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New Words for the Chump Condition?

Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve been thinking about the being mighty part of moving on lately, and I think I have a new term for the Chump dictionary: special snowflake chump.

As I write to you, I’m thinking to myself how I could never hate my ex because, 1) he was my first long-term relationship, 2) he went out of his way to boost my self-esteem in a time when it was down. “I owe him so much! I miss him.”

But thanks to you and other people on this forum, I said to myself, “snap out of it bish.” He stole from me, lied on end, and took pleasure in my pain.

I’ve been perpetrating BS on myself because I think I’m a unicorn. That no one could ever understand me but him.

I’m trying to reorient myself to a healthy way of thinking, which includes knowing that I’m unique, I’m different, and I’m special; but, as this forum illustrates, many things are universal.

And, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I should never think that I’m so special that only a cheater could fulfill me.

And so, I humbly submit the term of “Special Snowflake” to the Chump Canon. And I wonder if anyone else has ever felt or feels the same?

Thanks CL!


Dear ChumpB,

I think exceptionalism is pretty universal — ha. But reorienting your brain by coming up with a term to describe a condition is super helpful, in my experience. Because if you can identify it, you can disarm it. The blog is full of CL-isms — pick me dance, Naugahyde remorse, sad sausage channel, etc. In other instances, members of CN have given us words too. Rumblekitty gave us “bitch cookie,” Mr. CL introduced “Reconciliation Industrial Complex,” and ChumpSon gave us “hopium.”

Special snowflake has become a term of derision, but then again, so is the word “chump” — so if you want to claim it as a particular brand of chump spackle and it helps you? Go for it.

Your letter gave me an idea for a Friday Challenge — to come up with a new word that describes the chump/cheater dynamic OR share what CN-isms helped you rewire your brain. Did certain terms here put you off at first? Chump? Unicorn? Have you found yourself applying CN language in other settings? I’m always amazed when I see “pick me dance” somewhere else.

ChumpB, the word nerds of CN thank you.

And yes, no one deserves to be the kind of “special” that is “you’re the kind of special person I abuse.” So glad you’re free.

TGIF everyone!  Bring me your words!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Overtone is my friend. They have natural hair colors and fun ones. As the product is simply a conditioner with pigments added to it, they fade with repeated washings and don’t harm your hair.

      I like to mix fun with natural, so I have shimmery fantasy strands. Join me! 🙂

      • I have become a devotee of overtone…my hair is so grey that I had to dye it every 2 weeks and I was going to go bald if I kept that up, so Im growing the grey out while I cover it with brown and dark purple overtone.

        If we have evolved to the place of discussing our hair color over our betrayers, we have accomplished much

        • Oooh! Come sit next to me! I use the purple, silver, rose gold and golden brown too. Plus the plain conditioner that I mix with the other colors to get whatever intensity I’m shooting for at the time. I have also done a sort of ombre so it looks like a sunset.

          I resemble a particular co-worker to the point that new hires regularly got us mixed up, much to my annoyance. Not anymore!

          “NSC is the cheerful little butterball with the cool hair. But don’t let her looks fool you – she will not hold back if you don’t listen to her, do something monumentally stupid and get hurt.”

      • This sounds like a lot of fun! Thank you for the suggestion! I will have to go look for overtone. For anyone who is desperate to color and has a regular stylist, mine texted her clients offering a color kit (a box of dye and gloves) so we could do it ourselves at home. Maybe this is an option for people.

        • You can only get Overtone online. I know there are other brands that you may be able to get at a retail store but I they are dyes (Manic Panic & Arctic Fox).

          So you may want to start with Overtone to get color without any sort of commitment and move to other brands if it works better for you.

          One thing to know is that Overtone smells minty. Some people hate that.

          I don’t bother with gloves with Overtone. The darker colors linger a bit on your hands and your sink may look like you disemboweled a pixie – so keep that in mind. If your sink is stainless steel, then no worries.

          Have fun!

          • If your goal is to cover grey, leave it on for like an hour, no joke. The brown by itself washes out a little brassy but the dark purple improves it.

            Once the color of my hair is natural and all the dye has grown out, I want to be able to change from brown to pink to green or whatever

    • Great video Thank You

      I’m very happy to see I’m not the only one that has tabs in LACGAL . My friends think I’m a weirdo for doing this but sometimes I just need a specific hard hitting sentence to get me back trusting that they suck .

    • I have the LACGAL audiobook in my car at all times….I wish you would re-record this using YOUR voice, Tracy! The voice talent you used is very talented indeed, but whenever I listen to it I wish I was listening to you.

    • Great interview, I loved it, it was so nice to put a voice to the face. And I *love* your hair! ❤️

      I can’t come up with a new term for chumpdom, but I love all the phrases in LACGAL, and use them all; perhaps my favourite is “fuckwit”, but they’re all so expressive.

    • I wouldn’t sweat it, we’re all living with an “overlengthy hair fashion” these days :D.

      As for me, my hair is only a couple of inches short of being 80’s rebel-soap-opera actor length. Think Keanu Reeves, or MacGyver without the mullet. (I’m a man who works in a professional setting). Rock on!

    • Loved watching the video clip! Nice putting a face to CL 🙂

      Especially loved when you said ‘the premise is wrong, you’re not an option’. I did a little bit of ‘pick me’ dancing and what a waste of precious time I can’t get back. Those two words are so true for many of us, scary, humiliating… But describes alot of our behavior. It made me confront my shit and do a 180. Definitely an important point of departure in my narrative.

      Love CL and CN. Saved my life.

      • I agree Chumped Out. Just having a name for some of us chumps behavior and the cheaters behaviour give a clarity about what is happening. We can get confused by the cheaters gas-lighting and blame-shifting and by our own thinking gives us a shield to avoid getting stuck in the manipulation. It makes us realise we are not unique, that there is a cheater play book and we can see it for what it is. I loved all of CL’s catch phrases as they distilled a concept into as little words as possible. One of my favorites was ‘trust that he sucks’ if I started to romanticize our past. I love the humour, especially the UBT. Just great to be able to laugh in a horrible situation. I now have a life which is hugely due to Tracy.

    • Ironically the fact that I stopped dying my hair was a red flag: sparkledick felt downgraded walking next to a grey-headed female or whatever (I’m not going to untangle what he was feeling, it all boils down to shit anyway).

      He would pester me to dye it. I used to have very dark brown hair, but I was not about to go back to my original color because dark dyes are a known cause of lymphoma (CN can look it up on the NIH’s website; blond and red are safe, just not dark colors). But sparkles did not give a shit about my health. I would look bad in blond

      Well, now I have TWO freedoms: freedom from dying my hair every 10 days (I get awful roots quickly) and freedom from a fuckwit and his debts. And everyone loves the color of my silver hair.

    • Just watched it and, of course, looked closely. Your hair looks fantastic! And your interview was awesome!! Thanks for all u do!

    • It was a great interview!! 🙂 (And your hair looks lovely!) Thank you for everything you do…. so grateful!! Can’t wait to add a few gems into your collection for the UBT soon.

    • CL- Great interview. It’s the total package– great gallows humor, great brain-rewiring frankness and stellar anti-victim blaming insurrection.

    • Psshh. You looked great and you sounded great, Tracy. Your interviewer didn’t come off half as good. Although she seemed nice. Just a bit stiff.

  • I often use ‘sad sausage’. Is ‘lazy communication’ from here? I often use it, too.

    • Favorites my closest friend and I use when talking about our narcissist exes:
      My Ex – Douchecanoe (DC)
      Her Ex – Fucktard (FT)
      Trust he/she/they suck
      Rage-charm-self pity
      Shut that Shit Down (STSD)

      All of these help me stay on the path to MEH. Two more years until my youngest emancipates!

  • “Kibble”, “cake”, “cake-eater”, and “fuckwit” are terms used liberally in another support group that has grown 5-fold since 2018. My personal favorite phrases get me through the tough days and are used to support my chump sisters:
    “The pain is finite.”
    “Is this acceptable to you?”
    And the ever mighty, “Trust that they suck.”

    • totally agree. i’d also add that the concept of one day reaching “meh” gave me so much hope.

    • T3S with the 3 as an exponential .. I thought about getting a sticker made for the truck is took from Douchbag

  • I recently started calling the infidelity accomplice “hitman” or “hitwoman”.

    Your spouse put out a contract on you and your family when they decided to commit infidelity, so that’s what they are.

    And as for that asinine defense “if it wasn’t her/him, it would be someone else”?

    Well, duh. Because if they put out a contract on you and your family, they keep
    casting around until they find someone who will carry out the hit.

  • When I was going through my divorce, my attorney nicknamed my STBX “Fucktard.” I hadn’t heard that term before, nor had I found you, but it fit and it stuck. Seven years later, to certain people, I still refer to him as that or “FT” for short.

    My favorite terms here are “fuckwit” (of course), ”hopium” and “bitch cookie.”

  • I don’t know who came up with Universal Bullshit Translator, but the world needs more of them! Also “Sad Sausage”.

    May I also offer up “pig-fucking son (or daughter) of a syphilic whore”. It rolls off the tongue when the time is right.

  • Inspired by Velvet Hammer’s “hitman”, I submit “witness protection plan”. It labels a societal and legal response which holds the “hitmen” responsible and provides/funds a new life for the victims. I hope that infidelity becomes recognized as the crime it truly is. That cheaters understand they will not be coddled or forgiven. That they will not be given custody of children or alimony or a seat at the family table.

    • I also think we need


      I hate the term “affair partner”….it has a breezy, benign ring to it. I also prefer the term JOINT PRINCIPAL. The term used when more than one person is responsible for the commission of a crime.


        That may also get the attention of the therapists who were trained in the RIC methodology. I doubt most of them went into the profession in order to deliberately harm those who have already been victimized by their spouse/family. But they do. That phrase may clarify what has happened.

        • Yes I would love this. Unfortunately, and I have personal experience here, there is a subset of counsellor that I will label as ‘fluffies’ that got into counselling and have obviously never really got into trauma therapy who believe that most adults are working with a fully functioning set of coping/logic/emotional intelligence tools/skills/knowledge, and/or have At least good intentions And the will to meet any partners in therapy at least half way on some kind of honor system to do no intentional harm. Those types project their own set of values into their clients and are of no use when dealing with any stripe of disordered individual who is not only not in the same page but is actively using the rule book to abuse their partners if they haven’t totally thrown them away. Chumps need therapists who, of not actually highly experienced in dealing with narcissism and other personality disorders at least have the oversight to not be so locked into their own paradigm of goodwill and mutual respect that they recognise who of what they are dealing with and can support the chump rather than merely enable the cheater to further abuse the chump in therapy sessions.

              • Yes! When therapists project their own affirmative values onto the disordered they actually provide cover for the disordered. I’m struck often by the experiential naivety of those in the RIC who privilege saving the family, say, over illuminating a path of escape for the victim.

                My own head doc, incredible, said to me: “Never tell the prison guard the time of your escape.” She meant: your X clearly intends to hurt you; tell her nothing. At the time it was a difficult understanding to process, and now I’m forever grateful to her for it.

                I call it the X Rule.

                Never announce your plans to see embody who intends you harm.

          • I once went with my at the time husband (divorced now) to a shrink who was another anti-social who thought all the poor treatment I was getting was just fine, and joined in the gas lighting to further confuse me. A very isolating feeling thinking you are going to get some help. (We were told where we had to go for help due to Humana insurance, back in 1998 or so).
            My favorites of CL are of course the UBL, pick me dance, hopium (good on ya ChumpSon), kibbles and the Reconcilation Industrial Complex. I loved this one because my problems started before CL/CN was around and the shaming for not being enough, it is your fault, you both have equal fault, etc & mind fuckery was all I could find…and some wanted to charge you to feel worse! I knew something was wrong with this, but the support and clarity of CL was like a light of truth. Once again CL/CN THANK YOU!

          • Stig- that was so well put and insightful.

            (CN- how do I bookmark comments?)

            After being assaulted, subjected to “terrorist threat,” and “falsely imprisoned” (among other of the DA’s long list of charges) by a partner when I was very young, I interviewed a slew of dumb, terrible therapists before finding a trauma specialist.

            I became so interested in the hows and whys these therapists were so bad that I read stacks of books on the subject. Again, fuckery is so interesting.

            The best explanation for therapeutic shortcomings in intimate abuse treatment was a relatively short but hard hitting critique in a chapter on domestic violence therapy in the book “Post-traumatic Stress Therapy and the Victims of Violence” edited by Frank M. Ochberg.

            The chapter was written by researchers Anne Flintcraft and Evan Stark (wonder if these researchers are still at it and if they’d consider tackling chump/cheating therapy failure). The researchers systematically tore apart the prevailing “takes two to tango” victimology view using statistics and citations.

            Anyway, years later when encountering horrible, dumb marriage therapists and “infidelity specialists,” I found that everything in that chapter applied nearly seamlessly. What you wrote rings with the same clarity.

            Something a member of CN said that also rings true to me is that all violent abusers cheat even if not all cheaters are physically violent. But I think the overlap between the two is key in terms of abuser MO, cultural denial, therapeutic failure and even survivors’ survival responses which are so grossly misinterpreted.

            • “how do I bookmark comments”

              I’m on a PC, not mobile, so I don’t know if this works the same everywhere, but the date between the username and text of a comment is a direct link to that comment. You can right-click it to bookmark, or click it and then bookmark the page as normal, as the URL will now be for that comment. 🙂

      • Triple HATE affair partner- sounds lovely, so innocuous
        Why is that term still being used?
        I don’t love all the misogynistic terms we use either (and I use them) but I know they can reflect badly on the chumps
        Even cheating partner is way better than affair partner

        • Use them on cheating men, too. Then it’s not misogynistic. Bonus; misogynists hate being called a bitch or a whore.

        • For my situation Ho-worker is the best, I also like paramour, it sounds skeevy in a Victorian sort of way.

          • Paramour sounds like a ‘parasol’ acutrement to me. Sure, it’s Victorian and the worst insult at the time. Going further back, Harlot was in the bible.

            • I feel like all of those sound too romantic and it gives them a proper title. Home wrecker is the most appropriate. It also works for men and women. Cheating is equal opportunity!

      • How about accomplice for the affair partner? Homewrecker isn’t bad. It’s descriptive. Unless they were lied to and thought he or she was single, the “partner” is a knowing accomplice and home wrecker.

        • I’ve used “accomplice” for a long time….
          I also use “cohort” (co-whore-t). Any term that conveys abuse and crime and violation imagery is what I use.

          I loathe euphemisms, and “affair partner” to me is an innocuous-sounding euphemism.

  • I think I may have coined wreckonsiliation (or wreckonsillyation) but I claim that humbly knowing that someone may have used it first. What thinks you all?

    What really helped me understand (that we will never, in fact, genuinely understand) is the theory of “cake” …I untangled the skein (look at me using all the lingo today!!) for years and just spun in circles until I understood cake.

    • Wreckonciliation is my favorite!!! So thank you. 🙂 That so sums up the futility of trying to reconcile with a liar.

  • Ok. I’m throwing this one out there as the term for the cheater who has to move back home after being kicked out, but has no where else to go and still pays the mortgage until the house sells. A friend and I started referring to my (then) ‘mattress on the basement floor’ dwelling husband as Radon. He lived in the basement and was toxic. For the greater part of the year that we had to co-habit, all of friends began calling him Radon.
    I guess it’s a bit of a niche market of fuckwits, but it felt so good to slap that label on him. It helped my friends and family to understand how unhealthy that arrangement was.

  • When my ex wanted to reconcile and was being a sad sausage, he began what I like to call the “great apology tour”. He was telling everyone how sorry he was and trying to get sympathy.

    • My ex has done some really crappy stuff time after DDay. It has been almost fours years since our divorce and his OW (whom he married a month after our divorce) tried to be my friend and wanted to discuss issues with our young children instead of him. My lawyers set my ex straight on that. I wish I had a term for the OW. She will be really nasty to me and then super nice wanting to show she “cares” to my oldest kid. Ugh ????!!!!
      Love the term great apology tour phrase on this Thread.

      • What about Goneril? If a kid spots it and asks you get to drop some Shakespeare on them. She and Regan have no consciences, only appetites for the kingdom and its power and riches.

        I mean, Gonorrhea for her and Syphilis for him may be more satisfying but could cause trouble if seen by the kids.

  • I have come to realize that most of my marriage was abusive. He never hit me. But, he verbally, emotionally and financially abused me. His cheating was just another form of abuse. I will never allow another person bring me down or abuse me again. I finally like who I am. And as for who he cheated with. He would have picked anyone willing to cheat with a married man. My cousin was a low-life that had a history of cheating not only when she was married. But, cheated with several married men.

    • Me too, CC. When he was alive, I was very rarely brave enough to admit to myself that some of what he did/said was abusive. Once in the safety of widowhood, I eventually admitted to myself that MUCH he did and said was manipulative, cruel, and abusive.

      His financial abuse was subtle but real…all the cars in his name so he could do as he wished without my assent. He spent more than he could pay for with his income then when I went to work, he told the kids I worked because I was “selfish”.

      For any newbie who missed this story, it is a fun one…There was a particular investment Cheater had made…about $7000 with some trading company. He asked me before he made it and I agreed. One day he opened the mail and read a report that the investment didnt do what he hoped it would and he went into a rage screaming / blaming me for whatever happened (typical for him). When he died, I cashed it in and it was just enough money for 2 tickets from the US to London, a room at a fancy hotel and concert tickets. (took trip with daughter).

  • I think of the narcissist 3, rage, pity and charm as the wizard of oz characters. The lion is rage, big roar, big teeth, big claws but a loser. Pity is the scarecrow. Can’t stand on his on two feet, woobley, needs everyone’s help is picked on by the flying monkeys. Charm is the tin man. Very shiny with sharp edges but hollow inside and his no heart. My marriage was a fantasy the real marriage was behind the curtain, pulling the strings. I’m Dorothy, deluded, lost, afraid. I just want to click my heels and go home. But the tornado took it.

  • To comment on your #2, “2) he went out of his way to boost my self-esteem in a time when it was down.”

    I noticed with my x that when I was down, he was happy, but when I was strong, he tore me down. and I realized he would be nice and sweet only when I was miserable. That’s a terrible dynamic! Mentally thinking he’s so good to me; I’m a mess- when in reality, he was the one keeping me a mess! He liked the power over a woman not sure what to do. He liked my dependency. But when I stood up for myself and pointed out something he had done that bothered me, he said I was a hateful mean person that never understood him.

    So: just because someone does some nice things for you, doesn’t mean you have to accept mistreatment or abuse!

    Aaaaand… the CL language…
    so much CL “code” has helped me de-code his tactics and actions. It has really shown me how un-original he is. It has helped me realize my own sanity. I know I deserved better. You shouldn’t have to beg to be treated with decency.
    Another thing, I used to have a rather foul mouth, and I worked hard to break that habit and clean up my language. But it’s just SO FITTING all our circumstances. They’re derogatory words put rightly to derogatory actions. And I can think of no more fitting term for a cheater than fuckwit.

    • That dynamic of tearing me down when I was happy or doing well but then offering his sympathy when I was down describes my marriage, too. I was always happy for him when his work life was going well, and was in fact the catalyst for some of the awards and opportunities he got (we worked at the same place). He NEVER returned that favor.

      For a long time I say “if I’m doing well, he’s not, and if I’m doing poorly, he’s doing well” as just some odd coincidental quirk of the universe. CLICK went the light bulb when I realized it was cause and effect.

      • Yes, and there’s another mindfuck-
        We never communicated well
        We were never on the same page
        It’s all part of the playing with you.
        I’m just thankful not to be a toy anymore.

      • YES! Holy sh*t, yes. Thank you, Adelante and Rad Momma. That describes what I went through so well. Thank you! My ex adored being the “together” one, and the more helpless and unstable I felt, the bigger my ex’s ego became. So much emotional abuse, chip-chip-chipping away at my self-esteem because (somehow, magically) I felt like I “just couldn’t ever get anything right”, but by god, the ex was”there to support me” as I “f*cked up yet again”. And when I did have success, then the ex’s resentment was enough to make it hard to breathe. Then I was an even bigger “problem”, somehow. Better to not make a big deal of success. Better to lean on the ex for support, because THAT was when the ex was loving… right? (Gah…)

        Thank you for sharing what you did.

      • Yep, I was selected for a very competitive job (application process was over 4 years) and he was all sad sausage that I had to attend training away from home. I was the one to proof his resume and encouraged him interviewing for various higher positions in his organization. The thanks I received was him having a 1 year affair with his howorker.

    • Now that you mention it, he never was happy when I was happy. Wow. Thank you for sharing. This is truly not the way a relationship should be!

  • The Predatory Opportunistic Parasite (POP) had a harem who all knew about me and gleefully encouraged him to use me for their gratification….

    Several years back in the pages herein, I proclaimed he had a degree in “Whorticulture” and also referred to him as the “Penis Fly Trap”.

    I’m happy to announce that I’ve recently learned his isht has caught up with him big time.

    • If people asked what he does for a living post D Day I said he was an ‘Omitician’. Which is a job title for someone who has conveniently managed to not tell you WTF they are doing behind your back by omitting rather than out and out lying. I think this is probably what we should re-name most politicians as well as cheaters.

  • ‘Peter Pan’ was a term a chump used I think. My children and I needed a name for when we absolutely needed to refer to their former stepdad who broke their heart. We go with Peter Pan – and Cruella for his accomplice. Peter Pan suits him so perfectly, and it doesn’t hurt the girls to say it. However, if the accomplice needs to be referred to again, I’m going with Peter Pan and ‘garbage can’ because they rhyme!
    I also love Timid Forest Creature.
    He blamed his affair and dumping me on his not being ‘happy’ and not having the tools to say anything. When I think of that and how the timid forest creature had the tools to have an affair with a married women with children and break up 2 families for his own momentary happiness- I’m disgusted .

  • I call the OW low hanging fruit, because that’s exactly what she was for whatever reason be it low self esteem, daddy issues etc. She was easy and he was bored adulting.

    She defo won the sparkly turd. Good luck to her.

    • My friends saw my ex and his new thing at a cafe a few weeks back. They were flabbergasted by his step down. They referred to her as “the ugly bit on the side”.

      They said it’s because she is young, small and was just clinging to him like a little girl. They couldn’t believe their eyes-he’d traded in a lovely, graceful wife of 25 years down to a clingy little bit on the side. They would have found it funny, they said, but they were just so shocked at the downgrade they couldn’t speak!

      So, “ugly bit on the side” it is!

      • But my personal Chump Nation faves are Kibbles and Unicorns. I was offended for a brief moment at bring called a chump, but hey! The shoes fits so I’m wearing it.

  • “Cake” and “pick me dance” I have used with my now wife when she tells stories about what her ex-husband did to her (strung her along for 3 1/2 years before leaving her for another woman). “Is this relationship acceptable to you” I have used with my daughter when her ex boyfriend was being mean to her. But I haven’t told anyone about this site because of the language as my friends are very conservative. Only my wife knows about it.

  • I think that “pain shopping” is my favorite CL term of all time. They are all good, but this is just such a perfect explanation for what happens when you become the marriage police.

    • Yes, and the “Pain Olympics”…we never have to compete for whose pain is worse. I work with the dying and cant tell you how often I get a coworker trying to figure out how much pain a bereaved (newly or soon to be) person is in…like assessing that would help at all. “Its not the the Pain Olympics” can shake them out of that stupid line of thinking.

    • That’s mine too, pain shopping. I said it one day at my therapist appt and she said what did you say, laughed, and wrote it down. Also, not my monkey, not my circus. Fuckwit of course, UBT, and LACGAL.

  • Oh… I like this:

    Rage/Pity/Charm Channels

    TRUST that they suck.

    Mr. Sparkles


    They don’t change. Ever.

    Get your ducks in a row. Lawyer-up.

    You are worth a cheater free life.

    He has a case of the Sadz.

    And all of the illustrations are PRICELESS 🙂

  • My personal favorite is fuckwit.

    However the most powerful one is that cheating is abuse. Abuse – that’s one powerful word that carries so much weight and meaning.

    I was at a party with some ladies before this quarantine stuff and cheating came up in conversation. This was the smug crowd, the chumps must be deficient in some way crowd. When I commented that cheating is abuse, it fell like a hammer and made these women stop and think. Really think. It was amazing to watch a complete 180 turn around from smug, chumps must be at fault to omg cheating really is abuse. That’s a group of women that I’m pretty certain will never again look at cheating the same way or condone any fuckwit as just a poor sad sausage seeking his happiness.

    The term that I personally hate is affair partner – it’s too much like legitimizing them. I personally like side chic as it’s a stinging slap of reality. Cuts into the centrality and I’m so special narrative neatly.

  • I never refer to my ex by name, only as the “tire fire”. A tire fire is both a “fast-burning event, leading to almost immediate loss of control,” and a “slow-burning pyrolysis which can continue for over a decade…. difficult to extinguish… [producing] much smoke, which carries toxic chemicals.”

    • Yikes – “Tire Fire” is a good analogy, incredibly toxic, goes out-of-control fast, yet the toxicity lingers.

  • My ex lured his affair partner using flashy spending. Source of cash was a line of credit: They recently married. So I guess she won. The prize package? A fucktard, a failing business and a ton of debt. I think *Schmoopie is just now starting to realize that she didn’t marry a sugar daddy. She married a SPLENDA DADDY.

    *Schmoopie – another great term used frequently on CL!

    • God I love it when the AP’s think they’ve won, marry the cheater idiots and it is just a matter of time before they are in for a rude awakening. Would love to hear more stories on how the side pieces “won” the cheaters and in the end were totally bamboozled.

  • Wow. There are just so many words and phrases for the fallen from that I use routinely in my vocabulary now. Fallen, aka us chumps, only because we’re usually the main ones who notice the fall, both to our circumstances and to the character and standing of our fuckwit partners. See? There’s one right there! Fuckwit is a favorite, obviously. Probably I should tone down the use, but it just feels so damn perfect to describe the stupid, cheating, heartless XW and her AP. Not to mention all the idiots that support them post D-day.

    I hope you all don’t mind me going slightly off topic, but you’re one of the only groups that can understand and appreciate my current situation w/the fuckwit XW right now (probably the only group that understands it fully).

    My XW is now dealing this week w/the (dare I say it, karmic?) fall of her fuckwit AP. Now, almost three years after she left me and tore two families apart (as well as lost her then job as secretary to her AP boss), that same AP has lost HIS job in disgrace. It was big news for the last couple of weeks in our state, as he was the head of our college state system. Poor sad sausages (there’s another!).

    It would be completely hilarious except for my poor 14 yo son coming over this past Tuesday and giving me an immediate hug and telling me that he was so glad to see me, as he’s dealing w/a very tense atmosphere at the XW’s. It seems the AP is taking out his frustrations at effectively being pushed out of his job on everyone in their little domicile. I told my son I was very sorry he had to deal w/that, and he told me that, “it’s not your fault dad. It’s mom I’ll have to hold accountable for that.” Yipes.

    Good God, I feel so bad that he’s in that situation. I even felt bad that that’s something he’s going to hold against his mother. It’s one thing for me to be angry w/her. It’s another thing to see her hurting her relationship w/our son by her actions and association w/her fuckwit AP.

    I did make it very clear to my son that if he EVER feels uncomfortable over there, even though he’s supposed to be w/the XW for custody (or not. Sometimes he visits her on my time, which is fine), he can come over to my place to get peace/relief, 24/7. I think he knew that already, but I wanted it to be clear. I told him if that happened, I would deal w/his mother if she had a problem w/it. As for my two older daughters, I don’t know if this is affecting them at all. They’re much more reserved about things involving their mother than he is.

    I was very good and even though I almost posted an anonymous comment on our local NPR radio’s website story of the AP’s fall, I resisted it (it was a very close thing, though). It would have alerted anyone reading it that this fucker is even lower in character than everyone thought (not an easy thing to do right now, I think, for most of the public here). I decided that I wasn’t going to give that cheating, POS, fuckwit AP that much power in my life, or the XW by extension. Fuck them both eternally, but I’m moving on. Ok, back on topic. Thanks for indulging me (at least, I hope you did).

    Bitch cookie is another favorite of mine. Again, it just sums up their actions so clearly. Cake is another, as the XW constantly reminds me she always wants everything both ways. Hopium is another good one; I suffered from it in the first six months post D-day, as well as doing the pick me dance. Spackle is great too, because I was doing that for many years it seems. Grey rock is another, as it’s what I’m actively doing right now.

    Eating the shit sandwich accurately describes what it feels like going through the days, months and years after D-day. Sparkly turd is a great description of these former partners of ours, too. Unicorn also works really well in describing what I thought I might be able to achieve w/the XW in the pick me dance early days. No, it’s not a likely, or usually good thing to reconcile w/these idiots.

    Untangling the skein of fuckupedness is spot on, too. Spent a lot of time doing that. I’m not sure that everyone will agree w/me on this (in fact, I think most of you will not), but I do think that for many of us (not all), that doing this is helpful in the long run. You will probably never fully untangle it, but like a lot of things, doing this is necessary to get to the point where you realize that, and from that can come your realization that it doesn’t matter, because you were the one who fully loved in the relationship, not the fuckwits. And eventually, you will also then realize to “trust that they suck,” which is probably the best and truest information I came to embrace from CL so far. Now, I’m just working on getting to Meh and Tuesday.

    I do think it would be great to put out T-shirts w/a lot of these words/phrases on them. Btw Tracy, are you no longer offering merchandise to purchase w/some of these sayings? Or am I just being clueless and missing it on the site? And any progress on the new book about tips for parenting our children through the minefield of divorce because of infidelity?

    Lastly, in these strange and terrible times, I hope all of you in CN are doing ok. I’m wishing all of you out there a safe passage through this pandemic, and your families, too. Lots of love to you all, and stay strong. We’re still here for you. Hey, we survived infidelity! Covid-19 and sheltering in place? We’ll survive this, too. But I will say CL woke me up to the fact that people that are being abused are in a dangerous time right now. I wish all those in that situation safe passage and love, both for themselves and the children they may be protecting. I’m also going to see about helping out my local abuse shelter.

    • TLR… just responding because to everything you said, “YES.” And I also have a 14yo son who lives with me and visits a very contentious household. Slightly different in that the OW dumped Mr. Sparkles after two years because he was cheating on her (go figure) and it turns out my naming her in the divorce for adultery was not well received. His new Chump survived a physically abusive first marriage and is only 2 years into (still lovebombing) this new one with my X and already co-signed a mortgage. ANYWAY… I just want to say you are doing a great job… we cannot protect our children from adversity or fuckwits in life. But, we can help them learn communication skills; how to set boundaries; how to self care… and luckily, our X’s provide us with enough fodder to fill a textbook. It sounds like you are doing all of those things and your son is doing a good job of not internalizing them. Keep doing you and modeling the kind of behavior and life you want all your children to have – that is all any good parent can do.

      • ICanSeeTheMehComing!,

        Thank you very much. You’re being extremely kind. I don’t usually feel like I’m doing a great job for my son. But it’s nice to know somebody thinks I am.???? I keep telling my sister (my rock through all this) that I’m trying to do right by my kids, especially my son, since he was the only minor when this happened (11 yo when his mother ended an almost 25 year marriage w/infidelity involving her rich, POS older boss & still current partner). She keeps telling me I AM doing it. I just have a hard time accepting that because I know all the ugly thoughts still running daily through my head about the FW XW and her equally FW partner.???? I’m very sorry to hear you’re in anything like my situation. It sucks, and no one should have to deal w/that. To return the favor, you sound like a very sane, loving, stable parent to your 14 yo son. My best wishes and lots of love to you, your son, and all your family. Stay safe and be well. You’re rockin’ it!

    • I can’t imagine if my ex and Schmoopie # whatever were on NPR! Egads!! It takes a lot of class not to comment on that train wreck. I’m sorry your son is caught up in it. Keep rocking the sane parent gig.

      And I think you’re on to something with COVID and chumpdom. I was just having a similar conversation this evening. Right now feels very similar to post D-Day, embrace the chaos, shit falls apart surrealness.

      As chumps, we know from resiliency. What it is to have the bottom drop out and carry on. It does give a person a unique skill set.

      • Tracy,

        Oh, it’s still her original Schmoopie.???????? Rich, older former boss. And a totally selfish prick. Just like the XW. Except for the prick part. I still remember finding your blog around 2 1/2 years ago, and pouring out my D-day story to you in an anguished email. You had such a great reply about my XW. You said, “She’s an idiot.” That meant so much to me at the time. It was validation from outside my friends and family that the FW XW was the main problem, not me. I always say I was no perfect husband, but I realize now that I was the only one of us to love fully in our relationship. And that’s all thanks to you. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. I think I would have figured out a lot of this stuff, but it would have taken so much longer without you and CN. Oh, and somebody on this post reminded me that I forgot to list Switzerland friends as a favorite phrase. I ran to some of these the morning after D-day, after staying up all night in the aftermath of discovering my XW’s adultery w/her boss. It took me a year or so to figure out their wanting to stay friends w/the XW made them Switzerland friends. God, I’m so glad to be rid of those and many other Switzerland friends I recognized in the last few years. Who needs those idiots?!

  • Sad sausage has got to be the best way to reframe it, topped only by Tracy’s “The Noble Sad Sausage.” My ex could not have been more that, but I never had the language to describe it. That new phrase helped my thinking so much. Really appreciate your voice Tracy. The interview was awesome by the way.

  • Fuckwit is now in my everyday vocabulary!

    My sister’s therapist introduced her to the term “stinky thinking” to identify self-defeating beliefs, thoughts etc. I use it often.

  • I’m pretty sure I got this term from someone on here and as my serial cheating, harem keeper ex was an obs/ gynae consultant it was so apt for him…I refer to him when talking to my sisters and girlfriends as the Cunt Whisperer.
    Crude but spot on.

    • OMG Dee Dee! The Cunt Whisperer is the funniest thing I’ve heard all week! Thanks for the laugh!!!

  • I’m creating a new term for cheaters who have multiple APs and have to maintain numerous lies at once to keep their cake supply going:

    The “SuppLIE chain.”

    Gotta lie to keep that supply right? Each lie is one more link in the chain. Gotta lie to the spouse to keep the AP, gotta lie to the spouse and the AP to keep the other AP, gotta lie to the kids, gotta lie to the family, gotta lie to friends, lie to coworkers, on and on and on…

    Eventually there’s a weak link. One lie doesn’t mesh with another, the cheater slips up, the chain breaks. Everything comes undone, cake supply slows down, comes to a screeching halt, suddenly it’s all a mess.

    “SuppLIE chain.”

  • The biggest change for me was realizing that cheating is abuse. I even wrote a whole essay about it for my application to get a Masters in Social Work. I got accepted and will be starting in the fall.

    Discard was Memorial Day 2019. In the past 11 months I have:
    Sold our marital home (closing was beginning of April)
    Divided all our stuff
    Moved to my hometown after being away for 27 years following HIS career through 9 moves!
    Found a lovely 2 bedroom duplex to rent
    Reconnected with old friends
    Applied to and got accepted to grad school

    How’s that for being MIGHTY (another favorite term)? 🙂

    I’ll find the essay and post below, if you are interested.,..

    • Here is the essay I referred to above – the prompt was: Diversity: Describe a time you had to work through a personal bias [unfounded negative assumption]. What was the outcome?

      For most of my life, I was biased against people who stayed in abusive relationships. I thought abuse happened to people with low self-esteem who made bad life choices. I felt sympathy, but thought that it would never happen to me. Then, my own experiences made me reevaluate my beliefs. In May of 2019, I found out that my spouse of 27 years had a 9-month affair. We rarely fought and seemed happy together. Everyone who knew us was shocked; he was “such a great guy!” Through research, support groups, and personal counseling, I came to see his lying, gaslighting, blame-shifting, and spending of marital funds for what it was: abuse.
      As I went on my journey to heal from the betrayal, I found my biases crumbling. I learned that each aspect of his cover up was abuse. His lying about where he was, who he was with, and getting upset if I questioned it was gaslighting and emotional abuse. His exposing me to potential STIs through having sexual relations with someone else without my knowledge was assult and physical abuse. His spending of joint funds on his affair partner then hiding the purchases was financial abuse. I gradually realized I was a victim of abuse and that a thousand tiny lies had blinded me to the reality of my situation. I began to see how capable people could be taken in and learn to tolerate situations even more hurtful and dangerous than mine. I had to adjust my whole view of what I thought was a relatively happy marriage and the type of person my husband was. I realized anyone can be fooled by someone they love.
      Others who had gone through abuse were like me. They were from all walks of life: military spouses, professionals, blue and white collar workers. They trusted what their partners told them and were conditioned not to question. Some, like me, thought it was a first offense. Others had stayed in their relationships based on false promises of change. All were broken by the experience and needed compassion, healing, and a way forward. I learned no one is immune.
      I now am an advocate for viewing adultery as abuse. I am in online support groups for people who have experienced this trauma. I encourage those who are new to this journey and learn from those who are further along. I share resources with people I meet, so they can move through the trauma to find healing. I have more empathy and compassion for those who stay in worse abuse. It takes time, healing, and good resources to recognize that you have been conditioned. My abuse was mild, but it helped me shed my biases and become an advocate. I hope to help people going through this experience. I want to call out cheating as abuse and help the victims of all abuse to find healing, strength and a way forward like others helped me.

      • Standing ovation! And a request that CL add more on-line resources? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were regional in-person meetings when we get to the other side of the pandemic?

      • Well done essay. I’ve found a huge disconnect when people talk about cheating and cannot seem to see that it IS abuse. Hell, it’s in every ‘cycle of abuse’ graphic. It’s part of the dynamic of abuse, and yet people so often try to wall it off in it’s own little niche. It’s a pattern, it’s part of the pattern. Jedi hugs!

  • I think “Switzerland friends” was one that was of particular help to me. Wow, did I have tons of those! And it felt good when I finally cleaned them all out of my Facebook feed and phone contacts. If they can still be friends with my ex after his lying, cheating, and abuse, they are NOT my friends.

  • I use a lot of the CN/CL-isms when talking IRL now. But generally the only vocabulary that I’ve added to my world is “Stunted” for XH instead of his name. Most of my friends know him as “Stunted” because he is emotionally stunted like a 20 year old (in a nearly 45 year old man) and seems to be oblivious or proud that he can’t/won’t deal with emotions beyond that.

    I also use “ho-workers” a lot for him and his girlfriend and I’m afraid the kids are going to hear that someday since it is becoming more universal to say “the ho-workers” when talking with my friends instead of “XH and his girlfriend.” I admit that I like that they are both ho-workers b/c it seems oppressive to women to just use that term with women APs and not with your own male XH.

  • ChumpB here! Another phrase that’s helped me is “trust that he sucks”. To me it means trusting my judgment, which was also something I didn’t realize I struggled with after DDay.

    Also, Im so looking forward to meh. It’s now an actual goal. Get. To. Meh. 🙂

  • My favorites are “unfuckwithable” and calling my (nominal) monthly alimony check “reparations.”
    Oh and his name in my phone is “Jackwagon Assclown” ????

  • The perp and the basic had a “oral carnal contract” as in money after services rendered and +3 (from three different donors) were fed as part of the fallacy .

  • My favorites are Sparkly Turd and Jesus Cheater. He was a pastor and seemed like such a great guy and husband. He still goes to another campus of our church and plays in the worship band. Yet he could cheat, lie, keep me in the dark Andy leave me for another woman. These two terms are just what I needed to categorize him and help me trust that he sucks (another helpful phrase.)

  • “Spackle” and “Unraveling the Skein.” Those are the ones that helped re-orient my thinking. For decades I made excuses for his behavior as the result of a pretty rotten FOO. I never thought of what I was doing as “excusing his bad behavior”; I thought of it as “explaining why he would so something that was hurtful.”

    “Noble sausage” and “sad sausage” (and “noble sad sausage”) were other terms that gave me clarity and understanding, and helped me re-frame his behavior.

  • A small child learns that if (s)he wants to knock down a block tower, (s)he has to build it up first. Then they stand back and admire THEIR WORK and BAM! It comes crashing down. What a rush. If the kid is lucky, someone else built the tower for them to knock down.

    And that’s fine if it’s blocks. But if it’s a human being who’s being built up only to be knocked down, well, get away fast. That’s some toxic BS right there–maybe psychopath/sociopath territory.

    Some narcissists like the power of building someone up, and then are threatened by a partner with agency. Some people are so insecure as to believe that a whole amazing person will only cheat on them, so they cheat first–they go looking for someone who is lesser than you, because they’re safer that way. All the better if they hid deception from you, because you are a threat, and “I know something you don’t know, even though you think you’re better than me” feels SO GOOD to an insecure narcissist.


  • My favorite CL expression is embedded in a long ago posted brilliant piece (oh how I wish I could remember the title).

    Tracy had written about how cheaters possessed “vast reserves of entitlement”. Unfortunately, in today’s sorrowful and selfish world that expression can be used in countless conversations regarding limitless people of influence.

    I knew that is was a solid part of my lexicon when I heard my boss repeat the phrase during a board meeting.

    And oh – although it has been months and months since I have visited any pro-reconciliation sites, I too noticed that “pick me dance” is used far and wide. Further testimony of the transcendent and universal condition of cheating and the spot-on language that CL has crafted. Such good and far-reaching stuff.

  • My all-time fave..?? Narkles the clown! While not much used, I still get a chuckle whenever I come across it. So much meaning in so little words.

  • From one poster I immediately took toxic hologram and put it as cheater’s name in my contact list. And I’m pretty sure my favourite, human reptile is from CL.
    My friend created the term Zonen-Uschi for ow (lol). Referring to the former socialist GDR. Uschi is a mocking short form of the traditional name Ursula and refers to a plain skanky woman.

    An American male friend calls ex DJ-C because after I informed him his spot on reply was, wtf I thought he was all ‘down with Jesus Christ’?!

  • Well pre DDay when cheater was here I cane to refer to his gaslighting, deflection, and blameshifting as frisbees. Hasn’t been of much use on the recovery phase since i’m gray rock and don’t engage him. when explaining his misdeeds(less and less, yay!) i’ve mistakenly referred to his motivation as ego sprinkles. I think a combination of sparkle dick and kibbles.

  • ‘The Pick Me Dance’ was how I first connected to Chump Lady, because it described exactly what I had done over and over. (I followed a link from Natalie Lue’s Baggage Reclaim blog to here, and never looked back.)

    Kibbles! Cake! The original and best CL-isms.

  • I have some narc terms.

    I added narcbait to urban dictionary. This is a person with high empathy who attracts narcissists. That describes a lot of chumps.

    Narcoleprosy; any STD given to you by a cheating narc.

    Vietnarc or Vietnarking can be (n) or (v).
    Derived from the Vietnamese prostitute in film Full Metal Jacket, as in; “Me so narky, me love me long time.”
    This is a narc who is blatantly casting about for supply, or the act of doing the same.


    It’s a term I’ve long used to teach students how to use the work of other in their papers, as in “don’t use quotations to spackle the holes in your paper.

    But “spackle” explained how I silenced the voice in my head that told me there was something wrong with Jackass, and before that, things I was ignoring about my relationship to XH the substance abuser.

    I learned, here, to pay attention to what people do and to listen to my gut and pay attention to what I see rather than “give people the benefit of the doubt” when it comes to making decisions about who to allow in my life.

  • “Twatwaffles”. Describing the multiple women STBXDick was keeping in close personal contact with prior to his sudden departure. I used this in an early email to my kick-ass attorney’s and had them all dying. ;))) (I of course credited ChumpLady).

  • ao many helpful terms and concepts above thank you all!

    “howorker” was another phrase someone created that applied to the ‘just-a-friend’ of narc-X
    Also for his subsequent revolving relationships with the “next victim” /”wife appliance” (as in used, and replacable). Love UBT and ‘this is finite’

  • I call cheaters “pound cakes.” Pound cakes are, among other things, bad for you, typically made up of unhealthy ingredients, and extremely dense.

  • Bereft Boner Boomerang: When Cheater meets with future Justice due to Wandering Boner
    Sad Sausage to follow.


    Without honor, integrity, loyalty or morals.

    It has a real meaning of formerly; in the past, but I use it as a noun. It seemed to fit all the way around.

    • My made up acronym is my ringtone for the ex as well…JSTIUTK…Just someone that I used to know…..My chump lady favorites are asshat, pick me dance, schmoopie, trust that they suck, and cheaters palybook

  • “Pick me dance” has saved me a fair bit of pain, I only wish I knew I was doing it sooner! There needs to be a term for the opposite of “Switzerland friends” though, my friends knew about D day before I did and dropped him so fast you’d think he was on fire!

  • A CN friend helped me get through in-home separation (what a ghastly thing to endure). Her support and humor kept me sane. I really loved when she described the sleeping arrangement as the ex “infesting” my couch.

  • I love the language on this site, CL-isms have helped reorder my brain. More names for chumps to understand themselves sounds good. Unicorn/Snowflake relates exceptionalism well. Hopium, RIC, “head in a blender”, “wall of pain” relate other aspects well.
    But I’d like a word for another part of my experience not covered well, something to do with living with no hope. I disengaged with my own welfare because of shame, linked to a promise I’d made (rigged, I had no clue I’d been manipulated). But that damn shame-wall was enough to isolate me and eventually give up trying to save myself. Fortunately his discard gave me permission to leave; I was euphoric within 2 weeks & suddenly successful at work + other areas. Boy was I puzzled when this news enraged him. It took me forever to undo the self-esteem/relational damage from his emotional poison.
    I would have loved a word to explain my isolation. I needed to hear that it wasn’t my fault, that whatever was promised he didn’t deserve me if he wasn’t hearing my welfare. I was put-off from people who could have told me this because I felt judged & that I couldn’t share the big shame secret. They didn’t realize that they sounded just like him with insulting assumptions. They’d talk to me like I was a dear who didn’t realize what he said was mean. But the problem was I didn’t recognize how dangerous the meaness was, and that I’d stopped all concern for my welfare because of shame/blame/fear-obligation-guilt. I didn’t need to know he was occasionally wrong. I needed to know that my sense of self had been compromised to the point where saving myself lost any priority. In that state of mind, “Is this acceptable to you” would have made me feel even more alienated, isolated, dumb, and deserving of destruction.

    • I think the term “Stockholm Syndrome” would really fit how he made you feel. You were required to abide by his rules and decisions; you had no rights to your own ideas.

      You are fit to be yourself; don’t allow him to defeat you any more.

  • Hi, sort of new and have been lurking for awhile.

    One of the things I love about this forum is the invention of new language to describe the endless WTFuckery (probably not my coinage) of the cheated-on experience. So much of it exceeds existing language because history is rarely written from the chump perspective, either politically or personally. A new lexicon is definitely needed. So I’ll share some coinages along with a bit of my story.

    Bear with me since this will be long. I’m a year from D-Day, survival financial planning and the rest and have a lot of thoughts bottled up. I promise it all relates to cheating in a roundabout, shaggy-dog way.

    One original expression I do remember wasn’t my invention. I heard it once and never again. It was coined by my college vocal coach, a famous singer and stage actress who’d studied speech and language pathology and was a great observer of character and human nature.

    The expression she came up with was “Puber-phoney,” a snarky spin on the serious diagnosis of “puberphonia” or “mutational falsetto” for those who retain a high-pitched, childlike voice long past puberty, usually following childhood trauma though sometimes due to certain genetic developmental conditions.

    My voice teacher, who was 4’10” and a coloratura soprano but spoke in a grown-up woman voice herself, was making reference to adult women who put on a widdle-widdle baby voices or high pitched chipmunk voices when men are around but might switch to a different tone in other circumstances. This was way before Jessica on the Netflix reality series Love is Blind.

    My speech teacher was trying to warn me of the danger of speaking in “mutational falsetto” when I was doing Improv comedy in NY on the weekends for kicks and to get over my fear of public speaking. I’d invented a character who switched back and forth between a “grown up voice” in professional circumstances and a “rinky-dink sexy baby voice” as a way to ply men.

    I came up with the character after a fashion model at a dinner party started laughing uncontrollably, pulled me aside and said that half the woman at the table were escorts and we needed to get out of there fast. We slipped out and spent half the night walking around Manhattan, cracking up and talking about gender expectations, the dating scene, women’s rights, etc. I made a lifelong friend that night. One of the things that impressed me was her talent for impersonation. She had the escorts dead to rights. The squeaky-squawky whispery weirdo voices, the mannerisms, the fawning, etc. But she got very serious at one point saying that it was like slavery with pom-poms. She hated her own profession, despised the pervs and creeps she encountered when just trying to make a living, but came from a family of ten and needed the money to get herself and younger siblings through school.

    We still call each other talking in that “escort voice.” Usually it’s just gibberish: “Ooky wooky googly boogly la-la oochie-POO!” It was our underground resistance password: “Don’t give in, don’t be what’s expected, don’t conform, don’t drink the Koolaid.”

    I had no serious ambitions to become a comedian but my Improv sendup was a huge hit. I kept doing the character and my voice teacher was concerned I would permanently damage my vocal cords if I wasn’t careful. She said women who chronically morph their voices, whether consciously or unconsciously, to be simpering, childlike or more feminine typically end up sounding like croaking toads when they’re older. The late Kristin Linklater from Juilliard was famous for vocally and psychologically breaking down and rebuilding acting students who over-masculinized or over-feminized their voices.

    You never know when things you learn by accident end up being handy. After college I dated a guy who cheated on me with a 200 LB psycho who had the exact rinky-dink baby voice I’d done in my routine a few years earlier. While he was hoovering to get me back, the ex-creep dumped the side chick. Then I reported him to the police and DA after he tried to lock me in his apartment but that’s another story (ending in 15 counts and a plea deal to avoid prison).

    Apparently Squeakers the side chick wasn’t pleased with being dumped even if Creepo was no prize. It was all about “winning” it seems. One night when I was walking alone down 47th street, I passed a ruckus on a street corner. It looked like a drunken cat fight so I did the NY thing of keeping my eyes straight ahead and zigzagging away and across the street. Then I heard my name bellowed from behind me and turned to look. It was a very drunk, red faced Squeakers being held back by three friends as she was screaming abuse and trying to lunge in my direction. It appears she was planning on mud wrestling me on 8th Av.

    I think CL mentioned what happens when you wrestle with pigs so I didn’t. Turned out Squeakers was a serial mate poacher who’d had to leave the state of Texas after she got played out. Texas is a big state and, from the buzz, she was a big poacher. Also a nut.

    The night of the ruckus, I kept walking and didn’t feel much of anything but “Well, that happened.” Maybe it was shock. I was 19, had moved on quickly and was fully in Meh once I’d been screened for every disease known to man. I thanked my lucky stars I was a stickler for condoms and didn’t agree to marry that guy. But later I had this weird pang like I’d literally invented and conjured this person. As time went on I found out that kind of simpering/violent duality isn’t that rare. Inspired by my amazing voice teacher and friend, I started taking a real interest in vocal reflections of inequality since it seemed relevant to gender studies and politics.

    For a few years I was wary of any woman I encountered who spoke like this, assuming they were all split personalities, kleptos, prevaricators and dangerous. But biases are no fun. The world isn’t black and white. Eventually I was relieved to meet a few cool women with that kind of voice. One had some kind of vocal cord lesion that had nothing to do with abuse. The other was not only fully aware and open about the past abuse that contributed to the vocal tic but was an anti-rape activist who directed an advocacy network I volunteered for. She explained that the tic outlives almost every other manifestation of trauma and takes years and years of therapy to shake because the vocal folds can “freeze.”

    That was also long before Dr. Drew began doing his pop-psych parlor trick of accurately identifying Love Line radio show callers’ past sexual abuse (down to the age when they were abused) just by the sound of their voices.

    I’m not a Dr. Drew fan (not a talk radio or TV talk show fan in general and mostly despise pop-psych) but I did think the convergence of observations in different professions was interesting. Dr. Drew said that the phenomenon, if that’s what it is, was almost entirely unstudied. That caused a ping in my brain about the prevalence of squeaky-squawky or widdle-baby porn voices. What industry is bigger than porn these days?

    To quote Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” A fitting extension of that phrase might be “It’s difficult to get anyone to understand something when they get their rocks off by not understanding it.”

    Anyway, long story short, on D-Day last year when my husband confessed to having an affair with a coworker, one of the first things I asked (calmly since I’d chosen a public place for the confrontation) was if the AP happened to talk like a chipmunk. I was genuinely curious. I mimicked the type of voice I was talking about (since I’d had practice).

    I wish I could have snapped a picture of his face at that moment. He was astounded. From there I pretty much guessed everything else.

    I’m not sure if I believe him when he said he isn’t attracted to women who speak this way since cheating is so often related to power dynamics. But he said when he shook the tree to find someone– anyone– who’d have an affair with him while he was going through some self-absorbed drunken fuckwit (love that word, whoever invented it) drama over my ultimatum that he join AA or be gone, the only turd to fall off the branch was The Chipmunk.

    It seems Chipmunk wasn’t a cool campaigner for women’s equality bravely grappling her past traumas the better to help others and change the world one survivor at a time. Chipmunk didn’t have a benign vocal fold lesion. She was the character I conjured when I was 17 and an exact clone of Squeakers.

    Sometimes it sucks to be right. I really had to reflect on that and also why I had ended up with someone for a second time who’d cheated with a squeaky-squawker. But at some point I realized that assholes don’t wear signs on their foreheads. Screwed up individuals may aspire to integrity, even have a radar for it in other people and seek it out and carefully try to exude it themselves while failing to overcome their own secret attraction to sleaze and illusion.

    I would say Chipmunk fell under the simpering/aggressive dualism. She called me (among other things) “She Devil” before I even knew she existed. I am mystified how parenting my kids and urging my husband to get into recovery before he destroyed his family, his health and career made me demonic but that’s just another of the endless cheater WTFuckeries.

    That moniker cracked me up. She wasn’t referring to the old Meryl Streep cheater movie. I think it was more an artifact of her churchy, Jesus-y divorced parents which made it even funnier. For half a minute, I was tempted to get a She Devil tattoo but I had no desire to emulate anything about the AP, from her butterfly tramp stamp to her weird rubber spiderweb lingerie, full Brazilian wax job or her possibly horrific childhood.

    Back in the frantic reconciliation stage when I agreed to see couples therapists who specialized in infidelity, one total jerkoff therapist started berating me for talking about the AP, asking me what I “got out of it.” I calmly gave him a list of things I got out of it, like a better understanding of human foibles, a measure of whether my children and I might be in real danger, and even a sense of empathy for assholes, though a kind of scientific, ten-foot-pole, petrie-dish empathy. Hurt people hurt people as they say. After you’ve beaten them off with an aluminum baseball bat, you can hope they get therapy and go off to sin no more.

    Here’s another coinage that isn’t mine but was blurted by a young artist friend to explain why most of his work comments symbolically on injustice, hypocrisy and inequality. He called himself a “Misanthropologist.”

    He really was like the character in Moliere. A decent guy with a dark focus. That’s another kind of duality but one I like a lot more. I had wondered how he could be so kind and thoughtful with everyone while his work was so dark. He quoted Thomas Hardy: “If a way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.”

    I sometimes think what saved me from shock, trauma and terror for my kids’ futures was how downright interesting human fuckery is. But I’m also equally interested in integrity. Thank God for friends with similar interests and views. Thank God for words to describe it all.

    • Thought I was reading the New Yorker;) Glad you’ve eclipsed lurking, and unbottled here…looking forward to the next chapter in the story:)

    • ‘But at some point I realized that assholes don’t wear signs on their foreheads. Screwed up individuals may aspire to integrity, even have a radar for it in other people and seek it out and carefully try to exude it themselves while failing to overcome their own secret attraction to sleaze and illusion.’
      WOW ????
      And I love ‘chipmunk’ …so many good names to choose from now.

    • Thanks for the deep dive into squeaky squawky baby voice dynamics. I’ve always hated that shit, now I’ve got some perspective on it. Marilyn Monroe, case in point, TALK LIKE A GROWN-UP. I know she was abused. Add that one to the study.

      • Chump lady, YouTube interview was great, and you looked fantastic. How does one get themselves on a Ted talk? We chumps need you there to spread the message that cheating is abuse. How can you get on talk shows to spread the word of your book?
        In Canada we have a talk show called ‘The Social’ – 4 women- and they are always interviewing authors regarding their books. Now it’s all done from their homes… One of the leads on the show was cheated on and she’s a diehard dump the cheater person…
        I hate that people don’t know the anguish that chumps go through – I 100% believe it’s worse than having your spouse dye on you.
        It’s a different kind of death without all the support, understanding, good memories of love and life insurance to get you through .

    • That was the best piece I have read in a while. Stickler for Condoms! Hahaha! My new motto (along with Trust They Suck, of course).

  • Standing applause, She Devil !! I’d pay money to be able to put words together like you. I’m not sure if you’re a writer or not. If you’re not, you certainly should be. That just blew my mind. Thank you.

    • She Devil, my jaw is on the floor.

      So, the homewrecking whore who ended my 24 year marriage (although I don’t actually blame her), is a baby talking child. I had the displeasure of having to work with her in our business, where day after day I was treated to her whining bitch ass talk about her fur baby. Yes, her fucking dog. I am haunted by the memories of her saying, “I’m so wonwey aw by mysewf. Just me and my fuwbaby.” Batting her fake eyelashes and knowing she was talking to the woman who the business adored, while she was fucking one of the other bosses-my fuckwitted, arsehole of a husband. On DDay, I actually said that I could not believe he was fucking a woman child who onwy wuvs her doggie and is so boring and dumb. I really thought he had more intelligent taste. By the way-I’m still I’m the business and they’re not.

      So, there’s one more story to support your theory of the power of baby talking fuckwits to destroy a family and hurt a woman who loved a man for half her life (while talking in a normal grown up voice).

      • I hate to say it but unless the baby talker has a bookshelf full of titles (like, say, “The Second Sex,” “Father-Daughter Incest,” “Femicide,” “Demonic Males,” etc.) that would send any prospective dirtbag running for his life, caution may be necessary.

      • “I’m so wonwey aw by mysewf. Just me and my fuwbaby.”

        If HPV and herpes could speak. I’m so sorry you had to stomach any of it.

        • Thanks for the sympathy and thanks for opening up the dialogue about yet another stranger than fiction aspect to these disordered cheaters. It never ceases to amaze me how there are so many shared characteristics. There’s a playbook out there they all must’ve read.

    • Thank you kindly. I wrote a lot as an advocate for various causes but haven’t written in over a year (fearing all that would come out was a string of curses a mile long).

  • The expression that I can’t really warm up to is ‘wife appliance’. The concept I compleyely agree with. The expression I think is still a bit too respectful and that ‘wife’ humanises it. My mother used ‘maid’ though maids are paid whereas many wives (husbands) are not only unpaid but also bring in money.

    • Persephone,

      This is a source of guilt for me. I feel I did frequently put the FW XW in the role of “wife appliance.” I don’t have a better phrase for it, but I understand your desire for a better one. It was not intentional. But I have realized that a mixture of things influenced my behavior. Stupidity, ignorance and laziness, to be sure. But also, I’m a deep introvert and only had so much energy left after work or after taking care of the kids so she could do whatever extracurricular activity she wanted to do (possibly including her affair to a certain extent, sad to say).

      And I didn’t care how the house looked. I cared only about her & the kids (and maybe the pets). Everything else was secondary (or even tertiary). But for her, I know that she would have preferred me to show I cared by helping out more around the house. I showed her I cared in many other ways, but was unable or unwilling to see that helping out more around the house would have meant more to her. Whether that would have been enough to prevent her from cheating on me, who knows?

      The only thing I feel that somewhat mitigates my actions or inactions in my marriage was that I know she viewed me as the “husband appliance.” When I burnt out after twenty plus years in the healthcare field, falling into a deep depression, and unable to find work, let alone work so lucrative in pay, she exited the marriage, mentally, emotionally and eventually, physically.

      So, I apologize for men like me that seem unable to realize quickly that you have to make that extra effort to help your partner out w/housework & general home upkeep, in addition to all the other ways you can show your love for your partner. But I want to caution that the potential exists for everyone to take their partners for granted. You gave some indication of this, so thank you.

      So, stay strong CN. Keep working towards becoming better people, and thru that, better future partners. Even if it hurts to realize how imperfect we are. We know how shitty our former partners were/are. At least we loved fully, acted like adults when it came to the crunch, and were loyal. I wish everybody better days ahead. We’re gonna make it.

  • I used Asshat to describe my EX for a long time. When things got tough or he was trying to manipulate me I repeated in my head Trust They Suck.

    I had to live with my EX for a little more than two months- hardest thing I have ever done.

    I am very thankful to you CL for writing the book, and for creating the blog. I found both about one week into the nightmare. The book was on audio and I listened to in at least 40 times in those two months. Just over and over. It really helped me not make mistakes, or many. I did make a few. From DD it was 8/10 weeks until I was divorced. Without your book I would have pick me danced until I dropped.

    My addition to the dictionary is GUILT HAS A SHELF LIFE. My lawyer said it and it was true.

    I probably need to read it again, just for a pick me up. It’s been a very hard 20 months. In a little more than a year I was divorced, my brother died in a tragic accident and my mother died.

    The point of my post is to say thank you – to you, to everyone on this blog. I have had some very dark days and you all helped me put one foot in front of the other. At times that is all I can do. Currently very overwhelmed, Still scared of all the things I don’t know how to do to take care of the house, which I find amazing as I’m a successful 57 year old woman. So again, thank you to everyone.

  • To CL…

    That voice thing IS really interesting, right?

    Even Marilyn didn’t always use the Marilyn voice. There are interviews where she lowered the mask and sounds like an actual adult.
    She was a victim who claimed her own victims (Simone Signoret for one). None of it ended very well for her. Maybe the mask wore her.

  • I called the longest term affair partner “predator” because she had a long long history of interfering in all of cheater’s relationships and positioning herself as most important to cheater. But Predator would never actually get with cheater when cheater was single and available. Needless to say, predator left the picture as soon as I did because it was no longer from for her unless she was destroying lives.

    So glad I have moved on from both of those sociopaths.

  • I’m so grateful for the CL vocabulary, wisdom and community.

    I went through my final breakup with the ex earlier this year. I was devastated. I googled for some support and landed in a random forum, where I came across a whole new word: “D-Day”. At first, I had no idea what that word meant. And then it hit me. That thing I went through, that awful day – – it has a name! Four letters that contains all the surprise, anger and shame that I, and a much bigger collective, felt during the most hellish hours. This is not a CL word but that forum led me here. And so, after two years of Wreckonciliation (another word I did not know by then), my journey to freedom began.

    I read the archives and the comments every time I was angry or upset. I woke up reading, went to bed weeping and reading. At last I had the proper words to explain to myself the full range of what I’ve went through.

    Chump-Son/David (who wrote so many wise comments) said here a few times that the vocabulary of CL is essential in the recovery, and I couldn’t agree more. This unique, yet on-spot vocabulary helped me to quit the crippling Pick Me Dance. It helped me shut down the Cake & Kibble factory I opened solely for a one sparkly client. But although I had all the new words, I learned here that I should not Untangle the Skein. I started my Hopium rehab and stopped feeding on the RIC and it’s DIY Spackling ideas.

    My journey is not done, and I’m still not a resident in the State of Meh. But having CL stating loud and clear that infidelity is abuse, might have saved me from self harm which I practiced after D-Day and its following events. Self harm that could have ended way, way worse. So Chump Lady and Chump Nation, I thank you all so much for your words of wisdom; both the new and the ordinary, which were not ordinary at all for me.

  • So long ago when we CL suggested an appropriate name for the cheater. I hated saying ex or anything really that connected us, and he didn’t deserve his damn name to be used. So that was a fav, come up with a name that best defines the cheater.

    The private detective I hired to use evidence in court gave me the assholes name on his first day. He sent me a photo and wrote “are you kidding me? This guy looks like Saddam Hussein when he crawled out of his hole in the ground”. And the PI was right. Dude wasn’t really recognizable as the person I’d fallen in love with. He was horrific, ugly and the look in the eye, a Saddam that was even more cowardly than the famous dictator and really did look like he just crawled out of the dirt.

  • “Divorce Remorse”: the “I still Luuuv you” state in which the cheater recognizes he/she will shortly lose his/her best slave

    “Irreconciliable Mistressses” needs no further explanation

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