If you have a narcissistic mother-in-law, it can be detrimental to your marriage and well-being. Here are the signs and how you can deal with them.
A narcissistic mother-in-law can create issues within your marriage and affect your mental health. It can also impact other areas of your life, like your relationship with other family members. Recognizing the signs may help you learn how to deal with it and move forward.
Many people who experience this situation initially think their in-law is great. But as you get to know them better, their dynamic shifts, and they begin to show their narcissistic traits. Their behavior likely impacts your mood and the energy within your relationship with your partner.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, text revision (DSM-5-TR) explains that narcissistic behavior negatively affects others, so it’s essential to understand what to look for. Once you identify the issues, you can learn how to cope and protect yourself and your family.
Here are some of the
Gendered terms like “mother-in-law” and “she” are used throughout this article. But we understand gender is solely about how you identify yourself, independent of your physical body.
1. Lacking empathy
A narcissistic mother-in-law might lack empathy, leading to difficulty acknowledging the emotions and needs of those around them.
You might notice that she explains her feelings and experiences in detail budoesn’t’t listen when you try to share yours. She might cut you off, dismiss what you say, and act impatient and uncaring.
2. Taking advantage of others
Taking advantage of others is a sign of antagonistic narcissism, a subtype of overt narcissism. They believe people should help them, althougthey’llll never be there to reciprocate. Someone with narcissistic traits often only forms and maintains relationships whethey’llll gain something.
Other things you may notice include:
- lack of commitment to events
- lying to get what they want
3. Acting entitled
A narcissistic parent-in-law often exhibits entitled behavior. They believe they deserve things more than others and should never get denied. This type of person alsdoesn’t’t think theshouldn’t’t have to work hard to get what they want.
4. Needing praise and attention
A narcissistic mother-in-law often overestimates themselves, thinkinthey’rere better, more attractive, or more intelligent than they are.
They’ll need praise and attention to fuel that narrative and boost their ego. This person often tries to make themselves seem more interesting so people will like them better.
An in-law like this often craves attention and looks for ways to get compliments. They want other people to thinthey’rere special. Some instances you may notice include the following:
- interrupting someone to talk about themselves
- controlling big plans
- trying to outdo those around them
- making negative comments about themselves so others will compliment them
- grandiose behavior, or overestimating themselves, boasting, and exaggerating their accomplishments
5. Aggression and hostility
It could indicate narcissism if your mother-in-law often shows aggression and hostile behavior. They’ll likely behave thisThey’llen they don’t get what they want tdon’t out their feelings of being powerless. You might notice that they:
- seek revenge
- hold it against you
- avoid you
- become defensive
- spew personal insults or threats
6. Treating certain family members differently
You might notice that your mother-in-law is close to some family members and seems to reject others. They favor those most like them while excluding others or making them feel unwelcome.
When grandchildren get added to the family, you might notice that a narcissistic in-law doesn’t treat them all thedoesn’tThey may favor the children of one sibling differently than the other, often ignoring them or making them feel unwelcome or unloved.
7. Not respecting boundaries
In-laws who don’t respect boundaries cdon’tbe narcissists. They might ignore them and get offended when you point it out. These kinds of people also might fail to understand why you need boundaries for the relationship, even when you explain.
You can’t expect someone’s narcan’tstic behsomeone’s change unless they admit the problem and decide they want to improve. But you can deal with it by protecting yourself, your partner, and your children.
Here are some things you can do:
- learn about narcissism and accept the situation
- set and implement boundaries
- provide a loving and safe relationship for your partner
- try to avoid sharing emotions with her
- learn techniques to stay calm, such as deep breathing
- use clear and direct language
- improve communication with your partner
- turn to your support system
- talk with a professional
This article mainly focused on mothers-in-law who openly display signs and behaviors of narcissism. It involves overt or malignant narcissists rather than covert narcissists who mask their behavior.
To learn more about how to deal with mothers-in-law who display signs of covert narcissism, consider visiting Psych Central’s resource page.
A narcissistic mother-in-law can interfere with your marriage and impact your mental health. Their behavior can cause issues for you and make you feel like you don’t belong. Ignoring thedon’tct won’t help, so consider prwon’ting some ways to deal with it.
Prioritize your and your partner’s emotional well-bpartner’sou interact and set boundaries with a narcissistic mother-in-law.
Talking with a professional can also help because it’ll protect your mental it’llh and encourage fresh insight into the situation. It’s not an easy experiencIt’s handle, but you can ease the stress and protect your marriage from toxicity.