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Happy Memorial Day

flag over the Seneca lake shorelineHappy Memorial Day! Hope you’re all out there honoring veterans, eating barbecue, and otherwise enjoying the long holiday weekend that is the start of summer. (We’re underwater here in Central Texas. It’s refreshing after 5 years of drought to have some other extreme weather to complain about.)

I don’t have a coherent post today as such, but I did want to say thanks to our veterans. Some of the most powerful letters I get at Chump Lady are from people in the military. Either folks who were cheated on while they were deployed, or faithful partners who gave up years of their life, moving around the world to support their spouse, and who then get cheated on.

Why should that chump experience seem more significant than any other? Well, I think it’s because the idea of service to one’s country involves sacrifice. It’s a double kind of betrayal. If you’re supporting your spouse in the military, doing single parent duty while they’re deployed, never getting to put down roots because of the transitory nature of posts, it’s such an investment of yourself. There must be the sense that the sacrifices are shared by others, and there is a higher purpose. So to be betrayed after such a selfless commitment?

Similarly, to put yourself in danger, to serve in a war, is to live with constant uncertainty and fear. Service members look to their families for comfort and support. To be betrayed then? When you are at your most vulnerable? It’s horrific.

Some people find it antiquarian that the military has statutes against adultery. If you’ve ever worked in the military (I did briefly, as a writer for the Defense Department), you know that they put great emphasis on “unit cohesion” and honor. It makes sense that the culture would value loyalty and keeping commitments, you cannot lead people into war otherwise. Certainly, the institution doesn’t always live up to its ideals, but those statutes are there, codifying honor. I think that’s admirable.

To all the chump vets and chump partners — thanks for your service. Happy Memorial Day.

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  • Thanks to the wives who sacrificed too! Happy Memorial Day and I appreciate the service of all who have served. Stay TRUE & Proud and faithful to country and family!

  • Amen, CL! Sadly, though, the statutes against adultery mean little these days even in the military. But I agree it is very appropriate considering what adultery does to the community and says about honor–or the lack thereof actually.

  • I wondered what you would say today. Civilian, but wounded in a different sort of war, on an assignment of similar vulnerability, this was an especially poignant thought to me. I appreciated the gracious tone of honor and gratitude. Thanks

  • My son just got back from Afghanistan. It was hell over there. It was hell here, having him over there. Memorial day is a solemn holiday. I am grateful my son came home. But so many did not. We enjoy freedoms here because soldiers and their families make the ultimate sacrifice. We must never forget. And we must remember those who have returned wounded. There are many soldiers who ares suffering every day with the wounds of war.
    Thank you Tracy for honoring our troops. As an Army mom, it is wonderful to know that our sons and daughters are not forgotten.

  • Ashley, I am so sorry. I can’t imagine waiting at home and holding down the fort, only to find you’ve been betrayed. Or, relocating and relocating, unable to set down roots, making the betrayal more isolating, devastating than it already is. CL, what a lovely post. I’ve never considered the double punch rec’d by military chumps, or chump spouses and their families. To all of you, thank you.

  • My Idiot is a Vet and a cop. I spent years doing double duty. As a civilian he chose to persue undercover work as a Narc. I realize now that his ability to be duplicitious is what made him a great undercover cop. Husband not so much. The “guys ” took priority. It was when he took a 9-5 position that he was unable to keep it together. There were no more excuses to not be home.
    The years of active military duty and being a Narc certainly took its toll on him. He would sleep walk and have horrible dreams. Guilty conscious? PTSD? He never disclosed anything and he never went for help. That would be weakness. Would it have prevented the inevitable? No. Dont think so. Think he was a bad apple from the get go. His favorite book ” 48 Laws of Power” he was obessed with power and being a leader.
    I made his life normal. I was the apple pie in his American story. I was the front he needed to be the hero. Then I became a convenience. Ole faithful. Birthday party… Check… Taxes paid… Check…. Laundry… Check. He never had to think about his home life… It was always well managed and squared away( some military talk I had to embrace) but God forbid I slip… Or the kid has a bad day… Then we would hear a rant. I would hear how spoiled she is or that she needs to obey. Yes he loved her most when she was the perfect child and didnt fail to ingrain that in her. She doesnt have fits. She doesnt have medical problems. She has to be perfect. She gets no attention unless she is well behaved. So she complies for the twisted love that he supplies.
    The hero is flawed… But he will change all of us before he will ever change himself.

  • “Hide your intentions not by closing up (with the risk of appearing secretive, and making people suspicious) but by talking endlessly about your desires and goals-just not the real ones.”
    ― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power
    “If you lead the sucker down a familiar path, he won’t catch on when you lead him into a trap.”
    ― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power“little about your work, tease and titillate with alluring, even contradictory comments, then stand back and let others try to make sense of it all.”
    ― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power
    “Your new identity will protect you from the world precisely because it is not “you”; it is a costume you put on and take off. You need not take it personally. And your new identity sets you apart, gives you theatrical presence. Those in the back rows can see you and hear you. Those in the front rows marvel at your audacity.”
    ― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power
    “Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good.”
    ― Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power
    words to live by…. If u are a disordered fuck.

    • Wow, TheClip, maybe Robert Greene is the alias for flying monkey. Sounds so eerily similar. Wow. I might have to read it. Flying monkey was in the seminar world so maybe it was required reading or written by one of them. They are all in the fifty shades of something.

    • OMG TheClip!!!! Years ago, STBXH & I watched the boxing reality show The Contender. One of the boxers quoted that book, and my husband, being the asshole he is, demanded that we go out the next day and buy it— as far as I know, he never read it thorough, if at all, but boyyyyyyy, do those quotes sound like shit he does!!!

    • TheClip, if only they had the ability to think for themselves. And yet when he found himself within the pages of The 48 Laws of Power he must have found comfort in his pathetic existence. A sociopath’s bible of truth. You were his front for sure. My father is a narcissist and he used his family as a front of normalcy. I remember him telling me what to say or not say as he was conning victims since I can remember. I have no contact with him because I can no longer tolerate his toxic actions. I thought the X was different but in fact he was worse. Tonight my beautiful daughter asked me if her father just pretended to love her all these years. She now understands how I made him look good all these years. It’s really difficult when they still have love for an empty sociopath and we can no longer hide the truth when the mask is off and they disregard their children.

  • I admire the military’s statutes against adultery too. Ex nephew in law uprooted his first wife, a sweet and lovely girl, when he decided out of the blue to join the army shortly after their daughter was born. Sold the house she had lovingly restored and she moved back in with her mother who would watch the baby while she worked. She discovered through Facebook he was cheating on her with a MOW, also military. The cheaters were both kicked out of the army. All divorced and the two cheaters accepted with open arms into ex’s family. They are in the process of having children “until he gets a boy”. I saw this all play out in disgust. All accepted and forgiven except with the military and first wife and her family. And me. I wonder how long it will last, especially if he “doesn’t get his boy”.

  • I’m an ex Navy spouse of 12 years. I stood by that man over half of his military career, made several moves, sold and bought houses while he was deployed, and never complained or expected anything but a loving and honest partner. Only to be cheated on at the end of his career with a fellow service member. If anything it makes me see I did this all on my own before now I just don’t have to deal with a narcissist. I’m grateful for the service of our military and vets. I understand the sacrifice they make and their families. Today is a day of remembrance.

  • Yes, thanks to all the military personnel and the families who support them.

    I like the military’s code against adultery. I ‘ve always thought it was strange that some people think you can be an honorable person while cheating on your spouse and family. The amount of lying cheating requires is astounding.

    I found a book called “Lying” that i want to read. The author basically thinks that all lies are harmful, even what is classified as “white lies.” Ironically, this is what my husband called his sneaking around with a whore behind my back. I like to think I’m an honest person but maybe I could improve in that area. It’s not the same thing as having an opinion but I am going to try to observe myself more closely.

  • For anyone here who has served, either as a member of the armed forces, or, as the spouse of one, thank you.

  • Thanks for this post, CL, and for honoring our military and their families today. There’s also the special hell of being a military parent married to a narcissistic cheater, which I experienced last fall while my son was deployed to the Middle East with a Marine Corps crisis response team, ramping up my general anxiety level to DEFCON 11. At least it was a daily reminder that STBX truly does suck and that I will find only contempt where empathy or appreciation should be, even for an act as basic, though vital, as sending weekly care packages. Contrast that with the compassion and devotion of the wife of my son’s Commanding Officer, who went above and beyond the call of duty to do everything she could to keep the families informed via whatever channels were available (operational security can be a big obstacle to communication at times) and supporting us with compassion and understanding during collective freak-outs over the latest news–none of which she was required or bound to do, but she did, all while raising small children of her own. Military spouses like her more than deserve the respect of the honor code on adultery.

  • I have always believed that there is a special place in hell for the following subtypes of cheaters:

    •Those who cheat on their wives while pregnant
    • those who cheat while their spouse is seriously ill
    • those who cheat while their spouse is deployed

  • Over here in NE Texas it is a monsoon too! For real! but better than drought. Just FYI, I am right near Red River Army Depot and since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars there have been tons of chumps hatched on both ends: men who cheated on and left their wives for floosies working in the Middle East (Filipinos etc.) and women who cheated on and left their husbands for men while the husbands were working in the Middle East. My divorce lawyer totally told me about how many summons she had to have served in other countries not just to military personnel but also to the civilian workers that were working for the contractors out of Red River. For real.

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