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My MIL has some definite narcissistic tendencies. She’s ol

My MIL has some definite narcissistic tendencies. She’s older (60) and in not the best health, so much more of a collapsed narcissist.

A few of her behaviours really confuse me however and I just cannot make sense of them and they make me question myself

She seems to see her daughter (my partner) as an extension of herself and also infantilizes her. This I understand is normal narcissistic behaviour. What I don’t get is that my MIL sees me as not only a constant threat to her and her daughters relationship (which is unfounded)... but also interprets almost ANYTHING I do as being vindictively motivated towards her daughter/my partner in some way.

Just as an example, when I went away for a weekend so see my grandmother who was in ill health, my MIL choose to interpret this as me making an excuse to “abandon” her daughter/my partner to “do everything around the house for me”. If I go anywhere for work it’s the same thing. If my partner and I both cook/clean together as we always do and my MIL sees it because she’s visiting, I am again forcing my partner to essentially do my bidding... even though it’s our house and cooking meals together is something that a) is a shared responsibility and b) we both enjoy. She’s accused me of being cruel, uncaring, manipulative etc.

Is this normal behaviour for a narcissist? I just find it odd as it’s so often centred around my treatment of my partner not my MIL herself. Though my MIL by extension.

My MIL also makes a point of asking me when I’ve made it home okay for any kind of work reason. Or checking on my families health. I try to just give vague answers. On the surface it appears it’s out of a place of concern or caring but she always twists these things and it is anything but. Sometimes it just seems like she wants to appear to care so that if I don’t do everything she expects me to do for her (and she expects to be weighted on hand and foot) then she gets to point out how she was nice in circumstances x, y, and z to me but I’ve failed to return the favour. She’ll insist on paying for expensive meals if my partner and I go out with her (we’ll offer to pay but she outright refuses) but seemingly only to get offended when my parents may not spend as lavishly if we go out with them. I’ve even heard her remark to my partner that “you had better not pay for your meal out with her parents because I spent a lot of money on her (me)”. She sees any time spent with my family as a slight against her. Even though we try to even out visits.

It’s all just so bizarre and exhausting to me and I used to try to always be on her good side but it’s impossible. I’ve ever gone so far as helping my partner clean my MILs house and do repairs her mom cannot do. She’s diabetic so I plan meals that are healthy for her when she visits and cook them. But still she seems to see me as evil.

I guess I’m rambling but can anyone relate? Is it narcissism? Is it something else?

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Nov 15

Definitely a tough position to be in. You made a very telling statement at the beginning about MIL seeing her daughter as an extension of herself. So it is not surprising that MIL sees you as a threat who has come between herself and her daughter. Does your partner see her mom's behavior toward you as negative? And how does your partner handle all of these comments that her mom is making about you? Does she defend you? Does she articulate the good you bring to her life? If your partner is not taking an active role in this, MIL will likely always feel entitled to be fully narcissistic toward you.


My partner does defend me, yes. She realizes her mom’s behaviour is both irrational and wrong and will take my side. However, my partner also lost her father very traumatically in her teens and has no siblings. Her mom is in many ways her only family. My MIL also treats my partner poorly at times; though more often it is directed at me. My partner does take responsibility for almost all communication with my MIL at the stage. I choose to only make small talk with her

It’s tough because I know my partner has even expressed at times that she doesn’t really want her mom in her life, but simultaneously doesn’t want to lose her only family and also feels responsible to care for her as she lives alone. It’s tough for both of us. We do try to support each other and be on the same team in dealing with her.

Nov 18

@Counter_clockwise easy to understand why your partner feels this way if mom is her only family. Has partner and/or mom ever considered counseling to improve their relationship. Would partner ever suggest to mom that mom needs to get some counseling help?


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