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Over Sharing and Chumpdom

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Over sharing seems to be endemic to the chump experience. In your shock and trauma, you’ll dump your bucket of emotional slop on anyone standing too near — the guy next to you at the grocery, the telemarketer, your kid’s school teacher, or in my case — the man installing my furnace.

I’ve told this story several times here, but when my first D-Day hit, we were having a new gas furnace installed. About a half hour after I got the call from the mistress, and before my cheater came home — I had to write the guy a check (from my account, of course) for $8,000. I burst into tears and told him I’d just learned my husband was cheating on me.

He stood there dumbstruck and then said very solemnly he was going to “lift me up in prayer to Jesus.”

Totally awkward. And very kind. And I wanted to sink into the earth from mortification later.

Another over sharing moment in the early days — I was waiting at the courthouse to get a protection from abuse order, scared witless, blubbing, trying not to, waiting my turn — and it was an ordinary waiting room. There wasn’t like a special sitting area for domestic abuse. Nope we were all lumped together. There was a mildly retarded Amish man, and his driver. The Amish guy was in some kind of trouble for having all his dairy farming tax receipts in a shoe box. There was another woman, tough looking, with a little boy — she was also in for a PFA (she kindly told me to stay strong in the ladies room. God bless her, I guess I over shared in the ladies too). And there was this Puerto Rican kid with some criminal charge sitting next to me.

He asked me what I was “in for.” And I told him. Probably too much.

He very gallantly said, “Man, that’s awful. I hate guys like that. I could push him out of a window for you if you want. That’s the kind of guy I am.” As if pushing a cheater out of a window was all in a days chivalry for a dude like him. Never took him up on it, but I appreciated the thuggish offer. He seemed really sincere about it, too.

But probably my most EPIC over sharing moment was after my first marriage. I used to tell this story — chumps, it’s one of my FAVORITE STORIES — but I stopped doing it because it’s too dark and grim and people didn’t get it. You know, happy, non-chumpy, no drama people. But when I was living this shit, OMG, this was the funniest thing that ever happened to me EVER. So… I’m telling it now.

In January 2003 I was having a party to celebrate the end of the worst year of my life. (Ha! Little did I know what life had in store for me, huh?) In the previous year, I had finally gotten divorced, endured that trial, a custody trial, and my friend Ed committed suicide and left all his tools for me locked in my bathroom. (That was in October — oh, I over shared on that one too. Home Depot used to make me cry.)

So, it’s early January and I’m taking down the Christmas tree and I’m in my bare feet and the floor feels really WARM for January. But the room feels really COLD. And my radiators are making this weird gurgling noise. It’s a Friday afternoon. The party is the next day. I start calling plumbing/heating companies in desperation and this one company offers to send someone out.

So this enormous 300-lb pipe fitter shows up at my door and I let him in. He inspects my radiator. And my floor. And in this Virginia drawl he goes “Ma’am. You burst a pipe.” (pronounced PAaahp.)

What?!

“Yeah, I’m gonna have to shut your heat off. Can’t get anyone out here til Monday to give you an estimate. But the pipes under your house burst and all that hot water is pouring out under your foundation and that’s why the floor is so warm.”

I had just bought the house out in the divorce, within the last year. I own it — NOW THIS.

How much is this gonna cost?

“Well, burst pipes aren’t usually covered by insurance.”

I’m trying very hard not to lose it. So instead of crying — I totally manically over share. I keep saying “I can’t believe this is happening! I can’t believe this is happening! I’m having a party tomorrow to celebrate the end of the WORST YEAR OF MY LIFE — and you’re telling me MY PIPES JUST BURST? Please tell me this happened in 2002 — I cannot start the new year with burst pipes!”

“Ma’am?”

So then the guy gets curious. “So why was it the worst year of your life?”

“Well, I finally got divorced, got sued, and my friend killed himself.”

LONG PAUSE.

Then the guy asks, not unkindly — “How’d he do it?”

“He shot himself in the head.”

“Well THAT’S A GOOD WAY TO DIE!” the big, scary pipe fitter says with actual GLEE. Like he was RELIEVED to hear my friend Ed shot himself in the head. And so then HE commences to over share with me. “Well, that’s a coincidence, because MY FRIEND, just killed HIMSELF last week!

Oh my God, I’m so sorry.

“Well, it’s okay really. Because he was an asshole.”

I’m so sorry.

“I just feel really awful about the way he died.”

At this point — I really don’t want to know how this guy’s friend died. I do NOT want to know! I feel awful for him, but I do NOT want the details. But he has opened the flood gates of over sharing too, and I’m standing there. And we have this thing in common — I mean, what are the chances? We both know people who offed themselves in the last quarter.

“Some girl broke up with him, so he killed himself. I just feel bad about the way he did it. He hung himself with a CHAIN.”

Oh that’s terrible.

“Well, it’s a really slow way to kill yourself, a chain just cuts into your neck.” (He gestures to show me). “Really slow, suffocating way to go. And a chain is so heavy! What was he thinking?”

He goes on and on and on in this vein. About all the different ways to hang yourself. The different methods, how a chain is really a poor choice for the job. And I keep saying “Oh, I’m so sorry. That’s just awful. How sad.”

And then he goes “BUT YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE FUNNY PART IS?”

There’s a funny part?

“HE HAD A GUN!”

“He could of shot himself in the head like your friend! Because that’s a GOOD WAY TO DIE!”

God bless this guy. He was trying to comfort me — and seek over sharing comfort — in his own totally emotionally tone deaf way. He wanted to point out that however fucked up my friend Ed was for killing himself, at least he didn’t half ass the job. Unlike his asshole friend who used a CHAIN. I suppose this is the way pipe fitters think. You got a job to do, use the right tool.

And you’d think after that surreal life episode, that would be enough over sharing. But there is abundance in nature, and the very next day the pipe fitter sends over his supervisor. A man named “Ron Outlaw.” For real. A very nice person, who comes over on a Saturday to give me an estimate because I’m living in a house with no heat in January. (Space heaters and a fireplace — and yes the party went on!)

I’m cooking for the party, to celebrate the end of the worst year of my life, and Mr. Outlaw asks me out of the blue if I would like a bread machine.

“Is this some kind of promotion? Spend thousands on burst pipes, get a free bread machine, kind of thing?”

No, he explains. He’s going through a divorce and every time his wife serves him papers, she gives him back a different household appliance.

“Oh. Does it have bad divorce mojo? Because I’ve had enough of that.”

Oh no, he assures me. No bad mojo. He just doesn’t want it. But I look like someone who cooks, so maybe I’d like it?

“Sure,” I say. And the guy goes out to his truck. Apparently, he was just driving around with this thing. Looking to find it a good home. He hands me a bread machine and I say thanks, and I really mean it.

My over sharing story is STILL not over.

A few days later, I’m still living in the house with no heat and workers are jack hammering out my foundation. I work from home. My boss on a project for the World Bank is in Michigan with her dying mother and we’re on deadline. Her dying mother trumps my burst pipes. So I’m huddled up in my coat, wearing fingerless gloves, typing furiously to finish this project. And for some reason, it’s just all too much and I start to quietly lose my shit in my office. Crying. Typing. Miserable.

There’s a knock at the door and it’s Ron Outlaw. He sees that I’ve been crying and he says very firmly to me “It’s just money. That’s all. It just doesn’t matter. It’s just money, okay?”

I start to bawl some more. Because it felt like fucking EVERYTHING that day. The punishment of breeding with a deadbeat, lawsuits, single motherhood, a dear friend’s suicide, ghastly plumbing repairs, the World Bank deadline. When was the universe going to give me a FUCKING BREAK?! I was having a total pity party.

And then he says to me “It’s just money. It’s just a house. It doesn’t matter. Some things really do matter, but this isn’t one of them, okay? I just lost my 21 year old son last year in an accident. It broke up my marriage. When that happens, you see what’s really important and it’s never the same.”

He said it so matter of factly. So kindly — that I just marveled at him. I don’t really know how he was standing after something that tragic. Let alone fixing my pipes. Let alone giving me appliances.

And see, that’s the beauty of over sharing. You might mortify someone. Or you might just find comfort in the most unlikely of places.

Next post, I’ll examine why I think we over share.

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  • I, also, was totally guilty of oversharing in the early forever after DDay. Anyone and everyone who would innocently ask the question, “So, how are you?”, got their ears chewed on by my cavalcade of word spew…my sweet youngest twin D diagnosed with epilepsy, Uncle Daddy’s latest affair and the mindfuck that ensued, youngest hospitalized with suicidal ideation and anxiety, home forclosed….and anytime anyone would seemingly give the slightest interest in how we (my girls and I) were coping with the challenges we were facing, I would just loose all semblance of sanity and crush the kindness with my words. And every time I would try to remember to hear what I was saying, to remember that somewhere, someone, was having a much more difficult challenge to get through than mine, I still had my children, my loving siblings and darling friends, my job that respected me…Thank you, Tracy. Just thank you for your words, this forum, those of us who have this gathering place because of you…just thanks.

  • I don’t know why we are sometimes given so much at once to handle, especially during or after a major trauma. But Ron Outlaw is right. I’ve spent thousands on my house since D-Day in November, and probably have to pay to have a huge tree removed next. At first I was terrified about each big check I had to write and then I got it. It’s just money. I’m hurting but I’m alive. The Jackass ripped out my heart metaphorically but physically it still beats in my chest. So many chumps have had d-day plus serious illness, a child with medical or emotional problems, a parent at the end of life. It’s a lot to carry at once.

    I overshared a lot during the gaslighting and disengagement phase and after D-Day. But good people can see how close to the edge we are at that time and they throw us a lifeline–they remind us we are part of a web of human connection and that with help, we will make it through. And while betrayal is horrible beyond words, suicide also leaves terrible scars on the survivors. a family friend, who gave me a job the summer before college, killed herself right before that Christmas. So many years ago, but the impact on many lives goes on. Life scars our hearts in so many ways, but sharing and over-sharing is how we reconnect, how we find comfort to carry us through, You are mighty, Tracy.

  • After D-Day I was talking to a representative in the process of removing STBX as the death beneficiary of a retirement fund. Felt compelled to share my sad reason with her, and got HER story in response.

    Turns out that the marriage-wrecking affair HER husband had was with their Daughter-In-Law. Her fucking Daughter-In-Law!! (Yes, indeed. Just when you think OW stories can’t get any worse!)

    I remember her saying, “The two UGLY divorces it caused are not even the worst part of it. My only son is estranged from and will NEVER speak to his father again; and I am forced to be civilized to that horrible BITCH because she is the mother of my only grandchildren and I WILL NOT give up a relationship with those children. One small satisfaction with respect to my X is that he is old, all alone, and living in filth because he can’t cook or keep house, AND everyone who knows about what he did ostracizes him.”

    She did go on to add that I would recover and get a life. She said, ‘It will kick your butt for a good while and then one day you will finally do like I did and wake up feeling like a giddy teenager again.” I asked her if she had a new man in her life, and she said, “Yes, and he is a fine man. Not all men are like our X’s. Don’t ever forget that.”

    • When shit looks insurmountable, I remember the phrase “it could always be worse”. It’s just money, & more can be made, I have my health, my kids & an army of supporters. While I’m emotionally battered, I am not broken!

    • I found out just after my ex husband pushed me out that he was having an affair with our soon to be son-in-law’s cheap mother. This is a female who cannot live without a penis and of course my ex-husband cannot live without his penis being played with. What has me puzzled the most is that my kids cannot see anything wrong with their father’s behaviour and worse still he is now choosing 20 year old prostitutes and still they cannot see anything wrong with it. The 3 of them lack any moral compass whatsoever. Suffice to say, I have over shared many times and felt awful afterwards, but I don’t care anymore. I have been painted as the bad guy, so now it is my turn!!!

    • That is just appalling. All SORTS of horrible Oedipal shit going on down there. That is a deeply twisted part of F-ed up.

  • I phoned the CEO who had replaced my father years ago of a major car brand in New Zealand a month after D Day. This man was obviuously a very close freimd of my late father. Told him chainsaw man was fucking my wife. “What a coincidence, I had lunch woth chainsaw mans father last week. It’s small world when we spill our beans.

    I have been so lucky to have some truly wonderful people in my life recently who have lived this shit and worse and are looking our for me and the boys. Don’t think ex has the same but mind you she’s not a chump is she?

  • So easy to over-share. When I went through Divorce Care, they pointed this out as a common pitfall many succumb to as they go through divorce. I know I did as well.

    I would send out these epic prayer request emails to far too many people–some who did not deserve to know such intimate details. What I have learned since was that I was unable to know my own value; so, I was looking to others to tell me I was worth it and did not cause this horrible experience. In my profession, we call this being externally referented as opposed to self-referented. Makes one very vulnerable to abusive people who love the power of controlling people.

    Anywhoo…great post, CL! It’s nice to be part of an online community that understands such dynamics and can relate. I still catch myself occasionally oversharing because I am the sort that wears his heart on his sleeve but I have more grace for myself–just because the person doesn’t receive my gift as a gift does not make it less of a gift.

    • ” What I have learned since was that I was unable to know my own value; so, I was looking to others to tell me I was worth it and did not cause this horrible experience. In my profession, we call this being externally referented as opposed to self-referented. Makes one very vulnerable to abusive people who love the power of controlling people.”

      Very insightful! Thanks for that!

  • I’m sitting at work, extra stuff on a Saturday – by myself, and I read this article and I start crying…because there’s a connection between all of us, and this made me feel it. We’re all in this together. The suicide stuff and untimely deaths hit us all and that’s when my walls go down and I feel all the compassion.

    Hugs to all
    This story touched me in all kinds of ways

    • I am doing the same. At work, alone, and having one of those tough days. I cried after reading this. I am told crying is good.
      Great! now the fucking wayward traveling whore wife texts me she wants my help for a yard sale. – Fuck her!! whore the job out

      • GOOD JOB!!

        ONLY help her if it SERVES YOU.

        Try that on.

        Real love goes both ways. She is an abusive user. So you do not owe it to her to help her with ANYTHING–unless YOU get something out of it.

        • And that includes texting her back. You do NOT have to reply to her texts. She doesn’t own you, nor your phone, nor your time.

          Practice will make (near) perfect.

  • I don’t view it as over-sharing.

    You were telling the truth of your life and showing them what your real life was like. Perhaps the difference between being honest about your life and over-sharing is the tears that accompany the rawness and the newness.

    If you had not told all those people at that time what was happening in your life, you would have missed out on their being able to help you by sharing their stories.

    Isn’t that what you created here for Chump Nation?
    A place where you can remind those who are behind you that there IS a life ahead, that it isn’t pretty or easy, but it can happen.

    I no longer need to tell people the details of how my ex created and lied. But I do.

    Sometimes others new to the scene need to see me as I am now and know that a new life is possible. Sometimes I do it to let others, who don’t have a clue, know what being gutted REALLY feel like.

    I also am very open about the reality of depression and the ugly side of that disease, including medication, being in a locked ward and the work it is taking to get better.

    If people think that honesty is over-sharing and the tears and sobbing make them uncomfortable, too bad. I am glad you went through that so you can share those stories with us!

    • Sorry, not:
      I no longer need to tell people the details of how my ex created and lied. But I do.
      but Cheated!

      • Rebecca, I agree with you! Oversharing? Nope. It is just honesty. Now, I might not blurt out everything about my personal life with the bagger at the grocery store, but I also don’t worry about making other people uncomfortable with the truth…if they ASK.

        It is part of the way that I own what happens to me. I refuse to live with a shroud of secrecy and shame just so other people can feel as though everything is right with the world.

        If someone asks me about my life, they can be sure to receive an honest response. I might not blurt out a bunch of intimate details, but I will absolutely tell the short, sweet, unedited truth.

        If that’s oversharing, I ‘m guilty!

        • For me, sometimes keeping it in is more effective because I feel like sharing reduces my pain a little too much – gives it to someone else to manage – and I never get anywhere. All talk and no action.

  • I tend to over share here, on this site.

    The whole thing is unbelievably overwhelming. I have over shared with my siblings and the few close friends who have been supporting me since I found out. I have only had two close aquaintences ask me wtf was up. THEN I over shared. They have also been a great source of support.

    I haven’t felt the compulsion to talk about it to random people IRL. I guess I am putting on my mask in general society so I can function. I know I am functioning at around 60-70%.

    • This is also where I get to talk about what happened to me. I wasn’t able to talk about what I have been through, except to a very small group of people, including my mostly grown kids. As a result, I relied on them way too much; it was like a broken record and, I am sure, very difficult for them.

      Once I gave myself permission to post here, I finally allowed myself to acknowledge the hurtfulness of what I went through. You see, I wasn’t spackling over my X’s conduct. I knew he was an ass. But I have had to “act” like what occurred is not something I even think about.

      Here, among a group of complete strangers, I have been able to share, and probably over share to my heart’s content! It has been liberating and humbling. So many people willing to pour their hearts out, to give advise, encouragement and support to people they don’t even know! This wound I didn’t even know I had is finally on the mend.

      The only downside is that my work productivity is down. But fuck them too! I have earned a little time to get better.

    • ANC, when you talk to siblings and close friends and close acquaintances who actually care, and when you talk to Chump Nation, about the horrible things you’ve been going through, and the pain it causes, that does NOT count as over-sharing! That is totally appropriate normal healthy sharing.

      Over-sharing was me telling the nice cashier at the grocery store, who has cashed out our groceries for years, about what the ex has done. But that allowed her to both offer me sympathy and tell me about what her awful rat-fink cheater husband has done, and how he’s essentially abandoned their young son. Now we can commiserate a bit every once in a while, which ended up being a gift to both of us!

      • I hear what you are saying, KarenE. I’m a very private person. Maybe not so much anymore, but pretty reserved. So me just telling it to people and seeing it in type online feels like over sharing to me.

        I also do a lot of journaling. I’m not a writer, that’s evident by my grammar. But this helps.

  • Wow Tracy, you managed to make me laugh & cry in the same post. Not only do you wonderful insight, you have some MAD writing skills!

  • Thanks CL for this. I really appreciate this community of good folks. Suffering does seem to be a universal theme but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t last forever. It really doesn’t.

    Best wishes to everyone here.

  • I haven’t overshared (yet) but a ran into a young woman who used to babysit my kids a few weeks ago with her infant and after we gleefully hugged hello and I asked her how she was, she informed me her husband had a girlfriend and she was getting divorced. “Me, too!” I replied. This was the day after I finally broke my silence and began telling people what I was going through. We stood in the middle of the sidewalk and shared our stories for about half an hour, though she talked much more freely than I did, I guess because, even though our days were the same (freaky coincidence) she had decided her H sucked from the beginning, since he was cheating on her and treating her like crap during her pregnancy, while I didn’t come to the realization that my STBX sucked until DDay #2. She also has lots of other things to contend with – like immigration and very young children – that I don’t that add to the anguish and helped me see that as bad as things are, and they are, they could be worse. Overstaring helps put things in perspective.

  • The majority of my over sharing is in my blog and took place mostly in the first few months after DDay, but occasionally (like yesterday) the oversharing pops up again. Since I have no friends and don’t want to burden my family, my blog was the only way to unload. To my astonishment a few people started reading it and commenting and they have no idea how much I value that they bother to stop by.

    I did get a phone call about two months after separation, but not long after I found out there was an OW. It was a woman at the car dealership where we had purchased our car and when I answered she asked for my husband. I told her this was my line but I could give her his number. She seemed to realize her mistake and sounded embarrassed. (Apparently he had been in there, perhaps with his new “friend” looking at cars). She apologized for calling the wrong number. I said, “Don’t worry about it. He cheated on me and left me.” Her response is one I’ll always remember, she paused and said she was very sorry and knew what the pain was like; it had happened to her. I could tell she was being genuine about it and just the fact that she took a moment to convey the fact that she knew how very painful this situation is meant the world to me. It gave me faith in humanity.

    For fun I went to find some lovely example of the initials CL and found this. In a fantasy world it’d be a fun way to let other “chumps” know we understand, and they can unload on us if they want to.

    http://www.k-kane.com/products/k-kane-small-signature-pendant

      • I LOVE the car sticker idea!! It reminds me of a story of my ex-MIL. She is Uber “religious” (yes, telling my step-daughters that her son and I were “unequally yolked” and THAT’S why we were having problems – of course she had/has no clue what “our” problems actually were…) Anywhoo… she got into a minor fender-bender but when she and the other driver started to exchange insurance info she saw the christian fish decal on his car and exclaimed happily “OH!! You’re a Christian!!” Implying, oh, no problem, we’ll be able to work this little situation out.

        It would be fun to nod in knowing support to a fellow chump 🙂

  • I finally stopped oversharing and started a journal instead. I discovered fairly quickly that close family and friends who have never “walked this walk” just don’t get it and quite frankly get a bit exasperated that I still feel the pain and anguish (a year out from DDay but only a month out from discovering we were in false reconciliation) of my soon-to-be-ex husband’s betrayal. Instead, I read everything I can get my hands on about emotional healing and come to sites like this one and SI…because here I know I am not alone in experiencing the trauma of infidelity.

    • Yes. Me too. I over-shared, and the “leadership” of my church decided “my rage was threatening to the community” WTF?!? –I had thought we were a faith community who were there for each other in good times and bad, and the point of such a community was really to help when the chips were down. But not for me! The rich guy whose wife had cancer–yeah, he got world class support. But not me. I was labelled a crazy lady and spit out like a grape seed. Oh well, lesson learned. Do Not Trust non-chumps or people who may, themselves be cheaters or have a stake in protecting reputations.

      On the other hand, I’ve over-shared with a couple of hairdressers (and I’m not the chatty-in-the=-chair type), and gotten mounds of love and support. Both women were chumps.

      My take away is: you never know who the other chumps are until you share; but if you share with a chump, you may get a lovely reward .

      • That’s just heartbreaking about the church leadership. What a missed opportunity for them to rally around you as they should.

        And yay for hairdressers.

    • I’ve been lucky enough to find my friends are still willing to listen. I’ve spread the knowledge a bit just so I don’t turn those friendships into something that’s all about me, and I’m so glad I did. The only real oversharing I did was to a poor musician, a friend of a friend, I went to see the week after DDay. “So you got a lady?” he asked in a genial, half-stoned way. I burst into tears and took all the time before his first set the whole damn thing. What a pro — he all smiles as he took the stage. Maybe he was just happy to have an excuse to get away from me. But he was nice “Man, I’m sorry to hear that. Stay strong, brother. Stay strong.”

  • In the bewildering days post-discovery of ex’s affair(s), I overshared ALL the time and I don’t regret it. It’s what kept me sane because I felt decidedly crazy. What? I had lived and trusted a man who cheated on me with numerous women for nearly a decade? What? I never suspected? Fuckety-fuck. By telling my story over and over I saw reflected back all of the horror and shock that I lived with every waking moment. It was a huge part of moving forward each day, knowing that I was not crazy. What he DID was crazy and that I deserved better. During the “worst year of my life” we lost our home because he squandered all of our money, got fired from his job, forcing my kids and I to move far away. He did not care, he was shacked up with affair partner 1. I’m so sorry about your friend Ed.

  • Oh gosh, I overshared with just about anyone I spoke with during the nightmare time right after Dday. I regret doing that, for the most part, because some of those people knew my ex and probably rushed off to tell him everything I had said (which would have given him a lot of kibble, knowing he had hurt me that way) and others just didn’t want to hear it.

    One incident that stands out….. back before Dday, there was a woman my ex worked with, and was closer to than made me comfortable. They had a standing coffee date each week, for cryin’ out loud. I often told ex this really bothered me and that I felt she was sizing him up as a potential partner (she is half his age, but already had numerous kids by different fathers and needed someone to help support them all). He would always laugh and say she knew he was a devoted, married man, that he would never cheat, that she knew that. They were just friends. Ex and I actually attended her fourth or fifth wedding.

    Anyway, a year or so ago, low and behold, there she was, moved into my apartment complex with her five kids in tow. Divorced from the latest husband and single. I had not seen her in a couple years, she didn’t even know I was divorced from ex. Anyway, I poured out the entire story of his cheating, bizarre sexuality and craziness. I did NOT say that at this point, I suspected that she might have been one of his OW herself.

    She stood listening to the whole story, said she “wasn’t surprised” to hear about his gay cheating. And then she never, ever spoke to me again, would walk a different way if we encountered each other around the complex.

    I think she either was an OW, or else really, really hoped to be one. At any rate, I’m sorry I spoke to her at all. She’s moved again, so at least I don’t see her anymore. The whole thing makes me feel embarrassed.

    • If I can offer another perspective, maybe she is the one who is (and should be) embarrassed, probably aware that she was at the minimum over the line with those “coffee dates.” (I am of the opinion that such “dates” between married people and others, unless part of a group are usually trouble, sooner or later. Whether married or single, I don’t “go out” regularly with men who are married, whether for coffee, drink, lunch or dinner.) My guess is that she knew some things you didn’t know and once she saw that you were no longer in the dark about your X, she wondered what you knew about HER if you knew all the other stuff. Just a thought.

      • Yep–agreed. I catch flack for that opinion all the time, but I firmly believe that heterosexual opposite-sex people cannot be “just friends” and spend a lot of quality time alone together without intimacy developing which detracts from primary relationships.

        God, I feel so sorry for that personality-disordered woman’s children. My heart aches for them, for they have no parent at all.

      • I’d be willing to bet that this is the exact reason she acted the way she did. I had very odd experiences with people that I thought were friends. Things they said that just didn’t sit right or made me feel that somehow I had missed something/ I was to blame. Come to find out that every single one of those people that I had that odd feeling with had either cheated with my husband or knew about his cheating and covered it up for him. Your gut is probably right.

  • I don’t think it’s over-sharing as much as it is a healing moment of honesty and authentic intimacy with another human being. Which is all too rare. This should be more the norm! We think we have to keep up the expected social “niceties” all the time, but that just leads to loneliness and alientation. Most of my interactions with people at work, acquaintances I run into at the coffee shop, and in fact humanity at large are pleasant enough and maybe we’ll share a laugh about something – BUT they’re completely superficial encounters. Because they are superficial they aren’t really satisfying and are totally forgettable. I understand that not everybody is comfortable with the unvarnished truth. But a moment when the mask comes down and I take the risk of being REAL with another person who receives my story with compassion and lets his/her mask down… that’s pure gold.

    • Yep. Me, too. And sometimes if we are dealing with people in a business context, it helps them to know what’s really going on. I dumped it all on my wonderful banker the other day, so that she could understand exactly where I am financially. She had some great ideas about how to proceed.

      • You’re right, LJ. I was so crippled by depression (and still am, to an extent) I couldn’t meet obligations to clients. I told my largest client what was going on and he was kind enough to let me cut back my workload and ramp it up again when I was doing better.

        • You’re lucky. I was fired shortly after DD. boss thought I couldn’t handle the workload, no offense, we like you but given your personal life in chaos, you gotta go.

  • I actually wasn’t much of an oversharer. For a long time, only my sister, therapist, and 4 good friends really knew what was going on. With everyone else, I put on a brave face, which felt like a huge burden, to be honest.

    There’s something to be said for oversharing, I think. Just cut straight through the B.S. and tell it like it is. Some people can handle it, some people can’t — but the truth is the truth.

    • LOL, for me it’s wasn’t a matter of setting the record straight. I vented sometimes to complete strangers.

      An exchange went roughly like this;

      Clertk: “Did you find everything you were looking for?”
      Me: “No, but I didn’t expect to find a good divorce lawyer or a new direction in life at the supermarket.”

      etc, etc…

      People weren’t really asking about what followed and had no interest in my personal life; TMI: Too Much Information.

      I’m a guy; we don’t cry about much, but on a couple of occasions, complete strangers showed real compassion and did something nice for me, and I totally teared up; it was almost too much that complete strangers could be so nice sometimes, but I was still dealing with an estranged spouse on occasion that had a complete empathy deficit.

      • TimeHeals,

        Ha! You are awesome. The sales clerk may not agree, but to hell with him. 🙂 We’re all too damned uptight for our own good.

        ~LB

      • Look: it’s not a great feature of our culture that we disrespect people who are grieving, whether for the dead or for major losses in life. Over the years, many people have cried in my office because it is safe and I never tell their secrets. They talk, I listen, then we both buck up and do what needs to be done. But we are stronger for sharing the burdens. Sharing, oversharing, letting the tears fall, losing it at work–it beats internalizing it all and ending up with untreated depression or physical illness. Feel it, process it, heal it.

          • Thanks. I’m pretty certain I have had some weird form of depression for the past decade due to the mindfucking, Gaslighting, etc… It IS a relief to know I was NEVER crazy, just walking around unknowingly with a knife stuck deep into my back.

            So sharing this crazy stuff, feeling all of the emotions – anger, rage, sadness, relief – have absolutely improved my mood. Thank you for restating the importance of NOT bottling it up. I really have worked hard on letting it out. The gift I choose to give myself is forgiveness and HAPPINESS.

            • I know! It happened to you too? This makes me feel so relieved! I have been secretly thinking I was depressed,etc. As it turns out my CH was gaslighting me along with verbally abusing me. I am nearly back to being my real self. But in all honesty, forgiveness is tough. Yesterday he was telling me about all the people he would forgive…if they asked. I told him that he had never asked me for forgiveness. His reply? “Well, I said sorry!” I asked if saying sorry would be enough for him with his family members who he hates. Simply, no. They should ask. Sigh…

        • Absolutely true. There are few things better than having someone trust you enough to share their sorrows with you. One of them is having someone you trust enough to share your sorrows with. Just recently, more than a year after DDay, I contacted everyone who I consider a friend, no matter how far away, to let them know what was happening in my life. Most of them responded with kindness and compassion, and some with their own stories. Many reminded me of how well they thought of me, and of how I’d helped them in the past. It did me a world of good, and I bet it did them a world of good too.

      • I totally get this, now days when someone shows me true kindness I tend to cry too. Sort of sad that the acts are rare enough I am embarrassed when it happens.

        • For sure, I am much happier with the sadness and the crying and the oversharing than I was with the emotional “deep freeze” I went into after several deaths close to me. I spent years not feeling much of anything. This new “feeling” things is so much better.

          • What a perfect phrase-“emotional deep freeze.” After getting through the initial trauma of what happened, trying to dethaw has been one of my greatest challenges.

  • Sharing my story was like word vomit: I didn’t mean to, but then it just came up. I was in shock and I also needed a lot of help– He just left, one minute here, the next gone, so I was at a total loss and knew it.

    Then I did not mind saying so much, mostly because his shit sandwich was making things difficult for me. So I told everyone. The bank. The auto insurer. The health insurer. The sheriff’s department. Professional networks. Even rewards programs.

    Dipshit brought it on himself. An ounce in dignity when ending our marriage, you know, acting like a normal functioning adult– leaving a forwarding address, discussing next steps, checking in occasionally– would prevented me having to explain to everyone that no, my husband disappeared, so I cannot give you more information, he ran off with another woman, please protect [insert blank] or I need my own [insert blank].

    I always thought my husband was cold. I considered his callous and calculated delivery of precise lines intriguing. He seemed so rational, objective, accurate, superior. What he described as “emotive”, a seemingly irritating, inferior quality he accused me of having, was actually just having a heart. I never let on, but I am far more compassionate than I ever have been in my life. . . Because of him. I never want to be like him.

      • I’m really glad you’ve shared here, Dr. BTW, I got that book you recommended (I believe it was you?), called ‘On My Own.’ Really enjoying the read.

      • I was the same at work. No one knew then; I told my boss after the 6 month mark, but just the basic information.

    • My husband has kept me at arm’s length and been cold. He refused to hold me when I was literally on my knees to him begging for him to take me back (before I knew there was another woman), but he did take my phone calls, and he did answer my emails and texts. He seemed to know that he could not abandon me 100%. Just 98%. I guess I should be grateful for small favors after hearing your situation. I feel for you. It sounds horrific. I’m so sorry.

    • Dr. Like you I know I over shared with anyone who crossed my path in the immediate aftermath just because they sparked the usual conversation starter “how are you?” Problem is I also have time lapses in my memory due to the stress of it all so I actually have no idea who I said whatever to. I have run into one person since who I know I spoke to and I actually had to ask whether I was civilized or not, I just don’t remember. Think she was being polite when she replied. The trauma of this betrayal takes a huge toll on one’s self, I was falling apart and had no mental control. Only been a few months now yet seems years ago due to the longest days / weeks / months of my life.

  • Yep I get it. I did share with friends with cheating hubby#1. Cheating hubby #2, yep,… again with friends.

    What really made me lose it was Cheating hubby#2’s actions 2 years post divorce. He kidnapped our youngest son age 14. He then murdered my boy and dumped his body in a lake in an adjacent state. Then he drove to Arizona with his buddy (maybe lover)
    and they both committed suicide. My child’s body was found almost two weeks after he was taken. It was on the news over 5 states for over two weeks. Even got picked up by CNN. Lots and lots of drama. (Gag!!) I was a zombie, going through the motions of life. Soon though, I went from “that Poor Woman.” to the one no one wanted to talk to because it was TOO MUCH. Friends left in droves…or should I say faux friends, the drama addicts, …a few real ones stuck around.

    A lot of the supposed friends who chose sides (his) even before the divorce wanted all the gory details since they suddenly discovered Cheating hubby#2 was really a shithead. “Sorry, my pain is not for your entertainment.” I could not get away from them fast enough. I joined Parents Of Murdered Children…..that helped…a lot like here…they understand because they have been there.

    The second blow came three years later when his family had someone burn my house down one night while I was at work. (Yep, the same house Cheating hubby#2 signed over to me in hopes I would lose it.) I know it was them, I just can’t prove it. Folks couldn’t understand why I was so calm, especially the arson squad, who investigated ME, and me only. (You see, Ch. ex’s fine farm family had been smearing me to the local police all through my son’s murder investigation. They were a fine upstanding family…I was southern white trash.)

    Of course, at that point I was calm….once you’ve lost a child to homicide, nothing can hold a candle to the trauma. Aside from my beloved pets….it was just all stuff.

    Today I tell friends if it feels right. If it doesn’t I keep mum.

    I think when we are in the middle of such soul ripping pain we just want some comfort. Doesn’t matter from where….we just need someone to acknowedge that our pain matters, that we are not in this hell utterly alone at this very moment. I don’t think it is oversharing…I think it is simply being human ….reaching out for comfort at one of the darkest moments of our lives.

    • Christ !!!!!!!!!!
      I’m Soo Sorry, Tess.

      And I imagine after the Loss of a Child by the man you married, and their suicide ,after…. Yea, I Wager, EVERYTHING Else is EasyPeasy.

      Your Strength and Surviving that is Inspiring.

      wish there was something I could say to bring you Comfort, but wager it’d Fall Short…..

      I’ll be praying for you, Tess. <3

    • How indescribably horrible, Tessie. Thank you for sharing your painful experiences with us. I have so much respect for you and my heart goes out to you, God bless.

    • Tess,

      Interestingly, I find myself on the other end of the dynamic. I am so floored by the pain that you have gone through, and I’m at a loss for words.

      All I can think to say is: I’m so sorry, and I am glad that you trust us to share your story.

      ~LB

      • Oh, Tessie– I am so sorry for what you have had to face. You sound so strong. May you find peace. I wish you healing and peace and love, and all the good things. I am so very sorry for what you have gone through.

    • Dear Tessie, I am completely lost for words. Your story is awful. I really do hope that you are finding peace in all of this misery. You certainly do deserve it.

    • Tessie, I am so very sorry. Your courage and strength inspire me . I am sending you loads of hugs and love.

    • Tessie,

      Thank you for the trust in us you have shown by sharing what has to be the most horrible event of your life. I am awed and humbled by your grace and courage. May you receive all the blessings that the Universe and the Creator can bestow upon you. HUGS and much love to you.

    • Tessie, your post took my breath away. Literally.

      Humbled by all you have been through, and completely inspired by your strength and bravery and compassion in sharing.

      Thank you, and God bless you.

    • Tessie, cheating husband #2 was much more than a shithead. He was evil, a monster. (Of course you know this, but I just felt the need to put it on the record, so to speak.) I know a couple who lost a teenager to stranger homicide; we weren’t friends at the time it happened but my partner at the time was in local media and he was a great friend and supporter for them. So while I don’t know the pain firsthand, I’ve seen what it does to people; I am so horrified and sorry about what you’ve endured. And I can’t imagine following the loss of a child with an arson fire. I hope you moved away from those terrible terrible people. And yet, you write as someone who has come through the worst imaginable with great grace and a loving heart. Someone who understands we take comfort where we can get it. You are one mighty woman.

    • Bless you for sharing your grief with us, Tessie. We’re all here for you. We’re all her for each other.

      Some years ago, a teenage girl who was once in my Sunday School class was raped and murdered by her stepfather. Her mother eventually left town — like you, she found she was either That Poor Woman or someobody noone wanted to face after a while. I hope she’s found what peace she can. I hope you have, too.

    • Tessie, you have lived through horror. Words fail. Thank you for trusting us with your story.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. What a monster! If there is a hell, your husband is in the VIP section. I am in awe of you and your ability to continue to live your life with honor and dignity. I have been reading about the concept of dark triad; sounds like it applies to your husband. What a motherfucker!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Louise. I just googled “dark triad” …yep…sounds just like cheater hubby#2.

      I have to warn you…I have a twisted sense of humor….VIP section in hell….love it…VIP as in Very Icky People???? LOL…Yeah, I’d like to see him there….right between Hitler and Pol Pot. They could be buddies, commiserate with each other about how misunderstood they were.

      • Bless you, Tessie. You’ve been through the worst. There is nothing worse.

        You are a living testament to those of us whose kids were not murdered, that, yes, it could be worse.

        Hugs.

  • I over shared at work this week and my fellow teacher spilled out that her husband was arrested for solicitation. The cops called her to the scene to pick up her car! I felt awful. Others came in and we changed the subject. I told her about Chump Lady as we passed in the hall later that day. I hope she finds her way here!
    This is one of the few places where reality is the norm. No facades or sparkle are required.

  • I overshared with a certain glee, mostly to people I knew the ex might continue dealing with; his hairdresser (when I took our son in for his haircut), the bank guy, the cashier at our favourite grocery store, our dentist.

    Then I overshared w/anybody who asked how I was doing; a couple of the other moms on the first day of school, my hairdresser, our son’s best-friend’s dad (who then told me his divorce the previous year was due to his wife cheating!) nice colleagues in the lunchroom. Those were just ‘can’t hold it in any longer’ moments, and people reacted really really sympathetically. It DOES help to have others affirm that what the cheater did was wrong, and that they hoped the kids and I would be OK. I felt a bit embarrassed at one point, then realized that I would welcome that kind of moment of authenticity if someone I knew, even not well, were going through such a difficult time.

    Let’s hear it for over-sharing – it’s a good thing, I think!

    • Yes, I am looking forward to over sharing with people STBX encounters regularly. I am determined to shame him as much as possible.

  • Holy shit, Tessie. Horrific doesn’t begin to cover what you’ve just described. I’m so sorry. So sorry. ((((((((LONNNNNNG HUUUUUG))))))))

  • I overshared because if I went missing or was found dead, the cops would have some idea where to start. So, it was probably the scariest time in my life when I realized they consciously let my ex do whatever he wanted to me. They did their level best to keep him out of trouble. He assaulted me and the police report backed him up and made me out to be a liar even though he assaulted me in public in front of dozens of people. Fortunately, one of them showed up in court unasked – a complete stranger, as a witness on my behalf. Her testimony saved me. I asked her why after and she said, “I didn’t want him to get away with it”.

    • This post renews my faith in humanity. All it takes is that one person to step forward. So happy for you, MMargaret.

      • You said it, FoolMeTwice. But it’s sure scary when the police back up someone who is abusing his/her former spouse.

  • Oh, the oversharing. But why do we call it that? I’d like to think I’m just being my transparent self, always have been, and actually embrace this part of myself, along with genuine, honest to a fault, not comfortable with pretending, image guarding (well, at least not when it comes to cheaters), not liking people who always have their “masks” on.
    As a matter of fact, my own personal theory is that those who never express their emotions are scary and potentially dangerous individuals. So speaking of my ex, lol, he actually never spoke about his feelings, needs or wants. Oh, excuse me, he did but in a very shallow fashion a la “you need to wax more”, “why don’t you have sex with me, I said, I’m sorry for calling you a cunt..” So I’ve come to know a person who never talked in depth about anything significant, had zero personality, many sociopathic traits, and then he blows up with multiple fuck buddies in a space of a year. Am I surprised? Absolutely not. He was a ticking bomb with his internal secrets.

    • And we so often have the impression that guys who don’t talk much are ‘deep’, and that if they do manage to let down those walls, all sorts of important and emotional and profound things will be revealed. Damn Hollywood anyway!

      My default is now that people who don’t say much likely don’t have much to say, and people who don’t show much emotion may very well not feel much.

      • KarenE,

        I’m with you on this. Those who don’t share how they feel have no wiring to know how they feel, if they feel at all. I really believe now my cheater ex is completely devoid of empathy.

        • You have just described my ex husband to a T. As they say, still waters run deep. I think for a reason…now!!

  • There will be opportunities to repay the people who hold back your hair during the emotional vomiting stage. Listen to them and support them when the worst year of their life comes around. Until then, help them clean up their yard. Babysit. Give them a ride when they need to put their car in the shop. Whatever you can do. Love them back.

    Here’s an encounter I had with a complete stranger who shared her story with me. She will never write it, and I think everyone should know about her.
    The county I lived in when I got divorced has a free pro se clinic, where a county employee is available a few hours per week to help people navigate the divorce process. They don’t offer legal advice, they just help you to understand the procedural ins and outs and they can tell you when and where to file various forms. I needed some information so I looked up the office’s address and hours, and off I went. A friend of mine came along, partially because she wanted to get some information about tying up loose ends with regard to marital assets shared with her cheating narc ex, but mostly she was there for moral support. What a sweetheart.
    Everything about the courthouse seemed surreal, and a fair bit of it displayed how power and privilege and justice are all intertwined – the marble floors and walls, the brass plaques listing the names and credentials and office numbers of judges and officials, the state constitution displayed in a mahogany and glass case, the portraits of important old white guys, the smells of polished wood and leather, the lawyers wearing unbelievably expensive suits and shoes, their clients wearing faces that showed varying degrees of fear and bewilderment, the overbearingly intense silence in which the sound of each and every breath, sniffle, or whisper is echoed and magnified for all to hear.
    After getting lost for about 20 minutes (and accidentally walking in to a courtroom in session, ooooops), my friend and I found the pro se divorce desk and the clerk gave me exactly the nugget I needed. She wished me luck, we thanked her and left her office.

    In the reception area was a table for public use. Sitting at this table was a woman who was about 55 or so. Her clothes were old and fraying but also meticulously pressed and clean. She was staring at the legal forms in front of her and she was very clearly distraught. As my friend and I neared the table on our way to the door, she looked up and asked “Ma’am, I am so sorry to disturb you, but can you help me with these?” I explained that we weren’t lawyers, and she said “Ma’am, I don’t need you to be a lawyer, I just need you to… please… I don’t understand what this means. Please help me.” She gestured to the papers, and then she looked at the floor and started to cry.

    It took me a second to digest what was she meant – she could not read the forms. This woman had just admitted to my friend and I, two complete strangers, that she was illiterate. I sat down.

    The forms on the table were the forms you have to file when you are divorcing someone who can’t be located to be served with papers. Her husband was a crack addict who came and went, slept with dozens of prostitutes, entered her apartment when she wasn’t home and stole from her to support his habit, entered her apartment and assaulted her when she was home and then stole from her to support his habit, threatened her family… it was just awful. She could not afford to pay a locksmith to change the locks on her doors, her slum lord was useless, the police were of no help at all and instead harassed her when they came around looking to arrest her husband, suggesting that she knew full well where he was but was covering for him.
    She had more than enough evidence to get a protective order and an order for the landlord to change the locks, but instead she was stuck in an endless legal obstacle course that was preventing her from getting the most basic protection from a violent criminal. The bureaucracy of it was madness. Every time her husband returned to her home (still his registered address) and beat her up and robbed her, it reset the clock on the waiting period needed for him to be declared estranged and unlocatable for the purposes of divorce without service.
    Because she cannot read, this lady really had no starting point for finding her way to anyone who might help her. She could not understand most of the words written on the posters on the wall or the pamphlets on the table in the corner, less than ten feet away from where we sat, any of which could have led her to help. After we got as far as we could with her forms, I asked her if she had contacted a women’s shelter and she told me that the one nice police officer she had ever dealt with had given her a phone number for a shelter but that she had not called because she did not want to leave her home. I explained that the people at the shelter might be able to help her in other ways, such as dealing with the police or perhaps finding her some free legal assistance for her divorce.
    She asked me if I was getting divorced too and I nodded and said yes, I was. She told me how sorry she was to hear it, thanked us for helping her and said “God bless you both, ladies.” All we could come up with was “Thank you, dear. God bless you too.”

    I hope that this woman found help and is divorced and healthy and safe. I hope that everyone here finds whatever help they need to get healthy and safe, too.

    • Not to get political, but there is presently a bill in Congress to completely defund Legal Aid. It is stories like this one which should remind all of us the important work those folks do every single day across this country. Without the services of Legal Aid lawyers, many women like the one you described would have no access to our “justice” system.

      • That is horrible. Legal Aid saved my ass. A huge shout out to Mid-Penn Legal Services in Pa. When my grandfather died, and I inherited some money, I sent them a check for what I calculated my free legal work cost during The Troubles. (At the time I was a single mother with a low-paying job, paying for a divorce too. My protection from abuse order legal work was free.)

        We absolutely NEED these services. And GoBeAwesome’s story totally illustrates that.

        That poor woman. I hope she got some competent help and got away from that guy.

    • I enrolled in a DIY divorce class at our town’s YWCA. 2nd divorce was filed and done without a lawyer. Nothing to fight over, really. We had nothing–literally nothing–except bills, of course. (My picker was broken after cheater xh1, but so was my patience so….Buh-Bye, asshole!)

      Our Y also runs a shelter for abused women and hosts recovery, legal, self-help workshops and seminars. I contribute whenever possible, not just money: Travel-sized toiletries (from hotel stays, the dentist, etc) are great for the shelter. Even cheapo alarm clocks were on their wish list!

      Anyway–I hope that lady found safety, too!

  • A brilliantly told story Chump Lady. I spat my apple out when I read that line, – “Well, it’s okay really. Because he was an asshole.”

    Ron Outlaw sounds like an amazing character. That line, “It’s just money. It’s just a house. It doesn’t matter. Some things really do matter, but this isn’t one of them, okay? I just lost my 21 year old son last year in an accident. It broke up my marriage. When that happens, you see what’s really important and it’s never the same.” – really floored me and has me thinking about what’s important as I am someone who gets stressed about this kind of stuff.

    My father hanged himself shortly before my husband confessed to his second affair. I was in a really bad place anyway so I totally lost my shit and went out of my way to tell everybody what he had done. On the first affair I had been silent and had only told one friend and no one else. I was being loyal to him but when he did it again I told EVERYBODY!
    I mean everybody. I was only short of buying a loudhailer and standing on the roof!

    Thanks for over sharing.

    • Tonya, I am so sorry you hard to deal with such an awful one-two punch. That bites big time. I too would have felt like getting myself a megaphone and broadcasting to the world. How are you doing now?

      • Tessie, thanks for your concern but my grief is nothing compared to what you’ve been through. I can’t get your story out of my head. You must have some amazing strength inside of you. I am in awe of people such as yourself who manage to show concern for others when you have been through such hell. Peace and blessings to you.

        • I’m so sorry that both of you have had to go through the pain of losing a family member like this. I really have no words . . . I’m so glad you’ve both found chump nation.

  • Being a single mom does suck. Tracy it must have felt like you finally found your happy when you married your cheater and honeymooned in Paris. I know you’ve gained a life and clearly are a strong kick-ass woman but I am sorry you had to go through all that shit. Thank you for sharing with us and creating this blog.

  • I have only told my sponsor and close AA friends not a lot but I am still here so I never used that nuke bomb.
    Funny CL you chose to write about this today, at my morn AA meeting one of my long time friends in the meeting starts talking to me and what does he say?? Yup you guessed it he says his wife has cheated on him 4 times holy karma fuck almost as on cue I came home turned on the iPad and I had to laugh out loud 🙂

  • Thank you everyone for your kind words. It lightens my heart that there are such caring, loving people here. I know my story is painful to hear, but the best I can do with it is learn the lessons I can from it, try to share them, and continue to grow into the best, healthiest person I can become.

    It has been a few years since I lost my son. It has been a journey I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and yet a profound learning experience. I had always said if something happened to one of my boys that would be what would destroy me, and yet when it happened, I still had another child to worry about. If I gave up he would have had no one. And worse… NCheating hubby#2 and his crazy N family would win.

    I’m too onery to give them the fucking satisfaction. If I hurt myself…they win. NOT! Got involved in victim advocacy, wrote a book on recovery from having someone you love murdered that I have given to victim’s advocates. It helped to get active. The hardest times these days are around my son’s birthday, holidays, and the anniversary of his death. That’s when I’m a basket case for a few days. I cry and grieve when I need to, but the rest of the time I just take care of whatever life puts before me. And I’m still learning.

    As far as pain goes, it’s all soul shattering one way or another. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Different sources, same effect. We are changed forever by our pain. It’s up to us whether that change is going to make us stronger and healthier, or break us. If we choose strength and health then we must stand ready to do whatever it takes to claw our way out of the hole and make our lives better. Sometimes the battle isn’t pretty, but it is worth it.

    That is why I love the moxie of everyone here. We are not wimps! You all lift my spirits when I am having a tough day. Rock on fellow chumps!

    • I’m so sorry such a horrible thing happened to you Tessie. I couldn’t even imagine going through something like that. You are mighty. Awesome Mighty!

    • You poor soul, Tessie. Here I am sitting at Starbucks crying while reading your story. Good think I’ve got my sunglasses on and there aren’t many customers around. It is truly heartbreaking, the worst pain imaginable. Not that I would know first hand, I can’t even fathom the thought of losing my child in such brutal way. I’ve read somewhere that once you lose your child, you stop living, a part of you is dead forever and you just learn how to function. I hope you’ll find some strength in this wonderful community CL created. You’re safe here.

    • Tessie, I check the ChumpLady several times a day, in fact, many times a day. I’ve made recoveries since my DDay seven months ago, but at times I still really struggle. After a lifetime of depression and anxiety I don’t want to lose the tenuous grip I have on my recovery from this cheater so I come here to comment and to see what other women have commented.

      To be honest, it is a huge part of my sanity and strength.

      It’s a club I didn’t want to belong to, but now that I’m a part of it, I see that I am in good company.

      Your strength amazes me and inspires me. I have not lost a child, and I can’t fathom the pain of that. But at times the only thing keeping me from taking the easy road is that I want to be a better example to my daughter. And so I keep going.

      That’s all we can do. If we’re lucky we can someday do more.

    • Tessie, I get chills just thinking of what you have gone through, I am almost beyond words. I do believe some people are pure evil, and that there is a place in the most inner circle of hell for them. I will pray for you and your sons, you have incredible strength. (((Hugs)))

      • wow.

        Yes, it can always get worse. And it happened to you, Tessie. Thanks for that perspective.

        And in the sharing, you are helping us, and receiving in return. WE are the friends and family that aren’t available in real life. How can a story so tragic be so inspiring? Because you survived it, and are trusting us with it. My God. I cannot imagine.

  • A week after I threw out my X after finding out about his affair, I had a therapist lined up, Prozac, Xanax, and a lawyer ready to go. Frankly I only managed to accomplish these things because I knew I’d be in serious mental trouble if I didn’t. I know you all can relate.

    So I’m ready to file that week, and then the furnace takes a dump. And not just a repairable dump but “that bitch is going to have to come out” dump. Since I didn’t have $4500 handy to replace it, I had to ask fuck-nuts for the money, and I had to feign nice to get it. It was a soul-crushing conversation, but I got the money and spent the rest of the season toasty.

    But during the install, furnace guy comes over and couldn’t have been sweeter and more tolerant of my shaky hands and puffy eyes. I told this guy more shit than I even remember. He sat at my kitchen table and patiently listened to me, while my story was probably like going through a root canal.

    Week later, huge snow storm. I’m physically exhausted because I just wasn’t eating and pretty much just made it to work and back each day. Dark, dark days. So I’m out there shoveling and barely making a dent in the snow and I managed to get my car stuck in the drive. Another young guy sees me freaking out trying to get my car out and he stops to help me. I think I said something to the effect of, “My husband was cheating on me and just left and I’m such a complete asshole I can’t even get my car up the drive.” Blah-blah-blah, more word vomit, and then he holds my hands in his and tells me to get back in the car and get warm because he’s “got this”. He got my car out while I cried like a baby. Small little acts of kindness like this fueled me for the rest of the week.

    I’ve got more stories of over-sharing, but each time I did it, I was just struck with the kindness that others showed me. One lady in particular spoke with me on the phone multiple times from my insurance company to make sure I was set up right, and called me twice just to check on me and we talked for hours. I’ve never met her in person, but she knows more about me and my situation than some of my best friends! She told me what happened to her in her first marriage, which ended with her husband cheating as well, but the kind words and support I got from this woman helped me get through some horrible, horrible weeks.

    I don’t talk about anything anymore, unless somebody asks me. I pretty much save it for this site because here people really do understand and also, I like to respond to others and try to help them out. Helping them, helps me. 🙂 Nowadays, my failed marriage isn’t the topic of conversation. I make it a point to steer it towards others things, or I steer the discussion back to whomever I’m talking to.

    But I’ll tell you . . . at my worst point, I asked God for a miracle. I’m not religious, at all, but I asked for help because I really thought I was going to fall into a hole I’d never get out of. The next thing you know, complete strangers held me up more than people I’ve known for 20 years. And these complete strangers include you chumps. 🙂

    • Rumblekitty, I have found the kindness of strangers far more helpful than that of friends or relatives. I am also not very religious but I have looked up to the sky many times to ask for a way through the mess and pain. We get there slowly and I mean slowly. It does get better though. I have not gone the therapist and meds route because I wanted to control my life for the 1st time in my life. It was so hard but I am just about there. Never thought I would be happy again. Just one further comment. Your marriage didn’t fail, your ex husband failed in his role just like mine did. All the very best to you.

      • Well, I don’t know if I am religious–these days I spend more time at yoga than mass–but I absolutely know that I would not have made it this far without the grace of the One, the Higher Power, God–however we think of that Source. Today I had a minor meltdown over the yard. I couldn’t pull-start the old mower so I went to Sears and then Home Depot to see if they make ones with a push button start. But I was overwhelmed at having to get one off the shelf and then assemble it from the box, put oil and gas in it…at that moment I just felt totally alone. I sucked it up but was still feeling sorry for myself, only to go home and find a young friend and her husband getting ready to mow my big yard. There are some really bad people in the world, but also some really wonderful, loving people too. I am so grateful for them, for my friends and family, for my fellow chumps who have survived so much.

        • Girl, I had lawn mower issues too. My neighbor showed me how to get it running again. Did you buy the new mower?

  • Where do we draw the line? I’m not certain Breme Brown’s description of over sharing vs her exhortations to be vulnerable really work. I’ll note that she herself struggles with vulnerability. OTH, there is a danger in sharing with people who don’t deserve it, they can turn out to be manipulative assholes that will use it against you. OTOOH, I’ve had some amazing connections with people because either they or I had a bad day and shared it, and it was not awkward or odd, it was freeing and helpful.

    Since CL shared some of her over share stories, I’ll share one of mine. It touched me at a time when I felt cornered and gave me courage. I was in CVS printing out pics of the horrible sythe knife my ex had in his bed, I took the pic on a bloody pillow from when he punched himself in the face in an attempt to set me up, I was pulling out all the stops to get safe cos I had only one chance. Anyhow the pics were pretty awful, the knife was very nasty. A young woman came up and asked me if I could help her print baby pics cos her parents really we’re after her, I said of course as soon as I’m done. She said she was visiting from Ireland and the dam machine was “deviling” her, this cracked me up. She saw the pic come out, gasped and patted my shoulder. I told her I was trying to get a PO and poured out why that was so hard, that my own attorney was pessimistic. And she told me her story of abuse, how she didn’t know what was going on until it got bad. How she got away and how wonderful her current husband was, she hugged me and she said “don let the bastard fuck ya over, don’t let your lawyer convince ya that ya can’t win, I know ya can, I’m standing here and you can beat that bastard at his own game, get in the ring, if I could do it you can do it”. She was fucking right, I did beat that motherfucker, she gave me strength that day, she was an antidote to my defeated feelings. Due to her I over rode my lawyers advice and went full fucking Monty on his abusive ass in court. Because of his setting me up for a DVD charge previously this was a bitch. According to the judge, my hearing was the longest ever to be conducted in our county. The judge had to reschedule all other cases that day. We went from 10am to 4pm, she ruled in my favor and held that asshole for half an hour to ensure I got home safely. I was so damn happy that I didn’t need the suitcase, I had the locksmith appt set up for 5, that Irish woman gave me some power back somehow, she connected with me in a common bond that I wish we could all share more often. Unfortunately, it isn’t always safe, sometimes it opens us up to more pain.

    • That young mum was an angel. She was in the right place at the right time. I am so glad you won and so certain your photo printing experience was nothing short of a divine appointment!

    • Datdamwulf, I just love your story.

      I’m a cyclist. I like taking bicycle (well, recumbent tricycle) trips. When I need some sort of assistance the right person just sort of pops up. We call them road angels. Sounds like you scored a few…maybe we could call them life angels…..

  • Yes! I overshare and I just don’t care! Afterall that’s what he did isn’t it? Overshared? With miss 22?

    I think there is truth in the fact that other peoples stories to become our medicene. We aren’t alone. So, I don’t feel compelled to share everything anymore, but I will, if I think it’ll be therapy to someone else.

    For me I see the shape of my sharing quite clearly and I know I am healing, slowly. First there was the girl in the bank while I was trying to close a joint bank account that he had so kindly put into the red. She said straight up ” he’s playing you” they keep a record of every enquiry about an account and he hadn’t bothered. It made sense to talk.

    Later it was the woman in the white goods store. I had to ask her to change the name on our account because “he took off when he got some chick pregnant and now I don’t know where he is.” Her response, “there’s alot of it around!” And we laughed.

    Final public sharing, similar deal, different shop, i asked the guy if he could change the name because ….”Andrew’s dead.” He was so kind and understanding, took care of the change quickly…..AND gave me a staff discount on the camera I’d just bought!

    I don’t have to explain myself to strangers anymore. But I don’t feel guilty about the times I did.

  • Oh, I over shared alright. First two OWs, not so much. I was still too busy perfecting my spackling skills. Third OW? Huh! I might as well have taken a full page ad in our local newspaper. Everyone who needed to know, and then some, knows about his cheating ass. I was shocked to find out that my son told all his friends and co workers. He said, “Why shouldn’t I tell the truth?”

    There were times when I felt guilty (chump gene at work) but a dear male friend told me, “Give yourself permission to do or say whatever is needed for you to heal.”

    Nowadays, I don’t share anymore unless someone asks. I guess I have better things to do.

  • “Yes! I overshare and I just don’t care! Afterall that’s what he did isn’t it? Overshared? With miss 22?”

    As I was reading this thread, I kept thinking about ^^THIS^^. Wasn’t it the CHEATERS who “OVERSHARED” in the first place????

    Didn’t they overshare by confiding in someone OTHER THAN their spouse? Didn’t they overshare by LYING about their spouse? And in the cases of *physical* cheating, didn’t they overshare by sharing their own BODY with someone else besides their spouse?

    Seems to me that THEY are the ones who are guilty of “OVERSHARING”.

  • My main sharing issues deal with the school I teach at. I was dumped for the OM right as my semester was ending (Spring of last year) and I had the summer to stew over everything. When the next semester started I went into my who deal talking about the structure of the course, and I mentioned possible situations that I could be out, and I started to break down in front of my class. So I got myself together (have to be professional) and had to explain my situation, and that kind of thing hasn’t happened since. Turned out I had a student in that class who was going through the same thing I was, which actually helped out quite a bit.

    I was clearly guilty of oversharing, but not really with strangers (other than some of my students), but I’ve gone to being private about it for the most part. If people want to know, I’ll tell them, but I don’t spit it out much anymore. It’s hard for me to care, because when I think about it, it brings up a large amount of anger that has the potential to completely ruin my day, and I’m too close to middle-age to have my blood pressure go up too often from this crap.

  • With all the “over-sharers” here – it is a misnomer. No such thing as oversharing if you are just telling your truth! I live in a small town, and basically, it was known almost before I knew – she was originally from same town, and the word got out. He had been fucking her for fifteen months – mostly WAAAY out of town, and I still believe no one had a clue, not his best mate, no one. He was bloody careful. When she told me, I told my BFF and it pretty much got out – and I told my truth to anyone who asked what went wrong with the best couple around. So, the whole world knows. The hard part is when you know it has been “discussed publically” and everyone has their opinions (so often, that I can’t have been “good enough” to keep such a great guy from straying after more than twenty years of fabulousness) and I shut up shop on the topic after a year. Five years on, I have no friends left, as they never “got it” so I keep them at a distance, and if I do see them, no way have they forgotten, they bring it up. And I have been stoic in saying I no longer discuss it. See, I learned that it doesn’t matter what I say, or what my truth is, they will make the story fit the circumstances. I can’t be up to much, I must be a slack fuck, a useless person, a terrible partner. People generally don’t care that your heart is broken – unless they have walked this path. It took me around a year to work that out. I haven’t burned the bridges with the “friends” I just choose not to be so available, and learned to turn down their requests – even for me to be who I used to be, lol!

    That sad tale sad, I have met some truly wonderful people online, and even strangers who have been kind – the nurse who held my hand through my two lapraoscopies and LEEC procedure for the cervical cancer I got from the HPV they shared, the gynacologist who rubbed my shoulder as she delivered the test results, as I sobbed out that I had only had sex with one person ever, and that I was (then) a 42 year old mother of three teens who I regularly preached safe sex to, the lawyer who I engaged to look out for my post-nup rights and then supported me when I saw him again a couple of years later, worrying more about my emotional state than anything, but doing the job so well that I asked of him. Mostly the fabulous friends I have made online, especially one in the States, we have walked this recovery process together, with almost daily contact. Love her.

  • Tessie, My brother died at fourteen and it is absolutely the worst life experience for loving parents to endure. What you do and what you have done and how you have chosen to live your life shows not only great strength but honors both your children. Hugs.
    In the whole scheme of things my ex’s cheating is a very small thing. I would much rather focus on all the blessings in my life than give “Toxic” any more of my valuable time. Once you experience great loss you never look at the world the same way again and you recognize others may have heartbreaking stories as well. I try not to judge others. I am gentle with those who may need it. I know that in sharing my story I am on my way to living a better life. My thoughts and prayers are with all of us here. Every day I read stories… It is a great gift to be able to communicate so well. There is so much wisdom here.
    My thoughts and prayers too to those in Santa Barbara, to the students at UCSB, the community of I.V., and to the parents, family, and friends, who are grieving the loss of their beautiful young adults to a senseless tragedy. Telling stories has helped me heal. I don’t think we are meant to live our lives without a connection with others.

  • Yes I am an oversharer, and I am coming to understand that it is an inherent part of my brokenness. But I fully agree with what has been posted that when in the initial grip of the tsunami of emotion that follows D’Day we tend to share with people just to get a grip on reality. Often that comes when you hear someone echo the thought in your own head that the action of a cheating spouse is not your fault that it is not acceptable ‘that he was an asshole’
    In the month following my D’Day I was instructed to keep quiet on what my cheating X had done. this was a directive by the elders in the church I attended at the time. (Please know I do not share this as a way of bashing the church I have come to understand that the particular church I was attending is a borderline cult and that in a lot of ways I am very lucky, and in no way should all churches be labeled the same)

    Namedforvera, I hope you have found a decent faith filled christian community to surround yourself with. As I now have.

    I have always been a sharer and my willingness to speak the truth in situations has had me labeled by my now X minister as someone who often oversteps her bounds. So they much preferred to have the cheater in their midst who was more than compliant when it came to being quiet on the issue of his infidelity. As this worked in his favor, and theirs.
    They were happy for me to vent to them but only them. So in the early weeks I kept quit I confided in two close friends and our sister-in-law. While STBX continued on with his life as if he had just been caught speeding and given a ticket. I questioned eldership as I felt that he was being enabled and I was being managed. I was told not to tell anyone as they did not want it getting back to my girls aged 9 and 11. Even to tell my girls that their father had cheated(full stop no further information) which was why he no longer lived with us was required in writing for the eldership to approve. IMO a cult is a community of NARCS

    But then a month down the track and the 9 yr old is diagnosed with cancer and I am instructed by eldership to call the STBX and inform him because if I don’t they will. So while still processing the D’Day crap I find myself sitting in a room with 6 strangers my STBX , our sister-in-law and a close friend having to process our daughters illness. And STBX is addressing the medical staff as if we are a united front and as the father and the head of the family all decisions should go through him. NOT ON YOUR EFFING LIFE!
    And that is when the flood gate opened and I didn’t care who knew his crap.
    So the medical team soon learned that we where not together, that the children lived with me and why and I learned just how big a Narc my STBX was, He was not concerned as to how I was dealing emotionally with his shit and now our daughter his only concern was how the truth made him look and if anyone expressed that they were unhappy with him then that was may fault as it was my fault they knew. I would overshare as I felt I needed to explain what had gone on with STBX, our daughter, the elders, I lost my job, life sucked and everyone had been left in the dark as to the truth. but 6 months on
    I have now come to a place were the gate is shut and I only share if I think it is necessary. I refuse to hide from the truth of the situation and those with real concern will endure the oversharing , I have one friend who has stepped up and been an amazing support in all of the crap. She is also the ministers wife of the new church I am attending, in the early days I kept apologizing for offloading on her all the time, my thoughts had to just come out of my head and she said the following.
    “Sam stop apologizing it is my job to love you and support you. your in the midst of some real shit right now and you need to get it out. If in two years you are still like this then we may need to have a little chat.”

    P.S Tessie, I have put in a previous post that I reserve crying for special occasions now days. reading your post was one such occasion. Not because of the grief you have endured but for the strength you now embody. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • So many eloquent and heart breaking comments from courageous women and a few men. I am in awe of you.

    Yet I sit here on a Saturday night alone and friendless and think about how he’s drinking, smoking, fucking anyone he chooses.

    I KNOW I’m the better person.

    But I’m so alone.

    I’d given anything for the one friend that many of you have.

    I apologize for feeling sorry for myself after reading about so many lives that are far worse than mine.

    This sucks so bad. I’d like to flash forward a year or so…

    • You have a friend in me Moving Liquid. I know exactly how you feel. It is Sunday night in Melbourne and I am sitting here weeping because I just am. Feel sorry for yourself all you want. I am thinking of you. :):):)

    • Moving Liquid. I remember my then ministers wife coming to me the first time she knew that the STBX would have our kids leaving me alone. and making the comment of ‘so what are you going to do with an afternoon to yourself’? like it was some amazing freedom rather than some gut renching event. rather than expose how I really felt I joked ‘I don’t know dance around the house naked’ it got the reaction I expected, laughter as she moved onto some other conversation with someone else.
      But the truth is we are alone for a lot of it in ways we never thought would happen to us. So where to from here? I am finding I have friends in places I never imagined. People who have kept their distance and I must state I have done the same out of a desperate need of self preservation over the last few years as I internally dealt with the gaslighting and rejection that was very evident in our marriage, are now coming forward and engaging me in conversations of (oversharing) their own personal issues and are encouraging. They want to get to know the real me not the woman that was hidden by the flamboyant metrosexual who by his own oversharing over the years has outed himself more than once. And let me just say some people are not scared to overshare once they realize you are being honest about what your STBX has been upto.
      But to get to the point ML when in the hospital with my daughter in the midst of everything and yes I should have been put under lock and key, I was a mixture of depression and manic all at once at times, and people would say ‘look after your self’, “Look After Your Self” So what does that look like? ML if you don’t have one person you can call and say ‘hey can we do coffee’ then thank God you have all of us. Because looking after ourselves is doing things for us, If that mean at the moment as it dose for me ‘ spending hours on CL and reading age old post when I am home alone then so be it. if it means taking myself off to the movies, and indulging in chocolate, good. if is sitting in the yard with my morning coffee staring at everything around me thats good to. Why because I got up today.
      Now I am about to over share.
      At the time my STBX had his first affair,8 years ago I was in hospital under lock and key, perusing an endless possibility of anti psychotic drugs. I have FOO issues as long as the congo, but I stand today 6 months spackle free, I am medication free and I am dick for brains free. Yes I still have to endure him on a regular basis like him popping up today at my new church to see something our kids where doing and coming to say hello like we are BFF”S who hadn’t seen each other in a while. this was all for show for those around us and it pissed me as he then left without even talking to our 15 yr old son. But to quote another CL poster, when he does not have our kids I could not care if he fucked a flock of sheep. what he dose is not my issue just like when I move to Meh and find a life none of what I do will be his issue. Keep your head up ML tomorrow is another day.

      • I appreciate your words of encouragement, SammieD. Between being shy, moving constantly from country to country, feeling ashamed about my circumstances and wanting to pull away from people, I lost the few women who were friends. But they were women I worked with and liked and after I left that job we all drifted apart. They weren’t people I did a lot with outside of work. In my marriage(s) my best friend has always been my husband, which is why, when I’m not in a marriage I am lost.

        This is something I am working on desperately — trying not to jump into another bad relationship before I have my feet on the ground. Because I no longer trust my own judgement and one more major mistake and I’ll just give up on life.

        I carry around labels with me such as BPD. This is also my 4th marriage (but the first to cheat), so I have so much shame as it is. My husband only claims he cheated on me after he kicked me to the curb, but he’s lying to make himself feel better, all the signs and the phone bills indicate otherwise. And he gets to walk around town and look like the long suffering man because he can say, “She’s mentally ill. I did all I could but couldn’t take anymore.”

        While I have the knowledge that I was the only one with assets when he came into my life. A paid for condo, 401k, savings, and a great credit rating. Thanks to my 8 year relationship with him, I don’t have any of that any more and I just declared bankruptcy. But he doesn’t tell his friends that he never contributed to our life in anyway because he is too good to hold a job.

        He told me to get out the month my money finally ran out. Literally ran out. In the year preceding that moment, I kept saying to him, “The money is running out. The money is running out. We have to do something.” I tried, but he didn’t and so the money did run out. Now he’s already mooching off of another, much younger, woman. So he helped to create a horrific environment for an already unstable person to exist in and then wonders why I couldn’t handle it.

        To say I feel like a fool because I thought “if nothing else he does love me”, and I was wrong about that.

        I honestly don’t know what I’d do without CL and my own blog because there is rarely any judgement here. I told my counselor that my next priority is to find a way to meet people in a social setting. I don’t drink or go to bars, and that would be horrible for me anyway. I also live with my elderly parents since I lost my condo. I’m lucky to have a car!

        But as soon as I get paid on Tuesday I am going to buy some hiking boots and join a local walking/hiking group. I may also sign up for some non credit evening class. I have to be able to interact with someone other than my folks. (They’re great, I just need more.)

        I’m so sorry this ended up so long. Your own recovery is very inspiring to me. I, too, ended up in the hospital twice after he left due to suicide attempts. And even in my grief I have lost weight, taken care of myself, and began exercising regularly. Going through the motions of recovering from him hoping I’ll wake up someday and realize I’ve left him far behind.

        I’m sorry to ask this, but what is FOO?

    • Sending you virtual hugs ML,…Sometimes we need to wallow a little….keeping that stiff upper lip is exhausting. I know this sounds trite but…keep on stepping, Girlfriend, it does get better. Keeping you in my prayers.

  • I am not sure to whom I should “reply” to when so many of you brought up this point already, so ill just reply to CL’s post, maybe I’ll get more feedback this way?

    Some of you talk about oversharing and some people, decide then to either distance themselves from you (it happened to me as too), or don’t offer much support at all, or you lose friends all together, especially if they “believe” the ex over you.
    What if that person is your own mother?
    My mother (I type this with tears in my eyes), decided from day 1 and about few days after my DD, to “secretly” align herself with ex and his mother. I say secretly, because it’s been 10 months since DD and it wasn’t until a month ago that I found out that she’s been in touch with ex and his mother. Sporadically, occasionally, but nevertheless, it was a disturbing revelation to me. She was was sending bday, mothet’s day cards to ex’s mother, she tried to friend him on fb, and this is actually how I found out, when he emailed me to ask “why the hell does your mother stalking me online?” Learning this about my mother was like DD all over again, traumatizing, feeling betrayed by my own mother. When confronted, she gave me some super bullshit excuse of “but you can’t cut them out of your life, they’re still your child’s family.” Or when asked about the fb thing: “I was just trying to see what’s going on in his life since you don’t talk to him.”
    Wtf mother? WTF?
    She even resorts to gaslighting.
    -mother, would you agree it’s disrespectful that you don’t honor my wishes when it comes to not communicating with him?
    She: I think you’re overacting and have a distorted perception. Don’t forget, you’re the one with anxiety issues, not I.
    Bam!

    If I dare to respond with “well, you’re the cause of my issues”, she acts upset I disrespected her with my tone, accusation, whatever, and if repeat the dysfunctional cycle of our own Foo

    I feel helpless as to how to treat her. My father is a sheep, unfortunately, and will never defy her.

    Ok, I’m done crying, I just soaked my keyboard.

    • Talk to a counselor, mine told me that secretly or not so secretly having your own family members align with the ex is not uncommon, especially of you already have FOO issues, heartbroken. It’s just one more way to hurt and devalue you, and crazy-making as well (so actually it’s another form of gas lighting). So sorry you are going through this,

      • Kelly my therapist said the same in my early sessions following D’Day. to be prepared to lose friends and family.
        It just hurts like hell because it is another massive betrail.
        I thank God for this sight and though my heart aches that this sort of BS is epedemic I am greatful to know I am normal.

        thank to every one how uses this site to share and heal

    • Sweet heart you stand with your head up and start to build healthy boundries.
      My mother does not know my marriage is over and she does not know my daughter has cancer, and she will not hear it from me. The few breif times she has been involved in or lives in the last 25 years she sided with my STBX and his BS. I have in this past 6 months come to realise I married someone like my mother. Everything that has gone wrong in her life has always been blamed on others including my father who passed when I was 4 yrs old.
      I think if you take the time to identify some issues you may find the sorce of your anxiety.
      I had someone I trusted who claimed to speak to me as a mother would a daughter and then when the dust settled I found that she was not only supporting my STBX but she would state to me that my biggest issue Is my not understanding how much I am loved.
      Love is an action and no-one should have to validate someone elses piss poor efforts just because they say so. hang in there your worth more than her opinion even if she is your mother.

    • Oh, honey, I’m so sorry you have to deal with that shit. It is truly crazy making. And that “distorted perception” crack…. just shows how nasty she truly is. You know none of this is not your fault….right? Narcs are who they are and do what they do. It has nothing to with our worth. It has everything to do with their entitled attitude towards us ann the world.

      Sounds just like something my mother did many times, but then she was a covert narcissist, and I was the scapegoat. I know how hard it is to get our head around the fact that our mothers behave like they are our enemies, but I had to believe the actions rather than the words. That is where the truth lies, and their actions were not, and are not anywhere near loving.

      The sad truth is that we matter to them only when they want something.
      hang in there and keep stepping Sweetie…it will get better.

      If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has webbed feet and loves cracked corn like a duck……..chances are it’s a duck.

      • Damn, but I’m a lousy typist….Honey…I meant to say none of this is your fault! It is heartbreaking when the people who should love us and support us screw us over. As for the duck anology…..If they walk like a narcissist, talk like a narcissist, do the things a narcissist do…..

    • My mother and father are polite to my ex if they happen to see him at one of my children’s events (graduation, performances, and the like.) They wanted to reach out to xMIL, as well, and are kind and polite to her when they see her, as well.

      In my case–maybe I’m being naive–I do think they just cannot fathom the pain of being cheated upon and summarily dumped like yesterday’s trash. Perhaps they know a few too many of my faults, too, and have bought into the idea that “it takes two,” which, admittedly, is an accepted mantra of our culture.

      xH is the father of their grandchildren. He is broken. My parents are polite. They spackled, too, throughout our marriage, and became quite adept at overlooking his bewildering rudeness toward them. So they have practice, you might say. Perhaps they blame OW more than xH. They are peace-makers. They do feel that it’s best for their grandchildren that they Have A Good Relationship With Their Father, Since Divorce Is Between Adults. (We know that it’s NOT–he walked out on the kids, too, and continues to lie to them and to avoid going out of his way to help them or spend too much time away from schmoopie pie.)

      xMIL was always very gracious, thoughtful, and generous to my children. There were bizarre incidents, to be sure: she was visibly disturbed if I ever bragged about her grandchildren to her (??!? Who else would be more proud of a kid than his grandma??). She lectured me once to be a kinder, more patient mother (it occurred to me that xH was lying to his mother about me, in a ploy to gain sympathy.) Note that I am a really good mom, and I am so kind and patient that I never ever entertained the idea of walking out on them ever. So, my parents still love and honor xMIL, whereas I do not. I admit to feeling conflicted about it.

      My parents asked if I would mind if they visited with xMIL and took her to lunch. I was shaken, but chumpy me told them they could do whatever they wanted. I called them back a few days later to warn them that it was inevitable that the conversation would turn to xH and/or to me, and that there would, of course, be a parting of opinions as to who was at fault for xH’s cheating. xMIL, of course, was of the mind that It Takes Two, and she had been fed multiple lies and distortions about me throughout the years. She could see with her own eyes that I was nothing if I wasn’t gracious and helpful to her, and a very good mother and wife. But she, of course, has her own insecurities, and she can believe what she wants from her manipulative, cheating, emotionally troubled son. It might be uncomfortable to acknowledge that she raised him, and so it might be nice to find a place to off-load some blame (me!), but that’s on her.

      I warned my parents that that conversation would no doubt be extremely uncomfortable, OR, chumpy them would accept blame for me on my behalf–something I have no interest in endorsing. But, if they want to have lunch with her, I won’t stand in the way. I don’t like it, but that’s on them.

      And, to what end? What’s the point of carrying on a relationship? I personally want nothing to do with xH. As I’ve said here, I am in full NC.

      I am convinced that xMIL knew, as xH’s confidante, that xH was having an affair, and said nothing. That she sympathized with him. I know that when I finally convinced him to move out of the family home–to leave the family he hurt and besmirched–that she set him up with furnishings so that he and OW would be more comfortable. Not once did she pick up the phone to ask me if I was ok; not once did she ask me if the kids were ok. No, instead, she warned me not to badmouth the kids’ father. And she counseled xH through the divorce agreement, to ensure that he got what, in her mind, was “fair.” She chose sides. She picked the wrong side.

      My parents, at least to my knowledge, decided not to have lunch with xMIL, but still they are polite and friendly with her at events. I am politely perfunctory if I am forced to speak with her, as when she approaches me in a crowd and I cannot get away.

      Don’t be too hurt by your parents. They are from a different generation, and they really don’t get it. Not many people get it if it hasn’t happened to them. I know that I, too, used to be insensitive to chumps–incredibly so. Oh, what a ride it’s been on this route of the Karma Bus.

  • Please forgive me for commenting on this site. I am not a chump just the sister of one. When my brother called cryng so hard I could barely understand him I had the utter stupidity to tell him I was glad she was gone because she was aterrible wife. I still cannot believe how shitty that response was. Our parents were dead. He could not share this despair with friends. Not that horrible despair. I was the only one and I let him down. I will never forgive myself for that. We don’t get many “do-overs” in life and I will never be able to tell him I am sorry for how unfeeling I was. Did get to spend time with him and his children and I never felt so helpless in my life. Flew across the country to see if there was anything I could do. There was nothing. Could not stem the pain they were all feeling. All I could do was just watch. One thing it did was make me more empathetic towards grief in others. I hope you share when you need to. If it is at the grocery store, the dentist office, on the street, on the telephone. Get that grief out there. The person you tell mighttake that with them and somewhere down the line use that understanding to help another person, to stop themselves from causing pain, to just be better people. It is the butterfly effect, you know.

    • FWIW, I think saying “She was a terrible wife” and flying across the country to see if there is anything you could do are acceptable and even admiral responses.

    • Watcher, you know you can tell him and if you do I’m pretty sure he won’t see it the same way you do. Sometimes all you can do is listen and be there and hugs. And often, it’s more helpful than we think at the time.

      • Dat, my brother died before I realized just what I was losing. He was the best brother, husband and father. Sometimes I get so angry that good, decent people get shit on because they ARE good. He did remarry to a wonderful woman but his children still had to deal with being abandoned. I wish I believed in reincarnation. I want her to come back as a garden slug.

        • I’m so sorry for your loss Thewatcher. I think what you did was pretty damn good and it would have meant a lot to me if someone I loved came to be with me during such a bad time. Trust me on this as well; if he felt you let him down, at some point he would have gently let you know it. Good, decent people speak their truths, even when the truth hurts.

    • I wish you were my sister. My sister told me there must have been a problem in the marriage, like it was my fault. She really never liked my drama queen wife but, shes never been a very empathetic woman. That’s like saying ‘the 3000 people that died on 9-11 probably deserved it’. Some people think blaming the victum is sophisticated I guess?

      • The good, and the sad, things are that you have sisters and brothers here. They listen and don’t judge.

  • I over share as well. I didn’t after first Dday, you know, when we were trying to fix our marriage. (typical false recon stuff) A cousin of mine had recently gone through a rough patch in his marriage (she decided he needed to work harder on keeping her interested…wtf?) and the whole family knew about it. Made for awkwardness at family get togethers. I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening because, if it worked out, it would be really awkward at family get togethers. Meanwhile, ALL of his family and friends knew that he was cheating. He took her to family events that I didn’t know about. He paraded her around town. Paraded her at shows where everybody knew he was married. (Apparently this is typical for “musicians”) She visited at jobsites with her children and brought him lunch. (he did construction during the summer and her home wasn’t too far away from most of the company’s contracted sites) Everybody knew his side of the story (the only true part of his “story” being that I’m a sucky cook. I own that and I still am a sucky cook. Lol)

    After Dday 2, (the OW barfing episode) I told EVERYBODY what was really going on. I don’t regret the over sharing then. I do still do some over sharing besides on this site. It’s not because I’m still hurt, but still baffled and coming to terms with shit that happened. Why I let myself be treated that way. How horrible it sounds in hindsight. I guess spackle has that power, though. Part of it being that he was my first boyfriend..etc.

  • Sigh: crying- i am a major chump. I have not told anyone other than MC.

    Cheater – is in individual and MC counseling, committing time to SA meetings twice a week, appearing to finally own all the blame, signed a post nup – giving me everything if he fucks up in any way… But he stuck his dick in 15 escorts over 8 years. Emailed and texted chicks from Ashleymadison and Craigslist. Posted photos of ME on various porn sites… And it took him 6 months after I found this all out for him to admit he had and is the problem. So, he is very new to recovery, and after reading all your stories my guts tells me that unicorns don’t exist and this is probably just faux reconciliation. Of course he tells me of many men in group who are successful in the program and are kicking his ass by reminding him he gets no reward for doing what is right, or for being a faithful and loving husband. And for now he is doing all the right things… But here I am just sitting here in limbo, not trusting him, not believing that he is being real, knowing who he chose over me, knowing he can’t unfuck them. I hate this, him, me, us. – you all know this pain, I don’t have to explain it…

    Anyway, my MIL has been of her new husband of the 1 whole year. And me of course, knowing now how and where to look for info, I found him last week on Trashleymadison, craigsist, fuckfriends, adultfriender, hi5. I tracked all his calls, texts, emails, bank records for her. After she looked it all over she threw his ass out 5 days ago. 2 days ago she had changed all the locks. Yesterday she cancelled his cell phone, froze all banking after she moved money around, packed all his shit and shipped it to OW’s house, on his dime. She has over shared with the friends, family, neighbors, the locksmith, the attorney, the bankers, verizon help staff and it is empowering for her.

    And here I am still trying to figure out if her son, the man I thought of as my best friend, lover, my very life – can be the person he claims to really be and the person I want him to be. And her parting comment to me after I went and held her hand through all of her stuff ” _____ loves you! he would never cheat on you! he loves you and is so good.” And I am a chump, I couldn’t break chump moms heart and say “no, your son is a total cheaterdouche too”

    Thanks CL and all of you for being strong mighty spirits. You give this chump hope for a new day. Love to all of you.

    • Jedi Hugs Indychump.

      It might break MILs heart to know what her son has done but your heart is already broken. Take a page from her manual, kick your husband out.

  • Indychump, statistically speaking I’m sure you’re aware that a true reconciliation after an affair is unlikely, and given your husband’s extreme cheating, chances are even less.

    Still, this is your decision and only you will know when or if to walk away. Just be aware of one thing. I hear many, many women on this site who say, “Why did I give him five more years only to finally leave him now? Why didn’t I do it back then? I can’t get those years back.” This is a common complaint around here.

    You can’t get them back. Life is awfully short to lose years to what is more than likely a hopeless cause. Get real with yourself and you will hopefully come to your decision sooner rather than later.

    Either way it’s a hard decision with a rough road ahead of you. I wish you well on your path. You’ve got a lot of company here.

    • thanks for all replies, it means so much and is truly appreciated.

      as I was out walking and remembering how much CL (and all of us) loves a great song, these lyrics came to me:

      “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
      There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
      And it makes me wonder.

      Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know,
      The piper’s calling you to join him,
      Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
      Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

      And as we wind on down the road
      Our shadows taller than our soul.
      —There walks a lady we all know
      Who shines white light and wants to show
      How everything still turns to gold.
      And if you listen very hard
      The tune will come to you at last.
      When all are one and one is all
      To be a rock and not to roll.—

      And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

      thanks for shining CL! thanks for showing us how everything can still turn to gold. 🙂

      • Um, that just brought tears to my eyes! Even though that song has special meaning to me in other ways, the way I read those lyrics now, they couldn’t be more appropriate to CL!

      • Indychump, you might really benefit from the newer Bancroft book, Should I Stay or Should I Go? I have just been reading it and SO wish I had had it many years ago. Lots of good info on how to tell if your partner really is changing or not, and how to take care of yourself while giving him a chance to change.
        And you NEED to tell some people around you; you should not have to go through this so alone! And if things are awkward for him, later, so be it! Not a good idea to keep protecting him from the consequences of his behaviour.
        Your MIL rocks! Good for you for giving her the opportunity to protect herself.

      • indychump,

        One night we were driving down the road and my sister (a not too slouchy musician herself) said there was a version of Stairway To Heaven that I just HAD to hear.
        She put a CD in; and when it started, I couldn’t believe it…and then was completely blown away…

        • When the artist asked Robert Plant for permission to record it, he said he’d be delighted and telegraphed her permission not only to record but to add her additional verse at the end of this version.

  • GUILTY!

    I over-shared, especially in those early days of pure, raw, bleeding, stark-naked shock. I was desperately grabbing for any affirmation, understanding, sympathy–anything to help me stem the hemorrhage from my shattered heart and mind.

    My lowest point came when I accidentally selected one of my son’s friends from my text contacts, in a group text I’d sent to my closest friends. It was an update on the coward’s latest antics–I was incredulous, and wanted to expose him for the utterly insensitive jerk that he is. I’d meant to include Jackie on the list of recipients, and instead checked the box next to Jaden. Jaden’s mother, a friend, but not included on that list, quickly sent me a shocked text in return, wondering if I’d meant to text Jaden with such a strongly-worded message.

    Uhhh…nnno…

    I’ll always be ashamed of that.

    I quickly realized a few things:

    1) Not a lot of people can realistically be expected to truly understand what it’s like to have their world turned upside-down in this manner. It’s not fair to expect anyone to drop their own problems to focus on yours for any length of time. It really isn’t, and if you think that’s not fair, you’re in for more disappointment and hurt. And loneliness. That’s on you. It’s your choice.
    2) Like it or not, fair or not, you ARE mentally unstable in the midst of all this.
    3) You’re scaring people with your raw, incomprehensible emotion.
    4) You need to find a friend–maybe here–who is suffering through what you are suffering through. He or she will be your best support. He or she will save you from taking this out on your kids or on complete strangers. They will keep you appearing to be sane. They get it. This is extremely comforting and healing.
    5) It’s ok to share–I recommend it. Because, as pointed out above, you will be SHOCKED by how many people have gone through it, who will be a source of support, even if only for a few seconds of input. I met countless people, or learned something new about other people, that I never knew had survived infidelity (after kicking the coward out.)
    6) Keep your story brief, and convey your strength, and give genuine thanks for the moral support. Focus on what positive things you’ve learned or are accomplishing.
    7) Don’t be selfish. Let others vent, too. Be sympathetic if they have suffered (unless they are the OP. I don’t have sympathy for the OP.) Take turns in story-telling, if the other person is so inclined.
    8) Don’t be a burden–you are NOT defined by cheating. You are chiseled by it, but you DO have other interests, right?? RIGHT?
    9) Get out there and help! Throw yourself into your work, into being a great parent (do NOT OVERSHARE WITH YOUR KIDS!), into volunteering, into meeting new people.
    10) Stop being a victim. Share here, anonymously, or with your one or two trusted friends who are experienced chumps, but to everyone else, for your OWN SAKE, do not be defined by what happened to you. Instead, let others see that you are climbing out of the depths of hell, that this has made you stronger and yet softer, that this has made you experienced and better. Infidelity is near the top of everyone’s Top 10 Fear list. Resolve to be a good example of how to get shit done with moxie. It’s ok to let them see you cry now and then, because you’re not a robot. But I can vouch that if you choose to be a sad-sack, you will only suffer more. You must try, try, try. There is courage in that. People will admire you not for what happened to you, but for how you found your way back. Victimhood is not an asset. Intrepidity is.
    11) Always know that it really could be worse. You could be Tessie. Tessie could school all of us on surviving. If Tessie can do it, you can (and must) do it.
    12) Find your damned sense of humor. Use it.
    13) Stay the fuck away from toxic assholes. Define and stick to your boundaries. You will lose “friends” who worry that you are plagued, or that you’re secretly after their spouse. It’s ok to lose non-friends like that. We all know they sucked in other ways, even before all this shit went down. It’s a blessing to lose people like that. But don’t drive all the others away with your verbal acid. Save it for here.
    14) Get some exercise. My favorite is walking in the dark with my dogs. I overshare under my breath to the night air. Nobody can see my scowl, my angry gait. By the time I am home, I feel much better.

    You can DO it!

    • Very nice! I work well with a to-do list. I over-shared so many times that I lost count. Than I finally got tired of my crazy story & just told people it was a long & boring story. Funny thing: my Ex contacted our plumber about redoing some work & got offended by the guy’s attitude…yep, that plumber knew my story & picked a side.

    • Inspiring list. I always find something to love in your posts, you really get to the heart of the matter. I am trying to live # 10, and not be defined by my X disrespecting me, and the family we built, because that’s just too heart-breaking. I choose to use this new time in my life to recreate myself, the self I lost when I was falling all over him. I am an amazing person, all us Chumps are, and it’s fun to have freedom to discover whatever I want!
      I also love walking for it’s restorative powers, or it could be anything that gets you moving. But, walking seems like a metaphor for going into a new life, and I like that. It’s very calming.

  • Dear chumps… I over shared with an immigration officer at the Houston International Airport!!! I am from Mexico. My stbx and kids are mexican-american. We moved to the US in 2010 and stbx was going to get me my green card (we were married 20 years). DDay was september 2012 and he went back to Mexico with his whore. My son was a junior in high school and even when I wanted desperately to go back home to my family in Mexico my son asked if we could stay so he could graduate with his friends. Reluctantly I agreed. So I stayed. Anyway, last march I had to go to Mexico to divorce negotiations and when I came back I used the wrong visa at the Global Entry kiosk and they sent me to the room for more thorough questioning… I just lost it. Right there in the middle of the immigration area I was sobbing thinking how in the world had my life turned like this and feeling so lonely and vulnerable with no one to ask for help. So this officer saw me crying and asked what was wrong…poor guy… I told him my life story. It was surreal. I couldn’t shut up. I was a complete basket case. But he was very compassionate (or maybe he was just asking himself why had he opened his mouth in the first place) and helped me get my passport stamped and I took my connection flight and everything went fine. But yes. I do overshare. Beware.
    By the way, my son graduated from high school last friday. I am a proud mom. And very scared to be an empty nester and live alone. One day at a time.

    Thanks for the company dear chumps.

    • Gaby, you’re never alone if you’ve got your fellow chumps. Sorry for what you’ve been through.

      • Thanks for the encouragement ML, no, WE are not alone. I am so glad this blog exists. But isn’t it sad that we are all part of it? Anyway…

  • I am so humbled and inspired by the incredible stories os suffering and survival above, and so thankful to have found my way to this site.

    I am a chronic, compulsive under-sharer, and have been since childhood. I grew up in a very poor, dysfunctional family filled with substance abuse and histories of institutionalisation. I realised very early on that other people would judge me by association. I got myself a scholarship to a good high school, and then to university. I am now a professor at a university filled with very privileged people. No one in my current life knows anything about my background.

    Yet I have always been the confidant of my friends, even acquaintances – for some reason people always tell me their stories, and I think, at least I hope, I am a kind and helpful person to confide in.

    But I never let myself be vulnerable by opening up in turn.

    I have not yet told anyone but my boss about my breakup. Part of that is shock, but part of that if this chronic difficulty in acknowledging vulnerability or exposing myself to pity.

    Yesterday, as I was thinking about all these incredible stories above, it occurred to me that sharing isn’t just about allowing the intimacy of acknowledging our suffering and grief into our lives, but also that putting our stories into words gives them a shape, a narrative, and we need that.

    Those of us still in shock are like people walking away from a terrible accident. There is the chaos of a terrible event around us, we can see we are bleeding, but we have no way of understanding what has happened to us.

    This thread has helped me realise I need to start to make sense of what just happened (DDay was two and a half weeks ago), and need to start to acknowledge this experience in my own life. This week I am going to have to bite the bullet and let my friends know what is happening.

    • Hecate, good decisions. Letting your friends know will help you feel less isolated. Virtual friends are great but in-the-flesh friends can give hugs, offer shoulders to cry on. As I have said to my friends repeatedly “You cannot change what has happened to me but you can walk with me through it.”

      I was an undersharer, too, and I get it. Pillars of strength find it difficult to lean on others when they are in need. Asking for help exposes vulnerability: we can be ignored, we can be abandoned, the vulnerability can later be used against us, and so on. We need to find the courage to lean on trusted friends when we are struggling as we would expect of them when they are. Healthy relationships are reciprocal. If friends disappoint, drop them. This is the time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

      I refused to suffer in silence and isolation and it saved me from turning in on myself and going off the mental health rails. You sound remarkably lucid for someone so fresh out of dday, which is both encouraging and hopeful. As CL said, this is a marathon so continue to take good care of yourself and get your daily dose of this blog as a map of what to do and what not to do. It saved me.

      • Hi Hecate, I kept his secret for 5 years. I am an under sharer too, but now? I am telling.

        For me, there was a lot of shame. Shame that I had failed, shame that he could treat me so disrespectfully, and most of all, shame of not being loveable enough.

        Now I know that none of this is my shame to bear. I have also discovered (as I am sure you will), that I have more friends and are more liked as a person than I ever imagined. And that is a real gift out of all of this, that I am becoming a more authentic and self-referencing person.

        • Just because he dried up and fell off doesn’t make you a failure.

          I make it my goal to live my life in such a way that people will wonder why in the hell anyone wouldn’t want to be my hubby! You see, I’m not the failure, clearly….

          Maybe that makes me chumpy, but it’s not a bad guide.

  • Sometimes, we find the most comfort from strangers – for some strange reason, they seem to feel less burdened by our troubles than those closest to us. Maybe it has something to do with the idea that the universe tends to send us the people we need, exactly when we need them. They just don’t show up looking exactly like the saviors we would expect to see.

    I had a similar experience this last winter. It was right in the middle of the polar vortex sub-zero temperatures that the universe slammed me with problems from every direction. And the cherry-on-top, my furnace dies on a minus-6 degree day. It was a tear-filled, panic-stricken 24 hours but by noon the next day, there were six workmen (3 plumbers, 3 heating installers) in my basement, installing the wrong furnace (got the top of the line unit delivered by mistake but that’s your gain “ma’am, because it’s too damn cold to take this back and get the right one”), installing a new hot water heater (ma’am, if you want to replace your 20-year old unit, we’ll get our plumbers here in an hour and we can give you a great discount, and we’re charging you for the 60-gallon but we’ve only got an 80-gallon on the truck so that’s what you’re getting”), and new filters and hoses on my furnace humidifier as well as a tune up on my air-conditioner equipment inside — NO CHARGE — just because there are six guys in my basement with nothing to do while they wait for the new top-of-the-line furnace to get installed.

    Of course, it didn’t make all my problems go away but it just made me feel like there were good and positive forces in my universe that were fighting against all the evil ones. And six burley, loud, workmen, laughing over the classic rock music playing on one of their boom-boxes, in my basement that cold January day, gave me faith that everything would work out – somehow – and I exhaled completely for the first time in months, maybe even years.

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