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Dear Chump Lady, I don’t want to make nice with my OW SIL

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Dear Chump Lady,

I am 10 years out from leaving my cheating ex-husband. I found out about his affair on July 4, 2009, and have referred to that day as my “Independence Day.” I had dated him through high school and college and we were married for 16 years when he decided his sales representative had more to offer–including blowjobs and abortions. We had twin boys who were 6 years old when I found out his affair had been going on for 2 years. I was devastated, but I was not going to let his actions write the rest of my story. I filed for divorce, fought him for custody, sought counseling at a domestic violence shelter, went back to work full-time and have earned my doctorate. I am a better woman despite what he did. He married his mistress and so the cruelest part of my story (I think) is that our boys had to meet and spend holidays with the woman who helped change their family life. My boys are 17 now and drive me nuts as a single mom of two driving, mouthy teenagers, but this too shall pass.

I am not writing about my ex-husband, the mistress, or my own heartbreak directly. I am writing because after several years of working on forgiving and trying to put my life back together I am faced with yet another cheater. My younger brother, who had been supportive of my boys and me during my painful divorce, cheated on his wife and left her for another woman. They had been married for 15 years, had 3 children (twins age 5 and another age 7) and had built a construction business together. They were very successful and seemed to have it all. In walked trouble in the form of a customer.

The woman my brother had an affair with was a woman who he was building a house for. She was married, had 4 children, and was building a house a few houses down from my brother and his wife. This woman says she is a lawyer, however, all I can find that she does is rent property to low income people and then take them to court when they don’t pay their rent — I think that is called a slum lord. She is not part of a law practice. She left her 4 children with their father to live in an apartment with my brother. My sister-in-law left my brother and got a nice financial settlement. She is going to be fine and is coping fairly well with the help of her family and friends. I still communicate with her and supported her through their divorce.

My family, which includes my elderly parents, my sister and her husband and children, and my brother has been destroyed by this. We had already been through infidelity with my situation and could collectively snark about my ex, but now it is my brother who is the asshole with a sparkly turd. My sister and I have not had a relationship with my brother for about 1.5 years now because he wants us all to embrace this other woman. He wants to bring her to everything and pretend like nothing is wrong.

He has even convinced my parents to be on his side and the 3 of them have teamed up against my sister and me. My parents even talk smack about my ex-sister-in-law who is the mother of their grandchildren and was part of our life for 21 years. My brother and my parents have also been verbally abusive towards my sister and me, including calling us bitches, on a moral high horse, and unforgiving. My mom went as far to tell us that we were not invited to her funeral if we did not make up with my brother and accept his girlfriend. I laughed and asked her what she was going to do if I showed up……..We were raised Catholic and my mother goes to daily Mass which is an interesting twist to her position. Adultery is one of the reasons the Church will grant an annulment. Adultery is considered a mortal sin. My mother must be looking the other way?

Last week my father had cataract surgery. I took the day off to help my mom and attend his surgery as he has severe COPD and heart failure and I am always afraid of how he will do with even minor procedures. I am also a nurse practitioner so I like to hear what my parents are told by his health providers so when I get a frantic phone call I am aware of what is going on with his health. When I got to the surgery center on the morning of his surgery, my brother and his mistress/girlfriend were also there. Since I had not spoke to my brother in over a year, my mom introduced me formally to my brother. I am not sure if she was just nervous or if she was trying to be funny. I told her “I know who my brother is” and said hello to him. His girlfriend, Ebola, stood up and immediately walked over to me with her hand outstretched for a handshake. I just looked at her and said “Nice to meet you.” I did not shake her hand. I felt like vomiting and had an urge to flee. I have never met my ex-husband’s mistress-wife after 10 years and now I have another one of those women in my own family trying to shake my hand at my dad’s cataract surgery.

Ebola, mistress/girlfriend, was offended and rolled her eyes at me, shook her head, and said, “Well OK” in an annoyed tone. My brother then said, “You are such a bitch. Why don’t you get on your bitch broom and go back to the parking lot. You are not going to disrespect me!” Mind you, he is loudly saying this in a full waiting room of patients and their families waiting to get cataract surgery.

My mother then intervened and told my brother and me to stop. I told my mother I had not done anything and sat down. I had to listen to my mother make small talk with Ebola until my dad got out of surgery while I answered work emails on my phone. I accompanied my parents home and stayed for a bit to help care for my dad. While I was there, Ebola shows up at the door with lemon bundt cakes. My mother invites her in and announces “I want you two girls to make things right.” I am 48 years old and she is 46 years old, we are women, not girls. I remained seated on the couch and said nothing. I think she eventually got the hint that I was not going to make small talk and left.

I told my parents, “I have a right to be at my father’s surgery and in my parent’s home.” I told them that the time for me to make nice with my brother’s mistress was not at my father’s cataract surgery and that I had never shook hands with my other in-laws and therefore I do not know why she was offended. I told my parents that I will stand my ground, hold my head high, and speak my truth. I survived infidelity and it took a lot work to get me back on my feet. I told them I felt that they and my brother should understand that and the disrespecting is not towards my brother, but rather aimed at my sister and me as women. I told them that if my brother wants peace in his family, calling his sisters bitches and verbally abusing us because we are uncomfortable with his mistress is not the way to go about it.

So I am writing to you to ask how do you behave and feel around people who are adulterers when they are in your own family? I was deeply wounded by what my ex-husband did to me and my sons. I worked hard for a long time to heal. And now I have to be involved with my brother’s cheating scandal. I don’t want to hurt my parents. I do want peace in my family. But how do you sit across the table at Christmas with your cheating sibling and his mistress? How is a family supposed to embrace infidelity?

Trying to fake it, but not making it.

Chump Sis

Dear Chump Sis,

That’s interesting that your mother doesn’t want you to attend her funeral, but she’s perfectly happy for you to take a day off for cataract surgery. How about backing off with the love and caring for awhile and let mom call an uber? Or Brother Loyjoy and his Sparkletwat?

She can show up with her lemon bundt cake and there will be no one to triangulate with. Sad. #cakefail

Some shitshow observations:

1.) Your parents assume your chumpy goodness. You’re the show-up kid. A nurse. Of COURSE you’re going to help them after surgeries. Your love and kindness are a GIVEN. Very basic penny stock kibble. Your brother’s kibbles are more precious and not a given — the guy walked out on a wife and three kids. Power move! He could walk away from them too. So, if he — the great and powerful Loyjoy — gives a kibble? That’s top grade premium USDA kibble. Yours? Not so much.

2.) Your pain (and your sister’s) is of less concern than offending your brother and his new girlfriend. See item #1. Your family rallied round when you were chumped. Was that because someone did something ethically wrong and harmful? Or did they rally because you’re family? You assumed ethics — “You hate Bob because he cheated!” — when maybe the read was “Bob’s not in our circle now. A pox on Bob.”

There are those inside the family and outside the family. Within the family, there is rank. You are not rated as highly as your brother.

What would be nice is if we could spackle all over this with Family Peace and Unity! and pretend that we rate everyone the same.

(But we don’t. Did you offend Lovejoy? You’re an unforgiving bitch. What did Lovejoy get called for cursing at you in a public waiting room? Was he uninvited to Mom’s funeral? I rest my case.)

3.) Your parents don’t share your values. They want everyone to get along. They’re old. They don’t want to think too deeply about this. You were chumped and that’s tragic, but it’s not their pain. It was in the past. It has no relevance to their life — a life in which they want their children to coordinate their care.

Your moral high ground isn’t driving them to cataract surgery. So suck it up, buttercup.

My advice:

You’re allowed to have boundaries. When you enforce boundaries, you may be unpopular. That’s the hard part, but the upside is YOU GET A BOUNDARY!

So, how about a new boundary is — I don’t want to be at an event with Sparkletwat the GF. He’s bringing her? You don’t go and now there’s no triangulation, no crazy cake, no hurled insults. It’s just awkward and boring. You took away the drama and now she’s left making small talk about cataracts.

You win.

Your parents don’t like it? Hey, you’re very pleasant about expressing your boundary. (No harrumphing allowed. Because you KNOW you’re allowed boundaries.) And now, perhaps, they won’t take your kibbles for granted. And they’re faced with a kibble choice — your take-the-day-off-devotion or a flaky person who isn’t family. With a proven track record of abandoning family.

The lemon bundt cake isn’t that good.

Boundaries. Try them.

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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.
    • Hold that boundary!!

      My daughter is 12. Her grandparents (the cheater STBHX’s family….surprised?) live five minutes away. Grandpa is a serious alcoholic, not in recovery. So is my STBX-SIL. My daughter has NEVER ONE TIME been to their house or left in their care. Do they like me? No. Tough shit. My daughter’s safety is paramount. AND if I didn’t keep this boundary MY DAUGHTER WOULDN’T TRUST ME! I DO NOT CO-SIGN CHEATING, LYING, HURTING OTHERS, STEALING, OR ANYTHING ELSE ICKY AND MEAN.

      Cheaters are constitutionally incapable of connecting these kinds of dots around trust, safety, loyalty, and boundaries.

      My very wise therapist years ago told me that I “had to learn to just let people fly around and be mad.” Point taken. YES!
      She also said I could not host FAMILY gatherings unless I invited everyone. I agree. So I never hosted family gatherings. FURTHER…family members who host FAMILY gatherings have to invite everyone and allow those invited to decide if they want to attend. FURTHER, family members are allowed to congregate INDIVIDUALLY…the WHOLE DAMN FAM does not always have to associate in an enmeshed cluster-f. This is tough to do for dysfunctional enmeshed families!
      We have met in neutral locations (parks, restaurants, our home) without toxic SIL, my daughter’s whole life. I am NOT going to teach her EVER IN A MILLION YEARS to co-sign bullshit!! This freedom-of-assembly is also paired with a big dose of WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT PEOPLE; WE TALK TO THEM….critically important in this situation!!!

      “I am unwilling to associate with a woman who helped my brother destroy his family and cause grievous harm to my beloved nieces and nephews. I will NOT pretend everything is fine when it’s not and never will be OK.”

      Only by taking a stand for what is right and decent, and by sticking to our guns, will the perception of cheating and the damage it causes ever change, and I doubt it will happen in my lifetime. But I am still going to do and say what it right.
      Super culturally unpopular, but nothing fucked up gets changed by people sitting down shutting up and putting up. And I am going to freaking show up and do the right thing and if my daughter is the only one who loves me in this world I win big time.

      And MAN do I get pissed off by religious people who blow off those commandments and those sins. I am not religious, but I completely understand why of all the crummy crap people can do, adultery made the Top Ten of Things Not To Do.

      Sweet smoking Jesus.

      You are in the major leagues of codependent recovery on this one…good luck. I support you.

      • YOUR BROTHER CAUSED THIS.

        NOT YOU.

        YOU’RE JUST THE MESSENGER OF HOW FUCKED UP THEY ARE.

              • I love this. Velvet is on the $$$ as usual.

                My brother was the OM and broke up my now SIL’s first marriage.
                I stay far away from both cheaters unless I must interact for aging parent issues. That’s my boundary.

      • VH,
        I come here to get educated – to find ways to put words onto what has happened to me and my family for the past 2 years because so much of it is still muddled up in my mind. Conflicting emotions I never knew I had – like wanting to kill someone in violent ways – and intellectual blank spots I didn’t know existed. Grief and all of its accompanying twists and turns is one thing to read about in a text book but to live it is an entirely different matter.

        Today, what you have written is phenomenal in regards to boundaries along with what CL lady said in her response above. For someone who is still struggling to free myself from ‘it is my fault ism’ (I was drinking the kool-aid of a lot of years/decades.)’ Intellectually I know it isn’t/wasn’t my fault but the emotions are slow to catch on and this I do know is a process – yucko. I also know it really helps to ‘fake it until you make it’ so I set boundaries even though every fiber of my being is quaking…I do it anyway and it is getting easier.

        You have clarified so much and expressed it clearly and simply. Your words along with CL have taken a bit of the mess in my brain and untangled it – allowing me to sort and store the information in compartments somewhere in the grey matter of my brain. I feel lighter as a result – relief – another rock falling off of my shoulders.

        So thank you for taking the time to share here. Especially timely in that one of my grown children is furious at me because I have set a boundary with his father – no contact – and he desperately wants me to ‘communicate’ with him. Who says older children aren’t hurt by divorce!!!! Like any ‘child’ he wants his family back and he wants his mother to fix it. All gets acted out as rage/fury and that is directed at me although I am a victim of his father’s abuse. I know that twist well – rage and take it out on the victim while the abuser gets the kibbles. Feels like shit to be in this place and only adds to my fury at the X vs yelling at the kid. I knew this was coming but – ouch – it hurts. I am now feeling what my mother felt all those years ago when our father abandoned her. We all raged at her. So common as CL wrote above.

        Yes, to the commandments despite the fact that I am not religious either. Sayings like that survive because, IMO they are the TRUTH only there will always be those who think they are smart enough to avoid the consequences. History repeats itself and I hate that I am now living a life that has been shattered by a smartass FW who thinks we should all just be nice and get along despite what he has done.

        Thanks for this timely post and for the poster taking her time posing her situation in the first place.

        • You piqued my interest in the verbiage of the Ten Commandments so I couldn’t resist taking a peek to check things out because I also remembered a friend commenting on the fact that adultery is the only commandment that is repeated – the 7th and the 10th are direct statements but upon reading through them with a bit of imagination I think the 8th fits too and then, depending on the circumstances of any individual cheater – there are several others that fit the bill too.

          Ultimately and plainly they state emphatically CHEATING IS A NO NO with no ifs and or buts added as addendums.

          Not to forget the Greeks – One doesn’t have to read much from their ancient literature to see the same theme there too.

          Couldn’t resist coming back here and sharing what I found.

        • ❤️ you, Elderly Chump. I have never in my life had to process such a complicated trauma and I have been through some ugly and painful crap. I am amazed if I make any sense, considering how inept I feel at life, parenting right now, how emotionally handicapped I feel. I am surprised I make sense but glad my two cents helped you.

      • “Cheaters are constitutionally incapable of connecting these kinds of dots around trust, safety, loyalty, and boundaries.”

        I refused to lie to my then 14yo daughter about the reason for our split. He still rages that I made him tell her the truth. She’s told me she wishes I hadn’t told her. (She says that now because she’s trying to maintain a relationship with her dad/friend/servant. Some day she’ll come around again and realize she’s glad she wasn’t lied to by BOTH of her parents.)

        I’ve said this in previous posts, but I don’t buy into the F-word (forgiveness). My cheater stole more than 20 years of my life, which included me giving up a career I loved to raise our daughter so he could travel for work (and cheat.). Ain’t no forgiving that shit.

        I’ll settle for the A-word. Acceptance. Ain’t nothing I can do but accept that bad things happen to good people. Learn about narcissists, so I don’t repeat my mistake. And build a new life for myself. I’ve been the career woman, the wife/mother, and now it’s time for me.

        Coming back to the point after my rant, heck no, you don’t have to condone the same behavior from your brother that caused you so much pain. If he tries the “get over it” crap, just let him know you want nothing to do with him or his gf and they can just “get over it.” He can’t do anything to change your mind, so now he’s in the position to learn how to accept the consequences for his behavior that goes beyond betraying his wife and children.

      • How would you manage young adult kids feeling obligated to hang out with the OW and they’re dad if they want to have a relationship with him.( it’s the only way he will see them) I have one that does and one that doesn’t. The one that does never says much about it and is mostly accepting of things. The one that doesn’t is struggling, she says she misses and hates him at the same time and has been on the receiving end of some pretty horrible OW snark.

  • This article was absolute heaven after a weekend without ya. Thank you, Chump Lady, for all you do!!!

  • Wow. The entitlement is strong with the parents, brother and Ebola. Glad you made a stand.

    The next stand is to not show up for the next round of medical troubles and to not be a free consultant. Let them hassle the doctor or NP on call – not you. They might come to value you more if you’re not readily available.

  • HA!! I can still recall the day my ex tried to introduce me to his ho-worker. We were at my son’s hockey game (!!!) and she also stuck her hand out for a shake. I did the same thing as the letter writer- looked at her hand like it was full of maggots, did not extend mine, turned and walked away.

    There is absolutely ZERO obligation on our part to be nice. Civil, yeah. To keep a modicum of “politeness” for the kids and the general public. But nice? Welcoming? FRIENDLY? Nah.

    I choose my friends carefully, especially after being completely eviscerated (financially, mentally, etc) by the ex and his partner in crime. And I am not friends with bad people.

    Her parents sound like class A enablers. I’m so proud of this chump for standing up for herself and for her former sister-in-law and by proxy, all chumps. If we don’t do it, nobody will.

    • I have never spoken to AP and have no plans to do so. AP’s XW has spoken to my XW only once, to tell her “get away from me, bitch” when AP’s parents tried to get them to shake hands. The parents apparently thought that forcing the two together at an event at the kids’ school would constrain her to pretend to be polite.

      I speak pretty often with the other betrayed spouse, and we have exactly the same attitude: (1) we are not *not* on speaking terms with our exes, but we are as low contact as humanly, and (2) we will not speak to the AP. We are not friends with AP or EX. Maybe we are both just bitter … or maybe their behavior when blowing up our marriages produced a naturally negative reaction in us.

      It’s been really useful to have someone who went through exactly the same experience at exactly the same time and had exactly the same reaction. We are surrounded by a culture that minimizes infidelity, and sometimes it’s hard to keep your moral compass when the universal message (outside of CN) seems to be “get over it, already”. Funny how no one says that to other victims (of crime, abuse, disease, etc.) – everyone else gets to heal in their way at their own pace, but chumps’ feelings of loss and betrayal are somehow *our* fault.

      • Amen to that, IG. I’m trying to imagine someone saying “Hasn’t it been 2 years since Person X burgled your home, sabotaged your career, stole your life savings, and mentally abused your children? You guys should make friends now.” No one would expect you to “make nice” in these circumstances after 2 years, 4, or 40…. Why do people think there’s time limit on holding such a boundary just because it’s in the format of infidelity??

        I too have an ex I’m on minimal speaking terms with, and his AP who I don’t acknowledge (even though they regularly try to force me to, at dropoffs and school events). The AP’s Ex (who was simultaneously chumped) holds similar boundaries, and he is pretty much the only person that really gets the need to enforce these boundaries for our mental health. It is hard though, when some of my family (and friends) have started to accept the Ex and AP (memories are short when they’re not the one that suffered through the divorce). Or when they question my need to hold these boundaries, because..”hasn’t enough time passed now?”

        No. I get to hold that boundary if I so choose. Just as I’d hold a lifelong boundary from interacting with a burgler, molester, financial thief, someone who harmed my child, etc. We all get to choose who is part of our lives. I chose EX to be a part of mine when we married and voluntarily had kids, and thus I’m somewhat stuck with dealing with him for the sake of our kids. But I never chose AP to be a part of my life…and so it will stand. In what other circumstance in life are you forced to interact for years with a stranger who greatly wronged you?

        I will work my whole life on forgiveness and letting go of anger and bitterness. But I CHOOSE to not have toxic people in my life.

        • You can forgive but still be on grey rock terms.

          You explained the situation really well in the first paragraph. If anybody wondered about time I’d simply ask them (like really ask them) whether they’d expect me to be a friend with a thief or my rapist. Let’s see what do they have to say.

        • “In what other circumstance in life are you forced to interact for years with a stranger who greatly wronged you?” That pretty well sums up my feelings towards Schmoopie. I am very lucky, however. My ex is pretty much the only one who thinks I should. I don’t think even Schmoopie herself is that delusional.

      • I only wish I had some solidarity. My STBX’s Ho-worker was in an ‘open relationship’ (though her H only found out about the 6mth affair two weeks before I did). In my ignorant chumminess, I went to confront her the next day and her H was the one to meet me, protecting her from my angry words. What a loser. Now 6mth from DDay, she’s still married to him and living with him and their young kids. And my STBX is the nit on the side. Said he felt diminished in our relationship. 🤷‍♀️
        But now it feels like Injabe all three of them against me. Oh, and her daughter started at my daughter’s school this year, so I get to see them at school too. I’ve learned fairly quick, after some missteps, so just ignore the whore and her pathetic H. I see them as toxic and don’t want to be anywhere near them.
        Find it so extremely hard when I hear about my kids being around her.

      • You aren’t bitter IG. Bitter is when you can’t be happy for anyone else’s happiness and I bet that’s not you. You are ‘protecting’ yourself by maintaining NC boundaries with X’s and the AP’s.

  • I call this the second (third, fourth, fifth….) wave of betrayal, when you go through the pain of people you trusted abandoning you. These are the discoveries of Switzerland friends and family.

    It felt like the kick while I was down, and therefore was an even deeper wound. Thank goodness I found Chump Lady during this low point in my life. It helped me come to terms with letting go of these people as well.

    • I had “friends” who dropped me like a hot potato, like they were afraid infidelity was contagious.

      • So true.
        I was listening to the car radio a number of years ago when the host began talking about divorce. They said being close to someone going through a divorce increases your chances of getting a divorce.
        They never said a word about how infidelity increases the “chances of getting a divorce” or is the cause of divorce!
        I’ve also sat through a number of church services where the pastor prays or preaches about saving marriages from divorce without ever addressing the commandment to not sin by committing adultery!
        It seems the words “infidelity” & “adultery” are off limits as is befriending victims of adultery!
        The world & church can ignore dealing with the real problem and the victims by throwing us in the “Divorce Box”!

      • Oh yes. I think that the “friends” that stop talking to you and/or continue to talk to the cheater in the marriage do so for one of two reasons:

        1) They are afraid that whatever infected our marriage to cause the cheater to cheat will infect them.

        or

        2) They want to keep having a fun filled social life that isn’t impacted by trauma that the chump is going through. It’s no fun to hang out with a chump that is emotionally wrecked and single. But the cheater?….he’s still a part of a couple and he is still so sparkly!

        • Kharless, there is also a possible third and fourth options which I experienced:

          3) They drop the chump as a friend because the chump is now single and they don’t want a single woman around their husband.

          They assume the chump will cheat too since the chump was married to a cheater. We become the fallout through association with the cheater’s lack of ethics. It’s fucked.

          4) The Chump looks like a “loser” in the scenario and the sparkly Swiss set only want to be around winners.

  • When she said she was an NP it all made sense, she has value to her parents . Start to withdraw slowly especially on these occasions and offer the parents an alternative for medical advice and help. Hospitals have social workers and states and counties have programs and Office of Aging the parents can avail themselves for help. Brother and the twat were there for the drama. Don’t play into it

    • yes. It strikes me that if she will not be welcome at her mother’s funeral (?), then she shouldn’t waste what precious free time a working single mom of teenage twins has on caring for them. She has explained what her issue is quite simply and it’s a fair one. She has said she is unwilling to have anything to do with the AP at all, so that’s that.

      She can invite her parents to celebrate Christmas and any other applicable events at her or her sister’s house or at a restaurant, but never accept an invitation to go to them if they have invited the brother and his mistress. She can’t tell them who they can and cannot have in their home, but she does control her attendance and can be completely civilised and stay neutral in tone.

      ”I’m not able to socialise with people who swear at me and call me names and as you know, people who cheat and lie are a problem for me, given my history, so I’d LOVE it if you guys could make it on X or Y date, but I won’t be able to attend your party”.

  • Sis:
    You have your choices and your parents have theirs. You seem to want to untangle your parents skeins—how could they! Why don’t they understand! But they are still other people, even parents and family, and they have their own skeins.

    I hope you don’t spend the rest of your life trying to figure them out or change them.

    You have the right not to interact with the cheaters and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Also they don’t owe you one. I think the way forward is to make your decision and stand by it without needing to justify or defend yourself. Stop reacting to your mother’s efforts and if that means stone silence whenever she tries then so be it.

    • exactly.. ..

      your relatioship with your parents is your own decision. if you want to be there for dad’s cataract surgury then by all means be there. i think you did an amazing job keeping your toxic brother and his flavor at arms length. . .. you do NOT have to talk to her or make small talk or shack her hand. .. . i cant believe your brother calling you names over it but in my opinion it is just proof that he knows he fucked up and really hates that you point this out. someone posted above the comment of “i do not want to associate with the thing that helped my brother abandon his family and caused my niece/nephews pain.” (or something like that) .. .. also point out to your parents that it is not OK that brother calls you a bitch and causes a scene. you could have said back to him in the waiting room something like “you are only mad because i do not accept the thing you cheated on your wife with” or “dont call me names because i dont want to be friends with your cheating girlfriend”.. .. and walk away.

      you cant control what your parents think or want or act like. but you will need to remind them frequently that you do not like your brothers cheating girlfriend. and you refuse to “be nice” to someone who destroys families.. ..

      personally, i will never understand how men honestly believe that a woman who bails/cheats on her current husband and/or can abandon her own children is going to love him better then anyone else. in my opinion, if they can leave their own kids what makes you (him) think she is going to stay true to you (him) and stay in love with you(him)? just blows my mind that a man will walk out on his wife of 10/15/20 years for some flavor he just met who abandoned her own kids and bailed/cheated on her own husband.. . .. yep, she is going to give YOU what you want.. .. dumbasses.

  • I was going to write an epistle but I think the better advice is just to use the word “no”. You don’t have to give explanations because everybody knows what they are. Silence and an occasional “no” are your most powerful weapons against people who try to manipulate you. It’s amazing what happens when you stand your ground.

    • LetGo
      I have several friends who repeatedly tell me that ‘NO” is a complete sentence. Amen to that – sweet, simple and to the point!

  • So your mum would choose the mistress to attend her funeral than her own daughter who has been there through everything?

    Ouch. It sounds like your parents (particularly your mom) has to perhaps look at her own values.

    Thank goodness yours are in tact.

    Your brother is acting like a mean spoilt brat.

    I agree with Chump Lady… boundaries. Stick with them. They will pay off in the end.

    You’re amazing and you should feel proud over not only how strong your values are but how you chose to rise above everything you were put through by your ex. Incredible!

  • As we practice boundaries, we can go through confusion sometimes, because while we are setting them verbally, we are not setting them concretely with the rest of our actions.

    I hear excellent verbal boundaries coming from our author. I also see what CL sees about remaining present for parents who are bad at observing boundaries.

    I get the worry about the dad. Been there with my own mom. Are a lot of shit sandwiches. In retrospect, I am not sure it was worth it. I don’t think I made anything better that I couldn’t have he handled some other way besides being present for my sister’s shenanigans.

    Of course, it’s hard to be sure without all the specifics, but walking the F out when the brother is around seems to me like a much better boundary than staying and being sulky and passively participating in conflict with assholes who are clearly deep in the image management pool (look what better adults we are, we try to shake hands before being assholes…)

  • I would right this family off and move forward. Your mother doesn’t sound like a fair woman and if she’s supporting a cheater I would be done with her. I don’t like my own mother and rarely speak to her.

    • i have that problem with my daughter. she is toxic. loves to tell everyone how i emotionally abuse her every day. And yet i do not . .. i used to point out that she was fucking up and making really bad decisions. now i barely talk to her. so before i used to be mean and hateful and apparently i just did not want her to be happy, now i am just emotional abusive to her..

      it used to hurt my feelings. well.. .. in truth it still hurts my feelings but i learned that i can not change the way she thinks of me. even thou it is 90% lies and made up stories, it is how she thinks of me. ..

      i read once that you can not change a person who is determined to misunderstand you. .. . it doesnt matter what i do or say, she will always twist it to some form of abuse so she can get attention from others. .. . getting sympathy is very important to my daughter, even if it is based off a lie.. she loves it more then she loves her mother.. ..

      all i can do is accept it and live my life the best i can. i talk to her but not much more then that. if it were not for my 2 grandkids, i would cut her completely out of my life.

      • MrsVain; I have had a similar experience with my daughter who is a full fledged adult at 34. She is a drama queen and has figured out that she enjoys the attention of being the poor girl whom has had no breaks in life – but has somehow escaped this tough life she had with me to crawl from the rubble to her perch. She is married to a man who comes from a family of users who worry a lot more about “appearances” than what things/situations really are. They can be found on Facebook trying to make others jealous of their empty existence. They know their best camera angle, photo shop themselves, etc. Sad.
        I adore my one grand child who is only four and whom I rarely see. The husband does not care for me and has never been interested in a relationship, and Lord knows I tried for years. (together now since she was 16). I believe he is isolating her as I am a powerful ally.
        I wanted to extend my heartfelt condolences for this painful situation you are in! We have spent so much time, resources and heart in raising them. I did not raise her to be spoiled and entitled, but now she has spent many years with them and not me. Unfortunately, don’t believe she is happy either.
        Your comment about the importance of getting sympathy for having it rough even if it is based on a lie, is so relevant to me as well.
        On another note, Chump Lady sure has this Chump thing down to a science! How fortunate are we to have her years later continue to help us see our dysfunction of giving everyone 42 chances to disappoint and hurt us! Allowing our goodness and generosity to be taken for granted and being rewarded with criticism and contempt.
        Truth be told in my life anyway, boundary blurring was my birthright with both parents alcoholics. It is too bad that many who really are good folks, without boundaries get used and abused. Lessons learned, do not underestimate your worth Chumps!
        Only we can stop the madness in our families by setting boundaries for our future generations to observe and model.
        Thanks again CL for showing us how to keep the spackle in the can!

  • This is triangulation. Slum lord and brothers seedy ethics. He (both of them) want you and your sister out of the picture so they can rob your parents of their money and you and your sisters inheritance.

    What you are seeing is noise. My ex and sister gained up on my elderly father whom he trusted and it cost him his life. She took his house away and all his money. My ex was involved so I wouldn’t get my money. She took it all. The grandchildren and myself and my other sister didn’t get a dime. The will was changed from the original one where all three sister and all four grandchildren inherited equal shares.

    My ex was showing up at my fathers house and filling his head with lies and then hanging out at nursing home. When I would see him I would leave and not be there for my father.

    My father ended up starving to death in nursing home from heavy bedsores on his bottom. My sister had lawyers come in as he was dying and sign his house over to her. He was heavily drugged out. Didn’t know what he was doing. She took his phone, eyeglasses and teeth away. Could see, talk where people could understand him.

    I can’t sue the nursing home. My older sister was the executor of his estate. She cleaned out his bank account, retirement account and savings account. It would cost too much to have to hire an attorney to sue to get my stuff back. These people know what they are doing. Grifters.

    • Good point, here.

      The disordered child will continue to manipulate the parents until they are gone. This raises ethical issues that the letter writer is going to have to tangle with.

      In a calmer moment (no surgery going on), she might sit down with her parents, explain the ways she is willing to help them, but also explain her boundaries. She won’t socialize or make nice with her brother and the OW nor will she initiate hostilities with them–she’s just going to ignore them. She could tell them she loves them and would not choose to abandon them, but if they want to make her choose between self-respect and abasing herself to a verbally abusive sibling, she’s learned (thanks to their support) to stand on her own two feet. She’ll put up with being in the company of brother/OW out of love for her parents, but out of their love for her, she is asking they not ask her to choose.

      I’ve seen lots of similar problems among my friends when caring for aging parents. One child–the selfish, disordered one–is able to use an elderly parent’s fear of dying on bad term with that child to manipulate everything. The likelihood of persuading elderly parents to start drawing the line after decades of habitually capitulating to a selfish child is very low. There is some hope they can be persuaded to agree that the other siblings have a right to draw their lines in a different place than the elderly parents might wish.

      I am sympathetic to the tough spot the letter writer is in. Caring for her parents–the way love and duty demands–seems to require putting up with an abusive sibling in the same way it might mean putting up with other indignities on their behalf.

      She might also try some version of grey rock. Shake the OW’s hand (limply). Nod in conversations. Give only non-replies. The brother and OW want to be central. Refusing to shake a hand or talk at all lets them feel they are still the most important people in the room, but steadfastly refusing to take any bait might defang them a bit.

  • I agree with CL wholeheartedly – they want you to join them in their alternative reality and you have every right to refuse. Your brother and his misstress destroyed two families and you’re supposed to pretend everything is ‘normal’ ? What if they tried to murder his wife but failed and there just wasn’t enough proof to prosecute? Would they expect you to pretend it didn’t happen? Of course – because their alternative reality isn’t liveable unless everyone is in it too. Boycotting family events that have these two there IS the right thing to do – or you do what my sister did after my brother dumped is wife – she brought his ex-wife to the party – needless to say my brother and his ‘ sexretary ‘ left early! When you’re right – STAND YOUR GROUND – you should be allowed to shame them and certainly not have to participate in their sham family. We’re with you.

    • Jax:

      Ooh, I ❤️ the idea of bringing the ex-SIL to the next few family events! You want some drama? Well, pull up a chair!

      • Given that there are grandchildren involved, you’d think the OP’s parents would want them there over this whore.

        • Wow does this post make me think. About family dynamics that come before and after chumpdom……it seems like just like the cheaters have a playbook, so do we.

          We were raised to be chumps, in a way. Raised to take care of everyone else while being gaslighted about the truth. Then shamed into behaving in a way that made the whole family system work, to hell with our needs. Narcissistic parents have a playbook just like the cheaters. We stay with our cheaters because giving more than we get feels so normal. Both my family and my exes had different variations on the theme.

          My dad died the summer after d-day, leaving me only with a sister who is pretty abusive to me and a brother who lives far away. This is a timely post for me, as I’m resuming a relationship with my ex-narcissists mother and sister who are moving to my state at the same time my ex is marrying his child bride. Since I have custody of the only grandchildren, I still have value to his family after the discard.

          I’m going to have to set very good boundaries with them, as I fit nicely into their family for 21 years (married to the prized firstborn son) but willing to do more than my share of cooking and cleaning and loaning them money.

          Before this post, I thought they still loved me, and that’s why they were reaching out to me. But since my kids don’t even know where their love-struck father lives and are still very mad at him, now I see that my value lies as mother of the grandchildren. My ex and schmoopie (and my kids) will be invited for Christmas dinner. I’ll get whatever crumbs are left over. Thanks for reminding me about boundaries and for helping me see how easy it is for me to fit myself into a non-reciprocal position in a family.

  • I remember when my sister cheated on her husband a second time and he kicked her out. She went to each of us and our (divorced) parents for a place to crash. NONE of us offered to help my sister out. We were disgusted with her. A united front! It woke her up to how selfish (she also was an alcoholic) she was. She went to counseling and stopped drinking. They later made up and have a good marriage. None of that would have happened if we didn’t set boundaries!

  • Chump Sis,

    You are a great sister-in-law; standing with your brother’s ex chump! Most people don’t do that which speaks volumes about your character. You walk the walk! As for your parents, I think it is probably what CL describes. Your brothers kibbles are not a guarantee so they pander to him in hopes to get a few. They know that you’re the sane child and will be there for them no matter what. It’s not fair so it’s time that you set the boundaries and stick with them.

    It’s hard since the cheater is your brother but you can be civil without being friends with ebola (love that name!). If people in the family don’t like it, or swear at you, make yourself scarce. Invite your parents for gatherings at your house where you control the guest list.

    You are mighty!

  • Glad you have your actual sister! And getting your PhD mighty way to go! Stick to your mighty boundaries.

  • Sometimes the only boy in a family gets used to preferential treatment early in life and then life-long as he carries on the family name. This is how his narcissism takes root and he feels special and better than his sisters. Parents often enable this without consciously meaning to!

    I think Chump Sis has done an amazing job at moving on & especially at raising her two sons. Setting boundaries lovingly with her parents and brother is the most important thing she can do now, for her sake as well as her sons’ and parents’ sakes. We show people how to treat us. I agree with all of CL’s points about the family dynamics. We have to remember to treat ourselves preferentially!

    • Yes, this exactly, Meg, and not only when it is one boy–Alison Bechdel’s “Are You My Mother?” (the follow up to her more famous “Fun Home”) has a great and, to me, both devastating and healing scene about the preferential treatment of boys in families, especially in her/my generation. Sometimes the boys can do not wrong and the girls can never do enough–and this is just one more extreme example. UGH. So many battles, such a big war, so little time.

      • There was definitely some of that going on in Ex’s family. It wasn’t his parents who were the problem, they treated him and his sister the same, but the extended family, especially the grandparents and an aunt on his dad’s side favored him and it was very obvious. He was the golden boy and his sister was the black sheep who always got it wrong. It wasn’t easy for her to live that way. Our marriage blew up after most of that side of the family had died. She believed he was the golden boy too and was pretty upset when he blew up his marriage the way he did because it made her feel that he wasn’t the super person they all thought he was and that they all favored. She also made a point of telling me when it was all going down that I was the only sister she ever had and she didn’t want to lose me. I always treated her as an equal and recognized her value. She was mighty in her own right overcoming so much devalue. Of course ex saw it differently. He had to do “everything” for his family and didn’t get enough inheritance in return.

      • Geez. This described my mom and her messed up brother. She was the ace student, gifted musician, savvy investor, married an engineer who was faithful to her until the day he died.

        Her brother, on the other hand, sucked on the financial teat of my grandmother his entire adult life…and yet, because he was male (that is the ONLY reason I can think of), my grandmother always gave him preferential treatment. He cheated on his first wife, married his mistress, then, when she cheated on him (no surprise) was a pathetic victim. He has squandered his entire inheritance from my grandmother by engaging in ridiculous lawsuits (which he always loses), and various get-rich-quick schemes.

        But he “carried on the family name”.

        My daughter has MY last name, even though STBX is her dad and we were married when I got pregnant. I kept my maiden name when we got married, and I really wanted to honor my faithful, hard-working, brilliant dad by passing on his name to another generation. In retrospect, one of the best things I did. X’s dad was a disaster: alcoholic, cheater, addict, in/out of prison, never paid child-support. Just because he was male he gets to pass on his name? I don’t think so.

    • My X is the oldest of two and the only son and I can testify that the boy preference in that family created a massive sense of entitlement in my X.

    • I was going to chime in and say that this situation sounds a lot as if Chump Sis’s parents have a track record of looking the other way when it comes to Only Son. If Chump Sis reflects back on her family dynamics, she probably recognizes that Only Son was always cut a lot of slack when he was growing up. The parents probably looked the other way, giving him a supreme sense of entitlement. Bonus entitlement if he bullied his sisters and the parents–and here I bet that Toxic Mom was the main player here–told the sisters that the bullying was just “what boys do.”

      Of course, all decent men know that this is NOT “what boys do” and that boys don’t get a free pass to bully.

      Chump Sis, I agree that it’s time to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Your parents may end up having to eat the shit sandwich of their son’s Ebola. Unless they go NC with their son, it’ll be hard to keep Ebola out of their lives. However, even if they have to eat the sandwich, they don’t need to make you eat it, nor do they have the right to insist that it’s really a very tasty sandwich if only you would try harder to eat it.

      The boundary is that you don’t show up if Ebola is there. Frankly, you don’t need to show up if your brother is there, as that’s probably the same as Ebola showing up.

      Your concern about your father’s COPD is natural, but your parents (especially your mother) are probably leveraging your concern to guilt you into doing all sorts of things. Start looking at those situations more carefully. Do you have to be there when your father goes in for tests, or is 3rd party access to medical records enough for you?

      Best of luck.

    • My ex was the baby with two older half sisters. His father adopted both girls and stayed married to the ex’s mom until his death. He was always treated with kid gloves and the attitude that he was the baby and we shouldn’t expect too much from him. It wasn’t until long after the divorce that I realized that they taught me the same lessons. Heaven forbid if I expected too much from him. What the hell was I thinking stressing the poor little baby out? They taught me to expect nothing and to accept even less in return.

  • On point, as usual!

    One of the gifts of throwing off my sham marriage is that it has become an opportunity to renegotiate boundaries and expectations with everyone in my inner circle. This summer’s project? Be less chumpy with my own family, friends, and community obligations. I love the people in my life, and we do a fairly good job of treating each other well. However, there’s always room for improvement in the boundaries and expectations department, I say! A timely reminder, thanks!

  • Dump them all! This is nothing but a shit sandwich all the way around. Let the son they love so much deal with their health issues and anything else they need. Spend your time with your sister and sister-in-law–peopke who deserve your love and time.

  • You said, “I told my parents, ‘I have a right to be at my father’s surgery and in my parent’s home.'”

    Nope. Nopity nope nope no. You have no such right. Further, you have no such obligation.

    You do have a right for how much shit you have to eat. You have an obligation to demonstrate to your children what is right and what is wrong, even when standing with the right makes old people uncomfortable.

    I suggest you push away from the table. Let them do their drama and embrace the maggot Ebola. They do not have the character to say what is right and what is wrong including allowing your brother to be vile with his name calling. They are calling you a bitch? Last straw. You do not owe them a facade of forgiveness so they don’t have to deal with reality.

    Put down the spoon and stop eating the shit.

        • Absolutely correct. Well said, Now I.C.

          NO right to be at father’s surgery or in parents’ home, and no obligation to either.

          Being raised Catholic complicates things on the obligation front, as we have it drummed into us to honor our father and mother. But we don’t have to honor their bad choices, and choosing cheaters is especially bad!

          We can honor such parents by keeping in touch… but keeping distance from people who are that mean – not to mention wrong – is the healthy, mature thing to do.

  • What is it with cheaters and handshaking? My first cheater back when I was in my early twenties found me at a birthday party for a mutual friend and he extended his hand to shake and was like “I don’t want anything bad between us.”

    First off, I ain’t touching that, I don’t know where it’s been.

    I just looked him in the eye and told him I knew he’d cheated and walked away.

    There should be a new term for this. Cheaters extending their hands to make nice.

    • The OW smiled at me and tried to shake my hand when I found them in a motel room together. Nope. It’s because they are Narcissists and cannot believe that other people don’t like them. This chump will never be played or manipulated again.

  • Chump Sis, my hat is off to you. Being a ‘people pleaser’ I know how hard it is to take a stand where family is concerned. Standing your ground when an authority figure (that you love!) is trying to convince (bully?) you into lowering your values is just crazy making. At least you have your sister by your side. Show those teenaged boys what it is to have morals and to stand by them – even when it’s not comfortable. Hang in there!

  • Chump lady is spot on. Your parents. Especially Mom want you to just accept the OW. And ignore your own morals and ethics. Sounds like in your Mom’s eye your brother can do no wrong.
    The best thing to do is say no to family gathering if your brother and OW will be there. Being subjected to verbal abuse from your cheating brother is not acceptable.
    After I found about my husbands affair with my cousin. It took me a long time to recover. I recently cut ties with a friend that was bragging how she met her now husband when he was married. Stand your ground.

  • Chump sis, my 40 yr old son just left his wife for his personal assistant. His wife is a great wife, mom and human being. We love her. She has been strong and is putting her life back together. Myself and daughter have done everything to support her. Soon the holidays will be here, I don’t want to meet or spend time with the slut or give my son the impression I’m ok with his behavior. He has always been the caring, sensitive person you could count on. I can’t walk away from him, but will not be a part of this wrong. Boundaries have consequences just like cheating. He may walk away, that I don’t control that. I will continue to have his ex wife in my life as a daughter.

    • Hcard, I can’t tell you how much I would have appreciated my MIL if she had treated me this way. I promise you are helping your DIL’s recovery tremendously. Keep up the good work!

      • My XMIL treats her son as if he can do no wrong. She has done plenty wrong in her life, as has her X husband. The now dead grandparents also treated Xhusband as the Golden Child. XMIL has spent the last 40+ years doing her best to overcome her guilt of abandoning her son, and he has spent every minute of the last 40 + years making her feel guilty. All that passive aggressive rage and abuse cycled over to me – from both of them. MIL just rolled all her own guilt over onto me – who has nothing to be guilty over. Her son can still do no wrong, and I can do no right. She even berated me for not getting school pictures done and sent to her, which I did for a decade – and then crickets when I pointed out to her that her son now has our kid during school picture time and it was his responsibility to do school pics.

    • Hcard, thank you so much for supporting your DIL and standing by her. I am so grateful that my STBXH’s family has reached out to me and done the same, including my MIL. My ex was told directly by his family that they want no part of his new life and the AP is not welcome in their homes. He was even told that if he brings her around, he can leave with her 🙂 It warms my heart… they have always embraced me as part of the family but seeing it in action, especially under these circumstances!, has truly been surprising and very touching for me. This is an impossible trauma as you all know, but this bit of support makes all the difference. BONUS, Shmoopie doesn’t like that his family wants nothing to do with her and is very upset. Boo freakin hoo.

    • I can’t tell you how healing this would be. My MIL is still in my life – early days at 6 mth since DDay. It was rocky at the beginning as she and the STBX’s two sisters were saying they were supportive, but never actually reached out to me. And when I reached out to them, they almost never failed to get across the idea that I must accept some responsibility because ‘affairs don’t happen in a vacuum’ or our marriage must have been weak. I am no longer in contact with his sisters – who I considered to be my sisters for the last 20yr. His family are conservative and I think just couldn’t fathom that their golden boy was not a good person. It has made a big difference to know that his sisters and mother want nothing to do with the Ho-worker. His mother and father have babysat my kids once a week for the last couple of years and I continued that for the kids. The relationship with them is still a bit awkward but improving and I am hopeful it will last. I am grateful I haven’t been abandoned by them too. I think his mother is deeply ashamed of her son, but like you, he’s still her son. She sti has to see him. I don’t.
      There’s so much loss. The STBX did the wrongdoing but I feel like I’m the outcast. I imagine the letter writer is similarly conflicted – not wanting to be outcast in her own family because of what someone else did. There’s just so much injustice to deal with.

  • I wonder if these parents have contemplated whether the new cheater DIL is going to be wiping their a$$es when the time comes.

  • Chump Sis,

    I wish I had you as a SIL when I found out I was being chumped for years.

    I never thought this would happen since I got along very well with all of my in laws, but when my chumpiness was revealed, they turned away from me in the most cruel way: “Get your things out of here (the family weekend place) and never come back”. My SIL looked down in shame.

    I don’t know where I got the serenity to keep quiet and go to my room to cry alone. When I realized they had left, I called a truck and took every damn piece of everything I contributed, from the washing machine to pillows and gave it to charity.

    I heard from my sons that they were furious and they made sparkledick replace everything. Strange family dynamic, but it’s no longer my problem…!

    Sometimes I think their cruelty traumatized me more than sparkledick’s cheating.

    • Good grief! My happy thought of the day is I will not have to help with elder care for my dumbass in laws.
      My dumbass MIL sent me a text intended for her other daughter right when the affair came to light. It said, “if anyone will be leaving it will be him!”
      I was sure to screenshot it and let the whole family facepalm lol.
      The other daughter is on her 3rd marriage. She walked away from the first 2 with jack squat (read cheater cheater).
      I didn’t know SIL was a cheater until after I was chumped. I heard the family talking about these exes and now I see what a sorry bunch of low lifes they really are.
      They can gossip about my shit stains forever for all I care. I’m not the one with a closet stuffed with skeletons.

  • For the first time ever, I don’t 100% agree with ChumpLady here.

    Sure, you CAN set a boundary that you will not attend gatherings that your brother and his OW are also attending, but do you really want to die on that hill? Being in the same room with them does not make you complicit in their behavior. There’s no guilt by association there.

    There are better boundaries to set, I think. You don’t have to be friends with her. You sure as hell don’t have to invite her into your home. You don’t have to buy her gifts or send her cards or be her Facebook friend. You can also tell your parents and your brother that you won’t tolerate any trash talk about your former SIL.

    Your mom and dad want their family intact. They don’t want to have to choose between kids. It’s unfortunate that your brother has put everybody in this position, but you can’t control his behavior and neither can they, because he’s a grown ass man. You can be “meh” with him and his OW just like you can be “meh” with your ex. You don’t have to play into this family drama.

    I say this as a chump who was very, very close to her former in-laws. When “favorite son” left me for a 20 year old emo girl, MIL and FIL accepted her right into the fold. MIL trash talked me, apparently. All three of my SILs basically tolerate this girl’s presence at their family gatherings, but mock the whole situation and hate what “favorite son” did to me. I get that they tolerate her presence. I don’t expect them not to. It’s cool.

    • I can understand how some chumps could be ok with tolerating poor morals for the sake of peace, while others will not. In this case, Chump Sis is NOT ok with providing her brother and parents the smoke and mirrors that his actions were acceptable.

      It truly comes down to each person’s values. If a person places the value of the morals of being loyal and honest above the the value of family peace at all costs, then they will more likely side with Chump Lady on this one.

      Whereas if a person values family peace above the morals of loyalty and honesty, they will likely tolerate participating in family functions that include family members that do not display loyalty and honesty.

      Which one is the right way to go depends upon what you believe is more important.

      • Kharless, well said.

        And IMHO it’s the not dealing with issues/problems and an unspoken family rule that everybody pretends everything is “fine” that leads to situations where parents, family members have to choose….and may have even been the seeds of cheating in the first place…

        The consequences of betrayal, broken trust, hurting other people, and subsequent relationship damage are often the only ones that inspire people to improve their conduct and character….

        I will forever be the kid yelling that the Emperor has no clothes. There are a few people who eventually became better people because of it. And I became a better person because of people holding the line with me.
        Being cheated on causes such massive lifelong damage (and life-threatening damage if you include murder and suicide that often goes along with cheating) that I cannot imagine anything less than major outrage expressed in words and corresponding actions.

      • Participating in only family functions that exclude family members who are immoral is a mighty high bar. My own family is full of alcoholics and narcissists and moochers and the like. I don’t think I condone their choices just by being in a room with them.

        I never expected my former in-laws to disown or disavow favorite son. I was disappointed they shielded him from the consequences of his actions by giving him financial and other support while he was with OW but still married to me. They are enablers though, and I already knew that, so I was not especially surprised. As for my former SILs, I do wish they had been more vocal to my ex and his OW about what they thought of his behavior, but I think they’ve made it known. I don’t expect them to cut themselves (and their kids) off from him. I just don’t.

        • I am an alcoholic, in recovery for 33 years. It is a disease, not about immorality.
          (Although lousy character and behaving in a self-centered way that hurts others is part of the problem when untreated…)

          Cheating is behavior, a choice, that hurts people, and is intentional. Very different.

          I do think everyone has the right to make their own decision about whether they spend their time with someone, family or not.

        • Chumpiest, you have every right to do what works for you. I’m not judging your choice.

          Your post stated that you disagreed with Chump Lady on this one and that got me thinking. I in no way would tell you that you are wrong for the way you are handling this, and conversely I do not think it is wrong to handle it the way Chump Lady suggests either. It’s all in what your values are and we each decide that for ourselves.

        • That’s not the point. Her family is *abusive* to her because she won’t make nice with the OW and close ranks against her former SIL, all in order to enable her jerk brother. Would you expect her to tolerate abuse and just give in to their demands for the sake of peace?

          • I think the conundrum here is that if she puts up with the abusive brother and OW, then her ethics in regard to infidelity are violated. If she stays away from her parents to avoid the abusive brother and OW, then her ethics in regard to caring for her aging parents in their time of need are violated.

            No matter what she does, she’s going to have a level of unease with her decision–there are lots of good posts on this thread (beginning with CL’s insights) about how to act when stuck between this particular rock and hard place.

            I know I’d end up tolerating a certain level of abuse because of my commitment to my parents, but I can imagine other people making the opposite decision for excellent reasons.

        • Why are you glossing over the fact that OP’s brother is verbally abusive to her and the other sister? And the fact that the parents agree with the brother’s behavior towards them? Or the fact that the brother, OW, and parents are badmouthing the brother’s chumped ex wife?

          His behavior is NOT ok, and OP does NOT have to put up with it. He trying to force them to accept the OW, when they are under zero obligation to do so, and when he can’t get his way he acts like a toddler resorting to name calling and shouting. This is abuse and no one needs to put up with abuse, for ANY reason. I realize the parents will never cut off their cheating child, but OP has the right to not be verbally assaulted for setting boundaries, and the parents, brother, and OW need to respect those boundaries, and respect her.

          ChumpSis is refusing to enable her brother’s behavior and that is mighty. Chumps are often enablers, not just in our love relationships but in every relationship. It takes strength to admit it and stop being an enabler but it is something the chump needs to do if they ever want to have a healthy relationship with anyone.

        • Chumpiest has a point… we can only control our actions. I do not see the comment as going against CL and her post. It’s about Meh. I do me. I.untangle my skein. I do not attempt to control the how, when, what, why, where behavior of the disordered… the brother, the mother, the ex, the OW/OM… Me only. Let them be fucktards, let them play ridiculous games, let them try and triangulate, let them bring whatever crappy shit sandwich, let them attempt to extract kibble.

          Ours is to set and enforce our own boundaries. To be staunch in our own value, no matter the cost. Who cares what they do?!?

          We spent way too much energy already trying to make these fuckers “see” and know the error of their ways. No more! It is not up to us chumps to point out the bleeding obvious, again.

          It is up to us to put in place boundaries for US… that is all. We need to learn. Not them. We can remove ourselves and go on to gain a life, WITHOUT them in it. That is our charge.

          The gain a life part of this comes as we remove these people. Brothers, SIL, MIL, family, Swiss people, users, disordered folk, exes, all of them. They’re not our people! Our choices for a better life DO NOT involve them.

          Peace out CN.xxx

      • Yes but she WAS civil to this tramp. And that was not good enough for her parents. They want her to be happy crappy with the bitch.

    • I think it is all a matter of what makes her comfortable and what her priorities are. If she doesn’t want to be around Schmoopie she shouldn’t have to be but it may mean making some hard choices. She may have to avoid her family, not out of spite, but in order to avoid situations that make her uncomfortable. If she does want to have a close relationship with her parents, she may need to learn to tolerate Schmoopie’s presence. If it isn’t worth it, then she will have to let her parents fend for themselves as they don’t seem to value her or respect her boundaries.

      My own in laws were appalled at how ex chose to blow up our marriage. None the less, they still love him and he is their son/brother/nephew. They tolerate and are polite to Schmoopie because they have to be in order to keep him in their lives. I don’t begrudge them that. I know they still love me and only tolerate her because they have too. Our relationship only works because I understand that and I don’t hold it against them and they don’t hold it against me that I no longer think ex is the great man I once thought him to be. We mostly talk about other things, but sometimes I get bits and snatches that make it clear they don’t like her and wish she would go away. They include her anyway, however, to keep him coming around. I can live with that.

  • Your mom is what I like to call a “cafeteria catholic” When it comes to their religion, they prefer to pick and choose what they believe and follow. It’s one of the reasons why I stepped away from Catholicism after being raised in the hypocritical shitstorm of that church.

  • It never ceases to amaze me how every now and then a nuggest of clarity or knowledge arrives in one of CL’s posts or in the Forum.

    The most beneficial to me was when I learned that I would be eligible to collect Social Security from my deceased former husband’s account (as we had been married 10 years). I had no idea and doubt I ever would have learned that unless someone–I LOVE you whoever that was three years ago!!–hadn’t mentioned that.

    And today I learn that Catholics can have their marriages annulled due to ADULTERY. Now the mystery of POP’s second wife contacting him for his cooperation in her getting an annulment so that she could remarry (which he sidestepped/ refused to answer when I asked how that worked considering their 13 year marriage) has been solved…

    So, being the lifelong– since his teen years –cheater, that now makes me realize that his FIRST MARRIAGE must have also been annulled.

    Sheesh, what a ‘good Catholic’ he is.

    • Actually, technically adultery alone is not grounds for annulment. If she was getting the marriage annulled it was probably on grounds having to do with deceit or fraud prior to marriage. For instance if she can prove that he NEVER intended faithfulness (sometimes evidence comes to light which makes this surprisingly easy as it was in my divorce and subsequent annulment) and deceived the spouse on that point, an annulment is possible. In such a case, the church considers that since the unfaithful spouse willfully deceived the faithful spouse and entered the marriage in bad faith, the marriage can be nullified. In essence the church recognizes CHUMPINESS and that the chump has been victimized and lied to since before the marriage and therefore they are released from their vow. The people like this poor woman’s MIL who refuse to recognize the mortal sin of adultery for what it is, are completely in the wrong and are operating outside church canon. They are just old -fashioned hypocrites like exist in every walk of life and religious and political venue. I don’t care what they call themselves they are not Catholic. They are just plain run-of-the-mill assholes.

      • Thank you, Jojobee.
        Yes, the chumpiness is recognized only if one can prove that a spouse, on entering marriage, willfully deceived the faithful spouse.
        Adultery alone is not a ground for marriage annulment in the Catholic church.

        That is a further mockery the cheater perpetrates: the betrayed person cannot get remarried in the Catholic church – unless grounds for annulment are found.
        The cheater uses up the Catholic marriage possibility of a person.
        Such individuals/families sure are hypocrites. The sacred for them is not a concept.

      • Jojobe: What was your evidence? Maybe I have some I am not thinking of. I have evidence early in the marriage but not that I can think of before. That is my issue and why I still put off annulment. They would ask me to tell them what was in another person’s mind who will never answer their questions. Also, the questions on the form about my part in the ‘breakdown’ of the marriage, I just don’t know how to answer that! The marriage was the same as day one and then I found out he was lying and cheating etc. No ‘breakdown’ of marriage that I can define.

        • If the unfaithful spouse knew they were homosexual or believed in polysexual arrangements and did not disclose, if they were mentally ill and hid that from a partner, if they ever made statements like “Well, if it’s not working we can just get a divorce,” or making these statements to others (even if passed of as joking), could all be used. Also, if either person were very young, coerced in any way, or due to prior trauma may have been unable to discern the validity of their own or their partner’s actions. In short, anything that would have either made one person the victim of another’s deceit or fraud, or, would have been responsible for making it impossible for either person to clearly understand the import/ramifications of sacramental marriage. Such a marriage could not be founded on true mutual respect and reciprocity which is absolutely essential for Catholic sacramental marriage. The link attached gives a very brief outline/primer but is not exhaustive. The paper’s that you complete for a tribunal are very long, like 30 pages. It asks questions about your family, his family, traumatic, events, education, story of marriage, mental states, medical background etc. They really work hard to understand your situation to the fullest. They also get similar papers filled out by three witnesses you provide. You really do get to tell your full story. Unlike civil court, they care very much who has done wrong and who is innocent. The nullity process is long and can be draining as it has to go up through the levels of tribunal, but I found it very fair and cathartic. Some people will tell you that you can “buy” an annulment, but that is untrue. My diocese did charge a fee (which was waived for those who were destitute), but it was around $300. Try getting a civil divorce for that.

        • Ugh. I forgot to include the link in my above post Wondernomore. https://archatl.com/offices/metropolitan-tribunal/grounds-of-marriage-nullity/
          Remember this is just a brief intro. If it is important to you to procure an annulment because someday you wish to remarry in the church please go speak to your priest. They can help you through all of this. I would be happy to also help you out or offer support. It was so important to me. I wanted to be able to marry and I would have been inconsolable to be unable to have communion.

          • Thank you Jojobee!

            He did make statements quite often that some various guy friend should divorce their wife because the wife was a bitch/difficult/no fun—– I am absolutely positive, with no proof, that he always saw divorce as an option if he decided it was justified in any way. I know this partly because he did not think ANYTHING was sacred.

            I will check out the link. I am just dreading going through this and at this point don’t feel I ever want to remarry but if I met a wonderful man I would change my mind. I am just not seeking it directly at this point so the motivation isn’t there for that reason also. Thanks again.

    • Adultery is not a ground for marriage annulment in the Catholic Church.
      There are several grounds, but adultery is not one.
      You may want to look it up.

    • Yeah, adultery is not grounds for an annulment, but *might* be considered by the marriage tribunal. If annulment is important to you, Hesatthecurb, then definitely talk with your priest/parish to see what you need to do to get the process started.

      I was not married in the Catholic church, but married by a pastor of a church we were kinda attending. Anyway, my Catholic brother said my marriage would be annulled if I got married in the Catholic church. “There was never intent to be faithful” by my XH. XH cheated on me emotionally and physically before we got married — naked Canadian strippers counts as cheating too! I entered into the marriage not knowing all the truth about him and what he was doing behind my back when we were dating/engaged. If I knew the truth, I wouldn’t have married him. I no longer believe that God joined us together. He warned me quite a few times before we got married that my XH wasn’t who I thought he was. But I chose to believe my charming XH’s lies instead of the truth. I don’t need an annulment or any church telling me that my marriage was a sham/scam. I know it was never valid in God’s eyes.

  • My ex brought the OW to his family when he first began the affair. Now his story is that they didn’t know. But after I made it known what was happening, I noticed the OW stayed around, hung out with his sisters, joined his church. They eventually married after our divorce. We have two kids. They have never received a check in from their grandparents. His sisters who befriended the OW would try to call one my daughters and pretend to have small talk. My daughter finally cut through the mess and told her she’d appreciate if she stop calling. Everyone in his family has moved on as if nothing happened. One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t make people be and think like you. I assumed that they would have empathy at the least, but how could they when they were running around with the OW.

    I will not even go as far to say they shouldn’t befriend the woman now that she is his wife , but if I were them I would have a “conditional” type contact with her. I would not embrace a cheater or his AP. I would be cordial but nothing for more.

    • I am going to call foul on the idea (in your last paragraph) that their marrying somehow changes anything. Marriage is not some magic “get out of sin” card that wipes away the adulterous beginnings of the relationship. We’ve been down this road before in the past – remember when rape victims were forced to marry their rapists to “cure” the shame of extramarital sex? Marriage does not absolve moral failure.

      • IG ❤️

        “It’s OK to abuse, assault, psychologically torture, and destroy other people if you “fall in love” and get married….”

        Nope. Never. Ever.

  • Every time I think about being nice to these people, I reflect back on how cold and calculating my exhusband was in the months leading up to the divorce. How he refused to take responsibility for even one god damn thing. And then I repeat this mantra: Love Only Those Who Love You. And then I’m okay with standing there all alone. In fact in some instances I prefer going it alone.

  • If there is one thing in life I regret the most it is shaking the hand of my XW’s AP.
    He ambushed me at my MiL’s funeral in a large crowd. I guess I was feeling sentimental about seeing family and my judgement was clouded. I can still feel all the maggots squirming about just under the skin of his palm.
    There were also too many witnesses to do what I would have liked to have done.
    About those inlaws, my brother in law is a Baptist pastor and he performed our wedding and did the pre nuptual counselimg. I never heard one word of support from him or sister in law post DD. Zilch. Fuck him. I guess I was inconvenient to his witness.
    I remarried a few years later and my wife and former mother in law became quite chummy. Sometimes I feel bad about much I enjoy the thought of how that must have drive my ex crazy.

    • Hey Bruno, these snakey people catch you off guard in public places for a reason. Image Management. My BIL, who is the nicest guy in the world got caught off guard by my XH. Before I moved out and divorce final, XH reached out for a handshake in front of my kids, sister and me. At the time I couldn’t believe BIL shook his hand! I felt betrayed and told my sister this. She said that BIL was caught off guard and she said he “felt dirty” after shaking his hand, so I understand the maggots comment that you made.

      Also, at church for an awards ceremony for my son. XMIL and XH were all huggy with my family (they live over 600 miles away) when they showed up for the event. My other BIL wouldn’t allow my XH to hug him and even said, “I felt evil all around him.” And BIL is not one of those people to throw the “evil” word around. And they did all this hugging to my family for IMAGE MANAGEMENT. My family said to me it was to show the church people that XMIL and XH are the “good Christians” and me, Martha, was the problem the whole time. And you XBIL, the pastor, showed you his true colors. Sadly it usually takes something as horrible as infidelity to figure out who people really are and what they will or will not stand up for.

      • This was definitely for image management. It was at my BIL’s church in front of the congregation. Speaking of image management, my current wife’s adult son died suddenly last year. Wife and adulterous ex husband agreed to split expenses. Ex and AP showed up at our church and paid their share for the lovely memorial service. Took almost a year to get reimbursed for funeral home expenses we paid for.
        Image management.

        • I’m so sorry for the loss of your stepson. I’m not at all surprised at the image management by saying they’ll help pay for the memorial, so everyone knows what great and generous people they are. But then taking forever to pay back.

          My XH ramped up service at church after people started to find out he wanted a divorce. He used to only volunteer for one thing and it took up one evening of his week. He started signing up for almost everything that needed volunteers; things I used to volunteer for and I couldn’t believe I had to see that lying, cheating face at the Easter Egg Hunt! He signed up to roof someones house and many other things he never did before D-day. IMAGE MANAGEMENT! Well, I take some comfort in that people see the outward appearance and service. But God sees the heart and MOTIVE. XH chumped me for 23 years. God zero years. 🙂

  • Chump Sis —

    You are amazing!!!! I love you!! Your mightiness is so impressive, oh my goodness!!

    A few thoughts:
    – I bet your sister-in-law loves you. I asked the siblings and parents of James Bond to talk to him, support him in being a faithful husband, but no.
    – Don’t go there, but cheating can be supported by families — don’t go there because Chump Lady says don’t bother unraveling the skein of fuckupedness — so don’t do it.
    – Hahahahahahahah! Nice. Your brother calling you bitch in the waiting room. That shows you how secure he is in his choices.
    – I am so glad that your sister is with you in your stand against cheating.

    Your brother can try a different tactic, just leave Ebola at home (again: hahahahahahah!! I love her name — you are a very funny writer!) He can come around, you can talk, but it will be limited. You are not banishing him. You are just saying you don’t want a relationship with his co-cheater. That’s his choice, he can’t foist his choice on the rest of you.

    Again, I am so impressed with your good work in ridding yourself of a cheater. Nice, nice life ya got there. lady

  • I, sometimes, struggle with the line between being understanding/forgiving and boundaries. Great perspective and advice. Thank you.

  • It was so shocking how my cheater’s family lined up immediately to support her. I was so confused. Recalling all the effort I put in to being a good son in law on top of a good partner for their daughter to be dropped like a hot turd was so painful.
    I’m filing for divorce this week. I’m coping by trying to take my focus off the cheater and onto myself.
    It’s a scary time but I know I will be alright. I don’t need anybody in cheater’s orbit to like me or even respect me. There’s a big world out there of people who haven’t used and betrayed me.

    • I am very sorry although not particularly surprised that it turned out this way. It sounds like your in laws are similar personality types to her. If it’s any consolation, if they weren’t all that attached to you, they won’t ever really be attached to any of her Schmoopies past present or future either. I hope you have friends and relatives who can be there to support you and be your team. If not, chump nation will be your team. I know many others on here have gone through what you are going through with the in laws and will offer their advice and comfort. You got this.

      • I have a a huge family, almost a dozen siblings and they are all amazing. All these siblings and not a cheater in the bunch.
        Lol in laws have 2 kids both cheaters, yikes!
        My eldest sibling said, it’s good this happened now so soon into the marriage (5 years) while you’re still young. Oof that did not sound good at first but she was totally right!
        That same sister found my lawyer by contacting the president of the family law section of our state’s bar association. Then she offered to help with legal bills.
        Two of my sisters let me rant on the phone.
        A brother spends the night and we had a couple awesome Xbox sleepovers while cheater was on her rampage.
        My parents have always been extremely against divorce. I was so scared of telling them. They said we love you and support you no matter what. My mom said, “you need to get away from her.”
        Reading these painful stories here helps me count my blessings, laugh, cry, and know that I am not alone.
        After all, nobody really gets it until they have been chumped.

    • My husband took his whore on my family holiday 5 weeks after he left me . His niece posted on Facebook all of them in a hot tub drinking cocktails ! I I paid for that holiday and 19 years together 15 married they accepted her like I never existed.

      • I am sorry.

        It’s as if they are a lower life form.

        FB is a particularly cruel tool of the disordered. It’s never made me happier.

        Delete account.

  • I think a sit down chat with dear old mom and pop sans Lovejoy and Ebola is in order. Boundaries. You love them, you want to help them, you will not take abuse or disrespect. Period, and then enforce. It sucks that it’s come to this.

  • Chump Sis,
    Ebola?! I love it. You are an inspiration with your kindness paired with your strong and witty way of handling a narcissist ex and a narcissist brother. I think CL nailed it-I would never have thought of looking at a family support structure that way. They rallied behind you because of family code, not acknowledging your moral fortitude in the face of betrayal. Personally, I appreciate all the times my parents gave me crap for being a selfish little kid. Most of us take that in and shape ourselves as adults. I have often wondered if my sister-in-law was traumatized by the way her mother (my ex- mother-in-law) fawned over her son. I actually allowed my exMIL to stay in the house with me when she came to visit- after her son moved into his own place-so she could spend time with her granddaughters. She seemed to think I must be interested in how he was doing, how nice his love shack was and scolded me when I expressed disinterest. I finally set boundaries and told her she had to stay with her son next time she came. Well, that was apparently the RUDEST and MOST INSULTING thing someone could do. I am very low class, apparently. When the family came out for my daughter’s graduation, my sister-in-law apologetically told me she thought she should stay with her mother at my ex’s so as not to “cause a scene”, but her kids stayed with me to visit with their cousins. My exMIL treated me with her patented, purse-lipped politeness. She can make politesse seem hateful. Anyway, Sister-in-law occasionally reaches out to me to see how I am doing. But exMIL has labeled me the problem because she can’t own up to the fact that her son could have done something wrong. My kids give me crap for setting a boundary and not letting her stay with me. Some day they will understand that I have a right to boundaries. I worry more about my sister-in-law stuck with this toxic mother who values her corrupt narcissistic son and lets her beautiful, kind daughter live in the shadows. But at least her husband is kind and loyal. It totally sucks that you have get the brunt of the mother who over-values the narcissist son and the narcissistic cheating ex. You are a saint for maintaining your cool and a pillar of strength for setting boundaries.

  • My first reaction to this scenario is that everyone is pandering to Mom and Dad because they are the ones with the money. No one wants to be cut out of the will.

    Otherwise why would brother be so keen to drag OW along to sit in the waiting room for cataract surgery ffs? It is a day procedure, 15 minutes in the OR and then taxi ride home. Why do they need 5 people sitting around for that? Sorry even if the Dad has COPD and HF, sure enough the cataract fix is not going to do him in. It’s done under local/sedation not a GA.

    The OP sounds like a very kind person, but CL’s advice is right. Just stop showing up when the OW is there.

  • The biggest take away from reading this is that the mother, father and brother have zero respect for women. Any women. Including you and your sister. And your mother is basically the ringleader of this shitstorm of family dysfunction. I have a sneaking suspicion your dad most likely cheated on your mom in their younger days, and she endured it because that’s what subservient, abused, hypocritical Catholic wives have been taught to do for centuries. The men always get to behave badly and the women who should be speaking up and saying NO, don’t, because they’ve been conditioned to perpetuate this misogynistic behavior.
    You and your sister will never change your elderly parents or your brother and Ebola, but you can certainly remove yourselves from family gatherings that will no doubt be drama fuelled/filled, ending in more name calling and devaluation. They may be your biological family, but you owe them nothing if the end result is that you get called a bitch, and other unsavory names.
    Continue operating with ethics and morals and teach your children what respect looks like. If there is a family gathering, you’re busy, can’t make it. No need to explain in detail why you hate Ebola and your jerk brother etc…etc…Don’t play into their dysfunctional drama, don’t add fuel to the fire. The less said, the better.
    I’ve dealt with a mountain of family dysfunction in my life, cheating ex husband and massive financial infidelity, cheating dad, he married the OW, they’ve been together for over 30 years, we were raised Catholic, my mom just sat there and took it, narcissistic, batshit crazy, sister, she and her exhusband cheated on each other at the same time, real gems those two. the list goes on. I know from experience that’s it’s best to remove oneself and get on with your life. You can’t change people, but you CAN change how you react to their crazy, shitty behavior, don’t participate!
    Good Luck!

    • I thought exactly the opposite – that the Mom had been a cheater at one point which is why she has such a strong reaction that they ‘support’ the brother. Because she doesn’t want to be ‘wrong’ about what she did. It could go either way.

      Otherwise, the name calling from the brother in itself is a deal breaker for me. I would cut him off in a nano second for that behavior alone.

  • My previous comment is waiting moderation. Not sure what flagged it. But I wanted to commend Chump sis for her kindness, calmness and metered wit. And share a story about my sister-in-law who is getting the same kind of treatment from her mother who continues to fawn over her cheating son.

    • I’ll try it again. Ebola?! I love it. You are an inspiration with your kindness paired with your strong and witty way of handling a narcissist ex and a narcissist brother. I think CL nailed it-I would never have thought of looking at a family support structure that way. They rallied behind you because of family code, not acknowledging your moral fortitude in the face of betrayal. Personally, I appreciate all the times my parents gave me crap for being a selfish little kid. Most of us take that in and shape ourselves as adults. I have often wondered if my sister-in-law was traumatized by the way her mother (my ex- mother-in-law) fawned over her son. I actually allowed my exMIL to stay in the house with me when she came to visit- after her son moved into his own place-so she could spend time with her granddaughters. She seemed to think I must be interested in how he was doing, how nice his love shack was and scolded me when I expressed disinterest. I finally set boundaries and told her she had to stay with her son next time she came. Well, that was apparently the RUDEST and MOST INSULTING thing someone could do. I am very low class, apparently. When the family came out for my daughter’s graduation, my sister-in-law apologetically told me she thought she should stay with her mother at my ex’s so as not to “cause a scene”, but her kids stayed with me to visit with their cousins. My exMIL treated me with her patented, purse-lipped politeness. She can make politesse seem hateful. Anyway, Sister-in-law occasionally reaches out to me to see how I am doing. But exMIL has labeled me the problem because she can’t own up to the fact that her son could have done something wrong. My kids give me crap for setting a boundary and not letting her stay with me. Some day they will understand that I have a right to boundaries. I worry more about my sister-in-law stuck with this toxic mother who values her corrupt narcissistic son and lets her beautiful, kind daughter live in the shadows. But at least her husband is kind and loyal. It totally sucks that you have get the brunt of the mother who over-values the narcissist son and the narcissistic cheating ex. You are a saint for maintaining your cool and a pillar of strength for setting boundaries.

  • I spit out coffee when I read: “My mom went as far to tell us that we were not invited to her funeral if we did not make up with my brother and accept his girlfriend. I laughed and asked her what she was going to do if I showed up…” rofl! You are setting boundaries already. Use that smart brain of yours and stay the course you have created for your and your boys. Trust that this new sparkletwat of your brother may not last. You rock!

      • That comment from her mother
        , lost me altogether.

        Many years ago, my dad and I had a falling out after he remarried and had another child. I wrote him a strongly worded letter about his treatment of me and my new boundaries and…..silence from his end. But everyone I saw in town, knew about my letter and begged me to contact my father to hash things out, that he was so heartbroken of it. Two years of no contact.

        I cant even remember why, after 2 years, I reached out to him and he agreed to meet me for coffee.
        He expressed that he found my letter so distressing that “if you were dead, ChumpedInCanada, I would spit on your grave….”
        I have no idea why I didn’t leave the table then…

        But. I did go no contact with him last year, and have accepted that he will never be the father I need.

        A few months ago, I was walking by myself down the street and I could see him walking towards me. We would have to walk right past each other. I saw him recognize me, and his step falter. I debated crossing the street. We passed each other, that day, like two strangers. Neither one of us acknowledged each other.

        And I am ok with that.

        Previously, after every visit with him, I would cry. He would always say something hurtful or insult my parenting or children. He was a total crap grandparent. He told me never to ask him to babysit. He pretended to care about my kids, but it was all image management.

        You can go no contact with your parent and be at peace with that decision.

  • I’m sorry to say but you are looking to the wrong people to get the support you want and need. Your parents raised a Chump and a Fuckwit. Kids learn about relationships from their parents, your and your brother’s roles were set early. You have broken free and have made a life for yourself. You are recognizing how fucked up this behavior is but to them it is normal, it’s the way things have always been.

    Tracy is right, your feelings simply aren’t valued in the same way as your brothers. You will never be able to make them understand. The only way you can exist is to work on forming and holding strong boundaries. Boundaries are for you, not for others. They can’t change other people, just you. You get to choose what situations to put yourself in.

    What really jumped out at me was when you said you had a right to be at the surgery. You don’t. No one has a right to be there. This comes down to boundaries again. Your family made their boundaries clear. You are aware of them (accept AP) You don’t like them or or wish to respect them and their behavior during the surgery was a result of your not respecting their boundaries, even though their boundaries are totally fucked up. You will never have any kind of peace until you are able to internalize that they, as well as you, are entitled to set boundaries and have them respected.

    My family is basically the same as yours and my family treat me the way Tracy describes how yours are treating you. My family refused to break contact with Fuckwit. They actively participated in the drama and then shat all over me when I reacted (I was called a bitch countless times). It took years and was very painful but I finally realized they will never respect me or my boundaries and I wasn’t prepared to continue in the Chumpy role they put me in. I took a major step back from them. They are not part of my day to day life. That is when my healing began.

  • Chumplady, Chump Sis et al, this was such a fascinating discussion. I have not suffered a fraction of the cruelty that Chump Sis is going through, yet I am seven years out and am constantly reminded how my suffering was trumped by my in-law’s need to align with the narrative that shit happens in marriages: we’re all human., mistakes occur. Ugh. Apparently me being gaslighted for 4 years meant nothing. I guess being reduced to assuming the fetal position and vomiting meant nothing.

    It took me years to draw some clear boundaries with them. They have always been friendly, want to include me in social events…that happen to include my ex-wife and the AP she married. I have gotten used to this, but every once in awhile this attitude rubs off on one of my (grown, and generally awesome) kids who thinks I should join in on one of these ignore the elephant in the room social activities.

    Anyway, the post today was a clear reminder about who has your back, and the tough choices we need to make to separate from those who do not.

  • Your brother sounds like a rude, pompous ass. He can do no wrong in your mother’s eyes. She won’t ever admit that ‘her boy’ is a loser.

    The holiday seasons are another casualty of infidelity. So are hospitalizations, graduations, baptisms etc. We make the best of them and get through them.

    Your parents have treated you shamefully. I would tell them point blank to grow up and realize that you don’t have to accept an adulterous partner. That you will be civil when you see her. But your feelings toward her are your right and they need to accept that and show you some respect. You are not going to pretend to like this home wrecker. And if they don’t like it, then they can avoid you totally.

    There is no rule saying you have to play happy families with your brother and this woman.

  • One thing I always notice in these kinds of chump stories, is that other people CHEATERS and Switzerland friends, have zero trouble setting their boundaries. As far as they are concerned they tell people directly that the chump has to respect them and there affair partner, has to be nice and cordial, have to act like no harm was perpetrated, have to not only accept their presence but act happy and friendly while subjected to it. Yet for some reason chumps feel like they are not also allowed to set a boundary. The people who tramp all over a chump will act incensed and abused if you dare to put up a hand and say “Stop!” Don’t let them decide what all the rules for engagement are in your life. Chump lady is right. The fact that you are there trying to explain boundaries rather than acting on them is you still playing out your chumpy accommodating part. SHOW them boundaries. She’s in the room? Get up and leave. Your brother is verbally abusive turn around and leave. Do it every time. One of the most difficult parts in this whole thing is truly comprehending that others we loved and valued did not love and value us in the same way. As hard as it is to hear: your family does not value you the way you thought they did. Stop giving gifts of gold in exchange for turds.

    • This is so true! It appears so easy for the cheater to set a boundary and every one MUST RESPECT IT.

      I’ve shared this before, but I also found out that my brother cheated on his baby mama. I had to listen to his crying phone calls for months after she left him, all the while he claimed he had no idea why she left, it was a total shock, what a bitch. He tried everything to get her back. He appeared devastated.

      At the time she left him, they had a 1 year old. A few weeks later, she announced she was pregnant with his 2nd child. Because she refused to reconcile he became increasingly more hostile towards her and even told our family that he believes SHE cheated on him, and the baby probably isn’t even his.

      Sadly, we all believed him, and sided with him, trying to support him through this tough time.

      She had the baby. Looks like our family. He never mentioned her “cheating ” again.

      Four years later, he is drink and we are on the phone and he reveals she really left because she caught him cheating with an old girlfriend. I remember this old girlfriend because he and she had lived with me while they were saving for a down payment for a house. She was such a nightmare I had to evict them. He sided with her, and didn’t talk to the family for 2 years until they broke up.

      Then he meets baby mama and family is thrilled because she is lovely and put-together and just what he needs to get his act together.

      Four years he lied to me and our family that HE cheated on baby mama! I was livid. I believed him when he said he was chumped.

      Ironically, I saw his baby mama with their kids at the park a few days later, after I found out about his lying, and I approached her with my apologies for not reaching out during that time. She burst in to tears saying she had no idea what he had told our family but that she was so hurt esp when the 2nd baby was born, and no one from our family reached out. I actually told her about chump lady and she cried saying it’s been 4 years since she left him and she is still so messed up over it. He was abusive and a vindictive co parent.

      We parted ways and a few days later my brother phones me screaming that I’m an “unloyal b*tch”. I figured baby mama would have confronted him with what I told her. Yeah, well, at least I’m not an abusive cheating Liar.

      And so I have been no contact with my brother for over a year. Luckily, I work most of the holidays, so I avoid those interactions and send my children along with my mother so at least they can see their cousins.

      The one event I did attend that he was also going to was xmas at my grandmother’s. He called ahead with a list of boundaries that my mother was to tell me. According to him, I was not to look at him or try to talk with him and to keep as far away from him as possible.

      It ended up being a very pleasant xmas, as my mother and grandmother were very embarrassed by his demands and I got promoted to eat at the head table, while he sat at the kids table with all the children (which he hated)….

      My mother and I have had a few heated conversations regarding his cheating, and she WAS also an enabler, but having seen me hold my boundaries, she is now starting to implement her own with him.

      In one conversation, she tried the line “there are 3 sides to every story…..”which I promptly blew up at. I said to her: “ok, so with that rationale, if ex narcopath called you up right now, and wanted to tell you his ‘side’ of the story, that suddenly now casts doubt on my truth, and then there will be this mysterious 3rd side floating out there in the nether?” I don’t think so.

      I asked her why she wasn’t more pissed that my brother lied to her face, just as he did mine, for 4 years, convincing us all that baby mama was the devil, when really it was him.

      The good news is, she’s seen the light and is pretty low contact with him.

      He and my father, whom I am both no contact with, apparently have reformed their relationship and are now best buddies. But based on history, it is based on commiserating on what a witch Chumpedincanada and her mother are…..

  • Nobody likes it when we hold a mirror up to their shitty morals and they make us the enemy. But then we are the enemy of those with shitty morals and I like that.
    It might hurt, being slightly ostracised from family because they will make you the baddie, but you are choosing not to participate in ANY form of pick me dance.
    A great therapist too has proven invaluable in helping me maintain bl boundaries with a toxic parent and feel ok about it.

  • Chump Sis, that’s one hell of a dysfunctional, abusive family dynamic they’ve got going. CL is right; it was never about values when they supported you after you were chumped. It was an us against them mentality, a “you don’t fuck with The Family” credo. Who do they think they are, the Sopranos? If so, your mom is definitely Livia. What a cluster b head case. Your brother is even crazier than Tony. He verbally abused you in a *hospital waiting room*? Good grief. He has no shame or boundaries whatsoever. They insult his ex when they get together, a woman who did nothing but get chumped then and proceed to get a life? They envy her, because they are not getting a life, they are living in a fantasy world to try to cover up the stain on their souls. They’re desperate to make things look good by pretending their crazytrain is perfectly normal and on track. They choose to blame you and your sister for how bad they look because you reflect the truth back to them. They don’t like what they see in the mirror you’re holding up. Sadly, sometimes you just have to cut family loose. Like when they’re abusive and just using you, for example. One of two things will happen if you stop engaging with them and coming to their rescue; they’ll either kick you out of the family or change their tune to get you back. My mother literally offered me a bribe of $20,000 after she was an asshole and I cut her off. But I’m not for sale. I even lost my eldest daughter, which means I don’t get to see my gandkids. It sucks, but ingesting the poison that toxic people spew is worse.

    You have your sis. She is solid. As for the rest, why do you need them in your life? Blood is not family. Love is family. In your account, I can see no evidence of love from them towards you. Maybe that’s not the whole story, but what’s there is bad enough that it would make me wish I was an orphan. I can’t presume to tell you that’s what you should do, but I hope you give disengaging some thought. I’m sorry your folks are such jerks.

  • The brother is displaying narcissism, which is what led to the cheating to begin with. It’s all about him and what he wants. When he didn’t get what he wanted, then the rage sets in with the name calling, etc. He feels entitled to anything he wants from other people. The parents don’t understand/accept that their child is a crappy person who does crappy things like cheat on his spouse and verbally abuse siblings who don’t do what he wants. Catholics of that generation were fed a bunch of feel-good psychobabble in place of solid theology and moral instruction, in which “nice” replaced “good.” And so mom thinks she is being a good Catholic by encouraging “nice” over “good.” It is precisely this sort of spackling that led to the clerical abuse crisis. The idea that we can all repent and be forgiven is true, but without requiring actual repentance and actual consequences even with repentance, we end up with tolerating crappy behavior like the brother displays.

  • Ebola! That’s fucking hilarious.

    What infuriates me the most about what happened to you is your mother scolding you with Ebola. This demonstrates Mommy is not tracking. Mommy and Co. have never grasped the ENORMITY of having your life jerked out from under you. And how hard it was to get to place of Meh. With 2 boys.

    Because you are a Nurse Practitioner ( YOU ROCK!) You know as well as I do ( LAWYER) that elderly people are quite capable of being 5 star assholes-they are just wearing pitiful costumes.

    Your parents are being assholes. I know you love them. So, you are going to force their hand. After being chumped, I have found that I now love to force people to show me their true grit. It saves so much time!

    So, you are going to write a letter or email (if your parents are tech savvy). And you are going to explain-ONE LAST TIME-that the act of cheating is morally repellent to you, and Ebola’s presence in the living room is like a turd floating in the soup.

    Bottom line: This will not work for you. And explain that if they have a life or death emergency, to please call. But, otherwise, as long as Ebola is in the picture, you are out.

    I do think this will lend you some peace if you have 3AM panicked thoughts that you have abandoned your parents. That guilt runs bone deep. Explain in your letter that suppers and talks are welcome at your home, or elsewhere-sans Ebola and Cheater Brother. It will not work for you. Last time you explain, last time you address it. It’s dead. Your letter is going to set you free.

    And just be kind, but disappear.

    Because here is the beauty. Ebola needs a foil. When you and your sis are gone, she will start some shit with your Mother. Or your brother. Or someone. It’s who these people are. And you will get a phone call from Mother saying…You are not going to believe what Ebola did. And you will pour a glass a wine, sit down and say, I bet I can.

    There was a beautiful book, called The Solace of Leaving Early. You can leave early. You are not abandoning your parents. They can come see you anytime. But you have suffered enough and you don’t have to be a spectator at Ebola’s love bombing of your parents. And the next time there is a medical appointment for Mom or Dad, take the day off-then go get a massage, a decadent lunch and then go home and sleep. I am serious. You deserve it.

    Let Ebola and Jerk Off Brother do the heavy lifting. I give it 6 months.

  • I think cheater brother was doing a little grandstanding in the waiting room .He was kissing up to his skank slut by being her Knight in Shining Armor and at the same time was intimidating his mother by letting her know that he’d drop her and Pops if they did not continue to go along with his program. I think Chump Sis treats her parents (possibly subconsciously) with kid gloves and they may take that as a weakness. Cheater Brother did a shitty thing to his family and too bad if Mum & Dad refuse to recognize that fact.

  • Slightly different viewpoint.

    I think your parents are taking a very simple, blood is thicker than water approach to all of their children’s relationships. Basically, they are treating you like adults and whoever you choose as your mate, they accept and whoever you reject, they’ll reject. Whatever they actually think about your respective choices, they keep to themselves.

    I don’t think that Ebola matters to them at all. Her son is with her, so they accept her. If he dumps her tomorrow, Ebola will be as irrelevant to your parents as yesterday’s news.

    What does matter to them is family intact, the whole blood is thicker concept, and you and your sister are effectively rebelling and rejecting that. So they are trying to patch that up by any means they can think of.

    Of course that doesn’t stop you, Chump Sis, from setting some healthy boundaries for yourself with your family. For that, I think you need to sit down with yourself and define what those are. This isn’t about seeking support and validation from your family, it’s about setting adult boundaries with your family in terms of how you will and will not interact with them and on what terms.

    What that looks like is up to you. Maybe next time your brother decides to scream abuse at you while your mother set ups a “meeting”, you turn on your heel and leave. Your actions speak loud and clear that you will not be bullied and manipulated even with the best of intentions. Fighting is kibbles, calm rejection, walking away is the ultimate punishment. No more kibbles for any of them. Bring about consequences and have a calm talk with your mother about how her behavior was unacceptable to you. You appreciate that they want their kids to all get along, your but this is what getting along with look like with your boundaries in place and those boundaries are not negotiable. The moment anyone tries to push those boundaries – consequences. Immediate, firm, calm. In your case, it’s the denial of your care and presence. CL absolutely nailed it that they all take you for granted as the caring one who’ll keep being there regardless of abuse. That aspect of your family dynamic needs to end. They have to learn that you will walk away and become a little bit afraid of that.

  • Well, I have a different opinion from everyone probably on this whole situation. The answer is…there is NO solution that you won’t have 100 % confidence in. You have to think about it this way. Let’s say you have two kids who for 40 years you have loved everyday of their lives. One kid goes through a painful divorce involving infidelity. The other kid ends up being ‘a shithead’ and blows up his family etc. You as a parent are going to grieve like hell. You just want to to have what you fear you may lose. Holidays with your kids and their kids under the same roof. Anything you do regarding this issue of boundaries and trying to respect everybody else’s boundaries is just going to make you fuckin’ crazy! Then on top of that you got you and your spouse’s aging issues going on and what you REALLY see is everybody is fuckin’ losing time on this planet and opportunity to be with one another etc. And THAT is precisely that sad thing about infidelity. It fucks up everything and everybody.

  • Rio Rojo…Haha! I DO think you may be on to something. I doubt that the lawyer OW sister-in- law is going to be volunteering for much elder care. LOL. I think backing off might actually cause undo stress upon her brothers relationship with the ‘wifetress’ and their relationship ‘could’ explode. HOWEVER… proceed carefully. She is a lawyer/slumlord so you know her values. Leaving her 4 kids etc., right? She may try to worm her way into the gratitude of your parents and then they might cut you out of their will with her influence right? Proceed cautiously. She sounds like a real baracuda to me.

  • I, too, have to maintain some boundaries with the ex’s “non-judgemental” relatives. When Sluterella ran off with Prince Cheating, ex MIL tried to steal things from my safe, and sister #1 provided free legal advice on running off with PC. Sister #2 had already run off with her own AP, so I can’t stomach being around her, either.
    I repeatedly have told her I will put up with her at kids’ events as required by the court, but they should not be in my presence unless they want to get an earful about what awful people they are.

    • I hope your safe was impenetrable…what a shitty thing for her to do. Do you know what she was after?

      • Yep. My father left me 7 or 8 high end firearms, plus a Rolex and another high end watch from my grandfather. They were all worth a few thousand bucks.
        They also tried to clean out the bank account, but failed as they couldn’t take out more than a certain amount at the ATM, and they didn’t know the passwords.

  • Sounds like Chump Sis’s parents are co-narcissists, not enablers.

    I found this blog in 2016, read the daily post as well as ALL the comments-takes about an hour each day and it’s worth every minute. I’ve yet to join the forums due to time constraints. I’ve noticed a commonality amongst a lot (not all) of the readers-growing up with disordered parents grooms us to attract and be attracted to these fakers/pod people. Makes us blind to their abusive and tolerant of disrespectful behavior until one day D-Day comes (cheating discovery) or we just get fed up !

    Name calling is abuse, plain and simple. Call me a “bitch” and then say “Oh, I’m just kidding !” ? That person gets dropped (this started to happen with the last man I dated-a man who cheated on his first wife and then mooched off wife 2.0 by not working during their ten year marriage. Too busy watching porn all day long). I don’t do nice anymore and have learned I get to have boundaries. For example, I now IGNORE the man who lives across the street from me, whose adult son I just learned is on the sexual predators list. Wheel chair bound fathers barks orders at his wife and attempted to do the same with me. We all get to decide how others treat us.

    Blood is thicker than water but love is thicker than blood. Find people who ACT lovingly towards you. Family doesn’t get an automatic pass.

    p.s. My favorite definition of a bitch-babe in total control of herself.

  • Hello!

    Not wishing to detract from this post, but wanting some advice from the forum about my situation, which has nothing to do with this very sad situation… where to ask for some quick advice? I don’t want to ask for a post. It’s important, but it’s not a story…

    Thank you!

    • Using a post like this to quickly asked something tangential has happened in the past.
      If you’re in a time-crunch, throw it out = someone will respond

  • Chump Sis, you are in SUCH a difficult situation! I do like to hope, however, if I were facing the same, I’d have the strength to assert my morals, too. I don’t know your situation with your family, but I know telling you to walk away from your parents is easier said than done. We put up with a lot for family, and it’s no simple matter to leave them behind.
    The only situation I’ve had that comes close is with my boyfriend’s brother, who is a cheater. I refused to meet the OW secretary (over ten years younger and worked at his company) that broke up his relationship. I couldn’t bring myself to acknowledge her. Luckily, she didn’t last long. Now, he’s dating several women, and I am almost certain many don’t know about the others. I’ve made it clear that I’d be honest with any woman who I cross paths with (aka openly note there are several women). Although one of them has been asking to meet me (I genuinely think she believes we’re future sisters in law) the meeting has never been arranged, and I think that’s because cheater brother knows I’m serious. I also chastised my boyfriend for being complicit in his brother’s manipulation. While it’s unclear whether any of these women think it’s an exclusive relationship, it’s my bet that they do. Therefore, I think my boyfriend is complicit is his brother’s cruelty when he meets up with them and goes along with the illusion that their relationship may be a serious, monogamous one. As I told him, even though they are strangers, these women deserve basic respect and kindness.

  • Perhaps the letter writer could benefit from reading the book “The Dance of Intimacy” by Harriet Lerner. It discusses how intergenerational family dynamics play out between individual members of a family as well as in intimate relationships outside one’s family. There are some chapters that discuss people’s difficult situations with in-laws and parents that play out as complicated disagreements among various members of the family.

    I think that what’s key here for the letter writer is to stay out of the drama to avoid being pulled into triangulation. The challenge is to enforce one’s boundaries without lashing out against those who don’t respect them. It sounds like that’s what the letter writer is doing. She doesn’t need to engage with her brother and his mistress so long as they refuse to make amends with her. However, if she responds to their verbal abuse with insults or yelling of her own, it will only muddy the boundaries she has worked so hard to set up and enforce. And some compassion with the mother might be helpful to everyone involved. The letter writer is justified in being upset with her mother, but her mother doesn’t seem to think she has any control over the situation.

    • As a mother with children who don’t always see eye to eye on things, I do have some sympathy for the mother. She is caught between the brother’s boundaries “if you want me in your life you have to accept Schmoopie” and the sister’s boundaries “I want nothing to do with Schmoopie”. Mom just wants her intact family back and yes, she probably is picking on the sister because she knows that child is more likely to give in. From our perspective, it should be obvious that the mother should side with the sister and reject her son if she must, but it isn’t quite so easy when you are the mother who loves her children. We also don’t know what she might be saying to the son behind closed doors. I still think the OP is within her rights to hold her own boundaries but let the mother know that she is still available for a relationship with them that is separate from their relationship to their son if they will accept it. If tensions arise between sister and brother when circumstances force them together, Mom should just stay out of it as hard as that is for a mother to do.

      • I think this is another very smart approach. It recognizes the letter writer’s needs without devaluing a parent’s desire to maintain a relationship (no matter how troubled) with every child.

  • You sound like a pretty sensible person. But even the most sensible of us can lose our way when surrounded by disfunction. I can’t recommend cutting your parents out but strong, communicated boundaries work. I’m with CL–no need to repeatedly tell people WHY you are not showing up, but, if you haven’t done it all at one time, you might consider ONE TIME succinctly and neutrally telling your folks that you will not be anywhere with your brother or his mistress, ever. If they show up, you and your children will immediately leave. No drama, no explanations, just disappearance. Explain again how his life choices offend your values and that he is abusive and cruel (cite the name calling). Let them know that their acceptance of his choices offends your values, but that you want to maintain a relationship because they are your parents and you love them. Put this in a letter if that’s easier, but whatever you do, make it succinct. Rants and tiny details immediately get discounted. If you can get your sister to do this with you, even better. Lil intervention.

    RE your brother, fuck that guy. Anyone who would shout foul names at you in a surgery waiting room is not worth your time. I mean, you can convey that to him, but you’re just inviting more abuse.

    Expect lots of pushback (as you experienced), but if you behave the same way every time (just quietly leave), eventually folks tend to acquiesce.

    I’ve done some version of this with a family member who I no longer could stand to be around. Eventually, some folks stopped inviting him cause they wanted me there and others stopped inviting me cause they wanted him there. C’est la vie. Not a terrible way to find your tribe.

    Best of luck.

  • All you decent people reminded me of why I shouldnt feel bad about being excluded from my SILs family. They seemed to like me until her sister got engaged.

    Good news, Lisa is engaged !!

    Oh lovely when in the wedding?

    When her fiance’s divorce in final

    (insert forever before divorce is final, thus it probs wasnt even filed before they were “engaged” {if a married person could actually even BE engaged} )

    Oh and the stay at home wife with the kids…yea, they were a problem in all this bliss.

    I never took after SILs sister or even told my SIL that something appeared fishy to me…I only told my brother of my concerns, but that was enough…Im banished. Well that is fine.

    • That is funny – When they ask marital status – currently married, engaged and also dating (3 different people)

  • “So, how about a new boundary is — I don’t want to be at an event with Sparkletwat the GF. He’s bringing her?“

    This is exactly what I did with my daughter who going into the fifth year decided to invite ‘everyone’ to her first Thanksgiving dinner. While I was hurt I declined and made other plans.

    Then more recently it was my daughters 40th birthday party. I made it clear I wouldn’t attend because I didn’t feel safe and have no intentions of being in the presence of a slut and a cheater. I was called late at night after they left. I didn’t respond.

    I had planned a ‘friend’ graduation party for my granddaughter that weekend instead.

    Further, Nanthony attached my daughter recently and she’s no longer involved with them. Not my circus.

    It takes time to get comfortable with setting boundaries. I now have then and it serves my life just fine.

    As far as parents, setting boundaries are important. I too was viewed as the all giving sibling, mother, and daughter. What a relief it is to say no and not care about bending boundaries to please others.

    Life is much better. It takes practice.

  • Hoo boy. This is uncomfortably close to home.

    The world where Male Family Members Can Do No Wrong.

    Where parents have their own weird ranking system of their adult children’s importance.

    Where your boundaries are ridden over in the name of guilt.

    Hoo boy.

  • Hey, I haven’t had a chance to look at all the comments, but enough of them to emphasize, I’m NOT saying cut the parents out of your life. I’m saying, draw a boundary about being anywhere near the new girlfriend/affair partner or tolerating verbal abuse, or being an unwilling plus-one to their impression management lemon bundt cake. Just disengage. It’s not a fatwa.

    I think the hardest part of this letter for me was devaluing of Chump Sis in the Name of Family Unity.

  • I’d be most worried that your brother is complicit in this bad behavior. Very often whole families are submerged in this kind of shit moral behavior. Watch yourself. If your boyfriend will help his brother keep something important from the women he’s dating then his cheating brother may have exactly the same arrangement with him! They are a family that hangs together “right or wrong” and that usually means wrong.

  • “His girlfriend, Ebola, stood up and immediately walked over to me with her hand outstretched for a handshake. I just looked at her and said “Nice to meet you.” I did not shake her hand. I felt like vomiting and had an urge to flee. I have never met my ex-husband’s mistress-wife after 10 years and now I have another one of those women in my own family trying to shake my hand at my dad’s cataract surgery.

    Ebola, mistress/girlfriend, was offended and rolled her eyes at me, shook her head, and said, “Well OK” in an annoyed tone. My brother then said, “You are such a bitch. Why don’t you get on your bitch broom and go back to the parking lot. You are not going to disrespect me!” Mind you, he is loudly saying this in a full waiting room of patients and their families waiting to get cataract surgery.”

    Her parents are cool with him calling their daughter a bitch. They don’t care that he calls his ex-wife a bitch. They are rallying behind Cheater and Ebola. Somehow, she is in the wrong for not shaking Ebola’s hand but merely acknowledging her and even lying through her teeth when she said, “Nice to meet you.”

    I would say it’s past time for Chump Sis to be less involved in her parents’ lives as they have made it clear whose company they prefer to keep. If that means not answering their medical questions, so be it. Why should she risk HER license and HER livelihood on them? They are using her and permitting their son to be an abusive asshole.

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