When I found your book I had been one of the suckers that was searching the RIC sites for answers. I had no clue that someone like you existed and those sites were all I could find with my limited computer skills. Needless to say your site is my go-to place now, so thank you, because you have saved my life and my sanity. I thank you and someday my children will thank you.
When I read your book, I was aghast in that I completely identified with being a chump and the fuckwit was just as you described too. In one sense that knowledge came as a huge relief. In the other sense, it opened up an entirely new can of worms for me, which may be beyond the scope of this site.
I was left feeling like I am just a stereotype. That there isn’t any real substance to me — I am playing/was playing out a very predictable role in all of this. Even in my stages of recovery — how I am responding and the time line — is predictable, just like the life stages we all go through in this life…. a two years old’s behavior will be a two year old’s behavior and will change as the child turns into a three year old, etc….
It is a weirder than weird place to be and from which to view what I thought was my life. To try to put it into words — I am feeling used by my own personality/self to play out life as I know it on this planet.
The ‘role’ I used to play was happily married in a committed relationship and now I have been thrust into chumpdom and what I thought was my happily married life was ALL a lie as fuckwit was/is a serial cheater so my past is being rewritten as I discover all of the red flags I didn’t know existed in my ‘happily married life’. And all of this unraveling is predictable too.
‘Nothing new under the sun,’ but I hate feeling like a stereotype — so predictable. Yes, I can see from people who respond here that there is life after D-Day but the question that is looming larger still is will that new life just be another stereotyped role I wander into too?
Bewildered Stereotype Chump
Dear Perfectly Unique and Singular Person,
I think you’re confusing a predictable situation with being a predictable person. Cheating is a cliche, you’re not a cliche.
People often comment to me about my book, or blog, Wow, it’s like you snuck into my living room and recorded our conversations! Or Were we married to the same person? Or they think Chump Lady has some sort of prognostic ability. Hi, it’s me 6 months later. I didn’t listen to the CN advice, and it went down just like you said…
I don’t have superpowers. All of this chump/cheater crap is predictable and eerily similar, because:
1.) I’m viewing it through a simple lens — manipulation. Not love, not potential, not subterranean FOO forces, but manipulation. I see cheating as an abusive power dynamic. When you work from that premise, the rest falls into place because…
2.) There are only so many moves on the chessboard.
If you want someone to do something, (eat shit sandwiches, don’t ask questions, never find out), and you take honest direct requests off the table (they might say no and exercise agency), that leaves manipulation and force.
Now, manipulation can be backed up with force, or the threat of it. I’ll hit you, I’ll impoverish you, I’ll take away your children, if you don’t go along with my lies. But manipulation is the name of the game. It’s lazier. I weaponize your decency, assume you’ll believe me (and you have vested interests to believe me), push a few levers, and I can get you to be my chump puppet.
Let’s look at the game board. I’ve been discovered as a cheater — I can deny it (gaslight you); admit it, but blame you for it (blameshifting); admit it, promise to end it, but don’t (cake eating, lying); admit it, but claim it’s no big deal (minimizing, gaslighting).
If you resist me?
I deploy the three channels of mindfuckery — rage (force or the threat of it), self-pity (a form of DARVO, deny, accuse, reverse victim/offender), and charm (deception).
If you read on any infidelity board for any amount of time you will see these chess moves play out over and over and over and over and over again.
Does that mean we are all the same pawn? No, it means wake the fuck up and step off the chess board. You’re living in a game.
The biggest problem chumps have after discovery is wanting to believe they are special. That their love meant something (I’m special! He cares!), that their situation is heroic (I am a strong woman loving a troubled man and our marriage will TRIUMPH! And be better than before! ), or unique (He only cheated because of a brain injury/a predatory Schmoopie/his deep-seated fear of intimacy and bees…)
It’s hard to let go of the I’M SPECIAL AND WE CAN BEAT THIS storyline. Because all those notions are much more romantic and noble. To recognize you’re being played for a chump is devastating. And not a popular message (thus the marketshare of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex).
Just because he forced you into an unwitting role (Now starring Bewildered as chump!) doesn’t mean you’re not special or worthy of love. Or that you can’t go on to have an honest relationship with an honest person. Being cheated on doesn’t say anything about you, but it says a lot about fuckwits. How shallow they are, how we’re just two-bit characters in their soap opera dramas.
will that new life just be another stereotyped role I wander into too?
No, unless you’re a two-dimensional person who is defined by others. The cure to this entire chump mindfuck is Know Your Worth. Know who you are, your values, what you’ll tolerate, and what you won’t.
You were always you. Stay true to that person, and accept no substitute game piece.