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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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My son has married a women who in the beginning was charming,

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My son has married a women who in the beginning was charming, sweet and loving. She seemed to be the perfect compliment to my son, who is hard worker, loyal and quiet. They had been married about 3 years when she suddenly seemed to change. A series of events led my other son to suggest she was acting like a narcissist. I researched the subject and it does seem like she has a lot of the characteristics. Her mother died in childbirth so there may be some bonding issues early in her life. Also, she had a lot of conflicts in school and ended up in a girls home in Junior High. Her relationship with her step mother was horrible. She blames her for this. I know the mother and her family and they seem to be good people that show her love. But she has a habit of putting others down, and when a group of ladies from our church didn't treat her like she thought they should she wrote a horrible profanity- laced blog (that she knew I read) that was all about how they didn't care about her and they were shallow and she did not want to have anything to do with them. The worst part was that one of the girls is my other sons wife so this has created a very big problem in our family. I was horrified when I read the blog because I had no clue she was feeling like this. I took it as her being insecure and so I shared the blog with her sister-in-law thinking it might make her sympathetic to her feelings and cause her to reach out and reassure her that she was cared about. And I told her that even though they might not be best friends they can still have a special bond. Well the whole thing blew up. My other daughter-in- law was very angry that she would write something like that. We decided to have a family meeting to straighten things out. We wanted to let her know that her feelings may be real but that it wasn't true that others didn't care about her. And also we thought her expectations of people were not realistic. I'm not sure we accomplished much though. She said the problem was me sharing the blog with her sister-in-law. I pointed out to her that it was a public blog. And that for all I knew someone could of said someone to her about it anyway. But I did apologize for doing it and even though I know my intentions were to bring healing, I need to stay out of the middle from now on. My son has told her she needs to apologize but she doesn't see the need. And says she has no empathy for others feelings. After reading about this disorder I am worried about my son. I want him to learn about it so he can know how to respond to her. He has a tendency to want peace at all costs. Does it sound like NPD? Should we tell him about this info we have found. I will show love to her because I want her to get better. I hate drama! But she seems to love to create it! I am anxious to hear your answer. Thanks!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question. I can understand your concern for your son and your worries about your daughter-in-law. Her birth experience and upbringing certainly sound like she may have had a challenging time as a child.

Dr. L :

You were right in seeing the blog as public material and it certainly seems that your heart was pure in wanting to inform your other daughter-in-law about the content, and then later suggesting a family meeting. I do wonder what your daughter-in-laws motivation was in writing the blog in the first place. Was she hurt? Was this way of processing her feelings? Did she want one or more of the ladies from church to read it and feel bad?

Dr. L :

In any event, it would seem that the blog incident has come and gone and that your greater concern now is about your son and how his wife's behavior will impact him.

Dr. L :

You ask if her behavior sounds like NPD. While it is impossible for me to make a diagnosis without interviewing your daughter-in-law, the information you have provided leads me to say that she does not have NPD. Rather, what appears to have happened was that her encounter with the ladies from church left her feeling empty and uncared for and she attempted to process these feelings by blogging. While the words in her blog were offensive to you and caused you some amount of emotional pain, she is the owner of the blog and has the right to post whatever she pleases. Should she have used some discretion and been more careful about the words she chose? Certainly that would have been your advice to her. And, yes, it is unfortunate that she chose to use such raw language to express herself.

Dr. L :

The pain she felt after interacting with the women from church may be connected to how she has felt treated by other women in her life. As you point out, her mother died in childbirth, she had conflicts in school, she had a difficult relationship with her step-mother...all these suggest that she may feel insecure and mistrustful of other women....and that she may have difficulty letting other women into her life.

Dr. L :

I do think she will benefit greatly from your caring, loving, and compassionate responses to her. She likely has never had a trusting, secure relationship with a mother figure. This is something you could offer to her.

Dr. L :

As to your son, if he has concerns about the behavior of his wife, has difficulty understanding her actions, or is concerned about his own future, then I would encourage him to see a psychologist so that he can gain a better understanding of her personality and its impact on his life.

Dr. L :

I see that you are offline, when you come online I will be notified.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

Customer: I do want to be a trusted, secure mother figure to her. Something has changed since the blog incident though. After the family meeting everyone was struck by how she didn't take responsibility for any of it. My son told her she should apologize but she said she is not a people pleaser and she doesn't care how it makes people feel. That is why I thought she has acted like a narcicist. No empathy. And also the fact that from what I read they only like people that will feed their Narcisistic supply. So when she wasn't adored by the other women she lashed out at them. Also, her habit of putting people down. It said they do this to feel better about themselves. But I understand that you can't diagnose her.
Customer: I am very aware that I shouldn't be a meddling mother-in-law and get between them so I haven't said anything to my son and I am acting like everything is ok with her. I pray for him to be a Godly leader to his family and I can tell that he is working hard to be that. I can also sense his frustration because he knows she is not acting right. It concerned me greatly when I read about how a narcissist can inflict a lot of damage. She has the stronger personality. He is not perfect of course and he holds things in until he explodes. I guess I was asking if I should mention to him the info I found because I want to warn him so that he can be strong and not let her get away with things. Like I said he is peace at all costs. She has already alienated them from some, good, decent people that have known him all his life. I guess I should mention that they have a lot of stresses right now.
Customer: Blessings really but still very stressful. Job promotion that required them to move an hour and a half away. They are living in an apartment while their house is being built. Three kids 7 , 2 and 1 year old. When they met she had a three year old son from a previous marriage that he adores. Her ex supposedly cheated on her with numerous women and they split up. They had the two babies right away. She is consumed with wanting everything to be perfect and freaks out a lot. Perfect town, school, house, church, etc.
Customer: It seems from your answer that I shouldn't do anything unless maybe he asks for advice on what to do? And I certainly don't want to label her with a disorder. Thanks for any additional insight you can give.
Dr. L :

I can certainly understand why you want to warn your son and help him be better prepared should her actions continue in the future. My fear is that he may misunderstand your intentions; seeing you as trying to create a wedge between he and his wife or offering him something that he does not want. He is already feeling the sting of her poor behavior and, as you say, wants peace at any cost. That suggests to me that he is less interested in understanding why she acts as she does, but rather how he can manage her actions and keep the peace. Presenting him with information about NPD, therefore, is giving him information he likely will not want.

Dr. L :

It is unfortunate that her behavior has alienated good people. And from the statements you have made...this may continue in the future. Likely the best you can do here is to point out these situations to your son and ask him what he thinks of them. Because he is an adult and this is his wife, he will have to decide what he can and cannot tolerate. This situation is a good example of letting "life be the teacher"...there isn't much you can say here really...and if they loose friends, alienate good people, have broken relationships with family members...hopefully your son will pay attention to these things and take control of the situation.

Dr. L :

By staying in the background...being that supportive mother-figure to her...you will have the opportunity to have a positive influence on their lives. In the long run, being seen in a positive light is far better for all of you.

Customer: Thank for your help. I appreciate your advice and think I will stay in the background.
Dr. L :

I understand that it will be difficult to watch this all unfold. However, I do think that the best role you can play is to be that supportive ear for your son and that steady presence for your daughter in law.

Dr. L :

I wish you the best...

Dr. L :

Take care!

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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