Borderline/Narcisstic Daughter in Law
I have a borderline/narcisstic daughter in law. She has a "cult ike" hold on my son, who was not raised anything like her. She is using our two beautiful young grandchildren as hostage and will not allow me to see them. She has agreed that my husband can but not myself. I have done everything for her for five years, trying so hard to make her feel as though she were a part of our family, as her parents are both dead and her older brother and sister will have nothing to do with her (I really want to talk to her sister but am holding back as she will no doubt take it out on my son and give him more grief that he already has) but I have no history of this girl or why she is the way she is and why her sister and brother completely wrote her out of their lives. She has told me it was all about money but I find that hard to believe as her sister and brother both do quite well for themselves.
We baby-sat at her beck and call - did overnights each month so she and my son could go out of town - have had so much fn with our two grandchildren, ages five and three. We wonder what they must think - they saw us all of the time and now we haven''t seen them since before Easter. My developmentally disabled son still goes there a few days a week - he adores her and she is very good with him but I don''t think it''s fair that we allow him to go there but they will not allow our grandchildren to come to our house. This is causing much stress. As a matter of fact, she has caused more stress in the last five years of our marriage than we ever had in 39 years. What is the venue for me to take.
- Put her on a pedestal like she wants and kiss her butt. Feed her ego and she'll come back for more. You'll sort of have to bite your tongue and do some real acting. Don't over do it, just be nice. Like they say to men when they first start dating "shower her with compliments and gifts". Of course that's not right, but it will work.
- Talk to your son and tell him to grow a set of balls. You like to see your grandchildren and him also. Tell him he is always welcome to come over any time. Don't insult his wife, and if he does come over treat her well so that she won't tell him that she hates going to your house.
- Talk to her. Tell her you miss her and the kids (notice I said her too). Invite them over for a BBQ or something. Ask her if she is busy or if you did something to make her angry and apologize if you did.
- Are you not welcome at their house? Why not call them and drop by.
So the common threads in all solutions are
2) Don't treat your daughter-in-law poorly
As a mother-in-law you might be a little harsh on your daughter-in-law and she probably doesn't want to deal with it. You might not pay attention to her like you used to or your tone of voice or the way you talk to her is condescending. You will attract more flies with sugar than vinegar. Maybe you should seek counseling to learn how you can help him.
If you think your son is genuinely unhappy in his marriage and is being bullied, blackmailed and abused by her then you need to be supportive. Maybe you can pay for some counseling so that he can stop being an enabler and take control of his life.
I find your suggestions very hard to take. Mentally ill or not, everyone at some point must come to the understanding that actions create consequences. By supporting the BPD in her delusions, the problem is simply maintained. I do understand that the BPD is suffering, but so is the spouse and so are other members of his and her family. Whose suffering is greater? It seems you are blaming the victims of the BPD and making them responsible for her behaviour, and this is simply unfair. The onus rests on the BPD to get the help that is out there although it may be difficult to find. She must get help or lose again and again that which she is so desperately seeking. Simply put, if a person doesn't get what he or she needs by behaving one way, he or she must seek another way to behave. My BPD daughter-in-law is soon to be my ex daughter-in-law, she has had her children from a previous marriage removed from her home, and her previous ex husband and my son along with her parents and siblings have communicated and have found that when they presented a united front, she could not stand up to them, cruel and manipulative as she has been. I have never been concerned about her maligning me because I am unconcerned that anyone would believe her criticisms. My friends know me well, and the more she criticizes me, the more she makes herself seem unstable. My suggestion is to hold fast to your boundaries, maintain your dignity, and do what you know is right, regardless of the BPD's behaviour. My son knows we support him and he also has a multitude of supportive and wise friends who understand the situation. I wish Begoniaruby much courage in her struggle with her BPD. Don't give in and don't give up.
I also have a narcissistic/bpd daughter in law. and my situation is very similar to yours. The emotional and mental abuse used on their children and my son has been
extremely painful to witness.
"Tell the abused to grow a set of balls", what the heck is that ? My son't first priority is the safety of his children. Confronting only results in the victim's punishment, which most of the time is by abusing those he loves most, namely the CHILDREN !
So am I to understand that standing by and allowing his children to be punished, which is HIS punishment for confronting her, is acceptable ?
You obviously have not had any experience with this type of personality disorder...
When my son finally decided to seek a divorce, she simply filed false charges against him. Which by the way held up in court with no witnesses, no evidence other than her statements.
The negligence of the children, one an infant the other 7yrs old, was so bad while my son was at work
that I was going to press charges against her to protect my grand children. The court of course, as is now quite prevalent in family court, sided with the abusive mother.
As a consequence of this negligence, one of my grand daughters was in the ICU for a week with an e coli infection.
Like you, I am not allowed to see my grandchildren, endure an ongoing smear campaign by my daughter in law.
Like you, I considered contacting her family whom she has burned all her bridges with, but haven't as yet knowing that they will simply have similar stories to my own. To what end would that serve ?
However I did contact her counselor and requested that she do what she could to protect the children. This, which I am now reading about online is the norm, resulted in the counsellor further enabling my daughter in law to even more reckless abuse but this time, with the consent and support of her counsellor.
The counsellor reported to the court that my son was unstable, this as my daughter in laws request. The so called documentation for this finding was in the report I was submitting to the authorities, but the only point that was used, was that my son was under a great deal of mental and emotional stress. Taken out of context of course, as that particular statement was in regard to the abuse of his children by his wife.
The legal expense has been exorbitant, the legal representation for my son has been fair to poor, and the judges in the family court system, at least in MA, have been blatantly biased toward the mothers, putting God only knows how many children at risk.
My latest strategy has been to step back from all of this, knowing full well that the now and then opportunity to see my grandchildren will be taken away once I do not "feed" the vampire.
Even, stepping away did not work, as she found some way to demonize me anyways. At this point my son has left her again, and I acknowlege the effort this took him to leave his children with her. True to form, she has been on a smear campaign against him, contacting his friends, his family, his doctor, his counsellor, with the "qualification" that she is only concerned about his welfare.
Unfortunately, personality disorders such as this have no real treatment, unlike other mental disorders. Counselling would help if the patient were honest, but I think you will find by researching the subject that is nearly impossible as these PD's main filter is their justification for their behavior using manipulation and being extremely controlling.
I recognize that this is an illness, I am not judgemental about it, it is simply a fact that my family has to live with. I have appologized to my son for creating the "weapon" that was used against him, taking full responsibility for the repurcussions.
Like you begoniaruby, I did all in my power to be supportive of her, include her in the family, and taking care of the children whenever it was needed.
I never criticized, I didn't interfere, I was well aware that this woman was in dire need of acceptance and love.
Unfortunately none of this made any difference whatsoever. The only way to appease someone like this is to condone and enable them to abuse those she has power over, namely their children.
I could site many many situations that bear out what I am communicating, such as the report I prepared for the DCYF, however, at this point, I am sure that you are as familiar with similar circumstances as you are with the back of you hand.
In this situation the hardest thing for the father to do is to leave, knowing full well what his children will be subject to without his presence and protection.
And with full knowledge that the "politically correct" position of the family court will likely remove any rights he has to his children.
Your family and mine are not experiencing an isolated circumstance, it is fairly common and unfortunate child of political correctness.
I wish you strength, I wish you courage to face the horrors you are witnessing.
I am a feminist, have supported myself throughout my whole life in a male dominated profession. I give no sway to the tactics being used against men across this continent and possibly throughout western civilzation.
The enabling of mentally ill and abusive wivs and mothers by the court system under the guise of women's rights, came as quite a shock. There is very very little coverage of this issue which now is occuring to countless families, and aweness seems only to occur when you are undergoing this heinous experience yourself.
I have been living a nightmare with my daughter in law for 13 years. We have 4 grandchildren. Our son is an only child and is highly educated Double Masters and a Doctorate in Special Education. He was the highlight of everyone's life until he met her. Her parents have cut her off and her 2 siblings as well. We have stood by our son and his children. We don't make waves. We have given thousands of dollars and many, tearful nights. We recently had dinner with her parents to discuss her. She found out and is appalled. She feels betrayed and wants apologies from everyone as we have victimized her. She wants to meet for this. We don't know what to do. We will not apologize. This was all done for her good to help, this was not a gossip session. These were 4 parents reassuring each other that we are not crazy. My son is getting tired. She beats him down emotionally. She doesn't hit the children and they are well cared for, except she talks bad about my husband, me and our son. She told the oldest ( that daddy and grandpa were Judas, calls him "Bad Daddy", etc. She said I was manipulative and toxic! Honestly, if you ever met my son, you would love him. He is a pillar in the community where he works (which she also threatens to ruin). Not sure what to do (
Thank you for listening. (from Illinois)
Sorry, Dave the Slave, but your suggestions don't work with a BPD / Narcissist ; they actually feed the problem. I say this as a therapist and as a mother-in- law of a woman who has " morphed" my son into someone I hardly know ! I am told I have "entitlement" issues when I ask to be there to celebrate my grandchildrens' birthdays or even just to spend a little time with them . The personality-disordered person actually loves playing both ends against the middle, i.e., if you are friendly and caring, they will appear to be friendly or responsive in return, by telling you about all the great things they are doing in their life, while making sure that you are never allowed to be a part of it . Then they spread their venom , twisting your words and actions as " inappropriate, intrusive, not respecting boundaries. " to your adult child ( their mate ) "Just drop by " ? - are you kidding? That will keep you exiled for months afterwards .!!!
OMG, marlyk- you are so right. We have a daughter in law married to our eldest son for 13 years who is just like this... and a therapist herself! We have spent the past 18 years trying to make her feel loved and accepted. Most of the time, we have had complaints and abuse hurled our way. Our son maintains a relationship with us but he has to make her happy. She has a very unhappy history behind her, having been molested and brainwashed by her father for a prolonged period. Our hearts have always gone out to her for the suffering we know she must have endured. But now she uses our grandchildren as pawns in this sick chess game. We are lucky in that she allows us to see them once every few weeks. They pick up on the intense love we feel for them, and appear to love us too, but I can't imagine that they don't wonder why they can't see us more often. There is a constant stream of abuse coming our way from her that is very hard to take.
We would never dream of calling and stopping by... we would be banned from their life forever.
Sadly you're wasting your time, the narcissist daughter in law’s only aim is to destroy the bond between mother and son, (it’s always the son that has had a very close relationship with his mum) she will side with the father in law purely to hurt the mother even more, the truth is she doesn't like him any better. She will poison your son and grandchildren’s mind against you.
The best result is to let them go! You will loose either way……
BUT when you are no longer involved in their life your daughter in law WILL then turn on your SON, he will be the target.
The only thing a loving parent can do is to be there when your son has had enough!
Before my son married his narcissistic girlfriend I tried to bring this issue to his attention. That she was manipulative, putting him down and rolling her eyes at him behind his back...to get him to re-evaluate their relationship. It was pointless. He was star struck in love real bad and became defensive and totally in denial. In fact I think he felt so controlled by her that he may even have told her about that conversation. Her parents were afraid she would never find anyone so told her that my son was a keeper, she shouldn't do anything that would end their relationship. They already knew how she is.
They've been married for almost 10 years and he's still playing the mouse - just agrees and does her bidding. She only makes mistakes if she agrees that she did - all else is justified. As well everyone else is "doing something to her" if she feels slighted even if nothing has been about her.
The only way we have had meaningful conversations about anything more than the weather is by giving general ideas about similar situations that are not connected to us, hoping that somewhere in there she will make a personal connection that will give way to change.
If trying to address issues head on there is always denial by both my son and his wife. He watches her to know how to respond. It totally breaks my heart.
On occasion I have cried when I've seen how she treated my grandchildren and she'll ask "why are you crying, its all good." I do what I can to keep the peace in order to keep seeing my grandchildren and my son. I try not to react emotionally to anything she says or does. Its not that I don't care about her, but having grown up with a narcissistic father, I've learned its safer for all involved to not give a person with narcissism more drama than they can already make on their own. My DIL has told me, "if he ever leaves me, I'll make his life hell." My response was, "why would you do that to your children?" She had nothing to say to that but I don't doubt for a second that she would.
I have tried to inform my son about narcissistic behavior, but it is impossible for me to communicate with my son without his narcissistic wife knowing everything. She is controlling to the extreme! He must have shared the info with her and now both he and she are angry with me. But they have both shut me out of their lives anyway, so it doesn't change much. I figured I didn't have anything to lose, so I took chance and hoped my son would have a "light bulb" moment to see what she is doing to him. My son is a shell of his former self. He was trusting, kind,and compassionate. Now he is filled with fear and hate like her.
I would like to exchange emails or chat with anyone who is in a situation like mine. I have always been very close with my son, but he no longer speaks to me. I can't begin to explain how it got to this point. I have always kept my mouth shut around his girlfriend,even though I found her abrasive, self-absorbed,uncaring, and controlling. Now they have a baby, and that baby is a way to control us as grandparents. Not allowed to kiss the baby, no touching..we were just tolerated for brief visits....and now we don't even see the baby anymore. It is heartbreaking and sad. We have tried to talk to our son, but he always has new reasons why we cannot move forward. I am thinking that she does not want us in their lives, as he has suddenly decided that his childhood was not that great. It is mind-blowing, as he has always been the center of our universe.