I feel like I've written more lately about my NMIL than my NM, who is actually much more forthright in her narcissism. I guess, the reality is, that it's much easier to see it coming with NM. She doesn't hide it all very well, and she lacks a any subtlety in the way she goes about it. The result is that she is a very isolated, lonely person with no friends and little family support. She is prickly and offensive and if she doesn't have far to stray to isolate herself from everyone. It was easy to pin her as a NM, easy to see that she contributed immensely to our problems, easier for me not to completely blame myself. NMIL is much more crafty. She hides behind her "Christianity" and her kindness and her generosity and her selflessness. She is tolerated by lots of people. Often she is more than tolerated. Many people say they enjoy her (even if she is controlling, loud, overbearing in their words). Her sons adore her. I couldn't not pin myself on why I couldn't get along with her. I thought I just had a very conflicting personality with her. I thought I was crazy. Regardless, finally coming to grips with the fact that she has many narcissistic traits and, in my mind, is a full-blown narcissist has freed me. But I've processed my thoughts on her for a much shorter time as I've only recently come to my conclusions on her.
Anyway, NMIL likes to even things out. This is a trait she gets from her parents. She believes all of her children should be equal. Meaning they should have the same material possessions, experiences, and opportunities regardless of what the child actually contributes. My husband and I work hard, budget a lot, sacrifice and save, plan, and make good decisions. For this, we are punished. We are expected to contribute more than our share to family functions. We are expected to give more. We are expected to be more supportive, thoughtful, generous to our siblings as we have been "given" more. Now, I have NO problem being generous and helping out. However, I hate being FORCED to be generous to people who make no sacrifices, spend willynilly, save nothing, spend on new cars and expensive things (on credit) and generally do everything they can to NOT further there own position. My husband's siblings are reckless with money, impulsive, make poor choices and NMIL expects us to help bail them out.
A simple example of this happened after one of my husband's brothers got married. That evening, me, husband, NMIL, EFIL, two brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt and uncle-in-law, and husbands two cousins went to have a bite and a beer. It was late. Husband and I were actually going alone and everyone else invited themselves along. We were not in an area suitable for children. So, when we walked into the establishment we were told that the two cousins, who were under age, had to leave. Again, husband and I were already going to this place, everyone else tagged alone (it had been a LONG weekend and we needed to unwind). There were no other places besides bars to go. But NMIL became upset. Aunt and Uncle were upset. Everyone complained. I'm not sure what we were supposed to do, but I got the feeling that we were all supposed to leave. At the time I didn't have children, but having them now, I know that if this had been the case with me, I would've left. I wouldn't have expected everyone else to not have a beer at 9:30 at night because of my kids. Anyway, the kids left but not their parents. Husband split a sandwich with SIL. He also had one beer. I had one glass of wine out of a bottle that my other BIL drinks the rest of. Everyone else orders food and pitchers of beer. Then the check arrives. NMIL instantly exclaims that the aunt and uncle should not have to pay. They were inconvenienced and their pitcher should be bought for them. She then orders BIL (who drank a bottle of wine and food) to put his money away because he doesn't have any. Husband and I throw down more than enough (by a lot) to cover our half a sandwich, beer, and glass of wine) and a $20 tip (we worked in the service industry and never like to screw a waitress when there is a big party). BIL and SIL barely cover there bill, no tip. NMIL and EF barely cover their bill and leave a meager tip. She forks over no money for the three people she claims shouldn't have to pay. Of course, we come up short and there is no money for a tip. NMIL and EF start complaining that they have paid more than enough all weekend and refuse to pay more. Well, yes, they have paid for hotel rooms, food, the wedding, and a bunch of other stuff. But not for hubby and I. We paid our own gas, food, hotel, and all other expenditures. Husband's brothers have mooched food, free hotels, clothing for the wedding and wine tour fees. The BIL who got married expected his parents to pay for everything and maintained no budget. I see why they were annoyed (and in fact, husband and I discussed that BIL was milking money for the wedding before the wedding with his parents). What I don't see is why that was MY problem. I don't see why NMILs eyes are boring holes into me and husband. I don't understand why she expected us (and to be fair, BIL and SIL) to pick up the whole tab. And she knows BIL and SIL won't pick up more than their share. As a disclaimer, I have no problem with the money, it had nothing to do with the money. I have no problem picking up a tab. I just hate being forced to. I hate paying a penalty because NMIL feels bad that we chose a place (the only place) that was inconvenient for aunt and uncle. I don't see why we need to cover little BIL because he "has no money". I didn't like that EF was complaining about all the money he spent, so NMIL felt guilty and was taking it out on us. None of this is my problem. And this wasn't the first (or last) time this has happened. I just was so tired of being forced to cover for people who wouldn't do the same for me. Tired of having my hard earned (and hard saved) dollars go to cover reckless people. Husband and I stood our ground as we'd already payed more than our fair share over the weekend. We had payed completely for ourselves (plus a lot of extras) but were being treated like moochers. I was so angry. Finally, EF states that he just won't tip the waitress since she wouldn't serve the kids. "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" I wanted to scream. So, husband and I threw down $60 more, as I won't screw the poor waitress. In the end, we pay $100 for a glass of wine, beer, and half a sandwich. Oh, and all NMIL's guilt and feelings of fairness.