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“Why do cheaters need to punish the chump?”

Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve been separated about 8 months from my STBX cheater. We were married for 7 years when he began having an affair with his ho-worker. I went through the hell of false reconciliation several times and I finally said enough was enough, because I just couldn’t buy his bullshit anymore, and I just plain realized I CAN DO BETTER!

Prior to his affair, he was verbally abusive, threatened me physically, threw things (usually my stuff), and drank constantly — but poor baby blamed it on PTSD so I felt sorry for him. Fast forward to today — I’m Meh or pretty close and happy as a clam to have dropped his NPD abusive ass like yesterday’s trash. He’s in lala land with his ho-worker (who was cheating on her husband as well, a real winner). I’ve gone as no contact as I can with a 4 year old son and I’m trying to move on with my life.

But my question is: Why do cheaters feel the need to punish the chump?

I just want this loser out of my life. I’ve already got primary custody of our son, so I’m a happy camper. We have nothing as far as assets because he was also a spendaholic. So what does he do?

Drags me into court for child support and alimony, so I can’t file for an uncontested divorce. He sends payments late. Blames me for his bills. Screams at me when I pick up my son about how this is all my fault and i’m stealing all his money. He agreed not to introduce our son to the ho-worker until 6 months after the divorce, only to find out my kid’s already met her several time and had a sleepover at her house. Takes him out of state without my permission. Drinks in front of our son. He’s living with the ho-worker but refuses to admit it so we can update the custody agreement. All of which is violating court orders. And of course because he’s father of the year, he asked our 4-year-old to lie about everything, (which thankfully he didn’t). It’s all very “you’re not the boss of me!”

Thank God I’m an attorney and I have a good friend doing all my representation pro bono, while he has to pay top dollar while I let the justice system make him it’s bitch (karma!)

But why??? Why the hate emails telling me how shitty I am, how terrible a wife I was, how it’s all my fault and — my favorite — his claim that if I walked into a church I’d burst into flames. I get the gas lighting and blame shifting during the affair, but what the hell is he getting out of it now? Why not just go off an live happily ever after with his girlfriend and leave me the hell alone? WTF?!!!

ChumpyLawyer

Dear ChumpyLawyer,

Why does he feel the need to punish? Because he’s a special kind of fucked up. Not every ex does this — just the really toxic ones. Some cheaters are content to chase the sparkly rainbow to their next adventure and leave you alone, figuring they’ve exhausted your kibble supply. The “punishment” in that situation is being left with a great big mess of a former life to clean up, grieving and wondering why.

But you get a twofer! You get all THAT punishment, plus the continuing punishment of his abuse and obstructionism! Aren’t you a lucky girl?

So, what’s the point? Control. Divorced, together — doesn’t matter. If he’s an abuser, he still wants to control you. Go buy the “Why Does He Do That?” book by Lundy Bancroft. It’s the best resource out there for explaining this kind of asshole. Essentially, he feels entitled to punishing you. He derives a sense of purpose and power out of controlling you.

But you went and made it much more difficult for him. You divorced his ass! So, he’s going to have to settle for obstructionism, and if I were to guess, triangulating with your son. (Save for the therapy bills now). As I’ve said here before, breeding with a fuckwit is the gift that keeps on giving.

Why else does he punish you? Projection. He’s the doer of dark deeds who should burst into flames, but he’d rather go on believing he’s a splendid person whose been hard done by life’s circumstance. So — presto! change-o! he projects his misdeeds on to you. Someone has to take the blame for what a shitty person he is. You get that honor.

Also, I’m convinced part of this dynamic of demonizing the chump is keeping the sparks alive with the affair partner. They so badly need the “pick me” dance, the triangulation, the big, bad meanie who is thwarting their Twu Wuv. So long as you have to engage with him in any way, like say a protracted legal battle, you’re the common enemy he and the OW can unite around. He can idolize the OW, because he’s devaluing you. (Oh, her turn will come, don’t worry.) This is why no contact, and taking the emotion out of all communication is so important. Don’t feed the beast.

Of course, he can manufacture drama, and he’s doing a really good job of that. But you’re doing all the right things. You’re not taking his emotional bait. You’re imposing consequences. He might learn that the cost of fucking with you is too high. Never let up, ChumpyLawyer. He needs to feel the boot of the law on his neck. He’s found a new victim, the OW to abuse. He’s going to have to direct his rage and control there, because you’re out of reach.

The good news is you’re away from him. And while your son has to see him, you are the sane parent, modeling good things. You get to build a happy, abuser-free life. Interacting with him over your son — I won’t lie — it’s going to be a challenging next 14 years. Don’t expect him to cooperate or co-parent, or otherwise act like a grown up. But best you’ve learned this now, instead of getting broadsided and hurt that he’s not cooperating.

You know what he is, and you know how to deal with him — you document it, and you leave it to the legal system, and you get on with your life.

He’s a bully. I’m sorry he’s still trying to fuck with you. But he messed with the wrong woman. Don’t ever let him forget it.

This column ran previously.

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  • Why? Indeed. Because YOU WON! It’s really that simple. The so-called-man self destructed & you refused to go down with his ship. Now he’s drowning. THROW HIM A LIFE RING, OR ELSE, DAMMIT!! 😀
    Bravo, ChumpyLawyer!

  • I think the cheater needs to punish the chump. Because in their twisted mind they have to blame the chump for their bad behavior. This way they can look like the victim. See he had to cheat on her because she is a nasty bitch who did not let him play golf.
    Before I found out about Skankella. My STBX was extra nasty to me. I was called names and he blamed me for him not finding his glasses. The verbal abuse increased. I was called all kinds of names. He even slandered my name to Skankella. Most likely in his mind he had to be the victim. Because he knew deep down that screwing around with your wife’s cousin is a POS thing to do.
    Document everything. It may even be a good idea to get a Psychological Evaluation on him. He sounds like a real winner.

    • I think the cheater needs to punish the chump. Because in their twisted mind they have to blame the chump for their bad behavior. This way they can look like the victim.

      100% this.

      My dad took care of his mother after her other children abandoned her. When it became clear Grandma had money, his siblings returned to sue him for custody of Grandma and her estate. They smeared him socially and in the courts in an attempt to destroy him and spent the last year abusing us through the legal system. Wild lies that he beat and starved Grandma, ransacked her estate … pure projection, of course. When my uncle lived with my grandmother, he starved her. She was malnourished when she came to live with us.

      Well, Grandma passed away last week. My aunt and uncle are STILL ranting on Facebook to anyone who’ll listen about what a bastard my dad is and what poor victims they are. Abusers are a special brand of fucked up. You can’t negotiate with it, you can only run.

      • Oh, and to any betrayed spouses agonizing over, “Will they be better for the OM/OW?” Nope, never.

        My uncle is an OM. He recently married his Schmoopie. She’s his 2nd wife, he’s her 4th. She was in such a hurry to marry the dipshit that she never stopped to ask why he abandoned his mother, why he had such a bad relationship with his brother, why he couldn’t hold down a job, why so many people in his hometown were so mad at him. She doesn’t know about his credit card fraud or bankruptcy, his history of drug addiction, all the people he owes money. I highly doubt she knows he defrauded his ex-wife (he owed her thousands but disappeared). That he robbed his entire family over the years. She just assumes we’re all assholes, I guess. WE must be the problem. It can’t possibly be him, the lazy, dishonest Casanova who makes her pay for dinners. She thinks she’s won a prize.

        It’s just a matter of time before he screws her over too. Word through the grapevine is he’s already crapping up her house (that she pays the rent on, of course) with shit from his garage sales.

        If it’s any consolation, for every flying monkey who enables the cheater’s abuse, there’s a lot of other people you don’t even know about who think he’s an asshole. If people don’t know yet, they will soon enough. It might take years, but bad decisions creep up on the disordered. My uncle’s 65 without a penny to his name and a trail of burned bridges. When Shmoopie kicks him out, he’s got nowhere left to go. It all comes out in the wash.

      • Cam: I truly believe their exists a a Special Hell for these sub humans..
        In and of it’s time.
        Bless you and yours.

    • No one is the villain in their own story…

      Once you learn this, then it makes sense why cheaters project the villain role onto the chump, and usually emphasizing the parts they actually hate worst about themselves in their fleeting moments of self reflection.

      For example, my multiple-cheating ex had the sand to call my new girlfriend the “homewrecker.” Facts: 1) met my girlfriend months after I left the house after discovering at least two affairs and my ex peeing on me while I slept, 2) ex actually went on Tinder and met a guy well before I met my girlfriend, and 3) just shut up.

      • That is so interesting! I’m the homewrecker in my boyfriend’s ex-wife’s narrative too (a nice little tribute is on FB RN)! We’ve both been divorced from our ex’s for 2 years and it was over a year before we met. His FIRST DDAY was 5 years ago – a few more to follow.

        • My husband’s ex kicked him out in 2005 (SHE was the one who had multiple affairs.) The divorce was final in 2007. We met in 2009 and married in 2011. Yet, whenever she has the nerve to talk to my husband, she refers to me as “your homewrecking whore.” I think she actually thought he would sit around forever pining after her until she got bored fucking the tri-state area and wandered back home. It’s crazy how much projection goes on in a cheater’s mind.

          • EXACTLY! We ‘wrecked’ the picture of the weeping, pining ex just praying for her to come back one day …

        • Yeah, after a bender for three days when I finally told her I wanted out. She drank all weekend and threatened to smash her own face and blame me if I left. I fell asleep in the extra room and woke up to her standing over me on the bed peeing on me…

          • My guy has done this to me twice after threatening to physically harm me and i told him id had enough

        • Aww! Thanks. I did some small modeling work when I was younger and I have an advanced degree and good career. One of the guys she cheated with was a meth head she met in rehab.

          They really do trade down.

  • Your ex sounds like an alcoholic. I suspect this because I am one….but I have 33 years in recovery. Your letter sounds very typical of practicing alcoholics. Cheating, lying, blaming, breaking agreements, all of it.

    I’d seriously consider Al Anon as your ultimate secret weapon for navigating the relationship you have to have with him because you have your son. It’s free, and the best tool we have right now on the planet to help you neutralize all the BS that is going to come your way as long as you have your son together and your ex is drinking. I belong to Al Anon too….it has been a HUGE lifesaver for chumps with or without the ex whose drinking is a concern.

    • Other massive benefit: I’d like to testify that my education in Al Anon, which started in 1985, has paid off for my daughter as well. What I have learned has been passed down to her, and she has awesome tools at her disposal that have helped her immeasurably. She will be twelve in a week and knowing how well she handles so many situations from years of practice (even as four and five year old) gives me tremendous peace of mind for when she isn’t with me.

      I am with you in spirit, and keeping you in prayer.

      XXOO Velvet Hammer

      • Another group I found helpful is Adult Children if Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families.

        While my FOO were not alcoholics their grandparents were as well as the Limited. The group I attended was small and helpful.

        Good for you Velvet Hammer!

        • My mother, who passed away last June, was recovering alcoholic. I would like to say she was sober but she participated in her assisted living’s weekly Friday Happy Hour. One glass of wine – she knew it bothered me but I never said anything to the facility or caretakers.

          I’m very conflicted with my mother and her alcoholism. I loved her very deeply and she was one of least judgmental people I have ever known. Perhaps that related back to her alcoholism. She was also very generous in love and compassion. She dealt with alot of grief. She divorced my father after 13 years of marriage. She often told me that she loved him like I loved the DH. I think he broke her heart (not cheating but he is disordered). Then, my brother committed suicide two weeks after he graduated from high school. My mother was due to get married two weeks later which she did – to her long-time boyfriend that had a sidepiece that she knew about. She eventually left him and he still had the long-time secret girlfriend. Then she took up with an even worse alcoholic. This man treated her nicely but that’s becasue she left him stay with her rent-free (twice). He did take care of her and her house in return. Unfortunately, she came home from work one day to find him dead on her kitchen floor. We suspect that he died of alcohol poisoning

          My aunts talk about how she had some bad things happen to her and they did. But, some of those things just didn’t happen – she actively participated. She went to rehab in 2013 and I stood beside her every step of the way. I have to be honest though – I hated it. I hated calling her at 1pm on a Sunday and her words were already slurring. I hated her alcoholism because the Dickhead woudn’t let his kids ever stay with her (I completely understood his reasoning but I never told her). I hated that it ribboned through our relationship and affected it in small ways.

          I’m sorry I didn’t mean to dump all this. It just came out of nowhere. I think it’s all part of my healing from the Dickhead and her death.

        • Yes, yes. I have been a member of that too since 1985. Very helpful for being chumped as well!

      • It is estimated that 80% of alcoholic/addicts are narcissists. (By the American psychiatry association)

        So believable.

        • Sober 30 years here and 34 in Al-Anon— I will chime in: in AA we say that the root of the alcoholic’s problem is extreme selfishness, and that the alcoholic’s problems are of their own making, though he or she doesn’t usually think so. Resenting others is the alcoholics number one offender. And fear and an excessive drive to satisfy instincts are a corrosive and all pervading thread in the life of the alcoholic, which is a disease that centers in the mind. Unless an alcoholic has a complete moral and psychic change through a spiritual experience there is little hope of any sobriety (or honesty, humility, decency).

          I could have written today’s post— almost every word. It’s so comforting how alike we all are and how there really is a cheater playbook. X and OW are probably alcoholic/addicts (daily drug use and $3,000 of bar tabs at fancy club a month!). I’m Al-Anon I learn I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it but I can contribute to it (the dysfunction). I have to keep the focus on me and my recovery.

          I too am a lawyer and X is the extreme punishing kind of narcissist BPD — diagnosed. I insisted on a parenting, psych, alcohol evaluation in the nasty divorce and X caved. I have full custody — he could use a therapeutic process to get some residential time but in 3.5 years he refuses so sees our minor child at restaurants once a week. Not my fault or problem! His rage is tremendous so I have him blocked 24/7.

          Life today is slowly improving — 26 years with him abusing me took its toll but I refuse to allow him to continue to do so — I am completely No Contact. Thank God!!! (No contact is simply another way of saying detach)

          • Yes. I have been sober for 5 years. So has my cs. But I hold rigorous honesty and the release of resentment as utmost qualities in my life. That is how I continue to find freedom.

            Cs could never quite do this. He is sober, but full of anger and resentment and selfishness. I see his behaviour in others at AA.

            I have always kept my own recovery separate from him. Which I am thankful for now as his betrayal has shaken so much, but my one sobriety is something I hold precious and I know will be what keeps me going.

            I’m going to try an al anon meeting….

          • My hat is off to you and other recovering alcoholics who’ve spent decades sober. What stunning role models for others who see you as living the dream.

            I had a good friend from my undergrad days whose father was an alcoholic. He’d died several years earlier. She was religious and was going to the Episcopal priest for pastoral counseling. He suggested she go to Al-Anon.

            She did and found it a revelation–truly life-changing. While she herself was not an alcoholic and her mother didn’t drink at all, she hadn’t realized that her approach to relationships was completely typical of children of alcoholics, and that she had been subconsciously sabotaging herself for years. The insights she gained helped her to heal and grow.

            I keep wishing my sister-in-law would go. Her family was a total wreck and her father was an abusive alcoholic to the day he died. My brother supported his wife in her loss but he didn’t mourn at all. He said that his late father-in-law was a total asshole. The alcoholism merely exacerbated the general assholery.

            • My cheating XH is a big time alcoholic too. And not to mention the stupidest drunk on earth…after three beers he turned into a flaming asshole. He, too, got very nasty to me about the time he started fucking schmoopie. Of course I didn’t know that at the time…I just couldn’t figure out why he was being horrible to me.
              I know he hasn’t quit drinking and he never will. Schmoopie gets to look at his passed out bald spot now and cuddle up to a reclining chair that snores. Ha!

              • The ex and I- both in recovery. Nearing two decades, each.
                He cheated with another member-sad but true.
                What a great cover, huh.

                Apparently only one of us was in recovery.
                No contact FTW

    • Another shout out for Al Anon and the other co-dependent 12 Step programmes.

      IT IS FREE THERAPY. Going to 12 Steps saved me $$$$$ in lawyers bills, as my reactivity to his outrageous behaviour decreased.

      It is a gift that not enough people know about. It is literally life-changing if you work it (practise the new behaviours every day so that they become habit).

      What it does is intercept the reactivity that keeps us in the mess,
      halts the focus on other people, trying to change other people in order to make your life safe that co dependents do (with all the manipulation and control that we do),
      and teaches you to self soothe, focus on self, and invest in self.

      Who knew that ‘mind your own business’ is a deeply loving spiritual path. The 12 Steps is a blue print for living a good life, from family to business to friendships.

  • The book recommendation looks really good (🙋🏽‍♀️ Mega-amazon chump here).

    Is this also a good read for a male chump in the same dynamic? This guy sounds exactly like my friend’s ex-wife. Or is there a better reference for men dealing with bully/ abusers?

    • Lundy’s Book is good for both men and women. And his clinical experience, majority of abusers are men. That said, the characteristics and tactics are transferable to women as well who are abusive. Probably one the most excellent reads I’ve ever had and I’ve re-read that book at least 50 times.

      • Yes. that’s the book to read. Cheaters punish the chump because cheating is just the ancillary product line of an abuser. In other words, they are abusers first (as this story reveals) and cheating is just another version of of it. IMO.

    • It is an excellent book. Yes the disordered in the book are male but the dynamics are the same. The author ran a program to try to change the behavior of domestic abusers whom we all know are flaming narcissists.
      Anything helps to see them clearly is a good thing in my book.

      • When I read that book, it was like everything clicked. Years after the abuse and abusive divorce, I had my “ AHA!” Moment.

        If you want a religious slant, I would also recommend anything by Leslie Vernick.

    • Abuse isn’t a gender issue. It’s a people issue. Shrink4Men is a valuable resource for men seeking to escape abusive relationships. As a woman who left her alcoholic, abusive husband, I had many resources. I know a man whose ex-wife is an alcoholic batterer – and he has no resources or support. Check out shrink4men.com. It’s a good resource for men and women.

      • I love Shrink4Men…that’s an awesome site for men. I have some male friends who take an enormous amount of abuse from their wives and I just can’t figure out why they don’t LEAVE.

    • Dad Surviving Divorce series on YouTube is also good from a male perspective with a female narc ex-partner. Lots of good info for either gender.

    • I’ve read the Lundy Bancroft book and if you’re a male victim of abuse I would stay away from it because it will reinforce your notion of being isolated by the present social narrative (gender bias.) The author is highly biased and goes as far to deny that male abuse victims even exist. While the parallels of abusive patterns will be the same, the author writes solely from personal work experience with physically abusive male prison inmates. (Well beyond the domain of mere chumpdom.)

      There are better resources for men dealing with emotional abuse, gaslighting and all the cheater speak that comes with NPD and BPD females, even among books written for women. This author’s approach, in my opinion is seriously lacking in the big picture, and appears to be a remnant of past personal political platform. The author is a politician and reminds the reader of that on nearly every other page which is a distraction and makes the book twice as long as it needs to be.

      • I’ve read the Lundy Bancroft book and if you’re a male victim of abuse I would stay away from it because it will reinforce your notion of being isolated by the present social narrative (gender bias.) The author is highly biased and goes as far to deny that male abuse victims even exist.

        Woman here and I agree with this statement. I feel similarly about Patrick Stewart, who’s an advocate for domestic violence prevention in the UK. I appreciate many of his thoughts on the topic, except for his disbelief that men can be abused too. It’s clear Stewart’s thinking is way outdated.

        • My mother is a virulent narcissist. She was very abusive to my father (a normally-flawed person), and us children. If anything, I am personally biased for men as potential victims and against women because I have seen and experienced the abuse first-hand.

          (My first comment! Screenname to the tune of Frosty the Snowman, please, in tribute to the fraught, yet freeing, holiday season I just survived)

          • Oh gosh, ChumpetyChumpChump, now I will SING your screenname every time I see it!

            Glad you survived, and are feeling freed!

      • I have the book right in front if me and can find no such statement that male abuse victims don’t exist. The book is about abusive and controlling men specifically simply because that is where Bancroft’s experience lies. That does not constitute a “gender bias” about abuse anymore than a book about adult abusers of children would constitue an “age bias” about abuse. Bancroft describes himself as a counseller for abusers and an abuse investigator, not a politician. Perhaps you think he is talking politics because of the discussion around the cultural and sociopolitical factors he says contribute to men becoming abusive amd continuing to be so. He is entirely correct and one would have to place one’s head firmly in the sand in order to deny this reality.
        Of course there are female abusers. However, female on male abuse is not part and parcel of an imbalanced power structure in a wider social sense. A book about female abuse of men would be entirely different in terms of discussing causation and motivation, although most of the tactics employed would be the same.
        This is not “gender bias”, it’s just reality.

      • from what I remember, he advises that it’s not uncommon for abusers to claim that they were the real victim. therefore to investigate a man’s claim to be the victim where his former partner is alleging abuse.

        I think this is a genuine phenomenon, and detrimental to genuine male victims, but ultimately we can’t behave like that doesn’t happen.

    • Not sure if it’s good for men because he presents cases he had dealt with and the abusers, that I can remember, are all male.

      My therapist made me read this book and underline everything I found in it that applied to me. I didn’t think of myself as abused. Eventually I had pages that were 75% underlined and it was page after page after page. I was so struck by this fact that I would shelve the book for weeks at a time, unable to continue. I keep that book in my closet as a reminder of what to never accept in my life again.

    • I was surprised how many people think that woman can’t be abusers. My XW, who is a covert narcissist and BPD, says to people women can’t be domestic abusers. Since I separated and divorced my XW I have heard so many men talk about what they went thru with their XW’s. Most men suffer in silence. I had no idea what I was dealing with. Most books deal with men as abusers because, I think, women are more open with the abuse they went through. Men are more ashamed because they “allowed” such abuse to take place. The basic points apply to both sexes. But I think woman are better at smear campaigns because of gende bias.

      • And then my XW uses the kids as weapons and the abuse continues. I know so many men who have to fight tooth and nail to be in their kids lives because the XW’s want to punish their X’s even though they are cheaters. I spent $15,000 just so I can have the kids 1/4 of the time.

        • ^^THIS^^

          Oh my god – someone please EXPLAIN this to me!! What is it with female narcs weaponizing the children. I know two men who’s abusers actually kidnapped the children and wouldn’t let them see the kids until they agreed to some bizarre demands?!

        • It always makes me so mad when I hear about chump men being kept from their children by cheating ex wives. I didn’t even do that to my ex and he was the cheater. Not only was that a terrible thing to do to you, it was a terrible thing to do to the kids.

          • My now husband is a fellow chump. He reads Chump Lady, does not comment, AKA lurker.

            Anyway, he is going through the same thing with his serial cheater Ex wife. She is MAD he moved on and got remarried and uses his daughter as a pawn. He had near full custody until we got married and he might see his daughter every other weekend now.

      • Of course, she HAS to say that! She’s an abuser! Denial, denial, denial …. And pretty stupid denial, as well; who would ever take that seriously?

        I think the abusive patterns are the same, no matter the gender, sexual orientation, cultural background … And I think every teenager should be taught how to recognize and avoid/ deal with abusive people, in their romantic relationships, friendships, at work …. It would be a revolution.

        I’m glad you fought so hard to be in your kids’ lives, they need you!

      • This is the one issue I despise with cheating women, especially narcissistic abusive women — using the kids as pawns.
        I’ve seen enough Snapped! episodes on Oxygen to be familiar with how down right nasty and cruel abusive women can be.
        My heart breaks for the kids and the dad’s that suffer through this.
        I wish that the courts could acknowledge this rampant abuse. I hate them all.
        I know of one chump male that has been able to succeed over cheating-xw’s devious shit— he has his kids every other week, pays nothing to xw and is the best hands on dad I know.

  • Thank you for pointing out the cheater can punish because it keeps the sparks alive with their Twu Wuv. I kept wondering why my ex continued to lie about the other woman when he had moved out and she was living with him. It made no sense, I kept expecting him to finally tell me the whole truth. It was just more lies like he was “perfect”, and I couldn’t please him because of the goal posts moving.
    This site has been wonderful for getting through the divorce. Thank you CL.

    • I totally think that keeping the sparks with the OW is a huge part of it. My ex has calmed down remarkably of late, and I am pretty sure that he is no longer with the OW. Seems like treating me like shit is less appealing when he doesn’t get to cackle about it with her.

      • I got to the point where I could tell when CheaterX and Schmoopie had been fighting. CheaterX was typically uncommunicative when he wasn’t ranting, so I would hear from him only in the mornings (I had a long period of limbo when I was lining up my ducks and he dragged out the divorce for over a year). If he started asking me how I was doing–something he rarely did even before I knew he was cheating–I knew something was up.

        Sure enough, he’d have left his cell phone in his car because Schmoopie was calling every few seconds and texting him the same thing over and over.

        I’d seen enough texts after Dday to see how they used me as a focus for their triangulation. As we all know, this was very hurtful, but I see that it’s so typically cheater. Once I was out of the picture, their relationship didn’t last long.

      • I also think that for as long as my STBXH stays with the OW, he will never be able to be fully civil with me, especially when I grey rock him. I know he interprets my lack of communication as just another form of “control” that I’m exercising in my attempt to continue “emasculating” him. So, he probably feels like he’s dishing out just desserts to me when he ignores my texts or emails about the kids.

        I met the ex-husband of the OW in the summer, and he described a long history of narcissistic behaviour on her part. He has an uncle who is a psychology professor at the local university who was the one that identified her as a narcissist and said that he would never be able to treat her because she is always right. He told me how few friends she has and few family members she is close to. She has enabling parents that have a son that is an alcoholic that they consider a lost cause, so they do everything for her to hang on to her and keep the grandkids safe.

        There is so much of her narrative about her ex that my ex now claims about me. Her influence. Both believe they were married to such controlling people and that they lost out in life because of us. They are just the coolest and we’re the losers they got strapped with.

        My ex has been seen with her at a seafood restaurant when I know he absolutely detests seafood. He’s suddenly an expert on freshly ground coffee beans and won’t drink anything that isn’t freshly ground and brewed. He spent years buying cheap coffee and pick up from McDonald’s. The kids constantly mention how daddy is texting all the time. He used to be the guy that friends would get annoyed with because he never checks his phone. This is her. He’s the conflict avoider who assumes the characteristics of whomever he is with.

        Because his family has made it clear that they will never accept this woman into their homes, he denied the relationship the first few months and now no one mentions anything about it. He also has not brought her around in the last year they’ve been free to be together to meet any of his good friends. I think he’s been sticking with one or two fringe friends, but otherwise, it’s all about her world.

        He blames me for making it impossible for others to accept his relationship with the OW. Told me before he left me for good that it’s my fault his parents won’t be open to the relationship because I told him about the things I had learned about her (assault charge against her for hitting her husband which resulted in a peace bond, drinking problem, no custody of the kids, OH and the fact that she was cheating with my husband for over a year-and-a-half). I told him he was delusional if he ever thought that his ultra-conservative Catholic family would ever be open to an adulterous relationship. They don’t care that “she’s just a good person who has made some mistakes in her life.” That they care about is character and morality.

        And so he will continue to be resentful of me for as long as he attempts to continue rationalizing this relationship. He doesn’t have the guts to bring it out into the open, but it’s all my fault. He doesn’t want the fall-out. He knows that people will freak out, especially when she’s so low-value, and he cares about what others think of him. But, he wants her to meet his needs and have fun. Poor sad sausage is full of sadz, and I guess that’s all my fault too.

        Chumps are the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in their lives, and I expect I will be the scapegoat for a long-time coming. He’s broke – my fault. He’s no longer respected by others – my fault. He doesn’t like his job – my fault. He can’t present the OW to the world – my fault. Our kids won’t like her – my fault. He cheated – my fault. His needs weren’t being met – my fault. His best friend (my cousin) has dropped him – my fault. His care is causing problem – my fault.

        As long as he has her to validate his victimhood, I’m sure the fun will continue. Luckily, I’m learning to let go of any expectations of him. Thank God, I don’t need anything from him, just be decent to the kids. I have places to go, and I’m getting really pumped about the direction life is going. Just waiting for signatures on the dotted line for the first breath of freedom.

        • This is eerily me! I have a joke with my teens that I am to blame for global warming. Why not? I am to blame for everything else.

          Two years down the track, I am now to blame that he is unable to cope with having his teens week about. Apparently I never allowed him to develop the skills to be a real parent. FFS…..however, he can cope with OW teens, go figure…

        • “…. He’s the conflict avoider who assumes the characteristics of whomever he is with….otherwise, it’s all about her world….”

          Same here.
          He is now the #1 fan of my team’s biggest rival. When we were together,the was all about my team.
          He couldn’t be bothered to be a dad to my Autistic DD, but he’s all big daddy to her kids.
          He has never said it, but I’ve learned over the last four years, is that the poor sad sausage that is exh2/The Evil One is not living the high fun life he wants me to think he’s living.
          He leeched onto her family, they are the only people he ever mentions spending time with- “we’ve been at my in-laws all day, I forgot her bag at the house…”
          He’s broke- even admittedly borrowing money from his parents, my fault I’m sure…
          I know nothing of their lives, only have to deal with him every other weekend, and I’m 98% grey rock, though lately he’s trying to reel me back in, trying to entangle me with his drama his parents.
          Enter the flying monkeys— now that TEO is not talking to them, his father has reached out to me. Ex-FIL, TEO, Sr. texted me the day after Christmas asking if he could send DD Christmas presents to my house, and I agreed.
          Well, I guess TEO found out, because on New Year’s Day, when he returned DD, he was wearing one of the infamous DILLIGAF shirts (he has several) and was very curt with me. Ugh.
          Four years out, and it feels like he’s trying to suck me back in. Smfh

  • These super special punishers are extremely difficult to navigate. As CL said, the best is to document, and may I add keep a cool head and trust the process. Trust that the legal process will work it out, and remain calm so that there’s no overreaction

  • I know today’s column is a repeat (I’d love to hear how things are going for the writer), but it is also a version of my own situation. The only upside of this kind of behavior is that it does quell the second thoughts. When I sat down with my EX to discuss a separation, I think I’d been hoping for dismay or remorse (agreement would have been best, but I was not that delusional). What I got was “you are evil” and “you will burn in hell for this.” So much for the fantasy of, “I love you and it tears me apart that we’ve come to this.” But, hey, if your spouse accuses you (the loyal spouse) of “breaking your vows before God” and becoming “evil incarnate”for thinking about divorce, as opposed to his little problem with 25-year-younger women, it is hard to come up with reasons to stay in the marriage–even for chumps!

    All I can tell anyone else trying to separate from the toxic, punitive variety of cheater is to document, document, document–if there are kids involved. Although the punitive ones do tend to abandon children eventually, it can take years, and the viciousness will pop up after periods of quietness when you’ve dared to relax. Keep records. If you think your EX sees vengeance as an appropriate response to divorce, faithfully maintain a childcare journal that notes briefly what you’ve done each day and what contact your EX has had (or failed to have) with the kids. Your lawyer can put to bed a lot of the vengeful claims when they arise because you document and the vengeful EX will probably just be flying from the seat of his or her pants as the spirits of cruelty and wrath move them.

    And, yes, to the “save for therapy” advice. I’m eight years out of my marriage. The kids and I had therapy for the first year. It was immensely helpful to me. I’ve drawn on what I learned ever since. But as one child has hit a new stage in life, issues stemming at least in part from the EX have surfaced and we begin again next week. As I told the therapist when I called yesterday, “I’m out of my league” on this new issue.

  • “I’m convinced part of this dynamic of demonizing the chump is keeping the sparks alive with the affair partner. They so badly need the “pick me” dance, the triangulation, the big, bad meanie who is thwarting their Twu Wuv.”

    After finding out the affair baby was named after chumpy ol’ me, I concur. Sane chumps, for healthy reasons, cannot fathom how deep the rabbit hole goes in the “reality” of an insidious abuser, and the subsequent actions. NC and documentation are the only actions to help heal from continued abuse, and keep from having a tea party with a man suffering from mercury poising and a personified rodent.

  • The best advice for dealing with an abusive ex came from a psychologist doing a custody evaluation. He said to treat all communications as professional business dealings. If she yells at me on the phone I would tell her I don’t have to accept that and I’m going to hang up now. Then I’d hang up. The other advice was to document everything in writing. If the boys have school events send her a letter so she knows about it. If they go to a doctor for a cold let her know. If there is a major decision to be made ask her in writing to give her opinions. I had several three ring binders of such communication. She never had a basis to complain. I carefully avoided badmouthing her to my sons. Eventually, after several years, she decided to cut back on visitation with the boys. My sons are in their 30s now and they have little to do with their mom because they see through her games. Thank God for eventual justice.

    Background. First wife had an affair and dumped me. Then she decided she didn’t want the responsibility of two young sons and a house. She gave me primary custody. I was very happy to be a single dad. Two years later she filed for custody of my sons. It was ugly and she did many things to abuse and punish me, including triangulating the boys. I was so afraid I would lose my sons. After months of agony the custody fight ended. I kept primary custody which was worth having to pay huge attorney fees, including hers.

    • RatInACage:

      I’m so sorry that you had to go through this experience TWICE. But it sounds like you’re an awesome Dad and have handled yourself beautifully under very difficult circumstances.

      As a child of divorce myself, I feel incredibly fortunate that I didn’t have to slog through acrimonious custody issues, and my triplet sons didn’t have to deal with the fallout of our divorce until they were adults. Now 35, and as men with families of their own, the boys clearly see and understand the horrendous behavior perpetrated by their father on me and our marriage (serial cheating, financial and emotional abuse, etc.); none of them approve of his choices, including his recent nuptials to AP #14 (yet another married coworker). I believe they feel torn between their intense loyalty to me and their perceived need to maintain some sort of relationship — albeit strained — with their father. I am Zero Contact with XH, so unless they ask me to weigh in with my opinion, I stay as far away from this sensitive issue as I can, trusting that as smart, responsible young men, my sons will individually manage that core relationship in the way that feels most comfortable and appropriate.

  • I think it’s because he knows you and knows this will hurt you, and because you had the cheek to dump him, this is your punishment. I find intelligent men often go this route, those not quite so bright often concentrate on finding the next sucker!!

    • I truly believe that toxic cheaters are lazy and will wait with expectation, chump will do for me, think for me, serve me, fix it for me.
      But the moment we don’t do it or it right, chump hurt my feelings, wwaaaa!

    • The Dickhead could read people (although I don’t think he really ever understood me) and was mechanically smart. Otherwise, not so intelligent. He went on to the next sucker – he’s her problem now.

  • “Also, I’m convinced part of this dynamic of demonizing the chump is keeping the sparks alive with the affair partner. They so badly need the “pick me” dance, the triangulation, the big, bad meanie who is thwarting their Twu Wuv. So long as you have to engage with him in any way, like say a protracted legal battle, you’re the common enemy he and the OW can unite around. He can idolized the OW, because he’s devaluing you. (Oh, her turn will come, don’t worry.)”

    So true Tracy. And then there’s the toxic ones who do remain no contact enlisting and using the OW and adult children to deliver the punishment.

    I think of it as energy conservation for the cheating X; he gets to cheat while the flying monkeys are focused elsewhere. The drama serves a purpose.

    • Doingme, I so agree.

      After 5th dday with ex narcopath, I warned the new victim, via a letter, what a monster ex narcopath was/is.

      She may have been an unwilling OW (due to all ex’s lies and deceit), but she was known in my circles and is a lovely person. Also, she has 2 young daughters that were at risk by even knowing ex narcopath.

      In hindsight, maybe not my smartest move, because he delighted in the kibbles of that letter and they were UNITED in their hate of me and my truth.

      BUT. She did listen to some of the things I said in the letter and insisted he stop drinking. She also dumped his ass before she went to court with HER cheating ex husband, because she knew that her association with ex narcopath would compromise her custody negotiations.

      How did I know all of this? Ex narcopath is the king of hoovering and came skulking back when she dumped him (4th time for her), and told me all about how much they talked about the letter and how dare I sent it, and oh, how they laughed at it, but then she said no more drinking for you, and then maybe Chumpedincanada was the narcissist and not him, and then how she analyzed everything in it, and low and behold! He did everything to her, that I outlined in the letter that he had done to me….and then she dumped him. Over and over.

      So basically their relationship was spent analyzing my letter and having a common enemy to hate.

      Chump Lady nailed it!

    • So true, DoingMe, they always find a way to punish.

      Hannibal Lecher’s lifelong best friend died two years ago and he keeps in touch with the widow (who sided largely with me). He told her to never mention my name, so she has to refer to me as She Who Must Not Be Named.

      Her daughter is getting married in July. Hannibal said he will not come if I am invited, so daughter chose to invite Hannibal in memory of her father’s friendship with him. Hannibal’s revenge has consisted in isolating me from any of my supporters he can influence.

        • I agree, largely. The woman has been relegated to a second-tier friend because she has not always adeptly navigated being friends with both of us.

          And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there is a frisson of pleasure in knowing Hannibal is peeved by my friendship with the woman ; ). [Though this is not why I remain friends with the woman; we’ve been friends for 20+ years, I was very supportive of her as her husband went through cancer treatments and after his death, and I connect deeply to people, so don’t give up friendships easily.]

          • Second-tier, perfect description. Yet easily manipulated. The first manipulation (She who must not be named) is the crack in the door that allows the entry of the rat. Vulnerability isn’t met with genuine care, rather used to employ an ultimatum.

            The real power is having integrity.

    • The Dickhead’s first wife (and mother of his kids) was a leg in the triangle for 19 years. They were only married for 2.5 years. I know he cheated as he said he did it in retaliation because she slept with her boss.

      I feel for the woman now. He used to talk about how lazy she was with him and their firstborn, the daughter. Later in marriage, I would say to him, ‘maybe she was depressed?”. She had a first of major depression for the years after DH and I met and got married. Hell, I’m not convinced that I wasn’t the OW because he mentioned that they tried getting back together but it was way before me. Honestly, I don’t believe much of what he told me.

      I took myself out of the his latest triangle. He can only talk about me so much if I’m not interacting with him. I haven’t had any communication since mid-September and I plan on staying NC. It’s hard to look sane and talk about the ex-wife when she’s no longer in the picture.

  • I couldn’t figure out why my Ex was ramping up the hate and hassle late last year, many years after I kicked him out. Sure, he’s probably pissed the kids, now in their late teens, went from barely seeing him to not seeing him at all, but that was months prior.

    But it makes sense that he needs this, in his relationship w/his current girlfriend (not Shmoopie. She dumped him. For another man. Twice.)

    He and this girlfriend have been together 3 or 4 years now, all the sparkles are wearing off, probably. It’d be harder to cheat/mistreat until she dumps him (his usual pattern), because a) he’s no longer as young, good looking and full of potential as in the past, and b) I think either she or her family have $$$$, so it’s definitely to his advantage to stay w/her.

    So how to justify what an angry, moody, miserable bastard he is? Must be KarenE’s fault! She has alienated his kids, AND gets his money, too!

    How to dispel some of his boredom? Stir up some drama!

    How to distract her from how crap this relationship actually is and give her hopium? Get her working WITH him against me! They’re a team! (Oh, honey, you are sooooo not!). Once this problem is resolved, he’ll be happier and nicer! Some of those e-mails were definitely not written by him alone.

    So, $6000 in my lawyer’s fees later, he has been required to … comply w/the exact same $ agreement we had before. Sigh.

    Breeding w/a fuckwit. The gift that keeps on giving. But life is still SO much better w/o him.

      • We asked for my lawyer’s fees on the first round, that was refused. Took three more rounds to get this done, and we didn’t ask for fees on that last one. Should have! The judge was NOT amused by Ex not showing up and not sending a lawyer when we got to court.

        Most fun was when the judge asked whether my ex had replied to my lawyer’s queries on whether he intended to pay as ordered. She directed him to a print out of Ex’s ranty non-reply reply e-mail. Did you know judges have a special face they make when they really want to roll their eyes, but aren’t allowed because they’re presiding?

        Definitely asking for fees if we have to do this again, and the accumulation means I’ll be more likely to get them…

  • Number one predictor of a cheater or manipulator is blameshifting. They cannot take responsibility for anything.

    • I don’t understand the anger and meanness when he was the one that left. Why can’t he just cooperate so I can move on? He has his GF and a nice house. He’s angry and self righteous.
      Sometimes I think it is because we know what they are. He whines about what he has to pay for and I remind him that it is the consequence of his choices and he has no one to blame but himself. Thank god my kids are adults.

  • At the risk of over-intellectualizing: it’s a combination of an error of philosophy and of logic:

    (1) The just-world fallacy: good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people.
    (2) A mistake in logic: asserting the converse of a true statement.

    (1) is basically “if you are a bad person, bad things will happen to you” and (2) flips that statement around: “if bad things happen to you, you are a bad person”.

    So, if you are punished (by the cheater, who’s not really a disinterested party, but who’s keeping track?), it’s because it was your fault (not the cheater’s fault, which is really the critical conclusion they’ve been trying to achieve).

    Of course, all this is happening unconsciously, which probably makes it all the more powerful a psychological drive. I don’t think any of them could articulate it.

    Anyone who’s taken formal logic more recently than I did is free to correct my terminology!

    • Involuntary Georgian

      “Of course, all this is happening unconsciously, which probably makes it all the more powerful a psychological drive.”

      There’s a danger in the belief this is happening unconsciously. First off many times reconciliation is based on the victims belief that it was all a mistake. However, behavior does not change.
      It’s when we recognize the abusivr behavior as a decision that we can free ourselves from abuse.

      • I think this is right. I have been twisting and churning why my cheater continued the affair through the summer even though I told me how much it hurt me, asked him not to be in contact, and explained he could not pick a worse person (subordinate of his and friend of mine) to ensure maximum negative impact.

        The only conclusion is that he did not care and felt entitled to satisfy his own needs. This is conscious decision making. This is not something that happens by chance.

        He even had the audacity to tell me that he had no choice but to see her.
        And throughout the summer he called me obsessed with the OW and mentally disordered for accusing him of still seeing her. I had to be a really strong investigator to expose him.

        After this I will never believe again that they do thinks with anything less than contempt and purpose.

      • I repeat one simple statement to myself whenever i try to untangle the skein of my STBX and that’s

        “STBX made choices not mistakes”

        Puts the responsibility where it needs to be and helps me reduce our history to the most important part

  • Here is my take on this based on my cheater’s and luckily STBX’s behavior.

    My STBX is very much driven by a black and white mentality. There always has to be an enemy to explain why things go wrong in his life and why he feels in any way negative. And there always has to be someone that admires him deeply.

    When you divorce him, you automatically earn a ticket towards being his enemy for life. Always useful for anything that may go wrong. It is a badge of questionable honor to be his enemy. Since he cheated, you probably have been this person for a while whether you knew that you were or not.

    My cheater always had enemies and I know the same pattern from other narcissisticly inclined people I know. My STBX once had a grudge against the entire nation of China (work related, he had to travel there a lot… I mean, he talked about China like a complete racist), he had grudges against bosses (all idiots), and then in contrast told me always how some people just told him constantly how wonderful and super he was. Included in this list was the OW, who was his subordinate and mentee at work. Apparently, there was a time and place where this OW surpassed me as the major kibble dispenser and then I had to be pushed further down to Enemy Number 1 to justify him switching from me to her.
    I should have been able to tell, because a few years ago he all over sudden did not have issues with China , anymore, but treated me worse than he has ever done.

    So, yeah. Their world is very polarized in order to stay victim and hero at the same time.
    What are they never? Decent human beings.

    • Speaking of grudges, during the divorce, the Dickhead wrote that he kept hold of things too long. I know he held grudges and used those as battering rams for years. Somehow those grudges were the worst thing that I ever did and they always were “worse” than whatever he did.

      I read on some blog about ‘wound collectors’ and this huge big bright light bulb went off. Until this one uncle died young from cancer (53), the Dickhead would go on and on about how he hated him but I never really got a good reason why. And how the Dickhead didn’t like his maternal grandfather because he dared dating another woman shortly after DH’s grandmother died. Isn’t that rich coming from a cheater?!

      I know there were grudges that he held against. Some of them I’m sure I had apologized for and some of them I did not as I was not in the wrong. He will hold and talk about the grudges for the rest of his sad existence.

      • Thanks for the article, Miss Bailey! It took me a long time to realize Ex’s mother is also a narc, because she’s the ‘wound collecting’ type. She seems so nice and warm, but she’s suuuuuccchhhh a victim! So many people have been terrible to her! She is powerless in these difficult situations!

        She is constantly recruiting people to defend her, help her, and support her. And when one crisis is over? There’s another one! Men! Money! Health! Family! Neighbours! It seems like she has friends, but over time you realize that cast is always changing …

        I finally realized it’s just always about her. Always.

        And after my being so damned good to her, helping her so much (including financially – no, that was NOT Cheater Ex’s idea), improving her relationship w/her son, and supporting her relationship w/our kids after I kicked out her son, now I’m the enemy. ‘Cause there were no crises around for her, no justifications for her self-pity and getting pity from others. So now she’s bought into Ex’s ‘alienation’ scenario and blames me for the kids not seeing their dad, and is making a HUGE deal out of it.

        Sigh.

        • MissBailey

          The wound collecting is another red flag I missed. It was my first impression of his mother, a constant collector of small hurts. She was always rehashing and critical of her sister. It was strange. Like the Limited she couldn’t.have a conversation.

          Went on and planned a cruise; south beach and the keys. His take away was that I didn’t want to attend a chocolate fountain event. EIGHT years later I heard about that after Dday announcement.

          Georgetown vacation and I hear it’s too noisy with car horns. Rooftop pool overlooking the canal; he likes the ocean.

          Thank you for the reminder of the never ending collection of wounds instead of feeling joy.

      • Oh yes, my ex held all kinds of grudges that built up over the years. Some of them weren’t even things I had actually done and some were things he never should have expected of me. Some may have been real but they were for things he did for me that he was happy to do at the time but became an excuse to blame me for everything wrong in his life later. He never remembered the good things, only the bad and there was no such thing as forgiveness. I did the opposite with him (i.e. spackle). No wonder things turned out the way they did.

        • The same experience on my side. Complete rewrite of history.
          I a not claiming that I was perfect. However, I apologized for the mistakes I made. Nothing was ever forgiven, only bad parts remembered…
          I wrote this somewhere else.
          It was like he had a bucket where he put in all mistakes he thought I had made. When the bucket was full, he discarded me. No forgiveness. Everything was my fault.

          • My first XH…not a cheater I don’t think but WOWZER, a grudge holder from hell. He couldn’t remember my birthday, our anniversary, our kids’ birthdays, etc but he could slice through 25 years to when I was still a teenager and said something dumb.

            I just read the article on ‘wound collectors’ jeebus they wrote that article just for him. I was young and just couldn’t understand why he was so pissed off ALL the time about everything. He couldn’t work for anyone (because they were all assholes) and finally had to just work for himself. He harbored and nursed a million grudges throughout his life. I knew this about him: He LOVED being angry. He was constantly pissed off at me because I wasn’t a Stepford wife and if I did one thing he didn’t like, he would rip up the entire house, breaking everything in sight (always my stuff). The neighbors would end up calling the cops on him. That was neat.

            No wonder I’m single. Lol. Sooooo much better living my sweet, calm and rewarding life with no man in it to torture the hell out of me.

            • There’s actually research that people who are constantly in that state of self-righteous anger actually get a little ‘kick’ in their brain, every time they’re mad about something? JUST LIKE people who addicted to drugs, to gambling …..

              Most of us hate feeling annoyed or angry, try to avoid that, love that peaceful feeling. Not this type of narc! They LOVE to feel angry, actively seek it out ….

              • KarenE,
                Chilling post.
                You always hit on some truth that enlightens Chumps.
                That “little kick” that a cheater gets in the brain, is so damaging and hurtful to the real people close to him/her.
                (Something else we can never figure out).

    • Totally agree. People are considered either all good or all bad based on how the narc feels with them, which actually has nothing to do with the other person but is about the narc him/herself. If they feel bad around you because of their own shitty behavior and the fact that you know they have failed at sustaining your relationship, it is your fault and you must be a terrible person. If they feel good being around the OW because it’s fun to screw you over by seeing her, she gets all the credit. She must be a wonferful person if I feel so great when I’m with her, they tell themselves. They will then discard you for a person who only makes them feel good because she is a means to devalue and hurt you. So once you leave a narc, the narc must continue to keep the fantasy that he is abusing you by being with the OW to keep the high he gets off it and stay convinced his new partner is actually his salvation. Hence the continued nastiness, shoving his relationship in your face and conspiring with her to make you miserable.

      • Yep. And I think it is the only tool he has in his repertoire to keep the narrative going in his favor. He had this really awful marriage and needed to leave. The affair has nothing to do with it.
        My cheater sticks to this narrative for the life of him. He even put this in his interrogatories. I am to take full responsibility for the demise of my marriage according to him. The fact that he had a nearly 3 year affair (possibly longer) is not a problem statement, just the proof of how unhappy I made him.

        Of course he needs to keep up the talking that I am a horrible person. Otherwise his mask may slip.
        Once I am no longer available for kibbles, he will blame the OW for feeling bad. Because she is such a bad person, she cheated on her first husband for three years… with… my STBX.

        There is no way that their lives will have a happy ending together. They will eventually be reminded by what they have done once the kids (she has also two kids) wake up. We have been friends before, so everyone knows everybody. So, there is no escaping the truth.

        If he really was unhappy, he could have addressed it. Starting an affair is not an ethical way of treating unhappiness. An affair is the chump nation verified sign of a shitty character with no integrity. And it is also likely a very clear sign that you are dealing with a selfish asshole and maybe even a consistent abuser.

        • We really were married to the same person. In his last email to me, Dickhead said that I needed to accept my part in the divorce. Really? What part? Seeing as he wouldn’t talk to me, I have no idea what he’s blathering on about.

          He told me a couple of times that I wasn’t to blame and he even insinuated to some friends that he was at fault. It was only after I texted him about my feelings about him and his crappy ways, that I suddenly have to own up to my part. BS. He can own the entire thing. Like I keep reminding myself, it’s was hard to make a marriage work when you don’t make your wife a priority or even try to be her friend. Nope, he owns it.

          • Yes. I feel the same.
            He has been awful to me for years. The only part I own up to is the fact that I did not divorce him earlier.

  • I could have written this letter, except I was married 17 years and you can throw in parental alienation.

    My boys are 19 and 18. They moved in with their dad and Howorker now wife 2 1/2 years ago. I rarely see/speak to them despite my attempts.

    At the very beginning, I tried to talk to Satan about the situation. His response, “I did it because you got remarried.” It took me 7 years to tamp down my fear and get remarried. I lost my kids because of it.

    • Give them time, honey. They’re not even 20 years old yet. You can play the long game; they will come round, I am sure, especially once they have families of their own.

    • I’m so sorry.
      My situation with my sons — then 12 & 6 — is similiar. Because of TEO making life hell, they left to go back to exh1. There were a few dark, disconnected years back then that were dark for me, my boys were my world…
      Fast forward about 8 years later, my sons and I are close than ever.
      Hugs, they’ll come around.

    • I think it is very hard for many teenagers to be apart from their same-sex parent. This makes it even easier for a man to seduce his sons away from the sane parent or a woman to tempt her daughters away. There isn’t much we can do as the opposite sex parent to resist the biological and social narratives that tell kids to value the same sex parent relationship more as they hit the teenage years. When the other parent is actively encouraging the kids to ditch the opposite sex parent, they often lack the experience and insight to see what is happening. Whether you were a perfect mom when they were living with you or an ordinarily flawed one, the outcome would have been the same.

      I can’t imagine many things harder than what you are experiencing. I hope they find their way back to you as they age and become more cognizant of what they’ve lost by distancing themselves from you.

  • My ex never followed through on his threats but I definitely realized at a certain point that he was picking fights because it kept the OW in the us vs. evil chump triangle. Because he left me not because they were cheating but that I was so terrible to him. So now when he out of the blue picks a fight with me, I check to see if he’s got trouble in paradise. Sure enough. OW is threatening to leave. So I’m no contact but if he starts I just say let’s be friends! And oh no! That would bring his blamey house of cards down. There’s definitely a cheaters playbook out there

  • Seems NPD-Cheaters do false equivalencies in their control-abuse rages. The flames stuff sounds like projecting!
    NPD- aka narcissists / narcs are a specially toxic breed of cheater aren’t they? In my case uncovering cheating on the tech resulted in huge rage and threats. Only later after consequences did extreme charm and high stakes sad-sausage get played. CN have given wise words on the forum about moving on from narcs.
    Sounds like you are mightily moving on in trying circumstances. Strength and good wishes to you ChumpyLawyer.

  • My ex cut a younger sibling out of their mother’s will (he tricked their mother) ,and he also skated away with more than his fair share of the estate with regard to his other siblings.

    YET, he tells people how his siblings are awful people who have turned their backs on him.

    The disordered always have to be the victim. They always have to bad mouth people so they look better than they really are.

    He was sending me rotten things running me and my family down until this past summer. When I threatened a restraining order. There has been no contact and peace since I did this.

  • Sometimes you get the opposite too. Sometimes they try to remain all buddy buddy with the betrayed spouse in order to keep Schmoopie in the pick me dance. Maintaining a friendly relationship with the ex probably makes some Schmoopie’s uncomfortable but it is hard to protest without looking petty and hypocritical. Either that or they just do it for image management so people will think they are saints for remaining friendly with the ex who was clearly so awful that he/she drove cheater to cheat. I think my ex just avoids punishing behavior because if he tried it his family would disown him and he knows it. Of course he only cares about that because it would make him look bad to the rest of the world.

  • I can speak to all of this as well. I thought my special hell was over once the divorce was final about a month ago, but how I was wrong!

    I have learned a lot obviously from CL, but also from Kaleah LaRoche. Her website is:

    https://www.narcissismfree.com/

    Our marriage therapist did diagnosis him with NPD with sociopathic traits, which validated my experience.

    Kaleah’s videos on her website on how to “coparent” with a narcissist are incredibly helpful. She also helps with narcissistic abuse recovery.

    Thank u, CL, for this today!

    • Thanks for including this reference. I am not a chump but found this site after googling ‘narcissism.’ There are so many references here and so much learning. It amazes me the parallels between cheaters and narcissists, I think cheaters ARE narcissists. I read here daily to learn how to better cope with a now deceased narcissist family member (who was also an alcoholic!). So much related learning.

  • I’ve got the OW emailing me 2 years later asking me how much ex still owes… Then when I don’t answer another email basically semi threatening that ex is paying too much in child support and he shouldn’t be doing this as it is affecting their lifestyle and she is having to pay for everything. Then she called me a c*&t. My jaw hit the floor. How smug and entitled? She is more important than his kids? Get tae! And apparently he only said he’d pay more as a hoop to jump through to see them. He doesn’t see them. He can’t. He can’t face me or talk to me, he is an abuser and a user.

    • I agree, block her do NOT respond! But think it as loudly as you want….”That’s your karma, baaaaby!”

    • What’s ironic is that about 18 months post-divorce, TEO stopped paying child support, I went straight to child support enforcement office, they started a case, and for the next 2.5 years I got child support sporadically. Finally, about 6 months ago, under threat of losing his license, he started paying again on the regular. I also got his and OWife’s entire tax return for 2017 🤣😂 and he still owes more in arrears.
      He thinks he’s slick because he’s paying directly to the state instead of the child support enforcement office, which applies 25% interest that accrues monthly. 🤣
      Now, he’s the ironic part— OWife/Mrs. Dumbass went to child support enforcement office too for her exh and had the nerve to say to me a few months back, “I wish they (CSEO) would go after my exh the way they’ve gotten a hold of (TEO)”
      I just looked at her like, bitch please. She was A-OK with TEO not paying me for months, but her exh should pay by God!!! Smfh assholes

  • No/Way

    Guessing the reality is sinking in. The OW made it clear in the harassment year that she had a granddaughter – mine. But it went much further. She injected herself into the divorce accompanying him to his lawyer after I filed.

    Going for the gusto she screamed at his attorney. Mine was previously a judge and his attorney withdrew.

    My attorney was clear that he was entitled to my pension. She didn’t come to court and he represented himself. Kept my pension.

    Next she decided to target my oldest who I had previously supported financially, emotionally, and with everyday aspects of life.

    Let that go. She’s done a shit job and belittles her in every way.

    I too was cold the C word as well as frigid. Gentle reminder, you won a 2 inch dick with no assets. Polish that.

    Four years out and I laugh. They make a perfect disordered couple.

    And report her for harassment.

  • Gosh, I feel this so hard. Ending a year and a half of this abusuve crap. Thousands of dollars in attorneys fees later, I’m almost done. I dared to ask for half our stuff and temporary child support while I finish college (keeping in mind I helped put him through school a decade ago). It’s all angry texts and emails and doors slamming in my face, etc. these people are all angry toddlers.

  • My ex was so kind, gentle, considerate & thoughtful from our 1st date to about a week before dday (we were married over 24 yrs). He became very critical of me & I remember being in tears because his behavior was so foreign. The blaming & resentment after dday still haunts me. He left a month later & filed 2 months after that. I had a part time job at the time & had to beg him to pay most of the bills (he made over 100k to my 15k). I came home from work one day & he had had the water turned off saying it was because he no longer lived there. He cheated yet he made sure he gave it to me.

    • A Pod Person in an Edgar Suit. It’s so hurtful.

      It’s as if they use all that kindness, and store it up, and hold it against you, as if they’ve paid in advance for the privilege of treating you like shit once they’re sick of you.

  • I loved my husband so much. I believe he loved me. After his affair, it was like he had a character transplant. Now, he doesn’t pay the full child support. He let his mistress drive into my driveway to pick up my children. He wants more custody. He forces my children to spend time with the OW. Punished, yes. Asshole, yes. Soul sucking nightmare, yes.

    • I am sorry sweetie. I hope this lets up. Is there any legal recourse? For me martial arts really helped assert myself. How old are your children? Can you get some supportive psychotherapy for them? Get some lega advice.

  • All about control. Simple. And if he’s as insecure as my shit, the fact that you are a lawyer must gall him. I know it ate mine up. Little shit.

  • My xh is 3 years legally gone. 32 yr marriage. Sooooo many lies and crap I have had to work very hard to recover. SO …. 1 week ago Im in Costco buying stuff, storage containers to declutter etc. Its my turn to pay and the clerk tells me that my card is No long Active. WTF. I’ve had it for 28 yrs, How is this possible. i applied for a new credit card and Costco membership 4 years ago. So Im totally humiliated, its very busy after the holidays….. and they clerk scoots me off to a manager to assist me. I was able to pay for my stuff but come to find out for some ungodly reason on Dec 31, the Xh went into another costco and told them to cancel my membership that had been established 28 yrs ago. Whatever, ABSOLUTELY NO reason to do this, We do have separate accounts but 28 yrs ago costs registered our names together, I had to pay 120 for a new executive card and squirm out of there, Can someone say “I HATE HIM” They never give up trying to do shit and take you out. Im sure he was feeling sadz from being on the outside looking in at the family christmas gatherings that he choose to leave for his HOES. UGH

  • Ha, the abuse.
    For me it’s been 12 years of hell, but for most of it we were in different countries after he fled with my kids on a fake trip, moved in with ho-bag.

    One strategy for me that I stumbled on in frustration, has been to over-engage to the point of absurdity.

    ‘I don’t quite understand that last sentence, can you please explain what you mean by stating that I’m an evil tramp? Lets begin with the common dictionary definition of ‘evil’ …yadi yada

    Lately he’s gone crickets. Won’t even discuss drop off for visitation he lets my 13 yr old son arrange it and he drops them early and takes off … Works for me.

  • Cause it’s you who made him cheat, and then you throw him out, now he needs to pay child support, and the list of all the pesky little things he has to take care of, don’t you realize it’s all your fault? If you had treated him better, he wouldn’t have had to cheat, and then he could live happily ever after. But no, you had to destroy everything.
    I hope you realize that he is a pathetic POS who throws a little tantrum, they simply can’t be held accountable for their actions! SHeesh.

  • Oh man! This is my ex to the tee! Won’t leave me alone and admittedly says he does it to be malicious! And yes it’s all about control and as soon as he thinks he’s losing it he steps it up big time! Even though he’s living with some dumbass 23 year old whom he also cheats on. And yes he uses the kids to try to control me.

  • But what if it’s the reverse? What if you’re (the chump) the one who has this mighty need to punish the cheater? To derive purpose and power by controlling them? We’re entitled to our pounds of flesh after enduring the BS they throw at us, aren’t we?

    Three years after D-day, I’ve turned from suicidal to deciding that bringing my cheater down would be my life’s purpose. Finding a way to make Meh work in the equation; they can’t be mutually exclusive, can they?

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