Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

The Mindfuck Channel Only Has Three Stations

mindfuckchannelBW I have a cousin who is going through a miserable divorce with a cheater. Long marriage, double life, financial abuse. You guys know the drill.

I’ve been her cheerleader throughout, providing chump drubbings and 2x4s as necessary. (Apparently, the chump gene is hereditary. My cousin had a pretty bad congenital case of chumpiness, like yours truly.)

Anywho, she’s finally in the home stretch. She filed at last.

Guess who’s sniffing around her door all sad and furious?

That’s right — Mr. Disordered Cheaterpants with his Hail Mary plays for kibbles.

Oh shit, she really went and got a lawyer. Oh shit, he’s losing his chumpy meal ticket. Oh shit, he needs to reassert control.

If you’re a Mr. (or Mrs.) Disordered Cheaterpants, how are you going to reassert control over your chump? A show of hands, class! You’ve lived this. Tell me. What comes next?

That’s right! The MINDFUCK.

Oh sure, there’s been mindfucking all along, but there’s no mindfucking like the mindfucking that comes when you finally lawyer up and say Enough of This SHIT. I’m DONE.

Disordered Cheaterpants hate that. And if you’ve think you’ve seen manipulation before, by God, they really bring their A game when they feel the kibbles are slipping away. They amp up the drama, they amp up the chaos, they try super hard to get you invested in their insanity. And they will pull out every stop.

But really chumps, as I’ve said here before, and I was saying to my cousin again this afternoon — the mindfuck channel only has three stations. 

Charm

Rage

Self-pity

Your Cheaterpants will cycle through each one in pretty quick succession trying to get you back on the leash. If you know to look for it, it really becomes quite transparent.

OMG, a sad sausage sighting! Ooh, he went in for How Can You Do This To Me — you’re a terrible mother/father/Christian/Catholic/Methodist/employee/lay/Rotarian/baker of cupcakes. (FLIP!) AND HE’S NOT GOING TO STAND FOR IT! Be afraid! Be very afraid! He’s going to get a lawyer and take you for EVERYTHING! The children! Your pension! Your collection of Franklin Mint Norman Rockwell plates! Yes, even the CHRISTMAS ornaments! (FLIP!) He doesn’t understand your hostility. Can’t we be friends? Remember when I gave you that christmas ornament with the kids? Ah, good times. This bitter, money-obsessed punishing person you are now, gosh, it’s not your best self. Give him a hug. Just for old times sake. Friends, right? (FLIP!) No? You won’t hug him? Don’t you know how VERY DIFFICULT this is for him right now? (FLIP!) You are going to REGRET THIS.

See? Three channels. Charm, rage, and self-pity. This is how you control a chump. Find their buttons and work ’em.

He texted my cousin: “Why can’t we just get this divorce holding hands, instead of using fists?”

Oh I don’t know, Mr. Disordered Cheaterpants. Because you bankrupted her? Spent her inheritance? Hooked up with strangers on Craiglist?

Divorce is so ugly! Why can’t she be a pal about it? Because you’re a sick, predatory fuck, that’s why.

Cheaters are so damn predictable. They’re always so, so sorry until someone lawyers up and then, poof! All their sorry evaporates. Can’t have chumps getting all uppity. Need to nip this shit in the bud! Rage. Charm. Self-pity.

If you can’t intimidate your chump, seduce your chump. If you can’t seduce your chump, get them to feel very, very sorry for you and imply this is All Their Fault. If you can’t get your chump to feel sorry for you, intimidate your chump. Repeat.

It’s a sad day for Disordered Cheaterpants when Mindfuck TV goes on the fritz.

(FLIP!) No contact. Turn the channel off.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Just what I needed to read tonight…on what would have been our 2 year anniversary. Instead, I’m working on getting our house ready to list & the paperwork to file our divorce. Thanks for all of your inspiration…I love your book. It has kept me on track this time after being taken advantage of and “mindfucked” for the last 5 months.

  • Thank you! Needed to hear this tonight. For some reason, the crazy has been amped up over the weekend. In the past week alone, The Rodent* has brought over no-bake cookies, personally called me (thought it was the kids so I answered), and has now sent texts, emails, and messages to try to get me to commit to something on his timetable. Uh, no. Turned it all over to my lawyer to deal with in the morning. But you’re right–that is the cycle! Personally, I think there is Trouble In Paradise! Oh no! You move Whore-Face into our neck of the woods, and things aren’t going smoothly? Who saw that one coming?!?

    *I now call him “The Rodent.” There was a post a couple of weeks ago that pointed out “Rodents of Unusual Size” from “The Princess Bride.” Since this is my ex’s favorite movie, I now call him “The Rodent.” Sorry, I don’t remember who made that post 🙁

    • that was me. “The Rodent” sounds like a good name. Not to mention the [satisfying] thought that the ROUS doesn’t stand a chance in the film. At least it’s after a character, (if that’s what an ROUS would even be), that meets its match and dies, right? Channel the power of Inigo and Wesley!

        • Sorta off subject, but if you love the movie like I did when I was younger (actually had a Renaissance wedding with a castle backdrop, horse drawn carriage, and the works) then don’t read the book by William Goldman. It’s actually a satire not a romance. The princess is dimwitted and the romance is nonexistent. It pokes fun at the whole romance thing. The book they read in the movie does not exist. WG also uses this to taunt readers at first. There is a whole culture of people who praise WG for dooping people this way. People far and wide have tried to find the “original book” they read in the movie thinking the movie is using the little boy and his grandpa to introduce this book to the world not knowing that it doesn’t actually exist. Sorry if I ruined the fantasy. The movie has kinda lost it’s luster for me. 🙁 Oh! Ugly flashback! XH is 6’4″ and I used to say, ” Oh farm boy, fetch me that (fill in the blank for something up high I couldn’t reach). Ugh! Yuck! I need to go burn that DVD now. 🙁

            • You hate tiggers? Tiggers are Ginormously Fantabulous!

              The most wonderful thing about tiggers
              Is tiggers are wonderful things
              Their tops are made out of rubber
              Their bottoms are made out of springs

              They’re bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy
              Fun, fun, fun, fun fun !

              (Sorry, sort of 😉 The easiest way to overcome a traumatic memory might be to remove its power with a positive association that is downright silly?)

          • Hi-jack to HSH re: homeschooling…

            I am not sure how far out you are from the bomb drop/separation/divorce…I have a hard time keeping myself straight, never mind everyone else. But…
            If you are homeschooling I caution you, if this hasn’t happened to you already… the cheater’s turn on homeschooling and your parenting instantly. My x was the mouthpiece for pro-home education. He was on support group panels, letters to the big newspapers, helped with government policy, touting it to friends/neighbours/extended family for their families…all words of course, I did all the work.

            But, the minute we separated, was the day he went polar opposite. Not only did he alienate the school boards and teachers my kids were affiliated with (and they consequently blacklisted us), he told them he’d sue them if I didn’t homeschool them to a T (hard to homeschool perfectly in fetal position, lol) and when they asked him why he didn’t bring his concerns up earlier if he was so darn concerned…. His response: “well now I can…I couldn’t before…NOW I can protect them…” As if to say, “poor me, i just had no power, no control…”

            Nah, he was just using the school board authority to bully and abuse…and when your most important role in your life (at least it was for me) was the welfare/education of my kids, it was really a kick when I was down. Really, his goal was to take my focus away from the divorce proceedings, because a lot of my energy was proving to a school board that I was still competent (because remember they were scared of being sued). It was hell being questioned, having the principal assess our home, etc.

            Fucking idiot – while I was homeschooling, holding down the house, he was travelling for his work, screwing hookers, and bringing home STDs (not to mention flu-bugss and other lovely germs.)

            Anyway, I suggest being proactive any way you can.

      • Leia and fiestypants, can I use “rodent” too please? When in high school the stbxh’s nickname was “the rat” because he was very vindictive (ok, mega size red flag that I chose to ignore because he was so so so sweet with me). Anyway, rodent sounds such much funnier and stupid than rat. Thanks!

    • Love “The Rodent”!
      My ex MIL, who recognized her Son’s behaviour as identical to his Father’s (she had the good sense to flee her marriage much earlier than I did) refers to my Ex as “El Swine-o”.

  • Excellent post, CL! It is sad but true…3 channels…enough charm to bait, rage to keep off balance, and self-pity to confuse. Recognized that tv. Turning it off was the best thing for my health and future. Who needs the aggravation? Glad to hear your cousin has figured out that it is time to throw out the old, “broken” tv.

    • Have started to recognize these channels in other people, and know they must be Cheaters too. These people are everywhere, as we know. Guess what? They are no fun to hire, do business with, live next door to, etc. The lies, the excuses, these three channels when they don’t get their way like an overgrown child. Just today I fired a guy who was supposed to fix my fence after hurricane Irma (now over 6 weeks ago) and since then every day is an excuse, the work that was done was shoddy & I finally got sick of it. His excuse today? he has to get his kids to the pumpkin patch for Halloween!! The never ending bag of excuses has been staggering, and he never sees the other side of the coin. i.e., we paid him, our dogs are getting loose, I keep taking days off work to wait for him & and he doesn’t get the job done, etc. He yelled at me and went all crazy as soon as I told him to pick the crap up and that I am finished.
      Not to go on & on, but it is a good idea to stay away from these people in every area, they sap your life energy at the very least, and rob you of your will to live at worst! Beware! The disordered in general work off these 3 channels is my point, and CL is a genius to figure this control strategy of theirs out.
      Sometimes these disordered people work for themselves and you think that is a great asset, until you find out it is because they are unemployable.

  • Sadly (??), my cheater turned the channel to Rage the day he was served (June 13, 2013) and never changed channels. Took my kids with him to the TV station as well. Things still not finalized. He’s a lying, cheating SOB and everyone knows it. My life is immeasurably better without him and I hope my kids can some day see the light.

    • My stbx is also stuck on the rage channel…at least with me. With everyone else in his life, he uses charm and self-pity. But with me, since he now knows that I see him for the total Piece Of Shit that he is…it’s all rage, all the time.

      • My ex has been set to rage for nearly 3 years. It’s kind of funny when I think about it: he was discovered to be a serial cheater, I played pick me for a short time, even after kicking him out (he’ll come to his senses and realise how special I am!) but the second I started fighting back and calling him out for his shit the rage hit and never left. Maybe once or twice he tried the charm/self pity route (I thought we’d always be friends, nord!) but basically he hates me now. He has a lot of self-pity with others because his life is pretty fucked up at the moment but meh, whatever.

        • I thought we’d always be friends, nord!

          Nord, I am sorry but no matter how many times I hear this stupid statement it keeps blowing my mind. He told me the same, and now accuses me of not being mature, civilized and zen enough to have a friendship …
          Well, I guess I really like to trust my friends. So…no, hell will freeze first.
          Hoping to turn off that tv and get to the land of meh soon.

          • When he emailed me that it was one of the few times I responded. I simply said I am not friends with people who physically, emotionally or financially abuse me. Since he exposed me to disease (physical), fucked around for years behind my back (emotional) and tried to leave me with nothing (financial) – no, I would not be friends with him. Go find a new sandbox to play in.

        • If there is one thing a Cheater hates, it is to be seen through. Thankfully this site has helped tens of thousands to do just that. Hallelujah!

      • Same here, Mighty Mite. Although he does flip to Bonanza every day at 4. Poor dipshit needs a break from his rage all day every day. Deliberate unemployment is hard work.

        • And ditto here.
          My advice:
          Get your ducks in a row, especially copy every piece of financial information you can get your hands on even if you think it’s insignificant, see a lawyer, be smart…
          THEN serve! Because from that moment on, you will see more uglies than you can ever imagine.
          Worse than Gollum after Precious…

  • Great Post! I have been telling my friends this exact thing, almost. My cheaters cycles are Charm , Manipulate, Rage/Bully. Self-pity is a constant, poor sausage. And so true. They just cycle through these hoping one of them will get to you. Don’t let it Chumps. You’re mighty! Screw this mind-fuck and the satellite dish it rode in on!

  • What a great post! What a lucky cousin to have you beside her. This is ever so true. So true. Sometimes the flips are so fast my head spins and No Contact works best for me.

  • I’ve changed my handle, but I’m hoping that people here know who I am. Married over 30 years, “ILYBIKILWY” speech three years ago, left to go “find himself” (and to live with another woman who he swore didn’t exist), etc etc etc. The last month and a half has been horrendous, and I have changed my name because of him stalking me on the site, amongst other things.

    But I’m done, finally – the divorce was granted last Monday, and I only have 25 more days until it is final. I ended up settling out of court at the last minute because XH’s (God I love being able to write that!) behaviour was stuck on the “rage” channel, and he directed it not only at me but at my kids. He was threatening to fire his lawyer once we were in court, and that would have meant another delay, another six, ten, twelve months of lawyer’s fees, and more emotional abuse from him and his family directed at me and my children. I could not have that. No amount of money is worth seeing my kids in that situation.

    If I have any advice for people reading here, it is to listen to CL. Read everything on this site and BELIEVE IT. Your cheater is not special, but is, in fact, boringly predictable. Use that information to your advantage, and GET OUT. If you are reading this site your marriage probably died a long time ago, and there is nothing to save except yourself and your kids.

    File for divorce at the first possible moment. Do not buy into the lies, the three channels (he was really good at the cycling, which kept me off-kilter for way too long), the long sad tales of “finding him/herself”. Listen to your gut. Don’t worry about how it will look if you file first. It may well be a long and painful and expensive journey, so you might as well get it started and get it done that much quicker. Find the money. Talk to the people who support you, dump the ones who don’t or who don’t want to take sides. Get a good lawyer and listen to him/her (I wish I hadn’t believed his bullshit and had listened to mine three years ago instead of waiting because I believed his lies).

    I never thought I would end up here in our family home, packing up my things in the silence, alone, getting ready to sell it because my future has changed so radically. I’d always imagined that this house would be full of grandkids and love and noise and music, but all that is here now are memories, some good, many not, and I am ready to leave. At least I don’t have to take him with me any more. That is a huge, and hard-won, gift.

    I am finally free at 56, and ready for a new life, whatever that may be. If you can, don’t wait as long as I did to get away from your cheater. Life is so, so short, and such a precious thing to waste on someone who has no love in them.

    • New Meme, yes, chumps need to find their way here, but you know who else should? Anybody considering marriage. Seriously, if we all knew then what we know now, I figure there’d be a few more prenups, and a few more chumps keeping a closer eye on their finances, and independence, at the very least.

      If you have a nagging feeling that things aren’t as good as you’d like them to be, LISTEN TO THAT NAGGING FEELING. IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE!

      • Totally agree Moving Liquid but also setting myself some huge boundaries of what is NOT acceptable in my marriage that I just put up with.

      • I have to say that I’m not bitter about the whole marriage institution, but I would freely tell my nieces that before they get married, they ought to have a prenup.

    • New Meme, great post! “If I have any advice for people reading here, it is to listen to CL. Read everything on this site and BELIEVE IT. Your cheater is not special, but is, in fact, boringly predictable. Use that information to your advantage, and GET OUT. If you are reading this site your marriage probably died a long time ago, and there is nothing to save except yourself and your kids.”
      I will take your advice. You are right.

      • Thanks so much, Tracy! Your advice, humour and Two-By-Fours of Reality kept me going through some pretty dark nights and I owe you a lot. Your site is a life-saver.

    • So happy for you. And this post is so heart-felt and generous. And your own new home will indeed be filled with love and music and grandchildren, when that time comes.

      • And I’m thinking that it must be terribly hard for someone to live with a person who doesn’t exist….although I guess as Chumps, many of us lived with holograms…

        • LaJ, I still wonder about this occasionally. Ex pretended he was still living at our house for over a year after he left – got his mail forwarded to his new place but didn’t change any information with the dentist, doctor, school, accountant, government. He never told anybody that we were separated, either, gave the impression that we were still together, even the people he works with apparently. I didn’t find out about his Shmoopie until ten months after he left – he swore up and down that there was no one else, he was just trying to “find himself”.

          I’ve finally decided to follow Occam’s Razor on this one as an explanation – he’s just a lazy son-of-a-bitch and couldn’t be bothered to let people know anything had changed, including the fact that he had replaced me.

          • I’m inclined to believe that it was of use to him to have people believe that you were still married, or that you were “drifting apart,” thus he obscured the truth. This is, I think, what my xH is trying to accomplish. He’s so passive and lazy and afraid of confrontation and shame, that it’s better just to fly under the radar. He might explode in anger, that’ “it’s nobody’s BUSINESS!” But that’s not why he’s not telling people.
            I think some of these guys enjoy two lives–one where we’re the steady, staid sexless drone who takes care of business. We’re functional as the children’s mother, and it would be nice if we would stay behind to take care of business, like remembering important dates, and paying bills with our own money–we exist to serve. Then they have the other life, where they come and go as whim and adventure dictate, with a spontaneous (they LOVE that word! Red flag on the dating sites, btw!), starry-eyed magical lover who only exists for them–who also exists to serve. She is perfect, and we are boring.
            If they can keep that going, they’re golden.

              • Yup. Same guy, different address. Very very covert aggressive. His entire family functions on passive aggression and condenpendency.

          • Grats girlfriend! And I remember, ya might might want to change the name again as your ex will clue to it too. Or of course you can just say fuck him if you feel ok with it. Despite how dangerous my ex is, I post under this nick, one that I have used since the internet was still Arpanet, I am damned if my abusive ex will take my online persona away from me, he’s taken so much already. I have all possible risk remediation in place in IRL, I’m probably stupid to not disappear this persona online but I refuse, I have friends all over the world who only know me by Datdamwuf.

          • My Ex did the same! They could be the same person actually – except mine did the “I love you but not in love with you” speech at 20 years of marriage, not 30+. He, too, moved out into his bachelor pad and low and behold there was a new woman in his life in a hot minute! Strangely, his mail just kept coming to our new home address (we had just sold our marital home to pay off huge business debts he had incurred and moved into a little rental to “rebuild” our finances when he made his little announcement…) I STILL, after two years and moving again a few months ago, get mail addressed to him that looks rather important. I keep a trash can right by the door from my garage and his mail is deposited there before it can soil my new home! I can tell you things will get better. You will find peace and tranquility in your new home. Your kids will still visit you (I still have one at home but oldest is in college) and think your new home is THEIR home (not dad’s bachelor pad). People around you will eventually figure out your Ex’s despicable character just by you holding your head high, leading a moral and character-filled life, and always being there for your kids.

          • “I want to find myself” or “I have things to work on” or “I’ve found myself in a new life”=there is a Schmoopie. I got the latter two.

            • I thought the all time favorite is “I need some space.” Translation: It is getting tiresome all the lying, running around & leading a double life, I need a rest. Meanwhile, I will give my new schmoopie a ride around the block and see if she/he is a suitable replacement before I let you know I have one foot out the door.

  • “Divorce is so ugly! Why can’t she be a pal about it? Because you’re a sick, predatory fuck, that’s why.”

    GAAAAAhahahah! Bahahah! HOooo!

    That made me laugh.

    My ex is not fucking with my mind any more, because we’re NC. At first, that was a total mind fuck, because, how can you just walk away from a 20+-year relationship that resulted in three kids and a lot of good (and a lot of bad) memories? He just apparently didn’t care. Mind fucked.

    Then that wore off.

    Now, I think he’s fucking with the kids. He never brings up the OW–never ever talks about her, had never introduced her, and it’s been 3 years since he walked out on his family for this troll. I wonder if my kids believe that she exists. I mean, it’s great for them, because those shit sandwiches be bitter. But what a mind fuck. Mr. Sad Sack, in exile, banished from our family, for NO APPARENT REASON. I did make him tell the kids in his own words WHY he was asked to leave, but still–what a weird thing it must be for them.

    BTW, on that subject, I’m re-reading a great book on the subject, called Parents Who Cheat.

    • Oh! Going to have to check that book out! My oldest (11) is having a hard time. Called me at 10:30 last night because he caught his father kissing his little sister’s friend’s mother. He also knows that his father is still involved with the OW that finally ended our marriage. Trying to coach him through it last night while he was shaking with fear and rage and trying not to throw up from anxiety. Poor kiddo! How do you tell your child their father is a predator? Ugh! Oh, and once again I am going to get them all (4 kiddos) back sick. 🙁

      • One of my kids caught my ex having online conversations of an inappropriate nature recently. With final OW in the other room. Nice, eh? He just thinks he’s dad is an idiot.

      • HSM I am so sorry:-( my heart goes out to you. My oldest daughter 17 confronted her dad a few days ago about knowing why we Divorced that he cheated with this slut. She was so upset afterwards because he denied it and they are just good friends. He was telling her that it takes 2 people to make a marriage work or not work. And she only has 2 choices to either continue the relationship with him or cut him off. And life goes on and she needs to accept that her parents split!! Talk about cheaternesse!!!
        Now her anxiaty is so high, stomach pains, headaches, moody, pulling hair!!
        It brakes my heart:-(( I don’t know what to do or tell her.

        • A lousy thing to do, since all she wanted to hear from him was an honest accounting so that she could forgive him. But jerks go out of their way to take a bad situation and make it 1000 times worse —- for everyone but themselves, of course. As for himself, he never had to cop to anything, and got to it blame it on you. Problem is, everybody – even your 17 year old – knows its bullshit.

          Your options depend on how much of a creep your husband is. Do you think he’s personality disordered? If so, I would recommend pointing out sites and resources to educate her. Knowledge is power – and PROTECTION. If he’s a garden variety jerk, you will have to help her work out her feelings – even if that means encouraging her to work toward resolving her relationship with him.

          I hate it when the kids have to eat the shit sandwiches. It’s so unfair.

        • I wonder if one reason that people self-harm is because someone is denying reality to them, and they are so confused? It’s abusive to lie to a child in such a treacherous way.
          Tell your daughter that she shouldn’t deny what is evident. She should believe what she sees. She might need to confirm it with someone she trusts, not allow it to be denied by someone who is a proven liar/cheater.

          • I know this is a year later, but, Thank You!!! My mom is PD and I use to cut myself. I saw various therapists and psychiatrists, etc, and there are all kinds of explanations- but the denying reality just totally struck a chord. Wow.

        • Wow33, tell your daughter that her father is correct. It takes two to make a marriage and when one of the two takes on a “girlfriend,” then the marriage is over. It can’t work. Then tell her that when people do bad things they often lie because they are ashamed of what they’ve done. And they may even lie to themselves, e.g., “We are just good friends” might mean that he does not love the woman he is involved with. But that you will not continue in a marriage where only one person lives up to the vows and the contract. If it were my 17 year-old, I would suggest that she take some time to think about how she feels about what has happened and what kind of relationship she, as a young adult, wants to create with her father. She is at an age where she can learn that when it comes to our relatives, we often accept them for what they are, flaws and all, but need to draw and maintain good boundaries so as not to be damaged by interaction with them. And finally, because she is on the verge of adulthood, this is an opportunity for her to more consciously decided how she wants her relationships to work in her life. No use longing for dad to become mature or unselfish. Accept that he is what he is, look at that reality in front of her, and then decide what works for her.

          You might think about finding a very good counselor for her. A few sessions focusing on her relationship with dad might do a lot to help her process and find new strategies for managing his attempts to control her.

    • My ex is still telling people I left for no reason – presumably with the inference that I have PND or some other crazies of the womanly kind. Yes of course that’s why I moved out of the house with the baby while he was away, moved in with my parents, filed for divorce and sat down at the table for a shit sandwich banquet. No reason.

      • Yes, we ladies with our crazy lady stuff. I am so bloody sick of hearing that someone going a bit bonkers after finding out that their spouse has been cheating and acting like an asshole on top of that is crazy for going bonkers.

        I’m not sure how I was supposed to respond to finding out that not only was there another woman, there were a multitude of other women, some at the same time as final other woman and some who were my ‘friends’. Yeah, I was supposed to elegantly bow out and smile as I waved him gently on his way. Even better, I was supposed to do that as he nearly left me homeless.

        Fuck that noise. I was furious, hurt and had murder in my heart. Then I got smart and left him in my rear view mirror as I rebuilt. But I will never apologise for being absolutely fucked off beyond words about what he did to me, and more importantly what he did to the kids.

    • Sunshine, be very, very grateful that he doesn’t bring the ho-bag around your kids. My ex shoved her down my kids’ throats at the first possible chance, then told them to lie to me. She’s around all the time and when she’s not he spends all his time talking about me and the divorce (still all my fault, obviously). I don’t care about him but I do not relish this dimwit being a part of my life, even if on the edges, for all eternity. I wish he’s just hurry up and cheat on her. It would make life so much easier.

      • CL, have you seen “Just Like His Father?”? It is based on the premise that children of narcissists, addicts, and ADHD are at risk and need to be parented a little bit differently than other children. Much of it was common sense advice… be supportive, love your kids, etc. but there are a few specific recommendations that are different than what you would do with other children. I have been putting these into action, with pretty good success.

        The book is expensive on Amazon, and actually cheaper on the author’s website.

      • So, the book is written by Ana Nogales, PhD. When I first bought it, in my acute pain, I felt that she was too clinical, not willing enough to endorse crucifying the cheating parent. Now that I’m thisclose to meh, I am reading it with a different outlook, ready to accept her message.

        On her website, she emphasizes her Latina heritage (I just read this now) but I can say that this is not an emphasis in the book–it’s appropriate for both fathers and mothers whose partners cheated (she gives equal time to both sexes), and who would like to understand and help their equally betrayed children. It’s also useful for adult children of cheating parents.

        http://www.amazon.com/Parents-Who-Cheat-Children-Unfaithful/dp/0757306527#cm_cr_dpwidget

        I think the negative reviewer has a good point, though I’m not sure the book is a one-star because of it. I did read an example given in the book that seemed to justify a woman’s affair, and it was pretty disturbing to me. So be aware that parts of the book could be “triggery.”

        On the other hand, there is discussion of the shame and confusion that kids feel, and seemingly contradictory, but not-unreasonable desire to want to maintain a relationship with the cheater parent (this really upset me for a long, long time, but I’m doing better with it.) There is a warning about NOT making your child your confidante nor stand-in partner–that’s really damaging to a kid (get some friends, for peet’s sake!) And it talks about forgiveness in a way that I think is reasonable.

        Overall, I think it’s a good book with a few flaws. I think it does a very good job of explaining the damage that sexual/emotional betrayal have on a family, especially the innocent children. It’s easier for me to take the parts that almost seem to justify certain affairs in stride, now that I’m further out, and because it’s balanced with a lot of reason.

        That’s my take! Full disclosure, I have not read the book from cover to cover, and am skimming some parts, so there may be objectionable material. I’m recovered enough to be able to strike out the parts I completely disagree with, while feeling good about gaining a better understanding of what my poor kids have been through.

  • Wow, what an awesome post. CL you have reminded there is nothing new or original with my ex, he’s just a pathetic little carbon copy of all other disordered idiots who try the three channels to manipulate. My ex decided that after five years apart that I had to go back to him as he was noe ready and “grown up” enough to want his family back. It took four months to convince him that no meant no, his charm offensive was full-on. It then switched to rage and self pity – his excuse for excrutiatingly bad behaviour and bad manners is that he is “protecting himself form loving me”. He alternates text and email abuse with declarations of love, bizarre proposals to move in together, nauseating self pity about his broken heart, with cold silence and rudeness in front of our child. You never know which way he’ll play it from day to day. Ine day I’m a selfish bitch, the next he’s proposing me head away on holiday together. My only hope is that he will fianlly fixate on some other poor woman and leave me alone. We’ve been apart for five years and nine months now, and not once have I ever said I want to go back to him (I was lucky enough to only have one d-day, i left him that day and never looked back). Funnily enough it’s him doing the pick me dance, and it’s good to hear via this post that he’s not original or able to change, he’s simply one of the herd of narcissistic twits who never give up.

    • He’s protecting himself from loving you? Gee whiz, why doesn’t he do that by leaving you alone? I think he can protect himself over there in the next county.

    • The disordered who come back after years of separation freak me out. That is so creepy. It really shows how messed up they are.

      • Well, they recall that stable source of kibbles and come back to look for it when supplies get more scarce. Cheaters don’t grow more attractive or “special” as they age, and the living “card to card” often keeps them from building the life infrastructure that makes aging pleasurable–friends, pets, gardens, volunteer work in the community, spiritual resources, etc. And we all know that what they left is always better than what they left for–because they left someone who loved them faithfully.

  • My cheater doesn’t have the rage channel. He has the dead eyed cold slab of meat sociopath channel. Guess I’m just lucky!

    • “He has the dead eyed cold slab of meat sociopath channel.”

      Yep, I can relate to that. In retrospect, one of the things that should have clued me in was how my POS X stopped wanting to either take pictures of or be in pictures with me. It all seems so clear now. Anyway, about a month before D-Day, we were at a Caribbean restaurant sitting on the patio, and I took out my cell phone to take a photo of him. His eyes went dead, just like you said, and in his face I saw an expression of contempt–even revulsion–that I have never seen directed my way from any other living soul. I took the photo anyway and made a sharp comment about how if I felt like taking a damn photo, then I was damn sure gonna take a goddamn photo. But looking at that picture now, my blood curdles. Because that expression of contempt and revulsion is so perfectly captured, only now I recognize it for what it is.

      It’s just like you said. The expression of a “dead-eyed cold slab of meat sociopath.”

      And this is the person I entrusted my deepest secrets to? Whose approval and affirmation I spent so long seeking? (shuddering)

      • My ex also had that look of revulsion and contempt in the pictures I took of him. In one, while we were dating, he is flipping me off.

        Nice! I think that red flag even left a mark, but I ignored it.

        He never took pictures of me; I was very unphotogenic until I had corrective surgery, and now am quite photogenic. He never posted pictures of me at work–only of the kids. It hurt my feelings. This was from Day 1 of our relationship.

        I never should have ignored that.

        I’m so glad you brought this up–it’s really a very strong indication of a person’s affection or lack thereof, and should definitely be in the Guide to Detecting a Poor Mate.

        • Mine too – I can’t decide if the look of chilling hatred was always there or he allowed it out for photos I took. I had one that I finally deleted because it was so scary,

          • It really is chilling, isn’t it? I would delete my own photo, but I keep it for the occasional moment when I start thinking maybe he was a decent guy at heart and we once had a decent relationship that just went south. One glance at that expression sets me straight in a big f-ing hurry.

            • Oh yeah. I kept it for a long time for the same reason. I only deleted it after I reached a level of acceptance….and meh…..

  • Keep up the great posts, CL. There needs to be an abundance of this since so many chumps out there are being mindfucked in isolation with no one to help them sort out the confusion. The only place many people have for advice is the web and we need to stand out among all the psychobabble from the reconciliation industrial complex.

    I originally found CL by putting whatever question was bothering me…into google. No way was I going to ask anyone in my face to face existence for this type of help.

    • “Keep up the great posts, CL. There needs to be an abundance of this since so many chumps out there are being mindfucked in isolation with no one to help them sort out the confusion.”

      Isolation. Many of us had cheaters who slowly isolated us from our friends and family over the years, so when everything hits the fan we are having to build from scratch. In addition, many of us are coming from less than scratch, because the cheater often had a Smear Campaign going weeks/months/even years pre-bomb drop.

      Chump Lady brings us together — a straight shooter without the baloney… thank you CL!

  • The ex is stuck on the rage channel and has been since I told him I was done. He keeps kicking up toddler style fits that are so unattractive. I found out that he had enrolled our daughter in preschool and his mistress was calling herself the mother and he had put her down as guardian for all of our children. All decree violations and moral violations. He had the nerve to threaten me and declare that he was tired of me interfering in his and puta’s life. He even told the kids that I was going to give her a heart attack! rOTFL!!! I had to work during the kid’s visitation exchange so I arranged for one of my babysitters to drop them off. I got an email declaring how wrong I was in having a third party involved. Um… For over a year I’ve been dealing with puta dropping them off and I just gathered them to me and was grateful to have my babies back home. Oh how I want to answer back his rage with a “listen here, you little pissant!” But I’m already well on the road to “meh”. 😉

  • This is SO my life right now! We are still living together and have not filed yet, but he is pulling out all the stops and it is leaving me confused and questioning myself and what I want/need to do. In the past week he has totally gone through this cycle to a T…From “I love you, your my wife, give me a HUG” to raging “I have 40 thousand dollars and I’ll spend it…I’m taking the kids full custody (ya right)” and then to top it off dramatically goes out to the car, revs the engine and says he is going to drive the car into the house, followed by uncontrollable sobbing to his mom on the phone. You know what I did as he sat in the car..I got the phone, went and sat upstairs with the kids and calmly got ready to call 911 once the car hit. Guess what..he was back in the house in 5 minutes. He continues to want to hang out as a family and watching him with the kids is what is getting me. But at the same time last week when he was feeling rejected by me he reached out via text to a 29 year old woman he is “friends” with to hang out. But that’s okay because she has a boyfriend and is not interested in him. He does not get it. You don’t tell your wife you love her and then try to meet up with another woman. This post was helpful in seeing the cycle, because it really is messing with me.

    • Dear TimeToGo – Your chose your name for a reason, right?? I think we all “get there” in our own time. Keep reading, keep trusting that he sucks, but more importantly, please start believing that you can do it. You can do this. It is so, so hard, I know, and it takes awhile to muster up the courage. But you really can do this. And you know you need to. HUGS!

    • You might want to figure out what “NO CONTACT” means in your situation. Until you file, you will be in mindfuck limbo. Until you limit your contact with him (not limit his contact with the kids) you will have this drama.

    • I know it’s hard when you want to believe that they are sorry and regretting what they lost, but don’t let what you want to hear get in the way of what you are seeing. He gets pissed off, oh….excuse me….., feels “unappreciated” so he calls another woman to hang out. Yeah….that’s called playing you, and not meaning a word of it.

      It’s what they do. They don’t make moving on easy.

    • If he is threatening suicide be very careful, when that doesn’t work Abusers escalate to threatening and harming you. Just be careful.

      • Mine is hoping I commit suicide. In one of his fury he shouts, “Do you want to kill yourself, why don’t you kill yourself. Just die wont you.” And all this was after I was telling him that I am beside myself, depressed and feel utterly helpless.

        • MG, because I have a history of suicide attempts, the night my husband told me to get out or he would. He put his coat on to go out as he did every single night and said, “Don’t do anything stupid.” Knowing full well I would. And I did. It surely would have simplified his life if I had died. But since then I no longer consider that an option.

  • Great post CL. It took me a while to learn the 3 channels, but you are absolutely correct. Pretend remorse and charm, then rage and blame shift when chump still dumps them, them self pity in the hope that others will think the chump is the bad one. Then repeat the cycle.

    As you say, cheating disordered fruit loops are so predictable. My CW fits the mould.

  • I’m on the the 5th day of No Contact. I needed this post so badly. Thank you CL and all you other chumps. Wish me luck on keeping this stupid channel off!

      • I have a court order of protection in place. NC has been bliss. I only have to put up with his fake fake smile when he picks the girls up for visitation. Hi girls!!!! He always tries to look at me but I always keep my head turned. It frustrates the shit outta him. I love NC. I don’t have to deal with his mindfuckery anymore. And he used all three channels before the domestic violence incident, which got him thrown in jail, hence the order of protection. Rage, then, I always loved you, I never MEANT to hurt you! Boohooohoo. Wahhhhhhhh! Then, I swear I’ll never do this again, Ill get help, Ill go to counseling. Switch!! It was my mothers fault!!! She was emotionally distant and not affectionate! Or: It was my dad’s fault for having huge stacks of porn that I found and started whacking off to when I was 9!! Wahhhhhhwahhhh!! Or: I’m going nuts! I want to kill myself !!!! I am sooo ashamed! What? You changed the locks in the house and I can’t have a key??? BITCH. Yep, NC has been heaven. 🙂

        • Very funny Irish – that reminded me that my XH once blamed it all (he told his shrink also) on the fact that this parents (the ex hyenas – in-law ) made him roller skate on the sitting room (hideously patterned) carpet in case he injured himself outside – as a child he was still traumatised to this day, so that explains the porn fetish / adultery / Control freakiness – (think of the film sleeping with the enemy and the cans all lined up in the kitchen cupboard- yup) /mindfuckery/ and waste of the last 18 years of my life??? And it’s all my fault still (channel rage) cos “we just cancel each other out apparently” 🙂

    • It’s a big step! Think of it this way–you know that the cable is sending signals to the box, but unless you tune in, you can’t see “Law and Order” or “Blue Bloods” (shout out to my TV crushes, the late Jerry Orbach and–of all people–Donnie Wahlberg, who plays a guy who loves his wife and kids. Anyway, you know he sucks and he’s got the channels, but you don’t have to turn on the TV or pay for the Cheaterpants Channel.

    • Hold the fort.

      You can do it, and when you do it, the witness of my experience says that you will be amazed what you get back.

      I found that thinking of NC in negative terms (i.e., what I am not doing) only felt right at the times that directly followed a negative contact with Jesus-cheater-ex. That is, once I put my hand back on the stove, I would inevitably get the reminder for why that hurt (because it always did!), but after a few days, chump-mode would kick back in, some internal emotional-muscle-memory would draw me back to communication, and I felt the absence of connection with someone I had taken to be my best friend (as well as spouse, father of my child, etc.) as a deprivation.

      This equalled more sadness.

      I knew that time and the resilience of the human spirit would ease the sense of loss and retrain the emotional muscle memory. But in the meanwhile, to cope with the pain (which was severe and at times destabilizing — I remember looking out over trees from my classroom window while teaching Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations — a deeply engaging text, from whichever ideological perspective one approaches it, and a text I have taught for more than 25 years) and not knowing what I was doing there. At all. What was I doing in the room? what was I doing with the text? what was the point of being, period?

      I began to reframe no-contact as me-spa time. Not, time I wasn’t connecting to X, but time to figure out who the dickens I was? what did I like? what was important to me? what was I doing with my one wild and precious life (thank you, Mary Oliver)?

      The clearest way from the pain came with exploring what I liked doing. And titrating the pain — finding that I did not have to feel it all at once was massively liberating.

      Stuff I did (your list will surely vary!)
      __Go on Netflix binges.
      __Seek beauty (museums, performances, what have you)
      __Seek creativity and inspiration (basically the Julia Cameron Artist Date project + totally non-judgmental creative experimentation: what creative things do you do that satisfy you as you do them, that you get lost in doing? do that, for process. Don’t have expectations about outcome.)
      And, the most reliable distracter/self-supporter, for me:
      __ Learn something.

      I printed this quote on stickers and put it on every notebook, next to every mirror, on the refrigerator…

      “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
      ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

      Hope any of this helps. It’s damned hard. But you get yourself back, and that’s revelatory.

      Peace to you, MG!

      • also — sadly for me, there was no chumplady when I was learning to go NC.

        But — other things to do instead of contacting the cheater:

        –>post here!

        –>talk to friends (make sure you have the right phone plan ahead ! I paid $600 the first month of my separation because I didn’t pay attention to cell phone costs. Still worth it.)

        • I went for long walks with my dog.
          Bought myself an inexpensive bunch of flowers each week.
          Spent hours on phone and in person with friends.
          Read endlessly about narcissistic personality disorder.
          Purchased far too many lipsticks, all basically the same color of rosy pink.
          Signed up for tennis lessons, even though I really didn’t care about tennis.
          Went through DivorceCare, which I highly recommend even if you are not religious.
          Went back to therapy.
          Took meds for awhile, until I didn’t need them anymore.
          Went back to school, though that turned out to be a very expensive mistake.

          • “Read endlessly about narcissistic personality disorder.”

            How could I forget this? should have opened my own pop-up store to sell off the fruits of that quest: http://www.amazon.chump.supreme.com

            ditto on the lipsticks! have life-time supply of miniscule-variant shades of cider red.

            flowers idea very good.

            Value yourself, and do concrete acts that support your flourishing.

            • ps– not a real link above, but amazon has some capture device that turns it into a search for ‘chump’ that does at least lead to chumplady’s book, among other sundry options.

          • GIO,
            That’s great. Sounds like my experience. It’s as if we go around like zombies for a while, just setting out a template to keep ourselves busy and our minds off the NC. You mention pink lipsticks; I noticed I have a peculiarly large collection of hair bows, none of which I ever wear 🙂 I took some online courses in subjects I never thought of before, and found it actually more fascinating than wondering what the ex was up to. There are actually ways to find a new path while digging one’s way through NC.

          • Glad..I’ve been NC for the most part for a month and a half. Only talk to him if it involves our 12 year old daughter. I love the list of things you did to keep occupied. However..since there is complete silence on both his end and mine, I’ve started thinking about the OW again, and if their relationship is blooming with tulips and roses like it has been! It’s driving me completely batty. I can’t seem to shake this damn train of thought, no matter what I do. The last time I did talk to him, which was regarding a visitation issue, he was just as happy as a clam! Everything seems to be going along swimmingly with the OW, and it makes me want to puke. I always come back to the “not fair” problem..I’m the one who got crapped all over and is trying to slosh through life, while he is happy. I’m open to any suggestions..how can I stop thinking of this?

            • There’s a line of thinking that suggests you don’t try to stop it or force it away, but acknowledge the intruding thought and let it go. A book I highly recommend for dealing with intrusive thinking is The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. It’s taught me that so much of this is utterly beyond our control.

              • The book emphasizes that we cannot control what we think, but we can control how we react to it.

              • I’m going to check out that book, Moving Liquid. I really am having a tough time with my thinking..and getting these thoughts out of my head. Thanks for the suggestion!

            • Sandy, there is no justice, as children our parents inculcated this idea in us and it is hard to shake. Forget justice. Your spouse is no longer your concern, his state of mind has no impact on your own. The only thing you care about is the kid issues. Your happiness is on you, don’t compare his bullshit life to yours. Compare your life only to what you want to be. Get a life that has nothing to do with your ex. Jedi hugs!

          • The easiest way to go no contact is to move to a state where the cellphone company has zero coverage. It was a bitch to get out of my contract but made it super easy not to be tempted to text. And more importantly my stbxh couldn’t get a hold of me except through email. Sorry. No kibbles from me. Which is probably why he switched over to rage and stayed there. Can’t say that it didn’t shock me at first. I figure the two best things I’ve done for my health in the last year + is stopped talking to him and quit smoking. Now if only the divorce will go through. Then I can be rid of all the stinky cancer causing butts in my life.

      • andstillrise, you are so right! Thank you so much for confirming what I have been beginning to realize….new experiences, new contacts, new learning IN PLACE of the no contact, make me realize all the possibilities open to me WITHOUT HIM and his drama and fuckedupness….All the stuff I CAN do now, and people I CAN enjoy time with, support, befriend, etc. without ASSHOLE draining the lifeblood (and finances) from me!

      • Andstillirise, My gosh you’re so eloquent. I feel I should pay tuition to read your posts.

        At first, the only thing I could do was get myself to the local pool and swim until I couldn’t swim anymore. And more than a few times I cried into my goggles or screamed underwater. But I just kept swimming.

        The ONLY way I can get to sleep, even now, is to put on a documentary (usually about the history of England or the English language, or anything about the Tudors). I generally don’t get to the end of the documentary before I’m asleep, so it can take me a while to get through one.

        Finally I was able to start thinking about where to go from here and found it liberating and so long over due: to have independence for the first time in my life.

        • I can’t get to sleep without Disney Channel on, LOL! With a 12 year old daughter, it’s either Disney or Nickelodeon on most of the time. What’s really pathetic is that I find myself watching these shows when my daughter isn’t even home! I was excited for the premiere of Austin and Ally..smack me now!!

      • This brought a tear to my eye! I love your quote, and I can attest that learning something really did wonders for my soul. I didn’t put my finger on it until now–but it has been the learning, for sure! Fortunately, my job requires me to learn every single day, information that is useful and interesting. And I am learning all sorts of home improvement techniques to make my humble home beautiful, and it is empowering and exciting and uplifting.

        Thanks for your post!!

      • Andstillirise, that was an eye opening post. I know of three things that make me happy:
        1. reading/puzzles/mind games
        2. yoga/running/walking
        3. eating healthy
        I will print these out and post around the house to remind me like you did.
        Thank you for your advice.

      • This is lovely. It brings the right kind of tears to my eyes. I used all of those things you list. And I would add “Take on something you think you can’t do.” I was (and still am, giving the estimate I got today for end of season leaf removal) overmatched here with my little house and 2 acres of trees. But I took on that challenge and when things get scary or rough, I try to learn one more thing about home maintenance, even just learning how to remove light bulbs from recessed lights (pot lights). [Take duct tape and create a loop handle on the bulb. Then turn…shout out to “This Old House” website.]

        I hope CL is bookmarking some of the wonderful posts–they could become part of book 2 or 3 or 4….I copy all or part for my file and read when things get tough.

        • And I remember last Valentine’s Day, laying on my yoga mat, in class–probably my 4th or 5th class–and the tears falling because just before class Jackass had sent an incredibly cruel email, he being stuck on the Rage Channel since I “accused him” of what he was in fact doing. But yoga requires us to be fully present in the moment, and that particular teacher is so good and kind and gentle about that “presence.” I’ve been No Contact since. And thank God for all those cable channels that binge-broadcast police procedural shows. I have a hypothesis that those shows soothe the chump heart because even though things don’t always turn out as we would hope (“Law and Order,” that’s you!), the shows focus on an attempt to right wrongs, honor victims, get justice.

      • Thank you, andstillirise!

        T.H. White was an extraordinary thinker. Like Smith, but kinder. I had the exact same out of body experience-I also teach-mine was a Famous Old Book, I got complete split brain, ugh. But I finished the lesson.

        My ‘on the fridge’ saying is one from a beloved Aunt. “What if it all turns out okay?” Until the emotional muscles reprogram, that is my mantra.

        You said two things of immense value-first, that seeing NC as a deprivation is poisonous. BOOM! And that pain can be titrated, dealt with in small doses.

        Here’s to wild and precious life!

        x-Meh.

        THANK YOU.

  • My ex is stuck on the self pity channel.

    From the day he received the divorce papers he’s been in the depths of shock and sorrow.

    Don’t people know that he met all my conditions to reconcile? Well except for that pesky little non- negotionable of no longer fucking his long time girlfriend.

    Sheesh, paula is so unreasonable.

    I learned last week that when he was on a recent golf outing that he once again declared he would never understand his part in our divorce. He said this with a tear in his eye.

    Puke.

    I am a Chumplady devotee extraordinaire and have read (and actually committed much to memory) every word Tracy has written on this blog. But hands down, my favorite piece remains CHEATERS, YOU’RE NOT ENTITLED TO RECONCILIATION. It is the perfect follow-up to today’s outstanding entry. Worth another read for coping with the self pity channel!!

    • I don’t know how many times I have heard that…”what more can I do?”, “I’ve done everything I can think of to make it up to you”, “you were never going to forgive me no matter what I did, were you”, blah, blah, blah. The truth is he did ABSOLUTELY ZIP (and continued to screw his internet princesses). How on earth they can say shit like that with a strait face is beyond me.

      Have they rewritten history and sold that shit to themselves, or are they that committed to denial?

      • Einstein – my take is that they’ve told the lies so often they now believe the shit they spew.

        The truth does not stand a chance when they buy their own press.

        • He’s a good liar Paula, but he seems so convinced of his own innocence. Part of me things he’s a duplicitous ass who, indeed, has sold himself on his own farcical story.

    • Paula- “I learned last week that when he was on a recent golf outing that he once again declared he would never understand his part in our divorce. He said this with a tear in his eye.”

      More than puke. Projectile puke, explosive diarrhea, monkey’s flinging poo. All in his direction, of course.

      • And did we all get the self serving “you’ll only be happy if I get down on my knees for the rest of my life and grovel and that’s not fair”? To which I’m fairly sure we all said no before we realized it was just one more mindfuck to makes us feel like the bad giy

  • ALL character disordered people in ALL types of relationships use this nasty three pronged approach to disarm and manipulate their victims, when they have been caught being an asshole. Could be your husband, wife, brother, sister, father, mother, kid, boss, neighbour, priest etc. etc. Cuts across a wide spectrum of the population – doesn’t just apply to marital cheaters! Watch out for how many times that cyclic triple sucker punch happens in your other relationships – us chumps send out a special radar that welcomes pathological people into our lives.

    • Umm… If you are talking about pathologically disordered people like people with NPD, I don’t think it’s mystical or “radar” or even mysterious.

      I’m pretty sure they are always testing boundaries to see what they can get away with.

      If, for example, they say they might drop by some day, and you say “Sure, but make sure you call first”, then a narcissist might make it a point to drop by without calling and use the excuse “I just happened to be in the neighborhood”. Why? To see whether or not you will enforce your own alleged boundaries. If they succeed in getting you to not enforce the boundary, it’s a little victory for them, and you’re marked as a potential source of narcisstic supply. Lucky you.

      • BTW, a normal person, if you tell them they’ve overstepped a boundary will usually say they are sorry and promise not to do it again. A flaming narcissist will probably ridicule your “rules” or something like that.

        It’s not “radar”. People tell you who they are, and narcissists can be pretty good about reading people sometimes. In their own minds, they are experts at it (not so much really though–lol).

        • Time Heals: Good examples – so true!

          Yes, narcissists are excellent people readers – their very existence depends on honing the skill. I can’t fathom the mental energy it takes to be constantly scanning and searching for narcissistic supply. Must be exhausting. No wonder, they twist in the wind when the chump(s) in their lives rise up on their hind legs and call them on their shit. We think we’ve been duped by them – imagine how duped they must feel by us.

      • “If, for example, they say they might drop by some day, and you say ‘Sure, but make sure you call first’, then a narcissist might make it a point to drop by without calling and use the excuse “I just happened to be in the neighborhood”. Why? To see whether or not you will enforce your own alleged boundaries.”

        Yes! My during my divorce I eventually had to call the police to help reinforce those boundaries. Freakface stopped testing me after that.

        • I don’t think narcissists are testing boundaries in this case, I think they a) believe they are so special that the call-first rule doesn’t apply to them, b) are punishing you because you had the nerve to ask them to call first.

          With narcissists, the boundary busting is a consequence, not the primary reason. The reason is usually hate, revenge, resentment, envy, or self-aggrandizement when there’s nothing to punish you for.

          • Yup, punishment is the regular go-to default strategy of narcissists. When in doubt – punish. Narcissists have an infinite need to punitively dump their toxic and vile feelings of hate, revenge, resentment, and envy. They, then feel purged – light, free, ready to take on the world. Thanks, chump, for being my victim – I feel so much better now.

            • Narcs taking a negativity dump onto the chump. You are so correct tflan386!

              I’ve had YEARS of this from asshat. I came into my relationship with him optimististc. He has spent over half of our marriage dumping his negative self image on ME. Calling be a glass half empty type of person. Life with a narc is a confusing, depressing situation because of the mindfuckery. Everyone who knows me very well, and people who don’t, would never say I’m a perpetual Debbie Downer.

              So new boundary for asshat is to ow the fact he is the half empty negative asshole, and I will never ever again permit his projection of his shitty empty soul on to me again.

              • ANC, I hear you. My husband is incapable of working for someone and so I poured all the money I had into trying to start various businesses but it was never enough. As the years went on I grew more and more panicked. I’d say, “We’re borrowing off the house loan just to live. We can’t do that forever. What are we going to do?” And his response was to get angry at me. Evidently he can’t be a genius if someone presents him with that ugly word REALITY. In the end he cheated and left just when I was down to my last penny and conveniently blamed it on my nervousness, as if that isn’t a normal response to losing everything you owned. I’m glad I don’t live in his world any more. I actually like reality.

            • I know this is an old post, but this resonated.

              I don’t know for sure that my ex ran to someone else when she dumped me out of the blue. But I was confused by the glee she seemed to take when saying things like “you took me for granted; you never thought I’d leave you” (no shit, when you always said how much you loved me and how happy your were). Or when I mentioned that a neighborhood friend of her son’s was just as surprised as I was by the split. Her response: a wry, “I doubt it”, as if she was proud of getting one over on me. And when I mentioned that my door would always be open, she almost laughed at me when she answered, “What? If I change my mind?”.

              There was no pick me dance requested. She was completely done with me and hasn’t looked back.

          • I’m not attempting to untangle their skein: entitlement, seeing others as extensions of themselves, FOO issues, poor ego integrity, etc.

            I was attempting to explain the mystery of their “radar”: how do they seem to zero in on chumps? They do it the same way confidence men do it: they test your boundaries, they tempt, cajole, bully, appeal to your pity, and so on in an attempt to get you to relax or disarm your boundaries. In intimate relationships, this can even be more difficult for us chumps because personal boundaries can be more ambivalent in close relationships, and there are people who actually get off on ‘winning” by getting you to disregard boundaries that most would agree are healthy boundaries in even an intimate relationship. Those people will find somebody else if you begin shutting them down when they try that stuff.

            Who cares why they do what they do unless you are paid to work with those people? It’s easier not to have somebody who thinks of all of their personal interactions as some sort of contest they intend to win in your life.

              • Asshat is the master of bait and switch. A Completely illegal marketing practice in business, but a perfectly fine thing for a narc to do to a chump….because we rationalize and excuse the behavior.

                Asshat likes/liked to make huge public announcements of how great of a spouse he was to the world-all the wonderful things he was planning on doing with me or for me.

                In this I was baited, example: “I completely support you getting your MBA. Tell me your schedule and I will watch the baby on those evenings you have class (public declaration). The switch: ” hey, can’t watch the baby this evening. I need to stay late at the office/I need to rehearse with the guys/I planned an out of town meeting that evening/have you found a sitter???” I always tell my oldest he was the smarted baby evah because he attended grad school as an infant while I was working FT.

                It’s the constant diminishing of expectations by the narc to the chump. The moving of the boundary to expect NOTHING. I have always prided myself on my self sufficiency and getting shit done. However, I realize now that this personal attribute, coupled with marriage to a narc, led me on a path of financial dependency. What asshat could never get me to do was be his codependent zombie.

      • If only the boundary crossings were this obvious I don’t think many of us would have stayed so long. I am too tired to delineate a bunch of of the small ways that the truly manipulative assholes so slowly erode your boundaries even ehne you have pretty good ones. Slowly, carefully and successfully

  • My cheater has no charm. Never has had it, never will. It’s another story with the rage and self-pity. When it was time to tell our children that we were getting divorced, my cheater refused to do it with me and I had to tell them by myself. After I told them, he came into the room and said “this is what your mother wants, not me” and he laid all the blame on me. He also cried and begged for me to not go through with it and he raised all kinds of reasons and concerns about our family and how much he didn’t want this. He said it would be so painful for us all. He also has raged at me telling me how when he fights for all that is his, “it won’t be pretty ” for me. I told him to hire OJ’s lawyers and that I didn’t care what he was doing. He would also get very angry with me for stating the reasons for the divorce on legal papers. He said anyone could look up that information and know the reason why I wanted a divorce. He would also get very angry about me “suing” him. He would be saying through gritted teeth “you are suing me!” and that I didn’t need to hire a lawyer, that I could have just done the divorce on my own. He would get quite angry about my “suing” him and the fact that I listed adultery as a reason for the divorce.

      • My ex told me at work. Walked into work said he had packed his stuff and was leaving. Walked out the door… I was left standing there going WTF??? Crying my eyes out. He then went and picked up the kids from school, dropped them at home, told them your mum and I are going in different directions and left them there to cry. My dad went and picked them up off the kitchen floor. I went home to a half empty house. Found him at the OWs house a week later… I didn’t get any conversations, no reasons, nothing. I have had nothing but rage/anger since… apparently all this is all my fault and I am a money hungry bitch and he never thought I would be like this… oh and I’m a horrible person because I won’t be “friends” and be play nicely with his howorker..

  • Oh, did I mention that my cheater doesn’t really grasp they reason why I want a divorce? And I also discovered a secret email account and the fact that he was trying to make a date with someone last year about 9 months before I filed for divorce.
    I have no reason to want a divorce. What’s my problem? What kind of person has a problem with years of lies, adultery, and deceit?

    • “Oh, did I mention that my cheater doesn’t really grasp they reason why I want a divorce?”

      My cheater asked me what he should tell people when they ask why we’re getting divorced. I told him that I filed because he was emotionally abusive and having an affair, but that might not work for him. Idiot.

      • I wonder what STBX tells people who ask about us getting divorced. I can only imagine that he has some fabulous narrative that shows he’s such a saint, I drove him to the affair, he’s so much happier now, he should have done this years ago. I’m sure all of his friends and relatives think I’m some psycho bitch. I want to tell everyone the truth, damn it!!

  • It always makes me chuckle a bit to read these posts and realize that my cheating stbxh is not at all special, original or unique. He is just another cheat who is stuck on the self pity channel at the moment. I think he purposely uses this tactic to push my buttons…after all, whenever anything went wrong in the last 17 years I would fix it. And if I couldn’t fix it I would find someone who could. So now when something goes wrong who does he turn to? I’ve gotten texts from him asking me to co-sign on a new vehicle for him, texts complaining that TwatWaffle does next to nothing to contribute to household expenses while stbxh is sinking financially and texts bemoaning the fact that he regrets the poor choices he’s made and will for the rest of his life. In between all that he’ll tell anybody who listens that I’ve abandoned him and that my attorney “is trying to stick it up his ass”. I struggle to ignore this stuff and remain NC because it is not in my nature to stand by and do nothing when another person is in crisis. The angry rants actually make me laugh out loud because it’s all so stupid: “I did NOT send TwatWaffle roses for Valentines Day! Just because she took a picture of the roses and the card and posted to social media does NOT mean they are from me! I am not the only guy named **** that she knows! She knows LOTS of guys named ****! God, I could post on FB that I’m the King of England and I have my own private jet. Does that make it so? No, it does not! I just CANNOT understand why you don’t BELIEVE me? If it’s on FB then it must be true. What is WRONG with you?” OMG…really? Makes me feel a little better to know that I’m not the only one scratching my head in confusion over these stupid mind games ; )

    • Yeah, that’s some stupid shit, right there. Don’t believe your lying eyes and that picture out there on FB…

    • Wow…..must be the same exact guy! That bullshit sounds so familiar I can smell it.

      It is mildly entertaining when you FINALLY ‘get’ them and can predict exactly what is going to come out of their mouth at any given time. The tactics are not only translucent, they are predictable. Meh or not, there’s a certain amount of satisfaction in watching him try to play me (email and texts, after years), and not feeling anything (after all those years of wanting to believe). I’d feel sorry for him if I thought the duplicitous ass meant a word of it.

    • Ha! Mine used to put his hand to his heart and pledge allegiance to himself while he gaslighted. “I was never (hand on heart) with anyone else since we were together (hand on heart) are you accusing me of lying? (hand on heart). I was not going to drink those two beers in the drawer. I can explain, (reaching in the air) I was going to do a ritual and pour them down the drain with our son (hand on heart) as I learned in AA (waving hands behind him).”

      Perhaps we can sell this material to a comedian Lovehonorandcherish—at least we should make some money off of their antics since we took the time to listen to it—may a well put it to some good laughing use.

      I really like the King of England and private jet analogy. See here LHC, your logic is just not up to the mental gymnastics required of special people—it’s truly amazing how special his logic is ; ) What is wrong with you that you cannot appreciate the genius of this person who analogizes with such cringe worthiness? Not everyone can be this cringe worthy after all, what is WRONG with you?

      It’s hilarious. I would respond to that cheater this way: “your brilliance outshines the sun, my what stellar Aristotelian logic you display—-now get the fuck out of my way”

      • Hahaha Chumpectomy. Going to have to write that quote down and only hope that I get to try it out on him some day (maybe our next court appearance?). I can already imagine that perplexed look spreading across his face!

  • Oh yes.

    Charm: I will follow our post nup agreement to the letter. I am truly sorry. I will atone.

    Rage: (or his incredibly PA version of it): I can’t be my best self talking to you about this .(negotiating, when he pulled the rug out from under the agreement and then got on a frickin’ airplane.) Sent the email to me and the lawyer From The Airport. Reneged, and then refused to discuss–or even answer phone or emails– until I located the offices of Ms. Ghengis Khan, Esq.

    Self-Pity: “no one will ever want me if I give you that much!” I’ll be aloooonee” (quivver).

    Of course the divorce agreement stipulates that I cannot remarry or co-habitate without losing my support so who, exactly is being “aloooonee”here? Oh, pesky reality.

    The coup de grace– I think you left out the lying channel-or is that just constantly on?

    Telling me he’d never find anyone else etc.? He had already found a new landing spot, on the west coast in Santa Cruz, all paid for by his former (of 3 mos.) college girlfriend who dumped him before we met but was suddenly irresistible: could it be her inherited millions? Probably not the Parkinsons disease. She filed for divorce the week ours became official.

    They are true schmoopies.
    Their love is true.

    [However, it cost him any connection other that one-way financial with his only child. Tant pis, to a cheater, right ? I’m sure he has her picture hanging on the wall. If it goes with the hipster mid-century modern decor, that is…..]

    • I am thinking that you are unprepared for a real charmer if “I will follow our post nup agreement to the letter. I am truly sorry. I will atone” passes as charm from your cheater 🙂

      I would think, “Has anybody ever told you how attractive you look when your mind is made up and you are determined?” is more akin to charm 😉 I always think of the characters in old romantic comedies when I think of “charm” anyway.

      • TH- I’m sure you’re right. This is a person with the emotional range, as Dorothy Parker said of Katharine Hepburn (on stage) from A to B. He’s a software engineer, so guess it makes some sense…..

        But he can light up a crowd. He’s a very good actor–really, like, on stage. Very good. And of course, the sense of acting like he cared that he had a family. (But to that I added my 5 gal buckets of spackle from Home Depot. Musta been their best regional customer!)

  • You nailed it CL! My exH rotated between these three channels daily. I recall one telephone argument during the divorce process where he told me that divorcing me was the best thing he has ever done! If that were the case, I’m not sure why he wasn’t the one to file and in fact was the one begging to come back home. Go figure! Guess he didn’t think of it that way. And this really hurt me at the time. I couldn’t believe he said it. In fact, I believe I told him that I couldn’t believe he just said that. And he continued with more hurtful shit, like he hadn’t already done enough to hurt me! He also told me I had changed into someone he didn’t even recognize. Crazy! Because these are all things I should have been saying to HIM!

    Anyway, I no longer watch TV, I’m too busy living my new life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fuck that guy!

  • Further sign my ex is simply a passive lump… Did not really do anything of these during the divorce process. He was charming throughout the marriage, and he was full of self pity when saying he wanted the msrriage to end … did notbwant to end up like his pants (took months to ‘fess up to OW while I did the pick me dance).

    I think he might start the three steps, out of order, in the next few months as we gear up for a possible court fight over child visitation.
    Still charming (see how reasonable I am?…the courts will see I am a good parent, I pay support, I love the kids, etc…. Gee, then why did you hide your salary from me?
    )
    Just started on self pity (i miss the kids, I deserve time with them…..gee, then why did you move overseas? And not request a change our schedule?)

    Rage: time will tell, depends if he takes me to court to change visitation.

    I wait with baited breath….

    • I may be too cynical here, but… : I suspect he spoke to an attorney who told him how child support payments and custody was going to go given the fact that he moved away, had had minimal contact with the children, etc.

      • Yup, we have both consulted with attorneys given some issues calculating his salary. I have compromised many times throughout this process (for the kids, often on advice of their therapist). I think he expects me to continue to roll over.

        And sorry for the typos, the joys of multitasking while getting the kids off to school.

        He did not want to end u like “his parents.”

        • You might want to check out other therapists. Is it good for your kids to associate with such a manipulative jackass? Is it good if you compromise over financial issues that could affect their future? I think some compromise is going to happen because that’s how the system works, but I’m leery of therapists who want to appease the jackasses because drama isn’t good for the kids. That teaches them that throwing a temper tantrum is the sure-fired way to get what you want.

          On the other hand, I don’t know your specific situation well, and of course you could already have addressed these issues. 🙂

          • thanks for looking out for me, kb. The compromising has been taking the kids when it was not my scheduled time.
            The salary stuff is tricky because it relates to “benefits of employment”. Not strict salary, but free lodging, etc. How to calculate that when I pay for it (and it cuts down my disposable income) and he does not? Still no response from my last proposal….. I am waiting for the self-pity: “but I have a new family now….”

            • That should be a no-brainer. The value of housing should be added to his take-home income, unless he pays taxes on it, which would add it gross income and do the math for what the tax would be. I used to work for the government many years ago and there were formulas for such things, but the tax code changes every five minutes. In PA, the court calculates the individual’s cost to live. Say a cheater goes back to live with his mother, but of course gives here $500 rent or room and board. The question is whether that is reasonable. A claim that he pays more might not be credible. Jackass didn’t pay his parents when he lived with them but did home remodeling and (so he sez) paid for materials. And to be fair, he commands a robust hourly wage. So he had to get those materials together to make his argument. And most states look at the “new family’s” full income to at least calculate the individual’s contribution to household expenses. If you are doing this by negotiation, not as part of the court formula, I’m sure he’s standing on his head upside down to find an argument that says he has no money at all!

        • I liked the “pants,” too, though the typo was easy to fix in the mind. He didn’t want to end up like his pants–dirty, stained, shrunken, old, too short…it all comes to mind.

  • FAN-TAS-TIC. As usual. Mine:

    “I am working through my anger at you. Can we be friends?” (followed by aggressive email badgering when there was no response)

    “Did you see [thing that I am really interested in]? How is [child] enjoying middle school? Oh and btw I’m sorry I did blah, blah, blah.”

    “YOU have anger/forgiveness issues/can’t control emotions etc. YOU need help. I hope you see someone about your issues. I hope you are able to get over things.”

    “I’m done apologizing. I am a good person.” (**my personal fav.)

    “I’m starting therapy next week. Not sure if you care or not, you probably don’t but maybe you do.”

    [Oh, I should say that the above three were all within 2 weeks of each other. Multiple personalities much??]

    “Fully ended things with gf this year” (to someone else about one of his ‘highlights’ of the year)

    The day I blocked the emails/phonecalls/social media etc. was like turning the knob on the tube to off. White noise, followed by complete silence. I filled that silence with howling sobs. But then…peace. No contact stops the insanity. But man…what insanity!! Total mindfuck. I wonder what is wrong with these people??

    • Oh yes, and another…

      “my life is so meaningless, I think I’ll volunteer with children” (as he walks out on the children in his life – wtf?!)

  • Damn I love this post. This should be highlighted in the best of. This fact — the fact that all cheaters follow the exact same stupid playbook, which is really obvious when you read all the CL archives — this is why I fell in love with this blog. It was such a relief to see through the madness and realize he didn’t mean a word he was saying, it was all part of the stereotypical cycle of abuse. None of it was real; it was all calculated to manipulate me. And now I’m slowly — slowly! — starting to remember the red flags I didn’t even notice when we were dating. None of my family or friends noticed either — they were subtle, and he was very, very good at hiding what he really was. Of course, the minute we were married it all came out, but by then it felt too late. I should have gotten the marriage annulled a month in. But he had groomed me really well when we were dating — he just did it so carefully that I didn’t see it.

    • So true. I was starting to see him for what he was – paying attention to my gut, but just could NOT believe that someone could be like that. Then I find sights like this, and realized that he was EXACTLY like that, and moreover, he was the typical guy like that. Nothing special or unique about him at all. Just another messed up human being that had a big black hole where character, integrity and empathy would be.

      I LOVE the light…..

  • Thank you CL, for this post. It’s very timely for me, my husband moved out last 3 days ago, invited me to dinner with his Dad the next day ( uh…no), and wanted to come over and cook stir fry and watch TV with me last night (uh….no, again).I’ll be prepared for the channel switching after reading this.

    • I don’t know why I’m still amazed and baffled by cheaters. What makes them think they can satisfy their curiosity for new vaginas and then come back?

    • findingmyself – YES, please prepare. And as much as you think you have prepared yourself, it will still hit you hard. For me, it was mindboggling to try to process how someone who professed to love me so much could ever, ever treat me the way he then started treating me. Rage. And he only rages. Divorce was final over a year ago. Do prepare, it can only help. Good Luck!

    • Prepare to hear whatever he has to say to get you back (so he can have his cake and eat it too), just don’t expect it to be backed up with action. When it isn’t backed up with action the first time, or when you find out just how long and how many things he’s been lying to you about —- after he supposedly “came clean” – get the heck out and stay out, and don’t let him drag your heart around for YEARS like some of us here.

      Believe what he does, not what he says. Talk is cheap, and they are really cheap people.

  • Also, CL, I had another idea for you to make money off this blog! Chump cheerleading! Seriously. I would pay you instead of my therapist. You’re way better than she is. Or wait — this is even better — picker fixing for new relationships. Phone consultations where we talk to you about a new relationship and you tell us if he’s mindfuck cheater potential or a nice chumpy guy. Nobody in my circle of friends had the slightest clue about my ex. I would pay you so much money for that, really. Can I hire you when I start dating?

    • I think a Picker Fixer sister website is an interesting idea. Something to help us into the next stage. It sure is hard to monetize a website, but perhaps she can charge a small monthly membership fee to access the site. I’d pay for it.

      • Really – because we could probably spot a wingnut that somebody ELSE was involved with. We could just run it by each other. We should just add another topic in the forum 😉

  • The Mindfuck Channel, what a great analogy! My STBX seems to be stuck on one channel, and that’s the Self Pity channel. He did flip to Rage but only for a hot second because he knew it wouldn’t work. And well, he was never charming, so he can’t even fake that one to flip to that channel.

    So Self Pity it is. This post is somewhat timely because when I filed in May, he showed up at my house a month later to try to get me to tune in to his Mindfuck TV. I am NC for over a year, so he had to show up to make me hear him out (I changed the locks the next day).

    And I shut that shit DOWN. “I traveled out of state to see my friends because I had to take a leave of absence since you filed.”

    Me: *blink*

    “I went to the hospital.” “I am on anti-psychotic meds.” “I ruined OW’s family, my family, your family.”

    Me: *blink*

    He hasn’t contacted me since then, and that was three months ago. So I even went NC when he was in front of me, and it worked!

    Last week I proposed a settlement to him, and I pray he takes it!

    Anyway, even if they use all three channels or just one, just shut the shit down!

      • The blink response was excellent, Lunachick! I believe this would be described as the “grey rock” method on the narcissist and psychopath sites I have been haunting. The gist is, if you have to have contact, make yourself as bland as possible.

        I think I may have hit something closer to “meh” today on a Tuesday between this great post/comments and a comment I read elsewhere that just struck me the right way this time… (I know it has been here all along but I guess I wasn’t ready.) As long as I’m invested in thoughts about Ex’s life/karma, he still has control of me.

        I try to focus on myself but have had way too many thoughts of wanting him to crash and burn or to out him to his new wife and her family for the year or so he was with me that she didn’t know he wasn’t single. (I’ve been having these thoughts every day for over 2 years that I have been NC. Ugh.) Karma hasn’t happened and probably will not. The fact that he’s still trying to have his cake and eat it, too, should be enough information. He doesn’t know that I know he married the OW and he still randomly tries to get a response from me. He’s always on the Charm Channel or doesn’t leave a message. I don’t acknowledge/answer anything. This is yet another reason I think he could be diagnosed with NPD – his sense of time/consequences/conscience are nonexistent against his sense of entitlement.

        • Couldn’t edit but I think it makes more sense to clarify: “overlapped with me the last year or so”

          Also, I’d like to add that I recognize many more red flags now thanks to CL! Too bad I had to learn so late but now I don’t have to worry about other people’s agendas as long as I have intact boundaries. 🙂

          • Yes, me too! I was totally oblivious up until he cheated, and now I know what my boundaries are too. I now know that was a crappy relationship from the start. Whether I am with someone eventually or not, I know that I am happier, and that is truly a gift.

      • haha yeah! He could totally tell that I just didn’t care what he said. I looked completely uninterested. And that just made him leave. “I’m never coming back!” he said wistfully with tears in his eyes.

        I hope the door does hit you in the ass on the way out. 🙂

  • Very timely post CL! I filed in June after my STBX stopped helping with the bills. His reason? When I confronted him at the time (had to catch him cause he was avoiding me) his reason for not giving me a check was that ‘I’m so mean to him and he doesn’t deserve to be treated that way’. Ha! Then he got the papers from the attorney and it was ‘how could you do this? You’re making things so ugly between us.’ I’m making things ugly between us???? A week later he invited me to a cookout (no), then asked to come by to get some things the next day (which I got together more than he asked for and left it on the porch for him) and then he sent an intimidating/manipulative email letting me know that he was planning to hire a trial lawyer (aren’t they all trial lawyers?) since I was making things ugly and legal. Hahaha! That’s when I went NC as much as I could. I blocked him on my phone. He can email me but that’s all and I don’t have to respond (we have a teenager so we do have to communicate). The cycle of channels is vicious but if you recognize them and stay NC, it helps.

  • So far, my STBXH is very passive. He’s in the middle of changing jobs, and he has a big project for a course he’s taking. I filed. He signed. We agreed to a change of judges. He needs to get his financial documentation in. It’s been about 2.5 weeks, so I will be getting on his case again, since we can’t proceed to settlement discussions without his paperwork. If he squawks, I’ll mention that it’s easier for him to do it this way than under a court order, which will happen if he drags his feet too long.

    One thing to remember is that I’ve planned for a long time. I’ve been fearful of potential rage–I’ve seen him smash his fist into a door, and once he smashed his fist into the car’s dash. So far, he’s shown none of that. I decided that he may be BPD, and it looks as if he’s got a fantasy with Schmoopie that involves his being Prince Charming and theirs being Twu Wuv. I, of course, am stepping aside so that he can live the life that will make him happy.

    He, of course, still thinks I’m rushing into this. When he said as much prior to our meeting with the attorney, I told him, “look, you’re having an affair. Clearly you’re unhappy in this marriage, so we have to divorce so that you’re free to be with the woman you love, and she is not me.”

    Personally, I think he’s cultivating Schmoopie a bit more. Once I’m out of the picture, he’ll need someone to look after his daily life.

  • They can change channels almost as quick as your remote. One night my wife sat outside with me telling me I was her soulmate, always was, and always would be, and if she didn’t have me there she just didn’t know what she would ever do. There were tears rolling down her face.

    The very next night she “had to talk to me”. It was basically a rage in which I was told I was the source of her problems, that she wasn’t sure she should be married to someone who was as crappy a husband as I was, and finished by calling my son and I “useless m**********ers”.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  • I got very little charm and rage and a bunch of “poor me.” It really was disgusting to watch a lying, cheating, crapweasle do the “poor me” thing. He brought it on himself, he did the things that made me end it, he was 100% responsible for all of it and I’m supposed to feel sorry for him? ummmmmmmm……… I can’t make it work in my head or feel any pity. It really is just disgusting to watch people like these debase themselves further. How bad does it have to get before they pull their heads out of their asses, stop lying and get some real help? How can they live like they do and live with themselves?

    You can’t make sense of nonsense…

  • Great post, CL — and sadly, so very accurate. The one thing each of these channels has in common is their intention: To keep you off balance. Whenever the chump starts to get his/her act together (stops engaging, files for divorce, leaves a confrontation), the cheater pulls out each of these in quick succession. It’s such a weird thing to witness.

    Imagine living in that mindset. None of my tools is working! I said something nice, and she didn’t respond, so I screamed in her face. She didn’t seem shaken, so I curled up on the couch, weeping and apologizing. She didn’t buy it, so…rage? What do I throw at her?

  • I relate to many comments from chumps whose cheaters wanted them back after they cheated. I relate to them because I used to break up with my husband a lot and have him beg and beg for me to take him back. But by the time he cheated on me, he hated me and blamed me for his cheating, and has never tried to get me back even though he didn’t stay with her. These days we’re actually civil to one another. On one hand I can’t help wish he had tried to come back (I guess that’s just my ego talking). On the other hand I know how very susceptible I am to him and how hard it is for me to be firm with him, so I am thankful he didn’t.

  • Boy, I sure wish I’d had this post to read when I was going through the final months of my marriage with Mr. Cheaterpants. He was sobbing and crying which was completely uncharacteristic of him. I seriously thought he had a brain tumor his behavior was so bizarre, I was very worried about him! I did everything in my power to get him to see a doctor, or a counselor, anything to bring back the person I knew. Everything is so confusing when you’re operating with only 25% of the facts. His behavior made a lot more sense once I discovered the truth.

  • My ex no longer contacts me, although I certainly got all three channels before he gave up bothering me. Now our son is getting blasted, however, as he went NC on his dad two months ago.

    Since then, son gets weird texts from his dad every few days, which son ignores. Texts range from self pity to blame to anger to blatant manipulation to just plain freaky. Stuff like telling son how sorry he feels for him, because he is obviously “lonely and sad.” Umm, son has tons of friends, a very busy social schedule and is a happy, outgoing teenager.

    Son only broke NC once, after ex texted, “I saw you yesterday.” That freaked son out, he thought maybe his dad was stalking him. So son replied, “Where?” Ex replied, “In a dream.” When son told me that, I almost had to admire the sheer manipulative cunning. Ex, being disordered, knew it would be nearly impossible for a normal person to not reply to such a text. I told son not to feel bad, that ex was very skilled, and that it would probably get worse before it got better. Son went right back to NC. Texts are still coming, and still rotating through all three channels.

    • GIO,
      The thing about weird, non-sequitur texts that Mindfuckers send, is that they seem to be a universal trait of such people.

      My narc ex would be quiet for a while, then suddenly text me saying things like “have you got your motorcycle license yet”… me, who never rode one in my life 🙂 and I’m a 56 yr old matron…..

      If I replied “Why ask that” he’d reply, “oh, I have an old one I though you’d like to have”. Motorcycles were never ever a part of our life. What a freakin weirdo! \It was as though he was quite insane, perhaps even prone to delusions.

      Another time, he texted me a photo of his own privates — something he would never have done during our relationship. At first I thought he had mistakenly sent it, that it was meant for some schmoopie on a website. But then, he followed up with “bet you’re missing this”. I texted back once: “f** o** for good you creep or I’ll send along the cops”

      The last text I got (and did not reply to) was “shall I take you off my phone list now”.

      I turned off the phone and had a drink to celebrate!!

      Hard to believe this was someone I actually thought, for a long time, was a gentleman and a decent partner. I tell you, anyone, anyone can be fooled. Being a chump is not something to be ashamed of.

      • It’s so sad. The person we thought they were at their core is gone — dead. No wonder this is so painful.

      • Marci, I am not making excuses for your ex, but, he really does sound delusional. I mean really, really delusional. Could he have some form of early onset dementia?

        • The “privates” picture and message suggest someone who is more than three bricks shy of a load, as they say. It’s odd how cellphones that can send pictures have revealed some freaks out there.

          • Lol Marci! Thanks for making me laugh!.. Your ex is definitely on the brink of something mentally! Loved your reply ” FO for good you old creep or I’ll send along the cops” Genius! Lol! Truly funny.

      • Marci, I’ve never shared this before, but your story reminded me of a few truly bizarre post-breakup contacts. The first was a couple months out, when I was coming home from work. I get this text with a screen shot from the back of a local events newspaper offering a seminar for couples on anal sex. I shit you not. (okay, that was a really cheap pun) I honestly could not believe my eyes. I’d left him because I’d found out, then confronted him, about his raging porn/Craigslist/Escort files predilections (let’s not even get into the EA stuff), and here he is just weeks later texting me this trash? I couldn’t believe how he could even think to do it. So I texted back, “I hope you and [his best male friend] made sure to sign up right away” and then turned off my phone. WTFingF! A month or so later, when I had to go by his house to pick up a piece of important mail that hadn’t been forwarded, he actually tried to give me a porn DVD that he’d burned very early in our relationship, before I had any clue what he was all about. I just shook my head and said, “I’m good,” took my mail and got back in my car and split. And he was left standing there holding it, looking like a supreme douche.

        As The Watcher suggests, you’d like to chalk this shit up to a brain tumour or dementia or even scurvy. It’d be the kindest way to explain it all away. The truth is, though, they’re just wankers.

        • Oh, here’s another one I forgot. A few weeks after I left, I get this text from him saying he was picking up a big tub of this special cleaning solution, and did I want one, too? I said yes, please. So when he showed up to drop it off, I asked how much I owed him. He says, “It’s a gift,” then proceeded to tell me exactly how much he’d paid for it, down to the penny.

          *blinking*

          I cannot fully express how important and how healing NC has been in my life. It’s so tough when kids are involved, but it can be done. And it’s in the harsh yet truthful light of NC that all this stuff comes into proper perspective and you see how hoodwinked you’ve been. Never.Again.

        • And amazing how good they are at passing for normal people–for a while. And then out comes the freaking’ wanker…

      • “The thing about weird, non-sequitur texts that Mindfuckers send, is that they seem to be a universal trait of such people.”

        I’m somewhat relieved to hear this is true. I’d be more relieved if I knew what the cure for this shit was. The scariest one I got was in the middle of the night when the kids were at his house: “I tried to take good care of the children.” Tried? They’re at your house, and they just have a cold, WTF? Of course I texted back to ask how they were doing. POS.

    • I think they will probably go to hell for mindfucking their kids, but I digress.

      It sounds like your son has an excellent head on his shoulders, and is showing a great deal of maturity and insight where the slob’s behavior is concerned. Cudos for doing such a fine job in helping him adjust so well to his ugly reality. That’s a lot to compensate for….bows to you.

    • Yes, adultery and abandonment do not help foster a strong relationship with a teenager who can smell bullshit from the next state! My daughter is away at college and he keeps trying to make dates with her to go up there. Ummmm pretty sure the past three years while they were an hour apart he was basically MIA and now that she is 6 hours away it is sooooooooooo important for him to see her. Really? She has now blocked him calls and texts. He too was leaving creepy passive aggressive messages, pretending as if all was well in the world and that he hasn’t done all the horrible things he has done to us for three years. Just bizarre behavior that freaks her out. So sad that a person who had a lovely life, beautiful family, good job, nice home, friends, extended family, would piss it all away for a no good dirty used up tramp with zero class…still boggles my mind after 3 years…just. so. weird…now that the divorce is almost final, I think, he is not cooperating and sending me emails and wanting to meet for lunch! Uh, nope, not happening. Costing sooooo much money. Says “this discovery stuff” is not doing anyone any good and really thinks he is in control of it all. Feels like a surreal madness at times…this is my life now…still brings tears to my eyes to see what he has become…he was my one and only since I was 19 and I am now 51…

  • Yeap – I fell for this mindfuckedness! Totally fell for it!

    4 months ago – when I finally got the nerve to file officially for child support (he had been giving me $$ for the kids but – it was always like, he was doing me a favor, and sending the check through my daughter – without even an envelope) and I found that so tacky – so I FINALLY sent him the Property Settlement agreement, applied for Child support, and then was just finalizing the divorce. But guess what? the day after went for the child support conference – he emails me and says all the “right things” – He will “do whatever it takes” to have me back in his life, IC, MC and he will prove to me “how much he loves me” we would buy a new house, for a fresh start… blah blah…

    Yeah.. after 4 months of me gently asking if he’d made an appointment – and nothing. After 4 months of him still showing me that he was a very selfish, unloving man.
    I sent him an email – that he will not forget, that this had been his chance to “show” me, he was a different man, after how he fucked up, and that I was no longer interested in his empty words.

    His response to that email? “good luck with your life” – what he wanted was the woman that he was married to, co-dependent and would do anything for him. That woman is long gone, and will not be disrespected

    Now, I’m back to almost square one – wasted another 4 months of mindfuckery – for nothing, for more heart ache.

    I take full responsibility this time – I let him back in my life. I didn’t listen to you, to trust that he sucks. I listened now. Thank you CL.

    • Betrayed, we all have our own course. I admire you for what you’ve done. Congratulations on your new life.

    • I think 99% of us fell for it the first time…..some of us the third, fourth, and fifth.

      You gave him a chance, he blew it, and now you know.

      I know it hurts. Hugs.

    • It was more sunk costs and heartache, but it wasn’t for nothing. You gained the clarity you needed to move forward. Take that care and concern you were directing toward him, and save it for yourself and your daughter.

    • Yeah, he wanted the woman back who did NOT have court-ordered support. So transparent, they are, once we start to pay attention to what they do, not what they say.

  • LOVE this post. I haven’t filed yet because of the laws in my state.

    Recently, I saw this cycle repeat in 24 hours. Mine lives overseas for “work.” He came home for a week about a month ago. Last year, before I knew of his cheating, he came home for Thanksgiving, went through my phone and quizzed me about what the texts said. So this time, I went in his backpack and found two phones. I took one in the bathroom. He burst in and basically wrestled it out of my hand. I told him he needed help. He said he was fine. I told him to leave and he refused.

    Then he switched right over to relationship talk because he thought I would like that. Then he wanted to go to breakfast and the Farmer’s Market. He was joking and trying to act very normal. Then he wanted to go home and watch a movie that he said reminded him of us. During this, he curled up in the fetal position and put his head in my lap. Thankfully, a relative called and I went for a walk and told the relative what had happened. He told me to get out if need be.

    Husband eventually came looking for me. I became quiet for the rest of the night and said I needed sleep. He asked me why I was so quiet since the call. Then he said he was sorry for upsetting me. I said I just needed to sleep on it.

    I woke up in the night and Rage boy was up. Told ME I was filled with hate; his phones were private; and his affair partner was handling things really well, by just letting him decide whether there was a place for her in his life. I laughed and made fun of the fact that she’d asked him for a bunch of $$$ and he’d given it to her. Sounds like true love! His head almost exploded.

      • ML,

        I think he has major NPD and may be having a mental breakdown. He is used to controlling everybody – he actually told me that he had kept in touch with the OW because if things didn’t work out with me, he could go “fix it” with her. He told me he didn’t need lines to get women. So he is cracking up about the legal position he is in.

        He went and rented a car to keep his phones and backpack in. He slept with the keys in the pocket of a pair of shorts that he put under his pillow. I went to get the mail and he came out behind me and didn’t see me – so he crouched down to see if I was near his rental car. I came up behind him and told him to get a grip.

        But the next day, I did get ready to drive off and went over to see if that really was his rental car. It was – the backpack was in it. Sure enough, he saw me. He became furious and told me I was trying to trap him. I explained that there is a “discovery” phase in every civil litigation and that each party has to exchange documents. So I don’t need to dig up any more “evidence” myself. He got mad and started writing up a playlist of love songs to send to the OW. It is a screenplay. I’m beginning to wonder if that phone is hiding something physically dangerous to me.

        • I’m also thinking the secrecy with the phones points to some things you don’t know–not that you need to know more than you do, but that he is still hiding stuff.

        • Soo this reminds me of my husband. When I found out about d-day #2 by finding a receipt for condoms his suit pocket and the empty box in his car, I kicked him out of our bedroom. He moved his stuff to our daughters room and bought a lock for the bedroom door. He also kept his car keys on his person at all times instead of putting them in the key holder near our front door. As he claims he is entitled to his privacy, its more that he wanted to hide more evidence from me.

          It did not bother me cus I had enough evidence already and since 8/15 he had unwillingly been forced to move out. (Temp order for the divorce )

          Now he can keep all his stuff at his apartment and even invite his shank over instead of doing it in the car. Oh we’ll soon upcoming final divorce settlements and yet the sad sausage still begs for another chance to prove his change. I am not falling for that .. I am on the road to meh and I am not gonna take a pit stop nowhere till I get there.

        • “he actually told me that he had kept in touch with the OW because if things didn’t work out with me, he could go “fix it” with her.”

          OMG!!! Almost word for word what STBX said to me after DDay 2: “if we can’t fix this I want to be able to pursue a relationship with her.” Pursue on. And yet he was shocked when I served his ass with divorce papers a few weeks later.

    • Oh boy, the AP is just “letting him decide whether there was a place for her in his life”? Guess Rage Boy doesn’t understand what that statement says to YOU. That there would even be discussion with the AP about “a place in his life.” Dumb as rocks, both of them.

      • I can’t believe he actually told me that. But he is a fantasist. This woman has told him he’s fabulous during his midlife crisis, when he was retiring from one career and trying to begin another. He told her how I didn’t do enough for him – like throw him a party he didn’t tell me he wanted. I read somewhere that these guys actually start believing their wife is an extension of them and they will sometimes start spewing out whatever thought is in their head.

        HOWEVER, even OW was getting fed up with him. So 7 months ago I got an anonymous email telling me of their affair. The writer claimed to be her sister and said that I should know about it. He is the only person who has seen this email who believes that it did not come from someone who knew about this sleazefest. For the “Stupid Stuff Cheaters Say” File: He actually said it was spam! Except it had the facts correct – length of affair; she has a sister; the sister knows him; he was giving OW money, etc.

  • This is exactly what is happening with my cheater ex right now. Just as the divorce paperwork is starting to get real he suddenly wants to “put this back together!” After being separated for almost a year and after I’ve totally moved on. The mindfucks will probably keep coming since we have a 5 yr old and a 1 yr old. 17 yrs of dealing with this lunatic! But happily on my way to meh! Thanks CL for creating this site- it has saved my sanity.

  • A bit of a thread-jack, but what can you say to us whose cheaters left without a backward glance? My STBXH was the one to file and has steadfastly moved the divorce proceedings along, with apparently no second thoughts. I’m not wishing for drama, but it is so chilling to have him turn on a dime and walk away.

    • Mine was exactly the same. Not even a backwards glance. No remorse, no empathy for the destruction he left in his wake. Not a thought to how it affected me or my kids. Turned completely overnight to somebody who hated me after 21 years…. it is really hard. I’m over 3 years down the track and still sometimes think.. wow, how did I misjudge somebody so much???

      • They ‘hate’ you in order to justify their leaving and their poor treatment of you. If they make you into a ‘monster’, it’s a lot easier to justify their crappy treatment. Make sense?

        • Oh, yeah, I’m familiar with the concept. It’s just so foreign to my mind. It’s not how those of us with empathy…or with souls…do business.

          • Oh, sure, it’s completely cowardly, spineless and pathetic.

            I believe they can’t bare to look at what they are doing to you. Then they might really have to face it themselves. But they don’t want to do that. They just want to walk away and they will do whatever it takes to do so.

            I think it’s a coping mechanism. It just shows how screwed up and emotionally immature they truly are. Which of course should be a sign that we are better off.

            • Yeah, the Jackass has seen me once since he last left here, and he could not look me in the eye. Just could not.

    • Happened to me too, ultimately. During 1st big affair he kept me hangin’ on…by the end, he walked away and without looking back. I like to think it is because he could not bear to face me after the mistreatment – I still think there might be a tormented soul hidden under the feathers of the ShitBird. (sounding pretty spackly, I know). But, it was the most painful event of my life.

      I had to give up looking for the “why” of it all, and just tried to believe that what his mother told me was true – by leaving, he did me a favor.

      It’s no way to treat another human being.

    • I’mwithStupid, meet LovedAJackass. The cheater in my life exited, stage left after a relatively short gaslighting phase. Once he had ended daily contact, he continued the gaslighting via phone but was tapering off, trying to perpetuate the illusion that he just “had things to work on” and was “optimistic about putting his life back together.” Of course, come to find out there is a married woman “friend” with 3 kids living 3 blocks away from Mommy’s former home, to which he had moved to “remodel.” When they walk away on a dime, it’s just that they did a spectacularly good job of fooling you as they did their devaluing of you (and the family, if you have kids). I can actually name the moment when Jackass let the mask slip. So think about whether he was more difficult, demanding, distant, critical, nasty or (conversely) more smarmily condescendingly “nice” before he turned on a dime. You were mindfucked, or you wouldn’t be left staring down the road wondering WTF just happened.

  • The best part of finally putting down the remote, and reading a good book instead, is that I can finally hear myself think. There is no longer this distracting buzz of B.S. streaming in my ears!!!! Between the gas-lighting, mindfuckery, and disrespect…. I am amazed that I finished medical school and am finally truly moving forward.

    On a side note, I had a gentleman hold a door open for me today and it nearly brought me to tears to be treated like a lady again. God, why the heck did I put up with a disrespecting, arrogant jerk for 4 years??? Never again, chumps. Never again!

    • Another doctor in the nation! Mine’s only honorary, bestowed by the institute for chump advancement, but yours sounds like the real dea. Congratulating you on you mightiness, Doctor Doop.

      • Honorary degrees are very important. They mark significant contributions to the committee that not only make life better for other people but their life work adds to the knowledge of the community, Dr. Doop!

        • I’ve heard as many of those degrees were conferred. It is always moving, even though academia is often zzzzzzzzz….

  • I know there is a subset of us who dealt with or will deal with escalation of abuse when you tell them you want a divorce. If your spouse starts threatening suicide be very careful. If your spouse gets ugly because you filed, be careful. Many other flags, mainly, trust your gut, if you feel fearful, do not discount it, if you have nightmares about your spouse, consider that your subconscious is screaming at you. Listen to your intuition no matter how it manifests. Leaving an abuser, no matter how manipulative and seemingly incapable of truly hurting you can become a nightmare and can get you hurt or killed. Don’t assume love for you is anything like your love for your spouse. Addendum, Abusers do not lose control, the rages are not spontaneous, they are calculated to being you in line. They always worked before, when they stop working on you, pay attention.

    • I struggle with this. There have been times in my past (particularly in dealing with Mr. Cheaterpants) where I ‘lost it’. It was definitely NOT intentional. It really was a loss of control. It made me back up and take pause. And yet…in everything I’ve read, it says that this is never a ‘loss of control’ but an active choice to give up self control, to control others with anger etc. That scares me, I hope that is not the case but when I look back on those moments I think how completely out of control I was.

      • HM,
        if you truly do lose control in anger or tears on occasion, you are human. I am talking about people who use rage, scary rages, to get you to do what they want. There is a difference. Are you threatening to anyone when you are angry? Even subtly, such as saying “you better fix this or….”? Do you intimidate them by looming over them or blocking their movements? Do you look at them with pure hatred or call them terrible names? Do you lose your temper over inconsequential things, but not the same things each time? Abusive rages are unpredictable, and directed at a person, not at yourself or the circumstance. It is the unpredictability that engenders the term “walking on eggshells” when you are dealing with abuse.

        Does that help?

        • PS: your loss of control made you back up and take pause, and then what did you do about it? Likely you worked on not allowing it to happen again. You didn’t revel in or even think that this worked to get what I want, right? Most importantly, is how you see it, do you blame the person you are angry at because they caused you to do a bad thing? Or do you blame yourself for doing something bad when you became angry? Releasing anger is healthy, hurting someone else when you do, is not. Recognizing that is key.

          • Oh hell no! I scared me. I took a giant step back and saw that this was a sign that something was terribly, terribly wrong. But I still got to that point and that sucked.

    • Yeah, wuf, and those rages are also designed to get you to react, and thereby “prove” you are the irrational one. Diabolical.

      • Yes, after the 24 MF channel cycle – rage, charm, self-pity and back to rage – mine told me I was the one who was so “moody” and on an emotional roller coaster.

        I think they realize they can’t fix it with you, because you see through them. So they try to provoke you in order to blow up the bridge by telling themselves there was no chance of reconciliation because you are so “angry” and can’t forgive. When they are not offering real remorse or behavior changes.

  • OMG! Seriously, I think I may be your cousin! That is my soon-to-be ex! Right down to the “why won’t you hug me” b.s.! And then the anger that followed!
    I really enjoy reading your articles because sometimes I feel like I am the only one going through this insanity, and you show me (and so many more of us!) that we are not alone. Thank you!

  • Mine was the Kama Sutra of Mindfuckery! I got my mind fucked every which way…in fact I had at least a couple of years of Bonerbrain to show for it. Months that went by I can’t even remember what the hell I was doing & wouldn’t want to!

  • Oh, and HILARIOUS post, oh crap it is all so true!
    Glad I am at the laugh stage, took a long time. I bought your book last week & it will be a life saver for so many as this site & the book have been for me.

  • >