Dear Chump Lady.
After dating a succession of men who turned out to be cheaters and/or NPDers, I got into therapy to come to terms with family-of-origin issues and NPD in some relatives. After my “epiphany” and subsequent “housecleaning” of unhealthy friends and lovers, I am much healthier, happier and in charge of my life.
I am still in permanent no-contact mode with the offenders, even in the face of peer-pressure. Not surprisingly, the offenders have been able to finesse an “innocent victim” act with large swaths of people I know.
Can you offer nuggets of wisdom on how to settle my stomach when getting the evil eye from gullible third parties who side with the character-disordered whom I once thought had better judgment than that? In most cases, I have severed ties with such people. But if I cannot absent myself from a situation and/or make clear that I will not “engage,” one helpful tactic has been to draw an invisible forcefield around myself so that their and an NPD’s projections, scapegoating and/or bad energy can’t penetrate my psyche.
I’d love to hear from you and fellow chumps on what you and they do (affirmations, actions, comedic sketches) to stay emotionally healthy on the road to freedom.
It all boils down to “trust that they suck.” All you can do is trust your senses and believe in your reality. Whatever the wing nut did to you — it really happened. You set a boundary, which in your case sounds like no contact, and you’re maintaing that boundary. Once you do that, you have to let go of the consequences, like what other people think. You only control you. You don’t control other people’s perceptions of the wing nut, or of you.
Here’s the thing with truly disordered people — they’re consistent. Yes, they’re terrific at impression management and playing the poor sausage. People buy the sparkles, enjoy the flattery, feel useful when the poor sausage needs their special understanding. But eventually, over time, the crazy shows. It’s who they are. They’re going to fuck over the next person, leave a wake of chaos, and also likely — they’re going to chump the very people who are taking their side now. Or at least feigning “neutrality.” I really don’t want to judge. I like you both. Aren’t you being a bit harsh? Can’t you make peace?
Do you really want people in your life who feel “neutral” about infidelity and emotional abusiveness? They’re saying — hey, he might’ve fucked you over, but he’s really very nice to me, and being nice to me is what Really Matters here. Can’t you eat that shit sandwich for my sake?
If these third parties are family, well, then I think you need to set the bar higher than frienemies and acquaintances. You might have to have a truce, an agree-to-disagree stalemate. In which case, the tactic I recommend is change the subject. Why don’t you like Xavier? Are you still holding that grudge? Xavier is so nice, he told me he was sending you a Christmas card! Don’t take the bait. “Hey, do we have any more leftover ham?” Deflect.
Realize too that most people generally want to believe the best of everyone. It’s unnerving to think there are disordered people roaming about, that predators exist, that some people are truly all impression management and no substance. It’s much easier to believe that you, Telo, are overreacting. That you’re too sensitive. That you took things too far. To believe you would mean believing an ugly, scary truth. Much better to feel a sense of control, that one can finesse the situation through diplomacy instead of isolationism. Much easier to think the disordered person is misunderstood or hard done by and this is why they behave that way. People who have shaky boundaries are often unnerved by people who have firm boundaries. It’s threatening. It’s difficult. So, Telo, why don’t you play nice and alleviate all the awkwardness?
Telo, stick to your guns. Don’t worry about the stink eye from others. Just live your life with integrity. Be a good person. I’m sure you’re consistent in not sucking. The good people will notice. The good people will hold you close. Don’t worry about the rest.
The condensed version…?
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”― Bernard M. Baruch
“You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”― Abraham Lincoln
CL is spot on. This happened to me with a sociopathic “friend” who totally sucked me in several years ago and made me believe that certain colleagues of ours were persecuting her. She was so good at projecting a personality that was a mix of “poor me,” flattery, hilarity, and kindness that I didn’t know what hit me. I thought we were great friends.
Yeah… we were “friends” until I was no longer of use to her, and she started engaging in what was, at the very least, an EA with another colleague. She knew I’d never approve of that in a million years, so that was the end of us. At the time, I was devastated, but then I started learning how much other people didn’t like her and how she had screwed other people over.
I wanted more than anything to wage a smear campaign against her, but that gets to the heart of why I’m posting– CL is right. Don’t bother. Those who are enamored of the disordered will learn in their own good time how wrong they are about the person. I recently learned of another colleague (who appears to get along with my former friend just fine at meetings) who HATES the disordered former friend. They apparently had some sort of falling out last year.
Anyway, let them learn the hard way. It’s not your responsibility to educate them especially since they aren’t willing to listen to you anyway. Plus, don’t believe everything you see. Sometimes, people “stay out of it” or act friendly toward the disordered just to keep the peace at a holiday gathering or in the workplace. You don’t know how they really feel underneath– they might very well loathe the very sociopath that they profess not to judge. Even I have to be relatively polite to my former friend because we work together, and creating an atmosphere of hostility would be counterproductive. Am I chummy with her? No. Do I avoid her as much as possible? Absolutely. But if you saw us together at a meeting, you would have no idea how much I dislike her. I learned that about several colleagues who I thought were sucked in by my former friend’s ways, but they know exactly what she is and can’t stand her.
Maybe you’ve stated it but there are some who get their jollies from the pain caused to you by these jackasses. Of course said jackass would never manipulate them as he/she has done you. But guess what, as CL has stated as soon as the disordered has no use for them, they are off to the next target using this twisted support system as their cheering squad.
So how do I deflect? I make it a point to live my best finally being free. Misery loves company and as CL says “trust that they do suck,” the entire cast and crew really do suck.
He kept me in the dark for 20 years… so I find it not so hard to believe that others fall for his “poor me”-act. His family, no doubt, they would stand by him no matter what. I’m getting to terms with distancing myself from people I thought were more than mere inlaws.
Our friends? Most have not even contacted him and stand by me. They know. Some keep their options open. Ask me: “should we unfriend him on FB?” – a question I’m not going to answer for them.
For a long time I tried to understand that people think there are different versions of the truth, two versions to any and our story. But now, I start to think:
– you believe my version, but choose to remain friends with someone who lied, cheated and betrayed those closest to him. [bad judgement]
– you don’t believe me/my version. Even though the proof is undeniable, they’ve seen me go through false reconciliation and a terrible divorce, seen him break up her marriage as well. [worse judgement?]
Would I want to be friends that believe me, but still choose to be with someone who hurt me willingly? Or with those who don’t even believe me?
New year’s resolution: only spend time and energy in things and people that are truly worth it.
You are so right, D-C – if they were able to fool us like they did, how much easier is it to fool friend, acquaintances, extended family….
I’ve learned that NC is the only thing that works for me. I was deeply hurt when the in-laws cut me off immediately after all the years I knew them (my kids tell me that my name is not mentioned by them now, like I never existed), and when some old friends disappeared, but he did have years to get his “poor sausage” story in place while I was completely oblivious to the double life he was leading. And it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I don’t want the drama any more. I don’t want to hear the “well, both partners share the fault when a relationship ends”, I don’t want to hear anything about poor him and his failing health and how “nice” the other woman is. Much less energy on my part if these people just disappear from my life so I can move on. Leaves more space for new friendships, too.
I have my three sentence elevator speech if anyone wants to know – “He decided he wanted to live with his girlfriend. He moved out. I have filed for divorce.” – and other than that I don’t bring it up. I have good people in my life who support me. My kids and my sister and my extended family get it, as do my friends, the loyal, kind, and true people who stand by me. His dysfunctional family is out of my life and I’m glad for it.
I do hate that my kids still have contact with their dad and his family, but the boys are all adults now, and they have all learned from my experience how to spot narcs and deal with them if they have to. And mostly they don’t. But they are, I am grateful to say, fully present in my life. They see the truth.
If I’ve learned anything from this past few years, it’s that life is way too short for the drama, so why invite it in?
The elevator speech is a great way to deal with people who don’t know what’s going on. Mine was this: “He was verbally and emotionally abusive for years and is now in love with another woman. I filed for divorce.”
People who knew him well weren’t terribly surprised. The people who thought he was sparkly figured it out eventually. He’s now living with a woman who is still married to another man. He doesn’t look so much like a “fine, upstanding Christian businessman” any more.
When asked what caused my divorce my answer is: “I found out he was leading a double life for many years.”
My go to answer when asked why we are getting divorced is, “I didn’t really care too much for his girlfriend. ” People usually laugh and it’s much less awkward then.
That’s a good one! Mine is similar , “I was working on our marriage but he preferred to focus on his latest girlfriend” , sums it up quite nice.
Mine is “I could not live with the things he couldn’t live without.”
I completely agree with your two bullet points. I felt the same way with my STBXH’s family and friends. He comes from a family of cheaters so, naturally they got his back. And that’s fine I suppose, because they always reminded me of a pack of wolves anyway.
His friends are also lumps of shit who I don’t associate with. Some of them helped him move out and they made jokes in the house about leaving me, taking the dog, and they talked about the OW while my DS could hear. All these guys just look at it as, “Hey, Bob’s gotta be happy . . . what can you do?”
I’m with you though . . .
“Would I want to be friends with people that believe me, but still choose to be with someone who hurt me willingly? Or with those who don’t even believe me?”
Both groups of people I don’t need in my life. Period.
Unfortunately for me, family is way too involved. They make hardcore demands. (“Accept this person or you can’t be in my life as my sister” or “you owe her an apology” and “it’s your fault I almost used (drugs) again” and “I’m sick of you whining about how hurt you are”) to which I cut off all contact. Most other family members are taking my brother’s side, but I’m just done. DONE. I’ve taken such drastic measures as to move 2900 miles away and start a new life. Screw them.
For me it’s no contact. I share custody and on the days when I pick up I’m very business like. I go in, get my child and we get out. If STBX comes to my home I ask him to wait outside and I send my child out. I don’t know if it will always be like this but for now, this is best for me. Of course STBX would like us to be “civil” in front of our child and his definition of that is different than mine. I think that it’s ok to show no anger, frustration or faux pleasantries in front of our child and I do this by no contact. I exchange any information via text or email.
I’ve learned, through some trial and error, that it’s basically pointless to convince friends or even therapists on the type of abusive behaviour I’ve endured. I don’t try any longer. I don’t share my story. I simply state that he decided to have a girlfriend and we are getting a divorce. The end. Sure people are shocked and all, but there’s no use in going any further with it at this point in time and I’m 8 months out from Dday.
My STBX had me convinced I was abusive and he had his story lined up well in advance. I look back now and see it much more clearly than I did at the beginning. I really think it does take time and distance to look back and understand the patterns of abuse I endured thinking that these were “normal” parts of a marriage. They weren’t.
As for family, mostly my inlaws, they sucked and still suck. I don’t engage with them either. I don’t care what they think. They can go on about their lives and I wish them well. I don’t want them in my life any longer.
It’s hard to see people be “neutral” but I agree that in business sometimes people have to do that but underneath they know he’s nasty. He’s successful and people that surround him want some of that success too, so it’s part of the game. I don’t take it personally. I know who my friends are and I know who is loyal to me. The rest, I’m ok if they come and go.
It’s hard to learn to not let him get the best of me. I gave so much of myself away during my marriage. It’s only now that I’m beginning to find who I am again and what I will and won’t put up with. I give myself credit for stepping away and learning to let people figure it out on their own, or not. I’m focusing on getting healthy and happy again.
I like your attitude thensome! You really appear to have it figured out, and you are right, everyone else will have to figure it out for themselves… Or not…as the case may be.
thensome, you seem highly evolved and stand as a fine example of how I wish to conduct myself. Not there yet – it is still very hard because the sense of injustice knocks me off my feet every time cheater brings affair partner closer to my daughter’s life. I want everyone to know the TRUTH, I want everyone to know he BETRAYED me.
Ultimately, people want to do what is easier for them. I would be the first to admit that I would not have known how to handle myself around a chumped friend until I was chumped myself. You are right, we gave so much of ourselves away already – why would we wish to give any more? My resolution for 2014 is to focus more on myself and make myself (and my daughter) the center of my universe.
Thanks for the confirmation of healthy action.
This is the perfect way to handle and view this deal, IMO, threesome.
Folks do not understand “ambient abuse” , that subtle, constant sould killing stuff these folks do.
And, I completely understand the regret over having given so much of myself away. I lost myself, conceded/surrendered to the abuse. It was so relentless, so unpredictable, so irrational.
My biggest regret/shame is having given up for a ti,me and allowing this to happen to me. Ishould have gotten out way sooner.
Thank God for the cheating. It was a bright line and a get out of jail free card.
What a perfect description of what daily life is like with a cheater!
your situation is so similair to mine its scary!
im 7 months out from d day, just recently cut contct with exes family and friends who were switzerland or i didnt even hear from. in fact, his sister threw a 1st bday for my youngest, inviting everyone but me. had the balls to send the kids home with used party decorations (incase i wanted them) and posted photos up on facebook (which she never does). i couldnt stand the fake smiles and her way of playing the innocent loving person who woud often say things like ‘this hurts/ upsets me so much…i love you both’ whenever i was begging her for help with his emotional and financial abuse.
better off without them. ive got to the point now where i feel like i can let go of those people. it hurt like hell as they were family for 15 years…bu they arent anymore
I too have learned that NC is the only way!!! I no longer have any contact with his family or most of our friends that we knew as a couple as well!
He tells our children that I am being uncooperative because I refuse to acknowledge any of his contact. I told them I have expressed to your father that we only communicate thru our lawyers. His lawyer has not been contacting me so I am cooperating.
My struggle is what he is doing with our semi adult children. They are softening to him because they don’t want to believe things about their father. If I say a word it is because I am bitter and not because it is the truth. He lies directly to their faces and they sometimes even know it but won’t call him out because it will make him angry. They take it out on me later since they spend a majority of their time with me.
His love is conditional and our son has to play nice in order to have his college paid for. Makes me sick!!!
I don’t care what other people think anymore but I feel that I am always on the defense with my kids because they want to believe him so it seems to be up to me to prove that I am not the liar. I only call out his lies when they are about me. I know that he is a passive aggressive narcissists but they don’t see thru him. I have trouble watching them become a chump!
How do I turn that around?
Jenn, what has worked for me is to simply not bring up anything about STBX with my kids, or to criticize or comment on him or his OW. If they bring him or his actions up, I talk to them honestly, letting them know that what I say is from my perspective as I no longer know their father, don’t care to know the OW, and have not been part of their dad’s life for over two years. I let his actions speak for him. I am no longer the provider of excuses, the spackler, the beard.
And I let my actions speak for me. I tell them about the cool stuff going on in my life, what I’ve learned, what I’m planning for my next adventure or trip, new friends, plan activities with them just like when they were young. I don’t burden them with the nuts and bolts of the divorce or my sorrow or indecision or feeling of betrayal. I don’t depend on them for emotional support. Not their issue. They have enough on their plates as young adults with their own partners, plans, and dreams.
They understood very quickly how dishonest STBX is when he moved in with OW immediately after leaving me. He did not tell me this, pretended he was on his own so he could “work on himself”, but told the boys to not say anything to me and “respect his privacy”. I did not have to say anything. His actions said it all.
Now I let them vent, advise them and help them as best I can, but in the end they have to navigate this themselves. I don’t take anything they tell me their dad said personally, and I certainly don’t own any of his bad behaviour or react to it. I am proud of my kids, and of me. I brought them up and now I can really appreciate them for the honest, hard working, and intelligent men they have become. They are finding ways to fund their educations without relying on him – he doesn’t keep his promises anyway, and what little he gives them is often not worth the drama. They understand. And they are in my life, not in his, which says volumes. We have wonderful dinners, go to church, go snowshoeing and shopping, travel together, share jokes and adventures. He doesn’t get any of that. His loss.
Read Chump Lady and all the wisdom on this site. Trust that he sucks. Remember you can only control you and your actions. Don’t spackle, even for the kids, and don’t own his bad behaviour. Build your new life, and leave the old one behind. Your kids will get it, trust me.
Jenn, all you can do is be patient and wait for his mask to slip. The kids already have an inkling-don’t you think? My kids were 19 and 20 when divorce happened. My XH is also a passive agressive narc. At first my son blamed me and now he’s my biggest defender. My daughter told me I should have divorced when they were little. That shocked and saddened me. My best advice is just be patient and let them figure it out on their own.
Whenever my kids tell me something their dad said, I ask them, “So what do YOU think about that?”. It takes the ball right out of my court and gives them a chance to think for themselves. If it’s a safe topic, it can even break the ice so we can have a good discussion about it.
Yours is my quandary, too. I don’t give a shit about what his friends or family thinks of me. Their collusion in his scheme to replace me and then steal from me and the kids was answer enough about their moral character.
What kills me is how I have to deal with the “indoctrination” of my kids after being at X’s house for the overnights that they invite them. I’m frightened at how easy it is for my kids to pick up X’s habit of making fun of people’s shortcomings for sport. A few times, our youngest son let it slip that he and his father and bimbo have had great laughs at my expense. Then, for the rest of the week, I have to deal with a teen with a hair across his ass because he LOOKS for things to ridicule me with. It is so freaking hurtful.
I’ve talked to him about respect, and how his actions are disappointing and hurtful. But he knows this is how to keep his father’s attention. I feel like I’m being scrutinized all the time in my own home AGAIN.
Do the ghosts of X’s EVER really leave when you have kids?!
Dear Jenn, Ex, JBaby, Chutes,
I am in the same boat-DD always brings a flaming turd back from Mr Fabulous and the Downgrade’s place. It is always useful to see similar experiences: Mr Fab obliged DD to cover up their cohabitation, too. His main tactic is the silent treatment.
I am not yet to Meh, so I still feel a need to call bs when it happenes. I do tend to try to talk to DD about how all this dreck makes HER feel, but she is really loathe to process it. Hence self-harm, insomnia-all in hand with therapists, etc, but still, the Momma Bear just wants to rip off his head and sh*t down his neck.
Upshot is, DD and I are moving continents in a week- and I wondered, from Ex especially-how do you get your kids to the point where they can vent safely. I ask because DD (teenager) tends to work out her feelings like Jenn’s kids do- I get it in the neck. I see that as just as abusive, and when I point out the unhealthiness of it, I get more flaming turds……DD perhaps sees it as defending her Dad-I see it as her being programmed to treat Mum like a skivvy… Ironically, adjusting to single parenthood wasa skoosh as I have been one all along….
As to people who want to be neutral about a divorcing couple where infidelity has happened-including your own kid sometimes-there needs to be a middle way. I have tried the ‘Not discussing’ tack-tends to result in explosions.
Can’t wait to kiss this cognitive dissonance goodbye!
Hey Mehphista, I’m sorry to hear that your DD is having such a rough time of this. It tears out your heart when you see your kid suffering for something that isn’t theirs, and there isn’t always a way to help.
I never really ever defended myself to my kids when they brought back comments from their dad (it was 50% my fault, we drifted apart, I was greedy, you know the drill). Don’t get me wrong, I am no saint – I was just far too sad and stressed with everything that was going on in my life to argue with them, my mother dying, people leaving, my health suddenly at risk. I would just say that I didn’t leave, that I was open to negotiation with him around a divorce. I also made it very clear that the relationship was over. And I figured that one day they would see my truth. And they did.
When I found out that he lied about living with OW I told them that I felt hurt and betrayed that they didn’t tell me, but that I understood that they had been put in an impossible situation and I respected their choice. I still hurt over that one, but let it go.
Now the oldest lives with me and is happy to be here. He pays rent and helps out with the groceries and yardwork. The two youngest needed more freedom, and being the responsible kids that they are moved out to live with a friend after living with their dad and not enjoying it. A few months later I signed for a nicer apartment for them (they pay the rent and the bills) when they decided they wanted to move and share a place.
All three of them are pretty much NC with their dad, aside from practicalities. There was never any visitation set up so there was never any requirement for them to spend time with him. They have always had complete control over who they would see and when. Because of that they have seen him for who he is, and learned who I am too And I am grateful that they choose to see me and share their lives. Never their dad.
I think this is the key. These late teen/early 20s years are hard already. To have to navigate between parents is terrible, especially if you feel you have no control. Maybe your daughter feels like that, especially now that you are moving so far away. Maybe she doesn’t feel like she has a say.
I think you are doing all you can. Be gentle with yourself and with her, respect her and her freedom to make her own decisions even if they might not be the ones you would choose. One lesson I learned from these past few years is that sometimes I have to let go, hard for someone like me who has always held on so tightly for fear if I didn’t I would never have anything at all.
It was DD’s choice to move, and also how much contact she has with Mr Fab and the Downgrade. That was crucial, needed to let her draw her own conclusions and vote with her feet in her own time….like I did with my own NPD cheating Dad….
It is so very hard to let go and let them walk their own walk anyway. Infidelity when kids are teens seems especially sucky for them.
For the last few days, policy of not discussing Mr Fab, but being there to listen has really worked, thanks again!!,
When your own kid says hurtful things to you, call him out and set your boundary that it is unacceptable. Set consequences, like if he does it again that day he will spend the rest of it in his room. You have to demand respect and enforce the boundary. Even if, or especially if, he is your child. I do not have kids so I’m sure someone else on this board will have better “on the ground” ways to enforce boundaries and consequences than I do. If your kid said these things to someone else in your presence what would you do? Do that.
Dat, you are right that there have to be boundaries, but I learned when my oldest was in kindergarten that sometimes kids just need to be upset.
He was excited to be in school, but when I went to pick him up he would see me at the door to the classroom and dissolve into angry tears, upset as all get out as only a four year old can be. After some weeks of this I finally asked his kindergarten teacher if he was like this in class. No, she told me. Why is he doing this then? I asked her. And she said because when he saw me he knew it was safe to let go of the stress of the morning, the anxiety and the fear. He knew that no matter what he did I would love him and accept him and make it ok.
I don’t think kids lose this when they get older. We chumps are still the people they feel safe with, the ones who will love them no matter what. The sane parent, as CL says. Elastic boundaries, when a soul is hurting.
As a chump kid, I realize that I got positive attention from my NPD father when I told him about other people’s shortcomings. He loved to hear it, because it made him feel better about himself. I got rewarded for that behavior.
Once I realized why I did that, it was easy to stop. Make sure you reward your children for positive, healthy behaviors. In time, they will wonder what their dad says about them. In the meantime, be the sane parent and example of kindness and good character.
I feel for you, Jenn. The kids are caught inthe middle and it is so hard to watch as the cheater distorts things and they appear to beleive it.
But, I can tell you from my experience, now 7 years post discovery and my telling the kids, my kids are now revealing to me that they know what is up. Thye know I was telling the truth and have caught their mom in so many lies that she has no credibility.
This took about 5 years of their observing her lie and seeing the inconsistencies.
My 13 year old daughter spoke to me the other day.
Essentially, she said :”Dad, if mom had half a brain, why would she start seeing John (the OM) within a month of moving out, when she knew you were accusing her of having an affair with him and she was denying it. Even if she had not cheated with him, how stupid could she be doing this and expecting folks to beleive you were wrong.”
Now, she has never questioned the cheating. She was just pointing out how stupid it would be for someone to “date” (i.e have the guy move in) and yet contend that there was no affair.
This is a tough one, as we are , naturally inclined to defend ourselves. But, in this type of situation, I think the best strategy, the most effective way of combating a smear campaign or an act from the cheater, is to go counter intuitive. Just do not fight it all that hard.
I think it is best to reply to inquiries about allegations the cheater makes with innocuous responses like “yes, I imagine she is saying that” or ” Really? That is interesting.” etc
I have found that advocating too much on one’s own behalf, or forcifully contesting allegations lends credence to them. If you appear too crazed or zealous in defending yourself, it plays right into the way a cheater wants to portray you.
I cannot tell you how much success this has brought me in the form of folks who , initially, bought the stories my XWs were selling coming to me later and acknowledging that they no longer believed the stories.
It takes discipline and patience and there is no 100% success rate.
Read up on “Fundamental Attribution Error”, which I have talked about in past posts. This is a variant of that.
Essentially, a practiced disordered person relies on an innocent victim acting crazy when being observed by outsiders who are unaware of the abuse that prompted the behavior. They see an angry or irrational betrayed spouse(justifiably so, of course) and have no idea of what the person is reating to. Tyye merely assume this is the way the betryaed always is, thus lending credence to the cheater’s characterizations and justifications.
Zealously combatting a smear campaign takes finesse, as this Fundamental Attribution deal is a real risk.
I like the casual, almost humorous response like the one about not liking his girlfriend, ot the “oh, really” deal. as they seem to take the wind out of the allegations. Never elaborate unless requested to , and even hen, do not appear overly zealous in disclosing.
It is a PR campaign and needs to be handled carefully.
This may not be the best way, I do not know. But, it seems to have worked relativellyfor me. Your mileage may vary.
I envy everyone’s restraint. I was a raving lunatic for the truth! Getting older wiser – now.
It’s okay, MMargaret. Our emotions get the better of us. In my ex’s two previous affairs, I hardly told anyone. I didn’t want anyone to know. I was ashamed. I wanted the marriage to work so badly I didn’t want people to know so no one will think ill of him. The third and final affair? I might as well have send a group email. Well, not that bad, but no more secrets. I confided in close friends the details but if acquaintances ask what happened, I simply say, “He left me for someone else and it’s the best thing that happened to me.” So the shock and relief on their faces all happen within a nano second of each other.
I too was at the beginning. I REALLY wanted to find out the truth. However, I soon realized that I knew all I needed to know. He’d cheated, lied and then blamed me for it. So I get the need to know. And I get the “lunatic” part. I absolutely told close friends. I can tell you he did not protect me (literally!) and at first I did feel like it was private. However, when I realized he was sailing on through as though we’d just “grown apart”, I decided to share my story. No way was he going to be perceived as this “poor nice guy.” So, sure I told a few friends. They got it. I think they got it better than I did at the time.
It’s just now that I try to focus less on that. But it was work and time.
Thank You for your responses. I truly appreciate all of your insight! I have spent the last several days traveling with my kids for the holidays and have just had enough! Nothing I say or do is right. Since they spend very little time with their father he always comes out smelling like a rose.
After 2.5 years with the OW he has yet to even acknowledge he has on when he is living with her according to what he said in court. He acts like he is protecting them when it is his relationship that he is protecting as he is afraid of what they might say to her.
I never comment about their relationship because I really don’t care if he has someone else.
Sadly I guess I need to let them be chumps to learn for themselves. It is just difficult to watch once you know what he will do.
The Momma Bear is still trying to protect her cubs and I need to let grow.
Aww, Jenn, That’s me, too sometimes. DD hardly sees Mr Fab, because of the Downgrade. SHE had to lay down the law about when she will have contact with her Dad and Dad/Downgrade/Downgrade’s daughter (who is also a cousin-cue Deliverance theme).
It is hard to let your kids go, and let them wield Ockham’s razor themselves, but they do ‘get it’, they just have the same “How could they?” feeling all Chumps have on dday. I am a double Chump-my dad cheated for years, picked a guy just like him.
I think your kids probably know the score, Jenn, but thinking about it too hard is just too horrific for them. And I hear you about the Momma Bear. This has been the lot of every woman in my and his family for generations, and I very much want to be the one who turns on that generational narcissistic abuse, and say,” Not this one.”
But much of that will be up to DD. And there is a fine line between being THE stable parent, and being the Whipping Boy or Scapegoat which wiggles, depending on how you and your kids are feeling. I am walking said tightrope with you.
Telo, you come first. You are entitled to how you feel inasmuch as others are, too. If you can’t disengage from certain folks for whatever reason, then just agree to disagree because even if they believe in the sparkly person, it truly does not affect your life. If they insist that you change their behavior, who the heck are they to even start to believe they can impose on you on how to behave? Set firm boundaries. You don’t have to be rude. You can still be kind and gracious and still stay firm in your boundaries. I visualize worse case scenarios and I think of how I would handle such a situation. I visualized what I would do if my ex attempted to come back, and I pretty much handled it exactly as I thought I would because I had it all figured out.
Also, there is no need to feed into the drama. As Tracy suggested, deflect. Change the topic. It clearly shows you’re disinterested and the drama will die because nothing is fueling it.
I’m fortunate that so far, almost everyone believes me and is taking my side. People who have to deal with my ex professionally continue to treat him well but tell me that they hate his guts. I’ve had one person tell me that I am bitter and that my ex is just broken. I brush it off because that’s what they want to believe and I don’t have time to waste on trying to change anyone’s opinion. Too much work and I probably won’t succeed in the same manner they won’t succeed in changing my opinion.
I read somewhere that opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.
I too gave up trying to micromanage my ex’s behaviour toward our child. I made the mistake of doing that and by asking, pleading that he give our child time to adjust to new circumstances before introducing his new girlfriend. It was all for nothing.
I have learned and continue to learn that I keep my life as healthy and happy as possible and do my best with my child when with me. It’s practice and practice not to slip and try to wave a red flag in front of my ex. I think of it this way, ‘if they can fuck someone else, lie to you, etc. what in the hell makes me think he’s (she’s) going to care about my ideas, thoughts or opinions now?’ THEY DO NOT CARE.
So ultimately I think that kids figure it out. I want my child to have a relationship with my ex. May sound odd but I do. I think the more I fight that or do anything to interfere with that, it’s going to make me look like a fool. Certainly if there was active harm, I’d step up. I can’t anticipate every single outcome that may or may not happen as a result of this. It’s exhausting. I just believe that at the end of the day I love my child as best I can and set my values and life accordingly.
My child has a psychologist and it’s through that person that my child has learned to express frustrations and needs. These are communicated to both of us as parents. It’s up to my STBX if he’s going to act on those or not. I take care of my side of the street.
thensome, that’s all you can really do. Take care of yourself and your relationship with your child. My child is an adult and does not want anything to do with his father and all I can do is tell him I support whatever decision he makes. Like you, I, too, want him to have a relationship with his father but I can’t make that happen. It’s none of my business anymore.
Thensome – this really hit hime for me today. Thankyou. May I ask how old your child is? My daughter is not yet 3. I would like her to have a psychologist to talk to eventually but wonder when is the right time to start that since she is so young? Ex’s girlfriend (not OW thankfully) lives overseas and I think he is contemplating moving over there. I am worried that it will break my little girl’s heart not to see him regulalrly but there is nothing I can do about that. When do you think are they old enough to talk to a psychologist about these things?
I’m no expert on when the right time is but my child is 12. I was told to look for physical symptoms and the “I don’t care!!” attitude. Sometimes kids regress or act out at home or in school. I’d talk to your family doctor if you have concerns and they might be able to help you out. I monitor it fairly closely and it’s a safe place for them to talk and be supported.
I wish you and your daughter the best.
L, even a small child like yours can benefit from play therapy with a specialized psychologist, if they are showing signs of being bothered by difficulties or changes in their lives. And certainly, if her dad disappears overseas, I’d get her to see somebody, at least for a while. That’s a HUGE abandonment right there. The message is very clear; ‘you’re not important enough for me to make a point of staying around to be an active part of raising you’.
Couldn’t you kill a parent who does that?
My exH moves overseas in a week, with new baby and new wife, 9 months post divorce finalization. Thirteen yr old daughter is having major abandonment issues
Son, 10, not yet, but I am sure he will as he gets older.
I am glad exH is gone and I do not need to see the AP, but I feel badly for my children, that there father is this way.
My heart hurts for you and your child. My exH left when our children were 2 and 5 to move overseas with one of the other women, and he hasn’t seen them since (over 5 years). I can tell you that it’s better that your daughter is young – she won’t remember as much – but my daughter did attend “DivorceCare for Kids” which focused on the fact that “divorce is never the kids’ fault”. She was 5, and it was a tremendous help.
Also, a warning – do not ever, EVER let your child travel overseas to see her father. International parental kidnapping is a very real threat. Make him come back to the US, and be sure the contact in monitored. Issue a passport block with the State Department, so exH cannot get a passport for her without you. Be careful.
Thanks Thensome, Karen and RedefiningMe – Thanks for taking the time to reply. I think she is okay at the moment – she doesn’t remember us ever being together so I don’t think she sees anything unusual about his new relationship, in fact she regularly mentions the new girlfriend.
I don’t want to make it an issue for her when it isn’t one but I want to be ready to deal with the fallout if he leaves. I don’t think he understands that it could have a lifelong impact on her. Or more likely, he just doesn’t care so long as he is happy. He really does suck! I suspect the one who needs to see a counsellor again at the moment is me – I was close to meh until they started playing happy families over the holidays, despite the fact he has never acknowledged that the new girlfriend even exists. It sucks but my new year’s resolution is to accept that I cannot control his shitty behaviour and just need to live my life and be the rock for my daughter when he inevitably screws her over.
RedefiningMe – I’m sorry you have been through this and glad that your kids are coping. Thankfully, I have her passport hidden away but I honestly don’t think he would ever kidnap her as he is too caught up in himself to want to have full time responsibility for her! But I will still be very wary about her traveling overseas. Thankfully, she is young so that won’t happen for a while.
Before my cheating Ex, I went out with a BPD guy. Long story short, I tried to break up with me and he literally went batshit crazy. He locked me in his house all night so he could yell at me, push me and hurt himself, because we worked in the same lab, he locked me in one too, he used to come over to my desk to scream at me, the nicest insult he used to tell me was that I was a whore. That is the short version of what happened. It was a nightmare that went on for months, maybe a year.
Needless to say I thought I was going crazy, I felt alone, I lost so much weight.
But he? He was so nice and amazing to everyone else, and telling me that everyone else thought I was evil. I did not believe that, but I was so affected by the fact he was trying to convince them of that, whilst he behaved to everyone else like the perfect gentleman, charming, helpful, etc.
I don’t think my Prof even believed me when I told him what was going on (because I started not going to the lab), until another student told him. This is the night he locked me in a lab and my friend had to go and get me, lock me in another room for my safety, whilst he got rid of him.
To this day, he remains friends with a lot of people, and me? Just a couple. Just the two that witnessed his episodes.
Even his sister told he had issues and that it was NOT my fault (although she telling me about this before would have been better).
Funny thing is, he was such a good manipulator, I went out with him and I did not even fancy or like him. He got into my head so much, I did what he wanted, including dating him.
So I don’t care about the rest of them. I care that I know what went on, everything was real and I was not going crazy. People who want to believe him, will believe him. People who cared about me, took the time to talk to me and understand my side.
Those are the ones that matter. Everyone else I just keep my distance.
Edit – I tried to break up with HIM, not ME.
Classic abuser, they hurt the people intimate with them and to everyone else they are the nice guy, the calm sweet guy. My ex was that way too. Abusive people do NOT actually loose control, those rages and rants and the physical abuse are very controlled. That’s why they only occur when NO ONE ELSE is around. And then yes, you look crazy (I did too) because you are a wreck and the abuser is calm as a pond in front of everyone else.
It is really tough for guys dealing with an abusive woman. Folks tend to dismiss the claims more when it is a guy. And , not many folks seem to understand emotional abuse, the silent treatments, the glaring, the eye rolling, the constant out downs.
And, you are exactly right , Dat, these folks only do it when no one else is around.
One starts questioning one’s perceptions, with all the gaslighting and all the claims that you are too sensititve etc.
Unfortunately, these types are really good, during courtship, of keeping their masks inplace. Thyye charm the heck out of you and seem to really love you.
Once enmeshed, with kids, finances etc. they feel safe enough to let their real selves out and it is a shock. The contrast is so extreme that one wonders if one caused it. What did I do to cause this anger, this abuse, this about face etc?
I really wish my XW had been physically abusive vs the emotional stuff, as folks understand that(even though men , often, have a difficult time getting support in even these situations((ever wonder why, when female on male physical abuse is just as prevalent, if not moreso, that there is one shelter in the US that accepts men victims?)) )
Arnold, I’m a woman who was abused and my male abuser used the system to put me in jail when I tried to leave (long story short, he set me up). Anyhow, I have done extensive research into abuse and studies do NOT show that women abuse equally as men. I know that there are abusive women out there and I really feel for you, I do understand that you get less help because in our culture it’s hard for people to understand that the emotional abuse can be devastating to a man and cause just as much trauma. The misogyny of our culture hurts men too, not just women, I’m sure you got the “man up” and other crap that “masculine” men can’t be abused. That’s BS.
My ex did much as yours, he was wonderful for a long time, then little by little he dropped his mask. After he convinced me to marry him, that’s when the mask really dropped and he accelerated the abuse. Male or female these people follow a pattern.
As for shelters, women do not physically abuse men as often as men physically abuse women. The statistics are pretty clear nationwide. A recent example; 44% of all women murdered in New York last year were killed by their intimate partner. This is not true of men, very few men are killed by their female partners. So there is a reason most shelters were created for women. However, if there is only one such in the US then something is wrong, there must be more than that. The shelter in my county helps men and women and I kinda doubt mine is the only one you are talking about.
Well, the research I did , Dat , indicted that women are just as frequently physically abusive. It’s reported less and prosecuted way less frequently , but it happens a lot.
Regardless, it seems that those of us subjected to emotional abuse(Iike infidelity) get little support.
On the physical a use deal, my GF and I were at a movie recently and the film had at least three scenes where a woman physically assaulted a man. Watch movies or Tv and see how frequently a woman slaps man. And , if you watch the other characters in the show react or the audience in a movie , it is fairly apparent that this assaultive behavior is seen as no big deal.
Our society a celts female on male violence.
My aunt was a cruel woman who wore a perpetual scowl on her face. Even as children we could feel the tension while visiting our cousin. Not only was my aunt an adulterer, she was physically, verbally, and mentally abusive to my uncle as well. She eventually filed for divorce to be with her lover. Her affair eventually flamed out while my uncle later remarried.
As an adult I later learned she lied about being pregnant before their marriage. Hers was the typical ploy that women used to literally trap men in those days. She was a big woman and towered over my uncle and he was embarrassed to admit to the abuse. Today she is a lonely old woman who made the lives of those closest to her miserable. Women can be abusers as well.
Oh yes, women can be very abusive and it is true it is not statistically as high as male abuse because it doesn’t get reported.
My aunt is extremely abusive, she would be nice and chip away your sanity and self esteem by her comments, not physically abusive, not yelling, just slow, patient abuse.
She was the perfect wife and mother outside, but inside? She consumed my cousins and her ex-husband. Now she plays the victim because her husband left her and is now happily married. Her kids don’t speak to her.
Women are abusive. Otherwise there would not be any charities for abused men, for example the Mankind initiative in the UK.
It’s the big dirty secret, just like the prevalence of female sexual predators.
I once spoke to a juvenile court judge , a woman, who had researched this( the older female on young boy deal).
She told me it is significantly under reported.
Here in Minnesota, one of the republican candidates for governor, a friend of mine who I once practiced law with, is on record( he had a radio talk show) in stating that he would be way less upset if his young son was a victim of female predation than he would be if his daughter was the victim of a male predator.
How does that make any sense?
The issue at hand here is for us as chumps not to broad brush others because our relationships with our spouse. To do so would mean i would miss out on wonderful meaningful relationships with others. I refuse to give anyone that kind of control over my life.
That is just not true Arnold that women are just as physically abusive as men. Sorry. Not true at all.
We will have to agree to disagree on this. There are numerous studies saying that it is true.
We used to think
The same thing about female infidelity , but the same thing is true there. Just as common for women to cheat and even more so in the 25-45 demographic.
Good video on youtube by Paul Elam on this issue of female violence. He cites a number of studies and experts who have concluded that women are physically sbusive more often than men or at least as frequently.
Check it out.
I think as someone has stated we can agree to disagree. I’ve worked with incarcerated teens in the past in facilities that housed both males. Generally speaking the guys committed more violent crimes more often. Even while being held physical disturbances more often occurred amongst the guys.
While there may be an increase in female violence I would tend to think think of it more as a recent phenomena amongst a small group of women stressed by poverty, teenage pregnacy, drug abuse.
The truth is if women were as abusive as men or society would be in utter chaos. Our prisons would be doubled or tripled as women are still the primary care givers.
I’m not a feminist. There are acts that a committed by men as a rule and some that are committed more often by women.
Women do cheat and abuse their children and spouses … not as often as men.
Sorry for the typo s.
Does it really matter if men as a gender are more abusive than women as a gender? I work in the field of DV. Have done so for a loooong time. I have my belief system about what causes and predict abuse of a partner, but really that is irrelevant to a broader discussion. What I believe is that if you, as a person, are being abuse by someone else (male of female), you need to get the hell away from them. And that can be very difficult for women for several reason, and also for men for other reasons. Violence against men is often under reported and not taken seriously. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. But the same can be said for violence against women. The bottom line is that PEOPLE do not need to put up with being abused. They do, however, need to be careful when they are finally ready to leave an abusive situation, regardless of their gender, or the gender of their partner.
My heart is saddened to hear of anyone who has to deal with not only the mindfuckery of cheaters, but other abusive behavior as well. My hat is off to each and every one of you who have managed to get away from abusive assholes, be they male or female. It takes a lot of courage.
I agree with you Datdamwuf. I also have done research and men commit abuse more often than women. It’s just true. Someone can think of a mean woman here and there, really cruel, but we are talking about physical abuse and women being murdered by men way more than the other way around. The statistics do show what you said and I absolutely know this is true. It doesn’t take away a man’s pain from being abused by a woman,and I too feel for a man in our culture who was abused by a woman because there isn’t that much support for him. I get that. But we are talking apples and oranges-and men and women do not abuse equally. That is a fact.
Not true according to a variety of studies. Female on male violence is way more accepted in
Our society. And occurs just as frequently.
Ok then, question. Am I abusive? I was always angry, frustrated, confused, upset, lonely, sometimes furious and wild. Every little thing he did drove me absolutely crazy. I did slap him once when I discovered he had not paid his bills and was in debt for $10000 and was under threat of being taken to court and tried to lie to me about it. And another time when I caught him chatting as “bored, lonely 40 guy”. His leaving means I am a new person, I just don’t react like I did. Was I abusive? Did I drive him to it? Or dis he drive me to it? Looking back I just don’t know. I don’t understand my behaviour, I can’t believe it was over nothing, but I just can’t tell…
Clearly, Nat, if you sturck the guy you were physically abusive,
Reverse the genders and do you think there would even be a question.
As I suggested, go to a movie or watch TV and just count the number of times a woman hauls off and slaos a man. Yet, few see this for what it is, phsyical abuse.
Clearly, there are scenes where some man is abusing a woman. The difference is that we recognize it for what it is vs the way femal smacking male scenes are viewed.
The fact that more guys are in prisons for violent crimes does not factor into how things go down in interpersonal relationships between men and women.
“As I suggested, go to a movie or watch TV and just count the number of times a woman hauls off and slaos a man. Yet, few see this for what it is, phsyical abuse.
Clearly, there are scenes where some man is abusing a woman. The difference is that we recognize it for what it is vs the way femal smacking male scenes are viewed.”
Entertainment, movies and TV use the absurd more than reality. If I used Hollywood’s vision of Black men in one instance they would all be drug dealing gang bangers, middle eastern people are all terrorist, all “orientals” practice karate and need the likes of Kaenu Reeves to save them.
“The fact that more guys are in prisons for violent crimes does not factor into how things go down in interpersonal relationships between men and women.”
If you look at the dynamics of the family of men and women in prison poverty, education, education, absence of dads and family abuse are big factors. The real issue here for us is to fix our pickers and not become involved with people who are not good for us male or female. If you expect abuse from potential mates you just may attract or be drawn to those tendencies.
Fix your picker.
How do we factor in the studies that shoiw that women murder their children more frequently than men or that they abuse the elderly more frequently? Wouldn’t those be indications of being prone to violence?
Arnold, you’ve only got to go as far as Wikipedia to see that’s not true:
“Although the exact rates are widely disputed, especially within the United States, there is a large body of cross-cultural evidence that women are subjected to domestic violence significantly more often than men. In addition, there is broad consensus that women are more often subjected to severe forms of abuse and are more likely to be injured by an abusive partner.”
This is one of those tightropes that we Chumps walk because, while we are dealing with our pain/issues, we still care about the feelings of the people with whom we have surrounded ourselves or by whom we have been surrounded.
This particular issue came up for me recently when my STBX’s cousin, with whose family we usually spend part of the holiday, contacted me to see if “we” were coming by as usual and what time she should expect us. I politely responded that my STBX and I were divorcing and that he was currently out of town spending the holidays with his girlfriend/perhaps soon to be wife, and while the kids and I would miss coming, I did not think we would be able to make it. She was speechless and told me that the STBX, nor anyone else who had knowledge of the situation, was sharing it. I explained to her that I did not feel comfortable sharing any negative information about her cousin so whatever narrative he chose to tell would have to stand, but she was free to contact me if anything he told her was disturbing to her or she found it difficult to believe. Since her H is a serial cheater, she said something very interesting to me. She said, “I know it’s not you. I remember all the wonderful things you’ve said about him, about your feelings for him, things I would never say about my H. Whatever happened, I know it was not you.” She said that even though she thinks (thought?) the world of my STBX. Trust me, my STBX could win an academy award in the best actor category for his performance as a normal, caring, loving person, instead of the shit-covered, snarling, disordered beast from hell he actually is.
I have only shared the gory details of his character/personality disorder and the severe emotional abuse I endured, with my nearest and dearest friends, and they believe me and understand, even if they have difficulty wrapping their minds around passive aggressive NPD. They know me and accept my truth. Thus far, his family continues to treat me as they always have and I continue to treat them similarly. Of course, I’m the one who sent my MIL a gift from our children and myself. I am the one home spending the holidays with our children and his family while he is off with the OW. I take these relationships one day at a time and understand they will play out the way they play out.
The best advice I can give you is to hold your peace, tell your truth only to those people that you trust and hold dear, and everyone else will either figure it out or they won’t. My oldest child gave me good advice. She said, “Mom, just be still. You don’t have to say or do anything. Eventually, those that need to will figure it out because he will show them who is. He can’t help it. Those that don’t figure it out, won’t want to and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
The best way to kill an untrue narrative is not to give it any air. I read something that said the more you challenge a lie, the more life you give it and the more believable it becomes. You look guilty in attempting to defend yourself. Be pleasant and smile sweetly and serenely at the gullible people. It will confuse them. If you are in a situation where you cannot or find it difficult to disengage you can simply say, “I have nothing left to say regarding my X or my marriage, except that I survived them both, but thanks for asking.”
Perfect way to handle it.
I thank God for some of the egregious abuse thatr I can harken back to, to convincve myself that it was not all me. Most of it was subtle, constant , but subtle.
There were about three or four really crazy , abusive events, thogu that I can harken back to whenever I have doubts. Fortunately, two were witnessed by my kids and they remember them.
Tomcat, have you looked at the youtbe vidoe from Paul Elam on femal violence? He cites some studies and scholars who have reached the opposite conclusion.
reality is people are going to believe what they want to believe. How many of us chumps would have believed anyone who tried to tell us about disordered partners when we saw nothing but sparkles?
My XH’s second ex wife (I was number 1 wife/ex wife and he’s had a few since) is a good person who fell for HX (she wasn’t AP) and paid dearly for it too. Several times she’s asked me why I didn’t tell her how disordered he was….. I answer by asking her if she would have believed me. She admits he told her I was controlling, crazy, blah, blah, blah, and she wouldn’t have believed a word I said when she started dating him.
His subsequent partner lived in chaos with him as well as learned when she contacted me when things were falling apart between them. She told me of interactions that made my skin crawl because they were verbatim what I’d experienced with him down to the words exchanged years earlier. I told her to take her child and leave and not look back. She did.
A lie goes halfway around the world before the truth even gets out the door. I don’t know who said that, but it’s true. And an affair is a lie spouting living organism. Founded on lies and kept alive on lies.
People may want to believe the best of people, but the love, love, love believing the worst. There’s probably a little bit of a sense of superiority that tingles their ego, plus what I call the car wreck effect. The more outrageous the lies (the bloodier the wreck) the more they slow down and just drink it in. Hitler, Edward Bernays, — all the great propagandists (sorry, public relations specialists) know what they’re talking about. It’s a feature of the human being that you’re not going to be able to do much about except move on with your life.
If I could go back in time and change one thing about myself that would have saved me, it would be not to hang around people who like to gossip about other people. The ex’s whole famdamnly was like that. Sooner or later the subject turns to you, and boy did it ever.
Great discussion. If I understand your letter correctly, you’re referring to third-parties, such as relatives-in-law and mutual friends who side with your ex post-divorce?
The only thing I would add when it comes to Friends Who Take Your Cheater’s Side is to not only “Trust That They Suck,” but speaking from my own experience: “Trust That They’re Chumps.”
I was sad to lose one of my very best friends in the midst of my “divorce” from my cheating ex. She was someone who I actually grew closer with in the immediate aftermath of my relationship going off the rails, but once my ex started playing the “poor me” card and spreading his bullshit lies, she slowly but surely stopped texting/calling me and gradually erased me from her life.
No matter who you are, that shit hurts. Especially when you’re the the one who got cheated on. To see a close friend side with your cheating ex in such a blatantly enabling manner is also stomach-turning.
However, this particular ex-friend of mine has a long history of dysfunctional, disordered relationships and has been on the Chump Train a lot longer than I have. In fact, she’s still on it! So is it really all that surprising that someone who’s so used to falling for sparkles and spackling over wretched dysfunction in her OWN life would resort to spoon-feeding Chumpassurance to your ex and giving you the Silent Treatment?
I think that making peace with that whole mess is all part of the “Meh” package. ONE person or maybe more “siding” with your cheating ex doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you did the wrong thing. And it CERTAINLY doesn’t mean that your ex’s cheating was preventable, even if that’s what your ex-parner and your now ex-besty are talking about behind closed doors.
It just means that the Universe did you a favor by flushing these rancid people out of your life and that the friends who are still by your side are the ones who will always truly have your back.
Besides that, true friendships don’t come with an expiration date when an unrelated romantic relationship ends. I was more than happy to “share” my friend with my ex, keep separate dinner dates with her, and maintain a friendship with her that was completely separate from my ex and whatever he has going on now. She was the one who made the choice to discontinue that. What can ya do besides shrug your shoulders and say “Meh”?
Thank you, Chris. Bang on.
Thanks, all, especially CL, Not You, Chump Princess, Uniquelyme, and Moving On. Your advice has been solid.
I continue to stand my ground and keep the buggers out. No contact, boundaries and/or emotionless no-nonsense-ism work wonders. Another thing that detachment from the bandwagon friends has brought is not just drama-free peace, but precious time with which to devote myself to things I love doing.
Thank you for reminding me that my sincere disengagement and apathy toward those who feel sooo wronged by me speaks for itself. It feels great to not own anyone’s projections. To thine own self be true!
I had a similar issue for the first couple years post breakup with my ex. He was friends with someone I know (they knew each other in high school) so imagine my shock (and upturned stomach) when I go to a party at my friend’s house, after having been NC with him, and see my ex there, chatting it up with all MY friends. Friends that I made AFTER breaking up with him. I figured that these were friends that he’d never be able to touch and it was a whole new part of my life sans-ex.
Nope. Seeing him there made me want to vomit. And that wasn’t the first time he showed up at a party at this friend’s house. He showed up to several subsequent parties.
The worst part though, was once everyone found out that he was my ex, that’s when he started on with the sparkles and started telling people that he didn’t know why I couldn’t just “make peace” and bury the hatchet and he didn’t want anything bad between us anymore. He really made it out to seem like I was just some frigid bitch holding a grudge and he was just the coolest guy ever. I know for a fact that a lot of my friends had him added to their face books after a couple parties.
But, that was only the first two years after the breakup. 😉
The friends he got all chummy with and charmed up with his sparkles? Yeah, they believe me now. I don’t know what he may have done or said, if he even did anything shitty to them at all (which I’m sure he did, or maybe he just stopped talking to them because I know how he is. He cycles through friends like revolving doors) but it doesn’t matter because they are all still MY friends and they all know me and who I am and I know one thing I’m good at is being consistent in being genuine.
Sure, now and then he tries to tell someone that I’m a liar with problems that can’t get over him, but no one believes him anymore.
Well played, Kara. What you describe is just how it is and we must try to remember that in time, EVERYTHING REVEALS ITSELF!
The truth outs over time and using short statements to explain what happened to people is probably the best bet. Lately I’ve been using “She traded me in for a newer model”, “Her boyfriend insisted she quit sleeping with me” is another I’m tempted to try out…
What I keep in mind is that a friend is someone you enjoy being with, they bring you happiness. If someone is making you feel like shit then call them on the behavior. If they won’t stop then move on. If there is one thing the trauma and therapy taught me, it’s how to set boundaries and how to stop worrying about hurting other peoples feeling when they clearly don’t care about my feelings.
In my case with the abuse far beyond the cheating, there is no way I would be friends with anyone who believed my ex’s stories. Projection and blame is the favored thing with my ex. Everything he did to me he turned around when telling friends about us. Eventually, the true friends could see what he said was simply not possible because they KNOW me. The one long distance friend who pulled the card: “I wasn’t there, so I don’t really know & there are two sides to every story”, that person is no longer in my life. Yes, we all perceive interactions differently – but when someone attacks you and then claims you attacked them? That isn’t a difference in perception, that’s lying.
Same for “I want to remain neutral, be friends with both of you” shit. If you love me, if you are a good friend to me, why would you want to be friends with someone who hurt me badly? The answer is simple, you are not my friend. Go enjoy the company of the asshole and stay out of my life.
Datdamwuff, you and CL said it eloquently. Even while getting therapy, the play nice/you are too sensitive/ stop grudge-holding/ let bygones be bygones commentaries cut deep. Finally, it penetrated on a cellular level that these others were rigid in their expectations from me when it came to their own interests, but expected me to be flexible to the point of working at cross purposes with my own interests. Simple.
“Same for “I want to remain neutral, be friends with both of you” shit. If you love me, if you are a good friend to me, why would you want to be friends with someone who hurt me badly? The answer is simple, you are not my friend. Go enjoy the company of the asshole and stay out of my life.’
That says it all.
Now that the pain has faded a bit, when people ask what happened, I enjoy saying, “Well, he never really stopped dating…” 🙂
Mommy dearest is NPD to the extreme, try distancing from THAT mess. Esp when everyone else still sweeps it under the rug.
My s2bxh is NPD, not to mothers extreme tho. I look at her as the ultimate lesson in how to navigate the divorce. He can’t do even a tiny iota of what she has done to me. Not that he isn’t trying.
As for HIM, I have found only ONE thing works. Be you. Be true to you. Be who you are. The ppl around you, they may fall for NPD bullshit but the fact is, 99% of the ppl in a N’s life, they will eventually see it. Most N’s aren’t smart enough to continually pull the wool over the same ppls eyes forever, unless those ppl are enablers and sick f*cks too. I have found the absolute power over my N is truth. I don’t need to work at disproving him. I need to work at living my life, taking care of my kids and putting one foot in front of the other.
My dad is now seeing in full color what I lived with for 15 years. He can see what x is NOW but didn’t 7 months ago. Of course he can’t see my mother for what a twisted bitch she is, but hey, I am not greedy.
Just be you. Don’t buy into the bs and let your truth be your guide. Let them all learn the hard way.
I am new here and am just soaking up all your collective wisdom like a newbie sponge. I’m only 24 days of pure NC since DDay with x five months ago. after I made him leave our home (we were not married but together 16 years and co-own house) he went out telling ppl that he and I ‘decided to go our separate ways.’ I asked him to stop lying. I tell everyone the truth, that he cheated and when I discovered it I kicked him out. He’s called that ‘character assassination’ and complained that I ‘inherited all our friends.’ None of them have any respect left for him and the only one who took his side (and said ‘X must have his reasons’ right after, and this friend opened their home to X in exchange for free rent he was supposed to fix up their house (that’s his line of work) now says “the best thing that ever happened to The_Muse was to break up with X.’ He’s lost and clueless. He is mostly living with OW now and hasn’t done a lick of work on his one last friends’ house. They are probably going to evict him. His OW is 4 inches or so taller than him (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and leads him around by the hand.
People who knew her b4 (she was married 20 yrs ago to a friend of ours!) say she is pushy and bossy. In this case the Karma bus seems to have arrived because X who was a controlling manipulative narc with me for 16 years seems to have met his match. Best of all is that I am reaching meh and don’t really care anymore. All our formerly mutual friends are still my friends and see him as a pathetic loser who needs a woman to support him financially and they have no respect for his cheating.