After 14 years of marriage my husband I and have finally come to accept my MIL is a narc. I accepted this a lot sooner than my husband... who has had massive difficulty dealing with this.
My husband and the rest of his family blamed me initially .... but my husband has finally admitted it is not me.
I have been on the receiving End of a very targeted smear campaign for 2 years. And even my brother in law told my eldest daughter directly to her face that he thinks I am a bully. My kids are 8 and 6!
So we are on NC at the moment... and my SIL and BIL refuse to ever meet me again. (Of course I stupidity challenged their behaviour... and it didn't go down well!)
My kids love their granny but are too young to understand.... she is a master manipulator. has anyone any advise on this. I am of the view that until my husband learns to manage his mother - I am really reluctant to let my children in her company.
It's very complicated..... if it was just my husband and I .... I would never be in her compAny again.... but can I do this to my children??
Thanks for posting your problem -- it is a common one. The reason you have picked up that your MIL is a narcissist is that you are not part of the family and so can see the behaviour as being "odd". The adult children do not, because this is the normal behaviour of their mother. At least your husband can see it now in theory, but as you say, he would have struggled with it, if not only in part, through loyalty. However, if you mother truly has NPD, then your husband would have been affected by it and will still be affected by the way in which his mother has interacted with him and his siblings, and his father.
If he has not already, click through to the main website above and there you will find a series of articles on dealing with narcissists. If he would read them, then he may get greater insight into what he has been dealing with all his life.
In terms of your children, they are not going to be affected by your MIL as much as you might think, unless you all live in the same house, which I doubt is happening. The best thing is for your husband to learn to stand up for himself, for you and his children, to any negativity or manipulation that may occur. But now that he has accepted that his mother has NPD, this is a good step forward. If the two of you could watch and observe the signs and discuss them in private, that would help too. If you need help in doing that, you can contact me for a session through the main website.
Finally, if your MIL says hurtful things to either of your children, then you will need to immediately negate the comment in front of your MIL where possible, and also tell your children that sometimes Grandma says hurtful things. It would be best if your husband could do this as you are "nobody" to your MIL if she suspects yo have worked her out. But if he can't do it, you must.The children don't need to know about NPD at this stage -- they won't get it. But in their teens they will. But as you and your husband are thier primary role modes, they will follow how you two talk to and treat each other, and if you are respectful and kind, then they will see Grandma as being odd themselves in time. But it is important for you and your husband to be in the same page over this, as narcissists seek to divide and conquer and this lady will use her other children to marginalize your husband if she sees any loss of control, and your husband has to be prepared for that. As do you. I hope this helps.
B.Sc (Hons). B.Psych. Dip.Sc.
Principal, Your Online Counselor
Yes a "nobody" describes the situation very well.
We are already at the stage of having been marginalised. Both my husbands sister and brother turned on us also and we are isolated. This got so serious that my husband and I nearly got divorced before Christmas.
I am afraid this is because I will not conform to their way.... I can not live a lie and play the game anymore. I did it for 14 years. They also treat the other 2 in-laws very badly. 1 tolerates it, the other has just divorced my husbands brother.
I think I was so shocked how easily they all turned on me... that I fear they will do the same to my children... if they don't follow the "rules" as they grow older .... and they will try to divide and conquer my children against me.
We have had every narcisstic technique thrown at us all.
I feel my husband uses his children as a "blanket" to protect him from his family and get validation. I expect he is the scapegoat child??? My children have been on the receiving end of his mother and brother a number of times and he says nothing. They use my children to get at me.
After another conversation with my husband this weekend where I can see he is struggling with it all.... I am going to stick to my boundaries.... I.e. NC with them for my kids until either my husband stands up for my kids or his family changes - which is very unlikely I know.
I am aware when my husband is lying to me.... & I know when he is doing it now..... and really he is being dishonest with himself not me. Do you think the further distance my husband gets from them the more honest he can be with himself?? He does say to me the distance from his family is allowing him to work out who he is and what he wants out of life.
Yes, distance helps, but the scars remain.
Sometimes it can help to point out narcissistic behaviour in others. They may not be narcissists, but only narcissistic traits. But when you notice a person behaving in this way, and it may even be in a movie, you could try pointing that out to your husband. As he has no emotional connection with this person or actor, he will more likely accept the behaviour as being narcissistic. It is difficult to "betray" your parent, but as one marriage has already broken up over it, then it's obviously quite toxic. There also could be more than NPD present, or it may not be present at all -- it can mimic other disorders. Where there is a co-morbidity, i.e. two disorders running in tandem, then it becomes very confusing to the adult child who is trying to deal with a situation which they do not have a healthy template to compare with.
Your husband might need counselling to get him over the hump. Has he had time to read the articles on the main website? This will help to know he is not alone.
B.Sc (Hons). B.Psych. Dip.Sc.
Principal, Your Online Counselor