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When Mother’s Day Sucks

Dear Chump Lady,

Exactly one year ago from Mother’s Day, I was opening gifts, receiving flowers, and left alone in the morning to catch up on some much needed sleep. The next day I woke up with so much gratitude, I said to my husband, “Thank you for a wonderful day, I am so grateful for our life, our family, and you.” Gave him a big kiss as he walked out the door.

Five hours later, after being inspired by Marie Kondo, I found what would be the first of many clues to his double life. Turns out, he had been going to massage parlors and prostitutes — for years. The nicest guy in the world, the one everyone loved, that guy — almost bankrupted me, put my life in danger, and broke up our family.

Because he was too much of a coward, he let me go down a rabbit hole of uncovering all his dirt, which included profiles, emails, and $700 “Tantra” appointments. This motherfucker. I kicked him out shortly after, and never really considered reconciliation because all the books (until I read yours) said the remorse and transparency required, to truly save the marriage, he failed to give.

Doesn’t surprise me that “nicest guy” became cold, distant, and you guessed it, a victim. Clearly my failure to put my postpartum to the side made him feel “rejected” and “disposable.” I barely speak to the douche, when I’ve tried, I just revert to insane crazy woman he destroyed. Parallel parenting and emailing works best for me. I cannot stand to see his face, or hear his voice. He is pushing for counseling because he wants to be “friends” and is uncomfortable with being hated. Imagine that.

Chump Lady, I am so fucking angry. It’s been a year and I’m struggling with all this loss. I was married for 10 years, never even saw it coming. Yet, somehow, I can’t stop crying this week. I’ve cried every day and night. This approaching Mother’s Day feels like trauma, all over again. I can’t even think about it without falling apart, getting angry, falling apart again. I’m known for being tough, resilient and no nonsense. Yet now I’m weak, angry and sad.

The kids are with him this weekend, and honestly, I want to turn off my phone and sit in silence. Don’t feel like lying to everyone about how “great” I’m doing, nor do I have the strength to be cheerful for my kids. Do you think it’s wrong to take the day? I’m hoping this POS hasn’t ruined all Mothers Days, but on this shitty anniversary, I just want to stay in bed. I feel discarded and abandoned, Mother’s Day makes me feel worse. I know it will get better on Tuesday, but this Sunday feels like a shitbag of negative emotions headed my way.

What should I do?

shstorm45

Dear shstorm45,

Do you know the expression, “If it rains, let it”? The forecast calls for grief. These are still early days, and the first holidays can be hard. Mother’s Day’s often an onslaught of smug Intact Family propaganda and #blessed hashtags. And those corsages. OMG, the single mom years when I wanted a corsage and one of those overpriced brunches… And that was before Instagram.

What should you do this Sunday to tough it out?

Whatever you want to. Sob in a corner. Turn off your phone. Stab little Marie Kondo effigies. (Does it spark joy?)

Practicing self-care isn’t all mani-pedis. It’s wailing like a banshee sometimes. It’s not wrong to “take the day.” No, take the whole year if you need too. GRIEVE. Puke your guts out. Punch pillows. Shriek.

For fuck’s sake — you lost your family. I know your kids are alive and well, and you are their sane parent (really, even with the shrieking) — but this feels like death. An unnatural, premeditated death. A tsunami didn’t come and wash away the unbroken legacy of your family — a fuckwit killed it. For strange pussy.

He let you invest 10 years of your life, and create lives, and nurture those lives, and be vulnerable to him. All the time he was humiliating you, risking your health, and stealing your money — your children’s money. (If you can afford a hooker habit, you can afford a college fund.) If the WORST thing you want to do is turn off your phone Sunday? You’re a goddamn saint. You’re not tying him to a tree and bludgeoning him with pink teddy bears, or asphyxiating him with daisy bouquets, are you? I’d say that’s pretty damn classy.

Next year, I’ll give you the pep talk. The Fight For the Life You Want motivational speech #178. And I’ll remind you that you are still an intact family, minus one fuckwit (addition by subtraction!), and Mother’s Day at home with your kids and some half-cooked pancakes beats cheater impression management any day.

But Sunday, just chill out. You aren’t obliged to “fake it til you make it.” You’re obliged to survive it.

Lower the bar. Pull up the covers. There’s some good Netflix on. Big ((hugs)). Tuesday is out there, but first you have to plow through some sucky Sundays. You’ll make it, promise.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mighty Moms of CN! 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • It has taken five years for me, but I can assure you it gets better. Last night my daughter came out of her weekly guitar lesson that I struggle and succeed to pay for bubbling and excited about life. She’s 14.

    She asked me how much they cost, and I told her. And she actually said, ‘You don’t know how much I appreciate that you take your own time and money to do this. I look forward to it all week, and when I’m sad thinking about going cheers me up.’

    Also this week I somehow pulled 1500 dollars out of my 401k and my ass without dad’s help for braces. He’s figured out every single dime he can avoid paying other than the court deductions from his paycheck, and knows my only recourse would cost more in legal fees than is worth the trouble.

    Guess what? She knows too. The guitar and viola. I bought it. The lessons, the birthday parties, the trips, the vacations, the salon, the wardrobe. It’s been over a decade since he bought her a coat or pair of shoes. The Medical Bills, Prescriptions, School Fees, Lunches.

    And it doesn’t matter because she knows and has what she needs anyway.

    I got to tell her it feels awesome to provide for her, that it only feels bad when I can’t and we still figure it out.

    That’s the gift I will have this Mother’s Day. We’re broke until payday but she got her braces. We have food and gas and our lights are on. I love providing for my child and feeling like I don’t need to have a cheating feckless asshole around making me sad. We’ll ride bikes at the park and have a picnic.

    Her thanks is all I need. That’s the gift.

    • You, my darling, are a straight badass. Your little girl has one extraordinary example of a mighty woman.

    • “Also this week I somehow pulled 1500 dollars out of my 401k and my ass without dad’s help for braces. He’s figured out every single dime he can avoid paying other than the court deductions from his paycheck, and knows my only recourse would cost more in legal fees than is worth the trouble.”

      I just shelled out $1000 I had to scrape up (sorry the cable is gone, kids, but I can’t tell you why) for the first of a few emergency dental surgeries for our son. X bitched me out because I didn’t call him the night the accident happened (because I was in a dental ER until late at night and texted him the next morning.). He refused to help pay for any of it, and it’s going to be around $7k for the whole repair.
      I could go back to court, but don’t have the money for legal fees. And truthfully, I’d rather be poor then have to deal with a mean-spirited, cheap douchebag ever again.

      I don’t tell my kids about this shit because they are already traumatized by his behavior. But guess who will be there for one of our son’s graduations from university later today? Not him. My kids know he only cares about them as photo ops for his Fakebook.

      • Consider going pro se. If you go to the courthouse, they can help you fill out the forms. Court employees hate this crap.

        • I second that. You don’t need an attorney to file a small claims action, and the clerks are usually very helpful. Hopefully the bastard won’t show up to the hearing and you’ll get a default judgment. Then you can garnish his wages.

        • Is there a self-help law office in your courthouse? They can’t give you any advice; but they do define terms and give you the forms for free. All those hundreds and hundreds papers and print outs– that adds up. Your clerk of the court may have some advice too; they are so so friendly

      • I echo the sentiments of others….but want to add, in the meantime, maybe a personal loan through the bank might help ease the burden of paying all the money at once. Also, some hospitals do offer help for emergencies like this for people with little money. Sometimes, it is simply a payment plan, other times, they might reduce the cost you have to pay. Either way, it is also something to look into. And, in the end, if you don’t qualify, then so be it. Looking at least helps you navigate it.

    • Hey Luziana,
      There’s a wonderful and FREE website (accepts donations) for budding guitar players. Google Justin Guitar. Your daughter will love it.
      Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Wow; talk about bringing a stranger to tears. You are a wonderful mom, your daughter is a lucky kid, and your Ex is a real idiot.

        • Thank you all! Over the years I’ve just grown to accept that the past doesn’t dictate the future. It sucks how we got here and the larger family and financial stability we lost, but there are plenty of “tiny families” out there doing just fine. I feel thankful to live in a society and age where people might still judge and put down single mothers, they can’t stop me from having a career, surviving on my own hustle and enjoying life. Maybe a good partner is in the cards eventually, but it will never be based on dependence for me.

          I wouldn’t give up the music lessons at all. I think I might be the only Executive level staff at my work who packs their lunch 9/10 days. That pays for the music lessons. I’m a good cook, that helps. She loves the whole experience of going to the Guitar Store and talking to other kids and her teacher, it’s the highlight of her week usually.

          If I have one piece of advice for single chumps who don’t earn a lot or were stay at home parents, It’s this. Get a job in a steady or growing field where there is room to move up. It doesn’t even matter if that boss or the work sucks today. Do it. Unless you are in danger or it goes against every moral fiber of your being. Do the job, really well.

          Move up if you can. If you can’t move sideways to something with wiggle room. Since my daughter was born I have tripled my income, and as my daughter has gotten older I come in early and stay late. Still hustling. And I don’t get hung up on shitty intrigue at work. I save my stress for coping with the fuckwit I bred with. And I work to reduce contact with him and interact with him like he’s irrelevant. Because in my home, he’s obsolete. I speak to him like rando.

          When daughter had a D in math, he stated he was going to ‘come give her a talking to’, and I laughed to his face. “What are you going to take away from her as punishment? The phone I pay for? The nothing you buy her? Two to three days a month sleeping on Nana’s Living Room Couch ? You gave away your status as an authority figure when you decided to not provide for her. You can’t withdraw what you don’t provide.”

          This is the same man that spent thousands to get 50/50 custody, lives less than 20 miles away, and by HIS CHOICE has dwindled his visitation to 2-3 days a month.

          When you feel tired, hollowed out, when your kids are struggling with the travesty that is infidelity, just know that you can do it. Just know in a lot of cases there is nobody but you who is willing to be sane and present. You might have bred with a fuckwit, but you don’t have to die anchored to one. Feel what you feel, then fight to feel better.

          “Always stay gracious. Your best revenge is your paper.” – Beyonce

          • Luz,

            I feel both of your posts on a level that is foundational. You are a champion, a hero and a complete badass – even though I know there are days you would respond to that with “Bish, what?!” because that might not be how you’re feeling on any given day. You are also a shining example for your daughter to follow in coping, overcoming and showing that anything and everything is possible. Your strength, courage and humility is woven into your posts and your life. Happiest of Mother’s Days to you! Thank you for your words and your example.

          • I completely understand how much your daughter loves going to her guitar lessons! I wasn’t suggesting Justin Guitar as a replacement. It’s really an awesome site where she could learn a lot in addition to her weekly lessons. He’s a young, cute Australian guy who offers lessons for free to make learning guitar accessible to everyone regardless of financial circumstances. Best guitar site on the internet imo.
            YouTube has some great tutorials for learning specific songs too.
            You’re a great mom…I loved your post. Your ex hubby is a loser. He doesn’t know what he’s missing.
            Happy Mother’s Day!

          • You win the internet for busting out my favorite Beyoncé quote.

            The best revenge is truly our own success and happiness. I’m not there yet, but posts like yours eloquently keep me on the path to mighty. Thank you!

          • Luziana,

            You are mighty!!! My mom always supported my guitar playing, and as an adult, it truly saved me.

            I don’t know where you live, but I highly recommend Girls Rock camps. It’s all about empowerment with music. They make sure any girl who wants can go, regardless of finances, and many women volunteer and mentor. I have, so rewarding.

    • Luziana, your writing voice is so unique & fabulous. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts for 5 yrs now… Ever considered writing for Medium or other blogs? Or a memoir?

      • I’ve written a few guest columns for CL and a little bit on Pajiba.com. I’m too busy otherwise. 😛

    • What is it with dental bills this week? I spent $2200 on my oldest son (20) to have his wisdom teeth out. Luckily I had it, but I am BROKE. ASS. this week.

      • Do you have any medical coverage at all? Wisdom teeth removal is often covered as surgery by medical insurance if they haven’t yet erupted. If you have any dental coverage, that might pay a portion if the medical doesn’t pay even if it is approved on the medical side but coming out of the deductable. Every little bit helps.

      • I’m teaching in Europe in a country where I don’t speak the language. It was part of the “detoxing” from my succubus ex.

        For the first Mother’s Day in 33 years, I will have none of my kids with me. Ouch.

        I think I’ll feel sorry for myself, take an amazingly long walk with my dog and throw myself into work, which I need to do.

        Next week however, I’ll fly back to the US to see my youngest graduate from college, no thanks to her DOCTOR father who cut her off after her 2nd year, blaming me for all the money he LITERALLY NEVER PAID ME…that “letter” was on a scrap of paper torn from a pad of patient records…and contained one bold lie after another. (Whatever…)

        …but thanks to me, my other daughter and mostly to my son, my youngest child won’t graduate with a ton of debt.

        First, the lunatic DOCTOR discarded our youngest just weeks before her junior year and I was unemployed then…But then my son launched a “get aid to my sister/hardship/change of circumstances” campaign with her college.

        He showed the letter the DOCTOR jotted down, informing her that she was on her own but that the “experience would probably be good for her.” (Seriously).

        So While He was flying Schmoopie and HER daughter to Mexico, he claimed to be a “retired/unemployed anesthesiologist”

        and his own child worked 2 jobs taking a full course load at college.

        For kids’ sake I hope he can repair the relationships he has with them, which is non existent. (But how do you come back from that on top of everything else, which also royally sucked?)

        The college gave my kid a GRANT (no repayment) for 3/4 of her school and we are handling the rest without that terrible poisonous monster I used to love the hologram of.

        So it’ll be my 3 kids & me, at graduation. Our unit of 4 is something the DOCTOR trained us for quite well since he missed literally years of their childhood working or, doing…whatever…

        In truth though, there was always more stress and strife when the DOCTOR was with us than when it was just the 4 of us. Which means there will be more joy and peace and that’s a good thing.

        After I get thru this shitty kidless Mother’s Day, I’ll stfu and get better.

        I DO realize most of my life’s attitude is affected by my life’s attitude!! – and I am in charge of that.

        I was “happily married” for 35 years but that was a lie I told myself the last 12 years of it. I put up with way way too much. Now I don’t have to.

        And if this were a contest (which it sometimes feels like), my Mother’s Day may be lonely but I’ll feel loved. And the DOCTOR can only do that with his fake family – none of whom have met any of his actual kids…

        So let’s not sugarcoat what our marriages had become or enlarge what we lost, or assume the evil ones have it better.

        As my son said, “Good Riddance to Lunacy…”

        And on that note,
        —Everyone, Happy (enough) Mother’s Day!

        My next Mother’s Day I will have fly to see my kids or have them come to me, wherever I am!

        Blessings all

        • Geez what a bastard that guy is. You have done so amazingly well – and what your son did to help his sister is a tribute to the lovely young man YOU have raised. I don’t know where you are in Europe but if you are in France …..

        • Your story resonates with me.

          I am the daughter of such a creature, whom I loved dearly thinking the creature was something he was not.

          We could get a minimal picture of his double life only years after his death. He had left us penniless.

          I don’t know what, if anything he felt for us. All in all it seems like a menumental mockery.
          One’s life, a joke.

          An eerily similar thing I encountered in stbxh.

    • Luziana – You are just like my mother, a hero. My mother struggled to provide my brother and I with what we needed. She kept us safe from an abusive father who never gave us a dime and was out of the picture for years.

      The result of her effort was two kids who went off to earn degrees, become professionals and earn fantastic salaries. My brother and I treat my mother like a Queen. We take care of her now, including a trip every year somewhere with her friends. At my wedding, there was a standing ovation for my mother from my side of the family when she got up to make a speech with my brother. My father was at a peripheral table, no speech, no father/daughter dance. I invited him because it was the kind thing to do, but he had no place of honour at the wedding itself.

      Luziana – You rock. You are a Queen. Your daughter will ensure you are set for life.

  • Brava to you for not jumping through the RIC. I went through 3 years of that bs. When I have a terrible day (yesterday), I just tell myself to sit in it, feel it, grieve it, and then, when I feel like it, I get up and usually go for a run or bike ride. Exercise does wonders to lift the mood.
    I dread Mother’s Day, as well. My kids all live out of state. I may just go see a movie by myself. That’s one of my go-to self soothers.
    To all of us duped mothers out there—take care of your beautiful selves this weekend!!!

    • Yes, Mother’s Day is a tough one, especially since my adult sons have no empathy ( my psychiatrist told me they are 50% genetically Sociopaths… and one is a lawyer, go figure). I do have to say one of my worst Mother’s Day memories was in 2012 ( still married, unaware of ongoing affair), my ex gives a toast at our sons Law School graduation dinner and I am NOT MENTIONED. What an ass.

  • Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry this is so hard for you. But getting over and through this shit anniversary is going to be a huge step towards finding your mighty, and getting to meh.

    Don’t underestimate the value of pulling the covers over your head and staying in bed all day. When I was newly chumped, I pulled the shades and wandered the house in my nightie all day and night, drinking tequila and binge-watching season after season of The Sopranos. For a good ten days (lucky timing for a teacher on holiday break). And on the eleventh, I took a shower, put on actual clothes, and started getting on with my life.

    Take the time you need to mourn, and care for yourself. Jedi hugs.

    • Cleo- yes to tequila! Clase Azul is fantastic! Bought a bottle after mediation and celebrated me moving forward.

  • Shstorm45,

    My exhole cheater couldn’t wait to leave me and came home to give me the ILYBINILWY speech, the night before my sons birthday, and a few weeks before my daughters birthday, Mother’s day and my birthday. What a fucking asshat. My one year anniversary of that time frame was really fucking hard. This year, he’s “not going to see them for a few weeks (two weeks for work and a “business trip” with his schmoopie so the dickhead requested them on Mother’s Day. BUT I’ll tell you this. It actually does get better. My cheater was also a “really great guy”, I loved my life and wouldn’t ever have traded it. But here I am, over a year out, and I’m excited about my future. I’ve used all my hate for him (I also can’t stand to see his face or hear his voice) to propel my life forward. I’ve doubled my income and started working out again. I use his white board (one of his prized possessions that he left) to document how much weight I’ve lost and money I’ve made 😁.
    Cry. Curse him. Survive the weekend. Don’t go on Facebook or Instagram. Read all archives at CL. And then get up on Monday, set yourself some new goals, and take one step at a time forward. 💜💜

    • Unexpected: Same here. Mine was out for a week for ‘work’ and will be again for two more weeks for a vacation with new wife. He had planned on taking son over Mothers Day but then did ask if I wanted him on Sunday when he remembered. I decided he can just keep him and I will celebrate Mothers Day with my son when I get him back since he would only have him 5 days this month including Mothers day. To me it is just a day, especially since I would be planning the day anyway– kind of takes away from it all. Instead I am going on a date:-). I think I am getting close to Tuesday sometimes!

  • So a couple of thoughts… you have choices… if you want your kids with you on Mother’s Day… regardless of the visitation schedule… you can ask your X for it. OR… you can take the solitude and make it a day where you do you… as CL says… it is your day to spend as you wish.

    Historically, Mr. Sparkles sucked at Mother’s Day. I got day old flowers and a card. Even though I stepped up in every way to help with my five step kids and our own son, he felt that was expected so what’s the big deal about it already.

    Post discard, I reinvented Mother’s Day. Now it is just me and my son… one year, we went to an amusement park for the day… another year we went to NYC for the day and had lunch and saw a show… another year we chilled at home and he toasted me up some French Toast sticks and brought me breakfast in bed (I was stunned on this one!).

    I did this for many reasons:

    – my fuckwit doesn’t acknowledge Mother’s Day… he has no interest in teaching my son to be considerate or thoughtful or how to show respect to me… so I have to do it

    – my son wants to acknowledge the day… so tonight I’ll take him to Target (he’s 13 now) and give him $25 to pick out a card and a gift for me

    – I can look for other mom’s in my situation and lift them up… this year we’re having brunch with a HS girlfriend of mine and her disabled son because her husband is a fuckwit too…

    My happiness is my responsibility and since I choose to gain a life… I take that very seriously (and willingly). If you need to hibernate this year… do it with GUSTO… and then dust yourself off and get back in the battle to gain a new life.

    Rock on Chump Nation… and Happy Mother’s Day to us all (even the Dad’s doing the Mom duties!)

    • Gusto… is this a sea shanty ref? 😉

      I’m all for taking back the holiday, practicing gratitude, and making new memories. I love to hear the stories of folks further out on the Gain a Life mighty trajectory. But today I wanted to acknowledge the suckitude too.

      Sometimes it’s enough to be validated that this shit is HARD.

      • ARGH 🙂

        I love the quote: “Half measures avail us nothing.”, thus my gusto remark! No matter your choice, go all in. But my first year was definitely about eating, breathing, sleeping, keeping my kid alive, and keeping my job. Luckily, it gets better… thanks to you and CN!

        • My ex always said “why should I get yiu a card on mother’s day, you aren’t my mom” 😔 So there ya go. I should have known then.

  • The best possible take is exactly what CL said — it’s YOUR day, do whatever it is that is authentic and helps with your healing, not some bullshit “look how great I’m doing” show for yourself or others.

    But if I might offer a different take to think about . . .

    Surely there are some women in you life who you admire, who embody what it means to be a strong, resilient, truly caring parent and human being? Maybe take some time to do show those women how much they mean to you,even if it’s just posting a thoughful note on social media.

    The adage goes something like: “In helping others, you help yourself.” I would think showing appreciation for others might help you appreciate yourself more, and take some of the edge off of crappy Mother’s Days.

    Just a thought.

    • UXworld – great post.
      It IS just a day, a ‘holiday’ like V.Day, FDay, and so on.

      Since I am not a mother, don’t have a mother, (and just lost a great MIL), I don’t celebrate this day – it’s a bit painful, even.

      But, I put all my love into my 90 yr old friend and we do weekly lunches together w/o fail. This Sunday, we’ll probably go have pancakes again.

      Yes, helping, supporting, being involved in other lives is truly life-saving for me.

  • Hate this holiday. Hated it as a kid – bpd mom is a mind fuck. Choosing a card was agonizing and would always be the wrong choice. Ugh. During the affair, he was so cruel to me. We spent mother’s day at his mothers, who is a nasty woman. I was confused, gaslit, and angry. I’m sure I was a bitch as he played son of the year to his mother, bought her a bizarrely large amount of flowers (like 6 grocery store bouquets, individually wrapped, weird). She gloated since she could see I had lost my spot on his pedestal, and she figured she had it back. My behaviour justified to everyone why he needed strange wet holes for validation. I sat in a room of “family” feeling lonelier than I ever had. On Mother’s Day. And it hurt so much because even though I was being told what a terrible wife I was, I thought I was a great mom. And I was never acknowledged. The smugness with which he discarded me was so cruel.

    One year later, he forgot the day. I had the flu, horribly, which made him angry. So he threw a drugstore bag at me with an iTunes gift card in it. Again, I thought I deserved to be celebrated for my mothering, but he put a stop to that. I fucking hate Mother’s Day.

    • I don’t have good experiences of Mother’s Day. I have three step kids, all of whom are becoming more distant as time passes (Dday and GTFO day was September 1, 2018). I was with their father for 9 years, and I try to stay in their lives, but they’re between the ages of 16 and 20 and their lives are busy. I get it.
      When I was with my ex, my step kids created “Step Mom’s Day” which was the Monday following Mother’s Day. To be honest, that hurt my feelings, but I played it off like it was a wonderful thing they created a day for me. Deep down, it made me feel “lesser-than”. My ex was no help, he would verbally wish me a happy Mother’s Day and that was the end of that. In all 9 years, the kids one year made me a Step Mom’s Day card.
      I’ve often wondered who came up with the idea of a Step Mom’s Day. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was my ex as now that I look back on our relationship, he was always doing little things to hurt me.
      I will celebrate this Mother’s Day as I have for the past many years…I’ll work in my garden, get to the wild forget-me-nots (the flower of Alzheimer’s) that pop up this time of year, and chit chat with my mom. She died in February after suffering for many years with Alzheimer’s.

    • Yup, take it back for yourself. Celebrate it any way you want. Even if that means half a chocolate cake!

    • Hollowbunny that experience is so harsh. Just awful. Follow Chump Lady’s advice and take them back. Make them whatever you want. Your Mothers Days are going to be so, so much better from now on

  • Super big hugs to all the chumped Mom’s on Mother’s Day. All of these holidays have the ability to mess with our emotions because they remind us of family and what we wished our marriages and relationships to be. I am sure I will have some sadness mixed with some kickass anger this Sunday but I am going to try and choose to think about what an awesome Mom I am. I know that I have had my children’s back and will always do so. This is the one message that really shines through on chump lady — most chumps are super giving and generous people. Take some time to reflect on what a great Mom you are and what a great Mom you will continue to be and find some enjoyment in your day (even if it is chocolate and buttered popcorn while watching netflix). Good luck!

  • CL, you got it right, lower the bar. If that’s not enough, bury it. Remove the judgement of yourself, and just survive.

  • I get not being “Intragram-worthy” yet. After D-day, I couldn’t even look at Facebook and all those other channels because they seemed littered with fakery.

    Plus, I just didn’t have the energy to put on a good face for everyone. I needed to grieve, to have permission to be sad. It’s part of the healing process. Stuffing emotions down doesn’t work in the long run. It’s better to grieve the way that works for you, and take your time with it. Then when you don’t have any tears left, you can rebuild.

  • Hi ShStorm,

    Ditto to what CL said. Celebrate it however you want to. The raw emotions and pain are real and we all heal in different ways. If it means you take longer than most (side note. I have no idea what that length of time is. I’m still pissed and angry over the top at times and I’m two and a half years out from D-Day), embrace that and be kind to yourself. You are enduring some of the most traumatic emotional, personal, physical and spiritual pain imaginable. Special days will be triggers for quite a while. Maybe spend time reading old posts and how people have coped with the hurricane and how fucking great it feels to realize you are doing what you know is right for you and your children. Not what some RIC manufactured book or podcast has to say.

    My wife was having sex with her fuckwit the day before I baptized our two sons. I’m not a pastor, but the church we went to let me do it. That was five years ago. For me the baptism of my boys is still tainted by that. I’m dealing with it better now, but the point is it will take time. My situation was similar, my wife was in multiple affairs online, in person, who knows where else. I spent precious years of my life trying to reconcile and figure it all out. I’ve said this before, the circular equation, where you cannot solve for x. It’s all an endless loop and you’re in it now. Find that part of you that person deep inside that needs to be loved right now and do whatever it takes to nurture her. Our cheating spouses can turn what we thought was a foundation of rock and reveal it as quicksand. Our whole world crumbles and we doubt everything, especially ourselves for having bought into the illusion. What you will find is the rock is YOU, not the RIC advice about looking at what you did wrong. We all fuck up, that’s the reality of life. However, we chumps don’t decide to go stick our dick or spread our legs for another person because our spouse did something that didn’t make us “feel good”.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you and all the camp ladies on here. I think you are all doing amazing things for yourselves your family and chump men like me who come here for support.

    • THIS is BEAUTIFUL time4change “I spent precious years of my life trying to reconcile and figure it all out. I’ve said this before, the circular equation, where you cannot solve for x. It’s all an endless loop and you’re in it now. Find that part of you that person deep inside that needs to be loved right now and do whatever it takes to nurture her. Our cheating spouses can turn what we thought was a foundation of rock and reveal it as quicksand. Our whole world crumbles and we doubt everything, especially ourselves for having bought into the illusion. What you will find is the rock is YOU, not the RIC advice about looking at what you did wrong.” Cannot solve for x where x=mindfrick

    • When I read your analogy of the equation, I thought YES! I was attempting some Mandelbrot chaos math by the end of it, and still couldn’t come up with an answer which fit.

      So I reduced it to Chump – Cheater = Divorce, No Contact, Sane Parenting, Fixed Picker & Peace. That formula made more sense.

      Thanks for your explanation! It helped remind me to stop trying to untangle.

  • The ex always said I wasn’t his mother, that was his excuse. He didn’t acknowledge her either when she was alive. Mother’s Day is rather low key but my kids will at least call me that day. I used to tell him he should honour me as the mother of his children—night as well talk to a brick wall about caring and empathy. My lovely boyfriend is with me this weekend. I honour myself by taking care of myself. I don’t ever need to hear from the dirtbag again. The kids acknowledge me and that is enough.

  • Please please please make sure your parenting plan with your minor kids specifically states that you, Chump moms and Chump dads, get the kids for Mother’s / Father’s Day weekend regardless whose weekend it is to have the minor kids. Make your own traditions without the fuckwits. Model how you want to celebrate this with your kids because that is what they will carry into their own adult relationships.

    For 20+yrs my kids would ask the asshole what was planned for mother’s day. He would respond with “I don’t know. OverIt is not my mother.”. Great way to model respect for your partner. Not.

    Do something fun with your kids. Make it your day. Have your kids help organize and plan it. Do NOT invite your fuckwit because they may feel left out. Remember they fired you from giving 2fucks when they pulled down their pants for their entitled quest to ‘Be Alive!!’.

    • Spot on!

      “Do NOT invite your fuckwit because they may feel left out. Remember they fired you from giving 2fucks when they pulled down their pants for their entitled quest to ‘Be Alive!”

      I actually had that conversation with myself about not wanting have him feel left out. Then my sensible self slapped me. Not my problem anymore!

      👍

    • Exactly! Our child is with his father this weekend. Ex suggested that the three of us to do something together as a family on Mother’s Day. I said hell no. I suspect the day is going to be difficult for me, but there is no sense in making it even more difficult by having to see his stupid face.

  • It’s tough on us Chump Dad’s too. I used to spoil Mme YogaPants and help the kids make the day special. Cards and treats assuring her that she was the Bestest Mommy possible and how proud I was of her.

    The first year after she left if memory serves she didn’t spend any time with her own kids. I think she expected them to fawn over and dote on her. DS (24) lives with me and last year at the last minute (I already had dinner planned) he dashes out and spends the afternoon with his mother presumably she called him to ask WTF.

    I found it tough. Here I am, despite the evidence of my underpants, being a Mom and Dad to the kids – adults though they are.

    This year, I can calmly recognize that I have no mother in my life to celebrate. My own mother passed many years ago. It’s going to be a day for me, sit outside, BBQ up a steak and have a frosty beverage and enjoy the freedom that I have.

    I don’t resent her taking the kids’ attention on this day. Now, it’s just a day.

    BT

    • ((BT))

      I hope the kids do something awesome for you on Dad’s Day in June. If not, invite them to, and schedule something together so you don’t go unrecognized. (Hey, direct commands seem to work for Madame Yoga Pants).

      None of this shit is fair.

    • Yeah man I was wondering if a dad chump had posted. For years we always made Mother’s Day a special day, I would purchase a large amount of shrimp that I would peel and skewer and grill along with steaks and all the side dishes etc. My mother lived close by so she would come over and it was always a long busy day while my ex would enjoy me doing all the work, which I enjoyed doing. 5 years out of the discard our kids are grown and my mom has passed away. My daughter asked her mom what they were going to do Sunday but I guess she told her she already has plans. I couldn’t believe that she told our own daughter that but she’s way into her new life. But my kids always come through for Father’s Day so thatll be nice. Happy Mother’s Day to all the great mothers out there. I miss celebrating.

    • BowTie:

      Oh gee, I absolutely love your plan… “It’s going to be a day for me, sit outside, BBQ up a steak and have a frosty beverage and enjoy the freedom that I have”.

      My triplet sons are all grown and live out of state, so I’ll be spending Mother’s Day alone, not an unusual occurrence. I hadn’t decided how to spend the day, but thanks to you sharing the vision for your own Sunday, I will venture to treat myself well and enjoy the freedom I have.

  • ShStorm,
    I’m sorry your fuckwit fucked up Mother’s day for you. You were true blue up until your tsunami: that’s who YOU are (integrity, devotion, love, gratitude, authenticity). Him? Pure shit-covered shit, inside & out. A few sparkles, but you were part of his “I’m a normal guy” cover story.
    The upside is, you don’t have to be his beard any longer.

    CL, as usual, is right. Grieve. I used to call it “wailing like a mortally wounded hippo” ( & I don’t even know whether hippos wail). I did it in my car with the music turned up.
    That was back at Dday #1 (of 3). I took him back after profuse promises of change. Ugh.

    Here in post-Tuesday land, I am spending the weekend in Chicago with my DD17, my favorite travel companion. We are here to see BTS, the internationally famous Kpop group whom we both love. I’m 2 1/2 weeks post DIVORCEISFINAL!!! I waited 13 months for fuckwit to play his shell game with his money, but I got the best deal I could hope for and am now rid of that rotting corpse of a sham marriage. The dirt is fresh on the grave, but the stench is ebbing away.
    My friends marvel at how good I look. After a 30-year marriage, I am FREE! I’ve been in therapy since Dday #3 and am.better, but my picker is still being repaired. I have my own business now. I have a number of kind men vying for my attention. I feel good about me & got my groove back!
    Hang in there, Storm. The path to mighty often involves ugly crying, slinging snot and righteous rage. On the other side is a life you cannot imagine. It is the reward for surviving that loss. You’ll get there, one step at a time.
    I can’t remember my Tuesday, but it came, left its gift and went.
    Oh, my Dday was the day after my 55th birthday. The reason he didn’t answer my “I miss you” text the day before was because he was swept up in meeting his married ho-worker At MY HOUSE.
    Fuck them both
    In 4 weeks I will celebrate my BEST. BIRTHDAY
    EVER.

    Stay STRONG, Storm.

  • Hollow Bunny:You don’t need the toxic sludge to acknowledge it. If your kids don’t then you do it for yourself. Treat yourself to a great day whether it’s on mother’s day or a different day to avoid the happy loving husbands. Talk to your kids about how important it is that they acknowledge the day. Unfortunately the disordered dads don’t teach them so we must. (((Hugs fellow great mom)))

  • My D-Day was Mother’s Day Eve. I knocked on the OW’s door to ask why the Worm was there. Turns out she was introducing him to her parents. I was shooed away. I was in shock, so I left…..That night he told me everything and how it was all my fault.
    The next day I was required to act normal while he took his mom, my mom and I to brunch with the rest of the family.
    Believe me when I say that I get it. You did the right thing, I tried to hang onto a sinking ship for almost two years. It was hell, the worst time of my life.
    But now almost two and a half years after I left, I look back and realize that without that pain I wouldn’t be where I am today.
    Think of this as a plot twist and the end of a chapter. The new chapter will be better and happier. You will get him out of your head little by little! You will have Mother’s Day again!
    The best gift is having that Rat Bastard out of your life!

    • I tried RIC for about three months. About killed me. Two years – can’t even imagine. You are amazing Wormfree.

  • Hey Storm – I remember reading a comic strip where for Mother’s Day, the mom’s gift was that she for to have the house completely to herself while her husband took the kids out for the day. What I mean is – I think there are very few wrong ways to celebrate a holiday, so if you want to take CL’s advice and have the day on your own, that’s perfectly reasonable.

  • My first Mother’s Day post asshole sucked too. Absolutely sucked. My aunt had died the weekend before (I was at a bar having a margarita because it was Cinco de Mayo) and I got a text from my cousin saying she’d died. It was surreal. My aunt was like my second mom. Anyway… it was also the week I found out my newly divorced from ex, who had sworn all through our break up that yes, he’d had an affair, but that it was “over” had moved his married affair partner in with him along with her 3 kids with the help of her husband. The way I found out was that I had picked up my kids from school and their hair was braided, because they had been staying with him.

    I flipped my shit.

    And that was how the first Mother’s Day post DDay went down. It was The Worst Mother’s Day ever.

    • My aunt raised me and also died recently. You’re right, it does feel surreal. Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t believe that bitch touched your daughters hair. Seriously, where I’m from that means war.

      • I am so sorry for the loss of your aunty, the woman who raised you and for all intents and purposes, was your mother figure in this life. No wonder this Mother’s Day is particularly traumatising for you. This is a tough time and there is too much going on for you, you’re dealing with a lot of hurt from all angles. I do hope you go easy on yourself, as CL advised. Be gentle to yourself, know that it all takes time and you’re only 1 year out. Please do something that makes you happy, even if that is (like CL said) resting at home and binge-watching Netflix. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

        Happy Mother’s Day from Down Under 💐🍰🌿🐨🦘

  • This letter could have been mine.

    Number one on my self-care list is to ACCEPT AND FEEL MY FEELINGS.

    And I hate it. Just as if I was hit by a drunk driver and had my life altered forever and was going to be in the ICU for the next few years. Hey, wait a minute! I AM going to be in the (emotional) ICU for the next few years!

    Feeling this anger is not what I want to do.
    I wanted the life I thought I had. But my life was totaled by two figurative drunk drivers.

    But the only way OUT is THROUGH.

    Feel, deal, and heal.

  • I’m dreading Sunday, too. A year ago, I was happy. On New Year’s Day, I found out that my husband f*cked my best friend, confronted him on Jan 5 (gathered all of the evidence… that was even stained on the front of his pants that he wore on New Year’s Eve), Jan 6 found out affair had gone on for 9 weeks, kicked him out evening of Jan 6, tried therapy with him but he played victim on Jan 22, and divorced on April 16th. I have had some “meh” weeks – but I still occasionally have a melt down. I think we still try to wrap our heads around the WHY?? And HOW COULD HE THROW AWAY 10 YRS ON STUPID SH*T? But, we’ll never get the answers we’re looking for – and it sucks. The only thing I’ve learned is that time is slowly healing me, but remembering where we were last year (how happy I was) makes it harder. And how about the Memories Posts on Facebook? How bad do those suck when they remind us of happier times? LOL. Hang in there – I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this pain Shtstorm45, but you’re not alone – and things will get better 🙂

    • DazedAndConfused, this memories fucking suck. When one comes up with whoreface in it, I delete the post and the picture. Zip, gone, delete. Too bad I can’t do that in real life.

  • my first mothers day alone was last march (its in march in the UK) and he decided that he wouldnt have the kids that day because he assumed i would want to spend time with my kids on that day. it felt like he purposely put it like that to me so i would feel guilty if i refused.
    i decided, yes, i will have a great day with my kids and do what i normally do, go visit my granny (mom passed away when I was 19 so she has been like a mother to me eversince) and spend time with all my family.

    i will insist he has the kids on fathers day when that comes up and wonder if he will try to back out of it

  • Mothers Day before the final D-day I remember vividly. It was the day I had my first migraine. I found out OW was invited to a family Mother’s Day meal because “she is a mother too” and I was a bitch because I complained. I went through the cabinet and found some medication because the pain literally was excruciating and basically spent that meal halfway stoned but I was pain free.

    I will be honest, I am dreading Mothers Day just like I do every other holiday. My ex, OW and ex monster in law a narcissists through and through and they cause drama every holiday. IF I see my kids (20 and 18) they will be miserable and standoffish because of the drama caused prior to their visit.

    However, I play in a band and we have a gig at 5pm. My parents and husband are coming and we have a nice meal planned after. Mothers Day will hopefully not be a total bust.

  • “you are their sane parent (really, even with the shrieking)”–I totally needed to hear this today. Sometimes I don’t feel like they have a sane parent.

    Something somebody said in the thread triggered a memory. The first or second Father’s Day after our son was born, I gave him a really thoughtful card “from the baby” to daddy, because you know, he isn’t my daddy. But clearly this baby wasn’t capable of picking out a card, buying it, and signing it. I’m certain there was a nice gift too. Instead of my efforts being appreciated, I was chewed out for not getting him a card from me. Oh….if only I’d left his horrible ass back then….

  • Narcissists know how important our children are to us, so they love to criticize and cause doubt about our parenting. Out of all the lies my ex told about me, it was him portraying himself as “the glue that held the family together” and the only good parent for my two boys and our daughter together that hurt the most. Luckily all evidence showed that i was present and loving even though i was working alot as he refused to work. At one of our custody evaluations he dramatically intoned to the neutral evaluators and our lawyers “….for her whole life, i have been both father AND mother to Clara”. We were all stunned. Even my normally unflappable lawyer had his mouth wide open! After a break the evaluators came back to talk with me an my lawyer and apologized to me for not stopping him there. The psychologist one of the team said ” we know that’s not true. We both threw up in our mouths a little when he said that.” Same experience with the parenting consultant. So it didnt affect my parenting time but those lies HURT. I have to make an effort to see them as a weapon he uses against me. So enjoy the day chumps, however you spend it and know that you are good parents!

    • Bossynova,
      I experienced similar badmouthing from my ex, who took me to court to divorce me and get full custody of the kids. He made it sounds as though I tied up kids and him in dungeons, starved and molested them all! Fortunately, judges saw through my ex-husband’s lying or realized that the kids needed to stay with me as I don’t routinely travel around the world for work or just didn’t care, so got the lion’s share of custody—gives my now ex-husband time to date multiple women and men at a time, just like when we were married.

      • Oh rockstarwife that sucks. I am so glad the judge saw through your ex’s lies and manipulations. Rest and be thankful this mother’s day.

        • Thanks, Bossynova, and Happy Mother’s Day to you!

          My ex-husband is taking me back to court in August. I really hope that the new judge will quickly see through my ex-husband’s lies and distortions. I don’t want to spend ANY more time or money on this debacle of a marriage.

  • Ugh. This will be my second post-separation Mother’s Day. I am very close to finalizing my divorce, but the last 6 months have been truly awful; my STBX has made this entire process so difficult and demoralizing. He truly sucks. Sometimes, I am amazed by what I have endured.

    My teenage daughters, who know that we separated because their Dad cheated (though they think that he cheated with only 1 woman), were very angry with him when we first separated, almost 2 years ago. But now, they seem to have forgiven him and are moving forward with a relationship with him. I know that this is probably a good thing for them, and so I have tried to step out of the way and let them figure it out.

    But, shstorm, what still makes me SEETHE is the thought that my STBX will, at some point, seek to introduce my daughters to his AP. This thought actually makes my blood boil. The AP was, unbeknownst to me, a third party in my marriage on and off for 7+ years. While I was working full time, raising my kids, and taking care of all household responsibilities, that Pig was accepting gifts, expensive meals, hotel rooms, and vacations from my STBX. She should not be allowed to meet my daughters and pretend that her relationship with their dad is okay. How can the Universe allow this to happen? I realize I can’t control what my STBX does but, nevertheless, the thought that the AP may someday interact with my daughters makes me angry beyond words. And since our divorce is almost final, I suspect that an introduction may be soon. 😡

    • I feel your pain. My ex-fuckwit now, Happy Dance! Threatened me and kids out of marital home and moved affair partner in the same day. Then turned around and filed for temporary custody orders. So in one month they lost there home, their family blew up and me and kids were staying with friends. Married 15 years never saw that coming. By the time the court date came around 2 months later I had gotten a Job (I was a stay at home mom), rented a house and enrolled them in school. I got majority custody. But on 1st visit, while we are still married only separated 2 months my daughters had to deal with affair partner. They were 5 and 10. The court system sucks and so does the shit sandwich you were served. Divorce final 6 months and separated 2 years. Other than dealing with his continued abuse to me and kids- I am glad to be mostly fuckwit free. Oh and I make more money than him now and bought my dream home one month after divorce finalized. Hold on Tuesday comes randomly.

      • Finding Peace,
        Congrats to you! Well done!

        I can’t wait for my Tuesday. I think it will be easier for me to get there once my divorce is finalized. I have had many moments of peace and bliss since I separated from my Cheater, but the last 6 months have been extremely difficult as we slogged through the divorce particulars. I do not have any direct contact with him and, for the most part, I do not think about him much. BUT, as I said above, when I imagine him introducing that Pig to my daughters and attempting to legitimize their relationship, I want to explode. Obviously, I need to work on Meh.

    • Once the divorce is final, let your kids know WHO the AP is, and how long that affair went on while you were being a good spouse and good parent.

      Absolutely let them have their own relationships w/their father, but don’t let them build it on lies.

      • KarenE,
        Thanks. My kids already know who she is (I told them when I told them why we were separating). Early on in this process, each of my daughters told their Dad that they never wanted to meet his mistress. He responded to them with comments like, “I hope you change your mind one day,” and “She is part of my life now.” (Ewww and ewww. Even typing those sentences makes me sick).

        It just seems that, as time goes on, my daughters are forgiving their Dad a bit, and so eventually, I suspect that they will agree to meet the Pig. If such a time comes, I think I will provide them with a few more details about how long she was involved with their Dad. #sogross

        Meanwhile, in an effort to legitimize his conduct, my STBX will undoubtedly spin his tale to my daughters that this Pig is the love of his life, etc., etc., etc. He will not tell them (as I have not) that she is just one in a line.

        • I have the same situation. My 4 kids range from 17 to 28.
          I don’t believe that the kids actually “forgive” the cheating parent.
          I think they have to figure out what kind of relationship that they want to have with the cheating parent. That takes time…most likely years.
          They need to figure it out without us. They do need to know the absolute truth though so they have all the facts.
          I think kids now-a-days are very astute. My kids are much smarter than I am. My DD17 corrects me on what is acceptable behavior from someone and what is not acceptable behavior.
          Eventually like CL says our kids know who they can count on & who is not there for them because they are off on “business trips”.
          The responsible, trustworthy parent earns the respect of their kids. And the kids learn to be similar from your example. It’s a win-win.
          Keep up the good fight. It’s 100% worth the effort you put in.

    • If it makes you feel any better your daughters likely won’t like it any better than you do although they may put up with her so they can have a relationship with their dad. I remember the first time I was at a school event on a day that was their Dad’s night to have the kids and saw my youngest sitting next to Schmoopie It was very painful. I hear, unsolicited through bits and snatches from my daughter, however, that none of this kids like her at all. They just put up with her for Dad’s sake. They know she is an OW. I am satisfied with that and don’t ever bring her up myself. She doesn’t exist in my orbit. I know where the kids affections lie. They still love their dad because he is their dad, but they have no love for Schmoopie.

      • Chumpinrecovery,
        Super helpful! Thanks. Maybe I am underestimating my girls. Just because they meet the Pig does not mean that they will forget what she did.

        I just cannot STAND the thought of that Pig even being in the same room with my daughters. Talk about sh#+ sandwiches. Ugh.

  • Storm – your Mother’s Day is like the season of Spring for me. The ex filed for divorce on April 24 of last year and the Spring and part of Summer went by in blur. I love the Spring as it’s full of rebirth, flowers and trees, and birds (I’m a birder). I was so afraid that it was ruined for me. This year, I can’t say it’s be a rebirth but I feel awake and ready to live. To me, that’s a good thing.

    It will get better – it’s just going to take a little time.

    My Mother’s Day was horrible last year. I helped raise my stepdaughter and stepson. I did laundry, cooked food, went clothes shopping, did the taxi service, ran them to hair stylists and doctors, and attended each sporting event. He filed on the April 24 and Mother’s Day came and went without any cards, no phone calls, no texts, nothing from my husband, stepson or stepdaughter. My 19 years of service was acknowledged by a deafening silence. I felt so alone and used.

    This year, I plan on doing some birding in the morning and then visiting with an aunt, uncle and my cousins. I also miss my mother who passed last year in midst of the divorce.

    It’s a day that you can take back and it’s yours to take back. Don’t let that fuckwit destroy the good memories. It’s a bad time in your life but it doesn’t have to define it for the rest of your years. It’s will get better and this next year will be different and hopefully better than this past year. You can do this – be your mighty self!

    • MissBailey, you did the right thing by those kids, and if there’s anything healthy or caring in them, it came from you.

      They may not realize this now, may not appreciate it, or may feel it would be disloyal to their dad to recognize your mothering, but YOU still put those years of caring, love, and hard work into the universe, in the shape of two children who needed that.

      Be proud of the amazing mother you have been. And get yourself flowers/ a nice bottle of wine/ some very good chocolate/ an extra-large iced chai, in recognition.

      • Thank you KarenE for your kind words, and for giving a new perspective. Sometimes it’s hard to see a different picture when your lenses are clouded with pain. I was a good parent, and I do not regret a single day.

  • Oh…I could have written this only my D-day was not on mother’s day. I have had to reclaim many dates and places and it’s taken years. Don’t despair. IT GETS BETTER. It took me at least 5 years to be free of the trauma of dates and they now go by without me realizing it. I reclaimed my daughters birth (he was texting his twoo luuuuv while I was in labor) and I feel great joy in not being responsible for a broken person’s happiness anymore. I assure you will NOT feel like this forever. You will feel light and free and wonder how you ever put up with that “nice guy” in the first place.

  • I’m so sorry, shstorm. That royally sucks. You do whatever you need to in order to feel better.

    Mother’s day is going to be painful for me, as I am estranged from both my oldest daughter and my mother, thanks to the prick I married.

    Do whatever you need to do in order to cope. Spend the day in bed if you want. Friends and relatives will want you to put on a happy face and pretend your life hasn’t been shattered, just for the sake of *their*comfort. They may whine; “Aw, come on. Why don’t you want to go to brunch? When are you going to snap out of it and start LIVING again?”
    You can tell them to go fuck themselves if you want to. You can tell them your definition of living now means you don’t appease selfish, unreasonable people any longer. It’s your day. Do it your way.

  • 45,

    I empathize. While we were married, my husband discreetly ‘siphoned’ marital money from accounts, money that he promised to put in our kids’ college savings account, to pay for sex with prostitutes. Guess who’s sending our kids to college? Me/my parents. Guess who’s paying for braces? Me. Guess who earns many times what other spouse earns? My ex-husband. Guess who complains about paying child support although he gets to live at his mother’s house on the beach for free when he is not staying in four star hotels? Ex-husband.

    I get being mad at ex(es) and sad and lonely, especially on holidays (Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays). I have decided to ‘redefine’ these holidays. This Mother’s Day, I am going to contact several mothers I know who have lost their mothers, spouses or children to death. Then I am going to prepare for my summer job (teaching at least three different year-long courses in less than six weeks) and preparing for an interview with a well-known online dating company! (The ironies of life) By the way, I am not feeling mighty at all, but I figure that somebody had to storm the beach at Normandy. Might as well be me. Many of us here are unlikely heroes—we didn’t set out to be heroes, at least not in surviving adultery by our spouses type of heroism, but we ‘had to’ be.

  • For me it was New Years Eve….he picked it because ( wait for it) he didn’t want to “ruin the holidays”.
    I said “wtf do you think New Years is?”
    That was 2014.
    He hasn’t ruined anything, he’s an idiot. That being said, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t say the kids and I don’t think of it on New Years .
    He walked off and started a new life with his affair partner and her kids like we never existed…bizarre.
    The first everything was soooo weird. Do whatever you need to do to get through the day.
    I swear it will get better.
    I don’t talk to my ex, my adult children haven’t spoken to him in 4 years and we all live within 3 miles of each other ( yes, he and his mistress bought a house right around the corner from me.🙄 but you had one line in your letter that just spoke to me so much.
    You said that you email because speaking to him just reverts you back to the crazy person he destroyed.
    This is very true….and there are days I white knuckled through no contact but now it’s been almost a year since I’ve spoken to him and it’s the best thing I ever did.
    I think no contact is key to a happy life and for you many happy mothers days.
    ((Hugs))

    • They bought a house right around the corner?! OMG I would let my dog shit on their lawn every day! Thank you for your response. NC is hard, but the only thing I know, is that it makes me feel better.

      • Sugar Clits boyfriend moved in the house directly behind ours 2 weeks (August 2018)after ILYBINILWY speech. We rotated in and out of house for kids sake. On her days him and his 4 boys stayed in our house with 3 of my kids. I let her have the house in the temporary order. I moved out Feb 1, 2019 and she immediately moved them all in. And now May 2019 they are trying to rent a house 4 doors down. It’s been a huge mindfuck!!

  • One of my D-days was Mother’s Day too.

    To be quite frank, before we separated he had managed to ruin every holiday in one form or another.

    One year he dumped me on my birthday. Another year he fucked a hooker on CHRISTMAS DAY, when I was five months pregnant with our daughter.

    The Christmas one still stings somewhat.

    But overall, I would say regarding holidays, it’s about the same as the rest of the recovery from this tantamount bullshit: 2 to 5 years. Every grieving pang of misery is normal between now and then.

    This year is going to suck. It is just going to suck.

    It’s not the same as a bad day at work and throwing on your favorite song.

    • It is the perversion of the sacred. There is a metaphysical dimension to their acts. These individuals take pleasure in messing with the sacred.

  • shstorm45,

    One of the beautiful gifts that life and experience give you if you’re lucky, is perspective. When I was young, many of the most significant people in my life passed away. I have lost both of my parents. I developed (with the help of my wise grandmother) a sense of the importance of relationships and time. I always tell people now that my Ex was a lousy spouse (that took time to understand) but a fantastic teacher. My therapist and the CL/CN community were instrumental in helping me gain that perspective.

    Grief and healing are not linear processes. People who are grieving all manner of things have frequently said to me, “I know I should probably be over this by now . . . ” and I always stop them right there. I explain to them you feel what you feel until you don’t want or need to feel that way anymore. Everyone is different and there is no perfect time to be “over” anything. What’s important is that you are always moving in the direction of healing. It takes as long as it takes. When I was going through my divorce, there were certain days when I felt really sad/depressed. I would tell myself to take that day and own and feel those feelings. I would lie in bed watching television, eating comfort food or whatever I needed to cope. The next day, even if there was some residual feeling, I told myself, nope you can’t wallow today and promised myself another day of wallowing when and if I needed it. Give yourself the same compassion you would provide to a friend.

    Holidays, particularly Mother’s Day, were always a toss up when I was married. I would say my Ex only made an effort 15 to 20 percent of the entire marriage – at least directed at me – and we were married over 25 years. I convinced myself that those days were better than they were, just like I convinced myself that my Ex was a better man, husband and father than he was. Recognizing that he made or attempted to make most holidays miserable set me on the path to creating holidays or special occasions that made me happy – and allowed me to share and spread that happiness with others. Real happiness is so much more fulfilling than the deluded illusion of happiness I created when I was with the Butthead half of Beavis and Butthead. It takes time, but things will really get so much better.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you and to all the great Mothers of CN, to CL and to all the great fathers making it work.

    I

    • @ChumpPrincess: “Give yourself the same compassion you would provide to a friend.” YES! Best advice ever!

      One of the most prevalent chump qualities is that we take wonderful care of everyone but ourselves.

      I hope everyone of Chump Nation takes time to care for themselves this weekend. Even if it’s as simple as an ice cream sundae or a long bubble bath. Little luxuries are the best! Happy Mother’s Day, all!

    • Chump Princess,
      Thank you for your post, especially this insight: “I convinced myself that those days were better than they were, just like I convinced myself that my Ex was a better man, husband and father than he was.”

      My ex put on a good show, but I realize now that there was no substance. His disordered, distant, and deceptive behaviors cast a dark shadow over so many holidays and special events. Throughout my marriage, I often didn’t understand why I felt so depleted and depressed after certain events or vacations, and wondered what was wrong with ME. They take so much from us and do so much harm, and then walk away without a care or concern. It’s pathological.

  • After Dday and the divorce, I have come to dislike Mothers Day & HATE Fathers Day.

    When I was married to the Ex, I always went all out for Mothers Day. I took the kids shopping and each bought her a gift and I gave her a big bouquet of flowers. Then instead of braving the crowds in a restaurant, the kids and I would cook her a nice dinner.

    Post Dday, OM#3 (now her husband) was told what I did so now HE does the same thing on Mothers Day with all of it splashed on to FB. She is their mother, so I don’t care as much even though OM#3 copying me ticks me off a little.

    But Fathers Day is a day where she tries to stick the knife in me and twist it to cause maximum pain.
    She finds an excuse the week before to punish the kids and takes their phones as “punishment”.
    They of course then have no way to contact me. She then goes totally over board on a huge Fathers Day for OM#3 all splashed all over FB and has pictures of my kids kissing him on the cheek.
    Me ?? No card, no calls and if I try to call no answer.

    A week or 2 later I’ll get a text from the kids like “sorry Dad, you know how Mom is… but Happy Fathers Day, we love you” !

    The first few years it really hurt what she pulled but now its meh and I know the kids love me and these holidays are just her impression management.

    • I thought it was pretty standard that parental access agreement has the kids with the mom on Mother’s Day and kids with the dad on Father’s Day regardless of whose weekend it is. Unless you live in a different city from the kids. That really sucks.

      Time to consider blocking the ex on FB and all other social media. You don’t need to see all the sparkly spackle they dish out.

      What she does is awful. I have every reason to hate my ex for what he’s done, but I still made sure last year (the first year) that the kids bought him a gift, made cards, I granted him the day when it was my weekend. The fact that she lacks the compassion to do that for you with the kids, and clearly doesn’t care about teaching the kids those values, is reprehensible. A plague on her.

      • She lives 500 miles away so its hard. I have also found that unless there is obvious abuse going on or you owe her money, the court does NOT care.
        I’ve been down this road in years past trying to enforce visitation dates and at most she gets a slap on the wrist and told not to do that again and she gives me a smug look as she walks out of court. Part of the reason for this is that she always allows my Summer visitation where the kids stay for several weeks with me (and is the one I will fight hard to keep and she knows it). She likes it because she and OM#3 go on vacation during this time and I buy the kids ALL of their Fall clothes (have to cut tags out and wash the clothes or she’d return them for the money — she did this the 1st year after divorce)

        Meanwhile I’m out at least $1000 for lawyer bills every time we go to court..
        It’s hard but I have learned that you have to pick your battles and honestly my youngest is about to turn 16 so in 2 years I can go 100% permanently no contact.

        I kind of have to keep her a “friend” on FB otherwise I would never see any pictures of the kids when they have events. She never sends me pictures, I’m never told dates of any events unless the kids tell me and if I do show up I am made as welcome as the devil in a church by her and her rotten “friends”.

        It is what it is and she is how she is. I’m just continually amazed NOW that I put up with her BS for 16 years.

  • For me, Mother’s Day sucked when the Ex was around. I received one card my first year. That was it. He never acknowledged me as a good mom. In fact, he frequently told me I was terrible. When our daughter got to the age where you establish boundaries and try to get theme to pick up after themselves, he would intervene and tell her I was throwing a tantrum and then take her to get away from me. Despite my “bad parenting” she still favored me. This drove him nuts, so much so that once he told her that she likes her mom now, but just wait until she gets older.

    Now that he’s gone, I don’t have to deal with the put downs. And as for Mother’s Day, my daughter and I go out to brunch together and then do whatever fun thing intrigues us at the time. It’s lovely.

  • Dear CN,
    THANK YOU for all love and support. I was at a school function this morning with Fuckwit and didn’t even see this until now. It’s so overwhelming to read all of your encouragement, love and support. Never thought I would be a part of this club, but so grateful it exists. Since D- Day last year I have approached every holiday bravely, with the intention of new memories. Succeeded at some ( hosted a “chicksgiving” for the single mothers in my tribe), failed at others (Christmas, Easter-don’t ask). Mother’s Day has felt like the biggest hurdle because being the sane parent, meant (mostly) suppressing the roller coaters of emotions in front of the kids. Vitriol is saved for fuckwit. Honestly, I’ve been surprised with the crying that began on Monday, probably because I’ve been sustaining myself with anger all year. You are all correct, I need to FEEL this. Feeling this is hard, an acknowledgement of the death of so many things. Mourning the death of someone who is still alive along with the life I thought I had is nothing short of traumatic. CL-at the risk of sounding cheesy, this has been the best Mother’s Day gift. It took almost a year to read your book and arrive to this community because the “save your marriage” therapist, along with the “forgive him, think about the kids” family kept me in a constant state of uncertainty. Looking through the archives, and reading the posts here today leave me feeling supported and understood. I am wishing all of you a Happy Mother’s Day (This goes for the Dad’s too). Velvet Hammer you are correct, the only way OUT is THROUGH. With all the gratitude the internet can give, thank you again.

    • I think all single parents should get cards for both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

    • Our stories are very similar, shstorm45. Only, my discovery happened as I borrowed his laptop just at the exact time his SugarDaddy account receipt for renewal came through. (RENEWAL!!!)
      21 years together, with 3 kiddos and he had been double life living for at least six of them.
      I stayed in bed for 6 months grieving the loss of the person I thought he was, then got out of bed and grieved another 6 months through the actual divorce.
      It’s been 2.5 years now and I’ve been through all the “firsts” -and you will, too.

      Like you, I can’t hear his voice or see his face so I haven’t seen him in 18 months.
      I have logistical contact only with him and ignore most of what he e-mails me since it’s mostly his attempt at image management/gaslighting/ proclaiming his victimhood.
      (What a horrible person I’ve become bc I refuse to forgive him!!!) Eyeroll.

      I know how you feel and will be thinking of you on Mother’s Day as I follow CL advice and get cozy with Netflix, too! xo

  • This Mother’s Day I am taking it all in stride. My children live in other states.
    My youngest DD is strapped for cash and she called me to tell me that she found a fantastic card for me for Mother’s Day but when she got up to the counter cost 799 and she said I know my mother wouldn’t want me to spend 799 when I’m trying to get my finances back together so she put it back and she called and told me that story.
    Youngest DS who is living with STBX fuckwit in the family home is reeling still from his own chump experience. He’ll remember to call me on Mother’s Day.
    My oldest DD called me yesterday and said she is just slammed busy with an upcoming move and a promotion at work and everything and wants me to know she’s thinking about me but can’t send the Mother’s Day card out in time for Mother’s Day.
    Oldest DS is with me always.

    We are an intact family minus the fuck wit and I feel happy about that.

  • If you haven’t completed your divorce yet, all Chump Mothers need to get it in their Divorce Decree that they get ALL Mother’s Days and all Chump Fathers need to demand ALL Father’s Days. My ex tried to do the “we’ll split each Mother’s Day” (he’s 2,000 miles away and school is still in session in May), but even despite that, I told the judge “Hell to the NO that he ever gets the kids for another MOTHER’S Day!!!”

    This Sunday, I’m spending the day with my two beautiful sons at a MLB baseball game, where we’ll sit in the sun, eat hotdogs and NOT MISS THE FUCKTARD ONE IOTA!!!

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!!!

  • happy mothers day Moms. my grown sons have stuck by me through this whole mess – they are my rocks! i must have done something right. both of them are using “what not to do” as their operating principle as husbands and fathers. i would have preferred they have a great role model but tgd opposite works too and is probably more realistic i todays world. hugs

  • My last Mother’s Day was spent with people from the church, not one thing from my ex fuckwit or the kids, not even a card from a looney store. He blames me for his two Adulterous affairs inside our family home. But at least I have the family dog!🌸

  • I am fortunate in that, for the most part, the actual holidays that have come around since DDay have given me a boost rather than bringing me down even if I may have been down before some of them fearing that it might be otherwise. Those are the days that other people in my life who care about me have made the effort to show that they are thinking of me and that they love me either through calling, writing, sending cards/gifts or in some cases just showing up. I have been able to spend at least a portion of each holiday with at least some of my kids as well which also makes those days special. Ex’s aunt sent me flowers on Mother’s day while the divorce was ongoing because she wanted me to know that she was grateful to me for being such a good mother to her grand niece and nephews. This last March my daughter flew all the way home from university in another country to surprise me on my birthday. I am truly blessed. I wish I could pass those feelings of good will and caring on to everyone in CN who is sad on any holiday. In the meantime I will pray that time will heal and that those who have difficult holidays will have joyous ones in the future. We all deserve to have good days too.

  • I absolutely despise these made up holidays. DESPISE THEM!!! There are so many men and women who have no one to kiss on Valentines Day. There are thousands and thousands of kids who have to pretend they have a mother or father who is in their lives. “Where’s your Dad?” “Uh, I think he lived in *****ville.” “Did your mom really just leave?” “Uh, yeah.” “My Dad bought me this great car. You want a ride.” “I guess so.” Give me a freaking break.

    Do NOT let this weekend get you down. It is just a day. That’s all it is, just a day.

  • We all got here because the truth was withheld from us, now we change that. Serial cheaters are a whole different kind of animal, fully aware of life long consequence and amazingly they just plain don’t care. Just be grateful you finally know some of the truth anyway, so you don’t have to live a life of lies one more day. We are now what some call ” Chernobyl ” something real bad happened to her and we have to leave her alone for awhile.” I didn’t believe it either when I was told you will make it through, I hope we do.

  • Related to this sanity saving blog but not today’s post. The AARP column “The Girlfriend” features a piece written by a woman who finally left her cheating husband. She wrote “By removing what was toxic from my home and my life, I was left with all the best parts of myself.”

  • My own comment before I read others-for the hetero couples that divorce after cheating and have custody details to iron out. The agreement should have written that the kids spend Mother’s Day with their mother and Father’s Day with their dad. Alternate years for the gay couples that split. Just a thought.

  • This is my first fuckwit free Mother’s day. FW ruined Mother’s day for both DD and I because 1) I got the “You’re not my mother” line, 2) We had to do whatever narc XMIL wanted every.freaking.year, 3) Instead of taking DD out and having her pick out a card, he chastised her for not doing it herself and paying for it herself, she was 13 or 14! How is a kid supposed to do that? And the grand finale, #4) Last year on Mother’s day XH announced he had met someone online and was ready to start dating, technically we were still married and living in the same house. No acknowledgement of Mother’s Day for me at all.

    Even though we were splitting up and he was already committed to someone else before divorce papers had been filed and was being a complete dick about it, I tried to make his last Father’s Day with DD a nice Father’s Day for him. I knew that he was not going to see DD as much as he used to because he was moving 3 hours away where Schmoopie lived. I thought that maybe if they each had a matching bracelet, it would be like they were still connected somehow, I paid for both bracelets and when she gave his to him and showed him hers, he didn’t get the symbolism. She says he didn’t even seem to like it at all. So much for them being connected. Now that she’s NC with him I wonder how his Father’s Day is going to be this year. I certainly am not going to be sending him anything. Neither will she.

    When DD is 18, she and I are getting matching tattoos, a design that she created. I get the symbolism.

    We both hate cards now, he made such a big deal out of it. I do not require cards from my daughter. The “love you” she says to me daily is enough. This year, I have lots of work to do around the house and DD has tons of schoolwork/finals to prepare for. We will have a nice weekend just like we always do, fuckwit free.

  • My husband used to give me the picture of happiness, the prizes, and the spoiling showing he was such a “good guy.” I thought I was SO lucky. Then he killed himself.

    Although there was an unraveling four years prior with me catching him texting a prostitute, he said it was a one-off but attempted then.

    Then he systematically devised a who knows what kind of plan to keep me deceived for the next years. I guess he never stopped his calling though because this time he was caught by the police.

    He’s dead; I’m not over it three years out. I’ve done a shit load of work. I’ve moved houses, renovated this one to be healing, stayed in counseling this entire time, am raising our daughter…

    I wish there was a healing tonic, a magic pill, a anything. I try to be positive but mostly think this sucks. I then try the gratitude journal, do some exercises, plant a garden. And then I find myself right back in the pit of sadness. I’m 52 and feel I’ll die alone. I’m sad. I understand.

    Snapping back from my family’s ruin is something that I won’t get over. My daughter has no dad. I want to move on. I’m having a really bad day today. Some days are better. Today is not. I just get this.

    • CE I’m sorry you are having a bad day. Often I wish my fuckwit had just died. I thought it would have been easier. I guess that is not true. It all sucks. Have a nice mother’s day. You deserve a peaceful day!

    • CE, I am so sorry. My ex did not die, but the loss of a 20+ year marriage and watching the harm to my children hurt me in ways that will never, ever entirely heal. I’ve learned to accept that, to understand that this experience and the scars it caused are part of who I am now, the way a soldier home from war accepts a limp or a missing limb. It doesn’t mean I can’t find happiness—I very much have. But I don’t feel the need to “get over” anything. After all, a person can’t get over being who they are.

      Work on building a good life despite the scars. That is noble and rewarding, and that is enough. Sending you wishes for strength and peace this Mothers’ Day. (((CE)))

    • I don’t think one can truly snap back from family ruin. It transforms you too profoundly.

      I’m your age. I have been journaling myself. And go about soil and planting in my imagination.

      Take care

  • The last Mother’s Day with exh2 was during wreckconciliation. He had already moved into his slut-shack, but was at my house “trying to work things out”… A few weeks later, I found out the real reason he was playing wreckconciliation — he didn’t have enough money to pay the gas company to turn on the gas for his water heater and was playing me/using me for hot water— but that’s another story…
    The day before Mother’s Day, I got an alert from our bank staing that we were now overdrawn $300., Stupid me thought for sure he’s going to get me something nice since we were reconciling and all. LOL, chump!
    Anyway, so for Mother’s Day, all I wanted was to spend time with my older sons, starting with church. Exh2/The Evil One volunteered to stay home with Autistic daughter.
    Within an hour, he was texting me asking me when I would be back, how much longer, etc. making it hard to focus on the service to say the least. I went up to altar call for prayer. when the pastor got to me, he spoke very gently telling me he sensed to say that the yoke is broken and to let it go. I cried ugly, but I knew all along he was playing me.
    So, I make it home to see he had done nothing around the house, he had packed for work, and asked me to make sure I got his laundry done. He was sporting new sunglasses and shirt asking me how I liked them. I looked around for a card, a gift, something. Nope. Nada. Nothing.
    I choked back tears of rage, he left for work.
    I took DD out for a little while, then cooked myself a nice steak dinner and such a few days before he overdrafted.
    He came home from work around 8, laundry wasn’t done and dishes of my dinner was in the sink.
    He pouted and sulked, but didn’t say a word to kick up a fight.
    GTFO day was a few weeks later…
    This will be Mother’s Day #5 post-D-Day, and the three following were absolutely wonderful asshole-free, this one will be no different.
    I hope all of you fellow chumps have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!!!
    ♥️🌻♥️🌻♥️🌻♥️🌻♥️🌻♥️🌻♥️

  • Happy mother’s day fellow chumps
    I am not a mother ( my own mum died when I was 6 my mum was only 28 I miss her every single day and I’m 45 now )
    I got told by cheater 19 years ago he never wanted children and if I wanted children then me and him were finished . My thinking was well you can’t miss what you don’t have so no children for me ( which I am fine about at the time )
    He now wants children with his whore and are trying before he gets too old !!
    He ended my dream to have it with someone else and now I’m to old to have a child . That hurts

    • So sorry–this shit just sucks.

      This will be the second Mother’s Day without my mother and the first without my daughter. She drove 4 hours from her home to stay at the mom hotel last weekend. Spent most of her time with fuckwit and schmoopie, helping cook a dinner and cookies for an event I would and should have attended, but that whore hosted.

      She’s not coming home to bake cookies with me. Fuckwit is brainwashing her.

      With or without kids, these holidays are hell. Focus on your memories of your mother. I’ve come to realize that this is what this day (and everyday) is about. Our mother’s were the best kind unselfish beings in our lives.

      • I waited until today to even read this topic as Mother’s Day is so painful for me due to being childless. My husband replaced me with a much younger woman and I suspect she will be living my dream of becoming a parent with him very soon in spite of his years of his proclaiming disinterest in parenthood. I feel so alone today and like I’m less of a female due to not being able to be a mother. I’m turning off my phone and just going to hide from the world after I post this comment. On Friday, throughout the day and especially when we were leaving work, colleagues were wishing each other a “Happy Mother’s Day!” and more than once, an awkward pause would occur when they realized I was in earshot. A few looked away and ignored my presence while others said, “Have a nice…weekend,” to me with an almost questioning tone which actually felt worse than if they had said nothing to me at all. I lowered my head a few times and picked up my pace to appear to be in a rush so they wouldn’t be inclined to say anything. I relate to what you stated in many ways Karen.

  • Dear shit storm
    I don’t know if you’re still reading the comments this late or not but my revelation of my husband of 28 years cheating on me was my firstborn‘s birthday when he turned 21 . My son doesn’t know that for me his birthday will always be tinged with sadness but I’ve never told him . The pain you feel about Mother’s Day will always be there but it will fade over time – believe me it will . You’ll always think about it but overtime you’ll learn to accept it and live with it !

    • Thanks Janet. You are right, all these holidays, especially mother’s day are tinged with sadness. They have no idea of the collateral damage they inflict, or maybe they do and just don’t care.

      • I think they don’t have the emotional intelligence to understand or care. There isn’t a depth of emotion to “feel” what they’ve done. That, I’m finding is the worst of things. He will never understand how much of my life he’s taken. It’s soul murder and he, and the rest of the world, act like no biggie. We live in a world of users.

  • Thank you, CL and CN for so generously sharing all the real talk and real feels.

    I’m three months post D-Day—52 y/o husband left kids, wife, family, home—for the 23 y/o young woman he’d been fucking for 6 months at that point. They started their new life together by taking a 4-week vacation to Mexico and Belize. Meanwhile, back home, I tended to a mountainous to-do list, everything from prepping the house for sale and listing it to packing all of Mr I-just-need-a-break’s belongings and putting them in storage, to managing our youngest son’s long term health issues. It’s been such a busy time that the emotional devastation sometimes sneaks up on me. As if I wasn’t giving it the attention it needs so it throws a tantrum and demands I give it the spotlight.

    I’ll be with by teen boys on Mother’s Day. I will not let my STBX take up space. But there’ll be some fresh pain and grief and I can’t begin to express my gratitude to you all for sharing yours. It helps mine feel a little less powerful.

  • Thanks for all your thoughts. Mother’s Day has always been unusual for me, because I’m married to a woman, with two kids (DD7 and DD17) – so, two moms in our family. Neither of us ever got the “pampering,” or day-off treatment, from one another, but we also used to acknowledge one another, get flowers etc., and make time to do family things. Our wedding anniversary is just a couple of weeks from now (going on #21 this year – yes, we had a commitment ceremony before same-sex marriage became legal in the U.S.) – so May has generally been a time to celebrate our relationship. (It feels so sad to type that.) Mother’s Day has been frought for me, personally, for several years now, since I held out against having DD7 for several years, given the long-term side effects of the cancer treatments I had in my 20’s. I love my daughter, and I try really hard to be the best parent I can, but I am still upset with myself that I didn’t uphold that boundary, and eventually gave in to my partner’s wishes – since she had so many sadz for so long about it, I just got worn down.

    This Mother’s Day is going to be a total shitshow, and I’ve been feeling awful for a week already in anticipation of it. (It’s also finals-grading week at the university where I work, so my stress level is at 11.) I’m still with my partner in an in-house separation, but very wary about the future of our relationship; I have been getting my ducks in a row. CL and CN have been very helpful as I manage my expectations about what’s possible after two D-Days in 15 years, and what my boundaries/deal breakers are. I wish, given my particular form of complicated life (I get that lots of chumps have complications, I’m not trying to say I’m special), that it were easier to make a clean break.

    My partner’s mother died at the end of May last year, which is part of what ramped up her covert narcissism until ended up at the level of entitlement that enabled her to have an affair last summer to try to stave off the grief. (I’ve been reading Craig Malkin’s “Rethinking Narcissism,” and it makes sense to me that narcissistic tendencies can ramp up or down depending on pressures and stress, etc.) My partner’s mother was a malignant narcissist, and I’ve seen first-hand how my partner was raised to be a golden-child mirror of her mother. It makes sense that her mother’s death really shattered her. Still no excuse for cheating, I know. So my partner has been dreading both Mother’s Day and the anniversary (we would call it a yahrzeit) of her mother’s death later this month.

    We have already had the conversations about how I’m not the right person to comfort my partner much through all of this, because 1) her mother was a total narc jerk to me, and 2) I’m dealing with my own trauma over the affair. But she still feels entitled to make little sad noises about how unsupported she feels at times like this. Meanwhile, the other day I said that *I* was dreading this Mother’s Day, too, and my partner seemed very confused. “Can you tell me why that is?” Well, yes, I said: this time last year, I thought I was being respected as a full partner and co-parent, and very shortly thereafter, you discarded me and used my parenting labor while you had your affair. “Oh.” And, I added, I know that the anniversary of your mom’s death is coming up, but I’m anticipating a whole bunch of other unpleasant anniversaries: our wedding anniversary in late May (feels like a sham); the anniversary of the day she met a stranger in a bar and began her second affair, just a few days before her own birthday in late June; my birthday in late July, which happened a day after I had to go to the ER last summer, and two days before my partner flew to a “research trip” that was yet another rendezvous with the AP; the anniversary of D-Day #2 in late August; and a whole host of smaller anniversaries in between, since I have seen the dump of texts between my partner and her AP from last summer. Add Trigger-Fest to the list of summer concert tours…

    I hope to have more clarity about my next steps, in the next few weeks. I can see with great clarity how I could benefit from leaving this relationship – I hear you, CN, loud and clear! – but (due to my own personal health issues and family stuff) it will be really, really hard. I’m not sure I have the energy, literally, to move on. But my partner might force the issue soon, anyway, since (like all cheaters) she’s super-impatient to just get over it, already, and I doubt that she’s capable of dealing with my trauma much longer.

    Thanks for listening, CN. Rock Mother’s Day in whatever way you think best! I hope to see you, healthier, on the other side…

    • wow. sounds like a tough weekend ahead. yes cn believes in yanking the bandage off. but it still hurts. i do think delaying just makes it worse and it gives your partner time to steal money. hugs

      • Thanks for reading & commenting. I have felt mighty this year just by surviving – I had taken on an extra workload for the academic year before D-Day, so the stress has been constant, and of course amplified x 1000 by the trauma and having to deal with my kids. I really don’t think I could have physically done it all while leaving this relationship. I will submit grades tomorrow, and thankfully am not teaching this summer, so should have more time to consider next steps after resting up a bit. (That’s a tough one for me, since I have never felt completely rested in 17 years – a long-term side effect of the cancer treatments I had, but also, as others in CN have pointed out, possibly related to living with a covert narcissist all these years.) My partner confuses me a lot. I do think she acts in good faith, but is just really emotionally disordered, and can’t handle the difficulties of adult life very well. She hasn’t been stealing money yet – I deal with most of our finances – but I wouldn’t put it past her to listen to her father or a lawyer who wants to play hardball in a divorce. We do not have a lot of financial resources, since pursuing academic work in the US is like taking a vow of poverty these days, but her dad does. I’m trying to be mindful of all the options, getting the advice of a lawyer, etc. All best to you!

  • This letter could have been written by me. My devoted, nice guy husband cooked dinner on Mother’s Day for my sis, parent’s and I for years. All told I invested 25 years on the liar. My oldest hit the tip of the iceberg when she found porn. I discovered after three years of fake remorse and traumatizing therapy he had been visiting massage parlors, prostitutes, and had a porn habit that required a legal rider for decades. I’ve been in your shoes and I’m about three years ahead of you. It does get better. The cognitive whiplash of being abused like this takes years to absorb. You seem ahead of the curve by the shear fact you didn’t waste more years and tens of thousands of the narc pity party that passes for therapy. Show yourself compassion by doing whatever the hell you want. I’m sorry this happened to you too. Celebrate the fact your kids have a strong enough mother to stand up to the emotional, physical, and financial abuse you endured. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

  • Great post. I needed it today. Today is my wedding anti-versary. I broke up with my stbx husband on super bowl just over a year ago after years of affairs, gas lighting, physical abuse, emotional abuse – the low points were a paternity claim and a concussion he gave me. And now Im going through the most contentious divorce. Narc will not be an adult and mediate and he is attempting to fight the agreement we signed, so I’m living from court date to court date and insane legal bills, waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. He’s also boldly lying in court documents, playing clever games with his income and assets, eyc. Narc would rather spend hundreds of thousands on legal bills and make me relive all the horror and abuses through depositions and court documents than rightfully share anything with me per our agreement since I had the nerve to leave him after hiding a child, beating me up, and dozens of affairs. I’m NC and that’s good, but I found myself with that itch this morning to text him and try to force him to acknowledge what he destroyed and that he robbed me of 13 years of my youth. I know it’s pointless so I won’t, but it makes me feel bad that I even have the urge anymore. I’ve moved on pretty well and most days I feel pretty good considering, but as the post says sometimes the forecast calls for rain. I know I’ll get through this. I know we all will. Thanks for listening and happy mother’s day to all the mothers out there.

    • Dear MushroomCloud–I have been there, done that. Hold your head high and listen to your inner voice. Do NOT sign anything if your gut is telling you otherwise. If you’re in Michigan, I would be happy to be at any of your court hearings. I truly feel the CN needs to be physically present for others during these heinous soul wrenching court appearances. The fuckwits win because they divide and conquer and have a back-up with them in the divorce boxing ring–schmoopie. I realized that without good legal representation, there is no way you can be protected from the triangulation.

      It may rain on us chumps, but CN has helped me put on my galoshes one at a time, purchase the correct size raincoat with sparkles, and taught me to always carry my umbrella.

      • Thanks NotbLUEinTC, really appreciate your support. I’m in CA, I think I have a pretty good lawyer, but of course his is twice as expensive and interested in dragging things out as much as possible so we both spend the max amount of legal fees. The fact stbx runs/partly owns his company and is playing games with his income and refusing to turn over documentation has forced me to pay forensics as well. I’m just hoping that the courts finally see through this soon and we can come to an end while I still have some sanity left. I’m definitely not going to sign anything I don’t agree to, and I appreciate your support and reminding me of that. Even some of my close family and friends, which I know have my best interest at heart, have encouraged me to just walk away and lose money and investments I’ve created and earned just to get this over with. I know sometimes that is the solution but I feel the need to stand up for myself and fight for what’s mine at this time. He’s taken so much from me and I’m not going to give him anything else he doesn’t deserve without a fight. I am done appeasing him, I did that for 13 years and its Time to take my power back. I don’t think he has a main schmoopie – I wish she did so that he would actually want to progress this divorce to an end and stop reaching out to try to “work things out”. He keeps torturing me because he “is not the one that wanted a divorce”. I’m sure he has dozens of scmoopies as he always has, but nothing could fill the void in him and nothing ever will. He’s a miserable, egomaniac alcoholic, and wants to make me miserable as well. Honestly most days I’m quite happy, but this week with the anti-versary and court dates where there are new antics all the time from his side, it gets to me sometimes.

        Thanks again and I’m glad you got through this, it gives me hope.

  • This post could be my letter as well! These fuckwits know how much Mother’s Day and Father’s Day mean to us, the sane parent.

    It is written in our placement agreement that mom can have DD’s on Mother’s Day and dad can have DD’s on Father’s Day. Last year, I asked to have DD’s on Mother’s Day at 2 pm (I was on call in the morning.) He told me that wouldn’t work for them because they were going to be out of town until 5pm. Instead of standing my ground, I said 5 would work. He dropped DD’s off late and they were all pissy because they had to leave his family’s party early and they didn’t understand why they had to be with me. I knew he bashed me all day long. I ended up crying on my patio alone and miserable. Never again.

    This year, I sent Asshat an email a month in advance stating “per our placement agreement I would like to have DD’s on Mother’s Day and will pick them up after their musical cast party at 6pm. They will stay overnight with me.” Of course he blew up my phone and was a colossal dick. I didn’t respond. I simply added “Girls to mom’s at 6pm” to the family calendar. This is MY day and I will spend part of it with my girls. We will have a better Mother’s Day this year!

    Sending hugs and support to ALL chumps today! 💜

  • Sending hugs out there to CN and everyone on the way to mighty who felt the hurt today.

    I wish Mother’s Day and birthdays didn’t exist. My mother used to buy presents for herself on my birthday, and then when I didn’t want them say “oh, if you don’t want them I’ll just use them.” They were usually clothes in her size she had already worn and washed.

    She made me into the chump I am today. I’m a doormat of a person. One who woke up this morning, worked a few hours, and then made breakfast in bed for my teen son who didn’t even say happy Mother’s Day.

    I read CN, and try everyday to be better and more mighty. Holidays like this always knock me back a mile.

    • Your story brought to mind the only time my father gave to us girls presents—back from a business trip. To each of us a pair of slippers that looked like straight out of A Thousand and One Nights.
      Oh, the wonderment.
      We could never wear them as they were way too small in size.

      I’ve always read this as his having no idea of our dimensions. Which is likely true given his overall disinterest in us – despite the fact that back then I thought he loved us dearly and was a caring father.

      Given how things went, now I see his compulsion to frustrate his little daughters. And now I also know that his compulsion to hurt got worse over time.

      Funny, because I also remember a completely different masculinity, a masculinity of integrity, which would be protective, that of both my grandfathers.
      But my father had been completely steamrolled by his mother, a Circe type, which notoriously transforms men into swine. In truth she had broken her husband as well, but she had not managed to do so in his integrity.

      The chain of these things if not broken goes down the generations.

      Might that be the reason why I married what turned out to be a dishonorable man, and have had no children?

      • Thanks periwinkle. I’m sorry about your father and how he treated you and your sister.

        I’m realizing I’ve broken the major chains – I don’t drink, I don’t hit my kid, I don’t sexually abuse my kid, I’m nice and respectful to everyone I meet.

        But those more subtle abuses flew under the radar. I realize now my mother devalued and neglected me, to the point where I don’t value myself at all… and I married a man who treats me like my mother did.

        And I’m STILL wandering the world, wishing that someone would care for me, would value me, would give me a stupid birthday present, or say “happy mother’s day.”

        I know I need to value myself instead, and not derive my worth from anyone else – it’s just so much easier said than done.

  • Mother’s Day 2015. My wasband abruptly moved out two weeks earlier, and still hadn’t told our children. I spent the first week making vague excuses for why my daughters didn’t see their father. Thankfully they stopped asking by the second week. I told my Ex I wasn’t going to lie, and that he could show up and tell the girls himself, or else I’d be doing it on my own. He arrived on Mother’s Day.

    Yep, these cowards and assholes live in an alternate reality. Where they think they can MOVE OUT and not have to explain it, as if their children won’t notice. True to form, they also pick significant days, like birthdays and anniversaries and days meant to celebrate their partner, to deliver maximum pain.

    Fortunately my daughters are all young adults, and they make sure I know I am loved and cherished and valued as the sane parent, on Mother’s Day and all days.

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