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Tell Me How You’re Mighty

 

superchump2supechumpThis post idea came to me from Ghana. I got an email from a wonderful chump there who wrote to say she reads the blog. In telling me her story, she related that her D-Day happened just as she was taking her bar exams to be a lawyer. She said it in passing, as she was telling me the rest of her story, and her D-Day had been a few years back.

Her signature line however said “attorney” — so guys, she MADE IT. She suffered that kind of shock and betrayal and STILL managed to pass her exams and found employment as a lawyer.

Chumps are mighty.

I know many of us react to D-Day with collapse. We cannot eat or sleep — and yet we function. We go to work. We care for children. We walk the dogs. We get up with our hearts broken and we still get shit done.

Today I want to know what your success is, however modest you think it is. Tell me how you got back up into the land of the living.

Speaking for myself, I was working as a newspaper editor during my year of reconciliation hell (otherwise known as four D-Days). The first two, close together, were before I found a job. But I suffered two on the job, and I left him — scheduled the time off and had to tell my boss what was going on, because I was afraid he’d show up at my workplace.

Word got around in my small office. I was sitting at a meeting with four guys, my co-workers and the staff writer — a macho Puerto Rican guy — said to me, tearing up, “I don’t know how you did it. You had THAT going on in your life and you came to work every day and put out a newspaper? I would’ve cried in bed for a month.” He looked at me with respect, and I didn’t realize until he said it — hell, that was some kind of accomplishment. Somehow I did my job. And I did it pretty damn well.

Frankly, having a job with a major deadline each week gave my days structure. I could forget or at least distract myself. I could throw myself at work. And the camaraderie helped too. I felt like people appreciated me at work, I was surrounded by good folks. It put my cheater’s crazy in perspective.

When my D-Day hit, I’d just moved to a new state. I’d been married 6 months. I was isolated from my entire support system. So my first mighty accomplishment was finding a job. My next mighty accomplishment was keeping myself together at work while my home life fell apart. And my third mighty accomplishment was leaving him. I bought a house on the sly (took months), and executed an elaborately detailed escape plan.

I also did the single mom thing throughout as well. I feel awful my son had to live through all that, but I did my best to shield him from it. Organizing play dates, chaperoning school functions, ferrying him to school, friends, and activities.

I know I’m not alone here, chumps. You did these things too. You took that sucker punch and you got back up. You’re still up. Today tell me how you’re mighty.

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 went from being a SAHM to a new career as a freelance writer. I’m certainly not rich, but I’m holding my own. I’ve written for some big clients, starting to get decent pay.

    I moved into an apartment with my son, and I love my home.

    My son is doing great, growing into a wonderful young man.

    I’ve been dating a man for the past three months, and it seems to be going well. He’s normal and decent and stable, all the things my ex is not.

    Most of all, I survived what I thought would kill me. I found strength I never dreamed I had.

    • Yes, congrats. Having peace in an apartment is so much better than mindfuckery in a big (otherwise beautiful) house.

      • Totally agree, Ducks and others,

        I, too, had the joy and privilege of being a SAHM. Best ‘job’ in the world, IMHO!
        The house we lived in for most of our married life was modest, but well kept and maintained, in a safe neighborhood. I had a small, but beautiful yard, which we both worked at making it the prettiest on the block. (simple but pretty) It was so relaxing to be in the garden or yard, on the deck in the evening or out under one of my big ole shade trees, drink in hand, enjoying the fruits of our labor. (Yes, I know I am in the minority here, but my cheater helped in the yard and helped maintain the home. Was to his benefit, so he did that. Also, was big part of the ‘image’ thing for him)

        But, no peace…….How can you really enjoy anything with no real trust, love or peace in your marriage, wondering how many times this week he has seen the whore or talked to her or lied to you? (The Bible has a few verses that state this basic concept very well!)

        So, yes, now I have peace in a small apartment, as well. Can always go for a walk in the park to enjoy greenery!

        Forge on, friends……

        PS: Since I am new here, I have been reading through all the posts, archives and comments and have been amazed at all these exceptional people! Love the accounts of your lives, your joys, your triumphs!

  • My DDay came after 14 years of marriage. He had just moved our family to a new city 2 months prior. Luckily I landed a teaching job right before the move. Here I was faced with being a single mom, at a new job, in a strange city away from my support group, and still unpacking the boxes.
    I took 2 days off school when the bomb hit. Within 4 weeks I had my kids and I in therapy, got some anti-depressants to function, and started a bond with my students that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my teaching career. My former students still come greet me on their way to class every morning and that usually only lasts a week into the next school year. I have had more parents from that class give me compliments about teaching their child than all my 10 years of teaching. And none had a clue about the personal hell i was going through.
    I did the chumpy pick me dance for a few months and let the cheater back in my home for a few more months. Didn’t take long to catch him again, so after the second and final DDay, I filed for divorce and moved my girls and I into a new place of our own- all within a month of giving him the boot. I have been a wreck emotionally over the last year and feel as if I boarded a crazy train, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I keep an open communication with my kids and support them the best I can. Come on 2014- give me some relaxation and peace! If I could only get the ass to sign the divorce decree I might be on the path to Meh…

    • Meh is coming Chumpchange! As to how to get him to sign the decree, is he mortified by exposure of his affair? There’s always deposing the affair partner. I hear that speeds up the settlement talks.

      You’ve navigated this nightmare really well.

  • Hell yeah! I love you Chump Lady.

    I’m an attorney. I have my own partnership firm. My D-day was five months ago, but it wasn’t because of the cheating. I found out I was a chump about 2 months ago. I initiated the divorce and separation. I was trudging along with the hard feelings and all the big changes and then WHAM! I got the sucker punch. After that, I was consumed with anger and could barely manage. Then I became sad and angry as hell! My five year old daughter kept me going but I only have her half time. Frankly, I was having a real hard time doing anything except just try and survive a day.

    This past Thursday night I got a call from a referral. His daughter was committed involuntarily to a hospital for her refusal to eat. She was in a local tx center for anorexia/bulimia. She had gone from 85 lbs to 72 lbs in a few weeks. She’s 24 years old and she was beautiful before the disease struck. She was critical. Her mom had been killed in a car accident during the holiday season and it was more than she could bear. The father called me to see if it was possible to have him appointed an emergency guardian so that he could have the hospital force feed her. If she were to go on much longer, my understanding is, that there is a point that the body can no long go back to regular functioning and death is not far after. She was at death’s door.

    My partner and I dropped everything and spent all day Friday preparing to go in front of a judge for an emergency hearing that afternoon. The judge granted it without much argument. Her before and after pictures are compelling. It didn’t really sink in with me until later as I tucked my little girl in, that we may have saved her life. She is now taking nourishment willingly. Honestly, I don’t know how the hell I did it. It’s not my typical area and it’s unusual anyway. I had a ton of help.

    That kind of case I will likely never see again. It helped me realize that I could shake this cold malaise that surrounded my will to practice law and run a new business/partnership. CL implores to get a life and get into action. I did and it felt good. It’s the kind of case that I went to law school for.

    And, I felt Mighty. And, as you may be able to tell, still do.

    My other accomplishment that has me feeling Mighty is my ability to finally put my daughter’s hair into a decent half assed ponytail for dance class. My God, I do suck at it. But I am getting better. I have tried and practiced. I think I have it! Poor thing. Sounds corny but….true.

    Finally, after a few meltdowns and losing my shit, I am a NC badass. It feels good. Every time I change my thought to gaining a life rather than contacting that bozo, I am Mighty.

    Boom. There it is.

    • I survived, kept my job. Tried a shitload of cases, crying on breaks then back to the courtroom. Became a professional golfer, a lifelong dream. Shot three 68 s in a week while taking Xanax to keep from breaking down
      My kids love me and I love them.
      I was so broke from the divorce and my XW’s spending that I lost the house and had to sleep on my friend’s couch for three years. My credit had been perfect before the marriage but was destroyed.
      I repaired it, worked three jobs to get re-established and bought a condo .
      I took in three stray cats, one a young pregnant female. We raised her kittens and found all of them good homes.
      I have played golf in Hilton Head, San Diego, Pinehurst, Atlanta, San Antonio, Austin, and Phoenix this last couple years and have reconnected with some of my best friends on trips together.
      I have a nice, smart , beautiful girlfriend who loves me.
      My xws cheating was a blessing.

      • I love reading your stories Arnold! You are funny but smart & real. Cheered for you when I read this one! I hope you have all the happiness u deserve with the new beautiful girlfriend!

      • Hi Arnold,

        I ‘ve tried cases but not since entering chumpdom. I’m not sure I could sustain the effort; but you are inspirational. Thanks.

        • Just about everybody here is inspirational. The writing , the wit, the creativity etc amazes me, as does the strength.
          I think we forget just how amazingly hard it is to endure this. And we have not just endured but been successes.
          Once you go through this, you can live fearlessly. My only real vulnerability now relates to my kids. I have no fear of anything relating to my own personal well being.
          If I get sick or lose everything , I know I will be alright.
          Heading for Arizona tomorrow to play golf.
          I bought a motorcycle too and will do Route 66 and Sturgis this summer.
          My kids think I have lost my marbles but they really love me.

          • Hell yeah! Now I can say “I was drawn that way…”

            Thanks, CL. You and everyone on here have really made a difference in how I am building a life today for me and my daughter.

      • The fearlessness with which I now live has been one of the most surprising results of this journey. I’ve lost a lot, and I’m still standing.

        • I agree. After you survive one of the worst things that could happen, well, I guess there isn’t much left to worry about….

    • Well done ThirstyFish! You deserve to feel MIGHTY!… Before I filed for divorce at the end of 2013, I was paralyzed with pain, I could barely function & taking care of my 9 year old son was the only thing that kept me going .

      I’m on the road to recovery now.. To being the smart hardworking effective woman I once was & I hope i”ll get to feel ” mighty” one day very soon!
      Best wishes.

      • 13YEARCHUMP,
        You will soon enough! It just gets better. I’m nowhere near “meh” and I still have paroxysms of anger. Or, I am reminded of something from, let’s say 2001 or something like that, and I’ll think “Oh yeah, we were together then.” But it’s a new gig now. The new life is beginning to crowd out the old.

        Best to you as well.

    • It’s incredible how you could transfer such energy to another person’s crisis while you were in the midst of your own. I know it was your job, but great work. I hope that woman is making a recovery.

      As for ponytails — (I have curly hair, so this is just second hand, as my hair doesn’t behave for any mere rubber band) — get that spray detangler stuff. No More Tears — helps brush it out and keeps things smooth. And don’t be afraid to yank a bit — a loose ponytail is no good at all. And maybe you can let your daughter go pick out some hair bobbles and what have you? Girls like that stuff, you could win major Dad points. My 6-year-old neighbor is made ecstatic by new barrettes.

      • Thanks CL. I know my way around the courtroom well, but I am troubled by pony tails, pig tails, and braids of all kinds (lol). Thanks for the tips. I’m really having fun with it. I think it would be fun to to go to the unknown world of hair bobbles and barrettes. I’ve already braved the myriad of girls clothes sizes (which vary from designer/brand to the other…like is an eight REALLY an eight for this designer/brand? don’t know usually ’til we’re home…grrr), and tutus, leotards, tights, shoes of all kinds for crying out loud.

        It did take energy for that case but it was the right kind. And, the aftermath of getting chumped and the despair I have felt has helped me to slow down and get perspective. About work and how I treat myself. It’s like you said. Get a life.

    • Thirstyfish,
      Nothing like having infidelity strike you in the gut… But it also confirms the gut feelings you had…_THAT’S_S why X was behaving that way, or why I felt that way.

      Great job with the ponytail, and the case… Mighty, indeed.

      • Thanks z,
        Now that I am removed from her for months, it’s all coming together. She was being a jackass on a regular basis (i.e., picking meaningless fights, projecting her insecurities about my women co-workers on to me because she was banging some loser in secret etc., blaming me for everything.) And, she wanted to have another baby with me right up until D-day. I am just baffled by that one.

        It’s funny, I just wasn’t ready to see it until I was ready. I look back on the year before I entered chumpdom (again) and it was filled with changes I was making for the better. Little did I know she was going to be on that list. Ha!

        • Just a quick note. I heard from Dad and his daughter is recovering and may actually leave the hospital tomorrow.
          I’ve read a lot of the posts today. I feel good after processing the entries. I am curious about the amount of lawyers here? Are we extra chumpy? Just kidding really…

          • I’ve noticed the number of lawyer-chumps (myself included) as well – I think what makes me a good lawyer, also happened to make me a GREAT Chump! For example: Effective & timely crisis management, working long hours and carrying my own weight and then some to get the job done, seeing a way through chaos & reaching the desired result, ability to argue both sides of a dispute – depending which way is most beneficial to my client… all of these skills were thoroughly exploited by my Narc-XH.

            It is AMAZING how much more energy I can put towards worthy projects now that I’m not constantly going around behind XH to clean up the chaos he would create (not paying bills on time – or at all, never finishing anything, always late, spent too much on sailing shit despite overdrawing his own accounts, always had problems w/ authority so he “needed to be his own boss” (read: couldn’t hold a job), I would always be rushing around to fill in the gaps so that we wouldn’t upset a family function, etc.)

            • Belle, You’re spot on. I am still in the process of redirecting the energy and reframing my thought life, too. I do have those traits and they have served me well as an advocate. Among other things.

              Well taken.

    • congrats on the ponytail thing. i think that is the most awesome accomplishment. it always impresses me when men find the right way to do a ponytail. good for you

  • My first d day was 7 years ago. I had been a sahm for 15 years. Three things happened to me in two months time. I got a job, found out my stbxh was having an affair and I had a miscarriage. What got me through… my faith in God and plain old puttting one foot in front of the other. Another month passes and my aunt (my inlaw) gets diagnosed and passes away. I stayed.. ate the shit sandwiches, spackled like crazy (his really sweet aunt just passed, cut him some slack), did the dance and endured. 7 years of my intentionally avoiding several EA’S I get hit by a mack truck. He set me up to wait to find 600 text messages between him and ow. Then he tells me. “You said if I did this again……” gutless turd couldn’t even finish the sentence. I had to ask if he was leaving. He left and I broke down. That was in September. I moved away. I kept going to work and I’m having more bad days than good but I will not let that keeping me down forever

    • Man, isn’t he the gutless wonder?

      The better days are coming. You just got a total POS out of your life. You’re mourning what you thought your life was going to be. At some point you’re going to wake up and see what it is — FREE. Free from that POS.

    • DeeL, It will get better although you can’t see it right now. I can promise you it will. My first Dday was over 20 years ago and our child was only 6 weeks old when he told me. He begged me to forgive him and I did eventually. I fell into major depression but somehow I managed to take care of my child and work full-time. Next Dday was 10 years later and this time, I found out about OW. I threw him out, filed for divorce and before the papers were final, he came begging and I took him back. Severe depression again, lost a ton of weight which I didn’t need to lose and I lived life with a cloud over me. A life of fear. And yet I prevailed. I did well in my career and raised an amazing young adult. Final Dday was in late 2012 and this time, I simply threw him out, went no contact immediately. It still hurt but this time, I knew I would make it. In spite of the pain, I did everything to put myself first – no contact, counseling, support group, etc. My faith is God was and remains my rock. It’s been a little over a year since the final Dday, ex has tried to come back and I outright said no, and life is good. As a matter of fact, life is very, very good. So DeeL, trust that your life will only get better, not worse. He did you a huge favor.

  • I was in a car accident, left turn in front of me, going 45, no time to even brake. I have a plate and four screws holding my neck together. I have permanent nerve damage which leaves me with a “head ache” like a migraine, level 5 average pain on a good day, every day, all day. Level 10 to me is vomiting and shaking as my body tries not to go into shock.
    I have 3 boys, 3 dogs (just put one down.)
    I get up every day. 😉
    My friends say I am super mom. They say they have no idea how I do it. What is IT? I don’t understand.
    I take care of the kids. I make them anything they want for breakfast every day, ok, well 99% of the days. I never got breakfast growing up, ever that I remember. It is important to me that they start the day knowing they matter and are the reason I get out of bed. I sit with them and I talk to them while we all eat. I do everything in my power to make sure their day starts out as great as it can. No matter what happens when they go to school or through their day, I know I gave them the best start I could.
    Pack lunches, hang out with 4 yr old and work on his speech therapy, clean the house (if I can, if not, dirt will be there tomorrow) laundry, never ending laundry, lunch, try to work on a project for my house if I can (foreclosure, needs lots of work 😉 ) get dinner going, kids get home, do homework, buy kindle book that son left at school for assignment due tomorrow (that was todays major issue), eat dinner, go to basketball practice, work on reading w middle son while older son plays b-ball, come home, baths, read a story, hugs kisses, no more water you are going to bed, stay up til 1 doing frickin laundry… that is an average day here.
    I put one foot in front of the other. I shield my kids from their fucked up father, spackle like a mf’er over the dumb shit he says and does to them. Take care of my dog who is thinking about dying… told him he is NOT dying on me and to get over his issues (13 yrs old, soooo, 91 in dog years? he’s FINE). Cleaned up 3 weeks (snow issues) of dog crap yesterday, 2 5 gallon buckets full, yummy. Deal with Roy still trying to control me, tell me I am nothing, was nothing when he met me, am still nothing now. Drip drip drip goes the Chinese water torture.
    My friends are amazed. At frickin what? For doing what I am suppose to do? There are no cheers for doing what you are suppose to do.
    I cook, I clean, I hope to God I am doing enough, I love my babies and I do it all while my head is trying to explode. All with minimum medications bcz they really don’t work any way.
    I am mighty because I do what I signed up to do, no matter what, day in and day out, I take care of my kids.

    • a4f–you are f***ing amazing, and sorry, I am giving you some serious cheers. What an awesome mom and woman!

      (Roy is a POS, don’t listen to his narcissistic taunts, he’s just a terrified loser)

      • All4 – I agree – you are amazing, strong beyond words, a thoughtful and wonderful mom. You rock!!! The POS – I agree with Kelly – he’s just a coward.

    • all4freedom,

      You deserve a leotard with an “S” on it, a cape and your own phone booth. You go Girl!

      • sundae pancakes are our favorite… pancake, small amount of ice cream (Edy’s slow churned 1/2 the fat 😉 ) diced strawberries & bananas, another pancake, ice cream, diced strawberries and bananas, cool whip free and chocolate syrup. So yummy and if you are careful w the ingredients and types of product, it can be pretty healthy. Chocolate syrup has fiber and ice cream has calcium. lol 😉

  • I don’t think of myself as anything special, but when I look back I realize just how much strength I have. And as I read all the weird and painful and inspiring stories on this site, how strong and amazing all us chumps are.

    I am mighty because after STBX left the stress caused my blood sugar to soar. My doctor wanted to put me on heavy duty meds. I declined, gritted my teeth and over the next year lost 70 pounds and brought my blood sugar down to normal. I started running again, yoga, spin classes, stuck with it in spite of middle aged aches and pains and the fear I couldn’t do it. I could have given up but I didn’t.

    I saw my kids go through hell and it broke my heart. I gave them all the love I had, helped them through the bad times, the neglect, the hurtful comments from their dad, kept a calm exterior for them when all I wanted to do was cry and rant and shout my pain. They are on their way to good things now, my kids, wonderful young men. Their dad has very little place in their lives, as they know to judge him on what he does and not what he says.

    My mum died six months after my world blew up. My sisters and I pulled together, had a beautiful gathering of community to remember her, and buried her with grace and love. My dear neighbour and friend Bill died a few months after that, and I was strong enough to attend his funeral and remember him fondly, the grief not too overwhelming.

    Most people at work don’t know even now that I am in the middle of a painful and surreal separation and drawn out divorce from a passive-aggressive narcissist. I like it this ways. I let myself be immersed in work while I was there, my separate, peaceful world.

    I am mighty because after 36 years I am finally finding myself again, and am grateful that this happened now and not ten years from now when it would be much harder to recover emotionally and financially. And I am mighty because even though I am going into debt to bankroll this divorce, I realize that it is one of the best investments I will ever make and worth every penny. I am seeing clearly for the first time in a long time, and the view is lovely.

    • Pretty sure as a “gift” to my kids I am putting money away for their divorces! 😉 JOKING! We save and plan for every other thing they can have happen though. Why not throw that in there too! Car, education, wedding and divorce.
      You are a lot like me EXREPEATEDMEME. You get up, do what you have to/are suppose to and tomorrow do it all over again. It doesn’t feel mighty, it doesn’t feel awesome. Scrubbing the toilets and shower aren’t glamorous, but those little cleaning fairies always seem to skip out on my house.
      The daily grind, the must do, in the middle of the WORST time in your life. Even life reaches out and punches you in the face in the midst of it all and ya just keep plugging away. That is HUGE.
      You are awesome. You are not broken. You have a few cracks (don’t we all) but fortunately we chumps know how to spackle like a mother f’er and cracks get fixed eventually! 😉

    • exrepeatedme, that’s a hell of a lot of loss to take on. You are absolutely mighty. The best thing about divorce debt (another kind of loss) is that you will recoup it. It’s an investment in your happier future. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the view. 🙂

    • Dearest exrepeatedmeme, (& others facing the divorce issue at this time)

      Both Dr George Simon & William (Bill) Eddy have a lot of info that will help.

      Bill Eddy has a book “Splitting:Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone With Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder”.

      Many of his books are available as e-books at KOBO.

      Check into Bill Eddy especially at this time. On the web-site, High Conflict Institute, you can find an enormous amount of information, as well as links to dealing with these cheaters during legal issues. He is both a counselor & a lawyer, an expert on these types of disordered personalities.

      Another book is “Joint Custody With a Jerk” by Julie A. Ross & Judy Corcoran.

      Forge on, friends…..

  • I am still going through tough times, but after what I’ve already been through, I know I can survive.

    DD was 14 months ago. For the first 4 months I did the pick me dance. Then the real truth about my marriage started to trickle out. I discovered his affair was only the beginning of his lies and mental health problems as he admitted to an earlier one night stand with a different woman that resulted in a pregnancy he coerced the her to abort. The final bombshell was his admission that he’d been suicidal for the first five years of our relationship and planned to kill himself before the wedding, but for whatever reason didn’t go through with it. So basically I have been married to a cardboard cut-out narcissist for 20 years.

    Not gonna lie, I have spent plenty of time sobbing in the shower and lamenting the loss of 20 years of my life. But, what what else is there to do but push on? My therapist says I can’t beat myself up for things my 20 year old self did – and that’s very true. 20 year old me didn’t have the hindsight I have now.

    I work in a high pressure job and take care of my kids and house on my own. STBXH has had a mental breakdown and is still living in the basement. I would love him to be gone but that’s on the bottom of my priority list at the moment as I just found out my mother has 6 months to live.

    When life gives you lemons, sometimes you can’t make lemonade, so making preserves is the next best thing.

    I read this site every day and it gives me strength knowing that one day I will be happy again – and that if I’ve gotten myself this far without ending up in a psych ward, I can probably withstand anything. When you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s some comfort in knowing you can’t fall any further – and that the only way is up!

    • Ah Victoria, you are a strong woman. I am so sorry about your mother. Great phrase, “cardboard cutout narcissist.” Isn’t that what we all had? There is a peace in knowing you are at the bottom and the only way is up.

    • He planned to kill himself before the wedding? Operatic self pity much?

      I’m such a bitch, I would’ve said something to the effect of “Pity you chickened out. Would’ve save me a lot of grief.”

      • haha believe me I have thought it so many times. The worst bit is (and you’ll love this) I think he thought telling me all this was a grand gesture – like, look I’m sharing my deepest darkest secrets with you – isn’t that great. I tell ya, it was an instant turnoff. I saw him for what he was and was shocked at how powerful my delusions had been all those years. In many ways it was a fast track to meh. Suddenly the affair wasn’t a betrayal, because I realised I’d never had a marriage in the first place – just the illusion of one.

  • Three days after DDay two I saw a solicitor (I’m in the UK) and began divorce proceedings. I bundled up 20 years worth of his shit and made him come get and get it whether it suited him or not. I prevented him from taking our devastated daughter away to live with him and the OW. I went NC and forwarded every single threatening, manipulative email to my solicitor. I told EVERYONE about what had happened and EVERYONE told me about him.

    I stopped him from borrowing more money (he was massively in debt, I discovered) against our home to protect myself and our daughter. I made him pay child support direct from his salary so he couldn’t fuck about (which he would have done). And then I took control of selling our family home, getting the financial settlement he didn’t want me to get, and got myself a better job so I could buy the sweet little house I now own IN MY OWN RIGHT.

    I worked through all the shit in therapy. I got through the death of my mother a year after DDay when he was still playing games and trying to make me a chump again. I ignored all his fucked-up platitudes and overtures of ‘friendliness’ – he’s no friend to me.

    I showed him just how fucking Mighty I can be but more importantly I showed MYSELF that I’m not a woman who gets on her knees and begs for yet another shit sandwich (love that phrase). I loved him even as I did all those things. But I discovered that’s worth jack shit if I don’t love myself more.

    Thank You Chump Lady. You really are an inspiration for Chumps the world over.

    Love,

    The Mighty Gillian.

  • Wow the reponses to this post ARE amazing, and very humbling. I feel mighty because I have discovered, or at least started to discover, that the old me was there all along. I used to be passionate and excited and motivated and dreamy and goal orientated. Over the years that was slowly chipped away to the point where I would drink to give me energy because I couldn’t even focus on the tv let alone something more meaningful and exciting. Having a glass of wine in my hand would keep up till bed time and then let me sleep. So I worked, drank and slept! Oh, and ate! I had started looking at those things I wanted as just things that were never going to happen, and maybe my problem was relying and expecting too much from someone else, who just didn’t care! I thought I had a drinking problem, but it turns out I don’t, I just don’t drink like I used to, but instead I garden (I am redisgning and landscaping slowly but surely and it gives me such joy), I have done some grouting, some concreting, I bought a camper trailer and I towed it. All. On. My. Own 😀 and we went camping in it and put up the tent and relaxed and had a beautiful new years by the beach. I always managed the money, I did the taxes, paid the bills. Yet money was always something that really depressed me….haha but I am actually financially better off even though I am paying a mortgage and supporting 3 kids on half the income. We have a lifestyle now, and I like it! I have discovered things I didn’t know about myself that I would never have known if I hadn’t got the opportunity. I love the football, I have been 2 times with my 11 year old daughter and after her team won the grand final I am sure it’s because I have magical football powers. I can’t wait for the season to start, i hope to get to more games this year. I am raising my kids, getting to know them like somehow I have been absent for awhile, and they are amazing. Kind hearted, helpful, courteous, respectful, successful amazing teenage girls. AND I am going to Italy in June for 3 weeks, all by myself. I am mighty because My life has regenerated and it makes me feel strong. I am constantly challenged but I know it’ll pass. Thank you Andrew.

    • Jeez Nat, I had the same exact experience. I thought I had a drinking problem pre-D-day, but it disappeared with the ex. When I first saw the counsel a few weeks post D-day, he warned me a lot of people start drinking in that situation, but my reason for numbing myself was apparently now gone. Two years later, I am a completely different woman, the one I used to be (or never got to be with all those years of mind-numbing deception, detachment and lies).

    • You have courteous teenagers? You have more that magic football powers — you have magic teenager powers! So much mightiness.

      Enjoy Italy — I hope you get to the Lake District (spent my honeymoon there). Lake Como is magical. Hell, it’s all good. Enjoy every minute and report back.

      • So weird. Me too. I feel like the fog has lifted and I no longer want to numb myself. Clarity. My eyes are finally open after 15 years.

  • Was living in ex’s country for close to 11 years when he decided to detour into Crazy Land. In the 2 months between BD and my being able to move back home with son, I managed to go through a lifetime of belongs and get it narrowed down to three suitcases and 8 boxes that I brought back (I do miss the thousands of books I had *sigh* ). My condition at the time? Dealing with his daily emotional and verbal abuse (had found out about OW-he forgot I used to work for a PI a long time lol), the non-stop crying, the country’s culture and its contempt towards anyone foreign, and the ill health I had been suffering which is one of the reasons he allegedly couldn’t continue the marriage. But did it, got us across an ocean and to my parents. Could only stay with them a month so had a deadline to find a job, a place to live with a good school system and to help son adjust to life in his other country. And I did it . . . somehow lol Found a job with really good people where I can help others, son has adjusted so well he doesn’t want to live anywhere else, about to move into a bigger place where I can actually have my own bedroom (started with a one bedroom – good thing son and I like each other lol), divorce was final right before Christmas so mostly free of that insanity and the one big sign that I succeeded was a couple of days ago. Comment from S11 about the divorce – while he wishes it hadn’t happened he’s glad we’re not married anymore. When asked why, he said “You’re too good for him”

  • Wow, just wow! So many amazing stories. All4freedom and others, they are just amazing stories. Full of dignity, bravery and unbelievable strength of character. (everything our cheating spouses aren’t).

    I was going to post about how I managed to hold it together in a high stress job in those early days after Dday. It was awful and tough, but nothing like some of you have experienced.

    As always, CL shows her wisdom. Having a demanding, high pressure life and/ or career can actually be a good distraction. I believe it actually helped me, to focus on other things and maintain my responsibilities.

      • Okay. I’m a Dentist, private solo practice. Demanding but rewarding job that I love. On top of that, running the business, employing and managing staff, and trying to be a great father and husband.

        I’m a general dentist in a regional area, so I do more than my fair share of more difficult treatment that others in the larger cities might refer. Patients don’t like to travel for treatment, they trust me, it’s just how it works here.
        I do plenty of continuing education so that I can be competent and confident in what I’m doing.

        1 year before Dday, I did a mentor program with a highly regarded Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon to learn how to place dental implants. It was great. She assisted me with my first 2 cases in theatre. After that. I started doing them myself. It was challenging, high stress, but very rewarding. Forward 1 year later: Dday. I had an elderly lady booked in 7 days later, to have 4 implants placed in her lower jaw to help hold her lower denture in.

        I was a wreck after Dday. I managed to front to work, do the routine stuff,and get through the day okay. We’ve all been there, you just get through it. But at the end of that first week I had this case. Drilling titanium screws into someones jaw while they’re still awake (Local anaesthetic only) is high stress for all involved. But she had waited for this appointment and was obviously psych’d for it. I didn’t want to cancel her appointment.

        All went very well. It’s amazing how we can handle pressure and perform when we have to. As others have said, it can in some ways help numb the pain that infidelity is, when you are forced to apply your thoughts and life to other things. I felt blessed then, and still feel the same now, that I had a quality life, beautiful children and caring family & friends to get me through.

        • You drilled screws into a woman’s jaw the week of D-Day?? You realize in those early days most of us can usually only manage the physical dexterity it takes to shower. Oh yeah, you’re totally mighty.

          • Thanks CL. I’m sure we all drove our cars and used sharp knives in the first week post Dday. 🙂

            Incidentally, that lady is in her 80’s, has a blue rinse stlye weekly and presents immaculately. She’s still going strong and loving her improved quality of life with her teeth, three and a half years later.

            • That’s wonderful, Kraft! I love the story! Rural practice health care of any sort requires a great deal of flexibility and knowledge. That’s pretty mighty in and of itself, but being able to focus enough to perform oral surgery is extremely mighty!

  • My dd#1 was 2 days before my sons 3rd birthday in march 2012
    I found out my 1st boyfriend/ husband of 22 years had been having a nearly 2 year affair with a 24 year old he met in a massage parlour. They had a secret child together. She went on the work trips that were ” too expensive ” for me & my child to go on. Lots of people knew.
    My parents were coming from overseas for my sons birthday & a joint family holiday.
    Somehow I got thru it. I was too ashamed to tell them & supposedly it was over. It was not dd#2. 2 months later. I had by this time done a lot of Pilates & yoga & therapy. I got thru it
    Dd #3 1 week before Xmas . I finally had
    Enough !!! I was too ashamed to tell my parents or friends . I got thru it
    I told everyone in January. I can now see the shame isn’t mine & I think I am a better friend .

    • “I can now see the shame isn’t mine & I think I am a better friend” I think that is the BIGGEST mind fuck we do to ourselves. We did something or didn’t do something so we are somehow responsible. The shame of having a jacked up abusive lying ass cheating pos. They start the training and we take over to finish it for them.
      The more I let people know what he has done and continues to do, the more they understand. He was/is an exceptional narcissist. Poor him for being left like that, me planning it all out. Well, excuse me but his penis fell into a different woman’s vagina and his mind fucking verbally abusive controlling behavior didn’t quite work well enough to keep me in line for round 2.
      The SHAME is on them. No shame and no guilt on you for HIS choices.
      And btw, 99% sure Roy was taking SOMEONE on business trips/dinners. For 15 fucking years I went to 3 but he went 3 to 4 times every six months to something. I don’t know for sure and don’t even give a shit except that I want the money for the gd steak dinner! That is the part that pisses me off the most. We were “broke” we had “no” money We needed to “cut back” Well Roy, perhaps spending money on your fugly little bitch isn’t the best financial plan. On top of it, I have lost 50 lbs since June and NEEDED new jeans and I get snide comments at sporting events on “how did you pay for the new clothes” Well Roy, my guess would be I let our children eat bread and water for 3 days so I could steal the child support meant for them and lavish it upon myself. I didn’t sort through the clearance rack like I have always done and pay $10.80 for a pair of $70 pants. Nope, blew that money on myself. Monumental dick head.
      You do see the irony of your x finding a whore at the massage parlor right? Holy crap.

      • It’s in the process. I have hired forensic accountant & lawyer – getting ” robust ” advice cos I will be getting 25% of a very very valuable business.
        The ow is just lovely : she was married then started working at massage parlour . Got pregnant very quickly to my 40+ yr old husband & passed the child off as her husbands till I found out & insisted on a DNA test . I am trying to get to meh but my child now has all these umm people in his life . It sucks . Her poor ex husbands family lost a child thru this nonsense. They know not what damage they do.
        It helps that I am secretly banging an exceptionally hot successful kind hilarious cool dude. ( way way way cooler than STBXH ) I basically picked him up the 17 th dec 2012 & he is still around ( his ex wife cheated on him)
        Is it a realatuonship- no !!! Is he substitute dad bla bla – oh hell no
        Is it a reason to put mascara on & feel distracted ? Yep!!! Especially when x bangs on about how unattractive I am. ……
        Did I feel schadenfreude when my x lost his beloved Porsche – yep.
        Love your work CL
        It really helps

  • Work has always been my rock; has gotten me through most of the worse times in my life. Put on the uniform, put on the attitude, it’s show time!

  • I had DD1 (OW/just a friend) in August 2011 and was too ashamed to tell anyone but my best mate and stupidly did the pick me dance until DD2 just before Xmas when my XH walked out after 16 years. I never took a day off work or told my boss, work my only reason for getting up every day. I muddled through Xmas on my own (+ CAT) and got up the day after Xmas redecorated (painted and wallpapered) the two rooms that my lazy NPD/Sociopathic XH failed to do for 10+ years.

    I booked a flight to Oz (I was in the UK) on Xmas Day as a present to myself and went there 3 mths later having been made redundant from my job. I stayed with my sister and got a job, sorted a visa and promptly got a flight back 3 mths later to tell my XH I was renting out our joint house and not selling it to suit him, so he would have to sort out himself.

    I organised everything to protect my financial interest and packed up the house myself and sorted my beloved cat out 🙁 (he is fine-with lovely new owners ‘cos he wouldn’t have survived the trip-too nervous) and got on another plane and started work back the Oz 24 hrs after arriving.

    Since then I have just worked, and made myself get up everyday and get on with things. I bought a car and started driving, (had a massive phobia for 20 years despite having a driver licence) and now regularly clock 100Km a day for work, even got a speeding ticket! 🙂 I moved into my own rental after a year living in a spare room at my sister’s house and most recently have taken delivery of all my own possessions after a year in storage, he wanted nothing other than furniture and TV. I just got all the photos and emotional stuff.

    I filed and paid for divorce he so wanted after DD3 in Oct 2012 (via Skype, he was gonna come over – of course!!!) and my D came through a year to the day I landed here in July 2013.

    I go out by myself, I eat in restaurants and go to concerts/cinema on my own, I enjoy it most of the time. I can spend a lazy Sunday gardening/lying on the beach reading or take the newspapers to the local wine bar and look at the sunset and thank my stars I never stayed put. I have been hardcore NC for 6 mths – and have forgiven myself for being stupid enough to have had faith in him and putting his needs before mine.

    I miss my cat terribly and plan to rescue another one, and a dog! once I figure out what I am doing and whether I am staying. I am now on a quest to regain my creativity (I was an artist) which seemed to have gone on strike since this nightmare began!!!!!!

    Somedays I feel like I have not done anything since DDay, but then I look around and realise I ain’t done too bad, could be worse, he could be still around. 🙂

  • Forgot to mention I now have a bigger TV (he was obsessed with TV sizes) and better DVD player than XH, oh, and his (our) car blew up and died after he failed to maintain it after I left. My car runs just fine 🙂

    • as my son said over our car fiasco when I had to get a car so Roy could have the family van and a company car… “I think dad got the shit end of the stick.” choke back a laugh and told him NOT to tell his dad that.
      YOU ROCK! If xh ever contacts you again, just reply w the size of your tv, how great the dvd player is and dam! how your car is helping you get to the beach for relaxation time. Good job you!

      • My husband’s car had major problems and became undriveable THE DAY he left me. It made me like the car even more.

  • Amazing people & stories. I love this site – thank you Chump Lady for creating it.

    My D Day was Valentines Day 2003. I was working part-time and had a baby & a 3 year old. I did the “pick me” dance for about 6 months & didn’t finally get divorced until 2005.

    My survival was driven by having to care for two tiny children and achieving financial security. I was made redundant shortly after D-Day, so I went self-employed for about two years & effectively ran my own consultancy. I re-thought my childcare and took on an au-pair, which gave me greater flexibility about the hours that I worked.

    When you summarise 2 years of your life in a few lines, it is impossible to convey the awful misery and horrible sense of life as you thought it would be changing irrevocably.

    I’m 11 years on from it now and I frequently remind myself that I am indeed “mighty”. I’ve raised 2 children by myself, while holding down a full-time job. One of my children is autistic, so it has been quite challenging at times (and still is sometimes). My ex-husband has been miserly in terms of his financial support & even less forthcoming in terms of parental support, so I have done the job of two people all by myself.

    I’m still working on my own issues, the ones that made me pick ex-H in the first place, stay with him so long & then go on to have another dysfunctional long-term relationship thereafter. We’re not quite so therapy orientated here in the UK, so I’m still a work in progress – but definitely mighty all the same! 🙂

  • NarcX made our little family move 5 times in 9 years (to 5 different states). He wasn’t happy with his computer jobs boohoo. I have to have a license to teach so there were a lot of hoops to jump through each time we relocated. One time My license came after we had moved on to the next state. I was kind of forced to be a sahm, but some how I prevailed, hung on to my career, and I am going to be in pretty good shape when I retire. AND the kids are all right!!

  • After reading many of these stories mine doesn’t hold a candle to the single-parents and people who’ve been devastated financially by their horrible partners.

    My first D-Day was mid August, I had another revealing of my “almost ex-wife’s” betrayal on Aug 28. After trying to reconcile and figure out how to wrap my brain around this I got up and went to work every day. I was honest with my co-workers and was able to function quite okay at the office. I was picked to interview for a promotion and was able to earn that job all the while going through this mess. The job doesn’t replace what I thought I had at home, but it gives me pride to get my butt out of bed in the morning and “put my shoes on.”

    This site is what I read first most mornings, it reminds me that I matter and that She Sucks. My life will be better without her and that I don’t have to settle.

    Thanks a million, CL!

  • I met the OW last week. It wasn’t planned; it was a spur of the moment event. My ex (46 yo) and she (24 yo) have been together for a year now; he and I have been legally separated for 7 months. I didn’t find out about her until I did my research last May. They first met while she was a freshman at the university where he teaches.

    With tears in her eyes, she apologized for hurting me, but she didn’t know that he was married. “Are you still mad at me for that?” she asked. When he told her, she had already fallen madly in love with him and it was too late to back out citing that she felt like she couldn’t live without him. I didn’t buy her disingenuous apology. She then proceeded to tell me of all the affairs he had while we were still married. Some individuals I knew, some I didn’t. “He tells me he’s monogamous and loyal, but I don’t believe it,” she confessed. “But he also tells me that I am the one that could make him change his ways.” I laughed inside. I laughed even harder when she invited me to dinner at their place that night and when I declined, she invited me to spend the night sometime soon. Oh, the delusion.

    After complimenting me of my beauty, she asked me, “Does he still give you the indication that he wants you back?” I was stunned and I felt sorry for her. The poor girl is naive and malleable. She doesn’t know what’s coming to her. My ex and she kissed each other goodbye and told each other “I love you.” Again, I laughed inside. The blatant disrespect continues, but it was more a reflection of their delusion and lack of character.

    I never knew I could get to this place of acceptance and civility toward the other girl. I’m glad I met her, but even gladder that she met me because now she knows just how mighty this chump is. Without choking the shit out of her and “telling her off,” I believe I came out of that interaction a chumpion.

    I’m taking my journey to freedom step by step. I’m finishing my master’s in May and most importantly, my son is doing better than I expected. That’s all I can ask for.

    • “Without choking the shit out of her and “telling her off,” I believe I came out of that interaction a chumpion.”
      I hope I can pull off such a classy act when confronted with the (still married) affair partner he wants to settle down with! Until now she has wisely stayed away, think she’s afraid of me or my reactions. A non-reaction like yours is what I hope to give, benignly smiling my knowing smile. Mona Lisa and you I will be channeling! 🙂

      • My ex wanted me to be best friends with the skank. She then took it off her own back to start to text me saying how I’ve hurt her man over and over and that I need to grow up and become a better person!!! WTF!!! I am totally sure that she thought about being a better person when she was fucking my husband and cheating on hers.

          • I sure did Lyn. Blocked everything, facebook, texts. They both don’t like it very much that I have grown stronger and actually stood up to them. 🙂

      • I think part of this girl’s ulterior motive was to hurt me further by disclosing some information about his infidelity with the illusion of “can’t we all just get along [for the sake of your son]?” If I wasn’t sure that I could remain well-behaved then I wouldn’t have agreed to officially meet her. The fact that I wasn’t bothered by her probably drove my ex crazy. This is a guy who “accidentally” left a tube of lube with strands of her hair all over it on top of my dining table. So, if I were you, no contact would be the way to go for now. But when you’re ready, by all means channel whatever inspires you to become who you want to be for that moment. It will drive them mad!!!

    • The OW sounds so young and stupid. And amoral. And stupid. She was a freshman when they met? So he’s boffing a kid who is just barely LEGAL? I feel sorry for her, even though she’s an idiot. You know and I know it’s not going to end well.

      You handled yourself so admirably. Total chumpion.

      • CL, thanks. “I feel sorry for her, even though she’s an idiot.” That is precisely why I felt validated/rejuvenated/illuminated after the meeting. I forgot to mention that I agreed to have lunch with her and my son after our initial meeting on the same day, just the three of us. She paid with his bank card. Hah! They are perfect for each other. They’re both delusional, amoral, selfish and insecure. She also confessed that she cheated on her fiancee to be with my ex. I genuinely am so glad she has him to worry about now.

        • I have real visions of the karma bus with this one. Sure, the OW sounds like a totally delusional idiot, but she’s also an amoral, total delusional idiot. Odds are that neither she nor your X will handle the discovery of the other’s infidelity (because you know it’s going to happen) very well.

          And certainly not as classy as you handled your encounter.

      • The OW in my case was 22, he was 49 at that point. My eldest daughter was 16, they could be sisters. They now have a baby and have moved away interstate. Her facebook picture was of the 3 of them and a message ” happy christmas from the I*** family”. Though there were no christmas wishes from dad or grandma for the real I*** family! They are not married yet. He has not told my kids about getting married though supposedly some time this year. They have never met her. He does not mention their baby half brother. It may or may not end well but if it were me I might be wondering whether he was embarrassed or just ashamed of me to not introduce to his kids.

        • geez, louise! my ex has a 20 year-old daughter and a 22 year-old son who was born with cerebral palsy. my ex has a relationship with his daughter, but abandoned his son when he was very young. the ow inadvertently admitted to me that my ex and his daughter don’t have a typical father/daughter relationship, which i already knew. she complained that when they’re all out together, people usually mistake the father and daughter as being married and my son to be their child. hah! nat1, just sit back and trust that your ex sucks and so does his child bride. by speaking to the ow, i realized that the relationship my ex portrays is nothing but an illusion of grandeur. neither of us should worry about what they’re doing or why they’re doing what they’re doing. they are douchebags and that’s all there is to it.

    • Holy crap. I don’t think I could’ve had that conversation without losing my sanity. Did you ever see “Hi Fidelity” with John Cusack? His girlfriend leaves him for Tim Robbins character. They meet at some point and Cusack’s character has some pretty funny fantasies about how the conversation would go. Of course, he ended up being civil.

      You’re a mightier chump than me.

      • no, but i will see it now. i lost my sanity when this all started and fantasized of ways to hurt both of them. i just recently got it back and was only confirmed by my meeting with the OW. though i’ve been told i was insane to even meet with her, but to go to lunch with her was on another level of crazy.

    • So glad I read this. We have exactly the same story, same timeline, same screwed up 24 year old, except I haven’t met the OW yet. I’m sure I will have to soon. Thanks for helping me to see it through your eyes. Maybe I’ll be better prepared when it happens. I won’t be surprised (but my children will) if he just shows up married to her one day without telling anyone about it. Meeting her will be a big challenge. I don’t even know if she knows he was married when they met or not.

  • I’m not quite 6 months out from DD#1 and currently “reconciling”, though not living together and he’s still seeing OW. Crazy, I know. I guess DD #2 was less than 48 hours ago when I busted him again despite couples and individual therapy and promises it was over. It still hurts like hell and I don’t want to get out of bed most days. I’d say I do it for my kids but honestly they eat cereal and fend for themselves most days. When will I feel mighty?

    • When you take back CONTROL, Helen! Okay, you tried reconciling — and he took that as license to eat more cake. (First clue was that he moved out — easier cake access. Going to therapy was his small price to pay for cake with you — and avoiding the financial repercussions of divorce.)

      Call a lawyer today. Get a consult. You’ll feel a million times better when you start fighting back and know your options. You don’t have to take this shit another minute.

      • He actually moved out and filed the divorce at her insistence two months before DD#1, because he didn’t want to be married anymore but didn’t know why. Ha. I found out about her after we were separated and it was filed. Pick me started, in November he “picked me” by stopping the divorce, saying he would dump her and starting therapy. And here we are. Point was, I have an attorney, it’s filed, the attorneys are just sitting around waiting for us to tell them what to do next. They think we’re reconciling. I’m still a chump.

        • Unchump yourself, pick up the phone and tell your lawyer the divorce is on – officially separate. Feel the power, I know you can do it. Jedi Hugs!

        • Been there, took me almost six months, many deadlines he broke (he also “picked me”, never bothering to stop contacting her) and believe me, the moment I unchumped I started my recovery. The road from chump to champion is so much better than being stuck in cheaterville!

          And my kids? Much better now, at least they have one trustworthy and much fitter and happier parent now. Looking back I was barely hanging on, not much of a parent. 🙁

          • How did you do it? What was your final straw? He has done some serious disordered mindfucked cruel things to me and I keep thinking, “this will be it” but I can’t quite get over that hump. I keep hoping he will see the light and not do this to his wife and 3 young kids.

            • Helen,

              I know how you feel. I really do. I’ve felt like you felt – that at any moment your H is going to see the error of his ways, dump the side piece and come back to you on his knees begging for your forgiveness and promising to love you forever. Even if he did that, ask yourself if you could ever trust him again. He has lied to you, betrayed you and hurt you and your children beyond anything. Besides whatever material comforts his presence in your life might be able to afford you, what else will his presence in your day-to-day life net you? Will you ever be able to believe anything he tells you? Do you want to live like that, always having to doubt, maybe never being able to trust? This man is not your friend. Do your friends lie to you, deceive you or betray you? As a friend, would you do that?

              I almost committed suicide when I realized my marriage was over. I loved my Cheater’s footsteps. Unfortunately, we were both in love with him. The problem was, no one was in love with me. I will repeat the line from a book I read – “Love is a behavior.” What is loving about your husband’s behavior?

              You are mourning Helen. Even when we are mourning, we must muster the strength to bury what is dead. Start slowly, forcing yourself to focus on yourself and your children. Stop making someone a priority who has treated you (and his children) as an option. It is not easy, but for your survival and ultimate happiness, it is necessary. If you want to live your best life, you will have to let go of the life you thought you had and create a new life that you didn’t even know you wanted.

              (((HUGS))) to you Helen. You really can do it. You just have to begin . . .

              • “Unfortunately, we were both in love with him. The problem was, no one was in love with me”. BEST QUOTE EVER! I can so relate and I am sure many of us here can.

            • Oh boy, Helen, I know that one too. It is insult to injury. My moment was a sort of George Bush one: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

              and now I am quite sure I have no need to tolerate any more disrespect. Do I want to get divorced and go through this? NO. Do I want to sell our hard earned marital assets because of his insanity? NO. But it is happening.

              There is a calm and a peace on the other side, when you give up hoping.

              • . My moment was a sort of George Bush one: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

                Side note: This is a Russian proverb that concludes “Fool me twice, shame on me”, not with the title of a Who song “Won’t get fooled again” per GW.

            • The final straw? Realizing that holding on to something that was only there in my mind was not helping my children. He was not going to change, so if I wanted change, there was only one option.

              It was scary, so scary, but the love for my children that made me fight for my marriage was the same that pulled me through divorce.

              That moment, that straw, is different for everyone. I had to hit rock bottom, had to know I gave it my all, that I was not to blame (even if there was a 1% chance I would have tried, but this site learned me I was chasing unicorns).

              Don’t blame yourself for trying, but let those missed deadlines and broken promises speak louder than fear for the unknown.

              • Helen:

                This is awful for you, but he’s shown he’s not interested in truly reconciling. Real reconciliation means that he has to make effort. That he’s still seeing OW, missing deadlines, and in general trying to draw things out tells you that he’s truly not interested in reconciliation.

                Instead, he’s playing you. He knows that he has you on the hook, that he can tell you that he’s sorry, and then continue as before.

                File, divorce his sorry ass, and get therapy from someone who’s experienced with abuse survivors, because that is what you are and you will need someone who knows what they’re doing to help you get through this.

  • I am six and a half weeks out from a totally blind-siding d-day after a twenty year marriage (it’s our twenty year anniversary in exactly two weeks). I am a senior executive in an important government department and when I fell apart and told my boss and direct reports, they immediately folded themselves around me and told me to focus on looking after myself and the kids and that they would keep things running. In the few weeks I have been back at work they have consistently supported me and told me it is because of the support I have shown them in difficult times. I have been approached by a number of junior staff from other areas seeking to work in my area because of my good reputation as a people manager.

    I have kept myself sane and sober for my kids. I have left them alone when they needed to be left alone and made sure they know I am there for them when they need to talk. I have been honest with them about my feelings but told them I will never prevent them from seeing their father when they want to. I have put their interests first and formost and changed my working style to make sure I am home at a sensible time each evening and able to give them a home cooked dinner and talk about their days.

    I have cleaned my house nearly from top to bottom and worked to make it a tidy, calm, serene and reassuring place so that they feel safe and cared for. I have started buying myself a small bunch of flowers every week which makes our house feel welcoming and fresh and I hope helps to reassure them that there is still beauty and stability in life.

    I have drawn on the strength of my friends and family to stop myself from drawing strength and familiarity from my husband. I have kicked him out immediately but agreed to pay his rent in recognition that I was the primary earner and he stayed home to look after the kids.

    I have resisted the urge to demean myself by splattering my feelings on Facebook or denigrate him or the aging married skank he has been fucking for a year (except privately yo the friends I can trust).

    I have dismantled our marriage bed by myself and dragged it up two flights of stairs so that it was waiting for him when he came back to pick up his stuff. I have ordered and assembled a new bed for myself (with power tools and the unexpected discovery of his secret stash of flavoured condoms in the garage) and re-arranged my bedroom so it is mine, not his, and has no remaining trace of him or the aging skank.

    I am still in very early days and take two steps forward, one step back, but I am so grateful that I found this site to give me strength and remind me that things get better. You all inspire and amaze me. Thank you.

      • Hahaha – great idea (eeeeuww!).

        Thanks for the welcome and for this site. I found it not long after d-day and it has helped me immensely to process the total mind-fuck of it all. Meh is a long long way off but when I lie in my new bed at night I sometimes feel a strange and wonderful sense of peace that I can only think will grow stronger over time.

  • Wow, just….wow….these stories are simply awesome and inspiring and humbling. I started commenting on each one of them but realized I would be here all day. You guys absolutely rock.

    My D-Day came after 25 years of marriage, to a charming and “loving” father and “family man” who told me and everyone else we knew how much he adored me every single day. I found out on D-day that he had been cheating on me for at least 15 years with 2 co-workers who were also family friends– unprotected group sex, individual affairs, gas-lighting to the extreme.

    I am a lawyer, but not a divorce attorney. On D-day, as soon as ex left for work, I lined up my divorce lawyer and had her start drafting the complaint. I went to work and told my partners, who were beyond stunned and supportive. I told everyone, and I mean everyone I felt like telling. As Nord has stated, their horrified reaction as well as unhesitating support was therapeutic.

    I made more money than my ex and would have owed him significant alimony. So I read articles on how to manipulate a narcissist or sociopath and consulted with a colleague who has experience dealing with them. My ex gave up alimony while I acted weak and needy and oh-so-grateful for his “help” and “advice” at this difficult time (ex loved being my savior and destructor all at once, plus he thought his consulting business would soon be “taking off” and for the first time in his life he’d make his own money…riiiiiight).

    I remortgaged our family home in my name. I sold our beach-side vacation home despite loving it better than any place on earth. I kicked ass at work and had my best years ever since. I stopped drinking, realizing that I no longer felt like numbing myself. I got a divorce in 4 months from D-Day, and I danced when the decree came through (to the song “You’re a Lie” ). After the divorce I went NC. Ex discarded our children (S25, D20, S14) and has no relationship with them at all, so I do it all for them.

    I have to admit the betrayal was hard to process. I was stunned, sad, sobbing at times. I went to counseling for quite a while, and realized that I had symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. I would have to reason with myself for a few seconds every time I remembered what he did–“yes Kelly, he did cheat on you, no Kelly he did not love you and was pretending, yes Kelly he is gone”. What helped? Journaling, work, friends and family, counseling, for me also listening to angry or empowering songs (I discovered I- tunes, and for 2014 got a whole new more upbeat selection).

    I achieved Meh literally on a Tuesday. I was flying home from depositions in Orlando when I suddenly realized that I was always the successful wage earner, that I was the reliable and supportive parent, that I was the smarter and stronger and better person, and that I let him fool me because I did not trust myself and trust in myself enough, and because I so desperately wanted to believe him. Somehow that was freeing, and I achieved Meh.

    I believed that my life was ruined, and that I would never marry or even love again. But then I decided that I’d be damned if that was going to be the last story in my romantic life. I went on a date with my brother’s best friend and best man in his wedding. The differences between him and my ex were incredible to me but I am sure normal stuff for people who are not chumps. I never realized how shallow my connection to my ex was, how shallow he was, until I saw the difference.

    My fiance and I are getting married on June 28. I have never had the kind of love, relationship and support I have with him. What my ex did to me will always be there but it is fading. I still sometimes wonder about it, or wish he would at least regret what he’s done, but not often anymore. With a few bumps, my kids have continued to do well.

    Until I found CL, which was around the time I started dating my fiance, I did not have a way to view what happened to me, to verbalize it, to process it, and to deal with it. CL and ChumpNation have helped get me to where I am today.

    (((Hugs))) to all of you. We are MIGHTY.

    • Thanks for the Post Kelly. I’m no where near Tuesday but I know it’s coming. I am of no use in a romance now, but maybe someday I can stick my toe back in. I am not lonely though. I am too busy in therapy, job, and single dad life to feel lonely. But, your post caused me to think that I may find someone who is authentic and is genuine in their relations.

      Until then, chop wood carry water.

    • This line jumps out at me “(he) told me and everyone else we knew how much he adored me every single day.” Funny how what most people see as a show of true love, we chumps now see as a red flag. Here’s to hard-won wisdom.

      Hooray for you! Hooray for your engagement! And hooray for Tuesday Meh!

      • Ain’t this the truth! All my friends thought he adored me, even the guy at the local drug store remarked to me once that my husband “sure is crazy about you.”

        Yeah, sure he was.

        • Thanks River and Rumblekitty. Yes, as Maria said, I had everyone from the hairdresser to the man who cut our lawn admiring just how much my husband loved me, how proud he was of me. You can imagine their reaction when I told them the post D-Day revelations—they felt betrayed and played too. My ex is now pretty much in exile, won’t show up in our community, his and my “hometown” and place he thought he had been the king because he was the star quarterback in high school. But ah, that’s another part of the story that would take way too long to analyze.

          • Our friends felt the same way, some cried and some had nightmares after they heard about D-day. Ex had us all fooled…

            • Yes Lynn, my siblings are the same way, blown away, can’t believe what he did, wondering who the man was at every family function for 25 years. It has caused trauma to them too.

    • I’m so happy for you Kelly. Can you be able to direct me to the books, articles that you read on how to deal with a narc and sociopath?

      • Maria, the first book a friend directed me to was by Sam Vakin, called Malignant Self-Love. Boy was that insightful. Vakin is a self-professed narcissist, and so much made sense when I read it. He does address manipulating the narcissist here: http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistgullible.html and I remember reading that. I read everything I could get my hands on in Amazon and on the internet. It just helped me to “study” it. I truly think my ex is more of a sociopath because he does not seem to carry the anger and lack of control of a narcissist when challenged (just my humble viewpoint, but I digress).

        This following article, however, was one I printed out, highlighted, and used to craft emails to my ex, and guide my conversations with him:
        http://www.cheating-infidelity.com/Home/narcissism/how-to-manipulate-narcissist.html

        After all my reading, what I realized was that I was no longer “of use” to my ex because I was an attorney, he was scared of me, he knew that he had been found out and the news ripped through our community like a class 5 tornado, and there was no chance we ever could or would get back together. So I tried to figure out how I could still become “of use” to him again, and realized that he was a “hero-narcissist,” wanting to look good, wanting to be superior, and I could give him ego kibbles acting weak and needy, so that’s what I did. It was stunning at the beginning that he believed it, and scary too.

        Some of the emails and conversations I had with him were nauseating: “I…(sob, sob)…just need you to help me through this (gasp), you were the only man I’ve ever loved and I don’t think I can make it without your help…..Oh my goodness, I can’t breathe, I’m having a panic attack knowing you will no longer be in my life….If I have to pay you alimony I won’t be able to put (daughter) through college and I’ll have a nervous breakdown, I know my partners won’t be patient with that and I’ll lose my job, (snot bubbles)…..you are the only person I can trust somehow, please help me…..”

        Bleck! I felt like a monster myself and if my divorce had not come quickly I could not have kept it up. I also negotiated my divorce myself after my lawyer drew up the Settlement Agreement. I knew my ex would be put off if anyone else looked at him like he was a bad man, and that he had to be made to feel he was the smartest and most noble person in the room. I would actually pretend I didn’t understand certain clauses and let him explain them to me. Sheesh!!!

        Some Chumps, like Nord, say that that type of weakness was completely the WRONG way to handle their exes. It was a process of trial and error for me. At first I was disgusted, nasty and tough and he turned back into the cold-eyed monster he had become on D-Day. After I read these articles, I tried sweet, soft, needy, adoring, and kibble-throwing and it worked. He’d then tell me how good he looked, how much weight he lost, and I’d agree. He’d tell me he really HAD been a good husband because of x, y and z, and I’d say “you’re right” (never in writing). Once in a while I’d fall off the wagon and lose my shit with him, and then I’d abjectly apologize (with more sorrow than he ever expressed for cheating on me!), to try to keep him under control.

        It was draining, Maria, because all I wanted to do was scream at him and express my fury. And it was terrifying, because to me it was like dancing with the devil.

        As an attorney, I knew not to fight over certain things, and he got a chunk of my retirement money, some money up front, a car, etc. But in the end, it was worth it for me, because he gave up alimony and I got my divorce very quickly, something I desperately needed for my own sanity. And whether you manipulate him or not, just understanding these types of monsters really helped me understand what had just happened to me.

        (((Hugs)))

    • I love your story, Kelly. You and I have quite a few similarities between our ex freaks, what depraved monsters they are! I love how strong you are to have overcome all the nightmare you experienced, and your story has a happy ending! Hooray!

      • Thank you so much Glad. You and everyone here have given me such strength. And yes, our exes appear to have been separated at birth.

      • I’ll definitely send pics, CL. Wedding is June 28. I think our children (we each have 3) will be standing up for us, but my brother will be there standing proud. My nephews always called my fiance “Uncle” (he was also godfather to the oldest nephew), and now he’ll be married to their Aunt. Sort of cool!!

          • Thanks Jodi. My experience has given me such compassion for my fellow chumps though, especially housewives or those who made very little compared to their spouse. It was fairly easy for me to toss my dead-ass ex out of the home when I knew I could afford it without him. It was relatively simple to file for a divorce I knew I could pay for. It would be a nightmare to wonder if I could come up with the mortgage, to pray the child support comes, or to be stuck in limbo because I didn’t have the legal fees to get the divorce finalized. The women (or men) who have to do all of that (and who aren’t in orange jump suits on cell block B), are the real heroes (and sheroes), and the mightiest of all.

  • I filed for divorce the morning after d-day (May 23, 2012), selling my engagement and wedding rings for the cash to pay for the filing. I moved out of the shared house a month later, and I started nursing school three months post d-day. Went NC, made wonderful new friends and had a fantastic year. Recently, I found the exact job I want in a town two hours away. I am in the process of buying a cute little house just for me (down payment courtesy of my divorce settlement). So, within the span of two years, I have a new career in a new home, with new and old friends all around me.

    During my marriage, I had felt so incredibly lonely. I felt that I was always on the outside of life looking in. I also had an inner voice that told me that I was not liked by people, and that is why I was so alone. Now my life is so full, and that negative voice has completely disappeared.

    Oh, and last week I actually ran into XH at the grocery store parking lot! There was a time that I lived in fear of that. My heart would race if I saw a vehicle like his on the road, and I would be a total wreck for 15 minutes afterwards. But I was totally calm and collected during our grocery store meeting. It was like running into an old neighbor; you are courteous but not warm or friendly. We spoke for about two minutes, and he actually had the nerve to ask me to go to lunch sometime! I smiled and said “No, I don’t think so, but you take care” then got in the car and drove off. That was my moment of meh, and honest to God it was on Tuesday.

  • I am sticking to my guns and am finally making the job change I always wanted. I am leaving a high paying consulting job in the DC area for my dream job that I have wanted for the last 20 years. I am taking a 50% pay cut, but don’t get me wrong, I won’t be poor. I will just be happier. The kids are young adults now and no longer depend on momy’s paycheck. As for their daddy, well time for him to learn what it means to work and earn a living

  • I feel like Mighty Mouse because:
    -I did all my divorce work pro se and ended up paying less than $400 for the whole thing, all in court fees
    -I refinanced the house, bought him out, and own it free and clear
    -I now earn nearly twice as much as I did before I kicked him out
    -I got my oldest daughter through college and into grad school. Without loans.
    -I got my youngest launched into college. And I’m paying the tuition myself.
    -I reconnected with an old friend whose wife had died, and after two years of dating, we are now engaged (I got a ring in my Christmas stocking this year! Woot!) He is the antithesis of my XH – kind, patient, supportive, honest, loving
    -I bought power tools!!!! With my new partner, I’ve replaced every damn appliance in the house, learned how to use a miter saw, put up crown molding. I can use a circular saw, a drill, and a toilet snake, among others. And I bought myself a chainsaw for Christmas!
    -I’ve mastered the art of mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, hanging Christmas lights and using a snow blower, things I’d never done in my life.
    -I now sleep through the night. Every night.
    -Sex is awesome… Just saying.
    -I cut my hair, got highlights, bought sexy underwear, and paint my nails. I hadn’t done anything about myself and my own appearance for a decade before.

    You are NEVER too old for happily ever after!

  • These are truly amazing stories. Reading them all, I am so proud of everyone here. I think being humble is a big part of being a “chump”. We don’t think much of ourselves and being with an emotionally abusive, cheating and/or narcissist does little for our self esteem.
    I was a stay-at-home mom after having kids. My “x” and I agreed on that and I was very grateful for it. I started an in-house daycare to be able to stay home and bring in extra income. Looking back it was hard work…but I gave myself little credit because my “x” always told how easy I had it. I did that for about six years. Just like everyone else here…I was devastated on D-Day. Shakes, vomiting, insomnia…and four children that needed me. He moved in with this girlfriend and I managed to keep things together in my house and with my kids. I remember I would smile and reassure them while making breakfast and as soon as they got on the bus I would come home, collapse on the floor and just cry and cry. I never felt so wounded….but at the same time I recognize that as much as it hurt like hell….I “felt”…I was alive…..and I would rather feel pain than feel nothing at all. I had to keep consciously reminding myself of that.

    Like other chumps I tried to reconcile (he loved cake)…did the “pick-me” dance….and I had to realize that he is what he is…it was what it was…….and I needed to get off the toxic merry-go-round. It was the saddest, scariest thing I have ever done. I was with my “x” for 19 years and didn’t date much…he was pretty much all I knew.

    I was always interested in nursing….so I got myself a job as a patient care tech in local trauma center working in the ED….I went back to college and I’m halfway to my RN/BSN. I plan on going forward for an advanced degree. When I’m in the trauma bay being part of a team that works to save lives….I can’t tell you how it makes me feel. I’m honored to be able to be a part of that….I told my co-workers my story and they supported me in so many ways. I also found that I worked with many other “chumps” that have gone through this shit only to find happier lives…we have grown close.

    I’m hungry….and it feels good to be so hungry…it’s a healthy “hungry”…and I don’t need any unhealthy relationships to feed that hunger…it’s ME….I am so determined to develop myself professionally doing something that I love so much….and I’m proud to show my kids that life will hand you it’s challenges but you can work hard to make something good come out of something bad. To show my sons and my daughter how to treat a spouse and how to walk away if abused.

    I will never forget when one day during a meeting….my nursing director was praising me on a particular case I was in….she said to me, “Tina…I want you to make me a promise….ten years from now when you are running your own unit…..I want you to contact your loser ex-husband and thank him for leaving you….because it’s the best thing that man has ever done for you…” Wow…… LMAO…..she’s right!!!! Ha!!!
    Chumps….our spouses and partners did us dirty….they hurt us in ways we never thought possible….but let it remind you that you’re still very much alive…..in the end…they were only holding us down…… Time to spread our wings….you’re all such an amazing group!!

    • GREAT story! Your nursing director is totally right. That guy was holding you down. And it speaks well of you that you’ve chosen a profession that helps people in trauma. So much mightiness!

  • Not sure if this counts, but I did manage to settle with Mr Fab out of court, got him to pay an appropriate maintenance, sold one house, in the process of buying him out of another, got my girl into therapy, and have managed to move 6000 miles away from Mr Fab and the Downgrade.

    All while getting the silent treatment, taking further abuse from his family, and holding down four jobs, in the space of a year.

    Actually, when I put it that way, it does make me feel pretty mighty!

      • Thanks, CL,

        Chump Nation is indeed mighty! Still need to get a job, driving license, car, place to live, but after the year me and DD have had, that should be a peice of cake. Seeing her smile, and walk taller every day. And no fresh cuts…..our new theme song is ‘Fuck you’ by Lily Allen.

  • I’m sitting here at work, two months out from D-day. I made sure everybody knows what I’m going through, even though I was surprised to hear that some of them hadn’t even noticed a change in me. (I’m a good secret crier I guess.)

    I didn’t get the chance to do the Pick me dance, or false reconciliation. Literally, I went from hearing how much my husband loved me every day, to finding out he was having an affair for 5 months and was leaving me. He filed for divorce and I’ve just been trying to process everything. He has zero concern for what he’s done; and in typical cheater fashion, tries to reverse things and blame me, or makes up issues we never had, or actively tries to rewrite our marital history. My therapist says he’s obviously got a personality disorder, and I have to agree. I think every bouquet of flowers I got, and every piece of jewelry that was given to me was used as a cover for all his exploits, and turns out there were many.

    I don’t know if I will be able to stay in this house because I don’t know if I can get financing, although he’s quit claimed the place to me without me even being on the mortgage. I suppose it will all be settled by the judge and I will accept whatever they decide. I’m not going to let this decision hold me back from getting my life on track.

    I don’t feel mighty very often, I feel like an exposed nerve. But I did manage to get a therapist, Xanax, and Prozac within the first week. I go to work every day. I cry when I need to and read as much as I can to boost myself up. I sleep a lot, and try to be nice to myself. I’m going for sobriety starting today, and will concentrate on trying to eat more. I’ve lost 33 lbs in two months, so I’m exhausted much of the time and feel like my head is in a bag.

    I do feel mighty in that I am not begging for his return. I’m still standing, still breathing, and have to believe that this happened for a reason and that there will be better things in my life once I am free of this nightmare. This is a shoe that has been waiting to drop for a long time, and now that it has, I can go forward. I am sad, but I am also relieved that it’s happened, and that I don’t have to see him ever again.

    This site probably is the single most inspiring place I visit, so thanks for being here. It is truly lifesaving.

    • It’s early days Rumblekitty, trust that you are MIGHTY, right now you in doing the hardest part. I went through similar with lost weight, PTSD, therapy and drinking too much. Find a thing that makes you smile or laugh at least once a day. Remind yourself how peaceful coming home is. Do your therapy work on yourself, not just the hour you see the therapist. Jedi Hugs Mighty Rumblekitty !

      • Awe thank you – you gave me mighty tears. 😉

        I’m trying. The house issue has me stressed, and I’ll probably have to give up my animals if I have to rent. I can only do what is possible. I need to stop worrying about the future and worry about right now.

    • Hang in there RumbleKitty, it does get better. These are terrible early days for you, there is no way around them, only through. You have taken steps forward, realize that, celebrate that, and keep going. (((HUGE HUGS))))

    • I know what it feels like to feel like an exposed nerve. Thing is, when you’re going through that — later you’re going to look back and say Goddamn I Was MIGHTY. Mighty doesn’t feel mighty. It feels scary and unsure. You’re climbing a summit, but you’re going to arrive and check out the view soon. I promise.

      • Thanks CL, Queen Mother and Protector of chumplings every where. Your site has really helped me, even when I think this pain is bottomless.

        • Rumblekitty
          I am trying to get my jackhole, Roy, to quit claim on our 2nd house, first is being foreclosed. He likes to rewrite history too. Like, he WAITED AND WAITED to have kids and LOVED me so much he wanted them with me. UH, what about the baby you lost at just shy of 6 months with your xwife?
          I am scared to death to have the house all to my self but at the same time, I planned it out this way. Its the frickin teeter totter of standing on your own. I can do this, no I can’t.
          Today he fed the 7 year old a shit sandwich picking the kids up for visitation. 7 yo missed 4 on his practice test at school the week b4 xmas. today he got 110%, all correct plus the bonus. 7 yo was excited to tell him, roy said, well that is better than the last one. stupid dumb shit fuck. I looked at roy (normally I do NC) and said, well after that shit sandwich you don’t need to feed him dinner. then I walked back in the house. didn’t even care to be nice today. stupid jackhole.
          Good days, bad days, we all have them and we survive.

        • Rumblekitty you are doing great! The fact that you are still breathing, putting one foot in front of the other is huge! You are doing all the right things to help yourself, and you are not alone. Everyone here understands the pain you are going through and we’re here to support you until you feel better.

          • Thank you friend . . . I went through a whole box of Kleenex today because of you guys and it felt good. 🙂

  • So many incredible people with so much resilience and fortitude. It is humbling and awe-inspiring to hear your stories of not only surviving but thriving.

    It has been about 12 months since DDay and almost a year since I moved out after years (25-plus) of covert emotional abuse. I have not considered myself mighty (I will have to marinate on that), just determined that there are some meals made entirely of shit on which I am no longer willing to dine. I barely took any time off from work, even when I felt that I was on the verge of a breakdown. I knew I needed that one area of consistency, as everything else was in chaos. The couple of people at work who knew what I was going through were extremely supportive. I have continued to parent my still somewhat dependent but legally adult children and they are just now beginning to think of my tiny apartment as their new “home.” I have once again started baking and listening to my music, two things I enjoyed doing which I had been unable to do because of the trauma. One of the first things I did when I moved to my new place was to volunteer locally because I figured was one of the quickest ways out of my own pain was to help someone else. I have a regular once a month gig, plus I was able to do two cancer walks before the weather intervened. It has been a year of reconnecting with friends, but mostly with myself and things I had forgotten that I valued.

    I didn’t know how edgy and frantic I was living with the STBX until I began to experience the tranquility of living without him in my head and my space. These days, as he tries to bully me into quickly “settling” the divorce, all on his terms and to my total deteriment, I ignore him. When he refused to pay certain expenses related to our youngest child who is still in school while spending lavishly on his OW? Petitioned the court, using his spending on the OW as evidence of his ability to pay. I believe the top of his head may have exploded, as he was not anticipating that I would go on the offense in anything. There was a time I would have been afraid to stand up to any of his behavior (especially the last few years) for fear of his reaction and him “not liking” me. Now I am well aware that there is going to be a negative reaction, but I can’t and don’t care about that. Fuck that Guy (in his ass with a walrus’ dick). Am I being buffeted by the foul and ill winds of his passive-aggressive narcissism? All the time. Am I allowing him to blow me over any more? Nope. I cannot control the outcome, but I can fight hard for what I know is right and I intend to continue to do so.

    Maybe at the end of the day, that is what being Mighty is all about, which makes all of us pretty mighty. Chumps tend to do what needs to get done, in spite of the odds, no matter the obstacles.

    CL, you may never fully know the service and healing you have provided for people like me. I know we tell you all the time how valuable this spot is, but you (and this group of precious Chumps) literally helped to save my life and lead me toward truth and peace. I thank you for that.

    • Princess, standing up for yourself as you did IS mighty (and I burst out laughing, scaring my sleeping puppy, when I saw your reference to the walrus dick). You have a wonderful way with words, and have brought a smile to my face (or more often laughter) on many, many days. What a gift you have! You are mightier than you may think!!

      • Thank you so much for that Kelly. You are one of those wondrous Sheros who occupy this sight who has helped me keep my eye on the prize of healing and freedom.

        Traveling with humor through this crazytown that is the divorce from this seriously disordered, shit-encrusted, pus-filled jackanape keeps me out of that orange jumpsuit and out of the arms of the lovely ladies on cell block B.

    • Well, I’m glad I could be of service, if only so you’re here to pen phrases like “flaming turd from Satan’s ass.” It would be CL without your mightiness.

  • Hi Everyone,

    My cheating-double life-holier-than-thou no good former spouse left me and our five children two years ago (at the time all the kids were under the age of 11 yrs.). I was stunned. And now I’m nothing but over-joyed.

    Two months after he left, I went back to the university where I taught in my 20s (I’m now in my mid-40s) and my department thankfully let me return to do research and work on my PhD. At this stage, I’ve written two chapters of my thesis and have two more to go! I’m also happy to report that my kids are doing great–socially, spiritually, academically–in large part because we’ve got a great support system and we kicked their fuckturd dad to the curb. 🙂

    Best wishes to all of you on your journey–and thanks Chump Lady for leading the way.

  • I still don’t understand they did not pick up on the fact that I had not slept for days, was a total wreck and my eyes were a tad red rimmed from crying. I was hired! A job that would fit the children’s school hours, left me time for my own business.

    Guess they saw the fighting spirit shine through and I have not let down on that for one second, almost a year there now, exceeding any expectations they had! Hire a chump, hire a dedicated fighter!

    • Oh, I forgot to write I love all your successes! We are a mighty group and I love being here with people who truly understand. And some of you even arrived to Meh, can’t wait for that Tuesday… thanks to you I know for sure it’s coming!

  • Somehow you just get up each day and keep putting one foot in front of the other…I had 3 kids so I had no choice. Thank Goodness! They are my world and all that matter. So many people told me “I don’t know how you do it and you’re not having a nervous breakdown”. I didn’t think I was doing any extraordinary. Others had it worse. But now looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t have a serious breakdown. I divorced a narcissistic alcoholic who cheated and abandoned not only me but our kids too. He is not talking to us or providing any financial support for them (they are all in college)….his loss!! He will never get that time and respect back. In 14 months time I had some major life changing events: I finalized our divorce, sold the house we lived in for 20yrs (the only home my kids ever knew), moved into a rental that was a complete nightmare, 6 months later hired another lawyer, broke my lease and moved again into another rental, my car transmission went up, and my grandmother and 2 aunts all passed away. And many more minor things. More than the average person deals with in a lifetime much less 14 months. But I am sitting here in one piece and have lived to tell about it….still have good days and bad days. And I’m exhausted physically, emotionally,and mentally. But my kids and I are healthy. We have a ton of family and friends who love and support us. We are getting better emotionally and healing somewhat. We’ve learned to laugh about some things. Life is too short to waste our time dealing with idiots, Let them go. We are all good. We’re making it 🙂

  • Longtime lurker/reader, first-time poster.

    I am ten months from D-Day, and nowhere near the state of “meh,” but getting stronger every day. I had to chime in here and say you guys are nothing less than heroes. I have been reading here for the last couple of months (even all the archives, all of the comments) religiously, and I there has not been a day that goes by in which I am not thankful for the existence of this site and the people on it.

    Reading these stories makes me want to stand right up on my desk (yes, I’m fucking off at work) and shout to the world how MIGHTY WE ARE!

    You are all inspirations. I needed this today. Thank you!

    I am not where I want to be just yet, but I can see it coming. It is stories like these which give me the faith to know I’ll get there…and then I’ll be back here, telling other chumps like me just how I’m mighty…and they can be, too 🙂

  • I JUST GOT DIVORCED!! (sorry for yelling…) I’ll spill the whole story beans when I calm down and finish my celebratory nap. 🙂

  • My Ex announced to me while we were in the process of packing up our home of 13 years and moving to a rental (we had to sell our home to help pay off debt from his failed business ventures…many failed ventures…) that he had rented his OWN place and would be leaving our marriage of 20 years and our two boys to “find his happiness.” (I found out later that “happiness” was the name of the woman he was immediately dating – and yes, I know he had to have had her waiting in the wings but I have never gotten concrete proof). In addition, I found out that his mother – who I had always felt closer to than my own mother – had assisted him in finding his little bachelor pad. Also, his sister had paid for an attorney to help him craft his self-employed income over the months leading up to his announcement so that he paid the least amount of child support possible. In the midst of this shit storm of betrayal, I managed the following in 3 months time:
    Get 13 years of life packed, moved and unpacked
    –Sit through hours of mediation to craft a separation agreement with the man I loved so much but who suddenly had become a cold, unfeeling stranger
    –Find a second job as the child support I was entitled to in our state was not enough to cover the rent
    –Help plan and manage a huge annual conference at my full-time job
    –Enroll my youngest son in his new middle school
    –Buy my older son his first car and purchase a car to replace my van that died the week after separation papers were signed
    –Oh…and nurse my mother through a 2 month hospital/rehab center stay after she was involved in a very serious (almost fatal) car accident that occurred a few weeks after my ex moved into his love shack.
    Yep, I am a rock star!! Thank you for giving me a chance to see it all in print. It’s pretty amazing really…

  • For me, these things come to mind:

    1. Going from struggling to sleep in my apartment to enjoying the time by myself.
    2. Having the guts to get up to go to work the day after I nearly had a breakdown in front of my students on the first day of school.
    3. The beginnings of having true ownership of who and what I am and being what I want to be, not what others want me to be.
    4. Knowing my kids will be OK even if I don’t live in the house with them anymore because I’m still their dad.

    • I’m so sorry you don’t live with your kids. Chump dads really get fucked. But CW you sound like an awesome father and a brave person. I know I would not have had the wherewithal to stand in front of a classroom after D-Day. (I worked in a cubicle.) That took guts.

      • Yup, tough in front of the classroom. After DDay I spent the last 7 weeks of the semester in limbo, had no idea what was going to happen (this was before infidelity admissions).
        I have very few memories of that time, but students and colleagues tell me I seemed ok, just thin (rapid weight loss due to inability to eat)

        • aww CW, realizing you need to, and getting to know yourself after being lost for a long time is the hardest part, you are Mighty

  • I’m still struggling with my own but I have a day I still look back and say how did I do that? I found out about serious affair #2 at lunchtime a few years back. That afternoon I had scheduled to tour an assisted living home for my father in law. I picked myself off the floor, wiped my tears, threw my triplet preschoolers in their carseats, picked up my mother and went out to town to the living center. No one knew a thing was going on. I was able to get him in the home and even was able to find some funding for veterans we didn’t know about. We were able to get him in right away and he continued to live out his life in a loving caring enviroment. The family was so thankful that I was able to find something so great and my father-in-law welcomed and loved me until his dementia took over. I never regretted doing something positive for someone else that day although emotionally I needed to fold up and die.

    Fast forward 10 years- triplets are teens, STBX was repentant until the porn addiction, the virtual sex, the strip clubs, the “texting” of just friends and now the much younger girlfriend he loves and has to run away with. I can’t rewrite the past 10 years but I can make for a much better future. I stayed for the secure income, a semi-parenting partner with triplets and the occasional sparkle of attention he would give me to keep me at bay wanting more.

    I now know I WILL be a survivor of narcissitic, emotional and physical abuse. I gave him the first 24 years he doesn’t get anymore!

  • Luckily my boss is also a good friend. After D-day I went to work the next morning and burst into tears while telling what happened. She’d been through a terrible divorce years ago so she immediately called her lawyer and got me an appointment. She helped me get together the necessary documents for my lawyer because I was such a mess I could hardly concentrate long enough to do anything.

    I sorted through 31 years of memories and packed everything up by myself, I asked him to stay away until after I was gone. It took a month and those were the worst days. I’d cry all the way home from work every day because it felt like walking into a tomb when I got home. What was once a safe and loving place was now empty and dead (my son had just moved out and gotten married two months before D-day). The home where I’d raised my children was now just an empty shell with me rattling around inside. I moved in with my friend and stayed there for a year while I negotiated the settlement.

    I was completely devastated and blindsided so a lot of the time living with my friend was spent just trying to process what had happened. Anyway, it was a restful and supportive place to live and I was able to catch my breath there. I learned how to be more independent by watching my friend successfully living on her own and managing her business. I feel really grateful that I had someone who understood what I was going through to help me during that difficult time.

    During the summer I took a 9-hour road trip to see a cousin, I’d never driven anywhere that far by myself. I also ended up buying a house of my own and moving into it a year later. It’s perfect and I love it. I also started dating someone who’s become a great companion and now I’m working on taking some classes to boost my job skills. Dating again was extremely scary but also healing. It’s been two years since D-day and I am stronger than ever, but I’ve still got a long way to go.

  • As a literature teacher, almost everything I teach uses infidelity or some sort of betrayal as an important plot line. Not only did I come to work every day and still give it my all, hammering home to my students the ugliness and consequences of infidelity and/or betraying the people you’re supposed to love and protect, but I kept it together so well that no one (outside from my very tiny, close circle of friends at work) had any idea that my life was falling apart and that I cried myself to sleep almost every night. People were shocked to hear that I was divorced and that my relationship ended over two years ago since I didn’t give any indication at work that I felt beaten down and broken.

    I also found my independence and my voice again. I bought my own house. I dealt with a selfish cheater in mediation and kept it together. I stood up to him when he thought he would ride roughshod over me in our discussions of custody, CS, and division of assets. I got my lawyer to give him a smackdown when he thought he could get away with breaking the legal agreement. I shielded my children from my ex’s behavior but also told them the truth of what he had done in age appropriate ways rather than cover for him. However, I also took the high road when I wanted to trash my XWH to our children and go for blood in the legal agreement. My dignity, my freedom, and my love for my children took precedence.

    However, I also have to say that I credit this site and SI for helping me to keep it together. The collective wisdom I learned in both places saved me from making many big mistakes, including losing my temper and turning my divorce into an expensive courtroom drama.

    • I really like how you hammer home to your students that infidelity hurts people and is shitty, narcissistic behavior versus romantic, edgy, and star-crossed. I bet they’ll remember you for speaking to them frankly about adult subjects.

      And way to assert yourself in the divorce!

  • Oh, I also forgot to say I took up painting again and was in my first summer art show. I also performed on the piano at the new church I joined. I’m just now starting to feel like writing again…

      • Yeah, I was an artist but it had been YEARS since I’d felt any type of creativity. The first creative love that returned was music. All I wanted to do was play the piano at first and the enjoyment and feeling of accomplishment I had from playing as a child started to come back. Music was my first love and now me and my boyfriend go to musicals and concerts all the time. It’s awesome.

        • I more than get it. The music desire was the first to return and then art, painting that crept into my life again. I am so looking forward to a pallet of oils.

  • It’s been great reading all of your posts, CL and everyone.

    I found a new job across the country, packed a whole house full of stuff, moved it, and relocated with my young children, leaving STBX behind. Am close to family now, so it’s good, in the long run.

    I was mighty, although I don’t feel mighty. I hope my feelings will catch up to my actions.

  • I am glad you posted this, CL. I have wanted to ask for a couple of inspirational blog posts.
    I am not as mighty as some of you (you are all so amazing! My story is not painful, but it is my story)

    I am MIGHTY. ironically, I learned this in the time before DDay, which is what helped me the last 20 months, but it took some time to sink in.

    DDay #1 was 1999 after less than 5 years of marriage. I accused then H of cheating, he denied, just infatuation, we went into therapy. Yes, I was a chump, but we were HS sweethearts, went to different colleges in different states. If we could get through that, of course it was meant to be.

    Fast forward the next 12 years. H increasingly passive, not engaged, said not us, work.
    So Aug 2011 he took a leave from work and moved to DC for a one year position. I encouraged it. My sister did something similar, so I knew of the potential. He came home every 4-6 weeks to see me and the kids. Next 7 months, a complete seesaw…. Daily phone calls, handwritten letters about how much he loved me and missed me…. But during home visits, increasingly distant.

    I completely exhausted myself in those 7 months, full time work and making sure the kids did not miss out on anything (they were 11 and 8 at the time). I was a single parent for all intents and purposes, though I discover I had a wonderful group of friends to help when needed. In March 2012, I was worn out and got very sick for a week. Next week, H came home and said he was tired of the lie.WTF?!?! 2.5 months of therapy, trying to work through things, telling no one at work, etc. In May 2012, information drippled out over 3 weeks: DDay #1, I was in love with her; then, I am in love with X in DC, though it is nothing physical (who? What?) then, yeah, DDay#1,that was a physical affair… But only 1x (what? I got pregnant during that time, what about STDs?!?!)
    June 2012: still not decided on divorce, PTSD symptoms after I found out H and OW were together on his business trip to Jamaica.
    July 2012: kids and I went alone to Europe; I drove on the left side without killing anyone!

    Divorce was finalized in March 2013 (24 yrs together, almost 19 yrs married). Less than 6 months later, he married the 12 yr younger AP, kids were not included, had a new baby. I became a single parent again in September when he moved out of state to be with her, and then 5 days ago exH moved overseas with new family.

    Yesterday was Tuesday, and I realized I was at meh. It was such a peaceful feeling.

    I decided to dig deep into savings and the kids and I went to Australia for the New Year. It was an extremely stressful autumn, esp. for D13. We deserved a nice break, and I wanted to do it while the kids still want to spend time with me (they are now 13 and 10).
    We spent two weeks hanging out with friends at the beach, etc. When we came home, exH was out of the country (for good? Who knows). I was at peace. Sure, exH has a new family. But they were both cheaters. The last 3 months, he has only seen our children a total of 10 days. At this point, given school, he will not physically be with them until April or May, andonly if we can work out the kids not missing school.

    Yesterday, Tuesday, I went into my daughter’s room, and saw a formal portrait of the kids with exH and their new half sister. I did not know they had it taken; must have been over Thanksgiving. I looked at exH holding the baby, and felt nothing. I looked at his eyes and saw the same half smile on his face that has been visible in pictures for 15 years. Such a contrast with the our kids’ open smiles and shining eyes.

    So, this has ended being more long winded than I had intended, but it’s s part of the larger story has to why I am MIGHTY.

    I survived as a single parent while still married, so I can survive now.
    The kids laugh via video chat with exH, but they laugh _AND_ cry with me.
    I was always honest and made the effort on our relationship.
    I did the best I could with the information I had been provided.
    I have an amazing job with wonderful friends and colleagues.

    Yesterday was Tuesday. I AM MIGHTY.

    • Not only are you MIGHTY you’re enviable. Do you know how many chumps would love to have their cheating exes move overseas? Not to make light of how hard this may be on your kids, but at least it’s not confusing and ping-pongy (breaking their hearts with disappointment after disappointment). He’s just fucking GONE. Speaks volumes. Impossible to misinterpret.

      • CL, yes, I know I am enviable. It was tough the 12 months we split custody, but it has also been tough now with no breaks (I miss the alone time).
        But I would not have it any other way.

        And his abandoning his kids, it does speak volumes. Virtually everyone has told me (friends, his sister, etc): I can’t believe he’d leave the kids. Of all people, I never thought he would be someone who could do that, etc, etc.
        ExH has worked so hard in his mind to stay the good guy (paying more support than required, the marriage was long over so it was not cheating, I hated his family, etc), but to leave your kids when he could have stayed. He had a good job, with other prospects.

        It does not just speak volumes, it’s a spotlight beaming across the sky.

        • I love the comment Ï was a single parent while still married, so I can survive now”. Amen to that. I too was that single parent while married. 21 years of being a single parent. The alone time is hard but being a mum to the most beautiful kids in the world certainly makes up for anything. You are doing amazingly. You are MIGHTY.

  • I think this is one of the best posts on this site and it deserves a sticky at the top, because we all need this kind of support and encouragement that we CAN prevail! These stories are just so inspiring.

    Here is a list of things I feel mighty about since D-Day.

    After discussing finances, I went completely NC only weeks after DDay. No pick me dance.
    I started running. I’m running 2 first ever 5Ks in March. I can now run 3.5 miles.
    I bought power tools and I know how to use them.
    I know how to fix a toilet (I know they’re kinda easy but it’s a small accomplishment!).
    I paid for a new backyard that will up the value of my house (it’s already worth $100K more than what I owe on it)
    I painted the whole interior of my house and made it my own.
    I saw a lawyer and she RULES.
    I spoke up at work about making more money and there is a promotion for me in the works, hopefully by March.
    I got a roommate and the rent is going into savings that will pay for my divorce.
    Once I get that promotion I’ll be making almost double what I make now, and I’ll file his ass and get the house in my name.

    I am feeling pretty mighty now, but in a few months when I can actually file I’ll feel like Gladiator!

      • Thank you so much! It does feel good re-reading what you post, along with many many other awesome triumphant stories!

    • OMG, you’re a total field marshall! Or should I say “Gladiator”? Rock on Spartacus!

      And I will sticky this one soon, along with some other uplifting posts earlier.

      • Thanks Lady! I was able to skip the pick me dance altogether thanks to your site! No joke, I found CL just when shit was blowing up, and thank the heavens I did! I credit a lot of this to you! THANK YOU for making sense out this mindfuck!

        Spartacus! 😀

  • I am new to this site, but my D Day was in September of 2012, on my 40th birthday. My wife had been having a 3 yr affair with an old college fling. I am a college professor at a small liberal arts college, and for the 8 months of the pick me dance I through myself into work. So, during the most emotionally devastating year of my life that saw the end of my 10 year marriage, I was awarded Professor of the Year at my institution, as well as receiving a book deal. I was certainly a chump for a very long time.

    • Welcome to you Cletus! And to your cheater I say BAZINGA! You won that award and that is mighty. She’s a loser for chumping you.

    • Congrats on the award and book deal! Woot! And if it’s any consolation, there is something about that 40th birthday. Mine was just before D-Day #1 and I spend it shoveling shit (literally — I got myself a truckload of cow manure for my birthday, for my garden, and as I stood shoveling shit I thought… this is a metaphor for something but I don’t know what. Then my metaphor called in Nov. It was the OW.)

    • Awesome news, Cletus.
      I am also in academia, and I have to admit the 7 weeks post DDay, until the end of the semester, remain a blur to this day. I just went on autopilot and somehow muddled through. There is no way I could have pulled off Prof of the Year!

      • Thanks you all…It has been a tough year and a half, but 41 has been much better and finally getting to the point that I am excited about my single life, and I am a better parent alone. I have to say I really like this site, as it is well written and intelligent.

  • I am so blessed by all these stories, and have been since finding this site. What an inspiration you all are to me!

    My exH called me on the phone the week before our 10 year anniversary in 2008 and told me he was never coming home again. Two weeks later, he left the country, and until seeing him in court a few months ago, I hadn’t seen him in over 5 years.

    When he left, I’d been a SAHM for over 6 years, with a 2 and a 5 year old. I found a miracle job, and was surrounded by angel-co-workers, as I sat at my desk and cried so many days. I cried on my way to and from work – for the marriage that I thought I’d had – but mostly for the two babies who were now in daycare 10 hours/day who’d never even been to a babysitter.

    He called a few months later, demanding a divorce, or he’d kidnap the kids and hide them overseas. Admitted he’d had a girlfriend the whole 10 years – they were getting married, and “You’d like her – she’s wonderful”. Our whole marriage was a joke. And he claimed our daughter wasn’t his; and somehow forgot to tell his family/OW that he even had a son…

    I cashed in some IRA $; filed for a divorce by publication (he wouldn’t disclose his address); and worked really hard. I had to re-enter the job market at an entry level, and we were so poor I couldn’t afford popsicles for the kids. But then all the miracles started happening. People were so kind; an IRS agent found an error that paid for new tires; I got a raise at work that was EXACTLY to the $ the amount of child support each month that he’s still never paid. The lady at McDonald’s where I stopped for coffee would tell me each morning that she was praying for my babies. My hair stopped falling out (it fell out in handfuls in the beginning…)

    I started cooking with onions and spices again (he forbid that); and I sat down and played the piano again (also forbidden). The kids stopped having nightmares. I realized that I wasn’t “pathetic, stupid, and crazy” – and that my marriage was far more lonely than being single. I laughed out loud, and my daughter started laughing again too. I trained for and ran a 5k; my daughter and I went parasailing. The angel ladies at my kids’ daycare taught them to ride 2-wheelers and pulled their teeth for me 🙂

    Right in the middle of the divorce drama, my best friend/younger sister developed a drug habit, and robbed my house and my mom’s house. I worked with my other siblings and the courts to have her convicted and sent to a locked rehab (3 other rehab stints hadn’t worked). It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and she hated me. She’s been clean now for almost two years, and we are rebuilding our relationship – just as my mom (who lives two blocks away) is showing signs of dementia.

    Now, 5+ years later, he came back to the US. His first step was to threaten to kidnap the kids again if I disputed his petition to reduce child support (he now owes over $80,000). I did freak out a little, but have rebounded (thanks to you all!). I’ve hired an attorney. I don’t take his calls, and didn’t cry in court when I had to face him and he claimed “we have a GREAT relationship!” I was promoted at work again, and set up a trust to protect assets for my kids. I bought and learned to use a shotgun. I admitted out loud for the first time to my family that he was physcially abusive. I held my duaghter and we cried together when she told me she remembered her dad slamming my head into a car window while I was driving – she was only 5 years old. My children are both strong, kind, and wise – and they are sure that I love and treasure them. And I’m prayerfully confident that I can handle the upcoming court issues without being chumpy. And that’s largely due to the inspiration from all of you. THANK YOU!

      • Thank you Dat – our stories have lots in common. You are my inspiration as well (oh, and one of the things that was also “forbidden” was any movie exH didn’t like, including all types of sci-fi fantasy…proud to say that the kids and I now OWN ALL 6 Star Wars movies 🙂 )

        • oh hell to the yeah girl! you watch what you want and turn that TV off when you want, it feels so good to take back the power over our own lives, amiright? HA. I painted my living room purple because I like purple. 🙂

    • I know I’ve read parts of your story before Redefining, but reading this altogether just choked me up and brought tears to my eyes. I think my journey has been hard, and it has, but not in comparison to you and so many of my other chump-sisters and chump-brothers. You define the word strong woman and good mother. And it sounds like you have a guardian angel watching your back. God bless.

      • ReDe,
        The fact that you have experienced so much shit and have excelled through it all is mind blowing to me. I am so happy that you have worked to get what you have needed and have in fact received it in both dollars and support. That part of your story warms my heart.

        You are awesome and I wish you so much happiness and you will be strong in court as you are no chump anymore! Be proud of all you have done and accomplished for yourself and your children and remember all of the good about yourself when you are in court.

        Please tell us all the good news when you are finished, I am wishing you all the strength you need and don’t forget you have a large army with you at all times don’t forget that!

  • My healing didn’t start until I actually verbalized, “I want a divorce.” I had been performing the pick me dance for 18 months (he was basicaly carrying on 2 affairs with 2 differnt women) up to that point and i just finally reached my breaking point. I haven’t looked back since. I found an apartment, hired movers and was gone within a month. I kept it from work because I didn’t need unsolicitated advice and I liked having my last “normal” place. I held strong, he did a lot of crazy stuff. I field for divorce and moving through that process. Oh yeah, all while raising our 4 year without any help financially from him (that will be changing once be divorce is final).
    Saying those words and following through have given me so much strength. I’m starting to recognize that woman in the mirror again and so proud of myself. I knew I could always do it but now I BELIEVE it!

  • Holy cow, these stories are so amazing! I am beyond proud of Chump Nation. Chumpions every one!

    I am still early on, divorce not yet finalized, but have been living on my own with the kids for 4 months now. Despite not having received any child support payments, I’ve been keeping all the bills paid and everyone fed & clothed. I also didn’t miss a single day of work. I am exhausted, but quite reasonably so, and am learning to be gracious with myself. I’ve taken up new exercise activities, and been intentional about spending more time with friends. (ReDefiningMe, I so understand you about rediscovering the “forbidden” activities we once loved.) I have spoken the truth to everyone; enough with the secrets! I’m not perfect, but I’m living in the light.

    • Psyche,

      Hugs to you. I don’t get child support either, so know that all the Chumps are so proud of you for making it on your own – what an amazing example you are setting for your children!

      Oh – and enjoy the “forbidden” stuff – he wouldn’t let me watch M*A*S*H, so one of the first things I did when we had a snow day was watch about 15 episodes…lol.

    • Psyche- it sounds as though we are in very similar circumstances. It has been 4 months for me too. Eventhough it is just me and my daughter, I felt more alone living him than I do now. I have also slowly started letting more and more people in on the truth. Keep up the good work!!

  • Chump Nation, I am in awe of your strength in the face of one of the most devastating betrayal a human being can face. My story is not harrowing but I am proud of myself for transforming from an insecure doormat into a person who finally knows her worth. You have all been a tremendous support in this transformation. Whenever I felt not completely understood, whenever I felt that my caring family and friends didn’t really “get it”, I came to this website because we who frequent it completely “get it”. I have received most of the validation I needed at Chump Lady as well as many practical tips. One of the worst things that I could ever imagine happening to me did. And I didn’t die. I feel like I can now handle almost anything else that comes my way.

    In summary, it took me about a month to shake out of the shock of betrayal and another eight months to reach a finalized divorce. In between I hired an excellent therapist and a very good attorney. I told our family and friends what was happening so that he could not put a sanitizing spin on the narrative. (He didn’t see that coming – hahaha!) I engaged in lots of strategic maneuvering to slowly move out of a disadvantaged starting position. Eventually I got a very fair settlement of the marital property, child support, and the visitation schedule I believed was in the best interest of our child. Went to trial to do it and it was worthy every single dollar to stand up for myself. He thought he was going to roll me over like a puppy and scratch my belly. In divorce terms, I smoked him and he still doesn’t realize it. Too busy poking OW’s crotch. Too busy trying to turn himself into the victim of the shit storm he and his OW started. These pitiful distractions have their value!

    I joke that I lost 190 pounds and then another 60 pounds of my own. I am the healthiest I have been in nearly 20 years because I MUST remain alive for the sake of my child. Someday she will look back on all of this, understand what happened, and hopefully see me as a fine role model. I want her to love with the softness and kindness of a Chump. I also want her to give off a vibe that says “Because I am kind doesn’t mean I won’t kick the ever-living shit out of you if you deserve it.” She will learn this from ME. (We had a “boundaries” talk yesterday after I abruptly shut the door in the face of someone aggressively soliciting at my door.)

    The biggest change in 2013 was that I went from doubting myself to understanding that I was almost always the most reasonable, sensible part of that unfortunate pairing. He has not changed a bit because he has no reason to change. It has been a pleasure to step out of his way and witness him obliviously make foolish mistake after foolish mistake, with many more to come, I am sure. It has also been a relief to no longer feel tethered to a canoe cascading over a waterfall. Paddles flailing, shit-eating grin while screaming “we’ll be okay, we’ll be okay!” No more magical thinking!

    Hugs to you all! Stay strong! Stay inspired! Get good advice here if you need it!

    • I want her to love with the softness and kindness of a Chump. I also want her to give off a vibe that says “Because I am kind doesn’t mean I won’t kick the ever-living shit out of you if you deserve it.”

      I love this.

    • Jamberry, where should I begin? So much of what you said makes me want to scream “YES!” I am in awe of your calm swim through the legal system, love that you smoked the ex and he is too stupid and distracted to know it, and truly love your description of wanting your daughter to “love with all the softness and kindness of a Chump” (without the betrayal of course!). Yes, you were the “most reasonable, sensible part of that unfortunate pairing.” One day he’ll realize it but you won’t be around to see it.

      I particularly loved this:

      “It has been a pleasure to step out of his way and witness him obliviously make foolish mistake after foolish mistake, with many more to come, I am sure. It has also been a relief to no longer feel tethered to a canoe cascading over a waterfall.”

      Wave bye-bye to the narcissist, Jamberry, the best is yet to come.

      • Thank you, Kelly! I am beginning to truly believe that many goods things are in store me and for the rest of Chump Nation.

    • “Because I am kind doesn’t mean I won’t kick the ever-living shit out of you if you deserve it.”

      I love this – exactly what I need to learn! I’m going to stick it above my bathroom mirror and recite it every morning. Thanks, jamberry.

      • Rosie Boa, glad you found something that resonated with you. This site has been a treasure trove. From the juiciest, most satisfying name-calling (slunt, tired twat, asshat, fucktard are among my favorites) to unadorned truth (“Know your worth”, “A better life awaits you”, “The best revenge is a life well-lived”, “Fuck that stupid shit”). Some days, this site saves me, you know?

    • Oh how I love your statement about stepping out of his way to witness his foolish mistakes! I am experiencing that as well – just found out last week that my Ex has gotten himself into a major pickle regarding taxes (don’t mess with Uncle Sam) and I am so unbelievably thankful that my finances are no longer tied to his dysfunction! Our entire 20 years of marriage was a roller coaster ride of one financial disaster after another – one failed business or foolish investment after another – punctuated by brief periods of prosperity where loads of money was wasted on season tickets to sporting events or fancy vacations (rather than sensible things like debt reduction). The security I have now of a paycheck every two weeks…budgeting…living within my means…starting to save a little for emergencies…it’s just so freeing. How did I live like that for 20 years??

      • Nicole, did we marry the same guy?! The parallels I see here are sometimes startling. I was actually afraid to amass any savings because I never knew what Fred Flintstone idea (borrowed that from a friend who has known us for 20 years) he was going to propose next.

        My ex proudly refers to himself as a “dreamer”. I knowingly refer to him as “delusional”.

  • “The thing about divorce is that it doesn’t really kill you.” Under A Tuscan Sun

    I didn’t die from being cheated on, I didn’t succumb to his finding someone else; some would have.

    I filed for divorce and he became critically ill. I stopped the proceedings and agreed to stay until he is better. I finished a manuscript deadline and the book was published. I still do not know how I did that.

    As a typical bi-polar, his finances are in total disarray. I was never allowed to know anything about how much money we had. He said it was none of my business. Now that he is incapacitated I am totally responsible. I am pulling together every piece of paperwork I can find and trying to organize this mess. I was his total caregiver, 24/7 for all of 2013. He is now hospitalized and I have just had my first day off in over a year. I have never enjoyed being alone so much in my entire life. I will do everything I can to see that he is well taken care of, but I will no longer be his total caregiver and I will re-file divorce papers as soon as possible. I’ve learned, through this nightmare, that I can be responsible, dependable, creative, and down right smart.

      • “Karmacally weird” I just fell off the bed and had to pick myself up off the floor. I just keep getting into these bizarre situations while trying to dump him, keep some assets, ease my conscience, etc., etc., etc. The only way I have survived is by finding (sometimes, just a sliver) humor in everything. When I am desperate and can find no way to smile, I think back to when I sent the ow on the wild goose chase over two states. I giggle and find I usually drift off to sleep with a smile on my face. Thank you again, for always being here when I needed you and for not attacking my goofy way of dealing with things.

        • Yoder, you are a good person and no matter what, this is your life, your choices – only you have to live with you. No judgement. Jedi Hugs.

          • Oh my. You remembered Yoder, the amish jedi. Bless your heart. Over the 2013 “unfortunate incarceration” Designing Women, I have been able to stash some cash, which has given me a sense of “do ability” that I never had before. He raves to his doctors about the care I have given him, and you know, it has been rather nice, not having to defend every decision I have made. Thank you for the kind words.

  • I lived through: three miscarriages, three failed fertility treatments, the discovery that in between treatment #2 and #3, the X (Monsieur Crazy-Maker Extraordinaire) realized he “wasn’t feeling anything” but “didn’t want to cheat” so engaged the services of a masseuse (Ms. Professional Masturbator), and then, he began his rapid descent into alcoholism. I asked him to leave the home while he decided what he wanted life to look like…he moved in with Ms. PM (I was not aware of this…I became a detective and put the pieces together). Then he moved home (pick meeeee!!!), I discovered that Ms. PM had an overnight visit at our home while I was out of town for a work retreat, our car was stolen, he lost his business, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that was certainly exacerbated by the unrelenting stress. I hosted an intervention, he went to rehab. While he was in treatment, the Professional Masturbator stalked me, and then, enter Ms. Rehab Romance. Out of rehab, say hello to the Coke Whore he met at a 12-step meeting…Maybe he’ll get better, I thought. (After all, I have compassion, or maybe I am the World’s Greatest Spackler). Uh-oh, relapse. Guess who’s got a drug addiction? Sent him to his family’s home for a few weeks to try again…there he met the woman whom he impregnated, likely around our anniversary. Divorce was final in June, the Blessed Event arrived one month later. (You all may recall he used the name we had discussed.)

    I lived through it all. I faced the pain head-on. I maintained my dignity. My integrity is above reproach. I even maintained compassion for how the poor guy kept screwing up his life, over and over. Every single day of my life, I can wake up and look myself in the mirror and admire the person I see. That’s mighty important.

    I got a great promotion. I landscaped the yard. I prevailed in the divorce settlement. I kept the pets. I reclaimed and redecorated the bedroom and the house. I became a grillmaster and a great cook. This past year, I took a trip every month and reclaimed my favorite places that I’d shared with him, and found some new favorite spots, too.

    I took care of myself, and through it all, I did not murder one person! Not even once! That took some mighty strong restraint. (Some days, you could catch me singing “today I didn’t even have to use my A.K….I got to say it was a good day.”)

    Thanks to you CL and my fellow Chumps – I don’t always pipe up, but I was very fortunate to find this site close to its inception. I’ve absorbed every post and every comment. You’ve shored me up, and taught me it is OK to speak about the unspeakable.

    When I think of mighty chumps, I think of the poem The Coming American:

    Bring me men to match my mountains;

    Bring me men to match my plains, —

    Men with empires in their purpose,

    And new eras in their brains.

    Bring me men to match my prairies,

    Men to match my inland seas,

    Men whose thought shall pave a highway

    Up to ampler destinies;

    It is a bit gender biased, but how wonderful for us all to think of having new eras in our brains, and paving our highways up to ampler destinies. Here’s to us, the most funny and wise group I’ve seen on the web!

    • OK Doop, that made me cry too! Oh and I DO remember the story of your ex, I hate him about as much as I hate Glad’s ex, they’re the kind of people who inspire me to hope they make it to that inner ring of hell.

      Love love love the poem. You are awesome!!

      • Thanks Kelly! The day I told the story here about the Blessed Event’s name, you wrote that that was a monstrous thing for him to do….it was like you loaned me your strong backbone on a day I had been knocked to my knees. You have my gratitude too, and I am so very happy for your happiness. (You are miles ahead of me on that front…the thought of dating still makes me cringe. Not quite Tuesday in Doop-land.)

        Having my X up there with your’s and Glad’s…it’s like he climbed up to the Mount Olympus of Deception and Dysfunction! A Pantheon of Perversion. A Triumvirate of Twistedness. Oh, how they suck.

        • Yes Doop, your ex made it to the “big leagues,” haha. But seriously, I will never forget reading your first post, I had to swallow hard and grit my teeth because it so enraged me to think of them using your name on their blessed little spawn (poor thing born to such suckitude). I keep trying, but have not yet come up with the right descriptive word for people that sick, that disgusting, that evil, ah well, see I still haven’t got it either. I’ll just go with “Pantheon of Perversion.”

          Doop, there is no way someone as strong and cool as you won’t get to dating, Meh, and anything else you set your mind to. You go, girl!!

    • Oh great, Like I haven’t been crying enough today. 🙂

      And this: “Every single day of my life, I can wake up and look myself in the mirror and admire the person I see. That’s mighty important.”

    • “I took care of myself, and through it all, I did not murder one person! Not even once! That took some mighty strong restraint.”

      Doop,
      I haven’t been through even close to that level of trauma and yet I can totally relate to the mightiness (and hilarious truth) of that comment. It is quite a feat to keep yourself in check in the face of such nastiness- bravo!

      • I thank you!
        I wasn’t completely restrained in the face of the nastiness…the day after I filed the papers for the Big D, I did send the X and the Last OW each a PayPal request for one-half of the filing fees.

        She got an email from PayPal that said: “Hello Last OW: Doop would like to be paid through PayPal” with a request for payment in the amount of $97.50, which, at the time, I thought was a bargain for her role in contributing to the destruction of my life and dreams of having a chance at motherhood. She has never paid up. But, I imagine she is paying, every day.

        • Doop,

          I say good for you- and I did far worse than that.

          My brother in law and I sent congratulatory wine to the hotel room where X (40) and 20 yr old OW were secretly staying, signed with love from his discarded family.

          I also couldn’t resist slapping her when she rolled her eyes at me for interrupting one of their secret dates. Sadly, it was akin to disciplining a teenage child with an attitude.

          I now live with much more grace and the composure I should have retained then.

            • Doop, I re-enlist the wild goose chase because it is the only pleasant thing that has happened since DDAY and because it was the one thing of which “I” was in total control. I always hope it will either give another chump courage or at least a chuckle. Good luck to you.

  • Love, love, love this post and this Website. Chumps rule!!! I’m so proud of myself. 2 and a half years since he walked into my work, told me he packed his stuff and was leaving me after 21 years of marriage and walked out the door that was it. In those 21 years, I had become such a shell of a person (he was serial cheater). A week after him bolting, I found him at the blondes house (a former friend). She was married too. He finally left for one of his “friends”. Thank goodness!!! It set me free although I didn’t realise it at the time. Yes I tumbled down into the pit of despair, oh how was I going to survive without the idiot!! I did the pick me dance, asked him to be involved in caring for his kids blah blah blah

    2 and a half years on, have no contact with the idiot at all. I have brought my own house, have a great job, raised my kids by myself, my son has just been accepted to university to do a Bachelor of Science, I bought my daughter a horse, she is an amazing horse rider. I am incredibly close to my kids. I have a huge circle of friends and amazing family. Life is so great. How could I live without him… how on earth did I put up with him!!!

    • Oh and my poor boss… the day that the idiot walked into my work and walked out again, I cried on my bosses shoulder for a good hour. He is the most supportive kind person. Both he and his wife have been such a huge blessing to me. It is amazing who you find through devastation and heartache. There are some amazing people out there.

  • My d day happened when I was 36 weeks pregnant. I had a two year old as well. Since then I have given birth and looked after my newborn along with the toddler with virtually no help from my ex. Five months on and I am doing a lot better. Ex and other woman live together but have broken up and got back together several times. Thank god I don’t have to deal with all that drama anymore!

    • As I’ve said here many times, there is a special place in hell for people who cheat on pregnant women.

      When you’ve got two under two, and you look at him and think “too much drama” — you KNOW he’s got some crazy drama. You’re single momming and compared to THAT, it’s peaceful. God bless you. Insanely mighty.

  • Wow! I am impressed with the strength and fortitude on display here today. You all are amazing…

    DDay was late August 2011. Kicked him out of the house 2 days after our daughter’s birthday in Oct. Had all 3 kids plus myself in therapy within a week. Had major surgery in Nov. Was asked to serve as interim CEO at my organization in Dec. Hired as CEO in March 2012. This is the job I’ve always wanted. For so many years I had put his career first but not any more.

    • I agree, you need a new handle. Like “Might Boss Lady” or “Madame CEO.”

      Failing that, your cheater ex can call you those things. On his knees, in a pose of supplication and repentance.

  • Really needed to think positive today as I am having a bad day today as I just uncovered more and more lies. D-Day was just 3 months ago.

    STBXH and I work for the same company. A lot of people know about the situtation because they have seen him walking around the building with OW. I am still going to work and holding my head up even when there are people that just give me strange looks. I have started volunteering and giving back to society instead of feeling sorry for myself. I got a really good raise for this year and also got nominated for a leadership program. I started IC to better myself as well.

    I have done all these while dealing with his cheating, uncovering that I was emotionally abused through the marriage, going through a contested divorce, and uncovering all the lies starting from when we were dating. I went through this all without any meds. I can stay I am super proud of myself that I been handling everything well and not acting like a victim. After all this is done and over with, I know I will be a much stronger and wiser person.

    • I think you’re already a stronger, wiser person. You’re doing all the right things, Gigi. I hope the leadership program leads to a new job somewhere your STBXH doesn’t work!

      • Thanks CL. I do not have any plans to change my job. Yes, it is hard but I will not allow him to steal my wonderful career from me. I am 36 and he is turning 50. My career started to take off in the last few years while STBXH’s is going no where and will be in the same position until he retire.

        I am usually the one that run away from pain. I will not allow myself to do that this time. I will face it and fight my own fear so I can stop being a chump. He cannot destroy me if I do not allow myself to be destroyed by him.

  • Three months after DDay I was commuting 4 hours a day to teach a 4-load (four courses in a semester) as an adjunct. I applied to tenure track jobs and gave a number of papers at professional conferences. I managed to get 4 first-round interviews and became a finalist for 2 of the jobs. Had my first on-campus interview exactly 7 months after DDay and was offered the job within 48 hours. I will now be making more than my ex, living in a resort town at a major research university and spending my springs and summers in Europe.

    By the way, on DDay one of his reasons for leaving me was that I didn’t have tenure and that was “scary.” He also told me OW was more “independent” and maybe that’s why he liked her. Ms. Independent now works for my ex, who was transferred and practically run out of his office for being an all-around asshole.

    So he can bite me.

      • The OW had lots of money. Big draw. Now, I am planning a terrific European trip. Without him. I hope all the plans finalize.

    • Why do these people feel they must jam us in the ground? Not supportive, only looking for ways to keep us trodden. I got so tired of no encouragement. I got tired of feeling less than. I am the kind of person who gets so excited when someone I know succeeds. No more. I will no long be anyone’s doormat.

  • Shout out to all the chumps who may not feel so mighty right now.

    Sometimes “Mighty” is having the courage and mental fortitude to hoist yourself out of a cold bed in the morning darkness to just keep carrying on. To turn on the lights, let the dog out, pack school lunches and keep life going onward for the children. Nothing earth shattering or otherwise, but if you didn’t manage to pull off that superhuman feat of just waking up to start the day, it would be devastating to those who depend on us.

    If you pull all the strings you can grab to keep a roof over your own head, keep your children and pets housed and fed – you are a Champ. Not a Chump.

    Give yourself a pat on the back and bask. We’ve been there. We own it and we applaud each and every one of you.

    • I’ve never pulled so many strings and done such manipulation in my life, just to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. We truly are amazing. The strength I have seen on CL, just gives me strength to carry on. Thank you for articulating what I was feeling.

    • Good call MN.
      I glossed over the daily grind… How to get out of bed when my world was crumbling, I could not eat, but I had to feed the kids, get them to school, hide my situation from co workers, etc.
      To those of you not feeling mighty…. It will come.

  • I am mighty because I am raising two girls all by myself. No mother present, no support, financial or otherwise. I am mighty because they are happy and thriving despite this fact. I am mighty in that I put food on the table, shelter over head, and love in their heart. I am mighty because I am moving on with my life and I’ll be DAMNED if I’ll let this or anything else beat me!

    • BusyLivin, you are truly amazing! My ex waited until kids were grown before leaving but I feel like I was a single mom for a lot of our married life. Anyway, people who manage to support their kids on top of dealing with a divorce are truly amazing to me!

    • Your girls are so lucky, BusyLivin.
      This is what I cannot fathom about my exH (and you probably about your ex significant other): how can they leave the kids? Fine, leave the relationship, but to abandon the kids is simply awful.

  • I’ve been popping in to read this thread all day. Thank you all for sharing. Each post made me feel so much better cos I’ve not been feeling very mighty lately. I suck at this so forgive my weird list;

    Once I knew my ex would kill me if he could get away with it, I went full court press and got him out of my life. All.the.way.out. I did OK on the finances but lost a bit because there is no way in hell I’d let that asshole get my cat or “his” cat. The one that was so afraid all the time he hid from everyone and ran from the ex? That one. Once the ex was out scaredy cat got to feel safer and with tons of patience on my part he’s not afraid of people anymore. He doesn’t hide, he’s a cuddle cat now.

    Therapy to overcome the PTSD shit was the most difficult, nothing like beating yourself up because you can’t just “get over it”. A year of intense therapy, mediation and defense classes got me to the place where I can say; I’m OK and I will not run. So, then I put in all mitigation possible to be safe without disappearing. I refuse to leave my home, MY HOME, I am at peace with residual risk because he is a coward and I am fucking MIGHTY. He can try to kill me but he cannot ever take my life from me again. There is a big difference between those two things.

    This is just me trying to feel like I am not lazy after reading all the amazing things Chump Nation has done (yes people, I AM lazy and it’s a virtue now):
    I have nearly wiped every memory of the ex out of my home.
    My living room is purple (OK people, it’s PLUM!) and I don’t give a shit if anyone likes it, I LIKE IT.
    My bedroom is lemon yellow and I have a pocket door to the other side of the basement instead of that goddamn Brady Bunch door I lived with for 23 years.
    I moved my bed in front of the fireplace so I can read and have a fire crackle right beside me and be so freakin cozy. (NO, I am not going to set my bed on fire, fuck off with the stupid worries, that’s what the fireplace doors are for!) (I have an alarm too! get a life dammit)
    I designed an arched cat door that looks like the entry to a fairy kingdom, the morning light coming through that is pretty damn cool (OK, OK, my old friend had to actually make it for me and install it in the wall, he rocks).
    I got the yard in check, (OK people, I only designed it, I paid a landscaper to fix it) still it is much better now, heh.
    My kitchen was grey and old and awful for so long. I’m almost done renovating the kitchen and it’s looking good, I put in French doors and this spring I’ll put in the deck (23 years late but hey!)
    I started up a neighborhood website that has been really popular, everyone in the area seems to think that was a big deal but really? it was so easy, but I guess I’m kinda proud of it

    I have plans to finish my degree and also go swim with whales. I will actually do these things because there won’t be anyone discouraging me. And that? It’s really cool, even if I’m old and achy, the whales won’t care 🙂

    • “I designed an arched cat door that looks like the entry to a fairy kingdom, the morning light coming through that is pretty damn cool . . .” I gasped at this. lol.

      I’m gonna be you one day. 🙂

      • Thanks for that, but no, you Rumblekitty are going to be YOU and YOU are MIGHTY. Plus, I think we might be able to market the arched cat doors, hahahahha!

    • Dat: you stared fear in the face and made it slink away. Everyday you come here and encourage others to do the same. And you raised a wolf. My vote? DatsDamMIGHTY.

    • Dat,

      When people refer to those on whose shoulders others stand and who create a path so that others may follow – that’s you. You are incredible.

      • You are all too kind. I’m not strong enough yet to do the things I want to do to help others, posting here helps me feel like I’m doing something, even if I can’t yet bring myself to work on the political and legal issues that need to be addressed. One day I will be able to put myself at risk to help, right now being here is all I can manage.

  • I think we need to have a Chumplings meeting at least once a year. I nominate New Orleans first, and maybe Chicago second.

    I’d love to meet the people who daily, are saving my life and my sanity. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that. I am forever grateful I found this place.

    You can tell your IRL friends what you are going though, but until you talk to people who have really been through it, it’s sort of like yelling out into a canyon. If I didn’t have people who really “get” what I am saying, I don’t know where I’d be right now. Probably, I’d be spending a whole lot more on therapy and meds than I do already.

    • RK, looks like you and I were writing close to the same exact time. I am with you on the gratitude toward our fellow chumps and promise to pay it forward. Meanwhile, I’m in for a Chumplings Festivale. One thing I do know, New Orleans is one fun city that would welcome us just as we are and deliver a touch of the mighty to us all!

  • So, after 2 years of being smooshed and crushed in the psych blender-including MC while he was on Craigslist (with a photo and making sure to post that it was his decision to leave “after a bumpy marriage”) and then initiating an affair-I had him served and stood in a courtroom last spring. 28 years over and out. One week later I was heading to a new job in a new city-ripped the bandaid off and moved to New Orleans. It’s not been easy but there are none of my ghosts lurking here. I’m learning to be on my own again. But, I am heading toward the meh-fest after being brought to my knees in grief. Lesson learned? Check this out:
    “There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
    Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy.
    Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” ~ author unknown to me

    Bless y’all but especially CL, who’s teaching me how to live. And who appreciates my new hometown to boot!

  • Chumps are an inspirational lot! Thank you to everyone here for sharing their bravery. I don’t feel all that “mighty” in comparison but here it is:

    My DDay was 8 months ago. We were married 22 years. He admitted an affair and I said I wanted a divorce. This was after a trial separation where there was,( of course!), no other woman. There was. And I did the “pick me please” dance to try to convince him to come home all the while not knowing about the affair. Once I knew, my goodness I could not stand one. more. second. with him. I asked him to leave. He came home drunk that night, threatening and well, I called the cops on his lame ass. Got myself a bad ass attorney and he helped me get a decent settlement and more importantly got that asshole out of the house in short order.

    What have I done since then? I got all my financial affairs in order, got a line of credit in my name, went back to work at a hospital in a job that helps people and where people actually appreciate me. (I was a SAHM for 10 years) I pay my own bills. I make sure my child is cared for, involved with his friends, feels loved, by ME. I take care of my pets. I paid off my attorney in full. I took a class. I took up skiing again. I took my child on a holiday and drove the I5. I planted flowers and took care of my home. I painted my living room and purchased all new bedding. I purchased a car. I got in touch with old friends and made an effort to make some new ones. I’m planning a big trip this year to celebrate my birthday! I’m really excited about that.

    I’m not at ‘meh’ yet, but I’m getting there. I am looking forward to when I can say I am divorced from this person who has been such a bully and coward. There’s a lot I still want to do and I have moments when I’m still terrified. But I am SO much better than I was even 3 months ago.

    Thank you CL for this site. It has helped me so much more than you will ever know. And thank you to everyone here for being kind and inspiring.

  • I’ve been reading this website non stop ever since I saw something about it on The Huffington Post website. I SO wish I would have found it earlier when I was rolling on the floor dying. Making up for lost time, I’ve been reading it nonstop for a week. I’ve been peaking at this thread all day long even at work on breaks. You chumps are my new best friends!! (I don’t know how to make the smiley icons yet)

    Most of you sound like you handled it SO much better than I did. I’m afraid I wasn’t as gracious. I’m Italian and it’s Never a good idea to fuck an Italian’s spouse. Free Advice. The OW is scared shitless of me as well she should be. She moved to the moon to get away from me and he eventually followed. But not before I got him back in my bed a few times (with protection) and called and told her “I just fucked your boyfriend.” She knew it was the truth and she stays. Goodie for her. I know he’s still drawn to me but I can now say honestly, ‘who gives a shit?’
    I do deserve better and I have no idea why for so long I thought I didn’t.

    Several months after he left I lost my job and it got real scary. I got unemployment insurance and worked at a trinket store part time and he made my house payment. I was a wreck and took up smoking again and drank too much at night. I drunk dialed and texted. OH GAWD!! The humiliation of it all is more than I can even think about anymore. The Pick Me Dance on Steroids!!

    But this thread is How I Got My Mighty Back ~~

    I started out teaching part time nights at Adult Basic Education for our local college. That was a foot in the door and when jobs came up that I was qualified for and knew I would like, I applied. I got great references along the way. I finally got my dream job working with disabled students. These people are my true hero’s and my hat is off to every single one them. They made me realize how lucky I am that I’m not blind or deaf or roll around in a chair. That I don’t have schizophrenia or autism. Boy did God open my eyes! And the really cool thing? I get to make a smidgeon of difference to the good
    of mankind every day. It’s such a good fit my employer pays for extra training for me. I get tons of respect.

    I was able to refinance my house this summer all by myself with a credit score of 804. (Something I never had with EXH) with a much lower payment. I earn a decent salary finally and the ex was generous. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have small children in this situation! If I was there I would help! We should form local chump clubs.

    Anyway,,,Mighty Chumps, enough about me. I love your stories. They are so inspirational. I will be tuning in always.

    A Chump Convention! I am SO in. I don’t care where it is. I’ll make it happen.
    My heart goes out to all of you!!

  • I’m so impressed by all of you fellow Chumps – this site and you all have been SUCH a huge part of helping me to feel mighty when I needed it the most. I’ve always known I was resilient (parents divorced when I was 13 – Dad was cheating on my mom & kept on cheating through 2 more marriages thereafter; lived as an exchange student where I didn’t speak the language; law school; etc.) but I didn’t truly know the mighty strength that was there until I faced this test.

    Only a few months after XH and I married, I lost my mom very suddenly (freak car accident on her way home after visiting us for the weekend). The in-laws really stepped up and supported me, friends and work colleagues were great too. Meanwhile, XH wanted to know if it would be OK if he left to go sailing the weekend after her funeral (ah, that self-centered narcissism really is ALWAYS there, isn’t it?)… And one year after that is when I discovered the lies and the affair with dingbat-paralegal OW.

    Losing my mother was awful, and I miss her every day, but – and I know it’s strange to say this – the pain of his cheating was worse for me to endure. At least I could definitively say that my mom loved me beyond belief, sacrificed so much to make sure I got a great education and was cared for, she was so proud of me, and her love and support for me could never be questioned. The pain caused by XH’s betrayal, however, was a feeling of loss and disbelief of the man I’d chosen to marry. I thought he loved me & we were happy together – but his treatment of me was purposefully deceitful, selfish, and cruel. He wanted to get one over on me, AND have all the cake and kibbles I could provide.

    When I discovered XH’s affair, my dad was in the hospital (in a coma for 3 weeks) following severe heart surgery. He refused to come home from his “business trip” just one hour away (right). Later, I would have to smile sweetly while listening to him lie and tell me he had been meeting w/ clients when I already knew from my private investigator that he was w/ the OW at the apartment he didn’t think I knew about. Said he thought my mental state was slipping for me to accuse him of infidelity because (1) he’d NEVER cheat on me in a million years, and (2) he suggested my problems were likely due to “failing to adequately mourn for my mother’s death.” So after the night XH pulled the Crazy In A Sleeping Bag routine (yep, that was my little partridge in a pear tree so brilliantly cartooned by ChumpLady!), I got mighty:

    – ditched the marital counseling and did individual counseling just for me, once a week, for a year.
    – journaled. A LOT. It was cathartic to get it out of my head and onto the page. Then I noticed I would start quoting more and more from ChumpLady in my journal – it was great reinforcement! Told my counselor about CL, too & she LOVED your site!
    – consulted w/ a family law attorney, I drafted a separation agreement on MY terms, and got XH to sign it (my P.I. had enough footage to show XH was “at fault” to prevent XH from seeking alimony from me, as I’d always earned more than him; plus, under my state’s laws I could sue dingbat OW for her interference w/ the marriage. She was housing my XH on her minimum-wage pay and he knew they couldn’t afford to fight me. Plus – it would be public and he’s got his precious *image* to uphold)
    – trained for my first 5K, went to the gym and hit the hell out of some punching bags, played tennis again and started to feel good to be sociable again, and to physically FEEL myself getting stronger
    – moved into a cool new condo in a vibrant part of town, slowly got a social life after being a heartsick hermit for so many months
    – reconnected with friends and family
    – volunteered w/ my university’s alumni chapter for a local Habitat for Humanity project
    – passed State #2 bar exam

    Got the divorce finalized early last year… and since that time:
    – won 2 big federal court cases
    – brought in a big new client project
    – earned a raise and a promotion at my firm
    – ran another 5k
    – helped organize & host a successful charity event for a local philanthropy
    – slowly started to date again and I’ve met an amazingly decent, intelligent, hardworking, honest, KIND and thoughtful man
    – went on vacation
    – I hear more people around me say, “You look so happy. It’s great to see you back to your old self again.”

    and I keep checking in here at Chump Nation. I read every new post and re-read several of the old ones (esp. “Trust That They Suck.”) Reading these posts and seeing my situation in so many others’ comments has played a fundamental role in my recovery, and has definitely fast-tracked my progress towards Meh. You guys helped me to be mighty when I needed it most. Y’all are awesome in my book.

    • Amazing, BarristerBelle! Those are incredible accomplishments.

      (And seriously, WTH – “Said he thought my mental state was slipping.” I used to get this, too. These people are *low*, I tell ya. We are mighty – but they are so weak they have to resort to these sorts of tactics. Thank God we have CL to help us see past the gaslighting.)

    • Your accomplishments are amazing! And I agree with you about losing your mother. My mother was my very best friend in the world, and I lost her 5 years ago. If she were here today, I’d be at her house with blanket on her couch, and she’d be telling me how it was going to be alright and not to worry. As much as it hurt to lose her, I knew she loved me completely. This betrayal . . . this was so much worse. This has to be the single worst thing I’ve ever experienced. And I have to go through it without her.

      I read all these stories here too try to shore myself up. I’ve got a ways to go . . . 😉

    • BB,
      Aren’t “alienation of affection” and “criminal conversation” states wonderful? The ability to file a civil damages suit against “alienators” has a tendency to cause cheaters to rethink their propensity for more fucking over of the cheatee… and to “get real” in a hurry.

    • BRAVA!! You must be so proud of yourself! It’s funny, since STBX has been gone, friends have told me “I feel like you’re finally you since he left.” How right they are! 🙂 You are strong and you kick ass! Well done!

    • BarristerBelle you endured an unspeakable mindfuck. He blamed your suspicions of his cheating on you mourning your mother? UNREAL. Sociopathic. So incredibly low, low, low. Congratulations on your MANY accomplishments, beginning with losing that loser.

  • My D-day was 2nd Jan 2013.

    Last week I got my very first tattoo; a Japanese Proverb made up of 4 kanji symbols – “Shichitenhakki”…………translating to “always rising after a fall” 🙂

    My ex cheater first showed his true colours back in 2011, whilst we were in Japan. As soon as I saw it I had to have it…hurt like hell but hahaha!!

    • Awesome! I should do a post on post-divorce tattoos. I’ve never gotten one by my husband did — a giant 13 on his upper arm. 13 because bad luck is good luck.

  • Reading all of these posts is wonderful. I see some amazing stories of people picking themselves up after being sucker-punched – we are legion as well as mighty!

    After 21 years of hiding my shine so as not to overwhelm my man-child, he dropped D-day on me two weeks before I was to begin teaching after a 15-year SAHM hiatus. I had only taken the job so he could live his dream of starting a radio station in our small town and he left me to be with one of his DJs. I don’t really remember much about the first few weeks of school – a long time later I came across intricate, creative projects and worksheets that I don’t remember creating.

    After a 2-month Recon-Pick-Me Fest, he left again because I “couldn’t forgive him quickly enough”. Since then I filed for divorce by myself (cleaning up messes was never his forte…), asking for neither child nor spousal support. He has nothing I want (he’s totally broke) and I chose no-contact self-sufficiency rather than wait for a non-existent check every month. A huge turning point was when I realized I really didn’t need him and all the pain of him being gone was really the discomfort of letting my self blossom.

    Reading all these other stories (in all their myriad stages of Meh-dom) shows me how far I have come and gives me hope for the self-inspired joys yet to come. For those of you who are farther along the journey, thanks for being beacons of light in a dark, dark time. For those of you just embarking on the crazy train ride, have faith in yourself. Shitty times like these only force your Mighty Cream to the top. You will feel whole again. You will feel joy again. You will live through this and will be stronger for it. Fuck that cheater asshole. Ain’t nobody got time for shit like that.

    Mighty Love, Chumps!

    • LOVE this: “after 21 years of hiding my shine so as not to overwhelm my man-child…” I can totally relate. 20 years of saying “yes dear” to all my Ex’s crazy business ideas because, really, what did I know about numbers and hard stuff like that? Now he has filed for bankruptcy, lives in a rented room (when he is not at the OW’s), and owes the IRS an amount total to his entire income the last year we were married. I’m living in a lovely home and looking for a new one (lease is about to expire and my boys and I will likely end up in something even nicer!), thriving at my job, almost have all my debts paid off, know exactly what I owe in taxes for last year down to the penny and have the payment already in place, and can even treat my kids to dinner out a few times a week and just splurged on a special trip for my youngest son’s 13th birthday!! Don’t you love being able to SHINE!

      • And here’s to never again being considered “control freaks” because we put the kibash on a pipe dream that threatened the family… 🙂 Shine on, Nicole!

    • Mzmama — okay, you’re mighty even when you don’t REMEMBER being mighty! I love the line about looking at all the creative projects and having no idea making them. Mighty was just on autopilot those days. 🙂

      Love “the pain of him being gone was really the discomfort of letting myself blossom.”

  • It is mighty awesome to read all the brave, inspiring, uplifting personal journeys of all chumps.
    . Since I found CL 6 months ago, I believe I have started my walk to the state of “meh” but not there yet.
    Just on 2 years ago I found out my husband was having an affair. We have been married just short of 20 years. We have four beautiful daughters and travelling well or so I thought. But obviously I spackled.. From the day I discovered the skanky OW whereby she told me “I loooovee him” and my reply “skank it’s dishonest and neither of you know what love is” . Exh then made promise after promise, to end the affair, but left our home, then returned to again leave for the skank.
    I have allowed this behaviour as each time I have thought “he must be sure this time” and each time I was gas lighted And under CL’s guidance I realise I did the “pick me dance”
    I believed his lies, I believed his words that I would not/could not do it on my own with my girls. But I have. I am mighty. In my own way. It has taken a while. I did focus to much on “but I will be alone.” But I’m not. I am mighty.

    It is building back our self esteem, our confidence in who we are/ in what we can achieve that takes time.
    I too agree, I got out of bed each morning. Made lunches, went to work, did my job, cooked,cleaned and smiled but functioned well below my normal me. Time is helping.
    Thank you to all who speak on this blog. It takes courage toto write about our lows. It has taken me oodles of time, but I have read everyone’s contribution on CL and more confidence to write and share my pain/story.
    I agree with Manama,

    Mighty love, chumps..

    • Mighty love backatcha Bellzero. You’re only beginning to realize the depths of your mightiness. It takes tremendous strength to endure all that false reconciliation shit. Now you’re directing your energies to yourself — way to go!

    • No worries, Bellzero.

      Ditto on the “being alone” worries. It took me several weeks to balance that fear with the realization that I had been doing so much around the house that when he left I hardly noticed a difference in the domestic workload. The real change was no longer being squished between his dead weight and the eggshells.

      You’re right – confidence takes time. When it first happened, I couldn’t believe I’d EVER feel ok, but now I can’t believe how far I and all us other chumps have come.

      Even working below “normal me” standards, I’m sure you’re an inspiration to those girls. Rock on, Mighty One! 🙂

      • Thank you, Mzmama. Sometimes it’s nice to hear you are doing great things. And that the cheating ex may have abused your trust, love and confidence but we are mighty and they will always be pond scum.
        Yay xx

  • I am in total awe of how amazing all you fellow chumps are. As I was reading all of your stories, all I could think was I don’t have a story; I don’t feel “mighty”. But the more I read, I began to change my mind.

    The fact that I took only one day off work to cry, but then was right back and continued to work through everything must have been mighty. And the fact that my EX makes 5x the salary I do, yet I pay for 90% of my children’s activities proves to me that I have my priorities straight and I am mighty in my childrens’ eyes. My girls danced competitively before, and I’ll be damned if he takes that away from them too. Maybe this means that I can’t afford a “house” right now, but that is temporarily. I will do anything for my girls…the house will come in time. My EX has also been given 2 weekends a month plus one day a week to be with our girls. He chooses NOT to see the girls during the week. His choice. He doesn’t even call them. I guess his new wife is a priority. That’s ok. I WILL take care of my girls. There is nothing more important than them in my life…and THAT, if nothing else, makes me mighty!

  • I love reading these comments. I’m still working on feeling mighty but I am acting my way into thinking. And the more steps I take, the more confident I feel I can handle this painful transition and move on in a spectacular way. I officially obtained legal representation for the divorce yesterday and the divorce filing is going to happen next week. Considering that I’m 34.5 weeks pregnant, working, and dealing with health insurance issues (courtesy of my health insurance being dropped last October), I feel mighty to be able to juggle divorcing STBH will all this going on.

    • I think the fact that you are pregnant and still chose to take on this difficult road shows truly how mighty you already are!

      You get up every day and you should feel proud to know that even though this may be the more difficult decision right now its the best one could could have possible made. You are much stronger than you think!

    • So proud of you, Pregnant Chump! You are wise to understand that ‘acting your way into thinking’ is essential. My thoughts are with you!

      • My D-Day was ten months ago, and I was 29 weeks pregnant with our second when I confronted the asshole and his ho-worker girlfriend on a date they were having at a local watering hole. I had sleuthed my way to their rendezvous with investigation tactics that could teach the FBI a thing or two, after initially having suspicions exactly three weeks earlier.

        I well remember the crazy juxtaposition of A) stress and anxiety over the most fucked up situation of my life and B) The sweetness of feeling my daughter quickening and beginning to make herself known in there.

        There is definitely a special place in Hell for those who cheat on their pregnant partner. There do not exist strong enough words in this language or any other to describe how fucked up it is.

        When I would force myself to eat, I’d promptly throw it all up. Even water made me puke. This went on for six weeks (from the time of suspicions to a couple of weeks after confirming and confronting). I could keep nothing down. I would lie in bed for hours overnight, every night, alternating between staring at the ceiling or the clock, trying to WILL myself to sleep…and I just couldn’t. I averaged about ten total hours of sleep a week during that time, all while holding down a full-time job, lugging a pregnant belly around at a physical job, AND mothering my four-year old son. I cried so much, I worried daily I was hurting the baby somehow…that this stress MUST hurt the baby somehow. I was (in the words of an earlier poster) an exposed nerve. I landed in the hospital twice in this time for dehydration, because of the combination of the sobbing all night and not being able to keep even water down during the day.

        At 29 weeks, the day after D-Day, I began “threatening pre-term labor,” in the words of my OB. Contractions started and didn’t respond well to intravenous fluids or total rest. It was a dicey few days, and I believed wholeheartedly that what this motherfucker had done might actually turn out to cause irreparable damage to MY BABY. I knew I was one tough chick, but my daughter…she wasn’t even out of the womb yet, and she was supposed to survive this? The stress, the anxiety, the heartbreak – it had caused my body to revolt against anything I did to try and take care of it or her. I decided then and there, “Fuck that. This will NOT define my pregnancy,” and I started the long, slow road to “meh.”

        “Flaming Turd from Satan’s Ass” is too kind of a term for these guys, and they certainly don’t deserve to be called “Dad.”

        Having said all that – we made it through pregnancy. I put one foot in front of the other until the end of pregnancy, and we made it. Not only did my fighting little daughter stay in there, she went a few days past my due date, was the easiest labor I could imagine, and is now the smiliest, giggliest, chubbiest, cuddliest little thing you’ve ever seen. I lean into her ear at least twice every day and whisper “My Little Light!” She is the very picture of health and happiness. I am not to “meh” yet, but the light in my kids’ faces is ushering me along at a really good pace 🙂

        I just wanted to tell you all that to tell you I’ve been there. Just the simple act of surviving every day (let alone all that you are doing!) is nothing more than heroic. YOU ARE MIGHTY, and I am mighty proud of you.

        It is going to be so much better. Even when you can’t see right now, trust me. It is going to get sooooo much better, and your soon-to-be-arriving Little Nugget is bound to be a little light for you, just like mine is for me.

        Keep being mighty, Warrior Mama!

        • LMM,

          When I hear stories like yours of men who cheat on and abandon pregnant women, I’ll be honest and say it- they don’t deserve to breathe air and a painful death is far too good for them. It is the most disgusting act I can think of short of taking a life.

          Those of you in that nightmare- I am so sorry you had that experience, and you are one fierce, admirable bunch of rock stars. Your bundles of joy are so lucky to have you.

        • LMM — handing you and Pregnant Chump the Mighty Award. Wow.

          One of the most amazing things about this site, and I built it and it still continues to floor me, is how incredibly generous and kind chumps are to one another. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to write those words and bolster PC, who is going through a pain you so GET. Really beautiful post.

          So much mightiness. (sniff!)

        • LMM, your story is so inspirational for me right now. I can identify with so much. The juxtaposition! Oh, the juxtaposition can be rough sometime. Here I am trying to sort out my divorce strategy when I should be getting excited about my second son’s arrival. The juxtaposition and the guilt about all the turmoil harming the baby are rough at times but I really identify with how you processed that pain and chose not to give in to the darkness out of the love for your daughter. Truly beautiful. I think knowing that your little ones need you to push on can give you strength you never knew you had. Thanks for sharing.

        • I’m reading this over 3 years after you posted it, and wow. I’m living your past right now. Your story gives me hope.

          Last year I was 28 weeks pregnant when I found out I’d been eating a shit sandwich for far too long. My STBXH was involved with another woman for 10 years–she had *no idea* about me/our marriage/my pregnancy–and joy of joys!–she lived a few blocks away. I was mortified and so worried about my baby. I immediately got tested (again–whoopee, this explained the herpes that showed up on my first full-panel prenatal STD test)–and felt lucky that nothing worse had surfaced. The anxiety was sickening. I could hardly sleep. My biggest fear was that all the stress was going to harm my son.

          I didn’t miss a day of work. I told my boss, who was supportive and told me to take whatever time off I needed. No. I wasn’t going to stay at home and feel sorry for myself. Work made me feel normal. I educated myself about my rights via several free consultations but could not file while pregnant since custody cannot be determined for an unborn child.

          I gave birth the way I wanted to: all natural, drug-free. My son was beautiful and healthy and smiling. We’ve been living with my folks. He’s 6 months old now. I haven’t received any child support (aside from a diaper delivery once every 3-4 weeks if we’re lucky… take a bitch cookie, STBXH). My son is incredibly happy, incredibly handsome. I’m proud to be his mother.

          I took the R train for a little bit but was skeptical going in. It was a bust. Blameshifting in therapy, lack of true empathy, self-serving delusions and pity parties… it wasn’t fun. The last straw was when he recently called me ungrateful.

          Enough time has passed that I’m ready. I’m filing tomorrow. I don’t know what lies ahead but I’m not raising my son alongside this madness. Wish me luck, chumps.

          • {{{Hugs & Love}}} to you, Proud Mom!! So glad you reached out here! And you will have a proud son, for sure, thanks to your mightiness!

            So many Mighty Chumps have successfully navigated this truly heart-rending situation. Good you have their experience to draw from. I am hoping some more have subscribed to this thread, see your comment & chime in with suggestions, as this is one ‘Poop storm’ I did avoid. My son was an adult when I separated from cheaterpants.

            Prayers and love to you and your precious son as you ForgeOn!

            PS: Good for you for doing the birth your way!!! Best for you & the little one

  • It always amazes me how similar the stories are. The details are different, but the basic underlying mindfuckery is always the same.
    My mighty moments:
    -kicking him out one week before our daughter’s first birthday party
    -throwing said birthday party without a hitch b/c I had already invited 50+ people to the house
    -seeking counseling so that I figure out what I should and should be taking blame for and how I will not pick so poorly the next time
    -supporting my daughter without the need of his money (he’s given me some, but barely enough to cover one month of day care since he left in July)
    -cleaning out the back yard and redoing the basement with my dad’s help
    -finding support from old and new friends and ditching the few that knew of his infidelities and didn’t give me the heads up
    -filing for divorce and getting him to relinquish all claims to my house and my retirement via a settlement agreement
    -aaaaannnnd, just got off the phone with my lawyer, subpoenaing the OW to offer proof of his infidelity so that I can get divorced! The hearing is set for next Thursday. YAY!

    • RJam, love every word of your post! You are a hero! The last point is going to keep a big smile on my face for the rest of the day.

    • MIGHTY! I don’t know how you threw a party for 50 people days after throwing out a cheater. You’ve got some serious powers of focus and commitment.

      Sending you MOJO for Thursday!

  • I dont know if I can say that I’ve done anything mighty per se (especially after reading all of these wonderful success stories! Congrats Chumps!!) but have have been able to make moves towards bettering my future.

    When everything went down, I was left with a significant amount of debt thanks to my life with my ex. I have put restrictions on myself and I am happy to say that I will be debt free in about two years.

    I also recently get in a pretty bad accident and my car was totaled by an F150 going 50mph and hit me while I was at a complete stop. I went out and found myself a new car, without any help. I never thought I could do any of this kind of stuff without him but I have and it feels good!

    I am working on my picker and getting myself back into the shape I was when I felt most confident.

    I have been doing great in my career and have been making nice with the right people who WANT to help me succeed (not something Im used to from the ex).

    But I think the thing I am most proud of is the fact that my ex has tried to stay in contact with me and I have shut it down. He even drove by my place and tried to talk to me but I wouldnt. Its an awkward feeling for me, saying no to him and see him get upset and me not trying to fix it, but I know it is necessary and it just proves to me that he does suck and it isnt me! His baby momma is 9 months pregnant and he is still pulling the same crap while trying to look like the good guy to everyone else. Its liberating to start feeling like it really isnt me that made him cheat.

    • Hey Kristina L — way to go on the NC! I know from your earlier posts you’ve really struggled with that — and your ex’s attempts to get your attention. Of course you didn’t make him cheat. What a mindfuck he is.

      Well done too on the new car and financial overhaul. 🙂

      • Thank you CL!

        I still get a little woozy about telling him No ( I dont know, its seems like a natural instinct to get worried that hes disappointed in me with his ” Sorry for being too forward. Wont happen again”, like hes saying I missed my chance) but that is a reaction that Im trying to change!

  • It’s amazing how impactful narcissistic abuse is.

    My D-day I called the authorities on my NPD ex as he stalked, emotionally taunted and slut shamed me to the point I was afraid to leave my house. Thank God for restraining orders. The breakup was like cutting off my right hand to save my arm; very painful as it ripped off the scabs of my deep family of origin issues.

    I won by learning how to take care of myself: a therapist, the gym, cutting my hair, reading as much as I could about narcissism (which I’ve never heard until the ripe old age of 36), and went cold turkey on asshole friends and I even lowered contact with mommy dearest who was at the root of why I felt so bad about myself. I realized that I was a narcissist abuse surviver and now I feel empowered to share my story with others.

    Chump no more.

    Melinda

    • Hey mighty Melinda — very brave stuff. Getting a restraining order on an NPD is terrifying. To feel that fear and do it anyway. Total “chump no more.” Well done.

  • I am both equally amazed at the depths of insanity many of you have dealt with (didn’t think it could get worse than my X) and even more so, how you’ve persevered.

    I’ve made a lifetime of mistakes spackling away in 15 yrs with STBXH and sometimes still do. And I’m still working on forgiving myself for that. But thankfully, I have some mighty moments under my belt- most notably surviving this nightmare when I was once absolutely certain it would kill me or at best, send me to the Betty!

    I have a great career, promoted young up the ladder and have always been financially secure (rebuilding that now post-insanity experience which nearly made m destitute). I own my home and support myself, always have. And I’ve been purging and redecorating it into my haven.

    I’ve embraced amazing friends and family who listened, encouraged and stood up for me when I couldn’t breathe or even hold down food. For every disgrace of human existence, there really are some living angels in this world and I’m sooo lucky to have them. They’re my personal heros.

    I climbed out of my pity party, starting traveling here and abroad and learned to laugh until it hurts again. I moved to a new city for a year, started taking care of myself properly, got into counseling, fell in love again (also met in New Orleans) and am planning now all sorts of adventures for the future. Hopefully to one day include having children before I’m too old, which the X and I were planning right before he went batshit crazy. That he might have stolen that from me too still stings on occasion.

    I’m currently bracing myself for my next act of mightiness in finally getting the divorce done, which is still a source of shame and fear for me, but getting closer to acceptance every day. I look forward to the day when I feel proud of it like many of you do.

  • Some of my “mighty” moments are quite boring and insignificant, but when your x2b moves over an hour and a half away and leaves you to singlehandedly raise three children alone, you have to learn to do some of the mundane things that it used to take two of you to do to run the household (in addition to working).

    For example, I learned how to use our riding mower (and lawn mower) to cut our very big yard (that x2b wanted); I had to take over trimming all the grass and shrubbery and maintaining the weeds in the yard (we live in a “nice” plan so I didn’t want to have my neighbors thinking ewwwwwww); I successfully handled my three children’s extracurricular activities, especially during the nightmare spring sports season, pretty much on my own (x2b never came down to one event, so of course he did not bother to assist in getting them to any games/practices); I got to buy a car on my own and learn to have to take it to be maintained/serviced (ok, not that that was a bad thing that my x2b did because honestly this is one area I am finding annoying, but I was not “allowed” to do this or many of the other things before, especially since we dated in college so he handled a lot of this stuff then also!); I rode a motorcycle for the first time; I took my kids skiing all by myself for the first time; while the ex in laws aren’t here anymore, I have done Christmas dinners for my side of the family all on my own.

    I did all of this “new” stuff while still doing all the “old” stuff to keep my job, maintain the house and raise my kids. It’s tough and sometimes I still feel like a failure, but I have had a couple neighbors (the men even, because I think men often give other men a “pass” for cheating on and leaving a “bitchy” wife!) actually tell me that they give me a lot of credit and that they really admire what I am doing. I know none of us will ever get medals for doing this, but…… 🙂

    • Hi All,
      I find all of that to be mighty! It’s actually the stuff I’ve found so hard to do. Your post helped me realize how important and essential those things you mentioned are to the people around us. Strong work, I say.

    • Allalie, you are mighty! I give you a medal — for valor in lawn care. I confess I never, in all my single years, mastered the weedwacker, let alone drove a riding mower. I figured if I couldn’t mow it, it was a new vegetable garden spot. (Mulch and raised beds are lazy lawn care alternatives.)

      And three kids to boot? WOW.

      • Thank you, thirstyfish and Chump Lady 🙂 – While I do not like the circumstances, I am so glad I found your site. So many times you help put whatever about my pending divorce is going on/my x2b is doing in one of your posts. And it helps to sink in. I keep coming back and reading posts just like others say they do. I am a little over 2 years into the separation – divorce will be final very soon. I can’t say I am at meh yet, unfortunately. But you, CL, and all the other people who post make it hopefully easier to get to meh someday soon. (Yes, 3 kids and a neighborhood where everyone’s lawns are “very nice” to say the least. I am sure I am not keeping up the the normal standard, but I am trying! ha ha).

        I sort of forgot to add something to my post, and it probably is a little bigger ‘mighty’ thing that I just wanted to comment because so many times I just wanted to give up… I had to balance all the mundane stuff above while my father got seriously ill (at a fairly young age, and he is divorced so all issues fell on me and my brother). The regular visits to the nursing home and his oh so many trips to the hospital definitely started to take a toll, but like the rest of you, I still had to persevere with all the other things – especially since I am pretty much the “only” parent as many of you also experienced. 🙁 My father ended up passing away a few months ago which was yet another stressor on top of it all. 🙁

        As evidenced by so many of your stories here —- all of you are such strong people. So many of you have had to deal with so many stressful things and have had your plates more than full. You have all done amazing things. Yet we all still push ahead and don’t crumble (although we may feel like it at times – I know I have). The cheating exes couldn’t handle this stuff and ran away. I do not believe my x2b would have been able to handle all the day to day stuff plus the extra things to take on when the other partner leaves. (Actually I told him in recent years he couldn’t handle/didn’t like having children/a family and all the responsibilities. And after coming here, I know I was not (unfortunately) off base.

        It’s so amazing to read so many ways we have all had to be mighty! I still do not think I will ever understand this, but I hope so badly to get to meh sometime soon. I just fear that this is something I will never get to.

        Oh, and ps, one more mundane thing – just yesterday I appear to have successfully fixed a clogged drain tube in my freezer instead of having to call someone to do it! Thank goodness for the internet and you-tube. Now no more water leaking onto my refrigerator shelves. Just one more small “mighty” accomplishment that hopefully gets me closer to “meh”. I am just afraid if I keep taking on all this type of stuff, I will never need (as in want/not being needy) a man again!!! ha ha 🙂

  • i am mighty.
    i have taught hundreds of children over the last ten years and have given each one the best that i could give. and have felt loved and appreciated by each one.
    i have project managed decorated gardened and loved my home while my stbx sat around. i have raised and loved two children who are becoming my team. i have listened to insults, taken the blame, watched the boy i couldn’t get out of my mind at 16 turn into a bully. i have starved at lunchtimes and bought clothes and shoes only in the sales for as long as i can remember to save money while he spent thousands on prostitutes strippers chat lines alcohol and drugs. i have lived with a shadow that i spackled in the daytime for years and a nighttime drunk cheating bed wetting horror of a man for fourteen years. i have watched him have affairs without snooping because i refused to be that kind of woman. i have walked around with sunglasses on for six years because i did not want to see. i have been called a whore and bitch and a slut during sex and have been manipulated like a paid for woman. i have done one pick me dance and only because i had become a small person, a shell. i have made this man into a success have listened to his tears anxiety have counselled him and watched him soar in his profession. i had shrunk to a part time teacher who did everything to be the best wife who was waiting for her man to come to his senses and proclaim his love and appreciation. i have tried to get rid of him countless times but was addicted to hopium
    DD1 was five years ago when i was pregnant and found out that he had been sleeping with prostitutes (as well as me) when i was struggling to care for a one year old and work full time.
    DD2 was mid november 2013 i danced pick me until the 17 Dec when i finally woke up, took off my sunglasses and realised this guy is a nasty piece of work. i then got him to move out on the 24 Dec. i have cried. i have told the truth of my marriage to close friends and two managers and they look at me and say i am mighty to have endured.
    i am mighty because i never stopped giving everyone around me my very best.
    i am mighty because even though i have been made to feel small with each day i feel myself growing taller in 2014.
    i am mighty because i survived with my integrity intact.
    i am mighty because people know who i am. i do not paint a picture of myself to make others admire me. i am mighty because i am real.
    i am mighty because a chance following of a link led me to Chump Lady WHO HAS MADE ME MIGHTY.
    i am mighty because i can see that whatever i want i will achieve.

    we are all mighty for we do not let others fall alone. we post our stories. we send love. we tell others that bright light gloriously wonderful days are ahead. and those of us who are freshly hurt? we believe in the mighty ones that have gone through what we are now going through. we see them stand like giants and we believe in the future because they tell us to.

    Thank you chump lady.
    x

    • tomorrowisagoodday,

      I LOVED this and your paragraph at the end most of all.
      “we are all mighty for we do not let others fall alone. we post our stories. we send love. we tell others that bright light gloriously wonderful days are ahead. and those of us who are freshly hurt? we believe in the mighty ones that have gone through what we are now going through. we see them stand like giants and we believe in the future because they tell us to.”

      You are a mighty gifted writer as well; brilliantly put. It was ChumpLady’s own post about her birthday and getting to celebrate it with Mr. ChumpLady was that “bright light gloriously wonderful day” that I saw at one of my lowest points, and I thought I deserved to have something like that in my life again – and might actually be able to get there. CL’s trailblazing efforts gave me hope to keep moving forward to much happier times. Jefferson had Lewis & Clark to chart their way through the unknown wilderness – We chumps have ChumpLady!

    • tomorrowisagoodday,

      I totally choked up when I read this. Thank you so much for your kind words. I love, love, love the line “I am mighty because I am real.” That’s right — you live an authentic life. I think it’s hard, perhaps impossible to live with a cheater and ever feel authentic. Like you’re not fronting for this person. And I also love that you never stopped giving everyone around you your very best. That was really the point of this post. Chumps bring it, every day. They have every reason to be defeated — and they aren’t.

      Thank you for this beautiful post.

  • The last three years were the worst and best of my life. We all know the worst as we’ve all lived with the gut-wrenching pain of betrayal. But for all the incredibly mind-blowing bullshit I crawled through and had slung my way:

    I still completed my studies, internship and graduated with my master’s degree in school counseling and received the University’s Graduate Student Leadership Award at commencement.

    I stood my ground and did not allow myself to be bullied when X used the court system, his inheritance money and his bimbo’s money to try to ruin me financially. I’ll be in debt for years, but it was worth it.

    I was hired for a dream job two miles away and commute to school with my 13-year old son who still enjoys having me come over to his lunch table to say hi to him and his friends.

    I continue to keep my personal problems locked in my car during the day. When I do share a snippet of my personal life with someone I’m beginning to trust, people are mostly shocked that I still walk into school with a smile and a skip in my step every day.

    My aunt moved to a nursing home and gave me her cream puff of a car when my 12-year old minivan died.

    The University called to invite me to join their adjunct staff. This just happened to come at the same time X lost another job and I had to pick up the health insurance for him and my kids AND take a 50% hit on child support. While I work two jobs and raise our children, he’s on his seventh month of his eighth (26-week paid) unemployment vacation. Working – like marriage and parenting – is more of a hobby for X.

    I was asked to be a co-coordinator for the school district’s bullying prevention initiative, and wrote a successful grant that is garnering a lot of good press for our city. I work with wonderful people and amazing adolescents. For someone in her second year of a second (and very different) career, I feel respected and valued.

    My mentally ill, young-adult son (a chip off the old coot block) still makes life a tightrope walk, but I’m not taking his shit anymore, either. I love him, but won’t enable his suicidal, drug-induced, negative outlook on life. My other two kids are doing better as we go along. They made my birthday the other day a joyous occasion for me — the first time in years.

    Not bad for an 18-year, work-from-home (so I could still earn money for health insurance AND raise my children) chump, huh?

    The easiest way to get me to succeed is to tell me you believe I will fail. Watch me prove you wrong.

    SCORE
    Chutes: 1
    X: (is a) 0

    P.S. On Friday nights, I come home to a relaxing home, not a war zone.

    • Chutes, you are incredible! You make me proud to be a chump. When the going gets tough, you get to see what you’re made of- in your case, a backbone of steel.

    • Mighty, mighty Chutes! Congratulations on your dream job. It sounds like you are recognized for your talents in your profession — to be able to adjunct on top of a job AND do a public service campaign on bullying is pretty heroic on top of raising kids. Wow.

      After being with a cheating wing nut, hey, you know from bullies. 😉

      • Thank you, Kelly and CL. My first thought re-reading what I wrote was, “Wow, what an obnoxious braggart.” I’m glad this site is anonymous because when I look at it written down, I can’t believe I’m here, NOW.

        I can honestly say that finding this blog and the caring people who have been PIVOTAL in my journey out of hell. THANK YOU.

        It’s amazing what you can do when you stop wasting energy spackling a relationship to a loser and focus on building something new and sustainable.

  • I got the heating fixed (had been broken for months), learned how the lawnmower worked and invested in a Satnav (I was terrified of driving out of state).
    I initiated the divorce and the house sale, negotiated the financial settlement and full time hours at work. I gave my daughter away at her wedding and watched her fall in love with her baby, a huge privilege my ex wasn’t part of. I gave my son his pre-wedding “talk”, danced at his wedding 6 weeks after major surgery, while his father skulked alone in a corner.
    I have a lovely new home and 2 brand new grandchildren.
    I have made some amazing friends, joined a writing group and self published a book with them. I have been back to Greece 3 times with friends (it was OUR place). I have retained every single friend we had, while he has none. I have worked hard to feel secure in my place in this new world of mine. I’m get