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‘Other Chumps Infuriate Me’

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Dear Chump Lady,

I was cheated on years ago. It was a horrible, messy, painful two years. I wish I’d had your book back then to save me the heartbreak.

I’m mostly over it, except for one thing. Every time I hear a chump making the same excuses I used to make, I get absolutely enraged. It’s like a red mist of pure boiling fury. Although I’m outwardly calm, internally I’m seething. In my mind I’m calling them stupid, useless, moron, etc. I’ll dwell on this for days or even weeks after sometimes.

I don’t want to be like this. I know I’m being a hypocrite because I did all the same chumpy things back in the day. I know I’m just projecting. But I don’t know how to stop. In most ways, I’m at meh, but this one thing sweeps me right back to square one. Can you help me get over this last hurdle?

Angry Ex-Chump

Dear Angry Ex-Chump,

They say there’s no greater evangelist than a quitter. Maybe that’s what’s going on? Like how ex-smokers cannot stand cigarette smoke, or former alcoholics can’t be around drinkers. Perhaps you can’t stand the smell of hopium.

I would untangle the “pure boiling fury.” Are you really mad at chumps? Or just their spackle?

Chumps cannot help being chumped. We don’t control what other people do. It’s no one’s fault they got cheated on. How we rise to the challenge of chumpdom, however, IS ours to own. That’s why in retrospect, spackle and pick me dancing are so mortifying. Why did I work so hard for one so unworthy? OMG, why did I hit send on that 14-page-single-spaced-treatise-of-emotional-word-vomit?

It’s different once you have perspective. Very few people are dealt this kind of trauma and immediately respond as clear-headed field marshals. No, they’re scared witless. A lot is at stake — their futures, their intact families, their finances, their pride — their HEARTS. When you’re scared witless, you say and do a lot of dumb shit.

So, Angry, my first point would be — try to have some compassion. You’ve been there. I’ve been there. A bazillion of us have been there, if we’re to believe the blog numbers.

If you’re going to do fury, direct it at the Reconciliation Industrial Complex that profits from peddling false hope and quack cures for “affair-proofing” marriages. Who sing the siren song that we can control scary outcomes, if we only follow the recipe right. Oh, it didn’t turn out? You missed step #113. That was on the special video download Reconciliation Grand Rodeo for $74.99. Too bad you skipped it. Now the soufflé has fallen.

Yeah, yeah, but chumps! They’re so stupid! They buy that shit!

Yeah, well, spackle is a very seductive commodity. Making excuses for bad behavior helps you live another day (unexamined, but not hurling oneself off a cliff either). Oh, oh right. He was just sleeping in his car… in January… in Vermont. That’s why he didn’t call.

Of course it doesn’t sit right. But you can stuff it down. Because if you don’t stuff it down there is a Giant Wall of Pain waiting.

Most people will do anything to avoid the Giant Walls of Pain in their lives.

Admit their partner is a cheater? Acknowledge their child is an addict? Their political candidate is a fraud?

No. Our choices reflect on US. We’d rather believe we’ve invested in Good People than admit we’ve been used. It’s a horrible reckoning.

I argue at CN to face the Wall. The pain of acceptance is far less than the misery of hopium.

In fairness, it’s a lot to process. And that’s why I created this place — a) to counteract the RIC narrative (It’s Your Fault and You Can Fix It, Alone Even!) b) so people feel less alone in their mortification, and c) to fast-track your healing. Just pole-vault over that wall. Fuck it. Fling yourself forward.

Back to you, Angry, and chumps who infuriate you.

I think another thing you might be reacting to, and it bugs me too, is exceptionalism. That’s the flavor of spackle that says For Me It Will Be Different. Did he cheat on 14 other women? Does she still blame you for her affair? Exceptional Chump says “I can work with that! For Me It Will Be Different!”

You can’t use reason against pure irrational faith.

“GPS tracked her at Motel 6.”

Yes, Tracy, but For Me It Will Be Different! She was returning a lost dog!

Science and common sense fail when someone is under the spell of their exceptionalism. The only thing known to cure it is abject failure.

Angry, look, exceptionalism is annoying as fuck. But last I check gravity still worked. Consequences are coming. You’re mad because it’s a calamity that could’ve been avoided.

But maybe you can be the change you wish to see. Reach out and listen. Tell them you’ve been there.

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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.
    • Indeed.

      I do agree with those who identify that vitriolic anger at those who do what we once did is, in part, a form of misdirected self anger.

      That said, I think you have put your thumb right on the pulse point of something most people miss in this statement.

      We grieve losses even when we are glad we have lost that thing.

      Also, grief is an emotion most of us will do almost anything to avoid, because you could be surrounded by hundreds of people who love you more than life and still feel desperately, desolately alone in grief.

      Also, grief is circuitous and vacillates in intensity, so it easily masquerades as other feelings.

      Also, you’re often grieving so much more than the thing it seems you lost — you’re also grieving pieces of yourself it feels you’ll never get back, joyful feelings you fear you’ll never feel again, experiences and memories that will be forever haunted by the spectres of the losses… Layered and deep, grief often extends farther than we feel strong enough to admit.

      When people talk about the first year of grief and act like all will be well after time heals all the wounds, it’s a platitude. We do get better at integrating the losses in our lives over time, but each loss itself will remain, and that’s hard and scary to face.

      That’s part of why so many of us keep coming here – 20 years after the divorce for me, for example. I don’t grieve him anymore, but I do grieve the me I was able to be before the betrayal, and I suppose I always will.

      • This is beautifully and perfectly stated. We chumps know exactly what this feels like. I have only compassion and empathy for all of us on this journey and for those who have yet to join us. My heart breaks for new chumps too, even as I am only a year into my own journey. Infidelity and divorce are profoundly sad and deeply painful things that wound us to our souls in ways that are difficult to even grasp let alone put into words. This level of anger is sending a message of deeper wounds that aren’t yet healed. This journey takes time and people need to be gentle and compassionate during the healing process, whether their own or someone else’s.

      • “We grieve losses even when we are glad we have lost that thing.” So VERY true! Thank you, Ami.❤️ That was perfect!

        This is a link to an article that helps deal with the emotional fallout from this pandemic, and it discusses how to work through grief, no matter the cause.

        https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief?utm_medium=paidsocial&utm_source=facebookinstagram&utm_campaign=contentmarketing&hideIntromercial=true&fbclid=IwAR0nPRsfvd0Q5hxPlzdcc4jpyq0AVSOK5Y-QLuaULT6PEkO00SfiQr6COWY

      • I think anger is there for you because you can control it. You can’t control grief and despair. To have to live with them is unbearable. I think too, you are empathetic, so their pain becomes your pain and it’s overpowering for you. It’s easier for you to turn your painful grief into anger than to live another minute with despair. Hopelessness, and helplessness. Two of the saddest words in the English language. It makes victims of cheaters feel all of it.

        Amiisfree, that was a perfect response.

      • It’s also grief for the the trusting people we used to be. I don’t think there will ever be that trust again.

        • I think the naive little girl who believed in trusting love without verifying it is DEAD. I have buried her in my tears. I don’t think she’s ever coming back to life like Jesus did on Easter morning. 😭I grieve for her.

      • Thank you. I needed to hear this today. My grief is masquerading as other feelings. So when I think I want him or him back I need to dig in, and realize it’s just everything I fear I’ll never have again.

      • Well said.

        “Grief is love with nowhere to go”

        None of us ever wanted any of this. All we wanted was to love and be loved in return, with kindness and decency. That’s it.

        My grief is part of me now. Silent, unspoken (except to people who get it) and ever present despite living a good life and achieving things I never achieved before.
        Losing my family, the unnecessary pain and struggle of my children (even though they are also doing well) who did not deserve this, is a constant sorrow.

  • You’re right that it’s projection. You’re still angry with yourself for being a chump. You see these things in others as reminders of how you let yourself down. What you accepted. How you made fool of yourself. You need to forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness might sound hokey. But it’s true. You need to have compassion and empathy for yourself and the choices you made. And then you can have compassion and empathy for these same choices in others.

  • I would add: Sometimes a chump’s spackle feels like it implies failure on the part of other chumps. The spackling Chump is exceptional because THEY will avoid the laziness, bitterness, sexlessness, and nagging that causes most reconciliations to fail. 🙄. When that happens, best to remember chumps are doing the best they can in a disaster they didn’t create. No argument will kick their ass like marriage to a cheater already has—and will continue to do until they see that they’re just like the rest of us.

    • This is a really great point, Nomar!

      While I have tried to do my best to support other chumps IRL, I agree there is really nothing more frustrating (and on some level insulting) than

      a Chump who, after I explain my not only my personal experience but the logical, time-tested perspective of CN & LACGAL

      Has a kind of condescending response, some version of

      “…but my cheater is special: they never learned how to love. So I know that you think you know what’s best, but really the best way is for me to go to counseling alone, because my cheater would feel attacked if they had to attend.

      I understand that for you and most other people, ending the relationship is the right thing to do, but my cheater loves me and i don’t think they would lie to me about that, especially since they said the meant it from the bottom of their heart…”

      Errrrrrrgh.

      As a attitude management tactic for ME, before I respond I just try to visualize their face crumpling during their next D-Day

      and then I try to imagine them thinking back to the conversation I’m in at the moment…

      was I able to summon up enough non-judgement so support so they will be comfortable reaching out to me despite the humiliation of me having Told Them So?

      Or was I not able to mask my disappointment & frustration enough making me part of the problem of shame (“what will people say?!?!”) rather than part of the solution?

      But damn, it’s not easy sometimes.

      Stay mighty, folks!

      Or what’s

      • Amen! One I’ve heard is “I know you don’t believe this, but deep down he is a GOOD MAN! I have seen it!”

        Even after divorce some chumps still don’t really grasp the depth of the intentional deception. Hopium is a powerful drug.

  • Like Tracy says, Angry, we chumps will never be smug again.

    Before I discovered I was one of the world’s biggest chumps (I helped sparkledick retrieve an “assistant” ‘s lost suitcase) I was smug.

    I would listen to a chump’s complaints and spackle (returning a lost dog to Motel 6…. snort, snicker) and think: Poor thing, what an idiot! That is never happening to me. Because even though sparkles has no overall consideration for me, he would never lie to me (and this after I caught him lying about money).

    My hurdle to Meh is that I still get so mad at ME.

    So, if I feel that a chump who is confiding in me wants to listen, I tell her about being mad at ME, about being smug, about why we spackle and, of course, about LACGAL.

    Try talking to the chumps and tell them about how RIC’s are the foxes looking after the chicken coop…. the goats taking care of the vegetable patch. When the huge conflicts of interests that keep the RIC alive are pointed out to spacklers, they usually wake up.

    Take care and forgive, but do not forget spackle.

  • I’m hearing a total lack of self-forgiveness. That hate I think is self-hatred for what happened to you. A control issue, perhaps. I like, “Our choices reflect on US,” referring to the cheater’s cheating, not our having been chumped which wasn’t a choice. I wish I had the answer to that. I could use it myself.

  • So much going on. When married to a cheating alcoholic, I’d tell my story to girlfriends/family and watch carefully for reactions to help me formulate what I’d do. Sounds silly writing this. Honestly, my family thought there was something wrong with me for not just accepting this as the way of men. I was able to tell my ‘story’ to friends in such a way I wasn’t complaining, only commenting on how difficult marriage could be at times. After, I always wondered why friends/family would make their self-righteous pronunciations ‘I wondered why you stayed’ or ‘I couldn’t say anything at the time … but.’ What did help was my one very blunt acquaintance who said, ‘You don’t sound like you have a good marriage — why are you staying if it’s that bad?’ Yes, I kind of got angry at that, but in retrospect it also gave me the kick I needed. I say to you, find a way to be that blunt friend.

  • Like Angry, I too have struggled with this part of my personality. It’s a temperament thing – some of us are just prone to having little to no tolerance for stupidity. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to watch others make dreadful choices. My mother had no tolerance for lazy people. I have no tolerance for stupid people. But of course, that’s my own stupidity and hubris in action, which a healthy dose of humility, humor and self-compassion has helped me to grapple with. Compassion really is the cure. Cultivate compassion for others who are already suffering a punishment brought about by their own choices and don’t need your judgement as an additional punishment. Say a silent prayer for them, back away and move on.

    • Yes I can see that as my plan. I have a limited patience for silliness at times. A whispered prayer is probably the best thing to do.

  • Are you worried that perhaps there is a chump that can fix something you couldn’t?
    My ex was a cheater and gambler (Liar extrodinaire). One of my good friends recently found out her husband was a covert, gambling addict.
    I ‘know’ there would be more going on but she’s convinced he’s under control and everything’s back on track. I told her about how I rode that merry-go-round for years and was here for her anytime.
    Sometimes I wonder if maybe he just loves her more than my ex loved me and that’s why everything’s good for them now. Then I remember to “Trust that they Suck”. He’s gone underground, like they all do, for as long as they can.
    Be angry at the cheaters not the chumps.

  • I get the feeling angry ex chump.

    I think Tracie’s advice for chumps is pretty black and white and it works- a social science. By the time I arrived here, I was ready to heed to her advice and open to 2×4’s. And no surprise it worked. Things improved and I am still on the road to meh.

    Now, I see chumps who follow the cl advice and are on their meh journey but their are still the “exceptional“ that talk the talk but don’t walk the walk and it angers me. I am learning to separate and that is part of chump healing- can’t take responsibility for others- not yours or my job to be the chump police. Share your wisdom where you can but not everyone will agree.

    Deep breaths and shrugs. You can only control you.

  • For me it often comes down to acceptance is not instantaneous. It has often been in stages, hard fought stages. Hard fought with myself, accepting a little more truth, getting comfortable with it, and a little more truth until I get where I need to be in my head.

    Furthermore, I had to learn in Alanon that I needed to allow others their own stages of acceptance just as I needed to allow myself my own process. I can’t spare others that journey no matter how painful it is for me to watch personally. It is not for me to judge their time line. In fact if I were able to short circuit their learning curve, I might be robbing them of some bit of growth which may be crucial to their wellbeing in the future. Personally, I am not wise enough to make that decision for another person, nor do I have that right.

    We all grow at our own pace, and the vast majority of us do the best we can given the place we are at, and the tools we have at the moment. As Oprah says, “When we know better, we do better.”

    • Tessie, I love that line….’if I were able to short circuit their learning curve, I might be robbing them of some bit of growth which may be crucial to their wellbeing in the future.’

      I know that I was definitely a chump who was infuriating to those who saw my painful reality before I did. And believe me now that my eyes are open I feel embarrassed and annoyed with myself for ever defending, even loving the STBXH the way I did. So on behalf of chumps who believe they’re the exception, I apologise. However, I had to go through the process in my time at my pace. It took fucking long, but I’m here now on the road to meh, discovering myself and becoming the strong woman I know I was meant to be.

      I agree that all you can do is relay your personal experience and just back away for them to go through their own journey. Oh and try and get them to subscribe to CL. Best wake up call ever.

  • I am 1 year out from D Day

    I fear I might be one of that Chumps that annoys you Angry

    Not that I picked me danced or on any sort of hopium but I’m still lost . I still haven’t gained a life though but I’m trying to move forward everyday as best I can but I am still 2 steps forward 1 step back .

    I relay on further out Chumps than me as I know they’ve been there and done that and one day I hope I can help support newer Chumps

    • Karenb: You are on your way. It is a journey. Instead of 2 steps forward and 1 back, it is more like a tide coming in. The waves come in, but then pull out, but over time they reach more and more forward.

    • Good job Karen, you are doing exactly what you need to be doing. Coming here is huge cuz it shows that you recognize that betrayal has happened and you are seeking help. The first year is hell on wheels so congratulations you made it through the worst! The second year still sucks but progress on getting your freedom and reestablishing a normalcy. Beyond that things keep getting better. Stay the course, take care of you first! Do things that give you pleasure as much as possible right now. Good nutritional food, exercise, Bubble baths, good books, great movies, etc. hugs!

      • What you say about year one and year two reminds me of the saying about the timing needed for ivy to establish itself after you’ve planted it: “the first year it sleeps, the next year it creeps, the third year it leaps.”

  • Interesting timing on self-reflection based on one’s own reactions. I was Skyping Friday with two friends and one told us about someone she knows who was just hurt by a man who she met on Match, and thought they may really have something special, when she was suddenly ghosted about two weeks ago (quarantine) and then her sister found out he was married with two young children. She was so infuriated she tracked down the wife and was debating whether to call her and send her photos of the guy and herself together and let her know what happened.

    My heart was pounding! YES! She has to tell her! I started blurting out without letting my friend finish her story. After I backed off, she calmly went on to present her thoughts on telling the wife which were the typical non-chumped ones. A. She may be destroying the womans family by telling her. B. The wife may already know or lash out at the woman for calling. C. Is she doing it out of caring for chump or out of anger.

    In the end the woman called the chump and she started crying and told her it had happened before:-( Poor woman! During quarantine and with two small children, that has to suck extra.

    The thing that really has me thinking though is I was WAY too reactive and need to work on that—– So I get it. We are kind of like the former alcoholics and have thought through that list of reasons or excuses a thousand times before whereas for the non-cheated on or new chumps, it is all new. We need to be patient.

    I like the idea mentioned that we can just let them know we have been there and we are there for them if they need us. I also have friends still with their cheaters and don’t seem to have that gut reaction on that front, but I am always ready for that sobbing call that may or may not come the next time they are caught.

  • I’ve been they some much , personally in 3 yrs that I almost get triggered and hurt when someone looks down on me for my past choices. Honest question, regarding family/ friends/other chumps. What is the difference between brutal honesty and cruel judgement ? For me, we all make mistakes. I try not to pour salt in other people wounds and yet other’s have no problem calling it “brutal honesty “ and I deserve to hear it. I lead towards compassion and withdrawal myself from those who trigger me especially during this pandemic. Xoxo self- protection perhaps?

      • Sending you hugs Sweet, I love your compassion, Girlfriend.

        Hard truths can be said with compassion, gently. That is compassionate honesty. I start out “I am concerned, here is what I am seeing, here are my fears for you, here is the information that backs up my concern. ” I end up with”I am saying this because I love you and I am frightened for you. ”

        Cruel judgements towards our choices are a red flag in my book. They clearly say that here is a person who feels superior to us and doesn’t care if they hurt our feelings at a time when we are raw and hurting. Not someone to keep around.

    • Hi Sweet Chump! That is a great question, I hadn’t really narrowed that down before but you got me thinking.

      It seems to me certain people do brutal honesty better than others? (like Chump Lady). There are those people in my ‘real’ life, sometimes only in passing, that say it like it is but I don’t feel judged? It is their honest observation mixed with respect that everyone travels their own path as opposed to observation mixed with “I told you so”.

    • It helps me most if someone recognizes my pain, shares their experience and how they recovered without commenting on how I am doing unless I ask. People telling me I should or should not do something when I am in crisis isn’t helpful. But saying this is what I did in that situation that worked guides my thinking. How you perceive the “advice” is dependent on how it is delivered and your relationship with that person. If coming from the cheater, you can bet there are underlying motives that are not in your best interest. If coming from a dear friend or loving family member, might hurt but likely are intended to help. Always consider the source. Hugs

  • I believe the type of reaction Angry describes is the reason the 12 step program members start sharing by saying, “hello, I’m Portia, and I’m a chump.” It establishes, upfront, that you have been through a bad experience, and you have done some things, like using hopium and spackeling, that you wish you had not done. I hate the amount of time I served on the marriage police force before I finally did something about the evidence. But, evidently, I needed to do that to convince myself I had done all I could do, before I could let go. It was necessary for me.

    I don’t know if it is true, but I’ve been told it takes an average of 7 experiences of increasing violence for an abused woman to leave her abuser. That’s if she survives that long. One out of three people have suffered some type of sexual abuse at some point in their life. Those numbers stagger me. Often, people who have been conned, or raped, or abused in some way, don’t want to report it or prosecute because they don’t want others to know what happened. They don’t want to feel judged, or be the victim. Obviously, the criminals don’t worry about being convicted. Their risk of exposure is low because of this reluctance to tell the truth and accept reality.

    We cannot afford to be smug or believe the false narrative of “that would never happen to me.” We cannot accept blame shifting behavior. Our lives and health depend on accepting the truth and acting on it. When someone is staggering from loss and pain, we cannot accept the reason they continue to do so is “because I love him.” I believe we have to overcome our cultural reluctance to become involved, and step up and say “Hey, I’ve been there, and I understand you are in denial. But denial does not fix problems. I was a chump, too, and this is how I got out. I hope it helps you save your life.”

    Nothing we do may work. Crime continues, and there always seems to be a new chump in line for the slaughter. But this site helps, and Chump Nation of survivors provide a different narrative. A person cannot change another, but can choose to change and can save their own life. We need to celebrate our survival by learning to be more tolerant of others who have to find their own way on the path. We have to forgive our own behaviors, and bad decisions. I have accepted I cannot change the past, but I choose to live in a manner which will help me have a better future. We cannot change all the problems, but we can practice tolerance. Put that energy found in unresolved anger towards a more positive, constructive goal. I believe it will help you to find MEH.

  • WOW… this is really timely for me. My best friend was recently hit upside the head by the husband of the OW who barged in to our book club so he could tell her that his wife (who had also been in our book club) had been f*cking her husband for the last six months.

    NAPALM blast… and then Covid-19 stay-at-home kicked in and it all got dusted under the proverbial carpet. The OW was shipped off to rehab and my friend’s Dickhead husband apologized for ruining our book club but not for being a fuckwit cheater (shocking, right)? … and now my friend “doesn’t want to talk about” and instead posts on FB total image management pictures and stories of their quarantine domestic bliss. And my heart breaks for her.

    I’m angry at her husband, who has apparently been cheating on her off and on for the last 15 years. And, I’m saddened for her because she’s deep in the “I’m powerless… I’m not giving up everything I’ve worked so hard for… we’re talking more than ever #unicorn…”

    She was my rock when I was going through the discard and divorce. And I want to say to her everything that she said to me to help me find my courage and see things through… but I know she isn’t in the same place. Her fuckwit is staying, not discarding. They are both pretending that there is “shared responsibility” in his cheating. Ironically, they both stay because of the money… he’d have to pay her too much if they divorced now (with child support and all)… and she doesn’t want to work.

    So, much like a recovering alcoholic might do for someone still drinking… I let her know I’m out here if she needs me. I remind her to visit this website. I’ve offered her my weathered copy of LACGAL (she has said no thanks). I pray for her too because I know she’s choosing an abusive relationship and I know that when their child is old enough that child support is off the table, he will leave her. She’s postponing the inevitable. And all I can do is try to be here when it happens. And I keep living my cheater free life and maybe she’ll see that she can be happier in one as well some day.

    • Maybe suggest she start building a self-care fund and get her docs in order just in case based on your experience and that of others you know. She might be playing stupid but deep down she knows he isn’t trustworthy. You are a good friend. If she was your rock, she gets it or is in denial.

  • I can’t fault the writer for the anger at having to listen to a chump unwilling to change. Why share our experience if it fails to impart some wisdom. If we let it, our experience seems invalidated once again, or worse we feelthat nagging blame for not being able to rise above and save the marriage like the dominant societal narrative and chump we are talking to believes in.

    We’re also mad at the chump because they are wasting precious time.
    Why sit reliving the heartbreak if new chump won’t listen?
    I often imagine a time machine and the point I go back to is dday to intercept myself. Even in my imaginings, I clearly see dday me not listening to current/future me. And it makes me so angry.
    Every new chump we talk to, we’re really talking to ourselves.

    I also feel it is retraumatizing to listen to stories of cheating. I still can’t see or read even fictional accounts without getting that angry sick feeling.
    I come here for support because it’s my only comfort to feel understood by this community, but that does come with a fair amount of sad and anger triggers too.

    • Fearful-I find that when I’m triggered, that is an I healed part of me and I am grateful for it. I ask myself often why I keep coming back here to read these painful stories. That is why -to measure how far along this healing path I am and to offer support to others. Paybacks for the help I received. Hugs

  • Most people don’t learn to actually dig deep to find out WHY they attract these folks into their lives…they just want it to be back to normal or hope that the Cheater will come to his/her senses and realize that you are special. Narcissistic behavior is hard to get away from and the trauma bonds are powerful. As I studied my past after my cheater was found out, I realized that all of my relational patterns were the same…and why were they the same? The ‘father’ (I use that term loosely) was the same way…so I was just replicating what I thought love was and even though it hurt, it was what was normal for me. Until I decided to find out ‘why’ and intellectualize it, then heal it…patterns are always the same and you’ll go back or give in because that’s all you know. Have compassion, people aren’t always ready to go back and deal with their past and deeper self, it takes a lot of patience and strength to truly shift your inner self. However, if one can do this and be serious about it, it’s so freeing!! I’m still growing and am waiting to see if all of my hard work will pay off to attract a different type of love but for now, I’ve had to be patient with myself on how to change my inner perceptions about love and a future partner. In the mean time, I just been loving on myself and delving deep into what I’m made of, for once in my life (and I really kind of like me a lot so far!!!) 😊

    • STW-also working on deep dives. I thought I had Found a different man than my dad. But in the long run he had similar personality characteristics they were just less obvious. I have spent many hours trying to understand what love is. Where I am now is that I do know what love is: mutual respect, appreciation for each other’s uniqueness, support and connecting on a unique level with a persons essence. This is a not new information, it’s just really trying to understand how I can see through The superficial was of a narcissist to the essence of the person-this is what concerns me- that I don’t miss the red flags because of my enthusiasm for the person. So like you I’m just learning to love myself and treat myself well and see what that’s like and then expect that any person I happen to be with will treat me the same. hugs

      • Good for you!!! We always do what is familiar and until you untangle the familiar, you will only be attracted to those that are like the others! Narcs will chip away at your self-esteem AND confuse you so it does take a while to get to level ground just to be able to start changing your pattern. I think it’s important to be alone (for me anyway), to get very solid and grounded because it’s so easy to slip back into your pattern, even when you think it’s different. So many relationships are really just co-dependency disguised as love, I’ve already done that before and it has never worked out…so, I’m hoping to get myself super stable and just be me from the beginning and if someone sticks around and wants to co-love with me, then great! I don’t need someone to save me or complete me but if they just like being around me and want to see me thrive without trying to change or thwart me, then I think I’ll know it’s real love. Till then, I’m over here meditating, eating potato chips and sleeping side-ways in the bed! 😜. Good luck to you!

    • This is an important part of the healing process. It actually hurt me more the second time, even though the relationship was shorter and there were no children. It was making the same error AGAIN!!!

      However, the understanding of the pattern, and the link to my father’s behavior finally fell in place. I thought I had chosen men who were very different from my father, based on surface details. But after study and therapy, and consideration, suddenly I saw the links. It was in my own time, but I was blind until I could miraculously see. It is a painful process, and every person follows a different timeline, but when it happens, WOW!!!

  • CL, it’s so good to read these letters from chumps with time and your response. . I’m three years out and still at times feel rage about what happenEd. I think that part of that is embarrassment for some of the dumb shit I did while I was trying to understand what the F was going on. I really get pissed at myself when I think about how much leeway I gave him, what a sucker I was for Believing his stupid lies. And maybe that is why I get so frustrated when I talk to people who have been betrayed and are still being generous to their cheater. I just want them to stand up and care as much for themselves as they do for that a**whole. But we can’t control other people or their response. we can only be there for them and listen and share our experience strength and hope. it’s like recovering from anything. that’s the power of CN -being able to express these deep feelings as frequently as I want because just getting it out helps. reading other peoples experience in their perspective helps to heal. hugs to all the champs; thank you CL. Stay home and safe!

  • This is timely for me because though I’m years out from Cheater #1 and meh, I’m 6 days out from the discovery that the man I’ve been dating for two years is a cheater and a very good, very convincing covert narcissist.

    I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t been as patient as I should have been with friends processing the raw grief of being chumped. From the outside, it’s easy to wonder why someone continues to mourn an asshole. This second experience of chumpdom has humbled me and reminded me:

    Seeing and accepting that your beloved partner is a vicious, horrible person is excruciating.

    I understand on a new level why reconciliation is so tempting. Why your panicked heart and mind will go to any length to erase what happened, to for God’s sake make it okay again because it just cannot be true that the person you were blissfully, trustingly intimate with has betrayed you in the most intimate way possible.

    I’m so incredibly grateful for Chump Lady and CN, for this place where that kind of grief can be processed. At least this time, with the wisdom here and the years of support, I immediately threw the cheater out – as in all his shit on the lawn.

    I wouldn’t have been able to do that – or to allow in the pain I’m currently experiencing – without all the kindness and patience I experienced here in 2015-2016 as I went through months of mental gymnastics and wreckonciliation and denial until I finally gave up the spackle. So yes, although sometimes it seems like you’re talking to a wall with a chump who just won’t give it up — sometimes those are the seeds that eventually gets someone out of hell.

  • Two years ago I remember being really in awe mixed with disbelief at folk who had perspective and humor ( how could they joke at this while I was in so much pain?) who seemed to know all the cheater vocab and had navigated this whilst I was in a raging storm lost at sea no lighthouse in sight or a lifebelt. That is how it is for new chumps – out at sea – no land ahoy in sight! and its dark and in the depths the sharks are circling around you. Then suddenly the fog clears and you hear a whistle a dim torch that gets brighter – someone shouting from a small life boat that pulls you on board dries you off gives you warm dry clothes a blanket and a warm mug of soup – that’s how it is – so now I feel I should do my bit to pay it forward. Yes you see the mistakes, you see the pick me’s, you see the hopium (sigh) you see the red flags – but you didn’t at the beginning – I didn’t at the beginning and I am truly grateful to all the people who were further on in their journey but understood that. I thank CL and I thank all of you.

    • Thank you, NurseMeh! I am 8 months out since Dday and still struggling almost daily. I cannot wait for the fog to clear and to see signs of that life boat you described. It feels like it may never come, yet I continue to visit this site and find comfort in the words of people like you in Chump Nation. I imagine all of the pain and desperation that has come to this blog before me, and I take comfort in the words of those who say it does get better…

  • I have sympathy for chumps…..although a couple of things bother me to distraction. One is when the chump has been cheated on, dumped and they claim the cheater is not in his right mind, he’s not himself, blah, blah and want to fight for the marriage. Another is when they take the cheater/abuser back dismissing their children’s welfare. One more is when they use religion as an excuse for staying. These instances drive me mad and I find it really difficult to sympathize.

    • Someone mentions religion. I am not “religious” I DO believe in God and trust His comfort however I am struggling with this! My husband just admitted to cheating a”few times” with his daughters mom(his ex) and says it was six years ago. Says he never wanted me to know because he’d lose the best thing he’s ever known in his life.
      How can I get over struggling with the forgive and forget? I have read time and again-“ forgive others like He has forgiven you”. I CAN forgive because my husband is stupid and was clearly disrespectful and inconsiderate to me my daughter his daughter and himself. SO that being said: with he saying he’s never looked back and it disgusted him after that- HOW do I, 1.get to the point of filing these divorce papers I printed immediately and 2. Stop worrying if I’m making the mistake of a lifetime or in a sense- jumping the gun. Does my husband really deserve any more time here? I don’t want to be in this house with OR without him. It’s in my name so I can’t just run away and that’s ALL I want to do right now. My 22 year old daughter just moved back home and he built her a nice bedroom in the basement while I’m sick and falling apart here. Feel so trapped he says he’s not leaving and he’ll be here to show me he’s serious. I can’t
      They (he and the little cheap easy whore) cheated during our first year of the relationship -she Found me on social media to let me know this. I had a year invested was losing my home, daughter was in high school- had no idea how to process so I forgave THEN and attributed it to him having a 2 year old with her and figured he was confused:/
      Now what
      Help

      • Maybe angry at yourself still? And a little sad? It doesn’t really bother me when people choose to stay. I figure they have their reasons; they don’t want to lose the children, become financially ruined, etc, etc… I have sympathy for whoever is in that situation. They will leave when they are ready, hopefully. Sometimes it takes a while to get the courage as well. Change is scary. In the meantime, we can be angry at the cheater.

      • You video chat a lawyer, get a therapist and deep down realize this isn’t the relationship you signed up for. As for the hurt, it will be there. Talk to a therapist how to cope with the flood of emotions. Find a peaceful place where you can cry, watch videos, listen to music if the lawyer says he can’t leave. If staying with him isn’t an option because of triggers then find out if you have another options with a lot love and support. Don’t lose your mighty! You deserve better, but I think you know that. Time to believe it now xoxo

      • Sorry you are going through this…….I’m not sure if I understood but did your husband’s affair six years ago produce a child or did he cheat on you with the mother of his child? If he cheated and it produced a child, that is a lot to get over. How much does he contribute to the household? You say the house is in your name, does he not own property? Does he not have any other place to go? So many questions but from what I gleaned, he needs a place to stay and does some work around the house to make himself look good. I would give him the boot.

      • I don’t like when people misinterpret the passage on forgiving. Jesus forgave but that doesn’t mean he put up with it. Remember the money lenders at the temple? Not a table left unturned.
        2 books that helped me were Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson It’s outdated, also I have issues with some of his other work, but this book is valuable and most likely groundbreaking in its time. It went against the tide of the church.

        Of course, now I forget the second one… haha. I’ll chime in again when I remember.

    • When the cheater has a complete change of personality (i.e. reveals their true self), the chump can’t help but think they’re sick, addicted, mid-life-crisised, demon-possessed, etc. What in God’s name has happened to the one I love? How can I help them?

  • All I can offer is my story. It seems chumps have a choice between a Giant Wall o’ Pain, or death by a thousand paper cuts. One is faster, and, I think, ultimately quicker and healthier. I wish I had faced that wall, instead of choosing paper cuts. But that is really all I can say. My sister told me, “you will know when you have had enough”. And she was right.

    In the meantime, our lives offer the best example. If we can pick up our shattered hearts and move on towards Meh, living authentically (and happily!) without a fuckwit is an incredible model for new chumps.

    Rock on, CN!

    • I’m close to a year out from DD#3. I’ve spent this past year deeply examining why I choose my partner and why I stayed so long. It certainly was death by a thousand cuts. I stayed with him until I broke completely. The careful illusions I had constructed in my mind to deal with the cognitive dissidence evaporated. I felt a rage like I never knew was possible. I jumped the Giant Wall of Pain and never looked back. I’m not angry with myself. I grieve instead. I wasted 25 years of my life. Isn’t that punishment enough for my bad decisions?

      I never told any of my friends or family about my ex’s emotional and financial abuse until I dumped him for good. I was so ashamed of letting him take advantage of me for decades. The shame kept me silent. Telling someone would have made it real. I would have been forced to finally look myself in the eye and ask, “Are you willing to live like this for the rest of your life?” I also know my family members would have been very blunt and smacked me with the 2×4. I wasn’t ready to hear the truth and deal with it.

      If one of my friends or family told me they had been cheated on, I’d tell them I was very sorry for the pain they were experiencing. I’d tell them they didn’t do anything to deserve the betrayal. But I know, I couldn’t push them on their journey to the truth any faster than they are willing to go. The truth will set us free, but it is one painful motherf*****r.

  • Perhaps this scene from This is Spinal Tap can help us understand why we become frustrated at new Chumps:

    “It really puts perspective on things, though, doesn’t it?”

    “Too much. There’s too much fucking perspective .”

    • I am wAy too old to get weak in the knees every time some random guy illustrates his point with a Spinal Tap quote. But still. I do
      Well said, David 2016!

  • My biggest annoyance is some newlyweds linking articles ( usually religious in nature) on how to affair proof their marriage. I am mixed with feelings that they are naive while at the same time feeling like they are judging me .

    Interesting take above that it is my own annoyance at my pathetic self , and they wouldn’t be wrong. LOL

    • [Church Lady voice] Well, isn’t that special?

      Haven’t we all been there? As long as we did everything right, danced all the right steps, it wouldn’t happen to us. Because we were all in. Because we were honest, Godly, hard-working folk.

  • How about get a life and stay focused on your own shit instead of getting angry at people you don’t know? Lost respect for Tracy for posting this shit.

    • You’re entitled to your feelings but I think it’s a valid topic – I’ve felt angry at certain relatives in abusive relationships (alcoholic partner, covert financial and emotional abuse) partly because I care about them. It’s possible to want better for people you don’t even know, too.
      If a good friend came and told me they’d been cheated on and were considering taking them back, I know it’s not my right to make that choice for them, but yes I would be pissed off that they were entertaining the thought of signing up for more lies and worse.

      • I get all of that, and have been angry at people for the same. But I wouldn’t seek public counsel for strategies and understanding of how my internal angst is projected onto others. That’s what cheaters do…they project their internal chaos and disorder onto others. Devoting an entire forum to this validates a rather pathetic point of view. What this experience has taught me is humility through humiliation. I have compassion for people that suffer this shit, not anger.

        • I mean, I don’t condemn her for posting this, but I would have hoped for a bit more of shaping-up to be dished, yes. It feels Narcissistic to even entertain as valid the feeling that you’re mad at victims, I mean…I’m not denying it could happen, for a whole host of possibly valid reasons, but you need to own that shit if it surfaces, not seek validation for it.

        • Quetzal….Yes! It’s just weird to seek validation for being angry at other chumps. What a waste of energy.

          • She does also seek support in order to change this, but it feels like it’s coming more from a place of escaping discomfort (she mentions it hinders her path to “meh”), rather than seeing that it isn’t very noble and maybe a little check-up on her values is in order.

            I don’t judge her for “having not very noble feelings”, but I do think that’s when we all need to remind each other of perspectives and priorities.

            Anger is a specific emotion that signals the ego has been crossed. I wonder when in the world would I ever feel crossed by someone relating their issues to me. Sure, it can be annoying to listen to someone with their head stuck in the “mindblender”, frustrating cause they won’t take the advice you know will work, etc. But in the end it’s not about “me”, at all. I can choose to politely step away, too.

            • Agree wholeheartedly! I don’t judge her for her feelings, just the fact that she had to express them in this way. It feels like hers is attention-seeking behavior. “Look at me…I continue to suffer thanks to all the chumps that just don’t get it. Never mind that I’m on a discussion thread where chumps air their grievances on a daily basis. Oh the pain and outrage. Hey Chump lady, maybe you could give me some therapy in front of these lowly chumps so we can show them how far along I am in my healing in spite of them.” Newsflash: We’re all around people that are energy suckers…not just chumps. We didn’t need a whole column devoted to how to make a boundary or in support of what appears to be a narcissist’s fragile ego. There. All better now and on to better things.

    • Good for you, Tim, for never ever misdirecting your anger and frustration and hostility at people you’ve never even met. [Disregard if you actually intended that remark to be funny.In which case: sorry, well played ]

      • Okay…you’re forcing me to admit that I’ve honked at people in traffic and have probably shot more than one person the bird. I’ve also never met Trump and do harbor some real hostility toward him and his people as well. 🙂 But…I think we chumps take enough shit as it is…we don’t need our peers that are farther into recovery berating us from their lofty towers of enlightenment!

        • I’m not in an lofty tower. Heck, I’m still trying to get over the wall of pain. Not even sure there’s such a thing as a Tuesday except on the calendar, Tim. Still trying to draw boundaries that Disney daddy won’t violate!! Fuck him and COVID-19 which stopped my divorce from getting anywhere never finished!!!

          • I’m truly empathetic toward you in your pain. My point is, we have enough on our plates and don’t need to hear about others’ anger. I’m not saying you are doing this, but for the person that wrote to Tracie, it seems self indulgent for her to wallow in anger toward others while at the same time acknowledging that it’s pathetic. Why not spare us all in the first place? Obviously her need for validation is high.

  • I remember an old high school friend contacting me a year or so before my marriage imploded, she was in the midst of divorcing her abusive husband. I remember giving her advice and then getting that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It took me a bit to realize that the advice I was giving her, I should also be heeding. But I got there.

  • Now, when I look back, I see a thousand red flags. A thousand obvious lies. A thousand reasons why I should have walked even if there hadn’t been affairs. Apart from being an athletic and good-looking guy, he was a downgrade for me in every way imaginable.

    But I didn’t see those things at the time. I saw not wanting to be a twenty-something divorcee in a conservative religious culture. I saw fear that anyone else would ever have me (I was 6’0″ tall, had a giant, crooked nose, and low self-esteem). I saw all of the people who had thought we’d never make it saying “I told you so.” So I spackled, and I made excuses, and I believed obvious lies, and I held on.

    And if you’d told me then that was what I was doing, I don’t think I would have listened. Some things you just have to learn for yourself.

  • I have felt this too. Partly because it makes me feel inferior, Well maybe she’s more special than me and can hang onto her husband. It usually leads to heavy handed feelings for a while. Same for 25 year 2nd marriages to a cheater husband. Those make me feel down.

    Then I remind myself that things are not always as they appear, and that my only job is to learn I don’t have to convince anyone I’m lovable. And at the end of the day I didn’t even like being married. Really, for women, who does? I think those who say they do are lying, or have ulterior motives. I will never remarry. You’d have to pay me to marry someone, and I mean that from the bottom of my cold black heart.

    So, I feel infuriation too. It will never match my anger at my own self for ever getting involved with that cheating liar, though.

  • Before I found this site, the 2 x 4 was actually delivered by my cheater’s supposedly best friend whom I knew before the relationship. I was very briefly smoking some hopium immediately after discovery when she said to me “You’re in an emotionally abusive relationship…you need to get out and find someone who really loves you”. I think some people may have been offended by it, but frankly, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I stopped deliberating and threw my cheater out and never spoke to her again. I suspect the friend was tired of lying on this woman’s behalf but didn’t want to betray their friendship.

  • I am going to do a thing I’ve done in the past for individual people, and paste a slab from Lundy Bancroft’s ‘Why Does He Do That?’ This is the section of the book where he gives advice on how to support someone in an abusive relationship who isn’t ready to leave yet.

    I think the advice could be adapted for supporting/accompanying a chump who isn’t ready to face the Wall of Pain yet. It’s enormously frustrating and heartbreaking, and you really do feel helpless, but this part of the book is such a good primer in taking care of yourself as well as of the other person.

    THE ABUSER: Pressures her severely
    SO YOU SHOULD: Be patient. Remember that it takes time for an abused woman to sort out her confusion and figure out how to handle her situation. It is not helpful for her to try to follow your timetable for when she should stand up to her partner, leave him, call the police, or whatever step you want her to take. You need to respect her judgment regarding when she is ready to take action—something the abuser never does.

    THE ABUSER: Talks down to her
    SO YOU SHOULD: Address her as an equal. Avoid all traces of condescension or superior knowledge in your voice. This caution applies just as much or more to professionals. If you speak to an abused woman as if you are smarter or wiser than she is, or as if she is going through something that could never happen to you, then you inadvertently confirm exactly what the abuser has been telling her, which is that she is beneath him. Remember, your actions speak louder than your words.

    THE ABUSER: Thinks he knows what is good for her better than she does
    SO YOU SHOULD: Treat her as the expert on her own life. Don’t assume that you know what she needs to do. I have sometimes given abused women suggestions that I thought were exactly right but turned out to be terrible for that particular situation. Ask her what she thinks might work and, without pressuring her, offer suggestions, respecting her explanations for why certain courses of action would not be helpful. Don’t tell her what to do.

    THE ABUSER: Dominates conversations
    SO YOU SHOULD: Listen more and talk less. The temptation may be great to convince her what a “jerk” he is, to analyze his motives, to give speeches covering entire chapters of this book. But talking too much inadvertently communicates to her that your thoughts are more important than hers, which is exactly how the abuser treats her. If you want her to value her own feelings and opinions, then you have to show her that you value them.

    THE ABUSER: Believes he has the right to control her life
    SO YOU SHOULD: Respect her right to self-determination. She is entitled to make decisions that are not exactly what you would choose, including the decision to stay with her abusive partner or to return to him after a separation. You can’t convince a woman that her life belongs to her if you are simultaneously acting like it belongs to you. Stay by her even when she makes choices that you don’t like.

    THE ABUSER: Assumes he understands her children and their needs better than she does
    SO YOU SHOULD: Assume that she is a competent, caring mother. Remember that there is no simple way to determine what is best for the children of an abused woman. Even if she leaves the abuser, the children’s problems are not necessarily over, and sometimes abusers actually create worse difficulties for the children postseparation than before. You cannot help her to find the best path for her children unless you have a realistic grasp of the complicated set of choices that face her.

    THE ABUSER: Thinks for her
    SO YOU SHOULD: Think with her. Don’t assume the role of teacher or rescuer. Instead, join forces with her as a respectful and equal team member. Notice that being the opposite of the abuser does not simply mean saying the opposite of what he says. If he beseeches her with, “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me,” and you stand on the other side badgering her with, “Leave him, leave him,” she will feel that you’re much like him; you are both pressuring her to accept your judgment of what she should do. Neither of you is asking the empowering question, “What do you want to do?”

    DEALING WITH YOUR OWN FRUSTRATIONS Because empowerment and recovery for an abused woman can be a long process, people who want to be there for her tend to go through periods when their patience wears thin. They are tempted to aim their frustration at the woman herself, saying, “Well, if you put such a low value on yourself as to choose to be abused, I can’t keep hanging around,” or “If you care about him more than you care about your children, you’re as sick as he is.” I understand why you feel irritated, but it doesn’t make sense to put her down. The message you send with such an outburst is that you think she is causing herself to be abused, which is just what the abuser is telling her. And the last thing you want to do is support his message.

    One of the biggest mistakes made by people who wish to help an abused woman is to measure success by whether or not she leaves her abusive partner. If the woman feels unable or unready to end her relationship, or if she does separate for a period but then goes back to him, people who have attempted to help tend to feel that their effort failed and often channel this frustration into blaming the abused woman. A better measure of success for the person helping is how well you have respected the woman’s right to run her own life—which the abusive man does not do—and how well you have helped her to think of strategies to increase her safety. If you stay focused on these goals you will feel less frustrated as a helper and will be a more valuable resource for the woman. Here is a mental exercise you can do to help you through your impatience.

    Think about your own life for a moment, and consider some problem that has been difficult for you to solve. Perhaps you have had difficulty finding a job you really like; perhaps you have a weight problem or some other health problem; perhaps you wish to quit smoking; perhaps you are unhappy in your current relationship or unhappy being single. Now think about a time when friends or relatives were jumping in to tell you what you should do about the challenge facing you. How much did that help?
    Did they gloss over the complexities, making solutions sound simpler than they really are? Did they become impatient when you were reluctant to take the steps that they proposed? How did their impatience feel to you? Other people’s problems almost always appear simpler than our own. Sentences that start with “If I were you, I would . . .” rarely help. When people start to impose their solutions on me, for example, I feel the desire to respond: “If you are such an expert on how I should wend my way through life’s obstacles, why are there still important sources of unhappiness in your life? Why haven’t you made everything perfect for yourself?” No life situation is as simple as it may appear from the outside.

    When your frustration is about to get the best of you, seek support for yourself. Talk to someone you care about. Share how painful it is to be unable to instantly pluck the abused woman from her thorny trap, which of course is what you wish you could do, as do I. Tell about the rage you feel toward the man who is abusing her. Then prepare yourself to go back and be patient and loving with the woman you are trying to help. Abused women tell me over and over again that nothing has mattered more to their progress toward safety and recovery than the love and support of friends, relatives, and respectful professionals. One more word of caution: I observe that many people are eager to find something wrong with an abused woman, because if they can’t, they are confronted with the uncomfortable reality that any woman can be abused. The urge to find fault in her interferes with your ability to help her—and ultimately colludes with the abusive man.

    Here are a few steps you can take, however: Tell her that you don’t like the way she is being treated and that you don’t think she deserves it. Tell her you love her and that you think she is a good person. Ask her to read this book. You also might hand her one of the other books listed under “Resources” in the back of this one. Ask her if she would be willing to make plans with you for ways to respond to specific situations of abuse as they arise. See, for example, if she would agree to call you the next time her partner starts to yell at her. Offer to pay for her to spend the night at a hotel the next time he gets scary. Ask whether she could make an excuse to come and visit you on her own for a week over the summer, so that she might get a chance to clear her head a bit. You may think of other alternatives of your own. If you ever think she is in danger at a particular moment—if, for example, she calls you in the midst of violence or threats—call the police in her area and tell them what is happening. Call her or write her often, even if she never seems to return calls, unless she asks you not to (which would indicate that he punishes her for being in contact with people). Treat her consistently well. She’ll feel the difference between what you do and what he does.

    Encourage her to call a program for abused women “just to talk.” She does not need to give them her name or her telephone number, and she doesn’t even have to believe that she is being abused. She can call for support and reality checks and just to describe her struggles in her relationship. The first call to a women’s program sometimes breaks the ice so that it gets easier for her to reach out for help again. You may wonder why I stated earlier that abuse is a solvable problem, yet now I am saying that you sometimes will have to watch and wait. To say that we can end abuse in our communities does not mean that we can rescue each individual abused woman right this minute. To help your friend or relative achieve an abuse-free life may take some time. To achieve an abuse-free society will take a lot of effort on many levels, as we will see.

    • That’s why I always recommend Lundy Bancroft’s book. He also has a website. I have found it very helpful. 💕

  • I remember I used to get very, unreasonably angry at those people you meet who appear extremely vulnerable, you know: the kind of people who seem to have no protect shield or no method or mode of standing up for themselves and telling horrible people to kindly fuck off, who would just accept the shit people heaped on them and believe it. I wanted them not to be so vulnerable, to take a stand, to push back, instead of accepting the cruelty of other people. I think maybe this could also be part of it, seeing how pained and raw chumps are, like a wounded animal that doesn’t know where the pain has come from, confused, unable to stop the next blow. It reminds us of ourselves and it makes us angry.

  • Learning how NOT to get triggered by events and other people is another step in the long process of recovery from betrayal.

  • Throughout history and literature, and this page, many people have observed that It Is Our Own Flaws That We Most Despise In Others. The first time I read that (I was a teenager) it felt almost like an epiphany. Now it seems kind of obvious, but still an insight that is key to self-awareness and understanding what a nurse friend of mine calls “emotions of unknown etiology” which Chumps seem to have a lot experience with. I come here because this place is my main source of emotional intelligence. The more CN comments I read, the less of an emotional imbecile I remain,

  • Chumpness happens to everyone. Good people, bad people, nice people, selfish people. I had the best example of that on a “friend” that I always thought was arrogant but was going through the same I was (husbands left for OW), only mine is abusive and makes my life hell still and hers just went to live in Lalaland with the OW. We were confidants, cried together, etc. She does not believe in therapy, thinks depression is something you chose to have and slowly I could sense that she was getting tired of the way I was dealing with my situation. I have major depressive disorder, add an abusive ex to this and I’ll have to be made of steel to not feel like crap all the time. Since she doesn’t have this and is getting out with her tinder dates, and have no contact with her ex, of course, her healing path will be different. And the other day she just lashed out on me, saying that she couldn’t take my winning anymore, that I was also responsible for my ex being the way he is (ouch), and then it dawned on me: She was in pain but she was still the arrogant person, she didn’t change. I’m an empath, I would never do this to her but the minute she got better, her arrogance and selfishness came back. I see the person that asked the question as someone like that. You can be a chump and use this to be more compassionate or you can be a chump, recover and go back to being your old crappy self.

  • I totally get the anger or disgust we can feel when a chumps hang on to hopium way too long & hard. But the thing is, no one is madder at them than themselves.
    They look back on a daily, monthly, even yearly basis and beat the mental crap out of themselves for staying, but still may never leave.
    A fellow chump, met almost 10 years ago now, has endured multiple, sickening continued episodes of more cheating by her emotionally abusive narc husband.
    Even had another baby with him. Found out recently via an STD diagnosis that he’d been on a tour D’strange, sorta kinda separated while he vowed celibacy & went to counseling – yet wound up impregnating a coworker.
    And she’s still dragging her feet on Divorce with money as the primary excuse, but…. yeah. Her friends hope she’ll eventually find her strength and end this. But right now she seems more angry with herself for still being
    in this situation, than at him for putting her there. Untangling his skein.

    You just want to throttle some sense & self-respect into chumps like this. But all you can do is be kind and available to help when they’re truly ready to leave.

  • It triggers the pain and humiliation that we went through and the anger that we swallowed whole.
    It reminds us of just how gullible and weak we must have appeared and just how shifty that sandwich tasted – yet we ate it.
    It takes away the illusion that we were special and that our cheater really did care deep down and maybe always will…what do you mean your cheater told you that he never fell out of love with you and wants to reconcile with you in a decade or two…mine said that and I was kind of holding on to it smugly.
    Anger is a secondary emotion that often masks pain, fear and loss.
    I feel more sad than angry…like the legendary Cassandra I know how this story usually ends…Google it.

  • I think it makes you angry also because it mirrors the sense of powerlessness we all felt in that position.
    Your anger is what you know now serves as a propelling tool forward out of that mess. So it’s natural your brain brings it out, because it knows it helps confronting the issue. Brain doesn’t know it’s not your situations, it just goes “Here, take this, it’s HELP”.

    But the smugness bothers me, too. If I can admit something, it’s the lack of credibility they choose to assign to someone who they know has been in their shoes and maybe might have learned a thing or two.
    The way we reacted reading Chump Lady. We had that a-ha! moment. We resonated with those truths and embraced them. These chumps are being offered the gift of truth and choose not to take it. It’s an existential kind of hurt. But you need to learn to recognize them and move along, for your own sake, in that case.

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