Dear Chump Lady,
Holy crap, Chump Lady, I feel like hell today. This No Contact is killing me. I woke up with a sense of dread and the whole day sucked. I could barely function. I was out of my PJs long enough to go for a drive but that’s it. All I did was stare at my phone and check my email all day long.
I managed to ignore his calls last night. But now when he doesn’t even try to contact me it’s so hard! I know he went out tonight and is probably living it up getting kibbles from all sorts of colleagues and pretty waitresses. The thought of that makes me want to pick up the phone and freak out at him. I feel like turning into the psycho bitch he liked to accuse me of being. I am so close to getting all weepy and sad and desperate. I’m about to do the “Pick me” dance.
What has actually been the hardest part is the fact that he told me at first he had wanted to work things out but now he just doesn’t seem to give a shit. He doesn’t even want me to come home anymore. I know his indifference is no different than it was when we were living together — and of course, I will be significantly better off being away from him in the long run — but it’s giving up ALL HOPE that is so tough. I was still flirting with hope last week. I was still chasing unicorns last weekend. And now it’s all coming crashing down and I have to face the truth that he just doesn’t care. He never did.
I know I have always been completely helpless to control him, which I found out the hard way, but I thought he would realize I’m a worthwhile person. I thought this time apart would make him see what he’s losing. Instead, he just doesn’t care. He never cared.
How do I move on when the whole game has changed? There are no more promises from him, no more plans for the future. This has just gotten serious and final. How do I accept it without going insane?
Sad in Seattle
Dear Sad in Seattle,
No contact isn’t killing you — it’s the dawning realization that he’s not who you wanted him to be, that your life is going to be a lot different than you’d hoped, and you’re scared as hell about how to start over. FEAR is what’s “killing” you — not no contact. No contact is helping you HEAL.
So, let’s address your fears:
1. He’s having a great time without you — Uh, Seattle? That was how he was living when he was WITH YOU. No change there.
2. He wanted to “work things out” and now you’ve missed your opportunity. Ye-ah. He was never going to work things out with you Seattle, the guy is a fraud. A flaming personality disorder sex addict (as we learned from your other posts). A serial cheat. Insofar as he wants to work anything out, it’s to figure out how to eat cake again and not incur the expenses of divorce. But mercifully (I know it doesn’t seem that way), he may be directing his attentions elsewhere to hone in on his next victim.
The thing with narcissists is, once exposed they never really sparkle again. Once you’ve seen behind the the mask, you’re useless to them. You’re bad kibbles. They need fresh supply. If they sparkle for you, it’s only because they want something, they want to manipulate an outcome. But they won’t sparkle long. It will get ugly fast. That’s how they are. If they want something, they’ll try charm. Charm fails, they’ll try threats. Threats fail, they’ll try self pity. They just cycle through those three tactics. The only one that matters to you is the sparkle — you’re fucking hooked on it. It’s your drug. Oh, please be the Wonderful Visage I Thought You Were! Bring back the dream!
No contact is making you go into sparkle withdrawal — which is ESSENTIAL to moving on.
3. You thought he would miss you, and he doesn’t care. That’s right, Sad. He DOESN’T CARE. Yep. That’s the truth of it. You were of use to him. A satellite to orbit planet Narcissist.
Stop looking to him for validation that you matter and start building yourself up NOW. You DO matter. You are worthy of love. You will love again. It just won’t be him, and thank GOD because he’s an abusive mindfuck of a man.
How do you accept it? You just do. Every day you work in word and deed to accept it, until one day (it’s a Tuesday) you ACCEPT it and you’re there. Have faith in the process.
But I’d start by getting out of your pajamas and having more to do with your day. Fill those days UP with activity. Make up activities. Go volunteer for everything you can. Join meetups. Fill the void of your life with something other than longing for him.
When I went through it, I had a newspaper to put out each week. Deadlines kept me sane. Raising a kid kept me grounded. People were relying on me to not lose my shit. You need to go make yourself USEFUL in this world — yes, of use to someone other than a narcissist. Find a better master to serve. Start with yourself.
I think your fear is about recreating yourself, your new life — get busy with that and I promise you, the no contact will get a lot easier.
Going insane is part of the process. Insanity is pain leaving the body!
It’s incredibly hard what you are doing. The withdraws of no contact. Couldn’t function for days. Same as you checked email and phone.
Trust me as each day advances with NC it gets better. Two steps forward, one step back stuff.
Baci Is right Going insane is part of the process so is giving up hope for this relationship but not on life. Hang in there. Please please please go out and connect with other people. And trust me he will try and call you again
Giving up hope! Hardest thing in the world to give up. At the beginning hope is bringing back all those wonderful memories, family, romance. Longing for the nightmare to go away.
Tuesday has to come and when it does a new hope dawns.
Hope of a better life the way you want it. New relationships that are full of real people- not cheaters.
CL is right. Out of the pjs and into your best relaxing outfit. Walk , run cycle, just do something. Move!
Where you are is hell but just make sure you don’t stay there.
I can’t believe I’m saying this because it wasn’t long ago I was where you are.
I failed this week with the NC too!! Errr now I have to start over with the withdrawl. I did start to really listen to what he was saying, and it was mostly, I miss u,but…. Don’t take the $ out if the acct yet…. I love u , but WE have bills to pay….. Then I thought, he’s sleeping with her on his new mattress, in his SINGLES apartment, he went to Memphis for 3 days with his 3time divorced cheater buddy. I stayed home and lived on a budget. I’m starting NC again today…. I will allow my attorney to get my $$ and since he’s already signed the MDA.. He’s screwed himself. Thanks for the post today!! Perfect timing for a chump like me.
I can’t go completely NC due to kids but when I do have to deal with him it’s mostly email and I’ve managed to get my sentences down to a few words. Works perfectly for me.
If he gets riled up I just laugh at him and move on. If he gets REALLY riled up, I simply tell him he’s a bad person to contact me when he’s calm.
I promise you…you WILL get to this point. Right now you’re scared as fuck and almost afraid of him. It will pass and you will laugh at his stupidity more and more often.
yeah, I can’t go NC due to kids as well. So But he does try to bring up and talk to me about topics other than the kids that I have no interest in. Like how broke he is. Yeah, I feel real bad for him. Ugh.
I almost wish mine would get riled up. Literally I think I’ve only seen him do that a handful of times in our 14 years together, mostly during the initial separation and it was so extreme and weird to see I did want to laugh as well.
Mostly, mine makes ridiculous requests (usually about some new way he can pay me less money) and then I’m the one that gets all riled up and then he acts all innocent. And says women are so touchy and he didn’t mean anything by it. Grrrr. Or he does his self pity “poor me I don’t have a family” thing. That’s when I really wish I could go NC. Even if I don’t respond, I still have to hear it (or read it). I guess eventually it will have little to no effect on me, but for now he can still successfully make me feel guilty. It’s very annoying because rationally I know I have nothing to feel guilty about. He’s the one that betrayed ME.
Ahh….see, for awhile I was the one who was getting riled and reacting to his passive aggressive attempts to GET me riled. Then I light bulb went off (far too late, actually, for my taste) and I realised that 90% of the crap he spews are simply empty threats. So I started laughing at him, mocking him a bit when he got really stupid. Now I*m just down to ‘you’re a bad person’ or ‘simmer down and contact me when you’ve done so’, etc.
Drives him nuts but he knows I’ll start deleting emails if he doesn’t chill the fuck out. Take the other day. I had to contact him about the kids. Very brief, five word email. He responded with an argument, money came into it, him wanting something else from the home, blah blah blah.
I ignored it all and returned the conversation to the kids and the original question. He responds with ‘I don’t need this shit’. I ignored it and once again asked about the kids. He finally answered, addeda barb, I didn’t bother to respond further as I had the answer I needed.
It normally takes up to 25 emails to sort out a simple thing such as ‘when are you paying for XYZ for the kids’ but it gets done and it gets done calmly now due to ME changing how I handle things. And if you think 25 emails is a lot compare it to the sometimes 100+ emails in a few hours he could spew out at me over something like ‘can you drop off kid’s coat later today’. Not kidding. That actually happened. And you know what? Said coat never got dropped off.
Ok. Look at it this way. Email and text are $1.00 a word so keep it short. You can spend $10 a day. Do I really have to say this. ” ok ” goes a long way and answers lots of things. It drives them nuts. My ex is extremely good at it but it works.
Also just think you’re dealing with Hannibal Lector- you want to keep every exchange to the bare minimum and get the fuck out of there!
Exactly, although where I live it costs nothing for email other than the base fee and same with texts. This is why he can endlessly send them.
Just react calmly, don’t engage in the bullshit and move on.
Nord I mean imagine each word costs $10
Apparently if you want to lose weight just imagine sugar is gravel. Now do you want to et that gravel? Do you want to spend $50 on email. I don’t think so
Nord, Baci, I try. I do (almost always) know what he’s doing, yet sometimes I still react. I assume over time I will become more desensitized to his crap and react less and less.
Oh my God. I slept maybe four hours, despite doubling my sleeping pill does. I feel like I’m going crazy. I’m going to tell him tonight that I’ll be filing for divorce so I can at least get my stuff from the house and my pets without any trouble. Fuck this sucks!
You need legal advice. I would suggest NOT telling him you’re filing, just do it. I also think you may want to get yourself first and then let him find out he’s being served. You don’t want him getting spiteful. Just arrange a time when he’s not there and get it. Have support from a friend or family while you’re doing. I don’t want you relapsing for sparkles.
SAD OMG this is exactly how I’m feeling today. AND THANK YOU CL BECAUSE YOU RESPONDED TO ME TOO and reminded me just what I’m getting rid of. He’s not contacting me today at all and I fear that he is busy getting ready to do something spiteful. I know the big storm is coming because my lawyer said she emailed him 2 days ago with the divorce summons (he will be served in person shortly). Mind you even that day he was calling wanting to take me to dinner (at my favorite restaurant) and reminded me that we took a vow and it will be till death do us part. I am terrified for my safety but I cannot let my fear rule me as it has. I know he is seeking huge vengeance because in May he was arrested for attempted rape and abuse of me. I wanted to drop the charges after I saw how our legal system treated the victim. They made me bring my torn underwear, took pictures of my bruises, it was just so humiliating. They said I would have to testify in front of a jury…that scared me to death and even though the detective and DA’s office was begging me to see it through I became so afraid. I thought they wouldn’t believe me and figured I was upset for all his cheating and was being spiteful, because 4 years prior when I threw him out for cheating, and taking my private nude pics that he took of me and I found out he posted them on a sex website to solicit women, and abusing me physically, he had me arrested on charges that I had abused him (he marked himself with scratches) After being arrest I found out at the police station, I had no idea that 2 months after we married he was secretly filing police reports for abuse so he could get his green card under the abuse law. Prior to marrying I has no idea he didn’t have a green card which was shocking since he was attending school here since elementary up to college). No Green card not MR SPARKLE with all the scholarships and jobs! I ended up spending the night in jail and he manipulated the whole legal system which cost me $5,000 for a lawyer. He dropped the charges but then really began the terror with a ton of threats. Regards to May month incident I became so afraid , I just wanted to make him stop with all his abuse…OH how I wish I had seen the case through. He is now threatening me that if I go through with the divorce he will sue me for making up false charges, he will sue me for loss of wages (he got fired from his new job when he got arrested and has been working in a liquor store compliments of his skank/John) (funny he went from Director back to teacher in year because he was accused of being untrustworthy by a co worker and his boss hated him ), and he will make me pay in the worse way. Said he will sue me for illegally evicted him from the house and that all his things are not in storage. True some is in the basement but that’s between him and my dad.
SAD and with all that said I cant believe how can still feel so rejected. I should be rejoicing but I’m not. I feel like I’m tearing apart…my heart physically hurts. And once again you some how have managed to write just how I am feeling exactly. But every time I get weak in my mind I come on here and just read all the post especially yours because the support and responses you receive are serving and speaking directly to me. Last night I cried so hard that I woke up with “boiled egg” eyes. My chest feels tight because I know this character and what he is capable of and I am sooo scared but I cant back down. I don’t know where this strength is coming from because in the past I would have cried and called him or contact him, but I didn’t. I’m all business. I woke up this morning and saw that last night he sent me a text of a pic of us… no words nothing just the pic. Why must he keep Fucking with me??!!
Listen to Chump Lady here Don’t tell him your going to divorce him (are you sure you are not trying to win him back by threatening him?) Get legal advice NOW get your stuff our NOW or else you may find it burned on the lawn and your pet in the pound. Seriously those things have happened. And I read the letter you thought you would send to his relatives. too long and quite frankly iladvised. It could be used against you in proceedings. And doubling up on your sleeping pills not such a good idea either. You are seeking escape and there is none possible in pills or booze or overeating. Escape is doing something positive like getting your ducks lined up and starting this awful process. Right now you are dancing to his tune whether you know it or not. He knows you are in pain and he doesn’t care. He may even be enjoying it. Is that your wedding picture as your icon?
I have nothing to worry about, CL. He’s loooooong gone.
Sad In Seattle – hang in there! I went through it a couple of months ago, and CL is right – IT GETS BETTER.
I messed up my NC on Monday and had to start all over again. It went as it usually does; I ended up crying, nauseous and sleepless. I have to remind myself that ending a marriage is like waterskiing. If you don’t let go when you are down, you will only lose your suit and get water up your nose. It never works any other way. Just remember that you are not alone. I am working towards, “Meh” slowly, but steadily.
LOL! Love the waterskiing analogy. 😀
SS, your waterskiing analogy reminds of one of my favorite sayings:
Let go or be dragged.
It is amazing just how many people seem to go for the dragging over the letting go.
‘He’s having a great time without you — Uh, Seattle? That was how he was living when he was WITH YOU. No change there.’
Packed with awesomeness! And so, so true. I was home, taking care of the kids, cooking dinner and washing his boxers like June fucking Cleaver and he was out getting blown and screwed and having a fun old time.
Fuck I hate that douchebag!!!!! Here’s the letter I’m going to be sending his family and friends in the next couple days. Any thoughts?
On November 6, 2012, after being made aware of years of sexual betrayals by my husband, ——- ——–, I left him.
That day, I found out that ——– had been cheating on me since 2005. The infidelity included multiple contacts with shemale prostitutes, sex tourism vacations to Peru and Brazil where he purchased the services of hookers, and at least two affairs: one with a severely epileptic intern, the other with a then-recent grad who came to him for help finding a job in broadcasting.
He has confessed to sexual encounters with a minimum of six people during our relationship. Of course, this is just the infidelity for which I have irrefutable evidence. If you ask him about it, there can be no denials. He may minimize, try to shift this somehow onto me, but the details I’m sharing should alleviate any doubts you may have about the reason I am divorcing him.
Yes, he is a smooth talker and is very convincing. He is certainly successful, charming and outwardly very sparkly and fun. He’s everyone’s pal. But you don’t know the real ———.
I’ve lived with his secrets for way too long. They consumed me, depressed me, and became my laser focus for eight years. I fought hard for our marriage —heading off a new red flag every couple months, dragging him to therapy, playing detective, reading extensively on narcissism — and it beat me down into a shadow of my former self. His nearly decade-long campaign of deception during which he lived a double life was insidious and crazy-making. He successfully managed to make me doubt myself.
But once I finally discovered the truth about his betrayals, I was able to see who ——- really is. He had been the problem all along, in spite of his exuberant, chest-beating insistence all these years that he was being wrongly accused by a psycho bitch with trust issues.
That’s probably what he’ll say if confronted, in fact, that I am crazy. But remember, I have proof for all of this. And I will gladly provide it to anyone with doubts.
I wish ——- the best of luck in the future. And I pity the person he hooks up with next … unless, of course, he’s already found a replacement in the couple months separation during which were supposed to be “working on our marriage.”
Sad in Seattle
Too long. Try ‘your friend/brother/son has been cheating on me for a minimum of 7 years, with a wide variety of women, men and chicks with dicks. I am, unsurprisingly, divorcing him, and am only grateful I managed to escape a life-threatening illness.
This is a painful time, without a doubt, and I ask that you respect my decision.
All the best,
Also SIS – writing that letter is sort of a backwards way of trying, one last time, to actually get him to FINALLY respect you, to ACKNOWLEDGE that you have some POWER. Its a funny mechanism, but its actually the last gasp of hope – I have a whole theory about it, and in getting a little distance from it myself, it had something to do with letting him know how much he hurt me so I would do it to him and then he’d understand and be contrite and maybe even come back to me!!….. its a tricky impulse to want to nuke his life and not at all what you think it is. Your projections start to play tricks on you here – so take a breath and step away from the crazy.
Really, honestly, what I’d be doing is NOT a last gasp at hope. It would be fucking up the illusion of his life. He is semi well known. People think he’s awesome. I want to expose him for who he really is. And I plan to do it strategically, just a few friends in high places, the gossips. I want to humiliate him. THAT matter to a narcissist.
SIS – that’s what I mean about your projections and your sense of grief and loss playing tricks on you…… you can’t fuck up his life or alter the illusion of what others think….. all you can do is take care of you. Everything else is an illusion. Sit with it for a week or 10 days – try and imagine yourself 6 months out…. is doing this really going to change anything? No, it isn’t. I KNOW what it feels like – I KNOW it feels like it will. It won’t.
It doesn’t really matter to a narcissist, actually.
You doing that will give him a fucked up sense of power: Look what I can make someone do!
Plus, he’ll talk his way out of it. It all sounds so outlandish and crazy, he will be able to spin it to his advantage. He’ll make them think YOU are the crazy one. It will be easier for people to believe his lies than the truths you share in that message.
I agree. Least said, the better, but be honest about why the divorce takes place.
I’ve decided that all I need to do is say that we are divorcing due to his infidelity. I don’t have to go into details. No one likes a cheater. The town is small enough that his name will be mud.
You need to talk with a lawyer. If your STBX is well-known, and this is a fairly high-profile case, you absolutely need a lawyer. Locally, we have a family practice lawyer who specializes in high-profile cases, though my own lawyer said that unless you’re talking about at least a million in assets, you don’t see that lawyer. At any rate, lawyer up before he does. You hold the cards in the sense that you can get your ducks in a row before he does.
If your STBX is fairly well-known, then you don’t have to drop a nuke from orbit. Just mentioning to a few key people that you divorced him for infidelity will do the same. Think stiletto instead of broad sword. You’ll be seen as the classy one, and he’ll be seen as the piece of shit he is. He may try to paint you as the psycho bitch from hell, but if you’re not ranting and raving, his words won’t sway people.
He’s probably good at being shiny, and people probably spackle over what they see as the rough spots in the the shiny veneer. However, infidelity will make him seem a lot less sparkly, and people will be less willing to spackle over the gaping holes in his facade.
Think time bomb. In the mean time, you can get on with a much, much better life.
I agree with Nord – I SO struggled with wanting to mess with his life. I think being able to do that is an illusion, and it doesn’t do anything FOR YOU. the chumplings on this site made me evaluate everything I did or was tempted to do by evaluating it against whether or not it would do anything for MY pain. Revenge really really feels like it would fix something….. but, it won’t and it could make things a whole lot worse and keep you in the vortex when what you think you’re doing will get you out. As a wise chumpling advised me to do, and it sucks and its awful and it hurts!!! but! “step away from the crazy”. One day at a time. He’s much better at running his fucked up life than you are or will ever be at exacting some sort of revenge. Step away. That you can do anything other than that is just a fantasy.
Hang in there SIS – this is such a difficult time – it’s like kicking a drug just after you’ve been seriously injured in a train wreck. And this is a train wreck. It’s awful. You can do this. And we’re pulling for you.
Collect your pets…. everybody needs a pet pile to get thru this sort of thing.
I may send it to Gawker or Reddit or some other online site that would appreciate a semi-public figure going through a messy divorce, though, which is why I included so many details. I want to be graphic and humiliate him.
Don’t bother. Just get it done and walk away. Gather round your friends and family and don’t deal with anyone who judges, who isn’t there for you, who doesn’t support you. You will find some will drop away. Let them go as well, even though it’s painful.
You’re about to go through a seismic change and it will be life-altering. But you know what? You’re about to enter a new phase of life that will OPEN YOU UP.
I’m a bit more than a year out and it’s only now that I feel the weight coming off my shoulders. Not completely but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. A big part is just not giving a shit anymore because I’ve faced up to the fact that he’s lying, serial cheating mother fucker who is a very nasty man underneath that lovely image he projected for so long. And boy is he pissed. Tough shit for him and all the better for me.
Life is pretty good and getting better. Today I made a new friend. I did two weeks ago as well. They like my old friends. My old friends like them. I love the way my new life is shaping up–it’s so much healthier and I am so much more content.
You will get here as well.
Yes, but first I plan on nuclear bombing his life. Sorry, Nord, not feeling very evolved this morning 😉 Barely slept and NC withdrawal.
I know how much you’re hurting right now. I know how infuriating it is to realize what he has done to you, and that it’s not right and it’s sure as hell not fair to you. And most of all, it’s incredibly painful to watch him seemingly “get away with it” and keep up the facade of being a decent human being with others. Write your letters, write hateful angry memos, get it out on paper as much as you want, vent and cry and hit a punching bag — but don’t send it out right now. Wait. Breathe. And the use the hell out of your irrefutable proof for leverage later.
Yes, please go contact a lawyer before you alert him to your plans to file. The fact that he sounds like he’s a semi-public figure says to me that he REALLY needs to stay shiny and sparkly for his existence. The information you have over him is powerful, and should not be wasted for a short-term gain (a few days/weeks worth of office gossip and humiliation) — especially when you can use that as leverage to (1) get a better divorce settlement; (2) improve your claims for alimony; (3) get him to take responsibility for more of your marital debt; (4) regain a feeling of control and power in your life after having been duped for so long – to know that you have the upper hand, know you’re not the fucked up one, and know that you’re entitled to protect yourself from his wack-job acts of abuse and deception.
Trust me, I knoooow how deliciously satisfying it would feel to “name him and shame him.” I held a similar hand with my STBX. He knows I could have ruined him and buried him deep, deep into the ground. But – I used the proof I had to negotiate a helluva separation agreement which will benefit me much longer than a quick newsblast. AND always, always remember – TRUST THAT THEY SUCK. I didn’t have to lift a finger to ruin his life, as he’s doing all the work for me and the reward is just as sweet. (He’s broke, thisdamnclose to losing his professional license, was publicly shamed and censured for violating professional ethics rules, is being sued by his former landlord for not paying rent, has no clients and (sniff, sniff) he’s “just not HAPPY!”) Karma’s a bitch, and living well is the greatest revenge of all. You will get there.
The ultimate point of NC and “meh” is that you don’t care one bit about his life at all. Not even enough to want revenge. Yes, it takes a long way to get there and you’re not there yet. I’m not there yet. It still irritates me to know that my STBX will have plenty of women lined up (if he doesn’t already) because they have no clue what he did. But, hey, it’s down to mild irritation at this point. And I actually don’t care who he bangs… a serious girlfriend, however, that might bring back some more of my crazy, I will admit.
But don’t you want to be the better person? So everyone knows what a classy chick you are and makes him look like an even bigger piece of shit? In other words, they’ll see what we already know. You don’t want to get dragged down in the mud with him. Don’t give him the satisfaction. Another consideration: could this written document be a legal issue and/or possibly affect your settlement? Not sure, a lawyer I spoke to warned me against too much public trashing of him because I didn’t want to affect his business (ie. the source of money I would be getting).
Perhaps verbally telling the truth to a few close mutual friends would accomplish just as much… while you still pretty much look like a saint 🙂
I do wish we could freaking pin a red letter A on their chests. Why did we do away with that, anyway??
Sad, get an attorney, get all u can from him!! $$$ hits them the hardest below the belt… Then seek your revenge after the divorce is final!!! U need to financially take care of yourself, if u stir up too many issues u may not get to hit his pockets as hard.
Sad in Seattle… NC is torture at first… it gets easier eventually. I am re-establishing boundaries this week after letting things get mucky over the holidays. It’s been tough. At first I was all purposeful and indignant. Then when I explained it all to him and he had the nerve to actually leave me alone (like I was asking him to) it hurt… a lot. And I am dealing with that pain okay, but it still sucks.
Get dressed and get out today, even though the weather sucks. Go have coffee… with a friend. Find a good book and lose yourself in it. Not a self help book, but a nice fantasy sci-fi thing that takes you away from anything that resembles your life. You have my email address… if you wanna meet up for coffee or something, I’d be happy to do so. Us Seattle chumps gotta stick together… 🙂
Revenge always seems like a good idea… but be careful with any expectations you put on it. You might end up with no reaction from him, or anyone else… and that might hurt even more. Or people might turn on you. Just be careful and do what you can to heal your tender, broken, sad heart.
Get out of the house. Join a club. Volunteer at the library. Bake cookies and bring them to the retirement home near you. Call up a friend to go to the mall with you and window shop. Start collecting stamps or learning how to wood work. Go have fun without him.
You need to have contact with other, good people. You’ve been eating desert believing it was a hardy meal, and now you feel sick. Eating more eclairs will not make you better in the long run. Go eat an apple or a steak. It will feel funny at first, taste odd, but it’s real in a way your Ex could never be.
Give yourself an active life any you’ll have less time to think about him. And that can only be a good thing.
That was written beautifully.
Sad, I’m sorry you’re struggling with NC, but really, as others have said, it does get easier. Depression is hard to manage in moments of crisis like this, and I know you’ve said that you struggle with depression and are on meds. But meds can’t do it all and I know you know that. One of the things that I know has helped me deal with things when I’m depressed and under stress etc. is maintaining a schedule. Actually, that’s one of the first things they do when you go into a hospital for these things.
You’re really focused on him, and that’s understandable. But I would recommend shifting the focus onto yourself because you are the only person in the world that you can control. He’s an absolute dead end right now.
The more focused on yourself you are, the easier it will be to maintain the no contact because as you focus on yourself you’ll start to get healthier and stronger.
If you’re sitting around in your PJs and barely functioning beyond looking at your phone, obviously you’re in the midst of some kind of depressive episode (and with good reason, I think anyone in your situation would be). But YOU can pull yourself out of that. In fact, only you can pull yourself out of it.
Here’s some advice, you may find it useful: GET ON A SCHEDULE.
1. wake up at a certain time (even if you are tired and haven’t slept well, make yourself get up and get going; one of the biggest indicators of depression is when your sleep schedule goes haywire).
2. SHOWER (another biggee, because personal hygiene often falls by the wayside when we are depressed)
3. eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (even if it is just a little bit; you must have protein to keep going!) also, supplement with vitamins — it will help keep you healthy if you’re not eating quite enough.
4. do something physical (exercsie will boost endorphins and help elevate your mood but it will also help burn off all that crappy adrenaline that is making you feel so sick) start small if you have to — walk around the block — but get yourself moving
5. do something that keeps your hands busy and your mind busy. I clean out my closets or drawers or something like that. You’re at your parents, so you may not be able to do something like that. So what about something crafty? One of the “anti-depression” tasks I was given way back when I went through a major depressive episode in my 20s, was to build a scrap book of my future — things I wanted for myself etc. I would spend 1/2 hour a day on it each day and it was really therapeutic, actually. But the point is, do something that makes you think about yourself and what YOU want.
6. Get to a therapist to talk things through when you need to
7. I liked to journal, but for some people that becomes a nightmare because the focus is always on the gloom. I read about someone who divided their journal into 3 sections — one section for the problem (where she vented the bad stuff and feelings), one section for the solutions (where she proposed ideas that would help her solve the problem) and a third section for the future (what she wanted for herself once the problem was solved).
8. Take your meds as prescribed. If they don’t seem to be helping GET MEDICAL ASSISTANCE WITH IT, don’t self-medicate or increase dosage. Your doctor has a better feel for how that stuff will work and what other things he/she can add to the mix to make them more effective.
9. Go to bed at a certain time and make sure you have good sleep hygiene, i.e. NO electronics in bed with you, read before bed don’t look at a television or computer screen, make sure the room is the right temperature. Make sure your bed has been made and that you haven’t spent the entire day laying around on the bed — bed should be for sleeping, not lolling around all day as a means to try to escape your depression via constant sleeping.
10. Don’t drink alcohol. It is a nonstarter and it won’t make it easier, it will make it worse.
11. Maintain no contact. Focus on yourself. Don’t hate yourself for feeling pain, that’s normal, but don’t let the pain win. That means: don’t let the desire to stop the pain momentarily, cause you to do things that are long-term self-destructive (self medicate, break no contact, behave in a sexually reckless way)
The main thing I see right now in what you’re writing is that he is defining you to you. For example, you said: “I thought he would realize I’m a worthwhile person.” The reason you’re thinking along those lines, I would wager, is because you feel so crappy about yourself because of his rejection and behavior, and you’re looking to him to validate you to you. If he changes, if he stays with you, if he begs for you to return, then you will know that you are a good and worthwhile person.
The thing is, you MUST get to a point where YOU know you’re a worthwhile person absent his opinion because his opinion of you does not make you a worthwhile person. You are a worthwhile person all on your own, Sad. You may not feel that way right now, but that’s largely in part because you’re chasing someone down who is abusive to you and you’re buying into the image of you HE’S creating with his abuse.
Once you internalize that you are good and valuable and worthwhile all on your own, regardless of what he’s doing or saying, and really believe it, you won’t care what he thinks or realizes. Once you realize that what he’s done is not reflective of any flaw of yours, and that you are going to be okay without him, what he thinks of you will simply not matter anymore.
I wish you well and I wish you strength.
Re: “I thought he would realize I’m a worthwhile person.”
SIS — that’s just it. You ARE a worthwhile person, and people who are worthwhile have standards. Worthy people expect honesty, love, truthfulness, fidelity, trust, dependability, and effort from others, because you hold yourself to those standards and that’s what you give. This is a GOOD THING. People with standards actually DO what they say they will do, and don’t have to hide behind lies to compensate for all they are lacking.
Being with you means having to meet basic standards, and he knows he doesn’t measure up. It would require a herculean effort for him to even be a marginally-decent human being, let alone operate at the level you deserve. He’d rather use sparkle and lies to get kibble out of someone whose standards are shamefully low or just non-existent.
All very good advice. Print it out and put it someplace where you can see it!
Well said Kristina. Some of theses ideas ( like the bed been made) sound simple but they form the foundation to spring board into action or have extra energy to deal with the drama.
Another idea I used was to set aside an hour or half and hour to really focus on ex. I usually did it in the afternoon , long before bed etc. in this time I could angry, happy, reason etc. all the messy stuff one thinks of. Early on it would end in tears but I stuck to the allocated time. I drank heaps of water and minimum alcohol.
Get outside as much as possible. Get in touch with nature.
After the first few months I gave up the booze completely. Now I have a bit if I’m out with friends but that’s maybe once a month at most. Best thing I ever did as it cleared my head and I didn’t sit around moping.
Bed making, keeping the home decent, cooking and eating at the table and not in front of the telly (still working on that when the kids aren’t here), just keeping routines.
I started new hobbies, reached out to a lot of people, made new friends, do things I never did before. My life is actually fuller now than it’s been in years. And great things happening right now that will make my life even better…hopefully. 🙂
It all just takes time, effort and picking yourself up by the bootstraps.
That’s right Baci! The foundational things, the simple things getting done each and every day — those are the bedrock of the path back to emotional stability and happiness. They sound so simple when you say them, right? Like: “get out of bed and take a shower.” But when you’re struggling with something that is causing a depression (and I don’t care what that is, infidelity, a normal break up, a death of a loved one, the loss of a job) those are the things that fall by the wayside.
Get up. Make your bed. Get in the shower. Make something to eat and eat it. Leave the house, even for a little while. Talk to people. All of those things will start rebuilding self confidence because it is regaining control of the self.
And I love that idea of a dedicated hour to thinking about the ex! I would suspect, however, that Sad is maybe too early in the process for that. Sometimes, when you’re in the early stages of grief/depression, the thing that is hurting is ALL you can think of and it spills over to everything (well, I speak as a woman who is not particularly good at compartmentalizing, hahha. Not sure what the experience is like for a man). For me, during that portion, it was the buildling of a schedule that helped me start focusing on other stuff. And meanwhile, I just learned to hold onto that sadness and feel it and let it wash over me and I kind of found my way through it.
Later on I was like you, I allowed myself discreet amounts of time to think on it. Eventually I didn’t need to think on it anymore because my life was full of other stuff.
I can relate entirely and went through many of the same feelings (17 years ago when the first D Day hit and STBX and I separated.) I understand the feelings of insecurity, the grief, the wondering “what if?” We reconciled after a nearly 2 year separation. Now – here we are again, only this time we have a 14 year old daughter, a house with a 2nd mortgage, a bunch of debt and so much more history together (both good and bad.) Oh how I wish I could go totatlly NC now! But since we have a daugther, the balancing act with schedules, etc. does not allow NC. I would have been able to move on with my life so much more quickly. Instead I have to muddle through this mess and see WAY more of him than I can stand.
I will echo everyone else’s advice about getting out of the house, spending time with friends, keeping busy. Yes, I still wallow in my sadness from time to time, but I have reached the point now (it’s been about 9 months since the most reacent D Day) where I just want to get on with my life and get the hell away from him.
Hang in there! This will get better!
R Louise, do u wish u wouldn’t have reconciled 17 yrs ago??
Good question. What a challenging one to answer… In a way, it’s pretty simple. “We can’t change the past.” Gmo, do you have kids that were born after catching the unicorn? If so, you likely see where your question gets much harder to answer…
Sorry – I’m not r louise, but I just thought the question was a gooder… And so many great questions and comments here go unanswered.
“Child, no one is ever told what would have happened…” ~ Aslan
This separation happened so early in our marriage that I felt entirely lost, mortified, grief-stricken. But after a period of time, I was actually in a much better place, dating, getting on with my life. So he came back when I was (I thought) more centered. But I also felt I really wanted to find out if we could make it. I would have gone on for the rest of my life feeling as though I’d never really gotten closure. So it’s not that I wish we wouldn’t have reconciled. I would not have my beautiful daughter had we not. So there’s that. I do wish, however, that I would have had the guts to get out of denial a few years after our daughter was born. I wanted so for our family to stay together, that I put on blinders, did the pick me dance and let him eat tons of cake.
That was a rather long answer to a “yes” or “no” question – sorry. The answer is no, with condition. LOL
My daughters now support themselves and live far away. I live alone and, gratefully, have NC. At times, I feel a weird pull as if things aren’t “right” but, believe me, I know they were very “wrong” when we were together! I still wince from the unfairness and sheer nastiness of it. Occasionally, I have euphoric feelings when I feel I’m lucky to be alone. I don’t think this is the state of “meh” so I’m probably still grieving (2 1/2 years later).
It’s just the hard work of getting on with your own needs. Keep moving forward.
If you have a long history, it’s going to take a long time to recover.
You have lost the future you had built in your mind, you were imagining it with your lover, friend and confidant and it is one of the hardest things to lose, because that loss continues. You have rebuilt your life without them, you have built new dreams and learn to see a new future.
This takes time and it is not only you who have lost that future and that security, but your children too. They need to see you building. I have a running ‘joke” with my kids.
“Oooh. I’m seeing the Future until next Tuesday afternoon. SCORE!”
That lasted almost two years, us struggling along, floundering, with no real plan other than to get through to next Tuesday. It is okay. It is normal and slowly but surely little plans start being made beyond next Tuesday.
You can’t do any of this with your Ex around. They imagine you as sitting waiting for them , because that is how they see the world. They were the centre of your world and it is in their interest to hold you there.
No contact lets you build new dreams.
Just Do It
Thanks for posting, Ing. Yes, I am mourning the loss of the family I had. The illusion of the life companion I thought I had in him was real. Never existed. The security and stability of building a family together, shattered. I am feeling very sad about it all. That is to be expected, I guess. It is a tough pill to swallow. But I have to keep building a better future for myself and my daughter any way.
I like your running joke about the future. Think I will use it myself.
Jokes are super important. We use humour A LOT, particularly when STBX says really wacky stuff, such as the time he told the kids I was insane. We started making jokes about me having voices in my head. Now, when anything happens, whether with STBX or something random, we laugh and say ‘there go the voices in your head, make mischief’ or something along those lines.
Just find the humour and laugh away the bullshit.
Yes Nord!! Keeping your humor–and wits–is so important moving on and away from a cheating husband!
the thing about no contact with a narcissist or a narcissistic person that i wish i knew before is that they will go NC.they will drop you like an empty beer can when they are done with you….every kind word is a de facto lie. a set up. they are eternally empty pits .they are like vampires.just as we hunger and thirst for water and food they hunger and thirst to cheat,use and abuse….
.i suspect that they were important to our ancient ancestors survival .
I agree Mark. I wish I knew before how easily they will drop you. I found that to be devastating, almost on par with finding out about his cheating and lies over our entire life together (31 years). My brain simply couldn’t wrap itself around any of it. I agonized over the fact that I had been “replaced” so effortlessly for a long, long time after.
This site has been a life-saver for me – I have finally found peace. It sounds pathetic, but CL gave me “permission” not to forgive him – that was a huge stumbling block for me in moving on – every book on infidelity and letting go told me how IMPERATIVE it was to forgive – I couldn’t forgive him and I stayed stuck. His immediate detachment and coldness when I left (ie I was no longer of use to him) and trying to separate the projected image of this wonderful, loving husband and father and who\what he really was and how quickly and easily he could move on was another biggie. This site has helped me wrap my mind around it with my self-respect and sense of self intact and very, very strong.
My only difficulty now that I haven’t worked through are those “friends” who didn’t tell me – I have isolated myself from all friends/acquaintances – that’s more than half my life of memories – but I don’t know half of the actual truth (who/what when) and the fact that they knew or were part of it is all about the Betrayal I suppose. Any ideas out there CL? I get that I have nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s the embarrassment of how completely I was chumped and how long it took me to get over it. I think I am having a bad day – just realized that it is an anniversary to-day.
Ugh.. The so-called friends that knew about the cheating or helped him in it… Or want to stay neutral. All should be X’d right out of your life.. I had a few of those. I was so angry at the time, I told them I was aware of their participation, how I felt about it, and don’t bother to pretend to be my friend. Definitely not the best way to handle it, but I feel better all the same.
You know what I think if when I hear that?
When the Nazi’s took over Germany/portions of Europe and they were gassing people, abusing people, stripping them of their human rights and citizens, treating them worse than cattle. And all of the people that either participated or turned a blind eye to this abomination are also guilty. THEY DID NOTHING!!!! They let the evil take over and completely demolish others.. Because it did not affect them. Afterwards, they felt guilty once the light was shone on what was happening. But before that? Nothing.
Many DID help. They risked their own freedom, lives, and family security to save people’s lives.
And in the situation of leaving a cheater, those are the friends (and family) that pick you up when you don’t have strength to stand. Loan you money, maybe a place to live, time, a shoulder, whatever you need to rebuild. You find your grounding again and they cheer you on in your successes.
So tell the neutrals and fools that supported or kept silent about the cheating to bugger off. Who needs so-called friends like that???
Lynn, I hope you can call a real friend to keep you company today. Anniversaries are certainly heart wrenching. Don’t be alone. And toast to a bright future and a new beginning.
Rose thank you so much. I will indeed take your kind words to heart. My instinct is to shut myself in my apartment and not call anyone and go it alone. Like I used to do, especially in the early days.
Instead, I am going to get out of my PJ’s, take a shower and call a friend. Then go for a walk. And think about all the good things in my life I have to be grateful for.
Didn’t realize it was an anniversary until I posted that – it came out of the blue.
This is truly an amazing site.
Glad to hear it Lynn. Walking helps me out a lot too. Feels good to get out in nature.
Chump Lady blog is doing so much good for all of us!
I see people using terms like “fail” and “mess up” when talking about NC. No Contact and “meh” are similar in that they are tools. We all have different needs and should use these tools accordingly, right? The trick is to know your limits!
SIS might need to use them very aggressively. I know my limits, and I refuse to beat myself up if I choose to have a touch more contact than the usual needed for custody issues. I’m kind to myself! That much I can control…
Isn’t what we go through to get to the other side is hard enough without un-necessarily disciplining ourselves over and above what’s really called for? However, if you feel you don’t know your limits or you’re too up against it to try – best err on the side of more meh and more NC…
You guys are all so awesome! I really appreciate all the kindness and advice while I muddle my way through this. And CL, it’s so great to have a place to come to vent and be supported.
I’m feeling better tonight. I got a massage and spent some time with family. I’ve also started reading a workbook on depression and cognitive behavioral therapy. It talks a lot about the very things we’re all struggling with in terms of letting go. It’s called “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life.” I’m finding it helpful so far. The gist is that we all suffer pain. We just can’t think our way out of it and we spend a lot of time avoiding it, which makes the situation worse. That’s as far as I’ve got but I believe it’s about “feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”
I think tomorrow I may dip my toe in a little further and have a look at some apartments. I really loved the suggestion to scrapbook the life we want. I’ve been fantasizing a little apartment for me and my cats, something cozy with fresh paint and thick curtains and plush carpets.
Thank you thank you thank you a million times again, everyone. I feel very welcomed by this community of chumps and truly appreciate the heartfelt suggestions and the time you all took responding to my letter.
Yay SIS!! Good for you!!!! Very proud of you!! I will pick up the same book. I need it. Having a tough time myself. Not like in the early days. But feel pretty low some days.
I did it-i left his crying sorry ass.i will not direspect my self.and besides u can’t turn a blind eye on what u know.that’s crazy.he can carry on lying and denying and “tell me I ruined the fun and enjoyment” of this.I’m TAKING MY LIFE BACK!!sending flowers to a co worker who is clearly blowing him off-please have some respect!
Melanie, THAT IS GREAT NEWS!!!!!! So proud of you! I have read your posts. I am so sorry about your situation. You certainly deserve better!!!! You have amazing strength. Your baby will see that role model in you and thank you one day!!
Now please. Go out and buy a big bouquet of your favorite flowers for yourself. As a reminder to a hopeful future and as a sign of your strength and beauty. So glad you left the creep.
Don’t take his calls. Don’t answer his texts or emails. Keep any contact if you must have it, be a few words that is strictly business (your baby)… Start shopping for a good attorney. Poor yourself a glass of wine with a friend/family. You need people to rally around you ASAP. Rooting for you Melanie!!!!