In this post, you’ll learn all about dealing with a narcissistic mother-in-law.
Who Is The Narcissist?
A narcissist is a person who has an excessive sense of self-importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.
They often have an inflated sense of their own abilities and achievements and tend to be preoccupied with fantasies of power, success, or attractiveness.
Narcissists may exploit or manipulate others for their own gain and have difficulties maintaining healthy relationships.
It’s important to note that not everyone who displays some narcissistic traits has a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder.
Related: Is My Mother-In-Law A Narcissist Quiz
Signs of a Narcissistic Mother In Law
1. Constantly taking center stage
A narcissistic mother-in-law always wants to be the center of attention and may try to dominate conversations, events, and family gatherings.
2. Criticizing Others
She may often put others down or find faults in them, making them feel inferior and small.
3. Lack of Empathy
A narcissistic mother-in-law lacks empathy for others and does not consider others’ feelings when making decisions that impact the family.
4. Controlling Behavior
She may attempt to control her children, their life choices, and relationships.
5. Boundary Crossing
A narcissistic mother-in-law may frequently cross personal boundaries, entering private spaces without permission or taking over parenting duties without being asked.
She may manipulate others into doubting their own perceptions, memories, and reality.
A narcissistic mother-in-law may often belittle her children, making them feel small and insignificant.
It’s essential to note that not all mothers-in-law who exhibit these signs have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
However, if you notice these behaviors consistently and they are interfering with your well-being and family life, it’s best to seek professional help and set healthy boundaries.
Related: Top 10 Narcissistic Relationship Patterns
How to Deal with a Narcissistic Mother In Law?
Dealing with a narcissistic mother-in-law can be challenging and may require patience.
Here are some tips to help you navigate this difficult situation:
#1. Set Boundaries
It’s essential to establish clear boundaries with your mother-in-law and communicate them respectfully.
Explain how you feel and be clear and specific about what behaviors are not acceptable. Communicate your boundaries in a firm but polite manner and stick to them.
Related: Top 10 Tips For Setting Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents
#2. Limit Your Interactions
If interacting with your mother-in-law causes too much stress or anxiety, consider limiting your interactions.
You don’t have to cut her off entirely, but you can scale back on the time you spend with her.
Related: Healing From A Narcissistic Abuse By A Parent – 7 Practical Strategies
#3. Don’t Take Things Personally
Remember that a narcissistic person’s behavior is not a reflection of you.
Don’t take their criticism or behavior personally or let their actions affect your self-esteem or feelings of self-worth.
By not taking their behavior personally, you can protect your own emotional well-being and not become drawn into their game.
It’s important to recognize when it’s time to disengage and distance yourself from a toxic person.
#4. Stay Calm
When dealing with a narcissist, it’s crucial to remain calm and not get sucked into their drama.
Keep your emotions in check and don’t engage in arguments or altercations.
Related: How To Get Revenge On A Narcissist? (In Relationships & At Work)
#5. Don’t Enable
To enable a narcissist is to consistently give in to their demands, support their delusions of grandeur, or validate their sense of superiority.
It can be tempting to try to please a narcissist in order to avoid conflict, but it can ultimately lead to a toxic and unbalanced dynamic.
Avoid enabling your mother-in-law’s narcissistic behavior by not feeding into it.
Don’t give her the attention or validation she seeks, as this only reinforces her behavior.
Related: Are You A Narcissist Enabler? (+Top 5 Tips On How to Avoid Becoming The Narcissist’s Enabler)
#6. Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Don’t expect your mother-in-law to change or become more reasonable.
Focus on managing your own emotions and reactions to her behavior instead.
#7. Seek Support
Dealing with a narcissistic mother-in-law can be overwhelming, so it’s essential to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist.
Having someone to talk to can help you cope with the stress and maintain your mental health.
Related: Codependency And Enmeshment: 9 Signs You May Be In An Enmeshed Relationship
#8. Take Care of Yourself
Practice self-care and prioritize your well-being. Maintain outside interests and hobbies that bring you joy, and don’t allow your mother-in-law to take up all of your time and energy.
How The Narcissistic Mother-In-Law Can Affect Family Relationships
A narcissistic mother-in-law can have a significant impact on family relationships, causing stress and tension between family members.
Here are some ways in which a narcissistic mother-in-law can affect family dynamics:
1. She Creates A Toxic Environment
Narcissistic mothers-in-law often play mind games, create drama, and manipulate situations to suit their own needs.
This behavior can create a toxic environment in which family members are constantly trying to please her or avoid her wrath.
2. She Undermines Relationships
A narcissistic mother-in-law may try to undermine the relationship between her child and their spouse by criticizing their partner or creating conflict between them.
3. She Disrupts Family Event
Narcissistic mothers-in-law may try to take over family events or make everything about themselves, causing tension and stress for other family members.
4. She Causes Stress
Living with a narcissistic mother-in-law can be stressful, particularly if she is critical or demanding. This stress can spill over into other areas of life, impacting work or personal relationships.
5. She Damages Self-Esteem
Narcissistic mothers-in-law may put down or belittle their children or grandchildren, damaging their self-esteem and causing long-term emotional damage.
Related: Top 5 Reasons Why Narcissists Target Empaths – & How to Starve The Narcissist of Supply
Dealing with a narcissistic mother-in-law can be challenging, as they may exhibit a range of controlling, manipulative and self-centered behaviors that can be difficult to cope with.
Remember that you are not responsible for your mother-in-law’s behavior, and you have the right to set boundaries to protect yourself.
Be patient, don’t take things personally, stay calm, don’t enable, and seek support when needed.