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The Mindfuck Only Has Three Channels

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mindfuckchannelBW I have a cousin who is going through a miserable divorce with a cheater. Long marriage, double life, financial abuse. You guys know the drill.

I’ve been her cheerleader throughout, providing chump drubbings and 2x4s as necessary. (Apparently, the chump gene is hereditary. My cousin had a pretty bad congenital case of chumpiness, like yours truly.)

Anywho, she’s finally in the home stretch. She filed at last.

Guess who’s sniffing around her door all sad and furious?

That’s right — Mr. Disordered Cheaterpants with his Hail Mary plays for kibbles.

Oh shit, she really went and got a lawyer. Oh shit, he’s losing his chumpy meal ticket. Oh shit, he needs to reassert control.

If you’re a Mr. (or Mrs.) Disordered Cheaterpants, how are you going to reassert control over your chump? A show of hands, class! You’ve lived this. Tell me. What comes next?

That’s right! The MINDFUCK.

Oh sure, there’s been mindfucking all along, but there’s no mindfucking like the mindfucking that comes when you finally lawyer up and say Enough of This SHIT. I’m DONE.

Disordered Cheaterpants hate that. And if you’ve think you’ve seen manipulation before, by God, they really bring their A game when they feel the kibbles are slipping away. They amp up the drama, they amp up the chaos, they try super hard to get you invested in their insanity. And they will pull out every stop.

But really chumps, as I’ve said here before, and I was saying to my cousin again this afternoon — the mindfuck only has three channels. 

Charm

Rage

Self-pity

Your Cheaterpants will cycle through each one in pretty quick succession trying to get you back on the leash. If you know to look for it, it really becomes quite transparent.

OMG, a sad sausage sighting! Ooh, he went in for How Can You Do This To Me — you’re a terrible mother/father/Christian/Catholic/Methodist/employee/lay/Rotarian/baker of cupcakes. (FLIP!) AND HE’S NOT GOING TO STAND FOR IT! Be afraid! Be very afraid! He’s going to get a lawyer and take you for EVERYTHING! The children! Your pension! Your collection of Franklin Mint Norman Rockwell plates! Yes, even the CHRISTMAS ornaments! (FLIP!) He doesn’t understand your hostility. Can’t we be friends? Remember when I gave you that christmas ornament with the kids? Ah, good times. This bitter, money-obsessed punishing person you are now, gosh, it’s not your best self. Give him a hug. Just for old times sake. Friends, right? (FLIP!) No? You won’t hug him? Don’t you know how VERY DIFFICULT this is for him right now? (FLIP!) You are going to REGRET THIS.

See? Three channels. Charm, rage, and self-pity. This is how you control a chump. Find their buttons and work ’em.

He texted my cousin: “Why can’t we just get this divorce holding hands, instead of using fists?”

Oh I don’t know, Mr. Disordered Cheaterpants. Because you bankrupted her? Spent her inheritance? Hooked up with strangers on Craiglist?

Divorce is so ugly! Why can’t she be a pal about it? Because you’re a sick, predatory fuck, that’s why.

Cheaters are so damn predictable. They’re always so, so sorry until someone lawyers up and then, poof! All their sorry evaporates. Can’t have chumps getting all uppity. Need to nip this uprising in the bud! Rage. Charm. Self-pity.

If you can’t intimidate your chump, seduce your chump. If you can’t seduce your chump, get them to feel very, very sorry for you and imply this is All Their Fault. If you can’t get your chump to feel sorry for you, intimidate your chump. Repeat.

It’s a sad day for Disordered Cheaterpants when Mindfuck TV goes on the fritz.

(FLIP!) No contact. Turn the channel off.

This column ran previously and I’m thrilled to report that my cousin is deliriously happy in her new life — new job, new man, new attitude. Cheaterpants continues to be an embarrassing loser who rarely speaks to his children.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I’m in a high-conflict divorce with my narcissistic hopefully STBX…I moved out of the marital home last August (I was supposed to live in during the divorce, by law, but that is another looong story…) in order to avoid the daily mindfuck and the so infamous three channels I kept enduring. So far, I only set his channel to “rage”, since he cannot accept my moving out…
    I come here daily to reinforce my grey-rock attitude (3 kids under 18, no contact is unfortunately impossible…). He still knows how to push my buttons and making me feel guilty for everything bad happening to him…
    This too shall pass, as the pain that I thought was infinite…

    • Loulotte02, put all his crap through the UBT. That will soon get rid of your guilty feelings and put the responsibility for this situation right back where it belongs. Keep contact minimal, businesslike and emotionless, only what is strictly necessary for the kids. The further away you get from the relationship, the easier it will be not to respond to him pushing your buttons. Avoid phone or face-to-face contact. You don’t have to talk to him just because he wants you to. text or brief emails are enough for most arrangements. You can take time to think about phrasing then and not risk being shouted down or insulted and abused verbally. He will hate that. Freedom will be yours.

    • Scheduling software will minimise contact over the kids.

      Grey Rock is essential, as are the “If, Then” type of emails:

      – If you drop the kids off at 3pm, I will take them to X, and you can pick them up next Wednesday at 2pm instead.
      – If you don’t have the kids ready for when I arrive at 5pm to collect them, I will have to inform the court.
      – Jacy needs more asthma medication. You need to collect it from the pharmacy today. If you don’t collect Jacy’s asthma medication today, I will have to inform the court.

      Plain and simple. No emotions; no negotiations.

      Just actions and consequences.

  • Rhys was all charm – but I’ll still avow the three-channel method. I had a dream last night where he screamed in my face, and when I woke up, I was stunned that he’d never actually done it.

    • Cheaters use the one that works. Charm was extremely effective on me, what with our shared history and my lack of boundaries. He didn’t need to use other channels. Plus, he was a nice guy, after all, who didn’t mean to hurt anybody. (Not.)

      NC is the only way I could kick my hopium habit. It’s the best boundary yet when it comes to the disordered!

      • yep.. .. for me it was pity. .. he always knew how to make me feel sorry for him and then he would turn it around on me.

        all he had to do was drop his head and say “i am such a loser” or “i am just a fuck up” .. .. and i would fall all over myself to prove how he WASNT a loser or a fuck up… … . look at all these good things you did. see how you are a good dad to our boys, you are a good husband to me, you are such a good man.. .. .. see you just made a mistake. i know you did not mean to ____(insert current fuck up)____ … .. you were just confused. or mad. or frustrated or stressed… ..

        hell he didnt even had to come up with his own excuses.. .. i made excuses for him.. . he very rarely had to use the other channels. although after 15 years i have seen all 3 of them.. and then he POOF! just disappeared for a year and a half after our divorce.. ..

        now i can see all 3 channels clearly.. ..first he tries to charm me and is nice to me. he will say something sweet and/or offer to help me with something… .. but i am on to him so i usually refuse. then he goes for the self pity, tells me how miserable he is, or how he lost another job, or how he moved 7 times in 2 months. or ironically how his troll beats him up and throws bottles at his face and punches him and slashes his tires and broke his windshield.. . . of course i have absoluately nothing to say to any of that because i can see how he asked for it, he wants to live that want, and i believe he likes the drama of getting hit in the face with a beer bottles and all the rest.. .. so i will blow it off.. … then will come the rage… .. it is MY fault he is miserable. MY fault he lost his job. or had to move or his troll threw a bottle at his face .. .. etc. i am keeping the boys away from him. (only i am not) .. . i am talking bad about him and turning the boys against him (only i am not) .. .. oh the reason they dont like his troll is because i made them hate her (only i did not).. ..i am only going after child support because i am jealous and i dont want him to be happy… ..after the rage he usually hangs up on me and will ghost me for a few months.. .. recently we havent seen him since january 30 of this year.. ..

        no contact is the only way to go. if i do have to talk to him (we have 2 boys) i am a master at grey rock. .. just boring, unemotional responses to anything he says. he hates that. if i really want him to leave me alone, i piss him off by pointing out the truth. he will give me the silent treatment for months. haha this time i am bound and determined not to reach out to him. i would change my cell number if i could (it is a work cell, i dont pay for it.. .. and i have to answer it) but i dont have to worry since he is ghosting me and the boys again.

        • Wow! I felt like I was reading a snipet of my life as well. I haven’t heard from the sad excuse of a father since April when I completely shut down his attempt at luring me back in

        • This post resonated !
          I too made up excuses for cheater – he didn’t even have too. I even felt bad for him upon learning of affair with 26 year younger ho-worker!!! As in – “how terrible and broken you must be to live a double life.” Thanks to CN – I know I should’ve said “get out and don’t come back until you are ready to work on our marriage.”
          Always wonder if I have strong need to fix/codependent tendencies or if I just couldn’t honestly face the fact we were wrong match and I should’ve cut losses earlier. I definitely spackled and carried him for out 30 year marriage!!!

          • ^^^ Same, I remember telling pastor in pre-wedding counseling that maybe he wasn’t the right one, pastor led me to believe it was bridal nerves, 25 years later and full narc abuse, I was right, I should have listened to my inner voice…

  • Listened from the distance of my own doorstep as he cycled through all 3 a few days ago, some lies, some flattery, some anger at me after having the lies spotted, a few subltle little threats thrown in, complaining about money, anger then directed at local authorities expecting me to join in and finishing off with gripes about body problems.

    Help me

    • yep.. … not that the charm and the self-pity dont work on me anymore.. . i see a lot more of the rage channel.. .. spiked with little threats masquerading as jokes (cant even joke with you mrs vain).. . and failed attempts at making me look bad to our 2 boys (behind my back of course).. .. . then he will yell STOP BOTHERING ME and hang up.. … ???

      you cant logic with crazy.
      just shake your head and brush it off

  • Perfect article for my life today.
    Today is the day I meet my lawyer at noon to start the process. I’ve had enough.
    Last night I told my wife of my appointment, and she said “Your going to fuck everything up! Your going to lose your ass! “, and then slams the door.
    A hour later she comes and asks if she can have some of the soup I made all nicey nice…..

    I got the rage first and then the charm. Can’t wait to see how this unfolds

    • Get ready for the pity! The crocodile tears are coming. You are mighty to file. Do not engage with your cheater. NC is the path to freedom!

    • Be careful do not let her in to your house during tbe divorce do not meet in private. She can make things up or say you hurt her etc. When you email her cc lawyer and refrain to insult her even over the phone or email. she might have a plan. They are evil.

        • +1 on this. When ex and I were still living in same house she would attempt to start arguments with me on almost a daily basis. I just didn’t react and kept a calm and level tone as my lawyer instructed. When that didn’t work for her, she actually called the police and said I was threatening her (a lie). Fortunately, my teenage sons were around to vouch that I did not. She also called the police from work one Saturday claiming that I had tried to break into her car. Only problem was that I wasn’t anywhere nearby. I was 65 miles away visiting some friends and had receipts to prove my whereabouts. She was coming up with these plots to get me “removed” from the house so she could claim abandonment. It didn’t work. And after the few times, the police wouldn’t even take her seriously anymore and actually warned her that if she kept doing this, I could file charges against her. That is when it stopped.

          Just remember, this is NOT the person you thought you were married to.

          • “Just remember, this is NOT the person you thought you were married to.” Yes, I am still trying to figure out WHO I was married to (after 35 years). The divorce process was so ugly, but, at least he revealed his true self. And still, has never acknowledged his six year affair or his $30,000 in losses at the casino. I guess I did not deserve to know.

            • Hmmmm – on the casino thing. An acquaintance of mine who is of a less than honest mind-set once suggested that I take a few thousand out of the bank at a time, go to the casino and eat a nice sandwich.

              I’m sure that others have thought of this as a way to conceal funds. Not that it happened in your case (I didn’t do it either) – but just sayin’ ……

          • “This is not the person you thought you were married to.” I need to tattoo that on my forehead like in Momento. Ok, temporary tattoo! With about 9 months since D-Day 2.0 I am a believer in my “gain a life” future even if it’s taking a looooong time.

    • Good luck dude, gray rock and no contact as much as humanly possible. Say nothing to her, ever about your personal feelings throughout the divorce process. Document everything. This is the most lethal opponent you’ll ever fight in your life so quietly acknowledge that and beat her in the stealth game.

      No matter how you feel, don’t share it, she’s your enemy.

      It’s all about winning this thing, and protecting your kids if you have any. Btw, i’m a guy and yet still managed to get the house and full custody.

    • SOUP NAZI TIME!!!!

      I know it’s petty, but she doesn’t deserve your special soup. Let her open a can of Campbell’s.

  • Sometimes I feel like I got shafted lol because my cheater never did big on the seducing part (there’s a bit of speculation on my part that he’s gay). He’s not much one for the chase (unless your one of his howorker, of course!) and even during this separation process he never lifted a finger to try and romance me back. Self-pity, at the best, when he acts all hurt and bumbled. But for the rest of the time, rage and its variations is all I got! From stone-walling to silencing my arguments to upping, indimidating fury, never sidestepping on that “you’re not the boss of me” attitude.

    But he’s “a good person”, it’s just me who can’t see it! Of course, because the chump glasses are now OFF 🙂

      • Totally true datdamwuf! Jgirl You’re lucky you didn’t get the seduction channel. (He probably skipped it bc he knows he sucks at it lol.) If you don’t wind up with an STD all you’ll get is a temporary reprieve before they slam you back down again. I finally got it thru my head that the relationship was never safe honest or predictable… Why would mind fuck channel surfing be any different. It’s all about getting what they want with the least amount of effort. Once they get it they don’t want it. Same as the marriage. Same in the divorce. Mine wants to get away with skipping discovery because he committed so much fraud and has hidden everything. So I’m getting sobbing with snot and drool victim pity party… then charm and “kind gestures” and calm talking lol… then relentless calling texting and rage… back to pity party he’s going to be homeless and my lawyer is trying to destroy him. Chuckles😏

    • Mine has all 3 channels, but the charm channel was always the one that got me to stay. And he’s trying it like crazy now, even post-divorce. I prefer the rage and pity channels, because they make it easy to remember why I divorced him.
      What I find fascinating about my ex is that he can switch to all 3 channels in one text message. (Texting is his preferred contact method, unfortunately. I wish he would call so I could just hang up. I always end up reading the texts, and I can’t go NC because of young kids.)

      • YES. I got/get all three channels in long emails. I didn’t respond to them but did put them through the UBT. Very cathartic. If another one arrives I will respond “All correspondence is filed with my lawyer.” I’m done with this game. Switch off.

        • Copying to your lawyer! Yes!

          I did that, too, after his screwing around for months with a negotiation we were trying to complete.

          “As a courtesy to you, just want to let you know that I am now CCing my attorney on all communications on this matter, j”

          BANG! Immediately, he answered questions, provided documentation, and his tone changed completely.

          Of course, I don’t really copy my lawyer on everything, but saying so sure helped!
          And of course, he believes me, because l was always so dang honest, and I don’t think he’d conceive of ME lying to HIM. Funny, what I learned from living with a lying cheating bastard.

          I does help cut down on the Mindfucking. (Which I might say, is the only kind of f*ing I ever really got from him…sorry, TMI….)

      • I got “my family wizard” after chumps insisting it is the only way. At first I resisted because it is expensive but now that I have it (I think it was 175$ for the year) I realize how amazing it is. If you are not divorced yet, have it put in the settlement that you want it paid by both parties…
        I paid it myself (after the divorce) and then sent an email saying that it is much easier to share all the kids school and after school activities with him this way. (You can even pay child support and spousal support through the app) I said in a BIFF way that this is how I will communicate from now on unless there is an emergency.In reality, it is great not to have to receive texts from him and courts love this app because it is a time stamped way to document. It also is good to not to have to save a million emails and texts on your smart phone because part of the payment goes towards data saving.
        I highly reccommend it for chumps who have to communicate with the “fuckwit they had kids with”.
        FYI, he resisted at first but if he sucks at it you can still respond through the app. It was almost like pee pee training a puppy;) It takes a while for the disordered to get on board, but with consistency they muddle through.

    • Mine actually said, “you’re not the boss of me!” so funny how they are not original. Same with “I’m a good person”. If he weren’t trying to hurt me financially, I might laugh. I’m too busy still being horrified that I married a monster.

      • Yes! Yes! Yes! Although, it does feel good once you can start to laugh at some of their statements. My attorney told me that I will end up being fine because I am already able to laugh about some of the ridiculousness that is my STBX.

      • I’m 18 months post separation and still reeling from the fact that he maintained a second life for oh, 20 years. Our daughter is almost 16 — you do the math.

        Suffering from depression and PTSD, which has really put a strain on my relationship with my daughter. She’s now lashing out at me in the most brutal ways.

        After a major blowout, she ran off to be with her father. She had barely spoken to since DDay.

        Now he’s enjoying “favorite parent status” and playing hero dad. Bought her a $20k car, ski vacations, weekend getaways, etc.

        I grew up in a divorced family know she needs her father, which is why I didn’t kick his ass to the curb after DDay #1 five years ago.

        I’m struggling. With just the two of us, it’s difficult to brush off the insults, surly behavior and cold shoulder. I take it far too personally but can’t shut it off. On top of the divorce and losing my mom, I’m an emotional wreck.

        • That’s awful! I hope you are seeing a therapist. I went down a similar rabbit hole of PTSD and depression and considered suicide before I finally found a therapist that helped convince me to talk to my doctor about the depression.

          Over the next year I tried 3 different medications and found one that is working well for me. Once I found it, I was able to hold my tongue better around my daughters and this has helped our relationship tremendously.

          It really sucks that chumps, who have depression and PTSD from the betrayal of the most trusted person in their lives, then have added in the pain of children that are not mentally mature enough to see past the sparkle of their disordered parent.

          I hear that one day they will better understand. I look forward to that day.

          • Yes, I’m on medication. Two for depression, one for PTSD. Seeing a therapist (same one we used MC) since DD#2. Also seeing hospice grief counselor.

            Some days I see the light, other days are darkness. I suppose that’s a bit of progress from crying all day, everyday.

            I know it effected my daughter to watch me in so much pain. There you want room for her to express her pain. She thinks I’m week and selfish.

            • Oh Giddy Eagle,
              I am so sorry for all you are going through.
              You are so not weak and selfish.
              You always try so hard and you put your daughter first.
              Your daughter is so young and it is obviously difficult for her to see the truth.
              You are the sane loving parent.
              Keep strong, just do your best each day. She will come to see the truth.
              Children at this age are allured by materialistic things. These things aern’t lasting, they don’t have heart.
              You are all heart. One day she will see this.
              I am so sorry for your sad loss of your Mom.

              YOU are mighty Giddy Eagle, like your name!
              Wishing you more days filled with light!

              Xxxxxx
              Peacekeeper

    • sounds just like wasband.. . .. he is currently accusing me of trying to control and manipulate him.. .. now sure how tell him that his 11 year old wants to talk to him is controlling or manipulative but *shrugs* that is how he “thinks” of me.. .. also apparently i have ALWAYS controlled and manipulated him thru our 15 years together (12 married).. .. you know that is why he was able to drink, use meth, spent all his paycheck, stay out all night and ultimately find his soul mate in the neighborhood party girl because i was soooOOOOoo control and manipulated him to my will… .. *rolls eyes* stupid fucks

      self pity worked for those 15 years. i honestly thought he was just confused and never knew how much his actions were hurting me *sigh*.. .. now all i see is rage.. it is MY fault his life sucks. his troll calls me every once in a while to tell me “HE IS A GOOD MAN”.. .. and then she hangs up on me when i remind her that good men do not cheat on their wives or abandon his children.. .. he doesnt have to seduce or chase, these meth heads alcoholics just chase after him and save his poor little self from his evil wife (now ex).. . .he convinces them he is just so misunderstood.. .. ugh.. .. i cant fight them all off and he doesnt have the balls (or desire) to tell them no. ..

  • This parsing of Disordered Behavior has been one of my favorite CL insights for a long time. It helped me predict the emotional tenor of my interactions with the EX and to stop expecting anything else. For a long time I thought these were just his moods–somehow shifting like a cloud bank over his real self. But they are the real self. No more fiddling with the dial trying to get better reception so I can see the “co-parenting peacefully” channel or the “I’m sorry” channel or the “moving on” channel. Nope–rage, pity, and charm–those are the only channels. Sometimes I can adjust the volume, mostly by keeping my distance (preferably across several state lines), but that’s all I can control.

    • You can shut it off. Consider parallel parenting. We gave kids, but, by following a strict schedule, I am able to be contact free. Yippee!

  • Watch that the rage channel doesn’t escalate to the physical. Exasshole brought a gun to the rodeo eventually. I still have a PO on him, thankfully he’s afraid to go to jail or I wouldn’t be writing this.

    Jedi Hugs!

    • I got my shotgun out of the house before filing for divorce. He can be so scary when enraged. I’ve been punched in the face, and he is an ex-hockey player with boxing training.
      My ex is on probation for theft from a non-profit, for now I actually think he won’t pull anything that might land him in prison.

    • Mine escalated to strangulation in a public place. On video. Just got a call saying no charges since it’s hard to tell if he was hugging me or strangling me. Wtf??? I give up

      • X nearly broke my arm in a crowded elevator with our small child there screaming at him to stop. Terrifying. Even 7 months after D I’m scared he will come kill me.

        I’m as completely NC as you can possibly be with minor kids. Strict scheduling and I use a sitter for most visitations (which are all public– my child’s choice backed by court order).

        I’ve been scared of him for 25 years and this “feels” normal to me😫😫😫😫😫😫.

        No contact is my hope for a different future.

        • MotherChumper99 – please get a restraining order if you haven’t already gotten one. If you have been physically assualted before and are still frieghtened talk to a lawyer or the police. There is no reason for you to live in fear!

          Many many prayers to you today.

          • Mother, Sunflower, IIWII
            Etc

            Sometimes the order causes more harm.
            I tried that (while he was trying to get one on me too!), to no avail.
            I had actual video evidence of him attacking me with our baby in my arms. My baby was screaming and putting his hands in the air. 😭😭😭
            His mouth was open wide. He was terrified. The mysoginist judge didn’t grant me the order. He said I “provoked” the monster!!!! All I did was confront him about deviant porn, cheating, possible homosexual affairs etc.
            The judge didn’t like me at all. DA dropped charges. Said no evidence!!!!!!
            Again, I had video proof.
            DV shelters aren’t so great either. Not in my case. I didn’t have any help. Nobody gave a damn. These violent women beaters have all the rights. They have to literally attempt murder on you for them to go to jail. And, sadly, unjustly, they still get custody or visitation.

            The world isn’t always fair.
            Best to run like hell.
            Fight fire with fire. Get some protection and use it.

        • (((hugs))) I’m sorry. Been through the RO and an anti-stalking notice. Had police drive by my house for awhile. Thankfully, we’ve been separated/divorced for almost 15 years. He’s another woman’s problem now.

      • Damnit. I hate it when the system lets people down when — especially when it comes to Domestic Violence. I say “especially” in these cases, because the system (in my experience) lets DV victims down far too often.

        Please go to http://www.thehotline.org/ — it is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Give them a call. If nothing else, they are fantastic support when you need someone to talk with about the situation — someone who really gets it. But, they also have a lot of resources and aren’t shy with advice on how to stay safe.

        Take Care,
        Jess’s Mom

  • Absolutely spot on.
    CHARM- I’m so sorry, I have such guilt and regret, How could this happen to us (trace your footsteps Cheater) I am sorry for a million things (Why a million?..lol, I got a letter from 1 woman, so….there is more? YAY), you are an amazing, beautiful, strong person (yup), You have no reason to beieve me, but I have stopped “all of THAT” (I don’t believe you, and all of what?)

    RAGE- After I started making my own decisions …( I f-ing hate you, you are a joke, I will tell everyone you cheated on me, You’re a joke, I never loved you, You are a horrible mother- that is why I left, I will quit my job and you will have nothing if you move ( I did move, and that is one promise he kept!)

    SELF-PITY- What about me?, I have terrible guilt, I was an amazing father, I don’t have anything, you can have it all, I trust you more than myself, I feel bad about myself emotionally, I want you to pray for me.

    Turn the channel and go No Contact new chumps! It’s the only solution to the madness!

    • same exact excuses i heard.. .. only he would say sorry for everything (everything? really from day 1? even the good times we had? )

      • Oh I hear you. Same here. He would say, “I’m sorry for everything I’ve done wrong all these years, I’m sorry for what I did with howorker, etc etc….”

        Then I got “I will not accept the blame for everything wrong in our marriage. It’s all your fault. You’re a horrible mother. You’re boring and a buzzkill.” Etc etc

        Now it’s, “I’m not a smart man”. “I didn’t even know what I was expecting when we got married, had kids, bought a house… “Etc etc

        Honestly, I’m waiting for either more charm or rage. I’m sure as I write this he is raging at me in his head because I’m upset that he has never seen how I have always made our family the priority in my life unlike him. He thinks that’s absurd when it suits him and then complains when he doesn’t think I’m doing right by the family. It’s a catch 22 and I’ll never live up to anything he wants. Thing is, he’s the one who cannot live up to any expectations, even his own because he thinks he is the victim and blames me for his life choices. He is absent in personal responsibility in all aspects of his life.

  • I am also so grateful for this post, because it’s helped me to remember the cycle.

    My last date/attempt at relationship – with a mother-enmeshed man with a covert harem which I uncovered quickly, to his dismay – gave me a front-row seat for all three.

  • One of my favorite posts! When I found out about his affair, he turned into the saddest sausage.

    When I moved out and switched all communications to email a few weeks later, he went all cold rage and disdain, and cycles started. Divorce negotiations were hell, like a long drawn out poker game of who will blink first… On our last session of negotiation before court, he went into a rage so intense in front of five trained professionals that he had to be escorted out of the room. I was chocked to see that level of rage from the same person who for a decade came across as a highly intelligent individual who practiced loving kindness mediation daily… A master at image management…

    The lesson here: New chumps… If you see any hints of the rage channel, do not put yourself in a situation where you are alone with a cluster B. Given that you have proof of their betrayal, you are perceived as a threat to their image, and that is something that will have them literally go insane. Stay safe, switch all communications to email so you can document their abuse and be sure to surround yourself with people who can serve as your witnesses, you will be glad to have documentation!

    • >>”If you see any hints of the rage channel, do not put yourself in a situation where you are alone with a cluster B.”

      Agree wholeheartedly. Datdamwuf mentioned this above as well. It cannot be emphasized enough for the new Chumps — keep yourself and your kids safe; diligently watch out for the rage channel.

      My STBX loved to flip between charm (or “ass-kiss” mode … tears, apologies — the works) and self-pity (he’s the eternal victim of the universe’s wrath). When he hit the rage channel, it usually manifested as ice-cold stonewalling, an empty-pitch black look in his eyes, and some kind of evil smirk that always tripped me up. Only rarely did he appear to be harboring violent thoughts.

      At the end, when I unmasked him — and his 20+years of deception, he went completely unhinged. The authorities said he “flagged for homicidality” and I had to get an order of protection.

      KNOWING (and believing when they show you) what they are capable of is the most important piece of keeping yourself and your kids safe. Don’t let hopium blind you to the potential danger with the disordered assholes.

      • OMG. “Flagged for homocidality” has to be one of the most chilling phrases I’ve ever read.

        I was a bystander in DV between my mentally disordered father and my hapless mother; she finally managed to get out of the marriage alive and I made it my mantra that “the first time he hits you should be the last time he has the opportunity”. It really worked for me.

        • DV is such an ugly, damaging thing. I’m glad your mom made it out — and kudos to you for getting through it with the healthiest possible conclusion in a horrible situation (that one hit is too much).

          I also witnessed (and experienced) abuse as a child. Regretfully, as I’m sorting through in therapy, I had internalized (subconsciously) that I deserved the crappy treatment. I’m working hard to flip that script. I’ll be damned if my daughters follow the generations-long abuse cycle as I did. Nope. Never again.

  • Beware the “self-pity” channel fellow chumps.
    That’s where I’ve let my guard down — because when I feel sorry for him I engage and want to fix “him” or “us.”
    The end result – He ends up feeling better about himself (e.g. “it was (check one) my family of origin/ my depression/ a midlife crisis/ your over-focus on the kids that made me cheat”)….
    And I end up losing another piece of my soul.

    • So true; to chumps the self-pity channel is like the Siren’s song–hard to resist because we are compassionate and WE.CAN.HELP.THEM. But we can’t, because they are disordered and their self-pity is feigned.

      Hannibal Lecher kept me in a marriage for over a decade by convincing me he was vulnerable, and needed me. Apparently not as much as he needed to prey on students, though.

      • Thanks for posting that tired chump. I could see me getting pulled back in. Especially when Divorce Care tells us to own our part of the breakup, where I went wrong. There are some things I did in my marriage that I will not repeat again – but to tell him those things as disordered as he is will only backfire on me. Learning about me is a really good thing. You could share that with a normal x spouse – but not him.

        He has zero remorse and empathy.
        I give him nothing to work with now.

          • Thank you for this– I was thinking of going to DivorceCare at a local church, but if it’s just going to be about Chumps being blamed for the narc’s cheating then is the last thing upon which I want to spend my precious time and money.

      • The number one indicator of sociopathy is self pity. A sociopath with go to self pity more than any other channel because people let their guard down when they feel sorry for someone. My ex used the self pity channel to get sympathy from others because I was “cold and unforgiving”, meaning my eyes had been opened and I saw him for the douche that he was. He mostly used rage and charm with me. I called the police when he broke into the house when I wasn’t home (I changed the locks as was my right). He sent me an email with an elaborate story about rescuing the cat by climbing in the window, wasn’t he the hero. Rage, then charm. So glad he is wifetresses problem now!

      • I am finally learning to resist the “sad siren song” that drew me back in when I was making good albeit painful progress toward a divorce, for months of hysterical bonding weird sex with my husband who had decided he could only be sexual when acting as a woman. I know this probably represents a huge self esteem problem on my part, but here’s how I did it. I remind myself that not only can’t I “fix” him, the idea that I can fix him implies that I have a lot of power–that it’s a form of self aggrandizement to think I can fix him–and then I take myself to task for thinking I’m “all that.” Yep. To resist the urge to jump back in when he starts playing the pity channel I have to tell myself only someone who has inflated ideas of their own power would think they could fix him.

      • I sometimes get told “That’s a duplicate post” when it isn’t. (Solution: close the blog.)

        Just now was told that a two-word reply to a post was too short!

        Gawd, always a critic!

  • Mine is the covert variety of flaming dog turd and pathologically conflict avoidant, so the rage channel doesn’t get clear reception. Instead I get the passive aggressive channel with him starring in his favorite shows “Lost in a Dark Cave,” “I Don’t Know Why I Did It,” and “I Can’t Talk to You When You’re Angry.” These shows have little dialogue and leave much to interpretation.

    The night before I left (August 9), after 13 years of marriage without raising his voice, he finally did an Emmy-award-worthy performance of true narcissistic rage complete with yelling and clenched fists in which he told me he hasn’t been happy for a long time because I can never take criticism and never take any blame for anything and he could never talk with me about his feelings because I always intimidate him, and even now he knows he’s saying always and never when it’s not actually always and never, but that’s just the way he talks and I should know what he really means and not pick apart his word choices like I always do, instead I should be able to read between the lines to understand his feelings and how bad I always make him feel about himself, especially that one time when he realized that he was so depressed because I always invalidated his feelings and then when he tried to tell me all the ways I invalidated him, I even invalidated his feelings of invalidation! I never knew Woody could go so long without breathing!

    Of course, all this talk about me invalidating him only began after he started acting in all the disordered ways cheaters do when leading a secret life while still wanting to be seen as a Great Guy and World’s Best Husband. After DDay1, which was the discovery of inappropriate text messages that raised my suspicions, I had a series of 5 more increasingly incriminating DDays in which I learned that for several years he’d been having emotional affairs with married women before upgrading to fucking my niece after she moved in with us for college.

    Of course he felt bad about himself when I engaged him in conversations he didn’t want to have about his shitty behavior, but he made his own bad.

    And yes, before I drove out of his life, he did hug me and told me he’ll always love me, with a little tear in his eye….

    • Mehtamorphosis, your post is so funny but your ex is so awful… I can see why you chose the name Woody… how could he do that?!

      • Yah, still shocks me every day that I wake up and remember again what Woody and my niece were doing in our dream house on a lake that we moved into last summer, when unbeknownst to me they’d already been playing in the bedroom in the old house for several months. Needless to say that house I loved so much before I knew he was having ice cream with his cake has been spoiled with triggers in every room, so he’s keeping that and I hope he’s happy with his fantasies of what he once had. Don’t worry about me, though — I’m getting my fair share of the assets and moving on to a new life. It will take a while to rebuild but in a couple of years I will wind up in a new job and living happily ever after on another lake far, far away from Woody. Right now I’m on a four-month road trip visiting friends and family and feeling pretty damn content with their support and the awesome Nation of Chump!

        • Hey Meht! Can I ask you a question? Was it his side of the family or your side of the family = the niece? And how did the extended family take the info? I think the family that supports the exposed disordered abuser could be a whole CL column. The shrugged shoulders and the sigh of “he’s family” gives the cheater a blank check to re-abuse. No consequences for his actions. Good for you out road trippin’!! Have a blast!

          • Cactus, she is my brother’s daughter and as you might guess, she’s got her own issues — very low self-esteem, lots of anxieties, no friends — in short, perfect prey for an uncle who wanted to make her feel loved and bask in the mirror of her adoration. Unfortunately, I didn’t know my husband was into young’uns. I’m seven years older than him and he was plenty into me right up until our last hysterical bonding session! As soon as I found out about their fucking I sent the niece home to her parents for some reeducation and a wreckonciliation attempt with my Charming Unicorn. Because she’s young and doesn’t need to have the rest of her life any more ruined than it already is, the family is trying to keep the truth within a small circle of close relatives who need to know to help her.

            Besides my immediate family I have told some of the shitty details to my closest, most trusted friends (primarily the people I’m visiting on my “I Love Mehtamophosis” Tour). Oh, and all of Chump Nation, of course.

            As for Woody’s side of the family, he considers his infidelity and our separation private and none of anyone’s business. I have heard from Switzerland that he admitted to a couple of emotional affairs, but as far as I know hasn’t told a single soul about the niece. I did tell my mother-in-law that I left him because he was unfaithful because otherwise it would have made no sense to her. He always plays the Charm Station when he’s in public and his favorite show is “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”

            • Yowza! I am so sorry. He is truly a creep amongst creeps! Keep your wry sense of humor happening and have an excellent trip.

    • “when he tried to tell me all the ways I invalidated him, I even invalidated his feelings of invalidation!”

      love this, but the rest of your post is haunting. The family-fuckers are bottom-of-the-barrel cheaters, lowest on the phylogenetic scale.

      • I don’t even know what phylogenetic is? Pastry dough with family? Lol!
        But geez what a creeper – his niece. Just gross.

      • Breaking news on the particle board! Right after I posted my answer to Cactus about who in the family knows, I got a call from my brother. Woody has asked the niece to move back in with him and she crossed the country in no time to return to the marital residence, completing the process of taking my place. He wrote a very long email to my brother and sister-in-law trying to “address their concerns” and justify the strange decision of the lovebirds with their 30-year age difference. My brother graciously forwarded it to me and asked that I use it with discretion. Who could me more discreet than Chump Nation? It’s too long to share the whole thing so I will settle for a few choice bits. Try not to hurt yourself when you’re rolling around on the floor laughing! Woody wrote:

        “I’ve wanted to write this message to you for a long time. The reason I’ve delayed is that in the 13 years of my marriage I have grown fearful of communicating with [Mehtamorphosis], and subsequently of people in general. I learned that sharing my feelings was surest way to anger someone. But now I’m starting to feel again that I can express myself to people. In my excitement I may overdo it a bit.”

        “I do see that the relationship has potential to be better than any I’ve ever had. To me, the measure of a relationship is what kind of person you are when you’re in it. I can say that I love who I am when I’m with [Niece]. I am kind, caring, nurturing, honest, and understanding more than I have been with anyone before, and I’ve always been pretty good at that already. And in spite of the uncomfortable and awkward times that [Niece] and I are likely to encounter, I feel that this is a relationship worth pursuing.”

        “But ultimately the success rates are highest when the two partners treat each other honestly and respectfully, which is precisely how [Niece] and I have treated each other from the moment she arrived in XX two years ago. While my life and my marriage were falling apart, I valued my relationship with [Niece] because she was the only person with whom I was being completely honest. I spent 13 years being afraid to tell [Mehtamorphosis] how I felt about anything because she reacted so harshly to it. I learned never to disagree with her, never to tell her how I felt about something unless it was to agree with her. But subsequently I was not able to be myself with her. My friendship with [Niece] and the degree she encouraged me be myself with her was a huge relief.”

        “[Mehtamorphosis] doesn’t know that [Niece] is in XX or plans to return to [State U] because she would react harshly. All [Mehtamorphosis] knows right now is that I no longer want to stay married to her. I am not even mentioning [Niece] when I write to her. But this is how [Mehtamorphosis] has conditioned me to communicate with her — either by omitting information or by being altogether dishonest.”

        So, now my worst fear has happened, and all I can do is thank the two bottom feeders for making it very, very easy to KNOW THAT THEY SUCK!!!!!!

        And they can keep my new bed.

        • Mehtamorphosis–I am simultaneously horrified, amused (at cheater’s hubris), and sad (for you) about that letter. It has to sting, even though it is one more nail in the He Sucks coffin.

          I do hope that you will use the evidence you have of his affair, his moving slutniece in before the divorce is final, and that email to get the best damn possible settlement this side of the equator. And may that new bed collapse under the weight of their sociopathy, putting an end to them once and for all.

        • Oh wow. Holy Mother or Triangulation, Batman.

          Does he seriously think your brother will never send that to you? Of course not.

          DO NOT allow him to triangulate. The reason he is with your niece has more to do with the kibbles that shit will provide if you give in. I feel sorry for your niece and the shit that is going to naturally come down on her and sorry for you for that she is choosing this riff between you. That’s very unfortunate.

          • Sunflower, I am going to ignore him and let him seethe in my indifference.

            Oh, and I told his mother, who before this only knew that we are separated because he was unfaithful. Figured it wouldn’t hurt to give her a chance to warm up her Universal Shit Detector.

            Tempest, the evidence is in hand, and we have already negotiated a kitchen table separation/divorce agreement that I am very happy with, since I do have lots of leverage over his reputation.

            • Meht! Crickey! I hope I didn’t jinx you by asked by about the family!😜Full on the self-pity letter conveniently arriving during the 3-channels blog. I hope you and your family have revoked nieces privileges (personally I thought you all were too generous in excusing her behaviors) but don’t worry, dollars to donuts in the next 10 years someone younger will catch her eye and she’ll move on. I am so sorry this is happening to you, but I am so glad you are out road trippin’! Have the time of your life you deserve it!

        • Wow … what a piece of shit. I’m horrified for you that you had to put up with such a crappy human as a spouse.

          As I read his word salad, my first thought was “and here’s the blame shift.” And, of course, it’s the reaction to his shitty behavior — not the shitty behavior — that’s the problem.

          Merely fantasizing, but it would be fun to send him a dictionary with the word “honest” highlighted. This is definitely a case of … I don’t think it means what he thinks it means.

        • The niece was better prey than you. That’s it- gullible, inexperienced, and probably emotionally damaged.
          Now you can be free!
          His ‘deep explanations’ are hilarious, he acts like he has no personality, you can make him do anything and he’s afraid of you. LOL give me a break!
          Enjoy your fair settlement and brand new life!!!

            • Wouldn’t it be fun to bounce Woody Junior on Auntie Meh’s knee! Yah, no.

              Hopefully they’ll be smart enough not to breed further dysfunction into the family. My brother has made it very clear that my STBX will never be welcome in Chez Dad. The adults in the family are heartbroken that my niece made such a heartless and self-destructive decision.

              I’d like to give her a fun nickname for clarity in my chump-rants. Any ideas?

          • Well, now I can feel some empathy for poor Woody because here at Chump Nation I am starting to understand just how intimidating I am. By Jeebus I am MIGHTY!

        • Wow!! This guy actually said he was kind and honest, These cheaters are amazing!! The things they tell others and believe about themselves.

        • You couldn’t make this stuff up …. his email is stomach-churning. Metamorphosis, they have behaved with honesty and respect, he said so! It’s little consolation, but at least the ugly secret is out and everyone will know just how much they suck.

    • OMG!!! yes.. you just told my story in much better words then i ever did.. .. wasband was super passive aggressive.. .. we never really had fights in the 15 years we were together (12 married). .. which was why i was super confused when he turned into a raging angry hateful man .. . blaming me for everything.. . ..

      the only difference was i invalidated his feelings because i “NEVER LISTENED”.. .. apparently he “ALREADY TOLD ME THAT” and i “NEVER LISTEN” to him when he tries to explain.. .. *shrugs* .. .maybe because i had already heard the same lame excuse.. .. hahaha which is super funny that he left me for the neighborhood party troll who never lets him talk and interrupts him all the time.. ..

      • My story, too! I constantly get “you intimidate me. I am too afraid to share feelings/ opinions/ have sex with you because I don’t feel safe”.

        Well I don’t buy the sex one anymore. It is pretty clear that he has no interest in me sexually for whatever reason, NOT because he doesn’t feel “emotionally safe” That’s obviously bullshit.

        BUT, sometimes I still buy into the other two. Could someone deconstruct this for me and tell me why it is ridiculous? I need help not to believe it.

        Oh yeah, and my favorite response to “You made me do X” is “You’re six foot eight inches tall and weigh 450 lbs. It is not physically possible for me to make you do anything”.

        • Differently Chumped, without knowing your communication style, it would be hard to say. When you are angry do you yell, call him names, threaten him, press hot buttons to get to him, try to win arguments rather than understand and resolve them in ways that keep you both happy, etc.? Those kinds of things could lead to a partner feeling intimidated and unsafe. But if you are a chump and he is a narcissist, which most hard-core cheaters tend to be, it’s possible that his fragile ego just can’t handle difficult conversations no matter how delicately you walk on his eggshells. Thus, you intimidate him just by trying to talk about anything he doesn’t want to talk about.

          In the case of my STBX, he’s intimidated whenever I’m angry no matter how calmly and rationally I try to express it. He takes even small differences of opinion as invalidating. When I disagree with him or don’t like something he likes, that makes him feel bad about himself, which of course is my fault. Covert narcissists easily get their feelings hurt and project the blame for their pain onto others even when the cause is within themselves, such as when they know they are guilty of cheating and lying. They want to feel superior and can’t stand feeling like shitty people, so they have to find a reason to justify lying and keeping secrets from you.

          • At first I did not yell, but after about a year I just got so angry at his lack of reply/response/remorse that I would yell. I pushed his buttons just to get him to say SOMEthing.

            Throughout the last 9 years it was a mixed bag. I can’t say I never yelled but it’s definitely not my communication style. I avoid conflict.

            I can see how he would feel unsafe around me. Also, he is the only one who truly knows what he is feeling. But I still smell a rat. I can’t explain it.

          • I agree. Trying to explain this to them doesn’t even work in the slightest bit. He just wants to feel good about everything all the time without actually doing any of the work to get there. Instead I’m blamed for his life choices.

          • Thanks for the explanation. I am a very strong willed woman and he’s a manipulative narcissist. He used to be passive aggressive. (I remember once saying to him “you say the meanest things in the nicest ways” — I was too young to process it. He too, was afraid of conflict and wouldnsucknup instead of engage. Eventually it turned to anger and contempt and almost every interaction left me cold.

            My plan, and please tell me whether this is. Agood or bad idea CN, is to spill the beans to his father after the divorce is finalized.

            His father, who adored me, hasn’t spoken a word to me since he learned of his affair and our split. I have no doubt he has no clue that his rat-bastard son is a psychopath. Of course, he won’t come to that conclusion, but detailing his “bad behaviors” as STBX likes to refer to them will be a long overdue delight.

            Cocaine addict ✔️
            Sexual harassing my friend and trying to fuck her in my home while my daughter and I were asleep✔️
            Emotional affair with high school girlfriend✔️
            Affair with stranger ✔️
            Affair with mutual friend ✔️
            Lying insrriage counceling✔️
            Cheating before we got prefnant✔️

            Yeah, tell me how I’m responsible for the demise of our marriage.

            Oh yeah, I drove him into the arms of another woman. And another. And another. And another.

              • Giddy Eagle, since the chumps had mostly moved past this article by the time you raised your question, I suggest you repeat it as an original post over in the general forum. You’ll get lots of good advice there and it won’t get buried in hundreds of comments on the front page.

    • Ugh, I hate it when they say what they don’t mean and don’t really mean what they say…and we have to magically know which is which?
      And about the DDays, THAT DDay, I’m so sorry. You deserve much, much better. (((Hugs)))

      PS Hoping your niece is wishing up too.

  • “The mind fuck only has 3 channels: rage, charm, self-pity”. This is such a brilliant summation… I feel tempted to add it to my email signature at work 😉

    • With appropriate attribution to Tracey of course! It’s a trend in my younger colleagues to add an peaceful inspirational quote so I’m just being subversive

  • Hah. Got the barely restrained rage email last week: you will settle for this pittance right now and call it generous, so have your lawyer write it up so we can both sign it and move on. Oh, and it dictates when I can retire. Oh, and it “generously” allots me less than half of the half that he deems “marital assets.”

    But, see, cheater boy, there are a few little problems. Among them is that you don’t actually get to define what counts as a marital asset. Nor do you get to declare when I retire, or for how long maintenance lasts.

    Laws, courts, and judges have guidelines about all of these fascinating things. Let’s see what they have to say, shall we?

    And if that means all rage channel all the time, best be careful, because the law has ideas about that one, as well.

    • I just love how they define “fair”. Mine stole half of our retirement savings and dumped it in his failing business before we separated then wanted half of what was left all while continuing to steal joint assets and my jewellery all while saying I was being unfair because I wanted my share of those assets( many of which I paid for myself). Talk about ENTITLED!!

      • What is it with the jewelry? The Fucktard stole one earring from every pair I owned, and most were mine before marriage or gifts. I’m still scratching my head years later.

        • Something is truly disordered with a person that would take just one of each earring. Ugh!

          My cheater put my engagement ring and the 20th wedding anniversary diamond wrap that he gave me down as “his assets” on his financial affidavit. Hmmmm. I could have sworn he gave them to me. I thought the first ring was a promise to love, cherish, forsake all others, etc. I thought the 20th ring was another promise/sign that he loved me and was looking forward to more happy years together. I was wrong. He cheated on me before we got engaged. After we were married. And just six months after he gave me the 20th ring, he sent flirtaeous emails to his current whore du jour. I gave him back “his assets”, because I have no doubt he’ll make them into a ring for his whore because he’ll find out quickly that they aren’t worth what he paid for them! You never get back what you paid for diamonds. 🙂 So, she’ll either be wearing my leftovers or she’ll be wearing money that my leftovers paid for.

          • Well, Martha, Fucktard the Midlife Boy pierced his ear about the time he bought a Porsche and started chasing his students, my best friend from college, and my baby sister. So I assume he figured he’d look cool wearing women’s earrings too. Sadly, none of those things looked good on him.

            • Wow. He took your jewelry for his one pierced ear? And yes, he certainly sounds like Midlife Boy is the perfect name for him. Good riddance to him!

          • Martha,

            Check with your attorney. I’m pretty sure that at least the engagement ring is considered a gift (yours) and not a joint asset.

            My mother told me years after her divorce from my cheating narc father that he was furious to learn he wouldn’t be getting her engagement ring, family heirloom or not. When my father’s third wife learned of said ring’s origin (a three stone ring that belonged to my father’s paternal grandmother) she shared her plan to get all three diamonds back and reset them in the original setting. Narc bitch didn’t understand why I didn’t want to sell it to her after my mother died and I emptied my mother’s safety deposit box…..
            What a crass individual

            • Sucker Punch, The rings did belong to me. I just wanted to point out that my ex is so character disordered that he put them down as his assets. Something he gave to me as a token of is love and commitment were just money to him. At the time, everyone I told that to couldn’t believe how weird and cold he was for putting that down. Even a few male guy friends couldn’t believe he wrote it down. I could care less about the money and value of the rings. I’d rather have a husband who could only afford a Crack Jack box ring instead of the POS, pathological lying, serial cheating and serial adulterer that I was with for 24 years. The value of a honest and faithful husband cannot be measured by money. I will consider myself a very blessed woman if I ever find a man like this someday. Sadly, I don’t think there are very many out there anymore. And before or after (I can’t remember anymore) our divorce was final, I gave him both rings back. I don’t want ANYTHING in my life that reminds me of the POS that I was with for 24 years and I was being true to my own values by giving him back one of the things that was most important to him — money. I know we all need money to survive and it does bring happiness when we use it to do things that make us happy. My final ring put together was beautiful and it made me happy at the time, because I thought my husband loved me and I thought our marriage was pretty good and happy. When we came back from the special trip we went together for our 20th anniversary, I showed my kids what their dad gave me (the diamond wrap). And I said many kind words about their father. And now all those good and happy memories are all crap, because he was lying and cheating on me for 24 years with his double life. The rings needed to get out of my life, just like the serial cheater did!

    • NEWBIES – read this again! You don’t negotiate with a Terrorist. Get a lawyer.

      “But, see, cheater boy, there are a few little problems. Among them is that you don’t actually get to define what counts as a marital asset. Nor do you get to declare when I retire, or for how long maintenance lasts.

      Laws, courts, and judges have guidelines about all of these fascinating things. Let’s see what they have to say, shall we?”

      I also PAID Mr. Sparkles to leave, after 4 d-days and I had a pre-nup. Thank heavens for CL and CN. I grew some courage, hired a lawyer, filed first and followed the courts decision… and HE had to PAY ME!

    • Ugh, I hate it when they say what they don’t mean and don’t really mean what they say…and we have to magically know which is which?
      And about the DDays, THAT DDay, I’m so sorry. You deserve much, much better. (((Hugs)))

      PS Hoping your niece is wishing up too.

  • I practiced these three words in response to the Mindfuck Channels:

    NO. THANK. YOU.

    – After a mediation session he sadz-eye asked, “Don’t you want to go and have lunch and sit down and talk about this?”

    NO. THANK. YOU.

    – After a text that read: “Can we discuss this without the lawyers, or do you still want to proceed on the current course we’re on?”

    NO. THANK. YOU.

    – Here’s a keeper: “Do you want to get a Christmas tree together as a family?” (OW was busy, I suppose.)

    NO. THANK. YOU.

    It’s like training a puppy. You have to firm and non-emotional. The road to No Contact (and Gray Rock) is paved with periods. NO – PERIOD – THANK – PERIOD – YOU – PERIOD.

    It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

    • This is great advice. I’ve noticed, however, that whenever I say “No, thank you” to my STBX’s suggestion that we have a “family” outing, my STBX lectures me condescendingly about how important it is for him and me to demonstrate to our kids that we are able to get along.

      “So Done,” he’ll say in a patronizing tone of voice as though he were addressing a 5-year-old, “No matter how angry you are at me, it is important for our kids’ sake that we show them that we can get along. This is about what they need, not about what you need — you need to put them first.”

      As if I haven’t put them first for their entire lives. As if my STBX has any idea how to put anyone before himself.

      Any suggestions as to how to respond to this nonsense?

      • Try this:

        “It is NOT important for US to show OUR KIDS anything.

        I show our children every day that I love them, I will protect them, I will teach them respect and honesty and boundaries.”

        You do you, fuckface. And, I’ll do me. The kids will be fine.

      • “STBX, I think it is important for me to show them that reprehensible behavior has serious and sometimes life-long consequences. I want to model healthy boundaries, and show them that they can choose to have healthy people in their lives and minimize or eliminate unhealthy people. I want to remind them that duty goes both ways, and that when someone you love betrays your trust so fundamentally, it is not necessary to keep loving them or to allow them to continue to abuse you. I will model polite cooperation, but will not pretend to be a happy family or engage in social activities with you. Now fuck off.”

      • Only one word is needed. “NO.” And if your “no” isn’t enough. Then don’t respond. He doesn’t deserve anymore than that. If he wanted you to get along for the kids sake, then he shouldn’t have cheated on you.

        My ex said in the “Divorce Letter” something like, “I’ll never say anything bad about you to the kids and I know will do the same for me.” Ugh. I never did anything wrong our entire marriage that he could “tell the kids” about. Him however……24 years worth of lying and cheating. And there was no way in hell we were going to be “friends” after what he did to me. I’m not friends or friendly with people like him. And I won’t be friendly with him “for the kids sake.” I’m teaching my kids that it’s okay to have firm boundaries set-up against abusive people. And pathological lying, serial cheating and serial adultery is abuse, especially more-so when it’s all hidden under the veil of a holy “Christian, nice guy” man. Evil.

    • Three mighty words!

      I’ve been using them often but I didn’t really realize they were major components of the Gray Rock script.

      Thanks, ICanSeeTheMehComing! I will now make more conscious use of them. His game plan was to use lying, secrets, and manipulation to control the narrative; my game plan is to have far more control than he ever had, and I don’t have to be dishonest to do it. I’ll just keep saying NO. THANK. YOU.

    • Another 3-word approach:

      “I’ll consider it.”

      If the cheater is of the “low long-term memory” sort (only the “here and now” is what’s important, rarely follows up on promises or commitments made), his brain may be satisfied having simply verbalized the request, and mentally he’ll move on to the next thing.

      On the other hand, if your cheater is one who demands centrality and an immediate validation of his request, this tactic could simply ramp up the rage channel: “How dare you not acknowledge me in the way a expect and deserve!!”

      Use at your own discretion.

      • UXworld, thanks. I will definitely add “I’ll consider it” to my repertoire – my cheater says things that he forgets the second the words are out of his mouth.

  • I had the luxury of getting the MILs charm. 9 fingers never got stuck on that channel because the second he opened his mouth I knew he was manipulating me. He was constant rage it seemed – how awful for him to have to pretend to be nice to me because I lawyers up and Hahahaha he couldn’t do it, within seconds of contacting me he would be threatening me to take our child, financially screw me over (because years and years of pathological gambling wasn’t enough).

    My MILs text went something like this: I really hope you get it together and the only one who will suffer is your child. She didn’t understand why lawyers had to get involved and why I just couldn’t move on. Total little bitch much like her loser offspring.

    My reply: I have never been happier in my life, it could always be so much worse like living with a man who is cheating on you, making you and your child a last priority, hiding an addiction that has financially devastated our family, a man who suffers from undiagnosed depression and uncontrollable rage for which he refused to acknowledge and get help for.

    I never heard from the bitch again. Yay me!

    No contact is the only channel I know and it’s been over a year. CL and CN saved my life!!!!

  • Excellent rerun CL. This statement says it all: “Cheaterpants continues to be an embarrassing loser who rarely speaks to his children.”. Me? I’m doing well. Hang in there newbies. It DOES get better.

  • I’m being offered the bare bones for settlement. Should I go to trial. He cheated and abandoned us and he has a small pattern of fraud. Supposedly, the judge will consider what he has done before a settlement. Would you go to trial?

    • What does your lawyer suggest? How much is at stake? Trials can get expensive and I know in my state, Judge’s prefer mediation for a resolution (I’m in a no-fault state, so though cause was adultery it didn’t effect the settlement). In the end, for me, a good mediator that my attorney recommended was able to drag Mr. Sparkles across the finish line.

      • It’s too late for mediation. Trial is next week (if it is going to happen). My attorney says the offer is on the very low end but then he throws in how it’s my risk and I have to accept the outcome. There isn’t much. The pretrial judge recommended 10 years of alimony. The husband wants to give 18 months and then modifible when I get a job. Well, of course I’m going to get a job. At last I hope. 18 months of alimony has already been spent on my lawyer and the left over will be spent to move. My state does consider adultery and the length of the marriage and the fact that I haven’t worked. But, is that just words that the state likes to claim? I don’t know.

          • 19 years. It’s a very big difference. 18 months of alimony will barely cover what I have lost waiting for the divorce. Well, he only has a week then we are going to trial.

            • Don’t take that offer unless the total payout is similar (meaning the payments for 18 months are MUCH larger to come close to what 10 years of payments will be).

              • At a minimum, you should get at least 6 years of alimony. One year for every three years of marriage. Each state is a different though. Google it to see what is typical in your state. Given that you haven’t been working will probably guarantee you more alimony, not less.

            • I think he’s preying upon your fears. I agree that narcs threaten, but rarely want to be exposed at a trial. Your whole financial future is as stake. Neither he nor a judge can guarantee that you will get a decent-paying job in 18 months, especially if your resume has big gaps from being a SAHM. Fight for yourself and your right not to be plunged into poverty while he gets off easy. I do think his proposed settlement is a pittance. While there are never guarantees in life, I’d risk a judge any day before I’d concede to a narcissist. Praying for you. You deserve so much better. We are so used to settling for less, we have a hard time envisioning success and triumph. Make sure your lawyer knows that you expect him/her to fight for a much better financial settlement.

        • Call his bluff. Push for trial but get your lawyer to negotiate your MSA with his lawyer every day to the very end, don’t stop negotiating for what YOU want, your lawyer should be working FOR you and know what is reasonable and he/she should have Proposed MSA written up and sent to your stbx’s lawyer every day…the judge’s recommendation for ten years alimony (this is a guideline) is a good recommendation. Trials are expensive but in my experience Narcs rarely want that much attention as they want to control their image. Again, your lawyer should be working for you, not just allowing things to happen.

        • I’d go to trial – but that’s me. I tend to “doubledown” when I feel like I’m getting backed in to a corner. Nobody puts ICSTMC in a corner 🙂

          • It looks like we will be going to trial. At the very least I believe the judge will make him pay my attorney fees. So if the alimony ends up being the same, at least I won’t be on the hook for those fees. If not, he will have to cry uncle pretty soon.

            Thank you. It helps so much just hearing from others.

    • Unflownkite–if you have documentation of his fraud, income, etc., then definitely go to trial. Also, if the pretrial judge recommended 10 years alimony, and jackass is only offering 18 months, it is definitely worth the hassle to go to trial. At a minimum, you should get 5-7 years alimony (which will more than make up for court costs).

      • I agree with Tempest, UFK,

        Settlement should be in 5-7 year range for spousal maintenance; not 18 months. Yours was at a minimum, is a mid-length marriage.

        Judges use guidelines and case law to guide their decisions. It’s about putting each party on equal footing, length of marriage, abilities (health/skills etc) of both parties and what marital assets and debts there are to divide.

        While there is no guarantee of outcome, I also agree with FindingBliss that I’d take my chances with a judge before allowing a narcissist or psychopath determine the outcome if they won’t settle fairly.

        My X, at 34 years of marriage, wanted to give me basically the equivalent of a car payment for a few years. He tried to argue I could go out and get a high paying job immediately. This even though I was fighting highly aggressive cancer, had 10 surgeries and was in chemotherapy while fighting him with everything I had. He was in rage mode for the 13 month divorce process. We didn’t have minor children so fortunately no custody fight. Ironically, I had worked my entire adult life but at end of relationship been diagnosed with cancer.

        I had exposed him for the abusive souless fraud of a human that he is.

        Upholding his image, in the end, meant more to him than fighting me in court. It helps that at top of my witness list to call, were his multiple AP’s/prostitutes, his cheating boss a.k.a. “Mentor” and a certified divorce CPA expert with reems of incriminating evidence. I was able to do quite a bit of discovery while hospitalized and healing between treatments.

        Final settlement was 50%. I live in a no fault, common law state. Case law/precedence ruled the day. Justice, as much as there can be with a cheater, in my case was served.

        We as chumps, are used to living in fear, not putting ourselves first and avoiding conflict/not rocking the boat. I literally had nothing to lose except my own fear in fighting him.

        If ever there was a time for me to straighten up, use backbone and grit, it was in the 11th hour of settlement negotiations. I concede on a few items, which were painful to give up, but in the end were worth what was gained.

        It’s all ugly business but remember, write down and look at it when deciding whether you want to settle or not, “Trust that they suck”! “You are mighty”! “Know your worth”!

        I’m 21months out from DD, 7 months post divorce and continue to receive good news on my cancer fight. I’m so happy to be cheater free. It really does get better.

        I wish you all the best in settling your case, will be with you in spirit and stand with you in CN strength. Hugs to you!

        • Freenow,

          My heart is bleeding for you, though it should be no surprise that the deeply disordered will a) flee from the responsibility of being supportive of an ill partner, and b) try to take advantage of the vulnerability that comes with illness.

          Congratulations on backing that ratbastard right up to the wall and showing your inner strength. Now concentrate on your recovery. I’m a 19 year survivor of a ratbastard myself, and a 9 year TNBC survivor. In my case, ridding myself of the ratbastard was harder than ridding myself of cancer, but I didn’t have them come at me side-by-side. You are incredibly mighty. I salute you!

    • Keep your calculator handy! If he is willing to fork over more in the settlement to reduce the years of alimony I’d take it. 1. The settlement is not taxed, alimony is (and deductible for him) 2. You do not have to worry about him going broke and/or just not paying since he’s already comfy with fraud.

      My ex absolutely did not want to pay any alimony, mostly so he could feel like he “won” and brag to his buddies. (Not sure they were impressed.) So, I took an extra large piece of the pie and collected the alimony tax-free up front.

      Also, you have to be even more organized than your attorney. Not all of them have their act together. Get together those receipts, tax info, policies, and an inventory of everything in your house that has value to it. You can support those values with examples of sold prices in classifieds or ebay.

    • I went to trial and I got 70% of everything including all real estate and all cash on hand and my retirement and maintenance and a maximum child-support and 82% of all uncovered child related expenses including college up to the age of 23.

      At our last mediation his offer was $300 a month and no share of any assets.

      What the hell trial and having to deal with expert’s and six figures of attorneys fees worth it? HELL YES!!!!!

      You only get one chance to do this and you got to do it right. You have to be willing to go all the way, which I was.

    • I did the math and looked at what I was likely to get with a judge making the decision versus what the EX was proposing. The dollar difference was not that large and would have been eaten up almost entirely by legal fees. For me, the decision not to pursue a judgment was also complicated by the fact that I knew the EX would probably not pay fully or regularly no matter what the courts said. So even an excellent judgment would have meant years of problems getting it enforced. In terms of dependable dollars, I was better off with an agreement that came down to handing some papers back and forth between our lawyers and being finished.

      From a moral perspective, I would have loved to pursue a judgment, but financially, it did not make sense. I went with the math not the moral satisfaction.

      In your case, the difference between 18 months and 10 years is large. And there is no reason for you not to request a higher number of years if you can make a case for it. So, I’d lean toward having your lawyer prepare an agreement, perhaps for 8 years, that can be offered right before the trial begins. Maybe he will take it, maybe he won’t, but your lawyer can make it clear that you will not accept such a lowball offer. (In my state 8 years would still be to your EX’s advantage as alimony for 1/2 the length of the marriage is normative).

  • Mine did all three channels, with both me and our grown daughters. Abandoned me while I was on a work trip and responded with rage when I dared ask WTF. All my fault, I was a terrible person and the whole family thinks so, too.

    Came back to the house later and was all self-pity, he had the sadz, he is so loooonely….. duh, you left you asshole, of course you are lonely. Now put your dick away, no one wants to give you a consolation BJ to salve your stupidity.

    Next visit was charm. Remember the good old days? Let me kiss your neck. Let’s be friends. Fuck you. You left me asshole, so step off.

    Now he is on a permanent test pattern, all fuzz and no clarity, willing to sign over large chunks of our estate to me for kids’ college, healthcare, etc. Just have to get through the next couple of weeks, sign off the house, get the court decree. Generous settlement coming, holding my breath. I loved what I read back somewhere in the archives– Luziana said she had poured herself into the empty fucking bucket calling himself a husband- yep, that was me. No more! Channel signing off very soon, and I control the goddam remote!

    • “Now put your dick away, no one wants to give you a consolation BJ to salve your stupidity.” You.Win. Spit my coffee out. Thank you. It’s as if they offer that limp thing as a token. I didn’t like giving BJs back when we were married, I sure as hell won’t do it now. Who knows where that thing has been!

      • But-but-but, that was his big seduction move! Wang whipping and ball juggling. Simply show the wares and the wifey hops on. Sheesh! Good luck with that in the real world, Schmoopie will be thrilled.

        At least he is good for a laugh now. I love Chump Nation!

  • NC is the path to freedom! Once I read CL book and realized what was happening it almost became amusing. He could always get me with charm until I learned it was all bullshit. I haven’t had contact with him in almost 52 days he’s called texted I blocked him. He called texted my work phone I blocked. He wanted to see dogs I said no and stop using your son to send messages. 💃💃we are mighty fuck them go NC!

  • Just don’t make threats about taking the Franklin Mint Roy Rogers Collection. That’s when things will get ugly……I’ll be leaving the courthouse singing “Happy Trails.”

  • Cheaters are so Machiavellian. Thank you for this post. I can recognize my ex (mr. nobody) in all this chaotic flipping, raging, charming, flipping, pity stories, repeating, flipping again.

  • I am angry. I am angry at myself, for allowing multiple D-days. I am angry at myself for not believing I could live without a man. I am angry I had 4 children with this POS. I get angry as I read rejection after rejection letter/emails/phone calls from job applications. I am angry I was a stay at home Mom for the past 15 years. I am angry that I still rely on this POS for financial support. I am angry that I can’t afford a lawyer. I am angry that my family that doesn’t believe in divorce will mot help me with a laywer, even after I informed my mother of the std I had to get treatment for. I am angry because I can’t leave my kids to start a new life, I am too attached to those beauties. I am angry I can’t afford to take them and leave.
    I will continue to be angry until I can land a job and think about hiring an attorney to start working on my freedom papers.

    • Anger is your friend. Anger is awesome. I have been in your shoes. Your anger will catapult you. Your anger is the Golden Ticket. You can’t see it…..ah, but you will.

    • BE MAD. You should be after all that shit. My anger was what saved me from a lifetime of emotional abuse and cheating. Harness that rage, let it be your righteous armor, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. From yesterday’s post, Esther Perel talked about “inexplicable” rages. Oh they’re explicable. You can set aside that rage when it no longer serves you, but for now it’s your inner voice calling you to action, rejecting what you know isn’t right, and pushing you forward and out of the muck. Be mad, and be your own warrior.

    • Me, too. About everything you said. Some days it is worse than others, but it is always there just simmering and wanted to be unleashed. They truly are POS.

    • You can afford a lawyer, get before a judge and get the finances taken care of immediately. Initial hearing should address all finances, but think about what you want to do. Community college should be on your radar, their financial aid office can help. Your stbx can finance the divorce.

    • I hear you girlfriend. I’m operating on pissed off mode still and it’s been a year since he told me he was leaving me. I did the SAHM thing and I am so incredibly pissed that I don’t get to anymore. My kids are upset that I am never home and are torn between having to spend time between me and their father/whore/her three kids with dad bun in da oven.

      What do you have of his that you can hock? Start seeing pawn shops as you friends. Hock your wedding ring, hock his ring (if he’s not wearing it) hock anything of his that might have some value. Craig’s list and Facebook on-line yard sales in your area. Sell Plasma. I average about $35 bucks an hour doing that twice a week. What do you own free and clear? What skills do you have, because you’ve got ’em you just have to tap into it. Get help writing your resume’. How old are your kids? You DO NOT HAVE TO LEAVE THEM TO START OVER.

      Any chance you can ask you folks for $$$ and say you are planning a get away vacation to “reconnect” ? And then put that on an attorney? Seriously, your parents won’t help? What will your parents help with? Anything? Will they help you pay for college? Will they help you with a car if you don’t have one?

      Just make an appointment with an attorney and see what other options you might have in terms of ownership of assets. If there is equity in your home, you might get one to agree to represent you and help you take out a loan against the equity or who will work on a contingency basis if you can sell your home to liquidate the asset.

      You want out, there is a way. Don’t let his control stop you.

    • Hire the best lawyer there is anyway– he/she will get the $$ from X to pay themselves.

      You cannot afford not to.

      Use that anger to act “as if” you are ready to scorch his ass for the abuse!

  • Mine tried all three but rage and charm weren’t really his style. He went hard on the self pity. It was all sad sausage I don’t know what’s wrong with me type bullshit. I think he honestly felt he was the victim of the situation. His favorite thing was, you don’t know how much I’m suffering, and then everything you do (like telling people the truth, filing for divorce) is just isolating me more, ergo, of course, this is all your fault. Interestingly, the argument also works on the other end – when you attempt to reconcile, I just feel so shitty about myself, I don’t deserve you, so you being nice is just driving me away, ergo, of course, this is all your fault.

    Aside from self pity the other mindfuck he liked to use was to appeal to what I’ll call the “evolved person” stereotype. Kind of like Esther Perel bs but also with reference to parenting. The implication being, I’m presenting the reasonable option here, you must be bat shit crazy if you don’t want to go along with this (see why I had to leave you?? You are crazy. This is all your fault.) He sent me an article on coparenting after divorce in which the divorced parents went on camping trips together with their child and did all sorts of other shit together. The author presented them as oh so evolved, you know the ideal coparenting relationship. Like conscious uncoupling type bullshit. I told him to fuck off.

    • What do you want to bet that the co-camping parents divorced amicably because no one had been a betraying shitbag?

    • Viruses evolve quickly. Sentient species tend to employ a slower growth model. Given your situation, I think we can conclude which one of these he is most likely to be. So much for his “evolution.”

    • Your comment rang a bell because Saintly Man With A Sick Wife (my hopefully STBX) is also very big on the self pity channel.

      When you said ” I think he honestly felt he was the victim of the situation.” A bell started ringing in my head. SMWASW honestly believes with his whole heart that he has been dealt a shit hand in life and *sigh* must now slog through the muck the best he can. . .
      Alone. . .
      In the drenching rain. . .
      With a hole in his shoe. . .
      Chilled to the bone by the whipping wind. . .
      And no one to help his sorry self. . .
      All awone. . .
      You get the picture.

      I used to agree with him but now I just laugh. Not because it is funny, but because it is so obvious and ridiculous.

      He has no trouble fooling therapists, marriage counselors and in-laws though, unfortunately.

      • Yes!!!!

        “Alone. . .
        In the drenching rain. . .
        With a hole in his shoe. . .
        Chilled to the bone by the whipping wind. . .
        And no one to help his sorry self. . .
        All awone. . .”

        This is it. He does stuff now that makes me go WTF WHY??? For example, he sold his car under the auspices that he couldn’t afford it anymore. I know his finances, and I KNOW he can afford a car – maybe not the one he had, but I lease a perfectly adequate Toyota right now for $225/month and he sure as hell can afford that. When he logs notes about our daughter he likes to drop mentions of how he and my daughter had to ride the subway, ride the bus, couldn’t get a ride here or there. Also that was the reason why he was borrowing his fuckbuddy’s car to pick up our daughter, because don’t I know there WASN’T ANOTHER OPTION?? What a fuckwad. Hope that self-inflicted self-punishment self-pity party works out for ya (operative word being SELF).

  • I’ll add a 4th channel for my ex: withholding. That has always been his passive aggressive mindfuck of choice. He withholds communication, whitholds affection, withholds signing documents or fulfilling responsibilities, withholds whatever it is he knows I want. He does it mindfully and quietly, with the intent to be an invisible and deniable bulwark to whatever I’m trying to do. He knows that the quieter he gets, the more I try to explain and dance and get his attention. I’ve watched him do it to other people, too, including his employees, for absolutely no good reason except that they wanted something. He once refused to approve a vacation request from one of his better employees 6 months in advance, but he also wouldn’t deny it. He just wouldn’t respond, even after his employee followed up twice. Why, I asked him? “Because he wants it and maybe I’ll need him” was the answer I finally dragged out of him. I asked him why he didn’t just deny the request then, and he shrugged. “It’s just not a priority.” He didn’t care about anything but exerting passive control as a supervisor, and that’s exactly how he was as a partner, too.

    I’ve noticed a lot of other chumps on here with passive aggressive manipulators. Maybe it technically comes from a place of inner rage, but it my life it’s definitely its own channel.

    • Withholding is a thing, for sure. But it’s passive. A mindfuck is on the offensive — it’s persuasion of a kind. Withholding, OTOH, is just punishment and obstinance.

      • I take a different view. The term is passive _aggressive_ because it is a form of going on the offensive. When someone uses it skillfully, as my ex did, it goes beyond being obstinate to using it as a form of control and persuasion. I discovered that there’s an entire chapter in Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Controlling and Angry Men” that discusses this as a specific tactic of control and emotional abuse. There’s a great article on Psychology Today (which seems to be having site issues, so I can’t link to it) that provides a hypothetical case study of a passive aggressive student manipulating his teacher to change her behavior. It’s mind bending stuff for those of us who are open and authentic and who would never think of something like that.

        • Oh, I totally agree. y 1st ex husband did this all the time. It drove me crazy. He knew it drove me crazy, and when I eventually quit asking his input and just made a decision myself, he was seriously pissed and then used rage to control me/the situation.

        • Oh I agree it’s aggressive, but in a sneaky stealth way. I had a shrink once who I asked “What do you do with passive-aggressive people?” And he said “You shoot them. Okay not really, but they’re hopeless.”

          Son’s father is the most withholding asshole on the planet. I get it. I guess I’d still file it under “rage.” It’s more stab-in-the-back than a full on frontal assault.

            • Mine was hugely passive aggressive, but it was a child-like emotional state more than a rage-control thing (until the end, the nuclear destruction). He simply has no ability to deal with life directly, especially in dealing with me. He looked me right in the eye and said one thing, then went away and silently resented me for the choice. The result was that he found himself at a point in his life feeling completely irresponsible for his circumstances. He denied he ever made any of the choices that brought us to where we are after 31 years. How convenient, to be able to deny your entire life–an objectively OUTSTANDING life I might add–because you are approaching 50 years old and have a sadz? How convenient to blame the wife appliance for all your twubbles.

              He withheld himself from me and lied when asked directly how we were doing, if we were OK, having become empty nesters and having “survived” an OW#1 nine years earlier. I never stood a chance against Mr. Passive Aggressive. “You are not the boss of me” should be tattooed on his fucking forehead.

              He sought comfort with other women because I had become the Mother Figure against whom he had to rebel. So, like all children, he left home.

              • “He sought comfort with other women because I had become the Mother Figure against whom he had to rebel. So, like all children, he left home.”

                THIS^^^

              • YES YES YES. This. I finally feel as though I found my tribe-within-a-tribe here at CL. CN: Extreme Passive Aggressives Edition.

    • I got this, too. When asked a direct question, he loves to give a reply without an answer, forcing you to ask again.

      Mine also uses guilt on me. He knows that my love for my kids outweighs my disdain of him. He also knows that I want to do what is best for them even if it is something that I don’t want (like having to deal with him so my kids can have a relationship with him). He will send a text that gets me questioning my own behavior or choices and leaves me wondering if I am the reason or cause for the current state of the kids relationship with their dad.

      All of it is manipulation.

      • I should note that when he uses this with rage or self pity, I am now able to see it for what it is. When he uses it with charm, it still takes me awhile to turn off the channel. I now wait to reply until my head has a chance to put his statement or question into it’s logical place.

      • My bio-Dad used to do that BS. Whenever he would not respond, I would just say, “It’s okay if you don’t know, I’ll ask someone else.” Got a response every time, and also an accusation that I was being arrogant.

    • Gotta chime in here.

      GUBU was-still is–the master of covert aggression. I finally learned to make no mistake about it.

      His actions were/are definitely aggressive, because they are meant to HARM.

      The foot-dragging on important issues, the “accidental” opening of mail from my lawyer (I shut that shit down ASAP, it’s a federal offense), and throwing important papers away because “they didn’t look like anything you needed”, the convenient “forgetting” and “breaking” and “destroying” belongings of mine because “Ooops! I dropped it/set it on fire/ran it over the the lawnmower…”

      Even before D-Day this sort of thing happened a LOT and I, chumping away, attributed it his carelessness/fatigue/hard day at work, etc.

      After D-Day it got so bad that it was obvious.

      He didn’t have the cojones to confront me directly about his anger about the fact that I wised up and pushed the divorce along, so he covertly went about doing things he knew would impact me negatively.

      During our whole marriage he never really raised his voice. (Unless you count a really odd high-pitched, petulant whining, which was particularly striking because he did have a lovely, deep voice.)

      He just stonewalled, blame-shifted, confused the issue, floated like a manipulating butterfly and stung like a chicken-shit bee.

      So I do tend to consider it a choice of programming on the Rage Channel.

      I just call it “Rage Lite: For The Weak and Cowardly.” 🙂

      • SSG- I might need to come to u for a pep talk at some point. They are so good at claiming the harm is harmless.

    • Yes, yes, yes! Passive aggressive all over the place up in my household. When they are questioned on it, they can just say “I forgot” and then WE look like the bitches for being so petty.

      It’s a neverending shit sandwich with extra mindfuck dressing.

  • While she was stoking the hopium pipe for me Princess YogaPants tried charm. Sadly she really didn’t know what I find charming and hasn’t for a few years. So after spending a weekend away with her Schmoopie she would try to sooth me by making my “favourite meal” which was usually done in a half-assed way. I remember her saying that she could read me like a (short) book and I would just be so baffled because it was obvious that even after 26 years that she really didn’t know what made me tick. Perhaps because our “conversations” for a very long time consisted either of me listening to her complain about the world or watching her surf the internet on her phone.

    After she left I would occasionally see from afar the self-pity on her social media and now that she finally lawyered up all I see is rage and confusion in person.

    Fortunately I don’t have any real worries about physical violence although I did ask some friends to be very suspicious if I was suddenly dead (true).

    I’m really looking forward to this being over.

    • Mine did get the Christmas ornaments because he stole them!

      Just remember when you do leave they can be absolutely vicious and good at being vicious. Be prepared to lose more than half. I was left in financial ruin because my ex manipulated the court and had a lawyer that would do anything no matter how unethical.

      My ex was cheating on me while I had a newborn and planning out how to leave me penniless. He had a preemptive smear campaign. And somehow it worked! A woman who just had a baby (me) wasn’t making him happy enough!

      Watch out for these monsters. If they are willing to cheat on you, they are willing to cheat you in other ways!

      • After I convinced Hannibal Lecher to go to a hotel so I had “time to calm down” (but then never let him back) I fostered a dog from the shelter he thought was vicious, and he was too scared to come back for his belongings. The dog was actually a pussy cat, but he didn’t need to know that ; ).

        • Maybe the dog was just an excellent judge of character. I saw red flags but spackled when my newly rescued shelter puppy wouldn’t go near my (now) ex. I patiently worked with her for months before she would tolerate him without hiding behind me in sheer panic. I worked for years to socialize her properly. After we separated, my ex refused to give her and our cat back to me (even though he never wanted them), I presume because OW liked them and enjoyed playing house with my husband and my pets. I only managed to come away with one of our three pets, but I at least got our child.

          • Something similar happened to me. We adpoted a cat, who was supposed to be for my STBX. The cat rejected him. I actually wondered if we had made a mistake adopting the cat because it didn’t seem like he was fitting in with our family at all. He got along with our other cat but rarely hung out with us. After STBX moved out, the cat became the most lovable cat ever. Completely transformed! I now know that he didn’t want STBX to be his person because he recognized he was a complete ass.

  • When they present the charm channel, buckle up, because there’s usually something behind it. It took me a long time to catch onto this. It seems as if they want to throw you off balance before they go in for the kill! Just assume they operates under the guise of bait and switch. Keep in mind these are people who declare one thing and operate in complete contrast to what they are stating. They don’t operate with a moral compass, their behavior will be a symptom of some imagined victimhood you placed them in. Just remember consequences for their shitty behavior is NOT the problem! Their shitty behavior is the problem!
    Once you start putting your own best interests first they will twist your boundaries into some abuse you are subjecting them to. They are masters of impression management … they had us fooled, and they have no remorse for the two faces they wear. It’s as if they get off on convincing people they are the victims of an unfortunately disorder marriage (leaving out they created it), to gain sympathy and smear your character. They want you to believe you are the problem, when the truth is they can’t handle losing control of their impression over you. Their blamshifting no longer works so they up the anti.
    What better way make you look like the jerk than to publicly declare you won’t “be nice” while behind the scenes they drain your bank accounts, poison the kids with their delusional narrative, and make themselves the victims of your unreasonableness. The patterns are the same, but at some point they shift from trying to convince you you’re the problem (once they realize they can no longer guilt you into submission), to trying to convince everyone else you are the problem. It’s called the smear campaign and trust me it’s coming! If you are unfortunate enough to have married a master charmer, very skilled in impression management, combined with social power … it’s going to get ugly. Any response you have to THEIR BEHAVIOR will be twisted and used to paint you as the problem.

    Example: You call the police because they continually enter the family home and take things months after they moved out. You’ve had multiple discussions with them about this (expecting they will respect your boundaries… yeah not gonna happen). They then tell everyone you called the police on them when they stopped by to pick up your kids sports equipment (failing to disclose they also opened your mail, took all the financial documents, stole your grandmothers platter and took your journals from wreckoncilation (where you blamed yourself for their previous infidelities) to prove to everyone “you admit it was your fault they cheated”, when you were in a state of panic trying to save your marriage. It gets ugly chumps! Don’t put anything past them. All they want is to win and you to lose.

    • Yes. This at all costs.

      Being in this flight-fight mode with these assholes is hard on chumps’ mind/body wellness. Please take extra care of yourselves.

  • This so describes my 1st husband. He was truly disordered although he never cheated on me… just beat the living shit out of me.

    To tell the truth, **I** feel like this describes me more than my cheating ex husband. Except my channel has largely been on rage and self pity. Fuck the charm, I don’t want his ass back, but I DO want him to regret what he did to me. He’s mostly gone grey rock on me and I won’t lie and say it’s not infuriating. Seriously, he’s got no right…

    But I’m caring less, so that’s something…

    • You’ll be over the hump in the healing process once you fully accept that (a) you will never get an apology or remorse from the cheater, (b) if you do, it will be fake and impression management, and (c) don’t give a damn if you get the apology.

      Indifference, it’s what’s for dinner.

      • I really don’t care if he apologizes. He’s not going to. But oh, I would love to be there when he has that “OH shit, what the hell did I do?” moment. I don’t even need him to wish he was back with me, I just want him to realize his twu wuv ain’t all that she’s cracked up to be, and I’d like HIM to be the chump when he catches her blowing some other dude in the supply closet at the hospital like she did to him.

        I would SO enjoy that….the thought puts a smile on my face.

        • Change the story you’re telling yourself: it’s already happened. He brought himself into that so-called “relationship.” But, it’s a million times worse because that “relationship” was built on the ashes of you and your kids. If X has any thoughts at all, it’s probably just annoyance that the light in the fridge (you and your kids) is out. They do not see us as human or think like we do. By definition, they were capable of THIS so they aren’t like US (e.g. Normal people capable of honesty, maturity, empathy).

          If you think the “new narrative” (they aren’t human) enough, you’ll get to meh (that fabulous land where you are so busy living a peaceful and fulfilling life that you could care less what they do or what happens to them).

          Hugs

  • Mine has had just enough therapy from his stint at rehab from before I met him to keep me charmed, abused and feeling sorry for him for years.

    “Yes. It’s true. I have been acting out for years. But it’s very nasty of you to bring up my “acting out” because I am an addict and it makes me feel bad. You are just naive as to how the world really works. You have to take life on life’s terms, Nejla.” (Actual speech!!!!)

    After I realized that I had been living with a conman who lied from day one about everything, not just cheating, finances and substance abuse, I found the channels amusing and rage producing! Yes, I had my own NEW channels once some of the lies were uncovered!! My old channels were feeling hurt, feeling empathy for him and the big one…Mrs. Fixit;)
    Now I have such limited contact thanks to “my family wizard” and my own resolve that I don’t have to deal with channels that much anymore. Thank you to my therapist, CL, George Simon, Bill Eddy and all of you here!!!!!

  • Realizing that there really are only 3 channels: rage/charm/self pity… really helped to detach. At court last month, I got rage, then a letter came snail mail yesterday, a big sheet of paper with only one word on it in tiny tiny print: “sad”. Yes, there was the self pity part. He has SADZ and I’m supposed to make it better. He has sent me presents from all over the world and even brought gifts to court which I refused, so that was charm AND begat rage because as he put it, “how dare you not let me be nice to you!” Rinse and repeat. If he could ever change the stations to remorse/apology/amend/repair, we might be able to talk, but I’ve been no contact for a long time. The rage of long repressed anger is a scary sight to behold. What’s he angry at ME for? For being faithful? or because I lawyered up and refuse to fire my attny as he keeps demanding? Yes, asserting oneself and creating boundaries after 26 years causes all kinds of sadz but 3 stations are the only way they express themselves. “sad” sausages.

  • Thank God for CL & CN! This is the perfect post for me today. For our new chumps please read & reread all the post from Day 1 you will save a lot of money on Therapists. I read this post before divorcing & now is making sense. Mr. Cheaters pants send me an email asking to be my friend since I am trying to do gray rock, partial NC & talking on monosyllable when he tries to hoover when he is picking up my kid. He is on the classic Cheaters Play Book. Double life lots of “whores” etc. He stayed a few months after divorce in the house & meanwhile visited the whore. While we were married he removed all my pics on FB on the discard face, I was the classic “appliance wife” a lot of gaslighting & now he wants to be my FRIEND after sending the email he asked me: ” Did you read it?” he still waiting for the reply. I cried of rage (in private) he thinks that Karma will be his payoff like he does care. He is not worth for the UBT but this is part of the e-mail. #cheaterbythebook #psychocheater
    #mindfuckchannel
    Mr. Cheaterpants wrote:

    “I know the day will come when I really see what hurt is and it is exactly what I’ll deserve! I’ve failed to realize what I had in you as my wife and lost your love but I’m sincerely hoping that I don’t lose you as a friend! Your friendship is the only thing I can ask from you now and I hope you find it worth it giving it to me! ” #POS

    • I don’t know you or your husband but I got that SAME email almost word for word. It continually blows my mind how eerily similar these assholes are. It’s like they are on some sick toxic wavelength and the words and actions of all of them (male or female) follows a crazy pattern. It’s as if they are pod people.

      • Beosabrina

        That is why it is so scary to go back to the “real” world in the future & trust again. He is really a CON. The letter worked so well that even though I have CONCRETE evidence, I kept reading the letter and almost buying his BS. Now when I feel tempted to do it I look to a 20 bullet point letter I wrote to myself to convince myself thar … TRUST THAT THEY SUCK. The only reason I am keeping this emails is to show my kid just in case he use MINDFUCK CHANNEL in the far away future. I got divorced recently my kid is just 13 . I am afraid that kid get brainwashed in the future since kid still have DAD on the pedestal. Kid still does not know Princess Whore I can wait to see how kid will react super sad.

        • Apparently, I’m the only one who bought his BS, my son and DIL could see right through him, thought he was kinda weird, but NO one ever thought he’d cheat or do porn or harm us financially. If he could deceive me for months (found the burner phone) how could I believe anything now? My eyes are open. Trust that they suck is TRUTH.

      • Yes, I know. Not that I am looking to “untangle the skein”, but if we could put ourselves in the shoes of a person who is a pathological liar and chronically feeling sorry for themselves, I think that is where we chumps see all the similarities between the cheats.
        My cluster b used to have “imaginary conversations” with himself where anyone who knew him could see his lips moving with no sound-he would get really animated but he looked like a silent movie. It was a big joke in our family…I actually found it endearing!!!! He told me, when I first noticed it, that he was working out problems that he may have had that day in his head. I thought it was cute and showed he cared about personal issues he may have had with fellow employees, his family, me…I am now convinced that he did it to practice all the lies he had to tell and keep straight with all the different people in his life. He felt he must do this to get by and consequently feels very sorry for himself. He thinks I am the bad guy because I believe in honesty and integrity and it makes him look bad because he behaves in a way that shows he must believe the opposite. I even dug up his vows he wrote in which he said “I showed him what kind of a life he could have and how he aspires to be like me”…ugh, face palm. I’m surprised he didn’t say, “you complete me!” …And the old me lapped that crap up like the chump I was!
        I think they really do think they are good people who “just make some bad choices.” There is never any accountability.
        And just because I am still pissed about yesterday, Esther f’ing Perel can suck it;)

        • Gah. My X had lengthy solo silent conversations too. I could see him gesturing to himself. Practicing for Dday I suppose.

          • My monster had full blown conversations with himself too. Although his weren’t always silent. He would gesture, and turn his head to the left, as if someone was there! I left a recorder on and listened. He was actually practicing what he was going to say to me. He was practicing his lies.
            Other times, these conversations were very angry. He would be smoking and swinging his crossed effeminate leg rapidly. Quite scary.

  • Of course my POSH is the same. I got the charm. “Can I give you hug when I come see the baby”. “I’m being relocated to Atlanta would you like to move with me. It would be so fun” Can I bring you dinner when I come to see the baby”. Blah Blah Blah. None of that happened. Never got that hug, he still lives in Texas, and I went hungry that night. Now I’m in the rage. “You are such a bitch” “You are so stupid” “This is all your fault” “don’t worry I have plenty of dirt of you printed for the lawyer” “be prepared it will come up in court”. I haven’t gotten the self pity once yet. Once in college I broke up with him and got the “ill kill myself” so i went back to him. I haven’t gotten it yet because he has slutbrains giving him something to live for. I venture to guess if anything happens between them then i will get enter the self pity phase. One of the reasons I actually want slutbrains to stay in the picture. She entertains him! I love not getting texts or emails from him!

  • Delusional. After all the financial and emotional abuse leading up to and after Dday (and endless cheater drama) why would anybody chose to have any kind of relationship with Cheaterpants?!?! Friends? Fuck, NO! NC and freedom to a better life are the only way to go.

    • I am tempted to answer but like someone said here there are reasons why they do it. These are a few: – Impression management = we are still friend. If I answer he might think I still “love him” by mentioning all the things that he did on purpose. If I mentioned the whore he might think I am jealous of her etc… I think he is trying to convince the “chosen whore” we were “room mates” 🖕🏼 while he was at the house. Princess whore has been waiting for her former Married Boyfriend before, during & after divorced. But she is “patience” & “wait” for him until he can move. She has no option (she works for the same company).

  • I lived a very sheltered life for most of it. I thought everyone was kind. My mom passed away 6 days before I turned 30. She was the glue! She was my rock (and many others)! It seems I’ve been lost without my mom’s input/advice.
    CL, you have given me a new understanding, in plain kick ass English, that I’ve never known. And yet its all so simple! Why couldn’t any of us see these monsters for who they really are?!
    I’m so grateful that I get it now.
    Thanks ChumpLady…..

  • My one – two lethal combination of grey rock and no contact completely caused my ex cheater bitch to fall apart.

    I’ve sentenced her to this combination for eternity.

    She cycled over and over again through the three channels until she finally gave up and imploded.

    She complained of how helpless she felt once she knew I was gone forever.

    I’m sure she did feel helpless, but not as helpless as I felt watching her have an affair with someone in my family after 24 years of marriage, and not giving a shit at all about how it destroyed her husband and kids.

    • Isn’t it mindboggling how no matter how much damage they do to us, it’s still all about THEM? They are sad, they are helpless, they are whatever. What about OUR pain? Their actions caused all of it. Cheating is no way to deal with any issue at all. 26 years married, newborn first grandchild, the whole family suffering, but it’s still all about him. Narcissist of the highest degree.

  • I feel that I cycle through these three emotions with my cheater wife. She says I’m trying to manipulate her but really sometimes I wish this wasn’t happening; sometimes I just want to remember when things were great and sometimes I get mad at stuff she did or is doing, I never yell though. She says I’m the narcissist, she says I broke her. Since D-day, she has shown no remorse no real apology. Best I got as a yes if I asked “Are you sorry?” Best apology/remorse was “I should not have done what I did. It was not a good decision”. She says she’s not going to be a ashamed, lots of people have affairs and she’s not going to wear the scarlet letter for the rest of her life. She says we could have worked it out after I file, that four months wasn’t enough time she could give me the security I need and I never considered her feelings and I didn’t protect her. I have no idea which way is up. But I do know which way to the courthouse.

    • Good for you B and C. I think they will try and say anything to keep us off balance. Then they can maintain control. Sort of like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks. The one thing that helped me was knowing that when the cheater’s lips are moving, they are lying. After that it was who cares what he’s saying, it’s a lie anyway. It helped me gain emotional distance.

  • I experienced something different. There was definitely self pity: “…sob, sob, sniff, sniff: If only I felt a spark for you when we were in Maui (at my mother’s memorial service and ash scattering)”. Some charm: “I’m proud to have you as my wife. I think you’re gorgeous and I know I can trust you (after he just told me he wanted a divorce.)” Rage: He left this one up to his whore (who was freshly divorced from her cheater husband that she cheated with in his first marriage) to devise as he lacks any sense of creativity and is lazy: serving me with divorce papers the day before my b-day as I was leaving for the airport to go to Australia, going no contact on me, then filing a restraining order against me when I did contact him. The thing that makes it different was that there was no play for kibbles. I had an abandoner. I think he did these things so that I would just shut the fuck up long enough for him to get out of the house.

  • This is taken directly from an email his Magnificence sent this morning and I quote:

    “You are really killing the spark I used to have for you.”

    Awww shucks. I’m crushed. You giving me an STD was no day at the carnival either, you worthless fuck.
    Save the vertigo and nausea.

  • My XH never tried to romance me back or came to my doorstep. Once he left, he never looked back enjoying his bliss/chemistry with his new girlfriend. How can they move on so easily, going to hotels, restaurants and living together, while my life is barely held together?

  • Mine was the same. Mine pretended his SPB was over, but wanted nothing to do with me. No counseling, or attempts at reconciling. He did not make me preform the Pick Me Dance, although I did for a couple of weeks and he let me, knowing all along he was leaving me but hoping I would kick him out so he could blame it on me. Glad I didn’t fall for that.

  • I guess I was “lucky” in this way (or luckier than most chumps). I didn’t have to see the Rage channel, at least not in its pure form, but I did get good reception to the Charm and Self-pity ones.
    She started with “charm,” of a very condescending variety. “I was thinking that I’d given up on you too soon.” Umm, you left me, your husband, for Prince Cheating, and now I should feel, say, grateful and awed that you want to crawl back? Hmm, no, I’ll pass.
    Then a few months later, it was more “charm:” “Now that you’re back from a long business trip, I was hoping we could talk like adults.”
    Me: Talk about what?

    Then, reception of the Charm channel faded, and we got Self-pity.
    “You asked me once how I live with the guilt; the answer is just barely.”
    Umm, I asked you once at D-day, I haven’t asked since. I don’t care now (is that bad?).

    “Our daughter was crying because we weren’t together anymore. I cried, too.”
    Thanks for the guilt trip, mixed with a side dash of callous self-importance. Even with a little girl’s pain, it is, after all, really about you.

  • Hmm. I think STBX may be stuck on self-pity. “I did the right thing by leaving Chumpinrecovery and Schmoopie is awesome, why can’t everybody else, including Chumpinrecovery get that?” Ok, I have been on these boards long enough to recognize that not staying with me when he was hung up on somebody else was the lesser evil, but he still did a shitty thing by allowing himself to get into a position where he would fall for somebody else in the first place and no, she isn’t awesome. There is really no valid reason why anybody else should be happy about his relationship with her, least of all me. Why can’t he get that?

    I will say he has never particularly used charm or rage directly as manipulation tools (maybe charm indirectly just to get people generally thinking highly of him). Even “pity me” is reserved for extreme cases, like trying to convince family and friends that they shouldn’t shun him for what he has done-“there were no easy answers and I hurt too. Sniff”. Usually he uses faux calm “reasoning” that sounds valid until you have time to think about it later and go “huh? How did I let him convince me of that?” He is smart and very good at image management. The kids and I are probably the only ones who have ever seen the rage (not violent) or know he is even capable of that.

    Ok, all of that being said, is there a “clueless” channel, because I think he is stuck on that one too.

    • I finally realized that my ex doesn’t view others as people, only as concepts. It’s like he sees everything as a real-life version of Westworld in which he is the star.

  • I’m appreciative of whomever offered the Minwalla site yesterday, which linked to a radio interview regarding c-ptsd and abuse to the faithful spouse. I’m glad to know it is a real thing, not just crazy on me. I’m not new at being a chump I guess, I’m just new at learning how to deal with it in a more informed way. But I don’t like it, frankly. It doesn’t settle in me. It goes against my part of my covenant vow, and it flies in the face of the creator of the one-flesh marriage. Yet, at the same time, I’m one-flesh with an adulterous liar thief until death parts us. Talk about a mindf***.

    What is it when the one who lied, cheated, stole, divorced, and took half of the assets is the one who is utilizing all the wise tidbits you all are giving? She filed and has been the grey rock person, the meh person, the “no thank you” person, the no contact (or only contact if our child is involved) person. I’m going to guess you’re going to say “it’s called a blessing.” Why doesn’t that seem like enough?

    I’m thankful for you all, for your willingness to expose your wounds in order to help others with theirs.

    • That really is a tough one. I will never call that a blessing. It is just one more slap in the face from the cheater. There were times early on when I was still smoking hopium shortly after he moved out that STBX seemed to be doing that to me too. It was as if he was working very hard to get over me so he could move on with Shmoopie. When I started be less communicative with him, he started to be more communicative with me again. That didn’t really make me feel better though.

      The best I can suggest is that she does still have feelings for you, but they are interfering with her desire to move on with her Shmoopie, so she is forcing herself to be distant so she can get over you. I know it is frustrating to think she is actively working on getting over you (or rather giving up your kibbles), but at least she does have to work at it. Also, she is embarrassed to communicate too much because she knows she did wrong and she knows that you know it and she doesn’t want to face you because you remind her of her shame. One last thing, and CL has touched on this before, she simply knew the gig was up with you and it wasn’t worth the effort to string you along and eat cake because she knew you would see through that and not let her take advantage of you that way.

      Or she is just a disordered freak and you don’t need her taking up space in your brain any more.

      Small consolation I know, but however you look at it, she is the one who lost whether she knows it or not. In the long run, she isn’t likely to be happier without you, but you will move on and be happier without her because you don’t need selfish people in your life. Also, I am only a sort of believer, but I would expect that God knows who broke the covenant and blew up your marriage. You did everything you could to hold your marriage together, but you couldn’t do it all by yourself. I believe that God will not judge you harshly if you move on with somebody new when you have had time to properly grieve. She might as well have died. If it helps, don’t think of it as a divorce, think of it as an annulment. You were never really married, you just thought you were.

      • Thanks CIR! Yes, small consolation, but I appreciate the gesture. The doses of reality are important. It’s funny now, but one of my pastors offered me a similar thought as “She might as well have died.” Turns out, after struggling with that advice for a couple of years, that doctrine actually comes from chapter 24 of the Westminster Confession.
        V…In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce, and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.

        • I’m Baptist not Catholic, so I can only take from the Bible itself, and even that says you are allowed to divorce for infidelity, and if you remarry it is considered adultery that is on the cheater’s head. The cheater MADE you commit adultery by forcing you to divorce.
          It has been a relief to me personally, even if I doubt I will ever date or marry again. There’s that tiny chance though lol…

          Matthew 19:9 🙂

          • Hi WaywardNerdGirl. I met the guy from Kansas who wrote that song. I was selling insurance at the time and knocked on his door after he sent an inquiry for his parents. Pretty fun sales call. He didn’t buy though.

            It’s a sensitive subject to talk biblically about divorce and remarriage, which seems odd being that the bible is really all about a marriage. Technically speaking, the only allowance for divorce is if there is a report (logos in Matt 5:32) of prostitution (porneia) concerning the woman during the betrothal period, the time before the covenant vows are made, kinda like what we call the engagement period. Matt 19:9 from the Greek translates as “only for prostitution.” Once the covenant vows are made, there are no allowances for divorce. It says we are joined into one-flesh, like mixing 2 colors of paint together. The only chance to remarry is at the death of the one-flesh spouse (til death do us part), and then only to one who is also free of a one-flesh relationship and able to marry. Adultery is a violation of the covenant, but doesn’t end the one-flesh. Oy…too difficult to say easily. Most people hate talking about how God reveres marriage and His expectations regarding it. The disciples, too, said “if it’s this difficult to adhere to, it would be better to never marry.” They probably weren’t wrong.

            No way to end this smoothly. Know there is grace sufficient to keep you and provide for all your needs. Blessings!

            • Yeah, it is a sensitive topic….and one that my 1st husband tried to convince me of when staying married to him would have meant my eventual death.

              I realized my 5 kids needed their mom alive and that God’s best for me was to NOT stay with my spouse until he killed me.

              I’m good with that and I’m pretty sure God is too. I have yet to be struck dead over it.

              • Hi Sunflower36. I’m glad you’re safe. It’s difficult to fathom that a husband would put the life of his wife in jeopardy. Nowhere does the bible imply that you are to remain within the logistics of a harmful situation. As husbands, we are called to love our wife as Christ loved the church, to the point He was willing to give up His life for her. That doesn’t sound like the environment in which you lived. My heart goes out to you.

            • I don’t get prostitution from the fornication that is spoken of in Matthew, which really does test the way you would look at things. Is the porneo you refer to the original Greek or a different interpretation of the Greek than the KJV uses?

              I used to think I was done. As long as my X husband lived I was out of the game.
              After a lot of study I don’t believe that anymore, but I am always open to other opinions on interpretations. I could always still be wrong 🙂

              • I love it that you utilize the KJV. Most have forsaken it in favor of more lenient renderings. Yes, the porneia word is from the original Greek, which the KJV calls fornication (different from adultery (moichao)). So, fornication and adultery aren’t the same. One is sexual activity prior to marriage, the other is sexual activity with someone other than your own spouse after the covenant vows have been made. The exceptions for divorce in 5:32 and 19:9 are for fornication, not adultery. Here is free resource that delves rather deeply into the subject…http://trueconnection.org/DivorceAndRemarriageBook.com/DivorceRemarriage_Josiahs.html

                Once joined into one flesh, no authority is granted to man to dissolve the union, at least that I can find. If you can help me see where the one-flesh relationship ends before death of one of the spouses, I’m all for it and willing to consider it. Mark 10:11,12 seems to sum it pretty well. Rom 7:2,3 also.

                This site amazes me in how it exposes marriage for everything it was never intended to be. The wounds that are exposed here are incredible to witness. Some version of this should be a part of marriage counseling prior to any wedding.

    • I am right there with ya, Oneflesh. It seems especially cruel, after everything else. My STBX has gone gray rock on me, except for the random emails that are aimed at being friends for impression management, and getting the kids to accept the normalcy of his and schmoopie’ treachery (she is a Christian life coach friend of our family). It’s very hard, hugs (( )) to u! Focus on you and find your mighty, that’s what I am doing and it is empowering!

      • Hi Owlbaby. Thanks for the hugs and encouragement. I send them in return to you also. I am amazed at the number of people who claim Christ, yet rebel against His marriage covenant. Your betrayers are to be confronted for their treachery, and are instructed to repent and restore. “Easy grace,” though, says they believe themselves to be ok and forgiven. It isn’t so. Mal 2 says they’re prayers and offerings are rejected, and they are outside the kingdom. Chumpinrecovery had some good words of clarification above, and seemed to remove some of the weight. It seems you are early along in this part of your journey, but after 5 years apart I’m getting tired of carrying around the debt that I perceive my wife owes me. Just as I had no way to pay the debt of my own rebellion, our crappy spouses have no way to repay what they owe. My hope is that you won’t carry the debt as long as I have. It exposes me and adds monumental value to what has been done on our behalf. I’m learning what love really is, it appears. I’m thankful for the cross.

  • I’ve been NC with my Cheater.

    I had to go Gray Rock after I’d filed, as I needed to be able to stay in the marital home. Luckily he was too distracted by Schmoopie to go through any of the cycles. He didn’t exactly want me to stay, but he also didn’t want me to leave–at least not until Schmoopie started egging him on to get me out of the home before I’d received the settlement. Once I left, though, I’ve been No Contact.

    But 15 months after the divorce was final and about 10 months of living in my new home, CheaterX called to say that Schmoopie, whom he’d married a couple of months of me moving out, was filing for divorce, it’d come out of the blue, and he was trying to get through it with a whole skin, and that I was right about her being all about the money (I never told him that, by the way, though it was self-evident), and that when the dust settled, he wanted the two of us to sit down and find out where we stood.

    Say wut? We aren’t standing anywhere. I am happily pursuing life on my own terms, thank you very much. So he got crickets from me.

    A couple of months later, he sent me a very Sad Sausage voice memo indicating that he had chiari malformation and that his theory is that he developed disassociative identity disorder (split personalities) as a result. The personality who cheated with Schmoopie? That was “Richard,” while his “real” personality is Dick. After telling the counselor (whom he said was only a clinical social worker, not a real psychologist, and oh, by the way, the psychologists and psychiatrists don’t talk to each other, so it was up to him to make the connection between chiari malformation and his obvious mental health problems, which are obviously DID, despite the claims by the mental health professionals that he could have Borderline Personality Disorder) all his hypotheses, the counselor asked him what he planned to do next. CheaterX said that he was going to change, and he was quite irritated that they didn’t take him at face value because it’s so obvious to CheaterX that he has changed. This is the new CheaterX, “Dick” instead of “Richard,” so could I, uh, forgive him?

    Ah, the Mindfuck channel stuck on self-pity. There wasn’t one single apology. But I’m supposed to forgive him.

    I’m still No Contact.

    • His marriage with the AP he cheated on you with ends and he wants to talk about reconciling? When that doesn’t work, he creates some grand psychological diagnosis for himself to explain why none of it was his fault. …. Holy Cow! These disordered freaks constantly shock me with their idiotic creativity. I should know better by now! LOL

    • He is Hoovering. It’s what they do when they are exceedingly lazy and don’t have a new victim lined up already when things go south and they are about to be left high and dry. “Hey, the chump put up with monumental shit for years before, let’s just see if they will do it again!”

  • Are there other ways that the rage channel might manifest itself. He was never one to shout or get angry or make threats. I can see how he used the others on other people as part of his image management ‘I made a mistake, I didn’t mean to fall in love with OW’. He would use charm on me before d-day as a way to hide what he was doing and to act like he loved me. I don’t know about self pity I’m not sure what they would look like either.

  • I guess my experience is a bit different. While I have seen a couple of rages, he has grey rock down pat. If we weren’t finishing a house together, he would be gone in the dust.

    I did get sad sausage before I found out, but after – denials with a large serve of grey, grey, grey. I do suspect that there is a lot going on underneath – he knows that I know and have stuffed up their plans of introducing his twu luv to his family. I suspect self-pity as he knows no-one will understand (his family are decent and hate cheaters as one of his siblings was devastated recently by a very big turd). Yeah, I’ve had no charm at all. Just an unrelentingly reasonable calm demeanour, looking in my face knowing I know he shat on me secretly for 15 to 20 years. Good times.

  • Oh… I got the “Mindfuck” all right, and still get it from time to time when GUBU finds some ridiculous excuse to contact me about something which does not require any attention from me.

    CHARM: “You’re a good woman/You’re better than I am/ Are YOU OKAY?????/Is there anything you need??How can I help you?” My favorite: “Of course you know I CARE ABOUT YOU and YOU CAN TRUST ME”!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Many plays on how the pets I had to leave behind “missed me”…etc. etc. Checking in my the health of my family members and friends. (All left him in the dirt, and he is mostly referred to as “That BASTARD”. Idiot is clueless that people who love me would not like him anymore after how he treated me, but I guess that goes with the territory.)

    RAGE: “Oh, aren’t YOU the BIG STAR NOW???!?!? (When he heard I was performing overseas after years of him telling me my dreams were stupid.) “Don’t tell me YOUR LIFE is *HARD* while you travel all over…” (Yeah. For work, poor pay, sleeping on couches and in my car. Yep, a bed of roses, that is!)
    “Now that you’re taking ALL MY MONEY, you’re going to have it SO EASY!!!” (Yep. The law told me I was entitled to half of OUR retirement money that WE saved. And not too much there to split, I might add. I guess he thought he’d get to cheat, and keep the whole pie. Delusional.)

    SELF-PITY: “I’ll die alone for what I have done/I’m a terrible person, no one will ever love me/It hurts my feelings that you’re so angry at me/How can you ignore me like you are doing?/My life is sooooooooo haaaaarrrrdddd!!!!!! (I’ll bet. The Wife Appliance is on “holiday”, asshole!) “One of the animals is sick/my best friend (another jerk) is sick/a tree fell down….”
    I don’t live in the same state, what am I supposed to do about any of this, exactly?

    There many variations on the themes; some of them quite hilarious with some time and distance between us!

    It was thanks to this blog that I saw his Mindfuck TV for what it was; a blatant attempt to reel me back in and control me, because I was out from under his thumb, ignoring him, and it just drove him batty.

    He has slowed down considerably with his attempts, but every now and again he gets a bit lonely, I guess.
    I have gotten really good at “Cheerful Gray Rock”! 🙂

  • This nugget of wisdom from CL is probably THE one that awoke me to the sad truth of what was really going on in my marriage. Truly, once the jig is up, it’s really hard not to see through everything they do and say. The mindfuck is a tactical advantage and I daresay that for many of us it works really well. I know it worked on me! It was really hard at the end when the self pity card was played as the swan song of my cheater. Gray rock is one of the hardest fought internal battles against the mindfuck channels.

    But as CL says, once you see through the game, it becomes easier to deal with it. In fact it becomes almost laughable after the fact. Odd as it may sound, it’s great to be able see this pattern in people in general because then you know who to steer clear from and not mess with the mindfucks.

  • I love you Chump Lady!!!!!! What you and CN have done for me is unbelievable. Please keep up the good work. You are the sanity in a world that seems insane. Your wit, your humor, and your take no prisoner’s attitude is exactly what we Chumps need. Hope we change the world!

    • Or at least preserve a part of the world from going to utter sh!t what with that whole spackle-enabling, “cheaters are just misunderstood; it’s just their path to self-discovery” bullsh!t of an article the CN had been graced with.

  • Learning that other people, not just cheaters, only have these three channels is helping me steer clear away from people that should not be close to me in a relationship.

    Besides my ex-narc-husband. My ex-MIL has only these three channels. There were things she did and said over the course of 24 years of knowing her that really bothered and hurt me (should have trusted my gut and feelings!). I can now look back and sure enough. Only the three channels present in her life.

    And now in my life today after getting rid of these toxic ex-family from my life. I’m seeing these same characteristics in people that I go to school with. Just one of the student nurses I work with: Charm (she’s funny, well-liked and very charming in her own way), Rage (do not cross her, do not correct her, she knows everything even though she has a ton still to learn) and Pity (feel sorry for me, I work a few hours while going to school so I’m too tired to take notes in class, I’m being singled out because of my race even though as far as I can see she is not). That’s her three channels.

    Just a couple of years ago I would have bent over backwards to get people that are not good for me to like me and accept me. Now I’m deciding whether I like them and if I want them in my life. I’m professional, helpful and kind to my fellow classmates, but I now judge character on their actions AND words. Both their actions and words tell me they are not people I want to be friends with. They are my classmates that I’m learning with, but they are not “my people.” That’s me un-chumping myself, I was a chump with my ex-husband, but I was also a chump with a lot of people in my life. I’m proud of myself for starting to become a healthy adult with healthy boundaries that are being put into place. 🙂

  • XJanus flipped all channels in quick succession 3 months ago. He arrived from his home in a decadent overseas city – where he works and now lives in a “villa” with several much younger dudes, instead of a luxury hotel where OW would come visit – because “the law” makes him pay me (back for money he stole). He gave me a month’s notice of his super special arrival and plan to move all his magical possessions that he left behind. (Total lie). When he showed up and saw me he started to cry. (Self pity). Then he tried to seduce me – by grabbing me and pushing me onto the couch. He has gained weight and as I tried to get away, he landed on me. I screamed – and later learned that he dislocated my rib. He dismissed my pain by saying dismissively that I was always so delicate. (Charm gone). And then anger that I didn’t give in – he said that my “inability to be spontaneous” (UBT: feed him kibble by ignoring his transgressions and being bowled over by the wonder that is him) was the reason we couldn’t get back together. Moral: Chump Lady is spot on. And do not ever meet these loons alone.

  • Super relevant article for me…since I was a prisoner of mindfuck hell for over a decade. Only my ex…aka Master Mindfuck, loves to continue additional mindfuckery techniques like….whaa….I thought I answered that…whaaa…you must have forgotten I emailed that answer…whaaa…you never asked me that…or just ignore me. His mindfuckery repertoire includes a routine subtle undercurrent of blame and devaluing techniques…all in an attempt to try and keep me stuck. I don’t know how I managed to not go crazy after a decade of that BS.
    He still lives in crazy town….and he can live there with his 25 year old new victim.

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