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I think DIL is a narcissist

Started by Terri, May 18, 2010, 10:02:28 am

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Our family problems began 3 yrs. ago with oldest son's then girlfriend.  She was friend of son's 1st wife then began an affair with our son.  We live 4 hours away & had no idea this was going on.  My son wanted to end his marriage but told me it was because of credit card debt his wife accumulated. He has 2 children from this marriage.  I helped him move out.  After the move, he told me he was having an affair with wife's friend.  He had no extra money so we set him up in an apartment complete with furnishings.  Later he moved into a rental house of his father's.  I spent many weekends driving back & forth to babysit, cook, clean, do laundry, & paint all at his request.  I always took groceries so they would have plenty to eat.  I tried to make his life bearable.  My husband & I spent quite a bit getting him through his divorce.  Son carried on his affair secretly since girlfriend was still living with her husband.  She constantly had him on his cell phone.  He worked 3rd shift & slept through the day but she called him anyway.  He was running on fumes & looked exhausted.  I kept my mouth shut of how I felt.  When I would see her, I was kind & courteous. My son suggested I call her & take her shopping so I called.  I left a voicemail since she didn't answer.  My son later got mad at me & asked why I never called her so I told him that I did.  I thought okay, maybe her voicemail didn't work, so I called again with the same result.  Again, she told him I never called.  I even showed my son that I tried twice on my phone.  From that day, things went downhill fast.  It became apparent she was jealous that I was caring from my grandchildren & son.  I only went there when my son asked.  He began cutting me down as well as my family in front of her.  One day she made a comment about how slow I ate to which I responded that my mother didn't like it when girls woofed down their food so I learned to eat slowly.  There were always some snide comments coming from this girl.  Then my son started doing the same.  It really hurt me that I was targeted for no good reason.  I'm sensitive, quiet & a very hard worker.  When she was gone, I told my son the remarks really hurt & I saw no reason for the behavior.  I asked if I had done something wrong to cause this.  He said I was always in his business.  I swear I have no idea what brought this on.  He never treated me like this while he was married.  The girlfriend finally got her husband to move out.  Long story short, son didn't want to get married again. She had 2 children from her marriage.  She got pregnant, then pressured him to marry her since she had no insurance.  He felt obligated so they married a few months before the baby was born.  Now son has 5 kids.  Wife #2 is a narcissist.  She lies to get her way.  She isolates son & grandchildren.  She causes any rift to keep us away.  Our life is a living hell since she entered into it.  We never get to see or even talk with the grandchildren.  Once in awhile she'll allow us peace but it never lasts for long.  We've given up calling as they won't answer, we wait for her to decide what's next. Our youngest son just moved to the same town.  When we visit him & his new wife, we feel sad that we can't see the grandchildren or son #1.  We get that son # 1 sides with his wife but about what, we don't know.  We're upset most all of the time.  What's with this selfish person and why does son #1 allow her to treat us like this?  If I was a terrible person & deserved it maybe I could make sense of it.  I can't do anything to please her no matter how hard I try.  I've tried talking to both about this but they blow up & I just cry so I leave. Nothing is ever resolved.  Help!!


Terri.  Welcome aboard.   My heart is with you really.  Your son is as guilty as she is.  He knows that you have been there for him always and help him out in tough times when he was getting through a divorce.  He owes you love and respect.  You and husband have been very helpful and loving (more than many sons can say).  The more you give, the more he asks of you and still does not make him happy.  Why should you take dil shopping?  You could but it was not your job to do so.  He is also behaving as a Narcissitic (spelling?) person.  How can he forget all you have done for him, and not intecede in your ehalf to have grandchildren see you?  Probably he is love-blinded.     I am sure you will get excellent advice from others here.  We all have different opinions but being submissive and humble does not make things better. 

I would speak to my son and let him know that he is selfish and ungrateful.  I would also distance myself from him and dil completely  Anyhow you are not permitted to see your grandchildren.  You are not a punching bag.  You deserve much more than this.   He might see the difference and value all you are worth (in all aspects).    Your dil is also manipulative and probably jealous of the relationship you had with your son.

I hope the best for you.  Love
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


welcome to the forum....I do hope thru the many women here, you find some answers...

1st please note, I'm going to be honest here...and it is not my intent to hurt your feelings, but to help...

You've first got to accept that your son has problems...you don't run around with your wife's best friend, leave your wife and jump into this affair relationship...

you have also got to stop enabling son to depend on you and your husband...make him accountable and responsible...he is treating you like the child...

remember, anything you do for son, is not going to be appreciated or remembered, b/c up until now, you've made it easy for him, way to easy....

I believe, unfortunately, your son is going to learn a very difficult lesson and that is, any woman who runs around on they're best friend, with they're best friend's husband...well, she is up to no good and not to be trusted....and she may do it to him, as well...whatever, I fear, he is going to wish he never left his wife after this one gets done with him.

What I suggest is let your son, no, insist your son fight his own battles, and stop making his life so easy...he made a huge mistake, and someway, your rewarding that mistake...did you ever discuss with him, that what he did was wrong, it showed a lack of respect for himself, hence, he lacks respect for the feelings of others...plus the children are suffering thru this...

He needs to grow up and you need to let him grow up and make his own mistakes, so he can learn, there are definately consequences for his actions, and stop bailing him out.

I mean no insult...it is instinct to want to protect our children, however, there does come a time when we must let them go and allow them to make they're own mistakes...how else will they learn if they don't.  They're like small children who need to learn, if they touch a candle, they're going to get burned....it's life and we all make mistakes....we all need guidence, however, I believe yhou've made life way to easy for your son...

My advice, cut off all financial support...live your own lives and push him away for awhile, not totally, but let him live his own life...let him find babysitter's support his ex and children, do his own food shopping and laundry...he needs to learn to be self sufficent...I hate to say this, but I bet your ex dil, had a huge huge job on her hands taking care of just him....

we mother's of sons, tend to create monsters for the women they marry by doing way to much for our sons.  way to much...our lives should of course, include our children, however, they should not be our only purpose in life...

so in all this, you as every other mother, have had a hand in creating this...we mom's grow up with our children....

I would say, let him go, make him be independent, and realize the results of his mistake...also, I would suggest when you do speak with him, tell him he needs to get into counseling to understand, why he thinks it was ok to run around with his wife's friend....this was so so wrong...and I'm afraid, your son, is just spoiled rotten and thinkss anything goes, and it's ok to use people...teach him differently by making him accountable and independent of your help....if he asks why, explain to him, it's time he learn how to take care of himself, and if he gets really really angry, and won't understand, you then know he has problems...

and if I were you, I'd get into counseling to, so you learn how to deal with the pain of al this and realize, your son, cannot be your only purpose in life...

as far as this gal he's with...stay away from her, she sounds like big big trouble...
I wouldn't trust any woman who ran around with her girlfriend's husband....and then ends up with him...and by the way, she has to be a very insecure very immature self imposted person to do such a thing....she's got problems...and son has to figure out why he choose such a irresponsible woman who could do such a horrible thing...not to mention, he could very well, run around on her, afther they're so called honey moon is over....she will be jealous of him and fear him doing the same thing to her as he has done to his first wife....I know a person this happened to, and his 2nd wife made life so miserable for him, b/c she was so jealous...

Please understand...I'm very very sorry  your dealing with all of this...it is heartbreaking, but you've got to learn, to live your life...without son being a major part of it, he is a grown adult, and must learn how to act like one....

Does any of this help?  I hope so...please know, I am not judging you, more so, writing to help you see what you have probably not been able to focus on yet.

Stay in here and learn from these women, they are the best....
I could be wrong and I don't mind if anyone says I am....but I would if I were you, explore every avenue of this, even if it's difficult to hear or face....

Love and hugs
and many prayers


I am sorry for the pain you are going through.  You obviously love and care for your son a lot.  His push-pull and mixed messages.  He says help me out and you're too in my business in the same breath.  He invites you over to visit, then makes snide comments towards you.  Perhaps the wind down period will followed by a cautious and tepid re-entry to restablish respectful conversation with him.  Set the tone you want.   Stop yourself from doing him too many favors.  And if your son starts up says something snide, ask him "What do you mean by 'xyz' ."  Ask plainly when it happens.  No drama.  No buildup.

Your DIL may be trying to cull him from the herd, as Luise says. She may associate all of his family before her  (ex-wife and grandmother of ex's children) as "the herd."
Your DIL might have identified the supportive help you gave your son to leave his first marriage home, as much as it helped DILs marriage to your son be possible, as a power she's now intimidated by.   If DIL is insecure, she may be thinking, as long as he's got you willing to help him build and feather a nest, why would he need her to have his home.  If something about their (son-DIL's) relationship would cause DIL to worry if he could walk out on her tomorrow for a dalliance with the next married girl (cough, cough), DIL knows who he'd have helping him carry the boxes.   


Thanks for the welcome into the group!  I truly appreciate the advice & support.  I know you don't intend to hurt me.  The pain is already excruciating!  I know it helps to get other MIL opinions.

I'm truly aware that my son has problems.  His father & I divorced when he was 6.  He has done to his 1st wife what his father did to me.  You'd think he'd know better as I thought I taught him the difference.  He obviously wasn't thinking with his head!  I did talk about this & he knows he messed up badly.  His 1st wife wasn't the nicest girl but certainly not as bad as the 2nd wife.  At least with wife #1, we were allowed to be part of their lives.  With the grandkids, we had visits at our house at least every other weekend or 1 week out of the month.  Now, we get to have them alone once/yr. for a couple of days.  That's who we are missing the most.  We want a relationship with our grandkids.  My son dirtied his own diaper & has to clean it up or marinate in it.  Right now, he's marinating.   He does need to grow up & take responsibility for his own actions.  With wife #2 being narcissitic, she controls everyone's moves.  When we used to take them all out for dinner when we visit (she has only cooked twice for us), she would throw a tantrum with waiters about things not being done to her liking.  My son was visibly embarrassed but says nothing to her.  We suggest cooking at home from now on to save the grandkids from witnessing this kind of behavior.  My son takes care of the kids, cooks & cleans.  I think he's afraid if he doesn't do things her way, she'll throw a tantrum.  One night, he got home late from work, she says rub my feet.  I saw him go get lotion & proceed to rub her feet while she stayed glued to Facebook on her laptop.  It's all about her.  He has to live with her, not us.  We get that and believe me, we don't mind not being around her.  However we do mind not being around our grandkids.

Since he's been married to #2, we won't financially help.  We do see that our help wasn't appreciated.  We do see that he is spoiled but he doesn't.  We do want to protect him, but won't anymore because he needs to be responsible for his own actions.  My husband calls it munchausen syndrome by proxy.  I say he needs to learn red flags when it comes to relationships.  It's not mom's fault his diaper got dirtied.  He will have to get himself out of this mess & I believe he will but right now, it's like he's been brainwashed.    My husband told him we were worried about him and every now & then, let us know he's still in there.  Our grandkids have told us how she punishes them when they talk to their mother when they see her out somewhere.  They are ages 8 & 11.  They live with each parent 50/50.  It's so painful thinking of what wife #2 is doing to them.  We see the difference of how they treat us when she is present and how they act normal when she's not there.  We just don't know what to do about all of this.   :(


it is so heartbreaking to be going thru this...the thing about our kids are, we are no longer in control when they become adults, and so, we must stand by, and watch, not saying a word. 

Someone once told me, it's not bad raising children, to me it was so rewarding and so much a part of life's cherished gifts...however, when they grow up and leave the house, it is said, that is when our real problems start...the worry, the inability to get involved, and having to take whatever they give us...

I don't know if this will help you...but it helped me, to know, there are families out there who do get along...it helped free me a little from the pain...however, can't say as I didn't yearn for that kind of family...the kind all my friends have...

darlin, hang in there...stay here with this group of gals and post whenever your hurting or don't know what to do...just knowing others feel your pain and have gone thru or are going thru what your experiencing, was a great help to me...

I wish there was a quick fix and cure...the only thing I know that you can do, is to let go, and let him live his life...yet, the despair of the grandchildren is equality as great if not more...stay strong, and know, your blessed in having a husband that sees all this...he is your mentor, you his...stay strong in each other and cherish the moments you have together...life is to short...consentrate on your lives together and in that, strength will come...plan things to do together, to create something to look forward to...surprise him with a weekend trip, or if he likes sports, take him to a game and go on romantic weekends...together...it helps...nows your chance to fall in love all over again...



Can you see the grandkids through their mom?


May 18, 2010, 04:44:26 pm #7 Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 04:59:07 pm by HappyDays09
 Personally, in my situation I refused to be treated that way.  It was also her her her and HER family. HER work.  Her wedding.  Her home.  Etc. 
  But when she began dishing out the mean to me and my family I said goodbye.  I don't miss her at all.  She and her family have all collectively decided I deserved what I got.
   I am not a doormat for them.  And neither are you.  Luckily there were no grandkids at the time.  There is one, maybe more, but I really couldn't care less.
   They were pure evil and it doesn't matter how many babies she decides she needs to make it all look perfect for her.  For it isn't.  There is a big hole in her perfect little world and she only has herself and her mother to blame.  I told my son this but he sides with her.  And that is ok.  I just didn't appreciate the way she muddied up all of his memories and turned him into this giant whimpering spineless dork that follows her around agreeing to her every whim.  I know why he did.  It was her dad's money, her paycheck and the whole facade that he was no longer a severely troubled and alcoholic adult.  She made every terrible thing he did just disappear with lies and a fresh coat of paint.  To the extent of choosing what he was to wear each and every day.  He didn't realize that she was dressing him like a clown to her and her oldest sister's delight.  The fool.
   And it sounds like yours is working on that too.  I would fight her claw to claw.  don't give her the chance.  She says something nasty?  Come right out and call her on it.  In front of everyone.  Just say That wasn't very nice.  Why would you go and say something like that to me?  I have never done that to you.  Why are you being so rude to me?  Call them on it each time. 
   Don't give up.  Don't give in.  Fight the good fight.  Sometimes, good DOES win over bad.  I hope it does for you!!  But don't let them treat you  poorly.  There is no reason for it.  Shame on them.

Oh, and welcome!!


She "muddied up all of his memories" and turned him into a "spineless dork." It's so weird to watch it happen, isn't it?

As I've said before, sometimes it seems as though we're talking about people who've been taken in by a cult. Isn't memory manipulation something that abusers/cults do to their victims as well as cutting them off from their families and former relationships?

How heartbreaking for you and for those of us dealing with similar situations. I resent my family history and memories being treated poorly by others, too. It really hurts.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Happy, I've read your post and it makes me so wonder how people can be and act like this...How?  I am hugging you, and thinking that I'm so glad to know you...so blessed in your friendship...your a strong woman...and you should be proud...I'm proud of you and glad you stuck up for your family...however, so sorry for your son...

You give great confidence and advice...thank you for being you...


Quote from: penstamen on May 18, 2010, 05:15:37 pm
She "muddied up all of his memories" and turned him into a "spineless dork." It's so weird to watch it happen, isn't it?

As I've said before, sometimes it seems as though we're talking about people who've been taken in by a cult. Isn't memory manipulation something that abusers/cults do to their victims as well as cutting them off from their families and former relationships?

How heartbreaking for you and for those of us dealing with similar situations. I resent my family history and memories being treated poorly by others, too. It really hurts.

Pen, yes, something to ponder....it is like a cult...very much so...you've bought a very good thought to the table...when I think about how I allowed my husband to do the same thing....I now ponder, what was I getting out of it?  Peace?  I cut off my family and friends for peace...when in fact, there was no peace...which brings to mind, and I forget who wrote this.... Peace at all costs, is no peace at all and it's so true, when you compromise your identity like that, and all your beliefs, your support networks....well, frankly, resentment and confusion slowly builds...I can tell you honestly, I'm so glad I'm free....single and back to myself again...


Sassy - I agree with you & Luise about culling from the herd.  You are also correct about my DIL's insecurities.  This is one mom who would jump at the chance to move my son away from her.  When I moved my son out from wife #1, I got us a motel room & we talked that night into the wee hours about wife #1.  I told him how I worried they wouldn't make it as she was too selfish amongst other things and he was in shock.  He said "Mom why didn't you tell me this before?"  There is no way I would have until he asked me that night.  I don't give advice unless asked.  I do help when asked.  I never meddle.  I try to be the kind of MIL any DIL would want.  I don't think DIL #1 liked me all that well because I would hear from others things she would say.  When I visited, my son was so happy to see me.  DIL #1 was a terrible housekeeper but that comes with being young.  Instead of washing the clothes, she would go buy more & throw them on the floor.  I would spend the whole visit taking care of the grandkids, washing clothes, cleaning & cooking to give my son a break from it all.  He is drawn to these pampered little princesses or at least they are drawn to him and will stop at nothing to get him & keep him.  What did I do wrong that made him this way?  I know, I know, I do too much for my sons but I will never stop loving them & never stop being me.  My ex would never help with anything.  I believe my ex is a narcissist.  He was so selfish, self centered, cruel & demanding.  Could my son be weak like I was when I was younger?  Does he think like I did that you should give your marriage your all no matter what price you have to pay?  I taught my sons to participate in the marriage, share in the responsibilities & above all be good husbands & parents.  Good lord!  It has to be my fault.  I wish I knew what I did wrong & could take it all back.  The weird thing, son #1 thinks his dad is the greatest.  Son #2 thinks his dad is a very selfish & cruel person.  He keeps his distance from his dad.  Son #1 has chosen someone just like his dad!  How can this be possible?

I'm hoping my son will come to his senses & realize his wife is not good for him.  Deep down I think he does know.  HappyDays09 you are so right about money being an issue.  Wife #2 has her own business & a good income.  She spends like there is no tomorrow.  If gifts aren't to her liking she throws them away or sells them for 50 cents in her yearly garage sale.  I've got to where I don't buy the kids clothing & only buy what they really want in hopes she won't get rid of them right away.  My son likes spending money too as did his father.  When my son  married #2, I heard her say she didn't have enough silverware for when they have company so I bought them enough for 24 people.  I thought I'd chosen the perfect gift.  When she unwrapped this gift, she turned to my son & yelled "didn't my sister just give us some?"  He was mortified.  I was mortified.  I swear I can do no right.  However, they do use this silverware & I'm sure it is due to my son.  Why can't he stand up to her all of the time?  Maybe she would come down from her soapbox.  He's a fool if he thinks his silence will make it all better. 

Penstamen, you are right about my son's memories being all muddied up by her.  He has forgotten all the good times we shared.  It is like being in a cult.  He is with an abuser.  It is mind control.  It is heartbreaking.  I do wish I could give her a pill to make her all better.  She is on medication for depression but I don't think its working.  Just think what she would be like without it!

1Glitterati - we have gone through the grandkids mother and that really ticks my son off.  He says I'm trying to go behind his back.  Wife #1 runs hot & cold.  Sometimes it works & sometimes not.

Cremebrulee, you are a joy to me.  I too am happy to be free from that kind of marriage but right now, it feels like I'm still in it!  My husband has really been my friend.  He has helped me see that I am a good person.  It breaks his heart too that my son has turned his back on us.  My husband never had children until mine.  Poor man!  I always worry that he will tire of all this drama & run for the hills.

When I gave birth to my sons, never in all my wildest dreams did I ever think this could happen.  They are the light of my life.  My grandkids are the delight of my life.  I hope someday soon, we can all live in harmony.  I just want a normal relationship with my family.  Peace & lots of love!  I thank God every day that son #2's wife is a good person!

Thanks for all your input!  I don't feel so all alone anymore!



Well, we can only make changes in our own lives. Others are in charge of theirs. Wanting them to be different, agonizing over what happened, being hit so hard emotionally that it cripples us physically...doesn't help.

Most of us have expectations when our children marry. They call themselves adults and some are. Some aren't. When my sons married, I had to realize that my expectations were mine. I manufactured them and my sons weren't responsible to fulfill them. A very, very painful lesson. "I did my part...why wouldn't/couldn't they do theirs?" I had some kind of a script, some kind of a choreography and some kind of a storyline, I guess...so we could all just live "happily ever after."

Again, people who leave home and marry are not necessarily adults and responsible. They don't necessarily have integrity or even horse-sense. For many of us, those things are learned over the years and at great cost. Probably no one is born wise.

When adult children mess up, it is often quite wonderful for them to have someone to blame. When they are thoughtless and unkind...ditto. What a relief...it's not their fault, it's ours. When it dawns on them that we aren't and never were perfect and made mistakes ourselves...some think they have us over a barrel.

As parents we can try too hard and do too much...or, conversely, we can be overwhelmed, feel inadequate and not do enough. Some of us were so talented we were able to do both. Kids can be confused and/or be brimming over with a sense of entitlement. And it's all too late now. That's the Catch 22. It's a so what?

After my youngest son's first marriage crashed and his chosen career was in shambles, he came to me to tell me that he knew I hadn't been a perfect mom but he would never have wanted anyone else. (To this day he introduces me as his "oldest friend.") He also told me that any mistakes he made from then on (and there were plenty) were his own and he was not going to attribute them to me or his dad. He said he was taking charge of his own life and when he was a success, he was happy to announce in advance that  he wouldn't have to give us credit....(laughing.)  He didn't get there in a day or a week.

My other son never got there...he was a "victim" of his upbringing because that was so very handy. They are individuals. They do with life what they do. We give them our best and they set sail. Seldom are the seas always calm...sometimes there are storms and shark-infested (rotten DILs?) waters. That's about them, not us.

Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Luise...excellent post!!!

boy can I relate to this....so true!

Most of us have expectations when our children marry. They call themselves adults and some are. Some aren't. When my sons married, I had to realize that my expectations were mine. I manufactured them and my sons weren't responsible to fulfill them. A very, very painful lesson. "I did my part...why wouldn't/couldn't they do theirs?" I had some kind of a script, some kind of a choreography and some kind of a storyline, I guess...so we could all just live "happily ever after."


Wow Luise.  That was a most excellent post and right on target for me.  I am guilty of that but until I read this, I never really thought about it in this manner.   I do have expectations that I just took for granted that my son would fill as an adult.  I have been thinking of them as "that is what he is supposed to do because of how I raised him and the values I instilled in him."  You are absolutely right, those are MY expectations, not his.

What an eye-opening post for me!  Thank you Luise!

Two thumbs up! ;D

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell