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Cheaters Suffer from “Low Self-Esteem”?

If you spend any time on reconciliation boards, you’ll read a lot of creative excuses being thrown around about the deep shame and inadequacy that cheaters feel. Really, it’s there buried deep under their secret cell phones, dating profiles, and FOO issues. The whole time they were screwing around on you, somewhere deep in their black little hearts was a sense of… inadequacy and self-loathing.

It took D-Day and being carted off to therapy under duress for them to realize that gosh, they suffer from low self-esteem. They needed the validation of an affair… and hey, they’re really fragile right now, so they can’t deal with your distress about being cheated on. Their issues are complicated. But perhaps you could do a bit of bolstering? You know, BE there for them during this difficult time of self-awareness? Hold their hand, and maybe reinforce how much you care and how much you value being with them? Because you know, if this self-esteem thing flags again, they might be out trolling Craigslist. It’s a delicate thing.

Now read on a cheater board and see how much low self-esteem you spot, as the cheaters dish about how they keep their affairs secret, the best places to fuck, and managing the occasional guilt pang. (“It passes. Hang in there!”)

Newsflash chumps — cheaters don’t suffer from low self-esteem. On the contrary, they think they’re splendid. It’s YOU who are lacking. You don’t appreciate them enough. You don’t fuck them often enough or well enough. You’re a little dim.

Cheaters cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. You know who feels entitled? People who think they’re better and more deserving than you are. Not people with low self-esteem.

But wait! No, it’s really their low self-esteem that made them gin up this false self! The arrogance and entitlement is just masking deeper inadequacies! It’s their insecurity that makes them have to puff themselves up so much!

Hogwash. Their arrogance and entitlement is actually masking deeper arrogance and entitlement. If you do any reading about schoolyard bullies, you’ll see that this myth, that bullies suffer from low self-esteem, has been debunked by researchers. Actually, bullies are little narcissists. They think they’re tops and feel perfectly free to trample over anyone they deem a lesser being. What they need is for a nun to whack them with a ruler and shame them in the name of God. Not a self-esteem intervention.

Similarly, cheaters don’t need your patience and understanding. They need a whack upside the head with a divorce summons.

Why do chumps persist in thinking cheaters feel bad, really somewhere deep down? Because we need to think they’re human and they care and we matter. People in reconciliation especially need to see their cheater as sad, soft sausages who didn’t act with agency. Also, chumps tend to project their moral world view on cheaters. Boy, only someone really sad and depraved would do such a thing — ergo, the cheater must be sad and depraved. No, the cheater actually ENJOYS being “sad” and “depraved.” At your expense. They weren’t thinking of you one bit while they were getting their jollies.

If you think I’m wrong? Go read on those cheater boards — they’ll admit it to each other. Just not to the chumps in their lives. The truth has the unintended consequence of a decline in ego kibble production as the chumps take umbrage. So better to just go along with the low self-esteem narrative… more kibbles in that. Tell me again how great I am. I suffer from low self-esteem.

This column ran previously. Sad sausages still abound. 

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  • This… plus everyone always insisting that he is not happy. He is very happy, it is me and our two sons that are hurting. We are the ones who hurt, miss being a family but we have arrived at the point where we do not miss him. I watch people around me almost feel more sorry for him than us, because he must be miserable deep, deep down… gag!

    People never ask how I am they just “comfort” me on how he is secretly miserable without us. That drives me crazy. They are quick to bring up the Karma bus (which I do not believe happens) and how he is going to be sorry. I always tell my friends, do not wish bad karma on him, please just wish good karma on me. Do not worry about if he is happy just pray for me to find peace and happiness.

    I think going from woman to woman and cheating is a thrill for him. I think CL hits the nail on the head, we project our loathing for the lifestyle on them and assume they are not happy. It is part of the process that keeps us stuck. Friends and family mean well, everyone wants revenge for this savage thing done to us, but it does not work that way. Who cares if they are happy or not, they are gone… it is our time to shine.

    • TheBestMe, I got a bit of this too from some people (not from my family, or closest friends). They would see him around and message me, worried about how “lost” he looked. And they felt sorry for him. One even asked me if I was done “punishing him”, and enquired as to when I was coming back to the country we were living in to be with him again. I was like – Hell to the No! She totally misunderstood that my leaving was permanent.

      I don’t think he is miserable without us. I think he’s revelling in his freedom, being free to f**k around and do whatever he likes. He loves the single-man lifestyle! I don’t give a damn what he’s up to, nil interest. I have far more important things to do!

      The kids and I went through a rough year post-leaving. Took a year for the kids to get settled back in our home country and to stop asking when we were going back. I got them into counselling, which really helped ME to explain to them why we weren’t going back, and why mommy couldn’t live with daddy anymore. The kids and I have a very close relationship. They know they can ask me anything, and mommy will tell them the truth (age appropriate, of course). Meanwhile, daddy hardly makes contact, and they have stopped asking for him. Now when he wants to video call, they are disinterested. All his own doing!

      I don’t feel sorry for him. But I do believe he will be sorry one day, for missing so much of their lives. And for being a big disappointment.

      PS – the “I HAZ A SAD” kitty meme is my all-time fave ????????

      • Good for you for not giving a damn about him now. And you’re right. Hes prob off to his next victim as long as she meets his needs. Until she doesn’t. And just like my ex, They don’t care about anything but themselves. You just keep moving forward without the asshole

        • Moving forward in leaps and bounds ???????????????? I’m starting to win myself back. I can see it in the distance, it’s getting closer.

          • Thank you for shining a light in the dark tunnel some of us chumps are still im.

    • YES! Karma ain’t always kind. But it does serve as a conduit for positive change.

      The best karma for me – albeit cloaked in cheating, lying and manipulation – was discovering irrefutable proof that I had married an unscrupulous, selfish, cruel man. Him cheating was a 2×4 karma board up side my head that FINALLY snapped me out of the false narrative I had created where I was staying married to a man who clearly hated me “for the children.”

      Now though, I could use some “kind” karma.

      • I know what you mean. Reluctantly, I finally accepted that he ALWAYS hated me.
        Only someone who hated me to the core could do this to me.

        I don’t believe in Karma even though recently (4 years post D-Day) I heard OW broke up with him. It makes no difference to me, but I think he’s still out there pawning off his Victimhood to anyone who will listen.

    • I struggle w my estranged hubby always telling me, “you just don’t understand, I didn’t go looking for an affair, it just happened, I was never unhappy w you, or our marriage. It had nothing to do w you, as I always loved you & our family. It was me and all the crap I was going through, I tried to reach out to you, remember?” ((yes we felt drifted a bit, life stuff, 28 yrs together but started to get closer again))
      He is always telling me, ” I never went looking…”

      How do I deal w this???

      • Nothing “just happens” He made a conscious choice to betray you and is now trying to play like he’s the innocent victim of circumstance.

        His dick didn’t just fall into her vagina, either.


      • It really is the hard part of the disconnect of your new reality. They say they never meant to hurt you but then you’re faced with the fact that they didn’t think about/nor care that they would. You, your kids, home and family life, pets, friends & family—all just collateral damage. Worthy of throwing out the door for some strange. It wasn’t just a ‘mistake’. It was a deliberate, intentional act of deception. They know the risk they are taking or they wouldn’t lie and decieve for it. Maybe he now realizes the strange ho wasn’t any better or worthy of leaving his stability for, but that doesn’t really help you move on especially with the knowledge you were Plan B.

        Whatever mechanisms they have to do this is within them. You didn’t cause it. You can’t fix it. And it will always be there lurking beneath the surface. I have been through 2 Ddays separated by years. In between I realized his life is really all around his wants and needs. I’m just along for the ride and image management. I don’t think he hates me. He just is not capable of real love where a spouse is thought about as an equal and worthy.

      • You don’t deal with this. If it was this easy for him to accidently fall into an affair, than you deserve a man with more strength and integrity that this bozo. If you were drifting apart, instead of an affair, he could have just made up his mind to romance you all over again. That would have gotten your attention. He could have made up his mind to do something to improve himself until you were ready… expample: learn a foreign language( to take you to this country and romance you again). He could have suggested counseling with you. See there were other options than destroying the ones who were loyal and loved him.

        If he always loved you and your family the way it deserved to be loved, he would have protected it and cherished it. They are the master at words, but watch the actions.

        You grew apart because his attention was elsewhere. The best way to deal is not to hear the lies, No Contact works wonders.

      • Susan
        I, too, had a spouse “suddenly” have an affair after two happy decades and two children together. It was an exit affair, and I was caught completely off guard having just given birth to our second child. After hiring a private detective and doing some detective work of my own, and now 12 years out from D-day and 10 years out from my own remarriage to a fab fellow chump, here is what I learned:
        “I’ve never had an affair before” = this was my second CONFIRMED affair plus I repeatedly attempted to bed down my former college girlfriend the entire first two years I was married to you until she threatened to tell you.
        “I still love you but not in that way anymore.” = I never loved anyone but myself.
        “I’ve been unhappy for a long time.” = I’ve been very, very happy to live a double life for our nearly 2 decades together and let you support me while I started business after business.
        “OW is a good person. She is a good mother. You’ll see. She has told me over and over how she puts her children first.” = Yes, she WILL put her blood children first to the detriment of ours. She will withhold resources from them in order to give her own children more. She will physically , emotionally and financially abuse our children.
        “I think I can be a better father to our children if we are divorced.” = I refuse to pay child support and I choose activities with my stepchildren over my own children every time. I will drift out of their lives until I rarely see or speak to them. I will amass $660K in unpaid child support and I will gladly terminate my parental rights and let your new husband adopt the kids so long as I don’t get threatened with jail time for being a deadbeat dad and you agree for the kids to keep my last name so my public image is protected.
        Susan, you think you know your STBX. But you don’t. All you know is the tip of the iceberg. You don’t need to know everything. Just that He SUCKS!!!!!
        Sending you hugs and wishing you all the best.

      • This is bullshit. The affair didn’t just “happen to him.” He chose it.

      • Susan. I got the same response as you did. He wasn’t unhappy, he loved his family and me. It just happened. It hurts like hell but I’ve had to come to terms that it’s a lie. That affairs don’t just happen. That he put thought into deceiving me and our daughters. He was willing to gamble it away on a piece of ass that’s has herpes and had multi affairs while she was married. He gambled and he lost everything good in his life and won the prize of a nasty slunt. 32 years of marriage. A life time of memories. 2 beautiful daughters. It didn’t just happen he let it and he chose it. Warm hugs to you.

        • “It didn’t just happen he let it and he chose it.”
          Well said. STBX chose it time, after time, after time. HIS choice. Like CL said, choices have consequences. His choices cost him his family. Sad part, at least for me, he still doesn’t think it was a big deal. For me it was a very big deal. Like so many others have said, I’m just finding the tip of the iceberg.

      • Holy. Moly. Did he and my wife go to the “Cheaters Unite” meeting where they learned this narrative?! Change the sexes and this is my EXACT situation. We got married in 2004 and found out (8-28-17) they were having sex in my car, in a parking lot, for three months every other morning while I was at work. Admittedly, I’m really impressed with the “it just happened” and the “it’s not you, it’s my issues” narrative. It seems like a common theme among betrayers. We should double date.

        Susan, I’m so sorry you got hit with this. Believe me when I say, I UNDERSTAND!

        Good luck with everything.

    • i really like this – wish good karma on me instead. it’s a lot lighter on how i feel rather than harboring negative thoughts all the time.

      thank you, TheBestMe!

    • I completely hear what you say but the only reason I personally hesitate is that my ex/serial cheater shows low self esteem in other ways. He was controlling, jealous and seriously threatened by other men. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m 1000% not saying any of this as an excuse but surely someone with a healthy mind and self image wouldn’t need the constant ego boost of lots of casual, superficial affairs. Wouldn’t someone comfortable in his own skin and emotionally mature actually prefer intimacy with one person rather than the need to feel superior by sneaking around knowing he’s keeping you in the dark. My serial cheater was even jealous of the attention I gave my dogs. I have more education and professional qualifications than him too, but instead of feeling proud and allowing me to use this to benefit our business, he was on the constant prowl hooking up with cheap, vulgar and older OW. Surely this isn’t the actions of someone with a healthy self image? Again, I’m not excusing it for a minute just don’t see a healthy minded person getting a buzz out of deceit and betrayal the way serial cheaters do.

    • There truly are cheater boards. They share all kinds of juicy tidbits on how not to get caught and how to lie like a pro. One I read was talking about an office “romance” (gag), they were talking about what to do to keep coworkers in the dark, such as find a spot for a quickie because you don’t want to be making soulful eye contact with the affair partner. They are truly evil deep down.

    • Every RIC site has one of those too. If follows the crazy the narrative that there are two sides to every story. Most of them are moderated too so if you get too uppity you’ll be kicked off that board and maybe even the site.

      • What is RIC?

        Is there a place where I can look up commonly used abbreviations here!

        • Go to the homepage, click on resources and then click on list of commonly used terms.

    • Yes, there are cheater boards. I found Cheater boards on Reddit by accident.
      Disgusting and eye opening, reading them will erase any questions or doubts regarding
      their self esteem issues.
      X’s problem with his self esteem is that it’s over inflated. X adores himself and can’t talk enough about himself.

    • Yes. look on reddit for “adultery”
      These ppl are addicted like teenagers huffing from a whipped cream can.
      And praising each other’s DECEPTION SKILLS.

      • Wow. I took a trip to that board and need a long hot bath to wash all the filth off.

  • Would it be fair to say cheaters are insecure? I never though self esteem was an issue with Yo Yo knickers, like CL says she saw herself as to important to have low self esteem.

    But I often thought she was insecure…always needed my attention, affection or asking me if I thought she was beautiful.

    • Insecure or greedy for more kibbles?

      I think we project insecurity on to them (i.e., you wouldn’t ask me if you *felt* beautiful). Whereas it might be as simple as she wants to be told she’s beautiful. Constantly.

      • This is absolutely true! They need to hear how great they are all the time, it’s never enough! They need more constant attention than a 4 year old.

      • I also think that the reliance on self esteem issues to excuse their lack of ethics or moral compass is a reflection of the infidelity narrative peddled by people such as (sorry in advance for the foul language) Ester Perel (sorry if you just threw up a little bit) and her ilk. If affairs can be characterised as ‘exuberant defiance’ then it’s not a stretch to use the excuse of trying to prop up your low self esteem to justify cheating. In fact I think her arguments rely heavily on this, as you point out, increasingly flawed concept of ‘low self esteem’ as a kind of intellectual distancing of what affairs actually involve. At root an affair is a brutal business but this doesn’t suit many. The reason it is taking so long IMO to change the narrative is that so many people cheat therefore so many people have a vested interest in how the conversations play out and the survivors of this abusive behaviour are too busy being blugeoned from all sides to stick up for themselves. Until now ????

        My cheat is odd in this. I always thought he had low self esteem so spent my life trying to bolster it. Funny to think that his three OW did the same. He has a great line in appearing quite needy. His line of defence is to apologise, admit everything (ha ha) and try to maintain this good image. I don’t know if he has these higher functions such as self esteem, he just seems to float through life taking what he needs/wants along the way.
        So this question is very pressing in the early days of discovery but now post divorce I am happy to report that it has become for me an intellectual thought exercise. I consider that after what I’ve been through I can claim to have genuine self esteem issues but then again not too much on this site with all the empowerment, agency, healing and other good shit going on.
        Cheaters cheat. All we need to know.

        • Cap was wondering how you’re doing. I only come to this board here and there but good to see you on. Sorry not sure if I should say sorry or congrats on the divorce. Either way hopefully it’s all part of the road to a better life.

          • ImAPhool. Hey! Yes say congratulations, definitely not sorry.
            It feels better and better as the days go by although it has only been 35 days since it was final not that I’m counting or anything…..
            A year ago my life was a bomb crater. Now I’m on level ground with a plan. Most of my recovery has been because of you and other chumps on this site. I hope you are doing well. ❤️

            • Cap. Very glad to hear you doing well. This site has helped many of us and it’s good to see updates and progress. Keep being mighty.

        • My STBX does this as well. He apologizes and asks for forgiveness, laments how his life is rough now, and tell spartial truths under the guise that he is being upfront and honest. The reality is that he does not want to deal with the consequences of damaged relationships, he hates that he is forced by law to give money to me and his children, and he gets a sick thrill over conning people. But it all sounds really good coming out of his mouth and he fools almost everyone he tells his tales to.

          • My X is doing just this…and I don’t know if it’s the thrill over conning people, or the thrill of having people have sadz on his behalf. He is using his victimhood to explain away his horrible actions to himself and to sell himself to others in his new life. He tries that shit with me and I try to call him out on it (i.e. save it for someone else, I know your game), but he wouldn’t hear the truth if it was megaphoned into his ear. Apologies are rejected though…he’s only sorry for himself. Five years of marital hookers can’t be wrong.

            • ChumpOnIt –
              No. They do not hear the truth. I have learned that if I respond with a few sentences of why he is full of shit, he will only hear one small piece of it that he can counter-argue with. He ignores the other 90% which he has no defense. I often type up a response and then eventually delete it or save it off for myself. That is because I know that it would be a waste of time to try and get him to see reality. I have wasted enough years banging my head against that wall.

              • Knowing that they hear nothing, care not…makes it so much easier to go no contact. It’s funny…I just went through a very difficult interchange this past weekend and when he texted I had started typing (sarcastic, caustic) responses, thought better of it, and just deleted them as well. I broke my own rule anyway with the whole damn thing, and need to go back to and stick with email for most discourse.

          • JEEZ oh so sorry that you procreated and now the “government” imposes upon you an obligation to support them.
            I spent 30 years fighting to get my Ex H to pay his child support.
            Meanwhile back at the ranch I just *WORKED* and fed them.
            Because of LOVE.

        • “At root an affair is a brutal business but this doesn’t suit many.”

          Exactly right. Cheating is nothing less than a form of domestic abuse and it results in relational trauma for the victim. And such trauma is every bit as painful and debilitating as physical trauma. A significant portion of us would gladly trade the impact on our lives and selves of cheating for a solely physical (and passing) harm? This might be stated better but hopefully my point is clear nonetheless. It is not to diminish physical abuse but to bring cunning psychological abuse on par with it where it surely belongs. Cheaters are domestic abusers. And the narrative needs to change so they become the societal pariah that other domestic abusers are. Google Dr. Omar Minwalla…he has it right.

          • I was physically abused by my first husband. The second cheated on me. I was married to the 1st for 15 years before he threatened to kill me in front of our 5 kids and it took the county attorney to tell me if I didn’t get out, he’d see me for the last time in a body bag.

            The trauma I feel from the second’s cheating caused me to muse (briefly) that my 1st husband was better than my second. For real.

            Fact is… they both suck.

            I’m an asshole magnet.

            • Sunflower, I’m a two-time chump too. It’s still Not You.
              My Ex-husband, father of my three children, was a manchild cheater. Then child support evader.
              I was taken in by a super Narc. Sixteen years later found he was a cheater.
              I’m working my Mighty. It was NEVER ME. It’s NOT YOU. Don’t beat yourself up.

              • Oh yes, Ex H was physically abusive.
                Second Ex (not married to) was psychologically abusive in ways that were way more painful than being decked by First Husband.

              • It’s pretty bad when the abuse was somehow better because we could at least see that coming. When Mr. Twatwaffles told me he’d been cheating…I could have been knocked over by a feather that felt like a wrecking ball.

        • Great to hear from you Capricorn! (Fellow Cappy here :p) And congratulations on your divorce.

          Mine is still in progress and quite positive that all is going well according to plan. I can’t wait for it to get finalized – hopefully by end of this year.

      • I’ve noticed that my ex has turned to kibbles via our child. He will text to ask if our child missed him, talked about X or Y fun thing they did, if the child asked for him. It’s so thirsty. We’re still negotiating custody so I deflect (he really doesn’t ask about you, guy). If my child genuinely wants to call or talk with him, I make it happen, but Jesus. Grow the fuck up. Our child doesn’t owe you kibbles.

        • It is a maturity issue!!!

          You just made me remember how when I would go to vistit my parents (alone because he couldn’t be bothered with doing something to please someone else, he would always ask upon my return “did you miss me?” It was always an awkward question. It came to me just now why- it was because he was only showing concern for himself not me. That question gives no indication that he missed me or that he was happy to see me.

          • Omg! My sbxh always asked me “do you miss me?” it’s almost as if he would get upset because I didn’t say I miss him without him asking…

      • I agree about the projection. A comparison to my dog springs to mind. She is VERY needy and wants constant love and attention. There is no digging down deep to levels of insecurity or shame, because she is a simple, single-minded creature with one sole objective: GET ALL THE ATTENTION. THIS IS ABOUT ME. No psychoanalysis required.

        I think the same generally holds true for many cheaters. They just want all the kibbles, plain and simple.

        • I love this comparison. Once I understood how simple-minded my ex is, it made it so much easier to deal with his stupidity. No more trying to appeal to his human side, or rationalize with him, or find the love in there. Since I now realize he’s such a basic being, it no longer hurts my feelings when he says and does horrible things. I’m not 100% meh yet, but not responding to his crap is a breeze.
          The bonus is that I can see him going crazy trying to figure out why I’ve changed. His usual theory is that I have a new man who is getting my attention. Ha!

          • They aren’t simple minded. Some of the fuckup stuff they do gets way complicated. They are just shallow.

      • To tell the truth, I like kibbles too. In fact, I see a lot of the flaws that cheaters have in my own personality, not gonna lie.

        But I have never, ever cheated on my spouse. Ever. I also don’t steal or vandalize.

        Well, I DID vandalize one thing if Mr. Twatwaffles… I took the tuxedo shirt he married me in, shredded is with a knife he made me, wrote “FUCKER” across the shoulders on the back, and then folded it neatly at the bottom of his bag that I pack up for him.

        • Everyone likes kibbles. There’s nothing wrong with that. It turns into a problem when you’re willing to compromise values and loved ones to get them. I like kibbles, too, but I’m not about to hurt my son, or my family, or even perfect strangers to get them. Integrity>Kibbles

          • That makes sense.

            No, I’m not willing to either.

            Thanks for pointing out the difference.

    • Needed vs. wanted. Cheaters like attention and affection, but they rarely think they need us. Hence the frequent ability to walk away without a backward glance one a better kibble source appears.

    • No, not insecure. They are in constant need of adoration because they think they DESERVE it. And if you don’t provide them with sufficient attention & adoration (because, perhaps, you might be spending time raising the children the two of you brought into the world? oh, the shame), they will use the Pity card to pretend they have low self-esteem in order to get more attention or to justify their affairs.

      For example, the standard thinking for many years was that bullies had low self-esteem and thus had to power over other people to boost themselves up. Nope. Ray Baumeister has stacks of evidence that bullies actually think very highly of themselves. And in the end, cheaters are bullies, using deception and psychological warfare to have power over their chump.

      • And even if you do provide more than enough attention and adoration, they often still tell you its not enough. For the chump, it is a can’t win situation. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

        I think of lot of these types of games are more about control and mind-control. Cheaters/narcs feign all sorts of insecurities and needs to keep the chump providing for them, to keep their landing spot safe.

        • THIS… Mr. Sparkles was a bottomless well. I gave until I was exhausted and sleep-deprived… still not enough. (I didn’t know until after that all the energy I put into the family and the children held no value to him – face palm.)

          • So uncanny. Years before DDay I said the Traitor was a bottomless well. And I also started calling him a bully, in my head at least. Both traits seem to be common in our cheaters.

      • Cheaters are bullies…this is very true. I often thought of Yo Yo knickers was a bully. But as a grown man of 40+ years calling a 5ft woman a bully sounded so wrong, and if I called her that I would have received a gaslit reply such as “A bully, don’t be so ridiculous…”

        I wanted to tell other people what a bully she was, not physically although there were occasions she hit me with her purse (On our honeymoon!) and once threw a glass at me. But I kind of knew if I told other people I was being bullied they would have thought I was pathetic.

        Looking back on it all now I was bullied, more mentally than physically, but she is definitely a bully.

        • Knowing your story, Yo-yo knickers is definitely a bully, parading as a sweet-little-thang to mask her toxicity.

          • I completely agree that they are bullies. For years I was gradually and thoroughly bullied by my EW’s emotional and mental abuse that, by the end, I felt very small and insignificant. I did everything she wanted. I was always attuned to ‘her needs’. After all, “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” But it was never enough. It took getting away from her vortex of toxicity to begin to realize how small I had become.

            I’ve since learned to apply boundaries to my relationships and also to periodically check my reciprocity meter. I remind myself to make sure MY needs are being met. It makes me cringe to think of how much I gave of myself only to discover I was married to a lying, cheating, evil narc.

            How I wish “Avoiding Narcissistic People” was a required course for all high school seniors. At least I would have been somewhat better equipped to deal with fuckwit narcs in my adult life. All the wasted time and energy…

            • OMG … “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”

              If I had a dollar for every time KK said that “in jest.” But it was the unspoken mandate that I accommodated — and it was never enough.

              • Oh, the mandate wasn’t unspoken in my marriage. Nowdeadserialcheaterwife would have tattooed “HAPY WIFE” “HAPY LIFE” on the backs of my fingers, prison style, if she though I’d put up with it.

  • But he cries. Doesn’t know WHY his granddaughter won’t see him. How dare I throw his ass out, file and divorce him.

    They named a drink after him, a Suffering Bastard. He deserved more; right on CL. He got much more than he BARgained for.

    With me he was out of his comfort zone. Hey, I don’t like dive bars where the patrons fall of their stools. I don’t do drugs. Well he’s settled in his new life swimmingly in debt.

    To think I wondered what was wrong with me. I was insecure. It wasn’t that I want good enough. I was better than.

    • WOO-HOO Doingme! Love it ????????

      He cries? Well boo-f**king-hoo ???? (see I HAZ A SAD above ⬆️)

      I must order me a Suffering Bastard next time I’m at a bar, it sounds delicious ???? #CheersToThat

      • And here you are (of course it has bitters!):

        Suffering Bastard
        1 ounce bourbon
        1 ounce gin
        1 ounce fresh lime juice
        1 dash Angostura bitters
        4 ounces chilled ginger ale

        Directions: Pour ingredients into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass and top with ginger ale, adding more ice if needed. Garnish with a sprig of mint or an orange slice.

  • I got the impression mine got a power trip from thinking she had conned me into thinking I should believe her sadz stories and I have to improve in order to keep her.

    The evidence is her reaction when I pulled the rug from under her and said I was leaving because she had shown no inkling of change after DDay.

    Que rage and every other channel of mindfuck – rather than the deep (ie fake) remorse she had shown up to that point.

    How could anyone believe someone who had shown over a very long period of time how easy it was for them to lie and manipulate?

  • My ex will say he’s “mostly” happy when mutual friends have asked. He says he’s happy and peaceful with the mistress and the bonus kids, but he struggles with how the divorce settlement wrecked him.
    Now I’m mostly happy.

    • Yeah, because money is a more significant loss to these sick fucks than the people who tried to love and trust them.

    • Yea. Mines HATES the monthly spousal support that comes out of his paycheck.


      I don’t think he EVER thought this SAHM would ever divorce him.

  • “On the contrary, they think they are splendid”
    After Dday my wife informed me of my feelings. She said “You feel that I’m too good looking for you!”
    I had to laugh, such a high pedestal she puts her self on.
    Funny that she could not see the other feelings of hurt, pain, misery, etc.
    I’m just probably overreacting, he’s just a friend. Lmfao

    • Love your summary–she informed you of your feelings. Isn’t it remarkable how easily they state their opinions on us as fact? They are so damn smart, they even know us better than ourselves. I’m glad you laughed at her.

      I remember many times being asked a direct question from someone on what I thought or what I wanted and the ex would jump right in and answer for me before I could even open my mouth. So glad to be free of all that. They are completely full of themselves.

  • My eyes have been really opened to the real person he is since dday. Totally narcissistic. It’s all about him. If I tried to convey how devastated I felt he always brought it back to himself. ‘Well, I’m not living the dream’ he would say in his sad sausage voice. All I could say was ‘ It was your choice to leave. You got what you wanted. I had no choice. At least I found out who he is in reality. Not the image of a nice guy he presents to the world. I’m not missing out on anything. Now I can create an authentic reality for myself.

    • My eyes were really opened to the real person my ex asshole is too. Totally all about him.

      When I tried to understand how my best friend of 30 years could do what he did ~ all I got was the dark shark eyes and how I was trying to rub his nose in it! That he had made mistakes ~ um, excuse me ~
      deliberately fucking over your best friend of 30 years and wife of 18 of those years is not a mistake ~ fuckwad. A mistake is something that happens by accident ~ not planned and orchestrated to gaslight the one you supposedly love.

      Yep, I too found out who he really is in reality ~ and yes, he tries to present himself to the world of this extremely nice guy…nice guy, my ass. Its all an act.

      Nope, I’m not missing out on anything either.

      • I was married 36 years and found out about 5 year affair. Husband is a alcoholic, narcissistic, sociopath. Wants everyone to still like him- of course there are those that do. Three adult boys that are still trying to figure out what their relationship with him will be. I’m one of those that has great friends and family and bought the I’m so tired, I work so hard story. Now I’m trying to find meh,
        peace, and happiness! Its hard and scary – but its out there!

    • I hear you, Georgie. Mine just wanted ‘freedom and great sex’… he now has a newborn with a sociopath that set him up and has to juggle his two families… whilst unemployed. The sad sausage ‘has to stay with her as he has no other choice’ and I won’t entertain in taking him back.

      He has even thought about ending it all… my response ‘I bet you have’…. whilst thinking why haven’t you? Not that I would ever wish that on anyone, even him… I am safe in the knowledge now that a narc would rarely go to this extreme measure!

      He is the saddest sausage I have ever seen in a complete passive aggressive way… gets angry at me when I have let loose at him on rare occasions… he cant talk to me if I am going to be that angry.

      How’s that freedom and great sex going for you Dickhead? No contact combined with destination ‘Meh’ is where I am headed… almost there thanks to CN! xx

      • If I display even the slightest bit of anger (which is pretty much controlled…I let out the raw stuff immediately after I realized he had destroyed our marriage) or even just plainly and coldly tell him that I don’t wish to speak to him, he turns it around on me as if I am being hostile. I think not wanting to talk to or have as little to do with a person is the exact opposite of what he thinks it is. Maybe wanting some of the attention I don’t want to give him, so just pretending like it’s happening anyway? Just recently got his apartment locks changed because I refused to give him his spare key back and insisted he keep mine (which he didn’t, better I guess since he’s seemingly lost it) in case of emergencies relating to either my dog (who he spouted is now “not your dog anymore” — nice!) or our daughter. They can’t stand our justifiable anger or not wanting to have to be around them or talk to them because it shines the light on who they really are, and that doesn’t jive with their opinion of themself or who they try to portray themself as to others.

        • Sorry, I should clarify — he is actually playing off what I am saying to him as “threatening”. I’m sure he gave a great story to his apartment complex’s management to have them change his locks. Threatening would imply that I want to continue having anything to do with him. Makes him out to be a lovely little victim of his horrible ex wife though. Delusional wanker.

    • Georgie, when I expressed my devastation and yes, now embarsingly I remember how I kept saying how I just wanted to work things out with him, my answer was a childish ‘what about what I want? All about them alright, couldn`t have been clearer

  • Strange too how they can have such low self esteem and insecurities but still insist they’re “really a good guy” and “I’m not a bad person” ????????????

    • Oh, yes. Heard, “I made a mistake but I am not a bad guy” in many, many versions.

      All bullshit. He made calculated decisions–thousands of them–because he wanted to. And he is a horrid person through and through.

      • So true. Mine preyed on students he should have been protecting; drove at least one of them out of her graduate program, and yet one of his last written lines to me was “I’m not as bad a person as you think I am.” smh

        • No, he’s actually much worse! Mine preyed on teachers who worked under him; funny how they’re drawn to professions where there are a preponderance of nubile young women and men in powerful positions. I used to think my cheater was in a “noble” profession but I now see he enjoyed being a big fish in a pond of skirt.

    • Cheater actually text me very soon after D-day saying “I’m sorry I was such a horrible person to you”. His actions most definitely don’t prove that he is sorry for anything he has done. It’s so easy to just use the work “sorry” and expect that to be enough to make what they did ok. I have to remember that I was the one married to him and so I ultimately know the truth. He can lie and rewrite history as much as he likes. His words and his actions don’t add up now and I realise they never really did. He just wanted me to believe he was the real deal when really he is just a wolf in sheeps clothing.

  • It is difficult and impossible to figure them out. What seems to be true is…. her first affair was with her high school ex. He turned out to be more of a narcissist than her. Used her dumped her. At this point, it looks like she hit low self esteem. To sooth that rejection, she found a short plump 26 year old to bang to build herself back up….. that being said, who knows. They are sick individuals top to bottom. Anyone who can do the evil they do are not normal.

  • My gay/bisexual/non-straight husband ISN’T gay/bisexual/non-straight according to him. Instead, he also suffers from low self-esteem and when “stressed” NEEDS to seek the companionship of men he just met on Craigslist for a hookup.

    Yeah-the shit the cheaters try to tell themselves and us.

    • OOH…I have to say to the reconcillation community, a psychologist even gave his “problem” a name. Atypical Impulse Control Disorder. Like what is that?

      Ya know what? I think I got Atypical Impulse Control Disorder too. Like I can’t STOP myself from eating chocolate, when stressed, PARTICULARLY when I am on a diet and have made a COMMITMENT to healthy eating.

      I can’t believe mental health professionals espouse such bull-shit

        • Thank you Peacekeeper. Sometimes, I think I am the only one THIS angry! But I come here to CN and realize, it is NORMAL, HEALTHY and OK to call bullshit-BULLSHIT.

          And the world continues to cater to THEM and THEIR mindfuckery.

          For me, the latest is learning that he has been driving around in his 2013 Prius UNINSURED (I had to call to get the model year for Post-nup). The insurance company said “Ma’am he has only been the SECOND driver listed on the 2009 Prius (aka MY car). We ran his liscense and there is no record of him having insurance on another car in the past 5 years).

          Again-entitled much?!?!!?! Yes-he is SO ENTITLED and NARCISSITIC that LAWS don’t apply to him. He has just been happily driving around for about 3 years WITHOUT insurance.

          SO I did what only a mighty chump can do. I put a flag on his liscense. I hope gets pulled over for a burned out headlight/failure to signal. It will be nice when the cops run that liscense number.

      • Impulse control is a real problem, but cheating is not how it manifests!!! Cheating takes time, planning, and sneaking; none of that is impulsive! Never mind the repetition….

        • Karen W- You are SPOT ON. Impulse control problems would seem to be more of a spontaneous thing. He took naked pictures with his man parts AND face in them because he is so handsome after all, with his wedding ring proudly displayed in the pictures. Crafted the gay/bisexual/non-straight advertizement declaring (untruthfully) his weight and his maritial status (truthfully) as married to get more “hits”, decided that the perfect time to squeeze in the affair with the random men would best be between a dentist appointment and going to work (aka an early am hookup) and even said he would give PREFERENCE to responders closer to his place of work.

          Yeah-that took a considerable amount of planning. Not spontaneous at all!

  • I’ve heard of sausagefests, but ” sad sausages abound” is a new one.

  • Thank you CL for this post today. It is exactly what I need to get me through this day. Tomorrow I will get in my car with my daughter and move out of this state. Yesterday the cheater said “goodbye” to the daughter he gave me sole custody of. Before he wanted to have “the talk” with her, I did what I thought was best to prepare her for the mindfuck. I told her that when he’s standing before her crying and telling her how much he loves her, remember that she and I have to uproot our lives be cause of a decision he made. Remember that he moved out of the house and never told us he was leaving…remember his actions…pay no attention to his words. He cried, she didn’t…she’s 10 years old. I don’t buy the bullshit that when cheaters cheat they are not doing it to the children, he’ll always be her dad etc. When this asshole was cheating for a year and a half and still coming home to us….he knew exactly what he was doing. Where was the low self-esteem when he and his mistress sat down and devised a plan that in the spring he would leave his wife and child? Where was the low self-esteem when he went on vacation with her and lied to me about visiting a friend? Right after talking to his daughter, he wanted to talk to me. I said absolutely not. We have said everything we could possibly say to each other….there is nothing left to say. I was not going to stand there and listen to him say he was sorry it ended this way and he hopes one day I can forgive him blah, blah, blah…nope…I shut that shit down because thanks to CL I know he’s not one bit sorry. At the end of the closing today, I’ll walk away with a nice check and hopefully leave this state and never have to see him again. You got what you wanted cheater…now go live with your grand self.

    • Pret,
      Love and safe travels and happiness in your new home to you and your precious 10 year old daughter.
      YOU, are the present, sane, loving parent. At her tender young age she already knows that.
      It can only get better for you and for her from this day forward.
      The cheater is less than a spec in your rear view mirror, soon completely out of sight.
      His loss.
      As for you, Pret ,and your beautiful child, you will explore life together. True love, trust and respect abides in each of your hearts.

      I have read many of your posts, YOU are MIGHTY!


      • Thank you peacekeeper and to all of those who reached out to me. I truly appreciate the support this site provides. We are all mighty for having survived what we did….one day at a time. I am grateful for the lessons this chapter in my life has given me. While it still hurts like hell, I know and feel that each day gets better. Thank you all!

    • Pret- if you can, please check back with us when you get to the new house.

    • Pret you are mighty!! I tried to sugarcoat for my kids. That was before I found CL & CN. It really does them no favors and sets them up for more mindfuck.

      Let the twu wuvs run off into that sunset together. Hope the sun burns their asses when they get there. But no matter, you’ve left it behind and headed on to your path of meh.

      Even with the mighties, it’s hard. My thoughts and prayers are with you for closing that door on the old life as you head into the new one with your beautiful daughter. You have much joy ahead.

    • Pret, I love to hear other people who get the mindfuck of the kids(although I am sorry you are in this situation).

      I just returned from a wonderful 10 day vacation with my two youngest. Despite receiving a blood pressure raising e-mail from my lawyer on the first day of vacation informing me of the latest scam of Stbx trying to lower the $ he owes me, I was able to relax and have a fabulous time. Other than the morning of the 9th day following a long walk with luggage in tow and two tired and hungry teens, there was virtually no tension and no pressure to make sure cheater was happy.

      To today’s topic. Upon our return I am right back in the hot mess of divorce. Last night oldest so was recounting pieces of his time fishing with cheater, middle son and some friends. It is an annual event in which my presence was always required in order to support cheater in his hobby. (He considered it a family vacation but he was gone 12 hours a day with oldest son while I was left to manage the other 4). The younger ones started going as they got older but still he couldn’t understand why I didn’t enjoy just being there to greet him at the dock each evening. You know he needed that self esteem boost.

      So last night, oldest son tells me on the second day on the way in from fishing dad tells him schmoopie and her friend are going to meet them at the dock. Children have never met her and Stbx is pleading the faith in the divorce on adultery. Two sons tell dad if she is at the dock they are packing up and leaving. Long story but after heated discussion with oldest son, he says he will tell her not to come. At the dock, middle son goes into cabin with dad and according to oldest, screams at dad. He yells so that you can hear out on the dock ” we are so tired of hearing about how abused dad was, it doesn’t give you the right to go fuck anyone you want!” I am sure that fell on deaf ears because low self esteem will do that to your hearing but it warms my heart to hear son said that.

      Other warming tidbit:oldest son asked him why he couldn’t just own up to adultery instead of pleading the fifth. Response, “because feelingit’s lawyer is treating it like it’s a crime.” Uh, maybe because it is in our fault state. Fucking coward.

      • Ugh, Feelingit, your X is so completely full of himself (I’ve read your tale, and he really just sounds like the works). I hope you take great pride and comfort in the fact that your kids know what’s up and are just as righteously angry about what he did. I can relate on the disrupted vacations/happy moments. You can distance yourself physically, but it’s so hard to distance yourself mentally and emotionally from all of the shit sometimes. Hugs to you.

      • Feelingit,
        I have grown to love you and your children. That part was easy.
        Your post is GREAT!
        As for poor Cheater, to him CN says, who gives a shit!
        Five beautiful children, he will lose their love and respect, one by one.
        His doing.
        Meanwhile, you just naturally keep on being the sane, present, loving parent.
        Thai is just who YOU are!


        • Thanks peacekeeper, you are too kind. I wish they had someone so supportive as you in their lives rather than their controlling queen grandma . I am always reminded of going out to dinner with her and the kids at the macaroni grill for someone’s birthday.

          We were all seated and she proceeded to tell everyone to move so she could be seated with stbx and me rather than the children. I have always thought that was the strangest thing.

    • Pret, you are so mighty. Head up, chin up — enjoy that weight that will come off your shoulders. You did right by your daughter and helped her to be strong for the pity party her father threw upon parting ways. I wish my cheating X would just leave our lives, but for now he is doing the “good dad” thing with our daughter (quotes because no good dad fractures their family and children before they even exist). When the time comes and she has questions, I won’t sugar coat. I will remember your actions, because preparing your children for the cheater’s reaction to knowledge of what they did is just as important as letting the kids know what they did. I wish you the best and I hope you and your daughter have many happy days ahead.

    • Pret ???????????????????????? Fierce ???? love it ????????????????????????

      I also had to uproot myself and my two awesome kids, changing countries and continents (my kids grew up on overseas posting, in an international community, in neither mine nor my ex’s home country. Now the kids and I are back in the small town I grew up in, in my home country).

      It took a while for my kids to settle in, but sooooo well worth the hard work and patience it required. We came home to family. I hope you are also shifting to be closer to family, and have a good support network.

      Best wishes for a fresh new start. Keep your daughter close, enjoy the simple things in life with her.

      He lost out big time, the silly f**ker. I’m so glad you are free of him. Go and live a wonderful life. Take care (((hugs)))

    • Pret–good for you inoculating your daughter against cheater’s mindfuckery!! You’re so correct–they betray the children, too.

  • Entitled, lazy, arrogant, soulless & full of rage when the chump & others won’t do their bidding. Arseholes the lot of them.

  • These so called “experts” who believe and preach this “HOGWASH” are on crack and they need to detox.
    Not going to happen though as they are addicted to their bullshit.
    Flush ???? Repeat!

  • “Their arrogance and entitlement is actually masking deeper arrogance and entitlement.” This is spot on, but when you are new and facing “real” cheater tears, and you don’t have hindsight to give you the correct lens to look at a cheater with, you can be fooled. Two days after DDay when I somehow calmly sat the cheater down and said, we are done, but we have 4 kids together and we need to find a way to focus on them, he literally started crying, shaking and sweating profusely ( I had NEVER seen that much emotional distress). I actually felt overwhelming compassion and tried to hug him to calm him down. He ran away! The old me thought he was overcome with sorrow, guilt and regret.

    The truth is he was overwhelmed with his secret out of the bag and clearly facing a calm chump who was withdrawing kibbles permanently. Consequences were coming too and The Entitled One’s game of cake eating was ending.

    We chumps project our sense of morality, decency and integrity onto them. (undeservedly)
    They project their sense of superiority, entitlement, and splendidness on us. (also undeservedly).
    We must call as spade a spade and label an unrepentant cheater as an entitled lying coward (deserved)

    Take away the cake. Take off the rose colored glasses and see them for what they are. CL is right. It’s a case of the SADZ where they are concerned because cake, kibbles, a scapegoat and consequence-free life are over. Chumps make yourself central for once. It’s a mind shift for sure, but the only way to get to freedom is by facing the truth.

    Trust CL. It took me to go through a 2-year divorce to realize mine was more than entitled, but also vengeful, an accomplished liar, and living with no morals. He decided if I was going to leave the KING I would pay and he fought it all and tried a smear campaign as well. I did pay dearly in time and money.
    It was the cost of my freedom, and well worth it!

    • Yes Free2beme. Going through the same right now. I am 5 months into divorce process and seeing him become more evil as it progresses.

      My youngest kids went to counseling for the first time at his request recently. I have no doubt he thinks the counselor will tell them to be nice to their poor dad. That is the kind of disordered fuckwit he is. The counselor had them draw pictures of their family. Afterwards they told me about their pictures and what the counselor said.

      Youngest drew cheater with a huge head and mouth. Counselor said so your dad is arrogant and has a big mouth. Kids were laughing but his interpretation was spot on and out of the minds of babes you get the real story. Low self esteem- B.S.

      • I love that the therapy he demanded is serving to show him for his true colors. Time will do its work! I promise you that. Time HEALS you and your kids and time REVEALS the Cheater for what he is. The house of cards falls and the real “family” remains. (((Hugs))) to you in the battle Feelingit!

  • A friend’s husband was caught out cheating last year. Shortly before this happened, I had bumped into him in the street & was struck by how elated and happy he looked. When he got caught out a week or so later, he pulled the “I’ve been so depressed” trump card. I found that hard to believe but my friend willingly bought it.

    • Exactly! They are happy and elated when their dick is porking the affair partner. It’s when they have to go back to their spouses that they’re oh so depressed. They have the sadz and can’t function. It’s funny how they aren’t too depressed to seek out another female, make decisions to cheat on their spouse. In fact, they are very happy to do so, no depression there in any of those choices they make along the way.

      • I know, right? I can’t imagine ever having the courage to meet a new partner at a bar and have sex right away. Meeting on craigslist for sex? No way! Meeting up with a hooker or escort? You have got to be kidding me. I would be terrified yet these assholes want you to believed that they were abused, depressed soles with low self esteem who managed to do this , more and then keep on doing it all the while lying and maintaining their other lives.

        We should all have such self esteem- makes you powerful haha!

    • Yes, I kept all our family pictures for that purpose… He’s been re-writing history, claiming that he’s been unhappy for years… Cue to show our kiddo and friends pictures of him beaming at the camera days before DDay…

      He got off on the deception, but now his credibility is shot, and his kibble supply with friends and family has greatly decreased… Of course it is all my fault, I could not forgive his mistake… I’ve been NC for almost two years, but sometimes I’m just a tad tempted to break NC just to get to tell him: “I made the biggest mistake of all: I believed him. Now I know better.” Meh is too peaceful of place to put my head back in that blender though.

  • Love this post. I also get why it’s tempting to spend time wondering how cheaters feel and think.

    One thing I love about this site and CL’s book is how CL is able to get us to focus on what does matter and stop trying to untangle the mess that is a cheater’s thinking.

    At this point, I don’t really care whether the cheater’s bad childhood motivated his calculated cruelty. I don’t care what demons he may be fighting or how he feels about himself. None of that is as relevant as the actual calculated cruelty. He was horrible to me. Doesn’t matter why. All that matters is that I got out and stopped letting him hurt me.

    Knowing why he hurt me wouldn’t help, and “being there for him” wouldn’t help, because he is not going to suddenly turn into a person who doesn’t think it’s acceptable behavior to hurt others for his own gain. If he ever DOES become that person, it won’t be because of me or any other person besides himself.

    Ergo, it’s useless for me to “be there for him”. It doesn’t help him and it doesn’t help me. In fact, it might even be that the best thing I could do to help him was to leave because consequences for his shitty behavior might motivate future learning.

    Even that isn’t relevant, though. The only relevant thing for me is that his cruelty was an open flame and my only safe choice was to get away and let the professionals deal with the fire, or not, as they seem reasonable.

    • Amiisfree, thank you for this post!! Your words are keeping me strong! I received this email from my STBX late last night, “I know you don’t really want to hear from me but I’m sorry and I hope you are doing ok.” I want so badly to respond, but I have been doing so well at no contact and don’t want to break it! I am 8 months out from DDay and separation, but with our 18 year anniversary days away I have been struggling a little more than usual. His go to excuse for his lies and cheating is his low self esteem and self hate. I believed it for so long, the chump that I am. This is post is perfect timing! Off to gain a life 🙂

      • LettingGo he’s fishing isn’t he? Mine has been sending texts alot lately about the kids. I have used the BIFF response as I can’t be 100% no contact. They have a sadz.

    • Thank you for validating this! I first tried to “be there” for my cheater X. I soon saw that his core behavior didn’t change one iota. Sure, he may have stopped seeing hookers, but he was making grand displays of being present in the marriage while simultaneously doings things secretively when he thought they would make me mad (i.e. going to a strip club with coworkers instead of being repentant and heading back to the hotel room for the night, and then trying to hide his account statement!!!). Sad sausage outside, entitled cheater filling inside. My “being there” wasn’t going to change anything about who he was fundamentally. One would think leaving his ass would slap him across the face with a dose of consequences, but he just puts bubble wrap around his head and continues along.

      • Exactly. It doesn’t really matter that the subject matter of his deception changed (IF it even changed), it matter that he is deceptive and that his deception harms you. That’s the relevant point. Good for you!

  • This is the one place where I really have to beg to differ. I actually had Tempest call me out one time when I said that I thought my ex had low self esteem. It wasn’t even a conversation – I was wrong and this is the way it is. It made me not want to participate in the forum because I was afraid I would be put in my place again.

    First of all, I completely agree that I have low self esteem. Clearly I wouldn’t have married such a loser if I had a higher self image and higher standards. My ex wasn’t a bully in school but actually the opposite, he was bullied. He did tell me that he was bullied before I married him but I didn’t think he was harboring resentment that would last the rest of his life. He wasn’t just bullied at school he was bullied by his father.

    Secondly, I don’t think he would ever admit that he suffers from low self esteem. He doesn’t want anyone to think that he doesn’t feel good about himself. He doesn’t use low self esteem as an excuse for his behavior. I actually think it is why he is so hell-bent on projecting a happy life.

    I think my ex has low self esteem and I think he got pleasure from pushing me down to the lowest of depths. One year I made more money than him, well, that cost me. He put me in my place. I was fat and the things I was interested in were stupid, and oh, because of that he would go get a side fuck.

    He would say demeaning things to me and as I stuck around I noticed they got worse. He even told me that one of the women he was screwing was nothing like me because she had higher standards and would never put up with someone (like him) treating her that way.

    No, he would delight in seeing me fail because that would mean he is better than me. What? I barely have money to get by in life. Too bad for me. He is living with the ow and they have all kinds of money to do whatever they want. Well, I saw what his dad’s life looked like and I know for a fact that it won’t be long, if it isn’t already happening, that he is demeaning her. And to feed his ego, she is dancing all over the place to prove that she is his soul mate.

    I can agree that there are some cheaters that fit what you describe here – someone who uses low self esteem as an excuse. But my ex didn’t use it as an excuse. I think he has low self esteem because he has to push others down to lift himself up. That’s what some (not all) people with low self esteem do.

    • Phoebe- I see your point- mine is an arrogant shit who I suspect has low self esteem. He just doesn’t get to use that as an excuse for cheating, lying, blame shifting and gaslighting me.

    • Sounds like a vulnerable/covert narc. Mine couldn’t let me succeed either. I never truly realized it at the time.

      He has a higher degree, makes way more money than I do, we work at the same corporation. I won an award given to me by a superior to both of us. He was being a whiny little bitch and I couldn’t understand why (sulking and pouty). This superior tasked him with having me be at a certain place and time as the award was a surprise with lots of people from the corporation there, food catered in, and photographers for the award presentation. Not only was I not there on time, he had made an obstacle course for me the morning of and I looked and felt like shit. I guess it was a stretch that he would’ve told me about it, but to sabotage me? He said he just didn’t want to ruin the surprise and he had ‘tried’.

      My ex comes acrossed as the sad sausage, no one understands him, no one appreciates him, blah blah. It comes across as low self esteem, but really is kibble seeking. I know this now. Always looking for someone to tell him how well he wiped his own ass.

      It took a long time for me to really see this after Dday #2 (yes I’m a chump from 2 different schmoopies separated by several years). I see the entitlement was there all along. I always said he was high maintenance as he was needy. At first that seems like they really love you and need you. They just need to feed. His words would say one thing but his actions were always another. I knew I was the giver and he was the taker in our relationship. I don’t know why this was acceptable to me. It took him pursuing our daughter’s young assistant soccer coach for me to realize it’s always about his wants and needs first. He can’t even put his kids above it. I have no doubt he thought he was in the twu wuvs.

      I wasn’t ready for that 2 x 4 when I first came here. I’m sorry it hurt when it whacked you! I guess we all try to make sense of this crazy shit as best we can. At the end of the day it’s our burden to overcome. I still can’t understand how I let my needs be so small for someone I thought was a pitiful, misunderstood, highly intelligent and emotional man. I know now I was duped and I need to fix my picker.

      • MJB, every word of this (except ‘soccer coach’) is my experience exactly. It takes a long time to figure out the covert narcs, but in the end, it’s always about them.

        • Me too MJB – I could have written every work – substituting soccer coach for ” woman who worked for him” and/or “Craig’s List Girlfriend” – He admitted to latter, I am pretty sure about former…probably both. And more. Ugh.

          Oh, and I have a higher degree 😉

          • “Always waiting for someone to tell him how well he wiped his own ass.”

            -Exactly!!! He needs a standing ovation for everyday things that adults (or even ten year olds) do. What’s up with that? Are they so special?

            Mine doesn’t wipe his ass so well (literally). I throw a fit when I find it. I guess bad kibbles are better than no kibbles to him.

    • PreyingMantis had a deep inner core of self-loathing and hatred. But on top of that, there was the usual huge ego, superiority complex, and sense of entitlement. The combination is incredibly toxic. The only rational way to deal with a situation like that was to get away from it. The only way I can really describe it is that PM had an inner black hole. It sucked everything in its path into the endless black hole that could never be filled. No matter how much adoration or attention you gave, it could never be enough. No matter how many Schmoopies there were, it could never be enough. Whenever someone had a need, that meant a reduction in Kibbles and that person got discarded. There is no way you can analyze or untangle the skein of fuckupedness. The only way you can rationally deal with a toxic situation like this is to get out, and get out yesterday! It has been almost three years since I started to get clear of my cheater ex, and two years since the divorce. Life is so much better now. To anyone that is on the fence, go!!!, no matter how bad you think it’s going to be. You will never realize how much better it’s going to be until you’re gone. Trust me on this, and trust that they suck.

      • It seems like the grand persona is created to cover up the underlying imperfections that they refuse to see. However, it can and does make their awesomeness the reality, and damn everything else. Maybe this is partly what Chump Lady is getting at? Even those who are seemingly down on themselves are also full of themselves…and vice versa.

        • People with low self esteem are full of themselves. They are too busy trying to feel better to care about how others feel or how their actions affect others.

          • It’s true. In this sense, they can play the “sad me” card or the “I’m great” card, depending on the audience, and get exactly what they want from people without any regard to others.

            • I should say, I don’t know if *all* people who have low self esteem are full of themselves. There are plenty who lack self esteem and don’t know it (only though how they interact with others is it obvious how little they regard themselves…not unlike the recovering chump). Those folks wouldn’t be trying to use it to get something as maybe those who openly wave it around (i.e. actively seeking a pity party) would.

              • Makes a lot of sense to me, COI. Those with low self esteem in general snd those who are waving it around to get kibbles. Perfect sense.

    • My cheater is like this too. Puts others down to raise himself. I look at his “friends” now and see that he always has to make himself top dog. One story he has told over and over is how in 7th grade he beat up a bully who was harassing the guy that went on to become the best man at our wedding. He is smart and successful but Stbx has to remind everyone he was his savior.

      He is also insecure about the fact he didn’t go to college so he is always pointing out how he makes more money than college pukes. Meanwhile, he is pushing very hard for his golden child that he sees as an extension of himself to go to college. My older son – didn’t care about college for him, just used him as a whipping boy at his business until he was fed up and found a job somewhere else. Cheater promptly hired two people to do the job older son was hired to do and pay them more!

    • I see your point…you both have low self esteem, but he needs to make himself better than you. Doesn’t mean he is full of esteem for himself, he just needs someone to be comparatively worse off and gets off on that. Those who are bullied will oftentimes turn into bullies themselves, so this isn’t exactly unbelievable. In doing so, perhaps, he boosts himself into a false sense of being full of esteem (since the affairs and kibbles are all about them), but deep down he is still empty. They still have more regard for themself than for you, and that makes them seemingly full…of something.

      • Thanks chump on it. I am so insecure about my kids. It is hard (if not impossible) for me to understand why they want to have a relationship with him at all with the hurt he has caused. Every once in awhile I sort of get it but then it passes because the betrayal hurts so much.

        • It’s okay — I caught that!

          My daughter is only a toddler, but I dread having to juggle my feelings when she is old enough to do more with her father and say more about it. Yes, of course I want to know what she’s doing and how she’s doing and what fun she’s having and I will try my hardest not to silence her in any way, but I know it will come with those feelings of hurt and betrayal that I have to choke down for her sake. Ugh. Nothing like breeding with a fuckwit to partially deflate the joy of parenting…

    • But the way he is treating you is evil. Even if there are reasons that may have lead him to who he is, it is never okay to treat another human being this way, let alone your wife and kids. And I agree that the combination of vulnerable/covert narc is toxic. It leaves you confused and manipulated.

    • I believe you. My STBX is similar to yours. He has low self-esteem but will never admit it and doesn’t try to use it as an excuse. I posted below. I do believe that some cheaters have low self-esteem. That doesn’t make them decent people. It isn’t an excuse. It’s just another version of fuckupedness.

      • I know my ex has low self-esteem and an incredible amount of self-loathing. It’s a lethal combo. I saw it come out several times over our marriage. Yet he is also an entitled jackass. I think he inflates himself up so he doesn’t think about that black hole in his soul. He is also incredibly good at cutting ties. That’s why it was so easy for him to walk away from his wife and daughter and the garage he spent DAYS getting just right and everything else great in our life. His mantra is, “I don’t think, I just do” and I believe he’s that way because if he thinks too much about WHO HE IS, he’ll never recover.

    • That isn’t self-esteem. That’s a bully who wants power over others. I can untangle the pathology that makes people want power over others. I know it’s not the same as what moves chumps to be chumpy.

      • I do think that people like Jackass know they aren’t like other people. They know they are missing something. But I think it’s a very complex thing how that produces their arrogance and abusive behavior. I know it’s twisted, though.

    • People who put others down, do so because of jealously or the need for control. A person with low self esteem tends to be more timid in nature rather than exhibit malevolent behavior.

      Low self esteem is used as an excuse by cheaters to play on a persons sympathy and divert attention away from their actions.
      Think about a time when your self esteem was low. Did you intentionally hurt someone and had no remorse? Did you feel like stripping down naked and having sex with someone outside of your relationship? Were you taking risks and not caring what the consequence might be?
      No. That’s not what people with low self esteem do. People with low self esteem criticize themselves, are ashamed of themselves, they dislike themselves.

      • Agreed. Many people are confusing “low self esteem” with what is actually the narcissistic trait of being devoid of any true sense of self.

  • LadyLiar spent thousands of dollars on clothes because she “felt bad about her body,” and she spent hours in front of the mirror trying cool new hairstyles so she could “feel better about herself. She “didn’t mean to get involved with someone else,” but she NEEDED SOMEONE TO PAY ATTENTION TO HER. She has “poor me” syndrome, which only got worse once I put a stop to her double life. After I supported her through grad school, she got a full-time job with significantly higher salary than I make, just in time to fund her “business trips” with Schmoopie. When I asked her to discuss dividing furnishings, she said, “I don’t want to disrupt the household, so I’ll just buy all new for my apartment.” She stole our dog and wouldn’t agree to a visitation schedule, but when she couldn’t find anyone to care for our dog while she “went to a conference,” she told me I was mean because “she’s all alone and doesn’t have anyone to help her with pet care!” It’s ALL about her, all the time. This is NOT a self-esteem problem. I think her ego got so large that it took over her brain, like a tumor.

    • Mine was very much like this, she was shopping all of the time after she finished her psyd, frequently taking selfies (still does from what I hear) so she can just see her and wanted all of the attention on her. I fell for the low self-esteem and body image BS but in hind sight, those were methods of sexual and physical control which I certainly didn’t realize at the time. She was always the victim and I emotionally and financially backstopped her for 17 years. When I kicked her out, because of all of the clothes and shoes, her care was full and she couldn’t take many personal items which I would have rather that she had, but none of those things mattered so long as she could get wunderbread’s attention and keep the new supply all to herself. Man, I missed a lot of signs and spakled over waaaaay too much stuff that I should have seen. These are the things one starts to see when you NC for weeks and start to see what you gave in to and the control you ceded when you never should have.

    • I have to note that I relate to you on the dog part, and this is a dog-related vent (probably a little off topic, sorry). I actually didn’t argue over our dog and rather let him take her because he works from home and therefore could give her more attention and walks (she’s getting older, so bladder control will only become more urgent). It was right by her. Suddenly though, it’s all “she is not your dog anymore”. He was going to take her to my parents (they love her and lost their own dog just last year, so they enjoy her company), but then changed his mind and placed her in the care of a neighbor he barely knows (the place I was able to find in my price range and near enough to where I started work won’t allow dogs her size). I’m sure it was partly because he can’t continue to face my parents as time goes on and for control over how easily I can see her now. If he were ever in a bind, my parents would care for her –not for him, but because they love that dog. It’s all about them and it’s all about control — tugging our heartstrings and twisting it in where they know it will hurt. The whole turning around and playing the victim thing so they’re not seen as the selfish cowards they are makes them especially heinous.

  • Mine never had the sadz. He had the rage!

    You want to talk mindfuck? Mine blamed the affair on me and the subsequent alienation of the kids seven years later on me getting remarried.

    Sadz is bull. The cheat because they think they are entitled to cheat.

  • And you know, even if they did have low self-esteem, so fucking what? If you feel bad, start some affirmation pintrest or get therapy. Fucking around on your spouse isn’t therapy, it’s just fucking around on your spouse. Your personal issues don’t justify betraying others.

    • Totally agree with this – hence the frequent advice from CL to look at the behaviour and not the words, and stop untangling the skein.
      Our society is obsessed with self esteem – I regard the concept as a bottomless pit that ultimately doesn’t help anyone. Like the “right to happiness” that cheaters or their apologists quote as an excuse. Everything I’ve read and see in life and work reinforces to me that people who feel secure tend to focus on having a balanced life and helping others, rather than needing constant kibbles in the form of validation or other fleeting external pleasures.

    • Therapy is not a fix. Mine was in therapy and I’m sure his IC is a man’s right activist or something, because the asshole got all kind of ideas about being happy, put himself first, blah blah blah FROM therapy. He just got permission from another asshole.

  • Having Self Esteem issues doesn’t mean not knowing right from wrong. Doesn’t mean you get to lie, cheat, sneak around, manipulate, betray and hurt people you love – knowingly. That’s not having self esteem issues. There’s plenty of other names for people like that. Asshole, narc, fuckhead, man child, asswit, nitwit, dickwit, fuckwit…

  • Well I am ashamed to say that my cheater didn’t even attempt to play the “low self-esteem card” and I waited around for another d-day to understand his “perfect entitlement”.

    No, I was met with the good old “I cheated because YOU have low self-esteem. YOU are inadequate, YOU don’t ride my motorcycle with me – she did! You don’t (insert sexual act) she did! No, the goal with my cheater was to tear me to shreds. Of course there was the typical lying “I am not communicating with her any more, get off of my case and get a life!” But he was simply just fucking MEAN! I can’t believe I ever put up with that! Oh, at first I bought into the “there is something wrong with me” narrative, but luckily I did my self work, so when d-day 2 rolled around (and his hooker habit was revealed), I filed for divorce and never looked back!

    Of course post separation he plays the “I’m so much better off now, she was a miserable person, and made me miserable” card. His nuggets of wisdom to our kids “sex isn’t shameful” as if I was the one who put that idea in his head! Nope, it isn’t, when everyone your screwing is on the same information grid. What is shameful however is his projection of shame onto me. “You dont want me to screw hookers because you think sex is shameful!” Uh, I don’t think sex is shameful ass-hat, I think screwing hookers behind your wife’s back, lying, manipulating and cheating is shameful! That has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with character!

    • Ah yes. I am just waiting until he tries that “sex isn’t shameful” shit with our daughter (many years down the road, but still). Hooking-screwing cheater fuck. He is the LAST person who should be talking with her about any of that.

    • They want that “bad girl”. Sex is naughty to them nothing loving about it even though they try to pretend. That was what it was with my cheater having sex not making love. He even says in his hate journal “the bedroom is only for fucking and sleeping- not talking.” I have often wondered how his schmoopie would feel about that? I am sure it is different with her- ha!

  • I know now…X uses the low self-esteem card in attempt to relate to others — hook them in. I thought we were on the same page, for example. A few of the same insecurities based on similar experience (some of that good old fashioned “mirroring” to fake empathy), feelings on love and life, etc. …except his never prevented him from turning around and acting like a total asshole. His apologies mean nothing because he is only sorry for himself. His actions and behavior continue to show this. Had the balls to mention his anxiety and sleeping problems a few weekends ago. Yes, please, cry over yourself to the person you dragged down with you in your shittiness. And I bet he’s using these gems to make new friends and hook that new girlfriend he’s been seeing “for a couple of months” in his new clean slate life where no one knows who he is or what he’s done or capable of doing. They have to victimize themselves (and oftentimes villainizing us helps them to accomplish this) in order to perpetuate the lie that they are still good people who just made some mistakes or suffer from low self-esteem.

    • ChumpOnIt–my X, too, used the ‘vulnerability’ card as a seduction technique (and quite effectively). After all, Pity is the most useful of all of the manipulative techniques.

  • I know my ex is a fucked-up mess, gets the sadz, etc. For a long time I assumed insecurity and toxic shame. I know a fair bit about his FOO, and just getting out alive from there was probably an accomplishment (although funnily enough, he has 4 siblings and half-sibs, all of whom have issues, but they are good people, not cheaters or narcissistic assholes…).

    In the end, I finally finally figured out that;

    A) he is FINE w/everything he’s done. The repeat cheating, the threats of violence, the emotional abuse, the mediocre parenting, and the just plain unpleasantness.

    B) he’s always going to be unhappy. He LIKES it, being the sad sausage and the poor victim works super well for him, in a twisted way. Nothing will make him understand that he could change, and that it would be worthwhile for him (never mind the people around him).

    C) it’s not my job, or anybody else’s, to make or help make him happy.

    D) I can feel sorry for him … from a distance. Having him in my life is bad for me, and bad for my kids.

  • Yes. True. They think they are ‘the shit’. I read a journal entry from stbx when he was 20. I quote :” By the by, I am a VERY arrogant person (I like that about myself).”
    We are now 38. He is worse than ever. He has moved into the unfinished home we were building without informing me. The property and mortgage are in my name. He is the guarantor and pays the mortgage since we’ll I can’t do that and raise the children.

  • I believe my X knew I was done with the alcohol/drug addictions. He couldn’t fool me any more. But a new victim he could start the process all over again. He did 5 yrs in Federal Prison for his drug addictions. He paroled to actually see the damage he did to his family. He couldn’t face it. Better to get a new family and start over. Problem is he never put his alcohol and drugs behind him. Now it’s the same old pattern with a different spouse. But I did get set free which I’m grateful for. I do feel sorry for the young children of the OW. She knowingly brought alcohol/drug abuse into her home and all the bad things that go with it. I sent her my X’s criminal rap sheets when I found out they were in an affair. I wrote her, “Are you sure you want this man in your life around your children?” She told me to mind my own business. lol Guess my husband wasn’t my business! Hope the county jail takes food stamps in loo of bail money. My X’s greatest love is alcohol and drugs. The women are just means to get what he truly loves.

  • I had some amazing spackling power that ex really did love his wife and kids. I guess he does ‘love’ his kids to the best of his ability but never enough to put them first. The things I look back and remember now that support this:
    *dating-I would drive him to work for his shifts as parking wass terrible. He did it for me once as it interrupted too much of his time
    *didn’t come to the appointment with me for our babys ultrasound when we knew we’d learn the sex. He had worked alot and needed to go play golf.
    *bitched at me for spending $15 on a Christmas decoration early on in the marriage with a small kid then lied about going to a sporting event with a friend, went instead to strip clubs all evening (I’m sure my spending $15 was a drop in the bucket to putting money in a g-string)
    *invited to a social event for work/picnic at someone’s home. I’m carrying a baby and have a starving toddler and look over to see him eating with friends and laughing it up.
    *never once bought our kids Christmas gifts and was like pulling teeth to get him to engage in the enthusiasm of planning. He always went to bed Christmas Eve as I stayed up to take care of that business. Had to beg him to get up to watch the festivities the morning of as the kids would be early risers.
    *insisted on selling the house immediately when our kids were 2 & 4 years old after he left to be with his coworker schmoopie, even though it was a few weeks before the holidays. I held him off until January. Kids and I moved in the spring to smaller home before he begged to come back.
    *he volunteered to coach our kids in their sports. I thought it was because he loved them and was engaged in their future. He hounded the hell out of them to always practice. Discarded son when he didn’t soldier on with the demands. Now I know it was kibbles for him to be the dad of the superstar.
    *Next schmoopie is our teenaged daughter’s 20-something assistant coach while he’s volunteer coaching. Nice little shit sandwich for the wife and kids to shit where everyone eats. Not embarrassing at all for them in their school. Used our daughter as schmoopie bait to entice this coach to dinners and trips. Now that it’s fizzled, the sad sausage tells the kids ‘I didn’t mean to hurt anybody’.

    He’s a wanker. I tolerated way too much for way too long. It really no longer matters the why’s, FOO, low self esteem. He can build up that ‘self esteem’ issue with someone else. I’m sure his salary as an MD will be quite attractive to some even though he’s a bald headed old man that’s high maintenance. But no matter for me, I’m on my path to meh.

  • Mr. Sparkles told his current GF (the OW dumped him)… that he was SO DEPRESSED in our marriage that as he was driving across a bridge one day, he actually thought of turning the wheel and just going over the side.

    Oh, if only he had.

    They are not insecure. They are MASTER MANIPULATORS and will do whatever it takes to keep the kibble flow coming.

    You see, he wasn’t depressed over our sexless marriage… he was depressed because my kibble production had stopped because HE GOT CAUGHT. He was angry with me for catching him and my punishment was silent treatments, covert aggressive anger, and eventual discard.

    Insecure? Please.

  • My STBX said to me “I should have left before I cheated, but I wasn’t strong enough.” Was that before you cheated on me the first time or the second time? Oh wait, now that I stopped spackling, should that have been before all the other times I have now discovered? Simply put, these are words used to make themselves look better, both to themselves and to their audiences.

    • Yep! They are the victims of their own behavior! “Poor me, I had no other choice! Feel sorry for me! She’s so awful, I just couldn’t get away! I didn’t know it then, but I was unhappy, and cheating was the natural result of my unhappiness, clearly my faculties were not my own! You made me do it!”

      They are literally like toddlers!

    • Mine said he wasn’t sorry about what he did, he just did it in the wrong order.

      • Feelingit – which makes the apologies when they offer them a load of crap. “He is not sorry for what he did, he just did it in the wrong order” translates to I’m sorry about the consequences that he received for the wrong order.

        • Getmefree, been thinking about you and some of your posts now as I see cheater really attempting to hide money and keep it from me at all costs. He threatened to sell the business in front of sons in order to give me less. I am now debating if an email to my lawyer is in order. Emails cost money so I have to determine if my concern is warranted or if I am just a “hypochondriac”

          • FeelingIt-
            Would he really sell it or did he say that to try and manipulate you? Could it be an empty threat to get you to back down and settle for less just to get it done before he can supposedly sell it?

            My STBX did this, too. But the reality is that he never wanted to let the business go. He just ended up going a different route once that threat failed. He spent 2016 lowering the value and hiding business income through OW.

            And I’m sorry to tell you that divorcing someone like this will cost you more than you ever imagined.

            Did he start the business after you two married or before? If after, then it would be considered marital property and legally he should not be able to sell without your agreement. If you haven’t done so yet, get a restraining order prohibiting him from selling it until the divorce is decided.

  • Oof… The post today is spot on. I am totally guilty of trying to view Porky Pig through the “he’s terribly insecure” lens. I’ll have to look for the research discussed above. It’s distressing to learn about it because, yes, assigning insecurity to PP’s actions makes him seem human. And he’s not.

    The truth is that PP was a sick, controlling bully for the entirety of our marriage. If, at Thanksgiving or some such other holiday feast, anyone brought up a fellow I used to date, PP would leave the table, furious that I had ever been interested in anyone other than him. He would then alternately rage at me or not speak to me because I had dared to date – even if it was years before I ever met him. I used to dread family get-togethers and had to run around and make sure that nobody would discuss anyone from my past in advance. His behavior raised a lot of eyebrows but, as a chump, I thought it was a sign of how much he loved me and that he was just terribly insecure.

    Holy cow.

    I filed last week and “Cruelty” is one of the faults listed on the Bill of Complaint. Fortunately, during the last several years of our marriage, I started to record his rage assaults (thinking that if he heard himself and how he treats other people he might be shocked and then stop doing it). Ha. When I asked him to listen to the tape it just triggered another rage assault.

    The last two years of our marriage I spent feeling completely depleted and trapped. In a way, and in my better moments, I am grateful that OW lured him away. Today, I am free and no-one has mocked me, disparaged me, raged at me, threatened me, violated my boundaries, disrespected me, etc. ad infinitum, for the past 5 months.

    • Good for you Meh or Bust! It does take some time and distance to see the picture a little brighter. When I found out about new, young schmoopie on my Dday #2 I was both devastated and elated. I was devastated for my kids and I knew nothing would be the same in the worlds again. I was elated because I had been given a ‘get out of jail free’ card and thought schmoopie was one lucky, lucky girl 😛

      • Exactly so MJB! Shortly after PP discarded my daughter and me he showed up at one of her volleyball games and came and stood next to me (Ugh). He then proceeded to rage about the refs and the coach and a variety of other stuff. I had a moment of clarity, almost like an out of body experience. I saw him, in the midst of his venom, and felt detached. And for the first time I realized, “I am free!” My heart hadn’t felt that light in years.

  • Ok. I may have to disagree with this one. Not all cheaters are created equal. They are all selfish and entitled and many of them have remarkable similarities in the things they say and do, but they are not all the same. Not all cheaters were the bullies on the playground. Not all cheaters are on the cheater boards. Some are definitely as Chump Lady describes and truly have no emotions and believe themselves to be superior. If you see that in your cheater, you are probably right. Some, however, do have emotions but don’t know how to handle them. I believe that some cheaters really do suffer low self-esteem. That doesn’t mean that it is ok for them to cheat or that you should feel sorry for them and try to reconcile. Those who have low self-esteem will hide from it, blame others to make themselves feel better, find fault in others to make themselves feel better and put up walls so they don’t have to self-reflect as that would be too painful. That’s why they need kibbles so much. That’s why it always has to be somebody else’s fault when things go wrong because the only other option is to hate themselves for being imperfect. This isn’t an excuse and it isn’t a reason to forgive. Dealing with insecurities in the way these people do is a sign of immaturity, selfishness and cowardliness. There is no reason to feel sorry for people who are willing to cause others harm rather than face their own inner turmoil. They are still evil. Some cheaters do lack self-esteem, but it is not the job of the chumps to fix it for them or to put up with their poor coping skills. Not all murderers are sociopaths or psychopaths but that doesn’t mean they are good people who deserve to be forgiven for the harm they cause. Same with cheaters.

    I truly believe STBX does suffer low self-esteem. This is at the heart of his perfectionism. He needs to be perfect to prove to himself that he is worthy of love. The people he is close to also need to be perfect because they reflect on him. He thinks strangers are always judging him and the people who are close to him don’t care about him. It’s been there as an underlying factor throughout our marriage. I was always aware of it even in the early days when he was love bombing me and I did my best to bolster his ego, thinking that I could help him to recognize his own value. It didn’t work. I am not that powerful. I really do believe he felt unloved and unappreciated when he strayed, but it had nothing do with me. It wasn’t anything I did or didn’t do. He did it to himself and then blamed me. The fact that he would blame me, the one person who was most focused on his happiness and sense of wellbeing is despicable. He would rather hurt me and his kids than face his issues. He chose to pursue kibbles from Schmoopie to gain temporary relief from his hurt instead of taking a look at himself to fix what’s broken. In the end he is just making things worse for himself along with everybody else. No matter what he accomplishes in life, he will never truly be happy because he chooses not to be. That’s his Karma.

    I know it’s dangerous to take this stance on a forum of chumps because if we feel sorry for our cheaters’ pain we will be tempted to try and make them feel better rather than running away from the destruction they cause in our lives. We are compassionate people. We need to realize, however, that whether our cheaters are sociopaths or low self-esteem sufferers, we can’t fix it. Not only that, but they are too preoccupied with their own pain to care about us. We are just background noise and not really important. You can’t change others you can only change yourself. We need to save ourselves and our children and let our cheaters go.

    • This is logical. I think this is why the character point is so vital — it is the root. But, for some reason, most of society hesitates to call out bad character (IMHO).

      1. Some people have low self-esteem
      2. Some people who have low self-esteem cheat.
      3. Some people who have low self-esteem DON’T cheat.

      Not feeling good about ourselves doesn’t cause us to CHOOSE to forsake our vows, to lie to our spouses, to risk their lives with venereal disease. Only bad character can do this.

    • I don’t think what you are saying goes against this forum at all. I think what you are saying is very much in line with what chump lady is saying: that it doesn’t matter what lies underneath or how they got here, what matters is their actions now and those are it is all about me and and I don’t give a flying fuck about your feelings. I believe my cheater evolved into who he is because his parents always made him stuff his feelings and they also never held him accountable plus many other factors. It doesn’t matter though, he is still a narc and still disordered.

  • Thanks for this Tracy – it’s got good timing for me. I hope that you are recovering well from your surgery.

    One thing that frustrates me a fair bit are all the people around me going on the usual script. “She didn’t deserve you”, “You’ll do better”, “Good things come to good people”, “Karma will get her”, “She probably feels horrible about what she did”, “She’ll be really sorry when she realizes what she threw away”, yadda yadda yadda.

    What people don’t like to hear back is that yes – nice guys DO finish last a bunch of times. And that people who scheme, cheat and lie can quite often “win”.

    One tough part for me is that I did indeed buy into the whole reconciliation industrial complex thing and for a very long (to me) time. As someone with a scientific bent though I kept asking the question about why I never actually saw much in the way of any reconciliations on those forums and why I never saw anyone who left legitimately try to return. Sure there were a couple but they were obvious outliers. The left behinds including me would write about how worried they were about their Cheater and their choices and try to “be our best selves” because we were assured that our Cheater was looking back at us wistfully. Was that actually happening? No clue. I was told after a while that “it takes time” and “you are in early days”. BS – I couldn’t put my life on hold waiting for something that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. When I did finally announce that I’d given up “standing” I was pounded with platitudes.

    Princess YogaPants was on top of the world for a long time after DDay gloating about how her friends loved and supported her and how wonderful her life would be. It was only after I poured my heart out to her that she seemed to realize that the supply of cake would inevitably end and then she had the sadz. Were they real sadz? Perhaps but they weren’t about me, they were about her.

    Is she happy now? I have no clue. She’s gone deep underground and even though we are separated and nobody in my circle knows what she’s up to including my kids (I don’t refer to them as “ours” any more).

    For me – hopefully in a couple of more weeks I can legally put this all behind me. Emotionally it will take a bit longer.

    • When you ask whether she is “happy,” you are projecting your capacity for happiness–and what that means to you, onto someone who has shown that she is missing essential human emotional equipment–capacity for empathy, remorse, reciprocity. What would “happiness” be for such a person, who sees others as a host to feed on?

  • “Chumps tend to project their moral world view on cheaters.”–This should be up there with the “Unified Theory of Cake.” And I would add that chumps project their own capacity for empathy on cheaters.

    Nearly every post from a newbie starts with how Cheater was a great husband/wife for years and then not–because what we saw in the Cheater was that projection of our own efforts. We feel empathy and we imagine that the Cheater feels empathy. We feel remorse and we imagine the Cheater can feel it too. We value our homes, families, and traditions and we imagine the Cheater does too.

    Put this tendency to project alongside the tendency to believe words instead of looking at Cheater behavior. Then add gaslighting and lies. That’s the recipe for staying stuck with a cheater. Like Mulder on the X-Files, we want to believe. We want to believe that the people we love are at least decent. That they are human and real in the way that we are. That we were married to Edgar instead of a bug in an Edgar suit.

    • Completely agree LaJ.

      In one of my more lucid moments at the end (kind of a Matrix, reading the code moment), I said to my STBX: “I actually thought most people at least wanted to be good (read: character).” It never in my life occurred to me before that moment that more than a handful of people wouldn’t see the world this way.

      My entire internal paradigm is undergoing a radical shift. It sucks.

      • But it’s a very important radical shift because it will allow you to live a much better life anchored in a world where not everyone is healthy or good.

        • Yes. While it has been inordinately difficult to shift the whole paradigm, it is so important that I finally understood this. The perspective is much more realistic — and necessary.

      • You are absolutely right Jessmom! Our mistake is often believing “most people at least wanted to be good.” We don’t realize that to a certain sort of person like my STBX (granted, he’s maybe more sociopathic than most) this kind of basic decency is perceived as a defect, a weakness to be exploited in their own social Darwinist version of reality. So they figure we chumps are only getting what we deserve when they exploit us. In the future, I’ll definitely be looking for those “red flags” a lot more carefully before allowing one of these toxic types into my life!

        • The red flags are super important for me too, Chickynot. Seeing them really is half the battle. 🙂

    • I seem to recall that Edgar wasn’t really much better than the bug actually. Even if the rest of the world suffered, the wife got a reprieve when the bug wandered off with Edgar.

      • I remember remarking to the kids and friends that it was as if an alien had been living inside her and just burst forth. It took me a long time to realize that the alien was her and had been in there all along.

      • Ha, you’re right. I know Hollywood does this a lot — off the bad guy, because we won’t feel so bad about it. And yes, you feel some relief for the wife who’s now rid of Edgar, bug or no bug!

  • Thank you for posting this today. We all need to change the conversation. Spent 1.5 years in therapy allowing my cheating -soon to be ex- control that conversation. The counselor(s) wete totally charmed by him. I needed to accept all of it, learn to forgive, and move forward. Ester P. Fan Club Members! One gave him the golden egg….your husband can only tell you as much as he can. Jackpot! From the very beginning it all was against my moral compass.

    We need to change the conversation….you just don’t do this! Including the professionals who are out there and allow the abusive cycle to continue. My cheater will never see the writing on the wall…..he will still be sitting in his big boy diaper, holding a crayon, marks on the wall and sobbing I didn’t do it!

    Thank you CL for changing the conversation. So thankful for this site and your book! I have so far to go…..but in the end my kids and I will be better for it.

    • I love your insight into the fact that the counselors and their “help” went against your moral compass.

    • This was my exact experience too.

      Gottman-trained counselor “Have you read Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity”

      Cheater: “Oh yes. What an important work. Her insights into relationships blah blah blah…” barf

      Counselor: (swooning) “Yes, Esther really touches on the pulse of … ” (barf)

      Cheater: “An while I was training for my ironman, I had this insight …”

      Counselor “Oh I do ironmans too. Are you registering for Narcissists Mountains to Beach …” barf

      and on and on

      Bitter Chump (Me): “I have a lot of problems with Esther’s views in infidelity. For one, …”

      Counselor and Cheater: roll eyes, as this chump is so provincial and fuddy-duddy

      • Though to be honest, not even Gottman would have approved of that counselor’s views. He has critiqued Esther Perel in the past for re-victimizing the cheated-on spouse. (Not that I agree with all of Gottsman’s views on infidelity, but he is certainly no Perel fan).

        • Yeah of all the amazonian chump research I did, I would still recommend that someone trying to reconcile choose a Gottman trained therapist. I think Gottman’s stuff is actual pretty consistent with what it would take to truly reconcile (assuming that is even possible).

          I think our therapist didn’t want to choose sides or show any firmness as in doing so, facilitated her control of the sessions. But she’s good. Very good. But yeah, I was disappointed he, the therapist, tried to built a rapport with her and didn’t call her out on her egregiously bad behaviors.

  • NO – he was an arrogant wind-bag who always had to be the centre of attention. He was controlling, domineering and would act like a spoiled child if he didn’t get his way.

    One complaint I got was that I “wasn’t there for him” when his mum died 2 years ago. Er, I sat with her while she was dying, organised the funeral, bought the flowers, wrote the eulogy, dealt with the life insurance, helped clear her house out, notified all the utility companies and wrote cheques to pay all the bills to save him the upset – I basically did the lot. And he ignored me, pushed me away (literally physically shoving me) and basically treated me like crap.

    All he did do was flounce about at the funeral in great dramatic effect in a kilt (who the hell wears a KILT to a funeral!!) and made everyone feel sorry for him. His utter disrespect made me sick (I thought the world of his mum – we had a great relationship).

    He then started going to football matches every weekend (and the pub), because he was “depressed” (horse shit). That’s where he conveniently met his “loving and generous” Schmoopie who “saved him” from a cruel, cold-hearted wife (who then booted him out of the house). Thank you Schmoopie – maybe I should send you some flowers! ????

    Nope, I don’t think low self-esteem has anything to do with their shitty behaviour.

  • I would love to see the “poor soul who happens to repeatedly do bad things” narrative trounced throughout society. It’s utterly ridiculous.

    My STBX is could rival a king with his “poor, sad sausage” routine. And, heavens knows, I fell for it for years (okay, to be really honest — for decades).

    When everything came out, however, the truth is 180 degrees. The truth is that he’s not only a cocky, self-entitled, rage-filled asshole … he’s a misogynist. Full blown. He hates women; he gets off on hurting women; he believes women are disposable items to be used for male pleasure. And he HIDES it spectacularly well.

    Why hide his self-entitled, vomit-worthy misogyny? I think two reasons: 1. He knows it’s not socially acceptable, which would decimate his “nice guy” image; 2. It effectively destroys his “I’m the victim here” narrative.

    Interestingly, he views all pity given to his fake image as support for his real beliefs. Yep. It’s that screwed up.

    • JessMom,
      Misogynist, I learned the meaning of this word recently through CN.
      I knew my cheater possesses this characteristic, but did not know the proper term for it.
      It is horrible. I feel there is no known cure for it.

      JeppTess, has posted excellent information regarding narcissism and good descriptions of a sociopath.

      Most cheaters possess many of the same characteristics whether they have cheated once or a million times, their characters suck.

      ME ME ME,

      Chumps are different, most are good caring, loving, people who get sick of their shit!

      Usually I am a kind person, but sometimes I gotta say it like it is!

      Nite nite, CN, I hope you sleep well and tomorrow treats you all how you deserve to be treated.

      ❤️That is with love, respect and kindness!

      • The love, respect and kindness means a lot no matter who it comes from. As Chumps know it is not usually expressed by the cheater, but these qualities exist out there in this world. A complete stranger can bestow these gifts on us out of the blue, in a heartbeat, in a second, just when you don’t expect it. It can brighten your day and lighten your heart.
        Wishing this for each Chump as I know many Chump hearts are so heavy!❤️

        • Thank you for your kind words, Peacekeeper.

          Authentic kindness is always important, whether from those we love or from complete strangers. But, I think this is particularly true when a person (us Chumps) have lived through something like this … and our entire worlds are turned upside down. (((Hugs)))

  • Once I learned about narcissists and how they differ from those who don’t demonstrate “Cluster B” personality traits, it was a lot easier to get that Jackass didn’t have a self-esteem problem or FOO issues. And I could readily see that nothing I did or didn’t do precipitated the discard. And I owe those insights to CL and Chump Nation.

  • Thank you, CL. I haven’t read replies yet, but my very own sad sausage is claiming childhood trauma and feeling “list” & “abandoned”. So, I had to ask, “How does buying lingerie and a JackRabbit vubratir for another guy’s wife help that poor little inner child?”
    Fuck him. He can’t psychobabble me out of the divorce he spent 3+ years of our 30-year marriage begging for. Really? Call the WAHmbulance.

  • So over the sad sausagery. We do project a lot of things onto these cheaters, but one thing they have really taught me is to step out of my own worldview and understand how predatory people think. Losing your innocence is rough but I am glad I now know about these folks and how to protect myself and help others protect themselves against them. Once you know their game they become SO very predictable. God, they suck. It amazes me I wasted so much of my time on their ilk.

  • Thanks for this one.

    I’m at meh now, but this really perplexed me a year ago. I couldn’t figure out how he supposedly how low self-esteem (even HE kept trying to convince me of that), yet the vibe I got from him in those final months was smugness. Pure smugness. There’s nothing in smugness that says low self-esteem.

    • Yep, smugness, I get this JAS. But only noticing after doing the Marriage Autopsy Chapanga, taking out from the all time favourite – ‘Getting Your Ducks In A Row Can Can’.

      I was so stoned on hopium. Off my freaking face. I really needed to review with the more appropriate framework of covert aggression.

      For me, a better understanding of my special turd is that he is deeply inadequate, just a better fit than the construct of self esteem. He has spent upward of the last two deacades of frequenting prostitutes, hook ups, hot dates (and pointing out the pubs ‘innocently’ to humiliate me to my face but secretly of great times with ‘mates’). I really don’t know how many affair partners he had before The Pussy Who Cannot Be Denied And Will Steal Thousand From Marital Funds To Make It So

    • Yep, smugness, I get this JAS. But only noticing after doing the Marriage Autopsy Chapanga, taking time out from the all time favourite – ‘Getting Your Ducks In A Row Can Can’.

      I was so stoned on hopium. Off my freaking face, really. I needed to review with the more appropriate framework of covert aggression, instead of trust and regard.

      For me, a better understanding of my special turd is that he is deeply inadequate, just a better fit than the construct of self esteem. He has spent upward of the last two deacades of frequenting prostitutes, hook ups, hot dates (and pointing out the pubs ‘innocently’ to humiliate me to my face but secretly of great times with ‘mates’). I really don’t know how many affair partners he had before The Pussy Who Cannot Be Denied And Will Steal Thousands From Marital Funds To Make It So And Leave For A Glorious Life.

      Chump Nation, gonna state the obvious!


      • Sorry for the double post was reading between writing, and accidentally? posted.

      • Ugh, he sounds like a loser, who kept himself too busy to notice. Good for you for getting away from him!

  • Great post CL! I agree totally! My X does not suffer from low self esteem in any way, never did.

    He has told me he was a bully in HS and I know his FOO is one pretty messed up bunch. “Good” catholic family with 8 kids but FIL was a abusive, cheating, narc who enjoyed nothing more than creating a shit storm and revelling in the results. MIL was a sweetheart really but so beaten down by him and tortured she ended up with ten years of Alzheimer’s partly brought on by the stress . Both are gone now but their legacy lives on in all eight of the messed up siblings.

    X and I were married 42 years and it was not until after DD #2 and we separated for good that I realized the truth. Finding this site and reading all the wisdom here has really been an eye-opener for me. I really had no idea some of this stuff even existed and I am still googling stuff to figure out what you are talking about ! WOW!

    My X I am sure is a Narc himself, but along with it has a severe alcohol problem. He lacks any empathy at all and has very little insight. He can be charming with outsiders and anyone he is trying to “schmooze” , but at home he is mean and abusive when drinking and the last few years that got to be a daily occurrence. We had two wonderful children together and now seven grandchildren, but he has a well developed ability to go ” no contact” with them at a moments notice if he even suspects anyone might disapprove of something he is doing. Consequently they are pretty much all absent in his life now. Sad !
    He was a sporadic cheater during our marriage and I never really had any definite proof , just niggling doubts and a few accidently intercepted email exchanges ( he left his email page open on our home computer – no cell phones back then) but the sex encounter suggestions he made were always refused by the other females, so he passed it off as nothing serious and for the sake of our marriage I went along with it for years. Looking back now my feelings are he like had other liaisons I just never found out….
    After he retired ( I was still working FT) drinking increased and along came Facebook and cell phones but he was never very tech savvy ( and I certainly am). I discovered two women he was having EA’s with, one an old HS flame from 45 years ago he reconnected with on Facebook, and the other a woman 20 years younger he had met during his one and only stint at a treatment centre.
    These never became physical as he lacked the ability to stay sober long enough to actually meet up with them but he certainly had the intent, even throughout our (brief) wreckonciliation attempt.
    Physical abuse was what actually ended our marriage and I ended up with the house in my name, the dog, and 1/2 his pension. Oh and much better, closer relationships with my kids/ grandkids who see through his bullshit and always have.
    I am loving my peaceful life now and I am so happy to be free of his bullying, tantrums, entitlement, self-serving, lying, cheating , lazy, narcissistic, egotistical behaviours! Oh and the blame game – it was my fault he drank, my fault he got angry, my fault for everything ! Yeah right, do not believe that for a minute , EVER!
    They do not have low self esteem, they do this crap because this is how they feed their ego and they enjoy it!

  • People who put others down, do so because of jealously or the need for control. A person with low self esteem tends to be more timid in nature rather than exhibit malevolent behavior.

    Low self esteem is used as an excuse by cheaters to play on a persons sympathy and divert attention away from their actions.
    Think about a time when your self esteem was low. Did you intentionally hurt someone and had no remorse? Did you feel like stripping down naked and having sex with someone outside of your relationship? Were you taking risks and not caring what the consequence might be?
    No. That’s not what people with low self esteem do. People with low self esteem criticize themselves, are ashamed of themselves, they dislike themselves.

    • srfgrl, very good points.

      It takes something other than low self esteem to go through the relatively complex task of seducing another woman’s husband (or to be seduced by another woman’s husband), to research and purchase vibrators and lingerie, to coordinate secret hookups and leave no trace, to not give a single care about the devastation all this will have your own spouse.

  • Yes. Read the Reddit adultery boards. Total trigger but so eye opening. You’ll be so disgusted at the cold calculating activity that goes on in these people’s minds, you’ll never ever miss your cheater again. Great 2×4 for anyone who might be pining away for a sack of shit (I’ll be the first to admit I used to do this!)

  • Ha! I actually barked out a laugh when I read today’s post’s title! Low self-esteem? Are you KIDDING me??

    To wit, XH actually said these things:
    1. (the best one) Driving around his grandparents’ hometown, he said one day, “You know, I think I’m better than pretty much anyone else around here.” (I was grateful my BIL was in the car with us as a witness; he wrote it down.);
    2. He was talking about his (restaurant) customers one day, a group of middle-aged businesswomen and remarking on why they didn’t feel better about themselves, as they were successful, attractive, yet still muddling with feelings of inadequacy, and he said, “I mean, look at me. I run my own business [which I bought for him, btw], and I’m AWESOME!”; and
    3. After Dday, when I had lost a lot of weight, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, I reached out to him once to ask how HE was doing, since we had once been best friends, after all…. His reply? With a beaming smile and 100% confidence, he said, “Me? I’m GREAT, actually!” This was maybe about two weeks after Dday…..

    So, no, they don’t have low self-esteem. They PLAY that card when it suits them and garners sympathy from others — they’re savvy enough to realize they shouldn’t probably be prancing around acting like King Shit just after dumping their devoted partners of sixteen years, but that’s just image-management.

    They think they’re better than pretty much anyone else around here.

  • My cheating husband was so awful to me during the infidelity. He called me names for defending my boundaries, he came and went as he pleased, he told me to jump out a window. I was eight months pregnant. I don’t think it was poor self esteem driving his behavior. No. I’m pretty sure it was him hating me to the core, because if I was as deplorable as he made me out to be, then why wouldn’t he cheat?
    They just change the narrative to fit their own selfish needs, and he needed me to be shit.
    He hated everything about me: our dogs, my looks, my family, my friends, he even treated his own friends and family with contempt.
    He had his new group of friends, completely separate from me and our loved ones. In fact, it was his need and effort to keep his friends (they we’re all from work) and I separate from each other that rose the first of many red flags. He’s always been inclusive in the past and now I was left at home caring for our baby while he tied one one with “his boss”. (Actually his ho-worker as I later realized).
    His self esteem is just fine. If anything, he feels superior to everyone else in his life. He looks up to, and respects only those with an advanced education, financial success, and fame. He couldn’t care less for these individuals, though sees their association as affecting his own social status, and is always excited to name drop when surrounded by lesser beings.

  • In any theater of life, if you think that the rules don’t apply to you, then you believe you are better or more important than others.

    For example, if you text while driving, you are stating that you are more important than everyone else (aka, “bad drivers”) who should not text and drive. Those statistics about distracted driving don’t apply to you. You are a better driver and therefore deserve of the right to text and drive.

    Cheaters take this common egoism to marriage. They see themselves as better spouses/people, and they are therefore more important than everyone else “stuck” by monogamy. The rules of fidelity don’t apply to them, but do apply to all of the undeserving masses out there.

    There is nothing humble or insecure about these viewpoints. Reckless? Selfish? Dangerous? Self-important? Yes!

    But not lacking in self-esteem.

    • My ex was NOTORIOUS for not playing by the rules. Traffic laws were “suggestions.” Speed limits? What speed limits? More than I once I held on for dear life while he drove over 90 MPH down the interstate.

      He broke rules in every part of his life. I remember he stole water softener salt once and I was horrified. He acted like it was no big deal.

      • See mine is the opposite. He is a stickler for following every rule even if he doesn’t agree with it. He would avoid any action that might even suggest dishonesty. That is why it was such a shock and so out of character that he would commit adultery. I really thought he would divorce me first if he couldn’t love me anymore.

  • I mean, I get what they would BE, but how do people find there way to such crazy?
    Hmm, think I’ll google ‘other entitled cheaters who want to chat cause my piece of ass isn’t available tonight’???

  • Love the pic. Exotic shorthair Persian. I had three at one time. Great pets. Super sweet.

  • My X was professional at the self pity card. He would say all the time that he was so tired of loosing. Sigh.. There were times when his meaningful looks and tears sent me over the edge trying to bend into more of an origami shape for his needs but at the end I had to turn the empathy off!

    I would venture to say that in the case of cheaters and self esteem, it’s very much like situational depression. They create the situation in which they lack self esteem. Their self esteem issue leads to more and more acting out – gaslighting, blameshifting, entitlement, disrespect, selfishness, etc and then what they are left with is an even bigger hole that is harder and harder to climb out of.

    • Yes. I think STBX did exactly that. Rather than face his issues he dug himself a hole to hide in. Whenever anybody tried to send down a rope he dug the hole deeper and now he’s stuck in it. I don’t think he cares, though as he is still hiding.

      • Yes, mine is still in the hole, living up the self esteem problem and dishing out self pity in spades.

    • I should clarify that I think that people who are situationally depressed, I don’t believe necessarily create the situation themselves. It may happen that way, but in the case of being with a cheater, they create the situation and the chump suffers the depression while the cheater suffers lack of self esteem (or so they say).

    • “My X was professional at the self pity card. He would say all the time that he was so tired of loosing. Sigh.. There were times when his meaningful looks and tears sent me over the edge trying to bend into more of an origami shape for his needs but at the end I had to turn the empathy off!”

      They don’t want empathy. They don’t even want sympathy, unless it’s of the kind that says You Are The Most Wounded of All, and I Cannot Even Possibly Compete With Your Woundedness.

      Brene Brown taught me the difference – she says that this kind of sympathy is actually a form of pushing people away from you, not drawing closer to them and being intimate, the way empathy does.

  • Sigh…. Go away, you bore. Getting yourself all worked up, like you had something important to say. You not ready yet.

    Tempest, I trust you will clean up. Feel free to clean this post too.

  • Low self-esteem? OMG. He thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips.

    At first, I saw him as having a great deal of “confidence.”

    Now I see what he really is: a “confidence (con) man.”

  • Self-esteem can mean different things. Cheaters have an enormous amount of self-esteem in the sense of: “I’m awesome and deserve all the great things, including a variety of sex partners and the comfort of a traditional family.”

    For me, self-esteem is not that I’m awesome, but rather that in spite of my flaws I genuinely like (esteem) myself. If I had a duplicate, I’d like and respect that person. In the stillness, when stripped of the social and material trappings influencing my ego, I feel comfortable in my skin and who I am. My cheater lacks this, so yes, he suffers from poor self-esteem in that sense. Doesn’t excuse anything.

    When my kids struggle with other kids at school who are being jerks, I tell them, “Well, if it makes you feel any better, they are stuck being THEM their whole lives. Let’s focus on making YOU as best as you can be.” I guess I should be applying that to myself now that I’ve found myself chumped.

  • Low self-esteem? I simply don’t care about a cheater’s self esteem. Nothing, nothing excuses cheating. I do not buy into this woe is me I couldn’t help myself pseudo science that everything is excusable. For me there is no excuse in this world for consciously hurting another person.
    The end.

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