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How to Suffer — A Chump Manual

please-dont-let-today-be-one-of-those-character-building-days-8e2c7Today is a guest post from Luziana of “pie, bitches!” fame. Enjoy!

We Westerners are not so great with suffering. Relative prosperity and The American Dream have most of us starting out with an emotional bedrock of conflict avoidance and high expectations about family life and prosperity gospel.

Even those of us who never had The Dream at home yearn for it as a means of overcoming. That’s sort of beautiful, isn’t it? The desire to build a stable family and keep it strong, to choose one partner above all others and bury past dysfunction, it’s an everyday miracle that looks quietly average from the outside. It works every day. For every child who grows into a monster from the harm inflicted on him, there are thousands more who simply, silently, give better than what was given them. Two parents, food, lights and heat. The occasional joy of a want versus a need. Love, real love. Deep and true and unshakeable. These are the things that make us fake smile at a difficult boss, part way for an aggressive driver, say something nice or nothing at all.

After the kissing in the tree, love, marriage, the maybe appearance of a baby carriage or two, comes the Infidelity. Your Unnatural Disaster, so get the fuck down from that tree if you don’t mind. Along with the mind games, the shock, the anger comes the total absence of acknowledgement that this selfish and motley assortment of acts (not just the physical puzzle piece logic of the act itself) has raged through your home and ransacked your soul. Then asked you to be “still friends.” Thanks, you think, because saying so makes you the villain. Thanks, you Fuckwit Tornado. Let me glue that back together for you. Let me fix everything!

But here is the fatal flaw that fixers like us cannot initially grasp. You can’t fix what you didn’t break. You can only heal you. I won’t say fix. It implies you begged the Storm on. I don’t believe you did. I believe you were ravaged by a Fuckwit Tornado and lived to tell the tale.

Today, this morning, I saw a 2012 Silver Chevy Malibu on the road and I didn’t flinch. What is it for you? Is it a brunette baby? Is it that goddamn cologne she wore that always burned your eyes? Is it the chest freezer you no longer need because your home is now half empty, half full, like a hollowed shell?

How long will it take? I don’t know. Two years. As long as the courtship and marriage. As long as it takes.
Two years on, though, here are a few somethings that helped this Jolly Little Chump.

I have stopped measuring my success by life’s highs or lows. Now I measure the quality of the average Thursday. Do we have food? Is there gas in the car? Oh, look! A car, we have one. Did I complete as much work as I needed today? Was I an asset to my employer? Did I not mute myself to cry during a conference call? Wonders, the Baby made toast by himself, he’s five and he made himself a meal!

I wanted a faithful marriage with a person I loved very deeply. But he was a cheater. I also wanted to be a ballerina, but I was 150 pounds at age 11. I wanted a pony, but we lived in the city. MEH!

I focus on what I can have, and I don’t believe anything is out of the question. I may fall in love again. I could lose 50 pounds and join the community theater. I could board a pony, though I’d prefer to have my utilities on. But plain Thursday, almost getting kicked out of the fancy fondue restaurant because my daughter is laughing so hard at my Minions voice offering her “bananas and cake blocks” is pretty good.

Secondly, suffering happens. It’s clearly not okay. It’s not usually deserved. As Joseph Conrad wrote in Heart of Darkness, “This also has been one of the dark places of the earth.” Anyone looking at a few rooms emptied of a beloved stepdaughter and her things knows this home truth. Faiths of all flavors, from Catholic Saints to the Buddhist demon Mara, tread the terrain of transformative suffering. There is a place of peace to inhabit when you perceive you have lost everything. There is a pretty well-known mediation on Mara that’s stunning in its practicality and wisdom. The goal is simply to accept suffering. Not as a masochism. Not as a penance or a promise of future reward. It’s an expansion of one’s abilities, auspiciousness, and capacity to thrive without obsession on the past. For more info, read “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach (2003). This meditation comforts me nearly every day.

So I never thought my mate would cheat. I accept it. And also this:

He was cold and unkind as he packed his things. He dragged on. He could have left and sent for his things and spared me pain. But he seemed to enjoy watching my suffering, taking my stepdaughter from me, the sound of my sobbing and begging, inventing crimes to justify his cruelty.

I see you Mara. And also this:

He dropped all our friends and family. He hasn’t spoken to his stepdaughter in two years. Never offered her so much as a word of comfort. And also this:

His new daughter, whose proud due date and overdue birth was celebrated on Facebook without the muddy inconvenience that it placed conception well before inconvenient family objects were excised from the picture. Makes such a happy picture.

This. All of it. I accept it. And I can see a car that looks like his without flinching. A brunette baby is blameless and lovely. And I see Mara now. In a date that’s too handsy. In a tough situation at work. In a gossipy neighbor.
I am stronger, I am clearer, I know want from need and use from love. I have my daughter and my son, they saw evil and we lived through it. Now our health and happiness is all we need.

Come what may, Fuckwit Tornado.

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  • That is so beautiful! What a nice way to wake up. Yes, we too survived the tornado. We are happy, we are complete, as three…not broken. We pulled in and loved each other, on top of each other on the couch at night, tangled in laughter. And once a week they go to “dads” house where there is no food, and kids are ‘unimportant’, late, an after thought. But at home, we are three and we love completely, in the moment. The crying jags come less, I’m no longer wistful. Thank you for reminding me this gorgeous morning that there is sunshine in the aftermath.

    • That restaurant Minion’s anecdote brought a tear to my eye. I have to work on stopping myself from catastrophizing every possible negative outcome and focus more on moments like these. The all-too-brief flashes of pure joy that, if you are truly present for them, can make up for so much of the other horrors. Indeed a beautiful article.

      • It definitely is an individual process and it takes persistent hard work, but indeed, it does come!

    • And the suffering that you’re experiencing now is transformative. Embrace it. You will get there. It won’t look like what you thought it would look like, but you’ll get there.
      You being here is helping yourself and helping others which helps yourself.

      Hugs!

      • Hugs !
        After what each of us has been through trust is hard. But here, with us, you can rebuild and lean on fellow friends/chumps who are here for support, wisdom and a shoulder. And know, one day … You will be there. We know you will !

        All I knew from the moment my world caved in, was that I couldn’t ignore or push aside what I was experiencing and feeling…. I had to go “head on ” through it, so that when I made it to the other side, I would Be done with him. I was lucky to have a therapist who constantly assured me that it was ok to take any amount of time you need to reach “meh”. Don’t look to others, don’t let anyone tell you that you should be “over it by now”, take as long as YOU need to.

        • Thanks for your comments. I have been divorced for four months after a 25 year marriage. Seems like such a slow process and I want meh. Trying to just take each day.

  • I longed for a family as I didn’t have one of my own. He was perfect, one of three kids, parents still together, they allowed me to live in their home and I felt that despite their quirks I was the lucky one.

    two weeks out from our wedding my father in law asked me to call of the wedding as he felt that I was not a good match for his son. I, in his opinion was not the spiritual young woman he perceived me to be. I would never live up to this expectation as he was and still is a religious zealot. Fast forward 20 year, my in-laws are divorced because after 30 yrs of an emotional affair by MIL, FIL goes all in on a solo trip to Indonesia, returns and leaves damning evidence for MIL chump to find. Husband moves in with MIL after being caught indulging in male porn and MIL never contacts me, a month later our youngest gets cancer and MIL still doesn’t call to make sure I am ok. I am on my own. Our church is too busy trying to ensure that cheaters action consisting of 8 years of homosexual misconduct does not become public, and reflect badly on them so they set about minimising his confession and I’m instructed to play my roll as mother while he lives his double life in the open for all to see if you have a notion of what to look for. Two years on from D’day and I am now being treated for PTSD while I get my life back together.

    My cheater didn’t go and get a new life he ensured that he stayed right in the middle of mine and our childrens’ lives. he remained in the church that helped him to hide his cheating and blamed me for ending our marriage, and then supported his marrying a desperate chump from our children’s school who has not worked on her picker from her own husbands cheating and marrying his affair partner. she was easy pickings for a narc like my ex.
    so I think I am going to apply the Thursday measure system as it seems fare superior to constantly wondering what the fuck I did wrong and why is no one seeing my cheating POS for who he really is.

    My marriage may be over, but his constant attempt to fuck with my head has not.

    Tuesday or Thursday I don’t care which I just want MEH.

    • I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, Thankful. I hope Meh comes quickly for you now that you’re away from that pit of vipers, both your in-laws and that toxic “church.”

      • Thanks BetterDays,

        I know I shouldn’t let this shit get to me but in recent weeks It has and I am now struggling with it. my ex as I said has gone overseas, he is away for a month before he went he told my kids that for his weekends they would be staying with the elders of that church, when the kids told me I put a stop to it by means of a letter from my solicitor, this too is a mark against me in his book. He should be allowed to have anyone he wants come and pick up our kids and keep them on his weekends. People who know me and know the situation are “is he for real?” but people that back him are like “who does this bitch think she is?” I am not kidding you cannot make this shit up.

        but if you talk to him, he is the victim and i am the abuser, I want nothing to do with him, I divorced him, I put into motion the separation of our assets, but I am the abuser. because he is so nice and I am not.

        • Thankful, as Tracy says kind and nice are not the same thing. Give yourself credit for surviving a years long gaslighting job by your ex and his extended family.

          When you have children together, it’s the hardest thing to transition from having a joint foundation of truths to realizing his were all lies and having to fashion your own. With time and effort and distance, it gets better. It would help you to write down every absurd projection your ex and his flying monkeys ever threw at you. This is untangling your skein, not his. Read and re-read them till they become a hilarious made up language. Respond to each right below in red pen if you have to. Exercises like this will make you stronger.

          I had that same problem with my daughter’s dad passing her off to relatives and OW to watch when she was only a year old! Some shared custody. I had no money at all; my lawyer was a domestic violence pro bono deal way back in 2006. That law student who did my actual custody agreement was able to get fuckwit to agree to a clause that whenever he was unable to personally be with his daughter during his weekends, he must notify me who is watching her and if I do not agree I have the right to rescind and keep her with me. Is your agreement final yet? It’s a called right of refusal.

          Since there were many days where the simple fact of being a parent stopped me from offing myself, I look for inspiration in places high and low. Pop songs, quotes, spiritual places anything. I life my best life, and the Cheater is increasingly irrelevant.

          Here are bits that help me deal with ex being ridiculous and keeping my cool-

          I have a 4 second video of Prince looking disgusted. It makes me laugh every time.

          “What’s colder than cold? Ice Cold.” – Outkast, Hey Ya

          And last, I know Beyonce is not a favorite here, but I consider her a chump in Unicorn Denial.

          “Always stay gracious, your best revenge is your paper.”

          Money. She means money. In my house that means trips to Jamaica. Hahahaha!

          • yes parenting is final, it took two years from d’day to get to it, once at court it took 8 hours of negotiation and you could drive a truck through it. So depending on what shit he pulls when he returns form his honeymoon I will then have to consider what I do, he managed to add and additional 10K to my legal bills in the first round by just refusing to respond to any correspondence and or when he did respond, acting like he didn’t know what was going on and needing to have it explained again. but each time we went to court the new chump came with him and he was all “i just want my kids, why do I have to negotiate with the terrorist? its all about her?”. He never told out kids we were separated? or why? he never told our kids their sister had cancer nor did he comfort them the day we found out. he went no where near them for days. but oh get the new chump and fuck he morphed into super dad. prick could never put our kids or me first, at was and still is all about him, now it is all about him and her…….. even her kids have taken a back seat to him.

    • So many similarities to my story. I believe ex is closeted bisexual, and he has made skank OW permanent, though not married (yet). Also like yours, he hasn’t so much made a new life, as reenacting our life together, just switching me out for her, yet still trying to triangulate me and play puppet master in life. I, too am looking for Tuesday or Thursday to hurry up.

      • Expat,
        it is exactly that the he wants both lives but instead of going and creating a new life that would accomodate both parts of him he needs to maintain the facade he has spent 20 years making. he has just swopped me for her, people have commented to me that at their wedding it was as if I of her ex had never existed. The creepy thing for me was having someone think it would be funny to show me some of the photos that ex has posted on FB from his trip to Paris, and I shit you not they are an exact copy of the photos he took of himself on our honeymoon in Tasmania 20 years ago.

      • ExPat… Mine too. Mr. Sparkles likes to look at Trans-sexuals for Men personal ads at a higher ratio than Women for Men ads. And, he also post personal ads looking for women/couples/groups. And, I found one email where he self-identified as a Bi MWM looking for a couple.

        But, when confronted with ALL of this truth, he adamantly denied it saying “I knew you were watching my online activity so I did it on purpose.”

        UM… who uses a picture of themself from their son’s baptism day to respond to a personal ad as a Bi MWM… and signs with his real name… if he’s just doing it to piss me off?

        What if someone he knew (he works in the public daily at a car dealership!) saw it… what then?

        I think they (Narcs/Cluster B peeps) get to a point with their own lies that they are basically sexually agnostic and will take whatever they can get.

        So very sad.

  • Bravo Luziana! You are an inspiration for all of us chumps in our journey to meh.
    Thankful, are you able to remove yourself & your children away from the chaos so it’s not in your face everyday?

    • I wish the asshole had it put in our parenting that I am not permitted to move any further than 10 kilometres form the children current school. he gets his visitation without incident but then demands extra like expecting to get a portion of my half of the last school holidays, when it was denied he then went to the school stating he was going overseas and that he wanted to say goodbye to his children but had “requested access but it had been denied” the prick had not told me he was leaving the country nor did he ask for time with the kids to say goodbye, but the school was not told that and in his head he did not lie. The school gave him visitation and when I questioned why I was told that our parenting didn’t state he could not access them at the school. this is now being dealt with by the school bored. which served up another shit sandwich as I believed the board to be impartial only to be approached yesterday to be told the chairman has stood down and the replacement is someone who is friends with the ex husbands new wife and attended their wedding so I am now waiting to see how it will be handled…………. soooooooo far from Meh right now.

      • Thankful,
        I’m sorry he is being a douche but, what else would he be. Is it possible to go back to your lawyer & revise the parenting so he cannot access the children at the school? Can you change schools to get away from the new board member?

        • these are all the heavy long term questions that now weigh no me, and how much more trauma do my kids need to endure, for me to be free of him and this whole fucked up scenario. For me to be free to start fresh would mean our kids having to move away from their friends. for my youngest that would be the kids that helped her and shared all they had with her at her darkest hours, Shit it makes me cry just thinking about it. but ex will never get the damage he has done and still does by his behaviour as he has never accepted responsibility for his cheating, it was the infliction of a religious spirit, how that came about??????? well that answer varies depending on who he is talking too.

          • If it is at all financially feasible, deal with the school board through the toughest, scariest lawyer you can find. I once watch a local magistrate fold a drug paraphernalia case before anyone could sit down in court because he knew they wouldn’t get away with the nonsense the local police had been pulling. School boards hate conflict. No matter who is running the board, there are other people who don’t want the political fallout of a giant legal hassle. So let the lawyer start writing tough letters and put the pressure on. If you have a parent organization, consider mobilizing it. Think about filing a lawsuit, or threatening to, if that is possible where you are.

            And it’s a very real issue that NO ONE should be able to come into any school and “visit” children without permission of the custodial parent or guardian. You are of course not in the US (kilometers gives that away) so your school may not be as vigilant as US schools have become after 9/11 and far too many school shooter incidents. Try not to make it about your X; make it about the safety of all children. Make is a policy issue for the school, not a personal case about mother vs. father.

            I’ve read your posts here for a long while. You know he and his nest of crazy religious enablers won’t change. You have been mighty! Make sure you are taking good care of you.

            • Thanks LJ,

              no not in the US am in Australia, the school has many split families and this is a the school should remain neutral issue not a him v me issue. the school has been great up till this point, but they got a new principal who knows nothing of what happened two years ago and the implications it had for my now 17 yr old son and the secondary head who has handled the concerns till now was on leave, the person acting in his place is friends with my ex through his marriage to the new chump. so with his new found connections ex thought he could just stick it up me by negating having to make plans with me while cementing the idea at the school that he is the hard done by sad sausage.

              I am trying to look after myself but am also studying counselling I have 6 months till placement, this term was trauma & crisis and psychological development, which highlighted previous unresolved FOO issues so, combined with my ex and being a mum to three amazing kids I just hit the wall and have oscillated between tears and anger when on my own. forget the empty, I have found myself yelling at an empty room quite a bit.

              • You are one strong cookie. Hang in there. It’s so tough to do anything when those FOO issues are roaring to the top of the “to deal with” list. Your ex sounds like a lunatic, to put it mildly.

  • Thanks for this. My fuckwit fucked a Buddhist and for a long time the concept of radical acceptance triggered me. I hate to think a helpful philosophy was twisted to selfishness by these assholes but I reflect that Buddhism isn’t “hers” any more than the concept of integrity was and embraced the concepts for my healing. I radically accept the disordered will use any concept to further their disorders.

    • The cosmos resonates with this, “…the disordered will use any concept to further their disorders”. TRUTH.

      • I also belong to the unfortunate crowd triggered by resources that could be helpful to chumps, because the cheater used them to justify her affair.

        My “2012 Silver Chevy Malibu” includes Radical Acceptance by Tara Birch and books by Pema Chodron, because my cheater, when going through the drama of a double life, having an affair with a fellow narcissist, read those books to alleviate her own suffering due to the AP never proposing marriage. So, for now, I am not interested in reading those types of books since all they do is remind me of her.

    • Three of the five precepts in Buddhism are to refrain from sexual misconduct, stealing, and false speech. Cheaters, by definition, violate these three whether they self identify as Buddhist or not. Tara Brach is wonderful as is her book True Refuge.

    • OW LOVE to wear religion and spirituality like a disguise. Also they are looking for mercy upon their tortured souls, and desperately seeking order for their addled minds. Ignore their verbal vomit and their social media splashed with Dalai Lama memes.

      They wouldn’t know peace if it bit them in the ass. They and their cheaters are disgusting. They suck. Trust.

      • Same with the OW in my life. The hypocrisy is unbelievable. And out of the mutual friends, it was the ultra religious ones that took his side, treated me with cruelty, it was mind boggling.

        • OM and MM can really be totally as bad about this. My husband used to call these guys the “let me feel your aura” guys.

    • Everything about where I was living and the people I was hanging around with triggered me for a while. I’ve finally managed to completely shake it by moving. Where I was before was an ultra-liberal bubble community, and all ex had to do to gain people’s sympathy for his cheating was “come out” as polyamorous. Two people told me to my face that while it was sad I was hurting, ex finally just had to be himself and I shouldn’t have tried to “own him.” Talk about rubbing an open wound with salt and lemon juice. They had no idea what I’d been through in the marriage and had no interest in knowing because ex was “finding himself.” He was poly, I was monogamous, no harm, no foul. No sympathy for my kids, either. If adults are happy, they said, the children are happy, too.

      Now I’m in a community much more like the one I grew up in, and much more like other ones I’ve lived in. It’s like rejoining the normal world.

      • Congrats to you Linden !!
        And thank you for sharing…. to know I am not alone in feeling this way and about a place, means a lot. I think I always knew that I would have to move away for my sanity and well being. After 3 years these people STILL get in my face, attempt to grill me about my life and what my kids are doing, and it’s always in a place where I’m cornered and can’t get away. One of them recently gave me an up to date, scarily accurate Schedule of what I have been up to, supposedly told to them by my XH who none of us have seen or spoken to in those 3years. I, on the other hand, have NO idea or interest in what he’s up to.

        My house is going to up for sale in 2 weeks, and I have finally decided on what state I want to move to. We will be thousands of miles away from all of them. Can’t wait !

      • Yep . . . I highly recommend moving if one can do it. I moved over 1,000 miles away to a place I didn’t know. Everything was unfamiliar, but I needed that. Just finding a store across town was an adventure. And there was nothing to remind me of ass nugget.

        I watched my home state get buried in snow last winter and I sat outside under palm trees. #funwithdivorce

        • Sounds wonderful Rumblekitty ! And it sounds like you moved to a much better place.

          Gives me more strength, I can’t wait to discover, and never have to be reminded again.

  • Lovely post. It warmed my heart. Im three years out and still hurt but getting better all the time as we say here hurricanes be damned. I survived many. I survived the fuckwit tornado. Love that term. Im a chump lookout cheaters and the pieces of shit they cheated with hear us roar!!!! Fuckers.

  • What a beautifully written post, Luziana. I’ve been trying my best since I moved out to not gloss over the suffering and pain, but to feel it and accept it for what it is. Thank you for the reminder!

  • I bookmarked this because no doubt 6 months from now I will want to recommend it to someone who isn’t here now. Luziana, you are a wonderful writer. The biggest thing I learned from being chumped is the importance of suffering. My therapist, early on, said that my tendency to soldier on through hard times and painful events as if nothing had happened had allowed losses and painful experiences in my life to go unmourned and unprocessed. So DDay brought not only the horrific pain of infidelity but also the emotional impact of my mother’s decline and death from dementia. living with an addict, the end of a marriage, and the loss of a close friend. I went through those experiences doing the right things for others, keeping on with my obligations, but numb. DDay broke all that open and once I began to feel again, I thought the pain would never end. But I learned to suffer. And then I learned to feel joy–because without the ability to suffer, you can’t feel joy.

    • “My therapist, early on, said that my tendency to soldier on through hard times and painful events as if nothing had happened had allowed losses and painful experiences in my life to go unmourned and unprocessed.”

      This. For the past year, I’ve been processing how long I was soldiering on through the many losses within my marriage, as well as the big one after the final D-Day. I’m having a rough day today. That switch flipped on me again; I’ve been in an anger stage for three months, but now all of a sudden I’m in deep grief. A house I thought I would buy fell through and here I am, stuck in the mess that’s my life, waiting for the divorce to slowly make its way through the system so I have some idea of what my finances are going to be. Meanwhile, I suspect The Entitled One has a girlfriend rather than the array of vagina options he’s been pursuing ever since he left. I’m not in love with him anymore, but somehow I’m still devastated. And dreading the day when his new chump will be part of my kids’ lives. My house is a mess, my office is buried in piles of stuff, and I don’t have the energy for anything but the most essential tasks. I wonder if I’m mourning and processing, or just sinking.

      • “I wonder if I’m mourning and processing, or just sinking.”

        Well said, and same here, though I wish I could say that I’m not still in love with her. I’m wresting with if it’s her I love or the relationship I thought we had. Or the one we really did have until we didn’t.

        I’ve been emotionally stuck on something before; my chronic major depression makes things even worse. I’m scared that I’ll never quit replaying this junk in my head. I don’t want to be stuck with this pain for the next decade +.

        • WWDSG – I’ve often read that after the Narc/Cluster B is gone… and you still feel love, remember: Your love was real… but you were IN LOVE with a lie. Look up Cognitive Dissonance… reading up on that has helped me put the “love and longing” in it’s proper place.

        • Maybe you are grieving the fact that you loved so deeply and it is unimaginable that if the situation would have been reversed, you would ever fake or manipulate that kind of true love, so you somehow keep hoping that there is a value in her act of love. Please celebrate your capacity to love so deeply and look at the horizon, not at your wedding pictures.

        • Shari Schreiber has interesting articles for men who are in love with BPD/NPD women. Perhaps not for all tastes, but I found her articles enlightening.

          • Thanks, Buddy, I’ll do some research.

            I struggle with the labeling. I have no idea if my ex is BPD/NPD. I do know for sure that she gets antsy with relationships, jobs, houses, etc after 3-4 years. She’s kept her son through 2 divorces and our domestic partnership, and she didn’t leave without her belongings. The only thing she really dropped completely was me and my family, people she claimed to love. The last time I saw her, a week after she left, she was someone I didn’t recognize and had never really seen before. I get hung up on the labeling – I struggle with accepting that at the least she was callous and indifferent, at least towards me.

      • BetterDays, I’m right beside you today. Today would have been my 25th wedding anniversary, and I’m mourning, processing, and slogging my way across the swamp of the disordered. Tomorrow, Thursday, will be a better day. Thank goodness Thursdays come around every week. I lift you in my thoughts and prayers today.

      • Your therapist sounds amazing BetterDays…what a profound statement. So much good advice here today!

        You are not sinking…you are processing…I went through the same thing during the divorce days. I would find a house and prepare to put mine on the market so I could move out of the hell I was living in and satan would toss another wrench into the works…ugh! The money that evil asshole wasted – just on the divorce – makes me cringe everytime I think about it… The agony of waiting and not knowing how my finances would end up compounded the time I wasted giving him mental real estate. I think it just goes with the situation. In the end, I don’t think it was time wasted anymore, rather time acclimating myself to my new reality and setting with the fears until I could put them away. The circular thinking, aka crazy making or skein, paralyzed me for a long, long time…until I realized it was really useless and only hurting me. Time and distance and no contact have been perfect prescription for my ills and I am sure these things will work for you too. Grief is a funny thing…it hangs around and keeps beating up on one until finally acknowledged and felt completely… I don’t think we can ever really understand why we need it but I think we do.

        I know you got this and you know we got your back whenever you need us 🙂 In the end we win BetterDays cause we are free of their disordered actions and behaviors and we grow even more in the world that we make our own, safe to choose how we live in it and who lives in it with us.

        Hugs to you BetterDays 🙂

      • Better days. I have struggled with getting things done too – too occupied with the trauma.

        My advice is to turn in part to fitness. Exercise daily and spend time outside daily. Add some nutritious foods to your meals. Go to bed early and get plenty of sleep. As your fitness improves I think that momentum makes it easier to do housework and pay bills and gain momentum there too.

        It takes a while. Be patient. Try to invest in yourself not in those who hurt you.

        • I have a very hard time going to bed on time and stop drinking. I absolutely know I should be strenghten myself to be able to keep on being the warrior for my boys and to do my 2 jobs, but it’s hard. I get up at 6 and am busy with work and the kids until 21. Then I have time to sort out the mess in my head, take a glas of wine and try to relax or talk to a friend and I end up in bed around midnight. 6 hours later the alarm goes off. I sleep approximately 5,5 hours, which is too little, but feel too anxious to go to sleep, my heart is pouding and my brain is racing. I know I should sleep more and not drink, but feel like I am too stressed out to sleep. I kicked the cheater out, but feel like I can not relax yet. Anyone recognizes this? Suggestions?

          • Grace…I have to have a glass of wine or sometimes 2 to be able to sleep. I found some information the other night about weighed blankets – like a quilt – helps us sleep. I can attest to it! It works! Give it a try, it can’t hurt.

            Hugs to you!!! 🙂

          • Grace, I struggled HARD with insomnia. I tried to drink, I tried exercise, I tried medication. Most of all I was fucking haunted by the travesty of it all. That I had done nothing wrong and was sleeping alone.

            What worked for me, and it’s very weird, was the fact that HLN runs episodes of Forensic Files all night long. I would sleep on the couch subconsciously absorbing murderers meeting the Karma Dozer. It was oddly comforting.

            I also bought the coziest, least to my ex’s taste bedding set and approximately 97 pillows. I gave up my crime fighting tv crutch eventually. I let all the formerly forbidden pets on the bed.

            I look forward to going to bed now!

            • I still have the insomnia issue. When my mom was in a dementia facility, the phone often rang in the middle of the night with some medical problem. Then, when my sleep patterns started to get better after she died, a close friend died suddenly and I had trouble even going into the bedroom. I never really got back on track after that and then Jackass did his bit to murder sleep (as Macbeth would say). But my TV drug of choice is any flavor of “Law and Order.” Second choice, “Blue Bloods.” But love Forensic Files, too. I think it definitely is the Karma Dozer aspect of crime shows, fictional or real.

            • I love Forensic Files! When I was going through the divorce, I went on a jag of watching British mystery shows: Poirot, Miss Marple, etc. There’s something really satisfying about how they all wrap up at the end, and the bad guys always get caught.

          • Grace,

            I understand completely. I too have trouble sleeping, drink more than I like, and sometimes eat late at night too.

            I realize the only reason I’m eating that late is to distract and numb myself from the pain.

            I am sleeping pretty well now, but for a while I, like LaJ, did have good luck with sleeping with the TV on, which probably goes against conventional wisdom. I would either put on a dumb movie or a religious channel. I’m not religious, but for some reason, listening to Joyce Meyer at 2am put me to sleep. Plus her messages always seemed to apply to me – I felt Joyce was saying “get off your butt and solve your problems get that cheater out of your life!”

            You can google sleep routines and get some good ideas: have a sleep routine and stick to it; no electronics in the bedroom, complete dark, no iphone, don’t eat before bed, don’t drink too much water right before bed, etc.

            But let’s face it – the way to get back to good sleep and less drink is to heal from the affair, to heal from the marriage, to rebuild your life. But it is a chicken/egg thing: you need to take action and get sleep in order to heal, and you need to heal in order to take action and sleep.

            I too have 2 kids and work 10 hours a day while watching the kids. After finally getting the munchkins into be by 9, I think I’m going to have time to pay bills, clean, work on my career, work on some outstanding legal stuff, etc, but I AM F’ING EXHAUSTED. DRAINED. So I drink wine, watch sports, cruise the internet and even sometimes play my son’s playstation. Lame for an old dude but damn, my mind is simply fried. Working and watching kids and cleaning and cooking and managing debt collectors and wondering if your going to be able to have groceries at the end of the month sucks. No wonder I have trouble sleeping.

            Anyhow, sorry about the rant, but as I said above, I have been exercising almost everyday at lunch and that has made me feel so much better. I’m sore all the time, but getting stronger. I walk, run and bike. I do a lot of hill work. Sometimes it hurts and sucks but this time I’ve stuck with it and now its much more fun.

            Sometimes when I exercise, my mind does try to analyze crap (untangle the skein), tries to understand how i fucked up, then tries to rationalize that I didn’t fuck up, she did, etc, and I have to stop that mind cycle and get back to the task at hand. So I think exercise can be hard if it makes your mind think about the affair and the trauma, and if so, try to choose an exercise that makes you focus on the task at hand, like biking or swimming or sports as opposed to jogging and walking.

            Overall, with PTSD, thinking/analyzing is a distracting indulgent crazy-making endless exercise in futility . Action is where its at. Action, faith, courage, self-compassion, and more action.

          • Thanks all of you for the suggestions, but most of all for the recognition. Your description Buddy is so vivid and so similar, it makes me cry. I am proud of handling everything while being a real good parent for the kids, but I am also so so tired. I also did not fuck up, he did. I am in pain and I need to cry. Do not have much time to do so, in half an hour I have to be in the car for an interview for job nr 3, but I think this is a good way to spend the time in between. Just have to get my make up straight in a minute (-:
            I will take up the suggestion of the quilt and of exercise during lunchtime (morning is kids and at night I am wrecked, so I don’t exercise at all now).

            • You got this girl 🙂 You will make it! I know it took a long time for me too. We are all in this with you 🙂 We got your back!

              • Tnx a million JeepTess. Next wednesday is the (god I hope) signing of the Divorce papers at the lawyers, after that, I have in writing that the boys are mostly with me (eventhough the oldest is my stephson, he is angry at the situation but glad that he can live with me and his brother), the house is mine, as are the mortgage payments on the house. He takes one car (the 2-seeter, very handy with kids) and the coffeemachine, a man needs to have good coffee, and off he is. Thank goodness that flea found a new place to land on..

              • You are welcome 🙂 I got the house and the mortgage too Grace. Kids are older than me now so…no kids but… I sold the house, paid off the mortgage and moved far away from satan and his hell. Best thing I ever did with that mess 🙂

                Yes thank goodness they find other places to land 🙂 We get to go have an awesome life without their crap!

      • BetterDays, there’s a reason that the people in the 19th century US and England did a year of mourning. It wasn’t some sort of social punishment to prevent the bereaved from having a good time’ it’s that mourning impacts the whole body. You don’t just have a divorce, you have divorce + infidelity + court + traumatized kids + money worries. I’m no shrink, but going on my experience, if you’re feeling, you’re OK. It’s the big numbness or “I’m OK” facade that would be worrisome. Here are some practical things that might help:
        1. When you’ve been feeling that chest-crushing sadness, breathe through it for awhile and when you want to come out of it say out loud, “I’m grieving my loss of ___________. And ______________. And ____________.” That will remind you that you aren’t permanently in a sinkhole of misery.
        2. If you can, walk outside for at least 1/2 an hour a day. Steady exercise really, really helps lift the mood.
        3. If you’ve got house mess, try the blog “Unfuck Your Habitat.” The blogger has a great system for getting up and working on cleaning up called 20/10. You are only allowed to clean 20 minutes and then you break for 10. Then do another 20 or go get ice cream. I still have a messy basement office and once I am back from this road trip will 20/10 or 45/15 it until I get it into shape. She also has a presence on Tumblr. She also makes the point that when other things are going on in your life, you have to be kind to yourself.
        http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/ufyh-fundamentals/
        4. Do one really nice thing for yourself every day. Eat clean. Go to yoga. Do meditation. Listen to your special playlist. Watch your favorite movie every day. When I was writing my dissertation, I want to the dollar theater (back in the day, this was) and watched “While You Were Sleeping” every day for a month.
        5. Be grateful. I kept a gratitude journal for a year, writing down things I am grateful for. It’s so second nature now, I find myself noticing things all through the day that I’m grateful for. That kept me grounded through the grief.
        6. Notice your emotions. Notice when you feel happy or afraid or anxious or excited. You’ll notice that even grief isn’t all-encompassing. Emotions come and go. And when we feel overwhelmed by them, we can be sure that they will recede and be replaced by a different emotion.

        Just some thoughts. And if you think about it, you may already know things that work for her.

        • Great list to print out. Here’s something to add (citation at the end)

          “Gradually, as the betrayed hands responsibility for behavior back to the person it belongs to, they start having compassion for themselves. The above statements shift into statements that look more like this:
          “I’m not an idiot for trusting my spouse. I have no control over whether they choose to be truthful. All I can do is trust myself to listen to my intuition.
          If my spouse chooses to lie, that is a reflection of them, not of me.”
          “I won’t beat myself up anymore. I did not “let” this happen. If I had a choice in the matter, it wouldn’t have happened.”
          “If my spouse does not appreciate me for my strengths and weaknesses, I guess they really don’t deserve to be with me.
          I am not perfect, and I am okay with that.”
          “My spouses infidelity is not a reflection of my inadequacy, but a reflection of theirs.”
          “I did feel something was not right. Not knowing what that something was, does not make me a moron. It means that I am “not” crazy or delusional, my intuition was right on. I was completely in touch with my spouse. They were the one hiding and deceiving, and that I have no control over.”

          For the majority of betrayed spouses, this shift takes about 1 to 2 years if they are putting in the hard work of healing.

          Read more at: http://www.healingafteraffairs-bloomington.info/infidelity/trauma-of-infidelity.html
          Copyright © http://www.healingafteraffiars-bloomington.info

        • Excellent Advice …

          But I think if I were to watch one movie every day for a month, it would have to be Groundhog Day!

          I’ll check out ufyh.

          I have noticed that when I keep the house clean, keep the bills paid on time, and exercise, I feel much better – it does make a difference.

          And the kids are happier too when the house is clean.

    • “But I learned to suffer. And then I learned to feel joy – because without the ability to suffer, you can’t feel joy.”

      This, and me, too. Beautifully put, LAJ! One of the things I’ve written on here multiple times is that even still, now knowing the excruciating pain, PTSD symptoms, and mental and physical suffering that my DDay and knowing the truth brought into my life, I would actively choose to walk that same walk 10x over just to be free of that cheating, lying douchebag. At least I know that I’d have a chance at real love later.

  • Beautiful, poetic, and true. For myself, I realize each day that myself and my child really were the loving family unit all along. “Fuckwit Tornado” has moved on and only removed himself and his lies and his damage. My son and I are still here, still lovingly a family, and enjoying a life with far less burden then before. Less money too, true. But more than enough love and connections to make life a beautiful experience to be cherished. Love to all my chump friends here and everywhere.

    • Yes Dixie Chump. My son and I are still a loving family also. Whole. And happy. I was fortunate that I made more money than the cheater but i am still dealing with all our debt since he is a complete loser and doesn’t want to pay his share of that. I have to wait until this coming Oct. for my day in court…over 2 years since Dday. On my nerves. But in the meantime, I find joy in the every day things.

  • A very heartfelt read. The imagery, the car, inventing crimes to justify cruelty. I saw it like a narrative movie. We really do all go through the same things don’t we?

    The car especially got to me. I still flinch when I see a black Suzuki SX4.

    • I can’t seem to stop looking at the license plate of every grey Toyota Corolla I pass. Twice now it’s been her; the first time she was in the car and my body immediately went into panic mode. The second time, last Wednesday, it was just parked in a part of town I didn’t expect to see her in – in a metropolitan area of well over a million people, there it was. I’ve been pretty obsessed for the last week, replaying everything over and over again in my head. I hate that this is still happening.

      • I hate that this still has an effect on me too. I feel a rush when I think it’s her but so far it hasn’t been. Probably due the fact that I’ve been on No Contact for a year now but I do think about what I want to say to her.. I think in reality though if I did bump into her I would just ignore her. She’s dead to me.

        • I quit going to my previous therapist because when I said I’d simply ignore the ex or turn around and walk away, the therapist said that at this point she hoped I’d be comfortable enough to speak to the ex and make amends for my part in the end of the relationship. I can feel shitty without professional assistance, thank you very much.

          • Good call quitting that the-rapist. That is the shared responsibility lie that Divorce Minister talks about. He or she (the therapist) is basically telling you that you had a hand in your own abuse, that you somehow caused this person to hurt you. The only thing that makes them professionals is that people pay them for this type of bad advice. Otherwise they’re just quacks.

            I’m not sure how these people can peddle this type of non-logic. I guess critical thinking is not required. This stuff would never fly in a court of law. Could it be some remnant of the old Freudian psychology? Maybe Tempest can chime in here.

            • Just to be clear, I think Tempest is one of the few good psychologists out there and not one of the nonsensical quacks!

              And WWDSG, sorry you got further abused by your therapist.

          • My therapist says that the cheater is 100% responsible for the end of the relationship WWDSG. Glad you moved on.

  • Beautifully written truth. Reminded me of the classic Philippians passage:

    “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (4:12-13, NIV).

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Luziana. I love “Fuckwit Tornado”. I am sure this will resonate with many chumps. When Thankful Thursday comes, Tuesday is only days away.

  • Luziana, thanks for writing this. I looked up “https://www.tarabrach.com/articles-interviews/trauma/” and found the information about storing pain in the body until our emotions can process the pain of what’s happened very helpful.

  • Wow. This is an amazing post. And honestly, for me personally, it’s a sign, a Godwink, that I need to pay attention to my own suffering. I have had a “meantime” of sorts. I have spent the last 9 months living with my sister and her family. They cared for me. I rarely had to lift a finger. I was allowed, permitted, to be still; to just be.

    And the other day someone mentioned the book “The Dark Night of the Soul” and lo and behold, this morning the devotion I get via email is using that book to talk about suffering and our relationship with God. We are meant to feel suffering and find joy anyway. It’s hard to do, in practice. And now this. It really spoke to me. Thank you Luziana. It’s true that God uses the broken to send His message. The broken, those who suffer, those of us in pain. It’s through our brokenness that He can be seen. I love knowing that I am so loved with all my messes and flaws and scars. I believe God wants me to know that not in spite of these things, but because of them, I am worthy of love. The same love that I am so capable of giving. I am enough! You are enough!

    Hugs Luziana. And God bless.

    (I was gonna post an “I’m sorry” at the end of this because I know not everyone is a believer…but I’m not sorry. Not even a little bit.)

    • conniered, I’m glad you found comfort in your faith. I do think that suffering opens the door to deeper faith, and have tried to seek the meaning in the crushing pain I felt when everyone in my family left at the same time. (My ex unexpectedly walked out just as my children got married and moved away. In fact, he gave a lovely speech at the wedding a few months before about the tradition of long marriages in our family, which looking back was truly bizarre.) Anyway, being left completely alone was brutal, and made me wonder what in the world I had done to deserve such a fate. I rattled around our big old house and felt like I was living in a tomb, like I was living with ghosts where my family used to be. However, I often tell people it took being thrown away like so much trash to discover my own worth. That’s when I finally started to give the love I was looking for in other people to myself. That’s when I realized God is the only one we can really depend on.

      • I know that I am grateful that I had my son with me so I could give the love that was stuck and overflowing in my heart. I can’t imagine being left completely alone. It was already a terrifying experience to be discarded so abruptly and completely.

        I do know what you say is true, no one will love me/us like God. However, He does put people in our lives to help us and love us. Look what he has given us….Chump Lady and Chump Nation! I never would have known to pray for this when it all went down. What a blessing! I was given what I needed at the time I needed it. God shows me who He is. He shows me where HE is because I seek Him out even in the little things. He’s there waiting to shower us with a beautiful and complete love.

        • Conniered-I feel the same as you….my son was worth all of the suffering I went through/am going through. I remember finding this quote sometime after DDay and it really stuck with me and helped me push forward because of my son & how much I love him. I had hoped and prayed my whole life for a little boy & god did answer my prayer…………

          “I believe that god sent you into my life to give me something to fight for, to show me that there is love in this world, to give me hope and bring me joy, all the proof in god that I need is in you, you are a gift from the heavens”

          Every night at bedtime I tell my son that I love him more than anything and that he is my favorite person. I tell him that he & I are a great team and that we will have many great adventures together. I am not the most religious person out there but I do believe in God & I know after everything I went through to even have my son that miracles do happen & that he is my miracle. We are going to make it through all of destruction stbx created and prosper. I thank god and all the amazing support that CL & CN has provided. I’m 2 1/2 years out from DDay & almost finished with the divorce and approaching meh. My Tuesday is close!!!!!
          That’s my second miracle!!

          • This really resonated with me. My STBX left just two years after adopting our very long awaited child from China. She is the miracle and blessing of my life and the thing that gets me out of bed each morning to fight through this disaster. I am going to emerge triumphant for her and because of her.

    • As long as we’re recommending books, I’d like to put in a plug for “Overcoming Life’s Disappointments,” by Harold Kushner.

  • I relate the suffering to the children’s book “We’re going on a bear hunt.” With respect to the obstacles faced in the book, “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it.”

    To balance my quote from children’s literature, Nietzsche said this about suffering, “What really raises one’s indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering.”

    We chumps (and children) have to go through the indignation of the senseless suffering caused by another’s pursuit of penile pleasures. What a waste!

    And by strange coincidence (or maybe not so strange), I have long called my ex a tornado for the path of destruction that he left behind without any awareness or acknowledgement.

    • Blessing, when I found myself struggling with the ‘why?’s and the ‘how could he?’s and the meaninglessness and pointlessness of it all, I would remind myself; my family got hit by a tornado. There is no logic, no purpose, even no personal malice involved; a tornado is what it is, it does what it does. And after a tornado, we are grateful to have everyone alive, and we accept that our lives are changed in many ways, and we will be struggling for a while.

      My ex was a tornado, highly destructive and uncaring, and I do blame myself for not realizing that earlier. Now I will be far more aware of the risks and the warning signs. My kids and I now live somewhere safer.

      • I think we tend to beat ourselves up for hanging on for “too long”, but when you start to look at it as you were doing what was right and expected in a committed relationship while your partner was doing everything possible to deceive you, it becomes easier to forgive yourself. Loving and compassionate people are not quick to give up — we want things to work and we do everything possible to do so. The hard part is working through the emotions until you finally can see things clearly and learn from the experience so it doesn’t happen again. That’s when you truly become free – when nothing about it triggers an emotional response. It becomes something that happened in the past and you leave it there for good.

  • ” Do we have food? Is there gas in the car? Oh, look! A car, we have one. Did I complete as much work as I needed today? Was I an asset to my employer? Did I not mute myself to cry during a conference call? Wonders, the Baby made toast by himself, he’s five and he made himself a meal!”

    This is exactly where I am right now! I can’t worry about what might have been or what will be. Today we are healthy and I have a job. I will pay the bills this month and we will treat ourselves to one movie picked by the kid and one meal out. Life is good.

  • Luziana,

    Your post really spoke to me. I am one year out of the last d-day and still in pain, but growing stronger every day. My son is grown and out of the house so I am home alone, although I have many wonderful friends. My house sings with my freedom because I spent many years being gaslighted and verbally abused and told that I was nothing. Sometimes I just put on music and dance around MY house! But I am still very sad. Last night, while playing scrabble on my ipad against the computer, as I was sobbing and indulging myself in self pity, the computer played the word “meh”. I choose to take it as a sign that I need to be working harder to get there. My stbx disappeared almost exactly a year ago and, except for one drunken phone call, I have not heard from him again. (He wouldn’t even come into the room for the meeting with the attorneys.) He gave everything up in the divorce (and saddled me with 100% of the debt). He didn’t even come for his clothes, which I donated. All this adds up to the message he gave me clearly while he was still home- that I am nothing and I am invisible. That’s the total mindfuck I need to get over- that the chaos that was him will continue and the OW now has to deal with the fuckwit tornado (great words!) that destroyed my security, my family. I also need to get over the deep sadness and regret that I feel that I could not protect my son against his father. I should have ended this nonsense years ago, but I kept taking him back. Next week, I am going to visit a childhood friend in California. It is the third time I planned this trip. The last two times, my stbx came home and I canceled the trip. So now, this trip, it’s my freedom song, sad but strong. I am going. He is not coming back. Ever. I deserve so much more and I intend to get it. Stay strong!!! An amazing lyrical post! Like you, I was true. (As ChumpLady says) I was real. The love I felt was real. I just gave it to the wrong person.

  • As for suffering, I have done plenty while he was out playing with the OW. That study conducted by London College and Binghamton University is exactly about this. Women who go through traumatic break ups fare better and end up happier because they experience personal growth through their suffering, and because they look for a higher value mate following the break up (translated as: no more dirtbags) Men do not fare as well as they have more long term post relationship grief, even the cheaters. The OW don’t do as well either because they end up with the cheating pos. This is scientific confirmation that I (we) have not suffered in vain. I often say that I have walked through fire and I know that we all have. Here’s to us!!!

  • “But here is the fatal flaw that fixers like us cannot initially grasp. You can’t fix what you didn’t break. You can only heal you. I won’t say fix. It implies you begged the Storm on. I don’t believe you did. I believe you were ravaged by a Fuckwit Tornado and lived to tell the tale.”

    CL, you have no idea how I needed to read this this morning! I am finally, 5 yrs out, getting to the place I thought never would be possible.

    Thank you for being in my life!

  • You can’t fix what you didn’t break.”

    A truth that took me years to learn. Beautiful post.

  • “You can’t fix what you didn’t break.” That will ring true in our heads when we go no contact, because these double-decker blame shifters always point their fingers in the opposite direction of themselves!

    Great post, btw, loved it!

  • Thanks for the beautiful post, Luz 🙂 I’m not triggered by Asshat these days but I still have to fight the urge to dial 9-1-1 when I see an old white Cherokee near me. As soon as I hear definitively where Florence has gone (chain gang in northern Alaska?), I think I will be good.

  • How beautifully written. How heart wrenching. But you are right. An average Thursday is okay. Sometimes just putting food on the table and gas in the car is as divine as it will be for that day, but yes, you have a car.

    Even through the throws of heart break and shattered worlds, we do need to realize how fortunate we are. No, my partner is not here to grow old with me and maybe that is okay, just find some peace in today.

  • Thank you Luziana 🙂

    I identify with everything you have written here today. My childhood was a nightmare that I fled as soon as I was old enough to get away. …and I often wondered what could have happened to satan to make him such an awful monster…but now I just concentrate on me and making my new life awesome. I realize I can’t fix or help him and I no longer care to.

    Your post is so well written and powerfully validating! Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Beautiful post, Luziana. You’re a powerful writer. I’m definitely going to check out that book.

  • Great post.
    Only addition I’d make — is that the Fuckwit Tornado often hits without warning. No weather channel advisory – no time to pack your bags and seek shelter, no chance to hunker down or get to safety.
    So you’re left asking whether you could you have known the tornado was coming – and if so warned, could you have gone elsewhere, sought shelter, fixed what was broken????? You’ll never know…
    So you get hit – HARD – and when you stagger to your feet, the pieces of your life are strewn around you like the saddest post-apocalyptic TV news photos – so you grab your children and your pets, and save what you can. Sadly, there are some things you can not even find. Devastation is too mild a term.
    And in the midst of the wreckage, some people will even have the nerve to ask – didn’t you see the funnel on the horizon…………

  • I really recommend “Radical Acceptance”. When I follow Tara Brach’s advice, it’s easier to flush out negative self talk and focus on making my current moment better.

    A tougher read, if you’ve already read Radical Acceptance, is “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron. This book really hammers home the fact that all things, good and bad are impermanent. It was intimidating to me at first, because it makes you realize that you can never be happy forever. About halfway through though, I began to grok chodron’s complete message. We can only control what we feel and experience right now, and even that is fleeting. Since we cannot erase the past nor reliably predict the future, our true power lies in living and experiencing the moment that is with us right now.

    That’s not to say I am any good at being mindful in everyday life, but when I DO remember to pay attention, it brings me peace and self compassion. My teacher says doing this is like a muscle. It gets easier to do the more you do it.

    While I’m here recommending mindfulness (try looking for MBSR courses), here’s a Rumi poem:

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whatever comes.
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

        • This is my favorite Rumi poem. “A crowd of sorrows,” what a brilliant image.

          I am also a Pema Chodron fan. I think she’s describes impermanence beautifully when she talks about enjoying a sandcastle on a sunny day, and then being equally content and at peace when it is washed away by the tide. Interestingly, her journey as a Buddhist monk began after her husband left her for another woman. She threw a teacup at him! She now considers him one of her greatest teachers. We could all take a page out of her book. My goal is to forgive my STBX, not for him but for me. I don’t want to carry that bitterness in my heart.

    • Today’s post and comments feels like a balm and cauterization. My healing continues to be a difficult endeavor but thanks to CL, Luz’s post, and all CN’s comments (special thanks to MrQueasy for the additional super useful resources), I know I will keep forging on until I reach that Tuesday in Meh!

    • I love that Rumi poem. My niece, a psychologist, sent that to me when I was struggling with PTSD. We are emotional beings, but the trick to reaching Meh is realizing those emotions do not have to control you. Feel it and let it go. Don’t let the bad things in life take hold and negatively define your future.

    • I can’t decide which I’m in love with more; Luziana’s amazing wordsmither-y, or Mr. Queasy’s timely addition of the Rumi poem. It’s been 2 years for me. I look back on that first year and recall the sheer terror of being left alone in the world with our 1 and 2 year old babies. It felt as though I was tossed out into the abyss with nothing more than a plastic sword and a shield made of cardboard. How can I be the protector against the ravaging fires of this world? How can I un-do the harm he’s done to my babies by setting up a new franchise in a different city with a different woman and a baby on the way? How can I walk through the zoo and see intact families and smile at my kids when all I want to do is firebomb EVERYTHING IN EXISTENCE?
      After I started seeing a therapist, many, many things became clear to me. First and foremost, all I’ve got is right now. I’m either going to miss these amazing moments with my kids while I’m off in some imagined future of horror that hasn’t happened yet, or I’m gonna get down on the floor with them and laugh until the tears are streaming. It started with something she said to me, and it’s made all the difference. “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional’. I wrote a blog by that title, here:
      https://honeyandthehomewrecker.com/2015/02/28/pain-is-inevitable-suffering-is-optional/
      Turn your face towards the sun and let the shadow fall behind you, Chumps!

      • Honey, you are a terrific writer – I am so glad to have found your blog.

        Everything you say resonates.

        I am so tired of feeling anxious about assholes.

  • Good God, Luziana!

    I had to unpack each sentence like it was a gift to be marveled. Or like a fine meal to be savored. No joke!

    You’re such a great writer.

    I realized early on that my suffering was necessary if I were to heal from the wound that The Coward had inflicted. Suffering brought me humility, compassion, and enlightenment.

    I still ran as fast as I could to outpace it, danced as fast as I could to show everyone that I could cope just fine. But in the end, you suffer, even if it’s just the incessant drip drip drip drip drip torture that comes incessantly as he and they and she creep into my mind. They are a constant, it seems some days.

    But we soldier on. I’m better than I was before. Now I know who he is, but more importantly who I am.

    Thanks for a great read!

  • Luziana – this was fantastic. I have many Thursdays and am grateful to God for every one of them. As my 10 yo said at dinner last night, “Our house is calm, Mom… Dad’s is mumbo jumbo.”

    Another key piece I’m working on as an Empath is trying to warn the OW about the Tornado coming her way with Mr. Sparkles. (Not so much for her because she’s just a vagina… but her 2 kids – ages 12 and 8 – don’t deserve the shit storm fallout when he leaves… after their own father left too.)

    But you know what, I cannot maintain my peace when I’m giving energy to help someone who doesn’t want help. She wants the Tornado. Heaven help her.

    Me, I’m on Season 4 of Breaking Bad and discovering some great new wines 🙂

  • Thanks for this, Luz. Your badasseryness continues to inspire me. Thank you for focusing on the issue of acceptance and not mentioning forgiveness, which the RIC tries to shove down our throats.

  • Luziana,

    I want you to know that I am printing out your post and carrying it with me. I want to remind myself on those tough days that I can be grateful for what I have even if my life didn’t turn out the way I expected or wanted it to. Thank you so much.

  • Thanks, Luz,

    It hit a bit close to home, but it was truly inspiring!

    I still think sometimes about your post in Disney world (or disneyland?), and how awesome you looked without 300lbs weighing you down 🙂

    I’m not yet at the point of seeing black hatchback cars without flinching, but ti should come soon. I believe (hope really since I have zero info about it) that Ex is moving back to Europe, so yay!

  • This was a great read. I go through periods where I find myself trying to figure out the senselessness of what happened and feeling sorry for myself. I have to remember that I didn’t do anything to deserve this and that painful, senseless things just happen sometimes. It sucks, but it’s part of being human.

  • Luziana,

    Thank you so much for this beautiful and insightful post. Also, your taste in music is impeccable. 🙂 The tornado metaphor is so perfect it has to be savored and repeated.

    I also want to give a shout out to CN for some very beautiful and thoughtful comments. “Religion and spirituality as a disguise” (perfect description of Jesus Cheaters); the description of the tornado that comes without warning, leaving you wondering if you could have avoided it – just so much wisdom, insight and beauty.

    Once I decided that I wasn’t going to think about forgiveness and moved to understanding and acceptance, each day has been a day of healing – some days contain larger doses of healing than others. Acceptance has allowed me to be pragmatic about the Cheater – I don’t hate him because I understand that why he is the way he is happened long before he was able to know, change or fix any of it. That doesn’t change the reality of who and what he is and that he can’t come near me. That’s why the tornado metaphor is so apt. A set of circumstances come together to form the tornado and the tornado, as someone pointed out, just does what a tornado is meant to do. It is up to us to move ourselves and our loved ones out of its path. I still get triggers, but I am in so much of a better space than I was even six months ago and way better than I was at the beginning. Understanding and acceptance allows you to practice and embrace self-compassion and opens the door for increased self-awareness and humility.

    I appreciate this post and you so much Luziana. Thank you. (((HUGS)))

  • Thank you for this wonderful post, Luziana. Tara Brach, Pema Chodron, and other similar authors saved me. It truly is all about radical acceptance. And suffering is a part of life. I also lean heavily on the works of Kristin Neff and Chris Germer on self-compassion. I love the self-compassion break:

    Self-Compassion Break

    Think of a situation in your life that is difficult, that is causing you stress. Call the situation to mind, and see if you can actually feel the stress and emotional discomfort in your body.

    Now, say to yourself:

    1. This is a moment of suffering

    That’s mindfulness. Other options include:

    This hurts.
    Ouch.
    This is stress.

    2. Suffering is a part of life

    That’s common humanity. Other options include:

    Other people feel this way.
    I’m not alone.
    We all struggle in our lives.

    Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch of your hands on your chest. Or adopt the soothing touch you discovered felt right for you.

    Say to yourself:

    3. May I be kind to myself

    You can also ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to express kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation, such as:

    May I give myself the compassion that I need
    May I learn to accept myself as I am
    May I forgive myself
    May I be strong.
    May I be patient

    This practice can be used any time of day or night, and will help you remember to evoke the three aspects of self-compassion when you need it most.

  • Luziana, a thousand thanks for the beautiful post today. I downloaded the recommended read without thought, cried until I hicccuped, then began reading everyone’s responses… I visit here everyday as Chumpnation has become a haven, a return to sanity. I reach for peace every minute, and get frustrated because I can’t seem to get there, but knowing that it is indeed there, and will be mine again some day brings me comfort. If only there were warning sirens for Fuckwit Tornadoes!!!!!

  • The tornado is certainly gone.
    It’s those damn cows that drop from the sky occasionally that flatten me.
    There is much debris still.

    Hurry Tuesday, I implore you.

  • Love, love, LOVE this, Luziana!!! Cheers!!!

    LOL @ the fondue restaurant image!!!!

    I still find myself checking the red trucks on the road, especially Shit-er-ados, and sometimes I double-check Camry’s, but overall I enjoy the life I have now cheater-free, Evil One free, even the suck-ass days.

    (((hugs)))) to the Mighty-Chump Nation!!!

  • “Even those of us who never had The Dream at home yearn for it as a means of overcoming. That’s sort of beautiful, isn’t it? The desire to build a stable family and keep it strong, to choose one partner above all others and bury past dysfunction, it’s an everyday miracle that looks quietly average from the outside. It works every day….. I wanted a faithful marriage with a person I loved very deeply. But he was a cheater.”

    Well, you just summed up my life…except for DECADES I didnt know what was going wrong. I understood the past dysfunction of alcohol/narc/BPD in my FOO but my dream was to have a precious marriage and a decent happy home where we would love and be devoted to one another and our kids and we might have spats but we would be decent to one another.

    but it was broken and I he would say “If you only ___ then I would be happy and wouldn’t get so angry with you” except I did all he asked and he just moved the target, 3000 times. Why oh why did he hate lofe, himself and our marriage SO much?

    Seems he lived for a LONG time self medicating his inner demons with a steady supply of cake.

    We would never ever have that good marriage no matter how hard I tried because he had too many secrets to hide…intimacy was an impossibility, Blame was what I was useful for. Dream shattered, hopes dashed…suckfest was chronic.

    I was miserable in this but I still found tiny ways to find contentment in my life – a project well done (even if mean spouse made fun of it), meaningful work, a trip to a museum alone to see the only DaVinci in the Americas. Mighty Chump before I even know I was a Chump.

    and since he died, I have been to Europe 4 times (I “missed” him for 3 seconds in a cab in London but that feeling passed quickly), I have redone my house, fallen in love, launched my kids and purged him from my life in as many ways as I possibly can.

    I remain a devout Roman Catholic and I genuinely hope that he is in Heaven (I believe he confessed his sins to Priest) but I ask God to assign him a dwelling in another area of heaven really far from me and my new love will go someday..in that way I want God to bless him while I simultaneously acknowledge that he was a fucker who didnt deserve a wife as good as I was to him.

  • Well said, Luziana.
    I know I’m late to this post – but this post resonated with me.
    When I was in the shitstorm which was my cheating ex, I had the mantra of “When the wheel of fortune drops you to its lowest point – the only way is back up again. And let it get stuck up the top again, free of that fuckwit who thinks porking the underage sister of his best mate is even remotely acceptable” 😀

    • I sometimes pray to let a chump come out ahead… It can only be onwards and upwards from the rabbit hole we all know so well.
      Some more obscenely than others. We will survive.

  • What a beautiful post. Lovely and sweet and peaceful. I’d really never thought I was suffering, never looked at suffering from that perspective. I loved to read, before. Now, I can’t concentrate. This blog is it. I hate that. But, someday, Tara Brach. Thank you.

    I had 100 Chevy Malibu’s. I only have 10 now. My parents had a Malibu when we were young, ice-blue and a white vinyl top, it brings back good memories. My Malibu is a town, an entire state and a mindset I don’t get. Sometimes I think we’ll never escape. But not today.

    You can’t fix what you didn’t break. God, did I try. Not to fix, to understand. I HAD to understand WTF, had to make sense of what he was doing, what he did. I never did, not until CL. Oooh, good grief, had to understand so I could fix? Jeez.

    We have a roof, lights, food and gas. No shut-off notices in hideous pink, the color still makes my stomach lurch. MIL’s car could disappear at any moment, but isn’t running anyway. 2 steps forward, 1.75 back. Meh inbetween.

    Handwritten in my Mother’s Day card the message from teenage DS: You’re the best mother I’ll probably ever have. I burst out laughing. Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry but I’m it. It’s a one-shot deal. You don’t get a new one when you graduate. Wait, have you already lined someone up? We fell over each other laughing. He meant the best mother he’s ever known (so far?).

    The Minions voice with your daughter choked me up for a second. I love those moments.

  • One of the hardest parts for me, aside from realizing all the lies throughout our entire relationship and trying to shrug off the awful (and also untrue) things he said to me/names he called me during his sociopathic downspiral, is the loss of would-be step daughters.

    We were engaged and I had been a part of his children’s lives for a year. He always complimented me on how great I was with them and they told me they loved me all the time. In December we had them for a week over Christmas. He asked if this was where I had seen myself at 30, engaged with three soon-to-be step daughters. I said, “No, but there is nowhere else I would rather be.”

    I had no idea at the time that he had been cheating on me for at least three months, holding a relationship with a woman in Florida whom he told I was bisexual and cheated on him with a woman and that our wedding website was still up because I was clinging on to hope that we would get back together. He sent her a picture of his kids right before I picked them all up from the airport. He sent her a selfie from the park while I was on the other side of the phone playing with his children.

    His oldest daughter had said that she was excited for us to have kids of our own. We had been back and forth on the having kids of our own thing, but that’s not something you explain to a 7 year old. I was happy to accept them as my children, I loved them, cooked for them, wiped asses, lotioned the little one’s body day and night to keep the eczema at bay, read to them and tucked them into bed at night.

    Since D-Day, I learned that there were at least three women he had cheated on me with. Three weeks after I moved out, he was already telling the girl he met in California the night before I joined him out there for Valentine’s Day that he loved her, and had told her I was crazy and that we’d broken up in the fall or something.

    He called his ex-wife and his mother the big “C” word, which he also called me to my face the day before I moved out. He is obviously not only a compulsive, pathological liar sociopath, but a misogynist. I feel so bad for his little girls, because they are just pawns to him. He uses them to get build fake bonds with his victims. He told me the day before I moved out that having a third child was the biggest mistake he’d ever made and he refers to his children as baggage (“the pieces of my first marriage that I have to deal with every day for the rest of my life”). But he doesn’t even talk to them every day, sees them one day a month, and when he read to them at night, it’s only a few pages that he rushes through as fast as he can.

    I have no idea why he let things get so far with me. All the other women I know about also work in the defense industry and have gotten him work for his company via contracts with their companies. I work in a completely unrelated field.

    D-Day was March 1st, I moved out April 1st, and today marks 6 weeks + 3 days no contact. The healing process has been pretty slow so far, but I am doing my best to keep my chin up and realize that nothing that happened is my fault, he is never going to change, and he isn’t worth my tears because I deserve so much better.

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