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Tiffany Glass Windows

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Hi guys, I’m on the road today, so forgive me, I’m running an oldie from 2013. But given the new number of chumps who join us everyday, perhaps some of you haven’t read it before. Back soonest! — Tracy

tiffany-chapel

Hi chumps! I’ve been on vacation with my family in Orlando, Florida for a few days. Yesterday my mother and I visited the Morse Museum in Winter Park, which if you find yourself in the Disney World orbit, I can highly recommend over rollercoasters, crowds, and uber-commercialized touristy crap at the theme parks. The Morse Museum is a mind-blowing collection of Tiffany glass, jewelry, and Arts and Crafts pottery. Really, I cannot convey to you how exquisite it all is. Make it a must-do if you find yourself in this neck of the woods. But the crowning jewel of the museum is the Tiffany Chapel.

tif-peacockThe chapel was created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It’s this Byzantine-inspired Art Nouveau confection of glass mosaic and stained glass. It’s freaking amazing. The altar piece is a mosaic of two peacocks facing each other with a crown floating above — it looked like a technicolor dream of Gustave Klimt to me, the swirls and jewel-like abstractions. They say it was Louis Comfort Tiffany’s masterpiece.

The chapel had a rather sad history, which you can read about. Suffice it to say, it was a sensation when it debuted, but then struggled to find a home. Tiffany rescued it at one point, had it restored and installed in his mansion estate Laurelton Hall, (which is its own amazing story). By the 1950s, the estate was abandoned and in 1957 a fire raged for three days and most of the place was destroyed. The chapel survived, only just.

The daughter of Tiffany called the McKeans, a couple that ran a small museum in Winter Park, Florida and asked if they wanted a few of the windows. Okay, TRY and imagine a world in which someone is saying “here, please TAKE a Tiffany stained glass window off me, because I know you would appreciate it and no one else apparently does.” So the McKeans travel to Long Island, New York and viewed the wreckage of Laurelton Hall. The fire fighters had salvaged some of the windows, which were leaning against a wall — some miscreants had come and thrown rocks through some of them. The place was full of debris, open to the elements. The McKeans decided then to rescue the chapel and save as much as they could. At the museum are photos of the ruins and the salvage company that came to move it — who didn’t treat it right, threw all the pieces in the back of a truck with the crowning indignity — topping the pile with an old tire.

Mind blowing.

Tiff-MorseWhat does this have to do with infidelity? Well, as I was listening to this story during the narrated film at the museum (which my mother insisted on attending… thank you Mom…), I thought — what kind of MONSTER throws a rock through a Tiffany glass window?! What kind of idiot cannot see how freaking beautiful these works of art are? What sort of world do we live in where an entire mansion full of Tiffany glass is just abandoned? And it occurred to me, that some people can’t see obvious beauty. They destroy and devalue. Or they can only appreciate something if it is set in a context of What Is Fashionable and Approved Of, versus just seeing it for what it IS — beautiful and worthy.

Cheaters are the sorts of people who would throw a rock through a Tiffany glass window. To give your heart to someone, to be faithful to them, to try and forgive an unforgivable betrayal — that makes you a beautiful person. Tiffany glass windows are no less valuable because some idiot could not appreciate their beauty and threw a rock. Tiffany windows should not think… Gee, if I’d only been some work of abstract expressionism… something in vogue… if I’d only been a Jackson Pollack painting, they wouldn’t have thrown that rock. No, Tiffany windows are what they are — exquisite, obviously beautiful things. It just took escaping the ruins and the rock throwers for the world to notice was was really apparent all along — that these are works of art. Precious creations.

I believe this is true for chumps as well. Get away from the burning ruins and find someone who appreciates you. Your worth was never in question. Some people throw rocks. Some people are ugly and can’t see true beauty. It’s not you. It’s them.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I’m sure many have the same problem; rock throwers follow you and keep reminding you of the ruins.

    Because I have kids with my rock thrower, I have to interact with her on a somewhat regular basis. Even yesterday, 9 months after Dday and 1 month after divorce, she was blame shifting still and throwing her new life, living with the OM, in my face.

    I guess that I keep wondering is if the rock throwers will stop once they know the windows are in a new museum or will they just try to burn down that museum too. I have a new love. She appreciates me, flaws and all. I just wonder if things will change or will my ex try to hurt me in this too.

    • My rock thrower has followed my for 2 years. Still blame shifting and still trying to draw me into her skein. It never ends

      • It DOES end; you need to believe that deep down and be patient. Yes, I do know how hard that is.
        Five years past DDay, my son wrote a letter to his girlfriend’s father telling him that he renewed his faith that a man can be good, loving, kind and a wonderful father. That this man is his real role model of what a man and father looks like.
        That action speaks volumes. His own father will never see that letter. I have never said anything, but talk about satisfying!
        I never had to do anything. Life, and the values I demonstrated every day, showed him the truth of who and what a cheater is like.

        • that is awesome; thank you for sharing that. I also have kids who grew up w/o me ever saying a bad word about their dad but actions speak louder than words and they have grown up being able to judge character, so i will never worry about them when i’m gone!

        • I try to keep my narrative out of discussions, just stick to the facts. I do reiterate often that when you make bad choices, there are consequences. Hopefully this will resonate, my young (9&11) boys seem to get it.

          • I just want to add that I think it is also fine to talk about the other spouse to your kids. Healthy families talk and if the cheater spouse has done something to hurt a child it is OK to talk about it. Yes, many kids figure this stuff out on their own but it is OK to talk about bad choices, destructive behavior, selfishness, narcissism, etc.- especially with older kids. Don’t chance it for your kids to figure this out. Talk about it, be open and honest about feelings and what they see. Don’t call spouse bad names or get preachy but keep a dialogue going.

          • Yes, and many of us , unbeknownst to us at the time, made a very bad choice in a mate.
            In my case, even with the masking that was done, had I been healthier, I would have noticed the red flags.
            In any case, I did get 5 great kids out of the deals. I would go through this a hundred times if it meant they were here.

            • True, Arnold. My son is my heart. Thank God he is here, and he wouldn’t have been if not for my cheating wife.

              • I agree-The one and only thing I don’t regret about is stbx is my wonderful son. Although I’m not very religious, there is an amazing quote about children that I read that has really stuck with me- “I believe that God sent you into my life to give me something to fight for, to show me there is love in this world, to give me hope and bring me joy, all the proof in the world and god is in you, you are a gift from heaven”

                For years I hadn’t had the strength to fight back against stbx’s poor treatment of me. I had become a shell of myself and his doormat. My little boy is the reason I have strength now to fight back….I’m getting ready to divorce and move on. I don’t know if I would have had the strength if it wasn’t for my son……Wanting a better life for my son meant wanting a better life for me!! He was my miracle baby & I believe that he saved me too.

      • My protective order is expiring again in May. The women’s center attorney is telling me that I won’t be able to renew it because my ex has not violated the order in the past year. It’s stressing me out badly, the REASON he hasn’t violated the PO is because he is afraid to go to jail and he knows I’ll report anything he does. So they are telling me that I can’t get it renewed because it fucking WORKS. I can only get it renewed if it does NOT work, in which case it’s a useless piece of paper. Then they assure me if he shows up I can always get another PO… that would assume he doesn’t kill me now wouldn’t it? Fucking bullshit.

        • Absolutely makes no sense Dat! What could it hurt to just renew the damn thing??? Honestly, I’m so tired of stupid rules and stupid people! I’m assuming you live in Va. I have lived there near DC and those idiots are so much more worried about what is PC than what is just common sense! I may have to move back there after my divorce and I’m not really looking forward to it at all!! So sorry to hear that these folks would rather risk your life than just issue another order!

        • Dat–I can imagine how awful you must feel. I know Irish had a choice between a domestic abuse protective and a non-expiring protective order that did not put a DA charge on her STBX’s record. Perhaps she’ll chime in here (or I’ll see if I can remember what order she has).

        • When I was a law clerk at the PD Office, I assisted a lot if people in obtaining temporary restraining orders. They always seemed useless against a truly violent person. If one of these folks is going to hurt you, a piece of paper is useless.
          I would start packing heat, Dat.
          .

        • Dat,

          I am so sorry that you have to go through this. There are so many ridiculous Catch-22’s in our legal system. Stay safe and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Leave a small note:

      If you die, I will not grieve, but our children will grieve. You are a cruel and insensitive human being, and our children will learn from you. Nothing disturbs me more than knowing that you are the model our children will emulate. While I teach them love, you will teach them selfishness, and while I teach them faith, you will teach them betrayal. I know of no greater suffering in such powerlessness.

      • …but don’t give the note to the betrayer. Keep it for yourself as a reminder for a while, then toss it.

        • Absolutely! Giving them the note would be
          a) pointless, because they will NEVER ‘get it’
          b) an opening for them to drag you into some more drama
          c) KIBBLES! Any attention, even negative, is attention, and they love it!
          d) another chance for them to laugh behind your back about how crazy you are

          So write it, save it for yourself, because it DOES mean something to you!

        • Re the note: this resonated with me such that it had me in tears. Especially for our daughter who now has a cheater for a male role model. Way to go. That bar set so high for her? Yep, it’s now scraping the barrel.

          • Hoping that with counseling she is more intuitive about her relationships. Hoping that she chooses nothing like her dad. Funny thing is I said that I would never marry anyone like my dad. In most ways I did not. But I ended up with a cheater like my dad. How do I break the cycle? I never want my kids to suffer this kind of heartbreak!

        • I agree. It does not hurt to send them a note like this. I did something similar a few years back. I was writing to a dear friend who was betrayed just like me at the same time.
          We exchange narratives, occasionally, when one of our ex’s many cruel doings comes to mind, just to get each other’s take.
          I described to my friend the period of the summer of 1994 when my XW was in full cheat mode. I told him of her taunting me with the description of the young man’s body who she had been out with etc.
          I cc’d my XW. I knew it would have little effect, but it made me feel better just knowing that she knew that I knew of may of her affairs and I knew what she was doing when she tried to provoke me that night.

        • Agreed!!! Though I understand the wisdom of writing down your feelings in a letter that is not intended to be sent, especially with a narc who is never going to understand it, I believe everyone has the right to choose for themselves what’s best for them. There is no one-size-fits-all way of dealing with trauma and abuse. I realized a while ago that I was stuck in not being able to move forward and I decided what was best for me was to write an email to my stbx and get off my chest just what he was putting me and my kids through. Because I had been verbally, emotionally and sexually abused and gaslighted by him for 21 years, I felt that I needed to finally have my say. I did it for me knowing it’s not going to make any difference to him at all. And boy did it help! Knowing that I had the nerve to say some of the things I said (I let him have it!) freed me! It had way more impact than just writing the letter and burning it. I felt so empowered and confident! He has since let me know that the things I said bothered him, but that’s not why I wrote it. Even if he had never read it, I needed to send it. Sometimes sending the letter is the best thing to do. Two months out and I have no regrets and I’m starting to be able to move forward now.

      • Your letter is so right on and true. I have adult kids and they have seen the distruction of what he has done.

  • It just goes to show are crazy these narcs are, they really do knock themselves. Brings to mind lyrics from Sting “why would I cry for you, why would you want me to? What would it mean to say I loved you in my fashion” – why?

    Yea – it’s the skein thing, gotta walk away from that fuckedupness.

  • That is a wonderful museum. I went there last year. Art is one of the things I find very comforting since my D-Day. I do feel bad for chumps who have kids with their exes because you have to stay in contact with them. Fortunately for me my kids were from my first marriage though narc made them an issue in our sixteen year relationship, even said the supposed hardship on him living all expenses paid in a house with kids in it was one of the things that led him to cheat. Then I reminded him they had graduated hs and moved out five years prior to DDay. That should have been a hint to me, duh, that he was a serial cheater as evidence later proved. Oh the poor sausage! She paid so much attention to her kids who’d been abandoned by their (also cheater) father to raise all on her own with minimal grudging financial help from Dad who’d moved to another state put all assets in new wife’s name, and generally avoided any contact with them. So glad Cheater is gone from my life. It still hurts to think how he just poofed when exposed, and I sometimes (rarely matters anymore) wonder why doesn’t he miss me, or the house we remodeled and turned into a home? But there you have it. A beautiful creation like a stained glass chapel and someone whose base needs, whose core being, means they are totally and utterly unable to appreciate it. One of the useful things my therapist taught me about was Maslow’s hierarchy… most cheaters are on the very low end of it.

    • TheMuse, funny thing about Maslow. As you may know, the top of his hierarchy of needs is self-actualization. Well, my fucktard met Schmoopie at a self-improvement camp whose ethos is the achievement of self-actualization. The thing is, Maslow meant that top rung to be achieved only by people like Mother Theresa and Gandhi. So not only did my fucktard throw rocks at my Tiffany windows, he thinks he did so while trying to achieve sainthood. But you’re right–cheaters are actually at the bottom of the hierarchy, meeting their basic needs for things like food and sex.

      • Well that’s one of the ironies about narcissists… I think they truly DO believe they are better than everyone else and at the top of the hierarchy right up there with Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. You just fail to give them enough kibbles, right? Their APs do that for them at least in the short run, then the cycle repeats.. lovebomb, devalue.. discard. Sometimes it takes decades for this to happen to a chump because you are of value to them (housing, food, sex, power, position, respectability) but their empty place is so empty they need more admirers to fill it.

        • Mine actually told me–no exaggeration–that he had suffered as much as Jesus Christ and was thus the same as him. So, yeah, I’d say they do think they are pretty darn special.

          (He began a seminary program after we separated, but they booted him out after he took one class. Apparently, they were looking for candidates who wanted to study about God, not be God.)

          • Eilonwy, your ex’s entitlement knows no bounds. Maybe he wanted an AP to say “Oh God” to him when they were having sex?

            The Muse, your observation about the cheater cycle taking decades is an astute one. I guess I was of use to mine as long as I nursed his health care needs. Once he recovered, he threw rocks through my window.

            • My ex’s favorite expressions (besides saying that The Universe was out to get him) were “Word to the Wise,” and “let me counsel you…” he was able to tell anyone how to do their job better, how to fix anything, the origin of anything.. bla bla bla. My kids would roll their eyes when he started bloviating, i mean talking. Eventually I could see the jealousy and envy behind this kind of bragging, and condescension.

              • My cheater wanted to co-write a book with a psychologist (relative) on how to be happy. Cheater has no education, no credentials in this field. I can’t imagine that book, but if think hard, I imagine that it would go something like, ‘Once upon a time there was this unhappily married Man. He decided to resume His cheating lifestyle, leave his wife, and refrain from paying child support. Then He was happy. The End.’ Said psychologist turned down the offer of collaboration. Had to re-arrange the closet or sock drawer that year.

        • A narc I dated once used to publicly purport to be at the top of that triangle, which was frustrating because he was thoughtless and forgetful in personal matters. Whenever it was suggested that ‘giving back’ maybe started at home – crickets.

          Turns out he was a cheater, too

        • Muse: No doubt about it: My XH actually said, out loud one day, in front of me and his BIL, “I think I’m actually better than everyone else around here!” — BIL & I exchanged confused glances and I said, “Did you actually just say what I think you just said?” He considered it for a moment and said, “Yeah. And I believe it, too.”

          Wow. Just… wow.

          • When you step back and look at these cheaters clinically, they are both fascinating and hysterical–almost like finding a new lizard species with tentacle-like eyes and 12 limbs.

      • I took another look at Maslow after your post (it’s been a long time since Psych 101, haha). I just realized that my “relationship” with XH slowly dragged me DOWN the pyramid, so that not even the lowest level of physical needs were being met towards the end…I wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping, certainly wasn’t having sex, etc. Forget about the next level, safety; the marriage was terribly unsafe both physically and psychologically. Certainly forget about the next one, love; that one was shot to shit.

        Now that I’m free at last, with all divorce proceedings over, I find myself able to start climbing back up. I’ve taken care of physical needs, safety, and am working on love and esteem. It feels so great to be able to do that.

        I wonder if the cheater narc reptiles drag us down to the lowest level because they live there, and they will never leave. They hate to see us achieving either personally or professionally, because they are trapped into mindlessly satisfying only their own base desires. Well they can wallow there, one step above the animals, while we reach for the stars!

        • Holy Crap Defying Gravity, I hadn’t thought about Maslow’s hierarchy as it applied to me and the marriage, but I do believe you are right! On DDay I felt totally adrift! The days that followed were no better because Mr.
          Sparkles had no true intentions of EVER fulfilling his vows! Quite the opposite really, he gaslit me and mentally abused the Hell out of me! I could kick myself for allowing it! I’m just glad I’m able to see him clearly now!! NEVER AGAIN will I allow anyone to treat me that way!

          • The terms ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy,’ ‘self-actualization,’ and ‘humanistic psychology’ are triggers for me now. OW was a ‘humanist.’ As both of us worked in the same field, mental health, we had a couple of things, beside the same partner, in common. I’ve never seen humanistic psychology so abused.

  • This is the answer–the only one that fits–for the question of why some cheaters do the whole discard and devalue routine, and/or the whole lie and gaslight and blameshift even if they can’t bring themselves to actually leave the chump for the OW or OM. I suspect that these people are incapable of seeing the intrinsic beauty of anything because nothing is real outside themselves.

  • I am somewhat new here and thought I had read through all of the archives but I must have missed this entry. Thank you for reposting, CL. This is beautifully written… can’t stop crying. Thanks so much for what you do for us chumps.

  • I missed this one too but I think I was in the middle of the ‘leave a cheater’ part of the equation. I’ve learned so much from this site. What a beautiful analogy!

  • Your beautiful metaphor brought tears to my eyes. And to think, this article first appeared back when I was blissfully unaware that my soon-to-be rock thrower was looking for a pile of sharp stones to hurl at me.

  • Stick and stones!
    I am no Tiffany glasswork masterpiece… More like streamers and blinking christmas lights… But it was still my work of art… My family. And as many stones that he has thrown at it… And all the sticks he has broken over me…. He cant take it away. Funny enough he still wants to be part of the museum.

    • I think this article came before I found CL but it is amazing and touched me. Yes, like Clip, I do not see myself as a Tiffany glasswork masterpiece however; I considered my marriage, my family and my son to be my most precious works of art and I think they are beautiful. While, stbx smashed and demolished the fragile marriage part of this treasure, I have come to realize that I can restore the beauty and tarnish that stbx tried to take from us. And soon my “museum” will have undergone a complete cheater free restoration…and stbx won’t even be allowed to get into the parking lot to buy a ticket!

      • Shortly after cheater left, I read something that made me feel better. My marriage is very tied up in how I view myself, but my son and I are still a family. Cheater just chose not to be a part of it any longer. That is his loss. Now I realize that the only thing that made cheater respectable or admirable was us. Now to his family, friends, co-workers he’s just an asshole. Many people have commented to me that they never liked him, or he was too controlling and arrogant. His ugliness had to finally totally break free and announce to the world how ugly he really is, inside and out. But we are a beautiful Tiffany window. We are still a family. We care for each other and have integrity.

      • The Tiffany story resonates with me because I live in a beautiful Arts and Crafts style bungalow that my stbxh and I (90% I) designed and built. It’s full of Arts and Crafts era pottery, Tiffany era art glass lamps, textiles, furnishings and accessories that were collected over time, Including lanterns of wood and stained glass that I made, and textiles I lovingly embroidered in the style. I was stunned when packing up his belongings after kicking his cheating ass out, to realize after 38 years together, everything of his fit into only 5 boxes, most of that clothes. There was literally “no one home”. In our hall Library, He had no books, other than high school and college yearbooks and a few novels I had given him. No music to speak of, No hobbies or collections, no nothing. Only his cowboy belt buckles, won team penning. Walking through every room in the house, looking at every shelf, every drawer, there was not a single piece of anything reflecting his life except belt buckles? I was completely stunned. Who is this man? What does he stand for? It was painful to realize there is nothing there. Just a narcissistic shell. A false persona.

        I was the one who introduced him to horses and put the HUGE down payment on our ranch (from a big art commission). He was supposed to pay half of it, but of course at the last minute was “waiting for a real estate commission”, so couldn’t I just pay for now? He then proudly played up his new “cowboy persona” but was, as they say, all hat and no cattle. Anything of real value he owned were things I had designed and hand made, hand tooled, or commissioned for him and given him as gifts. It sounds like I am some rich control freak, quite the contrary. I am a hard working creative artist, with a strong aesthetic and great eye for design. My sister recently told me that I was the one who had all the class, and who made him look good. So a year after D-Day number ?, I am finally seeing the sickening reality, slowly coming back to “me” and “meh”, as I discover my true value. He blatantly lied, cheated, gaslighted, conned and disrespected me, his sons, and the beauty I created for our family. Threw rocks at priceless beauty. Moving on and living a fabulous life on this incredible property will be my best revenge. Wonder if he will ever realize, as he sits in a tiny rental paid for by Schmoopie, the enormity of what he has lost. Nah, He will likely just drown his feelings with alcohol and pretend to be happy. His loss.

        • Ohmigosh, ChumpChange – I thought I was crazy for a bit over this very issue. After 23 yrs & 8 mos, there was NO evidence this douchebag was a member of my family!! Just 8 black trash bags of his shitty clothes, and a few books that I bought him over the years that he never read. The fact that he didn’t take anything from the home in the divorce meant that my home is EXACTLY as it always has been – MINE! From colors, to furniture, to dishes, to photos – it was always me the whole time! He had ZERO hobbies or interests, so there was nothing in the home other than a few family photos that I framed and hung or sat out. Those were easy to either get rid of or cut him out of, but the fact that he almost didn’t exist was the crazy part for me. How did I NOT see this?? The ONLY thing that he had that took up room was a $2K mega weight lifting thing in the garage. Yeah – some high-dollar POS that took up too much room, and that he used for a while to focus on HIMSELF. When he got bored of that, he lifted weights for 2-3 hours a day at work so the bitches there could give his stupid ass the kibbles he was so desprate for. Why I felt it, but didn’t accept that he was a kibble/whore predator all of our lives since we were teenagers is something I’ll never forget, and never do again.

          Just like you, CC, I also wonder something about my Xcheater/whore. Has he considered that he’ll be a freakin’ homeless BUM when this 10-year younger whore (she was married till I busted them & told her then-husband, who served the “special” whore on Valentine’s Day LOL!!) continues to seek out a better option to raise her two small brats? My cheater-whore walked away from his own blood (son 22 & daugher 15 AND a grandson 2) and a life-long loyal covenant wife, yet that whore-worker thinks she’s so freakin’ special that he’s likely not already cheating on her?! LOLOL!! Can’t wait for that freakin’ Karma Bus to pull up to pick up these whores. It’s been making small pit stops at his door since I busted and divorced him. When that full stop happens, wonder if he’ll blame me for that, too? LOL – don’t care!

          So sorry for all of us amazing Tiffany Chumps and the beautiful Tiffany Families we created, and that these whores threw rocks into and broke.

  • As Tracy said, these beautiful Tiffany glass windows didn’t get stones thrown at them because of what they were not.

    “Being enough” is a concept we frequently tackle with faithful spouses. An affair makes people question why they weren’t enough to keep their cheater faithful but the faithful partner doesn’t cause infidelity. You don’t cause it, drive someone to it, or deserve it.

    A cheater’s choice to cheat is not a mistake, it’s not because you failed to meet their needs, and it’s not because you didn’t look like Halle Berry or Guy Ritchie. Cheaters are the cause infidelity and their choice to cheat is about what THEY are not, not what YOU are not.

    You could go on all the diets, and have all the money, penile implants, and boob jobs in the world – it won’t change who your cheater is at all. A cheater will cheat regardless of what you are or are not.

    You are enough – don’t measure your worth by someone else’s lack of appreciation.

    • Wayfarer, I just want you to know how much I love your site. I recently discovered your site from Moving Liquid’s link on one of her posts. I read a lot of your articles and since I am now at meh and everything is so clear to me, all I can do is nod my head in agreement every time I read your blog posts. Thank you.

    • Love your post, Wayfarer! Yes – you’re exactly right. And, don’t we all know, even the beautiful and talented ones like Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Elizabeth Hurley, Eva Longoria and even now my beloved Bjork were cheated on by losers who lacked integrity, and faked family and loyalty. Were these “boys” talented? Maybe. Handsome? Depends on the lighting. Entitled, selfish, destructive, abusive? YES. Cheaters suck, and they all destroyed families and dreams. Funny how my XH thought he was SO amazing and “different” in every way. Turns out his lame ass excuses for betrayal and abandonment of me and our daughter are identical to all the other cheaters I read about here. Yeah – SO “different” and “special.” F-tard.

      BTW, Bjork’s album released a few weeks ago is a timeline of 2013, and is entirely about her cheater’s betrayal and abandonment, and about the death and destruction he caused her family unit. She holds nothing back. But it’s also about her rebuilding – atom-by-atom – who she is, what her family is now, and about how through her extensive suffering, she is made whole again, and how she uses her brokenness for strength. Talk about perfect timing for me. If nothing else, read the lyrics. Not sure anyone has called out adultery like she does on this release: Vulnicura.

      (((hugs))) to every one of you Tiffany Chumps. We are SO beautiful. Thank you for reminding us of this, Tracy. <3

  • The masterpiece destroying image resonates with me. A few days ago, cheating STBX asked for reconciliation (offered to stop the divorce process that he started). As I thought, ‘What’s the point in calling of the divorce if the abuse continues?’ i sent him a message containing a few basic questions related to how he envisioned our marriage going forward. Pathologically paranoid, he became enraged that I put such questions in print, even though the message was sent to him only and he has often forbidden me from talking to him face to face, because he was afraid that, if the information leaked out, he would get into serious trouble. (Contrary to what he claims, (politely) discussing his nefarious actions is not the cause of our marital strife; his unethical and cruel actions for decades caused the strife. Maybe he shouldn’t have broken laws and vows in the first place if he didn’t want to experience the consequences, but that type of thought is beyond the grasp of a narcissist.) He denigrated me by telling me that I was impossible, had not ‘fixed’ myself, and over a decade, I contributed virtually nothing to our family (e.g., my relatives, not I, raised our children for all the years he was gone). Such a slap in the face. He made no comment on his actions’ effects (bomb blast) on our family. I am bracing myself for many more years of narc cycling of semi-civilized behavior/devaluation. He does deserve credit for one thing, though–by abusing me (and others) for years, he conditioned me to much more calmly and effectively deal with irate people than I did when I met him (and I was considered patient by most people’s standards even then).

    • Rockstarwife, mine said the SAME thing. I never contributed one thing to our marriage. (Only a house, second income, free maid service, etc.) A few days later he claimed to not remember saying it and seemed surprised. I actually believe he did not remember it. They are so frantic searching for excuses that they pull things out of midair. But it is a slap in the face and a knife in the back and there’s no excuse for it.

    • RockStarWife–your H’s treatment of you breaks my heart. I know you have children together, but he sounds like a king Narc. Go NC as much as possible; it helps. Custody arrangements can be handled by texts–short & to the point.

    • I got the same thing. My STBXW is rewriting history i her mind to make me a parasite, 17 years of emotional support, housework, providing the bulk of our income, raising our children …. nothing.

      • Just think “blah, blah, blah, blah” when they talk. Their content is either a pack of lies or designed to wound–never the truth.

        • “rock? what rock? i didnt throw any rocks? it must be your fault the window is broken. nothing i do is good enough for you. you are never happy with what i do. I work!”

          that is what my Xh would tell me…..

    • Rockstar,

      My ex also started the divorce process after I found out about the affair. So, in his mind, he didn’t do anything wrong because he did indeed want the divorce. He tells everyone now, “she didn’t leave me, I lleft her”. A few weeks after starting it, he also came back to me wanting to reconcile. Of course, chumpy me said yes. It only lasted 2 weeks and it sucked. He couldn’t believe that I had not forgiven him, stated I was half the problem, said that I wasn’t changing enough, blahblahblah. They don’t change.

    • RockStarWife, now you know that any contact will just provide him with the opportunity to throw more rocks at your stained glass windows, I hope you will be able to go NC as much as possible.

      My STBX claimed he wanted to try reconciliation too, and then made not the slightest effort to do so. When I said, “I guess you’re not going to try to reconcile after all, then,” he rolled his eyes and sighed theatrically: “it’s impossible to talk to you.”

      As LAJ said above, no one else is real to these arseholes. So they are frustrated and abusive when we are standing there before them, insisting on our modest needs for care and respect, because our independent existence just melts their narc brains.

      • Worked with a woman who was not my direct supervisor but was involved in the same work I was. Fortunately for me my supervisor observed her in action because otherwise I might have been in serious trouble. There were lots of legalities involved with this woman. She would say something and ten minutes later deny it. Her behavior became so outrageous that she was finally fired but not before she had created chaos in our office. Many of your spouses appear to have the same delusional, pathological minds. None of us ever figured out what was wrong with her or how she got promoted. She came to our office already in her new job. She was really scary from a legal standpoint. There was no reasoning with her. If you are able to go NC I think it would make your lives so much better. I almost took out a “hostile work environment” against my employer because nothing was done about her behavior until the day she did this to the big boss. We all thought “do not let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!” I hope your narcs lose your phone numbers, email addresses and your names. Nothing beats peace and quiet but more peace and quiet.

        • This happened to me too, except it was not only my supervisor, but HER boss as well. Big cesspool of narcissistic fuckwaddery.
          Now that I’m out of that job and working a new one, its a breath of fresh air and far, FAR less stress. You almost find it ‘odd’ to have people who respect you for what you do, and who you are as a person.

        • It’s one of life’s mysterious why crazy people end up as supervisors and organization leaders. And usually the only way to get rid of them is to…. promote them!

      • Griselda and other wonderful chump supporters,
        Thank you for your support. I agree that less contact is better.

  • Well first of all I thought I’d read EVERY SINGLE POST and yet here is this treasure. Thanks once again ChumpLady. This one for some reason has had a huge impact. Call it a light bulb moment. Even after over a year of the divorce from hell (still ongoing with no end in sight) and lots of thinking and reading and working on me, every so often I still fall into that place of low self worth. Your daily lessons/ medication are invaluable.

  • This topic brought up some nice memories:

    When my late parents were dating over 50 years ago one of their favorite places was the Cleveland Museum of Art. My dad was stationed nearby with the army & my mom, a country girl, had moved to the big city to work in a factory. It was a cheap date & they would spent all day there. My mother liked to say they fell in love with each other in the Impressionist room.

    When I was dating my ex over 30 years ago, we were both starving students. I scraped up some money to visit him in Boston. He had a list of cheap places & things to do one of which was the Museum of Fine Arts. I too fell in love over the hours spent there with him. When we were married we traveled extensively never missing a museum no matter how small or out of the way. I even went as far as a getting a MA in Art History (currently ABT- all but thesis).

    My current financial situation precludes me from museum visiting but as a lovely parting gift, I got all of our art books, including those of my parents. In the 5 years since dday, those books have given me a sense of peace & comfort.

  • I think my husband thinks of himself as an aesthete (and Tiffany window) and me as a clueless dumb oaf. He writes poetry, he composes music. He dresses formally. He’s a DEEP thinker.

    But as his masked slowly slipped I saw that when I bought him that beautiful book of Shakespeare’s poetry, he never cracked it open. He told me that he got through university without buying, let alone reading, a single book. Everything he did he did with as little effort as possible, and then took extraordinary credit for his accomplishments.

    Now I know he got through university by threatening and intimidating people, just like he did in our marriage. He is constantly in a state of threatening to sue, report, etc. and he exhausts people to the point where they simply want him to go away.

    He took time to go to customer service at a large department store in London to tell them they need to change the direction of their escalators. He wrote a very long letter to Banana Republic telling them that their $179 trousers must be sent to the store already in immaculate condition (i.e. not wrinkled) because to see the staff steam ironing them in the store makes them less special.

    Speaking of Shakespeare, he’s convinced Shakespeare didn’t write those works, the nazis weren’t so bad, we never went to the moon, let alone walked on it; and 9/11 was an inside job.

    So my husband goes overboard on a daily basis to convince others that he is a Tiffany window, and, as a typical narcissist, if they aren’t impressed by his sparkle, he demeans them and writes them off. I guess that’s what he did to me in the end.

    But now I see that it is his own insecurity that insists he argue with people about absolutely everything. And I realize that I was more secure in who I was than he will ever be.

    • Frauds believe everything and everyone around them are frauds. Very telling.

      Mine used to say, “They are just trying to fuck with me,” and almost go crazy believing this. I had to calm him down.

      HE WAS THE ONE FUCKING WITH EVERYONE–family, clients, friends and yours truly.

        • ML, I can relate to the feeling sorry for our exs and confusing it with love. I remember when I first started to go out with my ex, we were 23 years old and over dinner he told me that he was adopted but would not make eye contact with me. I felt so sorry for him. Another time we were at a function with his cricket friends who thought I was absolutely gorgeous and asked him where he met someone like me. At this function one of the ‘in crowd’ chaps asked me why I was “still with the loser”. That made me more protective of him and the rest is history. Can I tell you that he never made eye contact with me in nearly 40 years and I hardly heard him say my name. So to answer your question, yes, I agree we both were confused. But I am glad because I have my 2 children and my days are now very nice and happy. Never thought I would feel this way. I hope you are well?

          • Oh Maree, do you think thats a thing? Mine never called me by my name either and if he did it always sounded really weird, like he had trouble saying it. The eye contact, especially at the end, was non existant too. But the name thing, what’s it about?

            • Nat1, it is very disturbing isn’t it? My ex husband almost acted like he could not remember my name when introducing me to people. I always took notice of his awkwardness and it made me feel uncomfortable. He is still awkward and socially inept but he thinks he is cool, that is the main thing!!

        • ML, I remember the only advice my mother ever gave me about men and love when I was a teenager. She said “never go out with someone you feel sorry for.” I think this was how she ended up with my father, and they had a rather unsatisfying marriage overall. Great advice, even now in my 50s. No more sad puppy dog eyes for me or men who are constantly “hurt” and “confused.”

      • CJ I hate to say it yet again, but wow these cheaters are literally all the same. My XH thought everyone was trying to screw him, all the time; even quit a very high paying and prestigious job because of it, which was literally crazy. When again, in fact, he was always trying to screw everyone like yours was.

        I’ve chalked it up to that old saying “a liar won’t believe anyone else.” Kind of like why he accused me of cheating. He thinks everyone is cheating and screwing him because that’s his vision of how people treat each other. That’s what the filthy garbage inside of his head looks like.

        And that’s also what makes us chumps, believing and faithful; the inside of our heads is loving and trusting and beautiful…as CL’s column today so poignantly illustrates.

    • MovingLiquid–it is pretty clear that your X was no Tiffany Window. Closer to those cheap plastic templates in the Dollar store that you pour little plastic beads into & bake to resemble cheap Tiffany window charms.

      (I’ll grant your X only 1 point–the person we know as Shakespeare did not write those plays; my bet is on Christopher Marlowe–I can recommend some interesting books on the topic for anyone who is interested.)

    • ML, whew, your husband sounds far more like a cracked piece of cheap plexiglass than a Tiffany window. Cue Twilight Zone music and a Rod Serling narrative…

    • I’m a huge reader and so this statement: “He told me that he got through university without buying, let alone reading, a single book.” never ceases to amaze me. How is this statement ever said in pride? My first thought is ALWAYS, “Wow, so you must be a big dumb illiterate, then.” I love books. LOVE them. Someone says this, they’re an idiot. Without fail.

  • Ha ha, the escalators! Did he write to David Cameron and request that they change to driving on other side of the roads too?

  • While I get the analogy, I’ve also observed how my cheater is capable of respecting and cherishing many external and remote items. She takes good care of her physical items, she sends thank you notes to distant family members, she cries when the News reports children being harmed.

    But for some reason, she is absolutely incapable and lacking the capacity for empathy for me, her dedicated, loving, giving chump of a husband. I was the fully engaged, listening, blood, sweat and tears type of husband who made providing for his wife and nurturing our marriage the highest priority in my life. In return, I received nothing except absolute disrespect.

    She wasn’t even capable of the realization that she was throwing stones through my heart. She had no interest in being aware of the devastation and destruction she brought forth.

    It sucks to be your wife’s closest, most dedicated partner and then to be treated a hundred thousand times worse than an inanimate object.

    • Buddy, my EH felt sorry for everyone but me. Exact same situations, he’d feel sorry for the stranger but tell me to “suck it up” and that I “was making too much of it”. The few times I got compassion were based on whether he thought it was “justified” in his opinion. Like when I had cancer it was “okay” for me to feel upset but not when I started getting panic attacks during the discard phase. He didn’t “believe” in anxiety or panic attacks. I once froze in panic trying to cross a bridge and he told me I would have been okay if I just kept going. I literally couldn’t move! Same thing happened in a skybox at a baseball game. I started to panic from the height and instead of being understanding, he told me that he’d never take me to another game. And he didn’t, because I wasn’t “appreciative”. It really really does suck.

      • Oh, and I was never consulted about sitting in the skybox. His friend got the tickets for us and I was just expected to deal with it.

        • Oh my, my WH is the same too! Compassion for everyone but me! I get a life threatening event and am told to move on with it! And having compassion for the subsequent anxiety attacks? I was made to feel like such a wimp. Not like I nearly died right? Not like this is ever going to go away, not like I am now at risk and everyday should be a gift for us all.

      • —> “but not when I started getting panic attacks during the discard phase. He didn’t “believe” in anxiety or panic attacks.”

        Lina, that’s like the cheater saying, “I used to be attracted to you, but since you got PTSD from having to deal with my infidelity, you are no longer attractive, so I guess I’ll have to keep having affairs!”

        Just f’ing sick and twisted.

        • My ex said I was unhappy in our marriage too, he kept trying to convince me that we both wanted out. It was so crazy, of course I was unhappy those last few years. He was gone all the time, distant, barely communicating. Who wouldn’t have been unhappy? But I didn’t know about the affair, I thought he was just under tremendous pressure from work. I was trying to be understanding and patient with his constant traveling. If I’d known he was having an affair I wouldn’t have stuck around waiting for him to come home. Anyway, “you got PTSD from having to deal with my infidelity, you are no longer attractive, so I guess I’ll have to keep having affairs!” reminds me of how it felt to be accused of being unhappy too. It’s like a bully punching you in the stomach, then saying “since you cried after I punched you I’m going to punch you again.”

          • Lyn, I went through something similar. He was one of the ones (cowards) that thought if he made me miserable enough that I’d say I wanted out first and then he be off scot free. I too thought (and was told) it was job stress. He’d take me out and then pick a fight there so I’d get upset. This was his excuse for not taking me anywhere at the end. I didn’t appreciate it and was so miserable. Frankly, I got so tired of being told what I was thinking. And of course I heard the old, “We’ll both be better off” line at the end. It really is crazy making.

        • Trigger alert. Yes, Buddy—mine did something like that. Decimated me with the knowledge of his affair, then said HE wanted to divorce ME because I wasn’t getting over it soon enough (after 6 weeks and 1 MC session). My response was to file on him the next business day, 9 a.m. Best decision of my adult life.

      • We were hiking down Mt Whitney… I was tired, and we were on a scree slope on a single person trail sliced into the scree slope, so steep slope above and 3000 feet below and I had to walk down into a slight dip in the trail. I panicked and couldn’t do it. He just got mad, yelled at me, berated me… So that helped NOT… I was even more stuck. Then came this little boy scout troop, they linked hands, went around me like a fence so I felt like I had some protection on the down side and I was able to move. My mother was with us. Oh how I wish that me or my mother had some standards… that we knew what disordered turdballs looked like, but instead I spend the next 30 years spackling a demonic ‘sweetie pie.’

    • Buddy, this rings a bell. My w is very, very protective of some of her things like her clothes. She would walk across a park to a trash can so as not to litter. She can be horrified at the horrors in a movie like Schindler’s List. She will reach out to a neighbor who is sick. She reacts appropriately when there is a tragedy far away. Those are good things.

      But deep down, there is very little real empathy. She has very little emotion at funerals of people we know, even her Dad’s. Our son (a very tough kid) was in really, really bad pain once and in tears, and she sat unsympathetically because she was irritated he had chosen to go home with me to see the doctor earlier rather than hang with her at the vacation place. Once, when he broke his collarbone at the beach, she stayed in her chair and then hung out for the rest of the afternoon on the beach with her friends while I helped him and then drove him to the ER. She complained about going to help him move in at college his freshman year and only went at all because he said, “MOM!!!” She left post haste as soon as she could to head back to the beach to party with friends. She didn’t help him move in at all or consult with him on it the next two years (and she won’t next year, either – very little interest).

      She has shown about the same level of empathy to me over the past several years and almost none since the D-Day and afterwards process. One quick example – I had an outpatient heart procedure done a few years ago (not a big deal, but as the Doc who was doing the cutting said, anytime you go into the heart it is serious). She didn’t go, she had a horseback riding lesson; my son took me. I thought it was a bit odd, I certainly would have been there if the shoe were on the other foot, but was OK with it. The Doc and the nurse team were furious, however.

      Not to go off on a tangent, this just brought back a few memories. None of these are a big deal, and she would have quick, convincing explanations if there were ever any questions. Heck, after talking to her, you would think I was crazy to even mention this stuff. But, still, the pattern makes you wonder.

      The point is that there is something missing with these people, kind of a dark empty hole.

      • Yeah? Horse riding? That actually made me laugh. Heart surgery? No words. Nope. None. When I read that kind of thing on here I know that we are all going to have good lives because of the single fact that we are not with such specimens any more. Horse riding …what a *****. You are a wonderful dad. I hope I meet someone like you one day.

      • I totally relate chumpguy. And in my case as well, since the kids are also part of the inner circle, they too are victims of the neglect and lack of empathy. After I told my therapist about my STBX’s relationship with our children, that was when he realized I had nothing to work with and that she might not ever get better – i.e. the dark empty hole.

      • I think that sort of ‘outward’ empathy is not done out of empathy as we chumps would describe it, but for the ego boost it brings to them. “I don’t litter, therefore I am better than all the other people who do. Let everyone SEE me going out of my way to find a trash can so they realize how much better I am than them.” Not the “I don’t litter because it’s bad for the environment and makes the park gross for everyone else” approach a normal person might have.

        I used to think my ex was a very generous person, because he’d do these grand gestures for people now and then, but I eventually understood that he wasn’t actually doing it from generosity. He was very carefully weighing the cost to him of doing the action vs the indebtedness people would feel towards him and the reputation boost it would engender. Not to mention, there was never any generosity towards me – the ring on my finger meant I was already won over and no further effort was required.

        • Yep, totally agree, HC. My stbx couldn’t even be bothered to pretend to be nice but his sister is this type of narc. She volunteers for every organization in town and makes a big show of it – just look at her FB page – she is a “good person.” Never mind that she has had multiple affairs and has no time for her husband and kids outside of making public appearances with them.

        • HC, yes exactly – “the ring on my finger meant I was already won over and no further effort was required.” My wife knew I had a strong sense of dedication. loyalty and obligation and thus she knew I would put up with it, where it might be paying for something, watching the kids all the time, or finally, her affair. Basically, she knew I was a chump and knew she could get away with it. It is up to me to prove her wrong.

        • I think of my XH like an empty cup… a void, actually a shit filled, volcano simmering at the bottom of this cup . He has spent many years painting an image of a great guy on saran wrap that he stretches over the void… From the time he was a kid, he watched people be human, none of being human was born in him, so he had to manufacture what a human looks like and is… and he painted it on his saran wrap. So when we met them, they had a very nice saran wrap cover… they know how to do the ‘aw shucks’, they know how to do the oh my she has cancer that is too bad. They know how to give money to the victims of an earth quake or tsunami or say the correct things about President Assad or Isis…This is all learned behavior not intrinsic behavior.

          When we get close to them and live with them or life throws a curve ball, and touch the saran wrap, or peer into it, hey what is in here? We are in trouble, perhaps testy, snarky trouble, or moody trouble but if we should probe the saran wrap, or puncture it just a teensy bit, well Danger Will Robinson, Run for your Life, all hell breaks lose and you have unleased the dreaded shitstorm volcano, spewing the most hateful things about YOU!

          Oh OW… this is your fate… old fake saran wrap wrapped around a shitstorm volcano. Please take him, please move him to the frozen north to be with you. Please! Please! He was at my house to day getting testy that I hadn’t dealt with his fucking car insurance in a timely manner… I am apologizing because just like our marriage, ‘Discretion is the better part of valor.’ On a scale of lint to nuclear war, kissing his testy ass is just easier… Please OW! Please! Please move him to the frozen north.

        • Same for me. When I met my STBX he presented himself as this altruistic, loving, kind person who was at times unappreciated and misunderstood. Because he worked in a job where he seemed to excel at being empathetic, I believed he was the kindest, most spiritually-connected person I had ever met.

          I, unfortunately, did not end up married to that person. I ended up with his mean-spirited, selfish twin. When I was sick, I was left to fend for myself. When I was pregnant with our first child, he berated me for being tired during the first trimester (so I learned not to show any sign of fatigue during succeeding pregnancies). He was not one to take care of the children when they were sick, even if I was not available, so I learned to always be available. I always wondered why he could be so sympathetic and giving to co-workers and the like, but have so little regard for his own family. I began believing my expectations were just too high. It never occurred to me during that time that he was just a soulless, selfish jerk.

      • Chumpguy–I can relate. I have driven myself to every surgery, prenatal appointment, etc. for 25 years. I even opted for local anesthesia to have 2 impacted wisdom teeth out so that he didn’t have to cancel his class to drive me.

    • Yep, Buddy, me, too. XH was always more sympathetic to others and used to get really mad when i wouldn’t wash my car, or would let the tree branches scrape my (20 year old mashed up) Subaru as I pulled in & out of the driveway. Cared for things, not people. Painful.

    • Same here Buddy. My cheater didn’t care one bit about my devastation or our kids.’ I think I’m lucky I didn’t end up like Laci Peterson. His coldness and callousness is disturbing. People who don’t attach to other people properly are like this. They can’t even feel the things we can. They can feel excitement and pleasure and that’s about it. They sure can fake it and put on a show.

      • Nicole S, Scott Peterson could have divorced his wife. I think the prosecutor got it wrong. Scott did not want to be responsible for a child for 18 years. That is why she wound up in water so he could be assured the baby would drown as well. He murdered his child so he had to kill the “incubator” as well. His mother called him her golden child. Very scary.
        All of you must be dealing with narcissists or sociopaths. The only person I know who acted like this when she divorced her husband alienated her daughter, her daughter-in-law and a bunch of friends. She saw life sideways. I knew her as a child and she had massive temper tantrums and bullied the neighbor kids. She could also be so charming.

        • My counselor has mentioned Scott Peterson more than once as we’re talking about EH. It really is scary. I always thought there were the bads: Scott Peterson, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, etc. and the the “goods”, mostly normal and decent people. I never realized there were the scary in betweens. I was extremely naive. When he was abusing me in the discard phase I’d be sitting there crying my heart out and he’d just walk right by ignoring me. I think he probably wished I were dead even if he couldn the deed.

        • “I knew her as a child and she had massive temper tantrums and bullied the neighbor kids. She could also be so charming.” She was born this way…She was loved, cared for, nursed, carried, never left… swear I was a good mother to this child.

          I am sorry to say this describes my eldest daughter… and at almost 30 she is a very difficult person and is her father’s favorite.

  • “Cheaters are the sorts of people who would throw a rock through a Tiffany glass window. To give your heart to someone, to be faithful to them, to try and forgive an unforgivable betrayal — that makes you a beautiful person.”

    Thanks, CL. This speaks to me.

    I understand people make mistakes and take a few steps down the wrong path. I was even willing to try and forgive many steps down the wrong path.

    But my ex-wife didn’t find any beauty in that. She saw only the power she had to continue her cheating. So, I had to leave.

    It all seems so obvious now: When someone refuses to stop cheating on you, you have to leave. But at the time, it was the hardest decision of my life.

    Good luck to all you chumps out there. Happy Friday.

    • JC,
      There is nothing you can do but leave. I forgave my Ex right away but he kept seeing her. I use to feel like he gutted me and left me on the kitchen floor and kept walking over me. No compassion no empathy. So I filled for divorce! And then I got anger, blameshifting and arrogance!!
      He never ever asked me to stop the divorce( I was hoping then he would) or to make things work.

      I am glad I filled. I could not see myself spending 20 more years married to him.
      I guess he could not either. His new smoopie is all sparkly, they run marathons together and are so happy!
      She just filled for divorce now too! Breaking up anothe family! She has 2 kids! Just makes me sick:(

      • The cheaters don’t realize that they have such beautiful kind loving people as spouses. Beautifully made like the stained glass. But they never bother to sit and look at it for long. To find out what makes this so pretty, what makes my spouse happy, what makes her tick. Instead we are not producing enough kibbles so we get discarded.

      • Wow33,

        You did the right thing…as clearly demonstrated by your ex’s continued behavior.

        My ex-wife did ask for another chance, several times during the divorce process. It “felt good” in the sense that she realized she lost something great (even if her definition of “great” was “who can provide kibbles”). And I admit that it was hard to stand by my convictions, but I did, with no outward wavering.

        Each time she asked, I kept my eye on the goal. I asked myself what had changed–her actions, or her words. And each time, it was only her words that changed.

        Her words shifted blame, from our relationship, to life changes, to hormonal imbalance, to (my personal favorite) a kundalini awakening. But in all of this excuse-making, her action still said, “Not my fault.”

        Her words asked for forgiveness and another try because she could do better. But her action was to continue to work at the same company, closely, with her AP. Even after a friend said she needed to get a new job and get away from the guy, she refused.

        So, as you said, there was nothing I could do but continue to leave. The divorce process took just 9 months (no kids; no real estate–I got out about as “unscathed” as one can). And although I’m still figuring out what’s next for me, I know it will be better without being tied to such a poor character.

        • Mine also refused to even consider leaving his job where he worked very very closely with the mistress. Well, since he said it was over, I should just believe it, lol. Liars lie.

  • This is a beautiful metaphor and one that really resonates with me today. I think my rock thrower would consider his young Schmoopie the stained glass window and me — the tired, broken down one. I wonder how long it will be before she gets traded in for a shiny new one?

  • Thanks for the uplifting post. Yes, interesting analogy. To be sure, the rock throwers would have senselessly defaced the Jackson Pollack art as well and left it for scrap without giving a single moment’s thought to what they destroyed. Because they could. And because that is what they do.

    And if they were caught in the act no doubt they would have had some sort of sullen, mindless explanation like “I was bored”, “The building was just sitting there and nobody stopped me from going in”, “It was all old junk anyway.”

  • This is one of my favorite CL posts. It was good to read it again today. I especially like the part where the Tiffany windows wonder whether they would have been discarded if only they’d been a work of abstract expressionism…I still struggle with what I could have done differently and whether it might have made a difference. It’s good to be reminded that my worth isn’t tied to someone else’s opinion of me.

  • There is nothing more beautiful or worthy of your love and appreciation than me! This is the narcs code. I took him to Georgetown on his birthday and all he did was complain. We went to a museum and the Renoir, Two Sisters was so beautiful it made me cry. He rolled his eyes. On another vacation we were approached by a homeless young man who was covered in sand from sleeping on the beach. He sang and told jokes as we ate our breakfast. When he finished he asked him if he had any change and my ex laughed in his face in the most demeaning way. He showed himself time and time again. I knew about narcissism however never recognized he was disordered until 8 months ago when my therapist announced that I was married to a narc . There are different types and when I read more i found the answer to WHY! He was incapable of empathy, the ability to recognize beauty, and show appreciation. I am so thankful to be narc free. Once the final piece of the puzzle is found everything fits.

    • that was the weird thing about my Xh. he would have been the one to give the guy money. he was always helping people. i used to think that was a good thing about him. but he would rather help strangers to feel good about himself then help his wife. i was strong. i didnt need help. his sisters who choose not to work and to live with unfit men repeatedly….they need help. but i never did because i could do it myself.

      i cant understand that way of thinking. it used to mess me up in the head when he would give money to the homeless man, help an old lady with her car, be nice to an animal, or give someone a ride….i thought those actions were good values to have. but it was confusing how he never extended those values towards me. i only got help if i begged for it or got mad even if i asked him over and over. then i got it in a half ass, your not the boss of me way. and usually ended up fixing it again after he fixed it. and then got the “nothing i do is ever good enough for you”

      it was mind boggling.

  • One of my biggest regrets was forgiving him when he cheated. When I think of how he repeatedly devalued me it makes me sick. We are not dealing with normal. A disordered spouse interprets forgiveness as an admission that we deserved his behavior. I had a dream once of being on a bus that was traveling down a hill at a great speed with no one driving. I panicked. Then I heard a voice telling me I could drive the bus.

    • “a disordered spouse interprets forgiveness as an admission that we deserved his behavior.” So true!! they don’t see it as the gift that it is.

      • Forgiveness, another thing they want to twist in their sick minds to keep you from healing. That is why forgiveness solely belongs to you. They can’t stand it that you are THAT meh.

  • I can’t see myself as a beautiful person, but I can and do (did) value my marriage and commitment as a beautiful thing. I think a 16-year dedication toward sharing and deepening a connection to another human being, to help each other grow to be the best people you possibly could be, is tremendous thing — one I’d coveted for a long time and thought I’d finally found with him.

    His ability to shatter that with his whimsical love for another woman, well, that’s just who he is, I guess. The beauty he destroyed wasn’t me. It was “us.” And I still grieve that loss.

    • NWBiblio, trust me – you are a beautiful person. I don’t have to meet you to know that, I read your words here often. You are beautiful, majestic and very fine. Jedi Hugs!

  • My preciousness has nothing to do with XH of 27 years. It was always there and still is.

    Just like the Tiffany windows.

    Remembering my preciousness is 100% my job – but it is also nice to be reminded. Thanks for reminding all of us, CL.

    • Your mum has the right idea!
      Thats what I’ve thought: ‘thrown away pure gold for a piece of shit covered in sparkles’

  • Yes, I love this post. Chumps, we are all Tiffany windows. All kinds of colored and textured glass, painstakingly planned, and lovingly pieced together over time. My marriage and family were everything to me too and while I had other interests I spent a great deal of time nurturing those I loved (right up till my ex’s affair blew apart our life together). While I recognize I’m not new or Sparkly, my value comes in knowing my own worth. Who wouldn’t much rather own a dresser made of real wood with dovetail joints than one made of cheap laminated stapled together particle board?

  • I talked to an incredible woman today. She is a true masterpiece. Her name is Ruth, and she told me that God resolves our problems in His way when we trust Him. I felt so much love from her, I wanted to curl up on her floor and never leave. Beauty… To give everything for.

    • Friend,
      Looking forward to trusting God’s way and direction! Right now, my husband and I have started reading the Bible together every night and discussing it together (we have never had a TV, so this was appealing because he LOVES to talk and show his intelligence/knowledge). I have a “Jesus Cheater”. I do not know what will become of that, but I wanted to give this marriage one LAST year to see what God would/could do before I “lay the axe at the root of the tree”. (Husband does not know that part). I am at peace with it either way…because I know what TRUE repentance consists of. I say nothing to him regarding the EA I recently discovered, I will wait for him to confess ALL to me (to include EVERYTHING else that I do not know about), but if he does not, I will file. Meanwhile, I am saving cash and getting all my financials/documents in order…and no pick me dance or kibbles, just life as usual. This last year would insure me Social Security and maybe even Spousal Support…I just turned 60.

      I had asked (begged) God for something to help me get through this year because I KNEW I could not do it on my own (husband had already beaten me down with Porn off and on for over 10 years…and I am already sooo done). To the rescue, the next day, He gave me the Parable of the “Fig Tree” which is found in Luke: A land owner had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came for three years looking for figs, but only found leaves (sparkle) instead. He was angry and told the vine keeper to cut it down…but the vine keeper suggested that he would dig around it and fertilize it, and if it bore no fruit the following year, fine, but if not, then he would cut it down. So be it.

      • Sweetz, I am on the same track! No specific time frame though. I won’t have any doubts when I leave; he’s had 2 years to figure out what to do if he’s interested in saving our marriage. Just waiting to wrap up some financial loose-ends. I love your fig tree parable. I am the vine keeper, sharpening my axe while I wait for cheater pants to grow some figs! So far, nothing.

        I’m praying to emerge from this a better person; with more wisdom, compassion and grace. All the best to you!!

        • Husband had a dream that greatly disturbed him last night.

          We were parked on the edge of a horrific cliff. Tires of our car were less than a foot from the edge of the cliff that looked to be bottomless, and it made him nauseated to look down. I was sitting inside on the passenger side, and my husband was standing on my side where the cliff was OUTSIDE the car trying to understand how he/we got there and how to get back around to his side w/o plummeting to his death. He said he could not think straight because of the terror. He said we could have easily driven away otherwise had he not been standing outside the car in that predicament.

          I asked him who the driver was. He said it was obvious that HE was since there was no one else there and I was the passenger. He said that there appeared to be no way for him to get to safety since the ground was too narrow where he was standing on a tiny edge jutting out. Then I asked him why he did not simply ask me to roll down my window where he was standing so he could climb back into the car to safety. He said the dream never got that far since he suddenly woke up.

          Anyway, the time frame for us has been set at one year (coinciding with the parable)…ten months left to go. Then I will ask the Lord for His specific direction…maybe my husband will just run off with the EA…which would be better for me because when I file, I do not want him in our home while going through the divorce. Or even better, maybe he will repent from the heart.

      • Sweetz & It’sAJourney,
        Best of luck!
        [X and I read scriptures and prayed together every day for over four years leading up to the divorce.
        … I guess some people (like me) needed a near fatal below the belt blow before losing that last sliver of hope. Now I am limping through life, just blessed Mr. Hypocrit is gone.]

        • I am so sorry…this is usually the way the nightmare ends much too often. I have been getting those near fatal blows below the belt for so long that I am all ready (emotionally) to walk into the unknown. But I know the Lord wants this last year first. I will just wait and see…but the battle will not be mine.

  • Thanks for the link, Tempest! My only problem is figuring out how to communicate that I’m not using this card ironically!

  • This is an amazing anology…and for me as an artist a beautiful vision that I am going paint in my art therapy/creative mindfulness jornal. My soon to be ex continues to throw rocks as I try to repair myself, now going on the fourth year of separation/divorce crap. He knows he screwed it all up, and wants to come home to mommy, and is in serious denial of the fact he cheated just one too many times. I stand firm behind the line I drew over and over again, which cannot be moved again. Thank you for reposting this story…really resonated for me.

  • Looking back, it was all about “what have you done for me lately?” Brought a beautiful child into the world, check; fixed up more than one house, check; maintained all the relevant schedules, oil changes etc, check; …oh? you haven’t found a new doctor for my mother who doesn’t want you in her business, on the other side of the world/country?? Bad Wife. Oh, you put on weight due to anti depressants, and spine problems affecting your mobility? Bad Wife, gross.

    Cheater internal dialogue:
    Oh? All those conversations I had in my head with you, where you pissed me off (although you didn’t actually take part…) I’m still mad!! (stamps feet). I can’t tell you if I’m upset because I’m afraid to, but really, that’s your fault, so I’ll treat you badly, and blame you. I want a creative life…Oh, you won an award for your book? I’m jealous, you suck, you aren’t creative enough for me. See? all your fault. Now I will do my best to destroy your life, because All your Fault, anyway. We had a child? No, I did not think about how this would affect her…I did not think about her at all, my bad. Now fix it. You won’t fix my lack of relationship with my only child? Mean wife, bad. I will hurt you.

    In sum, emotional age of a 2-3 year old. Tantrums, grudges, irrationality. What can you expect?

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