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Dear Chump Lady, How do I stop feeling sorry for him?

Dear Chump Lady

It took 5 years to divorce the ex and father of our daughter after he suddenly thought it fun to beat our daughter and me. The child and I fled to a safe place, and moved house a few times to stay ahead of him knowing our address.

During the divorce negotiations at court while I was in a safe room elsewhere he informed my Barrister that “I am trained to kill, I am a soldier, it’s important you know and understand that” which she was surprised and furious to hear and at last I had an independent important witness of his ughhh-ness instead of their slightly disbelieving faces when I’d previously tried to explain what we were up against.

The settlement eventually was signed off, I bought him out of the Matrimonial Home to the tune of £30,000. It is little, is an entry level home in the middle of England and was vandalised by him but it is ours.

He got the second house we owned all to himself with around £10,000 equity. I’ve recently received post and notifications that he has signed a lease on a residential caravan site and living there now and inexplicably I feel sorry for him.

I loved him, I hated what he did, I’m glad we settled in court and have a home at last, but living in a Divorced Dad’s Caravan Neighbourhood seems tragic.

Do you have any advice on how to stop feeling sorry for him please?

Kind regards,


Dear Cheryl,

I don’t know. Imagine him living in a Divorced Dad’s bedsit in the fiery bowels of hell instead?

Sympathy for one’s abuser is a uniquely chump problem. Can you imagine someone writing, “Leonard pistol whipped a bunch of old ladies for their welfare checks. Then he embezzled my pension fund and set fire to my cat. He was sentenced to 12 years on a chain gang. And yet, I can’t help but feel sad when I think of his penury. The cold steel on his ankle. A dozen years without his favorite toasted sandwiches. It’s tragic.”

No. LEONARD IS A TERRIBLE PERSON and the measure of his soul is NOT your problem.

It’s OKAY to determine that someone is awful and you want nothing more to do with them. Really! It’s okay. And if you must untangle and consider how many fuckwits can dance on the head of a pin (“Leonard has some good qualities. He was very kind to pigeons.”) — you are still under ZERO obligation to invest further in this person.

Feeling “sorry” for him is an emotional investment in him. And trust me, the investment is NOT returned. Leonard has no more consideration for your feelings than he does those of his nose hair trimmer. You are an appliance to him. A thing of use. Did you break? He’ll shake you, slam you against the counter to see if that wakes you up (or alleviates his frustration), and he’ll go find another appliance. (Actually Leonards have drawers full of appliances, but I digress.)

Your ex-husband BEAT you and your daughter, vandalized your home, and threatened a barrister, and the WORST thing that happened to him is that he lives in a CARAVAN PARK? He should be in JAIL. Tethered to a bar and forced to write “I will not beat my wife and child” until his fingers fall off and he’s forced to eat them.

That’s so Draconian, Tracy.

It would be a small measure of justice compared to what you suffered at his hands. Please direct your sympathies there. To yourself.

Why do you feel sorry for him? Because imagining that he’s a good person who lost his way is less scary than realizing that you invested in a fraud. That he doesn’t love, he just controls. That you tried to love a creature that will not love you back. For YEARS.

And if he’s a sad, soft fluffy misunderstood kitten he’s not a trained, scary-as-fuck soldier who’s threatened to kill you. Bargaining stage of grief, my friend.

Do NOT untangle this skein. Do NOT spend one iota of one second feeling sorry for him. Because you might open that door (“Hark! Is that an apology I hear?”) and let him back. That could be a fatal mistake.

You escaped. You modeled strength and mightiness to your daughter. You are a HERO. Every ounce of sorry you feel for him is emotional currency you could be investing in your new life instead. Invest in YOU. And may he rot in a Divorced Dad’s Caravan.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “Leonard has some good qualities. He was very kind to pigeons.”
    Very ironic.
    My cheater used to feed the pigeons that pooped all over our verandas and windows with the sole purpose of irritating me so he could feel the power.
    He did it with an angelic look on his face, because it is also part of impression management.
    But as we chumps know, nice is not good. And pigeons are pests.

    Cheryl, your cheater should indeed be in JAIL. J.A.I.L.

    To feel sorry is just a waste of energy. Think of his situation this way: he got off very lightly. In fact, from what you describe of your cheater, I bet he moved to a caravan park to suit his goals: can’t you just see him strutting around the place wielding his power over all the vulnerable people who must live there? It’s an amusement park to him. Those are his references. But you are no longer his roller coaster.

    Please listen to Chump Lady and stop feeling sorry this minute.

        • Ditto! Love that song, always have. Even performed it in a talent show once. Classic!

              • Just when I thought I couldn’t dig you any more, CL…because Tom Lehrer.


            • I’m now binging on Tom Lehrer music videos. Thanks CL and Nation for introducing me to him and his songs – funny, talented, and his material is still dead-on! I really like “Selling Out.”

      • Tom Lehrer! I was raised with this stuff, LOVE it. And you should have seen the look on my piano teacher’s face when I brought in his songbook for help learning “The Masochism Tango”!

        • That’s fantastic you did that!!! I’ve got his songbook and LPs. Quoting from Lehrer, Python or Hitchhikers either gets you new friends or weird looks!

            • I had to borrow a co-worker’s computer once, and he warned me the “2” was stuck on the keyboard and didn’t work. I said, “So what’s the answer, then?”, and he laughed. HE GOT IT!

    • “But as we chumps know, nice is not good.” I think I will have to put this on my desk top as a reminder.

    • I did keep dwelling on the good bits, rare though they were, and he does deserve to be in Jail. Thank you for helping me raise myself above this stupor. I REALLY appreciate it. Reading through the comments below, I had a little cry as I remembered the brutality which he enjoyed and I am back, snapped out of it, let him be a woe is me look what she did to me victim, not my problem! Thank you. x

  • Cheryl please listen to CL. Maybe its a nurturing woman thing to want to fix the broken, but you’ve devoted enough emotions in this seriously twisted person. It seems the army, police force etc particularly attracts these types given the power and control it allows them over the lives of others (no offence intended to the many who serve honourably and deserve our respect).

    As CL says save your compassion and healing for yourself and your beautiful daughter where it will actually reap rewards. Show her a fabulous example of strength, self preservation and much needed freedom + mental peace.

    Much love and hugs

  • Why are you being notified of his lease? This man recieved money and a home with equity. His destructive forces are no longer your problem.

    Opening that door puts both you and your child in danger. You spent five years in hiding. He is where he is as a consequence of his actions.

    He’s the father of your child. The one he beat. You protected her and must continue to by maintaining no contact. He’s no longer your problem.

    • I sent the post back to the caravan offices today as a return to sender, hopefully no more post. This house is his previous billing address so it is necessary to keep our credit score clean.
      He is a violent a-hole and I need to feel the pain of those memories sometimes to stay focussed. Thank you.

  • “Because imagining that he’s a good person who lost his way is less scary than realizing that you invested in a fraud.”


    It took me three years for my heart to catch up with my head and truly accept that the person I believed I was married to never existed but in my head, to accept that lying is his go-to problem solving strategy.

    Low contact and grey rock (thanks shared custody) were the only way to really find out who he was, and given the amplitude of his suckitude, I am very glad I divorced him after DDay#1. Do I still hope that he might be a decent father despite being a manipulative, lying coward? Define decent…

    Cheryl – It will take time to really “trust that he sucks.” It’s hard as hell because he is the father of your precious girl, because it is such a bitter pill to accept that you were conned by a world-class liar and actor… Take time to heal, go and see a counselor with expertise in Cluster B personalities, I recommend you also find a therapist for your daughter.

    Please listen to CL/CN… The earlier you focus your energy on you, on processing your emotions through this nightmare of a marriage, the more you’ll be fixing your picker and build a peaceful life for your daughter and you…


    • My X planned a lovely Murder-Suicide for us. Romantic right??

      Despite everything my X put me and my family through, I feel sorry for him. Because of his mental illness which arose during our marriage.

      I married a CFO of a large company. When we divorced he was living in squalor in his vehicle.

      I discovered his cheating right after our wedding, so it wasn’t his illness that *made* him cheat!!

      I know it’s tough. Until recently I allowed him to text me. I knew he was lonely and sad. But it was dragging me down with loss and sadness. I cut him off.

      Yes, I’ve been grieving over someone who didn’t exist. I think I was grieving my naïve stubbornness in believing in a man that I made up in my own head. I had the evidence he wasn’t the man he presented to me during our 6 year courtship.
      More Red Flags than China.

    • Bravo! “imagining he’s a good person is less scary then realizing you invested in a fraud” this is so tied into so many emotions that we chumps feel, humiliation being one of my top triggers! Asking how he could no this to me after a life time…….. and you realize I did invest in a fraud! I was duped! Hard to admit but true. I needed to hear this today!

      • My x lied so much I never had a chance. Lied from day one, then over 20 years later is discover he built his life based on falsehoods and mental props to keep himself going. I can sympathise with someone who has had tough things happen to them and has to block out but surely you try your damnedest not to carry that on in to your kids futures.
        It’s the legacy he has left my little ones that causes the most grief, anger and upset…..

    • “… a good person who lost his way is less scary than realizing that you invested in a fraud. That he doesn’t love, he just controls. That you tried to love a creature that will not love you back. For YEARS.”

      Yes, Chumpitude, that indeed is the most important message for Chumps to understand to get over their cheaters and gain a life.

  • Not so sure you need to pity anyone living in a caravan park. The ones here in England can be quite comfortable, convenient, and suitable for single people who don’t need the fuss of house maintenance. They are fairly cheap for those with little equity who want to live simply.

    Having said that, to be honest, your ex is lucky not to have done time for his violence against you. I was the subject of domestic violence while living in England, and if it weren’t for the lazy CPS policy of not prosecuting domestic cases (unless they succeed in murdering or inflicting life changing injuries) my ex would have definitely done time.

    Your ex made choices. They involved losing his marriage and child. Case closed.

  • Cheryl,

    Take a good long look at your child when she is smiling and happy. That image alone is the reason you must snap yourself out of your stupor. Because that smile will be gone if that POS ever gets near you or her and uses his “training”.
    Divorce is not supposed to make the heart grow fonder…it’s supposed to sever connection. Don’t let a semblance of empathy or pity tie you to that creep. People who beat up other people do not deserve anything but revulsion and being left the hell alone. Your sympathy won’t make him like, respect or love you. He probably blames you for his current situation and if you even think of contacting him that’s an explosion of hate you do not want.

    • Yes. This. It’s great how after a while it all gets turned round and the victim he’s the blame. It’s insidious. I am now the ‘baddie’ coz he abandoned his kids! I am the buddy because he has to pay child maintenance. I am the buddy because he never contributed to household bills or mortgage in his life, so now it’s my house!
      And yes, he is living in a caravan! In his sluts, parents, large back garden!!
      There are no winners is this whole ugly process….

      • Yeah, child maintenance and living in my house make me “that bitch” through his whole family and him, but too bad, I won, I will continue to win just by loving the child and rearing her to adulthood and having a great life along the way.
        His training was extensive and he’s like a dog who bit a sheep now.
        I so desperately wanted a way to stop feeling those compassion feelings and you lot have helped no end, thank you. x

  • My abusive alcoholic ex was similar after I left and lived in domestic violence refuges for a year. In the weeks following my escape he lost his (very well regarded) job, then the car was repossessed, bailiffs showed up and helped themselves to his computer equipment, then he was evicted from our former home for falling behind on the rent; he ended up living out of black bin-bags in his hoarder parents back bedroom drinking from dusk until dawn, which was particularly satisfying as is parents had denied his drinking when I’d approached them for help, had said he drunk heavily because of me.

    I felt guilty for a long while afterwards. Maybe if I’d got him help, maybe if I’d been more supportive, maybe if I’d had a magic formula, maybe I could’ve prevented him from losing everything.

    In time I realized…he lost everything in a matter of weeks. I had been carrying this man entirely. That’s not a relationship, that’s propping up an angry, drunk man-child. A few years later I got a call from the police; my ex had slithered his way into another single mothers home and turned abusive, although this time he’d turned on her kids too. He was still unemployed, still had no car, still an abusive alcoholic.

    There was no magic formula.

    You can’t help these people. The cheating is a facet of their abuse and even if you eliminate that, they’re still abusive pieces of shit. They’re self-destructive and and will drag you down with them.

    Cheryl, be relieved that you’re not living in the Caravan Park of Sadness. All it would’ve taken was for you to drop one spinning plate and your life would’ve tumbled with him. You were the backbone of your shared existence, the one keeping your heads above water (as evidenced by his spectacular fall from grace) and that’s just too much responsibility for a singular person.

    Keep your head above water for yourself and your children.You and they DESERVE happiness and security and stability, something you’d never have had with this fuckwit because you were too busy stopping him from sinking. You’ve cut off the dead weight and now you’ll float to a happier life.

    • Wow Sugarcoatedlies, well said. My cheater died not long after I finally divorced him after years of abuse and cheating, without me his life spiraled downward as well. I felt guilty for a long time but now realize propping him up wasn’t my responsibility and just because I stopped doesn’t make me responsible for his down fall!

      • I think that whole “lose the house, spend through the settlement funds” is part of the cheater handbook. Not fun to witness, especially if there are kids involved, but it is satisfying that after YEARS of being blamed for Cheater #1’s problems by his family, it was sweet justification that his life spiraled down with alarming speed after I left with Junior.

        The uncle who was a priest called me a year after I left, less than two weeks before the divorce was finalized and begged me to go back to Cheater #1. “For the sake of the baby”. Um, no. For the sake of the baby I’m definitely NOT going back to that lying, cheating drunk.

    • Great post. This falls along the lines of my response to this day’s message. I totally agree with CL’s points. That said, I have never been 100% able to control my emotions with logic, personally, so I find I often have to approach my chump tendencies from the angle of what to do with how I feel as opposed to trying to change how I feel.

      Even after all these years and the horrible things he did, I, too, feel sorry for my ex. He will always have a shitty life because he treats everything that matters in life like it doesn’t matter. That’s really damn sad. I loved him (the version I thought I knew, anyway) deeply and I hate that this is how that relationship ended up.

      However, none of that means I have to actually be attached to him. So I feel bad for him. So what? As long as I remember that he’s abusive to me and I make my choices and set my boundaries in ways that keep him and his BS out of my life, it’s not really a problem that I feel some compassion for him.

      I guess I’m suggesting that maybe you’re asking the surface question, not the deeper one. How do you stop feeling sorry for him? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you stop perceiving your feeling as something that matters. Maybe you just feel it, and that’s how it is, and feeling it doesn’t change your understanding that he’s bad for you and your child or that he has to remain fully out of your life.

      If my ex called me and asked for help right now, with anything at all, I would say no. If I saw him having a heart attack, I would probably call for an ambulance just as I would for any other person (though if he had been violent with my child, TBH, I might not even do that), but that’s the extent of it.

      He’s a stranger to me now. That’s how I like it.

      • I couldn’t agree more. Cheater is stuck in an endless cycle in his life. He is losing his relationship with his kids and doesn’t even get why. I feel sorry for him because he honestly doesn’t understand (he is just too full of himself and feels entitled without having to put in any work).

        But I am done trying to fix his mess ups or do anything to change his consequences. Bottom line is it is up to him to put on his big boy pants…or not.

      • You can feel sorry for him without feeling any responsibility to fix it for him or try to make things better for him. Kind of like how you would feel sorry for anyone who got themselves into a bad situation.

        • EXACTLY CiR! My ex MIL is going to be without her only child for Thanksgiving because she doesn’t get along with his stripper gf. I feel sorry for her (a little) but she treated me like shit for 35 years and hasn’t spoken to me once since I filed for divorce. So yeah, I pity her but am I going to invite her to have dinner with me, my kids and the rest of my family? Nope. Her situation is a consequence of her actions.

      • This post so resonates with me! After 30 yrs if wifery it is hard to stop “taking care” of him emotionally which now looks like I feel guilty of the consequences of his choices (pathetic right). He too spiraled to a place I wouldn’t want to be. For my boys sake, I hope he recovers. For me, I will take this advice and just feel the emotion and carry on. My friend gave me a card at the beginning of this “life isnt about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain”. I’m dancing the best I can and looking forward to enjoying it some day. Hugs!

      • Amiisfree, that is a wonderful post.

        Unlike cheating narcissists, we are capable of compassion. On our chump journeys, we learn the hard way that “You are an appliance to him. A thing of use. Did you break? He’ll shake you, slam you against the counter to see if that wakes you up (or alleviates his frustration), and he’ll go find another appliance.” (Tracy, that description is AWESOME!!)

        We, however, see human beings as actual human beings. And because we once loved these people, we may find it hard to shut down that part of us that sees the humanity even in severely disordered exes. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

        Amiisfree hits on the main issue with regard to that compassion: do not for a second confuse feeling sorry for feeling attached. Feeling sorry can sometimes make you conflate the two, and it’s very important to be aware if your compassion is in any way causing you to tap into the bond that once connected you to him.

        I have great admiration for the Dalai Lama. His writings have made me think a great deal about compassion. By itself, it’s a great thing and the world needs more of it. But it should not ever cross over and rekindle connection to a person who has harmed you and would, if given a chance, DO IT AGAIN.

        I did volunteer work in a women’s prison and I didn’t make friends with those people though I often felt sorry for them. Some of the things that have been done to us by cheaters either bordered on the criminal or, as in Cheryl’s case, were in fact criminal. I don’t think it’s bad to feel sorry for them, but we must remember they are cons and will con us again in a heartbeat because they have ZERO compassion for US.

      • Thank you, Amiisfree –

        This really helped me think of this problem in a different way. I needed that!

    • …’The cheating is a facet of their abuse …’ < YES!!

      Mine also had a very high level position. Recently living in his car the last I know of.

      My how they fall.

      The cheating was another symptom of entitlement and abuse. Along with the drunk all day whilst living off me and my family while he disappeared all day to screw the bar whores.

    • YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!! My mum says “you carried that man for years and all he did was tell you how you weren’t doing it quite right”. He lost everything when I left, job, purpose, self respect….. and I am glad. His kid lost her childhood joy, it is still weighted in her favour. She lost the most.

  • Cheryl-

    “Sometimes when one door closes you want to get a hammer and nails to make sure that bitch stays shut.” You closed the door on him 5 years ago; escaped with the lives of you and your child so now is the time to get out the hammer. I’m a little concerned that you still feel bad for him because people like your ex can sniff that out like a shark smells blood in the water. You DON’T want to let him back into your life!

    Please listen to CL. Focus your time and energy on your child and your new narc/abuser free life. Don’t untangle his skein. It’s fucked up but you already know that. Anyway, the more you focus your energy on your new life, the more his living circumstances fade into the background. He made a choice so he is now reaping the consequences. It comes with our freedom.

    And for the record, the way he treated you he got off light. 7th circle of hell, party of one!

    • Thank you. It hurts to much for me to carry on functioning properly if I sit and remember and feel what he did to her so I push it aside but we deserve to be free of any consideration of him, thank you!

  • He made the choices for his life to be what it is. He wants you to feel sorry for him. He wants you to let him out of some of his consequences. Save your sympathy for someone who truly feels remorse. Someone who says what he did to your barrister does not.

  • Chump Lady, you are phenomenal. Where would we be without you? No one clears the fog like you do. Your blog is a lighthouse for chumps lost in the fog of deception.
    Like Cheryl, I tend to feel sorry for people, even when those people are bad people. I needed to hear this today—that it is not callous to let people suffer the consequences of their poor choices, especially when they show no remorse and deny their behavior in light of obvious facts (that is, flat out lie to your face, insulting your intelligence).
    I am getting better at this all the time, though. Feeling sorry for evil people leaves the door open for them to manipulate and abuse you, in a variety of ways – emotionally, physically, mentally.
    Cheryl, I know it can be hard, but just keep telling yourself that he is responsible for his own behavior. You are not responsible for his poor choices, and if you extend sympathy to him, he will only use it against you.

    • So right. Someone said to me recently, we are free to choose but we are not free to choose the consequences. Chump Lady is my new favourite person!

  • If you want to stop feeling sorry for him, remember how he hurt your daughter. Remember her pain, fear, and sadness. That should clear it up right quick.

  • His life is in the toilet because he put it there. It is still in the toilet because​ he is leaving in it there.

    • He did, you are so right, thank you. I didn’t do this to him, he did this to him, not my problem.

  • When exasshole raised his fist to me, the love died. When he lied to police and got me arrested, anger of huge proportions was born. When he brought a gun and I saw in his eyes he wanted to kill me, all feelings of immortality died. I don’t like being afraid, hate was born.

    The recent horrific shootings, wherein people are actually talking about domestic abuse as a precursor to mass murder, have brought bad memories back and anxiety. I would like to think of exasshole, not at all. If I hear he dies, I’ll attend the funeral, just to make sure he is truly dead.

    I’m glad if your experience did not traumatize you, but I think you are compartmentalizing way too much if you feel sorry for the man who abused you and your daughter. This may stem from some subconscious feelings of guilt, I can assure you, what he did was not your fault. EMDR therapy for both of you might be a good idea. I need to go back myself. Jedi Hugs!

    • Nah, I’m deeply and possibly permanently traumatised but cover it up with laughing. You completely hit the nail on the head. Life will never be the same again but it is like those Japanese vases they repair with gold and the imperfections are something to be celebrated. I’m searching for the gold to repair the cracks right now. No future husbands for me, I cannot bear the thought of letting someone in to my life, makes me queasy just considering it. I do think he will try again one day to finish the job but that is what the police and emergency services are for. If I live on the right side of the law I am entitled to the protection of the law. I lived. That night I didn’t think either Missy or I would live. Every day since then is a victory, no matter how crappy. For him to finish the job I’d of had to do it for him 🙂

  • Understanding how it must feel to lose everything… yep, that’s empathy. It’s a blessing to a relationship (with a normal individual) and a curse to those who can maintain it in the face of abuse. Feelings (sympathy) do not negate facts (he beat your child) this is why the results of actions are called consequences. Sure, those blessed with empathy can put ourselves in another’s shoes, and understand how the other must feel, but that does not mean they shouldn’t have to suffer those feelings, or that they shouldn’t pay for their actions. Did he give you or your child the same … no! Let’s be very clear… if he feels bad at all, it’s FOR HIMSELF!

    Instead of feeling sorry for him, try to understand why you would.

    • True. Arrogant git after being recorded police interviewed came out and said “the police detective agreed with me, he’d have done the same”. I spoke to the detective to clarify, “Mrs Cheryl, they always say that especially when they are scared, I told him that he would answer to me if he ever raised a hand to you or your daughter again under the full force of the law”. They’re deluded.

  • In my opinion… That threat he made of being “trained to kill” shows what his true intentions are. He held back and he wants everyone to know it. You bruised his ego by escaping and made the loser feel weak. That says it all.
    I understand your letter completely. I was on the floor shaking on the phone with my therapist for weeks because of the overwhelming guilt from reporting him. This is why DV reports arent reversable once they go to the prosecutors office. We love the men that hurt us and want to undo it. We are not used to doing anything “out of line” that they would disapprove of and we doubt we handled it properly. And to make it worse I have to hear over and over… how could you do this to me?! Why are you trying to destroy me?! I was only angry i didnt mean it!! You turned on me!!
    But what’s the alternative? Letting someone gravely injure our minds and bodies or kill us just so we can protect them from consequences and let them continue with a comfortable life? Sacrifice ourselves to a man that hates us so much that crying and pleading makes him go harder?
    The fool got a house with equity in your settlement. He probably sold it and made money. Or if he lost the house then that’s on him. Big boys can take care of themselves. And I’m sure Mr Tough Guy made more poor choices after your divorce was finalized.
    ???? You did nothing wrong. You have a right to survive. You protected your child. There is nothing more right than that.

    • Oh my God whatring, you just quoted my ex back to me word for word. As he was an American (both my boys and I are Brits) living in France he needed a permit to live here. I held off reporting him after so many, many beatings because I was afraid that a DV conviction would get him kicked out of France. When I could finally take it no more and took him to court he cried “why did you do this to me, how COULD you”? and so on, just like yours. And just like yours, what was I supposed to do, wait till he killed me? I am tough and I had a good job and loads of support anyway but even I understood how hard it was to report that violence – imagine how hard it is for others who don’t have the same resources. Yep, consequences buddy, consequences. I hate to even think about the first time he gets caught drink driving in the States, I suspect they won’t be as soft as they over here, and (and I don’t wish this on her) the first time he beats the shit out of her (although with family around to witness the bruises he may not be quite so handy with his knuckles)!

    • Thank you, I really appreciate your perspective, it is very helpful, thank you. I have found most people thought I was exaggerating but I never ever uttered a false word and underplayed how scared I was just so I didn’t lose my own mind. His comments did reveal his true desire. BUT, we lived 🙂 Now we get Missy help now that she is ready to talk.

  • Cheryl my ex was violent too. Put me in hospital and I have a conviction for domestic violence against him too. He left me but eventually his Skank also abandoned him (also due to violence). He quickly hooked up with an old high school friend, she came over to France for 3 months (the max allowed), so he was on his own for a couple of months after she went back. He had rented a large 3-bedroomed farmhouse and just bought a dog when suddenly he and latest Schmoopie decided to buy a place together back in the States. He abandoned the farmhouse AS IS – left the washing in the machine etc. and the dog – with just 5 days notice to me and my boys. So yet again I was left cleaning up his mess. We took the dog to the pound (he was re-adopted) and then I spent my weekends emptying that damn place (I’ve still got half his junk in my basement). I left the final clean up to the boys, BUT I do understand a little of what you mean about “feeling sorry for him”. When there were 5 of us living at home I quite happily ran the show, did all the cooking, ironing and so on even though I worked full-time too. I genuinely didn’t mind. But as I was cleaning out his bedroom at the farmhouse I noticed the ironing board was up and one of his shirts was placed on it and I felt SAD. Stupid I know. I just thought “you pillock” I didn’t even mind doing your ironing but you threw it all away. I didn’t love him at the end anyway – because of the violence – but I knew how dependent he was on living with someone (couldn’t be on his own) and here he was at this point in time doing his own ironing and living alone. I don’t know if I’m making sense. I guess it’s just symbolism. I’m glad he has a new Schmoopie so she can deal with his drama (I hope no more violence but who knows) and you know what, he has a fabulous pension, she is earning ….. and yet I still know he will spend them both out of house and home. He will always be the sad, unfulfilled person desperate to cling on to someone else because he can’t live on his own. I’m glad the latest squeeze is a troll – she can take over that shit from now on so I can forget about babysitting him when he eventually seriously fucks up again. I would never in a million years take him back whatever the circumstances, but I guess I just feel sorry for him for having to be him!

    • Attie,
      You feel the way you do because you are a loving, sweet, kind person. That is just who YOU are.
      You are free of him, you are safe now, that’s the important thing.
      He lost out on your loving qualities, his deep deep loss.
      You are YOU!
      A truly beautiful person!

    • Attie – how is it you had to clean out his home?

      I hope you and your boys are living a happy healthy post abusive life.

      • He called me on the Friday to say he was moving back to the States and left on the Sunday. Technically I didn’t have to clean out his house as we were already divorced BUT if there were going to be expenses involved in emptying it, under French law they could go after next of kin (i.e. my kids) if they couldn’t get hold of him. Soooo, knowing that my kids would leave it till the last minute “thinking oh we’ve got time” (the Twat had to pay the rent for the next two months), I went up there every weekend and loaded up what I could to take to the tip, bring back to my home etc. My youngest was moving out in a few months so I felt he could take quite a bit of his dad’s stuff anyway and I took tons to the tip. But I still have loads of it downstairs (I have a huge basement) and I am slowly going through it and will either sell what I can or give it away. At the end though I left the final heavy lifting to my kids and their friends (they did a wonderful job) and if the Twat had any decency he would have left the security deposit to the kids (I don’t think he did though). So I didn’t do it for him, I did if for them, knowing that someone had to do it. But it is totally indicative of how my ex operates.

    • When we moved back in to the family home, he made sure to leave in full view the receipt from the police interview (they have to sign something) and valentines cards from all his girlfriends since we split declaring undying love to eachother. I laughed. I kissed his daughter on the cheek and we ordered in Chinese.

  • Well, all the above plus don’t underestimate these people’s ability to con there way into new situations. Believe me he is milking this misfortune for all it’s worth. The only thing better than winning is losing for people who live primarily off the sympathy of others.

    • Truth! They get tons of mileage out of how allegedly mean and unsympathetic chumps supposedly are. Crazy business, that.

    • Yeah, you’re right. He is “woe is me”-ing all over the place. He doesn’t perhaps know I sent a summary to his parents in Jamaica showing how he got a house, half my pension and £30K cash. His mum is all “oh my baby”, his dad is all “that poxy boy”. Granddad loves and supports Missy, Grandma makes the right noises toward Missy but didn’t visit her in the same town when she came to the UK to stay for a month “in case it upset David”. SHE was staying in a house I legally owned less than 3 miles from where her granddaughter slept daily and she couldn’t be fekkin bothered. We had words. Very polite yet stern words about acceptable conduct toward my daughter and my expectations of them. They’ve shaped up since then.

  • “It’s OKAY to determine that someone is awful and you want nothing more to do with them. ”

    There is something about us chumps that makes it hard for us to get to this spot. It’s why we do the pick me dance. It’s why we did the years of the spackling. I guess it takes time to get there.

    • You are right…. I loved the Freedom Programme, or “how to spot a baddie at 50 paces” programme. So enlightening.

  • We may be able to change some things with love and understanding, but there are a good many things we cannot change, and must censure if we are going to coexist in a society. Accepting that here is “no magic formula”, no amount of love, no fairy dust of forgiveness that will change a hardened heart, or a determined bully, is very hard if you have empathy.
    It is similar to comparing a domesticated animal to a wild one. I have had both dogs and cats as pets most of my life. I love them and care for them. Even so, I have been scratched and bitten — they are still dogs and cats. I may admire wild animals, like lions and wolves, and I may despair of some of the stupid, destructive things we do as humans which impact their ability to live as a wild, free animal. But they are still wild, and I cannot domesticate them, and I cannot love them enough to make them not wild. If I tried to love them more, they may well bite me and scratch me, and may even kill me. It is their nature. I am not responsible for their nature, and I cannot change it, nor do I want to.
    We may want our mates to have character, and to live a reasonable life. We may even understand that their childhood experience contributed greatly to their adult attitude. But we cannot change who they are. If they choose to be a lumbering destructive bully, if they choose to prey upon us because they are physically stronger than we are, we cannot change them. We can only flee, and save our own lives.
    What Cheryl did was the smart thing to do. Now she needs to turn away, turn off her mind, and turn off any consideration she would have provided for a domesticated spouse. She left a wild and dangerous beast. He is fortunate that he is not in jail. He probably doesn’t deserve to live with people at all. He is not Cheryl’s problem, anymore.

    • Thank you for recognising how wild and dangerous he is. That really means a lot to me. You are right, he is not my problem anymore.

  • Chump Lady, you are so hilarious. I especially like your inner voice dialogue. LMAO!

    “That’s so Draconian, Tracy.”

    I know, I know….

  • Cheryl – I think I understand what you are going through. It has been three years since DDay #4 and the discard for the OW. The divorce took 2 years because he’s a fuckwit. The OW caught him cheating and broke up with him and he found a new girl the next day. We co-parent a son and my stepdaughter lives with me. He just moved in with the new girl after a year of dating… her 900 sq. ft. house in a questionable neighborhood… certainly a “downgraded” lifestyle from the one we enjoyed… but he tells everyone he is sooooo happy. (I’m a controlling, selfish bitch that he escaped.)

    And yet, there are times where I think I am the only one who knows how to help him, who knows how to love him, who knows what the broken bits are and can fix him. In those moments, I realize, I am talking about myself and just projecting me onto him… as I did throughout our marriage. If he wanted a loving wife and good kids and a strong family bond, he shouldn’t have stuck his dick in a trannies mouth or gone out for a night of couples sex while I was on a business trip. Kinda simple when you look at it that way… his ACTIONS created the outcome. Just like your X’s actions have landed him in the caravan.

    Here is what I have learned from CL and CN… They don’t want to be fixed. Your X, living in the Single Dad Caravan, is there because he wants to be. Just like he cheated on you and abused you and your daughter because he wanted to, he is living the life he wants… it just doesn’t look like the life you would have chosen. But, he fired you from helping him build a better life the day he raised his hand to you and your daughter.

    Give compassion to a woman trying to escape an abusive husband, don’t give it to the abuser.

    You’ve got to rewire your thinking and it is hard. But remember who is watching.

    • You are right, he is living the life he wants so let him go, completely.
      I have to model good actions for Missy. That is not optional.

  • Cheryl,

    I am sorry to hear that you and your daughter are in this situation. My ex-husband is a domestic abuser, too. He likes to get people to feel sorry for him being in the bed he made (doesn’t get to see our kids much). I feel much more sorry for the homeless people and animals I work with, most of whom just got unlucky.

    I sometimes wonder if chumps feel sorry for abusers because the evil these abusers perpetrate does not fit into our ‘Pollyanna-ish’ view of the world. We want to believe that the world is, at the core, good and if we just try to be GOOD enough, we can help these bad guys (or bad girls) see our worth/become ethical, people who are kind to all and, consequently, do right by us. After many years, I am still trying to disabuse myself of this notion.

    Good luck getting to Meh. I hope that we get there soon!

    • Thank you! For decades (we were together 24 years, I’m now in my 40’s) I thought the army had damaged him and if he got counselling or if I loved him right or made enough allowances all would turn out well…. but he went in to the army that way and came out that way and that is who he is. I needed to learn that I cannot rescue a person like that because they are not broken from who they originally were and neither should I want to.

  • “Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.”

    Sadly many of us Chumps are also codependent. I’m not being critical because this was me as well with my Ex.
    As part of “fixing your picker”, it is important to get therapy for yourself and break that cycle. If you don’t, you might end up in another relationship like the one you left.

    Don’t feel sorry for him because he most assuredly doesn’t feel sorry for you !!

    • I love that definition. And my first thought on reading Cheryl’s letter is that she wants to fix him and his situation.

      No contact. Period.

      • I did spend too much time wishing he would fix himself but never actually wanted to get near or do the fixing because you don’t poke a bear. But thanks to you good folks, I’m cured of feeling sorry for him. Onward! Thank you.

        • I think I felt guilty that I had done that to him. But he did that to him. Clarity ensued.

  • I hate him. He sounds awful. Can you remember what he was like when he was at his worst with you, or your daughter? And, as a woman who found herself with a narcissistic lying hungry ghost, who was raised by the same except in female form, I strongly advise counseling. Al-anon. Every time you waste time thinking about him for any reason you are betraying not just yourself but a young human daughter entrusted to your care. Be a better mother to her. My children are the keys to the cage I found myself inside, again. Love them, and you learn to love yourself. Replace your concern over him with healthy nurturance of her. Make that the habit. Love what is good, ditch that fuckhead.

    • Al Anon has been very helpful to me. We don’t even talk about our qualifier. Just focus on owning our own stuff and not anyone else’s

      • Me too. Al Anon has been very helpful. Even if you don’t go to meetings, check out the literature. Recordings of conference speakers are what drew me in.

    • He is worthy of hate. And as I was raised by someome soooo similar to him the alarm bells didn’t ring because it didn’t feel different. BUT Freedom Programme – it’s the best. Missy has been the motivation and as you say Key to my cage, seeing her free from that abuse is the most joyful thing and I cannot even find the words to describe.

  • CL and CN have really helped me see how I look at the now ex’s life through my own lens. I see his world and life how I would see and feel it. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be him and have lost everything that I hold dear. But there is where the fault it in my viewpoint is. These are things I hold dear. Not the ex. I see life through my empathy, my values, my happiness. He doesn’t see his life this way.

    Sure might he end up a sad sausage and have a sadz? Maybe but only for how he sees/feels things. His loss of control. His loss of me doing the adulting.

    I look back over my 20 years with a fuckwit now and remember how he’d gripe about me taking a picture of the family/kids. He said I was ruining the event. When he abandoned the family home for his schmoopie, he didn’t take a single picture. This was never important to him. If my home were on fire, other than kids/pets, my pictures would be my top retrieve.

    You escaped an abuser. He abused you and your kid. Your lives, happiness, mental health, security were never important to him. His power and control were important to him. He has power and control where he lives over himself and his circumstances. Be free of him. Focus on what is important to you. You life, your happiness, your kid, your security.

    • You are right. This is helping. I was projecting a normal persons thought processes on to him but normal just doesn’t apply so enough with that nonsense! Kiddo, happiness, security. Top priorities. Thank you.

  • TwiceaChump nails it here: “I see his world and life how I would see and feel it. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be him and have lost everything that I hold dear. But there is where the fault it in my viewpoint is. These are things I hold dear. Not the ex. I see life through my empathy, my values, my happiness. He doesn’t see his life this way.”

    We should realize that when we feel pity for an abuser that we are projecting our own values and capacity for empathy and grief onto others. No doubt abusers feel sorry for themselves (the Pity Channel) and blame others for their problems (cue the Rage Channel).

  • Cheryl~

    This turd did this to himself! You had no control over his decisions. He is a control freak and dangerous. Please distance yourself from him and his abusiveness to protect yourself and your daughter. Do not give him a second thought! You reap what you sew!

    Peace to you and your daughter.

  • There have been a few times over the years that I’ve actually started to feel sorry for my crazy ex. In my case, that compassion ended every single time when he eventually pulled or attempted to pull yet another con game on me — these usually involve trying to cheat me out of money — or I received some sort of random emotional abuse/harassment that I guess entertained him, like the time he totally out-of-the-blue texted me that he “should have added LOL to the end of his marriage vows.”

    So now I know that if ever I start to feel “sorry” for him, all I have to do is wait. He’ll pop up eventually and end that shit all by himself. For those of you who also have truly disordered exes/cheaters, you know what I’m talking about.

    • I know exactly what you mean GladIt’sOver (so am I BTW!), it took me 33 years, but I finally recognized the pattern. Tracey’s description of Karpman’s triangle is spot on. If I didn’t yield to Charm, then came Sad Sausage, followed by “this is on you” Rage.

      We once did a marriage exercise from a John Gottman book (anyone else fail out of Gottman U?) where we said 5 things we liked about the other. I dug deep, looked for 5 honest responses that I could stand behind, and didn’t exaggerate. He made me out to be a super amazing angel of mythic proportions. I actually felt sick afterwards because I *knew* the fall from that high of a pedestal was gonna hurt. Less than 24 hours later I was accused of being the least compassionate person he knew. Yeah. Well I’m neither perfect nor awful, though closer to the perfect side, wink!

      It always pendulums back, doesn’t it?

      • We also did that 5 things we like about each other exercise during bogus reconciliation. I wrote a long list of nice things about ex. The only thing ex wrote was “I cannot think of anything I like best about you, and that bothers me.” This, after I gave him yet another chance after 20 years of lying and cheating on me.

        • Oh my god that scumbag. I am outraged on your behalf. I can think of 5 things I like about you and I’ve only read your post.

  • It breaks my heart to hear these type of stories.

    CL dished out some real tough love today! I echo her advice. Listen, your XH is a grown-assed man – aka an adult – who holds sole responsibility for his health, well being and his actions. It is not your job to manage his life. It is not your job to fix him. It is your job to be a great Mom and to heal yourself. Chumps have a hard time with this. We’re good at feathering the nest and making our partner’s life easy. Until you see this, then you are going to be a bit stuck.

    You’ve undergone an extremely stressful time and, even though by the calendar it is 5 years, that doesn’t mean you’ve had any time to heal. You’ve likely been in survival mode.

    Cheryl, you are so awesome. Now its time to work on yourself. Please go and get some counseling.

    • Ok, so now I am crying a little.
      You are exactly right. Calendar years do not count, I am still in the trauma even though life moved on and we have a great circle of friends and are safe and happy.
      I can’t think about that night without crying and becoming undone so I guess I need to do some more work with a counsellor.
      Still trying to fix the house he broke and trying to keep enough cash coming in to keep me and Missy going.
      I get pretty pissed off because I didn’t originally choose to be a single mum and carry this very heavy burden alone, I chose to be partnered but I chose really badly and now it is all a bit overwhelming.
      My Mormon side of life heavily plays on the equally yolked partnered for eternity you need to try buttons.
      But since we separated they’ve been amazing and supported.
      I just get pissed because it was terrifying, it continues to be a bit scary and I didn’t sign up for this crap.
      But I’m also happy at the same time and completely in control of this whole thing.
      I’ve got this covered, it’ll be fine.
      Nobody said it was simple, eh.
      Thank you. x

  • I haven’t had a chance to read all the responses so if I’m being repetitive then forgive me.
    Physical abuse is an absolute for no contact….period.
    My ex never hit me so it’s not the same thing but as all of us here have experienced…..he was abusive. Guilt is guilt.
    My kids stopped talking to him very shortly after he left when we discovered there was another another woman (there had been 4 previous D days that the kids were spared knowledge of). When he finally walked I told them everything. He of course blames me that they don’t speak and I carried that shit for a long time. I’ve let it go.
    If you want to be thought of fondly, behave better.
    He made his bed with the kids ( now 20&26) their relationship with him or lack there of is on them. I don’t feel one bit bad for showing them who he is…..but I did for a long time. I bought into the crocodile tears.
    Your ex did this to himself, let him live alone in his caravan with the consequences of his choices.

    • “ If you want to be thought of fondly, behave better.“

      Yes Paintwidow, exactly! My ex used to complain that we didn’t seem happy to see him come home after a trip. I always thought to myself he should work harder at being a person we would miss!

    • Thank you, I’ll take with me “If you want to be thought of fondly, behave better.” and put the responsibility back on his shoulders.

  • Why do you feel bad for your ex? He wasn’t feeling bad for you at the time he beat you and your daughter. You should feel bad for someone who is innocent, someone who is a father of four and loses his job and his wife gets ill. You should feel bad for people who actually deserve it. Not for someone who doesn’t care about you and his own child, and has a choice to do what is right, yet chooses to act wrongly.

    Take the feeling of feeling bad for this turd, and turn it around and apply it to you. You should feel bad *for you* and *your daughter*. It’s the fact you didn’t feel bad enough for you that this asshole was able to perpetrate violence towards you and cheating. And also, *he* should feel bad for you and your child, as he’s the one who destroyed the lives of innocent victims.

    • Thank you so much. I get all Mormon and “be nice” about this and turn in to a cissy but you are exactly right. Thank you.

  • Think of it another way–would you be happier if he was living in a deluxe penthouse apartment with posh furnishings and golden doorknobs? Probably that’d set your teeth on edge (as it should!). Be happy that he’s living the life of a lowlife, cause he sounds like one!

    • So true! I’m glad he is flushing through the cash and making bad choices. I’m glad that nobody is protecting him from himself anymore.

  • Cheryl, disordered wingnuts leave a trail of chaos and devastation wherever they go. It’s what they do. And those sorts often use pity as a ploy to attract their victims. So instead of feeling sorry for the jerk, try to understand that he is posing as a divorced dad living in a caravan while he hunts for his next chump. It’s a calculated move on his part, not a sad situation beyond his control.

    You and your daughter are fortunate to be alive and well and out of the orbit of that creature. There are plenty of people who deserve your empathy. He is not one of them.

  • The world is chock full of human tragedies that are heartbreakingly complicated and horrifically sad. And I believe it’s ok to feel sorry for such people. But some people are broken beyond repair, and it’s your responsibility to stay clear of the dangerous ones–especially so when you are a MOTHER. YOUR CHILD AND YOUR SAFETY ARE YOUR PRIORITY, not some romantic fantasy of pity and reform and remorse that does not exist and never will be enough to protect you. Feel bad all you want. But do NOT put you and your child at risk of injury and death.
    How can you tell if someone is dangerous? If they beat you and your child and threaten your life, then they ARE proven dangerous and broken beyond repair and NEVER EVER to be trusted.

    Ironically, my ex taught me that. I felt sorry for the young, homeless drug addicts on Haight Street. He said that was nice of me, but it didn’t mean they wouldn’t just as soon rob me blind with a side of assault if they could.

    So there you go. Quit with the romance and fantasy. It’s irrational and dangerous.

    • Yep, that night showed his true colours. I have to remember that always and never let that weasel get near Missy again.

  • Cheryl, please get a counselor who specializes in helping victims of domestic violence. This stuff is very hard to get over in isolation, and it is so easy to fall back into denial, so hard to get away again with your life. And your daughter’s life. This man could have killed you both. Don’t be a statistic. Be alive. Nothing to feel sorry for here, there is not a good man buried underneath the wife and child abuser. Trust me. Stay gone, and anytime you find yourself feeling at all sorry for him, redirect that energy back at yourself. Best wishes to your new life! There is life after abuse, and it looks very different. Trust me, I know from experience. Strict No Contact is the best way to go. You can’t be friends or be civil, not ever. There are lots of people out there who would never dream of hurting you, find those.

    • Thank you. You are right, there is not a good man under the bad… I need to have compassion for me and Missy not some child beating twat.

  • Cheryl – see if you can find a freedom programme, they are free and if you need a creche there is one, they usually will help with transport if needed. I did 2 years of it. It helps you identify all the tactics of the dominator and I bet you anything that if you think hard you will see more things than you thought, more than just the violence, it helped me so much to identify all the things that he did over the years, it was all classic perpetrator behaviour, all the women I met there described similar behaviour. V therapeutic. It helps you identify what to look for if you ever want to look for someone else, well with regard to abuse anyway, so helping you fix your picker. It is not just for women who are with their abuser, mine had gone I guarantee that looking back at your marriage in a safe space you will start to stop feeling sorry for him
    as someone else said a residential caravan can be a lovely place, my sibling lived in one and it was great

    • Is this freedom programme just for victims of physical violence? Someone mentioned it to me but I’m not sure if my experience was bad enough to justify going.

      • A freedom programme website says it is for victims of “domestic violence”, and the definition of that includes physical, emotional, verbal abuse, etc. So it’s worth a try, I’d say. At the least, I’m sure they’d direct you to other helpful programmes.

      • No not just for physical violence. In fact bad as physical violence is I remember lots of women saying the psychological abuse is as bad as physical violence. And in a way it is worse, people can understand bruises and broken bones but not the psychological violence. And coercive control is now a crime thank heavens. In fact most of it isn’t about being hit. Id been in an abusive relationship for years and it took me a long time to peel back the years of subtle nasty behaviour. There were women from all walks of life and all ages and backgrounds
        If have children you’ll learn that witnessing bad treatment of their mother is also abusive. . You’ll be given nice cuppa and it might take a few sessions but it’s worth persisting, do give it a go. We’re all at different stages but one of the rules is don’t tell anyone to leave, and absolutely no judging.

    • Thank you.. I completely and graduated the Freedom Programme, this blip just threw me for a loop a little and you folks have got me back on track.

      The Freedom Programme – I didn’t think I qualified as I was not the intended direct recipient of violence (it was all toward missy and I was injured in a rescue the first time I ever saw or realised it happened).

      For the lady who asked if she qualified, YES, YOU DO!
      They were so supportive and respectful because the abuse I suffered wasn’t typically physical but had been emotionally and mentally harming for a long time and I needed help separating how to tell a good person from a bad. We think it is easy but baddies often arrive in sheeps clothing and they teach you how to tell a baddie right from the very beginning. They also validate your experience which quite frankly I thought was so valuable, “You’re not mad, he’s a dick”, and they bring to your attention the ways that you thought were just a bit off but were really really undermining and exploitative.
      If you’ve ever had to walk on eggshells to prevent a strop or incident or repercussions, it is for you completely.

  • My X had an odd way of reaching out to me.
    He knew I felt awful about our divorce. He has mental problems so I was trying to be compassionate by allowing him to text me when he was lonely & sad. My first husband suicided during his second marriage and I fear my X #2 will do the same.

    So we’d text about football or news topics a few times a month. Nothing personal, although he’d ask about my “boyfriend”.

    What did CheaterX do with that access? He would text the most VILE disgusting descriptions of sex acts featuring me or his “girlfriend” whom I assume is fictional. I mean it was gross and bizarre! I’d beg him to stop.

    I finally wised up (thank you CL/CN!) that this was very abusive. He is blocked. He’s sent many emails begging for contact but I ignore them now.

  • I don’t think I feel sorry for my ex, but that is probably because I still don’t 100% trust that he sucks. I am guilty of thinking that he’s not all bad and thinking that means he’s going to run off into the sunset and be ridiculously happy with schmoopie. I want him to face consequences, which I know means I’m still giving him far too much head space.

    Cheryl I’m so sorry to hear what your ex did to you and your daughter. I’m so pleased that you got away from him and you are safe. I hope your daughter is doing well and she is getting any help she needs to deal with her father’s actions. I am still relatively early on in the process and I’m still very angry with my ex. I feel more sorry for my children, that they have a selfish father who put himself before them. My ex is currently living it up with schmoopie so he isn’t having to face consequences. It may be in the future if things don’t work out for him, that I fall into that same trap. I hope by then I will have fixed my picker and been able to set boundaries and go no contact. I think that will come for you and then you will realise who your ex really is.

    • Pregnant chump – Every time I read your posts I want to give you a hug. You are a wonderful person and mother. You didn’t deserve to be abandoned and treated so terribly.

      Your STBX may seem to be “living it up” but his time will come. He is not a good person. He is selfish, immature and very destructive.

      Just keep on being the amazing person you are. He doesn’t deserve to even know you.

    • If a spouse has to consider whether their ex is all that bad or not, they absolutely are all that bad, no exceptions. Thank you for being supportive today, I really appreciate it.

  • Pregnant Chump,

    I can relate to much of what you have said although I don’t know whether I was pregnant any of the times my ex-husband cheated on me. (He told me that he cheated on me after I miscarried our twins. Who knows what’s true? Doesn’t matter to me now.) In terms of my lying post-separation now ex-boyfriend, I vacillate between being depressed that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to hang onto him and being angry about him repeatedly disrespecting and invalidating me for the last few years. I, too, often think about him happily running off into the sunset (or to his office, where he works with my replacement) with my replacement without experiencing any negative consequences. I envision his colleagues patting him on the back for ‘trading up.’ (My replacement is childless, nearly a decade younger than me (mid-forties), and earns much more than I do–thus, she’s more ‘fun’ than I am and is an ‘easier’ package.) To me, the situation is frustrating and demoralizing. To stay sane, I try to remind myself that what he did is not ethical, not healthy, and not the action of a mature, middle-aged man and deep down, underneath all my grief over the abandonment of me by the real and mostly imagined partner I thought I had, I think that I would not fully ENJOY having a partner who brazenly lies, disrespects me, and hurts me by regularly showing that he does not love me. Our replacements are getting partners who are fundamentally flawed in the worst way–in terms of character–and unapologetic about it! Although both my ex-husband and my ex-boyfriend are popular, are tremendously professionally successful, and earn many times what I will earn at my highest, I can no longer authentically respect either my ex-husband or my ex-boyfriend when it comes to their character. So maybe them kicking me to the curb, although very painful, wasn’t the worst outcome. I remember my ex-boyfriend telling me some outrageous lies when he dropped off the last of my stuff. I couldn’t even look at the guy I wanted to marry when he told me the last lie as it was so preposterous that I felt insulted that he would make up such a lie without any provocation to do so. I used to be extremely proud of my ex-boyfriend, not only for his achievement but also for his character and often sang his praises. (I was stupid.) I cannot feel very proud of someone, no matter how accomplished, who CHOOSES to repeatedly behave badly and try to cover up the bad behavior or make excuses for it.

    One silver lining in this cloud is your child is with YOU now. I hope that things stay this way, as challenging as it is to parent alone, as your child will benefit because you are the sane, loyal, responsible parent. I have 85% custody and find near total custody easier than less custody as I get to deal LESS with my abusive ex-husband this way and reduce the amount of time my children’s safety is possibly compromised. (Who knows what type of wildly unhealthy situations he might put them in? I shudder to think about it.)

    I was afraid to get divorced, no matter how bad my marriage got. I even tried to reconcile with my abuser (not out of love, but out of fear of divorced life)! Looking back on my marriage, if I had known how life would turn out post-divorce, I would have kicked my abusive, adulterous husband to the curb while my kids were still babies!

    Know that you are admired and respected for being loyal and strong.

    • Thank you, I admire the courage and accounts of the people who are blazing the trail before me. Thank you for sharing your experience and I hope you continue to go from strength to strength. Bad guys, like water, find their own level and have their own tribe, we cannot ascribe normal decent peoples values upon them but I do understand the urgghhhh-ness of it all.

  • I had a long and expensive day at lawyers yesterday. My Barrister said ” wow, your ex has lost weight , he looks terrible”.
    My ex has behaved appallingly to me yet I found myself feeling worried about him! AAArgh.
    He cheated multiple times, hid assets, is a liar bar none, is a very rich man yet so stingy its not true, and I feel sorry for him??
    What is wrong with me?
    I am not sure we empathetic people can switch it off.
    I guess just recognise that that is OK, but do not action it. Just keep on ignoring them, and when feeling soft keep remembering their faults.
    A wife beater and child beater is dangerous. No grey area. None.

    • Totally agree. I have to remember what he did rather than burying it under ice cream.

  • Seriously, women are killed in there homes every week where I live.

    You cannot muck around with someone who wants to kill you.

    Disengage immediately. Do not fuck around anymore on this, emotionally or otherwise. You could loose your life. This person wants to harm you in the ultimate way.

    If you’re not terrified, I am for you.


    • Or read up about what happened to beautiful little Luke Batty. His father murdered him at his cricket practice to get revenge on the Mother.

      Do not mess with these people. Seriously.

      I’m seriously worried about this post Chump Lady.

    • It has been so difficult because people kept trying to get me to be reasonable but I was VERY clear he wanted me dead. “You’ll never see a penny from this house, B***h, it’s mine, I’ll kill you first” was one of the classics. I am never ever ever going back, I just wanted advice on how to heal my heart so that I can let go. The threat is life long, he will try again one day, and people have forgotten how much of a nutjob he is and how long his memory and bruised ego lasts but I will have a happy life free from his fuckwittery, dammit!

  • CHERYL here, Hi Everyone.
    You lot are brilliant, I just want to smooch you on the cheeks and squeeze your faces you are that brilliant. What insight and wisdom! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    Every single one of you hit the nail right on the head…
    he is a nut job because he chooses to be and he is a nasty piece of work and he did beat the sunshine out of his kid when she was a 12 year old girl and she was terrified and still bears the physical scars and I was injured in the rescue and we did have to run and keep running for years.
    Those are facts.
    He only got away with it because it was a first offence and I, at the time, in that first week, had hopes he would get help and we would put our family back together…. what a fool I was.
    My daughter says she’ll only be satisfied if she sees him in the rain, at the side of the road, in a cardboard box wearing only his underpants in a lightening storm. She’s got a firm mind, that one.
    My need was to find a way to sever the compassion feelings because no-contact is the only option.
    I’ve been keeping one eye open because of the threats but thankfully since the divorce finalised a couple of months ago everything quietened down – psychopaths are very “out of sight out of mind”.
    The daughter means everything to me.
    It is a reflex action to be compassionate but I control my brain and I say what goes.
    It is difficult to actively remember what happened because it is so absolutely distressing and I am always trying to protect the people around me from feeling that wretched way but I am not responsible for protecting the Ex-Family’s feelings, only me and my daughter. I am tired of being reasonable. It makes me weary.
    The Freedom Programme set me on the right path, and you lot have helped me find the handrail again in all the mist of misplaced compassion.
    I’m delighted to share that my daughter has just started receiving counselling, finally, at last!!! She refused before but is ready now.
    ONWARD, WARRIORS! Let us protect our babies and let us build phenomenal lives! Those bastards will not keep us down.

    • Very glad to hear it Cheryl. I hope you are getting therapy also. I’m years out but still have some PTSD issues that I have to go back to EMDR therapy to resolve. You did the right things in the right times, the way things happened is what it is. Important not to beat yourself up that it could have been different. So important to recognize that abusers always have excuses, even if there are mental health issues those are for each of us to deal with ourselves. I hope you reach meh soon and I hope he dies because I know for me, that is the only way I’ll ever completely stop looking over my shoulder. I suspect that is true of most survivors. Because we do know they want us dead, even if other people dismiss our knowledge. Trust the gut. Jedi Hugs!

  • “Why do you feel sorry for him? Because imagining that he’s a good person who lost his way is less scary than realizing that you invested in a fraud. That he doesn’t love, he just controls. That you tried to love a creature that will not love you back. For YEARS.”

    This… all the way

  • There is still a terrifying scarcity of help, understanding, and compassion for men whose partners and spouses beat them. A friend of mine was in that situation for many years. He used to bring her, his then-spouse, to marriage counselling. In one of those sessions, the counsellor, upon hearing the ways and means by which the wife used to abuse her husband, turned to the wife and said, “If you were a man, you’d be in jail right now.” She just sat there, stone faced. Another time, in the midst of abusing him, she taunted him: “Go ahead, call the police. Who do you think they will believe? I’M the woman!” She has gotten off despicably lightly. She is still abusing him financially, psychologically, and verbally, though they have been separated for a couple of years. On a regular basis, this woman beat her husband in front of their very young children. She still has her flash job, the car she took from him, and shared custody. All criminal charges (even lying to police) were dropped. And now she has lost another boyfriend because of physical violence that happened in her house while the kids were there. And yet she goes on, empowered, entitled, and inflamed with the sick sense of her own victimhood. This is NOT acceptable.

  • “Leonard has some good qualities. He was very kind to pigeons.”

    I want that on a tee-shirt!

  • I know it’s hard sometimes not to feel that way about the father of your child but when you start to feel sorry for him I want you to remember this. He is the piece of shit that had no hesitation in physically abusing you and your daughter and almost destroying your lives in the process. Where was his sympathy then? I can guarantee you now if you and your daughter were in the same position as him he would not feel a bit sorry for you.

    By feeling sorry for him you are doing yourself and your daughter a huge disservice. Whenever you start to feel sorry for him I want you to remember that sadistic bastard not only beat on you but his own flesh and blood. Yes he may be your daughters father, but a person that genuinely loves their child does not do that to their kid. Yes he is having a shit life but he bought that shit life upon himself and deserves zero sympathy.

    By feeling sorry for him, he is getting what he is exactly setting out to achieve is by reeling you back in with the poor me and I feel terrible spiel. If he tries to contact you, don’t respond. If he wants to see his daughter, don’t enter a discussion handle it through a lawyer.

    Please don’t let him reel you in again not just for your sake but your daughters. You both now have a great life, please don’t let him destroy it all over again.

  • I know it’s hard sometimes not to feel that way about the father of your child but when you start to feel sorry for him I want you to remember this. He is the piece of shit that had no hesitation in physically abusing you and your daughter and almost destroying your lives in the process. Where was his sympathy then? I can guarantee you now if you and your daughter were in the same position as him he would not feel a bit sorry for you.

    By feeling sorry for him you are doing yourself and your daughter a huge disservice. Whenever you start to feel sorry for him I want you to remember that sadistic bastard not only beat on you but his own flesh and blood. Yes he may be your daughters father, but a person that genuinely loves their child does not do that to their kid. Yes he is having a shit life but he bought that shit life upon himself and deserves zero sympathy.

    By feeling sorry for him, he is getting what he is exactly setting out to achieve is by reeling you back in with the poor me and I feel terrible spiel. If he tries to contact you, don’t respond. If he wants to see his daughter, don’t enter a discussion handle it through a lawyer.

    Please don’t let him reel you in again not just for your sake but your daughters. You both now have a great life, please don’t let him destroy it all over again.

    This fucker had it all and destroyed without a single shred of remorse so please think of this whenever you start feeling sorry for him. Also be proud of the wonderful life you have created for you and your daughter – you are an awesome and brave lady.

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