My mother-in-law is a narcissist, as well. While I can now say that and put a name to what she is, I didn’t know before. However, I always knew that she was kind of spoiled, self-centered, and selfish. She always uses double-messages and basically tries to make you feel guilty, all the while posing as a charming, kindhearted woman.
For example, she would invite you to dinner at the last minute and she would say something like “Do you want to come for dinner tonight? I know it’s last minute and if you already have plans, that’s okay. I understand. But I really want to have all of you here tonight. I’m baking a meatloaf and potatoes with corn-in-the-cob and I’ve been working so hard on this meal. But I understand if you don’t want to come.”
My brother-in-law and his wife would always cave in and drag their children and cancel everything to go because “Poor Grandma! She’s spending all this time preparing dinner. Let’s just go.” And they would.
I remember the Thanksgiving during my pregnancy, she had been exposed to some virus that could have been dangerous for my unborn baby to be exposed to. When I found out, I called her and excused myself from attending Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, dear! It was as if I had personally attacked her. She started to almost cry on the phone, saying that for once she wanted to have one Thanksgiving dinner with all of her family and how hard she had been cooking for all of us. I told her that she could still have Thanksgiving with all of her family, but she would have to excuse my husband and me for the sake of our unborn baby. She kept on and on and on over the phone.
Needless to say, my husband being the mamma’s boy he is, he went and left me home. Not that I cared, but he was going to be exposed to the virus and then bring it home with him. Therefore, protecting my unborn baby was already out the window.
But I’m getting sidetracked. I never really enjoyed conversations when being at my in-laws’. They never made sense. They would start talking to you, ask you a question, only to just turn around and start talking or even criticizing some relative I had no idea who he or she was. I would be left out of the conversation immediately since I wasn’t privy to the details. They do this to everybody. It doesn’t matter who it is. They invite people over, they are at a picnic, we would be at a restaurant, it doesn’t matter the place, the time, or the reasons for meeting, the conversations would always go to some topic or relative that outsiders would have no idea about or ever met.
During their annual family gatherings, there were always two distinctive groups: Them and the “married into’s,” as we used to refer to ourselves. Since we were all left out of their conversations, we would just gather in another room and talk about whatever that we could all relate to.
It wasn’t until a few months ago when I finally realized the main dynamic about the conversations amongst my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, and my husband. By the way, my in-laws have been married for over 50 years. I came to the conclusion that the only reason their marriage has lasted that long is because my mother-in-law is a taker and a narcissist and my father-in-law is a giver, an enabler, and a codependent. Therefore, their relationship works because he keeps on giving (and does so happily) while she keeps on taking. Here’s an example of how the conversations go with those three.
Mother-In-Law (MIL): I went to see your aunt Lucy at the nursing home today.
My Husband (MH): Really?
MIL: Yes, she’s still the same, complaining about everything, that woman.
Father-In-Law (FIL): Yes, she doesn’t change, does she?
MIL: Always the same, all she can do is talk about her health. Always did, even as a young woman.
(Note: My MIL is always talking about health issues, true or imaginary, and always complaining about other people complaining, which for most part, it is not true, them complaining.)
MH: I had to drive over 100 miles today to go see a client.
Father-In-Law (FIL): Really? Where?
MH: In Port Austin.
MIL: Oh, aunt Lucy was in Port Austin last summer. But now she can’t move anymore. So I decided to bring cookies and blankets for her because someone might as well do something for her and I guess it always has to be me. Nobody else in the family cares.
FIL (looking at my husband): Your mother is always doing things for the family.
MH: Yes, this client wanted a lot of products. But he made me go there and then he didn’t show up.
MIL: Poor you! It’s always the same with your clients.
(Note: My MIL is always poor him and conveniently fails to see the mistakes in my husband’s behaviour. By the way, my husband would fail to mention that he was late for a good half hour and the client couldn’t wait any longer and had to go take care of other business.) (MIL continuing with her own line of thought) By the way, Uncle Billy broke a leg again. And now has all of his daughters running around to take care of him.
FIL: He broke his leg again?
MIL: Yes, I’m going to have to go see him.
MH: I don’t understand why I even bother with these types of clients. They don’t answer my phone calls, they don’t call back, they are not there when they say they will be and after we had set up a meeting.
MIL: I’m concerned about Uncle Billy’s mind. I think he’s losing it.
The one who would be losing it after having to watch that would be me. There they are, two narcs, having their own monologues, seeking supply in the form of devoted attention from the other people sitting at the table, my father-in-law providing the supply to them and trying to carry two different conversations, and me sitting there thinking that it looked like a ping-pong game with my father-in-law being the ping-pong ball and me the only spectator.
I would like to add that my husband has a tendency to set meetings without confirmations. I’ll give you an example of what he did to my mother for her last birthday. He called her on her cell phone to let her know that he was on his way to go say hi to her for her birthday. When he called, my mom was taking a nap and so was my daughter. My mom always mutes the phone for their nap. He also sent her a text message.
He did all that while already on the way there. No previous phone call to ask if she would be home and if he could stop by. Once he got there, he knocked on the door. My mom and my daughter were fast asleep and didn’t hear him. My mom had also disconnected the door bell (she has a chime for door bell that can be unplugged so as not to be bothered.) Since no one was coming to the door, my husband called her again on the cell phone and the home phone. He then called me at work, complaining that he had told my mother that he was going to stop by to say happy birthday and she was not opening the door for him.
I asked him if he had ever gotten hold of her on the phone, to which he said that he had left plenty of voicemail and text messages for her. I repeated my question about actually talking to her and he said that he sent text messages. I then said “So you never actually talked to her, person to person. ” He said, that he had already contacted her. And that kept going on for a while until he finally said that no, he had not spoken with her in person.
I then told him that there was nothing I could do from the office and that she was probably at the park with our daughter if not fully and deeply asleep. He was not happy. He kept on insisting that he had told her. I then said that he should have tried to talk to her in person and not when he was already on the way there. People are busy and they are not waiting on other people or dropping everything just because.
And that’s exactly how he also handles business. He leaves messages saying “I’ll stop by on Monday at 3:00 PM,” but he never really gets a confirmation from his client that they will be there waiting on him to meet him. And then he gets mad and furious at the client for not being there. Hallo? There was no confirmation at all that they would see you. So why do you insist on doing what you want?
But a narcissist expects everybody to do whatever they want. Like that saying, if they say ‘jump’ they expect you to not only ask ‘how high?,’ but also to jump, hop, skip, and stomp. And it will still not be enough.
The world needs to be ready to cater to them. The world cannot be busy with other things or responsibilities. The world needs to be stand-by to provide total attention, admiration, applaud, approval, and cater to every whim he or she may have whenever he or she may have it. You need to eat? You can do that later. You need to go to the bathroom? Hold it. You are thirsty? Wait to drink. You need to go to work? It can wait. They used your car and didn’t fill out the tank? Your fault since it’s your car and you should know if it needs gas or not, regardless of the fact that he or she emptied your tank.
The world needs to stop spinning on their command. And so do you. Stop doing that and he or she will make sure you know their wrath. If you stop to think about it, a narcissist is nothing else than a 4-year old in a man or a woman’s body. It’s sad and embarrassing, isn’t it?
I honestly don’t know how they don’t end up exhausted at the end of the day. It has to be hard work to keep up with all the lies, the fantasies, tracking all of your supplies, what you said to whom… No wonder why they keep their supplies separate. Otherwise, the truth would come out because, after a while, it can’t be easy to track every single thing you said to this or that other person to keep your False Self afloat and to keep the charade. Oh, but that’s right! They are never wrong. Their truth is the only truth that counts. Their reality is the actual reality. It doesn’t matter that we all say the sky is blue on a sunny day. If the narc
hole says that it’s green, then we might all be wrong. In fact, don’t dare correct them. You need to go see the eye doctor because the sky is green and you better accept it. Now. And since you’re on it, go find a therapist to put you in your place and have your mind checked because only a fool like you would see that the sky is blue.