Dealing with Parents and In-laws

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Dealing with Parents and In-laws

In this show Steve and I discuss;

1. Parent who compete for your kids' affection and try and get them to side against you.
2. Grandparents who ignore their grandkids special dietary needs.
3. In-laws who take over.
4. Parents or in-laws who knock you off balance by tempting you with the wrong food or drink.
5. Parents and in-laws who set a bad example for their kids and grandkids.

Our Recommendations;

1. Join in family activities and don't hide off on your own.
2. Plan ahead, practice and prepare.
3. Control the environment.
4. Try and have supportive friends and family on hand.
5. Don't get involved in talking about people behind their back.
6. Don't get involved in arguments.
7. Be ready to hold your cool and self soothe if they get mad or
are upset.

Please see our holiday special here;  

Be Emotionally Prepared this Holiday Season

Preparation and practice makes perfect - so get in and work on the exercises we have put together for you and don't let these holidays get you down!

Be Emotionally Prepared this Holiday Season

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Hang in there!

Kim Cooper


  1. Hello Steve and Kim,

    i've had some wicked in-laws and I can certainly tell you they are not easy to deal with. ugh! I've really not prepared myself prior to meeting them, and have witnessed more than my share of mayhem between in-laws and their adult kids.
    I try to avoid being in their presence as much as possible, and it's worked for me. I do not enjoy fights of any sort. I prefer harmony and peace!

  2. I have very toxic ex-in-laws. They are very much involved in my relationship with my ex-husband which affects building a new relationship as parents. Our children can see the manipulation and is pulling them away from their own grandparents and building a lot resentment towards them.

  3. Hi Steve and Kim,
    I want to thank you for keeping in touch. I've been reading some of your material on Narcissism, and sorry to say that I see parts of me in your discription of what it looks like. In addition, I see some of the same characteristics in my ex-wife. We seperated in 2006, and divorced in 2010. We had no communication for almost 3 years, and I got envolved in another relationship that lasted for almost 3 years however, for many reasons it ended, and although I was starving for validation and affection all I really was doing was repeating a co-dependent behavior. For the last 3 or 4 months communication with (I hate to say ex so I'll call her Con), Con has been re-established, and I'm finding it hard to trust what is happening. I should make it clear that I generally do not trust women, something from childhood however, I am greatful to have her and my daughter back in my life, although I'm taking it really slow beacause when we first started talking again it wasn't long before Con was wanting more than conversation. She wanted intamacy but I felt kind of wierd and good all at the same time. Wierd because I had just been in a relationship but not over with in my heart, and good beacause I had been with Con for more than 20 years, and it felt both comfortable and familiar. I recently started a Celebrate Recovery Step Study at my home church in hopes of getting through and dealing with some of the stuff I've been carrying around for a long time. I believe that you guys have something to offer that could be helpful to my recovery, I just need a little help in knowing which materials would best benefit me at a cost effective price. If you would direct me in that process I would be very greatful. Thank you! Mike

  4. Hi Mike, I am glad that you found us! I would definitely suggest that you start with the Love Safety Net Workbook Exercises. If Con would do them too would be great. You may also find 10 Steps to overcome codependence very helpful. When you subscribed to our site at you will get a chance to buy our introductory specials on these.

    Take your time and move at the pace you feel comfortable at with Con. Now would be a great time to learn to challenge her. You will find info on that in the gap finder section of our workbook.

    Hang in there Mike!

    Kim Cooper

  5. I do not see my in-laws on holidays, and I'm finally feeling almost good about it.

    In the last three years, I have decided to minimize contact with my in-laws. This is hard because they are old and my father-in-law needs round-the-clock care. Family provides the bulk of this. I would like to help, but they are both so difficult.

    My husband has been the scapegoat of the family and his sister the favorite. I have had to accept that she and her husband are really the only ones the in-laws will allow to help them, even though they would deny that. We make what financial contribution we can to my in-laws and to my sister-in-law and her husband for their time.

    At the holidays, it can be challenging for me to accept that it is best to stay away, but the alternative is almost certainly a ruined holiday.

    My MIL has enjoyed provoking my husband with put-downs or by bringing up subjects she knows to be painful and making hurtful comments. In past experience, confronting her has led only to the everlasting argument. (In which she will repeatedly make her points all night, by phone, or on subsequent visits.)

    My husband has gotten good at ignoring or standing up to her. I am the one who gets the angriest, for his sake. I do hide this anger from her, but I get concerned I'll say something I would regret later.

    I have finally accepted that this is her choice, and I refuse to let her spoil my Christmas or Thanksgiving Day. The day before or after, we may (or may not) see them. But I will not stand for her bullying any more.

    I have handed the whole thing over to God and don't think about it much anymore. Much more peace that way.

  6. Kim and Steve, I posted previously about the elderly in-laws and not seeing them on holidays.

    I would also like to say thank you. As I look back on this year, I have come so far. Much of that is thanks to your work.

    I refuse to be codependent anymore. When I realized the physical and mental state I had allowed myself to fall into, I was ashamed and had to ask God for forgiveness.

    Our finances had fallen into a shocking state. At first I blamed my husband (with reason), but I came to realize that I needed to at least take care of myself. I was too sick to hold a job, but it was from allowing others to abuse me.

    Now I had already spent several years working on getting over fears, allowing myself to splurge on little things, becoming outgoing and truly loving, and giving myself a makeover. There was much more to do, though.

    I have spent the year doing what it takes to get better. I took supplements, did brain training to regain short-term memory (yes, it was that bad), re-established an exercise routine, and left or changed stressful situations.

    I returned to drawing and gardening as my therapies. I have set boundaries at home and elsewhere.

    Also, the challenges are working with my husband. (Of course, having a new wife helps with the motivation, too!)

    This week I have put in six applications for responsible jobs, and I feel so capable of fulfilling any of them!

    Thank you for talking about power issues and getting strong, as well as everything else. Never again will I be in a place determined by another person (with God's help). You have to do the very best you can for yourself in order to help others.

  7. To Anonymous with elderly in-laws,

    God Bless you! I have faced many similar challenges. It is not easy. I have made a lot of progress also, thanks in large part to Kim and Steve. It inspires me to read about others' successes. Thank you for posting.

  8. Dear Steve and Kim
    having found out so much about NPD, mostly down to your website and support material, it's a dead cert my husband's NPD stems from his mother, who ticks the checklist to a T. My MiL has worked very hard to ensure her son is totally unequipped to have any other relationship than being bound to her. She couldn't prevent the marriage but set about trying to destroy any future we might have had. Two weeks after we were married, I was told by her I wasn't her choice of daughter in law, she wanted a friend's daughter |(a very compliant girl, not one who argued back like me). she would invent stories aboutme so he would shout at me, he constantly citisised me and far worse. I was later to discover she had emotionally abused him, physically abused her daughter, my SiL. She even punched her so hard it knocked her unconcious. If I'd known that, MiL would not have had access to my children.As it is they don't speak to her because she tried to poison them against me. She is a widow now and after one of her nasty tricks, I'd had enough and haven't had any contact with her for two years. My husband admitted he'd always have to put her first, because he 'just has to'. I'm far from alone, good friends, loving family, my own interests. I feel sorry for my husband as he has no life and he'll never have the great relationship I had with my parents. My kids and I are far closer than hebcan ever be as he only feels anger to any real degree. I'm a MiL now and have a good relationship with my SiL. Things are much easier to cope with and I'm far more comfortable and accepting of my life now.

  9. Dear Steve and Kim,
    After my husband had pushed me against the bookcase and knocked my out, I told his mother the reason for the arrest. Apparently he was not man enough to tell her. Naturally I wanted some kind of support to get help for him. Her reply, "Well your lucky he didn't hit you over the side of the head with a board". No support makes it so much worse.

  10. It seems that the more the aggressor upsets you or the balance, the more in their mind they win.
    If it is power- then they feel that they have snagged it away by a social hijacking.
    In-laws get territorial and aggressive, and during that nervous time for them they just go to the default position- compete and contend and criticize.
    If they didn't feel off balance, doubt they would upset the balance quite so.

  11. Hi Kim
    I found my biological father a couple of months ago,(im 38) and with everything I now understand about Narcissim I fell for his charm! He charmed me and instantly was obsessed with me, texting all the time. His wife read all the messages and was devestated. They live a very isolated life, have no friends and do everything together. She lays down the rules and he does anything for a quiet life. She feels threatened by me, after the honeymoon period he 'ditched me' after the DNA test confirmed I am his daughter. He made up an excuse that he doubted I was his which is why he didnt stand by my Mum when I was born, we look exactly alike! I stressed to him my fear of abandonment (from him never being there when I was born) and still abandoned me. He has caused friction between me and his wife, and now wants me to disappear, reigniting my deepest fears of abandonment. Trying to be the adult here and dont want him 'to get away with it' i'm almost out of ideas. It has identified my huge gap in boundary setting, as he was my natural father I put all my trust in him. My new half brother is 24 and witnessing this mess his parents live in. With everything I know from your ebooks, writings both my Father and his wife are narcissists. The strangest thing out of all of this is his character is very similar to my partner, who together we are working to solve NPD, I am codep. I have never met my real father up until 2 months ago and it seems that my brain was wired to be with a man just like my real father. Luckily we found you guys and are changing the course of history for our future generations.
    Do I walk away from my newly found Father, self soothe and let him carry on being a narcissist? I have exposed him partially he wants me to disappear so he can carry on pretending in his strange life.


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