Things A Mother In-Law Wants From Her Daughter In-Law

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!


Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

16 responses to “Things A Mother In-Law Wants From Her Daughter In-Law

  1. I’m pretty sure the Bible says when you get married you are supposed to leave your parents behind and now cling to your spouse and children.

    It’s supposed to be about joining another “gang”

    The woman who wrote this selfish, self-serving article does not care about her son.

    IMO a mother owes the daughter-in-law respect, solely, because that is who her son chose. Period.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really wish more mothers in-law realized these things. It baffles me so many see their new daughters in-law as nothing but a problem from day one. My late mother in-law was like that. Hated me from the moment we met, before Eric & I were even dating. We were just friends at the time. I remember thinking I felt sorry for his future wife. Didn’t realize then I was going to be the one dealing with her. My ex mother in-law was much different. She & I got along quite well until my ex moved us into her home. That is normal I think.. 2 women living together usually means trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. SORRY – It’s NOT supposed to be about joining another gang.


  3. I had a much longer response written, but my computer crashed. The short story is that I could not see much difference from the so-called “healthy mother” in this article and a narcissistic mother. All mothers should bow out after the kids get married. “Roots and Wings” vs Enmeshment.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for bringing these distinctions to light.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know that the original author was as self-serving as dougross thinks. The descriptions of a normal MiL and a narcissistic one will /have/ to sound very similar in some ways… The distinction between those two comes from a very deep distortion in the spirit and soul which is mostly invisible. From outside a relationship it is usually /hard/ to tell which person is the NPD and which is the hurting normal. Example: My FiL intruded on my parenting constantly…. My wife enabled him. My mom has always been fairly narcissistic, and contemptuous towards me. Sorting out whether I was the disordered person was hard for *me* just looking at the actions and hearing what people said. I finally brought it down to the motivations. Was I really just hating on my FiL? Or was I drawing a boundary because he wanted to override what I was teaching my kids (especially about God)? There’s a lot more. But, the point is that the description of what a sick MiL wants don’t necessarily prove any sickness unless you know something about the context. So many of us have been fooled… until the pain becomes intolerable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a good point.. things have to be taken in context. The one in the original article seems a bit too involved, but at least not malicious like a narcissist. Motivations & context of each situation can differentiate between the two. I remember being frustrated with my first mother in-law when my ex & I lived with her because she could be too involved in our marriage. Eventually I learned she had 6 miscarriages & still births before my ex husband was finally born. No wonder she was as she was with him. Not a narcissist though, since she clearly had empathy & was generous & kind. As for my late mother in-law now? Definitely a narcissist. She obviously expected me to be whatever she thought I should be, but ideally, I would have not been married to her son.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I apologize for being so harsh in the way I assumed things about the author of this article. On second glance, she is just expressing what she would like in an daughter-in-law. And our culture does encourage the idea of the joining of families. I’m just not sure that is Biblical. There is a YouTube channel called The Royal We. He goes on about this quite a bit.


      • No apology is necessary. We all have different views & I think it’s cool because it helps us to see things from different angles we might not have before!

        I’m not so sure it’s Biblical either. Spending time together, sure, but it seems to go beyond that in many cases. My in-laws were totally enmeshed until the parents in-law died. It was utterly disturbing to me, yet so many people bought their “we’re a big happy family” charade.

        that channel sounds interesting! Thanks for mentioning it!

        Liked by 1 person

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