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Character Assassination? Probably.

liesfabricationsA lot of my Chump Lady mail can be divided into two categories, “I got chumped… what are people going to think?” and “I got chumped… and my cheater is telling people terrible things about me.” Both followed with “And what can I do about that?

Nothing. Sorry, chumps. You can’t do anything about what people think of you, and what people say about you.

Look, I know it’s unjust having your cheater telling bald-faced lies about how controlling, sexless, abusive, hairy-legged, and insane you are. Worse, I know some people whom you once thought cared about you (such as your in-laws) are inclined to believe it. This infidelity crap is a one-two punch — betrayal, and then more lies.

Okay, maybe it’s more like a continuous thug-kicking by a motorcycle gang than a one-two punch. Betrayal, lies, character assassination, gaslighting, alienation, and alimony. Anyway, my point is, leave the impression management to the crazies. You just keep being your mighty self.

Some pointers:

  1. Never let what people might think of you get in the way of protecting yourself. That especially goes for what the cheater thinks. Oh, I might antagonize him if I see a lawyer/move half the money/run a credit report. Hey, your cheater didn’t worry about antagonizing you when he/she cheated on you, so just go ahead and protect yourself. Stop caring about how you’ll be perceived (i.e., bitter, vindictive, selfish, churlish, hasty, etc.) Start caring about reality (i.e., this person is fucking me over).
  2. Speak the truth, but stop at defensiveness. There’s no good way to answer set-up questions like “How long have you been beating your wife?” I don’t beat my wife. “Oh you would say that. Six months? A year? Ever since you met?” The temptation is to raise your voice and really get stroppy. I DON’T BEAT MY WIFE! Stop. You just missed an important clue — your questioner is fully invested in that narrative. You answered the question. They either believe it, or they don’t believe it. In the case of infidelity (and not fictitious wife-beating), the truth is you were chumped. That’s what happened. You don’t need to defend yourself. You didn’t do anything wrong here. Frankly, you don’t have to answer any personal question you don’t want to.
  3. Speak the truth, and realize that your cheater probably got to the narrative first. One way chumps get chumped is when they agree to the “we just grew apart” story, and keeping “private matters private,” they think the cheater is going to play by the same set of rules. You won’t talk smack about them, they won’t talk smack about you. Oh chumps, your cheater has probably been talking smack about you all along. Shaming you into being quiet ensures that their narrative stays on top. That’s why cheaters get so ugly when you do start speaking up — you’re tilting at that balance of power. Disordered people need their impression management so their manipulations (and Sad Sausage story lines) keep working on everyone.
  4. People who believe the worst about you don’t know you. Not really. This might be one of the single most awful things about life post-discovery. People who you thought knew you, really don’t. Their attachments were shallow. It’s hard enough to realize this about a spouse or partner, it’s even more gobsmacking to realize it about your social circle. Well, of course Dorothy got cheated on. She’s frigid. Unlike me. I have sex with my husband! This person doesn’t know the inner workings of your bedroom. Maybe the lie makes them feel superior. Maybe the lie gives them some weird false comfort. Who knows? What matters are the people who do know you, and have your back. Invest your energies there.
  5. People who believe the worst about you probably have a vested interest in believing that crap. You don’t control that. Your in-laws turned on you? Better you be the monster than believe their son or daughter is a lousy person. Not their special Pookykins! Maybe they’ve been believing all the crap said about you for years, and now that the affair has been revealed, they’d have to admit they were mistaken. Why be wrong? Who are you again?
  6. Character is revealed over time. Who we are is revealed every day in every little action and decision. No one is perfect, but the arc of someone’s character — how giving they are of themselves, how considerate, how reciprocal — is perceptible. The people who matter aren’t swayed by your ex’s gossip and trash talk. The shallow people who are? Please, stop caring what they think today.

This column ran previously.

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.
    • When the marriage counsellor said I should give reconciling some more thought after a session when he equated my studying to be an act as selfish as cheater’s cheating, I said, but you don’t have to live with him. I realised that cheater was never ever ever going to change. Hence why i don’t buy the myth of them being better for anyone else either

      • My therapist told me to give him sex or he’ll get it elsewhere. I thought to myself i was giving him sex and he still got it elsewhere. Never went back.

    • I can’t find the reply button, so Apologies for my being on point with your reply.

      Is anyone else getting obnoxious ads in Chumplady for “find out if he’s cheating on you.” It’s kinda cruel and certainly agitating. Clearly it is a result of the word cheat and cheating, but can something be done to eliminate them?

      Argh!!!

      • When looking at this website I get obnoxious pop-up ads on my iPhone telling me that I “won” something and redirecting my browser to another website.

        Clearly some scam artist has purchased space on the advertising feed that supports this website. All I can do is close the app when the scammer’s redirect pops up.

        • Google add-ons or the like in Chrome or Explorer…..add block plus. It’s an add on to the browser.

          Now, when you go to security you can block third party stuff as well as any tracking, which can help as well. Just hit Options in your browser of choice, settings and then security. The higher you go, the more restrictive some sites will be–to the point that some sites simply won’t allow you on, unless you agree to cookies and spam.

          I lost my taste for spam a long time ago. When I kicked the asshole out.

    • Chump lady, I love this blog, but it soooo. needs a “like” button. I want to like this post so bad!!!

      (That said, I do understand the limitations of this platform). 🙃

      • It’s WordPress and having to move the comment function to something else. Which means, what happens to the GAZILLION archived comments on previous posts if I change formats. It’s actually a pretty complicated problem.

        But you can *imagine* a like button. 🙂 Like, like, LIKE!

  • I was young when my first sweetheart turned into the devil himself. He broke up with me instead of proposing, disappeared from my life, then showed up to make me choose between him and the next guy I dated. His story amounted to this (in bold and fine print): if I didn’t choose him, it would be over for us forever, and it would be because of me and another guy. In a hulk rage, I chose the other guy, haha. Sure enough, the story all around town, right from the horse’s mouth, was all about my betrayal of his sterling character. I was too shattered for words but I learned a lesson about this type of guy. It’s all about impression management and the truth doesn’t matter.

    • Yes. Quite. How dare you move on after being dumped.

      They can’t bear it when you don’t make them the hero of your Lifetime daytime TV drama.

      • Thank you Lola. At least it became a good first lesson on how to handle the lies – they only helped me see what these types are made of!

  • I believe cheaters tell your Swedish friends what they want to hear then do what they want, impression management, pretending to care. My ex said, “I look happy but I’m not really” how the fuck does he know. The quote was about me not him

    • Yeah mine used to know my (as in “me”) feelings too. Oh and we could have entire arguments where I never even opened my mouth! Jerkoff!

    • Susan Delvin & Attie, you guys are absolutely cracking me up this morning. I totally forgot about (or blocked out) this narc tactic. 😂🤣😂

      Only a person who has dealt with a Narc before would get exactly what you’re talking about – when the narc telepathically “reads” your mind, then picks a gigantic fight over your telepathically interpreted thoughts/feelings. It’s so damn aggravating, you could just go postal on them.

      They’re such exhausting drama queens, aren’t they? Gah!

      • this! Mine had a running script in his head apparently and when often during conversation if i said soemthing he’d ask me if that was what i really meant. I almost always thought he was joking cause I could not imagine that being a tactic one would use. Once i even joked to him that he would be better off just giving me my lines and saving me the effort .

        • My assholian ex once told me that what I ordered at a restaurant wasn’t what I wanted to eat.

          Actually, it was not about me at all, but what he wanted to eat off my plate. When I assured him I knew what I wanted, he suggested two other options [he preferred] that were $1 cheaper. Nope, I’m good!

          Trying to control food/money/social life/family connections is all bad news.

      • Abusive people tell you what you think and feel. It’s a hallmark of abuse.

        It they don’t have enough dirt on us they will accuse us of shitty stuff…..like….
        ‘you want me dead!!’

          • I don’t wish Asshat were dead. That would be an easy out for him. I wish him nothing but what he claims he wants (in the ‘be careful what you wish for kinda way).

            • I never wished the assholian ex dead. But I must say that when I heard he had died in a slow, painful and humiliating way, alone and friendless, after burning every bridge, destroying his professional legacy, and lashing out in rage at even the caretakers who were paid to keep him comfortable in his last days, I was happy that I missed all of that.

            • I agree, katiedidnt. Mine had to find the “love he deserved”. Now it’s my life’s work to make sure that comes with the “consequences he deserves” too. No mercy.

              • Chumplanta, GENIUS!!!! You have come up with the one liner I have needed and been praying for when my mind veers off (WITHOUT my permission) into the dadgum “wondering if he is with her” loop. I have been searching for the OFF switch for months. This is like striking gold!
                I totally owe you!

  • They are so stupid though and tell lies even when they know they will be found out. Ex ran into my extended family member soon after he abandoned me ( I later found out about a 4 year affair.)
    He told her I had kicked him out. She felt sorry for him and offered him a place to stay which he declined before she found out the truth later from me. My family and friends know the truth so that is the important thing.

    • My ex moved out of state with Schmoopie as soon as possible. He said it was a job change, but looking back I think it was a total relief to leave the kids and I (and the truth) behind. This way he was able to create his own narrative about our marriage to Schmoopie without any chance of discovery. My son and I have never spoken to her so no chance of truth from us. Daughter used to see them occasionally, but is now NC with the OW. I’m sure he has spun quite the tale about his life before she rescued him.

      They will be visiting his family soon and they all know the truth and support me. Pretty sure he is going to be nervous that one of them will say something that will topple his house of lies. He will eventually smooth it over saying that “they don’t know what they are talking about”, “ex has been lying to them about what happened”, “his family has never supported him”, blah, blah, blah. She will believe him because he has perfected the art of lying and she will want to believe him.

      She is now living my story and trusting lies. Lather, rinse, repeat……….

      • She’s living your story but a worse version. She went into it knowing he’s a cheater and liar. At least you married him with the belief that he was a good person.

  • “People who believe the worst about you don’t know you. Not really. This might be one of the single most awful things about life post-discovery. People who you thought knew you, really don’t. Their attachments were shallow. It’s hard enough to realize this about a spouse or partner, it’s even more gobsmacking to realize it about your social circle. ”

    Yes. This is often the hardest thing to discover.

    But don’t despair – one of the great things about this process is that you find out who your real friends are.

    You also learn what you will and won’t put up with. And you usually discover that you’ve been putting up with dodgy behaviors for a long time from a whole range of people. Us Chumps are natural doormats, people pleasers and Nice Guys.

    And most of us have, as a result, had a good purging of the ol’ Christmas card list. And now we know where our real friends are, and who will stand with us.

    Hint: you get to make new friends as well, and they’re usually a lot more carefully chosen than the old ones.

    • Amen to that, Lola!!!
      So true, the friends that stuck by me throughout the divorce and the friends I’ve made since, are priceless to me.
      It really does clear out the ol Christmas card list indeed!!!👍😍

      • Christmas is a million times nicer, plus a great saving in postage stamps.

        The before-and-after scenes are quite telling:

        BEFORE: the gaslighting and abusive spouse, the stress, tension, endless demands and shopping, the awful relatives who you have to visit, the houseguests who you have to accommodate, the aching legs, the kitchen disasters, the unwanted presents, the lack of sleep, and whole box and dice that is the typical Married Couples Western Society Christmas Ordeal.

        AFTER: the peace and quiet of body and mind, the return to control and order and stable finances, the smaller and happier home, the lack of demands, the change of routine and ritual, the smaller and happier groups of friends and relatives, the sleep ins, the cookies in bed, the freedom to enjoy your Christmases. Above all, the freedom to be yourself and to stop living up to other people’s expectations.

        Leave a cheater, gain a life, indeed. Plus you get your public holidays back, with interest.

  • One thing I learned early in life when me and a group of friends in college I was close to had a falling out and were no longer friends after that— hide in the dark, shine in the light.

    I kept my mouth shut about the reasons of the falling out knowing in time others would realize the same truths about my former friends that I had. Within weeks, everyone else knew what they were and I remained in tact with my self respect and dignity.

    Exh1 had only to reinforce what his friends and family already thought and felt about me to get them on his side. For five years or so after our divorce, I was a scourge on their name. It was not pleasant for a long time having to be around them when it came to things to do with my young sons. Yet, I still remained silent, knowing it would only be a matter of time before they saw what I knew. There was no point in trying to get them to see my side. Five years after exh1 married OW, she chucked him out and the best part of it is that exh1 was disowned but his family in favor of OWife3. To this day, 10 years later, she and her husband and more family than exh1 is. Serves him right in my opinion. In the end, I’ve made peace with them all. At one point in time, they were my family. They were all I had and they discarded and abandoned me just as much as their son/brother/cousin/nephew did. No matter what he said about me, I never tried to defend myself to them because I knew it wouldn’t do any good.

    Now, exh2 The Evil One on the other hand took his lies, and twists of truths to a whole other level. I was contacted by an OW after GTFO day, and she told me everything he had said about me. The things he had posted on social media about me— I had no clue he had an Instagram account, a SnapChat account, or the Facebook account where he was posting stuff about me but blocking me from seeing any of it.
    By the time I found out about it, I had no way of clearing the air, but just kept on speaking my truth.
    He pitched a fit to me soon after that time about something I had posted on my Facebook that was a veiled statement about him, but didn’t name him directly. He accused me of spreading lies about him, to which I responded, “Don’t lie about me, and I won’t have to tell the truth about you!”

    I know Dr. Seuss isn’t popular with chump Nation, however there is a quote that relates to today’s post that is spot.on in my opinion by him:

    “Those that matter won’t mind; those who mind don’t matter.”

    It sucks to have shit out there about you that isn’t true. It sucks that people you cared about and loved are either saying it or believing it. I know, it sucks. I can tell you countless stories of ballpark people, fellow parents of my son’s friends and classmates, the boys’ teachers, etc. that had to admit after actually getting to know me, they were truly sorry that they were rude and judgemental of me before they knew me because exh1, or OWife3 had told them some shit about me…good times… TEO and his OWife Mrs. Dumbass don’t come around, and I can’t think of one person that I know that are friends with them, so who cares?

  • I found out from my hairdresser that my ex had told people in the bar he virtually lived in that I attacked him every night when he came home from work. I was so shocked I just roared laughing and my hairdresser just looked at the friend of hers (a drinking “associate” of my ex) and said “I think there’s your answer don’t you”.

  • I had made a remark about X’s sinister sister and his come back was that he was refraining from stating his opinion of me and my family. This was all in a text. I laughed and wrote back that his opinion didn’t matter to me as he lost all integrity the moment he cheated.

    Which is why I don’t care what he tells people. He can lie or tell the truth, doesn’t affect how I feel about me. I know what he did, I know who he is, and what is he is capable of doing. His opinion is a heaping pile of dung. And what those other people think about me? Doesn’t matter either. My integrity is intact.

    I will say though that I have gleefully told others about his cheating. There’s no reason to keep that stuff behind closed doors. Cheating says a lot about a person’s character. Let it speak for itself.

    • My nowhusband grew up in a family who loved him and he had a good reputation in life.
      His XW left him and said awful things about him which really tore him up. He was afraid of what she would say to him and about him. When we got together, I told him that the XWs words have no value…I didnt care what she said about her or me because I didnt respect her opinion about ANYTHING…perhaps especially her opinion of him. This freed him up to refuse her demands…her threats had no bite to them.

  • Mine is telling anyone who will listen that we just grew apart, I wasn’t invested in the marriage and that I moved out on him and left him.

    He keeps leaving out the part where we repeatedly had emotional affairs, used photos of me without consent to solicit people on Craigslist, constantly told me how unattractive I was, ignored me and the kids all the time to peruse his hobbies and drinks beer like a fish

    I can only control my truth. I told him after DDay#1 if he ever did that again I’d leave. DDay2 I found texts between him and another women so I left.

    It’s unfortunate that his whole family thinks of me in a certain way. My MIL even called me to let me know that “she doesn’t blame anyone for what happened” which is passively telling me t was my fault. But it’s not my job to stand on the corner with a billboard yelling about how he’s a cheating fuck. My job is to enjoy that I don’t have to put up with his shit anymore.

  • I have found that i continue to be me and unfortunately he continues to be him. With no one by his side to spackle for him his true self shines through. He is his own worst enemy. The only people who buy his image management are strangers on Facebook.

  • Oh yes, I just want the world to know who he really is (and hate him too). I just need to let go because people will think what they are gonna think and I can stick by the ones that get it and let the rest go- man that sucks.

    Just this week, more proof that he sucks and I want everyone to know but it doesn’t matter. He has a very small list of items that I agreed to give him as part of the settlement. There are 2 bikes involved so you need a way to transport them and I don’t have a vehicle for that. I also do not want him coming to the house for good reason so I had the brilliant idea that our business partner could be the courier and business partner was fine with that. Ran it by the lawyer who told his lawyer. Then Fuckwit heard and went to BP and said do not touch my stuff, let feelingit figure it out. (He wants me to have to pay to get him the stuff)

    Lawyer sent a kickass email saying feeling it had tried in good faith to return items and he impeded so now it is up to him to find a way to get the items and incur the cost. All good but it will probably just drag it out and I will get billed for the email (worth it though because it really made him look like the jackass he is).

    But Gosh, I still want to buy a billboard and tell the world but his supporters won’t care. I don’t know why I worry about them.

    • oh yah, similar thing here: my Fuckwit #2 left about 4 totes of clothes at the (now MY) house, things that were completely useless in the tropical climate he is living in: sweaters, winter running pants, business suits (the only time business suits are used there is for weddings and funerals). Well that shit sat in one of my commercial buildings for a year and when i was cleaning out the space to rent it out, I asked my lawyer what to do with all of it and she said that it had been over 6 months (It had been like 18 months by that time)and it wasn’t even in the divorce decree so I could go ahead and donate it to Goodwill or whatever. So I did. Then Fuckwit had his sister (who lives in yet ANOTHER country) contact me and see if I could send the stuff. I told her what I did, and that he would have owed me some storage fees anyway (he had like, no money by this time). I know he was right pissed off about it, not that he needed that stuff, but just the fact that i gave it away. HAHAHA

  • This kills me and I can already see it coming. STBX is doing the Mr. Nice Guy routine right now, letting me know we’re going to be great friends after this divorce is finalized (uh…no). So I know he’s spinning stories to everyone else that place the blame on me – it’s certainly not going to be his fault! He’s a nice guy! Look at how friendly he’s being! I so want to expose him to everyone, but I’m wise enough to know that will only make me look crazy and bitter. That’s the narrative people like. He’ll move on with his TWU WUV and I’ll just be the shrew ex wife who drove him away.

    • And this is when you find out who your real friends are, plus it’s a golden opportunity to make new ones.

      Purge the friends list.

    • Same, mine is being way too nice that it’s actually throwing me off entirely. I’m moving forward regardless. I know he’s doing it to play into the narrative that nothing he ever did was good enough for me and so i left (again he leaves out the part where he cheated on me with 2 women in 2 years but ok) He told me 2 days ago “i bet your family doesn’t know what to do about me being so nice”. So it’s to the point that even HE is admitting he’s just doing it for impression management in his own way.

      I don’t give a flying flip, let him continue to be nice during all of this. I got all of the household items i wanted, the custody schedule i wanted and when this thing is finalized and the rules are in writing i can ignore his ass as much as possible while co-parenting.

      Until then, we’ll keep plugging along. I heard from a Switzerland friend that he’s just moving this along smoothly so he can just get on to dating without looking bad. whatever, fine by me

      • It really is a mindfuck. Sorry you’re going through it too. I’m just trying to endure it, not rock the boat, get what I want and need out of the settlement while he’s still playing nice, and keep my eyes looking towards a future where meh awaits.

        • it’s hard in a weird way, I keep reminding myself it could be worse, he could be a terror right now. But ultimately I think it comes down to it feeling like you’re being discarded without a second thought. He never once has asked me about it after I moved out. didn’t once fight for me or be angry. It makes you feel like you’re not even a blip on the radar and that’s hurtful.

          I keep reminding myself that I don’t want to be on his radar so this is a good thing and I can deal with my abandonment issues with my therapist.

          • Yeah, it’s amazing how quickly they move on, discard, abandon. Then I remember that he did that eight months ago when he fucked another woman behind my back so this is really just more of the same. I had therapy this morning and my therapist also stressed staying off the radar, keeping things as pleasant as possible, and getting out of this as quickly as I can. Not for the cheating asshole, he deserves all my rage, but keeping it in and playing along with the fantasy this narc has is what’s best and safest for me and the kids.

    • Yep. Keep keeping your side of the street clean. It’s the right thing to do, regardless. I too have a “nice” ex, and it has cost me a couple of friends who I thought were good ones. Turns out they weren’t. They didn’t understand my no-contact rule. The couldn’t believe the things I claimed he did. OK, see ya. Likewise with shared friends. His “nice guy” ways are too strong, so I don’t even bother. As someone above said, new friends are great–as is restricting your circle of great friends to the people who truly matter. Best of luck.

    • It’s also really important to have age-appropriate truths with your children right from the start. Chumplady is spot on with #3. After 6 years apart I found out that I was the only one upholding our Parenting Agreement to “foster the love” for my ex and “not speak disparagingly” about him and Schmoopie. My teens’ attitude toward recent challenges with him seemed off. When I started gently digging, I found out he’d not only NOT kept silent about or relationship as he wanted me to do, he OUTRIGHT lied. Now when his lies get back to me, whether it be about me, his endless legal motions, or provisions in the custody arrangement, I quietly show them the supporting documentation. I accept that they’ll form their own opinions and relationships with both of us but I will not accept any more lies.

  • Mine is incapable of acting with any integrity whatsoever. Parental alienation, harassment, name callimg, lying about money, refusal to pay her own bills, litigation….on and on. Every deal she makes legally is just to buy more time until she can go back on it. Adjournments, mediations, over and over again. Rage over my children accidentally meeting a woman I am seeing (during my non custodial week) as she practically has one of her affair partners living with her, hanging out with my kids and leering lasciviously at my 18 year old daughter. A pig is a pig is a pig.
    Her family and friends are all aghast that I abused her so and then abandoned her of 18 years of blissful union. Fuck her. Fuck them.

  • They either know you, or they don’t. If they don’t, they will believe the lies that the cheater is spinning.

    Now, if they don’t know they *may* reach out and ask what is happening – or they’ll shrug their shoulders and believe what they’re told.

    Either way you will know more about them than you did before.

  • When I found out about my STBX affair with my cousin. I also found out that he was telling her that I couldn’t keep a job. That I never cleaned the house and I did not pay our bills. That we did not have sex and he even told her about my difficulty with menopause. He even told her I had mental problems. I remember so clearly in the day I took pills and drank alcohol. He called his mother to come help me. As my daughter and mother were comforting me. My mother-in law told me to shut up that I was the one who got us in credit card debt and her son did not cheat on me. My Mother told her to leave. Her son cheated on me, slandered my name and kept over half of his checks to himself. And I was to blame.

    You can not control what others say or believe about you. Best thing to do is live your life the best you can with out the lying cheater in it.

  • My x decided to get ahead of the narrative by making an entire sermon about “ how we just grew apart”. He delivered that one the same week that I got the speech ( during my child’s birthday sleepover ).

    The crazy thing is that the congregation accepted it at face value and moved on to tea and cookies afterwards as if nothing was any different.

    I stood by that wanker for 7 years of education, moved to a strange city and into a rectory only to be dumped publicly 6 weeks after he started his new career ….pass the butter tarts please.

  • I just want to remind people to remain cautious. Yes, you should absolutely have a right to tell the truth of your story. However, if you think your STBX might turn violent, consider allowing the “we grew apart” narrative to stand. I think about Chris Watts. Everyone thought he was such a good guy, a dedicated husband and partner. I don’t doubt for a moment that the fear of losing that public image is one of the reasons he did what he did.

    I’ve allowed STBXH to control the narrative with his family because I have no interest in having a relationship with them after this. I don’t know exactly what story he’s told them, and it doesn’t matter. I don’t give my side of the story to anyone that he’s going to have to deal with after we separate because his attachments are so shallow and he is so concerned with looking like a “good guy” that I absolutely believe he could pull a Chris Watts on me and my two kids. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

    • Absolutely, opt in favor of staying safe. The soulless creatures that they are, we never know what they are capable of, as I found out the hard way. Karma will find them, I truly believe.

    • And this is why I keep my mouth shut about the nice-guy routine he currently has going on. I rely on the fact that I have lived my life with such love that my family and friends believe me and understand what I did and are proud of me. He lived a life in such a way that no one close to us is shocked when I came out with the truth of our marriage. Some friends even saw those behaviors themselves and pulled me aside at different points in our marriage to ask me to leave him or check in.

      So I’m doing well and have support and those are the people who I know, know the truth. His family isn’t in my life anymore so whatever they need to believe/be told to keep moving on isn’t my business, it’s come out eventually.

      My goal is to just allow this narrative to go on until it’s finalized and then never go out of my way to interact with anyone on his side

    • “Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.” Agreed and well put. Actions not words. In this world of mass information, the value of privacy gets lost. And being liked is given premium status. Being respected is far better.

      My story is private and for a select few folks who’s support is meaningful. Made easier, of course, by the fact that I also don’t care to have a relationship with my in laws. We hardly ever did (he never liked his own people…I think because they knew the real person he was). For all those acquaintances, I really don’t care what they think.What does it matter? On the rare occasion where someone has the gall to bring it up, I say as little as possible without being agreeable to his narrative. When I once got a “I guess you two just drifted apart, it happens” from his friend, I gave a quick side eye and said “sure, let’s go with that.”

  • I can get over people thinking poorly of me, but I have such a hard time when the children are brought into it.

    My two youngest kids (17 and 18)hardly see their father. They have made to choice to limit contact with him but I get blamed for “taking his family from him”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The children received a text from their father on Christmas morning telling them to not meet him at Mass because he was spending time with his “new family”. He then spent college money we had saved tor then in an engagement ring for his new gal! To top it off, he is living in an efficiency apartment 45 minutes away from where we live, making it impossible for the kids to spend time with him.

    Yet, he still acts like the victim. His extended family has been told all kinds of stuff. If it were only about me, I’d just go about my life a and move forward. But he continues to bring the children into his lies and that is so hard to deal with. I don’t want his family believing lies about our children. Anything I can do about that?

    • Yeah you can trust that he’s going to lie cheat and steal. You can accept that maybe other people are not going to be able to see the truth right away, but this is a good time to see who is real and who sucks. 💖

    • Yes. Stop caring about your X’s extended family. They are invested in believing his sad sausage song.
      Do not list his crimes or defend yourself. In fact, you should go as No Contact with them as possible.
      If confronted directly, look mildly puzzled and say, “The “children” are adults. They get to decide who they let in their life.”

      Will this stop the slander? No. I had a fault divorce with a protective order for domestic violence. I got the minor child, the house and a 55-45 split of the assets. I lost X’s family (yay), our friends and our CHURCH fellowship. The Lying Liar Who Lies got to them first.

      It’s been several years since the divorce. My three young adult children are No Contact with their father, his family and anyone else who supported the abuser. My kids have been viciously attacked as vile, hateful, un-Christian ingrates who have been brainwashed by their contemptible mother. We just circle the wagons and prepare to repel boarders (mixing my metaphors).

      The only person you control is yourself. Haters gonna hate and victims gonna vict. Your kids are setting boundaries. Support them! We don’t want to raise another generation of chumps.

    • Yes, Yes and Yes, they can tell the kids to get the fuck out and yet it is still the chumps fault they want nothing to do with cheater.

  • Before I kicked the ex out , he physically assaulted me .
    He called up his buddies and MY father and justified his “ inappropriate touching “ yes , that’s what he called it , by stating my mouth had driven him crazy .

    What really happened was I confronted him about lying to me . Literally a sentence before I was assaulted “ I am
    sick you lying to me.”

    My father took his side and said “ you provoked him “ and went on to tell me I should not have said a thing to him since he was the man and paid all the bills and what did I offer ??

    Yep . Got rid of two narcs in one week.
    Divorced ex and cut off all contact with my father ….

    And both of them over a year later still make untrue , demeaning and disparaging comments about me to others .

    Ask me how many fucks I give ??

    The people that know me , know better …

    That’s all that matters

      • It was Lundy Bancrofts book “ Why does he do that ?”
        That helped me heal . It was very difficult for me to get through the book the first time , because it was my life . My life as a child up until 14 months ago .

        While it sounds perhaps like they have won , after my upbringing and marriages , I will never trust a man again . Not bitter about it , just have zero interest in investing one more second of my life into a man who could potentially fool me again

        • TBIG I’m sorry you went through such abuse by both men. I understand how you feel about never trusting another. You raise a great point. I finally cut my angry, alcoholic narcissistic father completely from my life when I was 26. And after years of unnecessary legal abuse post-decree, I only communicate with my ex, through short texts about the kids. With my second physically abusive husband, it was TOTAL no contact right the day I filed.

          What I recently realized was that I’d married my father, minus the alcoholism, twice.

    • What you have faced in this is really quite gutting. I don’t know whether you had always considered your father questionable or whether this moment suddenly revealed him to you, but the combination betrayal and loss of TWO such key people in your life is really a major trauma.

      For me, it was perhaps a year and a half after discovering what I had married that I came to discover what one of my parents was. The interim was spent learning quite deeply what disordereds are. I had been raised around one and not only never knew it, I had even come to associate the inevitable shit signs with a corresponding goodness. (I still saw the shit as shit, I just believed it was ultimately harmless if there were good things too.) Somewhat tolerant of toxicity and totally naive about what it really indicates…how better to make a chump? Kinda like being raised around defanged rattle snakes so you come to think they make funny little noise-making pets.

      When the scales finally fell from my eyes, it was like an implosion of reworked (corrected) history. At times it was literally breathtaking. And you have faced this in very close succession. I cannot imagine what that must be like. I think you are totally right to cut your father out of your life.

      • TKO,
        I’m am sorry you have experienced very similar feelings especially relating to your parent.

        I always , even as a small child felt something was off but thought there was something wrong with me . Constantly feeling confused , anxious and that nothing I could do was good enough . My father is also an abuser and he was a master a gaslighting and manipulation.
        To the extent he had me convinced him having a physical relationship with his stepdaughter was she was 16 and he was 40 and married to her mom was the STEPDAUGHTERS fault !
        That’s how bad he mindfucked me .

        It was only after him blaming me for ex physical assault did I KNOW there was nothing wrong with me but my father was a sociopath .

        That the two men in my life were suppose to be the ones who loved me and would be protect and yet I had to protect myself from THEM , was devastating.

        I know now neither of them loved me . It was never about me .

        About 14 months out of both relationships with father and ex , for the first time in my life , I really like myself . I’m getting to know my worth , establish boundaries , and will not tolerate being demeaned , belittled , lied to , or manipulated.

        My father recently had his lawyer send me legal papers that indicated I had been disinherited and the trust dissolved . In the paperwork was a short note from my father that read “ I thought you were smarter than this . You should have known , cutting off communication with me , would result in me cutting off financial support to you when I die . What a dummy you are “

        Much to my own surprise , I chuckled to myself and threw all of it in the garbage .

        My mental health and inner sense of peace and loving myself is worth more than anything he would be able to leave me .

        TKO wishing you strength and peace on this painful journey .

        • Yep I get it. Having been raised in a narc household,(malignant narc father, covert narc mother0 does leave damage. Therapy, a can do attitude, no contact, and a burning determination to be as healthy as possible has been the ticket to peace of mind.

          Covert narc mother passed many years ago. Malignant narc father passed three years ago after me being NC for 5 years before that.

          Here is the kicker. Narc father never believed he would get old and die, so never had a will. I am an only child. Guess who inherited his small estate? Yep, me. He hated me so much, I’ll bet he is spinning in his grave as I sell off everything. Me? I am laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Two years after my divorce I received frantic texts from a friend saying she needed to meet me. I was having dinner with one of my chummed girlfriends. I told her that my ex and either done a horrible thing to my friends husband (I had paved the way for her husband to work for my ex) or, that her husband had done something.

    Turned out, her husband was cheating on her and she was devastated. We talked fir several hours. She told me all the lies my ex had been circulating about me: anger issues, frigid, stealing money from him. The list was long.

    She tearfully told me she no longer believes them. As we talked I gave her some pointers: disconnect phone plans, emails, secure finances, seek a lawyer. Two days later she contacted me to let me know that her stbx had cloned her phone and was tracking her and all her texted etc. He is truly an evil man. I continue to support her. Quietly, behind the scenes.

    The lies come to light, eventually.

  • I think for some of them, dishonesty to themselves is so pervasive that they actually believe their own narrative.

    I only contact stbx when I must. He responds positively, then whatever action he was supposed to take, is put-off. The passive aggression is maddening and I suspect in his mind, because he used diplomatic words initially, he believes he is a “good guy” in spite of the fact his actions don’t match those words and lack of follow-through is problematic and antagonistic. He not only negatively impacts me, but his kids too.

    He’s never had a problem with getting simple things done before. Throughout all of this, I see how distorted and poorly performing his inner self truly is and it’s a sharp contrast from what he projects to the world.

    • Yes. Mine most certainly believes his own narrative, which makes communication impossible. In order to avoid doing or saying anything that isn’t Mr. Nice Guy material, mine refuses to answer direct questions, ever, instead chooses to obfuscate and be evasive. Reason #826 why I’m no contact. I can’t stand these “beating around the bush” conversations where he pits himself as a sad sausage and never really says what’s on his mind or what he’s going to do or not do. Hey man, just send an email confirming or denying my request or telling me what your plan is. It’s simple! I guess not.

    • Totally agree. I believe my Ex truly believes his own narrative of me—that I’m a bully and controlling.

      When I see him in public, he cowers and becomes small as if he is afraid of me. At first I thought it was an act, but he does it when no one is around. I’ve also seen into his “journal”. He will write people’s reations but not his behavior that provoked their response. He is clueless to how his actions inform others. So to him, people are attacking him for no reason—he truly is incapable of seeing the reasons. Therefore it makes sense that he thinks I’m a bully, but in reality I am trying to enforce my boundaries.

      Also ditto on the positive response and then passive aggressive action. It’s frustrating but I know to expect it now.

  • I needed this today… being I’m in the middle of a divorce trial that will never end!

    I swear, there’s been more talk of Botox in this court trial than in a plastic surgeon’s specialty class. It’s amazing how exaggerations, judgment and falsehood can turn something that doesn’t even matter into this enormous issue. You’d think with the amount of attention it’s been given, I’ve committed some horrendous crime! It’s weird… it’s like he’s trying to shame me something he’s actually done himself (per the kids) but of course that is hearsay in court and not admissible!

    Signing up for hookup sites … “eh, no big deal.” Spending tens of thousands at strip clubs, “also not a big deal.” Having unprotected sex with hookers, “eh, what’s to explain, that’s perfectly normal!” …. but Botox… GASP! How I have the courage to show my face in public is soooooo shameful!

    There’s no escaping their projections, so might as well have fun with them!

    • OMG, so weird. I’ve being doing Botox since 2008, when people kept asking if I was mad! I do it for myself, and I’m satisfied with the results. I hardly tell anyone that I’m doing it! Is it any of their business? My own mother has said several times- how can people do that to themselves? It’s fake and disgusting!
      I just smile at her and say, oh, it’s not so bad, it’s a personal decision. (And then smile to myself)
      Why is this such a hot button? Do it if you want to, and don’t tell!

  • I think it has a lot to do with trust in God. When it seems like everyone is turning against you, and believes lies, where is God? Does He see this? Does He care? Yes, He does see it, and yes He does care. He sees how mighty you are, and He is blessing you, and will continue to.

    • QueenMother:

      Yes, yes, yes! God sees all and knows all. He is good all of the time!

      God was witness to everything unholy in which my XH was engaging (14 affairs, a raging porn addiction, and who knows what else), and I believe He was grieving throughout our entire 40-year relationship; He saw what my XH was doing to me, to our family, to our children, to our finances, to my health. I didn’t know about any of it (yet), but God knew EVERYTHING.

      And when the truth finally came out (which I have *NOT* kept a secret) and I was discarded like yesterday’s trash, God more than had my back… He opened the door for me to find a great divorce attorney, an even better therapist, and paved the way for all of my family, almost all of our mutual friends, and even some of my XH’s family members to see what had really been going on and to circle their wagons around me rather than my XH. God provided ample financial resources for me to buy myself a house, and blessed me by creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand my 32-year-old small business so it would provide additional financial security during my reinvented retirement (the retirement I thought I’d be sharing with XH).

      What God didn’t do was spare me from the many months of soul-crushing pain that pounded on me like a jackhammer, and what He didn’t do was immediately put a new man in my life so I could divert my attention from just how badly I’d been chumped and dumped. No, I believe He wanted me to feel Every. Single. Horrible. Second. of the experience so I’d be stronger, wiser, more resilient, and much more discerning when I got through to the other side, and, that I’d gratefully give all the glory to Him.

      As always, God called it right… I *am* stronger, wiser, more resilient, and much more discerning; with His help, I’m standing solidly on my own two feet, my eyes and ears are always open, and I have a whole new toolbox of life skills from which to draw. I can see behavior patterns in others that I never would’ve noticed before. And thanks to Chump Lady and this fabulous community of brothers and sisters, I’m now pretty well-versed in the language of Chumpdom and Cheaterspeak, and have actually been able to help a few others as they go through their own hellish experience; just last month, my own sister came to me and told me her husband of 30 years had just dumped her. Does it ever stop?? Sadly… no.

      I am grateful, grateful, grateful.

  • When I served my ex divorce papers st the whores house, he came home angry. He said he wanted out so why was he so mad?

    I had him live in the basement & he would put his phone on speaker so I could hear them..tell her dirty intimate lies about me. Even told my adult son I had an abortion when he was a baby ( due to medical problems
    My son always wanted a sibling so when he found out he was very upset. My ex & I always agreed never to tell my son so he wouldn’t hold it against me. But the
    cruel sociopath told him & said that I slept around with old boyfriends etc. Told whore I “smelled “ down there
    which was painful & humiliating to hear.

    Whore the night I confronted them, screamed as I walked up to her home said “He goes down on me .. not you!”, Just to show how low life she was. God knows all the other lies he told people. Now I realize how truly
    mentally sick he is. I don’t think of it too much anymore but when I do, still hurts. 😢

    • To anyone listening to that outburst, anyone who has to scream “he goes down on me and not you” doesn’t sound like the most sane person in the asylum! Just saying!

      • Attie
        Yes so true.! You could imagine how disgusted I felt. But Karma hit.. the whore was hit by a car walking into a department store months ago..
        & 5 weeks after she was buried he moved into another woman’s house. He told my son he doesn’t want to be alone. Threw away 34 years married, family etc for what? I hope he someday
        he feels the pain of what he did to me.

        (((Hugs))) to you ❤️

  • My ex started his character assassination of me before I even dumped him. I was abusive, controlling, unstable, and volatile. He lived in fear, he walked on eggshells, there was no telling what I might do if I got triggered. He claimed to be a domestic violence victim. And I was a liar who would destroy his reputation out of revenge if he managed to escape from me.

    I found out that he made these same claims against another ex before me. It’s his pattern. Demonize and discredit the partner who’s just about had enough of his shit, then play the broken he-waif to suck in some new sources of supply.

    I don’t really care what he says about me because I’m not in contact with anybody who travels in the same circles he does anymore. And our reputations stand for themselves. His is trashed and mine is squeaky clean.

    • This is exactly what mine said about me chumpsaidbyebye. He literally spread this poisonous shit to his co-workers, family members and friends that i was a spender had got us into debt and had him controlled and under the thumb…nothing could be further from the truth. I have to console myself that the only people i really care about…my adult kids…they know the truth and can’t be lied to. His family is another thing. I used to get lectures from his mum about the perils of running up credit card debt using an example of a ‘friend’ of theirs. Now i wonder as i come out of the fog and finding out what horrendous levels of debt we were in by d day. ..that this ‘ friend’ was probably fictitious and they were directing the story to me !!! Their dear son could never be in the wrong or have so callously left his family homeless and penniless! ! Yeah the truth sucks. And it sucks to be them so glad I’m away from those toxic inlaws that produced such a disfunctional adult.

  • Asshat tried telling a mutual friend via PM on Fakebook that I “drank too much and hit him”. Mutual friend replied, “first off, I don’t believe you, and secondly, if that were true, I wouldn’t blame her.” Mutual friend already knew about his cheating, gaslighting, blameshifting and etc. Nice try, Asshat.

  • “Disordered people need their impression management so their manipulations (and Sad Sausage story lines) keep working on everyone.”

    Yes, but, unfortunately they are just so good at it! Of course I was awful and I CAUSED him to cheat, steal and lie.

  • I cared for my ex through stage 4 cancer….he ran off with the ow soon after he was better. I found out my true friends after as they didn’t realize that he had already been cheating with her for 4 years and all he had to say about me behind my back came to the forefront. I was told by the wife of one of his friends that they hang out with him still but all the guys talk behind his back that what he did to me was wrong…no matter what he has said about me over the years.

    I cut all of those people off anyway, because they were willing to hear him badmouth me for years behind my back…I don’t need those type of people in my life. It really shows you who your friends really are.

    Life is much more hectic now, but more peaceful…i’ll take that

  • We started a business the first year of our marriage. Husband worked 80 hours a week ( literally). We had 2 small kids and a house. Our home was spotless and meals were always made and kids thrived ( both have since got their masters degrees) and hubby would tell my in laws and sister in law that I didn’t clean right and I wasn’t a great cook or that I watched tv all day etc …. I never bothered to defend myself at all because hey , if he’s working 80 hours a week who did they think was doing everything else ? It was disrespectful of him but I was so busy being a co – owner and Mother and chief cook and bottle washer that I let it ( the disrespect ) slide . Then he had an affair with a family friend who was actually very close with my mother in law. My mother in law actually defended the affair because she truly believed all the lies he had told throughout the years. And when I finally did stand up for myself they didn’t believe me ?! When she finally confronted me ( MIL) I asked her “ you really believe that your grandchildren getting straight a’s and scholarships and master degrees and our clean home and obviously non starving husband and children are a product of your son? You really believe that I watched tv all day and he worked 80 hours a week and all the rest of our life just happened? And she told me that I emasculated him. That I may have helped a bit but if he had been happy he would never have said all of those things and if he was happy he wouldn’t have had an affair. I know blood is blood but I actually thought I had a good relationship with my in laws . I felt like I was sucker punched. The affair ended and my mother in law and sister in law remained friends with the other woman until my MIL died. Facebook friends , holiday cards and meeting for lunches and outings. They all thought that was perfectly appropriate and acceptable. When I told my husband that it was soooo disrespectful to me he relied that he can’t tell his family who to be friends with.

  • Yeah, the cheater ex had the entire congregation of our church convinced that I was a hooker. That’s right, an actual prostitute, plying my trade down town at night. (when I was actually working the night shift at the local nursing home.) “Did you know Tessie grew up in the south, in a TRAILER PARK! Not only that, but her first husband is another race! And she has a biracial child with him! She is poor white trash that conned me into marrying her. And with that background, naturally she is turning tricks now. Poor me! She is so evil! I can’t get away from her! She is abusing me! After all I have done for her……Yadda, yadda, yadda”…….He also had his entire family convinced, and then later, after he murdered my youngest son and then committed suicide, the local police.

    His family carried on his lies with embellishments of their own, after his suicide. That is how I found myself having to prove to the police where my son’s body was found, that my first husband drank himself to death, and was not shot to death in the woods in Alaska under “mysterious circumstances.” Luckily, I had his death certificate. At least that jurisdiction believed me, and after a little more investigation, disbelieved cheater exes family.

    18 months later when his family had someone torch my house, the only person the local police investigated for arson, was me. When they determined that I could not have done it, they dropped the investigation and refused to take it any further. I no longer live in that city, and never will again.

    The people who were actually my friends, who actually knew me, never bought any of it, but his lies still had long term consequences for me.

    Sadly there really is nothing we can do to counter their bald-faced lies except to continue living our lives with integrity, and in time our good character will shine through. It also helps to decide to not give a hoot what others who barely know me, think of me. The people I love, it matters. The general public? Pfffft! I just keep being my authentic self, living my authentic life.

    • Oh Tessie, when their lies are so easy to disprove it is the most frustrating thing that anyone ever believed them but it must feel like trying to keep all those plates spinning to disprove this narrative to this one and that narrative to that one. I would just explode. You are an amazing woman and one of my heroines!

    • Tessie my heart breaks for you. To go on as you have after the horrors you have been subjected to is nothing short of incredible. Your strength and grace are inspiring. I hope that time is healing your wounds and I hope that one day I can summon enough strength to reach the level of mighty that you’ve achieved. 💜

  • The worst is when they tell it to the kids. Mine groomed my daughter to hate me telling her I was crazy, selfish and even convinced her (at 16yrs old) that I abused her. She left and moved in with him and the 21yr old OW babysitter. He even told her that he wasn’t sleeping with the babysitter and that she was just a good friend helping him deal with me and my craziness (I wouldn’t have been so crazy if he wasn’t sleeping with her in our house and insisting that since he pays more of the mortgage he can bring her in the house whenever he wants). My daughter now tells everyone she meets that I abused her and hasn’t seen me or responded to a text since 2015.

    The ex even had the nerve to tell our friends and his family that he had to leave me and the fact that the daughter was living with him should prove that I was a horrible wife and mom.

    • I am so sorry this has happened to you. I truly feel your pain in losing a child to these narcs.

      My then 17 year old son and I haven’t spoke in several years because of the lies his father has told him about me. I was able to shield my younger daughter from his abuse because well “she’s a girl”. His narc family wanted the first born grandson and I feel like I was a breeder. My son is the golden child and just like his father. I still remember all the things I tried to teach my son about being a caring person who doesn’t hurt others. They taught him to be a user just like his dad and he chose them and their money. They told him about his inheritance and treat him like he can do no wrong. It’s very sad but I have learned to let him go. I can’t control him or what he chooses. I concentrate on my relationship with my daughter – it helps. But I still miss my little boy!

      • Give him time Strongwoman. I bet he will come around. Children do not recognize the narc in a parent until they are older. ((())))

      • I’m sorry for you as well. My younger daughter “got” him at a young age. She’s very intuitive and was more aware of her dads relationship with her babysitter than the daughter 3 years older than her. My younger daughter is my life and while she has contact with her older sister she still doesn’t get how she was blinded by her dads lies except she knows that her dad always favored her older sister because she believes everything her told her. It’s even worse that the babysitter slut was also feeding her mind as to how crazy and mean I was. This girl had a plan to steal my life and she did everything she could to get it – including feeding him and daughter lies about me (even though I took her into our house out of the goodness of my heart). Can you say CHUMP!

    • KAF this is absolutely so horrible. He can’t wear that mask forever. But I know you can’t wait for it to slip. The hardest part of the shit sandwich is when our kids are served it as well. You are mighty!

      • Thanks. Not only did she dump me but my whole family as well. My folks had been saving to help her out with college but they won’t help a child who hasn’t talked to them in 3 years. In her eyes that makes my family abusive as well. It’s so horrible that her father has told her that nothing is her fault and that me and my family are horrible instead of making her realize that if you don’t maintain contact or are polite to people you can’t expect the same from them in return

  • The lie: X asshat tells people our divorce was a mutual decision.

    The truth: He abandoned me while I was away on a business trip, moving out of the house and sending me an e-mail as my notice that my 28 year marriage was over. Just prior to this spectacular discard, he had been future faking our early retirement plans and had declared just 6 weeks prior that he “wanted to be with me for the rest of his life.” He found a 25YO co-worker to ride off into the sunset upon. He moved to her European country permanently less than 6 months after divorce. As you do.

    The idiot “friends” and in-laws say that People Fall Out of Love. People Grow Apart. People Change. Despite being told what really happened they have decided it is easier to go along with that narrative rather than burn a single calorie ruminating over the fact they were lied to as well. Facing that the asshat is a cartoonish stereotype of midlife crisis disgusting behavior–the old goat chasing young ass and throwing away his family–that is just too much effort. I am sure they believe that I am indeed Controlling and Judgmental and that the asshat is Just Such a Nice Guy. No One Really Knows What Goes on in a Marriage.

    Barf.

    So they are not friends. My former in-laws are level 4 hoarding, pot-addled pigs. Truth is just too much work. I do not need them in my life.

    • Now I.C., were we married to the same idiot? I shivered reading your post!

      I spent a weekend with baggage and food packed waiting for sparkledick to arrive and pick me up for a holiday trip together. Two weeks before that we had gone to see a house to buy for our retirement.

      Every now and then I run into ex-in-laws or mutual friends (many of them totally ex because they are the Switzerland type) and hear the “too bad you grew apart” and etc., bullshit. I make a point of answering: “well, we did not grow apart. I NEVER got the memo about this, but was sure getting AND paying the bills from cheater’s very large extended family. Do you want to see the instagrams of some of his 30 year-old flatterfucks?”. (I’m 66 in good shape for my age). That always raises eyebrows.

      What Tracy says about family not wanting to admit that ‘their special Pookykins’ is an asshole is the truth.

  • I am one of those thinks telling the truth is always better. If you run into one of those suckers who have bought into his dialogue I think it is perfectly OK to say, “ Real truth is that he cheated on me. Was not able to give up the other person and chose her over me and our children. We very seldom see him,and the children miss him. We do not get the court ordered child support on the day we should get it and every time I have to communicate with him I’m accused of being greedy. This is not me. I did not cheat and I certainly have not gone after him or her for more money than the court ordered. If you want to believe his lies that’s your prerogative. I believed him for years and look how he treated me. I don’t like him, I don’t like the way he has treated his children and I cannot believe you have brought in to all of his lies.” If they still think he’s Mr. wonderful they’ve drunk the Kool-Aid

  • The character assassination does tend to take us by surprise, doesn’t it? Somehow we envision that we will Reveal What We Know, and they will fall to the ground in shame and remorse. We’ll get flowers. We’ll get cards. They will beg for another chance. After all, they were wrong, and dammit, they owe us some sorry!

    That’s why it’s astonishing when the real reaction is rage and blame and abuse. And yet, when I think of it, I’m not sure why I expected differently. No one can do these things over the long run unless he/she has worked in out in his/her own mind as an acceptable thing to do. And that usually means devaluing and blaming the chumps.

    But yes, it is like getting kicked by a gang of thugs.

  • I reference the Me Too movement. I tell the truth. I got to everyone first. He is trying to re-frame it as “we grew apart”. My in laws have been mostly good. I think they are struggling with it as he is a covert narc. I think they are trying to figure out why he is the way he is (useless exercise – the skein). It sometimes circles back to me being the reason but I disavow them of that or one of my other in laws reminds them that he was cheating for years. It’s a struggle for all of us. We may drift apart because of him. I wish there was a better way. 33 years they have been my family. Maybe it helped that I made it clear for years how much I loved him. Who knows? Hope his tiny dick falls off 🙂

  • Mine tells people that I refused to have children with him and he wanted to be a dad. Certainly not true. I spoke to my physician and she said that I’d need surgery and hormones to conceive. XH declined to put me “through that”. He’s been married to Schmoopie, whose clock is ticking, and no baby after 3 years of wedded bliss.

    XMIL tells everyone that she called my house days after XH left for his whore and a man answered. Of course, that never happened.

    5 years out and there is peace. 18 years of their bullshit is over.

  • I read this somewhere:

    Three things that are not long hidden,

    The sun, the moon, and the truth.

    Even if it’s decades later, the truth ALWAYS surfaces. It’s just that people who were against us at the time will never admit it to out faces due to shame.

  • “Oh, I might antagonize him if I see a lawyer/move half the money/run a credit report.” This was me in spades. I don’t have the foggiest why I was so afraid of him. I suppose it’s because I had trusted him so completely and finding out he was such a monster made me scared of what else he might do. In hind sight, I wish I had tried harder to protect myself. It took me too long to get there.

  • I had two pre-trial meetings in the last couple weeks. The Master asked me to join him in his office along with my “husband” for a ra-ra moment of “here’s how it’s gonna be” I flat out refused. I haven’t been near that monster in almost 3 years and I wasn’t going to do it there either. So I asked the Master if he had read my deposition? He said “no – I wanted to come in here with a fresh slate and clear mind” So I said “had you read my deposition then you wouldn’t have asked me to be anywhere near him”. He totaled ignored what I had just said and said to me “so you want me to repeat myself to your husband because you don’t want to see him” I looked at my lawyer then back to the Master and simply said “yes”. In that moment i realized that the deposition that I was forced to do was never read by the courts. In it I outed my stbx for all the narcissistic shit he did to me for the entire 20 years of our marriage and nobody even read it.

    When I filed for divorce- my ex told me point blank that he “badmouthed me for years to everyone because he knew that I would leave him when I found out the truth”. So I didn’t even bother telling anyone my side of the story. In the end it didn’t matter anyway. Nobody gives a shit.

    So in the following week as I was preparing my mind for yet another pre-trial – I just got it. This is a business deal and nobody is going to give me justice. So I pretty much just quit putting up a fight for our business and our house and just went for the money. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped but it’s over and I will be fine. I have lost my house, my business, my job, my family, and my 19 year old son to this covert sadistic narcissist and I’m still standing. I made it and I consider myself very lucky to have survived it.

    My teen daughter still loves me and that’s my blessing. I reconnected with several good friends (that the narc isolated me from) who have each helped me in some small way to get through this. I found chump lady early on and met her at the book signing in DC and have never looked back at my cheater. I filed for divorce and left him almost 3 years ago. I have definitely gained a life and I am a work in progress with a brighter future. I don’t have it all figured out yet but it’s something. A future that I never saw was possible while I was being emotionally and mentally abused by someone who said he loved me. I will be forever grateful to chump lady and the chump nation for all of your wisdom. On to meh!

  • It’s a shame the Python wasted his talents – he could have been an actor (lied to my face so convincingly for so long) or a script writer (he’s made up very detailed stories about me and about himself; the ones about himself are often heroic or altruistic).

    One of the stories he told a woman was that I was depressed, poor, and sleeping on a family member’s couch. Once she figured out he was lying to her about several things (including the part about our not being married) she came to me and told me all about it. Funny thing is that HE has no money (but lots of debt) and eventually ended up sleeping on my couch for months.

    KARMA. 🙂

  • I now realize my now dead idiot, bad mouthed me, most of our marriage. He would make fun of me in front of others, but was just joking. Told everyone I was always in his head nagging. Took credit for everything I alone, had done. Enhanced anything he did to a fantasy level. I kept quiet, as to not hurt him, disrespect him. When he was dying the lies became huge. He wasn’t being fed, I had many men, I had never cared for or about him, he had always been a hard working, honorable man, married to lazy trash. He told Hospice I and his grown kids wanted him dead, ok that was true. We had, had enough. Still I took care of him for over a year on Hospice. I was grey rock with him the whole time. Thanks CL, CN. I was upset how he made me look to Hospice. I realized he had been this way for 42 years, I spackeled his behavior. It was until he played grab ass with the nurse, they began to catch on. I finally came to the conclusion, I really don’t care. He didn’t matter anymore than a stranger. Peace is great.

  • OMG! This is so spot on and just what I need today!

    Asshat immediately told friends & family that he was so depressed that I filed for divorce AFTER he survived cancer. How could I do that? Of course, he forgot to share the reasons I filed. You know, the years of cheating & the million lies he told. It didn’t have anything to his Ashley Madison, Tinder accounts or the thousands he spent on porn, happy endings, strippers & escorts. Yes. All. Of. The. Usual. With these fuckwits.

    My head practically came off the first time I hear “his truth” from our friends & family. It took me a long time to accept there was nothing I could do to change those who believed him. He fooled ALL of us for years!! They still can’t accept the real truth.

    My circle of friends & family grew much smaller but the ones who stuck with me are my rocks. All of them. It’s hard to lose family, but I am go grateful for my REAL peeps. Wouldn’t trade them for anything. Carry on, CL & CN. We know the real truth.

  • This column might as well be about me. My ex has spent the last three years rehabilitating her image. We live in the same small town, so many of the lies come back to me. We had “communication difficulties,” “our love died,” etc. But the worst ones are that *I* was the one who cheated on *her*. Sometimes I think many people will readily believe that a man is a cheater, but not the wife.
    She has done a great job of convincing people of the narrative that she’s this scrappy, against-all-odds single mom, and that her ex-husband is this big meanie Who Is Just Bitter and Won’t Let Go.
    I get dirty looks wherever I go. I’ve been banned from the barber shop I went to, and the place I got my car fixed, on account of me “causing her so much pain in the divorce.” You think that hurts, you know what hurts more? Being married to a serial cheater, then being left for one of the AP, that’s what!
    Some days, I wish I could just pile up my stuff in a U-haul and get the heck out, but I have to stay till my kids finish school.

    • LOL, what kind of business owner drives away a customer for this reason. So stupid. And yes, I suspect you’re right about the man/woman thing. And maybe statistically there’s some truth there but women sure can cheat too. Best of luck, keep keeping your side of the street clean. The projection is terrible but anyone who truly knows who would know that you aren’t a cheater.

  • Reptation is consistency of behavior over time. Oddly enough a maxim my ex touted. CL’s point about self-defense is a great one. Let your overall actions speak for you–that’s the evidence of your character. Words are cheap. Anyone who knows you will back your play. The folks who drop off due to character assassination were not your people. The folks who don’t understand the boundaries you put up with your ex or overly questions your decisions to leave and be free are not your people. And maybe you need a minute to mourn that fact.

    I’ve not endured the character assassination. My ex has not said so many bad things about me (not really anyways). And even if he has, it hasn’t worked. However, I have endured so-called “friends” either not believing my struggle or accusing me of being overly dramatic–because my ex is a stereotypical “nice guy” and great at impression management. Unwilling to either understand or just accept my position of no contact. Those people are gone from my life, with limited fan fare. And it is sad. So be it. Loyalty matters.

  • Years ago, I knew a teenager and one of her female adult relatives who were attacked in their home and sexually assaulted by a stranger. It was a small community, and there were people who said that these totally innocent women who were violated “must have done something” to have this happen to them. Which of course is ridiculous, utterly lacking in empathy, and demonstrates a fundamental lack of common sense and human decency.

    We are very luck to have a handful of people who “have our back.” Many people we think of as “friends” are really social acquaintances. How you know if someone is a friend? They are always on your side and will even fight YOU if you aren’t being your best self. They don’t gaslight you, although they may be willing to make up snarky names for the AP. They don’t expect you to “get over it” but they expect you to get up and protect yourself. They won’t enable your self-destruction. Recognizing that not everyone is to be trusted with your story is a first step in “gaining a life.” You give away your power by making choices based on “what people will think.” Take your power. Shape the life you want, hopefully cheater free. No one knows your circumstances from the inside but you, so it’s key to listen to your own values. Character is often standing up for what’s right without worrying about how others will think about that.

    The other side of this is understanding that what you have thought about others, notably the Cheater and the Switzerland “friends,” is often wrong. You thought the Cheater was a good person or you wouldn’t have married him or her. And you thought the people who are taking the cheater’s side or telling you to get over it were kind or decent or maybe just loyal. So you see, we all look at others and fail to see what’s real. Our work as chumps is to to learn to see clearly. And think about the cost we pay to gain that vision.

  • My personal rule #1: never defend yourself. There are two approaches to take, crickets, or attack them back. The second you start defending yourself you look weak, you lose ground, and you start introspecting, which accomplishes the goal of your verbal assailent…you aren’t paying attention to their wrong-doing.

    • I ageee. I remember doing and saying some stupid stuff after D-day. I was mad, hurt and in pain. Somehow my foolishness was looked upon as being the most horrible infraction and making him look like a saint, which he is not.

      If you can, bite your tongue, walk into a different room, put the phone down, ignore, ignore, ignore. Silence is better.

  • The ex and his Owife apparently told my eldest son that I was “controlling” in the marriage (among other things… like how disrespectful I was apparently being toward my son for buying him a flip phone instead of a smartphone). 😀

    The only thing those two horrid people managed to do is make my son cry (and he’s 14 and rarely cries). When he told me how my ex and the Owife were once again ripping on me, my son broke down and said, “I didn’t like it when they said those disrespectful things about you.”

    There really haven’t been any Switzerland people in my life; everyone I care about turned against my ex, so in that respect, I’m lucky. Where I am very unlucky is how he assassinates my character in front of my kids. In his misguided attempt to hurt me, he only ends up hurting our kids.

  • It really is the gift that keeps on giving to be betrayed and then hear snippets that come filtering back.
    The marriage was over long before I even had the affair! Wife says mean things about me and is doing the worst possible thing now by refusing to cooperate with my every whim! Now she´s even going after half my money and restricting my access to my children. Terrible person that she is!

  • In the early days I was paralyzed thinking about what people thought of me. Even said to a friend, “I want to be divorced, but then I’ll be a statistic”. Ooh these friends did end up smacking my head with a 2×4.

    These days, 3 years after DDay, people can think that I’m a bitch, cold, evil, unsympathetic, fake, etc. — it doesn’t matter! I am alive, I survived the abuse by shielding myself with NC, and have finalized my divorce. Yes I am a badass person — and X made a mistake of crossing me. I am pretty damn proud of myself, so no apologies.

    As CL said, never apologize how you survived. And frankly it’s none of anybodies business.

  • My cheating abusive ex just announced his candidacy for local council. In amongst his long-winded bragging about what a pillar of the community he is, he slipped in the line, “ex-girlfriends will spread false rumours about me”. Of course, none of the fawning crowd of potential voters has picked up on this little nugget. Truth is, I have only told a handful of close friends and colleagues, and the police, about his abuse. But clearly he feels he has to get ahead of any possible allegations, by smearing me to anyone who will listen.

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