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Dear Chump Lady, Can you cheat a cheater?

Dear Chump Lady,

What happens when cheaters get chumped?  I realize the curiosity I feel about this perhaps falls significantly short of “meh,” LOL.  I don’t actually wish this on my own  cheater. For what it’s worth, it’s a more general question about Cheating Types. I am curious about it more from a psychology point of view — what happens when a NPD-spectrum person finds him/herself in the chump role?

Also for the record, I’m not suggesting cheating as a chump-revenge thing — I’m  thinking of the cheater’s future relationships.  I’m fairly confident my ex’s serial cheating will continue, but conceivably the new partner could beat him to the punch.


Dear Karmabuilder,

So the question is — can you cheat a cheater? No. In the words of the great philosopher Muddy Waters, “You can’t spend what you ain’t got, you can’t lose something you ain’t never had.” To be well and truly chumped, you have give wholly of yourself. Narcissists don’t invest themselves to the degree that a chump does. They don’t commit. Narcissists lack empathy, and without empathy you cannot have intimacy. There’s just not a lot of heart to give. Narcissists withhold, they hedge their bets, or they “love” very superficially. They love what you can do for them, how many kibbles you provide, how associating with you reflects back on them. That’s a different sort of connection than love. In fact it isn’t connection at all, it’s association.

You can never be more than a narcissist’s associate, because the narcissist’s true love object is him or herself.

Now we could debate, all are cheaters clinical narcissists, but your question is for folks on the NPD spectrum — the empathically impaired. (I would argue that to cheat on your spouse for any length of time makes you empathically impaired, but I’m not a shrink. That’s just my opinion — cheating is a narcissistic act.)

So can you cheat such a person? Do they feel the pain of betrayal? Yes, I think they do feel betrayed, but that’s very different than a broken heart over a love affair. Narcissists feel betrayed when you spend an afternoon with your mother, or when you receive a promotion, or someone pays you a compliment — they perceive all of this as kibble theft. How COULD you? Don’t you know all the kibbles are for THEM? Kibbles are precious! And you are unworthy and undeserving of kibbles. If you must receive kibbles, that glory must reflect back on them and be a net kibble gain.

Narcissist keenly feel the loss of narcissistic supply. And when cheated on, I think that is how they see it — someone has stolen something of value from them — a kibble source. They may feel this rightly (someone actually cheated on them), or they may feel it wrongly (you divorced and have a new boyfriend, how dare you?!) They rage and wallow in self pity. But do they connect the dots? I cheated… and now I have been cheated on. Karma is a bitch. I deserve such punishment…

No, I think connecting the dots is rare. And if they feign such insight, it’s usually to come back to you as Plan B. Oh my fuckbuddy threw me over! How could I have been such a fool! Are you free for dinner?

I also think that if they connect those dots… geez, my life sucks now since I lost my chump… they’re not going to give you the satisfaction of knowing that. Narcissists don’t like to lose face. They take great comfort in their superiority. They’re going to dress this shit up — oh, breaking up with the fuckbuddy was their idea. It was all part of the master plan. There’s a more fabulous future ahead, and aren’t you jealous? The base setting for narcissists is I’m Better Than You.

If you need any further example of how narcissists are impervious to humiliation, look at politics. Did Weiner withdraw from the race? Did Mark Sanford stay home and take up needlepoint? No. These people are shameless.

You have to have a heart to break a heart. You can’t spend what you ain’t got. You can’t lose something you ain’t never had.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I was trying to get a reaction out of my ex when I told him jokingly I was having an affair about 3 weeks before d day. I think he was genuinely pleased for me! I guess he thought that’d let him off the hook!

      • After the first affair, I considered a revenge affair, the idea being that then he’d ‘get it’. But I realized that one of two things would happen;
        1) he’d be glad, because that would mean what he did was actually fine, and he could continue doing it.
        2) he’d be enraged, because I was supposed to be his property, responding only to his needs.

        Or possibly both!!!

        That, and the fact I didn’t want to lower myself to his level, made me drop that idea pretty fast.

        • For the record I didn’t have an affair. I wanted to see if he recognised I still existed. I was surprised by his response but didn’t put 2 and 2 together til later. I don’t think you can cheat a cheater cos they just don’t care

          • Nat1, I asked mine how he would feel if I was sleeping with someone else (we were still married at the time) and he said he’d be happy for me. What the what? I really didn’t know what to do with that information. But thanks to your comment, I get it now!

      • Chump Lady, I disagree. Is hurting the cheater the only reason to engage in a revenge affair? What about the fun and thrill of doing it? What about feeling wanted, attractive, and evening the playing field?…all things that make the revenge affair much more of a “selfish,” self-centered act for the chump than a “revenge” on the cheater. This especially pertains to chumps who’ve been in the unfortunate, extremely awful double standard chump situation, consisting of being subjected to a one-way sexless marriage/relationship, where the cheater loses sexual interest in the chump while getting sex on the side. That happened to me. My now-ex had (still has) a Madonna-whore complex. I really wanted sex because I’d be deprived of it for over a year. Why wait until the separation is made official to get laid for my own? Why should I “be the better person” for someone who obviously didn’t pay me the same loyalty and respect? He might have been the cheater, but darnit, even as a chump I wanted ego kibbles too!

  • FWIW, Muddy was a famous womanizer, married at least three times though no one knows exactly how many. Last marriage was to Marva Jean Brooks in 1976, when he was 64 and she was . . . 25. He had at least six children (again, exact numbers are unavailable)–most of them while he was married but NONE of them by any of his wives.

  • I think they feel pain, but it’s not the same kind of pain. It’s like when they say they are sorry. It’s not that they are sorry you are hurt, it is sorry because you found out what they did and they won’t get what they need from you anymore (sex, money, praise).

    What if my ex gets dumped by his affair partner? Which one?? I think that is the answer too. A good number of them are serial cheaters and that says so what if they get dumped by fuckbuddy #1, because there is fuckbuddy #2, #3, #4 and all of the potential fuckbuddies. Magical thinking I think it’s called.

    My ex DID get dumped by the affair partner and he tried to get back with me, and after the first time he managed to suck me back in, I noticed the signs when this happens. She is also a wingnut, so she does the pull me push you thing with him, breaking up with him sporadically only to take him back.

    What happened to him when his fuckbuddy did this numerous times? He gets all butt hurt, clings to our kids, acts like Super Dad, wants to “talk” to me all of the time about ME (what is going on with me, how I feel, how I am doing, etc.).

    Then I realized that it’s only because he isn’t getting what he wants from fuckbuddy, and he has to have what he wants. When she takes him back, or he finds some interesting new potential fuckbuddy, it’s back to the asshole behavior.

    In the end though….after you know the signs and are defended against their baloney…isn’t it just entertaining (and very sad/pathetic) to watch them get screwed over by fuckbuddies? They will NEVER feel it the same as we do, but it is gratifying to watch his butt-hurt-ness and sad puppyface when “nobody loves him anymore”.

    • Nobody loves me anymore!?
      I heard that too!
      Translate that to: If you LOVED me you’d let me USE you. But, they will never see that that’s what passes for love with them. Or it’s as close as they can get to this thing called love that they hear other people referring to!

  • Interesting question. My ex-NPD husband was cheated on by his first wife over 40 years ago and STILL is bitter about it. He says it broke his heart. Strange because he cheated multiple times with his next wife and hundreds of times on me, yet he says all three of us “broke his heart.” Wife #1 by cheating. Wife #2 by being “mean.” Wife #3 by not being “emotionally unavailable.” No, he doesn’t see the irony. He feels justified.

    • FWIW, my ex told me his first two wives cheated on him. That’s also what he tells people I did to him. Poor three time loser, we all “cheated” on him.

      Then I learned “cheating” meant moving on from him. We cheated him of kibbles that were rightfully his. Not that he makes that distinction for other people, no he’s got very sad stories of heart break.

      I would wonder about the veracity of your ex’s first wife story. I would also wonder if she did cheat on him, if he wasn’t doing it first or concurrently.

      • “Then I learned “cheating” meant moving on from him. ”
        Yes, he claims that what I did was betrayal and lies as well because I “hid” from him emotionally.
        That his first wife cheated on him was confirmed by other family members who I’d trust. He says he didn’t cheat on her, but I think his cheating, because of the compulsion, must have started early and I’d bet he did cheat on her. It was during that time in the 60s and 70s when people put their keys in a bowl and went home with whomever they drew. He told me that was something that was done in his group, but that they had never included themselves. Ew. If you remember the movie, The Ice Storm, apparently it was much like that.

        I imagine the validation through sexual conquest and the dopamine rush he gets from it started very early, as a teen or young man.

        From a distance, these people are in fascinating psychological case study, but up close, very dangerous.

      • I was wondering, CL, did you ever get to know any of your cheater-ex’s male friends, and were there any red flags there?

        • No, he didn’t have any friends. That should’ve been a huge red flag. He said his ex got them in the divorce (another flag) and people his age liked to do coupley things and he was single. He had coworkers he was friendly with and did some socializing with — but never equals. Always the assistant guy. And supposedly he had two “close” friends from law school who I met at my wedding — they lived out of state. They were rather douche-y, and knew he was a cheater (turns out), so that should’ve also been a red flag — I didn’t much like his friends.

          Oh, and of course he had women “friends” — one of whom he told me was gay, turned out to be an OW.

          I put the chump in Chump Lady.

          • My ex didn’t have male friends either, the closest he had was a guy he considered stupid and enjoyed making fun of when they were together. He also had lots of women friends, especially his coworkers. He was never one to go out and do things with “the guys.” I think people who seem isolated and don’t have many close friends are probably people you need to watch out for.

            • I’d watch out for anyone on either extreme. If they have NO close friends, that’s not a good sign. On the other hand, if they have a zillion friends, must constantly be the life of every party and have 5,000 Facebook “friends”, better run in the other direction there too. My ex is an example of the latter. He is so driven for constant attention, so outgoing, so outrageous and so out there, he sparkles more than Edward Cullen in the sun.

              • My ex was like that. He was coooooonstantly needing to “make new friends!” most of them were women. He was always coming home, telling me about this new chick he met and how they planned to go hang out (without me. I was never included in the new plans he made with these girls…) and how cool she was. It was like a revolving door of people he’d hang out with once and then never see again. The ones that did stick around were usually internet friends that ended up sending him hand-drawn fur porn.

              • This is all so very eye opening! When I met my STBX his closest friends were his family – there’s quite a few of them – one asshole narcissistic cousin being his “closest” buddy. He has returned to him as his best friend and of course, cousin is a supporter of the OW and the whole screw me over scenario. This cousin is also on his third wife.

                The rest of my STBX’s “friends” were and are co-workers, mostly women, but none of them appear to be really more than acquaintances because the relationships don’t appear to be sustained. My STBX is considered very good looking and performs the unassuming, understanding, nice guy role perfectly, so it never surprised that women would gravitate towards him. I didn’t even realize that should have been a red flag until I started reading about NPD, covert abuse and recognized my life with Mr. Sparkly Turd.

              • GIO – exact same with mine. Lots of friends, but more like party buddies, not deep connections. Lots of FB friends, too. Mostly women. He’s now the life of he neighborhood, having cookouts and parties with the new girl every weekend, in his resort-like backyard of his creation (the oohs and aaahhs he gets must keep him sated for 5 minutes). Then he serves the great food (more oohs and aaahhs)…never seems to keep him full for long, though. Very, very similar to yours.

              • GIO probably has some important insight here. If they’re on the extremes of no friendsloads of friends spectrum, it’s a red flag.

                In my case, STBX didn’t have a lot of friends, period. He did, however, seem more at ease talking with women, though he never socialized with them, either. In retrospect, and after connecting the dots with respect to the inappropriate gay comments he’s made, I’d say that he has deep-seated sexual insecurities, and the very few male friends I know he’s made fall into the same category as the female friends: they’re not quite as good as he is–at least in his own mind.

              • “so outgoing, so outrageous and so out there, he sparkles more than Edward Cullen in the sun.”

                Bwahaha, that is freaking hilarious !

            • My ex rarely did the guy thing either, maybe a couple of times a year. He had no friends that he saw regularly or was close to, other than his sister and mother and some workmates. Some of his family he would go literally a year or two without seeing, but then see others quite often (those who thought he was great). This is very interesting to think about, because I have loads of friends, some closer than others, and some I’ve known for years, some recently met…but few are ‘below’ me, if you know what I mean. Even one young lady I met quite recently through a project is a smart, funny woman who might be young and early in her career but certainly my equal as far as intellect and humour and I enjoy seeing her for lunch every so often.

              • Chump Princess! You and I were married to the same man! Good looking, shyly charming kind of guys who everybody thinks is so nice (well, not so much anymore)! Loads of lady friends on FB but few sustained or deep relationships. Incredible.

                He seems quite unhappy that all of ‘our’ friends have pretty much bailed on him, mainly because I maintained those friendships and he used them for kibbles. I realised this when he kept calling one friend in particular, who was very close to me. The friend is gay and I think always had a bit of a crush on the ex. But this was a very close friend of mine personally and Ex actually brought OW to meet him maybe two or three months after I kicked him out. Friend sat there stunned, not just by the fact that OW looks like a teenaged boy but that Ex thought that this would be perfectly ok.

                And since then Ex has not been in contact with this friend, other than a like or two on FB.

          • How odd….my ex doesn’t have many friends but did socialise with work mates…all of them underlings. And he has two old friends from uni who are kind of losers. I wonder if this is a pattern with these douches?

            • Nord,

              I am beginning to believe that a lot of these Xes and STBXes are part of some large, extended fucked up family.

            • My ex is from the same tribe; hardly any friends, although that wasn’t obvious in the beginning; he had moved from abroad less than a year before I met him, and he talked about friends and family back home. Took awhile to realize almost all the friends were his ex-gf’s, and that even his siblings had no desire to see him. The 1 friend he did have when I met him was totally someone he could look down on and treat pretty badly. After that one moved to another country, he eventually found another friend in the same category, but this one must have had a little more self-esteem, bc he started turning down invites, etc. as it became clear how little respect the ex had for him, as well as how consistently negative the ex was. By the time of the split, there were family friends, but NO ONE he was close to besides me (and the OW, of course!).

              So warning flag; very few friends, none respected, or lots and lots of superficial friendships.

          • Ok. I’m going to put in a word from another place. I am a man and I have very few close friends and I prefer the company of my family. It isn’t because I am NPD or predisposed to cheat. Its because I tend to the introverted side. I prefer a very small circle of people and I prefer to interact with them on a very deep and meaningful level. Having many “friends” who I talk to about mindless things does not appeal to me. I would rather be alone or spend the time with people who get me and that I connect with. It takes all kinds and lumping people into a dysfunctional box simply because they don’t conform to the extrovert idea of normal is really unfair and completely inaccurate.

            • Geough, I think you might have missed a critical point. You HAVE close friends, which shows that you are capable of genuine friendship. There is nothing wrong with having only a couple of close friends. What we are talking about as a red flag are those folks who have NO close friends, only a huge circle of sparkly, ass-kissing acquaintances, or no friends at all.

              I’m fairly introverted myself, and have only a few close friends, so I understand exactly what you are talking about. My ex, on the other hand, has about a zillion shallow acquaintances. They all serve as nothing more than an admiring audience for his imagined greatness. Most are as narcissistic as he is.

              • Yes. It’s not if you have a NO friends–and some of the NPDs have a gazillion friends. You have a few close friends. My STBX not only didn’t have friends; he had no close>/b> friends. Some of the NPD Xs had many friends, but again, no close>/b> friends.

                I actually test extraverted on Myers-Briggs. Even so, I tend not to have a lot of friends, but the friends I have are close ones.

                That’s a lot of the betrayal of infidelity right there. Your spouse is your closest friend, the one you count on so completely that you don’t even think about it. It’s there, just like the sun is there. For that one person to betray your absolute trust is devastating.

                At any rate, it’s not how many friends you have; it’s that 1) you do have friends and 2) some of them are close friends.

            • Hello all. Been lurking a while but wanted to write that I understand what you are saying, Geough. I have been a bit uncomfortable with this thread too, being a pretty profound introvert myself.

              I have wonderful long-standing relationships with family members, my kids, and a few old friends, but find it really exhausting to randomly socialize outside my workday with new people. What I do enjoy, though, is more “situational” friendships based on volunteering and mutual interests.

              Looking back I realize that my red flag should have been that my STBX never volunteered for anything, or participated in any of the kids’ activities or the organizations that sponsored them. I did all that – co-op playgroup, PAC, Scouts, youth orchestra. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t for a moment regret doing any of it, as I met some wonderful people and learned a huge amount. It was also a pleasure to help my kids become the lovely people they are today. But I have to say now that I do resent that he never participated, particularly since he says now that it wasn’t worth anything, that I could have been working harder for money rather than volunteering. (Of course we know what he was spending his free time on, but I’m really trying hard to not dwell on that any more!).

              Once he left it took a lot of energy just getting by, and I gracefully as I could pulled back from most of my volunteer positions. I needed that solitude to heal, and still need a lot of quiet time now. If someone outside my life looked at me now they might think I’m a bit of a recluse, not having a huge number of friends or socializing much. Really, thought, it’s just who I am, and I’m happy with it, being on my own. I getcha, Geough!

            • Hi Geough, as GIO said, you *have* friends and those who you let in your circle, you feel close to. It’s not an introvert vs. extrovert thing. In fact, if you met my ex, you’d say he was very extroverted. Very well met. But upon closer inspection, he wasn’t *close* to anyone. Not even his family. It wasn’t that he’s introverted, or lacking in friends, it’s that he’s sociopathic — everyone is of use, and no one gets too close.

              My husband is sort of as you described. He’s an introvert. He’s a friendly sort, but only has a small circle of people he’s really tight with. I don’t see that as a red flag.

              I should’ve noticed with my ex, that I introduced him to a wide circle of friends, and he never did the same with me. I met a neighbor and one of the OW (who he had to “help” move and do things for) and then we moved and it was new people. No one who knew his story.

              • I appreciate the kinds words. I don’t want to hijack the thread, but I am sure that exrepeatedmeme can vouch for what I am about to say. Search on the internet and you will find countless articles and posts from people wondering what is wrong with introverts and counseling how to bring introverted kids out of their shell. Many people treat introverts as outcasts and tend to think they are less trustworthy and more than a bit odd. Some of the posts above did not focus on people with NO friends and that is what I responded to.

                In addition, my ex ridiculed me for not being an outgoing person and lorded the fact that OM is over me. “Why can’t you be more like OM?” I know now that she was just messing with me and recasting me as the villain in her story, but it hurt very much at the time. Took me a long time to get back to the place where I felt comfortable being quiet and thoughtful me. 🙂

                Thanks for listening!

            • But Geough, you DO have some people you’re close to besides your romantic partner! You have that small circle, and that works for you! I don’t expect people to have a ton of friends, especially if they’re more introverted. But NONE? And no long-term rel with family members to speak of? And doing some hanging out only w/people they clearly consider inferior, and treat that way? I say still a red flag.

          • No friends here too. Such a red flag.

            Here is another one: he had an affair because I had ‘stopped caring about him’. Translation: I finally gave up trying to get through the wall of his defenses aka I withdrew emotional energy.

            And: he is hard done by because I am ‘cold and punishing’ and always was, even before the affair.
            Translation: I would get upset or angry at his lack of connection/lack of concern and withdraw.

            Looking back it is so obvious, but I lived that for 20 years. He is not a malignant person, but the synapses just don’t fire in anything other than a self-absorbed, self-pitying defensive way, which can get rather cold and cruel. Why didn’t I see it?

            • Patsy, my ex totally pulled this on me, too. After the first affair, it was all about how unhappy he was, how bad our relationship had become over the previous couple of years, how distant we were. No mention of the fact that ALL those things had occured because he was consistently negative, critical, and self-centered, and had consistently made zero effort to improve things and resisted my efforts to do so.

              But I bought into the IRC and tried harder! He got his kibbles back and that helped for a while. But then guess what? He continued to be negative, critical, self-centered. He continued to make zero effort to improve things between us or for our kids, and to resist my efforts to do so. This time my eyes were open, though. So when he resisted my efforts to stay close and improve the relationship, I just let it go. When he acted in self-centered ways, I focussed on making the healthy aspects of my life better (kids, work, friendships).

              Then when he had the second affair he tried to blame my ‘distance’ and ‘lack of interest in sex’ (we were still having lots of it, but I admit my enthusiasm was not the same!!!). At least this time I told him exactly what had happened and how, and he was able to admit his role, for a few minutes!

              Then back to his narc ways and narc ways of thinking. I’m sure the OW is getting exactly the same treatment, although she has the advantage of not actually living w/him.

              For them, nothing negative that happens is in any way a consequence of their behaviour. They deserve all the good stuff, because they’re so amazingly amazing, but the bad stuff? That’s just people being mean to them for no reason!!

              I actually do think there’s something malignant about it, something actually evil. Because they make CHOICES, and their choices hurt people.

  • For the true NPD, my guess is what they feel if they are chumped is RAGE. I doubt they feel sad, or heartbroken, or pain or any of the feelings we chumps went through. Narcs feel rage when they feel they have been wronged or humiliated or insulted. They would consider our cheating to be a tremendous insult.

    I consider it likely a chumped narc would do revenge cheating. I think it’s also likely they would go into full hoover mode to suck their cheating partner back in, break up the affair, smother their cheating partner with SO MUCH LOVE, then once they had the cheating partner fully believing in them again, BAM! The narc would dump the partner for someone new. This would be their “punishment” and way of regaining the upper hand over their partner.

    Narcs only care about winning, even though they are usually the only one who knows it’s a competition. If you cheat them, you can bet they are going to make you pay, but it’s not out of hurt, it’s out of their grandiose pride and entitlement.

    • I think you are right. Mine is STILL so angry about it and it happened so long ago. He can hardly be in the same room with her and his grown children would have to take that into consideration at important family gatherings–something I chided him for because they should not have to arrange things so he felt comfortable.

      I think it also stung because the other man was the same age, the other man was much more successful and wealthy at the time. Hee hee!

      • This is a little off topic, but for some reason I feel like I want to throw it out there. Towards the end of our marriage I discovered the ex’s journal and read how he was in love with his married coworker, so I confronted him over it. She had young children and a nice husband, and I told him it was absolutely wrong of him to come between another father and his children. I reminded him that no one interfered when he was raising HIS children. I told him it was just plain wrong and selfish. I am the kind of person who would never do something to break up another person’s family no matter how I felt, because I come from a mother who’s father deserted her and 4 siblings when she was a baby. I’ve witnessed the damage passed down from generation to generation after abandonment. Anyway, if looks could kill I’d be dead because my ex was glaring a hole through me as I said this to him. It was like he felt nothing but rage at even the suggestions that he put aside his feelings for the sake of her children and family. In his journal he had written, “I don’t have to follow society’s rules. I can live outside society’s rules.” In other words, if he wants it, he deserves it.

        • A couple of years before he finally moved out, I knew something was wrong, and in a conversation said “I think you think the kids and I aren’t good enough for you”

          “HOW DARE YOU! HOW DARE YOU!” Real rage — not the loving reassurance I was hoping for.

          That’s how they are when you trip over the truth. Well, we weren’t good enough for him. Now he has what he wanted and he damn sure is on his own making it work.

          Will the cheater get chumped? She’s 17 years younger. He won’t get chumped, he’ll get cheated on and he knows to expect it. She already left one husband for a better deal. Trust is such a wonderful thing in a marriage.

        • Lyn, my ‘teasing’ motto for him and his selfish FOO was ‘I want, therefore I shall have’.

          I had no idea what I was really saying….

          • I used to tease mine that people needed to “make way” when they saw him coming (whether in traffic, or waiting in lines) because his time was so much more valuable than everyone else’s. He didn’t have time to wait and was always furious when something interfered with his terribly important schedule.

    • Very, very true. My ex has been in a sustained rage for nearly two years. Why? Because I’m doing things my way and it doesn’t go along with the script he wrote.

  • My ex pulled the Plan B thing. A week into my new relationship he started texting me saying “I love you more than I thought. I’m thinking of marrying you.” When I told him I was dating someone, it turned into him crying when I told him that I was, in fact, having sex with my new partner, and telling me that it was “rude” of me to have drawings of my new guy on my Deviant Art page. (Because I was supposed to keep MY artwork strictly ex-approved right?) He would not answer me when I asked what happened to his final fuck-buddy.

    I found out (two years later) that he’d gotten her pregnant and was running. Trying to get me back was his Plan B. Too bad for him. Should have used morning after pill instead.

    He went back to her after she miscarried when she found his texts to me.

    I don’t miss him.

    This post today reminded me so much of how he was though. Didn’t give a shit until it was blowing up in his face and then he couldn’t get me back. They don’t care until it negatively effects THEM.

  • My flaming narcissist ex recently suggested that if he really wanted to burn bridges with his current OW, he’d do it by sleeping with me! WTF? I told him the only way he’d ever get in my pants again is if he bought them from the thrift store where my next of kin will have donated them after I kill myself because I’d rather be dead than sleep with him. I think he got the message.

  • This is so right on point. Wow. And I’m thinking of the sweet “poor sausage” story to be shared as courtship for new kibbles. Ewwww.

  • All these comments and, of course, CL’s lead, are excellent. In the end, we Chumps tend to project our emotional reality onto narcs. But narcs really speak a different emotional language than we do. Yes, a narc could be “hurt” by cheating, but the hurt would be more that of a threatened sense of honor, a loss of control, a rage response that anyone would dare cross him (or her), than it would be a deep sense of wounding. There would be no forgiveness, for example. The narcs I’ve known carry grudges for decades but, at the same time, expect forgiveness from their families as if it were an entitlement. So, when we talk about Chumps and Narcs, we really have two species that may use the same words, but their emotional “languages” they live are really different.

    In previous posts, I have mentioned a kind of final talk that I had with my narc father. Later, I found out that he interpreted the entire talk — a conversation where I finally closed down his constant complaining about my mother/something I’d repeatedly told him I did not enjoy hearing — as my having “lured” him into some kind of ambush. These n-folks have an endless ability to re-purpose events to create their own little defensive truth. They have flexi-minds, in that way. In any case, we Chumps should not worry about their feelings too much, since narcs don’t have feelings in the same sense we do. They are resilient, and they will move on. That’s why getting to “Meh” is so important.

    • Oh boy, ‘the ambush’. When I kicked Ex out right after dday the kids were in shreds so I, being the chump I am, dragged ex to therapy. The first few sessions focused on the final OW because I could not quite accept the rest of the serial cheating/double life. I think at that time I really thought it was all about final OW and her magical special youth, etc. Then I reached some sort of breaking point after a couple of sessions and just spilled the whole sordid story. Ex was FURIOUS. I mean RAGING. He could not believe I would ‘ambush’ him like that and drag all that stuff up because it ‘really didn’t matter or mean anything’. Not even joking. He was livid and ever since then he maintains that I dragged him to therapy in order to harangue him. Because while going to therapy to discuss our marriage meant only talking about what he wanted and when I changed the narrative I was a naughty, naughty girl. Yep, it was wrong to bring up all the other affairs I had found out about post-dday and in doing so I was dumping on poor him and darn it, that was super unfair!

      Fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

  • Nord,

    These characters believe in the Silly Putty principle of truth. They are amazingly capable of interpreting/twisting things to fit their own needy narrative. They also do a lot of segmentation, setting up all kinds of weird rules for what can and can’t be said, for what’s “family business” and what’s permissible to reveal/discuss, etc. etc. In the end, it ain’t worth it for the normals or the nicies (a.k.a. Chumps) to dance with the disordered. You can’t win. The way they see things, it’s all “heads I win, tails you lose, and even if we lose the coin, I make up the rules.”

    Frankly, these morally lobotomized types have an advantage over Chumps UNTIL the Chumps start to declare independence. Chumps usually have allies, while narcs have few friends. Chumps are ultimately more secure with themselves (though it takes a while to get there), while narcs, I think, deep down have some sense that there is something wrong with them (which is why they hate criticism). So long as you stay and play their game, you lose. But once you ignore the artificial boundaries they set on conversation, on thought, on living, things change pretty quickly and the Chump rises fast. At least that’s my observation.

    • Agree. The whole ‘problem’ with Ex right now is that he can’t control me so he uses whatever little thing he can get his hands on to try. Right now it’s money and he’s doing his best to leave me with nothing. And for what? For finding out he’s a serial cheater? He’s doing this to his kids’ mother and seems completely oblivious as to how this is impacting them. It’s insane.

    • Once I focused on taking care of and protecting myself instead of trying to understand him, I started feeling a lot better.

      • Amen to that Lyn! It’s just getting to that point that is long and hard sometimes and once there staying there is the trick and not allowing their games to get you off track.

        • Nord,

          (((Nord))) I sooo get you. My STBX is also trying to screw me over financially, so I completely understand how daunting all of this is for you. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts.

  • Nord, that is a very tough situation. I remember feeling so angry about having to negotiate a settlement with my ex. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea of a person I’d always supported and cared for becoming my adversary. It sure felt good to get the divorce finalized and be able to make my own decisions without interference from him. Hope that day comes soon for you.

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