In the years I’ve been writing about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I’ve talked to lots of people. As if my own experience didn’t teach me enough, I’ve learned a lot more from the wonderful people who shared their stories with me.
One of the things I’ve learned about people with narcissistic in-laws is what I want to talk to you about today.
Narcissistic in-laws often are cruel to the spouse of their adult child in countless ways. One of them is shaming that person for having complete control over their adult child. This often manifests for others in the same way it did for me. Like many others with narcissistic in-laws, I was accused of “stealing” my husband & keeping him from his family.
For the sake of simplicity & also because it’s just fun to say it this way, I will refer to the accusers as “in-laws” & those of us who supposedly steal someone from their family as “outlaws.”
Narcissistic in-laws must have things their way in every area, including in their children’s lives. Many would prefer that child not marry, so that way, there is no interference in the control they have over their adult children. If he or she does marry however, they need to marry someone of which the in-laws approve. Marrying someone who doesn’t meet up to the in-laws’ standards means things will get ugly, in particular for the outlaw.
In addition to the frequent scathing criticisms, excluding & shunning the outlaw, & a thousand other ways they let the outlaw know they are not good enough for this family. One thing almost all narcissistic parent in-laws or narcissistic siblings will say is that the outlaw stole the victim from his or her family. Outlaws like me who are accused of this are almost always shocked since they are hardly controlling people, let alone manipulative enough to control their spouse. Yet, the accusation is said anyway.
Chances are, when this outlaw talks to their spouse, the victim of the in-laws, he or she will defend the in-laws, minimize their behavior or even deny it entirely. Naturally this causes a lot of problems in the marriage.
If you are in this situation of being an outlaw as I have been, I know it’s hard. You definitely will need some ways to cope while minimizing the chances of the in-laws getting their way & destroying your marriage.
When you & your spouse discuss the in-laws, maintain a calm demeanor as much as you possibly can. Showing your anger will make your spouse feel he or she must defend & protect the in-laws. Staying calm minimizes the possibility of that happening so you can have an actual discussion about the problem.
Use logic & ask questions when your spouse defends the in-laws. It is totally reasonable to ask why your spouse thinks it’s acceptable for your in-laws to do what they do to you both. Ask why he or she doesn’t consider their behavior disrespectful to you, your spouse & your marriage. Ask for examples of the bad behavior they accuse you of doing. Expect answers, & don’t let your spouse avoid giving them. Being forced to think about these things will hurt, so he or she most likely won’t want to give them, but it is vital. He or she needs to see the truth of the situation in order to deal with it correctly.
If your spouse refuses to see the truth, you may be forced to sever all ties with the in-laws. It won’t make your spouse happy, but you must protect your mental health & avoid these toxic people. If you must do this, stick to your convictions & refuse to talk to them at all while not telling your spouse that they must choose you or their family. The person who gives the ultimatum on these situations almost always ends up abandonded, which is why I say that.
Most of all, pray, pray, pray! In such a delicate situation, you need God’s wisdom & for Him to guide your timing & words. Leaning on Him is the smartest thing you can do in this situation.
I truly wish you all the best in your situation, & am praying for you!