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Why No Contact Works

ncEver stumbled over the trip wire of narcissistic rage? Let me guess — you got uppity, asked a few too many questions, and asserted yourself.

If you’re a chump, you’re wondering what the hell just happened. Why we just can’t all be reasonable here? You’ll doubt yourself. Was it my tone of voice? Maybe I should’ve brought this up at a more opportune time.

It’s not you my chumpy friend. It’s them. Manipulators must. Exert. CONTROL.

Remember the three channel flip —  charm, self-pity, and rage.

Rage is usually a good sign you’re emancipating. Can’t have that! So cheaters get ugly to keep you in your place, but it’s also an indication that the mask is slipping and they’re losing their shit. The ugly is really who they are.

You see the advice given here a lot, “Go no contact!” I thought today I’d do a refresher course on why no contact is so effective.

First a caveat about what no contact is NOT. It’s not the 180. It’s not some passive-aggressive silent treatment to get your wingnut to behave. Fine! Harrumph! I’m not going to speak to you! Just watch me not care! Are you watching? Are you? Huh?

No. No contact is willing yourself to not engage with crazy.

Your unhappiness is not my responsibility.

I am not going to try and convince you.

I am not going to appease you.

I am not going to try and achieve consensus with you.

I am not going to be vulnerable with you.

No contact means being DONE. Even if you don’t feel done, it’s practicing the self-discipline of done until your heart catches up with your head. It’s realizing that no good can come from engaging.

When you go no contact, some powerful things start to happen.

1. Your head clears. The longer you stay away from the mindfuck, the weaker it becomes. The spell is broken. Not right away, but gradually and often very painfully. Almost like kicking a drug, you give up the drama, the futility, the hopium highs. Instead you start settling into peace and quiet. You get out of the crouching, cowering defensive posture and regain your sense of agency and self. You remember who you are, and given enough time and distance — you wonder WTF you ever saw in that idiot.

2. Your cheater works harder to exert control. No contact is cutting your freak off cold from kibbles. And that cannot be tolerated. So they will up their game to gain control and centrality again. They might make some “charming” Hail Mary plays. (Bootie call, anyone?) More likely, they’ll punish and rage. Anything to open that shut door.

Why do they do this? Why is no contact so essential?

Because it deprives disordered people of their ability to manipulate you. They need a portal into your head, and when you go no contact, you deprive them of that portal.

When you sob and grieve and implore them to Do the Right Things, and express your litany of hurts? They take notes. Ah, there’s the button to push! There’s a vulnerability to exploit! There’s a fear I must capitalize on!

You’re not a freak, so you don’t think like this. But they’re unencumbered by empathy. They’re detached from you. They just want what they want, and are strategizing how to get it.

If a narc wants your kibbles, you’re still of use to them. Some of them just walk — they abandon. You don’t have to go NC on them, because they did it to you first. That’s a blessing. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but it is. They’re not going to toy with you, they’ve either sized you up as too much of a challenge to be worth the bother, or they’ve focused on a new kibble source/victim and can’t trifle with you. Good.

But most of them are sloppier, pathetic users who need many kibble sources. They will test your resolve, see how much you still “care.” They will punish you for your disobedience and their narcissistic injury.

Don’t take it. Don’t engage. If they fuck with you, forward it to your lawyer. If they really fuck with you, get a protection order. Even if you have children with them, you can reduce your contact to the barest minimum. Do it. Your sanity will thank you.

This column ran previously with a few tweaks. Hey, we always need an NC refresher course! (And I’ve been traveling… new column tomorrow.)

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  • Mine accused me of sounding just like my mother. I bought it for years! Everything was my problem because of the tone of voice I used when I spoke to him.

    Now I realize that if someone pushes me to the point that I have to use that tone of voice it’s time to run!!

    5 months after he left, and inundated our children with the presence of the OW, he texted me and asked to see me, to talk about “us”. For the 1st time in 25 years I saw it for what it was: a pathetic attempt to get me back into his clutches. I texted back “there is no us”. The next day I bought a new phone & new number and he can’t text me ever again.

    • Murphy, this is when I finally ‘got it’. There NEVER WAS an ‘us’, not for him! I thought we were a team, I thought we were committed and united, I thought we were part of a family, with all the loyalty and effort that requires, and all the rewards that brings. And one day, talking to a friend, I realized there was no ‘we’ for him, as there was for me. Never had been. He would always, every single time, choose what was best for him alone, and even that on the short term. He didn’t see rewards or value in our relationship, or even in our kids’ family, not when there was fresh adoration and fresh sex on offer. He thought, and continues to think, only of himself.

      For him there was only ‘me, me, me’. When he kept mentioning he wanted to ‘talk about us’, I did finally tell him there was nothing more to talk about there.

      And it was No Contact that freed my heart. Now I really do wonder WTF I was thinking to stay with this man so long.

      • “There never was an US. Not for him.”

        Yes!!! Well said. A strong (but chumpy) partner can carry on in a marriage like that for quite some time, pulling the weight for both partners. When I walked away, my oldest said, “Mom, you were always the one who made things happen. Dad was just kind of … there.”

        In the end, he had the nerve to blame me for not involving him enough in our kids’ lives. Umm… you would have had more time and desire to connect with your kids if you hadn’t been constantly plotting ways to fuck the neighbour lady. No contact allows you to sift through memories and see things for what they really were, without the mindfuck of blameshifting.

        • +6 Even today after 2.5 months of him being out I realize it is all always about him. My son took a baseball to the cheek last night (it is swollen and black but he is fine) and all the narc was worried about was that it was “not bad enough that I needed to know”. Not how is he, do I need to do anything, etc but again all about him. It’s never been about us. The kids are almost just a nusance to him right now and I’m a nagging bitch. All he is worried about right now is his work, his homewrecker and golf. It’s sad and pathetic.

      • Word for word, Karen. It was a long, slow realization but when I could see he did not value any “us,” it was freeing, albeit painful. I spent three decades of my adult life futilely trying to reach a consensus with him on the value of us. Done and done.

        • Same here also. I used to mutter to myself that I had 4 children instead of 3. Hubby was #4. Three children grew up and launched into adulthood. Exh is now an old, grey teenager. When he walked out the front door, I locked it and said ” I have had enough of you, good bye “.

      • @KarenE – you just described my STBX. Wow. Then again just today, I was telling a non-chump about this site and how ALL our STBXs and Xs are so eerily.., the SAME. And the play out of the same playbook.

        But what you said about no “us”, never was an “us” – I literally said this (and have said it often TO my STBX when trying to figure him out and his actions/inactions – and how he always came across to me as “you and I” but never a “we” – never a team. Just he alone, and what he wanted.

        I’m assuming it will be like that with Whore, moving forward. And maybe, for her, that works just fine. After all – she’s a cheater too, so selfish is as selfish does.

      • “Never an us”. For nearly 30 years – I feel like I was on my own. He was always working (really?). He would come home like the conquering hero. The kids would wait in anticipation for his homecomings. What I failed to realize was that he was never a parent – more like a grandparent. Doing all the fun things but never the hard things. He was also bad mouthing me to the kids behind my back – never to my face. I read somewhere to attach an image of your spouse and then you will remember who he is – mine is not so horrible but it gets the point across to me. While I am busy steering the boat with my children – making all the important decisions – expecting a team player, he is busy pounding nails in the boat causing it to sink.

    • OMG, Murphy!

      I am 4 years out from D-Day and this is the first time it occurred to me about the “tone of voice” thing.

      My narc ex used to accuse me of taking a bad tone! Never equated that little gem with gas lighting, but come to think of it nobody else has ever had a problem with my tone of voice! Thanks for setting that one straight for me.

      • Yup, my ex too; if I sounded the least tiniest bit annoyed or irritated, or god forbid, angry, he accused me of ‘yelling at him’ and used it as an excuse to shut any discussion down, or disregard anything I had said.

        I used to think he was just super sensitive to tone of voice, coped really badly w/negative emotions. I still think those things are true, but I think this was also highly manipulative, and tied much more closely to his entitlement and desire to stop any discussion of HIS behaviours. Plus, of course, he could rage at me (and the kids), that was entirely justified and all our faults.

        Because no matter how calmly, how sweetly, how neutrally (long considered e-mails), how angrily or sadly or anythingly I addressed him, he was NOT interested in reciprocity or discussion or problem-solving. He was interested in getting what he wanted, when he wanted it, and in making other people feel crappy, in order to feel better about himself.

        • The tone of voice and if you raised your voice, it was over. He used to yell questions feon the other end of the house, so I’d yell back the answers. He’d yell back “What?”.. so i spoke louder and slower..which was condescending, apparently. *face/desk*

        • I got the tone comments too. And now I realize it’s not the time of anything….it was that I was objecting to his actions.

          From time to time I go completely dark and then out of the blue I get text messages that say “You only respond to what you want to”. Yep….that’s OWs problem now.

          • Same! Also routinely criticized for facial expressions.

            They just need blank slates to write themselves upon, and mirrors to reflect their (hah, not!) glory. Not my problem, now. OW is welcome to play that losing game.

            • Yep same here anything less than a calm passive tone was meet with ‘why are you shouting’
              ‘I won’t talk to you when you are like this , blah blah’ made me fucking angry. Anything beyond one sentence, shut down, any analysis of the situation, criticism of him.
              Facial expression, ‘ you should see the look on you face’ or you look your Dad, who he hated.
              I recently spoke with him face to face and was in a meh state of mind, he said ‘ I like you when you are in this space’ read: you are being nice to me and I don’t deserve it.
              And a text ‘you seem kind ATM’ yeah that’s called moving to indifference.
              According to him I have ‘ mood swings’ and I am certain he adds violent to the front of that when he is image managing and painting himself as the poor kind partner who wouldn’t hurt anyone, cause he’s such a nice guy routine.
              All manipulation and control.

              • after d-day and abandonment, before NC, if I wrote an email and used some words in caps for emphasis OR if I used a font he thought was TOO large, he’d tell me to stop yelling at him, he was hurting too. For a while I’d be so sorry and apologize (poor poor little man was sadz) until I found you guys and realized it’s an effing script.

              • Yep, got all of the above in a loop for years! But he broke lamb’s back in a rage, shot pellets at my dogs past my head, when he got tired of just throwing rocks at them, broke his big toe in a rage. He’s too clever to hit a person, so that’s how he did it. But I was a bad girl for frowning, bad girl for asking questions and explanations, he was scared of me, sad sausage…

        • Karen, you could be describing my ex wife here to the letter. I think they must be bred in a vat somewhere

        • i had three phone messages come through late the other night. Beyond my control I know. But my STBXH leaps up and starts moaning that I’m always making noises that keep him up, that I sit on the bed and make a slapping sound ( wtf does that mean?) and I let the drawers bang! Goes on about it for ten minutes. Screams at me it’s 2 o’clock in the morning ( no, he chose to put all the clocks forward already and it’s only half 12), and has a total freak out. Because I got three text messages. What a twat.
          Next morning I’m only up ten minutes and he is back in my face screaming about last night yet again, repeating all the crap he already said. When he paused for breath and I calmly stated that this was a one off, that I’d like to point out it had never happened before – getting text messages that late- that it was beyond my control, and btw I didn’t bitch about the noises he makes regularly that wake me up, I got a massive verbal torrent of screaming that I was trying to ‘score points’ and that I’d split the family up and turned the kids against him!
          Then he retreated to tend to his precious garden – the precious garden that he has never allowed the kids to actually play in as they grew up because they may have messed it up. And I’ve turned the kids against him? Nothing he has done? Yeah, right! BTW our kids are late teens/ early 20’s and more than capable of making their own minds up about him. One has left home as his dad threatened to hit him. The other is moving out with me when the divorce comes through. They are not interested in maintaining contact with their dad. Nothing I’ve said or done, all down to what their dad has said and done.
          Intending to go full no contact soon as out of here ?

          • Omg it’s same here, can’t believe I coped 19 years, same that my tone my expression and I’m forbidding kids to c him.
            It’s like they all have same text book.
            Mine left me 3 days before my surgery.

        • My goddess, your ex and my cheater read from the same playbook! No matter the tone of my voice- yelling, talking loudly, assertively, just talking, sing song, whisper, telekinesis, writing in air… It was always the wrong tone.

      • I lived through the “tone of voice” accusation too.

        Meanwhile, everybody else I’ve ever met complements me on my calm, Zen style of communication.

        I lived through all the gas lighting and blame shifting as well

        Now that I am no longer a chump , I am divorced and loving the no contact, I see all the exes games all too clearly.

        It’s amazing to look back and realize that I did recognize any of it at the time.

        • “It’s amazing to look back and realize that I did recognize any of it at the time.”

          This thought ran drove me half-crazy until I came to a semblance of an answer finally.

          I think in the moment, I saw each thing he did as a “one-off” action. Bad? Sure, but just one thing. Then another “one-off” and another “one-off,” etc.

          I just didn’t see the pattern. I didn’t see it partly because I subconsciously projected my values onto him, partly because I tend to be optimistic (okay, I USED to be optimistic), and partly because it’s very much in the moment — seeing the big picture when you are subjectively drowning in the mindfuck is so hard to do.

          Thank goodness for CL and CN or I may never have seen the pattern and understood that there is nothing to work with … (and there never has been). Here’s to moving on and moving up!

        • Mine gaslighted me to be bad at communication. Whenever I wanted to discuss problems (i.e. reasonably talk about my frustrations in the relationship), STBX pretends to be confused and to not understand what I was trying to say. Now that I’ve gone NC I realized my communication skill is fine — everybody else understood me — and that was when I realized STBX was the one gaslighting me. It’s hard to know back then that I was being manipulated as I didn’t know what gaslighting was and how it was a narc manipulation tactic.

    • ^^This and such perfect timing. Today is my official no contact day. I broke it and paid dearly for it. Rewarded with pics of his newest sex partner, who isn’t really new although I didn’t know this. I blocked all communication and have his email going to spam. He sent 3 telling me to stop being a fool and unblock him and I didn’t respond. I had a dream about him last night and I barely resisted the urge to email him! I’m taking this minute by minute. I bought Kim Saeed’s eBook Going No Contact Like a Boss – because I thought I was tough This Time and had finally realized he is nothing but misery. No Contact is breaking the heart connection and physical bond if the relationship is sexual. I look forward to him being out of my head. That is freedom.

    • I am legally separated so there are times I must contact him about matters pertaining to the sale of the house/bills/divorce etc.

      In the beginning I made the mistake of trying to get him to see the “error of his ways” to no avail. A word to the wise- don’t bother because cheaters/perverts do not think they did anything wrong. I stopped doing that and went gray rock on his ass. I only discuss the matter at hand with no emotion.

      I am planning to sell my home and move out of state to distance myself from the slimy, perverted scum bag. Once I am gone…..I will never have to see him again or speak with him again until I zip back to finalize my divorce.

      • I haven’t seen the narcissistic rage yet. I have seen the woe is me saga- because divorce is costing him money. Boo freakin hoo!

        One thing I am glad to be rid of is an ugly, scowl faced, old man- chopping his oat meal at me every morning- with vindictiveness.

        • Sounds like your doing greet. I moved interstate on a previous cheater years ago, honestly the best thing by far you can do. I got busy discovering an awesome new city and was young and free, never looked back and have never been in touch since, twenty years and counting.
          This guy was my first love and I loved him hard, now I look back and think how did I put up with soo much crap.

  • I went NC (or more like LC, as we had kids).

    My ex clearly hates it and has also misinterpreted it. In court filings she drones on about me being “angry” (I don’t speak with her…. How would she know?), and controlling (despite me not communicating with her, except through lawyers and by email about child arrangements). The lack of attention (good or bad) is clearly killing her, but it’s not why I do it. I do it for me and just take note of her manipulations and provocations and don’t engage with her. Occasionally I get what appears to be a well intentioned email from her, offering to do me a favour or something else. I just assume it’s a prelude to some new game. I could be wrong, but as CL says, I am DONE, so don’t care if it is completely innocent or a game… either way, she gets grey rock.

    • And I now feel sooooo much better – to CL’s point. Her behaviour is so clearer from a distance… how could I ever have thought about staying with her!?!

      • Some of them just walk — they abandon. You don’t have to go NC on them, because they did it to you first. That’s a blessing. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but it is. They’re not going to toy with you, they’ve either sized you up as too much of a challenge to be worth the bother, or they’ve focused on a new kibble source/victim and can’t trifle with you.

        This was true for me but I couldn’t see it that way in the beginning. Over time, and after reading the many stories chumps go through, I have come to realize it really is a blessing and that I am lucky he is just gone. His loss. Hugs to all – I’m moving on!

        • My story too. Early on I sent myself into downward spirals the few times I did initiate contact. Who was this cruel person who had been my everything for 26+ years? I can safely say that NC saved my life.

        • I have a weird dynamic with both cheating XWs. I go LC ( we have kids) and, for the most part do not hear from them much. But, on occasion, one of them will call to talk about the kids and I am fine with that. The weird thing is that neither has ever apologized or acknowledged the cheating. We all know it occurred. There is no real debate about it. It just , in decades now, has never been addressed.
          Both act friendly and want to chat etc. It is weird. I just try to have as little contact as possible.
          Never any raging. Booth have made overtures, early in the post divorce stage at regretting things ( vague) and wishing they had gone to counseling or something.
          But, I had always made it clear that cheating is a deal breaker for me- no equivocation, so the allusions to regret etc were pretty vague and short-lived.
          I am not sure that the NC affects them much and I do not care, as that is not the purpose. I just want them to leave me alone and they generally do.

          • I have an exGF who was obsessed with me cheating on her… which was a total projection on her part. She also calls/messages/asks for drinks all the time. I rarely engage with her, but same as you experience… never an apology, despite crucifying for the most minor of indiscretions (non-fidelity related). Just wants to be on friendly terms – I assume it eases her guilt if I don’t hate her…. I don’t feel anything for her (perhaps I should tell her that, but it might trigger a hoovering….).

            • Something very weird about a cheater who just wants to act as if she is your friend and never apologize. They must be very adept at compartmentalizing.
              I could never pull it off. Would need to try to clear the air or at least acknowledge it.
              But, I guess this is why they are the way they are and could do this in the first place.
              I just need to keep reminding myself that there really are cluster b’s among us.

              • Mine can’t stand anyone not liking him or being indifferent to him, centrality and attention, he wants people to like him and think he is special as he is insecure, that’s what it comes down to, the need for validation.
                We get that from our inner strength they get it from shiny pretty things they can suck the life blood from.

              • My STBX just tried that with me – wanting a “healthy friendship” when all is finished. Really? I just got the counter-response to my petition where you deny me spousal support, question child support, list all assets under your name, and refuse to pay my legal fees. All while continuing your 4 year affair. And hiding money. And other lies.

                And no, no apology. Though I did come across an email between him and Whore where he tells HER he’s “sorry” for destroying both families (hers and ours – something I’d advised him if while kindly leaving her dirty name out of the equation since it’s vinegar in my mouth and I won’t acknowledge to that end).

                These people truly are sick.

    • Ha. Yeah, I ran into this just yesterday. I am somewhat successfully applying NC the last few weeks…minimal answering of phone/text; shutting him down immediately if he tries to ambush me with upsetting discussions. Leaving the room when he’s dropping off the kids…it feels terrible because I would normally not even treat strangers so poorly. But what else can I do when even meeting his eyes gets me flustered and furious.

      And yet my NC got completely misinterpreted too. He wanted to know “what I was up to”, and he angrily went on the verbal attack about how I must be up to something, like plotting some horrible “act of retribution” I’m going to rain down on him and the OW. After all, he’s convinced (and I’m betting the OW keeps filling his ear with it too) that I’m a rotten-hearted, manipulative person to my core (ain’t projection fun?). I tried to explain. The discussion just went badly. So back to square one and trying NC again.

      So let me get this straight, if I talk to him I’m “not moving on in a healthy way”. But if I DON’T talk to him I’m plotting revenge??? I can’t win with that crazy.

      Maybe if he’s nervous about my intentions he’ll steer clear?

      • Not a chance. He’s Controlling the Space/Dialogue. He’ll keep going down his mental checklist of Piss-Er-Off Bait until he gets a response she from you, any response will do.
        Grey Rocks make great

        • And I think you can stop answering the phone. Let him leave a message and you can choose to answer or not, by email. If you don’t block him, only answer on email. That is less convenient but it buys you time to think if you really NEED to respond or whether he’s on a kibble hunt. Unless it’s an emergency, email works for most things.

          • Yep I scan the txt, if it looks long and full of crap I delete it before reading, same with v mail of him raging Delete, feels great once you get the hang of it.

            • I deleted my first email from scumbag without reading it. It felt great and I felt in control for the first time since all this started

      • You have to get to the point of not giving a shit about what they think or do other than how it relates to your kids. As for as the kid part, only care about what could cause them harm. Just go NC. Use on-line scheduling software for the kid stuff and never, never respond to another text. He’ll go nuts but who cares. The NC is for you like CL said. You cannot win with an asshole anyway.

        • This is a recipe for sanity and control of your life: “never, never respond to another text.”

          • Yes yes yes! I’ve been no contact for over a month and it’s great! 5 weeks ago I got a text saying he’s getting married ,..to the OW who’s 6 months pregnant. I didn’t respond. So he called. I didn’t answer. Last week I get a txt from him…”sorry to bother you, I just wanted to say hi”
            Uhhhhm? I didn’t respond.
            Texting a week before you walk down the aisle…why? To see if I still care? To make sure I’m still pining for you? To pretend you feel bad?
            No Contact! It works!

            • LRC, his pregnant soon to be wife? Like he is excited about that? NOPE! He is looking for kibbles, nervous about being cooped up with responsibilities, new baby on the way. Early morning feedings? Is THIS what a narcissist wants? No freaking way! LOL. Great Job on the No Contact! 🙂

    • Just got one of these last weekend. A nice text from him where he even thanked me for taking such good care of our kids. WTF? I did not respond. Sure enough, a few days later, he is back to sending me texts where he is blaming me for this or that.

      I just try to pick out the bits and pieces required to deal with in order to make arrangements with the kids and leave the rest alone. He bounces from one extreme to another that I get whiplash if I try to follow or untangle it. Better to just not get on the merry-go-round.

      • Yes, throwing out the occasional compliment is them throwing a bit of bait to flatter your ego and engage in conversation in which they will eventually stick the knife in. Don’t go there.

    • Have had the same experience. I will get a text out of the blue. As expected, it’s something needed. Not the confession that they know they were complete shit and understand you carving them out of your life. I’ve even had a talk with my oldest lately why the cheater gets this treatment and that I am there for her. Will always be. Don’t know how a kid could do something even close to what Slunt did. I will admit, it’s fun ignoring the Slunt and seeing the crazy it causes. Especially now that my replacement went into rehab and never went to work.

  • You know you have been through some serious shit when you start thinking you are ‘lucky’ that although your STBX cheated a lot, he is not fighting the divorce; that he is not a malignant narcissist; that you and your children are not being dragged into mind games just because he can; that he seems like he will agree to a fair financial settlement; he is not flaunting an OW in your face; and that he actually doesn’t really seem all that bothered.
    So count me as lucky.
    After 22 years however, of texting and talking every day, his silence (although I know it is good for me) is really hard to take. As soon as I came here and learned to stop fixing and just listen to him and think about his actions, this other person emerged. One that made no sense literally in what he was saying to try to explain and excuse what he had done. And now I NEVER initiate a conversation, there are none. The occasional ‘how are things’ which considering he has three boys all of whom are NC of their own accord and 6000 miles away, is a staggering lack of concern. He seems just fine. Content that I will continue to be responsible and there for the boys.
    No anguished pleas, no further ‘oops sorry’, he’s just rolling along like before. When he describes the worst thing that I have ever experienced as a ‘blip’ I can see now that for him he is being entirely truthful.
    So no contact is vital and does work but it really is no picnic.
    Hello. My name is Capricorn and I was married to a mirage.

    • Yep. It’s probably how he’s been — checked out, only now you know about the cheating.

      Forgive my cynicism, but you’re not finished with the divorce. I hope to God it goes smoothly and you get exactly what you want. However, don’t be surprised if he ramps it up — or you don’t really know what he has, so he’s okay with giving you half of what you think is half.

      • ?.

        I know…..thanks for the pep talk!

        You do want me to sleep at night right…..

        Lol. I’m in the mood today to say, yes I may also get very unlucky again but will survive it. I have chump nation after all. ❤

        • Of course you will survive – and better than that – you’ll thrive! But…CL is right – be optimistic but also prepared for some trouble before the divorce is final. My ex swore that he would do everything humanly possible to make sure the divorce went through quickly so we wouldn’t spend a fortune on lawyers. Stunning surprise (not) but that was another promise he didn’t keep. He dragged his feet as hard and as long as he could even though he was paying twice as much temporary spousal support as he would have to pay under the permanent order. 2x as much!! Every month. But yeah… drag, drag, drag. It finally got so bad that our daughter told him that if he didn’t stop roadblocking the divorce she would cut him out of her life for good. Even that didn’t stop him. I still have no idea why he did that other than loss of control – I was already NC, we had lived separately for a couple years at that point, and his stipper GF was living with him, etc. Even though it was against his best interests in many ways, I think he delayed the divorce simply because he knew I wanted out. It was definitely a cutting off his nose to spite his face situation.

          The only good thing that came of the delay (other than that extra spousal support) was that I found out he was withdrawing money from his 401K to pay his credit card bills (weekly visits to strip clubs, a live in stripper, lots of gun and ammo purchases and a cigar of the month club – that shit’s EXPENSIVE!!) and legal fees so I made sure I wrote in the final decree that when his 401K was divided all the loans were deducted from his half while my half was left intact. That’s how I ended up with 85% of his retirement. 😀 All’s well that ends well but it was unbelievably stressful at the time. It felt like it was never going to be over. Considering our kids were adults and all the personal items were already divided, it was maddening. So my dear Cap, I guess this is a long way of saying, hope for the best but be prepared for the worst – always – with these fucktards.

          • Oy vey with the false promises! I’ll breathe a sigh of relief once my divorce is finalized in a few weeks.

            Early on, he’d say things like, “There’s no limit on how much I can help you. Only minimums, no maximums. I intend to help you as much as possible.” But the reality is that he didn’t mean any of that, of course. And when he said, “I don’t have any debt”, he apparently forgot about his $40K in debt!

            Yes, married to a mirage. I know my ex’s birthday, SSN, and workplace. As for the rest of what I know about him from the 23 years I’ve known him, who knows what’s true and what isn’t! Yet somehow, I have to trust him to raise my kids 50% of the time. Lovely.

            Cheaters… their “word” isn’t worth crap.

            • “Yet somehow, I have to trust him to raise my kids 50% of the time. ”

              This is the biggest shit sandwich the court orders you eat. Your evidence proves he’s an epic liar, but the judge orders your children to spend their time with him.

              Four years out since divorce, and my kids are old enough and have seen more than enough to know they want nothing to do with him. But what they know and what they saw is something they will never be able to unsee. Shame on our fucked up court system of divorce.

            • I’m still early in the process. We separated last year, and our divorce will be finalized in a few weeks. Seeing the improvement already since last year, I look forward to counting the years forward, both for me and for my kids.

              EVERY divorced person has told me that same thing: kids always figure out for themselves who the more loving and devoted parent is. That’s reassuring.

              Not that this is a competition, but it’s reassuring that our efforts won’t be lost.

              At this point, I feel that there is a transition period each time the kids come back to my house, when they have to adjust back to my routines. Their dad’s house is all video games, morning until night. They even eat their meals individually in front of their games, with only occasionally activities together. At a doctor’s appointment recently, when asked about bedtimes, my ADHD son recently said, “At Dad’s, we sometimes don’t notice bedtime because we’re having fun playing video games.” Yeahhhhhh….

              At my house, everything is like it was before the divorce (because I ran everything back then, too, while my STBX was “working”… which I eventually learned was actually sleeping with his boss). The kids have responsibilities, and we do fun activities together. Thankfully, their school is wonderful and in line with how I run my home, so maybe that will help offset their life at their dad’s. One can only hope….

              I have no doubt that, in time, they will realize that their memories and feelings of love and home come from their time with me. I’m sorry that they couldn’t have the “full” family I’d originally intended for them, but that’s out of my hands.

      • So, Cap, if you’re good with the half of “what you think is all the money”, then take it, run, and end your lawyer fees. I don’t think we EVER know ALL of what these assholes have, and racking up lawyers bills may, or may not, get you much more.

        My mom lost 5 properties, including her primary home, accumulating $175,000 in attorneys fees to fight my father 27 years ago. She didn’t get any more from the settlement than if she had taken the settlement that was offered at the $25,000 attorney fee bill.

        So, at my divorce 25 years later, I KNEW Saddam was hiding his new inheritance from his father. But I negotiated to keep all of my money, and he could keep 100% of his inheritance. 15 months later, his entire $300,000 inheritance is totally GONE (he’s pissed it away), and I got out with minimal legal bills.

        Don’t go into a big hole with attorneys fees that will destroy your ability to gain a life. You want to move away from these Cheater as fast as possible, like the Titanic survivors who swam away far away from the boat. An albatross of tons of legal bills doesn’t help your ability to move on.

    • This. The silence is awful.

      I realize now that I’m mostly NC that ALL of our exchanges-for-connection last year were initiated by me. He must have been responding out of habit only. Once I stopped, that phone sat silent for days. Or anything he did send was devoid of any curiosity about ME at all. Once I started watching for that, it was glaringly obvious. The man-child that was wonderfully connected to me and constantly showed concern for my wellbeing and safety for over a third of our lives? The cheater that was in some sort of emotional turmoil last year, and still somewhat connected to me? Now he simply does. not. care. I could fall off a cliff tomorrow and I feel like he’d just say “oh darn.”

      • NotYourPlanB.
        Yes. The ‘oh darn’ if you fell off a cliff. That’s it. I laughed when I read that but of course it’s not very funny at all.

        • In my case, he wouldn’t even say “oh darn” … most likely it would be… Who? Who fell off a cliff? Huh. And then he would continue on his merry way.

          For you see ~ 30 years of friendship and 18 years of marriage aren’t even a ‘blip’ to my exhole. I simply don’t exist.

          • Jodi, Idiot was the same way towards the end. Probably wouldn’t even notice my dead body on the floor in the kitchen in front of the food pantry. But, NOW that it’s over, he emails “I think of you a lot…blah, blah, blah…..are you happy?” (eye roll) May they all get Leprosy on their genitalia!

            • I get I think about you and the kids a lot, and that’s it.
              Yeah fucking hope you think about us a lot because your an idiot for getting yourself in this situation.
              My Dad who’s as hard as they come feels sorry for him, this he how crap his life is now.
              Working 55 hours per week, up to eye balls in c card debt and single, oh well you got what you wanted, enjoy.

            • Omg! I get those “hope you’re doing well” texts whenever I open the channel bc he’s visiting our dd4.

              Yeah,you tried to destroy me motherfucker YOU! You are the one harming all of us– me kids extended family! And you have the guts to ask if I’m ok? Motherfucker

              You lost the right to know anything about me or hear anything from me.

              Crickets from me….

    • Capricorn I think our situations are very similar. They didn’t quite walk away no contact but neither are they trying to win us back. Mine is also acting reasonable in mediation so far with the stated intent of keeping me and the kids in the house with enough income to pay for it. It is almost irritating that he doesn’t rage at me. He just acts as if he is a reasonable guy who just can’t help that he fell out of love with his wife. Ok fine, but then he should have left me before he went shopping for the next romantic interest.

      The main difference for me is that he is still trying to be a Dad so I still see him and talk to him way more that is good for me and he still spends too much time at the house although I have been encouraging him to take the kids out more and he is gradually starting to comply. Hopefully when we get all of the placement and financial agreements in place it will be easier. I feel like he is using me for family.

      • Mine was banned from the house very early. Like after a month or so. I’m not having that old dog marking his territory, having cups of tea in my kitchen (I say that because I see a lot of this tea-drinking-territory-marking from other baby dads) forget that!!! Keep the scumbag out of your space. It’s too personal, too disrespectful.

        • I did the same. After 5 months of false wreconciliation and catching him cheating again and again he “chose” the slut. So I said “fine, but you are NEVER allowed to step foot on this property again.”

          My 6’5 son, his former BFF, his only son said: “if I ever see you on this street again I will beat you to a bloody pulp!”

          Douche gave up all of us when he “chose”

      • CIR it sounds like maybe in your case you need to play the game for now. None of us here know him like you do. Is he really going to be fair in the end???? Just be prepared for it to flip at any moment. Push for the divorce to complete as fast as possible. Maybe you will get all you want and deserve before he switches. Once the divorce is final, cut him out of your life! No more talking to you or time at your home. If he has the kids, make him text them when he arrives and do not let him in your home. You have to be hard on them. It’s for your own good. Mine isn’t allowed in my home and there is 0 communication with me. My kids are older though so that may not work for you. Your life is yours now and he has no right to be apart of it in any way. Hope your divorce is done tomorrow so you can cut the cancer out of your life for good!

        • Yes it has been way too slow a detachment. He is leaving me but he is doing it is slow motion and I am ashamed to admit that I have been enabling that. Angry as I am, it is hard for me to be rude to him when he isn’t (not directly that is). When I am just putting dinner on the table and he is still standing there I ask if he wants to stay for dinner. I shouldn’t do that, but those are my general instincts for anybody who is standing there because it is polite. That is why I almost wish for the rages, but he is more the passive aggressive type. I keep trying to go grey rock, but he knows exactly what kind of communication I can’t ignore, usually kid related and he knows I approve of him trying to be a Dad to his kids. He doesn’t just ask schedule related questions, he asks about their wellbeing and “how can we work together to do what is best for them” and all of that requires actual conversation. Sometimes he will do favors for me around the house, so then I feel like I have to thank him even though I don’t really need him to do those things (another reason to get him out I know). I also still need to contact him with divorce related questions as I have been the one working through most of the paperwork, financial disclosures, etc. We are gradually getting there, however. Hopefully having scheduled placement times will help. He has a small studio apartment but he does have a full kitchen and he could still cook dinner for the kids there and I will need him to do that 2-3 days a week to get the financials to work out. I am gradually pushing for more of that kind of thing. Just following through on the divorce and not waiting around for him to get to it was progress for me. Baby steps

          • Oh yes. The divorce should happen within the next 5 months. The mediation service we are using is designed to go quickly. The sooner the better. My first priority is getting the financials sorted out in a way that doesn’t leave me and the kids short. I have been doing a lot of budgeting for both of us to make the needs (versus wants) clear for the mediators. He wants me to keep the house. If I am not comfortable with the final numbers, I will refuse to keep it, we will sell it and split both the proceeds and the costs of selling and moving all of the stuff out. That’s his motivation to cooperate, not having to help with the move.

          • Oh can I relate to the slow-motion detachment. I know darned well he’s been taking advantage of my instinct to be kind and accommodating. Like ripping off a painful bandaid and taking 6 months to do it. Moving out one shirt a week….Part of why it’s been so hard for me to finally enforce some real NC…I HATE feeling rude.
            I can also relate to having to take care of all details to keep the divorce moving forward…which has always get epically unfair since I’m not the one who wanted out!!!!

          • I have a similar situation – it’s like he’s trying to *win* at being the reasonable one. And he takes the attitude kind of that he did everyone a favor, that painful as it all was it was for the best because we obviously weren’t meant to be together. It’s nice that he’s being reasonable and involved, of course, but it feels like another manipulation. And as a polite person, it’s uncomfortable for me because then when I’m cold to him, I feel like the asshole. He has me constantly wondering if I need to throw a few kibbles his way so he keeps up the good behavior, and worried that if I stay cold he will flip a switch. From CL I’ve learned that I need to do whatever I need, and not worry about him, because I am not responsible for his behavior. And so I stay little contact (we have a daughter) and cold, even when he shows off his best calm, responsible dad and ex demeanor. So far it has kept me sane.

          • Thanks NotYourPlanB and Rockette. It is nice to know that there are other cheaters out there similar to mine. They may all use the same playbook, but there are several variations. Sometimes it is too easy to come on these boards, read all of the total bat shit crazy ex stories and think “well maybe mine isn’t really so bad after all”. And yet, I still hurt.

            • Chumpinrecovery
              Yes we have the same one. Mine is abroad though which makes it easier for me. My divorce should be within the next few weeks at most. Financial stuff agreed and lawyer putting it in order for us both to sign.
              It’s all so sad. For what?

              • Yes sometimes it is frustrating because it all seems so unnecessary. We should have been able to keep our marriage together (and kick out the interlopers), but then he will come back with it wouldn’t be necessary if I would have just agreed to the open marriage thing. That’s when I am reminded that oh yes, the divorce is necessary after all.

              • chumpinrecovery, same here! If only I hadn’t been so rigid morally and let him have his open marriage! Monogamish! Don’t be so old fashioned! 25years is long enough to be faithful. Time to bring in a “friend!” Now I’m being punished financially and he is being a MONSTER about the divorce. He said, “you trust your attny more than you trust me” UH, I trust the MAILMAN and the homeless guy up the street more than I trust his cheating, lying, blameshifting narcissistic ASS.

          • You are doing well, but I’d say start with talking about not confusing the kids with his eating with the family and hanging around the house. If he has a studio, he has to get used to living there and being a dad there. Given your civility and your general kindness, you can couch this in positive terms. Maybe you can have a formal meeting every week to deal with his parenting questions and send him home with his dinner in a to-go container.

            I will say get every darned thing around the house fixed while you can. 🙂

      • My situation to has a lot of similarities. Cheater has no interest in the kids or parenting except for show. He is what I call the Photo-op. parent.

        I am learning to go no contact and feeling better when I do, but I live watching my back, waiting for him to pounce. I am getting better at predicting, but it is not a fun way to live.

        I have finally discovered that narc is merely an extension of his narc mother so the grandparent thing is my dilemma. My son said it best when he. Told me “dad could commit a murder in a public square and grandma would turn a blind eye.” After having uninvited us for Christmas because it made her sad that our 5 kids didn’t want to be around their dad, she didn’t contact them until Friday. She sent a group text inviting them to a birthday party for grandpa who has ALS. No explanation for 3 plus months of not hearing from her. She has never in 9 plus months said a word to them about their dad leaving.

        Meanwhile, while initially telling me his adulterous affair with a woman who is also married was wrong, she has since welcomed her as a guest in her home. Schmoopie set up a Facebook for fil and was his first friend. He friend requested my oldest daughter and son and that was their introduction to the slut puppet.

        None of the kids responded or went to the party last night and first thing this morning, cheater is calling my 17 year old son ( the only one he thinks he has any kind of relationship with ). And admonishes him for not going and tries to play the als card for guilt. He also told him he should have made up a lie for why he didn’t go! My son hung up on him. He does learn from his father as that is what he does lol.

        Anyway, people are ok with me going nc with cheater but I still get a lot of pressure to facilitate the kids contact with him and the grandparents. What do you do?

        • Your children sound old enough to facilitate their own contact. I agree it is sad that their grandfather is so ill, but surely it’s for HIS SON to facilitate the getting together, not you. Why on earth would you care? If they specifically asked you to see granny or grandpa, fine, don’t be nasty about it, but put them in touch with their dad so that HE can arrange it. His parents, be they nice or not nice, are no longer your own family. Be neutral. Honestly, no need to be horrible or make the kids feel bad IF they want a relationship, that’s their choice. You don’t need to get involved at all. Tell them – the kids – that, that they genuinely will get no flack from you (and mean it), but you’d prefer very limited involvement in the practicalities.

        • My XH pressures our 16 y/o daughter to have a relationship with his mother. His mother is a pathological liar. Even when we were “happily” married, my XH would admit that one had to pick & choose what you thought was true & what was not when her mouth was moving. I have gone NC with her as she continually made shitty social media digs at me before & after the divorce. My daughter has called her out on several of her lies regarding me & chooses to have NC with her as well. I am lucky that she is old enough to make that call herself. I just sit back & watch & let the cards fall where they will, provided my daughter doesn’t get hurt in the process.

      • CIR – greatest feeling in the world was changing the locks to the front door and not making a disclosure of it to him. Found his ass sitting on the steps waiting for me and my son to get home (this was after he moved out to date the OW “honestly”)… it was one of the better memories of this whole fucking mess. When I’m feeling weak – I’m like… you badass, you changed the locks on YOUR HOUSE (no the divorce wasn’t final yet but he was gone and I wasn’t given keys to his new place – though I did have to co-sign the lease because his credit score was shit… CHUMP!)

  • Gosh. I really needed this today. Divirced nearky three years now, ex is refusing to help pay for prom to punish me. I’ve been turning myself into knots about the unfairness of it – proms are expensive endeavors – but, indeed, it’s just a ploy for contact, which I’ve been good about not having, not engaging. It’s still not fair, but probably not worth engaging over.

    • Vicki,
      Mine did the same at the time. We were negotiating our divorce at prom time and he tried to use his help with that expense as a way to grease the wheels to get me to settle on certain things. Loser.
      His refusal to help in what is a huge milestone in your child’s life tells you and your child all you need to know.
      I know it’s easy to say, but if your ex has the means and refuses to help as a way to punish you or your child….that’s it, game over.
      Mine now tries to threaten me with the health insurance on our college daughter ( the same one he tried to fuck over with prom) . We addressed college expenses in the settlement but not keeping her on his health insurance, he assured us he just would……it’s his kid. Then she went no contact with him over a series of lies and now he threatens to pull her health insurance every time something doesn’t go his way. Because she’s not worshiping him, he threatens to take away her HEALTH INSURANCE…..our 19 year old daughter. Who the fuck does that??
      Go ahead asshole, I’ll figure that out too.
      You know, whenever people ask why we can’t be amicable, I just say that I’m not dealing with a normal individual.
      That’s why nc is critical, they are toxic. That’s why chump nation is our lifeline, because only the people here really get it. These MASTERS of their craft will lure you in with the idea that you are just speaking about paperwork or insurance, or kids school grades and then take you down the rabbit hole and 2 hours later you are screaming into the phone like a lunatic……ask me how I know.
      It’s like the line in that old movie War Games….the only way to win, is not to play.

      • I don’t know where you are located, but in CA college fees include a VERY good health insurance. It’s only about $100.00 annually, and you never have to worry about emergencies.

      • Oh the health insurance gambit… Geez, these dudes aren’t very original. Mine tried this one too. He had always provided health insurance for our kids through his employment (I was only working part time so didn’t have any ins. of my own) but when it came time to write the final decree he balked at having it included that he would continue to keep the kids covered under his policy as long as he was able to do so or until they had their own employer provided health insurance. He “said” he would keep them covered but didn’t want it in the Decree. We all know what that means… I’m sure he was planning on trying his hand at a little blackmail too since both kids had cut off contact with him. Luckily, my job moved me to full time employment at the time the divorce was final so I was able to cover our kids on my policy and so we were able to give him a big “fuck you and your health insurance”. The postscript was that he was VERY ANGRY that I didn’t trust him to continue to provide insurance for his children and let me know so in an email. My response: *crickets*.

        • Beth..”he was very angry that I didn’t trust him to continue to provide insurance for his children .” Yeah, right, I’m going to trust you with insurance when you can’t be trusted to keep your wanker in your pants. Idiot!

          • I can give you the opposite on the insurance issue. Cheater Ex has custody of the children. The support agreement says she is supposed to provide insurance coverage (her attorney insisted on this). However, the kids were always covered under my work insurance and I never changed it. I do not expect anything in return for covering them. They are still my children and I want to make sure they have good insurance. Well, for whatever reason, the ex was furious a couple of months ago because she went to get them covered under a “State Plan”, that I think is for kids whose parents cannot afford insurance (this is Pennsylvania). She was turned down because I still have them on my plan. I have no idea what her plan was here, but my attorney told her attorney that he would love to see them in front of a judge explaining why they don’t want the kids covered under a health plan for which they pay nothing and that I am not even required to provide. LOL.

            • I love this!

              My XH has to provide insurance on our daughter, which he does. I am thinking of adding her to my plan during open enrollment in the fall just to have it. I’m just going to add her & not say a word.

              • My only comment on this is to be careful about secondary insurance and the ramifications of that. Sometimes insurance companies will balk at paying claims if the person has coverage under another plan and isn’t using it. My insurance for work flagged my kids because of coverage under their father’s plan but I was able to explain that I could not give them any information about coverage under my ex’s plan because I did not have cards or access to plan details, etc. It won’t necessarily happen to you but something to be aware of, just in case. I’m guessing in your situation, if you continue to use your ex’s insurance for your kids and keep yours as the secondary, you won’t have a problem.

            • My wackjob didn’t want his kids named as secondary beneficiaries on his life insurance policy( that I always have paid for because he doesn’t “believe in ” insurance.) I’m the primary beneficiary. I can only guess that he was hoping I would keep paying and then if I die first he could name schmoopie and her kid to get the money instead of our kids..after I have paid for it the whole time. Nice loving father he is. I haven’t told our kids but just may one day… asshole!

              • Thanks for the information, Beth. He does provide me with an insurance card, so I’m lucky there. I do plan on keeping his as primary and then use mine as secondary.

              • NewLady15 If there is any way for you to take ownership of the policy you need to. You are paying for it anyway. The owner and the beneficiary are not the same and could result in problems. I assume that the lawyers allowed him to remain the owner. Our lawyers were willing to do that for my soon to be ex too. They assume that because the law says he can’t change the beneficiary while under court orders that he won’t. The law says a lot of things and he goes his merry way. Why should I be dependent on his goodwill when he has proven he will steal, cheat,lie? So I am insisting that part of our settlement is that he will make me the owner before we settle. He already sold me out on the whole life insurance policy using the cash value of $35,000 on his stripper friends. That policy would have protected me in future years after the term insurance runs out in a couple years.

        • At least I don’t have that worry. The kids are on my plan and I will keep them there until they are 26. STBX was also on my plan. I guess he will have to go find his own now. Actually, it is too bad I can’t keep him on my plan (which costs no extra) and then make him pay for something else instead (like summer camp) with the money saved.

          • Yes!!! Although, I will be glad when I no longer see his name listed on my ID card as one of my dependents.

      • My ex was not a “raged’ but he also shows his true colors with manipulation. Six weeks post suicide attempt, daughter wanted to see her baby half sister, but not her father. His response: if she won’t talk to me, she can’t see her sister.
        Two years later, daughter is no contact with father. I asked about college expenses as we begin the search. His response, he will only contribute if she consults with him extensively on her choices, and if she asks for the money. I am disappointed with myself that I permitted the college funding phrasing to be vague– no specifics on amounts, etc. At that time I still viewed him “as a good father.” Four years later, two kids with OWife.
        For those in the process, make sure things are spelled out in the divorce decrees.

        • Yeah that one makes me nervous as he is the custodian for all of the kids college savings plans. He can’t spend the money on anything else, but he could try to influence where they go.

          • Same here. He has already flat out refused to not only help pay for college but also to agree to continue to put money into the 529s (which we have done for years). He is the custodian on those accounts. Just another battle to look forward to…

            • Be careful here. As custodian on the account he can legally withdraw the money, as mine did, and leave your kids scrambling to afford college. In CA lady at legal aid smugly informed me that parents aren’t required to be responsible for children who are adults (18). Fucktard was happy about that, he got off on threatening me. As a single mom though financial aid came in handy when “Dad” chose not to honor his promises. In abandoning me Fucktard creatively dissipated assets both before Day and after in the two years it took to secure the divorce. All of our savings accounts were dumped to address his expenses—Whores are expensive, you know! ;D Be sure you address this early with your lawyer and in court proceedings. Savings accounts should be under scrutiny until division occurs and then I would make sure to divide them accordingly. I negotiated alimony (in my county a rare occurrence even in long term marriages) to include an education fund for my youngest. I realized fucktard would “save face” and I would not be taxed on money I would use sending my kids to college anyway. Good luck!

        • For children over 18 at the time of a divorce, you can attempt to get an Agreement Incident to Divorce that covers tuition and expenses.

      • Apologies for my misspellings in the original post – typed it on my phone w/o glasses – oy vey 😉

        Talk about a mantra! The line you quoted is absolutely beyond brilliant – one we should all repeat to ourselves when we get tempted to engage:

        “….the only way to win, is not to play.”

        Thank you for that!

        • That’s a great line. “The only way to win is not to play”. Play the mind games and roller coaster. No contact gets rid of those games and helps move forward.

    • Vicki: Since you’re unlikely to get much money toward prom, consider it sunken costs. That way you don’t have to engage him to pay for a prom that you will probably end up paying 90% of anyway. As Nomar once wrote, “Some money is too expensive.”

      • Another great line I am going to add to my list, thank you Tempest!

        I actually do keep a list on my phone of quotes like this, for those times when it vibrates with a text from the ex and my fingers twitch to reply. Instead, I read my list and then go from there.

      • Exactly what Tempest said, Vicki— for example, my nex-POS known as The Evil One, is supposed to pay 1/2 of all co-pays, expenses aside from child support. It also makes me have to communicate with him more than I want to, and then have to hear him bitch and whine about me “nickel and diming” him, so I just suck it up.
        I’ll take him back to court one of these days…

        • Ugh! My one year old has a rare form of epilepsy. I am NOT looking forward to trying to get him to pay his portion of out of pocket medical costs. If it was minor, I would be tempted to write it off as sunk costs, but it is already over $2,000 since the temporary order went into effect in the beginning of January. How do you keep from getting discouraged when everything is a constant battle?

          • Go back to court and get his wages garnished.

            Also, since epilespy is non-curable and only managed through medications, you should ask to have it calculated into the child support payment.

        • I failed to note at the end of our divorce process some last-minute clause that stated any health-related expense over $150 for any child must first be ‘discussed and agreed-upon’ in advance by the two of us. WTF? First of all, with our new insurance (under my name) there are co-pays and deductibles. I have no idea in advance how much any given visit is going to cost me. The last visit I had with my physician, he ordered $1400 in bloodwork, for which I thought I would have to pay my $600 deductible, but it was only $145. ?? Not sure how I’m supposed to proceed in the future with our son, who is now 19 and aged off of the state sponsored ‘Child Health Plus’ plan. This clause makes it sound like he can just say, “Oh? Over $150? Sorry, I don’t agree.” and then it’s up to me. Lawyer says to inform in advance anyway, and take him to court later, if need be. This is stupid shit, because on top of absorbing the expenses he won’t pay, I’ve got to then pay to take him to court? Has anyone ever dealt with this kind of a situation?

    • Child expenses are a total power play. I take responsibility for paying for these things upfront because I care about the kids more and want their needs to be fulfilled. But then I’m stuck having to go after him, asking multiple times because he’s not an adult enough to pay the first time, to be reimbursed.

      Unanswered emails. He OBVIOUSLY sees them. He has the money. So selfish.

    • Prom. Health and Dental insurance. Driver’s Ed lessons. X found a way to fuck up all of it.

      Prom? X promised our son the use of his tricked out Jeep for prom night. Then he showed up late at his own house when I dropped off our son to pick it up because he was out drinking with his “work friends” from a job he no longer had. Our son and his date missed photos with his class thanks to Dad being so late AND leaving the tank on EMPTY. Poor kid got gasoline all over his tux.

      Health and Dental Insurance? X conveniently lost his job the week of our final court appearance. So in addition to having his child support reduced by $500, I also had to pick up $500 in premiums on my measly paycheck. I don’t know many other losers who “won” at his divorce. Have I ever mentioned that he got to keep his half million dollar inheritance, too?

      The list of how he has been able to slither out of paying for his children’s expenses is long, including how he has stopped any visits with the kids on a weekly basis but still thinks he has a God given right to any and all decisions.

      I agree with Tempest. Having to contact him for help with payment is “too expensive” to my and my sons sanity.

    • Vicki-
      This just makes my blood boil. My ex did something similar last prom season. Report cards go out first week of April. They were sent to his address (although I have asked the school half a dozen times to send all financial statements to me…grrr) along with a tuition statement showing that I was behind on tuition. So what does he do? He leaves me (and my lawyer) a voicemail. Asks me how is daughter able to go to prom if I can’t afford to keep current on the tuition? Asks what I am doing with all of his money????!!!!!! A normal person would ask me or daughter if we need some help with prom. Asshole.

  • I was just thinking yesterday how they can cause the most destruction, betrayal, heartless cruelty – having no consideration whatsoever for you or your chikdren. When you get upset they say how bitter you are – get over it! They state this with such pompous arrogance.

    And then you protect yourself – change the locks, get a lawyer, file separately on taxes (you were separated all year and the lies, deception, betrayal have continued all this time! Like the baby on the way that’s been kept secret).

    And what do they do? Rage at how you are not considering them! How dare you!!

    Huh?

    Are you kidding me?

    If you point out the absurdity of their rage, you can expect the most ridiculous “justification” from them. Because they have no capability to see anything other than their benefit.

    How does everything benefit them and how can the objects (people) around them be bullied to make these benefits materialize?

    No one else matters.

    Not even their new schmoopie.

    The new victim texted our daughter about a year ago wanting her to ask her prince charming to do something – because if she asked him, he would purposely not do it.

    Lol. That is her prize right there.

    No contact is wonderful. A breath of fresh air. Yes, things look clearer. The moment you engage in their nasty insanity – the oppression envelopes you like a darkness that no one can understand unless they’ve lived it.

    No contact is a beautiful thing.

  • I am new to CN and my story is long but now that husband has broken my heart finally after 38 years married, I really wish he had just left decades ago. It would’ve thrown up a different challenge but maybe easier in the long run.

    Going NC for me has been impossible to do. I’m now 3and a half years from DD but still with him and not happy. I know I have to leave somehow but need to get my ducks lined up in order to do it. I so now get why LC is the only way to heal . The relentless mental torture makes me ill.

    • Sending gobs of support. So glad you are here. You will get there in your own time. It’s very individual. Strength to you.

      • Welcome. So glad you are here.
        In my 2.4 years since D day here are some things that I know are certain.
        1. No contact will be the hardest thing you have ever done. This shit is hard for anybody, but I think especially if you are not the one that made the decision to end the marriage.
        2. When you fail at NC( and you will I promise) just learn from it and get right back at it.
        3. Know that chumplady is right in that they don’t discriminate when it comes to kibble, even negative attention is attention. They will shift from nice to awful in a snap, especially when they know you’ve got them all figured out.
        I tried being able to communicate with my unrepentant cheater of an ex who abandoned his family for a mistress. It didn’t work. He would tell me why it was my fault, I would tell him why he was wrong, I would end up looking crazy…..the end.
        You will have your ah-ha moment where you just decide for yourself that there will be no more. That’s a good day.
        Now anything that he has to say to me goes through my attorney, blocked everywhere.
        It’s really the only path back to sanity.

        • Thanks Amiisfree and Paintwidow for your support and welcome. If I had discovered CL just after D day, I would be in a different place to where I am now possibly.

          My problem is that my husband wants cake. He said he never intended to leave me and doesn’t want me to leave. I was so shocked after discovery that I took forever to realise what his actions REALLY meant. It’s only now that I am processing the truth that he cares about me but doesn’t love me. That I can never trust him or love him the same way ever again. The damage is just so deep.

          Anyway, NC would be difficult because I have four children and six grandchildren with him.
          I think for me the time to have NC should’ve been immediately after D day. My feelings now are that I would just love to be on my own in my own living space, in LC with him because of the kids but totally independent. My finances are not conducive to that right now but I’m working on it.

          • I have more than two decades married and three kids (two adults, one minor), like you, mine just wanted cake for life.

            Keep working on the ducks — and please know that I’m so sorry you are going through this.

            Sending good vibes your way.

          • BeTruetoYourself–put the rocket boosters on that “lining up your ducks.” You are being emotionally depleted every day by being around, and clearly that is not how you want to live the rest of your life.

            As for “he would have never left you,” who gives a damn? He betrayed you. That’s as much as you need to know about his character.

            I assume your children are adults (given that there are grandchildren involved). If you move out and go NC with him, you’ll be amazed at how much easier life is. Furthermore, your going NC with him will reduce his own contact with the kids/grandkids (thereby making it even easier to maintain NC–cheaters hate not to be central to the drama). Hugs!

  • My ex publicly denied that our marriage was over despite me telling him that it was in front of a friend and a family member the night our daughter was diagnosed with cancer. His attitude was that “It wasn’t over I just thought it was” so shit sure of himself. He had spent 20 years grooming me and just expected that eventually with pressure from our church that I would cave and take him back. A week later I copped a barrage of abuse from the narc pastor of the church who felt I had no right to say my marriage was over till I had his permission. All I wanted was to stay as far away from them both as I could, but I had to see my ex every day as he swayed in and swayed out of the hospital as the mood suited him. (visiting his daughter and triggering me up the wall and back while denying any right I had to be angry with him as he was playing the all sin is equal card, my being angry to his sucking cock). I was angry, confused, broken and needing to rise to the challenge of caring for my daughter. Narc Ex did everything he could to have my attention, Get his kibble. It must have killed him to realize that he had spent years grooming me and I chose our daughter over him. Which is why he refused to accept it. At first but then the switch flipped and he became the victim in public and the nasty, cold son of a bitch in private. And people struggled to understand what my problem was as my response to my ex did not match up with their assumption of him. As what he did was kept secret.

    Now we are three and a half years on, he has remarried and he still does shit to kibble out of me. This gives him pay off on several levels. He goes out of his way to get in my space, I have to acknowledge him (kibble) mostly shows up to school as our kids and his step kids are in the same school or shows up to our daughter’s check ups (kibble). He loves to command space in front of people around me (kibble) who do not know or understand why we are no longer together, he then will start to impose himself by implying that he needs to be involved in my decision making, this pisses me off (kibble) when I correct this assumption of others because he makes it all look so amicable because I remain silent most of the time (kibble) because if I speak up of try to enforce my boundaries (kibble) as I still struggle to speak to the piece of shit without a tone in my voice (kibble), he flips to victim (kibble) and starts to publicly accuse me of abuse (kibble). He will also claim to family and anyone who will listen that he is the victim (mother load of kibble), he did nothing wrong to make me such a bitch and divorce him for no reason.

    I love no contact (or limited contact) because I have myself back. My kids have the real me for the first time in their lives and we have a great future ahead of us.

    • Yes to acting one way in public and another in private. Shorty after dday I had to go to x’s place of business to pick up a delivery that had mistakenly been sent there. Surrounded by his friends (my former friends) he was a complete ass to me and very sad sausage. They obviously had been told that I was an evil bitch as none of them would even look at me. He then followed me out to the car and switched to mr nice guy and attempted to give me a gift. Always playing the game. I ignored him and got into my car. He tossed it in the passenger side, I tossed it unopened out the window on the way home.

      • Ex was told by hospital staff at our last visit that he would need to sit in the additional waiting room to me and our daughter and they would call him in after we were done to inform him of her check up results. Guess who did not show today. Clearly not enough kibble!

  • Definitely the path back to sanity, but I know the settlement and official divorce parts are going to be rough. Miles to go!

    • Yes, but you can look forward to the sandy and No Contact allows you to glimpse it, believe in it, and taste it so you know it is there. Keep moving forward through those miles. Peace will be yours.

  • “As soon as I came here and learned to stop fixing and just listen to him and think about his actions, this other person emerged. One that made no sense literally in what he was saying to try to explain and excuse what he had done.”
    THIS^^^^^ was my experience back in the day. I also had the good fortune to not have the “malignant narcissist” type.
    Be patient with yourself. That emptiness you are experiencing is necessary. It’s what gives space for the goodness in your life to expand. Let yourself feel the emptiness. Know that the goodness will come.
    Blessings to you and your boys.

      • Thanks MissDelta. I’m going to take those blessings. I know I can trust what you say so try to keep my eyes forward. ❤

  • At first when I went NC my ex texted me, “What kind of game are you playing?” He couldn’t handle it. Maybe to him it was a game, but to me it was necessary.

    • Everything is a game to them. When our daughter didn’t want to see him after she found out he was lying to her – and then he switched things on her, putting blame on her…

      He demanded to know what game we were playing.

      They are seriously sick

  • Good morning Chump Nation. It is 8:00 am, and I am on my way to court to face my cheater face to face. I have been no contact for two and a half mos. I have a restraining order for 1 year. Thank you CL for “What part of no contact don’t you understand?”It was much needed because my cheaters family is pressuring me to drop the order and give her another chance.Once again you all are my lifeline to sanity!! Reconciliation is not an option for me. I have to stay no contact!!!! Wish me luck!!!

    • Cheater’s family wants you to do their job for them! Don’t! Court is awful. Good luck FMT!

    • Good luck in there!
      I truly hope No Contact has been the path to the peace and the light for you.
      Go kick ass!

    • Good luck, today. I hope your process of disentangling goes smoothly and that NC can soon be a permanent state of affairs.

    • Good Luck!!!
      Although you don’t need it I think when you have right on your side.
      All good energy…

    • Fool Me Twice, did you know that this is a violation of the protective order? “cheaters family is pressuring me to drop the order and give her another chance”

      Ask your attorney or the folks in the DV office. I found out from a prosecutor when I mentioned exassholes mother was pushing me to drop the PO. Use it.

      Jedi Hugs and best of luck! You be all Jedi Ninja

  • I was the lucky chump. My Narc abandoned me and our daughters. He went cold turkey onto his next victim and her sons. He knew his mask was off with us.
    Last week, after 4.5 YEARS of divorcing him, I was given the court order to finally get my personal and awarded belongings out of the house.
    He may have been silent for 4.5 years, but he and his whore did a fine job of manipulating the move out. Carefully placed wedding photos….baby pictures….our wedding invitations. All items that were buried in the attic. It was emotional. This was a house we built, I designed. The whore was in the kitchen dancing in the window as I walked down the basement steps. I wore my FU sweatshirt.
    Here is when the truth of this man shined brighter than bright…..
    Our daughter lives with him (unfortunately….she moved back a few months ago) she had been sick and I wanted to see her. She came down, visibly very sick. She collapsed in my arms and lost bodily functions. We called an ambulance. Severe Dehydration.
    Hours later while at the hospital I asked my Ex when I could finish the move. He pointed to the clock over our daughters hospital bed and said “you had til 5pm. You could still be moving”……..
    Mic drop……
    Cold, heartless, clearly delusional to what is important.
    To know I have to go thru this life and he is the biological connection with my children makes me sick.
    I see glimpses of his personality in my kids and it makes me sick. There are genetic traits nurture cannot break. It truly saddens me.

    The no contact for 4.5 years may have been a blessing…. but just a few hours with that man made me sick for days. I am left with a WTF was that? How did I put up with that for 20 years and not stand up to him.
    It’s been a week….I’m still having aftershocks.

    • What an evil bastard, Tracy!

      How is your daughter!? Hope she realizes minimum nursing skills do not come with cnarcisists.

    • Tracy,

      What an evil bastard your cheater is!

      I hope your daughter is better!

      You write” I see glimpses of his personality in my kids and it makes me sick”. I see this kind of glimpse in two of my three sons and it also makes me sick. The happy-go-lucky attitudes and stubbornness for starters. Cheater father would disqualify me when I would point these things out to our sons.

      Maybe this blog could discuss one day strategies to work this out of our children. My cheater’s father was Cheater Hors Concours and my cheater did did not learn a thing from his father’s crap.

      • One thing chumps can do is leave. That speaks volumes about what constitutes normal, decent behavior. Tell the truth. Model honorable behavior and honesty. Hold the narcissist/disordered person accountable for bad behavior–and hold the kids responsible for their own actions.

    • So sorry you had to endure this, Tracy. I hope your daughter remembers who it was that comforted her and held her and got her the help she needed. Not the disordered dancing in the window.

      Hugs.

    • Tracy–I know your story from the past couple years and your X is a full-blooded sociopath. I’m sorry your daughter moved back with him, to her own detriment, from the sound of it.

      He’s an evil bastard. Were you able to move more of your stuff out? Could your daughter assist you in that endeavor?

    • What a complete and total asshole. Everything you said is so on point with these SOBs – makes me sick and yes having to engage for even a short time triggers every bad feeling we have for them – for this very reason, because they are soulless black holes of human beings that we unfortunately procreated with. Love my child more then anything in this world but geez having a constant reminder of what a lying deceiving prick his father is kills me. I do see him in my child from time to time and it makes my skin crawl.

  • Ex was fine see long as I followed the Ric and he basically could do what he wanted. Like CL says, as long as he was the center of attention and I was Fetching for him we were good. He could sneak around with the whore, occasionally he would get caught, I would get all hysterical, there would be a fight, ending at some point with sex, of course.

    The only time I saw the truly, truly, truly nastiest side was when he thought I was going to leave, actually throw him out. I honestly think I saw a demon in there a few times. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d started speaking in Latin, and his eyes turned black (literally), and he grew horns. Vile person.

  • Here’s a story that hopefully helps drive home Chump Lady’s central point:

    My father (and hero) passed away Saturday, and I had to let KK know in the event I would be needed for extended periods at my mother’s house, as well as to give her a heads up about the events (wake, funeral, burial) of the upcoming week. KK I think did her best in her written response, asking me to pass long condolences to my mother and sisters, assuring me of any necessary flexibility as the week progresses, and (worded in a way that assured that her need for centrality remained in tact) that she would respect what she assumed would be my family’s wishes that she not attend the wake or the funeral. All good.

    Sunday morning, she sent me a note offering to take the girls shopping for funeral clothes if I did not or could not do that myself in the next few days. I fought the very strong impulse to say, ‘no, you are out of the picture, I will take care of this myself,” gave myself a present and responded that the offer and sentiment was very much appreciated, arrange with the girls for a convenient time, please submit a reimbursement request and I will remit immediately.

    In the afternoon, E the Elder had a gymnastics meet to which I took her. KK was there already and talking to another parent near the check-in table as we entered. She gave E the ‘good luck!’ speech as I paid my $5, and I went off to the side to await admission to the gym with the other parents. No eye contact or verbal exchange. In very short order, she made her way over to me and asked me if I wanted to have them stay with me the night before the funeral, instead of with her as is currently scheduled. I responded: “I’ll let you know through Our Family Wizard.”

    She then said: “Can I say something to you please?” I responded (again, without eye contact): “I’d rather you didn’t.”

    I have friends and family who would say: “She probably just wanted to say something nice about your father, or reiterate her condolences and sympathies. Why not just let her?”

    In an objective world, fair enough. But we chumps don’t live in an objective world. We live in a world in which our senses of security and trust were violated in incredibly ugly ways, for reasons of utter selfishness and entitled indulgence. As devastating as that is, the good part is that we get to set the terms of our own healing, in our own time and using our own preferred methods, without any deference or consideration toward those that violated us (as long as we do not get ugly ourselves, are overtly nasty or rude to them in public or online, or put our children in the middle of the situation). NC and GR allow us to do that.

    (And lest you think KK really had a moment in which she was pure of heart and motive and NOT on a quest for kibble, let the record show that this scenario played out while she was once again wearing the t-shirt given to her by the Rider of the Purple Dildo.)

    It cannot be stressed enough — NC and GR are not magic panaceas that make your cheaters easier to deal with. In most cases it’s quite the opposite. Rather, NC and GR work because of the empowering and transformative effects they have on the minds and soul of the Chump.

    • UX, I am sorry to hear of your father’s passing. You are in my thoughts and prayers. HUG!

    • So sorry to hear of the loss of your father. Your experience with your ex demonstrates that (most) cheaters know how to behave, understand boundaries and expectations, and when and how to express empathy and support. They just don’t want to do it 99% of the time.

    • UXWorld, I’m sorry to hear of the passing of your father and hero. My sympathies are being sent for your deep loss. You have been through so much and still shine with strength and integrity. Your daughters are blessed to have a father like you.

      You wrote, “We get to set the terms of our own healing, in our own time and using our own preferred methods, without any deference or consideration toward those that violated us (as long as we do not get ugly ourselves, are overtly nasty or rude to them in public or online, or put our children in the middle of the situation). ”

      As you usually do, you have expressed this truth in a such a well articulated way. Thank you for your writing. I will be saving this to reread.

      My mother’s funeral was this past Saturday. The strength and wisdom I have learned from and shared with CN helped me endure the narcfest and focus on what was important to me. I had been LC with my mom due to mental illness and narc abuse. I hope that you also feel the love and support from CN and that the greatness in your father’s life continues to give you strength and peace even though he is gone.

      Sending a virtual hug.

      • FindingBliss, please accept my condolences on the passing of your mother. Like you, I had a mother who was narcissistic and in the end suffered from dementia. That kind of mother is a kind of life sentence; we are cheated and abused in childhood and then need to deal with that loss of a mother all over again when they pass. Take care of yourself. You are a true survivor.

        • Thank you, LAJ. I always appreciate your wisdom and your kind and supportive words mean a lot. You nailed it on the narc mothers. A life sentence until they pass away, and then the renewal of the grief and loss of what you never really had. I am so grateful for the shared strength and experiences of CN. So many of us had similar upbringings that led us to be perfect narc bait. But now I am free to focus on my needs and wants and to live my life with joy and peace. The best is yet to be!

      • Finding Bliss–condolences on your mother’s death. Congratulations on surviving the funeral & its toxic elements.

    • UX considering what you’ve been through with her you are handling things well. Better than I would. My father won’t live much longer and i’ve already decided X will be specifically told not to attend any memorial or funeral. Not going to give her a chance for any kibbles. You’ve been through the ringer UX. I’m very sorry your loss. You’re one tough guy. I really hope your future awesome!

    • My condolences on your father’s passing.
      I, too, like what you wrote about setting the terms of our healing, without consideration of those that violated us. Friends, family and/or those who haven’t experienced this betrayal don’t always understand.

    • So sorry about your dad Ux. And absolutely spot on post about the “empowering and transformative effects” of NC for chumps. We’re not doing it TO them (although if it bothers them, great!), we’re doing it FOR us.

    • UX, so sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved father. It’s another big hit on top of everything else that has happened.

      But what a perfect post. What a perfect example of how to handle a cheating hyena who simply must insert herself into your life at every point. I so admire how you handled all of this. On some level, she knows what she lost. That’s one reason she still longs for those UX kibbles. Sending lots of love and hugs your way. And please treat yourself with care and kindness over the next few weeks!

  • “The spell is broken. Not right away, but gradually and often very painfully. Almost like kicking a drug”

    This was key in my situation. I had fought for him time and time again. And he expected the same on the final Dday.

    Facing that pain and stopping all contact was difficult however necessary. I gave him a.final ultimatuum and when that date passed I filed.

    Clarity comes with no contact.

  • How do you get the system (including your lawyer) to understand that less/no contact with your narc is the best when the system is all about communication with both parent is best for the children

    • You don’t have to get them to understand because it is unlikely they will. Instruct your lawyer that you will only communicate with your ex by email or preferably by Our Family Wizard about the children and have it put in your parenting plan and then stick to strictly replying to only child matters.

  • No contact would be a dream Do any of you have kids that want to see their father on their own terms – at their house? not at the place they house their prostitute. My stbx was over last weekend. He saw the kids arguing about something and he got up and said “This is not my problem” and left. My son got to see his father in all his glory without one word from me.

    Do any of you have a stbx that divides the kids and family. Mine only wants to talk to my son. I guess in narcissistic talk – he is the golden child. My stbx doesn’t really talk to my daughters – only my son. If I tell my son – 16 years – that is his father can’t come over, for a sports game on Saturday – he gets upset. He wants everything to be non confrontational. It is hard – the gift that keeps giving.

    I do feel I have been given a gift. A gift of a closer family, realizing the what is important and always counting my many many blessings!

    • There ya go, Freetobehappy, they always show their true colors…I wouldnt allow him in your home IMO, Ex can take the kids out somewhere, but let me guess- since the kids refuse to go to his house, he insists on going to your house?

      • You got it! He sounds so similar to all of your stories! He wants to come to the house, be the family man, get dinner, do a few chores and then back to his apartment with his girlfriend. Seeing it in print – what a fool I am! No Contact starts now!

        • Absolutely and totally refuse to have him in the house. Explain to the kids that this is how divorce works, and that you now decide who you want to have around and who you don’t. That you let things be kind of loose for a while, but now it’s time for the new reality to be put in place. If they want to spend time with him, it has to be at his place or elsewhere.

          Do not feed the ex, EVER, do not let him do chores (FAR cheaper to pay someone to do it) and do NOT let him pretend to be the family man. He’s the family-betrayer man!

          • ^^^ This^^^

            Do NOT let your X pretend to be a family person, cheaters are all family betrayers who are in image damage control or trying to play their poor sausage routine…

            Build your own life, with your own things, habits, and joy completely devoid of your X’s presence in your life, living well is the best revenge!

  • As your resident Chump Lady No Contact, the path to the truth and the light evangelist all I can say is:

    Read it once, read it a million times, memorize it, internalize it, and find your path to the truth and the light.

  • Besides NC, remembering the three channel flip is one of my life-saving mantras now.

    Charm: cheater shows up at court the conciliation hearing and greets me with tender shoulder squeeze. The pompous ass really thought I would break into tears.

    Self-pity: cheater has tried on me “don’t you feel ANYTHING for your “little bug”? (My nickname for him in days past). That only made me furious at how cynical and selfish he is.

    More Self-pity: Now he flips to this channel on grown sons. That he will be in broke if I get what I am asking for. Never mind blowing up savings on an expensive imported car, two new jeeps, four professional guitars and equipment, trips, jewelry and restaurants for AP, etc.

    Rage: since I was not manipulated by cheater’s tender shoulder squeeze at court he began his exposition for a conciliation proposal by telling the court that my family hates me and his family hates me and tried to make me look crazy. (This backfired, but that is another story. I’ll just say he left the court furious).

    More Rage: According to son who lives with cheater, he’s been slamming doors and swearing at me because I stopped paying his health insurance. This did make me feel awful, not for my sons’ father, but because taking this step meant having to own up I was such a trusting chump and bottomless kibble jar for so long.

    And more rage: Cheater’s lawyers’ responded furiously to the judge, who, as a preventive measure, has frozen his fancy cars and investments; cheater is full of credit card debts and now he can’t dip into investments and pay them. The only reason he has these investments is because he recently retired and raised a pension.

    I’m at the “I wonder WTF I ever saw in that idiot” stage, but as long as we don’t reach a divorce settlement, I can’t get to Meh. Unfortunately, fighting me in court is now cheater’s only option to control me.

    • They are so fucking manipulative! Especially in court. x pulled out all the sad sausage he could in an attempt to have the world see what a great guy he is. Everything was settled, we were there for the formalities. 5 minutes before our case was called his lawyer came over with a list of further demands from x. More money, more items. I was furious! And said fuck no. He is shooting daggers at me. BUT in front of the judge he makes this impassioned speech about how much he loved me and if I would just forgive him his one little mistake (over 30 years of cheating) he would love and cherish me forever, be the best husband. It was quite a performance, made me look like a cold hearted bitch. I could feel waves of hate coming from the room. The court reporter had tears in her eyes he was so good. My lawyer and I looked at each other like Wtf? My lawyer asked him one question…aren’t you still living with the woman you left her for? Right there he was worth every penny I paid him. Eyes dried up, divorce done. Fucking asshole playing victim till the end.

    • Eh, he can’t control you. He can just be a jackass and delay the settlement and try to cheat you. That isn’t control of YOU. That’s his attempt to control his money and the narrative. I think that is a powerful difference.

  • I am getting a lot of practice with LC lately and sometimes feel like I don’t handle it in the way I would have if I had time to think it through…
    Mostly it concerns dropoffs and pickups of our child. Since XH left last summer he mostly cancelled (I made a pedantic chart for attorneys that showed in the 5 months post abandonment and subsequent requests of our daughter (and I NEVER denied a request) he cancelled 67% percent of the time.
    Since the divorce was finalized in late January, he immediately introduced our daughter to the new host he lives with (and I do mean that in the parasite/host way) and is trying very hard to show up. (In my humble opinion it’s all for show to he new host, although I have to tell myself every day that everyone has the capability for change) He has “only” cancelled twice BUT he is constantly late, early or trying to change the pick up/drop off. I am accommodating (the settlement agreement calls for it) but only up to a point. He only has her about 28 hours a week but it still riles me up and I think he senses it which then has me worried I am giving him supply/O2/kibble in the “rage” arena. When he asked to come 30 min late for pick up (which I agreed to) then called our daughter to say he was almost there (45 min early!!!) I called him up and told him he needed to come at the time we arranged, he was nonplussed. He abided by my wishes but it leaves me with new feelings that go against my codependant comfort zone;)
    Can anyone let me know when those feelings will go away and I will get comfortable with asserting myself and my daughter’s boundaries?! (FYI, my daughter begged me not to call her dad back because she doesn’t want him to “get mad”;(

    • Nejla, I had this problem and I’m not sure I have the solution but I was able to make it easier for myself.

      After a couple of years of the kind of messing around that you describe, I sent my ex-H an email saying that his unreliability was upsetting for the children and that going forwards I would make plans for each weekend and he would need to give me plenty of notice if he was planning to see the children, otherwise we would go ahead with the plan and he’d have to see them another time.

      It didn’t make any difference to his unreliability but it gave me some kind of structure to work with and also meant we didn’t have weekends hanging with nothing to do, simply because he hadn’t shown up. I had no hesitation in telling him that he couldn’t see the children because he hadn’t booked their time!

      I’m not sure this is the right thing to do & I wasn’t denying him access but I was telling him that we wouldn’t be at his beck & call anymore.

    • I think structure is the best thing. There is ZERO reason for the pick-up and drop-off and time frames to vary all the time. There is not a judge anywhere who would expect you and the kids to wait around for an hour here, 45 minutes there, with a constantly changing drop-off and pick up point. That’s not about you accommodating; that’s him being rude and disrespectful. So here is what I would suggest:

      First, set up scheduling software. That makes a legal record of everything. You can put in school events or activities as well as the pickup/dropoff times and places. Every entry should require 24 hours notice for change or cancellation and (say) a 20-minute window to account for traffic. After 20 minutes, you and your daughter go home and get on with your day. In the event of emergency, you can of course make exceptions. But all changes need to be requested and discussed on the software site. So he has to log on and write it up, which makes a record. He can’t just call or text and make those changes. And he certainly CAN’T change anything simply by calling your daughter–unless she can drive herself. Then, if he’s late, you can check the scheduling site and respond. Make it inconvenient to inconvenience and disrespect you.

      You’ve diagnosed your “codependent comfort zone.” He knows you have this and he can indulge himself by pretty much saying “You and the court aren’t the boss of me.” If you have clearly articulated, reasonable boundaries and you patrol and enforce those boundaries, he will either start to behave more respectfully or the contact will fall off to pre-host levels. (That may happen anyway.)

      The problem with things as they stand is that he is 100% in control. That’s not “accommodating” reasonable needs; that’s letting him drive the whole bus. So wean yourself off the text/phone thing. Set boundaries that make sense to you. Use scheduling software or email so being late makes more work for him. And don’t confuse “accommodating” reasonable requests and simply giving in to his chaotic demands.

      • Thank you! Yes, I have considered the scheduling software because I always use email and have requested he respond with email too…he does sometimes but mostly uses texting and now has taken to calling our 7 year old and telling her. He had already signed a “kid’s contract” of things he will or won’t do when it comes to how the divorce affects our 7 year old. (Something my therapist had me give our child to talk about and sign) The “tell your mother” stuff definitely goes against it.
        My daughter is still in the “how high should I jump, daddy!” mode that I unfortunately modeled for her the last 8 years. I have been struggling with how to parent that out, but time and my assertiveness, I know, are the answers. Plus the fact that I am sane;)
        The specific day on the weekend happens to be a day I work so it is tricky. If he doesn’t show or is late I have a great babysitter who is mostly available on that day and a couple mommy friends, but that is it. He knows he can “be the boss” because I cannot cancel work at the last minute because he doesn’t show. I will check out wizard today. Thank you so much for the advice!!

        • For the days he screws around when you need to go to work, find a good, reliable baby sitter or drop-off daycare, and inform him that if he’s more than 20 min late (and make the pick up time 15 min BEFORE you absolutely have to go), you will be dropping your child at the sitter, where she will stay for the day, and HE will pay for it.

          And when you explain this to him, just say that the uncertainty about pick up/drop off times is upsetting and worrying your daughter. You are looking for ways to carry out child exchanges that are IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF YOUR DAUGHTER.

          When the court requires flexibility, it doesn’t mean accommodating all last minute changes! It means not being a dick about VERY RARE emergency-type situations that might cause lateness or changes, and accommodating RARE changes that are requested well ahead of time and that don’t interfere in YOUR prior plans.

          I have an ex who couldn’t fucking be on time to get home for me to go to work (where I made more money than he did), when our relationship was supposedly good and he was supposedly a dedicated family man. I have a very strict schedule, so this was SUPER stressful for me, and therefore for the kids too, and went on for years, for zero reason (he was perfectly capable of being on time for his precious job!). Then of course, once we were separated, he frequently just informed me very last minute that he was dumping his time with the kids. Entitlement, and ‘you’re not the boss of me’ childishness, all the way!

  • I so needed this today. Working through the divorce but resorted to name calling via text – nothing vulgar, but nothing complimentary. Had to be reminded everything I ‘say’ to him will be used against me in court ie. crazy woman who rants uncontrollably. NO CONTACT!!!!!

  • How I wish I could go no contact. I’m so much happier on the days I know he is not seeing our son. When he does it’s just another mind fuck but I do try and say as little as possible to him. Unfortunately being pregnant with his child means I’m going to have to put up with this shit for a long while yet.

  • I have an abandonment cheater who was so entitled, even though I was willing to let him walk, he chose to go to lawyers. I am now asking for things because he has cost me money.

    We could have been divorced back in January (in Australia it is one year and one day before you can get divorced), but he is dragging it out. He hasn’t even done full disclosure.

    Post d-day I allowed him to pick up things after the time allocated – Murano glass, then a coffee maker (I don’t drink coffee, good riddance), then an esky (I bought a MUCH better one). The esky was 12 months post separation. Then, because we want the rest of his disclosure documents, he texted that he wanted his stereo – 14 months post split. I texted back that as we were in settlement any requests should go through our lawyers. He texted back, really. That was such an empowering moment for me.

    Just remember, even if they discard, even if they initiate the divorce, they will try and fuck with you. Stay strong, take care, go no contact (or stay that way).

  • I have minimal contact, text only, and oddly it reinforces why I’m so glad it’s over. The lies, the self pity, then the anger that I’m happy without him. The begging and pleading have no effect anymore, the blaming of everyone but him for the mess. He even blamed the Owhore, if she hadn’t posted so many damn pictures of the two of them on social media, I could have gotten over it. My best friend, for tattling on him, the list goes on and on. I do get perverse satisfaction of out letting him know how good my life is without him. Eventually, I will be full no contact, because I do realize it’s the only way to truly exorcise the demon.

  • I’m a few years divorced, no contact except I rarely see x at gatherings of the group we met at, but I walk past if he tries to greet me. There is simply no possible benefit to me to engage with x. He can say the most innocuous things in front of others, and there will be a triggering manipulation in there. Like the stories of the biting insect or snake, it is his nature to hurt and take, no agreement will trump his nature.

  • I have been NC with Cheater with the exception of discussing the sell of the house. Well, not only did I see rage like I have NEVER seen with him before this weekend, my daughter was also lucky enough to witness it.

    We were scheduled to meet at our marital home, which is under contract and hopefully sells in the next 60 days. I wanted to retrieve the last of my things from out of the shop. When my daughter & I got out of the car and saw him, he had the biggest look of contempt on his face that I have ever seen. He had already loaded up most everything in the back of his pickup. I walked over to his Harley and began opening the saddle bags looking for my riding gloves. I may not be riding with HIM ever again, but I have friends who ride & have asked me to go with them. They’re MY gloves, I bought them. Could I simply have replaced them? Of course, but why should I leave them for the Ho-worker to use? For me, it was the principal. Well, the raging began:
    Cheater: “You’re so fucking materialistic!”
    Me: “At least I’m not a fucking Cheater.” & I proceeded to find my gloves & put them in my car.

    I noticed that a set of golf clubs that my dad had loaned him to use were not in the pickup, so I asked where they were.
    Cheater: “Your dad gave those to me! You can’t have them!”
    Me: “Those belonged to my dad & he loaned them to you. They mean nothing to you, and I really can’t imagine why you’d want to keep them since they were my dad’s. I’m loading them up myself.” He raced past me in a sprint, gathered the clubs & threw them in the back of the truck.
    Cheater: “You know, Bitch, I may have wanted to play golf!
    Me: “Go buy you’re own clubs.”

    We had some yard decor in the front that I had requested & was awarded in the divorce. I’d left it there because it gave the house more “curb appeal” for showing. He hadn’t bothered loading it up and I told him it was going with me that day. He said something that I didn’t quite catch, so I met him at the cab of his pickup as he was getting in, and I asked him to repeat himself.
    Cheater: “Get the fuck away from me!”
    Me: “I’d like you to repeat what you said, I didn’t catch it.”
    This exchange went on several times, then:
    Cheater: “Get the fuck away from me, you fucking cunt!”
    Me: “Well, okay, I guess you just don’t have the balls to repeat what you said, I get it.”
    He then tries to slam the door shut on me while putting the pickup in drive & driving off to go load the yard decor. I have a nice little bruise & bump on my forearm where my arm hit the pickup when he drove off, nothing too bad, but it’s sore. Before leaving, he hugs our daughter for a long time & tells her that he loved her. She couldn’t say it back to him…I think she was in shock about how he acted, but she told me all of this later that day.

    We got to my house, unloaded everything & I tried to tell him that I’d heard from my attorney regarding the QDRO from his retirement that I am getting half of. He walked off, put the truck in drive & spun out. Now, I get to email him about the QDRO & the house. Then, it’s back to NC.

    My daughter said that was the maddest she had ever seen her dad, but the reason he got that mad & acted that way was because he knows he fucked up & he’s taking it out on me. I’m pretty sure it’s that and the fact that he was looking for an argument and I didn’t give it to him. My answers were calm & GR as could be. And for the first time in 21 years, I didn’t back down & I got what I wanted by standing up for myself. My daughter & I spent the rest of the afternoon baking chocolate chip cookies, laughing & having fun. I hope it helped take her mind off of the rage she’d just witnessed.

    • Just keep being the sane parent. I have mixed feelings about your daughter witnessing her fathers ‘Rage’, its sad that she has to witness this exchange, but I also feel that she now knows what you have to deal with, and what her dad can really be like.

      This i guess is typical mask wearing in front of your daughter, giving her hugs, she is loved…then calling you a ‘fucking cunt’..whoops it slipped again!

      Kids aren’t stupid, stay strong and well done for standing up for yourself.

      • Yes. One thing I would do is teach your daughter that the C word is a deal-breaker. That’s a lot of contempt in one word.

        • mickey & loved…thanks to you both. I am sad that she had to witness the whole thing as well, but I’m also relieved that she realizes what lengths he will go to. Up until then, I had been pretty accommodating for him coming to see her whenever he wanted to, not that he does much, but I’ve never said a word if he’s stopped by other than date night Thursdays. Now, when I tell her he is not welcome in our house, I don’t have to explain why.

          Yeah…the C word…such a nasty little word & he knows that I hate it. It’s why he said it…I just let it roll & make him looks like the ass that he is.

        • Yes, the c— word is beyond degrading…The Evil One honestly never called me names when we were together, only now he does and usually in front his OWife

        • My ex- abandoned and went NC first, which hurt at first but I found CL/CN soon after DDay and realized that it was truly a blessing…

          One tactic I use with ex- is to wait him out. Even before DDay, I had learned a long time before that he couldnt help himself and would tell on himself, or expose himself…so once he abandoned us, when he would contact me, unless it was about our daughter, I’d ignore him which would only set him off and he would badger me until I would respond.

          A couple of times I did fall off the wagon as Rarity spoke of and engaged him in text-conflicts, a few times on the phone but mm those incidents were early into the abandonment/discard/divorce, since then – nah, I’ll pass.

          Over the last year or so, he’s attempted to contact me randomly with such things as “heard there was a car wreck near the house, everything OK?”…”did you hear on the news about…”. ..”what is DD’s favorite ice cream?”…but makes no effort to spend extra time with DD, or get involved with her activites, but he couldnt be bothered ….I ignore him and his bullshit lame attempts at contacting me…you would think he’sd been super happy with OWife and her 2 kids, why bother me???

          • Once all of the financial stuff is settled (401K separation & sale of the house, etc.) it is going to be so much better with full NC. I am praying that by the end of May, this will all happen.

            If my daughter wants to continue communications, that’s completely up to her. He gives her Thursdays for about an hour & makes zero attempts to spend any additional time with her. He can’t compromise any of his free time away from his current OW & her children. Funny, he really didn’t make time for either of our kids growing up, but he sure as hell spends time with her 12 year old kid. Which, that’s another thing that boggles my mind…He’s basically living with this woman & has been since before the divorce was final in December & they were screwing in OW’s bedroom with her child in the same house. I have no respect for them. My daughter is sixteen & I went on a couple of dinner dates & couldn’t even fathom bringing him to the house to meet her, much less take him into my bedroom & have sex with him while she’s in the house at the same time. But, then again, XH’s OW has the rep for being the town whore, so I’m sure her kid has seen several men come & go…Mom must have a revolving door to her bedroom.

            I have a feeling that once I can truly go NC with him, he will make these petty attempts of contact with me as well.

        • Oh man how they love the C word!!!! When the mask slips bam there it is. It really lets us know what a low life full of contempt we are dealing with. Nobody in my life before has ever called me that or anyone else in my presence. It is literally the most contemptuous word anyone can say. Yes yes run and don’t look back if they call you this! I wish I had.

  • I just had a sit down chat with my daughters, plans were made for them when I was going to celebrate my younger daughter’s birthday, I got upset. But I also felt I needed to tell my kids that it is my choice not to talk to their mom, and her whatever you want to call was screwing around with while treating me like a friend… Cpt. Backstabber?
    So lines are drawn straighter for my girls, they know Dad won’t talk to their mom, it was tough seeing the 12 year old sorta teary, but they also needed to know.

    • My kids handled this stuff much easier once we created the catchphrase ‘that’s what ‘divorce’ means!’. This helped them both with their own struggles in getting used to the new family configuration, and with dealing w/their father’s sad sausage behaviours. And even before they knew about the cheating, they knew the divorce was entirely their father’s choice.

      It’s a hard adjustment, but you’re teaching your kids a very healthy lesson; people who betray and hurt us, we remove from our lives. We protect ourselves, because we deserve to be treated respectfully.

  • I guess I am lucky that I have a cluster C cheater and not a cluster B? STBX has zero idea how to adult so he will call and ask if he can spend $20 (I lawyered up, packed the house, and moved 1000 miles away with the kids 3 weeks ago so I everything is still enmeshed). Other than the “how do I wipe my ass?” inquiries I don’t hear from him. I am grateful that he is too busy with his 21 year old “love of his life” to bother me, but it does sting that he can walk away from 13 years and 2 young daughters so painlessly. You guys are so spot on though with NC. It has been the best thing for me. Even though STBX isn’t narcissistic in the least, why give anything more to a person that has zero respect for me? I am new to this so still have moments of wavering, but I tell myself I am grounded from that BS and come here and read articles or comments and it’s keeping me out of his shit. Thanks to everyone for sharing your story. I would still be standing in the middle of that circus if I hadn’t found Chump Lady and Chump Nation! You guys have given me the courage to leave and move forward.

    • The “How do I wipe my ass ?” inquiries ! So funny !!!

      I used to attend a co-ed CoDA group and one of the men,in the process of a divorce and a suspected cheater,asked me how to hard boil eggs. My response to Mr. Sad Sausage ?

      “Google it”

  • I’m so grateful for this message today. I’ve been grey rock with Mr. Sparkles pretty much since I filed back in 2015 (divorce finalized in 2016)… but we still discuss our son (logistics) every week… so it isn’t quite the No Contact that I dream of – but it is the best I can do.

    And, grey rock is hard. You see them “pretending” and questioning your sanity over and over. Mr Sparkles the new schmoopie took my son rollerskating last weekend. All 3 of them skated. And a neighbor told me they saw them there… and it triggered me into a sobbing mess. I taught my son to roller skate… I went to all the school skating parties and play dates… Mr. Sparkles couldn’t be fucking bothered. BUT NOW HE SKATES?

    Who cares, right? He skates. Big deal. He also has personal ads on sites looking for women/couples/groups.

    But… it shows you why No Contact is so important… the cognitive dissonance will never resolve otherwise.

    You can do it. It sucks. It is hard. But, it truly helps in the long run.

    • I fell your pain ICanSeeTheMehComing. Most of us parents get it with what seem like the smallest of things eg roller skating. Something that to might seem so trivial or that you are being over sensitive to anyone else is a big deal to you, and IT IS a big deal. You have every right to turn into a sobbing mess.

      Lets hope the next time your ex goes skating he falls and ruptures his scrotum.

    • Why not see if you can use scheduling software for logistics? I don’t see why that can’t work. Don’t respond to anything on text or phone that isn’t an emergency. “Please send me an email on this” can be your response to text, phone or in-person questions. Email or scheduling software allows you to take time to respond. It doesn’t provide immediate access to you and you have to work harder to respond. If you use a dedicated email and link it to your phone, you can check it as easily as a text message. But being email, it’s easier to wait and reflect before you answer. And you can train CheaterPants that he doesn’t get a response ASAP.

      So sorry about the skating. He’s a hyena. Remember, though, that the past is the best predictor of the future. Soon enough they will go back to their negligence and indifference. It’s not so nice, either, for the neighbor to tell you something like that. Sending hugs your way. And remember–no one can touch those early memories you made rollerskating with your son.

      • Thanks, LAJ… I use Cozi like a rock star. He doesn’t. But you’re right, if he doesn’t follow it to see the updates, his loss. My son is 11, so pretty soon, he and his Dad can just sort it out (which means, Dad will disappear.)

        LOVE ALL CHUMPS. We get it and we’re there for each other!

  • As new chumps find this amazing community, we always see lots of posts about what various jackasses are saying, currently, to further the gaslighting, manipulation and mindfuckery of the chump. As CL says, no contact closes the portal in your head.

    But for chumps with kids, that means taking control of the medium that you use to communicate with the CheaterParent. Texting is an immediate extension to the portal in your head, as is the phone, which when it rings conveys urgency, when really 98.7% of anything a Cheater has to say is about getting kibbles. Yes, texting and the phone are “convenient.” But I’m not sure why it is important for chumps to make gaslighting them or manipulating them or hurting them “convenient.” Yes, those who have kids need to be in contact in case of emergency (which for a Cheater might be, “OW wants a booty call.”) But you can block CheaterParent when he or she doesn’t have the kids and unblock when they do.

    But the bulk of this contact isn’t when the kids are away; it’s when CheaterParent is trolling for kibbles. And that’s why you want to use dedicated email (set up a gmail account just for this) or scheduling software for all discussion about kids and finances. All. If you forget to block and get a text, the answer should be “Put it in an email.” Or respond via scheduling software. You don’t have to use the Cheater preferred medium. There would be a lot fewer posts here and on the forum about nasty, vicious, lying, manipulating stuff that Cheaters and OW have said if people stepped out of the drama and got serious about no contact. That means letting go of what these people think, say and do, probably before we are ready to.

    I believe in No Contact because I experienced it’s benefits first hand. For over 3 months, Jackass subjected me to a very cruel discard, with intermittent reassurances and reinforcement that he still cared, that his situation was temporary, that I just needed to be patient, blah blah blah. All the while he was turning into a ghost and doing it in the cruelest way he could.

    Then came D-Day and I confronted him. And he went ballistic about being “accused.” And over a period of the next few months, we finished out our business with a few snail mail letters on my side, a couple of FB messages (I liked the irony of using his Schmoopie account rather than email) and eventually–silence. He made it clear he would NOT talk to me, even to the point that he said he would “send a truck” to get the rest of his stuff. He wouldn’t even look at me or my house. That hurt like a knife in the chest. But over time, I found CL and came to understand that his refusal to face me was the only good thing he did for me. I had time to think, to heal, to read about narcissism, to learn from Chump Nation. I had the peace and space to get my life back. I didn’t want to be no contact. I thought I wanted him back, high on hopium and desperation and the dysfunctional bond I had with him. But being discarded turned out to be the blessing that freed me.

    I know now that I saw behind the mask in a way he couldn’t tolerate. He had left and hoovered back a bunch of times, in the guise of friendship, but that won’t happen again. I know too much. So if a cheater is still snarfling along for kibbles, no contact will shut that door for you.

    • My cheater abandoned me and the kids 5 months ago and we have not heard from him since. I filed for divorce 1 month after and when I saw him in court with his enabler mother he would not speak to me or face me either. We were there for child support and he didn’t fight the amount and willing signed over full custody. This was and still is very hard to get past. I first took it to mean that he made it look like the sad sausage routine but now I can’t understand why he won’t face me when this is what he wants?

      • Heartbroken —

        He’s just fucked up. Yah, you’re right about the enabler mom. His whole soul is a mix of chaos.

      • Heart Broken–Power. If you want him to look your way, or apologize, his not doing so grants him the power in the situation. They crave that, they live for it, it excites them. I’m sorry it made you suffer; in front of him, though, act as if you don’t care (and then go home & cry).

  • Or you can be blamed for going NC as my narc ex multiple cheater is doing.
    He abused me emotionally, financially and physically. Now pictures, chats and bank documents can prove that he also stole my money. He threatened me in many ways, I protected our children from his rages. Yet he is turning them against me with his charm and pity stories.
    His great strategy is telling all family members that I’m not catering him and that he’s lonely and I’m unfair, crazy,cruel and greedy. He never provided financial support and I often loaned him money. He had so many simultaneous affairs and sex buddies through the years: neighbors, friends’ wives, shop assistants, waitresses and hookers. While acting out the façade of sweet innocent puppy, he’s blaming me for being thrown out of the family and out of my house, bought with my father’s money. He’s such a con, he’s going to destroy my credibility within the family until I show them the evidence.

    • Get your evidence together. But don’t be surprised if some people “believe what they want to believe.” Narcissists and psychopaths (and others on that spectrum) can be very believable and he got the first word in.

      One thing that will really help you is not caring what anyone says. You know the truth. Stand in your dignity. What other people say is nothing next to your self-respect.

      • Thank you LovedaJackass. Pain made me almost forget about self respect which is of great comfort. Blessings to you.

    • Merrychump — He’s horrible.

      Sit down. Make a list of the bad things he has done, and who the authority is, get ready to tell on him. Dress up, calm, cool, professional. Not at all emotional. Okay? Let’s go:

      Adultery? Church or religious pastor, board, etc. Think it over carefully, get the sympathetic people

      Prostitution? Go to the police department. Tell them everything. His car make and model. Etc

      Waitress? Restaurant owner.

      Neighbors’ wives? Neighbors’ husbands

      Shop assistants? Shop owners

      Family can be pretty fucked up, and that’s no exaggeration. You might find, now that he’s “out” that you have a whole bunch of assholes in your family, too. Cheaters, liars, narcissists, addicts, gaslighters. Yah. Terrible.

      I’m alone, because I have a bunch of bad people in my family. But I’m not lonely. I have some friends. Neighbors, Church people. Still close to my kids.

  • I just finished reading The Girl on the Train. Suspense story (including red herrings) about living with a narcissist. There were many scenes in the book which reminded me of experiences I’ve lived thru. I am over the trigger part — for those experiences at least — but the book makes you think about finding the information YOU need to get it, and how much better your life will become when you start fixing your own problems and stop believing anything the Narc says. Charm, rage, self-pity and manipulation. It is hard to live with someone who does not value you, but who does find you useful, and who figures out how to punch all your buttons, and make you doubt yourself. It is like being hooked up to an IV of a slow acting poison, that drip, drip, drips into your system and slowly kills you, causing hallucinations while you are dying. Getting away from the poison is the only answer that works. Even after years of being away from the Toxic Person, a brief encounter can cause all sorts of relapses for the symptoms. I am so glad my son’s are grown, and I will have very few reasons for contact in the future. I have to prepare for any contact by putting on my mental hazmat suit, and reminding myself to keep any “polite” conversation to a minimum. I try very hard only to remember good things that did not involve my X’s from my past, and mentally cut them out of my life. It does leave some gaping holes in my memory but living this way is much better for my health.

    • I wasn’t going to read this book, but now I will: “The book makes you think about finding the information YOU need to get it, and how much better your life will become when you start fixing your own problems and stop believing anything the Narc says.” Thanks, Portia. That’s worth reading.

  • Okay so this has to be one of the most if not most important post Tracey has taken the time to create for us at CN. No meh can be achieved if the “US” fallacy remains in place, many of us ( and our lawyers) will guaranty this, that one is an absolute.

    Cheaters/ leavers are very very selfish people. They turn other humans into objets to convenience themselves. Period. No matter how long you have been together, 3 months, 30 years, it is of no consequence to them. You have been discarded for something better, something to benefit them. Let’s say for the sake of argument that the fantasy “soulmate” she/he leaves you for remain every little bit as thrilling over the years, let’s say they lose no money whatsoever in the divorce, keep the children adoring them, retain societal and family approval? Will they remember you? Think of you? Yearn for your love again?

    CN Sistahs and brothahs, cheaters have pushed you off the “US” boat. If they look your way and extend an hand as you are trying to treat water and survive, it is to grab something you have, be children who could be adoring them again, saving accounts, retirement funds, society support, house, whatever, something that could benefit them big time. You could be drowning, float away to a deserted island for the rest of your life, be rescued by a passing boat, it matters not to them. They want something because something on their side isn’t turning up so well ( soulmate disappointing, kids not loving them inconditionally anymore, lost savings and money). Something didn’t pan out.

    No contact give you the eyes to see the self-referencial preoccupations cheaters/leavers live by. Go back in time and review the three months, the thirty years you were together. Recall all these “I, Me, Myself” on things which mattered to them versus the occasional “We” which might have been used to say, buy an appliance.

    Meh is great but it needs to be facilitated, needs help. Hurts like hell but as the saying goes ” help yourself and the universe will help you”. Tracey is correct

    • Sorry, meant to say ” No contact hurts like hell but as the saying goes ” help yourself and the university will help you”. Meh as the result feels like heaven, this too is an absolute. Sorry for the semantic mistake…

    • In my case, me keeping the house is something he wants. It sounds so noble on his part, but there must be something in it for him. Maybe just to prove he isn’t really abandoning his family. See, I am making sure they are taken care of. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to move his stuff (he is leaving me most of that too and I can’t keep it if I don’t have a place for it). He wants to leave his old life, but he wants it to stay where he left it.

      • Chumpinrecovery, you are correct. It’s likely that he wants the option (at least in his mind) to reclaim his old life if the new one doesn’t work out for him. If and when the Hoovering begins, just say no.

          • Yeah, the old “we can date/marry again” gambit. But only if he can carry on as before with no judgment or consequences.

      • My ex did this, and initially I believed his protestations that he wanted to ease the transition to having divorced parents, for the kids. But eventually I figured out that a) he didn’t give a flying fuck about the kids, and b) he didn’t want us to sell the house, because he wanted to keep a Plan B in place – he thought he could come back!

        Then he completely messed up his relationship with the kids, so I think being financially generous so we could stay in the house was one way he could try to repair. He eventually understood I really really really wasn’t taking him back (I kicked him out after his 2nd affair, w/6 years of wreckonciliation in between). Then recently he’s beginning to understand that, because of his on-going behaviours with them (he still is who he is), the kids are not going to restore the relationship they once had.

        HE’S FURIOUS NOW! And of course, it’s ALLLLLL my fault, I’ve alienated the kids from him.

        So NOW the house and the money it costs, as well as child support and extra expenses, are a way for him to try to manipulate me and try to get back at me. He’s making as much trouble as he can.

        So we’re selling this place, so he has no more options for hassling me (the kids are now 16 and 17, and can legally choose how much they see him, if at all). Unfortunately, that’s not an overnight process, but soon he’ll be even further out of my life than he already is.

        The moral of the story is; it’s all about them. Even when it looks like they’re doing something caring or responsible, it’s STILL all about them. Accept the generosity as long as it lasts, but brace yourself for that to change in time, and don’t let him use it to manipulate or hassle you. Peace of mind is priceless!

        • KarenE,
          This is my story too. Mine said he wanted ‘zero impact’ on the kids and I as he left the house all giddy to run off with my teenaged daughter’s 20-something y.o. assistant soccer coach. I lived through this abandonment years earlier with DDay #1 so I knew the drill.

          I even helped him pack his clothes and he thanked me for helping him! Meanwhile I had already lined up my ducks and been to see my lawyer. I was going through the file cabinets getting financials together while he was out on his dates! He didn’t realize I knew what he was up to.

          Someone else from CN mentioned you have about 90 days to get this done while they are wanting to run off with the OW. This is crucial. He didn’t want to involve lawyers, he thought we could decide it all. He didn’t put up too much of a fight and I got it on paper and signed. Changed the locks. And went NC.

          Once my daughter figured out what he was up to, she went NC too. My son is still on the fence since dad is all sad sausage now.

          Now ole dad doesn’t have the money to pay for this or that for the kids. He’s saving up to buy a house. He makes 3 times what I make and child support doesn’t even cover our groceries. Such a loser!!! I think you’re right, it’s a new way to manipulate since you weren’t willing to be Plan B and they know they are never coming home.

    • Copying this, as it is at the bottom of your post and it is worth a second reading on the thread: “No contact give you the eyes to see the self-referencial preoccupations cheaters/leavers live by. Go back in time and review the three months, the thirty years you were together. Recall all these ‘I, Me, Myself” on things which mattered to them versus the occasional ‘We’ which might have been used to say, buy an appliance.”

      The struggle to keep a marriage or relationship going with cheaters/disordered people is often a struggle for CHUMPS to smash down their own “I” in favor of the cheaters’ “I, Me, Myself.” And I think now that is one reason no contact is so hard for some chumps; we are used to focusing on the cheater and so we want that contact. But allowing contact above the very minimum is the very worst thing we can do. Disengage from their wants, their needs, their mind games, their control.

  • I have made everything chump mistake you talk about on this blog, every one. Even though I read about them prior, I have come to think that it is part of the process for all chimps ; pick me dance, therapy and this one, thinking I can reason and talk with my STBX. I’m in the no contact phase, and yes my heart hasn’t caught up but I feel so much better. My cheater can’t blame me everything, put his short comings on me, no more yelling and threatening me. You are so right, I’m thinking clearer although I still him his voice saying I won’t be happy.

  • So many times when I’ve tried NC before, I’ve been pulled back in by him or my hopium addiction. And about three weeks ago I woke up (literally and figuratively) at 2AM and realized he had deliberately decided, knowing it would devastate me and blow everything up, to not worry about harming me! That he was never concerned about me. And that did it!

    We’ve been NC since that day. Interesting thing. Within two hours of me telling him no more communication, he texted saying he just wanted to see if I wanted to get together with him that weekend. Hallelujah!, I had the backbone at last not to respond. And then he was worried sick about whether or not I was okay . . . So why worry about my well being now?

    I think of NC as my cloak of invisibility.

    • Wow–that’s a powerful unconscious/subconscious mind at work. There is nothing in the world like waking up and KNOWING something that has been underground and working its way up.

      Oh, you tell him “no communication” and he immediately accesses the charm channel and asks for contact. That was a test to see if you meant it. And you passed with flying colors. Keep that invisibility cloak around you.

      • Thanks! Epiphanies come whenever, I guess! I’m afraid I woke up my dog with a very loud “sonofabitch”! Poor baby!

  • Here’s what I would stress to new chumps:

    NC is less a decision you make and more of a skill that you develop over time.

    Sure, there are chumps that go NC once and never fall off the wagon, just like there are people that don’t swear, but they are the exception, not the rule.

    You will try to go NC . . . and then you will answer that text. Or get into that argument on the phone. Or be unable to resist an insult at your ex’s expense. It will happen and you shouldn’t feel bad about it.

    But if you are diligent about it, you will get better at NC over time.

    I did plenty of falling off the wagon in the aftermath of my final D-Day and the divorce (even almost hooked up with the asshole!). Now I’m an old hand at NC.

    The other day, my XH was dropping off the kids and he saw a sci-fi/fantasy novel on my coffee table. He asked about it and I said, “Yes, [BF] and I are reading it together for the local sci-fi book club.”

    “I think it’s really great how you guys do so much stuff together!” he enthused.

    I was tempted to say, “I’d have done stuff like that with you if you hadn’t been out doing other people,” but I decided not to bother. Instead I just refrained from further comment. If he wants to pretend we’re buddies in his own mind, that’s his prerogative. I’m neither going to remind him that I hate him nor am I going to play along. I just don’t care.

    • It’s true; NC helps you get to the point of indifference about the X, and disengagement is the ultimate goal.

      E.g., after I’d let my X know 3 times explicitly that I had no desire for a friendship with him, contact with him, nor would I ever forgive him, we had to have a communique about which of us could claim oldest daughter on our taxes. He ended the exchange telling ME he didn’t want contact with me (narcs always have to be, or appear to be the one in charge), and that “I am a better person than you think I am.”

      Was it very tempting to remind him that (a) I was the one who had repeatedly said I didn’t want contact with him, and (b) he is a horrible person, both for what he did to me/his family, but also because I know he destroyed a woman’s graduate career when she wouldn’t sleep with him? Yes, it would have been very tempting, but I ignored his email entirely. Because I don’t care.

  • The struggle is real, y’all. Still living with (but avoiding as much as possible) my STBX. I’m not a morning person and that is when I am my most vulnerable which I think is why he wants to “talk” then. He says to me, “we don’t have to do this” meaning get a divorce. Usually I just say, I don’t trust you anymore and you disrespected me. (I know, I know, kibbles.) This morning I added, “you didn’t have to go to strip clubs and get lap dances, either.” Most of the time I do pretty good with just one word answers or grunts. I try to remind myself to never do or say anything that feels good when I’m mad. But, dammit, I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee. I will be eternally grateful to CN and CL. I read daily for inspiration and support, even though I don’t always comment. NC (or in my case, LC) has helped me learn to watch what he does, and not just listen to what he says. I’ve come a long way since the D#2 back in December. Still have much ahead. So today I climb back up on the NC wagon and hope this time I can keep my butt in the seat.

  • I have not seen him for about 18 months, we were no contact for a few months but then I fell for the, ‘we need to communicate’ trap, I allowed it on my phone for a while but then shut it down. I just couldn’t do it, just revived the old demons, told him, blocked him and no contact now for about four months. We are going into mediation very shortly, but I am very comfortable with that being our only contact, I will suffer it to get what I want. He will be okay with it too, he doesn’t want reminding I am a real person, much easier viewing me as a concept from his past. No contact is the true path to real healing, because the reality is that he is now just a concept to me too. He doesn’t know that, but as is the power of no contact, I could care less and won’t bother telling him. Fuck him!

  • ITA– my family members and friends think that I should reprimand my ex for his often snarky emails, and I tell them, “No– that’s what he wants!” I’m sure he’d love any little morsel of attention that I could throw his way, so my standard response is either complete silence or “Okay” if a response in the affirmative is required. I know that my friends and family think he’s getting away with a lot, but they don’t seem to understand that NC gives me peace.

    I don’t care if he thinks he’s clever when he sends me a snotty comment or thinks that he’s put me in my place. He can think that all he wants; I’m not going to fuel the fire in any way. He continues to be a jerk to me, and I know that it’s not about me– it’s about a man who will never be happy. I, however, am much happier, and I attribute that in part to remaining as NC with him as possible.

  • NC has become my religion in regards to the disordered. Honestly, I think a lot of people are not capable of enduring the pain at the beginning (first 3 months or so) because they think it will just continue to be that bad. It IS harrowing. And it is harder for people who tend to have anxious attachment patterns, because you really do have to detox off these people, and withdrawal hurts like a motherfucker. The thing you have to know is, that if you keep going with NC, it will give you an entirely new lease on life. Not only will you get free of the pain, but you will no longer care. You’ll get your laughter back. To continue to engage with the disordered as if they can somehow, someday become reasonable people is to still be spackling, and you are still in your delusion. Breaking delusions is difficult work and takes strong character, commitment, and determination. Some days you will feel as if you’re hanging on by your fingernails and all you wanna do is call and call and text and email them about how they’ve ruined your life. But the urge passes, whether you do those things or not.

    The promised land awaits. NC is the portal.

    • Thanks, K. That’s exactly how I’m feeling today–it’s withdrawals. So I come to read more CL instead of texting or snooping. I’m honestly tired. It is so damn hard, but it helps to know others have made it through. If I need to text someone, I’ve got plenty of friends and a whole world of internet strangers!

  • Sorry, I haven’t read all of the comments, but I feel impelled to thank CL for this: “They will punish you for your disobedience and their narcissistic injury.”

    For newbies, people just sorting through what in the hell is going on, please heed this information. When I started unraveling the knot of lies and deception that had been my life, I started calling my asshat out on his horrendous behavior — trying to get him to take some form of accountability (yeah, serious facepalm in hindsight). He went completely unhinged — the needing an order of protection kind of unhinged.

    When he was in the mental ward for his suicide attempt, I told him I had informed his mom. He was giddy! He took my practical human consideration of informing his mom as some grand gesture of love?! I cut contact after that.

    Even now, with a third party as our go-between, he has flipped to the charm channel and is trying to woo me back and to worm his way in by playing super dad (quite suddenly).

    My experience fully backs up what CL is saying — the charm, self-pity, and rage channels are on an infinite loop, so trust in the process … No Contact No Contact No Contact.

  • I had my DDay and pick-me-danced for about a week and a half before (I think he realized I could see what a horrible little worm he was) he claimed he didn’t want to be married anymore. Fine by me! I filed a week later and we were divorced within a little over a month from DDay. But, before that, I saw so many attempts from him to get back into my world. Her underwear in my work bag (I gave NO reaction). Him telling me I’m pathetic and should be ashamed of myself (projection much?). That last bit got a “please don’t contact me again” from me. Then, I blocked him on everything. He triangulated by contacting people from our church so that they would “check in on me.” Apparently he was “worried sick” because I was acting so “un-Christian” and had damaged his property twice (?!still completely unsure of what that last bit was about.) He kept at it for months, even bitching to people he knew that we had in common that he didn’t get to keep one of the dogs and was going to steal him.

    It’s been about a year and a half since I went no contact and I’ve never looked back. He raged. He self-pitied. He was completely unhinged. But, me? I found freedom from a person who I came to find out was a textbook example of NPD and a sociopath. No contact saved my sanity and was the BEST thing I could have EVERdone!

  • Fucktard ex too went through those channels. Self-pity, charm, rage. Second week after he left he was crying about how hard life was. Two years after he had moved out of all our lives (he was now spending all his free time out of state hooking up with his “true love” AP, snort!) he came by and vandalized the house we built. That he had allowed to foreclose. I called the police and let them deal with his crazy disordered ass. When my family showed up to help me move he stopped by (an hour plus drive out of his way) to chat everyone up. Same guy who moved out with just his belongings. Like, who the fuck does that!?!?

  • I can’t stand liars and being lied to. Some people just can’t stop themselves from lying all the time (not that even they try to change). No contact is the only remedy. I don’t have to listen to all that bullshit anymore.

    I don’t post often but I’m a faithful reader/lurker. Thanks for the helpful topics and your stories. Hugs to CL and the great Chump Nation.

  • OMG, you guys. I just found this forum. Mine is 59 still pining for a woman 8k miles away he “loved” when he was 16. We are not married. In July, I saw the first explicit email from her when he was (idiot) trying to find an email to show me not realizing all her shit was up on his huge computer screen. I went back the next day while he was at work and removed every single piece of me, tossed his keys on his bed and walked. Devastated, he crawled back, strung out, two weeks later. Said he cut it off, bla bla bla. Now, 6 months later, her name pops up on his cell phone, sitting in my truck. WTF? oh, she checked on my dad (who lives 8k miles away, she is the ONLY person out there who can check on his parents, geez, come on!!)…then, i did it. After a lifetime of respecting privacy and NEVER looking at a phone or wallet I looked at his phone Sunday morning and there she was, saying “night night lover xoxoxo”. I threw up. This is literally what I say every night to him before I go to bed.
    In a matter of 7 days, I have been reduced to a pretzel, contorting my boundaries, self esteem and self respect in order to “prove” to myself he can’t be trusted. I am now going to live my life looking for evidence he is talking to her? I will be in the nut house inside of a week. His response to her texts? Oh, she’s no threat to you, she’s 8k miles away! Geez! Wow, not the point idiot.

    Thank you for the phrase “pick me, pick me”. Thank you for, Let her have his hot mess, I will be the real winner. Thank you for, charm, self pity and rage. I didn’t realize that is what was happening. My feelings, anger and emotions have been held hostage by him. Whenever I would bring something up, or my instincts were screaming at me, he would get “triggered” into the nightmare of his ex wife, raging at me as if I was her. Then he would apologize, just like an abuser does. I essentially stuffed my feelings and instincts for fear of unleashing the “Trigger of Lisa”, his excuse for unacceptable behavior. HOLY FKG COW PEOPLE. You are saving me right now. Literally. I never saw him as controlling. He was the guy not responsible for all that has happened to him. Now I can see it completely, and I will be just another person to blame for his inability to man up.

    He has not once said he will cut contact with her; has not gone out of his way to prove it was nothing, show me his phone or said he wants to earn my trust back. He thinks, I guess, I will stay again. He wants cake and more cake. He actually said, “you aren’t number 2 or 3, babe, you are number 1″…awe, wasn’t that sweet???

    help me detatch…

    • Brooks, you’re definitely on to something. Silently and carefully plan your exit. Start talking to lawyers and document everything.

      When you are well on your way out, drop the bomb on him by cutting him off first.

      Then establish No Contact (as hard as it is for the first few months) in order to start moving on. No Contact is hard, but is the ultimate weapon and shield against those nasty narc abusers.

      You’ve given him everything — yet he deserves NOTHING from you.

      • Hey CeliA, thanks. changed my name, but its me, Brooks. I am saying nothing, planning the leaving and gaining courage, strength, resolve and detaching a little every day. I left too fast last time and went back. This time, it will happen the way I need it to. Thanks.

  • I was also #1 (the acknowledged wife, the main relationship, the beard). But you’re only #1 if there’s also a #2, #3…#x. And you’re only #1 when you’re in front of them feeding them kibbles. Once they leave your sight, or if you just aren’t feeding the beast, you are put out of mind. They’re searching for their next “fix”, always.

    I didn’t sign up to be #1, I signed up to be the One and Only. That was the deal, and everyone knew it.

    I didn’t accept less. You shouldn’t either Brooks. It doesn’t get better with these lack-of-characters, this is the best you’re going to get. As for that new cheater-free life, though there were more than a few birthing pains to my new life, it’s so much more peaceful with less of The Disorder in my life. I am so much more “me”. If that doesn’t makes sense to you, don’t worry, it barely makes sense to me either yet.

    Wishing you the strength to do what you know you need to do. After all, you’re here.

    • Thank you for your kind words and support. I tried to change my name on this blog because I am so paranoid, someone might figure out who I am talking about…like the OW 8k miles away?! See, the nuttin out has started. I was thinking last night…who was he cheating on (emotionally anyway)? Her, as he was talking with her prior to the start of our relationship? Or me, as we were in an actual committed, or so I thought, relationship? He was emailing her the entire time up until I caught him. Wow.
      Lets see, this was the response the first time which was 7 months ago:
      I wasn’t looking for you and you came along and blew me away, I wanted to stop with her, but just didn’t want to deal with hurting her.
      Then he broke it off with her. (HAHAHA) I believed him. 🙁

      And they she texted him 2 weeks ago…so round two goes like this…

      She is only helping me check on my mom who is ill. I don’t flirt with her. (But her texts to him are , “god, i love you so much, it just doesn’t stop”, “oh, we have so much to catch up on”, “xoxoxo”, “i’m still jealous” and my personal gut punch “night night lover, xoxoxoxo”. She could only know exactly how we text each other goodnight if he has been texting her THE EXACT SAME WORDS. Saves on mistakes and mixing up who you are talking to I guess.
      “I just don’t want to hurt anyone…the last time I “broke it off with her, it was a nightmare, she was hysterical, crying, I felt awful”…poor baby.
      “I am trying to figure out a way to cut her off. My life is here, with you.”
      “She is an old family friend and is the only one near my folks who can check on them for me, what can I do?”
      “Well, she is 8k miles away, I am not going anywhere.”
      “Don’t you hear me, she is NOT A THREAT to you.”

      Unfortunately, I have seen zero of what his responses are. I can only see the bubbles on the screen of his phone. But really, what proof do I need? If it was all as innocent as he claims, why didn’t he show me his phone so I could read how he responds to her?
      Why hasn’t he gone “No Contact”?

      God, would I LOVE to drink the cool aide! Sad, I know, but like you said, I am here, therefore, I am moving…
      I am coming to this blog daily, to learn, to build my resolve, and to see clearly the ugly ugly truth.

  • I have three children, 2, 8, 10…the older two are extremely involved in activities. How do I go no contact with children?

    • For starters, the court system now for people in our situations is broken so the best strategy is all contact be in writing!!!!! It reduces conflict and reduces your narc from being able to take “pop-shots” at you, agreeing to terms and then denying them (since it’s not recorded you can’t use it against them), being argumentative and combative. Your asshole narc will HATE it because having open dialog is their weapon of choice. If you aren’t divorced yet MAKE SURE it’s in the parenting plan that communication will be in writing. He and his lawyers will fight you on this issue at some point and say he needs immediate contact with you for emergencies. My recommendation: get an IPhone and set your email account to come to your phone so you get immediate notification and can use that as your rebuttal. If you use text as part of your “in writing” use it wisely!!!! They see text as an immediate way to contact you and will text you random hours of the day/night. Also, when you need to pull up those assholish text from your narc you will have to make sure you save ALL OF THEM and use a special app that lets you download the text and print them neatly. Otherwise, it will take hours/tons of storage space on your phone to screen shot every text conversation and print. Take it from me – texting can be a huge pain and email/certified letter are the best forms of staying in communication with a narc. Also, make sure when you communicate in writing, text, phone, in person, etc. that you act like you are being recorded. NEVER get emotional! If you do be prepared for your narc to use it against you.

    • Please read SPLITING. It’s a book about divorcing high conflict personalities. It teaches all you need to know about handling these types.

  • It means being done, but the sad truth is that the hart doesn’t catch up with the mind. The heart, our feelings don’t understand reason. It doesn’t work that way.
    But I agree that no contact gives you the time and space necessary to heal.

    No contact for me, meant “you’re DEAD to me!”. My thoughts belong to me and I’m not going to waste another synapse on you or your shit! It’s real estate in my head, I get to use it however I want. Like the balcony that I decorated how I wanted all along!

    No contact is about re-prioritizing my life. How I use my time, my thoughts, how I organize my life and how I plan my future.

    • Love this! My brother said that too…” you need to act like he’s dead to you! And after all
      The shit and lies from him, he should be a petrified mummy right now!”

      Working on it

  • Oh my gosh. Huge sigh of relief over here. I feel like someone just narrated my life story. I’m not crazy after all. A few months ago caught my husband sexting a coworker. Have had suspicions but never proof until then. But then is when my blinders started coming off. So many lies and blaming me for his choices. Thank you for this. This is my relationship to a t and I needed it.

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