Dear Chump Lady,
I am about 5 months out from D-Day. My husband and I were married for 6 years and together for a total of 14 (high school sweethearts we have been dating since we were 15). At the beginning of the year we had a fight regarding our sex life (or lack there of) and after a terrible night of talking where we realistically talked of divorce and how he was checked out of the marriage, we decided to a trial separation for a week.
During that week I confronted him point blank if there was someone else, specifically a coworker of his, he emphatically denied it. We started to see a marriage counselor and “work on our marriage” I began buying books, and playing an unwitting pick me dance. The entire time he wasn’t doing anything to improve himself, the only physical contact he would have was a peck on the lips, etc.
Three weeks later I found a conversation on his phone with the exact coworker I confronted him about (a 20 year old girl with a boyfriend) making plans to take vacation days and meet, meeting at hotels and telling each other they loved each other. I immediately confronted him, was immediately gaslighted. I left 10 minutes later, packed up my two young children (4 and 1) and never went back.
Since the discovery, many other things have come to light including lots of money spent on her, taking our children around her, he even gave her one of our credit cards to use while we were still “happily married”. Another thing that has come to light is that I emotionally abused him for 14 years. He recently told me — and I quote: “You always used to tell me how strong I was, but you broke me by always putting me down.”
I am struggling with the attack on my character, that has NEVER been brought up until he was CAUGHT red handed. My question is this: What the fuck?! Why do cheaters have to add insult to injury, literally?! YOU are the cheater, the one with major character and morality flaws. Why must you tear me down in the wake of your betrayal?! Haven’t you hurt me enough?!
Any input would be greatly appreciated,
Well, Ashley, you’re the mean, mean mommy who took the cake away. There are always tears when entitlement gets told no. Did he stomp his feet and un-invite you to his birthday party too?
You must be new here. What’s with the insults? That’s part of the three mindfuck channels: charm, rage, and self-pity. After discovery, your cheater flips through the manipulation arsenal at hand, and those are the go-to moves. Yours just gave you rage (insults) and self-pity (woe! you’re “always” putting him down!) You’ll notice unvarnished honesty and remorse aren’t in the line-up. Yeah, those shows got canceled. I hope in addition to leaving him, you’ve got a good lawyer on retainer too.
Let’s break down the channels so you know what to look for, then we’ll get into the crusty little bits in their brains that makes them do this. (Not that I recommend skein untangling. I don’t.)
Charm. Why can’t we be friends? Let’s sleep together for old time’s sake! Oh hey, do you need help with that? (Answer: bitch cookie. Whatever the gesture, it doesn’t distract from abandoning one’s children.)
Rage. YOU’LL BE VERY SORRY YOU HIRED THAT LAWYER! (Rage is always in shouty all-caps.) NOW OUR CHILDREN WILL HAVE NO COLLEGE FUNDS! (He spent them all on hookers… but never mind.) I WILL DESTROY YOU MEGATRON! (Yeah. Just keep rocking that supervillain thing. It’s a good look.)
Self-pity. Otherwise known as “sad sausage.” How could you do this to me?! You broke me! Your cruel, cruel monogamy forced me to create dating profiles!
See how that works, Ashley? It’s mindfuckery. It’s essentially your cheater flinging poo at you to distract you from unleashing consequences. Were you going to call a lawyer? ZING! “You’re so mean!” Now you stop dialing and defend yourself. “I’m not mean! YOU’re mean!” Blah, blah, blah…. airborne poo…. blah.
Cut the shit and go straight to ACTION. Leave. Lawyer up. Protect yourself and your children.
They hate that.
Now then, why must they be that way? Why the three channels? Why the injury AND the insults?
Because they’re fuckwits, Ashley. That’s really only thing you need to know here. You’re too good for a fuckwit and fuckwits tend to make lousy parents. You will not get a sensible explanation for their cruelty, so do NOT ask for one. “Gee Fuckface McSpendy, why are you giving a credit card to your mistress when you’ve got two pre-schoolers and a wife at home?” has no satisfying answer. Stop looking for it.
They pull this shit because they can. Because they don’t have empathy chips. If there’s any twinge of guilt or icky feelings, they escape it with boobs and Jagermeister, or whatever their preferred drug is. They don’t adult. That’s for the little people, like you.
Why is he insulting you and lying? Because fuckwits like a good narrative in which you’re the bad guy. Impression management conceals their entitlement. And ain’t NOTHING going to touch their entitlement. So… fiction. It works. On people without critical thinking abilities. You don’t want those people in your life anyway.
Ashley, I’m sorry you invested in a fuckwit. It’s a very common human dilemma. But the good news is you’re free of him and happier days are ahead. Turn off his mindfuck channel, and tune into your awesomeness. It’s a really strong signal with great programming.