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Eat, Pray, Forgive? WTF?

bitterbunny_lowrezAn alert chump sent this recent Elizabeth Gilbert blog post on forgiveness. If you’re diabetic, you might want to skip this one. The sugar rush could kill you.

Apparently, the forgiveness trolls are kicking it up a notch. It’s not enough to forgive those who trespass against you, nope, you have to BE IN LOVE WITH THEM! (The all caps are Gilbert’s emphasis.)

Holy bitter bunnies Batman! This calls for the Universal Bullshit Translator.

Here’s the article.


Dear Ones –

This weekend’s Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour in Houston was incredible. THANK YOU to all who were there, for your energy, your passion, your open hearts.

As usual, I was in the front seat during the all the talks and workshops, leaning in hard to catch all the wisdom I could.

And as usual, it was Iyanla Vanzant who got to me — as in: She made me weep.

Yesterday, Iyanla was telling the story about how her husband of 40 years recently left her for another woman — for a friend of hers actually. She was talking about the anger, the indignation, the grief, the shame, the humiliation of this event. All completely understandable, of course, for such a large-scale betrayal.

Then she spoke in detail about all the steps she took to try to work her way out of her anger and back into grace — because she knew that if she held onto her rage forever it would only burn a hole of bitterness through her soul.

In the end — after all the crying and fighting and suffering, and after working hard to arrive at some model of forgiveness for both her ex-husband and the other woman — she had a revelation of love. She decided to love them. She decided to actually BE IN LOVE WITH THEM. Not just to forgive them, but to LOVE THEM — for their humanity, for their weakness, for their own strange grace, for their intimate role in her destiny.

She said that at first she thought she was going crazy, with this idea of loving them. (“Are you out of your mind, Iyanla? You’re in love with the woman who took your husband?”) But she knew in her heart that love was the only way out of this emotional hell for herself. Huge, holy, magnificent love, And then she said this, about her husband and the other woman, which I wrote down (through tear-filled eyes) on this scrap of paper:

“My love of you — it’s got nothing to do with you. I’m trying to save myself. So I love them. I get to choose my relationship with them. Doesn’t mean I will invite them for Thanksgiving. But I can love them from my altar and from my prayer table IF IT MEANS MY FREEDOM.”

I wept when I heard this.

Your forgiveness of people who have harmed you has nothing to do with THEM.

Your forgiveness is about YOU trying to achieve liberty from the prison of your own suffering, your own anger, you own grief, your own darkness, your own obsessive thoughts, your own indignation.

Love is the only way out of that prison. Radical, outrageous, nearly impossible, superhuman LOVE.

Please understand that — even as I write these words — I do not entirely understand how to get there.

But I really want to get there.

Because I want and need this kind of love and forgiveness in my life so desperately, I can’t even tell you.

And I believe in it, even if I don’t always know how to do it.

I’m gong to cling to this scrap of paper for a long, long time.


Now for the Universal Bullshit Translator.

Dear Ones –

Please shoot me if I ever address readers as “Dear Ones.” Who does this? My Aunt Mildred doesn’t even do this.

Does Gilbert mean this with Dame Edna-esque irony, like “My Poppets!”? Or is she so soppy as to think I believe I am “dear” to her?

Or is it some universal, zen, warm fuzziness — like “Have a nice day”? Because that’s pleasant. I should think the Universe holds me in a cradle of dearness (over looking West Africa, the Ukraine, and parts of Syria. A pox on them!). I’m quite dear here in my Eileen Fisher sweater in upper-middle class caucasian splendidness…

Okay, the Universal Bullshit Translator is over thinking this one. “Dear Ones.” WTF?

This weekend’s Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour in Houston was incredible. THANK YOU to all who were there, for your energy, your passion, your open hearts.

There’s a life intersection my husband is never going to cross — the city of Houston AND Oprah. Fetid swamp meets self-help. Wild horses could not drag him to this. I think he speaks for most of straight mankind.

As usual, I was in the front seat during the all the talks and workshops, leaning in hard to catch all the wisdom I could.

I like this about you, Elizabeth. You’re a sit a the front of the class kind of person. Attentive, studious. Leaning in hard to catch all the wisdom. The Universal Bullshit Translator reads this as you’re an A+ kind of student.

The Universal Bullshit Translator also reads this as you’re the sort of person who sits in the front row at Fashion Week with the other fabulous people. You’ve got a front seat with Oprah. You travel in rarefied circles…. and hey! I’m dear to you! Wow. Can I touch the hem of your garment?

And as usual, it was Iyanla Vanzant who got to me — as in: She made me weep.

That’s what happens when you sit too close.

Yesterday, Iyanla was telling the story about how her husband of 40 years recently left her for another woman — for a friend of hers actually. She was talking about the anger, the indignation, the grief, the shame, the humiliation of this event. All completely understandable, of course, for such a large-scale betrayal.

Iyanla was a chump. It’s important when telling the chump narrative to throw out a bone like “large-scale betrayal.” Hey, it’s not like you don’t GET the pain of infidelity. Of course you do! The grief! The shame! The humiliation!

Aren’t those weird word choices?

Shame? Why should Iyanla feel ashamed? Her husband is the asshole.

Grief? Yes. There is grief. But then one day you wake up and realize you’re grieving an asshole.

Humiliation? Only if you internalize the smugness of people who think you’re less than for being chumped. No, you’re fucking TRIUMPHANT for surviving this shit. There is nothing to feel ashamed or humiliated about. Don’t carry that. You’re not responsible for their stupid. It belongs to the cheaters. I feel “humiliated” that I shared dick pics with half of the Snap Chat viewing public. See how that works?

When discussing “large-scale betrayal” why not show instead of tell? It’s better writing that way. Iylana found her bank accounts cleaned out. Iylana found reviews for escort services on her husband’s laptop. Iylana lost half her retirement savings. Iylana’s kids are wetting the bed and having night terrors since Daddy left.

But for the sake of the narrative, okay, we set up the straw chump. Iylana Was Understandably Upset.

Then she spoke in detail about all the steps she took to try to work her way out of her anger and back into grace — because she knew that if she held onto her rage forever it would only burn a hole of bitterness through her soul.

…. and the BITTER card is played!

Why can’t you be angry and be in a state of grace? Frankly, to me the angry people are closest to God. Have you read about the  Old Testament prophets? They weren’t making nice suggestions. Oh hey, you might want to consider this… let me leave a post-it note on the coffee maker…

Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist and former slave — did people chide him for anger? Really, Fred, you need to let that shit go. The bitterness is going to burn a hole in your soul. No, he wrote:

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.

Oh Fred, your earthquake is so UNPRODUCTIVE! What are you going to do with your life nattering on about this slavery business?

I don’t know. Free slaves. Run the Underground Railroad. Become a great orator.

Yeah, but you sound so angry.

In the end — after all the crying and fighting and suffering, and after working hard to arrive at some model of forgiveness for both her ex-husband and the other woman — she had a revelation of love. She decided to love them. She decided to actually BE IN LOVE WITH THEM. Not just to forgive them, but to LOVE THEM — for their humanity, for their weakness, for their own strange grace, for their intimate role in her destiny.

I get where you’re going here, Elizabeth. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just rise above abuse and LOVE our abusers?

Oh hey, when I put it like that, it does sound more difficult, than just loving two crazy kids whose only crime was to fall in love inconveniently.

Way to set the bar insanely high. It’s not enough that chumps are told to forgive people who couldn’t give a rat’s ass, gee, now we have to LOVE them?

This is worse than “let’s be friends!” No, how about we just stay no contact with the people who abuse us? Does that mean we’ll never know Grace? Okay. I can live with that.

She said that at first she thought she was going crazy, with this idea of loving them. (“Are you out of your mind, Iyanla? You’re in love with the woman who took your husband?”) But she knew in her heart that love was the only way out of this emotional hell for herself. Huge, holy, magnificent love, And then she said this, about her husband and the other woman, which I wrote down (through tear-filled eyes) on this scrap of paper:

“My love of you — it’s got nothing to do with you. I’m trying to save myself. So I love them. I get to choose my relationship with them. Doesn’t mean I will invite them for Thanksgiving. But I can love them from my altar and from my prayer table IF IT MEANS MY FREEDOM.”

I wept when I heard this.

Your forgiveness of people who have harmed you has nothing to do with THEM.

Yes it DOES have to do with them. I’m not forgiving the tire pressure gage in my glove compartment. No, forgiveness is a very intimate thing. I’d be forgiving a man who abused and defrauded me. Who threatened to kill me. Who hurt my child and upturned our lives. Let’s be real, it has EVERYTHING to do with the person who hurt you.

To just go about with some nebulous sense of love — well, that sounds terrific. But be clear about what you’re asking people to do — forgive SINS. It has everything to do with that person. We should NEVER presume to tell people to forgive their abusers.

Move on to better lives? YES. Work through the pain and anger? YES. Let it go? WTF?! Have you LIVED this? Yes, move on to “meh” — to ACCEPTANCE. Realize that the pain is FINITE and that you’re grieving what you thought your life would be. (The actual cheater is a jerk.) I really couldn’t give two shits what my ex is up to these days. But, I will never think of what he did without revulsion and horror.

And I’m not less of a person for being repulsed by him. His cruelty is repulsive.

The point isn’t to LOVE the cheater, the point is to LOVE yourself and go have a kick ass life without these nimrods.

(I have to tell the author of Eat, Pray, Love to love herself? Wow. That was weird.)

Your forgiveness is about YOU trying to achieve liberty from the prison of your own suffering, your own anger, you own grief, your own darkness, your own obsessive thoughts, your own indignation.

Love is the only way out of that prison. Radical, outrageous, nearly impossible, superhuman LOVE.

Please understand that — even as I write these words — I do not entirely understand how to get there.

But I really want to get there.

Because I want and need this kind of love and forgiveness in my life so desperately, I can’t even tell you.

And I believe in it, even if I don’t always know how to do it.

Save your impossible, outrageous, superhuman love for people who love you back. Save it for people who treat you with respect. There’s a radical thought.

I’m gong to cling to this scrap of paper for a long, long time.

It’s probably some toilet paper stuck to your shoe.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Perfect CL!!!! Sometimes I get to feeling bad because I’m not nearly as forgiving a person as I once thought I was. AND I used to think that I had to forgive to get to meh. I now realize that I will never be okay with the level of deception and abuse I lived with for so many years from my cheater exH. I’m am absolutely okay with not forgiving him for those wrongs against me and our two daughters. I am not to meh yet. But one Tuesday……………

    • I use to be a very forgiving person and I forgave many in the past, but some of these people who got my forgiveness screwed me over again. I guess they figured, hey she forgave me the first time and she will again. WRONG! If someone harms me, without intend that I can forgive, but not if they intentionally hurt me, use, deceive, lie to me, if knowing the whole story that I’d have made different decisions but they did it anyways then they don’t deserve my forgiveness and they will no longer have a place in my life. I see no reason to forgive nor forget, I accept what happened, I’ve learned from it and that’s more than sufficient enough for me.

      • Who coined that phrase “forgive and forget”? I have my own phrase to replace it: “Fuck it and forge forward!”.

        • “Fuck it and forge forward!”

          YAY Linda! This ^^^ I love! I am stealing it 😉

  • Yes, I call BS on this, too. That being said, I do notice this phenomenon of victims forgiving their abusers. Crash victims forgive the drunken assholes who maimed them. Even Ariel Castro got forgiven by one of his victims (wtf?). I won’t knock it…if it makes the victims feel better, fine. But I don’t think it helps everyone, every victim. ‘Letting it go’ is a good goal for most people, which isn’t the same thing as forgiveness. Letting it go means that you no longer dedicate any mental real estate to your abuser. You no longer think about them any more. That’s a good goal. I don’t think you need to forgive in order to achieve this. I think it’s more like acceptance.

    In my case, I may end up forgiving because I think my ex is mentally sick. He’s messed up. I will NEVER forget what he did, and don’t trust him with my life again. And I may never forgive him. If I feel like it, I will. If not, I’m fine with that, too.

  • CL ,
    I usually agree with most of your insights and posts. Today I thought your post was just plain mean-spirited and so unnecessary. I don’t expect you to agree with me.You use your sarcasm as a weapon and yours is much more powerful. Righteous anger is good in many cases but I think your post says more about you and where you are at on this path than Elizabeth Gilbert. At some point you have to let go of the suffering. That much is universal. I believe there are many ways to get there. Your advice has helped me on so many levels and I thank you for it. I will ever grateful to your insights for helping me through the worst time of my life. That said, today’s post also reminds me that there are many stages in life and each one of them has a finite period of time in our lives. To reach the next stage we have to let go. I’m doing that now…

    • It wasn’t mean-spirited at all, it was straight and clear. The message was ”forget about these people who have hurt you and love yourself”. I happen to agree with her. Talking about paths and ”divine” love and all that stuff is… word-salady… it smacks of brushing aside the day-to-day horror of what has happened to someone whose most trusted team mate has betrayed her for someone she thought she could trust. The thing that always sticks in my throat is this idea that if you haven’t ”forgiven” them (nowhere does it say that they have actually asked for it, interestingly) you are somehow… morally lacking or ”not as evolved”. I disagree. I think it’s perfectly A-Okay to think ”you are dead to me, bye!” and then work on oneself, doing what needs to be done to feel better and get to ”whatever”. It does NOT include vengeful acts or criminal behaviour, of course, just literally putting down that bag and walking far, far away. There is no shame for the chumped spouse, no humiliation that rightfully belongs to them. Why on earth should they love their abuser? Nothing wrong with well-placed anger – as Tracy’s example shows – it can inspire great things.

      • I agree Caroline. The idea of having to LOVE our abusers or be looked at as bitter or “less than” others is ridiculous and it belittles what we’ve been through.

        I imagine that some chumps who have reached “Meh” eventually give up this website and move on with their new life. Perhaps that’s where Parcival is. I’m one of those chumps who will probably never get to that place.

        Chump Lady is known for her humor and truth. If she were to start writing in a “be nice to everyone” way then her posts would have less impact on me and I suspect others. I keep coming back here every day because CL expresses the righteous indignation that I feel, and I have every right to feel. Does it mean I’ll forever be angry? No, but it surely does not downplay the horror I’ve been through.

    • I think the big disagreement here is over language: what does Iyanla mean by “love” and “forgiveness”? And how do we understand “shame” and “humiliation” as something that I, for one, experienced when I was betrayed, dumped and emotionally abused but that the narcissistic jackass who did those things won’t feel in a thousand years?

      • You’re right, LAJ. I too felt shamed and humiliated. A friend of mine was mystified that I felt shame, because I didn’t do anything wrong. But I still felt it. I don’t anymore, though.

        • I was here too! I felt so much shame and embarrassment for what he did? But I am getting better with it!

          • I felt humiliated, because it was very humiliating. He had been screwing anything that said yes. I didn’t feel like there was anything wrong with me, but I had sure been duped!

    • Hi Parcival–I get where you’re coming from, but I think that CL’s point is that Chumps need to move to “Meh.” Righteous anger is important for getting to “meh,” but there’s a difference between being “meh” about one’s cheater and feeling all warm and fuzzy about the cheater.

      “Meh” is indifference. It’s neither pro nor con. It is about seeing your Ex as you would another human being, a random stranger. It’s about getting to the point where you can go to a social gathering, see your Ex, and–instead of spinning around and leaving immediately–you do what you’d do at any other gathering: talk to the people you like and ignore/brush off the people you don’t want to talk to.

      When you reach “meh,” you no longer indulge in revenge fantasies about your Ex, and no longer care whether or not the karma bus hits them. “Meh” is very much about letting go. You let go of your anger, your hate–all of which take up emotional real estate and are unhealthy over the long term.

      But that’s a lot different from being told that in order to let go, you need to LOVE your Ex. Love, too, takes up a lot of emotional real estate, and it’s not healthy to love people who do not reciprocate your love. This is the kind of love that Elizabeth thinks is the bar toward healthy relationships.

      Meh lets you open up to a different kind of love. In general, I love my fellow human beings in the sense that I have compassion for their human condition. It is not a personal love, but more a sense that if Random Stranger X or Disadvantaged Demographic Y faces some kind of obstacle, I feel compassion for them. It’s a “there but for the Grace of God go I” sort of thing. We are united by our common bond of humanity.

      But this is not the love that Elizabeth thinks we need. Hers is a more active love, and that’s a pretty high bar. And I’m not sure that it’s good for either the cheater or the chump, since that kind of love means we’re still stuck. That’s not moving on, either.

      • “It’s not healthy to love people who don’t reciprocate your love.” Beautifully said, Kb. And there are people in this world NOT worth loving. My ex destroyed me. Emotionally. Financially. His poor choices, for lack of stronger appropriate language, had me throwing up for three months. Walking out on your promises, family, and financial responsibilities sort of DEFINES you. My ex is worth about as much love as the dog shit I had to step over on my way to my new life. Now loving yourself, and forgiving yourself, that’s the real goal. As to Elizabeth Gilbert, didn’t she simply destroy her first marriage? Hey she had an affair and didn’t want children with the sap she married. He did. No when her hot affair blew up she traveled the world and wrote her poor me best seller. Barf.

      • This is my view as well. I understand and practice holding a generally loving view for others regardless of their faults – but not loving them as in holding them dear to your heart. And definitely not being “in love” with people who can lie, cheat, murder, steal, etc,. I don’t think that’s healthy and kind of feels like grasping and disrespecting oneself to me.

        I don’t hate my x. I wish he were a kinder person who was incapable of lying because he KNOWS it’s wrong to do that to others. But, he is who he wants to be by the daily choices he makes. His future is in his own hands and he lost the love of a good person when he lost me. If he wants to spend life with someone who is just as capable of taking advantage of others and lying (his xow) as he is, so be it.

        I can’t hate him, because his choices no longer bother me. I don’t think I need to forgive anything. He did a shitty and harsh thing to me, I suffered, I moved on, he moved on. I’m working on forgiving myself for not listening to my intuition and believing in myself more, but I’m not trying to entertain forgiving him. That’s on him. If he wants to become a person who doesn’t lie, he could one day forgive himself, I suppose. It’s not my challenge to overcome.

    • OK, “I love gingerbread” or whatever different name you go by these days. How is moving on and loving yourself “staying stuck in anger?”

      Throughout our lives we move on from relationships, be it friendships or lovers and never have contact with them again. I bet you can name some people from your very own past that fall into that category. How is this any different? Most of us here simply choose not to have cheaters in our lives who have continuously lied, exposed us to STDs (without our knowledge) parented other people’s children while they were still married to us; stolen money from us; etc.

      CL absolutely does not advocate for us to continue to be angry with them, to plot revenge against them or anything of the sort. She advocates for us to get on the other side of angry, accept that those people suck and move on with our lives hopefully learning from those mistakes. If we make fun of them in the process, so be it. When you compare it to the litany of things they’ve all done to us, I think that pales in comparison.

      I accept what my ex did to me. I accept that what he did says more about him then it does about me. I also accept that we will never be more to each other than parents to our two adult children. Does it suck that I spent 27 years investing in a relationship with someone and I find myself re-singled as I approach fifty’s doorstep? It does but I’ve accepted that too. The thing that has helped me get to this acceptance the fastest has been absolutely no contact with my ex. A luxury and benefit if you will of getting divorced this late in the game. It’s not about hating him; it’s about preserving my sanity. That’s as close to forgiveness that I’m ever going to get and I give myself a lot of credit for that. Crazy making comes from people peddling this nonsense that you have to love the people that have wronged you. No better, fall in love with them!

      If I “fall in love with my ex or the other woman” please have somebody shoot me right away!

  • For the record, I believe in forgiveness. The Bible tells believers to forgive. The Bible doesn’t tell us to be stupid, however! It is one thing to recognize the brokenness in another person and forgive them. But as CL says, only God can forgive sins.
    I see it like this…if my beloved kitten turns out to be a growing lion, no amount of love or forgiveness will make that feline a safe house pet! I can accept the dangerous nature of the lion. But believe me, I will keep my distance. I will no longer invite that lion into my house. If my children are ordered to be near the lion, I will do all I can to ensure that beast is restrained. Lions are unfit for the the relationship I want with my pet. Cheaters, like lions, tear us apart. The rip out our hearts and easily leave us for dead. I can forgive. But I will not be foolish.

    • Linda2, I agree with you. I, too, believe in forgiveness to free myself. No need to tell the cheater I forgive him. He is no longer my business. My business is protecting myself from harm. From an interview with Maya Angelou:

      She goes on by opening up about one of her most difficult trials in forgiveness. “I had to get to a place where I could forgive the man who had raped me when I was 7 years old,” Dr. Angelou says. “I had to get there. And that was a matter of incredible mental gymnastics. And then I had to think of what I had done to other people and see how I’d been forgiven. Whatever I’ve done, I’ve been forgiven, and I have to get, at least, to a place where I can forgive.”

      “I don’t forget, and I will not put myself in a situation where that can be done to me again, but I understand,” she says.

      • I’m with you guys on forgiveness, it was a necessary part of my healing. However, to me forgiveness was about letting it go….the process of forgiveness was the only way I knew to release my grievance. I’m sure it isn’t the only way. And I feel nothing but indifference toward him….my forgiveness equates to acceptance that the terrible thing happened. I made my piece with it, and it no longer affects my life. I sure don’t buy that I have to love him, or even like him, and I don’t think God is going to give me demerits for that.

        It’s necessary to release your grievance when the anger no longer buys you anything. It contaminates your life if you don’t.

        • I think “love” has way too many interpretations; that’s my issue. If someone told me I have to fall in love with my ex and the OW, well, I’d rather barf. Now, if love is defined as not wishing them ill, I can do that. After all, without the OW, I’d still be miserable being married to a serial cheater. But do I want to be in the same room with them if I had a choice? No, what for? That’s cruelty to oneself and I’m not doing that. Did that way too long by staying with a serial cheater.

  • When even my therapist was trying to get me to forgive my ex “for myself” I told her I really do not understand what “forgiveness” is. And frankly when she tried to explain it all came out of the bible, so I told her basically “let Jesus forgive him” (I am not a believer). When people are toxic you excise them and go on with your life. PS: if you really read the the old testament you will find that God is unforgiving. Hell, he’s downright cruel in some instances. Even when Pharaoh wanted to let his people go, it was GOD who changed Pharaoh mind so he could visit more pain on everyone…when some kids made fun of God’s priest, he sent bears to tear them to bloody bits. God is not all that forgiving, Jesus was “forgiving”, and look what that got him. (apologies to those who believe, no offense meant to you)

    The definitions I looked up were useless until I found Oprah’s definition, so Gilbert having this “epiphany” kinda cracks me up. Her quote is: “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” Now that I can do, it is like Tracy says “acceptance” and it makes sense. What happened in the past formed me, and of course I cannot change it.

    • I’m totally with you on this, Datdamwuf. I had a number of discussions months ago in my divorce group about the definition of “forgiveness”. Once we hashed it out, it turned out that almost everyone in the room (maybe two dozen people?) had a slightly different definition in mind. I had always thought to forgive someone meant that what they did was now OK. So I could never forgive my ex. Acceptance of what happened, yes. “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” That I am on board with too. I think I like that definition the best so far.

    • Well even in the Bible, if I’m not mistaken, God only gives forgiveness when it is ask for. We must first confess, ask for forgiveness and be truely remorseful for the wrong we have done. So how are we to know when someone is truely remorseful? Only God will know that! This has been a big struggle for me because I keep hearing “I have to forgive to be forgiven” and I’m not the one going around lying, cheating and stealing!

  • Good post< CL. While I actually agree about loving the cheater, I see that love as a tough love. It is a love that does not excuse evil but calls it evil without backing down. Scripture is very clear on this matter (e.g. Duet 22:22 and Hebrews 13:4) that adultery is evil, and God WILL judge the defiler of the marriage bed. In my opinion, this author isn't talking about forgiveness or love…she's talking about enabling wickedness by passivity. That's evil.

  • Wow! I needed this today! Just yesterday my STBXH said to me ” if you could just forgive me we could get past this without divorce” WTF! I am so ready for him to be gone so I can move on and maybe one day I will forgive him but not today!

    • Oh, the forgiveness play. Way to put it all back on you. I always shut that down by telling him that even if I could forgive him, how could I trust him. He didn’t want to talk about that.

      • He is really giving it back to me! He has found Jesus now and all I hear about is “give it to God” “God can heal our marriage” well why didn’t he turn to God before he committed adultery and just broke me into pieces? I’m so exhausted because he is just at me every day and I don’t know how and won’t argue about God with him…I wish he would go away before I have a nervous breakdown! Just started the divorce process but hopefully it will be over soon!

        • somuchhurt, go NC on him except for email and lawyers that are required for the divorce process. Don’t let him gaslight you. Jedi Hugs!

          • Thanks for the Jedi hugs datdamwuf! He’s still in my house and he will not leave and apparently I can’t make him yet but soon!

            • I’m sorry to hear that somuchhurt, my ex refused to leave the house too. He “knew his rights”. Be careful, my ex escalated abuse during that time and nearly killed me.

              • Datdanwuf sorry to hear that…like you hadn’t already suffered enough! My lawyer did ask about abuse of any kind and told me he would get his ass out of here quick if he needed to and you know I actually thought about lying and say he was abusing me but you know us good little chumps…I just couldn’t do it. But in reality he is abusing me mentally he will not stop with all his BS – the crying and begging and he’s so sorry! Just go away already!!!

        • Omg, exact same thing…my ex suddenly found God and put the responsibility on God to fix our marriage, (not himself… because he’s a wretch and a sinner who can’t help himself, but ‘saved’ by God’s grace-the one who actually unconditionally loves him.)
          For his sake, I actually hope he did find God and has become a better person for it but I’m pretty sure it’s a facade to feel vindicated for the destruction of the family. I told him I forgave him to make him feel better, so that he would quit w the pity party and leave me t.f. alone. Guess he thought my “forgiveness” would entitle him to warm and fuzzy treatment and us still being friends and “family.” Hahahaha, my life is exponentially better w/o his “friendship.”

      • I cannot count how many times I have heard the forgiveness play. Tells his entire family that is the reason for the divorce..blameshifter.

        • Sodone…. Oh gosh I know what you mean! My STBXH told me last night if we get divorced that was on me that it’s on me our family is tore apart because I chose divorce over forgiveness! I reminded him that God damn sure didn’t want him commiting adultery!

          • OK, so concede that he has a right (he doesn’t without repentance, but whatever) to forgiveness, but he has no right to reconciliation. He had your trust, and he betrayed it, He had a marriage and he chose to risk it. Too bad.

            • Amen Einstein!!! I tried to make him understand that for a couple of weeks! But you know how it goes you can’t tell a cheater anything!

    • somuchhurt – I’m so sorry you’re in such a difficult spot. Hopefully you can go NO Contact soon and not have to listen to all of this. I also got the same from my ex. He said, “I have asked 3 of my women friends and they all said that they could forgive this.” “This” being: paying for sexual services in massage parlors during our entire marriage. Forget how rediculous it is that he is “polling” his “women friends”! I simply said “forgiveness aside, I will never ever be able to trust you again.” Done.

      Hang in there and get to NC as soon as you can, it is a much better place 🙂

      • Thank you FLBright! And I’m so thankful for this sight! It really has helped give me the strength to file…I had become so weak but I kept reading everyday and did what I knew I needed to do all along!

      • Maybe he should have polled real women, not “friends” who work in massage parlors?

  • Of course Elizabeth Gilbert is all about forgiveness and being in love with cheaters! She’s NEVER experienced what it is to be a chump. She left her husband to go traipsing around the world and get a best selling book and a bad movie with Julia Roberts out of it. What does she even know about being abused by infidelity?
    As to Iyanla – seems to me she is spackling over her own bitterness with a lot of new-age tripe and a bit of self serving promotion. You cannot tell me that a woman dumped for her friend by her husband of 40 years is now “in love” with them. I think she is trying to make herself look like the higher person by claiming to love them. But I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that she is more Medea than Mother Theresa down deep. But murdering him wouldn’t get her on the tour with Oprah.

    • I agree. I’ve always wanted to like Iyanla. But she just keeps coming back and coming back again in one form or another on TV. I’ve come to the conclusion (finally) she’s a product, so I don’t trust her. Don’t know why I wanted to, but there was something endearing about her to me years ago.

      • DoneNow – I am so in the same boat with you. I want to like her, but her interpretation of situations and the advice she gives confuses the heck out of me. I think she’s going to go one way (based on what I’ve seen of her in past shows) and then she goes the other.

        And I’ve always sensed anger in her. She yells a lot and can be downright mean, in my opinion. I’m sure she’d characterize it as tough love, but I don’t see it that way. I gave her several chances and finally gave up. Glad I’m not alone!

  • I’ve always had a problem with the word ‘forgiveness’. So many look at forgiveness as a virtue and I can’t help but disagree. Often those that grant you forgiveness for something are sanctimonious about it. And those that insist you forgive them are emotional bullies.
    The concept of ‘meh’ works so much better for me, as it helps me find the peace that I need to move on, without giving someone a pass for shitty actions. Maybe that is what forgiveness is supposed to be, and the word itself has been taken over by those with an agenda. But as long as ‘forgiveness’ is a duty, or an obligation, or a self-help slogan, I can’t get with it.

  • In a nut shell, thank you Tracy!!

    I so hate forgiveness trolls! In the beginning it use to really piss me off when I was told that I need to forgive and move on, if not for him for myself and when I would say, nope that’s not happening then they would tell me I was just a bitter person. Well that’s their opinion. If they want to forgive someone who fucked them over then that’s their choice, but don’t you fucking dare to tell me and try to push your beliefs on me what I should or shouldn’t do with my life. I am not telling them what to do and I expect the same courtesy. I don’t need to forgive, remain friends, keep in touch and let this person continue to be part of my life who callously fucked me over in more ways than I can count for years. I am perfectly happy and moving on without forgiving this asswipe thank you very much!

  • Forgiveness makes good spackle. I think that’s my take away here. We collectively want to spackle over horrible things and pretend it’s just not that bad. Cheating, betrayal, broken families, these are painful things to really think about even if you aren’t going through it. Accepting that many people we invest in and love every day actually have little compunction about hurting us if it benefits them is frightening. No one wants to see the world through our eyes if they don’t have to. It’s a scary place. Apply a little forgivesness, and all is right with the world again. I can see the appeal.

    • I thin you really nailed it. “No bad stuff intruding on our safe happy little world here, no-sir-ee! Nothing to see here!”

  • It made no sense when she said loving them is not about them, it’s about you. Can you imagine saying to someone, “I love you, but it has nothing to do with you”? What you’d really be saying is that you don’t really love this person, but you’re saying you do anyway out of some moral obligation. You’re going through the motions of loving someone without really loving them.

    You can be a loving person and not love an abuser. Actually, by refusing to love an abuser, you set standards on who is worthy of your love, making you a better candidate for real love IMO.

    • Yeah, that didn’t make sense to me either. Love the whole freakin’ world, that’s brotherly love, I guess. But it has nothing to do with her relationship with these people. I like the Buddhist idea of detachment better. Something close to “meh,” but with a little more compassion. But don’t call it “being in love.” Confusing.

  • Sounds like fucking Stockholm Syndrome, to me.

    Fuck that.

    My contempt of the coward and the twat troll have nothing to do with me, except to say that I am a rational being who will not allow awful people in my life. I’m proud of that.

    Anger and bitterness are appropriately directed and contained. I am not ashamed. I am not a prisoner. I control what I can.

    • Miss Sunshine I so agree with you … Gilbert and Sullivan (sorry Vanzant) both space cadets !!! Anyone who bought the bullshit of eat pray love … Well barf and barf!!! Forgiveness and “being in love with your perpetrator??? That is crazy delusional shit and yes Stokholm !!!

    • I second that the new format is lovely! I’m having a real problem with the readability of the text, though! Tracy, the overall lack of contrast – grey on white – is really hard on my eyes. I could especially barely strain hard enough to see the lighter gray italicized quoted article.

      • It is very nice and the graphics are fun! I agree about lack of contrast – hard on my eyes, tough to read.

    • I agree ML. AND I’m so happy that the cartoon/profile pics are back for commenters. I love yours ML… it’s perfect for you!!!!!

      • Hey Dani, the cartoons are for if you don’t upload your own avatar, ML has uploaded hers 🙂 and so have I.

          • Mikky, I think you need the gravatar plugin, google is your friend. I did it so long ago I forget.

            • Oh, bummer. Most of the avatars are cute, mine looks like a drunk piece of poo 🙁 (sorry, Tracy, if you drew it) but I don’t want to download anything and I don’t have a wordpress blog.

          • Mikky, I’m not sure how to change it. Mine just transferred over because I have a wordpress blog. Perhaps it can be changed through your profile here at CL?

  • I really have nothing to add, just…LOL!! “We should forgive by LOVE because LOVE and LOVE”…toward people who absolutely suck? That makes zero sense. This is all complete garbage.

  • I like the word “compassion.” I can have compassion for horribly messed up people. That doesn’t, however, mean they get a free pass. My XMIL can’t seem to draw the distinction in her own life and it has caused her all kinds of pain. She doesn’t see why I can’t forgive and accept her son if I understand that he has a mental illness. I see it, I have compassion for the pain it causes him. That doesn’t mean he gets instant forgiveness and limitless chances. She’s made that mistake with two of her sons and they have taken horrible advantage of her. But she’s OK with it, because “they can’t help it.” It’s her life, but I think it takes a large amount of delusional thinking and repression to live that way. I can’t seem change her mind. She is Martyr Mom and always will be. I wish she saw how she contributes to the problems, though.

    • Compassion being no longer enabling the person/behavior any more. Sometimes it’s more loving to give someone a swift kick to the pants.

    • Cut her some slack, DoneNow. My son developed a serious mental illness in his mid-20s, and there is no amount of crap he can pull on me that would ever turn me away. With Mom’s, we can never, ever give up hope that someday there’s going to be a fix for this. Admitting defeat would mean that I’m never going to see my son again —- the son I used to have that I miss so much.

      • I’m sorry if I seemed unsympathetic to parents with mentally ill children. My Ex and I were together for 22 years, since he was 20. I was there for it all. I tried everything I could to help him manage his problems. I feel what you’re talking about-I miss him and it’s hard to accept he’s not going to change. But in our case, I think a lot of damage was done by everyone ignoring and excusing very bad behavior. I completely understand not turning him away-I wouldn’t expect that. But I wish she could call a spade a spade, and give up on thinking of him as someone she can trust. He’s a pathological liar, but she can’t seem to accept that. It affects the rest of us in some very negative ways. That’s our situation, anyway. I’m sorry that you have to bear that cross as a parent. I may find myself there someday, and I have complete sympathy for parents in your situation.

  • CL, I feel that you were a little bit harsh in your comments.

    A couple of years ago, I too sat through a similar Oprah tour stop with Iyanla Vanzant as one of the many guest speakers. After any great concert, you really do feel euphoric. What’s that term you use — hopeium? It’s like a giant hopeium high.

    The point these speakers make is a broad one — you need to get to that ‘meh state’ in order to live a healthy life/have good relationships/etc.

    OK, but how exactly?

    In a 20 minute talk, it is impossible to address the hard work, the anger, the tears and the years of therapy needed to get to the ‘meh state’.

    How many years did it take Iyanla? A LOT!!

    Do I love or forgive my exH and the OW? I feel sorry for him. I have no desire to be a freakin’ saint and say I love him or them.

    No one needs to reach this unattainable goal. That is ridiculous.

  • I have a love/hate with Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved her. . . Until I got a divorce and realized getting left by your spouse sucks and we all don’t get book advances to travel around the globe to find ourselves. I am okay not being a spiritually developed to offer olive branches to people who don’t deserve them. I am more of the I feel angry as long damn well please, I don’t need to justify it, you’re dead to me, and just leave me alone otherwise type. Diplomacy is telling someone to go to hell and having them like it. All while wearing pearls.

    • “spiritually developed ENOUGH”. . . I will also wake up when I damn well please.

  • I put a lot of pressure on myself to begin in the early stages. All my life I’d heard that we should “forgive our debtors,” and I was determined not to get stuck in bitterness and anger. Wow, I had no idea how HARD it was to actually forgive, though. Every day I’d go to bed saying a prayer that I’d forgive him, and myself. Everyday I thought if I could just forgive a little bit more…that eventually I’d get to full forgiveness. After months and months of this, I decided if I could just “accept” and not worry about forgiveness, I’d settle for that.

    I’m 3 years post d-day and I have gotten to MEH, although there are some occasional triggers. The pain is just too much to ever have him in my life again, but I do hope that some day I will be at peace with what happened. Perhaps one day I’ll even be grateful that his actions were a catalyst for change in my life.

    I think the person most in need of forgiveness is myself. I didn’t love myself enough to stand up to someone who kept hurting me over and over. That’s the hardest part to accept, that I wasn’t strong enough to protect myself.

    I am now. It still amazes me that it took being thrown away to realize my worth.

    • “I didn’t love myself enough to stand up to someone who kept hurting me over and over. That’s the hardest part to accept, that I wasn’t strong enough to protect myself.”

      So right! I’m really starting to realize this now in my life. I’m finding it pretty hard work to achieve/regain that strength. Thanks for this!

      • I loved myself. But after spending twenty years (and eight years dating-red flag!) in a marriage where my significant other didn’t value me, it wasn’t enough that I knew I was worthy. That is soul destroying, being with someone whose main purpose in life is to be front and center. I was an accessory. These people are time suck manipulators and life is all about what they want, the power in that dynamic goes away when you recognize they aren’t invested, hell, they aren’t even playing the same game! I really doubt that many Cheaters are capable of authentic real love as something in their makeup is missing.

    • I love what you wrote here!!! I have found it difficult to look back at the disrespect that my cheater treated me with and forgive myself for allowing it to happen over and over again. Your last sentence really hit home for me! Thank you for that!

    • Oh I relate to needing to forgive myself. I knew our relationship was wrong from the start but I just kept investing more and more of myself and my money into it UNTIL IT WAS ALL GONE. When I tried to leave the guilt he’d put on me just destroyed me. In the end he dumped me when the money was gone. What a chump.

  • Thanks so much for feeling as I do and putting it in writing! I absolutely will never forgive a man and ow that brought such chaos to five kids and myself and still does. But thank you for making me realize the humiliation and grief are his not mine.

  • I think the only person chumps should forgive are ourselves: for not having seen the red flags, for having stayed with the abuser for too long, for wanting to believe their lies, for trying to love them despite their crappy emotional skills, for having tried too hard, for wanting things to work out, for begging for scraps of love, for trusting, for giving too much and receiving too little, for feeling humiliated, for wanting to fix it for the kids, for feeling guilty for not having given our kids the family we always dreamed, for getting freaking mad and swearing when we are not that type of person, for feeling awful around happy people, for hating and wanting revenge, for wishing the karma bus to come quick, etc, etc…For all these awful feelings we have had to feel during this time and all the physical, financial and health consequences infidelity brings upon ourselves, our kids, families and friends, we should forgive ourselves, accept them as giving us our strength to move on and the consciousness to see the crap for what it is…A meh!

  • Tracy, while I’m usually fist pumping (yes, I’m from Jersey) at your dead-on insight, sarcasm, and humor, I’m going to have to agree this time with a few of the other folks commenting here that this post is a little mean-spirited.

    Almost 2 years after D-Day and one year this month since my divorce, I gotta say that I’m tired of being angry. I’m angry that my XH knocked up some chick (not the AP) and married her (don’t know how he pulled this one off) before the dicorce was even final. I’m angry that he gets to have this happy little family while I’m left rebuilding my life and starting over again. I’m angry that dating in my 30’s sucks. That all of my friends are married with babies while I struggle to fix my picker so that I stop attracting sparkly turds. I’m angry that I had to leave my home and my dog (he had her before I met him, so legally I had no right to her) and that I don’t even know if she is still alive (she was 12 when I left). No contact with him meant no contact with her.

    Up until this point anger has served me well. Anger prompted me to take action when I didn’t even know which way was up and down. But this point this anger is keeping me stuck and anxious all the time. I’m ready to let go and for me that means forgiveness…

    I think the problem we’re having with the word forgiveness here is that it’s been hijacked by Narcs and used to manipulate and abuse us. With the reconciliation idustrial complex backing them up and the media glorifying their disgusting behavior, “forgiveness” has been used to further victimize us chumps. However, I’m beginning to realize that the way out of anger is through forgiveness, and the way through forgiveness is through love.

    Now, does that mean I’m going to call my XH and tell him that? Hell no! Does that mean I’m ok with what he did to me? How he emotionally abused me for 8 years, continually lied and cheated, exposed me to STDs (never got one, thank goodness), blamed my for his affair and told me that I deserved it… Does forgiving him mean that all that was ok and that I did deserve it? No, not even close.

    All this means is that I accept what happened and that I accept that I can’t change it. It just means that I no longer wish him ill will. While I can’t say that I wouldn’t crack a smile if I found out that his perfect little life fell apart and that he got a taste of his own medicine (I’m not claiming to be a saint here), I am coming to the point where I don’t actively hate him anymore. I’m getting to the point where I don’t really think about him much at all. That’s my version of forgiveness. The great thing is that I can do this right where I am, with the no contact rule still standing. Boundaries fully in place and strong, because loving myself is priority #1. This could be called acceptance, this could also be called meh… Call it whatever you want…

    I do think Iyanla takes it 100 steps too far when she says that she’s in love with her XH and his skank. She does have an air of self-righteousness that I find off putting. She’s not Jesus Christ. But I get it. Danielle Laporte has a great quote that goes “Open gentle heart, big fucking fence.” I think this is what acting from love may look like and it’s allowing me to be more fully present and loving to those who do deserve it. I’m not 100% there, and I’m not 100% sure what the future of this path is going to look like. But for me it’s starting to feel better to act from love than it is to act from anger.

    • Both Feet, I don’t think CL is insisting we be angry instead of forgiving. Meh isn’t an angry state and that is what we strive for.

    • “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi

  • Probably the best case scenario in the whole forgive dont forgive debate is the third way, boredom. I havent forgiven my ex and im not going to. Forgiving her would be rewarding cruelty and minimizing the impact of her abuse. But i dont dwell and dont care. Im bored with her and her idiocy. The best thing i can do is watch it fade away.

    This modern forgiveness crowd makes me puke, and the worst thing they do is hijack jesus who was as harshly anti-sin as any religious leader and fiercely outspoken. When she was to be stoned for her adultery, jesus looked at the cheater and told her to sin no more. He called it what it was. And people, that was jesus! So lets stop this hokey forgiveness at all costs movement where we just accept everything that happens is okay and we should just love each other unconditionally. I have conditions. And if they arent met, then i dont love. Simple.

  • I think that “loving” a cheater/ex is giving them too much of your emotion. Love/Hate are emotions…indifference is the absence of emotion and should be the goal of all chumps. For now, I am choosing to feel indifference towards my ex tinged with just enough anger to keep me on my toes. He is physically, emotionally and financially dangerous to me and I need to have that little spark of anger and disgust to help me never let my guard down. I have 4.5 years left to co-parent with him before my youngest is an adult, and I can’t ever forget what he did to me (and to my children) because forgetting may make me vulnerable. Asking me to forgive and then LOVE someone who came after me with a metal chair raised over his head intent on smashing me to pieces is asking me to make myself vulnerable to abuse. NO. I will not. I choose indifference, wariness, and just enough hatred deep down in the dark recess to keep me and my children safe.

    • I agree! There are so many people in this world not worth loving. Most people say Infidelity like it iis a little thing. Having been through it I now know there was so much more. Sex with his fitness partner, hell, that was a little thing, the absolute tip of the iceberg- it was the months and months of deceit that brought our marriage down, that and his unilateral selfish choices. No wonder one brought the Titanic down.

  • I would actually like to hear more from other Christians on this. The Gospels do tell us to forgive those who sin against us, love our enemies, and pray for those who spitefully use us. So what does Christian forgiveness of a cheater look like? Are cheaters supposed to be in some kind of exempt category that we don’t forgive?

    Note that I certainly do NOT think Christian forgiveness means you can’t go NC, you have to be friendly with them, you have to take them back and trust them again. Not even. I forgive the landlords who stole my security deposit years ago. I sure as hell will never rent from them again, gave them an awful Yelp review, and have successfully dissuaded numerous other parties from renting.

    This question is only for Bible-believing Christians. If you think Christianity and/or what the Bible says on the matter is bullish*t, no need to tell me that.

    • I’m a bible believing Christian and I believe you are spot on. I think too often people want you to reconcile with a cheater if you have forgiven them, but sometimes this is not possible. And one should not feel bad if it isn’t either. The most I can do is coparent with him, if you can call it that (me doing all the work, and he buying the kids affections). I have to leave any punishing to God. His word says “vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord”. So I leave God to do his part while I do mine and move on with my life.

    • Dear Rarity, I read this in a Christian publication:

      “In the Bible genuine repentance involves a sincere change in attitude, a heartfelt regret over any wrongs committed. Where appropriate and possible, repentance is accompanied by an effort to make restitution to the victim of the sin. (Luke 19:7-10; 2 Corinthians 7:11) Where there is no such repentance, God does not forgive. (However, God does take other factors into account when weighing forgiveness. For instance, if a wrongdoer is ignorant of God’s standards, such ignorance may lessen the burden of guilt. When Jesus asked his Father to forgive his executioners, Jesus evidently was speaking of the Roman soldiers who put him to death. They ‘did not know what they were doing,’ being ignorant of who he really was. However, the religious leaders who were behind that execution bore far greater guilt—and for many of them, no forgiveness was possible.—John 11:45-53; compare Acts 17:30.)
      Moreover, God does not expect Christians to forgive those who were once enlightened spiritually but who now willfully, unrepentantly practice wrongdoing. (Hebrews 10:26-31) In extreme cases, forgiveness may well be inappropriate.—Psalm 139:21, 22; Ezekiel 18:30-32.”

      And this passage:

      “What, though, if others sin against us in a way that inflicts the deepest of wounds, and yet there is no acknowledgment of the sin, no repentance, and no apology on the part of the offender? (Proverbs 28:13) The Scriptures clearly indicate that God does not forgive unrepentant, hardened sinners. (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26, 27) What about us? Christians are not required to forgive those who practice malicious, willful sin with no repentance. Such become God’s enemies. No Christian who has been a victim of extremely unjust, detestable, or heinous treatment should feel forced to forgive, or pardon, a wrongdoer who is not repentant.—Psalm 139:21, 22.
      Understandably, those who have been victims of cruel mistreatment may feel hurt and angry. However, recall that holding on to anger and resentment can be very harmful to us. Waiting for an admission or apology that never comes, we may only get more and more upset. Being obsessed with the injustice may keep the anger seething within us, with devastating effects on our spiritual, emotional, and physical health. In effect, we allow the one who hurt us to continue hurting us. Wisely, the Bible advises: “Let anger alone and leave rage.” (Psalm 37:8) Some Christians, therefore, have found that in time they were able to make a decision to forgive in the sense of ceasing to harbor resentment—not excusing what happened to them, but refusing to be consumed with anger. Leaving the matter squarely in the hands of the God of justice, they experienced much relief and were able to get on with their lives.—Psalm 37:28.”

      Hope this helps……

      Forge on…….

  • I agree with what Elizabeth Gilbert is saying about the role of love in forgiveness. It is about Me and My heart.

    I agree with CL that cheating is abuse and cheaters are dangerous.

    Today’s posts allow me to see how Forgiveness (Love) and Knowledge (re: Chumphood) are two parallel tracks helping me go forward.

    Desmond Tuto and his granddaughter Mpho offer a valuable online program ( for exploring forgiveness. Another instructive forgiveness source is Immaculee, the Rwandan Tutsi women who survived for monhs in a tiny bathroom with 6 other women while the Rwandan genocide was raged outside the window. A Hutu neighbor murdered most of her family. She prayed the rosary the whole time she was in hiding. When released, she shone from the inside out. And yes, she forgave that murderer (

    These two resources allow us to explore forgiveness. They are not mandates or yardsticks. We each have our own journey and healing.

    For me, when I hate, I feel toxic. When I feel anger, I use it to protect myself. When I forgive, I am renewed. I think Meh is a form of forgiveness. I have not achieved it, just like I am not where Immaculee is. I am still reeling and healing from the savage betrayal by my husband of 25 years. Part of my healing is to love the cheater and OW as flawed human beings while using my healthy anger to *protect myself* from further abuse. The main sources of my healing are faith, prayer and.. to remember to keep returning to my Joy. My X did not take that!

    *I will not invest another minute of my precious life in any relationship with my X because he is dangerous. But forgive him for being so… sick?Yes. Forgive his cruelty? Yep. Forget any of it? Never.

    Chump Knowledge is power. Thanks, CL.
    Forgiveness is about me and my heart. Thank God.

  • I do not believe that cheaters are entitled to forgiveness. That’s between them and God, not them and me. I can, and will, get over it without forgiving them.

    • I like this comment. No forgiveness will ever come from me to my ex husband for the destruction he has caused.

  • It’s been over 4 years for me and I have reached meh, to the point that he is not important in my life anymore and I’m much happier in my new life. I’m actually grateful that we are not together anymore and that I’m with someone now who I’m much more compatable with. However, I still get angry at times when I think about the way he did it. If he’d have been honest and come to me and said, ” you know, I really don’t feel connected to you anymore, feel we have anything in common and I would like a divorce” I would have let him go and we could probably still remained friends or at least civil. It still would have been hard after almost 30 years together, but I could have respected his wishes and even wished him well. But it didn’t happen that way. He had an affair going on for quite some time(I’ll never know how long cause he would never even answer my questions or give me closure), while still pretending every day that all was well with us. He lied, gaslighted me, blame shifted, exposed me to STDs, financially took money, hid it and generally treated me like shit. I put divorce on the table several times myself before D-day and he didn’t want it…because I was useful, good mother, housekeeper, provider, and lovely facade, while he had CAKE! He has never apologized, come clean or any of it and that’s why I find it hard to forgive him. If he wanted to split up it could have been done with respect and honesty but he was greedy, cowardly, deceptive all the way. I never want him in my life or any like him again, but I do have compassion for him and hope he gets well soon! That’s my form of forgiveness!

    Talking about Oprah, I have always loved her, maybe not agreed with her on all counts, but love her I do! I just bought her new book called ” What I Know For Sure.” I was upset and turned off on page 50 and 51 where in her chapter entitled ” Connection” she states she had a real aha moment when she interviewed 7 men who had cheated on their wives and found that the OW was not special in any way only that she made them feel heard, needed and important. No, Oprah, you got that wrong!!! They were getting Kibbles and the one thing these type of men have in common is that they are Kibble Whores! Did you ever talk to their wives to see what their perception of things were? I was so proud of my exhusband…I thought I had the best one in the world and I doted on him…it was still not enough! I had no idea why he was turning away from me and treating me poorly!

    • I agree with you when you recognized that Oprah gets it wrong about cheaters. The idea that the OW makes a cheater feel heard, appreciated and important does nothing but paint the chump as cold and cruel. Too often, the opposite is true. We are kind and loving to a fault! That’s why cheaters love chumps the best. Chump keeps the cheater’s bottomless pit of need and greed filled with CAKE.

  • Yay! The squidgy avatars are back!

    When I met my ex in college, he was being love bombed by his own mother with letters starting “Dear Ones”, (to him and his four sisters) that then proceeded into narcissistic self analysis about what was wrong with her that they had such a miserable time growing up that they all abandoned the nest as soon as they could and never looked back. Rationalization, self pity, vomited apologies, hand wringing regrets, and pleas for forgiveness that fell on deaf ears. Narcs don’t forgive, but they sure want you to. It’s an invitation to start the gaslighting all over again.

  • I like Oprah. I watch OWN and subscribe to her magazine. She puts forward a great number of thinkers, healers and artists who create things to help heal people. How cool is that?

    That being said, this bit of business about unconditional love and unwarranted forgiveness as being the magical cure-all that only the most Evolved and Holiest of People get to sprinkle like magic fairy dust on dirty, sin-soaked Others in order to absolve everyone of painful emotions…this strikes me as being really, really misguided.

    If by forgiveness one means “let it go”, then yes. I agree with that. I believe that’s what is called “meh” around here. Seems to me like that’s what Chump Lady is advocating.

    However, Iyanla and Elizabeth Gilbert take the concept of forgiveness and attempts to amp it to Super, Uber Spiritual LOVE by combining it with reconciliation and acceptance. Whoa, Nelly! What’s wrong with just processing your anger and letting it go like a normal human being? Why conflate it with two other separate, distinct concepts? What purpose does that serve? I don’t think those ideas help me one bit. In fact, I think it can set you back several steps. It’s not like recognizing the humanity in another (what this uber-love is supposed to be about) is mutually exclusive to setting standards and boundaries (what this uber-love destroys).

    I think Divorce Minister is right when he says that enabling wickedness by passivity is evil. It’s one thing to let hurt and anger go on a personal level. It’s quite another to downplay sin in the name of “love” and stand on a stage in front of thousands of people to transmit the idea that they should downplay sin too. It’s an enabling behavior that promotes the idea that sinning is something we can do because hey, Love Conquers All. Can we just agree that sin is wrong, it’s not justifiable, and no amount of uber-love is going to change that?

    The people want to love their abusers in the name of God and call it forgiveness? Be my guest. But I bristle at the suggestion that there’s something wrong with me, that I am less spiritual, or somehow deficient because I don’t embrace that particular line of thinking.

    Chump Lady, I think you call it out very well here. This Oprah fan isn’t a bit offended at the suggestion that maybe Oprah & Co. gets it horribly wrong in this instance.

  • Hi all 😀

    Tracy, ROFL – loved, loved, loved this post and your take – made me laugh like a drain – thank you 😀

    The rest of Chump Nation – so many great posts, I’d be up until the wee hours replying to everyone, with even just a few words – such great comments and wise observations 😀

    The thing that really strikes me about both the original article and also the great chumps who’ve posted to say they thought Tracy’s take was ‘mean spirited’, is just how inadequate sometimes human language can be! Language is merely a tool to share concepts and ideas between humans, unfortunately, even simple concepts can have huge disparities from one person to another – is it any wonder the world is in such a parlous state?!

    FWIW, when I say I am IN LOVE with someone, the concept I am trying to convey is that the person I am IN LOVE with makes me happy! There are personal characteristics about that person that fill me with joy, admiration, pleasure, trust, compassion, belief. Even the ‘sainted’ Iyanla isn’t conveying to me the concept of being IN LOVE as I understand it. What she says is that her ‘IN LOVE’ isn’t anything to do with THEM (so, not my interpretation of the concept right there) and she wouldn’t have either of them over for Thanksgiving (again, not my concept of being IN LOVE). My interpretation of her words – or rather her reported words, are acceptance (MEH) and an acknowledgement of human frailty. Fine, but again, not how I would describe the state of BEING IN LOVE.

    Forgiveness is another concept that appears to mean very different things to different people. For me, forgiveness is ‘that horrible thing you did to me, it’s ok now, it doesn’t hurt me anymore, and I accept you are sorry for the harm you did to me, I accept you made a mistake and have learned by that mistake’. But, you see, until I feel those conditions are met, i.e. it doesn’t hurt me anymore, the other person is genuinely sorry for the harm, and not just sorry for the consequences they had to deal with, that the other person has truly acknowledged they’ve made a terrible mistake and have learned by that mistake – then no, forgiveness isn’t coming from me!

    To err is human, to forgive is divine. I’m human, I’m not a God. If I make it to my deathbed still cursing ‘The Great I Am’ for the harm he’s done to me, well I guess God will figure out whether I should have been behaving less like a human and more like a God – as for the people who sanctimoniously try to shame me into being divine, (like this Gilbert woman) well, I’ll be truly sorry I didn’t recognise her omnicognizance and she can forgive me like the God she is, can’t she? (I get really pissed at people who think they’ve got all the answers, like fuck all the world’s great philosophers debating this forever, I know what you should do to be a worthy human being – by the way, I include Oprah in this – I fell out of love with her decades ago – privileged, trite and ignorant IMHO).

    • I hold the same view of forgiveness. I like how you broke it down, too. I save forgiveness for people who I want to be in relationship with. It’s easy for me to extend forgiveness to people who make mistakes, say sorry and then change the offending behavior. This shows me that they value me and are willing to do the work to repair the relationship. I’m willing to do the same if I mess up. Reciprocation is a beautiful thing 🙂

      Those people who do me dirty and don’t feel a bit sorry about it? Those people who would have me believe that the problem isn’t their nasty behavior but that I’m just not forgiving enough? To those I extend acceptance. In CL parlance, I trust that they suck and I let it go (meh). I’m certainly not going to try to “be in love” with them just so that I don’t appear to be “bitter”. Nope, I’d rather just process the anger, learn from the experience, and move on.

      I can recognize another’s humanity and honor that aspect of them. Perhaps that’s what Iyanla is trying to get at. That’s different from forgiveness altogether. I believe that one does not have to conflate the two ideals in order to level-up spiritually.

  • I think that our view of forgiveness has become warped and is often incorrect. It also took me some time to see this. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what they did to us was ok, it just means that that we are willing to let go of the hurt and pain associated with their actions. I have been pushing to forgive them and not dwell on what has been done and found that I’m in a much better place now. Does that mean that if the karma bus ran them over I won’t laugh? I’m not a saint, now…

    I don’t believe that it means that we should forget, either. If God wanted us to forget, he would have given us that ability. We need to be able to remember what happened so we can see those red flags a little sooner and make wiser choices in the future. I’m 3 years past day now, so I can look at this with a few miles in the rear view mirror.

    Love you CL, but I have to say I agree you are a bit tough with this one. Now mind you, I don’t agree with Iyanla with his whole being in love mess. That’s just nuts…letting them go is enough.

  • When we love someone, we demonstrate it with loving gestures. I wonder how Iyanla demonstrates her love to the new couple? Does she bake them pies? Does she buy them nice gifts for special occasions? Perhaps she makes reservations at fancy restaurants for them so they can celebrate their love?

    Iyanla is a trite, sanctimonius windbag.

    • Yes. It’s one thing to recognize the humanity in others (even those who did you wrong) and honor that; it’s quite another to wax poetic about your ex and the OW on a national stage with this crazy, holier-than-thou, amped-up facsimille of “love”.

  • Love them? No…they can fuck off, disappear, suck a cock and die. Bitter? I could care less…my life is about me now.

  • This woman doesn’t know the difference between loving others and knowing your own self worth. That’s confusing some important moral concepts. Asserting your own boundaries and differentiating between right and wrong doesn’t make you a bad or bitter person. In fact, just the opposite.

    “Eat, Pray, Love?” More like “Slip, Fall, Fail.”

  • meh is forgiveness… Meh means you are not seething with hate for this person… Meh is that you can see them for all of their disordered, patheticness… when you get to Meh, you can let go and that is about as much forgiveness as these people deserve.

  • Elizabeth Gilbert has always struck me as an unpleasant blend of narcissism and new-age bullshit. Her quoted piece here does nothing to change my perception.

  • This is one of the ways that narcissism, and narcissistic arrogance, is normalized and even supported by non narcissistic persons in our world. Our own goodness is turned around and used against us. How cunningly clever.
    Education about the true nature and reality behind the arrogance and the narcissistic mindset that many cheaters have of paramount importance. (Cheaters meaning all cheaters and users in business religious and relational arenas) Seeing what is truly going on behind narcissism of any kind is the way we are able choose to not participate and to not normalize or trivialize these agendas and so we do not unwittingly support this destructive, costly, and limiting behavioral patterns of narcissism in our daily lives or in our world.
    Forgiveness like the question “why?” is often a mute point. It is often pearls to swine or a deep need to feel like a good person instead of knowing that you are and have been a good person all along.

    People that have the capacity for empathy, people that have the level of conscience that they will spend time pondering all the mysteries and qualities of forgiveness, are sitting ducks for the narcissistic character disturbed persons and for the narcissistic agendas in this world.We support this agenda by participating in the bull the mass media and society sells regarding these issues. People that have integrity and a conscious most often cannot imagine the emptiness of the people lacking these things. Calling out unsavory character traits and not normalizing or spiritualizing forgiving them is actually one of the only ways that the narcissism, that is destroying so many aspect of our society now, will ever be called out, managed and minimized . Call it out and address it on all levels, do not participate with it and then forgiveness become a mute point. Manage it don’t normalize it or turn it into some deluded spiritual concept. Narcissism is not spiritual.

    Common sense and seeing this for what it is and not feeding it by unwittingly participating with it is a very powerful way to disempower this force in our relationships, in our daily lives and in our world.
    For example – Your therapist chastises you suggesting that your marriage wont have a chance because you cant forgive your cheating partner. Really? How often does this type of BS happen in therapy or in other aspect of daily life? Using the forgiveness card against empathetic people with a conscious is a clever tactic. Refuse to play this game. Having the good sense of setting appropriate boundaries and developing the capacity for highly evolved skills of discernment is of extraordinary importance. Forced undeserved and unappreciated forgiveness is irrelevant in every way except in that it actually empowers, normalizes and supports narcissism.

    Forgiveness is getting on with your life and making it the best life you can while giving undeserving narcissistic people absolutely nothing. Refusing to normalize narcissism is a big part of creating a better more just and less wasteful world. Normalizing, “forgiving” or “loving” narcissism is not a beneficial or helpful approach to this issue. It does not work.

    Blind empathy and the need to be and to see ourselves as good persons capable of qualities such as some unnatural spiritualized forgiveness is not helpful at all. It is actually a big part of the problem. Using having a good conscious to convince us that we should subtly participate with narcissistic injustice in the world is how this mindset creeps into the cracks of the everyday lives of humanity. This is how normal people with an intact conscious are duped into supporting narcissism. Glorifying undeserved forgiveness towards narcissistic injustices is just another way the tables are turned and injustice is normalized and tolerated. This is damaging in very subtly confusingly and powerfully harmful ways. Narcissism and the narcissistic agenda is a “dead entity” that feeds off of the goodness, energy and live force of the living conscious human being . Do not feed this in any way.

  • Strangely, I have just finished reading Iyanla Vanzant’s book ‘Peace from Broken Pieces’- (which I’ve just checked was published in 2010). It’s been part of my post Amazon Chump reading. A return to my new-age junkie roots ( yeah, I’ve always be one) and less untangling skein analysis ( seemingly lots of books by Susan Forward as in Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them etc. -and they’re all now going to the charity shop, tra-la-la).

    Anyway I’m not sure of Iyanla’s relationship history but I guess the husband who leaves her for another woman in ‘Peace’ is one and the same in article above, although I don’t think they were married for 40 years- just knew each other that long. Towards the end of the book she confronts XH and OW and she says: “On the drive home, I was tempted to stew in anger, true to my old pattern. But… stewing would cause me more harm that I was willing to take. “She asks herself what her recently dead daughter, Gemmia, would say. “ Save yourself and leave those people alone” is the answer. That last sentence I underlined because it is so like “Leave a cheater, and gain a life.”

    However, Iyanla does end her book talking of love for her ex-husband and the OW. And I did have a problem with this. Iyanla says that she had always wanted XH to be happy and to know love and the OW had given him what she, Iyanla could not. “She is your sister and you love her for what she has given your Beloved.”

    Now in the book XH comes across as unlikeable and entitled. And it just seemed as though Iyanla was taking the blame, when she has spent most of the book looking at her past and concluding that she should never have taken the blame for other people’s actions, and to not feel inferior. So a very strange turn-around.

    I did, I have to admit, try for five minutes thinking of my XH as Beloved, and OW as my sister. But as Miss Sunshine mentioned above, that’s just creepy Stockholm Syndrome stuff. I could feel myself trying to re-write the (real) scene where I have confronted them both, and instead of apparently scaring the OW I give them my blessing, kiss them both fondly before disappearing quietly into the night. When I did that I realised that was about making me and my needs small. Making me not exist because it was inconvenient for them. Very unhelpful, very unhealthy. So I think Iyanla’s earlier take “Save yourself and leave those people alone” is the much better idea for forgiveness- because it puts you first and them second.

    As to Elizabeth Gilbert, XH gave me ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ to read when we were in faux- reconciliation. Not his usual reading matter so I guess it came from OW. I did read it. I thought it was mawkish and badly written and I quickly realised Gilbert’s quest for freedom from her marriage was the reason XH gave it to me. It didn’t even get to the charity shop, I threw it away.

    • I like the “Save yourself and leave those people alone” take too. And I started watching Eat, Pray, Love maybe 6-9 months post dday and had to stop after the very first few minutes. I had watched it before when it came out and didn’t like it that much then, but I was looking for a positive movie to distract myself and give me encouragement that things would get better. Clearly, I had forgotten how she started her journey. Ugh.

  • Forgiveness is the day you wake up and don’t give a shit about the cheater! That is gift that keeps on giving!

  • I put too many kidney beans in the chili last night, I forgive myself for the extra beans, and the extra farts! I’ve decided to love this batch of chili just the way it is, but I’m going to put it in the freezer for a while, I may never eat it again…;)

  • I think this may be a kind-of-Christian worldview. Love the sinner at all costs. Just say a bunch of hail Mary’s and all is forgiven, then you go back out and do the same violence all over again. Nothing ever changes and the same people have to clean up the messes of others who skip away, not caring in the least. Not a great model for society. Justice is an inherent part of being human—as much as forgiveness is. But we don’t have a good social practices of justice either.

    There is so much talk about it being more important to be loved that right. Why is it so desirable to redesign the violence into something beneficial?

    I think about forgiveness in terms of relationship. If someone does not re-injure, and ask repeatedly for forgiveness—that is their right. If there is no more injury, then people are likely to forgive, in time—or just say–Go do better! I am like this.

    But, it is not the responsibility of the chump to forgive. People actually do not have control over forgiveness. I agree with CL, acceptance and meh and moving on are different experiences from forgiveness. This sickening “in love with the cheaters” dance is another experience entirely. I highly doubt if that chump were alone that she could sustain that “in love-ness.” She is working VERY HARD every single day to publicly confirm her “cheater love.” She creates it anew every time she speaks. Antonio Gramsci calls that hegemony. Hegemony is the hard work of maintaining domination of one group over another. It is the opposite of freedom.

    The highest I aspire to is not to have the cheaters in my mind at all. To think about life anew. To forgive myself for being played and taking it for so long. To figure out what my baseline day-to-day emotional terrain is, away from cheater-crazy. To not feel excited about the work I do in the world and to get to it.

  • As usual, I’m totally missing the point.

    “her husband of 40 years recently left her for another woman . . .”

    well, according to Wikipedia

    Spouse: Adeyemi Bandele (m. 1997–2007), Charles Vanzant (m. 1973–1979)\

    I know that wasn’t the point, but anyway.

    • No you aren’t, it’s part of it. If she last divorced in 2007 then it’s not “recent”, that’s 7 years ago…

  • I put a lot of pressure on myself to forgive (and society and religion added to the pressure). Al-Anon suggested I pray for him and OW, asking God to ‘give them what it is they want the way he’ll give me what it is I want”- that was a hard prayer to try to choke out, and didn’t make sense.

    But I tried it. I tried everything.

    Finally, as some of you are discussing, a counselor suggested I redefine what forgiveness is. She suggested I view it as a place of neutrality. Yes, meh!
    I envisioned myself putting down the bag of crap that was all the bad feelings and dark energy he brought to my life, and walking on without it.

    A few days after that session, I was having a private cry, and the words just came out, over and over, “I forgive you, I forgive you.” It was a meaningful, cathartic moment for me, and one that I never felt the need to share with him. For me, that forgiveness was a very personal inside job. I felt lighter and it was a turning point for me.

    On a related note, there is a great old post here about forgiving ourselves, another thing I struggled with (man, that fucker put me through some heartache!). The vast majority of the discussion really shored me up: you’ve done nothing that required forgiveness. You operated in good faith, with a loving heart. Yes, fix your picker, treat yourself with compassion, but don’t be angry with yourself. That was one of the most helpful posts I read here during The Troubles.

    • I should add my forgiveness is supplemented by a healthy adherence to “no contact”! People ask if we’re still friends, and I laugh and say “um, he made sure we wouldn’t have that kind of relationship.”

      I can laugh when I refer to it — further evidence that it
      gets so much better, new chumps!

    • Doop, I, too, felt pressured to forgive not for the cheater’s sake but because I thought it would make me feel better. But I wasn’t ready. Healing and forgiveness is a process. For me, I always remind myself that I can forgive to the extent that I’m ready. So forgiveness to me is not a one-time event and it also means keeping my boundaries and no contact in place. All these things I did and continue to do for me, not for anyone else. When I have moments when I feel I want to strangle my ex, I’m not hard on myself. I embrace the fact that it is how I feel this moment and honor it. One of the best things I have done for myself is to be there for myself when difficult emotions arise, like a mother is there for her beloved child. No judgment, just compassion that I am human and will have easy and tough emotions.

      • Those are such excellent points, Uniquelyme! Forgiveness for him and compassion for myself – both were processes. I’m so much better to myself after all this.

  • A short story. A woman’s husband was cheating on her. He gave her a list of reasons why he felt his AP was superior to her. The wife, in trying to save her marriage, tried to “fix” all of the things about herself that her husband found “superior” in the AP when compared to her. He tells his wife he is going to break up with AP and recommit to the marriage. He goes to “visit” the AP and sleeps with her. The wife finds out and kills him. While understandable, it was not very forgiving and once the gun smoke and her head cleared, she may have regretted not seeking “Meh” instead.

    I have not killed the cheating baboon who is my STBX. I consider that a win. I have not hired anyone else to harm him or Sinister Whore Minister. I do not wish them dead nor any harm. Neither do I wish them well. Am I “in love with them?” Hell fucking no. I never even liked Sinister Whore Minister BEFORE she slept with STBX. I see no need to fall in love with her now. At best, my feelings for them at this point could be best described as ambivalent and I’m comfortable with that.

    I think Jesus’ level of forgiveness is the perfection which is held out as the ideal. I believe it is to keep us focused on always striving to be our most humane and best self. It is a worthy goal, but most of us never obtain that level of perfection. Sometimes your best is just getting away from the people who hurt you and forgiving and taking care of yourself. Hating or loving, focusing on or worrying about forgiving is still a lot of our precious air and energy being directed at pigs from hell who don’t deserve it. That energy would be better directed at becoming your own best self which will organically produce whatever level of forgiveness you are going to achieve, if any. If Iyanla and Elizabeth want to be “in love” with people who have wronged them, bless their hearts and pass the peanuts. Right now, I’m perfectly content not wearing an orange jumpsuit.

    • Love this, Chump Princess. I’m glad, too, that you’re not wearing an orange jumpsuit.

    • Bless their hearts and pass the peanuts!

      I do not wish them dead not any harm, but I sure hope like hell that their relationship is miserable. (I’m not totally there on the Jesus end of the forgiveness spectrum, but I always give myself credit that I did not murder one person, not one! in the process.)

  • To each their own. The stance of loving someone who has done me grievious harm makes no sense to me. My first responsibility is to protect myself and those dependent on me.

    My beliefs do run more along the lines of Buddhism rather than Christianity, but I chose to embrace the universal truths inherent in many religions rather than just one.Often those truths are found in sayings which I love. One of my favorites is…..”In life there are no rewards or punishments…..merely consequences.” A consequence of treating someone badly is that they eventually run away from the abuser, (if they are healthy.). It’s a consequence, not a punishment. Separating myself from a toxic person means I separate myself in every way I can because they have shown me what they are and it is up to me to protect myself. Most of our cheaters have shown us ad infinitum…ad nauseam exactly who and what they are. There is no compassion for Us, no mercy for Us. Turning the other cheek will just provide more opportunity for them to abuse us. Loving them just opens the door for more spackling, more hopium addiction and more mindfuckery. Nope ….not going there.

    That being said, I made a conscious decision not to hate ex cheater shithead simply because it was not in my best interest. One of my favorite sayings around this is…”Hating someone is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” After he kidnapped and murdered my 14 year old son, and then killed himself a week later, I was left with …What the hell do I do with THIS! How can I survive this, my worst nightmare? He did it to win at any cost. He did it to destroy me as utterly as he could. He did it on hopes that I would self destruct.

    My answer was Fuck you ex cheater shithead! I’m going to do whatever I can to deal with this and come out on the other side the best me I can be. One thing that was glaringly obvious was the negative power of hatred. It led him to kill the one person that mattered most to him in the world. His hatred took his already sick mind and twisted it to a point where it made killing his own son an OK thing to do. I did not want to even take a chance to become that disturbed. Didn’t want anything more to do with him on any level. Knowing that hatred and resentment bind as securely as love, I also knew that Spirit could give me the gift of Meh. …complete severance.The only way I knew how to get there was to pray for ex cheater shit head. To pray for every good thing for him I could think of. It took me five years of praying for him before I got to Meh. It started out …Spirit…you know I don’t mean this….but…. Bless that sicko… a lot of other choice words. Eventually I came to mean it, and when i did, I was set free. He no longer had the ability to make me feel bad, to disturb my serenity. He became a non-entity in my life. Did I forgive him? No clue….I just know I am getting on with my life free of his sick influence. Did it make what he did OK on any level. Not at all, but that is between ex cheater S.H and Spirit…….not my concern.

    In my book ….it’s about Us. Us living the best, sanest, serenest, happiest post cheater life we can. The only way we can do that is to sever all the ties, and get on with our life. We survived them, we can do it….we are mighty!

    • I second Chump Lady on that Tessie! Not only are you the mightiest but you won because that evil person intended to destroy you completely but he lost! Hugs and love our way.

    • Great Big Huge Giant Hugs to you Tessie!
      What you have been through is my biggest fear going forward… cheater has not killed anyone, but he is holding our daughters hostage with the threat of suicide if they stop talking to him. One of them does not talk to him, because he threatened this. But the other says she continues to even though she doesn’t want to because she is convinced that he will commit suicide and she can’t handle the thought of having that on her conscience.
      I am at a loss. I told her that it isn’t her responsibility. But how do you convince them of this without it seeming like you are asking them to side. I guess this is for me to take to my therapist next week.
      These cheaters never understand what their actions do to the family.
      It’s not just all about them.
      Repercussions of their actions can be so dire……
      Once again, my heart goes out to you…..
      You are strong and Mighty!
      I am still working on Meh….
      It is happening!

  • the thing i hate hearing is when people tell me he is a good man. and something good people just make a mistake. that doesnt mean he is not a good person.

    i guess i dont know what a good person is but for me a good person does not bail on his responsiblities. a good person does not lie about their actions, blame other people for their actions or do things behind a persons bac, hiding what they are doing because they know what they are doing is wrong. a good person does not say mean, hateful and cruel things to someone just so they can hurt that person and feel better about themselves. a good person does not fuck a married man no matter how horrible he says his life is and has children (and a wife) who love and need him. a good person does not send someone to the school where your children go and have a phone call during class just because he doesnt have the balls to call the house phone. a good person does not stop paying child support or walk out of his childrens lives.

    but i guess i am just so bitter that i cant see the good in him anymore.

    and to love him now? i still love him. i will never love his MOW. i always loved my XH. even thru his many many mistakes. my love was never the problem. HIS love for me and the children is what is in question here. how can a person love someone one month and all of a sudden stop loving them after 14 years (or whatever) and suddenly love someone else they just met? how come nobody questions them on their love, and forgiveness?

    seems to me the person who wrote that and the person who gave the speech have it ass backwards. my love hasnt died. hasnt stopped. which is why i am in so much pain. if i didnt love him it wouldnt bother me. but HE needs to work on HIS ability to love.

    • I agree Mrsvain and I am so sorry for what you are going through. I know it’s hell on earth. But, I am finding out only time will help us through this nightmare. And keep reading Chump Lady. Hugs.

  • CL,

    I like your updates except one thing. I hate, hate the comments being chopped up into separate pages. I know this can be fixed, can your guy fix it? Am I the only one that hates this? It makes it hard to follow the conversation, and if you don’t notice the little note at the bottom you may not realize there are more comments.

    • Geez, Dat — aren’t you paying attention? All this hated will make you bitter! 😉

  • I forgive myself. Because the entire situation of being exploited makes me feel so stupid. So I need to change this message and tell myself that I trusted and believed in someone who is undeserving. This is not being stupid. This is being human.

    I work on my own forgiveness to me. I work on the guilt I have for not protecting myself and my kids because I wanted to believe he was honest, even though my gut said he was scum.

    There are things that are unforgivable. I put his double digit, nearly dual decade long deception as unforgivable. He needs to seek forgiveness within himself, if even he even capable. That is not my job. I am not in love with him and will not be pretzeling my mind with how to do that. That’s mindfucking myself!

  • I certainly don’t love, or even like, my ex and her AP. I can see that they’re both fucked up, though, and that this is the result of childhood experiences over which they had no control. But, nobody had an ideal childhood and we don’t all grow up to be dishonest, cheating fucktards.

    My attitude is “fuck them”. Forgiveness to me was just being able to let them be in my own mind and focus on my own life. My daughter is safe and loved. So long as this continues, I couldn’t care less what they’ve done or what they’re going to do.

    This article is one of the stupidest things I have ever read ,written by someone with very poor boundaries.

  • Of course Elizabeth Gilbert cried when she heard that speech. She was thrilled at the idea that she could be forgiven and even loved. Gilbert cheated on her husband and left him. Who is she going to work to forgive? Her ex for being mad at her? Now she can piously tell him to love her for his own good.

    That’s what bothers me here. Forgiveness is a good thing. I’m just more inspired when it’s people putting aside a bloody feud. I’d like to hear Gilbert talk about trying to live a better life.

  • My therapist said, at last week’s session, “Gone are the days when a couple of your older brothers and their buddies would’ve taken your XH behind the woodshed and beat the crap out of him. Nowadays, that’s replaced by a bunch of his friends gathering around him and telling him he did what he thought was right and how important it is to be true to his own happiness.”

    Ms Gilbert’s perspective smacks of this hokey bullshit, IMHO. I can barely get a grasp on the concept of forgiveness, but “love them”? WTF for? This I don’t get at all. Yes, you can choose how to interact with or feel toward other people — any other person, really. Hell, I could love that new guy they were talking about on NPR who has led police to the bodies of at least seven young women he murdered…. if I wanted to. But, why? Is that authentic? Or is that me trying to work some sort of Cirque de Soleil-level mind games on myself so I can feel “evolved”?

    I should mention I’m not religious. I think we should all try to treat each other with respect and how we would want to be treated. But I think if I did to my XH what he did to me, I would neither want nor expect to be treated with “love” from him, and if I were, I would have to think, “WTF is wrong with you? Have you no self-respect?”

    I have self-respect, finally, after conquering undeserved shame and humiliation (Headline: “Yet Another 40-year-old Manager Scores a Hot 25-year-old Waitress, Ditching His 50-year-old Wife In The Process! High Fives All Around!”) I don’t want to think about him or (especially) Them anymore. Not for Love. Not for Forgiveness. Not at all. The rest is just more mindfuckery.

  • I do not think it is healthy or necessary to love people…just not hate them. Hate does eat you up and bitterness sours your own patch, not theirs.
    Does she really love them, especially her ex friend? If this person was taken ill would she worry? Does she want to continue the friendship, hear the news, get together for coffee, exchange gifts and invite them round? Thought not.
    Someone asked me if I would be pleased if the OW got cancer and I decided no. I truly do not care if she gets cancer or not but do not wish to be sick or sad enough to delight in the prospect as I have to live with my thoughts and she does not know or care what they are.
    If a chump wants to take the holier-than-thou path then let them. If they want to rampage around like an angry bear forevermore then its up to them. I aim for healthy indifference where they no longer have the power to “make me” anything…then I am free.

  • I use that ‘hatred’ of being chumped in the past as fuel for my boundaries in the future.
    Fuck forgiveness. They don’t deserve it.
    I certainly don’t need self-righteous crap being spewed by a cheap skank who had the mentality of a toddler (ITS ALL ABOUT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!) to ditch her husband to ‘find herself’ – and I certainly don’t need to be thought of as inferior to someone like that – because I am not. Period.
    I love people who are worthy to be loved – its not cheap fodder flung around to everyone and sundry.

  • “We should NEVER presume to tell people to forgive their abusers.” Right on, sister! And, why is it, that even -some- therapist will tell an abused individual to “show compassion” and “here read this book to understand why he(the cheater) is doing what he’s doing” instead of “get the hell out, and here’s how”? I don’t get it…I never will…and I don’t want to. There are 10,000 levels of crazy, but when you break it down…it’s still “just crazy”. Who would want crazy in their lives…and why on earth would you want to show compassion and understand it?
    The Oprafication of America is not yet complete. Thanks CL

  • Yeah I can level here. This forgiveness and infinite love is a bag of horse crap. During the first attempts of marriage counseling, a psychologist told me I need to figure out if I’m man enough to forgive the soon-to-be ex-wife. I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or find out who I should contact to have her license called into question/revoked. By the way, not all Christians are down for this auto-forgive and perfect love stuff. That’s God’s job. It’s the responsibility of the offender to seek forgiveness and it also requires true repentance. I don’t know if all stories match mine, but that seems pretty rare judging by how my story seems to be in lock-step with almost every article CL writes + comments.

  • Elizabeth Gilbert sat in India meditating while getting devoured by mosquitos. How much stock are we really going to put in anything she says?

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