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When Narcissists Get Chumped

Did anyone read this feature in the New York Times magazine this weekend — The Professor, the Bikini Model and a Suitcase Full of Trouble? It’s a really interesting story about a physics professor who got arrested for drug smuggling in South America. The 68 year-old, who possesses all the charm and panache that you expect from someone who studies particle physics, has an online romance with a “bikini model.” Somehow he’s hornswoggled into drug running and traveling half way across the world to consummate his relationship with this fictitious supermodel (who is really, spoiler alert, part of a drug cartel and not a supermodel.)

What’s apparent, as you read this bizarre story, is that the guy is a flaming narcissist. In fact, at one point, three shrinks evaluate him and conclude he’s NPD. The author writes:

Yet in many of my conversations with him, he seemed to cling to the idea of his own exceptionalism. During our first meeting, when I asked him what attracted him to Milani, he said, “Not to offend present company,” referring to me and the representative from the penitentiary service, “but, to start with, she’s in the top 1 percentile of how women look.” And in an e-mail to Milani — or, rather, the fake Milani — Frampton wrote, “As these days tick by, and I think about it a lot, the more I realize that we are the perfect couple in all respects.”

SoooOoo NPD. Of course it offends present company. How could it not? It’s that total narcissist ploy. I’m one of the Very Best People, I’m not sure you’re part of the lucky 1% exceptional enough to be with me. (That’s your cue to be grateful. Or try harder to achieve a better percentile.) He’s a perfect person and he deserves a perfect partner.

What’s fascinating to me is how STUPID this professor of physics is because of his colossal ego. I mean, like rot in a South American jail stupid. The story begins and you sort of feel sorry for the poor schlub. That he’s a bit dim in the romance department, but then it’s slowly revealed later, that no, he’s really rather a manipulative shit and you don’t feel one bit bad that he’s locked up.

During my Amazon chump stage, I did a lot of reading on narcissists. If you’ve done that as well, no doubt you’ve tripped over the super creepy writings and videos of Sam Vaknin, who is a self-proclaimed narcissist, and likes to decode them for us mere mortals. One article he wrote was on how to disarm a narcissist — and you do that by flattering them incessantly. Just shovel the ego kibbles at them and they’re putty in your hands. Now, most of us can’t stomach that. But if you can manage it, claims Vaknin, you can totally rule them.

The secret is, that at least initially, they have to see you as having some worth and status (say, international bikini model status).  Because THOSE kibbles are the best kind of upper 1% exceptional kibble feed. You can manipulate the hell out of them then. Hats off to the drug cartel who came up with this scheme — making narcissists drug mules by flattering them. GENIUS! (Perhaps the drug lords are watching Sam Vaknin videos.)

When we think of drug mules, we think of desperate people. Poor people. People willing to risk their very life to transport cocaine in their orifices. After reading this story, I realize how crazy desperate narcissists are for ego kibbles. They’ll go to some pretty crazy lengths to get validation that they are “exceptional.” Wow.

This story also made me think about our own vanity. As I’ve written here before, conmen con by getting you to believe in something you WANT to believe. If you don’t have a totally formed sense of self, or you’re a bit wobbly in other areas, you can be vulnerable to the sparkly people. “Ooh! Yes! Please! I want to be part of the cool kids club!” Or you can be suckered in by your OWN vanity “Well, yes, I am also exceptional. I belong with the cool kids club.” Or your insecurity. “Maybe some of this coolness will rub off on me.”

Surely, the professor wanted the status triumph of romancing a bikini model. His vanity ensnared him. An extreme tale, but a cautionary one too I think. Beware bikini models bearing gifts.

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  • I think that I was vain to a certain extent. I wanted to be perceived as the “cool wife,” so I put up with a lot of STBX’s garbage so that I could seem “enlightened” and above any “petty jealousy.” I put all of that in quotes because that’s not what that was– I should have demanded more respect from my relationship and not worried if he thought I was being a shrew. No person should allow him/herself to get treated disrespectfully in a relationship; I was only fooling myself by spackling BOTH of us by ignoring his disrespect and playing “cool wife” when I think it was really “codependent who doesn’t want to rock her moody husband’s boat.”

      • but were we ever really shrews? Or do the narcissists just make us feel that way when making perfectly reasonable requests?

        • It’s hard to be your best self when you’re paired off with a cheater since they tend to divide their efforts and attention between multiple partners, sow chaos, and often actively mislead and gaslight to cover their tracks. In my case I alternated between trying to parent my ex and simmering with resentment for it (which is arguably worse than just speaking up and risk the label of shrew, abuser, WTF-ever).

          • We had that unhealthy me-as-parent dynamic going on as well. Because he basically acted helpless and it really did seem as if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done. And then, yes, when I tried to ask him to do something I’m the shrew/nag. Ugh.

            My next relationship will be with another grown-up. That would be so refreshing

              • This post rocks! Should be a mediation chant. And more so, a solid foundation for a real rockin’ relationship!

              • Lol – I meant meditation, not mediation. Freudian slip? Only if the mediation is with our own selves, bringing back fragmented parts to our whole being.

            • Yay grownups! I too somehow got stuck in the mummy roll, taking care of everything because he basically would not be able to get things done or would do them so half-assed that it became easier if I just did it myself. I figure he worked it that way so he didn’t have to do anything and I like getting stuff done anyway, so…

          • Nomar, that was MeMeMeMeMe!
            I could splice/dice/and dissect him to shreds ..when he cheated, and I wanted to believe him… In 15 minute increments…every year or so then every 9 months, , then 6, then, 3…etc. but in the middle of all this I was the very best lover/mother/daughter/friend anyone could ever have, because I couldn’t possibly be in love/include my children /be that Stupid…right??? This is where the “blaming myself” comes in, and now, with A NEW NC timer starting….wish me luck ya’ll !!

          • Nomar – I recently read an article about stress and our bodies.
            Feelings of Resentment play havoc with our immune systems. (Usually one keeps quite for the sake of peace or not wanting to be viewed as a nag, so we keep quiet and resentment builds up.)
            A growing number of Health Professionals reckon that if one had to/could choose between feeling guilty or resentment, ALWAYS, ALWAYS choose to feel guilt rather than resentment.
            The effects of dealing with Guilt on one’s body is not nearly as far reaching as years and years of simmering Resentment.
            So if we nagged or blew a gasket (my XH used to accuse me of having “another” meltdown after discovery of all his nasty little secrets) I see that as a good thing now.
            I can say all this with a bit of a giggle when I think of My Meltdowns – they were Magnificent!
            The magnitude of them was a shock to both of us – I was this sweet, loving, adoring mate for 31 years – when I found out about the years and years of cheating, my disgust, embarrassment and anger was truly a sight to behold.
            I felt bad for a long time about my reactions (what exactly is extreme when your life and family is shattered), but I did blow my gasket left right and centre.

            We have to deal with enough shit post DDay without adding to our load.
            Feeling resentful about our situations and suffering in silence does us more harm than good – get mad, blow a gasket or two, have a magnificent meltdown, take up kick-boxing – anything, as long as it`s a safe outlet.

        • They make you feel like you’re unreasonable and a nag, when in fact you’re simply asking for basic stuff that you shouldn’t even have to ask for in a relationship.

          • That’s so true, Nord! One of the first things my therapist drilled through my head after he ran off with the Ow and tried to make me believe it was my fault, was that I had every right to be asking for the things in my marriage that I was asking for and should have asked a lot sooner!

              • Wow. Wow. Wow. Same here, ditto, yup to everything!!! I eventually became so angry and resentful of his passive-aggressive nonsense, fake tears, helplessness, and general selfish maniupulation that I believed that I was the shrew – he called me difficult….in reality, I was codependant and trying desperately to tread water while he was content to be the anchor attached to my ankle, drowning me….and the kids. He lied, conned money out of my family and friends, quietly smeared me behind my back, played the victim….well, I’m sure you all know the drill…..I’m LC for 2 years (we have a child together), divorced, sane, and actually….HAPPY!!!! I used to daydream about a life free of him….I’m so grateful for the gift of his (mostly) absence in my life!

    • OMG, that was so ME! There is some comfort that I wasnt the only one who did this. I really did trust him, until he proved to me that I couldn’t. Im sure that was my fault too. (rolling eyes here)

      • Two of my friends are embroiled in divorces from NPDs. I believe my ex has passive-aggressive personality disorder. He, too, was unreliable, did not show initiative, left everything for me to do, then said on the way to his new relationship with his soul mate that she was more adventurous and gave him her undivided attention always. It helps that they made appointments with each other and that she didn’t have a job and that she doesn’t have kids and that he ignored his responsibilities and the kids and me, but whatevs.

        Anyway, check out the passive-aggressive types.

        I’m looking forward to an adult relationship, too! Yay!

    • Great article! I got a flattery snow job for about 2 to 3 months because it was elegantly mixed with actual quality information. This guy was a champion at dosing me with both, maybe because he had a PhD in rhetoric so he had an advantage for a little while. Thank God reality and humility kicked in and I got out of that shit!

  • I was definitely in the “Ooh! Yes! Please! I want to be part of the cool kids club!” camp. Mine targeted me at a difficult time in my life. I had just moved to a new state as a single mom with two very young children. I hadn’t had time to make many friends yet, so I was dealing with some loneliness. Enter Mr. Sparkly. He was charming. He was fun. He had lots of friends, or so it seemed at the time. And it didn’t take long for me to want to believe his bullshit that we were true soulmates – that I was the only woman who really understood him – that all the women before me had treated him so horribly. Poor baby. What a sucker I was. It wasn’t long before I too became a “codependent who didn’t want to rock her moody husband’s boat.” (Thanks MovingOn. That nails it exactly). Vakin is right though. My marriage worked for a very long time because I gave him lots and lots of kibble. Looking back, I want to smack myself. The man actually thought he deserved a daily thank you for just going to work. What was I thinking? I worked full-time, took care of all the bills, household chores, and childcare. And I never got a thank you once. We could probably all go crazy trying to figure out how we fell prey to N-assholes. Saw this post recently on a NPD victim board:

    Help! I’ve been narcissized.

    Pretty much sums it up.

    • Narcissized!!! Love it! and will use it, what a perfect term.

      So you were a single mom and Mr. Sparkly came along? That’s my story too. I think some of these disordered wingnuts seek out single moms especially. That was (and apparently remains) my ex’s MO. Single parenthood is a tough job, often a lonely job, and it’s hard not to be vulnerable. Sometimes I wish I created a single mom blog instead, because I’ve got a lot to say on the subject of PROTECT YOURSELF single moms!

      • Great. at least I know (some of) the red flags…

        Though I gotta admit, it surprises me a little because I wouldn’t have thought they’d be all that keen to take care of someone else’s kids.

        • Problem is, they don’t make good step-parents. But like all their other lies, they make you believe in the beginning that they will adore your children. As CL said, they play on a single mom’s vulnerability, hopes and wishes. By the time the ugly truth comes out, the damage has already been done.

          • Absolutely, another! My son was a “thing” to him – exN hid most of his maltreatment from me (as I ended up working 80 hour weeks so he didn’t have to work because every job he had was beneath him and didn’t “fulfill” him), but I hate that there were small incidents I glossed over….e.g. starting an argument with me because, in his opinion, I was “too physical” with my 4 year old son – it was inappropriate that he and I snuggled on the couch watching t.v. together….thankfully, DS is okay even after enduring six years of that nonsense from his stepmonster, and a mom that turned a blind eye to it all. (Therapy has helped)
            Being a “man” who was willing to raise another man’s son as his own, in his opinion, made him look good – he loved being told what a great father he was to both my son and the daughter we had together….”kibble”. I was so dumb.

        • Yeah, they aren’t keen. And they don’t care for them. They just pretend as if they’d like to.

          ETA, mine wanted instant family. I have a pretty photogenic, blonde kid. We were like central casting for his Family Public Face.

        • aE — take heart. My husband is an awesome stepdad and an awesome parent in general. Those good men are out there.

          If you know what the red flags are with NPDs, you’re waaaay ahead of the game. And really, the difference between my husband and my ex is indescribable. If he’d come along sooner, if I’d known someone like him (or was healthy enough to attract someone like him) — the sparkly wouldn’t have looked so sparkly.

          • yep, I can definitely see how being a single mom can make you more vulnerable to “sparkly” people. My plan of defense is to go slowly with anyone and everyone. Hopefully if I take the time to think about stuff rather than get swept away into something I should be good.

            I think the best thing about being a single mom is that because I do already have kids I don’t need to be worried about fitting into some time table or something. So I can take my time.

            I also had so little time as a nuclear family I don’t even really know what I’m missing. Although I bet as the kids get older I will probably get tired of being the single parent at all the kid things. That’s probably the main thing I need to work on, is not feeling shame about my situation. I’m pretty good 95% of the time, but sometimes it will rear it’s ugly head. Generally it’s when I’m outside doing yard work. I just feel so conspicuous. Like I might as well be shouting at the top of my lungs, “Nope! No man here! It’s just me doing everything!”

            • “Nope! No man here! It’s just me doing everything!”

              And? So what? I mean, I know how you feel, but really, the man you DID have, was it worth all the crap you had to put up with just to have a reliable lawn boy? I think it is a perspective shift. You can always hire a kid to cut your lawn, but your sanity is priceless.

              🙂

              • aE, I felt that way at first, but you know what? It eventually got replaced by a sense of accomplishment, and when I wanted something done, it got done! I spent a lot of time feeling resentment during the last few years of my marriage, cleaning up after Mr. Manchild and single parenting despite being married. Raking my own leaves and dealing with my car troubles on my own are definitely worth leaving behind the resentment, frustration, and husband who seemed to be that in title only.

              • Kristina and Nord, I know and believe all these things intellectually. I even feel fine almost the entire time I’m out there raking up those crappy gumballs… especially since my little boys keep me company and “help” with their own little rakes and wheelbarrow. But just every once in a while this healthy reasoning leaves my head and it’ll cross my mind that people passing by might feel pity for me/us or something. And that my little boys that are having so much fun out there should be doing this type of thing with their daddy who is instead in an apartment with no yard. And I feel bad that they are the men of this house. I wonder if these kinds of thoughts will ever completely go away… probably not… can’t be 100% happy 100% of the time…

        • Learning the hard way, Ns will do anything and be anybody if it means getting what they want in the moment. Most people just accessorize with jewelry or a scarf. Ns accessorize with people. So sad for the N. No sympathy here. But much empathy for anyone treated like an inter-changeable accessory.

        • There are some excellent sites for recognizing the red flags of Ns. It would be so much easier if they had an “N” imprinted on their foreheads. But know there are different types and different degrees. I’ve been in two long-term relationships with Ns (at least two that I know of) and they were exact opposites. Except that they both thought more highly of themselves than others (and that gets disguised in the beginning of the relationship) and had no regard to how their actions would impact others.

        • Interesting about the vulnerability aspect of the single parent, especially coupled with Rappoport’s article.

          I always knew that one of the major attractions of OW was her single mom status. Added to this is the fact that not only is she a single mom (pregnant at 18, got married, got divorced, remarried later, divorced again about 10 years back, single since then), but her now 20-year-old daughter got pregnant at age 18, so OW is not just a single mom, but a single grandmother at age 40. The daughter is medically fragile, such that it’s a miracle that both she and her baby survived the pregnancy. The baby daddy is a ne’er-do-well boyfriend who was allowed to live in the house after his family kicked him out. Somehow the notion that the two would have sex never occurred to OW, but I digress.

          Anyway, all that, coupled with lack of money (and I will be the first to admit that OW is very underemployed, but I suspect her reputation has preceded her), she was the perfect damsel in distress.

          At least that’s what I thought, until recently.

          OW and STBXH have a stormy relationship. If you look at her personal life, you can see that it’s filled with drama, and she is definitely one of these people who want to be front and center. But STBXH also wants his ego kibbles. Everything has to run smoothly. There can be no drama, save for his drama. OW doesn’t get this. And at the moment, STBXH can leave her drama and come home to relative calm. At any rate, every few days, OW texts him to tell him that he treats her terribly, how she has had it with him, etc. All of this is a “pick me” dance that feeds him loads of ego kibbles, but it’s also narcissistic in its own right. STBXH will call her up. I think they do a Facetime mutual masturbation or something similar, and afterwards she texts him about how wonderful he is, how much she loves him, etc.

          Vomit.

          Anyway, their last tiff was pretty big. I knew they’d had one because STBXH was in a foul mood and took it out on one of our dogs, yelling at her in a way that would be abusive if he did it to a kid (and remember that OW has a live-in grandchild). Of course, within a couple of minutes, STBXH was all nicey-nicey with the dog (just as he is with kids), but the real find was looking at his texts a bit later.

          He’d been searching his social media for contact information for yet another former employee. You guessed it: a single mother from a disadvantaged background.

          OW is also predatory, as she uses her story to attract men like STBXH.

          I guess from their perspective, it’s a win-win situation?

      • Well, I am glad you didn’t create a single Mom Blog because I would not have found this wonderful community. I was targeted as a young widow months after losing the only love of my life. I wish I knew that I was logging around a “vulnerable, please take advantage sign” sign around my neck. Just like Sher, I sometimes want to smack myself looking back at the ways that I lost myself trying accomodate this jerk. One time he had the nerve to compare me to a chewing gum that had lost the flavor and he had no choice but to spit me out. How humiliating? UGHHHHH

        • Wow, keen bit of insight to the mind of a cheater there with the chewing gum reference. He saw you as having value as long as you pleased him, entertained him, gave “flavor” to his life. When he got bored? You lost your value to him.

          When in fact, we chumps have our value (and usually a high value indeed) separate and apart from what our cheating partners “feel” at any given moment.

          This ABSOLUTELY qualifies for a “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say” cartoon, doesn’t it, CL?

  • Yeah, my ex got more narcissistic the more “sparkly” he got. I think when we first met he probably considered us equals. Or as close to equals as a budding narcissist can think (which I guess means I made it into the top 1%?). We were at the same college, same friends, etc.

    To me, he was getting less sparkly (ie. not treating me well, complaining all the time, etc.) but to the outside world I guess he was getting more sparkly. And with his added sparkles he got his added entitlement. With me, I knew who he really was and the sparkles to the outside world had no effect on me. I guess that was the source of the problem. So I wasn’t feeding him his ego kibbles and others were. In fact, I will admit I might have been too stingy with the ego kibbles because I was trying to combat the insane ego inflating that was happening at work. I actually thought I could bring him back to earth. I hope that in future relationships when I am not with an egomaniac I will be more complimentary, less critical. That is my main contribution to marital problems that I am willing to own up to. I can see that I could have been better in that way. But I also see that nothing I ever did would have been good enough for my ex, aside from possibly incessant flattery as mentioned above. But I still want to learn these lessons to help me with future relationships.

    • Hahaha…this is so me. The longer we were together the more I saw him as just a regular guy, with flaws and great points and everything in between. That’s normal and that didn’t mean I loved him less. If anything I loved him more because seeing the ‘real’ someone is, to me, a wonderful thing. I like the complexity and find it cute and can tease but also point out things, just as he could with me…but he doesn’t like that, he wants to be worshiped. Well, now he’s got someone to worship him and is playing video games all the time. At middle age. And complaining about the neighbours. All the time. It’s awesome when I hear about it. 🙂

      • I thought we were both just regular people too, a combination of good and bad, and older so perhaps more accepting of the fragilities that are everyone’s lot. Humbled by life but willing to keep getting up and trying. Being vulnerable and willing to trust.

        But there were things that nagged at me…. if I’m honest with myself. I was worried that there would be big money problems and I couldn’t see how that would be resolved because he didn’t like talking about those things and how could we get on the same page? I was worried but I figured since we were in the process of building a team, we’d work it out.

        • yep, in general, we have normal expectations about relationships and marriage and they have unrealistic ones.

          They just aren’t team players, are they? Nothing made that more clear to me than how my ex behaved after the affair was exposed. I thought we would work together as a team to get that chick out of our life and save our marriage. And he just kept trying to figure out how to get out of it with the least impact on himself.

          • totally – took me a bit to understand that too – he was willing to do only what it took to keep me sort of hanging on. He had absolutely no intention of stopping the A. It still makes me crazy to think about it. So I try and redirect my thoughts….. when I catch myself. Grrrr……

          • Another Erika, I know what you’re saying. When I found out about the affair…and then the rest, even then I figured we’d work this out together, even in divorce. I just assumed we would handle it well, be respectful, act like adults. Not happening. He went hateful as soon as I refused to keep his secrets. He betrayed me for years it turns out but felt that I had done a horrible thing in being honest about why we were divorcing and has been a total dick, fighting me on pretty much anything and everything, ever since.

            He’s a pretty massive shit, to be honest.

        • Erika, I too thought we were a team and in many ways we were but it was generally me who did the heavy lifting when things popped up. I figured things out, came up with solutions, put them into action.

          STBX even said to me that we were perfect, everything worked…except there weren’t butterflies anymore. So his reason for being a serial cheater is that he didn’t get a fluttery feeling in his stomach when he saw me. We’d bee together for 20 years, two kids, multiple moves, many life ups and downs…and he needed to feel giddy. Well, now he’s got giddy (or not, as it were) and is miserable because his giddy is with a twenty something who is really good at challenging him to games on the Xbox. He can have giddy. I like giddy as well but I also like a man who understands that relationships grow and change and that’s actually a good thing…and can lead to damn fine sex if you understand that knowing someone better than anyone else in the world means massive trust and therefore fun times in the sack.

          then again, it appears I didn’t know him very well at all, considering the amount o cheating that went on.

          • the ol’ butterfly excuse, huh? well, of course it doesn’t LAST.

            EVER.

            its supposed to be replaced by something else… and ever deepening emotionally satisfying LOVE, but how can that happen with an immature (even if he’s 61) twit?
            Also, as for not being supportive or complimentary.

            Here’s my husband:

            out of work. plays online scrabble (very sexy)— like all the fucking time.
            smells
            smells really bad
            rotting teeth and caps that need to be replaced from when he was 6 (yes, he’s 61)
            weeping, scabbing, red/green/yellow eczema all over his body.
            a bush growing out of his nose
            dirty, stained, torn clothing

            always needs a hair cut.
            I think they call it self-sabotage.

            I’ll just make myself as unattractive to her as I possibly can and therefore, she’ll reject me and then I’ll use that as an excuse to looking for fresh pussy— online.

            I can be anything I want to be, online. hehehehe…

  • http://www.alanrappoport.com/pdf/Co-Narcissism%20Article.pdf

    The above article is very interesting. It argues that Chumps are sometimes not just co-dependants and victims, but are also co-narcissists. We buy into membership into the n-person’s special community/exclusive club. I think it’s a real eye-opener and a real contribution to understanding how good people can get entangled with baf characters.

    • I’ll check it out. Thanks! The book I recommend in the box to the right, Why Is It Always About You has very good sections on what in our own make-ups attracts us to narcissists and why we stick with them. Usually you had this NPD dynamic in your family, and you know the ego kibble drill.

      But I totally agree (and that book discusses it) that there is co-narcissists. It’s very much part of how they operate — and good salesmen too for that matter — I have this very exclusive offer! Act now!

    • Thought provoking article, David. I think that there is merit to this idea of people buying into narcissism in this manner.

      • I’m glad some folks find Rapoport’s article useful. I think his co-narcissist idea has something to it.

        I think many times that we chumps “self-chump.” Co-dependency (with its aspect of co-narcissism) is an addiction. We can self-chump in various ways. Here are a few I’ve noticed:

        1. The Exclusive Club self-chump. “Oh, aren’t I lucky that my narcissistic partner (or parent, or boss, or whatever) has chosen ME to be part of his/her world? Gosh, I feel so good, deriving my specialness from a person as special as Mr/Ms. N…..”

        2. The Victim-Virtue (or Virtuous Victim) self-chump. “Oh my! Harold (or Harriet) is so complex, hard-working and difficult, yet I’m a good person to put up him/her. I’m holding our marriage together and maintaining the family for the children. Yes, Harold/Harriet can be unreasonable, so unreasonable! But I’m a good person to patiently put up with all this……”

        3. The Charity self-chump. Closely related to the above. “Oh my! Harold/Harriet is so intelligent and works so hard, works so-so-so hard to make all that money. I just have to do more than my share at home to make up for his/her tremendous sacrifices…..”

        In my experience, number 3 is very frequently the case of a man with a high-status job who dumps all domestic duties on his spouse. Nos. 2 and 3 often blend together. The sad thing here is that — as children grow up and the sugar high of having a little kid wears off (narcissists frequently are very attentive parents to LITTLE children, precisely because little kids don’t fight back and because they see the kids as potential clones of themselves), as kids’ expenses mount, and as marriage becomes tiring — Mr. High-Status will often summarily and quite easily dump his wife for a younger woman. This comes a major shock to a woman who has been kid-absorbed and who has been accommodating for years. At least this is the “case classicus” that I’ve seen a few times……

        Another fine reading on narcissism, which is my main target in contributing to this blog, is Dean Koontz’s “Frankenstein,” Volumes 1-3. It’s sci-fi/horror/thriller, so the genre might not be for everyone, but it’s all about narcissism. Finally, another theme I’d like to hit some day is the idea of “my kid is my clone.” N-fathers/n-parents are often inn crazy love with their offspring (especially the first child, especially if that child is of the same sex as the n-parent). They love the all-powerful instruction role and the fantasy that their kid is their clone/that their kid will be brilliant. As the child grows and becomes more complex, the n-parent will turn away and can become amazingly punitive. The n-parent then obsesses on all he/she “has done for the child….” Of course, kids don’t birth themselves, they are conceived by parents whose responsibility it is to care for them. But this won’t phase an n-parent.

        I didn’t mean to get so deeply into kid-as-clone. Sorry, fellow Chumps! I hope the above is useful.

        Chump Son

        • One other thing: If you want to see the story of an n-parent turning on his child for not being an obedient clone, then rent a copy of the movie “Dead Poets Society.” It’s the story of a wonderful teacher who reaches a sensitive boy and introduces him to acting. Then the boy’s n-father gets into the act, with very tough results. A great movie.

          Perhaps, CL, we should create a reading list/movies list of works that are n-antibodies? Dean Koontz and “Dead Poets” are two great works that could help to fight this mental plague. They had the Black Plague in the 1400s. We may have an N-Plague today……

          • David, that is an intriguing idea. I was just treadig, for the first time, Twilight- do not ask – and I was struck with how much codependent relationships are glorified in the media. We all know that infidelity is a common trope and is seen as analogous to overcoming obstacles in the quest for true love. It would be very interesting to make a list of books or films where a healthy relationship is realistically portrayed.

            • Kristina,

              I know more examples of art works that show bad narcissism than I do of positive examples, but that’s a heckuva good idea. I know about Twilight but haven’t seen it. Your idea that dysfunction is glorified is almost certainly true. One wonderful friend of mine married a narcissist in the “perfect wedding.” She is now free and is one of my heroes. But I recall well this perfect wedding. I think the fantasy of the perfect wedding really plays into the hands of narcissist-perfectionist guys who then, as CL points out above, sometimes target vulnerable types like single moms. (Again, I’m not saying the n-factor doesn’t hit the female gender, but I’m just referring to classic cases I know personally.)

              One movie that I think portrays some very positive and non-narcissist leadership role models is “Ike: Countdown to D-Day,” with Tom Selleck. Selleck plays Dwight Eisenhower in the run- up to D-Day. I know this sounds strange, recommending this history-type movie as part of a counter-narcissism culture, but it really is good. You come away with great respect for Eisenhower as a leader and for Selleck as an actor. It’s an A&E movie that focuses on the decision issues in the run-up to D-Day, so no big battle special effects, but it’s good. In particular, if you look at the note that Eisenhower wrote on the eve of the invasion, it is a HUGE anti-narcissist statement. It went like this:

              “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

              Now, think about that. Think about this man taking full responsibility for this huge operation. Pretty amazing.

              Now, I know some may say that Ike supposedly had an affair with his English female chauffeur, Kay Summersby. The evidence, however, is that he depended on her emotionally but did not cross final lines. And, hell, the guy was saddled with fighting Nazism, ending Auschwitz, and he did stay married to Mamie and became President of the U.S. Frankly, I think the note above is anti-narcissist in the extreme and that such shows his true character. How many n-men in divorce stand up and take even a smidgen of responsibility?

              In any case, see the movie “Ike: Countdown to D-Day” and be proud of the above note. It shows real character. And character is not lauded in our culture right now. That’s why CL is also a hero of mine. She’s on the cutting edge of saying to our culture: “Character Counts!”

              • Man, I’m dashing out today and will be travelling all day so won’t have computer access, but would love to dig into this topic with you David. 🙁

                I’m going to say this: I have a very strong sense that most people in positions of power, like, for instance, generals and politicians, are narcissists and I think it serves them well in that professional capacity. Actually, many of them are probably sociopaths. You can’t be Harry Truman and drop those bombs and NOT be a sociopath, says I.

                Now, maybe Ike did say that in real life, no doubt he said something of the sort, but that doesn’t make him NOT narcissistic. It is easy enough to say: “oops, my bad…” when things have gone tits up, because he was probably smart enough to realize that a little self deprecation would go a long way in the face of such disaster. He needed people to continue to trust him.

                I will say that if I want a narc anywhere in my life it is as my doctor or my lawyer or my president or my favorite actor. I just don’t want to marry them. 🙂

                I’m going to have a think on it. I really don’t know where there isn’t an unhealthy relationship modeled in a film or book. Or art. But then, when you’re reading a book, you’re reading the projections of the author filtered through the contemporary social mores (either pro or against) of the day, which then goes to show a lot about who the author is and what he/she is about rather than what the characters are really doing.

                Disjointed and not fully thought through, this post, because I’m speed typing as I’m walking out the door.

              • Kristina…

                Healthy relationship = Leslie Knope + Ben Wyatt 🙂

                (Parks and Rec if you aren’t watchers)

          • Yes to the reading list! Maybe also books that feature chumps getting a life. Hell, I’d take any good books that feature divorced characters period. I haven’t had much patience for fiction lately and I’d like to get back to it.

            I got Heartburn but was surprisingly disappointed by it and haven’t picked it back up in a while. (interesting side note, did you know that Nora Ephron… or was it her character, can’t remember… was a cheater in her first marriage before becoming a chump in the next? I guess vows only matter when there’s children involved?)

            Anyway, I would definitely be interested in a book list.

          • There is a documentary available on Netflix called “The Woodmans” that is a striking and horrifying story of a child raised by narcissistic parents. It isn’t supposed to be about that, of course, but if you view it through a certain lens, you can’t miss it.

            • Kristina,

              Happy to develop a reading/history list with you.

              We would not agree on historical narcissists. Truman, I would argue, was not a narcissist. When it comes to the A-Bomb, we’d have to consider the time, which was way different from our own. I’d also give Ike credit, too. I think some narcissists become famous, but I also think they fail a lot, since they have little loyalty and are very selfish. But we can disagree on that.

              My preliminary list of works that might be good:

              -“Dead Poets Society,” features a narcissistic father trying to turn his son into a clone.
              -“Ike: Countdown to D-Day” shows a non-narc as a leader.
              -Dean Koontz’s “Frankenstein” (vols. 1-3) is a powerful metaphor for narcissism, though you have to like Dean Koontz.
              -Pat Conroy, “The Great Santini,” or the movie shows a narcissist, albeit a highly complex one with some qualities that make him interesting.

              As far as scholarly books, anything by Nina Brown is very good. She writes on narcissism. Sam Vankin is also good, though a bit weird. He does know his brief, however.

              I’ll try to think of others.

  • The X’s new squeeze is really pretty. All the while I knew him, its like all the guys in this incestuous little neighborhood slobbered over this woman. They were like obsessed with her. The X always described her and her longtime abusive boyfriend as “Mr and Mrs. Beautiful”. He had a great deal of insecurity about the way he was aging….. and he was right. It was not going well for him. When I saw him for the first time in a long time, I was kind of taken aback truthfully. But, eventually, I didn’t see it. I wasn’t at the top of my game either – I am afterall, in my late 50’s (so weird to say). So, I’m sure that she is a major status symbol for him….. its not like there’s much to be proud of in his life – he has squandered so much of his potential its really kind of shocking when I see it in the cold light of day. And there were times when we would be around just regular earn a living kind of guys where he would act so squirrely I was actually ashamed and embarassed for him. It was uncomfortable for me to say the least. So, I’m guessing the OW, now the W, will do a lot for his public image. He was super status conscious, I don’t imagine other people saw it quite like I did because you had to be in the inner circle to see how pervasive it was. So I’m sure that he really enjoys trotting this W out.

    And the truth of the matter is, he was right, he was a chronic underacheiver and the way it made him squirm in certain types of situations was painful. I didn’t feel that way about him at the time and I always wanted to rescue him. Stupid stupid.

    It difficult for me to admit that she is the kind of status symbol that I am not… and the first opportunity he had to realize that must have been his personal wet dream and that it doesn’t make me less….. and now, I’ve lost so much weight…. I think it was Nord who said something like “Now I’m skinny!” – which is true for me. I look great -but I have to admit, I’m still pretty down about it all. What does it all say about me??

    I know I’ll get past this – just having a bad day I guess. That article about the physicist was really depressing – certain guys just can’t get beyond the beauty thing…. its like all that matters. And they just can’t give up the possibility. Sigh.

    • I wish STBX had taken up with someone who was at least good arm candy. But no, he had to take up with someone who is undoubtably younger but also looks like a teenaged boy. Which creeps me out, to be honest.

          • I can top that one. My STBX’s Ow is actually older than both of us. She is about 10 years older than him, and 18 years older than me. I could understand the younger, hotter woman – but he traded me in for an older one with average looks? Maybe her tits are bigger, I dunno.

            • Angie, my EW is now married to a man 15 years her elder, and 13 years older then me. Don’t overlook the lure of MONEY to the Narc…. As a Karma update, she now realizes she is in more debt than she ever was with me, and that the old boy already cheated on her…..though she KNEW he’d cheated on her AFTER our divorce and BEFORE they were married…… Am I wrong to revel just a little bit in this Narc (my EW) getting Chumped by her OM???

              For what it is worth, CL, I don’t see my EW as a “chump” in your definition, since she herself is a Narcissistic cheater…… Anyone else think a chump can’t be a former cheater, or am I being to “elitist” in my Chump thinking???

            • Angie,
              The wasband’s co-cheater OW is 15 years older than him. 10 years older than me. 3 kids. She is gross. Bubble butt and had boob job. Amongst other procedures. Tries to act and dress younger than she is. Not to mention the worst of it: she has no moral compass or inner character. Clearly, neither does he. So they are well suited for one other if they are still together. Ultimately, I really don’t care what she looks like or who she is. He made the choice to cheat. if not with her, with someone else. He is the cheater tool.
              As for my confidence level, I took a hit after DDay. I asked myself all the wrong questions. However, with more clarity I am proud of my strength and willpower to love and respect myself enough to leave that POS. I am a tall, thin blonde gal. I have a laid back confidence within myself. It will take more than that to bring me down.

      • After numerous years of this my throne has been taken by 2 “main” girls with drug addiction and at least one homeless woman. I am not making this up. Please do not think I look down on them, they are human beings, no matter what, and I have actually been there for them (yes, specifically them) in the past. What freaks me out is trying to get my brain around what a monster he is, to try and use them to get back at me for saying ENOUGH…?
        Chump Lady owns the title, but I call dibbs on the dumpster I created…

    • Erika,
      Our experiences are very similar. I turn 49 next week and it is hard to hear myself say that. STBX is 61 and had an affair w/ a 29 yr old coworker. I have a hard time looking at all of it in the light of day and am still struck that I did not see it coming. I feel like an idiot. It will get better, right? I am grimly determined.

      • Dear SS – it does get better as in I’m definitely better than I was say 2 months ago but, I’m not gonna lie to you – I’m struggling still too. Yes, of course it will get better, for both of us, but there’s pain that is unavoidable. At least there was/is for me. I’m still counting days – just a few weeks shy of 5 months out. Hang in there, I know it’s so difficult and we can all do this together. What choice do we have? That’s the part I hate, my choices were taken away – or something like that.

        Has anyone heard the expression “Betrayal bonding is often confused with love” – I thought that was pretty interesting……. 2 fucked up people making goo goo eyes at each other and feeling all fluttery and naughty…… must be love!!!

        Stop Erika, STOP.

      • Oh and SS – I felt like a total idiot – just an aside, the last time we had sex, or at least I tried to “help” him get it up….. I smelled her on him. Isn’t that just the shit? I hadn’t had an experience like that since my early early 20’s – I knew exactly what that smell was and I furiously spackled in that moment. It just made no sense to me – we weren’t actually married, just planning a life together, definitely a couple, but all he had to do was break up with me……. why would I smell that smell??? Sorry, don’t mean to be gross here – as he was, afterall, “working” at the OW house all day.

        So there’s many degrees of “idiot” – a club really…..

      • And, one more thing….. that is also the point where, later on, I realize everybody must have known about it…. well, except for me. When he finally showed up at the house after I got there, about an hour and a half later, after dark, he kept telling me he wasn’t expecting me – another friend, his daughter and her little boy were already there, making dinner. Apparently, I was the intruder at that point, and everybody must have been exchanging knowing glances at each other – he had clearly lost track of what he did or did not say to me and he was dancing as fast as he could…….

        These are the details that make sense over time and they pop into my head and now that I have context….. and its makes perfect sense – its just the wound that keeps on opening…… and keeps on giving. I’m not in this head space all the time, but of late, I’ve been struggling a bit. For some reason that story about the physicist just plugged me in. OK….. end of replies to myself.

        • Oh Erica, I’m listening, and I know I’m not the only one…It’s so hard to know what to say sometimes…it’s humiliating. The 2 OW’s I know about are at least 15 years younger. I’m 52, and have never been very “pretty” but people do take to me and men were never a problem…but after I went through menapaause and had the first desk job in my life for a few years I know he looked down at me. Towards the end he started jogging, lifting weights, grew a goatee and started dousing himself with cologne and putting “medicated powder” on his ugly privates every night right in front of me. No sex in almost 2 years and I just thought it was because I was so ugly, fat, unattractive. I was also paying the majority of the bills and started a side biz because I was worried about our “future”. I also felt really, really bad because I was so hideous to him and felt hideous period. I felt so guilty I didn’t have the energy, or will to look better for HIM! And then I find out he was cheating since day 1. Now I feel I will get better physically for ME, I even want to again. they fuck with your head Erika….I fed right into his plan…

          • Sorry, eriKa….please excuse the misspell, also, all that cologne, and powder, smelled like SEX to me…because I knew exactly what it was for, even cringed a few times when he kissed me goodbye, while saying to me “I love you” and going off to fuck them…….poor ugly wait at home ME!

          • Toni, I’m quite sure you’re very attractive, it’s just being with a serial cheater that makes you feel like you’re not.

            Honestly, when I was younger I had guys chasing me all the time and I can say that I was a very attractive girl. Even after I had a couple of kids and put on a few pounds I was still attractive, but then STBX started playing head games with me and I slowly went downhill physically. Never hideous but sort of lost my zing and you know what? A lot of it was mental, just feeling like crap about myself and not knowing why. Well, now I know why and the funnything is that I’m looking better now than I have in years. No huge changes, it’s something INSIDE of me that’s changed. I’m starting to feel good about myself again and that makes all the difference.

            And yes, STBX has done hte whole gym/different, younger clothes/hair changes (he’s losing his and all the rest. His life revolves around planning gym times with the young thing. It’s funny and pathetic at the same time.

            • it has absolutely less than zero to do with how you look. I’m a very attractive woman. a head turner–the whole package (blessed with good genes) and it doesn’t make one IOTA of difference because my husband made me feel ugly. A woman is only as beautiful as the reflection she sees in her husband’s eyes. (I know… its okay to puke) My reflection was of an insect that he wanted to squash. He wouldn’t even touch me… we haven’t had sex in TWELVE YEARS!

              now THAT is fucked up!

              He went (and still does, apparently) after any woman who would have him, but one of his fuck buddies is 29 years (!) younger, fat, homely (his words) and has lupus. (I believe that they call that karma)
              OH, and he so kindly told me that it wasn’t EASY to fuck her.
              YES, folks, that’s what he said…
              he also informed me after D-Day #2 that he lusts after virtually every woman he sees imagining what it would be like to be with her.
              so, the real question is… WHY do I give a rat’s ass about such an unfortunate being who after traumatizing me to the nth degree, then sought to pulverize me. Is it any wonder that I ended up in the ER one night?

              I loved him more dearly than I can possibly say for years and years… I remember telling women in the dressing room at the gym what a great guy my husband was… I told him too! I was constantly encouraging him…

              but they turn even encouragement into criticism. Suggesting that he would be a fantastic manager when offered a position (that he turned down, because he’s a ‘technician’) was deemed as criticism.

              note: the “technician” lost his entire means of support in 2002 when he was deemed a dinosaur. (COBOL programmer) and is now working as a manager, and LOVING IT. (but the pay is shit)

              you see… as I said… it makes no difference… you’re damned no matter what you did or didn’t do. If he wants to cheat, he will find a way to cheat and also make it so that he feels justified. Oh, but its soooo subtle.

              and… we’re only human.

              the most beautiful woman in the world (and the sexiest) is the one who bore his children and said “yes” the day she accepted his proposal of a monogamous life together until one of us dies… and then… its his job to make sure she feels this every day for the rest of your lives–together.

              YOU MADE A COMMITMENT ASSHOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              that’s what is SUPPOSED to happen.

          • Oh Toni – thanks for sharing – God, I have to admit to hating this process – but, I do notice, when I feel a little better about myself…. I put off a different vibe and all these cheerful, interesting interactions occur – funny stuff, like the bag boy at the supermarket or the guy in the gym checking in at the same time. I think Nord said it…. a different energy comes into play when you feel better about yourself. I dunno….. guys used to be all over me, not because I was so beautiful, but, I was really absorbed and excited about aspects of my life, and honestly, the menopause thing really changed things for a long time…. it was like living in the twilight zone.

          • I should have know something was up when he started to use teeth whitening products. There were cooler clothes and new music to download. I too can see things in a different context now. I am struck everyday w/ a new humiliation. I am almost 2 months away from the year anniversary of Dday. Some days are better than others.

            • SS – I can relate – as you start to weave the whole picture together, its like d-day by a thousand cuts….. its awful. And that will change for both of us, at least I understand that intellectually. Hang in there – it sucks I know.

  • Tracy, I have heard of Dr. Vaknin–but I’m not sure I agree with your assessment. Yes, he is a flaming, egregious narcissist—he never claims otherwise, in fact. But what I got out of it wasn’t….”Hey! This is how you snag yourself a Narcissist and control HIM/HER!” What I got was….”Listen. If you have one of these types of people in your life, this is what their MO is, what they’ll say and do to you, how they’ll do it, why, for how long—and how, if you are so inclined…to get the fuck away from them. BUT, if you INSIST (and admit it…many people do) on staying with the N, this is what you’re going to have to do/put up with in order to keep your own sanity.”

    He’s a Jerk First Class, no doubt–but I learned a thing or two about dealing with a Narcissist because of some of his insights–his best advice is always….GET AWAY FROM THEM. He never tells you to stay. What he is doing, which is what all of us here actually WANT—-is explaining the whats and whys and whatevers of NPD. It’s a process of acceptance that the person you married or are involved with or is your parent….is a total fucking waste of your time. Some people deal with it quickly, and others….buy every single book on the shelf to “figure them out”. I think that’s all Dr. Vaknin is doing.

    I thought your article was going to be about an N getting chumped—as in….I know someone personally who is the biggest asshole N—and in my personal opinion, she deserves everything she gets, because who the hell brags about not “giving” her husband sex for 2 years and smirks about it…saying “he’ll never leave, nobody wants him and he’ll never find anybody better than me”—because she makes a lot of money and he doesn’t. Then, he goes and finds a side dish fuck—and now she’s all WTF!!!! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!

    I just sat back and laughed into my hand. I’m not sure who I was laughing at harder—the NP wife who thinks her shit doesn’t smell, the NP husband who chumped his NP wife for the past two years (and more if from what i heard is true, he’s a serial cheater)—or the poor side dish fuck who is caught now in this TRULY dysfunctional function junction.

    And yeah. I do know what goes on in their house, because the wife—is my sister.

      • Which one? My sister has chewed up two husbands at this point. First one was probably the “Original” Narcissist–I mean textbook asshole. They stayed together for the sake of my niece and nephew (who, by the way, were brought into this world because my sister thought it would fix the both of them–now she’s got two ridiculously narcissistic kids on her hands and a very, very nasty ex who caught her cheating in their marital bed).

        Her second husband—I really would never have thought he was a Narcissist, ever. Nice guy–except for the cheating part 🙂 So who is at fault? My sister for being a crazy mega bitch narcissistic asshole herself (she once heard him talking to me about my favorite movie, as if he were interested in my blathering, and she stormed into the room calling him a “fucking asshole”—and then proceeding to lock herself in her room until I packed and left–I was staying at their house for the weekend after driving for 12 hours to see her)—-or his for not having the balls or whatever to just up and leave her before bringing some other problems into the marriage?

        So—here’s my real question–is he really a narcissist? Or did she deserve what he did to her? Is there ever a legitimate reason that someone seeks solace outside of a marriage, yet clings to the abuser? Stockholm Syndrome comes to mind.

        They won’t get divorced. Ever. They feed off of each other—like succubi. I told her once that I had gotten to the point that I didn’t give a shit if they killed each other, as long as they kept those kids out of it. She didn’t blink an eye and said, “He won’t leave. He’s a coward.” It’s a circular argument. She can’t lose, and he can’t lose. This is narcissism. So they stand in each other’s way, and God help anybody who gets sucked into their orbit.

        • I just find it interesting when a narc is cheated on and does not divorce. That seems counter to the prevailing belief about who narcs are.

          Scary story, abby. Wow.

  • Tracy, how about an article regarding a statement you made earlier in this section which really hit me hard. I’ve been thinking about it for most of the day and I can’t shake it off.
    How do we become healthy enough to attract the decent, good men/women into our lives?

  • I believe that my x cheating narcissist has met his match and has gotten chumped; he also likes sparkly people like himself. He told me that he needed an equal partner (when he found her) while sucking the life out of me, making sure that I had absolutely no time to myself and holding everything together for our family. I believe they will be together permanently only because they have to (economics and to put on a good show for everyone that they made the right decision to cheat while they each were married to someone else.) I personally experienced far too much deceit during the marriage and the divorce to realize that there can be little honesty between the two of them. People do not change easily and I am glad that I am free from such insanity! 🙂

    • Ditto. I’m sure the day will come when STBX gets chumped. He waited to offload me once he had the new “love of his life” ready and waiting in the wings. He’ll cling to his bad mistake to prove his love, but I have the strong suspicion that she’ll get bored with him and find someone new. I think that STBX is going to find himself getting a D for the second time, except this time, he’s going to be trying to split from a shark instead of a chump, and it’s going to be ugly.

      • I figure the relationship with OW will last a few years but then he’s going to start getting close to 50 and she’s going to be maybe 30 and suddenly this middle-aged balding guy who likes to play xbox and hang out with the youngsters isn’t going to seem so great.

        I hope she gets stuck with him, to be honest. He will cheat at some point (probably if she gets pregnant) and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. As long as they stay away from me I’m good with the whole hting.

      • I agree; sharks are vicious nothing like us chumps and that is another very good point as to why people might stay with a “major mistake”. They do not want to deal with the shark’s wrath. Karma 🙂

  • Somehow “character disturbance” appears to be more realistic to me. I am a doctorate and I am surrounded by people like the professor, especially a number of my male colleagues doing number crunching and seeming quite out-of-the-world. I don’t know the tales of their wives/ GFs but I often hear them cribbing about being the ones doing the hard work of running their family with little or no help (except earning money) from the other side. Still, I know these men are not cheats; they have neither the charms nor the time to go after cool gals.

    Compare this to my attractive, cool, street-smart Ex-husband. He is intellectually much dimmer, but is always politically correct. Till I discovered his cheating, I experienced more romantic moments than I ever imagined. At times, his behavior borders on Borderline Male, with right mix of casanova. In fact, I wondered where did he find time after being so thoroughly involved with me (calling/ smsing/ chatting with me all the time). One reason that I was chumped for 8 years without an inkling was this: the perfect spackle.

    Now, having lived the former life but not knowing what the lives of wives/ GFs of my colleagues are…I tend to compare again n again: At least the other lot didn’t get chumped like me and my son. Maybe the former lot are less romantic, less mature, narcissists or whatever, but they are not playing around with your basic worth and securities than the worldly right and charmer people like my ex do. I know cheating differs case to case; I keep repeating though that the transgression of my heart and my core is bigger than anything else to me. Therefore, if there are only these two types, I shall prefer the former over the latter

    • Careful, anudi. My ex was not charming, but he was passive-aggressive. Never in a million years did I believe he’d cheat, but you’d be amazed how many Borderline women will troll for a guy with a decent job and a family, making those science-types feel like a million bucks. Then they go off the rails. It happens.

      • STBX is very charming. And handsome. I can’t imagine why he would want to bang someone who has the body and face of a teenaged boy, other than that she worships the ground he walks on.

        • I think you have the answer right there. OW in my case is nothing special, but she adores that dickwad, in a way that I haven’t for years, and tells him how wonderful he is. She will do anything he tells her to do, while I am giving him the finger for his unreasonable demands and selfish attitude. I could feel bad that she has no fat on her body, but she is also missing a heart and spine.

          • Yes, well I worshiped him when we first met because I thought he was the greatest thing ever. But years passed and we settled into real life and although I always loved him I wasn’t unaware of his faults (or mine, for that matter) but to me that was normal. We love the ugly bits as well, right?

            But no, STBX is all about how others make HIM feel and he needs to feel like he is perfect and wonderful and fantastic. Our life together had many ups and downs financially and professionally but we were always there for each other, or so I tthought. But it turns out that when we were in ‘down’ times he felt the need to go get ego kibbles and that’s when he cheated. This final time it was a very down time. Not financially but a lot of things were difficult at that time. So he fell hard for his final ego kibble because she had no problems (who does in their mid-twenties, right?). He actually said to me ‘I don’t want all this baggage and responsibility anymore. I want a clean slate’.

            Sigh. I like the baggage because with it comes all the memories of a long llife together. Now he spends his time talking with teh kids (whe she isn’t around) about why we divorced and all the fun times we had together.

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