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What’s Your Post-Infidelity Super Power?

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Ever notice that every superhero got his or her superpower after a calamity? Get bitten by a radioactive spider? Wham. You can climb skyscrapers. Head injury in a plane crash? Catwoman (whose superpower is being Eartha Kitt? Sexy pantsuits? Purring?) A botched blood transfusion from a mongoose? Superhuman speed as the Whizzer. (Really, that was a storyline.)

Why should chumps be any different? Hey, you know calamity! What’s your new superpower? Can you sniff out a narc at 20 paces? Detect lies? Are you made of titanium resilience?

Now I know the temptation here, especially for the newbies, is to say, “Gee Tracy, my superpowers are PTSD, trust issues and a twitch.”

NO. UNACCEPTABLE ANSWER. Reframe this! What are your new GIFTS post-infidelity? Snark? Better friendships? Twenty pounds of infidelity-diet weight loss?

Tell me! And TGIF!

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Also, a promo for anyone on the fence about this Patreon thing… I usually tier this, but for the first time everyone who supports the blog for whatever amount on Patreon is invited this Wednesday, 7 p.m. Eastern Time to a live video Chump Chat! Check it out.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I have superhuman fuckwit radar now. Personality disorder? Addict? Neurotic? Pervert? I can sense it a mile away.

    • That’s great! I hope that I gain the superpower. Still too early to tell if I can actually pick a good one from the bunch.

      • Yes I wondered mine too….thought about it a bit….has to be if someone is being an ass ….I call them on it ….pretty handy for the rare time I do come across my ex ….he loves to try to talk to me …..he must be a glutton for punishment. …never in his favour 😉

    • Same. I went out on a date a few weeks ago and the guy was giving off so many red flags it was crazy. The best part? I recognized them and immediately and DIDN’T make excuses for them. It really is a super power.

    • “When someone shows you who they are; believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou

      I now have X-Ray eyes: I believe what I see
      Open ears: I listen to what I hear
      Mega Legs: I believe when it’s time to run

      I am done with the “calamity” man…

      Call me Jane.

  • Pre-divorce, I had no appreciation for exercise. During and post, I started walking during lunch at work. That’s my get-out-of-the- head time. I looked forward to the activity and hearing the sounds around me. Reminds me that I’m still alive and able to appreciate the small things in life.

    Bonus – lost 25 pounds so far!!

  • My superpower became having amazing teeth. He only did it once, but Rhys criticized my gum health pretty harshly, and after I kicked him to the curb, I had a dentist appointment. The hygienist actually *showed* me how to take care of my gums, and wouldn’t you know it, my gums and teeth recovered.

    At least that’s fixable, unlike Rhys’ prickery. I now have a smile that shines for days!

    • My X had the audacity to criticize my teeth when they were the ONE aspect of my appearance I had absolute confidence in–straight teeth without braces. But he noticed how they ever-so-slightly incline inward. Funny thing is that since we’ve divorced I’ve developed a noticeable gap between my two upper front teeth, a la Lauren Hutton, except that I in no way resemble her otherwise. My dentist offered fillers to close the gap and I said, no thank you, I like the new way my teeth have evolved. And in fact, the first person who has anything at all to say about my teeth other than that they’re beautiful and functional can go eff themselves!

  • I got an associates degree, didn’t miss a class, no debt, all a’s but 3 classes that were b+! on my way to the university for a bachelor’s with a full scholarship

      • Unfortunately for me still dealing with parental alienation! Tracy what do I do? I’m 19 months out of D DAY?

        • Your parents are having trouble with your divorce?!
          I say know you are correct in your life choices no matter what they think. And plan a trip at Christmas. I hear the Viking European river cruises in December are fantastic!

        • I think Carol means that her spouse has turned Carol’s kids against her. Carol, my bio-dad did that to me against my Mom. I caught on to his game, and now my Mom and I are close and have a wonderful relationship. I will never forgive him for the damage he did to our relationship, though. Give it time and prayer. While my Mom was waiting for me to get my head out of my ass, she dedicated herself to volunteering at an elementary school, and ‘adopted’ several kiddos whom she still cares for. She filled her life with volunteering, and has a safety net full of friends, laughter and light. I love her so much, and I am so proud of her, but it did take me a few years to get to that point. Give it time, and prayer.

        • Parental alienation is horrific and it tends to pass down generations of dysfunction. I am still struggling after 10+ years since my kids were infants and The Cobra took them away abroad. Part of my heart is dead, and the awful legal struggle, loss of sleep and friends and ultimately my own toxic family who took his side …

          But my superpower comes from that: Ability to compartmentalize. No matter how rotten it is, I function well as a person and a professional and I can enjoy life and laughter and be there for others.

          I got a lot of support from Youtube.

    • When I kicked my ex out after D-day #2 he said he wanted to slow down with the divorce and focus on the kids. I said no and went full steam ahead.

      I bought a house and moved within 3 months, doubled my work hours that included new benefits and took him to the cleaners in the divorce by getting the bitchiest attorney I could find. I hired her because I don’t have it in me to be a bitch. Go figure!

      My superhero powers also include fixing garage door openers, glazing old windows, painting and soothing my 11 yr old to sleep as he was adjusting to our new world. Happy Friday everyone and each day it does get better. Who knew we had it in us?!?!

    • Huskerdad, you can do this! After leaving my fuckwit I went on to a PhD. Not bad for someone who spent a lot of time being called “stupid” by a fuckwit. I’ve since published two bucks and am working on my next one now. The only thing stupid about me was staying with him so long.

  • I still missed my ex-cheater but I am in a better place now surrounded by my team support and tons of therapy. Once I left him I went cold turkey to never go back (extremely hard experience to do but best advise I had) he never came back or try to look for me which in a way was better.
    For all chumps hang in there a light out of the tunnel will come for sure!

  • I take care of and raise 4 children all by myself. I have not lost the house that I now have to pay all by myself. I manage to feed, clothe the kids and myself, pay all bills, maintain the house, vehicles and yard all on one salary. I fixed the lawn mower and put in a new floor in the bathroom. Plus I learned to unclog the toilet and sink drain all by myself. I have kept my truck in working order. And slowly I am unflattering all the junk wasband left behind

    • It’s amazing how much better we do on one salary as opposed to two but having one person spend them both isn’t it!

    • Isn’t it amazing all that you get done when you have shed the source of mental and emotional suckage? You start to realize how much energy and life a bad spouse took from you. Funny, how you can manage to fill in his blanks easily enough on your own. Goes to show that he couldn’t have been doing nearly as much as he thought he did if you were able to compensate for his absence on top of what you were already doing (and feeling even better about it all and yourself when it’s done).

    • In the year since my ex has been gone I have been able to buy a new fridge, redecorate a room and install new flooring in a room. Would these things have been done if he was here? NO. For years we talked about stuff like this, yet somehow never had the money for it. Now suddenly I not only have the money for stuff like this, I am also able to set money aside so we are prepared for car registration or repairs, etc.

      I am amazed at how much more money I have despite his income being gone.

      • CC, I marvel at this too. I have very little $ now, yet I somehow live better on less then when I lived with an entitled man child. I have barely enough to cover everything every month now, but I still find a way to make our lives full and fun on very little. It’s amazing how much money he sucked away and set on fire for nonsense (or affair partners, I’ll never know).

        He never once balanced the checkbook or knew what bills we had paid or owed, but he was always lined up like a teenager asking for money to lift his truck or Xbox game (which I guess made me mommy, yuck). I loved playing Xbox too, but he was totally TV and game addicted to the point where that is literally all he would want to do or spend money on when he wasn’t at work. I worked and also did the bills, shopping, laundry, banking, toddler and infant care, cleaning, cooking, trip planning, holiday decorating, gift buying…and on and on and on the list goes.

        New superpowers include raising 2 great kids (they were 1 and 2 when he left four year ago ) with zero help (he moved to opposite coast and is now $41K behind in child support), finding a rental house and moving us in, building a big wooden play structure and sandbox for them with my new band-saw, spending the last 3 years working on my Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice every night (I finally graduated in April), and donating my time one night a week to help teach a divorce support group at my church. I also recently became a member of the board for a non-profit that facilitates trauma and divorce recovery classes.

        He left to go have a full time life as a carefree teen with what he thought was a like-minded stripper. But she accidentally on purpose got pregnant…twice. The thought of him changing the diapers he ran 2,000 miles to get away from always make me smile.

    • Mrs.Vain – YES! Four kids. By yourself. You are awesome. I have four also. My last two kids were a surprise – and TWINS. I am filing for divorce today and find it daunting to think of all these kids and single mom status. I love your success. Keep it up. Rock on. 😀

      • Single mom status is a proud badge to wear. You are mighty and you can do this!!! CN will have your back. I know it seems scary but the time flies, kids will be fine and your divorce order will be final sooner than you think. Good luck with everything mrs5-0
        PS.
        Mine order came in the mail last week and to my surprise (I thought I’d have to wait 31 days but no, it was signed on June 18th) I’m divorced already :)))

    • MrsVain, you sound so amazing! I think CL needs to have video feed links. Chumps could post videos of themselves repairing cars, unclogging toilets, installing floors all while discussing how accomplishing the toilet unclogging is akin to getting rid of a cheater Seeing chumps smile after the flush of the LIFE-TURD. Priceless!

  • The superpower I have now is the next degree of the superpower I had before, the ability to get the job done and to do it well.

    Interestingly, strength and busyness is apparently what drove my STBXH away to seek someone simpler with lower expectations so that he can be his real self without the stress of me.

    Ironically, I still have the same demanding career (that I have not faltered in despite this trauma). I still am largely responsible for most aspects of the kids lives. Now I am fully responsible for the care and maintenance of the entire house myself. I still fulfill familial responsibilities to both sides of the family (his family is still very closely connected to me and the kids; they leave him to his own devices in his secret double life as he still lies about this affair and seeing the OW). I still do my committee work.

    Despite the full plate, I have never felt more at peace. My stress level is the lowest it has ever been in years. I am closer to my kids than ever because of all the one-on-one time. My house has never been more organized. Small reno projects that have lingered for years are being completed. My neighbours have told me that my yard and gardens have never looked better (now that I do all the lawn are). I spend so much more time hanging out with my family and friends.

    I get the job done and I do it well! Good bye baggage.

    • You don’t need a smaller crown. He needed bigger hands.

      And you know what they say about men with big hands.

    • I am with you on this one. I feel like my stbx was a low achiever and had to find someone who would boost his ego because he simply could not keep up with me.

      Ditto about being closer to the kids and feeling more at peace at home. I feel like I can truly be myself at home.

  • Once I got back control of my salary (no longer having him spending my salary and his on his “toys” – you know, the eternal black hole of “wants”), I took out a new mortgage at 53 to buy him out of the house and pay off all “our” (yeah, big joke – “his”) debts. I started throwing everything I could at it and in 4 years so far I have paid off an additional $100,000 on top of the mortgage. I was planning to retire at the end of 2020 but I really can’t face my 3+ hour daily commute (and it’s getting worse) so I started doing the maths and I’m pretty sure I can go this Christmas – in 5 months time – and all because I was able to spend MY money on ME! So I get an extra 2 years of my life back by being the mistress of my own financial destiny! Pretty cool huh!

  • I am Super-Gardener! Taking care of the lawn, the pool, the hedges, the weeds, planting just the flowers I like. I can do it ALL, without the help (and whining) of mister.

  • I can suppress emotional outbursts – a skill learnt from having to look after kids whilst internally falling apart.

    I can control the actual physical effects of fear, anger and almost stop crying when I hear about something sad (that’s the hardest one)

    As a result I can speak calmly to idiots, ignore humiliating situations aaaaaand go on all sorts of rollercoasters.

    It’s great!!!

    • I appreciate what you have written. It is timely for me. I am struggling to understand how much of the stress I felt over the years, and how badly I reacted to it, was caused as a reaction to the situation I was in and how much of it is really FOO issues I have to work through.

      It’s true that I was often always stressed out during my marriage. There were phases when I complained a lot. Needed my husband go do more, be more. Felt that he wasn’t doing enough. And, no doubt, there were times I outright criticized him. I wasn’t much fun. I was so caught up in so much responsibility, and I really started to put my marriage last when I kept finding that needs were not being fulfilled. These are my fixings that I have fully recognized as the the issues that I contributed to my marriage being less than stellar. However, none of this justifies his affair for over a year, with him ultimately leaving me to be with the OW just after Christmas.

      Yet, my family and friends tell me that the experience my STBXH describes of me is not at all the woman that they know me to be. In fact, when I try to take ownership in the part of my marriage that I know I hurt by my actions and choices, just about everyone I know tells me that I need to stop feeling guilty for reacting in a way that everyone acts in marriage. Being human. It would be easy to grab on to that as a cop out for the things that I need to work on so that I am a better person (and likely to be more successful in future relationships), but I am confused about what actually is.

      Did I become a “shrew” in my marriage because I actually have the tendency to be a “shrew” or was it the situation that compelled me to often act out of frustration and disappointment? In either case, I am always responsible for my own actions and reactions to the situations I face in life. However, if I am actually a woman who can never by happy (as my STBXH describes me) that that is a far more serious issue to address than being someone who reacts poorly to stress (in which case I need to work on better coping skills). Even my counsellor attempts to ease my conscience by pointing out that for the 12 years of my marriage, I faced a lot of stressors to contend with that a more supportive husband might have allowed me to better manage (sick mother, child with a disability, daughter being born two months premature, husband laid off twice, supporting him myself through three years of university for him to earn his degree, a demanding job, continuous struggle over the division of laour at home).

      So the process of untangling my own skein is unfolding. Yes, things he accused me of that may not be actually true still messes with my head. But, I know that I am capable of happiness, of being fun, of kicking back and relaxing because I’m doing it now in a way that I haven’t been able to do in years. Let the counselling continue so that my mightiness can grow (then I can really scare the shit of my STBXH who felt he couldn’t handle me before – too bad).

      • Nobody is perfect all of the time. When you live with someone you will see them at their worst and they will see you at your worst. It is inevitable. Us chumps get that and that’s why we spackle and continue to love our cheaters even when they are not being very loveable. Our cheaters think that isn’t supposed to happen and that their spouses are supposed to be superhuman, always know what they need at any given moment and never have needs of their own. We are supposed to be understanding and provide comfort to them when they are stressed out and behaving badly, but we are not allowed to show our own stress or express a need for comfort because that is a bother. They run off into the arms of their Schmoopies because they think Schoopie will be everything we couldn’t be. They are just setting themselves up for disappointment because nobody is ever pleasant 100% of the time.

        • yes, my ex moaned several times about how hard marriage was and how it’s not supposed to be like that. Those of us in the real world know that relationships are not perfect 100% of the time. I really hope that he’s finding that out with his ow: same shit, different partner.

        • Everyone says that to me – that everyone in marriage bitches and complains, especially during the most stressful year of having and raising babies. I pointed that out repeatedly to STBXH when I was doing the pick me dance in the fight of my life to save my marriage throughout 2017. He would point out things that I had said and done in the past as evidence of how I make everything less fun and stressful, and I would point out that those were things that occurred when the kids were babies and I was trying to juggle working outside of the home and trying to do everything well. When I would challenge him to give an example of me being like that in recent years, he wouldn’t come up with an example. It makes me realize that he was already losing his investment in the marriage and his compassion for me already in the early years when our kids were babies. Thanks buddy.

      • “However, if I am actually a woman who can never by happy (as my STBXH describes me) that that is a far more serious issue to address…”

        He was projecting his own narcissism on to you. Which is textbook, they all do it. HE is actually someone who can never be happy. Don’t beat yourself up thinking there is a bunch of stuff you need to change— you were married to a narc.

      • OptionNoMore: you were subject to narcissistic abuse and the reactions you had to it are proof. Do the research. Your X caused you to respond this way— it’s classic DARVO. And then, he blamed you for your reaction to his abuse🤯.

        That abuse produces confusion, shame, manipulation, and most of all, obedience. The longer you are completely no contact you will see this dynamic.

        Don’t go down the FOO rabbit hole: that’s just X’s blameshifting DARVO mindfuck tape playing in your head. This is ALL on him.

        Get divorced. Go completely and totally NC. Read everything you can about narcissistic abuse. Practice extreme self care. You will heal and get to meh. You are a perfect human being❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

        Ps: I know this dynamic— I lived it for 26 years. 3.5 years post DDay. Newsflash: it was never about me— what X did is all on him.

        • Thank you. Hoping the legal separation agreement is done in by September and sent to STBXH for him to go through. This will become the divorce decree once a year of separation has expired. I pushed for the date to be October 31st when he actually left after Christmas. But, I have email evidence that it was late October that he created an email account to get back in touch with the OW and basically love-bombed her those last couple of months of the year while dismantling things at home with me. Hopefully, as soon as the legal separation is signed, I can move right into the divorce. Then, the real challenge begins in pursuing an annulment of the marriage in the Catholic Church so I can be spiritually free to find someone who understands the sacramentality of marriage within the Church.

      • ONM — Reading between the lines, you are a high performing “overachiever” by nature; nothing wrong with that and NOTHING to apologize for. It’s possible your cheater was simply, bless his heart, NEVER your intellectual equal/had your work ethic to begin with; that might be hard for a chump to admit without guilt (“gee, am I being narcissistic myself”, etc….). Chances are, he realized in some way he would never be your equal, blamed you for it, and rationalized it as a reason to move on to other (dumber) less threatening OW pastures. HIS problem, his loss. Not your monkeys anymore. Once you recover (and give yourself lots of time for that) maybe you might meet someone more on your own level — you don’t have to compromise on that one next time.

        • Chickynot – OMG. This is what everyone in my life is saying to me – family, friends, colleagues. I never thought of myself as better than my husband. I had a higher level of education and earned more, but he always seemed so self-assured in his quiet, logical demeanor. I also always felt that he was very intelligent and had so much potential – that’s why I was more than happy to support him through completing a BA (an upgrade from his college associate degree). Going back to school seems to be the straw that broke his back – which is why everyone’s common theory about him is that this is all a mid-life/identity crisis. There isn’t a single family member on both sides of our family, friend, neighbour, acquaintance that isn’t shocked by his actions. Now that it’s been out in the open for long enough, people are saying that he just needed to trade down to feel like a man.

          It messes with your psyche. Men everywhere outearn their wives without this sort of fallout in their marriages. It’s not lost on me that I seem to be punished for being a capable, strong and hard-working WOMAN. He’s even pointed out that I will recover fine from all of this because there isn’t anything I can’t do (Really? Was that supposed to be a compliment to make me feel better?)

          Now I’m getting mad again.

      • Option NoMor this really struck a chord with me. I remember those days of self doubt. They are bittersweet and a double edged sword.
        “It would be easy to grab on to that as a cop out for the things that I need to work on so that I am a better person (and likely to be more successful in future relationships), but I am confused about what actually is.”
        There is a big difference in accepting his comments as true and some critical self analysis. Living with a shithead does not bring out your highest and best self-don’t beat yourself up about things that he complains you did or didn’t do. But do looks at yourself with an eye toward understanding how you stayed for such treatment. Don’t try to address his complaints – although there may be teeny tiny kernel of truth to them- that’s how you get sucked in. We all have faults but a spouse should be someone who accepts yours as you accept theirs. Remember CL passing the ball back and forth analogy.
        I’m glad you have a therapist and want to be a better person. But focus not on what he said but why you stayed. When I shifted my focus to this question I discovered what I needed to know about myself to move forward in a healthy way after the trauma of my marriage. I thought the divorce was the trauma but I learned the real pain came from the marriage and the way I let myself be treated.
        Do the work o yourself n at the same time you recognize it wasn’t about you and any perfectly human failings you may have had. You will be amazed at what you find out about yourself. Love that woman, give her all the care and love you would offer to a hurt child. You deserve it.
        Once you treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you expended on your fuckwit you will be find it much easier to demand it from others. It sounds like you have great support-I’m glad for you. Listen to them. I promise there is a big fabulous life out there for you.

        • Thank you so much for your direction. I just turned 45. Don’t know how that happened!?! But, I do feel like I still have a long life ahead of me and that it’s going to be a great one! I want to be the best me doing it, which is why I feel the next part of my journey needs to be to really figure out what are my actual fixings (eg: Do I have co-dependent tendencies that aren’t healthy?) and what was really his own failings being projected on to me (some of is obvious while other points touch a nerve).

          I stayed to fight for my marriage for the last year, before he left after Christmas, because I believed in my vows. I believed that you don’t walk away when things get tough. These were the “bad times” and the “in sickness” times that my vows referred to. I believed the RIC narrative that the love of one spouse could be strong enough to keep the marriage going in the face of the “affair fog” he was in. I also was in a state of shock because no one would ever have expected this behaviour from him in a million years, myself included. I believed something was sincerely wrong with him – mid-life crisis – and that my patience, understanding and forgiveness would be a beacon of light to bring him home.

          It doesn’t matter to me what is going on in his head anymore. I’m done with hypotheses about his behaviour. Ultimately, it doesn’t change what he’s done, and it does nothing to restore the trust that has been lost. A quote by Nicole Kidman’s father to her when she and Tom Cruise divorced helped me, “Nic, it’s going to be OK. It isn’t what it could’ve been, it isn’t what it should have been, it is what it is.”

          Perhaps, the common superpower that everyone in this forum today has demonstrated is the power to no longer be considered an option. I came up with my screen name when I posted a quote from Maya Angelou on FB, “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” I will be an OPTION NO MORE.

          • Awe that gave me chills. What a great screen name. Mine is from Charlotte’s Web because Fern spoke up to save Wilbur against what she felt was an injustice. Now I speak up for myself.
            Maya was a wealth of wisdom. I had the good fortune to hear her speak in person and she had such a tremendous presence. One of my favorite quotes from her is something along the lines of “when people tell you who they are, you should listen.” It took me a long time to realize that people speak with their actions far more honestly than they do with their words. Thanks for that heads up CL.
            OptionNoMore I wish you well on your voyage of self-discovery and self-improvement. It sounds like you are in a good place. My one word of caution is too accept and love yourself fully and fiercely even though you are a work in progress. Because you will always be a work in progress and because you deserve it today and because, I believe, a life well lived means we always keep striving – so the job is never done.
            I’m 52 now. Got divorced at 45 after 6 or 7 years of – I’m struggling for the right word – trying to make it work and then accepting the inevitable and then working on myself. Just as the paperwork was winding its way through the courts I met the love of my life and life, while still having its ups and downs, gets better and better when you have a true partner to share it with. Not that the single life is less than but I’m sharing my experience.
            Hang in there OptionNoMore – be your own priority and keep us posted on your progress.

      • “I am struggling to understand how much of the stress I felt over the years, and how badly I reacted to it, was caused as a reaction to the situation I was in and how much of it is really FOO issues I have to work through.

        It’s true that I was often always stressed out during my marriage. There were phases when I complained a lot. Needed my husband go do more, be more. Felt that he wasn’t doing enough. And, no doubt, there were times I outright criticized him. I wasn’t much fun. I was so caught up in so much responsibility, and I really started to put my marriage last when I kept finding that needs were not being fulfilled. These are my fixings that I have fully recognized as the the issues that I contributed to my marriage being less than stellar.”

        Well said. I own this part as well. I could have chosen to react differently instead of trying to make him be different.

  • I am SuperFree Chump. – No one uses me a a slave to make their life better at the expense of mine. No one can gaslight me into thinking my lying eyes can’t see. Whereas before I gave the “benefit of doubt” to liars now I can see by their actions they are crap. These new superpowers are simply awesome and with them I have set myself free!!! Granted myself peace and harmony in my household!! Respect from all who enter (or GTFO) which is given back in spades. I never knew coming home could be something to look forward to at the end of the day.

    Happy Friday and peace to all Chump STBCs (Soon to be Champs)!

  • Have maintained a home and yard on my own for almost three years. Have kept my job. Have become an expert with power tools. Have become meh about him (but, not with what he did or how he did it). But, my greatest superpower will be holding my head high as I attend my son’s wedding in three weeks and being in the same room with those two despicable humans and ALL of the in-laws that cut me off! I have already prepared my toast about love, truth and trust!

      • My oldest daughter is talking about getting married, so I will be facing this in the near future and I dread it! You sound like you have it figured out, so good luck to you and congratulations to you and your son!

    • NotMyFault, I would really like to hear all about your experience at that wedding. I think it would make an excellent page discussion. What you feared going in? What your expectations would be and then you telling us how it all unfolded for you. Was there any Karma you witnessed? I hope your son’s wedding is a happy day for he and you. Congratulations on powering through! 🙂

      • Here, here!

        It would be great to have a day of people’s stories of how they stood tall when having to face their ex and/or affair partner at an event. Although I face my STBXH often enough (for example, our children just had their communion), he hasn’t brought the OW anywhere. It’s not likely to happen anytime soon as his whole family has let him know that they will never welcome this woman in to their homes (very traditional Catholic family), but if this relationship lasts, it’s just a matter of time.

        Then, there is the day I might just run into them in a public place. The very idea of it makes me feel like vomiting.

        Stories would be great!

        • My son got married last year and the ex and Schmoopie came over from the States. First thing I thought when I saw him beeerrrrk, and then I noticed the receding Dracula hairline – hair coloured and permed to try to cover it. Now I’ve put on a lot of weight so he was probably looking at my belly too but I couldn’t give as shit. As he propped the bar up all night (ending up falling down drunk around 5am) I just looked at my sister and said “thank God that’s no longer my responsibility”. He was more nervous than I was and Schmoopie did a runner around 10 pm. Next day we chatted and it was fine but Schmoopie was very uncomfortable. I think the big thing is that I had my family with me and I was in this little cocoon of protection in case I needed it – I didn’t as it turned out. The ex was swanning around trying to impress everyone with how much French he remembered (he sounded like an idiot). My other son is getting married next year so I guess it will be a repeat performance. Oddly enough my ex has convinced himself that I have been “celibate” since he left in 2010 – obviously pining away for him. So for next year’s wedding I have invited my “friends with benefits” mate out from England – told him I’d sleep with him if he accepted (that’s just a joke actually – we are an item even though he lives in England and I live in France). Ex will not like it at all that I have a MAN!!!! Well he can just go choke! Steve is very smart and knows the situation so will be totally able to hold his own. I can’t wait!

  • Prioritising physical health, spotting a borderline personality or just plain bad person from 50 paces, and spotting women who need help and offering that help. Theres a joyful intensity to life. Perhaps it will calm in time but it is where i need to be right now.

  • I can see a liar and a cheat a mile away. I no longer care if people like me. I have learned that it is ok to put myself first. And hating the other women only gives them power over me. And why should I waste anymore time or thought on those who hurt me.

  • My ex (together for 10 years , married for 6) left me for my friend 5 months after our son was born. The baby we had tried for 4 long years for, including unsuccessful IVF. He gas lighted me for months about why he left until i found out the truth under my own steam. The experience was horrific but the upsides included losing 3 stone (19kg) by joining a local ladies-only strength gym, putting my law degree to good use by divorcing him/keeping our house and meeting my lovely other half who is a fantastic step dad to my son. Oh and despite being 36 and thinking we would not be blessed with our own children due to my problems previpusly we now find ourselves 11 weeks pregnant. Gain a life indeed!!!

  • I became a budgeting bad ass! We were so in debt because ex had to maintain a certain lifestyle for impression management that it was ridiculous. After we separated, he racked up $5k on a credit card within 3 months. Hey it’s expensive to keep an Entourage apparently. I am now 4 years out and away from the ex who was always fiscally irresponsible. I will be debt-free in August 2019!

  • I am master of my own destiny. I decide what I want, how I feel, who I like, when I socialize and how I spend money. Tawanda, all powerful.

  • My ex was a really good actress, BSer, excuse maker, liar, etc. And I always gave her the benefit of the doubt, because I loved her of course (I think she thought it was more because she was somehow outsmarting me). But after dealing with that for 15 years and walking away, I developed a laser sight for my bullshit detector. I can see bullshit coming from a mile away, I see it coming through the back of my head, over me, under me…..wherever.

    So whenever I’d hear a new excuse or some other story from her (we have kids, so we still have to deal with one another), BLAM!!, I just shoot that shit down. So I don’t get any excuses or other crap about our marriage from her anymore because she knows she says anything, it’ll just be target practice.

    • See? Blindside — I feel like your ability qualifies you for federal civil service. So many of our current politicians are virtues-free, and we need people with your ability to call “BS!”

  • My superpower is going absolutely pure hardcore no contact with the ex no matter what under any conditions. And deleting anything of them that remained from my life… FB posts, emails, texts, saved voicemails, pix, old furniture or decorations… it’s almost like they never existed at all. Except now I’m woke AF. 😀

    • That is me also, went absolutely positively no contact almost a year ago, and it is awesome. I have two older teenagers with phones, no longer need to communicate. Even if one of them is sick or injured the other can tell him. Not me.

    • Me too! Even when my daughter asked me to invite her Dad and Scmoopie to the party I was throwing for her HS graduation, I said no without hesitation! I told her to feel free to give her dad tickets, to take pictures with him on the day (I’ll wait out of sight), and to also make plans to get together with them separately while they were here in town. But I said no to hosting them like this,”You wouldn’t ask a mugging or rape victim to host their perpetrator, so don’t ask me to host the people who victimized me. I did not divorce him in order to spend more time with him, and, I certainly didn’t divorce him because I want to see he and his girlfriend play perfect relationship.” She complained he might not bother to do anything with her if I didn’t invite him. I said, “That is on him. He is an adult and you are an adult. If he wanted me to keep coordinating relationships for him, he shouldn’t have betrayed us and walked away.” She looked startled but said, “I know you are right mom. It isn’t your job–no matter how lousy a parent he is.” I know there are people who would tell me to suck it up for “her sake” but I really feel like modeling not being a doormat is for “her sake.” I never want her to think that she has to do all the work in relationships and be friendly and kind to people who are hurting her.

  • I start my first year of teaching FACS (home ec) next week. Thanks to all of you chumps for helping me get here in a new state with a new job and a new boyfriend. I honestly would not have made it to meh with you guys. Happy Friday!!

    • Who knew I had developed superhuman intuituion?! I knew immediately that something was different when I saw her – turns out she had cheated. Thanks for the life lesson, now get outta my life!

  • When having run ins with ow, I totally blank her, really pisses her off. When ex tries to wind me up, I try and give neutral answer, knowing he’s trying to be clever. The ow called me a “human splinter”. I should have called her a drug taking alcoholic, with stis, but she knows that already.

  • “Mr. Boundaries”

    I used to be surrounded by nonstop chaos and stress. No more.

    At work, my tool area is neat, clean, organized and stress free. Others now know not to bring their chaos to my pit. I am not your chaos janitor.

    My radio station has even been switched from Classic Rock to an awesome, local Big Band era station. Performers I never heard before. I am the weirdo co-worker who rebuilds transmissions to “Under the Sea.”

    • “I am not your chaos janitor” is my new favorite phrase. Love it in every way.

      Going to need tees, mugs, bumper stickers, etc.

      ❤️❤️❤️

  • As silly as it sounds, my ULTIMATE super-power now is the ability to say NO. I read it here years ago when I was going through my horrific ordeal and someone said and I quote, “NO is a complete sentence” – thank you, whoever penned it! If I weren’t in such a bad place then, I would actually remember who that was 🙂

    At any rate, with that advice came a whole new wonderful world for me. I’m five years out and not to say it was easy, but by saying NO (first to the exh) opened up my world. I started creating boundaries AND enforcing them. Exh saw a whole new me – and he didn’t like it.

    Then, I realized that I could actually say NO to others and other situations, establish and maintain boundaries. I certainly credit CL and CN for my newfound life. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Realised that some people are shit, and that I was played. But improved my education, job prospects, and importantly learned that if Swedish friends stick up for them to ask them then and there why are you sticking up for the ex

  • I have a rudder, one that I control, to chart my own direction according to my values, rather than feeling like an untethered sail swinging in response to whichever direction the wind was blowing from. I can spot bullshit, and call it (even if that has to be done silently), and I can say “no” without feeling guilty or as if I’m shirking and failing.

  • I have become a wizard at using my paychecks to benefit ME. I’ve been able to quit my second and third jobs and still pay down the mortgage, buy a brand new car, and take two vacations to Europe, all while improving my credit score and socking away 6 months’ pay in an emergency fund. When the dishwasher died I was thrilled to be able to just pick up the phone and call for a replacement – this shouldn’t be a first when you are in your late 50s and have been a working professional for more than 30 years.

  • Super sleuth powers! Move on Sherlock- you’ve been replaced. A fierce accurate bullshit barometer! Fierce and sassy @ 60 with the final stage of my life’s adventures in front of me. Was it hard? Unbelievably. Do I wake @ 3am with WTF? All the time! Was it acceptable? Absolutely not! Limp dick and Pond scum together won the local swamp lottery!

  • I can now sense gaslighting from a mile away.

    I should since my Ex is a master at it and can make you doubt your memories or sanity.

  • Post infidelity super powers…

    – Superhuman strength to remain sane in the face of the smear campaign
    – Able to leap into parallel parenting in a single bound
    – Mightily hold back vomit while witnessing a fuckwits impression management strategies
    – Intuitive understanding that I only control me
    – Resistance to guilt tripping and fear
    – Recovery from hopium addiction
    – Diminished need to PROVE fuckwits lie.
    – Hold up my worth under crushing pressure
    – Six sense for gaslighting detection

  • My superpower is using my talents, skills and energy for myself and kids.

    After, my ex confessed to cheating week before Christmas, I kicked his ass to the curb.

    Then, I got him to take his name off title to the house and keep it on the loan. This gave me the chance to remodel parts of the house to sell. I did everything in two weeks. The workers wanted to take five.

    I worked my tail off for two weeks to get the house ready to sell. ( I am a home stager) Then, I got $75,000 over the asking price. This set me up to buy a better house in a better school district for my kids.

    Now, we are in a house that feels like us. The kids are thriving despite all of my ex’s drama.

    • Wow! That extra money is MIGHTY. I do wish I’d known how to get ahead of NarcX’s dissipation of assets-both before and after Dday-but my priority was my children, their education expenses, and our healthy future together. Nothing says Cheating Asshole better than walking out on your family, all your financial responsibilities (a mortgage you can easily afford, etc etc etc), and those young adults you abandoned and stole money from. Wished I’d had the wisdom handed out here. 🙂 I held out for our second biggest asset though and soon our pension will easily make up for his crap behavior, it’s the one asset he couldn’t take from me. 🤣

    • Mbchump I love the juxtaposition of your sweet, smiling face and your badass ways! We’re not bitter, we’re simply disciplined.

  • I can get by on 5 hours of sleep a night which is all I get because I am that busy with work, kids, house, dog and also trying to fit in some time for new guy (who has been very patient with having to accept scraps of my time).

  • I can now sew things on (I won’t say I sew well), plan nutritious meals that kids will eat, and repair stuffed animals.
    I think the biggest super power I have, though, is one that might look like a weakness: my give-a-damn doesn’t work with people who treat me poorly. This would include cheaters, ungrateful (now ex)-in-laws, Switzerland friends, and friends of cheaters who will defend their actions. Somehow, the give-a-damn just won’t function; being polite and nice to these people just doesn’t seem possible. I’d get it fixed, but, well, I just don’t care :D.

    • I felt the same way and still do to some extent. I’ve never been one to harbor resentment or hate. However, I will be damned if I will go out of my way to make somebody feel comfortable about their bad behavior. Not going to happen.

    • I concur and the issue is that supposed “friends” turned their backs on you at a time when you needed them the most thus they are NOT friends !!

      Telling you “there are 2 sides to every story” is a nice way of calling you a liar—-screw them !!
      After Dday and my divorce, there were a number of people that I thought were close friends (some for decades) who in the end were no friends of mine !! I now have little to nothing to do with them.

  • I used to think I needed him. That I wasn’t good enough on my own. Since being chumped and the divorce, I refinanced the house in my own name with no help from anyone, so I could keep it for my kids, I got a full time job that I love, and now I am in graduate school, (I just started, but “A”s so far!) So I can become a professional at that job I love. So I guess my superpower is discovering that I AM MORE THAN enough, and perfectly capable!

  • My superpower is being able to spot a liar and cheater at a single glance… Also worked on all of the house projects that he never took care of. It’s amazing when you kick the person out who is spending both your money and his how much more you have! It has been 6 years since I kicked him out and I have replaced all of the furniture, linens, all 3 TVs, the washer, the stove, had the crumbling front stairs and brick work redone. Kept my 16 year on car on the road. All while battling him for 3 years in court and dealing with my sick mom who passed away near the end of my court case. Paid off close to 30k off legal fees. I’m now finishing up major construction to turn my dining room into a bedroom for my son (I needed one more bedroom) My contractor’s wife got sick in the middle of the project, so I finished the paint job, sanded the floors, stained and revarnished and assembled the furniture so my son could move in to his room when he came back from the weekend with his father. And still managed to save a bit of money even though I haven’t had a raise in 8 years…..good riddance to bad rubbish!

  • I have friends again *and* have rediscovered the freedom to make plans and have a life of my own— all without fear of the inevitable ‘punishment’ that would come because I had the audacity to want to be my own person!!

  • I work in healthcare and can spot creepers and narcissists a mile away. I no longer tolerate their sexist, creepy comments. I shut that shit down immediately with a bit of sass and humor. A girl must be professional, right?

    Carry on & be mighty, my fellow Chumps!! ❤️🤣💪

  • My superpower is being the Mom I want to be to my son.

    I was once blameshifted and gaslighted into believing that Mr. Sparkles trolled the Internet for porn, instant messaging with whores, making up his online profiles, responding to Craigslist ads all because I liked to lay down with my son at bedtime and then trot down the hall to my own bed to read and relax instead of coming downstairs to watch the Walking Dead (you know, great marital bonding material there). Yup… what a fuckwit, right? “You’re baby’ing him… you’re always too tired…” And yet one would think… why don’t I meet my wife in the bedroom with a bottle of wine and some candlelight from time to time… nope, Walking Dead.

    SO… now that I’m minus one fuckwit… I still chill with my son at bedtime (only without the guilt trip!) and I get to hear all about his day and the lunchtime conversations he has with his friends… no filter. And you know what, he’s a great kid. Honor student, nice friends, kind to adults, silly, driven, happy.

    We sit together at dinner almost every night and its calm and peaceful. We go to movie on a school night at random because the homework is done and we can. We take amazing summer vacations (and no one is complaining halfway through about needing to go home early to “work”).

    Mr. Sparkles has 5 biological children and this will be the first one to truly have CHOICES for the life he wants versus being raised to believe he’ll never amount to anything much.

    #blessings

  • I learned I have a gut instinct and I should carefully listen to it. Who knew, right? It was there all along and I had no idea! I’d always subconsciously equated uncomfortable anxious feelings with hunger pangs, and I often tried to satiate them with food. Now I recognize that just like physical hunger is my body’s way of getting me to address a totally normal need, emotional hunger also needs to be addressed and ‘fed’ in a healthy manner as well. Moreover, I no longer stuff down feelings of emotional indigestion. Ice cream isn’t an effective, long term solution for physical or emotional heartburn. I learned that if something causes my heart to burn, then I should avoid it. And if something truly makes me feel sick, then I should not fear the fact that my gut may in fact vomit it back out. I’ve spent my whole life trying to override a system that I didn’t even realize was in place to keep me safe from offensive substances. Now I am very attuned to my gut and I listen to and respect the feedback it sends to protect me.

    • Love this! The gut is our emotional brain and you are so right about how important it is to listen to it. Intuition is also something I had to reconnect with and I had to learn to listen to it since all “thinking” was doing was making me feel miserable since my thoughts were so screwed up from manipulation. I ditch a lot of my thinking today and find myself asking how do I feel and checking in there first. Thoughts lie- especially fearful ones- but I haven’t ever caught my gut or intuition misleading me.

  • Dating: if someone doesn’t want me, boom—I don’t want them. I flip a switch and I am no longer interested. No pick-me-dancing. Not even a little jig. Not kind to me? I’m gone. “Well, I don’t know what I want…” I walk. Quickly. Sure I might be a bit hyper-vigilant from PTSD, but I will take the positive side-effects. Never again will I become involved with a selfish, entitled and/or personality-disordered individual.

    • This is so healthy. Paying attention to others’ lack of reciprocity is a biggie, and for many of us, who grew up in homes with Narc parents, this feels normal. X was selfish, disengaged, entitled but successful. He charmingly lovebombed me for many years during our early courtship but I had gut moments when red flags were present (life greatly revolved around *his* interests, jobs, hobbies, etc and he liked porn, sometimes better than reality ☹️) but I didn’t realize he was setting me up. David2016, now we have an opportunity for a better life partner!

  • I have to open by bragging about my Chump mentor, a dear friend who was chumps six years ago by her partner of 29 years. She told me how she felt suicidal; I didn’t criticizen her but now I understand. Her former partner is a 60-something year old teenage boy who was a hoarder and a financial parasite; she is now very happily remarried to a retired Navy SEAL who is a contractor who beautifully remodeled her entire house. He is always flying them places in one of his jets. She often tells me how Teenage Boy did her a huge favor. I thought so when she told me he was cheating but out of respect for her never said so. I am very recently clumped (DDay NOV 2017) and in very intense pain, complicated by having a child and a business with my husband. I am seeing strength and confidence I didn’t know I had, but am still in the grip of terror often. Last week brought me a Super Lawyer woman (she happens to be Chinese; his Craigslist “sole mate” is Chinese….is this karmic?), a crashed car (pulling into the parking lot of the consult appointment my foot slipped off the brake) and a breast lump (in diagnostic process now). I am handling all without him around, probably better BECAUSE he isn’t around and I am NC as much as possible. But I think of where my friend is now every day and I am looking forward to being able to say with full confidence that my husband did me a favor. If you want am dormant fruit tree to bear fruit, you whack the trunk with an ax. Yep.

      • To hell with the typos – you are one amazing woman and you WILL get through all this and come out the other side even stronger and happier! We’re all routing for you!

      • I should also mention that another shit list item on this week’s list is the possibility that my husband whom I met in recovery in 1989 is using/drinking again. Had a refresher conversation with our daughter about relapse and told him I did so. My Al Anon sponsor, who she knows well, is on her phone. She knows what to do and I told her to trust her gut if she feels something isn’t right and call me or my sponsor. I am glad he is being Disneyland dad right now….his scarcity is on the “he is using” symptom list… if he is I am glad she is with me most of the time. And they are actually headed to Disneyland on Sunday. This is VERY painful for me…..we have extensive family history there of what she and I recall as lots of fun. I have to shore up for Sun-Tues. Prayers and advice welcomed…

  • I build furniture. I shop for power tools for MYSELF. I make benches as wedding gifts. Perusing the aisles at Home Depot for stain and paint is my idea of a good time.

    • LOL – That is me too! I like to go to Re-Store and check out the ‘deals’ on paint, stain, flooring, electrical….

      • I’ve bought tile at Re-Store and tiled the bathroom at our family homestead. It was my First time and I did a pretty bang up job, if I do say so myself!

  • My superpower was like so many others mentioned above – having money. I bought a house and have money to pay extra on the mortgage because I plan to have it paid off in 3 years. I have money to fix it up. I have money to go on vacations and a lot of vacations. Asswipe and I only went to pool tournaments ALL THE TIME – now I am going to rock festivals and I can’t even count how many concerts I have been the past 2 years (In fact I’ve got one this Sunday and another next Friday). I’ve met a ton of people from all over the US in which I can ‘visit.’ I go to motorcycle rallies and was able to purchase my first Harley back in October. I exercise daily and look fabulous. I am 48 and I turn heads. I get hit on by ‘kids’ my son’s age. Yep – life is good without a piece of shit by your side.
    TGIF!

  • Like Kintsugi, I learned how to build furniture. My X wouldn’t let me use his tools; said I’d damage them.
    After discard, I joined a woodworking studio with 24 hour access and since I couldn’t sleep, I’d go after hours and make stuff. I also learned how to use a laser cutter and with it, I made a set of Chumplady wooden refrigerator magnets that I get to look at every day. They have things etched on them like “Meh” and “Be Mighty”, and I don’t hide them when people visit, because like Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” (I would post a photo, but I have no idea how to do that.)

    I am also a super puppy mom! We just celebrated Calvin’s 6 month birthday this month.

  • Resiliency, for starters. After wading through all the crap that was thrown at me before, during, and after all cheater ex’s cheating, I know damn well I can weather just about anything and come out on the other side sanity intact. The process is not always easy, not always pretty, but I am still here, alive and kicking.

    Yesterday was the anniversary of my youngest son’s abduction and murder by cheater ex. I decided to replace the sad memory with the beginnings of some happy ones. My remaining son and my granddaughters spent the day together going out to eat, seeing a movie, and spending some good, happy time together. Spending time with the three people I love most in the world, turned the day into a much better one than it would have been otherwise.

    The other thing is that now I can see so much in life to be grateful for. It’s impossible for me to count my blessings and feel sorry for myself at the same time. I am also so grateful to CN and Tracy. While it has been quite a while ago that cheater ex did his thing, it was here at Chumplady.com that I was finally able to make some sense of it all and quit blaming myself. You all have made a huge difference.

    I keep coming back to share what I can with the newbies, and to give back in some form, to “pass it along.”

    Lastly, like everyone else here who has weathered the storm, so to speak, my bullshit detector has gotten quite finely tuned and there is no further need to keep the disordered around, which is a blessing.

    • (((Hugs)))

      Your contributions here are huge and I so appreciate your willingness to share and help others through your own experiences. You are a blessing to us and I am grateful for your presence.

      I truly believe that this life is not all there is. The hope of a reunion with my son after this life has kept me going for the last 11 years and because of him, I am not afraid of dying or talking about it. My faith helps me to believe what a wonderful journey he must be on and I cannot wait to find out where he has been and what he has been doing since he died in my arms. It must be glorious!

      • Kintsugi, I couldn’t agree more. As a nurse, and a sensitive, I know my precious boy is fine. I know we are all met by loved ones when we die. I know he is good hands.

      • Also, I am sending you great big hugs, Honey. The loss of a child is one tough thing to deal with. It changes you and your life forever. With time, it does get easier to get on with life, but the pain is with you always.

    • I am speechless with awe and humility. Thank you so much for sharing. I do not believe infidelity is comedic subject matter and your story is proof. I told my husband he is lucky that I reached for the phone and books instead of a gun; the pain level of infidelity drives people to take lives all too often. 🙏 4 you. ❤️

    • Hugs to you. You are such an inspiration.

      In 1986 my narc father abducted my brother and I after he lost the custody battle with my mother. She finally gained the courage to get us all out of the abusive marriage for good, and his taking her to court for us was his punishment. We were kept in another country for a year, with only few monitored phone calls with my mother. I was twelve years old and my brother was nine. We returned home safely. My mother got us both back after a year of rangling with international law. We were safe, but forever changed by that experience.

      I think about what might have happened to my mother if we had not come home, and I read your story. My heart breaks for you. If it’s any consolation, know that your precious son thought only of you in those final days/moments. I know that because I only thought about my mother when I believed that I would never be returned. It was the image of her face that comforted me when I shut my eyes tight. It was sound of her voice in my mind that sustained me. It was thoughts of not wanting her to worry about me that distracted me from my own plight. It was her that I prayed for. In the midst of evil, I felt love because of my mother.

      God bless you

    • Great big hugs to all of you, Dat, Option, Velvet, Dixie and Kintsugi. Please know that your loving, caring posts have helped so much. I was always afraid that my precious child would be forgotten, that no one but me and my eldest son would remember that David was here. My sweet, goofy David, with eyes the exact color of chocolate, hair the color of dark honey, the sweetest smile ever, a love of pancakes, and animals, a wicked sense of humor, and the biggest, warmest, most loving heart of anyone I ever met. There was not a mean bone in his body. He was a wonderful person. I miss him so much, every day.

  • I qualified as a professional in my career of choice in 2.5 years rather than the 4 years I’d planned for, despite DDay occurring 4 months into the process. I got two great new jobs in that time too. I fixed my washing machine myself a week after stbxh moved out. And I think I have finally internalized “trust that he sucks”!

  • Just a few…
    1. I no longer look to other people for my value
    2. I kicked the shit out of fear and anxiety. Bad crap happens in life and I will be okay.
    3. My family and friends rock. I knew it but now that knowledge goes so much deeper. And I am better at cutting people out of my life who wouldn’t put in at least half of what I do into our relationship.
    4. I don’t need fuckwit or anyone else like him in my life. I have learned to find joy on my own and with my kids.
    5. Boundaries – I am still working on this one but I have come a long way from where I was. I don’t have to “be the better person” when it involves someone mistreating me.

    Finally, I am in the midst of moving houses with my 3 kids after living in the same place for 21 years. I am completely exhausted!!! But it feels good to clear out the clutter and am so looking forward to a new place. Ex is then moving back into the home we had shared with his young OW. My new home is bigger and nicer and his will need a new roof, furnace, water heater, garbage disposal, and chimney rebuilt within a couple years. He must have forgot all that when he requested the house. I try not to laugh but it is hard to keep it in.

  • The superpower I gained was mental clarity. I knew exactly what I needed to replace the cowardly adulterer and abandoner. So one trip to the shelter to rescue a mini-schnauzer and a year subscription to AAA to keep me safe on the road and BAM. Done! Kind of sad really that the schnauzer has more emotional intelligence than him but there you go.

  • My superpowesr:

    I have no more fucks to give for people who abuse others; who lie; who do the easy think instead of the right thing.

    And I don’t give a flying fig in hell what anyone thinks about me or says about me. That goes for XH the substance abuser, any of his drinking buddies, Jackass, my boss’s boss, students, or friends who wish I was at their beck and call. Sorry. I have a life to live and no time for gossips and shit disturbers.

  • I can spot a narc a mile away. I’ve become a mini CL, educating those around me to the ways of narcs. Just giving back a little of what you gave to me, Tracy. Knowledge is power. CN is about sharing that power. ❤️

  • No more tubs of spackle.

    Now I buy tubs of PLUMBER’S PUTTY!

    And cans of paint!

    And even an electric drill!

    I’m SUPER FIXER!!

  • My superpower is renovating the marital home and selling it in five months time, (included plumbing, wiring, drywalling, flooring, & painting), buying a new home for my 12yr old daughter and I, taking care of the house and yard while working full-time and raising a busy tennis girl…all the while dealing with a malignant narcissistic F*WIT who is hell-bent on being in control. F*WIT is 48, lives in a rental house his mommy & daddy bought, OW is homeless, but won’t take her & her 10yr old in (true love according to him) looks sick according to our friends! KARMA
    I’m not bitter, I’m better 🙂

  • Superpowers

    Hmm, let’s see.

    Truth Seeker: Once I started figuring out the extent of cheater’s lies–and he is still spinning them out at a stunning pace, as he always will because he’s utterly woven of them–I became a truth seeker. Not a brave or bold one, and not one at all interested in who did what to whom and when, just a quiet and determined worker bee unwilling to agree to a settlement until I have the full picture of how they sucked out my life’s blood to fuel their secret world. I have a much clearer understanding of the whole of it, now, and that has been key to keeping me going on the journey toward meh. It has also helped me face my own flaws with greater clarity and compassion. I will always despair of lies, but am much more equipped to face them down, now–far less paralyzed in the face of them.

    Teflon Soul: For a long time, the knowledge that he was out in the world spinning lies about me–cashmere was just so impossibly awful and evil that the poor sad cheater, after years of unceasing effort to cope with me, just had to find love in the arms of a young employee–really rankled. I got very stuck on the hamster wheel of being bugged and wounded by that for way too long. But, with the help of the wise people here, I learned to let it slide off, and to let go of more and more of the things I really can’t control. During our marriage, one of cheater’s favorite verbal weapons was the phrase, “It’s not about you!” That was an effective manipulation for too long, playing very effectively on my desire not to be selfish or overly critical. Now, I love it and see the humor in it. He could not possibly have been more correct, in that way they have of occasionally stumbling upon accidental truths: none of his cheating, lies, or manipulations were ever about me. They have always and only ever been about his own inner voids and demons, all of which I am happy not to have to contend with any more.

    Perseverance: A whole lot of this has been and continues to be horrid. A lot of it has frightened and intimidated me. Somehow, though, I just keep on going, facing down myriad things I would really rather not face. Did not love being deposed. Deposition of cheater and his affair partner will likely be next on the list, and will be equally bad. Not a barrel of laughs, any of it. In some strange way, though, every new bit of awfulness and muck they’ve tossed my way has been a gift. I’m not exactly brave–the heart still sinks as more and more of the icky ooze is revealed–but each thing faced makes it that much easier to face the next thing. I won’t say they cannot hurt me, for they can and routinely do, but they can’t quench my spirit entirely. They keep sinking lower, but by some grace I don’t deserve I just keep going.

    Built-In UBT: An amazing gift from CL and CN. Once this community taught me how to see the manipulative strategies at play in cheater communication, I could never unsee them again. Before, I would feel mauled by his words without exactly knowing why. Now, I can tick off the moves, shake my head over the absurdity and banality of the evil, and keep on going. No word from cheater or his camp fails to set off the UBT alarm, and now I readily see those things elsewhere, too. I’ve had years of schooling, but have learned far more about rhetoric here than I have ever learned anywhere else. Bonus: I’ve become much more careful not to unthinkingly use these strategies against others.

    Gallows Humor: If you can’t laugh, what’s the point of life, anyway? The dark humor here–curses,cartoons, gifs, videos, cheater nicknames–have often seen me throw. It’s incredibly wonderful to be connected to people who can and will offer up that gallows humor as need be, and who understand how essential it is. Only those inexperienced in this realm could ever dismiss such a saving thing as bitterness.

    Gratitude: Every day, I’m incredibly thankful for every bit of joy and beauty: a hot shower, the coolness of morning, my daughter’s luminous skin and core goodness, my son’s extravagant love and sharp intelligence, my dog’s goofy loyalty and amusing distractions, every unexpected and unearned bit of generosity, strange and magical connections and spontaneous poetry, and so many other gifts, large and small. They all matter.

    I’m still exceedingly vulnerable–I guess every superhero has his or her equivalent of kryptonite–but there have been many worthwhile if difficult gifts, here, and this place has taught me how to accept and integrate those into something that might eventually count as getting a life.

  • I loved people’s comments! I have gained a few while living in Western Colorado:

    -Being happy.
    -Bad ass backcountry skier
    -Got back into fitness that fits my ideal and not hers.
    -Squared up my finances again to reflect my values.

    I’m working on getting to *meh* and occasionally relapse, but it is getting much, much better.

    Getting my happiness back, it just happened. I realized, while working out, that I am just happy. I have always been on the happier side of life, but it just clicked that my ex was needling me with her unhappiness that it affected mine. No matter what I did, more was always required; none of it made her happy. She just nagged me with her unhappiness about my working out, cooking, time in or out of the house, that it was a total mind game. If I did the thing she wanted, she would want the opposite. Wanting to talk about the actual issues was the last thing, she wanted, unless it was with a different guy.

    This all took a toll on my self-esteem that I was no longer the guy I was at my core. Instead of working on finding a center and common ground. She asked for a divorce after I uncovered that she was cheating on me, then we went into limbo for 4 months, while she slept around in our house as I had moved out. I finally cut the net and filed without her. The hardest and best decision I could make.

    Now, 18 months past that, I’m back to doing life. It feels pretty F-ing good!

  • My superpower is humility. I used to think my life was perfect—I was married to the perfect man, we lived in a perfect house, we had two perfect children. We were perfectly successful at everything we did. Even my dog was perfect.

    When he left me for the ugly skank, the scales fell from my eyes. It has taken almost five years, but I have come to appreciate living in reality, with all of life’s slings and arrows that were hidden from me for 30 years by my super secretive, highly duplicitous, narcissistic husband. In retrospect I recognize that during those decades I developed world-class spackling skills, thus becoming complicit in maintaining my own delusions.

    I now live completely in the real world. I wear my humility openly, now that I no longer have to maintain a facade of perfection, or keep a dishonest person’s secrets. It’s a relief, frankly.

  • I can handle anything. I’m smart, strong AF, resilient, have an insane work ethic and can scramble with the best of them. I went from being a stay at home mom to getting a masters in biomedical engineering and landing a phenomenal job. And my PR for my deadlift keeps edging up. U should see my traps!!

  • Lady Autonomy … she rides a horse, does whatever the f#@& she wants, and cherishes her new friends and life.

  • Acquired one helluva spidey sense, particularly where narcs are concerned. Gotten so good at this patients and friends alike routinely ask me for advice on how to deal with the narcs in their lives, what to say, what to do. It’s not a superpower I ever thought I’d have, but it has mos def allowed me, and the people I know, to stay safer! And for that I’m grateful.

  • After being married for 35 years & having another person share household duties I find I’ve been doing it all
    by myself. All the bills, repairs of the home, cleaning , even the yard.. I’m actually doing it!
    2 1/2 years ago when I threw him out I was a weeping
    terrified chump. There are still times a fall backwards & remember how it used to be.. but then coming here to CN with all my friends I gain my strength to persevere.

    God bless CL & CN for showing me there is a better life after the destruction & humiliation we received living with a evil sociopath. 👍🏻❤️

  • You and Chump Nation are my super power. Knowledge that I was chumped, played a fool and know how to respond to all the idiots who still think Narcula is a nice guy and I was the crazy ass bitch who drove him into a dozen or more other womens beds. Hear me roar!

  • Super Chump powers:
    It’s been almost 3 years and since then I pulled myself from my knees
    Bought my own little house
    Own and use a power drill
    Paint my own walls (but never say no to a lending hand)
    Have a big red tool box
    Spend quality time with adult daughters
    Walk 5-6 miles a day and two Zumba classes a week
    Take care of my furballs
    Have fun and adventures with friends and my boyfriend
    All the while working FT (like the majority of us chumps do)
    Every day it gets easier

  • My new superpower is Agency. I have been making my own decisions now for the past 2.5 years after a 30-year marriage. At first, it was daunting and surreal. In the marriage, Everything needed his approval as I was a SAHM with 4 kids. He treated me more like his personal assistant than a partner. Last year, I cried when my transmission went out on my 25-year-old car. I was a wreck going to buy a new car but my daughter helped me thru it. And for the first time since I was 19, I drive a car that I picked, that I wanted and it’s great. Now, happy to report, I adopted a rescue dog last month on my own. It was My decision and what an amazing feeling it is to be in charge of your own life without the judgment and condescension of a lying, cheating “Mr nice guy” asshat. So happy to get my life back. Starting to feel like myself again.

  • I am so much more aware of spotting clues and red flags of people who have personality disorders, entitlement issues, or are incredibly selfish. I love feeling empowered in that way. I will never again be duped by these people.

  • Still have my superpowers but thankfully no longer have his kryptonite in my life. I took care of everything, earned 3 times what he did, took care of all the bills, tax returns, household chores, etc. I was always faithful even when I knew he was a soul sucker for 38 years. I don’t take bullshit or unreasonable demands from anyone anymore (not clients, friends, or family). I now take care of myself first!!!!!! I haven’t met the OW even though he has tried to force her on me any chance he can (our only child’s engagement party, her graduation, etc.) Although our daughter told him she didn’t want her to be at her wedding, he managed to bring her to her graduation (thank God I was able to avoid them). In November our beautiful daughter will be getting married and I have to face him at the rehearsal and wedding. I know the greatest superpower in my life is knowing that he no longer exists in my life!!!!!!!!

  • My new super power ? I take everything people say now with a grain (or more) of salt. I never really understood the whole “trust then verify” nonsense.

    Case in point-something was off with a man I briefly dated. Too much “my ex-wives are at fault/crazy” etc.
    Learned yesterday that he was unemployed for eight of the ten years he was married to wife #2. She was the other woman who ended up paying his alimony and child support to wife #1. What did this man do all day ? Porn slob. Before the big fat leech could latch onto me, I ghosted him. Unusual activity on my credit card. No explanation required.

    Thanks Tracy and Chump Nation !

  • After 27 years of marriage, the last 10 of which were particularly difficulty, I have regained the power to have awesome friendships and love the fact that I can see my friends when it suits us, without coming home to face guilt and feeling like I had somehow betrayed him by seeing my female friends, and without being asked what I said about him (ironically I never said a word about his cheating and abuse until long after he left).
    I am reclaiming peace and freedom from chaos for my children and me in our own home.
    I am learning again how to FEEL emotion and feel safe in that. For so many years I was shut down emotionally to protect myself, but I am now learning that emotions are okay. So far I have only learnt to cry in a movie, but one day I will cry for me and that will be okay.
    I am learning it is okay to ask for what I need emotionally (so far only managed that with my psychologist) but one day I will feel safe to ask another human for what I need without fear of being called selfish, mockery or gaslighting.
    Through CN, I am gaining the power to see that these cheaters all sing from the same songbook and so it is about them. I am working towards believing that I am enough and that everything that happened was not because I suck.

  • I was the breadwinner in our 16 year relationship but ClusterFuck always lorded about the place complaining how he had to “do everything” while I was out running a law practice and supporting his underemployed ass. Over 12 years we remodeled an old farmhouse together with me paying for all the materials while he had his marginal handyman “business” and spent lots of time doing the actual remodeling on our house. From the beginning, he showed himself to be a true control freak. That ended up being his downfall because his many anal spreadsheets showed how little he actually contributed, not that he was paying his way. But my main point is… when he left, that is to say when I kicked his cheating ass out, he snarled at me: “This house is going to swallow you up, WisedUp!!!!” and I have mightily proved that wrong. In 2 days it will be exactly 5 years from D-day/GTFO day. In that time I’ve learned how to:
    – tune up and keep running the John Deere tractor
    – Mow the 1.5 acres regularly
    – Do simple plumbing jobs – I have replaced a seat/spring to stop a faucet leak, replaced a toilet valve and flapper’
    – Pruned trees
    – Learned how to hire contractors to do what I personally cannot do, LOL!
    – Learned how to load my kayak on the car and go out kayaking by myself at age 62
    – Kept the house not only “going” but improved it and increased the value
    – Bought the lazy underemployed cheater out for .5% (yes, that’s right, no 5% but .5%) of his demand for equity
    I don’t date and I do get very lonely sometimes but I have friends (other chumps and a few friends who stayed true after the switzer friends abandoned me), my three awesome grown kids from my first marriage, my business (still thriving and now I work from home about 80% of the time), my hobbies, kayaking, hiking, reading, gardening. And cheater free, the best of all.

  • I started developing my superpower by hitting 1000 golf balls picturing my exs head on each one and I found my amazing golf swing.

    Then I went to spin class so often to burn off my anger that I lost 20 pounds and was hired to teach the class.

    Then my spin classes made me so sore that I started yoga to stretch and heal and fell in love with the practice so I started teaching that, too.

    Then after a few years I healed, found meh, started laughing again and fell deeply in love with my own life.

    Then I told my story to my social world which led to a friend’s husband hearing about it, which led him to reach out to his old friend who’d had the same experience with his asshat cheater spouse, which led to a blind date, which led to a kiss, which led to a beautiful love story about how two bad ass middle aged chumps walked down two long, dark and crooked roads, climbed misery mountain from two different directions, met each other at the summit and now share a very happy and healthy relationship.

    I call my superpower “resilience” and while I had to get my ass kicked insanely hard to develop it, it is a wonderful force that many of us chumps share with benefits that are far reaching and powerful. Gaining a life is a practice, but it’s the best kind of practice there is.

    • “Fell deeply in love with myself”
      Love this. I did a lot of similar things. Gym. Kickboxing and imagining it’s his fave. Lost weight. Felt great!! And that’s what we all should strive for – To realize our worth and who we are and what we are capable of – that’s being mighty. Way to go.

  • All your posts make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    I have accomplished a lot of things. Today I had a fitting for a medieval dress, because I have a summer artists job at the Renaissance Festival. Today I wore the top out to test drive it while trying to find undergarments that worked with it — you would not believe the stares I got. Usually I shrug that all off, but I did get ill of the side eye. 52 years old and have to gussy up as a mid evil monarch.

    But. I have a kid in college I need to support, and house bills that don’t quit. XH lives in monster house with OW, (I think)
    {It’s really easy to afford a big house when you dump both children’s support at 18.}

    I’d never do that.
    So I stood right up, straightened my hennin, and strode on.

  • My superpower? I’m a human freaking lie detector. When I hear a bullshit lie, I immediately know it.

    Next superpower trait: I’m going to find a way to remove all cheaters instantly to a far far far off land where they are never to be seen or heard from again.

    • I might also be pretty good at math. I’m amazed at how many things a cheater will say that just do not add up. I’m pretty sure my addition skills have skyrocketed.

  • My new superpower is HUMOR. I had lost the ability to laugh. I hardly ever even smiled while LadyLiar was sucking the life out of me. Has everyone seen Shrek? While Lord Farquaad was a total ass, I think we should pool our super powers and implement his strategy…. gather all of the fuckwits and SEND THEM TO THE SWAMP!! hahahaha

  • May mean I don’t make friends so easily these days but I’m Queen Boundaries. I had em before and lost them, now they are strong as hell once again.

    Intuition super power is no longer ignored, even though I had to read Gift of Fear twice to help me get it back. I will never ignore my gut again, did you know our stomachs have a literal second brain? It does! If you tramped your intuition down to live with an abusive asshole, I highly recommend working on getting it back. The book is a good start. Jedi Hugs CN!

  • I have made my home beautiful and painted it and decorated it and remodeled it the way I want it. I have traveled out of the country by myself and had a blast. I’ve learned to soothe myself when I get lonely or bored. I planned my entire summer to be fun and it is. Every single weekend I’m doing something with friends or family. My XH would never have went any of these places or done of any of these things. I realized after he was gone how everything was all about him. We only went where he wanted to go and do what he wanted to do. Any time we did what I wanted to do he turned into an asshole so we quit doing what I wanted to do because it was never worth the hassle. When I first met him he pretended to want to make me happy but it was all bullshit until he got himself firmly planted into my life and then he took me hostage. You know, narc shit. Another one of my super powers is that I can now spot a narc from 500 paces.

  • I love reading all these !

    I’ll have to say mine is intuition — not just fuckwit radar, but the ability to read between the lines and predict what’s next. Every. Time. And as I do this? Acting! Not just while I gathered Intel on exH & got ducks in a row, but more recently when I decided against all instinct to go back to the Narc exbf when he was diagnosed with cancer. Didn’t take long before his sister started checking & re-checking my schedule. Hmmm… Why? Ahh, so she could skulk one of his old gf’s in the hospital to see him when I wasn’t there! ( No good reason on Earth why they should have felt the need to do this)
    So I played along, kept changing up my schedule then walked in & busted them cold. And enjoyed every freaking minute of it as they stuttered and squirmed and lied (sis to xgf: “what a nice surprise you stopped by!”) as I was sweet as you please….until I once again collected Intel & lined up ducks before confronting & leaving a few weeks later.
    I realized that as painful (and sad – CANCER!!) as it is, I’m really good at this shit. Though I sincerely hope I won’t need to do it again.

  • -Smelling bullshit/ crazy/ insecurity, etc. from a mile away…and trust me there is a lot of bullshit out there.

    -The power of ‘no’, as in no to bullshit and no to one-sidedness and no to situations that don’t suit me.

    – power of use of time in service of others who can really use it!

    – did I mention the power of no? I’m like a toddler throwing my no s out there. Cept I don’t throw a fit. I’m calm and firm.

    – the power to not give a fcuk!

  • It’s been almost 2 years since my ex left me after I found out he cheated. He left me with all the expenses of the house and bills. Since he’s left, I received my bachelors, kept my house in order, even installed tile and wood flooring, maintained my two girls’ lifestyle the same, I was able to take them on vacation last year and again this year, I’ve started taking dance classes, picked up jogging, I’ve also lost 30lbs since he left, and I finally filed for divorce. This is all without him giving me child support (still waiting on the courts). I have some difficult moments here and there but all and all I’m slowly healing through prayer and all my support (in person and online). Oh .. and I realized how mentally strong I really am.

  • Evidence that our nation of Chumps are brilliantly moving forward and gaining a better life! Such. great. stories. Even the most difficult show us how beautiful and resilient we are. That is something to be proud of…. Cheers!

  • When LeftHimAtTheAirport and I caught up in real life last week, we discovered that we can both smell bullshit now.

    Really quickly and really easily, in all sorts of other places apart from romantic relationships.

  • I went to law school with a full scholarship. Now entering my third year after a summer working for a federal judge. Turns out, I’m great at this! Who knew I could be great at anything based on his constant judgements and criticism. My superpower is the law!

    I may be broke and tired all the time, but my daughter and I are happy…genuinely happy! That too is a kind of super power.

    • Who knew you could be great at this. Haha. You did!!! Leave a cheater gain a life you did!!! Awesome to hear

  • My superpowers have been to unlearn my learned helplessness and to take charge, even if I make mistakes along the way. I live on one of the main streets in my town, so pretty much anything I do in my yard or garage is obvious to most people who drive by, including my X, who drives by multiple times a day.

    I used to be so self-conscious about appearing to do something wrong, whether it’s plants I’m putting in my perennial garden or opening up the hood of my car to see why the headlights are out. Now I truly do not give a fuck. I no longer monitor the cars that drive by to see if my X’s might be one of them and just go about my business, often looking like something the cat dragged in with my dirty jeans and t-shirt.

    I just enjoy my time in the dirt and under the hood–and thank God for YouTube DIYs because I have learned so much from that rogue’s gallery of people who make it their mission to teach the rest of us how to do what often appear to be intimidating tasks but at the end of the day are actually quite easy and straightforward.

  • I think the biggest thing for me was that part of my life-long clinical depression lifted. I think that when I met him he was depressed about life and I soaked his unhappiness and constant complaints about everything. This combined with moving abroad for uni and adapting to a new culture almost killed me.
    I still have anxiety issues, but once the initial shock and tears cleared I gained so much clarity and desire to live my life again.

    He was also abusive with things getting worse during the last few years and I finally can see it so clearly. He’s like a copy of my mum (she’s a narc). I also think I react in certain ways to abusive people — I get angry and anxious – as a defense mechanism, but I haven’t been able to test it yet. Hopefully I won’t need to.

  • Went back to university and got a degree

    Can spot lies and personality disorders instantly now

    Three regular sports (exercise makes all the difference)

    Am so enjoying being on my own!

    No more anxiety and depression – weird, huh!

  • My superpower is apparently finally Trusting That He Sucks. After 3 years of total NC, and me giving nary a shit about Mr. Cheaterpants, he drove up behind me in my apartment parking lot last weekend while I was loading my car, and said, “Howdy, Stranger!”. I turned around, saw it was him, was surprised and said “what are you doing here?” and then…. ignored his response and turned back to what I was doing, because I just didn’t care. At all. Didn’t want to know anything about him, didn’t want to “catch up on things”, nothing. He eventually drove off, leaving me faintly annoyed and a little creeped out by what was clearly stalking — but I still just can’t be bothered to give a shit.

    I’ve come a long, long way from the pathetic chump who took him back, (ugh! ) even after I discovered the lying, cheating, and general assholery. Yay, me!

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