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The Bitch-Be-Crazy Red Flag

Here’s a situation I’ve encountered many times among dating friends. Friend will swoon with excitement over new man in her life. Man is divorced. Being the horrible Chump Lady killjoy that I am, I’ll ask why. (Sorry, Mr. Prospect. You don’t date someone I love without being vetted.) And invariably I’ll get the nebulous tale of an ex-wife who one day, inexplicably, just went batshit crazy.

This is never a good sign, people.

I call this the Bitch-Be-Crazy red flag. “Oh, well she had mental problems. No, really. Even the neighbors say she was fine and then one day she turned on him. It’s like something snapped!”

I am skeptical. Now, it’s true that the world possesses many crazy bitches, and that crazy can be the factor in many divorces. I don’t doubt that. However I DO doubt the nebulous case of Crazy Bitch that just descends on otherwise fine women one day, who take leave of their senses and turn on wonderful partners like rabid raccoons. Symptoms include “jealousy” and failing to sufficiently appreciate him.

As someone who actually divorced someone for their untreated mental illness (my first husband), I can speak to leaving crazy. Here’s what distinguishes leaving actual crazy for vague crazy — I can tell you his diagnosis. What doctors we went to and for how long. I can tell you every symptom of the illness and the drugs used to treat it. What support sites are online and what your Amazon reading list should include. And I can tell you that untreated mental illness tends to be a slow, confusing decline — and that unless you suffered a traumatic brain injury, crazy doesn’t come on all of a sudden. Either you’ve suffered with it for most of your life (depression, anxiety), or things that were once eccentric or in the range of normal become chaotic and untenable over time. There are a lot of irrational conversations and embarrassing confrontations. (WHY DID YOU THROW OUT THAT SPONGE?! WHY?!)

Most important — if you’re any kind of loving person, you tried to get your partner help and understand the illness, and you struggled with the decision to divorce or be divorced. Sure, you can be angry, but mostly divorcing someone with a mental illness is just sad as hell. “Crazy” isn’t a one-size-fits-all excuse for leaving someone.

So, if someone lays the Bitch Be Crazy narrative on you — ask some pointed questions. Don’t spackle. Pay attention to the answers. “What was her diagnosis?” “How much time did she spend in treatment?” “Why do you think she’s angry with you?” “Did you cheat on her?”

And on the flip side, if you have a terrible ex-wife and you’re at pains to explain your failed relationship — just cut to the chase — share that she cheated on you. You don’t have to say she’s crazy. Your date will take in the wonderfulness of you, and conclude that herself.

And if your ex describes you as that Crazy Bitch? Not a thing you can do about it. (Okay, except maybe worry for the next chump.) Enjoy your freedom from a cheater. The sanity is priceless.


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  • Yep, psychology expert ex diagnosed me as “crazy” too. And, yes, I probably appeared that way to people who didn’t know he was a whore mongering cheater. That’s one reason not to keep this a secret, people.

    Now, when I see people suddenly start acting “crazy” i look a little more closely, and there is almost always a cheater lurking in the background.

    • When you discover the person who you have been with your entire adult life is cheating on you, the reaction is not usually one of calm acceptance. I know mine wasn’t. To the contrary, I thought I was losing my mind and I reacted accordingly. I never did some of the extreme things I have read about, but I can certainly understand why people lose it. It’s human nature to react.

      What I have seen is that cheaters use these natural human emotions against their spouses. They set the situation up to deliberately make themselves look like the poor, aggrieved partner, chained to a lunatic. I was saw a co-worker do this and I felt so sorry for his spouse. She ended up dying in her sleep and he led everyone to believe she committed suicide. She actually died of natural causes, but that did not stop him from slandering her at every opportunity. Needless to say, I made it a point to avoid him at all costs. He eventually was fired for non-performance and everyone was relieved to see him go.

      My point is that it is okay to react, just be sure you don’t do it in a way that comes back to bite you in the ass. Do not overshare with people who are not your friends. Be crazy with the people who love you. Go grey rock (what a great concept that I learned about here) with your X and those who do not have your best interests at heart. Do not allow your emotions to be used against you. So many of these cheaters have planned their exit strategy carefully, and part of their plan is to make their spouses look like the crazy X. Have a plan, call a friend, flip the script.

      • Yes to this. Beautifully written, Violet. They have had the advantage of plotting their exit for months or years. They do set you up so that they can play the perfect victim.

      • Yes, Violet, yes….during the worst of the discard, he set me up for failure in so many ways. He told me to not bother to attend his retirement ceremony as he had already asked for a divorce (setting up the “wouldnt you divorce a woman who didnt even bother to attend your retirement after a 25 year military career!” he had 2 OWs there that day). He gave me odd little cast offs (like an extra day planner) then if I didnt use it he berated me for being thankless. One day we put (little girl) DD on the school bus and I was holding her toy and waved good by with its little arm and he ripped me a new ass for “publicly humiliating her in front of her friends”. He was trying SO hard to get me to throw him out and I just refused. Mistake.

        • Unbelievably cruel and calculating. I was up for failure and humiliation many times during the distancing and discard phase and unfortunately many times I took the bait.
          X would retell stories of our conversations twisting things I’d say.
          I’ve told this story before but for those who haven’t heard it.
          One afternoon I was in a minor fender bender in the high school parking lot, I backed into a chain link fence. X had told everyone I was driving drunk, fortunately for me I waited for the highway patrol to come out and write up an accident report which clearly states I wasn’t impaired. Before I knew he had been spreading this rumor I noticed other band parents who would once smile and chat with me were distancing themselves or looking past me not walking up to me to chat as they had before. I later found out they had been told the X’s Brit’s driving drunk risking your children lives version of events.
          Another incident was while he was visiting his sick Mother across the country. He had asked me to call him on his cell regarding our sons schedule. I called and called and he didn’t answer, I called through out the day into the evening. His brother finally answered the phone and started screaming that their Mother was trying to sleep or eat or whatever and I was interrupting them. His brother told me he will never forgive me, I tried to explain that I had no idea, he refused to listen to me. It was obvious he had heard X’s version and not open to hearing the truth. If he wasn’t blatantly lying he would insinuate or imply that I wasn’t

      • “They set the situation up to diliberately make themselves look like the poor, aggrieved partner chained to a lunatic. ”

        Exactly! They are so calculating in the unilateral discard. My saving grace is that when he saw me falling into his plan and doing the pick me dance, he started coasting thinking he was mighty and had it in the bag. Fortunately I have more brains than he realized and sought good advice so I have some control now. The downside is now he is desperate to take it away.

        Very much appreciate your words Violet!

        • My non working alcoholic BF has spent entire summer patying it up with neighbors, drunk by the time I’d get out of work. If he wasnt oassed out by then, would wait for me to get home and instigate arguments, or accuse me of cheating. Or he would wait 4 hours into my shift and send relentless messages doing the same thing..then I would come home to it. I finally told him I had enough. We had split up 2 years ago for the same behavior. He would tell his kids I had a guy on the side and was trying to make his life a living hell. One night he wanted to see my phone to see who I was messaging while I was sitting alone at the bonfire…my kids.. he took my phone to the garage..was typing something..then I grabbed my phone back..looked at it. Didn’t see anything, then laid it on the table. Went back to the fire. The BF moments later, doing a little happy dance said his son sent me a message, and said that’s my boy. His son called me bat sh$t crazy and told me to stop doing crap to his dad. And that I had literally just told him I had logged into his dad’s account from my phone…then blocked me. There was no previous message. So I have no idea what the BF sent his son from MY phone. I don’t even know the man’s password…I couldn’t believe what his son had said to me. I have always treated the boys like my own..Christmas birthdays, graduation parties.. I couldn’t believe my BF could be so low. I’ve never cheated, work full time, solely pay bills and the BF dui fines and fees..hes mad i wont pay his child support..while BF acts like a partying teenager and i get called bat sh$t crazy. Bir thats what he does to me when i set boundaries and refuse to cater to his very work abled butt. I’m crazy, a cheater and who knows what else..I was called an going B$#ch one night when I messaged BF when I got home from work asking where he was. He didn’t want to deal with me so he handed his phone to neighbor drunk buddy. I immediately knew who was messaging back, and that’s when he said, how did you know it was me Fg bh? Well I know how my BF responds to my messages and this guy was way off.. very hurtful to do so much for someone, who pays you back not by kindness or appreciation, but tries to totally destroy you in every way they can.

          • My wife is crazy and menupulizes me to think I am crazy. When I seek help she turns it around on me and me and makes me feel guilty. I have had enough what do I do ?

    • They make you act crazy from gut wrenching pain and anger from their serial cheating, then point out, “Look at Wifey, she’s acting craaaazy! I must leave her now.”

      • Ug, so true. I went off the handle a few times…only a few…at his bizarre behavior and nonsensical accusations…the rewritten history that was so clearly untrue…..then have frequently had “you were so angry and crazy” thrown back at me hundreds of times. It is so twisted…

      • Yes, they employ “fundamental attribution error” with aplomb. And , the can do it without cheating, as well. Lots of “ambient abuse” the more subtle derision, contempt and badgering that many folks never see and , if they do, fail to recognize it as abuse, it is so relentless.
        Folks, if you are dealing with someone who is as Dr. Simon describes, you may not have discovered infidelity and you will not have a diagnosis, meds prescribed and may not have recommended counseling/therapy, as you feared the consequences.
        But, have no doubt you were dealing with a malignant person.

    • Excellent advice. I married a cheater with a “crazy” ex wife. I wanted to sit down with her and find out the other side of the story. STBX told me she wouldn’t talk to me ever. Of course now I know he didn’t want me to speak with her. Fast forward 20 years and I’m now the second “crazy” ex wife. If I had only known the truth from the beginning.

      • First “ex” wife tried to warn me the first time we met while we went up to pick up their kids for the holidays. We only had one minute alone and she asked me to get him to sign the divorce papers. That’s right! He had told me he’d been divorced from her since 1999, and he had a 6 year relationship and a son with second ex, so I hadn’t even doubted he was divorced from the first wife. And he had conditioned me so much to believe first wife was an evil bitch that I believed she’d decided to tell me this to make me angry with him and jeopardise our relationship. Face palm!

      • If I ever did have the chance to talk to OWhore (I haven’t met her yet and don’t intend to currently-still too soon) I would say nothing besides “And good luck with that” then laugh my ass off… but then I run the risk of looking “crazy”… the shit sandwich supreme. Oh how I would love to go off on them in a room alone, no phones that could audio or video record, and no eye witnesses. No physical violence, only searing, cutting words as a payback to all of the gaslighting and demeaning fucking behavior I endured for 2 years.

    • I fondly remember being on the cheater diet and losing about 40 pounds in one month. People thought I was dying

      Being chumped cheated on does make you lose your mind at first, before you rise from the ashes as a superhero.

    • Yes, even the slut “sweetie” text “have fun with the bitch” to my H and he laughed with me right in the room crying. She jerked him around by his little man parts. Yep, I was a crazy bitch for awhile. Put with being cheated on and lied to. I saw a side of myself I didn’t know or like.

    • I think you have to take into consideration personality disorders vs mental illness, CL. These are easily masked during courtship, and since the disordered avoid therapy and diagnosis like the plague, a spouse dealing with such a person will not have an official diagnosis not will there have been any medication prescribed. And, anyone having dealt with one of these folks, the NPDs, BODs and ASPDs, knows that suggesting getting help is not only met with resistance, but, often, sever raging type consequences being imposed. If one was with a cheater, odds are pretty good you were dealing with a Cluster B, and I bet many of us, prior to the discovery of the cheating, wished we had bailed much earlier. In which case one would be left trying to explain the divorce and what one was dealing with, even f infidelity had not been in the picture.
      I would be cautious in dating, but there are genuine good folks that were dealing with folks who are as Dr. Simon describes, who have no diagnosis and no mental illness. These folks walk among us and they are more common than the literature suggests, IMO.

  • Great post!

    I was on the flip side. When I first filed for divorce, I explained to people that my ex “suddenly went crazy” or some other such euphemisms. I tried to explain away her cheating as some sudden collapse of mental abilities. I even went so far as to ask my therapist aunt for a copy of the DSM 5 so I could do research!

    As time went by, however, I accepted that I was still apologizing for her: trying to justify her cruel treatment of me as something outside of her control. It hurt too much to accept that she actually didn’t care about me. But eventually, I got there.

    My EW didn’t suddenly go crazy. She was just a selfish bitch.

    • I did the same thing. I still try to play it off like he really loved me he just had a lonely childhood and was in crisis and wasn’t equipped to handle an adult relationship. The truth is hard… he didn’t care about me, I was just a good on paper stand in to make his prior ex jealous and to help him win the love of his parents. I was just so laid back and positive and easy to cheat on that he kept me around for years and decided to have a child with me. When the opportunity for new pussy came his way he jumped at it and didn’t give a shit about me.

      • “I was just so laid back and positive and easy to cheat on that he kept me around for years and decided to have a child with me.” I am reading your words, Rockette, and it is haunting – this has been my experience/reflection on it exactly. Well, not sure about the “positive” part – I am a somewhat cynical (read: “angry” – or craaazy, if you will) person but otherwise, yeah, I was at least positive enough, very much low maintenance, and supportive to my STBX. How someone could take advantage and do this to someone else they profess to love would drive anyone off the edge. And they’re all too happy to twist the tale to shine their own image…which makes me want to go crazy all over again – the nerve!! What was the expression that was used the other day regarding hot glue guns and cheaters…?

        • Hahaha yes that hot glue gun thing! It is so galling, isn’t it?!? I threw that “positive” thing in there because he actually used it against me. As in, we aren’t compatible because you are so positive and you know, that whole I don’t deserve to be with you excuse. Blech.

          • Ugh! I’ve gotten that before…the whole “I don’t deserve…” self deprecating crap. And yes, it’s not to put us on a pedestal, it’s to separate us from them with a “compliment”. Well you sure proved that point! Dumbasses.

    • Same flip side here. I just tried explaining it away by saying that one day i woke up next to a total stranger who i did not know anymore. But as time went on I realized she didn’t change, just kept the other life well hidden and this is who she is. She told everyone how I was controlling and she had to get away! Yeah, I would work from 6:30 AM to 7:45 PM every day while she went out shopping, have lunch with girlfriends and of course find time for affairs. I used to tell people that If i was supposed to be controlling I was a dismal failure at it because she just did what she wanted.

      • I got the controlling line, no asking you to be an adult and pull your weight is not me being controlling. Now he’s thinks I’m the best thing ever as he is hoovering hard after his soul mate side bitch show fell through, god help me.

          • For the life of me, I cannot figure out how these Hoovers don’t feel humiliated and a loss of ‘dignity’ by coming back, hanging on.
            It’s pathetic.

        • Lady B, my STBX was so detatched from life that asking him to pull his own weight around our house was like pulling teeth. They lead separate lives and merely requesting that they be present in yours becomes “controlling”. Attempting to steer a car out of control was more like it. To no avail.

          • Ironically you realize how little control you have over anything. Again, they’re masters at manipulating words for their own sick justifications – to others and themselves.

      • Yes with the control excuse. My wife said she needed “control” over her life and was sick of living under my control. I pondered that for a long time, but realized that not only did I not have any control over her life, I didn’t have an ounce of influence either.

        If I had total control over her, then why would she come up with 100 reasons why she could never sleep with me, why would she never introduce her friends to me, and why would she be hiding a bunch of money while I’m paying all of her bills – despite me repeatedly asking her to do the opposite of all of the above? Sure, I had total control over her…..give me a break.

        Ironically, after my divorce, I asked my friends what they thought of her to see what I missed in her. You know what most of them said their first impression of her was – that she was too controlling and that she’d throw fits if I didn’t do whatever she wanted (which was pretty rare). And this was speaking with them separately, so they didn’t know what the other friends said.

        I guess I was controlling though because I controlled about 10% of what was going on in our marriage, and to her that was 10% too much.

        • It is called projection. She accused you of being a control freak because that is what she was.

          • Yes, exactly. My ex also accused me of being controlling (I’m not) while he simultaneously worked hard to control ME. I didn’t see any of that during the relationship, and made myself more and more passive and acquiescent so as not to seem controlling. All it did was give him more control over me.

        • Exactly, it’s that 10% that gets them.

          STBX used to tell people “we get along because I just do whatever she wants”. This always used to bug me because I knew the split was more like 90% to 10% in his favor. Once he said it in front of other people, it was kind of hard to have a response that didn’t sound defensive so I never said anything. The worst part is that most people probably believed it because he is such a splendid, easy going, conflict avoidant guy. He probably believed it himself because of the 10%.

        • Blindside, yes – this!! If I’m so controlling how was I unable to control all of the awful things you were doing so freely behind my back all those years? They had control, they were just using it horribly. And, unable to relinquish even a lick of it in order to repent and become a good person (if that was ever a goal – my STBX claims it was) that they get mad and/or continue to undermine you when you take away their control because – guess what?? – now you’re controlling. It’s a mindfuck.

      • Khris – yup, you nailed it. She didn’t change – she just finally didn’t care enough to keep her mask on anymore.

        I realized this with Mr. Sparkles and with everything I’ve read about Narcs… they can typically go a good 1-3 years before the mask “slips”.

        Think about how exhausting it is to pretend to like someone a family party… then think about trying to hold up that facade daily for years. Sooner or later, they get tired. They were never attached. It is the cruelest con of all.

      • Khris, see this is where I disagree with CL on the diagnosis , meds present deal. You were dealing with a Cluster B, and may times, a person coming out of a relationship with such a person is filled with doubt about who had the problem. These folks are practiced in both convincing their partners that the partner is the crazy one, as well as portraying you that way to others.
        So, even without an official diagnosis ( very rare with a cluster B as they avoid scrutiny like the plague and they do most of their crap behind closed doors), without meds having been prescribed and without you having urged her to get help ( I did this and was met with rage and ridicule), you were dealing with a severely abusive, disordered type, most likely.
        But, folks who have not experienced it, much like those who have not been through infidelity, cannot understand what you were dealing with.
        Of course, one is not going to bring this up on initial dates etc. But, if you get serious, I cannot imaging not disclosing what I went through to my GF. She went through much the same and understood.
        I really think CL has to be cautious in making statements that unless there was a diagnosis, meds, pleas for the spouse to get help one could not have been dealing with a very sick , twisted person.
        My first XW could convince a lot of folks, at least for a while, that she was perfectly normal. These folks would not know about her affair before our marriage, the serial affairs during it, the rages, the bragging about the body of one of her partners to me, her going away with a man from her AA group only two weeks after my dad died- any of that an other stuff.
        So, do not doubt, despite the lack of diagnosis etc. what you know to be true.

    • Ditto here. It was tough to accept that she never loved me for 30 years. She loved how useful I was too her. It sucks. It seems they are all the same, nothing special. Just a self centered, gold digging bitch.

    • Yep. It’s taken me a long time to face the fact that my serial cheating XW is simply selfish, raging pod.

      • Same. ^^ Acceptance that he had been showing me who he actually is and I needed to believe it.
        No more spackling or dancing.

        He had me brainwashed into believing he was a man of integrity.

        He’s a man full of shit.

        • ^error^
          ^ replace “man” with derogatory term of your choice. ^^

    • Perfect summary- plain and simple. Why do we make things so complicated?

    • So true, and also probably why so many chumps want to believe in the Mid-Life Crisis narrative…

      It’s such a convenient spackle, a perfect cheater’s antidote to the mask slipping… In cheaters’ speak it would be “No, I’m not an selfish cheating liar, I am yearning for younger years, I am facing the realization that life is finite, oh God, I am mortal, my flesh is losing its battle against gravity… Can’t you understand that I had to fuck some strange to get through the drudgery of the life we’ve build? How dare you demand that I live responsibly? With principles? That I keep the promises I’ve made? That’s not me, why can’t you love the real me?”

      It takes time, accepting that the person I thought I married only existed in my mind… No more spackling, I married a lying cheating coward… And thank goodness I live in a country where I could divorce him!

      • Yep, the “midlife crisis” justified discarding me for a man 16 years my junior.

    • JC, I did the same. He had been “discovering issues” about his past/childhood and was in counseling, was about how I phrased it. I told this to a friend who had been going through her own hell grieving the loss of her father after a long illness, saying maybe she would want to talk with someone, relating his tale (but conveniently leaving out the cheating part). I just couldn’t wrap my head around just how shitty this thing was that he did to me. When it finally came out this friend asked how long I knew and I told her it was weeks before we had this conversation (which was during a friend’s bachelorette weekend, by the way), she immediately knew that was what part of why he was in counseling. I can’t believe how composed I was able to be then, and how “crazy” I feel now. It took months to process – a slow insanity trying to wrap my head around everything, and a painful crushing feeling to know deep down that this was bad and it was not getting any better.

  • Just had this argument with friends who are dating. Same friends who were horrified when my cheater started to describe me as “crazy” were perfectly willing to go with various dates’ narratives that their exes were “crazy.” When I pointed out the contradiction, they took a beat. “But she does sound crazy!” Of course she does, because you get the picture painted by someone who usually has a bit of an agenda. But angry, being justifiably angry, is not the same as crazy. Heck, even “crazy” is not the same as crazy, meaning mentally ill. But then again, hope is a powerful blinding agent. It engenders a special blindness that erases red flags from the horizon.

    • I’ve often thought I should’ve interviewed his X’s for myself to see if they were crazy… you know, to be fair.

      BUT HERE’S THE THING… even if they are/were crazy… they (me) didn’t deserve to be lied to and cheated on… I didn’t deserve to have my health/life unilaterally put at ask because he liked fucking strangers of either sex… I didn’t deserve for money to be spent on hotel rooms and burner phones.

      The only crazy thing I ever truly did… truly… was stay after the first D-day.

    • I’ve just start dating again. I divorced three years ago amid accusations of me being a crazy, raging alcoholic (dry drunk) because I’ve been sober for 30 years. I have all sorts of problems and he had none. So I started dating this other guy and wouldn’t you know he tells me his wife is/was crazy and they would get into these never ending arguments. Of course, he’s not crazy. She is. And I noticed that he contradicts almost everything I say even to the point of telling me I shouldn’t follow a certain spiritual path. HA!! No wonder she was ‘crazy’. I’ve only been dating him only about two months and I’m already crazy. One thing I’ve learned, when you see the red flags, you know what they are and you get out while you can.

  • Broken record and maybe premature but when will that freedom come? One year out from dday and in the process of high conflict divorce and I feel like a paranoid person on a walk waiting to be startled by goblins randomly jumping out from behind trees. Just got a text from adult daughter who is estranged from stbx that he texted her this morning to ask her if she saw a professional sports game last night ? She had absolutely no interest in the game. Just go away already!

    • Feelingit–there is no sanity when you’re in the midst of a high-conflict divorce. You’re still on the front lines, with high stakes. Sanity comes after months of no contact, when the hypervigilance can end, the mindfuckery has ceased, and the verbal cannonshot is but a memory. Hang in there; 10 minutes of intense self-care every day (which can be as easy as a cup of tea listening to birds chirp), and do whatever it takes to quell the anxiety (for me it was hard exercise). This is a long game, but you have to survive the short-term intensity as best you can. Hugs!

        • I’m five years, 3 months out from a 19 year marriage. The divorce took over two years and I finally had to go on an antidepressant around the time the divorce was actually final (2+ years from Dday) I decided to wean myself off of them after about 2.5 years, finishing the process this past January. No contact (as recommended by CL and CN) helped a lot, and, like Tempest, I spent a lot of time engaging in HARD exercise (kickboxing and rowing). The camaraderie I found in those activities was as therapeutic as the outlet for the physical release of all the conflicting emotions they provided.

          Every one is different — took me longer to get closer to ‘meh’ and ‘gain a life’ but I’m ;

          • I marked three years in January and I am definitely not where I was then. I haven’t moved on completely and I’m not sure that will ever happen but I’m happier and feel safer than I have in a long, long time. It takes time. Even after a year, I still was not on solid ground. Everyone is different, but I think, for me, it came at the three year mark where I saw significant progress. Good luck. It’ll happen and you’ll know when it does. You’ll just start feeling more confident, safer, happier all around. I promise you.

      • I need this tape recording in my head to play every hour to remind myself that I am not crazy, I am just in a tough spot! I love rereading these posts- I feel the hugs through them! Hug you all back!

  • Does it ever work in reverse?

    In other words, would my ex-wife ever describe me as “crazy”?

    Or is this really a difference of the sexes? Society can easily go along with the suddenly-crazy woman story. But if the ex is a man, there has to be a different lying excuse (he got boring, he worked too much, etc.)?

    • I think you are right…it’s easy to call women crazy. We have PMS and menopause, we are the “more emoting sex blah blah blah

      I’ve heard men be called “crazy” in that they became “violent” or they started yelling when they never did before. So, I guess, yes, men get called crazy too, but it’s a different kind of crazy. More often I hear that he was a lazy POS and he never helped with the kids or the housework or they had their hobbies blah blah blah.

      I have a chump friend who’s cheating stbxw did just that. They went to wreckonciliation twice. She wanted the therapist to tell him that he was a POS and that he was lacking in all the ways she listed them. Well, she got a rude awakening BOTH times. And that was the end of that! Seems he wasn’t dancing pretty enough. Eventually, their own crazy will show. And it’s REAL.

    • I do think we, as a society, tell “crazy woman” stories much more often than “crazy man” stories. Women are frequently portrayed as over-emotional and less than logical, so the “crazy woman” narrative fits our sexist stereotype. “Crazy men,” however, are seen as dangerous, so the “crazy” label has different consequences when applied to them–we wonder if they have guns that they will misuse or rage problems. Women get dismissed why they are labeled as “crazy;” but doing the same to a man actually causes the listener to perk up and ask for details to make sure they know how to stay safe and out of the orbit of the “crazy” man.

      Male chumps are probably more often wrongly accused of being workaholics or unsupportive or controlling. Like “crazy,” these kinds of terms are vague enough to let the listener make all kinds of unpleasant (and unfair) assumptions, without the lying cheat having to give too many details.

      • Ooooh, yeah. “Controlling.” I got that one from my EW.

        It was laughable, of course. I had let her do anything within reason, and even some things that weren’t. But doing the OM…definitely had to put my foot down on that one.

        I can only be so flexible, you see. ; )

        • I totally agree having witnessed this in person with (ex!) friends. The dating red flag for men is women who describe exs as “controlling.”

      • Yes, men chumps. I think get the abusive, controlling, emotionally stunted label vs crazy. I think that these cheaters know what the prototypical stereotypes are of each gender, despite their inaccuracy and they go with that.

    • I have heard cheating x’s call their faithful husbands controlling, domineering, and abusive. Those adjectives seem more common for men than crazy but are all excuses for their cheating which is never acceptable. Disordered cheaters don’t want to admit that they lack character or that their erratic and unacceptable behavior caused whatever their husband’s response was.

    • Actually what I have heard from a female cheater is that her husband became ‘abusive’. Probe that term with the female cheaters. How was your X abusive? What do you think led him to do X? Did the abusive acts start during dating, after the wedding? Did YOU, female abuse person, cheat.

      “He was abusive to me.” That’s how it it phrased. I mean no disrespect to actual abuse victims here. Manipulative people have a sad narrative to tell because bad stuff always happens to them. They forget the important piece of how that stuff is the consequence of their shitty actions.

      • *was* I’m not the grammar queen and I usually dump and run before proofing these posts…

      • “Abusive” is easy to sympathize with and all a woman needs to do is prime her target audience with ambiguous remarks. At first.

        “I’ll have to check with my husband.”
        “Oh, [Husband] won’t like that.”
        “I can’t. [Husband] is in a bad mood today.”
        ” No, no- I’m fine. We just got into an argument and I’m still upset about it. It really is”

        I have actually been abused by my partner… and when I see the shit above? With the ability to suddenly turn emotions around 180 in an instant, depending on the audience? I get callous. Quickly. ESPECIALLY when the husband seems confused by her sudden change to a meek demeanor.

        Because when it the husband finally exposes the affair, people will side with her, saying “Well, NO WONDER. Did you see how badly he treated her?!”

        • “Abusive” is easy to sympathize with and all a woman needs to do is prime her target audience with ambiguous remarks. At first.

          “I’ll have to check with my husband.”
          “Oh, [Husband] won’t like that.”
          “::Over-explains every bruise, knowing the effect it will have::”
          “I can’t. [Husband] is in a bad mood today.”
          “::lowers eyes when husband walks into room::”
          “::comes in with puffy eyes, crying for herself after his discovery of her affair:: No, no- I’m fine. We just got into an argument and I’m still upset about it. It really is”

          I have actually been abused by my partner… and when I see the shit above? With the ability to suddenly turn emotions around 180 in an instant, depending on the audience? I get callous. Quickly. ESPECIALLY when the husband seems confused by her sudden change to a meek demeanor.

          Because when it the husband finally exposes the affair, people will side with her, saying “Well, NO WONDER. Did you see how badly he treated her?!”

        • Going through this right now with a stark raving narcissist SIL. My siblings and I were ready to take a pool at the wedding as to how long the marriage would last to my mega-nice-guy brother.

          And….here we are almost 10 years and 2 children later, with a likely outcome of divorce. She’s setting him up for failure at every turn, and then painting him as the selfish one. E.g., he picked up two cakes to bring home–one was her favorite dessert, one was a cake he thought his youngest would like. What did she do? Texted her friend “[husband] brought home HIS favorite cake,” neglecting to mention he’d also brought home HER favorite cake.

          I can just hear her narrative once the divorce commences. Thankfully, she’s been such an obvious narc beeyatch for so many years, no one will buy it.

          • I love how they “tell the truth” but leave out critical pieces of the story. It completely changes the reality of the story for the sole purpose of portraying someone in a bad light and them as a victim. My STBX is a master at this and still does it…with the kids, friends, family, attorneys, etc.

            • I believe it’s called “paltering.” It’s a way to deceive while flattering yourself that you’re not actually lying.

              My STBX was a master at it. Eventually, I learned that “I’m staying late at the office,” did not mean “I’m working late.”

              Pretty sure there’s a post on it in the archives.

        • This is literally the play book. At home a grumpy sob who would critiscise everything. Then magically when friends or family was around hes picking up the vacuum…do u want me to drive again (implying i was an alcoholic ) looking all weary and worn down when i asked him something…and being good cop dad with the kids and cousins . By the end he was hamming his part up to the max until i knew he was playing me right until the discard then all the playacting came into sharp focus. Sick bastard

        • They prime their audience with this ahead of time. Men cheaters do the same thing with nagging, no sex, got fat, etc. Neither gender has a monopoly on this tactic they just go with what they know is more likely to be believed.
          And, these cluster B’s have had a lifetime of practicing their acts.

      • My cheater tells me about his texting whores that he is just trying to help them out because there spouses are abusive.

        Well I know what being abused feels like….and the last thing I would do is risk bringing on that abuse by knowing doing something that could set the abuser off. Pretty sure if my abuser found me to be sending tit pics to another man, that would set off the abuse.

        Geez….breathing too loud, or blinking to much could set of an abuser…so IMO a woman being abused wouldn’t be turning to another man behind her abusers back in a sexting, cheating…whatever “relationship”.

        • Exactly. In an actually-abusive relationship, I hardly could explain my actions when I was *perfect.* He’d pop in on me, or have a friend make sure I was at work, check my phone and emails and blow up perfectly-professional conversations (ie “So Sam texted you to meet him after work, huh? Whore.” Well, he’s the owner and wanted me to drop off the deposit at y store, more on his way, instead of x store, and leave it in the drop box. I didn’t even SEE him, I swear! Nothing would ever happen anyway- he’s married and 25 years older than me and has 6 children! “Oh- I SEE, Whore… so you’ve thought about it!”)

          Early on, I would complain about the situation when someone would see me being upset and asked about it. But that brought pity. I did NOT want pity. And I did NOT want them looking at him with any kind of dislike because then he’d see it and that would be my fault too. If anything, I talked him up and they got sick of the gushing about how happy we were.

          • EXACTLY!

            I never ruffled any feathers. I made sure I did things the way he wanted them. I made sure my movements were deliberate and trackable….never went out with “friends”, never spent any time with out kids.

            Didn’t matter….everything I did was wrong any way.

            And so true about not wanting anyone to see him in a “bad light”.
            Even when his mom would call him out on shit…he came home and raged on me.

            So sorry cheater….but the whore sending you crotch shots is not a sweet girl being abused….she is a user, liar, cheater, abuser JUST LIKE YOU!

            And if you want to save someone who is being abused….how about you save me and spontaneously combust or something.

            • The Twat was like that too. The fact that I sometimes went to get the mail from the mailbox 20 yards away wearing my apron was “to prove to everyone that I did everything round here”! Say what???? The best was that I was obviously having an affair because I took too long to do the shopping on a Saturday morning – you know when he was passed out blind drunk in front of the TV. So I started trying to go faster until one day I just thought “fuck it” and took my time as usual. You know, going to the tip, the market, the Chinese market, getting petrol etc. When he started on me next time I just said “yeah, I’m having an affair with the fishmonger – that way you won’t notice the smell”! That got me a beating but boy was it worth it to see the look on his face!

              • Mine would blame me for everything he did wrong. He is a gambler. We have no money for gambling. So when he would plan to go gabling, I would tell him we have no money. He would go anyway, lose hundreds of dollars (money for bills) and then blame me that he lost the money saying I caused it because I put him in a bad mood by saying we had no money for gambling. It’s just another way to abuse me emotionally.

            • This is pretty standard for someone walking on eggshells. I read these stories and the stories on Cluster B sites and see how common this is.
              We try not to piss them off ( virtually impossible) and we cover for them, as we both love them and are embarrassed by what we put up with.
              Since we are on this topic, and since, like many here, I searched for an explanation for this behavior and found it in the Cluster B material, I would recommend the following to folks coming out from such a relationship.
              First, of course, as much NC as possible. I know kids make this difficult.
              But, I have seen, over and over again, the victims questioning themselves.
              This is due to both the persuasiveness of the cluster B ( and the relentless and long term tearing you down) and the fact that, on occasion, after one has been through this long enough, a victim may fire back, finally.
              I can remember coming back from visiting my dying father. He had cancer and was about 100lbs. by then. I had traveled all day fro California to Connecticut to see him before he died, and watched him suffer for three days. I finally returned home to Minnesota and was exhausted and shaken from what I had seen. My XW , unbeknownst to me then, had been serially cheating for over a year and acting abusive for the entire time. I could do nothing right and was ridiculed and despised for a year by then.
              So, the night I got home, incredibly, I forgot to take the garbage cans to the curb for pick up the next morning. My XW was glowering at me, giving me the silent treatment> I am sure my three day absence had interfered with her cheating, as she , finally, had to care for our kids at night vs going out.
              I inquired what was the problem and was told how pissed she was at me for having committed the incredible sin of forgetting to take the garbage out.
              Finally, I let loose and told her she was a selfish asshole.
              That was it, we were off to the races. She got her verbal abuse card banked. She embellished it and said nothing to her girlfriend/ cheerleaders about her behavior.
              There were other instances where she tried to provoke me, like when she came home and bragged about the physique and endowment of her latest partner.
              But, something, perhaps my training as a litigator where I knew that perception was a big factor in persuasion, made me aware of what she was trying to f=do and I would not react.
              But, that one outburst, under the above circumstances, in 12 years of marriage satisfied her abusiveness card requirement.

              • Oh, forgot my other recommendation for dealing with doubt:
                Go back and look at your history of relationships, both romantic, collegial, business etc.
                Then, look to see if you have ever had similar problems with others in your past. Look at long term friendships and long term family relationships and long term business relationships, as short term ones would be as to us a mask in.
                I know from me, I had never had anyone treating me like my XW nor had I had any big time problems with others.
                I used this technique with the gaslighting, too. I saw that, other than in dealing with my XW, my recollection of conversations and events was really good.
                yet, apparently, with my XW, I was hearing voices and things that she never said, or making observations about her whereabouts, activities and behaviors that never occurred. Yet, with others and in other situations, my memory was just excellent.

      • YES! The girl my ex was cheating on me with was living with her boyfriend at the time who, according to the slutbag, was an abusive alcoholic. SO WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU STILL WITH HIM!? And also, it sounds like the angry episodes came AFTER she started fucking my husband. Look, no excuses for domestic violence, but if I was drunk and my partner was cheating on me, I’d be pretty angry too. I don’t know what was going on in their relationship but I highly doubt he was a total drunk alcoholic. And still, I know we’ve been over this a million times, but if someone is abusing you, YOU LEAVE. You don’t use it as an excuse to find another disordered fuckwit to pity you and pound your pussy.

        The biggest mindfuck for me, and the onset of the realization that my ex was just this cowardly, follower man baby, was when he started trying to say I was emotionally abusive and an alcoholic. It was just blatantly parroting the excuses his fuck buddy was feeding to him. But I didn’t really have clarity on that, and it was so fucking horrible. Now, a year out, he has admitted that he never actually thought I was abusive or an alcoholic, but I spent half of the last year trying to work out if I really had been emotionally abusive and an alcoholic (hint: NO, I was a new mom, emotional but pregnant and breastfeeding and barely drinking. But what about that time 6 months into couples therapy when I had no idea what the fuck was wrong and my husband loved me but was not in love with me and I got too drunk at dinner with a friend and came home and threw a bracelet at him?? hmm? HMMM? The actions of an abusive alcoholic, probably). I hate these fuckers, still.

        • The whoremat was the same. She was with her evil ex for nine years. NINE. YEARS. During which he was a “raging abusive alcoholic” that she needed rescuing from. So then after NINE. YEARS. of torture at his “abusive alcoholic” hands she married him. ???????? Now you see why she needed rescuing with my husband’s dick. And why she waited TEN YEARS to get away from him until she conveniently had someone lined up to take her “abusive alcoholic” ex’s place. Convenient when her mother told her she’s nobody and that she should do anything to keep a “good man” around (accidental pregnancy anyone?!). To normal people that hear that shit they’d say “That’s so sad. You should leave him!” Then RUN. THE. FUCK. AWAY! But that’s like cheater catnip. It’s pathetic!

          • Schmoopie claims to STBX that her now ex was a raging alcoholic as well. Supposedly he threatened bodily harm when he found out she was cheating. He was also paranoid. He walked two miles to the empty rental unit they owned so he could confirm that my STBXs car was there. Well, guess what, he was right to be paranoid, it was chumpy me who wanted to trust her husband who got fooled.

            The only thing is that when her then husband called me to tell me about the affair he admitted to having cheated on her in the past as well. This does make me think that also being raging, violent alcoholic is a possibility because he obviously has poor character. She does too, however, so who to believe? I guess it really doesn’t matter. She is still a bitch.

            At least STBX can’t accuse me of being an alcoholic as I seldom drink. In fact, that was one of his complaints. I didn’t drink enough so he couldn’t enjoy a bottle of wine with me on a date. He always had to get the half bottle or his choice or try multiple wines by the glass and always had a safe ride home. Evidently Schmoopie doesn’t have that terrible character flaw.

            • Chumpinrecovery, and what a terrible spouse you were, to not drink with him! Way too responsible of you. Poor guy left to try multiple types of wine all by his lonesome, I think that’s some sort of emotional abuse/abandonment right there (insert largest eye roll here).

              I hope you are enjoying your hangover-free freedom 🙂

              • I to drink very little that was ok when he wanted me to be The Driver and not ok when he wanted a drinking pal. He has that drinking one now and apparently she gets very very pissed and messy and its all done in his restaurant….very classy NOT

            • The whoremat had no reason not to leave. She made the money and her husband was a total dead beat, and he was a cheater. So her sad sad story was that he cheated on her and she was so so sad and the way to fix that was to find someone else’s husband and help turn him into a cheater too? Because anybody that had been chumped and walked in on their cheater IN ACTION would EVER be able to cheat with someone? Or would want ANYTHING to do with someone that could even entertain the idea of cheating?! Lies. All of it.

              • I was married to a cheater. I made the money and he was a total deadbeat (and abusive to boot) . When I found out he was cheating, I was traumatized. Too traumatized to cheat or even think about it. Not too traumatized to kick him out and divorce him. I will have been divorced for two years on June 1 and have symptoms of PTSD.

          • Sad Shelby, what total moronic bs to have to deal with. It IS pathetic!! I have never been in a situation where I was with someone physically abusive, so I can’t speak to that experience, but jesus, to use something like abuse as “cheater catnip” (I like that) just is so icky. It goes along with that whole reveling in being the victim because **ME** thing.

            I can understand that it could be difficult to leave an abusive relationship, and the abused partner may need another person’s love and support to exit that relationship – like family, friends.. maybe even a new SINGLE love interest. I just don’t know how these damsel-whores use their distress to justify continuously fucking a married man while still remaining in the original abusive relationship. Maybe I should stop trying to understand the inner workings of total shitbag fuckwits.

        • Why is it when we have a single moment of an angry outburst and the cheater labels us as the aggressive one that we spend time analyzing whether or not we are?

          It is part of the mindfuck and full of blame shifting. And we are chumps who really want to do the right thing. We are ethical and moral and caring. And they use that against us every chance they get.

          • Agreed. It makes me sad that I still have moments of questioning my every action (especially in dating) and blaming myself because of the stupid shit he said to make himself feel better.

            • That’s my biggest hang up from the beginning and even to today. All the awful hurtful things he said after d-day with the blame shifting and all the insecurities I already had from past experiences (even dating back to childhood, mean kids saying the BS that mean kids say, etc.) that I had buried away and “under control” because I had cobbled together a reasonably successful and (I thought) happy life with the one person that (I thought) GOT. ME. and would always be there for me. I tell myself all the time I’m smart enough and pretty enough and funny enough and a good person. And I’m sure AF better than that dirty fucking whoremat. But then that mean little voice comes and says, “Yeah. Sure. That’s why no man has shown any interest in you the entire time you and idiot cheater were together and if you WERE that great then idiot cheater wouldn’t have chosen the whoremat over you. Plenty of women that are WAY better than you are and want love are still single. ☹️ Sucks to be you, loser.”

              • I totally get all of that. I have felt the same. I didn’t have much in the way of positive dating experience pre STBX and thought he was the answer to all of my prayers. He was my prince. Turns out he was really a frog.

          • This^^^^. They provoke you relentlessly. They are tireless as they try to set up the narrative. They have a phrase for this in the Cluster B world, “picking up fleas”.
            You torment a nice dog long enough and it will bite you. I am thankful I never got to the point of going physical and I only fired back verbally once. that was enough for her to glom onto the ‘abusive spouse’ narrative, though.
            I was fortunate, Her family knew me well as did our friends. And her sisters knew she was disordered. So, only strangers believed her.

        • I work in a DV setting. With women and children who are victims of domestic and family violence. One of the biggest misconceptions and one of the lost stigmatising things these women face is the belief from the community that if things were “that bad” they would just leave.

          Absolutely not so. It is a very complicated dynamic that has very many complex layers and for most of these woman, just walking away is not an option. In Australia alone, one woman dies a week at the hands of her intimate partner. In almost 100% of these cases it is AFTER she leaves.

          Most women in these situations are being controlled financially as well, have no access to money and the exit strategy we work with is often one that can take months, sometimes years to orchestrate, where hiding money is a part of the plan so they can finance a rental. Sadly there are very few organisations on the planet who give houses for free even for abused women and children.

          I have worked with woman who could not leave because there was no where for them to go where they could also take their beloved pets. And I know many of us here have our life saving dogs know what important family members the four legged friends are.

          One woman I worked with “successfully” orchestrated her escape with a lot of support. She returned at a planned time to get her dog and husband had beaten it to death and she found it in the laundry absolutely annihilated.

          Another woman’s husband discovered her exist strategy for herself, their disabled child and her cat. She walked in to find her partner holding their infant son with a knife in his hand. Infant was distressed. He told her she had to choose between son and cat. ahe had to drown her own beloved cat at knife point in order to save her son.

          I could go on and on and on.

          My point here is to make sure I advocate for women, children (and pets) in DV situations – even in a forum where I come to get support. I Aboslutely need to make sure the myth of “if that bad you’d leave” is exploded as it is so, so, SO not that simple.

          Final point. I’ve been a fan of this site and the mighty chumps here for about 18 months. There was no violence at all in my marriage but it was abusive – as was everyone else’s here, but MANY of us didn’t “just leave”. Why? Because we were head fucked on so many levels we couldn’t see the wood for the trees. One of the resounding daily messages I have encountered that helps me with my own shame is the acceptance that, with the gaslighting and manipulation I encountered, just leaving didn’t seem like a simple option.

          The extent of mind fuck and manipulation women in DV situations encounter is of another calibre altogether. Mind fuck on steroids and of epic proportions.

          Please, friends, please don’t perpetuate the “if it’s that bad just leave” myth. it is shaming and could be the statement that today creates another one of those one a week death statistics.

          If you encounter someone who you believe there may be genuine DV and abuse, be empathic and compassionate and ask if there is anything practical you can do to aid in a planned extraction.

          Sorry. Sermon over.

          • Hallelujah! My Twat was violent 2-3 times a week. I had a job and I have a strong personality but it drove me insane when well-meaning people (including my sister) said “I wouldda, kudda, shudda”. No you wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t. You ain’t living it. Sadly my sister in Denmark was going through the same crap and agrees with me 100%. I documented, took him to court, told EVERYONE, called the police – you name it, BUT I had to get out of that situation SAFELY, and yes I know the next time he beats you it could be the last. I didn’t want to be that person going back to pick up the cat/the keys/the papers – whatever – and get my throat slit. I got out of there exactly how I wanted to but it took time. Not everyone is so lucky. But until you have lived that, as ZHUCHI says, please don’t judge.

          • Keep on preaching. I spent too many years being ashamed and afraid of what would happen when I left. Finally, I did. And he got much more abusive. But through the abuse was the only way out. When people are afraid to leave it is because they see likely responses all too clearly.

          • ZHUCHI completely agree and very beautifully conveyed. I have some (not extensive) experience aiding domestic violence victims and from what I have encountered I agree that it is a very dark and complicated place. I felt that I should clarify in my post but was kind of clouded by anger and didn’t really succeed. Victims of abuse should absolutely always be met with compassion and empathy, and assisted in any way to extract from the situation safely.

            That being said, I do believe that the only healthy response to an abusive relationship is to leave it. Not saying that people who don’t leave should be shamed. I myself stayed with my cheating ex for 6 months after finding out. It was completely unhealthy. I feel very fortunate that no one shamed me for my choices, but I do wish someone in my life had been something of a backbone for me to point out that his actions were ABUSIVE and I had the power to leave my abuser. Interestingly, I read chumplady early on after D-Day and dismissed her as not applicable to me. I came back only after I had realized for myself that this was an abusive situation I needed to leave behind. I think that holds true for a lot of victims of abuse, that we each need to come to that realization on our own and until then there is not a whole lot other people can do besides be compassionate and supportive.

            The point I was trying to make about abusive relationships was that, when the victim of abuse then goes on to abuse others as a coping mechanism, my empathy ends. Many of the cheaters we have all encountered were victims of some type of abuse at some time. Many have used this as a justification for their actions. And that is where I’m pissed off, and pissed off at people who use victimhood as a license to also abuse.

            • With the BIG caveat that I don’t know what it is like to be in a physically abusive relationship or what it takes to leave one.

              The woman my husband was cheating on me with was eventually dumped by her boyfriend when he found out she had been cheating on him for a year. He didn’t come after her, and went no contact and started seeing someone else a few months later. Of course I don’t know, but she is a proven liar and I suspect that any abuse she experienced in that relationship was amplified in the retelling in order to justify her cheating. And I think that is fucked up. And I think that staying in an abusive relationship and perpetuating the abuse on other people is also not admirable.

              We are human and all find ourselves doing not so admirable things from time to time. I think ultimately what matters is the choices we make. We can all make the choice not to perpetuate abuse.

            • Anddd I am back again because I keep thinking about this and I really don’t want to victim blame or shame. I think the point I was trying to make with the “why didn’t she leave her supposedly abusive alcoholic boyfriend instead of fucking my husband” was that she was lying about the abuse. Which I think kind of goes right into the whole point you are trying to make, zhuchi, that when we ask “well if it’s that bad, why don’t they just leave??” the insinuation IS that the victim is lying about it. And it is infinitely more preferable to believe and help than to question whether someone coming to you with DV issues is telling the truth. If this woman was my friend, and came to me with this information about her boyfriend, I would never question why she wasn’t leaving him or whether she was telling the truth. I would try to help any way I could. Even when I found out about it and all the other shit going on in her life through my ex, and I knew he was fucking her, I still wanted her to get the help she needed.

              So then, what about the people who ARE lying about abuse to justify hurting others? My anger is directed at them. I hope they do feel ashamed of their actions and choices.

          • Thankyou Zhuchi, I’m glad you said it; “just leave” is a shaming and denying mechanism.

          • This, however, is not blaming the victim.

            There is not a victim when it is simply a false story. People lie about being abused all.the.time. Other Women LOVE this charade because they are sociopaths who know that most people unfamiliar with this sort of abuse would never, EVER dare to question them.

            *Actual* abused women without any real power in their own lives simply do not start secret sexual relationships with other men; they are too terrified. They are terrified of even being PERFECT, in case their perfection makes their abusive partner suspicious that they have something to hide. IF an habitually-abused woman shares her story, it’s with a discreet woman who can support her when needed and assuage the abusive partner in a way that doesn’t escalate his behavior after she leaves.

            My point being? Abused women are NOT fucking anyone else’s husbands unless their own partner is a damn pimp. And that’s not called an affair; that’s called the sex trade.

            • Thank you for eloquently making the point I was blundering toward. The whoremat is a dirty liar and I would not believe one word out of her lying face hole.

          • I think men have it just as bad.
            First, few realize the stats on female on male abuse have tie % about the same. ( CDC has this info).
            Second, there are just about zero shelters for men.
            Third, men’s complaints are dismissed and there is the shame of beng abused by someone weaker.
            This domestic violence deal is pretty much not a gender specific deal.
            Besides the studies, here is something that may be anecdotal evidence. Watch o movie of TV show or commercials and see that female on male violence does not cast the abuser as a non protagonist in a story.
            How many times have we seen a woman slap the hell out of a male character in a show, yet she remains the sympathetic character. Reverse the roles and it sis rare that a man would remain sympathetic ( maybe Newman in ” The Verdict” or James Caan in “Misery”).
            Just today, as I was riding into work, I heard a “Jimmy Johns” commercial a where the delivery guy was bringing a sandwich to a guy who was supposed to be out in an actual doghouse due to a falling out with his wife. The customer and the delivery guy went on to joke that at least she could not throw a lamp that far. And, when she did , they joked ” she’s been working out.”
            Abusive women, physical, emotional and verbal, are well represented in our society but we continue to deny it.

          • ^This x1000. The ‘if it’s so bad, then leave’ line is so simplistic and ignorant of the cycle of abuse and all of the manifold factors which prevent people from leaving abusive relationships. I’m actually disappointed that people here on CL have said ‘if it’s that bad, then leave’. Surely we, better than most, know on a personal level that’s it’s never as simple as that.

    • I know I was characterized as “controlling”. That plus you know I was boring since I didn’t want to party late into the night because, oh yeah, had a job and was the responsible party. I really don’t think men get the crazy label often and it’s normally spot on when they do. There’s a hundred other reasons to go along with those for the cheating because you know she wasn’t at fault for the cheating.

    • You’re spot on with the narrative that society easily casts the “crazy” label on women. I got really sick a couple of months ago and had to go to the ER in an ambulance because I was suffering severe dehydration and early stages of shock. The ER doctor told me there was nothing wrong and I was probably just “upset.” He might have well have diagnosed me as “hysterical,” and I doubt he ever would have said such condescending shit to a man.

      As for your question, I’ve never heard a cheating woman refer to her ex as crazy. Usually they describe their chumps as self-absorbed and neglectful. The poor dears were just so unappreciated and neglected in their icy marriage that who could blame them for responding to the warmth of a stranger? (Please read this with sarcasm, as it’s utter crap.) I have two unicorn couple friends, and in both cases the wife cheated. In one case, the wife blamed her husband for neglecting her and her needs, and blamed her behavior on post-partum depression. (He husband was devoted and attentive, so I call bullshit.) He spackled, ate the shit sandwich, and took the blame. Now several years on they have two kids and are still together, and are “Facebook happy.” The other couple are actual unicorns. She cheated and takes 100% blame. At the time she justified her cheating because her husband “neglected” her. Now (about 20 years later) she acknowledges it was purely a story she told herself to justify her cheating, and that her husband did nothing wrong. But at the time, it was the same, worn-out “neglectful husband” crap. It also rings true in many of the articles I’ve read.

      That’s just my experience. I’d be interested to hear what others have to say.

      • I’d have to agree, in my experience in medicine, in a man, crazy = call security/4pts/B52. If a woman acts up? She can scream and cry and throw herself on the floor—and most of us shrug and say “she’s nuts but harmless”. It’s a weird dynamic. It’s unfortunate because there are some women who are downright dangerous and some men who are labeled with this by spiteful ex’s to garner PFAs.

        That’s a touchy subject, I know–but from what I know of the court system, the court hands out PFAs like candy, with zero evidence until a hearing 10 days later. There are plenty of vengeful, crazy and vindictive spouses of both genders who do this to destroy someone…usually to avoid responsibility for their own actions.

        That said, I have actually threatened CPS on many a patient who claims a spouse/SO is “crazy” and will do something violent—yet leaves their children with this SO. Or actually calls the SO and they sit together cuddling with their kids milling around. Want to know how fast they stop with the false claims of violence and “crazy”?

        Call them on their shit. My Ex said this about of his former relationships. They were all stalkers. They were all obsessed with him.

        What it actually was–and I didn’t see this until far too late—is that yes, these women followed him around like puppies—because he ENCOURAGED them, he WANTED this. He was telling THEM that I was crazy and I heard all about stalkers and his fear that this one or that one would “harm” me in some way to “take him away” from me.

        And someone said something interesting just now—when I heard all of this about the OW? I WANTED TO BELIEVE HIM. That’s why I did think she’s nuts. She’s a stalker. She just wants my husband, because I think he’s pretty fucking hot and amazing too! Why WOULDN’T she want him?!!

        Because he’s triangulating. This is your cue to up your game. All of these women want him! They’re crazy! He’s done nothing to deserve this!

        Yeah. Well–the thing now is that he’s saying I’m crazy and a stalker.

        The big takeaway here is that the people who believe him? I don’t care about them. Because if they had one iota of intellectual curiosity, they would ask the right questions (ANY questions) as to—-WHY—-if your ex wife is “so crazy”… you not spend every single dime you’ve got to litigate your kids away from her? Why don’t you EVER call CPS? Why don’t you EVER take the kids to YOUR HOUSE (because some of his OW don’t even know he’s got them!) and refuse to let them go home to “crazy dangerous”?

        Because they’re LIARS. And these people who might believe anything like this about you? Don’t matter.

        Their nature is what it is. You don’t even have to watch in order to KNOW that they will implode their lives over and over and over. It’s what they do. Because they are LIARS. Living your best life and letting the shit that is them get tracked all over everyone who supports them is proof that you are not the crazy one. They and their followers are.

        • And BTW. If this isn’t obvious—

          The way that they talk about others, ESPECIALLY their “ex relationships” is PRECISELY how they will talk about YOU. Whether you are in the relationship actively or not.

          Decent people do not demean, deride or otherwise run down people that are in their lives still. These crazy, worthless, psycho people should be PAST TENSE in their life, not someone they are actively involved with, see, or pursue.

          My ex, once–when he was demeaning YET AGAIN his more successful younger brother’s life accomplishments…I said..”you know Ex, you haven’t said a nice thing about anybody in your family except your mother, since we met.” (I had been dating him for about 8 months at that time)

          That stopped him cold. I saw the look on his face as frozen fear. I thought…”GOOD! I taught him something! He’ll start appreciating his family more!”

          Nope. He just altered course. More subtle. I was “isolated” from his family, he was now to be a “buffer” for my protection, because they started to not really like me all that much (according to him). What it is?

          They tell horrible stories about you to them, and about them to you. If you all got into the same room, the gig would be up. So the isolation begins.

          Any newbies out there? This is your future if you stay with someone who does this or these things are familiar to you. How he treats them is how he’ll treat you. You’re not special. In fact, it’s painful to even remember that I thought I was special and even once I thought, “Thank god he likes me. I’m on his team! He would never do that to ME”

          Yeah until he did.

          • GlassHalfFull,

            If they will do it with you,they will do it to you !
            Talking smack about others is only useful if they could potentially harm people, as in lie,cheat and steal.

      • Funny, I think STBX uses these lines rather than the “crazy” line to justify his cheating. It is interesting that he started cheating right at the end of a three year stint as a stay at home Dad. I can’t help but wonder if this played some role in his feelings of neglect. I imagine one can get lonely for adult company in such a role after awhile and it can probably seem as if one is being neglected when the other spouse is off at work all day, especially if said spouse works long hours. Of course this isn’t really true as somebody has to work to feed the family and it is hard to feed a family on less than 40 hours/week. Higher end jobs usually take more hours. I think STBX ended up taking on the role of the lonely housewife.

        This being said, I realize the opposite happens as well. The working spouse doesn’t see all of the work being done by the stay at home spouse and thinks he/she is the only one slaving away to make money for the stay at home spouse the spend. Then they get annoyed when SAHS complains about the long hours and/or begs for help around the house (which makes them batshit crazy) and suddenly this all makes it ok to cheat.

        Either way it’s unempathetic (i.e. fucked up) thinking and only people with serious character flaws would think cheating is the answer to these problems.

  • See also- “she shut me out.” Even with a proper diagnosis it can still be a cop out.

    • Closely related to the “we grew apart.” And then the cheater blames the growing-apart on the chump’s anxiety/depression caused by the pre D-day devalue because the cheater was having an affair. Ah, good times.

      The thing to remember is that they are never at fault.

      • I emotionally abandoned him boo hoo. Yeah whatever and I groomed him for the affair. Narcs love pity and playing the victim, laughable.

        • I was “emotionally unavailable”. I tied myself into knots for weeks wondering if this might be true. I had thought that of him, but was afraid that maybe I had been projecting my faults onto him. The evidence suggests otherwise as I have no problem being emotionally available to our kids and other people, but he has never been emotionally available to anybody but his Schmopies.

          • The Limited raged that I physically abused him; then stuttered, no, no, I mean emotionally, emotionally abused me.

            Damn, I wish I went all Dixie Chick crazy and bought a tarp, lol.

            He convinced the truly crazy slunt I was abusive. Man did he ever find a crazy cunt.

      • They are experts and setting up self-fulfilling prophesies…make you depressed then blame you for being depressing. Refuse to spend time with you then blame you for not doing things with you. So crazy. Mine also effectively abandoned the kids with me for half a year then harps to OW and friends that “I kept the kids away from him”. Anyone that knows us would laugh in his face at that suggestion. But OW or new victim? They might just believe him.

    • Mine tells people that I wouldn’t agree to go to marriage counseling. Which of course is true but he neglects to mention why marriage counseling was needed. Jerk.

      • You can’t “marriage counsel” your way out of cheating with hookers and other random strangers met online because you were “lonely”… while your wife was tending to your infant son.

        I learned this AFTER I spent about $2000 on MC and he LIED the whole time. MC is just another stage for their performances.

  • Oh Chump Lady if only I’d known you 15 years ago. When I met cheaterturd 15 years ago I heard many tales of his “crazy” ex fiancé and “crazy” ex girlfriend , little did I know that 15 years later I would be described as crazy to his OW to get her in bed and she would be described to me (once I discovered the affair) as a crazy stalker that just wouldn’t leave him alone. I laugh about it now, I’m the most stable person you have ever met, same job for 30 years, same friends, do community work, etc etc. Ex had no less than 12 jobs in 15 years, no relationship with his family, no real friends to speak of. Sigh.

    When someone describes everyone in his past as crazy, run like hell! The only common denominator is them.

    • “When someone describes everyone in his past as crazy, run like hell! The only common denominator is them.”


    • My son told me the other day – if you always smell shit everywhere, maybe you should check the bottom of your shoe!
      He was referring to his dad, because he’s complaining about his life troubles, how he can’t catch a break.

  • I love how Cheaters say the rejected spouse is “Crazy”…”Bipolar”…”Unstable”
    My Cheater Ex was able to get a court ordered Pych evaluation done to me. The diagnosis…..PTSD due to the trauma of divorce. Yup….not crazy..not bipolar.
    Yet he was setting up his exit for months….visiting neighbors crying on their shoulders…unbeknownst to me.
    It’s amazing how I got cured the lingerie I was away from him. It’s amazing how there were no more eggshells at my feet anymore.
    Praise the Lord…I was healed from my crazy….it’s called….Divorce Decree and a 60% of the ALL assets and retirement settlement. Money from your Ex is Good Medicine!!!

    • Good for you.
      He sounds kind of dangerous ?
      A lot of my health problems went away when I was no longer in X’s stew of chaos, and 900 miles away!

      • Yeah funny that. I pretty much stopped drinking, don’t feel drained all the time. I used to joke he was like kyptonite, um not a joke it was the truth, his neediness sucked me dry.
        I dropped 10 kg and now get into clothes from a decade ago and look pretty god damn smokin and shit men even look at me now like they did years ago. Lose the milestone gain a life!

        • Hot Mama!
          One theory I have about life, is that empathetic, spiritual people have energy, that others can feel. Beautiful vibes. But, we only have so much, and if they are being sucked up by a user, a chaotic and self-centered spouse, we begin to be depleted. How can we recharge? There’s never time and space to do that. So, we can get sick, and definitely sad. I got breast cancer, and now I took care of it, and I’m well, and feeding my spirit so I can stay healthy! I’m no longer being sucked dry by X, and in fact, I’ve learned to accept help, which used to be so hard for me, and gravitate to other good people who are more encouraging. Hope this doesn’t sound too strange, but to me it’s just good common sense, which took me ages to learn due to my unhelpful childhood. But now I get it. We have to safeguard our sensitive spirits!

          • You are totally right. Narcs love empaths. I am drawn to positive people now and try and live in the light and am grateful for the good things and people in my life. I lost myself and often felt like I was drowning. His soul mate fell through and he wants back. I told him yesterday I was quite happy on my own, he is struggling big time and is having a melt down, after blowing up my phone with threats to kill himself and all sorts of crap, I blocked his number. Still a stupid part of me that feels bad for him but then I think back at the level he deceived me and played me and I think no I deserve more than that.

          • Yup, FreeWoman, you got it! I agree with you that they suck out our love and spirituality.

            John Gray describes what happens in cheating, before d-day: during cheating sex, all the sick, negative emotions go into the cheater: the anger, the fear, the chaos, despair, hatred, and so on. Then the cheater has sex with his wife. Cheater energy mixes with wife energy, cheater gets a lift, and wife gets a load, and she doesn’t know why. John Gray said the faithful spouse will wake up in the middle of the night, distraught, and not know what is the matter, filled with despair and anxiety.

        • Lady b, I stopped drinking since X left, I didn’t make a concentrated effort to stop drinking, I have no desire to have a drink. I felt like I needed a couple glasses of wine every day to try to unwind.

          Tracy, aa few months before X walked out he was crying to neighbors confiding in them about his concern for my mental well being.
          Apparently I’d been making his life a living hell with what he diagnosed as my bipolar personality, he suffered in silence but couldn’t suffer much longer it was becoming too much for him
          Friendly with neighbors he had ignored for the last15 years, (they weren’t educated enough for him to socialize with) suddenly X began waving, going out of his way to say hello to them, walking over to their driveways to chat, joking attending car races with them, an event he claimed was red neck and he hated.
          Chumpy me, thought, how nice, he’s being social and it might be good for him to be around other people.
          Little did I know at the time this was all part of his plan, carefully building his alliances, bad mouthing me, and gaining the neighbors sympathy and support.

  • This is so spot on. Broadening it to other subjects, if a person is disparaging of the ex in a nasty way on any topic, it always gives me pause. Snark is different from cruelty. And, if a person seems to be using the discussion of the ex to glean pity, that also gives me pause. A story of one’s honest pain isn’t typically couched in a nasty smear campaign or a need for something that would harm me or drain me to give it.

    Many of my friends have, at one time or another, dated someone who was “separated” and justified dating while still sorting out the other relationship with talk like “it has been over for a long time, we just still need to sort out the last of the details”. Even this gives me significant pause. Have you no boundaries? Why would you stay in a relationship you feel has been over for a long time, one where it feels appropriate to you to start dating before you’ve finished it?

    I don’t judge it, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying it causes me to pause a beat and start looking deeper. It’s like realizing “huh, I’ve had a sore back before, but never THAT kind of pain…” and starting to pay closer attention to what’s going on to determine whether more steps are needed. Maybe it will make perfect sense under scrutiny. If that’s the case, scrutiny shouldn’t be an issue.

    Dating is complex enough, and we all bring our baggage to our new acquainting. The last thing any of us needs is to throw manipulation into our mix. It’s fair to use caution and keep our eyes open.

    • That is the line my cheater used.

      “we are separated.”
      “she doesn’t love me”
      “she only stays for the kids”

      Damn…I wish someone would have told me.

      • They use it because it works. People with big hearts are understanding. I wish someone would have told me, too.

    • Then I’m in trouble in the dating pool, because I can’t find much good to say about my X, except that he is smart and a snappy dresser. Emotionally abusive serial cheater and sociopath pretty much sums up the rest of my assessment about him. Guess I should develop more of a filter? ; )

      • Was thinking the same! I sure don’t have good things to say about him, but that’s okay, because the goal is to continue the detox until I don’t think of him much, if at all. For now, if people ask, I just say he did the whole cliche young mistress deal. True, though hardly the whole of it.

        • I’m nowhere near the dating stage but I hope that if I get there , it won’t matter that I have nothing good to say about the x because the date would suck if we had to talk about him! And if the date wants to spend his time talking about his x, I hope I can say no to another date!

          • P.s. Stbx did tell me he and schmoopie would tell each other about how abused they were. What a great bonding topic. He also told me how New and fresh their talk was. I’m sure abuse talk stays new and fresh for years and that it must be the love of a lifetime.

        • It’s a conversation stopper when I say he cheated on me throughout my marriage with whores.

          But the good news is that he ended up with a druggie with an arrest record, and is borderline.

          So I just say I’m single, listen, and try to. be in the moment.

      • I don’t mean it isn’t ok to say anything disparaging at all, nor do I mean that pause means the whole thing is trash.

        If a person’s bad stories about the ex include facts that match up with one another and the rest of the person’s character is congruent with the stories, then the pause relaxes. For me, pause means I perk up my ears and listen harder to ensure I’m paying close attention, that I’m looking at more than the one thing I’m hearing right now to make sure the whole set of things seems to have integrity.

        You would easily present as fully integrated, so I’d lay my ears back down and enjoy the sunbeam again. 🙂 (Puppy metaphor!)

      • Oh, yeah, and…

        If the sad story includes “I’m going to be homeless if you don’t let me stay with you because she threw me out because she’s crazy, and I need to bring my seven dogs and my broken down car and my rock polisher that has to run 24/7 for my sidewalk polished rock selling business that I do because nobody will hire me because I have a bad wrist and for no other reason, I swear, and I’m desperate, and I have fallen desperately in love with you, and I need you…” then I can guess that that the ex probably just grew some good boundaries recently and isn’t crazy at all. 😉

        Extreme example, I know, but you know what I mean.

        • I stop dead in my tracks when they are unemployed and living with mom.

          Another turn off is when they brag about money and start asking if I own my own home.

          The biggest deal breaker IS a laundry list of complaints about their X. i had an OW tell me he went on so much she couldn’t believe anyone could be this horrible.

          Sad sausages always give a timeline. The Limited’s was, I haven’t been happy for two years. It speaks to Narc cycles. Infatuation year one, devaluation and preying on new victims year two, and discard. True to his nature he’s got her in therapy giving ultimatiums (devaluing) and looking for new supply. They don’t change.

  • Anyone who comes in contact with X has heard I’m crazy, and an alcoholic diagnosed by the psychology expert, Mr. Integrity, everyone knows he’s an all around great guy,
    He claims to have done everything he could to save our marriage but I was uncooperative and well, he was concerned about my mental health but couldn’t take it anymore. Is that why he emptied our bank account? Does that include as he told me “wanting something different.” when he already found what he wanted?
    I’d like to know what he meant by everything, it wasn’t going to therapy because he refused to go.
    Maybe the afternoon in the kitchen when he blurted out no one in their right mind would want to fuck me.
    Or when he came home from visiting his mother, I asked how she was and he became enraged, screaming in my face like a Marine sergeant that I was a stupid ugly bitch and he would like to punch the shit out of me but I’m not worth it. My guess is he conveniently decided they weren’t worth mentioning.
    This self proclaimed psychology expert us the same one who makes the blanket statement that Psychology is a bullshit degree, mental health professions are all bullshit jobs.

      • I forgot to mention during his confession regarding my mental issues, he just couldn’t bear another day with me. He was able to produce a fake tear or two, then dab his eyes
        Poor X.., suffering in silence all those years, he deserves a better life with someone who appreciates him.

        Thank you Lady b, I’m embarrassed to say during that time I accepted these behaviors as “normal” or “not that bad,” X had a bad day, X didn’t mean what he said..,
        Uh.., yes.., he did mean what he said, bad day is no excuse, the things he said were unacceptable, and far from normal. More importantly I don’t deserve to be talked to that way by anyone.
        I eventually found CN and after reading CL’s book and posts from other Chumps, I found my way out of the fog. I’m so grateful for CL and my fellow Chumps.

        • Brit,

          So glad to you are rid of that nutter. Screamed at you ?! A comedian said the only reason to scream at somebody is to say “OH MY GOD ! LOOK OUT FOR THAT BUS ! IT’S GONNA HIT YOU !” And a therapist wrote the only reason to raise one’s voice at one’s partner is to let him/her know the house is on fire.

          And he claims you were the crazy one ? Eff off

        • Mine had an excuse for everything and could blame someone else always. When he does this now it is sooo tiresome. He can’t find time for councilling, yes its hard to find an hour a week, eye roll, not my problem anymore, prefer to hang out with adults who own their shit.

  • Most of our friends and family think STBX suddenly went crazy. I thought so too until I took a good look at the past few years and realized it was really the slow boil. The seeds of this were always there but it took a while to grow.

    STBX is more subtle than to tell anyone I went crazy. He would stick to things like, “we grew apart” or “we just weren’t compatible” or “I’m just not passionate about her anymore”. All true, but only because he made them true and wasn’t willing to put any effort into our marriage. These excuses will sound perfectly reasonable to concerned potential partner’s friends.

    • Same here, but mine has an additional tangible twist he can use to solidify his position. After 16 years of subtle (and not so subtle) emotionally abuse, I was nearly hysterical. I couldn’t take anymore, and said I wanted out of the relationship (and had asked to get out annually the previous 10 years). Again, Hannibal hoovered me back in with promises that he’d change, be a nicer person to me and youngest daughter (to whom he was sometimes cruel). I actually found his notes to himself as I was emptying the house, dated 2011.

      The good behavior lasted all of 40 days, and then it was same old/same old. I had become like the dogs in Seligman’s learned helplessness experiment–all my previous attempts at escape hadn’t worked, so I gave up. Serious depression set in, panic attacks for no reason (and I am NOT a person prone to either depression or anxiety).

      Oldest daughter got an aquarium for Christmas, so we started going to the pet store more often to buy tank decorations, fish, plants, etc. Daughter had read up on fish, so she could point to the bettas in cups and say, “that one has ammonia poisoning, and that one has popeye-a bacterial infection….” Damn if I didn’t identify with the suffering fish gasping for breath in the bottom of their little cups. I couldn’t save myself, but I could sure save them. So I bought one fish and saved it. Then another, then another. I got very good at rescuing sick fish and resuscitating them. It became an obsession. If I had to leave a sick fish in the store for any reason, I would cry when I got back out to the car. Because I COULD absolve their fish of their suffering (but not myself).

      Bettas standardly live for several years, so the number of fish in the house did, I admit, get a little crazy. Thus, my X can now point to the mental illness of my “fish hoarding” as the reason we grew apart, and conveniently leave off his emotional abuse behind closed doors, his activity on Ashley Madison & Adult Friend Finder during that time, his second affair with a student, and toward the end, a full-blown affair with now-GF. None of his abuses or cheating were visible to friends, but oh, they SAW my fish tanks. Ergo, Hannibal can easily insinuate that we “grew apart” because “bitch be crazy! You saw her fish tanks! Cuckoo!” And, despite having seen his poor impulse control publicly for years, people buy this. C’est la vie.

      • Tempest, between your fish hoarding and splitting spaghetti into three parts you are a classic psycho!

        • I know! Amazing I’ve avoided capture by the padded-wagon people for so long!

      • Tempest, its insidious how the contact crazy and all the spackle actually makes us look crazy to the mostly normal and unsuspecting!

        • “Mmmyyy wwwiiffeee…..waasss…(clutching a tissue he surreptitiously wet with saliva) doing …just…ohdeargwd..I..I can’t- evenSAAYYYY ITTT!!!! She wasssss…ohI am soooo humiliated! She…she…..(voice now a near whisper) she was a FISH WHORE!!! WAAAAAA!!!!
          (Resumes synchronized scissor kicks with grad student de jour) “Oh Professor Fishy Story! How tragic! No wonder you have sooooo much trouble geting a Whore On! With your beee-u-tee-ful hammer head together we could make a Great White Wail! FINN-ish me off and we’ll WHALE into mythology pathology together on your MOLDY DICK!!”

      • Tempest, a normally sensitive and sane person cannot do well living with an abusive jerk for 16 years! That sort of environment would break anyone – and I’ve read several of your stories of the type of cruelty your ex inflicted on you (examples that make me so angry on your behalf .. and recall the ex’s who did the same to me).

        Hey, I nearly cracked after working just a year for a crazy boss (I started shouting my frustration at my boss which is something I usually don’t do, and my coworkers noted that I stopped smiling altogether). Being around abuse and insanity is just not healthy or sustainable.

        I’ve heard the “Bitch-Be-Crazy” as the reason for divorce when I dated someone for a few months. He said his ex-wife was “crazy” because she kept bringing home more and more dogs .. had 7 of them by the time their marriage ended.

        It took time for me to figure out the following clues and details of his marriage (some he confessed, the rest I figured out by observing how he treated me):

        1. He traveled often for business and she was left alone in the house 3 weeks out of each month;
        2. She wanted children but he made her abort her pregnancies (his reason: it’s not a good time yet) so they never had children;
        3. He would arrange for hookups online and meet women at his business trip destinations (his ex-wife still does not know);
        4. If she was crazy all along, why did he marry her? Answer: Well, she was smart and she rescued him from his drug addiction;
        5. After dating him for those several months, I found out he’s a self-centered narcissist, a porn addict who frequented prostitutes and massage parlors, and was unreliable if I ever needed him but expected me to be available once he returned from his business trips. He had a mean streak also .. liked cutting people down with insults.

        I concluded that the dogs were his ex-wife’s solution for her deep loneliness in that marriage, while he was away traveling for his work and hounding around with other women. (I totally empathize with the fish-saving behavior that Tempest described.) Bitch-be-crazy red flag, indeed!

        • NoMoreNarcs(really)–I’m glad you caught on to that nasty narc and were able to run. (In my head I’m re-writing the story so that one of the ex-wife’s dogs seeks its revenge on him.)

  • I feel irritation like Im being poked with a glowing hot cattle prod every time I hear this excuse and it feels 100x worse when the recent Mr X explains that he had to escape his wildly insane spouse but he was sure she was just fine to raise the kids. If, in fact, one’s spouse is so insane that it would drive away a committed, devoted spouse, then I wonder how safe children would be in that setting. Sometimes real “crazy” looks like that gal in TX who drowned her 5 kids.

    I totally agree with CL about what it would look like if a spouse divorced for actual mental illness.

    I know a middle aged guy who is raising his 8 kids…he just married a coworker of mine and they are spinning the plates of their 10 (!!) kids. I have no idea where his wife went (I didnt consider it my business to ask) but I doubt he opted to raise 8 kids alone so he could pursue “strange”.

    I married a man whose W ended their marriage abruptly and when I first heard his story, I was looking for the “bitch be crazy” red flag. My first clue that he was telling the truth was his absence of dating in the years after his divorce. Ive anecdotally observed that really heartbroken men (and women) will often stay out of the dating pool for extended periods after an abandonment and he did. I really watched for proof of his story with skepticism…I saw photos of them right after she left and she had the “Im free to date FABIO” excitement on her face while he had very sad Chump eyes. Over time, his version of the story revealed itself to be true.

    I am of the opinion that it is somewhat rare for a woman to throw away a really great guy, but it happens. We have a number of really nice Chumpdudes here and I believe them to be quite legit. Dating Chumpgals have a challenge with each potential guy to screen out the assholes with weak excuses from the diamonds-in-the-rough …and when you find one who is worth his weight in gold.

    • On the leaving the kids with Crazy — yes, it’s a contradiction. However, (and this was 15 years ago when I first had to litigate this and there was not as much awareness about mental illness) it takes a LOT to reduce someone’s visitation or parental rights. I got physical custody and decision-making — which gives you an idea of how bad it was. However, I was NOT allowed (in the state of Va.) to bring his diagnosis into court. You read that right – mental illness is NOT admissible. My lawyer got around it by asking about his treatment and asking him to volunteer his health records (which of course he refused to do). He also read off a list of DSM symptoms and asked if he experienced these things. And I could describe his chaos and impaired decision making.

      STILL it did NOT give my kid supervised visitation. All to say, don’t judge a parent who has to hand their kids over to another parent with mental illness. (When I was going through this, I knew someone who had to do 50/50 with a schizophrenic. I’m not kidding.)

      • Amen, I have managed to get it down to a few hours every week with supervised. She is now trying to get that increased. It is very hard wondering if the kids are ready to deal with her more.

        • Hang in there. My son survived it and is a fine young man. Get them some therapy to help them realize her illness is NO reflection on them and it’s not their job to take care of (parent) her.

          • They are in therapy. They are handling pretty well now (first couple of years were shaky). Thank you for the wishes.

          • “Get them some therapy to help them realize her illness is NO reflection on them and it’s not their job to take care of (parent) her.”

            Chumplady – This post is very healing for me and very freeing. Thank you.

      • wow, no judging here…that you for telling is what it really looks like.

      • WOAH there CL. I say this with the utmost respect to you and this wonderful site, but these topics that involve discussion about mental illness always make me nervous.

        My brother lives with schizophrenia and is a father of three. He’s utterly devoted to them. He works, his marriage is a beautiful one and he’s a high functioning member of the community.

        His life due to his illness has been difficult and painful on lots of levels. He did not choose this disease just as the 3% of the population with schizophrenia didn’t choose it.

        Many schools of thought believe severe and persistent mental illness is the result of childhood trauma and attachment issues. In my family’s case this is definitely a worthy explanation for my bro’s illness.

        Is it fair, kind or compassionate to stigmatise these people? There are many, many, many people with illnesses like schizophrenia who are living remarkable lives. Check out Ellyn Saks on TED for just one US example.

        Mental illness like schizophrenia doesn’t make a person an evil useless demon. If someone Displays these characteristics then there is a good likelihood they would be this way if they DIDN’T have schizophrenia. It’s the bell curve of human population.

        Just as there are people with cancer who are assholes. A diagnosis of cancer doesn’t instantly make that person insightful, kind or decent.

        I know most people could point to an example of someone with a severe mental illness who is an asshole. Of course they can, but there are many others with the same diagnosis walking amongst us who are NOT assholes. Being this generalised is really stigmatising and hurtful.

        It’s a risk for me to challenge some of these statements here. I really value this forum and site. It has been a life saver, but I’m really uncomfortable with some of the blanket and judgemental statements that get made and want to advocate for those of us on this site who either have mental illness or love someone who has mental illness and feel marginalised and rejected yet again in an already hostile and judgemental society that “blames” the individual for something they are actually blameless over.

        I really hope I’m not moderated or banned from the site for this comment. I value it and you all so much but for my gorgeous brother’s sake and all the other gorgeous and admirable people I know who make successful lives in spite of a grinding and miserable mental illness, I am compelled to speak up.

        • High functioning diagnosed schizophrenics are outliers. Schizophrenics have the highest rate of matricide, patricide and infanticide, as well as homelessness, psychotic breaks and chaotic life styles.

          To state that people whose illness manifests itself in voices that compel them , for example, chop off their baby’s head because they perceive them as a demon- are not a risk in parenting situations is ridiculous, at best.

          You are globalizing an extreme (almost unheard of) example of your brother and applying it across the board.

          Part of a brain based chemical imbalance persuades the patient to be non complaint in their meds, therefore heightening the risk to any vulnerable populations around them- which could result in abuse, abandonment or neglect.

          No one is blaming them. It is science that mental illness can result in dangerous and/or reckless behaviors which would endanger children in a different manner than diabetes, MS or cancer.

          • I am curious to know the evidence on which you base all of your claims. Including that which is around schizophrenia being a chemical imbalance. There is however a team of evidence to demonstrate a brain with schizophrenia shows the same kind of structural impairment seen on a person who has experienced significant trauma and neglect.

            To say my brother is an “almost unheard” example of someone with schizophrenia is predjudiced and ignorant. To infer that all parents with schizophrenia have voices telling them to cut off their child’s head is completely inaccurate. In fact your statement is so ridden with claims that have no meaningful evidence to support them, or are at best taken so out of context (ie in terms of mothers killing children and a psychiatric diagnosis being involved, women with post natal depression, post partum paychosis and personality disorder are equally at risk of doing same), it is staggering.

            In one study, deaths in U.K. For one calendar year were studied and out of approximately 600 homocides, 30 were committed by people with psychosis and this was following discharge from hospital before properly stable.

            Research in to psychotic illness and violence does indicate an increased risk but context (age, Sunstance misuse) are considerable factors. And EVEN then, the rates of violent crime among this population are no way near what you are inferring.

            Research shows that people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are 40% more likely to be the VICTIMS of violent crime.

            I am not disputing there are bad people with schizophrenia – my original post tried to outline that. What I am disputing is the kind of prejudice and blanket statements you are making – that they are all dangerous murderers is abhorrent and perpetuates the societal marginalisation these people experience daily.

    • Unicorn, I must tell you that this post gives me great hope.

      When KK’s sister sabotaged her marriage of 15 years by fucking around with the Invasive Shrub Professor, she didn’t waste much time with the “I’m free to date Fabio” pictures all over social media. The FB profile pic of her riding him piggyback in an Acapulco pool made KK and I roll our eyes in disgust for many months. Her now ex-husband stayed silent for many months afterward, and I thought, “Just so. He’s gotta take a lot of time to process this.” (And as I’ve noted many times here before, in hindsight I strongly suspect that KK was taking mental notes.)

      I don’t think I’ve had a sad look on my face for a very long time now (thanks largely to CN), but my reluctance for actively pursuing any relationship for the time being is equal parts (a) emotionally dealing with the discard, (b) enjoying my freedom and taking time to figure out what type of life I want to have, (c) modelling for my teen daughters that you don’t need to be in a relationship to feel ‘complete’ or ‘normal’, and (d) if and when the next lady does come along, I want her to have confidence in my story and my values.

      It’s easy to get sucked into the muck day to day (especially with KK demanding centrality at every turn) but your words here have made today much easier than most. 🙂

      • From what I gather, Mrs NowicandateFabio took off with a wild imagination of all the fabulousness she would live when she broke free of the yoke of LtCol Goodguy. It was later learned that some guy his XW was dating took out a protective order to get her to leave him alone, so she might have pursued that with a bit too much vigor.

        In the long run, I dont think that runners win…they sometime win in the short term, but mostly they just buy trouble for themselves. It is hard to quantify, but from all indicators, he is much happier now than she is.

        You will someday meet a woman who (if she is wise) will cautiously enter your world looking for a “bitch be crazy” flag…tell your story with authenticity but try to minimize the extreme drama…in the end, the real story tells itself. This gal you will meet will (like me) be very sad that anyone ever hurt you like KK did and simultaneously be sad that you were hurt and discarded and very appreciative that she will forever benefit from KKs error.

    • Isn’t it interesting how “healthy” seems to equal doing what they find expedient?

      Funny that ….

  • Yup I got the “you”re bipolar”. Funny it was when he got caught cheating. He demanded I go to counselling the first time which I did and despite her efforts I stayed with the POS. he begged to stay and that resulted in 4 years of massive abuse before the second time I was apparently bipolar because I called him on cheating lying stealing and abusing me. He STILL told me i had to go to a psychologist to reconcile. By then a counsellor wasn’t good enough for my crazy. Note he never even went for counselling. Wow, just wow

    • Yah, James Bond told me the same thing. Seriously, James Bond? You da one with the problem!!

  • One of the dirty little secrets of being in a relationship with someone of questionable mental health status, is that the frustration of life with someone with questionable mental health, plus all the spackle can start to make YOU look crazy to other people.

  • Ummmm, yeah, Borderline has been the most common diagnosis with Bi-Polar cropping up occasionally. Lists of therapists for both of us is very long (because when you are married to a borderline the problem is you). Diagnosis started as a teenager but she claimed it was because of her family issues and was wrong, College years were better but the signs were there. Getting progressively worse first in one state when she did real treatment for a year and then in another where there was a lack of honesty with her treatment. Etc Etc Etc. They don’t suddenly turn crazy and they don’t suddenly heal either.

    • Borderline is really hard. The nature of the disorder makes improvement and therapy really difficult. My mom is BPD. Her comorbidity of alcoholism caused her to drink herself into dementia and now she is MUCH easier to get along with. Dementia has almost erased her BPD…its just bizarre. She is nice to me for the first time in my life and dont even know what to make of it.

  • Yep, can relate to this post as well, CL. Just as the cheater finally got it into his brains (if they exist) that there is no going back, he tried to convince my Mom I was a psycho. He invited her out to lunch to talk things over (image management). In the midst of the conversation mainly focused on justifying his affairs throughout our marriage (I was unhappy, she is making a huge deal of casual sex flings, women just flock to me and it’s not my fault, etc) he asked my Mom about her younger brother’s diagnosis. Back in the days I told him the story when my uncle got drunk, drove himself to anxiety over some political issue, and ran after me and my sis with a knife. We were visiting grandma then (i was around 16) and jumped out of the window to escape his rage. He was perfectly normal after 2 hours of sleep. Typical alcoholic stuff. This uncle also had a menegitis when he was a baby and doctors said since it was not properly treated it impacted his brain. Whatever. He was perfectly adequate when not drunk. So the cheater made my mom recount that story and was nodding with a serious and concerned expression on his face. He then said that my uncle had a mental illness (because he researched it!) and it was genetic and he had noticed those crazy manifestations in me throughout our marriage. He then proceeded telling
    my mom how I screamed like crazy and banged a folding chair on the balcony door and almost broke the wooden shutters “simply because he JOKINGLY locked me out in the balcony for 5minutes”. He then went on describing with utmost eloquency and persuasion that he was convinced it was genetics at play and I was crazy. He got my mom shocked quite frankly. She could not believe I was capable of doing this. He failed to tell her I was pregnant, we were having a nice coffee afternoon in the balcony and he kept picking his nose which I repeatedly asked him to stop. He got mad at me for daring to “tell him what to do!”, went inside and locked me out. July afternoon in an an African country. After politely waiting for his majesty to open the door for half an hour, then asking many times, then starting screaming, I went crazy and started banging the door with a chair. (if there was a machine gun around I would have used it on this motgerfucker!) All that detail was left out.

    I am crazy now and I am loving it!

    • Yeah, taking things out of context is a great way to make someone appear crazy or otherwise a bad spouse. STBX had quite the list of reasons for the marriage counselor as to why he wasn’t happy with his marriage, all out of context.

      Your story reminds me of the time STBX kicked me out of the car while 8 months pregnant in July to walk the last four blocks to the grocery store. What did I do to deserve this? Why I offended him of course. When someone J-walked in front of our car he sped up to scare the guy and teach him a lesson. I grabbed the door and said something like “geez”. At the time I figured, well I am 8 months pregnant so I must have been grumpy lately and that is stressing him out and making him behave badly. The thing is, I couldn’t actually think of anything particularly grumpy I had been doing, but I just assumed the problem was somehow me making him crazy (I now know that’s called spackling). In all fairness to me, he had never done anything like that to me before and it did seem out of character at the time.

        • I hate to say it but at the time I probably would have been falling all over myself to protect him telling everyone it was an accident and I probably would have believed it because the truth would have been too hard to bear.

          Thankfully he wasn’t quite close enough for that.

    • See? I know of a family that was irretrievably splintered for the cheating husband confiding in his mother-in-law and then turning against her own daughter. Grim shit, that is.

  • I love this post but then again I must be crazy. Lol!! Crazy for staying with a manipulative prick half my life and then I got super crazy for holding him financially responsible for the child he pretty much abandoned. I can just hear the stories he told.

    He had a severe untreated depression and multiple breakdowns during the span of our relationship but I’m the crazy one – I think not. Haha!

  • Fortunately for this blog when the time comes to dating again, I’ll be VERY cautious about the crazy x stories. I’ll now include the questions of diagnosis etc. But one good thing I have going for me is that there’s an gentleman at my church whose an excop and detective and he says any one I date or think could be the one, he’ll do a complete background check for me. But first they have to pass the test of why’d you leave your marriage so I can spot any red flags flying in his house.

  • My wife cheated on me after 23-Years of marriage and it was like she went bat-shit-crazy – she went from teaching Sunday School at a conservative Christian Church – she never swore and she dressed ultra conservatively… I don’t want to blame menopause – but it was like she snapped… I am not sure if it as the affair that made her snap… But she changed to swearing constantly – I do not think an hour goes by (when not in public anyways) when she does not drop the F bomb in front of me or the kids… It started what i call the Mid-affair days – the days before I knew she was cheating (but found out afterwards it was during that time) and she also started dressing very revealing… She also developed a really short temper and would burst into fits of rage laced with profanity – still up to now… It was like she snapped. The kids and I (three – youngest graduates HS next month) constantly walk on eggshells…
    One morning (at 5AM) I woke up with her standing next to the bed and her face 8″-inches from mine and she was screaming and her face was full of rage and beat red and it was because she ran out of underwear and thought one of our daughters was wearing them… She refuses any help from therapists – will not go to therapy – she has alienated her parents as well. My therapist says she cannot diagnose her she has not seen her – but says based on my feedback (over the past 18-months) she has several BPD traits and some NPD traits – but cannot diagnose.

    I have been addicted to Hopium as I am somewhat new to your site and I have just finished reading your book and have shared it with my Therapist. I have been trying to work on things for the past 18-months since I discovered her affair, mostly because my kids were so close to Graduating HS and i thought that maybe we (turned out to be just me) could work on the relationship – but no. It has been nothing except her and she has verbally abused not only me – but the kids too. In hind site – I should have filed for D back in Nov 2015 when I found her and her boss (the married owner of the business she worked for)…

    So, it looks like i will be divorcing her – and I think she did go bat-shit-crazy – but then again I do not have plans for ever having another relationship after what i have been through. Being cheated on and then Verbally and Emotionally abused… I know it seems mostly Men cheat it seems – I have kept my vows and do not understand cheating, all I know is that Humans are a horrible species.

    • Sorry for your pain, ChumpManinNH. You have been through a fiery trial and I take no joy in telling you that the best thing you can do for yourself and your kids is divorce her. You have to protect your mind and soul so that you can be the sane parent your kids need. Who knows why they go off the deep end? Conservative, Christian, sweet–and then hussy, profane, and raging. It could be straight up mental illness or a character flaw that revealed itself as time passed–but don’t spend any more time trying to figure it out. Get free and seek peace and calm for yourself. Distance and the passage of time will reveal much to you. If medication and therapy help her at some future date, fine. But you don’t have to allow the abuse and evil into your life any more. Cheating is soul rape. No one has the right to do that to anyone.

    • I am so sorry you are going through this. The best thing I did to help when the pain was great is log on to the forum. I loved the book and the site, but the forum helped me find friends who understood exactly what I was feeling and the support I needed after DDay. Tons of great advice from chumps who have lived through it and survived. They are inspiring. You can do this!

    • NH, you may not have discovered it yet, but the forum here is an additional great place to get support and validation. You are not crazy – even though you may be being set up to look like ‘the bad one’.

      There are a lot of mighty people here helping us all get mightier each day.

      Keep coming back and keep us updated!

    • To ChumpManinNH
      Early onset dementia?
      Though if she can still refrain from swearing in public perhaps not. Just projecting my personal experience of being sworn and shouted at by ladies who will then want to be off to chapel in their next breath.
      The brain stores taboo words differently from other words. So that’s why I made that connection.

  • My ex referred to me as crazy after dday and I think he sort of enjoyed it. It was because I “was crazy jealous” when before I never showed any signs of jealousy. This of course meant I didn’t love him so he just had to cheat. I digress. Anyway, I was the marriage police after I found out about the cheating and I questioned his whereabouts a lot and went through his phone and other personal stuff whenever I got the chance. So yeah, I was a little nutso but it had a very specific reason.

    Comically enough he referred to the OW as crazy for most of the decade they worked together so I guess he goes for that sort of thing.

    Anyway, I would definitely take the “my ex wife is crazy” routine as a red flag now.

  • I think this is one of the hardest things to deal with when you have kids with your X and they insist on bringing the OW… and then the one that came after her… along to your child’s events, etc.

    I used to OBSESS about what we being said about me behind my back. Things like: she liked to “plan” everything, we could never be spontaneous (READ: she liked to take nice vacations once a year, not stay at home and look at the walls)… she didn’t enjoy sex (READ: she found my BiMWM personal ad and insisted I get a blood test before having sex with me again – I refused)… she controlled the money and I felt like I was a child living on an allowance (READ: I held back 30% of my paycheck every month and never told her; I took tax exemptions that her tax refund would cover; I paid out 30% of my salary in child support so there really wasn’t much left except for her earnings.)

    And then I received an email “apology” from the OW after she got smart and broke up with Mr. Sparkles. And she told me what he was saying… He filled her head with LIES… out and out LIES. Things like: we took separate vacations that summer with the kids (READ: Nope… went to an amusement park for a long weekend and then our annual trip to the beach)… we were sitting the kids down to tell them about the divorce (READ: the word Divorce wasn’t even mentioned until I filed – one year after the discard)… his “personal ads” were his way of punishing me for putting spyware on his computer (READ: um… the spyware led me to this trash folder – the things I found were dated at least six months PRIOR).

    And the real irony, when the OW kicked his ass to the curb… he changed the narrative and told the kids that SHE CHEATED ON HIM. (READ: She discovered his Adult Friend Finder personal ad looking for women/couples/groups).

    SO – the moral of the story is… CHEATERS LIE.

    Don’t listen to words – look at actions. Look at the relationships they have with other members of their family (or their kids). Look at if they’re involved in their community and have the respect of others. Look and see if they have kept steady employment and have a good credit score (I kid you not on that one!).

    Does Mr. Sparkles tell the OW and all the women that follow her that I was crazy? Probably. But does it make it TRUE. Nope.

    The hardest part is detachment from their narrative. My friends, family, kids, stepkids all know that Mr. Sparkles lied and cheated on me. I had proof. (Something cheaters never have when they call their exes “crazy” and they really aren’t.)

    I do admit, I’m dreading meeting the new GF. I managed to not cross paths with the OW during their 18 month relationship. But truly, who cares. The woman who is dating my X now for almost 9 months and has practically moved herself in to his rental can’t be “all that wonderful”… if she thinks a man with 4 failed adult relationships over 25 years that produced 5 kids while he has ZERO money in the bank and is still paying support is a CATCH – then she is in for a ride. People ignore what’s right in front of them for the sake of “love” and then wonder why it ends so horribly.

    SO glad me and my son are out of his crazy and on with our lives.

    And then I got it – he is a pathological liar.

    • I feel the same way. I obsessed about OW and what he told her about me. I wanted her to know the truth. I wasn’t a fat, old, lazy cow who was boring and never wanted to do anything.

      Then I found messages with out right pathological lies…..but stupid ones.
      Like saying his kid was doing this or that….none of which happened and can easily be seen never happened.

      Lies about fixing things in the house. Nope still broke.

      Lies about taking his kids places. Nope you are at the bar….all day.

      Just dumb shit…..

      And then it hit me….he is a worthless pathological liar.

      Funny how seeing that set me off to his true personality….but I could rug sweep the lies he told to me about his whores.

      • I read some where once, something along the lines off….

        “If he called you a refrigerator you wouldn’t actually become a refrigerator, or think to yourself I am a refrigerator…..”

        So when he starts he blame shifting, gas lighting lies….I repeat in my head….”I am not a refrigerator, I am not a refrigerator…”

        • I like this one too… “Sometimes, I sing and dance around my room in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.”

          Crazy is as crazy does. And if the new GF was paying attention… she’d look at things like “wow – for a crazy person, she’s raising a really well-mannered and smart kid”… “wow – for a crazy person, her stepchildren all love and respect her enough to spend time with her on Mother’s Day”… “wow – for a crazy person, she managed to keep the marital home without Mr. Sparkles and drives a nice car”… “wow – for a crazy person, she seems to have a really stable job where she is successful”

          Sad thing is – you can’t see THEIR CRAZY through all the love-bombing and by the time you do see it, you’re already hooked to their crazy like a drug addict.

  • I never felt more crazy than when I was being gaslighted and cheated on.

  • Today’s post really hit home for me. My mother has mental illness and I do agree that it’s something that is a long time brewing and a slow process. Looking back she was always depressed and full of anxiety, even though she had a very blessed life. She got married to a husband who was loyal to her, she had 2 kids, was a stay at home mom, didn’t have to work as my father provided for her. Yet, she was NEVER happy, ever, ever, ever. And she took out her rage on me and destroyed my life, where I’m not married in my 40s, dont’ have children and may never have those blessings, because she sabotaged any chance I had of happiness, until I cut off all contact with her. Our freedom away from these disturbed individuals is priceless!

    • Also, I want to add, that irrational conversations are exactly what I had with my mom during my entire childhood. I’m so glad you pointed this out Chumplady, as no one has been able to label this behavior until I read it now. It would drive me crazy, trying to reason with my mom during irrational conversations, who I’m sure now is not all there and likely never was. Thank you for making me aware of the dynamics of mental illness. Hugs to you.

    • I also had an unhappy narcissistic mother. My father was a good, gentle, loving, loyal man and she did not love him, only saw him as a meal ticket. She was quite verbally and emotionally abusive toward him. He financially supported her and he bought us a nice house with a park-like yard, which she basically considered a run-down shack. She had three healthy children. She often complained of her narcissistic father, how he had always made her feel like she didn’t count. She often lamented how her narcissitic father had abused her and her mother, while spoiling her younger sister. I would compare my married life to hers and think of how my husband had refused to work and abused me and how hard I tried to be happy with him. I did not leave that marriage until I had physical evidence of his cheating. My narcissistic mother never loved me; I was her scapegoat. As an adult, I just put XH in my mother’s place, trying to get love from someone who could never love me. It is hard to say which is worse. Sometimes I think it is a narcissitic husband because of the cheating. Sometimes I think it is a narcissistic mother because you are conditioned to work very hard for a love that doesn’t exist and by the time you are ready to date you are taken in by a narcissitic con man. Maybe it is six of one and a half dozen of the other.

  • I was with the idiot for 16 years. His own family used to tell him he had anger issues and that I must be a saint to not let it bother me. On dday, yep, I was insane. That asswipe always spent the day on his motorcycle on Fridays, I’m sure with his whore. When I told him to get out, he said I will pack my things next week. I said, Oh hell to the fuck NO! Started packing his crap in Hefty bags and tossed them into the garage. He jumped in my way and I yelled “DUCK BITCH!” I told everyone what I did and they (his family) said good for you! Yep, my crazy, rage monkey was on a tear! I’ll live with it! Oh, and btw, I’m a psych nurse who teaches anger management. Mic drop!

    • I love how they push us to the edge, and then when our sanity and patience runs out, we are somehow overreactive crazy people!!! The slow burn of 15 years of abuse never seems to enter into their telling of the story!

    • STBX has never called me crazy (that I know of), but he does seem to be perplexed by my occasional rages over Schmoopie. Last week we were talking to a psychologist who is going to talk to our kids as an independent third party to try and get a sense of what they would like to see happen with placement etc. During that talk his infidelity was brought up as was my little rage of a couple of months ago which is how the kids found out about Schmoopie. In regards to that he said “I have never seen her rage like that, I didn’t know who she was.” In this meeting I expressed regret over how I handled my emotions that day but what I was really thinking was “Did it ever once occur to you that maybe I was raging because you actually deserved it?” The psychologist of course was trying to be neutral but she did say that it was remarkable that we were capable of sitting in the same room together and having a productive discussion regarding the best interests of our kids.

        • ^ This always cracks me up! I believe I contracted late-onset Tourette’s around D-Day!

        • Oh my goodness, Magneto!! That was so funny! I laughed till I cried. Thanks for sharing.

        • I love the Soul Mate Schmoopies series! The closer to ‘meh’ I get, the funnier these get. In the early days afer Dday, I wasn’t so open to humor.

    • Hey nomoreskankboy, since you’re a psych nurse, you’ll know: anger isn’t a bad thing, is it? In your case above, it super helped you. That’s what I see.

  • I was called all the above, crazy, bipolar, bitch…you name it.

    It took a GREAT therapist to point out to me I was NOT any of those, I was in an abusive marriage and he was continuing the abuse during the divorce from hell.

    People who know me and who I associate with know I am none of those. I basically feel “If you believe any of that about me, you don’t really know me.”

    One of my work associates had some business dealings with my ex and his family. Took her less than an hour to figure out who was the crazy ones and it wasn’t me.

    • I agree. Behind every person who is going bat shit CRAZY, is likely a mentally disturbed person causing the insanity. I read a lot of books on mental illness and these people can take any normal, calm, sensible human being and drive them to utter lunacy. I believe it. I lived with my own mom driving me to the brink of madness.

  • even after I went no contact and he continued to harass and stalk me resulting in a lifetime no contact order, he continued to tell people I was the crazy one. He would post on FB that he didn’t think I would ever leave him alone. Everything he was doing to me and my kids, he accused me of doing. Anyone who listened to him would think I was bat shit crazy. In reality I was running from him as if my hair was on fire and he was holding a gas can. It bothers me at times, but honestly there is nothing I can do about it. Yeah when someone tell me their x is crazy or abusive I want more details

  • This post is very helpful with spotting red flags so you can ‘fix your picker’.The last thing I want to do is fall into another relationship with a self-centered ass.

    It really is a character flaw. One I saw 20 years ago but I spackled away the why’s of his behavior or lack of reciprocity. I really thought since he was so nerdy he must be a good guy. Oh he’s a good guy alright. Mr. Popularity. Everyone loves him. They just don’t live with him.

    His best friend called him ‘unyielding’ one time and he came home with his wittle feels all hurted. I’m sure I’m the controlling one and nothing was ever good enough for me. Whatever his perception is just that–his.

    I was sorta asked out but I’m not ready. I don’t want to do that to my kids as teenagers. I’m worried about my picker and my spackler….

  • Yesterday I was cleaning up my computer and came across a copy of email sent by cheater before hard evidence of existence of OW had surfaced. In that email he complains to me that “you are not taking care of your figure”. I’m 65 and latest OW is in her late 30s. Cheaters will always tailor the story to look good in the picture. All this just makes me mad at myself for being such an idiot.

  • If a lying cheating gaslighting abusive piece of garbage calls me a crazy bitch, I will wear it like a badge.

    When I walked in on my husband with our tenant, after politely asking her to leave, I clocked that mother fucker in the jaw and ordered him OUT. Never hit a person in my life. I was completely emptied emotionally from this relationship and snapped. In half. I truly understand Tiger Wood’s wife’s reaction with the golf club.

    He is a black belt, 1 1/2 x’s my weight and could have easily taken me out.

    Instead, he called me a crazy bitch and ran from me, HAW HAW HAW HA HA HA H…..

    I know a man would be thrown in the slammer….really glad I wasn’t and will never allow another person to get me to that dark place again.

    • THIS.

      Embrace the Crazy. Especially if it’s a psychopath Ex whose doing the labeling.

      Know why? Listen to ANYTHING that a sociopath-narc says and simply flip it backwards. THERE is the truth. They project.

      So I take being called “crazy stalker” from my ex as an admission of sorts! He calls me lazy? Yeah, that’d be him. He calls me unattractive? Yep right-o, him again! He calls me neglectful? I think you see the pattern here.

      I’ve caught him doing that whole “I was at home wiping daughter’s butt all day! I do laundry and cleaning! blahblahblah! I am a great Dad! I don’t have TIME to have an affair!” in answer to, “how in the hell could someone accuse you of having an affair, talking/texting for thousands of hours while I am working?”

      It was ME doing all of the hard lifting, the laundry on my days off, scrubbing the floors, taking kids to sports and appointments, not him.

      Being accused of crazy by one of these psychos is actually a compliment—because they’re projecting.

    • Definitley a double standard for guys. Wish I could have smoked my Xw with a shot to the jowls.

  • My ex used mental illness as his “excuse” for his serial cheating with prostitutes, massage parlor whores, escorts, 900 number hook ups, and dating site darlings. He claimed he had suffered from depression for years and was “self medicating” with sex. Chumpy me bought it for awhile. His father had died from a severe bout of depression which ended with him taking his life years before. I had actually been pretty vigilant about symptoms of depression in my husband, looking for signs. Interestingly, the last thing most people with real depression want to do is live a double life of serial cheating, as they can barely get out of bed in the morning. He was still trying to sell his “depression” excuse to his family, our kids and his final other woman “Poor sad sausage, his father killed himself so he had to serial cheat to lift his own decade long depression”. The man is a doctor for crying out loud, he should have known how to get real help if he suspected he had depression. What finally nixed it for me was when I found a site about infidelity that mentioned narcissism. I did some intense research and discovered narcissistic decompensation. My husband wasn’t depressed, he was a narcissist who wasn’t getting enough kibble supply so felt “depressed”. He was actually just a horrible serial cheating, evil jerk. Once I understood that it was his choice to cheat, no real mental illness involved, I could accept and move on.

    Interestingly, I have recently found out that his “story” (along with his parents) as to why we divorced after 27 years and 4 children was…….you guessed it, because I was “crazy’! Yeah, crazy to have stayed as long as I did! Luckily, my former sisters-in-law have tried to set the record straight with mutual friends who knew nothing about why we divorced except for me being “crazy”. I have found that the truth finds it’s way. But it still smarts to find out that you are being maligned as “crazy” and that my ex has painted himself as the victim. I wonder when his wifetress will
    suddenly go “crazy”.

  • During our cross-country dating I once visited cheater on his territory to meet with the family and figure out if I could live there. I was in love and sparkled out. He organized a great adventure vacation. I stayed for over a month and once alone at his place I found a box of his photos. In between them were handwritten letters from his multiple ex-es. Many! I admit I read them all. Two were long love stories and I could trace one story in particular – the writer was very eloquent and wrote 7-page letters full of love. The cheater got her pregnant and refused to do anything with her. She chose to abort the child and disappeared from his life. I recall being very uneasy reading about her pain and her feeling of being betrayed and abandoned. At the same time I was so happy that he chose me over this multitude of women he had. And not only that, he wanted family with me. Kids! He was committed! So I must be special! But the feeling that he was crazy… was there. I wrote one of my closest friends and she disapproved of him from day 1. Arrrghhhh….

    I never told the cheater I read those until DDay. When I did, he had the audacity to tell me that she was the one he always thought was his real soul-mate and he so much regretted that he could not find her and that he tried so hard. Irrespective of his other half-soul affair (different!) And other casual ones. He put on a sad sausage face and was almost blaming me for being in the privileged position of being married and with his child, while the other woman had to abort hers. “Do you even realise what it feels like to abort your own child?! I wish I could find her and say sorry!”

    Oh well….He is a cruel immature man-child looking for unconditional mommy love and hurting people on his way. Crazy!

    • Also two of his best friends during our wedding kept calling him crazy. Jokingly. Everything with him was out of ordinary and they lovingly referred to it as “cheater’s crazy particularities”. Why did I not take a notice? Oh, I loved his particularities! He was so different! And yet, he was so loved by everybody and had great friends (all of them except 1 are backing me up now). He was so sparkly! So cooling off a few months into the marriage, then complete distancing, passive-agressiveness and emotional abuse were still not sufficient red flags. He was still the sparkly guy outside so there was a huge cognitive dissonance. Obviously no picker at the time. I am just discovering what it is.

    • And how telling that his empathy for her aborting her child happened many years after the fact, rather than when he was in a position to prevent it. Jackass.

  • I think another issue, with Cluster B personality disorders especially, is that many people do not believe in them. They still cling to “interpretations” of other’s behavior with weak statements like “What did you do to cause your spouse to cheat? Were you not loving enough? Did you not do your “duty” and forgive?”

    I fell into this misguided thinking myself when I was young and inexperienced. I knew my husband(s) had horrible mothers, (they really did — I can testify from personal experience with them!) and I gave them many chances to “learn” from their mistakes. It is a hard habit to break. Fortunately I had resources available to educate myself on the reality of dealing with these disorders — and the reality that the people who have them rarely, if ever, are interested in changing. That knowledge freed me. That knowledge led me to recognize red flags. That knowledge is why I am peacefully and happily single now, and probably saved me from having a nervous breakdown. I did not like living in a world where my perception of reality and what I was expected to believe were so different. Cognitive Dissonance may not be fatal, like poison or a bullet to the brain — but it is stressful and I believe it can lead to health issues like blood pressure and stroke, and depression. We have a lot of work to do, as a society, to change some of the pervasive “truths” we were taught. Popular Culture has some disturbing beliefs, and those beliefs lead to disturbing actions. I still have days where I have to contain my crazy — but they are far and few between since I have eliminated the source of the disturbance. Living in a peaceful environment can make other problems diminish, somewhat. I may not have as much money as I did at one time, or travel as much as I would like, but simple pleasures, and MY ABILITY TO HAVE THEM make it all worth while for me.

  • My Ex used the Bitch Be Crazy explanation to his AP throughout their affair. But he was also using it on his parents and his friends, I later found out, through the couple years leading up to his affair…and definitely during it. He was painting a picture of me as an emotional mess, a nag, unable to make happy, etc. I did go through some depression from time to time (I now realize a lot of that was due to things Ex was doing in our marriage like financial mismanagement, his covert controlling behavior, and after I discovered he was looking at porn and asking female employees out for drinks (this was before his actual affair…but clearly inappropriate and unprofessional behavior). But I was far from a nag, I was usually doing things to make him happy… unfortunately, to this day, I think his family and friends think I was just too unbearable to live with, so he just naturally fell for someone else. Luckily, I could care less what they all think now. (well, most days…).

  • I fell for the ex-wife is crazy line. Ex cheater had been married before, I was #2. When I met him his life was falling apart, ex wife left him with all the bills, took all the things and money, His Father-in-law took back the car ex was driving (FIL had cosigned and ex wasn’t making payments). I felt so bad for cheater!! His crazy wife had just decided to cheat on him one day. He came home to her screwing a guy in their bed. It was horrible, she was CRAZY, (he said). I felt the need to save cheater, help him because no one in life would! His parents refused to loan him money, all his friends left him when his wife left. I mean he needed me!! He lost his job because he didn’t have a car, almost got evicted because he couldn’t pay the rent. All this was brought on by his evil, crazy ex-wife!! (Read sarcasm!)
    9 years later I called the first ex-wife, I explained who I was and asked if she would talk to me. She did and for the next 2 hours I learned what really happened with her and cheater.
    Cheater had been using the internet to hook up with teen girls (he was 22 at the time.) The ex-wife said that one of the girls had shown up on their door with a love letter from cheater. When she confronted him, he lied(of course) and she began digging and discovered all online porn and chat rooms, ad postings and emails where he claimed he was single. She did bring a guy back to the house to screw, She said that was when she was on her way and had been dealing with Dday for year and trying to make things work.
    Basically her story of what Cheater did to her matched my story. She said they had been separated for a month when I came along.
    Now I am sure I am the new ‘crazy ex-wife’!!

    • Imagine that! His crazy bitch wife…….wasn’t so crazy or bitchy after all. We live and learn!

  • I remember a few months after DDay and my STBXH and I were at a friends house. This was a friend of my STBX and she had been with a guy for a few years. They lived together and new guy had been previously married (she never had) and somehow the question of why he was no longer married came up. Friend immediately interjected that “bitch be crazy” narrative about new guy’s ex wife and my mind raced to everything I had done since DDay.

    I have no idea how, but somehow I maintained a certain amount of self control with the proceedings of my marriage after DDay. But I’ll admit that my daily fantasies of what I wanted to do to my STBX and his married with 2 kids girlfriend were so vivid that somedays it was hard to determine if I had done those things or not. I felt a constant state of crisis and I did feel like I was going crazy. I completely understand why and how some people who have been cheated on go off the deep end and do things that normally they would never even consider. I also know now that this is circumstantial and that the “craziness” leaves once you get out of bed with the cheater.

    It wasn’t until this moment at this friend’s house that it finally hit me that people can be the source of someone else’s “crazy” and I’m wary of people who call their X’s crazy. If/when I date again, this would definitely be a red flag for me.

  • Yep, I dated a guy who said he had a bitch-be-crazy ex wife…and later on I realised she had thrown a fit when his mistress called their house and laid d-day on her. Also, he, an admitted serial cheater, left the wife only when he discovered she needed to go on dialysis.

    He was one of the most scary narcs I encountered while dating. I stayed for a little while just to watch him operate…just a kind of watch-and -learn for a few weeks. Then I evaporated and went no contact. He did the usual attempts at reconnecting by sext which I ignored. Last week, five years post relationship, he tried to contact me via skype. I blocked him with no hesitation. Thank you for the training CL.

  • Here are a few thoughts and words of advice that kept me “sorta” same during the last few years of my marriage. I was accused weekly of being evil, rude, unappreciative and the cause of all the marital
    discord. I accepted for years, off and on, as just the way he was. Ultimately, I started to believe the talk – I think anyone would.

    1. If your spouse is the only person that you have intense conflict with, no other relationships in your life seem as stressed and are successful, or if this is the first time you have felt anxiety, out of control, gas lighted in an intimate relationship- – it’s not you. trust.
    2. Covert Narcs will play the victim role and build a case against you to justify their actions. They will do this with apparently no empathy for the others in their lives.
    3. They crave attention, sympathy and acceptance of their terrible actions.
    — if your new “Joe” is soliciting these responses from you, especially in the first few meetings – it is a red flag.
    4. Listen carefully to his conversations. If it is void of empathy for anyone except the speaker, it is a red flag. If they are pumping themselves up constantly, witch is different from simply sharing information, big red flag. If he takes any topic posed and redirects it to a topic about him {her} – red flag.
    5. How they talk about their families, sisters, female co workers and bosses is how they will talk about you, someday to others.
    6. Control. It is all about staging and presentation. Many cheaters carefully construct the narrative to set up their desired public perception.

    ………and the biggie….
    6. If a bad action or reaction you had is thrown in your face or used against you at a later date – you have probably an interaction with control freak…

    • Example:
      Family function spouse was talking to others, telling a story. He was “”kidding/teasing” me for knocking popcorn bowl out of his hands during an intense argument, spilling the contents everywhere.
      {BOY! Was I CRAZY! – hahaha”.}
      What he failed to mention, and knew out of embarrassment I would not mention, was the reason for the anger.

      By accident that day I found he has been forwarding “edited” emails from me to his brothers!
      (he had replied to me instead of forwarding them.) I got this reply at work, I was so angry upon coming home, I was only seeing red!

      Instead of admissions or apologies, there was a denial (?!) and he was calmly on the sofa nonchalantly eating popcorn. He obviously was expecting me to be angry, though, I saw his phone on “record” in his hand under the popcorn bowl.
      Hence, my reaction.

      – His using the reaction “against me” and all his tattle tale counseling sessions should have been a big clue.

      Yes, that week in counseling he was flamed by me and the counselor, but he kept he story going, as a “funny” about me, forever.

    • Yes to number 1!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never had such a miserable relationship with anyone else on planet earth!

    • Yes, to number 1 as well. This is probably the biggest propeller that propelled me to divorce. I don’t have a single other relationship like the one I have with my STBXH. Additionally, I don’t know that I would accuse him of isolating me, but his behavior was such that I started isolating myself because I was in fear that he would humiliate me in front of my friends or worse, offend them in a way that they would wonder why in the world I was still with this guy. 12 years later, I finally understand that I am not the problem here. I have great relationships with people. I have friends that have come to my rescue, I have family that stand by my side through thick and thin and my workplace relationships rock. Him? He barely has any relationships. He can hardly rely on anyone for help except for himself. His family relations barely exist and are very dysfunctional.

      While I was completely in the dark before the affair, after DDay I woke up to what was really going on. Granted it still took me 3 years to come to terms with what needed to be done, but I filed this week!!! I admit, I’m happier than I’ve been in 12 years and I feel more free than I’ve felt in a long time. My life looks awesome and my prospects good. His? Same as always. Grim.

  • I have a Jesus cheater/pervert on my hands. He spent years sneaking around behind my back with prostitutes…..web cam hoes and anonymous internet hook ups. As if putting my health at risk…..and financially destabilizing my life and my future is “no big deal.”

    Now he’s a bible toting… going forgiven man…..and I’m the crazy unforgiving ….bitter bitch. This sick fuck has a giant perverted “sexy log” hanging out of his eye……yet he wants to give me “moral lessons” on forgiveness. You want crazy motherfucker…..I’ll give you crazy!

    • The tree never forgets the axe. Let God forgive him. You find a better place free of him and God will follow you 🙂

  • Clue to another narcissist/cheater= they tell you their ex wife is a crazy bitch. Another repair for the “picker.”

  • Traitor told me when we mwr that he and his first wife had drifted apart and when they agreed to split up SHE agreed to give him custody of the 3 kids but then reneged on it, went crazy and made up stories about him being abusive to keep the kids. He also told me second ex “wife” was crazy because she had been molested as a child but refused therapy. I believed all of it. Cheated on me with crazy ex “wife” all along anyway…
    Then he painted me (and still does) as the crazy ex because I lost my shit about the cheating with the second “crazy” ex, the betrayal, the exploitation by him and his “crazy second ex” while we were living and working together and had their child 50% of time. The whole family I was surrounded with lied, most of the family contact we had was with her family because they live locally. He told his adult kids who had been living with us that we didn’t get along and would like split while I didn’t know anything, and they didn’t tell me. They had guessed he was cheating with the ex. No one warned me, no one helped.
    I fell completely for his lies about the first 2 exes. I even remember asking him when we were first dating what was wrong with me for him to be attracted to me since he seemed to be attracted to crazy!!! He said it was my sanity that attracted him. See above.

    Why would I date again and look for a partner? I wouldn’t believe anything anyone says, whether it was an amicable divorce, they were chumped, the ex is crazy. And if they said they’re widowed, I’d suspect they offed the spouse anyway.

  • Years ago when I was busy working my ass off, taking care of everything and making my needs small, my now XH decided he needed to visit his family in Merry Old England, so of course I paid for his ticket with our “mutual cc”=my cc that I added his name to so he could reap my positive credit rating as well as charge things he never had any intention of paying…but I digress.
    He came home to tell me that his sister had announced she was getting a divorce. Her husband had an “emotional affair” and did absolutely nothing around the house but mope. Anyhoo, my XH’s father said that the sister had emasculated her husband (arrrggghhh!) I told now XH at the time what an assholish comment I thought that was AND, if she did everything because he wouldn’t, it’s not her fault if he feels emasculated!!!! It really pissed me off.
    Skip ahead a year and what did my asshole XH start using in any conflict where I would beg him to go to work, get ahold of his spending, take some responsibility for health, household, relationships (in a nice chumpy way, of course)? “You are emasculating me by doing everything.” ick. So glad to be rid of that emasculated wanker.

    • My point is, everyone’s perspective is different in a breakup BUT with these disordered types the narrative is always just that, a narrative, a story. I was fed a line about the first exwife which I have to admit, I felt a red flag about…BUT I SO wanted to believe I was different-he really loved me-it was true. It wasn’t.
      My hope is to get to a place where I can stop focusing any energy on this knucklehead.

      • I hear you Nejla. And he said I emasculated him too…
        I wish!

      • I hear ya Nelja. My marriage and your marriage sound exactly the same. I remember in the wake of DDay, I read several books (amazon chump over here) on relationships and infidelity. In the relationship books, that really never went into reconciliation with a cheater territory, just how to make your marriage stronger, I felt that my husband never fit any of the roles that were discussed in these books. I felt like I was reading about myself in all of the roles of the marriage. I held the job, I was the breadwinner, I cooked, cleaned, gave him the kind of sex he wanted, I even sewed him clothing (I was a seamstress in another life), etc. He did NOTHING. He was and still is the biggest waste of space. He is a manchild. I did all of this before DDay and then I stepped up my game after DDay and did even more of everything so that he would “pick me.”

        Seriously, I was crazy. You can call me crazy for caring about such a loser because I did. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t beat myself up about this. Thank goodness you can actually learn a thing or two from being a chump and thank goodness the “chump” disorder is curable.

        • The best thing about the mess is that we have the ability to fix it-fix our own lives now for the better-and it is relatively easy compared to what we were up against before!

      • I was fed a line about the first ex wife also…apparently she was “mean” “manipulative” and “vindictive”. Fast forward 20 years to our mess, and I heard all 3 terms lobbed at me and about me repeatedly…and I swear to God I am NONE of those things. Suddenly I wanted to know what REALLY happened with that first marriage…and also makes me so deeply suspicious of what any potential date in my future says about their own ex’s.

  • Being called “crazy” by a personality disordered person means that you have uncovered the truth and are not buying the lies. The Cluster B does not want to be exposed for what they are nor do they want to change. They want to look innocent while committing treachery. You are “crazy” for not believing they are perfect. It is “all in your head” if you think they are lying or cheating. If someone is going down, you are going down for insanity rather than them going down for immorality.

  • You know what’s hard about this one? Those of us who have bad picker syndrome really do have a long line of crazies in our relationship history. And the fact that the word “narcissist” has made its way into common usage, so anyone can say they were married to one, and get sympathy from us chumps.

    How do we tell the difference early one, or do we?

    • I think part of it is HOW we talk about our bad previous relationships. When I speak about my first ex, I speak of a man who loved me a lot, and who I loved a lot, but who was an alcoholic from a long line of alcoholics on both sides of his family, and a very unhappy person. I mention how the drinking wore our relationship down for 10 years, until I simply couldn’t do it any more. When I speak about more recent cheater narc ex, to people I don’t know well enough to use that kind of shorthand, I speak about someone who wasn’t who I thought he was, and who didn’t value our relationship and our kids’ family the way I did. Someone who cheated, was forgiven (truly, deeply forgiven) and cheated again.

      My ex, however, I am sure, speaks about what a terrible person I am, how impossible to live with I was, how we drifted apart or whatever! And about how I’ve alienated his kids from him.

      The big difference? In order to be able to talk about me and the kids the way he does, cheater narc had to never say another word to anyone we knew (except his mother, the great enabler, and a few other family members he lied to), and then move to another city, start again with a brand new girlfriend and brand new friends, none of whom have ever met any of us.

      • These disordered freaks always try to control the narrative. The usual= I was great person….but he/she didn’t appreciate me. The bitch be crazy!

        As long as WE chumps know the truth…….nothing else matters!

    • good question. i don’t know if it can always picked up very early.

      probably the best approach is just to move slowly. commit in stages as trust is built.

      you should be able to have a difference of opinion with somebody without them acting out in offence. sometimes just observing how a person behaves when you disagree with them can tell you a lot about them.

      also, i guess when you see something that raises concerns early on, that you can’t get a satisfactory resolution for, then have the courage to let that person go.

  • yeah, this is a good one.

    bitch might be crazy because her “ex” (check on that one, too) husband drove her mad. anyone who says that can’t/doesn’t happen hasn’t been involved with someone who has strong narcissistic tendencies before. over the years, if you don’t get out, you will start acting like a crazy person.

    you should be able to unpack the “crazy” label to some specific patterns of behaviour. i don’t know that a diagnosis is required, maybe. my ex suffers from pretty severe anxiety as well as having what look very much like strong narcissistic tendencies. to get a diagnosis she’d at least have to visit a shrink.

    i also think that you should be able to point to your own flaws, mistakes and crazy behaviour. i doubt anybody is at their best when the end of a marriage is nigh.

    • just wanted to add that i also have (privately) called my ex “crazy” plenty of times. always in response to some manipulative/passive-aggressive/nasty behaviour that has intruded upon my life. no doubt i’ll keep doing this. i know why she is the way she is, but i’m not going to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for her any more. empathy is a great thing, but for me it doesn’t stretch anymore to assholes who won’t help themselves.

    • Ken Doll, I think this is the biggest flag; when the person doesn’t talk about the efforts they made to save that relationship, or their own responsibilities and regrets, then I get more nervous. I think the ‘taking responsibility’ part is a major sign of psychological health!

      • Yes, but the only thing I would take responsibility for is not seeing and spackling over huge red flags. I’d take responsibility for being competent and reliable and starting to question all the bullshit that was going on with the farm business and no longer blindly trusting him in that area, which he paints as emasculating. But I take no responsibility for what happened to the relationship, it was sabotaged all along by the Traitor and his ex-whore. And if I try to explain that to someone new, I sound crazy; why would they believe me that I was never the other woman? I wouldn’t believe it myself if someone told me that happened to them!
        I met him 6 months after they’d split and he’d moved out (or so he told me!). Who would believe that, now that he’s back with her? The whole thing makes me look like I was the OW, the reason they split, and now they are back together and all is well that ends well. That’s what one year of his lying to his family is now starting to achieve. He has slowly rewritten history, by repeating the lies often enough and long enough.

        If I met somebody with a similar story to mine, I’d have trouble believing them, except here on Chump Nation.

        • Kiwichump,
          YOU are a woman of noble and true character.
          You and CN know the truth. That’s all that matters.
          Your mightiness shines thru in your posts!
          (((((Mega hugs to you)))))

          • Thank you Peacekeeper, this means a lot to me. Takes one to know one 🙂

  • When my X started pulling away from me after 30 years of a happy marriage I felt a little crazy. I know I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I kept asking him if he was unhappy – no. I asked him if there was anything wrong – everything was fine. I asked him if he was angry with me – he asked me if he should be. It was maddening. The answers did not match up with what I was experiencing at all. He withheld information from me, he went out of his way to mistreat me after being so very kind and solicitous for all the years previous. But I really think he did it on purpose – so that I would, in desperation, lose control of myself and he could point at me and say, “That’s why I’m leaving.” What a jerk.

    • After 23 years, we discovered that we’d been being too ‘ nice’ to each other for years. He’d never seriously talked to me about his unhappiness, only to friends, although I knew there were problems I thought that the way he was, was the way he was coping, and it would all get sorted out eventually. I didn’t address one of the biggest problems, him using porn, because it was a huge trigger for me, and very embarrassing for him to talk about it. Of course he talked to a female friend about his unhappiness and fell for her. She told him I must be some kind of ogre and I took that on, and had a mild nervous breakdown. Now I know that the responsibility was shared – I didn’t love myself enough to address the porn and how it made ME feel, and he didn’t love himself enough to talk seriously with me about it. Our separation isn’t final as far as I understand, but I don’t think he’ll have the emotional energy/courage to go down the counselling route either for the porn or the marriage. we are both good, loving people who didn’t love ourselves enough to talk seriously about the problems in our marriage and it led to him thinking I didn’t care, and me thinking he was managing ok. Neither of us meant to be cheaters or unkind, that’s the tragedy. These masks are not always to hide selfishness, sometimes they hide fear and lack of confidence.

    • My STBX perverted tried to tell our adult kids that we are divorcing because “we grew apart.” Oh…no no no you don’t Perv dude! I told the kids the truth: I threw your father out, filed for divorce because he was voyeuring and stalking the neighbor……..spending thousands of dollars on web cam hoes, prostitutes……and internet hook ups. That’s a little different from “we grew apart.”

  • These people are sooooo not worth the mental effort.
    Somehow they big themselves up in our lives and gain a status that is so out of kilter with their true value.
    I now look at myself and wonder how I fell for this con. Why?
    My ex now has a life of a rich single man, he is a truly awful father. Now has the mental age of a 16 year old (at best), and never misses an opportunity to be as awful to me as possible.
    He is arrogant and rude.
    Yet, he has a very good job, a very rich family, and plenty of people think he is great.Currently he is 10k behind on child maintenance.
    It is galling.
    He hates me because he knows that I know what he really is.Not who, what.
    When we were married he never stopped telling me he loved me etc, while leading a double life. Such weirdo’s.

    • “He hates me because he knows that I know what he really is.Not who, what.”

  • Someone in the forums linked to this awful discussion on “Ask A Manager,” which ties right into this post.
    I’m shocked there are so many affair apologists. A couple of CL chumps tried commenting on there to present the opposite point of view, one was banned, and the others were ripped a new asshole by those sympathetic to the original poster: who is struggling with her current work situation because Karma. Go read it. Slightly triggering to anyone whose AP was a coworker of the Cheater.

    • Yuck Muse, what a disgraceful pity party for the idiot bitch! And she had a child with the cheating husband, and now they’re not even together. So those 2 low lives have shattered the wife’s family, created a non-starter family for that poor kid and we’re supposed to feel sorry for her.
      I pity her child of course, none of the child’s fault. But as far as she’s concerned, it’s called Karma Light. i can’t believe how much support she’s getting. No wonder life is so hard for chumps!
      Hope the cheated wife knows about CN.

      • Those Other Women always support each other on those blogs. It’s always Poor Pitiful Me, I didn’t play any part in this. Thru can’t realize they are causing their own misery and have to blame someone else.

  • One red flag to me when I first met the cheater ex is that he had no previous relationships to discuss. He was nearly forty, and I never found any ex’s. So, did he just have casual sex, or no sex? I thought maybe there were hidden girlfriends but I never found out about any.

    I just still can’t fathom this because I had ex’s by the time I was in high school. I’ve always just had boyfriends, or a husband, or dates or something (until recently).

    When we were in reconciliation, he told me he wasn’t Relationship Material. How true is that? He didn’t have obvious flaws, but was OK looking, acted nice, was intelligent, even had a good job when I met him. Something was sure wrong there, though

  • After burning down my life with porn, webcams, voyeurism/stalking neighbors and internet hookups Mr. Pervy Pants thought he would just click his perverted little heels and forget the whole thing ever happened.

    A quiet divorce…..with no hard feelings? Are these monsters for real? Darn right I’m a crazy bitch! Who wouldn’t be after being married to and emotionally deformed monster like that?

  • A really good friend of mine several years ago ended up being an affair partner and she found out five months into dating him. He explained it away as an open marriage (plausible as he and his wife lives in two different countries at the time due to work) and eventually he explained that his wife was “crazy.” I came back with “of course she’s being driven crazy, you’re 15 years younger and her worst nightmare. She has a kid to take care of!” I went Poly and our friendship cooled. She couldn’t understand poly and I couldn’t understand cheating.

    Another time a couple we had just met at a wedding and we’re giving a place to crash so they didn’t need to drive three hours home, the man went into a drunken rage and starts emotionally abusing his girlfriend (no physical violence, onky abusive language….in front of virtual strangers!!) She started blaming his estranged/divorced wife (he said divorced, the girlfriend said separated in the midst of that abusive rampage) for “enabling his type of behavior.” I said to her “a 36 year old man with a pattern of flying into drunken rages and a woman with three kids to worry about trying to de-escalate the situation….yeah, I’m not about to judge HER.” So lord knows what the timeline was on him sleeping with other women and separating from his wife.

    So many excuses, so many mental gymnastics, it’s like they just swallow whatever these guys say whole. they torture themselves over the “why’s” and justify the behavior. It’s like they simply can’t admit these guys SUCK.

  • I actually was diagnosed as bipolar 10 years ago, have always followed doctor and therapists recommendations and have managed it quite well.

    What really makes me wonder is why the diagnoses came after 5 years of gaslighting from STBX. I had no symptoms before that. Perhaps there was, but I do believe his mind games drove me to the brink of insanity many times.

    I didn’t tell him about the diagnoses until years later because, even then, I knew he would use it against me somehow. Last year during the madness he actually said “people like you shouldn’t be allowed to have kids”. I’ll never forget that, soulless lifesucking, with a sincere cruelty, he said it totally calm.

    So, yeah I’m sure he’s told everyone about my mental health. Fuck him, that’s not why I left. Like I said in a forum post, his constant complaining about every woman in his life being “crazy” or “unreasonable” or “controlling” or illogical” should have been a red flag.

    If someone explains away every story with “they’re crazy”, the only thing for certain is it won’t take long for you to fit that description.

  • Heavens! My narc ex has probably said some crazy stuff about me! No I’m not nuts. My ex after 6 years of total freedom (sort of) from his emotional abuse, he still does the, “are you on drugs?” Or “are you medicated” crap on me. No and no, asshole. It’s the crap you dreamed up to devalue me years ago. Hey it’s your narc gf who you broke up my family with who has “issues”with alcohol and drugs. My children won’t go near her she’s so unstable. A 60 year old drug addict. Nice. Perfect partner for my narc ex. Leave me alone, stop projecting and have a nice bazaar, drama filled life, without me!!!

  • It’s so amazing how similar all these stories are. My narc begged me to marry him repeatedly and although I hesitated due to a 13 year age difference (I’m older), I finally agreed. After being love-bombed and called his “soulmate,” I had to admit, I’d never met anyone like him. As we all eventually find out, that’s because he didn’t exist. We had a son and he spent tons of money getting placement of his oldest daughter…to save her from his first crazy ex. The first ex was crazy, the second was a bitch, the third just lost interest. Lord knows what I am. All the “jokes,” and direct insults about my age throughout the entire marriage lead me to believe I’m just too damn old after 15 years to be with someone like him…so cool, hip, young and hot (please let me borrow his mirror). I worked full time, did all the housework, shopping, kid raising, etc. So of course, he discarded me the first time after 6 years and after having an affair for about a year before I found the hotel receipt. When confronted, he told me that if he had to stay in the marriage for one more minute, he would have to kill himself. Even though he had me cover his middle-of-the-night paper route, which he had taken on after losing his job, while he took AP away for a romantic weekend to the cabin up north that I was helping pay for. He also ran up a $700 cell phone bill in one month texting and talking to her, so we couldn’t afford to buy any of his 4 children Christmas presents that year. The AP changed her mind and he asked to come back. I was so devastated and knew nothing about narcissism and agreed to give it another try for our son (my chumpness). Fast forward 7 years and many shit sammiches later, yep, once again wanted out of this “neglectful and indifferent” marriage, as I just “can’t be the wife he needs me to be.” He said the last straw came when I would not jump in a lake with my clothes on or go to the bar with the gang during the last family outing we went on. Definitely grounds for divorce. When I asked him if he was seeing anyone this time, he asked what I meant by “seeing someone.” Word salad, anyone? He admitted that he was “talking” to his bosses’ wife, and she was just a “friend.” He pointed but they both graciously agreed that “nothing would happen between them as long as they were with other people.” Aren’t they nice? Must be really good friends. So two weeks before he moved out of our home, he started staying overnight at one of his AP’s flophouses several nights a week. Pretty fast work for not seeing anyone, eh? He’d come home in the morning and get ready for work like what’s the problem with that? Then he started raging at me because I refused to make him dinner. He said that at this point, although he understood why I “might be upset” that he was banging another woman, what difference did it make? I should still make him dinner and in fact, he’d like it if I would continue making him dinner after he moved out. LOL There are many more abusive incidents and statements and I have my good days and bad as it’s not been a year yet. As of today, I’m glad the POS is gone and shake my head at the crazy. HIM…not me. Did HIS actions and comments make me feel and sometimes act crazy? Definitely. Do I care what he has to say about me after throwing away what should have been a perfectly good marriage and family for no reason? No, because he’s my lying, cheating, crazy ex : )

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