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Dear Chump Lady, I feel unworthy

Avoid feelings of paralysisDear Chump Lady,

My problem is this. My cheater was a ‘see you , I’m off!’ one. Once the affair was discovered, he was gone. Yes of course, I had the whole mess to clear up, children to mend and a broken heart. He had holidays. We know because shiny new replacement posted about them on social media.

So here I am. New life, new job, lovely home that I’ve renovated. I look okay to the world. But there’s a disconnect between my head and heart. My head knows he’s a terrible man. My heart says I’m terrible.

He told people he couldn’t bear it any longer, (the “it” being me), he told me to f…ing get over it, he told me he was profoundly indifferent to me. Not just your average indifference. Profound indifference. After 30 years. And so so much more.

I don’t struggle with him. He’s a mean man. But I struggle to look at myself. I don’t laugh quite as much, I feel a bit unworthy really.

I do all the positive things mostly. But deep down inside where no one can see, especially my kids who would worry, I am the wife whose husband rated her as less than zero. For years apparently.

Any kick up the backside would be much appreciated.


Dear Justleft,

Who made him High King and Lord Executioner? Why does he get to be the final say on your self-worth? He’s a coward and a cheat.

Apparently you weren’t so awful that he didn’t spend 30 years with you. (Gnawing at the invisible chains that kept him tethered, I’m sure.)

He told me he was profoundly indifferent to me.

And yet, he let you invest 30 years in him. So, he’s okay using people? Fronting a fake commitment? This says everything about him and nothing about you. A man who is “profoundly indifferent” to his wife of three decades and mother of his children is a disturbed person. He’s got an empty bucket where his soul should be.

I’m not saying you can’t fall out of love with people, or end relationships, or achieve “meh” — he’s not saying those things — he’s saying he has a profound disconnection from bonding.

Normal feeling people don’t end things without a lot of heartache and second-guessing and convulsions of grief. Even for bad relationships. (And I’m not even factoring in the therapy carnival rides.)

Disordered people abandon.

I’m sure he told you he was “profoundly indifferent” just to hurt you, but he’s also telling you a truth about himself. How much he sucks. How his indifference enables him to waltz away from the chaos he creates. How he’s a Potemkin partner, a fake.

I am the wife whose husband rated her as less than zero.

Hey, I’d rather be an actual number than an imaginary one.

Who cares what he rates you? He doesn’t determine your worth unless you let him.

Look, I know it’s difficult to spend years with someone without their judgements rubbing off on you. Just ask anyone with a critical mother. (Chump Lady checks her purse for lipstick… she always looks “washed out.”)

The cure for this mindfuck is to spend time with other voices and objective reality. You are a MIGHTY person who put her life — and her children’s lives — back together again after abandonment. You built a lovely new life. You know who gets up after a crushing discard and CREATES LOVELINESS? YOU DO.

What’s he got? A holiday.

Holidays end. (With expensive credit card statements.)

Mightiness is FOREVER.

You win.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • …He’s got an empty bucket where his soul should be…

    I had to come to this realization after the asshole abandoned me too. Apparently he has an empty bucket where his memories are too.

    Doesn’t even acknowledge me after 30 years! I was his best friend for 30 years! He asked me 7 times to marry him and I finally said yes. Stayed married to him for 17 years (it wasn’t easy) because he was a raving drunk and not a real husband. Real husbands share the relationship with their wives ~ they don’t ignore them, berate them, gaslight them, or make them feel like everything is their fault.

    And then while I was still recovering from the abandonment and divorce that he initiated ~ along comes Hurricane Harvey. It was like a meteor coming at me. I got out of the way and had to face the rebuilding of my home all alone while he told all his friends… to pity him … he lost everything in the hurricane but he spends most of my time helping his family. Um what family? We never saw you. I found out later it was the OW, that was his family. A person he had known for maybe 2 years?

    Yep, an empty bucket where his soul should be. That’s what I was married to. A filthy, slimy empty bucket.

    • Jodi Lynch. What area do you live in? I’m a Dana Lynch, his family is from OH.

      What I think I’m having the most hard time with right now, is that him and his HomeWrecker is going to start playing family with her kid and mine. She was a friend of mine, i let her crash at my house as she needed while she was going thru a divorce. At some point, they bonded. So I lost my husband and a friend on DDay March 1st 2019. Struggles still going on 5 months in but feeling way stronger than at the very beginning.

      I HATE that my child is going to hang out with them. I don’t want him to like her, or like her better, or like all the stuff their gonna go do! UGH.

      The HW is 5’10 and my ‘man’ is 5’2, going bald and isn’t really a catch. She’s pretty though. They look ridiculous and I’m hoping sometime soon that they realize something and fall apart. in the meantime, I have to share my baby with them and I DONT WANT TO!

      Somebody talk me thru this and how you handled it, please!

      • This is not the first time I have heard of this – i.e. a soft hearted person tries to help a friend going thru marital difficulties and the friend and her husband decamp. It is almost like no good deed goes unpunished. Were people remorseful? At any rate, get a tough divorce attorney, if your state allows adultery to be cited in divorce do that, even if the money is tight a very aggressive divorce lawyer is what you need to make sure that custody agreement is what you want. I hope you won’t take back the ex if he comes back. I am glad you have become stronger over 5 months. Hang in there – you will be stronger and happier as you get through this.

      • Hi Dana.

        Texas and we met in Kansas.

        Stay strong and listen to Kale. Get a good divorce attorney. Get the custody arrangement that you want.

        We are all here for you!

  • I’ve been fighting feeling undesirable, like a frumpy old hag who kills the fun. My insistence on a clean house, personal hygiene and financial responsibility is obviously the hallmark of a joy killer.

    I finally came to the conclusion I gave him too much power. I let him call the shots for decades. No more of that ridiculousness. He does not make decisions for me anymore. I do.

    I’ve decided that a clean house, paid bills and regular bathing is sexy as hell. My nightly skincare routine is an erotically charged event. It isn’t my problem he can’t see that.

    From my vantage point your “new life, new job, new home” make you look like a powerhouse of a woman. You renovated your home by yourself? Girl, that is hot.

    Get you a self affirming mantra, post it on your mirror, front door, dashboard and reframe those feelings. He doesn’t make decisions for you anymore.

    • “I finally came to the conclusion I gave him too much power. I let him call the shots for decades. No more of that ridiculousness. He does not make decisions for me anymore. I Do. ”

      I Do.
      Love that mantra.

    • THANK YOU. A clean house and personal hygiene are not too much to ask! You are not a killjoy for desiring and attaining these basic things. My ex was totally the same, and it drove me crazy. Tracked mud across a clean kitchen floor (all the time)…after I warned him it was clean and still wet…yet I’m the meanie who gently asked him to clean up his footprints. Scraped BIRD CRAP off the wing of his precious airplane with his BARE HAND and I’m the meanie that requested that he wash his hands sooner rather than later.

      These are not unreasonable requests.

      • Liz C., I can not tell you how many times he walked in muddy, greasy boots across a freshly waxed floor. The person I am now would leave the first time he did this. Interesting note, I watched his cheater father do the same thing to his mother.

        My little house stays so clean and fresh. There is just enough dog hair glitter to make it home. I revel in the cleanliness, organization and peace.

      • Liz C. and ladies,

        I almost feel as if we’re slipping into a bit of male bashing. I believe we’re talking about abandonment by an adulterous partner, leaving a chump who wonders if they’re really at fault for what went wrong in the marriage/partnership. That they’re as bad as the adulterous piece of shit says they are. You all sound as if you’re coming from the perspective of the spouse (wife) who’s desire for a certain level of cleanliness wasn’t appreciated by your POS adulterous partner (male). Please allow me to give you a perspective from a male chump on domestic cleanliness.

        The FW XW was on me all the time the last few years we were together to maintain a better level of cleanliness in the house, and one closer to her standards. At the time, I was suffering from a major clinical depression (from early 2013 thru around the beginning of 2017), after leaving my high paying professional job. It was either that or I thought I would suffer a nervous breakdown.

        When I was in my depression, I told her I was ok w/the cleanliness level we had in the house. She wasn’t. I couldn’t even find the energy to realize, let alone tell her that the depression was taking most and sometimes all of my energy away, and it was all I could do to work at my lower paying job and help her take care of the kids. And yes, I tried a couple of therapists at her urging, unfortunately to little effect. Think of her pointing a finger at me and telling me to see a therapist. That was the extent of her desire to help me. She also didn’t tell me that she was secretly seeing a therapist, whose advice, by her own admission, she pretty much ignored in unilaterally deciding our marriage was over.

        I was basically depressed for around four plus years until D-day, which kicked me in the ass and that I used as an emotional and mental kickoff point to galvanize myself towards getting out of the depression. I was also unknowingly battling diabetes at the same time as my depression. My energy levels were the lowest I’d ever experienced in my life.

        I was already starting to come out of the depression by D-day, to a good extent because the XW asked me to step up and get a better job. D-day just eventually gave me more mental and emotional fuel to combat my depression thru the anger generated by it.

        I thought that my years of slowly killing myself by working progressively harder and more stressful jobs to more than provide for our family and her desires was going to count for something when I was needing help. I also thought all of my many expressions of love, such as telling her daily how thankful I was that she was willing to help me in my time of need, how much I loved her, taking care of the kids whenever I wasn’t working, altering my work schedule to fit her political ambitions, getting her lunch when she was working if I was nearby, my continuing desire for her, etc. meant something to her. I was wrong.

        Now, I have bought her out of the house we owned, and no, it’s not the cleanest house by any standards w/me in charge. As much as I’ve been working my way out of my long term depression, the grief I’ve been dealing w/over her betrayal, abandonment and destruction of our family took up a great deal of my energy these last two plus years. Cleaning has not been a priority for me. But that’s not to say that I didn’t do it at all, and that I’m not getting better about it now.

        My almost 14 year old son and my two older daughters tell me that the FW XW and her POS partner maintain their (really his, I think) condo to a level of cleanliness that as my younger daughter put it, “it’s so clean it seems as if nobody actually lives there.” She should know, she moved out of my house in June of 2018 to live w/them for a year. She’s now in an apartment w/two roommates and much happier. I think many times my son is happy to spend time at my house because he doesn’t have to worry as much about me getting on his case to clean to the level his mother and her partner expect. He frequently will spend his free time at my house even when he’s technically supposed to be at his mother’s residence. Except when it’s hot or humid; they’ve got me beat w/central air conditioning.

        So I guess I’m trying to say that, although as a male, I don’t run the cleanest house in the world, there is such a thing as being too clean. I also get a laugh out of my 84 yr old mother, who tells me that the FW XW wasn’t up to her standards of cleanliness, even when she wasn’t dealing w/my depression.

        Best wishes to all of you, and to all of us. We’re all doing the best we can, and hoping it’s good enough for our kids and ourselves. May we all reach meh and Tuesday sooner rather than later.

  • If my cheater had lived, he would have mocked every aspect of my current life. When with me/cheating he also had profound indifference and only used me as a scapegoat but would have loved making fun of everything I have chosen for myself.

    Phooey on them, we get to decide how to Do Us at this point.

  • oh this could be me. As he blithely after dinner one night said he had decided to end our relationship after 22 years and disappeared into the night, he dropped “I told you I was arrogant” as his parting line. Everyone, myself included, labeled his character as cowardly, craven and immature.

    Really – in the bottom of my heart – I know what CL writes is true for me too. Sometimes, I just forget. But he will also live with the knowledge of what he did, and any woman worth her weight in gold with good mind will look at a single 50 yr old bloke and work it out.

    • Mine ended an 11 year marriage randomly after dinner one night as well. It’s really, really weird! I made salad, he grilled chicken breasts. We chit chatted pleasantly. We cleaned up as usual.

      I guess there’s no “right moment” to ditch your commitments but seriously, while I was finishing a glass of wine while we watched a Star Trek rerun together…I’m still agog.

      • Mine did the same thing one Friday night after 21 years of marriage.

        I am now at
        Meh after nearly 7 years. A hard road, but my kids and I got there.

        He just tore a family of nearly adult children apart. His loss.

      • Mine told me over the phone that he was thinking about us getting a divorce. He was away at a friend’s wedding, and as far as I knew, we parted on good terms. It’s not like we had a huge fight before he left. Coward.

  • Push through the pain my sisters (and brothers)…nirvana is on the other side! My 58yo face is grinning ear to ear…I honestly feel like I’ve won lottery! Smoopie has many years to look after his drunken old ass…and to think of the pain I was in that he no longer loved me after 34 years of marriage (he prefers vaginas that age not marriages). But damn it’s not Tuesday yet, but it feels like Christmas!

    • Right there with you, Just Right. If anyone had told me while I was in the middle of the crap x put me through that I would actually be happy today, I would have never believed them. It took me a couple of years just to be able to want to go on living.

      Today, I am happier than I can remember ever being in my life! My youngest, who was 12 when the shit hit the fan, is turning 21 this week. Tomorrow, we are leaving for a blow-out birthday celebration in her favorite city. She will graduate from college in the spring. She is applying to graduates school in a field that is focused on people who have been screwed over in family court. How is that for mighty? She has truly helped me turn lemons into lemonade.

      What a difference a few years make!

      • Living well is the best revenge. Once we take back our lives and souls, it’s amazing what can happen. All of that energy wasted on doing more so a disordered loser could do less can be put to good use. All of that wasted money, ditto.

        • So many people told me that line after I was abandoned and divorced. It is starting to sink in.

          Yes, living well is the best revenge. I finally understand. And now, I live for me.

    • Yes!! After 30 years of marriage, it took 4 more years to understand what I had been told at the end of my marriage: “Someday you’ll realize that he did you a favor.” I’m there. He did me the biggest favor by dumping me. But I can understand what Justleft is going through. I also wondered what was wrong with me. I re-played things over and over thinking ‘what if I had said … instead of …?’ Oh the self doubt! That’s what made me the angriest, the fact that the DICK made me doubt myself. I put so much stock into being validated by a DICK! I now know my value and I love who I am. The fact that he never recognized my value was a problem with him, not me. I now realize that I am one of the more fortunate chumps on CN. My ex dropped me without a backward glance. He never tried to get in touch with me again. That was an additional mindfuck. I thought that I must not have any worth because he hasn’t tried to contact me at all. But after reading over and over again the crap posted on CN by chumps of how their cheaters just don’t seem to die…, well, let me tell you “Justleft”, Someday you will realize that he did you a favor! Give it time and learn to love yourself.

  • Oh my goodness, dear, block that shit on all social media outlets immediately! DO NOT FEED THE NARCISSIST. This man is an energy vampire, and he has had quite enough of yours. Cut off the supply.

    • 100%! He needs to be blocked. He tried to convince her he’s just indifferent to *her* as a mindfuck to make her feel worthless. The truth is he’s indifferent to the feelings of other human beings in general.

      • That last backstab is intended to keep the chump insecure and available in case the cheater decides to circle back around for another go. This is where anger becomes your friend.

    • So true.

      Many of the personality disordered know where your vulnerabilities and self doubts lie and use it against you as a weapon. It’s all about power and image.

      Mine knew of my fear of being like my mom who’s on the autism spectrum and struggles to make friends and told me, “No one will ever love you. You’re like your mom. Socially awkward and weird.”. I was leaving the conman after too many years together and at the time his assessment really got under my skin as I shared the same fears deep down.

      5 years later- with an improved life without him, I see it for what it is: a manipulative tool from a loser.

      Your mind will clear the further you get away. Trust the process.

      PS From an disinterested, outside party, you sound like an awesome person!

  • CL’s response is so spot on.

    I too am putting myself back together again after 37 years. My FW goes on endless holidays with the sawdust for brains bimbo – sunbed surfing. I don’t envy that at all.

    His children know my worth and we support each other. He is missing the early weeks of his his newly born granddaughter. No amount of holidays or viagra induced sex matches that.

    Be kind to yourself, know your worth and feel pity for him that he’s such a shallow vessel.

  • You are MIGHTY. I respect you and I only heard your testimony once. Nice work putting your life and the life of your kids back together, that is VERY impressive… Good job!
    Shallow flim flam lives matter not, you have endured much and that takes some time to wash out of the system, let it.
    You are not shallow, you are not flim flam. You are pretty gosh darn it wonderful.

    • Thank you for those kind words.

      Some days are harder than others and knowing that this is a resource that you can come to and read other people’s stories, that are eerily similar to your own, has been a godsend.

  • I can so relate to this topic .

    I too am the wife that rated less than 0 . I too got i am off see you without a glance backwards .
    I feel i have no self worth or confidence left in me to even fight anymore

    • Girl.
      That Fucker.

      Thank God you don’t have to put up with that piece of shit husband for another moment.
      You were abused. It takes time to get over abuse.
      Sending you light and love and healing.

    • Karen6702, I know you are in pain.

      A book that really helped me is “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing” by Susan Anderson. I’m just guessing you have already read “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” until the pages fall open to your favorite part. Finding a good therapist and this site saved my life.

      You deserve a fuck-wit free life. Don’t let him live in your heart. Don’t give him that power.

    • Karen – we 0. rated spouses are legion! The first thing for you to do is to believe he sucks. For me the best way to do that was to make out a list of all the dishonesty and times when he had no empathy. Read it over whenever you feel unworthy to remind youtself that he has no right or anility to judge you. Once you trust he suvks, you won’t accept his bad opinion of you.
      Another Chump once said “He’s not all bad, but he is bad in ways that matter to me.” If your cheater seemed kind day to day, remember he sucked at the most important thing, fidelity, honouring you and commitment. Ergo, he sucks, you don’t. Hugs x

      • ” If your cheater seemed kind day today, remember he sucked at the most important things — fidelity, honouring you and commitment.”

        I would like to add to this list — honesty and integrity.

        “He’s not all bad, but he is bad in ways that matter to me.”

        And this aligns with CL’s mantra, “Is this relationship acceptable to you?”

        I never psychically wrote out a list, because I didn’t need to. In the beginning days after D-day, I’d just recall the time even before we were engaged when I thought he was cheating. He lied of course when confronted and I of course believed the story he told. He was a liar and a cheater from the very first day we met. He showed me the very first day we met, that he had a wandering eye and wasn’t capable of being faithful. I failed to truly see him for who he was, because of all the charm, “nice guy” and sparkles of what he said to me.

        So, whenever I wonder if it was me that caused this mess. I remind myself quickly about the beginning of our relationship and how he was a liar and cheater from the get-go. What’s on me is failing to trust myself and getting out when he showed me who he truly was. And the good news is that I have the knowledge and power to keep myself safe now. I have the power to not be a chump again. I can now recognize when someone is trying to manipulate me. I now recognize love bombing. When I have a bad feeling about someone, I pause and step back. And then I watch to see their future actions. Old Chumpy Martha would have spackled, “fixed”, forgave or “tried harder”.

        • Hi Martha, with a few tweaks, this is my story too. Like your X, Fuckup: “was a liar and cheater from the get-go. What’s on me is failing to trust myself and getting out when he showed me who he truly was.”

          Just about a year into it, I discovered that he’d “overlapped” our relationship with his previous one by several months. (Pro-tip from Fuckup: keep your “overlappees” in two different countries and your fingers crossed that no one in your family blows your cover!) But, like you, I didn’t run away screaming, and lived to regret it.

          I still miss his good qualities sometimes, but now that I know who he really is I can’t un-know it. (Even my subconscious won’t let me forget it. When he appears in my dreams it’s always as a small, weak, measly little nonentity. Like Voldemort’s soul under the bench in Harry Potter.)

          • I hear you about missing the good qualities and times together. But I’ve wondered if that was all fake too as he is a really great actor. Who knows. Don’t care. I was real and that’s all that matters to me now.

            I have the same regret about not running away as fast as I could when I thought he was cheating the first time. Followed shortly thereafter, him turning into a totally different person when he started his first big job out of college (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). Live and learn. And I won’t make this huge mistake again!

        • “I firmly believe that us chumpy types do not ATTRACT the disordered. We fail to discard them when they start to show who they are. Don’t make that mistake again.”
          – someone from ChumpNation

          • This is so true! I used to wonder why I attracted these creeps. I don’t attract them. I failed to discard them when they showed their true colors.

            The guy I dated before my XH, thought he was better than others, because his moms family came from Boston. Plus his grandfather had a lot of patents, so there was money in the family. Very early into our relationship, he asked me if I knew what the capital of Mongolia was. I didn’t, so he told me. The very next day, he asked me again what the capital was. I didn’t remember as I didn’t care! He shamed and made fun of me for not remembering. That was a red flag and at the time I felt it inside of my body. But I didn’t have relationship deal breakers and of course I could never have conceived that someone would purposely shame someone. He went on to be an on and off dick throughout our four years together.

        • Martha,
          Your words resonate with me too. Especially today when I am taking on blame – again. Recently we had to have contact – charm was there and I did my chump dance like I hadn’t learned anything at all but….I know I have. So I chumped but at least I was aware of it this time. Progress. Now to recover. I am exhausted and to think I lived this way for years and years and years…Yes, I can give myself time to ‘get it’.

          I just get blown away that he can act like nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Well, for him it hasn’t because he knew all along whereas for me I had no clue and the emotional ramifications of that are huge. Still dumfounded that I feel like I have to justify my feelings while he can walk away scott free…..

          • Elderly Chump, I hope you are not beating yourself up for “dancing” again. It takes time to learn to act differently and not fall for the charm. I never would have called my XH charming. But after D-day, my sister said to him, “I’m not falling for your charm.” She saw it and her words shocked me. But she was right. And I’ve seen him turn the charm on and off tons of times. These people are disordered. Our X’s do not feel shame, so that’s why they act like they’ve done nothing wrong! In their minds, they haven’t and we are to blame for everything. Even their cheating. ((((HUGS))) Elderly Chump. 🙂

            • Thanks Martha,

              I am chalking my ‘slip’ up to progress along the learning curve on the road to Meh.

              What I noticed in our conversation this time around was his whining. I am sure it has been there all along but now I am hearing it with new ears. I am so grateful that the divorce is final. That I am seeing through his ‘moves’. It does make it easier.

        • I had an eye opening experience last night that I had blocked out of my mind for almost 25 years. When I was pregnant with baby #2 I got a notification from the OB that I had chlamydia. I told the doctor no way. I can’t have that I have only every had one partner and we are happily married. I cried when I got off the phone, I cried at work that day and I cried to Him.

          He told me that he looked up how to contract chlamydia and he said I could catch it from him if he did not clean his ‘peepee” well enough. He promised he would be cleaner and that our baby would be fine.

          Well…I finally after 30 years of marriage and my one year anniversary of my divorce it dawned on me that he might of lied to me so I looked it up on how to contract chlamydia.

          He lied to me and I believed him. I can’t believe how dumb I was!

          I am beginning to trust more that he sucks but I am now where close to Tuesday. I hope this story helps somebody else.

          • I was told he contracted chlamydia from a kiss on a cheek from his sister…and I believed it????

            I was willfully oblivious. I overlooked pretty much everything.

            • Thank you! I am reassured once again that I am not the only one that was blind to what was going on around me. I wanted a happy marriage so bad I think now that I made the marriage happy not matter what.

    • Hang in there Karen. Please just know that he doesn’t define your worth. Breathe deeply and absorb this.
      The way he left you is testimony that he sucks.
      Now its time for you to focus on you. CN will guide you.

    • A poem I ran across today that fits here:

      i went for my words
      the i can’ts. i won’ts. i am not good enough.
      i lined them up and shot them dead
      then i went for my thoughts
      invisible and everywhere
      there was no time to gather them one by one
      i had to wash them out
      i wove a linen cloth out of my hair
      soaked it in a bowl of mint and lemon water
      carried it in my mouth as i climbed
      up my braid to the back of my head
      down on my knees i began to wipe my mind clean
      it took twenty-one days
      my knees bruised but
      i did not care
      i was not given the breath
      in my lungs to choke it out
      i would scrub the self-hate off the bone
      till it exposed love

      -rupi kaur

    • Don’t let him determine your worth. You still see him as a “husband,” someone close to you whose opinion you value. That’s what you have to shift–the idea that he speaks the truth and that what he says matters.

      • Lovedajackass.

        Yep, I just had a ‘mental slip’. Went down hard and I wasn’t expecting it at all.
        Luckily I know it was a slip and I have learned a lot from it – exactly what you said

        ‘you still see him as a ‘husband, someone close to you whose opinion you value’

        Thought I had moved past that phase.

        Back to the drawing board. Timing of this couldn’t have been better – right when I needed it.

        Thanks for your words

        and thanks to CL and CN for how much you have taught me – especially to be gently and patient with myself. Doesn’t come easily to this one who has been hard on herself for as long as she can remember.

    • karenb6702, please don’t doubt that you have self-worth. You do. You’re just in the middle of the mindfuck.

      My FW XW didn’t give me the list of all the things she held against me for the last 10-15 years of our marriage right on D-day. That came later, when I got her to go to the female MC. On D-day, she told me that her main problem w/me was that I “just got so negative!” Funny how a major depression can do that to you. Then she said that she thought she had been a good wife those 24+ years to me, and asked me to agree w/her. I was so angry at her at that point, I told her no, she wasn’t a good wife.

      I’m glad I did, because a week after D-day, I told her that I loved her too much to just let our marriage and love go without a fight. I was playing the pick me dance, and talked to her about all the flaws I saw in myself and asked for her help and forgiveness. Her response? “God, you just can’t get out of your own way!” That’s how caring she was, after I just opened my soul to her even more than normal.

      The point is, we should not allow these disordered fuckwits to define us or validate our lives. That’s the mental and emotional struggle you have to go through. It sucks. But you come to realize that Tracy is right; trust that they suck, and you realize that what they think doesn’t matter anymore. The person you thought had your back never did, so why let them decide for you how worthy you are? FUCK THAT!! They’re just total pieces of shit. Their opinions don’t hold any weight.

      I hope that you will come to find peace and meh. I’ll be rooting for you.

  • “he told me he was profoundly indifferent to me. Not just your average indifference. Profound indifference. After 30 years. And so so much more.”

    When you point a finger at someone else, there are four digits pointing back at yourself.

    He has told you about HIMSELF. While it hurts to be discarded, even by a total asshole, you invested 30 years of your life with him and he USED you. Then not only said, “It’s over”, he kicked you when you were down.

    Yeah, it will take time to get over that because your head gets it, but hearts aren’t as quickly repaired. The speed of thought is a real thing, but emotional blows hurt more and for longer periods I suspect in order for people to truly from the experience. And to purposefully move on to Mehtopia.

    I am so sorry. Trust that he sucks. Trust that you DO NOT SUCK.

    • I agree with you, No Shit Cupcakes, that what he told poor JustLeft, was him telling her who he is.

      My XH said to my face, “You never took good care of me.” The truth was, he never took good care of me. Sure, he went to work each day and he took good care of us financially. But he never took good care of ME!! Our relationship started off with him giving me a loaf of bread of reciprocity. And little by little, he got it down to a few crumbs each day. And I was to be thankful for those crumbs! And if I asked for a slice of bread, I got rage and even more withholding from him.

      He KNEW by saying this to me, that his statement would destroy me even more and make me question myself and whether I did enough for him and our marriage. He took pleasure in breaking me down even more. Only a wicked person would do that to another human being.

      JustLeft, he was just trying to hurt you with that statement. It’s NOT TRUE! You are a chump, so you take it to heart. You ARE the better person. Look at all you’ve accomplished after D-day!! You are MIGHTY !!

      How about reframing what he said you?

      You said, “I am the wife whose husband rated her as less than zero. For years apparently.”

      Reframe: “I was the wife of a husband who saw what a wonderful person I am, that we were married for 30 years. My XH is a bad person who tricked me into investing 30 years into him and our relationship.”

      JustLeft, I can relate to so much of your letter. His opinion of you doesn’t count or matter. He’s just devaluing you to justify to himself and whoever else he’s talking to, that you deserved to be abandoned. As CL said, “Disordered people abandon.”

      He wants you to internalize what he said to you. He wants you to feel flawed and not good enough! It’s a game and he’s playing you. Don’t accept it! Write down every single good quality that you possess. I bet you can fill up page. I was lucky enough to have gone to counseling a few times by myself after D-day. One of the things I had to do was write down a list of all my positive qualities. I filled up a page. And all the good qualities were true, and my sister and now XH even added to the list. My XH said I was “wise”. And I am! But I was really stupid when it came to him, but I got wiser over the years when it came to his behaviors. And when I was finally figured out he truly WAS a pathological liar and serial cheater, I got discarded like yesterdays trash.

      Stop playing in your mind and heart the hurtful words he said to you. Say to yourself, “STOP!!” This will stop the recording you have in your mind. Then REPLACE it with something positive about yourself. This really does work. You have set-up a road of sorts in your brain. Each time you say to yourself that he was “profoundly indifferent to me”, you are making that road in your brain deeper. “Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or rewire itself”. You CAN rewire your brain by stopping yourself from saying that negative thing about yourself. Replace it with the truth about yourself. Eventually that negative connection in your brain will be gone and it will be replaced with a good and healthy connection. A connection that will say, “I’m mighty and a very good person!” A part of self-care is getting control over our minds and talking to ourselves like we would talk to our children. ((((HUGS))), Just Left

  • Your ex-husband’s decision to use you for so many years is proof—despite what the liar says—that he found you had GREAT value. Ticks don’t stick on ceramic garden deer, after all. And ticks don’t define those whose blood they suck, just as the cheater doesn’t define you. You are awesome.

    • When I am overwhelmed by the “proof” of my underwhelming-ness, when I get hung up on thinking about how he could seek out prostitutes and skanks and that choosing me over the bogus life he now has points to my unworthiness – – I try to remember how hard he worked to hide that behavior, the lies he told, the lengths he went to keep me. I think that’s just as telling, evidence we chumps are desired, needed, wanted, etc. We aren’t enough only because they can never be satisfied… Like black holes and taxes.

      • Yes! I love that angle. Ashley Madison account is not for those who want to be caught. I guess I was worth keeping until he found what he really wanted.

        • I believe what cheaters really want is both — a competent and useful spouse to make their life easy, and some excitement on the side. Duping the spouse into staying in the arrangement is a bonus.

  • “Hey, I’d rather be an actual number than an imaginary one.”

    This is absolutely correct. Plus I get to choose what number I am.

    Give yourself time.

  • I felt that way also. One morning I woke up and thought, “Screw him. He doesn’t define who I am.” I made an appointment for a makeover at Sephora and bought a ton of new makeup. I looked and felt great afterwards. I went to Macy’s next and bought a new pair of jeans and shoes.

    The woman I am today is not the same woman I was when married to that narcissist A-hole.

    The point is, your Tuesday will come. YOU ARE MIGHTY!!

    • One thing is for damn sure, Friend.

      That infantile, self-serving, cold, calculating, manipulative, morally bereft douche certainly doesn’t deserve the goodness and kindness and heartfully present and loving gift that is you.


  • Eleanor Roosevelt said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Please don’t let this fuckwit make you feel inferior. He sucks and his holidays with another vapid cheater just prove my point.

    You on the other hand are mighty. You put your life back together for you and your children and your ex, by his own admission, is profoundly indifferent. You win!!

    Block him on social media and keep being mighty. Your heart will catch up with your head. I promise!

    • And Eleanor would know. She was a chump. Old FDR was sticking it to HER secretary. She stayed with the dude but she filled her life with greatness becoming US ambassador to the UN twice. She lived another 17 years after FDRs death and she appeared to try to have the best life possible.

      • I believe that after FDR died, Eleanor sent a small portrait of him to his mistress with a note signed Mrs. FDR. That could be interpreted as anything from kindness to a smack down. In any event, she was amazing.

  • Just left. You are grieving which is normal because you have suffered a loss. But you don’t let him define your worth! I don’t know you but I promise you that you are adored by those friends and family who love you. He said those things to hurt you and tear you down to justify his bad behavior. You must shake that off and continue on with your life and be grateful for the future years you have coming. Hugs!

  • This one hit home for me as well!! The only advice I can give is that it gets better. I am 2.5 years away from the ex and I rarely have moments were I feel unworthy anymore. Notice the said rarely, because it still happens. I try to feel the moment and then let it go. I KNOW I am worthy and so are you, so are we all. The profound indifference comment was just plain mean, sounds like he just wanted to be dick.
    You are not a wife who was less than zero, you are the wife that raised kids, provided a home, and took care of dickhead. Good luck, hang in there!!

  • Yeah, yeah…they were just gonna stick around a few more years, till the kids got older BUT they got sprung and these effheads don’t even realise that they are admitting to what users they really are.

  • Today is my second anniversary of the divorce being final. Mine told me I was a fucking bitch and she was an angel. Married thirty years. I needed to hear this today.

  • Don’t feel worthless. Always remind yourself that it wasn’t your fault someone else cheated and never give value to the opinion of immoral shitheads.

  • I can so relate to this! My ex just casually said he was leaving in 2 weeks after 23 years of marriage. His reason was he wanted to do what he wanted to do. Of course when I asked if there was someone else he said no. I found out after he left he was cheating with his ho worker. This was 2 years ago. He is a passive aggressive narcissist and it has taken a long time to get his emotional abuse out of my head. I am finally getting myself back but it has been a long journey. I have the love and respect of my adult children. He does not. I have so much love and joy in my life including a little granddaughter who he abandoned. I win ❤️❤️

  • I, too, was one of the ones who felt like he’d been “tossed out like last week’s trash” for something else. It didn’t matter that the new model was ugly, fat, poor, and a loser. I can certainly empathize for feeling “less than zero.” Right after D-day, I refused to let her see or communicate with the OM, and a few days later she just left on her own.
    The day she left, I was told all the reasons why my wife had felt she was chained to the wrong guy all those years, and it was finally time to set things right. She was clearly slumming with an inferior being. She went on for over 2 hours with all the things she thought was wrong with me (including that my parents had gotten divorced when I was 13).
    She did try to come back several times, though, and I said no each time.
    In hindsight, I think it was a blessing in disguise that she went on her own. She saved me a lot of anguish; she also admitted when she left that this was not the first AP, just the first one I’d caught her with.
    Someone asked me last week how I’d rate her. I said “on a scale of 1 to 100, objectively, I’d give her a zero.”

    • Hi TTW,

      My STBX treated me like trash as well – yet he wouldn’t leave the house – it was convenient to have someone do all the adulting for the children and he outright said he didn’t want to pay child support. My cold callous empty shell wouldn’t even speak to me about anything all he could do is lie and say that he was a better person (the self-delusion was strong). He is genuinely surprised that many friends have supported me and don’t really want to be around him (although they are polite which is more than he deserves). These empty vessels don’t understand that their lies don’t just affect the spouse – they lie to friends, family, children, bosses etc. My husband of 25 years told my kids (not me) that he hadn’t wanted to be in a “cookie cutter marriage” for the last 12 years and he could not be the person he wanted to be with me (lots of alcohol, drugs and viagra fuelled sex with others). I told my children that if that was true he purposely stole a huge chunk of my life. I was good enough to make money that he spent and raise the children while he slowly abandoned us for fun with work colleagues. I try not to dwell on this because it is mind blowing to me that someone could do that. It is depressing to see how many of us have been treated so poorly by our spouses. We have become a society that focuses on self fulfillment no matter the cost to others – I find it sad. Hugs to everyone here.

      • Deee,

        I totally agree w/your statement of “We have become a society that focuses on self fulfillment no matter the cost to others – I find it sad.” You said it, sister.

        No one seems to care about balance in their lives. Being patient (the FW XW always said I was extremely patient, and she wasn’t. No shit, Sherlock). Being humble. Trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Caring more about others. I know I need to work on all of this. What about the fuckwits that left us? If we need to work on ourselves, that would seem to mean they need it even more. But I doubt that will happen. Because they don’t see it. And they sure as hell aren’t looking for it.

        No one should be treated like trash. Ok, maybe the fuckwits. But even they’re to be pitied. As in, it’s a pity they can’t see beyond their own selfish, stupid lives and egos, and see how their actions affect and hurt others. Not to mention their words.

        Wishing you all the best, Deee. You are Mighty. I hope life rolls your way as much as possible now. And as you said: Hugs to everyone.

    • It is really pathetic how they need to justify their poor character by trying to tear down the person who has good character and did nothing wrong besides loving a narcissist. My STBX husband told me, among other things, that I didn’t show him love because I am autistic and probably not capable. I am not autistic, but I took an online test to double check and asked close friends if they thought I had tendencies. Their laughter was the best medicine. They were aghast that he would accuse me of such a thing. He also said that the kids didn’t like me either because I had a grocery list on the refrigerator and they all hated that. I filed for divorce, took down the list and moved it with me to my new house, and didn’t buy any more groceries until after I moved. lol

      My “crimes” = I said that I was tired and wanted to go to bed once over 25 years ago. I was supposed to say that I missed him, apparently. I buy groceries using a list. I didn’t make him feel good about himself while I worked full time and he slept in until noon most days.

      His crimes = He was fired for sexually harassing female employees at his first job after we were married. He cheated and had a child with the mother of my daughter’s best friend. He begged to reconcile, then secretly contacted her for another 3 years. He got tired of her and started another affair with our employee. He defended both other women as they harassed me at my workplace and stalked my children.

  • I’ve heard it said that hurt people hurt people. And that when you are dealing with a disordered person, you are really dealing with someone who’s own self-loathing is so deep there isn’t a person in the world who can “love them in to normal”.

    So, my thinking is, when he tells you he is profoundly indifferent to you, consider this… he is really telling you that he is profoundly indifferent to EVERYTHING. And, it is not about you, but telling you everything you need to know about him.

    I hope you can keep the focus on you and your kids ands your family… give love to those who can give it back and your self worth will follow.

    • I use to buy into the statement that “hurt people hurt people”. I just can’t anymore.

      My XH had a pretty idyllic childhood. His mommy adored him and told him how “perfect and special” he was and still does at the age of fifty! His aunts and uncles babied him and told him all the time how great he was. He was gifted with high intelligence, so that made school for easy for him. The only “hurt” he ever told me from his childhood was that his mommy wouldn’t play board games with him as soon as she walked in the door after working all day. Does that not say entitled baby or what? It’s all about him, going back to when he was a child!

      I on the other hand, had just the opposite experience as him. I did not turn out to be a “hurter” of other people. Not that I never hurt someone. But I didn’t do it on purpose. And I pretty much went out of my way to not hurt someone and I tried my best to treat others as I wanted to be treated.

      I think there is some truth to this statement. Or better said, this statement applies to some people. Not everyone who was abused becomes abusers. And not everyone who was treated wonderfully, turn out to be wonderful, decent human beings.

      • I agree, Martha. The concept that “hurt people hurt people” can keep a person with high empathy saddled to the hopium pipe and continuing to try to fix what cannot be fixed. Some people are not hurt people, they are people with no empathy or regard for how their own actions hurt others. And, in my own experience, the events of my life that hurt me most tend to bring out MORE empathy and compassion, not the reverse.

  • I know that you, and everyone out there like you, who sticks around and steps up for your children is more mighty than the ex will ever be.

    I get you though. 22 years and half an hours notice is all I was worth. After 2 and a half years I don’t miss him at all, but my soppy heart feels sad for what I though I had sometimes. And it comes out of nowhere and makes me feel like a lesser being.

    I try and remind myself what I have achieved since he left. To stick two fingers up to the man who told me I was stupid, and tried to make my children believe I was stupid, I negotiated my own decent settlement and got a judge backed court order. Then for my career I passed a degree level exam the month after the divorce with a double distinction. Not so stupid.

    To show him we don’t need him any more I just took our 15 year old daughter on holiday to the South of France. We always had holidays in France and he always did the talking as he loved belittling my efforts in front of the kids. And yet this year they understood my French just fine.

    And to the ex who told me as he left that he watched endless sport on TV because he couldn’t bear the sight of me I laughed when he bounded up to me at an event our daughter was involved in and said how amazing my hair looked. Laughed and told him to F off! He does not have the right to mess with my head any more.

    • Hey Bobbiechump, just wanted to tell you that you are MIGHTY! You speak two languages? (maybe more) Right after a divorce you are able to kick ass on a test that you needed for your career? My dear you are NOT the lesser being, ok? HE IS!

  • My ex-husband left me for mistress number 5 after 17 years of marriage 20 years together.
    She’s 10 years younger than me so she still has younger kids ( ours are 22&28, have nothing to do with their father x4 years). He bought a house with her and the replacement kids a mile from our old house. I never see them…thank god. I haven’t spoken to him in a year.
    I was virtually ghosted too….what’s the word “indifferent?” Well, my ex was so indifferent that he literally kissed me, went to work, came home and had dinner, and then told me he didn’t want to be married anymore. Boom! Gone!! No looking back, It’s like I got hit by a car. Enter mistress number five.
    Just a little more backstory. After all this happened I lawyered up. I got a settlement, I got a life, and I moved on I met a very nice guy a little less than a year after my divorce, and now I am engaged to be married at 51. I deal with his two ex-wives all the time.One barely speaks to me and does nothing to hide that, the other is the mother of my fiancé’s daughter, and we share a granddaughter together and actually get along very well. I think I get along better with her than he does.
    I have a home daycare, and last night one of my daycare clients, (who is also a friend and fellow chump) spotted mistress number 5 at the same dance school my clients daughter attends. I’m not saying it wasn’t snarky, but she snapped a pic ( unsolicited by me) of mistress number 5 looking unhappy and a hot mess and sent it to me with some caption about how my friends dance season was ruined because she had to deal with looking at mistress #5 for the next several months.
    When I tell you that getting any information about my ex is like someone spotting Bigfoot, I am not exaggerating. Occasionally there will be a sighting , and someone will send me a picture just so we can have a chuckle about how he still fat. ???? But we are zero contact. That being said, if somebody wants to bash him for a min or two, I’m here for it.
    My fiancé actually got a little sideways about this last night. He said if I was happy in my life, I would have no interest in any of this.
    Why is there a statute of limitations on anger? Why is it not OK to get a little laugh out of seeing the person who firebombed my life looking homely and unhappy at the dance school?
    It didn’t make me feel any kind of way about my ex, it made me feel more uncomfortable that just because I’ve moved on and I have a happy life I have to forget about what happened to me. It’s like if somebody hits you with their car, and then you wake up from the coma with a super power. It’s awesome, but it doesn’t change the fact that somebody hit you with their car.
    Feedback please.

    • It’s not uncommon to want to gloat about a past mistake; so just look at them and pass by. Don’t give them any more room in your head. They are just someone you used to know. Meh.

    • “My fiancé actually got a little sideways about this last night. He said if I was happy in my life, I would have no interest in any of this.”

      Tell him it’s like slowing down and peering at a car wreck. 1) Is it someone you know? 2) Wow – that’s awful.

      You don’t chase ambulances, but if someone sends you a photo or mentions that he looks worse for the wear, you are unapologetically going to enjoy a moment of schadenfreude (pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.)

    • Your fiance is right in that once you truly hit meh, you won’t care one way or the other whether X is still overweight, whether OW is happy or not. Shrug. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t fully embrace your new life with him while enjoying a bit of schadenfreude. Tell him to be patient; you can be absolutely fully in love with him, but fully processing this shitstorm takes a long time.

    • I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing the sad hot mess other woman is. It’s hilarious and if someone doesn’t want to join in the laughs that’s fine, but I’m having my chuckle. That being said, you couldn’t pay me to take him back. Obviously you’ll want to reassure your fiancé and validate his feelings, but it’s like when the mean girl from high school losses all her hair, poetic justice! ????

  • You do not have to forget about what happened to you. I think you explain it to him just the way you explained it to us. This piece of shit firebombed your life and its always nice (no matter what situation you are now in) to see the karma bus plow into those fuckers. Has nothing to do with you happiness now. I am remarried, but if I were to happen across some karma fucking up my ex, I would laugh my evil laugh and tuck it away. Again, has nothing to do with how you feel about your life now. I hope he can understand that!

    • So true. The current Mr. Survivor (also a chump) and I enjoy the occasional chuckle when tales of cheater ex misfortune come our way, and we were both rid of the asswipes years ago. Just a reminder that we dodged that fiery meteor when it was just a bullet.

  • I have studied this, trying to untangle how my X Asshat could crush me like he did. It wasn’t enough to abandon me by e-mail while I was out of town, he had to come back for 2 days to scream at me how I was just so awful and was the worst person ever. Schmoopie is our daughter’s age and he is a 50YO bald goat with bad teeth and stoop shoulders.

    I have concluded that they do the ILYBINILWY and the laundry list of “crimes” because they couldn’t live with themselves if they simply told the truth. My Asshat could have said “I feel old. This young chick wants me and we have hot sex and I can’t pass that up. I don’t need you to help me be successful in life anymore so I am going to go hump my brains out. Our daughters will get over it.”

    I can’t imagine having those feelings and shitting all over someone. Cheater-narcopaths have no problem at all pursuing what they want without regard to anyone else. They abuse us on the way out because we are truly garbage to them and need to be thrown away as quickly as possible. It feels good to them to crush us. Snip, chop, whack, they need to go be fabulous somewhere you are not. Total disregard and indifference.

    BTW, our daughters have most certainly NOT gotten over it and he will not be included in their lives. He traded his dignity, access to grandchildren, and the love of his family for sex with a disordered Schmoopie.

    • “if they simply told the truth. My Asshat could have said “I feel old. This young chick wants me and we have hot sex and I can’t pass that up. I don’t need you to help me be successful in life anymore so I am going to go hump my brains out. Our daughters will get over it.”

      Just 10 weeks out from d-day and I could have written this quote. FW moved out the day I confronted him and right in with OW. I got ILYBINILWY, I got ‘she makes me happy’ and ‘I haven’t been happy with you for a long time’ even though we still had sex every couple of weeks, took a 10 day trip to Baja and never argued. It is all such BS! I am still wrapping my head around everything, but all of you and CL are a HUGE help.

      He is still coming over at least once a week for some thing or other and tries to engage me in the pick-me dance by blaming me for things. Saying I am being difficult because I won’t share my list of our accounts that I spent hours putting together. He has access to the information online, but is to ‘busy’ to look it all up.

      I don’t want to antagonize him too much because he has not agreed to a collaborative divorce yet. I really don’t want to fight this out in the courts. He finally hired a lawyer, but then the lawyer went on vacation, now mine will be on vacation and then I will be. So we are looking at at least two more weeks of appeasing him until I can get him to sign.

      In front of him, I try to be the grey rock, but he can still get to me. I really want to get to ‘meh’, but I don’t thing I can until we hash out the divorce agreement. Any advice wise CL nation?

      • I feel for you.

        You do not owe him that list. NO MORE WIFING. Do not do one single thing for him, he fired you from having to give a shit. This is very difficult, believe me I understand. I did not do as well as I should have in that department and can see it so much clearer 2+ years out. Do not do anything for him, only do things for yourself now, and avoid talking yourself into the idea that somehow making it easier on HIM will make it easier on YOU. It won’t. He will still be the colossal prick you see before you no matter if you handed him everything.

        Stay strong and keep reading the wisdom of Chump Nation.

        h/t Beth: NO MORE WIFING!!!!!!!

        • “Too busy” means you should do all the work. Now I.C. is absolutely correct. STOP being an unpaid, unappreciated worker for the dickwad. He has time to do what he wants to do, and he is not entitled to a minute more of your effort on his behalf. Don’t pay his bills, don’t do his taxes, don’t wash his socks. He can do the work or not. He should not even know what you have on him. One sided sharing should be in the past.

      • Learning Not to Dance,

        You didn’t mention why you have to do the pick me dance other than keeping things from escalating to a court battle. Is it because of child support? Maintenance for you?

        IF you need him to agree to anything in the divorce then you must decide how to play out your dance but you now know it is a dance and are no longer ignorant and that knowledge is big.

        Keeping your cool in the short term may feel like a cop out now, but in the end you will win.

    • “They abuse us on the way out because we are truly garbage to them and need to be thrown away as quickly as possible.” — this resonated. It’s exactly how my XW treated me and, unfortunately, how I felt as a result. I was beneath her. I meant nothing to her. Our 17 relationship (12 yrs married), meaningless.

      I’m 18 months out from the discard and, while I’m doing better, rebuilding my life and regaining my mental/emotional footing, I’m not where I want to be. “Meh” remains elusive at this point, but I’m hoping Tuesday will come in the next 12-18 months. *fingers crossed*

      • Good luck on your journey to meh-ca. I too, feel like used tissue. Worthless, discarded, unworthy. No matter the good things I have created in his absence his final words sting like hell. I know he sucks, I would never want him back, but I can’t un-murder my soul. Maybe I can end up in a place where this part of my life only becomes a small scar on my soul rather than the destruction it feels like today.

        Good luck to us.

    • “I don’t need you to help me be successful in life anymore so I am going to go hump my brains out.”

      I very much believe this was the MO for my Ex going AWOL. The business I helped him build from scratch was doing very well. Basically he got a bit up himself from the success and forgot I was a major part of it. Well, devalue comes in many forms. In his mind, over time he rewrote the narrative that HE was the only one who made him successful.

      My time was running out. I just didn’t know.

  • “Disordered people abandon.” Yes they do. My STBXH is a coward, a liar, and a true narc when it comes to relationships. He tries to use our children as pawns in his sick mind games.

    Distance and time have let me see the true colors of the “man” I called husband for 16 years. Where I once held what he said and thought in the highest accord, now I know my worth.

    His emails of threats to not see the kids and telling me to stop being “difficult” just for wanting to *gasp* follow court orders…used to send me into a tizzy or frighten me. Now that I know my place and his, I look around and tell myself “who TF does he think he’s talking to, cuz it ain’t me”.

    It hurts. At first. Badly. Now I know, I could care less what someone of that lack of character thinks or says about me. Not. One. Bit.

  • I also was abandoned- 30 years of marriage, 40 year friendship(so I thought!) I asked for nothing and I got less. I suffered a profound sense of unworthiness and I still get really sad about our collective family loss. Two and a half years out, CN is my daily saviour and I’ve reprogrammed my self belief. I have forgiven myself for such a catastrophic mistake in loving the unloveable. I’ve reframed that self dialogue. He never considered me worth loving, he never valued me. My life as I knew it was a fraud. When I say to my 3 glorious daughters that I am sad, we have lost our family and our history; they gently correct me. I haven’t lost my family. We are tighter and closer than ever. A mother’s traditions and programming are the most powerful DNA bonds on earth! I didn’t lose my family! He lost us and that loss can never be recovered. Believe in you as fiercely as a lioness guards her cubs! Turn that doubt out to where it truly belongs and go turn the light on. You will see the reverberations and hear those walls sing in the loudest chorus of joy!

  • My ex? 12 prostitutes, one teacher and a car lot floozie and walked out on us twice. The last time I said See ya later MOFO. I have DONE the work to learn how that whole marriage even happened and even more to get my power back. NO one deserves your energy or your power. Period.
    Follow me on IG at #thefullcircleprocess. Never. again. will a man take my power from me. Boundary up!

    • Carmen, I followed you.Boundaries up, Shields up, no one takes my power and I don’t give it away.

  • JustLeft, you are still processing the “ambush”. The disordered thrive on not just leaving you but bringing you to your knees. While I’m sure your ex was difficult and a pain in the ass during your 30 year marriage nothing quite prepared you for his vile discard. I’m sure you are going over in your head different times during your marriage where you question why you didn’t leave right then and there instead of staying put. You may even be thinking about times where you could have handled a situation in your marriage much better. This is where you might beat yourself up. Try not to go down that road because it is pure bullshit. Don’t let his “narrative” of your marriage dictate your thought process. He’s a shit bum and will always be a shit bum. They get worse as they age. So lay off checking FB as right now everything is just hunky dory and it will only upset you. If you must check 18 months from now….I’m betting things will not be hunky dory.

  • Thank you all for just understanding. In the early days I poured my story to all- anyone, literally any poor soul whose path I crossed. Now I have one special friend who understands all. And all of you.
    For a long time I thought that I must be so terrible to have been left like I was. But Tracy is right, he’s a coward and a chest. And people who aren’t disordered don’t treat wives like that.

    • It’s because you are wonderful that he stayed with you for 30 years, then left you. Once his cheating was discovered, he knew he was unworthy and his huge ego couldn’t handle that.

    • Brava to you for opening up. I did the opposite, and tried to put on a Brave Face while pick-me dancing like crazy. I truly believe, now, opening up is far healthier, and leads to quicker healing.

      You aren’t terrible. You are a compassionate and trusting soul who had their trust abused beyond belief by a class-one A-hole. Unfortunately, those disordered people seem to hone in on us like bees to flowers.

      YOU are a beautiful flower, and deserve care, not abuse.

    • All unloving non-integrous acts reflect the inner life of the doer, NOT the receiver. You mustn´t take his hurtful words personally. He was only spewing out what he´s made of inside. It is absolutely no reflection on who you are.

      Would you be capable of saying those things to anyone ? I thought not! Because you are person made of love and integrity. The power that comes from meanness is no power at all, it´s a lie. Don´t fall into the trap of believing this one lie is true! Let his meaningless judgements roll right off your shoulders. Grab on to your courage and refute his lie every single time it pops up. You rock!

    • Justleft…..I totally understand your feelings. If you would like to connect and chat, please let me know!

    • Here’s a thought: He was with you for 30 years. He was supposed to be your partner, friend, defender, and cheerleader. And after 30 years, he left you with your self-worth ground to nothing. My car battery died during a girls’ week with my female relatives; my sib’s husband brought a battery charger and LEFT IT with us because he worried that I might get stranded again. Told me what to pay for the new battery, too. A brief encounter with him left me feeling loved and valued. And there you are, 30 years of being a faithful wife has made you feel less about yourself. Where is his gratitude for 30 years of life together? I initiated the separation from XH the substance abuser but I still recognize his fine qualities, the efforts he made, especially early on, to be a good husband, and his commitment as a single father who raised his son. I would never ever have said anything as ugly as “I have been profoundly indifferent to you for years.” That indifference is a form of abuse, in my view.

      From Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly”:
      “There is a particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust. In fact, this betrayal usually happens long before the other ones. I’m talking about the betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship.”
      He betrayed you for every year he disengaged, he didn’t care, and he didn’t tell you and set you free to have a real partner. He’s a monster. And it seems to me that you might need an expert to help you get past this abuse.

  • You sound amazing to have thrived in spite of what your ex did to you. You are definitely worthy. The question is whether or not anybody is worthy of you. Your ex certainly wasn’t. Maybe he knew that and needed to go seek his own level of shallow and stupid. Continue on with your awesome self and the awesome life you have made for you and your children. He really isn’t relevant anymore.

  • You don’t need a kick up the backside, you need a hug.

    He’s a fuckwit. None of what he did reflects on you, it is all on him. As CL says it says more about him than you. I know this is hard to internalize, but it’s true.

    Look at all the incredible things you have done without him. That’s you, not the stories he made up about you and spent 30 years trying to get you to believe.

  • Help with my mental toolbox. What adaptive skills have my fellow chumps learned in how to handle this emotional responses?

    I’ve done the therapy and can pinpoint all the reasons I stayed and my foo history, but have yet to find the therapist that has practical skills advice on: now how do an age it? How do I not become physically triggered and have those emotional connections. The standard answer I get for my $150 an hour is: TIME.

    So not helpful.

    • Hi Fear&loathing, I hear you. 2 years out from divorce and my physiological responses are finally slowing down. Just had to talk/text/fix with him to support our oldest child and got to practice managing thoughts without feeling like I was going to barf from high emotions.

      I learned to reduce the unnecessary emotions and feel the important ones from Brooke Castillo at the Life Coach School podcast. 275 episodes so far! She teaches an approach to to managing your thoughts, which generate the feelings that are so painful for us chumps. It’s all free, though there’s a paid program to go deeper – I’m in that now and it’s also super helpful.

      Maybe this will help? At least you won’t be out ????!

      • Chumpiness,

        A little while ago I was feeling ‘mighty’ and actually feeling that I had finally put some emotional distance between the X and myself but then….

        Bam – unsuspecting me – I got ‘infected’ again by an off-handed comment he made and I was stunned by my response because I thought I had gotten past that ‘stage’.

        I don’t mean to imply that this will happen to you. I just felt like warning you not to let your guard down. These cretans will stop at nothing and at 2 years out you are still vulnerable.

    • My first therapist was a champion at this. And years later, when I had stopped weeping 14 hours a day, what he taught me started to kick in.

      You know your FOO history, and the conscious reasons why you stayed, but the next piece is about doing what amounts to an “archeological dig” into the layers of your emotional shit pile. Let’s say, for example, your X attacks you when HE misses a kid event. Now, if it’s just you and X in the mix, you might be able to shrug off that nonsense because your rational mind knows it’s BS. But in your emotional body, those words ring into those buried, forgotten childhood experiences and up comes emotion way bigger than a fuckwit comment warrants.

      1. What helped me was this question: Is this reaction is proportion to the offense? If the emotion feels BIG, in comparison to a sort of garden-variety fuckwit behavior, then the underlying emotion is probably very old and buried in your early experiences. You can know your FOO in terms of your choices but you may not know how your FOO established foundational emotional responses. And how your infant and childhood need for love, approval, and security may be drivers in your emotional responses now. I had a huge negative reaction to PASSING my Master’s exams. He should me how that success set up a long-buried fear of being successful and taught me to measure my response in relation to the stimulus.

      2. What also can help you, with more ordinary situations: Having expectation that X will behave badly so any required interaction starts with the over/under of offenses he will commit. My current therapist had me designate the number of idiotic and selfish things my sports coach would do in a given game. I wasn’t allowed to get upset until she got over that number. In a few weeks, I didn’t even get upset at her antics any more.

      3. Yoga and meditation.

  • Justleft, I can relate. I was married 34 years when I found out that my husband was having a long-term affair with my cousin. It hit me so hard that I took pills and drank Rum. All I could think of before I took the pills was what my husband used to say to me.”No one likes you not even our daughter.” I felt hopeless. I called my daughter crying apologizing for being such a horrible person. She immediately came home and sat with me. She told me I was not a horrible person and that she loved me. And not to let dad abuse you anymore. It is now 2.5 years after Dday and even though I still have bad days. I realize that my Ex was the horrible person. He chose to cheat with my cousin and blame me for it. He verbally abused me for most of our marriage and then played the victim when I stuck up for myself. He needed to make me the villian to justify his lying and cheating.
    I know it is hard for you. Being abandoned hurts. Please do not give him one more thought. He does not deserve it. He is a empty lake with no soul or love. You are mighty and deserve to live a happy cheater free life.

  • Ooh, ooh, JustLeft, let me help.

    GET ANGRY. Make a list of all the horrible things about your Ex. Then make a list of all the wonderful things about you. And that MFing sociopathic POS left YOU?!? Unfuckingbelievable. Read those lists everyday until they sink in. Everyday. twice. three times.

    Want to know why he left? Because some cheaters/liars just leave once they realize they have been discovered–the gig is up. They are only content in a relationship when they are worshipped and perceived as perfect. They don’t do “normal” relationships where they can admit to flaws and all. Amiright? Did you look adoringly at Abandoner Cheater, and minimize his multiple character defects? Speak softly to him when he made a mistake? Make life for him all cozy with your warmth and affection and tendency to take over most of the responsibilities? Then you discovered the cheating, and he could no longer pretend to be Almighty Wonderful. His response? To exit more quickly than Road Runner.

    road runner

    How do I know this? ExBF, whom I dated for 19 months after my divorce from cheater Hannibal Lecher, was an abandoner–declared me the love of his life & soulmate on a Saturday, stopped talking to me two days later and broke up by email after I uncovered several lies. His breakup note declared himself “unwilling” and unable to be honest about his past and present, even though he had promised honesty from the beginning. The gig was up, and he left. Disordered. Also hiding MUCH bigger lies–a long-standing alcohol problem, opiate use, had cheated on his wife numerous times (not just the one time he admitted to me when I asked).

    For 6 months after the breakup, I was in a similar state to you–crafting a new life, head knew I could not ever reconcile with ExBF, but heart was all “But I looooovve him.” No matter how many times my head said to my heart, “Shut up and get in the back seat,” or HE IS NOT WORTHY, I felt empty inside. What catapulted me out of the doldrums? After a drunk text to ExBF (I don’t recommend this–grimace), in which I gave him one more chance to hurt me (and he did), I got MAD. Someone who had deceived me about smoking, alcoholism, past cheating, who resembles a cartoon character from the 60s, and *didn’t even know who Milton was (!)* rejected me!?! when even he had admitted he would never find anyone kinder to him? Done and dusted. That was all it took to catapult my heart into “Fuck you, ExBF.” (after delivering a Tempest-style lambaste by text–but in your case, write down what you’d like to say to Cheater X, and don’t actually send it).

    So here is your homework: Make those lists to recognize the discrepancy in worth between you (high) and cheater X (low), write a letter to X that you don’t send in which you lay out exactly what you and CN think of him, then get angry that such a loser rejected a prize like you. Voila, emotional distance that will allow you to live three-dimensionally in your new life. Hugs!

    • It was the Milton, wasn’t it, that was the last straw? What a cretin.

    • Tempest, I did this as homework from my therapist. I practically wrote a novella. I entitled this work “My List of Grievances”. I reread it whenever I think I miss my old life.

      I struggle with the “List of What is Wonderful About Thirtythreeyearsachump”. That is a work in progress. I’m afraid if I tried to write to my military cheater the paper would catch on fire.

      The action of writing this horrendous betrayal down with pen and paper has helped me so much. Thank you for the reminder to look within.

    • i say, be GRATEFUL that such a loser set you free because he couldn’t handle a relationship with a real person.

    • @Tempest–Might you consider copying this post over to the Reddit forum, under the “Resources” flair, i.e., the tag? It’s brilliant.

  • I love the how made him king: this is one of the songs I liked to blast when my ex acted like that: Sara Barielles King of Anything!!!

    They are full of crap, they are disordered. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. They can say whatever they want, we know what horrible people they are and our real friends and family know we are worthy, mighty people. It’s hard to accept compliments, I know especially about surviving the hell of a cheating spouse. But lately I’ve stood up proudly and started saying- YES, I AM A BAD ASS! YES, I AM AMAZING FOR GETTING THRU THIS! I believe my friends and family when they tell me these things. Ex was a serial liar, why would I believe anything he has to say!!! His opinions and observation of me and my life means nothing. Return the favor and consider him a ZERO!

  • Justleft,
    You are not the only one who has had this feeling. You describe my sentiments exactly. Except for me, his profound indifference activated a profound anger that made me lash out like some sort of rabid tiger. I spouted venom at his indifference and ended up questioning my own sanity. I have finally gone 4 contacts without spouting venom. It feels good. Is this the beginning of “meh”? I’m not indifferent. I have a scar that will always be there. But I am learning how to be indifferent to him. You are better than him. Better than the shiny new toy he has. You are not indifferent. Be proud of that.

  • If we all listened to our cheaters we would all be in a bottomless pit of despair. They have proven what kind of people they are…cheaters, liars…less than zero. The only way they can feel better is to put us down.

    After four years from divorce, my ex still tries to tell me that I am not a good parent, that I will die alone, that I have no friends. If I believed him my self worth would be the same as when I was with him and he was putting me down for my weight, lack of tan, lack of nail polish, lack of trendy clothing. I think back and am amazed that I put up with him. I would never attack who he is. But now…he is a short, lacking hair, small penis, lying cheater.

    I am not!

    • “You are not a good parent” — Check. I still get this regularly, whenever I enforce a boundary and/or do not engage in her attempts at triangulation with our daughters

      “You have no friends.” — Check. Frequently spoken when we were still co-habitating.

      “. . . and I hope . . . you die . . . alone.” — Check. Added at the end of a long litany of “sins” I’d supposedly against her, and how much happier she was after the official blow-up. When I called her on it via OFW, this was the defense I got in response:

      “My comments to you were made, you are correct, more disrespectfully than I wanted to. I wanted to try to get you to see how your treatment of me, your actions since the divorce started, and your lack of any attempt to improve your mental and physically health is having a negative impact not only on you, but on our daughters. The fact that you absolutely refuse to talk to me even in a small talk way in front of our children shows them that you have no respect for their mother, no respect for their relationship with me, and no willingness to be a good co-parent. You are acting selfishly, and despite your telling yourself this is best for the girls, the only person this behavior is making feel better is you. And in the long run, it is not good for you at all. I apologize for the disrespectful manner in which my comments were spoken. Many were spoken in anger and that is never the best way to try to get a point across.”

      • Oh that entire paragraph needs to be UBT-d @UXWorld!

        So full of “you’re not the boss of me”, “it’s not what I did, it’s your reaction to it”, “where are my kibbles, gimme my kibbles, stop ignoring me, waaahhhh”, etc.

        It took my quite a while to get the hang of the Grey Rock no-small-talk concept, but now it’s like second nature. I show no interest in what STBXW does nor do I ever ask where she’s been or what’s she’s been doing after any “family visit”.

        Oh and have to add that I spent the first night in my (practically empty!) new apartment last night. Took me 2 years but I’m finally out the door

        • Outoftheshadows, congratulations on moving out. You left, you are mighty. Taking the dog and leaving was the hardest thing I ever did. I am sure that empty apartment is better than a home with a cheater in it.

          • Thanks! The peace & tranquility is just awesome. I’m thinking I should just continue with the Steve Jobs minimalist idea, i.e. no furniture so sit on the floor. However my kids will be back eventually from their half of the summer with the ex so maybe not 😉

      • “…no willingness to be a good co-parent…”
        Wah. You won’t do what I want you to do with the children. {Stomp feet}
        Because I am the god in their world.

      • Poor thing doesnt feel you respect her.

        What planet do these “people” hail from that they feel entitled to respect?

        For shame, you will not even ENGAGE in small talk… for the sake of your children dear man!

        Hmmm, maybe her screwing another man demonstrates lack of respect and lack of care for HER family. Maybe? Perhaps just a touch? No, no. You children are in dire straits because you refuse to chitchat. That must be the cause!

        Oy vey.

  • Karenb6702….I am right there with you on those feelings. I just can’t seem to get ahead and get any mental strength back 🙁

  • Hello Just Left…mine ‘just left’ too after I caught him in the affair. There was a tiny bit of pick me dancing (maybe nine minutes) but he made his mind up FAST that schmoopie was the one. He went from my bed to hers within 24 hours. What kind of person does that? A person who does not bond. CL is spot on. These freaks are not normal.

    I too, was left to pick up the million little pieces of my life and rebuild a new one. It was so very difficult as you all know. It took me years to get over that profound rejection but I am so much better off today. I absolutely love my life and love being single. I have freedom that I never dreamed of having. I go on fun tropical vacations with friends, I travel, I eat what I want, I sleep when I want, I watch what I want…the list goes on and on. To the extent that I never want to be chained to a man again. I’ve been married three times and I feel like every single one of them tricked me, They were sooooo nice and accommodating at first then they all started reeling me in. None of them ever had my best interests at heart. They manipulated me into living the life that they WANTED. Soon, I didn’t have my friends coming over, they pouted on the holidays, they acted like fucking idiots when we had company. To name a few.

    You will reach the point where your life is so fabulous you won’t give a rat’s behind what him and his slut puppet are doing. And….the cherry on the sundae for me is…I know my cheater XH is sorry (now) and he would love to hoover me back in. Hahahaha MEH

  • Even when a narc decides to discard you, he never quite fully wants to give up his power and control over you. So he said those horrible things knowing that….

    1) It will get into your head and affect you badly and that’s his ongoing power over you
    2) He wanted to hurt you because narcs are sadistic like that
    3) He wanted to incite you into a pick me dance, into jumping up and down and trying to prove to him that you weren’t such a bad wife – sweet sweet narc fodder

    You see, it has nothing to do with you, who you are, your worth, your value. It’s all about him. Now do you really want to keep giving him that kind of power over you? No, nope, a billion times NO.

    That said, after the flurry of dday, divorce, new job, new life, renovations, taking care of the children…..there comes a time where your emotions do catch up with you and need to be dealt with. There will be sadness and questions, but do be careful that you aren’t sinking into depression. Be sure that you give yourself some me time, some time to process things, but also surround yourself with good people, maybe join meetup and make new friends or just go out to events until you find yourself smiling again, until you realize that you are valued and desirable and that people like you just as you are. I personally found that incredibly helpful myself, a reminder that I’m human and likable and wanted and not just someone’s discarded trash.

  • Difficult to admit, but I thought that being with him kept me emotionally safe and protected.
    Today, I’m learning how to keep myself emotionally safe and protected.
    It’s practice (time plus commitment)
    and it’s evergreen.
    I was so mean to myself before. So critical.
    Today I care for me with gentleness. Like real, authentic, “Hey CV, tonight, just take a beat and stop for a nice cold drink, or a drive to watch the sunset. It’s okay, you’re loved.” (India Arie voiceover)
    And tell people no, without any qualifiers or guilt, as much as I need to.
    Gentle boundaries with me.
    Gentle boundaries with all of them.
    It’s just practice, because we aren’t here very long-enjoying it appears to be an art.

  • Honey, that assclown on his way out your door did a standard “devalue and discard”. He punched a hole in your self-esteem, and that was his intent. Assclowns coach each other to do this to shed unwanted relationships with women because it is easy and effective. They do not advise using this tactic on men because men offended in this manner are likely to seek revenge.

    A therapist can help you repair the damage.

    Let him tell everyone “he couldn’t take it anymore.” That will help to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those who buy his bullshit are no friends of yours, and those who know better may reach out to you.

  • Abandoned here too. Discovered she was having an affair with a howorker and ONE month later she couldn’t handle the “endless talks about it” and tried to commit suicide. Then she ran. Been with him ever since and now I have to share my kids with this nitwit that I gave 18 years of my life to. I would imagine many marriages die a slow death where infidelity is just the nail in the coffin. Mine wasn’t like that. We were happy. Or maybe I was happy and she was faking it. If so, for how long had she been faking? Who knows. She left and never came back. So I was not worth fighting for or worth any grief or tears. Maybe I was just some sort of 18 year gap filler until “twu wuv” came along. I must also point out here that her “boyfriend” is married and has not filed for divorce. Yeah – sounds like twu wuv to me. Being abandoned is the worst feeling in the world. I feel like I’m not worthy of love. I was THAT terrible that somebody had to run from me and felt no remorse. I must really suck.

    • Apparently mine was of the slow death variety that culminated with his affairs. Unfortunately I didn’t know about it until after DDay because he went out of his way to make me think he still loved me and I believed it. Silly me.

      We weren’t terrible. They were terrible but they don’t want to face themselves. It’s easier to just run away and start over with someone who hasn’t yet figured out that they suck.

    • This is exactly like I feel breakingupbad

      Not worth a tear a slight hint of remorse just packed and left .

      I thought we were happy I was I know that I adored him . We were on holiday when he told me he could not breath he missed her every second of every day he was not with her .

      Yet he doesn’t miss me you know his wife ! He’s got no sorrow or sadness about me .
      I found out they bought a house together before we even separated .
      I mean nothing to him never have probably how can you not feel worthless knowing that ?

      • Karenb6702, I made the choice to not let his actions define me. I decided that liar didn’t get to “tell me nothing”. He is not the boss of me. Literally, I am worth so much more than his disordered freakish opinion of me.

        I made a choice to do the work to forget him. He will not influence anymore of my self esteem. I won’t let him. He is a selfish involved dirty ass liar.

        Karen, that horrible man does not define you.

        • Thank You ThirtyThreeYears

          I’m trying my best to get him out of my every thought .
          I’m struggling just now he’s not paid a penny towards the mortgage in months although it’s been ordered from him . His lawyer just says he will take it off his settlement which is not helping me any just now .
          I’m over £500 a month in lawyers fees I’ve got all the bills etc and he just skips off into the sunset without a care in the world . His life has not missed a beat .

          I just feel like I’m sinking I think I did better at the start and I’m now going backwards now it’s all sinking in and finding out things every day .
          But you are right I’m not going to let him define me ????????

          • Karenb6702, big Internet hugs, girl. You will find your power. You are in the right place. You are not a disordered fuckwit. You will prevail.

      • My only conclusion is that we were married to people with serious problems. But how did we not see this? Or did we ignore it? I’m so mindfucked I don’t even know what was real in my marriage anymore. Her boyfriend now has a bachelor pad and splits his time between my ex and his wife and kids. How is this acceptable to anyone involved in this shit show? I walked away – I can’t handle it anymore. Is the dopamine effect so powerful that you would destroy lives (especially kids lives) in the process and STILL justify your actions? But I digress – not my skein to untangle. I just shake my head in bewilderment and wonder who the F I was married to all this time.

  • Yes, there’s nothing more important than holidays, and putting them on Facebook.

    Seriously, this guy is a total and complete asswipe. I still don’t understand how the ow get past that and think they are Great Guys ?????

  • It means so much that people UNDERSTAND on this site.

    In RL, people don’t get the subtle undermining, devaluing and discard that goes on. How cruel and demeaning they are and how they destroy what you hold dear. How can anyone destroy a family in order not to be wrong and not to face themselves? But they do.

    Our friends genuinely think it was a 2 way street, that he is a nice guy, that he made a mistake and that he cares for me by providing for me. And I really should get over it.

    None of this is true, but trying to explain it just makes you sound unhinged.

  • Hi Justleft:

    My ex didn’t leave me, I had to throw him out after DD3 (there were others I found out about later). He didn’t tell me that I was worthless, but he did say he hoped my family and I burned in hell. He told me I was also to blame for his affairs because I wasn’t doing my duty to fulfill his needs. He told me he hadn’t been happy for a long time and only stayed with me because he felt sorry for me. You know, because I was so pathetic and couldn’t take care of myself.

    I finally figured out that he never respected me. He never had a mature, adult love for me. I was frankly too good for him. I am honest. I live by a moral code. I am ethical. I don’t have a foul mouth. I don’t drink, smoke, or use illegal substances. I pay my bills on time. I don’t take financial advantage of people. I do all the adulting. I’m sure being around me made him feel uncomfortable. He only felt good hanging around people of low moral values like himself. Those were the people who rated high in his book. I remember many years ago him telling me that his best friend (drug buddy) told him he should dump me and get somebody who liked to party. I wish he had. Your ex rates you less than nothing because you and him have vastly different values. Would you want a psychopath or narcissist to admire you? I don’t want a shitty person to think I’m great. Why would you? All the mighty things that you have done since the bastard left proves you are a powerful and intelligent woman. You will live the rest of your life with dignity and an appropriate since of self worth. You got paroled from a life sentence with that asshat.

    • The company they keep should be a red flag. Ex idolized and admired his big wig investment banking boss. This is a man who blew up his marriage by fucking the babysitter, but hey, he gave ex the biggest bonus he ever got so he was a good guy who looked after his people. I couldn’t stand the him and thought he was morally reprehensible. Ex defended him saying he loved his kids. You mean those kids that were left to fend for themselves while he was busy fucking their babysitter?

      • Yikes – hope mother has majority of time with kids. He destroyed their family for stupid reasons. Hope the mother is doing okay with the kids. Yikes.

  • He’s profoundly indifferent because he is a disordered fuck who refers to you as ‘it’ and has to add insult to injury in a sadistic manner.

    Unfortunately with the highly skilled malignant ones the discard is meant to maim.

    Had one of those, the Limited. Make that list as Tempest suggested, learn about the cycles in a narcissistic relationship, and covert narcissists.

  • I think, at heart, we beat ourselves up for believing the hologram of the “good” persona these disordered fuckwits present, and then they turn out to be so cold and cruel and calculating.

    What we all have to realize is that our exes have YEARS of practice at deception. It would be like a chess novice trying to beat Kasparov—cannot be done. It takes awhile to wrap our heads around the shock of who they are versus who they pretended to be, but it shouldn’t require that we forgive ourselves as we did nothing wrong.

    • I think they turn cold and the “good guy” mask fall so off because chumps are the battery. They a re just a mirror reflecting the good from us and only able to maintain it with our energy. Finally, we get tired and use daily up from the slow disguised energy drain and they can’t keep up appearances anymore.

      THe cold, empty, shark eyes…that’s all there is.

  • I wasn’t going to comment, but in some ways, I too have been having “twitches” of this same feeling; a bit lost and devalued. I’ve wasted much of the last few months’ head-space lost in a tad of the “what-ifs”, “wha-if I tried harder…” “What if I didn’t…”, etc…

    My XW didn’t abandon, she’s decent enough as the co-parent, it kinda doesn’t matter.

    Because, reading everyone’s response helps me to see that I was devalued and “unworthy” and been working through some of this.

    I’m about 1.5 out from divorce, longer from DD. The thoughts have less traction and clearly there is no “fix”

    And I am WAY happier now than I’ve been since I can remember.

  • Sometimes I think that profoundly disordered people HAVE to blame someone else for their own emptiness. Because if it isn’t you, then it must be them, and that’s just unacceptable and terrifying. But unlike you, they are completely unwilling to look inward. We chumps probably spend a little too long looking at our own shortcomings, real or projected.
    He’s got something seriously off. Maybe spend more time thinking about all the ways you missed all the cues and clues–you’ll realize it was him all along, and that his rejection of you is just another symptom of his pathology.
    Ibdo get ot, though. It can be tiring and lonely wondering constantly why you’re alone when he’s the one with issues. That’s probably because you’re not willing to fuck just anyone and then splash it all iver social media. You’re not just about the delusion of happiness. You feel it for real.

  • Your ex is full of shit. I had a horrible spouse….. liar, cheater, secretly suing neighbours, defrauding his employer, manipulating our kids, but I STILL felt horrible calling it quits. And I never attacked him or denigrated him as a person.

    Your ex is not displaying normal emotions. He is missing a chip where his heart, remorse, and empathy should reside. These people are NEVER wrong. They have to blame us. Don’t believe him or feel bad about yourself, he does suck.

    • I live in England and my sister has lived for 25 years in Sydney. I always wanted to visit her and in the early years that wasn’t possible, but later when we could have afforded it my ex-husband was always resistant to the idea. So we never did.

      It seems so fitting that I’m sitting in my sister living room in Sydney reading Tracy’s reply and all your wonderful messages. I took an evening job, saved up and here I am. Every day my children ask me what exciting things have I done? And yesterday my daughter said, you’re living your best life!
      I know tine and effort will repair that little crushed part of me but the first thing I’m doing when I get home is this… I’m making a poster , for my eyes only that says YOU ARE MIGHTY.
      Thank you all. What a community we are xx

  • We did not lose a lying, cheating, piece of shit excuse for a human being, WE WON THEIR ABSENCE! Believe it!

  • You. Are. Not. Alone.

    He’s a coward, a liar and a cheater. And he stole TIME from you. The one thing that is utterly irreplaceable.

    I’m still reeling from knowing that 20 years of my adult life were spent unwittingly living a lie. Being devoted to someone who was supposed to be the ONE person in the entire world who had my back unconditionally. It sucks.

    I struggle with those two issues every day. The rest of the mess I’ve been able to process and am well on my way to rebuilding a new life.

  • You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.
    –Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

    1. Don’t allow anyone, and especially not a sociopathic liar, determine your self-worth.
    2. Don’t compare yourself to other people.
    3. Maybe see a therapist to work that poison out of your system.

  • This blog is amazing and has been a godsend.

    Just want to add my 2 cents and that’s probably all that my advice maybe worth.

    This woman sounds like an amazing person, and perhaps she was a little “too much” of woman for his comfort. Think Ben Afleck with Jennifer Garner. She just seems like a together amazing person, and her drug addicted, cheater, narcissistic husband couldn’t be satisfied with her, and cheated with the kids nanny! What an idiot… he’s with some dumb young bimbo who no doubt is laddeling gin down his rotten throat….geez…he’s pathetic.

    I guess my point is that he wouldn’t feel the need to take you down a notch or two unless he was threatened. He obviously has issues with his masculinity. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has “performance” problems. Normal people don’t say things like that…

    I have terrible issues with codependency, lots of 12 step hasn’t helped me, and right now I am in a shitstorm of my own. I thought my husband was a patriot, and a good man. I found out he’s nothing but a Russian spy. It rocked me to my core, but I left, I have been financially dependent on him for 23 years as he is the breadwinner and a well paid executive. I did absolutely everything for our family. He pulled a Bill Clinton and was cheating with his intern, screwing her in our bed. Screwing her in his Jeep, and then he was cheating on the intern, with another woman at work. It was sick. All the while I was trying to acclimate two teenage kids into a new high school, do a massive renovation to a 90 year old house, and sell our other home in another state. Oh ya, I was also taking care of a 3 bedroom apartment and driving to Alabama to visit my daughter who was in college. Now that I am looking back I believe this has probably been going on for a while.

    Now he wants a divorce and doesn’t know if he wants to be with me because I have been difficult and freaking out and screaming. Hmmmmmm…..wonder why?

    Narcissistic people can never take TRUE responsibility. He tried to take some responsibility but ultimately could not do the hard work of looking at himself. He has an alcohol problem which he refuses to address. I’m getting off the titanic. It’s obvious from these posts we are all more or less dealing with disordered personalities. I believe my soon to be X will move to Australia (abandon us) and bring one of his girlfriends. My fifteen year old son has nicknamed him “dad the dick”

    I think he’s spot on.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Trust yourself, genie. You have moved continents; you can do this. As far as X moving to Australia, good going if he signs off the house and all other domestic monies you will need to care for children. Hugs to you!

    • He wants a divorce? File. Have your financial ducks lined up. Document all the work you do while he’s off playing. And let him go. You can do way better than this.

  • Chump Lady checks her purse for lipstick… she always looks “washed out.”
    I hear you chump lady, I too have one of those mothers. Love

  • What an unmitigated asshole, he doesn’t even have the good grace to be ashamed of his cowardly behaviour, he actually is looking to inflict pain on you by means of his several comments that he wants to use to push home just how little he cares. I think you’ve already got the idea by his actions, so cut that shit off at the knees and just get on with your life. The man is a lizard person, a robot, a psychopath. You should have a problem with him, because he bloodlessly cut your life to shreds and then told you how little he cares about that. You sound wonderful, I hope the comments you read here help you to understand that this is what the narcissists whole game runs on, sowing self-doubt in the minds of others – gaslighting, in other words – so that they will allow said narcissists the mental real estate in their life that just keeps those kibbles ticking over. Just imagine the satisfaction he must feel to know that his words are doing his ‘job’ for him even when he’s not. I think a bit of thoughtless revenge is in order, and by that I mean you need to love yourself and let him become the bland wallpaper that he is with the only kind of fabulousness associated with him in it’s rightful place in his own imagination. Hugs to you, know you did nothing to deserve this, in no way, shape or form is he worthy of passing down any judgement on you. Again, what an asshole.

  • Drama Queen Bitch
    Fucking Cunt
    Would fuck a man before I’d fuck you again….that wasn’t true
    Stupid Bitch
    Fucking Idiot
    Nasty Cunt
    Most fucking hated cunt in town
    Hope you live sad, lonely and depressed the rest of your fucking life
    Sorry piece of ass
    You was nothing to me
    Fucking derelict
    Nobody else would touch you

    This is just texts from only 2 days. The abbreviated version. Have never had anything like that directed at me before or since. By anyone. And I lost every acquaintance/friendship I had. I used to hope so bad that just one would come to my door and tell me they finally realize the truth. It’s not gonna happen and if it did, I would tell them to fuck off. I wouldn’t call an ambulance if they collapsed in front of me. Hard to feel worthy when you don’t even have an emergency contact. When you see everyone around you laughing, having people to do things with, telling what they did on the weekend or their vacation, it is sickening. There is no hope within me that I will ever have any of that. I am (or thought I was) a skilled baker and cook. I will not cook/bake for functions at work because maybe I sucked at that too. Nobody has ever appreciated me so fuck all of you.(not the people here)I woke up this morning and yelled Fuck You to the world in general. I’m fucking mad I woke up again. Even if I had anything worthy to offer, there is no way for anybody to find out. And people on the internet telling me I am worthy doesn’t help because you don’t know me. I do know I was a great wife but so what? Feeling worthy will never take away the hell of total isolation. Of not one person giving a fuck.

    • CDISGONE – we give a fuck. CN gives a fuck about you and what you’re going through. I’m sure you’re none of those things that crap character of a husband/partner texted you. He’s an asshole with no regard for anyone but himself. Why do we give any consideration to what a morally bankrupt, piece of shit has to say about us? He’s projecting how he feels about himself on to you.

      Please don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up hope. It’s a really difficult time for you right now, and this sounds horribly cliche, but it will get better.

    • No, no, no. All that has happened is you built on the wrong foundation, had the wrong people in your life. Get back to baking! Join a baking meet-up! Find a class and take a course, if you live in an area with those things.

      I grew up in a super small town. It’s not a “meetup” or “take a class” sort of place. If I lived there now, and didn’t really know anyone after 45 years, I would look for someplace and someone to help. Take some baked goods to someone at work who is also alone AND ASK FOR AN HONEST OPINION. Or just put the stuff in the break room and watch it disappear. He took away your confidence in yourself, but he’s gone now. And without him, you’ve picked up his work in destroying your confidence.

      Please find a good therapist who can help you rebuild your life. I’m 67. There are lots of fun things to do, even on your own. Have lunch at a fun restaurant. Watch a movie. Go to a concert.Take a cruise. Volunteer at the pet shelter or the assisted living facility. Weed in the community garden. Join a bicycling club. Get busy getting your life back.

      • I don’t need a therapist. I need a friend. I know you mean well but the stuff you mention: lunch at a fun restaurant. Watch a movie. Go to a concert.Take a cruise. Volunteer at the pet shelter or the assisted living facility. Weed in the community garden. Join a bicycling club…I’m not interested. It’s a band-aid covering a stab wound. I’ve gone down the fun restaurant path, it’s demoralizing. The meetups around here are pathetic. I’ve tried to get into a hobby I used to do. It’s just sad. Everybody already has their tribe. I’ve been down the path of medication, therapy and even hospitalization. I would rather pay a male escort to go to dinner with me and hang out and do whatever before I would waste money on 45 minutes of futility with a therapist. Everything in this small area is 1 degree of separation and I am forever tainted. I’m done for. Nobody is going to bother with me for free. I’m at the point where if I could find a suitable person to pay them for their time, I would do it. It would sure be better than nothing. You can’t always get what you want, but if you pay, you might get what you need. Nobody can take this forever. Nobody.

    • I don’t know who you are (never met you in person) but I give a f*ck enough to tell you these kinds of texts and name calling are outright ABUSE. And you don’t deserve it. At all. Ever.

      He can go f*ck himself.

  • I’ve been feeling much the same way but yesterday I found this and it makes sense:

    If you understand how frequently people cope by projecting, you would learn to take absolutely nothing personally.”

    It’s taking me awhile to understand that it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them and their disordered shitty selves. You are perfect just the way you are!

  • I have been there too you wonderful lady. Who the fuck does he think he is to rate you. Read CL response as many times as you need. We love and respect you so much. Sad for your sadness.

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