How to Handle a Narcissistic Sister-in-Law

My post about quitting my abusive sister-in-law has gotten a lot of views since I published it. It would appear that there are a lot of people out there looking for ways to deal with their problem in-laws.

In preparation for this post, I did quite a bit of searching on the net for information on dealing with narcissistic family members and I was shocked to find that most sites recommended people go along with the delusions.

Excuse me, but what the actual fuck?

THEY have the problem, not you and it’s not your responsibility to cater to their delusions. They need to get help and coddling them will only play in to their little fantasies that they’re something special. Don’t be an enabler.

Don’t get me wrong, I see where a lot of that advice is coming from. They’re assuming you actually want a relationship with the crazy fuck and that pandering to their delusions would be enough to achieve this. Some of us are past the point of wanting a relationship with the other person or couldn’t possibly do enough to appease them to have a relationship of any sort.

Look at my situation for example. Crazy-train hates me because I had the gall to finish school, get married, buy a house and then have children. She somehow didn’t see that last one coming and honestly thinks I only had kids to one-up her. Not because that was the natural progression of my life at that point or anything. That’s the problem with a narcissist, they actually think the world revolves around them and that everything you do is either done to appease them or hurt them. There’s no possible way that they wouldn’t be a factor in one of your decisions.

So what do you do if you’re in a no-win situation like I am?

You let it go. Let them go. Wash your hands, close the door, let Jesus take the wheel, etc. You’re never going to make them happy enough to stop the crazy. The only way for the relationship to be fixed at that point is for them to wake up and realize just how fucking nuts they are and to seek the appropriate help. Unfortunately, those with narcissistic personality disorder won’t seek help because they don’t think anything is wrong, or they know something is wrong and they assume it’s something else. They can’t be a narcissist because that’s a personality flaw and they don’t have those.

Odds are that you have a narcissist in the family because you have an enabler. In my case it’s my mother-in-law. There’s nothing I can do about the situation, so I have to walk away. It took me many years to figure that out.

Don’t waste another moment thinking about the person or trying to salvage a relationship that can’t be fixed at the moment. Walk away. If you’re married to the person that’s another issue, but if it’s just an acquaintance, a sibling or an in-law, walk away. You’ll feel better getting away from them.

*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a psychologist and this post should not be construed as mental health advice. I don’t know if I need a disclaimer on a post like this, but better safe than sorry.


6 thoughts on “How to Handle a Narcissistic Sister-in-Law

  1. laureldugan says:

    I love this post. It’s like you read my mind. Thank you. I am constantly second-guessing myself in terms of my narcissistic sister- and mother-in-law, thinking, “They couldn’t be that bad,” but I know they really are. I’m sorry for your situation, but glad I’m not the only one who has to deal with this.


  2. Me says:

    Thank you so much for the post. You make me feel I’m not the only one who did the same thing. Walk away! We did that 4 years ago but yesterday we got THE phone call, the phone call from both sisters in law, asking to come visit this summer to have fun and drink margaritas until dung. My husband I heard saying yes! And I went bananas , I told them No, that I wasn’t ready for that until we talked about their behaviour and apologise first for the things they did to my husband and our children . We had being ignored by them for 14 years! And now they want to kumbaya and join him (they didn’t mention my daughters nor me) for a sibling reunion here at MY house. Hell No!
    Great, we were happy without their drama for so long and now he wants to open the door . I this point I don’t know what to do.


    • Amber says:

      Sounds like it’s time to have (another) conversation with your husband and let him know how you feel. Remind him of their past behaviors and let him know what you need in order to be ok with the situation. Is it as simple as them meeting somewhere else? Would you prefer he not join their clique until they can be civil to you and the kids? You and the kids should be his top priority — not his siblings. You’re totally justified in feeling frustrated and confused.

      My only advice is to keep talking to your husband. Make sure to not only tell him how you feel, but also spell out what you want. Do you want him to cancel the margaritas? Do you want him to ask them for an apology or for them to reach out directly to you? It sounds like the sisters want to get back together with their brother, so now may be a good time to hash out the issues since they’re coming to you (well, to your husband) and not vice versa. Good luck!!


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