Narcissistic Mother-in-Law Breaks Up Marriages

There are countless victims of psychological abuse perpetrated by the narcissistic mother-in-law. She is the controlling matriarch. One classic situation is the triangulation of the narcissistic mother, her son and his wife. In the beginning she pretends to care deeply about the new member of the family. The NMIL praises her son’s choice of a partner and skillfully pretends that she wants the marriage go to be successful. But this can never be the case with a narcissist in any family role.

The narcissistic matriarch spreads lies about her daughter-in-law, beginning with subtle digs and innuendos about her character and family background. These lies are dropped like pedals on a lawn–meant to be barely noticed. In secret she goes to her son and slowly and skillfully drops poisonous bits of gossip about his wife. She puts doubts in his mind about her. At the same time the narcissistic mother is intimating that his ultimate loyalty belongs with her where it has always been. The wife becomes slowly aware that she is not welcome in this family. She feels a coldness and is ostracized by the narcissistic mother’s inner family circle. She turns to her husband who feels conflicted between loyalty to his mother and love and duty to his wife.

After years of hurt feelings, attempts at bending to the will of this impossible woman, being on the receiving end of insults and false accusations, the daughter-in-law is forced to make a fateful decision. She can stay in the painful triangle, make further attempts to break her husband’s pathological attachment to his mother or she will leave the marriage. These are difficult choices, especially if there is a strong pathological fusion between mother and son. These ties that bind are made of steel and cannot be unraveled.

There are successful outcomes that involve the wife freeing herself by separating and divorcing her spouse. This is a difficult path but can be accomplished, especially if you have the best support system around you. Not only that, but looking for reputable local divorce lawyers in your area who can help you to navigate the hardships of divorce is something that should be considered when it comes to leaving your marriage. It is better to be true to yourself than to struggle under the yoke of a woman who is out to destroy your individuality and peace of mind.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

38 thoughts on “Narcissistic Mother-in-Law Breaks Up Marriages”

  1. Comment:From:Evelyn
    Hi Linda.
    Thank you for this great blog. This was so similar to the situation i was in with my own mother. She tried to destoy my marriage acting like she accepted it in the beginning and then working away in the background trying to destroy the love i felt for my husband. She constantly tried to turn me against him and his family (always in subtle ways cloaked in the pretence of “caring for me”) all the time pretending in only the way a nacissist can that she liked them. She tried to also destroy the good relationship i had with his daughter. My mother broke me down almost to the point of no return and i nearly lost everything my husband, my home, his daughter, her kids and she nearly destroyed my spirit completely. This is such a hard thing for me to write – the tears i have cried and my sadness at discovering she is narcissistic. I have been no contact for 3 years now and the feeling of freedom and joy is amazing. I am finally free to make my own decisions, wear the clothes i choose (instead of her always having her say in what i wear and she even made fun of the way i spoke). Her quest for total control of me was ridiculous. Thank you Linda for all your blogs.

  2. I am in pain. I have so much anxiety and I am really so hurt by these soulless creatures and my now ex . so much that I feel what they have done to me and my children (my poor innocent babies) is just to much for me to bare anymore. I have picked up the mess and started over so many times I cant count and I just cant help but love my husband even now. how can his mother be so heartless and for nothing. absolutely nothing. I have lost my home kids money job savings and my fight. im so crushed. I take that back those things that I no longer have were litrally stolen behind my back and for no reason. I cant even begin to tell the details of this hell ive been locked in for to long ! ten years. only the last 2 and a half I knew about though. I had no idea there was a war against me . omg help

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  4. This has happened to me. Somehow in ten years, even though all I wanted was loving in-laws, my MIL has managed to turn the ENTIRE family against me to the point where me and my children are not invited to Christmas dinner because “I” will cause trouble, even though I haven’t done anything wrong!! But blood is thicker than water, even if they are wrong, they all stick together. In the beginning, in front of everyone, she made out she was so nice, then she would make nasty comments when no one else was around. It was so casual and out of the blue that I would be speechless – and think ‘ did she really just say that??’ Then she started her campaign to turn all my other in laws against me, the problem is I can’t fight back because I don’t even know what is being said. I find it difficult to understand how anyone can be so needlessly destructive to be honest. It has caused me so much pain over the years, and my children are punished as a result. I have no family and they are the only family my children know.

  5. Also happens to males.
    Could have stuck with the neutral, you or partner or multitude of other non-gender bias terms.

    On that note, I am a guy who is suffering from the NMIL. And there is no one to help, because basically everyone is sexist. Yes, I am a little jaded right now. 10 years of my life down the tubes. I still love my other half very deeply, but I am on the verge of basically homelessness – because everyone thinks she deserves everything. Actually, more precisely – the NMiL got everything.
    My other half moved in with NMiL a few months ago and took everything. When she moves out, she assumes her mother will keep it all. So everything I worked for, including our love and my life – is now property of the NMiL. After all it was I that failed. While I might have failed in many aspects, it was the NMiL that caused the fall out. (my other half still loves me, but she can’t deal with the social problems arising from all this. Since everyone hates me now, it’s also difficult for her.)
    I am not welcome at their family Christmas, because I give too good of gifts. Apparently I made people uncomfortable – this is about the level I am being judged on. Everything I do is somehow bad, no matter how nice or well intended. I did everything I could to fit in, and worked very hard to make them like me. The NMiL is so pervasive, I don’t even have friends anymore. I am literally alone now, with no one to help. Only wish I was a woman(no I don’t, just a little irritated that there is no help for men).

    It’s really sad, Maine was the only state with a helpline for males. That helpline has been shut down for 6+ months due to lack of funding. Good stuff that. It might be nice to just have someone to talk to. I can’t even get that.

  6. I can’t agree more with thus helpful statement making sure I am not crazy. I got married 2 months ago and am the only child. My mother is trying to break me and my wife apart and Thank God me and my wife have been threw so much in our lives already with this kind of abuse we realize what is going on. I am 29 years old and a veteran and will have to completely cut my mom out of my life because I just realized I have dealt with someone my whole life who actually has a mental problem. She has told me soo many things that are wrong. If anyone reads this see help as we are from a Phychologist not because we have problems but problems with my mother who thinks she’s always right no matter what. It’s not fair but that life and things you have to deal with in life make you stronger. Thank you for writing this online I feel so much better. Good luck everyone.

  7. I am with you. My in-laws robbed me too and robbed is how I also describe stealing the intimacy, peaceful, safe, happy marriage and family. Personally I wish their could be lawsuits against people who do that. I should’ve seen the warning signs when we dated jealously on mil and sil. Well I did, but underestimate my husband lack of manhood/strength and maturity. I underestimated how they could manipulate and coercively do long distance. We have been married 21 yrs and it’s been a hellish nightmare thanks to them and my immature husband. Stress anxiety over what I couldn’t stop but had to watch them destroy our marriage and our kids lives but I was helpless to stop it. I miscarried a baby over their crap. Putting my foot down on contact with them didn’t help. oh it protected me a little but he resented it which I knew he was and talked to him about that I knew and he should be the one but he refused to do his job and put up healthy boundaries. He should have been on protecting me, marriage and kids not me and without being told. It was the commitment he made with marriage vows. They finally severed us 5 yrs ago when I tried 1 final attempt to talk to my husband to protect us and care I was being abused. He is weak minded and easily influenced. Counselor said he has approval addiction and displaced loyalties. Sick if they only cared what they caused in their sons life and grandchildren. That isn’t love of a child to destroy their marriage and family. But never their fault always the one who doesn’t like treatment (gaslighting). It’s abuse on their part and husband’s part for allowing. Our husband’s sent the sick message it’s OK to treat us and our marriage like that and ultimately put our lives and kids lives in jeapordy. Husband’s are unfaithful to their marriage vows by not honoring and protecting wife marriage and kids as well as leaving and cleaving which means, loyality to wife marriage and kids #1 priority. It’s coercive abuse and destruction and you are probably dealing with narcissistic, passive aggressive people too. Love isn’t self serving and selfish if they loved their son and grandkids they would encourage and help it become a close good marriage. Even if you aren’t a Christian try reading all the Psalms in the Bible it can help comfort you it did me. Shows how God hates plotting and schemes. God is a just judge and they will one day stand and have to pay for tearing a marriage and family asunder instead of being loving and helping it thrive. Look up sermons on marriage and family they will comfort you as well..they have been quite helpful to me. I recommend Adrian Rodgers, Greg Laurie, Jack Graham and David McGee. Some songs that help get me through are from Josh Wilson..Before the morning and Carry me. As well as Steven Curtis Chapmans Take Another Step, Glorious Unfolding and Something Beautiful. Only ways I literally feel like I can breathe somedays. Strange how songs can help but they speak to these issues u and I are facing. Hope so much that it lifts up your heart even a little too.

  8. For me this is very true, only it is my mother who is trying to turn me against my husband as it is my mother who is the narcisist. I am fully aware of what she is doing so the way for me to cope is to a) switch off when she starts and b) make it laughable. I can see right through her but couldn’t at the beginning, that is until she hit me again, then alarm bells went off loud and clear.
    I am struggling to deal with her, it is hard as she is so evil and vindictive, my husband is the best thing in the world and we are so happy but she will not stop going on about him trying to control me, which he doesn’t. She is the one who has lost of control of me and hates it hence slatting him for being “controlling”. The problem is, my husband is having a really hard time of it all and I end up battling him at times. I have told him what she is like, although he saw it first, and that I am quite simply terrified of her, no 2 ways about it.
    I hope our marraige survives, I will certainly do all I can to make it work, just not sure if he will be able to handle it all, but if I lost him, my whole world would disappear because he simply is the most wonderful thing to have ever happened to me.

  9. Puerto Rican mother in law ruined my life. Old battle ax deserted two husbands and ruined my marriage too. Her adult daughter threw away her marriage for her family just like the mother in law did. It’s generational in Latin cultures, women can’t keep their men. They just use men to get children, once the children come, the man is kicked to the curb.

  10. I am going through a separation right now, most likely headed for divorce. A major reason for the demise of the marriage was his mother. His mother was what I call the ‘head honcho’, pulling all the strings, controlling her husband, and directing her children’s lives. Mind you, all three of her children are over 30. She treated them like they were 3.She seemed very nice at first, but I quickly began to see her behavior. Very controlling, very domineering. She had to be involved and in charge of everything. Her behavior began to get progressively get worse and I started feeling suffocated, like there was another woman in my marriage. Her behavior soon became disrespectful. There were no boundaries when it came to her. I tried to bring up my concerns with my husband, but he wouldn’t hear it. He always took the side of mommy. In the end, I was the evil wife for not accepting his mother’s behavior. She, on the other hand, got her son back. This is what she desperately wanted.
    Women, when you’re dating a man, take a close look at his mother. If the guy you’re dating has a controlling mother who won’t let go, please RUN. Don’t even try, especially if he’s not willing to set the proper boundaries. It is a nightmare that no woman should go through.
    Shame on the mothers who do this, and shame on the men who put up with this.

  11. Hi! This is so very similar to my situation.It took me 7 years to finaly wrap myhead around the is her and not me.The most hurtful part is her ability to brainwash my husband.She is so skilled at maniuplating him that, it is almost like she possess him.I know all is abusive behaviour are the rsult of the paranoid thoughts planted in him by that ugly witch.We have 2 children, should I leave?


  12. I wish I saw it coming. The woman decided when we got engaged and when we got divorced. Everything was my fault. She got DCF involved and the past four years of mine and my child’s life have been hell. She lies, she’s passive aggressive with my child and thinks she’s won. She has not won over the one thing she wanted, my child. My ex is unrecognizable, and treats me like I’m too disgusting for words. My life is blown apart my daughter hates her and my ex could care less. KV is evil. All to fill up her emptiness. I wish I could sue her too,

    She’s no mother

    And she can never take my child.

    I’ll get her. With the truth. May God forgive her.

  13. I was married for 25 years. My mother in law controlled most of that marriage. The stress was unbearable because of her & the way she manipulated her son to believe I was the monster in my own marriage “not doing my duties” & she was “only helping”, while viciously verbally harassing me at every chance she got, especially behind her son’s back. My husband didn’t believe how horrible she was, often defended her & forced me to see her when I didn’t want to be around her, like stopping by while we were out doing errands because she needed something done at her house. She appeared wonderful to people who didn’t know how mean she was. A perfect person in society. She didn’t mistreat everyone. However, she didn’t allow us to have a family separate from the one she raised. She had to be the boss of everyone, including my own children, putting me down to them & deciding what was best for them. Things got so bad that I separated from her son, moved 3 hours away, & filed for divorce. In my case, moving away made her son deal with her without me being around to attack. It also made him see what he was losing on account of his mother’s constant interference in our lives. He ended up seeing her true colours where he was once so blinded by his loyalties, & didn’t like what he saw. I then dropped the divorce but am still remaining separated & living apart. Things need to change before I head home again, if I see changes at all, which I have a least seen my husband get counselling help & after 25 years, try & shut his mother down when she speaks badly of me or wants to interfere. It’s hard being a single mom for now buts it better than dealing with a woman who’s nose is always in my life & who wants to destroy me & my family. His mother, who wanted me gone to begin with, is now wondering why I stopped the divorce. I have a strong feeling she will no longer be able to hide what she has done to my family if am to return home. I have gotten stronger from being farther away when I was once at my wits end wondering when the hell from her would ever end, & although I miss home, I know better how to handle her & my husband being her target to destroy me. She will now have to earn our respect, not be given it automatically. Hopefully, she will shut her mouth now if she wants to see her grandchildren or even her own son. At 72 years old, I don’t expect her to change much but she won’t win the war she started with me so many years ago. She thought a divorce made her come close to winning the war, & may’ve gotten her victory, but when I walked away, I learned to get out of the same cycle with her, to change my strategy & realize I can win this war. A war I never wanted to begin with. All I wanted was a mother in law who accepted me. I didn’t think that was too much to ask for when I married her son.

  14. I think that men who are enmeshed with their mothers like to abdicate
    responsibility for their actions. It’s easier to let the wife take the heat from
    their narcissistic mothers instead of standing up to them. Enmeshing mothers
    also know the right amounts of intimidation and love bombing, they get that ratio
    just right. If your husband is addicted to flattery and avoiding confrontation you’ve
    got a recipe for total marriage misery.

  15. I am in a similar (of sorts) situation. I’m not married but girlfriend’s mother is causing me to seriously consider everything.

    I separated from my partner of 10 1/2 years last summer and started another relationship some months later. Initially this was exactly what I wanted and needed so we moved in together, although I had been told by my girlfriend that her family were “different”. We met a few times before moving and everything was fine. Her whole family are nice enough people but her mother is now a complete nightmare! She is a patronising, lying, rude, hypocritical, snobbish, lazy, horror show of a person. She has actually said that I had taken “the easy way out” by sending my daughter to nursery while she stayed at home and raised both her children. She can’t see that her daughter was dying to move out and her son barricades himself in his bedroom, suffering from depression. The main thing that drives me crazy is that EVERYTHING is turned into a competition. She’s been there first, done it better, constantly talking about wealth and status. It’s absolutely exhausting to be around, feeling like I’m walking on eggshells constantly and I’m made to feel that I’m an idiot and not good enough.

    I have had confidence and anxiety issues in the past and I had decided around 18 months ago that toxic people are not welcome in my life. While there is no doubt that this “woman” isn’t even remotely welcome in my life, my dilemma is my girlfriend. I can see some of her mother’s traits coming out in her and I do not want to waste my life with someone who will eventually turn into their mother and hate.

    I’m having to spend Christmas with these people and I’m dreading it. The way I feel just now is if her mother says one thing that gets to me (especially about her daughter’s recent promotion, who will now earn more than me) that I’m walking out on the whole relationship.

  16. Thank you so much for this. I am in so much emotional pain right now because of my evil mother in law. we are staying with her for the holidays and I keep crying for hours on end each night for how she treats me. She waits until my husband is away and I’m alone with her so she can say horrible things to me. She makes passive aggressive remarks about my parenting skills to my 16 month old son after she yanks him from my arms and while I’m still there. It’s no secret that she hates me and has never liked me. I keep trying so hard to show her kindness and understanding but she is getting worse each time. She will never say anything nice about me, but she is constantly complimenting her son-in-law who is getting divorced from his daughter because he has been sleeping with prostitutes for years. Do you know how horrible it is to be compared to that man when she thinks he is better than me?!?!? It feels awful. I’ve had it with how she is treating me. We have two more weeks left to spend with her and I’m afraid I might run away at night and freeze to death outside. I am so emotionally distraught. I need help! My husband has such difficulty defending me to her. She used to be so subtle with her jabs and negative comments toward me. She is passive aggressive and narcissistic. My husband and I would argue because of her. If she heard us arguing, she would have the biggest smile across her face for the rest of the day and would him happy tunes. She is evil and takes pleasure when we argue. Who does that? My parents always try to offer helpful advice to both of us separately and together if they notice we are going through a rough patch. That’s what normal, good people do. It took years for my husband to believe the things she was saying to me. He would just defend her and say she never “meant it that way” and that I was overreacting. But now he sees it and still can’t figure out how to defend me. How can I be with someone who won’t defend me? She has made comments to us separately about how he should leave me and go home to her or how I should leave him. I’m just about ready to leave altogether. It’s not worth it for me to be depressed because of her any longer. I’ve been married almost 12 years. My monster in law is the number one cause for our marriage to end. I don’t know how someone could be so cold and mean.

    Anyways, your article really speaks volumes to me and I’m glad I found it!

  17. Oh my gosh!
    Your,story is so similar to mine. I wonder how you are,coping now.
    I am in the thick of it now, my husband and Mil are going to therapy together, and my husband is finally taking my side. But our relationship has taken a toll.

  18. I regrettably can 100% relate to everything thats been said. The parallel of the experiences that have been shared are overwhelming. I never knew this kind of thing existed. Still, I cant figure out if my MIL behavior is intentional or delusional either way is equally disturbing and destructive. Has anyone figured out a solution? Still holding on to hope and praying she will stop this before it tears further into our family and extended families relationships.

    Stay strong

  19. Someone help, I’m so confused with who I’m dealing with her, covert aggressive? My mil disrespected me at my son’s birth by looking in my crutch after she told my sister I didn’t want her to, she stayed in the room for 25 hours and walked out without saying anything, I asked her nicely to not give my son to my mum before the 50 steps on my wedding day as she has had a car accident but she passed my son to her anyway. I told her she is competitive and gives me back handed compliments but she persists to fed me a diet of these tactics I told her annoyed me. She has got the whole family on her side. My husband won’t say anything to her, will he ever? I’m in the same vicious cycle and have been for 5 years I don’t know what to do, if i didn’t have kids I would leave. Help please I feel like I’m the one going crazy sometimes as she always gives me excuses

  20. Gabby, Anounce a trial seperation and leave him alone with his NM, if he doesn’t see the light within one years’ time, leave for good. You deserve better. He might even regret you leaving him one day, but by then it will be too late!

  21. Omg reading all these comments is so very validating for me. I just went through virtually EVERYTHING everyone described here. I finally found the strength to walk away from my exgirlfriend whom I still cherish and was intending to propose to in June. Smh I feel like I just dodged a serious bullet I still love her dearly I just dont think its worth having to combat some evil old crone over her daughter for the next 20 years. This woman demanded inclusion into the most intimate parts of our relationship there was no privacy no intimacy of any kind. She actually had the nerve to look me in the eye and tell me she should have access and control over every part of my relationship with her daughter meanwhile her daughter stood by and allowed this evil troll to ambush and abuse me. Id invested everything into this woman gave up my apartment which I loved my lifestyle even my own self respect and dignity over and again I even emptied my bank account. None of it was ever enough and the exgirlfriend was to weak and immature to ever fully stand up to her mother. The mil was constantly sewing discord between us always coming up with reasons for us to disagree and my ex just kept feeding into it and allowing her mother to come between us. It was so strange that every year right around the holidays her mothers activity would hit a spike and I would find myself fighting for my relationship with my girlfriend. The first year I didnt realise what was going on the second year I recognised it as the same scenario but with a few variables, then this the third and final year I saw it again even pointed it out to my girlfriend and instead of stepping back from it she actually embraced it. I just couldnt go on with this bizzare situaion any longer. Its been almost a month since I left our home to start out on my own again, I feel like such a fool even typing these words because I should be over this now. The worst part is the now exgirlfriend announced that shes pregnant, I know Im in for a hell of a ride I just feel so bad for my unborn child what he/she is going to have to deal with…

  22. Hi, unfortunately I’m learning this the hard way. My MIL has dominated our life 18 years. My husband trying to break free only to be manipulated with illness, money, screaming. Bullying from her husband who used to beat my husband as a child. I’ve tried to help forever, but like the people you describe she appeals to my decency and need to be fair. Awful situation is now my husband has incurable cancer at 48. This caused us serious financial problems. So, madly he moved us in temporarily after his father died. Maybe a last ditched attempt to repair his loathing of his mother. Now her manipulation has driven a wedge between us. Not that he likes her, he says he hates her, but I cannot stay there anymore. I visit him each day and go to all his appointments. She has no interest in his illness. Just wants to shop and show off. But we get no quality time together indoors. Any chance she gets she makes some passive aggressive remark to hurt me. Suggesting I’m a disloyal wife and should be there all the time for him and her 24/7. So looks like she may have finally won. I cannot stand his anger at her and her constant manipulation and criticism of me. Making me do everything , talking about me to the neighbours. I hate the fact that she is winning but I cannot stand to be there. It’s making me mentally Ill. But due to my husband’s dogs we are finding it hard to find a new rental. He will not give her up although he said the whole time I’ve known him that he hates his mother and wishes her dead. My husband says once he moves he will ignore her. But it seems he is incapable of it…..I’m devastated… X I feel so guiltuly and useless. I gave up everything for my husband. To have this shallow spoilt woman take this time away from us….

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  24. My partner and i have a three-year-old child together and have been together for 4 years. He is very enmeshed with is mother, who is very vindictive, manipulative and passive aggressive. When we first started dating she appeared nice and friendly, saying all the right things to me and about me. She made my partner believe that she liked me and was happy that he and i were together. Alarm bells should have gone off, they used to speak every day with each other on the phone, and apparently he can never properly confront her or all hell breaks loose i.e., she takes her love away from him altogether! Also, when i was pregnant she moved down from the north to south to live near us (she now lives 10 minutes away from us!) alarm bells people!!. It is difficult to put her vindictive and manipulative behaviours into words but below are some examples: When my daughter was first born we used to see my in-laws regularly, weekly. She would be overly nice in front of my partner and then when his back was turned she would give me nasty stairs, go cold, be short with me which made it clear to me that she was only interested in me when he was around. Those months were very difficult for us, i was dealing with the normal stresses of being a new mother, and we had just moved into a new house and were setting up home from scratch, we had financial difficulties as well as i was starting back my studies again. In the first couple years of our relationship i tried to brush her antics under the carpet as much as possible and would only tell my partner when she did something that really upset me. But ultimately i wanted a relationship based on honesty and that was how i approached the situation. When my daughter was 2 weeks old she would phone my partner and invite us out to a large family dinner and when i expressed i was uncomfortable doing this my partner would sulk and resent me. When my daughter was seven months old my partner and i rented a little cottage so we could attend a wedding we had been invited to. He decided to ask his parents to babysit so he and i could have our first day out together since having our daughter. The night before the wedding around 11pm she phones him and in her ‘victim’ mode tells him that she will be bringing her sister,her husband, her sisters daughter and their two children to the place we are staying on the morning of the wedding, well arriving an hour or so we were meant to leave. I politely asked my partner to say this would not be possible because our bathroom was downstair and that it took away from the whole romantic idea of getting ready for a special occasion. Bless him, he tried to call her back to tell her but she made the casual statement “oh ok, well we will just have to walk the streets until you have both gone”. My partner immediately felt bad and knew that if he said no his mother would play the victim role and tell her sister how i had stopped them coming round. Anyway he said yes, we had a row the morning of the wedding and that was another argument caused by the mother-in-law from hell!! Again around the same time i was about to go back to my studies and it was arranged that my daughter would spend two days at his mum’s house while i was at work and university for a few months. In order for my daughter to get more familiar with her grandmother, my partner and i agreed that my daughter and i would spend time with her. Any way i did this. it was very awkward, again cold and glaring stairs, eventually it was time to leave my baby girl with her, which i was nervous about. It took all of fifteen minutes and i get a phone call from her with my little girl screaming in the background. She says she does not know what to do. of course, i was left worried and feel like this was yet another way she tried to ruin something that should have been a nice event. Another time we had to move out of our house for a month for it to get decorated. I insisted at first to move in with my mother because i had a new baby and my partner was at work. He, of course, said that this would upset his mother and was adamant that we should stay at his mother’s place. I love him very much so agreed. We moved in and again it didn’t take her long to start the antics. She would be nice and charismatic when her husband and her son were around and as soon as they were gone she would be cold and distant, which of course made me feel uncomfortable and i would have to leave her house during the days just to get away. This was all happening when i was a new mum. Needless to say, any time i brought any of these things up to my partner, he would deny it, we would argue and the crack in our what was once a beautiful relationship would grow bigger. Other things included being nice to my mother in front of her family and then completely ignoring her when she saw her out alone or with me. The first few weeks of having my baby she would do the same thing to me when she came to visit us at our house which is the last thing a new mum needs. Again during that time she would emotionally blackmail her son by asking him if he could look after her father and he could not say no so we would look after him. She helped cause trouble at her younger son’s wedding also and this was probably the horse that broke the camels back. My daughter had chickenpox the week of the wedding, me and my partner got the train up north with her to go to the wedding. His mum suggested that i bring my mother to look after our baby for later in the evening. I thought this was a good idea and mother and i stupidly did not suspect foul play. Anyway we went to the wedding already tired and dishevelled, and at the wedding, i was not included in any of the wedding pictures, which upset me. Again my partner showed no reaction that demonstrated to me that he was upset by this and i felt disappointed in him. At the wedding my daughter was a flower girl, but she was unwell, initially was supposed to send her home at 7pm but after speaking with my partner decided to send her home at 5:30pm to my mum. Well the strange antics began again that evening, his mother comes up to me in one instance and states she was sad that i was not included in the wedding pictures and then 10 minutes later to tell me off about sending my daughter home earlier. Then behind the scenes her vindictive tactics were at play, she was talking to everyone else (including my partner) about me wearing a black dress for the second half of the wedding, about me taking my daughter home, about me dancing for 10 minutes with another little girl and all this sort of stuff. When we all got back she apparently was upset that my mum had said to her that she had a nice time with my daughter whilst babysitting (Craziness). Any way needless to say after listening to his mother ‘victim’ mode and poor me antics my partner came to bed that evening with a full heart and moaned at me which turned into another argument as i was already upset on so many counts. Now, the next morning his mother gets involved and starts to make things worse. She gives him a cuddle and is rude to me, and is clearly causing more of a divide between he and i. My god, there are so many examples. Now, of course, she has won the battle (not the war), she has brainwashed her husband and younger son (who i used to get on well with before) and helped turn her whole family against me. It is clear to me who and what she is, a jealous, vindictive and manipulative woman. However, she is an expert at hiding this from others. i suspect that her family know who she is but have been controlled by her for so long that they can’t be bothered to stir up drama by confronting her. But i honestly feel abused by this woman. I am so hurt. I am not naive and understand that people like this exist but am completely shocked that it is in my family. I pride myself on having those around in my inner circle who i trust, respect and love. Oh some other examples include things like her being upset and jealous by a what’s app group that we use to put shared pictures of our daughter. Apparently when i put up pictures that my mother has taken or my sister puts up pictures of our daughter she gets upset. So now no one puts pictures up and if i do everyone just ignores them. This is bullying surely !! But it goes on…now what is interesting my partner recently has been saying that he understands that i can’t have a relationship with his mother but that she is so distraught about this, and this gets my so upset and angry. Why is he so weak, why can’t he see all the hurt she and his ignorance has caused, why can’t he change. I feel completely powerless and voiceless. I hold so much resentment towards him for not being able to manage the situation effectively that i don’t know if we can ever go back to the way we were. Recently i went round to her house after months of not seeing, which was instigated by me because i needed the separation and boundary, and she puts my daughter’s hands in a bowl of soapy water and her hands come out in a bad rash. I am so suspicious of her now that the thought did cross my mind that she had put something in the water on purpose…her toxic and nasty mind games have left me completely exhausted and perhaps slightly paranoid. I do not operate on this level, i want a simple life!!

    She has just the right amounts of intimidation and love bombing, and gets this ratio just right, and yes she knows exactly how to manipulate her son because he is addicted to flattery in general but hers more specifically and their family avoid avoid avoid direct confrontation but only use passive aggression which has been a recipe for total partnership misery for us!! I would love it if one day (which will never happen) he said to her “mother you really hurt me and ani with your behaviour and it was uncalled for. I love you but you have to stop denying the fact that you have interfered in our life and caused problems. But i know he will not, if he did he says she would surely move back north, yes yes yes that would be a dream come true!!

  25. Wow so many cases, and I thought I was the only one, there was something wrong with me and I’m the mad one.

    Also left destitute after many years of hars work to give them the lifestyle they now live and prosper from…while myself and the two babies were kicked aside like dogs.

    After months of cofusion, hurt, anger, resentment, punishment, and deep very deep bitter hatered…I came to the conclusion that they know EXACTLY who they are and the people around them are NOT BLIND to it and know the person very well after so many years and experience. The truth is they use it to their own gain and advantage and for living a certain lifestyle as well.

    Look it is very unhealthy and there is very little you can do, I am on my own now after 4 years of daily, hourly, minute by minute hellish torture, they want to (need to) break you bit by bit.

    As alone and hurt as I feel, I am in a much happier, healthier environment with myself and my children. Its not the ideal, but even a professional counsellor/ social worker who is a strong christian told me I cant deal with them, so dont even try and he works at a drug rehab, of hard core family situations and drug addictions (brokeness) his whole career is bringing families together.

    So to conclude it is an addictive “madness”, mental illness they do not want to let go of, its the core strength of their very existance.

    God s the only hope for them, and if they dont change, be sure that they will regret it judgement day when they have to face the music and answer for their wickedness and destructive behaviour when it is too late.

    I know it hurts real bad and is very broken, but reality is I’m much happier away from their hatred toward me it is abuse!

    Time does heal, let Go and let God. Who knows what the future has in store, miracles DO happen, the good news is you are wiser and stronger and now have the control.

    Narcissists always lose their control. They are very bitter, unhappy, sick people. Pray for them from a healthy distance and then let it/ them go. Dont let them have an emotional stronghold on you even from a distance.

    Thank you and good luck with your new beginnings!

  26. Sorry to hear, and to have to say, but cutting your mother off will be the happiest thing that ever happened to you, keep her far away from your marriage, a healthy boundary set in place for her will make her act a bit more appropriately. Do not let her hurt or anywhere near your marriage, she has made it very clear to you she is threatening to break it up.

  27. sjo well said, thank you!

    Problem was he made sure we got married first before I met his vindictive mother. Oh well they have each other to hold at night now.

    Its not acceptible and they both will answer for their decisions, actions and choices. Its sad, I wouldnt want damnation to fall apon them for as stupid a reason as childish poppy-cock entertainment, buits so foolishly what they choose daily, its so frustrating I hope they shakr up and wake up!

  28. Thank you for your positive and honest outlook! The reality is that you only have control of your choices and behavior. Don’t be a sitting duck. I know it’s hard to stand up for yourself in these sensitive situations but in the long run its better to take a stand Now; don’t wait. Document everything and get professional help!

  29. I also thought I was the only one dealing with this. I did divorce my husband over his family of origin issues. I could not take the loneliness, the abuse and the pain anymore. I fought hard to do everything right. I stood on my head to please his narcissistic mother Bipolar sister and sociopathic brother. In the end I realized I was being used as a puppet by all of them, their poison vessel. They all hated each other but were too afraid of each other’s manipulation, rage and abuse, so it made perfect sense they took it out on me. I thought it strange why none of them all over 50 had any relationships in their lives, no spouses no friends I was the only spouse to my husband. He was a coward, he also was evil to the core which took me a long time to realize this because I believed his manipulation and pity for far too long. I have divorced him but just waiting for my heart to catch up with my head. It will come in time.
    There is plenty of emotionally healthy people out there with emotionally healthy families. These circles of chaos are best left to themselves. I never thought I would say that because I had so much hope but the writing was on the wall from the beginning, they may have won the battle but they lost the war.
    The mother is the core of the dysfunction, she is a narcissistic psychopath and I hope there is a special hell for her. For all the things she has done to her children, her own ex-husband, and my husband’s first wife I know she will die with a lonely empty heart never understanding what love is or what love for a child is.
    My heart goes out to all of us that have had to deal with this, the years we have lost, the pain we have suffered. If you are still fighting that battle that you did not even choose to fight. I hope you win.

  30. I completely agree. I had the same MIL. I was one of the lucky ones though. My husband woke up to the abnormal mindset she had of him. She says I brainwashed him then proceeded to tell him that he abandoned her. She then told him that his loyalty should only be to her because she is his mother and her family first, and I am second. She doesn’t want him to be happy while she is miserable. I mean, what kind of mother is that? We are happy and living our lives away from her and her toxic clan.

  31. Thank you . Read every comment. I am matried 7 years my husband us been controlled by his evil mother. She is what u call a supreme witch. She is busy with all funny voodoo to get her children under her vontrol.She has driven her ex husband away to a point that he never wants to see her again. Her children all over 40 is brainwashed by her uneducated comments. She has some evil stronghold over my husband that he always insults me , treats me like I am a broom. Tells me after years of cooking for him . I can’t cook. We have a 19 month little girl. Not once had he gotten up and fed her or bathed her. He always threatens me saying he will leave and go back to his mothers house. I am so tired of him and her that I want a divorce and don’t know how to just tell him to go. I know for a fact I will be happy on my own. I have my baby and God that is there. I just can’t anymore.

  32. Yes I have been there too. Everything was controlled by her. Divorce did not help because there is a child involved and she goes around bad mouthing me.

  33. And now for a more positive story…

    I have hated the last 6 years of my life at war with a tyranical mother in law. Though I have discovered a few things:
    -You can rescue your husband from her grasp if you have enough stubburn will and a good emotional off switch. Deprogramming is a messy business, but it can be done if you can stop the cycling and call him on his lies to himself. Gather your evidence completely.
    -If she severly oversteps a boundary, ie neglects your child when you allowed her to watch him, you can put terror in her heart and put down a permenent boundary if you know her commodities and have established your own power within the family structure. Mine still fears I will remove her reason for living (praise of motherhood/grandmotherhood is her supply), and mentions it every so often, well, because I would! Without hesitation! Make sure she knows who is second in command to your husband and who controls your children with all finality. Leave no room for error. Make the message clear, but say nothing, or you will be attacked by her “flying monkies” and she will get supply by playing sick. Demonstrate that your kindness is what leaves the door open. You are onto her, and are being kind. That kindness can and will change if she crosses the line. I released hot anger while barely speaking when I found my son sitting in a very old, soiled diaper breaking out in a rash and starving as she screamed that she just fed him and just changed him…. I don’t tolerate abuse. She lost access abruptly to my son for 24 hours and I used every relational agression signal a woman has in her arsenol to get the point across while saying nothing. Male flying monkies don’t fly for nonverbal communication. It was necessary, because rules don’t apply to her. She had such a panic attack she thought it was a heart issue, but she never once harmed my son for any reason after that. This only works if you know what motivates her delusions. When she would not stop attacking me, and my son was up all night screaming for a week, she lost the ability to watch him alone for almost an entire year. She learned to control her tongue, or be left alone in the void of her own selfish existance, her major sources of supply gone. If she tried to harm my marriage, my husband, or my child again, we cancelled plans abruptly as a united front. I made it clear, her or me, but my husband could not choose both when one of us is an agressor. He could not say, “I love you” and dream of a life with me, and allow his mother to abuse me. She lost control absolutely, and only gained back priviledges IF she learned to be civil and bind her kindness mask securely to her face. You just have to ignore the backlash and allow the namecalling to come unchallenged. Let the guilt and FOG come unheeded. Be queen of your own household. Build the household you want, and die to her opinions. Ignore her.
    -Behaviorism works if you commit 100% and do not back down. Deny your own inner personality and act roborically around her when she is being inappropriate. Extinction looks like you become blind and deaf when she pitches a fit, slanders, critisizes, screams, hollars, guilt trips, gas lights…. any of it. Give her zero supply. Don’t accept or be impressed by her gifts to make up after an abusive phase of her cycle. Make it known you are paying attention, and after an abusive phase, make your family avoid her completely for a while as a consequence. She will hesitate next time. Give her no supply, and reduce her supply from those in your family. Make her realize her old ways are back firing, and seek new ways to be noticed. Then behind closed doors make a united front with your husband and a game plan to solidify your marriage to ward against that bad behavior. Treat her like an attention seeking child. Centralize power in your own home. Encourage your husband to take a stand, and be the man of the house. Do not let him slip into old coping mechanisms of childhood (excuses, blindness, deafness, and gas lighting). He must confront her. He must claim his authority. He has been emasculated too long. Release the caged lion. Let him be your lion. It will set her on her heels. She thinks she has him completely under her thumb forever, but subconsciously, he knew who she was all along. Treat him right and never manipulate him. Be sincere of heart. Defensive manuvers only. Be a light in his world, and never back down. This is your family at stake.
    -If you expose the emperor has no clothes, while you actually follow through with your promises, you will win every time (she pretends, but isn’t real, reliable, or trustworthy, but you do what you say). Have character in all you do, even when it hurts, is difficult, or she sabatages. Shine. Others will follow you. They subconsciously hate her tyranny too.
    – Spend the most time with your husband and children, specifically without his family to build a unit. Bond, knit your family together, laugh, and love them. She will scream. Let her.
    – When all else fails, move far away to control exposure. Short doses are better than continuous strife. Your heart, mind, and body will break under the strain eventually. You cannot live when in constant war, and she will never be cured.
    – Never ever remove your armour around her. Everything you say or do will be used against you. Release only information you don’t hold dear. Give her nothing important to go on. She can be charming. It’s an act. It is never real.
    – Be deliberate in your marriage. Make it clear, your husband must maintain your intimacy and trust by not telling your stories either. He is your husband and father to your children first, her son second. He must maintain your trust for the marriage to work. Do not assume anything he has been taught is right. Teach him directly what you want and expect from him. Hint nothing. Direct instruction only, and ignore any tantrums. He has consequences from his childhood to grow through, and grow he will when you place authority and responsibility on his shoulders and hold him accountable. This is why getting away is also important. He will never grow surrounded with the excuses and programming that makes him feel comfortable.

    6 years has left me deeply wounded, but I have won many battles in the long war, and I plan on winning the war as well. We moved far away to hopefully heal, because I was beginning to break under the strain, and she had developed an obsession with my unborn baby girl. That terrified me. The war escalating, my armour breaking, and her sights on my daughter meant: move away fast! RETREAT!!! We ignored the reactions.

    Now my husband and I can begin to dream and build together. He is beginning to grow places that were once stunted. His more annoying habbits have decreased, because they were overgrown defenses. We are beginning to click again. We are learning to trust again without his mother dividing us. She is planning on moving to be closer to us, but I hope by then, our marriage will be more solid, we will have healed and become stronger, and she will never again gain foothold in our business again. She may visit only if she behaves herself. Otherwise, we make other plans, and become “too busy”. My husband has learned I will not be demoted, and if he loves me, he better follow through with actions. He is my lion. My goal is to restore him.

    My mother in law’s commodities are used to make boundaries, because she is ruthless and lawless. My husband’s commodities are granted and fullfilled, and all he wants, more than anything, is a large family, in the country, and peace. That’s what we are building right now. My goal is to reduce my mother in law’s influence on my family to a dull roar and build something beautiful for my family. I will never be who I was again, and I am learning that is ok. I can never be the sweet, passive girl I was, but I am learning to appreciate rhe warrior I have become.



    Oh,I almost fotgot,they talk on the phone everyday. She went home,but is still trying to control. Please any advice.



    Oh,I almost fotgot,they talk on the phone everyday. She went home,but is still trying to control. Please any advice.

  36. I’ve read most of these comments and I’m going through the same things. I love my husband so very much we knew each other since we were 8 years old. We tried setting boundaries but they were not respected at all. His mother would still come to our house and try to physically force herself in our house. Right now we decided to move a few states away to see if that will change anything. My MIL turned all my ILs against me and they always tell my husband to divorce me. I love my husband sooo much he has always defended me but I feel so bad because I know it hurts him to because they tell him he made a huge mistake and calls him stupid for marrying me. His family also makes him feel guilty for defending me saying “why are you defending her? You will never have another mother”. I don’t even know what I did. I’ve been called a bad mother, a bad wife, my MIL even asked my husband if I was a virgin before we got married and lies have been spread about me from my MIL. I’m getting to the point where I just want to give up on our marriage moving is our last resort and I don’t know what to do to change things I wanted his family in our lives and I feel so guilty because all I wanted was for my children to have a normal family and life.

  37. I’ve had an evil mother in law and her 3 evil daughters have been trying their hardiest to break up my husband and I for 24 years, every year they’re getting worse. One of the sister in law’s called my up. Just to tell me, that her mother hates me and can’t stand the sight of me and that I need to stop calling their mother never look at her nor step foot into her house, I need to keep the hell away from her mother. I told my husband about his sister calling me up and about her phone call. Well he confronted his sister about the phone call and she lied to Him and told him that she never called me and she never told me any of those things And now I am considered the Troublemaker within his family. My husband is a 53 years old man, his mother and sisters told him to his face – who’s side is he on – Now are you considered dead To that family. But he never wants me to leave him.

    Confused ready to leave

  38. I too have the NMIL from hell and am at wits end now over what to do.

    I should have known day 1 that she was evil when she met me and instantly informed me that I didn’t meet her requirements. Over the first few months of our relationship she made sure to make comments about my husband’s exs and how I was not someone she would have ever seen her son with. At the age of 18 I became pregnant with his child and he left me. Shortly afterwards, he returned and said he wouldn’t let his family tear us apart. Upon hearing we were pregnant, my NMIL through a fit and screamed and yelled that her friends would find out and that we would ruin her name and be the talk of society. She insisted we marry right away and we said no. 6 years later and after much heartache, grief, depression, and unrest because of the heartless winch, we got married against my better judgement. I could not believe I had hung on as long as I had, but figured what the hell. I loved him and wouldn’t let her run me off. Shortly after, we became pregnant again. Our first child had hung the moon and stars in my NMIL’s eyes and we figured this one would be the same way. Boy were we wrong! I gave birth to a second child and she would have nothing to do with him. Fast forward 12 years and we are still married, somehow, and have 2 beautiful children together; one she loves and one she despises. To this day, my husband has never ever stood up to her and said anything about the way my NMIL treats our son, nor has he ever said anything about the way she treats me or speaks to me. A few months back she and my daughter, who is now 18, got into a huge fight over the way she treats people, her narcissistic behavior, and her me me me attitude. Since that time, my NMIL has gone around town telling everyone that will listen how awful I am and how rude and disrespectful my daughter is to her. We are stopped by people all of the time so that they can belittle and berate us or just let us know what my NMIL is doing and saying.

    This week I had finally had enough! After months of not speaking to my NMIL, after her blocking us on Facebook, and blocking our phone numbers, I called her out in the only way I felt that I could. I posted something on Facebook and told her daughters to feel free to share my post with her since none of us could contact her. Knowing what I did was wrong, I did it anyway. I was just at my breaking point. And family war ensued shortly after. My older SIL decided to say her piece by group text with my husband and let 21 years worth of “feelings” go. I was furious!!! My husband texted me in a separate text to stop texting his sister and to let it go. When he got home, we fought because once again he refused to stand up to his family on my behalf. He agreed that he would send them emails the following day stating how he felt and that they would no longer be allowed in our lives. The following day, NOTHING! He couldn’t do it. He said he wasn’t ready to let his family go and that he was sorry. And what do I do now? I refuse to ever speak to any of them again!!! He and my NMIL can have each other and he can have his sisters, but I do not want my children nor myself to ever have to deal with any of them. I will not have someone call my children the horrible names she has called them and she has said it to their faces, in text, in email, and in written letters. I believe, after 21 years, that my marriage may be over shortly.

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