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Best No Contact Strategies?

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After yesterday’s hoovering post, I figured it was only proper to follow up Unwanted Intrusions from Unwanted People with another Friday Challenge of your best no contact strategies.

Anyone wobbly on Trust That They Suck? Sure, it’s simple to delete a phone number or unfriend someone on social media — I’m talking about the mental discipline that keeps your itchy trigger finger from hitting “send” on that lengthy email diatribe on their narcissism you’ve written.

How did you talk yourself down off the cliff of “Maybe she still cares?” Do you have an insulting name on your contact list? Ring-tone fuck-off sampler mix? Who’s your dial-a-friend when you get weak?

For those of us chumps who bred with a fuckwit, I know pure no contact is not possible yet, so how do you minimize interactions? What’s your criteria for “Do I really need to deal with you?”

Help all the newbies out who might be struggling with the no contact basics. We can always use a primer on that grey rock thing. Or some spray…

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • That’s a good one.

      Damn I should’ve thought of that back in the day.
      Yeah if you wouldn’t read it to your mom the next day don’t send it.

    • As a numbers person, I started counting my communications. I added up the emails and texts from the second half of 2019. The number was insane and certainly didn’t match my gray rock goal. So I vowed to do better in 2020. In January I sent 14 emails. February it was 10, 6 in March. So far this month, I’m at 2 and those were only brief notices about kid logistics. My last text to him was in January.

      I’m much calmer (so much calmer my college kids think I’m on something) and the precious energy I was spending on him is now directed to supporting my loved ones during this crisis.

    • My corollary would be, “Would I want the judge to read this during a divorce/custody hearing?”

      • THAT is what helped me stop.

        Also knowing that the twat was probably reading anything I texted to him, and that maybe it was giving her a good laugh. Or making me look crazy. In her defense, I was a little crazy. Ok, a lot.

        Plus, every time I contacted him, it hurt. He would end the texting and go be with her. He was with HER, not me. Talking to him was painful.

        I also figured–hey. If you want her and not me, let’s see how you like not having me. You’ll miss me. Of course, eventually, I realized I didn’t want him to miss me, because I didn’t want him back.

        Every day I didn’t contact him was one more day of no contact. Once a rubber band stretches far enough it eventually breaks. One day of no contact was one more stretch of the rubber band.

        No contact is the only way to heal. It feels really good to break free.

  • #1. Time
    Time has been the best solution for me. It’s taken a long time but eventually everyone gets to the other side of even caring.

    #2. Pretending the cheater is a drug, alcohol, cigarettes or even poison
    You wouldn’t touch poison if you knew it would kill you, right? Contact (or hopium) is like drinking a bit of arsenic every day. It really will kill your body and soul with every sip.

    • I would add to #1 time.

      This is what you need before replying. Pause. There are so many reasons to pause before replying to your idiot.

      1. The response you give immediately is probably different to the response you give in 10 min or even the next day.

      2. They are not that important to you, reinforce that to yourself. Stop jumping to everything they do. If they message you after 10pm, do not reply until the next day. In fact, if they are the sort of idiot to message after 10pm, Stop checking your emails in the evening. It can mess with your peace.

      3. Stop making them feel like they are important, if they don’t get an instant response, it takes the momentum out of the conflict a little bit. I mean how heated can you get when there’s a 24hr breather between each outburst? They’ll get the message they are not central anymore

      4. A pause gives you a chance to calm down, it also gives them a chance to calm down. I’m gonna exercise some empathy or understanding towards them here (massively unpopular I know) but it gets you what you want. Stop engaging and it gives them a chance to act a bit more rational (I said IT GIVES THEM A CHANCE – they might not actually take it). I’ve also noticed that if I withdraw from outbursts, they have to work a bit harder at being civil before they can have a conversation with me.

      This is for people who need to speak because of kids or other family matters. Pause, drink tea, call your friend, continue with that important job you were doing first. Get used to adding that particular communication to the waitlist.

      • This was unbelievably hard for me to do at first. My trigger finger was on the send button constantly. Now I can leave it 24 hours or even a week and alot of times I just don’t even answer.
        The not replying now gives me greater joy than writing that stinging rebuke. I do lash out occasionally when he’s written something especially triggering but self forgiveness is important too.

          • Silence is the single best source of power and control. If you really want revenge, go silent. Forever. They don’t deserve you. Ever.

          • As Chesterton (I think) said, “Silence is the unbearable repartee.” It’s a great quote for people trying to go NC.

      • Midlife, I like this. I set a rule of not replying to a hoover for 3 days. Those hours were all I needed to get perspective and remember why he wasn’t a person I wanted in my life.

        • I stopped communicating with my ex last October when I finally accepted that nothing I could do would convince him to be a decent Dad when he has the kids, and explore his interest in BDSM the alternate weeks he doesn’t have them. I am not the boss of him, the judge is not the boss of him, the parents he lives with are not the boss of him. He only has two modes: refusing to comply or pretending to comply, and he loves the game.

          I made the mistake of reaching out to him last month to see if he would be willing to let me keep the kids while our State is in lockdown. I even offered to trade weeks so we would be even. He is a lawyer who has to visit his clients in jail, his father has underlying conditions, and his new girlfriend and her five year old are coming in and out of their house every other day. The whole encounter went exactly as it always does, with him twisting everything and me regretting my decision to engage. This time, I wrote down the pattern of crazy-making that happens every time. There are 14 steps, and it always ends the same way and the kids and me are no better off. He “wins” because he is willing to lie to a judge. This time, I stopped the pattern at step 4, and left the circus. Progress.

  • I ask myself.

    What is is correct to let the EX know about (I have bred with a fuckwit hence total no contact not possible) so that you are behaving like an adult with a child together. What is information that clearly should be shared. Facts and info share only.

    If you are asking anything that expects any opinion where it could be a point score when they differ with yours simply don’t bother, because that is what you’ll get back.

    The simply acceptance that all interactions are going to be frustrating, disappointing or offensive really was what stopped me.

    And the other thing is if I am nicey nicey about things the thought that he may consider that I’m ‘OK about stuff’ is enough for me to make sure he never ever gets that impression.

    That keeps me well on the straight and narrow I tell you.

    Oh and sharing his pompous responses with mates so that his responses become comedy material in our arsenal of reasons not to like him. Always good if you can get a laugh out of it.

  • You have to speak about the kids, but ex says he loves you, and you put the phone down on him. He starts crying you but the phone down on him.
    Shame about he didn’t stop taking drugs with ow, and prostitutes eh.
    Don’t know what his definition of love is, but that is not love.
    He hates living on his own, he made his choices.

    • Crocodile tears as they have no good current supply. When they were/are riding high your feelings and their devotion or loyalty to you was a joke to them. Pity is the last card they always play. Woe is me.

  • To remember who my cheater was i changed her name in my contacts to Perfidious Ex. The settlement has taken almost a year and her change of address causes some of my mail to get sent to her so i cannot remove its nsme completely yet. I feel better when i see that she does truly suck.

    • Ha! I changed his cell contact to X- . When he calls and that shows up on my screen its an immediate reminder that he is X – as in Extraneous, X’d out of my life (except for the kid)….and I can respond when and if I am ready on my terms, not before.

      • I changed my ex’s contact name to Satan. And his personal ring tone to “Before He Cheats.” But it doesn’t really matter because he went no contact with me the day he decided to divorce. Without telling me. Just ghosted me like I was some bar trash he picked up one night. After a 30-year relationship. I tried to make him talk to me for far too long, until I realized there was nothing of value he could say. Now I’m trusting that he sucks and letting my lawyer do the talking.

        • Susan I have the same exact story. 20 years and the day he left me for a 24 year old (after cheating on me numerous times and my chumpy self didn’t kick him out) he moved out and that was it. So that decision was finally made for me.

          That said, he’s under “ShitEater” in my contacts since we still have ONE check relating to the sale of our house to settle. ShitEater comes from what he is, since a few years ago one affair and her husband both beat the shit out of him and rubbed literal shit in his mouth. So that’s now a treasured memory of mine. 😉

          • Beans!!

            How I envy you!! You are so lucky to have had such a glorious experience with the Karma Bus!! Does it get any better?? “a few years ago one affair and her husband both beat the shit out of him and rubbed literal shit in his mouth” — AND you had to good fortune to be told this tale!!

            Again: you are so lucky.

    • I changed my ex’s photo to that found on the Internet under “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. And then I changed his screen name to “Lying Cheater”.

      • I did Viserian. A picture of a Zombie Dragon. Later I received word that a handful of emails had gone out unintentionally with that appellation. Apparently she had to google the name.

        During mediation my lawyer told me stories about messages in court under various names between hostile Xs being read out loud by the judge. OMG.

      • I use Womanizer on my phone and the song with the same name from Brittany Spears. Boy did he get mad when I had to send him a screenshot of his bullshit lie he didn’t recall!!

    • HA! I changed my ex to “Cheating Abusive Douche” in my contacts list. I also changed his photo in Contacts to one where he is dead drunk, drinking wine straight out of the bottle. One glance at that photo and I remember why I left him.

    • Ha! I changed his name in my phone contacts to The Fuckwit and all his emails bypass my inbox & go straight to the Fuckwit Folder. Email is the only way we contact now

    • I changed his name in my phone to ‘Do NOT Engage with the Narcissist’ and his profile pic is now a dirty-ish, but super disturbing pic he sent of himself to OW. Just to remind me of who he really is. Everytime I thought about texting him, that name and pic reminded me that he didn’t care about me at all. He had actually moved on years ago.

    • I changed his ringtone to an air raid siren. That ring out of the blue would scare me to death–but reminded me that I was in dangerous territory every time I spoke to him. I wish I’d thought to do that far earlier than I did. Our children are grown so once the last child support check arrived (the youngest was in their 20s), I blocked his number. If, for some crazy reason, I ever need to reach him again, there’s always e-mail. Or pony express…

  • I just remember my “favorite” things:

    Skid marks on underwear left splayed out on purpose
    Burps and fart noises the neighbors can hear
    Lies about consigned loans taken out on my paycheck
    Those are a few of my “favorite” things…..!

    When a tire’s flat, when a pipe busts
    And you need a helping hand
    I simply remember my “favorite” things and then I can gooooo no contact! (and call insurance)

    • If you don’t mind ClearWaters, I took a stab at expanding this on behalf of chumps everyhere (and I could not resist the challenge of finding a rhyme for “on purpose”)

      Skid marks on underwear left out on purpose
      Blameshifting guilt when they try to usurp us
      Burps and fart noises that dinnertime brings
      Those are a few of our “favorite” things…..!

      Lies about consigned loans tied to our money
      Pitiful ‘humor’ that’s really not funny
      Feeble excuses for infantile flings
      Those are a few of our “favorite” things…..!

      When a tire’s flat, when a pipe busts
      When they’re acting dense
      We simply remember our “favorite” things, and then we’ll have reeeeeet-i-cence!

  • I admit that No Contact for me has been relatively easy. Why would I stay in contact with a man who is dead to me? He is a good as buried. This divorce process is merely the figurative probate settling the estate, that is how dead he is to me.

    I admit that this was a long drawn out process. It took me thirty three years and to my shame, multiple DDays to leave. What finally worked? Definitely reading LACGAL was a pivotal moment. Finding a therapist who said “Adultery is abuse.” reset my traumatized brain. I kept a List of Grievances. I write out all the cruelties, the infidelities, the wrongs he chose to do to me. I refer to this List of Grievances whenever I doubt myself. For a long while I wore a thick rubber band on my wrist and snapped it hard whenever I thought about him. I literally said “NO” to myself when this intrusive thoughts of him worked into my brain.

    I got busy improving my life. I left his dead to me cheating ass. I filed first. I forwarded any communication to my lawyer. I blocked his attempt to triangulate using my oldest son with a letter from Mr. Lawyer and a brief, yet painful conversation with my darling son. I moved several hours away to another State.

    I finally realized that I have a lawyer to do the dirty work of dealing with him. I don’t ever have to speak to him again. Why would I? He will only lie. Newly Chumped, he is not your friend, he is not the boss of you and “You don’t wife for him anymore.” No Contact will free you.

    • How long did you have to wear that rubber band before you quit having thoughts of him? Also, did you start that after you moved far away?

      I’ve done a good job of blocking him everywhere but phone and email (due to the most unfortunate circumstance of having bred with this horrid ghoul), but because of the whole insanity of coparenting, I have to remain in the same town as him, drive by his (my former) residence, etc. I need a way to get my thoughts off him given all the reminders. Esp since I’m having to do exchanges at his (my former) house with all this Coronavirus stuff. Normally these exchanges would occur at school/daycare.

      • I am in the same boat as you. I have young children so communication is necessary Ahhh. Same I have to live near him and my kids love the school district and so do I. It’s not easy I know. You are probably doing better than you think 🙂

      • Have you looked into a court app for communication? Not having to worry that any text or email notifications are from them is amazing.

      • Babs The Chump, I started wearing that rubber band about three weeks after I left. All I could think about was him. I’d wake up in the middle of the night worrying about him. I wore that rubber band and replacements for about six months. I’ll put it back if I can get my mind off him. I urge you to think about yourself instead of that fuckwit.

    • I did the rubber band thing too during legal meetings. Just knowing it was there helped.

      I changed her contact name; started harsh, now its just an initial.

      The BEST move was (is) to demand email communication only, phone texting or calling if the kids have an emergency or time-pressing issue. I’ve found that I too need an answer quackish.

      Email only turned her from “somebody” into more of “something” if that makes sense. It quickly became mechanical more than emotional.

      • Yes, changing ex’s name on my phone to PAB (short for passive aggressive bullshit, something he accused me of) meant that his contact details appeared well down in the list so I wasn’t constantly scrolling past it. Helped a lot!

    • I kicked him out the day after I found out on July 9. 2016. about his affair with a twice married coworker ,38 1/2 years together and one month from our 37th anniversary. He was the classic narcissist who love bombed me and gaslighted me, and stole money. Have blocked his phone number, sent his email to spam and haven’t seen him since November 2018 when our daughter got married. Found out our only child is pregnant and sent him a nasty email. How do you get these trashy people out of your lives?

  • Some of it is that time gets you to the point that you don’t give a hoot anymore about their tactics. Because when I got to that point, it was much easier to maneuver no contact. It’s been over a year of being separated and divorce hearing is soon …to give you my time frame. That being said, I’ve become excellent at no contact. I simply behave like he doesn’t exist, until I have to deal with him. Sometimes I ask myself “is this contact necessary for my well being or my children’s? Or, Is this contact a privilege only shared in a reciprocal faithful relationship?
    Many of my responses are “ok” “yes” “no” …very short.
    I never see him. He picks up the kids outside the house and returns them the same.
    Anything that was a privilege or benefit in a true Loving and faithful marriage Is a no-no for me.
    I have a very long rope but once I’m done, I’m ruthlessly done.

    • “I have a very long rope but once I’m done, I’m ruthlessly done.”

      This is me, too. I paid out the rope until it was long enough for him to hang himself with–and he did. And now I feel, like ThirtyThree Years a Chump, that he’s dead to me.

      • It has occurred to me since, however, that letting them hang themselves isn’t the ideal strategy. I gave my ex far too many opportunities to change. And it took far too many examples of his outrageous behavior or clear expressions of his narcissist focus on himself for me to decide “this is it–I’m done.”

        • It took me 44 years and 5 D-days to finally stay gone. I have more chances than I can count. I so badly wanted to believe he was a “good person.” He’s been dragging me through the mud for 18 months now. Even ghosting his own lawyer. One of my sons won’t speak to me at all because I refused to spend x-mas last year at his new house with Dad. (This is the only child of our 8 adult children my stbx speaks to) I have maintained no contact the entire time. He has tried everything. Recently he cut off my court ordered monthly maintenance. The courts are only dealing with emergencies in our state due to Covid-19, so here I sit, screwed. I’m just so tired……

            • He can go to jail for that. Pursue it and watch how fast he ponies up the money!

              I changed his phone contact and email name for the multiple cheater to Attention Whore, because even after he left the last time, he still wanted to be my BFFWB !!

        • Yup, my rope was elasticated but it eventually snapped after 21 years together as he pulled on it too much and then it hit him in the face leaving me free. I got 2 houses and 2 kids. He is skint and not bothered about kids for 4 years. My rope snapping saved me from his strangulation of my life.

          Gotta love a rope analogy! Lol

    • “is this contact necessary for my well being or my children’s? Or, Is this contact a privilege only shared in a reciprocal faithful relationship?”

      This is awesome. I am a chump who is WAYYYY too nice to my ex despite the trauma he has caused me. Damn trauma bond! I’m going to ask myself these questions moving forward. Thank you.

      • “is this contact necessary for my well being or my children’s? Or, Is this contact a privilege only shared in a reciprocal faithful relationship?”

        I, too, have had to untrain myself from my natural chumpiness. He recently asked me to send him the kids’ social security numbers. It would have been so easy for me to send them to him, but then I stood back and asked myself, why? I didn’t even bother to reply. We separated 4 years ago. What a fartbucket.

  • I write what I would like to send to a trusted friend but never send anything. And if I have to send something I wait until the following day. Works for me!

  • 1) I remind myself that he will put anything I say through his counterpart to the UBT, which is a UVT (Universal Victim Translator). That is, anything I might have to say to him about his behavior will have the opposite effect of what I want it to.

    2) I remind myself that any time I spend thinking about him is time wasted on the way to making a life.

    • Adelante – The UVT is so real, and I’m so glad you mentioned it.

      On Tuesday, after the kids spent the day with me ex and he dropped them back home. I noted that the kids had not completed any of their school work. I spent almost about 30 minutes in the morning putting together instructions and materials for the kids to get some work done for their “distance learning” at their father’s, figuring their father hadn’t bothered to follow up on any of the teacher’s communications. They returned with nothing done.

      I gave in and called him to question him about this. He said nothing. I could almost hear his mental UVT dialogue at work…”There she goes again, criticizing me. I don’t owe her any answers. I do what I want with the kids on my time. So what if they didn’t do their school work, it’s just one day. Why does she have to make a big deal about everything?”

      Yesterday, the kids went back to their father’s for the day. I assigned their work again and told them that they could call me if they got stuck on anything. My daughter called twice. Where was her father? Oh, he’s taken afternoon shifts doing calls for his work for a four hour shift (he works for the government – taxes/auditing). He chose to do an afternoon shift when he has the kids, rather than a morning shift when he does not have the kids. You know, doesn’t want to interrupt his mornings as he sleeps over at schmoopsie’s on the nights he doesn’t have the kids for the night.

      And so, as you say, I needed to remind myself that (1) He will always seek to make things as easy for himself as possible and act out as a victim if called on it, so (2) forget trying to call him out on it and anticipate that it will result in any positive transformation.

      Just do what I know is right and good for the kids. They need to do some work when over there, so it doesn’t all fall on my time. Make myself available for a few phone calls to help the kids out, while their dad is locked up in his room taking phone calls (which I also have to work from home during this COVID crisis as do so many others, but he deliberately chose to forego time with the kids to put in his time when he didn’t have to).

      When these things happen, just document in the “Trust that they suck” binder.

    • So this! Call them out and they are all poor me, not my fault, stop being so hostile. Deflection and twisting at its finest. They get angry at us for being angry at them. Infuriating!

  • I had a strict ‘no show of opinions or emotions’ RULES I followed that were very difficult to follow at the time so I played the ‘wait it out’ game. The key was always the thought that if I felt a need to reply, text, make a point, share a happy moment, elaborate more that the when or where of child concerns etc., I could do it in an hour, or tomorrow, but never in the moment. I swear there were so many times I was sure I would still want to send off an email or text after I waited it out, but I never did! The moment always passed and the best thing was I was always so glad I played my wait it out game.

    We now have a working ‘divorced with child’ relationship that consists only of factual texts concerning when and where pick-up drop-off for son will be. At times I think it would have been nice to still have him in my life as my divorced ex friend, and he was hoping for that, but when I think it through he would be dodging child-support and trying to work me if he had the opportunity. The way it is, I believe he has a healthy respect that if he pulls anything he will be hearing from my lawyer, not me.

  • I remind myself that his “friendliness” during our limited contact is a function of his lack of remorse. That any guilt he feels during crisis is related to image managment. I have survived (last) shared tax filing. I have a divorce lawyer on retainer. I tell myself that in this particular moment, or on this particular day, nothing bad is happening to me. I remember that I never felt better after contact with him and graduallly feel better with no contact. But it’s been more of a challenge during stay at home restrictions. I am grateful for my new friends, exercise, good health and mindful practices.

    • Same. Because I don’t have minor children, and we just sold our homes, I can actually finally go no contact even though we are technically still married because the actual court date has been delayed because of COVID. I recently moved to a different state to be near our adult children.

      I’ve blocked him from texting or calling. He still sends emails. I either ignore them (if they aren’t important) or forward them to my lawyer. Expensive but worth it.

      I know from Chump Lady that any response from me is kibbles. I want to deprive him of that and of any feeling of centrality. As CL says, “It’s over.” And “I trust that he sucks.” Boy does he suck. 35 years of marriage ended with a 2 1/2 year affair with a younger woman (doctor/nurse situation). He’s no prize.

  • Quite a few things helped me:

    Chump Lady & CN
    Working on myself
    Trusting he sucks
    Reading about disordered cheaters
    Exercise
    Treat him as a business transaction

    Divorce almost complete. Last child now 18. Once getting life insurance policy done to protect alimony payments, taxes paid up, divorce done – he will be out of my life and no contact…

    • Independence—May I ask….are you paying for the life insurance policy on him to protect the alimony? Someone suggested that I should do this…beginning financials discussions…but then someone else suggested I insist remaining as his beneficiary as a way of protecting alimony.

      • Pennstategirl,
        My attorney wrote into the divorce that my ex must maintain the life insurance policies we had on him when married to cover my alimony should anything happen to him. Every year I have to write him and ask him to send proof of renewal and that I am still the lone beneficiary – but it’s worth it. Don’t pay life insurance on him! Make sure your lawyer stipulates that HE must maintain the life insurance policy!!! These losers get away with too much, as is!

        • Dear Duped…THANK YOU so much…That is exactly my plan..I thought it was the right way to proceed..I appreciate your help. Stay safe and well.

  • Try to limit contact only when dealing with the XW about the two children. I try to follow the 3 points of this one rule:
    1. Agree with everything
    2. Explain nothing
    3. Do what’s best for me.
    This seems to make things easier for me.
    Saw this rule in the book: “Why Men Love Bitches.”

    • Chumped in Daylight, I think x must have read that book. Your three steps are his SOP. I felt all triggered and wanted to argue, and then I had a little “AHA” moment. Why wouldn’t I turn the tables? Why wouldn’t I give x a dose of his own poison? You have given me so much to think about, thank you. I’m exploring new behaviors as it is obvious the old ones didn’t serve me well. I’m writing these steps down in my journal. I’ll order the book too!

      • 33Years- Glad to help and good luck to you. The book has some helpful advice for men and women. Overall message is Love yourself, you’re a prize and don’t let anyone disrespect you. Best Regards.

  • My ex left for good to be with the OW just over two years ago and still maintains he they were only just friends and not much had happened when we were still together. He is still not aware that I possess a binder of emails from his secret account that tell me exactly how serious their relationship was, how he was plotting to leave the marriage when he was pretending to be working it out with me, and that the relationship existed for about 19-20 months of my marriage before he left.

    My mantra (reminder) is “HE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.”

    Whenever he appears to be nice, “He is not your friend.”
    When he tries to excuse behaviours, “He is not your friend.”

    I’ve also taped up on my bedroom mirror to see everyday the following two quotes:

    “Things everyone needs to come to terms with: No response is a response. If they wanted to, they would. ot everyone has the same heart as you.

    AND

    “They whispered to her ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ She whispered back, ‘I am the storm.'”

  • I have a one-hour cooling off period rule. Unless I can answer a text with a quick yes or no or similar (such as “I’m stuck on a work call, is it Ok is I’m 30 minutes late to pick up the kids?”) then I make myself wait at least an hour to reply. Sometimes I never reply at all.

    He continued to harass me, then he withheld my kids from me for a week using the pandemic as an excuse and after he finally relented and let me have them he called the police reporting that my house was “deplorable“ (it’s not, the police officer knew what it was about and literally said, “isn’t divorce fun?”). My lawyer then informed his lawyer that we’re done with his controlling and harassing behavior and all communication goes through our lawyers unless he will agree to a coparenting app, which he has refused to use in the past.

    So now I really am no contact and I am hopeful I can finally relax and not spend every day dreading his texts and emails full of false accusations and attempts to control me.

    • Mama Luna,

      I dread his emails, too! To the point where I will neglect my inbox for several days and miss out on important things.

      Thank you for sharing that. Good to know I am not alone.

  • I assured myself that he did not, does not and will never care. We like to imagine that if you only explain how badly they hurt you, that they’ll be stricken with remorse. They’ll finally understand that it was wrong. There’s a sharp difference between ignorance and indifference. It’s not that they don’t know, it’s that they don’t care. You can fix ignorance, but indifference is incurable.

    • I also came to that conclusion very early, “He does not care.” Had he cared, he would never have done the crap that he did. Mine just completely discarded me so it wasn’t difficult to maintain “No Contact”. Now I realize how fortunate I was that I was nothing to him. I was able to work on myself sooner.

    • I think it’s the realization that they really just don’t care that is the most hurtful thing of all. It’s cruel. And, you are left reeling.

      Certainly, I wasn’t the most perfect wife. I have my own fixings. Our marriage had issues. But, none of it (and my ex admitted this himself) was so bad as to have ended a marriage. And, certainly none of it merited being cheated on, continuously lied to and gaslighted.

      I think that my ex has moments when his conscience seeps through – fleeting moments. That’s when he’ll make a kind comment about me to someone, and they let me know it. I think it’s why he didn’t take me to the cleaners in the splitting of assets, which he could have as I’m the higher income earner. But, I also know that any of those gestures comes with the expectation that I let everything be swept under the rug. The moment I call him out on something (as he continues to lie) or keep up grey rock (as in no small talk from me, ever), he quickly reverts to victim status and turns sour again.

      I am now realizing that it’s better that I mean nothing to him as then I don’t have to put up with him. This is the real him, finally. No more illusions. No more false hope. No more wasting my time on him.
      And, then it’s a reminder that he really doesn’t care. Despite all the crap he put me through, and the ways he continues to undermine me through his continued lies, I don’t wish evil on him. It’s really hard (even after more than two years) to not wonder how he’s doing, or ask him about his new job, send him a pic of the kids when something great has happened so he can share in the moment. In my heart of hearts, I wish we could be friends, share our joy of parenting these great kids. Even when he left for good, I had this delusional image that we could do family nights once a month, etc. He agreed to all of it. I tried the first month by having him for dinner. He was miserable. He never reciprocated. Then, I learned of the necessity of grey rock and he turned nasty. Trust that they suck.

  • I had crickets 🦗 on my phone for texts and emails. It reminded me of what to RSVP with. (Crickets)…

    After she walked out I found Tracy. I tried Grey Rock & Weiners 180 but I was hopium sick and didn’t do them properly. Toward the last part of our separation, I employed Tracy’s e-mail only strategy which works with much discipline. Just messages about signing papers. She never emailed. Always texted instead.

    I only got one Hoover text which I ignored. Totally.

    I was done in 10 months.

    Oh yeah and making her wait days for an answer drove her crazy.

    • Marcus, it’s good to see this! I remember your first posts to Reddit shortly after your D-day. Now, you sound so very mighty! Best wishes to you and offspring! X

  • Isn’t there a law against filing false police reports and wasting police time?

    Also, deplorable home sounds more like a case for social services and not the police.

  • We have kids, so :-/

    Communication by email mostly, text if same-day urgent. I wait 24-48 hours before replying to x’s emails, and usually at least 1 hour before replying to texts.

    I accumulate by jotting down a list of important-but-non-urgent issues until something urgent comes up, then consolidate everything in a single email. If I can put 10 things in one message, then that’s 10 replies I don’t have to read.

    In the early days after separating, adopting the accumulation strategy led to an immediate and proportional reduction in the number of annoying requests from the X to put kids on the phone—an unexpected and most welcome benefit. I realized that if I’m not doing the reminding, then X isn’t thinking of them very much.

  • Insist on email only communication. For over 3 years, I’ve insisted this. It’s driven him nuts, but it’s been necessary to keep him out of my hair. The only times I’ve talked To him on the phone was literal emergencies- was taking kid to ER.
    We text during travel for updates. I text him piano recitals and sports game clips. If he responds to them, fine, but I don’t respond to him.
    He often wants to talk on the phone about something. I never will. Two things-
    1. How often do we joke that a meeting could have been an email?
    No. I will not speak to you over the phone. Email me.
    2. Everything they say needs to be verifiable.
    If you talk on the phone, they can twist words and make claims about what was said. They can also more easily get you to talk about things off topic and none of their business. Most of the time, they’re shopping for ammunition to use against you.

    The only way to heal is no/ minimum contact and gray rock at that.

  • Stopping myself responding instantly (to stop wifeing)… training myself to ask “do i really need to respond?” Was very helpful. My youngest deciding to live only with me was the best help – no need for any coparenting any more. All modes of communication blocked. A govt agency garners child support, my son has chosen to have no contact and I’m just fine with that. I think of him less and less – days go by lately without an intrusive thought.

  • I was guilty of sending a couple salty paragraphs to the mistress in the beginning because she and I had been very close friends. But after I got nothing back but smug justification for what she’d done, I told her she was a fucking sociopath and to never contact me again. As far as my ex goes, any time I felt the urge to contact him other than the odd argument we had in the early days, I’d simply stop myself and think of all the cruel and horrible things he’s done to the kids and I. If that still didn’t work, I would think about the afternoon I forced him to tell the children he and I were getting a divorce. I will never forget that moment as long As I live. It was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. And that cooled my temper straight away. It usually made me burst into tears as well, but at least I knew I wasn’t giving him the satisfaction of thinking I was pining over him. In the beginning he tried to give me hugs and sent me a text on my birthday etc., and even sent me a wine gift basket from our favorite winery on our anniversary which was about a month after D-Day. And he was baffled why these things seemed to make me more upset. I abandoned our shared social media, never called him or texted him for any reason, and tried very hard to keep our conversations to a minimum during the exchange of the children. It wasn’t always easy, but I would just tell myself they’d probably get off on any kind of unhappy Communications they received from me, and I was done being his source of cake and kibbles.

  • I was fortunate not to have had any children with Mr. Duplicity which made my situation far easier than many on this board. I had multiple D-Days and always got sucked back in by the love bombing and pity channel. He should get an award for his acting.

    During our “breaks” I realised that I was doing well: making progress in therapy, using the anger to push through the grief and harnessing it to make changes. And, then, he would call and I’d go ass-over-teakettle. I had blocked him in the past but I would still check my spam box and the missed calls and, eventually, always ended up un-blocking him. When I realised that he wouldn’t ever stop coming back for cake ‘n kibbles AND that I was – at least at that point – too weak to push him away, I decided to go nuclear.

    I changed my phone number and deleted his and all of his “recents” so as not to be tempted to call it. I hated to change my number because I had had the same number for decades but, in acknowledging my addiction to the hopium, it was the only way I could guarantee avoiding his calls and being vulnerable to the love bombing.

    I never did get into FB, IG or Twitter so that part was easy. I realise that this isn’t the case for most. There were a few apps on my phone that relied on matching contact lists which I decided I didn’t need that badly and I deleted my accounts just to be sure.

    I disconnected my doorbell (I live on the second floor of a walk-up without sight-lines to the street). I changed my locks. I couldn’t change the main door to the building so I installed a door chain that also needs to be unlocked.

    I searched online and found a standard “this email can’t be delivered” message and adapted it to fit every email address that I had (except for work). I cleaned out ALL of my contacts – except for his – and switched them to a brand new email address that he didn’t have. I set the vacation responder in my email to auto-reply to only those in my contacts list with the “vacation message” saying “this account is closed”. Predictably, he sent emails to every address of mine that he had and got the same response via the vacation responder – closed, closed and closed. He emailed me at work but I didn’t respond. He always lauded the fact that he was such a super-smart tech-y and I was not. How’s that working for you, now, Asshole?

    I didn’t hear a peep from him until almost a year later. He emailed my work a few days before his birthday (no one to spend it with, I bet). I responded to that email with a “Cease and Desist” letter (registered mail so he had to sign for it) from a lawyer.

    I knew I had the strength to move forward if I could remove him AND the temptation of him from my path. He can eat my dust.

    • That was nuclear! I love it, especially that cease and desist letter.

      For those who otherwise don’t have ties to exes, like children or common pets but do have hoovering tempting exes. I usually say some rather stern parting words (which are just honest evaluation of a person). So honest that they loose any motivation to hoover. Problem solved.

  • My XW’s ringtone is the Imperial March from Star Wars. I think of her as Darth Vader. We have kids together so Limited Contact…

  • Two things: 1. Coming to the realization no matter how many times he came crawling back to me begging for another chance and no matter how many times I gave him another chance the outcome was still the same. He lied and cheated. Who does that? Fucked up people, that’s who. IT’S NOT NORMAL to go from Prince Charming one day and a lying, cheating pos the next. He’s broke and I can’t fix him.

    2. CL stating in one of her posts, “Deny the fuckers kibbles and get on with your life. If you want to hurt him, I promise your silence hurts him, and consequences will make him lose his ever-living mind. Exact your revenge at once. Go no contact.”

    Oh I wanted to hurt him. I even bought a bottle of Nair hair removal with the intent of adding it to his bottle of shampoo. However after researching that Nair could cause blindness I backed off of that plan. I need that fucker working to pay alimony.

    The best no contact strategy is just do it. No contact hurts those fuckers more than you think it does. Look at the reaction many of us get from them after we shut them down. No contact hurts them and more importantly gets us out is the cycle is abuse. Going no contact hurts them to their narc souls while maintaining our self respect, dignity and class. They can never have those things again. Never.

  • I journaled incessantly from D-Day (eight years ago) for around five years. Around 500 pages detailing daily a never ending list of horrors: all the cruel things she said and did. The last time I glanced through the journals was around a year ago during one of her hoovering episodes. It triggered me somewhat as I was transported back to when I was a wrecked, crawling version of myself. I was staggered by the sheer horror of what this person was so blithely capable of. I snapped back to reality.

    I strongly recommend any newbies to journal. Not only because it is cathartic in the moment but for your future selves: when you begin to romanticize and spackle and minimize and ease off of NC or minimal contact (if you have kids as I do) take another look at the darkness this person brought to your lives. You will snap out of it quickly.

  • The “was”band and I have a kid so I respond to texts or email messages regarding the child. I try to keep it to 1 word responses, yes, no, 5:00pm, fine, etc.
    When he sends messages not related to the kid, like these recent ones “I’m having surgery on Monday, just thought you should know” or “Do you have a copy of my resume, I’m thinking about applying for a new job” I say nothing at all. He’s just trying to bait me in and I refuse to be drawn.
    It’s harder for me to keep to that if we actually speak. The whole “thou shalt not be rude” conditioning is hard to overcome. So I changed the ring tone for his number to “no scrubs”. Hearing the lyric “no I don’t want your number, no I don’t want to give you mine” is a good reminder to me not to take the call. He knows if he needs an answer from me he has to text or email.
    And I try to schedule pick ups and drop offs so I have no time to chat. “Sorry have a work call starting. (Or I have an appointment) Gotta run” and shut the door.

  • I always waited at least 24 hrs. before responding. 1. To overcome the anger that hearing from him caused. 2. He didn’t deserve an immediate response. 3. To think about the proper response. Or if I even needed to respond. I discovered that most of the time, I didn’t need to respond. If I did, I tried to give one-word answers, like “no”.

  • With toddlers, we have to communicate… I only use OFW and write everything for a judge. I don’t assume he will use any information I provide him, I assume any information he gives me is a lie – I just send whatever a judge would need to see. Pure going through the motions. I try not to ask any questions and just state the relevant facts that I need to communicate.

    My biggest issue continues to be custody transfers. He keeps trying to get me to talk to him. He pulls antics like leaving a dirty diaper in my driveway or screwing up the car seat settings for the kids to force an interaction. I do audio and video recording for all the transfers. I cannot wait for the kids to be old enough that they can get out of the cars by themselves.

    I did have a recent win. I had blocked him on my phone, but I had left him email access in case OFW wasn’t working as a backup contact method (to be reasonable to a judge). He sent me an irrelevant non-emergency email, so I was able to send him a message and state that due to improper use of my email, I was also blocking all of his email addresses. I gave him the names of friends and family members to contact in case of an emergency who will be able to get through to me. It felt awesome!!!

    • My fuckwit used any communication as an opportunity to insult or attack or ignore me. While finalizing divorce agreement, I would communicate with Him and he would communicate with our sons back, I.e. triangulate. I finally just stopped asking him and just made the decision and asked his agreement which he usually gave thankfully. This was our marriage, an issue arose, I asked his opinion, he would go silent or say IDK, I would decide and act, he would feel ignored/controlled. He just didnt participate And I got tired of doing everything. It’s good to be done with everything related to the marriage and him. After all the agony, it’s good to be done.

  • The first thing I did was to list his name in my phone number as “Himself Don’t Answer.” The reason I called my ex “Himself” is because he only thinks of himself. I decided very early on that talking to him on the phone was not necessary. If he wanted to communicate with me, he could write it down. That way I would have a copy of what he said if I needed it for future reference or for legal reasons. I also refused to be alone with him. The last time we were alone was in an elevator. With no witnesses he accused me of some really horrible stuff. He will never get another chance at that.

    The second thing I did was to never respond to any contact from him if I was upset or angry. That forced me to wait until I’d had time to deal with the emotions and kept me from saying something I’d regret.

    The third step for me was to make a game of using as few words as possible if I really HAD to respond. That made me think about what really needed a response. It’s funny how few statements/accusations/questions actually NEEDED an answer. Most of the junk he wrote to me was unimportant, so I ignored. It helped that our custody agreement was very specific about dates, times, and places for pickup and drop off. If he had a question I could refer to him to the agreement instead of having to be his secretary and read it for him.

    My ex is very high on the narcissism scale. He really hated how I treated him and kept trying to ramp up contact for a long time. I stayed firm and he eventually gave up. It took over a year after the divorce was final for him to give up, but he finally did. After that I had very minimal contact until the children were all adults.

    • Over a year after the divorce was final . . . I wonder if my ex will ever stop. I’m at 16 months after the divorce being final, and he is still contacting me multiple times a day. The amount of contact is ridiculous and at times crosses the border into harassment, sexual and otherwise.

      I am gray rock and respond only about kids or property and only when truly necessary (in my opinion). He is still hoovering (and, yes, even more so during this crisis). He still goes through the 3 channels of charm, rage, pity. I respond with as little emotion and personality as possible. I do not get angry or critical, even about the level of contact. That would be kibble. Getting a rise of any sort out of me is gold to him.

      We have 2 kids and a complicated custody arrangement that works better if we can maintain flexibility and cooperation. I feel confident if I put my foot down about the amount of communication, that flexibility and cooperation will cease on his end. I wonder if I’m paying too high a price. I really thought he would have found another source by now.

  • If your communication by text or email is something that would benefit you in any way, whether it’s peace of mind or financial, they’re NOT going to read it. Don’t waste your time.

    And…train yourself to use the least words humanly possible while communicating only what you’re obligated to communicate.

  • I’m waiting for a reply from Fuckwit for a matter we have to deal with. No contact 99.9% of the time. It feels like a body blow each time no matter what he says. Just having the reminder he exists is an assault on my safety and well being. I’m glad he is gone but I still have a visceral reaction to any contact. Emotional abuse…the gift that keeps on triggering.

  • Traci how do I handle parental alienation, two teens I divorced the POS Narc Cheater, divorce was final this past January I just want my kids please!

    • Carol, you can email her directly, but she’s not a lawyer.

      You can also search this blog site for ‘parental alienation’ to see how others have handled it?

    • Carol, seek counseling for your kids and yourself.
      Find a therapist who has experience with parental alienation.
      Unfortunately the courts are little or no help, especially with teens.
      Your ex might convince your teens to stay with him full time to avoid paying child support.
      I wish I had more help to offer.

    • Carol, do you have a copy of ‘Divorce Poison’ by Dr. Richard Warshack? If not, you should get a copy, it’s one of the very best, books on parental alienation. It gives you a lot of information and do’s and dont’s

      There are many support groups online for PA. A lawyer who specializes in high conflict divorce is the best, and a therapist who is well versed in PA.

  • I practiced Gray Rock for nearly a year while I was stuck living with CheaterX while going through the divorce and the few months afterwards while waiting for the settlement to go through, so going No Contact was a relief. Some things helped, though.

    1. When I finally confronted him, letting him know that I knew of the affair, he responded, “And your point is…?” This is not the response of a man who suddenly realizes he’s losing everything.
    2. After having had access to his phone and seeing the sheer amount of lying and bullshit from him, I could see that he was absolutely untrustworthy. Also, his relationship with Schmoopie was always very stormy and at one point I could see that he was starting to groom some of the temporary employees his company had hired. These were all very vulnerable young women. This predatory move horrified me.
    3. On the last day I had access to the marital home, I was returning the key and going to take one last look to see if I got all of my stuff out. It turned out that Schmoopie had moved in that day. CheaterX denied me entry, texting me while I was on the doorstep that we were not having contact with each other. I was both angry and humiliated.

    A couple of months after I moved out, I got contacted by a collections agency regarding a debt that CheaterX had incurred over a TiVO account that had, at one time, been linked to my name and credit. I contacted CheaterX via voicemail and text to let him know that if he didn’t pay the bill, I would sue him. I also called the collection agency who helped me track down what had happened and I was taken off the hook. I commended the customer service rep to her boss.

    Crickets for a few more months and then CheaterX left a voicemail to the effect that Schmoopie was filing for divorce (they were married a couple of months after I moved out) and had a boyfriend (no shit. He was married and she’d had an on-again, off-again relationship for years). And oh, after the dust settled, he wondered if “we” would sit down and figure out where “we” were going. He also mentioned something about the whole financial side of the divorce. I almost lost it on this one, as the financial hit would have been minimal. They would be married for about a year. How much in marital assets would he have accrued? I almost answered that “we” didn’t have anything to speak about and oh, if Schmoopie tried to get him for half of what he was worth, then she was smoking dope.

    I then remembered 1 through 3 above. Fuck him. It was obvious that Schmoopie was a gold-digger from the get-go. That it took him this long to figure that out was on him, not on me. Not my circus, not my monkey.

    He contacted me once more, this time via an extremely long voice memo that he sent to my work email. It was very rambling, very dramatic, and concluded with a “forgive me” plea. I didn’t respond to that one, either. Thanks to reading the UBT, I understood that his apology was not really an apology. He tried to blame his cheating on mental illness–dissociative identity disorder–which he’d diagnosed for himself after his mental health professional suggested that his behaviors suggested a range of issues, including Borderline Personality Disorder.

    I realized after the voice memo that if I’d received that kind of message a month or so after Dday, I’d have been completely hoovered in. It took time, distance, and reading Chump Lady that I realized he was just working from the Cheater’s Handbook.

    For new Chumps, remember that if their lips move, they’re lying. They know what we want to hear and they’re not afraid to perjure their souls to say it.

    • Strange how all these mental health issues and depressions don’t impaired them when they lie, hide, abuse and cheat. Isn’t that interesting?

  • Way late to the party, but here we go for my grey rock tip. I have an email address Dumpster Diver is allowed to contact me through about our child only. His number is blocked. Any number he tries to contact me from gets blocked. He is only allowed to contact me at this email address (not my main address of course). Once I shut that shit down he started to email about other things. So unless it is about our daughter, no reply. I check this address once a day to keep my sanity.
    To be fair, this option works out since he has no time with her at all (I stripped him of his rights). But I have advised him that if he wants a visit he just needs to schedule it with me and I will see if it works with our schedule. He hasn’t tried to see her since Christmas.

  • Just keep push your boundaries back into place. Avoid talking via phone, live, or through your children. Get an app that’s court admissible and communicate through there. It will document the drama for you. No need to store screen shots. Breathe before replying to communications. He’s going to punch your buttons. Don’t let him near them. Reply like the judge is reading it as you type it. State things in a calm, cool, business manner. Use please and thank you. No snarky comments even if he’s baiting you! Unless it’s urgent, no need to immediately answer it. Was he supposed to answer you 5 days ago and finally remembered to do something. Oops 😬 sorry your emergency is not my emergency 🤷🏼‍♀️. Be prepared for end runs and new tactics! They are a devious lot and always scouting for new plays. I share custody so no contact is not an option.

  • Practicing ‘grey rock‘ and ‘no contact’ were a godsend. From the beginning I insisted that all communications must be through email or I don’t answer (unless it’s a dire emergency, which hasn’t happened). Any email that does not require an immediate answer gets answered hours later or the next day. I answer on my time, not hers. If I determine any email has nothing to do with child, or custody, or some other important matter, I simply don’t respond. I write every email and every response as if it will be submitted to a judge as evidence. I begin EVERY email with ex’s first name and end it with my name so there’s no confusion about who said what. Once an email thread is started I always respond within that thread, even if I have to copy and paste an errant email from ex for the sake of preserving continuity of timeline and context. I save all email communications with ex in a separate folder. By consistently doing all of this for a period of years, ex seldom sends extraneous emails intended to instigate a confrontation. I’d like to think I trained her to send emails that are business-like and to-the-point.

    At school events, if ex tries to walk over to me or engage me in conversation I calmly and discreetly walk away or turn my back. If she attempts to join a conversation I’m having with another parent I will politely excuse myself to get a drink or whatever reason I come up with to move away. At parent-teacher conferences I listen and engage the teacher in conversation as if ex isn’t there, while also pausing to allow ex to have her exchanges with the teacher. All of this has been going on long enough now that she has mostly stopped attempting to engage with me. In social situations I mostly treat her like the ghost that she is. The spouse I loved and thought I was married to died many years ago and I have long since mourned that person. I don’t talk to ghosts.

    • Damn that’s sad. I hate these people. Treat her like the ghost she is. That’s some next level no contact.

      • Actually I don’t think my approach is extreme. For the things she did, she deserves way more than social shunning.

        I like to use the Bernie Madoff analogy. Prior to having his secret life and lies uncovered, Madoff was treated like a star and people spoke so highly of him. His family was so proud of him! Afterwards he was treated like a pariah by all, even his own family.

      • It’s only sad in retrospect, when we think about what we thought we had or wanted.

        And hating people keeps us tied up in all of that old stuff. Love and hate–both intense emotions. Hating “these people” keeps are eyes and thoughts on them. “Meh” means we’re indifferent. I don’t hate Jackass. I have no respect for him, and I know he’s dangerous, like a serial killer is dangerous.

        • I find that I significantly reduced my capacity to carry hate and resentment over the years. It’s mostly been replaced by indifference and absolutely not wanting to contribute to recognizing her publicly as the person she once was. That’s what she wants from me, the public credibility from being treated as if “it’s all good”.

          Nope. It’ll never be good. The best I can do is indifference and the few times I still have to occasionally be in the same room I just think of her as a ghost. Again, I don’t talk to ghosts.

          • Gratefully Divorced, I too don’t need to interact with the dead. Married for twenty+ years, three kids, and dated for six years before that. After all the drama, I get it. As for forgiveness, or meh for that matter, I have forgiven myself. I don’t owe others an explanation, some simply have never walked in my shoes. We don’t ask those who have been abused to forgive those who have preyed upon them, do we? We recognize that that shit is real. On the rare occasion I do see x, I still experience that fight or flight response, and it has been years. He is not the man I married. Looking back, I am left with a-ha moments too. That tire fall off, all by itself…? Why the heck are we camping in the middle of nowhere? So many lessons…. We can choose not to surround ourself with toxic people and we don’t need to apologize for it. We don’t have to pretend anymore. Like many chumps here, I forgive myself for being blind, for making my needs small, for making excuses for crap behavior, and for not figuring it all out sooner. Dday was the day that saved me.

  • To keep from hitting send- I play the tape forward. What will be the result of sending this email? How will he react? What will be the response? It will only be some bull hockey blylother that makes me feel bad. The Other outcome is what if he does not respond? How often will I look at my phone for the response? Every ding of notification sending my heart racing and pounding. It’s horrible to feel this. Then you change his notification to another sound so you know for sure the ding won’t trigger you. Then your work mate has the same ding going off on her phone all day long and that’s triggering.

    Long story short, don’t send that email it only leads to heart ache and heart break. Better to write it down on paper, burn it and let the ashes float on the wind. Or freeze it in water for 30 days and after the next full moon take it out of the freezer and smash the ice to smithereens with a sledge hammer. That works too.

    Make his ass go away.

  • There’s a line in a George Strait song: “Happiness can’t be found looking back.”

    I was discarded. I spent maybe 6-7 months thinking Jackass would come to his senses at some point and realize he at least had to explain what he did and why he did it. You know, in honor of the 35 years of friendship. What helped me was reading about the narcissistic relationship cycle and understanding, at the gut level, that the relationship had never been what I thought it was. I was capable of loving. He wasn’t. It’s that simple, really. For me, that was the decision point.

    It was harder to be disciplined and not want to look at their social media. But I blocked them on all social media and of course on text and phone. One motivation for this was learning that narcissistic people love all kinds of attention, negative or positive. It’s feeding the beast, and I’m not feeding the beast.

    The harder part was stopping myself when I started to think about him. Thinking about him, either when I was “in love” or when I was in misery, had become a habit. It helped me to give up “looking back,” not just about Jackass but about other relationships and experiences. I worked hard at living in the moment and keeping my attention focus on my own life. He doesn’t deserve another minute of my time or attention. He’s dead to me. And while I can be polite to other people from my past, I’m not going to invest time and attention in them. Happiness can’t be found looking back. Or ahead. It’s right here, right now.

    • I agree with you and know this to be true cognitively. Yet, I find myself looking back anyway, like rubber-necking to see an accident on the highway. You know it’s pointless and actually causes harm (traffic backups), but you do it anyway.

      And, as far as his emails go (I blocked him from texting), it’s a habit (after 35 years) to react to him–to get upset if he’s upset, to get angry if he attacks, to defend myself. He knows how to push my buttons. But he’s lost the right to get any reaction from me. He’s lost the right to my caring about him at all.

      It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve responded to anything he’s sent me. Yay me! Silence is golden. It took me a long time to realize that when I responded in the past, it would come back to bite me. Never did it satisfy me. I now forward all emails to my lawyer.

      Oh, but one little parting phrase did feel good. We happened to be on a conference call with our real estate attorney. While waiting for her to get on the phone, I casually and with zero emotion mentioned that his AP had gone after another married doctor before him. I said I thought they’d had sex but wasn’t sure. (And, by the way, this is truly what I’d heard from a reliable source.) His response was measured: “No, I did not know that.” I knew that news would upset him because he feels like the special sausage that she chose from all the docs at the hospital. Gotta say that dropping that little grenade felt good. CL probably wouldn’t approve. Not a “meh” move on my part. But that was the only kind of contact that actually gave me some satisfaction. A parting shot…. but now I’m done.

  • The thing that got me over the line of just not engaging was journaling the cycle of abuse (all via text at this point) on advice of my psychologist.

    I was getting sucked in and needed out. This worked a treat.

    We planned to diary it in order to come up with a predictive model. I got the predictive model within a month, maybe less.

    I landed on a 2-2-5 day cycle.

    2 days Mr Nice Guy (idealise). Constant texts, Lonely old me getting sucked in.

    2 days nitpicking and criticism and insults (devalue).

    5 days silent treatment (discard). Oh how I loved those 5 days but would fall in again with the Mr Nice Guy act which I found confusing, because gaslighting (the devalue and discard never happened according to him). That was why I talked to my psych about it.

    Once I had this model, I saw it start in other places. I’d have to talk money for kids or something and he’d launch straight into devalue phase. Like clockwork the other two cycles would follow.

    It’s a really worthwhile excercise. Pretty much don’t get caught in the trap anymore (don’t talk business at all either, that’s still pending with lawyers). Actually with lawyers the cycle was a 2-2-5 month cycle, I’m 4 months into the silent treatment. Waiting to see where it lands. I want to settle but spending money on lawyers is pointless when he stonewalls it constantly. So, saving money for court. It’s very strange. I’m set to pay him out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet he’s stonewalling. Bizarre.

    • Mine is the same. He could gain a shit load of money if he went through the proper settlement procedures since I’m living in the family home still. I’m the one putting up the proposals with my lawyer and he just evades and tries to change the process in ways that just stall. He won’t disclose his income and he just plays games. It is bizarre. Is it control?

  • His current name in my phone is BIFF. It stands for Brief Informative ‘Friendly’ Firm. An acronym for how to talk to him when he calls. An instant visual reminder. I don’t speak to him unless spoken to; not in a submissive way but in the way I was trained to give a legal deposition when I sued for a car accident. I don’t tell him ANYTHING. I DON’T ASK him anything. The only topics I bring up are DAMB! (Divorce Administrative Money Business). He chats on and
    I listen; helpful nuggets of information have been revealed! Which I keep to myself to use for my own benefit…heheheh! I have no desire to call him. I do not miss him. I miss who he was and that person does not exist. I miss an illusion. He thinks this is like breaking up with your middle school girlfriend; I wish it were.

    BIFF also stands for Biff from Back to the Future….another helpful visual.

    I am looking forward to the day I can tell him I never want to hear his voice, speak to him, or see his face ever again as long as I live.

  • I was lucky enough not to breed with the fuckwit, and he blocked me a year ago. (Right after he charged a bunch of international phone calls to me and I told him that was not OK. I was proud of how calm I was — no yelling or cursing. He, on the other hand, skipped the charm channel and went directly to rage.) But he filed his 2018 taxes “Married, Filing Separately” and he “forgot” to put my social security number on the form. So he emailed me, asking that I fix it for him. Had he emailed me prior to his April 15 tantrum/blocking, I probably would have. Instead, I deleted the email. And the next, and the next. He hasn’t emailed me in a couple of months, so presumably he figured out to check his copy of our marriage license or our divorce degree for my social security number.

  • I could use some advice on this one:

    Mine is a ghoster, not a Hooverer. I only email about our daughter and separation matters. I use small letter initials for his name on my phone. He NEVER contacts me first – it’s only ever responses to me. He waits weeks – even if it’s more urgent than that. His responses are formal, condescending, there are veiled threats and subtle name calling. In a competition, he would win the prize for the mind fuckiest word salad. I send them to my brother for pre-vetting and sometimes he’s speechless and sometimes he’s blue in the face laughing. The emails always end with a line that goes something like this:

    “I do not believe that emails are the best communication channel. They are open to interpretation and we may lose context for the situation. Your emails have caused many problems in the past and I would not like to continue this discussion in an email as it’s too emotive and it’s a challenge to get down the right words. Emails are also inefficient and my preference would be that we speak directly about these matters so that we are both clear about what we’re trying to achieve and we can find what’s the best way forward that will benefit the both of us.” Blah, blah, blah, blah word salad, blah.

    What do I do with that? I’ve already said that I won’t meet him face to face to deal with the separation, but he’s a broken record. He’s even responded to my lawyer like that. He insists on meeting me in every email (which isn’t actually that often). But he also never directly deals with the content in the letter. For clarification, these emails deal with things like property repairs, school fees and finances – nothing more.

    Help!!

    • Stick to your boundaries and emails and texting. It helps to avoid the he said/she said. Move communication to a coparenting app if at all possible. Have the custody court force him if necessary. It will be admissible most likely as evidence for you trying to coparent and him freestyling or whatever he’s doing over there. Communicate like the judge is reading ever last letter you type.

    • Chumptastic, I’ve been there. From my experience, I’d say stay the course and let !!everything!! go through your lawyer. I found by myself wanting to be civil at the beginning but their need for personal contact is an open door for manipulation and abuse. Anything you say in court from that situation is he said she said and judges don’t give a shit. They want facts. Keep tidy records and go through the legal system.
      I tried face to face in a coffee shop twice and fast food once strategically ensuring my safety and time limits. Ex: I have to get the kids or the shop was closing. He held me hostage for two hours every time talking at me just like when married. Each time when I said I had to leave He responded with, “you didn’t think we could solve anything over coffee did you?” SMH. It took me three lessons but got it quicker than the 33 yrs. wasted.
      He also said no email communication. He wanted only postal and personal so he could ignore or lie to say he never received or said it. I played along and eventually needed certified letters and used his refusal to sign in court.
      5 yrs out and he’s taking me to court to remove support payments he owes me. This started in August of last year after my mom’s death. He filed but now I had to file a show cause because he won’t produce documentation meaning my attorney can’t prepare the case. Which means at least two more court dates.The previous one were rescheduled because of him and with our system running a minimum of three months out plus the shut down I’m sure we won’t be finished by the end of this year.
      Pass it all through your attorney. Stay strong,

    • On the one hand despite his bullying tone he is right: a conversation is far more suitable to reach a mutual understanding; equally true, when one is dealing with an adversary, there is no mutuality.

      Language is incontrovertible: anything in text becomes a legal document. By evading written commitment he seems hopeful to evade any commitment.

      Given he’s your X, and does not have your well-being in mind, it seems wise on your part to insist on direct and written expression. Hold fast, Sister—

    • The disordered do this as a way of stalling. Bottom line the property issues are what I’d keep my eye on. Your lawyer should have spoken with you in great detail what to expect in a property settlement, and should have a MSA drawn up, or two, or three. It is their job to negotiate a fair settlement. Once I figured out that everybody was dragging their feet (x was dissipating yet more assets almost as much as our lawyers were) because of the money they made, I drew one up myself. If they are not cooperating, force a speedy trial.

      • believe it or not he doesn’t have a lawyer-doesn’t want one! however, yes, I am just trying to push everything to my lawyer-she says we’re heading to court soon. end of.

    • Stick to your guns regarding never meeting him. He just doesn’t want his words to be immortalized like there are through emails. Since he is not answering the important things, switch to placing deadlines. ‘If I do not hear an answer from you by the end of April 30th (or whatever date that works for you), then I will take your answer as a Yes (or No depending on what you want) and proceed’. This should make him respond to the questions, because if not, you will take your own answer. It will probably increase his anger and attempts to call or want to meet in person but hold strong. When he reacts with a tirade, just think blah, blah, blah in your head and just use the parts you need, if there are any. Try it with the deadlines and see if that eventually helps.

    • Holy crap. Two of the same narcissists!!! This is what mine said to me last night

      “There are important things to say..I would like it very much if you and I could talk on the phone..

      I would like for us to be able to speak to each other face to face..

      I hate doing this on here because it is easy to misinterpretation of what we are trying to say, making things harder.

      I am praying you and I could be able to communicate in a good way.”

      I had a weak moment and responded. But it was to say email only.

      • Yeah, twin narcissists alright! The last two times I’ve talked to him via phone I’ve regretted it. The last time we were talking about our daughter’s difficulties and her not wanting to go to his apartment (she doesn’t want to see the skank). I talked to him about how she was feeling and he flatly said, “everyone knows you’re a liar”. Time before that, he proceeded to tell me what a shitty mother I was. Of course, none of that is recorded. So no more. I’ve told him until I’m blue in the face. I told him this exact line, “you lost the right to speak to me when you called me a liar.”
        Fuck them. They don’t even deserve emails.

  • Here is my problem she takes any percieved slight out on my daughter. So I still am walking on egg shells on behalf of my daughter. My daughter hates it but puts up with it because her mother lives closer to my daughter’s friends. My daughter also knows there would be real discipline if she came to live me. Also its her mother and she is trauma bonded. There is a lot of stuff I did not realize until I was out. I never thought she woud treat her child the way she treated me. The ex will scream for hours with spittle coming out of her mouth at you. My daughter says, “Daddy, I just want to slug her.” So I may be winning. My fight is keep my daughter from falling in the same abyss as her mother.

    • Time is on your side, especially as your daughter gets into her teenage years. Continue to be the sane parent and play the long game.

  • Courts prefer email over texts. Always correspond via email whenever possible. An added bonus is that we chumps tend to be more careful about what we say on emails, whereas crazies tend to be crazy regardless of the method of communication.

  • Both my therapist and attorney told me to have no contact. If I stayed it would have killed me. Deep inside I knew it was the truth. My therapist talked about him as if he knew him personally. At that time I hadn’t a clue about the predictable cycles of narcissistic abuse. I decided to listen.
    He was also the one who told me to find a blog and I happened to find Chumplady.
    I’ve ignored him at a wedding and a funeral. He’s a stranger.

  • I found a way that drives cheaters insane. We sometimes use msg for child-related matters. If it’s sth I think I don’t have to answer, I might open the msg and type in my shopping list or sth trivial I need to take down rather slowly. I see he’s online and waiting for the reply. Then I cut and paste, close msg without hitting send or further reply. Not exactly no contact or meh but sometimes it gives me some fun.

  • I recall the advice given to me by experts; every contact is an opportunity for him to further abuse me, any attention, good or bad, thrills him, silence is the best revenge, his goal is to change your mood. And: stop expecting him to care.

  • I wish someone could explain to me why/how my ex left overnight and, poof, gone and never contacted me…never called, emailed, messaged…never provided an explanation as to what happened…didn’t even ask how our dogs were doing…

    We had been together for almost 30 years. We were building our dream, retirement home and living in a rental. All of our things were in storage. He was still telling me he loved me and complimenting me. He was posting photos of me on Facebook. He wanted more sex (red flag).

    One day we had a stupid argument over a sushi take-out order and, the next day, he said, “You’re not happy, you don’t love me, I think this is over. I love you but I’m not in love with you.” I asked if there was someone else. He said, “No.” I told him, “Well, then get out. I don’t want to see your face anymore.”

    Days later, he’s posting pictures of himself out with his 29 year old coworker. He lost 60 lbs in three months. He shaved his head. He started wearing bow ties! He posted a photo of him and her together in a hug and he looked like her creepy Uncle!

    But, he just left and never looked back. He did not even help me unpack all our stuff from our storage units, claiming, “You’re not ready to see me.” He picked up and moved to the 29 year old’s home state. I left all his stuff in the storage units and, I think he just sold it all. He didn’t take any of his family’s photos with him.

    For a while, I wrote him nasty emails. Never a reply. So I was the one given the “No Contact”. I had all this anger and confusion and he didn’t care enough to explain or admit he was having an affair. He didn’t care how absolutely blindsided that I was!

    I wish someone could drill into my head how someone that you spent the better part of a lifetime with could flip a switch overnight and just ghost.

    I don’t write him anymore. It’s been three years. But, I still come here just to see that I’m not alone. It’s sad there are so many disordered people out there and we are their victims and we are just trying to survive the trauma. And, it is abuse trauma.

    • Carol, seek counseling for your kids and yourself.
      Find a therapist who has experience with parental alienation.
      Unfortunately the courts are little or no help, especially with teens.
      Your ex might convince your teens to stay with him full time to avoid paying child support.
      I wish I had more help to offer.

    • Wow, so sad to see how common those monsters are. For me it was 20 years, bffs, wonderful husband….it’s like he went to get his Masters in “how to make your ex-wife feel like she is less than zero for you, but really really going to the extra mile to make sure she gets it”. I read that they know we are strong people and they do that because they know they won’t get away with other types of abuse. So they abuse by withdrawing love and care. It’s deliberate. I can’t think of anything as emotionally cruel as this. They also make sure all your control is taken during this because you have no saying in anythig….even if you would consider taking them back. They never ask us back. They’re the Gods in their own dysfunctional Universe and we are being punished because, in their minds, we are not suitable victims of abuse. My therapist told me that my ex needs to abuse to among other things, soothe the darkness he has inside of him… since he always knew I’m not like his doormat of a mom, he hates me because “how dare someone not put me first by being my doormat?”, Oh, how much would I give to not know these people existed.

  • Duped, I know how this feels. It’s absolutely hideous. I’m coming round to the idea that he didn’t ever really care about me. I too was abandoned after 25 years. No care at all. Didn’t take his belongings or family photos. He didn’t even take his own things such as his old diary. Just moved out and started his new life with his girlfriend. His parting shot was that she’s young enough that he can start another family. In the odd times we have to talk about our daughter, he writes me very formally and in a dehumanising tone. If it weren’t for her, I would hear nothing at all. Now he mostly just texts her now and again. It’s hideously painful and I don’t understand it either. I’m sorry.

    • “ In the odd times we have to talk about our daughter, he writes me very formally and in a dehumanizing tone.”

      Oh, this used to crush me to pieces, until one day one of his emails looked so pathetically forced (this was a guy that was even more sarcastic than I was and we would make fun of people that took themselves seriously like crazy….together!)….from that day on I just started mocking his emails. Using the most ridiculous corporate jargon possible. I called him “Mr.” And ended my emails by saying things like “respectfully” or “looking forward to your response. It took two more exchanges for him to start writing like a normal person.

  • Duped, I’m sorry this has happened to you too. I’ve also been abandoned and no contact after a wonderful 34 year marriage. He did small amount of preparation in leaving, spent a weekend downloading all our photos onto his new computer, before he finished our marriage with the parting words of “I don’t love you”. Otherwise he took nothing. Found out months later about the young co worker he moved straight in with.. It’s still hard after 32 months to be discarded, but I’m starting to feel closer to MEH. I still struggle in life but am strong enough to know I am no man’s second choice. My ex always commented to people that I didn’t tolerate idiots….and he is spot on. He told me on divorce that our family is OVER (the cruelest thing he could have said) but my daughter pointed out that the only difference is he left. An eternal optimist, I believe there is a better life around the corner. Hang in there my friend,

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