I came across this really interesting article about what a mother in-law wants in her daughter in-law. My curiosity was piqued, so I read it. It got me to thinking just how different a narcissistic mother in-law is from a functional one. I thought I’d do a side by side comparison of the two based on the article in case anyone reading this is wondering if their mother in-law is a narcissist.
- A woman who will consider her a friend. A daughter in-law is nothing more than competition to the narcissistic mother in-law. Friendship is NOT gonna happen!
- A woman who makes her son’s life easier. Seems to me, the narcissistic version of this one is “a woman who has no needs or wants of her own, who waits on her son hand & foot, expects nothing in return & is blindly obedient to the mother in-law.”
- A woman who shows how much she loves her husband by the way she talks about him. Never seen or heard anything of the sort from a narcissistic mother in-law. Seems to me it’s more about actions, like those I mentioned in the last point. It also seems that in their eyes, their daughters in-law should be seen & not heard.
- A woman who will be a good listener. A functional mother in-law & a narcissistic one both want this, I believe, but the difference is the functional mother in-law gladly will return the favor. Narcissists only return the favor when they think they can learn something to use as ammunition against the daughter in-law at some point.
- A woman whose faith in Jesus is evident. I would guess that the only narcissistic mothers in-law who have any interest in their daughter in-law’s faith is those who are concerned about looking good to their church. And, she won’t hesitate to twist Scripture around to manipulate her daughter in-law.
- A woman who forgives her past mistakes. What narcissist admits to past mistakes? This obviously isn’t important to the narcissistic mother in-law because she doesn’t make mistakes & if by some chance she did, they were the fault of someone else.
- A woman who helps her navigate the technology-driven, social media-frenzied world today. I can’t really imagine any narcissistic mother in-law who may want to learn more about technology looking for help from her daughter in-law. Viewing her daughter in-law as beneath her, why would she ask her for help in any area?
- A woman who resolves not to see differences of opinions, interference, or interruptions as an intentional dig. This one may depend on the narcissist. Some no doubt want blind obedience from their daughters in-law, including never speaking back to them & assuming the best about them. But there are many others that want their daughters in-law to be angry with them. That works out very well for the narcissist in question, because she can use this in several ways. She can use it to prove her daughter in-law is unappreciative, crazy, irrational, or over sensitive. She also can use this to prove she is the innocent victim of her daughter in-law’s abuse.
- A woman who gives her credit for the incredible son she raised. The one area that functional mothers in-law & narcissistic mothers in-law are alike to some degree. Who wouldn’t want to hear she did a great job raising her son? Narcissists take it to the extreme though, pretty much expecting to be worshiped for her amazing mothering skills.
- A woman who doesn’t compete for her children’s love. If you know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you know that narcissistic parents become narcissistic grandparents. Unlike a nice, normal, functional grandparent, the narcissistic one will expect to be first place in their grandchild’s life. They also may lie to the grandchild about the child’s parent(s) or tell the child there is no reason to listen to Mom & Dad. Many even bribe the grandchild with money or gifts to gain that child’s favor.
As you can see, there are many differences between healthy, functional mothers in-law & narcissistic ones. I hope you aren’t dealing with the narcissistic variety because they are incredibly difficult to deal with at best!