Signs Your Daughter-in-Law Is Manipulative

Warning Signs

It can be difficult to tell when somebody is manipulative. Even when the signs of manipulative behavior are clear, it can be difficult to know the right thing to do. So it is important to pay attention to the warning signs and to take steps to protect your family.

Here are the warning signs to watch out for when it comes to a toxic or manipulative daughter-in-law:

She is always trying to one-up you

She does her best to make sure that you know that she is better than you – no matter what the topic or situation may be. She can be vaguely condescending, or her words could seem and sound extremely patronizing. She might say something like, “I should have thought of that” when it concerns a good suggestion from you. Or she might respond with a reminder of some advice that she gave earlier that didn’t pan out as expected -though not directly related to the current conversation.

This type of one-upping behavior is calculated and premeditated; it attempts to establish a hierarchy between yourself and your daughter-in-law where she is of higher status. Additionally, it can make you doubt your own opinions, ideas, and actions, giving her an upper hand within the relationship.

Pay close attention to any situations or conversations in which your daughter-in-law continuously attempts to prove herself as the superior individual in regards to background knowledge or experience on any particular topic. The secret language manipulators use are often paired with subtle manipulation tactics, making this warning sign all the more important for recognizing when someone may be placing themselves in a higher status than deserved within the relationship.

She is always trying to control conversations

Manipulative people will subtly work to dominate conversations, turning them away from the other person’s point of view and refocusing on whatever they want to talk about. This type of behavior can look quite different depending on the person and the conversation, but things like attempting to divert topics back to something they have discussed before or cutting you off when you share something important about yourself are common warning signs.

She might come off as know-it-all, and even interject with snide comments if you don’t agree with her opinion. In extreme cases, she might end up arguing in circles or telling outrageous – yet vague – stories that blur the line between fiction and reality so that others cannot challenge or contradict her point of view. Additionally, she might bring up points from previous arguments interjecting them into new conversations to try to control the interaction.

She is always trying to make you feel guilty

One of the most obvious signs that your daughter-in-law is manipulative is if she often tries to make you feel bad about something. She may do this by guilt-tripping you or making you feel complicit in her problems. This can be done through subtle comments, such as “It’s so nice when my family/friends care about me”, as well as more direct statements, such as “I can’t believe you would say/do that to me!”

You should also look out for other signs of guilt-tripping. These include trying to make others feel responsible for her wellbeing or using emotional blackmail by threatening to harm herself or others if something doesn’t go her way. In this case, it is important that your daughter-in-law knows you are not responsible and cannot be manipulated in this way.

In addition to guilt tripping, some manipulators may try to avoid responsibility by turning situations around on the people they are manipulating or blaming them for their own issues. A clear sign of manipulation is if your daughter-in-law does not take responsibility for her own problems, but instead blames everyone else – including you and other family members – for them.

It is important to be aware of these manipulative tactics and how they affect both yourself and those around you. If your daughter in law is trying to manipulate you in any way, it is important that she knows it will not be effective and will not change the outcome of any situation.

Manipulative Behaviors

Manipulative behavior can be hard to spot, especially when it comes to someone close to you. It’s important to become mindful of the signs that may indicate your daughter-in-law is manipulative. Keep an eye out for any signs of control, superiority, or excessive neediness in order to address the issue. This article will address the common manipulative behaviors to look out for.

  • Signs of control.
  • Signs of superiority.
  • Signs of excessive neediness.

She is always trying to make you feel inferior

Your daughter-in-law may use words or phrases that make you feel that your opinions and decisions are not as important as hers. She will talk in a condescending manner and take a superior attitude when discussing issues. She may even go so far as to minimize your successes and make it known that she is the only one who is capable of making the right decisions or choices. If you are always left feeling on the back foot in her presence, then she might be intentionally trying to manipulate you into submission.

She may use manipulation techniques such as guilt-tripping where she instills feelings of guilt in order for her to get her own way, or gaslighting where she tries to get you question your own sense of logic, judgement, memory and reality. If you find yourself constantly doubting yourself and second guessing events, feelings or thoughts due to messages from your daughter-in-law, then it’s more than likely that what she’s doing is manipulative.

In addition to these tactics, if your daughter-in-law takes criticism very poorly and makes huge efforts not to take responsibility for anything wrong then this hassles shift onto you instead. This is because a manipulator will make it their duty to distance themselves from any negative events while simultaneously shifting blame onto somebody else – in this case, you. You should feel empowered by yourself rather than constantly attacked by them; if this doesn’t sound like the case then it could well be worth considering further research into manipulative behavior dynamics between family members.

She is always trying to create a wedge between you and your son

Your daughter-in-law may be attempting to manipulate you if she is always trying to create a wedge between you and your son. If every conversation with her is dominated by her pushing an agenda that you’re “interfering” in their marriage or putting too much pressure on him in some way, she might very well be attempting to manipulate the situation so that he will take her side over yours. She can also try to put your son in the position of having to choose between pleasing her or making amends with you, putting you both at odds. This can result in either arguments or silence from your son, causing further strain on the relationship.

If you recognize this pattern of behavior, it’s important that you set boundaries with your daughter-in-law and make sure that she knows what is and isn’t appropriate for her to talk about with both of you as a couple. This can help to prevent her attempts at manipulation and provide a healthier environment for your son and his family going forward.

She is always trying to shift the blame onto you

When your daughter-in-law is manipulative, she will often try to make you feel guilty by continually shifting the blame onto you. This is a narcissistic trait that can also be seen in other forms of communication with her. She will usually use this behavior when something that was done or said offended her or if she thinks someone else has been wronged in some way.

For example, if something as minor as forgetting to do the dishes offends her, she might say something like “Why couldn’t you remember yourself?” in an accusatory way. It’s important to recognize this type of behavior for what it is and understand that it’s not about you; it’s about her manipulating a situation for her own benefit.

Suppose your daughter-in-law exhibits this type of behavior. In that case, it might be helpful to try and take a step back from the situation and address it calmly rather than engaging with her in an argumentative manner. Going forward, ensure that communication is respectful but also set clear boundaries and expectations so that these types of situations can be avoided in the future:

  • Recognize her manipulative behavior for what it is.
  • Take a step back from the situation and address it calmly.
  • Ensure that communication is respectful.
  • Set clear boundaries and expectations.

Emotional Impact

When dealing with a manipulative daughter-in-law, it is important to recognize the emotional impact it can have on your family. Your daughter-in-law may seem to have the ability to twist situations and conversations to her advantage. She may use guilt trips and hold grudges in order to get her way. Recognizing the emotional effects of this behavior can be an important first step in understanding how to handle it.

She is causing you to feel anxious and stressed

It can often be difficult to recognize the signs that your daughter-in-law may be manipulative in her relationship with you. If she causes you to feel anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed in her presence, then these feelings of discomfort can be caused by underlying manipulation. This type of manipulation is known as emotional manipulation and it is used to control or oblige another person into compliance by triggering their emotions.

Emotional manipulators are often very good at masking their actions. They may use covert tactics such as feigning hurt feelings or apologizing when they haven’t done anything wrong while subtly threatening those around them with disapproval or even retribution if they don’t comply with the manipulator’s demands. Your daughter-in-law may also shower you with praise and compliments one moment and then undermine your opinion the next. Additionally, she may interrupt conversations that make her uncomfortable or deny having said something when confronted about it later on. These tactics serve only to keep you feeling uncertain, confused, and anxious about where you stand in her eyes.

If your daughter-in-law is causing you to feel anxious and stressed on a regular basis then these are likely signs of emotional manipulation taking place. It is important for your own mental well being to address any issues that may arise from this type of behavior as soon as possible so that no further damage will be done over time.

She is causing you to feel guilty and ashamed

Your daughter-in-law may be causing you to feel guilty and ashamed for any number of reasons. She may be making comments about your role as a grandmother or about the choices you’ve made as a parent. She might also bring up things from your past that she knows will hurt you or make you feel guilty. Her words may sound innocent enough, but they can have a powerful emotional impact on you.

She may also use guilt to manipulate how others in the family treat her or perceive her. For example, she may tell stories hinting that other family members don’t appreciate or respect her – implying that they should not receive any kindness in return until they change their opinion of her or do something nice for her. Additionally, she might create an artificial barrier between herself and them by insisting that certain topics remain off limits and then getting upset when they attempt to breach those boundaries.

In addition to guilt manipulation, your daughter-in-law may manipulate through shame, criticism, invalidation and blame shifts to control how people feel about themselves, their decisions and their relationships with each other. These techniques are often used to gain power over a situation at the expense of another person’s feelings. If this sounds like something familiar then it is likely that your daughter-in-law is emotionally manipulating you and other family members on purpose.

She is causing you to feel like you are walking on eggshells

Your daughter-in-law’s manipulative behavior can cause you to feel like you are walking on eggshells. Every conversation you have with her could result in criticism, guilt-tripping or shame. You may feel like you have to watch every word that comes out of your mouth, or that your opinion does not matter. She may make subtle comments about your parenting or the way you treat your son and his family, leaving you feeling powerless and frustrated.

Any time spent with her tends to leave a negative emotional toll on you which can extend into the time spent away from her due to feeling bad about yourself and dwelling on the conversation that just happened. You may be in constant fear of upsetting her or causing conflict when she is around. All of these emotions can leave you feeling:

  • Drained
  • Exhausted
  • Hard to be around her altogether.

How to Handle It

It can be difficult to deal with a manipulative daughter-in-law, especially when she is part of your family. Manipulative behavior can range from subtle hints to more extreme tactics such as guilt-tripping or threats. In order to handle the situation properly, it is important to recognize the signs of manipulation and take steps to protect yourself and your family.

Let’s take a look at how to handle it:

Set clear boundaries

One of the most important things you can do when dealing with a manipulative daughter-in-law is setting clear boundaries. Many family relationships are prone to manipulation and if you feel uncomfortable or manipulated, you need to set limits. This means clearly stating what your expectations are and sticking to them. It also means communicating your own values, beliefs and feelings without fear of retribution or humiliation.

When trying to determine how exactly you should set boundaries with your daughter-in-law, consider the following:

  • Make yourself available in reasonable ways that allow her to seek advice or support, but don’t let her take advantage of those situations.
  • Be aware of how often she calls or visits; if it becomes too frequent, then politely ask that she reduce the number of contacts.
  • Let her know that all individuals in a family relationship should respect each other’s individual needs and desires without trying to control or manipulate them.
  • Discuss problems as they occur so you can work together towards a resolution without feeling manipulated, tricked or forced into making decisions that don’t solve the issue.
  • If attempts at communication fail, remember it’s okay to excuse yourself from uncomfortable conversations to minimize your exposure to manipulative behavior.

Speak up and stand up for yourself

Coping with a manipulative daughter-in-law can be an ongoing challenge for you and your family. The most important step in dealing with her is to speak up and stand up for yourself. Do not allow her to treat you or other family members with respect. Set boundaries and speak out when she crosses them, making sure your tone remains respectful while still sending the message that you won’t tolerate her inappropriate behavior. Make it clear to her that she needs to respect your wishes and values.

If possible, try to find a way to engage in open communication by expressing your feelings in an honest and diplomatic way. Ask questions to get clarification on issues that arise between you two, such as why she feels the need to make certain requests or criticisms of others in the family. Use this opportunity to ensure she understands your point of view and vice versa. It may also be beneficial for other family members affected by her behavior to have similar conversations with her individually as well as collectively, if possible, so the entire family can maintain a respectful atmosphere going forward.

If it becomes clear that further intervention is required, seek professional guidance from a therapist who is knowledgeable about manipulative behaviors and power dynamics in relationships between family members. This could help foster better understanding between all parties involved and potentially lead to more harmonious interactions moving forward.

Seek professional help if needed

If you have already attempted to address the issue and the situation continues, it may be time to seek professional help. Seek out a therapist or family counselor with someone experienced in helping families cope in situations such as this.

A counselor can help guide you through these difficult times and provide communication, understanding, and healing strategies. They might suggest techniques such as active listening and allowing both parties to peacefully discuss their problems without attacking each other. This can help both of you express how you feel without fear of judgment or humiliation.

It’s important not to forget that your daughter-in-law is a person too, with her own emotions that need validation and acceptance. Even if serious grievances or manipulations occur between the two of you, remember there is still an opportunity for growth if it’s looked at objectively by a third party. Be open minded when looking for legitimate solutions to bad behavior and remember that short-term disruptions don’t have to impede on long-term relationships within the family.




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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

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