Christine Hammond is a licensed Mental Health Counselour. In her article on the website, PsychCentral, she shares great tips on how to survive narcissistic in-laws.
Hammond shares the struggles of a woman named Claudia. Claudia is married to Clarke, and during their vacation, they visited Clarke’s mother. Clarke’s mother would make snarky comments at Claudia, such as; “If Claudia took better care of you, this wouldn’t happen, you never got the flu with me.” “Enjoy [your children] now because one day, they will leave you for someone else.”
To survive the weekend with her narcissistic mother-in-law, Claudia employed the following techniques
- Avoid being fooled by flattery. Claudia thought she had a good relationship with Clark’s mother at the beginning of their relationship. Then later heard from Clarke that “his mother encouraged him to walk away from the pending marriage.” Once Claudia heard about this, Claudia viewed her mother-in-law’s pleasantries “as bait to draw her in so she can be attacked later.”
- Turn the tables. Claudia realised “that Clark’s mother would draw her into a conversation that quickly turned into a competition of who showed more love to her husband.” She couldn’t altogether avoid conversations with her as her mother-in-law would comment to Clarke that Claudia hates her and won’t even talk to her.” Therefore, instead of avoiding to converse with Clarke’s mother, Claudia instead “decided to intentionally converse with her mother-in-law about herself [and] avoid talking about herself and her mother-in-law could retain the spotlight.”
- Anticipate the attacks and have a comeback ready. Claudia describes how her mother-in-law had a larger than life persona, which caused Claudia to doubt herself when she was receiving insults from her mother-in-law. Clarke’s mother was always on the offense, and as a result, Claudia was still on the defense. To survive, she would plan to have a comeback ready. For example, Clarke’s mother once said, “Every good mother knows how to do this,” and Claudia retaliated, saying, “Good mothers might not know that, but great mothers do this.” Hammond advises that “by anticipating her mother-in-law’s negativity…Claudia was able to survive the weekend confidently.”
For more information, read the full article here.