8 Signs Of Narcissistic In-laws & How To Spot Them

What is a covert narcissist?

One of the toughest subtypes to spot is the covert narcissist, because they blend into the background much of the time. They aren’t a cliché of a grandiose, self-obsessed, “look at me” narcissist. Instead, they are quietly cruel.

As a covert narcissist everything still ends up being all about them, but they never outright say that they feel they deserve special privileges. Instead, they will just subconsciously make everything difficult or impossible for everyone else until they get their way. The covert narcissist is more like Wonder Woman’s invisible plane. On the surface they are loving, caring parents that want the best for you and their child. Beneath the charming façade they harbor jealousy and do everything to manipulate your lives and create division

Narcissistic in-laws can ruin a marriage. The child of a narcissist will sometimes already be wise to their parent’s behavior, but other times they have to be made aware of it by seeing them through their partner’s eyes.

Telltale signs you have covert narcissistic in-laws

They Ignore Boundaries

They are big on doing what they want, when they want. Don’t want them to call when the baby’s asleep? They’ll do it anyway. They drop by unannounced and feel completely entitled to do so. This equally applies if they mind your boundaries but can’t seem to realise that their own offspring is no longer a child and now deserves a life apart, without being checked on constantly.

Everything and anything is their business. The requests for information feel more like a demand rather than a respectful exchange. You get push back if you try and set healthy boundaries.

They’re Good At Guilt-tripping

Narcissistic in-laws are really good at guilt tripping there biological adult kids into spending more family time with them. They will make the spouse feel really bad about not choosing them.

They Are Overly Reliant

These are the in-laws who really require your spouse or partner to be the dominant force in their life, and pretend to be completely helpless without them. They get their needs met and, as they see it, their children benefit because they get to feel useful and loved. They do not understand that your partner’s first duty is in fact to you, and will get extremely upset or bitter if you’re “put first,” forcing the partner into a seriously awkward position.

The Subtle Manipulators

These in-laws us the art of subtle manipulation to get what they want: whether it’s praise from their grandchildren, time with their beloved son or daughter, or whatever else they prioritize. Your own thoughts, feelings, and choices don’t matter, and if necessary they will do virtually anything to get what they feel they deserve, from tantrums, silent treatments and crying,  to guilt to bribery.

They like those who are most like them

When one of their children brings in an outsider who goes against the theme of the family they can see it as an attack. If you don’t fit into the mould they have created – you’re seen as a problem that needs fixing.  They love to impose their traditions, values and beliefs on you and if you don’t submit, you’re a target of a lifetime of subtle emotional abuse.

Narcissistic In-laws Will Dominate The Holidays

Holidays are all about when they schedule it and you just have to fall in. They book their flights way in advance without a blink of an eye. they show no remorse or respect for your time  with your kids. They love stealing attention from your children by their constant need to be in the spotlight, and showering your children with money and gifts. They love to know what the grandkids will be getting for christmas because they will want to get a bigger and better version of the same thing, and will unregrettably undermine you and your spouse’s attempts to make your kids happy.   In extreme cases where a narcissistic in-law is not getting their way, you can expect them to turn your kids against you. This could be done by trying to buy your children’s love.

The Dominators

They might want dominate your children’s time. This is especially obvious as the children grow and want to spend time with friends. Expect them to get angry with your child and ultimately you for not making the kids stay home with grandpa or grandma.

Narcissistic In-laws Seek Control Of Your Relationship.

They may feel entitled to your family’s time, often demanding holidays and vacations with you, dominating vacation choices or even the menu on holidays. The victim of this type of divisive abuse quickly learns to stay in their lane and not complain because it’s met on deaf ears.

More signs to look out for:

  • They will be in denial about the fact that your spouse has responsibilities in your household and that they’re not always going to be able to drop everything when their TV breaks. However, this is exactly what the narcissist in-law will expect.
  • Triangulation tactic: This is where the inlaw will tell you one thing and tell your spouse another – with the main intention of planting a seed of discord between you. If this works, the way they hoped it will, they will isolate the two of you from each other. They can also pull this tactic on your kids to pit them against each other or against you.
  • They become critical of you behind your back, at first planting seeds in your spouse’s head. Little things become inflated to become issues they advise your spouse to watch out for.
  • Narcissistic in-laws think of their children as possessions who belong to them and no one else, including a spouse.

You’ll notice a lot of mean behaviors

  • They will sit down very quickly when going to a restaurant, so the targeted partner is left without a place or has to sit alone.
  • They won’t say hello to you when they enter a room, but will be overly loving when in-front of your spouse.
  • They  don’t respect your words, choices, or personal space. They will come to your house uninvited and unannounced, expecting you to welcome them with open arms and be grateful for the honor of their visit.
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