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Dear Chump Lady, Why does it feel like he’s better than me?

Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve written enough about my story, so you know my ex is a cheater, narcissist, nut job and creep of the highest order. I know this as well. And yet…. I still struggle with something I’m sure some other chumps also are trying to overcome. Or maybe it’s just me.

Even though my ex is a cheating, lying loser who has nothing going for him….. I still find I compare my life to his. And then I come up short in my comparison. Somehow, his years of gaslighting, brainwashing and abuse left me believing he really IS more interesting, more fun, more lovable and more capable than I am. I tell myself that although he IS more sparkly than me, that does not mean he is a better person than me. Yet I still feel like any success he has (not that he’s had any) means that I am a loser in comparison.

He’s spent the past three years basically on vacation. No job, no bills (he declared bankruptcy), no actual home (he’s been living with various people who don’t charge him rent), not paying full child support. Following his “dreams.” Meanwhile, I’ve started a new career as a freelance writer, raised our son, maintained a home, dealt with financial struggles and life in general. On paper, I see that I am the one who is a success, not him.

I don’t know why I still feel like he is “more” than I am, just because he is having a fun, sparkly time. Although intellectually I know he is a horrible person no matter what he does, it seems like my heart hangs onto the idea of him as the “winner” in all this, and me as the loser.

How is it that these cake-eaters manage to get inside our heads and leave us feeling “less than”? Most importantly, how do we get them OUT?

GladIt’sOver

Dear Glad,

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” This one is on you. And that’s good news, because you can fix this. It isn’t anything your creeptacular, loser ex has done lately. We can point to the years of mindfuckery — okay, you drank deep of the crazy Koolaid — but this is a problem with your perception. You just need a great, big reality check.

I saw this guy’s videos, as I’m sure other regular readers of the blog have as well. Obviously, I’m not a professional, but my impression is that the guy is seriously mentally ill — not charming. If he “sparkles” he does so with extreme creepiness. I’m not just saying that because I think your ex is a baddie and I want to be sympatico with you, like, “yeah he sucks!” I’m saying — he’s really off. Like tinfoil hat off. He reminds me of my bipolar cousin who went through a manic phase and made youtube videos about his Christina Acquilera obsession and foot fetishes while drawing crazy portraits, like a psychotic Bob Ross. THAT kind of crazy.

This is just a hunch, Glad, but I think your world is too small if he still impresses you as sparkly, so my advice to you would be — expand your world. Freelance writing is isolating (I should know, I’ve done it for years) — and it’s not the steadiest of incomes. I’d look at finding a full-time job where you can be a part of a larger community. I think it’s totally awesome that you’ve transitioned away from stay-at-home motherhood — but your ex cannot be relied upon for income. (Or anything else, by the sounds of it). So reach for the greater independence that will come with a full-time, out of the house gig.

I think we tend to compare and get jealous of people who have something we want, or that we think we’re lacking. You perceive your ex to be “interesting” and “lovable” (two qualities he demonstrably is NOT) — why not work on your own interesting and lovable qualities? Be a better friend, be more social, take a class, get out more often, take a fashion risk. Do the things you think awesomely interesting and lovable people do. (Which does not include dressing as a giant Sasquatch and singing show tunes. That’s the Wrong Kind of Interesting.)

You can’t truly believe he is both a nut job creep AND “more than” you. I don’t think you really believe YET (you’ll get there) that he’s a narcissist nut job creep. I think, at some level, you still want to believe he’s a successful sparkly guy.

Why? Because then it wouldn’t make your 20 year investment feel so stupid. OMG, she realizes in horror, I’ve devoted my life to a narcissist nut job creep! Well, join the club, Glad. We’ve all been there to one degree or the other. If you hold on to the idea that, hey, well he was SPARKLY, then we can understand the attraction. I saw the videos. I don’t understand the attraction. I’m not judging you, if you saw my ex’s, you’d want to hit me with the clue bat too.

So, when you fully embrace that’s he’s a crazy loser — there is nothing here to miss. Nothing to compare your life with. I can see how you’d envy, at some level, his utter lack of responsibility, his “care free” life, because you’re saddled with full-time child care and having to work after years of being out of the work force. But Glad — this new independence is a GIFT. Yes, you are the responsible one, and yeah, that’s a drag sometimes. You could use more margin to your life, I’m sure. But your ex is not tripping the light fandango — he’s an unemployed weirdo sleeping on sofas. He’s one overburdened “friend” away from homelessness.

At the end of the day, it’s useless to compare our lives to others, whether that is a crazy ex, or some celebrity’s. Some chumps here were left by people who — on paper anyway — appear to be All That. They look good, they earn good money, they’re beloved community members. They can’t point to a Sasquatch video and say the person is a loon. Should they feel less than? No, of course not. Who another person is IS NO REFLECTION ON YOU.

Especially an ex — what he does, or does not do, has NO relevance to your life anymore. If you were with a narcissist, you’re used to the narcissist assuming you are an extension of them. You’re not. You never were. And now you’re free to chuck that stupid role.

I’m not trying to minimize what years of emotional abuse can do to your self esteem. But what you need to realize is — it’s OVER. This shit is FINITE. You stuck around and endured it for so many years, and now you don’t have to waste one more second of your life on that nonsense. It is your choice how much of your mental real estate you’re going to give to your ex. How much power you’re going to hand to him concerning your value.

And it’s also your choice to stay locked in some eternal competition — i.e.,  he’s the “winner” and you’re the “loser.” No, you’re just you, living your life. And he’s him (a freak) who is now peripheral to your existence. This is the first boundary you must enforce — where you begin and where he ends.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I’m speechless. Your words are so wise, Chump Lady. Today’s post is a keeper, and you can be sure that it will be read again and again. Thanks for this lifeline, from all your struggling chumps!

    • Ditto. This post was great and filled with so many nuggets of things I literally laughed out loud about – ‘hit me with the clue bat’…. That is hysterical. I think we could all stand to be hit with the clue bat at one point or another.

  • I also struggle a lot with this. My ex seems so super happy and sparkly. Having a long distance relationship with his low life OW. I need some advice. I just found out he is going to be coming here to NY to visit the slut he is now with. I am really considering going to him and confronting him about all he did to me. All the lies and the shit he put me through. Is this worth it? Will I gain anything from it. I would like to slap him and confront him because we never came face to face after all this went down. Will this be a good idea? Or will it just make me feel worse. Unlike the other chimps here I was not married to him just was dating him but am so filled with rage and anger because of how badly he treated me…any advice would be greatly appreciated. I can’t seem to move on.

    • What if you confront him when he has his friends around him? People who share his morals, or lack thereof. What will they do? Will they recoil in horror from him, or laugh at you? Could you stand that? I don’t think that you will gain any satisfaction from that confrontation. You can’t shame him, if he could be shamed ( any of them ) they wouldn’t cheat.

      And if you slap him, as satisfying as that could be, you could be arrested for assault.

      And he would love that.

      • Thanks Jim,
        Intellectually I know you’re right. I am so angry the emotional side of me wants to have it out face to face with him and curse and scream at him for what his sordid actions have done to me and my life. I’ve literally fallen apart because of this and I want him to acknowledge and see all the hurt he’s caused.

        • Dear GTGB – As satisfying and this is in your fantasies, the reality is that they really just don’t care. Or, they are incapable of empathy and therefor do not know how to care. Or, if they admit it out loud to you, that means they have to face it themselves and their small little selves CANNOT allow that to happen. They cannot afford to see themselves this way and I’ve seen it as an internal fight to the death. They. Will. Not. Admit. To. Themselves. That. This. Is. Who. They. Are.

          This was one of the hardest things for me to let go of needing, or get around. But it is the letting go work that YOU will need to do. I was married to my NPD for 7 years. 2 friends of mine were going through their divorces almost at the same time and each had been married for over 30 years. Watching them come to terms with the fact that they were not going to get an “explanation” or and “acknowledgement” or an “apology” after 30 years invested, I realized, I too needed to let this go on my own and not look to the NPD to provide. As I had already been coming to terms with the fact that the NPD no longer (and not for a long time) could provide or was interested in providing me with anything I needed.

          But have it out in a simulation. Get a friend to sit in a chair, or get a picture off your cheater and put it on a bed full of cushions and take a bat or a pan or whatever feels good and scream and yell all the things you want to say, and beat the living daylights out of him. The actual physical process has been helpful to many that I know.

          So many of us have been there. You need to let that go. It IS NOT FAIR and it is NOT satisfying! But, it is essential.

          Good luck and big (((HUG))).

          • Ha!! And just to be clear – Beat the living daylights out of the picture and your cushions! Not a friend that may be there to sit in. You only get to yell at that brave friend! 🙂

          • I was talking about this very thing in in therapy yesterday….how come he gets to go out and have fun, go to plays etc, brag about it, have lots of friends,many of them former friends of mine….. and I’m still working on constructing a real life, brick by fucking brick. An I look at each one *very* carefully! Once burned and al that..

            She said, “well, there are lots of narcissists out there; they cannot feel empathy; even if you confronted him with how rotten it makes you feel, he wouldn’t couldn’t understand.” Narcissists and…narcissees? (i.e.,chumps)

            Then she said: those people PREY on the non-narcissistic. We need to learn how to stay away from them. (If I could write THAT book, well…).

            Finally, she gave me a concrete tool for dealing with the anger: allow myself say 15 minutes of “worry time” per day, so that if intrusive thoughts start to bug me, I can tell myself that at 3:00 pm (or whatever) I will worry about that. and stop at the end of 15 minutes. And take *No Action* (like emails,or confrontation– that is a dead end, and will only boomerang on me). And don’t make worry time just before bed. It’s a good way of containing it.

            Did I mention I have an awesome therapist; yup, I do!

            But seriously, we live in an age of narcissism– nobody here has raised Christopher Lasch’s book from years ago, The Age of Narcissism. I’ma going to go back and read it again.

          • Thanks I can’t tell you how much peace your words give me. I especially agree that they stop caring and so to the it just doesn’t matter – it is wasted energy. They have no shame – there is no real remorse. My ex said he made a mistake and was it was just lust and now he is in a full-blown relationship with this woman who he said meant nothing. I’m just sad I wasted so much time and invested so much love and energy on a person who was capable of being so cruel in the end to me.

          • FLBright, after reading your post, I took out my XH wedding ring last night, put it on the bed, and beat the shit out of it with a baseball bat. It really did feel good. I still have all this pent up anger that sits inside me with no way to get out. I can say that I will be doing this again!

        • I know this feeling SO well, Gottogetbetter! What really helped me was to write it all down, every little bit of anger, bitterness, hurt, incomprehension, confusion, etc. I wrote ‘letters’ to him, I made lists as if explaining to a third person, I poured it all out onto Word. Then I made a special file on my desktop (password protected because I have teenagers!) and put them in there. I would read stuff and add details or new docs or new rants as needed. The other super helpful thing was having 3 friends I could call at any time to RANT big time (I tried to rotate among the friends, so as not to over-burden anybody).

          But my ex didn’t and doesn’t get to hear about any of that.

          Because he’s already shown me clearly and repeatedly that he DOES NOT CARE. And that even when he says or acts like he does care (I have to see him occasionally bc of the kids), that never means taking any responsibility for what’s happened.

          But even knowing that, I would probably have enjoyed ripping his head off, verbally, multiple times. Except, I also know that ANY emotion I send his way is ego kibbles for him, big, fat, satisfying ego kibbles. And I do NOT provide those to him any more.

          So rant on paper, rant to your friends, come rant here, we totally get it. But don’t provide him that satisfaction.

          And if it’s any consolation, it’s been 15 months since I found out about his second affair, 14 and 1/2 months since I told him the relationship was over, 13 months since I finally got his shiftless ass out of our house, and I now go weeks and sometimes months without opening my ‘rant’ file or adding anything to it, and very rarely have to call a friend to let off steam and now that’s always about how he deals with the kids or the $. Time and limited contact work wonders!

      • Don’t confront him, and definitely do not slap him – Jim is correct about possible arrest. Ask yourself what it is you think you would gain from physically confronting him. If it’s an apology, you won’t get one – even if you did would you believe it? If it’s something else, what? Why do you want to do it?

        • No I don’t believe he’s sorry – he knew exactly what he was doing. People that are sorry behave like that are sorry he never did. He carried on like he couldn’t have cared less. And the day before I found out I was supposedly the love of his life…it’s sick – really really sick

      • Unfortunately confronting him will probably just give him more ammunition to say how “crazy” his ex is (classic blame shifting used by all cheaters). I have sent many a strongly worded email to my STBX and told him in person over and over how hurtful what he did was. You know what effect it had on him? NONE. Confronting him just shows him he is still taking up space in your head–another sort way of giving ego kibbles. Perhaps write your frustrations down for yourself in a journal, or write an imaginary letter to him telling him what a low life he is. Then, when you’re ready, and when he actually isn’t taking up any more space in your brain, throw it away. He doesn’t deserve any part of your emotional space.

        • He totally would just peg me as crazy… You’re right. It’s all just so sucky and unfair. But I get so much comfort knowing I’m not the only with these feelings… Thanks for the great advice everyone. One day at a time….

          • You know what actually works better? No reaction. When you see him, stare straight at him with no discernible expression or stare at him as if there is a chicken taking a shit on his head and you are a friend of the chicken. I just did this with my STBX. He went from topic to topic trying to wind me up and get me to yell at him. It was a family function and he wanted to be able to report back to the OW how I had lost it so they would have something to triangulate and to point out to his family that, see, that’s why I can’t live with her.

            Instead, I remained composed and dignified – the first time in our relationship where he could not get me to start yelling or crying or both. It was a beautiful thing to behold. He pulled out all the usual emotional stops. I will not say I was unaffected, but I told myself I would give in to the emotions later, in private, which I did. It absolutely drove him crazy and he ended up looking like the flaming turd from Satan’s ass that he is. That was much more satisfying than anything I would have gotten from yelling at him or even slapping him. It also sent the subtle message that he could no longer control me.

            They expect the emotional kibbles of crying and yelling. Composure and dignity ties them in knots. The only thing better is pretending they don’t exist. I’ve still got a long way to go to “meh,” but at least I’m on the right road. You will get there Gottogetbetter.

            • “When you see him, stare straight at him with no discernible expression or stare at him as if there is a chicken taking a shit on his head and you are a friend of the chicken.”

              Princess, you are one of a kind, thanks for a great laugh on the Friday morning. I LOVE your style!

              • When I told him I was changing the locks I quietly said it to him where he hangs out with a bunch of guys, a corner store that I stop at every day after work, you could set your watch by me. I had given him a chance to afford a place to move to – and once again he flaunted OW (aptly named by someone here “Homeless Girl ’cause she was) and he went crazy! Cursing me and calling me a F-ing Crazy Bitch- F me, I couldn’t do that, etc. etc. Just SCREAMING!!!! I calmly told him in front of about 10 guys that if he showed up after 48 hours I would call the police so he’d better get his shit OUT! So he looked like an idiot. I grew up with these guys and they were on my side anyway…AND I now had witnesses. I was shaking afterwards but SO proud of myself! 😉

    • As others have said, and as you already know, Gtgb, confrontation won’t really accomplish anything except confirm his stories that you’re the crazy bitch. Any physical altercation–heck, even just screaming at him–could end up in your arrest.

      It isn’t worth it, and it would be more cake for his ego, ’cause damn, he’s so awesome that women are fighting over him! They can’t do without him!

      Since he’s a flaming narc, the only way he can sustain an affair is via distance. He can be all fantasy and sparkles for short periods, but the longer he’s with someone, the more likely that his crazy will start to show.

      Start working on filling your life with non-X activities. Get therapy. This is what all of us Chumps need to do.

      • Kb you’re so right…I’ve been thinking about it all day – he takes up way too much space in my head!!! I haven’t been able to get rid of wondering what he’s doing – where he is blah blah blah. But yes by going over there I’ll only be feeding this pathetic loser’s notion of what a hot property he is. And that’s the exact opposite. He lives with his parents at 33, got divorced probably because his wife was so fed up with his stupid lies, has no money, has no education and really is with a low life who he should have been with all along. I don’t want to lower myself any more. I have to maintain my dignity or what’s left of it after all this shit.
        I am in therapy and have been since Dday – I have just been so blindsided by his actions. But I have to accept the reality that this is who he really is. My therapist keeps telling think Sandra Bullock and not Demi Moore…

    • I don’t agree with the others . I soaped him twice, one year ago. With all my strength. I am very proud that I did that. Still remember the satisfaction! Sometimes you have to get the anger out of your system…

        • Don’t know where you live, Anna, but here, if your ex decided to call the police, you would be arrested for sure (policy is to always arrest on allegations of assault on a domestic call), and have a court case and a police file. If you admitted to the police what you had done or if there were any evidence that you had actually slapped him, you’d have a criminal record.

          People provoke us beyond all reason, sometimes, but we can’t be hitting them!

    • These guys will never give you what you need, GTGB. I was married for 25 years to a supposedly loving husband, and we had 3 beautiful children. Yet after D-Day, every time I confronted him I was left crushed, stunned, and disappointed. He did not care. At all. My pain meant nothing to him. There were no words, no tears, no plea, no fury even, that could get through to him. There is nothing to get through to, there is no there there.

      I came to realize that the man I loved with all my heart for so long was gone, was never coming back, and probably never existed. I’m so sorry you are going through this, but let him go and move on.

      • Mine just lies to my face; I would never have believed it possible. I still shake my head. I am so aware of the fact he has a secret cell phone and I read the text messages and see the times they talk but when I confront him he says no way and gets all defensive. It is so unworthy of him and the relationship we had. It’s not like it is some big secret and that he couldn’t just say yeah I do. There’s no point in lying but he continues to. I would really like to quote some of the lines to his face (oh and there are some good ones especially the sexting ones) but then he would know I know that the phone really exists and my access to it would be gone. Hey a girl has to have some fun and giggles. and of course knowledge is power.

  • Glad–I completely understand and have felt the same way recently. My emotionally abusive STBX has become somewhat of a local celebrity, beloved by all. He charms, he excites, he receives accolades. He makes all sort of new interesting friends, travels, etc. He is living the life I always wanted to share with him, and I find myself feeling not only jealous but angry because I made this life possible for him. And then they screw us over, BIG time. While I am still struggling with this, too, I am trying to do activities that are just MINE (not associated with him at all). I always had a goal of running a 5k (I started small because I have NEVER been a runner!). So, I started training a few months ago and I can’t tell you how amazing it was for my self confidence. I completed my first race and then ran another and I have yet another in about a month! Also, what I find helpful is talking to the people who know the REAL him. There are a select few (including some of his family members!) who know he is disordered and I am guessing you have people in your life who know this about your wing-nut, too? Touching base with them is always helpful in bringing me back to reality. Putting yourself in situations where you can remember your authentic self is very important. I am started to remember who I was before all of this, and I forgot how much I liked my pre-singed self. 🙂 I know you will, too.

    Thank you, ChumpLady for this post today. So helpful (as usual!). Another great Elanor Roosevelt quote: “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” It has been my mantra for a few weeks now!

    • Singed, your running is awesome! I walk a lot, but haven’t really done any running. I did recently sign up for hula-hooping lessons, though! Learning tricks and getting a great workout!

      Yes, I do know several people who really know my ex well, and every one of them thinks he is mentally ill. That includes his own brother and SIL, whom I am still close with. They often remind me that I was the only stable, good thing in that freak’s life, and he never deserved me.

  • The universe doesn’t give you what you ask for with your thoughts; it gives you what you demand with your actions. In essence, you don’t get what you WANT, you get what you ARE. This being the case, Glad’s ex will get warped, fake-sparkly barfyness and be surrounded by self-absorbed, mental midgets. But you Glad, you don’t just take and take and use and destroy. You have a good heart, are a devoted parent and loving person. There isn’t a thing wrong with you. In the scope of life, a person’s worth is measured by the hearts they touch and the people that they help along the way. You my dear, are solid gold.

  • Hi Glad,

    I think I understand what you are going through. I compare my life too. My STBX has a new girlfriend, he’s successful, having parties and generally is happy. It’s really hard to remember that this was the guy who cheated on me over and over, took me to the restaurant where his AP worked on our 21 anniversary and was generally an ass. I really find it helps to remember the crap he pulled and it gives me the motivation to make MY life better.

    You sound amazing to me. You sound like you have great strength and determination to provide for yourself and your son. That’s not easy. You aren’t giving up. You are fighting for a happy life and a good life for yourself. It’s hard but try not to let that loser take one more thing from you.

    I think this is another Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Believe in yourself.

  • CL, I really like your post today. Feeling less than is something I’ve struggled with all my life. I’m sure it comes from FOO issues. Even when I first met my ex I was attracted to his confidence. I’m still amazed by it, and have always wished I possessed it. Unlike some exes here, mine was very accomplished in his career and won awards left and right. He did more in a day than I did in a week, but as the years went on he became addicted to his accomplishments. He was a serious workaholic. Anyway, I find my confidence increasing a little every day and I definitely love and value myself more than I used to. I can almost see the day where I just feel grateful to my ex for everything he taught me, and for forcing me to learn to love and care myself more than others.

    It seems when you’re abandoned you have two choices, you can accept the other person’s opinion of you, or you can reject their opinion and start valuing yourself.

    GladIt’sOver, after D-day I posted on a site that I couldn’t get over how I wasn’t good enough for him. A kind person posted, “Oh honey, he left because he wasn’t good enough for YOU.” Perhaps repeating that to yourself over and over might help.

    • Lyn – This one is SO TRUE – “He left because he wasn’t good enough for YOU.” Before we even got married my EX was predicting that I would leave him, that he didn’t deserve me, that I would figure out that he was broken and leave him. What transpired was all self-fulfilling prophecy. (And, YES! I’m a CHUMP! He said all of this TO me! And of course, me being all CHUMPY spackled and projected how I would “heal” him, and reassure him!) One of my lessons has been “When people tell you who they are – BELIEVE THEM!” I will not make that mistake again.

      Glad – please repeat what Lyn has said to you here!

      • They play that game, in order to build you up and make you feel ‘strong’. Then they slowly tear you down and during that time you’re trying like crazy to ‘be strong’. It’s a neat trick and my ex actually told my kids after I kicked him out and they were falling apart, along with me, that I’d be fine because I*m strong. I am strong, actually, but in the relationship all that strength went to him and for his benefit. It took quite a while for my therapist to drill that one into my head. When they’ve got you at your weakest, after who knows how much gaslighting and blameshifting and general sucking the life out of you is when they usually strike the hardest. This makes them feel strong but it’s a false strength, stolen from us – like everything they supposedly are, much of it is stolen from others and sucked out of others. They have no core.

        • Nord,

          Were we living in the same house with the same man? I swear I have an additional personality and you’re it. That is a perfect description of the end of my relationship. He had broken me down and then went in for the kill, all the while telling me how strong I was and I would be better off without him.

          Even though I am struggling financially, I will say, so far he has been correct. Who knew?

          • The last thing my ex said before he walked out the door was, “When I look into my future, you’re not in it.” Such a nice thing to say to a person who’s been with you over 30 years and is the mother of your children. He tried to come back the next day to explain how smooth our divorce could be but I told him to stay away from me. I managed to go a whole year without seeing him again. I think when someone tells you they don’t see you in their future that they ought to stay the hell out of your future too.

            • Lyn, my ex said that same thing to me! Maybe it’s another one of those “cheater play book” sayings they all use.

            • I heard something similar, Lyn. Talk about cutting you to the core, eh? Made me feel very not worthy…but then my therapist (who was there when he uttered this bullshit) pointed out that I had grown up, ex hadn’t and there was the basic problem: he could not deal with the shift into middle age and I thought becoming middle aged was pretty amusing most of the time.

            • Lyn –
              So, my ex never said this exactly, but what I find interesting is that they think we will just gloss over these types of comments. But the funny thing is my ex can actually gloss over my shitty comments to him (my TRUE, but shitty comments about how selfish he is, etc., etc.). Is that because they are empty so they really don’t care, or do they just assume we don’t really mean it and are just lashing out because they cheated on us? Maybe the negative kibbles really are just as good as the positive ones?

              • I’ve wondered that too. Mine would not accept what I said, there was just no meaning to it for him. Like, if I would ask how he could abandon and hurt me, he’d say I never did that! So I’d give him examples, and same reaction. I decided that he had made his own narrative to define himself, and that was the only thing that he’d listen to. VERY strange, they really inhabit a fantasy world!

          • Good god, Princess, even down to the financial struggles but realising I am strong as all get out and am making it through.

            We really were separated at birth…and so were our ex’s.

      • FLBright, that’s my story too, just not married. The first week we were together, he told me he was afraid I would find out who he really was and would leave him. I spackled too, I thought he was just trying to flatter me, say he wasn’t good enough for me, yada yada, to make me feel like I was this amazing person … which I am, and he turned out to be who he really was: a lying, serial cheating bastard still hung up on his married hs sweetheart who he had been cheating with, on and off, for over 20 years.

        Yes, listening to them! They do try to tell you, but we don’t want to hear it. I ask myself now, “Would I ever tell someone I didn’t think I deserved them?” No. Not even flattery. Trust that they suck.

  • This post really spoke to me today. I have been mired lately in a swamp of envy regarding my Ex’s sparkly life – his bachelor pad apartment – the fun trips he takes with his GF (that my kids tell me about because he makes sure to tell them) – being Disney Dad to our boys while I am the slog who does their laundry, does all the meet the teacher nights and school events, scrubs the toilets, makes the meals, and all the million other things single moms do when they have full custody of their children and “dad” just shows up for the occasional ball game or dinner and a movie. I am working two jobs to rent a home that I still can’t quite afford so that my boys can stay in their school district, and am so busy with the day to day responsibilities of life that I couldn’t find the time to date even if I wanted to. I want to spend the day whining “it’s not fairrrrr….” but that is not productive. I keep trying to focus on the “prize” of my children’s respect in the future – when they are married and have families of their own and suddenly the light bulb goes off and they think “Wow! My mom did this all on her own!!? She is AMAZING!! I’m calling her right now to tell her how much I love her!!” Will that ever happen? Who knows. I sure hope so, but right now I feel like Cinderella left to scrub the floors while my Ex is dancing the night away at the Ball. Thanks again for some perspective!!!!

    • I sure hear you on this one. My ex is doing the same things, taking the kids out to eat and buying them stuff so he can be the fun parent. I too hope that some day, when the kids look back, they realize that more often than not their dad would always choose to do or buy what made him happy but mom was the one that made sure they had what they needed. This past week my Ex got the kids and Xbox (for his place, of course) 4 new games and took them out to eat. Meanwhile I have to work 9 hour days so I can scrap up the $ to buy the kids warm sweatshirts because none of their warmer stuff from last winter still fits. Now kids are always going to get more excited over video games than they are warm jackets. But I feel good knowing that I made the right choice and have my prioities straight.
      \
      In the end, thats why I do what I. Thats why I always put the kid’s needs first, because they are my #1 priority. Yes, I hope someday they recognize that. But the reason to do whatever it is that we are doing is not to get credit or even acknowledgements (thought those things are very nice), do the right thing simply because its the right thing. Sparkles or not, turds always end up being nothing but a pile of shit. 😉

      • Angie, I want to tell you a family tale. I have only great aunts and uncles. One of my great aunts married a man who owned a tavern. They had two children. It was the Depression, and during that time, money was so tight that one relative took apart a piano in an attempt to find a dime that had fallen inside. The tavern owner, though, was a very wealthy man, since people can find money for drink, even if there’s not a lot of money coming in. They had a beautiful house on the lake, but he was completely wrapped up in his business, and rarely spent time with his family. On birthdays, the children would come down to breakfast and discover $50 or $100 on their plates!

        That’s more than some people would see in a month!

        He died in the 1940s. His children were still young. My great-aunt remarried a man who made significantly less money. He was unpolished, told crude jokes, and worshiped the ground she walked on. His children said that he was more father to them than their biological father, who found that spending money on them was far, far easier than spending time.

        Your children may enjoy the gifts their dad gives them, but they know the parent they can count on when the chips are down. 🙂

    • Definitely feeling this too.

      Renting out part of our house, working two or three jobs to stay in the school district, letting major home repairs go because I just can’t afford them, while he literally takes them to Disney World. Icing on the cake is that he complains about being broke. Try buying school uniforms, groceries for three teen boys, orthodontics and glasses, instead of adventure park admissions, then talk to me about broke.

  • Thanks CL, you are right – they are not a part of our lives. So whether they get to skate with no job, or whatever they are doing, it’s no different from thousands of other ppl we don’t know who are doing the same things. Good to put it in perspective.

  • Stories of chumps remaining locked in a mental relationship with their cheaters even after divorce reminds me of stories about prisoners near the end of WWII liberated from concentration camps (both Nazi and Japanese) who refused to leave, fearing their brutal guards would return. They had internalized their lop-sided and abusive relationships to the point that they couldn’t even imagine escape.

    Finding out the truth about your cheating partner unlocks the door to your mental prison. You are free to leave. Really. And upon leaving, you need never look back.

    • Yes, I do realize I’m caught in a prison of my own making. And that I am the one holding the key. You guys are inspiring me to finally turn that lock and walk out the door. Chumps rock!

  • My thought on this is that we chumps are stuck at different levels/stages of our healing. And while we go through our daily struggles to get through this mess that they created. We see our cheater being happy with their life because they are not mourning like we are. They don’t miss us like we miss them. Oh sure some of them might say the do but actions are what counts. This is where they miss the boat. They aren’t mourning us because they had given up on us in most cases way before we figured out what they were doing to us. We still hurt and they seem to have moved on. We want so bad for them to hurt like we hurt and it pisses us off that they don’t/won’t show the remorse we crave. We need to come to the realization that remorse ain’t gonna happen. Of course that ends up being one more thing for us to get pissed/depressed about. Somehow we need to let go. We didn’t fall in love with our cheater overnight. So falling out of love will take time too. We haven’t allowed ourselves to fall out of love with them or the person we thought they were. Take your time. we need to understand that they don’t love us like we want to be loved. Fall out of love with your cheater and learn to love yourself so you can get better and happy.

    Somehow we need to open ourselves up and and take notice of all the good things that are around us. As Tracy mentioned. Expanding our social circles. Doing things WE like to do. Find a way to feel good and maybe even laugh. Somehow we need to get those endorphins going. For me I get outside and enjoy the sunshine, (before winter comes) breathe in the crisp cool Fall air.

    Everyone wants to be happy. When we are down and hurt, we crave it. We all struggle because, life ain’t easy….. But deep down I know, it’s worth it.

    • Geez Bud, that is great advice. And beautiful too. I am going to have to save this letter, CL’s answer, and all of my fellow chumps’ comments. They are especially insightful and so spot on today! 🙂

  • I would also add that many chumps envy their cheating exes their seemingly carefree existences. While chumps are home being Responsible Adults (paying bills, stockpiling groceries, pressing their teenage kids about WHERE they are going tonight and whether their home work is done, etc.), the cheaters are often reliving their own adolescence (lots of underemployment, casual hookups, credit card spending, video games, alcohol and substance abuse, and other juvenile hijinks generally labeled by cheaters, “following my dream”).

    But remember: a CAREFREE life should not be confused with an IRRESPONSIBLE life. Cheaters often live the latter. And living an irresponsible life usually catches up with a person. Jobs are lost, cars are repossessed, and the duped spouses of affair partners come knocking with shotguns. That reckoning is what we call . . . karma.

    • YES! This is so true! I’d like to have a tee shirt printed with “A carefree life should not be confused with an irresponsible life.” Awesome words of wisdom. Thank you!

      • Glad, you may have been attracted to him in the beginning because he seems fun-loving and fearless, maybe you wanted to grow in that direction. He turned out to also be self-absorbed and careless, and it ruined everything! You have your own gifts, I can see that you’re articulate and kind, and have a great attitude about life – just because you survived him, and he epically sucks! Don’t sell yourself short, embrace your new, free life!

        • Thank you, PattyToo! Yes, I was attracted to how confident, how out-going, how completely without anxiety or self-consciousness my ex is. He is truly willing to do anything, anytime, anywhere with anyone, as long as it gets him attention. I realize now, of course, that his extreme lack of boundaries, anxiety or any sort of mental brakes is actually pathological, but I didn’t understand that until long after Dday.

          In my own defense, I will say ex was the first (and only) boyfriend I ever had, and the only man I have ever been with. I was definitely a late bloomer in that regard. So I really had nothing to compare him with.

          Also, he didn’t used to be quite so insane. He was always narcissistic, always self absorbed and immature, always a cheater. But he did hold a very good job for many years, we did own a nice home, we did have a lot of fun at times and he can be very nice and giving when it suits him. Not that I’m saying those things make up for his sociopathic tendencies. But he seemed a lot more normal in the past. All of this current insanity started right at Dday, and has rapidly gone downhill ever since we separated/divorced.

          • Right! I’ll bet that’s true for most of us. Who would knowingly sign up for craziness and cheating? My X used to be sweet, caring, funny and intelligent. Oh, and he had so much common sense! Now, none of that is true. And try as you might, you just can’t bring it back.

  • Tracy – really great advice and perspective, once again. Thank you.

    Glad – I wanted to highlight something that CL said, “I think, at some level, you still want to believe he’s a successful sparkly guy.” In my situation, when I said to a very good and wise friend, “Why can’t I make a decision? Why can’t I figure out what to do? Why can’t I just “call it” and end it?” She bravely spoke a hard truth to me and said, “It seems like you just cannot fathom the idea that you were wrong. That you made a bad choice. Admitting that he really is a bad guy makes the investment of the last 7-8 years a bad investment and you just aren’t able to admit that to yourself just yet.” Then she asked me, “What more does he have to do to prove to you he really is a bad guy? ‘Cause from where I’m standing, he’s working awfully hard to prove it to you!” (OVER AND OVER AGAIN!)

    She was absolutely right. I think it just took me as long as it took me to see my reality. Hopefully all the light that CL and our fellow chumps here are shining on this will be the push you need to move you down that path of “believing your eyes”.

    I’m so sorry that this has happened to all of us. Sending you a big (((hug))).

    • Wise friend, FLbright — and such a good point. I really struggled with — God, I fucked up. I chose so badly. Divorce is me admitting my colossal mistake.

      And then I got to — so what? I fucked up. Better to figure it out, correct it, and move forward than to commit to a MISTAKE and stick my head in the sand.

      Also — okay, it was a mistake. It’s disproportionate to what they dished out. You don’t deserve all the punishment from this mistake. Forgive yourself and move forward.

      • The first overwhelming feeling I had as my ex was walking out the door saying he’d filed for divorce was SHAME. I was so ashamed, I even said that out loud as he closed the door. I’d tried so damn hard for over 30 years and failed. You are right, CL, that is a very hard pill to swallow. I felt like I’d invested everything I had in the stock market, and it had crashed. I felt like the biggest fool in the universe.

        It wasn’t until later that I realized I felt such guilt because I’d been carrying more than my share of responsibility in our relationship. I was a lot more invested, which is why it hurt me so much more than it did him.

        • Lyn, I too felt a great deal of shame over my divorce. I was so proud of being married for twenty years. All of my friends are in equally long-term marriages. When I divorced, I felt a tremendous sense of failure and shame. That has passed now, there really was no other option but divorce for me.

        • If I catch-the bitch he gave my sunglasses to with them on ($200. I have sun damaged eyes) I don’t know what will happen. Just hope it never happens. Doubt it will, I’m pretty sure she traded them for drugs…me too Lynn, I didn’t even want to go outside because I didn’t want to see the neighbors…..

    • Interesting, FL….I think that was very hard for me to see: ex is a very bad guy and he showed it in so many ways after I kicked him out. But I had a very hard time seeing it…or admitting it. I chose an absolutely selfish asshole as a husband and to father my kids. And he came with the mother of dysfunctional families. Makes me feel very stupid, particularly with all the spackling and excusing and telling everyone how wonderful he was for so long, even when my gut started telling me otherwise (which I handily ignored, of course).

      I can now openly admit my ex is one hell of an asshole.

      • Nord, I know you can relate to this: when you point out that your ex is a bad person and his family just responds, “No, sometimes good people just do bad things.” Or, “He’s only human.” Or, “Christians forgive.”

        I sometimes think I have more PTSD from their reaction than what he actually did. I know that’s not true. But they so disappointed me. For example, when his mother seemed to finally be getting it, I asked her if she at least told him she was disappointed in him. Her response: “Oh, that’s not my place.”

        You can only imagine my rant in response to that. What a dysfunctional waste of cells, the whole family. I am just thankful everyday that I didn’t marry into that trash.

    • This point stuck with me too. I was with him for over 33 years! How could I have been with such a bad guy?? And now I see the way he treats our adult children (horribly) proving over and over that he really is A BAD GUY. I wasted way too many years on this relationship. That’s what’s hard to swallow. And wondering will I ever get the chance to be cherished and loved by a normal human being.

      • “And wondering will I ever get the chance to be cherished and loved by a normal human being.”

        I wonder this as well. I feel cheated for the years I spent with the ex. My friends and I joke that some women have all these things they want in a man: rich, tall, gorgeous, etc. Shallow things. I say I just want a man who is: 1. sane 2. straight. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, does it? Well, I do have a few other requirements as well, but none of them have to do with money, height or external qualities.

      • Stuckinjax – I know this may sound lackluster to you right now, but the first thing that struck me when you stated: “wondering will I ever get the chance to be cherished and loved by a normal human being.” YOU are a normal human being and you have the opportunity right now to love and cherish yourself. So, yes, is the answer to your question. I know that doesn’t satisfy when what you’re talking about is someone to hold you, but… Let’s all spend a good amount of our energy on loving and cherishing ourselves. I think it’s the first step to attracting someone else to help us with that.

        • Yes, Glad, I agree. But FLBright is right. We must love and cherish ourselves first! Great point. And beyond that, I have my kids and family and a couple of very close friends who all love me and help me get through these tough days.

          • Glad, I am the same way. I think “I just want someone who is kind, who likes to cuddle, who will be emotionally supportive…”

        • Great advice as usual FLB. We have to love ourselves and try to surround ourselves with those who love and support us. I have tried to live a more peaceful and self-nurturing life since D-Day. Many have commented that I am calmer, healthier physically and mentally, etc. I know I am somehow more assertive and assured too. Yet our minds whir around and around, how can this BE? Will I ever be O.K. after all this?

          I have found someone else after all the pain and agony. In addition to sane and straight, one other requirement I had was that he be “non-sparkly.” Only my fellow chumps know what that means, and that it is actually a compliment, not a complaint, when I describe my fiance that way.

          Still, when I read what each of you are going through, the fear of being “less-than”, the fear of being alone, the thought of those wasted and stolen years (and believe me the angst does not end just because you find a new love)….when I think of what these motherfuckers did to us….

          Sometimes (like today) reading your posts just brings tears to my eyes. We are like the walking wounded and we don’t deserve it. But we are like an army of chumps, soldiering on. Keep the faith chumps!

          • Kelly, thanks for the ray of hope. I cannot imagine trusting anyone again. So much pain and agony, like you said! So many blows to the self-esteem over the years. But if I get over the trust hurdle, I will truly find someone who is not sparkly. I heard one too many times about how good-looking my ex is. Please. Pretty on the outside but heinously ugly on the inside. No thanks.

            • That’s interesting SIJ,
              I heard he was good looking too alot over the years but that have never really matterd so much to me, and in the last few years I couldn’t see it at ALL!

      • I wonder that as well Stuck. Will someone ever love me and cherish me the way I thought I was but wasn’t? And will I trust them enough to open myself up to that person? I feel ok alone but I also want to, I think, find someone again. I’m just not sure it will or can happen.

        • Yes, Nord, that’s the problem–trust. I feel ok alone as well but I cannot imagine the rest of my life alone. Damn him to hell! And how many times do I have to call him a fucking asshole dickhead (to myself) before I get to meh?

  • Dear Glad,

    There is a great 3 part series on YouTube about Quantum Energy regarding the damage done by a narcissist. It helped me a lot. Please check it out.

  • Wow, CL, thank you so much for your incredibly on-target words, and the kick in the butt I needed this morning. Believe me, I’ll be printing this one out to read over and over.

    Though I wouldn’t wish this misery on anyone, I am also thankful that others here understand what I am talking about, and are dealing with the same issue. It helps to know I’m not the only one struggling to let go of the sparkly narc and just let him drift away into his own issues.

  • WHOA … HOLD ON !
    He has ….
    No job
    he’s bankrupt
    homeless
    liar
    cheat
    “dead beat Dad”
    Thats HIS DREAM ?
    I hope by seeing this in print , you see what a POS he is .
    Better than YOU ? AS IF !
    STOP this TOXIC thinking !!!! He is beneath you.
    Get into therapy …. do not allow this scum to rob you of one precious second of your life.
    You’re better….. than letting HIM, DEFINE YOU !
    Thank God he cheated on you…. the “best gift” he could have ever given you !

  • Hi,
    I really don’t think it’s you. Cheaters are Narcissists. Narcissists, especially the very disturbed ones, are COMPETITIVE with the people that are closest to them. There are only 2 kinds of people for narccissists-those they can use to prop them up and make them look good (=denial and fantasy land) or those those they can compete against and put down to prop themselves up. If you are no longer in the first camp, then you are in the second camp and the Narcissist will put every ounce of his energy, every ounce of his life force, into competing with you and humiliating you. No wonder you feel less than. He lives for it. Someone like that is evil and unsafe. Is there any way you can have nothing to do with him. Get as far away as you can from him? I can’t remember if you have children with him or not. If you don’t have kids with him, get as far away as possible and maybe therapy to figure out what reality is. Reality is is that he is evil and unsafe (anyone who would humiliate their ex is someone who is evil and unsafe in MHO). Reality is, is he is crazy and spins his sparkles but it isn’t reality. Anyone who falls for him is desperate and empty themselves . His family, those that think he is ok, is stewing in a mess of crazy and unhealthiness and stink. Surround yourself with people who aren’t narcissistic, where there is a 2-way relationship and they support you and don’t compete with you. I understand how you feel.

    • MX,
      Good one – that’s definitely what happened here…when I joined the 2nd camp I turned into a #1 idiot in his eyes. He would constantly argue with me while telling me that I was argumentative…and was constantly told “you would argue with a fence post” till i pretty much just walked away and hid when he started….I just gave up…

  • Dear Glad,

    I too, felt like that for a long time. I was married for 23 yrs to a workaholic, very ambitious narcissist and he is very successful, has wealth( which I got half of) prestiege, accolades, parties, fancy trips and all kinds of material possessions. It never ends and I’m glad now I got out of that life. It wasn’t filling me up and I realized it never would, cause it really is false, superficial and meaningless really. I’ve realized he needs those things to feel good about himself and I don’t. He doesn’t have the same values and priorities as I do, and don’t think that will ever change!
    I also was a SAHM for years and compared to him, I seem like a big nothing! But, I don’t feel like that anymore and in fact I’ve come to respect and love myself more for it. I made my kids, family, home and parents etc. my priority and I will never regret that! I never got awards, prestiege,or wealth for being there day in, day out for my kids and those important people in my life. My kids do realize that I’ve been the one always there for them, doing the often difficult and mundane things in life, and all or most of the heavy lifting in the family. I’m the one who has instilled values and priorities in them and have grounded them.
    After he left me for an alcoholic party girl coworker, my own kids use to tell me ” You is good, You is kind, You is important!’ It ‘s a quote from the book ” The Help” if you didn’t recognize it! Similar to things I have always told them! You know what… I’ve come to really believe that! I’ve accepted myself for who I am. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I live a quiet peaceful life now, am happy and I do the things that make me happy. I don’t compare myself anymore to him or anyone else. My Buddhism taught me that I am perfect just the way I am, but there’s always room for improvement!
    He really looks successful from the outside, but I know that it’s that image control thing. Really on the inside, He’s a MESS!
    I think we often feel there’s some sort of competition between the partners after a split, but the reality is we are all on our own journey, and you have to be true to yourself. Stop comparing yourself to him or anyone, and just concentrate on your own values and who you want to be!

    • What your kids said made me laugh out loud! That’s awesome.

      By the way, I think we were married to the same man. I used to think “I don’t need all this stuff to be happy.” He seemed to keep piling up more and more possessions. It seemed to me he was looking at the wrong things for happiness. Someone recently told me he was bragging about his new 60″ wide TV on Facebook. Some things never change.

      • It just occurred to me: when separated his first spent money was on a 3D TV set and a fancy sport car while my first big spending was a lazer operation to get rid of my glasses. He spent money to improve the OUTSIDE and I spent to improve myself ( even if it was kind of an appearence thing). They do think that happiness comes from outside.

        • Ha…first thing ex bought was also a big fuck off telly. The second thing he bought was a playstation. He’s middle aged.

          • Yeah, they’re like little kids breaking free from mommy. I wouldn’t allow cable or broadcast TV in the house and for years the ex said he liked it that way — it was more peaceful and the kids weren’t zombies.

            Soon as he moved out to play house with the whore, he bragged about needing to be at the apartment so the FiOs could be installed. I didn’t even know what that was. Spent over ten grand on new furniture too.

            • I had a good friend tell me (with some trepidation) that I was a bit of a mother to ex and since he’s never been able to stand up to his own mother he used me as a stand in, so all that he did was a lashing out at his sainted mother, who has been up his ass since birth and never pulled her head out since.

              I ran this one by my therapist and she said it was pretty spot on. Ex has this picture of his ‘perfect’ parents, yet everyone around him can see how nutty they are and how odd their behaviour is.

              • I figured I was the proxy for the hated mother when his damn sisters got into the act.

                I don’t have enough information on the OW to know if she had Daddy issues in the main or if she was one of those that blamed Mommy for Daddy being gone and I was a proxy for her too.

                I tell you, it sure is tough to be the psychological spittoon for these nutcases.

      • My ex recently got $5000 from his dad to get cosmetic veneers on his teeth. Because this was “really going to make him look good in head shots and boost his career.” Let me tell you, it’s not his teeth keeping his “career” in the toilet.

        So he spent $5000 on his veneers, and refused to contribute even one dime towards our son’s braces, which happened to cost $5000. He actually told me that that I was greedy to expect him to pay what he agreed to pay in the court ordered child support.

        • Ugh, so sorry and boy can I relate! The $$ is only for them, you know! Whether it’s for toys or prettying up the smile, all only for the Narc. And they don’t even care what we’re saying, what, the kids need something? Is somebody talking?
          When my X (we were still married) got a chunk of $$ from inheritance I suggested he give some to son going to engineering school and all by himself. No reply.
          I swear most of it went to the liquor store!!
          Yet, he’ll tell everyone he adores our sons, it’s very frustrating.
          Send my love to your son, I hope you can find a way to do the braces, I had to pay for them for all three of my kids. I thought it was important.

          • I invested in his “schemes” for years and years. When he had a small settlement coming ($10,000 or so, which is HUGE to me) I asked him to invest a $1,000.00 or so in my business. He laughed in my face….LOUD…..and said “Yea Right!”

      • Lyn,
        Cl ‘s comment about being fed chocolate eclairs vs the real meat and potatoes of a relationship was so true for me. There’s no substance in a life like that! My ex is still running around trying to fill himself up with that ‘stuff!’ And he’s gained so much weight that he will probably not live too long.
        I’ve let it all go now though . I actually feel sorry for him cause you just can’t give what you don’t have! I blame his mother for this as she’s the biggest narc I’ve ever met. That’s why I am proud of myself for putting my life and time into raising my kids… It really is the most important job ever.

  • A theory of mine is that cheaters must maintain a public profile of being deliriously happy and successful to justify their cheating asses. “See? I was so horribly tortured and downtrodden while in my marriage to that bitch/asshole….and only now have I been able to find my true happiness through my soul mate!”

    But really it is the liberated chump who was tortured and downtrodden while marriage to that asshole/bitch (whether he/she chooses to admit that or not) and now has the freedom to find true happiness.

  • People working the AA program and recovering co-dependents refer to ruminating about the behavior of others who have offended us and left us feeling powerless as, “allowing someone to live rent free in your head.” (And the place can’t be renovated until the bad tenant is evicted.)

    Once again, CL has given great advice about behaviors that you CAN control and which can add value (renovation) to your pysche…making your life so full helping you become present and future oriented.

    How do we eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And we deal with intrusive thoughts and ruminations one at a time…and in the moment. Push them out, and focus on and immerse yourself in behaviors that add value to your life in the present.

    Some don’t realize that they are in a (passive) holding pattern, trying to wait out the pain and receive an attitude epiphany/quick relief….that somehow a chunk of “cure” will fall from the sky and knock relief/happiness into their heads. And they say things to themselves that sound like this, “When I FEEL better, I am going to”….. or “When I get over this I am going to ….”

    The truth is that attitude change comes AFTER behavior change.

    Behavior change starts down in those grueling trenches when we initially FORCE ourselves to do what we need to do and continue forcing ourselves until we see progress. I have heard this transformational process referred to as, “fake it till you make it.” But it’s more than that. It is the application of self-discipline and literally retraining our thoughts and emotions.

    [There is a scientific basis for the effectiveness of planning, mental visualization and PRACTICE of positive replacement behaviors until they are assimilated into our behavioral repertoire to the extent that they override the negative ones. Has to do with competing neural pathways…. but a long neuro-psyc explanation isn’t necessary. Please just accept that it works.]

    A good rule of thumb in recovery is….that whenever you don’t know what to do, ask yourself what the person who you WANT to be would do…and then DO IT.

    • Love the last line and totally agree about positive visualization. A woman told me that when she was going through a very tough time in her life a therapist friend suggested that before she went to sleep she think of three good things that happened during that day, even if it was finding a penny, having a good cup of coffee and getting a good parking space. Then she suggested thinking of three things to look forward to the following day, no matter how mundane. It’s a way of training your brain to look to good things adn keep the focuso n there. I do it now and it is remarkably effective.

      • Ms. Glad Ma’am,

        You are no slouch at writing. If you really enjoy it, write about what you know. Write in a heartfelt manner. You can make it fiction or you can make it fact…but let it roll.

        If you feel that a novel is in you, then go for it. Have a little digital recorder always handy when the muse strikes and something awesome comes into your head. (I am famous for forgetting my awesome thoughts and turn of the phrases that hit me in the wee hours when I get up to go pee. Or in the car. Or when someone says something that triggers a pithy phrase that would just fit into a larger narrative. I OUGHT to take my own advice!) Even if the thought seems out of context at the moment, you will eventually find a way to integrate it. It doesn’t have to be done in a day. This can be a personal project and it can take as long as you like. But there will be this sweet, sort of secret feeling of accomplishment that will work its way into your sense of life, as your material files fill up.

        BTW, when I watched the video of your X, what I saw was a pitiful man with terrible self-esteem, making an idiot of himself to attract attention. But trust me, without some heavy duty therapy and serious introspection he is never going to change.

        I have no clue how you can feel inferior to such a person, but sometimes in longer marriages, we lose our identity. I did it to some extent, and I should have known better because all my training should have told me better. But when we love someone we tend to overlook so much and focus on their good qualities. It is normal and makes us a good human being.

        All that having been said. I’d love to be a fly on your wall 5 or 10 years down the road getting to see just who IS the success and who is in a dysfunctional “holding pattern.” My $ is on you.

        Never forget: “We can change without growing; but we cannot grow without changing.” Make your changes COUNT.

  • Dear Glad, I read your letter three times, thinking about the question you asked. You know his life isn’t better than yours, otherwise you could dress up in a leotard and do your own absurd dance on youtube and be just as “interesting” as he is. Instead you have chosen to be a real person, and I am grateful for all the inspiration that I have received from your perspective.

    I remember an exercise that my therapist had me do years ago, relating to FOO issues. I wrote down the things that my parents should have told me as a child, the things I wished they’d told me, and I rewrote them everyday. Sometimes I would change them or add to them. They’d had years to repeat the negative messages, probably a million times. I needed to hear (or write) the positive messages hundreds of times before they started to overwrite the old stuff. But they did.

    Maybe you could try something similar. Write down the things that a loving husband should have told you. Write down the positive things you know about yourself. Save the kind words you get here and from friends. Reread them, write them down, memorize them, until they start to sink in and drown out all the mindfuck that he left in your head.

    I only know you from this forum, and I know that you are an interesting writer, you are a strong woman, and you have a good heart.

    • QS,
      I really like this, I know it will make me cry, but I think I’m going to try it. He was never “verbally” supportive to me, would give me a really hard time for not having enough self confidence, and underselling myself with my artwork, officiating etc. (More $ for him!) but in a manner that made me feel stupid and ashamed for being reluctant to call myself an artist etc. It’s also a good reminder to say these things to MY kids and Grandkids more often! Thanks!

  • I think Chumps are in a bind. First, there is the primary chump experience, where we get seduced into thinking that someone else is special and we thirst for the kool-aid they serve up. Then we break with them, but this creates another dilemma. If we recognize what losers the creeps who bully us are, we tend to say, “WTF? WTF was I doing?” Of course, this continues the self-blame/self-chump cycle.

    Hey, anyone can make a mistake. And compassionate folks will sometimes stay too long with a person. Happens. But CL is right, once you widen your world, the narc becomes “The Incredible Shriking Man” (or woman). (Anyone remember that 50s sci-fi classic?) It’s a bit of a comeuppance when you see how small they are and you realize that you let yourself be seduced/charmed/pushed around. But, again, it happens. The good thing is that once you improve your self-defense skills and start working in a wider world, there are lots of decent folks out there.

    • I like the idea of the Incredible Shrinking Man! Made me think of the 70s kid’s TV show “Dr. Shrinker” — anyone remember that? Just found it on youtube — the theme song totally fits GIO’s ex. “He’s a mad man with an evil mind!”

  • GIO, the timing of your posted letter was so good, because I’ve been struggling with this very issue the last two days. Feeling like the only one going through it. Like the ex is going to have the charmed life he seems to project, and I’ll be left with my issues, unable to ever make a relationship work.

    But let me just say a thing or two about your ex, and how he appears to a casual onlooker.

    Like CL and others, I have now seen your ex on YouTube. I’ve seen his leotard dance, his Sasquatch and also his actor sample reel. The best word that comes to mind is: horrible. I frankly cannot see even the slightest sparkle in this man. Mostly, he is cringe-worthily lame.

    He has zero talent, GIO. Zero. He can’t act. He has no chemistry with his co-actors. He cannot deliver a line in any sort of believable way at all. The motivational speaking was so awkward and lame that I didn’t get past his introduction, where he makes fun of his last name. And both the leotard and Sasquatch videos are of the same WTF? ilk that they may as well be the same piece.

    This man comes across as a really misguided boy in a man’s body. You watch him and you just know there’s something terribly wrong with him. It’s pathetic.

    He is not going to be the exception and make it big despite great odds. He is kidding himself.

    Meanwhile, you come across as a kick-ass woman who has been blown out hell baboon’s ass (thanks, Chump Princess) and has lived to share the miserable tale so that other chumps might be spared. And who hasn’t let it break her.

    I hope you’re feeling better today. We’re all gonna have bad days on the road to Meh. Dust yourself off and keep going, GIO, cuz you’re gonna get there.

    • Rally, you can’t even imagine the build up to his first sasquatch video. For months, he was sending out mass texts and emails to all 5000 “friends” on Facebook, breathlessly announcing it was coming soon. He spent over $6000 on that project. He had a website selling tee shirts, mouse pads, mugs, bobble heads, underpants and stickers with his picture. I actually got one mass email he sent saying how the bobble heads were going to be collector items and the video was guaranteed to go hugely viral. He had a “world premiere” party at his house when the video finally came out. Not sure how many people attended, I think about a dozen. Son said most people appeared sort of stunned at the video.

      I thank you for your kind words. It’s been a struggle, but I know brighter days are ahead.

    • I’m a newbie here. Can someone clue me in on how to find these Youtubes? I’ve had an awful week and could use a good laugh.

  • I just want to put in a word for something in-between free-lancing and getting a full-time job in an office. Maybe you could get some part-time office work? There are a lot of good things about free-lancing and you might not want to lose that if you like it.

    The other thing I would suggest is that you may be feeling overburdened with your kid. Well, really, you are overburdened since your ex has gone off the deep end. So if there is anything you can figure out to help you with that and give you some fun time off – trading kids, a church or community mom’s night out, family, friends, bartering for a sitter – I think you should do it.

    You deserve to have some fun and following your own dreams.

    • Diana, I have often thought about a part time job. I want to work mostly from home for at least another year until my son finishes high school. He attends an alternative school, he only goes in to campus twice per week and works at home the other days. My being home right now is really key to him finishing high school (he has fairly severe learning issues).

      Since my son is 17, I don’t need sitters or to be home with him ALL the time…. I go and do what I want pretty much.

      • Glad, sending hugs. I have a teen who is having a really rough time in school right now, and I may have to make some similar decision about her schooling, too. I wish I could decide to stay home with her full time and homeschool her, but child support can’t cover rent and food for two teenagers. It’s admirable you’ve been able to be there for your son and also manage to make a living. Your son is lucky to have you!

        • Glad, I found that any activity that made me laugh was very healing. Just focus on the things that bring YOU joy and your happiness will increase. I remember my counselor would always tell me to notice things that I enjoyed doing which in the beginning was hard. Heck, I had forgotten who I was and what I liked because I was so wrapped up in taking care of and worrying about everyone but me.

  • Reading through the comments, I just want to praise all the parents working so hard to raise their kids!

    Kids know which parent is making the sacrifices for them. They’ll take the fun trips and presents, but they know it’s not really love.

  • I get it, Glad. You know our stories are stunningly similar. Whether they left us, or we kicked them out after learning of the affairs, it’s still the same. We’re the ones left behind by them. We kept our most sacred promises (chumps that we are), they did not. We were happily and blithely pregnant with their children, while unbeknownst to us they risked giving us an STD or HIV. We were in the dark, while they had all the information.

    Most heartbreaking of all, once they walked out that door, we realized that they DO NOT CARE and that they NEVER did. We are the rejected ones, they are the ones walking away. We are devastated and betrayed, and they are looking for a Hot Pocket and their next AP.

    So yeah, that shit gives them the appearance of one- uppedness on us (like fuckupedness only different), like they are doing better, like they are “winning”. Because They. Don’t. Care. And we (chumps that we are), do care, a lot.

    But Glad, they didn’t win, they are hollow empty shells where a man should be. The fact that they are too shallow and empty to realize how much their lives, and they, suck, does not mean that they won, or that they’re right.

    So you see. You’ve got to Trust That He Sucks, and get to that Nirvanic State of Meh. Cause it’s all sparkles, no juice.

    You’ve got to take this devastation and turn it into your wake up call. Who is Glad? What does she want? What can she offer to the world, who is lucky to have her by the way! Grab it by the ass Glad, you deserve it and you can do it. Leave that loser in the dust where he belongs, and where he has been all along (you just didn’t realize it, too many sparkles).

    (((Hugs)))

    • Sometimes I have this fantasy that my ex is going to suddenly snap out of whatever broke inside his brain, and he’s going to get a normal job, marry a normal woman, buy a normal home and become the decent, normal, wonderful guy that he pretended to be when we were first together. That of course wouldn’t erase the horrible things he has already done, but it does bother me to think of him becoming normal for someone else. Then I remind myself that it’s really, really, really, really unlikely he is going to “snap out” of this and even less likely he is ever going to treat any woman better than he treated me.

      • Yes Glad, I have that same fear, but then I tell myself over and over–

        Trustthathesuckstrustthathesuckstrustthathesucks

          • Isn’t that garden absolutely gorgeous? I planned it, I planted almost every single plant you see there, I maintained all of it, I pruned and fertilized the 50 rose bushes and planned, planted and 2x yearly changed all of the flowers in the 50+ containers. That yard was basically like a part time job. I spent many, many hours out there. We had local garden tours coming through, did a lot of entertaining in the screened gazebo. There were two fountains as well. Absolutely beautiful.

            To the ex’s credit, he DID maintain it pretty well after I moved out. He then took all the credit for the garden, and used to post on facebook how he loved to garden naked.

            He let that house foreclose a year ago, and I sometimes think about my garden there and hope the people who bought the house love it as much as I did. Now I’m in an apartment, and I have 15 pots filled with flowers on my balcony. I also just got a spot at the community garden, I’ll be starting up all sorts of vegetables in the next couple weeks.

      • Of course, even if he “snapped OUT of it,” which is highly unlikely, he would still be the guy who at any moment can “snap back IN to it,” go full-blown bonkers, and stay that way for months or years. And that is BEST case scenario.

        You wouldn’t accept such risks with, say, an automobile that could at any moment explode (again) and maim a family member, or a house that could at any moment collapse (again) and leave your family without a home. So why would you accept it in a spouse?

        Truth is, so long as you stay away from the physically violent, it’s hard to imagine how you could do worse than this deranged popinjay.

        • Oh no, I would never accept such a risk, nor would I take back the ex even if he appeared to become normal. And realistically, it seems unlikely he is going to snap out of his delusions, although he IS currently looking for an actual job.

          I do think my ex could become violent if he felt completely cornered and exposed, however. My therapist agrees, and has warned me never to be alone with him and to have an escape plan if there is ever any reason to have contact with him. Luckily, I have close to zero contact, only infrequent text messages.

  • CL, I think you got inside my brain. I find myself telling people who don’t know my ex that “if you knew him, you’d like him better than me, because everyone does.” Then I feel ashamed because I am cutting myself down, it’s defeatist thinking, and yes, *you’re right,* CL, it means I secretly believe I didn’t waste 24 years of my life, because I picked a right sparkly guy.

    For a while, I was really engulfed in that “he won, I lost” thinking too. He has the well paying job, and for a time he had himself a girlfriend he couldn’t stop groping in front of my kids. But then the girlfriend mysteriously disappeared from his house, and from his Facebook friends list. Yeah, I am single, with two kids having a rough emotional time, seriously underpaid and in grad school at age 52, but hell, at least I’m not addicted to finding love at all costs. I have the feeling that if life isn’t kicking him in the ass now, it will be soon. Perhaps it’s karma. Who wins? Who loses? Who cares?

  • W. T. F. @ that video.

    Why the hell would he think anybody wants to see him wearing tights so tight you can practically see the veins on his willy!!!

    Eeeeeeew

  • Hey, Gladitsover–

    Haven’t had time to read all the comments, but do count me as one who saw a few of the dude’s videos.

    And…

    Well, I don’t wanna be rude, but…

    …mmmm…?

    Not…uh, not better than you. He’s pretty good at using all the tactics to make people think he’s good, but it doesn’t take a lot of experience to know that he’s full of shit, and it comes right through. He frankly comes off as a little desperate.

    Also gay. Which is fine if he’s gay, but he’s trying to pretend he’s not when he’s trying to impress women, and maybe even when he’s trying to impress men, but he’s just NOT a dude that a heterosexual woman should fall for.

    Just, he’s not better than you.

    Listen to CL. Expand your world, to make him relatively smaller.

    One thing we LBSs got really good at over the years was spackling and forgiving and distorting and taking crumbs. And it’s hard to stop, especially when we’ve been so conditioned to do it, especially when it comes to a certain person–that’s just how we relate to them! Well, it’s time to stop doing that, and see him for who he really is. And he’s a guy who screws a lot of people looking for validation and gratification and cheap thrills. Just…ew.

    Not better than you.

    Unless you let him.

    Don’t.

    • Any adult who would do that to a child probably wouldn’t hesitate to help wreck a marriage or family.

      The sportscasters highly disapproved. Hopefully they played it several times on the Jumbotron so everyone in the ballpark could get real good look at her.

      At the very end you can see one of the broadcast technicians bringing a ball to the family. Helps restore my faith in the decency of most people.

  • Was your ex the one in the videos doing those absurd “dances”?

    I can probably only echo what others have probably said more eloquently: stop being his audience… even from afar.

    If your ex the the prancer/dancer/actor/motivationalsomethingorother, then the fact that you were such a good audience may have been part of what attracted him to you in the first place.

    I think it might be time to make yourself the star of your own personal documentary 🙂 You have a chance now to think about yourself.

  • So I’m curious.. where are these videos? I’m a huge fan of narcissistic gay Sasquatch’s wearing tights and tin foil hats prancing about and giving motivational speeches. Don’t judge me! It’s what I am into. Share the love – share the link.

    • CM, Glad doesn’t want to lose her anonymity here, or have a trace back from us to him. But if you google Sasquatch, motivational speaker it comes up. Or go to you tube and google Peter and the Wolf dance.

      • No no did not mean to imply to share anything like that… just enough clues to find said travesty on youtube.

        Oh. My. Jesus.

        @ Glad… ok, your Narc is seriously deranged. Wow. Just wow. Your “Glad its over”? I’m “Ecstatic for you”! That dude is bizarre at best.

  • Totally agree with CL. I just watched the Dancing Yeti video and am beyond speechless. The good news for you is that he is 100%, without a doubt a wing nut of the highest order. The hard part is for you to just see it, and that is infinitely doable. You will get there.

  • Glad it’s over
    You posted that u sometimes worry that he’ll find his normal and someone else will reap the benefit. Narcissists get worse with age, not better. Rarely do they get better. It pretty much never happens. And their competiveness is drive by deep fear because they are really empty inside.

  • GladIt’sOver,

    Shakespeare wrote 400 years ago in “As You Like It” that:

    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages.

    Those seven ages are:

    Infant
    Schoolboy
    Lover
    Fighter
    Justice
    Pantalone
    Old Age

    Given that context, I was with XH when he was the lover, fighter, and justice. It was when he slipped into “pantalone” – the age that’s all about money, ego, and lost youth – that it was time to go.

    The Pantalone is the laughingstock in classic comedy (Italy, c. 1560), because not only does he view life strictly in terms of how it impacts him and his wallet, he also thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. Mr. Burns on “The Simpsons” or Mr. Krabbs on “Spongebob Squarepants” are extreme examples of pantalone, as are Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” They’re all mean and spiteful because all they care about themselves.

    I see this more and more with my XH. His life revolves are HIM and HIS beliefs. Period. There IS no other option. When he went from pizza and a movie on Friday nights to tofu and bible stories, he lost D15 and D13. Mandatory 3 mile walk 3x a week? Now S10’s starting to complain. Dairy is the devil’s handiwork? Check, please.

    It’s a TOTAL disconnect. He failed in his biblical duty as husband and father by cheating on his wife and walking out on his kids. Proselytizing his whore’s religion doesn’t absolve him of that – it just makes him look like a laughingstock. A pantalone.

    Just like your XH, GIO.

    We all laughed at his videos, remember? His “gaming the system” and not paying child support is in HIS best interest, not your kids. Motivational speaker? Please!

    I’m with CL – if he still comes across as “sparkly” and having a great life, it’s time to refocus your lens and expand your world. Your ex is no longer in the lover/fighter/justice stages – he’s in the pantalone stage, the one where others are rolling their eyes and snickering at his antics.

    Here’s what I tell myself on those rare occasions when XH acts “normal,” and I see shades of the guy I married:

    *I miss the fun-loving, interesting man of integrity I married EVERY day (lover/fighter)

    *The lying, cheating, self-centered @sshole I divorced? Not one bit.

    *The miserly, bible-thumping hypocrite he’s become? Boring as HELL! (pantalone)

    I wouldn’t date XH if I’d just met him. He’s still handsome and can still be quite charming, but he’s too opinionated and talks about himself too much. He also plays the religion card WAY too much for a divorced man – it smacks of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. Lots of red flags.

    Lumping your XH into “ages” may help you as well, GIO. Miss the lover/fighter you married and had a family with. But take note of all the embarrassing things he’s doing now in his “pantalone” stage and count your blessings. Do you really want to be associated with him? Would you date him if you’d just met him?

    Don’t envy him his “sparkles,” as meager as they are. Go make a fun, new life for yourself and outshine him!

    • pantalone: my new favorite word. Dictionary.com has some delicious definitions.

      After I discovered the OW (17 years younger) I sent him a copy of “A Fish Called Wanda” in which Jamie Lee Curtis has no trouble at all using John Cleese to get what she wants. Just act earnest and suck up to their flagging egos. So easy. I told him you are being made that kind of fool of, and in front of your kids, no less.

      Total disconnect, like you said, Red. He didn’t get it. Just got insulted and mad.

      • Chumpalicious – they get insulted because they don’t see themselves as the dupe. Not until they’ve been used as a stepping stone and left high and dry by OW.

        I looked up the definition on Dictionary.com. This one fits: a foolish old Venetian merchant, usually the head of a household, generally lascivious and frequently deceived in the course of lovers’ intrigues.

        The crazy thing is, this term originated in the SIXTEENTH CENTURY. Five HUNDRED YEARS AGO. That’s a lot of chumps over the centuries…

  • What we had was never good enough – he always looked at what others had and would complain that he makes so much money yet how come we have nothing and everyone else seems to have it so good. In particular, he always was envious/enamored of my older sister/brother in law – great house (we have a great house too), great cards (I guess Infinity, Acura and a Triumph motorcycle aren’t nice), nice things, etc. etc. He always compared us to them wondering how they did it and we couldn’t – they were always going on vacation and had new things, a boat – stuff! I finally let him know that my sis/bro in law are actually declaring bankruptcy and stopped paying on their house almost a year ago. That actually made him stop and think. I stated to him the obvious – that nothing is as it seems because you never know what’s really going on – you only see what they want you to see. And sure, there are those cases where the ex really is doing well and thriving. But even in that context , the exes are still going to make sure you see how well they are doing. And if they show you they AREN’T doing well then it’s a ploy to make you feel sorry for them, suck you back in.

  • Dear Sweet GladIt’sOver,

    You picked a great screen name — be glad. I just spent way too much time investigating your ex. He was able to leverage, tall, good looking, white, male, with a self-described “innate ability to make you feel better simply by being in his presence” into some type of career and family life until the crazy came out. According to him, various professionals have suggested medication, and that he may be bi-polar. Like many mentally ill people, he doesn’t believe anything is wrong with him. He seems to be sexually confused. I don’t see sparkle, I see someone who is in need of help. His childhood peers recognized it. His parents may not see it, you couldn’t, but many of us do. Do not envy him. I’m embarrassed for him as he dances on stage. The path he is on may not have a very good outcome. Unfortunately he is still far from the bottom, more drama to come. Protect your child. Stay away. Surround yourself with healthy people so you relearn what is normal. His 5,000 “followers” are entertained by the train wreck that is coming. Like Britney Spears’ minute-by-minute coverage on TMZ during her breakdown. I’m done watching. Stay glad, clear your head and heart of him, love the good that came by way of your child (children?) and many good things will come your way.

  • Glad,
    Thank God it’s over! I live in a town where Drag shows are a big attraction – I will not share these videos with any of my gay friends because of traffic on his site, but “Oh MY” my gay friends would seriously. die. laughing. Please don’t let that sound like it reflects on you, but how could you bear it??? The guy is unbelievably delusional!

    It reminds me of what a mutual friend said about my X years ago. My X had grand illusions of owning a fleet of fishing boats (my dad was a very famous fisherman, and I know my stuff, that’s how I grew up from day 1) the friend said “He’s a really nice guy (the X) but he can’t even catch water”. I remember being horribly defensive and protective at the time, but looking back now? Sadly, I knew he was right.

    And I poured everything I had – $, labor, over the years trying to make his dream come true. And what do I find out down the line? He and the captain he had run the boat for us spent ALL the fuel, bait, ice money on drugs so that he could be the big “boat owner” and screw/get BJ’s on “our boat” that had MY name on it while I was working 60 hr weeks to support his dream. If I ever get on my feet financially I’ll just get myself legally declared blind — Reason for blindness? Sparkles.

    This is the first time I have told this story to anyone. You all are the only ones that could understand. We are not alone!

    • Toni, I’m really sorry for your experience. What a POS! What a fucking asshole! No one deserves that. You are brave for telling the story and be glad your eyes are wide open now. I’m sending you a BIG HUG, and yes, you are not alone. We are all (former) chumps and here for you.

    • OMG, Toni, that is horrible. I am endlessly floored by the awful things these people do without a speck of remorse.

  • Thank you, I love you chumps! It has been so helpful reading these replies. Plenty of much-needed butt kicking, plenty of people feeling the same as me, so I know I’m not alone, plenty of inspiration and positive ideas.

    Most of the time I DO know the ex never deserved me. I know he is crazy and wicked. I might not be perfect, but I was 100% faithful in my marriage, I meant my marriage vows, I took wonderful care of my family, I made a wonderful home and I was always there for the ex. I gave him a wonderful son, and I’ve been the one raising that son for the past three years. I can hold my head high, because I am quality and he is nothing but dirt.

    I guess it’s harder for me to see him the way you can, because after two decades of marriage, I don’t see him objectively. My vision is clouded with good memories, because there WERE good times. But of course, he was always cheating the whole time, he never really loved me and he is just a con artist and user. Even if he became the most successful actor in the world, he would still be a horrible person. I’ve always been better than him and I always will be.

    I did have to laugh at your observations on his craziness. He is pretty pathetic.

    • He may be pathetic, but he is sick. Really sick. Has been for years. Likely all of his life. At least from elementary school. I don’t know if he is dirt. Or a con artist. Or wicked. Or if he didn’t believe his marriage vows. I’m sure you had fun as a family, he is a human being. Cherish those times. But he is sick. And sicker now because you are not around to cover for him. To keep him in check. Thankfully you no longer have to. It’s not a competition who is “better”. Do what is right for you. Live your life fully. Protect your child as best you can. Pray that your son doesn’t have to take care of his father in “old age”. Pray that he doesn’t have bi-polar tendencies. Pray that someone steps up to take on the responsibility of your ex so you don’t feel you have to when everyone else is gone. Please get out and meet some normal people. Don’t let this poison the rest of your life. If you are healthy you will never understand him. It is a waste of time to try. Let it go. Don’t read about him. Don’t comment on him. Don’t watch those stupid videos, book reviews, website, Facebook postings, etc. Don’t evaluate if he will be famous, or more popular than you, or make more money. Unlikely, but it doesn’t really matter. Enjoy what is ahead for YOU. It’s not a contest. It’s about living the best life for you — that may be living in a tree house in Northern California or a houseboat in France. That’s my goal and I live in a 5,000 square foot home in a major urban area now. Downsizing, by choice. Everyone has their own path to happiness. Finding it is the secret to success.

      • Incredible advice, Exchump. We have to fight against wanting to understand how they could do what they did to us, because we will never get an answer, and it keeps us trapped in that never ending loop of “what the fuck WAS that?”. Are they evil? Sick? Mislead? Misunderstood? It doesn’t matter now. We must move forward, make kick-ass lives for ourselves, and nurture and protect our children.

  • Glad, his public presence is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can look at the videos etc and clearly show others that he is off balance and untalented. I wish I had such videos of my stbx, but no luck. .. all of his craziness was behind clOsed doors.

    On the other hand, when your ex is so public with himself it’s hard not to look and check up on him. You’ll have to restrict yourself though because it’s keeping you focused on him. Just go cold turkey and don’t visit YouTube or fb or any of it for awHile. Give yourself a mental break.

  • Glad, his videos and blog are really sad. He has to puff it up. It is all stuff someone could do while working, too.

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