Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, Please help un-chump my mom

youcandoitDear Chump Lady,

The question I have is not about me (although I have been chumped by my last boyfriend as well), but about my chump mom and my cheater dad. They got divorced 8 months ago (everything is final) and living in separate places, but my mom is having a very, very hard time adjusting to the situation. She’s been suffering from depression and isolating herself from everyone: all she does is go to work, come home, cry and repeat that she’s not gonna make it, over and over again. Deep down she still “doesn’t believe what happened” and “how he can be such a horrible person?”

He is a horrible person and I mean it, even though he is my father. They had been married almost 30 years (high school sweethearts). He cheated on her with at least three women, it started when my brother and I were kids. I got the text messages that were supposed to go to his last OW and that’s how I learned about her. The time before that, it was also me who found out the OW’s name and connection to him. My father constantly undermined my mom, using all the techniques you talked about, in the most cruel way possible. Last year she had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the hospital because of him. She is suicidal 24/7. He doesn’t care. I witnessed him come back from vacation with the OW, collect the rest of his stuff from the house and leave it for good without a flinch. He’s like a robot and still tries to make HER sound crazy.

My question is: how can I help my mom recover? I’m doing everything I can possibly think of, I try to be with her as much as I can, but I see it’s not enough. The divorce was her idea — he was fine with having a wife and a mistress. They are not in touch anymore, but she’s not getting better. She reads your site a lot, even though she doesn’t speak perfect English (we live in Europe). Maybe you could share some special words of chump wisdom with us?

Thank you for all your hard work. Your site puts everything into perspective…for the second generation of chumps too 🙂

Best wishes,


Dear Amanda,

Direct your mom to a doctor, please. If she’s been suicidal and has been hospitalized for a breakdown, it sounds like she needs continued medical help for her depression. Perhaps she needs to go on some anti-depressants? There’s no shame in it.

Look, I wish it was as easy as dump the cheater, then the sky parts and rainbows appear, and our sanity returns — but 30 years with a mind-fucking cheater creates deep scars. Resiliency is a complicated thing and healing isn’t a contest. We all slog through this shit at our own pace. But I do believe we all eventually arrive at the land of Meh.

Intellectually, you’d think ridding yourself of an awful person would make you happy, not suicidal. But your mom is grieving. It’s not just 30 years of mindfuck, it’s 30 years of identity — as a wife, as part of a larger family, the perception of being partnered, of status, of having someone to weather life’s crises and grow old with. She’s losing one identity and being thrust into a new, scary world of financial insecurity (most likely, unless she secured a good settlement), single parenting, starting the lawn mower alone, and a thousand other slings and arrows of being unpartnered.

After betrayal, it’s very easy to see life in terms of loss, not gain. Getting through a divorce is exhausting, and then somehow you have to find the strength to build a whole new life? Are you fucking kidding me? It’s enough to make the most stalwart of souls collapse on the sofa and Netflix their way through existence for a few years, punctuated only by occasional crying jags in the shower.

Boy, Tracy, you make divorce sound absolutely awesome. And here you are recommending it?

Yes — Leave a cheater, GAIN A LIFE.

The good news is somewhere in that depressed, isolated, “not gonna make it” mother of yours is a fighter. She left HIM. She took away his goddamn cake. She stood up for herself. She fomented revolution. So she can’t give up now! She might say she can’t make it — but there she is, getting her ass up out of bed every day and going to work, and coming home and MAKING IT.

If she’s reading this and wants encouragement? Hey, Amanda’s mom — Keep living your life. Going forward anyway, no matter how miserable, IS success. You’ve got grit!

Don’t let the motherfucker win. Don’t let him be the last person you invest in. Now that he’s gone, evict him from your head as well. You need all that mental real estate for rebuilding your life, not pondering the mysteries of fuckwits.

Direct your energies away from the fuckwit towards the people who really love you. They deserve the best of you, not him. The worst thing you can do now is isolate yourself. Join a divorce support group, an online forum like Chump Nation, join a meet-up. I don’t care if you feel like the most awkward person there — DO IT ANYWAY. Every day do something difficult or even terrifying. That might be seeking help, calling a doctor, getting on Zoloft, going back to church, going back to school, getting a new hair cut, keeping a journal, learning to weld, volunteering at the Salvation Army, calling an old friend with whom you lost touch, weeding the garden — ENGAGE with life.

You probably won’t feel like it. But it’s not about feelings — it’s about ACTIONS. Act like you have a new life, and lo and behold, the new life will appear. Eventually the new life eclipses the old life, and I swear to God, one day (it’s a Tuesday) the pain goes away.

Now, back to you Amanda. You’re a good kid. Your assignment is to get a new life too. You’re very sweet to be concerned about your mom, but her healing isn’t YOUR responsibility. (And getting that shit confused is what makes us chumps.  Don’t be a chump.) Your mom shouldn’t dump her emotional slop on you and expect you to bolster her. That’s HER job to wage this battle. Encourage from the sidelines, but have boundaries. It’s OKAY to have boundaries. And remember, we don’t control other people, just ourselves. You can’t make your mom get better. All the good advice, and even medical help cannot help someone who doesn’t want help.

I hope your mom’s grief is situational and is overcome in time. After 30 years, she’ll have some scars. She probably feels like they aren’t scars yet, they’re gaping wounds. Tell her they heal. Tell her she’s mighty.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Thank you for this today. I got divorced in July. 24 years together. He lied, cheated and emotionally abused me, but I loved him and stayed with him and believed him when he told me he would never cheat on me again.. and again… I am better off without him (although he still calls me daily telling me he loves me and wants to get back together) but I know I never will. But, I can’t move on because I have trouble with no-contact, because there is a part of me that likes to know he misses me and wants me back, (like- let him hurt now, since he destroyed me and my trust). I cannot even think about dating someone else, I think I’m way too screwed up to even attempt that.
    I just want to be happy again.

    • Marina, I was married for 24 years also together 28 so I understand how you feel. NC is necessary. Just block the number or learn to ignore the call. NC allowed me to detach and realize what a POS my X was and is. Once you get away you can see the real person and you will be shocked. His contacting you is for his benefit. He is still using you. Just be prepared that they freak out for a period after you cut him off. You can do this. It’s a hard journey but you are worth it!

      • I was with my ex for 32 years and married for 27 1/2. I have been no contact since last October. It is hard to believe that someone who I spoke too or saw everyday for 32 years was no longer part of my life. But NC is a must for healing! I would be a mess if I had to talk to him everyday. My kids are grown so we have absolutely no reason to speak to each other. Block his number change your number do whatever you have to do but go no contact!!

        • Newme, I’m on your time frame! Together for 32, married for 27.5 when he walked out. NC since last October. Not divorced yet, so now married for 30. I wish we lived in the same town so we could hang out.

          92 was actually a great year for me, because I gave birth to my youngest child, my daughter, my best friend. So I can’t jump on that bandwagon.

          I’m with you, though. It’s SO hard to believe that someone who was my closest intimate for 32 years is no longer part of my life. Not my friend. Doesn’t wish me well. Reality is such a bitch. I have one memory of who I thought he was, and the newer, more accurate perception of who he really is.

          On the other hand, I do love not walking on eggshells. I love having two French bulldogs. I love buying my own car. I love traveling without someone constantly accusing me of having to get places unnecessarily early.

          We WILL survive.

            • I cry! More now than I used to in fact. I cry when I’m alone, I cry when I read books, I especially cry when I watch The Voice! I am learning to live with a constant low-level sadness, which I never had before, and I’m not sure if it will ever go away.

              I intensely miss the man I fell in love with, no matter how my intellect tells me now he’s not that person any more, if he ever was.

              Part of me would take that person back in a nanosecond, despite the fact that he has done the worst things to me that any human can do to another, short of violence. Fortunately the majority of my psyche recoils at the thought of him and never wants to see him again.

              But I miss the comfort and ease born of lifelong companionship. I’m not sure that’s replaceable at this point in life.

              I don’t block his number either. But I don’t have to because he never calls me. Every once in a while I hear his “bong” text message tone coming out of someone else’s phone and get sort of a Pavlovian panic response!

    • Hi Martina24–

      As you know intellectually, No Contact is a godsend. If you’re not in therapy, getting in therapy will help. You need someone who has your back through all of this, and a therapist can help with setting boundaries and giving you perspective.

      The other thing about No Contact is that you can lapse and start over. Go No Contact for 24 hours. Don’t take his calls. Block him on social media. If you have children, don’t ask your children how he’s doing. Then take that time to do something around the house you’ve promised yourself to do but haven’t gotten around them.

      If that 24 hours went okay, try for another. Promise yourself that you won’t look at his Facebook page for at least 72 hours, and then you’ll unblock him for the minimum time that Facebook gives.

      When you decide to start No Contact, find an activity to help you with this. Right now, I’m recommending yoga, but really, any kind of outlet will work. I think the mind-body connection is really important for Chump healing. Yoga just makes the connection explicit, though running has a meditative component. I like martial arts, but lifting weights also clarifies the mind while strengthening the body.

      As you get stronger, you start to feel as if you have more agency, and you’ll find yourself taking charge more and more.

      Best of luck!

      • I took a lot of long walks! Then, I started speed-walking. doing this every day was so helpful when I was in emotional pain!

        • Backcountry skiing in the wilds was my meditative escape post D-day, followed by running single track when the snow melted. Being active in nature brought the stress levels way down for awhile, reminded me that there is much beauty in the world, and prepared me mentally and physically for the challenge of solitude and life anew.

    • Martina24 – it’s just a “hoover maneuver”. He doesn’t really love or miss you. PreyingMantis just did this to me recently. Or tried to. I went through my entire FB timeline, searching for every instance where PreyingMantis was mentioned. I deleted or edited every post. I removed every picture and album where PreyingMantis’ sniveling, cheating face appeared. I even went into my JibJab account, deleted the two PreyingMantis faces I’d used for the animations, and every little JibJab movie clip I’d ever made that PreyingMantis was in! Did this get results? Yup. PreyingMantis contacted me within a day and a half of my having done this about some trivial paperwork something or another from about a year ago. So I set phasers on IGNORE. I’ve tied my voicemail to Google Voice so I can block all the numbers of a contact with one click. I’ve made email filter rules so everything from PreyingMantis gets marked as read, bypasses the inbox, and gets stuffed in an archive folder; I never even see it. I even set the default ringtone to silent on my phone so that calls from unknown numbers don’t bug me – only people in my contact list that are important to me get custom ringtones so I’ll answer them. I’m sorry that your ex doesn’t hurt the way you do. I’m sorry that he doesn’t value you enough to treat you right. I’m sorry that he doesn’t miss you, while your heart rips a little bit every day. He just wants kibbles. Any emotional energy you feed him is delicious, delicious kibbles. Starve his sodding ass. It’s hard to move on. I hate to admit that I miss PreyingMantis at times, but then I remember that it was all an illusion. I fell in love with smoke and mirrors – not reality. Sparkles have no depth or substance. You, however… DO. I hope you know we’re all rooting for you; I know you can do this!

    • Martina24,
      I understand exactly how you feel. NC was very hard for me, not just bc of the two small children we share, but bc I wanted to see how badly he missed me. I wanted him to hurt and be miserable. If I went NC how would I know?! What if he’s all better now and even worse … HAPPY!!!?? I slowly and painfully came to realize, NC was for ME not for HIM. Every single time I broke NC I felt like I reopened the wound and had to start over emotionally. All the small steps toward healing … poof! Gone! If he was miserable and pathetic or seemingly happy and carefree… didn’t matter bc it all made me miserable. I needed NC for me and once I got it through my very thick skull, things started to get better.

      • Martina,

        I became obsessed with reading everything about narcissists after a 41 year (36 married) relationship of abuse living with a covert narcissist. And I’ve been hunting and gathering now for a few years since my therapist identified his actions as being typical of a narc.

        This helped me to detach an know he was unworthy of my love. I suffered through seperations while he cheated, forgave, and reconciled.

        While we can’t ever wrap our heads around cheater logic, we can see they all use the same cycle of abuse. Recently, I stumbled upon this article (this is only a portion) to figure out just how he held me hostage for so many fucking years.
        After reading it I tecognized how he used ‘future faking’ to keep me in waiting until the final discard.

        “Narcissists & The Art of Future-Faking
        Calling out a narcissist as a pathological liar is not as important as pin pointing the type of lying that the narcissist does that really cuts us to the core: future-faking. By this, I mean that the narcissist talks about or hints at a future together to get what he wants from us right now. Indeed, his innate ability to future-fake is probably the narcissist’s most effective tactic for managing down our expectations and the biggest reason for why we stay in a relationship that is obviously so bad for us. In other words, it’s the depth and breadth of the lie that we become tethered to because it speaks to our heart’s desires…to what we’ve wanted all along. The narcissist, of course, knows this and thus will use his knowledge of our heartfelt desires to string us along until the end of time. It’s the part of the narcissistic pathological relationship agenda that lends itself to the fact that there is no boundary that a narcissist will not cross to get what he wants in the moment”

        Now, mind you, what I’m talking about here goes far beyond the periodic broken promise because a periodic broken promise can be easily forgiven when followed by a promise kept. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the perpetual broken promise that carries the allusion of a promised future. It’s these types of broken promises that hurt the most because the lie itself is intensified by the authenticity of the way it’s presented. The narcissistic lover will spin us a future via promises containing all the words we want to hear. They’ll spin us a future via mirroring back to us all the things that we want from the relationship. They get us to stay or to come back or to wait for them to come back by faking a future with us that ultimately never happens. Future-faking is so much worse than ordinary lying because it shows how much of a pretender extraordinaire the narcissist really is.”

        Please don’t waste another year trapped by the disordered.

        • Wow Doingme, “future faking” explains so much of why I was willing to stay with him for 36 years of marriage after 4 of courtship. (Sparing the nastiest of nasty details to avoid triggering….). If you could post the link to the article I’d love to read it.
          Closer and closer to Meh! Divorced almost 2 years, no contact now for almost one year, and seeing Meh in an upcoming Tuesday! It really does get better. No contact is the only way to go.

        • Thanks for this, it is another “aha” moment for me. All during wreckonciliation, Cheater would talk about our fabulous future retirement, the boat we would buy, the trips we would take… All of this gave me false hope that we could work things out, and that he saw his future with me, and not with the OW. It did feel a little forced at times, and now I see it was just part of his arsenal of manipulation.

    • Look at it this way, he is hanging on to the monkey bars of relationships. You see he needs someone in his life. You are his safety net!

      One hand clings to the bar of “affair partner” and the second “the place holder” (you) until the next bimbo comes along. He swings back and forth because he thinks you will always be there. Take his safety net away and let him drop like the sack of monkey shit he is.

      No contact and every time you think of him and start to romanticize just think of the things he’s done.

  • Chump Lady, thank you so much for replying! She has no idea I wrote to you…she’s in for a surprise 😀 She is getting help and taking meds now. I am a young adult, working and not living at home most of the time…I’m just trying to do my best to get back the happy mom I remember 😉 I know it takes time, but lately everything finally seems to be on the right track, especially with the help she finally decided to get. You and all of the people on this site are beyond awesome! <3

    • Even if she isn’t religious, suggest that she look into Divorce Care groups. They are often offered at churches, but in large cities she may also be able to find divorce support groups even outside of a religious organization. But most people report that Divorce Care and groups like it are very helpful.

      You are a terrific daughter to be so concerned about your mom.

      • Yes, I am in DivorceCare right now and it’s really helpful! Just more affirmation that all the feelings are real and other people went through it and survived. I highly recommend it!

      • I’m getting the Divorce Care 365 day emails, and it was great until…I guess around day 320 or so, I started getting day after day of advice to try to reconcile. Uh, WTF. Really? Also the “forgive him” emails pissed me off.

        Listen. I love God. I do. With everything in me, I do. But there is no way in hell that God wants me to reconcile with that cheating betraying Presbyterian pastor. And those divorce care emails can bite me.

    • Amanda, you are an amazing daughter! I recognize that because I have one too. 🙂 Thanks for writing in on your Mom’s behalf. All the very best to both of you.

    • Amanda, your mom’s situation sounds a lot like my own mom’s. I started a Facebook support group called “Adult Children of Infidelity” if you’d like to chat. Best wishes to you and your mom.

    • Amanda ,

      I’m 5 yrs out, after a 30 yr marriage. It’s taken me this long to to recover. I found again medication for 22 months. The worst decision in my life. 2-3 after starting, finally I could start to control my emotions.

      Tell your mom, it does get better, may not be what she thought, but different things comes ones way that one never expected. I wish my life too hadn’t fallen apart, but it did, all we can do is pick up the pieces.
      Your mom is lucky to have you, as I was my son… he saved me by carrying as you have w your mom.

      If she can just let him go… turn her back on him, if she loose him, well explain to her, it doesn’t matter cuz it takes 2 to care in a marriage, and she’s better off w/out him.

  • Dear Amanda,
    Chump Lady is right – your mom has many stages to process and 8 months is nothing after 30 years.
    It is a very long road taken one step at a time. Sadly, some of those steps will be backwards; the goal is to keep going forward.
    If your mom was hospitalized, is she still on meds? If she isn’t getting psychological help, she should be.
    I was hospitalized twice and my intake and release (from a locked ward it isn’t the same as a discharge) had to be coordinated between the hospital, my therapist and my psychiatrist.
    I don’t know what the process is where you live but it sounds like you mom needs extra professional support. Please encourage her to get that help! If she won’t do it for herself, tell her to do it so you aren’t the only support she has.
    Have you considered counseling for yourself? You need support to get thru this too. Having a parent who is suicidal is horrible and not something your friends can help you with. My kids felt they didn’t need counseling but I made them at least try it.
    It is great and very important that you continue to support your mother. Rather than visit her, perhaps you can meet her outside. Get her out for a walk, a meal or anything to distract her and get her moving again.
    I do disagree with Chump Lady on one point. If your mom doesn’t have someone else to lean on, like a sibling or parent, she will need you for seriously heavy support.
    In my story, I did dump on my kids and still turn to them when I’m struggling. I have no family and they were there – they lived the story with me. Like you, they are adults and understand all the ramifications of betrayal. I’m alive and very functional but every single day is a struggle. I have amazing friends, a therapist who Has been there for me 100% and a great psychiatrist. I had a wonderful job and the best lawyer ever BUT I would not be alive without my kids…and it has been 6 years since I discovered his cheating.
    I’m still working to get past the same demons that your mom seems to be struggling with.
    No matter how hard I keep trying to get him and the experience out of my head, I’m still working on that. I don’t give him real estate in my head but he is there.
    You sound like a great daughter and you’re doing the best thing by reaching out. Get your mom to Chump Lady and get her a copy of CL’s book.
    You will both be OK.
    Hang in there – this place has your back!

    • On the topic of Amanda’s support, of course it’s very individual for each family, but my takeaway from CL’s words is that it isn’t Amanda’s task to be her mother’s one and only support. It is beautiful that she is so loving and present with her mom and that many older children and parents team up and support each other when the other parent is abusive. It’s so important. Lifesaving, even.

      It’s just that each of us needs more than one source of support, and each of us has to balance supporting others with self care. If I burn out from giving too much, it becomes very difficult to help anyone else in any meaningful way.

      That was what I got from it, anyway.

    • Thank you all for your kind words 🙂 I’m sure my mom is going to get active here as soon as she sees this…no more ‘my English is not good enough’ excuses 😀

      The support system is not very big at the moment, but there are other people she can depend on as well. I’ll be can be hard to get by in these circumstances, but I’m taking care of myself too 🙂 I wrote to CL before my mom decided to get treatment for her depression and I can already see an improvement once she started it. She’s doing the best she can and I’m really proud of her 🙂

      • I’m filed for divorce in March 2016, and had an easy go of it (no kids, quickly resolved, just waiting out the clock at this point). I’m pretty high functioning when it comes to understanding trauma and taking major psychological hits… and I have struggled quite a bit. I’m also a scientist and so I like metrics to assess things. I realize of course that feeling don’t work that way, but one piece of advice I got was “it will take one month for every year of horrible marriage before you really start to feel better”. The timer on this starts once you are actually done with having to interact with your disordered fuckwit on the regular. Your mom was married for something like 30 years you said. She’s going to need a long time to get herself “better”. Several years to put the pieces back together.

        It sounds kind of miserable, but I find it a helpful metric. I started my timer in June 2016. When I’m having a bad day, I am able to remind myself “you are 4 months into your 12 month process. Of course you are going to have bad days.” When I have days of relief and happiness, I think “wow, what do you know, it’s working. I’m 4 months in and I am feeling better. It’s working.”

        So mom gets at solid two years to rebuild. Good days are celebrated, bad days are embraced as part of the process… but as long as she is making progress it is all good.

        • I’m not sure this will help anyone else, but CAGirl’s post reminded me, when I was at rock bottom in misery after realizing that my “true love” was a narc (potentially a sociopath) I also needed something tangible to give me hope during the ups and downs (mostly downs) in the early days as I came to terms with reality.

          I went out and bought a huge candle, like a hundred hour burn time candle, and I would light it each night while journaling or praying or reading self-help or the Bible (I would count reading chump lady in this category if I knew about it). I reminded myself that by the time the candle burned all the way down I’d be in a better place even though most days I couldn’t see a difference at all, I was slowly working my way to health and happiness or what some call Meh. Week by week I would see small changes in the level of the wax and I would also notice changes in the amount of time I spent each day crying. Tying the burning of the candle to time spent investing in myself also made me feel more empowered to spend that time sorting through my FOO issues and clearing a lot of the junk in my head.

          • That is such a great idea InverseChump! Meditating with fire also gives a feeling of cleansing. It is a great tool for re-wiring our thinking and associating our healing with a positive visual cue. I might try this one day.

            Like you, I thought the STBX was The One. But he turned out to be a great lesson instead for loving myself and having appropriate boundaries. Right now, I am 6 months into NC, and already feeling significantly better. We shared 17 years history together so based from CAGal’s estimate, I am almost halfway through recovery.

  • People fantasize about reinventing their life all the time. I did. Little did I know that it is hard as fuck! Be careful what you wish for, people!

    Amanda’s Mom, you are awesome. It takes a guts and will power and an inner strength to face a future that is a blank slate and start filling it in. All of us chumps have been there. We all understand the fears, who can we make it financially? Is this all there is to my life now? How can I do the work of two adults in the house? How could I have been so wrong for so long about someone that I loved?

    The self doubt is there. The memories of every cruel work, deed and look are there. The pain of discard is there. But we all have slogged through it. Each and every day. And every day the burden gets a little lighter. Look back to where you were when your husband would come to your bed right after his mistresses? God, does that scenario bring home some memories…..would you want to be back to being that Amanda’s Mom? I know I wouldn’t want to be back to being that Calmafterstorm. It hurts now, and it is going to hurt some more. But at least thank god that you are not back in that place prior and during your divorce. It does get better. It just gets better slowly.

    • ^^THIS^^ “Look back to where you were when your husband would come to your bed right after his mistress?”

      I can remember after D-day #3 where I discovered he used a picture from our wedding for a personal ad profile and going to bed with him that night. We had a California King bed and I couldn’t get far enough away from him in that bed for MONTHS after – and we eventually entered our sexless marriage phase of the narcissistic devalue and discard cycle.

      Good Lord, thank you for redeeming me from that which I did not have the courage to remove myself.

      I still don’t sleep the night through… but I think now mostly it’s because I’m entering my 50’s 🙂

  • That’s a lot of years to hope for change and to be mistreated by the one you love. Your mom has a lifetime of not being valued by your dad to overcome. Give it some time. 8 months seems like a long time to still be in agony, but it’s not. Getting through the pain and processing the grief takes a while. Hold on and hang in there.

  • To Amanda’s mom, I know this pain is excruciating. I know it’s easy for me because it has been years since my D-Days and divorce. So, it is with great empathy and sympathy that I reach out to you to remind you that Amanda needs you to stay here and be her mom. In the brilliant words of Jenny Lawson (, depression lies. It tells you that things are hopeless and can never get better, and those are lies. Glimpses of joy and beauty, like Amanda and her loving kindness, will always keep peeking through. Hold on to that as a beacon in the darkness.

    Depression lies. It lies like a cheater. It never stops lying. You can’t help but feel it sometimes, but you don’t have to believe it.

  • Amanda, you are a good daughter. When my ex pulled the plug on 20 years ( 17 of them married) I had my own kind of break down. To the outside world I was really trying to look like I had my act together but my kids ( son 23, daughter 17, at the time) were literally putting on my shoes and brushing my hair for me, I was a grieving non functioning MESS!!
    It takes a hot second to get your sea legs in this thing.
    Now that I’m to a place of acceptance and healing, my biggest regret is that my kids had to be that for me, and that I wasn’t able to be there for them. I know that your mom may not be able to see this yet, but will one day feel the same…..and be so thankful she raised an amazing daughter.
    We were all duped and I know that we were all leveled. My kids were mighty long before I was. They make me proud every day.
    We are all no contact with my ex which I think is key in healing ( gotta get your head out of that blender) and I suspect that the cake that he had lost has been restored, but now it’s the affair partner that thought she won a prize that can deal with solving that mystery. Her problem now.
    Give your mom time and encourage her to find the professional help she needs. It’s been two years since my ex left and I still come here every day to stay strong. I do believe there’s some mental maintenance even if you feel pretty meh. Chump Nation is family.
    Hugs to you.

  • Dear Amanda’s Mom,
    I hear you’ve been lurking here and reading. Let me take this opportunity to help you understand just one thing. Chump Lady is right about so many things. Many times you will read something and think “how can that be?” or say to yourself “that doesn’t apply to me.” or “what is she talking about?” I’ve found that I could read the words but they wouldn’t fully make sense to me until I was living them. Here are some examples of how I found the truth by getting there.
    – Just getting up and making it through work each day is a victory. I sometimes can’t believe I did not lose my job as I look back. It gave me a chance to take my mind off the problems and immerse myself in something other than my pain.
    – I can do things for myself I just have to try. After years of being told how grueling yard work is hard is I tepidly bought a lawn mower and learned to mow my yard. It’s easy! I learned I can probably do all of the other stuff Narkles the Clown said was so gosh darned hard too. With the help of a friend to lift heavy objects I have taken on projects unthinkable a year ago.
    – If you start telling it to go to hell the little voice inside your head, the one that uses his words to tell you that you can’t or won’t are aren’t good enough, it goes away, showing up less and less as time goes on.
    – The changes might surprise you. First off I am healthier than ever. Yes, I lost too much weight at first but I gained some back and once my mental state leveled off so did my physical state. I am no longer under so much stress that I need a cardiologist and an internal medicine specialist. I am healthier than I have been in nearly 20 years because the stress of living with a narcissist is gone. My live sustaining medication was cut by one third. The other surprising change, my wallet. While not fat and growing, hasn’t taken a hit. I haven’t had to dip into my savings the way I thought I would. I had not realized how much money Narkles the Clown was wasting. I have kept my kid, my house, my car, my savings and my retirement all on my own.
    – No Contact, the path to the truth and the light, will help you see the truth. I am perhaps the most strident proponent of No Contact you will find here, because it works. Let the fuckwith go. Let him mess up a whore’s life. Go take care of yourself.

    • “After years of being told how grueling yard work is hard is I tepidly bought a lawn mower and learned to mow my yard. It’s easy! I learned I can probably do all of the other stuff Narkles the Clown said was so gosh darned hard too.”

      I always loved yard work, but when Cheaterpants was alive, when he went to do the taxes, he parked himself in front of the computer and screamed / barked orders at me to scurry around finding forms for him. Of course it was the hardest task in humanity, right? They second year after he died, I did my own taxes and I totally killed one evening…and then my heart sunk…”he abused me over THAT, really?”.

  • Amanda,
    You are a godsend to your mother. Know that your support is comforting while she transitions through this incredibly difficult period. She will get better, but it will take time. I’m glad to hear that your Mom is taking the first difficult steps to heal. ((((((( hugs to you both )))))))

  • Amanda, your mom had her whole indentity wrapped up in your father. Loosening those bonds takes time. I think she needs to think of her grief as a long term illness that with proper medication slowly subsides. It might never disappear completely but many members of CN can attest to getting on with life and finding happiness again.
    Bless you a million times for being such a great daughter.

  • Please remember your grief is still fresh…..
    I’m 17 months out from Divorce after 36 years of marriage.
    Some days are still hard BUT NOTHING like it was….
    Everyday a little better, every week a little stronger, every month a little happier! Just take one day at a time. They first year, it was one hour at a time…….
    Grief is a process and we are grieving so many losses, SO many things taken from us…. None of our choosing.
    Something told to me in a class a few weeks ago…. “You have to let in before you can let go.”
    And I think there is something to that, at least for me…..
    I find that the more I “let in”, be that as little as going for a walk in the evening and appreciating the beauty around me or as big as loving my granddaughter, the more I seem to be letting go of the pain. Now don’t get me wrong, it still rears its ugly head at times, with the upcoming holidays, Family traditions have changed or are no more (with his family who I loved for more than 38 years and were normally hosted at my home) or the middle of the night when thoughts of what “could have been, should have been” creep into my mind….. BUT they are not going to “rule” me or “define” how I’m going to live my life. No contact is a God Send, at least for me. I don’t want to know/see/hear about him. He is no longer a part of my life by HIS choice. Maybe that will change in time, maybe not.
    When you feel down and out, log on to CL, reach out to CN, you are not alone!!! ALWAYS remember, you are not alone. Even after 17 months there are times when I just want to scream and rant and I know those in my life that have not been on this journey don’t get or are tired of it, BUT CL and CN GET IT…. they have lived it, ARE living it…surviving it.
    Make SURE you take care of you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    I am so very thankful for my two grown sons, who unfortunately he walked away from also. They have been my lighthouse in this storm of life called infidelity. They are a beacon of light and hope I can keep my eye on and KNOW I will make it. Your daughter sounds like a very kind and caring young woman. You have done a wonderful job instilling those traits in her.
    Keep being that “living lesson in life” for her. Show her, YOU ARE MIGHTY


  • Amanda,
    What a wonderful daughter you are! Time is her friend in healing – especially if she is DOING things in that time no matter how seemingly small. They are not small. Taking a shower? Yay! Going to work? Amazingly awesome! Baby steps will get her there.
    I was her and have the usual story. Barely functioned for 2 years but slowly slowly came back. I treated myself with kindness and empathy – I would push myself to be out and about and then would give myself plenty of time to rest. Lying on the couch with a book for hours would rejuvenated me for my next foray out and about. Going to work, functioning there, and putting on a brave face shows her she IS going to make it.
    She’s not alone. All of us who are starting to feel better can tell her – life feels so sweet when the suffering subsides. When I feel the calm peaceful feeling that I worked so hard to create, OMG, it’s a beautiful feeling. She will get there. ((((Big hugs to you both))))

  • Amanda, you are mighty and so is your mom. I was your mom, married 34 years with him 41. I learn something in Divorce Care I always remembered; for every 5 years you were married it take 1 year to recover. Give that time to yourself and your mom. She will get through this. There is something special about chumps and their kids. I am 9 years out from separation and 5 years out from the final settlement. I can tell you. You are going to be so proud of your mom as you watch her journey. My kids now talk about my journey and even tear up as they talk about it. The mightiness of your mom will inspire you, give her that time. She can’t get back to the mom you miss unless she has her own time, her own journey to get there. I promise she misses the mom she was more than the you do. Thank you for caring about your mom, I care about you both.

    • I want to support this comment. Time is your friend once you go “no contact”. It is 5 years since my separation and I have needed this time to get back to being the me I was before 33 years of marriage. We need to be gentle with ourselves and let the grieving happen. In the first couple of years I thought I would never sleep again and would never be free of a pain in my chest. But, finally it did dissipate. I notice a lot of chumps say they are doing well after a few months. I am happy for them, but it just wasn’t possible for me. I also have girlfriends who after many years have become friends of a sort with their exes. I cannot ever picture this for me. At first I felt guilty that I wasn’t more forgiving, but now see that this is my journey and I have to do it my way.

    • This>>>>>”I promise she misses the mom she was more than the you do.” This made me cry. I so miss the mom that I used to be. And the wife I used to be. I loved being both and I think I did a pretty great job at it given the fact I was brought up in a very dysfunctional home. Things that I LOVED doing like baking — I haven’t baked once in the last two years. Just don’t feel like it and it would be a chore to do. These monsters take so much from us and break our hearts into a million pieces. It takes as long as it takes to heal.

      Amanda, you are a sweet, sweet young lady. Oh, how I would have loved to have someone care for me like this. My kids are teenagers and I tried my best to be strong for them and not cry in front of them. I failed on occasion, but hopefully one day they’ll be proud of me again.

      • So many losses–I stopped reading, socializing with “normies” in intact marriages, watching tv, gardening, volunteering, talking on the phone, going to extended family events, listening to radio, listening to NPR, writing ….. i had no interests in my former passions…I could barely keep my kids fed and do my job and bare minimum housework. It’s been 22 months since DDay 1. I read a tiny bit now and watch a bit of tv with my daughter. I do a little gardening. I can visit with friends but it’s hard. I’m nowhere near the person I was, YET. Have hope though that I’m going to heal steadily

        • Me too, MotherChumper99. 🙁 I’m not even close to the person that I used to be. I used to watch TV, but barely put it on anymore. I used to read books for enjoyment, but all the reading I do now is related to getting over Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome and divorce. I spend my free time when the kids are not with me “socializing” in abuse forums or reading blogs like Chump Lady. I don’t enjoy cooking or baking anymore. I used to be a clean freak and now only the bare minimum gets done. I used to be someone who looked “perfect” when I went to work and now I just don’t care. So many things I used to enjoy doing and I don’t feel like doing them anymore. And my fear is that I’m never going to get back to *me* ever again. And of course my ex-narcopath husband is supposedly the “victim” in all this. Yeah, he’s functioning I’m sure at 100%, but he’s the victim. Give me a break!

    • Thank you all for sharing. It helps me realize that I have made a lot of progress. Still a long way to go and I need to be patient. Only been divorced for 6 months after a 24 year marriage. Your stories of overcoming are inspiration to those of us still in the process.

  • Amanda,

    Your mother must be an amazing woman to have raised such a caring and insightful individual as you – and no doubt, your strength is something she instilled in you… so trust, that in time, she will find her footing again.

    Trust that her recovery will take a considerable amount of time. I can tell you that, for me, the first year after D-day #4 and my STBX leaving his wife (me) and children for the OW was the most horrific period of my life – surpassing even the death of my own mother. It was all I could do each day to shower, pack lunches and get to work. And you know what, looking back, I can see that was MIGHTY though others might not have agreed.

    If you want to help, and I agree with CL, keep the focus on you 99% of the time… but perhaps get her a copy of CL’s book. Get her some empty journals and encourage her to write. I filled two volumes in the first six months. Encourage her to read about narcissism – a normal man cannot maintain a wife and a mistress… only a personality disordered person can. I found,, and Lisa E. Scott sites to be amazingly helpful… in addition to the community here.

    Also, for the 1% of time you should be helping Mom – get her outside in the sunlight… take simple walks, short outings with a fixed start and stop time.

    The recovery road your Mom is on is her own. Detach with love and enjoy your life – you’re both heading into the best years of your life away from your Dad.

    Thanks for reaching out and sharing!

  • Alright Amanda – Good for you! Your mom doesn’t have to eat the shit sandwich that so many of us do because you’re not serving it up on the menu! By being there for her, you’re actually removing some of the emotional slop that is so difficult for us to wade through. She has you by her side as a good caring person. She reared you well. She took responsibility for you as you grew and you rightfully are helping her out at a very tough time. Healthy relationships are reciprocal.

    I wish more adult children wouldn’t cop to the “well, he’s my dad so I love him and want a relationship. ” We decry Switzerland friends here. Why do we expect our children to be neutral? They got conned by deception, dishonesty and disloyalty too. I get weary of us being brought to a screeching halt when it comes to speaking honestly about what happened to us. I mean really, if we were in a car accident that was clearly not our fault, wouldn’t we provide anecdotal details to the people who mean the most to us?

    The entire family gets wrecked by adultery. I’d like to see the cheater(s) go along their merry way without the benefit of contact from anyone they hurt. Unfortunately, these uncaring creeps still get to eat cake by creating false new family dynamics. Toxic is toxic.

    Let me congratulate you on supporting your mom and recognizing with absolute clarity that your father is not a good person. Whether or not we are related to certain individuals biologically doesn’t always mean we have to love them or even like them. Stinkers do as stinkers are and somewhere along the way you learned that. You can separate genetics from genuineness. That lesson will serve you well.

    • I agree with so much of this and would love to see a day devoted to discussing kids and all aspects of their relationship with the betraying parent (Tracy, maybe a possible Friday post/discussion?). If our ex’s were murderers or pedophiles, nobody would think that the child should be forced to maintain a relationship with that person. The narcissist treatment and discard of his family is not quite as bad as these two things, but I’d rank it a solid 3rd. Is it misguided to say that a relationship with that type of person is at all beneficial? I don’t have a solid answer, but would love to hear a discussion, and some advice from the veterans on what they have found to work and not work.

      • For me, it is really about learning the truth. When I was younger, I could sense that something was wrong, but I couldn’t really put my finger on it. So I convinced myself that my feelings were not valid and as a result I was drawn to men similar to my father (one narcissistic cheater and one abusive psychopath…I wish I was exaggerating). It is funny really, because I never wanted to be with someone like that, but that’s exactly how I ended up. After doing my fair share of working through the abuse and after learning the whole truth about my father, I finally feel in control of my life. I am still in touch with him (he is my father after all), but now I can look him in the eye and tell him what I think about his actions. Not that it affects him in any way or changes his behavior. But I don’t have to take his crap anymore :p

        • There are seriously too many narcs in the world! My dad is a narc, too. I’m 100% sure of it and I figured out he was one years ago (before D-Day.) Never in a million years did I know my now ex-husband is a narc. He’s a covert narc, so that’s why I didn’t realize it. And of course I married someone almost just like my dad!! So, like you Amanda, I feel more in control of my Man Picker. I know the “signs” now of what a relationship with a narc looks like. Especially the early warning signs when you start to date (love bombing.) Never want to be with a narc again!!!!

        • Good for you, Amanda!! You are a strong, caring and compassionate girl! Your mother should be very proud! Hugs to both of you!!!

          I would love to hear how much truth you knew and at what ages. Seems like you are a success story so those details would be helpful for those of us in the thick of things.

          • Thank you Chump Mama…I don’t know if I’m a success story, just trying to put the pieces back together. Well, I didn’t know much for the most of my life, that’s why I feel relieved now 😉 I’ve always known that any conversation with my dad was pointless and that I couldn’t get any emotional support from him. I knew that he was emotionally unavailable and verbally abusive, but not that he was a cheater. I found out about the second OW when I was 21, the third one was not so long ago (I’m 24 at the moment). But from the “kid’s” perspective, I think the “staying married for the children” option is more harmful than getting a divorce. I would have preferred to know the whole truth about him long ago…at least that way you know where you stand and you can draw your own conclusions.

  • Amanda, thanks for being such a good kid and “getting it”. I love the way you’re fighting for your mom to be the person you and she both always knew she could be. It’s hard. I know you love her and it’s so difficult to see what’s happened to her. Be good to yourself; take care of you as well. Taking care of others first comes so naturally to a chump that it’s hard to remember self-care too.

    Amanda’s mom, I’m so glad you’re getting the help you need. All of us here at Chump Nation are behind you 1000%. It’s OK if your English isn’t perfect. We have Google Translate! 😀 We’re here to listen. We’re all going through this, some are farther ahead in the process and some are new to it. It doesn’t matter. I know you are mighty and YOU CAN DO THIS. You will look back years from now and be amazed at how far you’ve come. Sending you love and peace and light. <3

  • Amanda, at the risk of sounding like an echo, you ARE amazing. The unconditionality of your support of your Mom and your willingness to get in the trench speak of your remarkable depth of character. The wisdom to contact CL underscores that. Bless you and your future! And I sense that you will look after yourself, again wisely.

    Amanda’s Mom, how I wish you were not in the same pile as we are. But the pile is filled with fine, strong, wise, contemplative, compassionate people. It is Chump Nation. We learn, scream, make mistakes (not the way cheaters do!!), walk together through the darkest of valleys, support one another day and night. Stalwart souls here.

    There is a terrific post in the Forums. It is in Private Chump Chat Forum>Private:General. It is entitled, “What if MEH doesn’t come?”. In it there is some excellent material that is apropos Amanda’s questions for you regarding how the hell to un-chump after 30 years. I’ll summarize some key points (but the beauty is in the writer’s writer’s original words in the Forums section) and toss in some of my own!

    It is gonna hurt. Adjust your expectations to include this. Go THRU it. (Brightness)

    It is going to take longer than you think/wish (some say 1 month for each year). Probably 3 years before you feel the ‘new normal’.

    Don’t fight the truth of it. It sucks. He sucks. The relationship is BAD for you. Let him go (even to another). Let them mess each other up!

    You’ll need to TEACH yourself patience. (UnknownComic) Lousy deal having to learn this one, but worth the death by one thousand cuts.

    No Contact is fundamental. (see any comment by AllOutofKibble and the seasoned chumps)

    Therapy (good) is vital to solve the riddle of why on earth we ended up with a cluster B, character disordered person. It is the Self we must understand and question, not the cheater!

    Focus on your life: wants, needs, values, character, boundaries, finances, children (Yay, Amanda! Mom, you did a fine job raising her!!), future, hobbies/interests so long neglected, your spiritual/contemplative life (LovedaJackass teaches us to ask ourselves such questions).

    Hold yourself together by any means available that are not damaging. Make a list of healthy coping strategies that you will use. I used screaming in the car ALOT.

    Get hysterical as often as possible. I say if we are going to lose our head over this stuff it might as well be because we laughed it off! On purpose. (I reference Ian DuBito ~~ he doesn’t preach it. He provides hilarity freely/generously) (and so many more consistently funny chumps). I preach it. So much goes on physiologically when you laugh. All good. So good.

    Oops! Got carried away. It takes me so long to reply that it is probably tomorrow!!!!!!! All the very best to both of you. Delicious times are ahead, V

    • Amanda and Mum, you are a terrific team! Amanda’s mum, you raised a wonderful, caring and sensible daughter. It will take time. I know what it’s like to drown your pain in work and hide away the rest of the time to cry. You must still force yourself to go out and join any activity or social occasion you can. Either with your existing friends, and please don’t hide from them because you’re embarrassed about being depressed or something, and with new acquaintances where no one knows your baggage. Just do it. Like CL says, it’s action you need, eventually the feelings will catch up too. You will find YOU again, the young YOU the lying cheater tried to smother is still here, she survived all this time, she raised Amanda so she didn’t turn out anything like her dad. She is here, very tired right now and will come out into the sunshine to play if you keep calling her. Plenty chumps here know what it feels like and are going through the same thing. Post here and ask for encouragement and you will get plenty from CN.
      Amanda please keep reading and posting here too. You were in the front line finding out about your father’s cheating. CN is here for you too, it’s not just the spouses and partners who are cheated, the children are too.

  • CLs post made me cry. It echoed so much of what I feel after my 27 year marriage ended. I think I could just about see the light at the end of the tunnel if I didn’t also have to deal with a deeply unhappy 13 year old son who is completely off the rails, school refusing, difficult, obnoxious, verbally and physically abusive, and who I daren’t give any money or freedom to because I’ve just found out he meets up with boys who sell dope.
    My 3 grown up children are very supportive, but they can’t take away the sadness and grieving I have for the loss of being a wife with what I thought was my partner in life by my side, sharing the care of our 4th child and there to grow old with. I went on the meds, I made my house beautiful, I joined meetup groups, I worked hard to make sure my 4th child could have everything his siblings had materially. But 2 years later I am just so aware of how empty and lonely my life is. My old friends have evaporated, the efforts to make new friends seem hopeless and I am probably more depressed than I was at the beginning of this process.
    At the moment I feel as though fuck it I should have attempted reconciliation because this is bloody horrible.

    • Lelibelle, it is especially hard for you dealing with a traumatised teenagers. Can you get some outside help for him like counseling? His normal teenage search for his identity is affected by what his father has turned out to be and he needs help you can’t give. Also you need to have time to focus on you so you can recover. Big hug, it takes time.

    • Jedi hugs Lelibelle! All I can say is it’s better to be lonely occasionally than to be alone in a marriage to an asshole. It is harder to forge friendships when older. I’ve had the same trouble but slowly rebuilding the social network after years of being isolated by Saddam. Can’t expect to fix it fast. It will come if you don’t give up! I can’t help much with the kid issue but if he’s being abusive to you then he needs to get help and so do you. Remember boundaries are just as important with your own kids as with others, more really.

    • I hate to hear the trouble you are having. You can bet part of the trouble with the son are due to the fact dad has disappeared. Are there any non-profits in your area that can supply support. Maybe something like big brothers/sisters? Contact your school counselor and see if they have any suggestions. You are in a very difficult situation so try to get help for yourself also.

  • Dear Chump Lady and Chump Nation, Amanda’s mom here. I was at work today as usual, went to this site and the story seemed the more and more familiar as I was reading on…I was in tears even before I realised it was written by my daughter. She did it because she wanted all the support for me, to encourage me that other people don’t think I’m crazy. You are all absolutely wonderful…I just managed to set an account here, so I hope to continue talking to you guys through the forum with my broken English 😀
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

    • No words of wisdom from me but I would just like to say “Well done, Amanda! What a great daughter you are!”I know you live in Europe but well done for not being metaphorically Swiss!
      But most of all “Well done, Amanda’s Mum! Hi Ewa! Well done for raising a kid as great as Amanda and for taking the first difficult steps in regaining your life!” I really am keeping everything crossed for you – that your journey to normality is as swift and painless as possible and that you are able to take comfort in the stories you read about in Chump Nation

      Every best wish,


    • Good to hear from you Ewa, your English is fine! I don’t think it’s at all unusual to find yourself depressed once you fought your way free. All your energy went to that battle. Now you are free it’s hard to know what to do. A year out all I managed to do was work too. Don’t beat yourself up, years of abuse aren’t going to be overcome like magic, you’ll get there. So happy you are getting help and have a very cool daughter for support. Chump Nation is with you too.

      Jedi hugs!

      • Welcome Ewa! Yes, your English is great. Nothing broken! There are plenty of other non native speakers here, this could be called the United Nations of Chumps except we’re less dysfunctional. No one wanted to be in this club, but it’s a great club full of supportive and extremely witty posters. The road here was not fun, but this place is. Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome.

    • Ewa!!
      I am so glad your daughter made you happy by reaching out to Chump Nation. You are not alone, Ewa. We have all struggled so terribly – some of us are starting to feel better and some of us are not quite there yet. Please know that you are not alone. Wishing you a peaceful and hopeful day. xoxo

    • Welcome Ewa,

      You’re not alone❤️.

      I just realized the other day that the past few yrs.7 of my gf have lost their husbands in one way or another and we are all in our 60’s having to start over.

      It’s tough for sure but it’s slowly coming together again.

  • Hello, Amanda and Ewa! Eight months is still early days. I was only married 9 years, but even so, the first year was a “lost year.” I went to work, walked and fed my dog, and watched Downton Abbey every night for an entire year. Every single night. I knew all the lines by heart. Nothing else got done. When I was ready, I got a little more active. Two years since D-Day, things are greatly improved. My life is not a great big life, but I am so much happier. You will do it your own way, Ewa, on your own timetable. Good for you, seeking the help you need. Good for you, putting one foot in front of the other. It may seem impossible, but you will know happiness again. Time is your friend. Be kind to yourself. We are all cheering for you and your lovely daughter, Amanda.

  • Dear Ewa,
    I have been through it too and I PROMISE you it will get better. I was so sad when my marriage (almost 30 years) ended for my kids, and I thought it was ruining their lives. But this is what they said to me–“I just want you to be happy again.”

    You have a wonderful daughter who loves you and wants you to be happy again. You need to fight now and set a good example of resilience (recovery) for her and for yourself. It sounds like you are doing that now. You have so much to feel proud of.

    Please keep fighting when you don’t feel like it…Please make yourself take care of yourself. For me, there were days that the only thing that kept me going was to be strong and set a good example for my children.

    Keep coming back here, keep taking care of yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. We are all here for you and life will only get better now.

    Hugs to you and to Amanda too!

    • Ewa,
      I’m so glad you and your daughter have found the support here and that you are getting help for the depression. Both things I wish I had early on! Healing will come – you’re on the right track! Someday you’ll thank the Lord for freeing you from your X.
      I strongly believe that chumps suffer from PTSD. We are not just “going through a divorce” — we are victims of a serious abuse, plus we are very concerned about how it will all impact our children.
      No one understands the extent of the pain and trauma like fellow chumps. Getting through it is a journey. Remember that you are not alone, you’re not crazy, and that you will make it to the other side victorious and stronger than ever!
      Praying for you,

      • Nyra, Absolutely about chumps suffering from PTSD. I didn’t know what was going on with me until my psychiatrist said that was what was going on. Trauma — for sure! No one around me truly gets it except for a few friends that were cheated on. Only fellow chumps get it.

  • Ewa and Amanda,

    I am in a similar situation. Married 35 years, together 40, divorced almost 4 months. I have an adult son who is my sun and moon. But he does not want to share this walk with me. He does not want to hear me say bad things about his dad (who he barely talks to and has only seen twice in a year and a half). He doesn’t want to see me fall apart. He doesn’t want to hear all the details although he knows the basics, more than the basics- cheating on and off for 8 years, leaving and coming back 4 times but never giving up the OW, alcohol detox 5 times in 5 years (when we didn’t know he drank before), not giving me a dime and leaving me with all of his debt. My son knows it all and his girlfriend says that he has a deep sadness, but I don’t discuss it with him because he doesn’t want to talk to me about it and I understand. He needs to deal with this disappointment in his own way and in his own life. I have lots of support from friends and family, although my ex husband’s family no longer talks to me or my son. I have a good job and lots of support there. But I am still broken, very broken. I go out with friends. I do have fun. My ex stopped talking to me the last time I caught him in May of 2014 and I still wonder why. Why I wasn’t enough. He said I was fat and why wouldn’t I lose the weight for him. People say that wasn’t a reason for cheating but I do believe that he was/is so shallow that it was reason enough for him. I also filed for divorce when I had enough and we are now divorced and he is with the OW. I can’t imagine that we won’t talk or see each other for the rest of our lives. My dreams of a future with him- grandchildren together, future travels, future adventures, all gone. Trying to rebuild as everyone here is telling me I should be over it already. But I’m not. I may never be. I read here about all the exes who still try to hover and I am jealous because my ex finally just walked away and left me for dead. Didn’t answer my texts, emails, calls. Like I didn’t exist. Like I don’t exist But I am putting one foot in front of another. I get up every day and try again. I want to be happy and I was miserable with him. Honestly, each month that goes by ends in another revelation that hurts me. But I have no choice. I have to more forward because I have my son, I have my friends, I have my career. It gets better. It will get better.

    • When I say that people tell me I should be over it already, I am talking about my friends in my community. CL nation understands that it’s not so easy.

    • Left you for your dead. That’s spot on to how I feel. In fact I told him it would have hurt less if he’d just pushed me down a flight of stairs. Your post made sob for you and your pain. Even though I didn’t get the silence, his attention after everything was only meant to serve him and his needs and only left me in deeper pain and even more confused.

    • Lostandfound, forgive me for saying this (I know I’m in no position to give advice to you and I can’t imagine how you must feel), but rationally, why would you spend the rest of your life with a guy who calls you fat and doesn’t respect you? (I am sure he looks like a Greek god himself LOL). If that’s a reason for him to cheat on you, what would happen if you got cancer or lost a leg? He is supposed to make you feel beautiful and appreciated! Thank God he stopped talking to you, let him mess up the life of some other woman who doesn’t even have the decency not to go after married men! They deserve each other and you deserve so much more. HE is not good enough for YOU, not the other way round 🙂

  • Today’s post felt like a gift to me. Thanks ChumpLady!! Just the validation I needed coming up on the 2-year anniversary of my separation from my ex. Our financial separation is still ongoing (and is really ugly); so I’m not out of the woods. I foresee a collapse upon finally being done. And then a rise from the gutter and ultimately The Land of Meh? At the moment it all seems like an impossibility.

    I was with my ex cheater for 20 years. He cheated on me twice and ultimately left me for his super-young “love of his life” because he says he couldn’t go through the challenges of rebuilding my trust again. I was all ready to head down the reconciliation path, lining up appointments with therapists who have expertise in healing after infidelity (just like I did the first time), becoming super apologetic and as sexy as I could be to try and compete with the OP, but I was dying inside, and I couldn’t hide it from him. So I also lashed out in my anger and begged him to tell me the truth of what was going on (this was before his full disclosure). I felt like I was going absolutely bonkers. The gaslighting was the worst and honestly I think the most psychological damaging of it all. At one point I almost fell down the stairs and a flash hit me that if I could fall down the stairs “just so” then he would need to be there to help care for me. I can’t believe I got to that dark dark place, and I took myself to the hospital for help. I was soon diagnosed with PTSD and was told I should be fine after receiving treatment. See, my dad was also in the hospice and had just passed away a week before the final D-Day, and my sister was recovering from an acute medical scare. And so I was utterly and completely broken. I ran and told my ex a couple of weeks after he dumped me that I was diagnosed with PTSD and would be getting treatment so I could be a good partner again. See, he was going to see how it worked out with the new guy and if after 3 months it wasn’t working he would consider starting over with me. And I agreed to this CAKE CAKE CAKE plan. Looking back now, this blows my mind. What the fuck was I thinking!?!?!? Trauma bonding for sure.

    I’m starting to try and date which I know for anyone after The Apocalypse is super hard. And boy it’s been super hard. I was really attracted to my guy, and yesterday I had to search though my digital photos to find some decent dating profile pics I could, and I kept on stumbling upon photos of my ex in which he looked so good, and I nearly collapsed. I don’t know if I’ll ever be as attracted to someone again. I’m keeping an open mind, but fucking hell if it isn’t hard to have a positive outlook after all of this.

    I so enjoyed the settledness of being in what I thought was a steady relationship. Boom. Gone.

    Sometimes grieving feels like it will never end.

    • ChumpDude, eventually you will look at exasshole and realize he’s ugly. I happened to me. I know you are a hot dude and can find a decent pic. Or get one taken. I went to a store and had some shots done for the dating sites. Go for it! Jedi Hugs!

      • Thanks Datdamwuf! Those are kind words. I think I’m attractive enough, and I’m in good shape, but it’s still hard to shake the insecurity that comes after betrayal and gaslighting and shit. He said I was a monster that needed to be killed, that he never loved me, has never been attracted to anyone more than the new dude nearly half my age. Blah blah. Stab to the heart. Poison into the mind. Need to undo brainwashing.

        • Hey ChmupDude. I second Datdamwuf’s suggestion. There should be plenty of creative/talented photographers out there who would be happy to do a photo sesh with you. I am considering booking one for myself once this divorce gets sorted! 😀

    • Hugs! I can’t tell you how awesome CL is. We don’t lie, steal, gaslight, fake concern or fake love. We also don’t fake the hurt, anger and disillusionment we feel. We are real. It is a very comforting place to be.

    • Yes we do!!! And we feel for you. And we have your back!! Ewa, you are a hero for getting as far as you have!! Keep on going. And never forget to reach out for help when you need to. Don’t let things get too dark.

    • Ewa, you raised an amazing daughter. That says so much about you! You are mighty. You got out and divorced him. This all takes so much time. The pain can’t be avoided, you have to feel every last bit of it. Don’t worry about your English, keep posting. People here care and someone almost always is up and ready to support you when you need it. Dodo left after 24 years married, I’m separated two years and still trying to divorce. I’m not anywhere near close to meh. This site is my lifeline to sanity. Chump Nation gets it.

    • Make is 69! Hi Ewa. 🙂 Big hugs to you. You are doing great! What an awesome daughter you have!

      I’m two years out from D-Day. 10/7/14 was the day I caught my now ex-husband out on a date with a former ho-worker. I hope one day I will forget that date and it will just be a Meh-day.

      Only within the last few months did my brain stop hurting. One of the symptoms of Narcisistic Abuse Syndrome. Whoever knew there was such a thing! I know so much about personality disorders that I could teach a class!

      I’m not close to being a meh, but like so many people here at CL and CN, I have hope that WE ALL will get there some day. Right now you are doing great. Be super gentle and kind to yourself. I still can’t believe I made it to work most days the first year out, so you are one mighty lady going to work each day! You are strong. Look at your daughter. She made her and raised her to be a great young woman. That took strength to do. 🙂 You got this and we are all here for you.

  • Your mother KNOWS, with her mind, that he’s bad news. She did the brave thing and divorced him. Congrats!
    What about what’s inside her soul? After decades of abuse, it’s beyond scarred.
    She is mourning, indeed. She is mourning herself, her life, the dreams, the identity, as Chump lady put it.
    Your mother needs specialised help. But talk therapy is not going to get her too far. You see, our thought process evolves around our emotions. We rationalise, we justify, we make excuses. We do this with our brain, to match our emotions. This is what guides us through life: our emotions! She must address this.

    I think it’s worth to have a look at this keyword “Quanta” in the context of healing.
    And being in Europe myself, I wish we had these kind of specialists here.

    • Now I read the rest of the comments and see where our EXs come from!
      Hugs to you Ewa! You are strong, you will make it! Look at you, you MAKE it right now!

  • Ewa and Amanda, sending you both a great big welcome and lots of hugs. This a terrific forum and a bunch of terrific people. Lots of wisdom.

  • “Don’t let him be the last person you invest in.”

    Of all the advice, this is probably the most difficult for me to accept. I can move on with my life. I see that now. I was finally able to break free and take charge of my life again. I can almost be normal again. That only happened when I started limiting my contact with him. Stopped responding immediately to his calls for attention. What I see now that are obvious attempts at kibbles. Trying to lure me back in either to invoke negative or positive attention that he constantly craves. Those attempts are lessening as he sees his tactics are fruitless.

    Knowing that I am stronger has helped me move forward and do what I need to do to reclaim my life again for myself. But being stronger doesn’t mean the scars have healed. I know I can move forward without him having a meaningful presence in my life. But I don’t have faith that I will ever be able to trust another human being the same way again. When I look to my future now, I see myself, I see my daughter, I see a possible new career as I finish my degree. But I never see myself with another partner. I just don’t know if I have it in me to trust that way again and I don’t even know if I want to. I know it’s wrong and that everyone is not my abusive, NPD ex. But at this phase of my life I wonder if it’s even worth the risk anymore. Could I go through this again? If I trusted and it turned out the same, would the second time completely destroy me? I waited so long to be sure that he was the right one. If he was that good and so convincing, how could I be sure that I would be able to recognize another with the same intentions?

    There are some things that are worth the risk. Going back to school, starting a new career, learning a new hobby. But my heart is not something I feel I’m willing to risk anymore. I gave it up once and the person I trusted with it nearly ended me. He didn’t just break my heart, he pulverized it and never batted an eye, never looked back. I know I was just one of the unlucky ones to have ended up with someone disordered and selfish and mean. But I guess that’s why I don’t gamble. When I lose, I take my losses and cash out. My friends are afraid that I’ll end up bitter and alone. Well, I’m not bitter and I think that being alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re unhappy.

    • I feel exactly the same way! But I think it’s ok to have YOU be the next person you invest in. That’s how I’m choosing to achieve: “Don’t let him be the last person you invest in.” He’s not! I am!

    • I feel the same way, too, Done4Good. But I ditto what Chump Mama said. I’m investing in me now. I invested 25 years of my life to a man who did not deserve it and certainly didn’t appreciate what he had. I’m still working on getting a life. It’s so hard to start all over again. But I have my kids most of the time, so they bring me joy each day. 🙂

  • When I was dumped, I was also shattered. I found that pursuing other things such as travel (I went to the UK), new interests (began going to the opera!!), spent more time outdoors (walking, finding monarch butterfly trees, etc.). It all helps to distract your mind and heal your heart.

  • I was like this, but then he came back, and I took him back, and we’re happier than EVER! I love him so much, and I’m totally codependent, and my kids are confused, but I love him. I’m forgiving his 2 year affair in which he visited the OW every weekend. From now on we have a don’t ask don’t tell policy, because I find that asking him questions just means more hurt for me. I prefer not to know, so it won’t hurt me. The OW has found a new partner, so all is good. We can finally repair our marriage. YAY.

    • Ummm…been that confused kid, the worst feeling in the world. It’s not gonna last and you won’t be truly happy until you face who he really is. The OW is taken? He will find another one. It’s not that the OW was special, it’s who HE is. There is no repairing your marriage without honesty. Your kids are confused because what they’re probably thinking is: “Mom, you are better than this. Why are you letting him walk all over you and pretend it’s ok?” This is just the honeymoon phase and more denial talking. Your personality will slowly erode until you don’t know who you are without him anymore. Don’t give him that much power.

      • Amanda, you are strong. You get it. You inspired me to write a nice ‘thank you’ to my daughter who has been communicating with me daily since it all hit the fan. Thank you.

        MPLITW seems to be in the wrong place. I feel for her. You have great insight. But, she seems ok to have a dating relationship (don’t ask don’t tell) as opposed to a marriage. To each their own. I know I wanted a life after I found everything out (though in the beginning I may have entertained this possibility). She will either come around or live with it. I do wish her the best.

  • That’s why I’m a loser. Fired my therapist cause she said I deserve better. All my Christian friends have wanted us to reunite. I love being emotionally abused. I love being with a man who has said he regretted marrying me and who has told me he doesn’t love me but he wants to do the right thing. I love not being 100% happy. I’m so insecure that I think he’s the best man in the world. I am so pathetic thinking he’s the best I can do lol…

  • >