Dear Theresa ...

Hi everyone - something is wrong and I can't post comments ...

So because one of the comment threads has turned into something of a cliff hanger - (if you want to follow it you can read the comments below the post called verbal Abuse Part 5) I have decided to answer Theresa here because I am not sure how else to contact her ...

Hi Theresa,

Wow so you are really going to have your hands full now but this is a time where you can build trust quickly if you want to.

First off you are really going to need "the Love Safety Net Workbook" and to work through all the exercises. These won't just help you in dealing with him but will also improve your strength and character as a person all around. Especially look at the gap finder exercise as you will need to set some very solid challenges for your husband now which you believe he is able to achieve but that will also stretch him.

I would get these challenges set ASAP along with time frames for them and I would also show that you are ready to take care of him and let him lean on you and that you will be his shelter for awhile till he builds a better life for himself as a solid husband and father.

The next thing I say might surprise you - but after the challenges are set and he has accepted them I would not keep sex as the major challenge for him. You need to decide when and if it feels right to have sex with him again and just stick to those boundaries for yourself. If it feels right don't keep holding out as you being 'the prize' will most likely bring this all undone in the end. You need to make it very clear and simple - he needs to start climbing out of the gutter now and showing he wants a better life for you all. Don't threaten consequences if he fails but I would let him know that if he intimidates any of you again you have friend at the police station who you will not hesitate to call to come talk to him.

A few of the challenges and boundaries, I believe you will need to put to him, will need to include him allowing you to put security software on his computer (so he can prove his own innocence) because you are not prepared to live with his porn use any longer. He will not get better on a diet of that kind of fantasy believe me. I think you also need to make it crystal clear that he needs to also overcome his addiction to steroids and that you will stand by him through that (if you are prepared to do so) but he has to clean up his act now.

I think there also should be some kind of challenge that is something only he worries about and would make him feel better about himself. With Steve it was music, he was always really talented but always worried and berated himself that he had never learned his scales. So when I set challenges for him I included that. I told him it was time he learned his scales. I know that sounds weird that I would care about this - but it was a way of showing him I knew him and that he could trust me. It showed him that I wanted him to feel better about himself and was not just wanting stuff selfishly for me.

The other thing I think you need to understand Theresa is that no matter how tough he acts deep down your husband longs to be dominated.

At work he has to make all the decisions and he has to wear the consequences in a job where he cannot possibly always be right. For someone with narcissistic tendencies this must be a tremendous strain. You see for him it is almost life or death him being right and so work leaves him always on the razors edge.

I am not surprised about him crying and saying to you he is not in control - and you must understand that is the real person talking not the mask. He IS scared and he is longing for someone else to take the strain of making all of the decisions from him sometimes.

This is also a bit of a class thing. Men who are blue collar workers and are bossed around at work all day like to come home and be the boss. Men who have a lot of responsibility at work however tend to choose wives who will treat them more like children and manage every aspect of their home life.

If you haven't thought you could ever play that kind of role before now might be the time to rethink it. Now that your husband has seen what you are made of - he wants it and he wants your strength and shelter. The danger will only come if you expose weakness to him again - because that will scare him.

I hope that things go well enough for you both that the time will come (in perhaps a year or two) where he has become solid enough that he can support you when you are feeling vulnerable, but I wouldn't expect that too soon. For now he needs you to be very solid and if you need support you may need to find that elsewhere perhaps from a counsellor or your family.

Thanks for allowing this to all unfold publicly Theresa I know that this story will help many people reading this. I didn't expect it to be THIS public but I have been trying to post this as a comment all day and for some reason the site won't allow it.

Hang in there!

Kim Cooper
http://www.narcissismcured.com

32 comments:

  1. Hello there Kim,
    So the saga continues. Yes I decided that I can't make a big deal with the sex issue, Once he agreed to my terms I dropped the zero contact rule, there are just boundaries there and its clear to him now. Of course he waffles about how "home" he really is. I'm seeing that he is incredibly jealous of the children and feels he should get top billing over them. This really bothers me alot. Our schedule and structure annoys him, and he has instantly become completely indifferent toward them.

    As for personal gaps I think he needs to gain weight, he is so thin right now and is experiencing panick attacks, he tells himself they are hereditary and he tried to bum zanax from his mother. Fortunately she was alarmed by this even though she has given him zanax for a previous panick attack. I told him he didnt need it, that if he dealt with his reality they would go. I have had attacks too and if you do what you need to take care of yourself they get better. So he is going to the doctor he said to get more medication, ugh.

    I did tell him about the computer security when he was mid panick attack and even though he has not moved his clothes and computer back into the house he knows thats the story. He spent last night and talked alot this morning about not being sure he can stick to anything. He said not to get too wrapped up in him. I told him not to worry that I intend to take care of myself and he knew my boundaries. I said don't give me a hard time and I wont give him one. I told him I knew what I will not tolerate. He liked that and came over and gave me a kiss on the forehead.
    Don't worry Kim I can play tough guy really well, I have a pretty dominant personality, I used to think this was a problem with me but in retrospect it garnered trust and respect because I wasnt looking out just for my own interest. My therapist helped me to see that it was a quality. Just need to dig deep and trust me instincts again. With Alanon,S-anon, counselling and a solid cushion of friends ever present in my life I don't need to turn to him for support at all so I'm good there. He even told me he thought that I did't need him enough. I told him I did't NEED him. I loved him and want to see him get better.

    What I think may be the right thing to say to him regarding the move if he is still waffleing is just take control and tell him "look lets go get your belongings and get your life in gear." And if he resists then just go to plan C since I'm not going to tolerate an in and out habit. I can say "I can help you get through this just let go and trust me here." Then if its no its no and I know what I'm dealing with right?
    I'm so grateful for your sucinct input and support Kim I hope it helps other subscribers to see your program in action. It's a new way of living and thinking and has to be done block by block and there are no shortcuts, just honest living without any shallow manipulation. It will guard against listening to well meaning peoples advice that could steer you wrong. Love and deepest regard,
    Theresa

    PS I'm rereading Back from the looking glass and The love safetynet workbook. This is a good idea to see how far Ive have come and what comes next. I gave The little book of empathy to my 11 year old daughter with asperger's.

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  2. Hi Theresa,

    You are doing great! It is a tough road ahead still but at least there is some truth out in the open now you can deal with.

    I have a child with Asperger's too - my boy is 10.

    With all the anxiety in your family I would highly recommend that you all get your metal levels checked and also look at the new audio products we sell here;

    http://www.wellnessaudio.com/pre-launch-special.html

    I find these recordings simply amazing at keeping me calm and focused no matter what challenges I am faced with.

    Your plan sounds good. It is funny that I was the same - I thought my strong personality (and leadership qualities) were the problem, and Steve used to put me down about that - but now I know it is actually why he fell for me and it was really my fear that was letting me down.

    I think you may need to come up with a good repetoir in the workbook - because threatening to end the relationship every time he challenges you may not build trust. Still it sounds like you have got your comback lines working very well!

    We are so proud of you - you have handled this all very well.

    At some stage you will get tested by a set back for sure - but you be ready to stand firm and stand your ground.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  3. Thanks Kim,
    It's amazing how old habits die hard, I did't even realize that I was threatening the relationship. While I was writing my Bill of Rights last night I realized that the first time I read that segment [and didnt actually do the exercise] I had abandoned hope of gaining his respect and thus hope of any future with him cause I had so much doubt that he could honor these rights.
    I read about the gap work but did not do the exercises the first time [HELLO] so yeah thats what I will be doing today. I was so intimidated by the horrible gaps I just did'nt have the confidence to tackle them.

    I really understand why I had to first build my community of support though so that I would have the right mindset and courage to follow through.

    It's pretty remarkable that we both have children with asperger's, I have read Hold on to Your Children. Kim you cannot believe in America how much emphasis is put on peer relationships, Having this new knowledge enabled me to snatch my daughter from the fire. I also see how my husband was set up as a child of an abusive father and a mother that used him for her own gratification and neglected his needs. He was bright with academics but with zero social skills. Kind of Aspergerish. So as an adult he rejects his real self and tries to emulate angry violent figures like Eminem or gangster type rappers. Being popular seems to have been his lifelong goal, anything that seemingly gets in the way of that he wants to destroy [especially himself.] He was rejected and made fun of mercilessly in school. I knew him then and I felt so sorry. Now he wants to hang with those same kind of bullies and be accepted by them.
    What can I say to friends who tell me that I am being co-dependant for wanting to help him. This really shakes my confidence. Ive examined my intentions . It isnt from guilt or NEED that I want to help him but he isn't a piece of garbage he actually matters to me. He must know that.
    The gap in my diet was FISH OIL. I was contemplateing going on ADHD medication before I found your site Kim, YIKES! I'm so underweight right now it would have just destroyed me. I feel more solid in my nervous system and its only been 5 days. 6 capsules a day. Good stuff. Lots of Love,
    Theresa

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  4. Hi Kim,
    Feeling the cold shoulder today, I'm remembering this familiar feeling of being sucked in by the terrible neediness of him and then a cold distanceing that comes immediately afterward. The difference is I'm snipping quite well. I made a gorgeous bowl of ceviche, had a best girlfriend over and had dinner with my girls. Oh and posted this. I don't even know if he's comeing back tonight and I'm feeling pretty OK about it. I guess I'll get some sleep. It seems Ive been replaced by his Zanax perscription. Not sure what to say though, considering his threats and manipulations I assume this is just to see if he can get me worked up so he can cause a fight. Should I just collect him when I greet him and tell him I missed him? Perhaps if I remain silent he will offer an explaination when I don't react like he expects. Hmm we'll see. I'm not as invested in outcomes, thats progress. Well off to bed! Your peaceful pal,

    Theresa

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  5. Good Morning Kim,
    Unexpectedly Hubby did come home, I collected him gave him something to eat and he talked about his horrendous day. This morning he said some very honest things. That he wasn't ready for any of this, that he felt like he was using me, and that he wasn't sure what he wanted. I told him I understood. He said "I want my freedom and I think that isn't going to be good for you. Why do you even care about me at all I'm a mess." I told him he mattered to me and that I wanted to see him get better. That I was going to stand by him and see him through. However he knew how I lived my life and what was exceptable to me and what isnt, that as long as he was honest with me I would be OK. That means I'm exclusive as a romantic/sexual parter and no violence. He said "what if I do something wrong though cause I probably will." I said we will worry about that then. He kinda started reiterating so I told him we could talk about it later. I patted his back and smiled at him and said "Your really scared of yourself arn't you." He said "You are pushing me and I can't do the things you want, none of this was really my plan." and then he told me he was going to lose his job probably, relapse his sobriety on purpose so that he could go into a rehab facility that his insurance would pay for and live there for a few months. I asked him if they would help him with a job placement perhaps. Just to see how much he was invested in this plan. His demeanor changed a bit puffed up and he said "I did really well this month, made 17,000 and after they dock what I owe we will be caught up for the month." [WE? thats new.] Then he started gripeing about how I need to get a job and started getting worked up so I said I will handle that and was quite excited to work. He wanted to tell me how I should go about that and what I should do in detail. I could see he was going to a bad place with that so I moved the conversation to our morning goodbye. He called back and was apologetic and I told him good luck at court, his landlord is takeing him to court to evict him, he is obviously resisting moving out of his place.

    Oh boy Kim it's really hard to like him right now. But I'm really impressed with how I'm handleing this. I don't feel used really I feel empowered! I know I'm doing the right things. He just spilled the beans when I gave him enough space. In Back From the Looking Glass you talked about the awful things Steve said to you. Knowing you have been through this also and mapping it out for your readers is so helpful. I'd be powerless without your sharing your experience, institutionalized by now, no exxageration.

    Writing these post serve a dual purpose for me I have discovered. They keep me on track and honest about where Ive been and where I'm at. They give me an outlet to share freely so I'm not sharing with people who just don't get what I'm doing with him. And most importantly it can be a model of trial and error for anyone who follows these posts. When I follow the program good things happen but when I do the old behaviors people believe me it does me in every time. Thanks for letting me post so dang much Kim. Till next time dear friend,
    Theresa

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  6. Hi Theresa,

    You are doing so well! I haven't been around much and last night I was thinking I should get up (it was late) and write to you - but then I thought "I know she will handle this fine".

    When the truth finally comes out it can hurt but at least you can deal with it so much easier than the lies.

    When things reached this point with Steve and I he admitted a lot of really stupid and terrible stuff he was planning too. I think it was that which really made me see that I had to take charge and stop thinking he was going to know what to do.

    You may find that he will even be happy if you talked to his boss for him and asked about options for the future. It will be easier than him admitting himself to his boss how scared he is. For me that was the scariest and the hardest stuff for me to do because I didn't even tell Steve I was going to do it and I thought he would be mad (for me it was talking to his employment agency telling them he was in no state to be working in the kind of jobs they were trying to place him in). Instead he became so warm and trusting it was incredible. He was just so relieved and he satyed home after that and started working on learning to be a husband and father and I was the one who became the breadwinner and took that pressure off him.

    So you will have to use your judgement there but it sounds like he is in way over his head at work and may need some help more akin to what you might usually think of doing as a parent more than a wife.

    The other thing to watch is him spending time with anyone who he feels he has to keep up the old act around. It will be much better if he can have a total break from that.

    I hope a lot of people are reading this Theresa because you have really followed our advice so well and it's been wonderful you sharing your journey.

    You are doing great (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  7. Hi there Kim,
    Today I am going to take a leap of faith. The job search has reached a dead end. I can't take a low paying job because it wouldnt pay for child care for my two year old so I am going to have to get creative. So... for 10 years Ive kept a 25'x15' organic garden in my backyard. This is highly unusual in the desert and when friends come over to the house theyre jaws drop and they want to put one in. I have wanted to start a business and install and maintain organic gardens for a couple years but I was listening to my husbands advice and he shot it down. I'm not even going to bother telling him what I'm doing cause I cant trust what he thinks anymore. It pays enough to support my family and the real clincher is I can keep my two year old with me!

    As far as my husband is doing, he comes here to spend the night basicly. I have a structured routine with the kids, we visit family and friends go about our day. He is not showing much interest, does "his own thing." most of the time .AA meetings and AA friends he feels are more important. I have thought about talking to his boss Kim, as you probably know stock brokers are an Old Boys Club, its a big risk. Perhaps the bosses secretary would be more forthright. I bumped into her a month ago and I saw the concern in her eyes, she asked me how I was doing but I stupidly smiled and said "really good" cause I wanted her to go back and tell my husband how great I was doing. Haha! Old manipulative behavior.
    I need to get to work and start showing him what I can do and then I think he will feel better about dropping his job. He will stomp his feet about me controlling the money though, he likes golf and showy cars. I like a roof over my families head and food on the table. And having a little extra to go on a family holiday.
    I put a picture of Oahu on the fridge as an incentive. He loves Oahu, I'll bet he wouldn't turn down an all expenses paid family holiday. I have planned and paid trips in the past, when I did all the foot work and prepaid them it was easier for him to let go and not question every dollar.
    Well I have to get busy figureing out how I'm going to market my business YAY! Talk to you soon. Love
    Theresa

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  8. Hi Kim,
    I feel a new zest for life, possibilities are everywhere. I'm so much more relaxed with the kids and they seem happier. I have returned to myself.

    My husband was talking about his DV councellor who said that anyone who spent 4 hours every day looking for a job will have one. I thought "Oh good he is looking for a different job." No he was telling me to get a job. I turned to him and said "You let me worry about that." That ended that discussion but I'm troubled about the honesty issue. I feel he is hiding something because when I told him it was time to move completely in he flat out refused. He said he likes just spending the night and he wanted me to know that he goes to a midnight AA meeting on Fridays. I told him I'd rather he was in bed asleep next to me at night. He said he did't like haveing to answer to me and it infringed on his freedom and made him feel trapped. I said nobody wants to feel trapped I understand that, I don't want to feel trapped either, I want to live my life with an honest partner, and I hope thats him. He tried to argue about this and I told him "I feel like things were better between us and I wondered if he agreed." He said yes he did like the way things were going. So I said "lets just leave it at that and not get into it." He wanted to argue so that he could feel justified to do something but I didn't give him that. If he is doing unfaithful things Kim does that mean I'm feeding his problem or do I just keep building that attachment and showing him where the boundaries are? Cause really if I establish boundaries and he does not honor them isn't that his failing and not mine? Baby steps I guess. Well tootles for now hope you have a sunny beautiful weekend. [what is the weather like for you this time of year?] Theresa

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  9. Hi Theresa,

    It is getting cold now - but not too cold compared to other places. My son still surfs with a wet suit and we are right on the beach.

    Until you have a little more leverage I would not push it yet. What you are doing with your own life sounds great. I have to run, but a coule of ideas might be you talking to his DV counsellour and seeing if they are a postive or negative influence and if possible getting on the same Page? You also want to be sure that they do not unknowingly collude with him to try and pressure you into a job you don't want. If they knew a bot more about what was really happening may help. I am sure your husband is spinning them a tale that makes him look the victim and as long as he has people who have bought into that to turn to his 'house of cards' will stay in tact.

    My other idea is harder, but if you could find an older man to introduce him to now who has the values you would like to be living by, but also some things in common with your husband would be great. Someone who will bring out the part of him that wants to impress a father figure.

    This kind of male postive role model with be invaluable if you give it some thought.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  10. Yes Kim,
    I agree, I have been working on the father figure situation for years, some have been good but didnt stick, while others were not so good. Just have to keep searching.

    My councellor and I communicate with my husbands DV councellor about his behavior when needed. Perhaps it would be a good time to check in with her for an update.

    Tonight he called me after leaving for an all night AA marathon to remind me that he IS going to the midnight meeting. I just said "yes you told me that already honey." SNIP! He gets quiet when I snip him and doesnt know how to respond. "OK well just wanted to make sure you knew." I said "alright babe just take care of yourself, see you later." I felt around for the fear or anger or anxiety and there was none.

    Well I'm exhausted whoo its late, thanks for your support, Lots of Love,
    Theresa

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  11. Good morning Kim,
    I really appreciated your post about getting overly worried about the economy. I have found sometimes less is more. I read stories to my girls before bed and they love it. So much better than shooing them off to bed while the adults all get drunk and stay up to the wee hours of the night. That was the sad reality when we had the means to entertain all our socalled friends.

    My husband rolled in at 1:30 last night. I was so asleep I barely could open my eyes. Later we woke and chatted pleasantly for a while but when I got up and went to the restroom my monthly visitor arrived. I let him know and he was nice about it at first, I thought he was going to be OK with just coffee and goodbye. But instead he became demanding and wanted me to do things i wasnt really comfortable with. When I declined he got angry and told me I had too many conditions on my love and he doesnt know why he even bothers comeing over. I asked him if that was all he did come here for. That he was putting conditions on things too and not to be hypocritical. He said this is the problem I can't do this it isnt going to work with you. I said that sounds like a threat to me. And then I stopped, I just stopped because I realized that I didnt need to WIN an arguement. He was getting LOUD and saying mean things like there are women who would do this with me now. I said I really don't know what to do when you are acting like this so I'm going into the other room right now. He got dressed and left angry. I'm ok right now and I snipped quite easily. When he did these things before I used to sit in fetal position and rock back and forth. Not anymore. I used to sit and wonder what I could have said and done differently that would make him stay. Now I'm thinking. I wonder if my slow cooked beans are done yet.

    Sure it probably would have been wiser to not get defensive at all but I'm learning. I know there was no other different outcome with him this morning and I hope our relationship has more value to him than he is acting at the moment. But I'm feeling quite cool and collected. I have a feeling I will get a phone call soon from him trying to chastise me again for my selfishness and inconsideration of his tender feelings. Playing the victim and makeing me the villain. That part is predictable. I just don't know what to say to diffuse that. I read Through the looking glass again and I'm doing my gap work right now from your other book. The verbal abuse posts have been helpful also although I'm tempted to not answer the phone when he calls but would that be a "flight" behavior? Maybe I could just say "I don't know what to say." admit that I'm stumped and i just don't know everything. Would that show him weakness? I haven't read Honey for the Bees yet. That will be next on my agenda. I have to say the value of information in your books have been priceless. I recommend your sight to anybody who will listen to me. Don't feel you have to respond to everything I post Kim, thats not even possible. I am grateful just knowing you are there like an angel over my shoulder. Your friend, Theresa

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  12. Hi Theresa,

    You are doing great and I think it is very important that you are firm with your boundaries. I know I mentioned not making sex the challenge but still if he is not showing you that he is committed to you, you may not feel comfortable continueing sexual relations with him. You saying you will stand by him does not have to include that - and who says you are obliged to love him unconditionally!

    I think speaking personally with his DV person would be great now and I would certainly express your concerns about his welfare and especially his addiction to steriods. That would perhaps be a more sensible thing for him to get into rehab for rather than alcohol (if that is not really the problem any more). AA groups can be dens of people with NPD BTW who collude to feed each others ego's. I am not saying this is always the case but the scene can be as bad as a bar in this regard.

    I still think you need to find the right challenge myself. One that you can say - "Hey if you ever want to impress me let's see if you can't ....". You should throw this down and then walk away from it so that he cannot argue or avoid thinking about it. He may not pick it up at first - but I bet he won't forget!!!

    Your business idea sounds great and I am sure will also mean you meeting some nice people. Please make sure you choose your clients well and know that you don't have to say yes to every offer!

    Hang in there Theresa - I bet you can see how exhausted he is getting - you make sure you get your rest and I know you will have the stamina to out distance him and be there when the act (his false pride) all comes tumbling down (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  13. Hey there Kim,
    Thanks for your positivity, some authors[you know who] would have us believe we are hopeless victims,that will never be clever enough to outwit the "Tiger." But you are absolutely right about keeping my stamina. It may be ludicrous to wrestle with a Tiger, but it is entirely possible to out distance him especially when they are living a destructive life.

    This morning my tiger tried to play the same tape as yesterday and he threw in that I was lazy about sex. I actually laughed and I told him I would like to see more effort from him. That I would be more interested in someone who was committed. He said what makes you think I'm not committed. The problem is YOU, youre just lazy. I ignored his lazy comment. I told him one foot out the door was not a committment. That I wanted to have sex with a committed partner that didn't throw a fit like a little baby when he didn't get his way. I told him your going to need to decide whether your in or out. At that I hopped up and told him I needed to clean up the house and started sweeping. He got up and left saying "well I guess I'll just have to go and take care of myself[masterbate.]" He has to come back in a couple of hours for his visitation with the girls though, so thats a bit stressful.

    The challenge I'm thinking of throwing down is his steroid use. He makes alot of comments about my physique and tries to compare himself to me. The last time he did this I told him "I'm a woman and accomplished this without so much as a Red Bull. If I can do it without steroids I'll bet you can to." He does feel like a phoney because his physique is fueled by chemicals. And there is jealousy/admiration for how I honestly come by my natural body. He goes to a quack doctor who dispenses steroids as an anti-age therapy. I think my husband would rather be dead than give this up Kim. Which is why I think it qualifies as the one challenge he is afraid to tackle. Tuesday I will go in to discuss this matter with his DV councellor.

    Oh gosh you are right about AA, unsavory characters abound. And he hangs out with a very bad alcoholic friend that is very vindictive and nasty toward me. This friend of his tried to date my sister when we were growing up and she rejected him, he's never forgotten that and talks bad about my family ever since. He has been very letchy and creepy toward me in the past, since I didn't stroke his ego he dispises me. His obsession with my husband is unsettling. He was terrible to my husband when they were kids but now they are thick as thieves like they are in love. Weird. I banned him from my house years ago so they started seeing each other secretly like lovers. My husband behaves very badly when he has contact with this friend.

    Thanks for your concern about my business, I know what you mean, some people are not worth having as clients. I will choose carefully. Well gotta finish cleaning this place up! Talk to you soon. Love, Theresa

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  14. Hi Kim,
    Today was a day for the beach. There was a body building competition there. That gave my husband a reason to go. He made a few comments that if I wasn't interested I could go off on my own. So when I saw a bunch of guys crowded around a booth whith a push up contest going on I walked over and asked if I might give it a whirl. He thought that was funny and it lightened things up alot. My kids were giggling and grinning and then all the ladies in the crowd wanted to give it a try to. After that he was more relaxed and stopped acting so distant.

    When we got home he actually stayed for dinner. I didnt expect that. Of course he is at AA right now but the day went really well, I got really upset in the car with his vulgar music at one point and told him I thought it was offensive and that I didnt want the girls exposed to it. He said "they have heard it." So I broke out my earbuds and plugged in my own music so I didnt have to listen to his. Unexpectedly he shut his music off immediately and told me I wasnt allowed to do that. I was shocked at how controlling that was. I told him "listen to your music and let me listen to mine." "No." he said and then he plugged the adapter into my phone and said "we can listen to your stuff." I certainly didnt argue with that but I was stunned. He asked if I would drive after that and then he nodded off to sleep. But then I got us lost so that wasn't good HAHA! He got a little impatient and started to give me a hard time about it so I said "I'm already embarrassed for getting us lost don't rub my nose in it daddy." His whole demeanor changed and he said "I'm really tightly wound arn't I, I'm sorry mommy."

    So I guess some days will be better than others. I'm starting to know when to step back or when to stand up. And also developing dialogue that he responds better to. After practicing some of the things I learned in your books I can spin my own sayings more to fit the situation and thats a very interesting development.

    I did challenge him to drop his steroid use. He said he just doesn't have the genetics to build enough muscle without them. I took a risk and said,"If I can do it without steroids and I'm a woman than you can do it." He objected of course but I said straight out."I challenge you, I bet you can!" As I walked out of the room. I actually thought he would go into a rage if I did that but he didn't. Phew!
    Well it's been a long day I'm gonna put my girls to bed. till next time, Love,
    Theresa

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  15. Hey Kim,
    Last night my husband didn't come home. There was a phone call he put in after he left for his meeting. I didnt give it much consideration cause the connection was bad and he said we would talk later. What I did understand from the call was that he didn't like me questioning about a couple things like a perfumey smell I didnt recognize on him. It was his new hair product, and also a toy in his car that I didnt recognize as one of our kid's. I told him in view of the problems we were having there were things that concerned me at times. He said well it doesnt help when you do that and question me. He was getting gas while he was talking and the phone was cutting out so we agreed to talk later. But he didn't call back and didnt come home.

    This was expected but still painful, hope he is alright. No sense in contacting him he obviously wants space. This could be a good thing Kim. Quite possibly he may be considering letting me go. That would mean that he has finally made up his mind. Well better not speculate too much. Got a long to do list today but I'll keep you posted. Yours truly, Theresa

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  16. Hi Theresa,

    I thought this might come and I don't think he is letting go of you, what I think is that he is testing you and finding out what happens when he crosses your boundaries now. You said that you wanted to be the only sexual interest in his life and now he is saying ... "So what happens when I break that rule? What are you going to do about it?"

    This is where you really need to do the personal rights exercise through to completion because the worst thing you could do is show him that nothing will happen. The child in him that lacked boundaries and discipline is seeking that from you now and I fear all hell will break loose if he doesn't get it.

    Him saying you have done something wrong in asking about the things you did is BS and he needs to be told so.

    Besides contacting the people in the personal bill of rights exercise I think you also should do what you can to find out what he is up to on his late nights out and I would also highly recommend a book you can buy on Amazon called "Setting limits with your strong willed child".
    Get it today if you can (maybe from the library) and try and read as much as you can.

    I know he is not a child - but I believe this book will give you a lot of ideas on how to set limits with him - which IMHO he is really craving.

    He likes seeing you so strong now, but now your strength is really going to be tested.

    Time to figure out how to put that bad little boy in his place and bring him on home.

    Some Super Nanny episodes will help you now too...

    Remember how much better rested you are than him? This is where you having more stamina is going to pay off! Just look at how tired everyone is at the end of the super nanny episodes when the little brat finally caves and has a big cry and everyone has a cuddle.

    You hang in the Theresa, he hasn't got anyone better than you - this is all just him looking for you to tame him! He is going to fight like hell for sure (Because he has never trusted anyone before and there is a lot of pain and anguish in that for him) but deep down his better nature is actually hoping you will win this battle (-:

    You make sure you have enough back up now OK? Make sure you talk to a few people on that list you made that you can call anytime if you need help. He may be a brat but he is a grown up and it sounds like a very strong one.

    I know that you can do this and in a sense it may be better if you are able to choose the issue and the battle ground.

    If you read through "Back from the Lookimg Glass" in the section about not encouraging him to share his feelings you will see where I reached the point with Steve where he started to actually see he could trust me and he got really mad before the game came crashing down. I fear that is exactly the point you are at now after you handling your day out together so well. PLease go back and read about that again and really try and be prepared. You need to be ready to stand your ground while not getting involved in the fight he will want to have (because there is too much pain and anger from the past for him in that fight and you will never win it with words anyway). Be smart and draw the line and then just make sure you are safe when the anger comes out and that you are ready to just be there and let him go through it without giving him any excuse to direct it at you.

    I know you can do this but you will need to be prepared so please spend some time thinking through how you can now show him that you are truly there for him but that you are not going to let him drag any of you any further into the gutter.

    I know you will do great and there is better times ahead when you get through this - but you are really dealing with fire now (his trust issues) and so do take care and make sure you have back up.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  17. Hi there Kim,
    I hear you! I do have back up that's for sure. He did call me finally just before I read this and asked me how I was doing. I said I was good but because I was caught by surprise I mostly let him say whatever he needed to. He wanted me to know that I didn't do anthing wrong, I said I know that, and that he felt that he made a mistake comeing home, I just pretty much went along with that only because I wasnt prepared so rather than say the wrong things I felt it better to not say much just yet. When he was done he paused a long time to see how I would react. The only thing I could think of to say was "There really isnt anything I can say to you." I just needed to end the conversation at that point. I informed him of some upcoming school events and said goodbye. He then texted me 4 times about that event which was odd cause he has never texted me more than once at a time. Then he proceeded to text our daughter asking her what gift she wanted.[he has never bought her a gift in 11 years] She told him that she didnt want anything so he started to text me again I told him she just wanted a few school friends over and have pizza. He asked me if he could come to that but my daughter shook her head and started getting tears in her eyes. I gave him the day and time. I told my daughter that he just wanted to be there for her. He has been very rejecting of her and so she doesnt trust him.

    So I have some time to prepare. I have been reading all I can and reread the portions you suggested. I have discussed the steroid issue with my councellor and she will contact his DV councellor today. As for his late night activities I have nothing solid to present, I cant follow him around with kids and all my other responsibilities. Besides I drop weight whenever I see that he has been talking to other women. It becomes an obsession and I had to stop looking at the phone bill because if I lose any more weight I will lose my health. My intuition tells me that he got heat for spending the holiday with me and that disrupted his romance but I still also see that he does not want to let go of me just yet, I actually think he plans to wean himself off of me,get me out of his system so to speak but that only gets him closer. It's very likely he is juggling me with someone else but I already know she can't win. Kim he seems to want in more when he is out. What is that about? All will be revealed in time. Meanwhile I have to figure out what to do. I will keep in touch. Thanks so much, Theresa

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  18. Hey Theresa stop doubting yourself - he doesn't want to leave you - I tell you he is testing you!

    He wants to see what happens when he breaks the rules and also that you really care about him.

    I don't know what you are going to do now but please read up on the stuff I suggested including How to Set Limits with your strong willed child. Did I recommend that already? Because I should have!!! It will help you understand how it works with him and why he has to challenge every 'rule'.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  19. Hi Kim,
    Yes I do believe he is testing me. I ordered the book you told me about from amazon and it should get here in a few days . It wasn't available for kindle till next year. I suppose I can go to the bookstore and browse it before it comes.

    I called 3 people from my list and discussed my concerns about him. I let them know his situation was dire and that I was worried that he was in alot of danger. 2 of them wanted to talk to him. One of them is the minister that married us. Interesting this minister told me that he recieved a couple calls from my husband this past week and did't have a chance to get back to him. Likely he thought this would be a betrayal to me so I let him know that I wanted him to be a listening ear.
    I haven't heard from his DV councellor about the steroid concern but I do have her respect and commendation for my conduct in handleing this whole situation. She isn't fooled by his charms at all.
    He comes to see the girls tonight, so I'll go to the bookstore and see if they have that book available.
    Thanks for believeing in me Kim. You arn't going to let me give up are you! I gotta go get my big girl from school but I'll let you know what goes down. Love, Theresa

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  20. Hi Kim,
    My husband came to pick up the girls,I could tell he wanted to talk. He said there was no money and that his mother was going to lone him some. This upset me cause his mother is not a very nice person and I know that accepting from her would come at too high a cost. I didnt want to argue but I let him know that I could do without for a few days.

    After leaveing the house he called back. He conveyed that he was committing adultry. He said "hypothetically if I have would you move on and get married?" I told him honestly yes. He said well you can take off your wedding ring then. I told him that I could not so much as look at another man unless he informed the elders that he was committing adultry. [He understands that he either has to confess or get caught by two witnesses in order for me to be free.] But I also let him know that I thought it was time he come home and put all of this in the past. That I knew the direction he was going would destroy him, I told him I knew he was scared that I saw it in his eyes whenever we met. He told me" No "he liked his new life and freedom and didn't want to come home, that he hated being around me and the kids and sorry but the week he spent with us proved to him that he couldn't ever come home. He said he felt guilty for doing that to me but he is glad he knows for sure now. He said the day at the beach was a nice "last day." Dont you think? I thought he might be trying to get an emotional reaction and I said "Yes if that was the last day it was nice." He told me he wasn't going to confess to the elders anything that it would just have to come out in time. He didn't want his mom and his sister to know just yet. He said "what if I want to do this for a few more months and then would you take me back." I told him that was utterly ridiculous. He laughed. The conversation kept going in circles around him wanting me to stop wearing my ring and "playing stupid." And me telling him that I really had no grounds to remove it because I was not free without a confession. He is well aware of this, he just wants me to react badly. I'm sure he expected me to be angry and emotional.
    Of course I broke down and cried my heart out afterwards. I talked to the head elder of our congregation and he said they would try to talk to him. But I don't think he will confess. At least he will be confronted with it.
    When I went to pick up the girls he was friendly and told me what a great time they had at his mothers. I was polite as I gathered the girls' things to go. He said that our older daughter could spend the night but I didn't think that was a good idea. He followed me out and told me his mom wrote him a check and he was going to deposit it in the bank. I said nothing about that. He asked if our religious assembly was comeing up next week.[We never miss going together.] I knew he only asked to see if I would get sad. I smiled happily and just said "yeah." I got in the car and drove away.
    I think he will probably continue to try and chip away at me this way but I know better than to get into it with him. Who knows Kim a year from now he may regret his actions and want to come home,or he may confess eventually and let me go. Either way I will continue to learn and apply the right principles. I am sane today because I know a better way. Thanks for shareing your tools. I know it's never over, we still have our children together so I have to keep getting better. Talk to you soon Love Theresa

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  21. Hi Theresa,

    Hey at least the truth is coming out now hey? I know you must be feeling sad but I also hear how brave and strong and proud of yourself you are now and that is just so great to see. It is also great that you have spoken to the elders because you are going to need support through what happens now. The courage you have shown facing the uncertainty that is front of you now is a credit to you Theresa. You are going to ride this well no matter what happens and he is not going to be able to blame you any longer for his own problems and I think he is eventually going to need to face them himself.

    I am really proud of you!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  22. Thank you Kim,
    Yeah, at least he has enough respect to tell me what he's up to so I can make practical choices for myself. He said "I can wear a condom with you." Alludeing to the fact that he has had unprotected sex." [No thanks.]

    Sad things happen in life and I didnt want this for my family, but I know I did what was right and I can have a clear concience. The worst part is watching someone you love disentigrate before your eyes. I have the peace of mind knowing I did everything that I possibly could.
    He just dropped the girls off. I'm not letting him come in the house now when I'm alone. He said "lets not fight, thats fine." I told him it was just a boundary no argument. He said I'm fine with that and thrust his garage door opener at me. But when he left called me up. [This seems to be his new favorite thing.] He burst out with "HI BEAUTIFUL MOTHER OF MY CHILDREN!" I said "whats up?" cause I wasn't impressed. He wanted to be sure that I was going to let him come to the pizza party. He also wanted to know if he still could pick up the kids on mondays so I could go to my alanon meeting. I let him know that I was fine with that. He again said "I really think you should take off your wedding ring now." [WOW!] I told him that it really wasn't his business what I did with that. I had to cut that circle of a conversation short.

    I do hope he can confront his demons before he completely self destructs. Well gotta go for now. thanks again, your friend, Theresa

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  23. Hi Theresa,

    Wow! I have been so in awe of your story and Kim's kind and very real support along the way! I hope you both don't mind if I briefly comment here - I agree that AA can be dens full of people with NPD - it must make it very difficult for those seeking recovery in AA under those circumstances - sort of like "the blind leading the blind". The AA program itself however is designed to help people get honest with themselves and others and to "grow up" mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I am wondering if your husband has been awakened to reality through AA Step 4 and is attempting to work Step 5 and therefore has left a couple of telephone messages with your Church Ministers, and then come and admitted his adultery to you. One thing I do know is that alcoholics suffer from tremendous & perhaps overwhelming guilt - and maybe your husband feels that he is unforgiveable now for what he has done not only to you and your family, but to himself as well and maybe that is part of why he wants you to take off your wedding rings. What your husband is doing strikes a chord with me - my husband frequently pushes me away but underneath does not want to leave me (THE TEST!) - but if we were to part ways then he wants me to make the final decision. However I remember after he pushed me away so hard last Xmas - I had had enough and I took off my wedding rings - he was so upset and remorseful - that eventually we reconciled - but why the stupid games in the first place!

    I hope your husband continues to work the AA program because if and when he truly works and embraces all the Steps in AA (and this takes a long time) then he will be well on the road to recovery. I believe also that AA's would perhaps have a better chance at recovery if they enter rehab too(in addition to AA) where they would be guided by counsellors to get honest with themselves and to face reality (Denial and Fantasy being their biggest obstacles in life), and from there find or develop their good qualities, and learn to love and accept themselves - probably for the first time in their lives. This would probably more positively support what we are trying to do from our side to deal with our loved one's narcissistic behaviour and addictions.

    Your courage and strength is truly inspiring Theresa, and I am sure you will be happy & successful now no matter what happens, and I hope you will continue sharing your story with Kim and all of us out here!

    All the best,
    CD, Australia.

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  24. Great to see you on this blog CD! As always your input is just so valuable! I am glad to hear things are improving for you as well.

    Thanks for all the wonderful advice and support you have given so freely on Wordpress for so long.

    I have a few surprises I will be anonouncing soon where we will all be able to get to know each other a bit better and communicate in some new and exciting ways (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  25. Thanks CD and Kim,

    So appreciative for all your support,And insights. AA works if you work the program. My husband is on step 4. Yesterday he was comeing undone because he sipped someones drink and that set his sobriety date back to zero. He was at 4 months 2 days. He was yelling at the kids when I came to pick them up after attending my alanon meeting. I calmly told him that my sister would watch them from now on.

    Since his confession he texts, calls and tried to get my new e-mail address. He tries to antagonize me into arguments telling me I'm acting cold and bitter toward him cause he doesnt like the firm boundaries he keeps encountering. He tells me I need to get a Job. And why am I still wearing my ring? I won't get into it with him.

    I am greiveing a loss and simultaneously endureing this stoneing from him. But I have a tremendous support system and a community of people rallying around me. Thanks for being part of that community ladies. Love ,Theresa

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  26. Hi Kim,
    I read the book on strong-willed children. I see where I can improve on boundaries and definitely understand what I need to do. I'm getting alot of astonished responses from my husband now but the finality in my voice tells him that there is no room for his nonsense anymore.

    He was very upset over finances this week and asked me what I was doing to remedy the situation. I told him I didnt get us here but I was doing everything I could to take care of the kids and myself financially. [He has accounts that he believes I don't know about so he isnt in as dire of straights as he would like me to believe.] Then inappropriately he complained that he was so stressed out that his d--- wouldnt work. I certainly didnt give him a response to that but I tell you Kim I just can't even believe he would solicit sympathy from me about that. He is so unhealthy from all the garbage he is doing to his body that he can't function to even cheat adequately. I feel sad that he has so degraded himself that he is unrecognisable. I cringe when he tries to kiss the baby. My older daughter told me that she doesnt understand why he has started to kiss them hello and goodbye that it makes her uncomfortable. I told her she was allowed to decline. At her pizza party he strutted around, acted bossy at the girls and told me to get a towel for the spare bathroom. He pretended to repair the outdoor mister system that has been broken for 4 years to look like he was "takeing care of things." followed me around trying to monopolize my time while I had guests and complained that I wasnt being nice to him. He asked if he could borrow my ice chest for a friend. I told him no. I knew I wouldnt get it back. He pressed me and I just said "dont ask for anything from me, I don't have anything to give you. He said can I talk to you for 5 minutes before I leave. I shook my head and joined my guests, He left us alone in peace so that we could celebrate my daughters promotion. It was her party and I wasn't about to let it be about him.

    I no longer feel Im doing something wrong or hurtful when I establish boundaries. He can look as astonished and dejected if he likes. I won't have my arms twisted or my children forced to be affectionate with someone they fear. He isn't allowed to lend my belongings to people I don't know.

    He is attempting to be overly friendly and is calling and texting too much. But he knows I won't tolerate him even raising his voice at me or the children and how serious I am about the protective order. I have someone with me whenever he sees me now, this shows him I'm well supported and never alone. Interesting how they can behave so differently when another person is present.

    Im getting alot of good feedback on my business and my brochures come today. Been following Fed Ex like a stalker.

    I enjoyed the new info on leading a double life. Very accurate! So generous Kim. And I am intrigued by your new project comeing up involveing mentors that's a fantastic idea. See u soon Love, Theresa

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  27. Hi Theresa,

    I guess the thing you need to be ready for now is to catch him when his false pride finally crubles and for that you will need to be ready. You may want to do that and you may not but it sounds like he is getting close to it.

    I doubt his affair is going very well and now that you are no longer allowing him to make you his scape goat he is having to see just how behind in the whole game of life he is.

    I remember when Steve reached that stage and I said OK I am going to take care of you - but just like the children you have to wash and dress yourself neatly and I also want to see that you can just be with us and be quiet and not need to be the centre of attention.

    By that Stage Steve was quiet relieved about that - he realised he didn't have to do anything and he was so exhauted and frightened that he obliged.

    It was after that I went and saw his work agency and told him he wasn't fit to be looking for work and that he needed to learn how to be home with us again after losing his job at the bar. He was so relieved. He helped around the house like never before and I made sure I was kind to him and never left him at too much of a loose end. He would still play the big boss around the kids sometimes but then I challenged him to do some parent training after finding the course for him. I said finish this and I will have much more respect for you! Before I sent him there however I made sure it was run by a no nonsense man - and he liked it that it was a man and also one he couldn't charm.

    Back to your husband Theresa - I am not surprised he has become impotent. With all the money worries he has - I had a feeling his affair wouldn't hold up (pardon the pun) very long!

    The last wall you pull out of his house of cards might be letting him know you know about his other account. His false pride seems very centered on his sexual performance and feeling that they are suddenly poor does terrible things to a man's abilities in that regard.

    If you are not going to be the one to catch him you will need to have some idea where he is going to go. When these guys false pride comes undone it can be a fairly serious breakdown and they need a lot of taking care of.

    The trick is to be there while they get better and make sure they don't build the false front up all over again.

    Like when they start saying they will get back on top - you can say kindly that all anyone would like to see from you now is that you can be a good husband and father.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  28. Hi Kim,
    I have good news. My husband confessed his adultry to our elders. Bad news he wants to continue on this course and told them he doesnt intend to stop. He told me he is haveing sex with random partners. He looked in my eyes searching for a pained reaction but I only felt the deepest pity for what he is doing to himself "I told him that I wasn't interested in knowing about it that that was his business not mine anymore". He said "Now will you take off your ring?' He has since emptied out the bank account and failed to pay the morgage. When I let him know I would have to contact the authorities he went crazy calling and texting me for hours harrassing me viciously and threatening to shut off phone, internet,auto and medical insurance, I didnt give him much of a reaction just let him know that his actions would hurt him in court. I havent threatened divorce or seperation, I do need to get our finances seperated though and fast because he isnt makeing stable decisions and I have to make sure the kids and I have a home to live in. He won't like this one bit because I'm sure its cramping his style and he would rather spend everything on his lifestyle right now. He wants me to feel dependent on him and be desperate but I don't feel desperate. He cant believe that I'm not running scared by all the threats and taunting. I just keep looking at him and thinking so this is what happens when I decide to live my life, He is trying to do everything he can to get me back to being under his thumb one way or another. I see him for who he really is. He is desperate and broken and empty. I would like to help him but he is so dangerous right now Kim that he is capable of just about anything. I am at C. I have to take care of myself and the children right now and get stronger. I need to get enough work to support us. Thats where my energy needs to be. If you don't see me online it will be because he has shut down the internet. I will be in touch when I can get my account in my name. Pray for my family and hope to be in touch soon. Theresa

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  29. Get your money and assets protected immediately! Also draw in your whole support network now and let them know what is happenning. I think this is about him losing his job. His identity was so based on it he is falling apart now. Let your support network and his family know he is not OK and you are worried about him. If you tell them you think it is about his job it will mean people will have more courage to talk to him and help him. It will also take your relationship out of the Lime light which will be easy for you. You see him exactly as he is now you are right. The false security his job gave him is all that was holding the broken peices together.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  30. Hiya!
    Still on, been busy with damage control. He is trying to make me as uncomfortable as possible and I'm holding up ok. I can file for all sorts of aid I'm finding that can keep the kids and I fed while I am getting work. There are programs for victims of domestic violence that really respect woman who want to work and that file restraining orders. In fact if you file or have filed a restraining order you qualify for childcare, job placement and cash aid. Since my business schedule is flexible I can work on that on the side till it creates enough money to support us then drop the government aid.

    I'm getting an education Kim. Not a bad thing. Also seeing the sad state of affairs with so many desperate people standing in line, and feeling very grateful that I have had an education and a moral upbringing. A pregnant girl with two baby boys asked if I had a cigarette. Her eyes were sad and defeated. I wanted to scoop up her 10 month old from his stroller and run. She had been waiting 4 hours to be seen.

    My husband has become very persistent. He keeps leaveing me phone and email messages asking me what I need. But any time I have responded he tries to say things that he thinks will upset me and when I dont react to them he gets really angry and starts yelling. When I tell him I cant talk to him when he is angry and I get off the phone then he texts me to tell me that I'm doing something wrong and tries to convince me that I'm emotional and irrational, being cruel to him. He accuses me of starveing the kids cause Im the one who wont cooperate. Its exhausting to have any kind of contact with him. I'm waiting for the Morgage statement so I can file a report to the police that he has not paid it. They may put him in jail. He has threatened to leave the state and go into rehab for three months, and work at McDonalds if I report him. That is starting to sounds good to me. He can no longer weild financial abuse over me now that I have applied for assistance. It may be a long hard road but learning how to protect myself has been valuable.

    I have decided to file for Divorce. I cannot stay married to him. But I can forgive and move on. You are one of the few people I can tell that I will always love him because you understand that. But he can't be trusted. Someday I hope he cleans up his act and has a good life. I know what life I want for myself and my children and I can make that happen. He wants to go down a different path that he thinks will bring him "freedom".

    I can proudly say I am progressively filling my gaps. Its painful but the rewards are worth it. Things I have avoided for years are now being faced head on. I am capable of doing alot more than I ever thought I could. Hope everything is going ok with you and yours, love, Theresa

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  31. Hello once again.
    So busy working. I have a decent job and supporting my girls. I figured out how to use my phone to connect to the Internet.

    Things have settled down finally. My husband went into rehab as a result of an overdose. But they kicked him out for getting sexually involved with other patients. He has stopped blending me for all of his misfortune. He realizes his pornography addiction is a problem and it has become a full-blown sex addiction. As my Divorce is pending I am doing well and taking care of my children. I feel sad but realize there is no returning to a relationship with my husband. But my life is better. My children are safer. And I'm getting used to being treated with respect. Thanks for all the great information Kim. How are you and yours?

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  32. Wow, Theresa I'm amazed by your strong will and wonderful attitude! Your story is somewhat similar to mine, except my husband dosen't do steriods. I've been following Kim for about two years, wish I could buy some of the books - hopefully soon. I just wanted to say - stay strong, we are all in this together and no matter what you are doing the right thing. You have many friends out here that are on your side and praying for you....love from up north!

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