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Dear Chump Lady, No contact is killing me!

Dear Chump Lady,

I read your book and implemented NC as soon as he refused to give me his phone records to prove he wasn’t talking/texting to anyone. (I knew he was, my gut was screaming for months and this was the only way I could figure to “test” my hunch). I ran across Facebook private messages before, and so he went and changed all passwords, so this is my last ditch effort to get relief from my nagging feeling.

I also went to a therapist for my “insanity” and turns out he was a textbook narcissist. I had heard the word, but never fully understood what that meant and now am in the process of reading about this personality. So many things are falling into place, but my problem is it has been five weeks of NC and I am DYING!

I picture him with someone else, his touch, his kiss and I literally fall to my knees crying, panic attacks. My friends tell me to think of the horrible things I had endured, but for some reason I CAN’T! I just think of the good things, good feelings. I can’t even go outside the house for fear I’ll see him at the store, driving, etc. (We live in a small town and he lives ten minutes away from me.)

When I do think of a bad memory, I write it down for when I have these panic attacks. But I thought maybe you and other chumps might be able to shed light on what they DON’T miss being with the cheater/narc to help me start my list and look at the reality, not my image of him.


Dear Natalie,

No contact with a fuckwit never killed anyone. In fact, no contact has probably saved a lot of lives. I know it feels excruciating in the beginning, as all withdrawal from noxious substances does, but keep at it. No contact is the fast track to healing. It is the end of mindfuckery. It’s taking your power back.

The most powerful answer to manipulators is silence. Not only are you denying that person kibbles — the life-force of every narcissist — you’re denying them the raw materials with which to manipulate you. Whatever you do, DO NOT message Cindy!!! Oh really? Now they’re going to message Cindy with renewed vigor. It torques you. It underscores their centrality, makes them feel powerful. Cindy = kibble lever. CindyCindyCindyCindyCindyCindyCindy!!!

See how that works?

No, probably not. Because you’re a nice person (aka chump) and your mind doesn’t work like that. You can’t imagine needing to triangulate fuckbuddies for kibbles. It’s outside your moral ken to torture the people you purport to love or get a contact high of superiority off their suffering. You’re not wired like that. So you try to ascribe meaning to his cruelty. Maybe there is a Very Important Reason he is behaving this way. Maybe I suck and deserve this? Maybe he isn’t himself (midlife crisis, brain tumor, Neptune is in the seventh house…) Maybe this all Serves a Higher Purpose and Will Make Our Marriage Stronger Than Before!

No. No Natalie. He is a fuckwit. What you see is what you get. He’s shady. He doesn’t do transparency. He doesn’t respond with honesty or vulnerability, but with mindfuckery. He’d rather YOU be the crazy one than give up one ounce of entitlement. In short, Natalie, he sucks. Trust it.

I picture him with someone else, his touch, his kiss and I literally fall to my knees crying, panic attacks. My friends tell me to think of the horrible things I had endured, but for some reason I CAN’T! I just think of the good things, good feelings.

It’s OKAY to want to bond. It’s OKAY to grieve when you lose a relationship. Even a bad, horrible, toxic relationship. Every person has their hooks. You’re NOT disordered, so you bond, and severing those bonds is painful. This may seem like a very obvious thing to write, but the whole “get over!” schtick hurts. I know. You can’t just flip a switch — it is a hard fought BATTLE to flip that switch, and you’re going to have to consciously wage it.

When you miss him remember you miss the lie. That he was a fully invested, loving partner. He wasn’t those things. Remind yourself that you deserve those things and won’t settle for a crappy, cheating, disrespectful partner. And remind yourself that it hurts now (THE PAIN IS FINITE) because you’re a loving human being. You’re not a cyborg or a mindfuck. What you want is the most primal human thing of all — to connect. You just misdirected that impulse to the wrong person. Every. Single. Person. on this blog (millions!) have done that too. Chumpdom is not a permanent condition. This isn’t fatal, it just feels like it right now.

So, Chump Nation — help Natalie out. How did you go no contact? Share your tricks. Hang in there Natalie!


Ask Chump Lady

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  • Chumps that share children with these liars are reading this yelling at the screen. I can NOT go no contact. Grey rock is hard.

    Please push forward into the freedom that no contact will allow you.

    Also, it helps me to realize that he chose me as a victim to manipulate (the same that he did with the affair partners). I genuinely don’t think he ever loved me.

    • The above is meant with compassion… And perhaps jealousy that I can not cut the cord and be free of him. :/

    • I have 2 children with a world-class Fuckwit who should be in jail. I am NC. I go through my lawyer. He has to pick up the kids curbside – he can’t even turn into my driveway. If anything shady were to ever happen again, I’d call the cops, no hesitation.
      Sole custody is almost impossible to get and my court/legal debacle was unparalleled. I had to settle for ‘joint’ legal custody. Still, NC can be done with kids. I’ve been NC for 2 years, 8 months. But I still fucking hate him.

      • JerseyChump, I’m in NJ too and I feel your pain on the joint legal bullshit. What a crock of shit. Try getting a parenting software like our family wizard to keep him (and you) in check. I hate my stbxh too, but the app keeps my aggression in check. Grey rock is hard AF and nj court systems baby the bastards because they ejaculated. I hate nj but love their child support guidelines. Lol

    • Many Chumps do have children with a fuckwit. Here’s what no contact looks like when you reproduced with a cheater

      You detach from being his friend; friends do not lie or cheat.
      You plan seperate events on holidays, birthdays and other events.
      You let go of Switzerland friends who say things like, “It takes two.”
      You hire an attorney and file for a divorce and let the fuckwit speak to that attorney.
      You cut off all access to your fuckwit controlling your schedule around the OW.
      You take charge of all the assets and take half of liquid cash as they often commit financial rape.
      You stop caring what HE says or thinks.
      It means you no longer tolerate image management or verbal abuse.
      It means you report any and all threats to your safety.

      NO CONTACT means he gets NO access to your personal life or head space regardless of children.

      Grey rock is implemented to stop the triangulation through children.
      Communicating through Family Wizard instead of phone or personal texting is to protect you and limit contact.

    • Yes, those of us with kids are living in a special kind of hell.

      But take comfort from this: “The most powerful answer to manipulators is silence. Not only are you denying that person kibbles — the life-force of every narcissist — you’re denying them the raw materials with which to manipulate you.”

      It’s over. Acceptance of that fact makes the next step, moving on, much easier. Peace will come with time.

      Bon courage.

      • Is your moniker a reference to Le Petit Prince? If so tres, tres bien. J’adore! 🙂

      • Although I also like the moniker, unfortunately, Fucktard and OtherWhore read that book together and in among the trove of emails I discovered were many, many simpering quotes from it and references to it.

        When I found the copy he brought home (a gift from her?) I ripped it apart and burned the pages. If I hadn’t burned it I might have used it as toilet paper and mailed the used pages to each of them. Certainly I was very tempted.

    • same here. i watched him execute the same pattern on at least five different people by watching his emails text messages and Facebook activity. I have no doubt that’s what he’s doing now with the two (?) women in his life (that I know of) that he was seeing behind my back. Why would I want to be back in the mix?

    • The article about the three channels of Mindfuck is compulsory reading to go with this. It firmly establishes the response to NC you can expect to receive.

      My cheating ex-gf did all three channels in response to grey rock (we worked together) and cheating ex-W did the same (in response top virtual NC).

      Disordered people hate NC as it takes their power away. Be ready with your (non) response to their response.

    • When I divorce the cheater I am going to appoint someone else to talk to him about children matters. That is the plan.

    • Going no contact is BRUTAL I know first hand I haven’t seen my kids in 14 weeks. He plays the victim as well and uses the kids as a weapon but I’m determined I’m NOT being treated like garbage any longer! I was a faithful wife 24 years and I demand better!

    • It’s not that he didn’t love you.

      It’s that he doesn’t love. There is something missing in him.

    • Amen. My ex takes every opportunity to make the most mundane exchange over email/text something overblown and dramatic. I envy those who can go full NC. I feel sad when I experience relief that another milestone with my kids is out of the way because I know that there is now one less way I have to see him.

  • The best analogy I can offer you, Natalie, is that when my mother was dying of Type II Diabetes and Congestive Heart Failure and TOO WEAK FROM IT TO DRIVE, she used to try to guilt people into bringing her cake mixes and Candy Bars. She begged from her hospital bed for a Peppermint Patty. She cried to my sister with real tears in her eyes, ‘I’m DYING for a Peppermint Patty.’

    My sister looked her dead in the eye and said ‘No, Mom, you’re dying FROM a Peppermint Patty, and I won’t help you kill yourself.’

    I know the pain of forcing yourself to unlove someone. But that someone is the source of your pain and if they cared, they would not be inflicting this kind of pain on you. You’ll find with time and distance that what you had was love on one end and addiction on the other.

    You’re not dying from being away from him, you’re dying from what he’s done to your self esteem.

    • When I decided on no contact, I was going through the same thing you are – physical withdrawals from my cheater, complete with the panic attacks you describe, as well as regular vomitting (good times!) But my best friend told me something that genuinely kick started my resolve to begin actively working to unlove him. She said, “The end of your relationship does not mean the end of YOU.” It’s the same thing CL and CN teach us daily. I don’t know why it stuck with me right at that exact moment, but it’s how I knew that my instinct for self preservation was still alive and kicking, because up to that point I viewed myself as a selfless martyr to my marriage who was PROUD that I was willing to lay down and die if it meant honoring my vow. I look back at that person now and just shake my head. Keep at it…soon 5 weeks will be 5 months, and before you know it, 5 years. You’ve got this – and CN has YOU.

      • That was totally ME, NorthTexas! I was telling myself I wanted to be able to say I did everything I could to save my ‘marriage,’ and now it can make me nauseated to think about how I humiliated myself. But now I am so thankful none of it worked, and I’m FREE and ME. 5 years now since my world fell apart, but it turns out – it was just a cleansing 🙂

        • This was me as well, Kim and North Texas! I wanted to save my marriage, but it took me a while to accept the fact that I could not do that unilaterally – no matter how good (or how humiliating) my Pick-Me Dance Routine was. As it became more and more clear to me that cheater ex wasn’t even close to being “all in” as it related to “saving the marriage,” I was able to let go of the reality I was trying to deny and begin to move forward on my own. Not to say that it’s been easy or without heartbreak, struggles, etc., but almost 7 years out, and I know that it was the only sane thing, and I am happier now than I have been in a long time. (And I’m a North Texan, too!!)

          • that should read, “accept the reality I was trying to deny…. (LONG day!!!)

          • I’m North Texas as well!

            I am doing great at NC, well, if you count two weeks great. But it is great for me. He lives in California and so I can easily minimize time with him, even with co-parenting 5 kids. (Divorce is in process)

            Try noticing not what is missing but what you have instead. I miss my husband, no doubt. Our house is still filled with his stuff. But as much loss as there has been, I can also see what I have that I didn’t have before: long luxurious days of peace and calm. I can think about adopting another cat if I want. I can stay up late. I can get up early. I can plan my trip to Paris (Which is pretty hypothetical at the moment but still). I have been doing an Avengers movie marathon with my 11-year-old. I am trying not to just survive (which is what the last 18 mo has been) but rather to thrive on filling up my days with things that make me happy. Slowly but surely, it is becoming a story of not what I have lost, but what I have gained.

    • Your last statement has made me burst into tears. Im struggling so much with this right now, but you are so right.

    • Luz,
      Thank you for reminding us that we are not dying from loss of partner; we are suffering directly and indirectly (unwarranted guilt, anger at self for tolerating abuse/mistreatment by dishonest, cruel partner) from damage inflicted by partner.

      • I think of panic attacks as “nervous breakthroughs”. THEY WON’T KILL YOU ANS THEY WILL PASS. Watch a clock next time you have one. Try to breathe deeper, quieter, slower, more regulated. You will see how long it takes to pass (mine lasted 15-20 minutes). Then the next time I had one I could wait it out. And try to stop watching the mind movies….you can only pay attention to one thought at a time…I play motivational CD’s to keep my mind movies shut down. You are in the right place at Chump Lady’s house. Run out of the burning house of your entanglement and stay here!! I learned in a domestic violence education class in 1989 that TRUST AND SAFETY ARE THE INDISPENSABLE FOUNDATION OF ANY RELATIONSHIP. Without trust and safety IT IS AN ENTANGLEMENT. Breaking denial is painful and it passes!! Do the next right thing, one moment at a time, JUST FOR TODAY. Stay in the moment and when you mind is future tripping, jump ship. Read this blog or call a trusted friend when he is getting to you. We are the Force…use it, Luke Skywalker!!! ❤️

        • Also, WATCH YOUR SELF TALK LIKE A HAWK!! Try yelling “No Contact Is Healing Me!!” instead of telling yourself
          “No contact is killing me”. Your brain listens to your words and thoughts!!! Write out replacement thoughts on Post It notes and wallpaper your house with them!
          Words and thoughts are very powerful and we need to be careful with our words!
          Great resource posted on my fridge..
          Safe Coping Skills poster….available at
….PTSD work of Lisa Najavits….she makes a card deck and a pocket version which live in my purse…

  • I read this blog. I went no contact. I kept reading this blog. I stayed no contact. I went to a therapist for two years and a half and I did all the hard work of staying single, and figuring out my new life step, by step, by step. And it was painful, it hurt like hell, BUT I chose to believe the people on this blog and CL instead of fuckwit and the tribe who was telling meI should be “civil” and “friendly” with him. And for once, three years out, I can say with all conviction that I have made the right choice.

    • Totally agree with UnchumpingMyself.

      Going NC, even with 2 children, has been my only choice.

      I trust that it is the only path and it has allowed me to hold my head up high. My emotions are invisible to the ex. I am a blank slate. Took a bit to get there.

      Any necessary communication has been as if the ex was a stranger. Polite and all business.

      That said, it isn’t easy. Some days it’s more of a struggle than others. It’s been years and it remains a struggle. I wonder if it’s because I haven’t had an emotional or romantic replacement, perhaps because it was a long marriage, probably because I miss the person I thought the ex was. I know I was married to a fake person.

      I’m No Contact – Yea! – and it is a challenge. Be kind to yourself.

      • Rebecca,
        Thanks for sharing. I often wonder the same things about my marriage and my relationship with my post-separation boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend).

    • Same for me. Feeling yourself buckle, come here.
      Also, cry. Cry hard at least once a day. Stand in your kitchen, hands on the counter, and weep. Allow yourself to howl for the exact time it takes to boil the kettle and brew your tea. Then stop, pick up that tea and come here and read about how HE sucks. Man, how he sucks.
      Repeat to self ‘I don’t miss him, I miss the man I thought he was.’
      It does pass. It just chafes like a bitch in the short term.

      • Exactly Gin. I would allow the grief to come over me, and even make the time for it, but then I also focused on navigating forward. Someone that loves you would never put you through this. Love yourself first.

  • Exactly! For me, the kids were the incentive to keep it together and move on. My life is better with them and in general. Im 4 1/2 years out of a 20 yr marriage and not quite to “meh”. NC is a challenge but what I do get from him is a constant reminder of:
    1. how much he sucks
    2. there was NO personality transplant
    3. it was only real FOR ME.
    Like you, it still hurts when I’m alone but it does get better with time. Get busy with work and friends. My friends at work have been my life-line.

  • I remeberedwho I was pre narcicisst. The less contact I made the more I found my self worth. Dont think about the good times you had with him. Im sorry to say but you were being swooned by a phony. His lying and cheating are his true colors. The horrible way he made you feel ,focus on that and remember you never deserved it. He is sick and your a normal person who deserves normalcy in your life. As easy as it is for you to dwell on this moron it is just as easy to become addicted to forgeting him . Dont let this man give you panic attacks . YOU are good he is bad news. Practice, practic practice no contact. Focus on you and the kind of life you want for yourself and deserve. He will fade away in time but you have to let go. Took me years because I was addicted to the pain . Dont waste anymore time . You got this! Keep moving forward !!!!Your a Queen and start living your truth . Dont give him anymore of yourself. He does not deserve anything from you. Read through CL articles . It helped me so much . Best advice I found here. Trust us fellow chumps. We can all relate and empower each other.Be a warrior !!! Good luck to you .Make yourself proud of yourself and kick him and the thoughts to the curb.Dont let his shitty personality ruin your days.

  • I am having the same issues and since we are still living in the same house NC is next to impossible. I find “Get Over It” to be very helpful (, especially this part: “All that energy poured into a narcissist — it’s yours now. You gift it to yourself and those deserving of you”. Every moment I spend thinking about him is a moment that could be spent thinking about people who actually deserve my thoughts.

    • My stbxh narc cheater still lives in the basement so NC is almost impossible BUT I still try. When he tries to talk to me I give very limited responses and talk to him like he is a stranger I am passing by who is asking for directions… 29 yrs married now it took me a long time to get here.

      It has been 11 months since DDay so it has taken me months to get to this point…I wish he would have just left back on Aug. 1 and I would have been spared 11 months of roller coaster emotions, his manipulation, believing the affair was over and continuing to find out it wasn’t and hopium. A few months ago when I started to go gray rock it was the hardest thing. I was so used to calling him on his way to work, on his way home and sometimes during the day but every day that passes that I don’t call him or text him it does get easier. Hang in there!!

    • Thank u, thank u, thank u for this post today! I am 9 months post Dday. My STBXH will not leave the house (he has a separate bedroom) and NC is impossible, though I so try to only discuss the comings and goings of our 12 year old twins. I feel NC would help my healing process, but it won’t happen until the D is final. He says to me, “you can leave if u don’t like it.”
      What I don’t understand is how he can be so callous, and uncaring and cruel to me still. He is the one who cheated and wants out!
      He walks around the house laughing, singing and joking with kids, yet to him I am dead.
      We have been married 15 years. Last August, out of the blue he says, “I want a divorce. I havent been happy for years.” Upon further investigation of phone records, I uncovered an affair with a married, younger coworker. I long suspected he had a thing for her. Her children are 2 & 4 years old. My STBXH says they are “together,” but I honestly have no idea if she has left her husband or not.
      It’s honestly just pure mental abuse and torture to live like this. I have panic attacks whenever I even hear his phone ping.
      He is stalling the divorce and screwing me financially every which way to Sunday that he can. Our trial date isn’t until October.
      Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated!

      • Get your financial house in order. If you can, move assets into your own name and try to accumulate cash (cash back from credit card at weekly grocery shopping, etc.) Do whatever house repairs now, make sure that you have a good car, etc. Set yourself up for when he files and then you will not be able to do these things. Good luck. Trust that he sucks.

        • Thank u, NMF!
          I filed on Feb 2nd, the day after my second Dday. We are totally separate now financially, but split the bills in half. He will refuse to pay for some household items, even though he makes $30,000 more than me. He fights me on everything (pet food for example).

          • Oh honey I don’t know what to say, but just sending you lots of love from France. Stay strong.

              • I’m going through the same thing! I caught my husband having an affair 14 months ago right after our daughter was born! He is saying he is in love and leaving for her but won’t leave the house because he pays for it and if I can’t handle it I can take our two small kids and leave! The only difference from your situation is that he acts normal and happy to be home with us and nothing has been filed but I’m definitely get my stuff lined up!! His affair partner on the other hand filed for divorce and is planning on them being togeher, she also has two younger kids!! Most days I’m like meh she can have this piece of s*** but cringe thinking of the co-parenting and what my poor babies are headed for!!

          • ALMOSTTOMEH ,

            there is a book called “splitting” (amazon) that will guide you so he does not rape you financially , i hope you have a lawyer who will kick him in his tiny little nuts for you ……..

            • Thank u R and B!
              And to Better Days Ahead, I feel ur pain. These affair partners are entitled, selfish assholes. As my brother says to me, “Let that trainwreck happen.” Let them figure out how to maintain their relationship built on lies and deceit while caring for 4 kids!
              Keep reading here everyday for strength!

      • Almost – I was in the same boat. After I found out about fuckfaces little fuck phone – he really had no remorse. He wouldn’t leave because since he made more money than me – it was his house. I left. I had to. It was tearing me apart staying there. My kids were older, youngest was 16 at the time. I explained to them that I left their dad – not them. Since it was my 19 year old who found the fuck phone – he knew exactly why I left. I’m not sure what my daughter knows, but she doesn’t talk to me now so I’m assuming asswipe has convinced her (as he tried to convince me) that his cheating was my fault.
        I ended up staying with my son and his girlfriend, however I had a couple of friends who offered me a ‘room’ until I could find something else. You need to leave. It is mental torcher! And yes – once the cat was out of the bag, it was almost like he was flaunting the cheating…. It KILLED ME when his fucking phone was practically surgically attached to his leg or he would have it on vibrate and I could still hear it or turning it upside down or getting a text and going into another room….
        You need to leave for your own health!

        • Thank u, LS!
          I bought the house before we married, but added him to the deed 2 years after.
          I’m digging my heels in and not going anywhere since it was my house initially!
          But, it is SO hard to live like this…
          I keep a running countdown of the days to trial. 126 now.

          • Oh man! That sucks!! I can understand why you won’t leave. I’m sooo sorry! Why is trial so far away? Is your county that busy? Will be be forced to move after the trial? Well all I can say is keep yourself as busy as possible. It sucks having a ‘home’ you don’t want to be in…..

            • Thank u again, LS!
              I hope to remove him from the deed as part of the divorce decree so I can reclaim my house.
              No clue why the trial is so far away. I’m in upstate NY!

        • I had to leave too and it really hurt my relationship with my kids. My dd came with me, but then went back to the family home. We didn’t speak for over a year. The ex had no interest in her until we left. Then he was father of the year. It is another type of abuse. Abuse thru the kids and our fractured ties with them. Try meh when you kids hardly or never talk to you. And when they do they blame you for the demise of the family. Because the cheater tells them that THEY want to try, but its US that won’t try once more.

          • Ya I experienced the strain on my kid’s relationship as well. And you are right (Father of the year) – asswipe went out and bought 17-year-old daugher a brand new car. That was something I was absolutely against, but he did it anyway (and then expected me to pay for half of it when we divorced!) So yes – my daughter thinks highly of a father who buys her off while doesn’t talk to the mother who attended ALL her school functions, brought her anywhere she needed to go, threw her birthday parties, etc….. It’s whatever. She got the entitlement attitude from dear old dipshit unfortunately. Hopefully one day she’ll get her head out of her ass….

            • Lady Strange. I find this incredibly sad. Worse than sad. Here you’ve been the one raising your children, probably 85% of the daily time and they turn against you for a lying cheating father? (what kind of a father is that!) . His disgusting inappropriate flashing of money to her (who gets a brand new car at 17?? – where’s the values?) . It’s certainly a shitty parent who is anxious for her to learn entitlement. Please hang in there. She WILL get it eventually. I promise. Just be nice all the fucking time while you take away her keys (if she doesn’t obey your rules).

              • Who buys a 17 year-old a brand new car?? Right! My thoughts exactly! And she already HAD A CAR! It was an older Honda we bought from my brother, but that is enough for a 17 year-old! He saw the impending divorce (He was aware that my son had found his fuck phone and it was only a matter of time before he would tell me.) That is why he was lavishing the kids with all these ‘gifts.’ (I didn’t realize what was going on at the time.
                My daughter is 21 now. She doesn’t live with me and never did when I moved out. I can understand why she wanted to stay in the ‘family’ home. I bought a 3 bedroom house so my kids could come stay with me, but none of them did. That’s ok.
                I miss my daughter…. that’s for sure. But, I can’t dwell on it and until the masks falls from dear old dipshits face for her – I’m just going to have to sit back and wait until she gets her head out of her ass. My 2 boys (31 & 24) like to spend time with me, so I just don’t get it.

      • Does the ho workers husband know about their affair? Can you tell him anonymously? This may force the issue.

        Why a trial? Does he really want to spend money on a trial? Is there no chance of mediation? Or the two lawyers makin a plan to separate assets?

        I am so sorry for you and your children.

        • Thank u, Mitz! You helped me on my last post back in April, too.
          So, I know her (through professional channels) and have spoken to her husband on a few occasions. He seems to be in denial. It texted him (and her) a picture of a love letter I found which said it all. Neither of them responded back to me.
          I have done everything I can to move this divorce along. Most recently, I devised a parenting plan and settlement offer that my attorney sent to both him, his lawyer and the law guardian. No response from either (the law guardian said he liked the plan). This could easily be settled if he would just respond. Our next court date is July 17th, so we will see then what the judge says.
          Thank u again!

      • Yes I’m going through the same thing exactly except I’m blessed I got my “OWN” townhouse 10 minutes across town but only because Child and Family services in Canada forced it! The lying SOB was ordered by a judge to pay my rent! He on the other hand lives in our Family home with another woman he’s a complete Narcissistuc psychopath I now know! I remain NO contact 14 weeks now and it does help a lot in the healing process. I’m working towards getting 50% custody of my two kids and I’m back to work that helps immensely!

    • What helps me get through my moments of wanting to break NC is an email I drafted to the fuckwit after I threw him out on D-Day 6 weeks ago after 8 years together. I wrote the things I wanted to say to him and the horrible things he said and did to me. I added to it, revised it and when I found CN and CL, I started copying and pasting all the insights I found here, the advice given, words that gave me strength and helped me understand what I was going through. I read CL’s Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.

      NC lasted a few weeks and when he began communicating with me, I had the arsenal to recognize his pathetic self-pity, charm and rage. His deflection, blame shifting, false equivalencies, massive internal denial and refusal to take any accountability for his actions. He became PREDICTABLE. I felt EMPOWERED with information and the ability to see his bullshit for what it was – mindfuckery. If I doubt myself or missed him (which you will), I read through my email and am reminded that NC is the path to healing and that I have pages and pages of reminders of reasons why he is out of my life, forever.

      The lies, gaslighting, abuse
      His horrible diet
      Being awoken from the smell of his rotten egg gas from the horrible diet
      Worrying about him drinking and riding his motorcycle
      Him ignoring our company to chat on the internet
      Long, straggly toenails scratching off my skin
      The toothpaste spit all over the faucet
      The way he’d ruin meals because he was distracted by his phone/computer when cooking
      Being ditched last minute for events and having to give excuses
      Him taking a shit while I got ready in the bathroom in the morning
      Aggressive, terrifying driving and his disregard for nauseous passengers

      Keep adding to your lists and reread them. Keep reading this blog and all the comments on all the articles. Build your arsenal. You are MIGHTY!

        • I won’t miss watching him perform his wiping of ass standing up and being rather proud of what he wiped off. I’m sorry to explain his regular actions. But how can people do this around others? Especially a lady? It didn’t register with him that it totally disgusted me.
          He did it daily.

          Is this probably a sign of disrespect or . . . entitlement . . . or stupid male ignorance?

          • That is some first rate horribleness there.

            Good Riddance! I say, Good Riddance!

  • Like it’s been said, The pain will go away. Going cold turkey to break a bad habit works way better than being on the roller coaster of emotion hell.

    Natalie read these posts today. It’s not going to be magically take the pain away. But hopefully enough to keep you moving forward.

  • I don’t think cheaters really cared, they pretend to care. As chump lady says, actions speak louder than words.

    • When I first went NC, I would remind myself that the man I loved never existed. The cheating ass I was NC with is not someone I would want anything to do with. It made it easier, by separating out the false image from the real jerk.

      Plus contact with the narcissist almost always makes me feel worse about myself. Who needs that? As time has gone by, I get more clarity into what was done to me, how much my self esteem was wrecked by my ex. It gets easier. Like CL said, it’s like detoxing from a terrible addiction.

    • I think cheaters deep down cheat themselves as well I saw mine over Christmas going into a drug store and he looks dreadful the stress has aged him 5 years!

  • I’d recommend reading “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood & “Betrayal Bond” by Patrick Carnes. If there are Relationships Anonymous meetings, or Codependents Anonymous, in your area, go.
    B. C. (before chumplady) I realized that if I kept my mouth shut & fingers from tapping, it stopped the conversation. For someone grappling with control issues, it was a relief to know that if I didn’t play, the game was over. I knew he was/is really sick & didn’t want his glare in my direction. I’d have quiet, little grey rock answers when absolutely necessary since he’d left his kid with me when he moved out. You can’t win an argument or make a point with a cheater. Thank your lucky stars he’s “touching” someone else. He will kill you emotionally & spiritually.

    • I read Women Who Love Too Much in 1985…it launched me into recovery (Al Anon, CoDA, ACA, AA). I wrote her a letter thanking her and she wrote me back a letter…I still have it and re-read it for courage strength, and hope. 12 Step meetings of any kind that you can attend are free support available. I find Al Anon invaluable these days….infidelity is a relative of drinking/using IMHO and the Al Anon tools are working wonders helping me navigate right now.

      • “Sex addiction” is yet another way to scapegoat Chumps. Keep you in the pick me dance. And if you are with a narcopath, they can play that “disease” like a fiddle.

        • Oh it so crystal clear that I am not willing to be married to a “sex addict”, thankfully.
          Disease, addiction, or not, I am not willing to wrestle that 800 pound gorilla!!!


          they play “sex addiction” like a fiddle ,because SEX is their life and breath .they would eat their own young ,for a piece of ass . and then of course “lie” about it . because it doesn’t fit their “nice guy” facade .

          • Being an amoral entitled liar is their fiddle. “Sex addiction” is their excuse.

      • Me also! Women Who Love Too Much changed my life! Got me to get serious help!

  • This was me 6 months ago. Struggling, aching, grieving. What I’ve learned since that time:

    1. It’s ok to grieve a fake. I can now see the man I loved was a lie. Grieve that, protect yourself from the new guy.
    2. When you ache, RUN. Get some exercise, fresh air, whatever it takes to get you moving. It will help with sleep, appetite, thoughts, etc. Get a buddy to help you move your ass.
    3. Put away mementos. I mean away-away, like not easy to get to. Storage unit, parents house out of state, trashcan on fire….You can deal with those later once you’re healthy and healing. There’s NO RUSH to get through this.
    4. If you can’t go full NC (which I can’t, we’ve got kids), turn off text notifications on your phone, tell him you got a new email address (I have one just for dealing with him).
    5. Acknowledge you are addicted and treat it like so. One day, one hour, on moment at a time. I did the elastic band on the wrist distraction, which worked really well. I also had a coin jar for thoughts instead of swears. Also look into EMDR with your therapist. Oh and….
    6. Let people HELP you. Therapist is a must. Family. Friends. Hell, even strangers have provided me with strength at times. Let them feed you, wipe your nose, watch your kids, clean your house.
    7. Try something new and scary and make it your bitch. Got my fat ass into a kayak on the goddam ocean. LOVED IT. Camping. Using the damn snowblower and fixing the pool pump. Take my kids to concerts I like. Hiking? Well, that sucked, but I tried. I’m not quite at parachuting bravery levels, but I am trying new things big and small, things that he never encouraged, mentioned, or tried. Things he said ONLY he could do or provide. And those sonsabitches are my wins, my adventures.
    8. It’s ok to remember the good things. Really. It was real for you, for your family. Refer to #1 if you start missing them though.
    9. Don’t date. I know your stomach just rolled over reading that, but trust me, you will get lonely, depressed and horny. This time of healing is for you alone. The strength you have, you alone can replenish. The grief you carry, you alone can process it. AND YOU CAN DO IT
    10. Don’t break No Contact, but if you do just go right back to it. Don’t listen to the begging (because that will come). Don’t believe the insults, abuse and criticism (because if that hasn’t started yet, it will). No Contact is FOR YOU: your sanity, your heart and healing.

    It will take time. It does suck. 6 months ago I couldn’t make it through the day without multiple crying jags, panic attacks, and had severe depression. I’m not 100% but I see who he is, what he is now.

    The man I loved is dead, and replaced with some asshole who is out to hurt me, my kids. The man I loved delivered kindness with a bite, compliments with a criticism. The man I loved taught me that I was worthless, unable to provide for my family and a bad wife. The man I loved systematically abused me for many years.

    My hardest work now is working with my therapist to find out what attracted me to someone with NPD, and why I was blinded by it for so long. Working with him to also help my children. Working toward a future where I’m treated well and equally, in a loving partnership someday, my children with healthy attitudes about relationships.

    • Yes. It’s hard work and it sucks. We are all missing the person that we thought he was. Strangest thing is that in 2012, when I thought he was having a mid life crisis (aka affair) I jotted down things that he did and things that he said to me. When I came across this list recently, I was shocked to realize what he had put me through. This list is the perfect resource to shake me back to the reality of what he actually is.

      • I did the same thing. Made a list of “Shitty things asshole did to me,” which included SEVERAL shitty things…. Once and awhile another ‘shitty’ things pops into my head and I jot it down – adding to the already enormous list. Then I review that list and get pissed at myself for staying with such an ass for as long as did, then vomit, then thank god I found life is SOOOO much better without a cheating fat bald piece of shit in my life.

      • womanscorned2017, after doing what you posted and being over 2 years out, life is SO much better!

    • “The man I loved is dead, and replaced with some asshole who is out to hurt me, my kids.” This was my “trick” as well. You can phrase it however you want, he’s dead, he’s a figment of your imagination, he’s an illusion, etc. The point being, the man I loved with all of my heart, mind and soul doesn’t exist. That makes it pretty easy to get over the giant cockroach looking alien who is walking around in my ex’s skin. And in case I ever forget who he is (I don’t – not for a single second, but just in case), he’s listed as The Edgar Suit in my phone.

      • “The man I loved is dead, and replaced with some asshole who is out to hurt me, my kids.” This was my “trick” as well. You can phrase it however you want, he’s dead, he’s a figment of your imagination, he’s an illusion, etc. The point being, the man I loved with all of my heart, mind and soul doesn’t exist. That makes it pretty easy to get over the giant cockroach looking alien who is walking around in my ex’s skin.” Ditto

      • Just updated my phone contacts from DoucheCanoe to EdgarSuit.

      • I’d only been married a couple of years when MIB came out, but I distinctly remember having very vivid nightmares about my husband being Edgar. I always felt so unsettled about it, and even tried joking a few times that he was showing the alien underneath. I guess what I was really looking for would have been a healthy partner’s response of reassurance and concern about why I didn’t feel safe. What I got instead was rage because I had insulted him. Which of course, only solidified my perception of him being a monster in a nice guy suit.

        Anyway, I can’t go back in time to tell myself that the reason I felt unsettled was because the nice guy I married really wasn’t authentic. But at least I can go forward knowing that feeling unsettled is a big red flag that I should never suppress again.

        • My problem was that when I had those “unsettled” feelings I assumed it was because I was doing something wrong to make him act distant instead of recognizing that he was the one doing something wrong. I guess that’s another symptom of being a chump.

    • Wow you sure have covered a LOT of ground, ws2017!

      That is all absolutely stellar advice. Especially the bit about getting outside and moving. I find so much beauty in nature, being in the bush (as we call it here in Oz) with my dog calms me right down. Also being creative: drawing, painting, stitching – gardening and cooking qualify here too.

      There’s so much more known about training the brain now. The more you do something, the easier it gets. Stop that monkey mind chattering about him and what (you thought) was so great about him. Reach for phrases like “yes he DOES suck, he does he does he does” instead. Chump-style mindfulness exercises.

      The latest episode in my particularly multi-chartered chump saga I found funny as much as anything. Which is a good sign I think.

      Sometimes I recall that bit in one of the Harry Potter films where the kids learn how to deal with a boggart – a terrifying creature that takes the shape of a person’s worst fear. They point their wand and pronounce “ridiculus”, transforming it into something absurd or hilarious, and then have a good old laugh at it. The thing vanishes.

      Sounds exactly like taking back your power to me. These fuckwits would be laughed out of town if people knew how nonsensical they are.

    • Womanscorned – proud of you for getting through that tough beginning. Love is an addiction and it’ll take one day at a time. Keep at it.

    • Question for
      My fellow chumps… when trying to
      Find a therapist did you
      Look for one that specializes in narcissism ? How do you pick a good therapist ? My internist doesn’t know anyone good
      Is there a certain kind that would be helpful. I don’t want them to just listen I want the verbal interaction ?

      • Find a therapist who specializes in trauma and/or abusive relationships. It’s also typically best if they list “Cognitive-Behavioral” as one of their therapy approaches. Call your local domestic abuse hotline and get a few recommendations; narcissists dish out domestic abuse even if they never hit anyone.

      • Mine specializes in trauma actually. Because that’s what it is. The narcissism is now the STXWH problem, the trauma is mine and I’m healing.

        • Womanscorned2017
          I appreciate you describing it as a trauma. I feel like I’m confused and have a hard time trying to get my thoughts together. I feel like I cannot make decisions in daily life I continue to
          Cry each day as I sort out what happened
          I think about what he did and how he had a long relationship with a co worker and how they got one over on me and were planning the future together. As I find out more and piece it together I discover that he could not have ever loved me but never mentioned the coworker or tried to get out of the marriage. It left me deeply sad and devastated. The everlasting effects as I described above are such that I don’t feel
          Like I could move on
          Because there’s a part of me that feels he was a great unbelievable person but at the same time I mourn the loss of the relationship that could have been. The coworker he was with I feel was taken care of by him while i was not respected or taken care of by him and she had an easier life being his ow. And she clearly wanted to drive a nail in my coffin by showing up 10 Mins after he died so that I would see her
          I feel powerless Because they both got away with it all. Daily confusion plagues me as well as not being able to grieve his death because of his betrayal etc making this very confusing and anxiety provoking

          • I can relate to many of the sentiments expressed here. I am going to reiterate the suggestion made by several respondents–EMDR (and somatic psychotherapies). Also, guided imagery, meditation and podcasts by Jack Kornfield and Pema Chodron. which you can get free on YouTube (any time, anywhere)–great in dealing with middle of the night rumination.

          • That stuckness you are feeling? It’s trauma. It helps me to think about it this way….He didn’t get away with anything. Even if no one ever knew what Mr RockStarWannaBe was doing, both he and the OW knew and that shit leaves a stain. I beg you, don’t beat yourself up for being fooled. You were taken in by a pro, someone who only existed to serve himself, someone who used you as a pawn in his own sick games. You can neither anticipate that nor prevent it, but what you can do is…

            …Grieve with others. Openly, privately, share as much or as little as you’d like. You owe him or his memory nothing.
            …Take care of yourself. Easier said than done, but do it. One small thing a day adds up. I started by cry-walking, then rage-running. Manicures with DD. Lunch with friends he didn’t like, people I loved and hadn’t seen in forever. Tossing his underpants in the trash. ONE SMALL THING
            …Find your inner mightiness. Because she’s in there. Maybe she’s bent, but she’s not broken. Maybe she’s under cover of darkness, but the sun ALWAYS eventually comes up. Maybe she’s drowning, but that’s why there are lifeguards (IC, friends, family).

            You will get through this. You can do it.

            • womanscorned2017
              thank you so much for shedding light. I still hear one particular person tell me and look at you now you never knew and he got away with it; he had moved on and you did not even know it; he had a whole new life and was living it with the OW while you had your head In the sand…this is the same person that knew all the games I had endured and the charming smile all the while I was being backstabbed and probably laughed at while all my good years were wasted while he gave the good life; the fun and entertainment and sex to the OWhore. Yet, it appears they do win at my expense; due in part — you are right because I was a pawn in their game. I did lead pretty much a lonely life trying to keep up with the games that were being played. He was travelling a lot; but most definitely in hindsight she was on the trips with him; and they were not all work; I realize that now. And the deceit even continued from the grave because the in laws stepped forward and tried to demolish me/ destroy me so that I was hanging on by a thread. Oh, they did this in various ways, too many to mention ; but suffice it to say — there was / had to be a reason — which was they KNEW what he was up to; they had to have known all about that whore; they allowed it/enabled it; faciliatated it; whatever they had to do to give it it’s blessing — because he told them a boat load of lies and shit to backstab me. He had to have done that…there was just too much bizarre shit that happened after he died that just proved that they were knowledgeable about the secrets, lies and deceipt and one or two or all of their complicitness in the game. Its humiliating and I do feel like a fool….while some whore is victorious over her wonderful game where she got the prince of a man that treated her like gold and she almost had him. I think it was a matter of time. Imagine her delight how she got a husband to backstab his wife to her while she poured on the fake admiration etc and gave him tons of sex to get him lured away from his wife. That whore and him were in it for themselves. I don’t think she has one care in the world what she did. She’s probably still laughing. I’d say she probably is friends with my sister in law. I would not put anything past anybody that is involved with a narcissist’s crafty conniving and sinister plan. I shudder at the pure evilness and extent of involvement and what I would consider a wide range of conspirators involved. I just cant help but think — how powerful was this whore? She’s like able to win over the wife. Or was it just ALL the narcissist husband and his doing?

      • It is most important to find someone that you feel comfortable with. The therapist-patient relationship is key to making progress. You have to feel like they care and are truly invested in working WITH you towards your recovery.
        Ask them how they deal with emergencies? Will they answer an email if it’s a crisis?
        After everything chumps have been through it is imperative to get someone totally on your team.
        In addition to cognitive behavioral, you might want to find a therapist who is certified in EMDR (make sure they truly learned under someone, not a one-day seminar).

      • Find the perfect fit. I was so fortunate I did.

        My therapist was EMDR certified. I needed that treatment at the time, and it was so effective.

        Amazingly, he also knew Sandra Brown and was very knowledgeable about her work on pathological love relationships.

        Lastly, and important to me, he was Christian and discussed Matthew 19:9 and many other passages regarding adultery with me.

        • Hope it’s ok to post it.
          Mat 19:9  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, commits adultery (moichao): and whoso marries her which is put away commits adultery. 

          Young’s Literal Translation says it this way…
          Mat 19:9  ‘And I say to you, that, whoever may put away his wife, if not for whoredom, and may marry another, doth commit adultery; and he who did marry her that hath been put away, doth commit adultery.’ 

          It’s somewhat difficult for us to fathom this betrothal exception in our day and time. Porneia (fornication) is harlotry (selling sex for something of value) prior to a marriage. The Jewish betrothal tradition lasted about a year, when two were considered married, yet hadn’t made vows of covenant. The daughters of Lot were betrothed, which technically meant married but not living with the husband in the marriage yet. Joseph was betrothed to Mary when she became pregnant, and not by him. Joseph had the right to divorce Mary for “logos” of “porneia”…a report or saying of prostitution, because they had not entered into a covenant yet. He didn’t, though. The word for adultery is moichao, sex with another person after a marriage covenant has been established with a first spouse. The exception isn’t for moichao, but porneia.

          I’m thankful for the insights in this thread. We need to pray over those who are willing to share their laments and rejoice with them over their achievements.

      • Me, too, Chump in Recovery. I am very slowly realizing that that uneasy feeeling is not usually due to me having done something wrong/not being good enough. A lot of times my partner was mistreating me (disrespecting me, lying to me, trying to control me on some outrageous way, etc.) I hope to grown to notice and appreciate the lack of abuse/mistreatment. Having partnered with more than one disordered (borderline. narcissistic. sociopathic) guy, I realize that it is much easier for me to notice and healthfully deal with overt abuse (breaking my things. without provocation calling me obscenities in front of our kids, etc.) than to notice and healthfully deal with covert abuse and prevent the covert abuse (subtle insults, invalidating, etc) from sinking into my psyche, eroding my self-esteem, which has been badly battered.

  • If you read all of this blog you will see just how under reported narcissism really is. None of them get therapy unless it gets them something.
    I suggest rereading this entire blog and see just how many chumps desperately wanted to hang on. It does not work because narcissism is permanent.

  • Intrusive visual disturbances like you describe were a constant source of pain for me when my marriage to the cowardly liar ended. I don’t know if your experience will be like mine, but in my case, I eventually grew to learn that I have complex trauma (emotional, medical, sexual) in my history, and my flashback-like intrusive thoughts are a trauma / anxiety reaction borne of the damage from those experiences. My grief was real, but my mind’s and heart’s extreme reactions to it felt larger than life.

    Again, I don’t know if this will be true for you, and I absolutely don’t mean to direct your grief. I am glad you have a therapist to work with. I am just offering that it’s possible that the path to healing for you is about more than this specific loss, in the hope that it will give you hope that healing is reasonable. I am a lot more resilient than I used to be because I got the help I needed.

    C-PTSD set me up to be susceptible to narcissistic manipulation, and it set me up to feel extreme grief when I experienced loss. Now that I have my head around that, I feel less fear that the depth of emotion will consume me. I know where it comes from, and I know it’s not permanent, and I know what I can do to quell the anxiety so I can process the emotions. I am grateful to some great therapists for that.

  • You’re suffering from a form of drug withdrawal. The bonding hormone is oxytocin & you, like so many other chumps/empaths, are particularly sensitive to even small amounts of it. This is also why you clung to even the smallest of kibbles for so long. You are going through actual chemical withdrawal. Treat it like any other addiction. No rebound relationships. No relapsing with your cheater by breaking NC. I’m not gonna lie; you’re going cold turkey from one of the most powerful drugs/hormones in the human chemical framework. You’re gonna be miserable as hell. Find a support group (fellow chumps) in your area ASAP. This is hard to kick solo, and you’ll have cravings on and off for months, maybe years. You will get to meh when you’ve kicked the addiction. No Contact gets you there the fastest. Sending you all the love in every Chump’s heart… because we all know the hell you are going through right now. We’re here for you. You *can* get through this. You *WILL* get through this.

    • So true, and local chumps have been instrumental in my healing! Having support IRL is key ❤️

  • Just keep repeating to yourself, “This too shall pass.” You’re going through withdrawal. It’s unavoidable and unpleasant, but ultimately temporary. It will pass. Accept that what you’re going through right now sucks, but it will fade – if you can just wait it out.

  • No contact saved me from repeating my past mistakes. My ex is very charismatic and convincing. I had 3 d-days and believed him EVERY time. On d-day 4 I left and have not seen him for a year and a half and have spoken to him once on the phone. ( We were married 28 years)

    We text occasionally about our adult children and he is so nice and accommodating. Through the divorce he never fought me and continued to take the blame. So yes there have been thoughts of “maybe it wasn’t that bad.” What I have to do is remind myself that for 2.5 years this same “nice ” man, lied to me every day; hid texts and emails and meetings; could actually look me in the face and swear he was not talking to her. This “nice’ man is not nice . This “nice’ man is capable of hurting me and not caring. So no contact is what has kept me from falling into the trap of believing him.

  • I have lots of imaginary conversations with him in my head. But that is where they stay. Every single time, I realise that his responses would be a lie, or gutless, or fatuous or self pitying, or a lie or blameshifting or a lie, did I say that already? I always remember a similar conversation and the outcome I got. Look at actions, not how he made you feel, but write that list of red flags: the time you doubted his honesty, the time he put his needs first, the time he made you feel small etc. The list will get longer and longer. I still have one child under 18, so unfortunately there will still be some contact. I’m thinknig of paying our divorce mediator to pass on messages ongoingly as I really really don’t want to hear any smarmy, childish, self serving, fake rubbish come out of his mouth. Even emails send me into a tailspin.

    I really get that missing them like a limb thing.

    It is so true that your head catches up with your heart. Hang in there. Mine is killing off the love with every action , every ongoing lie and it will be that way for you too. Just watch from a distance.

    I definitley feel more at peace now.

    • I am the Queen of Imaginary Conversations In My Head. Especially after I receive a text or email. In all of my fantasy conversations, I’m seeking the perfect way to tell him exactly how he was and is a fuckwit.

      Recently I have been starting to take the advice of someone in CN — when thoughts of fuckwit intrude, open a door and push him out. When the imaginary conversation starts in my head, I sometimes magine myself asking him who invited him and then pushing him out the door while saying “I told you to GTFO.”

      Getting better at this. I like to imagine that I have startled him and as I push him out the door he spills his coffee (or vodka) all over himself.

  • Natalie

    I know what your feeling. The insane driven urge to stay with the evil cheating narc, wanting it to all go away & be like it used to be. But it never will be the same because what you thought you had together never was.

    I was married 35 years to a cruel selfish narc until I found out he was an illusion.. a fake. Cheating almost the entire marriage. So very hard to go no contact.
    But now 2 years divorced I am better. Not at meh yet.
    I’m still crying wishing desperately at times that it will
    all go away but in my heart I know now that I deserve so much better. I remember all the evil lying things he said & did to me & i realize this who he truly was.

    You are a loving decent woman who deserves so much better. In time like us all here at CN you will become stronger & no contact is the only way to free your heart
    & kind to a peaceful life. Be courageous.. we have your back!

    (( HUGS)) ????????❤️

    • Kathleen,
      Thank you to voicing this thought. I have had the darnedest time preventing myself from sparkling (denying). I desperately want to convince myself that this is all a bad dream–that I’ll wake up amdxrealie the Mr. Nice Guy is lying next to me, in love with me and grateful that I’m in his life. Instead, he (my last boyfriend) is lying next to my replacement at night and sitting next to her during the day (as she is his work subordinate), and I have unwillingly gone to bed alone (without a partner) daily for nearly a year.

      • Rockstarwife

        It’s a terrible place to be when you miss the one
        who you thought would be with you forever. No one really understands unless they’ve experienced the humiliation & total destruction of your life… & your heart.

        We need to come to this wonderful site to find comfort & share our experiences with our chumpy
        friends. ????

        Good luck to you! ((HUGS))

  • Natalie,

    Hold on, it is going to work out. It is hard to pick apart the huge ball of emotions that include grieving the loss of what you *thought* you had , the shock, the jealousy, the mindfuck, the injustice, the perceived shame and simply being lonely. It is a pretty human reaction to being absolutely manipulated and abused.

    I am a few years out from this, and if I had to do it over I would not have wasted a year after I split from the ex being a groovy co-parenting couple who were still friends. Ugh, the pretense.

    NC is being real, and it is a dose of good medicine to help you evolve from chump caterpillar to kick-ass butterfly. A painful process that pays off the rest of your life.

  • I’m printing that last paragraph out and tape it everywhere! It’s nearly 3 years from D-day and although my fond memories aren’t as frequent, they do still exist… and they are gut wrenching! Thank you Chump nation…. you got me through this!!!

  • Natalie — I think all those horrible feelings that you are experiencing are his. Yes. You are experiencing what it is to be that messed-up, chaotic, lying cheating soul. He is in an emotional/spiritual hell, there is no peace there for him, for what he has done. His sickness has infected you (for awhile) and the remedy is No Contact — so you can get well.

    All the little things help: take a walk, take a shower, cook a good meal, go to work, say a prayer. All the simple, pure things drive out the sick madness that is his psyche.

  • How did I go No Contact?

    I followed all of the advice on here. I’m currently No Contact because our three children (two are adults) have nothing to do with STBX. If DS13 decides to see his father again, it will be strict Low Contact and gray rock. I blocked his number (and the married OW’s) on my phone. I only respond to emails if it is absolutely necessary (99% of the time it isn’t necessary). I’ve blocked them on all social media. I rarely ask the kids if they have heard from him (and I only do this because I want them to feel like than can tell me and be open about it all). I am almost at the point of asking friends and family not to mention anything about him/them to me.

    And No Contact is honestly the path to the truth and the light. (Thanks, AllOutofKibble ????????)

  • Just got settlement done at mediation. First time I had laid eyes on him in over a year. Full no contact. I was scared to see him, because I was scared of him, until I did. Why was I scared? For years when we had an argument he would yell until I cried. I didn’t want to cry, I’m an emotional, frustrated cryer. One time, during our marriage, I realised he wanted me to cry, he was getting off on it. I never cried again. I stayed perfectly calm, and anytime he raised his voice I would calmly say, Don’t yell at me. When he would yell that he wasn’t yelling I would repeat, Don’t yell at me. When he realised he wasn’t getting a rise out of me and I wasn’t going to cry, he pretty much stopped yelling. Sick fuck.
    Totally at meh. Took me a long time. I grieved hard for the first six months. What helped is I have a great support system and I stuck to my routine. Work is a blessing as it gives you independence and something to do, some structure. I agree with not dating for a year, and when you do date, really be careful not to pick the same shit in a different package. I did, twice, then I found my new guy, who has shown me how much I settled my entire life. Never again. You have this. One day you’ll look back and realise you are worth so much more. Until then, we’ll remind you until you take it on board. Good luck.

  • Nathalie, you have two choices for how you want to live: spend a couple more years of your precious young life (you sound young in your letter) being a prop and a pile of feed for a cheating, selfish, narcisistic mind-fucker to look and feel good; control and build your young life with respect, purpose and doing good. I estimated a couple of more years being a prop because your Fuckwit is NEVER going to change and, unless you are an ameba, you will finally kick his ass out of your life. But will waste these years. You must not do the wrong math calculations: you are closing the door on even more sad losses.

    Last week I had to be under the same roof as XH for my son’s wedding. As I anticipated, he arrived strutting around like a peacock and was all “holier than thou” because I refused to greet him (oh, how bitter…..). Only my other son and I were invited by the groom to say some words, everyone loved them. Fuckwit tried to compliment me, I ignored him. From videos of the party it seems he spent the rest of the evening looking like an asshole with a cramp and left early. The point is Nathalie, they don’t change… Protect yourself. NC. NC. NC. Vaccine against more suffering, even though the needle hurts and you mau get a sore arm

  • Up until the end,and even when he was with the ow my x was still telling me he was in love with me.
    He was also laughing at my tears, telling everyone i was abusive,stealing things from me,making fun of me.
    I am still having a hard time with no contact.
    I want to kick his ass *so fucking bad*

  • You gave this piece of Dogshit the ultimate gift……your heart.

    Your heart is like a brick. You can take a brick and shatter a car window or bash someone over the head.

    Or, you can take a brick and build a hospital or a library.

    Take your heart back and go build something positive and powerful.

    • Super duper chump, i like your ❤ analogy. My x choose to use his heart as a weapon. He knew it would leave me hurt,angry and downright vicious at times.
      I also know he was always envious of me. I had something he didn’t. I can create and not just destroy.

  • I kicked my ex out the day I found out about the OW. And met with my lawyer soon after and filed. I’m proud that I was that strong, BUT, I cried EVERYDAY for 2 months. Going cold turkey from a 20 year relationship is hard!!!
    I was told to start a divorce journal. I also started a list of his lies…and that grew quite bit during our separation. What snapped me out of my 2 month cry-a-thon , finding out he had been using our kid’s savings to pay bills!! What a f-ing monster!!!
    He’s a narcissist & loves the be central and like lots of contact with people. Going NC was easy because I know it pisses him off to an extent.
    My advice is to make lists. A list of lies & a list a jerky behavior. The grieving phase is awful. I think lists helped shorten that phase for me

  • Natalie,

    Do you want to be in a relationship where you have to police your partner’s phone/text/FB/etc?

    Yes or No? Truly, YES or NO?

    More than likely you have trauma-bonded with this fuckwit and when you do/have, you won’t follow the normal course of a break-up because you don’t see them in any pain… they just move right to the next victim… they’re shallow like that.

    It took me a solid six months of journaling every day. Reading everything I could online about narcs, sociopaths, liars, manipulators… I craved the science of what make Mr. Sparkles so cruel and heartless so that I could truly internalize that it had nothing to do with me.

    My worth is not measured by whether or not someone else loves me. (But, four years ago, in a very abusive marriage, it did.)

    The phrase I hated the most was “give it time”… and yet, that has helped immensely. When you go no contact, you detox… truly. And that takes time… just like a addict is told “don’t pick up”… by the minute, by the hour, by the day… and it is the same for you. Take is slow and have faith that you can do this. What he saw in you was your goodness… and he wanted it like a sponge wants water.

    Your pain is real. I’m sorry this happened to you. But as CL and CN will tell you – the pain is finite. Him being a lying cheating fuckwit with no remorse is permanent.

  • Natalie,
    If you happen to be a ruminator, stopping the unwanted thoughts is difficult. I do everything mentioned in this thread and it hasn’t come easy but I am MUCH better. You have to be so gentle with yourself and not criticize yourself for struggling with this. Remember thoughts aren’t facts. Thoughts aren’t actions. Right now just act like you are going NC even if it feels fake and not the authentic you. The ruminations and the circular thinking will slowly die down and you will be free.

  • The longer you remain no contact, the better you are for it.

    I was fortunate to not share any children, property, or legal ties with my fuckwit. All I had to do to get him out of my life was to tell him to fuck off, change my phone number, and lock down my social media to only allow people I wanted to have access to me.

    And after a while I realized that total no contact meant cutting out all mutual friends and acquaintances too. Because hearing about him isn’t that much different than hearing from him. And if they told stories about him around me, they were also telling stories about me around him. Part of no contact is also cutting off the information flow. Especially with a cluster b. Knowledge is ammunition to them and they’re always gathering information.

    I resented that he cost me some social contacts and people I enjoyed having in my life. But as long as they were in my life, they were a connection between me and the fuckwit.

    And you can’t underestimate the disordered when you shut them out. He’s tried to achieve contact with me by catfishing with made up identities, by sending flying monkeys to initiate a friendship or conversation, and by contacting friends of mine either directly or under a false identity. He also lurks around an online community I’m part of. He has certain ways of phrasing things that stand out like a beacon. And when your gut feeling has been on high alert you just know when somebody is approaching you with ulterior motives.

    This far out, having maintained total no contact with such a high level cluster b fuckwit is an accomplishment that I feel proud of. I haven’t knowingly spoken to him in almost 2 and a half years.

    • This level of desperation on their part has always been confusing for me. It’s so hard to wrap my head around why they did what they did – when they will now go to EMBARRASSING lengths to get back into your life. Who would stoop to those levels? Someone that has nothing to lose bc they don’t care about how it really makes you feel, or what they put you through! I have to stop seeing these crazy antics as still caring or being devistated, and focus on how psycho they really are.

      • It’s a control tactic. They won’t let go because that means losing all control with you.

    • I also had to sever ties with all mutuals to free myself. Years have passed, the fuckwit has died, I’ve reconnected with some of those people. Each and every one of them was eventually burned by the fuckwit, so they totally understand that I did what I had to do at the time.

  • Personally, I am struggling with “trust that they suck”. We were together 26 years, my XW cheated the last 2 years. If I go along with she sucks, don’t look back, look forward! – how can I discard half of my life, saying that she sucks, and thus my life up til now SUCKED. Yes, she sucks NOW, but she did not always suck. I have a blinding rage against the OM, but I am struggling to come to terms with the betrayal of my XW, although she is fully responsible for the cheating.

    • Catharsis, You KNOW that she cheated the last 2 years but she might and probably did cheat before that !!

      The hardest thing of all to face in the situation we all were forced into (me after 16 years together and 3 kids) is that your spouse was NEVER the person that you thought they were. Usually they either had a mask on, gas lighted and/or manipulated you into thinking that they were a wonderful and loving partner.
      The problem is that cheating shows their TRUE character !!

      Right after Dday I thought that my Ex only cheated at the end of the marriage. I can’t prove it but I now (after talking candidly to many of her friends at the time) believe that she cheated off and on our whole marriage. I know that it colors your time together but a good person does NOT just decide one day to change their personality and start lying, sneaking and cheating behind their spouse’s back. These are signs of who they TRULY are !! It’s hard to face but as CL says “Trust that they Suck” !!

    • The fact that they were capable of it proves they are capable of it. If you follow what I mean. Your wife may have some pleasant attributes, but ultimately she was capable of betrayal. No one forced her to cheat. To cheat takes 100’s of daily choices to deceive. IF they were to have expressed remorse, copped to what they did with humility, and sincerely put us first it may have been different. My ex always put himself first where it counted. Still does.

    • Hi Cartharsis

      I too struggled with the very same dimema. Up until Mr Sparkly Dick aka The Virus(OM) turned up I thought our life together was great. We always trusted each other and we’re always on the same page.

      Or so I thought. A couple of years out now and you begin to remember things. Things about their personality that at the time you would gloss over. But now are so obvious that they are self centred, selfish fucktards.

      Her affair was going to happen. You will soon see you always put more in to the relationship than you got out. She may not have cheated on you before (I don’t think mine did) but you will start to recognise the selfishness. The ‘specialness’ these cheaters seem to have. It’s all about them remember.


      • Gator, Mitz, Yet2, thanks for your comments.
        I do think that I always have put more into the relationship than I got out. I don’t think she cheated before, but I can see now that she have “dipped her toes” before. On one occassion I unwittingly read a flirtatious text from some guy on her phone, and she went full DARVO on me, running off to another room to read the text, then coming back, brushing off the text and accused me of snooping. We did not have any reconciliation during the divorce process as she just wanted out (of course violently denying any cheating), but when I tried to save our marriage I wrote a really self-exposing letter, and she replied by writing comments with a sharpie all beginning with “me, me, me!!”. So self-centered, yeah.
        So I know that she sucks NOW. But still, this was the woman I fell in love with, married and got three children with. I don’t want to think that my life up til now was wasted on a deceitful woman. My XW already bombarded me with the long list of my suckitudes throughout our marriage, but I refuse to accept it as the only true story. I want to remember the good things, and I want to believe she was a good woman before.

        • If you can come to peace with seeing the ‘old’ Mrs. Cartharsis2017 as a good, caring person, I say do it. My therapist says there is realistic thinking and non-realistic thinking. If you can honestly say your thinking about the past is realistic then let that help you. Maybe run it by a close friend or therapist for help thinking realistically.

          In my case, Cheatlanta kept complaining. All the years he was a good husband and father were wiped out??!! Didn’t he get any credit for all the good things he did in the past?? I said, if your oldest, best friend in the whole world shot you in the stomach would he be your best friend still? Or would he be the guy that shot you in the stomach?

  • You’re detoxing from a toxic person and you are also grieving. It’s a double whammy.

    Here’s what I did. I got a calendar and I counted out 120 days from dday (#2). Physically it takes your body 120 days of no contact to clear the chemical bond. Each night I made a big X on the calendar for that day. And for me, after those initial 120 days I began to emotionally stabilize. You are five weeks out so you have seven weeks to go if you stay NC.

    For the grief, I ran and I biked. Before I was not very fit but the anger and grief I felt fueled me and nothing helped me feel better but burning those feelings up. I got very fit. This also made me feel a lot better about myself.

    I joined Divorce Care- I wanted to know others going through the same thing and support and be supported by them. I also wanted to know I wasn’t alone and that there were male chumps in the world – I needed to know there are good men who don’t cheat. I was very lucky because my group was fairly large and there were four male chumps who helped me believe that there are men with great loyalty and strong character in the world.

    Finally, I turned my focus completely to my recovery and my children. I decided that focusing on him, on the past, on the illusion of what I thought I had, on the fantasy that it could be another way than it was was toxic thinking and in its way is highly addictive. Your mind just seems to want to seek out those kinds of thoughts and wallow in them even when it is causing you pain. So I did a textbook redirection strategy to help with obsessive thoughts and I started imagining a giant stop sign each time I caught myself thinking those thoughts and then I’d redirect my attention to my child or my breath or to the dog. This, I think, is the most difficult part to getting past the trauma because at least in my case, I craved thinking about those things and so it was highly difficult to practice stopping. I bet it took me 1000 attempts before it worked – but it does work and it is a blessing.

    It’a a battle – no doubt – and its one you didn’t ask for and would have done anything to avoid. But you are strong and there are many, many people just like you. Look out the windshield and not the rear view because you are going to move forward and out of this hell. Just keep moving.

    • Cleopatra, that was excellent advice — every bit of it. Taking note.

  • I want to be the person my partner desires. The ONLY a person my partner desires. I do NOT want to chase a partner, desperately trying to convince, manipulate, force them to appreciate me. If you were the Hope Diamond (which is how you should think of yourself) and you were lying by the side of the road, would you want a moron who walked right past you or would you want to be in the pocket of the person who screams, “Eureka! I found it!” and treated you like a great treasure? The Hope Diamond can’t run after morons, so neither will I. NO ONE who is with your moron is getting anything other than a moron. The Universe is taking him away from you because he wants you to be with a partner who thinks you are the Hope diamond. AND IT WILL TAKE A WHILE FOR THIS TO SINK IN.
    So be mysterious, scarce, ghost him, stay away from the poisonous man who has obviously also stolen your sense of self worth, and feel your self esteem inch back ONE MOMENT AT A TIME.
    Read “The Greatest Thing In The World”, a very short pamphlet/book, which SPELLS OUT WHAT LOVE (VERB) IS, and I will bet that is what your Mr. Facade of Nice is NOT. Give yourself TIME.

  • Hi Natalie,

    It gets better I PROMISE! Luckily we didn’t have children and I only had to speak to him about finances and the dogs. However, he HATED that he couldn’t rile me up any more. The more he bullied and blamed me for his fuck ups the more I ignored him and had my lawyer threaten a restraining order. That got me through some rough times- him finally not getting what he wanted! Cost me a pretty penny but it was SOOOO worth it to be rid of that toxicity! You will see how much better life is not being manipulated and taken for granted!! Read about gray rock over and over and over again!

  • I don’t miss the foggy uncertainty of not knowing where I am, where I stand with this person. Narcissists are VERY charming and very good at being charming, so in the moment, you feel loved and cherished, which you miss. I would also suggest that perhaps you were attracted to a narcissist because one of your parents is a narcissist as well and you are trying to undo the trauma from this parent. (Or maybe I’m projecting–I dated many narcissists and my mother is a narcissists too.) What worked for me was finding a reputable therapist and working through these feelings.

  • I just keet telling myself that I loved and missed a person that never existed. The whole relationship was a hologram or a dream and now I’m living in the real world. It was all a Netflix series and there are no more episodes . So…What else is on?

  • Natalie: you wrote, “I picture him with someone else, his touch, his kiss and I literally fall to my knees crying, panic attacks.”

    My heart clenched for you as I read that; the “mind movies” are the absolute worst–picturing what our spouses did sexually, romantically to another person while married to us is an emotional evisceration of the worst sort. I’m sure you can’t get those images out of your mind, and there is nothing effective to distract you once the mind movies start. I, too, thought I might end up in the hospital one night 3.5 years ago when I imaged what Hannibal Lecher had done with his AP.

    Let the mind movies run (as if you had a choice), and have something nearby to quell the pain–for me, it was a large gin gimlet, but punching a pillow, primal screaming, dancing frenetically to a punk rock song all work, too. The mind movies will fade and be replaced with a blinding anger (and perhaps images of you pushing your STBX off a tall cliff). Do whatever it takes to live through the Cinema period, and then use your revulsion of what your spouse did with his AP to propel you to disengagement from him & a hefty settlement. Hugs.

  • No contact is NOT killing you but it IS a lot like breaking an addiction. He has you hooked on him, Hopium, etc.

    No contact is the only way to get far enough away from his spell, the Hopium, the RIC, etc. to realize he is not good for you. He HURTS you and he hurts everyone in his orbit.

    It still sucks. You’ve probably picked up bad habits, or he exploited your weaknesses and made them a HUGE problem rather than a manageable one. Find a competent therapist, keep a journal, REVIEW IT and of course utilize CN.

    He sucks. You are better off without him now and you will realize it eventually.

  • I, too, struggle with painful emotions around the discovery that my relationship with my last boyfriend was an illusion–extremely lopsided. I spackled constantly, fueled by crumbs from my boyfriend, as I wanted to believe that he really was the Mr. Nice Guy that I thought I knew for decades and virtually everyone, strangers, co-workers, friends claimed he was, told me how lucky I was to be with. After being abused for years by my now ex-husband, I DID think that God, gods, Fate, dumb luck for finally sending me an honest, honorable man who loved me and was going to treat me with respect and consideration. He did in a way, or looked as though he did, during the love bombing stage. Then the devalue and discard stages set in, and in denial, I stayed for more than one cycle of love bombing, devaluation, and discard. Over the last year, I’ve ruminated almost constantly about whether I just imagined that he did what he did (intellectually I know he did, but a lot of people refuse to believe that he behaved the way he did–he’s an excellent image manager) and why he did what he did and why I behaved/responded the way I did. I can see that I was needy and vulnerable, experiencing trauma from divorce, death of relatives and others, disability, career changes, etc., which may have been a turn off, but I did not compel him to disrespect and lie to me. I am trying to redirect my focus on ‘Why did he do that?’ and ‘Will he be better for my replacement?’ to ‘How can I honor myself.? Going to try to spend the time, effort, and money (psychotherapy, especially good psychotherapy, can run up a huge bill, on noticing and reminding myself of the good things about me. I have years of ‘unlearning’ criticism from a few abusers in my life.

      • That word “honor” is a key word in wedding vows. Love, honor and cherish. Find ways to treat yourself with tenderness and affection.

  • Co-parenting with a fuckwit is an oxymoron. It can’t be done.

    I stopped communicating all but legally-required information about our kids with X when he would respond to all with vitriolic accusations of bad mothering. I now only share (in writing) the most mundane, essential info, like dentist and doctor appointment updates. When he writes to ask about report cards, and school schedules, and sports, and who they’re dating, and who they’re going to the Cape with this weekend, or anything else, I refer him to school or suggest he ask his sons.

    He was beyond furious when my updates stopped, but a well-crafted email explaining why – and that any further accusatory correspondence from him would be considered harassment – stopped the email tantrums.

    Life is much better now that I’m not afraid to open my email!

  • Hi Natalie,
    I know exactly how you feel. It killed me not to be involved in my ex’s life each time I tried to institute no contact. I was crying every day, having anxiety, not eating or sleeping and yes, vomiting. I was a complete mess. CL helped me immensely and saved my life but I also came across the book “How to Break Your Addiction to a Person” by Howard Halpern. It made so much sense to me. Why did I want to keep a connection with a person who I deep down didn’t even like and we didn’t share the same values? I had to answer those tough questions myself and I slowly started to make myself a priority rather than dwell on his life. It worked. I won’t say I’m at meh, but I don’t think fondly of him at all. I remember the times he emotionally abused me and lied to me and I get pissed. At first I got pissed at him, but lately I’ve been pissed at myself for even participating in much a demeaning pattern of abuse. I never deserved any of it and I would never treat someone I cared about the way he chose to treat me. Hang in there.

  • I went through 8 solid months of feeling like I had only my kids to live for. Netflix, therapy, meditation, and my kids got me through that time. I remember the day I realized I felt better. I was at a park with two of my sisters and all our kids and for the first time in a very long time I felt ok, good even. It was worth the wait, you will get there too. It wasn’t the end of bad feelings, but it was the end of the worst of it. We all struggle with our experiences for a long time, and that is normal. You cannot un-traumatize yourself. But going back over and over again to an empty, or worst, poisoned well, for water doesn’t work.

  • I highly recommend EMDR from a practitioner that is well established with good reviews. It really really helps eliminate panic attacks by addressing the underlying cause and even more important it is a tool that addresses and eliminates the blind spots that made you susceptible to being in a relationship with a narcissist. The panic attacks are a symptom of complex trauma and EMDR is an excellent tool for dealing with this trauma and the underlying causes without having to do years of unproductive talk therapy.

  • Heroin addicts miss heroin; alcoholics miss alcohol, trauma bonded victims miss their traumatizers. Everyone of these groups KNOWS that that thing is absolutely toxic and may kill them someday–and yet, it takes a very strong person to walk away from it. Intellectual knowledge does not ease visceral pain. Remembering my abusers abuses of me never stopped the flashbacks and feelings. Instead, I feel like they reinforced them. Instaed of actively remembering what he did to me, when I started to ruminate on him i imagined him physically torturing children or animals. That made me sick. That made me cognitively and viscerally reject him. See we are used to our own abuse; it no longer even repulses us physically as it should. Our substance is hopium. There is a reason that drugs spawned phrases like “chasing the dragon.” Addiction makes you chase after what can kill you. Hopium is more powerful than heroin. So, imagine him as he really is–a torturer of any innocent creature. You need to start to really see him as the dragon.

    • JOJOBEE,

      OMG , that is so true ,so true . i love the truth in your statement ……..

  • I totally get home hard it is to be “no contact” because I was discarded. It was an act of self-preservation and self-respect not to contact him because every time there was contact, there was cruelty and abuse.

    Natalie, you talk about months of gaslighting, lying, manipulation and psychological abuse. You’ve been told by a therapist that his behavior follows the “narcissist” pattern. At the same time, you are experiencing horrific pain at the lack of contact—with your abuser.

    You aren’t yet clearly seeing these points as part of a whole story. You have experienced emotional abuse and psychological abuse at the hands of an intimate partner, one that a psychologist says is disordered. You experienced long-term pain at his hands. Yet, you long for contact with him. That should tell you that relationships with people like your X cause you long-term damage. You are literally unable to act in your own defense without wanted to go back to the abuse. So that’s one place to start looking for relief. Work with your therapist to understand why victims go back to abusers. There’s a lot of research on this. You aren’t a weirdo or “wrong.” This is PART of what he did to you. It will take more than 5 weeks to heal that part of you. And I will tell you that I still think about Jackass, after nearly 5 years, in a kind of abstract way, like thoughts of waiting for the really big karma bus to smack him–even though I know what he is.

    What I concluded in the midst of the pain was that there is strength in learning how to suffer, in learning that I can go through painful things without giving up on myself or running to some other relationship for relief from the pain. That’s power. That’s mightiness. That’s knowing your worth and your strength. That’s how we develop courage. That’s how we repair the damage to our self-worth, by walking through that pain to the other side.


      You are literally unable to act in your own defense without wanted to go back to the abuse.

      that is a key ….. my mom was a violent abusive narc + a serial cheater . i was the scapegoat ….she NEVER treated me like i had any value ….of course i could not leave my mother …. but when i met my narc (who is just like her) i married him ,and now can’t leave him…….hmmmm

  • Natalie: Just wanted to comment about the “writing bad things down” that you mention you are already doing. After he moved out I started to write things down that he’d done or said. Horrible things, annoying things, big and small. Over time the list grew and grew and grew. Whenever I’d remember something I’d forgotten about, I’d drop what I was doing and go add it to the list. My list includes things that happened years ago, divorce stuff, and I still add to it now, three years later, as he is still a narc fuckwit I’m coparenting with. He always will be. Now, it’s laughable to me how much I grieved for this piece of shit in the beginning. He’s nothing but repulsive to me now. It takes a while to get there, but you will get there. The List was very very helpful to me in the early months of building a new life. Whenever I would get sentimental or sad over this lost relationship, I would go get The List. I remember once getting to item #3 and breaking out into laughter (#3: made plans on an excel spreadsheet to retire early with my inheritance from my grandmother, without even asking me what I’d like to do with my own grandmother’s money). That one didn’t even have anything to do with the cheating. It just had to do with him being an entitled selfish asshole. And I MISS him? Lmao, no I do not. With enough time and no contact, you won’t either. I promise!!!

  • Yep – no contact is the way to go. About a year after the divorce from Judas, he texted me telling me about a vaccuum he had just bought and how great it was. Yep – like I give a shit. But I still responded to him. I told BFF chump (Over and Out) about it and boy did she give me an earful. If I wasn’t 2000 miles away from her – I’m certain she would have kicked my ass for responding to his text! I convinced myself that I needed to keep some sort of communication open in case something happened to one of the kids. I was an idiot. A month or two later he texted me that he had heard my favorite song (and nickname (Lady Strange)) on the radio. Again – why do I give a shit? Obviously he was hoping to start some sort of conversation. I think not. It was then that I blocked him for good.
    It’s been over a year and now when I think of him – he just makes me sick. All the shit he pulled, all the lies he told, all the kniving things he did….I’m so glad I am out of that. I’ve been dating someone for a little over a year and once and awhile tidbits of shit asswipe did come out. My BF just shakes his head and tells me “He did NOT deserve me!” He is right.
    I cut out all acquaintances and ‘friends’ who are connected to dipshit. My FB is basically HS friends – no family or switzy friends so I don’t have to worry about seeing the puke in some pic. Nobody talks about the alchi loser around me. I still don’t frequent some stores in the area because I just don’t want to run into anybody that would remind me of the puke.
    NC – that will get you closer to vomiting when thinking about him rather than driving yourself crazy thinking about him with someone else.

  • I loved and grieved my marriage more than I grieved him. Looking back I realize I loved my STBX very much and spackled like mad for him, but I had stopped liking him. He had become so unpleasant over the last years of our marriage.

    So I didn’t miss him. Not at all. But I was furious with him for cheating me out of a loving marriage. I was furious with him for making me live a new life blueprint that didn’t line up with my values. I was angry that he left me to live my life alone. I was furious with him for his self-gratification/self-pity/self-justification/self-protection.

    My therapist told me that when you have enabled someone and finally stop, over time you begin to see all the times you enabled, spackled and overlooked. And you become angry at them — and with yourself for each instance.

    Natalie – I hear your struggle to un-bond yourself and your grief that you loved someone so hard that did not deserve it.

    To answer your question, I don’t miss:
    – His horrible snoring
    – The goofy way he tucked his t-shirt into his boxer shorts
    – His I HAZ a SADZ face when he talked about how the kids didn’t want to do anything with him
    – Laughing my head off at a comedian only to look at him and see he is not even cracking a smile
    – Hearing the clink of ice in his vodka.
    – Hearing him talk about how great his favorite College Football Team will be this year when mine is obviously soooo much better.
    – The stupid things he said during sex.
    – Being lied to every second of every day.
    – Propping up his insecurity
    – His breathing

    • LOL Chumplanta!
      I don’t miss his:
      – snoring (either)
      – cleaning up beer cans throughout the house on a daily basis
      – having 4 cases of beer in the kitchen/bar/garage at any given time
      – him coming to bed wearing the same shirt he put on for work in the morning
      – the amount of hairspray he used to ‘hide’ his bald head under a beer cap
      – his BREATHING or the fact that he is still breathing! (I love that one!)
      – and yes, I could think of more…..

  • So the choice here is a life with fake love vs one with authentic love. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to go back to my old life and the illusion it was. We were the perfect couple, good health, three beautiful children, newly built dream home, great jobs, with a marriage approaching its 20th year anniversary when Fucktard blew it all up to fuck his doubles partner. Apparently that was why he was so disengaged for the last two years of our marriage. My question here then was, Who the fuck does this?!?! Cheating was my dealbreaker. It requires all kinds of choices and poisons the relationship. Looking back, there were moments throughout our marriage where I felt troubled and I kept trying to place a finger on why I felt the way I did…my life had everything beautiful in it, yet I always felt “off balance” and I know now that it’s because X had never been truthful. No contact helps you to distance yourself from the toxic narrative. The disordered believe everything lie they tell. Cheating significant others excuse their behaviors and compartmentalize their many lives. They are entitled and selfish. The truth and fairy tale you deserve will never be yours when you remain there.
    Suggestions on how to detox: build a new life, embrace extreme self care, exercise (walk, swim, do yoga, paddle board, get moving) every day, craft, volunteer, take classes, just get out there doing what you love. When I was with X I didn’t realize how much our lives revolved around what he wanted and how narrow and isolated my family’s world had become, not healthy at all. Authentic love is not sabatoging others’ dreams.
    Best wishes on your journey, Natalie.

  • To help me when I was first going through withdrawal and felt like NC would kill me, I acknowledged that I was going through something akin to a drug withdrawal and had to be kind to myself and accepting that it would be rocky and feel like shit most of the time. I also consciously switched my mental image of the source of this ‘drug’ I was experiencing withdrawal from: rather than the drug being nourishing and essential to my survival, with the cheater its loving, safe, trustworthy source, the drug was actually toxins destroying me from the inside out. And the cheater was a snake with its fangs in my arm, gleefully pumping these toxins into my system. While contact with the cheater may have seemed like a temporary relief from the acute withdrawal symptoms, in fact my doing so was allowing a venomous snake to dig into my arm. The venom may have seemed lulling and comforting, but the ‘comfort’ was actually only so the snake could be better positioned to eat me alive, and the toxins were slowly but surely killing me.

    In addition to the snake analogy (which really helped me start to envision the cheater for what he really was and kicked my self-survival instincts into gear), I planned ahead to figure out when I would be most tempted to contact him and set up plans to distract/otherwise engage myself during them. Sometimes it would even be turning off my phone for an entire weekend if I couldn’t trust myself to not text him (I recognize this is a luxury not everyone can have). And I Googled a 30-day No Contact Calendar and turned it into a mini game for myself. Every day I didn’t contact him was one day closer to emotional freedom. One day closer to truly feeling like myself again. One day more I could say I’d been strong and watched my own back. And one more day I hadn’t wasted any energy on him but had instead focused that energy on nurturing myself and putting my self-identity and life back to rights.

    In my experience, going NC was excruciatingly hard to start but got easier and more rewarding over time. Like any habit, it takes time, persistence, and willpower to break a toxic habit (being with the cheater), and it takes the same to build a healthy habit (loving self-talk and nourishing NC). But as they become established, habits become routine. So there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and NC is sooooo worth it!

  • It’s ok Natalie. NC was absolutely like a drug withdrawal for me too. It was probably the hardest thing for me. I couldn’t sleep. Everything hurt. Nothing could rip my thoughts away from him. My friends kept telling me what a jerk he was, how he hurt me, how they didn’t like seeing me in that much pain. But still I wanted to hang on. At one point I found myself frantically texting my friend (while I was at work) spilling my fearful thoughts about him being with…her. She said “You’re panicking. You need to get up and walk around or something. These are your fears talking.” She was absolutely right, but at the time it was impossible to stop the runaway train of panic thoughts.

    NC was killing me, but contact would have been worse. I still had some of my stuff at his apartment he hadn’t sent back to me, so every now and then I heard from him about sending out a package with my stuff in it. And that was like a fucking hit of cocaine. ….Granted I have never done cocaine, but the point is, even a text about “I sent out that box on Monday, should be there by Wednesday” felt like getting that tiniest bit of a high. …But then of course, there would come the desperate crash again. Always. I also was terrified of even walking down the street his workplace is on (Now I do. I started by going down the street with someone. Then walking there myself, on the other side, and now I just walk right in front of that damn place without a care. Fuck em) out of sheer fear of not just seeing them together, but just seeing HIM. I no contact killed, but contact was a one-way street to a panic attack.

    Even if you cannot feel it right now, NC is the best thing for you. It will be when you finally reach the other side of that withdrawal feeling. And that feeling WILL eventually subside. It doesn’t feel like it now, when feelings are incredibly raw still and your brain is still craving that hit of oxytocin and seratonin and all that other shit it gets when you’re in love. It’s literally detoxing from those things.

    It will go away and you will get an emotional and mental relief. You will. I promise you will. Hold on a little more. It’s coming.

    • Adding to this, I know it might be really, really, really hard to do this (it was for me) but if you break down and cry (which you’re allowed to do) when you’re done, sit up, BREATHE DEEPLY, at least three breaths (even one helps) and say to yourself, out loud if you have to, “I am going to be ok.” Because you will be. Eventually you will begin to believe it.

  • I can’t tell you my trick for starting ‘no contact’ but what I can tell you is that once you start it and get over the initial addition to the mindfuckery and the drama, NC draws you to it. I started no contact as an intellectual exercise because EVERYTHING I read EVERYWHERE said NC was the way to go. So I started. It might have been slightly easier for me because my XH was uncommunicative during the marriage, silent treatment control. Once I started NC though, it was like a growing snowball. I didn’t just purge my life of the fuckwit, I purged my life of anyone who had the faint smell of fuckwittedness, asshole cousins, pfft… gone, ‘friends’ who were not quite real friends, pfft… gone. Employees who caused a low-grade agitation with other staff, pfft,…gone. The only narc is will tolerate in my life is my daughter… I keep praying.

    What you will find is living with a fuckwit is like living in a sewer processing plant or a toxic chemical plant. You have gotten used to the stench, and can’t smell it for what it is, but the stench permeates everything, I mean everything. They are fuckwits when they make a PB and J sandwich. They are fuckwits on the toilet, they are fuckwits watching television. You just can’t smell it but it has seeped into every corner, every space, every piece of fabric, EVERYWHERE.

    I think of Henderson NV where they had this huge industrial complex that was so toxic, the people of the town had to replace their mailboxes and chainlink fence because fumes from the industrial complex were that corrosive, it ate away at anything aluminum, wood etc. That is what your fuckwit is doing to you. That is how deep and abiding their disorder, fuckwittedness, etc is. It is eating your aluminum mailbox and you can’t smell it. NC is shuttering that toxic industrial complex forever. NC is finding every single place in your life where that toxic stench has laid down a corrosive film. NC is healing your lungs, your sniffer, your heart, your sense of balance, your sense of reasonableness, your expectations of what it means for someone to say they love you or who are your friend.

    Be brave, go on a fun trip where every moment is planned and where you do some slightly scary things, that force you to concentrate on the present moment, (for me, zip lining and taking a singing class because I had to really concentrate to learn the tune and lyrics) where you are faced with this so funny that you laugh until your cheeks ache. In those moments you will start to give your weary brain a rest, once you take your brain out from underneath this horrible burden it is carrying, you will find that craves normalcy and it will lead you out of the toxic waste dump that is your fuckwit.

  • Hi Natalie,
    You are stronger than you know. You have made a fantastic step by writing to CL & asking for support from those who are going through the same awful journey as you. Look at all the wisdom here, those holding you and your pain with their stories of triumph over adversity.
    I remember the torturous first months away from my cheater, it IS hard, read here every day it’s such a help. I had a little plaque made which reads ‘minute by minute’,’ hour by hour’, ‘day by day’ covered in hearts so I had an immediate visual reminder that it was my HEART I was saving. Be kind to yourself, try & eat well, drink well and rest/sleep. You are detoxing and in grief right now, time will pass and you will survive. You are already healing, just hold your course. X

  • Drew you are so right! Love is not sabotaging others dreams. That is when i knew my husband could not love me. Not really.
    I remember asking him why he did or said something or just didnt stand up for me.
    He was just playing a role. Right ip until the end. The love i thought we had never existed.
    That has been hard to accept. I truly loved him.
    But in the end i also truly didnt like him. He was mean and cruel. Unbelievably cruel.
    I wasnt worth it anymore and he actually told me that.
    Everything ugly and horrible in the universe was right in front of me.
    Its all about creating trauma and he is a master.

    • Love your plaque. Every Friday night I go to the grocery store and buy myself a little bouquet of flowers.

      During reconciliation I asked him to decide on a weekly token gift. The gift was to show me that he remembered how much he had hurt me and how important the truth was to me. I said it could be a leaf he picked off a tree. Just a token. Hahahaha.

      So now I buy myself flowers every week to remind myself that I am worth the truth.

      • Chunplanta ~ You are so worth the flowers. A perfect treat for yourself .

  • No Contact is the path to the truth and the light.
    No Contact allows the years of mindfuckey to seep out of your brain so you can see clearly the real him.
    Lots of good advice here for trusting that he sucks. You need to do that to really embrace No Contact. How did I do that? I received an anonymous email photo of Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore which is still stuck in my head until this day. I fades with every day but if I think about it (I don’t three years out) I can pull it up for reference. I still wanted answers from him as to why. Here at the nation I learned there is no real answer to why. It’s because he sucks! He is a shitty human being always trying to get something over on someone, always pushing boundaries, always trying to have some imaginary upper hand. No Contact is the best defense against a narc hellbent on steam rolling boundaries and using any information they have against you. Don’t give them the material by which to ruin your life.

    For me the second part of this was figuring out what I was without the cheater. I had made my needs so small over the years that I didn’t know much about me without him. You get stuck on that. You have to figure out who you are and what you want. This was my answer to that:
    Make four lists
    – places I want to go
    – things I want to do
    – skills I want to learn
    – traits I admire in others and want to have

    Every time my mind turned to Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore I redirected myself to my lists. I had to write down at least one thing before I was allowed to get up and return to life. Once my lists were pretty full I decided I had to do the things on my list. I started with the closest free park I had wanted to go to for place and the trait of complimenting coworkers. This helped me return the focus from him to me.

    You should also look for a qualified therapist who has experience with handling personality disorders and CPTSD. The best I could do was a research therapist dealing with PTSD but she really wanted to help and did her background work. My group sessions included war veterans, the victim of a heinous accident and a survivor of child sexual abuse. It was a life-changing experience.

    Please move forward to experience a new fuckwit free life of your own.

    • Awesome, AOoK! I just bought a few new, fresh journals with virgin pages. Your list ideas will occupy the early pages in one of them.

  • Dear Natalie, you will survive, I promise! And while your partner was out porking another woman, he wasn’t thinking of you during that time. So while you’re going NC, your partner isn’t even thinking of you. While you’re obsessing over him, he certainly isn’t thinking of you, missing you, nor are they attracted to you. I wonder if these cheaters ever were attracted to us. So when I get those thoughts of a cheater being in my life, I look at how they perceive me, which is: someone they don’t love, I’m someone they aren’t attracted to, nor do they care for me. It really hits you hard but it also puts this in perspective. You are still seeing him as someone who wants you, just like you want him, when in reality, he doesn’t want you at all, and is likely repulsed by you sexually.

  • I failed at No Contact already this week. And am paying the price for it.

    It’s SO HARD to ignore his pathetic and unreasonable comments and jabs when everything in me wants to stand up and defend myself.

    When I DO stand up and defend myself, everything gets turned around to what an angry, bitter person I am. (His words.)

    Reminding myself that NOTHING I DO OR SAY will make ANY difference, other than do damage to my own psyche.

    Still, it’s so hard. :(((((

    • Try not to beat yourself up. You a wise enough to spot where you went wrong. Get back on the NC horse and ride on. (((hugs)))

  • I play a little game called “what is the smallest number of words I can use” in any day. Before I respond to anything, or reach out to ask Cheaterpants something, I ask myself:
    1) Is ANY response required?
    2) If it is, what is the least number of words I use to respond.
    You’d be surprised how many times the actual answer was “1” (no response/communication at all). It seems odd, maybe even rude, but it keeps me sane. If I do respond/communicate, it’s with as few words as possible: “yes,” “no,” “Are you picking up kids from school?” As time has gone on, I have gotten really good at it.

    If you like, reward yourself every time you go an entire day without talking to Cheaterbutt.

  • If it helps, even though it will probably hurt like hell, know that he has already moved on to someone else already. Or another source, as they’re known. He won’t be mooching, wondering what’s gone wrong, he’ll be trolling for sweet, sweet kibbles. Or simply moved onto officially targetting full-time the person(s) he was sneaking around with in the background. Has he been spamming you constantly with pleas to talk about it, work out the misunderstanding/he’s got the records to prove there was nothing up? No, because he knows he was sprung by someone smart enough to not believe his bullshit any longer (no disrespect to anyone, I was incredibly gullible in what I put up with from Mr Cheaterpants). So as others have said, ride like the wind, mentally and emotionally far far away from that dickwad and his narc ways. Good luck, enjoy your cheater free life.

  • Natalie:

    Try to remember that each and every time you contact him he receives a boost in his ego (a gift)! He does not deserve a gift. He deserves to be ignored. He deserves to know you dislike him. He deserves the consequences of his actions toward you…..silence! Nothing you say to him now or ever will make him a better or different person. He will not understand your point. He will not feel empathy. He will not treat you like you are an equal. If he had the capability of that…..he would not have cheated in the first place.

    I remember I use to think that if he saw me he would miss me, he would regret losing me, he would say something that sounded like a real apology. None of these things will happen because this has always been about him. And now that I am beyond the need for contact all I feel is FREE! It is a beautiful thing. I can’t wait for you to get there too. And you will!!!!

  • Oh, you have no idea how much everyone has helped me, today anyway. And I will continue to come here every day to get relief as it has helped. I furiously have written down at least one thing from EVERY SINGLE response in a notebook. I loved the 120 days detox, 6 months before feeling a lift of dread, etc. Not that I am putting it in cement that I just have to hold on for that long, but I am very goal-oriented and to have SOME sort of idea how long others have endured helps. After reading the comments on not missing snoring, stupid way he tucked his shirt in, breathing loudly, those all hit with me too so I frantically jotted them on my list too and it helped to spur my mind as to other things I was able to put down.
    I go in severe bouts of I’ll-be-okay to instances/movies running over and over and over connecting the dots after finding out that he was so good at seeing others by “schedule messaging” me…..meaning they literally can schedule a text message to be sent on a certain day and time, at least on Android phones. So here I thought I was talking realtime (which is why I had such a hard time believing he could do anything because there were constant texts alllll day, every day, over 60 a day, plus talking and staying with me 4-5 nights a week, HOW could he have time…………………….now we know. So I do get stuck in this mindfuckery trying to figure what was real, what wasn’t. It’s soooo absolutely raw…….RAW! So today having been able to write so many amazing points down to refer to later, has been my saving grace. Thank you all……………you have no idea how much it has meant, and thank you Chump Lady for your common-sense approach. I have printed it out and carry it with me in my purse when the dread and panic creep in!

    • Natalie – You are going to get through this and be amazed at how resilient you are despite his mindfuckery.

      Another suggestion: pick up a book or two on abnormal psychology. Intro stuff. They’re out there and it will stand you in good stead now and in the future.

      Also, if you can find a copy of Gavin De Becker’s book, “The Gift of Fear” read it. It’s old, but it still applies. Particularly the information on intermittent reinforcement (it’s CEMENT) and why no contact is the only way to go.

      Eventually, it’s going to be better than okay.

    • Hi

      Just remember. While you are going through a world of pain his only thought for you will be of pity. If at all. He’s off dreaming of a future with his twu luv while you’re losing weight, sleep and wondering how you can survive.

      Sometime soon you will realise what a selfish dick he is. NC will help you get to that point. You can’t untangle his skien. You shouldn’t even try.

      Eventually you won’t give him the mental real estate. He doesn’t deserve it.


  • I lamented to a friend that I just felt sick every time I thought about my husband having sex with his mistress. I just couldn’t get the image out of my head.

    My friend sent me a video of a turtle humping a boot with the saddest little grunting sounds. “Think of this instead,” he said. Worked liked a charm.

    As far as no contact, I just had nothing to say. I also knew there was nothing he could say that would make any of it better and that was if he wasn’t lying through his teeth. So what was the point? Communication also would have meant sharing information with him. Knowledge is power. I sure as hell wasn’t going to give anymore of that away.

  • It took me many many months to finally conclude NC was absolutely necessary to finally heal. 24 years together and she cheated and left, I didn’t find out about the cheating for quite awhile but after I did I still would text her, waiting for her crumbs. Eventually I knew NC had to be the way, and it was. The first year of no acknowledging holidays and birthdays was very hard but now it’s just the new normal. I don’t even know how long we’ve been NC, has to be around 3 or so years. I just don’t even think about it anymore and believe me I used to count the days too…trust it’s the way to peace of mind.

  • “Knowledge is power.”

    One of my kids had a t-shirt that said, “Knowledge is Power. Power Corrupts. Study Hard. Be Evil.” Now a teacher, of course.

    But hell yeah, don’t give away anything that Cheaters should pay for, dearly.

  • When I recall “good times” with my cheater I remind myself of Munchausen by Proxy – or what I also call “cyanide in my coffee”. Every kind thing he did for me was because he had either already fucked me over or was planning to fuck me over. I make my own morning coffee now and every day without his poison brings me greater health in every regard.

  • I couldn’t go completely NC for years because I still worked in the same arena as cheaterpants. Gawd, that sucked. Not in the same department but I had to sit through plenty of meetings with him in them. I always made sure I walked in like I just flew in off the Concorde. Of course for image management he made every attempt to be as nice as cherry pie to me. I would do the old Newman and Jerry Seinfeld routine. Remember they hated each other and Jerry would say ‘Hellooo Newman’ and Newman would say ‘Helloooo Jerry.’
    I did the same….’Helloooo Cheaterpants’….and he’d say ‘Helloooo Chumptopia’

  • Once The Evil One moved out, it became easier to go NC with him, though it drove me to tears some nights that he hadn’t even contacted DD’s school to check on her.
    I kept track of NC in a calendar in those days three years ago. It was a visual reminder of how much he truly sucks. He free to run around town with OWHORE, her kids, her family, what few friends he claimed to have, though he never felt it necessary to introduce me to them.

  • Apologies if I’m repeating advice that others have already given.IT WILL GET BETTER. is the main thing.believe the collective chorus of Chump Nation
    Try tweaking the stories you’ re telling yourself a little bit- because you don’t actually know whether he’s having a great time in his new life or not, they’re just stories.
    ” I picture him with someone else, his touch, his kiss…”-Instead,picture the someone else waiting round for him because he’s late for her, again. Picture him on his phone while they are out together. Picture him never happy with what he’s got, searching for the next thing, dissatisfied with his share in life.
    Picture his face when he hears that you are doing just fine without him.
    Reclaim your space. Pick one place you want to go, make a tiny flag, and leave it there.Now it belongs to you. Practice what you would do if you do run in to him- I would recommend pretending to be deep in thought, mine HATES that

  • If you quit smoking, you can’t keep cigarettes and a lighter in the house or in your car. NC saved my life. She wanted to be able to text me casually when SHE was bored or lonely, and I refused to be treated that way. The first year out (and often longer) DOES suck. And it DOES get better. My world got very, very small as managing my codependent relationship with LadyLiar the Leech sucked all of my energy away. I was so hurt and angry by the time I told her she had to leave our home that I thought my recovery would be easier and faster than it was. But I failed to see how truly alone I would be once I lost my “best friend” and co-parent, as well as the people who were part of our social circle. I was happy to cut most of them loose, as I stayed friendly with them for her, but I needed to withdraw like a threatened turtle who hides in her shell for quite a while. I couldn’t do the most basic things — like go to the grocery store where we shopped as a new couple. I couldn’t afford to stay in our home, so my daughters and I moved as quickly as possible, which turned out to be a MAJOR help to me. I was fortunate that the daughters we raised together were teens when we finally ended the relationship, so they could talk to and visit with LadyLiar without me being involved. Check out today’s post on The message is simple, pure, and relevant for members of Chump Nation.

  • Brain tumor lol! Yep, totally came up with that one instead of accepting he sucked!

    Here’s the thing, you truly learn who you were partnered with once you split and set boundaries. People who are remorseful don’t do things like…
    – rub the affair partner in your face… and everyone else’s for that matter.
    – if they have control of the finances, rob you blind
    – tell children, and everyone who will listen blatant lies about you
    – find contentment in your suffering
    – use your bond as a tool for manipulation

    People who value you don’t do those things!

  • If you have no kids, my tips for guaranteed success are:
    1. Move across the country
    2. Find a new job (if a transfer is not possible)
    3. Delete all mutual friends and all people related to him or who make you think of him off social media (if they are true friends they will understand, and when you have moved on they will still be there).
    4. Lean on your friends. Talk to them instead of him.
    5. EXERCISE. It makes you feel good and accomplished.
    6. Volunteer at a homeless shelter – it gives you perspective.
    7. Start with 60 days no contact. Cross the days off as you go. If you fall off the wagon start counting all over again. Get yourself a reward when you hit 60. Then KEEP GOING and don’t look back. You will feel powerful.

  • It’s ironic because I woke up thinking of fuckwit ex this morning. I got a lot of grief because I couldn’t “forgive” him.

    This guy ENJOYED treating me like shit over some no count whore. He hurt me, and wasn’t the least bit sorry over it. In fact, he blamed me for everything he did.

    Natalie, one day in the future, you will realize these exact same things, trust me. He’s not worth it.

  • When I went no contact, I had read about intermittent reinforcement and how being in an abusive relationship re-wired the brain in the same way that a chemical addiction did.

    When I would get too focused on what I thought were the narcissist’s good qualities and find myself saying, “I really miss So-and-So,” I would force myself to say out loud, “I really miss the cocaine.” Hearing myself replace his name with “cocaine” helped me stay the course and realize it wasn’t the narcissist I missed but the illusion I thought he was, which, perhaps, isn’t much different from a drug trip.

  • I went NC after STBXH dropped by for an umbrella and I wanted to shove it down his happy, blasé, finally free throat. It’s been 5 months since then, which included an emergency mental health program, antidepressants, and enough crying jags and ranting sessions to fill a swimming pool.

    I found CL just a few months ago. She’s my go to every time I start to feel like I need to remember that I am not nor is my life crap. I’ve got “trust that they suck!!” on a post-it above my computer. Everyday on CL I find some little bit that reminds me I’m not crazy. I’d suggest going through the archives anytime you need some reinforcement that you are not alone and this is doable.

    Feel free to get in touch with your anger, too. That has helped me tremendously. I am a conflict avoidant person, but as I get older, I’m learning to lean in more to justified anger. Find people you can rant to, who won’t get tired of it. It does burn out, or down, over time, but it’s hard to predict how long. I hated it when people would tell me not to hang on to the anger, and I pushed back against that advice. That’s helped a lot.

    I did not believe anyone who told me it would get better, and the best friend I had said, you don’t need to believe it now, just feel what you have to feel, and I’ll be with you as long as you need. This is a great place for that kind of support.

    I am 9 months out, and while everything is a new mosaic of what my life was before, I’m astonished how much better I finally feel. The other day I went to the fancy lingerie store in town to get a new “wardrobe.” The saleswoman asked if it was a special occasion, and I answered that I was getting divorced. She leaned forward and looked me in the eye and said, congratulations! I turned to my 19 year old daughter, who is experiencing her own journey with all of this, and said, “see, who knew that when you get divorced there is this amazing group of women waiting for you on the other side of the river, shouting ‘we’re over here, and we’ve got your cocktail!”

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