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Help us live with Narcissism

Kalling
Community Member
Our son's new family is dominated by a narcissistic mother. He's been married for 2 years now and has not realized her behavior is narcissistic. He is slowly being isolated from all of his family not only his parents but his brothers and their family. We know she will be part of our family for a long time so we need to learn to live with her behavior and learn how to come become part of his life again before it's too late. There's been no arguments and we are hoping there won't be any but some of us are beginning to feel depression set in because of the isolation. Please help us live with this and not fight it because we know that will only lead to total isolation, there is a baby on the way and our hearts are breaking please help us, we don't want to cause trouble for him.
8 Replies 8

pipsy
Community Member

Hi Kalling. Welcome to the forums. If you are aware of narcissism, you will no doubt be aware there is no easy way of dealing with it. Narcissism like any other personality disorder is difficult because, unless the person with the disorder admits to having it, you are facing a constant uphill battle. With your sons MIL, are you aware of the different personality traits of the narc? There is an article on the forums pertaining to the different personality traits. Once you find which trait fits your sons MIL, it may help dealing with her. I think, from memory, there is witch, queen, king, hermit, waif. All five display different traits. I would therefore suggest you try to find which trait best describes her. You say your son hasn't realized his MIL has this disorder. I would suggest once you know which trait best describes her, tell your son. You know your son, therefore you will know when and how to tell him. Let him know you're there for him. I wonder if his wife is aware of her mothers' personality. Because she's grown up with it, she may be either in denial, or just so used to it, it doesn't bother her.

Best of luck.

Lynda.

Kalling
Community Member
Hi Lynda thanks for replying, I seem to have placed two posts at different times on this forum. I thought the first one didn't get through, so I have set this to you as well. I will certainly look up what traits there are and appreciate you helping. We are finding it difficult to approach with our son. He loves his wife so much and we don't want to cause any trouble as he is very happy and they are going to have a baby in July. When we are together as one big family the mother in law and the children (all adults)including my sons wife will never stay in the same room as us, they almost don't talk at all to our family. Whenever their mother is in the room her whole family gather around her like children and stay there until she leaves, she lives 10 minutes away from them all. They will literally get up and leave the room we are in, to huddle around her then no have any conversation with any of our family anymore, it's bizzare. Our son has started to join them in their huddle and he has never been like this always been inclusive. It's a real huddle too, the children surround her so if there is no chairs they sit on the floor with their backs to us (I know this is hard to believe) and she is generally the topic of conversation. We are at a loss on how to handle a situation like this.

pipsy
Community Member

Hi Kalling. Your sons MIL sounds as though she has the queen narcissist tendency. If you manage to find the thread concerning the various traits I think you'll find MIL definitely has the queen trait. There are ways to deal with this, but narc's don't appreciate being challenged. They are very clever at making it look as though they're not doing anything wrong, and all they show to the public is what appears to be a genuine love for family. Perhaps you could try to get a Dr's appointment and ask him/her about seeing a specialist for guidelines on this trait. You're in an extremely delicate position here. As you say, a baby is on the way. MIL may try to 'take over' raising baby as she may display a 'know it all' tendency where baby is concerned. By the way, I do believe what you say about the family gathered round her, she will be in her element with this type of attention. The more info you can get on this disorder, the more ammunition you will have. MIL may try to isolate your son more than she has already. Sometimes distance is the best, although with your son in the middle, I realize this is not an option.

Lynda.

Kalling
Community Member
Lynda I really appreciate you talking with me. I did read up a little on the trait as you advised and I agree it certainly seems like the queen trait. Are there specialists who know how to live in situations like this? I'm so glad you believe me about their huddling together, we are all starting to feel so uncomfortable visiting, including my other sons and their wives, as the MIL only 10 minutes away and they are often at my son and his wifes home. I haven't been for the last two times my husband went but then realized this is what the MIL wants to happen and I am not going to let it happen but I don't want to cause a scene and I don't know how to handle it.

pipsy
Community Member

Hi Kalling. There are specialists who know how to cope with this disorder. Your best bet would be to make an appointment with your Dr, tell him about the MIL situation, advise him she appears to have narcissist qualities. Ask your Dr to refer you to a specialist in this field. Dr's do have a basic knowledge re: narc, but their knowledge is quite limited as it is a mental health disorder. You need to talk to a specialist in this field. Once you see the specialist, you can then be specific as to her particular trait. Your Dr may ask, if he does, show him if possible the traits she has displayed. It's good you recognize you need expert guidance dealing with her. Because she may never admit to this trait, you have to tread carefully. Because her family will protect her, (they probably just accept her), you will have to have as much info as possible. In the meantime, can you possibly see son and DIL without her there? Maybe tell your son that seeing the whole family together is a bit overpowering. How often is she there?

Lynda.

Kalling
Community Member
Lynda it seems so complicated my DIL is so protective of her mother already that I fear if my son mentions anything to the DIL that she may decide not to see us too which of course will mean we won't get to se the baby. Would confrontation, for example "have I done something to offend you" be the wrong thing to do? I'm so afraid that we may do/say something that will keep us from seeing the baby. My son will have to tell the DIL that we would like to visit when their family is not around, his wife idolizes and is very protective of the mother, who can do no wrong in the DIL eyes.

pipsy
Community Member

Hi Kalling. You could try asking if there's some way you've offended. Again, though, you would have to be extremely careful not to get angry/hurt by DIL's reaction. As you said, DIL idolizes mum and won't hear a word against her. Perhaps you could say that you're concerned about hurting MIL's feelings, therefore would it be possible to see son alone. With narc's they often turn the tables so that a seemingly innocent remark from someone can be blown out of proportion. Telling son you're a bit worried about saying the wrong thing, therefore seeing them alone would eliminate that fear. That way, you're not lying, just not being completely 100% truthful. I would perhaps consider saying something offhandedly like, I have a bad foot and mouth problem. I keep opening my mouth to change feet. Don't wish to offend MIL, therefore it may be better if we limit our visits to when it's just son & DIL and us. That way you're acknowledging YOU have the problem, and you're not creating a situation. You know you don't have the problem, but sometimes we have to say we do to avoid further complications. I wouldn't say anything at all re: MIL, if she is mentioned, just say something like hope all is well at home, to your DIL.

Lynda.

pipsy
Community Member

Hi there, Kalling. Another way round this problem. You could always tell your son you find it a bit much when everybody is there together. Tell him you're more comfortable when it's just you, hubby, him and DIL. I know with my ex, he's one of 6 (not that all the kids are here). I found it hard to cope when we were with his parents, sister, various nieces etc. If MIL arrives while you're there, you could always wait half an hour, then politely say you have to get moving. That way, you still avoid confrontation, plus no-one gets insulted when you leave. Hope you get something out of the two scenarios I've given you.

Lynda.