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Daughters in Law... don’t suffer in silence!

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Well I don't really know where to begin.. I'd be here all day explaining the ins and outs of my relationship with my mother in law to be but basically the easiest way to explain is she is a narcissist. If you don't know what this is google it.. She ticks every single box. I have been with my partner for 6 years. We have a two year old daughter. My MIL has always been difficult as she has never been happy that my partner met me and has always tried to compete. She constantly puts me down in front of my partner but in very subtle ways.
Since he was very young she has always been very inappropriate with her son and has always put a lot of guilt on him. He used to have the weight of this all on his shoulders until he became a dad himself and realised he couldn't put up with that and being a father.
Anyway that is a story for another day!
The main issue is she always has to make everything about her and steal the limelight at every turn. The latest one is we are due to get married next June. We have been engaged for 3 years and our wedding has been booked for two years. So now it's on the countdown and our families should be getting involved and excited in our wedding plans.
Now you may be thinking how could she make her sons wedding plans all about her? Well to give you a bit of background about her.. She has been married 3 times. She has never got married for the right reasons. She has now been with her bf for the last 10 years and he has said continuously he doesn't want to get married. We have been there when she has cried to him asking for a ring and why won't he get married. He has been married once before and has been put off the whole idea. Anyway last Christmas guess what she got engaged.
Okay so that may not seem too bad so far.. I knew right away she would have to get married before us so yup she booked it for this August, 10 months before ours. Still not seem too bad? Myself and her had a conversation about what dresses I like. I also told her I liked pale green for the colour scheme.
So... My partner was visiting her the other night and asked her to send a pic of her dress to make sure I don't get the same one.. Her words were 'oh she will get a similar one because she told me that's what she likes'. Now that to me is really out of order. She can get what dress she likes and maybe she liked that style but for me to tell her what I wanted in my dress and her still to go and get a dress she thinks her future daughter in law will wear in her sons first and only wedding 10 months after her is shocking.
Also guess what her colour scheme is? Yip pale green. She has asked our daughter to be a flower girl (Which we are really gutted about because we had always assumed our daughters first time as a flower girl and walking down the aisle would be our wedding but I know that's our own personal problem) and she had also asked her other young granddaughter from my partners sister to be flower girl. She has bought her other granddaughter the younger version of the bridesmaid dress which was £200 but she has told us we will have to buy our daughter the flower girl dress and if we can't spend the £200 we have to buy any dress from a high street shop but in her colour scheme. My partner is furious because she has spent £200 on her other grandchild and won't spend a penny on our daughter. He doesn't want her to be a flower girl now as he feels she isn't being treated fairly.
So to sum up she is managing to ruin all our ideas for our wedding day and it is turning into a nightmare! Help please!

Have a secret elopement. Don't invite anyone. Just you two. Then share the news two weeks after. That will put her in her place. Jaahajaja

Anonymous commented 2 years ago

Hi Cat

Thanks so much for your thoughts - really helps to get other people's objective on it because sometimes I feel like I'm going mad! Lol we have decided to definitely decline her being flower girl as she isn't being treated the same.
You're right about when she is older, it's something I worry about. My partner was treated unfairly compared to his sister by his grandparents on his mums side so it appears that history is repeating itself. He's very concerned about our daughter feeling the same. I definitely have learnt to keep my distance with my MIL. It took me a long time to realise this was what needed to happen but once I did it changed my life for the better. My partner and daughter see her more frequently but I see her occasionally as I come away feeling rotten because she puts me down so much. I just hope she stops with the competitive behaviour soon because it's pushing my partner further away from her and I wish she would realise this.

Thanks again to you both.


Erin commented 3 years ago


You are most welcome. As a nouthetic (biblical) counselor, I find that often our emotions blind us to the other person's fears and insecurities. The trick is to understand that being kind and assertive will promote more change than anger and bitterness. If she chooses not to change, practicing agape (God's love) will change you (and who better to improve and change than ourselves?)

All my best to you and your family

Faithful commented 3 years ago

I would gracefully bow out of having your daughter be the flowergirl. You can state it's not in your budget if you like to make the point. She sounds very selfish. I'd keep my distance, and be sure to have limited contact with your daughter, because as she gets older, she'll start to notice the unequal treatment between her and the other granddaughter, and it will certainly hurt her feelings (I protect my kids' feelings from their grandparents regularly, so I know of what I speak).

Cat commented 3 years ago

Hi Faithful

Thanks so much for your advice. It's really helped. I didn't go too much into her being a narcissist in my post as there's too many situations and dramas to talk about id be here all day. Part of the issue with the wedding is the narcissistic trait of deniability and being a victim. If we say anything to her she will turn it on us as this is what she does very well.

However I do think you are right about having a word with her about my daughter being a flower girl and if she doesn't include her fairly then my daughter can sit with me at the wedding.

Thanks for your insight it was very refreshing to hear.

Erin commented 3 years ago


Your MIL is extremely insecure; not knowing more about her son's relationship to her, my best guess is that she feels she is losing him. Of course, our primary command toward our parents is to honor them (10 Commandments) and, despite much misunderstanding what honor means, we are responsible for this approach. So, what does honoring your parent really mean? In the Hebrew in which it was written, it means to ensure the parent(s) has food, clothing, and shelter. Period. Of course, if the parent is worthy of respect, affection, and friendship, those are excellent things to contribute to a relationship. There is a seeming dichotomy here, though; we are commanded to honor our parents - whether they are good or bad people - but the blessing comes to us ... 'that you may live long'.

So, back to your MIL; applying these sound relationship principles allows you to be honest, open, and direct (hopefully without rudeness or other inappropriate exchanges). By understanding your MIL's insecurities (she older, fought for 10 years for a serial husband, has a questionable childhood relationship with her son, and so on). While I don't particularly see narcissism in your account of her behavior, I do see her low self-esteem, fear, and insecurity. How, then should you deal with her infuriating behavior and mirroring your choices? Assert yourself and, in a kind way, explain that you find her using your color scheme and refusing to include your daughter in the dress purchase to be unacceptable. Ask her to change both or you will ... Here's the rub, though; whatever consequences (e.g., not attend her wedding, daughter will sit with you in the audience, et al) you impose must be followed. For example, if you tell her you won't attend her wedding, the only way to reverse that decision is if she makes the behavior or modification you fairly request. Explain that you are not in a competition with her for anything - especially her son - and further demonstration of this conflicted behavior will force even stronger sanctions against your relationship.

I sincerely hope that some of these insights will give you the confidence to understand what you truly owe your MIL, what you do not, and how to set healthy boundaries for now and throughout your married life. To refuse to set these boundaries will ensure she is in everything you do, whether invited or not.

Faithful commented 3 years ago

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