Help, My Narcissistic Mother-in-Law Hates Me!

by Michelle Piper

Help, my narcissistic mother-in-law hates me, is one request sent often to this blog.

There’s the age old cliche that’s used as a break-up line, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Well, when it comes to narcissistic mother-in-laws, it holds true as well. It’s not you. Really. It’s her 110%.

Of course, she’ll never admit she’s the one who is at fault for the problems and friction between the two of you. Regardless, you are not the one responsible for the hatred she has bestowed upon you.

First thing you need to know is you’re unlikely to change how your narcissistic mother-in-law feels about you, no matter how hard you try or how nice you are to her. If she hates you, it’s due to her own objectification of you.

She sees you as something in between her and what she wants. An obstacle. Your efforts will be wasted in the attempts to gain the approval of your spouse’s narcissistic mother.

You may not have realized, at first, that your mother-in-law was a narcissist. This is because they may wait until after you and your spouse are married to unleash their cruel and manipulative ways. Their true colors often come out after the wedding and this is when you might truly realize the bizzarre situation you are in.

With any relationship, there comes familial baggage. But, this probably isn’t what you had in mind. Healthy people often haven’t been exposed to chronic narcissistic behavior when they were young and thus are unlikely to recognize it or defend against it at first.

Narcissistic mothers-in-law will blame and attack you for everything, even things you haven’t done. She’ll project onto you the things she does and says so she doesn’t have to be at fault. This can make you doubt your own sanity from time to time, and make you believe it is your fault for setting her off. Exhausting? You bet. It is enough to make you want to avoid her at all costs.

A narcissistic mother-in-law has the reputation for hurting those in her path of destruction, like a tornado, leaving chaos and madness along the way. Narcissists thrive on the drama they create, which gives them the attention and narcissistic supply they are always craving more of.

A narcissistic mother-in-law is not above using your children or “her grandchildren” as a way to regain entry into your family. Unfortunately, her emotional abuse will eventually come out on them as well if she is allowed access.

Narcissistic mother-in-laws will often use any means at their disposal, including religious beliefs to try to guilt you or your spouse into tolerating an unhealthy relationship with you, a tactic called spiritual or religious abuse.

It may be your narcissistic mother-in-law’s goal to create turmoil and anger in your relationship with your spouse. She is chronically jealous of others, and she is especially jealous of you and the relationship you have with your partner. Don’t let her jealousy get to you or make you do anything you may regret.

What can you do when a narcissitic mother-in-law hates you? Do you waste all of your time and effort to try to get on her good side, make her like you, or at least be polite to you?

It simply is not prudent to spend your energy this way and make yourself vulnerable. So here’s what you can do:

Keep your narcissistic mother-in-law at arm’s length. Don’t let her get too close to you or your personal and family business. Recognize how it makes you feel and affects you when she tries to reign in on your territory. Learn to skillfully interact with her, when and if you must, so you don’t give her any unnecessary information.

Try not to be alone with her for too long, or at all, for that matter. When she has you cornered, she’ll try to control and manipulate you. If you have to be around her, make sure to stick with the group and have reinforcements.

Don’t divulge information to your narcissistic mother-in-law about your relationship with your spouse or children. It will only come back to bite you if you allow her to know if anything is going wrong or if you are frustrated about something. Share this information with people you trust in your support system instead of your narcissistic mother-in-law.

Sadly, even good news often can’t be shared because any information given to a narcissist can fuel attempts to manipulate.

Don’t let her comments and snide remarks get to you, which is exactly what she wants. She wants to get a rise out of you so she can play victim. Show no emotion when she takes hurtful digs at you, her actions speak for themselves.

Stand firm on your rules and boundaries. Protect yourself and your family from the toxic harm of your narcissistic mother-in-law.

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

DonnaV February 18, 2013 at 7:11 am

This is very helpful advice not only for someone with a NMIL but also a narcissistic parent. Learning how to establish and protect your boundaries and your self-esteem, and to rise above and not feed into the madness, is key to holding on to your family and your sanity. No matter how many times I read iterations of this kind of advice, not matter how many times I read about the narcissist’s bag of tricks, I always learn something. I am grateful for this blog.


CEE February 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

Thank you so very much for the advice and insight. I’m recently coming to terms with the fact that my MIL displays behaviors consist with chronic narcissism. It’s somewhat of a relief to have an explanation and better understanding for her inappropriate actions, not to mention coming to the realization that it’s not all me as she and some the family have proclaimed for years. I love my husband dearly and want to be supportive of him; however I now understand that we really do have an issue in our hands. The most difficult part is that most of the family seems to fuel her dysfunction by justifying her inappropriate actions/behaviors. Hoping that God willing I will obtain some clarity as to developing a useful strategy to aide in our future interactions.


roses2010 March 29, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Know exactly how you feel! It sounds like we’re going through exactly same issues, except its with my SIL….I seem to be the only one who’s stood up to her and said NO, while her family are busy justifying her behaviour and trying to please her. It’s all very dysfunctional, and exhausting!


Penny September 13, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Isn’t it interesting the response that happens when someone stands up and says NO! All hell breaks loose, and yet, it’s the right thing to do in protecting yourself. I have to keep reminding myself that there is nothing i could ever do to reconcile with my MIL as she will use my vulnerability against me.


Sheila February 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I always remember that there are other MIL’s out there who would truly love to have me as their DIL. Unfortunately, I ended up with a MIL who didn’t like me from day one. My MIL may’ve been hateful towards me but I never understood in the early years of knowing her that she was probably just as hateful towards things about herself, her life, etc. so she was mean to me in order to feel better about herself & her own life. I’m sure my DH’s mom would’ve preferred someone in her son’s life she could control. I had a mind of my own from the beginning & MIL probably disliked me more because of it. My MIL often thought when I did my own thing, I was being “disrespectful” towards her (which I would be reprimanded for). Nope. I was an adult & she was not my mother, my boss or even my friend. She had no business assuming she could always tell me what to do, how to do it, etc. & then reprimand me on top of it all. One time I even told her “stop telling me what to do all the time” but of course, I was not to speak my mind with her. In my mind, she was just a bully who wanted things done her way or it was the wrong way. These days, I now realize I was just in her way of achieving what she wanted…(thanks Michelle for writing that statement in your words. It was very powerful to read). I only wish I knew all this stuff 20 plus years ago when I kept expecting my MIL would snap out of her negative attitude & see me for the kind & caring person I really am. There really was no reason to be so mean to me.


Lisa June 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm

I relate to this so much! I however figured out in less than a year of marrying my husband something was terribly off about my in laws. Other family members see it or have been victims themselves. I’ve been accused of many things, screamed at and just about anything possible. Our successes are always met with snide jealous remarks. We were even forgotten about this past Christmas. My sister in law and her family went to her parents, had Christmas, plastered it on Facebook with not so much as a phone call from any of them. Then the family Christmas party my mother in law completely ignored me, not so much as a hello. I didn’t do anything other than not let her control and dictate my entire holiday. I could write a book really


nikki February 24, 2013 at 12:30 am

This describes my MIL to a tee. Of course, she has made herself the victim so all of my hubby’s family hates me. They blame me for the way things are and could never see her as the one at fault. I am over it.


Penelope August 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm


It is not worth worrying about it! They think she is this poor fragile doll who is the victim of the world. Oscar nominees? Lol. I felt horrible about it but I was able to keep her at a distance. Narcissist have patterns. For example, My mil calls me to help her and says how good I am, blah blah but as soon as I am not helpful to her, she treats me like crap and threatens me she will tell everyone I do not want to help her and stuff. Funny thing is I spend hours doing research for her and it is never enough for her and she complains about me. I just do not call her unless something happens or if they really need help. Otherwise I do not care. I did not buy her BS and she realized it. I just simply ignore her attacks and change the subject.


Saffron March 16, 2015 at 5:30 pm

They make you feel like you are going crazy. My mother in law targeted me and my partner creating massive arguments by saying hurtful things and when he (I stayed silent hoping she would stop) answered back we were all kicked out of their house at xmas time with our 2 small children and everyone else in the family believed and was made to think it was us who caused it all. Then she ignored all our pleas to make things up turned the family against us and ignored the children stating we were stopping her from seeing the children when the opposite was true. Eventually after 5 months they DEIGNED to see us again and 2 year later she started an even bigger row same pattern, but a week before xmas now and this time she said to get out kids out of her house never to bring them again, kicked us out after screaming abuse at us (I said nothing to her my partner her son said she was out of order, his step dad hates us and really enjoyed kicking us out 4 and 1 year old children as well) We tried extensively to get them to talk about why they did this what had we done? But got no where. They ignored my children for 8 months and my 4 yo daughter became ill over it crying every day and belly aches she went to therapy and she got better, we begged them to see the kids as y daughter cried for her nan every day and they refused until my partner turned up on their door step and forced tehm to see the kids. His brother and sister cant see that side of their parents and have been told lies about us so think we are to blame.I thought I was going mad. Now I know why she behaves like that. She is always right she is queen of everything, she thinks she is the cleverest person in the world and that I am stupid.She has been manipulating me and sabotaging us since Ive known her but because I started to stand up for myself she didnt like it and got nasty covertly. She looks perfect, middle class hard working mother so everybody would believe her against me. After 8 months of ignoring my kids and ruining our lives (I had a mental breakdown from the stress after the second massive row) There was no apology it was us who had wronged HER, she has constantly used the kids as weapons against us threatening to top seeing them or threatening to retract babysitting so we would be GAGGING FOR A BREAK. She has no idea of the damage she has caused the children by making them love her and then dropping them like they are nothing. I didnt realise until this year when she hit me in the street shouting that I was a whore and a lowlife, that she actually hated me. It was always passive aggressive she would say something and have an underlying meaning and I started to get what she meant and nobody else believed me. This is the pared down version she has done so much more. I have been to councelling directly because of this, and now she only sees the kids we let them pick the kids up, take them to their house and bring them back. I cannot even see these people they upset me so much and caused so much havoc and the way we dealt with being outed from the whole family from 2013 onwards caused even more problems. Everybody sees her as being perfect and thinks we are evil. She has done some really nasty back handed things and nobody believed me. When I confronted her on the phone she would not even speak to me she gets her gutless wonder of a husband to talk for her, she through him denied everything and self projected on to me calling me all nasty names which turned out to be all the things she was doing to me. She got away with everything. I now know why and that gives me some closure like it wasn’t my fault it was because I was a weak person and let her treat me a certain way.


gina April 11, 2015 at 2:33 am

why are you allowing this woman near your children? keep them away from her!


Di March 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm

I’m pretty sure my NMIL hates me, but it’s hard to tell. To my face, she is usually overtly friendly. She has tried to be a close friend, mother figure, etc. But, I have learned, her friendly advances are just a sugar-coated method of control. You are spot on when pointing out that even good news can come back to bite you. Thankfully, my husband has no tolerance for her manipulation, so I’m not stuck between the two of them. That’s not for her lack of trying. I was raised by a narcissistic father myself, and I guess she must sense that this makes me an easy target. For the first several years of our marriage, she would communicate with me instead of her own son, knowing that I was the weaker of the two. I played “good cop” because I am a people pleaser and I felt somewhat sorry for her. Then, last year, it all came to blows. I confronted her by e-mail. She never responded, but she sent my NSIL (her golden child) after me. Since then, my husband has been in charge of all communication with his family. It is wonderful! I wish I would have let him take over sooner instead of trying to make nice with them.


meme July 27, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Omg are you living my life that’s exactly the situation I’m dealing with right now a people pleaser too and I tried to be the good cop between them too and it bit me in the ass cuz now shes evil to me because I’m an easy target like I just can’t deal with her andnow that im pregnant I don’t have the patience to deal with her or to try to figure out what I did wrong even when I know I didn’t do anything and she’ll seek me out if I piss her out cornering me telling me how much I upset her and my husband says he doesn’t wanna be in the middle only cuz he knows how she is she tries to turn him against me and I just feel lost right now I feel like he doesn’t defend me with her but then again even if he tried he’d fail cuz she’s crazy I wanna hide from her I told my husband she’s the reason I would leave cuz I can’t deal anymore its to much


K March 10, 2013 at 11:22 am

You guys have saved my sanity, the definition of a narcissistic mother is my MIL to a TEE. I could scarcely believe that there are others out there like this because it was a full on description of her! It’s even a running joke in the family that my DH is the “Golden Child” even before I ever knew the definition of the term here. You are so right though, boundaries, not getting cornered (which my nmil loves to do) and don’t let any info slip – that’s the way to go.


CP March 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm

This is brilliant. Thank you.


Pipiwai March 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Wow …some of this looks so familiar. When I was coming to terms with leaving the relationship I was in because of the interference and how it got to my lost love… I wrote a letter to her and brought up so many of these issues… I even used ‘Monster-in-Law’ as an example… I mentioned the thing about her mother acted like I was in competition with her, that her mother has no accountability for her actions (unless they reflect fondly on her) …I wish she and could have got some counselling back then, I took it all to heart, and still do …I blamed myself a lot … It was hard to make sense, our relationship would move along, we’d grow, keep falling for each other, and then the floor would drop… just out of the blue my partner would just change after a phone call from her mom …it was a nightmare ….and my ex is on total denial… from what I know she went into a relationship with someone she wasn’t attracted to, but I know her mother approved… and then the last I heard is she got into substance abuse…

I think the relationship she and I had was both a symbol of who she purely was, and the issue with her mother …and her father was a complete facilitator of the mother’s hatred. He is actually the one I had the biggest issue with… I knew her mother’s background, I had a lot of understanding and sympathy for her… but she is full of hatred. I think her daughter is too now. It’s horrible to see someone become someone they are not.


jazzi April 3, 2013 at 10:48 am

Does any one else have the problem that I have???
My spouse doesnt see that BOTH of his parents appear to be narcissitic.
I have pointed things out but he doesnt see it. It is his normal and he is defending them. He is not narcissistic. They control him. He doesnt see it. We have been together/married for 20 years. His parents live in the same town as us. Moving for us or them is not a strong option because of our jobs.
It wouldnt be so bad, but we have children that are thrown in the mix now. He is demanding that they spend time with our daughters, unsupervised – only because they are demanding it and controlling him into thinking this. I have held my ground the past 10 years, however it is becoming more and more difficult.
PLEASE HELP !! I need suggestions on how to help my husband see their diagnosis. i love my husband and i can deal with his parents, it is when it involves our children, that i get sick to my stomach and have anxiety.


Meg April 6, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Get him into counseling. Tell him it’s for you if that will make it easier. If you are having high levels of anxiety over this then you will benefit too. A lot of times my husband will listen to a counselor rather than me. I figure that as long as he is getting the point, it’s all good.


Penelope August 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Lucky you!
My husband would not see a counselor ( his mother’s mandate of course) so he says she is that way because she did not finish high school. I only told my husband the “stupid” comments, not the hard core stuff. He would not believe me.
Jazzi, is there someone in the family who knows how she is? I would definitely approach her/him.


libby April 4, 2013 at 9:40 am

This was very helpful advice. My MIL has been causing troubles ever since before I got married to my husband. She made sure at every point that she was in full control of how things will proceed. Apart from being a narcissist she is a full blown control freak who creates maximum drama when things don’t go her way or when she needs attention. She has little consideration for other peoples problems and she thinks everyone especially me is at her mercy. I refused to abide by her stupid rules and boy, she made sure she played the victim to the hilt. I used to think I can get along with her, but its really impossible to do so and I even thought something was wrong with me and I dont know how to maintain relationships. But sometimes people like playing who’s the boss especially when it comes to their daughter in laws. She is very possesive about my husband and even though she has 4 kids , she is always obsessing about him. She calls him daily and goes crazy if he doesnt call her. I love my husband but I dont want to waste my time dealing with that crazy woman. Even her daughter has the same attitude , she plays victim when it comes to her husbands family but she is always chiding me , at first I used to get irritated , but later I understood its their problem and their way of showing their importance , clearly they are riddled with extreme insecurity and jealousy. So, I have decided not to get affected by their bad behaviour nor react to it in any ways, and no divulging any kind of personal information given their curiousity.


PS April 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm

OMG – were you a fly on the wall in my mother-in-law’s house?! You have nailed it on the head!


Jackie April 6, 2013 at 7:19 pm

So glad i found this page , my mil is driving me crazy, she’s very controlling and my husband WAS totally brainwashed by her and he just couldn’t see it, i tried to tell him on numerous occasions about her snide ,nasty,bitchy comments to me and the way she would use him but he would defend her, i felt like pulling my hair out and my boyfriend (now husband) was afraid to go anywhere or do anything with me without asking her along. She would take his things like she was just entitled to whatever she wanted, she had a key to our house which i hated but he was too afraid to ask her for the key back,( i’ve changed the locks), she would take up as much of his time as she possibly could, the list goes on but i would end up writing a book if i went into detail. Anyway we got married almost 2 years ago and we went away on our own to get wed because of her and to cut a long story short someone asked how married life was treating us and her face changed to pure rage and it was my husband who noticed it, he couldn’t believe it and that evening he actually apologised to me for not believing me and after that he noticed the way she was acting which gradually got worse and worse, now fast forward to present day and all hell has broken loose, she’s tried to defraud my hubby and now she’s playing the victim and its all my fault, in fact in her words “that f***ing bitch has caused all of this” and i swear i’ve not done a thing except marry her son but what is really making me reach boiling point is the fact that people believe her, she’s got her public lovely lady act down to a tee and i feel like shouting from the rooftops what she’s done what she’s really like behind closed doors, one consolation is though, BIL rang my hubby and it turns out she’s been playing games with him and his wife too but to a lesser extent because of distance but at least they believe us and understand what we’re going through, she hasn’t spoken to them for over a year or their children who are only toddlers, the other two BIL’s ( who are not married) have stood by her but not even asked to listen to our side of events. Basically if i had to sum her up in one word it would be evil.


Tatum April 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

So my husband is the son of a narc mother, and she has her claws into his younger sister pretty good. She has facilitated the bad relationship between my husband and his two siblings. She is getting married next month, and she sent the invitation. On the outer envelope, she wrote To (insert hubby’s name here) and Family.
However, on the inner envelope, the actual invitation, she only wrote my hubby’s name. She excluded both my name and my son’s name. I am so over their mistreatment of me. She is a total bully and because my husband and I stood up to her narcissistic behavior, we have been essentially banished from the family. I didn’t plan on attending the wedding anyhow, but it’s really sad how this woman has fostered negativity among her the point that I wasn’t invited to the wedding.


Maggie April 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Tatum, I am also in the harassment using the mail club of my mil. Needless to say, I have received the same mail; however it was forwarded to her by means of an uncle, on my hubby’s side. He and wife had lost our address. The envelope was addressed to my hubby, scotched taped on the back. I got the hint; however I pick up all the mail and open it anyway.

This one I didn’t. When I gave to him, he was so stressed out, anything that comes from his mommie dearest, he knows right away what’s behind it. He opened it, then started to tell me what was in it. I said, nope, I don’t want to know, he opened it with an envelope opener, never noticed there was another envelope inside.

He threw it in the trash. I took it out and said, no I want this for my records. Either you address it or I am going to get real legal with your mom. Its getting old!!! I took it out and noticed there was something else in it. When I did, there was the initial invitation to Mr. & Mrs from his uncle. lol Shes nuts! She re-routed it, and sent it just to him? Now what would you think if you were me? He called her on it!

Her gaslighting response was, I apologize, I didn’t do it intentionally according to him.. lol I started laughing, this lady is really a comedian. He told her that she treated me like I didn’t exist and that not to send anything to our household like that again that I was his wife. Gee 20 plus years later, you think she would know that. Why of course she does, she just can’t get him to dump me? I have not done anything to her. I have always been kind, but it kills her?

Shes still trying to get him to hopefully, gaslight him into believing I don’t either exist. I told him, no she didn’t do it intentionally, she did it deliberately. His other puppet brother was at her house when he called and of course he joined the she didn’t do it intentionally club. He had too, she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Thank God she never had a daughter. Shes too competitive with all the women in her son’s lives. Especially me. She never passed her GED, but still retired with a pretty good job. Inadequate persons, do this stuff to make others feel worse than they do.

My hubby refuses to attend any more family gatherings. They still call him only. Ask him to go? What can I say. I don’t talk to the woman, best thing I could have ever done. 🙂
Stay strong and stand your ground. I do!!


nikki April 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

It is so fascinating how all of our stories mirror each other. This is not a coincidence! She sounds just like my mother in law. My MIL is training her daughter to be just like her. It is disgusting. You are right. The best thing is to just stay away. Its for our own sanity!


Maggie April 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Nikki, by the way, my mother was very narcissistic also. I didn’t come out like her, I call myself my father’s daughter. The training you speak of, is a choice. If shes training her and she chooses to be like her, then shes mentored a mental case. My son once told me, ” Mom were a product of our parents.” I said really, you think so? Okay I said, I told you along time ago if I started acting like your grandma to smack me! He said, ” What mom, I can’t do that! He said anyway, your just like grandpa, not your mom.

My father was a peaceful man, alot, and I do mean alot of wisdom. Always told me to do what makes me happy that not everyone is going to be the same. I leaned towards him, due to the mere fact as I was growing up he would jam my mother for picking on me. He would tell her, that she was always on me!!

Yes I was my mother’s scape goat. I never resented her, I pitied her, like I do my Mil. I can live and let live, I am able to wish good to others, assist others excel, I don’t have a hateful, bitter bone in my body. Sadly these people do.

As to your sister in law, however old she is, I was able to help others learn the difference also, growing up. You would be surprised how you can help another young adult know that when things are negative, not to repeat them. Its not a healthy comfort zone. I was a daddy’s girl, I was hated for it, yet I am the youngest and the most responsible. Its the gospel’s truth. Karma is alive and well. Yet my mother left me the trustee for her property after passing away? Doesn’t make sense does it? Sometimes I feel it was another way to control my life even after he passing? Don’t know. But Nikki you got the picture. I stay strong to my self-esteem and nobody’s going to change that!

If we all know better, there is no excuse for seeking the sanity we all deserve. Jealousy is so ugly and it destroys relationships. I love my daughter in law, my son loves her. She saved his life when he had a heart attack a year ago. How could I not love her. Look at the good in people, mother in laws. Quit trying to control your kids lives for your own self-gratification. You gave them life, let them live it, or did you?

See thats the twisted evil. Were all going to get old, and our kids don’t have to take care of us. I can’t stand my mil, shes so toxic and manipulative, always about her, no regard for anyone’s life. I pity her. Don’t miss anything about her, whats there to miss? Misery….Not in this life time!!


Maggie April 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Well, its almost our wedding anniversary, and I know she has struck again. My hubby is playing games. By the way for the last almost 23 years, my NMIL has been adamant that its on May 5, its on May 2. Even that is something she dictates as in the date also. Its another story that started on April 27th. I will tell you that this stuff is an inherited trait, if the offspring feels its worked to get what they want.

Hes already ruined it again this year, but when time gets near she phone calls him on his cell, to remind him that shes more important. I know the steps as the behavior depicts itself. I am done!!! I think I really need to make some ultimate changes for myself. The stress is not worth it. He wants to go out tomorrow suddenly for it, cause he has to work on the 2nd? Its always about him. I didn’t know that till today.

The family tradition, so now our anniversary per him just changed to tomorrow, because he said, hes working on the 2nd? I am really not in the mood period! New news to me. lol


Maggie April 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Oh and if he would have been off on the 2nd, it would have been something else. But according to his mommie dearest its really the 5th? I can’t breath at times, it is so draining and just not worth it to me anymore. Hes severed ties with her? No he hasn’t. I never told him to anyway, not my call. But she still controls our life through him. He denies it? So what do you gals think?


Maggie May 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Well, well, ladies, I just received a dozen red roses for our anniversary. I guess what I told him registered. If his mom knew about the roses, she would say, gee you never give me OMG, what a nutcase.


Michelle Piper May 3, 2013 at 10:19 am

Hi Maggie,
Glad to see you received some beautiful flowers from your husband. You’re clearly a giving person and I’m happy for you.
Michelle Piper, MS, LMFT


Maggie May 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Thank you Michele, I look forward to your responses and input.



HK July 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Lol, this almost made me spit out the water I was drinking. First of all, I am glad your dh got your roses. However, I had a VERY similar experience with my husband and that’s what I found so funny about your post. On our first wedding anniversary, he very thoughtfully went out to amish country and picked out a beautiful wedding ring quilt as a gift for me. Stupid me, excitedly showed it to my mil when she came to visit us at our new apt. I thought that she would share my excitement. Instead, she said, “I never get gifts like this.” She was practically green with envy and noticeably angry about it, which completed dampened the mood and I had to back paddle, quickly put the quilt away and tried to change the subject. I look back now and cannot believe that *I* felt badly, when I had done nothing wrong, in fact, my mil was the one who behaved badly, yet she put me in a position where I felt uncomfortable and had to try to cater to her emotional needs (so typical).

After that I realized that I cannot share ANYTHING with this woman, if it’s bad news, she will use it to make me feel badly, if it is good news, she will pull a, “poor me,” victim act. It’s like you can’t win. We just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary a couple wks ago and I’ve wisened up significantly, regarding my dealings with my mil. Basically, I avoid her as much as possible, and never engage with her. She is crazy and I am sure that she thinks I am a cold, mean person to her, but she has given me no choice but to deal with her this way. Whatever I say will end up being used as ammunition by her, so it’s better just not to say anything. Most of all, if dh gets me anything nice, I never, EVER let on to her that I got a nice gift from him, she just uses it for her, “poor me” routine.


Kelli February 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm

OMG … that’s so funny about the flower comment. My DH and I gave our daughters these really cool super soft blankets for Christmas that they opened on Christmas Eve. After everyone ooh’d and ahh’d at their softness MIL says “wow, I’m surprised Jon didn’t get his mother one of those. Note how she refers to herself “his mother” rather than just saying “me.” Never mind that we open gifts with her on Christmas Day so how the hell would she know what he got her? We hadn’t exchanged gifts yet! What a self serving comment. Funny thing was that *I* got one of those soft blankets from my husband Christmas Day and she didn’t. Boy, did that piss her off. LOL


Maggie May 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Take that back, she received flowers for Mother’s day from my hubby. He just got the text with a thank you to him. I am sitting right here and when his cell sends a text, it announces who it is. lol I don’t ask, don’t know if he sent it from the both of us or just him. I would hope it would be just him, shes not my mother.

But I say nothing, because hes pretty quiet when it comes to her. 😉


Maggie May 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I must share this one with all of you, just when you think hes got it, it still remains denial, fake feelings. He in fact sent his mother flowers aka roses, different colors for Mother’s day. He sent them from the both of us, stating hugs?

Hey Michele, I received red roses for our wedding anniversary, its been a while. Needless to say his mother received roses also, just all a variety of colors. BUT, my sister in law sent me a happy anniversary message. I sent her what I received from my hubby.

I told him I did. I will be a betting person, being that jealous, irrational person his mother is, thats why he sent roses, because he gave me roses. She doesn’t have boundaries, she compares herself to me all the time.

I try and tell him, there is a total difference, even in feelings and love. He knows that, she refuses to get it. But he doesn’t either at times.

People don’t change, and a tiger never changes its stripes. I would never expect any less of him, she is his mother and at times, I think he does reward bad behavior. Thats why she never stops. I at times feel he likes the drama.

She thanked him in a text, same old deal. I don’t exist anyway, my name on the gift is always invisible anyway….:))))))) Too much kid stuff…

I can’t stand the woman!! HUGS!!! OMG this is funny and straight out delusional. I found the confirmation lying on the floor in our office, didn’t know what it was, I was vaccuming. The lies never cease to amaze me.


Kitty June 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm

My MIL has pushed me to the limit. I have been married for 16 years and like the others,did not see it. She “says” family is the most important thing but actions speak louder than words. Did she visit her aged and sick mother out of state (she could well afford to)? NO!! Her job working in a dentist’s office was too important to leave! Did she get along with HER MIL? NO!! Does she speak to any of her siblings? NO!! Did she congratulate me when I got a new job? NO! But she did send me an email stating all the reasons she couldn’t watch our daughter after school (I never was intending to ask her). Does she EVER ask how my job is or how I am? NO! It’s all about her. She can’t even shop for a gift chosen just for me – she recycles gifts I have given to various members of her family. Or I get the exact same item 2 years in a row. And I have gotten about 5 of the same anniversary card – she must buy in bulk. The last straw was this week when for some reason she would not speak to me and was giving me the evil eye. I looked up and she had her arms crossed and STARING at me. And her daughter, my SIL, was doing the same thing! And I say them lean in together to whisper something. My SIL is her minion and does her dirty work. None of them told my daughter congratulations for recently graduating jr. high. After the ceremony they just went outside and stood there, apart from my family. They just stared at us. I really do not know what they were mad about! At our house afterward they left after only an hour and she didn’t hug my daughter – she SHOOK HER HAND!! Can you believe it?!

I need help in dealing with this. My husband does not see it and always deflects off of them a comment about MY family. My family is far from perfect but at least we don’t shun each other. My MIL clearly favors the other two granddaughters. At the oldests recent graduation she was yelling from the stands at her (of course she couldn’t hear her) and I thought she was going to have an O! For holidays and birthdays they give me daughter recycled gifts from the older two. She never spends time with my daughter. When referring to her and my FIL’s anniversary she says “my anniversary” which struck me as odd. I just want to not have anything more to do with her. Last New Years I refused to go to their house (they only live 5 minutes away but we never see them!) and that caused a major rift with my husband and me. JUST.NOT. DOING.IT. Please help!


Maggie June 5, 2013 at 11:50 am

The shunning part I have gone through also, past tense, I stay away. Needless to say I just received a birthday card from my mil, when she sends a gift its really out of content at times.

On the front is a little boy crying, about 9 months old. Looks just like my hubby when he was a baby. I have seen pictures. I knew it was from her and when picking it up, ironic, no scotch tape on the back, like she sends mail to my hubby when addressing him. Now picture all of this.

Personnally I don’t want anything from her, her sending stuff here is an excuse to cause discord. Anyway, I passed to him, since it is his mother for him to open it. He wouldn’t? But was nervous. He knows her.

So I opened it later to wonder what the heck is this? Maybe she had sent it to the wrong person. I immediately thought of him. When I opened it, it stated quit crying, so its your birthday. She writes my name stating, do you think hes cute? Have a happy birthday, signs her name and love?

Nope I am not confused, its called gaslighting again. I showed it to my hubby, he looks at the front, puzzled himself, to see his reaction. I said, okay what are you thinking? He said, I don’t get the kid crying in front? I said oh neither did I, other than he looks like you when you were a baby in your baby pictures.

He takes a heavy sigh, I said open it, he was hesitant, see all the discord, I started laughing. He opened it and frowned and said, what the heck?

Now as to your mother in law not sending gifts, people with NPD, if they do, its never about really you, its always about them?

See my hubby knows the mail is a tool for the gaslighting also. I disregarded the card and again, prayed to let it go. Bottom line, is I wasn’t crying either.

As to you needing help, you have already figured it out, now to heal, you can shun too. Who needs people like this in anyone’s life. The allie stuff with her daughter is to make you feel bad about what they themself project.

I don’t care about gifts. I prefer myself not to even hear from the lady. BUT she can’t leave well enough alone. So if she wants attention, I’m not giving it to her. I still have not received a thank you for the mother’s day flowers my hubby sent from the both of us. lol

Your hubby should not expect you to take the abuse either. We both stay away, from a distance. Were 12 hours away.

Kitty what your hubby is doing is displacing and diverting the behavior on your family, so he does not have to deal with his. Tell your hubby how you feel. Your feelings are important too. I do all the time. Nobody should be subject to any type of toxic behavior, including him. Your his family now.

Five minutes away and you never see them. From what you just wrote, thats great.



Maggie June 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Oh Kitty, just my point of view, if you decide to be around them again, and they stare at you at whisper, confront them in front of everyone, like the act in front of everyone. Say, is there a problem? Why are you both staring at me? And laugh?

I know its hard, but if they want to act like two catty, little girls who hate on you, maybe want to be you. Confront it and them. I do and did. To have my MIl call my hubby, gaslight again and tell him, that I twist things. lol

Again projection. She twists things, she can’t even send me a birthday card and it be for me? Shes twisted. I have a sister in law just like that too, she fights over being the most important thing to my mil. lol I don’t care. There both two peas in a pot. Shes rude and very insecure.

Narcissists are very insecure. Just my experience. Ask her what happened in her childhood to make her like that or inherit the traits. Trust me, she was treated like she treats others. The sad part, is shes repeating the cycle. If she neglected her mother, she must have taught it. Now shes looking for the same treatment and just might get it. Its called karma. I hope this helps.


Beth January 4, 2014 at 10:37 am

Wow! So grateful I found this website. I feel validated. THANK YOU!
I have been married for 16 years & I have been dealing with the most Narcy MIL from hell. At our wedding reception she took me aside & said ” I hate you” & two years later, at my BIL wedding, she physically attacked me – jumped on me & shoved me to the ground with her hands around my throat. I spent the last 16 years trying to understand what I did to cause her to hate me & I have even asked her what I did & she would never respond. I now fully understand that her issues are with herself, not me. My husband wrote her off years ago & asked me to do the same… I can finally do that now. 🙂


Kelli February 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm

OMG … Beth! That is some crazy stuff! She attacked you and choked you? Holy cow! I thought my MIL was bad!! You poor thing. I am however glad your DH has written her off. What a blessing!


Penny September 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Beth, I hope you feel no shame in walking away and protecting yourself. You did nothing to elicit such a response from your MIL. There is nothing that justifies that behavior from her. Ever. I hope you have a wonderful day today as you realize you are not alone x


Suzanne July 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I have this passive-aggresive mother-in-law who LIVES with us. She’s a total parasite on our budget and never pays for anything such as us driving her to doctors or to her friend’s houses. She’s always complaining how I am abusive to her and my husband ALWAYS believes her. Everything is all about HER, she’s so precious to herself. She doesn’t help around the house, she just expects to be waited on like a queen and if I don’t jump through the hoops with a smile on my face, she calls up my husband and gets me in trouble. She’s man-crazy and going online looking for men and bringing them to our house. I’m humiliated by her behavior, but my husband believes she is perfect and I’m a piece of garbage. I wish she would find another man an move away forever.


Martha July 30, 2017 at 11:53 am

I am concerned your husband thinks you ” are a pice of trash” . I am sure you are amazing . You have HER living there !!!!!! You must be a saint !!!!!


Maria August 27, 2014 at 8:41 am

Should’ve found this website sooner. I, too, have an NMIL who seems to be getting worse with age. She’s now 86 and with my luck, she’ll out live us all. Dear God. My SIL — her golden child — is her spitting image. They’re both conniving self-absorbed drama queens. The mental image I have of the 2 of them are of harpies. Or snakes. My husband is only now beginning to see that his mother is a full-blown narcissist who’s manipulated him by fear and guilt all his life. He’s finally setting boundaries. I put my life on hold for 6 months when both in-laws fell ill, caring for them, finding them in-home care, visiting them in the hospital, driving them to doctors appointments. Not once has she ever said thank you. After all, it’s her birth right to be attended to. And then, during a family discussion having to do with their wills, my husband asked her to reword a codicil to include me and she imperiously announced, “absolutely not, she’s not family”. I can’t tell you how hurt I was to hear that after having taking care of them while SIL never once came down for a visit or to help out since her job in NY was so ‘stressful’. Since then, the hurt has turned into anger and if I could, I’d never set foot in their house again. Thing is, FIL is a lovely man who’s declining in health and I’m truly fond of him. It’s too bad they’re a package deal. When he goes, I doubt I’ll see much of her. Which thrills me no ends. Bottom line, I cannot stand the sight of the woman. It’s visceral. I see right thru her, she knows it and doesn’t like it. She’s toxic. I’m struggling with letting go of the red hot anger. I have fantasies of throwing her off her 15th floor balcony and waving buh bye as she falls. I need to get to a place where she doesn’t incite ANY emotion other than indifference. And maybe pity. Because it’s sad that anyone could be so miserable and afraid and know that she’s been that way all her life. Thanks for letting me vent. I needed that. And I feel better.


Betsy November 1, 2014 at 11:04 pm

DH wouldn’t see it, doesn’t see, will NEVER get it! His mother is PURE and without sin! (so he thinks). Pure my ASS! What and evil, hateful woman that calls her son 15 times a day…EVERYDAY! Not exaggerating. 15 times a day EVERYDAY!! And NEVER calls to speak to her grand kids. He doesn’t see anything wrong with that….wow! Says..”oh she’s just forgets”. Forgets? Really? She’s (60), she’s far from senile! So you tell me she’s been “forgetting” to call YOUR children for the last 10 years? But calls you FIFTEEN TIMES A DAY, EVERYDAY? I’m done! It’s been 11 years of this madness. And the selfies that she sends at least once a week! yes, you heard me, “mommie” sends photo’s of herself, taken by herself, smirking and posing in each picture…to his phone every week. His phone is filled with images of his wonderful mother! Can you say SICK? S-I-C-K!! And twisted! She’s cross a line in her mind. He’s no longer son, but have crossed over to “fantasy husband”.

I left! Both are sick. Sick husband and sick mama! Took my babies and left the dysfunctional, twisted, decrepit, toxic, vile, evil family in the dust!! That woman was so toxic that she’s been eaten from the inside out. diagnosis with a rare form of OV cancer, of no known origin. With a prognosis of 18 months.

Let the dead bury the dead, God will not be mocked.


Saffron March 16, 2015 at 6:03 pm

I forgot to add that she is control freak was always trying to control everything to do with the children ‘advising’ us strongly about everything and to make her feel like she was needed I would ask her advice on certain things to show my respect but she took this for me being stupid. Everything we did was criticized and she knew best and would often come out with some really outdated wrong advice. There were things we did and she would not even be happy with us then it just confirmed to her that we were incompetent and if we didn’t take up a certain advice she would go on and on and on about it to the point of neurosis, things that were obviously fine in the first place she just had to have us obey her. I wish I had known all this before I could have dealt with it better, I am a very subserviant person a people -pleaser I did anything I could to make her like me and I was trying in vain when I realised she was playing games I got very angry and sent a massive email saying why I thought she had purposely sabotaged my family as she hadnt given any explanation for why she did what she did. It was angry as angry as I could be. This woman had made me consider suicide ffs how dare she? I honestly had had a breakdown over her behaviouor I felt betrayed as I truly looked up to and loved this woman as if she were my own kin and in return she treated me and my family including her own son like SHIT. I mean w can you kick out your baby grandchildren and use them as if they are pawns in your crappy little power games? The result of this breakdown led to substance abuse that I got help for as soon as I could, it did not go on for very long but when we told them about it in a cry for help to reunite they were helpful at first but then when I made a comment she didnt like about the children she got social services involved and kept ringing them with actual lies. They were checked out and found to be lies after a while but at first because of the situation I wasnt believed. Still she rang up with allegations that I was doing it again when I had been in recovery for over 3 months, kicking me when I was down and had she been believed, had they took her word for it, my children would have been taken from me. This is serious shit. You cant play games with the lives of little kids. I’ll never forgive her for doing stuff to my kids. The periods of time that she refused to see my kids and then told everybody else that we were stopping her from seeing them, my daughter asked for her everyday, typing nanny into the internet to reach her it was heart breaking, I never said a bad word against her. Not one word. I said she had gone on holiday. I mean how can you say she lives 20mins away and she just doesn’t want to see you darling, she is using you to punish us’ to a 4 YO. The amount of stress from this woman since my kids were born in 2008 has been immense. What she wanted was complete control of the children and tried to sabotage our efforts as parents and undermine us and make us out to be incompetant parents. When she is so nervous over children and I have been around children all my life growing up in a religious community where there were babies and children everywhere and I babysat many of them, also having my own nieces before I had my own children I was used to kids and up to date, whereas she hadn’t been around a baby since her last one 30 year ago and was neurotic with them at best and worked hard a lot out side the house so didn’t see them as often as a normal mum sees their own kids. I think she was jealous that I got to be with my children all the time and she missed out on her own chance, so she had to make me pay.It is so messed up, she had everything but she messed up the whole family for everybody right before Xmas 2013 because of her issues. My kids will never have that tight family bond that I dreamed of for them that I never had (history repeats itself!) but at least I am aware enough to not pass my crap onto my kids and to try my best to not damage them and to LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY like she hasn’t done for either her own son or her own grandchildren. I love them what ever they do and I regularly tell them that, even if you’ve been naughty I still love you no matter what. But her and my partners step dad have held on to stuff that he did as a teenager and they dont love him unconditionally and guess what he is DAMAGED! He is ill all the time (there is nothing physical) nearly every day. He wont hardly go out anywhere, he suffers nightmares all the time if he manages any sleep he wakes up screaming and its normally about his ‘mum’, he is constantly depressed and unhappy and is not coping with out a family very well, (his mum turned them all against him and even he thinks its his fault because of being a bad teenager) He used to be happy (er) now we barely function every day its a struggle to deal with, the only thing that bring us joy are the children. All this thanks to her and her super parenting skills. Like she has the audacity to criticize my parenting when we are constantly trying to raise them in the best way we can emotionally and physically, we love them so much! and both her sons ended up chronic drug users (but that is not her fault right?)


Saffron March 16, 2015 at 6:25 pm

Just reading some of the other comments and could not bear the lies either. I am very truthful person and I hate liars, I try to tell the truth where possible but I know I am not perfect. She says that she is perfect and thinks that she is perfect but has lied about some terrible things also some banal things as well like she said to the rest of the family I didn’t want to go out for a meal with them so they all went out without me even my partner, whatever, but when it comes to big things that involve peoples feelings esp children WTF! And what is all the shunning about? The pattern emerged and I recognised it after a few years and I prophesied that she would do it again. Create, massive argument, ignore you all for months, deign to see you again then repeat. The constant threat of I’m going to shun your children. Dangling it around to control us. Its sick twisted manipulative – nasty! I just wish her 2 other children who are golden btw not black sheep, could see what she did to us and understand, I don’t even wish it in them I just want her to be outed for her despicable lies as she projects this ‘I’m so perfect higher and mightier than you’ image. I wish they could see what she truly was like.


Heidi April 7, 2015 at 11:29 am

This is very helpful and rings so true for me. I have made such an effort with my NMIL, but her behavior has been unacceptable and all attempts at creating healthy boundaries I can live with have been disrespected. In any other situation, I would have nothing to do with someone who violates me to such a degree. I recognize that in this situation I need to make an effort to have a civil relationship with her for the sake of my husband and our child, but I would like to protect myself and limit exposure to her as much as possible. What do you do when your husband does not support your need to protect yourself from his mother? He was raised by someone with no boundaries and has trouble with them himself. He was never allowed to say no to her, so it seems like he resents me for attempting to do that. He acknowledges that his mother is abusive, but is conditioned to her antics. He blames me for setting limits about when I see her and says that I am putting him in an impossible situation. I see that it is difficult for him, but the situation is out of control. She has literally endangered my life – not to mention my sanity! I love my husband, but I cannot go on like this. Any advice about getting him to support my boundaries with his mother would be greatly appreciated. Also, to be clear, I am not attempting to dictate how or when he sees her, I just want to limit my involvement with someone I experience as toxic. Thank you


Martha July 30, 2017 at 12:05 pm

It is clear you are trying to be open and honest . It is sooo difficult for some husbands to realize that ” mom” is not the wonderful person we all want our parents to be.
I do hope he can begin to realize you are his wife , his top priority !!! Loyalty to family is amazing but not always healthy .
I applaud you for setting boundaries for yourself . Stay heathy .


Anonymous September 2, 2015 at 6:27 am

I have been with my wonderful partner for almost 3 years. Having been married twice, a single parent for almost 10 of those years, I met him. He is everything to me and my son adores him. His father, step mother and brother are delightful, his niece is beautiful. His mother is a whole other story. His stepfather is sweet but bullied and undermined.

Thankfully we met in our forties. So I have learnt much about people and personalities through life experience. A couple of weeks into dating I met his mother. All the things you describe as being friendly, interested and generally nice. But a couple of things she said sent alarm bells ringing straight away and I knew what I was dealing with (even though nobody I knew in close family or friends were narcissists). The big warning was when she described how she was there for every moment for her son when his previous relationship had broken down but that it was so draining on her that she had to go to the doctor. The doctor apparently told her to back away as it was too stressful for her. Pardon me, are you not his mother, would you not do anything for your child in their hour of need? I know I would give my son my last heartbeat if I could.

During the months, we have arranged countless outings with her, all to be cancelled. Many an excuse and mostly lies so she can go shopping instead. She makes mountains out of the slightest issue. And will scream abuse at my partner until hysteria means she can no longer speak. If he tries to speak and defend, he is told he is bullying her. Everything is his fault, even when his stepfather forgets to write something on a calendar. She and her husband have serious money issues, but she continues to spend. When she’s having a melt-down she always claims to be lonely (although in next breath she does have a life and lots of friends). She lies and forgets about those and lies again. She ruined her son’s 40th birthday party. She has his real father’s telephone number but has never given it to him (although my partner does see his father but in secret). She sends vile texts to him. Her brother is severely handicapped and in care all his life but it is her that has looked after him and needs a break (note: she has not seen him for two years as can’t drive all the way there, but can drive 2 hours to the beach). So so much that has been described in this website can be ticked off the checklist of her traits.

I have always kept her at arms length, my early decision when I first met her. But now I am becoming a bit of an obsession for her because she doesn’t know me. She’s desperate to go out for a coffee with me but luckily I work full-time, have my son and other commitments so have told her I will looks at dates and let her know although she expected those straight away. I delayed as she cancelled something again.

She has told my partner she wants to spend time with me “woman to woman” and ask me if I have a problem with her. (Hmmm do I want to meet someone who’s about to attack? I think not). So those dates will take a little longer, perhaps not at all as she’s building up for another outburst – we can see the signs. She has asked my partner to meet her, just the two of them, for a chat.

My partner knows. I have printed out much of the content on here and left out for him to read. He knows but thinks he’s the only one who has endured this behaviour. He needs to understand he’s not alone and that it’s not his fault, that he is a wonderful person. But when he is ready. He admits he probably has anxiety and has also said he does not like his mother. But guilt, like many others, grips him especially now she has turned 70. I will not make demands on him but rather allow him to find his path and support him.

But he knows I will always keep her at arms length.


Penny September 13, 2015 at 12:43 pm

This is all so familiar to me… and almost identical to my own experience.


Anonymous September 17, 2015 at 2:43 am

Hello Penny.

It’s amazing how many people are dealing with narcissism. I cannot tell you how helpful this website has helped me understand the condition and how my partner mother is conditioned. Being the total opposite of her, I just could not understand lying, attacking, spitefullness, attention-seeking and all the worst behaviours a human can have in one person. Having witnessed her actions I know I can deal with her, and more importantly, support my partner.

Just to update, I still have not had time on my own with her, and of course she now thinks I do not like her. We have recently invited her and her husband to two meals and she has declined and I know we are gearing up for another outburst but most likely at me. With all the stories people have shared here, I know I have the tools to deal with her but ultimately I know I should not have to.

Good luck with your own situation and I hope that you and your husband find peace.


Anonymous October 20, 2015 at 8:23 am

An update. My partner and I started sensing the ripples of his next attack a little while ago. You know, the digs, text messages and screaming down the phone. (What surprises me is she doesn’t think for one moment I cannot hear her or my partner does not show me the messages). Anyway, we received a call with her stating she was literally running away and was returning something she had borrowed before she goes.

My partner looked worried and asked me if I would come outside with him, as he would meet the MIL outside (my son was home). He had read much of the information from this site and others that I had printed but was not sure how to handle the impending situation.

So we went and met her. Look of horror on her face when she saw me. She went into hysterical rage screaming that her life was over, had enough and was moving south. And so I calmly took over. At no point did I raise my voice, call her names or attack.

MIL: I am moving to Somerset, my friends are buying my car and I am leaving. My life is over, there is nothing for me anymore.
Me: Who is in Somerset?
MIL: My friend.
Me: How are you getting there?
MIL: My friend’s daughter is going to pick me up and drive me.
Me: Where will you stay?
MIL: There is a flat I can stay in.
Me: You are selling your car?
MIL: Yes, my friends said they will help me and buy it.
Me: You can’t sell your car, its on a lease contract.
MIL: I can, it’s my car, it’s my name on the contract, I can do what I want!
My Partner: No mum, you can’t as it’s illegal.
MIL: Well, well, errr, um, the car dealer said he would buy it back and sell me another for only £99 per month.
Me: Why are you leaving?
MIL: Del (her husband) is awful. I cannot do it anymore. I have no life, I don’t do anything, my life is over.
Me: So if you leave tomorrow, what about Del?
MIL: Oh don’t worry he will not be a burden to you! (said with real venom)
Me: No that is not what I asked, if he is so ill, what arrangements have you made to make sure he is ok? Besides, if he just left, you would not like it.
Mil: silence….
Me: Your life is not over. You still go out, Del still works and drives you anywhere you want to go. My grandmother is 92, her partner is ill after strokes, heart attacks, stomach problems and now dementia but she justs gets on with things. I think you just need to take responsibility and crack on with it.
MIL: yeah, yeah, yeah (said like a stroppy teenager
Me: You really need to grow up
MIL: I am NOT a child (and then gets out of car and storms off)
Me to my partner: You should follow her to make sure she’s ok, I will stay by the car as it’s unlocked and her bag and dog are in the car
MIL: Don’t you touch my car! That’s mine, don’t touch it! (gets back in car)
Me: Why don’t you come inside and have a cup of tea, you need to calm down before you drive.
MIL: I would not ask you for help! I would not knock on your door for help! You mean nothing to me! I don’t even know you!
Me: That’s fine. However had you not kept cancelling dinner and lunch offers with us you may have got to know me.
MIL: I cancelled because it was raining!
Me and partner: look at each other confused! and remember she cancelled and then lied about why she cancelled…..we say nothing
Me: You need to calm down
MIL: I’m going to take some tablets and be done with it! I’m out of here!
Me: Do not say that sort of thing in front of your son
MIL: I am, I am going to take tablets!
Me: Once again, stop saying those things in front of your son. You are being unfair.
MIL: I will say what I want to him!
Me: No, you need to stop the threats, stop the screaming down the phone and stop the vile attacking texts you send him
MIL: (look of horror on face, turns to my partner) you show her my texts!
Partner: Yes, we share everything of course I do
MIL: Does she show you her texts from her mum?!
Me: Well to be fair we prefer to speak on the phone but also my mum does not send me texts like that. In fact I do not know any mother who speaks and treats their child, whatever their age, like you do. I would never do that to my son.
MIL: You don’t even let your son speak!
Me: How do you know, you don’t know me, remember?
MIL: silence

And it went on a little longer but eventually she realised she was not going to get anywhere and calmed. She asked me nicely if she could speak to her son alone, which was fine. He came in few minutes later exhausted. He said as I was dealing with her, he was ticking off all the traits described in the information and knew I was right about her disorder.

Two weeks later I got an actual apology from her, by text of course. But she did not blame anyone else for her actions – not me, her son, her husband, the dog, the president or invading aliens. It was genuine and apparently, the only time she has ever done that. To date, my partner has not had any screaming or vile texts. We know it will change and revert back but I hope my partner has more strength to start setting boundaries and deal with the attacks.

For now, we are enjoying the silence.


Penny September 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm

This is such a brilliant find! We are in the midst of chaos here at the moment. I have experienced being cornered, as stated above, to be yelled at and threatened. We have decided as a couple that neither of us will be alone with her for our own safety. My husband instantly gets a mouthful of very large ulcers whenever his mother is in contact and is in the process of unraveling himself from her abuse. It is both painful to watch him realize that he has been continually abused throughout his 38 years, and a relief to know that we won’t submit ourselves to her games again. Having said this, however, I am exhausted to the core and would very much like to pick up and leave the country to get away from her spite and torment. Thank you for this blog, it is a pool of refreshment in a narcissistic desert.


Michele November 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

My mother in laws nastiness towards me has been going on for over 27 years! She tolde off then and it has continued to get worse. I was never good enough for them! I embarrased her when I tried to talk about her son cheating on me. I was told to never speak to them again. Stupidly I went back to him! Planning the wedding she was against everything I came up with. She went as far as buying dresses without me for the flower girls then lying that I picked then out to their mom. Before kids she dictated every holiday gathering. Then after kids she would throw fits so we had to go along with her plans. She cause so many fights. Of course she blamed them on me and my mom. She doesn’t like my mom either. Finally she has reported to tellingly kids I lazy and telling people to pray for my husband. I am no longer ever allowed to go to their house. Of course my husband and kids can go. People in husbands family avoid me. She has turned them against me. She even tried to take my kids.


Michele November 19, 2015 at 4:09 am

My mother in laws nastiness towards me has been going on for over 27 years! She told me off before we were married and it has continued to get worse. I was never good enough for them! I embarrased her according to the dad when I tried to explain that her son my fiancé was cheating on me. I was told to never speak to them again. Stupidly I went back to him! Planning the wedding she was against everything I came up with. She went as far as buying dresses without me for the flower girls then lying that I picked them out to their mom when she was upset she wasn’t consulted. Before kids she dictated every holiday gathering. Then after kids she would throw fits so we had to go along with her plans her son would insist. She caused so many fights we could never leave even when we were scheduled to be elsewhere. Of course she blamed everything on me and my mom. She doesn’t like my mom either. Nothing was ever her son’s fault. Finally she has resorted to telling my kids I am lazy and telling people to pray for my husband he leaves. I am no longer ever allowed to go to their house she told the kids . Of course my husband and kids can go and he does. He never sticks up for me! Even leaving me home on a holiday to go see them! The People in my husbands family avoid me and think I’m a bad person. She has turned them all against me. She even tried to take my kids away from me calling children’s services with her lies. I am a stay at home mom who never leaves my kids! She resents this because she always worked and was never home!


Stephanie March 2, 2016 at 6:17 pm

I was surprised when my mother-in-law flipped on us getting married. My husband and I, that time boyfriend and girlfriend decided we were getting married and were in great joy to bring his parents the news. I have to be honest, I did fear for their reaction, I always felt like they didn’t like me. After two years of a great relationship we were ready to get married and we set a date. Once his parents knew it seemed that the doors from hell had open. They wouldn’t stop telling him how disappointed they were and even sat down to have a talk with me , many discussions later, you guessed it wedding cancelled. We stayed together, even though it was hard for both of us, constant fighting. I would always ask him why we couldn’t get married. His parents didn’t even want me in their home anymore. Months later, we ended up getting pregnant. We were delighted with the news, but very worried. Even though we loved each other we knew things weren’t 100% with our relationship and things with his parents, horrible. We decided to take things slow, I started going to his home on the weekends, we hoped his parents and I would be in a “okay” place. A few weeks later things just exploited and we just spilled the beans. I can’t even explain how terrible that day went. They called me money hungry (they don’t have sh#* , he was only making minimum and I made more money than him, I had my own place and a full time job), a slut, abusive, controlling, too old for him (I’m one year older, she is two years older than her husband ha!) God hates me apparently and other things that I decided to ignore since I was only 3 months pregnant and didn’t want to go into preterm labor! (Miscarriage) My poor boyfriend was devastated by their reaction, his parents played the blame game and told him how disappointed they were of him. Months passed I had my beautiful baby girl, hoped the tensions were long gone, nope! Worst thing that she could of done to me, she shook my baby, not acceptable. I know it might seam like I’m over reacting, seriously my baby, her grandchild was only two months old and sleeping. We had just arrived with our little baby in her carseat. She had finally fallen asleep in the car ride. As my “not my mother-in-law, mother in law” leaned over to get the baby I asked if she could wait till she will wake up. She said “wake up lazy baby!” as she was clearly mad at me. I still can’t believe it. Things now are worst, she told my husband I was trying to keep her against the baby because I hate her. I don’t hate her, all this time I have been trying so hard for her to like me, I have done everything to figure out why she doesn’t like me, now I know she hates me but before, I even went to therapy for this woman! I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression! I was on biweekly appointments for the therapy and on medication. Now that I have realized it’s not me, it is really her I just can’t believe it, it really seams unreal. I have stopped the medication therapy, and even more importantly I have stopped trying to win her love. I can’t say that I don’t care anymore, honestly I’m scared about how bad things will get. I really love my husband and our babies and I won’t let some sad lady ruin what we have, hopefully one day she realizes that I’m not that bad.


Marc March 10, 2016 at 9:29 am

Thank you for this posting, it may have just saved My Life…..


Jamie May 2, 2016 at 9:49 pm

I know this is an old thread but I just found out what a NMIL I have. I was hurt that she took my stepson to buy a gift for his mom when my husband can’t stand her and my MIL says she hates her. When I expressed concern, it started WW3. I apparently live for drama. She said horrible things about me, my children and my husband. Not about her blood grandkids though. What do I do? She told my husband that now we are going to threaten her with withholding the grandkids. I will never set foot in her house again. I have never been spoken to like that in my life and I’m appalled. Who does that?


S June 25, 2016 at 9:56 am

My mother-in-law sucks. Pure and simple.


B August 4, 2016 at 4:53 am

I have cut my NMIL completely off. The best thing I have ever done.
She has now cut my husband off (yes her own flesh and blood) because he will not tolerate her toxic behaviour towards me and my mother. He was always the golden child, until I came along that is. She didn’t show any interest whatsoever in our recent wedding, she turned up all in black as in mourning, she purposely looked at the floor throughout the whole ceremony, then she asked me ‘if my own mother was coming on our honeymoon’, this is how sick she really is. She also wrote in my guest book at the wedding ‘I am now the wicked mother in law’. The message was carefully removed and was returned back to her, my husband explained that this cruel behaviour was never going to be tolerated. She was enraged (narcissitic rage) apparently, so much so, she ripped it up shouting and swearing like a maniac! However, I was relieved that such negative words had been placed back into the hands of the owner, where it belongs and not in our happy loving home. It is very sad to think that my husbands mother never really loved him, and he is in the process of trying to deal with it all. I will support him all the way, I love him dearly. She has continually tried to sabotage our relationship for almost 5 years. This is where it stops, enough is enough.
My advice when you come to the conclusion of what you are really up against.. NO CONTACT


nancy October 1, 2016 at 10:55 am

you just made me remember something about my mil. On my wedding day, all of the girls including my MIL, had hair appointments with the same woman. I was sitting in the chair getting my hair done and my MIL walked in sat down, grabbed a magazine and never looked at me, never said I looked pretty nothing. I will never forgive her for that, it left such a bad memory…


nancy October 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

This is so heart breaking and relief for me as well. At least I know that I am not alone. My mother in law has hated me since day one. She is nasty, and treats my sister in law and her kids like kings and queens. She has been two faced and loves great gossip, so will go to any length to spread stories. She lives with my husband and I and our kids. My father in law too. I am not sure why they even moved in with us in the first place, due to our situation. They travel back and forth to new york where the favorites live, so it is such a big weight that can be felt as they drive off. My youngest is ten years old, and if you ask her anything about “gram” she will just say “she doesn’t love me”. Which I have brought to the attention of both in-laws and their response is, she is a brat. I am so frustrated, this has put years of strain on my marriage, but my love for my husband has always won over any obstacle. How do we stop this bullying? It is bullying, right? I am nauseated when I hear her speak and I just wish they would move. Someone please tell me I am not crazy lol


Jody November 17, 2016 at 5:49 am

My spouse and I have had some issues in our relationship that lead up to a point of him wanting to leave me. He discussed the issues with his mother and since then she has apparently always hated me. Even though we got along just fine. I always knew she didn’t like me but we still managed to be friendly and respectful towards one another. Now that she knew we had issues and that he wanted to leave me she completely supported his decision and he did turn out to break off our 6 year relationship. I however decided to stay with him and fix any flaws from my side to show him that I care and want to make it work. Surprisingly my changes made a big difference and things were going well between us on a daily basis. Even though he still rejected the idea of getting back together and making it work. His mother phoned him one morning and casually asked what he is up to and he answered that we (me and him) are still lying in bed. She freaked out about the fact that I was in his bed and actually started crying saying that he is messing up his life with me and that he needs to get rid of me and that he made his choice and has to stick with it. She said that it’s a disgrace that I am still sleeping with him and that it’s exactly what I want and that I’m busy manipulating him and trying to catch him by getting pregnant. At one stage I took the phone and asked her why she was so upset with me and whether we could get together when she has calmed down to sort out any issues she clearly has with me. I also then asked her to stay out of our situation as it’s got nothing to do with her. This made her even angrier and she shouted at me and said that she hates me and I am never ever welcome in her house ever again and she wants me out of their lives. I left it there and sent her a message a few days later to ask if I could come and see her so we could sort out this issue and get rid of any bad feelings towards one another. She seemed to have calm down as she sent me a message back saying that she is not mad at me and that it just really upsets her that I’m still around him and that I am hurting both of us by lengthening our pain of the breakup. I told her that it is not my intention to hurt her son but that I love him and would want to make things right. We then agreed to meet up and talk. I went to her place. (She is divorced – single mother of 3 sons and their father is MIA. We started talking and I told her that I really don’t appreciate her getting involved in our situation and would prefer if she could back off and let us handled it the way we want to. She then got mad again and said to my face that she will never back off and she will protect her son and he made his choice and she won’t let me manipulate him to get back with me. She then said hurtful things about me and my family and basically blamed me that our relationship didn’t work. So I got very defensive and said things to her about my spouse that she didn’t know. I told her that he smokes and watches porn and has recently been to a strip club. My spouse was extremely mad at me for telling her that and I felt very bad. He said that he would never have let out anything bad about me to get to my parents. I did feel bad about it but what really upset me was the fact that in my spouse’s eyes she could say bad and hurtful things about me and my family and I just had to take it because she is older than me and I have to respect her. I never said anything bad to her about her although she completely played the victim by telling him and the rest of their family that I hurt her feelings by saying that I don’t want her advice because she is divorced and her relationship was a disaster. I did say that. But in this context: My spouse and I agreed to see my father for advice on our relationship – hence WE involved HIM. Whereas we never asked his mother for advice, she involved herself. So she got mad and said how can I tell her to back off if we involve my dad…. so I said to her in the most respectful way I could: I don’t want to hurt your feelings and I also don’t want to judge what happened in your relationship because it’s got nothing to do with me, but the fact of the matter is that your relationship didn’t work out and we’d much rather take advice from someone who is still together. Those were my exact words and she still took offence and turned my words upside down and made it sound like I was trying to be intentionally hurtful by saying that. And my spouse was mad at me for saying that too. He completely took her side on the matter. I then decided that I won’t talk to her again as it doesn’t solve any problems. I now avoid her but had a few times where I saw her and we were both very friendly like old times. I even phoned her on her birthday. But behind my back she acts like I’m a horrible person. I even heard her say to my spouse over the phone when he talked to her and mentioned that he wants to send his CV out to find a different job – she said that will be good and that he can then get away from the whole situation with me. He then turned down the volume so I couldn’t hear what else she said. This really upsets me. Even though she doesn’t completely tell him to leave me she absolutely backs his side for him to do it and if I do anything to win him back and it works, she freaks out about it. Now he hides things from her like the fact that we are still sleeping in the same bed or that we still continue to live like we are together. He wouldn’t say it but it is true. He enjoys having me around and still being his girl even though he never told me to stay…. that’s his excuse when I bring it up. Sorry for the essay but I had to get it all out. I don’t know what to do. I feel like he really does want me around as I see it in his actions towards me, but he is to stubborn to admit that he still wants to be with me and to stubborn to let go of his pride and be willing to work on our relationship. I feel like he is going to feel like a complete fool if he has to turn around now and say that he wants me back because he knows his mother will freak out and everyone will think he was stupid and confused which is obviously a big let down for his ego – because he is that kind of person who never makes any mistakes, he is always right…. which is a huge problem. I can truly see that he wants to be with me but there are way too many other factors that keeps pulling him back from committing to me again. Especially his mom? What can I do. How can I change or work to get this issue sorted?


Gina July 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm

I wish I knew all of this stuff. After 27 years of a NMIL which I’ve been blind my life & no education. About 6 months ago narcissistic wasn’t my word & I had to read about it. What it really means on top of that. Of course being deaf you don’t hear words around you or explain things. Trying to learn a language I didn’t have anything growing up & to understanding any language. Now I’m learning & growing without any control over me. I’m in a bad storm can’t get out of it & set up a safe place. The NMIL already has my husband & our children in her box. I’m outside the box & the black sheep of the families. I really didn’t know where to start from here. I’m glad that I’m a black sheep cause you are a better person. Any ideas how to get out of this mess when families against you? I still love my husband & our children they are stuck in the middleman. Our children age from 26-18.


julia October 26, 2017 at 1:19 am

My mother has always been just horrible to me & my spouse, & to my bro. & his wife. She’s been really terrible to everyone I have ever been close to, dated or been with. She makes false accusations, is verbally abusive, critical, and irrational, and she triangulates & plays mind games to cause strife. She’s nice to strangers & in superficial settings. She dotes on my bro. and I, but she does not like or respect me or our wives.
All the 4 of us have ever done is try to be kind to and assist her. Every year she gets worse. I have no defenses against her crazy-making behaviors. My bro moved away & she still manipulates him & disrupts his life. I feel the stress she is causing us all has adversely affected not just our marriages, but all our health. We are all fat & depressed & beleagured & feel trapped like sheep. We LET this tyrant wreck our lives.
In despair, I googled, “narcissistic mother in law.”
This article & comments really helped me. Thx.


Anna November 11, 2017 at 11:03 pm

I booked marked this page! I will read it every time I have to see her. The woman hates my guts. She is one of the nastiest people I have ever known. I love my husband and we have a beautiful child together. Sometimes I would like to just take my son and leave. To never have to see or deal with my MIL would be a dream come true. But of course I can’t do that. To be trapped having to deal with someone so nasty for the rest of my life stinks. The article is true. There is no winning with a narcissist. Maybe if I absolutely flattered her and did what she said all the time it would help but that is insane. Narcissists don’t operate in rational behavior. Sigh. Why. Why.


M January 22, 2018 at 10:12 am

I bet my NMIL will be champion among all yours NMIL! I have been studying about this issue for 2 yrs…still can’t get a steady way to deal with her. As per South asian culture ,it is always difficult to be happily live in a join family. And when u have a narcissistic Mil things get even worse. Mine is worst as my husband is a high conflict person …he is one eyed to her narcissistic mother and narcissistic grandmother !! MY inlaws have a successful narcissistic family tree.
I m a mother of one child….I love my husband …but this was never enough…I had to prove myself a kind and obedient DIL to my Mother in law and to her 4 children. My MIL is the queen of gaslighting against me and guilt tripping against my husband. I m tired of facing all her flying monkeys in last 6 years.
My husband was never cooperative about this issue. He was always silent even when he was illtreated remembering that his father was no more and he should not even upset his mother (!!??)
initially, as i didnt know enough about narcissism , i shared this problem with him but whenever I seeked his help…he misunderstood me and my Mil got narcissistic supply. Later i tried my best to avoid her …but it was really difficult to maintain when you live in the same house. With time situation has become so complicated that my child started blaming me for all these problem. I couldn’t save him from his grandmother. He is only 6 and he is blaming me….i can’t handle this anymore.
This Web page is very helpful. ..and I hope your advice will save me.


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