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Lies Are Exhausting

Another primer in mindfuckery today, and that is exhaustion as manipulation tactic.

If you’re a cheater and you want your chump to back off? Keep ’em running in circles, chasing unicorn (tails) tales. How is this accomplished? With a constant barrage of bullshit, half-truths, outright lies, indignation, and the ol’ I Fail to Understand Your Hostility mindfuck.

No sooner is the chump merrily chasing after the bread crumb trail of one excuse, then the cheater flings a hand-full of bread crumbs in another direction. Pretty soon the chump (who never met a bread crumb he wouldn’t follow) grows exhausted and lies down to sleep in the Enchanted Limbo Forest. Who knows? Who cares? Why am I chasing bread crumbs? MUST FOLLOW THE BREAD CRUMBS! Oh God. Another bread crumb. ZzzzzzzZZZzzzz...

Success! The cheater got you to back off, and diverted your attention with crumbly tidbits! And the whole thing made you collapse in a heap. #winning

How does this exhaustion mindfuck work? There are several ways to respond to a lie — believe it (spackle), reject it (be mighty), or take it under consideration (limbo).

If you’re a liar, obviously you would prefer the first approach — Believe my lie. Spackle over it. Trust me.

But if you can’t have unwavering trust, you’ll take the next best thing — fog.

If a cheater can just get you to doubt your senses enough, if everything is relative, if everything is a shade of subtle nuance that you’re far too unsophisticated to understand? #winning

You’ll give up because it’s just too damn exhausting to chase after the bread crumb trail. You’ll wait that 6 months before you make any big decisions on your relationship. You’ll look at trail after trail after trail of bread crumbs and think, so many bread crumbs. How can I possibly make sense of any of this? You know what would be comfortable? And so much easier? To just trust the cheater. I can’t deal with another fucking bread crumb. Where’s the sofa? I need a nap.

And as every recovering chump knows, while you were having that long foggy nap, the cheater was out fucking you over further.

Leave the bread crumb trail. If someone in your life makes you doubt your reality, if you live with dread, if your gut screams but the spackle is stronger? LET GO. You don’t need to follow the trail of falsehoods and diversions. Normal people don’t carpet the forest floor with bread crumbs. Good people are transparent and aren’t threatened by logic or questions. Good people want you to feel safe. They don’t send you on wild chases leading nowhere with the hope of exhausting you.

Stand up to lies. Be mighty.

This ran previously. But God, it seems oddly prescient…

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  • Oh yeah. Each cheat and lie i caught him in he doubled down, tripled or quadrupled even.

    The last one (4 years) when i found out (plausible deniability, it was hearsay from her bff) i declared we were over, but didn’t act. Just waited it out, not reacting, turning a blind eye to his showers, shaves and after shaves before going to movies on his own, just to get to some absolute unreliability. 6 months of me checking out, numb.

    I got it though, still no names. And dumped his toxic arse.

    Fast forward another 6 months, another OW connected dots and checked in with me (did he have kids that weekend? Hell no!). They’d been together a year. By my calculations he lined her up when i declared we were over, put the other one on the down low as decoy bitch (i never sniffed, i was glad to be out) and told them both i made him have the kids a lot of the time when it was my week (i never did).

    And thats the tame one. There were countless other double downs when we were together. Too many to mention.

  • This 1000%! If the cheater has you ragged with not only the mind fuck, but all the responsibility and house work and child raising, it’s much easier to push that button to send you into an exhausted crazy fit if babbling batshit mess. Totally fucking winning on the upcoming “nuts” narrative. “See, flying monkeys & Switzerland peeps, told you One thing was a lunatic!”.

    If Mc Smarmy keeps you red eyed weary from constant games, lies by omission and failure to adult, then there is no way you’ll have the energy to look at the elephant in the room. You’ll certainly not be able to muster any form of confrontation. You’ll not have the wits about you to do anything in your own best interests.

    By the end of it, I was so tired that I struggled most with raising the energy to get myself free. I knew I had to leave. And I had to find Herculean powers to do so.

    He loved an afternoon nap. I was so jealous of his ability to sleep, whenever. Didn’t matter what was going on, he’d instantly just go and nap for hours. Initially I tried to compete with him for “My share” of rest, it was never even or “fair”.

    When the dust settled after leaving, I realized that I no longer had to beg, fight, compete or forcefully push for my own rest. It’s brought me the most peace since leaving. I’m no longer in dire need of down time either, I rest when I’m weary & I’m not half as weary as I was with him. It’s heaven!!! So glad that is not my life anymore!

    Thank you for the reminder CL Xxx

    • Oh YES OneThing. Naps when he liked, early-morning runs, long bike rides or bush walks, movies on his own (but then … maybe not so many movies as he said …)

      Meanwhile, Chumpy McMuggins is left to find Exuberant Aliveness in the tedious, grinding, day-in-day-out of running a home, raising kids and general adulting. On top of scraping together an income (being oblivious as to why we never had much money … but no spoilers).

      “If a cheater can just get you to doubt your senses enough, if everything is relative, if everything is a shade of subtle nuance that you’re far too unsophisticated to understand? #winning”

      The gaslighting, (and mockery/bullshit/indignation/faux concern from a Cambridge graduate to a mere colonial is kryptonite-grade), and the long slow drip drip of a pre-Dday smear campaign around our small community, setting up flying monkeys and Swiss Friends way in advance … #totallywinning #exhaustachump

      Mindfuckery playbook here went like this: once chump is exhausted and anxiously wandering in a confusion fog, behave callously/appallingly/selfishly/illogically/abusively and – Look! Here’s an upset chump I prepared earlier. You can clearly see how Angry and Controlling she is.

      Eventually, come clean re ten years of regular brothels, gay clubs and porn addiction, obviously running with narrative of “I felt I had no choice”due to above-mentioned Anger/Control issues and PLUS there are Complexities. There is Nuance. It’s Very Sophisticated. Dare judge me for my repressed sexuality.


      I am SO GLAD CL that you do these reruns. I’ve been here over two years now and don’t believe I’ve seen this one before. Absolute GOLD. Thank you.

      • Did we date the same crypto-gay Cambridge graduate with a doting female Flying Monkey harem? Or is it mandatory to sign up for this before they graduate from Cambridge?

        Nah, just kidding – mine didn’t do bike rides or long walks …

        • Ah Lola, clearly these posh fucked-up freaks have similar taste in women – which is excellent, obviously, going on the sample group of the two of us.

          And yeah, I think this particular breed of Englishman has a predisposition to narc entitlement – unfortunately in tandem with a talent for charming and eloquent story-telling.

    • OneThing – “Totally fucking winning on the upcoming “nuts” narrative. “See, flying monkeys & Switzerland peeps, told you One thing was a lunatic!”.” This 100%. I am so hurt at the people that go along with his “she is mean and crazy” narrative. Hurts knowing I am so easily disposed of and how his mask is so perfectly placed.

      • The people that care figure out the truth. The rest wouldn’t believe the truth if you sent it to them on documented court records (I tried). Besides if they pretend it didn’t happen they can continue on just the same. So you have to say no more to these people- Losing you-that’s the consequence. Mine used “she crazy and mean” on everyone- 2 1/2 years out only person buying his BS is his daddy and stepmother. Even our minor children say he lies constantly.

        • Finding Peace – Mine also still uses “she’s mean and crazy”. We have been divorced since June 2017. I made him leave after the third and final DD January 2017. I was fighting alone. He moved her to my hometown two miles up the road from me two weeks after our divorce. I am shocked at the people that have went allow with his story line. I do know however that water always finds its on level. I am amazed at how naïve I was. The cheating people all around me. Wow have I learned so much about being a chump thanks to CL and CN found not long after his departure. Thank you for taking the time to respond. So needed!!!

          • Ex confided with our neighbors that I was mentally ill, and he couldn’t take it much longer. He claimed to have tried everything but I refused to work on our marriage or go to therapy. This was news to me. I had suggested MC and he wasn’t interested in going. He would say things or make plans and when I’d mention what he had said or plans he’d act like he didn’t know what I was talking about.
            That’s when he’d say, “I’m seriously concerned for your mental well being Brit.”
            He almost had me convinced that I was going crazy. If I hadn’t found CL and CN soon afterwards he may have succeeded.
            The stories and posts here on CN were so familiar, it was like someone was writing about my life with ex. I could then see clearly that I had been married to an imposter. The person I thought I married never existed.

            • brit – The character assassination is strong with these asshats. It helps in a weird way knowing others went through very similar ordeals. I too was questioning my own sanity.

              • I found out from my hairdresser that the Twat was telling everyone in the whore bar that I beat him up every night when he came home from work! I was so stunned that I just burst out laughing and I think THAT was what showed exactly WHO was telling the lies! Not that I care what his drunken friends think anyway but ..

              • Attie – I did not have a reply option under you so hopefully you will see this. Your ex telling all you beat him up while he was in a bar is hilarious. I am sure as soon as he walked off, they all got a good laugh. My ex was basically dogging me to anyone that would listen and seral fell for it. All justification for his cheating of course. How some do not see that is beyond me. He also told his AP that I refused to take my kids to doctors and never went to there sports events. Complete lies!!! She believed him sadly. The character assassination on top of living a double life for a year and a half broke my heart. The people going along adds even more torture. We have been divorced since June 2018. I am still having a hard time.

      • Anyone who wants to go along with that is welcome to in my eyes. They are welcome to stay on his side of the fence and never come round to play at mine again. In fact let’s make that an especially big fence.

        • DuddersGetsChumped – Thanks. I so needed this. Just this past weekend a person I thought was my friend hung out with my ex at his house and actually took pictures with the AP and her aunt who was also cheating with his bestie and set them up. How awesome was that to see scrolling through Facebook. Needless to say, I unfollowed her. I did not unfriend because I do not want to add to the “see how crazy she is” narrative. You guys really are helping me. ☺

  • This is such a powerful endorsement of No Contact. The sooner you can get away and put this in place, the better.

    And the importance of facing your demons: codependence, fear of being alone, fear of starting again.

    No Contact is the penicillin of the mindfuck. Until you can put it in place, you have to get by on basic antiseptic: grey rock, individual therapy, vomiting, long walks, asking for help.

    • “And the importance of facing your demons: codependence, fear of being alone, fear of starting again.”

      Tips on facing those?

  • For me, the pick-me dancing was quite a show–much like the rocketts (if they were 53 and had a bum knee). I begged him for forgiveness when I “wasn’t thankful enough” over a Valentine’s Day present a day late, that he already had given me the same one a couple years before. I would run home from work to make him dinner, then run back out to the gym. When I got home, I couldn’t eat because looking at him made me sick, but dammit HE had dinner ready. I forced myself to have sex with him at least once at week, even though the whole time I was just thinking about anything else but that. .. the list goes on and on.

    The bread crumbs of him going to a hotel “to think about the marriage”, then inviting me for breakfast (crumbs!) and said he wanted to work on things. When I asked what and how we were going to work, he said “I don’t know”. That was cheater-speak for “dance harder, monkey!”

    He said terrible things about everyone and everything. He’s in the rearview mirror now. No contact is indeed the penicillin for cheating assholes!

    • What is it with these guys and saying they went to a hotel “to think”? I was so under the haze but immediately told my mom and a close friend THAT DAY what happened. And my friend sent me a voice memo that said I better not even believe him about that. That it was complete bullshit.

      They have us right where they want us at those times. No contact is the road to sanity. Loving it.

  • How to tell if you are in a relationship with a narc cheater? Relationship issues and complaints will never, ever be fully resolved. Especially issues where chump acknowledges any accountability and tries like hell to resolve, the problem just gets thrown back in your face on an infinity loop.
    Those bread crumbs keep you hopeful and hopping, though.

    Marital counseling is a joke with a crumb thrower.

    I spent 2 1/2 years erasing all debt, he still complained I spent “all the money”. I stopped all forms of labeling/ names, completely, for over 11 months. I didn’t even use pet names, not one instance during that time. Just waited for now xh to notice. My reward? When asked by a counselor about this issue, after all that time of ZERO slip ups, he sadly looked abused and said, “It’s a little better.”
    My jaw was on the floor. That tore it.
    That’s the moment I knew it was never going to be enough, real change was not going to happen.

      • No. He did not like, “Don’t be a jerk,” “fool” or “foolish”, sometimes “ass”. Not all the time, but it was certainly something thing I shouldn’t have done.
        So, I apologized, tried better, NEVER got any props for it. Always accused of something. So I quit names, positive or negative cold turkey. He never even noticed, still maintains I was all sorts of abuser.

        My point was that cheaters never let go of old saw bones. No matter how hard you try. To me A#1. red flag.

        • I had a similar experience.

          After years of HIM calling me crazy, psychotic (not just to me but also to our toddler), telling me that my family likes him better than me, etc. I finally got sick of it and called him a jerk and he claims I called him a dumb f*ck once, maybe I did? I don’t remember but he was always doing stupid things where I would have to clean up the mess. I vented to friends and he didn’t like that. I was too unorganized and he said I had tricked him into marriage.

          I went to MC by myself because he refused and tried to communicate better. He responded the same no matter how carefully I spoke. I organized things better, he destroyed my organization…anything he complained about I worked hard to correct. It was NEVER noticed or acknowledged. Years later he would still bring up that I called him a jerk. But if I bring anything up? I am supposed to get over it.

          Since the divorce I craft all my communication carefully to him. State facts. Try no to accuse him of anything, but it’s all the same responses. He will threaten me, belittle me …I don’t imply those tactics but he will tell everyone that he is scared to communicate with me ????

    • Never resolved relationship issues were her favorite!
      It was always put back in my face that I wanted to resolve our relationship issues.
      Me: “Let’s find away change this behavior.”
      Her: “You art being such a guy. You are not listening to me!”
      Me: “I don’t understand this. How about we go back to counseling?”
      Her: “That’s just avoiding our issues!” (Leaves room)
      I was totally baffled by this. Until DD. And some good therapy.
      It took a long time to put these pieces together and use the pieces to revamp the narrative of our marriage.

      • Yes….he WAS the unresolved, and secret, terminal cancerous marriage issue.

        Crummy sex life BECAUSE of cheating…not the CAUSE of cheating!

        Marriage issues unresolved BECAUSE of cheating….cheating not CAUSED by marriage issues.

    • This! Yes! I have been pick me dancing for who knows how long . Meanwhile he has not gotten a job, going to school that I paid for, more interested in his young school friends, and can’t say anything positive about me in counseling, blaming me for everything.
      The number of unfinished home projects makes it so we can’t have guests in our home. He promises to do them but never gets there and it is all my fault for being a bully or whatever.
      Yes even when I will admit I was wrong, he takes zero responsibility and says you won’t let me do what I want to do on the house? Well what do you want to do? He has no answer.

      So this lying, blame shifting and gaslighting extends into his seeming inability to follow through on any promises of fixing up the house. Because we know that is of course my fault. Shit I don’t even know what he wants to do on all these unfinished projects.
      Anyway moving forward with legal advice. I actually sort of hope one of his young friends would just take him off my hands and she could deal with this shit. Cuz it won’t change. Thanks for all the support here and helping me to realize what I have been dealing with all these years!

      • You’re not alone. Don’t look back. Keep this behaviour in your mind. Leave.

        It won’t change. Or it will be a flurry of effort and promises and then slowly merge back into nothing. He’s not going to change. They don’t. He won’t. It’s just you, working your ass off, and him swallowing all your power.

        Even if doctor who was real, this is a place in time and space you don’t want to visit again.

      • Once you realize what you’re dealing with, the next thing is action. If you find you can’t act, then figure out why. And then act.

        I had a husband who refused to allow repairs in the home until the ceiling fell–literally–so we, too, never had guests in our home. Only after I got out did I realize that he didn’t want guests in our home because he didn’t want to be part of a couple with me, didn’t want to be a husband, didn’t want to be a host. So if the house needed work, and I didn’t want to invite people over to a house that was falling apart (despite our both being professionals with decent salaries), that all served his purpose. And the mindfuck was that he somehow made me feel at fault for all this: I was the anti-social one, the difficult one, etc.

        One benefit of getting out and into my own place is that I started entertaining again. Not big parties, but regular get togethers with friends, in my home, and everyone who comes says how welcoming it is and how at home they feel there. That did so much for me.

    • I can relate. My Xhole got mad when I used the term “baby” like it was a bad thing. Calling him an a..hole was a bad thing, but any name to him was wrong. It’s like they change the rules as the go to keep the drama going.

      I finally got fed up when mine used the excuse that I wouldn’t fold his underwear correctly as the reason for a taking another women on a cruise. He used this sad, shaky voice to say, “You told me you would never fold my underwear correctly.” *sniff*
      Which was true as I found that over 20 years of trying to fold to his standards was impossible, so told him he could do it himself!

      You can’t go to therapy with this kind of crazy, nothing to work with when you are the only one doing the work.

      • Ummmm…. if his underwear doesn’t stay where it should when he’s with other women, there’s no fucking reason you had any accountability to keep his underwear in the Weird oragami lotus throwing star style whammy power zen fold he thinks gives his underwear unstoppable power. I tend to…. not fold underwear. It’s underwear. Who cares? You should always be in nice clean underwear and it should be breathing and living in your drawer just ready to reach out and encompass you and whatever underwear is friendly and jumping up and out when you open it will be the lucky pair to be happily worn that day. Don’t fold, liberate! (Climbs off soap box muttering about weird assholes who worry about folding underwear but yet… don’t fold it themselves. Fucking power trip.)

        • Mine was the same about ironing. “You never iron my shirts properly” (bearing in mind he had been a Marine and could iron). “I can do it better myself”! So I stopped and do you think he EVER ironed a shirt? Nah, not on your life! He looked like a sack of shit going out! I suspect Mr. Foldy Underpants might have been a Marine too somehow – you know, how his tighty whities have to measure exactly …. inches by …. inches when folded!

      • Now you have to be a Marie Kondo level clothes folder in order for your partner not to cheat? Dang, another area I went wrong.

      • Oh god I couldn’t fold his laundry correctly either.. so I wouldn’t do it and to this day he throws in my face that is ONE of the reasons we aren’t together… Not that you were a lying cheating POS!

        • KC – I didn’t load the dishwasher correctly or use the correct laundry detergent. What in the hell is wrong with these blame shifters? Everything, everything is wrong with them. Free at last, free at last!! ☺

    • Yes. This. It s impossible to create any type of resolution with someone who throws crumbs and never admits fault.

      I also changed and worked on improving of whatever was my fault. He essentially admitted by the end of it that I indeed did change. Here is the wording; “I know you have not shown anger towards me in years, but I still know the anger is deep down there and will not go away.”

      I basically minimized all my own desires and needs just to please him. And nothing was good enough… because he knew my darkest soul and actions did not matter to him.

      • Mine also recognized during the 13 months of pick-me dancing that he noticed that I no longer displayed the very things he said were what led him to want to leave (still denying the affair, just claiming she’s been a good friend who listened during his time of need). But, then went on to say that it didn’t matter because it “was too late” and “too much had happened.”

        Yes, a lot had happened, 14.5 years of shared history and two children. However, what he meant is that he had just done too much shit to ever make a come back. But, rather than man up and leave the marriage, he kept me going for over two years while running around. I think he was hoping I would do the dirty work of ending the marriage. I made him do it and take the fall with family. Made sure that I stayed logical, amicable while I slowly instilled grey rock on him.

        Then, he went on for months telling lies to family and friends that made me look as bad as possible. Thank God most knew better and contacted me. And more so, I found the secret email account and printed all the emails that proves the affair (and allowed me to discover how this behviour had been going on for more than two years and that regular porn had been a factor for years). His family has seen the emails (plus the wives of a few of his friends). No one has told him.

        Here we are, almost two years later, and he still lies. Lies about the relationship he still has with the OW. Lies about the affair. Family and friends know it.

        Grey rock/no contact helps keep me sane. It’s made me strong enough to laugh in his face and call him out the occasional time there is opportunity for him to tell me a lie. He gets very frustrated with me. Good.

        • Yes, mine is also still lying to everyone about the OW and everything around.
          I grey rock him as much as possible and it has been my life saver.

  • Oh… I have such a lot of compassion for poor grieving confused self-doubting me back in those days when I lay down in Limbo Forest. It’s heartbreaking to remember what a helpless mess I was back then. Much love to all Chumps in this situation today.

    • I am in awe of the mighty ones among us who were able to kick the cheater to the curb immediately. I sobbed on the forest floor for two years. I couldn’t believe X would throw away a 30 year relationship, that he would risk my life, that he would actually do all those horrible, horrible things he DID. Truth hurts. It hurts so deeply.

      Wishing all you chumps a beautiful fuck-wit free day.

      • I kicked mine to the curb right away. I think I spackled all the other nonsense so long-the cheating was the straw that broke the camels back. You are as mighty as I was. I was working, raising kids, paying bills, fixing house and cars. I was responsible for 100% of everything. If I asked ex to help he would twist the conversation to everything I was doing wrong. I tolerated many years of this. When I found out about the cheating I decided if I was so mean, crazy and useless he could do it without me. As I have joked I have one less child to care for or Its really like a rebellious teenage nightmare. The hardest part is accepting that my children will never have an intact family. I am learning not to compare my life to anyone else because I feel like I got the short end of the stick. Stay strong

      • Do not feel bad. He left me… no chance of reconciliation. Off into the sunset with his new love.

        I would still be dancing if he had given me a chance.

        • Sometimes I wonder for how much longer I would have kept dancing if he hadn’t finally left me to run off into the sunset with OW.

          Then, I realize that it would have been a question of time before I had some kind of breakdown. I was already experiencing signs of trauma, having panic attacks that I never experienced in my life. I wasn’t really thinking clearly as I was obsessed with saving my marriage. My own family and friends weren’t recognizing me. I was making myself so small, making myself a martyr for my marriage.

          I probably would have had a breakdown. I don’t want to give him too much credit, but thank God he left. That saved me.

          • I’m much better now. Lots of counselling for trauma. Spiritual guidance through my church. Two programs (10 weeks each) for separated/divorced Catholics (one for grieving the loss of the marriage and the other on building self-esteem/self-care) and I feel more myself than I have in years.

            Years…as I realize that I had been becoming smaller for years. I had been unhappy for years. Trapped in a marriage with a man who didn’t really love me enough to do the hard work of adulting. A man who gave the outward appearance of being on the same team as me, but really just nodded his head and stewed in resentment, rather than actually communicate. For years my intuition felt that something was off, questioned him about it, poked at him for truth, flew off the handle without understanding why I was so short-tempered. My brain just didn’t process what my intuition was picking up on…that I was in a loveless marriage. The man who only knows how to lovebomb and thinks infatuation is love had gotten tired of real life.

            A few weeks ago, I went out for the evening with one of my best friends and her husband (Yes, I was the third wheel!). We had a blast! The next day both of them texted me to tell me that the were so happy to see that “I was back”. They’ve been seeing me all of this time, but they felt that this was the first time that the real me was fully restored.

            I love seeing and feeling the real me too. I don’t feel stress the way I had for years in my marriage. I no longer suffer all the weird physical ailments that had been plaguing me for years. I kept the house, have the same demanding career, have my kids 65% of the time (one with autism), still care for my mom when she is ill, and I am more relaxed than I have been in years. My relationships with family and friends have grown stronger. I’m part of a hiking group. Take guitar lessons. Finally have my house organized.

            What’s the changed factor…my life is no longer a LIE. As CL puts it, “Lies are exhausting.”

            • “My brain just didn’t process what my intuition was picking up on…that I was in a loveless marriage. The man who only knows how to lovebomb and thinks infatuation is love had gotten tired of real life.”


            • My story as well. Years of anxiety, doubt, knowing something was “off” and thinking it was ME, so trying to make myself smaller & smaller in order to feel loved. So many years wasted. But like you, I would probably have stayed and kept trying. If he hadn’t found his Schmoopie, who knows how many more years I would have wasted. It’s a hard earned freedom.

      • Well, as someone who did booted the fuckwit out on the first try…let ME say how I am in AWE of all those folks who , even after they’ve had multiple D-Days, been gaslit into the pick-me dance, and hoped against hopium that things could Somehow Go Back to the way they were…still found the strength to finally leave!

        To me, that sounds a LOT harder than what I did!

        Stay mighty people!

        we’re all here for each other, no matter which part of which path we find ourselves on

        • FSW, thank you for that take. I never thought of my inability to leave as strength. It has been my deepest shame that I stayed so long. I deeply regret staying. I’ll reframe this. I did stay and he did not break me. It makes me feel better to see that as a strength. No matter how we did it, I’m so glad chumps left the mind fuck arena.

          • I personally think of it as great strength, misapplied. I thought I was fighting to save a marriage we both valued, to give our children something we both wanted, to help my partner be the better husband and father that he wanted to be.

            All incorrect assumptions. Once I understood that, I could shift my strength to saving myself and the kids.

            But I was way too slow to realize what was actually happening, who he actually was. I wasn’t afraid to leave, or unsure I would be ok if I left. I just didn’t want to see the reality that was in front of me.

      • ivyleaguechump,

        I know I’m late to the party, but it’s been one of those weeks. I’m right there w/you. I had a 30+ year relationship w/my XW. Started off as friends in high school, became more than that late in college.

        I spent two hard months trying to get her to reconcile w/me after D-day. Nope. Pushed me away in just about every way she could. She had twu wuv w/her rich boss, so, so sorry former husband! I then proceeded to be open to reconciliation, but I told her it would have to start w/her. Nope, again. After six months, I just STARTED to realize that maybe I was better off w/out her. Didn’t stop me from crying my heart out over losing what I thought was the love of my life for about two years after D-day. So your comment about crying for two years on the forest floor hit home for me.

        It’s obvious now to me that she has no appreciation for our time together, or the love I had for her. Or, at least, not enough to want to save our marriage. And after all I’ve learned through CL and CN? It would have been a waste of time. Three kids together, moved w/me out of our home state and built a life for ourselves over almost twenty five years of marriage. Had a super-loving but very imperfect husband for all that time. Why should that matter? Oh, right. She’s a fuckwit. It doesn’t to her.

        I’m still trying to reconcile what my head knows is true w/my heart. But I’m SO much better than I was those first two years after D-day. Ivyleaguechump, I hope you are too. We gave those POS FW’s way too much love. They never appreciated it. It was never enough. I realize now it was only, “what have you done for me lately? And why aren’t you doing everything I want, the way I want?” Well, they’ve gotten what they’ve wanted. I hope they choke on it. I hope the grass is greener scenario for them encounters a huge sinkhole. But I won’t hold my breath.

        I’m moving on, getting myself slowly into better financial, physical, mental and spiritual health. I hope you are, too. We deserve it. All of us here at CN do.

        I will echo what you said; I’m wishing you and all of CN a wonderful fuck-wit free day. And I will add, a fuck-wit free life, as well. Best wishes to you and your family, and to CN. We are mighty. Don’t doubt it, and don’t forget it.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAsChump nailed it. Chumps need to show compassion to oneself during that time and “during”.

    I say “during” because the fuckwits never stop lying. I am in my divorce process and we are forced to go to mediation and co-parenting classes for custody issues. 90% of the 90 min session he lied. It has been a week and I am still exhausted from it and trying to prepare to court. Self-care and rest go a long way. But it’s the self-compassion that will know its temporary and allow the rest that is desperately needed.
    Since I filed a custody order, fuckwit has been showing up and that has been making things harder lately. (Image mgmt for the courts and the 2nd bitchwhore). I know he will disappear again. Just a matter of time.

    • Hang in there SuperC! This time will pass and you’ll have a wonderful no-contact peaceful life on the other side of divorce. 2 years and 8 months for me and loving life!

      DDAY 12/27/14
      Married 25 years

      Divorce took 15 months and ended with a week-long trial where I came out way ahead of his last paltry offer!

      • Thanks MC99, I am going on almost 2 years (Last Dday in Nov ’17) Filed for Divorce Feb 2018. Had attorney issues.

        Anyhoo, trying my damndest to protect my 8 year old DD. He disappears every other month, but now that I am filing for custody to make it official, he wants 50/50. Grrrr

        He drinks and smokes marijuana regularly. So does his 16 year old son . My stepson, moved out 4 months ago with dad because its consequence free. Sad. I feel for my DD

  • Oh the exhaustion I remember it well. Working full time. Picking up my granddaughter twice a week and every other weekend. I did all the chores around the house. Even mowing the lawn and raking the leaves. I was pulled in so many directions I was too overwhelmed to notice his mindfuckery.

    Every time he would have to do anything around the house. He would get nasty and say I am sick and tired of plaguing myself around here. The dirty looks. The underbreath insults. But, man he sure had time to go out 3 to 4 nights a week. And I was actually glad to see him go. I would have peace. Looking back he knew what he was doing. He knew if he would be miserable enough to be around. I would not care he was gone.

    The lies. Oh the lies. He told me that he was going to Bill’s house. The exhausted me never even put two and two together that I never met his friend Bill. When I found out about Skankella. We are just friends. She always sends all her friends emojis for heart with eyes. She is just a friendly person. No I did not go out three to four nights a week. You must not remember right. I do not remember that picture she sent of her on a toilet(I showed it to him). I do not recall telling her she was sexy even on a toilet(showed him proof). He was the king of denial and gaslighting.

    When the fog cleared. I became angry. Demanded respect. Demanded the truth. Which I never got. I finally realized that living with a man who had so little respect for me was not healthy. I asked him to leave.

        • Cuz,

          It would have been impossible for me to resist printing out 8 x 10 copies and posting them all over town.

          I admire your restraint!

            • That would have been beautiful.

              In one of the emails between my ex and the OW while we were still married, she sent him a link to a song about staying a virgin by “taking it up the butt for Jesus”.

              In almost 15 years of know this man, I never knew him to be of this type of humour. I was the potty mouth of the two of us. I was the “tell it like it is”. Suddenly, my 40-something year old accountant husband from a devout Catholic family was a “bad-ass”. Suddenly, this humour coming from this woman was what turned him on.


              • What kind of weirdo sends a picture of themselves on a toilet??????? And what kind of sicko would think that is sexy????? It shows the depths these OW will go to.

    • Ahaha doing things around the house!! He was saving to get his own place, in-house separation with me still doing cooking, laundry etc (chump) and I asked him to help me with a 5 foot long fluorescent light tube I had to change. Bit of trouble trying to get it into the sockets and he says savagely “I’ll be so glad when I’m in my own place and I don’t have to deal with all this shit.” Back then, bewildered and sad; my sentiments exactly, now.

    • Nothing like keeping it classy. Jamesian “Portrait of a Lady” sitting on the crapper. I hang up on people if I realize they’re phoning me perched on the toilet.

  • And if you’re ‘lucky,’ your fuckwit might even acknowledge your exhaustion and frame it as a nod to their all-around awesomeness.

    Those of you who’ve been around a while might remember this little gem from the letter KK sent me 5 days after the divorce was finalized:

    “Thank you for being brave enough to fight for me. And for being tired enough to let me go, when I told you I needed to go.”

    Thanks for the emotional and psychological exhaustion. It rarely gets more narcy than that.

    • I hope you sent a thank you note for that thank you note, Ux.

      “Thank you for the gobbledegooky thank you note.
      It brings me great hilarity to read it daily and validate why it was impossible to communicate with you. By the way, congratulations on your graduation from middle school.”

    • ???? classic narcissistic!

      The X aka Cheater said similar lines.

      “Thank you for loving me, I know letting go of me is hard, but if I stay, I will only keep hurting you.”

      They really think the universe revolves around them ????

      • I UBT’d the entire letter here on the blog (look in the archives from May 23, 2018), but to this specific bit of mindfuckery, I translated thusly:

        ” . . . I never actually said the words ‘I need to go’ — that would have been mature, honest, and not at all fun for me — but I gave you every clue in the world as to my actual motives. If you were naive enough to believe to my words of false assurance instead of my abusive behavior, that too is not my fault.”

        • NOTHING is ever their fault. Imagine going through life like a five year old, constantly vigiliant for any criticism so they can say “It wasn’t me!”. That must be exhausting as well, to always have to avoid facing yourself. No wonder they feel the need for schmoopies and other distractions.

        • Seriously…we married the same loser.

          Cheater: “The signs were there, it is not my fault that you didn’t see them”

          ???? I’m sorry, it’s hard not to laugh about how they rationalize the life and how they really believe that they Gods.

          • Correction *I’m sorry, it’s hard not to laugh about how they rationalize life and how they really believe that they are Gods.

  • My ex, unfortunately I didn’t know still don’t know what is truth and what is a lie, and we split up 6 years ago. Which is saying something
    Lied about money, suicide attempts, his ow(s), prostitutes, etc.
    But what I do know always puts himself first, and always has done.
    He was and still is a selfish bastard, he could win a Oscar for his acting.
    People still think he’s really nice.
    Shows how dumb people are.

  • Wasn’t until well into the divorce process—at which point I found myself tracking the endless motions and hearings via our circuit court’s online database—that I stumbled upon idiot’s record of alcohol related legal issues: driving with open alcohol, license suspended, driving without a license, driving without insurance, driving with expired plates, driving without either license or insurance while speeding.

    I had known about the one DUI that was such a huge disaster that even he didn’t try to hide it.

    But it was an eye-opener to find this string of issues that were all happening when I had little ones. Timing is such that he absolutely drove my first baby around while he had no license or insurance. Assuming he must have let my insurance lapse during that period as well.

    What’s so strange, though (heh) is how he was so seldom home during this time period because he was working so very hard for us. In bars. With assorted chicks. While massively intoxicated.

    I remember him picking lots of fights then. The house wasn’t perfect enough. The laundry was piling up.

    Sad and stunning how long it took to take the guy’s full measure, after which of course my very justifiable reactions became—in that neat little trick only the disordered every try—the excuse for why he made “mistakes”. Temporally impossible causality! One of many sick tools in their oozy bags of tricks.

    • Cashmere,

      Surprising isn’t it what you find after the fact when the lying isn’t in your face anymore? My rose coloured glasses came off when I used a hand-me down laptop. Tried to access a data spreadsheet on our retirement savings and opened a can of worms. Said worms were on a laptop my eldest son was taking back and forth to high school for classwork. x never wiped the email and other records before giving the computer to our kid.(luckily he never saw his father’s emails and BJ porn)

      Like yours my husband was constantly networking and going out to dinner or for drinks with clients. I never questioned it as I occasionally went with him for these outings.

      After his awesomeness left I had the joy of collecting all his credit card statements and see the colossal spending on AM, AFF, gambling sites, Amazon, what have you… No wonder we couldn’t afford a new couch he was too busy buying a motorcycle. No new glasses for one of the kids he needed to get a new camera or laptop or video game or TV.

      And the job evaluations I found tucked in a file folder. He was fired (requested to resign) twice for overspending budgets and deemed too fraternizing with his staff (all female). Makes me throw up a little that I never once suspected.

      In retrospect you can see the entitlement oozing from their pores, the self-satisfied smirks, the disdain or outright disrespect. All couched in complaints about how everybody including you has done something wrong or against him. And he is never anything but hard done by and a victim.

      • Yes! The arrogance is total.

        Was also well after the fact that I realized that one of his AP’s had given us what turned out to be DD’s favorite baby blanket. Guess if one is sleeping with a pregnant woman’s husband, the least one can do is give a really stellar blanket.

        Countless pics of DD wrapped in or sitting on that. Nice. So many little sick thrills for these folks.

      • So true. Mine had the kids hitting me up for extra money for groceries after we split. Meanwhile he had paid cash for a sports car to treat himself. They aren’t even people, I don’t know what they are. Predators is the closest I can come to a definition.

  • “The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere. Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found. It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.”

    – Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from Gift From The Sea

    I cannot live with a liar. Nice guys don’t lie. I don’t care how many hundred dollar bills he hands out to our employees, acting like Santa Claus. He IS a lie and no amount of spackle can eradicate the dry rot of his character.

    Love and lying are mutually exclusive….so there’s no real love between him and anybody else either.

  • Wow, this one hit home today. So many red flags for years, and I remember telling a friend, “I don’t really believe him now; I just don’t know what to do about it. I don’t have time and energy to run around all the time trying to figure out what he is up to, so I hope he has straightened himself out.” Spoiler: He hadn’t.

    But I just got so TIRED trying to figure out his mess. He always seemed proud of that. He bragged that his fraud scheme was so complicated that investigators “would have to put two people on it for six months just to figure it out.” Uh, no… I figured it out in about 20 minutes with some bank statements and a highlighter. But I guess he thought that because he really did tire me out to the point that I stopped trying to understand him.

  • So what is worse? The lies to cover up the affair or the the remorseless admission?

    STBX is probaby now missing the “cake” enough to seek legal counsel where he will be assured the cheating won’t matter in a no fault state divorce settlement.

  • I remember I was on the way to work with the exhusband FW. I was in a dilemma: I wanted to quit a job where I was getting harassed and emotionally run ragged. I had decided to quit, but of course FW did not want me to quit. He thought me getting harassed and devalued at work as tolerable because Money (I made twice as much as he did). I spent 30 minutes in a car with him explaining how unempathetic it is for him to insist that I stay at a job that is bad for my emotional and mental health. He insisted I should stay in the job for 30 minutes; I argued why I should have agency in my career choices (super chump back then). Then suddenly, as if those past thirty minutes did not exist: “I never said you should stay in that job,” he said. WHAT?! I became utterly irate. This was the first time I saw the gaslighting clear as day. Normally he would do this, and I would feel so exhausted that I would just believe him or collapse on the Forest Floor of Lies. This time, I saw it so clearly. I used to say to him “Stop denying my reality,” before I ever knew of the word “gaslighting”. He is so utterly disordered. I stood up for myself at that point. I told him I wanted a divorce and filed 1 month later.

    • Yes, the “a-ha” moment when you both see and know you will act.

      I’d been pick me dancing for a year and a half (naked pick me dancing of a particularly extreme kind, by the way, to validate my husband’s sexual turn-on in pretending he was a woman and turning our sex life into an extravaganza of women’s lingerie–for him only, with multiple changes of clothes each sexual encounter–and sex toys, with me pretending to be “a lesbian” to indulge his fantasies). I was demoralized and self-castigating. A friend offered me a place to stay for a week while she was out of town visiting her daughter. When I told him I was going over to her house for a week, he looked at me and said, “While you’re gone, I’ll think about what I want from you.” At that moment, looking at him, I knew it was over and I was done. It took me 18 more months to work up the courage and get my ducks in a row to leave, but after that moment, I had no illusions about him. No more spackle, no more limbo, just “Trust that he sucks” until I could do the mighty thing and leave.

      Now I’m as no contact as it is possible to be (and that’s about 95%), a year out from divorce, and finally, finally, looking ahead with pleasure and optimism.

      • Thanks for sharing your story Adelante. Once we have these awakenings to narcissistic behavior, we can never go back to that state of unawareness. It is a relief, but at first, the wave of emotions can be overwhelming (i.e. “wow my entire relationship was a lie, a parasitic relationship, instead of mutual respect and sharing”). I still have those moments too, but surprisingly I’ve learned that forgiveness helps me to stop feeling a charge about those memories. I, instead, see those days as a gift I received–the gift to see people and situations for what they really are. This is a gift I apply to all areas of my life, and it makes me stronger and happy.

  • “Subtle nuances” is what kept me stuck. That never quite knowing what was real. Wanting to trust but never quite sure I should. Telling me partial truths and letting me assume the rest. Then making me feel like a horrible person for questioning anything.

    I’m free and can see more clearly but now I see him try to do it to our kids. Sucks.

  • I also traversed many a blind alley trying to find my X’s why. Since she was my person at the time. I pictured us walking the path in tandem. You know, pulling in the yoke together. The thing was when I arrived at the dark dead end’s, I found myself alone. I did this so many times, that eventually found myself sitting in those dark places in deep despair. Eventually while journeying to find her why’s, I started started noticing mine. Finally I started shoveling out my own closet’s. Thinking she will see how it is done. She had no intention of traveling to her hell, to truly appreciate heaven. I did an entire EMDR session for her lack of empathy. It worked very well. I quit expecting her to stand up for “us”.
    Now I am divorced and still working on me. My goal is to be the man, healthy women daydream of.

      • Thanks for the bit of validation. 3 1/2 years of trying to make sense out of senseless, certainly showed me what the real value of the word TRUE is. Never had a need to associate all the things that word is connected to, until the firestorm of cheating struck my home and family Where I always had pretty high standard of truth before. Now I know it to be the very foundation of all things. Especially in a relationship.
        So I keep sweeping my closet out.

  • Yes, exhaustion is a factor. In addition to mindfuckery exhaustion, I was exhausted by caring for a disabled and suicidal daughter, sick pets and a dying father, as well as dealing with my own illness. That made it child’s play for him to lie and cheat. Being pulled in so many different directions, I just didn’t have the attention span to put it all together.
    What kind of an asshole takes advantage of those kind of circumstances to betray me and basks in his “cleverness” when he knows perfectly well I’m too overwhelmed to even question him much? No wonder he didn’t help take the load off me. How convenient for him that I was there to take care of everything else so he could party.
    This is a guy who left his own father alone while he was dying so he could date his ho, then later (after dday) used how supposedly devastated he was over his dad’s death as an excuse for cheating.
    But I busted that lie with the credit card statements showing what he was up to at that time, and they show he didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything but getting laid and loaded. If you truly care, you *show up*. You don’t run off to party with skanks and bar buddies. Well, he has to live with that. At least I know I did right by my dad, my daughter, my pets, and even him. I tried to comfort him after his dad died, but he wasn’t interested. That was considered the whore’s job, not mine. He could at least have had the decency to tell me I’d been fired so I’d stop fruitlessly trying to be a caring wife. But I guess he liked watching me try, get rejected, and cruelly laughing at me with his skank. My efforts to show I cared about him were spun by them as me being “controlling”.

    I know you live and learn, I just didn’t think you’d have to live through a trip to the 9th circle of hell to learn who has your back and who is laughing behind it.

  • I found it very hard when he:

    1. Threw in religion. That is very hard to navigate if you are a believer. Eventually my priest told me to take a 18 month to 2 year separation from him. Because I was being ‘misused.’ I learned later that this is often code for ‘divorce the asshole.’

    2. He used his health issues as a whip over me and the kids. He would make sure to rattle and shake his pill bottles every morning. So we would KNOW that he was on medication, in case we forgot. And he would tell the kids that the doctors said he could die at any time. Placing you in the position of leaving a dying man. ( He is still alive and kicking 5 years later, but the kids still believe that he is dying.)

    3. His mother was very ill and needed our attention. How do you leave someone when their mother is in and out of hospital? When her son could barely bother to visit her, and you are stuck helping a miserable, catty old woman who falls and hits her head every second week?

  • I know that people understand when you end a relationship because of the cheating, but it truly is the exhaustion which finally convinces you to leave.. You tell yourself you are strong, you can deal with this, overcome obstacles, leap over tall buildings with a single bound. Really though, it s the lies and deception that wears you out. Working on the marriage police force is expensive and exhausting. It’s like the old joke, what are you going to believe, my explanation or your own lying eyes? In the long run being mighty and leaving is the best cure. It might hurt like hell to cauterize a wound, but it stops the bleeding.

    The good news is the peace is restorative. It is much easier to organize your life when you only take care of your issues. When I no longer believed I needed to be part of a couple to be happy, I became much happier. My life is infinitely better without carrying the weight of a cheater around. I am not exhausted anymore, I now have plenty of time to enjoy living my own life. Companions are enjoyable, but are not essential to your existence. I enjoy my companions more because of the boundaries in our relationships, and when we finish whatever our activity of the day is, I can go home to the peace of my own sanctuary. It is not the traditional lifestyle I was raised to believe I “should” live, but it is peaceful. I sleep like a baby now. I try very hard not to allow myself to become exhausted anymore.

  • This is one of my favorite posts. Thank you, Chump Lady, for shining a light on this strategy. Wow. As disturbing as it is to accept the fact that some people boldly lie with the sole intention of causing confusion in those they purport to love, accepting that fact without resistance is a short route to freedom.
    I found this blog three years ago, and it saved my sanity!
    I am two years divorced now, after spending The Weirdest Thirty Years of My Life married to a mind-game player. Life is GOOD!
    Thank you CL and CN! ❤️

  • Serial cheater went right for the gold and in addition to all of this, she physically kept me from sleeping. ALL the time. And then when I thought I could sleep, she was just out cheating on me more.

    Turns out the national domestic violence hotline characterizes this keeping a partner from sleep as physical abuse. Yes. I have a severe autoimmune condition and I HAVE to get decent sleep to even begin to sort of function. Serial cheater exploited the living shit out of that.

    It’s real hard to fight back or make any decisions when you are too exhausted to even form coherent sentences.

    • Me too Marissa. I would say I was lucky if I got 4 non-consecutive hours of sleep a night! It’s hell isn’t it. So glad I’m away from him!

    • I’m ten years past D-day, long divorced, and I still come back to Chump Lady for new epiphanies. Today, it was this:

      Realizing that all those times my ex did not let me get the sleep I needed so badly was more than just being thoughtless about playing the radio loud, or impatient to get the day started, or too selfish to take a turn looking after the baby. It was just another tactic to keep me too exhausted to see what was really going on.

      It really helps me come to terms with my utter stupidity of not noticing the affair, and then pick-me-dancing once I finally did.

    • I had no idea that this was an actual strategy that someone would do. My SO has constantly kept me from sleeping, for years now. I just thought he was thoughtless or selfish I never dreamed it could be intentional. I live in a fing nightmare.

  • I just realized this last week. I wondered where did my mighty go? In the beginning I challenged him at every manipulation, half truth, you’re too sensitive, etc. and then I realized, I just got tired of fighting with him. I began to supply his excuses in my own mind because I knew what they would be. I became a Stepford Wife. Hung onto my vows. I did this for 38 years. Supported him through his drug and alcohol addiction, affairs that he denied (of course), and general devaluing. Then one day he asked me for the divorce! Out of the blue. I urge anyone who is trying to make it work with a fuckwit to GET OUT NOW! Before you turn 70 like I did. Having to fight for every penny that I worked so hard to save. HE/SHE ISN’T WORTH IT!! Have a life, find someone who values you!

    • (((((MataHari)))),
      I am so sorry that all this happened to you.
      I do understand the pain.
      The financial abuse is horrible.
      Please be kind to yourself. You are so worthy.
      I hope you can find peace for your remainder of years in a world still filled with beauty.

      “Keep taking time for yourself until you’re you again.”
      (By Lalah Delia)

  • I think part of the fog was also trying to decide if I could just live with his cheating so that I didn’t have to disrupt my life plan. LOL. That’s how much in shock I was…I wondered if I could just go on with my life, acting like everything was fine. I finally decided I couldn’t take any more emotional blackmail of never doing the “right thing” to “make” him stay.

    • Khraless, I’m just coming out of this thinking. Shock, exhaustion, fear of what the future will hold, fear of the divorce process. I’ve tried and tried to imagine a way to just stay and stick my head in the sand or focus my attention else wear – but this fuckwad won’t stop calling me out for not working on my issues – not pick me dancing!

      He honestly thinks in the wake of his massive marriage-long cheating I should be actively working to be a better wife to him!

      I’ve got to thank him for that – that is the straw the finally broke the camel’s back and got me to kick him out.

  • I think the scariest part for me is that I was ready to believe I was crazy before I could think he was a liar. The gaslighting was so complete that I am still in therapy.

    He had the nerve to tell me recently that I should trust him as we hammer out the settlement for our divorce. Fat chance, asshole.

    • Oh yes Bales of laughter. It’s just rich when they constantly lie and manipulate then DEMAND that we trust them. It became my mantra—“ you must be TRUSTWORTHY to be trusted.” SMDH

  • Its been 6 years since the Narc left to be with his OW and walked out on our kids. Gave up custody of his own kids, and has thrown them under the bus for her kids every. single. time. I have a court order keeping her kids away from mine (assault issues) and Deadbeat picked a very limited visitation schedule. He only follows it if her kids aren’t around, which isn’t his fault at all, it’s the Court’s fault. Which he tells EVERYONE. Other parents, the kids teachers . . . as if any scenario where the father doesn’t have custody and rarely sees his kids would be a good one.

    The boys were 6 & 8 when he left, they are now 12 & 14. They are sick of him, his lies, and his manipulation. But he is pouring it on thick because he just can’t believe they don’t want to see him. He has targeted the oldest one as the most vulnerable (and subsequently the most susceptible to his abuse tactics) and sends him messages like these:

    “All I do is try every weekend to be your dad and all you do is reject me. You’re setting yourself up for regrets late in life when you realize I wasn’t the bad guy. I’m done reaching out. Goodbye and I will always love you.” (4 hours later he starts the barrage of texting again)

    “I feel sad that you think I “abandoned” you guys. You know deep down that that is not true. Just because someone told you that does not make it true. I’m not sad like boo hoo, I’m sad that you are missing out on so much. Both of you. Some day you guys will wake the heck up and realize you got lied to. I’ll be here regardless and waiting with love.”

    The level of delusion is mind boggling. These are two young men who lived through all of this, and have their own minds and free will to assess his behavior for what THEY think it was. But of course, they can’t possibly have their own opinions. Not one that rejects him – they must be brainwashed, being fed feelings, opinions, etc. He’s trying to wear the boys down, keep beating them with his words until they just give in to seeing him so that he’ll leave them alone for a little bit. Give them a little reprieve. It’s exhausting for ME and these messages aren’t even coming to me!! I absolutely hate it.

    I know – block block block. I’m trying to stay out of it and let them handle him the way they want to. He calls their phones and they don’t answer, and most times don’t even respond to text messages. Not the ones that are absurd like above. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr . . .

    • My two sons were 9 and 12 when I finally divorced their Dad. He tried all the blame shifting, too. I made sure the boys were around when I called to tell him their upcoming events. I asked them if they wanted to talk to him before I hung up the phone. That eliminated the “you didn’t tell me/ your mom didn’t tell me excuse when he didn’t show up, It eliminated the “your mother doesn’t want me to talk to you” excuse. If he called when he was “in town” to ask about the boys, I would call them in to tell him how they were. I would ask him, in front of them, if he wanted to take them to dinner, since he was “in town,” My boys were smart enough to figure out he was trying to be Disney Dad, and appear to care, or spend to buy their attention and affection. I’m sure they got some material fringe benefits, but they weren’t surprised when he called less and less, or had to “cancel his time” because “something came up at work.”
      The older they got, the less they wanted to spend time with him, and they would tell him, “something came up” at school, or with one of their activities. As adults, they learned to let his calls go to voice mail, to screen “what he wanted this time.” It was nice for me to know my kids were much better at spotting BS than I was at their ages.
      It felt dangerous to me to expose them to him and his manipulative ways, but in the end my fears were unfounded. My son’s know who their dad is. He is their dad, and they see him when it is convenient for them. They don’t expect more than he is capable of giving. They may want more, but they don’t expect more. I wish I had been that smart. I was almost 40 before I realized that nothing I ever did would ever make my own dad happy or pleased. My whole life changed for the better once I stopped trying. If I had been as smart as my kids, I could have saved 20 years of sorrow on that front.

      Oh well, live and learn.

  • Common here, my cheater exhausted me by refusing to help with our three small children or any household chores. An interesting twist – he was an avid geocacher. He would spend countless hours driving to parks to search for trinkets hidden in tree stumps – or at least this was what I was supposed to believe. One day he came home and announced he had reached some geocaching milestone for finding a large number of hidden trinkets (it was in the thousands). He became extremely angry when I did not applaud. Yes . . . idiot – while I was making countless meals, trips to the grocery store, working, cleaning the house and changing diapers, you were finding thousands of golf balls hidden in tree stumps. Although he refused to do any work in the kitchen, he would become irate if the dishwasher was not loaded in a very specific way dictated by him. I was shocked to read on CL how common this trait is in cheaters. So weird. I guess if you’re busy walking on egg shells, you don’t have the energy to question the lies. Leaving him has been the single greatest decision I have ever made.

    • NC – “he would become irate if the dishwasher was not loaded in a very specific way dictated by him.” All the time. WTH!!!

  • Here’s some wisdom gained from these shit shows:

    I don’t get down on a granular level with anything sketchy.

    First whiff of a mixed message- finished.

    I was talking to a guy who was going to have a surgery. I was very present and involved with discussing the details of his surgery. The day before I asked him if he did need me to come take him to the surgery because he ride was being wishy washy.

    He texted back and said no remember I told you XYNZ which was about three paragraphs of information. I have a mind like an elephant and of course I would remember. I very calmly said: no that must’ve been some other person. You didn’t send me that information.

    Because he was about to be put to sleep, I did not argue with him or accuse him of anything. I just wished him good luck. The surgery was on a Friday. I did not hear from him again until Tuesday.

    I got a text that said: wow
    that was a rough couple of days.

    In the past, I had stopped speaking to this person because he appeared to have overlapping relationships. Clearly, his girlfriend or another significant other was there tending to him after his surgery and his recovery. Then after she left, he was ready to pick back up. Cake is delicious.

    I never responded again. I blocked him. I could not care less.

    He still had my email address and he emails: you are a funny girl.

    I never responded. But in my head I thought :no I’m a girl that’s on to your bullshit and you can play it all by yourself.


    • I like this, good job! I saw someone noted that if a person is really into you they will do whatever it takes to make sure you know it and will do what is needed to make it possible. Reciprocity plus during “courting” when everyone is supposed to be on their best behaviors. Good for you that you saw what was likely going on there.

      As Chumps we get out the spackle and try to justify such trash by believing that we must have been too harsh, that the other person didn’t mean to do that thing, that we must obviously be the problem. I know I am a walking bucket of co-dependency and I worry about becoming someone’s target. I have to keep reminding myself that alone is so much better than letting some asshole do that to me.

  • Mine did the same with Pokemon Go and other games, when he wasn’t cheating and/or drinking. It was a way to get away from boring old me and leave me to do the dreary adulting he was too “cool” for. I was a loser in his eyes because I wasn’t into drunken partying, childish games, and I took my responsibilites seriously. Adult = loser.
    These people never really left middle school, and if you are not part of their clique, they will bully you relentlessly.

    • Yep, mine liked to escape to the man cave and group chat his fantasy football buddies and internet friends. Mainly 30-45 year olds drinking and posting videos of them shot gunning beers. I have never been much of a drinker, so me not wanting to drink or drinking but being done by midnight just wasn’t fun to him. But hey married OW with a DUI conviction I’m sure is so much fun. Life is much better without cheating narc who is most likely an alcoholic too.

  • The mantra I tell myself and remind myself of regularly since Dday – “We’ve already established who you are.” Every time he tries to pretend, every time he tries to lie, every time I have to deal with him, this is a constant reminder running in the back of my head. I already know who he really is. Helps me cut through the bs like a super sharp titanium razor blade and that makes dealing with his bs easier.

    • I like this. Who you are is already established. I’m adding it to my one liner mantras which I use when I have to deal with him regarding our young child.

  • The Twat was diagnosed bipolar and eventually invalided out of his job. A bipolar can go days without sleeping when they are manic, so that was always a treat to look forward to. He would go out for “a drink” and stagger home shit-faced around 2 a.m. and start looking for a fight. He would then “argue” (usually all by himself but I had to be awake to “listen” of course) for around 45 minutes before passing out – but that was me finished for the night. I had to be up at 6 a.m. for work! So I would lie awake listening for his key in the door and end up, if I was lucky, getting 3-4 non-consecutive hours of sleep a night. And this went on for YEARS!!!!

    By this point I already hated his guts – couldn’t stand to be down wind of him – and told him I wanted a divorce. Too many beatings, too much crap, too much financial BS but I don’t think any cheating at that point. He refused and because of my lack of sleep I couldn’t face ploughing through it. I didn’t even know where to start, TBH. It was as much as I could do to keep getting up for work each day and feed the kids. I did EVERYTHING round the house, took care of the kids, the shopping, the finances. He did f**k all! Until he met Schmoopie (i.e. the fat-ankled bar whore). Then it was HIM that wanted the divorce but guess who had to file? So no, this isn’t about his lying really, but it IS about exhaustion. Complete and utter exhaustion from dealing with the sleepless nights and the CONSTANT CHAOS he generated everywhere – DUIs, getting literally thrown out of a bar, smashing into our neighbours’ cars drunk. I was forever sorting his crap out. BTW CL wrote what I consider to be her best post ever about “chaos” and how they use it to keep you on the back foot! That was certainly the case with the Twat. Because I was exhausted I couldn’t see or think straight to get the divorce I so badly wanted – until one day I just couldn’t take it any more. I was on my knees and I KNEW I had to get it done to save my own life and my kids! And now I’m almost 9 years divorced and life is BEAUTIFUL! To those of you still going through this shit show, keep going. As they say, “when you find yourself walking through hell, keep on walking”!

    • I’ve rescheduled a lawyer appointment on my birthday no less. This one I will keep!
      Meanwhile I am taking everyone’s advice by not telling him and getting my financials in order. Yesterday I began packing up and storing precious family things so he does not do anything to them.
      To add to his continued hits against me this morning I asked why he could not come up with one positive thing about me. He had no real answer except he could do better next time. I said you know you used to actually compliment me when I wore something nice and he said he can’t recall ever doing anything like that.
      One thing that has helped me is that I used to write a lot like journal my feelings and it helped me figure out how to deal with things—-like men. I was reading some of these last night and I did not realize how strong I was back then. I did not take shit even if my heart was breaking. This has helped me to realize I don’t need to continue with this. Let his 21 year old female friends have him. They can play his mommy and support him too! I only feel bad for our daughter who has seen a big change in her dad and is concerned. She said he is acting like a misbehaving college boy. I’m thinking more like junior high.

  • I have been almost entirely No Contact with my Ex since we separated over 2 years ago. And it is blissful. I was reminded recently of how blissful No Contact actually is. I had a very brief text exchange with my Ex about money that he owes me for our kids’ expenses. When I pointed out all of the various expenses that require reimbursement, he told me that I “always have to have the last word.” This comment gave me flashbacks to the thousands of conversations that I had with my Ex during the last 10 -15 years of my marriage.

    Accusing me, in the middle of an argument, of “always having to have the last word” is one of my Ex’s classic tactics. It is a very convenient way to end a conversation — instead of addressing the substance of what I am saying, he attacks me to deflect responsibility and to put me on the defensive. And it used to work! I used to defend myself — “I’m not trying to have the last word! We are in the middle of a conversation! I’m
    just trying to explain to you that . . .” etc., etc.

    But, alas, I no longer live in his distorted reality. When I read his text, I laughed and did not respond. I know with 100% certainty that there is no point in, and nothing to gain by, engaging with him. Gaslighting is an art form for him.


    • So Done – “But, alas, I no longer live in his distorted reality. When I read his text, I laughed and did not respond. I know with 100% certainty that there is no point in, and nothing to gain by, engaging with him. Gaslighting is an art form for him.” This. It took me soooooo long to NOT respond to his bullshit. You are 100% correct.

  • Oh definitely.

    My ex on Dday: I have so much empathy I just had to lie to you about (fill in the blank with any number of affair partners over 12 years) because if I had told you the truth, it would have hurt you too much. And I just couldn’t bear that.

  • I want to thank the many chumps above who have said that they regained much energy after leaving their cheaters. I have had constant fatigue for 15 years now, have never once felt rested even with a good night’s sleep. I thought it was because of the cancer treatments I had in my 20’s, but batteries of specialist tests every couple of years have never yielded any information or potential therapies. Now I wonder whether my fatigue actually started when I learned of STBX’s first affair in 2004. We did therapy, she was very contrite, etc., and I thought we had worked through a bunch of things. I was on prescription anxiety/depression meds for years, but they never helped with the fatigue. 15 years and several major boundary violations later (including another affair in 2018), I’m starting to get the sense that there has been a constant, low-level energy drain the entire time, just on a daily basis in my relationship. I really hope I feel much better after divorcing, getting my own space, and going total gray rock. Will report back to CN in a couple of years to confirm that Leaving a Cheater is a concrete solution to a clinical problem!

    • PS: It’s not just the lies that are exhausting. I’m seeing now that it’s all of it: the nitpicking, the insinuations I’m never doing things exactly right, or enough. Taking out frustrations on me, instead of working together with me to find solutions. Leaving me to do the adulting when things get really uncomfortable – and I get to clean up after all the adolescent messes. CL was spot-on with the Peter Pan analogy: nobody wants to be mother (Wendy) to a grown child, especially when trying to raise actual children. It’s all crazy-making, and ultimately enervating.

      • Lezchump, it will get better. You’ll see. I was on anti-depressants for about 5 years and I have never been inclined to depression. But those meds helped me and at the time it was what I needed. Don’t need them now at all. In fact I stopped them as soon as he left. It’s not just the lack of sleep, like you say, it’s the constant stress and having to mother the Peter Pan types. One you are out your life will get exponentially better. Hang in there!

        • Thanks, Attie. I’m so glad that you and other chumps have found so much relief in your cheater-free lives. Here’s a virtual toast to you all!


      It was for me. In fact, my physical symptoms began to clear up almost instantly once the x was out of the house and then after the divorce was final the uphill trend has only improved.

      The saying, ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’ has been true for me. All those years of thinking it was me when it was not were lies I was telling myself!

      In Al-Anon there is a saying, ‘How can you tell when an addict is lying? Whenever he/she opens her mouth.’

      Lies ARE draining. I was living a lie for over 30 years and didn’t consciously know it. It was ALL a lie.

      Now I live in sanity. No more lies and seeing with clarity allows all that ‘stuff’ that was weighting me down to drop off. Almost daily something new pops up and I see it really wasn’t about me – Guilt is a heavy burden to bear. I am so grateful to see things through a new lense now.

      Do hang in.

      It does get better.

      Ambiguous grief because there are both ups and downs with this process.

      Take Good Care of Yourself!

  • Chumps,

    I do not feel very mighty right now. My husband moved back in about a week ago after suddenly abandoning his kids and me for his Schmoopie (they are both almost doctors in the same fellowship program and the kids and I had just moved across the state to be with him 2 months prior.)

    He moved back in because he said that they broke up due to her being mad when he spent time with his kids (she seems like a real gem of a human.) I had a lot of delusional hopium when he first moved back in, but after a few days I realized he still has no interest in committing to me. He said he can’t commit because I don’t keep the house clean enough (I also work full time and do 99.9% of the parenting) and that I’m not good with money (says the man who blew 80 dollars at a bar last week.) He also doesn’t want to be intimate. So I backed off and have been gray rock for a few days, and I can tell that is angering him.

    This morning he told me he needs to work on a weekend next month when I’m going to be out of town. He committed to watching the kids that weekend months ago. I was annoyed and told him that he made a commitment. He flew off the handle and called me repeatedly, swearing at me and calling me names. Told me he’s moving out again and not coming home tonight. I said, “cool,” told him he can’t swear at me, and to let me know if he wants to talk calmly.

    I do not know how to go about getting myself out of this situation. I’m afraid if I anger him too much, he’ll abandon us and I won’t be able to pay the rent on our expensive apartment (I’m stuck there until the lease is up in June) or that he won’t help me pay daycare. How do I “gray rock” but break up for good?

    • Chump47,

      I’m really hoping you’ve gotten some help from somebody w/your problem. I don’t have any good answers for you, except that you might have to break that lease if your FW partner doesn’t help you w/the payments. Then get yourself and the kids to a more affordable place, so you can afford daycare hopefully as well. Although, you say “his kids.” Are they yours as well, or not? This would be even tougher and more complicated if they’re not.

      I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. I’m going to be thinking of you and those kids tonight. Please let me know if you’ve gotten any better wisdom thrown your way. I’m sorry I don’t have some to give you myself. Be as strong as you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not as strong as you want to be. You do the best you can in a shitty situation like this. Remember there are people on this site who care about you. Like me. Reach out if you need to, anytime. Best wishes for you and your family.

  • Yes, they are my kids too. I found out this morning from a mutual friend that Fuckwit was out with his Schmoopie last night (the one that he said didn’t care about material possessions like I do.) Apparently they spent hundreds of dollars on dinner and drinks, then she wanted to go to a 100 dollar per person brunch in the morning! With a steak and seafood buffet! This after he said he didn’t want to be with me because he thinks I’m financially irresponsible and I’m just over here trying to figure out how to pay for school lunches!

    That was the motivation I needed. Suddenly I realized I don’t want that Idiot back and I’m tired of tiptoeing around him, accepting whatever abuse he dishes out because I’m afraid of him not helping me financially. I’m getting a lawyer and I have credit if I need to use it. I avoided talking to him at all when we transferred the kids back and forth (which pissed him off) and I’m going to pack up all his stuff for him to bring over to Ms. Schmoopie’s apartment. I have a feeling real life is going to get in the way of their seafood buffets!

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