5 Signs Your In-Laws are Narcissistic

Hey Optimist Minds!

If your relationship with your partner is getting serious, you may have decided to meet each other’s families. It could go pretty smoothly with everyone getting along well. But it could also turn out to be challenging.

Perhaps they’re a little distant or judgemental. Maybe their political views are opposite to yours. They might also be nosy, critical, or demanding. While it is common for couples to have such issues with their in-laws, these can be overcome with effective strategies. However, if your in-laws turn out to be narcissistic, you may see it as a potential dealbreaker.

When a narcissist enters your life, directly or indirectly, they’re likely to become a serious obstacle to your wellbeing. That’s because narcissists struggle with poor mental health and with barely any insight about it. The lack of insight prevents them from getting better and makes it stressful for other people connected to them.

In case you’re having trouble with your in-laws, this video will help you understand whether that’s because of narcissistic tendencies. The information shared here can allow you to make the right decisions and find the necessary resources to deal with the situation. 

A quick disclaimer: This video is not created to diagnose or condemn narcissists. Only use this content to help you or someone you know.

So here are five signs your in-laws are narcissistic.

Number One

They seem snooty or cold. 

Have your in-laws made it obvious that they don’t like you? Do they behave in demeaning ways or remind you that you’re lucky your partner picked you?

If your in-laws are grandiose narcissists, they’ll probably judge you on the basis of your appearance, social status, and finances. They see their child more as an extension of themselves than as an actual person. It doesn’t matter to them what makes their child happy. They’re more concerned about how this union will make them look.

Straight from the first interaction, they’ll be examining you. Let’s say you tick all their boxes. In that case, they’ll approve of you in the beginning but as the relationship progresses, you’ll see that you’re not allowed to make mistakes. Doing anything that they don’t agree with will put you in their bad books in spite of the successful start.

Number Two

It’s not just you. They treat all family members disrespectfully.

Coldness could also be a consequence of protectiveness. Maybe they just don’t want their son or daughter to get hurt by you. One way of figuring out whether the rejection comes from narcissism is to inspect how the whole family interacts.

Do they talk to their spouse and children in a condescending manner? Have you witnessed them weaponise your partner’s insecurities?

Narcissists are quite uniform in how they treat other people no matter what the relation. They’ll seem haughty, obnoxious, and will have a holier than thou attitude towards everyone. If they do pick favourites, it’s because they need admirers and they want to turn people against each other.

Number Three

They’re extremely controlling.

Does this person have trouble minding their own business? Do they go around telling people what they can or can’t do? Maybe they never treat your partner like an adult or try to influence your marital life.

Narcissists tend to be highly manipulative and authoritative. They feel compelled to control everything around them including what you and your partner do. This could be simpler things like what clothes should be worn, how you spend the holidays, or where you go for vacations.

They might also butt into important decisions like career choices, where to live, and whether to have children.

Number Four

Establishing boundaries is next to impossible.

After experiencing all the situations we’ve mentioned so far, you and your partner must have tried to establish clear boundaries. It’s likely that these attempts weren’t successful. 

When you voice a concern to someone with narcissistic tendencies, they respond by ignoring, dismissing, demeaning, and attacking. They may say things like “you’re overreacting” or “you’re too sensitive”.

A narcissistic in-law will probably gaslight you by invalidating your feelings, lying persistently, or by turning the conversation around to make you look bad. Even if you word everything carefully and try your best not to offend them, they still won’t give you what you’re asking for.

Number Five

Your partner doesn’t see how toxic your in-laws are.

A big red flag is when you speak to your partner about the uncomfortable exchange with your in-law and they don’t get what you’re talking about. If your partner is blind to narcissistic behaviour, it’s because they’ve grown up seeing it and have accepted it as normal.

You can be sure of this if your partner doesn’t stand up for you when the in-law is blatantly disrespecting you. They’re either scared of the narcissist or unaware of what’s happening. In such scenarios, address the issue with your partner and see if there’s any scope of support.

It only makes sense to go ahead with this relationship if you’re able to show your partner what’s wrong. Otherwise, be prepared to compromise on your mental health because single-handedly taking on a narcissistic in-law is quite exhausting.

Did these signs remind you of anyone related to your partner? Does this information explain why you haven’t been able to win them over yet? Let us know in the comments.

Though narcissists can be very difficult to deal with, understanding the situation is the first step to handling it better. It’s also a good idea for you and your partner to consult a therapist and minimise the damage already caused.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.