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Feel so sad for my DH (Narc mother)

(9 Posts)
Shambolica Fri 19-Aug-11 20:33:58

I don't really know how to write about this. I was just reading DrN's thread about her mother, and so much could apply to my MIL.

Every time anything difficult happens for me and my DH, she makes it so much more difficult for him/us, by talking about how worried/hurt/sad/disappointed etc, she is. A case in point - we have been trying to buy a house, and have to leave our rented flat 6 weeks before we move into our new place (for complicated reasons not relevant to this problem). We are going to be living with DH's lovely GM (FIL's DM). My MIL has spent the last week sobbing and calling my DH and his GM to tell us all how upset she is with how the situation has been handled.

She "needs" to know everything that happens in our lives, and if she doesn't like something she hears, or hears after the fact, she gets very angry and tearful. She says things like "I think I have a right to know what my son is doing about x, y or z."

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I have never had a good relationship with her, because of her behaviour towards me and DH in the past. I'm not particularly interested in developing any kind of relationship with her now. I am happy to have (very) minimal contact.

I am worried about my DH. He is an only child, and feels so guilty all of the time. He hasn't yet had the courage to really stand up to his parents (his Dad isn't too bad, but definitely enables MIL's behaviour). He lies to me about the contact which he has had with them, because he can't confront it in his own mind. This has obviously created huge problems in our marriage, and I feel that I can't trust him with anything to do with his parents. I recently found out about another lie and I know he is sorry, but until he is able to feel less guilty and more emotionally detached from them, I don't believe that he won't do it again.

I want him to stop pandering to her by having lengthy late-night calls to listen to how upset and hurt she is by him, and I want him to stop feeling guilty about having grown up and living a successful independent existence. How can I help him and make sure that our marriage can survive the strain which it is under?

(I'm not ignoring people if they reply - I only have patchy internet, but will check back as often as I can!)

RushyBay Fri 19-Aug-11 22:31:41

No advice, but I feel like this about my MIL. Soon to be ex-MIL. She seemed lovely at first, but the more I've got to know her, the more I've recognised how dysfunctional she is.

Sadly, the more I've got to know her, the more I've recognised the same traits in DP. I feel desperately sorry for him that he's grown up with this as his normality, and some of the stories he tells about his childhood horrify me. But he just doesn't recognise it. And I can't go on any longer suggesting, 'you know this isn't normal?' because he just doesn't get it. I don't want DS to grow up the same way.

If only I'd got to know her better sooner....

Shambolica Fri 19-Aug-11 23:18:45

Rushy, this is exactly what I worry about - that when DH lies to me it is because it is a learned behaviour which he can't shift. His Mum will do anything to get her own way and I don't want him to be the same way. sad

Shambolica Sat 20-Aug-11 09:35:03


Katisha Sat 20-Aug-11 09:39:50

I wonder whether the book "Toxic Inlaws" by Susan Forward would help? You can get it on Amazon.

LuckyMrsT Sat 20-Aug-11 10:08:51

I really think you should step back and stop trying to dictate what contact your H has with his mother. If you force him to choose you may regret it. You can just tell him how you feel about it and that you no longer want to hear what she has to say during her phonecalls. Can you not also just tell her, politely but firmly, that she's interfering and not being helpful when she next tries to turn your problems into hers?

I understand you want your H to be with you on this but it's his Mum. You have just as much say over whether it destroys your marriage so don't let it.

Katisha Sat 20-Aug-11 10:12:39

Unfortunately if she is truly narcissistic, telling her to butt out isn't ever going to work - it will be All About Her.
You have to get your husband to see what the problem is and then decide how you both react to it, and allow it to affect you, because he and you will never be able to change her.
Toxic Inlaws should have some strategies.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sat 20-Aug-11 10:13:51

second the recommendation for "Toxic In-Laws".

Also second the thought that, whatever you "want" your DH to do, you can't make him change his behaviour or beliefs. Only he has the power to do that, and he will only be able to effect change in his own time, however much you may try to prompt him. Better for you to focus on your own relationship with your MIL, and your own frustrations with your DH's relationship to his mother. Susan Forward's book can help you with both of those things.

Shambolica Sat 20-Aug-11 10:39:36

Thank you. I will definitely look into getting that book.

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