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MIL is a narcissist and I have reached my limit

(134 Posts)
5one5 Mon 10-Oct-16 23:47:51

I am beginning to lose respect for DH because of what he lets MIL get away with. She has had a difficult life (extreme poverty, DV, lost youth) and it is used widely as an excuse in DH’s family for her incredibly rude and obnoxious behavior towards other people. She insults people to their faces – mostly women, because she’s a misogynist, but men get it as well. Because of her hard life she tends to think that she is entitled to luxury and special treatment, and DH and his siblings spend their time running around for her, buying her presents, plane tickets, holidays and going into debt paying for her extravagant life.

How does it affect me? She expects me to behave in the same way as DH: Cooking for her, cleaning for her, giving her the best of everything, telling her she’s beautiful, intelligent, well-loved. Nobody is allowed to tell a story at a family gathering unless she plays some starring role in it. She likes applause when she enters a room and toasts to her during meals. She likes to repeat stories of her youth where she was deemed “exceptionally beautiful” and things that were apparently said to her and fights that were apparently had over her. DH and her other children pretend they pander to her in a tongue-in-cheek way, but I can see that they all take it deadly seriously and that they all become like little minions when she is around. They are afraid of her.

DH excuses his and his siblings’ behavior around her by portraying her as a comical narcissist, as if everybody is in on the joke that she thinks very highly of herself, including her - but it really isn’t like that. There is no irony. She is a bona fide narcissist.

Our wedding day was about her. Our DC’s birthdays become about her. Christmas is about her Or she sits in a corner and sulks until enough people come up to her and ask if she is okay, at which point she will launch a scathing attack on the event, how it doesn’t cater to her at all, and her children including DH will spend the rest of the time with their tails between their legs, not enjoying themselves. Dh and his siblings are performing marionettes who will willingly make her the centre of anything and are constantly leaping around to measure the emotional barometer of the room she is in to avoid upsetting her.

She tries to teach her GC including our DC lines to recite like “I love you Grandma,” and “You are beautiful Grandma.” Sometimes they say it because she repeats it so much (so she likes these GC ) but the ones who won’t repeat it get the cold shoulder.

Anyway it’s all come to a head for me over something on facebook and I can’t look Dh in the eye anymore I am so angry:

There is a close friend of mine who doesn’t buy the applause and the toasting and the everything relating back to MIL, so MIL uniformly hates her. Today this friend looked after one of our DC and posted some pics of DC doing an activity on facebook with my permission. She tagged me in them, so the photos appeared on my timeline. MIL saw the pictures and wrote in a comment underneath how dare my friend have her DGC without her (MIL’s) permission and a series of other comments criticizing my friend and the activity she was doing with my DC. Criticisms completely unfounded and quite insulting.

Next thing I know DH has jumped on the comments tab too and has piled on with MIL against my friend., telling my friend that MIL is right, he agrees and she should be ashamed of herself. I was absolutely shocked

When I got home (an hour after this all happened on facebook) DH was waiting at the door with a guilty face on, ready to “manage” the situation. I was fuming. Dh went into full damage limitation, said he had texted MIL and told her not to post comments like that in the future, and proceeded to beg me to not post anything on facebook and not tell MIL off. He was like a desperate child.

I asked him why he posted in support of such a stupid comment from MIL and he said he wanted to “protect” her. I told him it was MIL attacking other people that was the problem. He said that he thought that MIL was provoking my friend by attacking her, and so he wanted to shut down any potential counterattack on MIL before there was one…

We were supposed to go out for dinner together tonight, the first night we haven’t had the DC for 9 months, but I have come home because I cannot sit across a table from him. I can’t even look him in the eye. He was sheepishly trying to get me to hug him and kiss him but I cannot even touch him for being such a fucking coward.

My life cannot be like this forever, but I don’t know what to do. (And yes I have spoken to my friend and apologized for MIL’s comments.) I am still considering commenting on the status but DH is begging me not to.

joshlymanlover Mon 10-Oct-16 23:52:21

Not sure what to say except my mother put up with this with her MIL, my gran and it only got worse as she got older.

She spent her last years feeling very sorry for herself as less and less people visited her.

On the plus side my dad did stand up to her and even stopped visiting her for a while.

It's sad as she has died now and none of us really miss her.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 10-Oct-16 23:53:46

Comment on the status.

Draw a line in the sand.

Show him how you stand up for your friends if someone mistreats them. If you don't you are the same as him.

LineyReborn Mon 10-Oct-16 23:58:16

You might as well tell her to fuck off, you've nothing to lose.

Or, come off FB temporarily, tell your husband what your boundaries are, and recalibrate your marriage and family over the next two weeks. Then back on FB, all smiles, MIL blocked, do it your way.

(He's not called Simon, is he?)

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 10-Oct-16 23:58:52

I normally hate FB wars and say stay silent, but in this case you have to publicly defend your friend.

I wouldn't directly respond to MILs comments but I would say clearly to everyone that you are super grateful to your friend for helping you out and for giving the DC a lovely day.

Maybe tell DH he is forgiven when he gets MIL to apologise to your friend.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 11-Oct-16 00:01:28

Actually, I would put a reply on MIL's comments. It would be something like "Have you been on the gin again, Maud?" "Forgotten to take the pills today, Linda?" "Is you on glue?"

JaniceBattersby Tue 11-Oct-16 00:03:58

Good God OP.

Don't comment on the status. You're just giving her the ammo with which she will shoot you clean through the temple.

Instead, just block her. Then maintain radio silence and decide what you're going to do about your husband. He is clearly deeply entrenched in this situation. It took me years, years, to extract my husband from his narcissistic parents, and they weren't half as bad as your MIL.

I'd start with telling him you want no more contact with her at all, and stand by it. It my help him to realise how seriously bad her behaviour is.

DarklyDreamingDexter Tue 11-Oct-16 00:04:01

Comment on the status or it looks like your friend is in the wrong when she isn't. Stand up to the tyrannical bitch and don't let her spread her poison to others. Let your DH know that a line has been crossed and he needs to stand in your corner and defend your position, not hers.

SandyY2K Tue 11-Oct-16 00:04:46

My word ... your MIL is beyond hard work. I feel for you and I would be as angry as you are.

They've all pandered to her nonsense and she's basking in it.

SandyY2K Tue 11-Oct-16 00:05:49

Instead, just block her. I'd delete and block her.

Good idea.

SandyY2K Tue 11-Oct-16 00:06:42

By the way ... I think your friend can delete the comments from your MIL, as it's on her original post.

AmeliaJack Tue 11-Oct-16 00:19:29

I would calmly phone MIL and explain that she does not get to decide who your DC spend time with and that she has behaved appallingly rudely to your friend.

The consequence of this behaviour is that you will be dropping her from Facebook.

I would refuse to have an argument about it or get involved with any back and forth. Her behaviour is online for all to see.

This is the consequence to her behaviour.

If your DH will not deal with her, you will have to.

Seperately I would incredibly disappointed in DH. His DM behaves badly and his first instinct is to join in, rather than to immediately contact your friend to apologise? He really needs to consider his behaviour, that's a really odd way to behave.

My rule is that bad behaviour is no more tolerated in adults than in small children. Tantrums do not get rewarded. Bad behaviour is either ignored or there are negative comments sequences.

EmilyDickinson Tue 11-Oct-16 00:23:33


Apologise to your friend (off Facebook) for the position that she's been put in. Tell her that you are happy for her to delete your MILs comment.

Insist that your DH deletes the comment that he put in support of your MIL. He needs to apologise to your friend (off Facebook).

Unfriend your MIL so that she can't comment any further.

After you've done that I think that you need to have a discussion with your DH about how to deal with your MIL.

CousinCharlotte Tue 11-Oct-16 00:26:57

Bloody hell, she sounds a nightmare, block her, also your dh needs to grow a pair.

AcrossthePond55 Tue 11-Oct-16 02:03:48

Do as Emily suggests.

But I think my discussion with my DH (if I were you) would be more in the lines of 'I will not be around your mother nor will I allow the children to be around her. Deal with that or do something about her'.

Your DH needs serious counseling.

123MothergotafleA Tue 11-Oct-16 02:43:57

She's nuts.

Euphemia Tue 11-Oct-16 03:22:34

Insane! You'd be right to block her.

EweAreHere Tue 11-Oct-16 03:24:09

You need to block your MIL.

Your DH needs to apologize to your friend.

You need to tell DH that this is the end of the line. He has to pick. It's you or his mother. You will no longer bow down to her to keep the peace, and if she can't behave herself and stop acting the way she does, then you and the children will not be spending time with her. He has to pick. Now. This is not someone you want your children to emulate, and you certainly don't want your children to act like your DH and his siblings, always rushing around trying to please their mother and centering their lives around her moods/narcissism.

Your DH does indeed need serious counseling, as someone as suggested. And you need to insist he goes. Tell him he is jeopardizing your marriage if he doesn't,, it's that serious. And don't allow him to spend any more family money/resources on placating her. That's your money and time, your children't money and time, and he's wasting it.

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 11-Oct-16 03:32:19

What a vile woman. Definitely cut her out of facebook and your life. I agree that she must no longer be granted access to the grandchildren. Their father is teaching them some bad lessons when around his mother and cannot be trusted to protect them from her.

Your husband owes your friend a massive apology. More than just a sorry. I'm thinking letter, flowers. And yes, your friend should take down all the nasty comments. What a ridiculous woman your mil is. She must be deeply unhappy.

mamakena Tue 11-Oct-16 04:10:16

First off does MIL provide child care or other help? If so, stop this immediately because that gives her a hold over you.

Second, if at all possible you need to move far away from her or find a way to drastically cut down time spent with her including on FB. She sounds toxic and will gradually suck the life out of you.

Most important this is a DH problem. Have a solemn talk with him and come up with a strategy to help him at least stay neutral and learn to say no to her... though I doubt you can change him at this point.

overtherainbow1 Tue 11-Oct-16 04:26:25

just wondering what activity your ds was photographed doing on Facebook?

Her behaviour is inexcusable! Almost ferry one has had awful things happen to them in their lives, it's no excuse to be nasty. I cannot believe that the whole family is pandering to her craziness, it's unreal.

you should send her a link to this post. And your husband as well while you're at it.

CarbeDiem Tue 11-Oct-16 04:38:00

Wow! she sounds such a treat.
As you have already apologised to your friend, plus she gets that your MIL is fucking nuts, I wouldn't comment further on FB.
As much as you don't want to look at your DH, to get past this, you are going to have to sit down and spell out loud and clear that you've had enough. I agree with the above poster that he is jeopardising his marriage/family because of his vile mother, he needs to know that.

I personally would speak to MIL and tell her what she done was unacceptable, way out of order and none of her bloody business. I'd also be quite tempted to tell her exactly what I thought about her without sparing her feelings (you said yourself that she certainly doesn't hold back so why should you)
Your DC will end up suffering the more time they spend around her poisonous behaviour - she may be happy that your DH and his sibs are nervous wrecks around her but don't let your dc be sucked into the madness.
Good luck

Rubies12345 Tue 11-Oct-16 04:55:30

Sounds like there are mental health problems involved. Maybe your husband is worried she'll hurt herself.

missm0use Tue 11-Oct-16 05:41:04

You need to respond to your MIL in the same forum as she did. A lack of response on FB would look like you condone her behaviour.

Personally I'd be uninviting her from any of your family events from now on.

AGapInTheMarket Tue 11-Oct-16 05:56:47

My DH was raised in a family dealing with a narcissistic mother exactly as you describe. The knock-on effects are clearly visible in her children and grandchildren: anxiety and depression, OCD and emotional abuse, that social manipulation you describe. Her traits will (have?) become learned behaviours for your husband and children and you need to remove them from her sphere of influence. Have you considered emigrating?? (Only half-joking...)
Seriously, my DH's family is a seething mass of dysfunction with poisonous granny at the core, don't think that it's not going to have a deep and lasting effect on your family. Good luck.

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