No one’s in-laws are perfect, but there is almost nothing worse than a narcissistic christian mother in law. In my experience they seem like such nice people on the outside. But as you get to know them, the depths of their psychological manipulation have no bounds. Here is how you deal with a christian narcissist mother-in-law.
A christian narcissist mother-in-law can identified because they, always put themselves first, are fixated on looking perfect, and manipulate you to get what they want. Overcome them by learning how they work, identifying their manipulation as it happens, and setting healthy boundaries with them.
Learn to overcome a christian narcissist mother-in-law in the rest of article.
Signs of a Narcissistic Christian Mother in Law
The first step in overcoming a narcissist is to learn their behavioral patterns, and identify what is a abuse, and which is just normal mother-in-law behavior. Narcissist are good at making their intentions, and making people think that everything is normal. So learning how to pull the mask off is of the utmost importance.
They Show Traits of Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse
Narcissists are individuals with deep seated insecurities that make them dependent on internal validation and excessively pained by criticism, both internal and external.
To protect themselves from pain and build up a cloud of positive support around them, narcissist do their best to make themselves appear to be super, great, or perfect. Most narcissist have no moral qualms with lying, fabricating evidence, or using abusive tactics to get what they want. Even christian narcissist who profess to follow a biblical or scriptural code of ethics.
Some things you might see from a narcissist mother-in-law include —
- Gaslighting (making you feel crazy or out of touch)
- Storytelling / lying
- “Forgetting” key details
- Triangulation (bringing in third parties to support their false narrative)
- Hot and cold
- “Love bombing” (when they suddenly just adore you)
- Labeling their children as “golden children” or “problem children”
- Having difficult empathizing with others
For more details on how narcissist work, I recommend the following short articles —
- Signs of a Narcissist | 21 Behaviors of the Classical Narcissist
- Understanding the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse | Breaking the Chain
Your Mother-in-Law Acts “Holier than Thou”
The defining feature of christian narcissists is the fact that they use religion and the church as a weapon in their arsenal against you. Some common tactics include —
- Humble bragging about how devout she is
- Take on public roles in church leadership or events
- Putting down or porting out flaws about other church members
- Acting “holier than thou”
- Using scripture to justify her own wants and desires
- Making up bible verses, or using them far out of context
- Creating narratives where she is the victim of oppression by evil people because of her faith (and you might be one of those “evil” people)
As a christian narcissist, your mother-in-law constantly try to reinforce that they are just so much purer and better than you. They follow the bible and such-and-such religious teachings, while you fail to meet up to standards.
If you are the wife of an individual with a narcissistic mother, then this abuse is likely to be more intense, since in some respects you “replace” the mother in your spouse’s life. This may make the narcissist threatened if they are worried they don’t measure up. Therefore, your mother-in-laws focus may be more on putting you down than on bragging about themselves.
Your Spouse is Complicate in the Abuse
The toughest part of having a christian narcissist mother-in-law is that your spouse will probably take their side.
Children raised by narcissists may turn out to be great people, but generally harbor wounds and confusion from childhood as a result. Narcissist want people to admire them, and do everything they can to program their children to believe they are right no matter what.
Even if your spouse can see that there is something wrong with how their mother acts and thinks, they will have difficulty fully internalizing this. Often they will revert to old behavior where they can be lead and manipulated by their mother willingly.
A standard technique of narcissistic manipulation is triangulation, where the narcissist turns other people against you. With a narcissistic mother-in-law, this person is likely to be your spouse.
It may be that your husband has developed traits of narcissism. For more see the following articles —
More information to help your spouse here —
- Dealing with a Narcissistic Christian Mother | Beating Toxic Religion ## Ways to Overcome a Christian Mother in Law
Now that you know what to look for in terms of abuse, it is time to set healthy boundaries. Here are four techniques you can use to overcome your narcissistic christian mother-in-law.
Communicate What You are Seeing with Your Spouse
As you are coming to grips with the reality of your mother-in-law’s narcissism, it is important that you communicate what you are seeing and feeling openly with your spouse. But, this needs to be done delicately.
I mentioned before that children of narcissists tend to accumulate emotional scars and false beliefs that make them reluctant or unable to question the “perfect” image their mother cultivated in their mind.
Some tips for broaching the topic of your spouse’s mother’s narcissism —
- Make flat, unemotional statements about the facts of their mother’s abuse behavior as it happens
- Point out their mother’s lies whenever you have proof positive that it isn’t true, as soon as you can afterwords
- Avoid direct accusations or implications of guilt of either them or their mother
- Discuss this with your spouse’s siblings, relatives, and other people who know the narcissist mother well and try to determine who sees through her behavior. These people might be able to help your spouse see the issues without it having to come from your mouth
- Have your spouse read articles about narcissism, like this one or those linked above
- Focus on how your feel as a result of their mother’s behavior, rather than classifying it as right or wrong
- Seek help from a qualified coach or counselor
In the end, your spouse may never fully believe that their mother is a narcissist. But, it is important that you keep them in the loop, and you give them the opportunity to observe their mother’s effect on you first hand.
Cut Off Abuse as It Starts
Now that you have the tools to see where the abuse is coming in. You need to stop the abuse as it happens.
Once you notice your narcissist christian mother-in-law staring on the abuse phase of the cycle of abuse, then you need to —
- Remove yourself from the situation
- Redirect the conversation — things that the narcissist likes about themselves are good choices of conversation
- Ignoring the bad behavior, and eliminating your emotional reaction to it
Directly calling out or shining light on the narcissistic behavior rarely proves to generate an overall positive result, which is why I don’t recommend the confrontational approach. Instead, it usually causes even more abuse in the future.
On the other hand, narcissists rarely continue with the same abuse tactics if they are not working. Knowing what is happening and tempering your emotional response to it makes narcissistic abuse tactics ineffective, thus rendering them pointless.o
If you maintain vigilance and cut off narcissistic abuse at the root, your christian narcissist mother-in-law will be less likely to abuse you in the future.
Identify and Reduce Situations Where Abuse Is Likely
A third important step is notice what time abuse is more likely. This could be during —
- Family vacations
- During particular phone conversations
- When your spouse is at work
- Certain times of the year
- During emotional or stressful situations
- When certain people are (or are not) around
When you can see abuse coming, then you have the opportunity to disrupt the pattern.
Make a list of overtime that you notice abuse, and after you have ten or more instances, try looking for any common elements. Once you have identified times when abuse is more likely, don’t enter in to those situations.
Once again, don’t cut off your narcissist mother in law directly, as that causes more abuse in the end. Instead think of innocent and plausible reasons why you can’t take part in events that have caused you to be abused in the past.
Develop a Support Network
Lastly, find people that understand where you are coming from. This can be friends, family members, pastors, councilors, etc.
However, beware of people that have not experienced narcissism first hand, or people that know and may be influenced by your narcissistic christian mother-in-law, as they might eventually fall back under her influence.
If you need additional support, we offer coaching for victims of narcissistic mother-in-laws — Get Coaching.