Learn the flags, understand how to protect yourself from narcissist in-laws. When we fall in love and find the perfect person of our dreams, most of us don’t stop to evaluate their family. Sadly, the man or women of your dreams can have parents that can literally derail your marriage, taking it from a fairy tale to a nightmare, in what feels like an instant. One of my favorite quotes is: “When did my life go from a Hallmark movie to a Lifetime movie?” This was my life.
If you think about it, when people first start dating, the family doesn’t come into the mix until things have moved along in a positive way. When you finally meet their parents, they are on their best behavior. The “mask dial” is set to impress and win your heart. If they have a narcissistic parent, this behavior is an act; they are checking you out and rating you on a potential threat scale. Even during the courtship, the relationship with your partner’s parents generally keeps them on their best behaviors. Remember that your partner is sharing their family with you and it may be the first time they have been vulnerable to have someone else’s eyes on the family relationship, so they are going to really put on a good show (at first anyway).
Over time you may be faced with them testing your boundaries and your loyalty to them and their child, Narcissists are quite famous for creating the “charming mask”; it always starts with the charm and kindness role. They are good at it and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of becoming part of your potential mate’s family.
Narcissistic in-laws can make your life a living hell. They will be jealous of you, they will inject themselves into your lives and will do everything to break up your marriage or steal your children. If you are new to this narcissistic world, you should know that narcissist traits can run on a spectrum and not everyone will have all the behaviors we outline below. They do not need to have all of these behaviors, and some might manifest after 30 years of marriage. There are many other types of labels for narcissists, but the two I want you to understand from the beginning are overt and covert.