In an effort to remain the most important person in their child’s life, a narcissistic in-law can try to build a rift between members of a couple. If your spouse was raised by narcissistic parents, they can easily become enmeshed in these behaviors and view them as normal. This can make it challenging for them to set boundaries or even to understand where you’re coming from.
“For example, a partner could express that their parent’s behavior is one the other should ‘get used to’ or justify it as how he or she grew up,” Spinelli explains. “This denial of unhealthy behaviors will ultimately elicit feeling unsupported, unseen, and unheard.”
If you and your spouse aren’t on the same page about the situation, it may lead to a breakdown in communication. “One partner may begin to shut down, and the other continues to criticize the first partner for not being more tolerant,” she explains.
Even if the couple agrees about the unhealthy dynamics of the in-laws, she adds, “there is still an impact as the couple may find themselves depleted from the constant interjection of the narcissistic in-laws in their lives.”