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Happy New Year! Happy new life! I thought it was time for this column, “Get Over It” which I wrote for New Year’s Day in 2014 and appears in the perennial hits on the home page. It’s not my usual snark, (okay some snark), but take it in the spirit of hope. I have every confidence in you, that you’ll heal, that you’ll reinvent, that you’ll move on — and that you’ll share your wisdom and compassion with the next chump. All the best, CN! — Tracy

Get over it.

The three words chumps hate to hear. “Get over it” says your remorseless cheater after a half-assed attempt at reconciliation. “Get over it” says the friend who cannot conceive of your pain, and wishes you would just go back to your pleasant, ignorant self again. “Get over it” says your boss, because the drama is effecting your productivity.

“Get over it” feels like insult to injury. A flippant response to betrayal, the worst sort of minimizing. So sorry I’m not healing at your convenience, asshole. Chumps at once see the hidden agenda. The cheater who’s not truly sorry. The friend who feels threatened by your vulnerability. The boss who doesn’t really care, just get back to your widgets. So, quite rightly, chumps dismiss “get over it.” Fuck you, I’ll “get over it” when I’m good and ready. Perhaps not ever. I may go down with this ship if I fucking feel like it. Don’t you tell ME to “get over it”!

So, from one chump to another — let me tell you — get over it.

The pain is finite. Don’t choose it. Don’t keep reliving it. Infidelity does NOT define you. It’s no measure of your soul, of your worthiness and lovability.

What keeps you in pain? Staying focused on your cheater. Their judgments of you, what makes them tick, who they’re with now, what they’re doing — and when the hell is the karma bus coming? Where is the karma timetable? I’ve been standing at this stop for YEARS waiting for that bus. I demand a schedule! Only after that bus arrives will I be able to leave this stop and get on with my life properly! Damn bus.

Note the word stop. That’s what happens when you wait for karma. Your life stops. You live a limbo of anticipation. Your focus is on the bus.

Stand on a different street corner and grab a different bus, chumps. One that’s headed in the direction of your new cheater-free life. Focus on yourself.

Hell YES your job is to get over it.  To reclaim your selfhood. Of course, it’s a battle at times, but every liberation campaign is.

Getting over it is not eating a shit sandwich. You’re not denying that this happened to you and it was abusive. You don’t have to hold on to that righteous anger to know that it was real. It WAS real. It DID happen. That person SUCKS. Getting over it means they didn’t break you.

You’re not going to get over it staying married to an remorseless cheater. You get over it when you start to protect yourself, when you stand up and say “no more.” When you draw those boundaries and enforce those boundaries. When you grieve. When you stop spackling and see the cheater for who they really are. When you let go of what you thought your life was going to be/should’ve been, and become open to the possibility of a new life.

Reconciliation is fine if you just want to survive. To limp along. To endure. I’m not convinced anyone every really gets over it when they stay married to a cheater. Seems like an endless buffet of shit sandwiches if you ask me.

At Chump Lady, I hold out a better vision for you. You’re not just going to survive this — you’re going to THRIVE. This is the painful birth to better days. This is where you discover exactly how kick ass you are. You find that job, you parent your way, you finish that degree, you fall in love again, you make new friends who get you, you get reacquainted with your creativity, you own your successes. All that energy poured into a narcissist — it’s yours now. You gift it to yourself and those deserving of you.

So, of course you’re going to get over it. What is the alternative? What are you going to miss? The betrayal? Being treated like a concession prize? The disrespect? The pick me dance? The humiliation? Oh, I’m going to hold those things close. Gee, I really want all that shit in my life. NO, of course you don’t!

Make 2019 your own. Get over it. Happy New Year, chumps.

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  • Happy New Year Tracy and all of my fellow chumps! I have learned so much from you all and really appreciate all of your 2 x 4’s when needed, words of wisdom, and empathy. My head would still be whirling in a blender of crazy cheater nonsense without this site and all of your insight.

    To the newbies here and coming, reading here will start making all of the puzzle pieces fit together. It looks like a mosaic because you don’t view life like a cheater does. It really does come down to selfishness and entitlement on their part. But you’ll see that once you step away from the craziness. When you leave a cheater and gain a life.

    • Happy New Year 2019!

      I am really hoping this will be the year I finally get my divorce decree. So many more experienced chumps have said that it helps you to get over it. In March it will be 2 years since I filed.

      Reading this column today it struck me that this piece was written in 2014. In 2014, I was a mental mess but clueless to why. 2014 was the year fuckwit admitted to starting his cheating but later changed his story. I think it goes back much further but thanks to CL, I don’t try to figure it out anymore. The real amazement to me about 2014 is that there were chumps here then going through the process of figuring out how to gain a life and now there continue to be chumps arriving and starting the journey in the darkest sorrow I can imagine and there are those who will arrive here 5 years from now.

      You will survive! The road ahead looks bleak but there are many wonderful chumps that stick around here to guide you and put you on the right road to gaining that life.

      Thank you for that CL!

  • Happy New Year Tracy!

    Thank you for everything. You lift us chumps up with wisdom and kindness.

    Chump Nation, please support Chump Lady through Patreon. Can any of us imagine starting our day and going through our pain without Chump Lady’s advice and humor?

  • Happy New Year to all my fellow chumps!
    Go make this the best year you have ever had.
    I know it hard to make the switch from thinking and concentrating on your cheater to turning that energy towards yourself. After all, we spent many years making our needs smaller and spending our time and energy taking care of everyone else. Now it’s your turn. Don’t spend another second wondering, thinking about or pondering them. Figure out your dreams and what you want to do. Then go find a way to do it in 2019. I am over 3 years out and I can’t believe how much of a wonderful life I have gained being cheater free and making a life for my son and me.

    Viva La Chump Revolution!

  • Oh my, Tracy….. This is the most timely thing that could have happened to me this New Year’s morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I really needed this.

    Thanks for all you do. May 2019 be filled with the best quality meh ever.

  • Read from a ladies on a narc abuse site constantly how they *cant get over it*, constantly wanting their pain validated and kept fresh by everyone as if their whole identity is a narc’s messy leftovers and if they give that up, what will they be???. So they demand attention by remaining victims in their minds. “If i get over it he will really be gone!!!” Um ya, thats the point. It makes me sad.

    I feel many survivors are addicted to the drama, and dont know what to do with the calm peace afterwards so they scratch for more drama.

    I liken it to my mothers death after a long illness. For years i took care of her, the mess of it all, then cleaning up her affairs after her death….then one day there was nothing left to do for her, dead or alive. She was gone. My days no longer revolved around her shit. I didnt know what to do with myself for a long time. I missed her, but i had to move on, life kept going.

    Leaving a narc is much the same. Learn how to live again minus the mess. It takes some time but ya, get over it, move on.

    • Feeling lost was the last 4 months of 2018. The divorce was final in July and my mom passed away in June. My life was devoted to taking care of everyone but me. I feel like I’m floundering but I’m also trying to be gentle with myself. Taking baby steps, being open to new friendships, not hiding in my apartment, finding joy again in hobbies that made me happy – gardening, reading, knitting.

      With time, my thoughts of the Dickhead have lessened and my tears are fewer. I’m still struggling a bit, not with untangling the skein, but trying to understand what happened so I can take better care of me and not repeat the same mistakes or fall for wrong type of people.

      • Sounds like you are doing all the right things for you, and I applaud your self care. Happy new year and may it hold lovely surprises for you!

      • MissBailey,
        Your comments made me recall that period post divorce that I went through in 2011. I was in a foreign country, living alone, trying so hard to understand what ‘loving myself’ even consisted of after years of taking care of others and then being tossed aside.

        I did as you are doing…pursued simple, gentle, safe activities that pleased me. I find that, in the ensuing years, my seeking of excitement and risk has diminished. I learned to find pleasure in the simple things in life. I still bust out occasionally and do some exciting things.

        Give yourself a good year for that grieving process. I too had just lost my Dad (and I had cared for him at home till the moment he passed) when my d-day came along…after 29 years of marriage. My sons stayed loyal to their cheating father (presumably since they follow the money) and that added grief put me in zombie mode. Instinct just led me to simply pack up and leave the country.

        It does take time, one new friendship at a time, to help you develop your new self image. Nowadays I barely ever think of previous times except when a former acquaintance pops up or something triggers a memory. However, to stop,that sort of stuff doing your head in, I highly recommend a simple ritual suggested to me by a therapist:

        Imagine putting your “issues” in a little gift bag with handles and leave that bag outside the door. Don’t allow yourself to open the bag except on certain occasions when those issues need contemplation. If you do indulge in some reflection, make sure you formally end it by figuratively putting those issues back in the bag afterward. I laugh when I think of my ex and the OW shivering in that bag outside my door.

        Funny though how things came full circle. My 32 yr old son and his new wife Skyped me tonight and said they wanted to start fresh and be a part of my life again. Seems the OW isn’t up to the role of grandma to their new baby, so now I am being offered the honour. I wonder if they will ever understand what loneliness I have experienced since 2011. It has hardened me, but they don’t need to know that.

        • I’m glad your son, and his wife, are wanting to include you in their family circle. Maybe he took this long to mature? Our kids don’t understand sometimes how we poured ourselves out for them, to raise them, not to mention carrying them! We are certainly owed respect.
          May you get respect, and love, from them now!

        • Your son and his wife now get it because they have become parents themselves. An “ah” moment where they finally realize the self sacrifice you made, even more so by being discarded by their dad. Plus , how can the OW or the dad be the center of attentions vs. a new baby in the family? Sooner or later true colors show up. Now go enjoy that little family!!!

        • Thank you for the kind words and for offering me hope for a better tomorrow.

          I don’t think our children appreciate or understand the complexities of marriage or child-rearing until they are in those shoes. Betrayal by a spouse can suddenly become a frightening thought – what would I do? I don’t see how a child-parent can look at their baby and not think, I would never abonden my baby. How could my mother/father have left me? I never gave my mother/father the credit and respect they are so deserving of. These are a few thoughts that could cross the mind of the newly-marries and those of new parents. They start to see the actions of their parents in a different light.

          What you chose to do with your son is entirely your choice. Big hugs.

    • I so agree with you, Meandmytruck! Whether cheating or some kind of other abuse, we often can’t leave our victim position, obsessing instead over and over again over the past. I’ve only recently realised that’s what I was doing and I’m now consciously making a great effort to move beyond it. It’s difficult because I sometimes don’t know what I want (don’t really know my wants and needs), don’t know what to do if not obsessing, don’t know which direction to go and how to go there. But realising this I think I’ve made a crucial progress.

    • What you’re describing is the trauma bond that comes from narc abuse. It’s almost impossible for a lot of people to break without extensive therapy. Most of them likely aren’t wallowing in drama, they are actually stuck in trauma. So please try not to judge them by the standards of a person who does not have narcissistic abuse syndrome. It’s not at all like the situation you describe with your mom. I went through the same with my dad, but narc abuse is an entirely different kind of hell.

      • Thank you chumperella. And furthermore validating another’s pain here is an important aspect of knowing one is not alone.

        I too cared for my mother. There’s a difference between grieving the loss of a loved one and grieving the loss of a partner with the ability to harm those he/she was supposed to protect including children.

        “So they demand attention by remaining victims in their minds” I find that comment offensive.

        • Yes, it did come off as if it might be a mean-spirited comment. I assume the poster didn’t mean to cause hurt, but simply does not fully understand the nature of narcissistic abuse and the tenacity of the trauma bond.
          Sorry about your mom’s passing.

          • Thank you Chumperella for pointing out the difference between addiction and trauma bonds. We chumps tend to take every criticism to heart, and for a second there I was castigating myself for not being able to “get over it” in what others apparently judge to be an expeditious manner.

            For me it has been almost five years since my narc ex walked out (after a 30-year marriage), and I still have my ups and downs. Holidays that are supposed to be family times tend to be downs.

            I was also caregiver to both my elderly parents–my father died two months before my ex left, and my mother two years later, both after extended illnesses.

            Caring for my parents and losing them both was a piece of cake compared to the work of getting past my ex’s narcissistic abuse. My parents loved me and appreciated what I did for them. Their deaths left me with a sense of normal grief and comfort in the knowledge that I had done my best and they knew it. My parents’ deaths did not give me PTSD.

            Recovery from decades of narcissistic abuse, however, has required years of cognitive behavioral therapy and constant checking of the urge to blame myself for the abandonment.

            I’m sure the previous comment came across as crueler than intended, but it hurt. I don’t see myself as either a victim or demanding attention, but I have by no means “gotten over it.” So thanks very much for your comment. It’s people like you who keep me coming back to CL over and over.

            • CC I too felt the sting of the “addicted to drama” comment. I have been married for 33 years. He moved out to be with the howorker over a year ago after 9 months of pickme dancing. I very much agree that I would rather be widowed than go thru this.

              When this first happened I looked for data about how long it would take to heal. I found many different estimates but saw a month for each year together often. So I thought ok, in 3 years (by Christmas 2020) I will be healed. I now know that was overly optimistic. These estimates don’t say when to start the count. D-day? Move out day? I’m thinking divorce day may be a better starting point.

              My therapist reminds me that I was in a long term marriage and it will take a long time to heal. I’m doing the work to try to heal. We are going to start EMDR latter this month. I have done extensive reading. My head knows it’s over that but my heart is still in withdrawal.

              CL and CN are part of my daily therapy. Humor, advice and not feeling alone in my experience really helps. From Runaway Husbands I use her “Steps for moving forward” to organize my post-it notes of advice on my bathroom mirror. From Lessons From the End of a Marriage I have used the 3 part journal. My entries have gradually shifted from past to more pages about healing now and planning for the future and gaining my new life. Each day I draw a “soul support “ card from my deck. My favorite is…. “you’re doing great. Keep going.”

              I find that there are still unexpected triggers. Those rogue waves of grief that blindside you when your back is turned.
              My therapist reminds me to do the next right thing and to challenge negative thoughts.

              I know that I am better than I was. I trust that I will continue to make progress. But I also know that I am forever changed. My life in retirement is not what I had expected. I make the effort to build and maintain my circles/tribes of friends. That takes reciprocity.

              We chumps are good people who didn’t deserve what has happened. I will go forward continuing to be the good person I have always been. I can do this. I know there still will be difficult moments in the future. I trust that life will be good again. Different but good. ((((Hugs))))

    • “I feel many survivors are addicted to the drama.”

      Although I understand the vein in which this comment was made, I feel a bit offended by it. In my opinion, it’s not that we are addicted to it, we are incredibly traumatized by it.

      Calling it an addiction implies that it is something that we sought out, found and then succumbed to.
      This uninvited experience is something no one ever seeks out and certainly never tries out for kicks.

      On another note, my wish is that every single member of Chump Nation finds all the happiness in the world in the New Year. 💜

      • Exactly. Recovering from trauma is not a simple mind over matter thing. You do tend to replay it over and over not because you are “addicted to the drama” but because you need to understand how in the hell this happened to you. You have to reconstruct years of memories you buried because they were too painful in order to even know the true story of your own life. It’s part of the recovery process.
        Meandmytruck obviously doesn’t get it and needs to stop being so judgemental.

      • Absolutely true. One cannot get over years of subtle emotional abuse just by willing one’s self to do so. Anyone who is posting on a website for validation and support is taking huge steps to propel themselves forward. If they are posting exactly the same things a year and a half later, then they need a gentle 2 x 4.

        But it takes a long time to wrap one’s head around the evil that abusers do. Most damaging is that they up-end our view of reality. They do horrible things, and then project that we are overly sensitive. My X used to criticize for even small things (and ignore the TONS of positive things I did), then claim he was just “telling the truth,” because his criticism might have a frisson of accuracy to it. Abusers engage in suspicious acts, then blame us for being paranoid. Living with them is like falling into a faultline, and then being told there is no terra firma to which to climb up.

  • Thanks Tracy, this is a good one for the new year. A reminder I needed. Three years alone and I’m still giving too much mental real estate to what I lost and what I thought my life was going to be. And too much time thinking about how much I hate him lol. I’m happy in general but not really at meh. I will try harder to get there.

    Happy New Year, Chumps!

    • Apparently, I never missed him from day one. I always knew what an asshole he was. BUUUUT I couldn’t get over the anger I had towards him. How he fucked up my life, my future, my finances. I was so damn angry and I hated it, and I hated him. It took me a long time to get over that anger and hate but I did eventually get there. Not having minor children and being thousands of mile apart certainly helped but I did get there. Now I have a great life, total freedom and my anger has gone. I guess that’s meh then right? You’ll get there.

      • Attie, I needed to hear this. I was just having lunch with a friend yesterday and she said, “you’re doing well!” I replied, “I am. I am. But, I can’t seem to get past the anger towards him.” I feel there is something wrong with me that I can’t get past my anger towards him for what he did. He left me after a major move, in between homes (we were renting while building), with no job, and two dogs. His selfishness allowed him to walk away toward his young coworker – and abruptly abandon me after 29 years together. I told my friend, “maybe I need to go back to counseling for this anger.” And she told me the most wonderful words…”It’s ok to be angry. If it had happened to me, I’d be angry. If you have days where you need to go outside and throw a plant pot across the yard, or scream, or cry, or cut him out of pictures, do it! You have that right!” For the first time since I stopped therapy, someone told me it was ok for me to be angry and that I had every right to be angry. I don’t want to be angry forever, however. And, I’ve been worried I will be angry forever. But to hear you say you did eventually get there – away from the anger, gives me such hope. I think that being given permission to be angry and being told the anger will go away helps immensely. Thank you!

        • Duped, I was worried that I would never get over the anger and hate too. It was like me drinking poison and expecting him to die. I suppose it eased a little when I realized he is just as much of a train wreck for her as he was with me. She used to post on FB about how she didn’t have to slog through the traffic on Monday mornings because “I’m retired”. Well guess who has now gone back to work! Yep. I can figure his finances out and despite his excellent pension I know he isn’t making it so trot along Schmoopie and make your way through rush hour traffic like a dear. It just makes me smile now. He will always be a dick and she’s welcome As I say, the length of time it took me to get over the anger actually scared me but believe me you will get there. Hugs to you and may 2019 be good to you and all of CN!

    • The holidays really messed with my meh. Was feeling it more often and for longer periods. Triggers were less but they surprised me with the ferocity. Only a sociopath gets over it easily.

  • If you hang on to the pain and let it define you – if this becomes your gig – you are no longer a victim; you’re a volunteer.

    Sheesh, one of the creepiest dates I ever went on was with a guy whose pregnant fiancee was killed years earlier in a car accident. This was his seduction story – the old sympathy play. I shit you not.

    This is yet more fuel to my ‘Don’t Date So Soon’ campaign for Chumps. If you are healing – and healing takes time – then stay out of the pool, or you risk becoming the person who can only talk about their ex, and is desperate to fill the gap.

    Once you have gained a life – a full and busy and interesting life, outside of a romantic partnership – this is the time to date, if you still want to.

  • Happy New Year Chump Nation! This site is my fave! I always find wisdom in CL’s loving snark or in a post from someone who has found meh. I even appreciate a (gentle) 2 X 4 when I really need it.

    Thank you all for helping me navigate and survive 2018. Here’s to all of us in 2019: meh is coming! ❤️

  • Happy New Year! I don’t post much here but I do read every single day.

    It is a Tuesday morning and I think I have finally reached Meh! Just realized that for the very first time I completely missed the date of dday! This was a huge hurdle for me. I seem to be one of those people that remember even when I don’t want to.

    I have had the best holiday season since I cannot remember when and then this! I am just walking around grinning. I got to be in the moment, enjoy all the good in my life and did not for one moment have to try to beat down the bad memories. What a gift!

    It really does get better. Hang on if you are still in the early days of recovery. There is a much better life out there for you.

  • Happy New Year CL and CN. Thank you all for the support, advice and snark. This site has helped me walk through the pain. I have grown and changed in so many ways. The cheater’s last day is today. He is moving out. Im taking this home back and am slowly but surely creating a new life for me and my kids. Im hoping cheater will sign the settlement agreement so i can get this divorce done soon.

    I hope all chumps will have a wonderful 2019!

    • I just want to tell you that you are MIGHTY. I stayed in the marital home as well so I could give my son some stability through the shitstorm.

      Four years out, I have slowly but steadily made my and my son’s imprint on this house. It is a totally new space for us and we are building our cheater free life here. You keep going.

  • There are two Karma buses…

    The one many of us automatically wait for is the one coming for the cheater bearing justice and vengeance. ETA unknown.

    The other one, right under our noses, waiting at the platform, and available to board IMMEDIATELY on DDay, is the one that reveals that we are partnered with an abusive con artist lying cheater and is our getaway bus to actually having a life better than the illusion we were living in with the cheater.

    I submit the radical notion that the reveal of being partnered with a cheater is ACTUALLY OUR GOOD KARMA. May we all get on the right Karma bus in 2019.

    • Velvet Hammer, Brilliant!

      Thanks for sharing the idea that our Good Karma is just getting away from the abuser. It is soooooo tue!!!!

    • Love this! I have been waiting for the karma bus to address my fierce need for justice s but that just keeps me stuck on how unfair this whole thing has been. I am now free to build an authentic life for myself – something that was never possible during my marriage.

  • Happy NewMeh – or Approaching Meh – Year fella and fellow chumps! I am 7 years post Dday (today) after 25 year marriage.
    My meh is going very well thanks to Tracy’s education and mighty Chump Nation.
    I turned an important corner to meh a while ago by hating all of what XH did, but not hating him; i discovered that hating him occupied space in my heart where Love was needed for healing it.
    Healthy anger helped too..borrowing an (adapted) line from Welcome to Marwen: our pain is our rocket fuel..for going forward!
    From my mighty chump heart to yours, May 2019 bring ongoing healings 💕

  • Happy New Year! I am a regular reader, but rarely comment, but I want to start 2019 off right by thanking CL and CN for providing support, guidance, and snark as I work my way through some very painful truths. My divorce was final at end of 2018, but I realize that even after moving out and filing, I have been too invested in trying to find closure, figure him out, get him to show remorse, etc. None of that matters, only the painful truth of how little I meant to my ex even during our 25 years of marriage. The pain sucks, but it is time for me to GET. A. LIFE.

    • Love this! I am also choosing to stop wasting my time and energy on getting closure because it is never going to happen. He is a disordered piece of poo. And he will continue to mess with my head for as long as I will allow it.
      My therapist likens it to being a hamster on a wheel. I’m just running and running to no destination. Powered by rage, pain, humiliation, and regret. I have to get off of this damn wheel.
      .
      2108- you sucked. But I needed to spend this year feeling it so I could finally get to healing it. The only thing I can control is ME. So I am choosing SELF CARE for 2019. I’m going to GET.A.LIFE. Cheers! I love you, CN!

  • I grasp the point of this post, and I appreciate the perspectives. For many, this will apply well, and I am glad for that. I want everyone to bloom anew into as much joy as possible in post-cheater lives. Viva la meh!

    That said — I also know that resilience is not so simple and logical for some.

    Victims of extreme violence, sex abuse, narcissistic manipulation, combinations thereof, and all such forms of complex trauma sometimes can’t think/reason their way out of new trauma experiences. They are lucky to keep choosing to get through each day, and they definitely aren’t choosing their pain in any way. It has only been in the last five years or so that the layperson could easily find information about complex trauma, and most therapists who have studied it and say they treat it are still painfully behind in the amount of emotional intelligence and personal strength it takes to be able to truly witness another’s pain at that level without trying to feed their own egos by “curing” it on their own desired timeframes. (Believe me, I know of what I speak.)

    I don’t mean to nay-say the post in general, because I think the idea of choosing better whenever we can is an excellent way to live. Once I got to where I could do that (which took YEARS), being able to learn to do so was a damn miracle for which I will forever be grateful.

    I am just adding a shout-out to the people who have been harmed so viciously that “get over it” can’t be re-framed — that the suggestion that they are choosing their pain is a huge trigger in and of itself — and that are teetering on the brink of even choosing life due to the constant fear and shame and grief and exhaustion, and, therefore, can’t conceive of any simple choice that would end the struggle.

    If that’s you, I get it, I love your beautiful heart, I am glad you are still here, and I will always fight for and with you. If you can’t find ways to go over it, I will walk with you as you go through it, and I hope you find many others who can, too. I know it seems like forever. It isn’t, but that’s hard to see from where you are.

    Keep walking through the dark tunnel, and keep looking for the right help. It may take lots of tries, and it may be that each helper can only help you with one part of the complex web you are trying to untangle. Please don’t waste time on helpers who don’t really help, and please keep seeking what you need. You are worth it.

    Happy new year, Everyone.

    • You just worded what I was trying to say in an above post. I don’t feel like I’m untangling the skein to try to figure him out (that’s a lost cause) but I’m trying to figure out how to heal from what all of this. That’s what 2019 will be for me. Slow healing, learning more about me and how to stay strong in presence of the disordered, learning to love again with joy and peace. That’s what I want, I want to wake up and be happy that I’m alive.

    • Amiisfree,

      Beautiful!! Sometimes those of us who hate judgment, judge. Your post reminds us of other people’s realities and how we sometimes don’t realize another’s situation because we wallow in our own. Brava!

    • Thank you for this. For exactly the reasons you outline here, I despise the “get over it” motto, and never think in those terms.

      Not really going to “get over” being systematically abused into near nothingness, or discovering that the ex sexually abused my children.

      What I can and must do, and am very gradually doing, is face these truths and move on knowing that they are now inextricably woven into my character. How to do that best is where we have choices. Not looking to drag these truths along as shameful burdens that I must pretend do not exist. Instead, i am striving to integrate them into my heart, soul, and brain in ways that make me ultimately wiser, more aware, and more compassionate.

      Though already a survivor of a violent FOO, I strangely had very little notion of how mental and emotional abuse work. With physical abuse there are things to point to: this welt, that bruise, those shards of the dish thrown in rage, and that dent where it hit the wall. None of that with narcissistic abuse—no material evidence at all, which is essential for the gaslighting. Physical abusers mentally and emotionally abuse, too, of course, but there’s never any doubt that the episode happened.

      Only just now starting to appreciate how the survival strategies I developed in childhood (be observant, intellectual, capable of taking care of things amid chaos, able to value and savor large swathes of time alone—made me perfect prey for this kind of abuser. Sorting through that, rather than “getting over it” somehow, is another part of moving on in ways that involve honoring rather than denying or discarding my experiences and traits.

      Anyway, yeah. Totally agree that for many of us the project is assimilating our truths in productive and edifying ways rather than getting over them.

      And I think that is really what CL means by getting a life.

    • Thank you for this, Amisfree. As a survivor of vicious narcissistic abuse, for several years I struggled with suicidal ideation and made a number of suicide attempts, one of which had me connected to a respirator for three days. Thirteen years after DDay (which happened just a few weeks after my oldest son took his own life at 20) and 11 years after GTFO Day, I’ve worked hard to rebuild myself and have mostly succeeded, but it’s been difficult to reach real meh. I consider myself a survivor, not a victim, but trauma leaves a mark even after many years of specialized therapy. Big hugs and a great 2019 to you, CL and CN!

      • I’m so glad you are still with us and healing. Certainly your trauma was made enormously more complicated by going through horrendous grief as well. I’m amazed you survived. You are a warrior.

        I am going through the aftermath of many years of narc abuse right now. On boxing day I made a practice attempt at suicide by hypothermia. I don’t think I’ll do it, but I want to die and think about it all the time. My recovery is complicated by a painful physical illness which will eventually kill me as well as depression, anxiety and ptsd. I can’t just “get over” that. Trauma does leave a permanent mark. We will never be the same people we were before our innocence and sense of safety was taken from us. Some people refer to it as “soul rape”.

        • Oh Chumperella honey, please don’t kill yourself, and don’t practice either. I’m sure you have people in your life who would be absolutely devastated if you succeeded, not to mention CN.

          Chumpiest is right, we are survivors, not victims.

          (((((Chumperella)))))

        • Dear Chumperella: a few years after my son’s death I started a suicide prevention foundation in my country. I was trained in the US and now work as a counselor for people who are going through suicidal crises. I also train professionals who work with children, teens and young adults. This has helped me give meaning to my baby’s suicide and my own pain.
          I know now that most people who consider suicide do not really want to die, but to put an end to their suffering, so my job is to be there for them while they look for ways to change what’s become so painful. And “soul rape” is an extremely painful reality, so I want you to know that I’m here for you.
          Is there a way that you can write to me directly? Can Tempest help us with that?
          Meanwhile, I’m sending lots of love your way.

        • Chumperella, your words are so eloquent and filled with compassion. You are a beautiful rose among the thorns of narc abuse. You make a huge positive difference to us. Thank you for being you. Thank you thank you thank you.

          Sounds like you are on a hard road. I know the pain of losing my mom to suicide when I was a teen. I think she was trying to escape from her marriage to a narcissistic verbal abuser.

          I felt the pain of the terrible bond that formed with dad’s perpetual self-pity. Somehow it was my responsibility to make him feel better. Like forever.

          I know the pain of severe crohns disease, like a knife in my gut. I thought I was going to die. I pleaded with God please let me live to see my sons graduate from high school. He gave me that gift.

          I know the pain of losing my 23 year old son to alcohol poisoning.

          And of course I have been married to narcwife for 30 years.

          So trust me I am not competing for the “who has the most pain” prize here. I’m merely stating my credentials to support my message of hope. Each day is a gift. We can only experience the here and now. We can’t change the past. None of us knows the future or the whys and wherefores of the Universe. But there is beauty everywhere. Even in a little flower growing by the sidewalk if you open yourself to seeing it. Living the moment gets me through. Being thankful for the smallest tiniest bits of sunshine that peek out at us. I am thankful for you, Chumperella, because the beauty of your soul has shown through on these web pages.

    • Thank you for that post Amisfree.

      There are some things in life that you just don’t “get over”. There are some things that are so devastating that they change you and your life on a fundamental level. Afterwards, nothing is the same. You find yourself looking at everything with different eyes. Personally, everything I believed, everything I held as truth, was destroyed. There was no going back to the way life was. I had to find a way to build a new life. A big part of that was examining everything I believed as truth. I had to keep what had practical value to me, and throw away what didn’t. I had to find a way to rebuild my life with new meaning. I had to find Joy again. I had to find a new me, not me that was based on other people’s perceptions of me or other people’s expectations.

      • It wasn’t easy, or pretty, and very much along the lines of eating the elephant one bite at a time. It is also an ongoing process. As I learn and grow, I continue to build on the new foundation.

        The last thing I had to do was the hardest. I decided that I matter too, that I had worth, just as I was, warts and all. I had to make up my mind to not only treat myself that way, but to expect others to treat me as valuable too, and not to accept anything less. That meant examining and changing a whole lot of behavior on my part, again an ongoing process.

        I won’t lie. It has been a scary, tough, and enlightening series of lessons. Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I fall on my face.

        But isn’t that what learning is about?

        • (((((Tessie)))))
          When I think of strength I think of YOU!
          Thank you for the love you share with all Chumps.
          You are the heart and soul of CN!
          ❤️

      • So powerful and inspiring Tessie. Thank you for this as other people’s perceptions and expectations do contradict growth. It’s a huge learning curve to become comfortable in my own skin with the new me.

    • 👍Totally. The “get over it” model does not take into account that there is genuine, persistent trauma involved in many cases. You can’t just talk yourself into recovering from that and moving on. It takes a long time and a ton of support. Not everybody can afford therapy, either.
      This particular CL post missed the mark because it didn’t address that this is a reality for many chumps.

    • Ami
      Amie means friend in French.
      What better friend could anyone in the whole wide world have than amiisfree.
      You are beautiful, genuine, and so very loved and appreciated!
      🌈

    • I just tuned back in here the morning of 1/2, and I am deeply heart-warmed by the love and support in all of your responses to my post. Thank you all.for your words.

      I send you all much love!

      And to those of you who have contemplated, or do contemplate, ending your lives, I can only say that I think you deserve better and I so deeply hope you will keep calling those crisis lines and looking for help and staying with us. Life is so precious.

      Someone said above that a wish to end life is a wish to end suffering, and I know that was true for me. I am glad I still have my life. I want that for you, too, if you can find a way to do it. I value you and I believe there is still joy available beyond the pain.

      Please consider staying with us and leaning on us as you find it.

      💚

    • Thank you for this! So much kindness and wisdom you have Amiisfree. You words are always moving.
      2 years out here for me and I still ruminate. It was a 21 year relationship with 14 years married. Still, every day is a forward step no matter how small.

  • Reading this today took me back years. Three friends and I took a once in a lifetime trip. Every day was wonderful except for one woman. She has always been so kind and unassuming and a joy to be with. Until. The woman I was rooming with rode her about everything, and I mean everything. Her voice, her accent, her schedule, her clothes, you name it, it was commented on. My other friend and I were blindsided by this and kept waiting for J to take up for herself. She never did and never spoke to the other woman again. That began the unraveling of many years of friendships. The other witness and I have beaten ourselves up many times because we never intervened. Why didn’t we? It is because we would have taken up for ourselves and kept thinking J would. Years later discussing this we realized we should said something, a missed opportunity to be somebody’s wings. I bring this up because you can’t be Switzerland when your relative, neighbor, friend is being humiliated. It might feel wrong to call out someone in public but look at the positive feelings you give the victim by be their champion. Nobody ever “gets over” being humiliated, or abandoned. Ever. And there is no apology strong enough to erase it. I hope what you can do is mentally box it up at some point and stuff it in a mental attic.
    So. I wish for everyone a New Year without a single tear except for joy.

  • For the last 24 hours, I mentally argued with myself about group texting an image of Mr. Sparkles most recent personal ad from Ashley Madison to my adult stepchildren and their Dad. I wanted to scream at them… SEE… he is STILL a monster… he is now ABUSING a new woman and already has her on the hook for $315K mortgage (among other debt, I’m sure). Because they were all spending the new year partying it up with the “new family”, I wanted my pain to be heard.

    And, in reading this, I think I understand why I chose not to send that text last night. My pain really is over at this point. I don’t cry, I don’t wake up thinking about him, I’m four years out (2 divorced) and really have built an amazing, peaceful life. Except for this almost slip, I’m at meh.

    SO, what was my motive? I see today that I was trying to generate chaos/drama so that someone would pay attention to me again from that toxic family. To acknowledge that I still exist… that my 11 years in that family counted for something. But, to what end? Do I want the chaos back? Do I want the influence of those adult stepchildren on my son? Is it helpful to cause them more pain – they know their Dad is a whore, but “what can they do about it”. Why was I Missing The Drama? That is the work I need to do in 2019 (and yes, I’m sure there is FOO issues… LOL).

    I guess I’m hearing you today, CL. I need to choose to get over it at this point. I need to accept the past, but not keep trying to prove to anyone/everyone who Mr. Sparkles is. I have to take that energy and put in somewhere more constructive – like building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

    His new GF knows about the personal ad. She’s staying. I pity her, but it isn’t my fight anymore and I need to get on with my life.

    Ok – 2019 – let’s do this… let’s REALLY get over it.

  • Getting over it is the ultimate gift to yourself. It’s also the ultimate revenge on the cheater, but that won’t matter so much to you once you get over it.

    Happy 2019, and may this be your year to rise and shine!

  • Happy MehNew Year, Chump Nation!!!
    I think that our individual”get over it” time table is different for each of us and is achieved differently, and that’s OK.
    I don’t remember how long it was after D-Day and divorce, maybe a few months that one of my friends just went off on me when I called her to vent yet again about some new stuff exh2/The Evil One said or had done…she started with, “if you get mad, Oh well cause I’m going to say this, He’s not coming back!!! He’s gone, he’s left, he’s with her now. You’re obsessing over him and it’s not going to work for out for you ..you need to let it go…”
    That was the turning point for me, I still wasn’t to meh, but I was getting there.
    It will be four years since D-Day this March. Wow. Damn, feels like forever ago at this point, another lifetime, different person…
    New chumps, this is finite. There will come a day when all of this will be a distant memory.
    “old-timers” like me still hanging around Chump Nation, it’s so much better on the other side!!!
    I just spent this holiday season alone. I mean, I spent time with my kids and my friends, true, but I was home by myself Christmas night, I sat home alone last night for New Year’s Eve, and I was just fine. I didn’t once think of “how much fun TEO is probably having with his OWife Mrs dumbass…” I didn’t obsess over what he got her for Christmas, nope nope nope nope. That’s meh. And it’s glorious!!!
    Happy New Year!!!!

    • Molly, how funny that you say this! That is exactly how my holidays went…….loving every minute of it. Spent time with family and friends, alone Christmas morning, late Christmas night but did spend Christmas afternoon with family. Last night I was home alone, watched the ball drop then went to bed. I was invited to a NYE party but I just needed peace and quiet to ring in the new year.

    • Molly, now I remember, we are only 3 months apart from Dday. I love been on the other side….Mehville!

  • I’m the odd one at the DV support group because I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I don’t care what he’s doing with whom. I’m just leaving. Moving on. Getting a job. Taking care of the children. I’m done. I paid for a lawyer. He’s someone else’s problem now. I don’t even care that he’s taking all the income away from me. I’ll just have to find a better job to compensate. The teen is recovering from the nightmare too. We are doing great without the drama. It feels like home now. I feels normal. I’m working on rebuilding.

  • I like to think that karma is like a big sack that you carry around on your back. In a chump’s situation you carry around this heavy stinking bag of bad karma when you’re dealing with infidelity and the fall out. But as a chump you also get to eventually choose to drop the stinking bag and leave it behind and pick up a nice light bag of good karma instead. It doesn’t mean that you forget about the heavy stinking bag. You remember it and you remember what’s packed inside it. But you can drop that stinking bag off and let it sit and molder in the past. Cheaters don’t get that choice. They have to carry the stinking bag forever. They can’t put the stinking bag down because it’s all their stuff inside- their harmful choices, words, actions, consequences… They never get to be free of all the hurt and the harm that they’ve unleased into the world regardless of if they are sorry or not sorry, happy or unhappy. They’ve made the world a worse place because of their choices. It becomes their legacy. Chumps get to make the world a better place because they can let that shitty bag go and choose better karma like truth and love and hope and peace. We get the gift of getting to move on because we aren’t chained to having harmed others. Like Tracy has said before- the cheater’s karma is being who they are. Drop the heavy bag and leave it for them to deal with. It’s not your problem anymore.

    • Great post No Rain! I hope you are right that fuckwit is carrying the shifty karma bag but we also have to remember that they don’t think Like we do. They don’t have a well developed sense of right and wrong/conscious or they wouldn’t have cheated. So best not to worry about their karma and just focus on ourselves and living the life we love!❤️

    • No Rain, WOW…thank you for your post. That is really helpful to look at it like that. I think this is going to help me move forward in 2019, focus and get some things accomplished that I have put off. I have struggled to long with inertia. Happy New Year to you!

  • Which is why I despise the saying “get over it “ and no I don’t think you ever “get over it”. You can only “Get through it”. So chumps let’s work on “getting through it”!!!!

  • Oh how I hated people telling me to get over it. Especially wasband troll..ugh

    I kicked him out New Years Day 2014 at 3am. I suspected he was with a female but mostly I kicked him out because he did not come home AGAIN and I was determined not to spend a new year doing the same shit. I found out about his girlfriend on Feb 9, 2014. (She was the one he was with on new years but I didnt know about her until the 9th)… Filed divorce paper the next day. Divorced final in March and she is telling me to “Get over it” 2 months later.. .. I was still fresh in the heart break. I needed time.

    But now 5 years later, I am meh. I really dont think about what or who he is doing. I no longer try to chase him down to beg him to visit our 2 boys. Last year was a good year for me and I hope this year will be better. Maybe it is because I am one of the lucky ones that saw Karma hit wasband. Maybe because I finally understand how toxic he is. Maybe because I took off the rose colored glasses and finally see what s piece of shit he really is. And stopped making excuses for him.

    Once I accepted that he was not the man I believed he was and just how little I meant to him, I was able to move forward. Once I realized that the answer to all my questions was because he did not love or care for me, I was able to let it go. *It is not that he did not know, it was that he did not care. * it took me 3 years to get to that point thou. I needed those years to process my pain and grieve.

    I hope that my story helps someone process their pain quicker and easier then I did. It really is amazing when you stop worrying, wondering, and thinking about them. Life is good.

    Make you new year good by focusing on YOU. What makes you happy? What brings you joy? What do you enjoy doing? And work to make those things happen. Start with something easy or little. Then keep moving up to the bigger things. Ie: you really like a relaxing bubble bath but have 4 kids and can’t find the time? Plan a late night on a weekend. Put the kids to bed a little early, or find a sitter. Then some in a hot bubble bath until you are wrinkly… .. .. ie: you like to ride a bike but you ex wreacked/stoke/sold your bike. Save money. A dollar here, 5 dollars there. Have a garage sale. Until you can buy a bike

    Once you start working on the things that you enjoy doing, you will find you dont have time to think of your ex.

    Sending out positive hugs and wishes to every one. THIS is YOUR year!!!! Good luck

  • This has been a hard year to get over. I have been together with my wife 15 years. I love her. I have tried everything i can to save our marraige. I even agreed to opening it up. When that didnt work out and i said no more she set up dating profiles and started lying the whole nine yards i see here. My 90 year old father got sick and i started caring for him in his home. He died in november and im just devastated. I know i have to move on but its all i can do to go to work everyday and keep adulting.

    • When you’re in the Slough of Despond, the only way out is “Through”. You just have to keep going, adulting, and one of these days you’ll be on the high ground, and notice that you are no longer struggling.

      Yes, you need to grieve, both for your father and the marriage you thought you had, but these feelings will pass.

      You are better off not having that woman in your life, and you will one day have the right person at your side.

      Losing a parent never quite goes away; I lost my mom in 2004 and every once in a while I just want her around so I can hear her voice again.

      Peace to you.

      • I havent moved out yet. Im going to hire a lawyer with money my dad is leaving me but im still in this hell and is is just hard

    • Lesbian Chump, alongside you and hoping for some peace of mind, comfort a d rest for you soon. What a dreadful time for you, grieving your Dad and your lost wife and all those 15 years. Chump Nation knows you can do this because you ARE doing this, how mighty are you! Time does pass so slowly though. Much love to you x

    • I feel your pain, LC. My dad died as I was caring for him through a horrific illness. Meanwhile, my cheater was discarding me for some worthless skank. It’s agony and it will take you a long time to heal, but you will. You are grieving two losses at once and that is devastating. Can you get some time off work? Sick leave? You might need medical intervention because overwhelming grief can become major depression. Please keep seeking support from fellow chumps, friends and family. If you ever need extra support, I can give you my email. Let me know.

  • CL, your advice has definately been validated by my experience following the dumping of my cheating bitch:

    **You find that job (done), you parent your way (n/a), you finish that degree (done), you fall in love again (done), you make new friends who get you (done), you get reacquainted with your creativity (done), you own your successes (done).**

    As wise advisors have oft said before, “the best revenge is success in your new life”.

  • Happy new year! Really great message CL. Just read last years journal entry and I quoted CL. I was feeling angry and jealous of his apparent joy of being with OW. CL said “Divorce doesn’t fix stupid”. The karma bus came to him this year-his OW cheated on him and dumped him. Hahaha. He immediately went out and picked up another woman at a bar and is now living with her. Poor woman! Make this year the best yet! Freedom! Hugs to the newbies! I am sorry you have joined this club and I am happy you have found CN.

  • Happy 2019 CL and CN.
    Wow, that fucked up year finally ended.
    Sending gratitude to all- there were so many mornings where all I could do was read this blog and limp through the day.
    Today, it’s between a brisk walk/light jog.
    Thank you. Especially for the laughs.
    Chik-Fil-A remains hilarious…

    • I have to chime in, late, with the most hilarious of chicken shack names: on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in Little Bra D’Or…”Lick-a-Chick.” Yep. I even have a t-shirt.

  • IMO, the reason a lot of people can’t heal and move on is because they never got justice. That’s why they are forever waiting for the karma bus to hit the scumbag. I say don’t wait for the karma bus, be the karma bus. Get justice yourself. For example, expose the cheater to everybody he or she knows, down to every ugly detail. Put your experience out on FB and Twitter. You can name the cheater. He/she cannot successfully sue you for libel if what you are saying is 100% truthful, and your opinions about the cheater’s poor character are protected by constitutional freedom of expression. Or get a pitbull lawyer and obtain a juicy divorce settlement. Whatever you have to do (within the bounds of the law) to feel justice has been served, do it. Then you can laugh your ass off and proceed with forgetting the cretin even exists.

  • My hell ended in 2012. I still read CN often. Looking back i just had the best Christmas and year of my life. I have been a carer all my life, first my alcoholic parents and then my kids who have disabilities. 2019 is going to be a year for me. The Narc is onto wife No 3. I really have reached meh. Im thinking about my needs now. Happy New Year to everyone x

  • Cheers to all the Chumps who hold the promise of a better life when getting hit by the first 2×4 of an unfaithful partner and then the second 2×4 of getting over it.
    I needed both to wake up from my fake life and my wasted emotion on a person who had no concept of love.

    Thank you CL. Damn near 5 year sober chump because of your blog and the incredible nation of fellow chumps.

  • Currently sitting at the Toronto airport – gaining a life!!!

    First trip in many many years.

    And no tip toeing around somebody who thinks most of what I like “is stupid”. Best New Year Ever!!!

  • My X asshat abandoned me and moved to the college town of my daughters. He didn’t ask if he could show up there but just sent them a text, “I moved out of the house today and am on my way.” I got an e-mail, they got a text. Daughters were stunned and angry and confused. There had been no warning signals to them either so we were all gobsmacked.

    X asshat immediately started demanding that they fill in as appliances and kibble dispensers. While they sobbed, he made them unload his possessions, including 2 of our cats, into a hotel room. He demanded that the younger daughter hold money in her checking account because he didn’t have his own set up yet. He demanded they find him an apartment. When he left for the summer to work construction, he demanded they take care of the one cat he kept (other one was back to me within a couple days).

    Within 6 weeks of his spectacular discard of their mother he showed up at a house party of the 23YO daughter. He ogled the young chicks. He offered prescription drugs to one of her friends in front of her. He made it clear he wanted to get laid. Divorce hadn’t even been filed yet. He is 50YO. Friends were disgusted by him and there were certainly no takers for Creepy Dad.

    A week after that party he took the younger daughter to a state park to make barbecue and she started weeping over everything. He screamed that she needed to GET OVER IT. When she pointed out it had only been 6 weeks he screamed, “What will it be then, 2 months? 6 months? 2 years? Why don’t you fucking grow up and grow a spine! I deserve to be happy!” She sat there and sobbed. He then left for the summer to work construction and the younger daughter took care of that cat.

    By November she had enough of his bullshit. There were text wars and she totally called him out on all the bullshit including all he way back to OW#1 when she and sister were just teenagers. He moved to Europe this spring to permanently be with OW#2 who is 25YO.

    Guess what fuckwit, they grew a spine.

    He didn’t come to the graduation of either daughter in 2018 (one masters, one undergrad). They ignore his texts. He has lost them.

    I have said it before but he will likely only get an e-mail or maybe just a text when they do get married and have babies. It is all he deserves.

    I am sad for my daughters. I am sad for me. But we are getting over it and we will gain a life, one which he will never get to be part of.

    But hey, at least he is happy.

    • Now l.C. that is horrible. What a disordered fuckwit he really is. But the best thing he did for you all, in my opinion, is move to Europe and far, far away from you. I don’t for one minute think it will last with the 25 year old but then that won’t be your problem and hopefully your daughters will make sure he never again becomes their problem. Hugs from France (please tell me he isn’t in France – I got rid of my fuckwit back to the States)!!!!!!

      • Nope, it is a former Eastern Bloc country with crappy food. He is probably more bummed about the food than missing his daughters. Ha! Yeah, that would be a really terrible exchange program, your fuckwit for mine. yuk.

        Yes, it is easier to have him abandon us all rather than share time at holidays and worry about him popping up. So disordered.

  • “Reconciliation is fine if you just want to survive. To limp along. To endure. I’m not convinced anyone every really gets over it when they stay married to a cheater. Seems like an endless buffet of shit sandwiches if you ask me.”
    That’s how I felt for 10 years until he did it again. I’m so getting over it now. I want to really live the rest of my life. I want to love and trust again. CL is right I thought about the first affair almost every day. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel now. So excited for 2019!

  • Thanks CL & CN. My D-Day was August 23, 2018 & divorce will be final Jan. 30th, 2019. He cheated and I immediately left. No time to waste. This isn’t my first rodeo. My first marriage ended for the same reason as well. I somehow thought I would be immune from it the second time around. Boy, was I wrong! Ugh! I am so glad to have stumbled across ChumpLady.com during my countless “why me again” searches. I actually wake up looking forward to reading CL’s snarky & wise articles along with the equally awesome comments. CN brings me a sense of peace, security and empowerment all at the same time. I’m looking forward to being & doing ME in 2019. Happy New Year to all!

  • “All that energy poured into a narcissist — it’s yours now. You gift it to yourself and those deserving of you.”

    Wow! Beautifully written.

    I have compound grief as a result of multiple losses at the same time. Tears spring into my eyes at the mere thought of anything sad or hurtful. I have a wonderful grief counselor from hospice that is still working with me.

    I decided on themes instead of resolutions for 2019. Peace, joy and fulfillment. My councelor asked what Peace looks like and I intuitively said Joy and Fulfillment. It hit me that this is not a sequential path. That by getting on with your life, the peace comes. Another version of fake it till you make it I suppose.

    I truly hope I can get to meh this year. The loss of the man isn’t what haunts me. It’s the loss of the family, loss of my identify, loss of my future, loss of my home I so dearly loved.

    I have to remind myself every day that I get to create my future. I decide how I spend the last 1/3 of my life. Once my daughter’s off to college, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, provided I can afford it.

    I’ve been haunted by the fact that I gave up a huge career to care for our daughter while he traveled for business, taking full advantage the travel perks. (The guilt must have been horrific. No wonder he called multiple times a day, trying to maintain the illusion of a dedicated husband.)

    Anyway, had I continued with my career, I’d probably be paying him alimony. Instead, I get 1/3 of his pay until he retires. Plus 1/2 our assets, 1/2 the retirement, the down I put on our first house, plus my premarital assets. (I’m so thankful I kept that separate. He was always pissed about that.).

    Anyway, I can have a good life and not have to work. Many of my friends are retired or retiring soon. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to work, but having the option is freeing.

    Sorry for the ramble. Slowly but surely, I’m moving on. The divorce is done. The house is sold. I’m settled into a small, charming house. It’s a bit small with a teenage daughter still at home, but is perfect for me and an occasional guest. Oh and a special man who adores me but doesn’t live with me!!

    • This sounds so on par in many ways to finding my own path forward. I really don’t miss cheater and I have reflected back through my life and realize he was always disordered. I knew he was high maintenance and needy but damn. Anyway as you’ve summed up so eloquently, I miss the life I had with cheater. But I do know that most of that life was what I made of it. I’m currently able to stay in the family home and I hope to continue to do so at least another couple of years.

      I will be working well past retirement. I have really started to truly appreciate the peacefulness of my life with very limited drama now. And a little over 2 years after Dday#2, I looked up and realized I was still me (sounds goofy, I know).

      I’m coming up on 3 years this spring since Dday #2 in my 20 years with fuckwit and 3 years in the fall with divorce final. Youngest will start college this fall and I’ll be alone in the home for large chunks of time. I’ve started really feeling grateful again for small things and joyous for good times. It does come back.

      I think I’m ready now for the ‘get over it’ speech. Not for losing a cheater. But for get over the life I thought I had and accept and embrace the new life in front of me. I’m still me, I have value, and I deserve a good life and am ready to unveil it before me.

  • Great thread for the new year.

    We all know words matter, and I like to encourage people struggling (including myself) to Get Through It rather than Get Over It.

    For some reason, get through it has a tinge of hope as a strategy, and even an implied offer of help, of companionship and support when said to another.

    Get over it sounds dismissive and critical to my ear, rather curt.

    In fact, the two phrases lead to the same place, but get through it is much less harsh to me, somehow.

  • Thanks, CL. And Happy New Year!

    I needed this today. I’ve been stuck and trying reconciliation for longer than I’d like to admit, but I’m ready to gain that life. 2019 is the year I get my butt in gear and take back control of my life.

  • “All that energy poured into a narcissist — it’s yours now. You gift it to yourself and those deserving of you.”

    YES!! Thanks, CL.

    Boy, I poured SO much energy into him.

    And now that I know who he really is, I realize he was NOT deserving of me. But my friends and family members are, and I will put much more energy into them going forward. I’m not at meh yet, but I’m much closer than a year ago at this time. Thanks CL and CN for helping me to make progress and to heal.

  • My finding several years out from leaving a cheater is that, like all forms of trauma, you get through it, but you never “get over it”. By which i mean, the process of grieving, and healing from complex PTSD and PTSD not only takes time and effort, but while there can be incredible healing, there are always scars.

    Cheating is emotionally, psychologically, and physically abusive. I myself recently left a roommate situation with a very self absorbed person who could potentially be a covert narcissist. Its been a few weeks of processing my selfish and manipulative roommate’s behavior during the initially “joyous” days of moving into my first home. I still have the typical trauma feature of getting triggered into unbidden thoughts and rumination. Its fading, but after a few migraines, its clear it brought up some old layers of trauma to heal.

    There is a difference of being addicted to drama and toxicity (yes, its a thing) vs. working through the fallout of abusive relationships. Unfortunately, the processing of those traumatic features can often resemble the circular downward spiral of addiction. As another chump mentioned, trauma bonds are also probably a huge part of the “addictive” process. Grieving, telling one’s story, and hearing the other stories of others helps humans process trauma. It is how we learn as a group, how we identify patterns and make sense of threats to self and group in the environment. CN is very valuable because it helps chumps gather to tell stories and learn the patterns of manipulative abusive people.

    It took completely leaving my former partner and severing ties in real life before my brain, being the self protective, wise creature it is, to then process and “emotionally leave” the abusive relationship. This is common, and also a very real feature of experiencing trauma. The fight or flight mechanism kicks in, we get out of dodge, and then in the aftermath of safety we can understand and make sense of chaos. For me, it took a therapist, trauma centered therapy, and a lot of work, post Voldemort.

    The brain and the body understand that self preservation are paramount to survival. Cheaters, through their betrayal, are essentially violating an intimate structure of safety and security (marriage and the family) , as well as endangering the health of a chump without consent. Its traumatic.

    Just keep walking chumps! You will get through this vale of tears!

  • “Get over it” was one of the most offensive statements made to me. I personally would never tell anyone who has suffered abuse that. Its mainly stated to make the persons saying it to feel better. NO One wants to be us! This journey is ours alone. Its not just “Get Over It”, but many more statements like that. Anger is the bottom line, and its not a switch that we can turn on and off. We each have our own set of circumstances and ALL of them suck.

    I’ve been divorced now 3 years after 32 yrs of marriage. NONE of it was easy, AH was classic cheater, liar, gas lighter, and even though people thought we were the “perfect” couple and family, that didn’t stop them from rushing to me to “get over it”. REALLY!!

    My life has settled down in many ways the last few years but it still stings . Over Thanksgiving weekend my x decided this was a good time to drag some hoe he met on Match to my sons house. My adult kids have always told me they never wanted to meet or see him with anyone. But of course he allowed it anyway. When my son told me about the visit, I expressed how these things will inevitably happen and it makes holidays difficult for me. His response to me was “WHY do you always have to make everything about YOU!!!

    Can’t win for losing ……

  • Getting over it means going to an all inclusive in Mexico this winter, with my new honey, LOL. And buying some cute sundresses to wear there. And toasting drinks at sunset. And…..

  • I think the ‘addicted to trauma’ or the “victim – rescuer – perpetrator” cycle is worth thinking about as a Chump.

    It’s been about 2.5 years since XH walked out and the divorce was final a month ago. Since then I have worked very hard to take care of my serotonin levels, grieve and build a new life. The first year I really made an effort to build new friendships, take care of my health and keep moving to a new life. As the first year turned into the second, in addition to accepting a new life as a single person, I became an empty nester, moved to my own place and less than a year later was fired from my job. All major transitions.

    Now that I am half way through the third year, I’m exhausted with maintaining the effort and frankly, bored. I run, meditate, keep my gratitude journal, volunteer and take B12 because I heard it can help with mood! I attempted to write a book. I got another very challenging job, I volunteer, and I keep trying to develop deep friendships. I find that I’m nowhere near as happy, interested, interesting or as optimistic as I thought I would be at this point. I don’t miss him and would never want him back. Even still, the alone-ness is always there.

    In year one, I believed that year two and three would be much better. I had hope. In some ways my life in year three is better; in many ways it is not. It’s harder than ever to not be discouraged. I have opened the Hope App so many times over the past three years only to have it fail, that sometimes in the mix of exhaustion, anxiety, boredom, grief — and especially failed hope — it’s easy for victimhood to hack in the back door of my heart.

    I’ve been asking myself thoughtful questions. Am I experiencing victimhood? Am I clinging to this pain because it’s my new normal? Am I revisiting the pain a bit more this week because I’m bored? Am I holding on to the pain as a substitute for hope or to protect myself from hope? What if I am unnecessarily clinging to a merry go round of trauma drama? Is the pain just one more thing I need to let go of?

    Sometimes the more I don’t like the questions, the more important the answers are.

    • I think you are being to hard on yourself. If the divorce was just final last month then you are just now able to begin to heal. You have been doing all the right things.
      That he drug it out was not within your control.
      Now that you are finally free from a fuckwit you can begin to heal. I wish you peace and joy as you build your new life.

      • Thanks NoMorePattyCake! It was I who was very thorough and patient in our settlement negotiations. I took the time I needed to negotiate the best possible deal I could. It was worth the time invested on many fronts although, as with any investment, there is an opportunity cost, in this case the potential to heal sooner.

        It’s true it will be more peaceful going forward — I won’t be juggling being triggered by his lying about assets etc while at the same time working to keep my serenity and stay savvy enough to win the chess game of our settlement negotiations. 🙂

  • Excellent post, CL. Thank you! The mind is so powerful. We get one precious life and it’s up to us to choose where to focus our energies. We are in control. Assuming the victim role and obsessing over loss and betrayal can feel safer, trust me I know, but it doesn’t lead to a life well lived.

  • As opposed to ‘getting over’ the betrayal or loss, I think of ‘growing from’ the experience. ‘Just get over it’ can seem dismissive and dishonoring of the experience and love for those we grieve, the future we thought we/our loved ones might have had. ‘Growing from’ conveys healthy improvement while honoring our love for those who are lost to us through their betrayal or permanent separation through abandonment or death. I am trying to think of betrayal and loss as experience that leads to ‘deepening of compassion for others.’

  • One of my other favorite bloggers, Mark Manson, has an article about the difference between fault and responsibility…no, the affair was not your fault, but your healing is your responsibility.
    I can personally attest to the thriving part, of happily ever after cheater-free life! Like CL says, you do find that job, parent how tpu want, make new friends, start new hobbies. When you choise to no longer make cheaters central, life actually moves on and you can’t help but go with it. Of course,this moving on and forgetting about cheater thing took years…because I couldn’t let go and was stuck in purgatory. Once I chose to take actions-find my pillar, get sunshine and exercise and a super cuddly puppy…I began to count and be grateful for all the ways my life is better post cheater! A very grand Thank you to CL for being just one pillar in moving forward!

  • But you can’t force it either EMC. The sunshine and puppies were there all along you just needed to get there. I think as long as we are taking some positive steps we are doing good. Small ones or big ones, some set backs. After decades it is not just as simple as choosing. It’s inventing a new way, breaking old habits, remembering not to respond. Forced reinvention is not easy. It takes time just to realize what happened let alone move forward. But I think that once you find a new way each step is easier and bigger.

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