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Where Did Chump Lady Come From?

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I was not always a bad ass.

People say the nicest things to me on this blog, and I feel compelled to remind them that I was a blithering chump. The chumpiest. I chased the unicorn at a full gallop. Had four D-Days. Wrote the goopiest, most mortifying entreaties to my cheater to not cheat on me. Did the marriage counseling, the therapy, read the books. Championed my “reconciliation” to baffled friends and family members, and even my divorce lawyer. I tangled with the skein so deeply, that’s why my hair looks like this.

So where did Chump Lady come from?

She was there all the time. She was the bitch inside me fighting back. Getting angry and occasionally winning the arm wrestling contest against chumpy me. Chumpy me had the strength of ten, thanks to hopium (a powerful hallucinogen and reconciliation-enhancing performance drug), but Chump Lady — my bad ass persona — was tenacious. She was the creeping doubt. The nag that woke me up at night saying “This doesn’t add up.” The protector who yelled back. Who questioned. Who insisted.

Once she got completely off the leash, and boxed his ears. YOU WILL NOT THREATEN HER! YOU WILL NOT SAY THOSE THINGS! WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

Chumpy me tried to put her back in her box, but she wouldn’t stay down. She fomented revolution. She would not shut the hell up.

Always the questioning. And the late night homework. She read infidelity boards (so many chumps, so few Chump Ladies and Men). She schooled herself about personality disorders and narcissism. She saw patterns. Things fit together, so that when chumpy me bought the lies, she said “This is manipulation.” Chumpy me wanted to go down the rabbit hole, had elaborate theories about why he did the things he did. Chump Lady said “No, he likes it like this. It’s that simple.”

Chumpy me got very upset with Chump Lady. How could two such different people live inside one woman? Chumpy me implored Chump Lady to shut up. Don’t you know what this means? It means we’re going to be ALONE. Fucked over! Broke! Humiliated! Chump Lady said — hey, we’ll figure it out. Chumpy me was too tired to make the journey. Remained unconvinced of the outcome. Where the heck are we going?

Chump Lady said “to a better place. Any place is better than this place.”

Sometimes chumpy me and Chump Lady were not on speaking terms. If chumpy me gave it another try, had sex with the loser, Chump Lady grew silent and just expressed herself as disgust. “It’s hard to have respect for you, chumpy.” Sometimes when Chump Lady grew quiet, chumpy me would try to summon her back, imagining what she looked like. (Chump Lady was several parts Aretha Franklin.) Chumpy me had to admit defeat — I can’t do this without you. Chump Lady said, “Okay, I’m driving. Get in the backseat.” Chumpy me tried to backseat drive and offer directions “Um, maybe we should pull over for that apology?” Chump Lady said “Shut up. I’ve got this.”

Chump Lady left the cheater. Chumpy me got used to the idea. They’re reconciled now. Chump Lady said “Don’t you dare feel sorry for him.” Chumpy me doesn’t. Chumpy me feels a bit sorry for herself now and then. God, what a waste that was. Chump Lady says “Nonsense. Look at how much we’ve learned. If it weren’t for that cheater, we never would’ve met.” Then the two sides of me embrace and have a good laugh.

This column ran previously. I think I’m 99 percent Chump Lady now. Chumpy me retired and is a professional puppy snuggler somewhere.

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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.
  • ‘If it weren’t for that cheater, we would’ve never met’

    Beautiful.

    I’ve learnt so much about myself since leaving him and enforcing no contact. After believing I would die without him, to find out the amount of strength I have almost brings me to tears of pride.

    All thanks to CL and CN for paving the way xxx

    • I need to say this site has helped more than psychologist, marriage counselors and friends.
      I finally get it. Every emotion I have had has been talked about.
      The guy is still trying to decide if we are getting a divorce. I am finally saying “hell yea. We are getting a divorce.
      Although I care I know I will survive.

      • Right? SO many things I’ve experienced I didn’t know were THINGS until I read what everyone says. And then,BAM, I get it. And I grow and change and get closer to building a better honest new clear life.

    • Same for me, that last bit – “Look how much we’ve learned. If it weren’t for that cheater, we never would have met. Then the two sides of me embrace and have a good laugh” 💕 This gets me every time, I always get choked up over the last paragraph. It really hits home for me.

      I just love this post, it’s always been my fave one! So beautifully written 🙌🏼

  • Hi

    Does all of the education in the ways of the disordered end up being very necessary and put to use in your faith community?

    • Good Morning, Queen Mother,

      You pose a good question. It’s one I hope other chumps will way in on.

      Is this education necessary? I believe for me, it was. I needed to stop being so trusting of him and of people in general. I was too naive about humans in all walks of life. I gave too much. I usually put myself last. I had weak boundaries. Leaving a cheater and gaining a life has been a necessary education for me. I believe I have grown (oh, so painfully) and am now a much stronger person, and more emotionally healthy.

      Has this education been put to use in my faith community? Nope. Not one bit. My faith community seems partly in denial about divorce and infidelity, and partly locked into the old “it takes two” excuse. I wish I lived in a more progressive area. If the day ever comes where I can weigh in and share what I’ve learned and support others, I definitely will. For now, the outdated and cheesy Divorce Care program is all they offer, and in my opinion, it’s minimal on the caring part.

        • Divorce Care is not to be confused with the RIC. They are not the same. My group meets after class to have drinks and pizza and we have deeply bonded. I am glad to be a part of it and I cannot say the same about the RIC. Dear God they stole a decade of my life and I let them.

          I do find some of the videos in the Divorce Care class, about 10 years too late for my marriage (and would have required my ex to watch them and CHANGE…).

          But the class, the instructor and the people make it the best thing I’ve done since I found Chump Lady. At least in my area, it is a great compliment to the CL site. It’s sad to end a long marriage, even if you know in your head you’re right to do so.

          There are times you need to be around people who “get it”. Divorce Care provides that.

          • I’m glad you found the Divorce Care in your area to be helpful and that you had time to enjoy a meal together and bond. The program I attended at my church only offered M&M’s, and we had to leave the room immediately afterwards so they could close up. Very little time was allowed for discussion. I have often felt that the most helpful part of the program, namely the sharing, bonding, support, etc., was the part that this particular leader minimized, with heavy emphasis on the videos. The leader had never experienced divorce. She had offered to lead the program in order to meet some program certification for her degree in counseling. Although she tried to be understanding, I don’t think any of us felt that she “got” us, especially those of us who were divorcing because of cheating.

            I’m glad your experience was different. I wish every person going through divorce had true support.

      • I teach student nurses sometimes at work and Im floored that so much of what we teach them is stuff that everyone needs to know. I feel the same way about learning about personality the disordered.

        You will encounter these people. My daughter just had a soul-bruising break up with her room mate and best-friend-since-childhood …her friend evolved into a cluster B and exhibited all the pathology we see here.

        We all learned this stuff the hard way …not everyone out there is disordered (so you have to be careful to not have a “if all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail” approach) but you live next to them, you work with them.

        As far as faith traditions go…my Catholic Deacon encouraged me to save myself in the storm…I didn’t listen to him…thats on me.

        • I didn’t find out what a Narc was until I picked up CL’s book…2.5 months after DDay, after marriage counseling, after begging for sex, & throwing myself at him…oh how he must have loved the power. I’d always heard the word Narc, but after months of studying the personality disorders associated with it, I am now a formidable badass for the STBX. Game on M*EFFER!
          Thanks CL for being a former chump and leading us all out of the darkness❤️

      • My faith community recommended a marriage counselor that put all the work on me. MC told me that would be the case and it would be the hardest thing I ever did. This after I told the MC that X never apologized EVER. Everything got shifted back to me. There was enough good tho and desire for an intact family for me to dance for a few months. It was awful. When he stormed out one evening after raging and it was so peaceful then I knew that I was done. Nothing to save. It irritates me to this day that MC thought we had something worth saving and the ABUSE that I got put through to save it based on MC advice still bothers me. A Christian MC. UGH.

        So Divorce Care is very outdated. Very little care for the abuse we endured. Best part is the friends I have made. Our leader says we are 50 percent to blame in the breakdown of our marriage. It’s annoying sometimes. My X cheated. That is what caused the real breakdown. I guess since we each represent 1/2 of the marriage I do get that. They seem to put more emphasis on our kids than our healing. Sometimes it’s frustrating. The endless preaching of forgiveness is wearing. I get it. But it certainly is a process. I’ll call it Meh. I do trust that X sucks. DC wants us to be friendly with our X. I just don’t ever see that happening. I wish they understood personality disorder. They have no clue.

        Infidelity is a deal breaker. My X sister in law(Xs brother) cheated on her 19 years ago. She still struggles.

        Then yesterday a co worker says everyone says how strong we are. She is like what other choice do you have? Give up? Well I do think I am stronger and way more healthy mentally now. I’ve been working on me. Trying to let the bitter go. And give X less of head space.

        This community helps bunches.

        I’ve rambled. Sorry!

        • Those if you who have done Divorce Care – don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
          There are many helpful parts of DC. Our leaders NEVER pushed reconciliation, never even implied that the chump was even partially to blame.

          • Yes. Our leaders push reconciliation. That’s being friendly with X for the sake of the kids. Mine are adults. My X is abusive still not following divorce decree. Nothing there to work with.

            There is still some good in DC. They need to understand narcissism. I guess in the Bible that’s insolent pride.

            I may try another churches program.

            • My Divorce Care group uses the term “reconciliation” NOT To mean getting back into the marriage. They use it to mean accepting and “reconciling yourself” to the past, and not carrying around the baggage. It may confuse the word’s meaning – but they understand that if you are in the group, you did not originally want the divorce. (What narc would join a support group?) Many of us come to want it as we open our eyes to the horror that our former spouses are.

              We are saddened by the end of the marriage but many of us remain resolute. Disappointed, but not eager for another round on lunacy. And a group like Divorce Care helps b/c you have people around you who “get it.” Your married friends fear divorce and while they want to be supportive, they often simply do not understand your viewpoint. Or they tire of it and think you should “be over it” by now.

              My 35 year marriage ended and my divorce was final last week. IT’s a big deal. But I’m thankful to be out of the marriage now.

              It was stealing my soul’s energy.

              • Doctor’s 1st –
                Congratulations on your divorce! I am hoping to finalize before our 30th anniversaey in May…I just want out. But it is sad and a loooooong haul. Good for you!

              • Huge Congrats on your recent divorce Doctors! It’s been a long haul for you and it’s all downhill from here. Relax and enjoy the peace.

              • I’m glad to hear here are long time chumpers here.
                Took many years of being chumped to get to the point I am now, which is in the initial stages of planning the divorce and leaving the stbxh. Living apart now since 2014.
                He’s living rent free in our house and not paying the mortgage to my mother. still I’m looking at the advantage to me here which is that the house hasn’t fallen into complete ruin and abandonment.
                Good Lord coming up on 38 years since we were married.
                It seems like an awful lot of work and expense and I’m already working pretty hard at my family business.
                But my credit is shit and I need to get that straightened out and I need a vehicle and I need to get on with leaving him behind even though he’s the kids’ father. I don’t care about him anymore. But I do care about me.

          • CHEATING , is never a 50-50 marriage problem ..it is ALWAYS a character , integrity problem of the cheater , 100% .

          • Yes. Churches, Divorce Care etc. are all made up of humans. It doesn’t make sense to judge the entire group on certain individuals. I feel it may be my ‘duty’ to at least get the word out on the idea that cheating is a two way street. (Not just an outdated idea, but also equally prominent in the progressive crowd as well from what I’ve seen).

            It’s a tough one, it’s very ingrained in my church that there is a ‘marriage break-down’, not a one-way lying cheating betraying jerk taking advantage of the love and trust of their spouse. (who may be a jerk but not a lying cheating betrayer) I’m not going to leave my church over it though. Just work on it from within—–

        • Dear livefortoday2
          Maybe it was the divorce care leaders you had.
          I had a wonderful experience with divorce care and I was not told I was at fault for my ex’s cheating. The class was taught about personal safety AND that responsibility and accountability is on the appropriate person.
          So just know that every DC class is not the same and I truly felt supported and encouraged that healing would come. Our MEH is coming!!!!

          • DC does have a lot of good. That’s why I still go. But out one leader says we are at least half to blame in the failure of our marriage. It’s so hard to hear that week after week.

            Yes. I’m learning about personal safety. Red flags. Learning about me.

            I just wish the leaders were more empathetic.

            I’ve learned a lot. And met some lovely chumps along the way.

      • We have been “educated” from a very early age that we should always forgive, all humans make mistakes, we should be the bigger person, love can change another’s behaviors, and on and on. We learn these things from our parents, teachers, church, movies, advertisements … All these planted ideas make it very difficult for us to recognize true disorder and safely respond to it by getting away from it. So in my opinion, educating ourselves on the true nature of the disorders we unwittingly partnered with is essential to helping us leave this one and avoid the next one.

        • lol … your question was really about transferring this knowledge to one’s faith community … I cannot address that idea at all!

        • That’s so true ! I was always forgiving my x .. I will never forgive him for the hurt he has put in my children . As time go by people family talk and I realised my narc was always there I just never realised it !

        • i will never “forgiver ” cheaterTurd , not even close to forgiving him . he plotted and planned ,to violate ,cheat and steal from me , “with malice and forethought” .i will not forgive such evil .

          • i will never “forgive ” cheaterTurd , not even close to forgiving him . he plotted and planned ,to violate ,cheat and steal from me , “with malice and forethought” .i will not forgive such evil .

        • Yes
          Did not know that there are narcs.
          Now I know.
          Who wanted to learn the hard way? Not me.

    • QM,

      I have come to see how incredibly parallel the Bible’s description of evil and the language and insights of psychology are vis a vis personality disorder. Wickedness essentially equals Narcissism, just different terms. Look everywhere that evil or wickedness (not sin, we all sin) is applied or referenced and you’ll see the typical characteristics of cluster B. The entitlement, the lying, the ego centricity. Many think the Bible and psychology are at odds, but there is a clear consistency between them, almost as though the latter merely refined and enhanced the earlier truths when it comes to the nature of disordereds. The Bible even recommends No Contact.

      I think you will run into so many in your faith community who will misunderstand one or the other and wind up advocating what they think their faith dictates when in truth it does not. There are “forgiveness Nazis” who pressure for unhealthy and unbiblical outcomes. There are milque toasts who think all sin is the same nature and try to disarm us of our God-given right to judge evil. There are more forms of this, but all are basically some version of well-meaning incorrect or incomplete interpretation. And there is much within the RIC that relies upon these misunderstandings of faith.

      I think if you know both, you can speak either and both languages in your faith community and bring them to recognize the consistency between them. My experience has been that each strengthens the other. Clear psychological descriptions of disordered characteristics like DARVO for example, become so much more compelling in a faith community that can relate them to scriptures such as “do not cast your pearls before swine for they may turn and attack you”, and so on.

        • Thank you for sharing. 🙂 My stbx tells me I’m a bad Christian. Yeah, ‘bad’ for standing up to him and not taking his abuse. A good Christian in his eyes would be understanding and forgiving of him abandoning his family and starting another one while slandering his wife to everyone, including his child. Not.
          My neighbor next door works at the neighborhood church. I went there for a while, but left when they starting teaching strange things. This neighbor told me that if I had stayed with my husband he may have come to the Lord. (It’s my fault he is ‘lost.’ Right)
          No, if I would have stayed with my husband I would have stayed in an abusive situation – my child would be in an abusive situation – and Jesus would never want anyone to do that.

    • I finally left my long-time abusive ex because he was trying to deprive me of the one thing I couldn’t live without – he was making it almost impossible sometimes for me to get to Sunday Mass. My Catholic parish priests gave me really good advice and reassurance after my separation, including making sure I was getting professional counselling. I have times when I feel kind of off-balance – I think it’s because of so many years habitually fighting for my own tiny bit of space in my head, now that the fight is over, my head has space in it I don’t know what to do with yet. I’m working on that though! I got a really good insight from a video on the net – that forgiveness doesn’t have to mean reconciliation. No contact is the fastest healing path. All my setbacks were after contact. I am a bit off balance at the moment because I ran into him at the automatic teller machine at the local bank. It was weird. I never thought I’d say this, but I have actually been triggered emotionally by being abused by clients at work this week. But instead of pretending I was ok, I asked to be taken off client contact and am being put back into back of office production again. Phew. That is progress for me, taking care of myself first.

      • Good for you ChumpyChops. All progress – big or small – should be celebrated. It makes future progress easier. Congratulations and keep taking care of yourself.

      • ChumpyChops, thanks for sharing this. This is the most powerful thing to do: see what I need, see what hurtsme and choose based on what is best for me. So sinple, but not easy. I chose not to go out to work today because I’ve been so sick lately & my DD16 is also sick. Need the money desperately, but I need my health more. I’ll figure it out.
        Thanks for the validation & healthy role model.

        CL, I thank the universe daily that CL empowered chumpy you to overcome your f*wit and your chumpy ways. You are a lifesaver by sharing this journey eith us of CN.

        Our culture supports chumpiness as a virtue, but blindly submitting our needs for an abusive other isn’t in ours or society’s best interests. Backbones are there for a reason. The next chump needs our strength & wisdom. Our childrenneed to see what dignity, respect & mighty look like.

      • “fighting for my own tiny bit of space in my head, now that the fight is over, my head has space in it I don’t know what to do with yet”.
        ^This!^
        I spent a few decades focusing on how to make him happy (impossible). We went from one crisis to the next (all his) for almost 28 years. Now that it’s all over and I’m on my own, I get bogged down with all the choices I have. I feel like I have so much space in my head and room in my life that I don’t know which things to do! I am focusing on taking one day at a time and dealing with priorities and building my life around myself – not someone else. Easier said than done sometimes.

        • Flower Lady, I hear you. It can be scary when it hits home that you are on your own and have all these choices to make; we are so ingrained in the habit of not considering our desires at all, just fitting in with the abusive one. I was 25 years married and i’m 15 months post separation with divorce in the works and it is sometimes slow and bewildering going. But wow, how much better is it to not come home to that sick feeling of never being good enough every day.

        • Yes, it is overwhelming some days. Like landing on another planet, but it’s better than the alternative: being with them.

    • I’m not sure what this question even means.

      “All of this education in the ways of the disordered” is what allows us to get out from under the illusion that we have had a level playing field in a relationship and that our values coincide with the cheater’s values. When people are in intimate relationships with disordered people, part of that experience is manipulation, gaslighting, lying, and other ways of distorting reality. Most chumps have never had the first thought that they are married to or living with someone who has a major psychological or character problems that is, for the most part, untreatable.

      We read about character disorder to save ourselves and recalibrate ourselves to normal, healthy, living.

      • Yes, blindsided by reality. Didn’t even come into my brain 17 years ago that I was being scammed. And that’s what it feels like. She figured out what i was looking for in a spouse (morals, ethics, monogamy) and pretended to be that person. Now I look back and see what she was deleting from her history line. I got duped.

        • Soooo well put, lovedajackass. Thank you. And Zell, that’s my experience exactly. Sized up as a mark, and then she began morphing into what she discerned I wanted. Your openness and honesty is used against you. Like everyone here I had no idea what I was dealing with. No idea what disordered was. She even began setting up lies about things in her past that she thought I might hear about, just to get out in front of them. It was a purposeful con for my life. And ChumpedinCanada below, she literally would watch my reaction to her abusive behavior and register to herself “well, I can’t get away with that”. Who does that?! Who literally tries shit to test if they can get away with it? No remorse. No concern for this other person. No internal interest in decency. No interest in relationship. No normal human interior. Just a calculation. A predatory experiment. A psychopath.

      • “We read about character disorder to save ourselves and recalibrate ourselves to normal, healthy, living.”

        This. When you are in the relationship with the disordered you are full steam ahead with love and understanding. THEY, however, trap you in a maze like a mouse. Every time you pour love and reasoning and compassion on them, they are the scientist (no offense to scientists) who slam down another wall and you are at a dead end. The scientist stands back and clinically observes the mouse.
        So what does the mouse do? Turns around and try another route.

        I think all chumps are like this. I know I was. I would turn around and around trying to forgive and move past the issue or find another solution, until one day you have 1 cm to move and you are totally boxed it. The mouse sits there for a bit, but then gets hungry, and still wonders what is going on. They keep banging their heads against the wall.

        At what point does the mouse realize it is hopeless? That is us. The discovery you learn when you read about the disordered is that it was never the mouse that put up the walls, it was the scientist.

  • Well, I guess this is what people mean when they to me, “you are strong. Stronger than you know”.

    Nice article Tracy, thanks for this. I can relate of course, I’m sure all the comments are going to say how we can relate. There’s this battle between Weak Person and Confident Person going on inside me. When Weak Person comes out, I’m like “fuck, this is the real me! Confident Person is a SHAM” lol. So I loved reading that you are 99% chump lady now, lol. Weak Person makes shitty decisions and I’d like to see less of her!

    • Time helps. The duality is there though- probably for a long time. I’m 10 months out from Dday and I reflect back and realize the dark place I was in. I survived and I’m here and that can mean a lot when you reflect. You survived to this point and you will keep surviving and even thriving. Keep telling yourself there is some sort of awesomeness right around the corner in your life. Let it help to keep the momentum going forward.

  • The dual personality thing is very true. I was always aware of this intelligent, sarcastic, suspicious alter ego in my mind putting patterns together and being sure nothing added up, and this soft confused main part of my personality who kept thinking, ‘No, surely not! I must be imagining things!’ I’d catch my ex out on a lie (quite by accident. I had no idea what was going on behind my back) and he’d go white. And then start blustering in a panic, and I’d accept what his explanation, while suspicious me would be thinking ‘Why did he go so pale? Surely that’s strange?’
    I think suspicious me is the person I was always meant to be, the tough, clever bitch that was crushed by years of being trained by society and my family to be nice to men, forgiving, self-sacrificing etc. It is good that even though the training to be chumpy is so intense, our original character is still in there somewhere, waiting to come out and take control.

    • Great post, a year out and my fierce, independent, kooky, nerdy, tough, analytical, positive, funny. real personality is coming back. It’s me and I don’t give a fuck, not dimming my light for anyone again.

  • “Any place is better than this place”

    Oh, if only I had known sooner, but, it’s never too late to gain a life. Thank you sisters and brothers. Thank you CL!

    • When I look back at the crazy we lived in I’m in awe that I escaped. My kids and I live in a tiny duplex. I talk of moving and they are like why? We are happy. They would rather be in a box than with the asshat I lived with. Bless their bones. We survived 🤗🤗

  • I love it. Mine just said to me this week “I can’t believe you actually did it. I can’t believe you actually filed for the big D” that’s right! Chump no more I wanted to say. He was happy creating tinder profiles and arranging hook ups all the while going home to a nice cozy home with hot meals. No more! And he’s shocked!
    Then he starts sending me selfies! Selfies!!!! He doesn’t get I am actually finally OVER it all. I wanted to reply with this emoji 🤮🤮 he thinks “how can she resist this hunk of a man?” Hunk no more buddy, you lost that 5 years ago when beet became a main staple of life with a pizza after the cooked dinner you received.
    Anyways! I loved your post of “good people don’t meet people of craigslist… I don’t care if he sings in the church choir!” Amen!!!! That is a line we all must remember!!!!!!
    For all those who have a hard time breaking up as I did, my Counselor and women’s trauma group (severe cheating cases yikes) helped me so much! So so so so much and I want to thank them! When my counselor handed me the book “trauma bonding” by patrick Stewart which I highly recommed because I am sure this applies to a lot of these intense relationships- I finally stood up and not said no more! He created a new tinder profile (with our kids pics in his profile!!! Cheap and disgusting bait) and I said you crossed the line again it’s over!!!!!!!!! Wow was he floored. Wow did it feel good!!!!!! I have to say that I was so stressed from the constant worry of “is he cheating” that I feel so free now!!! I am happy! I don’t need him!!!!! Guys- it feels good to be out of this mess!!!!

    • And remember: narcissists have no empathy. None. Not for you. Not for their kids. Only for themselves. Whaaaa! She left me and all I did was cruise for hookers 😂

      • That is the moment Im jealous of…of him living the consequences of knowing that he had badly overplayed his hand and lost it all forever…of saying that to his face and having him incredulous that I did it. His sudden death prevented all that (which created a different sitch, better in some ways, worse in others) but I still have this Chumpladyesque fantasy where I serve up his just desserts.

      • It’s just amazing to me how far cheaters will push the envelope, looking for that threshold of intolerance from their chumpy companion. What a cruel and inhuman thing to do to somebody they supposedly “love”. I hate cheaters of all stripes and I know that they suck no matter how much they schmooze and gaslight you. Here’s hoping all chumps have that mean streak somewhere inside that CL found and will rebel against this evil behavior, quickly kicking the cheater to the curb.

      • ChumpNoMo, my Ex told me he couldn’t believe I actually divorced him! He was incredulous. I turned and asked him, “what did you think I was supposed to do? Put up with your crap?” He had no answer. He simply didn’t like the consequences of his actions. He also hated the idea that I had taken him to the cleaners financially and there was nothing he could do about it! I don’t think he gave a crap about me except for the fact that I was sitting on all of his assets and I was doing very well!

        • Mine didn’t want a divorce. I (still a little bit of a chump) asked him what he meant. He said that he figured we could just live separately. So I asked if he’d continue to see his skank. He said that he didn’t know his plans. So when I said, “I need to know because I cannot be married to an adulterer”, he said, “And that’s your problem! You’re so judgemental!” And chumpy me even had to think a bit, ‘Was I being judgemental?’ He truly messed me up in the head. However, 3 years out I can say I’m no longer messed up. No contact does that.

  • All which you said here, Chump Lady. About championing reconciliation to family and friends while their jaws dropped, about suppressing the Chump Lady in myself because we’ll be alone, about disgust with myself after hysterical bonding sex. All true.

    If I hadn’t met you, Chump Lady, I would not have met my own Chump Lady. Thank you for all you do! Thank you for giving me back my peaceful mind free of constant anxious chatter and suspicion. Thank you for bringing my guts up to the surface level – I need them here while I go through divorce. Thank you for my first read every morning – this sets me up straight for the day. Thank you, Chump Lady.

  • I think we all have a version of Chump Lady inside of us … I know that I do, it’s just a terrifying prospect to listen to her!! You gave me strength to actually listen up, to see that it would be ok, that life after d-day would actually exist, and hope that I would actually GAIN A LIFE!! You also gave me the gift of righteous anger, disgust and indignation. The father of my children is a disgusting, deplorable human being. That is not something that people want to hear – but it’s the TRUTH!! And it feels good to say, without doubting myself or feeling a responsibility to keep up some sort of charade for purposes of being PC. Thank you for allowing me to see & say the truth!!!!

    And the truth shall set you free!

    • These words are going to drive me forward today. “ The father of my children is a disgusting, deplorable human being.”

      ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      It is the truth.

  • I am trying to summon my Chump Lady…and retire Chumpy me. Heart vs. Head… I am so glad I found your articles and insight.

    • You and me both, @chumpynomore. My inner Chump Lady comes by more and more often, but I still can’t let her in. We stand and chat on the porch, though, so I guess that’s a step in the right direction.

      Thank you, Real Chump Lady. Even though I’m not 100% doing right by myself yet, now I can see what that should look like, so it’s something to aspire to.

      • Although, sometimes, like just this second, in the midst of the constant “jumping out of an airplane” feeling in my solar plexus, I can feel a place of calm, and centeredness, and okayness somewhere in there. Is that Mightiness? It’s usually just beyond my reach, but CL and CN has helped me to know it’s there.

      • I think it’s actually healthy to get to know Inner Chump Lady a little bit at a time. Bond over coffee, get used to each other, maybe see a movie. It’s important to build trust. We’ve been so rocked and disappointed by betrayal, we should be careful about inviting anyone new into our heart.

        I read CL every day for a year before filing.

        • I read every day for three months before gaining the fortitude to kick him out. Such an incredible support. Love chumplady.

  • Today I feel like I need to be more Chumplady. My ex is out of the picture completely and permanently but I just broke up with a bf that shows some selfish traits( except for his grown daughter for whom he pays absolutely everything and prioritizes in all things including over our relationship). He is not a narc but there were boundary issues ( because I had none when I met him). He loves me and wants to be together but I feel I can’t try to change him( that only controlling myself thing that I had to learn the hard way). I miss him and I miss us and feel very weak. Need to find my mighty.

    • One of the chumpiest things about me that needs constant checking is that my first tendency is to bond to the thing I thought I saw in a person and wanted the person to be. It’s way too much benefit of the doubt. It is easy to grieve the dream while conveniently avoiding looking straight on at the rest of reality.

      Could that maybe be part of it? Could you be grieving the loss of what you wanted to believe he could be for you?

      Narcs generally start with boundary testing. We usually don’t see the rest of the narc until later. It sounds like your intuition is spot on and your heart is just hurting.

      • I just re-read the red flags of narcissism and he has very few—probably within normal range. He is an only child and in our serious conversations about what was bothering me( never again will I not point it out), he blames that and admitted he is not great at relationships. We started out as friends first and he waited because he knew what I was going through. I told him he’s a better friend than boyfriend. He is ultra protective of his money ( he has money but mostly from inheritances and retired at 51). Before I had established boundaries I told him everything about my financial position( it doesn’t help that I am a perpetual over-sharer), but he hasn’t disclosed much except to point ok on occasion that he can afford to do the things he wants.( well I can’t since my ex stole my retirement savings). Anyway I was paying my own way in the relationship until recently when I said I want him to pay dates sometimes because I feel more like a buddy than a girlfriend( FWB). We have issues that were discussed but he still said I blindsided him when I broke up with him and why can’t we be together if we love each other. I pointed out that I now have boundaries and I have to enforce them. He said something to the effect that I am going through something and he thought I would change my mind. That just makes me dig in my heels to be truthful. Sorry I’m ranting a bit.

        • Rant away, Newlady15…..ChumpNation is all ears

          My thoughts: Get away and stay away from him! Lots of red flags are flying that I can see from your comment. If he is paying everything for adult daughter, RUN AWAY FAST! Only if she is permanently and severely disabled should that happen. I am guessing that is not the case.

          And his comment about ‘blindsiding him’…….Oh, how I hate that one, too! Cheaterpants kept saying that to me after I finally left, after his years of cheating and verbal / emotional abuse, etc. Yea, right. Who was blindsiding who?! I just finally enforced consequences and he flipped to the rage channel. Yea, your EX-bf’s use of the phrase ‘blindsided me’ is a huge ‘red flag’ in my book.

          There are other things I see, but I gotta get out the door & make a living. (Since cheaterpants left me with nada)

          Sounds like a little (or a LOT!) more time loving yourself and being without a ‘romantic partner’ is in order. Perhaps ‘No Contact’ with bf?

          Keep us posted as you ForgeOn! {{{HUGS}}} to you

          • Thank I really appreciate the comments. I didn’t see blindsided as a red flag. It was like he didn’t process or listen to the conversations we had. Thanks.

            • That’s also a red flag if he doesn’t pay attention to you when you are talking about something that is important to you.

            • I think the most important point is that you started out before you “had boundaries” and then tried to set them. Had you gone in with the boundaries already, you might never have gotten to the 2nd or 3rd date. Remember that early days are where people learn who we are. A man who accepts a woman with no boundaries is not going to like it if she changes.

              You’ll find a better guy. If a man doesn’t pay or make you feel like a “girlfriend,” that isn’t going to change.

            • Hey newlady, in my experience with my ex I would also say it’s a red flag if they are super secretive about money. When they are not trusting and transparent, maybe in fact they are not very committed or, at worst, aren’t to be trusted.

              • When I was with my now ex narc BF, I had decided to get life insurance so my kids would have something to fall back on, since I was a single mom and their bio dad didn’t pay jack all.

                I was living with BF and his two boys (from ex wife) and my two kids. So I go to the insurance place with him and get all the options for life insurance and then had to list the kids names and breakdown of money should I die and who the “administrator” of the money would be. He, of course, is sitting there watching me like a hawk. So of course I put my BF. Then I list my two kids and his two kids and divide the money x 4 kids.

                We leave the office and I turn to him and ask when he would be calling his life insurance company to add my two kids and divide the money evenly by 4 (kids) on HIS policy. He assures me he would at some random point in the future….

                A few weeks go by and I become increasingly unsettled as I realize he has no intention of adding my kids. His kids have a mom and dad who do pay their fair share equally. My kids have a Dad who is there a few days a month and shows no concern for their financial future.

                I march back into the insurance office and remove BF and his kids from the policy. I felt incredibly guilty for doing this.

                However, looking back, red flag especially when BF was talking marriage. Actions. Actions were the key to me unlocking this whole thing. He was all talk, no action. And that, in itself, is action.

            • Mine said I blindsided him, and he was in shock, and wouldn’t I give him a proper chance?

              Turns out what he meant was, ‘I was the one who was going to do the dumping, not you. Come back, so I can dump you myself when I’m ready.’

        • You’re perfectly within your rights to speak your mind. As long as you’re not expecting him to support you financially, which he is also within his rights to be wary of, being together romantically is good. There’s nothing that says you have to be wrapped up in each other in order to enjoy each other’s company. That’s what “dating” is all about; you have a life, and you each let the other into yours as you wish.

          • Nope I have my own house. He was expecting me to pay absolutely everything myself down to splitting meals and I am generous I like to buy my bf things I think he would like. I got flowers exactly once in the year and a half we dated. He is even cheap with his declarations of love( about once a month). Too many things to go through here but those conversations where I told him the things that bothered me went largely ignored despite promises to improve. Thanks you guys. I am just hurting a bit right now because I thought there was a future there…

      • Same here Ami — I fell in love with a beautiful spirit who sadly was walking around trapped inside a stumbling mess of a man. Note to self: Stop doing that.

    • Newlady, you are MIGHTY!!! Keep reminding yourself, you deserve so much more than a grown man who is selfish. Get a fixer-upper house, not a fixer-upper boyfriend! He won’t change, and you will be happier w/o him, once this pain fades.

      • Thanks KarenE. I don’t feel mighty right now, mourning the loss of a second relationship in as many years..because he talked marriage ( I shut him down because I wasn’t even divorced yet) I think I placed too much hope on this relationship ( maybe I found a white night on a steed to carry me away and take care of me?). I spackled( again!). I feel so old and hopeless about finding a partner and really do want one despite all the chest pounding “ I am mighty and independent” . I feel like I can be that and have a partner. Just need the right one…

  • After the final Dday I felt sorry for him also. How the fuck had I become the strongest advocate for a cuntfucker?

    When I met her I said, “THAT is what you left me for?” There sat this sleazy pig in a matted coat,ugly as sin,who had an arrest record and drug addiction. He called her his dream girl.

    It had nothing to do with age or looks. It was always about his lack of character.

    I filed after finding out he was getting tested for HIV and treated for an STD. He was dating multiple women once again.

    He had arrived at 57,at the dropping off point. I knew I had to save myself or die with this loser.

    Thank you Tracy for helping me let go of the hopium and fighting for myself. It’s a tough journey well worth facing the pain.

    My life has purpose and best of all I’m free!

  • Since leaving my cheater, I have learned that I am capable. I thought I neeeeeded him to take care of things like taxes and bills (math. UGH!).
    But I don’t need him. I am perfectly capable of handling the stuff that life throws my way. If I need help, I ask for it, but I find I can usually handle things myself. I would have gone through life thinking I was weak and needy if it weren’t for him. In a way, he did me a favor…..he gave me the opportunity to be whole, capable, and fierce. I’m not going to write him a thank-you note, though!

    • Chumped- but happier now- Yesterday as I was trying to figure out why my printer refused to work AND I was uploading and PDFing my tax documents to send to my accountant in another state- I said “Look at me, I can actually do this!” Cheater ex is an IT guy so he handled this and simply because… I realized that I just had him do it for no reason when I was completely capable of doing it on my own…. and I thought the same thing too about the thank you note!

  • I’m constantly giving the advice now to friends who are having any sort of dilemma – “Channel your inner bitch”. Mine has been in the driver’s seat, much to ex’s chagrin. 😂

  • Thank you Chump Lady… I needed this today. Yesterday I was going through old baby videos of my daughter and I saw cheater ex in those videos….. it slayed me. I sat in front of my computer and cried…. my heart breaking all over again… I haven’t seen him in 6 months. There was a time when I was in the midst of finding out about the affair, that for a tiny second I almost said to him “ You can have us both. We can stay married and you can still see her”… I had that moment of desperation… thank god I didn’t. I’m a way better, smarter me today. I’m a kickass mom to my 10 year old daughter and even though 19 years is taking time to go away… I know I will survive. I have to. There is no alternative. Thank you Chump Lady and Chump Nation…. you are all my Saving Grace.

    • I needed this today too Pret, I was driving and they played Bruno Mars “When I Was Your Man” on the radio and I started crying so hard I had to pull over. And thanks mostly to CL and CN, I have cried very little since those first few weeks after DDay 9 months ago (filed 8 months ago). Listening to that song I thought, “He is a decent person who someday will feel just like that — so regretful that he lost me after 29 years of marriage.” Bizarrely, I slipped back into feeling sorry for him even though he has wasted no time skipping happily off into the sunset with OW. But then I read today’s CL and I realized – need to bring out my Chump Lady and remember all the evidence I have right in front of me that he is so disordered this will never happen. I have to be clobbered with the 2×4 often, I am finding, to keep moving forward.

      • I, too, have slipped in to the “feeling sorry for him” mindset within the last few days.

        It’s been 7 months and he tried to hoover me back a month ago, which I shut down.

        His ex wife contact me 2 days ago to tell me that he was after her begging for my phone # because he claims he has mail and HAS to give it to me in person. She offered to take it and give it to me (even though her and I had ended our friendship), but he insists. She refused to give him my #.

        We spoke over the phone (ex wife and I) and she updated me on the karma that is hitting him hard. His GF dumped him for exactly the same reasons that I did. He wants to give ex wife custody of his oldest son who has ADHD and ODD (who has very difficult behaviours), but as soon as she agreed with the stipulation that she receive all the child tax benefits (we are in Ontario) and CS, he backpedaled. His parents aren’t talking to him. His truck is falling apart. His hours got cut at work. She said she found his profile on POF and we had a good laugh at all the lies in it.

        Bottom line is karma is hitting him, and a few months ago I wanted to have front row seats to it. Now? I feel sorry for his sad, pathetic life, and also very angry that he is screwing up his kids lives.

        But then I think: I broke up and got back with him 5 times. “5 TIMES”!!!!! Because I am chumpy, yes. But also because I saw the potential. He had two choices during all those breakups and makeups – EVOLVE or REMAIN. He could have “evolved” with me and grown as a man and family and he wouldn’t be in this pickle. He chose to “remain” and recreate the same pattern with every woman. And we are all good women. He won’t change for anyone. Not even his kids.
        And that, is just so very sad.

        • ChumpedinCanada, five times is four times too many. Lay that burden down my friend, you have carried it far enough. Thank goodness your kids have one strong and kind parent they can model themselves after.

        • “He chose to remain”
          Thank you for words that I can go to in my head when I start feeling sorry for the cheater father of the kids who plays the victim.

  • I totally get the importance of taking the word “bitch” back, so I’m not judging or debating it’s use. Just offering alternatives.

    For those here who identify with feminine terms, I would advocate for a different word/phrase that isn’t commonly used as an insult (and a description of a cheater…) to describe our mighty selves. It’s important to my subconscious to hear clear language in my self talk, and yours may work like mine.

    Personally, I find it empowering to use terms like badass, superhero, boss, lioness and supreme ruler of the land of me, as well as using character archetypes like Wonder Woman, Hermione, Neytiri, Iris, and the first name of my very mighty grandmother.

    There’s a phrase in the movie “The Holiday” where Iris (Kate Winslet) realizes she is no longer going to be a man’s chump. The line is, “I’ve got a life to start living, and you’re not going to be in it.” That archetype really stuck with me.

    As CL says, Gain a Life!

    • I’m very fond of the term amazon.
      They were tribal.
      They were badass.
      They were fierce.
      No one fucked with them.

    • Maybe ‘inner shrew’ would be better. I live deep in the country and shrews are the most amazing things, barely an inch long but they’ll stand and try to fight off a cat. Sometimes succeed, too. I can’t believe their courage.

    • I see your point, but every time I mention my “inner bitch” I think of my female chihuahua–that dog is loving and affectionate, all shades of fun, but if other dogs get out of line….watch out. Feisty, feisty, feisty. She does not tolerate nonsense. The dog gives “bitch” a good name (perhaps “inner chihuahua”?)

          • When someone calls me a bitch, I totally own it! I answer, “I sure am! Wanna see pictures of my lovely dog children?” as I whip out my phone. I just love the gaping, goldfish mouth face that follows.

            • Oh, and when I get called anything else pejorative, like World’s Meanest Mom, hard ass or whatever else, I just agree with them. And then add, “You want to see that in action?” Totally takes the wind out of stoooopid people’s sails when you not only agree, but one up them. IMO, it’s because they can’t deal with your boundaries or being told no – so they revert to the childish reaction of name calling. You want to act like a child? OK, I’ll treat you like one.

              • I found in the OE Dictionary that my given name is also the name of:
                a) Small black breed of dairy cattle
                b) Blue-grey silky haired terrier breed

                I now tell people that I am a Cow and a Bitch by definition!

      • I enjoy the acronyms for B-I-T-C-H as a way to reclaim the word:

        “Being In Total Control, Honey!”
        “Beautiful Individual That Creates Hope”
        “Babe In Total Control of Herself”
        “Boys, I’m Taking Charge Here”

        I also love *Warrior.* Or Warrior Woman: W2 (W squared, with 2 in superscript). My alter ego with friends is W2 and it’s always empowering be addressed that way.

    • All that’s good for all y’all, and I support you. I just like to avoid mixed meanings in my self talk because I feel stronger when my language about myself is clear. It feels to me like my subconscious hears the insult, too, when I use the word bitch toward myself, and I am left feeling conflicted, like there’s a little spark of “you aren’t worthy of good” in it. If that’s not your experience, I support that. To each our own.

  • Love. This. Post!

    Thank you Chump Lady! Just handed out another book from the backseat of my car last night (I drive around with copies for opportune moments).

    This particular gal is in the thick of it! Her Chumpy is in full force at the moment. But she has read your blog but not the book. Now she has it!

    Thank goodness your Chump self took the back seat and Chump Lady reigns!

    Thank you

  • The hardest thing for me to come to terms with is my need for approval.

    My Father was selfish and disordered and would call me fat ( I wasn’t ) while he ate a box of licorice all sorts in front of me.

    I always dated narcs or emotionally unavailable men seeking their acceptance and approval. One after another until I married one ( ugh).

    Now I know that I can tackle that desire to be a people pleaser and take a step back. New and improved me walks away from takers of any sort and shuts that shit down. It only took 49 years to get here, but my stronger self keeps my old self ( she’s still here trying to fix everybody ) safe.

    • At least to be fair it was just all sorts. It’s wasnt any actually yummy candy.

      All sorts would be like… the punishment of candy. They look sooooo tasty with their fun sprinkles and bright colours and then taste like misery.

      • In fact all sorts are the narcs of candy. Sparkles on the outside and badness and gross on the inside. Bleck.

        • Actually I think of ….. let’s try this again……. I think of them as poison candy. It would taste so good for just a moment, and then yikes!…..the real effects kick in. Ahhhh, no thank you.

      • LOL, “they taste like misery”!!! So true! My Mother always treasured them and her Sister’s would send them from England. After my first taste, it was instant hate. Deception! They looked so pretty.

    • I believe this is a real trigger that is part of the FOO and social norms that have led to many of us experiencing these issues. We were literally programmed to NOT succeed.

      If you think about it, and have children with a disordered personality type, it gives you even more reasons to get those children away from that influence as much as possible.

      I always feel sad on Father’s Day. It is hard to listen to how wonderful and supportive and giving other women’s fathers were to them and wonder what that would be like. I have a friend who has those issues with her Mother. Since our parents are what we see and who we learn from, and our first experience with the opposite sex, and are really role models — the influence is tremendous. We imprint as a part of learning how to be. It is tough to reprogram.

      I am very independent, and know quite well I can live without a partner. It does not change my desire to have someone to walk beside me through life and help me when I do need help, and encourage me when I feel discouraged and love me even when I am not being particularly lovable. That desire for an other does not make me weak. There is a difference between desire and need. I think the desire is normal unless you let it take over your life and blind you to what you really need. These disordered folks are predators — for them to feel strong and powerful they have to take all our strength and power away. Only when you are able to overcome your desire and the fear of loss (which has been held over your head for as long as you can remember) can you truly become your mighty self.

      • Wow! Such a great thought! Far too few women know the difference between “Need” and “Desire”. Go on with your Bad Self!!

      • “love me even when I am not being particularly lovable”

        That’s what I always wanted and that may have a lot to do with why I loved ex even when he was being unlovable. I was trying to give him what I wanted. I never got it back, however. He has me convinced that when I am unlovable I am just unlovable. In his case just being imperfect made me unlovable. My daughter, who has a rocky relationship with her dad is actually a lot like him and I sometimes feel like I have to be perfect for her too or face harsh criticism. I have had to set boundaries with her and her reactions are not always accepting. I never used to be bothered by this from her as she is a teenager and teenagers will be teenagers. In the context of my discard by ex, however, it is much harder than it used to be to not take her criticisms personally. Now I am afraid to ever show my unlovable side to anyone for fear of being unlovable.

        I am dating someone new now but I am afraid that I will never truly be close to him because I am so afraid of opening up and possibly displaying my unlovable side. I don’t even confide much in him regarding the end of my marriage because I don’t want him to know that I am not always an upbeat and positive thinker (the sad part is that I used to be once). I also wonder what will happen the first time he shows his unlovable side. Will I over react and assume the worst of him based on past experience with ex? Nobody is perfect. I am anxious about what will happen in this and any future relationships when we each discover the faults of the other. These are the scars that ex has left me and that I don’t know if I will ever overcome.

        • Sorry — I don’t have an answer for you on the “will I ever” thing — because, so far, I haven’t found anyone I have considered to be worth the risk. Perhaps I have honed my sensor’s to such a fine degree that I ward off potentially dangerous suitors. Perhaps I am just picky. Perhaps I am afraid to get hurt again when I know I can be fine by myself. Perhaps I am still exhausted (emotionally) from the depletion of my resources needed to survive the many indignities of my previous life as a Chump.
          Whatever the reason, I do not rule out the possibility of meeting someone who will be right for me. Sometimes I get annoyed with my friends telling me I want too much. I don’t think some of my expectations are too far out there — but they laugh at me because I say I couldn’t live with someone who wasn’t intelligent, who didn’t have a sense of humor, who never, ever read a book for pleasure, who didn’t like music, who took no interest in the world outside of his television set, or only wanted to talk about himself and how wonderful he was. I am an educated woman, but I don’t require them to have the same education level I do, or to like everything I like, and I especially don’t want them to expect to be with me 24/7. I want someone who has experienced both the good and bad things in life, and someone who will never think it is his duty to “control” me. I want him to have some of his own interests or hobbies that he can pursue when I am pursuing mine — without feeling abandoned or threatened by my lack of interest in those things. I want an individual who does not need me, but who does desire me, and who realizes the value of a good partner.
          If I can find those things, almost everything else is negotiable. What do you think? Do I want too much?

          • No, you do not want too much. I do think people of this quality are rare, however. I’d rather be lonely alone than lonely in a marriage.

          • Portia,
            Good question. It’s good to know what you want and don’t want in a partner but not expect certain things. As long as you clearly openly communicate those requirements, preferences, and deal breakers to prospective partners up front and feel comfortable able being partnerless if you can’t find a partner who fits the profile you have in mind, I think that you and any hinesr, self-aware prospective partners will be well-positioned for a healthy, happy arrangement. Of course, having been extremely unsuccessful in intimate relationships over 35 years and unfortunately fo many months without any decent dating prospects, I feel as though I am speaking only theoretically, not based on experience. Would love to form a healthy, mutually enjoyable intimate relationship, but as I either cannot find an even slightly compatible, healthy partner or do not know how to create and maintain this type of relationshio, try as I might, I am working on making myself as competent as possible to support me in my senior years and my kids, who are still minors. You’ve got education and skill in your favor. I wish you good luck in your quest.

      • So very wise, this distinction between what we NEED (self-efficacy, self-respect, healthy strength and power in our own abilities) and DESIRE (for someone equally capable and loving).

  • My cheater was one who just left. No cake eating no pick me dance. Just out and on to the next. And next…….and next.
    In my darker times i think its because even with marriage and kids she never loved me. Definatley didnt respect me. Got bored. Bye bye.
    But while its been two years and the hope , my very short pick me dance and still reeling from hopiun withdrawl, my inner chump jumped into the front seat thw second we heard the words ‘i cheated on you’. Think my cheater realized early on it wouldnt be a easy time and i wasnt going to tolerate her new fun single life. But the chumpy me is always there asking the dumb shit ‘what if she sorry’ ‘how can she do this’ ‘shell see the error of her ways’ etc. But in dealing with her the otger guy always was there not taking it.
    Because of all the issues being abandoned i think itll always be a struggle. My heart goes out to those of you who had the cheater fuck with their heads more by sticking around. My desire for that has been crippling so being in it must be hard.
    Thanks chump lady and tjis comminity for being here to remind is why they do indeed suck and dont take it.

    • Mine just left, too. He has the balls to say in an email recently that he “wanted out of our marriage and” I “had to make it as painful as possible.” Yeah, it was me that made it painful. Because I didn’t roll over and let him do whatever he wanted. Because I made him suffer the consequences of his choices. I’m sorry, but the kind, loving, supportive wife and best friend isn’t going to come out to play when you’ve so blatantly said you were no longer interested in being with me anymore. The niceness is reserved for people who deserve it, not cowards who blow up someone else’s life because they’re too afraid to communicate their unhappiness.

      • It took Doughboy 40 years to figure out he wasn’t happy? Now was he unhappy when we bought our various lovely homes, when we bought our cottage, our country property, whe he retired at 53, when we took 11 trips all over the world, when I advocated for his back surgery and kept him out of a wheelchair? Gee pretty hard to tell when that unhappiness crept into his sad little sausage life!

        Fortunately for me, my Chump Lady was a tough ole gal and just shut that shit down right away!

        I don’t have anymore time to waste on that fucking idiot. I’m happy living a cheater free life, reconnecting with my friends, my adult kids and family are all supportive, I have a lovely new home, good health, enough money to live comfortably. Hey what more could a person ask? You just have to accept some folk are just never satisfied and get on with your own life.

        Leave a cheater gain a life!!

        • Hey silver queen a lot of similarities to my story. Except he devastated us financially before he left for schmoopie. I have to keep working now, can only retire when I’m ready to sell the house. It could be worse. He had 36 years of toys and more toys, houses, cottages, house in Florida lots of trips. Funny he seemed happy enjoying all the fruits of my labour.( he was a lousy businessman)

          • New Lady, I’m sorry to hear about your financial situation that really sucks. Maybe a reverse mortgage might be possible when you are ready to retire if you don’t want to sell or perhaps a boarder ? I know I was fortunate to get out with half of everything without a fight. He wa feeling very guilty and I pounced right after DDay. I knew Schmoopie didn’t have any resources so figured get to a lawyer ASAP before she could get her hsnds on the money.
            These cheaters are never satisfied until they end up with nothing.

        • Love your attitude, SilverQueen! Keep on rocking that cheater-free life. It looks good on you.

          • FindingBliss, I’m doing my best to squeeze every bit of excitement out of life every single day! My little grandson is coming to stay next week for the March break, what fun that will be! I’m blessed!

        • SILVERQUEEN,

          if the idiot cheater would look past that “blaming attitude” and look honestly inward ,they would see their unhappiness is from within .but since the word “honest” has never entered their little minds ,that will never happen.

  • I personally feel that you are better on your own, than with a cheater, I have known people that have weighed 6 stone or 20 stone, the cheated on normally blame themselves, but its not about you, its about them, the cheaters normally live in a different reality than the cheated on, when cheated on I don’t think you can trust them again, personally I think if they loved you they wouldn’t cheat.

  • My chumpy side that still rears her ugly head starts to question if he is really as bad as I think he is. I sometimes catch myself wondering if I am making him out to be worse than he actually is and that is the result of going through a high conflict divorce. My stronger side then has to remind me of all the things he really did (facts, not imagined) and I circle back to wear I started. There is no good in him and what may appear to be good is just a mask he wears for impression management.

    Bottom line, it is not in my nature to NOT look for good in people.

  • This post is always good to reread from time to time. You were a lifeline to so many of us. I can’t imagine how you got through all of this when you couldn’t go online to read helpful and snarky posts to feel better. You’re the one who had to start the revolution! Thanks again.

    Pathetically, I too “championed” our first and only reconciliation to friends, family, and alas, my lawyer. I thought I was the only one to try to convince my lawyer that he had changed. I did swallow my pride when I went back to this same lawyer after DDay #2. She asked me what had changed. I had a long list of reasons, but ultimately, the answer was, “I have.”

    Heartfelt gratitude this morning to CL and CN for helping with the transformation.

  • I so get this. I am not as mighty as Chump Lady but I also had a puppy snuggler and a fighter inside of me. Almost drove me crazy truthfully. As soon I found emails from Coworker and Ex I started the pick me dance. Ex had just moved out of town for a job and we were to follow him when school let out for our sons. But this voice in the back of my head was screaming HOW DARE HE.

    So on weekends he was coming home for counseling (read 1 hour free session to beat on me the chump) and during the week I was attending a divorce class and attending counseling on my own. Talk about two very different messages going on in my head. I had filed for a divorce several months after DDay but did not tell him until I found that text on his phone from girlfriend again. This was 7 months after DDay and I can honestly tell you that he put me thru HELL those 7 months (with my permission) by the time it came around to divorcing him, I was unsure who was going to come out of my mouth…. LOL

    Not long after I told him divorce was filed and just waiting for him to be served he came to my house with his sister and physically assaulted me and did enough damage that a judge grated us a divorce three days later. It was over before I knew what “hit” me. This was 2 years ago, It took a bit longer than normal for the Chump side of me to deal with the divorce. I had cancer when he left and one time after the divorce I ask him to help with his sons college until I could recover from several surgeries and get back on my feel. He declined and ask if I would leave him my share of the money when I died and that is when the fighter in me stood up and said ENOUGH… I told him I will never talk to him again, hung up and blocked and have been true to myself.

    My EX is getting married today, his soon to be step daughter contacted my sons out of the blue last weekend and let them know. (they are also NC with dad for their own reasons). So the Chumpy me is out today and hurting, fighter is giving her one day. Then back she goes to where ever she goes when I am busy putting together my life and health.

    Some days I miss her softness and her belief in people but I am not going to miss being EX’s punching bag for 20 years. My DS21 was so upset this weekend and just said Mom this girl does not realize the Hell she is walking into, but he tried to warn her once and she did not believe him so all we can do is stay out of it.

    Thank you Chump Lady for all the guidance and help in one of the most difficult times of my life. You are an Angel. And CN for all the support and great advise.

    • You are mighty, TheBestMe, mighty as all get out. Cancer, abuse, and divorce all at once? I sincerely hope your life now reflects all the joy and peace you are entitled to. Hugs.

    • TheBestMe,
      You are the best! I’m so glad you escaped that monster with your life and spirit intact. Feel what you need to feel, but include gratitude and relief to be rid of that POS. You are a bright light here to us.(((((TBM)))))

    • Kudos to you TheBestMe, you are indeed mighty, having to deal with all the cheater crap and cancer too. I hope you find your life absolutely fabulous after enduring all that. You deserve all good things.

  • Chump Lady, I found you after I had divorced my cheater yet my inner Chumpy Lady and Chumpy Me were still very much at odds with each other. I will be forever grateful for finding your blog. You and the many lovely people who share their experiences here shored me up, educated me, and solidified the Mighty in me. Thank you!

  • Thank you CL and CN! My Chump Lady is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Not as strong as she needs to be, but SO much stronger than she’s ever been before. I love her strength and her tenacity. (“If you woke up thinking you wanna start shit with me…..Think twice, because I woke up wishing a mother fucker would.) I lover HER!

  • It warps the brain when you find out and then cheater tries to keep your brain warped. It’s almost as if they get off on your pain and state of weakness. They take advantage of it. It takes awhile for your brain to get right and think clearly and then you start fighting for your life, your sanity, your kid. That happened for me when I read the book.

  • Needed this today. Feeling sorry for poor chumpy me, boo hoo. CL, so glad we can walk the walk with you kicking us up the b*tt to keep us going in the right direction. It is a struggle to look the truth in the eye and work with it instead of clinging on to the imaginary partner. The mantras – trust that they suck; look at what they do not what they say; the skein of f*ckupedness; great stuff and all prove true over time.

  • I think all of us have been there. We wouldn’t be here if, at some point, we weren’t all super, droopy, hurt, desperate CHUMPS. We got chumped. It happened. It hurt. I cringe to think the things I did, said, tried, cried, etc in the aftermath of being chumped. And I’ve been chumped more than once (unfortunately a lot of us have.)

    But there’s that one part of us, deep inside, in the midst of the pain, that stands up, lights a candle in the dark and says “…Y’know. …This is bullshit. I mean…seriously this is some real bullshit. You know that right?” And when you hear that part of you start talking, you gotta answer “Yes. Yes it is. And I’m done.” And for the love of all that is holy FOLLOW THAT CANDLE. Because it will be the flame you use the next time your cheater tries to hand you a pile of crap, to set it on fire and leave it on their doorstep. (Not literally…though I can’t lie, I did have a revenge fantasy or two of doing that.)

    I think one of the hardest things I dealt with in the healing process was learning to trust they suck. It’s hard. It’s hard because when cheaters feel like they can be out in the open with their schmoopies, they do it. They overcompensate. They take their turd relationship and roll it in a box of glitter and show it off to everyone who will look. And they hope they can dump enough glitter on it to cover up the fact that they crushed you to get their “happiness.” It made me so freaking mad. Like, how is this fair?

    Well, it’s not. It isn’t fair. Everyone is entitled to the pursuit of their own happiness, but not at the expense of stepping on someone else to get it. And I thought, if you have to hurt, crush, betray, and cause pain to others to get your happiness, you should ask yourself “Is it the thing I’m going after that makes me happy? Or is it hurting other people?” If the answer is the latter, then you probably suck and you need to rethink your life. Cheaters, people who are willing to throw away their families, their life partners, who are willing to backstab and hurt those who have loved them, they need to rethink their freaking lives but they don’t have the insight to do so. Nope, just dump glitter on it and hope no one notices.

    Which is why I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if my cheaters are plastering their relationships all over social media (blocked them anyway.) I don’t care if their stupid friends think they’re the cutest couple ever. I don’t care. I’m pursuing my happiness in a way that doesn’t require breaking someone’s heart and shattering their whole way of living. It’s not necessary. You just don’t need to hurt people to be happy and if you think you do…well…you probably suck.

    Anyone who comes to CL and finds strength is deserving of happiness. And the thing about Chumps, chumpy though we may have been, is we all understand that aspect of just…basic human decency.

    • Kara, your response is getting saved to my file of “Thank god there are such wonderful people in this world” treasures. Thank you.

    • Thank you for this. So so so hard to trust that they suck. I give myself lots of grace and kindness and second and fourth and fifteenth chances. Against my nature to pronounce judgment on another. And yet. I love the way you identified the way cheaters tolerate the collateral damage caused by the pursuit of happiness.

  • Any place is better than this place…….

    My thought was”anything is better than this”

    And it was

  • Where did Chump Lady come from? As far as I know, you are a divine emanation-straight from heaven.

    Chump Lady taught me to pull myself together after all of the gaslighting with my X, for which I am so thankful-because he still uses so many of his same moves in the co-parenting of our son.

    I am a more confident and thoughtful person post-divorce thanks to the divine Chump Lady!

  • You’re a modern day Angel Tracey! You had to go through what you did, so you could help others in turn in this life time. That is part of your life purpose. It made you wiser and stronger. You are a true Alchemist! You turned lead into gold and you are a real hero!

    • And my apologies for mispelling your name. Autocorrect made it into Tracey, when I am aware it is TRACY. Sorry about that ! 🙂

  • During bogus reconciliation, I prayed every single day that the Lord change my ex’s heart and turn him into a husband capable of monogamy, because otherwise, there was no chance of that happening. It took a lot longer than it should have for me to gain enough inner strength to realize that being married to a man who literally needed some kind of divine intervention to be faithful was a losing bet.

    I’ll never be even close to as badass as Tracy, but somehow, despite my terror and weakness, I managed to channel enough inner fire to leave that fucker, divorce him, move on with my life, start a new career, and try all sorts of new things. When I was married to him, I never believed I was capable of any of that. Disordered people are masters at making their chumps feel small. It takes so much strength to break away, but if I did it, anyone can.

    Stay strong, Chump Nation!

  • When I met my XH in 1974, I was a sophomore in college. I was an independent, colorful, sassy, “take-no-prisoners” Amazon of a young woman who knew exactly where she was going. XH pursued me intentionally and vigorously. When he asked if I had any relationship dealbreakers, cheating was at the top of the list. I put him on notice that if he cheated, my trust would be breached and I’d be gone, no questions asked.

    But what he heard was, “If you GET CAUGHT cheating, then we’re done”. So, in his mind, I’d unwittingly given him “permission” to cheat to his heart’s content, but he’d simply have to work extra hard to not get caught “with his pants down”. All techniques required to protect himself and maintain his standing (great husband/terrific father/Jesus lover) were on the table: lying, gaslighting, projecting, love bombing, siphoning money from joint assets, emotional and verbal abuse, manipulation, you name it. All was fair in love and war, right? On the surface, he built a perfect facade of unquestionable love and devotion; underground, he was fucking women left and right.

    Flash forward 40 years. After 14,600+ days of exposure to his methods, the bold Amazon I used to be had slowly morphed into a 60-year old, monochromatic, one-dimensional, codependent cardboard cutout of my former self… someone who believed I was worthless without him, that I was nobody without our marriage and the title of “Wife”… someone who couldn’t even remember what it was like to be happy or confident. So when he left me for his married coworker (AP #14), I was 100% certain that my life was over. My inner chump completely controlled every one of my thoughts, words and actions.

    It took about 6 more months of gaslighting, fruitless marriage counseling and pick me dancing to finally realize that my life AS I KNEW IT was over, but my REAL life was not. The road ahead was going to be difficult, but I had the “right stuff“ to survive on my own – and thrive.

    With purpose, I began morphing myself back into the confident person I had been decades before. About 15 months into our 3-year separation, I went Zero Contact, my first big step toward freedom. Then I successfully navigated through two of our sons’ weddings, and finally, faced him head-on in divorce court. He finally got the message that I was serious about completely excising him from my life.

    It’s now been 5 1/2 years since he walked away and Red is back… confident, loving, adventurous, energetic, funny and excited about getting up in the morning. THIS is who I was always meant to be. Meanwhile, I sent my inner chump packing… she is on an extended cruise around the world; she does check in every now and then, but I tell her everything is fine and she can go back to her vacation.

    • Wow, MyRedSandals… Thanks for giving me another pithy post to add to my file of treasured advice and observations. These are very powerful words.

    • MyRedSandals,
      Welcome back! I relate to your story so much. Long live the strong, independent, courageous, fierce, creative, indomitable US!

    • Thank you for that MyRedSandals! Just when I think I might be spending too much time reading here, somebody lays down words that are worth saving to my Evernote file of CL/CN gems. Just what I needed to hear. My inner Chump needs to start packing for vacation, STAT!

    • Your post meant so much to me, thank you. I am almost 2 months out. 40 years of marriage, 3 grown kids, I didn’t know he could LIE!
      After he recently died of cancer, I discovered he had laid out everything for the kids and I to see.
      40 years, 3 main OW, multitudes of secondary, so many third tier iChat , sex text , sex phone , blah blah . Seamless liar every single day, while pretending to me and the kids and the world this bigger better than life person.
      I got sick, had to stop working , he hid his income always, kept our home work down. Kept lots of money for luxury with bimbos he met on Cheater sites and made sure lived in our town. Made sure they knew who the kids were and who I was to up the excitement. Had a few variations of Poor Me stories so they seemed to keep his secrets. On and on the manipulating , with the main goal of harming me. But as he got sicker, I got stronger ! When he died I was well. I didn’t miss him and all fear evaporated. The week later I began to make all the discoveries.
      I’m amazed he was not more successful ruining me. He certainly tried. I think it was the most upsetting thing to him in his life.
      Now I read all these stories and posts and learn and love caring for my self. Trusting it will slowly get better . Congratulations to you.

  • I will always be grateful for Chump Lady. Even though she wasn’t around at my dday, I stumbled upon her site while languishing in my third year of wreckconciliation. After about a month I started to see more clearly as the cloud of hopium dissipated slowly.

    Things never felt quite right because of him blame shifting his affair and me taking that blame and trying to fix myself. Of course I also bought right into the RIC notion that though I didn’t hold a gun to his head and make him cheat on me, I certainly had to take ownership in “my role” that led to the destruction of our marriage.

    Once I started reading the archives on this site I realized that I was in that same marriage and even though it had it’s fair share of crappy moments, I didn’t cheat. The devalue year prior to dday (as I now recognize thanks to CL) was particularly awful because he treated me like shit. I tried to spackle over it but by the time the holidays were approaching, I started exploring new places to live and practiced the speech that went something like “Something has to change or we need to split.” Cuz that’s what adults do when they’re unhappy. A week later I found out what was actually wrong.

    Of course none of that came to me until Chump Lady helped me to see it more clearly. I would probably still be married if it wasn’t for her and this wonderful nation. Viva la Chump Lady. I thank heavens you were once a chump too!

  • I remember finding CL while I was wildly trying to find out why my marriage was falling apart. I know that I was asking myself why I would take any advice from somebody who referred to herself as a Chump. I did read a bit of her advice and decided, in my pea brain, that my cheater wasn’t like that! Oh no, our situation was sooo different! Yeah right! Turns out that I returned to her blog with my mind ready to be open and I started to really absorb the fact that my cheater was no different than any other run of the mill cheater. CL saved my sanity and my life! Thank you so much!

  • I feel mighty and I am building a new life, I am no longer a chump, I learned a lot here with CL and CN (much gratitude, this site is pure generosity).

    But I would love to get over the awful feeling of feeling used and feeling stupid and of having let so much happen that I knew was not right.

    Two past homes of mine have been burgled and the sensation is awful: no matter how much prevention you have set up afterwards, you can’t even turn a key without your heart racing, look at the window that was broken by the thief without your gut turning into knots. I keep busy, but if something reminds me of sparkledick and his entire family of entitled, opportunistic, self-interested bastards I feel awful. I have sold, trashed given away everything that is tainted by The Sparkles, but this is two thirds of my life.

    How do other chumps overcome this feeling?

    • Hey ClearWaters,

      I think I know where you are sitting right now-my brilliant asshole free future has yet to unfold, too, and that can turn your thoughts to what you lost. Sunk costs keep you stuck. So I try to reflect on what I learned not what I lost. In any case, I was real and true throughout the whole farce, which pretty much used up my youth. Every so often , a FB memory or a smell or a song gets me right in the feels.

      I didn’t believe in evil, but now I do. I am not responsible to fix everyone and I am not the Asshole Whisperer. Nothing farcical in that.

      Time is an ingredient, is what I guess I am trying to say. Am I likely to ever attain the same living standard? Unlikely, but frankly when I look back at that previous life the only thing I miss is my naïveté and that is silly.

      Ultimately being chumped has unleashed my inner badass and I trust myself now to not get fooled again. Because now I have Chump Nation-genuine friends behind fake names!

      Electrohugs

      Mehphista

      • Thanks Mephista. I feel better, I know I’m in great Company. A former student just wrote to me about her new chump status, complete with cheater’s debts. Will send some of your electro hugs to her.

  • I really love this new me…or maybe it is the same me that finally got to be free? Who knows, but I am owning my crazy, hot messiness, living life like I want, and giving zero fucks about who that offends. My daughter called me a WARRIOR the other day when I was throwing a whopper of a pity-party. Can’t say how damn proud that made me feel…and it ended the pity party!

  • ” I think I’m 99 percent Chump Lady now. Chumpy me retired and is a professional puppy snuggler somewhere.”

    While we’ve never met, and it may be presumptuous of me to say this, I have to say that I disagree with the sentiment above. I think ‘Chumpy chump lady’ is still around, absolutely loving life with Mr. Chump Lady, and thanking her lucky stars every day that Chump Lady was there to be bad ass so Chumpy could heal and get to this good place. Further, Chumpy is comforted to know that if Mr. Chump Lady suffers brain damage or something and goes all narcy (we all hope that never happens), Chump Lady will be there to protect her.

    After all, Tracy isn’t 100% badass every minute of her life. She’s got a different balance between her nice self (Chumpy) and her empowered self (Chump Lady), one that makes her a complete and beautiful human.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • My problem is that I am having a hard time letting go of the anger so that I can get to meh. I keep thinking I am there but then I have relapses. Part of me doesn’t want to give up my righteous anger because it’s valid and I am afraid that if I gave it up, it would be seen as more proof that he isn’t really a jerk. Unfortunately, I am starting to feel alone in that righteous anger. Early on most people who knew our situation were also angry. As time goes by, however and he works on his image management, most others have given up their anger and decided that he isn’t so bad after all. He isn’t being as openly and obviously irrational as he was just after DDay. This is hard for me to take, but I can’t complain out loud as that makes me look like a bitter person. Sometimes my daughter catches me in brief moments of bitterness when it leaks out and chides me for it. This is the daughter who I had to talk down when she was mad at her father and hating Schmoopie (no daughter, sending a glitter bomb would be a bad idea). The ex is being a much better father than he was when he still lived at home and I don’ t want the kids or anybody else to think it’s Schmoopie’s influence (or my influence when he was being a dick to them). In an indirect way, I feel like I am being blamed for his being an asshole before. He could have chosen to love the kids when he was still living with us too. I still think he gave up tarnished silver for fool’s gold (or sparkly shit, take your pick) and it bothers me that others are ok with that. That’s why I keep coming here.

    • I am with you Chumpinrecovery. I feel the same way some days. Fortunately I have many others where am more Meh.
      The all consuming job of image management takes a lot of energy that most cheaters just can’t maintain. BUT, the trick is to focus on yourself so you don’t even keep track of the image managing all the while making sure the kiddos are doing well in the parallel parenting department-hardest thing I will ever do but not impossible. I am a bit over a year out from the divorce and am still focusing on the day to day which is so much better…but sometimes I get down on myself because I am not making big awesome life changes…another degree perhaps, big vacation, my own business, which at the end of the day just are not practical. Focusing on having the best day I can have with my DD and fur baby and taking small steps toward the future I want is enough for now.

      • yeah this… my therapist made two great points last night about just this (my anger is getting in the way of my relationship with the kids):

        1. I hold on to my anger because if I let it go, my STBXw “gets away with it” in some manner.
        I totally feel this. Like if I somehow lay my burden down, she’s in the free and clear. Its hard to let go of the control still…

        2. Behind that anger is a wall of sorrow and grief. I’m scared to feel it. But I gotta “lance the boil” to get rid of the infection.

        On the other side (I think); a new me.

        • You might be getting to the heart of the matter here. In order for my ex to have blown up our marriage in the most painful way possible one of us must suck. If I give up my anger does that mean I am agreeing that he doesn’t suck and admitting that I do? Is that what is keeping me from letting go of the anger? It can’t be that neither of us sucks. This much pain has to come from somebody sucking.

          • I am in a long angry phase. I am not ‘holding onto’ anger because letting go would justify some things (make it seem like my exes were fine people and ‘we just drifted apart’ or whatever. I am not sure why I am this angry over six months since being discarded for the last time. (Over 35 years, I have been repeatedly discarded by several partners after much abuse/mistreatment). Instead of focusing my energy on figuring out why I angry (as I may never get the answer, O trying to figure out how NOT to be angry. (By the way. research has shown that venting by attacking pillows and ounching bags does NOT reduce anger. Supposedly working on accepting certain situations and acknowledging feelings as well as noticing things for which one is grateful are helpful.) Although I want to be grateful and have much for which to be grateful, I am still sad and angry and hopeless. I don’t want to stay this sad and angry for much longer as the fatigue/sleepiness (due to rumination in the middle of the night) that stems from feeling sad and angry and hopeless is making me unproductive and probably not very pleasant (good company). I must become significantly more productive to provide a decent life for my kids and others. Thst is my duty. I have given up hope of feeling happy, serene, but so need to fulfill my obligations and want to make my kids happy. If you can think of effective ways to reduce anger, please let me know!

          • I think it matters; Innocent. Guilty. I have to let. it. go.

            Totally don’t want to. I want the kids to know what a fuck-up their mom is and why the divorce. But my reasons are revengeful.

            If I truly want a healthy and emotionally honest relationship with my kids, I need to lay my burden down. I need to become the person I’m meant to be. And if my stbxw is who i think she is, she’ll only be able to 1/2 as awesome as I can be.

            They’ll be adults longer then they’ll be kids. I’m playing the long game.

            Part of this is being a dad vs their mom. I don’t have a trump-card. She’s their mom.
            I can just be healthier. Happier.

            Now.. I just have to do it.. (maybe tomorrow)(or next week)

    • It’s a weird balancing act with the kids. And each kid is different. I see how initially my three grown kids were enraged and wanted to know everything . And he knew after he died we would see EVERYTHING because his last gift was leaving it all laid out in a massive display.
      Over time one of mine got so upset they did their like-dad thing .. and I knew it was coming. They caved and started blaming me. Easy enough.
      The two others have varying degrees of being crushed/enraged /disgusted. But I see that I can’t share my experience or emotions, just new info revelations pertinent to their lives.
      Eventually I see I’ll be able to share intermittently with friends, and the main resource really will be coming here, learning and growing and being validated by everyone else’s experience and struggle .

  • I’m only 7.5 months out, but I too had 4 Ddays and did all the research, read the books, joined the “how to survive infidelity” club, ad nauseum . I don’t feel sorry for him anymore, but I still have anger at myself, an educated woman (I’m a lawyer for christ’s sake! with a Masters in PSYCHOLOGY) and I didn’t see the narcissism; I did’t (want) to see the truth; I didn’t (want) to admit to myself what was happening – or that I had no control of him and his actions. And I snorted that hopium for far too long.

    However, your book (the last book I read by the way) was THE catalyst to my inner CL coming out in full force, taking charge, and getting shit done. I read your book approximately 2 days after I changed the locks (because I couldn’t make excuses any more: my 20yo daughter saw her dad his girlfriend (and her 6yo son) get out of his truck and walk hand in hand to a restaurant the same night he asked if she was coming for dinner the following Sunday). It was the last book I read on dealing with a cheater, and it literally had all of the words I needed to hear.

    So, THANK YOU, Tracy, thank you for your book and for this site and for being the constant reminder that we do deserve better, even if we don’t believe it just yet.

  • Funny thing happened to me the other day, I was home and chewing gum when I remembered my loving husband commenting on how I looked ugly chewing gum. I just looked in the mirror and busted out laughing. That was the beginning of the nasty comments. He wanted to pick a fight with me so he can feel justified for his cheating ways. That lead to “you make faces”, “you talk to yourself” anything to feel better for him bringing my girlfriend to our house while I was gone to see out grandchildren. He actually told me that while trying to reconcile.

    He kept at it but I just asked him why he wanted to start a fight. No answer. Looking back I see all of his tricks and just laugh. He actually sent my sons a text saying “there isn’t a day that I don’t think of you”. Enough to make you puke. It amazes me what they do and say to make them selves feel good about being a Dickhead.

    One thing I have learned about myself after all his drama, I am reading people better. If they are just a little on the narc side whether they are female of male I’m not hanging around. Had one date and he has issues. No second date for that boy. Chumplady in training that’s me.

  • About a year after D-day 4 and the discard for the OW, I found my inner DIVA… and she will not tolerate less than the best for herself (she went dormant when I married Mr. Sparkles).

    I’m grateful that I had that inner strength/persona to fall back on when I was too weak from abuse to remember how to stand up for myself. Because of her, I survived the discard. I survived the divorce. I survive the weekends without my son. I survive the loneliness of singledom and the initial drama of co-parenting.

    What I struggle with today is that I’m much softer than my DIVA, my edges aren’t as coarse and I’m much more giving and tolerant and loving. And, I’m angry that I had to resort to that “bitchy” behavior as a last resort to protect myself and my son. I’m angry that his newest GF thinks that I’m a bitch and controlling and sexless… when I was/am none of those things. I’m angry that I have to sit at my son’s events and have this woman looking at me like I’m the problem…

    But, I guess maybe my answer is that I bring my DIVA out then too… I look down on them instead because I know what horrors await her with Mr. Sparkles. I know the betrayals and lies and sexual abuse. She’s tired and battleworn… guess I’m not a meh.

    • The woman my ex married is a shadow of her former self after a couple of decades with him. I trust that he’s milking her of every last dime, just like he did me. She has more materially than I had so he’ll sparkle more and won’t push her too far or she might take steps. That said, she looks cowed. That’s OK. Better her than me!

    • Thankyou. And yes. The Cheater husband I was with was dead before I discovered his carefully laid out reveals for my kids and I to discover. He had reams of bimbos and alwatsca main girlfriend, always right here in town, brought as close to us as he could, with his poor me stories that kept each of them thinking they were the special one, and to keep quiet his secret because he was such a wonderful suffering guy.
      It’s realky hard to know that OW are believing all that crap. That their life with us and family wasn’t fun or loving or sexual or meaningful.
      Sometimes I wonder if I could afford to move or have the courage. All these OW all around, who he identified me to, to up the risk and fun.
      Then I realize I just want to grow my fierce brave self. And take good care of myself and not CARE wtf he and his Cheaters did. And BE a strong honest good person. And let them have the mess they are. Here is to your soft tender self, and your fierce tough Diva.

  • CL,
    I’m really sorry you had to go through all of that; I’m sorry for all of us here on this site. BUT…without stumbling upon your site only a month after my final D-Day, I KNOW I wouldn’t be this far along with my healing.

    You’ve provided me with such CLARITY! I mean, I pretty much knew he sucked…deep down, but the whole “he’s still a nice person,” wouldn’t leave. So what if he sometimes saves wild animals from the side of the road after they’ve been hit? And goes out of his way to help someone change a tire on the side of the road? (Nice guy things to do, huh?)

    But I’ve realized that all those “nice things” he does do, doesn’t change that what he CHOSE to do to me and my daughters, to lie & cheat–over and over and over again–for at least ten out of our twenty years married (not including that one time when I was pregnant, and all the other times I don’t know about)…well, that alone proves what a “not nice” person he is. Or how my eldest daughter put it…”a not-so-awesome person.”

    Well, once again CL, I offer you my gratitude for letting your Chump Lady overpower chumpy you. And for following through to provide all of us other chumps with an amazing resource and outlet. THANK YOU!

  • Thank you CL – I am reading all the archives after listening to your book twice in the last week. I am so grateful to you and the CN for seeing myself in these stories so I can avoid continuing the “Pick Me Dance”, the “why wasn’t I good enough?” self-critique and muddling through with being the “sane parent”. I feel like you have taught me a whole new language so that I can identify what I am seeing and freeing myself from the “skein of fuckedupedness”.

    • Yes. The identifying is shocking and relieving. Things I thought were innocent happenings in my days turn out to be common pathological modes of functioning for Cheaters. So glad to be waking up.

  • “She fomented revolution. She would not shut the hell up.” THIS. Thank you, CL, for being the beacon of light and the voice of reason and the laugh I never thought I’d get to have again!

  • Chump Lady has given me the strength to go no-contact with a cheating ex-boyfriend and to speak up formally against inequitable treatment of women in my workplace. I couldn’t have done either a year ago.

    This post made me think back to how my very kind, religious mother modeled such extreme chump behavior for my younger sister and me. Her sense of duty to her disordered/alcoholic/sexually abusive FOO took precedence even over our own safety. One day, my mom’s schizophrenic/drug-addicted adult cousin showed up at our house unexpectedly and she let him stay even though he was very unstable and had a history of abusing his wife and children. My sister, who was probably 7 at the time (I was 13), remembers going to bed, and my dad warning her to lock her door. How screwed up is that, to put your young daughters’ safety at risk to keep the family peace?

    I’ve been trying to channel Chump Lady for my own young daughter. Last summer we were at a big outdoor concert when a mom and her son asked if they could please have our fabulous, pricey aisle seats. The woman claimed she had injured herself and needed easier access to the bathrooms. (I saw no injury and my instinct told me she was a scammer.) I did NOT want to give up these hard-earned seats and move smack-dab into the middle of a long row, where her seats were, so I told the woman to come back in a few minutes while I gave it some thought. My inclination was to sacrifice, to be nice. But then my 11-year-old daughter said, “Mom, just tell her no.” So I did, and felt instant relief. I hope small moments like these mean my daughter is learning how to set boundaries and stand up for herself. She’s teaching me…

    • It amazes me how that esrkybtraining can make it so tough to find the courage to simply make the choices that we want , that fit us best. Nice job!

  • All roads lead to Rome as they say…
    Here no matter how hard, easy, treacherous, short, long, clear, rough, scary, confusing, enlightening, or bumpy, we’ve all found our way here —- to The Mighty Chump Nation.
    Led by our beloved Chump Lady, we teach, and we learn.
    Here we laugh.
    Here we cry.
    Here we scream with rage and scream with joyous victory.
    Here we share and learn.
    Here we are brave and strong, or hurting and scared.
    Here we are free and safe.
    Here we. Are. Mighty.
    Viva LA Chump Nation!

  • Although I have always been good at standing up for others, I have spent so much of my life staying quiet for myself, in many areas of my life, but most of all in my relationship with the Weasel, of course (and he made it pretty well impossible anyway). Even after the Weasel left, I still continued to behave like this – trying to placate, be nice whilst he treated me with ever increasing contempt.
    Then, thank god, not too far in, I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation – and I got angry, and more to the point, it gave me the confidence to start to act on that anger. As time has gone on, I have got ever stronger and firmer in my boundaries – always with the support and encouragement of CL/CN. He still treats me with contempt but I am no longer scared and I am actually getting to the point where I find his behaviour ridiculous and quite comical. The world wants nice – it is so much more comfortable for everyone, but if you are dealing with the disordered that is just a recipe for exploitation.
    I am getting more comfortable generally with not always having to please everyone – and that is such a great lesson from this whole thing. It isn’t disastrous and, actually, it feels pretty good.
    CL and CN are not necessary in line with the current zeitgeist of “unconscious coupling” but it is in line with reality – at least for us who have been unfortunate to end up with the disordered. However, I think we are just ahead of the curve in being here – and thanks to Tracey for creating a place for it to exist. Long may it grow! 😍

  • It’s almost been a year- since he left . Just now getting ready to settle and call it quits. Chump lady – you’ve given me the best advice – reality checks- and honest perspective …hands down. Thank you- from a chump on the mend to a chump – once upon a Time

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