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Nice vs. Kind

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There was an interesting side discussion the other day on Chump Lady about the difference between niceness and kindness. Many people noted that their cheaters appeared to much of the world as “nice people,” but in point of fact, lacked kindness. (Sure, it’s an understatement to say that cheating is unkind.)

Now, I don’t want to diss niceness, after all I am from the Midwest and it’s our default setting, but a lot of being nice is simply impression management. See? I come in peace! You can trust me, I’m nice! Nice works if you’re in sales. That’s why (at least here in the U.S., any way) salespeople are always encouraged to compliment you or end each transaction with “Have a nice day!”

I enjoy the social lubrication of nice. I want a nice person to bag my groceries. But at the end of the day, I just want my groceries bagged, the attitude with which you do it is optional. If I just got nice and no bagged groceries, that would suck.

“That’s a beautiful sweater you’re wearing!”

“Um, thanks. Could you please bag my groceries?”

“Lovely weather we’re having!”

“Uh, sir? There’s a line forming. Is this one of those bag-it-yourself places? Did I choose the self-check line?”

“Have a nice day!”

This is the cognitive dissonance of cheater nice. It’s nice without the bagged groceries. It’s pleasantry without substance. It’s all cherry and no sundae. Frankly, it’s a mindfuck.

When someone is outwardly nice, but their actions are withholding, dismissive, oblivious — they’re disguising an agenda. Pay no attention to my failed obligations or implied hostilities. Press me about them and you’re a killjoy. But me? I’m nice. How can you be so unkind to the nice?

Done with enough manipulative panache, you can drive anyone crazy with “nice.” God, who is that jerk that nice person is married to? How can they be so pissed off all the time? Donald is so nice!

Contrast crazy “nice” with actual kindness. Kindness is the person who sees you and your broken bag of groceries and stops to help pick them up. They may not even be nice about it. They might grunt, or swear under their breath as they chase your rolling cans of tomatoes, but they go for it anyway. Kindness responds to distress. Kindness offers help without being asked. Kindness doesn’t even know you, but stopping and helping is the right thing to do, even if it’s inconvenient. Even if no one else is watching. Even if you’re a bastard about it. “Hey! You missed a can!”

Kindness isn’t impression management. It’s about empathy. You have to be somewhat selfless to be kind. Kindness responds to people in need. A kind word. An act of kindness. You have to be outwardly focused and connected to others to be kind. Any idiot can do nice. Sustaining it when things get hard is kindness.

I think chumps, like most people, are fooled by nice. We see it as a short-hand for kind — surely this nice person wouldn’t fuck me over? But nice is often just superficial and doesn’t translate to kindness. It’s not enough to act inoffensive — you have to actually not give offense to people and refrain from hurting them. And if you do offend? You have to care, not slather “nice” all over it.

You see this shit in reconciliation all the time. The cheater ups their game a bit. Sends flowers. Shares a few kibbles. But they can’t muster up much sorry. They don’t do remorse. They fail to read the books, or show up for the shrink appointment, or feel anything other beyond “Thank you for not divorcing me and taking my 401K.” It doesn’t deeply hurt them to have hurt their chump. But they can be nice. They can pick up the check. They can compliment your hair. And for some people, that’s enough. They’ll take the nice and find comfort in it.

Did you have a nice cheater? Would they still like to be your friend? Do a kindness to yourself and find some substantive people to hang with instead.

This column ran previously. Crazy morning, thanks for your kind understanding.

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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.
  • Yes!! My cheater tells everyone he’s a nice guy!! He’s always full compliments when we swap kids. In fact his therapist has him telling himself he is a ‘nice good person that has made mistakes’ 😂😂😂
    Nice? Hell no! Nice doesn’t cheat on wife and leave 3 kids for younger co-worker!!
    Kind? Zero empathy seen.
    Rude and selfish?? Absolutely!!!

    • They really want more than everything to still believe they are good people and so they do all superficially possible to appear so while doing no internal repair.

          • My cheater only did nice things for people to get something in return, like an IOU card. He only helped people when he knew he was going to need something from them later

        • Yes. The “nice” in this case want to APPEAR good without actually having to go to the bother of BEING good!
          The kind ARE good, even if they don’t actually APPEAR to be because they’re more bothered about BEING good than looking AS IF they are good!

      • Right on.
        My ex said several times after dday, “I’m not a bad person”
        No, you just have no morals
        There is no worse crime on a marriage than adultary
        They truly want to believe they really are good and kind
        What a joke
        Second family he has done this to, second time betraying his son
        Ugh, go away

        • I too heard regularly that he wasn’t a bad person. He said all the time “i’m a good person”. I told him “good men don’t beat their wife. good men don’t lie, cheat, ignore their children, and selfishly spend the family money’. He looked at me like I was crazy.

          • Oh wow! Same! My ex used to say “I’m a good person” so often, I told
            him I would have that put on his headstone.

            “Here lies a good person. RIP”.

            Ha! He lies alright! Good, not so much.

      • Mine tries to be nice after the fact to prove to himself that he isn’t a bad person. Ok so I threw you off the cliff at Schmoopie’s request and the kids went over too because they were tied to you but now I am paying the medical bills and visiting the kids in the hospital and taking them on outings so that makes it all ok. Besides it would have been cruel of me to disappoint Schmoopie by not throwing you off a cliff. That would have made her feel unloved. I am a nice guy who wouldn’t do that to someone as kind and loving as Schmoopie.

        I don’t know how their minds get to be so twisted.

        • If I ever have to hear again how “nice” OW is from anyone I will lose it. Both X and for a time DD2, who was going through her extreme teen rebellion phase, told me this to try to manipulate me into doing what they wanted and I refused.

          I know right from wrong. By my definition of nice, she doesn’t fit. X was never nice. He’s a complete asshole jerk and gets paid $650 an hour for it (M&A biglaw lawyer).

          X and OW are perfect for each other.
          Me? I’m at meh living my life without them!

        • “Besides it would have been cruel of me to disappoint Schmoopie by not throwing you off a cliff. That would have made her feel unloved. I am a nice guy who wouldn’t do that to someone as kind and loving as Schmoopie.”

          Serial cheater said it was necessary to flirt with all these other women and post on facebook about being so deeply attracted to them and wanting to marry them because otherwise they might feel bad about themselves and serial cheater had to be nice to brighten their days! What it hurt my feelings? How could such a jealous, controlling harpy like me stand in the way of serial cheater being nice?

          • I wonder how many of those women whose days he was trying to brighten thought he was a creepy stalker. My daughter inadvertently friended someone on Facebook she thought was a fellow incoming freshman. He wasn’t and he immediately started sending her IMs telling her how hot she was and he really wanted to meet her. She had to block him to make him stop. Maybe he was just trying to “brighten her day”.

          • Yes, yes and yes. My ex had to have an affair because she was sad and he didn’t want to hurt her feelings by turning her down, then had to post his love and admiration for others on FB because they were feeling miserable and needed his emotional support. And everyone -who knew nothing about the affairs – goes on and on and on about how he raised the bar for other husbands and they just can’t imagine he could be anything but a NICE guy. It makes me sick (and destroys me).

          • Using a condom wasn’t possible because it might hurt their feelings (he was in a band, with several regular groupies)
            Never mind the diseases i was exposed to

            • Oh hello there fellow bandwife. Yup. Married 20 years to a musician who everyone loves because he’s so nice and constantly social medias his niceness. “I hand out ice water to the homeless” blah blah blah.
              And slept with groupies.
              And had numerous affairs with singers.
              He says he disliked singers but apparently not that much. He kept sleeping with them.

            • Yep, me too. Always wanted to see more of the stbx’s gigs, could very rarely get there because I was looking after kids, and apparently ‘the band is such a close unit, you can never be a part of it’. (Despite doing so much online promotion for them.) Funny how the other married man in the band managed to withstand temptation and stay a good family man, and funny how stbx and the Dream Princess (also in band) used to laugh about his devotion to family. Funny how boring and dull his home-life came to look next to his thrilling yet ultimately unsuccessful band-life and hilarious (now, 2 years later!) how I managed to not take all the red flags seriously until D-day!

          • Oh yes. Poor Me BPD was such a dumsel in distress and needed him, ‘not like me’. Uh, new baby born less than six months before? Check. First time mom? Dealing with Post Partum Anxiety? Check. But no, I was so cruel to him, as he repeatedly told friends and family without my knowledge and Poor Me had had such a terrible life where everyone had victimised her that he had to mount his white charger and rescue her (mostly from herself, from an outsider’s viewpoint). He fell for her lies, but I was made to be the villain while he felt like a hero for coming to her rescue (which generally meant financing her delusions of grandeur and massaging her fragile ego by telling her how beautiful she was and every guy wanted her, but he was the lucky one. So dumb.

          • No it’s not about schmoopie as an actual human being. Schmoopie = gratification. Ego, sexual, image management gratification, plain and simple. Chumps failed to gratify sufficiently (kids, reality, tedious stuff like that interfering with their rightful centrality) and got replaced.

    • Yeah – my ex is a salesman and he is super nice – cause he wants something from you though and not cause he cares about you or anything like that. No..it’s just about him….and his wants and needs. And if his wants and needs don’t mesh with yours? Why he’ll just stomp right on you with the biggest, sweetest smile you ever saw (cause he’s nice don’t cha know?) right before you’re smashed flat.

      Yeah…he’s nice alright…SMH.

      • Whosminow
        You hit the nalid on the HEAD!!
        its really all about the end game. Cheaters being nice OR kind ultimately as manipulation.
        They want something back.
        The slug i was married to did many things that would be described as kind, often at the expense of being kind to me.

        • wasband was kind. he would give the shirt off his back to help the homeless guy. he was the type of man that would not only stop to pick up your groceries, but he would carry them to your car for you and most likely would give you whatever groceries he had in his bag too.. .. he was super kind TO EVERYONE ELSE BUT ME. if i needed help to pick up my groceries, he would have done it and bitched the whole time how i was stupid and how it was my fault the bag broke in the first place. and how i purposely inconvenienced HIM.. .. or i would get the silent treatment the whole time he would be picking up my groceries. .. .. of course i would be apologizing, and i would feel bad and mostly likely be crying and promising to be a better grocery bag carrier.. .. HA he was always so willing to help out others only because it made him look good. these people would say how nice.. .. how kind he was. .. but he would treat me like shit. and always had a bad attitude if i asked him for help.

          i have learned since my divorce that anytime wasband is being “nice” it is because he wants something from me. .. . first he will be sugar sweet and even helpful and then he will ask what he wants. .. . God forbid if i say no. i get the anger and rage. my trick is to act confused when he asks something and then turn it around for money and he runs off.. .. for instance, he wanted to park his van in my yard. i was like oh are you sure the THING will be ok with you doing that? i dont want to make her mad or anything. if that dont work and he assures me she is ok with it and will not get mad. then i will say, well i guess it would be ok for you to park your van here for a little while. it would be nice if you could help me buy the kids shoes for school and clothes.. .. . so then he stutters out something like he will have to see what he could do .. .. and i dont hear from him for another year or so.. ..

          people still come up to me and tell me how NICE wasband is. .. i usually dont respond. if they push it i will say something to the effect of “yes, nice people always abandon their children” or “cheat on their wives” .. .. and i walk away as fast as i can while the flying monkey is bewildered.

          you cant logic with crazy

          • “he was super kind TO EVERYONE ELSE BUT ME”

            Red flag that I missed was that Cheater’s father was the Worlds Greatest Guy to everyone except his wife (who he treated like shit)

            The apple didnt fall far from the tree…nowdeadcheater was nice to everyone but me…he kept his nastiest shit in a very tidy pile (on the top of my head)

            • Omg I think we talk about the same husband…. NICE kind to everyone but me ( except in the presence of his coworkers or family unless there was a woman he was creeping after)
              The WORST CRUEL DEAD EYE TYPE of behavior was reserved for me:
              Miscarriage? Muah my lovely sweet wife… let me fuck around a bit
              Pregnant with a child? Let me fuck some more
              One child out and breastfeeding? Let’s have unprotected sex to I may spread std to both of you
              Wife crying and begging for truth while pregnant with child nr2? Dead stare and going to bed
              Telling wife that her pregnant/ post pregnant body is turning him off? Check
              Yelling at her cause she had a stupid idea of installing car seat in his car, since it was tough for her? Check
              Telling her that wife and kids can be left behind but his new car is of bigger value? Check
              But, oh the best son, cousin, doctor….. the sweetest, the most caring and kind of all🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

    • My ex has told me often how I have portrayed him negatively when he is very nice and doesn’t deserve to be judged by our family and friends just because he left me for his single, 20 years younger, ho-worker. Funny how our friends and family came to their own conclusions, no doing of mine. Good luck and good ridence! Nothing “nice” about that.

      • I still say that most normal people would not look at that and think “aw how sweet”. Most would view that kind of adulterous relationship with contempt and think “goldigger and selfish delusional ass”. I certainly thought that way even before I was cheated on.

        Sometimes I wish Schmoopie was younger. The fact that she is ex’s age (actually a year older than me) makes some people less contemptuous of their “twu luv” and people who don’t know the circumstances of them getting together might think they are a normal couple. Certainly it lends credibility to the relationship in ex’s eyes. “Hey at least I didn’t leave for a younger woman so it must be legit”.

        • Chumpinrecovery,
          The notion that your ex cheating on and leaving you for a not younger woman legitimizes the new relationship is ridiculous! Unfortunately, many people need some lessons in both ethics and logic.

        • CIR, I am also in the club that whore is 2 years older than me and 3 years older than fuckwit. She has a law degree, isn’t that special? And she is warm and loving. That means she gives good head.

          I read her twitter before she made it private, she sounds like a bitchy mean girl. Perfect fit for fuckwit. They smile to your face while all the while thinking evil thoughts that they write down later. I don’t want to open myself up to any more of that. No contact is the way but not easy with kids.

          Fuckwit also can’t understand why kids don’t want to hang out with “sweet old couple” grandparents. It is because they also don’t really tell you what is going on in their sick minds. Controlling information is power.

    • My husband, Local Legend “Nice Guy”, likes to tell me anecdotes about what a nice guy other people think he is. He told me that our general manager at the business we own together (aaaaaaaaaaaagh!) told someone that “he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.” I had to set the GM straight. I told him, “He’s human and he does have a mean bone in his body. I’d be willing to bet I am the only one that gets to see it.”
      I saw it for years because I wanted to marry a nice guy; I wanted to believe he was. This is my biggest mindf**k hurdle. On DDay he told me the affair partner was kind!!!!! I said KINDNESS DOESN’T HURT PEOPLE. After one of our recent business meetings, out of the blue he says, “I want you to know I wasn’t always that guy.” I said, “I don’t know who you are and how long you’ve been anybody.” Fortuitously a mutual friend of ours called me. I said, “What’s really messing with me is, well, you know, you grew up with the Legendary Nice Guy….” she said, “No, no, no. When we were growing up, running around drinking and using, he was an
      ASSHOLE.” Aha!!! So most likely he is NOT clean and sober anymore and his default setting is ASSHOLE. She, by the way, is now on my side in a non-Switzerland way. Having been cheated on too, though she was originally his friend and grew up here in town with him, is on MY support team and thinks he is a jerk.
      KIND AND NICE DOESN’T LIE AND CHEAT.

      • I just realized…
        “KIND AND NICE DOESN’T LIE AND CHEAT”
        has a great rhythm if you chant it….maybe a good power walk or jogging chant?

      • Don’t try to keep running the business together!Everything that made them a crappy spouse makes them a crappy partner as well! I’m trying to disentangle from our business relationship and it is taking years and years off my life,because, surprise, surprise, my XH is being a shit!
        I’m sick of seeing him anywhere in my life. Soon I will be able to contemplate a work day where I don’t have to don’t have to pander to his ego, apologise to the staff for his pronouncements, or double check his work. And all the books will be open and transparent.Roll on October

    • Yes, that! My cheater ex said “ But im a nice guy. Daina…(hoe) is just like your friends….down to earth, I’m nott that guy to have an affair” and I am in the top 10% income earning bracket. Like that matters….except in the dub of assets.
      Really! Well Daina was one of several women I found out and she only dated him a few times one of which was staying all night together in a mattress factory.
      Nice guys don’t do that so yep you are that fuckwit.

      • Oh ya, what the f is wrong with people who after hearing your marriage and family exploded due to a secret life being exposed says “ oh but he was such a nice guy”. Vomit…..only
        If he had an audience. Switzerland does not shine so bright anymore.

  • You really see the contrast when they are nice to everyone except the chump to whom they are neither nice nor kind.

    • Many times I witnessed Ex being “nice” to others only to have him then show me how much he disliked or lacked respect for those same people when they weren’t around. What gets me is that I didn’t realize that his “niceness” towards me was also an act and that he really had nothing but contempt for me. I had also witnessed his love it to hate it cycles many times but after 20+ years together I thought I had dodged that one too. I should have picked up on his patterns and not been so blindsided in the end. I wasn’t special, at least not to him.

      • SAME HERE!! Recent red flag? An inspector who knows him was at our business recently and he asked me if I was married to him. I said yes and with a completely straight face, in front of a dozen employees, said, “I feel sorry for you.”
        Validation from the Universe IMHO.

      • My cheater is great at this. After DDay 1 he called the AP the next day, after promising no contact *eyeroll*, because he didn’t want to “seem mean” and he stayed friends with her on facebook because he wanted to “be nice to her” all the while sitting at home with me yelling at me for not getting “over it” and whining when I confronted him about it.

        He was (is) so very good at being “nice”. It’s an essential part of his toolkit for attracting as many women as he has over the 10 years of our marriage….He met the first (that I know about) AP when he bought her groceries for her when she was in front of him in line and her card was declined.

        Kind would have stopped at the groceries and not gave her his phone number and continue to fuck around with her for months while lying and covering it up and then moving out so he could parade her all around town on dates he couldn’t be bothered to take me on because I had gotten “too fat and mean”

        • LOL, your lucky to be rid of the loser, mine was so sick also, buying cold white wine and cigarettes for a so called recovering Drug addict!😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

        • Heard that before. After my D-Day and early into my chumpiness I told my cheating ex-wife that if we are going to work on us, you need to completely remove him from your life and never allow him to return. Her response was “I can’t be the mean” I thought, are you kidding me???? Can’t you see what you’ve done to our family?

          They are simply blind and deaf to their own actions and words.

          • they cant be “mean” to their affair partner but they have no problem being “mean” to their spouse.. ..

            you cant logic with stupid

      • I empathize, Chumpinrecovery.

        My ex-boyfriend is the poster child for ‘Mr. Nice Guy.’ One of the first thing some people said when they found out that he left me was, ‘He’s such a NICE guy!’ even after I quietly mentioned that he lied to me. What the heck?! Sometimes he would do nice things for me–put on my favorite show, watch it with me for an hour, bring me a glass of water. He would buy me a jacket, dust mop or a water bottle for my bike, which in retrospect I wonder were not actually kind gestures but a bit diminishing controlling (as in ‘You’re not good enough for a flower, or an inexpensive piece of jewelry out of the supermarket bubble gum machine for sentimental reasons, or a compliment, but I want to correct you as your jacket isn’t as pretty as a jacket on the partner of an executive should be (to make the executive look good) and you’re carrying the wrong type of bottle on your bike and as a not-so-together divorcing middle-aged mom that I am deigning to date (‘screw’) until I can find the ‘real deal’ (a woman who I truly love and with whom I want to spend the rest of my life and am not embarrassed to be seen with), I will buy you a Swifter as you, unlike me, are really short of money. Aren’t I a great guy?!’) I realize that some people might think that I’m over-reacting/paranoid about this, and I might be over-reacting/reading into his actions over a few years, but, sadly, I don’t think so. This is the guy who told me that my career wasn’t good enough/far along enough for him and told me that his love for me hadn’t grown when he left the last and final time. (This is one time he was honest, so I guess that he gets some credit for being honest amidst his lying.) But if his love hadn’t grown, why did he tell me that he loved me, even the same hour he discarded me telling me, ‘I love you?’ (Weird bit of mindf–kery, especially considering that it was followed the next morning by him saying, ‘You can hang around me, but don’t expect any lovey dovey!’ Covert narc much? And why did he keep me around for years, now I realize ‘in the shadows?’

        I really hope that I can ‘get over’ this guy/relationship/discard soon as my ex-boyfriend doesn’t give a crap about me and has been happily running around with current partner for the last year (or so–I suspect that he lied to me about when he met her and when he started wooing her). Hope that good chumps here recover quickly–ideally much more quickly than I am–because the guilt over not being ‘good enough,’ the anger over being covertly and then overtly devalued by the person I trusted above all others, and the sadness are physically and emotionally destroying me and preventing me from helping deserving others.

        • I totally get the not being “good enough” to make him look good and the “gifts” which were really disguised insults or attempts to fix me. He didn’t give me that $300 Gucci purse for my birthday out of kindness or to make me happy. It was his way of saying “you should carry a purse (I typically don’t) and it should be flashy and expensive so that people will know I am married to a high class woman”. He liked to flaunt wealth whether we had it or not. I was embarrassed by wealth when we had it and never had the urge to flaunt it. I will admit that there were ways in which we didn’t think alike but if those were such deal breakers for him then he should have just divorced me without going looking for my replacement first.

          • Are you certain of his motivation? I would think it might likely be “A woman is married to high class me!” They don’t really care how you are portrayed, they just care what people think of them.

            • As his wife, I didn’t fit in with the image he was trying to project of himself and he was trying to fix that. If I didn’t carry an expensive purse, he couldn’t impress the people he wanted to impress. Just as the purse was supposed to be an accessory for me, I was an accessory for him.

          • Are you certain of his motivation? I would think it might likely be ,“A woman is married to high class me!” They don’t really care how you are portrayed, they just care what people think of them.

      • YES. Big red flag I will never miss again. He would talk so negatively of any social interaction and how much he didn’t think my friends were worth getting to know. But when they would meet accidentally, he didn’t show that contempt at all. Everyone came away thinking he was really nice and that he liked them. What I initially thought was some sort of social anxiety didn’t make sense because he was so smooth at acting like nice and normal person. I more than once thought, what a good actor. I just couldn’t believe that someone could keep that act up for years on such an intimate level. When you realize how fake they are, it really feels like you were with some cardboard cutout human for years. So humiliating.

        • Yes, Chumpawumpa, yes! I could have written every word of this! Never cared about friends and thought I spent way too much time on mine. Toward the end it got really bad and I was like, “You are messed up and have no empathy.” Then boom, he blew it all up. Now he has the AP and no one else. No one. You reap what you sow.

      • Yes, same here, she would be charming and jokey with these people then at home bitch and slag them off, I never thought she was prob doing the same to me, dummy.

        Last night we both took our child to school open day, something I was kinda dreading coz I knew my exes friends/admirers/supporters would be there, was awful like I suspected, but the worse thing was the ex wearing a necklace the guy she was cheating with bought her (while we were still together), such a cruel, callous thing for her to do, or just thoughtless. But it’s ok, the lesson for me is to never to do a “family” thing with her again, we been apart for about 16 months, and everything is ok, I’m actually happy I left her (& took our kid with me).

  • OK, this is not a book club BUT I would like to recommend warmly a book I read and loved that speaks, well screams about the difference between “nice” and “kind”. It’s called “A man called Ove” by Frederik Backman. Have a kind day CN! 😊

    • Oooo, that one has been on my reading list. “Not Nice” by Aziz Gazipura for a non-fiction read about being nice versus authentic.

            • “Pro Libertate” (Latin) is in the family crest of my maiden name. I also got the family crest tattooed on my right shoulder about a year ago. And, yes, I’m taking my maiden name back when this divorce is finalized. 🙂

              • Good for you! I am cheering then for you, an for your divorce to be finalised in the best possible terms for you. As someone who has aleady crossed that bridge a while ago, I can tell you that freedom feels great. I am sometimes looking back at my old life and think: what was I thinking? Who was that person who put up with all that shit and thought abuse was OK? Weird. (((Hugs))) from accross the pond.

      • I thought Ove was kind, not nice. In fact he was exactly was most people would regard as the oposite of nice: he was kind of a loner and he spoke very little.

      • I haven’t yet read the book but I’ve seen the film and I liked it. All those who’ve read the book, take my judgement with a grain of salt, of course.

  • Nice is frosting. Kind is cake.

    Ok, bad choice around here.

    Nice is gravy, kindness is the mashed potatoes. I was going to say turkey but thought better of it.

    Yeah, my FuckedUp Unicorn is a nice guy and has the capacity for kindness but self-pity gets in the way sometimes.

    • The mow wasted a lot of email time talking about how good she was. Who the fuck does that? Cheaters mom defended the mow (an employee) by telling me how nice she was. I’m in Canada, land of all things nice, but not all things kind. When I pointed out the difference between nice and kind to his mother, she looked at me with her head cocked, like when a dog hears a fart or a weird noise. Told me she was Canadian so she was nice, as if she got government stamped at birth. End of discussion because thinking on that made her feel icky. I’ve never met people who proclaim their goodness and importance so much before until I met his family. But their not-so-nice actions can never ever be mentioned. Compartmentalized, rug swept and locked away somewhere – because look, I’m nice!

      Honesty is kind. Authenticity is kind. Kind is as kind does. Finding out truths restores all sanity, so I’ve gone scorched earth on the liars in my life and there’s a real serenity to that. I didn’t know that my baseline day to day life had so much pain in it that I took as normal. It was like eliminating a food from your diet and realizing you’d felt like shit for so long and had no idea.

  • Yes, he thanked me for dinner every day and complimented my appearance. He also cheated and lied and gaslighted.

    Another side chat could be about empathy – perceiving how someone else feels versus acting on that perception. I truly thought my ex lacked empathy because he is so insensitive. He comes across as rude and arrogant so often. I thought he had no clue how other people feel. One day he and I saw an online empathy quiz and took it. He aced it. Turns out he KNOWS how people are fee feeling. He just doesn’t give a shit.

    • I once taught a pair of “on the spectrum” twins in a writing class in university. Neither of them could empathize with others in the way of understanding intellectually, abstractly, logically, what those others were going through/feeling (to the degree one can do this without feeling actual feelings), and they said they felt no emotions of their own, but both of them could manufacture it on the page. One of the two, however, because he had no empathy and felt nothing for those around him, wrote stories I found absolutely chilling and cruel, and I always thought “psychopath in the making.”

    • I thought my ex was so empathetic at first because he could actually read my emotions and that of others really well. I could not hide any feelings. I just assssumed that when people have that knowledge they do something good with it. But plenty of people develop reading others emotions not to be kind, not to have authentic relationships, but to be fantastic at manipulating them.

  • The bf I just broke up with( met before boundaries were established unfortunately) displayed this. He was nice but failed miserably at kind. He wanted to buy into my house but would have willed his share to his daughter if he died ( he is a multi millionaire). He knew that meant I would lose my home because the ex husband stole all of my retirement money.. so I lose my partner and my home. No thanks and I’m out..,I’m back to very sad and angry right now.. have to work on my picker

      • Thanks nokibble. He never made me a priority, I always felt devalued and unimportant. He chose the car, the garbage, the daughter’s dog, the church( and he admitted to me he doesn’t believe in God so WTF is that about?), the daughter, always over me( she is 29 almost 30–treats her like an 8 year old–absolutely pours his money on her–pays for everything while he is an absolute tightwad with me( he is worth about 2 mil so its not called for or necessary). When I said my house was not up for negotiation( I wanted him to just pay rent and he refused), I was called a gold digger. I just said if I’m a gold digger I’m lousy at it, he never bought me anything expensive, not even an expensive dinner. Oh well, onward and upward.

        • it is not unreasonableness to expect a grown ass man to pay rent and help with utilities. if he wasnt living with you then he would have had to pay it anyways. ironically it is closer to being a gold digger if you move in with someone and expect them to pay for everything.

          in other words, he was more of the gold digger then you. it doesnt matter if he has a million dollars. the definition is a person who dates other purely to extract money from them, someone who only likes people because of how much money they have or because of the items they own. you own a house and he needed a free place to stay. classic projection

          a REAL man would pay something even if his lady owned the house. a REAL man will help out and support his woman emotionally, mentally, physically, financially and spiritually.. ..

          • Thank you, he was going to sell his house and just bank the money—not ok either. He could at least help us to have some fun and adventures( we don’t have forever I’m 58 and he’s 62). You are right and that was pointed out to me by my friends.

  • My X was not nice and felt comfortable with this. Wore it as a badge of honour. To him being nice was weak. He nevertheless, loved his “nice” prey… she, OW is so nice… oh puke 🤮. I was once considered nice till I started to challenge him and didn’t stroke his ego.

    As for kind. Nope. Unless, he was after something. Nothing was freely given..

    Oh well. Meh

  • My SBXH actually yelled on the phone at me that he’s nice. People think he’s nice. Part of the reason I think he is so furious with me is I know otherwise. I know the real lying, bullshiter his is. He paints me as crazy to his nice. I believed this for many many years. He is very very good as his game.

    • DD, I relate. I refer to mine ‘relentlessly cheerful’. He moved to the opposite coast from our small babies and just set up a new franchise with a new family. When he calls on Skype, he’s Mr. Rogers on steroids to the kids and it makes me want to puke every single time.

      Aren’t you sweet, buddy?! Awww, what a nice dad. Oh, wait. You left them (and me of course) for a stripper AP just 20 hours after discovery of the affair and never came back. Hot coffee on the counter, dirty underwear and laundry on the floor. Seen the kids one time in 4 years. Awww, not his fault! Mean old mommy made the court forcefully take child support from him, so he just can’t afford to visit! I have actually become the villain of the story because I involved the court. I was blamed directly by the AP, his parents…but not him. He’s too nice to do that. Everyone defends him, because it couldn’t possible be his fault. He’s just so darn nice! ($41K in CS arrears as of this morning).

      He was SO nice, I never saw it coming. Talk about traumatizing. Now I see him for EXACTLY what he is, and for years I’d try to call him on it but I stopped that futility. He just kept on being relentlessly cheerful so there’s no point. His new wife and family think he’s sooooo sweet. Good luck with that. He’s their burden/time bomb now, they just don’t know it yet.

      • a lot like my story.. .. wasband also never attacks me but he allows his troll to defend him. .. that way it is never him. he is just a nice guy doncha know. .. also abandoned his children because his troll is too insecure and jealous to let him spend time with his kids and talk to them. although we have seen him once a year for the past 4 years so he can get his daddy fix i guess. .. . take some pictures and go around telling everyone how much he misses his sons… . PSH.

        he is so nice, i never saw it coming. i could not believe it. even thou it was the second time i actually caught him cheating on me.. . i was still blind sided. i believed in him so much. his troll is convinced that i am controlling and manipulative.. (the pot calling the kettle black) .. .. she is just saving him from an abusive wife (now exwife).. .. as she literally and figuratively beats the shit out of him, throws bottles at his face, keeps him from seeing his children and keeps him in her eyesight and pocket. .. .

        his story is he never left me for her.. .. and he never cheated on me… (barf).. .. and we just grew apart. .. . and he actually believes that shit.

        you cant logic with crazy

        • “You can’t logic with crazy” – that’s what kept my head spinning for months, I would walk away from conversations utterly bewildered coz I kept wasting energy trying to untangle the weird tales I was being told, until someone told me “you are not the crazy person whisperer”, was such a relief to no longer have my brain stretched in impossible and fruitless ways.

  • Four days post Dday, my ex complimented my appearance before he threatened to call the police if I did not get him his checkbook, cash and passport. Yes, that’s what he does! Nice, yes to everyone else. To me, evil and vile. It’s Tuesday!

  • … “Even if no one else is watching”

    If stbx didn’t have an audience he’d never be nice. It’s funny now that through all our years of marriage he actually sometimes told me who he was, and I flipping missed it!

    He loved to donate large sums of money to charity, and he told me, “It looks good”. Most charities, not all, will list the names of their donors. He never donated anonymously .

    He is great at signing up to volunteer, (see name on list), but he doesn’t actually show up for the volunteer part. It’s usually an apologetic “I’m sorry, a conflict came up, I can’t make it.” In the 16 years we were married he assistant “coached” (see name on rosters and emails) but rarely actually showed up to assist. He liked to volunteer to bring things, but guess who actually ended up doing the work (me) and who took all the credit (him), gee he’s such a “nice” guy!

    He’s the king of promises, but when he doesn’t follow through, it’s someone else’s fault. Case in point, he’s been egging our daughter on with promises of a brand new car, but now, she is going to have to “wait until the divorce is final.” When the law is making him pay child support and he can’t afford to buy her a car, guess who’s fault that will be? His for making promises he can’t keep? Nope, it will be the fault of his “gold digging ex.” (Thanks for 3 years of not helping pay the kids expenses during our divorce, and the 30 k in credit card debt I racked up doing it myself.)

    That fellow chumps is how superficial knowledge of someone can give the impression of nice guy/gal.”

    Let’s also not forget the sad sausage routine after they are caught repeatedly cheating, they “wanted to make their marriage work, but their spouse refused to work on the marriage!” Awe, poor guy or gal, they are soooo heartbroken … puke 🤮!

    • Got-a-brain,
      Sorry that your ex was an inauthentic image manager.
      My last boyfriend and a very wealthy executive cheating boyfriend from over 20 years ago donated large sums of money–not to charities that really needed the money (not the feed the homeless types of organizations). I suspect that the donations were really more acts of impression management than true compassion. My last boyfriend was also a Boy Scout and volunteered to help with various things–until he ‘suddenly’ lost interest in me–leaving tools around my apartment and an unfinished (still unfinished) project as he was hot on the trail of the younger work subordinate for whom he left me.

    • Yes– the two cheaters are incredibly “nice” when out in public. I call it “putting on the show.” They pretend that they are Mike and Carol Brady, when in reality, she is verbally abusive and controlling, and he condones anything awful that she says to our kids. Really nice! :S

  • “Nice” is so worried about people-pleasing, not out of empathy but because of not wanting to be abandoned socially or deemed uncool by the shiny young people. “Nice” is deeply self-absorbed and fear-based. If he is the “nice guy”, who among his harem at the Land of Orange Butts would second-guess him when STBX disparages his wife and paints himself as a victim and feels entitled to taking a teenaged Orange Butt on a “boys” weekend. (Don’t butt-dial your wife when the SIM card for the burner line is in your cell phone and she can trace it back to your Facebook profile).

    I stopped being “nice” a long time ago, and I’m now making more friends than he is – not that I’m competing with him (hint, hint, authenticity and boundaries are great for growing friendships).

    I also don’t have to buy/lease shiny young “friends” with free drinks or extreme tips at the Land of Orange Butts. I also know how to socialize without needing to have a couple drinks first. I also know how to adult, pay bills on time, not get DUIs/kill my liver, be there for my kid, retain a lawyer, and move out to a place of my own. Almost to Mehtopia!…

    • Great description. And so many similarities here.With your story and others.
      It makes my head want to explode. I find the nice act audacious.
      Mine is people pleasing, wanting so much to be liked, yet no real intimate friendships. Drinks way too much. Told me he was being transparent, had integrity, ‘committed to honesty’ blah blah, blah…..Assumed he was doing me a huge favour, offering only the night before my birthday to take me and the kids out for dinner on my birthday. Thinking I would be on my own. As if! I wrote back and said “I wouldn’t give a second of my day to someone who wouldn’t give me a sliver of himself. I am having 20 girlfriends over, who love, cherish and value me”. Yeah…right ..20 friends was all he could muster by way of response. He continued to be all ‘nice’. Until……. I called at the end of the birthday weekend, feeling emotional. Mr Nice Guy reverted to his true self. He blurted out that he wanted to settle on our assets. Said that ‘he knew it was over’ the whole time he told the counsellor and myself that he was ‘torn’ and indecisive about his marriage. He said he would be generous with settlement. (huge assumption here that he owns all our assets) When I challenged him on the honesty of this he lost his cool and screeched : “The proof will be in the pudding!”

      Never heard him use that old fashioned phrase. Anyway, the proof was in the pudding. Settlement documents signed last week, Pudding is a rather lean and unappetising. No nice guy with integrity in sight.

      • At least he remembered your birthday. He forgot mine a couple years ago. I later found out that the Orange Butt schmoopie at the time had the same birthday – just 20 years difference.

        In a message I found on a phone he discarded but didn’t throw away, he was whining to a friend that he’d better stay home on Father’s Day versus going out to Land of Orange Butts, said he didn’t want to “lose half his worldly sh*t”. Um, you mean my half?….

        Before I moved out 2 months ago, he was trying to bully me about our home’s market value. He originally thought it would be half the difference between the purchase price and the remaining mortgage balance (and that was him being “nice/generous” because he thinks our assets belong to him). As it turns out, our home went up in market value ~$80-100K in 5 years. He was pissed and was lecturing me in a condescending paternalistic tone, “I’ve been more than fair with you!” and shouting “F*ckin’ awesome!” passive-aggressively within 10 year old kid’s earshot. Stbx also bought a new $40K truck 3 days after the filing date. Not the brightest… His most recent (allegedly ex) Orange Butt schmoopie is pregnant with her second (don’t know if it is his). She’s mid-20s which is retirement age in the Land of Orange Butts – time to find a sugar daddy!

        No, I’ve been more than fair with him for not revealing his recent DUI and other misbehavior to his CO (military). Kiss my entire non-orange a$$…

        He spends so much time, energy, and money on looking like the nice guy, when he really has no self-worth. And he’s also pissed because am a grey rock ninja now, and I don’t fall for his BS.

        • Pro,
          Sorry that your bad ex forgot your birthday. My last boyfriend, the super-organized guy with an elephant memory who, when we first started dating, used to tell me things that he had remembered about me/us from decades ago, often forgot my birthday. He would often ask me when my birthday was when he needed the information to buy tickets and the like. I realize that some people do forget things, but I don’t think that people who have great memories and truly love their partners repeatedly forget their partners’ birthday. I hate my own birthday now as I remember my last boyfriend taking me out for dinner on my 50th, taking me home, and then in response to me saying, ‘I love you,’ in the dark during an intimate moment, after a pregnant pause, ‘Happy birthday.’ That response was really crushing and, in reality, deal-breaking. (I would think that, ‘I love you, too,’ or ‘Thank you for being part of my life’ would be the response. It was clear then that he didn’t love me, although he had said he did before that day.) I should have left immediately (although leaving before I had gotten intimately involved with him would have been far better–I could have left without being damaged). Stupid me hung around for another couple years, hoping in vain that he would eventually appreciate, love, and respect me.

          • It fried me at the time, but later that little memory (and so many others) helped me to detach from him emotionally and then prepare for divorce and moving. It’s a bit like a body catching a cold but then builds immunity and has more immune strength in the long run. These days I’m very suspicious of people who are overly nice or flattering — it seems inauthentic.

        • wasband never remembered my birthday. never got me a card or a gift unless initiated by my children. .. .. suddenly texted me happy birthday the month after i filed divorced papers. i found out about his troll girlfriend on feb 9, 2014. filed the divorce papers the next day, and was finalized march 20, 2014. my birthday is march 16. .. .he texted “happy birthday. i bet you thought i would not remember”

          who does that shit.

  • For a couple months after he moved out to be with OW, my husband would come over every Tuesday evening while OW was a (secular) choir practice. We’d have a cup of tea, I’d listen to him moan about OW’s unreasonable husband, and I pick me danced.

    Finally I came to my senses. When I told him not to come around any more, he shook a fist at me and shouted, ‘I can’t believe it, not when I’ve been so kind to you!’

    Wow…

    • That’s just it isn’t it, the nice comes out as long as you are playing along but make them mad and you see the real them.

  • My ex is a salesman. I always said you were born to sell, it’s a gift you just can’t be taught. I used to be amazed by this talent. Then over the years I would listen to him talk to other salesman who he thought screwed him, or stole a deal. I told him man I would never want to be treated the way you treat them. He would laugh. I did turn into them, I am the enemy. He actually tried to teach a life lesson to the kids one time recently in front of their teacher at pick up from school, ‘kids when you do something for someone else you expect something back, isn’t that right teacher?’ Tried to get agreement from the teacher, she said uh no that is not how kindness works. Something in him is broken.

    • Yes, I’ve decided there’s a real difference between “reciprocity” and “quid pro quo”. And I think it’s related to the difference between “kind” and “nice.”
      My stbx was always “quid pro quo,” but had no clue about “reciprocity.”

      • In my mind, reciprocity means “I offer to do things for you with no expectation of anything in return” but then “you offer to do things for me, independently” – with the back and forth lubricated by respect, empathy and common standards. Maybe at the end of the day it resembles quid pro quo because when you add up all the columns they’re roughly balanced, but it’s done voluntarily and out of kindness and mutual generosity. I don’t keep careful track of the balance of favors in my relationships so it took me 16 years to realize how seldom my XW ever volunteered to meet my needs.

        The key is that you remember that you can’t compel the other person to do anything – you can only do what feels right to you and hope that they’ll recognize and respond to you. If the other person doesn’t get it, you need to dial back your dependence on that person. I can’t go NC because of kids, but I’ve learned to never, ever, ever, engage with my XW with the goal of changing her behavior. All of us are here because our ex-spouses failed at reciprocity during the marriage, and it’s the height of madness to believe they’ll start to evince it during the divorce.

        • Damn straight. We are here because our spouses were selfish. “Who they are” shows up every time. X used to say I made him “better” because he thought nothing of showing up at others houses for dinner empty handed. Also… his lack of reciprocity was not only evident on holidays, special occasions, and birthdays, but in every day life. X always wanted something new (he was big into his hobbies) and play acted how torn he was whenever a decision had to be made. Whenever we had extra money he always got a new toy, or travelled to compete often without family because we couldn’t afford for all of us to go. Wow. He just “never knew what to get others.” This in a relationship is a red flag now and no longer works. Recently went on a vacation with family and all those big and small gestures were noted. Selfish people don’t go out of their way to please others unless they get something in return.

      • Mine had the same problem. He expected quid pro quo. He didn’t like receiving or perhaps didn’t understand genuine kindness because then he felt he owed the other person. He only accepted kindness when he felt entitled to it for whatever reason or didn’t recognize it for what it was so it didn’t go in his mental ledger. The biggest issue is that he doesn’t state his expectations up front. He will do something nice for someone (in the past it was often me) and that someone thinks he is being kind. It turns out that he is expecting great things in return but he wont’ tell you what those things are and whatever you come up with on your own to show reciprocity and/or appreciation for what you thought were his “kind” acts goes unnoticed by him because it isn’t the unmentioned reward he is expecting. It is like having your name signed to a loan or some other obligation without your knowledge and you don’t find out until you get a call from the collection agency.

        • Stbx expected me to read his mind, too. Since I couldn’t/didn’t, it is my fault he had to go find comfort elsewhere. (eyeroll). Part of adulting is requesting/asking your partner to meet your needs (not demanding or expecting partner to be telepathic and then sulking or punishing partner for being human).

        • well said and yes. .. .. i had the same issue.. . i never could figure out what he wanted. then he says i did not treat him right.. .. umm. so my asking him a million times, what is wrong, what does he need. what does he want. how can i make it better, what did i do wrong. what does he want to be happy.. .. etc etc on top of trying to communicate like a normal adult, i would do little and big things to show him how much i loved him and appreciated him. and so it would go unnoticed because it was not the act that he wanted. .. . i used to tell him that i was no mind reader but if he would tell me what he wanted i would try my best to do it for him.. . HA

  • O. M. G. Tracey.
    Thank you. Yes. He is nice, everyone thinks so. Hell I think he’s nice also. But he’s also a liar a cheater and a manipulator. And just cant say no to sex with other women. Ugh. But I have never seen it in black-and-white, the difference between kind and nice. Because believe me I’ve heard it “but he such a nice guy he wouldn’t do it again.” Bullshit, second time hurt worse than the first. And shame on me if I take them back again. I would lose my family and I would lose my heart. Nice stops at midnight or at my front door!

  • Nice is exactly how I would describe her. I would add nice also does things to make people see them as a nice. They don’t do hard, they do easy things, they don’t do private, they do public things. My ex always said she wanted to volunteer in a soup kitchen. Never did. But she organized the school fund raiser and tree lighting and walked in the St Patrick’s Day Parade, walked right by me didn’t even say hi and we were suppose to be working to save our marriage. Yeah she’s nice. A nice cunt, can I say that here? PS, she’s also still with her illegal alien car washer OM. Even introduced him to our two kids. Nice.

    • You should have grabbed a large green beer and joined the parade dressed as St. Patrick. Walking right behind her you could have shook your staff at her and shouted “Out of blessed Erin thou foul snake!…I command thee…Be gone serpent!…Depart from the Emerald Isle slithering fork tongue!” all the through the parade route.

      Good fun and you’d have ruined St. Patrick’s Day for her forever.

    • Do you think he might be duping her to get legal status and she is too dumb to see she is being conned?

      I am not being cruel. But if he is from Mexico, and she is not a virgin of childbearing years- He does not have a legitimate interest in her. It is just their culture. Neither bad nor good.

      If he is a young Mexican man, who has never had a family, this will be the most important thing to him. Having children. A divorced woman who is older than him would only be seen as a meal ticket or a means to an end.

      Mexico still has very patriarchal and machismo norms. Especially in the lower classes and you stated he washes cars.

      I do free legal work for hundreds of illegal immigrants in the south who pick produce. I am bilingual and I listen to everything they say. And I’m telling you that they see older American women who have already had kids and been to a marriage as damaged goods. I don’t agree with it -I’m just telling you that’s how they think.

      What I have observed the most is the good looking ones will find an American woman who is older and has money. They use her for knowledge of America and resources. But then they always have a very young girl in Mexico that they call on Sundays. This is who they want to marry. This is who they send the American’s woman money to- and their mothers.

      They absolutely prefer to marry in the Mexican culture. Mexican women, in their minds, are the only ones that know how to cook the food they like – just like their Madres! (Mother’s).

      Of course there are exceptions. But I have spent hundreds of hours with many Mexican men who do not earn a lot of money.

      They place a lot of pride on their masculinity and that masculinity is demonstrated by having children with a woman they deem as “pure”. 🙄 Read virgin.

      I wonder if this bitch you were married to is not being conned in the long game. You may have the last laugh.🤨

      • I think you could have written this entire post about patriarchal culture without specifying a nationality – and I truly wish you had. I absolutely grasp your lack of negative intent. Still, if I were a member (or perceived member) of a group of people a person called out in a post like this, I would feel pretty marginalized — because that’s what stereotyping does.

        This patriarchy you experience with the people you have encountered is alive and well in the majority populations in our country, too. Spend 5 days working with politicians and cute, fresh young pages — or at a golf club that employs lots of teens — or even trying to become a middle school teacher (the sexually predatory language adults use about children an alrming amount of the time is precisely why I dropped my Ed major) — and that sad reality shows itself really fast.

        I just want everyone to feel welcome here, so I like to see us use our energy to call out behaviors rather than apply stereotypes to groups. Calling out cheaters is calling out people who choose behaviors. Calling out patriarchy is the same. We don’t choose where we are born, or to whom, or the culture in which we grow up, so those are things we need to work to understand and accept in others, in my opinion.

        I hope that is something folks can receive with respect, even if it’s challenging to hear or if you disagree.

        • Thank you, Amiisfree. I was thinking the same thing about how in the conservative Christian (American) culture I was raised in I am also seen as damaged goods. I’ve been told that I should be careful about dating because only pedophiles or free loaders will be interested in me. THIS is patriarchy.

        • The OW is my ex’s age, three years older than me. That was just another thing that REALLY messed with my head because he didn’t leave me for someone younger and firmer. By the time I was discarded I truly felt worthless. I wanted to die. I look back now and think how messed up I was, to want to die over a fuckwit and a skank! But that’s how it feels for a lot of us. Thank God I’m at a MUCH better place these days. He married his skank this last January and at first I was ambivalent (as I was already divorced three years (and by then I realized how fortunate I was to have been discarded.) But now I think, “Now he gets what he wanted!” I have a feeling it’s impression management on both their parts; so they can show everybody, “See. It was twu luv!” In fact, one of my son’s girlfriends said to another son, “Why don’t you like OW? She’s so nice!” I had to accept the fact that these self-centered creeps are master manipulators and unless you yourself have had personal experience, you could be just as easily deceived by them. He’s not my problem anymore.

          • And I’m of Hispanic descent formerly married to a blond-haired blue-eyed man. He used to call me his senorita. Narcissism has no ethnicity.

  • Glad you reran this as I hadn’t seen it, it’s so true. My STBX is so very nice, and being so very nice about the settlement………..gliding on the surface of the water. Underneath his fat hairy legs are paddling as fast as they can to hide his assets!
    He keeps telling me, from the start I’ve always promised I’d be fair and transparent, not sure who he is trying to convince! He really does think he is “nice”.
    Nah, I trust you suck d**k head.

    • “Underneath his fat hairy legs are paddling as fast as they can to hide his assets!” Lol. Isn’t it great to see this so clearly now?!
      Dick head is right!!!!

  • In therapy I’m working on understanding that I am an empathetic, kind person. My “nice” STBXW comes from a “nice” family and, after 18 years (including all of my young adult years to approaching middle age), I’m trying to re-learn what love (and kindness) LOOK like. “Nice” is, no doubt, impression management mindfuck.

  • Looking at nice vs kind after basically being erased four years ago I clearly see that all acts of kindness on his part were tiny reinforcers to maintain power and control.

    Yet they were so infrequent I magnified them to be significant. See he really does care. NOT.

    And there was no appreciation of the actual kindness I demonstrated repeatedly like maintaining his grandmothers yard, planting flowers every year when she couldn’t. Or caring for his disabled uncle so she could take a vacation.

    Raising children in that environment where true kindness was never appreciated, just expected, trickled down over the years.

    I’ve taken care of my daughters dog for two ten day vacations since divorced. She thanked me prior to sitting. When she arrived home from the first trip, instead of a token of appreciation I was yelled at because a plant died. The second time I sat I asked her for a sweatshirt because she was going to one of my favorite places. Again nothing.

    Recently, I returned her key and no longer care for HER pet on Saturdays after her STBX cheating husband who lives in the home accused me of stalking him when I put my garbage in his trash can. While this is all stupid petty shit I’m no longer interested in perpetuating the role I’ve been cast in.

    I’m aiming high, raised the bar. Kindness should be met with appreciation. Four years of taking her dog out every Saturday while she works double shifts and not even a card on mother’s day. I’m so tired of selfless giving.

    • I went through something similar doingme. My ex bf’s daughter’s dog was basically dumped on me the day they were leaving on an 11 day vacation to Scotland( I was not invited), the petsitter cancelled last minute. Chumpy me says sure I’ll help you out, when asked by bf’s daughter. I used a walker 3x with their permission because I have a life. When they got back, not only was I not thanked and she didn’t buy me a gift, my bf gave me shit for using a dog walker because I was spending “their” money ( it was $55), and tried to refuse to pay for it. I flipped and walked out and broke up with him two days later, it was just more shit piled on the shit sandwich of him wanting to buy into my house but will it to his daughter so I would lose my home( its all I have, while she will get millions). Boundaries will be put in place( chumpy me didn’t have any yet when we met). Lesson learned.

  • Exactly a week after DDay ex video called to speak to the kids. When they got bored and wandered off he told me I looked pretty and that he missed me. The next breath, he chose to tell me that all of those co workers (he works 320 miles away where he now lives) who knew he was married that he kept OW a secret from? Well they all knew about her now and he was starting to introduce her to them all. Neat huh?

    Mental.

    • They have no sense of what’s appropriate. After I moved out I went over to “our” house for a meeting on the division of assets, and he started to tell me, excitedly, all his plans to take over the spaces I’ve vacated. Mental, indeed.

  • I have court today. My ex-husband is a really nice minister of word and sacrament. But he’d like to pay significantly less child support, so…
    Court. I’d call that unkind.

    Pray for me to be able to protect my children from this insanity today.

  • My ex felt sorry for junkies, and alcoholics, apparently they had bad childhoods, I had a terrible childhood, no sympathy for me, but I’m not either of the above. A psychiatrist told me most addicts had normal childhoods. I was told addicts get away with bad behaviour. My exs ow, used to tell terrible lies, and would expect sympathy, she gave entitlement new meaning!

  • I just noticed the name used in the article….ha!

    I don’t think anyone used nice to describe the X. He was kind on occasion but those moments happened very rarely. He always talked about his “one feeling”. That must have been the one in his penis.

  • DD17 and I had a conversation recently about nice V kind. She raised the question and gets this at her age. Thankfully she gets her emotional intelligence from me !!

    This post sums up exactly how I see my cheater now. This is the post I want to show people to explain how his ‘niceness’ makes me feel so uncomfortable as it’s not a good thing. It’s fake and purely impression management

  • His identity revolved around being seen as a “nice” guy. But I realized that he’s not kind, and he only puts enough effort into being nice to maintain his image.

    His niceness is mostly lip service. He talks it up big but doesn’t do much following through. He volunteers a lot, but something always comes up at work or with his family that keeps him from following through.

    It’s just image management for him. He couldn’t care less about anybody but himself. Nice is sparkly. Nice helps deflect from red flags. “But he’s so nice” has helped him weasel out of a lot of bad behavior.

  • Yep this is the disordered cognitive dissonance argument waging across US— everyone wants to opinion it but these words, nice and kind, actually have separate meanings, learn them and live them and stay away from those who think they are synonyms. My ex, like many others, loves to tell people how nice he is, but his actions says otherwise, watch the actions because they are telling you the whole story.

  • This is why cognitive dissonance is such a fucker to work through… their reality vs. what is truly real! As Mr. Sparkles was standing in my kitchen days before moving out, he remarked that he would always be there for me… if I ever needed a HUG or anything… in that moment, I knew he was batshit crazy, I just didn’t know what to call it.

    Here are some examples of the difference between Nice and Kindness as I look back now:

    Nice: We need to spend more time together as a couple. I miss you.
    Kind: I’ve arranged for the kids to go to my Mom’s for the weekend and we are going to WineFest!

    Nice: I will go to counseling because WE need to fix US.
    Kind: I cheated on you and I know you may never forgive me, but here are my credit card records – here is a GPS tracker you can put on my car, here is the counseling schedule for me because I need to figure out why I did this so I don’t do it again.

    Nice: Let’s not involve lawyers in the divorce. We can sort this out as adults.
    Kind: I will not contest anything that you need. The divorce is my fault because I cheated on you.

    Nice: We’ve done a great job raising the kids.
    Kind: You are a really great Mom/Dad – you’ve been there 100% and the kids love you.

    Nice: I was only on personal ads because I’m lonely for you.
    Kind: I have a problem and no woman/man will be enough for me until I deal with it.

    Kindness shows itself in action. Nice expresses itself in words.

  • BAM got up very early and would steal the neighbor’s Sunday paper off his doorstep because he knew he wouldn’t be seen doing it. I gave him kibbles for walking the three blocks to get my paper … until I figured out what he was doing. This was a grown and well paid man who is loved by all for his charm and humor. When no one is looking? Watch out … piece of shit coming through.

  • My ex. Hum. Nice guy. Good boss. Office parties, turkeys at Thanksgiving. Kind? Nope. Hidden assets, cheating on wife. Cheating business partners, sister out of profits etc. Nice to your face. The things he said about his business partners and our friends behind closed doors, neither kind nor nice.

  • Kind

    The kind who made me pay for my Easter dinner while spending money on hotels with various OW

    The kind who modeled new boxers to get my opinion when he was fucking OW

    The kind who couldn’t plan or take time for a vacation yet was able to book a trip with OW within weeks for her birthday.

    The kind who bragged about my accomplishments and then bragged she didn’t care if he was married and made no money.

    The kind who erases a lifetime in a moment and tells his adult children it’s because I never forgave him for cheating.

    The kind who calls the police with false allegations and the next week tells his adult daughter he’d be willing to talk to me after 4 years of no contact.

    The kind who believes he’s done nothing wrong and can justify his actions with lies.

    That’s the kind I stay away from for life. Talk to him? What an entitled mitherfucker who above all else has to maintain his disordered image.

    Once you’ve got your power back keep that door locked down as yes, indeed they circle back in an attempt to taste that delicious centrality.

    Guessing all’s not well in cuntsville. Don’t care.

  • You should have grabbed a large green beer and joined the parade dressed as St. Patrick. Walking right behind her you could have shook your staff at her and shouted “Out of blessed Erin thou foul snake!…I command thee…Be gone serpent!…Depart from the Emerald Isle slithering fork tongue!” all the through the parade route.

    Good fun and you’d have ruined St. Patrick’s Day for her forever.

  • My ex always played the smiley-face, cheerful role too – except when he used to knock the shit out of me behind closed doors (or occasionally out in the street). When I had finally had enough and took him to court on domestic violence charges, he sat there sobbing saying “how COULD you do this to me”. He lied to his lawyer and swore blind he had never touched me, but on his file I saw that my lawyer had given his lawyer two separate attestations from doctors describing my bruising. When he got convicted his lawyer winked at me!

  • Yes to everything above!!! My cheater ex was a nice guy. Everyone thought so. After I told him I wanted a divorce and thru all of the drama of parting and going our separate ways after being together since we were 16……he wanted to remain friends. “I’d love to be able to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine together on occasion”. And you know, as I was going no contact (tried and failed many times), I actually thought maybe it was possible to still remain friends. But he just continued to “nice” me to my face and hurt me over and over again every chance he got. I am no contact and have been for a few years. Distance reveals truth and protects you from hurt.

  • They are totally lacking compassion. That is why the whole shark eyes while you are in tears is so frightening.
    They are sharks.

  • This is one of my favorite CL posts because I think it’s so hard for some of us Chumps to believe ourselves that our cheater isn’t the great person everyone else believes them to be. I was stuck on this for a long time, thinking Ex must be right, it’s me who’s the problem, not him because everyone loves him and thinks he’s a great guy and he does nice things for people all the time, etc. I finally figured out his “niceness” was a combination of impression management and in a fucked up way, keeping the balance sheet even.

    Any kindness he showed me had to be done publically. He was really good at big gestures, like taking me on a surprise trip to Greece for my 40th birthday, or sending me flowers at work for my birthday. But it was always things that other people could see and admire him for; when we were behind closed doors he never did anything nice for me without expecting something in return. Nothing was ever free. And when I quit work to be a SAHM, the flowers stopped. In his mind there was no point in sending them if I was the only one who admired him for sending them.

    The part that confused me for a long time was how much he seemed to enjoy helping other people. He would totally be the guy who picked up the spilled groceries in the parking lot. He drove around in his truck in the winter and helped people who had slid off the road. He unloaded trucks at a local food pantry. By all appearances, he was a kind person who loved helping people. And that’s where I think the balance sheet comes in. While he was doing all those good deeds he was also watching hours and hours of sick pornography, keeping lists of porn star statistics, and spending thousands of dollars on sex trade workers in strip clubs. Not to mention, cheating on me, exposing me to disease, risking my life, stealing funds from our family, emotionally abusing me and the kids, drinking heavily, possibly doing drugs and who knows what else. I’ve come to believe that in a twisted way, he used his good deeds to balance out all the rest of the evil he was doing. I think in his mind, if he did nice things or kind things for people, he was entitled to his dark side, never once thinking about the toll all of it was taking on me and the kids because he was always the only one who mattered.

    The plus side is that I am now singularly unimpressed by big gestures. I look for small kindnesses and quiet gestures of appreciation to see what kind of person someone is on the inside. Private kindness will always be more meaningful to me than public niceness.

    • Beth,
      Brilliantly said. I think that my last partner also subscribed to the ‘balance sheet mentality.’ In his last correspondence to me, through email as, unbeknownst to me, he had blocked me on his phone, social media, etc., and shortly after I discovered that he had been lying to me, he wrote that he was ‘trying to do better (for his new partner?)’ and ‘I don’t want to talk to you, RockStarWife, right now (most likely meant ever but was too wimpy even in email to me, the woman he claimed was his friend of 30 years as well as girlfriend, to say so)’ and ‘I don’t want to dwell on the past (yeah, I realize that I tend to be ‘backward-looking,’ but I think that he mainly wanted to avoid ‘facing the music’ (consequences) of being unmasked, of anyone knowing his true character).’ I think that my ex-boyfriend thinks that if you treat one person like trash but treat another person beautifully, then you make the balance sheet balance. The thinking seems to go something like, ‘If I have gone home and kicked me dog umpteen times but ‘give’ at the office, which he did generously to his work subordinate, then he has balanced the books and has earned a pass into the greatest circle in heaven and deserves the greatest esteem of colleagues, friends, relatives. What a screwy, unreasonable way of thinking–I think to justify one’s bad behavior and assuage one’s own uncomfortable feelings about himself for behaving unethically and unkindly.

      • I think my ex just wanted a do over starting with a clean slate. That’s his idea of a “second chance”.

  • My X-MIL was from the Midwest and she was “nice”, but I never met another person I disliked so intensely.

    We lived in NY and she would accompany us everywhere and especially when she came to a Sunday church service and darling son was singing, the niceness would ooze from her pores especially when meeting my XH adoring fans. But she was the most unkind person I ever met. She was unkind to restaurant help and anyone who couldn’t make her feel sparkly. After only a few months of marriage, I realized what she was and over the next 29 years distanced myself whenever she and my FIL came to visit (BTW, he was a lovely, lovely man). I never realized XH had her qualities. He was always the consummate salesman and made friends easily. I loved this about him, until I realized he was just like his mother and need sparkles to exist.

    I’m so glad my life is free of the “nice” façade. Give my kindness any day!

  • My ex was so nice. So nice that he’d lie and do anything to keep people thinking he was nice and basic.

    3 years before DD, I was seriously considering ending the marriage. We weren’t happy and I knew there was something missing, something off about him. What had really pushed me over the edge was him lying to his mother about something really insignificant. Years ago, he had smoked. His sister did as well. But his parents only knew about her. Once, when his mother was really nagging at her about smoking, she spilled the beans and told her that my ex smoked as well. He denied it. For years, even years after he quit, this came up again and again and he denied it.

    Finally, his mom said to him, “Don’t lie to me. Look me in the eyes and be honest. Did you smoke?” And he looked at her, right in the eyes, and said “I never smoked.” Sick, huh? Then she looked at me and said “Did he?” And I said “Yes,” AND she said “Are you calling my son a liar?”

    Well there you go. That explains a lot.

  • This one really hits home for me. Cheater was SO NICE. Everyone thought Carol39 was SO BITCHY.

    But image management… constantly… is really hard to put up with. At one point, I dragged Cheater to a new church with me, thinking it would help him. He was really angry and didn’t want to go, but I pressured him, told him he needed to change. Finally he grudgingly went.

    And then I see him standing there chatting with the elders, and they ask him what brings him to church. Any honesty would have been, “My wife is forcing me to go because I’m a cheater and liar.” But of course he couldn’t say that. Instead, he coolly recounted how his father had once been a missionary, and he said, “I got away from church for a few years, especially with my job being so busy, but now I guess I’m coming back to my roots. But my wife… this is her first time in a church like this, so please try to make her feel welcome.”

    And I’m sure they thought that me standing back there glaring daggers was my resistance to being forced to come to church.

    What a tool.

    • Oh yep. This is xaclty something my ex would do. He made me look like the bitch who could never be satisfied and hit the long suffering husband who cared so much but couldn’t do anything right.

      • Yep! Me too!
        I was the controlling, belittling, bitch!

        Now anytime I voice concern over anything to do with our child I am labeled as being to demanding. Yes, it’s too demanding to think that he and his girlfriend would bathe our child after a day at the lake.

    • you just reminded me how wasband would make me out to be the bitch.. .. it never bothered me at first because i am the type of person who does not care what other people think of me.. .. .. .. but 15 years of this and he actually had me convinced that i hated his family. his sisters and mom think i am a bitch. because he told them i never let him visit his family. he told me that so often that i started believing it myself.

      i was his excuse whenever he did not want to do something. if someone asked him to do something or go visit or to a party/bbq/celebration and he did not want to go, he would tell them that his wife wont let him go.. .. most of the times, i never even knew he had been asked. at the end of our marriage, he started to believe all his own lies also. he tried to say that i kept him from his family.. .. of course i did nothing of the sort but that has been his excuse for 15 years that he actually believes it himself.

      you cant logic with crazy

  • My X asshat exported 2 cats from the Middle East while he was expat there, sending them each home to the US a year apart. It was complicated and he had to figure out all of the health checks and airline regulations and deal with a bunch of corruption and payoffs to get these adorable creatures away from their certain death.

    He wrote an exhaustive, multi-paragraph email complete with instructions, maps, links and all other kinds of tips and tricks on how to do it. Sent it to a few co-workers there who had fallen in love with the feral kitties and wanted to bring them home too. Quite the hero. So NICE.

    Me? I didn’t even get the courtesy to know his flight itineraries coming and going. All I got was a time that I shall appear at the airport to pick up his highness. No flight numbers, no routing info, nothing. And upon arrival I didn’t even get a kiss hello after months of him being gone, you know, because he never did public displays of affection. I understood that was just his way. (Side note–he ain’t hugging Schmoopie either. Passive aggressive is his game and I am sure she is being punished constantly for some offense.) He wrote that huge e-mail to be so shiny and get lots of kibbles from the co-workers, but I was on the devalue track and didn’t warrant even basic information, much less a ‘thank you’ for holding down the fort while he trotted around the globe for months.

    And the cats? He quickly ignored them when they got home. One doesn’t even know him anymore and so he decided to let me have her when he poofed. The one he took to Europe this spring (Schmoops lives there so he moved permanently) has been ignored much to her health detriment, having been forgotten and left out all night on his apartment balcony in frigid weather, allowed to have untreated fleas and a constantly unscooped litter box, and most recently left to run and got injured somehow that she has paralysis in her hip requiring surgery. Big time neglect. Yes, taking care of them every day forever is not what he wants to do, he wants the shiny fun of the rescue and wants to make sure everyone sees that. So NICE of him to rescue them, especially since he got to parade that around his co-workers. The daily kindness required to keep them? Not interested in the slightest.

    • Now I C
      He’s certainly not Kind! Anyone treating animals in that way is a cold sociopath. It seems to me he wanted people to see how nice & kind he was but his true personality came out.

      Let his schmoopie have him with his fake life.. she’ll eventually be his next victim. Cheaters never change.
      Your so much better without his toxic presence.

      Good luck 👍🏻

  • The word kindness means so much to me.
    It is my favourite attribute in another person.
    Anyone can be nice, even cheaters, but kindness, that is a whole new level, an upper level, at the height of human qualities and attributes.
    Cheaters care only about themself and their own wants and needs. They do not possess the kindness gene.
    They sure can be nice, but kindness is never natural to them. Never!

    Kindness to me is my daughters, my grandchildren, my many treasured friends.
    Kindness is people like Jeep Tess, ( she was the first to reach out, indeed, to wrap her arms and heart around me when I first mustered up the courage to post here).
    Kindness is Tempest, who reaches out to me on many occasion with her words of wisdom, encourage and support.
    Kindness is CL, CN, every single day, reaching out, caring about each other.
    Kindness is understanding.

    Kindness counts!
    ❤️

  • UGH!!! If I hear ONE more time that he was such a nice guy!!!I always answer with nice guys don’t abandon their wives for crazy married ladies.

  • XW kept saying that she “did a bad thing, but wasn’t a bad person”. Apparently she couldn’t connect the dots that bad people are considered bad people because they do bad things to others. This is how they think.

    Nice is perception. It doesn’t have much substance behind it. This is pretty much the max level that a cheater exists upon.

    • Zell, I’ve had this exact same conversation with my ex more than once. I say “Doing good things is what makes someone a good person. Doing bad things, and feeling badly about it later, doesn’t make somebody a good person.”
      She never figured out what I meant.

      • That’s because you might as well be speaking Arabic to an American, or vice versa! They have no idea what you’re talking about!

  • My ex is the Queen of Stage Management. She has spent the last 3 years carefully cultivating a public reputation as this embattled, selfless and above all else nice single mom who just wants to love her children and achieve success in personal fitness. Her ex-husband (that would be me) is this evil, rotten, sadistic troll who just can’t get over things, doesn’t want to make her tragic life easier, and is mean to her every chance he gets. Occasionally, he’s also mentioned as someone who is bitter, won’t forgive “mistakes,” and all around unwilling to let things go (sound familiar, CN?). At least, that’s what I hear from other people who tell me how awesome she is.
    It just burns me up sometimes. I know that she’s actually a serial cheater who actually ignores her kids all weekend; she hates to have them one minute more than her appointed custody time. There are no rules or chores at Mom’s house. She has a bit of a drinking problem, and for all her “selflessness” somehow never helps out with her daughter’s Girl Scouts. Even her fitness achievements aren’t all their cracked up to be; she loves to promote how much she runs, what great shape she’s in, and puts up pictures of herself exercising, but all you have to do is look at her. Surely the size of her ever-expanding caboose (not intended as an insult towards anybody who is not fit) should make people have doubts about that.
    Meanwhile, I get dirty looks at the dance studio, school, and grocery store all the time by people I barely know, or don’t know at all. I guess they buy all the hogwash.
    I realize there are plenty of chumps who have to deal with cheaters that get public awards, get lionized as saints, or even promoted working in churches and religious organizations (which just makes me ill). I just wish there was some kind of device that would show people her real character.
    Someone once asked me why she kept blowing off helping out at Girl Scouts. I told her to ask my ex to help with something where there would be plenty of photo opportunities for Facebook. She would show up if she could show everyone else how nice she was, but not at a regular meeting in the basement. The mom was taken aback by my suggestion, but she did it anyway. Yes, my ex did show for that one.

  • The STBX was going through boxes of his stuff after moving out. He sent me a text that said He found so many things I had given him over the years and I was very kind to do so. I wanted to punch him in the nuts. I told him that I am kind to small children, pets and old people because it is the right thing to do, and that I gave him those gifts because I genuinely loved him.

    These disordered fuck wits have no idea what nice or kind is, or the difference. They show kindness to appear nice. Not because it is the right thing to do. Love to them is just going through the motions to maintain the life they want so they appear normal.

    We need to teach high school classes in recognizing these disorder monsters. I had no idea someone could be that way. I remember hearing after 9/11 that we should have predicted and protected citizens from this kind of behavior. My thought was that a normal, good person could not have ever imagined the behavior let alone predict it.

    Because of who I am I had no armor to protect myself. No vocabulary for his actions. No way to predict. I’m an educated professional who would like to think I’m pretty savvy when it comes to people. …..maybe not so much.

  • This column comes at an appropriate time for me, never having seen it before. It is quite interesting how this applies to all the people in one’s life. A devastating medical diagnosis will tell you who your real friends are. That is what they do-they think they are being nice, like the one who called her after her surgery and said, “tell me quick, how are you.” This was a 20 year long “friend”. But this “friend”, never, ever said one time throughout the ordeal which continues with some of the worst things happening and potential of happening, “Please tell me if I can do anything for you.” What this “friend”did, who would think of them self as a nice person, was show their unkindness, and what they wanted done for them-and to do it QUICK.

  • Pretty sure I had the poster child for Nice. “Nice guy” is his schtick and he is sooooo good at it. For me, this was one of several of CL’s top concepts to come to understand. And, this clarity in what I was dealing with catapulted me to go to work to get away from it (as in file for divorce).

    It still amazes me that these people exist. That they can be so evil at the core and yet execute a mindfuck to the degree that they do to have so many people fooled into believing that they are “nice” people (including those closest to them).

    Nowadays, it’s rather hard for me to say about virtually anyone, “He/she’s a good guy/gal.” Instead, I find myself inserting the words “seems like” — because just surface knowledge of a person can be so very misleading (I’ve learned the hard way).

  • I found that “niceness” was a quality my cheater could turn on and off at the drop of a hat.

    When I first met him I thought he was wonderful. Not only did he love bomb, but he was nice to me and everyone else in my presence.

    As the years unfurled, however, I noticed he could be very NOT nice when he felt like it. I used to say, “I’m glad you’re on my side, because I’d hate to be your enemy.” At the end of our relationship, he was nice to everyone but me. I became his enemy (but I like to think I rose to the occasion and became a worthy and intimidating antagonist).

    I thought my ex was kind, too, because he did occasionally perform acts of kindness.

    The “nice” and the faux kindness are both one in the same—elements of the narcissistic mask. Once they drop the mask, we can see them for who they really are, and their true natures have nothing to do with niceness or kindness.

    After our divorce and I had been doing NC for quite some time, I was with a girlfriend when we ran into my ex. Right in front of me, he turned on the charm and started “nicing” her. She knew the whole sordid cheating story, but for a minute I could see she was taken in. They know their powers, and are quite deft at this. I finally had to say, “I have to get going,” and she snapped out of her trance and we left, but it was quite a masterful display of narcissistic nicing.

  • I remember when good friends of ours daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer, I immediately went ballistic on ‘what can we do?” ‘Lets make a lasangna and just bring it over, and leave it at their front Evil Sky Pilot reply ‘lets just leave them, this is a private matter”
    Ya he was the ‘nice guy’ that everyone likes, and I was the bat shit crazy wife and was nutso to help others.

    I now know ‘nice’ versus ‘kind”

  • Fucktard X was the nicest guy. If anyone asked him to do anything, he would delegate the task to me, what with his busy schedule. Nevermind that I was working and going to grad school, or later building a labor intensive career. If I did anything on my own? Say like shuttling the folks at the rest home down the street to doctor appointments or planning parties for friends’ birthdays or buying/wrapping/shipping Christmas gifts or making Easter baskets for his extended family and cooking them dinner? Whatever it was, he would proudly take the credit. At the time, I thought we were a team. Now I know I was just his staff.

  • I forgot to mention know of several “nice” men who appear kind etc, all alcoholic, regularly cheating on wives/partners. Always giving good impressions, when you turn back to see their faces, smiles are quickly soon gone, turn to laughter, when they think your gone. Exs “friend” wants to be his special one, he has 4 girlfriends on the go, this lady, wants to be his special one, shame he cant take care of his 11 children, apparently she had a pregnancy scare. Exs friend has had several sexual harassment charges against him. Sad bastard, apparently he hates fat women, but he’s allowed to be fat!

  • Nice is Superficial Sparkles. It’s for the narcissist’s benefit. It is a lazy’s man’s way of thinking he has wings in heaven.

    Kind takes work. It is for the other person’s benefit. It is selfless. It comes from within.

  • “who is that jerk that nice person is married to? How can they be so pissed off all the time?”

    This^^^^^^^^

    I was constantly accused of being angry all the time by my ex. I was so frustrated by this cycle that we were in. He would do crappy things and then sprinkle it with a few nice things to smooth things over. I could never figure out why he would continue to do things that he knew hurt me. Then he would make up for it with flowers or a nice dinner out. I didn’t want to see the truth so I just kept getting more and more frustrated and angry when the same things kept happening.

  • My ex-cheater and his Owife are like this. She has been horrible to my kids to the point where one no longer visits, and my ex supports her irrational, obscenity-laden outbursts toward my kids and doesn’t support them in any way. However, if you saw them at the local school activity– Oh my! Butter doesn’t melt in their mouths. They are smiley, chatty, and just so so nice!

    The people who chit chat with them and socialize with them have NO clue what they’re really dealing with. However, anyone who asks me learns the truth. 🙂

  • Character: who you are when no one is looking. To me that distinguishes it. Nice is a play to the audience. Kindness is not motivated by the accolades.

  • Twice in the past few weeks and out of the blue, Two-Legged Rat, who’s so, so nice and so concerned about my health, emailed me an ad for no-copayment mammograms sponsored by our HMO. Who cares if he’s trampling on my boundaries after years of no contact (except for the occasional funeral or graduation)? How dare he even mention such a private issue to me? But he’s SOOOO nice, you know, I’m sure he’s been telling all my ex-friends how he’s helping me save money and prevent breast cancer at he same time. But ex-chump here is going to spend a little money on a small co-payment and get her mammogram somewhere else, of course.
    Meanwhile Two-Legged Rat, aka Mr. Nice, has no idea that unnice Chumpiest has online access to all his health insurance bills, so she knows about his antibiotics for STDs, his prostate problems, his high blood pressure that has him eating without salt, and his failing heart. And all this at 63 years old!
    Karma can really be a bitch.

  • In retrospect, mine wasn’t nice or kind–he is brilliant, charming, funny, and *seemed* self-reflective and emotionally insightful. Thoroughly love bombed, I thought those things plus his ardor added up to goodness. Over the years, he became more and more self-centered and cynical, but I put those changes down to struggle and disappointment. I am just starting to understand how character is stable, and that my earliest sense that he was “not as compassionate” as a previous boyfriend was spot on and an understatement.

  • Everyone always thought my stbx was a nice guy. He would fix everyone’s cars for little cash. Help out others. But, would moan and groan every time he had to be an adult at home.
    Would a nice guy cheat on his wife with her cousin. Would a nice guy slander his wife’s reputation to skank cousin? Cheaters are only nice when it benefits them. Now that my stbx dumped the skank. He now is so concerned about my health and if I need anything done around the house. Now that he found out the skank wasn’t the prize he thought she was. I am fine and do not want anything to do with his niceness.

  • Another blazing flag recognized post DDay: I never saw him show real empathy for anyone but our son, not even the family members he is closest to. Instead, he experiences the pain of others as an irritation and an imposition. What a prick.

    • My ex was like that too. He seemed annoyed by his family’s “neediness” and health problems. When his father was on his death bed he flew out. It seemed like he did it more out of obligation than real feeling. His dad died while he was there. When he flew back I gave him a hug and expressed my condolences (I was sad at his dad’s passing too) but he didn’t seem to react much. I also tried to give a few comforting words which he more or less ignored. I thought maybe he wanted to grieve alone and in peace so I kept the kids out of his hair and kept the household running and left him alone. Honestly, there was also a part of me that thought perhaps he didn’t really care that his dad had passed as he always seemed so generally disappointed in his family. Years later after DDay during our brief stint in reconciliation with the MC he accused me of being emotionally unavailable because I hadn’t asked him enough questions about his experience watching his dad die and didn’t do enough to comfort him at the time. I was stunned. I would have loved to have comforted him but I had no idea how or that he even wanted that from me, let alone what questions I was supposed to have been asking. I was emotionally available, what I failed at was being emotionally aggressive by making him talk to me about how he was feeling.

  • While I was going through cancer treatment my ex could not understand why people were bringing freezer meals over or setting up Gofundme pages or mowing the lawn (after he left).

    He actually complained about the freezer meals. Saying we (meaning me) could cook for ourselves. And asked me to tell the neighbor not to mow the lawn.

    They truly do not understand what kindness is.

    • He left. None of his damn business. Maybe he just can’t stand the idea of anybody else caring about your well being when he clearly didn’t.

    • People looking out for you and caring about you was messing up his Image Management of you as a hateful, hated monster.

      What a fucktard. Sorry you had to undergo cancer treatment, glad he’s gone. Good riddance.

  • As I get closer to Tuesday, I care less and less about his character flaws. He has lots of flaws. Any liar and cheater has deep flaws, by definition, as we all wish friends and neighbors would freaking acknowledge.

    What this post makes me think about is my own niceness and kindness.

    My one regret in my marriage is that I could have been kinder. Every day I could have been kinder both to him and to myself. If I’m ever in a relationship again I will work hard to bring my kindest self to it.

    I also want to be kind to myself as I negotiate my settlement. I don’t need to be nice to him or come across as nice to anyone else in the world. It’s my settlement and not theirs.

  • “Kindness responds to distress.” This really stood out to me. When I look back, I realize my cheating ex-boyfriend was especially cold to people in distress: His daughter when she had mental-health issues, his ex-wife when she was hospitalized for heart issues; me when I started going through the hormonal upheaval of my mid-40s; his parents when they slowed down cognitively.

    Zero empathy or compassion. Zero reciprocity. But, I was expected to take time off work to drive five hours to his city of residence to take him to get a vasectomy and LASIK surgery, and then take care of him afterwards. Bonus: I now realize he got the vasectomy so he could have sex with other partners and not have to worry about getting anyone pregnant. ‘Cause, you know, he didn’t do condoms.

    Kind people wear condoms.

    • I remember when one of the X’s good friends called because his dog has died and he asked for the X’s help. It was a big dog. The very unkind and not nice X said he was busy and didn’t have time (a lie). I was mortified and told him so. He shrugged it off as if it was nothing.

      His young adult son was diagnosed with bipolar late last year. After a couple of hospital stays, the son came back to our house. His father ignored him because he didn’t want to deal with the son’s issues. He showed no compassion or empathy for how his son’s life has changed forever. His son eventually went to live with his mom. I cried for that young man whose father is waste of human flesh.

    • “Kindness responds to distress.”

      I often question whether I am making my ex out to be more evil that he really is. But this line really sums it up. He does not and never has responded to people in distress. Not to me. Not even to his own child. In fact, while he was telling our child about the new child he was expecting with the OW, our daughter started crying. He did not react at all. Not even a hug to comfort her!

  • For some reason entry made me think of the day I was recovering from my thyroid surgery and my neck was stapled closed and I really couldn’t talk and the asshat ever so gently told me about all the opportunities he had to cheat on me and his relationship with his Schmoochie and that he no longer wanted to be married to me as the tears streamed down my face. He said it very nicely, no obscenities and in a soft voice, but he was not kind. He somehow thinks this type of disclosure was a good thing. This incident will forever be part of the “Asshat’s Greatest Hits” collection. Such a nice person, but kind, no.

  • Yes – I was married to a ‘nice’ asshole. He would talk bad behind EVERYONE’S backs! Always told me how stupid his friend (and my friend) so and so is…… Yet we get divorced and all of them side with the cheating piece of shit. So I guess he was right – they are all stupid.

  • Ex was always kind to ladies in destress. When his single, new to town female coworker got in a fender bender he rushed out to help her “because she had nobody else to turn to”. When the neighbor lady across the street had a water main leak he helped her figure out how to shut off the water. When his friend from high school died he flew out for a week to help out his widow. I always felt like I was “sharing” him in those instances and a part of me was kind of bothered by that but, after all, there is a shortage of good men in the world and I should be proud to be married to such a thoughtful, caring, kind and capable man. Never mind that the one time I got in a car accident he couldn’t be bothered to come offer me emotional support. When he told me he had kissed his female flight instructor because she told him how sad she was that her husband hadn’t kissed her in five years I was not ok with that kindness. This was the emotional affair that he did end when I told him it wasn’t ok. I guess eight years later Schmoopie’s 1 and 2 must have told him they weren’t getting laid enough so he just had to help them out because he is so kind and wants to make people feel better (except his wife, her feelings mean nothing).

    • Chumpinrecovery,

      What a knight in shining armor your ex was. NOT.

      I remember getting into a car accident on the freeway on a trip from boyfriemd’s home to mine one morning while he and I were a couple. I called him to tell him that I had been in an accident. His response: ‘It you hadn’t come over here, you wouldn’t have gotten into the accident.’ Why did I stay in this relationship after responses like this? I spackled, not wanting to believe that I heard what I had heard. A year later, I told him that I planned to move closer to him (approx. five miles from his house) as I had found a job located closer to him and my parents. Thought that he might be happy about this. His response, ‘You should stay in your current city (40 miles away).’ Yet he didn’t discard me then. Don’t know why, considering that he held me in such contempt. I suspect that he thought that if he just said/did enough hurtful things over the years. I would leave HIM so that he wouldn’t have to do the dirty work of discarding me. (He was/is very morally/emotionally/physically cowardly.) He finally got around to discarding me for the last time when he found someone he loved/lusted after (?) and considered worthy of the status of ‘real’ partner. Told me, ‘I felt guilty for leaving you for a couple of weeks, but I’m getting better’–and wanted ME to console HIM! What a sick relationship! And what a humiliating one to me. Considering how little he loved and respected me, I don’t know why I am hung up on this person a year past discard.

      What is that saying? ‘Never make a priority someone who considers you (at ‘best’) an option.’ Wish that I had followed that advice for the last 35 years. I learned the lesson WAY too late in life.

      My little bit of advice to younger readers: don’t hang around with someone who degrades (insults) you for years–that person knows that what he/she is doing is hurtful but just doesn’t care–and won’t get better for you! Better to rip off the band aid now–the pain will get only worse over time if you tolerate the abuse/mistreatment.

      • Oh RSW. I know. I know. Been there, done that.

        My big question for myself is not why I was discarded (more than once), but why it took me so long to see the massive red flags, and actually LISTEN to what these men were saying to me.

        My last cheater played ‘maybe, maybe not’ with me, on and off, for four years – talking about commitment, but never doing it. He redecorated his house (of course I helped), and moved out of the master bedroom into the smallest bedroom in the house, for his king single bed, and turned the master bedroom into a library.

        He literally SHOWED ME that there was literally NO ROOM for me in his life in the future. LITERALLY.

        It was around then that I decided to let go. You can’t argue with the facts.

        Yes, I could have held on, and bullied him, nagged him, pleaded with him, and attempted to control him by staying in his life as ‘friends’. I could have morphed even more, stuffed everything down, and swallowed the shit sandwich, all in the name of having a warm body next to me and someone to walk into a crowded room with.

        Except that I couldn’t, because somewhere in there I had some sense of pride, and some sense of self-preservation. Pretty tiny, but it was there.

        Don’t get me wrong; I was pissed off. I wanted HIM TO SAY SORRY and/or to morph into the man I wanted – the man I thought I was getting when I bought the initial handsomely-advertised package – the one that promised to meet all my needs.

        The hard part was accepting that I had no right to think this way about him. I couldn’t control him. His shitty character was all on him. My poor judgement was all on me.

        I read your post above and saw this:

        ‘It you hadn’t come over here, you wouldn’t have gotten into the accident.’ – Blameshifting and manifestly didn’t care about you.
        ‘You should stay in your current city (40 miles away).’ – I. Don’t. Want. You. Living. Near. Me.
        ‘I felt guilty for leaving you for a couple of weeks, but I’m getting better’ – ‘I am the most important person in my life, actually.’

        Of course he didn’t discard you. Why should he? It was working for him. He got to treat you badly and still have his needs met. They only discard you when they have found someone else.

        Someone you thought you knew turned out to be someone else. But you just didn’t know them well enough, and/or idealized them in comparison to your shitty husband.

        You have dodged an Exocet missile. But for some reason, you can’t let go of the injustice of it all.

        What do you want from him?
        an apology?
        for him to change into the man you mistakenly thought he was?
        for him to take you back, even if he continues to be a shit to you?
        for him to take out a full page ad in the NY Times saying how much more desirable and sexy you are than his current partner?
        for him to whip out a million carat engagement ring for you in front of 600 of your closest enemies?
        to leave you everything in his will?
        for his house to burn down?
        for his girlfriend to get something unpleasant that grows in a petrie dish?

        What does closure look like for you? Is it even remotely realistic?

        If not, maybe get back to the journaling and find out what it will take for you to put this rock down.

        • Lola,
          You are amazing–you made me laugh–the Exocet missile comment was so appropriate in a few ways!
          I suspect that some of my angst might stem from unresolved emotions and thoughts surrounding abuse as a teenager. (I was assaulted, and the perpetrator was never prosecuted and now seems to be a full-blown narcissist predator disguised as a wonderful Nice Guy husband/father who roams free.)
          I have started doing some cognitive writing exercises to try to understand my emotions and thoughts and thus help me ‘get off the hamster wheel of rumination.’ (It’s exhausting and torturous.) I hope that doing these exercises will lead to some relief–for not only my sake but the sake of those around me.

          • A good laugh is worth millions.

            I only wish I had thought of the Exocet line myself, but it’s what my sister said to me when I walked away from Abusive Disaster Relationship no 1, perilously close to marrying that piece of shit.

            Being a ruminator myself, I can safely say that rumination doesn’t fix anything, unless you learn from your mistakes and then don’t do them again.

  • Earlier this week, I was remembering two pivotal moments that occurred with ex narcopath, that really impacted our relationship.

    In both instances, I pulled out the grade A, top notch, industrial sized spackle because I really cannot believe that I did not leave him after the first moment.

    First moment: a few months after I moved my two children and I in to his house (with him and his two boys from a previous relationship) I hit a wall of complete and utter exhaustion emotionally. Ex was all sparkles and sunshine until I moved in and then it was pretty hard for him to maintain his mask so he was forgetting, on a fairly consistent basis, to tuck his narcissism in.

    I was doing all the motherly work of blending the children and merging the households and keeping up with homework and laundry and pets and he was sitting back and enjoying my doing EVERYTHING and asking more and more of me. He was becoming very controlling both emotionally and financially.

    This one particular morning, my kids were away overnight at my mother’s. He had gone to work and left me home with my two stepsons. I was struggling with my oldest stepson who had ADHD and ODD and who swore at me a lot and was very difficult to transition from one activity to the next. Ex had become very hands-off with his parenting of this boy and everything was on me. Add to the fact, that this boy was being told by his bio mom that I was an evil witch stepmother and he didn’t have to listen to me, I was at my wits end.

    I had already spoken to ex about making sure his boys were up and dressed and fed and oldest boy was to have his meds before he left for work (because oldest boy fought me on everything) and ex would agree, but when it came down to it, he would leave for work without the boys being taken care of.

    I woke up that morning and ex was gone to work. I go downstairs with a feeling of dread and the house is a disaster. I did not go to bed with it looking like that. Boys are watching some violent TV show and demand I make them breakfast. I ask them to get dressed and make their beds and they tell me to “fuck off”. I ask oldest boy if he had his pill, again, am told to “fuck off”. At this point i am just DONE with these attitudes and I tell them they can fend for themselves, I am heading down to the local coffee shop and will be back (they were old enough to leave home alone).

    I get to coffee shop and order my breakfast. Ex calls from work, he is on his break and I break down crying, that I am overwhelmed, I can’t take the boys talking to me like that, the house is a mess, etc. He spews his usual bs that we need to work as a team, and I hung up on him, crying in to my breakfast.

    He calls his mother to call me and I tell her the same things. She agrees that the boys need to listen and that ex should be stepping up and helping with things around the house.

    By the time I get home, she has driven over and has the boys whipped in to shape and made them clean the house and apologize to me.

    When ex gets home? Nothing. No further discussion.

    My realization the other day: if one of my friends called me with this situation, what would a normal, healthy response look like?

    – “omg, I’m so sorry you are feeling overwhelmed!”
    – “what can I do to help? Cook some meals, come and help you clean? Take your kids so you can have a break? ”
    -” you tell me what you need, and I am there….”

    Ex never said any of these things.

    This was a reoccurring theme in our relationship. One time, he suggested the kids be given more chores to help me around the house. So I wrote up a list. I asked him what chores he wanted to contribute? His response: “I work 40 hours a week and my job is more important that yours, so I deserve to relax when I get home. ” okaaaay. So I ask if he going to help supervise his kids with their chores? Nope. He’s busy watching TV.

    How did I spackle this????!!!

    The other moment was when I had paid him my portion of the finances for December. He pocketed my money, and spent it at the casino, spent $500 on his kids for xmas and bought himself an augers for ice fishing. He bought my kids nothing, and he bought me a box of dishwasher pods.

    I spent all of December crying! Because I was not going to have enough money to buy anyone except my kids presents for xmas, and even for the kids my budget was severely limited.

    Normal healthy response:
    – omg, hun, how about I give you back half the house expense money you gave me (that I spent at the casino) and we can figure it out in January…
    -we can work together to figure something out, the kids should have equal xmases so there is no resentment amongst them….
    -can I lend/give you some $ to help you out?

    Exs response:if you would stop visiting your friends in town (15 min away) 2x a week, then you would have more money.
    because you wouldn’t be wasting it on gas and coffee.

    Wow. No empathy or consideration at any time.

    And ironically, I have lots of money now that he is no longer sucking me dry, and no more crying now that I am back in my own apartment and only have my two lovely children to look after.

    And yes, everyone in the town he lives in , thinks he is a nice guy. He is a monster and it kills a little bit of me whenever someone tells me what a great guy he is. But I reassure myself, that he is evil! and I know the truth.

    He doesn’t know what kindness is.

  • My STBXH is soooo nice! He paid for the kids, me, and M.I.L to go to Great Wolf Lodge so that he and Narci-slut could have a f*ckfest unbeknownst to his devoted wife who thought he was fixing a crisis at work. He begrudgingly bought me a Christmas present when my sister offered her discount and then nashed his teeth angrily at me– he didn’t want to exchange presents with his wife, but spent HUNDREDS of dollars on Narci-slut on gifts not to mention 2 trips during the holidays (that he was too busy at work to come home for more than a day). He allowed me, without a fight, to take back my $30,000 that I invested in a home for his for his mother (aka Senorita Soul-Sucker). He kept his 5 month affair a secret through extensive lies because he did not want to hurt me, don’t ya know. So so very nice. He continues to be the pillar of nice-ness; trying to back stab with a satisfying smile on his face all the while. Kindness, doesn’t compute for Lord Cheater-Pants. Won’t confuse nice and kind again, thanks for delineating this…

    • Meh-CA,

      I hate it when liars say that they are doing something because they don’t want to hurt us. I remember my boyfriend when he discarded me the last time saying, ‘I don’t want to hurt you anymore than I already have,’ and ‘I don’t want you pining for me by the phone on a Friday night.’ (Guess I did a great job inflating his ego over the years–by the time he permanently discarded me, it seems as though he thought that he thought he was God’s gift to women.) Some people who didn’t know the inner workings of our relationship might think that he was being a noble guy. I don’t think so (based on how he behaved before and after he said these things). I think that his image management and narcissism were showing through.

  • In my case, the OW was truly nice and kind, because she never interacted with the world. She laid in bed and sobbed about the terrible badness of everything, while my idiot white knight DH ran in codependent frantic circles of exultation because he was finally needed. Meantime I was oblivious because I was dumb enough to go to work and pay his bills.
    The OW was eventually diagnosed with muscle atrophy at age 50. No joke. She decayed in bed that long.
    Somehow the atrophy didn’t affect her internet shopping finger. That one remained toned.
    Leaving him was the third best day of my life.
    The first best was marrying his substantially upgraded competition. The heavenly DH.
    The second best was signing her up for the Republican National Convention email list with her cell number and indicating she had $250K+ in assets and, why, no, funny that you ask. She had never been contacted about donation.

    Hey OWarthog. Your phone is ringing again!

  • I found this and think it’s a good way of looking at a lousy situation.

    “And don’t hold on to a bullshitter or a bullshit situation because bullshit begets more bullshit, something that you don’t need in your life. If they’re lying, deceiving, manipulating, chopping, mind effing, tap-dancing all over your boundaries and taking advantage of and abusing you, let go and flush as many times as needed.”

  • I loved the first time I read this post, and I love it every other time I read it. This post opened up my eyes because this was one of the things (i.e., frustrations) I constantly dealt with in my marriage but couldn’t understand it.

    My former husband was nice to EVERYONE else. Everyone else mattered over first me, then his children (sometimes even doing more for OTHER children than his own). Everyone else was always a priority. He had to be everyone’s do-gooder or savior. But your post nailed it for me the first time I read it. He did all of this for appearances, not because he was genuinely a kind person. But everyone thought and always told me what an great, awesome guy he was. I was so lucky to have him as my husband. And I kept thinking but this isn’t how he is at home. It was that cognitive dissonance kicking in.

    My former husband always seemed to spin it that he was doing something out of pure goodness or for some “noble” reason. But toward the end of our marriage, I would always ask him why he was really asking/doing/etc. a-b-c because he always had an ulterior motive. His go-to sayings to me or the kids included “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” and “sometimes you have to give to get”. I couldn’t understand why he always said the first to our kids. Don’t you just do things as a parent because you love your kids?

    One example of this nice vs kind that only those closest living with him would be privy to: He always mentioned how routinely he gave blood at work. We had a family friend whose son had leukemia and they were holding a blood drive for him, so of course I mentioned it to my then husband. Long story short – he did not give blood at that time – because when he donates at work he gets credit hours that he can use as leave and he couldn’t do that in this instance. That was just one of the things toward the end of my marriage that made me wonder who is this man I married. And it also showed me he appeared “nice” but was definitely not “kind”.

    Thank you Chump Lady for helping me finally understand what I had experienced in my marriage.

    • Agreed. This one of the things making my divorce so painful right now. Everyone we know sees the “nice guy” that Cheater projects, and wonders what is wrong with me, that I would divorce him. I have lost all of my local friends as a result: one group contains OWs, one group sided with “nice,” and the remainder seem to think divorce is contagious and they don’t want to catch it.

      Like many mentioned above, Cheater is only nice when it is done in public and he can get credit for it. Otherwise, nothing. Just one more think that confirms they suck!

  • When I first met ‘my’ sociopath (didn’t know at the time that he was a sociopath but the official diagnosis came later), he was wearing a blue worn out, washed out, stretched-across-his-fat-belly shirt with the words “This Is A Nice Man” emblazoned on the front. For reals. That image and the split second question that crossed my mind (Why does he feel the need to advertise his niceness?) will remain in my mind’s eye forever because I didn’t heed the giant red flag. He’d worn that shirt so many times it was a rag by this time but was obviously an integral part of his wardrobe and impression management. He wasn’t nice at all, by the way.

  • Tracy,

    Love this post and IMHO this post should be run at least a couple of times a year to acccount for new readers and remind regulars about this.

    First came across this concept about five years ago in one of the many self-help books I was reading. But, your site and this article is the place where I have seen this concept best explained.

    Understanding this concept is essential. For years I could not understand that the man/fiancé who volunteered with me at a place where we gave therapy using horses to children with disabilities was the same person who intentionally and violently assaulted me to get me to leave our mutually owned home. He wanted her to move in, but kept pretending there was no her. I stood my ground and asked him to leave and he set out on a path of mentally and physically breaking me so I would leave my house and she could move in. Even after she moved in and the 100 people we knew in common told me every detail of his infidelity and how she was living there, he still pretended to my face there was no other person.

    And it was a real “mind fuck” because this was the guy who volunteered for Habitat for Humanity with me. This was the guy who went with me while we took physically and mentally disabled children on horse rides. (Also volunteered) This was the guy who would stop and help someone change a tire.

    Then I read the Nice versus Kind thing. All those “nice” things he did were done intentionally to cause others to believe he was a nice guy. And they assumed he was a kind person.

    Well, here is the thing: those volunteer activities we did together did NOT require anything of him. They allowed him to be a wolf in sheeps clothing and blend into the fold. However, they did not require him to be monogamous or to do the right thing in a relationship. It dawned on me that I was there because I cared about the people I was helping. I assumed he was there because he cared. It never occurred to me that he was there for impression management. When I figured out that I was engaged to someone who did not exist and who was NOT kind, it was a huge epiphany and one that is freeing.

    Too many people get niceness and character confused. Like in your example, you can spill groceries and a stranger can help while being a grump. The thing that shows they have character is the act of being helpful to a total stranger when there was nothing for them to gain. They can be grumpy while still doing the right thing. That is a kind person even if they are not wearing a fake smile as they help.

    Kindness and character are very related. Kind people have character.

    Nice people do not have character, but many assume they have character. People act nice to either get something they desire or to build a facade to cover the fact that they have no character. It’s all impression management.

    So when you hear, “I can’t believe such a nice guy could leave his wife and 6 children broke,” the so-called nice guy was never a good person or a kind person. He lived his life intentionally building false impressions.

    This is a tactic of emotional abusers as well. Quite often emotional abusers go out of their way to “be nice” to the neighbors, people at church, and nice to the friends of their victim etc. That way if their victim asks their friend about why the abuser is yelling behind closed doors or saying terrible things to the victim, the abuser will already have all these people ready to come to his defense. This will alienate the victim and make them feel crazy. And the abuser will definitely tell them they are crazy. Also, emotional abusers can be both genders. There are very emotionally abusive women out there too.

    Thank you for discussing this nice versus kind thing because it is essential for betrayed spouses to understand. Of course an abuser or cheater can ‘be nice’ to strangers or acquaintances because others are not asking anything of the cheater like loyalty to a relationship or nurturing behavior. And cheaters often very consciously behave nicely to acquaintances so that no one will believe the betrayed spouse about the affair OR they will imply the betrayed spouse caused the affair. Because why would such a nice guy cheat? That wicked witch of a woman must have made him do it. This belief about the nice guy and the wicked wife is utter bullshit that belongs to the old narrative that needs to go.

    Thanks again for the post.

    Sarah

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