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Dear Chump Lady, The OW dresses my children in her clothes

Dear Chump Lady,

I am 15 months into this crappy situation now, have just wrangled myself a good settlement that my soon-to-be-ex’s stepfather had to pay (cheater has no money, how original), and am moving to my new property on Monday.

My cheating ex is still with the low-rent staff member he left me for. She is 15 years younger than my ex, and 10 years younger than me. She has a 6 year old daughter.

My question is this — how do I best respond to her giving my kids gifts, like all the time? We have two girls, 9 and 13. They don’t seem to particularly like her, but they are a bit scared of their dad, so are polite and friendly with her, (which they should be anyway as far as politeness goes).

Every time my STBX husband’s got the kids, they come back home wearing her castoffs. Jackets, beanies etc. She’s a midget (13 year old is taller), and seems to enjoy sending them back wearing her cheap clothes or bearing some other gift she has given them.

First, the girls don’t need her clothes. I feel like it is some back-handed way of telling me I’m not looking after them. I don’t know how to deal with it. We went to Hawaii last week, she gave them a dollar to spend that she had lying around. (I know, big deal).

Why does she feel the need to infiltrate our lives after blowing it up? I’m sure she’s just trying to look good to the kids…impression management. But, how do I deal with it? I don’t want her crap in my house. Do I tell the kids to leave it there and get called bitter? Do I wear her beanies myself? Giftwrap it all for Christmas and do a care package for her child? Please help with any suggestions! I’m pretty much no contact. I haven’t met her since he left, and he’s making sure it stays that way!

Thanks,

Katie

Dear Katie,

I suppose you can’t delouse your children. If only there was some approved process for re-entry. I’m struck with the image of plunging livestock in pesticides to remove ticks.

Alas, your choices essentially suck. It’s a real pickle of a dilemma. You could:

1.) Talk to your children. Do they want these gifts? Do they thrill to secondhand Chicos? Or are they meekly going along to keep the peace? (“Oh thanks, chartreuse. My favorite.”) Ask them and listen. If no, remind them of their agency. It’s okay to offer a polite no thank you. But if they say yes to the stray dollar or ugly jacket, don’t flip out. Their life is hard enough right now navigating all the emotional landmines of divorce. Let them have the crappy baubles.

Downside? You eat the shit sandwich OW and your ex keep serving.

2.) Talk to your ex. “Hey, I pack enough clothes. Please return the children with the clothes they brought. Thanks!”

Downside? We’re imagining we’re dealing with a responsible adult who cares about your feelings and his children, when in fact we’re dealing with a man-child who just abandoned you all for a fuckbuddy and stuck his stepdad with the bill.

He’ll get right on that reasonable request just after he finishes washing the the unicorns.

3.) Talk to the OW. “Hey, we’re good on clothes here. I found a dollar that I think belongs to you.”

Downside? HAHAHhahaaha. Kibbles. Centrality. She got to you. You’ve reinforced the narrative that you’re an oversensitive bitch who deserved to be left and she’s the Generous Sainted One Who Truly Appreciates Him. How everyone suffers under your tyranny! The Mean Mommy Who Won’t Let Them Have Gifts.

Better to go grey rock, me thinks.

4.) Talk to no one and eat the shit sandwich.

Downside? Your head might explode.

Or you can talk to us. We get it. We’ve worn the hair shirt of coparenting with a home wrecker.  I know you’re galled at her impression management. “Oh hey, sorry for helping to break up your family. Here’s a buck!” To do what with? Buy a therapist?

Just whatever you do, don’t retaliate against her innocent 6 year old. (“Oh hi, I’ve have a box of itchy mohair sweaters I thought your daughter might enjoy. No tag backs!”) She has enough strife in her life, given the dim bulb she has for a mother. I’m sure she’s not thrilled living the blended family Schmoopie Happy Ever After either. The last thing she needs is a box of castoffs.

All I can offer you is the camaraderie of the chumped. You don’t control what freaks call you. Bitter left the barn a long time ago. Did you expect child support? Bitter. Did you accommodate his last three rescheduling requests and he refuses to consider yours? Bitter. See how that works?

Trust me, you’ll get used to bitter. Pretty soon the bitters will just ricochet off your unflappability and with any luck will take his eye out.

Just remember what the OW “won” here — a cheater with no money. All she’s got to cling to is her impression management. If she judges your parenting? Fine. Let her. You don’t control that.

I feel like it is some back-handed way of telling me I’m not looking after them. I don’t know how to deal with it. We went to Hawaii last week, she gave them a dollar to spend that she had lying around.

Uh dude? They have to rely on relatives to pay their divorce settlement. YOU WENT TO HAWAII. YOU WIN. She got the turd. YOU WENT TO HAWAII. YOU WIN.

She thinks you don’t look after your children? Okay, sure, whatever. Take another long sip of that rum drink with the pretty umbrella.

Do your children do their own laundry? A lot of socks go missing in the dryer. (My theory is they are raptured to Jesus.) Perhaps those beanies could have an appointment with God.

Mom, have you seen my bedazzled tam-o-shanter?

Mom blinks innocently.

Hang in there, Katie. Remember you won. The OW’s image management is as transparent as her thin polyester blouses. Ignore. Rock on with your mightiness, and your kids will do the same.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Oh Katie I hear you loud and clear! I have 2 teen daughters who are into makeup, and wouldn’t you know stbx smoopsie works in the beauty industry – free samples galore! I get your irritation!

    Getting to MEH (I’m still working on that) is the most powerful thing you can do. If she’s looking for you to have any sort of reaction, and you do, she’s got you on her puppet string! Cut those fuc*kers with bolt cutters! Treat her existence the same as you would treat the cheaters existence- don’t let them share space in your mind! Your mind isn’t for squatters, renters or freeloaders. To be giving valuable space in your mind they have to matter!

    ^^^that^^^ is my goal ????! I know MEH is a skill just like any other skill – it takes work and practice. I’ll get there some day. We all will! And then we can coach the newbies on skill building. That is taking your power back!

    Cheaters and their smoopsies are like ticks! The deeper you let them dig in, the harder they are to remove! Check for ticks after every visit, and if there’s one digging in, throw that blood sucking parasite off and squish it!

    #nopuppetstring
    #noticks

  • 5. Tell the woman not to buy your kids anything as it will be disposed of .

    Do not inform kids of this but make that shit disappear. Deny you said it when ex comes running. You could as well…he’s probably already painted you as evil etc.

    At this point ow feelings are no priority to you, just as yours were no priority to her. She wants to call you a bitch? Fine! She’s a whore. Keep it moving. Your goal is not to have your children confused over what is clearly an overstepping of boundaries.

    These people watch too much damn tv! No it’s not all rainbows and lollypops when you break up a family. And they insist on forcing their ‘get over it chump’ timeline on us!

    • With my daughters stbx, I do not say anything at all. But i pack all his stuff in a bag, and hand it to him during the exchange. I politely say here is your stuff the kids brought home last time. He sometimes will send home the kids in outfits he buys them, i make sure we get our clothes back and the next exchange i have those outfits in a bag for him. We have an understanding that what he buys for the kids stay at his house and what we buy stay here.

      So pack that beenie and other clothes in a bag and hand it to him saying here is your stuff. If they say “oh we gave that to dear daughter” you polietely say “no thank you, she has enough beenies, jackets, shirts (whatever) here”.. .. it took a few times before they get

      • My input is on these lines, too — all that really matters is that the nice things you buy also come home. Outside of that, it’s annoying, but it isn’t really a huge issue compared to how bad it could be.

        In the “pick your battles” spectrum, this one seems less crucial to me, but everyone has their own valid point of view.

        • Agree, the OW sending clothes back with Katie’s kids is clearly a boundary violation, but there are likely to be many violations regarding the children in the years to come, and chumps can’t (correction) wage war on every front. And trust me, there will be ample opportunity for confrontations.

          My DD17 has been back in touch with Hannibal Lecher for only 4 months (after 3+ years of NC). Only 4 months and several large & small Stupid Parenting Decisions have already occurred. (a) I had to confront him on booking a ticket for DD to Mexico *without* my permission, even though I have sole custody. (b) On said vacation to Mexico (which ended yesterday), I found out that he had allowed my daughter to suffer for 3 days in bed with sun poisoning, and Hannibal & GF/AP advocated she drink only water–not Gatorade to replenish electrolytes, not orange juice to replenish vitamins [still debating about whether to confront him on that stupid parenting decision or just shut up].

          • She’s 17. Tell her that next time she gets sun poisoning, to make sure she takes Gatorade as well as water. Rather than OJ–actual oranges. Vit C, plus some fiber. OJ is good if there are muscle cramps–lots of potassium.

            She’s old enough to manage this herself. You know he’s a stupid parent, but in less that 12 months, she has to deal with him on her own. So do not respond. Let him wonder what he think of this disaster trip. Silence is golden.

            • Good advice; I’ll just remember to tuck powdered drinks into her suitcase next vacation with him.

              And I am using silence as a weapon in the case of DD17 contracting bed bug bites at his house 2 weeks ago. Hannibal is probably mortified that he has bed bugs, and even more mortified that I know and am not saying anything ; ).

              • Tempest, I’m so sorry to hear your daughter got sun poisoning on her trip! That happened to me when I was 15. It was a cloudy day at the beach and I didn’t realize I needed to wear sunscreen. It was miserable. I sure hope your daughter feels better soon. You might take her to a dermatologist when she gets back, then send the bill to your ex.

          • OMG, Tempest!!!
            WTAF?!??
            Your poor daughter. That is awful, and bed bugs too?!?!
            I had to literally delouse the house when TEO left to rid the fleas of his cat he had left behind. Ugh!
            What a dick.

        • How about bagging it all up and sending it back with the kids on their next visit? If your kids are agreeable, you can have a bag full of “their house” clothes which travels with them on their visits.

          If your kids aren’t agreeable, or the scraps just don’t fit, you might just hand it all to Goodwill, then send her a nice thank-you card for the generous donation you get to claim on your tax return. The magnanimous thank-you might shut that shit down.

          I hope she’s returning what your kids brought, and not exchanging your kids clothes for her cast-offs.

      • ^^^THIS^^^^

        Kill them with firm politeness and pass the message in a diplomatic way and dignity.

    • I wouldn’t throw stuff out without telling the kids. It’s crazy-making to have stuff disappear all the time when you’re sure you remember where you left it.

  • I have a suggestion which is super-childish but I cannot help myself; get hold of any and all clothing your suitably-sized friends / their children no longer want and send them as gifts for her. Not the 6 year old, her. No note, just a disparate pile of worn clothes in a bag, for her.

    Keep doing this. When she gets hysterical, and she will, you say ”oh, I had to return the kindness! Tell you what, let’s not exchange clothes at all, that way no misunderstandings!”.

    If it were one jacket or a small item once or twice over a long period, I’d just see it as cack-handed trying to butter the kids up, which is… fine, I suppose. If she’s nice to them, then that’s got to be a plus, silver linings etcetera. But a relentless tide of cast-off crap, nope. It’s not nice. It’s insulting and icky.

    • Just kidding here, but I laughed thinking about taking kiddo to some store with unattractive clothing and – with kiddos help – buying some hideous thing for OW. Something OW would feel obligated to wear for kiddo’s sake.

      Ok don’t do that. Snerk.

  • My stbxh tells all of the affair partners that I cheated / I’m a neglectful parent / I’m lazy / whatever / blah blah blah.

    I had to force myself to stop caring. Think about the low class and bad choices these people are making. I have to every single day remind myself that their opinions of me are based on his lies. That doesn’t change anything!

    I did have a lot of anger toward the newest OW at first. The first time she painted my daughter’s fingernails I cried in the car all the way home… But she does seem to care for my kids now when they go over to their dad’s. She does more for them than he does. My kids care for her too. I think she’s trapped now as they have a baby together. Stbxh has been leaving obvious bruises on OW as of late. So it’s proof that he will never change.

    • I meant to add in the comment that if she sends clothes because she thinks you aren’t parenting well enough, let her think that. Her opinion does not matter.

      I know, easier said than done! It will get easier with time… And with compassion for us here at CN who get how hard this is.

  • This is completely timely. I just sent my two girls, back with their dad yesterday. They spend a week with him and then week with me on a trial basis.

    Yesterday just before they went, Daisy my 10-year-old, informed me that she will be taking ballet lessons this week. Guess who her ballet teacher is?

    I had a feeling Id probably have to eat the shit sandwich. Once again that woman demonstrates she has absolutely no boundaries. I expect that she’ll have T-shirts made for her and my ex-husband, In an attempt to manage her image even further.

    I hate her guts.

    • Oh my gawd.
      She’s literally PICK-ME DANCING for your daughter! OW’s are so insecure.

      • **I’m** insecure.

        She stole my husband… now she’s working on my kids….she’s more fun and doesn’t have to travel to work like I do. She braids their hair and they like her…. and it makes me sick…

        • I’m so sorry, Sun. That would make me nuts too. My kids are grown but my ex bought a big resort home that’s fun for them to all visit. My house is small, and I can’t afford a bigger one. My husband sees my kids and grandkids a lot more than I do as a result of his big ass house. He also semi-retired and I have to work for another 10 years. I try to just focus on the love I feel for my kids and grandkids and do my best to thoroughly enjoy them when they’re around. It sucks, but I try to remember that bitterness will just push them farther away.

          I like the idea of you putting OW’s clothes in a bag and returning them to her when the kids go back to their dad’s house. Hope that works for you. If it were me, I’m sure I’d manage to lose some of OW’s items in the wash too.

        • Sorry, Sunflower. I see this from a different pov. Every OW I’ve ever accidentally been friends with or known from an existing group of friends has been incredibly insecure and will play every game from A-Z. They are insecure assholes who will even stoop as low as using children to get what they want, when they want. They’re weak. Seducing a child is easy prey. Seducing a weak man is easy prey.
          You shouldn’t feel insecure. You are a loyal human who has cared for your babies since before birth. She’s got nothing on you.
          The important part is that you know that kids ARE influenced easily. They are swayed day to day by what pleases them. If that whore braids their hair, color it purple for them if they want. Play the games they want and take them to the cool places they want to go within budget. When I was a kid in the middle of this BS, I wrote a letter to my Dad, who I was pick me dancing for, I wrote him a letter saying that I just wanted him to ask me what I wanted to do with him and it was simple stuff like games or going for a walk and teaching me about different plants.. anything your kiddos are into, explore those things! This is your shot at being their solid partner if you’re seriously feeling threatened by this terrible OW. You can’t ever be replaced by anyone. I have had a few stepdads, one awesome and the rest bad. I would still trade every single moment of joy with any of them for a minute more with my bio-Dad.
          You are already special, nothing to prove.
          Believe in yourself and unless you mistreat them, your beautiful kids will follow you anywhere. Being a mother is special. I never got to have kids. Don’t let that slip away at the claws of an OW. Stand up and fight for them by being stable, loving and introducing them to enjoyable, interesting things within this little short life.

          Much love to you and your kids, Sunflower. Don’t let the assholes win by accepting them to steal your kids. Fight anyway you can, ok?

          • Interesting perspective UnderConstruction. Thank you for sharing! I’d love to hear more from adults that have been through this as children. What were their perspectives, and thought processes as children, and now as adults?

    • When I was pregnant with DD, my boy would spend the day with his father (who left me at 5 months pg) and come back with his hair nicely combed, or new clothes/shoes, stories of the day at the fair, etc… And at the time, his father swore on his dying father that he didn’t leave me for another woman and convinced me that I was just an out of control bitch, whom he could no longer stand to be around (nice, huh?). Well, eventually when it became evident that there was in fact a homewrecker involved, I realized who was brushing his hair- who was picking out his new clothes, who he and his father were going to the fair with, etc…
      I think they do this for a few reasons:
      Firstly, to impress their stolen commodity with how awesome they are with kids, secondly, to give away little hints regarding their influence on what is most precious to us, and lastly (and most importantly to them) they are marking territory. It’s disgusting and shallow and desperate. It is revealing of how insecure they are in a relationship borne of betrayal and deceit. But it is also mirroring how simple minded these idiots really are…

  • Just throw the crap away. My ex sends things home (“accidentally”, I’m sure) that belong to the OW or her terrible children. We’ve had issues with her kids & now have a court order keeping my boys away from hers … so continually sending some of their crap is just adding insult to injury & another layer of emotional abuse for my kids to deal with. Being the bigger person, I tried sending it back at first, but it always came back home in the bag. Then I started collecting it & was going to donate it, but that was more work than I wanted to invest. So I throw it away. It used to set me off when I would find stuff in their bag, but it really doesn’t bother me anymore. She’s just trying to upset you, and as irritating and vomitous as it is, just take a deep breath & pitch that shit. This is yet another play out of the cheater handbook, pretty classic behavior. Once again, remember that they suck. Big time.

    • If the kids don’t want these things, you can always give them to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Better than throwing in the garbage – besides, there’s always a chance she’ll see her clothes on someone else. Just a little Bazinga! for her.

      • It’s actually a perfect idea to give them away via charity! If you throw them away in the trash you look bitter, but if you gift them to charity you look noble and charitable.
        Her weak impression management will fail because you will turn out as the better person.
        She can’t say anything against you, because they were (unrequested) gift, and you are free to do whatever you like with them.
        She is so greedy and envious that probably with time she will stop giving you the clothes that give you an occasion to shine and be charitable.

  • My ex MIL used to do something like this. I think sometimes people feel they want to be able to feel like they are able to give something, or ‘need’ to give something to you, even when they have limited means. Many times it was stuff she picked up at a garage sale or thrift shop. I just started thinking, “Bless her heart, this is what she does. We don’t need or want this.” It would end up in my boxes or bags destined for my own local thrift shops, without another thought. No comment, she lived in another state and we were never close. One time, we dumped it on the way back from a visit with her at one of those “shoes and clothing” donation containers on the road. You’re not close to this woman. Yes, she’s probably dim. Vent here, and dump that stuff.

  • The OW gave my daughter a shirt that said “Live Love Dream”… oh yes thank you Homewrecking whore…we cant Live in our house…Dad kicked us out to make room for you…we Love how you moved in and put your sons in our childhood bedrooms…we Dream of a day (it happened) when you are gone.
    I took the shirt…”bedazzled” it myself…with the add on…”to suck D@#$” drew a penis ….and wrote her Name in large block letters with a #1 on the back. I also found a T shirt at the goodwill…it had green lips on it. It said “I got good lip service”…. I swear…I am not making this up….
    I wrapped them…put in a gift bag…added his favorite homemade cookies and had the daughter take them their Christmas gift.
    Message received….
    Never got another “gift ” from The DSucking whore again.
    Childish…venegful… yup…yes…and it felt to good.

    • I have dreamed of giving Mr. and Mrs. Twatwaffles a wedding present. It would be on a nautical looking gift bag, covered with crabs. It would include a razor, an ice pick, and a box of matches. She wouldn’t get the meaning but he would.

      He tells a joke that is a method for getting rid of crabs. You shave have your pubes. Then set the other half on fire. When they run across to escape the fire, you stab them with an ice pick.

      I’d throw in a paternity test just for good measure.

      • Shave half your pubes….

        Oh… the paternity test is because they have a 4 month old baby together… and she’s super chummy with her ex husband. Would not be at all surprised if there’s a 3 way between them all….

    • “The OW gave my daughter a shirt that said “Live Love Dream”

      I hate justifications like that. It’s like they are trying to teach the kids justifying bad behavior is okay as long as you sanitize that crap out of the language and behavior with positivity that’s been twisted to fit their agenda.

      Shortly after I filed stbx would post all kinds of quotes on social media. The most nauseating one …

      “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

      Seriously? Talk about a lack of introspection. Serial cheating, prostitution and 10k at a strip club is pretty telling of who you REALLY are!

      • Oh yes, that one and the one exh2/The Evil One posted one quote that said, “Do what makes you happy and the hell with what anyone else thinks”
        As long as he’s happy being a lying, cheating, theiving, manipulate, sociopathic narcisstic bastard makes you happy, TEO, who am I to judge?????

    • Man, that is AWESOME! My ex’s OW would do things that I would not allow. My youngest daughter (8 at the time) wanted to perm her hair (back in the day) but she had super, super think hair so I explained why as her hair would be 3 times thicker. Well sure enough when she came home from her summer visitation, guess who had permed hair?? I was so pissed. Three weeks later guess who had to pay to get it straightened because it was an unmanageable mess? Another time they came home with a puppy as ex had gotten it for her for her birthday – expressly against my wishes. I couldn’t really do anything as the drop-off was with my ex-MIL. She apologized but the damage was done. What can you tell a little girl – that she can’t have it?? Again – SO PISSED! The reason for me telling her ‘No’ in the first place is because I worked 3 jobs, how was I going to take care of two kids plus a dog?? Hate it when I am always put in the place of being the ‘NO’ parent. A$$HOLES!

  • Wow-she gave them a dollar for Hawaii? Isn’t she super special? It’s definitely impression management. Your girls are young and their trying to navigate this shit mess the best they know how. I agree to let it go and not put your kids in the middle. Throw it away unless your girls would really miss the item and shrug your shoulders if anyone asks where it went. It’s probably in the same place the nice clothes they wore we they went are in.

    Don’t buy into the drama and centrality of Schmoopie. The untangling of why she does this is not relevant. It keeps you involved with cheater drama.

  • Why not keep the clothes and when the kids visit him send them in her cheap crap?

    This way none of the clothes you get them ever end up with him.

    That’s what I did with my ex.

    • its good but the problem with it is that then it looks like you really needed those things, like you haven’t got your own lovely clothes to send them in. Plus life is too short to wear crap clothes (that applies to everyones clothes really)

    • That’s what I do with TEO & Mrs. Dumbass (his OWife).
      Just about every single visit, DD comes back in either a different shirt or pair of pants than what she left wearing, or a completely different outfit. Which is why I make sure she’s dressed in clothes that I’m not too concerned with.

  • “Mom…have you seen my bedazzled tam-o-shanter?” has just made my whole day. I will be guffawing about that statement for at least a week! Brilliant!

  • I’m in the “pitch her crap when no one is looking, pretend you know nothing about it and say nothing to either your stbx or the OW” camp.

    As Chump Lady pointed out, you already won. She earned herself the prize of a cheater with no money. Taking your girls to Hawaii was just the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae!

    Look, she is pick me dancing her heart out to prove she won the prize; probably to herself more than anyone else. If your girls don’t like her, I’m sure even the dimwit has picked up on that. So she’s got to pick me dance for her twu wuv schmoopie and at least one adolescent girl….yeah good luck with that!

    Whatever you decide to do, don’t feed the wild animals any more kibbles. Just keep moving on with your new cheater free life!

    • Yes! Was just going to leave that message as well.

      She is pick me dancing for your kids and your x. She knows that she will always be 2nd for all of them. You were his wife, she was a side piece. You are your kids parent, she is just the girlfriend, temporary probably.

      Don’t sweat this. Make a few lighthearted jokes to your kids about it if you need to but I’d not make a big deal of it. I was in the middle of some of my parents fights (dad cheated) and it sucks to be in that anxiety-inducing triangle as a kid.

      • Under construction, you make a good point. It’s so hard to say nothing but I know that’s probably for the best. And I do think she’s not a permanent fixture. Funnily enough , the closer I get to moving day, the more stbx ie back peddling. How predictable!

  • IMO, I think it’s a little more insidious. It’s about her stuff being in your home. It’s a boundary violation. Putting your adult clothes on two young female children who are not yours, but are going home to the women whose husband you had sex with and ended up with after the divorce, is at least a little bit about her power to continue to invade your home using your children as the carrier.

    Several options here. I like Chumplady’s idea of the slow rapture of all the clothes over time. I happen to believe that just the plan and intention disempowers them even though it might take months. When something is discovered missing by the girls, then you take them out and buy an item to replace it. They won’t miss her crap. You can go to a consignment store or a “value village” type place for the experience of second hand clothes shopping that you still get to choose together with mom.

    YOu can, however, hurry the rapture by losing some of the items in the garbage, or somehow it being torn or stained, kept in a smelly place so it smells too. (Dont’ put it in the septic tank because that’s trouble for you–but something from my ex-MIL did find its way into the litter box once. Problem solved)

    Disclaimer: I tend to operate that energy attaches to personal items so the boundary violation is not just material, it’s energetic. And the proof of that is how it makes us uncomfortable to have it in the house.

    • I did one know a lady who was a problem who always gave me little gifts, and when I threw them all out (without telling her), she stopped contacting me.

      It’s rather intangible, but it happened.

    • Why waste good fabric, cut up and use to wash the car or clean the toilet!
      I like you insight and agree on the energy thing and probably the smell, cheap laundry powder….
      It would be gone soon after it entered my house I know that, probably burnt in the fire pit.

    • Hi Diane, that has occurred to me, that she might like the idea of her stuff being in my home. Good point re the energy. Whatever way you look at it, it’s a bit creepy, I may have to have a burn up before I move!

    • Thinking about our boundaries and the energy that happens when they are crossed.

      I share a cottage with XH. We are 7 years apart, so what I’m reporting was in the first couple of years. I know from my sons that there were several other women that he would have with him at the cottage. It seems that each one wanted to put her stamp on the place and would buy mugs, or wine glasses, or rearrange the cupboards when there. I used to feel upset and every time I arrived would spend the first hour throwing out these purchases and putting the cupboards back the way I like them. X never made a comment about this probably because he didn’t care and the women changed so frequently. But for me, I really felt they crossed a boundary at “my” cottage. Now, this stuff never happens. I assume he just tells the woman of the moment to not bother bringing anything to the cottage, but don’t actually know the dynamics on that end. The funny thing is that if it were to happen now, I wouldn’t care.

      It’s interesting how these things hurt a lot in the beginning and over time lose their power. I think we become more secure over time in our own worth and no longer put any thought into what a former spouse does. They can’t hurt us anymore.

      So, whether it’s kids clothes or other items, the day comes when we don’t feel anything. What freedom!

    • Diane, I agree it is about power as you stated. And quite frankly Fuck that shit. I would explain how important it is to be charitable to the children; then box the items and donate them. Send her a card thanking her the clothing donation as it will no doubt help those in need.

      Kids aren’t dumb. They know what’s going on.

  • Oh holy shit! These ows are so incredibly tacky. I suggest using a tong for the disposal of “gifts”

  • This situation I have dealt with lots. I’ve been getting shitty gifts from relatives for eons.

    Shitty cast offs or gifts from the kid’s “other house” is so easy, way easier – put it all in a bag and give it back. It’s not that you are being ungrateful, it’s that no one told you it was a gift!!!

    You simply give back the clothes that were “borrowed” like this – “oh yeah, here’s the things from your house, sorry it took a while to return them”

    Kids then have a regular filing system, an open bag with the stuff from the other house. Like “oh we don’t want to forget to give this back”

    Kids want to keep it? Yes of course, but it’s from the other house so you can keep it for when you go there, otherwise you won’t have the stuff you need when you’re there. 🙂

    Then if you need to fill up some bullshit conversation time with your ex to look civil , you just have a one way conversation about how you have no space and it’s really tricky fitting everything into your house and keeping the place tidy (which you have successfully done!)

  • Anything the kids don’t want (and let her supply the cheap shit so they can destroy it or ‘forget that they ‘loaned it’ to a friend ) gets put in a bag & donated to some organization that needs it. Battered spouse refuge, consignment shop, Goodwill or bin it.

    Tell the girls to put the clothes YOU supply into their overnight bag after being worn. Don’t want to overburden Schmoopie or provide her with classier clothing options.

    I feel badly for her kid too. Rotten luck of the draw there.

  • I was on the other end of this, last year around Thanksgiving, my ex asked me for any hand me downs I might be able to gather for “a friend who could really use them”. About a week later,my ex announced that he had “unexpectedly found” himself in along term relationship with a married mother of 2 who was “struggling” to make ends meet. Put 2 and 2 together on that one.

    I personally like the direct approach, rather than trying to contact or even get back at OW, which I think gives her and Ex way too much mental real estate. Let the girls know that they have 2 options, if the girls like the stuff, then fine, let them know they can keep that stuff at dad’s house. If the girls don’t like the things they can bring them home and go in a bag kept in the girls closet for the next Goodwill drop off. As Dear Abby says, once a gift is given, the receiver is free to do with it as they please, and your silence on the matter will be deafening.

    • I love this solution, as it empowers the girls. I’d pair it with regular discussion of age-appropriate dress and style. One of the things I truly miss about my disordered mother is shopping with her. She had great taste and an eye for fabric and quality construction that she passed on to me.

      As a woman in her mid 60s, I am constantly aware of how many OLDER people do not pay attention to age-appropriate dress. This is actually a great time to talk about how at every age, we get to explore different styles of dress and wearing our hair, etc. That’s a way to get them to spot what the OW sends that is not age-appropriate as well as to consider what reflects their style and personality.

      • Sadly, that’s what I miss about my mom, she does have great style and good homemaking skills, our homes were always nicely set up and decorated, but she’s a narc so I don’t have any contact with her now.

  • Why hasn’t anyone suggested using the clothing and such as a sort of kindling? That’s probably what I would do and it would bring me such pleasure because it’s a means of “letting go.”

  • I am once again sadly reminded of the unending levels of cancerous damage that infidelity causes.
    I have spent some time feeling really angry at movies/TV shows that treat infidelity as comedic. Don’t expect sanity from someone who obviously isn’t…that’s a recipe for making you crazy! If either your husband and the OW had a shred of a boundary they wouldn’t get involved with each other in the first place. Best offense is a good defense….PLAN on frequent, glaring, major boundary violations to keep your blood pressure normal as possible. I agree that keeping the children out of the fray is Job 1 for any solution. They are very likely being polite accepting the clothes (yay for you Mom for the etiquette lesson!). What about having an honest discussion with the girls about how you all feel about this and coming up with a solution together based on what you all feel? Honesty and communication UNITES YOU AND THE GIRLS, strengthens your bond, and is the ultimate antidote to the cancer of affair carnage.
    IMHO.

    • And remember, kids figure it out! She can give and give and give and she will never ever be able to take your place. All the gifts in the world will never be able to get the blood stains out of their crime scene.
      I trust your girls to see that.

    • I agree. Talk open and honestly with your kids. Kids are just as lost as us on how to deal with this nightmare.
      Its very hard to remember manners when you are both scared and repulsed by a situation.
      If my kids want to keep something i say keep it. If they want to throw it away i say toss it!
      I agree its a boundary violation with the ow. But,the whole damn affair is a violation with the ow.
      Gifts are just an extension of that boundary violation. I say call it what it is.

  • Katie:

    As time goes by these gifts/intrusions will either become infrequent or you will get use them. At first, it truly is bothersome and causes us chumps to take several steps backwards in the healing process. AND THAT IS WHY THEY DO IT! Centrality. Your ex and his OW cannot stand the thought of the end of the triangulation. So they ramp up the emotional abuse in hopes of engaging you in kibble supply.

    Try to ignore. If you must, let it out in private or tell a close friend how you are feeling. After a few days, you will be over it and back on your path to healing. Please avoid involving your children in the drama. The cheaters will use that against you, only making you feel worse. If you make a mistake and respond in some way to their BS, forgive yourself and move on.

    It does get better!!!! Hugs!

    • I agree with Kimmy. I spent a lot of emotional energy on these kinds of issues when we first divorced. The further out I get, the less I care. Use the “gifts” from the OW to trigger yourself in positive ways. When your daughter pulls out a bedazzled beanie, ask if she’d like to read a book with you, come pick out a fun recipe to try for dinner, go shoot some baskets in the driveway together, etc. You’re WITH the child when you see this crap–so all the real power and pleasure is yours. Take it and enjoy it.

  • You know, if you are feeling REALLY spiteful & petty, you could drop off a bag of her cast-offs at any strip joint and accidentally include their names on the gift card. It would be funny if she starts fielding calls from strange women looking to speak with him.

    It plays well in one’s revenge fantasies, not so well in real life.

    Discuss it with your girls. Come up with a solution with them. Puts them firmly back in the Sane Parent camp.

        • Oh, I will.

          Hopium spring eternal, however. I expect in the end it will be one more shit sandwich to swallow…

          • We went through something similar about younger DD and her waist-length hair. DD reported InternWhore said it was “difficult to make look good” and offered to cut it next time the children had visitation. So very hard to wash and brush a then 5-yo’s hair when she’s with you a whole 4 days a month! DD told me this with tears in her eyes. When I called my ex, RonBurgundy, with fire in my voice, he said, “I leave the whole hair thing to InternWhore.” I reminded him that SHE was not the parent and she’d better keep her grabby mitts off my daughter’s hair unless they wanted to go to court. Again.

      • how to fix the egregious violation:

        Take the bra cut it into pieces, throw it in the garbage and tell your daughter “that woman is not your mother. mothers buy their daughters their first bra. this is not your first bra.”
        You and I together will go bra shopping when it’s time.

  • I like to laugh (to myself) about dumbass (otherwise known as Home Wrecker, and Gets Engaged While He’s Still Married) and how, if I weren’t under No Contact, I would like to gently laugh in his face that she: has halitosis, brays like a donkey and has inane conversation. But whatever. Here’s my deal:

    I want back my sweet spirit. That’s what Dracula desperately wanted from me, that and my joy of life. I was not a naif. That’s why we didn’t last. But his ho-ing, preying on young women (as well as desperate hos) in our faith community, his lying, porning, raging, did I say cheating?, blaming, defaming, tapped me out on my purity of spirit. He can’t have that. He can be stuck with the bitterness. Not me.

    I’m trying so hard to be free of rancor and hatred. Help me ChumpNation !!!!! Asshole must not win !!! If I’m a bitter hag, he wins. Let me be a sweet, kind, gentle lady — that’s my desire.

    • Hey, Nice As Pie is the best revenge. I heard it’s how they say FU in the South. I’m not going to validate him by stooping to the pond scum level. I vent and spew poisonous juice in private or to my pit crew so I can be Grace Personfied when I have to interact with him. Makes it way more difficult to shift the focus on to me, which is NOT what I want!! (I kicked his ass in chess, where the Queen has the most power).

        • Maybe regional/generational? I heard this from my grandmother (who would now be 112) , born bred raised SC….either way, it’s the way to go!

        • “Bless your heart” is just Deep South bitch slang. It’s about the same as saying “may God have mercy on your soul” right before someone gets hanged.

          I didn’t know that the first time I heard it. But it sounded “off” at the time. Now that I know better it wouldn’t bother me a bit to reply with either a cold smile and “Bless yours too,” or a hot snarled “blasphemous bitch,” depending on the audience.

          But not up north or out west. Outside of the Deep South if you hear “Bless your heart” it’s usually coming from someone who genuinely means it in a nice way.

    • He sucked out your sweet spirit very much like the dementors. And left you with his putrid and vile energy in the hole he left in your being and in your life.
      You don’t get back that sweet innocent girl that the predator consumed.
      That person doesn’t exist anymore.

      Who exists now?
      You the wiser and more experienced woman with the energy generating power to create more of that sweetness and fill your life with it.
      Zero contact lets that stagnant rot dissipate from your life.

      Now, you don’t associate with the lower energies like that fucktard. A lesson learned.

      I had to learn it too.

    • Queen Mother… you can do it. Hold your head up high & rise above the shit. It’s hard but be true to the person you want to be. ????????????

  • This woman may be around for a while, with your kids. You don’t want her taking anything out on them. Next time they visit send a list of things you want her to buy. Expensive things like, iPad, video games, include things only you would use. They will be pissed. Bedazzle what the kids like so “it looks good now” toss the rest. Laugh your ass off, she wouldn’t have done this if your very existence didn’t drive her crazy. How much mental Realestate do you think she is giving YOU, to do this. I bet it’s every day.

    • Nice!

      Jeans in your size.

      Gift cards to your restaurants.

      Movie passes.

      Perfume from the upscale department store.

  • Thanks you guys, your comments are all so helpful. You are right of course, its probably just a play for kibble and centrality, just hard to stomach at times. I’m sure when I move out on Monday and remove myself from the drama, it will be much better. I had thought of giving all the items to charity, or just returning them, but will talk to the girls first. As Tracy said, she won the turd while I have my gorgeous kids so that’s all good. It is hard to get to Meh, but I suspect my Tuesday is coming! Its obviously a pretty common phenomenon in fantasyland as well, sounds like a lot of fellow chumps have dealt with this before me! Tracy, your blog has been the best thing ever for me, its 1.30 in the morning in NZ, reading your blog in the middle of the night is my routine since this crap began! And CN, you guys rock too!

    • It hurts because you are HUMAN with FEELINGS, unlike your X and the OW. Thank goodness the girls have one intact human appropriately-wired parent….YOU! ❤️
      (And I agree that having my daughter with me while he chases Rando Strange on the Internet makes me the winner)

      • My niece was the OW. — cringe—

        She treated his kids nicely because she had no kids of her own, she genuinely did enjoy them, and she was spackling like crazy for the shitty treatment they got from him. And she tried to be sensitive to their mother, by reminding them that they had a mother and it wasn’t her.

        Then she got pregnant herself by him, twice, and he threw her out for another OW (or three). Turns out he didn’t like parenting small kids full time. So all the time she spent building a relationship with his kids, which may have been good for them, left her with nothing. Except, of course, that she’s now co-parenting her own girls with her fuckwit ex, and hoping his current and future twu wuvs will be as nice to them as she was to her ex’s older kids.

        Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. She was raised in an intact family, not a loose series of convenient temporary relationships. I hope she wakes up someday and gets her own girls out of there.

    • Hello fellow NZr! My cheating ex got dumped by the married guy she was with, seems her being single suddenly became less appealing (& she thought she was so special), I thought I was nearjust meh, 14 months out, but I’ve crashed again, but I know it’s there somewhere, the proof is here on this blog. I know I’m lucky, my 10 year old daughter lives with me during the week, and that rules, even if not much else does. Good luck!

    • Another kiwi checking in, I remember in the early days hanging out for new posts to appear in the wee small hours.

      The OW in my case was a ho-worker around 28ish years difference in age! To start with she worked so hard ‘making an effort’ with my kids. She even passed on care instructions for clothing via my ex so I’d know how to wash gifts given. lol. I pointed out to my ex after he carefully passed on the instructions that I’d been washing HIS clothes just about longer than she’d been alive, so thought I’d manage 😉 She spent quite a lot of time ‘advising’ my kids (they are older, teens) giving them all her ‘smarts’ on life.

      Well, they are married now and suddenly my kids are just an inconvenience. They dont bother with them very much at all. Guess once they showed up at the wedding as his only family, they’d done their job.

      More telling though is what the kids say about OW now. They have her number. They laugh about the advice she has given them, when “quote” she’s messed up her own life so much. They dont have a lot of regard for either of them and a fairly contemptuous at their lack of interest and effort.

      None of this is my doing. Ive encouraged a continued relationship, but end of day the kids think why shoudl they bother, when Dad cant be bothered and he only saw them before because SHE was spackling that happy family spackle.

      Hows that working for her now I wonder?

      And we are all pretty good with life 😉 This will pass Katie, hang in there.

      BTW: I’d just ignore the stuff coming home, chances are the kids dont want most of it and are just being polite.

  • The STBX sent my DD home with a promotional giveaway from the jewelry store where he bought baubles for the slut. Free whatever with every 500 dollar purchase? Yeah, he sent that shit. Easy enough to toss those things, but the damage is done. Ultimately, though, they damage themselves, too. All we can do is let them.

    • I’d have kept the “free with purchase” gifts as evidence to present in court, when insisting that he can afford a more generous child support payment.

  • The best action is the one that stresses the kids the least. Avoid them bein put in the middle. As hard as that is.

    • Agree!

      What you can do is help them learn to declutter generally every season. Marie Kondo “does this spark joy?” They can also over time learn how to politely deflect gifts they don’t want as a life lesson. But if they love it–great.

      Kids outgrow things pretty quickly. I would not stress about this one and totally agree that the kids should not feel any angst or pressure over this. They have more than enough crap to deal with.

      • I LOVE this idea. I love any idea that gives kids better life skills while at the same time developing boundaries.

  • Wait. 9 and 13 year olds are extremely smart and perceptive of your actions and responses to this OW and her gifts. Mind you, these are gifts to your daughters, not you and not your property to remove. That’s not fair. They will know if you toss them, too.

    You can show them how to be polite gift receivers, re: Scarlett O’Harra style. “Why! how … interesting.” while letting them know (I’m sure they get the idea) that you do mildly disprove of said items. This is a toughie, but can be a long game parenting win for you.

    If it drives you crazy, speak with your xh about the hand me downs/items. You do want your girls to learn that friendship is not established with trinkets and used clothes, even at that age.

    Maybe they can leave that crap at his house.

  • My ex’s BF (don’t think he was an AP, but she had so many, who knows?) continues to buy my teenage son movies and comic books that I think are inappropriate. I just want to explode every time I see or hear about these gifts.

  • I made it clear real quick that any gifts my Exhole buys stays with him because he is always buying stuff that I don’t allow.

    Before the OW was even allowed to meet my daughter, she bought her an Easter basket that the Exhole showed my daughter a picture of a week before he gave it to her. WTF? I’m not sure the purpose of that except to get me riled up because they were under order via the stipulation that she could not be introduced for another 5 months. They thought that didn’t include gifts. Morons.

    As long as I don’t have to deal with the sh*t they buy my daughter and he makes his payments to me on time, I don’t give any f*cks what he does with his money. At some point she will realize that is all he is good for.

  • Not sure if she’s expecting them back but I would ditch them when no ones looking and then if there are any enquiries from OWcas to where they’ve gone, scratch my head vaguely and suggest ‘lost at school maybe?’ As though no time has ever been spent on deducing their meaning ever. Also, I know I would hate it with the heat of a thousand suns in real life, but theoretically I’d be grateful she was at least being nice to my kids. When I was a teenager I left what was then called a camisole at my fathers on one of our infrequent visits only to find the next time that the OW had been wearing it. Crept me out enormously.

  • Katie,

    Always remember that our x’s always trade down. Its worse when OW are young twits who think that this is an act of endearment. I was lucky enough that my kids were older when I divorced serial cheater. I do have a close friend that has one daughter age 8 that upon return from weekend with her dad and live in gf, discovered the twit had taken her daughter for a NEW HAIRCUT at a beauty salon. The daughter had long, very curly thick hair. It was a short haircut as well as thinned out and texturized IMO, under NO circumstance should OW assume its her role to take children. for new haircuts. WOW! She also randomly sends home her second hand treasures. My friend throws them away. UGH

    • I had a neighbor that had a live-in boyfriend who was incredibly jealous of her kids; the oldest child, Marina, had waist-length hair. I came home from work one day to find this child’s hair was cropped off at her ears. When I exclaimed in horror, her little eyes began to leak tears. It was like a psychic rape; I never forgave him for that. I put her on my lap and let her cry, and told her “Don’t worry, it’ll all grow out again”, for whatever consolation that was for her. That poor baby; the mom eventually got away from that creep, but it took moving out of the state. I still hate that guy’s guts.

  • In the early days, OW was all about gift giving. it used to bother me to no end. (chocolate frogs from disney, augh!) Then it got to be books and chocolate. My kids aren’t really into chocolate so guess who enjoyed it? Me! Thanks for the free chocolate!!
    Later when she got a ring on it the gifts stopped and she got passive aggressive with them, its totally way worse than the love bomb phase.
    Things are a bit calmer now and they have come home with older step sisters cast offs. Thing is they like them and wear them. So – free clothes that i dont have to buy! Win win. (my youngest favorite item is a coat she got from a thrift store for 25 cents, so we aren’t talking kids into fashion)

    Its a shit sandwich now, but as you get to the land of Meh these things really wont even register anymore. If you are picking you battles, this isn’t the hill to die on.

    (((big hugs)) it gets better! and it takes massive amounts of time.

  • As many have recommended, toss what comes home in bag without telling the kids, then make a drop-off to Goodwill or another organization a part of your monthly routine. No big deal.

    But keep at least one outfit that comes home for a voodoo doll.

    Kidding.

    Sort of…

    • I love the voodoo doll suggestion.

      Screw respecting her gifts. I think a lot of damage is done in the name of faux politeness.

      If it bugs you, that’s a legit reason not to have that crap around. If it bugs or hurts them even more so. If they love the stuff, they can keep it there. Your boundaries matter.

  • Perhaps Katie could tell the OW that even though her exH is so skint that the step father has to pay child support, Katie still doesn’t have time to take those clothes to a dress agency to help the OW to make some money. And then send those clothes back.

    Don’t use sarcasm. Say it plainly as if you truly thought that that was the OW’s intent.

  • Yep that stuff simply disappears. POOF!! Gone. LOL I did it all time raising my children. They would come home with clothing that I disapproved of and trying to avoid a confrontation and teen insolence and since it was I who did their laundry, that crap just disappeared

    CL is correct. Don’t put the kids in the middle of it. So not worth it in the end.

  • My kids are older and refuse contact. However, their Christmas presents from their father are clearly wrapped by her and came with tags in her handwriting, “Love, Cheatlanta and Schmooplanta.” It damn near ruined my holiday. It felt like she came into my house and sneered at me. Since the kids have clearly stated they want nothing to do with her, they both were crossing boundaries set by my kids. Grrrr! Yeah, not at Meh yet.

    To me this is really two issues.
    1) A Boundary issue for you – how do you personally respond as this is clearly a crossed boundary?
    2) A Parenting issue – how do you teach your kids to be respectful and yet set their own boundaries in an age appropriate way? Do they feel manipulated? Do they feel uncomfortable? What’s a good way to ask them about it? If so, how can they feel empowered to speak up for themselves about how they expect to be treated. 9 & 13 may be too young; then again, it may not.

    As the mother of two 20-somethings, my go-to parenting approach has always been: First, Be Sane. In my case – so far – the boundary crossing was from my STBX wanting to cry on my shoulder because the kids didn’t respond positively to him. My therapist helped me come up with responses that stiff-armed him and helped me keep my sanity.

    I know I would take every opportunity to toss the junk, but how awesome would it be if 13 year old turned to the OW and said, “I appreciate the gesture, but I want you to know that from my side our relationship is not based on gifts, it’s based on other things that are important to me like do you tell me the truth? Do you keep your promises? You know, important things like that. I’m glad we are working on it but it may take a long time.” Kids get the gift of practicing setting boundaries and bonus gift – OW gets a little something-something, too.

    Or therapist might say ignore it. Now I’m really curious. Did anyone get help from their therapist on a good way to respond?

    P.S. Doesn’t this gift-giving seem like insecurity?

  • When my kids brought home a laundry basket full of “stuff they might want” from my ex, I bagged it up and threw it out. I do not want his crap in my house. My kids did not care. They didn’t want any of it either.

    • You might be surprised to find that your kids really might not want that second-hand crap. I went through the bottom of my DDs closets once when they were maybe 10 and 7. Pre-divorce, I kept a spotless and tidy house. Post-divorce with a full-time job, full custody of 3 young children, and all house and yard work done by your truly, not so much. So closet cleaning happened 1-2 x per year max. This time there were sparkly halter tops in adult sizes, tanks with cutouts, tight leggings, lingerie, hooker heels in assorted colors, designer handbags. My daughters were into beanie babies and hello kitty at the time, so truly, not their style. At all. I asked where all this stuff came from and DDs said “InternWhore gives it to us; we don’t want it but can’t say no.” We took it all to Goodwill. Except for the black Coach bag. I kept that and wore it for years. Told folks I’d traded cheater RonBurgundy for a Coach bag and obvs had gotten the better deal.

      • Haha, unfortunately I doubt she will gift a coach bag…more like some PVC thing! Either way it’s not the point though is it? Major boundary violation but I think I’m better just to suck it up and ignore…

  • So, my take on this may seem extreme, but I think it’s worth considering…

    There was another poster here who said she thought these actions were more insidious than we realize. I completely agree with that. I think that very few, if any of these cheaters and OW are anything less than narcs and/or sociopaths. And my view on stuff like this has developed over the years dealing with this in mine and my children’s lives.
    These are dangerous people. EVERY SINGLE THING THEY DO has motive behind it. We being the normal, decent people in the scenario try to figure out the normal, decent way to handle these things. And these sickos count on that.
    The OW in my situation did everything in her power to seem like a sugar coated bestie to my kids. She bought my 13 yo son Brittney Spears tickets, took my daughter to get her eyebrows waxed, gave her her own hand me downs to bring home. My youngest child is almost 17 at this point and this has been going on for almost 12 years now, and she is STILL trying to get to me. She uses any means she can, social media, etc. But mostly, she uses my children. And my ex not only lets her, but encourages it because triangulation is a very real thing that they get off on tremendously. Even when it involves minors.
    IMO, these people are no better than pedophiles. They use children in very sick ways. And when we deal with stuff like this in the “normal” and “decent” way, we are inadvertently conspiring in that. Our children never get a plain and simple “No. Good, honest people do not behave like that!” because we have been taught that in order to heal, move on, and be a good parent we have to be “the bigger person.” I personally think this way of handling things is very detrimental to ourselves and our children. Would you let your child have a say in whether they kept a “gift” from a pedophile?? There is a reason these things make us feel skeeved and nauseous. Because they are disgusting acts from disgusting people. We should treat them as such. If we don’t teach our children to recognize people like this, who will?? I realize it’s difficult because you are forced to allow your children to spend time with these degenerates. But trust me on this; the let it go attitude can have far reaching consequences. One of your kids may end up believing their lies and being manipulated against you. I lost my oldest son to this very thing. He is 23 and has not spoken to or seen me for many years. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that it ends with gifts. Gifts simply lure the kids in, just like a pedophile with candy. These kids are having their minds messed with much more than most of us realize, and some will be able to work out the truth, but some will susceptible to it. Their only defense is their sane parent…

    • Bea – I agree. They mess with the kids minds to get their way, further their agenda/narrative, etc.
      My ex was blaming me for being so mean, OW ‘saved’ him – you guys know the drill.
      OW took my daughter to get her nails done every visit, hair done, shopping trips… After my daughter figured out what really happened – now she doesn’t want her nails done at all. She threw all the stuff away OW gave her. I remember thinking it was weird OW bought the furniture for my daughter’s room when ex and OW moved in together – a week or so after he left.
      When the narcs tell everyone how ‘awful’ you are that it made them abandon the family – I believe that to be a true crime to make you child witness that against thier mom/dad. They don’t care if their kids minds get twisted – as long as their ‘plan’ is accomplished.

    • Bea, I totally agree. When the ow was stalking/goading me I ignored. She kept upping the anti. When she said, “I’m a grandmother now” meaning MY granddaughter I knew I had to shut that shit down.

      She wanted every last thing she could get including my granddaughter. She picked the WRONG battle.

      It didn’t stop there. She’s made multiple attempts to triangulate with my adult children. I ignore. Don’t care.

      • Oh man, I can so relate DoingMe. My daughter had her first baby last November. This disgusting woman did everything in her power to take that from me too. She planned a shower for my daughter without even asking me if I was. At the time my daughter was very mixed up about it all. I very, very carefully explained what I thought was happening, that this woman was doing ALL of this, including her shower, to simply be able to post these pictures all over Instagram and get attention/get to me/feed the “normalcy” narrative. I planned a smaller but more intimate and personal shower for my daughter, included her in all the planning and after initially explaining my thoughts never made her feel bad about the other shower. It was big, expensive, at a restaurant, etc. My daughter is young (19) and she and her boyfriend needed the help, so I tried very hard and swallowed my pride but man oh man did it kill me. In the end, my daughter told the OW that she didn’t want anything posted on any social media and her dad and OW had hissy fits and showed their true colors. My daughter doesn’t speak to them now and OW has not met my beautiful granddaughter. But I still don’t have my older son, still trying to figure out how to handle that. I’ve missed most of his teenage and young adult milestones and it’s devastating. He recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience and I only even know this from his LinkedIn profile. There is little that is more horrible than losing a child this way.

        • I’m so sorry Bea. It definitely puts things in petsepective. Congratulations on your new grand baby.. ((((Hugs))))

        • It’s sad to lose your son that way. Just the other day a FB reminder came up with s picture of us my daughter took in 2011 saying these are my awesome parents. My response back then was that family was the best investment I ever made.

          Congratulations on being a grandmother. Mine is 17 and off to college in a year. Better days ahead!

  • Let them wear the clothes that they were given ONLY when they leave to go their dads during visitation, and just until they get back home…oh heck yeah!! They are going into a different world, might as well let them dress the part. Think of it like dressing up for Halloween. When they leave and come home from dad’s wearing their “costumes”, establish a ritual to have them shower and change back into the stuff YOU bought for them…and then look them up and down and say “there we are…wow, that’s so much better”!

    This way, none of the nice things that you bought them will ever get left behind, lost, ruined in the laundry or forgotten in closets/drawers/cars at the dad’s house. This will also insure that dad/whore will get into the habit of supplying clothes for the girls to wear as they outgrow them. Plus, no better way to show the kids that there is a stark defining contrast between the two households simply by the act of having to change out clothes for visitation…kinda like dressing down for cleaning out the barn vs getting ready for going out to a movie and dinner. Use this to turn the lemons into lemon aide.

  • Here’s another option. I shop with my daughter and help her pick out her own clothes. When her dad and schmoo tried getting things for her she told them she prefers to pick out her own things. This has worked out pretty well for us.

    I do recall the heart stopping moment when strange clothes appeared in my laundry. It did feel like a violation but you just have to find what was inside you that was triggered and work on that. I don’t think the passive aggressive response is a good model tbh. Tempting but not the best thing.

    She did have one of his old shirts that she said she used as a night shirt and that one made it to the garage as a grease rag. But her stuff, no, although I wasn’t above asking if she actually liked a few things in that one voice lol, before she took care of the problem herself with the solution stated above.

    Pick your battles and rise above the rest!

  • I have dealt with the same scenario. OW is much younger and gives my daughter her clothes and hand-me-downs. My therapist gave me great advice – she said, at least the OW is nice to your daughter! You could be in a situation where the OW is actually mean to your children.
    I choose to look at it that way, since my daughter likes the OW and enjoys getting the clothes. I appreciate that she is nice to my child, and that’s all the matters, as time goes on. It doesn’t mean I like her, or like what she did. But it is thinking of my child and putting her first, which I am proud to do.

    Good luck – it sucks, but in the end, you win!!

    • I would talk to the kids. Don’t throw stuff out without asking them, unless it’s torn or dirty.If its age inappropriate, discuss that.If she’s trying to bribe her way into their affections, it’s not a huge or very effective bribe.

  • There may be another scenario: that the 6yo is giving her shiny things away to the two older girls because she feels bad/lonely and would like to buy the ‘sistership’ of the Chump’s two older girls. Her little 6yo instincts may be telling her that Mom is a piece of crap and she is not yet old enough to really separate herself from mom – ergo her instincts are telling her that she’s a piece of crap and it would be great to have some sisters.

    Poor kids – all three pulled into this. None of them deserve it

    • The three girls haven’t met each other yet! Stbx hasn’t introduced ow to his family or friends either. It’s very weird but I don’t think about it anymore. Her 6 year old hates my ex, because her mum shifted 4 hours away to be near my husband, and now she doesn’t see her dad as much. Utterly selfish people

      • “Her 6 year old hates my ex, because her mum shifted 4 hours away to be near my husband, and now she doesn’t see her dad as much. Utterly selfish people.”

        Her 6 yo has more sense than her mother, that’s for certain. Well, good for her to pick up on the “cheating asshole” vibe. I hope she shoots them looks of death over the cornflakes every single morning until she moves out one day.

  • Don’t over-think this one…YOU don’t want her stuff, THEY don’t need her stuff so just drop it in a clothes bank for someone else to recycle and enjoy. Don’t let them needle you – just get rid of her stuff and move on…Good luck x

  • Please first consider the kids and be honest. Tell them their father decided he would rather live with smoopie and her daughter than with me. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love them but it’s not the grownup type of love married couples with children should have for each other. Then tell them you don’t like that she gives them her old clothes, but if they like the things they can keep them, you will wash them and take care them just like all their clothes. Then say if you don’t want an article she gives you, you have no obligation to take it. It’s up to you. Even though it bothers me because I resent what your father and the woman did to our family, my real concern is how your feel about. So take what you want, leave what you don’t want. If you feel uncomfortable telling her you don’t want it, just leave it. If she asks you why you didn’t take it the next time you see her, tell her, “I didn’t need it”..I think all this manipulation of the kids can be stopped flat, with truth. They are old enough to handle it because they have had to handle what their father did-it’s caused an early maturity in both. Too early and sad, but it is the fact. Sorry this slut is further upsetting you.

  • many of these suggestions use the children as chess pieces in the adults’ mind games. It really bothers me. I saw it happen with someone many years ago and it was the maternal grandmother of the children, left by their cheating father, the youngest only two months old. My friend at the time, creating so much drama for the children. Clothes were involved, pickups, dropoffs, it was just constant drama for the four young children. I witnessed some it, hysterical children, sobbing, heard about much of it, DCFS, social workers, the kids dragged thru the scrum. All four of the kids are now grown and one seems normal, from what I know. I backed away-I couldn’t tolerate the horrible drama, imagine those kids and how they felt. Please, put yourself in the children’s place. As hard as it is, the pain of cheating and then his leaving for the OW is crippling, I know, but please try to protect these tender young souls. They have already experienced the drama of their father’s abandonment. Don’t add to their trauma. It just clothes, it’s not her, wash them well in pinesol, oxyclean, hottest water they will stand and get her smell out. Think you are drowning her, when you soak the clothes for a day. Or two.

  • The skin tight leopard skin outfits and shirts with see-through butt panels (I kid you not) that the OWhore sends my ten year old over in get mysteriously lost in the wash and teleported to donation. A tasteful hat – I let them keep it.

    • Chompingchump-in a case like that, and I will assume you are 1000% accurate and exactly unbiased about these hooker clothes, I would directly confront the woman-I wouldn’t even talk to the ex. I would call, very calmly tell her-and just like this: ” I don’t like the clothes you place on my child-they are inappropriate for a young girl and you should know that-do not dress her like that-if you don’t know the difference between the proper clothing and the not proper clothing for this child, then put nothing on her other than what I send with her and the clothes she is wearing when she has her visits. There are enough issues we will have to deal with in the future should your relationship continue with my ex-husband and MY, I emphasize on MY, daughter. The odds are against your relationship lasting and if you don’t know that, you ought to do some research into the topic of CHEATING. Every relationship has problems and it’s the ‘too many’ problems that break those partners. This is a problem that has no purpose. Don’t make it one of the many you are likely to have if it becomes an issue that I must take to MY ex-husband. Act in your bests interests if you want your relationship to survive.” What do you think about my suggestion Chompingchump-she’s has given you a reason to seethe, justifiably, and you can give her a reason to doubt the survival of her relationship-a 100% accurate reason. I wonder what your ex thinks about these clothes. I suspect he doesn’t like it considering most fathers, even the narcissists, are still protective of young daughters but he says nothing to OW because he doesn’t want to cause a problem between them. Even though the motive to tell OW about these clothes is pure it is nice to think you are feeding some pique into their likely doomed relationship. Your husband may try to play middle of the road and she won’t like that-she will want 100% of his “YOUR DRESSING MY DAUGHTER IS JUST FINE, MY TUOO LOVE. (haha)

  • Hey, you know those “need something, give something” carts in front of some churches? If you don’t want the hassle of trying to write off clothing donations (and thanks to the changes in the tax laws, it may not be worth your time), just drop off the clothes your daughter do NOT want and let someone else sort through the inappropriate pants and tops.

    Although I do like my idea of bagging it up and ‘donating’ it to the local strip club. Or one out of town. Like, in their hometown.

  • Thank her for the dish washing cloths. Oops I mean the beanies. I do agree it’s a boundary violation but likely best to just ignore this ow. She must be very insecure. I always keep telling myself that no matter what I am free of the jerk. It makes the shit buffet go down a bit easier.

  • Every free t shirt X gives my kids from his trips to Jamaica and casinos (while we are living in poverty because he doesn’t work and pays the minimum-required child support) ends up right in the trash. So do the 8×10, Dollar Tree framed photos of him with our kids during mandatory-appearance holidays; you know, for impression management and the photo op.

    Oh, and it’s not me who tosses them in the trash. Apparently, my sons also don’t need any more reminders that they don’t matter to their father.

  • Oh, f*!
    OW gave my 1 year old a fleece jacket she took from another kid she was babysitting. We met the parents at an event and the mother was surprised: “oh, our boy had a jacket just like that and it went missing.”
    Can you imagine the shame I felt? Now I realize the shame was all OW’s to bear.
    Once I figured out his double life, that jacket was first to go to a clothes donation bin.
    Later he tried to return our baby wearing clothes they bought. I put them all in a bag outside the house. He never bothered me again with clothes.
    It’s all about boundaries. Teach your girls boundaries, it’s a life skill they’ll benefit.

  • The advice to make the items disappear is really getting to me. I love this website and the advice given all around, but this would be the one exception. I get that this is a different situation, but as a child and teenager, my dad would routinely decide which items I no longer needed and would make them disappear. Many of these items were irreplaceable clothing items that held special significance to me because of the events in which I wore them. When it would happen, I remember thinking I was losing my mind and wasn’t sure what was real or not real. My parents wouldn’t fess up to it, so I think that ended up training me to believe it was acceptable to accept that kind of behavior later on: people betraying my boundaries and lying to me later. Also, I believe it taught me that my consent does not matter and others do not need to ask my permission before taking my stuff or worse. In other words, my parents doing these things to me was I think part of my training to become a chump and accept all manner of abuse later in life.

    Please just talk to your children. Tell them that the items are emotionally hard for you to see and ask if you can donate them. Please please don’t just secretly make them disappear. Teach your children a lesson in empathy and generosity, not accepting secret betrayal and that their consent does not matter.

  • Katie – I hope you see this despite my necroposting.

    Send her a copy of Celia Rivenbark’s book, “Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom”.

    Buy two, keep one for yourself because it’s very funny. I doubt she’ll get past the cover but it will get your message across. Or at least buy a copy for yourself!

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