Tag Archives: mother in-law

You Aren’t Always The Problem In Relationships

Growing up with a narcissistic parent or two builds a very dysfunctional foundation in a child.  One of those dysfunctional beliefs created is that you are always the problem  in a failed relationship.

 

I knew the day I met my now mother in-law, she didn’t like me.  For the first eight years of our relationship, I tried with her.  No matter what I did though, I was wrong & never good enough.  My mother in-law even told me shortly after our marriage how disappointed she was my husband married me instead of an ex girlfriend.  For most of those eight years, I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong.  How could I improve the difficult relationships with her?  What could I do to make her see I’m not such a bad person, or that I’m better suited for my husband than his ex?  Nothing I did worked, & in fact, things only got worse.  My sisters in-law weren’t exactly my best friends to start with, but those relationships also got worse.  It seemed like the more time passed & the harder I tried, the worse things got & the more frustrated I got.

 

Then one evening in the spring of 2002, my mother in-law called about 8:15.  She asked to speak to my husband, who was either still at work or on his way home.  I told her this, & she screamed at me because she didn’t think he should work so late.  She mentioned she thought he was working too much.  He looks tired & I said his allergies were flaring up, & she resumed screaming at me because he has allergies.  It was a wake up call for me- I realized I can’t be in a relationship with this person.  She was mad at me for things I had absolutely no control over.  Nothing I can do will make things better between us.  I gave up.

 

A few months later, my husband called one of his sisters for her birthday.  He was flustered by the call, because he said she was screaming at him about me- how I keep him from his family & treat them all like “poor white trash.”  I used to think she & I were friends, but realized that wasn’t the case.  No friend would think such a ridiculous & untrue thing about me.

 

I haven’t spoken to my in-laws since 2002 & it’s been very freeing!  They blame me & even my husband did for a while for being unreasonable.  Due to my bad foundation, I blamed me too!

 

I’d been through this same scenario with every failed relationship in my life.  Everything was all my fault.  If only I would’ve been smart enough to figure out the solution to make things better.  If only I had been nicer, more understanding, etc., this wouldn’t have happened.

 

It took me a long time to realize, not everything is my fault!  Bizarre, huh?  Looking at the situations, it seems painfully obvious it wasn’t, yet it took me years to realize I wasn’t a bad person because I couldn’t make these relationships ok.

 

My point (finally..lol) is I am sure you have similar feelings, Dear Reader.  I have yet to meet an adult child of at least one narcissistic parent who doesn’t blame herself for the failed relationships in her life.  Are you thinking that this probably doesn’t apply to you?  Well let’s look at a couple of things..

 

First, your bad relationship with your narcissistic mother.  How can this be your fault?  She’s a narcissist!  No one is good enough for a narcissist.  Even those she idolizes will show a flaw at some point, & the narcissist won’t be impressed with him any longer.  Plus, as a child of a narcissist, you were born with a job- to please your narcissistic mother at all times.  This is IMPOSSIBLE!  Narcissists deliberately set up others to fail, especially their own children.  It amuses them & makes them feel powerful.

 

Second, as the survivor of narcissistic abuse, other abusers will be attracted to you.  This is especially true before you understand narcissism & work on your healing.  Chances are good you were abused by others in your life simply because you learned early in life how to be a “good victim”- you learned to keep secrets, have no boundaries & never talk back.  That isn’t your fault!  That fault lies squarely on your first abuser.

 

Lastly, no doubt you have made mistakes in your relationships.  Being human, that is inevitable.  However, what are the chances that you are the sole problem in every single relationship you’ve been in that has gone badly?  I would have to say the chances are slim.  Very slim.  The odds of you winning the lottery are probably better!  Relationships are a two way street.  Both people have to work on it.  One person cannot carry the entire relationship!

 

Today, Dear Reader, I just want you to think about this.  You honestly cannot be the problem 100% of the time.  If you believe you are, then it’s time to look at things objectively.  If you can’t, try pretending a close friend is telling you about her failed relationships that are exactly like yours.  Would you blame her for their failures?  What would you tell her?  Write it out if it helps- seeing things in writing somehow often makes things clearer.  You also can ask God to tell you the truth about what happened.  Were you always the problem?  What went wrong?  He will gently let you know the truth, & chances are, you are going to be surprised to learn that you aren’t the awful problem you think you are.

 

I truly hope you do this.  Living with the undeserved guilt of failed relationships is a miserable way to live.  You don’t deserve to carry around false guilt & shame!  You deserve to be happy!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Aging Narcissistic In-laws

Aging narcissistic parents are a very disturbing group of people. While most people mellow out as they age, narcissists often get more vicious.  Not easy to deal with for their adult children!

As I write this, I’m waiting for my husband to come home.  He’s at the hospital visiting his mother who was admitted today.

Out of respect for his privacy, I won’t go into much detail, so please bear with me a bit.  Both my mother in-law & father in-law are narcissistic, her covert & him overt.  As they are getting older & their health is failing them, they are making more demands on my husband.  Also, he is facing the truth about them & how he’s been abused by them for the first time.  It’s not an easy time for him.  I’m very concerned how this situation is going to play out for him, & how he is going to deal with his own feelings.

I’m also a bit nervous about how I’m going to deal with my own feelings as well.  You see, there were countless times I considered divorcing him earlier in our marriage because of the abuse his mother put me through & his failure to acknowledge it at the time.  Honestly, sometimes I still get angry when I remember those dark days.

I’m sure there are others in similar situations, as many of us with narcissistic parents marry someone who also has at least one narcissistic parent.  I’m writing about this to share what God has been showing me about how to cope.

Pray.  About what?  Whatever comes to mind regarding the situation.  Personally, I’ve been praying for my mother in-law’s salvation (I’m unsure if she’s a Christian- I don’t believe she is), asking God to give my husband strength, wisdom & anything else he needs right now, & asking God to help me release my old anger at him.  Prayers like this can truly help you as well as the recipients of your prayers!  I admit, it isn’t easy to pray for my mother in-law, so sometimes I ask close friends to pray for her.  It helps me know she’s getting prayer, plus I don’t have to do it at that time- I can do it later when I feel able to do so.

Distractions.  I’m hoping to distract hubby when he gets home with a funny video that we love.  We’re big fans of the old TV show, “Mystery Science Theater 3000” with its fun, warped humor, & since it always makes us laugh, I think watching an old episode could do us both some good.  After all, it’s unhealthy to focus on the more serious issues in life 24/7.  The brain needs a break sometimes!

Nice gestures.  A little sweet, thoughtful gesture can go a long way when someone is going through hard times.  Hubby will be greeted with raspberry herbal tea (we both love it) when he gets home.  I’ll come up with other gestures once I gauge the kind of mood he’s in.  Sometimes, he isn’t in the mood for interaction- he just wants to be left alone.

Listening.  Before I start the movie, I’ll see if he wants to talk.  Often when his mother is in the hospital, he comes home very frazzled.  The hospital staff at this particular hospital isn’t the best (as I learned when my father was there last December), his parents are demanding & his sisters want constant updates until they come into town.  It can be a lot for him to deal with.

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Filed under Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

December 3, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I thought I’d add a bit to yesterday’s post….  

I didn’t mention it yesterday, but one thing that has made me dislike the holidays is in-laws.  I am on my second marriage, & both sets of in-laws I have had share one thing in common- expecting their adult children & their spouses to spend the holiday with them.  Period.  No excuses.  Why that is, I have no clue, but I don’t believe it’s right.  For one thing I believe the day should be spent with husband & wife together (& small kids at home too, if they have them).  Extended family can be visited within a few days of the holidays.  My grandparents always had their Christmas celebration on the Sunday between Christmas & New Year’s.  That way, everyone could relax on Christmas day & enjoy it.  This always has made so much sense to me.  

For another thing, what about my family?  What if I wanted to spend a holiday with my family rather than his?  I’ve learned that is not something to admit- saying that warranted the evil eye from both mothers in-law.  I quickly learned not to say that, & give up hopes of spending the holiday with anyone in my family.

And lastly, if you have a dysfunctional relationship with your in-laws like me, why would anyone want to spend an entire day together?  How is that a joyous family celebration?  It saps all of the joy out of your day spending it with people who you know dislike you, & who you dislike.  It certainly has for me.  I dreaded the holidays for years, & got depressed each holiday season knowing I would spend a holiday with people who were less than thrilled I was a part of their family.  

I guess I just wanted to say please think before arranging your holiday get together.  It’s not fair to demand your adult children run to your home for a holiday.  There are 364 other days in the year- why not pick one of them to get together?  If you force them or use guilt to manipulate them into coming over, they &/or their spouses will end up resentful.  It can damage your relationship greatly!  I loved my first mother in-law, but when she knew my ex & I were having car trouble, yet still demanded we drive that car (our only one) well over an hour away, in the cold, to the Christmas get together, it greatly damaged my fondness for her.  This was in the days before cell phones, so if the car had left us stranded, I have no idea how we would have gotten home.

And remember, your adult child’s spouse has a family too.  Demanding they spend the day with you tells that person they & their family aren’t as important as you & your family.  That hurts!  It also stirs up strife between the couple.  They feel stuck in the middle since both have families who want to spend a day with them.  It is NOT a pleasant place to be!

Lastly, I understand not everyone is pleased with their son or daughter’s choice of a mate.  Some personalities just clash.  If that describes your relationship with your son or daughter in-law, then please, for your adult child’s sake, try to be civil.  You don’t have to be phoney.  You don’t have to try to become best friends.  Just practice basic politeness & civility.  Showing your dislike of that person not only hurts him or her, but shows an incredible disrespect for your adult child.  It also stirs up problems in their marriage, & makes the adult child feel stuck in the middle.  Do you really want to do that to your son or daughter?

As for daughters & sons in-law, this also applies to you!!  Practice civility with your husband’s or wife’s parents.  I know first hand how hard it can be when an in-law is mean you, but do it anyway!  

Also, don’t run to your spouse complaining about his “psycho mom” or whatever other things you’d like to say.  I know you want him or her to understand your position, but that is still his/her parent.  It’s difficult for someone to accept his/her parent is capable of doing such nasty things, especially to someone they love.  Instead, talk to a friend or relative, or write in a journal.  At a less stressful, busy time, it is more appropriate to discuss in-law problems with your spouse.  Gently & with sensitivity, of course!

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Miscellaneous