A Real Story of a Couple Driven Apart By a Narcissistic Mother-in-Law

Narcissistic mother in lawThis is part one of a three-part series by Sarah P. called, “Three In the Bed:  Narcissistic Mother-in-Laws, Attachment, and How It Affects Your Marriage”

Note: After seeing some of the comments about my last article on narcissism, I felt like this would be a timely piece. In this series, I present clinical data about narcissism, then, weave in some attachment theory, and finally, pull the information together with personal observations. Though the focus of this piece is not specifically infidelity, I believe that there might be useful pieces of information that universally apply to all marriages.

Here’s the Story of a Couple Driven Apart By a Narcissistic Mother-in-Law

A couple of years ago, “Steve” and “Suzy” asked for neutral advice on a recurring issue within their marriage. Suzy felt as if they had reached a marital impasse and Steve did not understand Suzy’s subsequent “extreme” demand. Though she loved Steve dearly, Suzy was literally on the verge of offering him an amicable divorce.

You see, after years of experiencing a very tenuous relationship with her mother-in-law, Suzy felt that leaving her marriage was the only option.

The Backstory of Steve and Suzy’s Difficulties

Suzy explained that even when they first became engaged, Suzy could not wait to become one big happy family. Her attitude was that, the more family, the more love there was to share. Suzy reported coming from a wonderful, loving family and having a good childhood. Therefore, she was looking forward to having a close relationship with her husband’s family and sharing the love.

But, soon after they became marriage, Suzy’s relationship with her mother-in-law became terrible. Pretty soon, Suzy’s mother-in-law was doing anything she could to attempt to drive a wedge between Suzy and Steve.

Soon after that, her relationship with her mother-in-law went from terrible to absolutely unbearable.

Steve’s mother insisted on visiting them for several weeks, without Steve’s father, so that his mother could “help” around the house. Steve’s mother insisted that they could not live without her help since they had a small child. Furthermore, no matter how much they dodged the topic, Steve’s mother would not take no for answer. Steve’s father and brother compounded this pressure, and so Steve’s mother came to stay.

The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back occurred during this visit.

Narcissistic MILSuzy was armed with a laundry list of complaints about her mother-in-law: Her MIL, while visiting, went through all of Suzy’s drawers, rooms, and even locked filing cabinets. Her mother-in-law attempted to constantly verbally plant doubt in Steve’s mind that someone might be a better wife for him, and Suzy’s MIL verbally criticized everything she did, constantly.

Now, all of those things that Suzy mentioned can be part and parcel of the sometimes tenuous mother-in-law and daughter-in-law dance. But, this was not the reason Suzy was a seeking a divorce.

The events that Suzy recounted next took me by surprise since they are not common in normal mother-in-law and daughter in law relationships.

But then again, Suzy had never really encountered an extreme narcissist. Thus, nothing could have prepared her for the events that were about to unfold.

After a week of Steve’s mother’s behavior, Suzy very rightly found herself at her wit’s end.

So, a very hurt Suzy asked Steve if all three of them could sit down and have a reasonable family conference. Suzy did not understand what she had done to make her mother-in-law so angry that she wanted to break up Suzy and Steve’s marriage.  Suzy was also irate that she found her locked filing cabinet had been broken in to and that her MIL went through her medical history and other private data. Steve even admitted privately to Suzy that he caught his mother meddling in the filing cabinet.

Thus, Suzy wanted to sit down and figure out what was going on.

Suzy stated that she wanted to try to empathize with her MIL’s viewpoint, so she felt a sit down conversation would help her understand and also clarify her own point of view. Most of all, Suzy hoped that having a reasonable discussion could put her relationship with her MIL on a firm foundation.

Suzy and Steve agreed that they would sit at the table with his mom, address the behavior that bothered both of them the most, explained why it bothered them, and then ask Steve’s Mom if they could hear her side and call a truce.

Suzy was hurt and angry but still wanted to negotiate a new relationship with her mother-in-law that was based on love and respect.

Steve agreed that this would be a good approach and that he would lead the conversation.  They both made a pact to be extremely diplomatic and thoughtful about their words, so they discussed them in advance.

All three of them sat at the table together and Steve stated the intent of the conversation. First, Steve talked about the things that had bothered him. His mother sat silently. Then, he asked Suzy to talk about what was bothering her. Suzy simply said to her MIL, “I think I may have caused a misunderstanding between us because I feel like there is a wedge in our relationship. My intention is for us to have a great relationship so I hope we can talk about this”.

i love meSteve then motioned for a very nervous Suzy to continue. Then, Suzy hesitantly and apologetically said,  “but when you constantly criticize me and then go through my private things, I feel very badly and I just can’t tolerate this anymore. I would like to hear your side and work toward having a great relationship with you.”

Now, if Suzy would have been dealing with a normal mother-in-law, the conversation would have been difficult; but, the difficulty would have gotten resolved as each person empathized with the feelings of the others.

There might have been some tearfulness and hurt feelings, but the two women may have actually developed a more authentic relationship after such a discussion.

But that is not what happened.

Steve attempted to demonstrate the way his mother’s eyes started to glaze over as her mouth soured. Then Steve, displaying outward disbelief described what happened next.

Steve said, “I could not believe what was happening.  My mom started pounding her fists on our dining room table and shouting, ‘No!… No!! and No!!”

Then Steve continued with embarrassment:

From that point on, I could hardly believe how quickly my mom’s behavior escalated. My mom almost lunged across the table, all the while shouting that Suzy was a whore who deserved to be dead.

At that point, Steve described strongly urging Suzy to go upstairs and “get safe” while he handled his mother.

Suzy seemed taken back to the moment as Steve described these events. Suzy stiffened and continued, “I went into the nursery where our one-year-old was napping. I heard loud pounding on the stairs. I froze as my mother-in-law stormed into the nursery. She physically backed me up against a wall, telling me over and over again she was going to kill me because I was a whore…”

Then Steve said, “I was close behind my mom and I literally had to tackle her to get her and remove her from the nursery. She looked like she was physically going to rip my wife apart. I remember ordering Suzy to take the baby and to leave the house immediately! It was like something out of a movie. It was like I was there and I wasn’t all at the same time. It was too unreal.”

(Steve was referring to the feelings of dissociation that occur when someone is experiencing a traumatic or unbelievable event.)

mother in lawAfter Suzy fled their home with the baby, Steve reported packing his mom’s suitcases and driving her to the airport. He reported that though her stay was not over, he was sending her back on the plane for his family’s safety. Then Steve recounted how his mother irrationally raved during the drive to the airport.

He said, “She was obsessed with harm coming to Suzy. She kept describing all the ways in which Suzy needed to die. My mom kept telling me how Suzy was evil and how Suzy was trying to turn me against her.”

But that was not the end of it.

After Steve returned home, his cell phone started ringing. A flurry of phone calls came in from Steve’s father and brother. They blamed Steve for causing his mother’s behavior. Then they blamed him for making his mother so ill she had to go to bed.

Steve said in disbelief, “My father barked through my cell phone that it was all my fault—that I was a terrible son and an ungrateful person. My palms were sweating and I was shaking. I could not believe what was happening since my father was threatening to cut me off from the family.”

Soon after that, Suzy was so unsure of a stable future, that she offered Steve an amicable divorce. That is precisely when they decided to get the opinion of a therapist.

Steve, a soft-spoken engineer, was very ashamed as he recounted the entire story of his mother’s behavior. Suzy, a professional who had just returned to law school, was still understandably afraid, confused, and apprehensive about the future. There was profound sadness in her eyes as she explained how torn she felt since she dearly loved Steve, their child, and their life together.

As the couple spoke, it was clear that Steve did not want a divorce. In fact, he wanted a professional opinion because he was determined to find a metaphorical ‘secret key’ to his mother’s behavior that would help them all get along.

Steve told me that he believed seeing a therapist would help him behave in a way that would magically turn his mother into a rational person.

Steve believed that if only he were to adapt his behavior, there was a part of his mother that could be ‘unlocked’, immediately revealing a profoundly loving and kind person.

Even though what Suzy had gone through was traumatic, she made it clear that she was willing to forgive Steve’s mom and try to find a better way to talk to his mom in the future.

If Only It Were That Easy

Unfortunately, as Steve and Suzy soon learned, if someone has a pathological case of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), there is absolutely nothing you can do to reason with him or her.

Furthermore, there is nothing you can do to elicit empathy from a person with NPD or cause that person to have insight into their destructive and hurtful behavior.

But the most tragic part of being in an extended family where a narcissist ‘rules all’, is that the narcissist’s behavior poisons the entire family system and most of all, the sacred relationship between two spouses.


Thanks Sarah!  You can read Part 2 of this series by clicking here.

Please share any stories about your own experiences with narcissistic mother in laws, or narcissism in general.  Or, if you just have some thoughts on the subject, share those as well!

 

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74 Responses to A Real Story of a Couple Driven Apart By a Narcissistic Mother-in-Law

  1. Gizfield March 7, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Interesting. Can the next feature be on the Passive/Agressive MIL, lol? Got one of those loitering around myself.

    • veronica February 6, 2016 at 8:58 am #

      Me to just doing mediatiin with my husband, who is passive aggressive, left me and my 2 boys Febuary last year. To live with his mother. We are gutted but hey ho, been on a roller coaster for 21yrs ?
      Veronica x

  2. Gizfield March 7, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Lol, the lady with the rolling pin in the picture above even looks and dresses like my husband’s mother, lol.

  3. Doug March 7, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    Yes, I have a controlling passive aggressive MIL as well. Sweet as hell but she tries to manipulate Linda all the time.

  4. forcryin'outloud March 7, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    I wish my MiL was the aggressor. I think my H could grasp that concept. No, she’s a victim of EVERYONE else’s behavior. And like Steve’s (above) family don’t upset her because you will be ostracized and labeled wicked. When she has been “victimized” she will go into a full blown episode of hypochondria. She will create enough anxiety and drama to have herself hospitalized. Then the “assailant” will be labeled the instigator of her ill health, the evil entity. And if her H doesn’t side with her she will unleash a tongue induced wrath on him following him around the house until he just gives in to her point of view.

    The year after d-day we tried the Suzy/Steve mend the fence approach and visited my in-laws (they live many hrs and states away). It was a bust because my FiL refused to have any conversation or engage with us other than eating a meal and my MiL would start “fake” hyperventilating every time I would come in the room. This would elicit my FiL’s attention…telling her not to get upset. Never mind the fact that she was the go between for my H and his OW or that she had my young son call to tell me he couldn’t find his Dad while she was watching him so my H could run around like a dirt bag reconnecting with an exHSGF who had turned into a cheap, immoral bar tramp. No, I was the evil entity and my H had allowed me to upset the queen and my FiL had better fall in line. The manipulations and the control she has over everyone in the family is unsettling and terrifying. Like I said to my SiL, “it’s like being held hostage by your own MiL.” She has no boundaries or respect for others.

    During therapy my H said part of the reason he was involved with the OW (OW’s mother is MiL’s friend) was because he didn’t want to upset my MiL. Be assured that is no excuse for me but it speaks volumes about the level of control her shenanigans have over him. I don’t think she is evil, but I do think she suffers from a poorly treated mental disorder. Unfortunately she stills has an unhealthy grip on my H by using guilt and obligation as her weapon. And for me I’m exhausted by her constant unhealthy presence in my marriage. At this point my H refuses therapy, self help or education about any of this. For me, as my grandmother would say, “i’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” of all this!

    • Gary February 21, 2016 at 11:54 am #

      Hi, I know this is a very late reply but I had a very similar experience with my wife . After we got engaged in July 2013 my new MIL changed and tried to be involved in everything we did . It was like she was jealous of my wife having a life and very possessive .
      Her own family tried to tell her to let us go but like your situation she controlled everyone and manipulated my wife . I couldn’t believe the hold she had on my wife . She even tried to move into the flat below us . Put me down during conversations and if I bought my wife a present she would buy her the same but more . Wanted to know everything. If I suggested anything I would get “my daughter wont be doing this or that”. My wife would go rigid and look for me to be the bad guy and say no to her mum .
      It was making me ill and I would get angry and have an argument with my wife .
      We both had decent jobs . New flat and car and were looking at holidays as we didn’t have a honeymoon. Her mum also phoned when I was at work and my wife was frightened to tell me what the conversation was about . This did me no good but I tried to let it go as I loved my wife so much and she was great when not around her mother and also was the girl I married . She was confident and was doing well . She seemed happy .
      After a nice weekend her mother stuck the knife in again and I had had enough . I nearly left after an argument about her as it was getting me depressed and anxious . I loved my wife and still do so I stayed as she said we cant throw what we have all away like that . The following morning I wasn’t great and left for work without saying goodbye and a kiss . I got home and she was gone for good . A note saying she was off to see her cousin for 2 days but I knew she was gone to her mothers and as I call it . The bear trap ! She went straight back to her mums all because she couldn’t handle to say no to her .
      I forgot to say that her mum would do all the attention seeking illnesses too . I spent every weekend at her parents . I would get insulted by put downs etc and had to sit in the house listening to same stories . Her dad knew I was in trouble but done nothing to help . She actually said to my wife when we got engaged that she had no faith in her being in a relationship !! I got accused of not letting my wife see her family…we got the bigger car and flat for us to pick people up and let her family stay over which happened a lot !! I was accused of being abusive to my wife and wanting her to myself !! That was from my wives mother ! We were very late bloomers . She is 43 and I have just turned 40 . She was the love of my life and we did a lot together . I also caught her checking to see if I was cheating on Facebook which is out of character ?? I didn’t get angry . I just said not to worry and reassured her . I was stunned !
      I just cant believe it . One weekend last July we were bowling and other stuff . We picked a nice villa in Spain for our holiday this year and after the row on the following Monday she left ?? She phoned my mum first but my mum couldn’t answer at the time but tried . I wasn’t allowed to see her after she left unless her parents allowed it ! In 2 weeks my flat was handed back over and her name was off the account . All the legal side was documented and that has her mother written all over it .
      This is now Feb 2016 and I am quite ill because of it as I know through emails my soon to be ex is depressed and ill also . The mother is trying to blame me for her being ill but she wasn’t ill when she left ??
      It was a real shock to me and now I have to see a Doctor a lot due to her leaving . I honestly cant believe she has gone and so suddenly because she couldn’t stand up to her mother . My heart is in pieces and now I had to leave my job over my illness for a while and seek advice for debt as she has left me with all the pieces to pick up. They are fine !! It makes me so angry that someone could do that to their daughter and also say such bad things about me . I struggle to come to terms with what was said even though I know they are untrue . She done a lot more behind my back but I would be forever on here !! I have seen and done a lot when serving in the British Army years ago but I now fear that I wont be able to pick myself up from this and try and start again. I don’t want to just now as my dream was for spending my life with Pamela but its all disappeared so fast and I still love her .
      My friend did say . Just imagine how ill I would have been if I was still with her and how unhappy I would have been but it was her mothers fault and I will never blame Pam . I may be too soft but god I do miss her and I am in disbelief . Don’t know what I am trying to say but I read your post and it did tell me I wasn’t the only one having this experience . We did try and tell her but she wouldn’t take no for an answer . If I tried to stand up to her she would say I was cutting !! Okay . Hope you are well and take care .

      Gary.

      • OlderandWiser October 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

        Gary,

        I am so sorry to hear about the damage your MIL did to your relationship with your wife. That could have been my story, but my husband finally broke all ties with his mother after we were married for 15 years. It took therapy and seeing how she was affecting our children before he made the decision. (“She will NOT do to our children what she tried to do to me!) He paid the price in that most of his siblings stopped talking to him (and me), and his family is broken. But he has never looked back and has never been happier. I guess what I am saying is that I could not have forced him to make that decision, he had to do that on his own. And I have come to the realization that there was nothing I could do to change the situation, it was all on him. I hope that one day you and your wife will find happiness with each other. I don’t know how old you are, but my husband was 40 when he was finally able to cut her out of our life.

    • adios October 13, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

      Well my advice to you would be ‘get rid of your husband’ asap.
      If he refuses any sort of help, he has no regard for you whatsoever, can’t you see that? You as his wife should be his number one priority, sounds like his mummy is more important reading this.

  5. Sarah P. March 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Hello Forcryin’outloud,

    From what you have described, your mother-in-law would also qualify as a narcissist. Narcissists can be aggressive like Steve’s mother or they can be extremely passive-aggressive like your husband’s mother. There are narcs who are instigators and narcs who are martyrs; but, these characteristics are two sides of the same Narcissism coin.

    But, the most frustrating narc is the passive-aggressive one because that person has learned to become adept at flying under the radar of many people outside of the family. Usually they can garner much pity from outsiders because they are talented manipulators. (Yet, they are still in ultimate control of everything). These are usually the most frustrating to deal with because others might find it hard to believe the narcissist’s victims. You might hear things from outsiders like: “You are telling me that sweet little old lady in the corner does those things? You must be crazy!”

    And yes, that ‘sweet little old lady’ does those things. My husband and I have dear friends and they are like our second set of parents. They are a wonderful couple in their early 70’s. When I first started hearing stories about my friend’s MIL who is in her mid-90’s, I figured it was the run-of-the-mill stuff that can occur between MILs and DILs. But, as I got to see her MIL more on a social basis and at their family events, it became clear that the ‘sweet little old lady’ sitting in the corner was a malignant narcissist. It was hard for me to believe at first, even though I had seen her in action. After all, she attended church, did volunteer work at the thrift store, played bridge with her friends, loved her grandchildren etc. Then I witnessed a few side conversations between my friend and her MIL. Her MIL threatened to throw herself down the stairs of her home if my friend and her husband went on a vacation without her. Then, my MIL would get sick anytime her son did not drive across town to visit her daily and she would call an ambulance and end up in the ER. After literally 50 of these visits, the doctors found NOTHING wrong. My friend would cook enough meals for a week for her MIL, send them over, and then the MIL would not eat them. Then she would get weak and call the ambulance again. At one point I asked my friend if her MIL’s behavior was something that occurred in old age. Then, my friend told me stories of how her MIL pretty much launched a war against her back in the 1960’s when she and her husband first married! Her husband’s mom would never accept the fact that her only son married a woman and thus (in her mind) replaced her. At several points during the marriage, her MIL would launch a campaign to attempt to get the two divorced. Now, I have known my friend for more than several years– if anyone is a faultless person, it is my friend. She has been through many heartbreaking things, which I will not elaborate on here, that would qualify her for status at a saint. She has had so many challenges through life such as the death of a child to cancer and yet she still remains incredibly loving, joyful, extremely giving, and open-hearted. Her MIL acts mainly through extremely passive-aggressive means, but she is a hard-core narc nonetheless. My friend’s only fault is that she married the narc’s only son– and that (to a narcissist), is an UNFORGIVABLE transgression.

    So, to sum up my point, whether they use aggressive means or passive-aggressive means to maintain their role as Queen Bee of the family, a narcissist is a narcissist!

    It sounds like your husband’s mom is malignant narcissistic based on everything you have said. Her behavior is incredibly outrageous from the perspective of anyone who is normal, but in terms of narcissism, she is just following the status quo.

    Very sorry that you have found yourself in this situation. It must be incredibly challenging and I wish you the best of luck.

    Here are two books that I like on this topic that are helpful for anyone who encounters narcissists on a semi-frequent basis:

    In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
    by George K. Simon Ph.D.

    Life Code: New Rules for the Real World
    by Dr. Phil McGraw
    (Note: Dr. Phil’s books are hit or miss, but this one hits the target! Love it!)

    • forcryin'outloud March 10, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Sarah, Thanks for the feedback. I have read McGraw’s Life Code book and like you said it was better than most of his work. I downloaded Simon’s Sheep’s Clothing and will begin that ASAP.
      I believe my MiL suffers from BPD and so did our marriage psychologist. And like you said about your friend’s MiL I could wax on for days about the drama she has ensued but I try to keep it relevant to my H’s EA on this forum. In fact we are currently dealing with a trip to the hospital where she was placed in ICU after minor surgery only to be moved out after 24 hours because they could find no medical reason she was acting delusional after surgery. My H went from being very worried to angry because it happens EVERY time she has any medical issue. He’s thankful she’s okay but he’s extremely resentful she toys with everyone. I asked him if he thought of asking for a psych consult and he’s response was “I don’t want to talk to her doctors and I don’t care.” I think not only is he resentful he’s embarrassed. Plus she’s still yanking chains. He talked with her yesterday, she was talking perfectly normal then he said she would start slurring her words next would come some nonsensical story. Then repeat the scenario again. The craziest thing is it’s the exact same routine last time she was in the hospital in the fall. Just no hope. Thankfully I minimal contact with her now. I have strict boundaries in place and I illicit no contact with her. Safer and healthier for all.
      Thanks again for the response it is much appreciated!!!!!!!
      BTW – “Understanding the Borderline Mother” by Lawson helped my H realize that his mother is mentally unhealthy. Also, our therapist said these are difficult patients to treat because the don’t want help because the manipulations and machinations feed their voids/insecurities.

      • Sarah P. March 10, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

        Hello Forcryin’outloud,

        Your therapist is exactly right that BPDs are difficult to treat. First off, there is no medication that treats any kind of personality disorder. These disorders are not like depression, anxiety, bi-polar, or even schizophrenia. All of those conditions can be treated and even schizophrenics can live very high functioning lives when placed under the care of a skilled psychiatrist. This is not the case for personality disorders. In addition to that, talk therapy rarely works, even with the most skilled therapist. Part of it is that yes, a personality disordered person gets their inner-void filled through behaviors that are counter-productive and ironically tend to cause more abandonment in their lives.

        But, to try to get a personality disordered person to attend therapy in the first place is a Herculean task. If they do get into therapy, I have heard seasoned therapists (who have been working in mental health for 20+ years) cynically say that when they intake someone with a personality disorder, they are playing a game of ‘hot potato’ and looking for a chance to pass the person off to the next therapist. This is not said out of cruelty– in fact, the bulk of the litigation against therapists comes from personality disordered people who have entered therapy and who have not gotten their needs met by the therapist as the person saw fit.
        It’s an incredibly unfortunate situation for everyone– a lose/lose situation.

        Luckily, there is a newer breed of therapist emerging that is specifically specializing in finding new cognitive ways to treat the personality disordered. These guys deserve a medal of honor because it is a difficult job and one where the therapist must have tons of compassion, extreme patience, plus a high threshold for disappointment and set-backs. I am finding that my area of interest is becoming learning how to assist the normal relatives of the personality disordered heal from the trauma of the experience. (And there is trauma…and drama.) More people than you would ever imagine are dealing with personality disordered relatives.

        Your MIL sounds exactly like my friend’s MIL. My friend and her husband have been married since the 1960’s and have rarely had any time alone. My friend’s MIL, who is 95, is holding out in hopes that my friend passes on first. No joke! That way her son can move back in with her and she can live ‘happily ever after’ for her last days. Now, I understand that she wants family around. It’s a need that we all have. But, my friend’s MIL has tried to break up their marriage so many times and has been unreasonable in her behavior for years. My friend is one of the kindest people I have ever met and I have seen her at her best and at her lowest. Even at her lowest she manages to think of others and be a good friend.

        So, I hear what you are going through.

        Best of luck and hang in there!

  6. Rachel March 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    My ex MIL said at a party that she would love for her son to come back home and live with her. Well she got her wish!

  7. Gizfield March 7, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    You know, Rachel, I bet my MIL wouldn’t mind for us to break up. That way she could monopolize his time fulltime instead of part time.I think she is a major factor in his effed up ness. I despise her .

    • Rachel March 10, 2014 at 6:45 am #

      Giz,
      At the mother son dance my ex mil wouldn’t let go of my husband. She was sobbing and holding on to his neck. Everyone was laughing. I was so embarrassed. Red flag!!
      Over the years she was forever interfering, giving her unwanted advise telling us how to spend or mostly not spend our money.
      When we would take the kids away for a few days to santas village or story land she would call in the morning and lay on the guilt that we weren’t taking her.
      Mind you she HAD A HUSBAND!!!!! but she was/is in love with her son!!!!!
      Her husband could never do anything right according to her. A dear man who was treated as a puppet. Just like me.
      He passed last year when she took away his fluid medication because she felt he didn’t need them. His lungs filled up and he died. He’s better off though not being in control by that witch.
      She would say often that my ex took after her. My reply was that’s not necessarily a good thing ya know!

      • forcryin'outloud March 10, 2014 at 11:01 am #

        OMG! Rachel that was my MiL at our wedding when we went to leave the reception. Everyone was asking what the hell was going on. She had already told my H our marriage wasn’t valid because we weren’t married under her religion. Plus, over the years she’s informed me numerous times that the saying “…a son’s a son until he takes a wife” would never apply to her “Johnny.” Say’s he will always be her “Johnny boy.” Makes my eyes bug out thinking of all this!

        • Sarah P. March 10, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

          Hello Forcryin’outloud,

          Ditto on your wedding dance!! Creepy!!!

        • Carol March 12, 2014 at 11:41 am #

          Wow, FCOL — how difficult. My MIL gave me a card on my wedding day with a picture of flowers on the front. On the inside, which was blank of any printed words, she had handwritten “A daughter’s a daughter all her life, a son’s a son till he takes a wife — but I *know* that won’t be the case with you. xoxox.” Yowza. Did I mention that this was ON my wedding day? Seriously: that’s what you want to say to your new DIL?

          I am no psychologist, but it seems to me that these unhealthy mother-son relationships set men up for affairs. My H’s APs looked like his mother, were needy and whiny, emotional and dramatic, constant victims (they never did anything wrong; everything was always someone else’s fault) – they shared her personality. My H was accustomed to accommodating his mother and acceding to her poor boundaries (she would come visit at our house for open-ended, weeks’ long visits without asking whether it was okay, would invite his troubled brother to come stay *at our house* without so much as mentioning it to us until he was literally at our door, and my H never understood why I was upset about this!). He thought his family was just ‘close’ and that she ‘just wanted to help.’ I think all of this set him up to have very poor boundaries with women. Not to say that the EA isn’t totally his fault — it is; he’s a big boy who made his own poor decisions — but the dysfunction in his relationship with mommy clearly made him vulnerable to a certain type.

          • forcryin'outloud March 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

            Carol – I wholeheartedly agree with you. Like a friend said after d-day, “He’s got some serious mama issues.”

            What did you do with your card?

            • Carol March 13, 2014 at 10:35 am #

              I “lost” the card. 🙂 I remember being startled by it at my wedding, but I was young (24) and decided to sweep it under the rug. Right decision in the moment, wrong decision over the long haul. It took my MIL’s cruelty when my H’s EA was revealed (she told him he hadn’t done anything bad, that I “hadn’t made it easy on him,” that I’d probably done the same thing for all he knew) for me to realize that it wasn’t my fault at all, that she really was hostile to me, that she had indulged & excused all sorts of behavior from my H and his brother, and that my sense that she was jealous of my relationship with my H wasn’t off-base. (I tend to question myself a lot.) It took six months of my H badgering her before she apologized to me, and she has yet — nearly 2.5 years after the fact — to express any concern at all about what I’ve gone through. She has a heart the size of a frozen pea.
              Disappointed as I am at this relationship (I was a big favorite with previous boyfriends’ mothers), I am now trying to get something positive out of it by learning how NOT to be a MIL when my turn comes.

              • Strengthrequired March 13, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

                Carol, when I was dating my h, I met my fil, we had my h friends with us. I was snob bed, like I wasn’t even there. Should have been my alarm bells.
                Every time after, it was the same, different nationalities my h and I , so my fil would only speak his lingo, around me, try and get my be to leave me etc. the biggest one he would tell my h, is that I was on drugs, I would have kids with him and then leave him, blah blah blah. of course I gad no idea until my h ( boyfriend at the time) would tell me.
                Then we were engaged, my h father didn’t attend our engagement left the country instead and didn’t even tell my h.
                Several years later, they arrived back in the country, stayed with us until they found a place to live, then several years after that we were due to have our second child, they weren’t around for the birth of our first. We lived 30 minutes away, yet after having our baby, they didn’t even come to the hospital to see the new born. Yet when my h brother had his first child a year later, they were there for the whole thing, labour, birth, and complete hospital stay. My h was very upset with that.
                Back to when I had my second, I come home after a week in hospital, they decided the next day or so to come visit. Can you believe they had the Gaul to tell my h that they wanted to take my oldest back overseas so they can teach the language, because with a mother like me, the child won’t learn. My h told them no, of course, but if they like to hear my answer they are welcome to ask. So they did, (you see, so my fil could talk to my h, I would be brushed aside like I didn’t exist, to my young sils at the time (the kids). That us how it was every visit). I was shocked to hear what they wanted, and slammed that door shut, so they could never ask it again.
                My fils interference in our marriage whenever he was in the country was so damaging, at times I know they got to him, he wanted a relationship with his father, and let me just say, we were at their place everyday.
                I used to hate going there, but did it for my h and our children. Even though I knew I wasn’t welcome.
                We argued so much over his father.
                Then one day they left overseas again, and haven’t returned. Was a happy happy day indeed.
                So you can see how I felt when my h goes over to visit his family and returns in a ea. I figured it was my fil doing, turns out he was finally on my side, strange after all his attempts, and causing my young life a misery, I was 19 when we married.
                On the day I was getting married, I ran into an ex s father, funny he was so upset, and said, ohhh no I wanted you to marry my son.
                All I wanted was a welcoming family that I married into, that wasn’t what I ended up with. I had relatives try to break us up and friends of relatives, throwing daughters at my h, then last cousin it, along with her family , the one that nearly succeeded.
                You would think after 20yrs a person had been married, they would just give up, but no.
                Hopefully, there will be no more tries.

              • forcryin'outloud March 13, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

                It’s amazing what you will tolerate when you are young, naive and in-love. My father warned me before I ever married that my (future) MiL would cause big problems for me. She had already done so many malicious things by the time we got engaged I should have seen the writing on the wall. I look back and wonder what the hell I was thinking.
                I know none of this is my fault but I’m having a hard time putting “humpty-dumpty” together again. As far as my MiL is concerned I know she will never take ownership for any of her actions and I will continue to be the enemy. I have no use for her, she’s toxic to the core.

                • Strengthrequired March 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

                  Fcol, it is amazing what you out up with when your inlove. I’m thankful that my fil wasn’t around for many years, as I don’t think my marriage would have lasted if he was. Either my h would have cracked or I would have.
                  I was actually 18 when I met my h, we were married at 19.

        • AbandonedAllHope November 18, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

          Mine literally went to a priest the week after our wedding and tried to have our marriage annuled. You’re not alone

      • Sarah P. March 10, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

        Hello Rachel,
        What your MIL did to her husband is terrible. What did your H say about that?

        As for the wedding dance– how creepy is that??

  8. Strengthrequired March 8, 2014 at 3:31 am #

    I did to have mil troubles, but for a long time fil troubles. Then friends of my h trying to break us up, then friends and family of my h brothers wife trying to break us apart, then his Aunty and cousins, I often wonder what was so wrong with me that I have never been truly accepted as a part of his life, why they all seemed to think it was ok to try. What was wrong with me, that I was just assumed to be not worthy of my h?
    Funny enough, it was my h mother that had always been supportive of me, then funny that after the last attempt from my h cousin and her family, that my fil actually stood up for me. Go figure…

  9. Strengthrequired March 8, 2014 at 3:31 am #

    Supposed to say, didn’t have mil troubles

  10. Jeddy March 8, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    My mil treats my h like her life partner. It’s very uncomfortable, his relationship with her is a huge problem, seeing he’s married to me. His ow is an employee in the family business, frankly I think mil would have been happy for the 2 f them to remain together. H is in deep therapy to sort out this mess with his mom, as well as mc for us. This is a woman who everyone adores, so it’s a passive aggressive control by a queen bee with a heart of gold. In light of my own healing, because I hadn’t heard a word from my mil when this mess came to light (she was told since it was an employee) I wrote her a note explaining that I was hurt she hadn’t reached out. Dead silence. She’s a therapist btw. With no boundaries or self awareness. It makes a crappy situation worse frankly.

    • Sarah P. March 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      Jeddy,

      Your MIL’s behavior sends off alarm bells since she is a therapist. Unfortunately, there are two types of therapists: the ones who go into the profession because they have an intuitive understanding of human nature and feel its a soul calling to help others within the context of this role; then there are therapists who, as my dad says, go into the profession because they want to figure out what is wrong with themselves.The second type may not know this on a conscious level, especially if they have a personality disorder. It’s interesting because even back in 2011, the founder of rational emotive behavioral therapy, wrote a NY Times expose about founding this type of therapy in order to treat her own life-long personality disorder.This revelation caused ripples across the psychology and psychiatry communities.

      Back to your mother-in-law. If she is a therapist (and a licensed one at that) and if she has no boundaries or self-awareness, you might be dealing with a narcissist. Since she appears to have a heart of gold, you are likely dealing with a COVERT narcissist. (The expose about Steve’s mom is about an OVERT narcissist. They are easier to spot.) Your MIL’s actions are deeply troubling, but even more troubling within the context of her being a mental health professional. Mental health professionals are supposed to be the ones who intervene in such horrible incidents, not add to them. You describe someone who plays people as if they are chess pieces.

      The family system you describe and their interactions within the system are also troubling. It appears that the MIL is the hub of the family and she has metaphorically speaking displaced her own husband and emotionally made her son into her husband. Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Still, it is one that must be broken. The issue is, until your H individuates from his mom and goes through therapy with an excellent therapist, he might keep having affairs.

      Here is my theory on why he might keep having affairs if she doesn’t get counseling from a credible source. So, emotionally speaking, he is in a sense still ‘married’ to his mother. Anyone who displaces his mom is a threat to the family system. You are the one who displaces his mom and his loyalty currently rests with her. Let me state that I believe this is all unconscious on your husband’s part. He is not directly aware of the drivers of his behavior. So, he has affairs in order to emotionally push you away. Since he is not being loyal to you, he maintains a type of loyalty to his mom. The affairs prevent him from giving himself to you 100% emotionally. Because if he were to give himself 100% to you emotionally, his mom would be displaced and that would cause her grave emotional harm. So the affairs allow him to be committed and not committed to you, while maintaining ultimate allegiance to his mom. Again, this is all unconscious on his part. I believe that if he realized it, he would be horrified. No man wants to be emotionally ‘married’ to his mom.

      There is an interesting book on this phenomenon that explains the psychology of this dynamic and gives pointers for the wife. You truly are not alone in this. Anytime I google things like ‘married to his mom’ the search results will return a ton of different discussion boards where wives are talking about their struggles with this. And to give some self-disclosure on my part, this is a very strong dynamic that my own mother-in-law has with my husband’s youngest brother. My MIL tried to enmesh herself with both sons, but long before my husband met me, he fought that tooth and nail.His little brother, on the other hand, has a 100% enmeshed relationship with his mom even though he is newly married. I am interested to see how this will play out over the next few years since it is apparent my SIL is a very strong and outspoken person in her own right who does not believe in behaving with diplomacy for any reason. But, I have also set very strong boundaries throughout my own marriage in terms of my MIL. If I did not set strong boundaries, every aspect of our entire lives would be dictated by his mom and she would literally have access to our bank accounts, tell us how to raise our kids, tell us how to live our lives, spend our money, and how many times a day to use the bathroom too. (Yah, neither of us are ok with that and my husband does well setting boundaries). Still, I am always polite and cordial when we meet and go out of my way to make her feel welcome.

      So here is a great book about this topic and how to deal with it. I met so many women who either have enmeshed MILs or violently narcissistic MILs. This is a great book on how to deal with these issues:

      “When He’s Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment”
      by Ph.D. Kenneth M. Adams Ph.D. (Author) , Alexander P. Morgan (Contributor)

      Best wishes,
      Sarah

      • Sarah P. March 8, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

        One typo, he might keep having affairs unless HE gets counseling from a credible source.

        • Jeddy March 10, 2014 at 9:03 am #

          Im going to take a look at this book. My h was always told by mil that he was so special, that when he enters a room he has to be the most special. That his successes are what make her love him. Everything’s an event of epic proportions – she’s not visiting our kids for a fun day, she’s arriving to make memories! My h was also the adult in the house as a little boy, they were teenage parents, irresponsible, and he was treated as an adult, given too much responsibility. It’s come back on him hard. He was attracted to me because I just loved him for him, no back flips required.

          As far as his ea, she’s an employee of my mil and an msw as well. This was not her first rodeo. The business my mil runs has no boundaries, everyone is close and like family and extremely familiar. The fact that her hero son came to help the business cut me out of the scene altogether, and I was replaced by her, due less to my h than mil, who’s a strong force and elicits pity from him when she needs to. It’s a weird dynamic, made weirder since she was widowed. I’ve often thought my h will get bounced once she finds a boyfriend. I wonder if she needs to be the star in a mans life. A very insecure woman who has a bizarrely distorted sense of self, she thinks she’s the hippest 65yr old, and it can be cringe-inducing. He’s in therapy alone just for dealing with his mother, and we are in mc for the ea. but it always comes back to mil. and frankly her own mother was a class a tyrant and so so cold.

          This topic has really made me look hard at a lot of things. My own mama drama will have to be dealt with in time (martyr sad sack depressed anxious borderline pd), but since he had the ea, we are focussing more on him right now. It’s all very fascinating, and I never gave a lot of thought to the effects on my h, mainly because he never has dug deep about it until now.

          Thanks for your comments – fascinating.

  11. Gizfield March 8, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    You hit the nail on the head, Jeddy. My MIL treats my husband like her life partner. A rent a husband. Which ironically is how he says his girlfriend saw him. All the benefits of a husband with none of the shit.

    He took me to meet her shortly after we started dating, which I felt was a little odd, but whatever. The next three years or so we paid occasional visits so I knew her on a superficial level at best.

    When we got married and had our daughter, we then started having weekly visits and the cra cra started showing through. She would babysit my daughter a few hours, then two days later we would get a call. She was “worried”, theres something “wrong” with the baby. Her eyes, or arm, or some body part looks “funnny”. Guess shes a doctor. My daughter was fat, and sassy, and beautiful. I had to step in and say that she could no babysit after she kept this up cause she was telling her nosey friend things about my child and it was just getting out of hand.

    The MIL just presents an image that she is weak and fearful and cant handle things in an adult manner. I finally saw how she was when she lived with us a few months after an illness. Like she will day “oh I’ll just take half that can of coke, dont waste a whole one on little old me”. Then try to control everything around her.

    And this guy tells her everything. Except that hes a cheater. And that he had bypass surgery cause she “couldnt handle it.” It’s like they are each others advisors. I never realized it but one day after his infidelity I was casually listening to their conversation and he was talking about a car he bought. A 57 chevy , rusted out, that he spent thousands restoring, and eventually sold at a huge loss. Anyway, he said “I really wanted to buy a Camaro, but you talked me out of it.” What??? Why is a forty five year old man listening to his MOTHER on what car to buy? I realized then she was a problem.

    • Sarah P. March 8, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

      Gizfield,

      You are also describing an enmeshed mother-son relationship. That’s the exact relationship my brother-in-law has with his mom too. So, if your MIL is controlling but puts up a facade as if she is weak, that could once again, indicate a covert narcissist. Or, it could also indicate a person with borderline personality disorder. But, it’s hard to say without more information. You might want to look up the criteria on both disorders and see if the shoe fits your MIL.

      Also, the book about enmeshed mother-son relationships is also great. If I were you, I might gently start asking your husband non-offensive and open-ended questions about his relationship with his mom. You can ask these questions during the moment when he is talking about family or in a reflective mood.

      Questions said in a neutral tone like: “Do you ever feel like your mom wants to know every detail of your life?”

      OR

      “Do you ever feel like there is pressure on you to please various family members at the same time?”

      Don’t respond to or judge his answers– just ask questions and see if any light bulbs start going on in his head. It’s a gentle way to give him insight while it also allows him to save face. No man wants to hear from his wife that he is enmeshed with his mom. It is destructive to his ego. Plus, when they are enmeshed, they have been greatly emasculated. No man wants to know that his wife is aware of this emasculation– it causes great shame to the man.

      Sometimes I also wonder if this emasculation by a man’s mom is also a sub-conscious driver that opens the door to affairs. If he has affairs it suppresses that subconscious knowledge that he is emasculated. He feels virile during an affair. He reclaims his masculinity.

      What do you think of that theory?

      • Gizfield March 10, 2014 at 8:00 am #

        Thank you, Sarah P, for your thoughtful reply. Youve given me a lot to think about. I would say they are definitely enmeshed, and it makes it difficult to have an appropriate marital relationship. This is the second mommas boy I’ve been married to and I imagine it’s an underdiagnosed problem.

  12. exercisegrace March 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    God bless you all. You are dealing with a level of things I can’t begin to imagine. I don’t have anything to add, no experience, no words of wisdom. Just love and support from a sister on the journey of infidelity.

  13. Gizfield March 10, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Wow Rachel, what a witch indeed. They apples don’t fall far from the tree as they say. I was reading something this morning and I think I would classify my mil as a “parasite”. All take, take, take with no give. All the while acting like shes not a taker. Jees.

  14. Rachel March 10, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    I classify my ex mil as the wicked witch of the east side!

  15. gizfield March 10, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    Two things I have learned about my husband. He CANNOT take criticism, of any kind. He CANNOT be seen as the “bad guy” EVER. Also, one thing I noticed early on, rather than saying he doesn’t want to do something he will say he is “sick”. Can’t argue with that, can you?

    Also, what was the name of the book about “mother/son enmeshment”? I overlooked it somehow.

    • Sarah P. March 10, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

      Hello Gizfield,

      Here is the title of the book– it’s a great one!

      When He’s Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment
      by Ph.D. Kenneth M. Adams Ph.D. (Author) , Alexander P. Morgan (Contributor)

  16. gizfield March 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Wow, I found a great article called The Overlooked Affair by Ashley McIlwain, which deals with mothers using their sons as Surrogate Husbands. Based on his history, this sounds exactly like my husband’s situation.

    He is the youngest of four children, with the others ranging from four to ten years older. Parents apparently always had marital problems, which are all blamed on the dad. They separated when H was six but got back together. He says he told her at the time that she should not get back with his dad. A six year old. They finally divorced when he was 16. During this time, he was her Protector. Now at this time, his mother was in her forties but it’s like he was a pseudo adult. Being her rescuer, confidant, replacement spouse.

    She doesn’t seem to have ever done any real parenting. After the divorce, he got a job, a car, and stayed out drinking, drugging, and carousing with no parental interference. I can’t remember any examples of her doing any family type stuff whatsoever.

    Even though this was 34 years ago, this lady never had another relationship or remarried. I believe this has lead to the oversharing, advising, and over priorizing of her”needs” that I see now. It’s like his number one job is Son, not Husband/father as it should be. It’s like being a grown up is just too much work for him.

    • Sarah P. March 11, 2014 at 12:53 am #

      Hello Gizfield,
      Just read that article about The Overlooked Affair. That was a great article and she was 100% correct in everything she said.

      What’s really sad is that I see this dynamic as something that is growing. I believe the folks that are coming into adulthood are less securely attached than recent generations. When an adult was never securely attached, I believe they can be vulnerable to attaching to their own child in these unhealthy ways. They mould their children to meet their emotional needs in the way they want them to be met. When those children grow up, they can never have a healthy relationship with a spouse because of the enmeshment with the parent. it’s a lose/lose situation for everyone involved.

      It truly makes me sad that there are women who don’t know how to get their needs met in marriage (or who have husbands who do not want to meet their emotional and companionship needs) who turn to their children for this type of comfort. It’s tragic that these women find themselves is these situations in the first place. Still, they are adults, and as adults, the burden on them is to make choices that are in everyone’s best interest. It is in no one’s best interest to either parentify a child or spouse-ify a child.

    • Rachel March 11, 2014 at 7:28 am #

      Giz,
      I read the article and it was spot on for my MIL !!!!!
      I know I can’t go back, but I do want to try and make some sence of all of this.
      I knew my MIL had something to do with my ex’s decision to leave me.
      She often made me feel not wanted. Made comments that she thought her son would marry this one or that one.
      When I mentioned it to my husband he would always take her side saying he’s sure she didn’t mean it that way.
      Oh well, they both should be happy now being together. She got her wish that he come home and live with her.

  17. tryinghard March 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    I know my MIL has NPD. She was abandoned by her father after her mother died and she wasn’t adopted until she was 14 years old. She has made everyone’s life a complete misery. She only talks about the past. She hated my husband when he was growing up. He moved out the day after he graduated from high school. I tried my damndest to make her feel loved for 30 of our 36 years together. My husband steered clear of her and left me to have the relationship for him. This did not work. She only resented me. None of her family can do enough for her. She has ruined every holiday ( the Narcissists favorite time of year). She has accused me of stealing from her. There is one thing in her house I would have let alone take. She was cruel to her only grandchildren, our sons, and she is positively awful to her daughter. She was cruel to her adopted mother as well. I have NO doubt she is a certifiable Narcissist with borderline personality disorder.

    Last summer she and my FIL came over to see our grandson. My soon to be ex DIL was dropping him off at our house. I hadn’t seen her since she and my son decided to seperate. When my DIL did not come to great her she went ballistic. Started ranting and raving about her in front of my 3 year old grandson. When her tirade started I immediately got up without saying a word and went inside with my grandson. My husband and my FIL stayed outside and took her verbal abuse. I even saw her grab my FIL and push him to sit back down. After a few minutes I peeked outside to see my MIL towering over my seated husband ranting and raving and poking her finger in his face. He sat there and took it. I was so mad but I had the baby and thank God because I would have gone out and told her to leave (and NOT very nicely either). I was shocked my H sat there and took it. Well low and behold about 5 weeks later my FIL came into our (used to be his) office and told us how ill my MIL is (she has congenital heart disease, type II diabetes, etc, blah, blah, blah and I swear to God she is mean enough NOT to ever die. Like a freaking vampire!!!) and that she doesn’t think right and we have to be patient with her. Well my H calls me into the office and my FIL repeats himself and and I said well that is fine, however when she starts to rant and rave I will NOT sit and take it from her. I won’t confront her and I will just walk away. He asked me not to because it only made things worse!!! I swear to God this is what he said. OK yeah makes things worse for whom? YOU!! Not me, too bad Mr. Co-Dependent but that dog ain’t hunting at my house anymore!!! I told him I would love to help him but I needed to draw the line where my own well-being was concerned and I would indeed walk away. He just shrugged his sad little shoulders and said well I guess you have to do what you have to do. Now both of them know all about my H and his infidelity. The only thing my MIL could think of during that time was that my H get the gold bracelet she gave him 25 years ago (which he had me trade in for cash since he NEVER wore it).

    Seriously I have a 100 stories with regards to her but I think you get my drift. I cannot believe with all the crazies I have lived with that I wasn’t the one who had an affair!!!

    Needless to say when that old hag dies I will not shed one single tear. She is a mean old bitch and she was a young mean bitch too. There’s a reason some old people are left and ignored in nursing homes and it’s because they deserve to be. She’s one of them!

  18. Sarah P. March 11, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    Hello Tryinghard,

    Is it possible that you and I have the same MIL? Maybe she is a vampire and sometimes moonlights as your MIL and then as mine. All kidding aside, you have described the exact dynamic that goes on whenever my in-laws pay a visit.

    And you are allowed to walk away and refuse to acquiesce to such bad behavior on the part of your MIL. It is a shame your father in law is stuck in such a situation, but your MIL has likely always been the way she is and your FIL made a choice to stay. So when your FIL begs, he also needs to realize he is making a choice to stay and also by accommodating outrageous behavior, he reinforces it. Accommodation just makes the problem larger. But, he sounds just like my FIL who also does the same thing. It is very sad to witness.

    Though it’s a sad situation, ultimately, the FIL is responsible for the way he decides to handle the situation. It’s interesting because even though men have the reputation of being physically abusive, there are women who can be equally physically abusive. I have seen situations where I would actually describe the husband as being the one who is battered and the wife as being the one who batters. I have encountered a couple of these cases but men rarely come forward and discuss this. The prevailing stereotype within the culture is that men cannot be abused by women. In some situations, this could not be further from the truth.

    There are situations where I believe that ‘no contact’ is the only way to handle someone with NPD. There is nothing that you could ever say that will get through to them, they will never change, and experiences with them usually escalate over time.

  19. Tryinghard March 11, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Sarah

    Oh lord please don’t tell me there’s two of them! I have cut off most contact with her. I never call her and I only have very perfunctory contact with her. I go to see them with my husband to see them and then I don’t speak too much. I try to stay very far away from her. When we go see them I make sure I am never alone with her. I am certainly the apex of her ire. I was never good enough for her son. I wish I had known when I was younger about her personality disorder however when my husband and I became engaged I was warned by many people who knew her to be careful. I just didn’t know what they meant. It helped that my H hated her but he left me like the sacrificial lamb to form the familial attachment for us. Big franking mistake.

    I do believe she is physically abusing my FIL but that is his problem and I don’t feel sorry for him. I blame him for acquiescing to her unreasonableness. He’s made it worse with his passivity. He’s witnessed her cruelty to her son, daughter and grandchildren. He never outs her in her place. I’ve had words with her and she knows I won’t take her bad behavior. My husband promised me during our reconciliation he would never allow her to be cruel to me again. We will see.

    My poor SIL is totally enmeshed with her father. She has never married because I believe she can’t find a man to replace her daddy. She has many relationships but they all go south. She has a bad drinking problem but probably the most bizarre trait is she talks in a very high little girl voice when she wants attention. This is a very dis functional group of people.

    My therapist has even compared the OW to having very similar traits as my MIL. My in laws are all about their friends. They think she’s wonderful because of the narcissists ability to wear different faces. They love to impress people and are very impressed with people who have money and power. My H choose a person beneath his social class because he could easily impress her. Hhhmmm see a pattern? It’s all very weird and scary.

    I don’t believe my H has NPD but he certainly has some traits being raised in that environment. By the way now my MIL has my H on a pedestal because we financially support them. She needs him for that so she’s careful. It’s so weird after an episode like last summer my H won’t talk to her for weeks and then it’s like nothing ever happened. She has no remorse.

    My question is what happens when the narcissist dies? Are they all of a sudden elevated to sainted mother by the offspring? Where does all that hatred and mistrust go? I for one will be throwing a Yay the Wicked Witch is Dead party.

    Oh yeah one short story. During my father and mothers funerals (they died 2 years apart) they both sat behind me and laughed throughout the service. They are evil horrible people. Mercifully they are in their mid 80s and not very good health. Stupid asshole doctor gave her a pacemaker 2 years ago. I make sure to keep the microwave going when she come over:)

  20. Sarah P. March 12, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Hello Tryinghard,

    Unfortunately there are more than 2 of them! I am very sorry that your in-laws laughed during your parent’s funerals. That is lower than low. It certainly has an element of sadism about it and so that element of sadism hints at malignant narcissism. If they are indeed malignant narcissists, there is no having a relationship with them. The best thing to do it to run.

    As for never being alone with your MIL, good choice!! There are some people who are so emotionally harmful that it is best to never be alone with them– literally.

    Your husband’s sister provides another clue to the puzzle. The fact that she speaks in a high little girls voice to get attention hints of significant childhood trauma. When some children experience an extreme traumatic event, their psyches stay frozen at that particular age. This does not happen to everyone who experiences trauma, just to some.

    The other possibility is that she simply learned as a child that speaking like a baby to get attention worked within her family.

    But, the drinking also provides a clue, which points us back to a traumatic experience. So many people who have suffered traumatic childhoods turn to alcohol and other substances to ‘numb out’.

    As for what happens when a narcissist dies…

    It all depends on the family and the role someone plays within the family. So if the child was the narcissist’s scapegoat and target, there is usually relief. If the child was the revered golden child, they can feel rather lost when they lose the narc because a fusion of the two identities sometimes occurs. (They were joined at the hip psychologically and can feed off each other).

    In terms of where you fit into all of this, I am guessing that you have suffered such persecution from your MIL because you became the scapegoat after marrying into the family. Within every family where the narcissist rules, there is always someone who is put into the role of scapegoat. In these family systems, the scapegoat is intentionally used as an ‘object’ onto which the narc can project all of his or her uncomfortable feelings and rage. The scapegoat is also used as someone to blame whenever things go wrong interpersonally. The scapegoat prevents the narc from having to look at the narc’s own contribution to all of the issues within the family and the scapegoat is forced to shoulder the blame for everything even when the scapegoat had nothing to do with the situation. Basically, if the narcissist is having an outdoor party and it happens to rain that day, it was all the fault of the scapegoat! (I am describing the level of irrationality within the narc’s thinking).

    So, it is best to stay far away as possible from your in-laws. Move several states away if you can manage it. The more physical distance, the better!

    Tryinghard, keep on ‘trying hard’ and fight for your marriage and for your peace of mind every step of the way!!

    Good luck!

    • forcryin'outloud March 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

      Sarah – they scapegoat is an enlightening piece of information. That was my role with my MiL until my BIL became involved with an older woman. Then the older woman took the role, when she was out of the picture it reverted back to me. THEN, when my BiL married his wife took the role. Only this time I witnessed my FiL engaging in the narc behavior. Now I’m the scapegoat again. Lucky me! ha.ha. I will say my MiL also sees my H as the golden child and his brother as the problem child. Classic case of splitting – my H does no wrong. She tells him regularly how wonderful he was as a child and what a wonderful H and father he is. This from a person who has only spent about 200 waking hours with us over the past 17 yrs. She has not a clue who my H is or who we are as a couple at this point. In her eyes my BiL is an idiot and his wife is selfish and unfriendly. Similar to us she’s spent even less time with them over the past couple decades. My BiL moved across the country from her at 19. He couldn’t take it any longer. He cares less about her than my H. ….like you said bpd’s lousy behavior leads to more alienation. The thing they fear the most.
      I do know she has always been the OW in our marriage. Less so since d-day but the wedge that seems to be forever there.
      Thx for your insightful info. It so helpful!

      • Tryinghard March 14, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

        Hey FCOL
        I hear you but yes we were way too young to know better right? I was young and in love and I knew for sure if I only loved her enough and was kind enough and bought into her line of bullshit well how could she resist??? HAHA. Wrong again. So know that we are older and way smarter why do t we put those old cats in the bag and throw them in the river? I’m not going to spend any more time trying to please them even for the sake of my marriage. Sarah put it pretty good for us. I’m staying away. If my H wants to play the guilt/obligation role have at it. I’m out. No more chips to play. I’m worn the eff out over all this familial dysfunction. He doesn’t see he needs therapy to get it right in these last stages of life well that’s his experience. I’m not going to be drug into it anymore. These people are the epitome of effed up.

        Having a hard time this month since it’s 3 years DDay 1. I’ve come a long way and I am stronger than ever. I’m NOT going to let the triggers of this week and his ignorant ass past behave get to me. I’m fighting hard. I’ve done everything I can to fight for my marriage despite all the psychological past that my H has with regards to his crazy ass family. I just have to Let It Be:)

        Good luck my friend. Hugs to you.

  21. tryinghard March 12, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Sarah

    Thank you so much for addressing my questions.

    My SIL definitely has the Electra complex. Something traumatic may have happened during childhood/adolescence but I really believe it’s a case of dysfunctional love/admiration for her father and hatred for her mother.

    My H and his mother have never been close. He contacts only out of obligation and there is no mutual admiration. My biggest mistake was allowing myself to be the go between for him and her. Now I leave it all up to him. They go to FL for the winter and he loves it when they are gone. I think when she finally dies he will be in the relief column. This not to say that her presence in our life hasn’t had an impact on our relationship because I have strong opinions about her. Shocking, I know 🙂 However pretty much now I keep my mouth shut and just stay away. He just and always has only wanted peace even at my expense.

    I’m going to have to look up malignant narcissism. They are both very cruel so this may indeed be the case. I only thank God that my H’s grandmother who was a saint on this earth had a positive impact in my husband’s life. Everything he got that was good came from her. She was a wonderful woman.

    I am still working and “Trying Hard” to put this behind me and with the help of you, this blog, all the lovelies on this blog, and my blessed therapist, I am well on my way to a complete healing. Triggers are lessening, anxiety is almost completely gone, LOL maybe even complete forgiveness isn’t too far behind.

    Again thank you so much for your contributions here.

  22. AbandonedAllHope November 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    At least Steve tried to stand up to his mother. I’ve been in a similar situation. BPD/NPD mother in law. Literally from the day of our wedding things went to hell. My husband spent years literally dragging me back kicking and screaming. He’d make promises to protect me from the MIL, to never leave me alone with her, etc. that he’d then break, then give an litany of excuses why. The real reason. He couldn’t stand up to the cannon of crazy, so he shoved me in front of the cannon ball to protect himself. I developed PTSD from all of the crazy making. Tried to get him to go to therapy, where he’d continue to promise the world to me, then would do nothing when action was actually required. I finally, for my own sanity, had to say that our daughter and I would never ever see them again. They literally stalked me while I was visiting my parents (who live in a city near the inlaws). He refused to even come to town while it was going on.
    Finally after no contact, for years, they started leaving me alone. Sadly I think its kind of too late. I deeply resent my husband for the years of abuse he allowed, I hate him for letting them beat me to bits to save himself. My marriage is in an awful place I don’t ever think we’ll come back from.

  23. Marie December 10, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    I just found out yesterday that my husband’s suspected EA was also a PA, so I had DDay #2. Found a treasure trove of deleted texts and explicit pictures on his phone. My MIL knew of my suspicions about the EA and I made him tell her yesterday what I had discovered. The evil troll texted me a few minutes ago to ask me how my husband is doing and what about the OW!!!!! WTF???? I can’t even articulate how much I despise her and i have for the past 15 years. My husband is so f*cked up in the head because she is such a manipulative, passive-aggressive narcissist. You would think as much Scotch as she drinks she’d be dead by now, but I guess she’s so pickled she’ll live forever.

    • TryingHard December 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Marie
      I am so sorry to hear that you had another DDay. We’ve all had at least 2:( I really have a hard time buying into the whole EA thing and I believe most are PA’s but the cheater just can’t admit to it.

      Good for you to do the digging. It is your right to know.

      I have a troll MIL too. They keep saying she’s going to die soon, but the old bat is still kicking being her evil self!! Swear to God she will live to 100 just to torment me!!

      Stay away from her right now. You do not need her. She will only piss you off and nothing is going to make her turn on her son, NOTHING because it would reflect on her. That’s how narcissists operate. You have bigger fish to fry that don’t include her.

      Make sure you print and copy yourself on every bit of evidence just in case…..

  24. gizfield December 10, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Unfortunately, Troll in Laws are extremely common. When I threw my husband out of the house, I told her he had ADMITTED TO dating a whore. She said “I just dont THINK he would do that”and “I’ve been accused of things I didnt do too .”

    Oh well, her loss not mine. I was DONE with her at that point. I’m civil to her when I have to visit, but barely. I initiate no contact, ever. I do this because shes not worth arguing over. I have no use for this woman, whatsoever.

    • TryingHard December 10, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

      Giz
      My MIL’s reaction was “Well, ‘Smiths’ don’t do this!” As if they were some kind of freaking royalty. I said, yeah well that Smith did!!! Anyway she’s a real piece of work. I don’t ever, ever contact her and only see her when it’s totally unavoidable. Like two weeks ago. Which was torture. Hell. Painful. AND their house smells!!!!

      • gizfield December 10, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

        Trying, I’ve been really lucky with my MIL. Sister in law moved back in there just after Christmas last year. So we do not visit often because she is too incredibly toxic to be around my child. Thanksgiving she was talking about how she controls the president’s mind in his sleep, and prevents the world from being destroyed by nuclear weapons the government is spending millions to kill her from space. Crap like that. She told new sister in law my husband’s brother isn’t really dead. Too bad the whore girlfriend missed all this. The only true karma is when cheaters experience all the co cheater has to offer.

      • Marie December 11, 2014 at 9:13 am #

        I avoid the troll as much as possible too. Unfortunately, I have a niece and nephew that I love very much and in order to see them, I sometimes have to deal with her. She makes my skin crawl and I almost get physically ill if I have to be around her for very long. And speaking of smells…..she has a dog that she’s been too lazy to housebreak and her house reeks from the used training pads she leaves everywhere. Plus her house is filthy and disgusting. I don’t even want to sit on the furniture. She makes fun of me and says I have OCD because my house doesn’t look like hers. Mine is far from spotless, but it is clean and there aren’t piles of crap everywhere. Damn evil troll will probably live to be a thousand years old.

  25. Rachel December 10, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    What is with these MIL’s?
    They just protect their slimy sons.
    I had visitor at work today.
    It was a neighbor of the ex’s. He said he heard that my divorce was final and he is happy for me.
    He said he lost all respect for my ex.
    He said I deserve to be happy.
    I was shocked be these comments. He was a close friend to the ex.

  26. gizfield December 10, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    Thats great, Rachel! The neighbor is actually a good person.

    I dont think the MIL are really protecting their sons. They are protecting themselves because they had a large part in CREATING what they are. My husband raised himself, I think. If he got any moral guidance, I dont know where it would have came from. Mommy Dearest was too busy perfecting her passive agressive poor me victim persona. She won’t correct him now, and she wouldn’t correct him then either.

  27. TryingHard December 11, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Oh my H def has FOO issues from his Narc mother. She was thrilled when we separated and the only thing she was worried about was my H getting a gold, chain bracelet she gave him for his birthday, that he NEVER wore, 30 years ago!!! She’s accused me of stealing from her as if I don’t have enough crap of my own and besides she has nothing that I’d want and I don’t take things that aren’t mine!!

    I’ve always let her intimidate me. She does stuff and other people think we are just supposed to ignore it. I was wrong in thinking for 30 years that if I were nice enough she would come around. There is NO coming around with Narcs and you have to go NC. Which is easy for me but not for my H so I stay away. I really can’t even stand to see her when I have to like Holidays and occasional visits.

    Last year when the went to FL for “the season” like she likes to call it like she’s Mrs. DuPont, she wound up in the hospital for a week. Nearly killed her. She has congestive heart disease, diabetes, blah blah blah but she’s in her mid 80’s and still kicking. They are supposed to leave next week for 5 months–woot woot– wonder if she’ll end up in the hospital again this year. Could I be so lucky…. no not going to say it but you know what I’m thinking 🙂

    Rachel, Probably your neighbor always thought your ex was a douche!! Maybe he was nice to him because he thought you were nice. I put on a friendly face to people I can’t stand because I have to! He probably felt relieved he could be honest with you.

    Marie–My MIL is a hoarder and their house hasn’t been cleaned in YEARS. They have two dogs who had the mange last year!! They had those mites that caused the mange and is very contagious to people, it’s called scabies. So freaking gross. Their house doesn’t smell of dog pee it smells of HUMAN filth! It’s so gross!

    What the eff am I doing with this gang of nuts????

  28. TryingHard December 11, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Anyway I hate her and it certainly doesn’t make reconciliation with her son any easier. She’s been a mean, hateful thorn in my side from day one and he never did or said anything to her on my behalf. Not that I needed him to, I can take care of myself but if he would have showed her we were a team and that an insult to me is an insult to him, I think things could have been different.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we all knew then what we know now?? Guess that’s really the eternal question. Well my going NC is my little bit of do-over. Wish and should have done it years ago!

  29. gizfield December 11, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    My in law situation is so much improved from what it was ten years ago or so, when my daughter was a baby. FIL was a major problem, but hes been dead almost 2 years. At one point we were with these people every weekend. Ughhhh. The MIL was ok at that point, but SIL was obsessed with my weight, appearance, etc til I basically told her to f off.

    Now on the rare occasions we visit Mil, Sil acts so bizarre it is the center of attention. When a 60 year old woman is eating cranberry sauce directly out of the serving bowl at thanksgiving dinner it takes center stage, believe me. She usually does something so weird we leave early.

  30. sukh October 27, 2015 at 6:33 am #

    Omg. my life after marriage is the same 🙁 why a narcissistic MIL to us God !!

    Feel so hopeless as she continues to poison my relation with my hubby as well as with other famile members.
    Feel like quitting many times as am the only one here who can see her narcissistic traits ..

  31. Catz December 22, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    I would love to read the follow up articles on this, as I am currently also trying to figure out if I can further be in a relationship with my husband and my mother-in-law. My story is obviously not exactly the same. It started years ago by her causing a horrific dog attack on my daughter. Yet, I’m the only one to blame her. Maybe that’s because I was the only one in the room when she rushed over to me with my daughter held above her head and the dog relentlessly jumping up against her to try and finish biting my daughter. After this, I stubbornly refused to visit with my kids, relentlessly fought that she put down the beast. After new years eve she swore that the dog would be on lock down . So we went. The dog was in her studio and her two year old grandson was strong enough to open it and the dog immediately ripped apart my daughter. It took 5 years and 28 operations to fix her outwardly. Everyone looks at my mom’s innocent demeanor, she’s an 67 year old widow who blames everyone else for interpreting her meddling and her demands wrongly.

    The most recent thing that happened, is that my hubby brought into a video shop. The woman he brought it with, had problems finding a place to stay. Stupidly, we invited her here for a week or two. It ended up being six weeks. She watched dvd’s with him till the early morning every morning, brought groceries with him paying for what she feels like. She went everywhere with him, he brought stuff for her son. Drove him around to his dad, and took over everything I do in the house. When finally I snapped and said she has to leave, she challenged me to come between him and her. As my mil and me were on speaking terms as long as I brainwash myself to not think about anything with the dog, crossed boundaries, back stabbing, I showed her the message saying that. My mom was here on that Sunday too, and heard her threats. He told me she is going to stay at a friend’s place. Found out two days later that she’s with my mother in law. She stayed there for three weeks, during which time, if she called my hubby and he didn’t answer, mil would phone me to see where I was. She texted him saying this woman doesn’t eat and cough up blood because he never eats when it’s up to me. She freaked out that I don’t take care of her grand children. All because someone else seems better than me. And how can I kick a dog laying down already (who openly flirts with my husband and treats my kids horrible while my husband just keeps telling me to stay quiet, she is almost moving)? She sent me a text after three weeks when the woman finally left her place. Not to apologize for what happened, lying, taking in a person who openly threatened my marriage, for covering for her, for believing her, for all the texts I got where she tells me how horrible I am for not cooking, not cleaning, etc. The apology went something like this: “sorry that you think that when I did you a favor by taking her in.” I need at this stage to know how to have her out of my life for good. I can’t have her in my life, I’m willing to leave my husband if he expects me to crawl back to his mom. I would really like to see the follow up articles and learn what my options are. I blocked her on my phone, sms, whatsapp and don’t answer the phone. I just have no other idea how to deal with this. In 14 years it is not getting better, when I can’t think it can get worse, it does.

  32. Laurie January 25, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

    I am recently divorced as my sister-in-law said five years ago she wanted me out of the family and she didn’t stop till she got it done. It started on a weekend event I attended my husband backed out of but my SIL and BIL was also at. Three days upon our return home our bank accounts were closed and I supposedly had taken money out of our business, spoke poorly of the family to strangers, and many more lies. I think the worst part was my husband actually thinking any of them were true. She even went as far as to bring my parents into the lies that they were hiding property till I divorced him in their name. My husband knew my father would never do anything of the kind yet still went along the family. Over time and two audits from the auditors i was cleared of any miss appropriations of funds but then my father in law whom i loved dearly was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. When I tried to talk to him about it he told me we had nothing left to talk about. I hit the floor not able to breath thinking he had such horrible thoughts about me. I kept thinking if I could prove one lie then they would have to believe me, but how do your disprove something that didn’t happen its their word against yours. My H finally believed me on some of the issues but never took a stand with me. I told him if we didn’t she would keep coming and she did. She set me to have ruined his mothers birthday and she was furious. He knew I didn’t do it and a family meeting was called to address the issues. My father warned me not to go but my husband assured me he had my back but when we where there and SIL was ranting and raving back and forth he turned on me like I was the enemy. Everything he had said he believed before he conveniently forgot.and I had them all yelling at me. i wanted my marriage to work so badly and loved him so much i tried to forgive him when he explained he had promised his father to keep peace in the family even if it meant loosing me. The the rumors around town i was popping pills and the list goes on. Needless to say he divorced me and I cant seem to move forward. I know I need to forgive but this selfish B… took from me the most important thing in my life. I should feel sorry for her but the anger I hold is like it happened yesterday. She still runs the family and struts around and i cant help but want to share some of my grief and pain with her. Our anniversary would have been the 31 of January and its bringing back the pain of everything I have lost after 21 years of being together. My x and I are dating but I don’t think he is letting the family know even though he says he has. its odd that he picks a fight or something comes up before a family event. I want to forgive so I can let go of this anger and pain but as hard as i try I can’t get there. What can I do to move forward even if not with the X and if we do try how to approach the family. H likes to sweep things under the rug and I feel we need to take the direct approach and sit down with her again but I don’t know anymore. Please help.

  33. Terri June 26, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

    Seems like I may be a few years late to this blog, but if my experience can help just one DIL do what I was not able to then my suffering may not be in vain. My 22 year marriage is over and my husband made that decision based on the fact that we have not been happy for some time. The part he fails to recognize is the major cause was a narcissistic mother in law. I guess I should have ran when he proposed to me Christmas morning with his mother sitting right there. Ladies, if your darling mate proposes with his mother in toe, he most likely will never sever the umbilical cord and most definitely will never choose you over his mother.
    My MIL was one of those mothers that would make you cookies, but you had to hear about how she got up at 5 am and faced this adversity and that adversity. I can remember when her husband’s brother died from long term cancer her first response was “I don’t really have time for this right now!” She was one of those people that would never forget a birthday or anniversary so people loved her. Problem was it made it so much easier for her to spread untruths and outright lies to everyone about me and have them believe everything she told them. Holidays became torture because she monopolized all of our time. I was never able to have my family with me if I dared go to my family’s house. I literally had to go alone. When our son was 3 and my dad had just died December 12th, she claimed I was ruining her Christmas because I insisted on my husband and son be with me Christmas morning with my newly widowed mother, who was alone without me. I remember my husband wouldn’t speak to me the entire day because I ruined his kother’s Christmas. My life is riddled with these horror stories. The most horrible part of this is I lost myself. I became isolated and suffered very low self-esteem. I still do. I became used to the trauma and isolation. I stopped caring about myself. It got so bad I lost 40 pounds. I lost half my hair.

    Imagine my hope for recovering and building my marriage back up when she died this past April. I was hopeful my husband would now focus on me and my marriage. I couldn’t have been more wrong. She designed her will with a trustee. This trustee is responsible for all disbursements to her son, my husband. She wasn’t able to put provisions in the trust that would be considered anti-marriage so she assigned her niece as the trustee. In a nutshell, if my husband wants her house and hefty trust he has to divorce me. She was very clear with her intentions. The only was is by divorcing me. So that is where I am. Low self esteem, unhealthy, and soon to be homeless thank to a narcissistic mother in law. Ladies, if your man has a mother that is even remotely showing signs of being too involved….either nip it now or RUN!

  34. Jenny July 14, 2016 at 5:19 am #

    OH… Oh my. I thought it had always been my fault. Im learning now, it is his mother. and shes creeps my out. Mind you i have been respectful as much as i can… but its difficult. you see… my mil is psycho. i didnt think so at first and i thought she simply was uncomfortable with me, but as the years rolled by she constalty threatened me, takes my husband from and tells him are you sure you still want to be with her? are you sure you made the right choice?
    these are a few of the issues she and others have caused
    1. carlyn told my husband that he had bad blood like his birth father and that he wasnt safe to be around me because he will hurt me, that he was turning into his birth father
    2. carlyn has constantly asked if he still thinks he made the right choice to marry me and makes him question my value by saying things like well- she is a little special or you two do fight alot or she took away your chance to be in the army, or she doesnt respect you, you deserve better, do you feel happy with her, etc
    3. carlyn has been very- verbly rude towards me , even in front of my husband
    a. after we had had a long and rather rough day in the valley, she had requested we stop by for a reason i dont remeber. she knew we were burnt out and as she laid on her couch with a book or a computure, idr which, she told me i had given her youngest son, jordan, night terrors and that he had been sleeping with her the last week becaused i had scared him to death and that i am never to speak or be alone with him again for his sake and safty- however when i spoke to the son he clearly stated that that was never the case and she likes to tell elaborate stories all the time.
    b. she says rude things knowing i have the phone and often insults me indirectly with things like- ooh you need to give him his space because you wont always have him, you need to give him his space so he can breath, or you better treat my son with respect and love or else, or tell jen not to open her big mouth about so-so, or comes up with an excuse like i thought this was josh’s phone, knowing we share it because i didnt have a working phone or money to afford a phone.
    c. she gets into the middle of our own personal conversations and in public- for instance- when we moved into our apartment i asked if her sons could help us move since i couldnt do it alone, and she comes. i have kids running allover the house and getting in the way and so when i finally had a chance to breath she slams our back door open wich dented the door as it hit and moved the fridge into the counter, huffing and grumbling. i yell be careful it isnt our property and snidly she responds, well you wouldnt open the door and gets very angry- so i pull josh off to the side outside out of the traffic and veiw and i tell him how his mother was disrespecting the home and what had ahppened and in the middle of the converstaion she comes stomping into it and tries to give excuses that she was too sick and had been throwing up all day and she only came to help because thats what families do for each other to wich i say- i dont appreciate you disrespecting my home and i dont want drama here because ive had enough and if you are sick go home i dont need it here and she attacks some more so i tell her how she has done nothing but constantly attack and degrade me and that she needs to go now. they then alll left and told josh they were disowning him.
    d. when im in their home and me n josh have had a rough day, if i say one thing that seems rude, she makes comments to her husband and mine, like we would never do that to eachother, or your wife is rude and abusive to you, or she needs to learn to respect you, or oh my gosh, that was rude

    e. when ever we have a fight, she knows about them and will talk to josh for hours, even though if i tried talking to him after he calmed down it would still be concidered smoothering him and suffocating.
    f. during last year she offered to take me to holbrook to teach classes at the detention center, as well as help me out with making a quilt and she had been very generous and kind and i though we had started to get along and i told her often how much i appreciated her helping me out, or for the food or drinks and other things she bought. i honestly thought that things were looking up and i was so appreciative of her for hoing out of her way to help us out, however she suddenly got nasty towards me after summer and began acting out again and when i asked her sister why she became so bitter, she stated that his mom felt i had used her and that i had been snidy and insincere and rude, even though i had been as respectuful and as kind as anyone else.
    4. she repeatedly threatened to disown Josh because i try to defend or stand up for myself after the mother verbally attacked me or i do something that really offends them ( as far as i know ive apologized for any rudness that ive displayed)
    5. she has threatened to disown josh and cut him off of everything if he chooses me over them and stays married
    i mean- she criticises everything i have to say and i complined that his mom was being disrespectful and rude and he gets all defensive because he has no idea…. hes the gold child.she is OBSSESSED with how she looks and must look good ALl the time.she constatly brings drama into our relationship and when i asked if he could come stay for a few days after our last fight- she jumped right in and filed for divorce two days later and i was served 4 days after that! she has constantly lied to me and joshua and always plays the victem. shes agressive towards me and doesnt take no for an answer. she will push and push and push you to do what she wants until she gets it. she has no respect for me or joshua at all. and if she aint agressive shes mad or sour . she is possessive over joshua and has no sense of personal respect or boundries in OUR marriage. she is constantly belittling me and makes me look like im crazy.she doesnt care about my husband, she just uses him for chores or self help for her own satisfaction. she always has the power.

    now im in a divorce that neither of us wanted. when he tried she said not a chance and brainwashed him into giving up and now i cant even speak , see or anything to my husband!
    what do i do to save my marriage?
    im trying to file under duress with undue influence. luckily im not the only woman shes done this to

  35. Jee Ping July 21, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    Barely survived a malignant narcissist mother-in-law who also happens to practice witchcraft/occultism/Satanism. Needless to say, I’m divorced.

    • Danielle September 25, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

      I read , investigate,research … This form of abuse is hard to show….What about if husband keeps giving her suppy! Husband keeps giving her information throughout her “cloying monkeys” .. This hateful which when manipulated my two year old … What a psicopath !! Past tense because we moved dar away from this whitch…but husband keeps filling up her supply by giving all the information about us… What we do … What my kids like….EVERYTHING !!

  36. Hazel November 1, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

    I would love more than anything to move away far from the manipulative witch. ALWAYS guilting her scapegoat (my partner) so she can have her way. ALWAYs about her and it’s her way or the highway. Entitled and selfish, she will never change. They say these narcs do not cha ge and if anythibg become worse all the way to their grave. Some have even said that they still continue from the grave.

  37. OlderandWiser November 2, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    I can relate to everything that these ladies have said with my mother-in-law. I could write a Lifetime movie. But I am NOT divorced. There is only ONE reason for this: my husband completely cut her out of his life. If he didn’t, we would definitely be divorced. There is nothing you can do, no way you can act, and nothing you can say to make the relationship better between you and your MIL. Because it is not about that; it’s about the relationship between your MIL and your husband. If he isn’t ready to cut ties with her completely and devote his life to you and your children, it will never work. When my husband finally did, after we were together for 17 years, she took all his siblings and extended family with her by lying about me and how horrible I was. My husband accepted this for the sake of his marriage and kids. After about 10 more years, he finally restored his relationship with his siblings; but has told them that he will never allow his mother back into his life and his children’s lives (we have children that she has never, and never will, meet.) They need to respect that or he will not socialize with them either.

  38. ThankGod IGotOut November 4, 2016 at 1:28 am #

    Wow. This explains my former mother-in-law, Jennifer Freeman. She is an absolute witch. When I was married to her son, I could not believe how much power she wielded over him. It was as if she had him, and all of her other children, under a spell. I have never seen someone so narcissistic, so selfish, so controlling, and so totally devoid of any self-reflection. She literally made my skin crawl.
    With an enmeshed mother, there is no love. There is only selfishness. Her children are only there to meet her needs. They are seen as possessions. These mothers are willing to do whatever it takes to keep these possessions, even if it means destroying their child’s life. Or their marriage. They are that selfish.
    My ex is now twice divorced with MAJOR alcohol issues, and it’s easy to see why. With a mother like that, how can anyone function or have any kind of marriage?
    My mother-in-law claimed to be a strong Christian. I was not buying it. I told my pastor about her and relayed to him a situation that happened before our wedding. My mother-in-law gave a me a ‘good luck charm’ to put in my shoe while I walked down the aisle on my wedding day. When I told my pastor about it, he immediately told me that was witchcraft. He explained that it symbolized her trying to control my walk and my marriage. That made perfect sense.
    I can honestly say that what I dealt with was pure evil. It is hard at times to comprehend that such people exist.

    The homewrecker is Jennifer Freeman from Ruthven, Ontario.

  39. Exhausted February 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    Im sorry for everyone’s pain here. I have what I believe to be..a covert Narc for a mother inlaw. The thing is, not one person in my husband’s family would believe it. She has everyone believing that she is so loving, innocent, sweet and i am a terrible person to her. She has managed to act certain ways that I notice..to trigger a reaction out of me in front of people. To reaffirm that I victimize her. I dont know why I fall for it once in a while. She had my husband believing early on, that our first child was his brother’s child. She started with obsessive comments on how the baby looked like her oldest son and not at all like my husband. She ‘joked’ many, many times and asked me if im sure the baby isnt her oldest son’s child. I asked her to please stop saying that (not telling her that my husband was actually questioning it now) but she kept it up. Even in front of my husband..of course she acted sweeter and like she was being funny..but she no doubt planted it in my husband’s head. He even asked me for a dna test. I told him he can have one if he wanted. He never did get one. But every time over the last 16 years..if I talk to his brother, or get him on video at family gatherings…he accuses me of sleeping with his brother. That has caused so much issues between us over the years. He told me that he recently asked his mom about her starting it in the beggining (because I mentioned that he only thinks that due to his mom)..and of course she denied it. He said he asked her about a lot of things that have been an issue for us over the years..and she says she hasnt said any of that stuff. The reason he asked her is we were finally on the verge of a divorce. There have been way too many things over the years to mention..without writing an actual novel. But for years, the route of most of our problems have been from that woman. I dont understand how a woman who loves her son can do things to destroy his happiness..and still come off smelling like an innocent and victimized rose.
    She does crazy things to me when nobody is there to see or hear it. We visited them like 8 months ago for a job interview for my husband..she offered us a room while she and my Fil, would sleep in the livingroom with our children. We said thank you, but our youngest would wake up looking for me. She kept insisting, despite us thanking her but declining…so she got behind me and pretended to laugh and smile while directing me toward the room..she was laughing and saying ‘now march young lady, you guys need a good night sleep’ ..all the while her nails were being dug into my back. She did this while pretending to be having fun and being nice to me. She left imprints from her nails on both sides under my shoulder blades. My husband noticed something wasnt right about it. I went into the bathroom and my eyes were filling with tears and my husband came into the bathroom and asked me if I was ok. I showed him my back and he said ‘holy fuck…do you want me to say something to her?’ …in one way, I was greatful that he seen it, in another I thought..why would he need my permission to stick up for me? I wanted him to stickup for me for years. I was exhausted and so mad at the entire situation. I just said to him ‘dont worry about it, you have to be up early in the morning’ (it was currently 1:45am)
    He said he also asked her about that incident in a text to her..she didn’t reply back about it. He told me that he only got a text back.. he thinks fron his dad that said “no mom didnt say those things” and that was it. He said he was going to talk to her more about those things on another date..because he accidently sent this to her on her birthday.
    He also asked her about 10 yrs ago, when she squeezed our daughter’s arm. The story with that..He never believed me that she was not nice to Me when he wasnt around. So I decided to record it because we fought way too often about it. (We were living with them at the time) I know it sounds bad to record her shenanigans..but Im glad I did. I never thought for one second that she would ever treat one of her grandchildren other than loving. I put the recorder out the night before (it starts recording upon noise) the next day, I got a call from the doctor and they asked me to go in. So without a second thought, I asked if she could watch the kids for me whilst I went in to see the doc. She said she didnt mind. So I got ready and kissed my kids and left. On the recording, she told my oldest to watch tv as she was on the phone with her sister (my Husbands aunt). My oldest (was 4yrs old) and she said “but mommy said I cant watch tv” My mil got so mad and slammed her hand down and said “well, when your mommy isnt here, I’m the boss and youll do what I say, not what she says” so she watched tv. Then my mil went on and on..in a phone conversation about me. She said I gave my baby a roll of toilet paper and walked out the door all dressed up and ready to go..and that I didnt ask her to babysit..that i just left my kids… I 100% did ask her to watch them for me (its on the tape) and I would Never give my 11 month old a roll of toilet paper. She would have eaten it and probably choked to death…why would she make this crap up to make me look like that? She also said on the phone that there was a spot on the wall that she keeps wiping and whenever she leaves the room, I keep putting the same spot on the wall to drive her insane. She said that I love to see her wipe that spot over and over. I honestly had no clue why she would be saying that stuff. I never touched her wall nor did I know what she was talking about.
    I came back from my appointment and my baby had a long bruise across the top of her arm. I asked if she fell or anything and my Mil didnt know where it came from..in fact she insinuated that I gave it to her in some way.
    Later that day, I decided to listen to the tape as my child did not have that bruise before. Sure enough…on the tape, i heard my 11 month old daughter let out a blood curdling scream…and my mother inlaw said (with what sounded like her teeth grit) “Well, Dont touch then!”
    I was so mad when I heard that. I told my husband about it and he refused at the time to listen to the tape. He said his mom would never hurt one of our kids.. I honestly wouldnt think so either. But the bruise and what I heard, Tells me different. Back then he told me that if I did anything to get his mom in trouble he would leave me and take our girls from me…and that his whole family would back him. He said that his mom said I was crazy and now hes starting to believe it.
    I didnt call the police..I wish i had looking back.
    But anyways, he also asked her about this in text and said I told him I have it on tape. She never answered any of his questions..just got that text that said his mom didnt say that.
    So I hope he sees now..but Im not too hopeful. I told him she’ll never admit anything, even if she knows that we will finally break up our family and our kids lives over all the years and years worth of damage she has done.
    She hasnt and she wont. I am so exausted from the issues she has caused in our lives..just for attention. When they visit, I spend my day cleaning and/or working from home. She plays games on her phone and relaxes…and as soon as my husband walks in the door, she’s up with a broom or throwing cleaner in the toilet bowl, pretending she just cleaned my whole house.. (a toilet that I Just cleaned that day) He walked in one day and said ‘thanks mom’ and she said she was happy to help. Who fake cleans and takes credit for someone else’s cleaning?? My Mother inlaw! Him and I have had huge fights about how its unfair that I let his mom do all the cleaning when she visits..this is rediculous. He asked her about that too..no other response.
    She is insane and she drives me nuts. Nobody sees this except her husband..who has said things to her about it..too bad its not infront of my husband though. I don’t know how much more I can take. One of my kids have seen her acting weird when daddy comes home..she asked me why Nanny always starts cleaning before daddy walks in..she said it was so weird. I wish she would have asked my husband that, but im not sure what difference it would make anyway. I just wish peoole like this could be exposed for what they really are.

    • OlderandWiser February 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

      I am so sorry to hear this. In some ways, it sounded so much like my situation, when I started reading it, I had to double check to make sure I didn’t write it! My husband’s mother never left physical marks, but she did abuse our children behind closed doors. And she would have loved to accuse me of infidelity, but we were away most of the time, and she didn’t know enough about our friends to pick one.

      I can only offer one piece of advice: You and your husband have to care more about your children than anyone else — including her and every other member of his family. Our children suffered in so many ways because we were trying to manage the situation for too many years. I was lucky. My husband finally told his mother, and by default, his entire family to go to hell. And he did it after our daughter’s counselor made it very clear that they were poison to our family. At that point, if he wouldn’t do it, I was going to and was ready to tell him to go to hell with them. After that, it was like the world was lifted off our shoulders. We have been very happy since; together for 34 years. She is still trying to get back in with us; but she hasn’t changed. And neither have we. I am “Olderandwiser” from the post above.

      • Exausted March 1, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

        Thank you for replying. Im sorry your children have also went through abuse by your mil. I never let her watch my kids again after that. But i wish my husband would have stuck up for our child and out marriage. My husband had left me and still very much blames me.
        All i can do now is try and give my kids the best life I can without having him live with us. I just wish he could see the whole picture. I wish he could see what his mom does to his life. She mentally abused him growing up and has never apologised. I dont know how he believes she is so perfect, or he needs her approval. I just hope my kids can be taught by me, what is acceptable in love and what isnt. As of right now, my kids dont respect me as much as I would think they should…its funny how that works out. I gave a bad example to them by staying with a man that verbally, financially and emotionally abused me for so long

        • Laura March 27, 2017 at 10:17 am #

          I am so sorry it worked out this way. It wasn’t easy for my husband to decide to leave his mother and siblings; it took many years, counseling, support from his own father and my family, and prayer to make that decision. But only he could make it. Your husband may change his mind one day. But your MIL will never change. The only person you can change is yourself. I hope you are in counseling to help cope with all of this. And BTW, if you have pre-teens or teens, “respect” isn’t on their radar no matter how they were raised so don’t blame yourself. My husband and I have raised two daughters who are now 30 and 27; and we also have a 12 year old son. Luckily for our son, his sisters made it to the other side with flying colors and are now extremely responsible, loving and supportive. We know there is light at the end of that deep dark teenager tunnel. (And my husband was a high ranking Marine who commanded respect from 18-year-olds. The only ones who didn’t respect him were his own teenagers.)

          But I digress. My husband has two younger brothers who were never able to break from their mother, especially when they saw how she ostracized my husband and me from the family when he broke away. One even left AA because his mother convinced him he didn’t need it — she wanted him to remain enabled. Their relationship is almost incest-like with how he speaks to her (and he is in his 50’s!) The other moved out of state and deals with her from a distance. That has probably saved his marriage.

          I wish you the best of luck. If nothing else, dealing with a MIL like ours makes us stronger.

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