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Ego Kibbles

Cheating is a profoundly narcissistic act. (Of course, cheaters don’t see it that way. Usually they cast it as selflessly liberating someone from the oppressive bonds of sexless marriage to a jerk…)

But really cheating just all boils down to – ego kibbles. Cheaters need ego kibbles. Lots and lots of kibbles. Shrinks call ego kibbles “narcissistic supply,” but I prefer to think in terms of Narcissist Ego Chow. Cheaters need to feed. They need lots and lots of validation that they’re special, sexy, and understood by only a special chosen few. Problem is, ego kibbles are not very sating, and so they always need more. Part of that problem is the cheater – they’ve got a hole in their soul where empathy and connection should be. So, a person can shovel ego kibbles at the cheater, but they don’t fill up.

The other part is the unfulfilling quality of ego kibbles themselves. Narcissistic supply is like bad chicken feed. It’s full of arsenic, dead chicken bits, and barnyard poop. It’s cheap, commercial grade filler. It’s crap.

What’s in a bag of Narcissist Ego Chow? Flattery. Attention. Easy sex. Admiration without accomplishment. Shallow attachment. Infatuation. Fantasy. Centrality.

Cheaters prefer kibbles to love. Love requires reciprocity and connection. Love is messy and demanding. Kibbles are easier.

And remember, it takes a lot of ego kibbles to feed a cheater, and they don’t have any to spare for you, okay? Chumps tend to be very neglected during an affair. Kibbles are very, very precious. If cheaters give kibbles, it’s only because they want more kibbles back, and it’s going to be a lopsided trade. Look for a healthy, fulfilling relationship based in mutuality and respect. Don’t traffic in kibbles.

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  • I like tis a lot. Like the image om my XW eating kibbles from her doggie bowl.
    It is really true, though. Much like your article on it being “too complicated” for the betrayed to understand, these folks seem to really beleive, or at least try to sell, that their immoral behavior is , somehow a noble, brave balh, blah.
    My XW told me that “the chemistry became sexualized” in her various affairs. Doesn’t that sound evolved and spitiual? She loves this type of opaque language. She found “connection” with the various strangers she would meet in bars and spend the night with.
    Now, she works as the “spiritual director” of an upscale CD treatment facility, for rich folks. Nice that she has never worked the 9th or 8th step in her AA recovery. Never owned what she did and never made rstituion or amends.
    Did you know that Bill W, the founder of AA was a notorious philanderer and that the founding members would assign a male to watch him at meetings so he would not hit on the young women?
    So, AA takes the position that infidelity , unlike other offenses, should not be disclosed to the spouse of an alcoholic cheater, as it would damage the betrayed further.
    In reality , it is just another way toavoid the consequences of cheating.

    • yep. the notorious “13th step.” I guess Lois just looked the other way, poor co-dependent dear. Oh, I used to live about 3 miles away from his home in Bedford Hills, NY. (now a mausoleum, I believe; shit… I meant museum, of course) ;] A couple years ago, an acquaintance of mine wrote a play based on their love letters to each other. vomit.

    • Hmmmm. Interesting you should say that about Bill W. being a notorious philanderer. AA/NA type groups have PLENTY of vulnerable souls to feed upon.

      That’s why I never go to them. I felt like a piece of meat being salivated over by fucked up lions. It felt very frightening. =(

      I go to a special women’s group that is based on Charlotte Kasel’s theories that is MUCH more useful and MUCH more empowering!

      • Read this statement in the thread above: “So, AA takes the position that infidelity , unlike other offenses, should not be disclosed to the spouse of an alcoholic cheater, as it would damage the betrayed further.
        In reality , it is just another way toavoid the consequences of cheating.” Now, – I react strongly to this statement. I am sure it comes from someone who is not attending any AA meetings themselves. Because this is not true. AA does not take any postion at all to any outside issue besides being of help to the alcoholic who still suffers. Please do not drag AA’s name in the mud in this way!


        • My husband found his Ego Kibbles in AA. My sponsor knew, my friends knew, … After it all blew up, everyone quoted the following for not telling me (WHAT ABOUT STDs).

          Big Book: Chapter 5 – How It Works
          We want to stay out of this con­troversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct.

    • AND the most destructive part of any “codependent” model for those who have been betrayed as that the “program” claims that the betrayed partner “must do her/his own work,” that she/he “must take responsibility for her/his part in the relationship.”

      Such approaches re-victimize the victim – re-traumatize the traumatized. One does NOT necessarily come from a dysfunctional family or childhood to end of marrying a partner who betrays, who cheats…

      IN old-style sex addiction approaches using the 12 Step approach, the partner of the addict is actually called a “co-addict!”
      Most partners have NO clue about what is happening – and even if one may wondered at various points, to then assign that the partner “chose to ignore,” or “was in denial,” or was an “enabler” is absurd.


      Be very kind to your self – avoid these approaches. Read “Your Sexually Addicted Spouse” by Marsha Means and Barbara Steffens. Seek the work on Trauma Model approaches, and note the work by Dr. Omar Minwalla, at the Institute for Sexual Health.

      It is very important to understand that YOU have been betrayed, traumatized, and YOU are NOT responsible for it.

      The cultural myths about “affair-proofing” your marriage, about women who are not loving or sexual-enough are deeply damaging, damning of women, deeply misogynist.

      • wow! and i was actually thinking of going to al-anon to help me deal with the crap my XH put me thru with his drinking.

        • Hi Mo, al-anon actually helps a lot.

          What it does is encourage you to take the focus off the [person who is tormenting you] and place it on yourself.
          It really helps start the self-focus programme.

          I found that al anon helped my reactivity, taught me compassion, and ramped down the conflict. It saved $$$$$$$$$ in legal bills. So do consider it, because it has nothing to do with the other, and all about detaching from them in a gentle way and working on yourself.

          The problem of addiction is not the substance, it is the shitty behaviour around the substance. Addicts eventually ruin their closest relationships with their selfish destructive acts.

        • Give Al-Anon and/or CoDa a chance!

          I have benefited from both. Sure, any organization of humans has shortcomings- I understand some of the above criticisms of AA, even though I love my group, sponsor, and years of sobriety. The good far outweighs the bad. Al-Anon and CoDa helped me recognize and heal a lot of stuff. It helped my get out of a toxic (serial cheater, 13th stepping, porn addict, prostitute loving SOB) situation and learn to stand healthily, and happily on my own!

    • Yes! Arnold, I have often thought the same thing about how every other offense etc. has to have amends made (in the 12 step world) EXCEPT cheating! It gets a free pass! Because after all, it would hurt the cheated on one SO MUCH that it actually is much kinder to keep the cheating secret! I have often wondered in meetings if I was the only one who noticed that “slight” discrepancy in the “rigorous honesty” suggested! But that was before I found this website. Thank you.

    • Sexualized chemistry? LOL, hilarious. Your X bastardized the steps, the way a clever little sociopath does. I’d bet money she doesn’t have a sponsor, they tend to hold you accountable. The 3rd step prayer includes “Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.” Cheaters hear blah, blah, blah, bondage, me, me.

      The 4th step lists the people I’ve hurt and the 8th is a list built from that. No bonfire in the backyard? She didn’t do a 4th, either (we always burn them).

      The 9th, making amends except when to do so would injure them or others. Not disclosing affairs because it would harm your spouse is a self serving, shitty excuse. There will be consequences. Cheaters don’t like consequences, they prefer self preservation aka bondage of self.

      I’m sorry this has been your experience with AA, you’re not the first. A cheater is a cheater is a narcissist. There’s no cure.for that.

      • The 9th step ‘amends unless it would injure’ is a cheater loophole, apparently. The injury was fucking 19 prostitutes, NOT coming clean about it.

        It’s late, I can’t sleep, don’t think ‘bastardized’ is the right word, but you know what I mean.

        • How about an AA cheater who makes his own white chip for him and his AA skank with “13th step” on one side and “tease” on the other? Yes, I actually found this in his nightstand drawer while packing his stuff up!

        • I have one of those classic cheaters who while he was yelling at me for 1 1/2 hrs that I wasn’t spending enough time with him,that he felt the “distance” between us. Later on I checked his phone log and when I was in the kitchen with him cooking supper he was texting his HO! Gee wonder why I don’t want to spend time with him? Do they think we’re dumb? We know every time! That’s that old saying? Put the blame on the other person for what you are doing?

          The worth part is they are being used by them too, they always want something. Money etc. pretty much just two depraved, disgusting losers with no morals who are cowards on top of it. In this case I know someone who will get kicked out of the house!

          • My husband of 45 yrs continues to,look for hook ups and attention. Fro. Trashy going females. He denies it but still does it. Well he is not getting anything from where.

  • This is probably the best description of “narcissistic supply” I have read. Thank you for this 🙂

    • You’re very welcome. I hope it never comes in useful again. (By which I mean, wishing you an NPD-free life!)

  • I have to say… this web site is fantastic. Exactly what I need as I cruise through the post-discovery and on towards ending the marriage. I get so bogged down in my own head that my emotions start directing my thinking. I’ve been searching and searching for a nonsense online resource to keep me thinking strait during my weak moments. THIS website will help keep me on track. Thanks for what you do!

  • This rings especially true for me because my “Andy” (credit to My Emotional Vampire page on FB for the name) likes to present himself as an empath.

    You can imagine what its like to be married to a serial cheater who says he’s an empath. He was so busy telling me he understood how much he hurt me that he never even bothered to listen to me.

    • ” He was so busy telling me he understood how much he hurt me that he never even bothered to listen to me.” I had to laugh over this. I found a powerpoint that my husband made with the pros/cons of divorcing me. He made it up right after he told me about the affair. Bullet 1 – “She is angry and upset. I totally understand.” Phew, so glad he wrote that done. He gets me, he really gets me!

        • “I understand your anger and hurt, but when will you get over it? I know you just found out 2 1/2 weeks ago (right before Christmas via a 1:00 am drunken phone call from OW of 9 months, pissed off b/c you fucked another woman during your ‘relationship’ with her, and I needed to know exactly what a POS you are.) Never mind that I barely got through the holidays with our three kiddos. WHEN WILL I GET OVER IT? Never.

  • I’m surprised there isn’t a photo of my husband next to this article. “They need lots and lots of validation that they’re special, sexy, and understood by only a special chosen few.”

    Spot on.

    • I reread this description of my at least FIVE times. Fits my XH to a TEE!!

      What’s in a bag of Narcissist Ego Chow? Flattery. Attention. Easy sex. Admiration without accomplishment. Shallow attachment. Infatuation. Fantasy. Centrality.

      My X works at colleges so he has LOTS of pickins of victims by Bill W.

  • ugh… For most of our 25 year marriage, I called my “sweet,” “gentle” h, “puppy.” I know… pretty fukin’ nauseating, ain’t it? I think that “gerbal” or “hamster” would’ve suited him better. Rat would work too. Where’s the exterminator?

  • OMG, this is so perfect… Even more so because one of the reasons my husband gave to our marriage counselor for having an affair was because my dog chewed up his hat and I didn’t give him enough sympathy for it and “that’s when he realized that I didn’t understand what was important to him.” A hat = important. A marriage, fidelity, trust of his children = not important. Okay, I got it.

    • This is hysterical. My husband told me that he needed to be with someone that valued going camping. Yet – he felt his betrayal of our 13 year union was completely understandable. Hat…hahahaha

      • I am so sorry that happened to you but I can’t help but laugh at the way you wrote it. My story -“Babe – I need to go to the Cayman Islands for a week with 7 of my 20-something single dope-smoking loser friends so I can figure this out. I know I’ve missed a lot of work this year and I’ll have to make it up when I get back. And no – I am NOT talking to her. When I get home (to you and our kids), after some serious HARD partying I will have reflected about what I want and we can talk.” Rest and relaxation (aka acting like a single 25 year old at a paunchy 41) apparently = clarity he didn’t have 5 months ago. This must be like hell. Still waiting around. Holy shit. Never thought I would be such a major chump. I only let him have his passport so he would get the f$&@ out of here for a week to give me a reprieve from this bs.

  • i like to call them scooby snacks 😀
    same thing really with the canine reference, but the image of scooby gagging for them while velma dangles the box in the air is just too funny!

  • Yes! YES. This precisely describes my (soon to be dissolved) marriage. I had surprise birthday parties for her. Told her she was beautiful. Took her on fabulous vacations. Bought a house near her best friend. Moved to the same state as her parents. Tried doing lots of house work. Worked at home on Fridays so we could be sexual while the kids were at school, an before she was tired. I did everything I could think of to CONNECT with her. All kibble. There was NO RECIPROCITY. No connection in her head. Then she had a year-long affair with my daughter’s hockey coach (nice). And after I found out, she kept having contact with the idiot, despite the emotional distress this caused me. Actually she probably did it BECAUSE it caused me distress. Bottom line = she has ZERO empathy. The whole 16-year marriage was ego kibble.

    • dang!!! are you single? haha jk

      but thanks for this. NO RECIPROCITY!! YES!! i dont know how many times i have felt that. i would do things and he would give me crumbs. although he did always seem to come thru when i needed him. he did keep the house going (barely) and would fix things AFTER they broke.

      that really hit home for me. although mine says he only cheated when we were separated. i used to tell him. this is not high school. we are marriage not going together and you dont brake up when you are married. it still hurt that he had sex with someone else.

  • “Cheaters need to feed. They need lots and lots of validation that they’re special, sexy, and understood by only a special chosen few.”

    BINGO! Sounds so LIKE my ex. The other woman gave him this in droves…probably still does since they ended up married. Lucky for me, that’s her problem now! I mean, why does HE have to change right? HE is ‘perfect’ and ‘precious’. Insert vomiting emoticon here.

    There was a time when I would given anything to be a fly on the wall when she finally figures it out but no more! I am done with the whole drama-seeking lot of them!

    Hindsight is 20/20 and now I can see clearly that he was always an narcissist in need of so much Ego Chow that I could not keep up. It had to be CONSTANT. I swear, I had to tell him he shit beautifully or he would follow me around asking: did my shit not stink? Was it perfect shit? etc…Unfuckingbelievable.

    Thank you, Chump Lady for starting this blog! I have gotten many a chuckle (and an occasional scream when remembering my past acts) out of it. How times have changed for me…

    And all you who are just starting on the journey to enlightenment….trust me, it really DOES get better.

    • OMG….your comment is friggin’ hilarious & oh,SOOOO true!!! I can relate all too well 😉

    • Valentine, I think we were married to the same man! Lol. My mom to this day says that my EX couldn’t even take a shit without asking if it was ok. Pathetic. I do have a question for you though. My EX married the OW last weekend and I’m having a hard time getting past it. How did you get yourself to a point where you didn’t care about being that fly on the wall anymore? Was it just time?

  • My ex from head to toe. And the stupidest part is that he would have had a generous supply of ego kibbles from me (I’m VERY affectionate, love to give positive feedback for positive action, am a huge chatterbox, so people around me get lots of attention, did see that he was smart, good at the technical side of his job, and good looking ….) except that he couldn’t give any back. He wanted it ALL, and got it; the pretty smart wife (that would be me!!!) who loved him like crazy, the nice house, the good job, the beautiful, healthy kids who love him, the family friends, outings and trips. But I got worn out doing the one-sided-marriage thing, and reduced (didn’t even eliminate!) the ego kibbles. We were actually in quite a good period in our relationship, but he went away for work, and didn’t want to make any effort to stay connected to home, so the ego kibble supply went down. Then he had to throw all the good stuff away, in order to screw somebody who looked at him w/adoring eyes, while demanding nothing.

    Almost a year now, since I figured it out, I feel better and better (although obviously not to ‘meh’ yet!) and he’s not happy w/his current life. Poor thing.

    • i was the same way Karen. i didnt even mind giving him all the attention he required. for me it was just part of being married. i noticed how i could bust my butt cleaning the house before he got home (one of his few complaints about me was that i didnt keep the house clean) and he wouldnt say a single word. no nice job, or hey you cleaned the house, it looks nice. But if he did the dishes, i would have to tell him over and over thank you, how nice, you are wonderful, you always help me so much. blah blah blah

      and if i got decked up to go out, i barely got a you look nice, but i was forever telling him how fine he looked, that shirt looks great on you, and you look so sexy, blah blah blah.

      i am still struggling but this site helps me see things more clearly

      • Each, that is exactly how it is in my house too….He is trying to lose some weight and if he loses a couple of pounds of water weight overnight….hold the phone….he will stand in front of the kitchen mirror with his shirt off, expertly extracting compliments about how great he looks and doling out diet and exercise advice like he is an expert. Ugh!

    • Wow we were married to twin brothers. My soon to be XH would never compliment me when I got dressed up to go out. I would get so many compliments from friends and family but never from him. I would buy him clothes that he would look great in and compliment him all the time. OW would compliment him as well because I made him look so good.
      This site is saving me!

  • Wow! A definition of a narcissist that I can understand. I always knew we all have narcissistic traits and when I’d read the definitions I could always find something that would not fit my husband, but this hit the nail on the head. However, it still makes me want to cry. He isn’t 100% bad. I see so much good in him except for this MAJOR FLAW. I’m trying to get my head around it. I don’t think he is a good mate for me, but at the same time I will miss his friendship.

  • Chump Lady, along the same lines as Michelle’s post, do you think there is any hope at all for these soul-sick bastards? “A hole in their soul where empathy and connection should be…” I am not in any way shape or form trying to excuse their behavior, and I have spent the last four years deliberately using my increasingly failed attempts to help a NPDer to ferret out and conquer my own enabling co-dependence once and for all, mostly so I can make sure I stay aware and protect myself from future encounters with these people, since I inevitably seem attracted to them, but at the end of the day, he’s still a pathetic human being who has actually done quite a lot for me, and where I come from, people are supposed to feel empathy for those less fortunate than ourselves. “Captain, if we assume those whales are ours to do with as we pleased, then we would be as guilty as those that caused their extinction in the first place.”
    The only problem is that I was hoping that enough kibbles would finally make him sick of kibbles, or at least close up the damn hole in the bottom of the bucket, but to no avail.

    What to do?? How do you walk away from an injured child? Or is that part of forcing them to grow up? This sucks.


    • I’m sorry, because you didn’t ask me, but if I may say so… Is this your husband or your child, we are talking about? Romantic love is NOT unconditional. His mental issues are not YOUR responsibility, either!

      How do you walk away?

      You pack your bags, say good-bye and put one foot in front of the other. That’s how you do it.

      You DO know, that by staying with him, you are only enabling him, right?

      and honey, FEEL all the empathy you wish!!! Absolutely. Feel sorry for him and then, continue to put one foot in front of the other, because his brand of illness will destroy what’s left of your soul. Do you understand?

      The most loving, kind thing you could do for him, would be to leave. And furthermore, its the most loving kind thing you could do for you. Think he would stick by you if the shoe was on the other foot.

      no. he wouldn’t.

      Will he get better if you leave? verrrrry doubtful. He’ll find another patsy, I mean woman to latch onto. Feel sorry for her too. She fell for his charms, but he will do to her what he did to you. guaranteed.

      • I have to agree with Laurel.

        The justification that you are “helping” them get over their NPD is the same argument that Andy’s affair partner put forward at one point.

        I am *not* comparing you to his affair partner. But mindset is the same: “he’s a wounded bird; he needs help; I just need to mother him enough,” etc.

        There’s nothing healthy about parenting a romantic partner.

        If it is your child, a conversation with his/her pediatrician is in order: how much “helping” is helping, and when does “helping” become denying a child the opportunity to do for themselves?

        • I have to agree with Laurel and Blue Eyes. A NPD is constantly looking for that “perfect love” which he/she will never find because they are incapable of loving anyone but themselves. I think of my EX as a vampire – he sucked the life out of me and left me for dead. A great book on the subject (which I discovered almost three months after kicking my N-ex out in May last) is Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On. I had to read it TWICE in order for it to sink into my numb brain. I call it my Ta-Da Day – finally, an explanation of how my “perfect” marriage ended in betrayal, lies and a broken heart. He had gotten everything he wanted out of our fake relationship so, time to move on.

          For a woman (or man) who has been betrayed, forgiveness is about taking back the power to decide you are whole, valuable and own your own life. More than 14 months out and I’m still struggling with anger but I sure have come a long, long way. I had never met anyone like him nor do I EVER want to meet another man even remotely like him. We did try to reconcile last Fall but I knew from the beginning it was wrong. I found he was asking other women out and packed up and left for the West Coast (we lived in FL). The day before I left he told me, “You know you’ll never find anyone else like me.” I replied, “That’s my plan.” He actually looked hurt.

          • “The day before I left he told me, “You know you’ll never find anyone else like me.” I replied, “That’s my plan.” He actually looked hurt.”

            LOL! Best.comeback.ever. Well said! Had to deal with a NPD ex, and I was a zombie by the end of it. He also cheated on me (with a prostitute — and that’s the one I know about, he must’ve done it with others as well), and had a harem of narcissistic supply (mainly consisting of exes and women he had met on his business trips whom he admitted he had taken back to his hotel but never slept with or done anything sexual with LOL! ) . He actually put me at the risk of STDs. NPDs are so dangerous, I am so glad I got out of that relationship and to this day, after several STD tests, I am still anxious about having an STD and want to go in for a test every month or so. :S

          • “You know you’ll never find anyone else like me.” I replied, “That’s my plan.” He actually looked hurt.
            …I need to write that down!

    • Ellen, if you haven’t yet read the Simon and Bancroft books CL recommends, you need to! The injured child MAY even have begun the process of their becoming NPD, but where they end up, as adults, is immersed in that entitlement – and often the injured child becomes yet another justification for their continued bad behaviour. “Oh, you can’t blame me, I’m so messed up, it’s not my fault!!”.

      Firstly, ADULTS have to take care of FIXING what’s wrong with them, even if it’s not their fault they got that way. And that goes doubly when their behaviour is hurting others, as well as themselves (but actually, the narcs don’t CARE about that part). And secondly, you deserve to be with an adult, who can love you back, not just keep sucking ego kibble out of you (you’re right that the bucket has a huge whole in it, it will never be full).

    • I feel you on this. i recognized the needy in my husband soon after we married. but i was okay with doing things for him. like i have said before, isnt it part of being married? yes, he seemed to need extra praise, extra attention, and yes he did not reciprocate the emotions, and give back as much as “I” needed or wanted.

      i probably felt like i was going to “fix” him. i remember thinking he doesnt know what love is but i love him so much maybe he will see how love really is.

      and that is where my struggle begins. my XH did do things for us. For the first 10 years, it was pretty much give and take. i can see the times where he really was trying to make me happy, or to do the right thing. yes, i gave more then he, but i dont isnt that usually the case where the female does give more? for the first 10 years, our marriage was just like that of everyone elses. yes, we had issues. every marriage does. we had fights about money, raising the children, and of course his drinking but then again doesnt everyone have something they fight about? and i could see him actually compromising in his own way. yes, it wasnt the way i particularly wanted him to do it, but it was in his way. and isnt that was compromising is about?

      that is why i struggle. my marriage wasnt picture perfect but it was good. we had a good thing going and i am not just snowballing myself into believing that. that is why i am struggling so much about what happened last year. he changed into a completely different person. and i am looking for answers. is he narcasstic? borderline? sociopath? he does have some of the characteristics. this blog here describes him completely. But is it a bad thing to need positive feedback all the time? i see my XH as struggling with something. i dont know what because he doesnt talk about it, i honestly dont think he knows how or what to say. is it an empty hole? possibly. but will he ever seek help on his own? i doubt it.

      maybe i am stupid. or a fool. but that really pains me. i just dont think my XH really understands what or why he is feeling these things. i dont think my XH is happy. if he was a narcissist wouldnt he be feeling some kind of enjoyment or happiness or fulfillment at some time? is it wrong for me to hurt for him and want him to be a better person?

      in my opinion you dont just give up on someone you love.

      • mo: I know this post is old, but this sounds similar to my relationship with my soon to be XH (13 year marriage, 2 daughters). It was not always just him asking for is ego kibbles. During the first half years of our marriage, he always made sure to compliment me on EVERYTHING I did, even though I never ask for it. He was the most caring husband and father, I thought, one could find. Our arguments were always about his drinking problem.

        However, during the last 5 years of our marriage, he stopped complementing me- it really never bothered me, but he did started asking more and more to validate his ego. Always asking for permission to do everything and anything, always asking me if he look/smell good, started going to dinners with his boss, casinos, basically started detaching from the family. At the same time, he started drinking heavily and constantly crying out for my attention. He would tell me he wanted to kill himself and constantly apologizing for no reason. Thus, I agreed to let him to go out twice a week because, in mind, he deserved a little fun since he worked hard to provide for our family.

        Long story short, 6 months ago I found out, he has never been faithful, had multiple affairs, men and women. He is gay, but in his own words, “afraid to come out” and all the 50+ women he had sex with, “while intoxicated,” was to prove to himself he that “is not gay.” I kicked him out the D-day. He never showed genuine remorse. All his communication to me is about how he understands my pain, how lonely he feels and how he misses “everything”. Not sure what he means by everything, but I’m assuming cake eating. Last month, we got into a huge argument because he wanted to come back home to “fix things.” Basically, he wants to live in the same house, no strings attached, only to provide our girls a “stable home” because, again his own words, “hates the place” where is currently staying. I did not allowed this, so he filed for divorce.

        Did you ever find out what your husband was struggling with?

  • SW said to me “I need to be emotionally poured into” (which is also this horrible alcohol reference as well) meaning she wasn’t getting enough ego kibbles from me. This is after I caught her cheating, she fell off the wagon (and started smoking pot) and had went half time at work causing us huge financial problems. And she still wanted kibbles. She sucks.

  • I love this blog! This is just what I need as well! My own personal Zombie Apocalypse started 7 months ago and I hope whatever blood and flesh that is to be sucked out of me will be complete by years end!
    Thank you Chump Lady for posting your wisdom to we who have been abandoned/betrayed ie… Chumped!

    • Jane,

      I love your description of the “Zombie Apocalypse”.

      It took about 6 months after D-day before I stopped feeling like an extra in a zombie apocalypse movie–paralyzed by brain fog of fear, obligation & guilt.

  • I love this site. I came across it while trying to figure out how to deal with being cheated on. I thought my life was over. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me. Narcissist Ego Chow is something my XB has been eating most of his life. His mother probably put it in a food processor and bottle fed it to him. The description fits him to a “T”. Thank you for this blog and helping me cope…helping me to realize that it isn’t me…it’s him. I started to second guess my decision to leave him after he cheated on me. He said it didn’t mean anything to him and there was “no sex” involved. HA! I did leave a cheater and I am on my way to gaining a life. Wish me luck!! 🙂

    • Holly,

      Welcome to a select club no one wants to be a part of, but is full of some pretty amazing people.

      Sounds like you’ve got your head on straight and aren’t falling for the justification BS.

      If you haven’t realized it yet, eventually you will find that your life now is much, much better than it was then. I wish you the best of luck, the best of friends, and the best of good times in your new life.

      • Holly,
        My STBX I think was fed Narcissist Ego Chow from the womb. His mom had a healthy dose of it and passed it on to her first born.

  • This has been a great help to me, Thank you! To the point, practical and so positive. I was with the man of my dreams for 5 years. I couldn’t believe my luck – joint interests and wonderful times together. (Should have realised that it was too good to be true!) Discovered an affair with his best friend’s wife. I was told not to judge him! He told me that the affair pre-dated me and that he didn’t love her. Said it was just sex but meetings had to be arranged as she doesn’t drive. We didn’t break up at that point but he has since finished things over a year ago. Completely out of the blue after a lovely weekend holiday together. Said he wanted to be on his own……truth is he had already started a relationship with his younger first cousin. He is over 60 and she in 40s. I told him never, ever to contact me again! And fortunately he hasn’t. But like the others in this blog I feel so sad. I know he defo doesn’t deserve me.

  • I am curious what you all think of me then. I cheated on my husband and then divorced him. He told me I was fat, ugly, and no one would want me. He told me I had to do all the work and clean the home because I was the woman. He would deliberately set out to make me jealous with other women. There were at least three. He then pressured me into swinging so he could watch. I met this nice charming never do well who made me realize i wasn’t dog squeeze. It was awesome to have someone tell me that I was sexy and intelligent. Ran around husband’s back, handed him his divorce papers, haven’t looked back. Am remarried and entirely faithful and have kids.

    So I suppose I needed those love kibbles. It was awesome; it set me free. Maybe i need them more than an average person and am a narcissist. I apologized to my ex. It was unworthy to run around; I know I ultimately hurt him, even though many people said he had it coming. I don’t regret divorcing him one bit though. Not one bit.

    To everyone hurt here, I am terribly sorry. I know how I felt when he used other women to make me jealous. But por favor, not all of us are pathological.

    • LL:
      I don’t believe this blog is just about cheating, there are many many reasons that people cheat. I’m not saying most of them are good reasons, but all cheaters aren’t narcissists. Mine is / was. You seem to be in a bad marriage with a controlling cave man. I’m sorry you had to resort to cheating to give you the courage to leave, nonetheless, I’m glad you’re out of that marriage and in a happy and healthy one.

      • controling CRAZZY UNHEALTHY HEARTLESS caveman!!!

        what kind of man would make his woman jealous then turn around to force her with another man so he could watch?!?! i dont mind the cooking, cleaning laundry cuz your the woman part so much as long as he does the yard, fixing, bring home the money, protect and support cuz you are the man part. But belittling, manipulating, pressuring and forcing her to do things she is against…… Honey, he wasnt worth your apologize.

  • Thanks for the info about the cheaters having a hole in their soul. Now I understand why he is so cold and justify their betrayal. Why he doesn’t engage with our daughter or grandsons. ( although he has said it hurts him to see them so he doesn’t bother ) Again all about him.Biggest cop out going. But he has all kinds of time for his whore. Selfish Pr–k!
    Just over 9 months down and still very angry. Some days are getting better. Like a dollar coaster. I just feel he’s a sick SOB. Pathetic!

  • My narcissistic soon-to-be-ex decided he didn’t love me anymore after 30 years married because I didn’t want to ski with him (I have bad feet and drove the family to and from the mountain) and that I wasn’t there to see him make his way down the 18th fairway when winning the club golf tournament. Really??? Well, in is his new apartment,he is surrounded by all his trophies to the point that they block out pics of his kids. New girlfriend (an old college gf) is visiting this weekend for a romantic encounter. Hopefully she’ll start to understand the real him. I’ve told him that when he wakes up in three years, he’ll still be searching for “happy” and I will have found it on my own!

  • So glad to have found this website as well. It has been over two years since my hasband asked for a divorce (after 20 years) because he “wasn’t happy” and “hoped he could find someone who would love and appreciate him for himself” because I never loved did, and that I (meaning me) should’ve married someone older, someone who wasn’t a musician/artist like he was, blah blah blah…..all because I expected him to pull his weight, take responsibility and stop leaving everything to me. Oh, and yeah, he was a drunk for half the marriage because “he wasn’t happy.” After asking for a “no-fault” divorce and after he moved out, I found out the REAL truth, that he already had something going. Cheater and liar, and yes, looking back, I see all the traits of narcissism – thank you CL and to all the others here who have shared their stories. This site is so helpful and encouraging — I’m NOT crazy and it wasn’t about me, but about his brokenness.

    • i love that… about his brokenness

      i was told that “i got boring” (after the death of my 25 yr old first born) and i “didnt treat him right” after 14 years of loving, caring, supporting, cheering, ego boosting (your not a loser, you are a good man), bailing him out of one thing or another (3 dwi’s, idk how arrests for driving on revocation, probation, breath machine, unpaid bills, theif of my registered handgun, his using family, and 1 dear john bust). so maybe i was “out of it” the last 2 years, i was trying to deal with some sh*t of my own and maybe i was boring (turned into a homebody after she past) but after all i did for him, he couldnt carry my brokenness for 2 years?

      now he lives with a hoodrat and still doing the same day old sh*t we used to do. left a loving, understanding wife and his children so he could party with the hood.

  • This site has been an emotional lifesaver! Thank you all sooo much for sharing your stories. I thought I was the only one who heard such self justifying crap. Apparently there is a handbook for cheaters that tell them exactly how to divert the attention away from their evil actions. The comment about AA just lit a light bulb in my head. My XH was an alcoholic during our early years and had numerous affairs with my “friends”. i was encouraged in Al-Anon to forget this as his guilt over drinking was enough. And it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been drinking. 30 years sober and the cheating never ended. He just got better at hiding it.

  • Admiration without accomplishment. I love this. My XH’s ego was the center of our family’s life and it happened so gradually no one even noticed. He took credit for EVERYTHING without doing anything. He thought when he left the family he would continue to soar while we would fall apart without him. To late, he realized that we were the unsung heroes behind the scenes and that he is the one that has fallen. His anger over this is never-ending. it is all so sad I can’t even gloat.

  • Perfect explanation /definition….ego kibbles…..Yes he lived off the texting and innuendo….being married, unbeknownst to me. Turned nasty when HE impregnated me. THEN I learn about wife, child….and oh, he’s sobbing now, …this is ruining HIS precious life. Meanwhile I’m about to be a single mom of FOUR who makes a fraction of what he does.

    Arrogant, entitled, no empathy, trauma as a child, ambitious, unfaithful…pure Cluster B….Pity play, false suicide threats (while at a party, happy as a clam).

    But I ended it and am happy to never see his face again. He dated me under false pretenses. What a schmuck. At least have the balls to say “you’re married” versus forcing ME to be an OW when the concept makes me SICK.

    Horrible, horrible little man….At LEAST my child does not have to have this horrible person in his/her life. I simply consider him a sperm donor.

    In retrospect, the red flags, of narcissism were VERY OBVIOUS….but I was burying my head in the sand. NEVER AGAIN. Cluster B is not a joke. They have no conscience, no boundaries, no morals, no attachment, no love.

    They DO offer excitement. But I’m learning that seduction, lust and deceit are NO substitute for caring, respect and safety.

  • “Part of that problem is the cheater – they’ve got a hole in their soul where empathy and connection should be.”

    What puzzles me about my cheater’s situation is that she won’t stop her affair **because** she has found a “deep connection” with the affair partner. She doesn’t feel that level of intensity in connection with me and hasn’t for a while (together 8 years). So does this mean I am inadequate and unable to connect as deep with her?

    After eight months of affair-ing, is it possible she has confused “connection” with something else, like infatuation? Or is eight months enough time to know?

    My wife is about to lose her spouse, her home, full time with her infant son, a large number of our mutual friends, dignity, etc., to go after this connection. Sometimes I worry that she’s found the real thing (otherwise why risk losing all the things she admits she still loves?) and, if so, where does that leave me?

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