** Announcement **

Hello everyone!

First, please allow me to thank all of you who have read my articles, sent comments to me via this blog, taken the time to email me such personal stories of challenges and success, and shared with me here on the blog.  Your interaction has been thought-provoking, moving, meaningful, and appreciated!

While this blog will remain, my work by and large has moved to TWITTER and FACEBOOK – with BOTH platforms using the same name; “Move Through, To Thriving”.  Both of those platforms are VERY interactive, and allow a different venue for reaching so many more people, just by the very nature of social media. While I will continue to write, and may continue with articles here on this blog,  the Twitter and Facebook pages under the same name is where most of my support and relationship / recovery & healing writing is currently being done.  I hope that you will jump on over to Twitter and Facebook; I’d love to see you there!

PLEASE COME INTERACT WITH ME!  🙂  Most sincerely,  L.A. Gilliam



Why 100% PERFECTION Would Not Be Enough for a Narcissist

Hello everyone, thank you for joining me today.  As we grapple with the reality of a relationship with a narcissist (narc), someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and all that encompasses, or even someone with very high tendencies in narcissism, we MUST understand some basic truths about this disorder and where it comes from within the individual.  How the disorder manifests in ADULT men and women create relationships wrought with extreme difficulty, and over time that difficulty takes a significant toll on victims.  This of course, is stating the obvious.  On our side, we WANT to understand this difficulty of course, and often our drive for understanding leads to the desire to ‘help’ and support someone who is so obviously ‘different’ than we are, seems to have such difficulty ‘with us’, and it is just those drives that will be the end of our own mental and emotional safety and health.  The end of peace as we have known it.  The end of our confidence that we felt we once had.  The end of our ability to think clearly, concentrate, and go about our daily lives in a state that is relatively ‘normal’ and ‘carefree’.  Remember those days?  Remember those days BEFORE your relationship with the narcissist?  If not – think back.  REALLY – think back to those days.  We need to make a connection between ‘how we were’ prior to the relationship and ‘how we are’ now.  Chances are, there are very great differences between who we were back then, and ‘who’ we have become trying to make a narcissistic relationship work.  Additionally, we need to take a very close look at how this disorder manifests itself, a close look at the UNDERLYING DRIVES (conscious and subconscious) and how that TRANSLATES into the expectations of the narcissist. Because of the many and varied reasons, combined together to create the ‘perfect storm’ of inter- and intra- personal difficulties, 100 % PERFECTION would STILL not be enough to satisfy the narcissist.   Even if things seem to ‘get better’ for a time, even if you are able to share some good times and good feelings in the relationship – THEY NEVER LAST.   If you have been in a relationship with a narc, you ALREADY know how difficult it is, and have likely been exposed to mental, emotional, and possibly even physical abuse.  Isn’t it so ironic that the HARDER we try to MAKE the relationship work, often, the worse it gets?  We often wonder WHY things ALWAYS go back to the abuse.  There are some very important reasons for this.  

“It is SUPREMELY important to understand that the difficulty in the relationship with a narcissist is because at the ROOT, at the VERY FOUNDATION of the narcissist, is a person WHO NEVER DEVELOPED beyond the emotional state of a young child.  A narcissist – NO MATTER the outward accomplishments and standing – is nothing more than a child, driven by immature needs and insecurities and jealousies; a child in a grown person’s body.  This MUST be accepted.  The emotional development (in general terms) of a narcissist STOPS in the early childhood age; between 3 and 6 years of age.  Many experts state that emotional development STOPS at the age when the narcissist first experienced emotional / mental / physical trauma in the home.”  L.A. GILLIAM

Okay.  So, let’s take a look at how the behaviors manifest within the narcissist, and further, analyze WHY this translates into A NO – WIN situation for US.  Keep in mind through your reading the title of this article: “Why 100% PERFECTION Would Not Be Enough for a Narcissist”.  I’m hoping as you read, things will start to ‘click’, you will have some a-ha moments as the pieces of this difficult puzzle fall into place.  You must remember that even with ‘perfection’ (or NEAR perfection), while the narc may be TEMPORARILY happy ‘with you’, it will NOT last.  Trying to live up to the narc’s unreasonable demands, standards, and never-ending expectations is unhealthy, frustrating, hurtful, harmful, and affects victims deeply.  Let’s take a look:

  • Impulsivity.  A narcissist is driven by IMPULSE, both in their professional and personal life, but this will be particularly noticeable in their inter-personal relationships. JUST LIKE A CHILD, a narc sees something, wants that something, and will do anything to get that ‘something’.  There is very little CONSTRAINT with a narcissist; you will likely see OVER-spending, addiction to substances, pornography, needing to be busy ALL the time (or conversely, extreme laziness and apathy), and other IMPULSE-related behaviors.  A narc is like a CHILD in this way; often rational thought and reasonable perceptions are NON-existent.  What the narc wants, the narc gets.  He or she will make sure of it.  It is not uncommon for a narcissist to make a large purchase, unknown to anyone, until AFTER the fact.  If the narcissist is denied whatever they have their eye on, as in if WE try to speak rationally about why ‘such and such’ might not be such a great idea, WE then become the OBSTACLE to the narc getting what he or she wants, and punishment (in some form or fashion) will follow.  A narcissist denied what they want in that VERY moment, will turn into a POUTING petulant child, who will then take out their negative feelings ON US, at having been denied.   It is important to note here that neuro-psychological studies in narcissists, sociopaths, and those with anti-social personality disorder show ABNORMALITIES in the pre-frontal cortex, limbic system, and the amygdala; all centers in our brains that control emotional response, rational thought, and the ‘tempering’ of impulses.  Even if you were 100% perfect at all times, it would make no difference to the narcissist.  The narc must have what the narc wants (even OTHER side ‘partners’, affairs, other men and women) no matter the ‘cost’ to others.  Even if you were 100% perfect, the narc’s unreasonable WANTS AND NEEDS would override your perfection.  They are NEVER satisfied with the normal, every day life most of us lead.
  • Immediacy.  Immediacy goes hand in hand with impulsivity.  Like a child, being patient, calm, cool, collected, and understanding when things ‘take time’ (longer than what the narc thinks is necessary, anyway) will likely cause the narc anxiety, outbursts, anger (if not out-and-out rage), disgust (usually at others as the narc sees them as causing the delay), and frustration at a level that is ABOVE what the situation would normally call for.  Like above, not only does the narcissist want the item, thing, situation, or person they have their eye on, they want it NOW. This is one reason a narcissist will rush relationships; they know NO boundaries when it comes to such things. IMMEDIATE is better. IMMEDIATE makes the narcissist happy.   Just like a child who cannot wait for their cookie or prize, who cannot understand that things don’t always happen at the snap of their fingers, a narcissist will again show the ‘petulant / pouting’ behavior if denied this immediate gratification.  This is ridiculous of course, as we are ADULTS.  Again as above, if WE are perceived as being the reason a narcissist is denied the satisfaction of their immediate demands, wants, and needs, WE will be subjected to some form of punishment for having denied the narc.  Even if you were 100% perfect at all times, it would make no difference to the narcissist.  The narc must have what the narc wants IMMEDIATELY.  There is no room here for ‘human error’; there will be punishment meted out to anyone who DARE disappoint the narc.   Even if you were 100% perfect, the narc’s unreasonable DEMANDS would override your perfection.  You are a human being, not a robot.
  • Jealousy and competition.  Due to the narcissist’s under-developed positive sense of self, sense of internal worthiness, their reigning deep insecurity, and fracture / fragile self-view, ANYTHING is bound to cause jealousy.  Jealousy may come out through overt OR covert behavior.  Have you accomplished something only to have the narcissist STAY SILENT upon your sharing of the wonderful achievement?  Have you shared good news relative to something important to you in YOUR life only to be met with a sneer, or snide comment?  Have you ever said something like, “I don’t know why you can’t be happy for me; I thought you would share in my happiness!”?  Ladies and gentlemen, a narcissist CANNOT be happy for others as OTHERS ARE COMPETITION – especially their TARGETED victim. In a narcissist’s view, anything WE achieve makes them ‘less than’.   Any good news that WE have about something in our own lives will either be challenged, a remark made, a sneer, a jeer – SOMETHING that lets us know the narc is not happy about our good news.  This likely stems from the very early childhood experiences and trauma that were instrumental in the faulty non-development of stable, secure,  positive self-worth, and PREDICTABLE, reliable feelings about one’s self.  These are by and large ABSENT in the childhood of a narcissist.  There is nothing quite like NOT being ‘celebrated’ by your partner.  There are few things that cut to the heart and soul of who we are, like sharing important, positive, and joyous news to then only be DENIED the sharing of our joy, by the person who should be our biggest CHEERLEADER.  I’ve been there, and I will NEVER forget the feeling.   Being 100% perfect here at all times – in the narcissist’s mind – would look like someone who NEVER has personal positive news to share, never accomplishes great things, never moves BEYOND the constraints and unreasonable subjugation the narcissist has in mind for you.  You would NOT be allowed to celebrate that promotion, your great achievements or special news, as they have only negative connotations to the narc; even your worthy work for charity would be meaningless.  The narcissist simply cannot bring themselves to FEEL HAPPINESS AND JOY FOR OTHERS; they see this as competition, internally making them LESS than their victim(s).  Please note: they may be able to fake otherwise in front of others (depending on who their AUDIENCE is at the time), or FOR others, but inwardly, the narcissist is likely seething with jealousy, JUST like an immature child. 
  • Rage and Temper Tantrums.  Again, as has been stated, we are dealing with a CHILD in an adult’s body.  Emotional temperance, emotional constraint and control, are lacking with a narcissist.  Often hostile and rageful, a narcissist thinks NOTHING of ‘going off’ on seemingly small issues, issues that WE do not process in the same way.  Narcissists are not known for being able to hold their temper; often ‘narc rage’ is experienced at even slight upsets.  During this rage, there is potential for violence against people and property (and animals and children).  This is a no-win situation and will get WORSE over time.  Remember the mention of the brain structures above?  Those are likely instrumental in the inability for the narcissist to ‘react’ more normally to every day stressors.  Often these rages are seen ONLY behind closed doors; it is not unusual for the targeted victim to be the ONLY one who sees this behavior.  100% perfection will not save you from narcissistic rage. The narcissist perceives, views, act, and reacts to the world ABNORMALLY, and the RULES AND DEMANDS MAY SWITCH at any moment.  Even perfection would NOT be enough to shield you from this devastating behavior.  
  • Ownership and Servitude.  Through normal and healthy childhood development, we learn that OTHERS are individual and separate WORTHY PEOPLE with feelings and RIGHTS; people who are to be treated with respect, people we are to give and receive equally among.  Somewhere along the way, the narcissist does not progress through this normal developmental stage.  Somewhere along the way, the narc develops the perception that other people are NOT individuals, that others are to be used as tools or as an EXTENSION of the narcissist themselves, that others are to SERVE the narc’s needs and wishes, and that others do NOT have rights individually.  We experience this dysfunctional behavior in a multitude of ways, from demands on our time (which if we don’t comply may result in narc rage or a tantrum), to requirements of running errands or cleaning house (even if we have our own errands and tasks, there will be pressure to SERVE the narc in this way), to being isolated from friends and family (as they are often seen as ‘less than’ and unimportant to the narc; it matters NOT at all that these people are important to US) as a way to further narcissist power and control over their victims. In a narcissist’s view, we are NOT separate people ‘allowed’ to have our own lives, our own interests; if we do, then we are firmly placed back into the COMPETITION-mode of the narcissist, as they will interpret these things as NOT important and menial, things that take AWAY their attention (which needs to be nearly constant), take our time away from THEM.  Can you see how simply twisted this world view is?  If you WERE a robot, with zero needs, desires, wants, interests, opinions, views, LIFE, the narcissist would STILL find a way to be dissatisfied.  A narcissist, by the very emptiness of which their soul resides, does NOT allow us to BE. We are only a tool to be used.  Only an extension of the narcissist him- or herself.  We are basically less than human.

Absolutely everything we are, everything we think, feel, know, perceive, etc. is driven by our INTERNAL SENSE OF SELF.  Self worth.  Self image.  Self belief.  How we see ourselves and what we believe ABOUT ourselves is the driving force behind all we do, think, perceive, believe and FEEL.  With a narcissist, there is virtually NO valuable sense of self.  There is virtually ZERO sense of internal worthiness – which explains why narcissists are SO INVESTED in the creation of their false personas they present to the world.  Without feeling valuable in a normal and healthy sense, is it truly ANY wonder the narc lives how she or he does?  Without the normal and healthy DEVELOPMENT of an internal sense of WORTH – the narcissist is in a perpetual state of EARLY CHILDHOOD, as seen by the very things listed in this article.

You know what is sad here?  It is sad that I could KEEP GOING.  I could keep writing for pages and pages listing ALL the ways the narcissist will continue to BE unhappy with their victim(s).  I could keep illustrating all of the nefarious, negative, and devastating effects narcissistic views, perceptions, actions, and reactions have on their victims.  It truly just goes on and on and on.  I do hope however, that with these few things outlined, you are able to grasp the DEPTH of this disorder, the depth of NEED and dysfunction that rules the life of a narcissist.  Your BEST will never be good enough; they are never satisfied.  Your ALL will never be ‘up to par’; there will always be more to be done.  Your EVERYTHING, even at 100% PERFECTION, will never COMPLETE the narcissist, as they are VOID of the very internal sense of self REQUIRED to be able to authentically love and accept other human beings.  Can you see now that even with 100% perfection it would still NOT be enough?  Please, please.  If you are reading these, find support. Search for resources.  Call local law enforcement for referrals for shelters, advocates, assistance, and help.  HELP IS AVAILABLE, and your life can change with one phone call.  Living a life with a narcissist is NO life at all.  You are NOT a robot, and even if you were, that STILL wouldn’t be enough for a narcissist.  Find a way, make a way – OUT of the relationship.  Best, L.A.



What Being Involved with a Narcissist Taught Me

Hello everyone, and thank you for being here.  As I look back at my relationship with the narcissist (narc), it goes without saying that when things started changing from the ‘once-wonderful-top-of-the-world’ relationship into the ‘what the heck is THIS’ relationship, I ‘kind of’ knew something wasn’t right.  I knew, even then.  I knew within a couple of weeks.  Exactly what that ‘something’ was however I could not fathom, so I continued blindly on, already assigning this person SUCH an important role in my life.  I was presented with a person who had achieved stellar career standing in both military service and law enforcement, who is now a practicing Pastor here locally.  I fully ADMIT my own guard went way down as I first learned about these career achievements; I blindly assigned so much credibility and credence to the person via those achievements!  I take FULL responsibility for this complete lapse in judgement and common sense. I would NEVER have believed or guessed that someone assigned to the Presidential Protection Detail of our US Army, as well as 28 years of upstanding law enforcement dedication could or would actually NOT be a quality, worthy, emotionally and mentally balanced person.  It did not compute that someone who had SUCH achievements was actually, underneath it all, an individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  I never would have expected it, and as the signs became glaringly clear, I didn’t WANT to believe it.  I didn’t WANT to accept the truth; I was with an abuser.

During the initial dating phases, the ‘honeymoon period’ so many speak of, I truly believed I had won the Love Lottery. So many wonderful dinners out. So many laughs, shared jokes, fun, and frivolity.  Meeting all the friends.  Meeting all the family.  EARLY in the relationship, I was already being ‘GROOMED’ to become the narc’s next victim, I just didn’t know it yet.  I felt VERY special with all the attention, felt very special that the ex narc was already seeing in ‘little ole me’ such great things to be WORTHY of so much attention!  Ahhh, but you see – the trap was being set, I was being targeted, and I was falling for every little gesture. I was treated well. I was shown manners, kindness, even a gentle nature coupled with a ‘barely under the surface’ humble attitude. There were imported wines from Italy.  There was talk of TRAVELING to Italy (‘future faking’ and false promises of course, I just didn’t know it). There were family outings and dinners and bar-b-ques and birthdays and holidays. My ex has a large family, some of whom were living in the home at the time.  This was the VERY FIRST indication that something wasn’t right; I was told they were ‘visiting’, not living there.  First red flag, yet, I overlooked it as perhaps a miscommunication or misunderstanding on my part.  I took responsibility for misunderstanding A LIE!  Oh my goodness.  Looking back now, I truly see how much I WANTED this relationship and all those wonderful things that would come with it – the family, the beautiful home, the cars, truck, motorcycle, THE FAMILY (most are addicts as it turns out), the trips, the stability of being involved with someone with THOSE DANG CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS!  I wanted the WHOLE THING.  “Okay, so maybe there ARE MANY family members living in the home”, I thought to myself.  So what?  It was a large house, after all.  Surely there are GOOD reasons for everyone to be living under one roof.  There were  a total of 5 adults and one toddler at that time.  Of course, the addiction issues only came to the forefront later.  I guess I misunderstood the whole scenario when I was told they were ‘visiting’.  “My mistake”, I thought.

So as the weeks and months progressed I was conditioned thoroughly, through very subtle statements to incite shame, guilt, blame, and told so many things about MYSELF that I KNEW weren’t true (didn’t I KNOW that never before in my entire life, NO ONE HAD EVER said those negative things to me, about myself?), YET, someone so ‘STELLAR’ was telling me these things….!!  Perhaps my own self-view was skewed, maybe I WAS being selfish for questioning how drug-addicted family members (who had placed me in VERY precarious situations with dealers, putting my career at risk, not to mention personal safety of course, – all unknown to me at the time – but the ex NARC knew it) came to live in the house, and inquire how long they would be staying.  In those very early days and weeks, things were VERY tenuous with those addicts; people attempting to break into the home, I was used as a ‘transport’ of sorts – driving the drug addict nephew to make a ‘buy’ on occasion, the police out to the house in the wee hours of the morning, and on and on.  Yet, I was thinking perhaps I DID need to accept the negative with the positive.  Perhaps I DID make too much out of things.  Maybe I DID live in the past (a favorite statement of narc who don’t WANT to address past abusive behavior). Maybe I DID need to be more understanding; after all, I was with someone who fought on the front lines for this great country of ours.  Oh, how THAT was held over my head:  “At least I fought for our country; what have YOU done?”  Over time, every good thing about me that was celebrated in the beginning of the relationship seemed not to be present any longer…  somehow, I was being told that I was no longer that same person, that someone I was now needing to change to bow to the narc demands.  This is how it is done folks; the OVERWHELMING (and oh-so-captivating) love bombing and over-attention in the beginning, as setting the trap for our vulnerable, giving, loving, caring, and yearning hearts.  I wanted love.  I wanted the relationship.  And I thought I wanted those things with the person who turned out to be a narcissist.  I could go on and on about the emotional and mental abuse; yet, you have your own stories that you are working on recovering from, working on moving THROUGH.

So, in a snapshot, here are some things that I learned from being involved with a narcissist:

  • Words are to not be believed.  On our very first date, I was regaled with war stories, stories of heroic efforts.  I just could NOT believe my good luck at meeting someone who had devoted such a large part of their lives to serving others, in such monumental ways!!  I have since learned these tales are likely quite exaggerated, if not outright lies.  Remember, a narcissist will exaggerate achievements for THEIR AUDIENCE.  They do this by telling untrue stories, making things up, LYING, all in an effort to be seen as admirable, upstanding, outstanding, and just a supreme example of humanity (in my case).  Sadly, this just wasn’t true.  I have since concluded that in the case of my ex narc, the military, law enforcement, and clergy careers are ACTUALLY a way for this person to continue getting their needs met for power over others, control over others, to be held in high esteem by the general public (and now the congregation), and overall a way to be seen as a quality, upstanding human being.   Oh, if the world only knew.   I also learned that as these ‘words’ were either not coming true, or were falsehoods that I found out about, or that the lies themselves just were NOT stopping, I should have left THEN.  I learned that I let MYSELF down by not ending the relationship early.  I learned that things would NOT get better, that these examples of deception were WHO the narcissist is/was.  I had the power to leave, and should have done so.  I let my OWN yearning for love and the relationship take priority over emotional, mental, and physical safety. 
  • Patterns of behavior are where I should have placed my confidence (and you should too). Patterns of behavior tell you WHO someone is, how they live their lives, and what is consistently a part of that life.  Over time, cutting, hurtful ‘humor’ and jokes became part of the ex narc’s interaction with me; I was expected to just understand this was the ex narc’s HUMOR.  These slights and belittling were disguised as HUMOR, but in fact, were digs at me.  Digs at how I spoke.  Digs at my own character.  PROJECTION of who the narc actually is, not me. I was even given a pet nickname; a characterization of a man with whom I had a previous relationship.  I was called this name FREQUENTLY.  A narcissist will do this as a way to ‘needle’ you; a way to pay you back for having had a prior relationship (or whatever else upon which they fixate).  Narcs are driven by insecurity and jealousy and will work tirelessly to overcompensate for these deficits (note not just ONE powerful career, but THREE in the case of my ex).  Additionally, they will find ways to compensate for this jealousy by making US pay, hence the nickname that was a form of the name of my ex.  Every time my narc ex used THAT name, what I was really being told was “I have power over you now, HE doesn’t have ANY power, and I will be constantly reminding you that HE is nothing, and I am EVERYTHING.”  Complex, isn’t it?  Patterns of behavior TELL you what someone is capable of and who they are.  Pay CLOSE attention to patterns.  As I learned about these patterns of behavior that at the time ‘seemed’ hurtful, didn’t make sense as no one I had ever known before acted in this way,  I should have left.  I learned that I overlooked TOO much, made excuses for too much, and that I had the power all along to leave.  I should have.  I learned I stayed too long.
  • Narcissists have an entirely different ‘playbook’ of rules and regulations for each different person in their lives, and a separate rule book for themselves.  A narc will expect everyone around them to abide by ‘the rules’ as the narc sees fit at any given moment, which could also change at the drop of a hat.  In those early days, this was not so apparent, yet over time, it became clear that things were just NOT adding up.  I was being asked to do things the narc didn’t WANT to do; I was turning into a care-taker, errand-runner, and all around ‘do whatever, whenever the narc says’ type of person. These were expectations placed upon ME, yet the narc gave NONE of the same back to me.  The playbook was being set, I was memorizing my rules, yet the narc seemed to have NONE.  They could do whatever, whenever, while I was out running their errands, shopping, cleaning the house, etc., and I myself (even knowing differently, deep down) was just giving, giving, giving.  I learned that I gave TOO much too soon, rationalized too much, excused too much, put my own needs on the back-burner too much, and that I had the power all along to leave.  I should have.  I learned I stayed too long.
  • Narcissists will MOVE fast and do everything, say anything to SECURE you, their victim, as their next source of supply (attention, admiration, source of whatever they deem desirable or necessary at the time).  A narcissist CANNOT be without their supply, and will rush a new romance when allowed to do so. All within a span of 4 years, there had been the end of one long-standing marriage (I have NO idea how the first wife could have managed 17 years with this person), ANOTHER marriage and divorce, another relationship that ended in a restraining order, court battle over dating violence, with yet ANOTHER person being ‘wooed’ here locally, other multiple dating experiences, and then finally – me.  The narcissist had many women ‘on the string’ at the same time, and when two of them found out about each other, the ‘you know what’ hit the fan, resulting in the court case and restraining order.  I don’t know the details.  I don’t WANT to know. All I needed to know was that this had happened in the first place, but I did NOT do my due diligence with research AHEAD of time, asking questions (that would have resulted in lies anyway), or even TAKING THE TIME to let the relationship progress SLOWWWWWLLLLYYYY.  I just rushed into the relationship like a good little woman YEARNING for love, and didn’t HAVE this information.  I learned that I did NOT have proper BOUNDARIES.  I learned that I overlooked so much due to my own desire for the relationship, I put myself in the position of being with an abuser.  In hindsight (always 20/20 of course), I know NOW that any narcissist will move FAST, overwhelming their victim in such a way that the victim DOES feel they have won the ‘love lottery’. I learned that ‘too much too soon, and that which seems too good to be true’ IS A HUGE indicator of an unbalanced narcissist.  I also learned it was I who should have put the brakes on.  I should have slowed down.  I should have had STRONG and firm BOUNDARIES.  I learned I was NOT protecting myself.  Hard, hard lessons.  
  • I had given away my power, my common sense, my very self to an abuser.  This one may be the most important of all, everyone.  I WILLINGLY made choices that put me in this fast-moving (red flag!), all-consuming (red flag!) relationship in the first place.  I WILLINGLY excused and rationalized the abuse. I DID THIS.  I must OWN this.  I DO own it, and know it will never happen again.  While easy to point the finger or make statements about how the abuse is subtle at first, we are captured through the attention shown to us, we didn’t KNOW what was coming our way – all of these things are TRUE – I STILL had the ultimate responsibility to get the heck out of the relationship.  I didn’t, soon enough.  I AM actually one of the lucky ones however; the relationship was SHORT, marriage averted, engagement ring returned, relationship ENDED.  I learned that as with everything else in life, the buck stops with ME. I am in charge of my life. Yes, I was ‘conned’ by a master manipulator, with a long line of rough relationships and dating violence incidents; things that I should have learned by my own hand, and taken the prudent steps at getting out earlier. I did NOT protect myself.  I did not perform due diligence checks.  I did not research the narc’s history.  I was with an esteemed US Army veteran, a retired Lieutenant with local law enforcement, and now a practicing Pastor!!  What would I need to research anyway… with all of those wonderful accomplishments??  OH, oh, oh – HAD I done the research however, had I taken things slowly, had I CREATED BOUNDARIES, I would have saved myself such a devastating experience.  Had I done those things, but I didn’t.  

So, here we are. Please allow MY lessons and experiences help YOU in your future relationship decisions.  WE ALL create our own lives, no matter what person enters our life, no matter what experiences we face. WE control our lives. Bottom line stops with us. We ALL learn every single day; we learn what to do, what not to do, we learn more about others and ourselves, we learn more about the world in which we live.  Please, allow this article to guide your decisions in the future about what YOU will do, and what you won’t do.  Perhaps some of you have even ‘been there’ with similar experiences, similar actions and reactions, similar outcomes.  We are SO blessed to be able to CREATE the life of our dreams; no MATTER your current situation, you can start TODAY making changes that will ensure your emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and ‘soul’ safety.  Create boundaries.  Commit yourself TO yourself and the actions that will prove prudent while getting to know a new person.  Let your past experiences teach you what to do differently ‘next time’.  While these lessons I’ve learned have been so difficult, they have been SO eye opening, valuable, and ensure I will never again return to an abusive relationship.  The lessons I learned taught me what to DO NEXT TIME.  Let these lessons also serve YOU.  Blessings, L.A.