From early in my relationship with my husband, I knew my in-laws didn’t like me. I also got the feeling they thought I controlled him. I found out I was right in 2002 when one of my sisters in-law raged at my husband about me “stealing him & keeping him from his family.” She obviously was also speaking for her sister & mother. I also knew just how ridiculous the accusations were. They were the controlling women in his life, not me. I didn’t know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder back then so it didn’t make sense why they thought this way about me. Eventually I learned their behavior with me was typical of narcissistic in-laws, & many other people were in a similar situation to mine.
Narcissistic in-laws often believe that they are the only ones who have the right to control their relative. They see themselves as the gatekeepers of their family & will do whatever it takes to maintain their power & control. When they see their relative’s spouse having any say in their relative’s life, they get extremely offended because they see their control over their relative is threatened.
Narcissistic in-laws often accuse their relative’s spouse of controlling their relative to manipulate the situation. They know that by accusing the spouse they can create doubt & mistrust within the marriage.
When accused of being controlling, the spouse often starts to wonder if they are being too controlling. They usually become even more easy going to prove that the accusation is wrong. This is exactly what narcissistic in-laws want, because it allows them to maintain their control over their relative.
It’s important to remember that when narcissistic in-laws accuse their relative’s spouse of controlling their relative, it’s not about the spouse at all. It’s about their own need for control & their fear of losing it. The accusation is just a tool to maintain their power & manipulate the situation.
These narcissistic in-laws cause plenty of tension & mistrust within the marriage. Their behavior leads to arguments as the spouse tries to defend themselves & the relative often defends their family to the spouse.
Their behavior also can cause the spouse to distance themselves from their in-laws, which can lead to more tension & conflict. The narcissistic in-laws see this as a victory, as they have successfully driven a wedge between their relative & spouse. This further reinforces their belief that they are the only ones who can control their family member.
This accusation also causes the spouse to feel isolated & alone, especially when the relative defends their narcissistic family. They feel that their relationship with their spouse is threatened. This leads to feelings of betrayal, sadness, anger, & frustration.
If you find yourself in a situation where your narcissistic in-laws are accusing you of controlling your spouse, you can cope with it! To start with pray, & ask God for guidance.
It’s also important to not react emotionally when dealing with you narcissistic in-laws because any anger from you will reinforce to that family that you are the problem, & you don’t want them to have any more power. Remembering this accusation isn’t personal or true. It’s about them wanting control over your spouse.
Give them no personal information. The less they know about you, the more likely they will lie about you to their relative, & the greater the chances their relative will see their lies.
You also can limit your contact with your in-laws. This means avoiding family gatherings & limiting phone calls & text messages. If your spouse disapproves of this, remind them their family has problems you. Why should you try to have a relationship with them? It’s ok to prioritize your mental health over your relationship with your in-laws. I severed ties with my in-laws in 2002, & never regretted it.
If your spouse defends their family & refuses to see anything bad about their behavior, you’re in an especially difficult situation. Don’t try to convince them of the truth, because that makes them even more protective of their family. Don’t try forcing them to choose you over their family, because that will make them believe their family is right about you & choose them.
It’s also important to seek support from safe people who see the truth of this dysfunctional situation, especially if your spouse doesn’t see it. Neutral people also will help keep you grounded which is so important in such a crazy making situation.
Dealing with narcissistic in-laws who accuse you of controlling your spouse can be a challenging & emotional situation, but you can handle it!
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