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Dear Chump Lady, I’m sending myself an apology

Dear CL,

Does this never fucking end???? This came to me in a dream and woke me up suddenly – I got up and wrote it down – and sobbed uncontrollably on and off for the rest of the night. I’m so sick of this, can’t I at least go to sleep and be free of it for a while? Anyway, here it is, and isn’t.

Dear Erika,

You were with me through some difficult times in my life. I pulled you into my life, I wanted you with me, I needed you. You had the right to expect me to treat you with respect. You had the right to expect me to conduct myself with character, you had the right to expect me to be a man.

I want to say that I am sorry. I didn’t want to make the difficult choices that needed to be made as I made dozens of decisions to be emotionally and physically available to another person. And, because I wasn’t willing to face those decisions, those difficult choices, a situation that would be very painful for you at best, I made infinitely more so. I realize that I only felt sorry for myself and I was unable to see what I had done to you.

You had the right to expect more from me and I am deeply sorry. I didn’t know I was capable of so casually wounding another human being let alone someone who was an important part of my life. I realize that I poisoned something that mattered to me, all the way back in time, and now, it can never be undone. I don’t know how I could so casually compromise my honor and integrity as a man. I didn’t show up for you. You had the right to expect me to show up.

Beginnings are easy, but the measure of a man is how they end things. You can’t make someone love you and people have the right to love who they love, but in the event that it means leaving someone, we have an obligation to preserve, as best we can, the dignity of the person we are leaving. And I failed. I wasn’t a man when I needed to be a man.

I know that the best I can hope for from you now is indifference. And that is the outcome I created. I did that. I have to accept that my failures in life are as important as any of my successes.

I am deeply sorry.


Dear Erika,

Erika — let me get this straight — you wrote the apology you wish he sent you?

Please stop giving him mental real estate. He’s not sorry. His actions say NOT SORRY. You will have to live without an apology. It’s not going to give you closure, if God were to part the heavens and Mike were to suddenly explain himself. He’d have to say something to the effect of — Erika, I am a fraud. A disordered wing nut. Please stop trying to make sense of me.

If Mike did give you one of those faux “apologies” that cake eaters excel at — it would just be to further mindfuck you! My ex sent me dozens of mawkish apologies. I fell for a bunch of them. It kept me stuck. The truth was in his actions — he was a cheater. The TRUTH is in Mike’s actions — he’s with LEAH and he’s a CAKE EATER.

You’re dealing with the sorrow that he didn’t give a shit enough about you to say sorry. That’s the plain truth of it. He didn’t really care, or certainly not enough. But that does NOT mean you aren’t lovable and worthy of such things! He’s just INCAPABLE of it. See fraud, disordered wing nut above.

In real life you propped this guy up, and now that he’s out of your life, you’re still propping him up, creating a fictitious Mike that would apologize to you! That guy DOESN’T EXIST. You may as well send Valentines to yourself. You love a mirage. You’re still creating the fictitious Mike you fell in love with (the real guy is actually an asshole), only now he’s the fictitious remorseful Mike who is very sorry for what he did.

Erika, if you want to write apologies? Write one to yourself.

Dear Erika,
I’m sorry I let you down and exposed you to the toxic cake eater that was Mike. Please forgive me. You’re worth so much more than what that fucktard was capable of giving you. I’m going to make it up to you, and love you right. I will begin by not pining over fraudulent fucktards. I will cram your life full of good people and creative endeavors. I’ll never let you forget that you deserve to be cherished and respected. I will be optimistic about my future, because getting rid of a fraudulent fucktard is addition by subtraction. There’s a better life ahead! Together we can do this, Erika!
Love Erika

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • What he did had NOTHING to do with you. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. He only loves himself and married you because you made him feel safe. He thought you would be faithful while he went off with any girl he wanted. He only has respect for himself. He can’t love anyone but himself. He thinks you should feel blessed to clean his house, and be in his presence, and get f****d everyday by him. He feels guilt but not enough to stop craving the thrill sex gives. Nothing anyone does will change him. Mike has to want to change but that would mean he isn’t perfect like he thinks he is–he refuses to admit he is flawed. He will not change. If you can’t accept being looked at as his main “squeeze” then get the heck out! DON’T put yourself down or make excuses for him.

  • Mourning the loss of the person you THOUGHT you loved is very hard. Harder even I believe than mourning the loss of someone real who you really loved, because the former requires you to admit that years (or in my case decades) of your life were a lie. This truly sucks, espeically where you made children with such a fraud.

    Find your inner Gannesh. Get those four sword-bearing elephant arms whirling around you and lay waste to the idea that this yahoo was ever worth your time or attention. That will clear the field for new and better people in your life.

    • All true: you loved someone who didn’t exist and, like me, it’s sometimes years and years of living a lie and you didn’t even know you were living it. Yup, it sucks to face the reality of that but reality is better than fantasy land.

      I, too, have had to face up to the hard truth of what actually went on in my life and it’s been a tough struggle that isn’t quite over. I don’t think it will ever truly be over in my heart because the wound is so deep. But will that stop me from moving on and somehow creating a better life for myself? No, it will not. Why? Because I didn’t deserve – no on deserves – to be lied to through children, moves, mortgages and just every day life events.

      The one thing to remember is that while you may have taken some very hard hits in realising you were with a fraud YOU are not a fraud, he is. And that means you can have a great life after this while he remains himself, merrily skipping through life while using anyone who is blind enough to get sucked into his insanity.

      It’s easy to say forget him because it’s hard to get over massive betrayal. But you can do it, just as so many others have. It takes time, effort, good support and just remembering that you are a pretty awesome person and have something to offer that he doesn’t: honesty, integrity, love.

  • Erika…
    You CAN’T figure him out. You simply won’t be able to do it. He is too fucking fucked up. Everyone told me this and it took me FOREVER to get there, but trying to figure him out won’t help you. His values are for shit. He is selfish. He SUCKS. Really. The nice, loving man that you remember is only ONE side of him. That letter that he really DID send you earlier…THAT is MIKE. A bastard who cares about ONE person. MIKE.
    Nothing you do will change things. A part of you wants him back. Wants to believe that he lost his mind and the man that you THOUGHT HE WAS will re-appear. He won’t. That man was an illusion. A figment of his imagination that he created to get what he wanted from you. You know the truth now. His actions have whown you who he is. BELIEVE HIM. TRUST YOURSELF. FOCUS ON YOU. He doesn’t deserve one more nanosecond of your time and attention.

  • One more thing. Time to see the therapist and get on a sleep aid or depression medication. When you can’t escape…even though sleep…it is time to talk to someone.
    Take care of YOU.

  • Did you guys have a “witching hour” I seem to have that these days between 4 and 6 a.m. when all kinds of out of control emotions seem to surface. I wake up thinking I’m someplace else – as often as not sleeping beside him. One of the things we actually did really well. Almost like back in time. I actually read on the internet (a self help site… who knew?) that I should write an apology from him to me – I didn’t actually think much of it at the time….. until 4 a.m. this morning. There’s something about those 2 hours where at times I miss him so much it is overwhelming. When I come to, its like losing him all over again. I feel like the grief literally wakes me up. Maybe its just when my defenses are so low that all manner of things can come flooding in….. I don’t know – I can’t load on anymore sleeping pills – I’ve already got this appalling nighttime cocktail of drugs going…. I so understand how people could accidently overdose on this shit – I think I just have to accept that its part of grief and this too shall pass. Its like when my dog died and his energy just kind of stayed in the air. In the right moment, it just seems unreal. As for therapy, I’m doing that, like hemorrhaging money, but, you know, insight isn’t so helpful with pain like this – neither are anti-depressants. The only way out is thru. I get it. CL’s prescription I think is the best, drink water, exercise, sleep, volunteer, weld, make art, dance….. I have to believe that. I know he’s a total mindfuck, a POS, I really do. And, for the record, I’m still NC – starving the beast, whether or not the beast notices. I get it guys, I really do – sometimes this shit just floods over me just when I feel like it should be subsiding and I’m unprepared. Die hope, DIE. Sorry to keep dumping here – Even I know I’ll get sick of it at some point.

    • I always called that time “the hour of the wolf,” from a song by Eliza Gilkyson, “Hard Times in Babylon.” It’s a song about losing someone to suicide, but at a certain level loss is loss.

      Song here:

      If I found myself awake at that hour, I found it best to just get up, turn on a bunch of lights in the house, make some coffee, and cook some eggs for me and the dogs.

      • After my brother died some years ago, I listened to Gilkyson’s Paradise Hotel album everyday for a month. I had a chance to tell her about it a year ago, and she said, “that’s a grieving album.” I had never heard an artist talk about her work in that way. She has a great, wise heart.

  • Erika, 4-6am is when I wake too. I guess the pills wear off and my mind starts working and the first thought is STBXW. I agree, we just have to go through, no magic pill or miracle therapist. Just know that you’re part of a group of people who are the only ones who understand what this is and who care about each other. We’re with you in spirit.

  • Erika

    I experience the witching hour, too. It’s around the same time as yours.

    At those times, anger, now, rather than the initial sadness, overwhelms me. Anger over being made such a fool of by someone I trusted and was loyal to.

    I hope your sadness turns to anger soon.

  • Erika, you’re not dumping here. Your sharing your pain helps me understand I’m not the only one down the rabbit hole of illusions.
    CL is right. An apology would only be another mind-fuck from the narcissistic red queen/king, who is really screaming “off with her head”!

  • Not getting closure, having to live with loose ends was one of the hardest parts of it for me. I desperately wanted vindication, or satisfaction, or a moment of shadenfreude, something to show me that he had regrets, a conscience, something.
    Erika, I hope you can make your peace with probably never getting that ending that you so very much want.

    • I believe we make our own closure. It’s especially difficult with flaming personality disorders, because they so enjoy fucking with our heads. That’s why no contact (NC) is so important.

    • I so want vindication, “closure” – to see that he regretted what he did – DIE HOPE DIE! God you guys have been so great – to take the time to be kind to strangers – all things considered, this continues to be a pretty amazing experience.

  • All I can do is create my own closure. I’m NC – I can’t see how that would change – I make a ritual of crossing off each day….. 43 and counting. Unless he does something pretty substantial like actually show up physically, I’ve blocked everything short of that, so there’s really no way for him to access me and there’s no reason our lives would ever intersect again. Still has an air of unreality about it – I don’t know how – but it does. I could never have made any sense of that last email he sent me without you CL….. not on my own – I still would have walked, but I think doing it alone would have made me feel like I was insane – don’t know when it’ll be enough. I’m constantly reminded of his last subject line “Some Closure, hopefully” – Suddenly a different dimension. I don’t consider myself stupid or crazy – yet the reality is, still, everything went so completely off the rails in this unbelievably fucked up crazy way over such a short period of time. And the only way to make any sense of that is to say none of it was real to begin with……. Wow.

    I think it was Maya Angelou who said “When someone tells you who they are, believe them” God, I hate this – why couldn’t he have done this in like February when spring and light and gardening and daffodils were just around the corner.

  • When it comes to personality disordered people who hurt us, actions speak louder than words.

    It’s tough to move on, but there are far better people out there. Sure, they will all have their issues, but there are decent people to be found, good friends and colleagues and more. So, keep working to untie yourself and move on. Anger can help, but, in the end, we have to accept that the actions of others have defined them, have told us whether or not they are worth being with/worrying about.

    Hang in!

    • David, I hadn’t thought about it exactly that way…… his actions defined HIM not ME.

      And, you’ve got that super cool angry yellow heart with little wings for your icon. I know its a program that CL uses….. but, its a good one!

      At some point, I’ll probably wander away from this site…. and I suppose that will be a good thing when it happens. And then I’ll send CL the All Is Well, I’m Fine, Happy Ending Story.

  • nomar, I totally agree, – this – “Mourning the loss of the person you THOUGHT you loved is very hard. Harder even I believe than mourning the loss of someone real who you really loved, because the former requires you to admit that years (or in my case decades) of your life were a lie.” – was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with.

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