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Ginger, Faculty at the International Academy for the Advancement of Chump Studies.
Professor Ginger

This one goes out to the pseudo-therapist-sexologist quacks everywhere and the diploma mills who love them. I’m rerunning my piece on Chump Credentials. Join IAACS now!

It’s about time I fluffed up my resumé. I mean, what’s keeping me from a TED talk and international corporate stardom? Goddamn it, I need an Institute!

There, let me shove Ginger, my Australian shepherd off the cushions and declare the east side of my sectional sofa to be the International Academy for the Advancement of Chump Studies.

Perhaps you’d like to sign up for one of my courses?

Shift Your Paradigm and Get Your Shit Out of My Garage. Deconstruct the narratives of “I’ll get to it whenever” versus “What part of the separation agreement do you fail to understand?” Break out sessions on comparative strategies of Freecycle, Hefty bags, and rented 24-cubic-yard dumpsters.

Thong in My Bed and Other Found Objects. Create installations of Found Objects like “condom under carseat,” “unknown phone charger,” as well as “dating profiles discovered in browser history.” Curate for attorney.

Word Salad Dialectics. Explore the epistemology of “I am not defined by my relationships” and “If you met him, you’d really like him,” as well as “It just happened.” Belief? Justified opinion? Certainty? Create a set of situational ethics and rationalizations using tinker toys. Construct a reality. Turn it upside down. Pulverize it with ball peen hammers. Deny its being. “Tinker toys? Those are legos!” Set fire to constructed reality. Rebuild different reality. Repeat.

Rewriting the Marriage — A Historiography of Bullshit. “We were never happy.” Examine primary sources, such as the photo album from the Disney Family Vacation 2004 as well as the Valentine’s Day archives, 1998-2006.

At the International Academy for the Advancement of Chump Studies, we also offer a full array of degrees. Certificate programs in “Achieving Meh” ($5000 for 10 consecutive Tuesdays); a bachelors in Single Parenthood; and masters in Mightiness (cuma sum I Got the House).

Our accredited faculty include Chump Lady — recognized by the New York Times (delivery person) as a “an epic chump”; Bruce, the contractor who installed our vessel sink (“and doesn’t take shit off of anyone” says Alfredo his tile guy); and Ginger, an Australian shepherd, who has killed several squirrels.

Perhaps you would like to be affiliated with the prestigious International Academy for the Advancement of Chump Studies? Just donate using the button below and I won’t send you anything (you are, after all, a chump) but feel free to make shit up! Everyone is doing it!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Alain de Botton is one consonant off the most perfect surname for a pretentious best-selling cashmere sweater-wearing philosopher, ever.

      I cannot STAND the man.

    • Has anyone watched the School of Life’s videos on affairs on YouTube. There’s at least two – ‘why people have affairs’ and ‘what infidelity means.’

      I can’t bring myself to watch them, in case it’s full of infidelity apologising. And not only that, in case the comments are full of infidelity apologists. But it may be the total opposite. I was wondering if anyone else had watched them? Maybe I’ll wait until a day when I’m feeling really argumentative and then I’ll watch them and do battle in the comments. For now, I’m too exhausted!!

      Chump Lady, have you thought about running your own YouTube channel? Is there a way of putting the same content on both platforms?

    • Excellent commentary!
      As usual CL hits for the cycle – you’re rare gem lass- but wait- aren’t some of those rare gems lonely? Somewhat isolated? Thank goodness you’re ‘flawed’ by an almost surreal sarcasm – I’m very much awed by your gift!

  • Today I focused on that BECOME A PATRON of CL button and clicked.

    Without support, our CL and CN cannot provide our daily dose of reality and laughs.

    My therapist cost thousands. CL is just as/more important, and here available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    Click it and join!

    • Ditto. Now official Patreon. Couldn’t find the one time donation option. Rock on!! ???? to fellow chumps. Make today happier than yesterday!

  • Most certainly, I need some official credentials. The court ordered reunification counselor we are using has a PhD from Columbia University and he always compliments me on my knowledge and insight. He has no idea it all came from the IAACS!

  • Fuckwit promises
    I’ll help you buy the kids Xmas presents, then, you cant expect me to provide presents, but expect you too, buy everything.
    Never mind in the past buying prostitutes and ow drugs and alcohol whatever. Shame he didn’t buy her and himself parenting skills.

  • CL and CN have, and continue to, give me a very, very important education in areas of my life where I was basically unschooled. Courses I needed to take twice were: I’m Allowed to Have Needs?, Boundaries: What They Are and How To Apply Them, and VLC Practical Lab. This proud Patreon would loooove a downloadable cartoon rendering of an IAACS degree. I’d print it out on Tuesday. 😀

      • Miss Bailey, I hear you. Every time I set a boundary for adult children I feel like an asshole. It’s so against putting my needs first.
        They are forever stuck on unconditional love.
        I’m hearing they will respect me more once my boundaries are clear. Sure is painful, yet necessary. Still waiting….

        • I had to scold my youngest Xmas morning because she was rude the night before and then again in the morning (she is 22). I then refused to make eye contact for the rest of the morning. She snapped out of it and apologized. She has been trying hard ever since. I will never be treated poorly again.

        • I set boundaries for my adult sons after they were horrible to me after DDay…”drama queen”, “get over it already!” “Exaggerating” “overreacting”, etc etc and offered no support whatever. BTW, the perv is their long term step not their father.

          We did not speak for more than a year. My therapist said to keep a door cracked. I also kept up with my teenaged grands.

          Eventually, pictures arrived by text. I ignored them. More pictures and Happy Whatever. I responded, “thanks!!” And went on with my new happy life.

          It has taken nearly three years for a new “normal”. I dont trust them any longer. I love but dont trust. When I was desperate, they called me names.

          You know what? It was all their loss. I learned fast that relationships are reciprocal. If not, it is not a relationship. (Hat tip and applause to Diane Strickland)

          • Yes! There is no such thing as unconditional love between adults. We all have conditions and healthy people call them boundaries. When I think back on it every single adult who has told me I’m supposed to have “unconditional” love for them was screwing me over. Have you ever noticed that all the people who yell at chumps about “unconditional love” certainly don’t seem to have it for those very same chumps they expect it from.

    • PLEASE send me the syllabus for the “Boundaries” course!!! Also, I am assuming there is a 101, a 201, a 301, and graduate level courses?

      • I need a Masters in Boundaries, I’ve fallen of the wagon big time recently then had the crushing blow that comes after. I’m an idiot.

  • I love The International Academy for the Advancement of Chump Studies! Professors Chump Lady and Chump Nation have saved me!!

    Undergrad classes that I have loved: Narcissists 101: Identifying Them; The Art of Grey Rock; and GTFO Day: How to make it happen.

    Graduate level class I’m taking now: Parenting with a F-wit: A Guide to Staying Sane.

    Best textbook so far: “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life”

  • A course I recommend is the Art of No Contact, for the newly-chunked and a great refresher course if contemplating contact or have fallen off the NC wagon

  • Lol, just sitting here visualizing the classes that cheaters would take.
    Advanced DARVO, Alternate Reality Creation, Comparative Spouse/Whore Studies, bwhahaha!!!

  • Another course would be “The Identification and Destruction of Bullshit” which is the master’s degree that every chump attains once you stop giving your (ex) spouse the benefit of the doubt. It goes hand in hand with another degree, “Separation of Words and Actions.”

    Particularly if you were unfortunate enough to breed with the idiot, these become very useful degrees — not only in future dealings with your idiot, but also dealings with any other idiots that you happen to come across as well.

    • FOO Fighting!!! ????????????????
      The brilliance.

      Hoping Bruce will consider a guest professor series on the art of “not taking shit off of anyone”.

  • I’d like to take a class called “From Doormat to Doorman.” In this course we will learn how to take control of what enters our lives rather than laying ourselves out to be stepped on by clods and narcissists. We will also have fun creating snazzy uniforms or other versions of self-presentation rather than wearing the mud and crap others leave behind.

  • How about a course on how not to untangle the skein? I admit to struggling with that one today. Ex didn’t give me a Christmas gift which is fine, good even (last year he gave me a really nice gift and I found it awkward and weird and had to send him a thank you note). He did give my parents a gift, also fine, I gave his relatives gifts as well. Here’s the weird part, he gave my new boyfriend a gift. That seems odd. What message is that supposed to send? “Thanks for taking her off my hands”? “See what a nice and thoughtful guy I am”, maybe my boyfriend is just one more person to try and impress. It is possible, that it was just because I gave him a heads up that boyfriend might be there when he came to exchange gifts with the boys and he wanted to be polite and bring a gift for everyone present (except Chumpinrecovery, of course). I thought I was done untangling the skein, but I admit that I couldn’t help puzzling over that one (and being somewhat bothered by it). I won’t let him know it though.

    • What a jerk! Mindfuckery at its best! And he succeeded with you puzzling over that one! Have boyfriend Ask for receipt so can exchange it for big size tickle condoms-you know the kind you like.

      • I will admit to being bothered at first. Now I am just amused. He usually avoids doing anything that could be seen as bazar. He usually sticks with behaving in ways that could be interpreted as merely clueless inconsideration and I would look like a bitter bunny who refuses to move on if I admitted to being bothered by it.

    • Stop letting him in your damned house–for anything. Don’t give him opportunities to pull the mindfuck.

    • “and I had to write a thank you note”.

      No you didn’t. Not unless there’s a law in your country with a jail term attached to not writing thank you notes.

      So many Chumps are trapped by the desire to Be Nice. In response, I would personally teach into a course at honors level on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

      The minute they blew up the marriage, the normal rule book goes out the window. You need a new and much more stringent rule book that puts you and your emotional and physical well being FIRST. This means gray rock and No Contact, even when you feel like the Bad Guy.

      Continue your recovery in 2019, and here’s to huge strides forward.

  • Rewriting the marriage history.

    I put every picture of us together in his glovebox, from year one. I heardI told herI was unhappy for three years once the dating sprees started in 2006.

    Stayed putting up with his bullshit for 8 more years. Three of them without sex due to prostate removal. Put up with waking up drenched in pee.

    I’m pretty sure Nanthony deserves him penis pump and all.

  • I have a masters in Mightiness (cuma sum I Got the House) thanks to being a diligent, attentive student in Chmp Studies.

    (And I DID get the house and with it I bought a small farm and a small house; glitterballs underestimated my willingness to get divorced, which included suing him for moral damages, a thing to get around the ‘no fault divorce’ in my country, even though I was being defrauded financially, not getting the memos about “growing apart”, etc.).

    I don’t require single parenting qualifications
    (Thank God, and my heart goes out to all chumps who do).

    But I badly need a whole course on Meh. I still spend too much time ruminating asshole: how could he do this?! How could he rewrite the marriage history (I did get this BS)?! How could I be such a … chump?!

    • And, Tracy, thank you for some of the most important things in my life! Sanity, boundaries, respect, fairness, confidence.

      Chumps please become a patron. I can’t imagine how chumps would survive without Chump Lady!

    • Clear Waters,
      On another site–I think Post Male Syndrome–Go from, ‘How could he do this to me?’ to ‘He DID this to me.’ (It’s acknowledging the thought and emotion without fueling them and thus hurting yourself even more as you try to unravel the skein.) That transition has helped me a bit, even though I am VERY resistant to treatment (to get out of anger and depression). Some passages from Baggage Reclaim have also helped me smooth out the vicious waves of torturous rumination.

      • Yes, RockStar! That wording does indeed make a difference. I said a couple of times : “He DID this to me” and I could feel the weight lifting from my shoulders. No effort and pain towards unraveling skeins.

        Murky waters feel dangerous, everything seems so much clearer now with this insight. And safer!

        Just realized the pun with my moniker. Hehehe.

        Thanks Rock! You rock! Have a great and SAFE 2019

  • The course I desperately need is “Rehabilitation of Crushed Self-Image” (aka the opinion of a dirtbag will not define me) or -“exorcising hurtful comments from memory.”

    • Yes, Thrive, a similar variation on “What’s good about me?” A therapist asked me and to name something good about me, and I just sat. I couldn’t think of anything. I felt so worthless and drained of whatever used to be me.

      • This makes me sad. I’m sure there is a lot good about you. The fact that you are engaged in recovering from fuckwit is one. It takes courage and commitment to self to do this. It is so much easier to play a victim and give in. You go girl!

  • I have added “trustafarian wanker” to my phone dictionary.

    I love you, Chump Lady! Please always be in my life.

  • Have just signed up to become a Patron. It’s about time I gave back! I’ve had so many generous Chumps give me invaluable advice on Chump Lady.

    I was about to post another question in the forum and really couldn’t believe that in this ‘season of giving’, I hadn’t given back to Chump Lady.

    The course I need: Stopping Obsessing.

    “Waking up each morning with thoughts of STBX in your head? Trying to have a restful, deliciously lazy, sleep-in without replaying the last few decades looking for answers? Take ‘Stop Obsessing 101’ and learn how to banish STBX from your precious brain space. Learn tricks and methods of reclaiming your thoughts and enjoying a lazy morning in bed. This program is offered for a limited time only. If you order now we will throw in a bonus 8 track cassette on ‘Trigger-Figger’ a ten minute bonus course on not being triggered by love songs that play on the radio. Tunes such as your wedding song, important events in your life song and blah, blah, blah.

    Hurry. This is a limited time offer and may expire at any time – Unlike your STBX who will continue to suck for eternity.

  • Rewriting the marriage history.

    I put every picture of us together in his glovebox, from year one. I heard I told her Iwas unhappy for three years once the dating sprees started in 2006.

    Stayed, putting up with his bullshit for 8 more years. Three years without sex due to prostate removal. Put up with waking up drenched in pee.

    After thanksgiving I was told, if it makes you feel any better she’s really dumb. Funny thing that’s what my lawyer said about the Limited; she kept asking what’s wrong with him?

    Sweet justice 101; Leave a cheater and gain a life!

  • Ducks 101. At the end of this class, you will have completed your forensic accounting and have opened a separate savings, checking and credit card account in your name only. You’ll have an emergency stash of cash should you need to make an emergency exit due to his rage or if he stops paying his share. You will also know how to distinguish your attorney from your therapist and get your kids emotional help for when they are forced to spend the weekend with their father and his shiny new turd of a skank tells them how horrible their mother is, and that she just wants to be their favorite “mom.” Because after dating for six months, who wouldn’t think that was wildly inappropriate?!

  • Today is the 4th anniversary of DDay #1 when I was blindsided and my perception of my entire life changed. I have earned my certification through many tears and years of effort. No Contact 101 was the most difficult but the most practical. I use it every day.

    I started the day with my new CPA who reviewed everything and said I likely will come out even – no taxes owing! Yay me!

    I will also pitch for Patreon— I became a member when CL first started it— I get so much from her and this site—$10/month is the least I could do!

  • One course to add to the offerings: Revisionist History and Other Modern Myths as part of General Ed.

  • I guess the best course I would have needed would have been the “Not my circus, not my monkeys” advanced degree whereby I would learn that no, I didn’t have to sort out all the crises he was creating, I didn’t have to keep taking out loans to pay for damaged cars (DUIs), I didn’t have to sort his paperwork out because it was in French and he was too lazy to learn it, and I didn’t have to keep running round trying to put out all the fires that that (metaphorical) pyromaniac kept starting. Get your shit together or sort it out yourself!

  • Feels like the 101 course for us all is “You Might Be A Chump If…”

    Four years out and I definitely have my Degree in Meh. Holidays without chaos and having my feelings minimized were glorious. I can finally say that I am loving the current status of my life – living it my way and raising my son my way.

    December 22 was the two year anniversary of my divorce… it really was the best present Mr. Sparkles ever “gave” me… even when the Judge called him on the phone and told him to get his ass in to court couldn’t top the moment when that gavel clanged and I looked at my lawyer and said “We’re good?”

    Keep the faith… we all graduate in time… put in the work, you are worth it!

    And support CL on Patreon for future Chumps who need to find their way here to mightiness education.

    • ICanSeeTheMeh,

      Thank you for reminding of the things that have worked out for me. Virtually none of my exes has cheated on, stolen from, insulted, lied to me for the last month. (Wasn’t it Dear Abby or Ann Landers who said, ‘If you can’t be happy for what you have, be happy for what you don’t have?’) If these guys had stuck around without changing, which I cannot fathom them doing for me, and I had stayed with them, I’d probably detest them and me even more than I do now.

      I am extremely grateful for that day four years ago that a judge awarded me, not my then (adulterous, abusive) husband, who simultaneously filed for divorce and tried to ban me from seeing our young children, the lion’s share of custody,

  • Apparently, the sucky-sociopath-ex told me I am angry and unhappy, so I need to reflect on that. Huh. Um. Yeah, whatever dickhead. I don’t need to reflect on shit. Normally, I would have responded to him to defend myself, but now that I’ve learned a ton from the fabulous men and women of CN, I didn’t do a damn thing. I know that is what he wanted me to do and it would lead me down a rabbit hole of utter WTF how did I lose this asinine conversation I didn’t want to participate in in the first place.. The best course on how to get over and move beyond a cheating scumbag sociopath, I learned here, thanks to all of you!

    Hugs mighty CN! 2018 is almost over and here’s not to carrying toxic bullshit into 2019!

  • Can I just make a lump sum contribution?

    Apparently, Patron does not like that option.

    • I was wondering the same thing. I just received a sizable year end bonus and would like to donate retroactively.

    • I think Patreon is based on a subscription model, but you can quit at any time. And you can put any amount down you want.

      Thanks VERY much for the support. Totally wasn’t my intention rerunning this column, but has been a lovely surprise.

      Clearly, I need to get into the School of Life market. Such a deep vein for snarking. (How Not To Be Alone classes!) But everyone’s sincere devotion to CN keeps me going. Thank you.

  • Today’s post is great, and I enjoyed it all the more since I work in higher education. I wish I was kidding, but the truth is that these classes are more useful and important for our health and success than many of those taught by “expert” faculty at universities with outrageous tuition. I worked very hard to earn three degrees, but nothing has been more difficult, rewarding, or valuable than “passing” CL’s courses! The lessons learned from her textbook and this blog fundamentally changed my life.

  • There’s an elective, called Fix Your Own Shit. The text is found on Youtube. At the end of the course, you’ll know how to clear out your washing machine cold water line filter, how to replace a headlight bulb, how to install prehung doors, and how to change your lawnmower spark plug. You might even find yourself looking for projects that involve a compressor and nail gun, because, who doesn’t get a thrill from that. Oh, that cordless leaf blower, yes!

    Join me!

  • How about a few electives to lighten the course load…

    Cultural Anthropology- fuckwits of other cultures around the world ( both sexes and hermaphrodites included ).

    Computers Science 101: learn how to use household computer to track partner’s actions to get a better divorce settlement.

    Intro to Fine Art: How to draw conclusions, found object installations and life drawing ( nudes anyone ? )

    Math for Chumps: learn to decode and decifer all of those confusing credit card receipts that your spouse is hiding from you or “does not owe you an explanation for”.
    Dividing – half is HALF – taking back what is rightfully yours
    Multiplying- what you know he/she did multiplied by 100.

    Looks like a full semester to me!

  • Tracy-
    You had no idea that you were the angel on my shoulder whispering in my ear- during the last 5 years of Family Law Hell- I’m not in the clear yet because of that looming specter of The Apellate Court, but you will get me through that too.
    You have been my rock and safe place EVERY DAY .

    Thank You.

  • Holy cow. I just read the Cameron Diaz article that was referenced in CL’s linked post about Alain de Botton. What a load of crap. I’m unhappy because I don’t leap enough? Um, no. I can’t believe enough people read that gobbledygook to keep her writing it.

  • Hello Tracy,

    (I am here writing this comment as Sarah the Chump and not as Sarah the writer). I fully endorse your International Academy for the Advancement for Chump Studies and I would love to take classes from Professor Ginger. She looks like a real snuggler, just like my (rescue dog) who is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

    Also, I think you have a second book on your hands with even more snark. (No pressure. I just love your writing). Those topics you mention could be chapter titles and they are awesome chapter titles. Others have mentioned curriculum that would be awesome electives and chapter titles. I would also mention some more possible class curriculum and electives for the institute and possibly a second book:

    -A Longitudinal Study on Assholery Throughout the Cheater’s Lifespan

    -The Social Mechanisms Underlying Adulterous Sex in the Janitor’s Closest While Standing Up

    -The Psychodynamic Theory Behind Why Cheaters Dumpster Dive for New Sexual Partners

    -A Statistical Analysis on the Veracity of Cheater-Speak

    -Curating Cheater Terms and Translating Cheater-Speak for the Layman

    -The Statical Probabilities of Narcissistic Cheaters Feeling Remorse

    -The Statistical Probabilities of Sociopaths Developing Empathy During their Lifespan

    Back to seriousness: this is the ONLY site online where I have never had to second-guess myself when I think of what happened to me. Anytime I start thinking something along the lines of “maybe she was better than me and maybe I deserved it.”… I come here and all those thoughts disappear. *Poof* (Huge sigh of relief). I love all the commenters here– they are very insightful and often have a wonderful sense of humor.

    Anytime I saw therapists in the past to ask about my ex, they had no clue. So, I got a second graduate degree in psych HOPING to find answers and figure out what therapists knew, but what they were not telling me. Here is what I found: some therapists and the ones I encountered just dis not know. There is no standard curriculum that trains psychologists or Marriage and Family therapists to help chumps navigate the swamp/sinkhole/stinking garbage dump/quick-sand that is infidelity.

    But also, psychology is part art and the art of psychology cannot be learned in school. A person has it, or they do not. Tracy, you have the art down– both in your drawings and the art of understanding human psychology. Reading this website has greatly influenced my own views on infidelity.

    I have also learned that infidelity is a journey of a 1,000 steps. There are so many steps that have to occur to bring about an affair. People on the path can turn around at any time, but they choose not to. They choose to have an affair of their own volition and there is a lot of planning and deception involved. There are MANY steps that occur in between shaking hands with a new coworker/new neighbor/new member of volunteer group and falling into bed with them or sexting them. There are thousands of steps in between meeting a person for the first time (that they happen to find attractive) and having an affair with that person. And both people have to WANT the affair. An affair cannot happen unless the other person goes along with it. But, it also cannot happen if the “would be” cheater “wakes up” on the path to infidelity and stops it from happening. Infidelity is a choice– a path– and a path where a cheater makes the choice over and over and over again and over again to keep walking the path and keep the deception going. Also… people get killed. My two family members were almost shot to death because the other woman so twisted the mind of the man (who married into the family). He had guns and when in his altered state (due the the actual drugs the OW gave) he took them out. My family members got out and the other woman gave him a gun and told him to kill himself. And he did. This happened as I was going through puberty and certainly affected my view of relationships.

    Listening to my family member speak of this for hundreds of hours affected me. It was NOT a burden, it just shows it happens to everyone in every walk of life. He was a universally well-loved, wealthy, older, and very successful trial attorney. From the outside it was the perfect marriage and wealthy, jet-set life– from the inside it was sheer hell for my family members and they almost lost their lives.

    Honestly, this website has helped me so much in my own journey and has helped me understand what happened to my family members too. I have never been able to locate a therapist (for myself) who has such a clear and absolutely true message about the chump’s role in the affair. That is, the chump did NOT cause it.

    This website provides a place that is NOT ambiguous and rallies around chumps. That is PRICELESS indeed. I am happy to contribute as a patron each month to help ensure there is a place for all chumps to be safe, be heard, and be surrounded by those who are on the same path.

    Thank you, Tracy.


  • Dear Chump Lady, have you seen Esther Perel on mindvalley in their about section?
    I was almost sold on some of their courses and now I see this!
    My first thought was: it should be Chump Lady and Dr Simon taking stage there!
    The cheating freaks are acting very consciously. The question is: how is mankind going to awake if we tolerate the likes of Perel to teach us, chumps, compassion! How on Earth?

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