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Dear Chump Lady, I’m still angry

Dear Chump Lady,

What do I do with all of this anger? I am feeling white-hot rage for the man who told me he loved me, then repeatedly cheated on me. First denying it, then finally saying it was because I didn’t cook for him or treat him “nicely” and then asked if we could “stay friends.” (I said NO WAY IN HELL!)

I have never felt this type of anger before in my life. It seems to be consuming me. I’m not used to it, and D-Day was four months ago. I feel like my body is overheating and about to explode. And, I am afraid that underneath the burning anger will be sadness and loneliness and longing for/missing him.

I don’t feel strong enough for this, honestly. I moved across the country to be with him, and don’t have any friends or family in this city. I feel all alone, stewing in my pointless, unproductive rage. I can’t imagine being with anyone ever again, and I haven’t eaten or slept normally since it happened. I keep messing up at work too. I go to therapy and take anti-depressants, but I still don’t feel like my old self and think I never will. I think he totally destroyed me. To make matters worse, he is a public figure and very successful, so shows up frequently in the media, making it hard for me to forget his face.

I’m not sure if you have any suggestions?


Dear BP,

Yes, listen to your anger. It’s trying to tell you something. I can make a few guesses about what it is, but you know better than I do. My guess is it’s saying “Get the hell out of Dodge! You live in a place with no friends or family, where he is a constant media presence.” Then you probably think, UGH. That’s a lot of effort. I moved here for this asshole and now I need to move BACK? You become paralyzed by the logistics. You become paralyzed by the injustice. Meanwhile, you rage.

The rage is totally normal, by the way. If you don’t feel righteously furious I’d wonder what’s wrong with you. You’re only four months past D-Day.

Try to think of anger as fuel. It’s your body’s alarm system going off. Anger is very useful. It can stop you from spackling, it keeps you out of denial, it protects you from getting involved any further with your cheater. Anger can also propel chumps towards ACTION — filing divorce papers, throwing their shit out, standing up to the mental abuse, making a plan of escape.

But anger can also be misdirected — physical violence toward the cheater or affair partner, burning their shit in a bonfire on the lawn, graffiti-ing their crimes on bridge overpasses. So you need to heed anger and channel it.

If you don’t listen to anger, it festers. It turns inward. You get stress diseases. Teeth grinding, rashes, immune disorders, twitches, depression — you name it. Inchoate anger is deadly and soul sucking. So BP — allow yourself to feel the anger.

Don’t fight it. When you feel angry, write it out — journal. If you feel stuck, make a plan of action. If you feel overwhelmed, exercise. That’s the best thing for those powerless angry feelings — run it off, punch it out. Focus on yourself, on your breathing, on your body, on your own physicality. Exhaust yourself.

Know that the anger is FINITE. So is the sadness and loneliness. He did NOT destroy you! You are very much alive, and anger is your authentic self bitch-slapping you back to life. Anger is good. It means you are PISSED OFF at how he devalued you. I’d be a lot more concerned if you felt numb and paralyzed, taking a passive approach to life. You aren’t like that — you didn’t accept his blame-shifting and you rejected his offer of “friendship.” You got help — therapy and anti-depressants. You wrote to me. You’re navigating this shit really well four months out, so give yourself a pat on the back!

Anger, as we all know, is a stage of grief. And there is no avoiding grief because BP, you’re a person who cares. You invested yourself. You moved across the country. You loved with your whole heart. The shadow side of that love is grief. You’re angry at being chumped, but you’re grieving the life you thought you were going to have, that you invested so deeply in. It’s a real loss, and I’m sorry, you’re going to feel it keenly.

What helps is to know that these feelings pass in time. Keep the faith that, yes, this is not going to kill you, and even though you can’t believe it now — you truly are a person capable and deserving of a deep, sustaining, reciprocal love. Your ex is not. He’s a hollow shell who does human tricks.

Pretty soon you’re going to wake up from your grief and realize you’re mourning a mirage. A person who never really existed, who was never invested the way you were. He’s a fraud and you got conned. You’re in good company, BP. There’s no shame in being a chump. There is shame, however, in giving too much of ourselves to people who don’t value us. You now know who he is, so try very hard to stop giving yourself to him — figuring him out, why he did this, what it all means. Don’t let him have any more centrality in your life. As I say a lot here — trust that he sucks.

Trust that you don’t suck. His betrayal is no measure of your worth. He doesn’t have magic powers to decide the rest of your life! He fucked you over. It’s unfair but it is finite. That’s good news. The rest of your life is up to you — and I’m telling you from personal experience that life after a cheater can be freaking amazingly wonderful.

The anger will fade when you really internalize that he sucks, you’re safe out of it, and better things lay ahead. For now, when the white-hot rage comes upon you — welcome it.

Howdy Rage! I know you’re trying to keep me from missing him, you’re trying to protect me from getting hurt again, you want me to make a new plan. I’m listening, Rage. I hear you.

And if that doesn’t work, BP, you have my permission to throw a brick at the TV the next time his smarmy, cheater face comes on. (((Big hugs)))

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • As the Quakers say, CL, this “speaks to my condition”. I am over a year out, and still wake up sometimes like Ripley in Aliens. Anger is a gift, it is an alarm system, and the negativity it generates can be very very harmful. To you.

    I swim, journal and read Chump Lady. I have a kid, and my anger at her ordeal at the hands of Mr Fab and the Downgrade makes Medea look like Little Mary Effing Sunshine…keeping it corked around her has made it all worse, sometimes.

    Cling to this, you are out of a relationship that might well have killed you. You made it to this page, that means you are at least on the road to “Meh”. Not out of the woods uet, but out of a terrible, trapping situation.

    When in doubt, be creative- CL’s advice about moving away is sound. Get on your feet- my mantra is from Kill Bill 1-Wiggle your left toe. Soon you’ll be massacring the crazy 88 like a boss. Get your own place, redecorate it, rejoice in ot having to sit on the floor to eat your dinner, or getting the silent treatment for a week, because you accidentally handed your resident arsehole the wrong spoon, buy a hot pink sofa, listen to your favorite music, LOUD.

    There is no easy fix, but find an outlet you must. Trust that they suck and you don’t.

    And believe. It hasn’t killed you. I am a long way from Meh, not all the jigsaw pieces are in front of me yet, but even living with my Mom at 45 and dealing with all her crap (she puts the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’) is better than staying where we were. It would have killed either me or DD or both.

    Another useful tip-if it were your best friend in these straits, what would you tell her/him?


    • Mehphista,

      Anger expressed with righteous humour! Excellent! 😀


      I’ve been sat here for a while trying to think of something I could say to help, other than ‘
      I hear you,
      I hear you,
      I hear you – it’s a crock of shit and you have every reason to feel the rage you do’.
      CL, as ever, is wise and everything she advises is spot on. I wish I had found this website much sooner because the words of wisdom and terrific insight found here from CL herself and everyone who posts has helped me more than I could ever express.
      Someone once advised to get the divorce underway asap and get the finances sorted with the cheater now, while he may be feeling guilty and in shock, so he doesn’t start siphoning off the money and thinking himself into why he only needs to give you crumbs, if anything. Let your rage fuel that mission – then something good will have come of it.
      It stinks to be on your own without people to vent to. I think CL’s advice to move back where you have a support network is sound and will take you away from the environmental reminders.
      Big hugs
      Jayne x

    • “Trust that they suck and you don’t.”

      I get the first part (Trust that they suck.) The rest of that sentence is the next step in self-recovery.

      • Interesting that one of today’s big news stories was just that–Dylan Farrow outing Woody Allen as a child molester. BP, I don’t know what I’d do in your situation, but realize it’s not your job to keep his secrets.

    • I’ve thought a lot about this, and while it is tempting, I think getting involved in a media firestorm (which is what it would entail) would just keep me further emotionally invested in all things Him and His Bullshit, you know? I think it is time for me to focus on myself and my life in order to heal. But, if anyone mentions his name specifically, I won’t hesitate to tell the truth about what he did.

      What I would like to shout from the rooftops is this: the media makes many celebrities out to be saints, but the public rarely knows their true behavior, and how these people treat their “loved” ones behind closed doors. Never believe what you read about our beloved actors and actresses.

      • Wow! BP, you said a mouthful. These are professional imagemakers. Their whole world is about creating and sustaining an image. And looking out for the bigger, better deal that is right around the corner. Like you, I thought of outing him, but I stopped myself because I think he will enjoy it too much. Enjoy knowing that he is still in the center of my thoughts. He will feel that he’s “won.” And goddamn it, I’m not going to let him win anymore.

  • More than a year out, I was still feeling white-hot rage quite a bit of the time. I’ve never felt anger like that before or since. The rage is normal, and it lasts for as long as it needs to last. Eventually, you start to move on. It happens faster if you make an effort to focus your attention on YOURSELF, not the cheating fucktard. I’m now four years post dday, almost two years since divorce became final. and I very rarely feel much emotion about the ex.

    Your situation is especially tough, since your cheater is a public figure and you are in a town without family or close friends. I would seriously look into moving back to where you came from, or to another location where you can start fresh. I realize that isn’t always possible, but at least consider it.

  • Oh! That White. Hot. Rage.
    That’s what got me through the madness. That’s what got things done.
    That, and a big tin tray that I used to bash with a hammer while calling him all the names under the sun.
    I bet my neighbours loved me!

    • Haha! I like the big tin tray thing. Wish I had thought of that!! I was sooo mad for the first year. Anytime I was was alone I would pace and just mutter “f*****g POS” over and over.
      I can honestly say it got me through that first year. It got things done alright. It kept me away from the f******g POS. It got me my divorce quick smart.

      In hindsight the sadness after that first year was harder to handle but lasted less long. I know now you sometimes just have to stand there and hurt. And then, carry on.

  • Dear BP

    I am almost a year from BD and I still feel rage a lot of the time. Sometimes very hard to control. I am beginning to see I may have to talk a professional before this anger takes over my life completely. Betrayal are the hardest to get over. It wears you down. Yes, sometimes a change is the best. You may have to move but you need someone to confide in more.That way you will begin to heal. Cl lady is right although if your full of rage its hard to realize that you will come through this. I know for I am still going through it. What your going through is normal. Realistically who wouldn’t feel rage. Just don’t let it consume you. Your more important than he will ever be. Hold onto that for he is a liar, cheater and a despicable human being. He doesn’t care. You do, and thats what makes you so special. Hold on BP don’t be so hard on yourself. Do you think you could go back to your place of origin for a break? It may give you a different perspective as to making such a drastic move without checking out all your options. Just an idea.

    Don’t stop posting, were all here.

  • Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Depression is rage spread thin.” I tend to believe that. I don’t do rage, and I’ve never felt rage about my serial cheating ex-wife. For that reason, I think I’ve had to eat emotional shit sandwiches for years longer than I should have. Because I couldn’t find my rage, I had to muddle through some depression. Still do, on occasion, when I think more than a quarter-inch below the surface of memories from the quarter century wasted in a dishonest and unloving marriage.

    So be glad of your rage. As CL said, welcome it and channel it. Let it carry you over depressions and far away from your horrible cheater, as a wave (churning, seething, almost violent) carries a happy surfer to shore.

    • You’re so right Nomar! I’m just 3 months from my serial-cheating c*nt wife moving out. If I’d felt the rage sooner, I’d be so much farther along now. Problem is, I’m still feeling the rage because her parents bought her a house around the block from the one we spent 20 years in together, with a direct line of sight blocked by the house across the street where one of her many boyfriends used to live, so, like BP and her media-enshrined STBX, I get constant reminders. Don’t get me wrong, this situation is good for our children (same bus stop for school and can walk to get forgotten stuff), just not so good for me. Hang in there BP and, like Nomar says, be thankful for the rage because it will help you move on.

  • I hear you too BP. Moving to another place for someone else is a sacrifice and it sucks when we sacrifice and then get royally screwed. Of course you’re pissed. On top of that having to be in the shit position where staying is a no win, but moving is a loss too would also make me angry. I think it’s normal to feel like leaving is “giving up” or “bowing out” of the situation when you weren’t the one who was in the wrong. Kind of like losing all over again. Then again. Maybe that’s just how I feel. I’m six months out from D day and I do find some of the anger has dissipated. However I still experience extreme rage when I discover how having been in a relationship with my ex has completely and utterly screwed me. I just found out that I can’t file my taxes without him because we were married in a community property state. We have no assets, investments, etc but because we got married (six weeks before I found out what a cheating POS he is) I have to list and be liable for half our combined wages and taxes. The bastard makes over a hundred thousand more than me in a year. I was counting on that return!!! Sigh..sorry, I hijacked this for my rant. You should have seen the look the IRS guy was giving me when I was swearing to never get married again though. =)

    It will get better. Find a counselor who can listen to you and validate you. I vote for exposing him if it’s the right thing for you. Don’t be hard on yourself because it’s still so soon. I’m also a fan of writing out everything you’d like to say to him and then burning the letter. Getting it physically onto paper seems to help with releasing it from inside. And burning it is cathartic. Just don’t become a pyromaniac. And rant away here if you need to.

    • Another vote for the outing, even though it’s horribly hard. Our secrets make us sick. Secrets don’t hold their power anymore when you expose them. Allow him to suffer the consequences of his actions. It is part of living our truth. You never know what other women you will help, by being brave to expose a liar & a cheat. You will get there. This community is amazing, thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. The similarities are comforting.

  • Normar thanks for that analogy ” depression is rage spread thin “. I know you are so right and depression is sometimes harder to fight than rage. This whole concept of betrayal is very confusing one to manoeuvre as it has so many different facets. One can only do the best they know how to get through it. This site offers a lot of wonderful information and different ideas from those who have gone or is still going through this madness.

    Thanks Normar

  • BP – please know that there is nothing you did or didn’t do to him that created this situation. It’s all on him. All of it. He has a personality disorder – and he will cheat with the next, and the next, and the next all in pursuit of his own form of happiness.

    I agree with the other posts – can you move home again? Get a fresh start? Walk away with your head held high?

  • P.S. BP “then finally saying it was because I didn’t cook for him or treat him “nicely””. We all know this is bullsh!t. As Walking It said above this is ALL on him. Trust me.

    • I’m sure that “reason” IS shit. I worked like a goddamned house elf for my ex–homecooked meals, baked bread and cakes, stayed home with the kids, did all the housework and yardwork–and he still cheated. It’s not you, BP, it’s him, and the truth is, he simply felt entitled to do what he wanted, without a thought about how it would affect you.

  • I wish I had more rage. I’m barely three months out, and so far I have a lot of introspection. I spend a great deal of time alone and I dissect everything, but not to a point where I think it’s bad for me since I journal about everything. Maybe that’s why my head hasn’t popped off, because I get it out constructively on virtual paper.

    My friends and family consider me a very aggressive, forthright person. I don’t sit on my feelings; if I don’t like something, I don’t have the ability to fake it, you know about it. I expected to be blowing walls out with my punches by now, but I just don’t have that anger yet. But, when I do feel it, I’m moved to action. I had him completely removed from our bedroom within hours of finding out about his affair. I swapped out our bed and frame in under an hour by myself. I cleaned this house like it was contaminated with the Norovirus. I had every single thing associated with him boxed up, or burned, or thrown out within a week.

    Since there’s nothing left to take my aggressions out on, I plan on going for lots of walks or hitting the gym the next time I feel rage coming on and this winter cuts me a fucking break. I have a feeling that by the time spring hits, and my divorce, I will be reinvigorated again and will need some physical activity to release it.

    I think the other commentators are right though; you need to move close to your friends and family. And some daily physical activity would be beneficial so you don’t end up turning this anger against yourself. Our D-days are close together, so I know the mind-fuck you are dealing with. I don’t have a whole lot of beneficial advice to offer up, other than to say that you can’t say enough about the power of endorphins!

    After our first snow storm, I was overwhelmed because I’ve never had to deal with this amount of snow before. This was a “man” job, and I’m too proud to beg the neighbors for help. So I start shoveling; I cursed, than I cried. Then, I shoveled some more, and cursed and cried again. The next thing you know, my driveway is clear and I felt like a million bucks.

    My advice: Get the fuck out of Dodge, move to where people know and love you. You don’t need to see his ugly mug in your face when you least expect it. Fuck him; He sucks and you are awesome. Go to your home base and kick box, or take golf lessons, or karate. I bet by the time you move and get settled away from him, maybe you won’t be so ragey anyway 😉

    Wishing you the very best . . .

      • I have cursed but not cried shoveling snow. Then I remember when my ex was still here I would have to go and start doing it before he would bother. So it’s not a big deal. Also, practically speaking – after the first big snow I came up with strategy. I go out and shovel when there is 2-3 inches, then I do do it again, until the snow stops. It’s way easier to shovel that crap a little at a time.

        One of my neighbors came in the night 2 weeks ago and snow blowed by drive for me, what a great guy! such a nice surprise 🙂

        • And hooray we’re supposed to get more tomorrow night! I never thought I’d say this, but I am getting a snow blower next fall. 🙂

          • Another thing to do with that rage energy ( Iwas in the UK, so not very much snow). Look at all those niggly-naggly jobs around the house, and do them. Light socket hanging crooked? Fixed it, got a knowledgable pal to help. Loose floorboard? Glue that sucket down. But power tools, learn to us them. I sanded and varnished all my own furniture, cursing and crying. And when I moved, I made 800 bucks selling-not bad for a bunch of thrift shop junk.

            The feeling of self-reliance you get makes you mighty.

            And beleive it or not, the worst IS over.

            And you’re still here, we all are.

            Happy Monday, Chump Nation!

      • I have typically shoveled the snow, though I think STBXH would shovel it if asked. The reason I’ve typically shoveled is that STBXH always manages to injure his back. He’s always been a bit of a hypochondriac and his posture frankly sucks. He lifts loads poorly, relying in biceps strength instead of using his legs. The net result is that he truly can screw up his lower back.

        However, while I don’t cry shoveling the snow, I can become extremely angry. It’s one more thing that I did for STBX because I loved him and didn’t want him to get hurt, but now I feel as if he feels entitled to having a wife shovel snow.

        Still, I never wait til snow accumulates before getting going. It’s a lot easier to shovel 2 inches than 4, and 4 inches than 8. If I lived in a snowier climate, I’d buy a blower!

  • Hi BP,

    I’m sorry you are in this situation. Trust CL’s advice and those who post here. It has been so helpful to me as I’ve navigated my life post-cheater.

    I am now 9 months post Dday and I can very much remember those hot rages. I still get them but not as often. When I do, I get SOOO much done. It’s actually a bit of a gift I think because the anger certainly propelled me to get rid of his cheating ass ASAP, get a good lawyer and get a decent settlement. I didn’t touch his stuff, didn’t show up to his office enraged or anything else that I look back on now and may have regretted.

    I did tell my story though. At first, I was “protecting” him and then I realized he was in no way protecting me and hadn’t for a long time. I didn’t shout my story from the roof tops but if people asked I told them he was a cheater. I did not go along with the “we grew apart” and “we wanted different things” story. That would have made me crazy. No, I told the truth and let it fall where it did.

    The rage you feel will propel you to make some good changes in your life. Find a good therapist, get your finances in order, work out – use that energy to your advantage. The rest of the grief will come, the sadness, the hurt and the disappointment. I go through these and then the anger comes back and I use that to get going again on the path that I want.

    It’s not fair. You didn’t ask for this. You can’t “prevent” this. This anger is telling you that you need to DO SOMETHING and that it’s in your best interest to walk away, hold your head high and get the help you need to move on from this horrible experience. It’s not an easy road. It’s painful. But staying stuck with a cheater, hoping they one day “get it” and “do the work” is a recipe for depression, anxiety and general misery.

    I wish you the best. The anger does come and go. You won’t feel that way forever. But for now, use it to move you away from your cheater. Take care of yourself.

    • I am 4 months post DDay and my anger has intensified. I think I was so in shock and numb in the beginning and now it is sinking in; all the lies, betrayal and still not being totally honest. He refuses to tell me details, because he doesn’t want to cause more pain…wtf? The cut is already deep, what is a few more inches??

      I also have been protecting him…to everyone. I am embarrassed for him, is that normal? I just paid the money for the retainer, but the kids know nothing, except we are trying to work things out. They are 11 and 8 years-old. Do I tell them that we grew apart or what their Dad did? I feel like I need to protect them, but at the same time, we are in this shit hole, because of Dad’s selfish ways…He thought of only himself and not his wife or kids.

      Another thing that is making me mad, is that now the blame is going on me for his 4 year affair. The first few months, he was remorseful and realizing what a great thing he had with me and the family, but now it has all changed. I am getting confronted about not paying him enough attention, he was lonely and how I didn’t care about him. He can’t believe that I am not asking him how this affair happened and what I could of done to prevent it. Okay, am I wrong, but should I care?

      • Yes, it is normal to want to protect your spouse. It is part of loving and caring for someone. Even after we find out what our spouses have been doing it doesn’t automatically cut off our feelings and love that we have built up over the years. Later you’re going to wish you didn’t protect your spouse though. His four year affair is one hundred percent about him. There is no excuse. If he had issues he could have gone to personal counseling or tried marriage counseling with you and if that didn’t work he could have filed for divorce. Four years???!!! No effing way is that your fault. Replace affair with abuse. Think of every time he spent time, resources and effort with his OW as the equivalent of him smacking you around. Him trying to blameshift onto you is as bad as a man (or woman) trying to blame their spouse after giving them a black eye. And yes, tell the kids. They deserve to know in an age appropriate matter of fact way what really happened. Better to be the role model who draws the line and tells the truth than the mom who quietly takes the lumps and blame for a divorce from a cheating jerk. Better for them to have a realistic view of why marriages dissolve and healthy boundaries than to live in a lie.

        • Oh, Kat…thank-you! I am going to make a copy of your response and read it whenever I feel guilty, hurt, sad or lost. You are so right…I needed to see it in writing to realize how shitty it really is or how shitty he really is!

          • Piper, what your ex is doing is classic. That’s why when a new chump writes in I always say, go NOW and file for divorce, getterdone before the cheater gets mean and starts blaming you for everything.

            • I second this.

              I have not told STBX that he’s a STBX. I’m hoping that I can leverage guilt for a better settlement than I’d otherwise get.

              Strike NOW. Once the cat’s out of the bag, you have only a short period before he gets all defensive. That time has passed for you, and now he’s going into the next predictable cheater phase: defensive blame-shifting.

              You see, he can’t admit to himself that he’s a low-life cake-eating parasite. That’s why he was so remorseful for a few months after you discovered the affair. He wanted to make up to you, show you that he’s not all that bad. On to Stage Two: blame you for the affair.

              Yes, I’m sure you drove him into the arms of the Other Woman. Yeah, right….

              Stage Three is to cover his tracks better. He’ll siphon marital funds over to his mistress. You need to stop this to protect you. You, of course, are devastated. That’s why you have a lawyer. Ask for recommendations for a divorce financial analyst, too. Also, the sooner you file, the sooner that your marital assets become protected.

              I agree that it’s natural to have some sort of residual desire to “protect” your cheater. To a certain extent, that’s what the cheater’s doing via the post-Dday remorse. They’re trying to protect their image as a decent person. See? They were blind! They didn’t know they had such a good thing! They’re so sorry!

              Go read Chump Lady on Real Remorse and Genuine Naugahyde Remorse.

              Consensus on these boards is to tell your children the truth. You don’t need to go into detail, but they need to know that there are deal-breakers in life. Daddy having a girlfriend after he’d promised that he’d love Mommy forever and always is a deal-breaker. Get them (and you) into therapy. They’re getting mindfucked, too, but in a different way.

              All of you will prosper once you’re out of dysfunction.

            • They do get mean. As you so slowly get your strength and pull away, they see that they are losing the ‘happy intact family’ and start to blame you. My STBXH(but not nearly soon enough) wants the OW and his family. He gets very angry when I tell him that doesn’t work for me. He says I am the one who is hurting our children. Wanting fidelity and honesty is harmful? H wants us to go on a ‘family’ vacation for Feb school vacation. What? You will only text your gf while we are together and only get angry if I ask questions? You want me to stay in a hotel with you??? Sure, that sounds great!! Just shoot me now!

              • Oh my god Breathe, that whole “Family Vacation” thing is insane. To each their own but I think in abusive or infidelity situations there are no family vacations, no family holidays, no family dinners. You either get to choose family and monogamy or the new relationship. Don’t let him bully you into it for the kids’ sake. Clearly he has boundary issues. It’s always amazing how if the shoe was on the other foot these guys would be throwing a fit too. Sheesh, what an entitled bastard.

  • I remember those horrible months where the rage just boiled through me. I have never in my life experienced that kind of white hot searing anger. I was consumed with it. I’m a cancer survivor so it’s a miracle it didn’t come back from the horrific stress of it all.

    But…I’m here to tell you BP, it does go away. I take longer than most people to get over things so I felt that way for at least a year. But I saw my X often as we worked for the same institution (different departments).

    Infidelity it a terrible crime against us. I’m not sure I’ll ever fully recover. It’s been several years now and I’m not sad anymore and I never cry over it either but I certainly haven’t come within a smidgeon of an inch falling in love again.

    I wish I had found CL when I first found out about my lying, cheating husband. But I’m here now and in good hands. Keep reading the posts and go back through the old ones. Lots of wise words written here. Good luck. Hugs.

    • Chumpchange, I’m a cancer survivor too and was also really afraid the stress and anger was going to bring the cancer back. I was constantly checking for lumps while going through the divorce. I’ve never felt that kind of rage either, but it took a few months for me to get past the deep shame and paralysis. Anyway, when I was going through the anger stage it felt like a crusty old sailor had moved into my head. I couldn’t think of my ex’s name without first thinking “F-you.” This was so against my nature that it almost scared me, but anger gave me energy to move forward with my life. It was much better than paralysis and depression.

      Here’s a book called “The Gift of Anger” that might be helpful:

  • I have a relative whose anger was white hot and nearly dangerous. Believe me, it was justified. The therapist said that despair can kill us so we turn it into rage. You cannot control despair but you can your anger. It gives you energy. CL is right. Use that energy to pack up and leave. If anything calls for distance being the answer this does. You don’t need to ever see him again. Let him rot, you don’t need the loser.

  • “You are very much alive, and anger is your authentic self bitch-slapping you back to life.”

    I really believe this, and it wasn’t until my anger bitch-slapped me back to reality when I really started to make dramatic and awesome improvements in my life.

  • BP, I too moved for my ex, for his country. But now I have a support network here, and I am staying to re-build my life here. I don’t know how I would have done it without any sort of network here, so if you don’t have people you can reach out to there, I think it is worth considering relocating to somewhere where you have more support. However, if you do want to continue living where you are, I hope you can connect with close long-distance friends or family via phone calls, email, Skype, etc. I email my best friend (who is in my home country) all the time–sometimes multiple times in a day–and she is there for me via email and phone (less frequently). And that, combined with less frequent emails and talks with other friends and family (and this blog, of course!), has gotten me through the last 7 months since dday. I will add that I was surprised how people here responded once I reached out and told them what happened. Their response showed me that my “new” friendships here (of only a couple of years at most) were much deeper than I had thought they were. And that has been a blessing to learn…

  • Anger is an energy source, like a kind of fuel. I’d compare it to gasoline. If you don’t use it intelligently, it can start a fire that will burn you. At the same time, if you let the fuel energize powerful actions (lawyering up, going no contact, making decisions), it can help.

    I’m not always 100 percent at this myself, by any means. But I think the anger is NOT to be denied, but to be recognized and then channeled into constructive actions to distance you from the bad situation/bad person that created it.

  • Thanks everyone for the support and kind words, I really appreciate it.

    I sadly can’t move home now, as I started a graduate program when I moved here and feel like I owe it to myself to finish my degree. I have another year left. Which is hard – this city is cold and lonely, and he was what used to make it bearable. I wish I could just go home.

    I suspect that he is a narcissist (superficially charming, self-absorbed), if not a sociopath (lacking remorse and empathy). I’m not perfect, but I would never treat another human being the way he treated me. And then to turn it around and act like it was justified and my fault for being a “bad” girlfriend, it’s just…maddening.

    I now know there were red flags: in the beginning, he told me he had cheated on every partner he had ever been with, he father is a womanizer, he had only been sober (in AA) for 5 months when we met, and the first time I cried when we were together he told me he “can’t deal with crying,” and totally withdrew/detached.

    • BP- Congrats to you on Grad School. That’s an awesome thing. I can relate a little to being stuck somewhere that isn’t you. I didn’t move to someplace for my ex but I had to move away from an area that I had lived in for about 8 years back to my home state which I’m not so excited about. I’m kind of a hippie, decent weather, big city girl and now I’m in a conservative, truck driving “town” in the middle of the snowpacolypse. One of the first things I said to my parents when I got here was “Have they even legalized yoga here yet?”. I am here also until I finish my education and can support my kid. I’m angry about being here but I’m slowly making inroads to finding things here that are “me”. I know grad school is a lot of work and especially working at the same time but go explore if you can. Doing new things and going new places increases Dopamine. Dopamine makes you feel good. It’s the same neurotransmitter that increases when we fall in love. Finding new things and places isn’t going to be quite like that but it should help.

    • Your university should have a lot of support for abuse survivors. Tap into them, since infidelity is emotional abuse. Also, if you’re seeing a mental health professional, then it’s often possible to get extensions based on medical reasons.

      Best of luck to you!

      • Oh, and the rage is normal. I’ve not divorced STBX yet, but I’d say that reconciliation isn’t possible because I am angry at him when he does things that superficially seem “nice.” Why do I get angry? Because I know that STBX is a balance-sheet kind of guy. He hates being in debt, so he tries to balance things out. This manifests itself in getting weird and inappropriate presents for me. For example, he went to the butcher’s to get crab cakes and bacon. He won’t eat pork, and he’s not so keen on crab cakes. A quick look in his wallet revealed that he’d taken OW to breakfast that morning at a nice breakfast spot. I got the consolation prize.

  • Since you can’t leave try one of the martial arts. It seems to be a way to channel anger and frustration. Good luck.

  • Dearest BP,

    Please try to get off the anti-depressents—-They only numb your system and they are only ‘duct tape’. Facing the issues and pain must be done. Other wise, you will never get free of the pain. The only way to get to the other side is to go through it.

    Look into doing the L.I.F.E. System Biofeedback or other biofeedback or neurofeedback therapy. I have begun that recently and you will be amazed at the benefits! Has helped me enormously. (The paradox is that my ‘crazy man’ husband was the one that introduced me to it, paid for half of it; he is going to treatment sessions and he is benefiting greatly from the therapy. I have noticed significant improvements in him, as I still have to deal with him because we own a business together & have ‘joint custody’ of our pets)

    I am still married to my ‘crazy man’; cannot afford divorce yet (however, I have separated from him and am very safe & secure now!)

    I have worked out many of the issues inherent in dealing with this type of disordered character and trust me, acting out your anger only adds fuel to the fire & makes you feel worse, not better. (I did not lash out myself, but it took extreme self-control not to. That is part of being ‘the bigger person!) Also, I have not used any pharmaceuticals through out my years with this ‘crazy man’ and I feel that I am much better for it. My health is suprisingly good for the lenght of time I have dealth with this.

    Continue getting assistance with resources such as this, as well as Dr. George Simon, Jeff Murrah, Bill Eddy, Baggage Reclaim, Byron Katie, Dr. Laura and others.

    You are not defined by what others do to you, but you are rather defined by what you do to others. Remember that…….YOU are not a broken or damaged person. The one who abused you is……..

    Love to all…….

  • I had a simple reply to “Let’s be friends”.

    I can’t imagine a future Mrs TimeHeals inviting you over for Thanksgiving, so that’s just going to happen. Be happy I am being civil”.

    That stopped that nonsense.

    • err..

      “I can’t imagine a future Mrs TimeHeals inviting you over for Thanksgiving, so that’s just NOT going to happen. Be happy I am being civil”.

      • My ex told me the day after he left that he “envisioned us laughing together and being friends.” Gag.

        • My ex said it would be better if we never talked to each other again. My guess is catching his “not gay” self sexting his penis picture to a random man was a little too shameful for him. Works for me. The no talking, not the sexting.

          • What’s with these “not gay” guys who love fucking other men so much? I don’t get it. I would actually have a little bit of respect for my ex if he came out and admitted he’s gay, instead of continuing to live a gay life while insisting he’s straight and dating women.

            • I don’t know GIO. From what I saw with my ex it was a progression of the actual Sex Addiction. Mind you I don’t believe effing other people starts out as an addiction but rather comes from a sense of entitlement but I do think some people continue with ever increasing dangerous or risky sexual behavior to get a high for a lack of a better way of putting it. It makes me wonder what the step before that was and thankful I found out sooner rather than later. I’m doubtful he had any other “interactions” with men. When I saw that email come through I KNEW what he was and that there was no hope. As for men who eff other guys a ton…well certainly there’s denial. I know some personality disorders also have variable sexuality as one of their hallmarks. BPD is one. In any case I think they all deserve to be stuck on some island with a smoke monster together.

  • BP-

    I have followed him from state to state. I put my career and my life on hold so that he could be successful. Now I live in a state where I have no family or friends. I would jump at the chance to go back home but he refuses to allow me to take the kids with me. He refuses to move out and refuses to file for divorce. I have been a stay at home mom for more than 10 years and never put a dime aside for myself. DD for me was less than 2 months ago. My anger is very strong and every time I see him I just want to throw something at him. I attempt to keep my composure for my kids but many times I can hide my anger and I just lash out at him.

    I truly despise him for all he has created but he could care less about what I think and feel.

    • Yeah I can relate. The thought of how much pain I am in compared to how little he cares is so awful. When I told him he broke my heart he barely flinched or had any sort of emotional reaction – I was sobbing, he stood there like a piece of cardboard. Felt so bad.

      • BP,
        It is amazing the lack of any real emotion they have. I have learned that having the wide range of emotions we chumps have is quite wonderful, including the pain. We FEEL! They don’t. That means we can fell real joy and happiness as well as pain and anger.

        They are cardboard cut outs and I remember, I never saw any real emotion from my abuser, it was small peaks and small lows. No real happiness, no real sadness. Saw his anger flare up quite loudly, inappropriately and loudly twice. That was the only inflated emotion I ever saw in 1 years time.

        I will happily take my ability to feel all emotion over a flatline with the exception of Anger.

        • What Deborah said. I think our crumpledness comes down to the consternation of it hitting us all at once, and they don’t bat an eyelid, because they have already lived through every tawdry moment.

        • Deborah, it’s not fair to insult cardboard cutouts that way =D. I plan on having a perfectly legit relationship with a cardboard cutout of Gerard Butler later on. 😉

    • I traveled for mine too and the last time i worked was 2004. We had been together for so long before we got married I never thought he would betray me in such a douchey manner. We have five kids for crying out loud and he tried to claim we never loved each other!
      I am stuck in a state across the ocean from family and friends who come and help me. I was facing having to move into a homeless shelter last week because he let the house go into foreclosure and the new owner must have learned the same douchey tricks. Thankfully family was able to get some money together and send. Crossing my fingers that I’ll be approved for an apartment tomorrow.
      I have a home in another state, but he refuses to let the kids go.
      I feel ragey often, each time I find some new pile of turds he left behind and because I am the mature stable one I have to clean itup. I go outside and curse like a sailor so my kids don’t see. I now have 3 different counselors. I also have fuck it days and go on a hike. I’m trapped in a place that people wish they could visit.

      • He may not want to let the kids move with you, but you can still petition it. If you can show that the kids will have a better life (they’ll have an actual house, for one thing) in the new state, or are closer to family, etc. I’ve heard it’s not easy legally but it can be done….might be worth talking to an attorney about.

  • BP,
    If I had to speculate, I’d suspect you are even feeling some guilt about this anger. Stop doing that!! You are entitled to your anger, and it will last as long as it lasts. Just work hard to keep it channeled into constructive actions that protect you and propel you forward. The article at this link may not ( at first) seem applicable until it helps you understand how women as a gender have been shamed all their lives about experiencing and expressing their righteous anger.

      • Notyou,
        when I was with my serial cheater/lying ex he was tormenting me, emotionally and mentally daily, for years, at the time I had no idea what he was doing to me until I read this..once I realized what it was, what he was doing, everything fit…now I look back and I just shake my head and think what a despicable fucktard he really is…I know its a bit long but it explains with detail.

        There is a type of pain a woman experiences when, after years of faithful marriage, she begins to witness changes in her husband that, when confronted, are then said to be the creation of the wife’s imagination, a plot to hide her own actions, or the perception of a woman in need of psychiatric help. To describe the pain endured by victims of emotional abuse with written words is like trying to explain what a person experiences when facing the realization of certain, impending death. It seems quite impossible. There are rips, tears, stabs and agonizing pain within her heart. Sometimes she panics, believing she is losing her soul mate forever. Sometimes her husband may actually tell her that the suspicion, the digging around for answers, or the accusations involved in the panic are the actual things causing the couple to have distance in the first place.
        If a man does this, he is using a manipulative, cruel technique known as Gaslighting. Emotional abusers who partake in the horrific methods of Gaslighting have an agenda of which society may presently be unaware.

        The term “Gaslighting” was introduced to the public in an old movie entitled “The Gas Light” (1940) and its remake of the same title (1944). In these movies, a woman who receives a large inheritance is courted by and marries a man who has a secret agenda. He intends to drive her crazy in order to obtain the hefty estate she has. “Gaslighting” is so called due to the story unfolding with the husband routinely igniting the gas lamps in the loft of the house, which causes the other lamps in the house to dim. Upon question from the wife as to why the lamps were dimming, the good husband would tell her she was imagining things. In the movie, it is obvious the man knew he was driving his wife insane. Sometimes, however, this is not the case where intention is concerned. Some emotional abusers do not realize they are Gaslighting.

        Whether he intentionally chooses to actually drive his wife crazy or not, the statements and lack of concern a husband displays over them even after they cause pain are forms of emotional abuse. They are normally used to cover up actions for which he does not want his spouse/girlfriend to discover. A husband or emotional abuser who is Gaslighting may have something like this to say:

        **How could you believe I would ever have an affair with your best friend?!
        **You must be preoccupied with an affair, yourself! **Its all in your head!

        **You are suspicious of everyone and everything!

        **You don’t trust anyone!
        **When you accuse me of things that I pride myself with always upholding, it makes me not want to be around you!
        **That’s what our distance and unhappiness is all about, right there! You are always thinking I’m having an affair!
        **Your disbelief in me is what has come between us!

        **If you could just believe in me, everything would be the way it was before.

        In the above statements, it is undeniably clear that genuine love does not demand complete trust without inquiry, test, or proof. A healthy relationship produces spouses who are more than happy to comfort and prove the amount of love they hold for their partner until there is complete clarity on whatever subject for which the questioning party needs the explanation and reassurance. I would be much more concerned with the pain my husband was feeling at the time than I would be with any offensiveness it may cause me over him having doubted my faithfulness. I would try everything within reason to make the uncertainty go away, while most likely blaming myself for having been too busy for him the week prior to that. I would not be overwhelmed with anger over the possibility that he may doubt my faithfulness to him.

        Doubt happens, especially in a world where there is evil, hate and insecurity. As well, we live in a country where many channels on the television are trying to attract consumers to their wide range of products to create a perfect appearance. Although wise people know that they do not need to look like Pamela Anderson Lee or The Rock in order to be desirable, our society is obsessed with “Being Beautiful.” When one adds to that the notion that affairs are tolerated and sometimes even encouraged (especially on the Internet at certain “we help you cover up your affair” sites) in our society, anyone, especially the one who adores and loves you, should understand why there is doubt at times.

        When no sympathy or support for the hurt feelings are available, more times than not it is due to the Gaslighting abuser not wanting to empathize with their spouse/girlfriend because he would then have to take responsibility as having been the one who caused the hurt. Gaslighting methods offer no solution to the problems between couples because only genuine love can comfort and understand, an intimacy that is a must in a relationship.

        So when can you be sure someone is Gaslighting, whether voluntarily or involuntarily? I believe the method we will be using here will help: by studying the reported actions and words of those who have tried Gaslighting techniques (for whatever reason), and then comparing those usually quite similar Gaslighting methods against solid, true proofs of intimacy in a healthy relationship. My sincere hope is that you will not need the invaluable information below to sort out emotional abuse in the form of Gaslighting techniques juxtapose to love within your own relationship. Unfortunately, however, many people do.

        Before we bring to light the different implementations of Gaslighting, we must first address a lingering, sometimes constantly thought upon (but absolutely always feared) question being asked within the minds of victims: am I insane? You are not insane (that is a huge “not”). If you believe you may be a victim of emotional abuse, particularly the manipulative cruelty we now know as Gaslighting, please begin this paragraph once more before proceeding. When you are certain you can be open-minded and not believe another person’s cruel “you need help, you are insane, you are crazy” monstrosities that have been damaging your spirit, mind and ego, and ability to rationalize between logic and “true love,” please continue.

        Gaslighting is more commonly facilitated in an attempt to hide any actions or truths a person does not want brought to light. More often than not, a person does not want their spouse to be driven insane simply because they want to cover up a fling with their secretary. Still, using manipulation and lies to hide truth is always damaging to a loved one because, though they know their spouses’ usual behavior, likes, and dislikes, though they know their spouse has changed in some manner where the love relationship toward them is concerned. They begin to question their very opinions and acquired wisdom through instinct that they had formerly collected about surviving in the world. They may even begin to reassess instinctual wisdom they had formerly relied upon throughout life, of which they need to leave alone and in which they need to continue to trust.

        We all know that healthy relationships need two partners who are both willing to listen, understand, share what is inside them. They decide early on what is most important between them. Without true caring for the other person, one cannot relate to the other in honest sympathy or heart-felt sincerity. Gaslighting, however, would involve a denial of these things. When an abuser refuses to listen, appears to misunderstand what he is completely capable of understanding, or declines sharing his emotions, he is “withholding” a part of the essential intimate actions of the relationship. (When a partner really does not understand the other, then at least the intent to understand and compromise should be there, with perhaps a request for the partner to help them understand somehow.) But when Gaslighting is the main technique and “withholding” is the tool, the abuser feigns confusion or a lack of understanding. A victim may be met with defiant, even accusatory words like:

        **I don’t know!
        **How do you expect me to remember that when I cannot remember this morning! (This and variations of this are familiar phrases for Gaslighting abusers who are using drugs or alcohol.)
        **I’m not listening to this confusing crap again tonight.
        **You’re just trying to confuse me!

        When Gaslighting, the abuser will emphatically call into question the memory, thoughts, and ideas of his victim, and even further use that at a later date as a new “countering” point to make:

        Think about when you didn’t remember things correctly last time!
        You thought the same thing the last time and you were wrong.

        This is declared even though the victim did remember things correctly, and even despite the fact that he knows she did (except in cases of extreme self-denial in the Gaslighting abuser). Even if it seems the cruelty cannot become worse, the abuser has been effectively “countering” by throwing the victim off the feared subject matter at the time, getting her to instead mull over why in the world her husband would decide for her what her memory should have been instead, and then even declare another circumstance as a relapse of memory confusion.

        This is where the real struggle within her starts: if she hasn’t already started questioning her own opinions and ideas about life before this method, she will at this point. When constantly told that her memory, experience, feeling and instinct is emphatically wrong, chances are, she will eventually start to believe him, if not only to keep peace within what seems like a relationship of love.

        **You’re jumping to conclusions.
        **You see everything in the most negative way!
        **You’re always nagging me about something all the time.
        **You’re making things up in your head or blowing things out of proportion.
        **Your imagination is working overtime.
        **You have an overactive imagination.
        **You take everything wrong.
        **You see everything wrong.
        **You have never believed in me, then!
        **You probably never believed in me when we took our vows!

        You heard that through a closed door! You cannot hear things correctly through a closed door! You should have come right up in the middle of us if you thought we were saying that! (Though he knows that had she been there, the conversation would not have been the same.)

        Normally, the victim is never entirely clear what the abuser’s intentions are. Since the abuser responds quickly with anger, the victim starts to believe she may have “taken it all wrong,” which is why she was quickly met with his anger, much like the role of a daughter and father (i.e. if he’s that angry, I must be wrong.) After all, isn’t believing that better for the victim than believing he intended to make you lie to yourself?

        “Blocking” and “diverting” is a method of Gaslighting whereby communication is controlled and manipulated. The abuser refuses to comment or answer (because he has already stated “I’m not going through this again tonight”) and closes the discussion on things he “has already discussed.” Also, when withholding information, the Gaslighting abuser prevents all possibility of coming to a fair resolution, or in giving comforting knowledge to his spouse/girlfriend.

        By “diverting,” the Gaslighting abuser changes the subject, and even accuses her of accusing him wrongly or in the wrong manner in which one is supposed to accuse. He may continue into the lie of how her absolute gaul in accusing him is actually the growing problem between them. Gaslighting in this manner effectively dodges any resolute answer, much less shows a healthy concern for her feelings. The abuser diverts her attempts to gain clarity or sympathy, and “diverts” her from the actual subject by getting her to forget the topic at hand using irrelevant declarations in order to side-track her:

        **You’re just trying to have the last word.
        **You think you know it all.
        **You always have to be right.
        **Where did you get a crazy/stupid/weird/dumb idea like that?
        **No. Stop, before you say another word,let me say this…
        **I shouldn’t have to repeat myself.
        **Whatever! (sarcastically).
        **I don’t see where this is going.
        **That’s just crap.
        **Quit bitching.

        A Gaslighting abuser often accuses his partner of having done something wrong (to justify his actions or to give misleading ideas as to why he treated her a certain way when she questioned him). Healthy partners do not want to see their spouse feeling bad or hurt, and instead desires to comfort or heal their pain.
        Alternatively, the goal of abusive accusations is to blame the partner for her anger, irritation, or insecurity, thereby proving the anger/abuse she is enduring is justified because she is at fault or in the wrong for the way she accused or reacted to something he did.

        **You’re just trying to pick a fight.
        **You’re looking for trouble.
        **You’re not the woman I thought I married.
        **You’re attacking me.
        **You can’t leave well enough alone.
        **I’ve had it with your attacks/bitching/complaining.

        “Trivializing” is confusing to her because, if she doesn’t recognize Gaslighting by “trivializing” for what it is, she believes she somehow hasn’t been able to explain to her mate just how important certain things are to her. “Trivializing” can be very subtle, so that the partner is left feeling depressed and frustrated but isn’t quite sure why.

        **That isn’t important to us.
        **You’re going to let something like that come between us?

        Abusive “forgetting” is also a method of Gas Lighting. The abuser conveniently forgets anything pertaining to what the victim has needed closure on. We all forget things sometimes; but this is not genuine oblivion; it’s denial that an event (interactions, usually) happened at all. These forgotten events usually have had great impact on a partner. Victims of Gaslighting often try to discuss incidents with their abuser to help resolve issues sometimes only in the hopes of avoiding the same hurt, explosion, or confusion in the future, though he will still deny it ever happened, with an accusatory comment like:

        **What are you talking about?
        **That never happened!
        **It wasn’t me!
        **They’ve confused me with someone else!
        **I’ve never been there before/known that person before/talked to her before/called that number before!
        **I don’t have to listen to you about something I didn’t do!

        Some abusers consistently “forget” making the promises which are most important to their partner, thereby causing her more pain and confusion. Whether the Gaslighting abuser intends on the lies or not, the result is still the same, leaving the victim in emotional peril.

        Finally, the Gas Lighting abuser will also use plain old “denial.” The victim is forced to ask herself if she should even try anything as a next step because he listened to her logical, understandable, completely answerable question and simply said “Nope. Not me. Didn’t do it.” The Gaslighting victim is also left to deal with the fact he knowingly denied this, and what else could possibly be unknown to her.

        Overall, the victim starts to realize she needs to be careful when relying on her own perceptions of life. Sometimes clarity will filter through the hogwash of her abuser and she feels she may need to stop having sex with him, as a protective means to herself; but sexual moments usually become the only time she is given his attention and what was “love” at one time. It is hard for the victim to let go of, and usually is prompted by the victim simply to have a familiar moment with her “soul mate.”

        Eventually a Gaslighting abuser wins the ultimate war, the final argument, when she begins to collapse mentally and emotionally. The worst Gaslighting abusers will then mock her, humiliate her by sharing her “wrongdoings” (of searching for a solution) with their mutual friends, FAMILY hoping to get a response of “I wouldn’t listen to all that nagging, Man,” from them. Perhaps it better eases his conscious to have others tell him it is all her, or that she’s just a bitch, or just a nag. Hell, she’s not worth the effort it takes him to keep on living with her!

        **I never said that!
        **You’re making that up!
        **I never told them anything!
        **You’ve got to be crazy!

        Though she knows she heard it correctly, has endured the looks on her friend’s faces, has been asked strange questions of which she was only able to give a confused look over as the shock riveted through her already weak mind.

        If you are a victim of Gaslighting, hang in there. Recognizing that it is emotional abuse is a very big step. Trust your “gut instincts.” They have been entrusted by folks since Adam and Eve, and I just don’t think it is credible that you could be the only person without credible, solid instincts.

        • notyou, throughout my marriage I kept thinking something was wrong with me. I went to counseling because I had such an issue with my ex developing close relationship with his coworkers. It really bothered me, I told him so, I explained how much it hurt me, but he would never change his behavior. It made him angry for me to even bring it up. He would sigh and act like I had the problem. Then I would run to the counselor and work on “my insecurity issues.” It got to where I kept everything I observed to myself because discussing it never got me anywhere. I learned to keep the anger inside, except for the occasional outburst I’d have when I couldn’t take it any more.

          After I got out of my marriage and started describing what kind of behaviors were going on my girlfriends were saying “OMG, I can’t believe you were living with that.” They validated that my feelings about his behavior weren’t crazy. Looking back it’s so much easier to see how he was gaslighting me but I didn’t even know what that was at the time…and I never spoke of his behaviors to friends because I was ashamed of being treated that way. I wanted to protect our image as a “good family…”

  • Can’t stop thinking about this post……..
    Be angry. Be very angry, but as Chump Lady advises direct
    that anger towards improving YOUR life. Forget the ex. That anger
    needs to propel you to a new reality. Anger is what gave me
    the balls to realize I am a chump; kick him to the curb, file for divorce and
    wrap things up. I thank God for my anger, because I would have forever been gaslighted and would have forever continued to enable his entitlement….
    There is only so much you can tolerate and anger solidifies that…..
    I can’t wait to receive that divorce certificate. I will frame it and put it
    in a place where I will be reminded that I am strong and if I can survive this, I can survive anything. And I am surviving!
    I will NOT tolerate his shit and I will never forget the anger, and I
    will NEVER be a chump again. Anger is good. It will bring you to your
    authentic self. This is the worse humiliation and the worse abuse anyone can receive, and you have a right to be angry.

  • My dd was march 23 2012
    Finally over on dec 17 2012
    I am still effin angry. Not every day but ooo boy when I am I really am. Outgoing stuff with money & how he treats our kid, flaunting the sensual massuse on FB
    How my kids milestones & events turn into dramas.
    But but but When I really think about it – the actual infidelity maybe not so much. It’s that it’s so wrapped up in the forced changes etc that I had nothing to do with – that rips my nightie. The anger is for the life I thought I had. Maybe I’m one step closer to meh & I didn’t even realise. !!!!!
    I can totally relate to protecting the ex
    I was so ashamed & wanted to ignore it
    He is a dick & even people who don’t know the sordid details assume some thing pretty close to the truth. If I run into them & they ask – I tell the truth. I look forward to the day when I truely don’t need to say but I feel I have to speak my truth. Also he was wearing a flouro orange RL top . Bit tight . Looked like a traffic cone.
    My neighbours think man I am seeing is verrrrrrry handsome . That’s fun. He gave me nice advice – he said when I meet new boys ( I still date others but not sleep with – just date- working on my picker ) don’t talk about it . They might stop listening early on but if I get to know them & I tell them they will think I am amazing. He also said I am very tolerant etc – I said are you kidding i am practicing being super assertive becos I was a doormat ( acc to therapist yet STBXH said I have turned into mega bitch ) & sometimes I think I go too far with my new found bossy boot ways. He said nope – I’m very clear, don’t take nonsense. But he thinks I’m still overly trusting which he said is sweet because I’m not jaded but potentially veryyyyyyy problematic given fondness for certain types of men. He said STBXH just totally furious I’ve exposed him – narcs hate being found out. I am still nice Person. Still chumpy!!!

  • Dear BP,
    If you are angry you are strong enough to get through this.

    Just remember, this is who he is. He is a bad guy who has no interest in your best interests. He is not your lover he is not your protector and he doesn’t give a crap about your safety and well being. You need to be now and take care of yourself and do what is best for yourself. He is always going to do what is best for him without a care for anyone else. They keep repeating the same shit every time. Doesn’t matter who they are with they remain who they are and keep doing the same thing over and over again. As CL says, TRUST THAT THEY SUCK as no truer words have been spoken.

    No one wants leftovers. As I told mine, I don’t even like leftovers! He is a leftover, let him rot and throw him out of your life for good.

    Once you get past him work on you and the red flags you saw and chose to ignore and why. What made you so vulnerable to I LOVE YOU, they are just words, what actions was he lacking and didn’t show to match those words that confused you over time and allowed this abuse to continue. Once you figure that out, you can truly heal and move forward. At least that’s how it worked for me and then all changed for me for the good.

    It sucks now but trust that it will get better! We all promise that. Over time you will know without a doubt how good it is that you removed him from your life.

    For me what helped was writing down all the fucked up and abusive stuff he did to me as I saw it all very clearly after. Then when you get sad or lonely or feel that you miss him you can look at that list and remember that you are missing abuse, disrespect,lies and nothing more and who misses that? As CL said the only thing you will be missing is the fake fucker who conned you into falling in love, that’s not real. He is a card board cut out of a person, that’s it.

    The real person is mean, cruel, uncaring and abusive. Look how he is making you feel now. That you will never get over this and you can’t sleep or eat. Trust me he is sleeping and eating just fine. Don’t let anyone make you feel this way. They aren’t worth dog shit on your shoes.

    You are much more than a filler for someone’s life!

    Now go fill up your life with things that are good for you!!!

    We all know how hard it is but over time you will be grateful he is no longer in your life and happy about it. You will be doing some amazing things you didn’t think you would be able to do and you will become the best person you can be. Promise!

    Don’t beat yourself up it’s ok that this happened and you are not a bad person in any way shape or form and certainly are not less than in any way, you are more than. They are good at what they do and have alot of practice, we unfortunately don’t which is how we get conned. But I do believe we chumps have certain vulnerabilities that allow this to happen. Once it happens, I know it will not happen again because us Chumps seem to be healthy in our minds and hearts and are able to change whereas cheaters have no desire for such change.

    The best part is, this will never happen to you again if you don’t allow it as you now know better!

  • I am two months past D-Day. I had to go on anti-depressants just to regulate the psychologic black holes I was going down. I think about him and those skanks every minute of every day…..until I start working out. Heaving weights above my head is great incentive to not think about him and potentially drop a weight on my skull. Then when I am done, I think “huh, I didn’t think about him for a whole three minutes.”

    I think about running into any number of the women (I’ve seen their faces, stalked them on FB) and how I would publicly humiliate them. I can spend an entire commute crafting this story–it’s an ugly black sludge that covers my insides, but I just can’t help it.

    Through sheer force of will, I have been taking the “high road” with the ex. He’s been baiting me on text messages, telling me that I have to “confront my demons” in all of this (my demons don’t involve being a lying duplicitous cruel asshole). I either don’t respond, or I wait an hour and then text him back with a logistic question about our house (that he is now moving out of.) When this happens, and he baits me to blameshift, the image that comes to mind is biting down onto rawhide while someone saws my leg off, but goddamnit, I am going to get rid of this gangrenous leg or else it will kill me.

    My advice to you BP, if you can’t move, tell your boss about your situation, take a week off and stay with your best friend where you can talk about your situation ad nauseum over lots of wine, don’t bring any makeup, and get some support. I have not been alone for two months other than sleeping, because I simply can’t take the mental torture that I am inflicting on myself.

  • My anger was hidden at first – only at night I would grind my teeth. I didn’t understand why, got remarks from my dentist about wearing out my molars. Sometimes I woke up with my teeth so clenched together it hurt.

    Then, around the time the divorce was final and I no longer had to be dealing with him and the mediator, finding a way to settle midway, the anger flared. And my teeth were spared. Not always, I have children with him and there’s still a lot of anger in me every time I have to deal with him. But it’s sporadic now.

    The anger helped me get away, it drowned the sorrow and passivity. It helped me fight for a good settlement for me and the children. It got me up and running, the fuel analogy works for me.

    I get so mad when I read your stories, especially because many are so similar. And when I read about new chumps that are still in the teeth grinding phases… We’re so good at being reasonable and adult, but that’s not what comes out when we sleep. And that hurts us, only us.

    Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turned, / Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned.

  • Anger doesn’t seem to go away. Just end up being mad about different things. My D-day was over a year ago and it’s all finally coming to the end. But I still get angry.

  • What I still find frustrating is that, essentially, I have accepted what my ex did to me and know that I deserve better now. When I think of him I get mad now and basically feel, “I dont need that shit, why would I ever want to put up with that again?!” (I love this new feeling by the way… it has replaced the concept that I am nothing without him and I am not good enough for anyone else).

    What still gets to me and makes me think of him is her, the OW (I personally look at her as the OW, but she would deny she knew we were together and trying to reconcile; ingnorance does not make you innocent in my book. She clearly knew something since when she first got pregnant and they decided to stay together for the baby she kept throwing in his face that he was still in love with me and I guess they would fight about it). I feel like my plans, future, etc, were stolen from me whether they were good, bad, or otherwise. I get angry that she has what I had worked so hard for. What is she is happy? Thats concept pisses me off. I know how hes been, but she doesnt and it irks me to think that she sees this great guy and great potential (the same thing I saw) and is happy. It pisses me off. Shes getting the baby, the house, the guy he was in the beginning for me (which was very nice) and is probably happy. I dont know why I am so insistant on her getting the same treatment I got. The concept of him doesnt bother me anymore; its her getting what I worked for.

  • BP,

    “I moved across the country to be with him, and don’t have any friends or family in this city. I feel all alone, stewing in my pointless, unproductive rage.”

    I hear you – I moved away to be with my now-XW, and while my family and old friends have been nothing but supportive and helpful, it’s really hard. Thinking of the OM still makes me have to stop myself to keep my blood pressure down. Some of those who I thought were friends ended up enabling the XW. I’m close with very few people to begin with, and these days it’s that much harder. I think a good idea that I would like to try is to join a group or a team simply to meet others with similar tastes and interests, and to not have that pressure to date.

    “I can’t imagine being with anyone ever again, and I haven’t eaten or slept normally since it happened.”

    This was my first 3 months after being dumped. I still have times where I think I won’t be with anyone again, or how it would even be practical to do so. Things like “who’s going to want my baggage?” pop in my head from time to time. It’s going to take time to get to that better place for that, since rushing things can be a big mistake. However hard it is, patience and productive action are the keys, and learning from others who have been through this will help you as well.

    You’re at the right place, stick around. I know I’m happy I did.

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