Spackle, for those new to Chump Lady, is the term I’ve given to slopping over the glaring faults and red flags of your cheater. In real life, spackle is the goop you use to fill unsightly dings and gouges in a wall. Squish it in, sand and prime, and voila! The appearance of unblemished normalcy!
Psychological spackle is when you keep trying to skim coat over the cracks and faulty foundation of your relationship.
Some examples of spackle are: He’s not a mooch, he’s just going through a difficult time now while he lives rent-free in his mother’s basement writing that screen play… for seven years. She’s really very clever, but she can’t keep a job because her bosses are intimidated by her brilliance. He doesn’t mean to be verbally abusive, it’s just that he’s tired after work and the kids are annoying. She’s not a flake, she’s a sensitive Buddhist dance major with a penchant for yoga pants and under employment.
A little spackle in a relationship is fine. Necessary even. You usually want to give the people you love the benefit of the doubt and see their occasional fuck ups through the gauzy haze of benevolence. Spackle becomes toxic though when there is more spackle than substance. More gaping hole than wall. Spackle is when you find yourself continually defending this person to yourself and others.
What’s really nuts though is when other people in your life spackle as much or more than you do, and they fail as reality checks.
For example, let’s say your husband cheats on you, and your mother is there with the spackle trough. “Well, a lot of men do that, and you have gained a little post-baby weight.” Or friends who know the horrors this person put you through, still persist in thinking the cheater is a “nice person.” Maybe they stay Facebook friends or invite them to the next BBQ. “Can’t we all just get along? Martin is still family to me.”
Spackle associates untangle the skein of fuckupedness for you and posit their own theories. “Well, she’s always needed validation since she lost the Miss Sugar Beet pageant.” Or they speak in reconciliation cliches. “He’s just broken up inside, but he doesn’t show it. He’ll be able to express sorry some day, but he’s in a fog now.”
The problem with spackle associates is that your sense of reality and self-protection is pretty wobbly in the beginning — and then they’re smoking the hopium pipe too? It can keep a chump stuck, or second-guessing themselves.
Truth is a good therapist, or an old friend, or a Ray who takes you out for a beer and says. “Dude, this is fucked up. You deserve better.”
Rays are the kind of people you can’t bullshit. “Fuck the Sugar Beet pageant. That was in 1996. Bitch likes to sleep around. Wake UP.”
Hold the Rays close.