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Making Character Cool?

So last Sunday night, I appeared on Dr. George Simon’s podcast “Character Matters.” You can listen here. It was great fun. We touched on a number of topics (the fallacy of “sex addiction” might interest a bunch of you out there — Dr. Simon thinks it’s a ridiculous “industry” and the treatment further traumatizes the partners of “sex addicts”)  — but one subject we got riffing on was “making character cool.”

Yesterday, I got amazing traffic off the post about “sicko” cheaters. I think the freaks who are wired wrong are one demographic. I think there is another demographic of cheaters who are just simply assholes. They could muster up some empathy. They’re neurologically pretty normal. They’re just colossally immature and entitled. Which is worse? I couldn’t tell you — the person who’s just a snake (what can you expect from snakes really?) or the person who could do better but won’t. They both suck. Get away from these people.

But the point I wanted to make about the assholes is — there is a culture that not only tolerates, but encourages them.

Every day people send me articles on infidelity that make their heads want to explode. How cool it is. How abnormal monogamy is. How edgy and fun it is to be a mistress. How some chump really deserved it for being mental, or sexless, or lacking. How glamorous this or that celebrity cheater is — the glowing profile where he thanks his wife for being chill and letting him have groupies. (Wyclef Jean — I’m talking to you.)

Gah! Are people with one, integrated, grown-up life FREAKS or something? Or are we just boring and not living life to our fullest hedonistic happy quotient?

I do think there is something uncool about character in our society now and something acceptable about narcissism. And I’m not the only one who has noticed. Certainly Dr. Simon has. My favorite description of this zeitgeist comes from the playwright Tony Kushner — he describes it as “psychotic individualism.”

Yeah, I got mine. Fuck you. Whatever I want, I deserve. Did I promise you something? Well you’re just a pansy ass for expecting me to keep my promises. How naive of you.

Unfortunately, to talk about this phenomenon tends to divide on political lines. I would hazard a guess Tony Kushner and Dr. Simon fall on different ends of the political spectrum. We can’t seem to get past deep suspicion the minute someone goes about on moral decay. Look, I myself want to cover my ears and scream when politicians natter on about “family values.”

Oh, you mean the values of denying gays marriage? Or denying me reproductive freedoms? Fuck your “family values” hater!

Look, to talk about this some of us are going to point to Wall St. And some are going to point to unwed mothers. But really, I think we should all point to the assholes and ask “What is wrong with you?”

Seriously, what is WRONG with you abandoning your family that way? What is WRONG with you for thinking you’re entitled to embezzling public funds? What is WRONG with you for creating the sub-prime mortgage crisis? What is WRONG with you for caring more about granite counter tops than school taxes? What is WRONG with you that you want to stay “friends” with the guy that cheated on her?

When did we become a society that cares more about the integrity of our chicken breasts (free-range? Antibiotic free?) than we do our people?

Can’t character be cool again? Hey, we made nerds cool. It took a generation or so, but if bad glasses and IT geekery can be cool — why not character?

But would we have to snark less? (Ooh. That would be hard for me.) Yes. We’d probably have to snark less.

The intro music to Dr. Simon’s show is a patriotic tune he and his wife wrote themselves. Now, for all I know Dr. Simon enjoys Sousa marches and oom-pa bands with guys in lederhosen. Who am I to judge? I inflict my obscure R&B videos and Broadway show tunes on you.

Is there anything more square than patriotic music? It’s sooo easy to snark. But get past your jingoistic knee-jerk reaction. There is something beautiful about caring passionately. Whether that’s about democracy or animal adoption or polka music. I think it’s okay to let your earnest flag fly — and not be too cool for school.

Because isn’t it that shallow affect that got us asshole culture? Your sentiment is laughable. Truth is situational. Values are not black and white. Nothing is worthy of cherishing.

Chumps are often ridiculed in our marriages for caring. For investing. For loving a bit too deeply. You’re useful, but God, so embarrassing. Like a mother who wants to kiss our forehead in the Gap store and call us “Pumpkin.”

Rise up, chumps! Dr. Simon will fire up the patriotic marches and I’ll drop the eff bombs. We’ll make character cool.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • My oldest child was 9 when he called his father to tell him that he didn’t have any integrity. Of course, I was accused of putting him up to it. How else would a 9-year-old know that word? Well, I don’t know – from the karate dojo he has been attending for the past 4-5 years (now 6 1/2 years). They also teach my children words like respect, discipline, courage, perseverance, honesty, etc. One of the reasons why cluster b wants the kids to quit karate. Not to mention the fact that one of the instructors (who used to be friends with cluster b) wouldn’t lie for him in court and in turn filled out an affidavit that put cluster b in a negative light. Yeah, character matters. Unfortunately, no matter how many posters you put up on the walls in the school hallways broadcasting this message, it is getting harder and harder to teach our kids that message. At least my kids can see reality. For now, that is. And now I’m off to sing “just keep praying” to the tune of Dory lookin for Nemo.

    • My homeschooled, karate trained kids also had the moxie to call their father out on his behavior. And it was amazing how he tried to spin that totally around by saying that I had brainwashed them and they were my Stockholm Syndrome victims. OMG, they were passing judgment on their Jesus Cheater Father!

      After my ex moved out, their Sensei became their father figure/adult role model, for which I am eternally grateful.

  • Agreed. Character needs to be cool again. However, I am skeptical that the powers will allow it….too many cheaters busy controlling the narrative. Maybe Chump Nation can help change that?!

      • NO Happily – we are fighting a #Winning Battle. We need forces. This is a great focus for me about how much destruction adultery is. Loved this entire interview, btw! Great job, ChumpLady. I LOVE your laugh (mine is so gross) and you have great radio voice. I want to spread the word and quit being the silent chump. The poor wife who couldn’t put out so the man left her for another…I want the world to hear what my stellar-reputation asshole did, because I helped him build it up! We need the pendulum to swing back in this Character way, rather than the FucklyMadison direction. I feel a movement myself…and I’ll lead the charge in my small town. So, uh…there! 🙂 (I can’t speak in public)

  • Um. I am pretty sure that I have kissed my daughter on the forehead in the GAP store while calling her pumpkin. Yeah. Actually I am totally sure I have done that.

    • Okay, now that I have gotten that confession out there, to the substance of this excellent post:

      As a person of faith who tracks very far to the progressive left on the US political spectrum, I often find myself trying to make coalition with other people of faith, esp. Christians, who share my Matthew 25:34-40. agenda on prophetic justice work among the economically vulnerable, but who use the same Bible I use for wildly different purposes on what they call ‘family values’ (which I experience more often as hate speech against LGBTQ etc. folk).

      It’s a mixed bag of a project — even doing social justice work with my whole heart often makes me feel like I am being regarded as a chump; like people think I have taken it a bit far, and as though they are too polite to say that, if I were just a bit brighter, I would be able to grasp the basic neoliberal Adam Smith Wealth of Nations project of buying cheap and selling dear as not just an option, but a commandment. Kushner’s psychotic individualism as a mandate.

      My faith requires that I live as much as possible as though the kingdom of God has come: no lying, no swearing oaths (because what does that say about my integrity the rest of the time), acting with integrity in all matters. I find it emancipatory. I have stopped looking for validation from my surrounding culture, which I find very, very messed up and from which I have been long alienated.

      So, sometimes I feel that my faith (which is just a 17th-century-based affirmation of Reformation Christian values — far from novel) kind of functions like a cult would, in that it requires critical refusal of mainstream contemporary mores. And that does worry me — it’s disconcerting to be so often a lone voice. But mostly I feel that my faith is just … true. With Dr. King, I affirm that the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice, and I regard it as just … true… that justice requires integrity, that Godself intends us to act with integrity, and that people of good will have all the information they need to do that, now.

      No need to keep looking up into the sky for a new revelation about how integrity or character works. No need to whine about it, cheaters, or look for that loophole, special exception, entitlement clause.

      Just do it.

    • Oh, dear. Not only have I kissed her on the forehead in the GAP store while calling her Pumpkin, I have done so in the midst of a sotto voce harangue on GAP production values, the probable age and work conditions of the laborers who made those GAP t-shirts, t-shirt capitalism in general, the need to buy second hand by preference and fair-trade as a minimum guideline, and zombie mall consumerism in general.

      Which is maybe why we don’t shop together as often as we might?

        • That is why there is a Starbucks at Indigo. Full of the parents of teenaged girls, myself included.
          The price of one coffee equals the amount in gas used circling the mall.

    • I wrote this about myself. I once called my son “Pumpkin” in a Gap store. (He was about 11.) Horrified voice — “NEVER CALL ME PUMPKIN.” An era had ended. The teen years had begun.

      I know better than to kiss him in public.

      Okay, maybe in airports. I’m very embarrassing.

      • I am not so narcissistic as to think this reference was to me. But I did have an unheimlich moment of thinking I had been punk’d.

        Followed by a rather liberating moment of thinking that it’s not just me who does this! Glad to know I can go with the latter.

        We may be legion, we GAP-smooching Pumpkin-naming emotion-showing whole-hearted carers. I hope so.

      • I call all my college students “pumpkin.” I can only sort out so many Amandas, Zachs, Kaitlyns, and Mohammeds. They don’t seem to mind.

        As a teacher, I can say that all of education should primarily be about character, about how to live well and authentically. To that end, I teach young people how to think critically and interpret the world around them in the classroom but the real curriculum between adults and kids of all ages is always “how to live a good life” and “how to love one another.”

        It’s not an accident that young people love Harry Potter and the “Hunger Games” books. They yearn for challenge, for authenticity, for moral guideposts in a world that they see is screwed up in many ways. My favorite Bible verse is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Most people get the “love your neighbor” part, as a directive not to collapse into selfishness. But the other part is equally important–it’s not just love your neighbor, but love yourself. Our culture teaches asshole, self-centered self-regard, rather than the love of Self, which would mean to honor our own lives, bodies and spirits, to refuse to do ourselves harm and then, by extension, to refuse to do others harm. It comes down to what my yoga instructor says at the end of every class;;”The light in me honors the light in you.” I’ve been teaching and coaching since I was 16, a long time and I believe it all comes down to that: to loving and honoring the light in ourselves and extending that to the world. Some of the strident “family values” people are so offensive because they conflate their own beliefs (like saving marriages at all costs, like demonizing birth control) with actual values of character, like honesty, fidelity, kindness, etc.

        • Speaking also as a teacher, it’s amazing to me how much students will also overlook infidelity in certain circumstances. When I teach The Great Gatsby, they immediately think that Tom, the overaggressive, racist pig, is a jerk for having a mistress. However, Gatsby, who is somewhat portrayed as a good guy, isn’t really questioned for having an affair with Tom’s wife, Daisy, until I point it out to them. “Doesn’t this make Gatsby as bad as Tom?” They are often genuinely surprised… oh yeah, he is having an affair… like there are “good,” justified cheaters and “bad,” unjustified cheaters. Of course, the fact that DiCaprio plays Gatsby in a very glamorous way also makes his character’s behavior “forgivable.”

          I often feel like I have to teach character along with literature and grammar because so many students are lacking– they’re not bad people, but they often either apathetic about what is right and wrong, or they are much more willing to tolerate behavior that is flat out wrong. It was also okay for Gatsby to flout Prohibition with his bootlegging because, you know, the 18th Amendment was stupid. Well, that may be true, but it was still the law, and Gatsby was a gangster who likely hurt or killed others due to his chosen “profession.” But, you know, he’s cute, and he doesn’t get drunk at his parties, so we can overlook the fact that he’s a cheater who makes his money illegally. *eye roll*

          • I like the line about how careless Tom and Daisy are…and loop back to why Gatsby is dead. What is the life trajectory? The recent film really glamorizes Daisy but part of the push in that book is to critique that glamour and see the rot underneath that comes from either living an inauthentic life or sociopathy or narcissism run amok.

            • I was saying to my husband the other day that Gatsby is kind of the modern Romeo and Juliet. I know the stories aren’t even remotely similar, but what I meant was both Gatsby and R&J are tragedies that are misinterpreted as romances ALL. THE. TIME.

              It drives me nuts when someone says they want a love like R&J. I’m always say, “So, you want to fall for someone you talked to for like an hour while crashing a party of some family you hate, know each other for like, 2 days before having awkward virgin sex and then double-suicide?” Usually I get deer-in-the-headlights out of that.

              When someone says they want a love like Gatsby and Daisy or that they want to find their “Gatsby,” I do the same thing. “So, you want to marry someone else and have your ex boyfriend come out of nowhere, throw a ton of parties without actually, ever directly inviting you, fight with your husband, die, and have no one go to his funeral because everyone really thinks he’s an asshole?”

              It didn’t help that Lana del Rey did a really beautiful love song for the DiCaprio re-make. GAH! The Great Gatsby is not a romance!!

              Sorry about the rant. This just drives me crazy. People who think R&J and Gatsby are romances clearly either didn’t read them, or didn’t pay attention.

              • Kara,

                I could kiss you! Thank you for this!! I sometimes feel like I’m completely surrounded by people with plus signs for eyes.

                There’s a reason why Romeo and Juliet is considered a tragedy – shallow emotions and lack of common sense is fucking tragic, not romantic. It only qualifies as romance if you have shallow emotions and a lack of common sense. In the beginning of the play we are introduced to Romeo who has the reputation of falling in and out of love every few minutes. Thus, his professions of love and attachment are not taken seriously by his friends. Do people not have any discernment? The intrigue and forbidden nature of the relationship is what fuels the “passion” – that and their age. If their parents had just said “have at it you idiots,” the two “love birds” would have been over each other by the next day.

                Unfortunately, I think too many literature teachers didn’t pay attention because I don’t know too many teachers who consistently point any of this out.

              • Kara – and let’s not forget one that everybody loved, except ME!
                The English Patient.
                I was sitting around a group of ladies after the movie that all said they loved the romance. I just didn’t get it or like it.
                But, hey – I love Ralph.

              • I agree about “Romeo and Juliet,” too. It’s a story about young, hasty lovers (haste always a problem in a Shakespeare play) who live in a society torn by civil war, with a prince who cannot keep the peace. It’s a play about the impossibility of love when people value violence and war over their children’s future, and the civil and religious authorities are too weak-willed to stand against it. As the Prince says in the end, “All are punished. All are punished.” And of course, Romeo and Juliet are (as adolescents) intrigued and fueled by loving what they’ve been taught to hate, pushing boundaries, and so on, with no thought as to how things will play out. (This sort of hasty action is always trouble in Shakespeare!) But the adolescent aspect lines up nicely with the emotional age of this kind of cheater (the “true love” Schmoopie kind).

              • Srsly, these two stories are tragedies. The problem is, as you point out, NO ONE ever READS the books. All they have are the movies and the movie remakes. And those movies do not really reflect the actual books. It drives me crazy too.

            • That’s very true, LaJ, and that’s what I work hardest at showing my students– they see it as the good life, and well, Gatsby only died because he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Otherwise, he was a bad ass who lived a charmed life. No… Gatsby’s life is built on nothing but entitlement and the empty dream of a woman he falsely elevates in his own mind. His money doesn’t buy him anything– not happiness, not her love, not even his own safety. Students don’t see that at first, though; they see the wild, drunken parties and the “romantic” reunion of the “star-crossed” lovers… how fun and exciting! But then there is George Wilson and the Valley of Ashes… you know, real life?

              And DON’T get me started on R & J. That’s another one I have to de-romanticize for them… once again, I’d like to thank DiCaprio for his contribution to that! 😀

              • YOU teachers! I wish you were mine when I was growing up. How challenging to teach these kids morals, values, character, and a myriad of other important things while you own them for 8 hrs a day. I say – CHEERS to the teachers, when they know some of their kids are going thru an adulterous divorce with their parents. They gotta be tough. Just, good for you helping them with it all. I’m sure you see those kids..
                Just, thanks.

      • I still call my son (19) poopey-head, in front of his friends…..no one says a WORD.

        These kids are a tad on the geeky side, they think Mom’s are weird, but cool all the same.

      • Mine is 20. I can kiss him in public again now and he calls ME ‘Pumpkin’ (or equivalent)

  • More shocking to me then finding out my ex was a serial cheater was realizing he had absolutely no integrity. His father was a good man of character so although I knew my ex was self centered and liked his zone of “privacy”, I never dreamed he could be so dishonest and live a double life of debauchery for decades. I am glad my children have been able to see the truth about him and make better choices themselves. Being an example of good character is crucial and I have endeavered to be that for them.

  • Eloquence. Grace. Mature thought. Dignity. Serious scholarship. High standards. Intellectualism. Profound empathy. Developing a grown-up conscience. Caring about the common good. Servant leadership. Putting away “childish things” and becoming an adult. This is the realm of a civilized and mature people. And where are we now? Healthy cultures of the past venerated their elders, because they knew that’s where wisdom was stored. The stage of life of the seer or the sage, who held the history and knowledge of the people, was the pinnacle of a human life. And what about America? What stage of life is most venerated? What age is all advertising aimed at? What age is the spotlight of our culture focused on? Which age is everyone trying desperately to hold on to? Adolescence and young adults. And what is adolescence most characterized by? Outer appearance. Fitting in. What I need and want. Obsessed with my feelings and thoughts. Real narcissism. You expect some narcissism in a 14 year old. It’s supposed to be a transition stage, not the final one. It’s supposed to be guided by the elders and wisdom teachers of the tribe. But when so many adults still have a 14-year-old psyche, you know this is a disintegrating culture. (Don’t even get me started on how we treat the elderly in our society…)

    Narcissistic behavior? Our culture encourages it, tolerates it, even rewards it. We better dust off those “square” leaders and thinkers of the past and rediscover whatever wisdom we’ve casually tossed out in our quest for psychotic individualism. (Great term, by the way.) I would also call the zeitgeist of our age psychotic sophistication. Or rather a faux sophistication. We modern sophisticated people are beyond such prosaic notions like “right or wrong.” Hey, whatever I’m doing, it’s right for ME. Why? Because I’m now sophisticated enough to create my own morality. I’m not bound by all that limiting, fuddy-duddy thinking from the past. And so on. This is the zeitgeist in which cheaters are operating in. Post-modernism run amok. This is partly what gives them “permission” to do these appalling things with no consequences. So many people are even confused as to how to think about these appalling acts. Maybe they’re not so bad… Maybe I don’t have a right to judge… The moral compass is spinning helplessly in all directions. I’m not saying I would like a return to some kind of strict, Puritan mentality. The religious, family values talk makes me want to throw up. But this pendulum has swing WAY out of control on the other side.

    Sorry I was on my soap box here. But this is a big deal to me.

    • Don’t be sorry. This is a brilliant analysis. I think you are dead-on correct. There was a little side discussion yesterday about childhood and teenage-narcissism, which kids go through as part of the normal development of character. It seems that culturally, we are indeed stuck in adolescence, trying to be young at all costs. One of the most striking realizations I had about the cheater in my life was how adolescent he seemed when (ad I found out later) he was shifting his energies to his MOW. He was either angry or petulant or smirking or preening like a teenager who wanted praise. I could hardly recognize the person who had always “acted adult” around me. But what do we have when adult behavior is only a shallow veneer or a mask to cover the reality of people who have never progressed, in terms of character, out of that early adolescent stage? We have cheaters. We have people who turn the banking system in a personal casino. We have people who pass laws to favor a few and uphold them in courts bought and paid for and government officials with no allegiance to the people or the country. We have corporations who manufacture “food-like” products that make people fat and sick, rather than grow and distribute actual food. We have people who go on TV and robotically insist that a home must be “open concept” and have granite countertops and space for entertaining rather than an affordable mortgage.

      • Well said, LFW. I feel like this describes my XWH– stuck in a state of arrested development. It was something I could spackle before we had children, but once we started having kids, his immaturity and selfishness became more and more apparent (though I spackled the heck out of that as well). The Owife is just like him– she happily plays the part of a parent just enough so that she can enjoy ego kibbles from those around her (Isn’t she a good parent!), but otherwise, I think she and my XWH would happily run off together, trying to recreate their younger years, and pretend that they didn’t have kids if they could. I know my XWH will never do that while his mother is living. He desperately seeks her approval, and she’d flip if he abandoned the kids in such an obvious way (as opposed to the covert way he has abandoned them, and she gave him a hard time about that as well).

    • “What age is the spotlight of our culture focused on? Which age is everyone trying desperately to hold on to? Adolescence and young adults. And what is adolescence most characterized by? Outer appearance. Fitting in. What I need and want. Obsessed with my feelings and thoughts. Real narcissism. You expect some narcissism in a 14 year old. It’s supposed to be a transition stage, not the final one. It’s supposed to be guided by the elders and wisdom teachers of the tribe. But when so many adults still have a 14-year-old psyche, you know this is a disintegrating culture. (Don’t even get me started on how we treat the elderly in our society…)”

      Excellent summation. Thank you.

      If you want to see in a nutshell the culmination of what is wrong with our culture, simply watch this trailer from the new USA TV series, “Satisfaction.”

      The blurb under this trailer states….. “this series answers the question, “What do you do when having it all is not enough?” by delving into their shocking and unconventional choices..” (This is graphic. Definitely R rated. Not for young viewers.)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIjQRggRKXo

      Imagine how many inappropriately supervised and impressionable adolescents (and young children for that matter) will see and be influenced by this kind of maggot-worthy garbage? It will be millions upon millions. Mainstream TV pornographic depiction of affluent narcissists with too much money and time on their hands, whose sense of character and moral responsibility is completely distorted by greed, sexual obsession, and rank hedonism right out there in prime time or slotted close to prime time.

      On boards such as this one individuals tend to focus so intensely on their personal pain that they sometimes appear to overlook the magnitude and pervasiveness of the underlying cultural norms which allow aggressive promotion of precisely the kind of behavior which has traumatized them. While this is understandable given the level of their post trauma, it does little to address the prevailing general atmosphere of “anything goes” as long as it benefits ME or I can get my immediate gratification while literally and figuratively fucking everyone else…or as so many refer to it, “the culture of narcissism.”

      Therefore, Thank You for today’s post, CL.

      What can you do?

      Contact their advertisers and indicate that you will vote with your pocket book. Such actions put a nice dent in the popularity of the far-out fundamentalist PSEUDO Christian tenets of the Duck Dynasty people. It can work on the other end of the spectrum, too.

      As long as we tolerate a tidal wave of depravity in our society, we will have more of the same …except it will only get worse.

      • “Outer appearance. Fitting in. What I need and want. Obsessed with my feelings and thoughts. Real narcissism. You expect some narcissism in a 14 year old.”

        So I was married to a 14-year-old?

    • oh my, I had to catch my breath and re-read you about four times, Looking For Wisdom. You have a lot to dole out. Thank you! Helpful reading tonight.

  • There is a lot of narcissism, and encouragement of it (seen Archer, anyone?). However, I do think there’s a solid chance of character making a comeback. It may sound silly, but on facebook I scroll through things my friends like, and 90% of them are good deeds or somebody beating cancer or cheering for an underdog. I think people are drawn to character…narcissism is funny/entertaining to those who haven’t dealt with it intimately, but I think most people want to see and make good things happen for others.

    • I was thinking about that too. I’ve noticed that as well on FB. It certainly seems that people want to be seen by their FB friends as supporting good deeds, worthy causes, and cute puppies. I agree that people are drawn to character. I haven’t seen too many posts about how great it is to find an affair partner on Ashley Madison or secretly set up credit accounts in your spouses name and charge them to the limit. Although, I would bet that the majority of my friends on FB are fellow chumps too so not a random sample!

  • Personally, I think if you’ve grown up, developed healthy boundaries and empathy for others, and aren’t an egotistical asshole, then… you aren’t really in the market for external validation all the time. You don’t operate that way, and there’s probably nobody wagging their finger at you anyway because you are conducting yourself with some dignity and character, so you don’t need to go scouring the internet, late night television, “hip” clubs, and so on to confirm that your deviant and self-obsessed lifestyle has some sort of value.

    I think that’s part of the reason why there is a market for articles pushing deviant agendas (rather than just flying the freak flag, going around and proclaiming things like healthy boundaries are all wrong).

    Other reasons might be… because programs and articles in the media are either trolling healthy people (to get responses) or catering to baser instincts (few want to see somebody in a car crash, and yet traffic inadvertently slows down when there is a crash due to all the rubbernecking).

  • Hi ChumpLady

    I’m pretty new to your blog but I want to tell you how much I appreciate your site and candidness and from one fellow snark to another I say SNARK ON!!!

    I’ve read some of your past posts and I listened to the earlier podcast from Dr. Simone which I found very insightful and educating. I’m looking forward to listening to this new one.

    I’m one of the Chumps that is reconciling. It’s been three years since DDay and complete exposure. We’ve done the whole MC, IC etc and our relationship is on the mend. I didn’t stay because of children because mine are all grown but for a myriad of other reasons. Maybe it was wrong, but for now I’m here and so is he. I read you blog to stay smart. I ignored so many red flags because I naively and arrogantly trusted him. No one deserves that kind of trust and I’ve warned him to NOT trust me so arrogantly. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t cheat. If I wasn’t satisfied in my relationship with him I would leave first, then maybe find someone.

    You’re 100% right on with your assessment of cheaters. They ARE snakes/assholes/narcissists etc and I take all your posts very seriously with the exception of “getting away” from them, sorry 🙂 The decision to stay has been for me the right decision and I’m a big girl. The good thing is I’m no longer that naive girl. I’m fully aware of who and what I am dealing with and for now I stay, but the choice to leave is forever going to be on the table for me.

    Thank you so much for your insightful and educational posts and all the great help you give to all of us who suffer at the hands of those with deep character flaws.

    • Welcome, friend.

      Just for what it is worth, I don’t so much experience this website as organized around refusing reconciliation (though it mounts a healthily skeptical resistance to the phenomenon of ‘cheap reconciliation’ which, like ‘cheap grace’ is a deeply bad faith exercise in spackling over problems rather than confronting them).

      Rather, it is structured to give folks tools and guidance to refuse chumpiness.

    • Trying hard, I am in the same place as you, although weare still raising our three kids. I told him exactly the same thing. Divorce had never been on the table for me, but now it is a viable option I weigh as we go forward. It’s always on the table and I think thatis a real loss.

    • Hi Trying Hard, I am in the same boat as you. We are starting our counseling sessions this Thursday.
      I believe people can change for the better. I know I have grown from this experience. I am giving my H a chance to show who he has changed too. He says he has been working on himself and from the things he says, “This is the least I can do,” and “You have every right to be this angry,” and “What can I do so you feel better about this,” and so on….
      Since my trust is not totally back yet I will just let time show me if his words match his actions. So far, I asked to move out of our home and he is in the process of purchasing a condo for me. When I thanked him he said it was the least he could do.

      • Hello AndIStillRise, StillaChump and MGirontree

        Thanks for replying to my post. I read a couple of other blogs and I found this one through one of those. Many people have very visceral attitudes both towards those of us who chose to reconcile and those who chose to get the lying jerk out of their lives. I’ve got to say I’m probably in the middle. I totally agree that many folks need to cut the relationship off and sometimes I wonder if I am one of those. As I said, here I am reconciling and so far so good. My H has shown me LOTS of changes and doesn’t just talk the talk. I’m still very gun shy and NO I do not trust completely. I know I never will. I wouldn’t trust though even if I had divorced him and moved on to someone else. I think once one is so betrayed, and I was REALLY betrayed and fooled, it’s hard to trust anyone! Let alone another intimate relationship.

        I so feel though for the younger women in this group that are raising children and how they must be so torn about what to do. It’s an awful and yes chumpy place to be no matter what stage of life one is in. I come here to read and make myself look at this situation from every angle, inside, outside, and upside down!

        What I don’t get is the visceral hate mail that these bloggers get from haters. Why are they here? If they don’t like the blog there’s many other choices from which to choose. I think Chump Lady does a good job here even though I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m insane for believing in “Unicorns” 🙂 LOL if she only knew my whole story she’d really think I was nuts!!!

        Much luck ladies. I feel your pain too 🙂

  • Well said, Chump Lady. Character is SERIOUSLY lacking in our culture. I had a proud moment as a mom yesterday. My 20 year old son told me where he parked in a busy beach town one night. I told him that it was nice they let people use their parking lot at night. He said that there was a locked box there that asked people to put in money on the honor system. He said he paid and knew he wouldn’t be able to enjoy himself if didn’t. Yes! On another recent occasion when discussing his father, my son told me that “He didn’t turn out to be who I thought he was. I only look at him as a friend now, not someone I can look up to.” So sad, but I think that the character part is deeply embedded in my son….even if he can’t do a dish or pick up clothes from the floor. I’ll keep working on that part. I think I kissed him on the forehead a lot too.

    As far as your mention of chickens, I have to put in a plug for how character relates to that. Many of us claim to be animal lovers, but we eat animals who have been abused in the industrial factory farm system and are only seen as commodities rather than sentient beings. Being vegan means that I have aligned my values with my practices. I think that a lot of character can be developed by thinking more deeply about the choices we make in life so that we are not living with cognitive dissonance. I love animals, but I eat them. I love my wife, but I need to fuck others too. I am a family man, but I need to be with the OW a lot. My kids mean everything to me and I can still visit them after I blow apart our family and deprive them of support. Omission is not lying….blah, blah, blah.

    Great job on the podcast, Chump Lady! You rock!

    On a good note, I just found out that for $50 I could hire a handyman who walked around my house and did every little repair, hung up stuff, moved things, etc. Not once was he sarcastic, rude, or mean. Not once did he say, “Do you want me to stick a broom up my ass and sweep too?” when I asked him to fix something. If I had known this years ago, I would have wondered why I ever thought I needed my verbally abusive asshole cheater husband.

  • I often wonder what it is that makes one person retain their discipline around integrity, and what makes others lose the discipline. Of course, being shown examples of it in early life sure helps, and it can come from any mentor or parent.

    So why is it that members of the same family, ie. siblings, can vary so greatly in the integrity they display? Is it nature or nurture…or is it the most telling measure of emotional intelligence. Perhaps that’s it, that like other “IQ’s” there in fact is a scale of emotional IQ. And those who just don’t get it that it’s not all about just themselves are the ones on the lower end of that scale.

    I think children who have early experiences, sometimes very minor ones, where they get the message they are not loved and supported, just put up that wall and keep it up all their lives. They make a fundamental, internal decision to never expect love but rather that they will pursue what they need by adversarial means. They are not stupid enough to forget they need to go through the motions of fooling everyone into thinking they are playing the love-and-care game, so they get married and have kids and then help themselves to what they want.

    Integrity is accepting that one’s actions have an impact on more than just one’s own little orbit, and truly making that more important than one’s own gratification.

    • Marci

      I think just like anything else it takes practice not to give in to one’s baser impulses. There are just those of us who know it’s important to live with integrity and as a matter of fact in the end integrity is all you have. And then there are those who, well, just want to continue acting like fat third graders!!!

    • Many of us who experienced abuse and neglect as children found other models. I read “Little Women” and “The Lord of the Rings” and stories about people who overcame obstacles over and over, as they provided models of character and courage. And I got involved in sports, where I had a coach who was a solid role model for me. I ended up pretty far over on the codependent side, from years in childhood of trying to walk on eggshells, fix the problems of others and to make other people happy, so my issue is with chumpiness, not exploitation of others. But the fact that kids have screwed up parents makes it even more important for aunts, uncles, grandparents, coaches, and teachers to provide that missing healthy love and support.

      • Good point– one of my siblings cheated in a previous marriage. The other four of us (to my knowledge) have never cheated, but we have all been cheated on. I have to wonder what the four of us encountered in our lives that made us different… is it that we were more into music than the cheater sibling? I’m the one sibling who reads a ton and mostly fiction, so I can’t really say that was what we had in common. We were all given tons of love and attention as kids, so it’s not that. I know that the cheater sibling is more interested in the entertainment industry than the rest of us (though it’s not really something he’s involved in for a living), so maybe that instant gratification portrayed by that culture is what helped to shape his pathetic sense of entitlement when he cheated?

        FWIW, we stopped talking to cheater sibling for years and HATED his OW (and big surprise– his marriage to the Owife ended when he discovered she was cheating on him!). This was long before I was cheated on. I’ve always been proud of my family for that; no rugsweeping for us!

  • Looking for Wisdom, this is a great comment.
    About the religious “family values” folks – I support and applaud everyone in their spiritual path. I, myself, am an atheist some days and a Jesus freak on other days, and a tree-hugger (literally) on all days. Yeah, that’s just how it is right now with my emotional state. What I think is important is that morals and values and integrity are not derived solely from faith or religious doctrine. Those things can be fantastic guides and maps and there are universal truths to be found in them. And they also provide community (which I would argue is lacking in our culture). But I have a strong moral compass without religion. I know right from wrong. I know what integrity is. I know the Golden Rule. I believe I am my brother’s keeper – which to me means I am accountable to my spouse, my family, the community, the country and the world.
    The sad part about Narcissism is that there is a total disconnection with other people. CL’s cartoon about “I am not defined by my relationships” sums it up. I believe we are totally defined by our relationships, starting with ourselves, our relationship to a higher power (or not, or to trees), and then to others.

    • “But I have a strong moral compass without religion. I know right from wrong. I know what integrity is.”

      Exactly right: ethics and religion are not the same. Exhibit A in my life: my Jesus-cheater Ex and the Jesus-cheater OW, teaching Sunday school together throughout the affair.

      • “Exhibit A in my life: my Jesus-cheater Ex and the Jesus-cheater OW, teaching Sunday school together throughout the affair.”

        Totally disgusting when people hide behind religion and have the nerves to preach others while they are living a life of deception. Makes me want to throw up!

    • “I believe we are totally defined by our relationships, starting with ourselves, our relationship to a higher power (or not, or to trees), and then to others.”

      I resonate with this ^ . Basically, to live well, decenter yourself from your map of the universe, and pay attention to the importance of other beings on this planet.

      On one’s relationship to trees as a good measure of spiritual health: from Wendell Berry’s *Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front*
      ….
      Ask the questions that have no answers.
      Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
      Say that your main crop is the forest
      that you did not plant,
      that you will not live to harvest.
      Say that the leaves are harvested
      when they have rotted into the mold.
      Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

      Put your faith in the two inches of humus
      that will build under the trees
      every thousand years.

      http://www.context.org/iclib/ic30/berry/

    • I would like to add that narcissists don’t have a connection to themselves. That’s the problem. They are in some kind of survival mode. They can’t authentically connect with others because they can’t authentically connect with themselves. They put everything into their facades and facades have no solid anchor points from which to connect with others. (builders and engineers out there?)

    • Yes! Exactly! I consider myself a recovering Roman Catholic. I know right from wrong. I know the importance of leading a life with integrity. I personally feel quite spritual and always express that to my kids. I’ve attended church, temple and other places of worship. I believe in the basic tenets of the major religions.

      And yet….. LT OW sends scripture and porn to asshat. Asshat declares our kids need some sort of organized religion in their lives. I see liars and hypocrites before me. Judging me for not joining their version of the God Squad, and yet these same Jesus Freaks are talking a talk, but NEVER walking the walk. They are too busy watching porn, reenacting the scenes with their married affair partners and then sending scripture to each other. What the Fuck.

  • I just commented yesterday that every day here at CL I come across a post by Tracy or comments by CN referring to values, morals, or ethics. I suggested that a post describing “Red Flags I Ignored Early in My Relationship” might help some of us face our own role in ending up where we’ve ended up and also realizing some of this stuff might help us to NOT make the same mistake the next time. This post sort of edges along side that idea.

    I’ll admit I began to listen to the interview yesterday and when they interrupted Tracy for a music break of some sort, I clicked off it. But today I know I’ll try again and I’ll look at that corny music in a new way because what’s important is that Dr. Simon gets it; he gets us.

    Regarding character, it was something I never gave much thought to. I guess I assumed every body had it. But I did ignore red flags regarding my husband’s character very early on in our relationship and if I had not ignored them, perhaps I would not have married him.

    At any rate, character is now hugely important to me and it will be the first and most important thing I consider if there ever is another man in my life.

    Sadly, as you said, Tracy, character isn’t “cool” right now. And unlike how nerd acceptance has taken off, good character often seems to get hijacked by religion and that ruins it for some of us.

    Someone mentioned here a couple of days ago that it’d be nice if we chumps could wear a pin or bracelet that indicated we were part of Chump Nation, almost as a safety sign in the window, so that other people know we understand and they can talk to us about their pain. I think the same idea would be awesome regarding character. If you see the pin you know they value their marriage, they pay their taxes, they respect their parents, etc. A silly idea, perhaps, but fun to think about.

    My husband refused to get a job because they were all beneath him. I come from a hard working family and this should have been the biggest red flag of all and shows his true character. He’d rather let me use up all my money supporting us than do something he considers beneath him. And when I’d complain he’d call me “materialistic.” How absurd.

    Character may not be cool, but that shouldn’t stop us from bringing it up in conversation and spreading the word.

  • We live in a dirty little society that values human life less and less. If the most defenseless citizens in our society aren’t protected and cared for, who gives a shit about all of these other abled body folk. Terry Schaivo’s husband is the ultimate cheater who wielded ultimate power. We have reproductive rights but there are too many babies paying the ultimate price for cheating and plain old stupid behavior.
    In my honest opinion and I know I’ll be slammed women have more financial power but are less respected. Sex has lost it’e value with all of this free love and we have found nothing to replace true sexual intimacy that was only meant to be shared in a marriage. Men are simple. I’m not placing the total blame on women but we gave up our power and our influence to become more like men and society treats us as such.

    “He who finds a wife finds a good thing” but the script has been flipped.
    Just my two cents.

  • People who accuse others of being “judgmental” frequently have done things themselves that they should be, and don’t want to be, judged for.

      • This is my husband’s biggest bitch and moan with me – I’m too judgmental and I look down on his family and work colleagues. To say that the ones I was “judgey” about met the low-bar expectations I “had for them” would be an understatement. I was right about the con man he went into business with, his boundary-less NPD mother, his suspicious behavior and his mouth-breather unprofessional protege/howorker/fave employee of his mother’s. But I’m still the bad guy because I judge. They fuck around, lie to their children, mentally abuse devastated spouses, use affairs as a cover for helping (paying) brain injured clients, break laws and steal – but I’m the bitch for looking down on them. Easier to blame me than look in the mirror and make the hard changes. What-fucking-evs. And to be honest, I’m not happy I was right about them, had I been wrong and just a judgmental bitch, I wouldn’t be typing this, on a chump website, on my son’s laptop, eying a wine bottle right now, alone, lol. But I did learn my instincts totally rock when I heed them. That knowledge makes me feel like a fucking boss, frankly.

        It’s like the difference between being kind and being nice – it takes energy and effort to be kind, nice is superficial and easier – “let me carry those bags to your car”, vs “have a nice day! Next!”. But kindness reaps benefits for you tenfold. And nice goes pfft into the air almost as soon as the words leave your mouth. Give me integrity and high standards – the right people will be right there with you.

  • I was just discussing this phenomena with my twenty-two year old son! How “Jersey Shore” types are paid handsomely, while the people who help the homeless are nameless. I guess all we can do, is not pay attention to the assholes in the media. It really is sad, though, and shows the degeneration of society!

  • Here’s an idea for making character cool, CL. As a response to the Ashley Madison slogan “life is short, have an affair” . . .we need a t-shirt and a bumper sticker that says “life is short, live it with integrity”.

  • Integrity is sexy, in my opinion, and does not preclude an individual from leading a fun and interesting life.

    Here’s a list of celebrities who fit the bill:
    Patrick Stewart
    Matt Damon
    Mark Ruffalo
    Meryl Streep
    Amy Adams
    Jon Stewart

  • (I do think there is something uncool about character in our society now and something acceptable about narcissism. And I’m not the only one who has noticed. Certainly Dr. Simon has. My favorite description of this zeitgeist comes from the playwright Tony Kushner — he describes it as “psychotic individualism.”)

    To Funny!
    Rather coincidental that my blog post today contained a similar conclusion.
    Here is part of it….

    I tried to reform a core believe I have around fidelity. But all I found myself doing was trying to conform to a group of people that make me uncomfortable.

    So I chose to distance myself from them instead. Hold onto my true self and continue to be.

    Be my best with or without others for now.

    There is all this pressure out there to “conform,” and then again the message of individuality and acceptance is being shouted louder than ever before.

    The message seems to shout….”Be accepting of everyone and everything lest you be judgmental” To me that means….whether you believe in something or not, just do, or face exile from the “human race.” It feels like a forced evolution. I only see it doing nothing but harm in the scheme of things.

    It’s like Cognitive Dissonance being force fed on to you……

    And that is what I struggle with.

    From Wikipedia
    Cognitive dissonance…..
    In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the excessive mental stress and discomfort[1] experienced by an individual who (1) holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time or (2) is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction.

    Leon Festinger‘s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:

    “The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance”
    “When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance”[1]

    So there you have it.

    My brain is at battle with the moral beliefs I hold and the conflicting morals of others.

    I know in my heart that mine are the right ones for me.

    But I feel like I am constantly being bombarded by the “moral majority” of today.
    Things have changed quite a bit out there.

    And I am not comfortable with a “majority” of it.

    Call me old fashioned,
    call me over the hill……

    But that’s my story and I am sticking to it!

    Is there room enough for all if it?

    • This is so very important, especially if you are a one of the couples here in MC. IMO, from what I am experiencing in MC, is that in order to have a successful outcome with MC that involves a cheater (ONS or serial) the chump must accept a level of cognitive dissonance. It’s called the “Narrative Shift”, as in your cheating asshat isn’t just a cheating asshat. That person can also be a “good” person. That the deal breakers you have can be bent and shifted to normalize your experience and accept a future relationship with your cheater.

      I think this further abuses the chump. I don’t like to be victimized. But this feels like moral rape. I know this shit is black and white, especially for me with a cheater who has been hurtful nearly my entire marriage. I just didn’t know it because he was and is adept in the mindfucking business.

      Successful R requires the chump to discard their core beliefs and live in the grey zone. This causes emotional trauma to the chump, and for me as feeling of nausea too.

  • I don’t think being “non-judgmental” is about accepting everything and everybody and their aberrant behaviors. We make a judgment, for example, that murder is wrong. But BEING judgmental, as I understand it, is focusing our own lives on critiquing what others do. It is not judgmental to see for example, that a cheating spouse is destroying the family, diverting funds, and causing you pain. It is not judgmental to observe that person’s behavior and see the patterns of narcissism or alcohol abuse or laziness. Being judgmental, in my view, is seeing ourselves as superior to these disordered people and thus putting ourselves in a “godlike” position. It is not “judgmental” to recognize that some people are dangerous to us and remove ourselves from their presence or to see that the person we loved doesn’t love us because he doesn’t share our frame of reference. There are moments when I am still very hurt and angry at the Jackass, and moments when I despise the MOW. But they have their struggles and I have mine. God will sort us all out.

  • CL, I applaud the stand for integrity that you (and so many chumps here) are taking.

    Along the lines of “fixing our pickers” and finding better people with whom to associate (whether romantically or in other relationships), I’ve found Cloud & Townsend’s Boundaries books to be extremely helpful – maybe you could add one to your reading list? (They are written from a Christian perspective, but I think most of their advice would also be solid and helpful to those of other/no faiths.)

    Here’s a great excerpt I just found in their book Safe People (p. 33-34), on the topic of Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse:

    “Repentant people will recognize a wrong and really want to change because they do not want to be that kind of person. They are motivated by love to not hurt anyone like that again. These are trustworthy people because they are on the road to holiness and change, and their behavior matters to them. People who apologize quickly may act like they are sorry or as if they are interested in holiness, but they are really leading someone on. They may say all the words, and some are taken in by their tears and ‘sorrow.’ But in reality they are more sorry about getting caught. They do not change, and the future will be exactly like the past.
    “Again, the issue here is not perfection. People who are changing still are not perfect and may sin again. But there is a qualitative change that is visible in people of repentance that does not have to do with guilt, getting caught, or trying to get someone off their back…
    “The general principle is to look for whether the ‘repentance’ is motivated by outside pressure or from true internal desire to change. Getting caught or adapting to someone’s anger is not a long-lasting motivator. Eventually the motivations must be a hunger and thirst for righteousness and love for the injured.”

    And as we chumps know all too well, you can’t give them that thirst and love: no amount of genuine demonstration of feeling on our part can change their character.

    • “These are trustworthy people because they are on the road to holiness and change, and their behavior matters to them. People who apologize quickly may act like they are sorry or as if they are interested in holiness, but they are really leading someone on. They may say all the words, and some are taken in by their tears and ‘sorrow.’ But in reality they are more sorry about getting caught. They do not change, and the future will be exactly like the past.”

      My stbx turned his back on God and laughs at the whole concept of holiness. In conversations with him he has adapted wholeheartedly to the hedonistic lifestyle. It’s all about pleasure, sexual intimacy is no more important than a good cigar as long as both parties understand there is no marital commitment and it last as only as long as it feels good. He views women as a cornucopia of sexual delights, a buffet to be sampled. Believe me there are tons of women who want nothing more.

      It all sounds so very good to people with no character/integrity, but the reality is sexual tryst in cars, motels, cheap dates, texting, sti’s, std’s, and just a general reaping what you sow ain’t that pretty. CL’s site takes the romanticism out of cheating. Exposing what actually happen’s in all it’s gory detail in my honest opinion makes cheater’s sexcapades look pathetic. Not one time have I read anywhere here were the chump suspected cheating because of some new moves in the bedroom cheater pants learned from their affair partners. On the contrary the details of the outside tryst are boring, dull, and just plain lazy. Cheater pants and the AP are generally unimaginative, non creative, immature people who destroy their lives and reputation for 8 minutes of pleasure.

      • I have to say I laughed, not at what you said, but at your line about “sexual intimacy being no more important than a good cigar.” It reminded me of a photo that STBX took of OW. She was smoking a cigar, wearing his hat and wearing his wedding ring. The photo was taken on our back porch.

        The last time I was gone for a weekend, I returned, only to find that my study, which always has its door closed, smelled of tobacco smoke. I’m sure that STBX and OW fucked their fucks and smoked their cigars, and STBX spent a lot of time cleaning so he could get rid of the smell, but he forgot that tobacco smells permeate everything, and would linger in a room with a closed door.

        And that’s what cheating is about: living in stale cigar smoke instead of fresh air.

          • All the slutty men I know have prostate issues including prostate cancer. Sleeping around eventually gets these guys in the pants.

        • ” It reminded me of a photo that STBX took of OW. She was smoking a cigar, wearing his hat and wearing his wedding ring. The photo was taken on our back porch.”

          What an utter piece of trash. Yes, I’m talking about both of them.

          Despicable.

  • I come from an alcoholic family … my father, grandfather, aunt and uncle were all alcoholics (all from my father’s side of the family). There are 6 children from his and my mother’s marriage and not one is an alcoholic. Why? Because we chose early on to never touch the stuff. If you don’t ingest it then it can’t become a problem for you.

    Integrity is the same way. It is a choice that people are making. Cheaters make that choice before they cheat. Clothes don’t just mysteriously disappear. The hotel that they decided to pay for didn’t just magically appear before them with the door opened wide. All of the things that cheaters do, they do because they WANT to without thought of anyone but themselves. It’s not an impulse that they can’t ignore. It’s a decision that they make. They are narcissists because it is all about them.

    My XH has 3 daughters … the first is illegitimate. His name is on her birth certificate but he has had no contact with her since she was 10 years old and that was for a week of taking her out to lunch and making empty promises to her. Before she was 10, he hadn’t seen her since her baptism at a couple of months old.

    His 2nd daughter is from his first marriage. She has attempted suicide twice and wouldn’t allow her father any where near her while she was in the hospital. Eventually, she accused him of molesting her as a toddler when she went to college and had some memories uncovered through therapy. Fast forward 10 years and she is now working for her father and has just had a daughter of her own. He posts all over his facebook about how she is his little “princess”. Wouldn’t you think the daughter would just be scared witless that what happened to her could possibly happen to her daughter?

    The 3rd daughter was from the first marriage also. She did the whole drug thing in high school and got pregnant, got married, a week later had the baby (a boy). Her husband cheated on her 2 years into the marriage. She cheated in retaliation but also couldn’t understand why her father wasn’t more supportive of her during this time (because he was cheating on me. Hard to come down on someone when you are guilty of the same thing.) Eventually, she and her husband divorced. When her father and I split, she assured me that she would always be my family, that she would be there for me, that what her father had done to me was despicable and she would never embrace the woman he had taken up with. Fast forward 3 years … I haven’t seen the daughter in 2 1/2 years, she lets her son call the OW “Grandma Jane” even though they aren’t married, and she visits them at every turn.

    Now, on the surface you could say they are a product of their environment, a product of the influence of their father. I call BS … everyone makes a choice. Do I want to live this way or that way? Do I want to be like him or not? I guess I don’t understand it all because I’m not willing to throw away my principles or the things that I hold dear just to call some SOB “Dad” especially when he isn’t deserving of it or take his money (oh yes, he throws money their way. More to get them to go away or keep quiet than anything else.) He could care less about these girls that just happen to be his daughters. He never claimed the first one and his fondest desire for the 2nd & 3rd was to move away and never let them know where he was. Of course, for someone who hated having children so much he should have used protection, but he was Mr. “I don’t like how condoms feel”. It has come handy to have the children and grandchildren because everyone in his new town thinks he is just wonderful and the children add the spackle to his life. But, as with all things, the truth will come out about him. Just waiting at the bus stop for the Karma bus to pass through his town and hit him!

  • As an aside, anybody want to hazard a guess at the “Assholes to Disordered” ratios among cheaters?

    I’m guessing about 4-to-1 in favor of assholes (of both genders), but that contradicts my personal experience and the biased sampling you run into reading posts from “former wayward spouses” (Cheaters) in internet forums where the ratio is probably closer to the other-way-around 🙂

  • I don’t know . . . you guys have thought about this quite a bit and my after-work brain can barely keep up. All I know is, my mom raised me to be a nice person. I don’t steal, I don’t cheat, I don’t treat anyone in an abhorrent way. If I don’t like you, you probably know it, but I don’t have to be an asshole for you to figure it out. I’m nice to kids, animals and old people. I don’t rifle through my friend’s medicine cabinets when they aren’t looking, and I sure don’t size up their husbands and think of ways to get in their pants. I’m this way because I think it’s the natural way for me to be.

    I’m not a very religious person, but I do believe in God or a Higher power and even laws of the Universe, that being, you should do what you can to help others and you treat them the way you want to be treated. In the world, it’s OK to scrap and climb and step over your co-workers to get that promotion, but it just isn’t in me. My mom and I would joke that if we didn’t have a conscience, we’d be a lot richer. Then she’d say, “Eh, I don’t want to live in a mansion anyway.” I can see how management might say this doesn’t make for a good upper-level lead type of person, but if I have to slit your throat to get that corner office, I’ll pass. I sleep better this way.

    If I hadn’t been through this divorce, I might agree that the word is a shitty place and people suck balls, but after my divorce, I’ve witnesses more acts of kindness in two months than I had for 11 years, and I’m grateful for that. I don’t think society is anymore “characterless” than it used to be, I just think we don’t notice the good people until we’ve spend a good amount of time around some assholes.

    Also, for what it’s worth, think about history for a bit. There’s been some fucked up shit happening since the dawn of time. Bad behavior isn’t new, and narcissists aren’t new either. People have been fucking each other forever, and there’s been nice people in there too.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’ve had a long day stepping over the wrestling bodies of my co-workers, trying to strangle each other for the last donut. Right now, over-sized shorts, a beer, and a cigarette on my back porch. I am in divorcee heaven. 🙂

    • Oh yeah, this zoo would be a Road Warrior dystopia if it weren’t for the good people… who go quietly unnoticed for the most part 🙂

      If it bleeds, it leads, ya know?

    • “Bad behavior isn’t new, and narcissists aren’t new either. People have been fucking each other forever, and there’s been nice people in there too.”

      I agree Rumblekitty, but I think the difference now is how much more mainstream narcissism is, how much more acceptable it is, how much more tolerated. I sometimes think we’re headed for the world of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” And if you’ve never read that short story, it’s a chilling depiction of what happens to a society when something barbaric and evil becomes mainstream and not only accepted, but expected.

      By mainstream, I mean the current messages that come from celebrity culture, from the media, magazines, internet blogs, movies, etc. The messages that are oozing out of the sleaze that TV has become is truly appalling to those of us at my age who remember our TV shows were The Andy Griffith Show and I Dream of Jeannie. As a kid, I felt really grown up to be allowed to watch what my parents were watching – which was The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. That would be considered gentle and folksy compared to what’s on now.

      I have a friend who has been teaching high school for 40 years and she said that something has changed in the mentality of the parents. It’s becoming mainstream for parents to argue with her to change their kid’s grade (even though the kid does nothing in the classroom or fails all the tests), or make excuses for their kid, or defend their kid when he/she is caught cheating. She said this has happened now and then in the past, but what’s different now is the *tone* of the parents. Very brazen, very entitled, as if this “wink wink let’s get around the system” behavior is absolutely acceptable and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the “normalizing” of this mentality that’s so frightening.

  • URGENT HELP NEEDED!!

    I apologize for the melodramatic headline and the fact that this may not be the appropriate place to post this but I’m reverting back to being an active gaslighted chump and I need CHUMPNATION to speak some sense into me before I lose my sanity this time for real.

    I left STBEX HUSBAND AFTER 14 years of emotional torture and serial infidelity at the end of last year. He made me believe I was the one to blame for his cheating and that I was a paranoid obsessive bitch who spent her life trying to catch him cheat. An example, the day I found out a nurse who worked with him , had not only been pregnant for 9 months but was the proud mom of a 6 month old baby whose father was .. You guessed right .. My. Psychopath Psychiatrist husband! .. I did not go to him screaming and shouting.. I lived in fear of his explosive temper but I went gently told him how I loved him but I had just learned he had a 6 month old baby .. Like I expected, he became very angry , called me a paranoid obsessive trouble maker until I told him the facts, like the name of the woman and the name of his child.
    After a week, he refused to speak about it and became very angry if I ever tried to process the pain. I forgave like I forgave just a year prior to that his affair with the sister of one of our closest friend.

    During the course of our marriage I knew and had proof of at least 8 AFFAIRS. He told me before he moved out that I was a fool who was unaware of half of what he had been doing. The first sign I had of an ongoing affair was increasing nastiness and meanness on his part, I was used to his emotional and sexual abandonment but each time he would gaslight and make me out to be paranoid. I became marriage police in a bid to prove to myself that I was not insane.

    He decided to leave our home in the UK to move to a Job in the USA, I guess in a bid to avoid the fallout from his ” love child” . I foolishly gave up my life , my very good job to join him, he had found himself a 27 year old girlfriend even before I arrived , I spent most of 2013, begging and pleading, doing the pick me dance until I finally realized he never was going to change. He had no intention of ever been accountable , in fact he told me he could not assure me he would ever be faithful, and refused to be open with his emails or phone, he was furious that I had the audacity to even request this”invasion of his privacy” he refused counseling but said he did not want a divorce. He said everyone was cheating i should be happy about his “good aspects” and deal with it.

    I was a great wife, I had a great job and contributed my equal share financially. I stayed attractive. I cooked , cleaned and I am a great mom to our son. I was respectful of him . I was not a drunk( I don’t even drink! ) & I don’t do drugs! I’m a pretty nice person( everyone says) I forgave and took all his crap but I was never enough and he eroded my self esteem making me believe it was all my fault.

    I got the courage to file for divorce on the 31st of December 2013 when I realized my sanity was at risk. I could not understand his anger as I believed he would be glad to be rid of me but he went no contact and it was the best thing for me as it helped to heal ( or so I thought) of my emotional dependence on him. I found ChumpLady a month after I filed and this site helped me to understand the dynamics of my horrible marriage.

    I was happy and doing well until June when I received feedback from family members that he was saying horrible untrue stuff about me and blaming me for the end of our marriage. I decided to speak to him and his degree of gaslighting and “history rewriting” blew me away and opened all my old wounds. He told me I exaggerated many of the things I had proof of and that I even imagined some of it!

    I regressed very fast into my pattern of trying to explain, longing for him and the marriage that never was. I know he was a serial cheating Psychopath who made my life a torture and robbed me of my self esteem so why do I want him back? Why did speaking to him bring back that emotional dependence? Why am I suddenly so lonely and afraid of the future ?
    Why am I so depressed? AM I INSANE?
    Why do I want a man who clearly does not want me? Why am I do uncertain about the future. Could it be because this is the first time in my adult life that I have no job? I took a year off work when we moved to the States and I have to write Board exams to get my license to practice my profession here.. I’m however to depressed to study effectively. Does it explain my misery or am I truly insane from all the abuse of the past. Your advice is kindly needed CL and chump nation.

    • I am so sorry that you are feeling miserable and depressed : (

      You do not deserve to feel like this because of the violations and abuse of a manipulative cheater.

      Like others here will no doubt suggest, break away immediately and maintain no contact. His “revision” of history will not ring true for those who know you and love you. My cheater ex (we were together 6 years) denies and no doubt continues to deny that he ever did anything wrong; even in the face of mounting evidence that he’d screwed another woman, he denied cheating.

      For what it is worth, the following realization and mental exercise has helped me tremendously and I suspect the same might be true for you: think of all those loving things you did in your relationship-cooking, taking care of the home, being financially stable, being an engaged and loving mom, having a wonderful and kind personality-those things are irreplaceable and you own them. You might miss being in a relationship, but you might also realize that all the things you enjoyed about the relationship are things that YOU contributed. Living without a manipulative, angry cheater? That’s a good thing. You move out, you continue doing the great things you do-be mighty! in the words of chump lady-and you forget about the cheater and his revisionist history. His faux narrative will not hold up to those who know and love you, nor will it matter.

      Hugs!

      • Thank you so much Lucky35 . You know exactly how I feel.. My husband cannot deny his cheating..you can hardly deny a living breathing child and I have proof of all the other affairs but it still hurts that he minimizes it or makes it all to be my fault. He even said the last time I spoke to him, that I should have”protected his image ” and not told others about his actions.. To him that makes me a “slanderous dangerous woman”

        Thank you for sharing that Mental exercise.. One thing emotional abuse does over a long period of time is make you stop believing in yourself and any good in yourself…
        Thank you for reminding me that all the good I brought yo the marriage did not die with the end of the marriage and the loneliness of divorce still trumps “living with a manipulative angry cheater”.
        Thank you!

        • If it’s true, it’s not slander – so FUCK HIM!
          I’ve learned that when the KOTD (King of the Dipshits) tries to toss about his revisionist views, I just let him spew. In fact, I record it. I say NOTHING. Then, if anyone ever would question me (no one has, thank God they all know he’s nuts & a liar) I could pull out the recording on my phone & let them hear for themselves.
          You can do this! Stay away from him, & as someone here once said if they try to lie to you or gaslight you just respond with “I’m not buying it.” – if you say anything at all!

          • Whodathunk… Truth is not slander.. Trust me it took me a long time to figure that one out.. I believed it was my job to protect him from the shitty consequences of his behavior. .

          • To 13YEARCHUMP

            There is a little riddle: “How do you eat an elephant?”
            Answer: “One bite at a time.”

            Use the KISS method. {Keep It Simple, Sweetie] Prioritize and execute your plan for financial independence. Financial independence shores up emotional independence in a huge way.

            Please maintain no contact with this man, and do whatever it takes to focus and to prepare for your licensure exam. This “bite of the elephant” is the single most important one to “chew up” in the immediate future.

            While he may do as the law requires and contribute his share of support, never count on anyone other than yourself to be the foundation of your financial future.

            You can return your attention to the other bites of the elephant after this hurdle has been successfully cleared.

            whoda,

            The entire recommendation is to state, “I’m not buying that,” and then calmly disengage, go quietly about your business, and do NOT re-engage. No one has ever won a debate with a lamp post! And that comment was from me to Michael. Hmmm…go on vacation for a few weeks, and people forget you exist, but that’s life 😉

            • Thank you NOTYOU! You are so right.. One of the reason I feel so stuck is because this is the first time since Grad. School I have not had a well paying job.. He earns a very good income and the law requires him to pay a fair alimony & child support but I know I can earn just as much and being free of him for me means being free of any financial dependence on him.

              I’m also going to become a “lamp post” to him! :)… No engagement at all,
              Thanks again!

      • I caught mine in bed, with my own two eyes, and he vehemently denied that anything happened (I merely caught them in bed naked – his words, not mine). Denied it to the day I left, and a long time after that.

        I’m still absolutely dumbfounded that anybody could think me that stupid. What IS it with these guys. I mean…..at some point, you have to acknowledge the fact that you’ve been caught. They never do.

        Used to drive me nuts, and now it’s all rather laughable. Meh is good.

    • 13YEARCHUMP, I wrote a longer explanation on the forum but the short version is: Your self esteem is in ruins because he made sure to put it in ruins. You need to go NC as much as humanly possible. You must get an attorney and protect yourself immediately. Read all of CL as others here have suggested and get a therapist. In spite of having feelings for him (I know what that’s like) you must TRUST THAT HE SUCKS and move on to protect yourself and your son. This is war.

    • You haven’t been away from him long enough to repair the damage done by living with the man you are describing. It will take a few years before you are yourself again.

      You are being triggered by his behavior. It’s bringing up the pain, anguish, frustration, doubt, mindfuckery…all of it. That is why it is SO important to maintain your distance from him….and this includes any news of him, anything he said, thought or did! Quit trying to explain shit to him….there’s no way you can put it, that he’s going to get it. Make up your mind it’s useless, and just let it go.

      He’s got your emotions on edge again, and you will feel raw for a few days, but you’ll calm back down. Believe in yourself. Stay strong. You’re going to get through this!

    • 13 year chump, first of all (((big big HUGS))) to you. I hate these cheater sociopathic freaks. I truly pray there is a special inner ring of hell waiting for each of them. But I digress….

      Listen honey, you’re having a hard time, it happens to all of us chumps. You just forgot some of the “rules” our collective chump brains have fashioned out of our collective experiences and our pain. But don’t worry, you can learn them over again and find your way back to some semblance of peace:

      First and foremost rule: NO CONTACT NO CONTACT NO CONTACT. I am 2 1/2 years post D-Day and recently remarried, but any contact whatsoever with my ex, even a curt email, sends my head reeling again (how could he DO that? What happened to the man I thought he was? Why doesn’t he care at all, even about our children? Blahblahblahblahblah.) I annoy myself sometimes, but I know that any contact is simply poison.

      Second, trust that he sucks. It’s him, not you, he’s crazy, you’re sane, trust it. You know it, you lived it. Remember, if his lips are moving, he’s lying. It’s that simple.

      Third, accept that you love(d) him (or love(d) the man you thought he was) and will always want him “back” in a way, and will long for what you thought you should have. But you know that you can’t have it and you won’t allow it. A member of chump nation pointed out some time ago that there are many things we all do because they are good for us, even if we would rather not–> going to the dentist, undergoing surgery, eating our vegetables, cleaning the house. Staying away from our cheater exes and building new lives is just another important and vital thing we have to do for ourselves and our survival, even if it hurts and even if our hearts sometimes wants them back. Accept it, acknowledge that it hurts and is hard, understand you may be perpetually stunned by what he did and unable to understand someone so pathologically twisted, and STILL MOVE ON.

      Fourth, don’t let the sociopath win. They play their sick games, then leave us. They go no contact, then hope they dealt the death blow to us. When they realize they haven’t killed us yet (hopefully metaphorically speaking) they gaslight us and and go on a campaign to lie to everyone we know hoping they can get to us that way. If they can get us to talk to them, to wonder aloud, to question ourselves, to want them again, to wonder about our very sanity, then their sick fun continues. So 13 year, start again today, it’s DAY 1 and the very first day again of no contact (this time by your decision) and count each day again. And next time remember his tricks and how you felt, so that you never talk to or deal with him again (except the absolute minimum and only after pause to ponder how brief you can be, preferably via email, and only if absolutely needed for child visitation or mutual finances).

      Fifth, (I repeat), don’t let the sociopath win. That means full steam ahead with divorce, consult your attorney, get everything you can financially, decide where you want to live and what you want to do in your career and DO IT. Grit your teeth and dig down and do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Go to counseling if you need the support, read here, lean on friends. Because you are smart, beautiful, and deserving. (It will take your mind off your asshole ex too, which will be a wonderful bonus.)

      13-year, you are not crazy, you did not imagine it, he is a lying cheating creep. It is better to be alone than to be with such a freak. I believe there are much better men out there, and if you choose one day there will be someone who will value you. But in the meantime, you take care of yourself, put yourself first, and put him in your rear-view mirror. You can do it! And we are here with you on that journey, holding your hand every step of the way.

      • Thank you so much Kelly! I’ve been moved to tears that strangers here will take the time to write me lengthy heartfelt messages! I truly appreciate it and I have laughed and felt sane for the first time in a month reading what you have all written in reply to my message.

        I agree COMPLETE NO CONTACT.. it helped me so much in the first 5 months after I filed for divorce and I kick myself in the butt for breaking it and getting myself into a spiral but today will be the first day of NO CONTACT AGAIN!.. He can communicate by email regarding our son. I’ve blocked his number and deleted his contact and I will keep reading all what everyone has written here to get the strength to stay no contact.

        Thank you so much for you sound smart and kind advice.. I intend to take every one of them to heart particularly no 4 & 5. By the way I have a good attorney and the divorce is costing him.. Main reason why he is so mad.
        I’m very grateful and I’m glad I wrote here. 🙂

      • wow well said… i am 18months past d-day but 4 years passed him leaving “for a break” that meant move in with my paramour and chump my wife and kids. I feel all of those things still. but everyday i look less and less in the rearview mirror

        • Big hugs to you Magicrain… I believe it hurts even more when that are the ones who abandon us.. I filed for divorced but he had been “gone” years before he actually moved out. I’m glad you are moving forward

      • Kelly, I knew you were engaged, but I didn’t know you’d got married already. Congratulations to you both, and very happy for you. Inspiring news for all us Chumps moving forward! 🙂

        • Thanks FoolMe, we were married on June 28. I attribute my ability to move forward and have the strength to go on with my life in great part to CL and chump nation. We are truly bonded by our common experience, and I have been buoyed by all of my fellow chumps ( who are incredibly intelligent, kind, wide, and hilarious all at once). I hope I return the favor. 🙂

    • 13YC. It sounds to me like you’re validation starved. You spent a long time in a situation where your sense of reality, opinions and emotions have been invalidated. Chump nation and a correct therapist can help with this but here’s the kicker, you need to validate yourself or you’ll continue to be vulnerable. I grew up with a mom who constantly denied my reality. For years and years I tried to engage her validating how I saw things. Logic, facts, evidence. …no matter what she was presented with I never had my version (and consensus reality’s version) accepted as legit. Further I was called judgemental or told I always had to be right when I insisted on facts. My sister jumps in on this bullshit too. My point is that just this year I finally realized I that I don’t need other people to validate my opinion. I’m still struggling with the fact that my ex has made me the bad guy to every person we knew. That his narrative about me is complete shit. I struggled with the fact (and still do) that this man can’t see just how horrible he is. Stay no contact..it makes it better. But the biggest thing is not to continue to hope to regain your power through the guy who did this to you. He will never validate you. I can tell you right now that your stbx is a massive asshole who abused you and who deserves to run through eternity with his pubic hair on fire. But you need to tell you that and believe it. Nothing is more powerful than the conviction of what is right backed by the truth. It’s the only way to neuter the sheer assholery that this man is pulling on you. Turn inward and believe in the kick ass woman that you are. Many many hugs. We are mighty and we slay bullshit dragons.

      • Thank you for making me laugh out aloud.. ” running through eternity with his pubic hair on fire ” is an image that that I will keep in mind each time thoughts of him come to my chumpy heart! 🙂

        You are so right! I am validation starved, like your mom, my STBEX denied my reality constantly but “I do not need anyone to validate my opinion!” I know I’ve been trying to regain my power through a man who abused me & who would never validate me.. Thank you for spelling that out!
        Thank you for all the encouragement. Everyone that has written here to me today has lifted my sadness, gave me some much needed wisdom & kick in the butt, shown love & empathy and made me laugh. Thank you all so much.

  • Can you move back to the UK and get your old job back? Someone there would be understanding of your situation…..which is ABUSE…..and help you find a job. RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN from this abusive, manipulative man. You correctly used the word “psychopath,” so do not have any contact with him. Get a restraining order if you need to. Hire a lawyer immediately. Don’t debate the details……just get away from him!
    Good luck and strength to you.

    • Thank you Lilac. I can.. No shortage of jobs in my field but I gave up so much to come here, our 10 year old is settling in here.. I don’t want to destabilize him again.. He has gone through so much in such a short while.
      I believe I need to get my head together and study for the exams that will enable me to practice my profession here .

      I have a lawyer, he moved out in January and even though divorce is not final yet he is paying alimony & child support. The fact I was the one who filed for divorce made him mad.. He never thought I could have the courage to do it and the fact that for the first time in 14 years, marriage is costing him something makes him froth in the mouth and blame me for everything( the blame part not new). He loved eating cake and having cake and hates he lost the image of the “respectable married Physician”

      I however agree I need to stay away from him.. It is what kept me sane for 6 months and I need to go back there. Thank you!

      • By moving back, puts yet another boundary in place for your No-Contact with him.
        Your son would go through change when it comes to the move, but it’d be far better than the clusterfuck you’re going through at the moment.
        Also, if you haven’t already, its time to set the record straight to your family members on your freak’s nasty words.
        Trust that he sucks and that he will do everything and anything to destabilise you.

  • Awesome again, CL, you ROCK!

    The freaks are the ones with the sick sense of entitlement, not us. All we did was love those we promised to love, protect those we vowed to protect, and cherish our spouses and families. If that’s uncool, then I stand up and say that I am a nerd and I won’t take it anymore!!

  • 13YearChump. Run! Are you seeing a therapist? If so make an appointment asap. Divorce groups are good. Friends are better. Start reading these posts, all of them. Go on a CL marathon read. No, this man doesn’t want you and be glad for that.

    • Thank you Syringa. I saw a Therapist a few times before I filed for divorce and I think it might need to again. I read so much of CL when I first filed for divorce and it really helpers me.. I may need a re-read again and I also have the book now!

  • I love the idea, mentioned above, about a list of “red flags”…. so we can all be on the watch for these NarcAHoles?

    • NarcAHole….or cheatersist? I think we may have the workings for a brand new, fully classified, disorder.

  • I must admit THE HIGH ROAD SUCKS…. but I couldn’t bring myself to burn his fucking shit in the middle of the bank he worked at. so he could say “see crazy bitch” I was crazy because he left us, stole our money and was fucking his secretary. But I held my head up.(ok ctually hovered like a dog in the corner for years) but I kept my character. My 3 boys saw their mother been pulled through hell. BT KEPT MY CHARACTER and did the right thing. so maybe, just maybe three boys will turn into men and FINALLY do the right thing because their mother did. God please let them not be douche bags like their dad (sperm donor I now call him, since he doesen’t deserve the title dad)

  • I think part of the reason character isn’t cool is because good charcter can make someone who lacks character squirm. I’ve heard it repeated about a number of people that so and so makes us aspire to be better, but another person makes us comfortable with our faults.

  • Great post!
    I am having such a bad day dealing with this exact issue. I thought that my cheating narc was a minority; he is not. The court doesn’t reprimand these people, the system is on his side, and looks at me like I’m just whining needlessly! It’s seen as ‘no biggie’. Like nobody can see the situation for what it is, or if they do, they don’t care. He and his family are treated well and allowed so much leeway while I have to justify everything and anything, explain myself, take responsibility for doing everything to rectify their bad behaviour, AND FREAKING PAY FOR IT!
    I just totally relate to the looks you get (even from a magistrate) that say ‘you didn’t really expect them to follow that court order they signed did you tsk tsk’, you didn’t really expect him to pay child support did you? (I could go on and on) But the world really does encourage this crap! There’s no consequences for anything! and I’m just the pansy ass who expects anything from anyone.
    My head wants to explode today. It’s so good to come here and realise that maybe there are a few people out there who think the way I do. It doesn’t help my immediate situation but it helps my outlook

    “…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff…Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.” -John Green

  • Are you secure with your own character integrity Mrs Scorn?

    I felt I had to come back on here and tell you that I totally agree with the people who who post on different sites cheaterville Amazon etc about you being a narc Tracy theres something wrong with you.

    You are very foul mouthed and do indeed get some kind of power thrill out of getting these people going what the f is your problem

    Do you realize that a lot of these people are dependant on you they regard this blog as a support resource.

    You are a damned disgrace and huff post should not employ you as a writer .

    Do your employers kids and family READ your foul mouthed rants ?

    One day this blog will close and you will move onto other things leaving a lot of dependant people on here in a very vulnerable state.

    Some of the women on here you know the delightful ladies who say “mother fucker” etc all the time sound like total Axis B borderlines no doubt when you shut up shop they will end up murdering someone (maybe the cheater) or committing suicide.

    • Yes, totally. Because I swear about the asshole who hurt me I am going to murder someone or off myself *insert maniacal laughter*

      Grab a brain mother fucker.

    • What the “f” is my problem?

      I spell words out. F-u-c-k spells fuck. Which is rather the approach to my site, I call a thing a thing.

      If cursing bothers you, don’t read my site or my HuffPo columns. Problem solved.

      But if you want to come on here and make the argument that swear words are worse than having to paternity check your children, or explaining the X-rated pictures on dad’s laptop (involving real pictures of Dad with another woman), or losing a pregnancy to an STD because your husband was unfaithful and you had no idea, or being abandoned after 30 years of marriage — I could go on and on — then what the FUCK is wrong with YOU?

    • Dear Fiona, ur, I mean, “Janey,”

      You are a troll. Nothing more. Never will be. You offer not substance in anything you say, and the substance of what you attack is irrelevant. Why? Because you are a troll.

      Now please crawl back under your rock, stew in the juices of your insufficiently medicated mental health issues, and leave the grown ups alone.

    • Dear Janey,
      I do not swear… At least not aloud. Tracy Schorn however with all her swearing and colorful very intelligent use of language is the one person that brought light and clarity to the confusion and pain I felt after my marriage to a serial cheating narc ended.

      Another thing Janey, I’m a Christian.. You know ” someone who loves God and desires to do his will, love him and love others”. BUT I have never once been offended by Ms Schorn’s swearing. Why? Because unlike you I can see the Spirit and heart behind the swearing.. I see it as totally harmless… I see it as the way she communicates… My 10 year old’s favorite word is “Seriously?!” to almost everything I do or ask him to do.. That actually upsets me more than Tracy’s swearing! 🙂
      My favorite use of language is “God in heaven” which upsets my son .

      As a chump, Tracy has not only made sense of my situation but gives me and other Chumps here the strength to heal, move forward and not make the same mistakes again. She does it all in a no nonsense , take no Prisoners but very empathetic way because she has walked in our shoes. SHE ALSO MAKES ME LAUGH and humor and laughter when you are going through hell is a great antidepressant.

      As someone who spent 6 years training in Mental health and working in the field for over 10 years, I can tell you Ms Scorn from the pages of her blog is NO NARC. I can tell you with all conviction that she does not inspire anyone to be a ” Murderer or commit Suicide” . . On the CONTRARY, SHE makes us see how there is no point in throwing your life away for a cheater.. She is all about GAINING YOUR LIFE.. Not destroying it.

      Her style of writing may not be to your liking, you may not like what she says or how she says.. That’s okay.. Tracy herself is not afraid to be vocal about stuff she believes is harmful to Chumps but I know I speak for multiples of 100s or 100os here that she has helps us daily to heal, stay sane and most importantly reclaim our lives and dare I say… Her swearing contributes to that. There is something calming about seeing the man who betrayed me badly as a ” FUCKWIT AND A FUCKTARD” 🙂

    • Gee . . . jealous much?

      Maybe you should stop stalking. It’s making you look pathetic. Motherfucker.

    • I had to read your letter two or three times to understand it, Janey. The teacher in me wanted to take out a red fucking pen and correct your use of punctuation, spelling, and run-on sentences. After I got over that, I had time to wonder why you bothered to post at all. This site is inhabited by a chumphood bonded through trauma. We support each other wholeheartedly with sensitivity, compassion, humor, and yes, lots of profanity – which feels fucking great. I have never seen an online community so intelligent or supportive. Every day I laugh, cry, and cheer as I read the posts and responses. It has indeed been a lifeline for me. And by the way, I have no intention of murdering anyone or committing suicide. Tracy is a MIGHTY woman who is generous enough to share what she learned from her previous assholes. Her intention is clearly to be a sister rather than an asshole…..like you, Janey. Go read Martha Stewart’s blog and make candles from leaves and sap or something.

    • What, is this aversion therapy or something? You’ve professed you’re not a fan of this blog or of Tracy’s approach. Hey, nobody’s forcing you to be here. The simple solution is to find your online niche elsewhere, right? Unless, as you falsely accuse CL of doing, you enjoy stirring the pot?

    • Dear Janey,

      If you don’t like what is being said here then you are free to leave.

      Have you been to the websites for reconciliation where chumps support other chumps to stay in relationships after having DDays two, three, four, five, six times. Supporting each other to waste more years because yes he is a good dad, he spends more time with the family, or I don’t want to not see the kids only half the time, or he is trying and he never meant it when he told the ap he loved her, he only lusted after her, it is really over this time.

      Have you read the posts of chumps telling other chumps to do the pick me dance, to live hyper vigilant like a detective, “have you checked his phone, is he being transparent, did you install key tracker on the computer, where do I hide the VAR in the car, what VAR should I buy”, now that kind of “support”to stay with a one time, two time, three time cheater will drive a lady to drink and possibly hurt someone.

      CL is only calling it like it is. Promises are only temporary and false only until things calm down. But just like the first promise made at the altar these promises will be broken and broken while you were being vigilant, while you were trying to figure out if any affair is afoot. That will make you a bigger chump – because you knew what you were dealing with and yet it happened again.

      But if you want to waste your time, another 1,2, or 3 years for the next shoe to drop, then feel free to waste your time. If you want to put your kids through several DDays instead of cutting your losses now and creating a more stable environment for your kids then ignore CL’s advice. Because in time the next shoe will drop, because most likely the affair never ended or another will begin with someone else. Yes he must have been getting bored with the affair because he started to reach out for other affair partners- that’s a vote of confidence.

      If you don’t like the message go back to the reconciliation boards and listen to all those chumps telling other chumps to ignore their deal breakers, continue to put their heads in the sand and accept that they will be f’ed again- by example of the chump advisors who have experienced several DDays- but this time he is different because there is no rug sweeping- Barf.

  • Character is what shines when you think people aren’t watching you.
    For these fuckwits, its ‘me me me’.
    And the poster above me, Janey, thats you. Fuck off. I have a visceral hatred for self-righteous fucks like you. And yes, I will swear as I damn well please.

  • Dear Tracy, CL, Pro Character Builder,
    I think here is the perfect place to post this after Ms. Janey’s pathological rant calling you a narc.

    After listening to the very home made interview via telephone with Dr. Simon and wondering at first if I was listening to some Retro McCarthy era show with the opening of his patriotic song written by he and his wife, it dawned on me why I enjoy reading your blog so much. You are totally not a narc, there was nothing sparkly about this interview in fact it was downright goofy and real. Between the opening song, the static disconnect near the middle where the show producer reconnected you (Love her voice by the way, it was like a character from old radio shows with quite an indescribable accent that made me laugh).

    Like two pro’s you and Dr. Simon just kept on trucking through that mishap with your conversation, both shamelessly plugging each of your books (which are not quick fixes or 10 easy steps to happiness) while giving clear and very helpful advise and points of views to the listeners.

    Then at the end there was an interruption from who knows where with what sounded like, “the steer slept by it’s dead mother for 3 years?” that had me laughing out loud. Then the finish of your discussion with Dr. Simon and the close with his patriotic song that was abruptly cut off.

    That interview summed you up perfectly. You are warm, to the point, no bs and loyal to who you admire (Dr. Simon and all of his goofiness).

    You are already cool and that’s because you don’t try to be and so is Dr. Simon even though his song wasn’t to my liking but it set up the interview perfectly by drawing you in and shaking you up with it’s dramatic melody and singing which was in total contrast with the interview.

    As far as character being cool. It is and always has been. It’s strength to stand up for oneself and ones beliefs regardless if they are goofy or not. It commands respect or get out from others. It is being true to oneself and expands beyond the self and most importantly it creates change in self and others.

    So thanks for being Cool and so enjoyable.

    Perhaps Janey just needs a good night sleep she seems quite agitated by Character or perhaps just cursing bothers her but then again, she doesn’t have to read here. I did enjoy reading her ranting post as it not based in any logic other than criticizing the use of foul language here. Is that the new meaning of NARC? Did I miss that memo?

    Janey, don’t worry if this site closed all would be fine, I wouldn’t get a gun, I would just take CL’s book and smack you on the head with it! : ) have a lovely day.

  • Dear Janey,
    Please profess to me your assessment about how I should deal with a man who has serial cheated, gaslight end and lied to me so skillfully for 17 out of 20 yrs of marriage. Do you know that his latest 10 yr fling with a Christian, porn-fed, swinging, married OW was without at least consideration of using FUCKING condoms? If you know me than you would know that during his FUCKfests, he and I were also FUCKING, because I am his legal spouse. During the past ten years of unprotected sex with my cheating asshole spouse, I gave birth and nursed twin babies. So this doesn’t required doing 6 Degrees of Making Bacon with his married, swinging paramour but you should get the idea that I have been exposed to most of the skanks in LA, Atlanta and some of CT. I am happy to tell you about the bug up my FUCKING ASS…. The STD’s I need to be rechecked for a long time. I could have passed HIV, Hepatitis onto my infant sons. And all because of two assholes and their FUCKING needs.

    Get the FUCK off of my back lady.

  • I just wanted to say that about 20+ years ago, when i was in high school, I wrote an essay for a college scholarship, The prompt was “What is the biggest problem in the world today” (and, I assume, what to do about it? I can’t remember). My answer? A lack of character.

    I did not get the scholarship. Even then I guess the topic didn’t go over too well. And even then I guess I was an idealistic chump… Ah well. 🙂

  • Hello all, it’s Bellzero catching up on my “chumplady” reading. I’m so sorry Tracy that you receive negative crap from crazy numpty people (eg troll from above post)
    It astounds me that people take the time to post (whine) about things they have no friggin idea about.
    Cheating is abuse.
    Cheating spouses/partners/significant others have no character.
    As you say
    Leave a cheater gain a life.
    Keep on telling it…

    Go away troll
    Bellzero

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