Narcissistic Mother-in-Law

by Michelle Piper

What if you realize you have a narcissistic mother-in-law? For your spouse, the child of the narcissist, dealing with the parental narcissist can be more taxing and harder than dealing with anyone else.

But what happens when you marry into having a narcissistic relative? How are you supposed to deal with a narcissistic mother-in-law? You’re not even biologically programmed to love this woman, yet you may feel you have to put up with her because your spouse does.

When you first meet your narcissistic mother-in-law to be, she may act charming, witty, and like she’s genuinely interested in you and your life. In reality, it may be she only wants to deepen the relationship between the two of you in order to use your trust and confidence against you or your spouse later.

It may not be until the relationship between you and your partner gets serious, or even until marriage, that you start to feel her wrath. She may see you as competition, vying for control over her child’s love, loyalty and attention.

She’s a master manipulator and knows what to say and do to make you think she really cares. She’s also skilled in planting the seed of doubt.

Narcissistic mother-in-laws have been operators and controllers since childhood, perfecting their craft as they age. They brag, nag, intrude, compete, and often defeat those who attempt to have healthy boundaries. The boundary violating relationship she likely created with her child is now tarnished because you’ve come into the picture and taken her narcissistic supply away.

When I think about this topic, I think of the movie Monster-In-Law, starring Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez. Jane Fonda plays a successful TV host, a divorcee several times over, and the mother to a son who falls in love with Jennifer Lopez’s character.

When this happens, Fonda’s character is nice and fake to the woman her son is dating. But as soon as she finds out they are getting married, BOOM, Fonda does everything in her power to try to get rid of her.

In the movie, her son was her golden child, the one who could do no wrong in her eyes and only deserved the best. Many times with a narcissistic mother, the golden child is a son. If this golden child grows up and ends up being the partner you fall in love with, this could be a serious problem. Unfortunately, no partner may ever be good enough for a golden child.

In the movie, her son never saw the manipulative side of her, but it was there all along. The couple’s relationship almost breaks apart right before the wedding. Luckily, Fonda’s character has a sudden change of heart and agrees not to interfere with the relationship anymore.

That last part is, of course, the Hollywood happy ending the audience waits for. In the real world, not the one on the big screen, this is definitely not a typical case. The damage of a narcissistic mother-in-law opens wounds for years to come in both spouse and the narcissistic mother’s grandchildren.

From the narcissistic mother-in-law’s perspective, “giving away” her child to be with an adult partner isn’t an option. If that child was her mirror or golden child, the perceived loss can be excruciating to the narcissistic mother-in-law and she’ll feel threatened.

In contrast, if her child was in the scapegoat role, you’re going to hear about it and she’ll try to enlist you against her adult child. You will be targeted to join with the narcissistic mother or will be her enemy and these roles can flip flop over time.

If your partner was in the lost child role, the maternal narcissist may resent that you are “distracting the family” from her or her other children such as the golden child, with your marriage ceremony, your children and so forth. How dare you steal the spotlight from them with your normal life?

Whatever the role your NMIL put your partner in, you and your spouse will need to show a united front in arguments and disagreements between you and your narcissistic mother-in-law. Your partner relationship will be only as strong as the values you mutually agree to maintain. Whoever affronts them, mother or not, simply cannot be trusted if you wish to protect your intimate bond.

If your spouse isn’t yet aware he or she has a narcissistic parent, refrain from talking about her flaws without clear examples of the negative behavior. Initially, your spouse may have difficulty seeing the dysfunctional behavior because, to survive a narcissistic mother in the first place, your partner may have used coping strategies like “minimizing” or “denying” his or her parent was and is abusive.

Set limits with her and make sure your spouse is aware and agrees to these limits. Remember, she is emotionally very young, and like a child will test your boundaries. Decide together what role your narcissistic mother-in-law is going to play in your new lives.

If she can, your narcissistic mother-in-law will nitpick at everything you do, from how you spend your resources like money and time, to how you keep your house to how you raise your kids. She wants a say in everything and is good at getting into your personal space.

Even when limits are put into place, it may not stop her from overstepping your boundaries. If things do not change, you and your spouse may need to strictly limit interactions with her (low contact) or completely sever them (no contact).

In a normal family, tensions usually ease or are at least tolerated over time. You were probably not raised the same way as your spouse nor did you grow up with the same values, beliefs, and family issues and problems. Getting married means accepting differences and making each other better people. When it comes to a narcissistic mother-in-law, however, you and your spouse are expected to make unreasonable concessions.

In a narcissistic family system, issues are more difficult to overcome. Remember, the less functional a family, the more rigidly it holds onto old, unproductive patterns.

Be aware of your narcissistic mother-in-law’s history in order to better defend against her manipulations. Narcissists are toxic but predictable. If you observe her dysfunction with a studied eye, you and your spouse can effectively strategize against her repetitive boundary violations and unrealistic expectations.

The motivation for her narcissistic behavior may be the result of a myriad of causes which can hint at future inappropriate behavior. She may have been spoiled or overindulged when she was a child.

She may be the product of narcissistic parenting, perhaps the daughter of a narcissistic mother herself, and was only loved conditionally based on achievements and performance. Her toxic behavior could also be due to some form of abuse or neglect as a child and her narcissism resulted as a defense mechanism to it all.

Knowing her history doesn’t excuse her hurtful actions but can better equip you to protect yourself, your spouse and children from a maternal narcissist.

Unlike her, you are capable of being empathetic. You can walk in another person’s shoes and take a look from their perspective.

Although there are ways of confronting your narcissistic mother-in-law in a fair way to set limits, normal limit setting may not be enough to curb the toxic behavior of a NMIL.

As a reasonable person, you’ll usually first attempt the gentle boundary setting which has worked with mentally healthy people throughout your life, but eventually be forced by the pathology of the NMIL to go to greater lengths like low or no contact to protect your relationship against the bizarre violation of the healthy boundaries you and your partner have established. Decide on the amount of phone calls, visits, and exposure that you and your family receive from any narcissist.

Don’t take what she says to heart as she can only reflect back a distorted view of others due to her own impairment and her perceptions of you will be flawed.

As a couple, discuss your limits and boundaries regarding your NMIL. Then, set them in order to decrease the likelihood your narcissistic mother-in-law will hurt your relationship or the ones you love.

If you have found this post helpful, please click the “Like” button.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Morris. July 23, 2016 at 2:25 am

I don’t talk or think about narcissists much any more.

I was the son of a narcissistic mother and she sabotaged every relationship that I ever had.

Six years ago, however, the old girl got up to her old tricks and so I gave her her marching orders.

It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. I mean that purely from a psychological perspective. It was really hard to break all of the old behaviour patterns and false beliefs.

Anyway, my point being – I chose my Wife and children over my narcissistic mother.

It was absolutely the right choice and I’ve never looked back. My “parents” were poison and I’m glad that they’re gone.

It can happen – sons of narcissistic mothers can cut the ties and walk away …… it isn’t easy, it can be done and it does happen.



rosemary August 15, 2016 at 9:51 pm

I have a narcissistic mother in law from the get go. When my husband and I came together after over 20 years apart and he brought me to his home to meet his mother. It only took a few visits for her to tell me that the only reason I was able to be there with her son is because she liked me. Otherwise she said I would already told him to get rid of you. My husband and I decided to marry some time later and all was well for a while. Until she found out I managed my husbands money and she began to wage war. She told him that he was to limit the amount of money he gave him. That I should go get a job etc. Sure enough he walked in out the blue one day and said that he was only giving me this limited amount of money and that I should go make money if I need more. That his mother worked for 30 years and that I should go do the same instead of doing nothing. The crazy things is that I work from home and work less for the same amount of money it takes him a month to make. But there is more… so, we started arguing about the money and in spite of the fact that I had all our finances in super check and had even reduced our expenses by close to $600 per month. He said that from now on he was saving and managing his own money and that I had been hoarding his money all along, which is not true. It only took another day of that for him to quickly pack his bag and head to his mother immediately who promptly welcomed him with open arms and suggested that I not worthy of him. I phoned her after the second day he moved in with her and she did not answer. Some time later she sent a text that she would not be answering me at all. So, I wrote her again saying that this was very serious and that there was no reason for her to have taken him back into her home when he was already a married man, had a home and a wife. To which she said that I had already been previous married and insinuated that I was not good enough for her son. I continued to explain that she should be supporting his marriage and helping him become a good husband. She answered not. I then texted him asking if he would like to come home. To which he answered that he was home (with his mother). I said I missed him to which he responded he missed me too but that he could not leave. SInce then he has said that he will not be working on our marriage because he now has to work on his saving money and making money. That I am too much work and difficult to love. Today I asked him if he loved me and he took a breath a said yes. However he was to come over to our home to pick up things and never showed up. His mother didn’t express any interest in helping us or him leave and I am sure she is happy now that he boyfriend soon is back home with her. She along the way has made all kinds of demands from me . That I should call her daily, that I should go over to her house. That I should tell my husband to cut his hair. That I should this and that…
I have no idea how things will be for my husband and I, we have been married for 6 months. He married late in life for the first time. He confessed after marriage as he opened up that he’s parents had been extremely controlling of him all his life. How hard it had been for him. When he finally got out all he wanted to do was everything. So, he got hooked on drugs, women for many years. Hence, why we could not marry when younger. They have a volatile relationship were she tells him what to do all the time and then stresses him out. They are now locked up in her home like they have been for years watching tv and being critical of people and things.


rosemary August 15, 2016 at 10:05 pm

I am glad you shared your experience. My husband had similar experiences except his parents made it as if no one else where the only people that loved him. It is a very twisted situation. He’s mom is still alive and she would control everything he bought, wore and the arguments were constant. Some how she caught wind that I managed our finances and began her devious behavior. That I need to get a job and that he should only give me a limited amount of money because I was hoarding all his money and since I am previously divorced that I would take off with all his hard earned money.

He is now living with her, she refuses to talk to me or recognize that he is married and that he should be in his home with me trying to work things out.

Your shared testimonial was hopeful. As according to my husband he misses me but cant leave from his mothers.


Stressed DIL August 3, 2016 at 9:06 am

This is my MIL. Hands down. She exhibits all the signs of NPD and it causes me so much anxiety. She doesn’t listen to us, undermines our parenting, turns every situation into a pity party for herself, says the weirdest stuff to make me feel awful, acts like my husband is still her baby, tries to pry into our financial business, and when things don’t go her way (no matter what the situation), she uses her husbands passing to try and make people feel sorry for her.
Speaking from an analytical perspective, her behavior is only pushing her son away. He doesn’t even want to call her once a week, I have to dial the number and make him talk to her. I feel that even though she always has an agenda, it’s important to try and continue a relationship for the sake of my husband. We live out of state, and her behavior has affected their relationship in the most negative ways.
Is there a way to be “nice” and tell this woman she needs to stop the bs?!?


Also Stressed August 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Other than the kids, you could be describing my MIL. Even down to the using her husband’s passing! I wish I had an answer b/c I need one too. Unfortunately, we have had to cut off contact with her at the moment. My husband recently had a mild heart attack. (He’s fine, but it was scary!) Her first response when she arrived at the hospital was how she couldn’t believe this was happening to her again. My FIL died of a massive heart attack last year. She was completely horrible throughout the whole situation. I don’t think there is a way to be “nice” and tell her to stop the bs. One of the main signs of a narcissist is that they don’t see how their actions impact other people. I’ve tried to be nice. I’ve tried to be direct. I’ve tried being a b*$%!. Nothing works. My only suggestion is to limit contact. I know that will probably be hard since you have kids…


Anonymous August 17, 2016 at 11:12 am

Why would you want your husband to continue having a relationship with this woman? She sounds horrible. Take your husbands lead and let hi manage the relationship. If you push him he will resent you and it will damage your marriage.


kings August 5, 2016 at 10:34 pm

My mother committed suicide 12/251995. I found her. It’s difficult around the holidays. My husband tells me he spending Christmas with his mom knowing I can’t get the following Monday or Tuesday off. I have no family here and he’s ok with that.. I just don’t understand. I don’t know what to do.


Jennifer August 27, 2016 at 4:35 am

I’m so terribly sorry. Let him know how you feel. Maybe she can come to your house?


stacey allam September 8, 2016 at 8:46 pm



Monsters in Law!!!! August 11, 2016 at 8:49 am

Monster in Law describes my relationship with my in laws with NO Hollywood ending. For years I have been dealing with a NMIL and I married the golden child, who has narcissistic tendencies, but he truly wants to change. My FIL, I believe, is not narcissistic he does whatever it takes to make his wife happy to “keep the peace”. Well, after being married to my husband for almost 17 years (19 years together) I finally said enough about 2 years ago! I haven’t spoken to my in laws in almost 2 years after their last visit in my home. My husband is in the military and for most of his career we have lived on the eastcoast or overseas (his family lives on the westcoast). We returned to the states for our last duty station overseas and low and behold we now live 6 hours from my in laws. Of course my NMIL couldn’t wait to contol our every move but received a rude awakening. Shortly after moving back to the states I got a job. Therefore, I was not privy to vacation until after my 6 months probationary period. My NMIL is a 30+ year manager and understands this completely, however, it did not stop her from asking us to come down for Christmas. (This is coming from a woman who did not attend her father’s memorial bc she was his princess and her siblings went against her wishes so she went out of town with my FIL) Anyway, I kept explaining that my company is 24 hours and I am scheduled to work during the holiday. It fell on deaf ears, and she came up with the bright idea of “what if my husband and the kids come for vacation and she fly me out on the Eve and I fly back before work on Christmas”. Huh?!? Well, my husband and I decided to stay home for Christmas because it would not be fair for me to be without MY family for the holiday. Well she was upset (she sent no Christmas gifts that year) but played nice until she and my FIL came to visit us a few months later. We hadn’t eaten breakfast yet before she hands me a paper “someone” gave her on the airplane ride over. The paper read, “How to have a successful marriage”. I looked at her and tuck the paper in my apron to show my husband later. Then my FIL couldn’t help but to say something negative to me under his breath so the golden child didn’t hear it. Therefore, at that point I declared I had enough. I remain distant during the rest of their visit and managed to not see them the last few days they were in town. As to why it’s been almost 2 years since Ive spoken to them. It’s been great and my husband and has had no issues. Until recently, I just celebrated a milestone birthday in Las Vegas and his family knew I was going and they weren’t invited. Both in laws birthday are a few days before mine but they waited right before mine to call my husband and ask him, “Why don’t I like them?” And explained that they’ll be in Vegas the same weekend as us and feel like they won’t be able to see him. My husband finally stood up for me and said if you really want to know why she’s upset ask her, if you really want to change things because he knows I’m a very forgiving person. There was no let me speak with her, or No phone call.. So what happens she sends her flying monkeys. My BIL (scapegoat) and his wife and my CIL and his wife. They all called the night we got into Vegas to say they are there or on the way. Smh! I was pissed but I did find out that my SIL has the same feelings towards our NMIL and there was a good reason but I honestly did not want to discuss her on MY birthday celebration weekend but we did. That’s when I finally was able to put a name to who my MIL is.. A narcissist. All these years I thought it was me and her SIL. Well, a month after that debacle my NMIL then tags me in a post on FB. I was like what is her deal, remind you I still haven’t talked to my in laws. I then deleted my FB page for a few weeks. And now she is asked my husband if we could take vacation around their vacation so we can take care of his ailing grandmother. She said they will be out of town and we can stay in their house. My husband has said no but he will discuss with me. And being that he brought it to me I know wants to go. I think it’s selfish of her to want us to plan our vacation around theirs but it’s his grandmother… I know this is a narcissist tactic because that same grandmother told my husband and our daughter they don’t take care of her but I would hate to feel like we abandon his grandmother during her aging years. What should I do?


ATS August 11, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for this post, it was very informative.

Having married an only child son with a mother who suffers from a myriad of mental health issues, including NPD and alcoholism, we have had to experience all of the above. We tried for six years to set firm boundaries which were persistently violated to the point of harassment and stalking. We then left the country in which case she showed up in said country against our will three blocks from our home. So now we have since moved to be by my family for further support with the situation and to protect our little ones. He has very minimal phone contact every couple of months. I have no contact with her. She does not have our address.

The most heartbreaking part of all is my husband is the one who has suffered so greatly because of it. He spent 30 years minimizing and ignoring the problems because it was a survival mechanism. Now he feels lost and alone, though he understands fully what has gone on and has set the boundaries himself. We have spent thousands of dollars on therapy to determine the most effective ways to handle this situation.

My heart goes out to all who have dealt with this type of person. Truly toxic and impossible to establish a functional relationship. I try to blame it on the illness, not the individual. Helps a bit with coping.


Bex August 23, 2016 at 8:37 am

My monster in law soon to EX monster in law she controlled everything and her boy as she called him even when he was a 40 year old man. She would often tell me when I got something for the house she could never afford anything like that, she would tell me how I cooked her son rubbish ( even though I asked him what he wanted to eat), she even wanted to come in whilst I gave birth, she would chase me around the house accusing me of anything even lying and telling people I ignored her phone calls or the door to her. But I am proud to say I’m now divorcing her precious son and at 44 years old she is now ironing his clothes, cooking him breakfast ( he leaves his gf’s house to go there for breakfast) and makes his sandwiches for work. He will never become a man who is not a sociopath with a nice mom


Bex August 23, 2016 at 8:40 am

That should say at the end
He will never become a man and I am now looking for a real man who is no a sociopath with a nice man !!


Anonymous August 25, 2016 at 11:18 am

This article was incredibly written.


Jennifer August 27, 2016 at 4:49 am

I couldn’t agree more. I hate that were not alone in this, but it’s nice to know someone understands. Thanks so much for writing this!


Jennifer August 27, 2016 at 4:46 am

My MIL is upstairs at my home as we speak. She’s planned this trip for some time with excitement and I was initially excited about her coming to meet her new grand daughter. This beast of a woman has been an absolute nightmare. She has done nothing but complain, wants nothing to do with baby. I work and couldn’t be off this week but husband is, and she literally complained to me saying she hasn’t spent any time with him, although she has, it’s the fact he’s had to care for baby too that bothers her. I tried to speak to her about this, and her attitude she just states she feels unwelcome, but has not one example as to how. I asked how we can make things better for her, and she has no response other than telling us we aren’t happy (new baby has had issues, but otherwise were overjoyed) and that due to a horrible joke she made about teaching my daughter how to stick her finger in a light socket (yes, I’m serious) that I wasn’t so happy about, that I wouldn’t “fit in her family cause we like to joke a lot like that” wth?!?! I explained joking about hurting our child, her granddaughter, was NOT a joke, nor funny. I told her that I do love her and want to be a part of family to which she replied “nope, don’t think so!”
My 44 yo DH turns into a five year old when this happens. I ask why he won’t address it, he states he doesn’t know what to do. He takes all this he states because his mom has “depression” No, her trip has caused me depression, this woman is sick!


Jeanne October 19, 2016 at 11:41 am

I have been married to a wonderful man for almost 25 yrs., two adult kids, and my MIL has NPD, depression, health issues and other emotional issues going back to her childhood. I’m a strong person but it’s hard not to get into fights with hubby regarding his mom, actually it’s the only thing we fight about. Best advice is to remember your husband had to survive being raised by his NPD mom which has left huge scars. Scars that he wants to ignore. My husband desperately wanted a family, a family he never had because the NMIL even turned her two sons against each other. My BIL is the golden child. You shouldn’t try to love someone that can’t love you back and someone with NPD cannot love you back. Imagine how hard that would be to deal with a mother that doesn’t really love you no matter what you did. I wish I would have known about this disorder decades ago. I would have done everything different. I would not have ever asked her to watch the kids because years later I found out she resented watching the kids and claimed she had to watch them “all the time”. I was a stay at home mom so big fat lie there. She may even make negative remarks to the kids or husband about you when you are not there. I would not have made any effort to have her favorite foods and drinks when she visited because you will notice she will not have anything you like at her house when you visit (passive aggressive). NMIL will expect everything, never appreciate anything and will try to undermine anything you do or any plans you make. When she starts complaining I wish I would have asked if she’s feeling ok and if talked to her counselor recently about her negative feelings (she refused counseling but it’s good to point that out). If she criticizes you, again state you are sorry she feels that way and walk away. On the 3rd time in one visit you have to say “I’m sorry you feel that way”, insist she seek counseling to find out why she is feeling so negative. Keep repeating that if necessary. Do not defend yourself because there is nothing you can do to change her mind. Don’t do anything (especially raising your family or how or when you celebrate holidays) to please her because it won’t be good. NMIL will see this as a sign of weakness on your part. Remember it’s HIS mom so make him buy the cards, make the phone calls, gifts or send photos of the kids. If she is having an event at her house and she acts up, remember you can leave! Never express your opinion or tell her anything personal because she will only use the information to hurt you. The sooner you get your husband to realize it’s not just simple depression, the better for your family. Good luck!


Wendy August 29, 2016 at 8:47 am

I met husband when he worked on the road he had a 5 year old daughter at the time was with his mother far away because he worked so much. My husband is the golden child but he has been replaced by his daughter. We tried over the last 2 years to get his daughter but his mother convinced him that his daughter couldn’t handle change and that she needed to stay where she was. It was very confusing to me since he never said anything bad to his mom to me so the beginning of this year my husband’s job changed to another area so I took my daughter(his step daughter, 3years old) and stayed with my parents for about a month and my husband kept at me to move in with his parents to get his daughter use to me. I was very reluctant because my MIL was acting weird even with the thought of me living close and living with them was driving her crazy. Finally it was time to go and it was the worse 2 months of my life. She Made me believe that she was my friend and that she supported me being there and building a bond with my step daughter. But she sabatoge do the whole thing. And she told my husband when he visited to take his wife and her child and leave but he didn’t tell me that he said we were all leaving including his daughter and when my MIL found out she back peddled and tried to make things right but she turned it around that I wanted to leave when I didn’t know anything was going on. I ended up staying but it only lasted another week and I had to go. Since than we took his daughter and his mom has done the craziest things. I cut off ties in April because she was twisting my words to start drama in my marriage. She has gone around to everyone in the family and talked bad about me. What I am struggling with is that I’m not responding at all, but she won’t stop. My SIL and I are very close and talk daily and she has been disowned for talking to me. My husband has been disowned and she won’t speak to him but she doesn’t mean it because she does this over and over again. Calling him at work and she picks special days for his daughter to do it like her first day at a new school and her birthday. I want to call her and give it to her so she will leave us alone since my husband won’t!!! He does take up for me and he is the gray rock which drives her crazy but I need to know what to do because I carry a lot of resentment and anger over this because it is only because he took his daughter which was her narcissistic supply. Any advice?????


Familyfromhell September 5, 2016 at 5:11 pm

I know the feeling. I been married to a guy since 1990. I knew his mother all my life, at first she treated me very nice. Always said I was the prettiest woman she ever did see. A few years later after I married her son her mask felled off. She was very upset that we got married. Turned all her children and grand kids against me. He would start arguments just so he can move back with his mom. Since we been married in 1992 he been moving back and forward between me and his mothrer. They all are drunks. She is 88 still drinks a lot. She dont want her three daughters all age over 52 to hang with no body but her. They dont take their children no where and they go to her house and drink booze all while she control them and belittle them. All they men left them because of this… my husband stayed with me 7 years all the other years he kept leaving me to please his mom And make her happy. I just found out that the mom set him up with a ugly dirty hooker who was homeless and drugs just to destroy our realtionship…and like a puppet on a string he had sex with this hooker. Bought me 3 stds….he been back in my life finally left his family alone. Now they got the grand children her daughter kids who are all young adults writting nasty messages about me on facebook. These ppl are disgusting. All i ever did was be super nice to them.


stacey allam September 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm

well stop being nice to them


Fpf September 25, 2016 at 11:17 am

Unfortunately, I saw much of my MIL in your post. My husband is the only-child, and his parents were divorced when he was young. MIL never had a long term relationship after this, as his father is already remaried. So husband is the golden child.
When he moved out, MIL even made herself sick to get attention. I try and try to have a good relationship with her, as I do not want to separate them – this is not my intention. But she is constantly manipulating our life and plans. In her perspective, it is his obligation – and by marriage mine – to care for her now and when she will get elder. I think she hopes that she becomes a burden.
Hopefully he sees this in her ways, and knows the mother he has. But I do not know how to set boundaries with her (we se her every weekend, she always wants to be involved in everything). All I want is to have some time to ourselves and not have her making emotional blackmail off everything…


Jan October 5, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Thank you so much for this insiteful article. My husband and I got married about a month ago at the ages of 23 and 25 and are already experiencing these issues. While I can usually brush off the passive aggression and negative comments she has thrown at me over the past 5 years her son and I have been together, I completely lost it when she began bullying my little sister. At my husband and i’s wedding she was in a horrible mood (because she does not like me marrying her golden child and having him move across the country to live with me) and took it out on my 21 year old sister, verbally attacking her and even waving her finger in her face. My sister reacted with a condescending tone and later that week called my 65 year old NMIL to apologize only to be laughed at and told they would “have no contact.” My husband and I found out about this after returning from our honeymoon and had a dramatic confrontation with his mother about how unacceptable this was but she defended herself by lying about the situation and completely fabricating details to make her sound innocent. Luckily we had the confrontation on video but my question is… How can I deal with lies and manipulation when they involve my family members? Especially my little sister. At some point I feel that my NMIL should be held accountable for he actions but are narcissists by definition unable to own up to their mistakes?


Tracie Altabet October 9, 2016 at 9:12 am

While having the experience of a NMIL, I am relieved to hear others stories & experienes. My husband & I have been married 21 years. In that time, she has treated my husband as if he were a child, has been big time passive aggressive with me & tried moving on to control our daughters. She insisted on having their phone numbers (which they were uncomfortable with due to their experience with her boundary issues) & made herself a victim to her other two sons when we wouldn’t agree to give it to her. She wouldn’t speak to my husband when he defended our right to say no to her & wouldnt allow him to come to his sister’s funeral if I accompanied him.
The oddest thing about her is that she accuses my husband of following my lead, when she insists on him following hers. We all love his dad, but he doesn’t see her manipulation problems. Unfortunately, we have had to discontinue our relationship with them, but our lives have been so much more peaceful since we did.


Bec October 13, 2016 at 10:42 am

Omg this is such a revelation! Been having issues with the MIL, she has 2 sons and a daughter. Noone is good enough for her sons and she constantly makes rude little comments to my partner about me when im not there. I have raised my partners son since 2 and we have one son together and twins on the way. I have had so much anxiety trying to understand her being the way she is and how she csnt respect the fact i am the mother of her grandchildren. My partner for years has helped his dad with projects etc that his dad does as he has the mental capacity of a teenager since an accident (FIL). His memory is bad, and MIL takes full advantage of this and creates scenarios that never happened, or puts a apin on situations that make me the bad guy. FIL sides with her to keep the peace. So basically last straw has been when my husband asked her for 150 loan for 1 wk to showcase the pieces he and his dad had made in an art gallery. She went OFF started bringing up all the times he had failed her, then started in on me and that if i w as a better partner we wouldnt need to loan money and started beinging up some.of those fights where shes twisted the situatiom ( one baby shower where she was blatantly rude to all the guests and myself, to the point where ppl were approaching me asking if she wasnt happy about the baby etc, when questio n ed about this by my husband she faked a suicide attempt to end discussion but has now twisted it to i was really rude to her and she has a video of the shower her daughter took showing her playing games..?) And my partner finally had enough and stuck up for me. She then pretended she had been frightened and would call the police if he attempted to come round and resolve this with her. As my partner was leaving she shouted go bacj to your hussy…something i often yell when ‘frightened’. She then convinced FIL my husband had stole things from their house, things i distinctly remember them saying we shiuld take for the kids sich as pokemon cards etc. All these things we still have and the kids use…when pointing this out the topic changes to whinge about something else. I said to my partner at wnd of day its his family ill support him in what he wants to do but i cant be part of it anymore, she stresses me out and obviously dislikes me so cant se us getting on. We had a brief period where she was like my best friend…she has taken things i said to her during those times and making huge deals of them now so i rwalise she was never a friend it all.served her end game of getting me away from her.son. my partner has decided she is toxic and he doesnt want her rubbing off on our kids…hard situation for him as hes only jow starting to realise hows hes been manipulated by her in the past. This woman called her own son scum and said if he lay with me hed decrease to my.level. to be clear i am a very independent. Woman…my level is a home owner good mother and full supporter of my husband yet se claims im trying to steal his money…he doesnt have any lol. Every claim she makes now that we’ve figured out what ahes like is just more and more ridiculous and my partner decided to first limit contact, then cut it when she couldnt help herself and posted all over facebook etc about the argument, withheld money owed to us, and made up several situation where we’ve mistreated her….all lies. Its been a month since my partner has spoken t i her and he is a different person!!!! So leas stressed. Hed always seemed still a boy beforw but now he seems a man. Dont know where to go from here tho


Jonita October 13, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Oh. My. Word. I needed this article. I married my amazing husband 6 months ago. Our relationship is amazing. The only difficulty has been his mom. I honestly think I have a bit of PTSD after a horrible phone conversation several days before my wedding. She berated me for no reason for 45 minutes. I’ve never had a conversation like that in my entire life…and did my best to keep cool and say calmly, “I’m sorry you feel that way” and “That’s not true…” while providing logical evidence. If it had happened any other time, I probably would have hung up the phone. She can be nice and charming on some occasions, but now I am anxious to call or see her and have basically adopted the ‘low contact’ approach. Thankfully, my husband knows she’s this way and has stood up for me repeatedly. It is hard to let go of the healthy, positive MIL relationship I envisioned, though. We live in his home country away from my family and I wish I could have a relationship with my MIL similar to what I have with my own mom. It’s not going to happen. And I’m starting to accept that. I have a hard time watching her be verbally abusive to my husband…like the fact that she picks on him about his weight (the guy goes to the gym multiple times a week–he’s actually lost about 70 pounds since he was an overweight kid, teen and young adult in her care). Any tips or advice for me to support him during those episodes? Obviously, I try to encourage and support him and tell him how I think he’s incredibly attractive…but I know his mom’s words eat at him unlike anyone else’s.


Kim October 21, 2016 at 9:17 am

Hey Michelle,

I am at my wits end. My boyfriend and I are going on 5 years relationship. 3 months into our relationship I accidentally got pregnant. She is going on 4 next month, and honestly the best thing that has happened to be, but I find myself starting to resent my child due to my bf’s mother. 18 years ago, she found out she wsa pregnant with her 3rd child (13 years between him and my boyfriend) she thought she was going through menopause. This pregnancy sent her into a deep depression and she tried to commit suicide. She hasn’t been well since and is on medications. 3 years ago, she took 6 pain meds at one time and was given a shot of Narcan (the paramedic, was like shes been doing well haven’t been over here in a while) they knew her from going over there often. She for a while called my daughter a different name (Marlena, which is what she wanted to call her daughter if she ever had one), which I found to be very disrepsectpul to me. She has fallen asleep walking through a grocery store. so my dilemma is, I have never felt comfortable with this women caring for my daughter. (They are full blooded portugese) so in that culture vavo (grandmother) always raises the child. I am not portuguese (THANK GOD), and I always wanted my daughter in daycare. I saw her raise her grandson and there were a lot of things that she did that I didn’t agree with. There were days we would go over there and she wouldtn get out of bed. I couldnt bank on wondering if everyday she was going to be able to watch my child but I got a lot of crap for putting her in daycare. I allowed her to watch her one day a week and let me tell you I was a wreck all day. Last year, daycare informed me that my daughter told her that vavo put her in her car and she didnt sit in a car seat. I told my bf and he was like well who put that in her head. (She was under her car because my sister was in labor and I had to go to the hospital, otherwise she wouldtn be) I never addressed the issue as my boyfriend always defends them.
Within the past 6 months, she has been in and out of 3 different psychiatric facilites, one where she was court ordered after being arrested for purposely driving her vehicle into her daughters in laws car and said she did not care if her grandson was in the car. The entire family caters to this women and nothing is ever allowed to be said to her for fear that she will try to kill herself. I do not want my daughter sleeping there and just recently she keeps asking my bf if she can pick my daughter up from daycare. (I am just not comfortable with that, especially after her most recent behavior) the problem is my boyfriend does not have my back and told her that I dotn feel comfortable, well when I went over there the other day i went to give her a kiss and she told me she would not kiss me because my kisses are fake. and im fake because I don’t trust her with picking my daughter up. My boyfriend feels like he owes his mother and always gets mad at me for not allowing my daughter to stay there and be watched by her. Everytime I try to talk to him he turns it around and make sme feel like the bad guy when all im doing is watching out for my daughter. The one time last year I let her sleep over, i found out the next day she ahd to call the daughter in law at 1am to give my daughter tyelnol (Not taht I would want her to if she didnt feel comfortable, but If you cant distribute tylenol to my child, how should I feel comfortable. what if something very serious happen, would she know what to do?) I just don’t know how to handle this situtation anymore. It has been 4 years of this and I dotn get any support and no one knows the next time she will have one of her “episodes” and I dont want my daughter around when it happens.
Any suggestions would be helpful.


VAL October 25, 2016 at 1:02 pm

My goodness!!! I’ve been looking for a place where people can relate. My husband and I got married back in July of this year. He has a brother who is 3 years younger (26) and a sister (21), making him the oldest. His parents split up about 5 years. His mother had him at 17, she has never worked a day in her life. His father supports her and his sister. The father left her the house and pretty much everything else. He sends her money every week and just disappears on them all. This woman thinks she owns absolutely everything. His DADS house is hers, HIS cars are HERS, HIS farm is hers, EVRYTHING!!! The house is really a duplex, and guess where we live? yes, you guessed is, right next door. His dad left the rent very cheap for us and its very very big, so we don’t want to move out right now. but this woman knows everything that goes on, she tries and acts like she is my friend and like she likes me to get things out of me (which I know better) but it drives me crazy. And its weird, its not like hes a mommas boy, but he can be. She depends on EVERYONE to do things for her, and she doesn’t ask, she demands as if it is owed to her! and of course, everyone does it!!! Including my husband! his brother lives a few miles away with his GF, and he doesn’t even tell their mom where he lives so that she doesn’t get into their business (smart man). But his sister is just as bad as his mother. 21, and this little girl is another monster. she is such a little hater and its a constant competition. I cant mention to her or her mother anything I am looking to buy, bc low and behold, a short few days later, they go out and buy it, knowing that I cant because I am not currently working (they shove it my face, and it drives me crazy, it works!). The sister and the mother have the strangest relationship, they use the bathroom together, they make these annoying inside jokes, when I say something they look at each other and smirk, but then they get into these fights where the mother calls her ugly and uses profanity. The mother also gets into these fights with my husband, she calls him horrible names and acts like she’s 18. then when she fights with him, she yells things like “I don’t want these b*$#@’s in this house anymore”, so that she can instigate a fight. I cant deal with her. I kind of want to kill her with kindness, her and his sister, but they make is difficult. ADVICE PLEASE!!!

Oh!!! and ive been telling my husband I want to go to Disney for the food and wine festival, guess where she is going next month for her Bday? and then she invites us but she knows im not working right now so we wont be able to go. but she keeps inviting us almost everyday for the last 2 weeks.


VAL October 25, 2016 at 1:21 pm

I forgot to mention how she ruined our wedding day. My husband had a lot to drink so he was sitting at our sweetheart table, he told me he was completely gone but wanted me to continue to enjoy my day. so I got up and continued dancing. HIS mother got up from her table and grabbed him and pulled him out of the place! then she came for me and grabbed me and told me that I need to leave and be with my husband. when I told her I was going to tell my parents I had to go bc my husband was feeling sick, she grabbed me harder and told me not to say anything to anyone and to just go. My husband and I paid for that wedding on our own. We spent a big chunk of money to be ending that day 2 hours short!!! I walked to her car where she had him and he told me to go back in and enjoy my night. he didn’t even seem to know what was going on. I feel like she should have never taken him away from our wedding, and if she really needed to, she should have dragged him to the bathroom and wash his face and tell him to get it together. Not pull him away from my side and ruin my night!. I am so upset about it. But I don’t think I could ever tell her. I feel like its been too long now to mention. but really, I couldn’t believe she did that. and then she would walk in and out of the room to tell me I had to go because he was calling me. Which was all a lie, bc he told him that he ended up knocking out.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: