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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a male, 39 years old, married for 18 years. For the last 10 years have had MIL issues. It's a lot of ground to cover but I'll try keep it short with bullet points:

* I never used to have issues with MIL. I actually thought she was nice/harmless, but only ever dealt with her at surface level.
* MIL & FIL live in a different country from wife and I
* 10 years ago they visited us. Wife got upset one night after having coffee with her Mom. When I asked her why she said her Mom was being negative and critical of me and our marriage
* I was expecting my wife would address the problem. She didn't, and then when her Mom got back to Scotland she kept calling and criticizing.
* My wife still did nothing, so I put my foot down and emailed her Mom, told her to stop being nasty towards us (I was firm but not rude).
* I've been public enemy #1 to MIL ever since.
* MIL went into full attack mode, sent a hand-written letter to my Mom, telling her what a terrible son she has raised. Started smearing myself (and her daughter) on Facebook, started gossiping and spreading false rumours about our marriage to common family and friends.
* This went on and off. We maintained contact interspersed with periods of silence for months.
* MIL was never remorseful. We tried to have an adult discussion and explain that her behaviour was hurtful. She said she is an adult and can do whatever she wants.
* My wife decided to go no contact to give us peace. She also said she felt responsible because she used to confide in her Mom about our relationship when we had arguments.
* We have 3 kids now. They have had very little contact with our 2 oldest, and have never met our 3 year old son
* MIL has on several occasions emailed my wife and tried to convince her that she is a victim of mental abuse and that I am controlling her (this was her ill-conceived logic because my wife went no contact, so rather than accept that her daughter is standing up to her she wants to shunt blame on me)
* Relentless and unprovoked attacks on Facebook.
* We ignore and it almost seems to make her more angry
* MIL and FIL are getting older. My wife worries that they will die in the near future and that she wont have peace with them
* I am concerned the no contact is going to make my wife resent me if something happens to her parents. I want her to have contact with them but I don't want to have anything to do with them. At the same time I'd feel nervous because MIL has shown she has no reservation to try to brainwash my wife against me, and she has even said she would do it to our kids.
* MIL has never apologized or relented for her behaviour. She has only ever said "lets not live in the past", yet she gives no assurance that the behaviour wont be repeated again.
* Wife still has almost no contact. Maybe once or twice per year on B'days or Christmas sends some pictures to her Mom/Dad, and says that she loves them.

I'm not sure what to do. I feel like she wants to make full contact with them again soon, but I'm afraid that things wont be any different. I am a guy but I have suffered emotionally with this as well and don't want to be put in the firing line again just because my wife wants to re-kindle her relationship with her un-remorseful narcissistic Mother and enabling Father. I don't want to leave my wife but I feel that is my only option, however I am conflicted because I don't want to leave the kids because I love them so much.
 

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I feel your pain OP...I could have written this post myself. My inlaws were what brought me to TAM, lol.

I have a very similar story to yours. I also have the same concerns as you in that my husband hardly sees or speaks to his parents (his choice), and I worry that he'll blame me if something happened to them. My concerns are purely selfish I admit - my only concern is for our marriage, the inlaws can go to he!l as far as I'm concerned.

I don't know what the answer is but I truly feel for you, talk about being caught in between a rock and a hard place!
 

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You haven't indicated exactly WHAT it is you either did - or she told them you did - for them to have such a low opinion of you.

They didn't get this opinion of you out of the clear blue sky. Either your wife provided the information to them or they saw something while they were there.

Your wife needs to fix this or she's right - something could happen and it will be too late.
 

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You haven't indicated exactly WHAT it is you either did - or she told them you did - for them to have such a low opinion of you.

They didn't get this opinion of you out of the clear blue sky. Either your wife provided the information to them or they saw something while they were there.

Your wife needs to fix this or she's right - something could happen and it will be too late.
Not necessarily true, my inlaws have never liked me, they didn't like hubby's first wife either. The two of us are chalk and cheese, couldn't be more different. It's not us, it's them. They're the same way with SIL's boyfriends (and there's been many!).

I will say though that it was HUGE mistake on your wife's part, to discuss your disagreements with her parents...talk about betrayal of trust. Eep.
 

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Not necessarily true, my inlaws have never liked me, they didn't like hubby's first wife either. The two of us are chalk and cheese, couldn't be more different. It's not us, it's them. They're the same way with SIL's boyfriends (and there's been many!).

I will say though that it was HUGE mistake on your wife's part, to discuss your disagreements with her parents...talk about betrayal of trust. Eep.
Let's not be too hard on the OP's wife. I used to think that my parents would be my most reliable advocates and would move as the story moves. But, alas, parents are individuals too. And some of them flawed.

But I wish I had learned sooner that no matter what rhetorique my parents use, they don't care about my well-being. Mine are just interested in being part of the drama.
 

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Sigh.. i feel you, even though my husband and I have no kids yet we would not want our mil/his mothet to go near our kids considering how she loves to sow discord and bring negativity to our lives with her alcoholism and nassisstic personality disorder. Maybe you could let your wife know its ok to contact them but set some ground rules to protect your own family.. God bless

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Your MIL clearly has issues.

But your wife did made a mistake by confiding in her about your marriage issues/arguments. It's a very common mistake made. A mother most times cannot be objective. She will side with her daughter always unless she has a balanced picture of marriage, where a couple owns faults of the marriage equally. Good luck finding that mindset. It's rare but exists. That's why marriage issues should never be discussed outside of the marriage, unless to a MC.

If she wants to make contact with her parents, it's her choice. I see that you are so concerned you are thinking of leaving her if she makes contact again. Have you told her this? Have you told her every one of your points in your post, so she understands your stance?

Sometimes, a partner must choose between a parent and a spouse, because of circumstances. My personal feeling is, she married you and you have a family to focus on. However, I also see the possibility that her parents may pass away, she hadn't contacted them in ages, and she eventually resents you for "forcing" her to choose.

Sounds a bit like your wife's never cracked down on her mom, because she's afraid of breaking that bond with her. I had to tell my mom that I'd gladly end our relationship permanently if she didn't stop insulting the person I loved and that had a very healthy and happy relationship with me. She was thrown by my reaction, but she knew I was serious, so she stopped. She is what I would call mildly narcissistic, and her occasional emotionally manipulate tactics don't work on me... and she knows it. I usually have to remind her. Now she adores my husband because he loves me and treats me well.

So, I'm not sure if there is a magic cure here, but my thought is that you first clearly and truthfully express your needs to your wife and you need to listen to hers. You can't assume anything here. Get feelings out and in the open, make a plan, agree to it, stick to it.

Read up on the "policy of joint agreement."
 
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"I don't want to leave my wife but I feel that is my only option, however I am conflicted because I don't want to leave the kids because I love them so much."

Whoa, slow down. You didn't marry your inlaws. Tell your wife that she started this so it's her job to fix it. If she can't, then tell her that you refuse to be dragged into her drama. Set ground rules such as no talking about you or your children. No telling you what was said about you. Think about getting off of Facebook or at least blocking MIL from being able to access your page.

I hope your Mom set the MIL straight about that letter.
 

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I feel for you and can completely relate. I also believe my MIL has NPD.

Here's how we handle it

1) I go no contact. I changed the landline number. She does not have my mobile number nor email address. She only has my H's number.

2)Golden rule for H - when he visits he does not discuss me. If she tries to talk about me or dig for information he changes the subject

3)Golden rule No.2 - He doesn't talk to me about his family. Not interested - don't want to know about the latest drama

4) Kids do not get unsupervised visitation (due to previous attempts to manipulate my daughter)

5) H has very strict routine into the frequency of visitation/phone calls and duration of visits. He visits once a month for 2 hours no more no less. Visits in between are for genuine emergencies only. When he started to be consistent with visitation, she eventually excepted it and was less likely to just turn up or get stressed about not seeing him or having me 'take him away' from her. She knows he will turn up on the first Sunday of each month and she will have his undivided attention for 2 hours. This seems to have taken the heat of both of us. It just works.

6) We don't do FB or any other social media. It is hugely problematic with these types of people and you will get no rest if there is a free avenue to intrude into your lives and that of your loved ones.

We never, ever row over my IL's and actually (having not spoken to MIL in well over a year) she is really a non-issue. As a result we have worked through other issues in our marriage that our MIL had indirectly affected. We are all much happier now. And I DON'T feel guilty because of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hi all, thanks for the responses.

Our relationship went through a honeymoon period, like most, where even the in-laws thought I was a great guy, but perhaps over time the shine wore off.

I don't know exactly what (if anything) triggered the MILs negative comments but I feel it wasn't the first time, just the first time I heard about it. My wife really didn't want to talk about it initially, and in hindsight I realised it's because she would have to admit the intimacy of her conversations with her mother.

She said she regrets it now, and even though I wish she never talked with her Mom about our marriage I don't place all the blame at her feet because I think a child should feel safe to speak to their parents without fear of reprisal. Unfortunately in this case her Mom used that information against her/us, by revealing public details of our marriage in attempt to humiliate me, such as the fact that I used to smoke pot (which is ironic because her son did too).

I'm not perfect, but I'm loyal, hard-working, and considerate person. I have faults, but I'm always open to discussion and improving myself as a husband/father/human. When she visited us her criticisms where as follows:

- she said I work too much (we were expecting our first child, I was working 2 jobs at the time to bolster up our finances for my wife's imminent maternity leave. In Australia at the time there were no paid benefits for maternity leave).
- she said our house was unkept. She commented that I didn't do enough to help around the house.
- she said her daughter wasn't dressed well (she was wearning maternity clothing for comfort), and that she didn't dress as well as she used to

The criticisms where petty and unnecessary, especially 1 month from my wife giving birth, I was not happy for her to stress my wife out with such trivialities. I sent her Mom an email and asked her to not meddle in our marriage and that my wife didn't need the stress so close to birth. I believe that was a turning point in my relationship with MIL. She was not happy that I confronted her on her behaviour, and in her eyes I "spoke out of turn", and ever since then she has made it her mission to publicly degrade me to other family, friends, my wife, and even my own Mother. I really wish in the ensuing months that my wife would have done more to defend our marriage. It seemed like the right thing to do because I don't think it was my place, especially since it was her Mom. I think she was torn between family loyalty and loyalty to her husband. I also think she may have felt awkward to speak against her Mom because she knows that she shared intimate details with her Mom about our marriage, and setting her Mom straight would risk her exposing herself about things that she may have very well criticized me to her Mom in the first place.

Eventually my wife started defending our marriage from her Mom. It was a case of better late than never. Although she knows it was the "right" thing to do, I still think she found it difficult because my wife has "approval addiction", and she doesn't like saying no to people. It took a long time for my wife to step up and recognize her Mom's NPD. What seemed abnormal and unacceptable behaviour to me was normal for my wife because she grew up with it, and she would often dismiss or make excuses for her Mom's behaviour. However, since my wife started standing up to her Mom, the MIL became even more irate. She aimed her anger at me because she was too proud to admit that her actions lead to this situation and she would never raise a daughter who would behave in such a way to cut her own mother out of her life, therefore it was easier to blame me. Whenever extended family or friends would ask her how her grandchildren or daughter was she would feed them a sob story that her daughter was in an emotionally abusive relationship and that her son-in-law was controlling her behaviour and that she was too blind to see the abuse. This information trickled back to us from my wife's distant relations and friends.

My NMIL even once phoned my wife's doctor (who also used to be her Dr) from overseas and told her she was concerned for her daughter, that she thinks her daughter has a mental illness (fortunately the Dr told her to not call again and the she cannot breach Dr/patient confidentiality). She has more or less managed to alienate most common friends and family from our lives by feeding them lies. My wife's brother, sister-in-law, and several cousins unfriended her on Facebook, for what seemed no valid reason, other than probably looking at her with disgust because she doesn't communicate with her Mom, but they only ever heard the NMIL's version of the story. We have never "gone public" to defend or refute anything she says because we don't believe in airing dirty laundry, and that it's harder to "fix" situations like this when other people are involved.

About 3 years ago NMIL also sent a letter to my wife, and said she wants things to be better and made a veiled reference to committing suicide if she can't have her daughter back in her life, and then in the same paragraph wrote that she thinks I have mental issues and that her psychologist thinks that I need to seek professional help.

My FIL is an enabler. During this saga he has never stepped in to stop his wife's ridiculous behaviour, or to mediate. He is very emotionally closed. My wife called him once. She arranged a time to speak with him on Skype, but to her surprise her Mom was there too. She wanted to open her heart and speak of the hurt, but her father basically told her "I'm not interested in the past disagreements, it wont achieve anything to talk about history, so you can either choose to move forward or not". I felt bad for my wife. She wants to understand why her Mom has been so mean over the years, and why she did certain things, and to tell them that they hurt her, yet they flatly rejected her feelings and said that "both parties" are to blame, and that we are either prepared to move forward, or not.

I told my wife that I don't think I could handle having her Mom back in our lives. I never gave her an ultimatum, but I just said it would place stress on our marriage because her Mom has never shown remorse for her past actions and I'm afraid she will play-up again, and it would be worse now since we have 3 kids. I simply told her I don't know how I would deal with it, and that there is a chance I may throw the towel in, because I need to start protecting my own feelings and I don't have the energy to go down the path again with her Mother and her volatile behaviour, especially with our kids. We've tried many times over the years to reconcile with her Mom, and I've even been the catalyst of this at times when my wife said she can't be bothered and that her Mom wont change. Unfortunately it's always reverted back to the mean. I've tried to make it work with her family, but to have her remorseless Mother back in our lives would probably tip me over the edge. I don't think I could live under that pressure again.
 

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thanks for the suggestions Peace M. I totally agree.

We are NC. She doesn't have either of our emails, phone, or even address. We both have her blocked on FB too, however NMIL has created fake FB accounts to try contact my wife, which have also been blocked, but now she posts messages for my wife to see (NMIL sets them to public), and my wife admits that sometimes she unblocks her Mom and reads these messages, and then blocks her again. The messages range from Birthday wishes, to messages about how she loves her daughter and grandchildren. Then she's flip the switch sometimes and post nasty stuff, on occasion random messages under the guise of a community announcement about mentally abusive husbands, or other negative [email protected]

If we ever had back in our lives I would like to think we could do so on our terms, and impose boundaries, definitely no unsupervised contact with our kids, but nothing is ever simple with MIL. She uses any and ever opportunity to manipulate. It feels like I am living in some strange b-grade movie sometimes, that this isn't even my life. As I said I don't believe in airing dirty, but this is a forum, and no real names are used here, so I've posted a few segments from the last email my wife received from her Mom about 3 years ago (I'm using the name "Robert" in place of my name):

"We can now see how like other's that Robert is a "Controller " he likes to be in control, he has you in "Robert's World" , Robert's Thoughts , Robert's Thinking... He is a little man who plays on your weaknesses your insecurities controlling you and mentally abusing you and you are so blind to it all or you don't want to admit to it but I don wonder as not so long a go you said to me people aren't blind and you are so right, people aren't blind...."

"We just pray that the girls have good relationships when they are older with no knock on effect from yours."

"Hope you will find real happiness one day"

It's a concern for me to think someone who should support her daughter's marriage will openly say things like that to her, and when I've told her in the past that she's tried to destroy our marriage she flatly denies it.
 

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The details don't really matter. If your MIL is N it will always be one thing or another.

In a way the distance is your friend. Your W needs to deal with them - definitely not you. She could go 'grey rock' when interacting with her (google it). I don't believe you can give your wife an ultimatum between your MIL and yourself because at the end of the day it is her family. My H was abused and neglected as a child but he still wants some contact with his mother and although I don't like her and have no hope whatsoever in winning her over, I understand that it is his mother. I have a right to walk away and build my own boundaries and my H has a right to build his own according to how much he can tolerate. My tolerance for my MIL is pretty much at 0, his is maybe a 5.

What may be a good idea is working out how she can have contact with her mother that does not involve you, that does not put too much stress on her (grey rock, limited information, neutral meeting grounds). She may find that once a week skype for 10 minutes is enough for her to go through the motions of loving daughter. It may be more it may be less.

You also need to trust that she understands that her mother is unreasonably interfering in what would normally be a healthy marriage. If your wife tells you that she does not believe what her mother is saying and has identified problematic behaviour - then trust it. Let her handle her, don't dig for information about what has been said or not said as it will only wind you up to point of arguing. Not my circus not my monkeys.

Also be aware that your wife may have had a very difficult, negative childhood and may find it very stressful to stand up to her - even when she is behaving extraordinarily badly. She may automatically go into self preservation mode - please let her do that and do not take it personally when she is unable to assert herself and defend you against her mother. She has likely been groomed from birth to be 100% obedient and compliant to her mother's opinion.
 

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Get off of Facebook, both of you. It is poison to a relationship and just feeds into your wife's need for validity.

Seriously, there is nothing to gain from FB that can't be achieved by a simple phone call or a letter. It also takes away your privacy to an amazing degree. Just my opinion.

The issues you mention regarding your wife (need for positive reinforcement, etc) are a sign of codependency and where a narcissist lives, a codependent is always close at hand. The two types feed off of each other, sometimes unknowingly. Your MIL is irate because her source of energy (your wife) is gone and she will leave any little tasty breadcrumbs on FB to reel her in, even just a little.

Maybe you should just confront the elephant in the room and ask your wife to come clean about what, exactly, she told her mother about your relationship. Confront it with understanding - do not make your wife feel punished. Just tell her you want complete, 100% honesty. If you know what was shared, then you can come to terms with it in your own way and it can no longer make your wife afraid to cut her MIL off. It'd be a good idea to do it anyway. A marriage should never have secrets or backstabbing. Backstabbing a spouse is a very immature mistake many people in a first marriage make. It does not mean they can't learn from it. Your wife sounds like she's aware that she goofed. Help her to close the door on the toxic guilt she probably feels and you will both build a better bond for it.

ETA: I like peacem's idea as well... different take than myself and one along the lines of your wife getting back in touch. Knowing that you are already NC with the in-laws, I wrote what I did.
 

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I can so relate to all of this. Except I am the one with the crazy parent. Please don't be hard on your wife for sharing things with her mother. It was probably a youthful mistake. One I have made in the past too, She probably has no idea what healthy boundaries look like and has had to teach herself as an adult. @peacem is right she has been groomed her whole life to be compliant and nonconfrontational. My parents have done the same thing with my husband over the years. I would pull away and they blame him. He doesn't take it personally. Her mother probably just sees her as an extension of herself which would explain her over concern with outward appearances from the last visit.

I finally set my first boundary with my mother a few weeks ago at age 37!! I told her she was not allowed to bad mouth my dead father to me anymore and I didn't want to meet any of her boyfriends until after they had been in her life for at least a year. It did not go over well!! But I don't care. I'm proud of myself. My mother likes to threaten suicide too, and I have been groomed over the years to believe if she did it would be my fault. I know logically this is not true, but it was still one of the scariest moments of my life.

My husband has always let me take the reigns on how much contact to have or not have and that I really appreciate. He has let me figure this out without judging me or saying, "I told you so." He is respectful to her which I also appreciate. I'm slowly figuring things out, and I really appreciate being given the grace to fail without judgement. I finally am starting to see that it's ok to speak my mind with her, but distance seems to be the best thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks Peacem. I will look up grey rock.

My wife and I have been through a few rounds of "lets open a dialogue with her Mom" to heal, and then I found out that even after the first time my wife was sucked back into the web and divulging personal details to her Mom again. I know I have had some trust issues with my wife since then, and it probably didn't help that we had other trust issues in the past that stemmed from mystery credit cards and undisclosed credit card debts. Those issues have been dealt with and I've come a long way in the trust department but still not 100% there with the MIL issues, so it would take a big leap for me to feel comfortable with my wife talking directly to her Mom because in the past her Mom used those opportunities to stab me in the back. My wife admittedly is very driven by guilt, and her Mom knows how to play those emotions, but thinks it's normal to berate people and then write it off as "all families argue it's no big deal". I was brought up very differently, to communicate openly and share feelings without attacking people, so this stuff seems very dysfunctional to me and I feel as though I have lost myself. I used to be self assured and confident, but now I feel fragile and exposed and don't want to lose my marriage and children due to this poisonous person. Do you have any suggestions on things I could do to make myself stronger to have the courage to trust my wife to deal with her Mom again?
 

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I stopped talking about it so much with my H and started spending time on outofthefog.com which is for people who have FM with personality disorders. Sharing stories and coping strategies as well as just ranting and letting off steam meant that I wasn't getting into angry exchanges with my husband. We also got together with his brother and wife who were also going through a difficult time because of MIL interference. We exchange stories and things that had been said and done. It was a huge relief to know other FM was going through the same thing. We inadvertently gave them permission to go very low contact and they support us with the boundaries we have put in place.

Is there someone you can trust within the family that is likely to understand what you guys have been going through? Often N's will play family off against each other so it can take years and years for someone to eventually whistle blow - but when they do WOW what a weight off your shoulders!

I also learned to develop a sense of humour (of sorts) about the whole thing. TBH some of her accusations are so ridiculous they are pretty funny. I remember a good friend of mine giving me a listening ear and she burst out laughing at one particularly crazy MIL rant and I realised that I had gradually retreated to a dark place where I was unable to see how laughable some of the accusations were. Really, really bat**** mental. So now I play that to my advantage and gently chuckle at some of the more bizarre things that have happened. It makes him feel better too - that I don't take it anywhere near as serious as I used to do. (This may be for the future).

The only people's opinion of you that really matters are your wife and children's, maybe your own family if you have a close relationship with them. So if your wife gets pumped for information to be used against you - tell yourself 'so what'. Keeping giving your MIL the impression you don't care what she thinks of you - she has proved herself to be a none person when it comes to your marriage and has ruined her chances of having a fulfilling role within your family. Her loss. She probably needs you more than you need her. A wise mother has her in-laws as allies, don't you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I stopped talking about it so much with my H and started spending time on outofthefog.com which is for people who have FM with personality disorders. Sharing stories and coping strategies as well as just ranting and letting off steam meant that I wasn't getting into angry exchanges with my husband. We also got together with his brother and wife who were also going through a difficult time because of MIL interference. We exchange stories and things that had been said and done. It was a huge relief to know other FM was going through the same thing. We inadvertently gave them permission to go very low contact and they support us with the boundaries we have put in place.

Is there someone you can trust within the family that is likely to understand what you guys have been going through? Often N's will play family off against each other so it can take years and years for someone to eventually whistle blow - but when they do WOW what a weight off your shoulders!

I also learned to develop a sense of humour (of sorts) about the whole thing. TBH some of her accusations are so ridiculous they are pretty funny. I remember a good friend of mine giving me a listening ear and she burst out laughing at one particularly crazy MIL rant and I realised that I had gradually retreated to a dark place where I was unable to see how laughable some of the accusations were. Really, really bat**** mental. So now I play that to my advantage and gently chuckle at some of the more bizarre things that have happened. It makes him feel better too - that I don't take it anywhere near as serious as I used to do. (This may be for the future).

The only people's opinion of you that really matters are your wife and children's, maybe your own family if you have a close relationship with them. So if your wife gets pumped for information to be used against you - tell yourself 'so what'. Keeping giving your MIL the impression you don't care what she thinks of you - she has proved herself to be a none person when it comes to your marriage and has ruined her chances of having a fulfilling role within your family. Her loss. She probably needs you more than you need her. A wise mother has her in-laws as allies, don't you think?

Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately outofthefog.com doesn't appear to be active any more. It's a shame, it sounded helpful. Do you know of any similar sites? This site has been good so far, just to be heard and get a response is comforting. I don't like being left with my own thoughts on this. It is alienating, and I can't talk about it much with my wife since they are her family, and although my family is aware of the ongoings thanks to NMIL, I largely keep them out of it because I don't want to pollute their thoughts of my wife.

NMIL is super crafty. She comes across as a friendly older woman, seemingly harmless, but cunning as a fox and very charming. She weaves people into her web and manipulates them into speaking or doing things without them even noticing. Her son knows what she is like, and has even made comments about his family being dysfunctional, but at the same time he's grown up with it, so he is desensitised. On the same token he is a different personality to his sister (my wife), and has no problems telling her to bud out. Unfortunately he's very emotionally detached, quite a cold person, and only acts on selfish interests, so he wouldn't think to help someone if he's not getting someone out of it. My wife has tried to open up to him about it but he just ignores her emails the minute she brings up their Mom. Ironically NMIL has no reservations in bringing him up in conversations, using him and her husband against my wife to try and exploit her guilt-sensitive nature, for example:

"your brother says he is disgusted with your behaviour" and "your father says if you can't have contact with us while you're alive, then don't bother to visit our graves when we are dead"

The truth is we don't even know if the father/brother say these things, it's possible, but we've caught NMIL openly lying in the past, and she takes advantage of our silence because she knows that we don't air dirty laundry so we will never bring these things up directly with said persons. I really wish there was a common family member we could talk to.

I wish I had your strength and understanding. I'm still clutching for tools to cope and my wife goes through periods of waxing and waning. With NC for a long time she starts to feel guilty, almost feels like things perhaps weren't as bad as she remembers, but then when she makes contact she is quickly reminded why she stopped. The roller coaster is painful tho, and unlike my wife, I don't forget the horrible things so easily. I agree, her and my children's opinions are all that matters to me, but I just want a simple life, and my NMIL has openly threatened us in the past saying "when you're kids get older I will tell them the truth" (her sad truth anyway), so yeah, I wouldn't want her anywhere near our kids because it will probably make life more complicated as there is never any telling of what will come out of her mouth.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Get off of Facebook, both of you. It is poison to a relationship and just feeds into your wife's need for validity.

Seriously, there is nothing to gain from FB that can't be achieved by a simple phone call or a letter. It also takes away your privacy to an amazing degree. Just my opinion.

The issues you mention regarding your wife (need for positive reinforcement, etc) are a sign of codependency and where a narcissist lives, a codependent is always close at hand. The two types feed off of each other, sometimes unknowingly. Your MIL is irate because her source of energy (your wife) is gone and she will leave any little tasty breadcrumbs on FB to reel her in, even just a little.

Maybe you should just confront the elephant in the room and ask your wife to come clean about what, exactly, she told her mother about your relationship. Confront it with understanding - do not make your wife feel punished. Just tell her you want complete, 100% honesty. If you know what was shared, then you can come to terms with it in your own way and it can no longer make your wife afraid to cut her MIL off. It'd be a good idea to do it anyway. A marriage should never have secrets or backstabbing. Backstabbing a spouse is a very immature mistake many people in a first marriage make. It does not mean they can't learn from it. Your wife sounds like she's aware that she goofed. Help her to close the door on the toxic guilt she probably feels and you will both build a better bond for it.

ETA: I like peacem's idea as well... different take than myself and one along the lines of your wife getting back in touch. Knowing that you are already NC with the in-laws, I wrote what I did.
I agree, FB can be a dangerous place, almost the perfect playground for narcissists, and unfortunately has contributed a lot of pain to our relationship. I wish it didn't exist.

Fortunately my MIL lives in separate country, far far away, but with electronic media it makes her feel a lot closer. I sometimes wish it were the old days with just house phones and no emails and social media etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I can so relate to all of this. Except I am the one with the crazy parent. Please don't be hard on your wife for sharing things with her mother. It was probably a youthful mistake. One I have made in the past too, She probably has no idea what healthy boundaries look like and has had to teach herself as an adult. @peacem is right she has been groomed her whole life to be compliant and nonconfrontational. My parents have done the same thing with my husband over the years. I would pull away and they blame him. He doesn't take it personally. Her mother probably just sees her as an extension of herself which would explain her over concern with outward appearances from the last visit.

I finally set my first boundary with my mother a few weeks ago at age 37!! I told her she was not allowed to bad mouth my dead father to me anymore and I didn't want to meet any of her boyfriends until after they had been in her life for at least a year. It did not go over well!! But I don't care. I'm proud of myself. My mother likes to threaten suicide too, and I have been groomed over the years to believe if she did it would be my fault. I know logically this is not true, but it was still one of the scariest moments of my life.

My husband has always let me take the reigns on how much contact to have or not have and that I really appreciate. He has let me figure this out without judging me or saying, "I told you so." He is respectful to her which I also appreciate. I'm slowly figuring things out, and I really appreciate being given the grace to fail without judgement. I finally am starting to see that it's ok to speak my mind with her, but distance seems to be the best thing.
Ms GP, so glad you stood up to your Mom, and better late than never. From my wife's experience I think it seems especially difficult to see the behaviour when it is your own mother.

You sound like you have a very understanding husband. I hope your journey is not too tumultuous.
 

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Out of the FOG

Right hand corner is the forum - there is a particular section on in-laws but there is also a 'common behaviours' board which is also very useful.

At the top there is a tab to click 'toolbox' which gives lots of practical ways in which to deal with PD behaviour
 
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