure.
Can you pls help me with accepting this woman, reducing stress,knowing how to send her packing if it comes to it and most of all deal with all this and stay loving and nice to my spouse.
I appreciate your replies and thank you in advance


Barbara September 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Your story sounds familiar the only difference is I do have a child. Baby rabies happened to MIL when my son was born. And it’s been hell since. Being a narc, MIL wanted a do over. Her expectations were so high, she was obsessed. She’s like a vampire who needs my son’s blood. It got creepy and frustrating, we allowed less contact. But classic narc, that was a no no. So she’s been trying to break my family up. Manipulating, putting guilt, victimizing my husband. Demonizing, vilifying me. The works. It doesn’t help that my husband can’t/doesn’t stand up to her. I’ve cut contact with her but she goes to my husband who isn’t dealing everything well. Instead, she had him all wrapped up in her filthy fingers. Occasionally when she’s out of line, he will sort of stand up to her. But she doesn’t care. He’s pleaded to her many times that’s she’s ruining his marriage. She finds a way, sometimes he does too, to blame everything on me. It’s because I’m scared for my son to have a relationship with her. I’m threatened. Delusions of grandeur. There is no comparison. Not even close. It’s because she wanted to be equal to me or maybe more to my son. And now, she’s hardly a grandmother to her first grandchild. But of course, it’s all my fault.


Barbara September 7, 2016 at 12:41 pm

I meant, they think I feel threatened. But that’s hardly the case. She thinks my son is being brainwashed, that he really loooooves her and Im trying to stop it. Hahaha. He likes her but he’s not asking for/about her, preferring her or missing her. He’s old enough to know that grandma MIL is a source of stress at home.


Donna Moore July 17, 2016 at 4:23 am

I wish I had known about Narcissism four years ago before I confronted my in-laws. They disliked me from the start. There was several reasons for this. First, my husband and I had only been dating for a couple of months when we walked into my FIL (a staunch catholic and regular church goer) and another women in – what I can only describe as – a very intimate position. This incident was NEVER discussed. It was the elephant in the room but my husband and I NEVER breathed a word about this. Secondly, I fell in love with the scapegoat son. Their lovely, gentle honest son Mat. We have been married for 20 years and have three beautiful children. Over the years they never acknowledged Mats achievements. In fact, when he did achieve something great, their behaviour towards us became worse. They constantly pipped him against the Golden Child son – the budding Narcissist who lied and deceived in order to protect the fake family facade. He was rewarded for this. His most minor achievements were held up for admiration and his bad behaviour was airbrushed and ignored. He lied to his doting parents about us and suggested we be removed from the family will which convenient for him who had lost his job and marriage due to behaviour similar to his dads. A chip off the old block. He lied but all I had to do is tell my in-laws with the truth and in doing so expose the Golden Childs lies. I even had proof he had lied to them. All was going to be OK. It wasn’t. By telling the truth I challenged their carefully delusional world which in turn set me up to be the target of a massive smear campaign, and I was fought against with a psychopathy I didn’t know existed. They actually cut contact with us. This was their punishment. How do parents do that? They haven’t seen their own son or grandchildren for four years now. As a mum I cannot understand how a parent could do this. That was until a friend – and psychologist- introduced me to the term Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I had heard the term but didn’t know too much about the disorder. Recently Ive been doing some research and I am totally shocked at what Im reading about this disorder. Its like for the past 20 years Ive been looking at something blurry that has suddenly snapped into focus. In fact, when Mat read about this disorder, the articles so accurately described his family he jokingly accused me of writing them. We have no choice but to have no contact with them, for our own sanity health and to protect our children. But if I had my time over again I would have just cut contact. I would never confront them with the truth. As Mat says “Its not about how it is, its about how it looks”.


dingdongthe..... September 1, 2016 at 7:36 am

TO ALL: Sons, daughters, grandchild, whosovever needs support and validation…

There is a wonderful support group over on
Put in the search bar: justnomil (for MIL issues) or, raisedbynarcisst (for everything narcissist). It’s a great place to get support, advice…just to be heard period. You will be in awe of just how prevelant this phenomena is. Hope this helps somebody.


mary September 5, 2016 at 6:55 am

I have been married to my husband for 43 yrs, My MIL has been very trying om me and
my husband. She has 3 sons who she still calls her boys. My husband is understanding and she drives him crazy too but we’ve been going to Florida for 3 months in the winter and she goes too. She has her own condo but we have to see her every day. She insists that we do a lot with her. I got so depressed last year that I considered suicide. I cannot do another winter with her, I told my husband that I can’t go this year if she goes. She is 93 yrs. old and is still in control, what can I do about this, my husband doesn’t seem to realize the full extent of my misery?


Rochelle Porter October 8, 2016 at 8:54 am

I have an Italian mother-in-law yes please commence feeling sorry for me it is pure hell ! She is a narcissist but she definitely plays the victim her husband is indeed emotionally abusive and they basically have no marriage she cooks and cleans he pays the bills. But she is the most manipulative vindictive Backstabber you will ever meet and uses her son to inappropriately meet the needs her husband doesn’t give her . it’s almost incestual it’s so gross! It definitely affects our marriage. honestly ladies the best thing you can do for yourself is emotionally cut them out of your life she has no idea I’ve done this but it has saved me a lot of headspace!


Lisa October 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

My MIL is a huge narcissist. There is no reasoning with these women. You can’t have a rational dialogue so I would say don’t bother confronting. The narc mil is always looking for amunition against you. I always thought I was a nice person and why would my future in laws dislike me? Because these people are miserable and hate life. There is nothing you can do to please a narcissist. Everyone kisses my mil you know what but I don’t live like that. I treat people as they treat me. My husband is terrified of his mother. I can only imagine the hell of growing up with someone so cruel. I am very firm with my MIL. It is like your dealing with a 5 year old. They have the emotional maturity of a small child. Stomping feet and screaming. I am very sorry to all the nice ladies who got stuck with narc mil. It is the worst. The sad thing there is no cure for a NMIL. They literally don’t understand compassion or objectivity, etc. but I love my husband. He is a good person. I am the opposite of his mother so maybe that is why he married me.


Kathy Davids November 11, 2016 at 10:15 am

I have tried to figure what’s wrong with my husband family for years…now I know…been married 39 yrs..and my husband is the black sheep….for marrying a Black women…I’m sure it started long before that…have pretended not to have a problem with the fake mother in law is a very evil and ugly person..but pretendstill to be the sweet old lady..I have exposed her for who she is…have treated are whole marriage…to other people that she is not parshall….but have remained detached..there has been so much has happened in could write a best selling book ! Maybe one day I will.


Done With Her November 19, 2016 at 4:34 am

Thank you for all the stories. From the wedding to babies, it’s all the same. No contact for nine months now. So much to write, I could honestly write a book. Both MIL and FIL are horrid human beings. The things they’ve done to their children, family, and friends are disgusting and disheartening. Yet, no sorry anywhere in sight. I hope she comes across one of these sites one day, and realizes it’s her. God Bless all of you dealing with a poor excuse for a human being. Such a shame when they could have had a nice life.


Done With Her November 19, 2016 at 4:40 am

Let me also say that I have struggled with ‘Honour thy father and Mother’. I was silent for years, even after her talking about my mother, father, sisters, family, friends. Being rude to all of them, in front of me…still silent. I thought it was me. Maybe I did something. No. I made my peace with the Good Lord. He may not exactly like it, but I have explained, and I would hope He understands. It’s been a battle, internally, mentally, and also physically. But, I think to myself, I am protecting my children from what she did to her own children. It’s not happening on my watch.


Patty November 27, 2016 at 5:08 pm

I bite my tongue until the moment is perfect and she (long term boyfriends mom) ends up looking like a really bad mom every single time and I’m the awesome mom with 2 fantastic children that are the result of none narcissistic parenting. Lmfao She hates it to the core my children (from a previous) are normal kids with bright futures ahead of them. Why does she? She’s a narcissist. She hates to look bad in any way. My independent out going children show her how normal parents do it and how fucked up she is to raise her children, to be her emotional tampons. She actually tried to tell me when I could and couldn’t see my boyfriend. Lmao I told her I was 37 and didn’t need her permission seeing how we are adults. Oh she hates me, secretly of course. I’ve turned into a game that just makes her look dumb. Also takes all of the anger and stress away. Sure baby I’d love to go to your mothers to watch her play with her little kitty cats and ignore us the intire time. Because why? Because I know the moment will almost always be there to make her look like a dumb shitty mom in front of her son and her husband. 🙂 love it!


Sam January 10, 2017 at 10:13 pm

If I could like this a thousand times!! I wish I had figured out how to do this with mine. My mil is pure evil..only problem is, she has everyone convinced she is a saint. She has left a bruise (finger print from squeezing) on my daughter’s arm when she was 11 months old. I taped it..yet my husband still doesn’t believe me over her. Mine does all these things in secret to me, physical abuse, and verbal/mental abuse. Yet when my husband is around, she knows how to trigger my make me look like I’m over reacting or unstable. I hate what she has done to my marriage and to my family. I know my husband wont believe a word I say when it comes to her. He also refuses to even see the tape of her hurting our child. It was 10 years ago now..but it came up recently. I feel so much anger, at myself because I should have had her my husband for making me feel like he would take my girls from me if I caused an issue with his mom..and at his pos mother. For abusing a defenseless baby for touching a glass ornament on her coffee table. I have not thought about this stuff for a while. Except, she recently dug her nails in my back when we were visiting them (thankfully they live 7 hours away) I feel as though this is some form of ptsd. I cant even sleep with my husband as I am so angry at him for saying he didn’t believe me and his mother is not like that because he’s known her his entire life. it may sound crazy, but it disgusts me to be intimate with a man that doesn’t believe me over that trouble maker. He has seen some crap over the years. Once (during a visit) she thought we were asleep and she was being so mean to our daughter. I asked him “did you hear that??” he said he did. Next thing you know, he got us to pack our bags and go home. He never told her why he was mad. She insisted she did nothing for him to be that thing you know, the family was calling us to see why we left in a huff. He knows what she is like.. but refuses to admit it, or stand up for the kids and I


Sara November 30, 2016 at 6:45 am

So glad to have found this site. Man was I fooled and it ticks me off even more because I am usually an awesome read of character.
My NMIL was so sweet when we were dating, engaged, etc. My husband & her have always had a strained relationship and when we first started dating (and until we officially moved in together only 2mos ago. Although they haven’t spoken much since end of summer for other bad behavior on her part towards him/us (For reasons not to get into, his *now our* home is in her name AND boy does this psycho use it at least 1x wk against him/us. My FIL lives w/us and NOW so does my husbands 1/2 sister(ZERO blood relation to my FIL) & on weekends her 13yr daughter as well, ALL per my MIL’s dictation. My SIL & NIL are both complete mental cases as well, a product of the MIL and how she runs things, my husband seems like the only normal one, cause he broke away and recognized the crazy early on. But, I digress. Upon finally moving in together a couple months back, she demands I pay her rent, she demands how the house be kept and as of Monday, since he won’t take her calls & refused to go to visit on ThnxGvg, sent a note up w/SIL, stating everything should be perfect and we should all not be home & ALL doors must be unlocked on Dec.3rd as she is coming for a check in as she is SELLING THE HOUSE our HOME. My husband purchased this home several years ago(before me) and she knows it was dream home, when it came on market he jumped to get it, he had been watching this home for years….and he finally got it! and he could move his dad in and they could be together, plus my FIL and I also get along marvelously(She hates that). She has a black, self-serving-Narcissist soul. I am the exact opposite, even when having my own bad days and lately there have been plenty, I keep to myself, trying to just keep quiet while this wrecking ball of a MIL, willing to basically put us on the street just to be the one all attention is focused on and she can be the puppet master she tries so hard to be… I can’t imagine what it will be like when she retires this coming summer. I told my husband that I was sorry she was destroying his dream and I don’t put it past her to follow through-all the way(I just want to punch her for doing this to him and treating so many, so poorly).
As usual in her eyes she is doing the work of mother Theresa and is an angel. It’s obvious from all the kids this woman has popped out, only 1 truly has anything to do with her and that’s because she is sweet and complies.
It’s a damn shame and the last thing I needed especially was all this and I love how she waited until I got all moved in (she literally told me I had 2weeks to unpack all my stuff and get it put away(only to then tell us she is going to sell it). *In a home she may visit 3-4x a year, SHE calls the shots and everyone must comply, if not, she will let you know. I had the wool pulled over my eyes but, I have wiped them clean and now I see the real WOLF (MIL). It’s unfortunate, but I don’t see her being a part of our lives in the future at all, esp with the whole house nonsense and I honestly don’t think she gives a crap either. P.S. my husband is her only son, with 6+ daughters, so it’s apparent, she cares for no one but herself. So sad, I stopped praying for, now I pray for my husband & our marriage. At least he and I have a strong, deep love & marriage that she cannot penetrate (which probably only adds fuel to her fire because we “won’t bite” at her BS antics). And so the saga continues… Best of luck to all of us out here. So glad I found this page, I have never dealt with this type of person and once I see a person for what they are, I can distance myself easily, UNTIL now & this cancerous MIL. Her negative energy will follow us everywhere if we don’t make a clean break, permanently. So sad and disappointing. I don’t understand how people can live with such rotted hearts and souls, I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror if I was even 1/8 as spiteful as this woman.


Struggling December 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Hello Michelle,
I am 56 and have been with my husband since I was 17. It was difficult early on to experience my husband’s mother since I was only 17 and had come from my own extremely dysfunctional family. My nature, I am told, is quiet, agreeable and a pleaser. I would assume due being raised by an alcoholic mother and problem drinking father. I also am the oldest of three. I would like to add that I take my responsibility as the oldest seriously and am a natural care giver. I have mostly tried to avoid any conflict by either silently appearing agreeable or very casually suggesting to my mother in law another way to look at something that she may have inappropriately suggested or said. Up until recently, I have never set a boundary between me and my mother in-law. I would also like to provide you with information about my own work I have done and continue to do with a professional therapist. I have been in therapy since I was 26 and as I stated I am now 56. I have never missed a week since I first began. It is just in the last 16 years, though, that the whole concept of boundaries ever came up, or at least, I was finally ready to hear it. My therapist made the comment that I was playing victim and that I had the power to push back. She was speaking at the time of my husband. He was becoming increasingly more controlling, demanding and his expectations were unreachable. I was depressed and feeling I was a real loser. I was informed that I could not change his behavior but if I changed mine by pushing back, placing boundaries, I would begin to heal from all the years of emotional and mental abuse since childhood. Still I never much set up boundaries in any of my other relationships except for my husband, which by the way, has slowly turned our relationship into a very healthy happy and functional one. Reason for my writing, is this….Nine months ago my mother in law came to live with my husband and I. We have two adult children, my son still lives with us. In the time she has been with us, I have regressed and become majorly depressed four times. In my 30’s and when I turned 40. I was hospitalized four times for major depression. Since I have been 40, I have made great strides and had become very functional with minimal sad moments. Needless to say my mother in law is a perfect picture of narcissism in your article. My dilemma or rather my agony is after nine months of being her personal care giver and all that entails 24/7, and trying to be relational (guidance from my therapist), I can not again become depressed, which a few days ago, I knew was coming on due to a change in my approach with my mother in law. My husband would contest to the fact that I have been nothing but kind and caring, never once upset or complaining about how much attention my mother in law requires of me. It is when her claws come out, that I get deeply depressed and end up in bed four three to four days. So despite what I do for her in a loving way, if I plan on traveling 125 miles north to help with my daughter’s wedding plans, or go out with a friend for a bit, or spend time on the phone with my grieving father and special needs sister because my mother passed away five weeks ago, my mother in law, starts judging me, complaining to me and telling me what I need to do. I made a conscious decision to back her off like i had to do so many years ago with my husband and I know you know what came down, and come down it has. We are now in a major upheaval with my mother in law totally out of her mind over me setting a boundary and since she keeps on engaging me, I keep on stating what I will not accept and what will not be tolerated. Needless to say, we are in a crisis, our family, my husband, myself and my 25 year old son who still lives with us. I have never ever spoken to her this way and maintained my position for these past three days and it is majorly not pleasant. My sister in law by the way early on when I asked her for intermittent respite said that her own family was and would always be her priority, come first and that she could not commit to anything in regards to lending a hand. By the way her three children are 23, 21 and 16, certainly not babies. Any advise is appreciated. Kindly and regards, Struggling


Tina Showalter December 28, 2016 at 10:41 am

This is what I have dealt with for 15 years and am still dealing with today! Unfortunately my partner will flip flop one minute agrees with me but abs afraid to confront her and helps attack me with her at times. Over the years I have made him cut contact when she is dangerous. I was asked to be the bigger person recently and asked to be around her but under conditions she wasn’t too act these ways again and one month later she was at all her tricks and they’re getting worse by the day. Its exhausting to compete with her, etc. I just want normalcy! If I try to say anything im told im wrong by my partner. Thanks for the information.


Tina Showalter December 28, 2016 at 10:43 am

Sorry about typos. Abs is supposed to be…. is afraid


Cindy January 9, 2017 at 2:34 pm

All I can say is this article is the exact description of my MIL. She is a nightmare. She had always said inappropriate things to me when no was around. Well now she been caught talking nasty to me on speaker phone with my husband (her only child) standing a foot from my phone. He set-up a meeting to discuss her métallo get & interference with our teenage children and the phone call. Despite what my husband and I heard she proceeded to deny aging or doing any such things. Say we think a like so we heard her wrong! Our hearing is fine. Needless to say we felt her behavior was manipulative and harmful to our relationship & our teenage children. We were forced to back off and keep as much distance as possible between us as we no longer trust her. She continues to try & cause family upset but we are working hard to keep a happy healthy relationship without her interference. It is a sad & unfortunate situation but allowing her involvement only causes heartache & turmoil. Thanks for the help!


Adrian January 27, 2017 at 11:37 am

This is a great article and unfortunately my mother in law and step father in law are exactly the above. She has created false accusations about myself which has split my wife’s family and now my wife feels alone while her step dad has disowned my wife. Luckily my parents and sister are supporting us through this but we feel we should just give in just for the peace but this isn’t the first time and I’m concerned it won’t be the last.
We have been accused of using our children against her by not allowing her to see them but she has already (in writing) threatened to tell our children the truth in an attempt to turn them against us. As a result we have been completely honest with our kids to extinguish any future attempts that she may make to destroy our family and to our surpris our eldest daughter has noticed her mum crying and being emotionally hurt by them. Due to everything that has happened and the lies the mil has created I don’t trust her at all.

And the reason this all started was because my wife made contact with her dad who left years ago and has just come back into our life’s and we introduced our kids to the grandad they never met as we wanted to give him a second chance as life’s too short but didn’t tell them. After a few weeks of arguements my wife was told even if we told them they would have reacted the same so they are basically saying she needs to choose between them or her dad.


Lisa March 22, 2017 at 6:01 am

Found this page no more than 5 hours after I chose to confront my MiL.
Was informed I was being too sensitive, I’ve hurt her and need to remember she has feelings too. To top it off, it seemed like my MiL threatened me when she said “don’t hold grudges, I’ll only hurt myself.”
45 minutes after being told it’s all in my head, she starts to happily chat about my son. This article really is on point.


Angie July 19, 2017 at 4:11 am

Hi all, I have read nearly all if your comments and can empathize with you all….I am living this as well. There is one thing that stands out in in our stories….we are toooo nice, we are part of the problem. I have a no contact situation with my mil, its been great for my mental health as all the things that have happened to you have happened to me as well. Suppose you have noticed…..there are no nmil comments on this thread!!! None to say sorry for being such a manipulative person to their families…..see….they know who they are and what they are doing, mental disorder or just plain bad behaviour? I will leave that up to you. One way to help it all go away is for your male partners to stand up to their mothers. I do not respect my husband for not supporting me. Yes it had been going on for years , and all of a sudden I just woke up to it and said NO MORE!!! To hell with the consequences..,this has to stop. I told my husband to man up and support me….blocked my mil from sending any emails to me…blissful!! My kids are adults now and don’t live near her, if they want to see her they can , but they are on to her so that’s good. The one thing she has taught me is not to be like her. I have better things to do with my life… strong!!!


Angie July 19, 2017 at 4:32 am

Sorry for typo’s……seriously, I wish you all success in ridding yourselves of this time wasting, soul destroying portion of your lives, please replace it with love and light for yourselves and your immediate family.


eve April 11, 2017 at 9:27 am

Well after reading everyones stories I decided to chip in with my own inlaws from hell story…So a little back story I was a single mom looking for a place to move with 2 young girls I seen a ad in the paper went to see the place and took it on a whim the lady that rented it to me was the super intendant and it was a bit of a fixer upper but all I could afford at the time so she promised she would fix it up.I moved in can’t get hydro in my name because the previous tenant owed alot of money so the land owner was in italy so hydro kept it in her name #flag one. So Over the course in time super indendant son came over fixed things and well we started talking and he asked me out…we dated for a YEAR I had a opps and got pregnant on the pill well. We Tell his mom I’m pregnant she doesnt believe me she thinks I’m just saying thay so she asks to see the pregnancy test now mind you at the time I was 30 years old no reason to lie.So I show her and shes like omg you guys are having sex!?! I am 30 yrs old he is 33 um yeah thats how babies are made lol so she got used to the idea or so I thought we had our dating ultra sound at 6 weeks went and showed it to her she was like noooooo that’s not yours um yes it is? so fast forward Im 5 months pregnant and we are looking at new furniture Im working for a group home where we had bed bug out breaks etc so she comes over when she sees me coming home from work and says the neighbors down the street threw out there couch set you can walk down there and have a look. If you want Im like no thats okay Im really not okay with taking furniture off the street seeing how I worked with people with mental illness and seen bed bugs etc I said bye to her and went inside well 5 minutes later she was beating on my door punching the door yelling and screaming for my dh (dear husband) to go outside saying I yelled at her and was rude to her And Im like omg wtf I didnt know what was going on so we ignored her figured she would go away oh no she went home and texted me nasty ass messages calling my kids retarded my unborn baby retarded and saying my dh (dear husband) was only with me because I was pregnant so he had enough went over there asked her what her problem was well next thing you know she is slapping him punching him for no reason dhs step father had to pull her off.So we go nc for months she apologises we want to keep the peace. because we are moving having a baby etc so we pretend to forgive her my 3 year old was born Dec 12/2013 we love in Canada so it was like minus 12 that day with a wind shield of minus 30. So my water breaks after the kids go to school, our truck won’t start BIL (brother-in-law) is sitting at mother in laws house he wont give us a ride because MIL (mother-in-law) tells him not to so I’m in labor and had to TAKE A CITY BUS because we had not enough time to go to the bank and cash our pay checks in minus 30 weather!!!! We decided not to tell her where we moved to so before we move CAS shows up and has a list of alligations against us we prove them wrong they leave close the file we know its her but she acts all dumb founded so my dh (dear husband) gets laid off for the winter he is a roofer for some reason his unemployment checks get sent to our old house we ask her over the course of 3 weeks have you seen them nope nothing cane we begged her to.let us know at that point we are poor because I quit my job prior to the baby coming so I could stay home we are eating from the food bank and getting diapers and formula from the baby bank mind you she knew we were living rough I had to threaten that I was going to get the post office to do a investigation and low and behold his $2000 dollar unemployment check showed up at 8 at night dated 3 weeks prior.Not only that she trashed the house we moved out of shut the heat off and let the pipes freeze and burst put maxi pads with ketchup all over the walls broke the toilet took pictures and sent it to all my family and dhs family and friends and said we left it like that andddddddddd she brought in 5 or 6 neighbors that I knew and were moms to the kids my kids hung around with at school so not only did both my kids get tortured by those kids and get called names I was utterly dumb struck and humiliated by this woman and it caused alot of issues in our relationship 3 years later we dont talk to her or evil sister inlaws or anyone from his family because they all don’t even know me but because she is a. Crazy narassist they think that I’m dirty crazy person who took dh (dear husband) away from them all ans won’t let him talk to them even though he has said its because of her and now she has reached out and she wants forgiveness but only wants to talk to my dh (dear husband) and my lo wants nothing to do with me or my other kids…How I know she is a narassist is because she twisted everything around and blamed everything on us…and when her other kids visit she hunches over like the hunch back of notra dom and acts like she is crippled but few times I have seen her around the city in stores she has stood up straight and walked just fine now she has them all convinced she has heart problems and we are assholes for not talking to her or having anything to do with her…Thats my inlaw story of hell.Edited to fix some errors.Till this day I think if she had not turned on her own son he would still be taking her side.


Nono May 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm

I could write a 1 million paged novel about my nmil and it still wouldnt be the full story so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Sorry in advance I will probably bounce around a lot I’m no Ernest Hemingway!

So I grew up around my now fiance so keep in mind I’ve known my nmil for 10+years, this lady is something out of a Stephen king horror novel. So when we were in high school my fiance parents got a divorce and his father moved a few states away so my nmil was left with my fiance( at the time 15) and his little brother ( at the time 6) fast forward a year…. her house was the go to house if you wanted to drink and do drugs… so basically the party house, all of the alcohol was bought by her since we were obviously underage. So while these wild parties went on my fiance and our friends were left to care for little brother while nmil went out and got drunk and brought random men home…. keep in mind nmil was in her late 40s at the time, she brings home some real scum ( druggie thief ghetto white trash) this man was in his mid 20s!!!!! Long story short this man was here to stay and still is in the picture to this very day. she did not parent my fiance or his brother. So at 7years my fiancees’ brother was taken by cps and his dad was awarded custody. Everyone knows things have to be pretty bad to have the state award custody to the father. So that was just a little back story, lets fast forward to 2 years ago. My brother in law was 15 and would come for summers to visit my nmil, she talked him into lieing to the court so she could get full custody back ( she had him say the father was abusive and neglectful, also had him say he was so depressed he tried commiting suicide twice. Which are allllllllll lies). Rightfully so my fil was so taken back he didn’t even care to go to court and fight and I truly don’t blame him. So anyways over a year ago I got pregnant and we were at nmil house when my fiance made the mistake of leaving us alone inside. As always she started telling lie on top of lie, I got very irritated and honestly in the nicest way possible told her what she was saying was not fully true….. she flipped out and I grabbed my things walked outside and at the top of my lungs said to my fiance “your mom’s a fucking psycho let’s go now!”. She called him when we got home and of course told him a totally fabricated version, thankfully he knew she was lieing. She also had the nerve to make the comment ” I see how it is, she’s more important than me”. She went through a whole slur of emotions from Angry to pitty party, you know the classic ‘I’m the victim card’. I did not speak to her for 6+ months. She never bothered to apologize or anything. Out of the blue she texted me and acted like nothing had ever happened so I followed her lead and I totally regret that because she now thinks she can get away with whatever. Just this past mother’s day she came over for a bbq that SHE insisted on having, she showed up sloppy drunk and acted like a toddler and stayed for maybe 30 mins, not to mention She was CARRYING MY 1 YEAR OLD AROUND DRUNK!!!!!!! I had no idea She was drunk at the time or i would have tore her apart, trust and believe that. She texted me the day after and apologized not for being drunk but because she was sooooooo upset about a family member that’s sick ( bullshit) . I have not replied and I don’t plan to. I’m so done with saying ” it’s okay ” because it’s not okay and I’m done with her narcissistic character. This quick run down doesn’t even scratch the surface. I could make everyone’s stomach turn with stories about her. A “mom” that puts a drug addict above her kids well being, a “mom” that constantly borrows money when she makes $90k a year, a “mom” that brings different men home and sleeps with them constantly, a “mom” that only loves you if you do something that betters only herself, a “mom” that lies and twists things for her own pleasure is NO MOM OR EVEN A REAL WOMAN IN MY BOOK!!!!!!

Good luck Everyone! I’m ready to take this bull by the horns, this side show is over!!!!!!


Felicity July 14, 2017 at 6:41 am

I’m really struggling now, because my narcissistic mother-in-law, who could also be generous and loving (often because it promoted her image as she had scripted it in her mind), now in having dementia is more difficult than ever. She’s always been difficult and contentious and insulting and selfish and controlling, so now when she is mostly helpless and can’t bully people into acquiescing to her demands, she’s enraged and taking it out on everyone, but mostly on the son (my husband) who has stayed nearby and helped her all these years and put up with her anger and lies about him and me on a daily basis for months. The sons who moved as far away from her as possible have been spared 95% of the trauma. My problem is that I want to be able to find a way to not feel negative about her so that I can help her in this terrible disease. I’ve heard her bad mouth everyone for years and insult her sons and me and her other daughters-in-law behind their backs, so it’s quite difficult to put that aside. The nurses and aides she mostly loves, because they don’t know that her negativity and abuse isn’t caused by her dementia but is the real her, just without filters, so they can like the likeable parts of her without the resentments I have, and they treat her the way her narcissism demands. Even if she can’t help it now, before dementia when she could help it, she treated people badly. I guess I’m venting here, but if anyone has any suggestions for a way to truly just feel compassion and kindness towards her, I would appreciate hearing them. I know it intellectually, but so far I’m not able to truly feel it. Mostly it’s my resentment of how she’s abused my husband, who’s one of the most selfless and kind people I’ve ever known. If anyone reading this prays, please say a prayer for my MIL and me and the whole family. Thank you.


mary o September 2, 2017 at 11:24 am

Thank you to all the people who have posted here. I have only just discovered the term ‘narcissism’ and the relief but also anger, I feel is earth shattering. I have been putting up with my MIL’s behaviour for 12 years. I am literally on the edge with anxiety and stress. I don’t even have the energy to write about all the horrible things she has done through the years. The anger is about how I have been the target of her venom for absolutely no reason (except I stole her golden boy). I am a very easy going, non judgemental person. I have always tried my hardest to be nice to her as I am to all people but of course I know now I was completely wasting my time because she is sick. I have let her behave abominably, tell terrible lies to her family and friends about me and then when she is done with that for a while she wormed her way back in again with gifts etc. No apologies for behaviour ever!!!! The hardest thing for me to take is the way she has groomed my daughter. they have been inseparable for years but my daughter is nearly 11 now and she has realised that her grandmother is not a nice person. She confided in me that she has not wanted to visit her for over a year but was afraid to say it to us or her grandmother. My heart nearly broke!!!! She has criticised me to my child and when my daughter asked her why she did this she said she couldn’t help it because every time she looked at my daughter she was reminded of me. She has stepped over the line on numerous occasions making decisions for my child that were not hers to make, including informing her on puberty, menstruation etc. I have decided that ‘no contact’ is the way for me. I have written her a letter today informing her of this because confrontation does not work. she roars at me if I confront her and accuses me of causing her high blood pressure. This of course is more manipulation but I am waiting for the news that she is in hospital because I know she will be enraged and she will try to punish me. It will take me a while to recover from this as I am a person who is prone to anxiety anyways. Just my luck that I landed a narcissistic, wicked mother in law. but I am trying to be positive and I look forward to getting on with my life with out her. My daughter has not spoken to her grandmother for three weeks and doesn’t want to. this will hit my MIL the worst but it is completely her own fault. I have no pity for her whatsoever and I do not want her to have anything to do with her grandmother either. My husband doesn’t say much. He is used to his mother but he is highly embarrassed by her behaviour. He agrees completely with my decision and he keeps his distance from her as much as he can. Unfortunately we live next door and he works on the farm with his dad so sometimes he can’t avoid some contact. Again I thank you all for sharing your posts. they have helped me so much.


Christine September 12, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Oh this article is my ex mil to a T! Have you met her? I had 2 children with her only son (we never got married) he’s a narcissist also, we haven’t been together since our kids were 1 and 2 (8 years ago) I ran FAST! I was 18 when I got pregnant, very young and very impressionable and fell for it ALL. I’ve been doing my research and have read a lot of about this personality disorder and trying to get help on how to handle them. Boundaries boundaries boundaries! I wish! My ex has every second weekend and half holiday visitation, he rarely see’s them and the kids spend the visits with his mother. And there is nothing I can do legally about it. There is no “physical” abuse. With my kids being 9 and 10 now and being able to vocalize more of what is going on at the grandmothers house I’ve put them in councilling. Nothing I say to this woman goes through! She’s never wrong, ever! Gaslights me to no end, I spent so many years thinking I was crazy and a terrible mother and riddled with anxiety with having to leave my babies with this woman and having no power as their mother to protect them. I’ve been with my husband 7 years now and he has educated on my ex and his mothers harmful narcissistic ways and showing me that I AM NOT CRAZY! I haven’t found any information on how to deal with these people when you have no control to say “no contact!” When the law will not help you because there are no bruises. All I can do is love my kids with all my heart, keep reassuring them, and bring them to their councilor to hopefully learn some useful tools on how to protect themselves against these very toxic sick people. I have 0 energy to even describe all of the malfunction from them the past 10 years, it’s taken up so so so much of my mind, it overtakes everything, the crypling anxiety I go through every second weekend my kids have to go there is exhausting and I’m just so so tired, I hope with every fiber in my being that my kids will come out of this stronger and smarter and that they know what healthy vs toxic is and choose the right path.


Meaghan October 29, 2017 at 1:27 pm

I don’t think I have enough words to thank you for this website. It gave me so much insight, information and advice. It also helped me to feel like I am not alone. My MIL is an alcoholic who is only ever concerned with her feelings. I am not certain whether she is a narcissist, however it always seems to sound like a definition of the way things go with her. It’s such a didficult situation. I hate seeing my husband hurt by it and I hate dealing with it. Luckily my husband sees the bad behavior and doesn’t accept it, but that’s on the surface. He still can have a tendency to say “she is my mom” and basically that there’s nothing he can do. To me there is something. Set boundaries. Protect ourselves. And our marriage. Thank you again!


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