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In Defense of Anger

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bitter_monsterToday I just wanted to give a shout out to anger. I think it’s misunderstood. The other day I responded to a letter from a friend of a chump wishing she wouldn’t be so angry, and that seemed to touch a nerve with you all. (400+ comments!) I began the post by saying, look, your friend has a right to be angry

Writing about anger is a delicate balancing act, because no one wants to be seen as an Advocate for Anger. Oh, you bitter people. You angry Chump Lady sycophants. Whipped into a frenzy of cheater hate. I hear that shit All. The. Time.

I am all about MEH here and gaining a life. But before you get there, if you’re really going to process what happened — you are going to get righteously pissed off first.

And that’s not a bad thing. It’s a necessary thing.

Anger is your friend. Anger is your internal warning system setting off security breach alarms. Code RED! You’re being abused! This isn’t RIGHT! Anger is fuel. Anger makes you call that lawyer. Anger makes you protect your money. Anger kicks paralyses ass. Anger says “Stand up and FIGHT!”

Anger is chump kryptonite.

What? Where did my nice, compliant chump go? Can’t we be friends? I don’t understand your hostility. If you’re going to overreact like this, it will damage the children. 

Oh cheaters hate it when you get angry. It’s so not like you. Hey, DON’T TOUCH MY CAKE!

And it makes many people around you uncomfortable too. I thought you two just grew apart. I hope you can keep things civil. 

If you don’t understand that betrayal makes people angry, then you don’t understand injustice. And if you refuse to understand the injustice, then you probably have an agenda.

Chumps, you don’t need those folks.

Now, you don’t need anger forever. I’m not saying become one of those embittered old people yelling at children to stay off their grass. I’m not saying give way to rage, pour gasoline on their possessions, and dance around the burning pyre. I’m not advocating revenge. You’re too classy for that.

I’m saying pay attention to your anger. Channel it. Let it drive you to safety.

When you’re out of this shit quagmire, then you can relax into a hard won “meh.” One Tuesday you’ll wake up and find you just don’t care a thing about this person. If you’re totally no contact, you won’t need that anger. If you know how to enforce boundaries, anger won’t have to work over time.

If you nurse anger without gaining a life? If you just suck on the injustice like a painful tooth? That’s not going to help you. It’s going to make you a real drag at parties. Anger at your cheater is going to take up precious mental real estate that could be better devoted to cute puppy videos. Or cookies. Or anything more pleasant than a cheater.

If you’re stuck on the Injustice of It All, redirect your focus to What Next? Throw your energies there, okay?

But I’ll tell you this — I’d rather you be an angry chump than some sad sap who posts “I miss you!” on your cheater’s Facebook page. I’d rather you be pissed, than so stupid as to let them clean out the investment accounts. I’d rather you be Godzilla than some blubbering, pick-me-dancing fool. I’ll take ANGRY you over that shit any day.

As the bumpersticker says: “If you’re not mad, then you’re not paying attention.”

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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.
  • Ooh, oohl!!! Count me in–Advocate for Anger!!

    I’m bitter, too–bitter that my cheater’s lack of impulse control and need for novel stimulation for his dick broke up my family. So F-you cheaters. (And don’t cross me, because I brought back extra voodoo dolls from New Orleans and I WILL use them).

      • I dunno, but the mother of one of my colleagues makes voodoo dolls. She’s offered to do one for me.

        I’m tempted, but I’m not so sure how the voodoo doll would fit in with my goal of “meh.” Since I don’t have to deal with children, I can go completely No Contact once the divorce is final. Having a voodoo doll of STBX might serve as a reminder when I’m past that need.

        On the other hand, for Chumps who have to co-parent with Cheaters, that voodoo doll might be really useful! ;-D

        • I believe that you harvest what you plant. Plant good things into your life. Be certain that that cheater will harvest a bumper crop of rot given all the shit that was used as fertilizer!

          • I have planted many wonderful things in my life since D-day (not least of which are many new friendships sparked by CL). But I’m not averse to helping Karma a wee bit.

            • me too. maybe i should youtube how to make a voodoo doll. i always thought you had to have something of the cheaters, like hair or clothing. i dont have that anymore

          • I agree with you, linda2….I frequently told the XBF that he would eventually reap what he had sown his entire cheating since teen years life. Not only I, but both his chumped ex-wives told me they had warned him of the same.

            He’s been gone for almost 4 yrs but my anger toward him still bubbles to the surface now and then.

            Considering what I am aware of that has been going on in his life since our time together ended, he is definitely reaping the spoiled fruits of his intensive deceit–and I couldn’t be happier for him 😉

          • Tempest, when you’re ready for “meh”, just toss Mr. Cheaterpants voodoo doll into the nearest large body of water.

            P.S. Hey, I see a future business opportunity for an enterprising fellow member of chump nation–customized Mr. or Ms. Cheaterpants voodoo dolls! Better than American Girl dolls!!

            • Kelly–it’s true! a chump business venture.

              I’m trying to remember distinguishing features of cheaters–

              Correct me if I’m wrong:
              NWBiblio will need a voodoo doll with a mohawk, right?
              Moving Liquid’s needs pressed jeans and designer shoes, right?
              Mine needs a velveteen Armani jacket and haughty look.
              KarmaE’s needs an earthenware mug filled with Chai.

              Other custom orders?

              • Mine *needs* a full wall, floor to ceiling book collection of 1st edition hardbacks, please.

              • Mine would need a pair of tight jeans, pointy toe boots and an embroidered tight fitting floral shirts though any overtly feminine grometric pattern would do.

                Looking back I should have realised there was a big problem when my X would shop at second hand stores and come home with womens items and would get all cut up when I pointed it out.

              • Make one look like the little guy in Tracy’s cartoon above. With a Norwegian beard and ironed mechanic’s onesie. And I want him polled (you know, remove those devil horns like they do the young cattle… They burn the bones off). (Ex, you goin’ to a special prison.)

              • I need my voodoo doll to be wearing full dress whites, complete with medals, please. It’s imperative that he be in his hero suit, because this is the image that allowed him to seduce all the young, dumb. and vulnerable girls in small town america, and feel sooooooo full of himself. Make his head twice the normal size, maybe out of a balloon, so I can stick the pin right between his eyes and pop his ego in one fell swoop. PAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAHP.

              • I need mine with a receding hairline and the turkey neck because of the lap band surgery.

  • Finally! My family seems to think that I was over the top! Of course I was. I was pissed when my ex of nearly 41 years blew our marriage up for a Sparkly married woman on Facebook! You think?? But I was told by many helpful people that my anger was justified and I did channel it into a magnificent settlement. As a matter of fact I was talking to my lawyer the other day and she told me it was the best settlement she had ever seen anyone get and she has been practicing law for 34 years! I am healing now and I still get angry because I was so totally blindsided, but I shudder to think about what could have happened if I had stayed in that weepy, weak Hopium place! My ex wouldn’t have blinked an eye if I had been homeless because of his selfishness. Believe me, he didn’t care that I was fighting lung cancer during this time either! Survival of the fittest folks!

    • Roberta – you rock!..as do so many others here on this site!

      A friend advised me to read Phil McGraw’s book “Life Code”. I really have never watched Dr. Phil’s show (he looked a bit slick to me), but I have to say, he nailed it when describing who he calls “BAITERS” – acronym for Backstabbers, Abusers, Imposters, Takers, Exploiters and Reckless and advises everyone to be on the look out for these lowlifes since those who who are good-natured and trust people are targeted by these types. And he is ANGRY about these kinds of people.

      These are what he calls the ‘evil 8″ traits of toxic people:

      1. Arrogant Entitlement to your life
      2. Lack of Empathy
      3. No Remorse/Guilt
      4. Irresponsible/Self-Destructive
      5. Thrive on Drama
      6. Brag About Outsmarting
      7. Short-Term Relationships
      8. Fantasy World/Delusional

      I listened to the audio book and was sickened as he went through each one of these traits (with examples). They describe my cheater SO accurately except for #7 but that’s only because I stayed in the marriage way too long (I take responsibility for that). I realize the problem is not just about the cheating with other women, but it’s the realization that these traits are part of who they are – like it’s hardwired – and it affects other realms of their lives. Someone arrogant in their personal life is going to be arrogant at work, etc. Your library probably has this book – it will clarify what toxic means and get you out of the weepy Hopium place that Roberta describes so aptly!

      • Thank you NoMoreLies, but the credit really does go to Chumplady and all the great people who are a part of Chump nation. I will pick up the book you suggested. It seems to describe my ex to a “t”. I too stayed in our marriage too long ( nearly 41 years) so the short term thing is the only one that doesn’t apply. I now study and read all I can to educate and protect myself from these flesh eating zombies! Thanx for the tip!

        • I stayed in my 32 year marriage too long too. 31 years too long. The first year of the marriage was a killer… I knew there was something really wrong with him. He went from a shy basically nice guy to a raging, sullen, uncommunicative loonatic and all of that was my fault according to him. (I will never understand how asking a guy what he would like for dinner turns in him into a raging monster, makes it my fault. but it was) When my mother asked me what I wanted for my 1st year anniverary and I said ‘A DIVORCE’ She said you get back up the Bay Area where we were living and make this marraige work. You are not a quitter. So I did. Way back then, you didn’t have interet, and I clearly had no family support.

          CFMily, you have no idea what you have in store. He looks nice now, so sweet and kind, but unless you are a silent doormat (you are kinda) you are in for it. The only trouble with this is I won’t get to see it.

      • All of those traits are my XH. I considered that #7 was not mine either as we had been together 20 years and then I realised that all of his other relationships outside of ours, friends, work, even ap’s were all short term ventures.

        Tick, tick, tick. I think I will ad this book to my list.

        • My Xw’s dad told me ” Arnold, she has to reinvent herself ever 3-4 years, as she pisses people off so much.”
          Dr Phil’s list describes a cluster B.

          • It may have been a long term relationship from my prospective (33ys) but for him it was a lot of short term relationships with prostitutes and a longer term affair before those and how many in between I don’t want to know. I think short term fits the description of most cheaters well.

          • Arnold, my cheater’s father said “You have to be careful. She is very manipulative and she is very good at it. You have to [something to the effect of not putting up with her manipulative ways]”

            I think since he knew her manipulative ways were destroying our financial situation, he was worried that she’d eventually impact his finances as well.

        • yes, that describes the exhole also.

          all the other relationships he had…friends never lasted long. i wondered how could a person not have very many friends but then i wasnt worried about it as i dont have very many friends. (i have lots of family thou) i would met someone new that he would tell me was his BEST friend from school. and i would think Best friends, huh? then why havent i met this person until after X amount of time being married to him? i STILL have people coming up to me saying they were friends or cousins of exhole and it amazes me that after 14.5 years with him that was the first time i met them.

          i honestly believe that the only reason our relationship lasted so long was because of all my hard work and effort i put into it to keep it going. i am sure if i wasnt such an honest, loyal, caring, forgiven, and loving person we would not have made it after the 3rd year, 5 yrs max…..i am not sure if that was a good thing or not. apparently i was a LOT naive all those years also because i truly thought we BOTH were trying. most likely it had only been me working on it for the past 9 years ish. truly a chump i am

      • NoMoreLIes, he may have had many, many “short term” relationship (and not just affairs) with people, even people he sees every day. You can count your years, but for how many of them was he “all in”? Fully engaged? Your deep, close friend? Your truly intimate emotional partner? My guess is that he was pretty checked out and you didn’t know any better. Perhaps you just thought that’s what happens in marriage….

        • Yes, you’re right! Thanks for pointing that out, LovedAJackass. There were a lot of short term relationships or whatever you can call them….found out much later he was a serial cheater from newlywed year, sporadic at first and escalated to a double/triple life/mistresses/prostitutes. He was able to do that because he traveled a lot for work (or at least that’s what I thought). I guess he didn’t cheat before that with me because that would have been too risky (thinking from the cheater frame of mind). However I did find out after D-Day that he cheated on his previous girlfriends. It’s was all a game. I just don’t get it…why get married? And he’s the one who pushed for that. I was the one in the long term relationship (28 years), not him. Dr. Phil states in his book that trusting people don’t look for nefarious behavior because they don’t operate that way themselves. So you have to become very aware that these toxic people are out there.

          • NoMore, why would a guy like your ex marry? Because that is the BEST way to get CAKE! All those transient relationships for the thrill, and you for the stability, image, back-up kibbles .,.

            Disgusting creatures.

        • LAJ, you are spot on. When you look back you can see where they drifted in and out of the relationship with you. There were many times I asked my XH “where are you? Your physically here with us but emotionally you are somewhere else.

          You become just a little box that they packed up in their head and stacked in the corner along with all the other things they want to keep but not actually engage with.

          • In a twisted sense, that was the silver lining of the affair. Prior to the affair, I always gave her the benefit of the doubt based on supposed good intentions as I started to question her behaviors. After the affair, it finally all made sense as I replayed the entire relationship from the beginning … Entitlement? … check, Lack of Empathy? … check, and on and on …. 8 for 8 – perfect score – A+ … everything was finally clear.

    • Good for you! Chumps have to wrap their heads around the fact that they are engaging in a war-Tell yourself you’ll cry and get depressed (at some designated time during the day/week) over the demise of the so called relationship but please use the anger to fight the battle. Remember these cheaters had a head start on this war and anger, channeled correctly, will help chumps win. It has been my experience that while narcs are sneaky, shady and cons, most are easily duped. Use that weakness any way you can.

      • Thank you Sephage. There were times when I didn’t feel so mighty, but CL and CN were a beacon of light and hope! We are all going to survive this poop storm. Our cheaters??? Not so much! They have crap life skills!

    • Roberta,
      41 years and he goes for a married FB floozy? He is SUCH a cliche’! And he is just lucky you didn’t kill him. I thought after a 25 year happy marriage I would die when mine ran off with a married co-worker. But anger really was my best defense. He was such a master manipulator and pulled out all the stops about how I was “still” family and how could I not see this was for the best and my anger was poisoning our grown children and blah, blah, blah. Dissect all that drivel and what you find is that he was very angry and terrified because I was no longer covering for him – I was telling the TRUTH. And. He. HATED. it.

      So between truth and anger – I came out the other end better and not bitter. Just smarter and less naive. I think you are AMAZING and want you to enjoy your children, your money and life. You won, my girl!

      • Char, I did very well considering I was a medical mess through a lot of this crap. And I will tell anyone that after all is said and done that sometimes anger still wells up in me. I get angry when I see these “defective” self delusional poor excuses for human beings inflicting even more pain on their children who are ill or their spouse that they gave an STD to as a parting gift. And then they just can’t understand why we are angry!! Really??? Every Chump needs to get to the anger stage and focus on their own needs. Then execute that plan. Trust me, I wanted to throw in the towel and make the pain stop! I’m so glad I rolled with it and it payed off. My cheater is now pulling crap on me because he realizes he has little or nothing left! It’s amusing and he is a cartoon. An old, ugly cliche!

        • Yes, he fluctuated from bragging about me to customers to picking up a whore. When he left he said he couldn’t get anywhere with me. I said let’s see where you are in a year. Well he’s disconnected with his kids living in a shit apartment and sitting in a casino with his gambling addicted whore who wears a fringed biker jacked slugging beers 20 hours a week. Limp dick left his family for all that success. Living large I see. Haha what a fucktard gets when you dump them is laughable. No chumps they DONT live better, they live dirty.

    • Roberta, I was also in a long term marriage and I’m in awe that you were able to negotiate a good settlement on top of fighting cancer. Good God woman, you are mighty!

      • Lyn, anyone can do it! I learned the secret from my therapist. She assured me that I was powerful because I had the weapon to stop him from doing anything I felt didn’t benefit me! The secret: just say “NO”! Simple, but effective. When they offer to give you some BS deal you simply say, “no”! Keep saying it until they realize that the only thing you will accept is a more than fair agreement! Just a simple “no”, no justification, no back story. There just is nowhere for them to go or argue! It’s simple, but it’s incredibly effective!

        • I am at the beginning of negotiating our divorce. I will keep your secret at the forefront of my mind because I’ve already wanted to give up so I can move one but it is important to say NO, you will not continue your abuse even in court. He wants 50% custody of the kids and I have said NO they do not want to be with him. I pray it works for me too. Thanks for the reminder!

          • It works Nicole S. Mine wanted to avoid court at all costs cause I told him I was going to drag Schmoopie in and anyone connected to this crap. We also live in a very, very small conservative southern town with open courts. I told him I would be sure to let his Boss know the court date and his co-workers! He apparently believed me! He then wanted mediation which I really didn’t want, but it is cheaper than a court hearing. It also lulled him into believing that he could gain something. Wrong again! In the end he gave me everything I had already asked for the past year! It was rich! I just stood my ground, but I had done the numbers nearly a year before and had told him to his face why I wanted it!! Be prepared, but don’t give up anything that threatens your future security. You only get one bite at the apple! Make it a big bite!

          • And for the court and STBX–“No, it’s not in the best interest of the kids for Cheater to have the kids 50% of the time. They need a stable home and traditional visitation will work best.” The court wants to know what is in their best interest.

  • Anger charges are especially destructive when used to manipulate spiritual chumps, IMO. It is a very misunderstood emotion in the Church. Some may even hear sermons preached about how anger is ALWAYS bad. So, it follows that one is bad or in sin if one gets angry. This is so FAR from the truth. God got angry. Jesus even braided a whip to drive out the money changers (as one person pointed out to me). Anger is a true gift. It is neither good or bad. What we do with it is what determines if it is good or bad. Use it to fuel you forward and set boundaries, exactly! Also, I am of the opinion that someone who truly loves me gets angry when I am willfully hurt by another. The injustice matters to him/her just as it would matter to me. My God is angry when such things happens because my God loves me (and others).

    • Great points. That’s how I knew it was really over. When I would get angry, or sad.. he’d get defensive and never made any effort to comfort me. He took “offense” at my anger, sadness, and feelings. Because I no longer matter to him. I am the enemy, the thing that holds him back from his awesome single life and neverending supply of whore kibbles.

        • I refrained from expressing any anger to my cheating XW’s. It feeds their egos, which are already inflated.
          I never screamed, yelled or anything like that. These assholes thing they are the shit and do not need any more attention devoted to them.

          • Agreed that showing the anger to the cheater is not always the best thing to do. Plus, it might help them triangulate other people like pastors/counselors who think YOU are the one with the “anger problem.”

            • Depends on the degree of anger, how the cheater is likely to react, and how public the context. I went into the situation after D-day with the public perception that I was the kinder and more stable of the two of us, so my skyscraper-high anger could not be used against me. It did give me leverage (plus a bit of emotional release, if I do say so). I agree it’s best not to show anger when it can be used against you.

      • This really struck a cord with me. Just before Dday my Cheater got furious with me that I had been crying before I called him for a simple question. He mentioned that it was wrong to have gotten mad for the pain he was inflecting just in our regular lives with him deciding that he needed space to “work on his issues”. In retrospect, he had checked out and was already with OWhore.

        Several months before Dday, my cheater told me that I had an “anger management issue” and started to list everytime I had gotten upset or angry in OUR ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP. He said that he was keeping score. WTF? That he was afraid of my anger. Interesting. As learned from above, Anger is an alert system that something is wrong. Red Flag! Obviously I’m color blind. Couldn’t be that the switch was flipped from being part of the family to “not sure if he is doing the right thing”. I can tell Mr. Cheater for sure that destroying the family, etc. etc. for OWhore was not the right thing to do.

        • WhatAChump2015–just one major way your cheater tried to invalidate you. Having started up with OWhore, he devalued you to the point of not being allowed to feel–even when he inflicted the pain. Jerk.

          • OMG. Mine made lists of injustices as well. Our injustices so that they can become their excuses. The list of true injustices in this divorce performed by him CRUSH any thing I would have done in the past, i.e.. show disappointment and hurt in the morning when he did not make love to me the night before. UGH! Hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it?

    • Yes the attitude of ” thou shall not be angry”. This really got to me in the beginning. And if anything made me even more angry.

    • I was SOOOOO angry right before and especially after DDay. And I couldn’t believe how venemos it was. Wow. But I also felt that it saved me from the paralysis that could have seized me. It spurred me to action. I used it to my advantage and made smart decisions about those things that needed to be done immediately like protecting myself financially and taking care of our son. Now, my STBXH got a couple of very nasty emails from me also. My family counseled me to be careful in showing anger where it’s documented though. I took their advice. But I did feel that my anger was not wrong or sinful. God made us. He made us with all these emotions. They can serve us well if we use them constructively. Without that anger, where would I be now? Where would any of us be right now?

    • Divorce Minister, I really struggled with the anger. I was brought up in the church AND the south, and women were taught not to get angry! For the longest time I couldn’t feel anything but sadness and paralysis, but my gosh when anger showed up it was like a raging inferno. It’s still an uncomfortable emotion for me, but I did like it better than paralysis because it motivated me to get stuff done and to stop pining after my ex.

      Just the other day I discovered that anger is just below the surface. One of my parents is very ill and when I got the news my first reaction was to be pissed that my ex isn’t here to support me. This was a totally crazy emotion because my ex was never there for me during the hard times. I guess there’s still something in me that believed I wouldn’t end up facing life’s biggest challenges alone. It’s okay, though, because I’m stronger than I used to before the betrayal. I’ve definitely toughened up.

      • Lyn, I am also navigating the terminal illnesses of both my parents without any help and it is almost overwhelming. When X’s parents passed, I was there every step of the way,but there is no way I want him near my folks. Like you, I never imagined I would be carrying this burden alone. I am doing the very best I know how. Unfortunately, my mother is classic NPD and suffers from dementia-talk about an awful combo! Some days I just want to run away and not leave a forwarding address.

      • Lyn,

        I am glad you have found a way to embrace the constructive aspects of anger. Personally, I am frustrated at how poorly done the teaching from the pulpit is on this wonderful emotion. I see it as a flip-side of love. If someone can’t get angry on my behalf, then I strongly doubt they love me in actuality. Ps 18 talks about God getting angry on behalf of David. It is one of my favorite Psalms for that reason. David’s pain mattered to God.

        Also, I’d suggest that surprise anger is a matter of grief issues. Anger is one of the many emotions people experience when grieving losses. What you described is a loss–no support from a spouse during a critically difficult time– and being ambushed by grief, IMO. I’m a hospice chaplain; so, I live and breathe dealing professionally with loss and grief. It’s okay to be angry. And it is quite normal to be ambushed by strong feelings when something so significant is lost like a spouse who we normally would expect to be supportive at such times.

        Hugs to you and violet,
        DM

        • DM, thank you for this. I always watch for your comments, but this one in particular really struck me. It *is* weird when our so-called “loved ones” don’t feel angry or righteously indignant on our behalf when we’re not being treated right. Looking back, this was my first real clue that something was very wrong in my relationship–way before Dday. There was some major, major stuff happening in my life, which previously would have made him livid. He would have been busting some major chops to keep me safe and make me feel protected. But . . . he didn’t. In fact, I literally had to BEG him to help me (this when my whole life revolved around helping him), and then when I lost someone very dear to me, he even told me, “Get over yourself.” Yep, that’s verbatim. At one point I started self-harming. I was just so lost, and I couldn’t figure out what the hell had happened to the person I fell in love with. Where was the guy who sat at my kitchen table and told me that once I knew how much he could support me, I’d fall completely in love with him? Now I know that man never really existed. The self-harming stopped the minute I left him, but I’m still in counseling and probably will be ’til Kingdom Come.

          After I’d left, but before I went NC, he called me once and asked for an update on my situation (which got resolved thanks to my own resourcefulness and resilience). Even then, his whole tone was kind of cavalier, and I could tell he was just saying the socially expected lines without any real emotion behind them. It’s really unbelievable that I stayed for as long as I did with a person who clearly couldn’t give two shits about anything that didn’t involve one of his numerous addictions.

          Absolutely, from now on I will always look to how people close to me respond to injustice. If it’s nothing more than “Gee, sucks to be you,” they won’t be in my life at all. Thanks, DM!

          • FoolMeTwice–thank you for your honest post. First, it confirms that we all need to pay attention to if/when someone stops being supportive of us in a relationship–time to get out then, as we deserve better.

            Secondly, you are always a strong, supportive, voice of reason on CL, and to hear you admit to self-harm is heartening. I, too, scratched myself sporadically as my X’s criticism and lack of warmth toward me took their toll over the 3.5 years before D-day. The worst of it was the summer before D-day, when I am now sure he had employed another fuckbuddy, and was devaluing me and giving me the cold shoulder a lot (before I discovered evidence in his computer bag of the main affair from 8 years prior). My pain had nowhere to go, and the sense of helplessness and loneliness resulted in several instances where I simply raked my fingernails into my skin, with some cosmetically unappealing consequences. I don’t think of myself as an unstable person in general, and it’s important to bring these issues out of the closet so that people don’t feel ashamed to seek help.

            Hugs, friend.

            • Tempest, thank you for that, and I am so glad you found your way on this board. Sometimes I worry about TMI (hey, my whole life has been an after-school special), but like you said, I think it’s important to step forward and be real about our experiences. It’s what makes this blog so incredibly powerful. I’ve never seen or felt anything like it, and it’s that honesty and safety that keeps me coming back every single day. I’ve read the profiles of self-harmers and thought, Yikes! Is that *me*? But honestly, it was all this stuff happening all at one–really brutal shit–and even just one of those things could’ve caused someone to lose it. And in the middle of it all, he was being SO crazy and SO obsessive, and people kept telling me how worried they were about him and how afraid they were that he was having a mental breakdown. So I kept trying to keep him from going over the brink, but there was nobody left to keep ME from going over the brink. Worst of all, nobody really saw how he was treating me behind closed doors. So in the context of these huge medical issues, everybody thought he was just this amazing guy. The great tragic hero, the poor tortured soul. They didn’t see how abusive he was being to me, and because the family situation was playing out in the public eye, I felt completely powerless and voiceless. Someone in our home was dying, and there wasn’t really anything we could do about it, but he had the utmost sympathy of the community while I was the invisible woman–the invisible chump. All that turmoil had nowhere to go–so it felt at the time–and that’s when I self-harmed. I pinched my inner arms until they bled, and I discovered that I could do this out in public with my ex, when he’d start obsessing, or “scanning,” and nobody would even notice. Later, I’d sit in the tub and look at the bruises and feel like at least my body had heard my pain, even if nobody else had. I still have scars from it, but they don’t bother me anymore. Anybody who would get close enough to me to see them will be able to love me enough to understand.

              So, yeah. That’s how a reasonable person becomes a human pin cushion. I don’t consider myself unstable, either. In a way, a crazy reaction to a crazy situation is completely normal! I think talking openly about this stuff is healthy–necessary, even. That’s why all of us are here, right? Because to really be seen and heard is our deepest longing, and the greatest gift we can bestow upon someone else.

              • The openness and honest here is just incredible. I too would on occasion harm myself. Immediately after one of his insane rages. The emotional pain was too much to bear. I would scratch my thighs until they bled. I knew it was unhealthy but it was easier to feel “real” pain than the pain from his screaming, it was real. It felt like relief.

                I have not done that in over a year now. We have been separated for over a year and divorced for 8 months. I never even have a glimmer of that urge to hurt myself.

                It was so crazy and I find it so disconcerting that I didn’t see how crazy it was while I was living in it.

                Now though, the realizations keep on coming and it is a bitch. I think I am still trying to sort through it all.

              • free2live, I totally get what you mean. You know it’s not healthy, you know it’s not right, but at the time, bringing the unbearable “inner” to the outside feels like a kind of relief. Just like you, I haven’t had even a glimmer of that urge since I left, and when I think about it now, it feels a bit like remembering labour and childbirth. I know it happened; I’ve got the 2 kids to prove I was there, but I honestly can’t remember what that pain was like. I just know it hurt like a mofo. 🙂

                Like I said before, I have read about self-harming and what kind of people tend to do it. I think it’s usually associated with teenagers, and as a teen, I briefly self-harmed during some batshit crazy episodes with my mom. Funny, I also know my younger SD also had a history of self-harming, long before I arrived on the scene. She couldn’t handle the crazy, either, and I sincerely hope she’s still in counseling, which I pushed for in a major way. We’re not in contact anymore, which is sad but maybe inevitable. How people make meaning from tragedy is a hard thing to explain, even when you’re the one who’s there living it. For me, I felt like Cassandra. I think that’s the right character? The Greek chick who had the power of prophecy, but nobody believed what she said? My ex kept chasing down all these medical pipe dreams, which I understand he is still doing, and who could ever presume to say what you should or shouldn’t do for your dying child? Certainly not me. But meanwhile there was the emotional and spiritual reality of a terminal young woman in our midst, and it was our biggest and most important duty to help usher her out with some grace and understanding and love. All there was in the home was denial. she was literally screaming out to be seen, to be heard, but he was off tilting at big pharma windmills. While he was gone, I took the brunt of her rage and pain, even though I was the only one who seemed to be able to see what she was trying to say. “Let me live while I’m alive.” And he’d play that goddamned Coldplay song “Fix You” over and over. I hate that song now and will literally run away if I hear it playing somewhere. How do you make someone understand, we’re not on this earth to “fix” other people; we’re here to love them and bear witness to their lives. The truth of this was really brought home for me when my older daughter tried to commit suicide last fall. Worst day ever, and every parent’s nightmare, but I realized that I ultimately had no control. All I had was my love for her and the commitment to stand beside her. Talk about letting go! And slowly she is getting better and embracing life again.

                So that’s what I meant by saying the greatest gift we can ever give someone is telling our stories, and listening to theirs. Hey, you. I see you. I hear you. I acknowledge you. I will never be able to repay CL and CN for the many blessings I have received on this forum.

  • I vacillate from anger to sadness and back again, but I am more mighty everyday. I thought about if my
    STBX came crawling back, on bended knee.. confessing all that he refuses to confess now, pledging to get himself help,to give up the 100K sports car he bought without my input, pledging to call the whore in front of me and breaking it off… I still don’t think I’d take him back.

    Bottom line, he’s a liar. And you can’t build anything with a liar. He went off the rails, became someone I don’t know… all for the love of a cigarette smoking whore who is cheating on her H as well. That’s the caliber of person he threw our 20 years and our family over for. It’s despicable. If my old H showed up, it might be hard to resist but the emotional damage he’s done to me is permanent.. at least in regards to my feelings towards him. I would never feel safe again with him.

    Meh, here I come.

    • Newchumpal, I fell the same way you do about my ex. I now know that I could never entertain taking him back, but I have moments where I fantisize that he is begging forgiveness and I walk over him apathetically just the way he did me when I needed him most. He just doesn’t deserve a person like me. He’s trash and he can stay with the trash he picked up on Facebook!

      • Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
        That saved a wretch like me!
        I once was lost, but now am found;
        Was blind, but now I see.

        There is a grace in learning about the disordered. You can’t go back to them, you were blind but now you see. You know that there is no hope for them to ever be a human being a fully functional human being, that they are destined to live this half light, and mostly hell. We, on the other hand, can and will feel sublime love, joy, trust again. Our anger doesn’t stain our soul.

          • I learned just the other day the genesis of the hymn, Amazing Grace. I wasn’t listening really closely but this is pretty much the gist of it: A slave trader was captaining his ship during a storm. A slave near him was swept overboard to his death. The captain penned this hymn and never was involved in the injustice of slavery again,

            • No…..I can’t EVER go back to my XH. I have a feeling he thinks I might still be Plan B. I can’t stop him from moving back to this area but he will never move back into MY house. I know exactly what kind of person he is now and I know EXACTLY what kind of harm he can do to me. No way in hell is that man ever EVER going to get another chance to smash my heart in again.

    • Newchumpal, all of that is the last-ditch effort to avoid child support, loss of retirement-and most of all–loss of kibble!

      Tracy’s written some great stuff about real remorse and genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse. If your cheater were truly remorseful, he’d not pledge (i.e. promise future action), he’d act. Pledging is contingent upon your taking him back. If he really wanted to change, he’d have already booked the therapist appointment, broken up with the girlfriend, etc.

      • Oh I know.. he has no intention of doing any of these things.. I am just saying that if he did a 180 and started doing these things, as you suggest, it still might not be enough for me.

        I am starting to hate the sight of him. Hurt is turning to rage. What he’s done to me is unforgivable.

      • He actually wanted me to agree to a trial separation.. and when I refused, it made him angry.. so now he wants to blame me for the split. No fuckwit.. you are the one doing this to US. Just because I wouldn’t agree for you to move out and string me and the whore along.. I decided to make the decision easy for you. You can’t carry on with the whore and then show up over here and “have dinner” with us.. and go on “dates” with me to “recapture the spark”. Uh, No thanks. If I’m going to date, I’d rather not date a two timer. thank you very much.

        • NewChumpatl–the blameshifting will get worse before it gets better. Don’t accept ANY of it. Hugs to you going through this.

        • Holy cow, were we with the same fuckwit? He wanted to move into an apartment to work on his issues to come home happy. We’d “go to dinner and spend time together, Text and talk and work with therapists to put things back on track”. What bullshit! He was setting up his WhorePad and stringing me along. Taking stuff from our home to his apartment. Red Flag…didn’t want me to know the address of the apartment and said that for now I was not welcome at the apartment…as “he needed to make it his own”…..WOW! Went along with it as I THOUGHT that we were working on US. Not him working out on OWHORE.

          I made the decision to not do the “Pick Me Dance” that I didn’t even know I was involved in on DDay. Now he can have his known cheater OWhore all he wants.

          • Same here…sparks and remembering why I loved you. Translation..live got some interest from another side whore and I want to see where that goes. Wait for me just in case it doesn’t work out! No thanks, douche.

        • Funny – if I had just met my x, I would never date him. Probably not even be friends with who he is now.

          So, they wanted us to audition ( and I didn’t know for years I was on trial ) for the role of wife again. Nope – so sorry – i think I deserve better.

    • I would NEVER take him back. The “ugly” has been seen and I just can’t unsee it. There is nothing he could say or do that would sway me in the least. It would disgust me to see him do anything like that. I just woulnd’t be able to take him seriously.

      • I know, conniered. Mine now physically repulses me, despite his good looks and Armani jackets. Wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole.

        • I consider my ex as being deceased. The loving, supportive & compassionate man I was in love with for over 26 years is gone. He morphed into someone I didn’t know. But in death there is comfort knowing there was love, with a runaway cheater there will never be closure in my heart.

          • I was talking to a friend about my children (who ex has abandoned), and how they were going to handle life since “their father is dead.” She had to stop me and point out to me what I had just said…I literally didn’t realize it until that point.

            What is that quote –“Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest.”

        • Ex told me he bought OWhore earrings for Christmas. The first gift he bought me when we first started to date was a nice pair of earrings. Of course he has much, much more $ today so I’m sure it was a nice piece. Yuck on the similarity!

        • Tempest, I feel repulsed, too. It is just surreal to think that you can actually feel that way about someone who used to be your whole world.

    • newchumpatl xmr did all of that just before the divorce was final…started waging an emotional campaign to come home…said he loved me…cried…said he’d buy me some horses, build me a new house…cried…texted me how we were the perfect storm…with pictures of his sparkly self…confessed that his married ap was a ho…ugh…I almost hurled! All the knowledge gained here at chump nation and from CL was screamin in my head. Tempest and Willow Chump and MsVain…all their wise counsel yelling at me to OPEN MY EYES to the lies! Yeah, you wouldn’t go back either…the damage xmr caused is permanent and I have learned those lessons well… The divorce was final on the 4th of February, the settlement is amazing to me…and there will be NO reconciliation and there will be NO friendship. xmr is a disease I have been inoculated for! 🙂 I am still navigating toward meh…but I’m closer each day 🙂 We become stronger with conviction and the TRUTH of that does set us free!

      • Yes!!! i am so glad that my pitiful stories has helped someone else out. You just made my day Jeepin4me!!! but then that is the glory of this site. when i first came on, i was full of denial and smoking that hopium pipe. the more stories i read, the more i could relate that the same happened to me. i had forgiven so well that i did not even remember the incident until i read it happening to someone else. After a while i finally started to TRUST THAT HE SUCKS!!!!

        i wish you well on your journey.
        Be strong
        Be F.R.E.E.

  • In one of the last few arguments we had he said, “you are very angry these days.” It was a tactic to get me to back down on calling him out.

    Our very last communication was an email response from him confirming he would help me transfer. He said, “I was never really angry. I just wasn’t going to take that verbal abuse. I didn’t desreve that.”

    So everything was my fault. I was supposed to be happy he took another woman to dinner on his birthday.

      • Yep, they are off the rails and in a ditch! It’s unbelievable the way they think! No reasonable person can take them seriously!

    • Wow, it’s all my fault too!! Bad chumps for speaking the truth. Bad chumps for not putting up with piss poor treatment anymore. My anger is not outward anymore, it just fuels my determination now. The more detached I become, the more calm, cold and clear I become with him (aka calling him out on his lies and setting firm boundaries) I then get the line ‘you’re so angry these days’ – only when I’m with you cheater pants. My life as I rebuild and move in – it’s pretty damn lovely!!!!

      • I get told often my my XH and his support crew that clearly I am angry because I have told people the truth about his adultery. Yes I am clearly angry because I chose not to lie or remain silent on the subject to protect his faulty character.
        Basically every person who asked why had we separated was told that he had been unfaithful. It is not my fault that the next question out of most peoples mouths was ” was it with a guy?” Hard to cover what was clearly evident and so just chose not too. My bad.

    • Jen–“I just wasn’t going to take that verbal abuse. I didn’t deserve that.”

      Ask him if we can take a vote as to what he deserves.

      • Well he won’t have to take it anymore, except that’s stupid, I was actually really nice most of the time. He didn’t like it when I screamed, “go home and fuck her some more!”

        You would think he would be happy, I thought that was in fact what he wanted to do.

    • one of the last things i heard was “All you care about is the money” and i thought (i wish i had said it out loud) “well ya, you killed everything else there was between us, so that is the only thing left”

      of course he was pissed off because i was bugging him about paying the child support. now that he has disappeared i havent been in contact with him for 10 months. setting up the paperwork for child support enforcement to go after him. he is not working at a company, but under the table. he could do that forever and i would never get a single dime. his oompa loompa doesnt care one way or another. the garnishment papers i have only work when he is getting a paycheck, so now i am going after his drivers licenses, income taxes and anything else. one thing for sure is he IS NOT going to be walzes off into the sunset happily ever after, without a care in the world. because as soon as this thing gets going, he will carry this over his head for the rest of his life. he is suppose to pay 1100.00 a month. anytime he gets a job, or gets pulled over, or gets a refund or tries to buy a new car and register it, he will be punished for not paying child support. he will not be moving forward for much longer.

      • Me too mrsvain!
        1000$ in child support and he’s already missed the first payment. Mfpos also works under the table. He’s behind 5600$ in back interim support ordered before divorce was final, 4500$ for half of the 9500$ income tax he had deposited into a separate account so I could not touch it. I will go after him just like you. These guys SUCK. Oh he cried and boohooed at the divorce hearing about what a great father he is and how he was so saaaaaad. Boo fucking boo asshole.

        My financial hearing is May 8th. I hope the judge realizes his bad faith.

  • I love my anger. My anger lead me to snoop. My snooping lead me to reality. My reality lead me to divorce. My divorce lead me to freedom. My freedom lead me to a more secure life. My more secure life lead me to confidence. Confidence has lead me to generally being happy.

    If I had never gotten angry and sat passively by while I was disrespected, used and lied too, I would never be where I am today. I love my anger. It keeps me focused.

    • Ear worm!! Now I’ll spend the whole day with that in my head …. But that is a better version, for sure!

  • At times in the 18 months since separation and d-day I have feared I’d get stuck in angry mode and become BITTER. I’m finally starting to see that it’s just not in my makeup to stay that way. I’m not talking about forgiving or god forbid, forgetting, but at some point I realized my anger wasn’t very helpful any longer, in fact it was harming me. I couldn’t force it to leave, but it is waning on its own accord, thank goodness. At the same time I sometimes remind myself of how my cheater betrayed me so that I can continue to keep him at arm’s length.

    • I’ve also experienced anger off and on; it always scares me when it lasts longer than a few days. I know a couple of people who have been divorced for over 20 years and still harbor anger towards their x. It’s pitiful to see them devoting so much energy to the past… it’s preventing them from fully enjoying the present. I don’t want to be that person. But also, like many of you have stated, anger has also propelled me into action, and helped me to understand what my triggers are, and why. Like CL said, it’s a delicate balance.

      “At the same time I sometimes remind myself of how my cheater betrayed me so that I can continue to keep him at arm’s length.” Me too!! I’ve got a box of letters, photos, receipts, and other memorabilia to remind me just how screwed up he is, and how badly he deceived me. It’s crazy… he has always accused me of never letting things go, but in reality I need constant reminders so I don’t forget the sick mind I’m working with. I guess I could call it the “anger box.”

      • I should also start keeping an Anger Box! This is my problem with striving toward “meh.” I get there and can be completely indifferent but after a while in this state I start to view him as maybe not so bad. I find myself inching toward niceness again.

        Luckily, he keeps adding things to the Anger Box. Last week I stumbled on receipts that proved my closet and the OW’s are filled with the exact same clothes – in different sizes. In the grand scheme, not sure why this set me off, but the idea of him spending years dressing both his wife and girlfriend up in the same clothes like little dolls for his own amusement made me FURIOUS.

        I think CL hit on the key with what you do with anger. You can sit and tenderly feed it with baby spoons for months or you can plow it into something that helps you stand on your own two feet. But the latter is easier said than done…

        • I think they do the same things for spouses and affair partners alike because they have no real concern for anybody except themselves. They don’t think in terms of each individual’s wants/needs because that would require thoughtful consideration. I realized something was up when I opened up a very expensive camera from him. I’m a photography buff, and only use a certain brand… it was not that brand. I later pieced things together and he confirmed that he had sent another woman the exact camera. What a douche bag!! I don’t blame you for being upset, you should be angry… but this should also demonstrate that it’s not you, it’s him. He didn’t give her an ounce more consideration.

    • I think this is a healthy balance. I seem to be in the same spot. I was also worried I’d end up bitter, but my IC assured me it wasn’t my nature (thanks, dude), so I choose to believe him. Already I lack the hallmarks of bitterness: global dismissal of all men and all relationships as doomed. I just need to figure out what’s the best way for me to find someone who fits well into MY life now. But for now, I’m good being alone w/the dogs.

    • And ML, waning because something new has taken its place… friends, a new job and just the start of all the good things you deserve.

  • It has taken me quite a while to get to the anger stage. I think in some way I feared my response. I have a hard time with gray areas so for me to get angry means I needed to go to war, be willing to torch everything and take no prisoners. Hard to do while still taking care of kids. When STBX was still living at home I had to keep my anger in check because if I showed any he would use that as a springboard against me and the kids (and the animals).

    I feel my anger has taken a patronus form – a huge tiger that sits there silently reminding me to stay on guard. It’s good now. Anger came back when I realized the kids and I were putting up with things that aren’t normal – that are abusive. So I traded silent hurt projected inward to an anger that protects by projecting outward.

  • I am angry at…. X Y and Z…. I am not an angry person. Thats the difference to me. And I am sooooooo fucking good with that.

  • Angry is my default setting. (Was)

    Two months after d’day and a month after my 9yr olds cancer diagnoses (she is doing well) I was extremely sleep deprived at the hospital and my XH was being a totally self entitled ass. A physical altercation between us lead to a meeting with staff. Fuck I was so angry at his self entitled bullshit, his expectation that I should remain the diligent submissive chump I had been for more than a decade while he acted like nothing had happened, and was happily living the single life while I watched our daughters hair fall out, spending day and night at the hospital with her. He would come for 10 min to an hour depending on what else he had to do. One night he didn’t come to see her because he was being taken out for dinner by a friend for his birthday a few days later. He never cared that while he spent a bit of time with her I was then rushing home to feed our animals sneek in a shower and pick up clean cloths for myself and our daughter. I lost my shit in that meeting and was horrified when my ex sat back in his chair waving his hand at me in a dismissive manner stating “see this is just more of her verbal abuse I have lived with all these years”. WTF? This was a huge light bulb moment for me. I still did the chump thing by apologising a few hours later for my behaviour. I tried to explain to him that being angry was the only thing that was preventing me from totally loosing my state of mind. Trying to understand that my husband was not the man I thought he was, and how I was struggling to get my head around it all. My apology was somewhat accepted but my XH’s behaviour did not change. It was at this point I realised he is possibly NPD. But because he is such a great sales person especially when selling himself and that for years now I have constantly been in a state of fight or flight when dealing with my him, People who didn’t bother getting to know me any deeper than surface, just considered me to be an irrational angry bitch and have judged everything I have done since I learnt of my XH’s adultery from this view point.
    Since seperation and now divorce I have become a much calmer person, but I get in the same room as my XH and I begin to shake. I do my best not to feed his ” she is so mean to me routine” but sometimes I can’t deal with it and if he presses the right buttons before I know it I am off like a fire cracker. And once off it takes a lot of focus to put the lid back on my emotion. And I hate myself when I am like this, because deep down it is not me, it’s my self protection against the bullshit.
    I hate the person I became being married to him. And his denial of my right to be angry in the beginning just made it worse.

    • “His denial of my right to be angry…” I got this all the time. I could never be angry without his judgment and downplaying of what ever I was angry about. Every single time. It was “get over it” or “you make too much out of everything”. It’s making me sick to my story thinking about it.

    • “I hate the person I became being married to him. And his denial of my right to be angry in the beginning just made it worse.”

      ^^THIS – YES!!!!

      oh, and of course, he’s a GIANT ass for not spending every moment with his daughter while she was in the hospital fighting cancer.

    • Thankful, you have to realize that he has taught you very well how to act. He does x, you do y. Every single time. People who are this disordered are so self protective they will never let you relax, never let you “in”. Have you ever waltzed? You have to know the steps in order not to crush your partner’s foot. You and the dick head have been waltzing for years. Only you didn’t know it. All you knew was that he had the exact tone of voice, facial expression and other body languages to set you off. There is an underlying reason why he, and others, are like this. They don’t want true intimacy. Oh, sure, they can dine and wine and fall in love because it is all surface. They are never going to let you get closer than that.
      This is a tried and true method to stop all this but you need to practice with someone you trust. When he is around for any reason you need to have no more reaction to him than a piece of wood. That means you can’t roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders, get stiff, or huff and puff. It truly means he becomes invisible. If he ask you a question that can be answered with a yes or a no you can answer it. If he does or says anything else he becomes invisible again. It really does change the dynamic. It might take you weeks or months but I promise you at some point he will stop playing head games with you because he is not getting anything out of it. There has to be a pay off or people stop doing things. Your payoff is that after while he really will become invisible to you even when he is standing there. There is a name for the game he plays with you,it is called…..now I have you, you son of a bitch. And he does have you every time. Lots of my education is around these kinds of people and I can tell you that he can keep up this craziness for the rest of his life. He will never, ever, let anyone get close to him emotionally. He can charm the birds out of the trees if he is a good salesman but that means absolutely nothing in his private life. This is truly interesting to me because I think so much of behavior is rooted in the genetics we are born with and the amount of injury done to us as children. A child who does not learn to trust is never going to be able to handle true relationships. They can play act all they want to but it is just that, play acting. I think they yearn for something deeper but their mistrust is so embedded that it will not let them put their guard down. You, and other chumps, pay a terrible emotional price trying to get close to these people. The best way to get to meh is to understand that even though he damaged you terribly he is missing the best part of being a human. He is missing the ability to except to love, to except trust, and to give them an equal measure.

      • Wow, this is an awesome comment and I can relate to it. My STBX is exactly like this. I thought he was so gentle, kind, loving, loyal and generous.. and he was.. but at some point he flipped.. he got bored and restless. He’s always been like that but maybe he placated it in other ways. Addition to food, to video games, to cars, to buying trinkets. Then the MOW came along and that’s an addiction too, also took up smoking cigarettes again….. a lot of what he does is manic.. he becomes addicted to the high quite fast.

        I loved him.. I thought he loved me but maybe he never did. He is disordered.. his childhood was a mess.. and I know now it has nothing to do with me.. but damn if he hasn’t blown my life to bits.

        The good news is that I have two beautiful kids, a good job, and a head on my shoulders.. but it’s still rough as hell. The fact that he could throw over all the things I’ve done for him, all I’ve been to him over the years.. for some two bit whore (who also smokes, that’s why he took it up again) is the most painful thing I’ve ever endured,

        • Flipped….EXACTLY! like a light switch. One day everything was fine and the next I am the devil incarnate. Addiction….yep, right there with you. All at the same time I figure OWhore came back into his life looking in retorspect. Any woman that would pursue a committed (oops, right, I was the one committed) man and offer up sex and promised not to tell……..This is what he choose over a loving, committed woman and his family. Agree. Blown my life and our family to hell, and agree that this is the most painful thing I have ever endured. I don’t think I will ever recover.

      • Holy Cow, Let go! You just described my cheater. Will he ever develop true relationships with our kids? Or will these relationships be surfacey too? He’s working on creating deeper relationships with the kids, but it looks a lot like love Bombing to me. (Or is that because I am highly skeptical?)

        My relationship with him is over, except to attempt to create a healthy co parenting environment for my kids.

        • ANC, ask other Chumps, but I’ll bet as long as he controls the narrative he can play act. Let them become mouthy teenagers and he will probably back off. He might blame you for poisoning their minds, or accuse them of being ungrateful brats. Nothing will be his fault.
          The sad truth is that kids want the unconditional love their parents are suppose to give them. If you can find a way to gently encourage him he might make it. At some point, when they are old enough and asking questions, you may have to explain how difficult being settled is to an unsettled mind.
          I make it sound like you have to tiptoe through life with this guy. Remember the title of this post. Anger is about reacting to specific behaviors. You need it to get a good lawyer, get child support, get a good financial settlement. We start out teaching our children to be polite to people and then don’t understand that when they are grown they don’t know how to say “no”. That is one of the best words in the English language. It keeps others from steam rolling us.
          Good luck.

      • Let Go, this^^this^^.

        The surface relational stuff is as deep as a paddling pool. The hours I wasted longing for more.

        Following d’day I could not understand the who this cold, heartless, self entitled POS was. And how had we managed to stay together for so long. Was I stupid? No just blinded by what I did see in him and what I considered he could be, part of the heart break was realising and accepting he was never going to be that person. No for me. Possibly not for anyone.

    • Thankful,
      Guys like that love to watch you become derailed. So sorry that you had to be the only parent to your daughter while she is going through something so scary. He’s not a man.

    • Thankful, your story made ME angry! What an asshole!

      And isn’t he just really great at manipulating you to become emotional so that his shittiness is disguised.

    • Thankful, you had every right to be angry–enraged–at how the Cheater treated you and your daughter (who, after all, is his child, too). The fact that he used this in a public setting to make you (the person taking care of his very sick child) look bad and to make himself look good makes him a monster. A monster.

      I’m not Tempest, but I have long had trouble with flashbacks and falling through what my first therapist calls “holes in time,” where a present event (being in the room with your cheater, for example) triggers the pain and trauma of a past event (like the rage and powerlessness you felt in the hospital). While you will never, ever forget the terrible things he did (and I am not talking about the cheating, but of his behavior in the situation), you can work on managing how things in the present trigger you and send you back to the feeling state of that time. This is the road I’ve walked regarding PTSD from an abusive childhood. You are so powerful and such a strong Mama Bear. Don’t beat yourself up for remembering on the DNA level what a shit he is.

    • Fucking despicable that he thought little ‘dinners’ and other crap were more important than his flesh and blood going through probably one of the worst things medically to endure. Really shows where his priorities layed, doesn’t it? Fucking self-entitled prick.
      I’ve actually learned from your story – and with a quote that I feel fits: “Never make someone a priority who thinks of you as an option”.
      That if someone has to feed their own ego with pathetic shit and feels that’s more important – over shit that really does matter – they aren’t worth being with. Period.

    • Thankful: “I hate the person I became being married to him.”

      Yes, I was with mine for 24+ years, and around him, became a less cheerful, optimistic person who started to slide into anxiety and depression.

      You had, and have, every right to be angry and contemptuous to the air-thief who is your X. Do NOT let him invalidate you or your anger or your disgust at his cheating. I would worry about you if you WEREN’T angry–it’s all justified. However, to wrongfoot him, make it a cold anger–plaster on a beatific smile, and then *pretend* to agree with him (with just a frisson of sarcasm), “Why, yes, dipshit X, we DO all want you to be happy, more than we desire happiness for ourselves.” or “It was important for you to get dinner while our daughter suffered through chemotherapy; wouldn’t want you to faint from hunger.” You get to express your outrage, he can’t easily accuse you of being bitter and mean to him, and he probably doesn’t have the psychological wherewithal to counter your response. (But keep that smile!)

      Eventually, your daughter will be old enough that you’ll get to have minimal contact with him and your anger will evolve into eye rolls at his behavior. In the meantime, channel it into a “win.”

      Anger is a defense mechanism, and a useful one, until we get to indifference or complete No-Contact. Just hone it for your purposes so that it can’t be used against you.

      And BTW–your X is a nasty piece of work. I’m running out of voodoo dolls, but he warrants an entry ;).

  • I’m having trouble getting to righteous anger. When I do get angry I feel stronger. But it’s very fleeting. Most of the time I’m sad. When I do get angry my anxiety level skyrockets. Not good either. This is a nightmare.

    • Lina,
      I do not like anger too much because it makes me feel out of control. Also. the jerks I’be been with tend to use it against me later and accuse me of being crazy.

      Don’t get angry. Get even.

      But what is more likely with chumps like you and me, “don’t go away mad, girl, just go away.”

    • It might help you to know, Lina, that you ARE angry, but you’re directing it inward, at yourself — she who is LEAST deserving of anger in this situation.

      It’s generally established that depression is anger turned inward. Keep that anger where it belongs — on HIM. *HE* did this, not YOU!!

      Our society frowns on anger. I really got an earful from our closest mutual friends during the first few months when XH was staying at their house (until he & Schmoopie could find a place). They were distancing themselves from me, so I went over to have a “So, whazzup?” talk. And they kept DEFENDING him, saying they couldn’t be angry with him, and why was *I* angry with him, “You know, he feels really bad for hurting you and wishes he could take away your pain.” And then I REALLY blew up and said, “Fuck that! And Fuck him!! He HAD the chance to not make me feel bad by STAYING and WORKING on our marriage, and by WARNING me he was unhappy!” Then they said they were “uncomfortable with my anger” and I essentially never heard from them again.

      I imagine they all sit around the dinner table now & play Carcassone and forget that I ever even existed.

      Anger is there, so you might as well put it on the person who deserves it.

      • “You know, he feels really bad for hurting you and wishes he could take away your pain.”

        That’s precisely why the dick decided to fuck someone else, right?
        People are fucking morons, I swear.

        • Those who want to deny your right to be angry in support of the cheater are very low in character in my view and believe me when I say they are not worth your time. Or your anger.

          My situation was made worse by the fact my XH is a Jesus Cheater. And because he hid behind God and the church to prevent being held to account for his behaviour. Some of it I am only just learning about now 16 months post d’day. It was put to me by people that my anger was a sign of my refusing to let God work in my situation and bring about reiteration.

          I am so glad for those God did put in my path to help me see the truth. Especially those who share here who enabled me to see that my XH had more issues than the need for sex with strangers. And that I had a right to be very pissed of over it.

          • That should read ‘restoration’ not ‘reiteration’

            Tempest,
            Most of his apologists spoke without thinking. They were so desperate to hid his adultery that they needed to keep a lid on my anger because it indicated that there was far more to my separation/ divorce than what he and the church were letting on.

            And still only yesterday I was held to account for letting my anger get the better of me by a pastor of his church, for telling members of the church the truth.
            I was also asked if my XH signed our settlement papers (rather than my having to pay to take him to court to sell our family home so I can afford to support myself and our kids moving forward) would I be able to speak nicely about him because, the pastor was not happy that I was speaking about my XH in a negative manner.
            Gee let me think if he treated me with concern and respect, and agreed to disentangle himself from me financially now we are divorce and he has a GF, without my having to cover huge court cost. Could I say a nice word about him??????
            Again speaking without thinking.

            • Thankful, who the heck are these so called religious people? I guaran damn tee it is about money. You speaking loudly about a church going cheater might close some wallets. Go for it! Tell every single person. Don’t yell, just say he broke your heart and one of the Commandments by cheating. If I were you I would let the folks in that church see the back of me. Have you noticed people use their so-called faith to excuse some awful behavior. Religion is suppose to make us better. Him having a little hanky panky behind the church is not religion. It is cheating.

            • Thankful, practice these statements: “That’s none of your business.” “You would be better off putting your concern into helping your members live up to a few of the 10 commandments.” “It’s disgusting that X had no concern for his daughter who was gravely ill and no concern for the person he left to take care of her.” “My church frowns on adultery. Where does your church stand on that?” And, over and over, “That’s none of your business.” “Excuse me, I have an appointment.”

              • You owe no one an explanation for your anger, especially someone who know what that creep you were married to did.

            • Thankful, in my Catholic Faith, adultery and stealing are two of the big Ten. If anything, your pastor should have been talking to your ex – not you! If my priest ever tried to make me feel bad for telling the truth – priest or no priest he would have gotten my wrath as well. I probably would have told him to shut the F up. But I’m crass like that. Minimally, I would have said, well – watch your poor box when my ex is around because he’s a lying cheating thief! You keep spreading the truth my friend and don’t you feel one ounce badly about it. If your asked, then you tell!

            • actually in the catholic faith, there is adultery, stealing, do not bare false witness against your neighbor….in other words DO NOT LIE!! do not covet they neighbors house, wife or possessions.

              maybe the next time your pastor decides to hold you to account for letting your anger get the better of you by a pastor of his church, for telling members of the church the truth….you might remind him that your XH broke AT LEAST 4 of the 10 commandments!! and ask him if he is suggesting that you lie and withhold the truth of the sins of your XH? something like “are you really counselling me to brake a commandment and lie about my XH behavior that caused the break up of our marriage?”

              if your pastor continue to badger you, then take it up with HIS supervisor. even in church there is a chain of command.

        • “You know, he feels really bad for hurting you and wishes he could take away your pain.”

          This is my ex’s attitude entirely, The fact that he feels bad about it NOW makes it all OK, and means he’s actually a good person! Of course, he didn’t feel bad in the least about a) being a negative, critical, difficult person to live with, for 14 years, b) sporadically scaring the shit out of me and the kids with his threats and near-violence (only stopped that because of some severe limit-setting by me, not because he felt at all bad about it), c) cheating the first time, breaking my heart and creating huge turmoil in our family for months, d) cheating the second time, and breaking up our relationship as well as his kids’ family, and e) treating the kids so poorly after the separation..

          He felt FINE about all this stuff. None of it was a problem, we were over-reacting. He was completely justified in EVERYTHING he did. Until, of course, he started feeling the consequences in HIS own life.

          Somehow, remorse after years of CLEAR CHOICES to do hurtful, harmful things, and remorse that only appears because of the consequences FOR HIM of those choices, that really really doesn’t do much to reduce my anger, or make me see him as a decent person.

  • Thank you CL for this post on anger – it is much needed. I have been severely hurt and as you said, my ‘internal warning system is setting off the security breach alarm’ for my anger to step up and protect me. The betrayal, lies, manipulation, gas lighting, blame shifting, etc. that has gone on for years from the person who committed to love me and me only hurts terribly. And he just wants to ignore what he has done and it’s impact on me. No f’ing way I can ignore it so I’m no contact with him unless it involves our daughter or untangling our financial matters.

    The a-hole called me last night so he could tell me what I need to do to take care of daughter’s sports injury. That set my anger off. I have always taken care of her and he’s been disney dad. He thinks dictating the responsibility to me means he’s an involved dad. I simply said ‘so you called me to tell me what I need to do to take care of her – got it.’ and I hung up.

    Most days, I’m pretty good but I derail when I have to interact with him. It’s been 2 years since DDay and almost a year since I gave up hope that he would step up and change. I know there’s no magical cure but please tell me that someday, the hurt will subside.

    • ByeBye – my ex does the same thing: he’s an armchair parent. Like the armchair quarterback hollering at the TV at the people actually playing the game, my ex tells me everything I’m doing wrong from his new wife’s house 40 minutes away. We’ve been divorced for 4 years, but I’ve been a single parent for 13, because dealing with toddlers took the focus off him, so he stayed at work 80 hours a week and eventually started having sex with women there. He’s never parented all three of ours by himself for more than two days since he became a father, yet he seems to think he has all the answers.

      My suggestion for you is to take your ex’s advice with a grain of salt. Calling plays is easy when you’re sitting in an armchair, knocking back the beers. But if he actually had to run the ball himself? He couldn’t do it. He’s all talk and no action. Remember that next time he calls to offer advice. You’ll be rolling your eyes dismissively in no time! 😉

  • “If you don’t understand that betrayal makes people angry, then you don’t understand injustice. And if you refuse to understand the injustice, then you probably have an agenda.”

    Now **that** is true in as true a way as true can be.

    I had a lengthy discussion with my IC therapist about this. Her (very valid, IMHO) concern was that she didn’t want me to “get over” my STBXW’s infidelity; she wanted me to “soar into a new life.” If you are angry, it’s hard to soar because that shiz is a rock-like weight holding you down (potential outcomes include resentment, bitterness, and constant retreat into victimization).

    My response to this (also very valid, IMHO), was that anger is a necessary launching pad. As CL puts it, anger is a clarion call to get your butt in gear and take up metaphorical arms to defend your dignity, and other important aspects of your life. I *need* to be angry; as part of the grieving process, as part of processing all of the bullsh*t, but most importantly as a driver to a) file for divorce, b) go as NC as possible with the person who inflicted this on me and my family, c) focus on protecting my daughter and get my cheating wife the hell OUT of my life, and d) begin to move on to better things.

    That is a sh*t ton of work! It is NOT going to happen through timidity. Chumps, you MUST be angry in some way/shape/form to get that started. It is anger that is totally justified!

    Having said that, as CL indicated you MUST be ready for a second grieving period – the one in which you let that driving anger go, when it’s the right time. That does NOT mean that you become friends with someone who screwed you over, but it does mean you can be civil to them. It means you focus on the future and not the past. It means that you have no place or time in your life for petty shiz like revenge or cheating (and yeah, I think revenge drags people down to the level of cheaters… sorry, had to be said).

    You don’t need to be in a hurry to get there, though; let it come naturally. And it will, so long as you check yourself: when anger starts to feel like “woe unto me, I am forsaken!” then you need to slap it back into its proper place. If it starts to look like black-hearted resentment, it needs a slap. If you start to feel bitter about life beyond the scenario the cheater inflicted, then you need to kick that bitter in the crotch. In some ways, you need to be justifiably angry at your anger if it gets out of line. If you start to want violence and revenge, then you’d better get some professional help, because you are letting anger run amok like an out of control power tool with sharp blades attached to it!

    Is the anger helping to make you a better person? If you look at the anger, does it feel justified, or does it shirk in shame? If the former, you’re probably on the right track, I think.

    Anger is **your** tool; use it! But always remember who is the boss of that anger: YOU.

    • Great post on anger, Sephage. I, personally, have no problem voicing righteous anger. I use it as a bridge to get me to the next level.

      Anger gives me super human strength to get out of a bad situation and into a good one. I don’t keep it with me because it will take my attention away from the peacefulness I am trying to obtain. Continued anger after the job is done keeps me focused on the past, or the cheater in my case, and robs me of my future. It’s a great weapon to defend yourself or someone else who is being abused. It should naturally dissipate when no longer needed to propel you forward or get you out of danger. It is a very powerful emotion.

      I have a wonderful SIL, who I loved dearly and still do. I would do anything for her. I always kept in touch and I love my nieces and nephew, her children. My brother was a terrible husband to her, he admits it and they divorced in their twenties. It’s been over 30 years and she never dropped anger. It completely robbed her of her life on this planet.

      There comes a time when you have to set it down.

      • Thanks, CJ – yeah, see my comment further down. Revenge is bad news, and is largely unnecessary against people who are f-ing up their own lives, which is what the vast majority of cheaters are doing. Their hell is self-inflicted and it doesn’t need any additional assistance from chumps. Best to just get away from their sinking ship.

        I should note that while intellectually all of this makes total sense – filing for D, trying to get STBXW out of the house, contributing and reading here, eschewing revenge, etc. – emotionally it’s much more difficult. It takes time for that to align to the intellectual / factual side. But it will come, and when it does the anger, I think, will stay in its proper place.

        One thing I would encourage chumps to do to help is IC, and specifically ask the therapist “what does a mature, functional, loving relationship really look like?” I know that I have few role models for that personally, and I definitely want another long term, functional, intimate, loving relationship so I want to make sure it’s a viable one from early on; it helps to have a very high-level template, one that doesn’t have to bear any resemblance to what we experienced with our cheaters.

        Cheers!

        • “One thing I would encourage chumps to do to help is IC, and specifically ask the therapist “what does a mature, functional, loving relationship really look like?”

          This question is huge. CL, please do a post on this topic, I’m sure that many chumps really aren’t sure what healthy actually looks like. I know after 20 years with my ex, I really have no idea what a good relationship is all about.

          • I think it boils down to altruistic selflessness for the core – but be willing to call people out on their shit if they do something that’s selfish and harming the other person in some way.
            Too much altruistic selfishness gets people chumped though.
            Its about considering your needs – but being mindful and respective of the other person’s needs as well. And no agenda-pushing in the background!
            Two people who meet each other half way is a beautiful thing.

    • This is a lovely post, Sephage.

      Your comment about anger as a launchpad is right on. Before I even knew (for sure) about Schmoopie, I remember the first & only MC appt I convinced XH (then STBX) to attend. By the end of what I thought had been a fairly productive & civilized hour, the MC suggested an exercise we could do for our marriage that would take about 30 days (of us treating each other better, etc.), and the look on XH’s face was like, “Thirty days?? HELL no!” So the MC (who also saw this look) backpedaled and said, “OK, well, how about I see you back here in two weeks then?” — Same look.

      And right that minute, I felt like I’d been shot out of a cannon by rage. I thought, “After SIXTEEN YEARS together, he can’t even invest another TWO WEEKS in our marriage??” That night, I went online & printed the paperwork so we could file, researched the state laws on divorce, polled my friends to find a good divorce attorney, and first thing next morning, I stood at the other end of the kitchen table (I felt like a general in a war, “negotiating” with the enemy) and said, “So, I guess we’re done then,” and slapped down the papers. Got his signature, and I filed that day.

      When I look back on what anger helped me do, and how I was running on adrenaline all of last summer, I’m amazed I could even get out of bed in the morning. Now, I love my single life. But I couldn’t have gotten here without the anger.

      • NWBiblio – thanks. It’s hard to think of my thoughts as “lovely” when I cannot stand to even look at my STBXW, but I understand what you are saying :).

        In a lot of ways, I cannot wait until she’s gone and I can start the next chapter of my life not worrying about her reactions anywhere near as much as I have to right now. I am very glad to hear that you are loving your life now!

        I had a similar reaction to my STBXW’s lackadaisical approach to anything remotely related to reconciliation. She couldn’t be bothered to read any of the better books on affairs or divorce, after 10+ years of marriage, but could find the time to read her affair partner’s favorite 300+ page novel? Uhm, yeah… I think we are DONE! 🙂

  • Thankful, don’t laugh but the BEST thing for this is Al anon or another 12 steps programme. They really teach you to detach lovingly and keep the focus on self. My X drinks but that doesn’t upset me half as much as his narcissism (triple diagnosed) and so I mentally substitute ‘narcissist’ for every word ‘alcoholic’. And lo and behold, addiction and narcissism are very linked, so Al Anon IS about dealing with a narcissist!
    I no longer rage to him, try to ‘get him to see’ or think that ‘this time he will understand’. I have come to accept him for who he really is.
    It is a wonderful compassionate programme, and it costs me $2 a time.
    My X still uses my ‘abuse’ as his justification. He hasn’t noticed at all that I don’t do that any more and haven’t for around two years. And that is absolutely fine: he is entitled to be on whatever journey he is on. It is none of my business (see what al anon does!).

    • Sounds like I could use Al anon. I’ve been striving to detach lovingly. I’ve got a way to go, but I’m getting less concerned about him “getting it,” which I tried earnestly for 2 years to do. I’m moving on without him… hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.

      • ItsAJournry, you get it. That’s all that matters. Separating yourself from them means you have to face the pain of what you wanted if only they could see or get it. I wasted most of my life in that exact place. I finally let go and filed. It is a journey and at some point there is clarity. You are worth it!

    • I also found AlAnon helpful but used to cry so much during the meetings, it made me feel worse, so I quit going for a while. But I knew I was crying because I could relate, y’know?

    • My first x is a former Mormon, and does not cheat or drink that I know of, but is a huge narcissist. My second x is a very functional addict and I don’t think he is a narcissist.

      Addicts start letting go of obligations and accountability in favor of the high. Narcissists want everyone to focus on them. Good or bad, just pay attention to them. They must win, losing is not an option. Sweep the leg!

  • Thankful, don’t hate yourself for feeling anger. After all you have been through it is quite normal. This is a process. And if we push those angry emotions down in us then we will never get to that light at the end of the tunnel. My adult children at times thought I was just awful, but I told them very nicely that if they didn’t care for my attitude then they were welcome to leave! They didn’t like that, but I knew somewhere deep inside that I had to vent this poison from my system. I had faith that I would get “better” whatever that meant. Screw these people and our cheaters who think we should just accept and adapt immediately! I want to see them walk a mile in my shoes. But I would suggest we focus on getting to the other side of this and start envisioning and defining what we need, want and how we want our lives to look like after the destruction our ex spouse has piled on us. I had some friends who had been through this type of betrayal and they kept assuring me that my life would be much better post cheater. It was almost impossible for me to imagine, but sure enough, it does happen. Like CL says, “this shit is finite.” She is right. But it still has to be processed by every chump and that’s the suck part!

  • I think it was someone on this blog who recognized that cheating is about POWER. But the cheater recognizes that there is POWER in our ANGER.

    And that worries the cheater, even if the cheater doesn’t admit it.

    Ever notice how when D-day arrives, the cheater is often angry at the chump for some *perceived* offense(s)? “I cheated because you weren’t meeting my needs”. “I cheated because you never buy me flowers”. “I cheated because you made me go to your parent’s house for Thanksgiving back in 1994, when you knew I wanted to stay home and watch the game”.

    I believe that the cheater KNOWS their “anger” is bogus. But they also know that OUR anger is righteous, and the cheater’s don’t like that at all (“Just how LONG do you –chump–plan to stay angry?!”).

    The cheater wants to get as far away from our anger as possible because they don’t want to feel BAD about their ‘wonderful’ selves.

    • This! My cheater just wrote this “I can also read the hate and loathing in your emails and text messages and I know you are angry. I’m desperately trying to get past all of this and move forward – if anything I’ve ever said means anything to you at all, you need to find a way to do the same.” He is upset because I’m angry? He had an affair, with a coworker, for 5 years and I had no idea. Dday was 2 years ago and I just caught him lying to me for another month, and poor wounded thing can’t understand my anger.

      You hit the nail on the head when you wrote “they don’t want to feel BAD about their ‘wonderful’ selves.”

      • I think there’s nothing that invokes anger more than the “you need to move on” statement from people who have grievously injured you. They act like they are the better person because they’ve been able to “move on” from something they planned and knew was coming. I remember my MIL told me she hoped I’d be able to move on 2 weeks after my 36 year relationship imploded. I remember thinking “I’ll move on all right, and I’ll move you right out of my life.” After that she kept contacting me wanting to be friends, but it was just too upsetting. My main focus after my ex left was protecting myself from unnecessary pain. It still is.

      • Yup. Cheater was angry because I made him feel bad about his actions. Woe to him for feeling sad and angry when I had to explain that nice guys don’t serial fuck other people, carry on a decade long life with a MOW, steal from their kids and endanger not only their spouse but their children as well.

        I’m not allowed to call him a coward. So I call him One Who Lacks Courage. Ironically, he accepts this description of himself. Wacko.

        • I was told by cheater several times via nasty-grams (emails- the only way he choose to communicate) that I had to move forward in my “new” life just as he was moving forward in his. His new life involved reaching happiness. My “new” life became a tragedy.

        • Oh so I see that I am not the only one ANC, thanks for that. The one time I allowed myself to really show my anger and yelled that he was a liar, a cheater and a coward, he called my daughter and told her to come over to my house and calm me down or he was going to call the police on me!!!! Poor smuck was sooo afraid of his yelling 115 lb wife? Oh pleaz.

          He just couldn’t stand the fact that after 38 years, I finally told him what I thought of him. And I hope to get that chance again before this is all over.

          • I told mine he was a liar, a cheater and he & Schmoopie were just like common thieves! He just had this blank stare on his face! But then I told him he was a coward and a fraud and that got him all pissed off! I must have hit the nail on the head then!

    • “The cheater wants to get as far away from our anger as possible because they don’t want to feel BAD about their ‘wonderful’ selves.”

      Yep. God forbid we take away the vision of who they think they are.

      • That is exactly what my stbx said ‘Koru you are the only person who makes me feel this bad about myself’. Yeah, I am the only one who ever stood up to his and called him out on his shit.

        • Koru, my ex is like this! At one point he said ‘you made me feel inadequate, like I wasn’t a good husband or a good father’. I just looked at him. He got it, and he was PISSED! How dare I point out reality, when that made him look bad!

      • Calamity Jane, they simply don’t want to hear or see the unvarnished truth about themselves. It’s too much for their ego and fantasy to accept that they are really shitty people, outcasts! Deep down these MOFOS know it, but taking responsibility for it is a whole different thing.

  • I watched an episode of “My 600 Pound Life” last night which showed a woman who had been kidnapped and held hostage by an abusive boyfriend when she tried to leave him 20 years ago. It was so traumatic that she started eating to comfort herself and never stopped. When the episode opened, she weighed over 800 pounds and had been confined to her bed for over a year. Even after moving to another state to see a doctor who specializes in obese patients, she spent an additional 8 months in bed, refusing to move, telling the doctor again and again, “You don’t understand. You’re pushing me too hard.”

    Every time she whined, I kept thinking, “She needs ChumpLady!” because she’s STILL being held hostage by that man. She’s allowed him to control her life for 20 years, endangering her health and preventing her from being a hands-on mom to her 3 kids. Instead of getting mad, she got addicted…to food.

    I wonder how many other chumps have succumbed to a similar fate? I’ll take anger over addiction ANY day. Because one day, the anger will be gone. The addiction? Not so much…

    • I’ll take anger over addiction ANY day. Because one day, the anger will be gone. The addiction? Not so much…

      Yes, Yes, Yes,

      I hate to cry, being raised by two emotionally void but seriously strong women (mother and grandmother) I feel the notion of My crying ( not others) is pathetic and self indulgent. I cried so much in the beginning of last year I am surprised I did not become dehydrated.
      So anger was a welcome relief. Although it was regularly used by my cheating X in the defence of his action.
      But I can choose not to be angry.
      My XH no matter what he says or how nice he is to people or how many relationships he has with women will ever be able to deal with his addictive behaviour unless he acknowledges it for what it is. And he won’t do that while he is pointing the finger at me.

      • I had been numb for as long as I can remember. So what the discard started and then I found out about MOW, I was angry, sad, terrified, heartbroken, and at times enraged. But feeling is better than being numb. And it was a good thing to go through the whole thing without medicating myself with food and workaholism and/or some other man.

        • I personally think that if you need help to get it through speaking with a health care professional and use all the resources available to you.
          That being said I am so grateful that I was able to get through this period also without having to medicate myself.
          I remember sitting in my doctors office crying uncontrollably, I asked about medication, she asked what was weighing on me that I was so upset. My divorce hearing was was in a few days. She suggested I go home have a great big cry get it out of my system. Go to my divorce hearing with my head held high and if I was still like it a week afterwards to go back and see her.
          I didn’t go back the next week I didn’t need to. I have to lean not to be afraid of my emotions. Talking with others has really helped.

  • What really pisses me off is when the Cheaters get mad, when they are the ones completely in the wrong. Fuck that noise. I love it when Chumps no longer accept that crap. And, yes, it will likely require some righteous anger.

    • A couple of months ago the ex texted me, and self-pityingly told me he was to blame for ‘what happened’. I replied that yes, he was to blame. He was FURIOUS! How could I be so mean????? THIS was why we weren’t together any more.

      Made me laugh.

      That pissed him off even more, but at least he’s leaving me alone now. I’m no longer accepting that crap, and he can’t stand that. Good.

      • KarenE–which just goes to show that their “remorse” is purely instrumental–designed to get our pity and lure us back into being nice to them. Cheater remorse is much like the cheater themselves–shallow & superficial.

        (I swear, Karen, if I didn’t know you were in Canada (right?) I’d think my X had been living a double life shuttling between the two of us. Many similarities. Yours didn’t have a penchant for Italian designers, did he?)

  • Sephage, I agree! It’s almost one year to the day of my d-day (and only a month to go until I can file) and I find my anger comes and goes. True I’ve been calmer in general but initially and during false reconciliation I was angry yes, and that was powerful and kick started me to take action… but I didn’t expect a ‘second wind ‘ of anger. That happened after my stbhx left for the office grad all sorry and depressed that his affair had been exposed and left me to do all the paperwork to call in our investment s and sell our home by myself. On the day we exchanged contracts (he was so ‘sad’ he couldnt sign them at the house in person.. I had to ferry them around the city with his dad, no joke) he accidentially, or so he said, transferred money from our remaining small joint bill accout to his AP. Seeing her name in my bank transactions (and it’s still there of course) made me angrier than I’ve been all year. True, it made me a bit vindictive but it also has given me the strength to get through what will be the hardest part of all in the upcoming weeks…. settling division of assets and filing divorce paperwork.. while not falling victim to the sadness of it all especually the loss of half the people I called family and friends in the process. . Without this renewed anger I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to trust that he still sucks… so I agree!! Anger = chump power boost.

    • chummp-ness – I say, flex that anger muscle! Just don’t let it get overworked and you’ll do great!

      In my situation, I have been looking at it this way:

      – My STBXW is a decent mom, so I don’t want my anger to even inadvertently cause issues with that. My daughter is AMAZING and deserves whatever humanity her mother has left to offer.

      – My STBXW is also a liar and a cheat, and capable of enormous financial infidelities. Anger is going to get me a very good settlement with all of that stuff, and then if she blows the money she gets on her debts and incurring more debts, that’s her problem from this point, not mine or my daughter’s as it would be if we stayed married (and if she needs to sleep with guys old enough to be her father who have rich moms, as she had been doing, that’s also her problem).

      So the “not my issue anymore” take on things I find really helps to mitigate the anger into its proper place.

      And here’s the other thing about anger and why it shouldn’t be puffed up into revenge – and it’s important:

      Only one of you has to possibly lie on their deathbed and contemplate in at least some ways f-ing up a family through their selfish behavior.

      Only one of you dealt with marriage problems in one of the most immature ways possible, and will have to examine that as part of their character.

      In my case, only my STBXW will have to answer to our daughter when she asks what really happened, did you do everything that you could to keep the family together, and other tough questions. Now, the cheater might answer with some BS, but they will know it’s BS and in most cases eventually so will the kid.

      Living with that stuff? Noooooooooooooooooo thank you! That would be a nightmare that eats a black hole into your soul… I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even my STBXW and her sleazy affair partner (while I feel they deserve one another, I don’t think soul torment is good for the Universe in general).

      So, chumps don’t really need revenge; nothing anyone could do to someone else could be as bad as what cheaters have brought upon themselves already; having to eventually look into one’s soul and find it lacking, to *know* that you inflicted harm on innocents like kids and family members, that you lied and then blamed someone else for it, etc. (and only the most screwed up, disordered people won’t contemplate at least some of that stuff, eventually).

      Yeah, I know some of the folks here have disordered cheaters in their lives, but there is a continuum of that. My STBXW is probably disordered, but not so much that I haven’t caught her saying things like “I don’t know what I doing,” “I am not myself,” and “I hate myself for letting things get this way.” Yes, these are followed by her blaming me, but the point is when I am out of the picture of the marriage, will those thoughts and feelings for her just go away? I think it’s much more likely that they will then be directed inward. Again, not my problem, but think about the pure hell that would be. No, they won’t feel it as much as a more functional person would, but most of them will feel it in some way.

      I can think of nothing I could inflict on someone that is worse than that. NOTHING.

      That’s why I don’t like the idea of revenge – it would mean drinking the same acrid poison that will eventually gnaw at the hearts and souls of most of the people who cheat on their spouses.

        • CL – well put (obviously, I require an editor! 🙂

          I know that some cheaters do come around. But usually, in my experience, it’s sadly after their lives have gotten all kinds of screwed up.

          My IC therapist told me that a lot of well-adjusted chumps end up feeling pity for their cheaters. And I have to admit, I do see that in my case; I pity my STBXW in a lot of ways.

          Unfortunately, being pitiable is just as unattractive to me as being dishonest, cheating, and being immature about life’s issues and conflicts, so I am still getting divorced! 🙂

          • Great point. I’m angry. Yeah, that’s been my fuel to get 20+yrs of joined life organized and ready to go. I am repulsed by any notion of intimacy with him. I cannot wait to bust out. And yes, I feel pity for this guy who at best can be a mirage of normalcy. Because I know when push comes to shove, his coping skills include manipulation, defensiveness, lieing, alcohol, over eating, over spending and then most likely cheating and stealing. No character transplant. Just a very deficient character.

          • I pity my STBXH. The deepest relationship he had in his life was with me and now he doesn’t even have that anymore. The relationship with his kids is very strained and they are afraid of his rage and avoid him like the plague. His friendships are shallow and fleeting. He may have another 40 years of living a shallow, detached, sad “party” life and that is truly pitiful. I choose meaning, deep friendships, faith and genuine love for my life. I think I win. 🙂

            • We have similar thoughts. Who wants to be with a 50 year old party boy? Not me. I’ll take intimate relationships with family and friends any day. Eventually you’ll be too old for that shit. Then what?

            • I wish I could console myself by realising my STBX leads a pitiful hollow existence, aware of the gnawing black hole in his heart.

              But mine seems quite pleased with himself. He is very successful, untroubled by his cruel and manipulative treatment of me, and leads an interesting life. He is not capable of intimacy, sure, but many people are fond of him, and many more highly respect him.

              He contacted on his birthday a few weeks back to let me know that although I was trying “blame him for everything,” he didn’t feel guilty at all.

              • grizellda, your description of your STBX shows a pitiful hollow existence but sadly people like him don’t have the capacity to self-reflect.

              • Also remember grizelda he will never feel things like joy, contentment, peace, compassion and genuine love. Life without those things is not really living.

              • Grizellda – him contacting you at all to tell you that, just proves that he’s thinking about it. So hold your head high, move forward with love and prosperity my friend. You are not defined by a relationship 🙂

      • If it truly was an ‘accident’ as he says, he will have no issue with returning the money, right?
        Fact is, it wasn’t, and he won’t.
        (Pressed ‘Submit’ too early!)

  • I cannot get over the anger completely. Ex left me a gift that keeps on giving, herpes. Many outbreaks that make me very sick. Every time I wish he would die, I have never in all my long years actually hated anyone, until now.

    • PO’d –

      Getting a STD takes it to a whole other level. I pray someday, there is a cure for you. He is the lowest of low and I can’t tell you how sorry I am that this happened to you. I can’t imagine the emotional pain. You are the mightiest of mighty.

      • Big hug to you pissedoff. I also received the gift that keeps on giving. Both he and the MOW were swapping viruses. Maybe the coworker too. Or sex workers?

        What has helped a lot was finding healthy ways to reduce my stress which lessened outbreaks and duration. There is medicine as well.

        Getting gifts like these adds to the general feeling of being raped emotionally by the person you trusted the most. Be pissed off. It is justified and righteous!

        • Hugs back to you ANC, so sorry you are in the same boat. And thank you all for the support. There is no way to prove he gave me herpes, even if I could it would not change anything as far as my health goes.

          • Pissesoff…talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for a daily dose of Valacyclovir (very low dose) and you won’t suffer any more. My sister has herpes and takes this and has not had an outbreak since.

            • That is great news, syringa.

              I am so sorry ANC. I had too many girlfriends suffer because of their asshole boyfriends and I am sure it has been the other way around. This can produce immense emotional anger in me. It is such an egregious act of terror against another human being. Complete and total selfishness on their part.

              To move on from this takes great resolve and I have seen it done but I know it is a very personal hurt that only the individual who has to deal with it truly understands.

              I took a panel after I found out about the sex workers on the suggestion of my OB/GYN. While I waited the results, all I could think about was how horrified I was to HAVE to take the full panel test at my age and then how I would deal with the results. I was clear, but it gave me a whole new respect for women who have to deal with sexual diseases.

              There is a special place in heaven for all of you who have had to deal with such betrayal.

              • ANC and Pissedoff, hugs to both of you. I understand, Boy, do I understand. Cheater ex also left me with herpies. It was the first clue of his infidelity.Of course It wasn’t HIM! Nope It had to be ME. Gaslighting Asshole!

            • Sadly that doesn’t always work. My stbx gave me herpes that never went away – I mean, I never had ‘episodes’ it was either bad or horrendous ALL the time. I took acyclovir every day for 2 years and never got clear. But guess what has worked?….. NC – I haven’t seen him and hardly spoken for 2 1/2 years and the old herpes is clearing up !!! No stress and lies – magic!

              • Sadly I’m on a pretty high dose of antivirals for a year and the outbreaks continue. It’s supposed to taper off but it’s been more than 3 years and still no end in sight. Some people never notice they even have herpes. I am the unlucky one who gets very sick from it and it doesn’t seem to be getting less severe as time passes.

  • My lawyer used the term righteous indignation and I think that really sums it up. How dare these assholes destroy everything and them blame us for being angry. Damn right I was angry and I used that anger to protect myself and my kids. The issue I am now dealing with is a certain sadness, a feeling of loss for what was. I am not depressed and I certainly would never go back, but I am still trying to figure out “now what?” I am an older woman, with zero desire to seek out a romantic partner. Peggy Lee’s song Is That All There Is seems to be my current theme song, but I don’t know what to do to change that. Sometimes, I wish I still was angry.

    • “…but I am still trying to figure out “now what?” I am an older woman, with zero desire to seek out a romantic partner…Is That All There Is”

      Oh violet I hear you. I finally retired after 25 years and I don’t really want to go back into my field even though I was good at it. I was a professional advocate. I railed against injustice. However, it was time. I was burned out and becoming bitter by what I saw as a 180 in the system. I did not understand that who I was professionally had become entrenched with who “I” was. When I left my children were grown so my role as “Mom” ended. I buried my parents a couple of year previous so I lost the role of “Daughter”. Had a sibling who is undiagnosed PD that I had to deal with and her behavior was the reason both my parents ended up living with me during their last year of their lives. Plenty of anger from that situation.

      When I left my X 30 years ago my life began. (I didn’t know he was a cheater when I left him.) My life grew exponentially over the years. I can’t blame the entire implosion of my life on PD cheaterpants. Some of it was life in general. Nothing to be angry about but damn it here I am at 2:30 in the afternoon still in my pj’s. WTF happened??? I am depressed and it sucks. After all the LIFE I’ve lived I’m now asking myself. “Is that all there is?” Something had better change because I can’t envision another 20 years of life being like this. Really struggling today.

      • Chumpy, Here is a (((Hug)) for you. Please see someone about your depression. BTW, there is nothing wrong with being in your pj’s at 2:30.Hope things get better for you.

      • Chumpy–a culmination of things, sometimes just too-many small inconveniences every day, can end us up in depression. Pick one thing to do tomorrow for 10 minutes that will give you a small joy–pet a dog at the shelter, pick yourself some spring flowers, put on a crazy song and dance to it, all by yourself (and let loose). The problem with depression is that it gets us focused on ourselves to the exclusion of small joys, and the helplessness that got us into depression then intensifies.

        Relearn happiness. It doesn’t have to be the same things that made you happy in the past. The only sure thing is that you need social interaction and social support. I lived across from a Quaker prison in Philadelphia for a few years–it had started out as a compassionate prison, in which inmates were to contemplate their sins in silence to accomplish rehabilitation (and thus interaction was forbidden). But they ended the humane experiment because the prisoners started to go mad. We cannot function without social interaction. Whatever it takes–get a little everyday, by a discussion of the weather with a store clerk, asking after the neighbor’s garden. Pretend to be upbeat while you do so, even if you were feeling down just a minute before (there’s some evidence that smiling itself increases our mood because using the same facial muscles can fool the emotions temporarily).

        Increase your happiness events/time every day, until putting one foot in front of the other becomes a little smoother. Eventually what to do for 10 minutes every day will become more automatic.

        Let us know how you’re doing tomorrow, okay?

        • Chumpy, so sorry you’re going through depression. But what Tempest says is exactly what my wonderful therapist has set out for me. I’ve got PTSD and when therapists hear about my childhood, they start to scribble very quickly and usually say that I’ll be in therapy for the rest of my life, more or less. It’s expensive, as insurance kicks me on and off, but boy, it’s been worth it for me. I recall our first visit and she asked me to tell her about a time when I felt happy but not for some big reason like the tax refund came. The story I told was about going through a lonely time, finding a used book store in an unfamiliar strip mall, and then walking out in the sun with a bag of used books. My heart just lifted. And our work (through the decline and death of my mother, the death of a close friend, the end of a marriage, and what Jackass did to me) has been about learning how to be happy. How to feel joy in little moments. How to be present and not imprisoned emotionally by the pain of the past or the fear of the present. So follow Tempest’s great advice. It works. 🙂

      • Chumpy, you sound alot like me in many ways. Two things have kept me going – my kids and my work. I’m not sure where I would be without both those things. My kids are good, strong people and I know I can always count on them. But it isn’t fair to make them carry my burden. My work, though, is very competitive and demanding, essentially a young person’s game. I have some years left, but am very aware of the need to anticipate retirement in the coming years. Which is why I keep coming back to “now what?” I thought X and I would enjoy our so-called golden years together, which is obviously not going to happen. So I am called upon to create a new future for myself. I consider myself a confident person, but I will admit that I am still aprehensive about trying to navigate life alone. So I completely understand how you feel and hope you have a better day tomorow. Ever forward.

  • I love my anger. Thanks to the discovery of this blog within weeks of d-day, I was waiting for it to arrive and, when it did, I embraced it and used it for all it was worth. Can’t thank CL enough for making it OK to be angry and helping me channel it in a positive direction. I have gone NC with XH, told my kids and friends the truth about what happened, hired an attorney, and won a good settlement. I am 6 months out from d-day and the divorce was finalized 3 weeks ago. The anger is already waning but I am soooo grateful for CL’s guidance and support. To everyone here who is going through the same thing, listen to CL and embrace your anger. Welcome it with open arms when it arrives and let it do its work. When you are finished with it, it will leave quietly and you will be strong and at peace.

  • My biggest problem isn’t just the betrayal. My anger stems from other factors that IMHO are unforgivable! Any cheater who leaves a pregnant woman, a very sick child, a very sick spouse and then tells you that they just cannot understand why you are so bitter and angry should be dragged behind a moving vehicle, drawn and quartered! If this is the case in your situation then the sooner you unhitch your wagon from this selfish, unfeeling POS, the better! They aren’t really human! There is hopefully a warmer place in Hell for these types!

  • Oh, and I forgot to mention the group that drags home the nasty STD to the poor faithful spouse! They are even worse if that’s even possible!

    • Roberta, I had to be tested at 60 and I am now 63 and I am still reeling from the betrayal because I have only ever known one romance and that is my ex. As far as I am concerned, anyone and I mean anyone who infects another person with an STD should be charged. It is endangering our lives. I was fortunate I am safe but I can tell you had I not been, I would be sitting in a cell right now and my ex would be in a grave. I am very serious about that and he is lucky he has kept his distance since I was tested. When I asked him how could he do this to me, he commented “do you think I would do that to you, the mother of my children”. Well I came back very swiftly and said, “you just did”. He couldn’t say another word. Oh where is the karma bus when you are waiting for it?

      • Maree, I know just how you feel! I was 58 years old and tested for STD’s! It’s incredibly humiliating to say the least! I too was very lucky and came up negative, but I feel for the faithful spouse who is victimized by a cheater then gets the STD on top of it all! It’s just so incredibly unfair and I think it should be prosecuted or something even in the case of divorce!

        • I think I would be in jail if I tested positive for an STD. I got tested. And I will get tested every year. And I am still angry about it.

          • Only wish my STD had manifested before divorce was settled. Instead it arrived at the end of last year right around the 5 year mark of dday.

            • hurt1, to me that is justifiable homicide and I am not kidding. I am so sorry that this has happened to you.

  • Yes Lina, I agree. It’s hard enough dealing with the knowledge that your spouse is cheating and has been gaslighting you for God knows how long and then to have to deal with health issues and the humiliation of being told you have an STD has to be just horrible. I hate to say this, but in the end the chump has to be angry and just as cold and calculating as they have been. It comes down to knowing what you need to survive going forward. Believe me, the cheater doesn’t care if you live in your car!

  • Absolutely.

    And you’re right, they don’t care if you starve or end up living in your car or on the street. One thing I do get ballistic about is that he threatened to put my 91 year old father out of the house that we trustingly shared with him.

    • Lina, you have just described what an absolute a*sehole your ex is. To threaten your dear old father is beyond contempt. He does not have a soul. Your ex is a rat and you my dear lady or so much better off without him. Just imagine what he would have done to you, had you become ill. You don’t even want to contemplate what he would have done with you.

      • Yes, I can never forget that. Never mind what he did to me. My Dad was so generous and good to him.

        There is no one that knows my Dad that doesn’t like him. Except guess who?

  • “JC, calm down. Don’t raise your voice at me,” my cheater serenely said when we first met to talk turkey after I’d filed for divorce. I got so angry at her nonchalance that I got up and walked away.

    After that, I insisted on communication via email only. I used my anger to fuel me through the divorce process. She could pretend all she wanted that her actions were not worthy of anger. It didn’t matter.

    I’ve been NC since the divorce was finalized, 10 months and counting. I still get angry now and then at the way she threw away our life together. But, not often. It’s better that I got out after 8 years together than 16 or 25.

    Anger saved me. It overpowered the sadness. It overpowered the loneliness. It kept me from second-guessing myself or re-opening the door that I’d rightly shut.

    Thank you, anger.

  • At some point anger is good, but beyond a certain point it certainly negates meh. If a person is still angry after a certain point, IMO. There is something wrong. Too clingy perhaps and a person who has difficulty letting go.

    Also, perhaps it indicates that they are still unhappy with the wayward spouse. Why? Who cares. I am friends with ex girlfriends that cheated and it’s not a problem. If there are benefits to knowing them, I stay in touch.

    Chumplady.

    I know based on seeing your latest pictures that you are likely in your mid sixties, so I think that you think a lot differently than my generation. I am in my 20s.

    The peeps in my age group don’t take infidelity as heartfelt as you and some here. In our minds we separate sex from love. I do think the type and length of the affair comes into play. But just a fling. Meh. If I really loved my wife and we were compatible, it would not be such a big deal to my peers. To my mind my peers seem far more mature than yours.

    There are many things worse than an affair. Drug and alcohol addictions come to mind. Physical or mental abuse, and no, my peers don’t count a fling as mental abuse. It’s just scratching a sexual itch. Again, the relationship during the fling makes all the difference. So a person has sex with someone else. Meh, if you love them and you are compatible, what’s the big deal?

    But, I am sure I will get hammered here. Have at it.

    • I doubt you’ll get the comments you’re looking for, as we don’t feed trolls. I’ll assume you’re trolling because you state you’re not bothered by infidelity and you’re on a support site… why?

      Dude, I’m 48. Plenty of people here in their 20s. You don’t speak for your generation.

    • Yea, you and your troll peeps your age are totally cool with the mom who walks out on her 2 and 3 year old kids ’cause preschoolers are totally cool with that. Nothing mentally abusive there, right?

      And, hey because giving your trusting spouse an STD that results in cancer or HIV is an acceptable cost for scratching your sexual itch. Nothing physically abusive there, either.

      The guy who blows the family savings on hookers. Not financial abuse.

      For the love of God ask the doctor give you a vasectomy while he’s rummaging around your posterior to remove your heat from your butt.

      • They just say, “Don’t have kids if you aren’t expecting to potentially care for them on your own.” Millennials (and I’m an older one, so don’t think I’m an old fart spouting off) aren’t into emotional entanglements. You’re considered stupid if you trust someone and expect them to keep their word.

        And, they have no understanding that someone might have only been with one person and not had the HPV vaccine (raises hand here) or might want to keep their total exposure to STDs low. That’s considered paranoid and, once again, stupid.

        Guy and the hookers… They’d say you should have separate accounts and make your own money. Also, if they’ve never truly shared finances with someone for more than a decade, they really can’t comprehend how much damage someone engaging in financial infidelity can do. Once again, default is, “You’re dumb for trusting them to begin with…”

        So, yeah, I’m over it. Maybe I’m a throwback, but I’m just being true to who I am. I care about other people. I form attachments, and I try to live by my values. (Sometimes fail… but I still make an effort.) Hopefully my generation will wise up as they age.

    • Notwimpy,

      Your arrogance and your ignorance are in a race. They’re both incredibly fast horses, and it’s a dead heat.

      Good luck being a highly evolved young person in a world so full of stupid old folks. Please forgive us our silly, um, experience?

      LOL. Can’t wait for the world to beat you like a rented mule. Yes, it *will* happen.. You can bet the ironically decorated downtown loft on it. And that, my friend, is how we learn.

      • Lol at the “rented mule” comment… Yeah… I had quite a few friends that were like these trolls when I was in my 20’s. Thankfully, most of them eschewed serious relationships, so no harm no foul. Thing is, now that they’re in their late 20’s/early 30’s, they’re learning that they don’t have as much control over their lives as they thought. Things like hard work, commitment, and dare I say it, values **gasp** pay off in the long run. You’re right. Life takes a turn on all of us, and then you get to figure out what you’re really made of.

      • Ironically decorated downtown loft. I’m stealing that phrase because that’s now where my midlife crisis ex is living. He’s just so super cool.

        • Not Wimpy…You remind me of some of my community college students when I have to keep a straight face when they say the most immature, ridiculous things ever and I think to myself, ‘Ye-ah…you just wait.’ Why just yesterday I listened to one young lady lament that she didn’t get to go to Hollywood and paint movie star’s faces and do their hair like she planned. Too bad we don’t have courses in Reality for folks like you. But, you’ll get there soon enough. Get back to us someday.

          • And for every 20-something who separates sex and love, there are 10 who have sat in my office weeping because someone they loved and gave their heart and body to cheated on them. And that’s a sample of thousands of kids over 35 years.

      • Nomar–I’d bet notwimpy’s “ironically decorated downtown loft” is really in his mother’s basement. Next to the laundry room.

        • I was just thinking that I bet his mom pays his for car insurance…and his cell phone. By the way, my gorgeous, kind, and very sought after 24 years old, who is now working on her graduate degree, has one deal breaker, I’ll let genuis boy guess what it is.

    • I just turned 30. I’ve been married for 10 years and you DO NOT speak for me. If you’re not just trolling, you’re speaking from the perspective of someone who has never invested in anything long term other than themselves. When you have kids are financially entangled with someone and they screw you over, come talk to me. So maybe we shouldnt trust anyone but ourselves? I certainly know many in our generation that feel this way. But is it natural or healthy? I say no. We’re a social animal with tribal roots. Trusting those closest to us is natural. That’s why betrayal carried such strong penalties in the past.

      You think you’re the first to separate sex and love. That’s funny. Fact is, betrayal is betrayal. If you can’t be monogamous, don’t be and be honest about it. Thats enlightened!

    • What’s the big deal????!!!!!! You put your heart and soul in a 28 year relationship. You get thrown under the bus for some whore. You get totally disrespected and treated like shit after devoting your own wants, needs and your life to family! You are an ass!!

    • Yo! Not Wimpy, Cheating lieing stealing is EMOTIONAL abuse because the other person in the relationship does not know their spouse or SO is lieing cheating and stealing from them.

      Also, knowing you are fucking random strangers WITHOUT a fucking condom and then fucking your spouse or SO, whereby you give them an STD is PHYSICAL abuse.

      This isn’t a generational thing and being 20some yrs younger than me doesn’t change the fact that I know plenty of 20yr olds who don’t want a booty call with a skank or man whore. If they are in a serious relationship and it’s closed, as in only one partner, they don’t want their SO fucking the planet for sport.

      • I say “fucking” a lot in this reply. I’m upset. I have a 20yr old son. Thank God I raised him. His father has been emotionally absent his whole life.

        I hope when this young man matures and decides to invest in a relationship with a special person, he will value that person and likewise that person will cherish him.

    • My stbx is an alcoholic and a cheater – sorry, but from first hand experience, the cheating tares me up MUCH more than his alcoholism. So I’m not real sure where you did your research as to Drugs and Alcoholism is worse than cheating, but I would disagree with that accusation. And I am lucky enough to be living the nightmare.

    • Not Wimpy
      I know I am not supposed to feed the trolls….but your post made me laugh… not in the way you might think. Its was the same laughter that I used when my 13 year old uses her 13 year old wisdom to approach a problem.
      Given that your appearance on the planet is about the same age as a lot of the marriages/ relationships here I wouldnt expect that you have any clue what kind of loss that is. Just like I wouldnt expect you understand what a telephone cord is. But unlike the telephone cord ( that you can google for some archived pictures! ) devastating loss of a family and a life long partner is not something you can wrap you undeveloped prefrontal cortex around. Check out MIT’s young adult development project before you chose to comment on that…. Anyhoo back to the story…so lets compare a break up with your ” peeps” with my fossilized peeps…
      Your break up: via text message… KIK or Instagram….” Hey dude can you give me back my grey YOLO t-shirt and head phones. And I would really like that teddy bear back cause my Nana gave it to me. ” Your belongs are returned to u in TJMaxx shopping bag and lucky you she even gave back your Beats head phones. She keeps the bear . She post some very deep quotes on her instagram page about break ups and true love. You forgive her about the bear cause it looks cute on her ikea bedstand next to stuff cat her dad gave her. Next week you both have moved on to the next idiot that floats your boat. More pictures on Instagram about true love. YOLO.
      My break up: Summons, Lawyers, Courts, Custody and dividing hundreds of thousands of dollars of assests. Potential years of court dates and incurring more debt to pay the lawyers. Your shit is handed to you by the court with limitations and clauses and your kid is divided in half like a fucking pizza. Yes you are still bond to the fuck witt who chose to stick his dick in a piece of ass … And you circle the date of your kids 18 th birthday on the calender because you are now held hostage in that agreement until that very far away date. You join a blog about chumps.
      NWimpy…. I am sure you can see the subtle differences… Perhaps cant quiet grasp the emotional involvement … That would require you to shed your Toms and walk a little in our orthopedic shoes. And that why you need some experience behind your statement about being mad about being cheated on.
      All of here were 20 something at one time…. And I know I took full advantage of being 20 something… Thats the beauty of being 20 something. I am sure I annoyed the fuck outa some 40 something by spouting something so self centered like your statement.
      Even more funny was your ‘ we separate love from sex’ …. Free love has been in concept since 1855…. Google that shit. And wink wink… There is more than one of us here that got there freak on in the bar bathroom stall with a nameless dude. Think your mom was there to. It was a big party.
      Anyhoo… Think you get my point.
      Its hard to take anything serious from someone who was still floating in their dads nut sack. You make interesting but narrow points. So when you do get married and you do have children and do spend 20 years of your life invested in your family…. and your wife goes and fuck the soccer coach sideways… And then takes your 401 k along with your house and kids…. Come back here and tell us what the road to Meh looks like then.
      YOLO mother fucker.

    • What exactly are trolls? Are they cheaters or the losers that sleep with cheaters. They appear to justify their actions like the disordered narcissist spouses but on the other hand I imagine them as the disordered OW who think their so special. It makes me wonder why if they are so happy with their sleazy lifestyles as either a cheater or OW/OM why aren’t they enjoying their fucktard relationships instead of justifying their behavior here? Is it guilt, or perhaps the truth is difficult to face? Maybe it’s just part if kibble withdrawl.

    • I’m in my 20’s too. And I think you are a fuckwit. Piss off.
      (I share the same views as all you guys on this site, and I certainly don’t ‘separate sex and love’ like this cheap whore does. And yes, you are a cheap whore. Fuck off back to your little hole.)

    • “Peeps.” Loooooooool

      Sorry, I couldn’t get through the whole post. I saw that one word and was just–

  • Notwimpy,

    If you have no moral compass that is your cross to bare.

    But when I stood before family and friends and I and my now XH said traditional vows before God, I never expected to have to deal with lies, std’s, reduced income, emotional neglect, gaslighting, rejection, the with holding of sexual intimacy, projection and adultery all while I kept my smily face on.

    Yes I am old fashioned, and no not every man I meet should have an expectation of ending up between my legs. I don’t expect everyone to share my view and you should not either. And I am in my forties if you were wondering.

  • I used my anger as a tool to stay focused. Being a sad little titbag crying on the floor got me nowhere.

  • Oh look we have a comedian working on some new material.

    Omg, I never realised a 20yr old could be so forward thinking.

    • No shit, right? They are just so in command at that ripe old age! May I suggest the writer get an eye exam also! They need that “oh so rosy” outlook on cheating adjusted!

  • My anger saved me (along with CL) My anger threw all his possessions onto the patio and wouldn’t let him back into the house on D-day. It would only let him take what he could carry in a broken suitcase, it stopped me from giving into his demands for money as I made him homeless.

    I haven’t seen that bastard since, I’ve gone total no contact. I’m due to give birth to our baby in 6 weeks – I’m still as angry as I was on D-day. I’m sure he thinks the dust will have settled – no way!! Next time I see him I’ll have both me and the baby to be angry for.

    • Chumpetta–I’m sorry for your circumstances, but impressed by your mighty attitude. Best wishes for the delivery of your wonderful child.

      • Thanks tempest, chump nation really has been my saviour. I’ve learnt more about people in my 4 months on here than I have had in 33 years on this planet.

  • The very best book I read after d-day was “The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships,” by Harriet Lerner. She starts it with, “Anger is a signal and one worth listening to.” Absolutely brilliant and empowering book for chumps everywhere (and for all your relationships).

    • This is a great book. Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear” (also referenced in CL’s recommended list above) also reminds us that these primitive emotions, fear and anger., are wired into us for survival reasons. De Becker talks about how a wild animal would get into the equivalent of a soundproof steel, lockable cage with a predator. But women will get into an elevator alone with a man she does not know in order to not offend him.

      The most vivid memory I have of the discard phase prior to DDay is talking on the phone with Jackass as I was driving back to work after a funeral. He had been supposed to call me the night before but begged off with a lame excuse (no doubt because MOW was on the line). He started talking about all of the people he had seen at a different funeral viewing the night before….and I felt my heart jolt like it had been pierced by a hypodermic full of adrenaline. I lost it right there in the car and had to pull over. He was saying he would call me later and I just screamed “Don’t even bother.” It came out before I could censor it. That was the part of me who knew already that he was cheating and that his endless talk about all of the other people he had contact with was a way of torturing me by showing me how little I mattered. Your body knows and it says, get fucking angry because your life is at stake.

      • There is so much in this world worth fighting for. Heck, some days I have to fight to breath. Where would I be without that impulse?
        I hope those trolls find something worth fighting for.

        • Truth. Friend. I think us Chumps were fighting for what we believed in. Our marriages. Our children. Our legacy. When you have been there, gone through what we have, then and only then, may you have something worth saying.

  • I like my burning red anger. I do not hurt people; that is not my disposition.
    I like emotional honesty. I hate passive aggression and people who hide their wimpiness behind “temperance”.

  • Another serving of food for thought (I am on a roll today! 🙂 …

    Get angry about fewer things.

    Seriously.

    Think about it: when a relationship implodes due to infidelity, there are several things that previously might have driven you crazy about the cheater and their actions about which now you can simply not have to care.

    You are walking away. You don’t need to worry any more about how things like the affair make your cheater look, or how they react to anything you do that helps you to heal and/or disconnect from them (provided you’re not hurting others in the process, I mean – you’ll know the difference!).

    So, if they are reacting negatively because you told a mutual friend that they had an affair, or because you’re leaving affair healing books in the open on the coffee table as you read them, or because you’re in contact with a better lawyer, or are throwing their life down the toilet, whatever… you’ve no obligation whatsoever to worry about their downfall or even to acknowledge their reaction to any justifiable consequence that results from their affair.

    As CL says, they fired you from that job (caring about their reaction) the second they chose to have an affair. They should have considered consequences such as those before chumping you. We are talking about adults here.

    That they are frustrated and angry now because of that is their problem, not yours. You now have the right to respond with “so?” and leave it at that. Your natural reaction to their crap might be to get angry, but once you remind yourself that it’s not your job to care or get angry with/because/for them anymore, a lot of that anger just slips away.

    I think that’s one of the stepping stones on the path to indifference about both the cheater and their AP (“meh” as CL describes it). And indifference is the opposite of caring (anger that gets too big turns to hate, and hate suggest that you are spending WAY too much time and energy invested towards the cheater).

    • Sephage, my daughter kept asking me why do you care, regarding what the X is doing. After his mask came off and he moved in with the bar whore he suddenly became a different person. I lived my life around all the excuses he used to explain why we couldn’t do anything I suggested. It was endless. Now I know it was because he had been living a double life since we met. He suddenly likes lap dogs, country music, and goes on vacations. I used my anger to let people know the truth about how sick and abusive he is and to stand my ground throughout the divorce. He took the clothes on his back and his disorder with him. You are right! He is longer my responsibility. And why should I care? Life with him sucked the life out of me!

      My anger allowed me to throw his shit on the porch and force him out of my home

      My anger allowed me to get help to stop loving a toxic asshole.

      My anger allowed me to gather his records and find the best lawyer imaginable.

      My anger allowed me to forgive myself for staying with a serial cheating narc that exposed me to STD ‘S.

      My anger gave me the determination to live better. And believe me I do!

      My anger allowed me to go no contact after sending him texts expressing my anger about the sadistic discard. Couldn’t help myself.

      My anger made me realize I am worth so much more than the lies he held as truth

      My anger helped me to stop caring about his needs and focus on my own.

      My anger allowed me to know my own personal worth and to know I can move forward in a HEALTHY authentic relationship.

      I can finally live !!

  • I like the Dalai Lama’s view on anger. Some of it is there to protect you from existential threats like hungry sabre tooth tigers that we rarely, as modern people, encounter. I believe I have gone through my entire life rarely encountering a real existential threat.

    And sometimes anger is just about needing to do something. If you let dishes pile up, you might get a little angry and resentful with yourself. The important thing, though, is not to resist the anger but to understand what it’s telling you: do the doggone dishes.

    Or… in the case of cheaters, take out the doggone garbage.

    • PS. Do think it through rationally, though, Anger at betrayal is normal. It’s telling you “You can’t trust this person. This person doesn’t care about hurting you, so get away from them”.

      It’s not telling you to set their hair on fire.

  • I love anger. I was raised in a dysfunctional family where others were angry and they controlled everybody with it and there was no room for me to be angry. That’s partly how I learned to be a chump. My feelings didn’t count. So I grew up and found a man who was angry about everything. I endured many years of verbal abuse. No room for my feelings. Well, when he cheated, that arrangement was all shot to hell. I got angry and 30 years worth of rage came out of me in the form of yelling, swearing, crying, anxiety, driving around all night, hiking for whole entire days. Luckily, I had a great therapist who told me early on after D-day to stay with my anger as I needed it to propel me forward into getting out of this relationship. It worked for me. Anger became my friend – the fire under me that I needed to get out. Now that I’m divorced and working on my life, the anger has subsided and I feel great. When I look back on the whole thing there are so many things I am grateful for. Anger is one of them. I will keep a little slice of it with me forever as protection so that I will never let anyone treat me badly again.

    • Yep, me too — all of it.

      And your post reminded me how XH was always “uncomfortable with anger,” so even in our (16yr) marriage, if I would start to raise my voice, even a little, he’d leave the room. I learned how to keep it all very civil, which has its benefits, but sometimes I just swallowed that anger. I’ve since read in several books it’s actually NOT a good sign in a marriage that no one expressed any anger, and we didn’t. Furthermore, most of the stuff he DID was actually stuff he DIDN’T DO: didn’t help with the rent, didn’t pay bills on time, didn’t water the lawn, not being home from work when he said he was going to be, etc. — Getting angry about neglect (or any other passive behavior) is complicated, socially, I think, and generally poorly received.

      • Yes, the passive behavior is hard because if you get angry, you end up looking like a jerk.

        I think that’s why I started drinking. He knew I was doing it, but he couldn’t say anything. He drank himself, although at more appropriate times. And all his friends were huge drinkers, so he couldn’t really start judging me.

        I also got the added benefit of not caring he was an asshole when I did it.

  • I am angry. Because during more than a decade, I have been doing everything in and out of our home, in addition to working full time, driving us to places on weekends and vacation, avoiding sharing too much of the expenses because I earn more than him, caring for my looks, and all the time he was either in front of the computer or lying in front of the TV. Behind my back, he was planning to discard me for a very plain, self-centered and greedy foreigner, who dumped him finally. I cannot understand the mechanics of seduction that these nasty people use to attract potential partners who are not free. I wish I could interview the cheaters. I could start with mine, not sure he would answer honestly. Why downgrade, and cause so much pain ?
    Seems to be a pattern for me; I just found on the internet a picture of someone I had never seen, who stole my partner of my twenties. I had moved in with a very handsome medicine student, who cheated after 5 years and left to marry her, which was quite a trauma. I had concluded that I was not good enough for him, that he had found a beautiful fellow woman doctor. Surprise ! Ew. There she was on the picture, surrounded by pretty nurses, short and pudgy, hair like a man. What kind of competition is that. I don’t get it. She is the one who introduced him to scuba diving; he drowned in his mid-thirties.
    I just don’t get it and it makes me mad.

  • sorry, I was replying to earlier up the thread, must have been still open from earlier today.

    Yeh, I ended up marrying a covert narc, who ended up being just like my overt angry narc dad after 10 years and two, very small, kids. I never liked understanding psychology, but not the flood gates are open, so are my eyes. This mistake will not be repeating itself. WRT my anger, yes, it’s there thrumming along and propelling me forward, along with the hurt, and absolute focus to do the best I can to raise my little ones as a single mum.

  • Lyn and Violet, I have this same reaction, sometimes, when my (beautiful, adorable, but teenaged) kids are being especially difficult, or I’m worried about them and thinking how best to help them. WHY do I have to deal with this alone? Why is their father, who was supposed to love them and care about them, not around to help me with this? Why did he not think about them before cheating, and before neglecting them so badly they stopped considering him their parent? This is so unfair to me, but mostly to our kids!

    Then I remember that when he was here, he was a bad-to-mediocre parent. I educated, coached and sometimes bullied him into being an OK one, most of the time. He had NO CLUE about how good parenting might work (unbelievably messed up FOO, plus no interest in figuring it out or getting better informed.) Many of the arguments we had were because he was sometimes psychologically abusive to them, and tried even to be physically abusive. (I had explained why I would not accept the use of physical discipline on our kids, before we even had them. So he ‘got’ that spanking wouldn’t fly. But somehow he thought that vicious pinching, ear-twisting and even once a wallop across the face (from a 200 lb, 6’3′ man to a 6 year old boy) were OK. Informing him that anything like this occurring ever again would lead not only to my leaving and requesting full custody, but also calls to Child Protection Services and the police put a stop to that.) If there was a problem with the kids, I not only had to deal with the kids and the problem, I had to deal with him, his ego, his crabbiness, and his ignorance. And he wouldn’t even shut up or stay out of it, to discuss it later with me!

    And it wasn’t only in the difficult moments; he was also just a negative, critical, no-fun person, so made for a less-happy home for my kids. And he wasn’t that interested in spending much time on them, even when they were little and adorable and easy to be with. Left most of the care AND the fun stuff up to me.

    So first I feel upset, that I have to deal with this alone. Then I remember that I was always alone to deal with this, he actually made it harder, much of the time. It’s actually BETTER without him than it actually would realistically be, if he were there to co-parent with me. (Although I have to admit being very relieved that he does take his financial responsibilities as a parent seriously. He pays more than obligatory child support, and that does make my kids’ lives, and mine, better.)

    What I resent is losing the co-parent I THOUGHT I had, the one I wanted, the one my kids’ deserved, the one I deluded myself about. About like the husband part.

    • Sorry, this was supposed to be in the sequence above where Beth and Lyn were discussing their anger at being alone to care for elderly parents. ..

    • Thank you. You are right. Even when I was married, I was alone. I was just too busy doing all the work to realize it.

  • I’ve noticed since the cheating is that I’m much less tolerant of other’s bad behavior. Kind of like a One Strike You’re Out policy. If I catch someone doing questionable things, I now cut them out of my life, immediately and totally. So if I find you are a liar, or cheater, or abuser we are finished. Or you are only nicey nice when you wa nt something, or say nasty things about people we are done. There’s no conversation about it, or questions, or confrontation. Just cold turkey end of the relationship. They know what they are,/did anyway so why waste your time.

    I wish I’d done this years ago. I was brought up to be nice, give second chances, blah blah blah. I think getting these people out of your life actually decreases anger because you are not allowing them to mistreat you, or others around you, any more.

    • I’m the same way not Juliet. I may give a person 2 chances but that is it. I found out my cousin is a cheater and left her husband. I got her Christmas card in the mail and immediately threw it away. I just don’t want toxic people in my life.

    • Mine was not diagnosed NPD and my therapists “hates labels,” but when I asked why he cheated with MOW, she said, “He wants to be worshipped” and “He will never change,” and “He likes things convenient.” I could add those puppies up and get the right answer. He’s one the bad end of the narcissist spectrum.

  • I have had a changing relationship with anger through the years.

    Having been raised by a violent alcoholic malignant narc (sperm donor) and an extremely passive aggressive covert narc (egg donor) I learned very early on to control my outward reactions. It just gave them ammo to use against me. (If the names sperm and egg donor seem a bit cold, it’s just that the words mom and dad stick in my throat right now. Learning about cluster B’s in all their glory has enabled me to make sense of many things in my life that previously eluded me in the past.) And yep, I am pissed at them at the moment.

    When I was younger I found a book on anger that really helped me. It was called The Angry Book. I read it and cried for 3 days, and then got busy.

    Since then, I have also come to realize, like many here, anger is energy, energy which can give us the push we need to help us do the things we must do to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and to make positive changes in our lives.

    Having been at Meh for a while, I embarked on my crash course in the study of personality disorders and the fallout of shit that surrounds the affected. Good Grief, what an eye opener. A lot of the crap suddenly made sense. Even better, the lie that all of it was somehow all my fault fell away. Jesus Christ himself could not have lived peacefully with those disordered people. I discovered it was no accident I attracted narcs, Having been carefully trained since birth, it was inevitable. With those startling insights came the anger.

    Again. And Narc sperm donor died a little over a month ago. While having been NC for almost 6 years, and as an only child, guess who gets to settle the estate? Yep, lots of fun as the people he screwed over come to light. I’m glad I’m not on the hook for any more than what is in the estate. As it is there will be nothing left. I’m not surprised. But I am angry at him, yet again.

    Today, however, the tools are in place to deal with that anger, learn from it, express it, and move on. Hopefully the narc bait I have carried around so long, is being modified into narc repellent. Time will tell. I know that the knowledge I have gained over the last 9 months or so has really made a difference.

    Our anger can help get us to a much better place and keep us there.

    Here’s to growth!

  • Has anyone else noticed that the twentybopper trolls that have come out today (I think they are the same person) don’t have a firm grasp on grammar, punctuation, syntax nor spelling? Sharing poorly framed childish thoughts about something they KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. There’s no sense in our refuting their inane comments–you can’t win an argument with a fool.

  • I refuse to feed the trolls, but I will say this on the topic of “Sex and flings are no biggie.” Firstly, this is just more of the Dan Savage/Esther Perault bullshit faux-enlightenment, which takes a completely truthful thing and tries to apply it in situations wherein it does not and cannot apply. The truthful thing being the following: Monogamy isn’t for everyone, powerful attraction to others can happen even when one is in a committed (monogamous) relationship, and sex outside of the primary relationship does not have to be a dealbreaker.

    I’m totally on board with this. All those statements are undeniably true. However, the primary issue with cheating is that it inherently contains deceit, along with exercising unilateral control over what SHOULD be a shared existence with another. It has nothing to do with enlightenment, maturity, wisdom, or even what generation one belongs to. Deceit and abuse are simply unacceptable, and have always been so, regardless of whether you are 20 or 90.

    I was married before, to someone other than the Cheaterpants Dickhead. My first husband and I were young (got together at 18, married at 23), “enlightened” , experimental and confident. Over the period of a couple of years, we carefully negotiated an open relationship, which we kept throughout our relationship with very few changes. It was never a problem. There were rules, there were boundaries, there was transparency, and there was a lot of honest communication. And it was FINE. It worked WELL. We were HAPPY. We didn’t struggle with jealousy or insecurity. It was ALL GOOD.

    Then he met a woman at work with whom he wanted to pursue a sexual relationship with (she was the initiator, but he really liked her). However, she was “outside” the rules. She was married, and she was NOT in an open relationship or anything of the sort. We had a firm rule about not messing with anyone’s relationship, no matter how “unenlightened” we viewed it to be. So…we talked about it, agreed it was a bad idea, and he went and did it anyway. And, of course, tried to cover it up by lying and obfuscating.

    Goodbye, First Husband! That simple. We had no kids, everything was neat and clean, and we were divorced within 30 days. Done.

    Now, did I divorce him because of his fling? Nope. He’d had plenty of those. Did our relationship die because I am a jealous, insecure shrew who can’t stomach the idea of her man touching someone else? Nope. I’m totally cool with that. I’ll even help. Did I have to leave because I suffered terrible trauma at the idea that he could be attracted to women other than me? Nosirree…couldn’t care less. There had been a dozen already, and I never so much as batted an eye.

    But the DECEIT, and the conscious decision to put his own selfish desires above the needs of our relationship health…that was not okay, never will be okay, and ultimately killed our future. That’s the reality – it isn’t petty jealousy, sexual insecurity, or even the “fling” that kills it. It’s the deceit and entitlement a cheater has (they feel entitled TO DECEIVE) that will send any sane person into absolutely righteous anger.

    • Well said LMM, I did not have an open relationship, I considered it when my (now) ex could no longer have sex but he was not interested in anything honest. I was not allowed to fuck around, only him. The lies, the bullshit was the problem. I got over his fucking someone very easily, but not the rest.

    • One question out of curiosity, LMM. If he or you changed your mind and wanted to take the relationship monogamous and the other didn’t, how did you both decide you would resolve that? I am assuming, if you couldn’t work it out, you agreed to an amiable divorce.

      Secondly:

      “Did our relationship die because I am a jealous, insecure shrew who can’t stomach the idea of her man touching someone else? Nope.”

      This is the only statement that I find disjointed in my humble opinion, only because I had very attractive husbands who constantly had women hanging on them in openly sexual ways that I found embarrassingly uncomfortable and would gently intervene, but I would hardly call myself a “jealous, insecure shrew who can’t stomach the idea of her man touching someone else.” I just find that description a bit harsh on women who find other women hanging on their husbands or boyfriends (or visa versa) uncomfortable.

      I now read this as a “red flag” as all three of my cheaters exhibited this kind of behavior.

      I totally get the deceit part.

      I am reading this wrong?

      • CJ, no,, you didn’t actually read it wrong, per se. I wrote that in keeping with the “spirit” of the earlier troll who seemed to imply that it is petty jealousy when one partner can’t just shrug off infidelity. I personally don’t believe that about anyone at all, and I personally think jealousy and protectiveness of one’s bond can be a healthy thing. I just didn’t think the TROLL was seeing that, and I perceived Troll as being awfully judgmental of the betrayed (i.e., you guys are all just jealous shrews who don’t know how to have a good time). I kind of took that post (wtf was that fuckwit’s name?) as being very “victim-blaming” and along the lines of “the problem isn’t the cheating, it’s your reaction to it that’s the problem.” So, I guess I was bristling at what I perceived to be the troll’s view of the chump in a cheating situation. I was not trying to imply that people who protect their relationship from interlopers are shrews. Just that cheaters and cheater apologists seem to see us that way.

        As to your first question, the number one rule in our open relationship was simply this: If, at any point, either one of us became uncomfortable with our agreement or any PORTION of our agreement for any reason (which need not even be explained), it stops, no questions asked. Sort of like the BDSM community and their rules of “safe, sane, and consensual.” One need only say the word, and the deal was off…no blaming, no whining, no hesitation. We accepted this could mean that one person would be very disappointed, and we would need to deal with that…but we also had this idea that we could not deal effectively with US if the relationship was “clouded” with the presence of another person or people. So, we agreed to just end the extra-curricular stuff immediately, and then revisit the topic at a later time when the person who had spoken up was feeling safe and supported.

        I presume that we would have agreed to split if that ended up being too much for the other person to handle. In fact, in a way, we did, didn’t we? He clearly couldn’t handle working within the agreed-upon rules, and I couldn’t agree to changing them – lol! So, I divorced him. We had been together 12 years, and I really loved him, so it was hard. But it was actually fairly amiable…or at least, not ugly. It was hard, but it was necessary.

        • Thanks for the clarification, LMM. I truly appreciate it. Although, open relationships are not for me, I learned something today.

    • LMM, your post shows that cheating (defined as “breaking the agreements that two people have put in place to protect their relationship and each other”) is inherently about power and control. They lie and obfuscate and hide things because they want the original partner (who is keeping the original agreement) along with the forbidden fruit of whatever is outside the established boundaries. It’s about refusing to live by the rules you hold others to. Power. Control. Unfair advantage. Exploitation. And of course entitlement.

      • ^^^THIS^^^

        Exactly, LAJ! You said it so much more succinctly than I did, but that was exactly my point. I had demonstrated for ten years that I was certainly open-minded when it came to sex and sexuality, that I was not the type to go running for the hills when my guy was attracted to another woman, that I was a woman who had a liberal and “free love” mindset about sex and relationships. So, when people who have NO IDEA what being betrayed is like come around talking shit about how we are all just “old-fashioned” or “repressed” or “insecure” or “bitter,” well, it sets my teeth on edge. Precisely because those types of arguments completely ignore what the REAL PROBLEM with betrayal is! The real crux of it, at least for me, is the heartbreak that ensues when one realizes their trusted partner doesn’t care enough about them or the relationship to treat either with respect.

        By leveraging Power and Control in order to position themselves advantageously OVER their partner, a cheater has demonstrated unequivocally that their partner does not mean enough to them for them to treat them with decency. For me, THAT is the betrayal. Everything you said: Power, control, unfair advantage, exploitation, entitlement – there is no rational way to escape the fact that these things are designed to DEHUMANIZE the chump. It is that which sticks in my gullet…not what he had done with his penis, but what he had done with my feelings of being an equal human who could expect reciprocity.

    • Strange how the cheater will follow a sort of “monogamy”. I could always tell, call it a gut feeling, when x would find a potential new friend. He would kind of back away from sex and he would turn it around on me and it would be my fault. He was being “true” to the new source of kibbles, it was almost a sure thing. And it was the most f*ed up kind of mind game, gaslighting kind of time for me. It was pure abuse, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. The things that a cheater will put their spouse/significant other through is pure evil. I would have never thought that my x was capable of that kind of thing until I actually saw it happening to me. But the sad thing and the thing that I have anger issues about is that x seemingly gets to walk away from this whole thing as the injured party, he has told numerous people that we were “having problems with sex”. Well sure we were, you mother*er, and he was the damn problem all that time. I told a counselor early on that I was not going to be the “virgin sacrifice”, if x was not going to treat me like a human being, I sure as hell was not going to have sex with him as much as he wanted. I have some self respect and dignity, he tried to squash those but I wouldn’t let him. I’m not a piece of meat to be used at will.

  • The interesting thing about my anger, was that when I finally stood up for myself for the first time in 16 years, and expressed my anger at him, his very first, visceral reaction was not anger but fear. He look afraid of me. Ironic considering I was his emotional and psychologial punching bag for his temper tantrums (narc rages) all those years. This was in the early days, after D-Day. Later, he did react with livid rage (screaming at me on the phone) when I dug my heels in and said I was going to see an attorney and an accountant. He had been counting on me being the submissive little chump forever. These days as I am approaching Meh, I feel way more disgust than anger when I think about him and what he did to me. Occasionally get twinges of sadness. But not too much anger though it clearly benefitted me when I was processing it. It helped me to recognize he had always been an abuser and that the cheating with OW was just a continuation of what he had always been, a lying selfish narcissist.

  • i remember, back when we first split, my cheating ex actually getting angry with me because she didn’t get to have as much free time anymore since i left (i was never much more than a caterer and personal babysitter to her). it made me furious, but i kept it to myself until i could get to the gym.

  • Love this, CL! Before I found this site, I swung wildly among anger, sorrow, wishing for death, and “getting over it” so we could “be friends” (gotta be a good ex-chump). And I couldn’t figure out why my mind was insanely volatile, why I cycled over and over and over through the “stages” of grief faster than a hamster runs in its little wheel. And why I was stuck.

    Then after finding CL, I just accepted and settled on the anger for a long time. I realized I had every right to be angry, and that any sane or even semi-emotionally-healthy person would and should be furious after being so horribly chumped. And it was only then I could finally stop the wild mood swings around and around the stages of grief and instead just BE….

    Empowering me to be angry and to stay angry for as long as I needed Saved. My. Life.– literally. So thank you CL and chump nation. (And yes, I eventually learned to not let it all hang out with the mailman, the hairdresser, the newspaper boy and the school bus driver anymore –or even with most friends and acquaintances). But to this point, and I have been a regular and repeat visitor with every stage of grief, anger has been the most empowering, cleansing, comforting, reliable and healing friend I have had. And now, over 3 years post divorce, the anger has slowly faded as it became safe for it to do so, allowing a bit of joy, relief, and peace to creep in.

    So embrace your bad angry selves fellow chumps, you are no longer on anyone else’s timetable, you are no one’s bitch anymore, you don’t have to give a single fuck what anyone else says or thinks. Yes, there may be a day when you will not be angry anymore but it does not have to be THiS day….and that’s okay.

    • Kelly, I’ve always found comfort and humour in your posts, and this one especially. Like you said, I’ve learned to embrace my anger, which has been the single-most healing emotion for me. It’s as though I’ve been cleansed by fire. I honestly don’t know how anybody could find true peace without first facing the rage head on.

    • Yes, what makes sane people insane is asking them to deny reality.

      It’s always better for the aggressors in society for the victims to be silent. It’s easier for the bystanders, too–until they themselves are victimized.

      You have a right–and maybe you’ve demonstrated a responsibility–to your anger.

      You go, Kelly!

  • Just wanted to mention a little trick that my ex has pulled, that I bet lots of other Chumps have seen, as well. His 2nd affair PISSED ME OFF, and although I was still within the limits of reasonable, I eventually stopped being quite so diplomatic and gentle and bending-over-backwards-not-to-wound-his-ego-ish with him. Then I got ‘I can’t believe how harsh and self-righteous you are! THAT’s why we’re not together any more!’. (And believe you me, he hasn’t SEEN harsh! I think the worse thing I’ve ever called him is a jackass! Pretty mild, considering all he’s done to me and especially to his kids!)

    So he conflates the RESULTS of his choices and behaviour as being the CAUSE of those choices and behaviours. It’s no longer ‘him being a general selfish asshole and then cheating, and then doing it over again’ leads to ‘my anger’ which leads to ‘our divorce’. No! ‘That angry ex, she caused me to cheat and leave, because she’s just so angry and mean!’ Or ‘maybe at least if she hadn’t been so angry after the second time I cheated, we could have reconciled again’.

    But the main result is that he’s never responsible for anything. EVER. ANYTHING AT ALL.

    Now he claims to be a much better person, because he’s understood blah blah blah. But he continues to take no responsibility ever for anything at all. So nah, not a better person now. Even if he’s learned not to cheat because it can cause withdrawal of kibbles (which I doubt), he’s still an asshole.

    • x did the same thing on d-day2. Goes around saying that I was too mean and not forgiving. He said on D-day2 “you won’t be able to forgive me for this”, he set me up for it. All around its a win for him, he gets to spew his narrative and it has a grain of truth in it. Good for him!!! assh*le. But as usual what goes around comes around, he’s made half asses, half hearted attempts to engage me in conversation. Sorry mother*er, I’m not going to be able to “forgive” remember and so therefore I don’t have any need to speak to him at all. Win/win for all concerned I think.

      • Mine said the exact same thing to me on Dday2…”I know you will never be able to forgive me for this.” No, you POS, I can’t, won’t and never will! I am angry! But it is MY anger. I have every right to be as angry as I want for as long as I want. I know the anger will not last. It can’t last because I won’t let it. But for now that righteous anger is the fuel that keeps me going on the days when the last thing I want to do is face this new reality. And for the idea xh has that one day we can be friends… well you can go F*** yourself and the whore you rode in on!! Yes, I am angry!!!

      • DeeL–did our cheaters use the same translation guide? I got “you are holding this too close” and cannot forgive, and “I guess I loved more honestly than you, since I can forgive unconditionally.” I still just shake my head at the bullshit that spewed out of mine’s mouth (and your cheater’s, too, from the sound of it). I guess my X used a different definition of “honestly” than I did.

        I’m with you–no forgiveness. ever. I’ll hit a point of indifference, but his mindfuckery and blameshifting after the discovery of the affair absolved me of any need to give *him* absolution.

        • My said, “If you TRULY LOVED ME, you would forgive me and we could move on.”

          My response, “F– YOU, ASSHOLE. Who the F– gave you that LINE to feed me???? You don’t even KNOW WHAT LOVE IS. You think it’s in your dick.”

          The only thing “honest” about these, as it was so aptly put, fucktards, is that they “honestly” “truly” screwed us over.

          I’ll take “voodoo doll” for $100…

          Jeopardy should have this as a category….

        • It’s not popular, because the status quo allows aggressors to get away with victimizing people, but I believe with all my head and heart the following axioms:

          1) NO forgiveness without remorse AND restitution. And, you know what? I don’t have to tell you, Tempest, that restitution is not physically possible for some evils–just by the laws of matter and physics and life. Some things cannot be un-done. And I don’t have to forgive evil. Evil is evil. Always. Forever. Some people are not worthy of forgiveness. And, I cannot forgive evil on behalf of someone else. I will never forgive The Coward and the Twat Troll for how they harmed my children. And I’m good with that. I have standards of decency.

          2) Love is NOT unconditional. I don’t know who made that cliche a favorite, but unconditional love is indiscriminate love–and not all people are worthy of love. Love always has conditions, or it’s not really love. I hold true love in high regard. Love does not abuse. Love does not hurt intentionally. Love does not cheat and steal. A basic prerequisite of my love is honor and integrity, among other qualities. You don’t got ’em? You’re not worthy of my love. My love means something.

          • Yes, this! A skillion times, this! A while back CL had a thing about adult love always being conditional. I loved it so much I printed it out and made it into a bookmark: “Grown up love is CONDITIONAL love. Get that through your noggin. The conditions are — you don’t treat me like shit. You don’t disrespect me. You don’t expose me to harm. You do those things? GAME OVER. I’m done with you.”

  • What’s extra disgusting is that you are not only supposed to Forgive them, you are also supposed to RESPECT them and TRUST them. Bahahaha. Are you fuckin kidding me????

    • Yeah. Because they really showed us respect and trust when engaging in their disordered shit, right?
      Dumbarses.

  • Ah…anger! When it came for me, I had no clue what to do with it! It hurt with as much pain as finding out about the affairs. I had to scream and throw things. Every other word out of my mouth was ugly. It is like a boiling pot of water overflowing. It still comes for me but I am to control it by letting me fuel my actions like moving out and not excepting his shitty excuses of why he did this to me and our family.

    He sucks! Plain and simple. He continues to lie and see his Ho-worker. Good for them. I. Am. Done!!!! I want MY life back!! I don’t do drama and I am sick of being stuck with all this crap. Today I looked at places and hope to move out by the first of next month.

    I am ready to be ME again without all of this drama! It is freaking exhausting! He said that he should never have told me about the affairs (I caught him but whatever) because I am not that kind of woman that could handle it. Yep..You POS…I guess I just couldn’t handle you sleeping with my exBF and lying and cheating.

    Ah….anger! I love you for keeping me in motivated to move on with MY life!!

    • Ah, yes, Leolion–the old, “It’s not what I did, it’s your abnormal reaction to it that is the problem.” Cheater excuses are a dime a dozen. I was told I wasn’t sophisticated enough to accept infidelity as a normal part of adult life. Now who has the last laugh?

      You will feel SOOO much better when you are out of the house–move before the 1st if at all possible.

      • Tempest…I am trying to get a place for me and the kids. It is scary but it felt good today to have some control back in my life. He said that I could stay and that this doesn’t have to end. Wow…tempting but Hell No!!!!

        17 years together and 6 months ago we were walking hand in hand through the snow talking about retirement and our future together. It still seems so crazy that my life imploded in such a short time from that point. I was happy and so were the kids.

        Today I had to tell me oldest son that I was looking at places to live because he isn’t stupid as not to know something is going on between me and his Dad. My son asked “why now?” And started to cry. It was so horrible and I didn’t cry. I stayed strong and explained to him that this is going to be our new normal. Augh!!!

        I don’t love my husband anymore and I am not stupid to believe that reconciling would be even a option however I just wish that cheaters could see the destruction that they cause. All to get a quick high or because as mine said “he felt lonely”. Fuck…get a life, get a hobby, get a friend of the SAME sex. Such bullshit!!

        • Leolion–I know how you feel (I’m even a Leo). I was with my cheater almost 25 years, 19 years of marriage. We had just sent one child off to college and were talking about whether we would move further downtown when the second child graduated from high school. Then D-day hit about an affair from 8 years ago, he pulled both the pity card (similar to “I was lonely”–“I felt you weren’t listening to me”), and the blameshifting (“stop obsessing about my affair and start obsessing about why I was unhappy with you then!”).

          Believe me, it gets MUCH better. Six and a half months out from d-day, 1.5 months from divorce, and I realized this past weekend that I felt HAPPY, truly happy, for the first time in years. And hopeful.k

          It will be a rough process, to be sure, but you will feel better (a) when you get to minimal contact with the MFer, and (b) give up the idea that he will EVER acknowledge the harm he has done. I still struggle with (b), but in my heart of hearts know he will never stop blaming other people for his destructive actions.

  • I don’t know, I think Angela Basset was pretty badass with the gasoline/fire thing in Waiting to Exhale.

  • There is another anger manipulation that my ex pulls. We have to have some contact because the kids do see him (once a month for a few hours, because he’s such a dickhead) and we have house and financial stuff to deal with. Every once in a while he’ll do something dickheaded, and I’ll get mad about that. Then he says something like ‘I know you’re angry at me because I betrayed you’. No, dickhead, I’m angry at you because you were rude to me TODAY. I’m angry because you didn’t do what you said you would do, TODAY. I’m angry because you KEEP ON DOING DICKHEAD THINGS. But he never admits to that stuff.

    Just another way for him to avoid taking responsibility for his behavior. Still. But he’s ‘such a better person’ after feeling some consequences and attending maybe 10 session of IC. Uh huh. I’m still watching what he DOES, and he is still an asshole.

    But at least he’s finally an asshole who’s leaving me alone. That’s a big relief.

    • KarenE – I have a similar situation with my STBXW. The oddest thing is that she seems to parrot my behavior. I stop wearing my wedding ring, she stops wearing hers. I change FB relationship status, she changes hers. I go NC as much as possible, she starts going NC. It is totally bizarre.

      I find a lot of what she does makes little sense. She says the affair was wrong but minimizes it and somehow sees it as justifiable punishment for whatever she now believes I did or didn’t do in the marriage, and seems not to understand the logical inconsistencies in that stance (much like your ex, I think).

      Bottom line: trying to untangle the lack of logic is a loser’s game; even if you could untangle it, the answers will boil down more-or-less to “s/he has character flaws that made them think (incorrectly) that they were entitled to destructive behavior and responsibility avoidance as a mechanism to cope with [ insert issues here ].” I.e., we won’t like the answers and they are problems with the cheater that we cannot influence or fix anyway.

  • speaking of anger, I live every day in a state of extreme anger. What do I do with it?? It’s been 9 months since D-day and it hasn’t gotten better and it wont go away. The minute I wake up, it’s the same every day, all day, anger, anger, anger. Do I have to kill him to feel better? What’s it gonna take????

    • Pissed, you gotta use that anger, and turn it into something that can improve and benefit your life……like I said fuck you to my ex every day when I got up and went to the office and kept working at my job, and ended up having my best years ever in my career and making more $$. (Haha, ex-grifter, you bailed a little too soon to suck up THIS gravy train!)

      Or you can go for walks or runs or yoga or workouts to channel and use that anger to make you physically stronger and mentally calmer. To look better and feel better. (Fuck this shit, the sociopath is NOT going to kill me, and I’m going to look better than ever).

      Is there anything you could not or would not do when ex was in your life? If so, you can do it now, go ahead. I made major changes to our home he would not let me do before. I bought new furniture, painted and wallpapered, too. Whatever I wanted to do, I did, it was finally all about me and not all about the narcissist. (This is MINE now, and I can do it on my own).

      I got so furious I researched and learned everything I could about personality disorders, narcissism and sociopathy. I figured out how to manipulate my ex when I needed to. I manipulated him into waiving alimony from me, and I got the fastest divorce possible.

      When I was divorced and done with him, I researched how best to hurt one of these creeps, and decided the best way to do that was to go and remain as no contact as possible and never NEVER let him think I miss him, care, or that we ever even think about him or feel we need him in our lives. I pretended to view him in the detached, polite, and disinterested way he treated me. After a while I wasn’t pretending.

      In the beginning (and 9 months out is still early on, Pissed), simply every day that I knew I survived when he expected me to crumble was a victory fueled by my anger. Every small and large achievement became a testament to my overcoming him and WHAT. HE. DID. Pretty soon it morphed into what I was able to do now that he was gone, and he became irrelevant to my and my children’s lives…ANOTHER victory fueled by our communal family’s anger.

      Lastly, I decided that I’d be damned if the last story in my romantic life was going to be the horrific tale of what ex did to me, and I decided that despite everything, I was going to date and maybe even be willing to re-marry again. I started dating. After a few disastrous first dates though, I thought maybe I’d just have my cats. Then by pure chance, I met up with my brother’s best friend from high school who had been chumped and divorced 7 years earlier, and it was love at first date. We were married last year and I never could have imagined such normal joy, peace and connection with another human being. All because I was too angry to “lose” without giving dating a try.

      If you are watching for the karma bus to hit him, it’s frustrating (I jokingly say that a watched karma bus never hits when you want it to). Use the anger for yourself, Pissed, channel it, run with it, and you will be amazed where it can take you. It really can take us out of the hell they left us in.

      (((Big hugs)))

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