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So, What Are You Taking Back?

One of the gifts that keeps on giving after you’ve been chumped are triggers. Now, I know the word “trigger” has become freighted lately as the buzzword of snowflakes everywhere. But as anyone who’s ever discovered a knife in their back knows, betrayal reverberates. Things that used to be ordinary — Valentines, phone chargers, roses —  become sources of nausea, anxiety, and panicky dread.

It’s been eons since I was in a sucktacular marriage to a cheater, but certain things still irrationally carry bad associations: Pittsburgh, the entire state of West Virginia, bluegrass music, and BMW motorcycles. I’d like to not hate Pittsburgh on principle, but if that ick factor doesn’t go away, I’ll live. Whoever you are, if you drive a BMW motorcycle, you are a douchebag. But some things I refuse to cede to that One Lousy Blip in My Life’s Story. Paris? Fuck you, neural networks, we are rewiring for Paris.

(You can read about how I took Paris back last year here.)

Do you have a Super Fund clean-up site of cheater places? What’s on your take back list?

TGIF!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I am taking back my happy. The happy I had when I was young and free before cheater threw a boulder on top of me. I have crawled out from under that rock and am learning to live free of strife and worry. TO JUST BE HAPPY and thankful for the life I have been given.

    Hugs to all the newbies and know there is another side and you CAN get there in time.

  • My trigger is my birthday. My STBX decided he would send me divorce papers on my birthday. Also, any time I see a pool table. He loved to go play pool with skank cousin. The sad part is I can go along time and not think of the cheating pugs. Then I hear a song or see something on TV and it all comes back. My birthday is in August so this month was very hard for me.

    • HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

      (See that’s me rewiring your birthday.)

      Your ex is a total asshole. But, you know divorce papers from an asshole are a gift. You lost a loser. Which, IMO, is cause for celebration.

      • My ex-husband actually commited his 1st sexual encounter with his wh*re on my birthday last year. But he’d been searching & chatting/ texting for the year previously. I also found out thru his ipad (hes stupid, imessage gave me everything) around our 5yr wedding anniversary/ my moms birthday.
        I dont know how to feel better about bdays at all now.

    • Hang in there – and happy birthday. FWIW, Narcs and the disordered in general choose holidays/birthdays etc. on purpose… that is how fucked up they are… they have to have all the attention and love ruining it for others.

      Take back your birthday… get a massage, buy a special piece of jewelry, enjoy a favorite cocktail with a friend… make it yours again and LAUGH about how desperate your fuckwit was/is in trying to take that day from you. You’ve got this.

      • Ha on my first birthday after my divorce I received six emails from narc requesting my bank account in order for me to receive the already late child support. As if. My responses. No. No. No send a check like everyone else. no. Talk to my lawyer. No. The next birthday my gift was not hearing from narc ex. They do try to ruin your special days!

      • Very true that narcs love to purposely ruin birthdays & special times— mine filed for divorce (and then emailed me and my friends to let me know he thought it was All My Fault) on Friday afternoon of my 40th birthday weekend. This was a mere 7 weeks after tricking me into a cross-country move, to a place where I had zero friends. Our youngest child was an infant. What an asshole!

    • I feel you Cuz. My ex narc romantically whisked me away to elope on my birthday. So yes in true narc fashion he had to make my birthday about him too. I would joke about how he did it on purpose so as not to forget our anniversary. Maybe there is some truth to that. I don’t know. So my birthday has sucked for the last two years. But the universe has a way of righting wrongs. Through no deliberate intention on my part he was served divorce papers on his birthday. So at least I have that.

      • I love it I served my loser cheater at work, lol he went ballistic my daughter told me! He had a restraining order at our family home protecting his new whore. Now I just found out he’s been defrauding a major Canadian bank and they are after him!😂😂😂😂😂😂

    • I am with you on this one, I spent my Birthday in Emergency with injuries from him, his sister and BIL attacking me the night before. I still shake on my Birthday 3 years later. I think it is TIME I take this date back in celebration of Me and my wonderful boys!!

      I know they love to ruin special dates, it is just one of the number of things that SUCK about them.

      • TheBestMe–take back your birthday in style this year! Throw yourself a party, buy yourself a cake and flowers and deliver a big FU to cheater and his band of mobsters. Hugs.

    • ((CuzChump)), I know that pain. XH served me divorce papers the day before my birthday as I was literally leaving the house for a trip to Hong Kong and Australia. I thought the server was the airport driver. I learned that XH paid a process server $125 for “Emergency Service”. I was only going for 12 days. What’s worse, I had just handed XH a “Waiver of Service” that he insisted I sign before I left. Message from him and Schmoopie was undeniable: “Unhappy Birthday (The Smith’s song reference) and Bon Fucking Voyage!” Lovely message after 17 years of marriage, huh?

      I still take a trip to Hong Kong every other birthday. He will never ruin that trip for me nor my birthday. Five years out this past weekend and my birthday is now even more special as I’ve haven’t seen cheater since that day! Hang in there, you’re not alone.

      • Mine sued me for full custody of the kids. Our court date: on our youngest’s birthday, December 8. That day sucks!

    • It gets better.
      My birthday was also my D-Day. Such a nightmare! I thought it would be ruined forever.
      I recently passed three years from D-Day and for the first time in decades I look forward to my birthday. After the divorce I got down to business and worked on me and my picker. I found a lovely human who is not disordered to enjoy my life with, a person who understands what it means to buy a thoughtful gift.

      It now see my D-Day as a true gift, removing the disorder from my life. I hope someday you can see your situation as the same.

      • It is a gift! For the first two years, I drank champagne on my D-dayaversary to celebrate the launching day for my freedom from a toxic fuckwit. By the third day, I couldn’t even be bothered to celebrate as I now take freedom-from-fuckwittery as a given. meh.

    • Hi, my cheater exploded my family with my cousin as well….. triggers do go away, esp. if you decide to move on a leave the cheater behind

    • When my sister and I were kids, my mom celebrated our regular and our half birthdays. Since LadyLiar ruined my 50th birthday, I took it back by celebrating on the 50 1/2 date.

      • I can relate. My last partner took me out for dinner on my 50th, then took me to bed. I told him, ‘I love you,’ (I thought that I had known him for nearly 30 years at that point.) After a long pause, all he said was, ‘Happy birthday.’ That was also the year that I got inducted into AARP. That especially hurts as my last partner, who is a few years younger than me had his eyes open for women who were much younger than me. (The work subordinate for whom he left me, looks early thirties although she’s in her mid-forties. She’s child-free and earns $$$ in their profession.) I hate birthdays now.

    • My trigger is also my birthday, my truck driver H was talking to his “sweetie” at 4:30 an and finally thought of me late in the adternoon (after she reminded him ir was my bday). Other trigger is Ohio ..where sweetie is from… H likes to disappear in Ohio (haha). But he has never met her only talked to her on the phone for iver two years.

    • My birthday sucks too, for a similar reason. My cheater began his 7 year affair on my 40th birthday. He went “shopping” for a quick hook up with a stranger, and — surprise! — found his soulmate.🤢

    • Wow. My new trigger is my birthday. I just found out my cheater is celebrating his one year anniversary with schmoopie on my birthday. This divorce can’t come soon enough.

  • Taking back music!

    Over 2 years since dday. I realized last week, I am finally getting to meh in the music department. Fuckwit introduced me to country music and we had listened to a lot of it for the last 30 years but after dday, oh no, couldn’t take it. According to my dd country music is trending with her age group right now and so she will put it on when she is driving and I realized I am not asking her to change it and that it is OK to listen now.

    Another upside is the last 2 years exposed me to a lot of other music genres and I now feel more well rounded. I don’t think the country station will ever be first choice again, though.

    I always liked Bryan Adams and “the summer of 69” was a favorite but it had strong fuckwit attachments and on Tuesday, it was playing on the car radio and while I did think of fuckwit, it didn’t phase me a bit and I sang right along.

    • I love this. Cause songs are always a reminder and to Not think of assface – that’s not easy. Way to go

    • Feelingit,
      Thank you for the smile.
      I am picturing you, driving along listening to the music, even singing along.
      Wait, look, is that a spec of dirt in the rear view mirror? Nope, it is nothing, nothing, long time gone now, not even a spec in your rear view mirror. Fuckwit, gone.
      ( well, I know he is still a pesky piece of manure, but, you don’t have to tolerate him in your sight.
      My Lord, sweet Lady, YOU are so Mighty!
      Ride on, sing on!
      There are bumps in your road ahead, but together, you and your kids, have got this!
      YOU have come so far, and I, for one, am sooooo proud of YOU!

      • Thanks Peacekeeper, I love you!

        (I find CL is sort of a decompress place. Often, when I complete a task that I have dreaded- eg calling about insurance, paying bills, I come here as sort of a reward for doing the unpleasant). I hope that it will be needed less in time and I will cope better.

        I thought of another thing I want to take back and hope to start today- meal planning. Fuckwit, of course would never give me credit but I was a good meal planner. I would go to cook books and magazines and meal plan each week. I was regularly trying new recipes and we rarely ate out. Even on vacations, we often rented places with kitchens and I would meal plan and cook. It was a true luxury to stay in a hotel and eat out because we hardly ever did that.

        One of Fuckwit’s hate journal entries was a complaint that I didn’t cook dinner or have a meal plan one Saturday and I was busy working on organizing for homeschool so he had to go to the grocery store, buy stuff to make fajitas and cook the dinner (which he noted was excellent- fuck him). What about the 50 other Saturdays and hundreds of other days that I cooked?

        Once, someone asked my then 14 yo daughter what her favorite restaurant was and after thinking, she replied, “I don’t know, we don’t eat out that much”.

        We were a family of 7 with kids in all kinds of sports and activities. Based upon my casual surveys, we were a rarity and this included other families with stay at home moms and fewer children. Sorry if steam is coming out of your computer right now.

        So anyway, after Day, as part of the pick me dance, family meals continued for me and the kids but when the pick me dance ended, the meals changed. I took the self care advice and take out and convenience food became the norm. I just couldn’t keep up the pace and the planning and cooking reminded me of fuckwit and trying ever so hard to please him.

        So now, I am missing the good food and wanting my children to have home cooked meals once again. They are all either away or in school now so I am going to start cooking regularly again for our health benefit and for saving $$$. I hope new memories and feeling will prevail.

        • I totally get this!!! I used to can and freeze and bake and make so many meals!! I homeschool too. After final d day I didnt cook for 6 months. I realized i canned a while years worth of chili sauce while he was with the OW. It took me a year to be back to cooking somewhat normal. Didn’t open my family recipe binder for a year and a half. So many memories around food. So now I am taking back the recipes. For my kids. When I make stuff they are like…yum!! Haven’t had this for so long!! So many memories! I may take back canning too, but single mom stuff is pretty busy right now.

          Wrote my personal training exam tonight!! We met in a gym…so…Taking that back too!!

  • Whenever I see street performers, I think “ugh get a job” and feel angry thinking “you’ve probably got kids, and you’re out here doing this and you should be responsible!”

    Stupid street performers

  • I am a year out from first DDay and he just ghosted me 2 weeks ago after a year of hovering and leading me on….right now Marriott Hotels, Nissan Armada (Whore drives one), Colorado (their first business fuck fest), and a certain area by me that they liked to frequent. I guess I am too far from MEH and it sucks….

    • Ha, @28yearchump, similarities between us! I am also a year out from DDay1 of 2 and although it is getting better day by day, I will be taking back the following things…
      -Certain Hotel Chains (DoubleTree in particular)
      -Silver Mercedes (Whore drove one)
      -Areas of Southern California (He had her flown out to meet him while on business)

      • also one year from DDay#2 – this site has been my savior and strength reading it each day to learn from each of you. THANK YOU!!! I am grateful as I continue to accept this new reality and learn to manage it appropriately.
        triggers also similar,
        Hilton hotels
        Disney
        Tampa
        lt blue minivans
        – many more…

        Affair with neighbor continues and community and God to witness it all – very sad

  • I just had this conversation with someone the other day when i walked past a jazz place Xhole (stole that from a fellow chump here) and I had been to. I wanted to go back there and so many other places and make new memories. I’m not gonna stay away from places just cause he and I went there. Just the opposite. Next time I walk past a Buffalo Wild Wings – I’m going in and getting me some Mango Habanero wings and not give a shit how that was a place “we” loved. It’s a place I love.

  • The lovely town where ex worked and we got married. It has a fantastic literature festival (Jonathan Franzen was at one edition, among others). I used to plead with sparkledick to go to one edition and have a second honeymoon. He always reacted with disgust. Now I understand why: he was super “busy”.

    Forty years creates a huge list of triggers. I leave mine at this.

    • Clearwater you are so right. My 45 yr marriage imploded almost two years ago. Many triggers but I choose for them to remind me how lucky I am to know the truth about the idiot I was married to. My birthday was this month and he actually sent me a selfie of himself with Happy birthday written and sent on the wrong day. I had a good laugh. So glad I am free of the pathetic creep. Living the dream now!
      COFox

      • Mine sent me a birthday message on the wrong day, too!

        We had been married for 27 years and he still confused my birthday and his nephews’ birthday (2 days apart).

        It was a handy confirmation that he sucked: either he hadn’t managed to recall my actual birthday after 28 years together (selfish narc twit) or he was a spiteful twit deliberately trying to mess with me. Either way, it just made me more glad I had left him.

  • Social clubs (ie VFW, Eagles etc) and bars. I have an ex-fiancé/cheater who would do the run every weekend and a lot of the contact was there for him. Hate the whole bar drinking scene.

  • Every single normal celebration and holiday where my Fucked Up Unicorn had some sort of crisis or meltdown so that we could suffer even half as much as he did.

    Boy, did it ever puss him off when I pointed that pattern out to him and we all refused to hold his hand or not enjoy ourselves the way he wished.

    Just last year we pounced on the “No tree or presents for Christmas!” announcement with relish. He was shocked that we were HAPPY.

    It took so much pressure off of us. Him? Not so much. He sulked when it was obvious we were having fun without the trappings.

    But I’m the heathen (atheist) who is going to hell and he’s the Christian who is all worried about the afterlife and where We’ll end up. Hell was here, honey and it’s not so bad now that you’re getting yourself together.

    LOL. Meh is wonderful. Even with FUU.

    • Yup every holiday was some kind of fucked up with my ex. He would pick fights. Refuse to go to my family’s. Get wildly drunk. The list goes on. Holidays are stressful as it is, so glad I don’t have him and his dysfunction around to screw it up.

    • Why is it they have to ruin holidays? I LOVE Christmas and do all the decorating, baking, gingerbread village, buying and wrapping. I never asked for help. I didn’t care because I love doing that stuff. He just complained constantly. Couldn’t stand seeing me enjoy something…

      • Don’t forget birthdays! He specializes in pissing all over birthdays. Even the kids’ birthdays to some degree. But mostly mine.

        My sibling threw a wonderful *0th birthday for me and I attended without him (as per usual – it’s been 20+ years since he attended a family function on my side) and you know what? It was GREAT! I had a blast. Eldest kid drove in from out of town for it, friends, family – but no FuckedUp Unicorn to look long-faced.

        He took me out for dinner the following weekend. I had made it clear to him that I was going to go enjoy my special *0th birthday party with my FOO and friends, we would do something the following week.

        So he got to sulk a bit, I didn’t witness it and a good time was held by all. Hmm. Does it count as a sulk if no one is around to witness it? And no one gives a crap anyway? I will posit the answer is ‘No’.

        I hope everyone here takes back the holidays, birthdays, music, places and memories from the fuckwits. Go Meh!

        • My take back list:
          – Silver Hyundai Azera – car driven by local adult friend finder hookup
          – Columbia old man shorts from Costco
          – Sausage like fingers
          – Reckless driving
          – Total disregard for the truth
          Hmm. I just realized I never had those things and I still don’t want them. Yay me!

      • Yes, holidays. Seems like all us chumps did all the work. He told me I decorated the tree for me, not the kids. On the last Thanksgiving I hosted (approximately 22 relatives), everything was made by me and from scratch. The two tables were decorated beautifully. Exhausted, at the end of that day, he told me I do this because “I like to show off”. Last Christmas together, I saw that he spent 39 minutes on the phone with her (who knows how many texts), while I was preparing the family dinner. Will take me quite a while to feel the same about holidays again.

      • Why they have to ruin holidays? Because it’s not all about them. Melanie Tonia Evans has Avery good video exactly on this topic! She explains it beautifully.

  • Outlander books. I’ve been a huge fan forever. I read the entire book series, many times over, since discovering them in my late teens/early 20s. When the series was made into a television show my now ex-husband added the cable network to our package and watched with me. I was thrilled. We re-enacted all the sexy scenes, just for fun!

    Later, when his secret affair partner revealed their affair (Christmas Morning of our planned gender reveal), she sent basically every text message they had ever exchanged (even though a couple would have sufficed to make her point and I begged her to stop). Obviously I was devastated by what I read. My spouse, my best friend was literally living a double life. And not only that, he was cheating on me with Outlander with her too! The duplicity! How unoriginal of them.

    Initially, I found Outlander to be something I couldn’t stand to read or watch without feeling pain. Today, I am ready to take it back as my own. It is simply a book series I enjoyed reading in College.

      • How dare indeed!!
        Oh, hell no, you take that back!! I totally get it, though, when you thought you had your very own JAMMF and then you just don’t any longer. I haven’t read or watched any Outlander since my personal bomb detonated either.

        Taking that back is on the “to-do list” for me, also.

        • I’ve never read or watched Outlander, but if you want some new memories with the sex scenes I would be willing to help you out 🙂

          Please don’t be offended. Just trying to make you smile.

          • Joe-
            The way you just responded (& I’ve read you doing it other times too) is one of me TRIGGERS! Sexual come-ons & then saying you are only kidding = icky!

            Responding like that upsets me. You don’t even know her personally. It’s not at all a compliment or funny! My x did that on many sites trolling for whores. It’s thus very triggering!

            Please save these kind of responses for dating or hook-up sites. This is supposed to be out safe place! Thank you.

            ???Is it just me who feels this way about those kind of comments being a trigger? Or, do other chumps on here feel the same???

            • RoseThorns-
              I’m sorry this is a trigger and upsets you.

              I think it’s a little different when a married man is making comments like this behind his wife’s back on dating sites trying to find a whore to cheat with. I’m a single man whose wife was cheating with a co-worker for 4 years. Maybe this is way for me to take back some of the issues I’ve been dealing with. I’m not sure when you’ve seen me comment like this before because I rarely comment on any post.

              This is a safe place for everyone not just Woman.

              Again, sorry this upset you.

              • Joe – you are correct, this is a safe place for everyone. Inviting a woman who has gone through the devastation of betrayal to reenact sex scenes with a STRANGER (you) makes no sense. Ask yourself if you would want such an invitation in her situation? Please be respectful of the pain we are all in. I am sure that Stalked, name changed (jeez, shouldn’t her screen name tell you something?) was not trolling for a “date” on this of all sites. If nothing else, can you at least be mindful that many of us have been in relationships where the betrayer was inappropriate with strangers and we suffered for it? And I am so sorry you were in the same situation. It hurts, it sucks, and we did not deserve it.

    • Oddly, Outlander is a huge trigger for me also! I loved the books as a teenager, and reread the series multiple times over. I met and married my romantic Scottish x, (also named Jamie), got engaged at Stonehenge, had a handfasting at our wedding, went to a yearly Scottish festival with our kids. And, I am a nurse! We loved the series together. And now it makes me sick to my stomach. So eff him…I am taking back Jamie Fraser!!!

    • This is weird as I discovered Outlander, the show, towards the end of my marriage. X and I watched it and enjoyed it. After he left I couldn’t watch it for more than a year, as it was one of the very few things we connected about in the last six months of marriage. I took it back too! I watched the show, and read almost all of the books. I am now reading Echo in the Bone (no spoilers).

      • OMG you guys. Add me to the list. I was married to a Scottish guy (dual citizen). We watched Outlander together toward the end of our marriage (ILYBINILWY had been declared, but I was pick-me dancing and the OW was just a suspicion at that point).

        How could a man watch a beautiful romantic story about his beloved country and people and not feel the theme of loyalty? Not reconsider how beautiful marriage was? Nope. Narcissist. Went right over his head.

        I refuse to let Scotland or Outlander be his, or trigger me. They are beautiful, and they are MINE. Ex is usually too damned cheap to visit Scotland anyway.

    • I am so sorry to hear this. My STBX didn’t ruin Outlander for me, thankfully. Jamie Fraser (NOT Sam Heughan in real life but the character) was as close as I got to an affair partner. I took A PICTURE of a TELEVISION SHOW CHARACTER off my phone so I wouldn’t hurt the feelings of a husband who unbeknownst to me was cheating on me WITH A LIVE HUMAN.
      Jiminy Crack Mothereffen Christmas.
      If I ever trust a man again, he will be like Jamie Fraser. And how I wish Craig Na Dun really existed….my daughter and I would have gone there the night I found out about the affair.
      Again, my truly sincere condolences that he ruined Outlander.

        • Hannibal Lecher almost ruined Harry Potter for my oldest daughter (a huge HP fan). The two of them used to take turns reading Harry Potter to each other, and played a lengthy computer game of HP.

          After the divorce, Hannibal invited oldest daughter to join him and AP/GF and her two kids at Universal Studios. Daughter declined, saying [to me], “ugh. at least save me Harry Potter.”

    • Yep, porn star ruined Outlander for me too. It was one show out of two or three that we watched together. He had distance himself so much the past nine years… Get a isolated me and at the same time didn’t want to do anything with me. After discovery day, when he had no job, no company car, no money in two months after we got our chapter 13 discharge, he finally agreed to cut expenses. Starz ⭐️ was the only thing that got cut.

      No wait…I cut Porn Star ⭐️ out 2 mths later when I kicked him to the curb!

      I haven’t reclaimed Outlander yet. In fact, I haven’t reclaimed TV yet.

  • Every single normal celebration and holiday where my Fucked Up Unicorn had some sort of crisis or meltdown so that we could suffer even half as much as he did.

    Boy, did it ever piss him off when I pointed that pattern out to him.
    Doubly so when we refused to hold his hand or not enjoy ourselves the way he wished.

    Just last year we pounced on the “No tree or presents for Christmas!” announcement with relish. He was shocked that we were HAPPY.

    It took so much pressure off of us. Him? Not so much. He sulked when it was obvious we were having fun without the trappings.

    But I’m the heathen (atheist) who is going to hell and he’s the Christian who is all worried about the afterlife and where We’ll end up. Hell was here, honey and it’s not so bad now that you’re getting yourself together.

    LOL. Meh is wonderful. Even with FUU.

    • Sorry about the double-posting. My phone and the building’s wi-fi weren’t getting along or something.

  • One of the family “things” in our house was to always buy a refrigerator magnet when we went to a new destination. Every family vacatio — South Dakota badlands, Disney, Ocean City MD, Prince Edward Island, San Diego — was memorialized in this way.

    As our 10th anniversary approched, KK was beginning to show signs of what I now know is The Devalue. I cashed in some stock and took the bulk of the proceeds to plan a no-kids trip to a place I’d always wanted to visit (and which KK *said* she always wanted to see): New Orleans. She was fine when eating in landmark restaurants but appeared fairly miserable the rest of the time.

    When the GAL recommendations came back and forced her to leave, she took every destination magnet with her, except one.

    Someday I’ll reclaim The Big Easy for myself.

    • UXWorld. Omg. New Orleans. The first and last adult trip we took together. First trip because our little girl was too young to leave alone and go out adulting. Last because we came back from our huge planned adult family reunion trip, he went off to college a few days later fucked OW came home and abandoned his whole family for her in a matter of days. Of course we had bought ALL KINDS of family souvenirs—pretty masks for my sister and mother, decorations for our walls, shirts for the kids with New Orleans all over them. Family picture circulating from this epic vacation. Group family texts with jokes and memes from how much fun we had. I loved New Orleans and all it does is bring back so much pain…. maybe we can take back New Orleans together?!?! 😎 And any other chumps that needs New Orleans off their “trigger” list.

      I guess I should have bought that voodoo doll lol

      • Come to think of it, I think NO was the last trip I took with Judas. We flew down to buy a car and drove it home (I live in MN). This was after DDay and I was in the dancing stage. No triggers. I wouldn’t mind going to NO again.

        • NOLA was the site of last annual weeklong trip my ExH paid for with our marital funds for him and his married, closeted gay lover. When I was 8 months pregnant with our third child.

          I prefer to think of Chump Lady’s positive New Orleans association, and hope to creat one of my own someday!

      • Raising hand for New Orleans as well. About three years before D-day, I thought it would be nice to go somewhere budget friendly for a long weekend without the kids. I suggested New Orleans to XW since we live close enough for a relatively easy drive. Her response: “I have no desire to go to New Orleans” with those black shark eyes. That haunted me for the next few years because I had no context for that reaction. I now assume what she really meant was “I have no desire (for you, or to) go to New Orleans (with you)”. Meh. A weekend in NO is on my list to have a blast on my own .

    • I’m in for the New Orleans trip! During the devalue & discard phase, before I found out he was having an affair, I suggested we go away for a long weekend to try and reconnect. I suggested New Orleans because it’s an easy direct flight from where we live, and I have always wanted to go back (only been there once). I also thought he would enjoy it. He coldly said, ” I have no interest in going to New Orleans. It’s dirty and disgusting.” And he had never even been there!

      • We had a favourite holiday spot. Must have been there 10 times. Pre kids, with kids, romantic weekends on our own…. I love it and didn’t want to find out he had been there with his love, so when I visited a friend who lives nearby we had a night there. I swam, had a beer and hot chips at the local surf club, bought a few things in the gorgeous designer shops, coffee from a favourite shop. So now I have laid down some new memories. Victory!

  • Cheating ex decided to tell me – and my entire family – at my daughter’s first birthday party. Such a stand-up guy, isn’t he?

    My girl and I now go to the beach every year for her birthday weekend (Memorial Day). New memories, new happiness.

    Ex actually dared to ask me if he could COME ALONG next year. His chutzpah knows NO bounds.

    • *Jaw drops*

      That is astounding. Even for narcopath fuckwits.

      I hope you got endless drinks and hugs that day. Maybe family members led him off somewhere he couldn’t be heard by the children and they ‘discussed’ his future.

  • After 38yrs of marriage I have triggers everywhere. I find though that with the passage of time (8yrs now) there is little pain, sadness or anger. … I was at yoga the other day, peaceful as and then they played guitar music… bummer … memories galore but they were pleasant 😆.. go figure

    • I am right there with you Arlo, 30+ years/7 years out.
      I have been visiting our old haunts and creating new happy memories. Taking these places back makes me feel good, I feel I am creating MY life forward.
      I get triggered at Christmas time but less every year. I am feeling more normal, more “me” and less angry every year. It’s a process 😊

    • I agree. The year after D-day was full of triggers. But by month 6th, I was making every effort to take back every.damn.thing Hannibal took from me–London, detective series, even the second language I was learning (as his final AP in the marriage was from that linguistic culture).

      My decision was to say, “Fuck you, Hannibal, you don’t have ANY power over my life anymore.” So I exposed myself to every possible trigger (including introducing myself to one of his probable APs at a conference). He robbed me of years of my life, allowed me to give up a tenure-track position for him. He gets nothing else. Not even seeing him when he comes to pick up DD17 triggers me; I just shake my head and wonder how I tolerated him as long as I did.

  • My decision making, my spontaneity, onions ~ I could never cook with them, he gagged when he smelled onions!

    My cooking ~ eating family favorites that he ran down or said tasted horrible because he grew up eating slop. To be fair, I called his slathering everything in white gloppy gravy ~ slop. No offense to anyone who enjoys white gravy… lol

    My decorating ability ~ he always said what I wanted to do was stupid. It’s not. After Hurricane Harvey destroyed my home, I’ve got to redo it the way I want to ~ and decorate it in my style. Friends have told me it is beautiful, and you know what? It is.

    I’m sure there will be more, it’s like dominoes falling down. Lol

      • Love that idea! That would be an awesome show! Give the chumps a budget and a massage and get Chump Lady and the guys from Queer Eye to cheer the chumps along! Even my ex couldn’t help but admit that my “redo” looked good after 19 years of listening to his decorating vetoes! One of the many ways my covert narc kept me off balance was by making me believe he was better than me at everything, so I usually deferred to his taste. His mind f***ery was so subtle or I was so stupid, I’ll never know which. But I love discovering color and texture and playing with objects in a way I was never free to before. Also music. Discordant Jazz is banned from my house (no offense to chumps who love jazz!). Now I can sing along to The Eagles if I’m in the mood and not feel ashamed!

      • That is a fun idea ! I still live in The House of Wreckonciliation (moved out of The House of Hell where the worst abuse took place) but then he died and I continued (for good reasons) to live here.

        My biggest accomplishments have been:

        a total redo of his office (where he verbally ripped me a new ass anytime I tried to discuss stuff with him; where I found photos and gifts from Susan)…its fabulous with dusty jewel blue walls and linen drapes full 9 ft ceiling to floor and all furniture replaced with fabulous antiques.

        ripped the master bath down to the studs in the wall and added space from a pointless dressing room that was next to it. Had plumbers install a shower head 7 ‘ high for my new H. Used a lovely British antique armoire in the room…used to be his XWs …trust me, its lovely.

    • what a horrible person. Decorating taste is such a personal and individual thing. What ego to think that if he doesn’t like something, it makes it objectively wrong and stupid. That’s not how personal opinion works!

      Whether your home looks nice or not is a question only you can answer. Idiot narcissist.

      • My experience was that because Cold Slab O’Meat was so lazy, he even vetoed descriptions of things before they happened. I wanted white cabinets with stamped tin inlay doors, a Porcelain farmhouse sink and red toile tea curtains. I started collecting red small appliances (with my own money!) and he had a hissy fit when I bought a small red microwave.

        Why did he fucking CARE? I did most of the cooking, cleaning, paying for everything. He got to choose the living room furniture, with its’ dead gray modern leather couch (which, OH BTW I PAID FOR TOO). All he had to worry about was if his mages in World of Warcraft had enough mage stuff. And buying huge flatscreen TVs. Which he only left one (the shittiest) after living rent free for two years.

        My kitchen now looks exactly as I described. I did it all my self. And people lose their minds when they see it. I have a new couch. (RED) and a 65 inch swanky LED TV. He lives in a shitty apartment and the Sluterus keeps getting sued for collections.

        Another thing I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to buy? A Dyson vacuum. We went through 3 cheapo ones instead. The first bonus I got after he left I bought one. Yesterday I cleaned it out and it still works like new 4 years on.

        Cheaters lack imagination and vision. And avoid physical labor that doesn’t have immediate windfall to them.

        • Lol @ warcraft part. He was mad bc his Milf wasnt letting him make big boy decisions. Poor him. Mine threw sulking fits over that kind if stuff too, even though he spent 90% of the time he was home in the garage on his phone w hookers. When I found out, he ran away and ghosted everyone/left everything. Clearly it didnt matter as much as his pathetic tantrums would suggest. Glad you got your makeover 🙂

        • The red microwave!! What an asshole!! Give it a big kiss from me!!

          Way to go doing what you want with YOUR space!!

  • My birthday is our wedding anniversary. Hey, now listen. My birthday was never a big to do growing up; it also happened to be a summer Saturday the year we were getting married.

    3
    This year on my birthday, I took the day off of work. My mom and I took my kids to an amazing indoor water park. We had a fantastic day.

  • I don’t have a lot of triggers anymore. I feel freed from pretending to enjoy shitty bands he liked, and enough time has passed that most triggers are meh. I don’t break down anymore in thrift stores when the Cure comes on Muzak.

    We took back BOTH Disney World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the last disastrous vacation where he dictated everything, but was terribly distracted by his phone and was later found to have texted the Sluterus from every public toilet in the Magic Kingdom. We went back to both in separate trips. We did everything the way WE wanted. It was a great pain eraser.

    I’m finally taking back having people over. He never wanted friends over. He didn’t have any friends. We’ve had friends over for dinners and lunches and small parties and it really helps me to stay social and keep the house chores up. The fact that I’ve gutted and remodeled all but one bathroom helps too!

    The more I explore who I really am, the more I see he wasn’t even remotely the soulmate I thought.

    • “The more I explore who I really am, the more I see he wasn’t even remotely the soulmate I thought.”

      ***THIS! And a bag of chips!***

      It’s because they are fake and we are real.

      • My daughter and I just returned from our first summer vacation as an Intact Family
        (Just is two without him is an intact family as far as I am concerned). We went to Universal Studios as she requested (Disneyland would be a very big trigger as we have extensive family memories from zillions of trips there). I did spend four days being pistol-whipped by triggers (airport, plan ride, hotels trigger me). I had a panic attack for about five minutes in the hotel room. Our antidote was that we escaped into Harry Potter world. We bought our Hogwarts uniforms and magic wands and had the best time. So maybe my spell (Dean McDermottus!) worked!

  • I’m taking back the Boston Red Sox and the Patriots. Since ex carried on part of his extracurricular affair with his former HS student in her dorm at Emerson (traveling from our current state to Boston over the Christmas holiday to be with her under the guise of spending time with his family) even taking her to some of the restaurants near Fenway that were “ours”. Prior to this last affair, we made a special trip home for the post season, and I was there for Manny’s walk off homer at the 2007 ALDS, I was in the stands behind featured people in the “Still we Believe” movie, and you can see me plain as day. We wore game day jerseys as our going away outfits at our wedding reception. After his last affair, I couldn’t stomach anything related to the Massachusetts or the city. I’m a Masshole transplanted to Georgia, so losing those touchstones of my home culture were very painful. It’s been 5+ years and just last week, I started reading box scores in the paper, watching highlights clips and I caught a little of the Pat’s pre-season game against Carilona without triggering.

    • Let me and cheaterssuck know if/when you’re ever back in town — you two sound like kindred spirits.

      (RPD teaches at Emerson — what is it about that place?…)

      • Hi UX,
        No plans to go back for now. But I’ll be watching as much of the Sox as I can on local tv from here on out.

        I don’t know what it is about Emerson, per se, but can you imagine a 40 year old high school counselor camping out in a dorm on Piano Row with a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds? Supah classy! Ex told me that one or 2 his OW’s dorm mates were trying to “seduce” profs there. I half way suspect he encouraged her to apply there so she would be just a short drive from his family, (particularly because in GA, a kid with good grades can get the HOPE scholarship and practically get a free ride to in state universities, so lots of incentive to stay here) but maybe I’m just a little paranoid.

        • Hi ddame. I’m also a MA transplant to GA: we moved to Atlanta from western Mass 3 years ago; XW hit me with ILYBINILWY about 8 weeks after arrival and she was gone 8 weeks later. My parents are up in Boston and I spend as much of the summer as possible up there. I’m still adjusting to the climate and culture down here; it’s like being in another country, isn’t it?

          As to “seducing” profs: I’ve been teaching for 15 years and I’ve never gotten a whiff of it, just like I was married for 20 years and never had a married person hit on me. People can tell when you have firm boundaries and they treat you accordingly. It’s not a coincidence that your adulterous ex keeps stumbling across kindred adulterous spirits.

          Now that the semester is ticking along I feel like it’s about time for another Atlanta chump meetup. If you’re interested post something in the Atlanta or North Ga. thread in the “Chump Meet-up” forum and we’ll figure something out.

          • IA re. boundaries–and the lacktherof–in the academy. I’ve been teaching a similar length of time and have never perceived any interest from a student. STBX on the other hand….

    • Definitely take back those teams, the restaurants and the state! They belong to you not him.

      My sociopath ex liked to take me to the same restaurants he took all of his secrets skanks to dinner at. He’d get a weird look in his eye and seemed to enjoy whatever twisted joy that came from doing this. It’s all a game to cheaters and a mind-fuck to the OW/OM.

      Take back your joy and let’s route for #12 together! Plus, it may be Brady’s last year. I will gladly take back those restaurants with you, too!

    • Man I hate it when they ruin baseball! I am originally from Chelmsford so the Red Sox are my AL team and I have been in SF since 1975 so the Giants are my adopted NL team. A blessing of our life together is season tickets 12 rows behind home plate. The affair has been a major harsh on a source of joy for me….he hasn’t gone to any games this year and it’s been a season of being alone or with a friend at the ballpark. And I learned last baseball season was when the affair began…all those times we went to the game and I thought we were having fun and he had The Secret Double Life. My daughter practiced walking in the hallway behind Field Club….
      I started a family tradition (which I am a sucker for) of going back to Concord every 4th of July
      (Californians don’t do 4th of July as well..). In
      2016 we had incredible box seats at Fenway….we could have pinched Big Papi….and last October, on my FIRST EVER solo trip since I became a mom in 2006, I chose a trip back to Concord to walk in the autumn woods for a week. That’s when the suspicion surfaced. I had a dream he was cheating and texted him in the middle of the night….”I think you are glad I am gone…I wonder if you love me and think you love someone else”…..the Sonoma fires were burning at home and little did I know my world was on burning down too. So so much gets slimed. It’s stunning how far and deep the affair slime goes…and what a huge job it is to get it off of you and every teeny little in your life that got slimed….

  • It’s been seven years since I found out about the romantic cruise with his girlfriend before our 20th anniversary, which I was planning an amazing vacation for. I was always the one to book us fantastic vacations each year. I will never go on a cruise again, or back to the keys. (My X and I met in Key West and the cruise he and GF went on docked in Key West.)

    He goes back to the same places I used to book for us, even tries to stay in the same cabins in the mountains with his new GF. It’s weird. I can’t go back to any of the places I went with him, which were places all over the world.

    I still go on cool vacations, but to new places. I don’t go backwards, I only go forwards.

    • Narcs so often take their new narcissistic supply people to the exact same places they took their former narcissistic supply people. Creepy!

  • California, that’s what I’ll take back someday. We were on a nice 12 day family vacation that begin in LA with a drive up the coast line to San Francisco for the wedding of his army buddy. Then we joined them on their honeymoon in Tahoe. Heck we even stopped in Ojai California to talk to the admissions coordinator at Weil tennis academy for our then 10-year-old daughter to attend school there in eighth grade. The day after we got home to Illinois from our lovely family vacation, he told me he filed for divorce and been having an affair for six months. I’ll take back California and shove it down his throat by living happily ever after with my now 12-year-old daughter! Stay strong CN and shine on!

    • Whoa. Even after all we know about these defects it still boggles the mind the way they operate. Playing the perfect family person one day and the next day kapow!

    • Call me when you get to San Francisco….I will help you reclaim it and get the cheater juju out of my city!!!

  • Everywhere Asshat and i ever went was on my dime and since he was an unworldly jerk, most of the places we’d been were places down already seen with a few nearby spots in FL.

    While I was in the middle of unknowingly being discarded during the first Xmas after my mom died, Asshat decided that while he wouldn’t see me or talk to me during the few weeks prior except by text, that we should spend Xmas together.

    As desperate as I was to reclaim our old routine of being together and trying to normalize our relationship (which was never going to happen since he wasn’t already sleeping w a coworker, as I later learned), I told him I didn’t think spending Xmas together was a good idea.

    Since I don’t have much close family and all of my other friends were busy with theirs, I dedided to get out of town, masochistically enough to a little beach town Asshat and I had discovered together. I had a long time ex boyfriend who was also a bit of an orphan for the holidays, so I invited him to join me. It was not a romantic endeavor. We have been friends for decades and we get along well.

    While I didn’t invite my ex-BF as a slight to my ex — I just wanted friendly company and to not be alone on the holiday — when Asshat found out that I was spending the holiday in “our spot,” he was livid. I spent hours and burned hundreds of calories texting him trying to convince him that it was platonic and explaining why I had done it. He actually had me apologizing by the end of it because I believe that he actually viewed that spot as a special one for us.

    Two years on, I laugh and laugh when I think about how that reversal of fortune and that withholding of cake must have gutted him to the core. Sometimes we’re doing the right thing even for ourselves even though we’re not consciously aware of. I reclaimed our special spot in my head and in his.

    • I was really trying to figure out what I ‘took back,’ and had a hard time thinking of anything until I read your post. I met a GUY 33 years ago at work. We were just friends… every few years he would ‘find’ me and we’d chat a little and be done for another few years. I didn’t feel right talking to him while I was married. After I divorced a piece of shit, I started conversing with my ‘guy’ friend more. He plays in a band and I try to check his band out every summer. We don’t talk daily – or even weekly – just every so often and it is usually about other bands playing and the gossip going on with them. There are no feelings between the two of us. He is married and happily married and I am happy for him. We’ve just known eachother for so long and have music still in common.
      So after divorcing, I decided to take my friends back (not just guys). My focus was on a dumbass for so many years and because of that, didn’t do a whole lot with my friends. Now I talk to my best friend of 33 years daily (a different friend – this is a bff from hs and female). I make a point of doing more with my friends and chatting with them often.
      I have a boyfriend and told him from the very beginning that I had a ‘guy’ friend who I have known forever. There is nothing between us and I ditched him 24 years ago and I’m not going to do that again. I think my bf understands and is ok with it. If he isn’t, that is just too bad….

      • ^^^This!!! Taking back my friends!

        It’s been so great getting back in touch and renewing friendships with old friends. I guess I never really realized how alienating X was during the last years of our marriage. Plus, there was always an element of my being afraid to even invite people over because of his hoarding and generally unfriendly nature. Now that the wet blanket of him is out of the picture, it’s like the sun has come out and friends are coming back.

  • Had interviewed twice at a recruiters office for what sounded like the perfect, very well paying job. Was invited to their offices to meet the staff. I really wanted that job. Unfortunately when I got to their offices, I found out they were next door to the seedy motel where I caught my husband with a prostitute two years ago. Theirs is the parking lot where I had vomited. I couldn’t take the job, I would have relived that moment every time I pulled into the parking lot. The employer is quite confused as to why I turned down a very generous offer to keep my crappy job. Guess I’m not meh yet..

    • Im so sorry. I was sick just finding out about the hookers. I cannot imagine actually having seen it. And then to lose out on that oppertunity too…I totally get it. It sucks. I hope he gets the uncurable stds he was so trying to earn.

  • I took back one of my favorite bands and my birthday all in one swoop. Went to see Wilco for my birthday last year. It was amazing and I didn’t even think of him once! Ex would argue with me that he introduced me to Wilco and their music, when that was not true. Gaslighting? He even dedicated one of their songs to me, barf. I love them and don’t care! I took them back.

  • My stbxh proposed to me at a Folk Festival, 25 years ago. Bomb drop was in Feb of this year, and I moved out in May. At the beginning of August, I went to the same folk festival, by myself. I didn’t know a soul, and I volunteered while I was there. It was hard, and I was sad sometimes, but I took back the place he proposed.

    He and I performed together for years, and after the Bomb drop, there were songs I could not sing because they meant something to me. He would say things like “I don’t know why you’re so sad, they didn’t write the song about you” and other asshole things. I am building a solo repertoire, and have taken back some of those songs, which I can now sing without crying.

    I have taken back my sense of self worth, my pride, my peace, my kindness, and my happiness. He can be stuck wherever he is, but I choose to move forward, alone, and lead an interesting life.

    Not Meh yet, but I think I see Tuesday.

    sb

    • Oh, and the biggest thing I took back was August 26th. The wedding anniversary. This year, I took a motorcycle skills test and passed it. August 26th can now represent freedom to me.

      • You go girl! I just had my Harley converted into a trike :-). I’m riding as much as I can before the snow flies….

  • The day that I left the cheater was a drama-filled mess (he threatened to kill himself, a concerned neighbor called the cops, I hurriedly packed what I could in a single trip, etc) so now every year I quietly celebrate that day as my personal Independence Day. I get a bottle of champagne, some fancy chocolates, and pamper myself with a smug smile on my face. Over the years the trauma of the relationship has fallen away and now I look forward to my special day as an occasion to be extra nice to myself.

  • I took back Vegas. I love cheesy things and planned two vow renewals with an Elvis impersonator, on our 25th and 30th anniversaries. I inexplicably love Elvis impersonators. Both times we went to Vegas he bailed on me. Never left the hotel room and was to “sick” to renew our vows. I wandered around town alone. Now I realize he was firmly in his 10 year affair with our best friends wife and was staying true to her. For my 60th birthday last year, my brother and I went to the Elvis impersonators convention and had the BEST time ever! Found out Vegas is a blast when you are with someone who will actually go places and talk to you! It really made me see what a dick x was.

    • I don’t know where you live @newdaydawning, but there is an Elvis tribute artist competition in NY state every year. They used to do it in NH, and it’s a blast!

      Ssb

  • So, many.
    My home, I am building a house, no longer will I have to be surrounded by arrowheads, guns, or creepy African statues.
    Travel, I have planned a trip to Spain, with women only.
    Parties, I go alone, this month I will attend a dinner dance fundraiser, we have gone to for more than 20 years.
    Hotels, he hired prostitutes in chain hotel rooms. I try now to go to boutique hotels.
    Labor Day, always a family day, we hosted a dove hunt. This year the evil rat is out of the country, I will be there with the family.
    Supper club, I was just asked to attend while he was excluded, so happy about that.
    I know I will think of more, but these stand out. Triggers are less as time passes, but still hit unexpectedly.
    EMDR has helped a lot.
    Take back as much as you can!

    • Kfindingmyway I was wondering about trying EMDR to stop triggers, upsetting memories and dawning realisations that come out of the blue – would you recommend it as something that works? I’ve reached meh as far as emotional attachment to the x goes (wouldn’t want him now even if I was wearing industrial strength rubber gloves and a nuclear protection suit!) but still getting sidelined by these things from time to time and it gets on my nerves.

  • Like most I have multiple triggers. The two biggest being Christmas and those big ugly yellow Super 8 hotel signs! Christmas because that was D-day. The low rent brand hotel she had to pay for to get boytoy to drive to bang her. Not sure why she chose it there were better places. I plan to retake Christmas, the low rent hotel not so much!

    • I am so sorry about the Christmas D day! I was super upset that my Dday was during the holiday season (Late November). Reclaim that joyous holiday. Celebrate it in a totally new way. Did he hate decorations? Put up garland everywhere! Did he hate seeing your family? Invite everyone over for a low key potluck and family games. Did he yell and sulk about anything? Do that up big! Did he force you to do specific things you dislike? Drop them and do something you always wanted to do. Remember the reason for the season is hope and love, share that with people you really care about.

  • A few. Here is one. Driving somewhere with narc baby man using a GSP, getting lost and him yelling and grabbing that GPS thing out of my hand. Him swearing at me. Him making me feel terrible because I could not quickly and accurately give him directions, causing him to miss his turn.

    How weird, right? I mean, it is a turn, driving!

    So now if I get lost, I just figure it out. No big deal.

    And it really came to light when I travelled with my son and we got lost and my son just figured it out.
    Lightbulb moment.

    Begone you crazy narc!

    • Same here! The first time I missed a turn after ex was gone, the kids braced themselves. I just laughed and told them no biggie, we’ll figure it out. What is up with the directions thing?! I always drove the last few years because of the same behavior, demanding perfection on directions. It was unbearably stressful.

  • My D-Day was December 28, 2017. There was a lot of suspiscion anx build up to the discovery of the A, over Christmas. So, my trigger is Christmas. I’m dreading Chtistmas this year. Also my birthday is a trigger. It’s 2 weeks before Christmas and 3 weeks before D-Day. My STBX took me out to my favourite restaurant (I havent been back there since), where he presented me with a ridiculous guilt gift (ugly necklace he paid $2k for, oh and he was unemployed as well. So I guess I paid for it. And I’m still paying for it since I’ve got 1/2 has credit card debt handed to me. Stupid no fault divorce law). So the fully necklace, my birthday, my favourit restaurant, and Christmas.

    Aside from the month of December, daily I have to ride the train into work. It should be a slightly relaxing commute. 20 minutes on the train, it’s not crowded, and I should just relax in my seat and watch the world go by. But no, not for me. The train takes me past all the hotels he and his AP used. I know because I got receipts! I know which ones, even the room #, so as I travel by each hotel, I look up and see where exactly the 7th floor is, or 13th floor, etc. Everyday is a minefield. When will this stop? How do 8 block these triggers and take back Christmas, my birthday, my favourite restaurant, my daily commute?

    • Time. Plain and simple.

      Your daily commute resonated with me. My daily train into the city passed by the street of BDSM Guy’s apartment, where KK and he did whatever fucked up shit they did. My drive to my parents’ house forced me to drive by the downtown luxury loft condo that I rented for our 15th anniversary, and from which she arranged to have sex with the Carrot Singer in my house the very next day.

      Just recently, I realized neither of those two things has been a trigger for me in a very long time. Time, distance, no contact, filling your life with other things and better people — all of these will help make these triggers fade away.

      • I’m sitting on the opposite side of the train now, so at least I don’t have to see 1 of the hotels.
        Sometimes I wonder if any places are “ruined” for him now. No of course not. He never feels bad about anything for too long.
        I’m glad to hear over time this may go away. I guess I’m still in early days of ChumpWorld, and it’s still fairly raw.

        • This part sucks so much. My STBX went back to the town we lived in for many years two weeks after formally moving out and insisted on “taking a walk down memory lane”; my friends said he had a real spring in his step. I mean wtf? It’s as though we never lived, married, and raised a child there.

          • I got our house after the divorce and he got our vacation home (that was our primary home when our kids were little.) My kids told me he got the exact same couch to put in the living room that we had when we were a family there 10 years ago . He told them he thought it was funny. Wtf. It’s like the opposite of triggers for them.

    • Melissa, sending you love and strength. My DDay was 12/27/14. I’m at meh (25 year marriage-4 kids). Going completely NC helps a ton! Once you are completely divorced and all financial aspects settled it helps a lot! Don’t worry about your healing, these are early days for you. Focus on NC. You’ll be happy and peaceful soon. I promise!

      • Thanks MotherChumper99! Wow! What is it about the Christmas season timing to uncover affairs!? I want to go NC, right now I’m as little contact as possible. Only necessary conversations about the 3 kids. 16 year marriage done and over soon. I think I will be better when the the financial matters are settled and he moves out of soon-to-be-all-mine house. Yes. He still lives there. Triggers are breathing the same air as him.

    • My DDay was December 28, 2016. I loved Xmas and he knew that. Last year I told my family that I could not do Christmas. My 80 year old dad rented a huge cottage on a lake and we all went there for 3 days to celebrate Xmas. It wasn’t easy, my stepson also came and although I love him dearly, he looks a lot like his dad. We are doing the same again this year, all 13 of us! Do something different to get through and it will get easier. It is still hard for me, but less hard.

    • Not sure how long. This Christmas will be 4 years and I still don’t look forward to. My DDay was on the 25th!!! Graphic can’t deny it text! As far as the commute, I pass two big ugly yellow Super 8 signs each way. Doesn’t bother me so much today. But on Christmas Day, we were taking family over to look at the new “dream home” I had just signed on. Guess it being a holiday and look at this great house while finding text about how a short chunky 26 year old was talking about blowing a nut on her face…… kind of ruins the holiday spirit!!!

  • I’m taking back April and May. In an earlier post, I expressed my worry that my two favorite months re-engerzwould be filled with memories of divorce, D-day, my husband’s conversion to a stranger, crying, darkness, and overall stress.

    I love those months – they are the wakeup after a cold, long winter. I can feel my body reengerizing as the grass greens up, the leaves start popping out, and flower inch their way toward the sun.

    My therapist smiled and said, “they will be my rebirth.” With the reassurance of unicornnomore, I am looking toward those days with longing of happiness and peace.

  • I have lots of triggers. I’m two years out and the ones that come to mind are black Audi sedans, Pearl Jam, and Maryland blue crabs to name a few.

    Last night I went over to my boyfriend’s house. We had talked about getting take out and watching a movie. I walk into his kitchen and he had prepared a seafood feast including crab claws. It was such a sweet surprise. Something the Fuckwit would have never have done. I’m taking back delicious blue crabs!!! Triggers are going to continue but I know I’m strong enough to let them come and go, and at times reclaim them!!!! Take them back Chump Nation!!!! Good post CL:)

    • Don’t let a fuckwit take Pearl Jam. 😡

      Do you remember a while back when the UBT translated a letter some moron cheater wrote in which he claimed the song “Nothingman” as his personal life statement? He actually thought the lyrics were a positive reflection on his infidelity. I just cannot fathom how someone could be so incredibly stupid to not understand that the entire meaning of that song was actually about what a LOSER he was for cheating!!!

      That’s how it goes with fuckwits, though. They may sing along, they may even know every word. But they have NO IDEA what the words mean. Kinda like how they said their marriage vows, right?

      They don’t deserve Pearl Jam. Eddie knows all about our heartbreak, though. Don’t think in terms of All or None and don’t dwell too long on Black. Choose instead to focus on the Unthought Known. Remind yourself that I am Mine and that there is a Love Boat Captain steering you toward the clear. Realize you are a Fixer, and Faithful, and it’s ok to have a Wishlist. Stay in the Present Tense. Remember that it’s an Inside Job.

      (Sorry I’m such a nerd. But PJ is my third therapist, right behind my actual psychologist and CL. I’ll be damned before I let fuckwit take that away from me!)

      • PJ is your third therapist! I love that! I would say I have a lot of “third therapists” as well. Theory of a Deadman is probably top of my list….So Happy…..

  • I took back pride in my body and deciding how I should look. No matter how much I worked out and dieted, I never was thin or fit enough for him. I was young and in the military then, and I always scored in the “Excellent” range for our twice-yearly fitness and body-fat tests. “Excellent” still was not good enough for him, even though he was overweight and out of shape. After he left, I began seeing how crazy I’d become about the whole subject of diet, exercise and weight. If he’d stayed, I think I would have developed an eating disorder. I decided that I wan to exercise and eat healthfully, but that I just did not want to be obsessed with every bite I put into my mouth and how many hours a week I worked out. So, now, I am healthy, fit, average weight, not skinny, not fat…and I am much happier with my body. Never again will I be with anyone who criticizes my body. If you don’t like my body — then leave and find someone whose body you do like.

    • YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Agree agree agree. My husband/ STBX constantly criticized my clothes and various aspects of my appearance, especially if we were going “out” with his high class friends where he obviously felt self conscious about himself and by extension, me. My shoes were never right – as if anyone was freeking looking at my shoes. He one time SCREAMED at me and refused to sleep in the same bed with me one night because I went to an event in the winter during a rain and snow storm wearing wet boots and then put them in a plastic bag at the coat check to change into my nice shoes. He thought that carrying boots in a plastic bag looked “ghetto” to his high class friends and they would think we were ghetto. I said darling I don’t think anyone who knows us and the fact that we live in an apartment on the upper east side f NYC with a house in the Hamptons really would be thinking that we live in the slum or are “ghetto”. I think they might think I am rahter practical for having had the forethought to wear rain boots and not destroy my nice shoes. You know what was “ghetto”? His sleeping around with Russian woman while our daughter was at theatre camp and picking up hot caterers and taking them on business trips. Yuck.

      • Ok…. I was laughing reading it…it brings memories
        My h was anal about “ impression management “ and I am still mad at myself, that I was going with his ridiculous requests every time we were about to organize a party… don’t mind the over the top preparations- during the event he usually ignored me most of the time while trying to go above and beyond to impress our guests🤮🤮🤮
        At some point I said enough, and guess what? Nothing bad happened:) I could not care less of the people who expect over the top treatment and those who are decent- enjoy my parties.

    • Oh my!!!
      Good for you… I’m looking back at my old pics and just want to cry… how was it possible for him to make me feel so undesirable, ugly, fat – while in fact I was a good looking person?
      I took it back last year during our family vacation…, most of his cousins and friends were lighting up and checking me out (I know it’s pathetic but it gave me a hit of joy) on numerous occasions.
      No, I never used it- because I love most of their wives and would never even slightly make them uncomfortable.
      I was always shifting attention to the wife and the fact that guys should be happy to find such a good spouses( yes, the women are great)

    • The X is a hunter – deer, elk, bear, moose – I don’t ever have to eat another bite of deer as long as I live. I did enjoy the elk but no more deer.

      • I hunt too. I dislike venison that’s been eating sage and pinecones. I’d much rather have it from the Prarie… where it’s been grass and grain fed all summer.

  • Things that the mini-me OW loved too – horses, campfires, Ireland…. but most of all the phrase ‘I’m protective of family’ that stbx uses. I know he sincerely wants to help me and the kids be OK, dunno how much of that is guilt, but shame he wasn’t feeling that way 2 years ago when he was full-on obsessed with the OW.

  • I took back 10 March. It was my Dday and I refuse to let him have it. NExt year I’m going to a music festival and every year from now on I’m going to make that day the best of my year. He can’t have it.

    • Thank You IDeserveBetter! I will take back 10 March with you! It was also my DDay and the day before my son’s actual birthday. 10 March was also one week before my son’s huge planned birthday party and a few weeks before my daughter’s birthday in which I couldn’t even muster up enough energy to plan anything for her. Even if I had the energy, I couldn’t see for the tears constantly streaming down my face. It sure pisses me off that he had to ruin my kid’s special days. What a cheating abandoning asshole.

      • I took back March, too. D-day was during spring break, 2015. This past year, I moved into my own apartment on the first day of Spring! New life!

  • My first anniversary of the bomb dropping is coming in a few weeks. He chose my dad’s birthday to blow up my family. I’ll never forget it being about 11 pm, kids in bed, hours into pleading for counseling, wailing in pain, and trying to understand how he could be leaving what I thought was a strong marriage, when it dawned on me and I blurted out, “I didn’t call my dad on his birthday!”. In typical Fuckwit fashion, with the delusional entitlement they all seethe, he feigned empathy. I will never forget or forgive that moment. My dad had the last laugh, though. He became a divorce expert and did far more than my own attorney to get me every last dime I was ENTITLED to. Justice will eventually be served.

    • My EX lost his Dad when he was young, always claimed my father replaced him. So after dumping me and my two sons he then preceded to re marry on my fathers birthday to make it special. Lucky for me, I was able to laugh about how crazy he was to think that my father has any “special” feelings for him… LOL

  • It’s very early days (only 7 weeks) since D day. He lives in a beautiful city, I have so many happy memories as my grandparents lived there. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back. Christmas last year was our first as a family of 3. Rather spoiled by the arrival of his GF when I went to see other family on boxing day. I’m rather anxious about Christmas this year, knowing he and she will be together.

  • I’m taking back the child support money that my XH owes me.

    A garnishment order was served on his employer earlier this month.

    (He actually thought he could cross the state line into Indiana and dodge child support. NOPE.)

  • I hope its wonderfully encouraging to tell you that now, years later, I cant think of anything that really triggers me these days.

    I used to have a lot of triggers : April, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Tampa, Chinese food, Asian women, any products manufactures by Camelback or another company OW used to work for which escapes me at the moment.

    There are a few cheater songs I click past as well as a few songs from our dating days that remind me of him, but Im generally avoiding annoyance, not real pain.

  • In one week I will take back Maui. I went there 32 years ago as a teenager after the first 2 dates with the X asshat. Even at that young age I knew he was “the one” and therefore spent a pretty miserable week with my stick-in-the-mud parents, surrounded by newlyweds. A horny teenage girl in love with her dopey parents. We didn’t do anything fun and it was really boring. Can you imagine calling Maui boring?

    So in a week I am taking my adult daughters to Maui. They both graduated from their various colleges this summer and we are going to celebrate with this trip. Asshat was at neither of their ceremonies and has not spoken to either of them for months.

    It will be a much better vacation than we have ever known- with Asshat at the helm we always had to see every corner of the map when we were on vacation, drive 80 miles out of the way to see the largest ball of string, and always roll into the campgrounds well after dark and try to set up tents in complete blackness, trying to be silent among sleeping neighbors who were counting our car door slams. Whether flying or road trips he always ran the show and ran us ragged cramming every possible thing into the days and always creating a feeling of lateness and hurry.

    We called them, “Dadventures” and tried to laugh it off but now that he has abandoned us all for his 25YO sparkletwat we are free of that idiocy and will have a vacation at OUR pace, enjoying each other and a lot of downtime. So looking forward to it.

    • Asswipe promised my daughter a trip to Hawaii when she graduated high school. He also promised her he would finish (after 10 years) the apartment above our garage if she did well in school. Told her it would be finished for her senior year.
      The apartment is STILL (and probably will forever be because he is a lazy drunk and too busy playing pool) a shell and she graduated back in 2015. The Hawaii trip has yet to happen.

      And yet my daughter doesn’t talk to me….

    • Take back Maui! I cannot take back Hawaii just yet as we lived there for years, met there, married there, named our daughter’s middle name after the beach we used to frequent, on and on. Good for me that I live in Tampa currently. But Hawaii is where I was born and raised so I do have to take it back someday……..on a Tuesday.

  • Not so much about taking back, but letting go. Letting go of the apprehension, letting go of the fear and thus taking back myself. And when I come home nowadays, I don’t start preparing a meal to have it ready for him, I turn on the music ,. @Feelingit – yeah the summer of 69, love that song. And Bruce SPringsteen. Of course it is best when the music is turned at a wall shaking volume, something he hated and thus I never did it when he was around.

  • I’ve got two. One is a nice restaurant downtown that I used to like to eat at with friends from work. Once I saw the footage provided by the PI of the ex there with the AP, that was it, I couldn’t go there any more. I just wanted to throw up. Someday, I want to take this restaurant back.

    The other is not so good. My ex worked with cops, so all but one of her AP (that I know about) were police officers. So, now I have an irrational hatred of law enforcement. It sucks ass. I can tell myself in my head that not all these people are lying cheating sacks of shit, but the experience says otherwise
    🙁

  • Ok, this may sound weird, but mine is a parking garage. I had to park in this garage every time I went to court for the divorce. The whole thing was very stressful. Every time I parked there for court I was so nervous and shaky. The problem is that one branch of the library I work for is right across the street from the courthouse, and you have to park in the same garage. I always said I would never be able to work at that branch because of the garage. But a year after the divorce, A full-time opportunity that was really great came up at that branch. I needed the benefits and extra pay, and the job was interesting, so I interviewed, got the job and started parking in the garage every day. It would actually make me shake and make my stomach hurt at first, but now that garage is just a normal part of my work-day, and I walk by the courthouse everyday without a second thought! Oh, did I mention that my Ex’s job takes him to all the courthouse in our state? I could run right into him on my way to work, but I don’t think he would even recognize me, because I cut my hair short and I have lost over 100 pounds!

    • I’m inspired by your trigger take-back and your transformation!! Cheers to you!!!

      I lost 10 lbs in about a month following my D-Day because I couldn’t eat. It was the “last 10 lbs” that I had wanted to lose forever after baby#3. I was losing weight and none of my pants fit. I went out and bought a very nice pair of skinny Jeans. The kind of jeans I would have wanted to wear but wouldnt because “those last 10 lbs.” So anyway my stbxh is still living in my house, and I come home wearing these new jeans and a beautiful top, and I notice him checking me out and smiling. He said “hey you look REALLY good “. He thought he could compliment back into my good graces and thought I would rug sweep. I said I dont care what you think, f%ck off!

      Looking good is the best revenge! What my mom always says.

  • This one may be a little silly, but stick with me:

    When I was in high school, I spent some time as a cashier in a supermarket. Sometimes the customers would slap down those divider things on the conveyor belt between their groceries and the next person’s, even though there was about 2 feet of space between their items. I would think “Do you think I’m stupid? Clearly, the two feet of empty conveyor belt will clue me in to where your groceries begin without that dumb divider.”

    After that, I decided I didn’t like those divider sticks, and I would never touch one again. It wasn’t anything really deep seated, I just kinda decided I was gonna try to go my whole life without ever touching one.

    My ex-whore-fucker of course knew about this, so he never missed an opportunity while online at the supermarket to pick up the divider and poke me with it. Ha ha, I would laugh thinking he was being flirty, no, he was being a dick and literally testing my boundaries.

    After D-Day, I was at the store and found myself in front of someone who put their groceries on the belt nearly touching mine. At that moment, I decided I’m a brand new person that doesn’t give a fuck about the divider sticks. I picked it up and separated our groceries with it.

    Now, anytime I’m in line, I pick up that dumb sick with a full grip and place it on the belt. It’s just a little reminder to myself (without anyone around me having any idea) that I’m my own person, a different person, and he can’t poke me, touch me or hurt me anymore.

    • GTT,

      I think your story is important because it shows how they take little pieces of info which we have entrusted them with to to torment us and thus put us off balance in order to manipulate us…even little things can be a mindfuck.

      I (uncharacteristically) had an item that I refused to touch…it was Cheaters John Deere tractor…I didnt want the damn thing in the first place as I thought a yard the size of the one he chose was all too much and I wasnt going to to take responsibility for it. After he died, I sold the damn thing and hired a lawn service.

      You are a new person, one who doesnt have to have bad memories associated with dumb stuff. We are mighty.

    • I’m one of those people who puts the divider stick down. Not because I think the cashier is stupid, but so the person behind me might push their stuff further up and relax, or maybe push their stuff up, put down a divider stick and let the next person get started, or put the little basket down while they wait.

      • I also use the divider stick as a courtesy to the next person in line. I’m not saying this to argue, just to let any cashiers reading this that we don’t think you are dumb!

    • This is NOT silly. I love that you shared this.
      What seem like tiny little things can give us such a great feeling of power. Triggers are all knives in a drawer, microscopic, huge, visible, invisible….and UNIQUE TO THE INDIVIDUAL. I love Peter Levine’s work on trauma. Today’s topic has got me thinking what kind of all-purpose plan I can have for those “knives”…in particular I love a photo of Fiona Apple wearing a suit of armor in a subway car. I need to print that out and put my face on it….
      I worked for years to not be thick-skinned and want just the right amount of sensitivity….right now I feel like I have no protective coating. When it comes to triggers so often I look for the elephant and it was a flea…..maybe a chain mail garment would be a good idea for when I have to see him….? Definitely I need to feel protected and powerful somehow….words, clothing, space, finances, magic spells, invocations, true friends who stand up for me. For sure I need to think about what makes me feel safe and powerful…things that the cheater took away….

  • Taking back the pleasure of going out to eat without the entitled narcissist who ruined every meal with her complaints and rudeness to the waitstaff. After we split, several friends told me that they had decided never to go out with us again because of her behavior.😠
    NOT taking back anything New Age…especially anyone who claims to be channeling entity(s) from the Galactic Federation. Seriously, how do people fall for this shit?! IMHO, anyone who starts their own “spiritual” group should be viewed with deep suspicion. I think most are narcissists in “spiritual” drag.

    • House-is-mine, I’ve also had the ex who was rude to waitstaff. It’s so embarrassing! I don’t miss Princess Entitlement at all.

  • My struggles aren’t so much any more about places and things, I’ve done a good job of reclaiming those, because … fuck him!

    My struggles are more around projective identification; literally getting stuck “holding the bag” of uncomfortable feelings that do not even belong to me in the first place.

    I’m court this week fuckface submitted an email that I forwarded to him as evidence of my “parental suck!”

    Thursday Aug. 16 – text from football coach:
    JVB Black unis, be ready by 4pm for pictures and then stick around for preview night.

    Friday Aug. 17th – fuckfaces weekend, but I kept our son.
    Son had practice and pictures.
    Filled out and turned in all forms for preview night, paid fees and stayed for preview. Even asked shithead if he’d like me to order him a lanyard!

    Friday Aug. 17th 7:14 pm – coach text
    Ready to go by 645am tomorrow. No jerseys, We will wear beanies.

    Text from coach at 8:20 pm
    You will need black jerseys if your parents want buttons to wear. (I did not order buttons with the picture order form)

    Saturday Aug. 18th
    I drop son off at 6:45 am for scrimmage. Return to pick him up when he calls and says he’s done.

    Wednesday Aug. 22

    I am in the hospital with my daughter after a major surgery and receive the following email from the football mom president.

    Good Morning,

    I was just told that Son didn’t have his picture taken last Saturday after practice? Would it be possible for you to take a picture of him from the waist up (portrait style) in his blue jersey, we need this picture for the lanyard you ordered as well as the poster you will decorate on Thursday.

    I respond and cc fuckface, as he had our son.

    I apologize. We thought Saturday’s pictures were for kids who wanted button orders, and the pictures taken on Friday were for posters.

    I have CC’d Sons fuckface dad on this, as I am currently in the hospital with my daughter.

    … and he submitted this on our third day of trial as evidence that he should have the kids overnight on Sunday’s all year. I wasnt aware being a good parent required a complete absence of mistakes, especially those that were caused by someone else’s miscommunication.

    He’s a Douche canoe!

    My struggles are around his constant message of “I suck”. The kids tell me all the time he says it, other people tell me he says it. He puts it in court docs. Sure, I’m imperfect and make mistakes, that doesn’t make me a horrible parent.

    The disordered will always use your imperfections against you!

    • That football picture ordered sounded confusing AF. I wouldn’t have understood it either, the way they communicated was not good. And that is not a reflection on YOU!

    • Got a Brain – I’m sorry but I’m laughing my butt off. THAT is all Fuckhead has in his “She’s So Damn Awful” file for COURT? Seriously he’s crazy as a three dollar bill.

      Good riddance – and please stop internalizing his remarks about you to others. In fact, tell everyone not to mention anything he ever says about you.

      You’re amazing.

    • Nacho dip. Ex narcopath had this thing with wanting nacho dip and tostitos on Friday nights and watching a movie. I usually had fridays off work, so he would start badgering me via text from work, early in the morning….

      “I’m thinking nachos tonight…. ”

      I would tell him we need xyz ingredients and can he pick them up and bring them on his lunch hour? (He drove home to watch Prices Right for half an hour).

      He WORKED at the local grocery store.

      Nope. He insisted I stop whatever I was doing at home and drive down, RIGHT THAT MINUTE, to get the ingredients and make it. Because: IT. NEEDS. TO. SIT……ALL. DAY.

      After we broke up and Friday would roll around I would cry and cry remembering our special nacho Fridays.
      Until I became friends with exwife and one Friday she asks me: “he ever ask you to make nachos on Friday ?” Yes, I said, tearfully. “Yeah, he was obsessed with that shit, made me do it for years…”

      Say, what? Not special. It was their thing. He did it with all his gfs. Sigh.

      Now, I make it for my kids and I and even send an extra dish to my moms….we all love it. Screw him. And p.s. MY recipe was the best of them all!

  • I’m taking back my brain and my self- respect. Towards the end, whenever I was with him, it was like I had no brain. If I made a wrong turn and didn’t follow the GPS, he would yell at me. If I didn’t make a variety of foods, he was disappointed. If I didn’t clean the house, he was disappointed. It was like my brain shut down and I wasn’t able to function. Now I know it was him, not me. Now I can follow the GPS to a T. My house is clean most of the time and I have tried many new recipes. Now I have my self respect back. Fuck you, cheating asshole!

    • My brain is also not functioning so well these days. I can;t concentrate properly. Hope this goes away if we split. I am obsessing over this entire situation.

  • The suburb that the whippet (my friend said she looked like a greyhound so that just stuck) lives in is called Collierville- I call it Cheaterville. I refuse to go near there unless work makes me. And everyone that lives there is a douche cheater in my mind. I’m sure there’s one or two decent folks lol!

  • Freedom to take care of myself. Hangout with friends more than once a month. Decorate all by myself and not having to run it by the cheater. Weekend trips with my son.

    Freedom!

  • Labor Day Weekend trigger approaching. Labor Day weekend 2017 he went out overnight on our sailboat “alone” and we joined him Sunday afternoon. I got a text early that Sunday morning …”The anchor came up on the boat during the night and I drifted into the Berkeley Marina”….which I later found out was a lie. He probably texted that from the hotel room. I never get around to deleting texts and it was later oddly gratifying to use his old texts as lie detectors. I have not set foot on board the boat since I discovered the affair. Of course he contaminated it with the cheating partner. I reminded him of the lie yesterday when he asked to take our daughter overnight on the boat this weekend.
    I replied that what she wants is most important and if she wants to go it’s ok…that I had planned to do something fun with her to reprogram Labor Day and try to avoid being pistol-whipped by flashbacks from last Labor Day. because it’s the anniversary of “the anchor came up…” lie. I think it’s important for me to tell him how what he did impacts us. I don’t have any illusions that he cares; I issue the damage reports for MY healing. Why should we suffer in silence? He apologized again…does he mean it? Who knows and I don’t care. It’s enough that he chokes the words out. I’m all about harshing the buzz of the affair any way I can. Relatives of murder victims get to address the murderer in court and say how they are impacted….I am taking a page from that book and I notice it does help me.

    She now doesn’t care to go out on the boat. He was upset to find out from her post-DDay that she doesn’t really like going out on the boat; she liked being a family together on it. I spent so many weekends moored at Angel Island and haven’t been there in almost a year now. So thank you Chump Lady for the timely subject….maybe reclaiming some things he ruined will include heading down to Sausalito this weekend and finding out if I can crew on a better boat. My basic all-purpose trigger reclamation plan is 1) feel the feelings, 2) do something different, 3) engage with my tribe.

    • You do what you need to to heal, but I’ve found any emotional response is kibbles for a cheater. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let cheater know he has any effect on my emotions….I’m not letting him think he has that power!

      Just food for thought!

      • Point taken for sure. I do notice that I am uninvested in how he feels about it or what he does with it, and every time I get to say “the emperor has no clothes!!” a little girl inside me feels protected and validated. For me it would be deadly and retraumatizing for me to hide how what he did affects us. If he responded abusively for sure I would not be telling him anything, but that hasn’t been the case. So far he has responded by taking the opportunity to make amends….genuine or not, who knows, but that is beyond my control….

    • VELVET
      …harshing the buzz… LOVE IT!!!
      Living life without a moments interruption of them in our cranial headspace is the best way to do this.
      I’ve read that when we reach MEH, the cheaters re-activate to return seeking kibbles to find out we’ve ‘pulled off our masks’ and treat them like the waste of skin we know them to be. Especially if we’ve got another authentic person in our lives.

    • “Pistol-whipped by flashbacks”-THIS.
      I have a cognitive trick to think of a stop sign, then redirect.
      Too bad he didn’t “drift” down to Sharkland Stinson Beach, Velvet!

  • Yep, I now hate the entire state of Massachusetts, and I loathe the Patriots and the Red Sox with the fire of a thousand suns.

    I went to college in Boston, and still have many friends there, so on one hand this makes me sad, but luckily I live 2,000 miles away today, so don’t have to deal with the state that much.

    Maybe someday I’ll tackle taking back the city where I went to college, when my kids are grown and I don’t need to deal with Dracula so much (and cross country flights so Dracula can see my kids), but I’m not sure. I love living in the West and don’t think that will ever change. Particularly considering the weather in Boston is also loathsome.

    I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, so I’m thankful the Cheater didn’t ruin my hometown or my love for the city of Brotherly Love! 🙂

    • Absolutely Boston, and anything to do with it, including all of Massachutesetts. Thankfully, I live far, far away from it. And anything French. OW is an ex-pat, extremely vain about her intelligence, and writes long, meandering sentences with clause after clause after clause. Oh, and is quick to talk about her “ethics” class she took in college. Too bad none of it appeared to stick.

      I took back Scotland, last summer, with my sister. Cheater met up with the OW there TWICE, shutting me down when I said I wanted to go. He had, somehow, managed to convince himself that I didn’t like to travel. Puh-leeze.

      I don’t give a rat’s ass about Paris. Edinburgh, though, was something I always wanted to experience. So, I did. With my sister. We drove all over the place, from Edinburgh to Glasgow to Inverness. I shot a hole in one on the 9th hole at St. Andrews!! OK, it was the putting green. But still.

      Slowly getting to meh…

  • Well, after five years of being chumped, my list is a long one. I would love to take back the local wine festival (so much hurt happened that day!). Also, I had run a 5k and the ex was there to cheer me on, however he was missing when I crossed the finish line (my best race time ever too). I suspect he was on the phone with the OW. I was so happy that he was there for me and then he ruined it. I really need to run that race again! Also, the local dog park. I have not been back. He use to take our dog there every Sunday. Little did I know that that was his alone time to talk on the phone with the OW. And finally, a local bar (where he met the OW). I have been in there once, but I had to leave. The bar has a slogan under their name…….”Where friends become family!”. I shit you not!!!! I stay away from these places…..they trigger me and set me back. It’s time to take them back!

    • Oh, wine. He took to drinking it, after being a professed “beer man” for nearly all of his adult life. Suddenly, he brought wine into our house (I can’t drink it), and would do all of the ridiculous rituals that self-absorbed “wine-snots” do. This is a man who can tell red from white from the color.

      Plus jazz. Don’t want to hear it ever again. Sadly, Frank Sinatra.

  • I’m sad to say that my trigger is now Christmas—a holiday I had some ambivalence beforehand, but ex-hole said he’d ‘bring it back to me’ !!!!! Hooray and kibbles all around
    He even proposed to me on Christmas Eve, all that stuff

    Now Christmas full out sucks.

    I loved spending the day or part of it with his lovely daughters, now lost to me as I wasn’t even a ‘real’ stepmother, my own daughter could care less, and I am all alone. And it sucks. The big one

    • If you lived near me, I would love to have you over for the day just to enjoy a nice cup of tea and admire the pretty lights.

    • Almost 9 years out from dday & Christmas still sucks. My dday was the evening of the 26th. The card he gave me the day before still haunts me. It read, “Life gives me beautiful things – It gave me you.” No, you gave beautiful me a permanent broken heart and an incurable STD.

      • Oh, God, what an ass-hole. Mine has told me he was miserable for YEARS, and yet I have piles of cards and emails saying how lucky he is to have me blah, blah, blah all from the time when he was so wounded by me and my apparent indifference to his splendidness.

        Olympic-level mindfucker.

  • Well as of now I never want anything to do with Thanksgiving again. He waited till Thanksgiving when, for the first time in my adult life , I was hosting 23 people to reveal his affair with his secretary, who “really gets him”. He was sure I understood because he made her feel like no one else ever had – forget his 4 children ages 6 and under. Thanksgiving was ruined.

  • Oh, and Chris W—I am completely with you re: the state of Mass with the exception of some beaches on the North shore of Boston I found way before the ex. Am also from the Phila suburbs and still though I live nowhere near there now consider it my home base/stomping grounds.

    Media? Everybody’s home town….that would be me.

  • I’m taking back all the music & bands we liked to listen to. Except the Kings of Leon, yak. He can keep them. I understand the lyrics of ‘Use Somebody’ in a whole different way now. He loved that album – I think the lyrics to that particular song were very real to him. If only I’d paid attention!

    • Oh boy had that song too. He loved it ! I can no longer listen to it . I get what he was telling me now !!

  • Slowly but surely I’m taking back my power. I learned that NO is a complete sentence.

    I triggered (not so much now) on new Dodge Journey SUVs. x MUST have a newer car to drive.
    I think she went through about 6 over our 13 year marriage. Reliable transportation is a must for serial cheaters, as well as controlling the phone bills.

    Not sure if this coming weekend will be a trigger or not, because she started her exit-affair-fuck-fest with camperboy a year ago on Labor day weekend and left me on the 9th Sept 2017. No worries, I bought a 3 day ticket for a Rockfest this weekend and have a date on one of those 3 days. The crazy ‘cosmos thing’ happened yesterday when I received a $74 check in the mail for lightbulbs I bought years ago. Totally unexpected. It covered the cost of the Rockfest this weekend. GOD smiled and said ROCK AND ROLL Chump! This gigs on me! Who knows, maybe I’ll meet my future xw there. LOL. NOT.

    The triggers I feel,… I note them and then dismiss them as granting power back to her- so I don’t. The pain and sadness is only momentary now. I’ll get to the other side where these things will not register at all. I feel MEH growing stronger everyday. NC is the Narcan to Hopium. When sobriety from hopium is accomplished in this chump, triggers remain but become powerless if diagnosed and the underlying cause is identified. Usually FEAR. The 1st step of the AA program comes to mind,… “We admitted we were powerless over (triggers) and that our lives had become unmanageable”. You (I) can substitute/insert whatever it is you are powerless over for the word “triggers’. There will always be an underlying emotion that causes the trigger. Once I can identify what that emotion is (Anger, Greed, Fear, Pity,etc.etc) I can take steps to counteract it in the future. This part of the solution requires work ON ME and my character defects.

    The suckiest thing I deal with today is not having the motivation to do things I need to do to get back to the state where I was independent of thought and action- meaning doing things that I need to do but keep putting off. I’m a fixer of things electrical and mechanical- unfortunately that habit extends to people and their fuckedupedness. A Procrastination block. I had this before xw so this is within me rather than in anything marital related. I know my drive will return but it takes time and I have to remember to be good to me and not push it. Healing takes time. Perhaps this lazy state is just that. Given a year of Hyper-Vigilance I’m trying to wind down and resettle. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at this point in time. Listen to KingsX I HEAR MUSIC.

    • I’m going to Rocktember the following weekend. I wonder if it is the same (or close) lineup? *But* $74 doesn’t NEARLY cover what I paid for tickets…

      I thought Rockfest was in Cadott, WI in July…..

  • After 30 years, there were so many triggers especially since I still lived in the same town we shared for all those years. For a time after Dday and divorce, almost EVERYTHING was a trigger.

    I couldn’t go to some locations, I didn’t listen to music for months, I stopped watching shows, I quit eating at “our” restaurants, I couldn’t wear certain jewelry, holidays were a huge hurdle, and the list goes on.

    I had to reclaim my life. Was it easy? No. Sometimes the panic attacks and tears came. But the passage of time and determination helped immensely. Determination because I wasn’t going to let xhole ruin one more thing in my life. He had already ruined enough.

    • One Step,

      I feel much like you. Am forcing myself to go to some of the restaurants and beaches my last partner and I used to visit. Getting less triggered by certain songs (eighties songs, Sweater Weather, and Somebody that I Used to Know, and I Will Walk with My Love (Maureen Hegarty)).

      Still working on diminishing the triggering effects of walking on my college campus (we met in undergrad) and the lookout point over the Pacific Ocean where on our first anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend he told me, out of the blue, ‘I will never marry you!’ And then five minutes later in a restaurant, ‘How do you feel about that?’ A year later, I’m still traumatized by it and have avoided taking hikes with some groups because they start next to that restaurant.

      I wish that I could move out of this area for several reasons, including avoidance of the triggers, but won’t because I would lose some custody of my kids.

      Trying to focus on other stuff but still struggling to not feel triggered. In spite of being very busy and exhausted, I consistently feel lonely but don’t want to date anyone. Haven’t met anyone who seems at all compatible and anyone who ‘measures up’ to my last partner. Considering how often he mistreated me, how sad is that?

  • The implosion of my marriage and divorce in process, have been full of lots of interesting ironies that have brought me to a really good place emotionally. My STBX and I happen to be the same religion. He told me on DDay 1 that one of the reasons he did not love me like a husband and a wife should love each other anymore is because I became too religious. Funny, he is only person in my life that felt that way at time. Cheating blameshifter! Anyway, like many other chumps on here, I have struggled with anxiety/doubt for years. Three years ago I happened to be in a religious store with my sister and decided I wanted to buy a medal of a Saint. I feel a connection to the apostle Saint Thomas as he was the doubter who became a firm believer. So, fast forward almost a year and few months of wearing medal, we go on what would be our last family vacation which feels like the kids and I on vacation with some distant stranger who happens to be in my STBX’s body, lol. Two weeks later is DDay1, three weeks later DDay 2 & my filing for divorce. After the initial shock wears off, I think about where that last vacation was. You guessed it, St. Thomas!! For me, that was divine intervention working! I plan on taking back St. Thomas (and St. John) with the kids someday in the future!!

  • I took back my child’s birthday since I discovered the whole affair while looking at our cell bill and wondering just who on earth he had been texting the entire 8 hours I was in labor. The realization that he had spent his child’s birth sending hundreds of texts to that tart was gutting. And she KNEW what was happening. Who does that?? Never mind the fact it was New Year’s Day and I had spent the night before BEGGING him to stay home because I knew it was close. Fucking asshole. Anyway, it’s tsken years but my own child’s birthday doesn’t bring up these garbage people like this anymore.

  • A whole area in Central NY. I won’t go there ever again. EVER

    And Christmas. I’ve made the effort for my kids but I loathe that holiday. And in another month the decorations will start seeping out. Nothing beats being Ghosted at Christmas

  • I’ve let go of triggers and there were many. We spent a lifetime doing things together and raising children into adulthood. We were always together. He professed his love right up to the week before dday.

    My needs were never met and going anyplace new or trying something new was repeatedly met with, “That makes me uncomfortable.” I’ve let go of all the places we frequented. Instead I find new places to travel, meet new friends and go to new restaurants. I’ve found a new beach I frequented this summer, I listen to bands, and do all the things that bring me peace (reading, writing, gardening, photography, decorating.)

    I’ve let go of the limitations he imposed on my future. Clarity is seeing the possibilities my future holds as a single intelligent woman.

    The biggest change for me has been to stop caring about what others think. I’ll apply it to adult children (over 30). Coverts weaponize others and taking back my life no longer means taking care of others needs at my expense. Growth requires letting go of that old identity and damn if you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

  • Tennis. That was always where he was supposedly heading off to and explained his immediate need for a shower when he got home. Not home on schedule? The match ran late. Need an excuse to be gone a long time? A make-up match, a practice session, a team celebration. Yes, “tennis” was all consuming. All the women in his phone were given strange gender neutral names with “tennis” added, just in case I were to ever check. Les-tennis? Oh that’s not Leslie from the gym, it’s just a guy from tennis who oddly enough has the exact same phone number as Leslie from the gym with whom I cheated 10 years ago.

    When I was looking through online dating profiles, any mention or picture related to tennis meant immediate rejection. Yes, stupid. But I have no interest in reclaiming that silly sport … way too much trotting around and swatting at a blameless little fuzzy ball. Ugh.

  • Any songs from the ’80s trigger me. The ’80s were when we were in college, in love then newlyweds & starting our beautiful life together. Even movies from that era bother me – hey, I had that outfit, we had that car, etc. Thank goodness for Sirius & their ’60s & ’70s stations.

  • Tracy! Pittsburgh is a wonderful city. If you find yourself here, let me know and I will help you take it back. It’s the mainland sports home of the late great Roberto Clemente, who was a humanitarian as well as the most amazing baseball player I ever say. As a Puerto Rican and Spanish speaker, he experienced segregation in the 1950s and early 60s; he was mocked for his accent in the local papers; he was called a malingerer when he was injured. He died when a plane he chartered crashed when carrying earthquake relief supplies to Nicaragua. He said this: “”Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.”

    The Big Mac was invented in Western Pa. The Ferris Wheel. Our old-school amusement park has both modern and wooden roller coasters. We have three rivers that come to a point, and while you can look at al three from one spot, the rivers are very, very different. We have a world-class symphony, major dance companies, three major universities within a 10-minute drive, world-class sports teams (and the best baseball park in the country). We put french fries on our food. We hate change but we roll with it when we must. We are a city of jaywalkers and people who give directions by telling you, “Turn left where the old diner used to be.” You should love Pittsburgh. We are enormously resilient folks here and are even learning how to deal with hipsters and their amenities.

    What I’ve taken back? My childhood. My inner and outer athlete. My confidence that I can handle whatever is coming down the road. All the parts of me that got chipped away by sexism and chasing romance and childhood trauma and having my head on backwards as a result. It’s a work in progress but there is no where I won’t go and nothing I won’t do because of some jackass. I will be 67 in a few weeks and I’m making the most of every day I have left.

  • Things that I moved past:

    1. Our college alma mater’s basketball team. He got our season tickets in the divorce and now takes OW to games. Took me over a year before I could go to a game again, but fuck that shit. I shouldn’t have to give that up.

    2. Indiana license plates. OW#1 was from Indiana. Just driving by a license plate from that state made me feel sick. I now accept that ex is the one to dislike. OWs are interchangeable

    Things that still get under my skin but I can live with:

    1. NFL football – time with me and the kids took a backseat to his obsession with football (or more accurately betting on football – he was in 3 fantasy leagues).

    2. Dallas Cowboys in particular. Every time I hear that they lost, I get a sick thrill.

    3. Ohio State football. Still gets under my skin but I can tolerate it (surrounded by too many OSU fans to not learn to live with it)

    4. Def Leppard – we went to their concerts anytime they were near. He now takes OW (who wasn’t even born when they were popular). I can now listen to them when they come on the radio without changing the station but can’t see me ever going back for a concert.

      • I am too. There were very few common things that we both enjoyed. He took every one of the things we did together, and now he does them with OW.

        My love of Def Leppard is winning out over how those experiences with him are now tainted. I loved the band before I ever loved him…

  • I’m taking back summer vacations with my kids. My ex was a Debbie Downer and ruined every trip we went on with the kids. He complained the entire time, spent the day looking at his phone and commented on fun things he was missing at home. On the last trip we took together as a family, I’m positive he was talking to his OW the entire time. I spent the entire time trying to make him happy instead of enjoying time with my kids. That pisses me off! This summer, I took my kids on two trips and had the best time!

    • I could have written this, too. On our last vacation together, my ex disappeared for 5 hours at Universal. Left me with 2 tweens while I was 6 months pregnant.

    • Yes, this! My son commented the other day that he was glad we didn’t have to vacation with Assholio anymore because “he always overshadowed everything with his moods.”

  • DDay was earlier this month and after 20 years of marriage, there are LOTS of triggers!

    Pret, I wholeheartedly agree… my brain and my self respect. I’m not sure how I allowed that to be taken but I was starting to figure it out just prior to DDay!

    Also, my family’s cottage. I grew up spending summers there and we spent the last 20+ years taking summer vacation there for a huge annual family party. That was also the same place, earlier this month, where DDay occurred… found love notes on hotel stationary in his laptop bag.

    Mine and the kids’ lives in general… no more walking on eggshells!

  • Yes! X was the a holiday and a “Moment Ruiner” King! He took the joy out of every single holiday or special event.

    What a relief to not feel anxious and afraid of the enjoying myself during special occasions now! 🙂

  • Ah geez, list is long: Halloween, San Francisco, Macaroni Grill, entire Central Coast, pancake breakfasts, school carnivals. Whatever. I’m working on taking them all back, except Macaroni Grill, that place isn’t so great to make the effort.

    The worst triggers are the deep emotional ones. I’m dating a wonderful guy now (fellow chump), and it’s always something. We disagreed on some minor thing and it kept me up all night with an unexplainable dread. The next morning we talked and I apologized for the conversation and he was all “hey, it’s ok to disagree, it’s normal, nothing bad is happening here.” Not exactly the reaction I would have gotten from my ex-narc. I hope that stuff fades away soon.

    • I can help you take back San Francisco….let me know! I live 20 minutes north. We’ll get the cheater juju out of my city!!!

  • Obviously the wedding ring is a big trigger. I am taking my engagement and wedding rings, and another piece of jewelry that the Douchebag gave me during our 30 year marriage, and having them made into a pendant for my daughter. I have seen some on this site disagree and consider that to be just a reminder of a failed marriage, but I choose to see it as a symbol of how one can survive something bad and transform into something better.

    • I agree Intothelight. I plan to take my big engagement ring and take some of the side stones to make a band for each of my beautiful grown kids–3 stones to symbolize my love for them–past present and future. The centre big stone will go into my current diamond necklace–why waste a nice stone?

    • Also too, perhaps a reminder to her that she was conceived and born in love. Above all I want my daughter to know that I loved her father and that’s how she was brought into the world. Rings can symbolize that. The truth of the divorce will come out one day when she’s old enough to know it, but so must the truth about the other stuff. It’s only fair.

  • It’s a bit silly but I took back the song “could I have this dance” by Anne Murray as it was our wedding song–by singing it at Karaoke. I’m working on others…

  • What am I taking back? All my wonderfully supportive, loving friends. After 7 years with fuckwit, staying in at weekends because he was “too tired” to go anywhere, being 2 hours late for every gathering because he is a self entitled prick with no respect for other people’s time, I now have my time and my life back. Dday was June 7th, made him buy me out of our joint home at a massively overvalued price, bought a lovely new home and moved in on Tuesday (yes a Tuesday!) I now have my real home back in the place I grew up in, surrounded by my true friends. So many of them have said to me with obvious relief “we’ve got you back”. Had everyone round on Tuesday night for champagne and takeaway to celebrate my escape.
    Interestingly, so many of my friends husbands have now admitted that they always struggled to get on with him and thought he was rude, arrogant and smug, but tolerated him because they thought he made me happy. Has anyone else had these kind of surprising post separation revelations?
    Planning a massive “Housewarming/Freedom Party” in 3 weeks time. George Michael – Freedom and Carly Simon – You’re so Vain, are already on the Spotify playlist!

  • I took back DC– I love the city, and ex spent the last year of the marriage there at a new job since he was “bored at work”; cheating the entire time, of course (claims he did not, and I have a bridge to sell you…)

    I took back the town in Germany where I lived in high school, and where he proposed.

    Still not there yet, but slowly taking back the romantic movies we used to watch together (Sense and Sensibility, etc). Still can’t stomach to watch Gaslight, 6 years later. It used to be one of my favorites. Maybe now that I have a wonderful beau I can get over that now.

    Took back laughter. I never realized how long it had been since I had had a nice laugh. My Sweet Guy is helping with that.

    Took back hiking and for the first time this year., started backpacking. Ex hated the outdoors.

    Took his favorite group. Ex told daughter once that he always thinks of me when he hears this group. Funny, I do not feel the same. A friend introduced us to the group, and we went to see them 4-5 times during the marriage, as date nights. I have since taken both kids, and my new beau. My Sweet Guy saw how much I loved the show, and surprised me with tix to see them on New Year’s Eve this year! I am so excited (I am a planner, so he had to tell me… poor guy. I asked a couple of times if he would consider going, talked about buying tix, so he had to tell me. His comment– “:You are ruining the surprise…”

    It will take time, but Take It All Back! Don’t let the bastards keep you down.

  • I took back being musical. The ex never once complimented me on being musical, not on silly things like singing along to the radio, not on bigger things like singing hymns at church. Never. Not once in nearly twenty years. Now I enjoy my friends at our ukulele group, took up the violin at age 62, and re-started voice lessons. I’m having a ball!

    I took back enjoyable silence. He would start complaining the instant he opened his eyes in the morning. Now I open my eyes, pet the cat and dog, putter in search of morning coffee and read the newspaper without that jackhammer of negativity. Blissful!

    But most of all I took back gift-giving. I give gifts year-round to my loved ones, just because. Now I’m more observant about giving gifts to myself, because I AM enough. My local jeweler has private, boutique diamond events by invitation. I’ve been known to buy myself something sparkly on occasion.

  • I took back Howaii in a glorious way. Awesome Boyfriend gave me a 50th birthday that I will always treasure; our friends were there, too. God, he is yummy.

    It turns out–guys!–it’s actually spelled HAwaii. Not HOwaii! (hunh!) I even put the plumeria decal on my car when I got back. Mine.

    I took back sex almost 3 years ago. (DDay was 7 and a half years ago. Yes, do the math–that was quite the celibacy.)

    I’d say I need to take back Hosemite, but I never lost it. I think it’s aired itself out since the happy couple sullied it.

    Totally re-did San Francisco, where the ex and I met. It is now the city where my son was born, where I went to school, and where Awesome Boyfriend and I love to visit often. My favorite memories are all re-done now. Turns out that he lived there in the ’90’s when I did. Sometimes I wish I’d met him way back then, but…I have no regrets.

    I kept the house and remodeled it extensively–even the part that he remodeled first. That’s gone, replaced with my handiwork.

    I took back the garage–all mine!

    I’m racking my brain trying to think of anything in my life that is his, where this bothers me…I hate the area where he lives, so he can have it, I have no desire to engage in the hobbies that are his, so he can have those…. Nope! Can’t think of anything. All the stores I visit, the gym, my work–all mine. Holidays? Meh. Sometimes I get the kids, others, no. But that was inevitable, anyway, as they grew up and flew the nest.

    All good over here.

  • Ha Chump Lady, we must be twins. I had to give up a great job and life in Switzerland to move to Pittsburgh so he could be near his mommy. I mean who leaves the alps to go to Pittsburgh! I’m back now thank God but ….. anyway he’s back in Pgh – not sure he’s liking it though. And I never have to listen to blue grass music again. Or Willy Nelson, or him screeching on that bloody guitar. Bliss.

  • Taking back:
    Almond butter.
    Lake Merritt.
    Healthy sleep- (he manipulated through sleep deprivation, the worst, right?)
    Art and real music (no more of his self-indulgent “narc-ballads”-with tone issues, take a lesson before claiming to be a “songwriter”)
    Being beautiful. He never told me once that I was beautiful. The word was “cute”. Heavy spackle detected.
    We are beautiful, and we mean it when we say it.
    CN>triggers

    • OMG CV, my STBX narc also manipulated through sleep deprivation, if he didn’t get sleep, we all suffered. And he is also a musician. Music related things bother me. HIS MUSIC was the end all be all of everything. Still is..to him, not me.

      • I was never allowed to sleep either. Wow. He would usually come in (drunk) looking for an argument, then keep me up for at least an hour screaming. Then he would drop off to sleep like a baby of course. And as for his musical soul, oh my God that was torture. Playing (screeching) the same bloody 10 bars of any song over and over and over again, ad nauseum. Don’t miss it at all.

    • Oh, the sleep thing is definitely a trigger. Assholio was fine with 4-5 hours of sleep and had massive contempt for anyone (the kids and me) who needed more. I have always needed a solid 8 hours, and now I can get it!

  • Rather than having to take back a time because of a bad experience, what I had to take back was the times when we got along best. For example, we had wonderful Christmas’s. We had XH’s family Christmas Eve (18 of us). We did this for 33 years and it was so much fun. My family came Christmas Day (12) and it was another wonderful day. Loved every minute of those two days.

    So after we separated 7 years ago, it so happened that both sons were out of the country and suddenly I was alone. I invited two single girlfriends for Christmas dinner, but inside I was bereft. I felt my life was over. The next few Christmas’s were very lonely and I dreaded the season.

    It is true that time helps. The last 4 years, I have taken Christmas back. We have new traditions as a family. I have worked hard to make things special and we have expanded our definition of family.

    I was one of those chumps who thought she had a great marriage. We didn’t fight, or have horrible holidays or celebrations. I wish in some ways life hadn’t been so good, then I would not have been so shattered when the affairs were discovered. I had to at first see everything as delusions and then rebuild from there. But I have now taken back my whole life and have learned some very powerful lessons along the way.

    • Finally Free,
      Your last paragraph, with the replacement of marriage with relationship, almost exactly captures my thoughts.

  • My first thoughts were “I’m taking back my self-esteem and my confidence.”

    I’m taking back:

    having people over (he was antisocial and didn’t want to entertain);
    smiling from joy (he was never happy and saw my happiness as an attack);
    dancing (I was always under surveillance);
    Montana (it’s “my place,” where I plan to retire, but the last time I was there it was during the “naked pick me dance” era;
    our anniversary (this year was my first since we split, and I had a massage because I wanted to experience pleasurable and healing touch);
    new clothes (I tended to wear the cast offs from my stbx and son because I didn’t want to spend money on myself);
    my sense of myself as a sexually attractive and worthwhile woman (he tried to kill it).

    In short, I’m taking back my LIFE!

  • I took back Maine. It was always mine anyway but I was generous enough to share it with ex. He didn’t appreciate it, especially those last few years. Fine, he’s out and now it’s all for me and the kids. We still have fond memories of Maine and we have many more to create in the future.

  • Our back porch is where my Narcissistic Ex dropped her bombshell, demanding a divorce. Out of the blue. This was before I knew she was a covert narc — and also before I found out she had been cheating on me for months (at least).
    My ex moved out, moved in with her “just friends” cheater buddy, married him (2 weeks after our divorce was granted) and immediately got pregnant.
    For years afterward, I never spent any time on that back porch. Cobwebs collected, and dirt. There was minimal furniture there, but no humanity.
    Now, I’m dating a wonderful woman who has all but moved in to my house. One of the first things we did together? Re-do the back porch.
    We strung lights along the ceiling, painted the fan, added four hanging lanterns. She brought up her patio furniture, which fit perfectly.
    Now, in the mornings, we sit there. On that back porch. Watching through the screen as the birds squabble at the feeder we installed. Checking the little garden we planted to see if there is a ripe tomato. To make sure the worms aren’t eating the cucumbers.
    Next week we are installing a patio just outside the porch door.
    I am taking this space back. A little at a time.

  • Victory lap report in real time…..I JUST TOOK BACK SUSHI AT HANA IN ROHNERT PARK! I ordered all the toro I wanted without him complaining about how much it is. And when I arrived I discovered they have remodeled the restaurant since I was last here with STBXH. Yay! It’s MINE MINE MINE!!!

  • I’d like to take back San Francisco…massages…social media…cell phones (I view them as potential landmines)…summer festivals…the theme song to Parts Unknown…and the music of James Blake. And Christmas. Especially Christmas.

  • Taking back my area of town. Was nervous to go out shopping for the last 4 years. Also taking back grocery shopping. It was painful for years, to see his and the kids favourite foods. This is improving. Also recovering my ability to enjoy reading. For years I could not focus well enough to enjoy my former love of reading.

  • @Finally Free Heart says “I was one of those chumps who thought she had a great marriage. We didn’t fight, or have horrible holidays or celebrations. I wish in some ways life hadn’t been so good, then I would not have been so shattered when the affairs were discovered.”

    This is me, now, except it’s one affair and of course it’s his soulmate. I’m a newbie here–6 mos out from dday 1 and 3 mos out from dday 2. Still living together; I’m stuck right now and scrambling to find a way through this mess.

    I’m still trying to discover all that I’ve lost so I’m not even close to the point of knowing what I can take back. Tons of fully loaded triggers with sharp as hell bullets all over the place. I do know I’ve lost my strength and self confidence so I’ve been working on that–I have a long way to go. Typing this and hitting the ‘post comment’ button will be a teeny tiny movement towards that as crazy as that sounds.

    I am tremendously grateful for this site, and everyone here on it. It gives me hope that someday I’ll find my way again.

    • Read this blog when you feel weak….you will feel better a tiny bit each day. It’s like watching grass grow….you can’t see it happen but one day you notice it’s grown. I had the marriage you described in your post. It’s so shattering to discover such a polar opposite reality. When I was chumped in 1988, at least he was up front about being a jerk….there is an extra layer of evil when they act like Mr. Nice Guy while they are stabbing you in the back with the biggest sharpest knife in the drawer.

    • This is going to sound crazy now but this will make you stronger…with severe trust issues. But overall a better human. Stay here for a while and be bouyed by those who have gone before you.

    • ThursdaysChild,

      We are me almost 4 years ago. I was so scared to post and lurked for a long time…something about hitting that button made it too real.

      I am so sorry you have to be here, but so glad you found this site. You will find your way and things will get better. Keep reading here and take it step by step.

      (((HUGS)))

      • THANK YOU! Thank you truly for taking a moment to respond–I’ve been lurking here for a bit and feel like I know some of you already, is that creepy? What a fantastic way to end the day, having such sweet and positive responses. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. Thank you again!

        • ThursdaysChild, you like all of us here will come through this. Well done lovely, for finding your voice here. Please continue to post when you need. Much love to you <3

            • Lol! Rock on with your bad self! You are among your kind of people. As a testament I’ve only ever read on prickly comment here and that was this week We chumps always agree to disagree in the worst of cases. The only cussing we do is directed to cheaters and co. It’s really amazing to me that for the years I’ve been here that the level of respect comaraderie and compassion has never wavered. You are in the best of places to gain perspective to be supportes and to begin healing.

              • At the risk of sounding like a total goober (too late?) Thank You, all of you, for your kind responses. Again I know it’s silly but I’ve been lurking here for awhile and I feel like I just got invited to sit at the cool kids table! And yeah, considering where we’re at I do see the irony in that but really, not, because I do believe everyone here is the better half of the relationship they were in – loyal, honest, trusting, giving, loving, hard working, KIND, kick ass people, how could this NOT be the cool kids table right? I do believe I’m in excellent company here. xoxo

  • The Kaiser of Loathesomeness is German, and — everything — related to that country is a trigger. This includes items that I try to avoid anyway: Lederhosen, polka music, beer mixed with banana juice, and glockenspiels, as well as a number of things that I really like: Dachshunds, volkswagons, Friesian horses, and sausage.

    I’m taking back the sausage. This afternoon, after I read CL, I went to the grocery store, and bought some brats which I will fry up for dinner. I usually can’t even go to a Butcher’s counter, because I get weepy, which is just weird and embarrassing, so the fact that I’ve got them in my fridge is a step forward.

      • You are right VH, but they were all over the part of Germany where his family lived and we often visited, so they became a trigger. But your comment makes me think I can take those back too; I just have to think about them differently.

        • Yes…any angle my mind can use to get the slime off, I am using! There might be such a thing as a “carried” trigger….I have a friend with two Freisians and now when I see them I am going to wonder how you are doing….! 😊

  • Ex Mr. Fab works for “X” luxury car company. For over 10 yrs I used to have a brand new car every 8,000 miles as a lease. He used to change it around December Xmas “token of love” . Everytime I see those cars I have flash backs, I see the movie of my fake life with fat bastard. It feels so weird. Specially looking @ old men in late 40’s driving convertibles. Me: Here goes a cheater!!!! Eww!

  • One of my triggers is TV shows- anytime someone says “Oh,have you been watching X?” I get a little flutter of not being cool, not being up with the latest thing. My XH was an obsessive consumer of popular culture- films, TV shows that met his ” cool” standards ,graphic novels, anime…. I liked TV but not every night, not when I had kids to look after, a house to clean- because he saw housework as optional. I wanted to spend what little time we had together doing other things- like having sex,maybe- but no, I had to sit and watch ” cool” TV shows, in the dark. So I cannot sit down and watch TV any more.I watch snippets, standing up. I haven’t reclaimed that yet.And Deadpool, my XH wanted to be Deadpool so badly, he was delighted when the movie came out because DP was my XHs favourite character., besides the Joker ( Miss 1999 and he dress as Joker and Harley Quinn for cosplays). Pop vinyls- he collects them. I cannot look at these things, and it’s been YEARS since I thought I cared what he thought.
    I don’t like most of these things enough to reclaim them, (although I’d like to be able to make it through an episode of Brooklyn 99 sitting down)I just want them not to matter

    • Don’t let him decide who you are. He no longer defines you. Find YOU. Find what makes YOU happy. There are many of us out here who are pretty cool(ish) who don’t binge watch any cool shows. It’s just not our thing, and I don’t care if it makes me seem not cool, because I’m not not cool. 😀

      What makes YOU cool? What are you into? What are you good at? Find your tribe. They’ll be not binge watching, too.

  • So many, but none that I can list outright because Cheater sometimes looks for me on CL.

    a specific color, holiday, body part, sport, body type, sexual act, non-apologies, phrases

    I am trying to take them back one by one but it’s so freaking hard. 🙁

  • Dear CL and CN. You have all have been the place I have turned to for strength and have made me feel less alone in the world. I’m constantly amazed that there are so many people married to the same man as me!!! I would love to invite each and everyone of you over to my house for a backyard BBQ and margaritas! You have my eternal gratitude – especially CL. When you put your head on your pillow tonight, please know your light shines brightly and you have made the world beautiful by the gifts you have given to us all.

  • I’m taking back my annual trip with my girlfriends. He did a solo road trip and started his affair the last time I went, two years ago. I made excuses and my friends went without me last year. This time I’m going and I’m leaving on the second anniversary of DDay. I’ll be gone three weeks. He’s staying home with the dog and the cat.

  • I have already taken back my city, all of Asia, Redwood National Park, the San Juan’s, and New Order.

    I am working to reclaim my identity as a creative practitioner and cultural producer. And David Bowie.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever take back Northern California–the beautiful place we lived for 10 years, the stretch of highway that marked where we fell in love and got married, the fogged in beach where we got engaged.

    British Columbia and French Canadians can go fuck themselves.

  • Oh my, where to start?

    Birthday( it was always a fun time for me, I love celebrating, love throwing parties for my loved ones… many screwed bday’s but two were the most difficult. My 30th – he fought with me night before, sneaked out to work in the morning, leaving me with small kids and his mother, going completely silent, with a gesture of sending flowers and cake – impression management at its best
    My 34th – when I saw pictures of few hookers saved on his computer …🤮)

    Sex ( that was the best part of myself, part that I had only good experiences with- prior husband- and enjoyed 100%)

    Joy

    Innocence ( when u start operating in the world of – my- husband-fucking- hookers- while- posing- as – a Saint parts of you die)

    All the memories that were dear to me, cause each of them was splashed with dirt and ugliness ( working in that…. my part was real, he fucked up… my part was real)

  • Myself. My personhood. All the things I love that he tried to berate me for caring about. My love of color, especially blue. (Gaudy, he said.) My sense of adventure. (Irresponsible and selfish he would sneer.) My love of books and reading.( Selfish use of my time he informed me.) My love of animals. (No you are not allowed to have a cat, he said) The fact I enjoyed making handicrafts. (Waste of time, store bought is better, He pontificated.) Trying new foods with my boys, (He would refuse to eat and grouse over his hamburger.) My artwork. (He considered himself an authority and would term it an “attempt”.) My ability to build things, fix things. (That really chapped his thighs, women weren’t supposed to do that stuff.) My love of red hair.(He hated red hair and was very vocal about it.)

    I never could fit into his narrow little world. Tried for a while, couldn’t do it and he punished me for it.

    Well. These days, I live in a home I rehabbed myself, that is all mine and paid off. It is blue with lots of colorful accents and just being there in that splash of color makes me happy. My days are my own to live as I please with no one criticizing me or my choices. I eat what I want, when I want. I wear what I want, what makes me happy. I have a lovely dog and three kitties that travel with me in my motorhome. I am now downsizing to a van converted by me into a mini motorhome for my next adventure, and they will go along. When the spirit moves me, I make quilts, crochet, make felt animals, draw, and paint in watercolors. I take bike rides on my recumbent trike, and explore small towns by trike. I listen to music I love with no one disparaging my choices. I am free to be as planned or as spontaneous as I want.

    Oh and one last thing, I am loving my red hair. (I am actually a blonde but can pull off red hair really well.) Left a cheater and gave myself permission to find and claim my authentic self.

    • He was a right ass. I’m sure they are so full of self loathing some of them that they only way they can fee good about themselves is to take someone awesome and try to find flaws.
      I’m glad that you content yourself just doing you. You are a courageous woman .

      • Yeah, he was an ass.

        I still have one trigger left though, Neil Diamond music. Used to love it, now….UGGGG

        . And Mandie101 thanks for the complement. I know my post sounds like a narcs wet dream, but after 30 years in nursing and another 4 spent as a senior companion, it was time to take a little me time and take a long hard look at my codependency, and old tapes installed by narc parents…….things like I only have a right to take up space if I am “paying” for it by caretaking someone….

        • I’ve read your story here. You are definitely a plucky one. Lots of quiet inner strength. Truly admirable. Be blessed.

    • If ever there was an inspirational post, this was it Tessie. The beginning described the ebbing away of who we were and how it encompasses all aspects of daily life. That’s so difficult to describe to others. And this by far is the best description of how it feels to be in an abusuuve relationship,
      “I never could fit into his narrow little world. Tried for a while, couldn’t do it and he punished me for it.”

      You are one amazing woman I look up to for strength and the determination to live better. What a wonderful inspiring post. Enjoy your van!

      • (((((((((((Doingme))))))))

        Right back atcha my friend. I am so inspired by you. After so many years of such cruelty nd horrific abuse, you not only reclaimed your life. but you are thriving and serving as a beacon to others that they can rise from a horrible situation and find their mighty.

  • I took back the whole month of February. Beginning to end. I think I’ll book a vacation in the tropics this year February 2019.

    • Yes! Valentine’s Day Especially. It had always been the day we had together. I fell in love with him on Valentine’s Day when we were in college. Years of great VDay’s went by… then shit got real and I saw the real fuckhead. To top it off, this Valentine’s Day I had been looking at our bank account and saw a purchase from Tiffany’s. We had been having real difficulties and I was pretty sure he was seeing someone. He practically had his phone shoved up his ass he was so attached to it. VDay came and went, and there was no gift for me from Tiffany’s. I asked him about the purchase and he said he had bought it for me and didn’t want to give it to me to give me “hope”. !!!! Oh, the mindfuckery I fell for. I did the pick me dance in hopes to keep my “family” together. He gave me the gift the next day and when I opened it, it was a ring that he had given to me years ago. Now I had two. I didn’t react in a way that Narco the clown thought was appropriate, and he pouted and pretended to be really hurt. I even apologized for not being grateful. Holy shit. What was I thinking??

      Either fuckhead didn’t realize he had already given me this because it was that unimportant to him, OR he had bought this for the OW and hadn’t given it to her. Either way, let the mindfuckery be gone.

      I’m going to decorate every freaking holiday and make them all mine! Including VDay. I’m taking back every. fucking. thing.

  • Oh wow, so much to take back when I get to that point…

    My triggers are:
    Certain counties in Virginia
    Certain once beloved cities in Virginia (I still live in one of them)
    Real estate agents(blonde, female)
    craft fairs
    Pantera Bread
    The DC cherry blossom festival
    ‘Manscaping’
    Selfies
    Taking pictures of food
    Taking my picture only when I’m at my most unflattering
    Being called ‘sweetie’…I used to have a beloved singular pet name, now I’m called what he calls all of his whores so he won’t mess up and say the wrong name.
    SO MANY SONGS
    any episode of Law and Order with a infidelity theme( and I never noticed before there are lots and lots)

    One day I hope to get this all back but right now, 2 years out and still in limbo with unaware cheater, the shit is still raw.

  • Taking back my house one room at a time 🔨started with the master of course, fixing it up one project at a time …
    And the walls are 🎶SINGING 🎶next I am going to $$$$sell the place and buy$$$$$ a HOME SWEET HOME OF MY VERY OWN To
    Create Mr McCheaterpants Free Memories
    PRICELESS 🎉💵💗

  • Triggers, I live off a main road, and I know ex and ow, where in the pub, regularly, she’s at my bus stop, but doesn’t live near my bus stop, at 8 am in morning, ow hanging around looking for wonder of ex, we haven’t lived together for 5 years. Ex phoned and said, make sure my kids are safe, you haven’t been interested in them, police and school have been informed. Actually ex told me to sort his ow, that’s your job moron!

  • My black clothes. Like everyone, I look good in black. And, no, I am not a goth, and, yes, I realize not everywhere is San Francisco. I like wearing black clothes. I also like wearing not black clothes, and I have lots of those, too.
    Awesome Boyfriend says I look great. So there.

    [sticks out her tongue]

  • Some of my favourite musicians, restaurants and places to go are now off limits because The Asshole brought his mistress to them, in part because I liked them. Believe it or not, he even invited me to one of the concerts with her as a possible “double date” with her and her husband (not mentioning her or the double date thing at the time). If I had gone I would have caught him years ago.
    This was all part of his pattern of mind games. I guess he thought I would suspect, but not know for sure, and it would drive me crazy, which only proves that after decades of marriage, he didn’t know me at all. I would have hired a PI immediately. Now that musician, whom I adore, is off limits. He took her to multiple concerts featuring that musician and even had drunken manual sex with her in a dark corner at one of them. Gross. I can’t listen to those songs without wanting to throw up.

  • I would like to tAke back music. I don’t listen to the radio anymore because the OW liked to send or post lyrics describing them being soul mates and in love. Never mind that she is 33 years younger and the same age as our daughter. Also Taylor Swift is her idol. I use to enjoy her songs.
    I need to make a good divorce and getting stronger play list.

    • Yes music I was going to say this. I’m finally able to plug in some old cd’s and listen to music on the radio again. We had a massive cd collection, when she left she didn’t take even one, no home movies, no picture albums, like she just erased 24 years like it didn’t even happen. I listened to talk radio for a few years, now finally able to listen to some real music again. I missed it but it was too painful, way too many memories.

  • I’ve been taking back my house. Just finished the final room, purged what was not needed, added things that were his to the pile in the garage. My master bedroom has completely changed. My tv room has completely changed. Hope to have the rest of the house painted and re-arranged by next spring. All fresh with few traces of my former married life (kids’ bedrooms remain the same).

    I want to take back my peace of mind. I’m sick of his mindfuckery taking up real estate in my brain. The legal separation is underway, with divorce to be filed by the end of the year. In the last nine months since he left for good, he hasn’t really done anything exceptionally threatening, yet I’m in constant anxiety over what he might do next. I know it’s trauma at play, and it is becoming less. Yes, he’s still with the OW, and that is stressful for me. But, I don’t want him back. I know they both suck. I’m not worried that my kids are going to be unduly influenced by her as STBX hasn’t even admitted to his family that they are together. He lives his double life and seems to be keeping the kids out of it for now. I have the full backing of his family.

    I’m going to be OK. “The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.”

  • I realised from reading this thread that I have taken back an entire career, and at least two cities.

    I am fricken MIGHTY.

  • Triggers…Jesus…after 34 years together, it’s nearly impossible to find things that aren’t associated to ‘us’ in some way. Even returning to my hometown after 30 years away is fraught because it’s where our journey began. And he spent the last year here with me before we finally split for good.

    The only things I’ve managed to take back so far is a little space. I moved his desk out of the house and threw his toiletries away. I’ve also started binge watching ALL of the shows and movies he hated, or thought were intellectually vacuous.

    In a weird way I’m lucky that we moved before the split. While I miss the stability of my home, work and friends, the excruciating pain of trying to maneuver all of that without him would have been impossible. We worked together and most, if not all of those things were a result of our public eye career choice.

    I accept that I’m physically and emotionally stuck right now, but I also know in my heart it will improve with time. Once I learn to successfully quiet my mind, I have big plans to redecorate this tiny space one room at a time.

    Until then, the biggest triggers are:
    Anything & Everything Irish
    Certain foods and cooking in general
    Most music
    Political TV / Talk Radio
    Travel (particularly cruises or anything European)

    Maybe this time next year, I’ll come here to brag about how many of those I’ve reclaimed. One can only hope.

  • My motivation and drive is still in the dumps, but I’m trying my hardest to take back things I used to enjoy. Yesterday I spent 4 hours working on my car and another 2 hours today which finished up the repair job. Although it’s a pain and I’d rather spend my time doing other things, I enjoy working on my car. Following DDay#1, I was told one of the reasons for her affair was because I spent too much time working on the cars. I know now that was just an excuse, but it’s left me with a lack of motivation to fix things myself. This was huge for me!

  • Peaches.
    The end of the drugstore aisle where the pharmacy pick up line forms but that’s also the condom section (so I have had to time it just right to avoid waiting there)
    The 4th of July and Thanksgiving
    Mad Men (he compared one of his hookers to Christina Hendrick’s little sister)
    Going to my mom’s house
    Our house and all of the pictures of kids, trips, family, friends
    I never got to go to San Francisco, but he ruined that too
    Wide swaths of my city, including areas I have to pass through every day
    Getting my professional license, finishing grad school and my birthday
    The period when my dad was dying (and he was trolling when I was at the hospital)

  • Oh, and our pediatrician’s office whose name is awkwardly similar to that of an escort site. “No, honey, that’s not the pediatrician, that’s the prostitute.”

  • Music and Dance
    Music has fucked with me more than anything. Do I like this because we liked it? What music do I love with or without him?
    Pearl Jam! Just saw them in concert in Seattle:) ✅
    Dropkick Murphys ( and all things Irish) … concert booked on my birthday! ✅
    Dancing! There is literally nothing I love to do more.. and some how over the years it became something he “just didn’t do”. The very thing that made me me.. he no longer did?
    Girls trip and VIP club booked ✅

  • Unfortunately most things in my life have been completely fucked by him. We moved to the other side of the world from all our friends and families. Because he changed to someone I don’t recognise, I wonder how much of our life together was a big lie, therefore, when I go to the beach, I wonder if he was texting someone, when I stay in hotels, did he take someone to this hotel etc etc. other than my son, I wish i could totally erase the past 20 years., because everything is ruined.

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