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Old October 12th, 2017, 10:08 PM
serenity32 serenity32 is offline
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In law trouble

Hi, I'm trying to figure out if my MIL is a narcissist. She definitely lacks empathy and is self centered but also capable of generosity and never overtly negative towards me (but can be very hard on my spouse, her son) The thing that has really thrown me more than anything else is an incident that happened earlier this summer. My 4 year old lost consciousness on the way to hospital with suspected pneumonia. I had to call 911 and when we got him to hospital he was very ill, having trouble breathing, requiring lots of oxygen etc I text my in laws at some point later that day to let them know what had happened. His grandmother text back something benign like 'may God take care of him' and then we heard nothing from her or her husband for a full 2 days....he was extremely ill and as his parents we were terrified. After 2 days she sent a text to ask how he was and after a lot of thought I decided to gently let her know we were hurt that they had not been in touch. She replied that she had been traumatized herself by our sons illness and that she felt faint at the exact time he lost consciousness (this turned out to be off by a day timing wise) and that she is psychically linked to him and doesn't need to call and ask about him as she just 'knows' Her husband also sent an angry text defending her and saying again that she just 'knows' what's going on etc and doesn't need to get in touch. I was so hurt that they could know my son was so ill and not need to know he was okay or not want to call and talk to him or us. It's consistent with a history of not keeping in touch and having little to no interest in their grandkids but this was an eye opener. I think I was in denial before and now I'm so hurt and angry I don't know how I can stand to be around them on their annual 2 week visit next year. I'm driving myself crazy trying to understand them. I'd love to hear any opinions. She did eventually apologize in a text about 3 days later. We think my sister in law had a word with her but the family MO is to pretend the entire thing never happened. There are a million more incidents but for me this was by far the most hurtful as I can't think of any excuse that could make it okay. Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old October 13th, 2017, 10:00 AM
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KayKay KayKay is offline
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Re: In law trouble

Narcissists are capable of generosity, as long as it makes them look good. I am relieved for you that she is not overtly negative towards you. Your MIL may be a narcissist, or she may not be. I think it's kind of dangerous to diagnose other people, especially over the internet based off of one episode relayed by a third party.

Truthfully, does it matter? Having the label "narcissist" hung on her changes nothing for you, right? Whether she is or not, you can't change her behavior. You have to move forward and do what's right for you, your husband, and your son.

I'm having a hard time thinking of what that might be at this point though.

Do you mind me asking more questions? How does your husband feel about the situation and his mother? Do you live far away? How often do you see them? Do you want your in laws to be a more active part of your life?
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Old October 16th, 2017, 07:25 PM
JackieJ JackieJ is offline
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Re: In law trouble

Relationships with family members can be very complicated. Kay Kay is correct. The label that may or may not apply doesn't really change the situation. It sounds like your MIL may not be able to support and connect with you in a way that is meaningful to you. Sometimes, we have expectations of people and they are just not able (for whatever reason) to meet those expectations. It is often better to have standards of how we would like to be treated. If a person doesn't meet the standard, we have to place them at more of a distance, and not allow them to have access to our hearts. It doesn't sound like your MIL is able (at least now) to meet your standards. Perhaps, it is time to adjust your expectations. She has probably been that way all of her life. I am wondering how that has impacted your husband and his ability to related, support, and connect with you.
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Old October 23rd, 2017, 05:47 AM
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Re: In law trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenity32 View Post
Hi, I'm trying to figure out if my MIL is a narcissist. She definitely lacks empathy and is self centered but also capable of generosity and never overtly negative towards me (but can be very hard on my spouse, her son) The thing that has really thrown me more than anything else is an incident that happened earlier this summer. My 4 year old lost consciousness on the way to hospital with suspected pneumonia. I had to call 911 and when we got him to hospital he was very ill, having trouble breathing, requiring lots of oxygen etc I text my in laws at some point later that day to let them know what had happened. His grandmother text back something benign like 'may God take care of him' and then we heard nothing from her or her husband for a full 2 days....he was extremely ill and as his parents we were terrified. After 2 days she sent a text to ask how he was and after a lot of thought I decided to gently let her know we were hurt that they had not been in touch. She replied that she had been traumatized herself by our sons illness and that she felt faint at the exact time he lost consciousness (this turned out to be off by a day timing wise) and that she is psychically linked to him and doesn't need to call and ask about him as she just 'knows' Her husband also sent an angry text defending her and saying again that she just 'knows' what's going on etc and doesn't need to get in touch. I was so hurt that they could know my son was so ill and not need to know he was okay or not want to call and talk to him or us. It's consistent with a history of not keeping in touch and having little to no interest in their grandkids but this was an eye opener. I think I was in denial before and now I'm so hurt and angry I don't know how I can stand to be around them on their annual 2 week visit next year. I'm driving myself crazy trying to understand them. I'd love to hear any opinions. She did eventually apologize in a text about 3 days later. We think my sister in law had a word with her but the family MO is to pretend the entire thing never happened. There are a million more incidents but for me this was by far the most hurtful as I can't think of any excuse that could make it okay. Thanks in advance for any advice!
Hi Serenity,
I'd like to reassure you first, that I'm totally on-board with how and why you feel as you do, before presenting my opinion. Many years ago, I used to try very hard to understand, the person who hurt or offended me, and why they did the things they did..it's seemed so pertinent, then, to try and figure it all out, by understanding the person.

It doesn't work...what worked for me, is this....
People never seem to live up to our expectations, and to expect them to do so, is setting them and you up to fail.

You've already suspected that she is narcissistic, and mostly likely she is....but what you have to grasp is the fact, that she will never, think and feel as you do about issues, and situations.

I strongly believe, that once you come to terms with that, your feelings won't be hurt as much by these people.

For whatever reasons, people, all people regardless of how closely attached they are to us, never think and feel the same way we do....and please understand, I'm not saying your wrong, what I'm saying is, if you can understand this, perhaps you'll be able to accept more easily the behavior of others.

And please know, I still struggle with this myself, but it's getting better as I age.

Wishing you my best.
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