My Wife’s Narcissistic Mother
If you are considering a marriage to a woman who comes as a “package deal” with a “narcissistic mother” in tow, you need to read this post to understand what you are getting into. First let’s define what I mean by “narcissistic mother.” This is a “self-centered” parent, single or with a husband, who has no intention of letting go of her daughter.
Put it like this, you can marry her (the daughter), but that doesn’t mean you’ll have her. Get in line, and the first one in line in terms of who gets to influence her thoughts and feelings is, you guessed it, her mother.
Let me put it in clinical language, you are marrying a woman who has not resolved her emotional dependency on her mother before marrying you. Technically speaking, it’s always a good idea to emotionally separate a bit before getting married. It makes connecting on an intimate level with the person you are marrying a lot easier. But, that’s not the case in this particular situation.
Next, when I say “package deal” what do I mean? I mean marrying the daughter, means you get the mother too. Whether it be a living situation that includes your mother-in-law, or a “triangle” love relationship where you get the 3rd and last place in a trio of relationships that will inevitably feel like you are last.
Look at it this way, the relationship between your wife and her mother has been in existence for a lot longer than the one you have with her daughter. This “fact” will be put in your face regularly as you keep trying, in whatever way possible, to have that exclusive twosome relationship you were hoping a marriage would provide. You see, your mother-in-law never intended to give her daughter away. Usually because she secretly, or not so secretly, feels she “needs” her.
But that’s not the worse part. The worse part is, she will continue to behave like a “parent” even now that her daughter is an adult. This translates into a “power play” that usually explains the conflicts that show up between a new husband and his mother-in-law. She wants control over her daughter and sees you, the husband, as potentially interfering with that objective.
If there was a way to correct this problem and avoid the inevitable conflicts, believe me I would be the first to tell you about it. Unfortunately, with this kind of power play, the best you can hope for is she’ll (your mother-in-law) back down, back off, or at least tolerate your position as the first and last one your wife (her daughter) goes to when there’s a problem. This will, unfortunately, be a win you’ll have to fight for. If you’re a spirited fellow, go to it.
Nothing could be more noble than fighting for the one you love, despite the fact that you are doing so “after” marrying her.
Comments welcome. Dr. T. Jordan