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Be a Hellraiser, Not a Chump

Mother Jones in tent city

Today, in honor of Labor Day weekend, I’m rerunning this column about Mother Jones. Happy Labor Day and see you back on Tuesday! — Tracy

I’m struck by how often the catalyst for an extraordinary life is loss.

A friend of mine posts various nuggets of history on Facebook and the other day she featured Mother Jones. (Not the magazine that is named for her, but the labor organizer.)

Mary Harris Jones had a shit hand dealt to her if anyone ever did. Born in 1837, she became a school teacher, married a George Jones and together had a family of four children. Then as a young woman, she lost her entire family. Her husband and all of her babies perished in a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis. The children were all under the age of five.

That would be enough tragedy to send you to the mental ward for life, but Jones rebuilt and moved to Chicago to work as a dressmaker. By all accounts, she was quite successful at it. And then the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 hit and she lost everything. Again. Her home, her business, and all her worldly possessions.

Can you imagine? She reinvented again. In middle age! For the rest of her life (she lived to be 100), she was a fearsome labor organizer — called “the most dangerous woman in America.” What was she fighting for? To keep children out of coal mines and in school. Yeah, radical stuff. There were no child labor laws back in the day. The protections we enjoy today, we owe to protesters like Jones. I like this quote — she said: “I’m not a humanitarian, I’m a hell-raiser.”

She had a smart ass Irish wit. When denounced on the Senate floor as the “grandmother of all agitators,” she replied: “I hope I live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators.”

In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children’s March from Philadelphia to the home of then president Theodore Roosevelt in New York.

The picture above is her outfitting children with shoes for that march. She was in her 60s by then — leading marches on foot, hundreds of miles. The children she marched with, many were missing fingers and limbs — maimed from factory work. She tried to get the president to give them an audience. Roosevelt was unmoved, but she never stopped fighting for workers’ rights.

“I am not afraid of the pen, or the scaffold, or the sword. I will tell the truth wherever I please.”

Take those words to heart, chumps. Loss can make you brave. When your world has been obliterated, it can provoke a fearlessness that is a gift. What can they throw at you that you haven’t survived worse? Could the pen, scaffold, or sword be worse than losing four children, a husband, and everything you ever worked for? They couldn’t touch her.

She could’ve let that loss kill her. Send her into mourning or the care of relatives for life. No one would’ve blamed her, it would’ve been the expected thing for a woman her age back then. But she did the unexpected thing — she became a fighter. She transmuted that pain into a courageous empathy that did some good in the world.

The futurist and inventor Buckminster Fuller once said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

I love that quote. I first saw it as a tag line in an email from an organic farmer. I think it appealed to her because she is part of a movement trying not to change industrial agriculture — but replace it with a new, sustainable, organic farming system, that bears no relation to the old order whatsoever.

My farm-y interests aside, I also think there is great wisdom in that quote for chumps. You do not change things by fighting the “existing reality.” If that reality is infidelity, you will not change it with the pick me dance, by trying harder, by chasing reconciliation unicorns. To change, you need to build a new model — YOU — that makes the existing model (chumpy OLD you) obsolete.

You need to invest in an entirely new reality. A BETTER reality (leave a cheater, gain a life). So often we “fight” instead — we butt up against the existing reality of being cheated on. We fight by trying to prove our worthiness, by obsessing over the affair partner, by staying locked in unhealthy ways of relating, by being the marriage police, when what we need to do is make our old crappy lives obsolete. It’s harder to mourn something, when you’ve got a better something to replace it with.

Did you know Buckminster Fuller was another one of those extraordinary people transformed by loss? If you’re not familiar with Fuller, he was a prolific inventor, architect and designer, who is best known for the geodesic dome. He was also a futurist and humanitarian, and a total odd ball. (He was expelled from Harvard twice: once for spending all his money partying with a vaudeville troupe.)

By age 32, Fuller was bankrupt and jobless, living in low-income public housing in Chicago, Illinois. In 1922, Fuller’s young daughter Alexandra died from complications from polio and spinal meningitis. Allegedly, he felt responsible and this caused him to drink frequently and to contemplate suicide for a while. He finally chose to embark on “an experiment, to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.”

It’s a grandiose thought — to contribute your life in such a way to benefit “all humanity.” But then again, chumps — why the hell not? If labor marches and inventions aren’t your thing, find something that is. Invest in your better self. If you find your personal life destroyed by infidelity, yes, it’s tragic. It’s also an opportunity. Think of all the things you could be filling your new life with… making that past life obsolete. So what’s going to be next, chumps?

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”  — Mother Jones 

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  • Bravo!! This is one of my favorite CL blog posts ever! Probably because I have a little bit of hell raiser in me and I’m always itching to let more of it out. !

  • ‘What we need to do is make our old crappy lives obsolete.’ YES! In the process of realizing how shitty it really was. Thank you for reminding me of that.

    And, ‘think of all the things that’s you could be filling your new life with.’ YES again! Gardening and filling up the place with more plants that he never wanted. Loving it all!

    Saluting all chumps today. I never thought I’d reach this state 3+ years ago, but thanks to this site, I am getting to Tuesday.

    To everyone still in the early stages, stay here and know that it Will get better!

  • Love it. Although I don’t see myself as a hellraiser, because of the delicate balance I always have to keep with the STBX in order to get him to play ball (can’t fix or argue with paranoid sociopaths), I have done some reinventing.

    I left my job of 4 years in January when I finally realized he is mentally deranged and not a bit sorry for the serial cheating over 20 years. I was the sole provider as he could never keep a job. My whole family and all of my work colleagues and friends were informed of his latest philandering in a most publicly humiliating way and I lost so many people as I chose to try and keep my family together (out of fear of being alone at 41 yrs old).

    I basically was given the choice at my job to leave quietly or be let go, as the negative publicity from his many affairs had made their way to my high level circle. Devastating to find out in dec 2012 your loving spouse has been fucking everything with a pulse for 20 years and then be told by your employer you need to spare them your drama on top of family and friends abandoning you because they think you are an idiot.

    I decided to play his game and took a serious paycut so that when I file in a year (we will be officially separated in October and I have to wait a year to file) my income won’t be much more than his, since I forced him to get trained for a decent paying job. He is just now going through training for his first real job in 20 years.

    When the divorce is final I will be leaving the area we live in now with our kids and he will be forced to either leave his job (if he manages to keep it) and follow or stay here and find a new sucker to pay his bills. I think he will move on with some downgrade, move in, and quit his job, just like he did with me 20 years ago, and never lift another finger until his new whore finds him fucking everything with a pulse but three steps in downgraee from her.

    I may be downgrading my income for awhile but it is for the greater good. Take a year or so off from high stress and crazy person and regroup. When the ink is dry, get back into the big game with the big players while Dumbass downgrades until he is living on the streets, wandering around tilting at windmills.

    • CAV, how painful…having said that, you have a rough couple of years ahead, but you can do this. You are MIGHTY! Drive on, get it done for your kids-they’re the gift.

    • I can’t believe your work asked you to quit and that people who were supposed to support you abandoned you. Good riddance to all of that but still, that’s just rotten. You clearly don’t need any of that in your life. It sounds like you have a solid plan together for your future. Good for you and just keep heading in the right direction.

    • Snarky me would have responded, if I had heard that shit:
      “What, are you one of the OM/OW that he is screwing around with? No sane person would call the abuse of an affair ‘drama’, nor would they ask a victim of said abuse to leave their job.”
      Fuck your work and the whores they rode in on.

    • CAV, what a community of shitheads-family, friends & work? Just hearing that infuriates me. As if it’s not crushing enough findng that the STBX-hole has betrayed you. You must have felt as if your world was hit by an avalanche.

      I like Lania’s “fuck your work and the whores they rode in on.” I guess it pissed her off, too. When you’re going through it, though, their judgement and abandonment is so fucking painful it’s hard to get to the pissed off state. Betrayal all over again. Where in God’s name is the empathy and compassion, or for Fuck’s Sake, a human being? Sometimes I wonder What The Hell Is Going On – what is wrong with people? Frankly, I find more sanity here than anywhere these days, seems those around me are all drinking the same fucked-up Kool-Aid.

      For all you’ve been through so far, you sound remarkably strong. That’s a lot of shit for one person to take. Two snaps, girl! You should wake up every day patting yourself on the back. Your arm should be sore from patting yourself on the back. Really, I mean, you are so much better than “those” people. Yes, better. They were lucky to have you, the ungrateful shits, but their time is up. I hope you leave all their asses in the dust. CN has your back, now.

      Louise Hay, Hayhouse Radio and Publishing, writer and speaker, was divorced at 48-49 (?), and didn’t start over until 50. I don’t think she had any skills, whatsoever. Then, there’s Mother Jones. I wonder if CL has more successful, happy and over 50 followers than any other ‘infidelity’ site. Whatever else this is (foul laugh out loud language, hilarious perspective, cartoons), it seems to be working. I also enlisted the help of a kick-ass therapist, and already feel stronger. Wish I hadn’t waited so long – 1 1/2 years of hell trying to do this alone, but there is a little flicker at the end of the tunnel, if I squint. Your story struck me, but I think I’m babbling now. Hang in there.

      • Yeah. It pissed me right off, because theres a crapton of people who do it. Be it people who spout that trash, or Switzerlanding arseholes who don’t want to take sides – but are taking the side of the liar/cheat by passive resistance.
        I’m of the opinion these days where people will try to steamroller you at any cost – so you have to push back twice as hard, and fuck whatever anyone says about expressing the correct opinion.

        • Thank you guys. It does sound surreal when I type it out. My employer and my job: my employer is a globally traded company, and like so many other large corporations, their bottom line is paramount. The cheating husband derailed my career once before, as he showed up to a company function and flirted with every vagina in the room while I sat dazed. I left that job shortly afterwards out of embarrassment for some of the more blatant things he did, that included messing with a woman in our neighborhood. He denied physical involvement, of course, but the damage was done. I bought into his assertion that nothing happened and if we moved (uprooted everything to move across country, away from family and friends) everything would be better.

          My husband’s philandering went back to when we were dating, but I felt that a good, honest example of a good, honest life would influence him. My family never really liked him, but I saw that as an opportunity to prove my independence!! Working on those FOO issues now…

          The company that I just left is a large one. They aren’t interested in employees being people with problems. In this economic climate, it is even worse. I had a job that had most department heads reporting to me in some way, and although I wholeheartedly agree that this was utter bullshit, they saw my husband’s public and blatant philandering s a threat to their image and the heirarchy of management.

          He wasn’t discreet, to say the least. From the body count right now, he was screwing 4 women in our medium sized city. He was online with at least 5 others out of state. What he never stopped to figure out was that these women have friends, family and work connections that would eventually lead back to me somehow. In fact, one woman had several friends who worked directly under me. They knew the entire time that my husband was fucking their friend, and apparently these two people would routinely feed her information on my whereabouts, my schedule, and they befriended me to find out personal information that this woman later used in order to publicly embarrass me.

          The company big wigs were not interested in the schoolyard antics, which is what it all amounted to in the end. I was asked to leave. The writing was on the wall that they could and would simply begin to find fault in my work and then my professional reputations would be finished as well. This is an At Will state for employment, they could let me go for the color of my hair.

          I dont’t apologize for them, they were my biggest supporters when all was smooth and I was doing a great job. Until all was not smooth. Then you find out who your real suporters are, eh?

          My family saw me stay with him through 3 Ddays and multiple rumored OW on top of the verified ones. I am an idiot, according to them. They “wonder” about my own ethics and morals, that prehaps the cheating was not actual cheating, that I approved of swinging or had an open marriage, but was crying wolf when he was discovered yet again.

          I mean, according to them, how could I not have known all along and after discovery, what kind of person am I to stay with such an immoral person? Not easy to hear that your own integrity is in question for trying to reform a cheater. The word ‘stupid’ and “desperate” were mentioned quite a few times.

          Friends: well, he got to them first. Spinmaster Supreme. He had been grooming and working them for years, telling them how neglectful I am and how he is so desperate to keep our marriage together,but I am too busy with my career and children. No mention of his cheating, of course. So years of conditioning these people, they had and have a hard time hearing anything I say.

          He is going to get his. I may not be a fiery hellraiser, I am a quiet, methodical do-er. I am finished with being his biggest protector and enabler. You all have helped immensely over the past 8 months, believe me. I have cried my last tear, I have given my last effort to this sub human who gutted my life in so many ways.

          Thanks to all of you!! Giant hugs.

  • What a great column today – AGAIN! It brought be to tears, happy tears!! I have not only survived this infidelity crap, but I plan on thriving, I am OPEN, to new and different posssibilities!
    Thank you!

  • Labor Day is a special holiday these days for me. After I learned of my ex-wife’s cheating ways, I went down to NYC to hang out with two of my longtime best friends. It was an impromptu trip. Such a blessing as it turned out to be a reprieve from all the chaos and pain for a little while at least. I repeated the trip the following year.

    I totally agree that moving forward requires replacing the past making it obsolete. Without doing this, you will pine away living in regrets and wishes for what cannot be. But it still will take time to grieve–don’t beat yourself up over that. Life is so much better without the craziness of a cheater present, though.

  • I was raised by a mother with alcoholism and Borderline Personality Disorder and my husband was a serial cheater and narc. Together the did their level best to take away every shred of confidence and ability I ever had, but I would have none of that.

    Im my particular sphere of influence (not a big pond, but an important pond) I have been working to create this new reality and change the world. I created a video explaining the change I proposed and it has been seen all over the world and been translated into 6 languages…I know the info explained in this video has changed lives. Im actually considered a content expert on this topic…and the folks I went to school with thought I would not amount to anything.

    Im now married to a great guy and were planning a trip to Europe. He told me he has to work 3 days while there and I told him no prob, I will take a train to France and drink coffee in Strasbourg . I talked it up so much he now wants to go with me to see it too. Life really tried to kick my ass and instead, Im kicking life’s ass.

    Thank you for the info on Mother Jones…her story IS inspirational.

    • Way to go, unicornomore! Love hearing the great and mighty things us Chumps are capable of once we drop the dead weight from our lives!! I’m almost 2 years post DDay, and 8 mos post divorce. I know I’m not ready to give anything of myself after giving a douchebag ALL of myself for 23 years, but when I do start looking, I hope the ending is a good and happy one like yours and Chump Lady’s. I want to say I can’t wait, but I just turned 41 and was with the asshole since 16. I think waiting and just being good to myself will be worth it.

      So happy for your new life and exciting upcoming trip! Have fun! =D

      • KFMM, you can out do me, I spent most of my 40s wreckonciling with latehusband and fully engaged in the RIC..still reading books and hoping that he would quite being a jerk. I didnt even have a passport until I was 46.

        I wanted to take my daughter to Paris for her sweet 16 so thenhusband gave us his frequent flyer miles (nice gesture but he was jerky about that like everything else) I sold 2 articles to professional journals which paid just enough for a ratchet hotel in Paris within walking distance of all the stuff. We went on a shoestring but you would never know it, we had a great time.

        When thenhusband died, I could have let his death (on top of his tyrrany and betrayal) send me into a dark corner some place but instead, I sold some stock he ones raged at me over (he raged regularly) and took my daughter to London. Yea it was enough to put us up in a fine hotel and buy 8th row seats to see One Direction. The next year we went to Italy in April then my man took me to Turkey in Sept.

        I was 18 when I met latehusband and so trusting and hopeful…I had no idea the life I was walking into when I chose him. I have had to forgive myself for making such a terrible decision. I refuse to let him ruin any more of my life than he has already.

  • today’s post shows what we can be doing with our one and only amazing, precious life on our way to Meh – and beyond!

    reminds me of that Teilhard de Chardin quote: “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, [we] will have discovered fire.”

    so if all us mighty Chumps converted our pain to creating good for ourselves and the world, what a wonderful world it would be (cue Louis Armstrong song)

    lest you think my life is all roses these days, it is not. i received an awful and huge blow from XH (via my lawyer) this week. i spent a few days in mild dissociative fog, but have recovered. i stand in truth and that is my North Star: i divorced XH 2 years ago and i am creating a cheater free life. and it is good.

    ((hugs)) and Meh to new and old mighty chumps in honor of Mother Jones and “our mother jones” — Chump Lady!

  • If only I could change the lives of farm animals and pets everywhere. I have a whole vision but don’t know where to begin.

    • I’m with you.

      I was just feeling well enough to start volunteering at either the animal shelter or wildlife rehab before my Dad got so sick so it’s on hold again. I’ll get there eventually. Hopefully meeting like minded people at the same time. My vet is my hero. I could make a list a mile long on how she helps animals (and not just for profit) but I don’t want to hijack this thread.

    • My dream as well! I have four dog rescues and have placed many rescues in good homes. The first thing that needs to be done is legislation (US of course) that if you decide to get a puppy (horses/kittens, etc) and decide to get rid of the pet when it is no longer a novelty, guess what? No more pets for you! This would also apply for abusive/neglectful pet owners. So tired of reading craiglist ads that advertise dogs 5 years or older and it is always the same horseshit nonsense, of “having to move can’t take pet”. Dog breeders that put the female, that can no longer produce, up for adoption are just as disgusting. On a personal note I am not a fan of excessive legislation nor “lists” but something has to be done for these poor animals.

    • CFF, looks like you start by writing down your vision statement. You’ve already got two chumps that want the same thing. I think there are others wow would like to help, so from your vision a brainstorm session on what goals to start with and the steps to take to get there. After all Mother Jones did that, and just started putting one foot in front of the other. I know you can all do great things!

      • It makes sense, Datdamwuf. I have to think about it more. I have suggested something to the innovation team of the tech company I work for, but they understood nothing (the filter is a young guy who’s interested in pricey gadgets and sports cars, so I did not stand a chance to get through).

  • I was telling my mom last night that the worst thing stbx could have done if he wanted to keep control of me was to walk out. I would have done anything to keep that from happening. But he did and now I am free. My greatest fear happened and I survived and am stronger for it. Now he comes around to mess with me in regards to the kids and I find I am no longer afraid of him.

    There is a great quote by J.K. Rowling about how rock bottom was a solid foundation for her to start again from. It is a quote I go back to again and again.

      • Mine too. My ex ho threatened to leave a number of times in order to control me and make me do anything she wanted. I will never know how I survived her actual abandonment, but I now know I’m much better off for it. My all time greatest fear has become my #1 life lesson learned. I will thrive again, and hopefully love again as well.

  • It’s taken me over 4 yrs to try to get myself to fit square block into a round hole, and try to deal w the guilt that is isn’t working, even thou we both never imagined we would be where we are.

    Sometimes, “it is what it is,” takes a long while to get to, but acceptance of reality is such a relief in itself. I’m almost there…and Tracey is such a tremendous help! I love her!

  • I needed this article. I had a devastate blow come last week at a divorce hearing. I was blind sided AGAIN by our judicial system. Basically my husband was awarded all the items I was requesting…even after I conceded to give up other things to keep those most important to me. I was pissed…. I raged…. and I told my attorney…who happens to be my boss as well. I have had everything taken from me….and my husband moved his whore into my house….so why would she want my stuff….but that was answered in an article I read last week about how uncreative the cheaters are….they just relive and recycle their old life with the new chump. So he wants to keep the house decorated in all my style…because he and her have none.
    I have been very stressed….anxiety ridden over the injustice of it all. But I have rebuilt…my daughter even said she sees me as so much better off now than when we were together.
    Still pissed me off.
    But that motivates me. This article today motivated me….. and I am not going to let this mishap shake me. I’ll keep fighting…
    It’s like the Bionic Man…we can rebuild him….faster…stronger….

    • Tracy, been there, done that. Your jerk demanded what was important to you because he needs to win. Eventually, you will realize that it’s just stuff, and they will have to live with a constant reminder that they are living in your house with your stuff. By then, you will have a new and better life surrounded by things and people that make you happy and your ex and his whore will exist only in the ashbin of history. Remember always that you are mighty.

    • Tracy,
      I am sorry to hear the outcome of your hearing. I am in the ‘system,’ too, against my will. (I have gone through approximately a dozen hearings and have more to go. A few of the hearings have gone mostly the way I had hoped; the others have not.) I hope that your life improves steadily from here on.

  • THIS! My parents were the big on sayings. You know, those little tidbits they would throw out during talks with you about life. As a young child and adult I used to think some of those things made no sense at all, but as a ummm…. Mature adult woman , they now ring true in my ears! For example: “you can’t make a wrong a right”, “right is might”, and “No one cares about you the way YOU care about you!”
    It all makes sense to me now! They had a million of these sayings for everything and every situation it seemed. Too bad I thought they were useless as a young person. But I believe that trusting anyone, yep, even a spouse or SO with your life so blindly can only bring you heartache if you aren’t careful. It seems Mother Jones not only stood up for herself and trusted her own heart, but she founded a cause that made a difference to children who didn’t have a voice. Imagine the courage it must have taken in that era to stand up to some pretty big Giants of industry and government! It was probably pretty “scandalous” of her.
    I’m with CL, we’ve faced some of our greatest fears, heartaches and battles through infidelity. We are at this point pretty bullet proof when it comes to the slings and arrows of life. It used to scare my Ex to death when I would tell him to “bring it” during my divorce because I wasn’t afraid of him or Schmoopie anymore! He and his new squeeze really anticipated that I would just pack up my toys and run, but when I didn’t and faced them head on it became a new game. They really showed their cowardice then. I had them cornered and they knew it so then they folded and ran.
    I’m walking away from my divorce with more than every asset. I’m walking away with my new found pride, bravery and the secret weapon to always win with a bully……turn and chase them down! Trust me, these cowards will run! I gained much more from my divorce/Cancer experience then I ever thought possible! Yep, after experiencing pain beyond description something else blossomed and it’s wonderful to know I have what it takes to survive and THRIVE! Life is wonderful!

  • Courageous empathy, I like that CL. I have been a badass fighter for the serial cheating asshole for years. It is our opportunity to fight for something worthy of our efforts. The list of things I can finally enjoy is getting longer. Thanks for the words of inspiration.

  • Tracy,
    Of all the books I have read on Roosevelt, this one says where he got his big stick from. The little dick. The inbred piece of Dutch shit.
    No offense, but he was a fraud.
    And to think that I used to admire the two-timer.
    From now on, I will walk barefoot to every damn store. Your great-grandma agitator is my friend forever.

  • Thank you Chump Lady!! Beautiful post!! I am reclaiming my energy and my time. For the past decade I have turned my life over to pick me dances and endless hours of fix-it crap (therapy, marriage reconciliation books, etc.).

    A couple of years ago I was asked to start up a sustainability group in my county. Sadly, I lost myself in my stbx’s manipulative world and never called the organization back. I am calling them this week!!! And there is a bonus since I waited to be involved with this environmental group – my stbx hasn’t tainted it for me!!

    See every job, activity group or organization I have ever been involved in, he either bad mouthed the other participants, or accused me of having an affair with participants…I always felt nervous or guilty for doing something I really had a passion for.

    That SOB even belittled the years I spent in school studying climate change. He would passively say that environmental degrees were just for unemployed tree-huggers to our kids, friends and family!! When I would point out “Ummm, that’s what my education is?!!” He would say “oh, I wasn’t referring to you.” Who the hell was he referring to?

    I know I will be dirt poor after this divorce. Heck I might be living on the food from my garden and peanut butter sandwiches for the rest of my life – but who cares, I won’t be eating shit sandwiches and now I will have time to devote to my environmental passions. I am so grateful Chump Nation has woke my dumbass up to see the wonderful opportunities in life other than being doomed to chumpville! 🙂

    • Raises hand enthusiastically! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, yum! I have struggled financially but learned to use community resources for the first time. The best thing about living in S. California is that the food bank in my county gives out free produce (fresh veggies and fruit) once a month to anybody who shows up. It’s a program that greatly benefits those in transition and is enough for a few meals. This has been a godsend for me (my ex went “scorched earth”) and it freed up a little money every month to help my kids through college.

  • Great post. I’m filling the gaps left by my Cheater with all sorts of things to improve my physical health and also new mentally stimulating stuff to meet like minded folk.

  • I have been thinking about how sadness, anxiety, fear do nothing to change my situation. The only way i can become a hell raiser is to find my inner strength. Monday will be my dday. 2 years now that I found out my husband is not just a one time cheater but a serial one! Its my new years. To set new goals for myself. Become mighty and create a better life for myself. Monday will not be spent being sad but rather trying to figure out how to get out of this hole!

      • My Tuesday is not here yet but getting very close!!!
        I have regained my true self again. It’s taken a couple of years but I will not forget the first time I recognized my old self emerge. I was overwhelmed, crying tears of joy to have myself back. I now have the power the was once taken from me. With this new regained power I am helping my community to find their own strength. I do this through teaching yoga and meditation. I am very lucky to have a special gift of caring that was once solely used to empower my narcissist X.
        Love this post. We all have the Inner-worrier, the Hell-raiser, and we are lucky to have the opportunity to find it and use it to better ourselves and the people around us.

        • MG

          What a difference it makes when we get ourselves back and put our gifts to better use.

          I’m still working toward this and it’s so important when we finally get to the point when we are able to focus our energy on ourselves and not the abuser.

          Again I had a wonderful weekend with family and friends with laughter and love. When I was triggered this weekend I stopped myself from thinking about what HE was doing and smiled, thinking “He’s not doing THIS. I looked around the table and saw my adult children and true friends enjoying ourselves.
          Whatever their lives bring it doesn’t matter. Moving forward requires so much effort yet it becomes second nature once we take back that power with conscious mental effort.

          • Donna, I am happy for you. It’s hard not to think of them when we are happy only because we are good people with good hearts. They certainly do not have what we have (“He’s not doing THIS. I looked around the table and saw my adult children and true friends enjoying ourselves”) and we should be thankful. Good luck as you move forward.

    • You will not regret it. And you can be sad (you have human emotions unlike your stx. It’s actually a strength even if it doesn’t feel like it now) and still do what you need to.

  • Flowergirl 14 you sound like you have resolve and this blog will fuel you to be mighty which you are! It takes time.

  • Being the warrior queen (or king) is really the only way you end up pulling yourself out of this shit – because your cheater will otherwise steamroller you. They WANT you to be the weak person who just rolls over and lets them do what they please.
    They get angry and pissy because you aren’t tolerating their shit, or are making their life difficult – which is why its so important to go for the jugular.
    Its why Tuesday is such a glorious day, when it comes.
    Personal example here: Its probably partly why I’ve built up a list of enemies in the past and present – because I really don’t tolerate shit. At all. If you piss me off, I will fucking crush you. And disordered types, liars and cheats can’t handle that one bit.

    • I do believe it’s important to stand up to bullies, and many of our exes were even if they were doing a great job gaslighting (and let’s not forget the Sparkley quiet passive aggressive ones). I think my marriage fell apart more when I finally called ex out on his shit, you know that whole hard to pin down-absent-husband crap! Cheaters do have a house of cards.

      • Yeah. Having dealt with severe bullying in my past – its pretty much identical to fuckwit cheaters.
        And the only language that bullies and fuckwit cheaters listen to, is brute force. Pussy-footing around or being indecisive will only make them more brazen or make them laugh in your face. Or, at worst, give them an opportunity to undermine you, be it through subterfuge of assets, or just plain shit talking about you to others.
        Also, those same two clusters of people hate being called out on their shit – so of course they will lash out when they are threatened.It really can be a war sometimes, with whoever flinches first losing.

        • I agree Lania! It seems the more understanding I was about his affair and his waffling between his whore and me, the more hurtful, hateful and sneaky he became! Once I put my foot down and let him know I was going to put his ass on the other side of the door and demand that he face the financial consequences of fucking up our 41 years of marriage it was then that he went ape shit! He knew I was done, but once he knew I was dead serious about settling our divorce in my favor BIG TIME he was scared shitless! I think he thought he could still manipulate me and treat me like I was stupid. Once he found that I wasn’t going to back down I realized what a coward he and his bold little whore were and still are! I stood my ground and let him know that if he didn’t agree to give me in mediation what I wanted then I would go to court, expose him and Schmoopie to everyone and demand even more! Bullies understand only one thing and that is the ability to be out bullied! I trumped him in the bullying and he had pushed me so far I was fully prepared to totally ruin him even if it meant I might lose something! He totally believed it and in the end folded like a house of cards! I got everything I wanted in my divorce which was nearly every asset we had! He got his car he drove into the ground driving back and forth each weekend to see his whore and 20,000.00 in his retirement. I got the rest of his retirement account. His life isn’t worth shit! His POS cheating MOW can have his useless ass! I know she thought she would be living in my house and her name would replace mine on our assets! She was wrong BIG TIME! Once you show them you aren’t afraid of them and you are done with their shit then they realize and so do you that they have no power over you. WE have all the power in the end! I now still own his ass and he will never be able to be totally free. I even own his life insurance policies! He’s nothing more than a useless POS as a human! His whore can keep him!

          • Roberta, its like this:
            1. They bully you into submission.
            2. If they can’t do 1, or you decide ‘No more’ they ramp up the abuse/bully tactics, in an attempt to make you step 1 again.
            3. If they can’t get you to fold with step 2, they either go to charm or self pity, or try to destroy you in some way. Repeat 2 and 3 ad-nauseum.
            4. Sometimes, the less disordered ones, will finally stop once they realise that 1, 2 or 3 won’t work – but most get stuck on those 3 steps.

            My most recent ex was like #4 – after he realised his passive-aggressive tactics wasn’t working anymore and that I’d had enough (I went no contact) – he sent off a single email, being mostly polite, and when I didn’t respond to it, I never heard anything further. But, to be fair, I don’t think said ex was cheating on me – however, I do have a fair idea that he was lying to me about something he claimed intent to do, yet never actually intended to follow through with it.
            Though – I do have an ex prior to that, which got stuck on step 3 (He tried to destroy me) – but I shut that shit down very, very quickly – by suggesting that if he continued with it, I’d see that his entire life imploded. Think he was scared more of that happening, so he backed off. That ex was most certainly cheating on me and gaslighting me, while working behind the scenes to undermine me to our social circle.

            • Lania, you are absolutely correct! This is an all too familiar pattern that I saw played out by my Ex. But being the lazy coward that he is and finally realizing I was on to his game he has wisely decided that he will lay with the sleazy whore who helped make the bed he’s in now and stay under the rock she lives under. I guess he feels he’ll hang onto whatever is left of his flimsy “image” and use the crap out of her. Truth be told, he’s just not all that intelligent and anyone with half a brain can clearly see that in the first couple of minutes of meeting him. OW better get ready to spackle the Hell out of him or she’s going to be embarrassed by the nitwit! He can’t use his looks either because he was never particularly handsome and at 60 years old he has an odd similarity to Grandpa Jones from Hee Haw! On top of all that he now has been diagnosed with a terminal cancer. Karma was swift for them. All I know is I am free of him and his douchbaggery! Thank Heavens!

              • Thank you Lania and Roberta, for sharing your stories and advice, so super useful as I prepare for the next round of divorce negotiation… TOWANDA :)!

        • Oh Lania and Roberta,love your fiesty style girls!!!im mostly firing on those cylinders.Just have little slumps in energy at times.good to hear empowered women xx

          • Of course. I no longer tolerate any shit in ANY form, be it cheating fucktards, dishonest people or anything else. In fact, at work today, when someone was reading about a cheater story, I said “Those sort of people disgust me. They are the lowest of low scumbags and deserve nothing but hellfire.” And I made sure everyone heard me, too.

  • My favorite thing to do now is to try to encourage people who have been cheated on not to take the blame for that shit. Any of it. There is nobody on the planet that deserves to be cheated on, no matter what. So I say Hold your head high, tell the truth about what the losers did, and know that ALL cheaters are Downgrades, no exceptions to the rule !

  • Today’s article is what I’m talking about!! Kick ass, no fucks given role models.

    I have my own personal role model – my mum, who passed away in 2011. She was the kindest, kick ass, resilient, tower of strength, most caring person I have ever known. I am so proud to say her memory lives on in me and my siblings.

    No fucks given to my ex POS cheater. I have better things to focus on – ME. Tuesday is the sweetest day when it arrives.

    Hang in there, stay strong and be mighty!!!

  • ” Necessity is the mother of invention” Its so true. If we could all believe this we wouldnt waste a tear on the sacks of shit that selfishly made us feel we werent necessary. And I thinks its why Chumps have such a hard time moving to ” Meh” We have been conditioned to always put our wants and needs second. Reinvent myself? Find something else to put my energies and passion into? What energies? What passions? How can I reinvent? I used up all my coupons on Jerk Face. I dont know how to do anything else but think of them, my family and how i let it all fall apart. Who would want me now? What could I possibly offer? You have listened so long to the same song that you cant enjoy another song. That song keeps you in a trance and immobilized…. Like a fucking snake charmer. The Charmer never worries that you will strike because he has ability to sway you with that song and keep you tucked in a basket. Everytime the lid comes off you have your chance to flee but you don’t …. You have been charmed and conditioned to do what is expected. When you stop performing or strike back you are replaced with another that is being condition to sit in your basket.
    It takes a while to feel like you are necessary again. It takes a while to stop hearing the music too. It was the song of your life. Turn off the radio. Stop humming the tune. Thats the first step. Now what? That is now up to you.
    You dont have to move mountains or save children to start. I think Chumps always want to jump in and rescue. Its easy to give your energy to something else and get lost in it. It feeds your need to be needed and wanted and necessary. Its self soothing.I know for a lot of us holding down a full time job, kids and rent is all consuming. When am I gonna have fucking time to do something else? You dont unless you make it a priority in your life. Much like your relationship was… It occupied a space and time. This is now your time. You will never get it back. Think of all the years leading up to this… You aint getting them back. You always wanted to learn french… Get a library book. You want to help animals… Volunteer at a shelter. Start small… Even if its buying a pack of gum. I know i hestitated to buy anything for myself cause there was always something that came up making me feel guilty for the $5 splurge of a fancy coffee. I would be rewarded with a flat tire that same day. I stopped making those assumptions that i deserved it for thinking about myself. Its fucking life. I will enjoy my coffee waiting for the tow truck… Because who knows… Maybe just maybe the flat tire save me from being t-boned when somebody ran a red light.
    Its hard to sit with yourself. I imagine for some its like meeting a stranger. Who are you? So many labels ‘ Mom, Dad, Husband, Wife, Lover, Worker… ‘ the list is endless. Now that you have been given this time to define yourself…. Who are you? You made it this far… you are a Survivor, Fighter, _______ fill in the blank. Its time to define yourself.

    • TheClip

      As chumps we are conditioned given our selflessness. When I finally finished grad school and had my first paycheck I wanted to finally buy something for myself. I bought clothes, shoes, and makeup. X’s expectation was that I would give him my paycheck and support him. He withheld money and affection and justified his cheating by stating he had to support me all those years even though I always worked and gave up my career to support his. That song has no effect any longer.

      I am making a new list of the things I do DAILY for myself. Even if it is getting a coffee.

  • The Clip, Yes, I agree with you! It takes some time to get your bearings and slough off the bullshit that cheaters seem to want to dump on us as their excuse for their failings. And that’s what it really amounts to is the fact that they couldn’t possibly have been to blame for doing such foul things! Of course it was their lousy spouse, their lousy job, yada, yada, yada! I call bullshit! I thoroughly reject his so-called criticism cause it was all crapola!
    I also take comfort in the fact that I am able to manage the day to day tasks of everyday life since he decided to hit the sheets with Schmoopie. Don’t discount your accomplishments in that department either. I am not in any race with the dysfunctional and I have nothing to prove to anyone least of all those two cheaters! I will take my time to find myself and my passions once again unlike my Ex and Schmoopie who apparently had to be hooked up with another person to feel whole! How shallow is that? It proves they could NEVER do on their own what I have accomplished!
    It’s time for me to rediscover ME and I wait patiently with hope and faith as my guide to reveal that to me. In the meantime I will enjoy the journey, flat tires and all! It’s worth it as long as I don’t have to endure another miserable day with a cheater! Don’t anyone beat yourself up because you haven’t felt you’ve come a long way or solved world peace yet or whatever! The fact that we get out of bed everyday with the expectation that our lives will improve is an accomplishment in itself. We are all going to make it through this Hell and true joy is just around the corner. We don’t need to go looking for a cheap facsimile like our cheaters did, it will find us!

    • I agree, Roberta. I have always done a good job at my life and my priorities were mine (children, family, a spouse, a home) although in the early years it was shared at times. I never forgot who I was, and raising my family while time consuming was the best experience ever. I do not regret one moment of my time with my children. And family. The ex however is another story entirely. He was always and forever at the racquet club. Or at work. IMHO Cheaters fail at “real life,” he was never too interested in doing what we wanted. If there’s one big flag about someone you are dating it’s that they are very self absorbed. Much like an only child who has been spoiled. In my marriage, intimacy never grew. You want it to work but it just…won’t. My ex was great at love bombing in those dating years. Marriage, no. Too much for him.

  • “So often we “fight” instead — we butt up against the existing reality of being cheated on. We fight by trying to prove our worthiness, by obsessing over the affair partner, by staying locked in unhealthy ways of relating, by being the marriage police, when what we need to do is make our old crappy lives obsolete.”

    THIS. The idea of butting your head against the wall – is SO true. For what?!?! I’ve JUST started to have a few of these clarity moments. When I realize I haven’t thought about him, or them for half of my day. When I haven’t allowed the black hole of my thoughts to drag me down. When I realize that stupid 24yr old child did me a huge FAVOR sleeping with my XH. It’s like a quick glimpse of Tuesday – these moments. And this post really brought that home.

    Thank you CL, and everyone here for continuing to be willing to share you experiences and knowledge!!

  • This has to be my all time favourite post.Empowering yet realistic and grounded.I totally intend to come out of this shit plastered hole an enlightened image of the person that Dr Ego tried to devalue and destroy.The fucker was lucky to have ever breathed the same air as me.Amen

    • “The fucker was lucky to have ever breathed the same air…” Uh, this.is.so.true. Fact is, people who cheat are crap people.

  • “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” My favorite Mother Jones quote.

    Hangs on my living room wall.

  • I look back on my Dday, the day I finally knew my ex was a cheating lying thieving POS, as the day I had the opportunity to leave a futile marriage and the loser who would never realize how blessed he was to have us in his life. The moment my ex made his choice was the moment he was dead to me. Too bad it was two years after he began his final affair. Add me to the young and clueless. 🙂

  • This was awesome! Takes me back to the good old days (pre cheater Narcboy)when my husband and I would have an elderly couple over every Sunday for coffee. He was a mine unionizer and agitator and with the current, uninformed paranoia about Socialism and its history in the US, we were the only folk left they could honestly talk to. Was with him and his wife when he passed; we were in a circle there in the ICU, I held his hand, his wife’s; she held my hand and his other hand. My husband and I looked after Viola until she passed at 93. I promised Ed to join the Party and did. They were two of the four folks I dedicated my thesis to; work that got my life threatened more than once. As I approach my Elderhood, I think about how strong they were in an incredibly tough time. Their lives were threatened multiple times, they were blacklisted. My issues being alone not by choice, dealing with Narcboy cheater at work, the loss of my marriage earlier, pale in comparison. Another quote from the Native activist that serves us Chumps well:” We don’t want a bigger piece of the pie; we want a different pie”.

  • This is my favorite article ever published on this site. Thank you CL. It is obvious why your writings are as cherished by us as they are. 🙂

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