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The Mindfuckery of Reverse Victim Offender

There must be a bazillion “How To Tell If He/She’s Cheating” articles on the interwebs. You know, the usual — new cologne, sudden penchant for 9-hour Pilates classes, weird showering habits, furtive texting, requires cavity search to reveal cell phone… But here’s the real clue you’re dealing with a cheater, and it’s not lipstick on their collar — it’s anger and defensiveness.

And I’m not just talking after discovery or suspicion of cheating, I mean bizarro anger about little insignificant things. I TOLD YOU THE PROPER PASTA/SAUCE RATIO IS 3:1 ! WHAT HELL IS THIS?!

Well maybe he’s just grumpy, Tracy. Maybe he had a bad day at work. 

No, no, no. That was the big sign. FURY when questioned. Indignation.

It makes sense if you work from the supposition that cheating (and most bad behavior, really) comes from entitlement. Not only are they entitled to screw you over, they’re entitled to not be questioned about it. Who are you to stand in their way?

We’re all familiar with the mindfuck of It’s Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction To It. Here are two other bits of mindfuckery — It’s Not What I Did, It’s How You Found Out About It — and It’s Not What I Did, It’s What You Did.

1.) It’s Not What I Did, It’s How You Found Out About It. The problem isn’t the cheating, the problem is that you looked at the cellphone. The problem isn’t the hooker habit, the problem is the “insecurity” that drove you to snoop. The problem isn’t the affair with the co-worker, the problem is you discovered the disciplinary action from HR.

See how that works? It’s called deflection.

Good people aren’t cocksure. They tend to second guess, give the benefit of the doubt, and want to believe the best about people they’ve invested in. When met with righteous indignation, the non-disordered person thinks, “Am I out of line here?”

Freaks have no such doubts. It Is Good To Be King. The problem isn’t their crimes and gargantuan sense of entitlement, the problem is you know. You saw past the mask. BAD CHUMP.

Solution? Believe the evidence, people. Pay attention to the actions and pay ZERO attention to the spin. Good people are transparent. Good people willingly answer questions. Bad people are mindfucks.

2.) It’s Not What I Did, It’s What You Did. Otherwise known as “Whataboutism” or the false equivalency. Okay, so they have a hooker habit. You once spent too much on a leather sofa. You know, you’re not exactly perfect either. (Perfection being the standard you apparently hold everyone to.) Who are you to judge them, Ms. Profligate Spender on Soft Furnishings?

If you’re a chump, you’re going to take the bait and defend your sofa purchase. Or worse, you’re going to lead with vulnerability and fair-mindedness — “Yes, I once made a terrible decision about a sofa.”

POUNCE! “AND YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO JUDGE ME!!!”

Stay in the sane lane, chumps. Hooker habits are not equivalent to dubious sofa purchases. Do not get distracted from the point at hand — this person has endangered your health, your family, and your finances. You bought a sofa, this person bought a human being.

Abusers and autocrats have a distinctive MO — they victimize others and then claim victim status. The turnabout is known as DARVO — deny, attack, reverse victim/offender. Pedophile? That child came on to me. Dictator? The Rule of Law oppresses me, how dare you subject me to it! Cheater? I am misunderstood and you are controlling.

There’s only one appropriate response to this kind of malignant entitlement — consequences.

You control you. Don’t engage, go directly to actions. End the conversation, close the account, call the lawyer. Enforce that boundary.

Narcissists understand consequences. They don’t like them, but they understand them. Your pain though? Not so much.

This one ran previously. Seems to be a lot of this mindfuckery going around…

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  • Spot on!!! My X would act weird every few months. I thought it was stress or something I did, but really he probably had started a new affair each time.

    The last time he was acting weird, yelling at me for no reason and treating me like he hated me, I googled the “symptoms”. The first thing that popped up was “How to know your spouse is cheating.” Had no idea at the time that anger and hatred meant he was cheating again, but makes sense now. He had to hate me in order to do something so cruel, so he made up reasons to hate me. This kept me desperately trying to fix what I had done wrong instead of focusing on his strange behavior.

    • @chumptothemax
      Exactly what I lived through. I remember telling one of the many therapists we saw (which he complained didn’t ‘get him ‘) that he’s so grouchy and irritable with me. Her response—‘Hmmmmmm….’
      Obviously, we dumped her and I (big mistake that I was searching for a therapist for him to approve or disapprove of) finally found a woman he could fool.
      Back to your point—I just thought he hated me. I didn’t understand that he had to hate me so that he could justify his cheating. Mindfuck cruelty. Is it bad to wish his current woman would pump him over just so he might get a glimpse?

      • Shelly, the problem is they don’t get a glimpse because it is always about them and they can’t feel like that.

        We went through different therapists too, our whole marriage was one big therapy session. The therapist that finally helped me was seeing us both when the X flew into a rage one night. The therapist kindly asked him to leave the room for a moment, then gently told me I was married to an abuser and needed to leave. What did I do? I let crazy X talk me into going to a new therapist! Finally, after DDay 3, I went back to the therapist who saw him for who he was, an abuser, and finally found the strength to leave. So many wackadoodle therapists trying to hold a bad marriage together, it should be a crime.

        • Raises hand. Yup. #MeToo

          In the last year or so of our marriage, prior to me finding out that he was fucking whores during his lunch hour at work, he was especially mean to me, over and over and over and over. For no reason. Sometimes I wondered if my husband of 20 years hated my guts.

          Chump that I am, I googled it, and Google pointed me toward the fact that he was going through a middle-age crisis. Once I started going down that path, Google told me that the worst thing you could do when someone was going through a middle-age crisis was to question him about the possibility that he was going through a middle-age crisis.

          I walked on eggshells around that, until another Google search took me to the Whore/John website that he was active on. It was no fucking middle-age crisis. He was a John. I kicked him out the day I found out.

          • I could have written this. It just dawned on me one day that he kept acting like he couldn’t stand me but I couldn’t figure out why. My dad died and I took a week off work and my husband was barely around, it just was obvious he was completely checked out. A year and a half later a prostitute website popped up when I was ordering an Xmas present on the iPad for our daughter. Turns out he had been fucking prostitutes for at least a year and a half, probably longer. According to him it was my fault for working too hard and being too tired to have the amount of sex he required. Of course, it is pretty easy to be well rested when you haven’t worked for 3 years and your wife is working like a dog to make sure the family has an income and health insurance, as well as taking care of a small child. Asshole.

          • Me too, as well! I genuinely couldn’t understand why my husband was so angry with me for so long, why he hated me. It made me try harder and harder to win his approval. Unfortunately I thought he had depression and was ready to stand by him. Luckily I was told the truth and realised that the anger on and off (but mostly on) for the last 10 years was guilt.

      • ” I didn’t understand that he had to hate me so that he could justify his cheating.”

        This, if only I had known. Instead, I was doing a pick me dance of epic proportion.

        I didn’t have the mental energy to untangle his nastiness over the years to correlate it all but that is probably a good thing.

        • The hatred was kept in check, brewing below the surface was a laundry list of small hurts growing as I was in the slow boil pot. By the time the hatred spewed the pot was bubbling over the top.

          • Probably ones you were never told about I’m sure. Mine sure was building up a list of crimes against humanity (well against him) that I had committed but obviously could not atone for as I wasn’t aware of them.

            Such a mindfuck because mine was blended with acting like everything was normal, but it wasn’t. It was a straight discard, it was interspersed with bits about how much he loved in me in between.

            It’s just weird now I think about it.

        • I have been going through this too I didn’t know he had to hate me to fill better for something he had done or about to do , He would get angry over nothing , yell at me , so I would be there trying to figure out what I did , When he really wanted to see OW he would pull out everything he could , and make my life miserable He doesn’t love , me he never did , he doesn’t want to be with me , There are times I don’t want to be with him , but I don’t make his life miserable or cheat All that your writing right now is very helpful Thanks I don’t have a therapist that I can talk to , so you all are helping me out now

    • Wish I had learned all this before I total
      lost it every tine I saw him. It would have been nice to keep my mouth shut, get my ducks in a row and them WHAM!!! Divorce!!! Just to see the look on his face!!!

      • I wish the same. I pick me danced for 10 weeks until I found out about the affair when I stopped, told him I knew but not how I knew immediately I had got myself together. Then I went no contact. It’s been hard though and I have a financial mediation coming up next week which I am building strength for. I dread the hatred and cruelty which I did nothing to deserve to the extent that it was dished out by him. He left me damaged, but therapy has helped.

    • “He had to hate me in order to do something so cruel, so he made up reasons to hate me.”

      This is the “devaluation” stage of a relationship with a cheater.

      • “She had to hate me”.

        Thank you for that one simple statement that ties together everything about the last years of my marriage.

        • This post resonates so much with me! My x did the same damn thing–engineered situations and arguments that would cause me to react negatively/angrily.

          One night (one month before D-Day when he was surely plotting his discard), he pulled out all the stops when he texted a suicide gesture that caused me to drive 3 hours to check on him.

          Anyway, he texted the gesture and then blocked me from his phone. So all my “Are-you-ok?” calls and texts went unanswered. Worried sick, I drove the three hours, arrived at 2 am, ran to our bedroom, and was so relieved to see him sleeping.

          Immediately, he opened his eyes (like in a scary movie) and yelled at me for not believing him when he said he wouldn’t hurt himself. Maybe if he’d answered his damn phone like a functioning, empathic adult and reassured me that all was well, I would not have made the trip. (Note: There have been multiple suicides in his immediate family. I was always worried he would follow suit. Of course, he knew that and used it to bait me.)

          It was all a set-up to get me to react angrily. I fell for it.

          It’s a sick game these assholes play to justify their cheating.

      • Yup. I was only married one year, together five years. He was the most wonderful man and partner – until shortly after we were married and then I started to feel like he was disinterested in me and then sick of me. All low key, it was very insidious.
        Sometimes the devaluation is so subtle you almost don’t acknowledge it to yourself –
        until I told him that it felt like he was sick of me…
        Later he suddenly out of the blue told me he was leaving me because he wasn’t “happy”
        I found out the truth because of sleuthing …. leaving me for a married coworker who likes to fuck other peoples’ husbands -as Tracy would say .

        • Zip! Sounds exactly like my situation to the T! I never married but together the same amount of time and the wonderful man at first… then the other personality comes out and its so subtle you totally blame yourself. Its like they purposefully see us out. I’m glad you got away and me too! Chump lady is really an angel who saved my sanity many times over! Yep we must have dated the same clown. I still grieve the good times I will never get back. Especially safety and security.

        • Same here, including the 35 years. Zip nails it with the word “insidious.” You hardly notice it’s happening.

          • 35 years here, too. He told his lawyer he hated my guts and would “rather be a pauper” than give me a cent. Who says shit like that about the mother of their children??

            We had NEVER discussed divorce btw, or ANY bad feelings before the big D Day. So yes, I was shocked and hurt and pretty damn traumatized.

            But it makes much more “sense” now that I understand he’s truly fucked up. He remarried asap and has tons of money but no contact with me at all, and little to no contact with our 3 grown children.

            At least a decade of our marriage, in hindight, was unconscious but painful pick me dancing. I hate that I was so blind. I’m furious at myself for being so invested and that I loved him.

            Asshole.

            • People change, some for the better and others for the worse. You loved the man your husband used to be. You didn’t change. He did. Don’t feel guilty that you tried, feel relief that you don’t have to try with a waste of space anymore 👍 Bad manipulative people m do not change!! Your free now.

              • I know people change but these people have something else going on, especially the ones that are Mr nice guy for years and then become monsters. My therapist tells me it’s a way that they don’t feel the shame they should, so they destroy us. My ex had “bad genetic” from both sides of the family, an abuser dad, and an abuser grandpa from the mother’s side. And I vividly remember asking him once if his dad was always an asshole like that to his mom and that bipolar behavior everyone hated and he told me that he became a completely different person around 38-40, the exact age my ex changed. But neither left their families because the wives were doormats. I guess he knew I would not be like that and discarded from the beginning.

  • “It is only a problem, if you make it a problem!”
    How is that for a mind fuck? He truly believed that whatever he chose to do was right, good and appropriate. I was the one making his infidelities into a problem. Why he was perfectly happy until I made his cheating a problem! See how that turned into me causing problems where obviously there are none? DARVO

    Any newly chumped coming here hoping to solve the riddle, “untangle the skein of fuckupedness” just don’t. Get a Super Lawyer and save yourself the pain of dealing with a cheater. GET OUT! Save yourselves.

    • This! “It’s only a problem if you make it one.” And “I’ve changed, You have to learn to trust me.” When I asked who he was going to the shooting range with. Mr. Bodybuilder said his female friend. She wants to learn to shoot during these pandemic times. A damsel in distress! What “friend”? Response: the one he met 3 years ago on Tinder. They went on one date said she is pretty oh but ‘nothing’ happened.

      THREE years later he is still keeping tabs on her (and I know now literally every girl he slept with or hopes to – look out SanFran). I said it was a DATE – he said don’t be jealous and crazy. It’s only a problem if I make it one. And his new favorite “thats a You thing”.

      • “Nothing happened” except that he went out on a DATE.

        I hope you have already left this jackass.

        • I “was going to tell you – but I knew YOU’D REACT this way.”

          Said to me at least 10 times over the years after outrageous boundary violations.

          slapping my forehead AGAIN – will I ever understand MY OWN choices? Jesus, it’s one thing to realize he’s an asshole narc,

          but where the hell was MY brain and MY self respect??

          This^^ is my own shit sandwich I guess.

      • And it’s not “You have to learn to trust me.” It’s the AngryX needs to earn trust with transparency, by staying plugged in and engaged in the relationship, by addressing the partner’s responses to behaviors that create concern, and making reciprocity one of the foundations of the relationship: It’s “No, YOU have to show you are worthy of trust.”

        • In divorce negotiations, one of Wasband’s demands was: “Differently Chumped has to learn to TRUST Wasband.”
          If I was drinking coffee at that moment I would have spat all over the table. You can’t legislate trust.
          I could not believe a grownup human being professional lawyer actually said that.

  • My only problem with that tip was that his response was anger and defensiveness, no matter WHAT the issue I brought up was!

    Obviously I didn’t realize at the time that he was an all-around abuser (now I know about his Antisocial Personality Disorder traits, too), so it didn’t register to me that it was a clue. If anything, because his reaction was so aligned with his normal behavior, it was pretty convincing that “there was nothing wrong”.

    I know it’s backwards, but when you’ve been brainwashed by a relationship, that’s what happens – if you don’t have the tools to understand what’s going on. I had a Master’s in Psychology and it still didn’t help me a bit (it actually pushed me to be too understanding, but that’s a story for another day)

    • Hey Quetzal —

      George Simon writes about that. He says that psychologists are looking for signs of neurosis, and mistake the presenting problems of the narcissist for low self-esteem (of course, the opposite is true, they have high self esteem).

      • Even worse, the betrayed spouse often presents in therapy as a depressed / anxious / dissociated wreck after being subject to the horrendously abusive behavior of the adulterer for who knows how long while they’re actively engaged in the adultery. Therapists then mistake the betrayed spouse as The Problem in the relationship. Couples therapists need to be well versed in recognizing abuse and drop the assumption that marital problems are 50-50. Healthy couples in a balanced relationship aren’t the ones coming into therapy. In abusive relationships there’s a power imbalance that a competent therapist should easily recognize. Infidelity is a huge red flag for that.

        • I also think some cheaters are so incredibly charming and not in a fake icky kind of way -but they seem so genuine that the therapist really likes them
          as does everybody else because they are all about impression management
          – mine was cool, calm, collected and a real lovely people pleaser…. and fake but nobody saw that

          • Mine had that skill down pat too. It must have been from years of practice from FOO. It took me decades to see the mask slip enough to catch up. No one taught me about this. My own FOO conditioned me to accept this behavior as normal. So I was doomed to live this.

      • I’m studying Psychology. I will be an enlightened practitioner if I qualify to be one.
        It’s unbelievable how much mindfuckery comes from therapists/ counselling etc let alone the abuser.
        Betrayal Trauma is a thing, hopefully bring more recognised now.
        Thank goodness for Chump Lady. She didn’t need a degree to see through the BS.

        • ” I will be an enlightened practitioner if I qualify to be one.”

          I will be an enlightened practitioner WHEN I qualify to be one.”

          Fixed it for ya.

      • Attie, that cracked me up! Same, I guess that made me a horrible person. Also garbage disposals, he was the garbage disposal cop. Expert, in fact. 😉

    • “I can’t believe you are making me eat dinner every single day! (I cook like a chef, had food waiting for him when he came from work, he used to praise my food to myself and anyone else that wanted to hear)…..
      You’re so controlling!

      then proceeds to open the pantry and grab a bag of Doritos and sits and watch tv…I go and say, you’re not eating the food I made? This snack is not healthy…

      “You see? I have no saying in my own life, I just want to come home, grab a bag of Doritos, sit down, and watch tv without anyone bothering me”.

      A wife that cooked like a chef and looked like a million bucks was a problem for him.

      The OW can’t boil an egg. I hope they both choke on their Doritos.

  • Attie, mine was the way I folded his underwear “you said you never would fold my underwear correctly” his answer to why he went on a week long cruise with another woman. You can’t make this stuff up!

    • Which actually begs the question of why you had to fold his underwear at all really doesn’t it!

      • true, but if you were anything like me, I basically had to do everything and work and pay bills too. Amazing how bamboozled I was!

        I did stop folding his clothes or putting them away as he always complained how I didn’t do it right. His clothes piled up in the bathtub waiting for him to fold and put them away, until his mother came to visit one day. Then he cleaned up his clothes.

      • Chumpinrecover, they just have to find something to complain about. The bright side of it is, the only thing they can find wrong with us is how we tidy up? That means we are pretty awesome otherwise!

        • Chumptothemax–

          Yoi wrote: “The bright side of it is, the only thing they can find wrong with us is how we tidy up? That means we are pretty awesome otherwise!”

          Absolutely spot on. If that’s all they got– lame and petty accusations– you should probably be canonized because they were scouring your every word and deed for faults like the FBI hunting the Unabomber and storing them up in sacred blame vaults for years and years.

        • What is it with laundry?? One of my ex’s many complaints was that I didn’t immediately put the clothes in the dryer when it stopped.

          I don’t know…maybe I was too busy working a full time job, raising two busy boys and being a church leader, scout leader and sports mom while you were “working late” with your thang. Now she is picking up your streaked underwear out of the floor.

          • Such a common theme…raging about some minor failing (in my case dish-loading, vacuuming, and not always planning dinner 24 hrs in advance) but refusing to see what you ARE doing (single-handedly raising toddler twins while running a business, shuttling daily through brutal traffic to relatives who could watch the kids [sort of] while I worked, planning all family outings, purchasing everything the kids needed, doing the family finances, cleaning EVERYTHING ELSE, holding down the fort while he disappeared all weekend…but but but… you didn’t’ VACCUUM TODAY!).

          • And mine complained that I DID drop everything to run and put the laundry in the dryer when it stopped. He had 600 square feet of “man cave” in our 1800 square foot home, and the washer and dryer were in “his” space. He said I was “disturbing him” when I did the laundry, and was irritated when I came downstairs to switch over a load.

    • During my pregnancy with our fifth child…he was so cruel to me. His weepy excuse: “I never wanted so many children.”

  • As always Chump Lady nailed it. My Ex became so nasty especially one year before I found out. He constantly insulted me. Complained about any work he had to do around the house. He would bitch and moan and throw things. He would always say “I am sick of busting my ass around here.” Would pick fights with our son about where he parked his car. He made it so bad for our son he moved out. It was so bad that I would dred when he came home. I worked the 11-7 shift I would sit in my car in the parking lot until I new he left for work. I can also pin point the time I suspect he started to sleep with her. He started to manscape. He even shaved off all his chest hair.

    When I discovered his affair. He first denied. Then said he only went away with her because I gave him permission. I was not fun and he thought I was cheating on him. He said he knew I cheated on him when we were first married. That my uncle told him I was sleeping with my sister’s boyfriend. Really?? I will never understand why these fuckwits just do not admit they cheated.

    • I dreaded coming home on his days off. I later learned he made it miserable just so I would go to bed and he was free to communicate with his schmoopie.

      • Ooh, I just had a lightbulb moment. That’s why he’d never come to bed until 2 am. He called me controlling when I asked him to come to bed. Because he was “an introvert and needed time to himself.“ From 8pm to 2am? He must be quite introverted!
        I would get such high anxiety right before he came home from work. Eventually I just went to my bedroom when I saw his car pull in.
        Then later at a custody hearing he claimed to be sole breadwinner AND sole caretaker to the children. Uh, what?

    • Yes. My ex was being a dick to the kids too, especially our daughter who was battling depression (makes me wonder now how much his behavior had to do with that although I didn’t see it at the time). It felt like he was embarrassed by the lot of us because we were imperfect and that tarnished his image.

      • My ex’s behavior certainly impacted my adult daughter’s mental health. We have a guest apartment where my daughter would stay from time to time. My ex would fault find, criticize, and never make her feel welcome. It turns out my ex liked having the guest apartment to himself. He could call his AP from the apartment in complete comfort.

        My daughter never admitted this to me until after DDay. Then many revelations came to light.

      • A therapist told me that teen girls are often the first to suspect parental affairs and the first to dig for evidence. We could conclude from this that they may be the first to really sense what is happening, possibly because a child’s love for parents is not as blinded(by gaslighting or terror at the ramifications of an affair) as a spouse’s.

        • Definitely true – the OW’s two oldest daughters sussed out the 9 year affair. Guess the lovebirds forgot a 16 year old can drive and follow Mom. I’m sorry the kids had to be the ones to find out that way – it was probably a factor in why the oldest girl went off the rails and made some very bad choices for herself. Ex and OW – so damned selfish. I’m completely disgusted with him.

        • Oh my daughter definitely suspected before I did. She asked if it was possible he was having an affair. My response was “no, he wouldn’t do that”. I felt guilty later for having said that even though I thought it was true at the time. When she eventually did find out that he had in fact been having an affair she knew exactly who it was.

          • Same here – teen daughter figured it out in a hot minute.
            Had been a babysitter for AP’s kids and others in their friend group.
            STBX has been especially awful to her as she won’t “ just get over it”

        • Or it could be that the teen girl knows about the father’s affair because he brags to her about his conquests. (Raising my hand.) I come from a long line of cheaters . . . my father used to drone on and on justifying his cheating and complaining about my mother. And I wonder how I happened to marry cheaters.

  • “I cheated because it was a revenge affair.” (News to me. I wasn’t having an affair. I was faithful and monogamous.)etc

  • I got chased down in the shower with xh holding a pickle that he needed me to see how badly I fucked up buying the brand I bought. I had no idea what was happening.

    • Ok you win. I used to think my own experience was crazy until I came here and discovered how easy I had it.

    • These losers are all the same. Except ex went after ex’s mom over the peanut butter brand she bought for ex. Ex threatened her with violence. I guess that it was ex’s mom makes it just that much more pathetic.

    • Please forgive me, I laughed out loud at the image of this happening. I pictured the shower scene in Psycho, but with a limp pickle; combined with the Mommie Dearest scene “No more wire hangers!’ ( No more half-sours!) Thank you for sharing. No one can make this shit up.

    • Xmaschump I too ask forgiveness because I laughed out loud! I hope you can laugh now too.

      It doesn’t get much more surreal than his pickle rant while you’re showering.

      Tears in my eyes – this deserves some kind of prize – the WACKO DARVO award for most bizarre rage scene?!

  • When I asked him “are you cheating?” He replied “I wouldn’t have time to cheat!” Red flag right there, oh if only he could schedule his time better!!!

    • Haha my user name should be Chumped No Longer… well this pandemic has made us all somewhat chunkier 😂

    • Oops, I have said that. But I literally was busy working, raising children, coordinating activities, running the schedule since he refused to do it, 24/7 365. He merely decided he was going to do Xyz and went for it. Didn’t matter what else was on the schedule already or what arrangements were needed to be made to accommodate his absence. Nope. You go figure it out, wife appliance. Monetary issues in the budget and all!

  • Ugh, yes. He suddenly started treating me like I was a bad employee and he was the angry boss. I was constantly doing things the wrong way or not doing them fast enough or, my favorite, forgetting to remind *him* to do things. It completely demoralized me. In retrospect, I can see what was happening and how incredibly emotionally abusive this behavior was, but I had no clue at the time. I thought I had just turned into a giant failure of a wife and I tried my hardest to fix all my “flaws.”

    • I have had some real employers who treat their employee this way. I always wondered if they had an abusive relationship at home in their personal life. My guess is yes.

      A good employer is a leader who inspires employees o do their best. A bad one yells and blames the employees for all the problems, and takes credit for any good things they do. I never believed they were entitled to act this way. I believe the term is Snakes in Suits!

      • I’m sorry you had to deal with employers like that! It is a terrible way to manage people…usually results in a lot of turnover. Snakes in Suits is a great way to put it.

      • Portia– I had to turn off a documentary about architecture because of a scene in which French “starchitect” Jean Nouvel sets up and caustically berates an underling. Something about the size of “holes” in what looked like a staggeringly ugly building.

        I wondered if the documentary maker was star struck or was thinking of another category of “holes” (begins with A). But to me no one gets a pass. If I knew nothing about Nouvel and was given a tour of his most famous “oevres,” even leaving out his many eyesores, I would say that nothing he’s ever done gives him the right to treat anyone like this.

        You can bet that if a superior bullies underlings, their spouses should get combat pay.

        • What is it with architects? You made me think of Frank Lloyd Wright who abandoned his first wife and their children for a married woman.

          • SerenityNow–

            Don’t get me started. Like H’wood and showbiz, architorture is the bastion of former nerds determined to score in revenge for being rejected by the prom queen.

            I have a story about a married (to #2) Pritzker Prize winner. He looked like a heap of gummy mashed potatoes with hair stuck on it. I actually appreciate many of his buildings but not enough to fuck any of them.

  • He became a person he didn’t like because of our relationship.

    Not because he was lying, cheating, hiding money, talking about me instead of to me, probably using and drinking, definitely not working a program of recovery though claiming to be, defrauding others, etc,

    And the problem with the affair? “I was always having to leave to go “home”.

    Not that he was married with a child.

    Nope.

    All his problems were Out There….other people, places, things, situations.

    So the obvious solution was to leave the marriage and run off to live with Craigslist Casual Encounter “Sole Mate”.

    Whom he cheated on……

    Affairs are “geographics” that use people rather than places. And take bring their baggage with them. Thankfully.

    • PS…for a long time prior to DDay, I periodically asked him if he was having an affair. He CHEERFULLY dismissed my suspicions. Because he WASN’T angry and defensive, I believed him.

      I can only attribute his reaction as a testament to his supreme entitlement, Olympic level Duper’s Delight, his expertise as a liar to the tenth power.

  • Mr. Sparkles is generally one cool cucumber, but when he loses his shit, he goes to zero to ballistic in seconds… very frightening to witness.

    A friend of mine was going through the “suspicions” with his spouse right around the same time my spidey-senses started to tingle so I asked him how he was tracking her. He told me about a computer software he had installed that tracked keystrokes. I’m not really a computer savvy person, but it was super easy to install so I did it.

    The irony is that I really hadn’t thought it through as to “what would I do” if I discovered that he was cheating. I was not prepared for what I found. Personal ads (his)… emails to Craigslist hookers for dates when he was supposed to be home “working on the house” while I carted the kids around on weekends… photos taken from our family memories (my son’s baptism; our wedding day; a recent fishing trip) being used for his personal ads… him representing himself as BiMWM for Couples; a Sugar Daddy for the right girl: a SWM just out of a relationship.

    I had no idea what to do, so I immediately confronted him. (In hindsight, I should’ve gathered much much more information). The anger and blameshifting fireworks that ensued left me feeling guilty for having caught him… read that again… HE MADE ME FEEL GUILTY FOR SPYING ON HIM.

    That is how good these fuckwits can be. He owned no culpability. In fact, within a couple weeks when we were at therapy (I scheduled)… he confessed through tears that HE KNEW I was watching him so he sent those things on purpose to hurt me for NOT TRUSTING HIM. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and here is why… everything I found was in his TRASH FOLDER… it had all been sent months before I installed the software and I only found it because he never emptied it. #winning

    I guess what I learned was… if you feel like you need to “catch” the person cheating to believe your own instincts… you likely already know what you need to know and you only need to decide what kind of life/marriage/existence you want going forward. Mr. Sparkles loved the drama that followed being caught and used it to manipulate me and make me think I was crazy for years… and it has taken me years to heal from it.

  • OMG! This was my life! I thought I was the crazy one…everyone told me it was him and he was having an affair! That couldn’t happen after 30 of being together! I was wrong…he married the OW 3 MONTHS after the divorce was final! That was a kick in the teeth…but now I know it was HIM not me and I’m not crazy afterall! I love you Chump Lady! Thanks for your awesomeness!

  • Ex was definitely being a dick during the months when I now know he was engaged with Schmoopie’s 1 and 2. He was also a dick off and on for years before that. Not as bad, and more intermittent, but it sure makes me wonder now. The last couple of months before DDay were the absolute worst. I could do nothing right. Everything I did was wrong. The real blow up, however, was over a pair of stained pants and they weren’t even his pants. I got caught in a rainstorm biking to work and ended up with bicycle grease on my pants. That was bad enough but I immediately sent them through the wash. A couple of days later, after being up half the night comforting our depressed daughter so she wouldn’t get suicidal I got up and dressed for work. I grabbed that same pair of pants without really looking at them. I had other things on my mind. When I got to work I discovered they were still stained. I didn’t bother to go home and change as I had no meetings that day, there are only four people who work in our office, and my coworkers could care less what I am wearing. When I got home ex was livid. How could you wear those pants! No wonder you haven’t advanced more in your career! Is that supposed to make me want you? I blamed myself for his outburst. How could I have been so crude as to have worn those pants? A few days later I misplaced my keys. I remember trying to figure out how I could get them all replaced without him knowing about it because I was afraid to tell him. Thankfully I found them again before it came to that. The fact that I was afraid of him finding out, however, says a lot about the state of things at the time.

  • I believe part of the reason I was chumped by the cheaters is that I was programed to accept bad behavior early in life from an oppressive father. At the time, I was a child, and was totally without power of any kind. I had to accept my father’s behavior, and adapt mine to stay out of harm’s way. Later in life, the coping technique was ingrained in my survival skills.

    My father was the child of an alcoholic father and a histrionic mother. When I was young, he was what is called a “dry drunk”. I did not know what any of this behavior was, but something did not seem right. He was given a pass on many outrageous behaviors, because he was “the head of the household” My mother worked even harder than he did, both in and out of the home, but somehow she did not have the same power. I could not explain this, either.

    I married young, and continued to accept behaviors that were really not acceptable to me, because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. Something inside of me chaffed and rebelled against this — cognitive dissonance. I started studying, and therapy, and a whole world of knowledge opened up for me. It took some time, but I learned to listen to the voice inside, and reject the entitlement and oppression. I changed and evolved, and became more comfortable with speaking up and not accepting unacceptable behavior. It was not a quick process, but rejecting false equivalencies was part of it. Believing the evidence is powerful. Truth is compelling. Once the evidence is discovered, and the false equivalencies are rejected, you can believe you deserve better treatment. You know your own worth. No one is entitled to treat you badly.

    When someone tells you to know your place, to obey because they are entitled to do whatever they want to do, and you are merely a supporting actor in a minor role of their great production of “All About Me,” you can refuse to cooperate. You can walk away from this “opportunity” to serve. You are not obliged to forgive and forget, just to get along. You are worthy. You do not have to live with cognitive dissonance. Once you learn you can take care of yourself, you won’t need to be in a relationship with an entitled, selfish person any more.

    • I was raised in the same type of household except my mom was also a cheating emotionally abusive narcissist. My dad traveled a lot and when he was home he was scary. When he left, mom terrorized me. There is no doubt in my mind that this explains why I picked two narcissist husbands and was cheated on and emotionally abused for years. Now free and in my 50s, I am finally learning about this. It’s astonishing I lived my whole life without knowing these fundamental facts about my own life… and I’m otherwise a very intelligent and successful person. Thank you ChumpLady!

  • With my ex it was impatience and a knee-jerk need to disagree with me–over everything! He would counter anything I said, any opinion or fact I’d express, so often and so much that I once thought that if I said the sky was blue he’d say it was green. He did this even on subjects I knew WAY more about than he did; this was so annoying I took to saying, inside my head, “And just what do you know about it, anyway?”

    • I actually said this to my XW: “if I said the sky is blue, you would say it is purple”. She would argue so much I have to get Webster dictionary out to show her what she was saying was wrong. THEN she would say that the dictionary was wrong and NEVER would admit she was.

      • Trigger! This was my ex’s dominant personality trait. Once she got on the highway going south instead of north. My kids and I all noticed and NONE of us said a word, because XW could NEVER be wrong!!! Better for her to discover it on her own eventually than to argue with her. How’s that for a fucked up family dynamic???

        • Wow, Adelante, Sirchumpalot, and Quantum, that brings me right back. My ex is a know-it-all blowhard professor who speaks with great authority; for example, he doesn’t just say something, he makes a pronouncement. Did this all the time at home, which was extremely irritating, to say the least. Half the time he’s wrong, but he never backs down even when confronted with concrete evidence. I never took his word for anything without checking it out, since he made zillions of false assertions, said with great authority, rather than admit he didn’t know something. He’s careful, though, not to make false assertions in his classes or his scholarship… just at home he’s a pugnacious asshole who has to always be right. (I’m using the present tense here even though I haven’t seen him in years, but I’m sure he hasn’t changed.

        • It’s insane, because they’re insane

          We have two amazing young kids, and so of course they went from babies who know nothing…to a 9 year old who knows how to operate the DVR & XBox and stream this and sling that…just as it should be!

          But HOLY COW would she get furious when he would gently suggest “oh there’s an easier way to do that—“

          “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!! I AM YOUR MOTHER!! YOU ARE JUST A KID!!”

          …just flying off the handle, totally inappropriate for the situation.

          And I remember thinking “WTF is wrong with her? What is she so furious about?”

          Turns out mom was a whore

          Womp womp

          • FSW Mid Atlantic, this is exactly how ex behaved when our son was son longer a toddler/young child and began having a mind of his own. I remember ex becoming enraged when our son was about 6 and said he’d help, and hooked up the cable and VCR in less than five minutes after ex fumbled around for an hour unable to hook it up.

            As our son got older and would explain something about computers that ex didn’t know (maybe he felt inferior) it would be another trigger for ex to become enraged.

            Turned out Dad was a whore

  • Him, screaming at me, face screwed up in such anger, “You just HAD to know, didn’t you?”
    Me, “Yes.”

    Yes, I did have to know.

    • Oh wow, the twisted thought process of his is just as bad as my ex’s was.

      Mine literally told me to stop “stalking” him once I told him I knew. Ummmm no man, you were discovered through the phone bill, which I pay ya dummy.

    • When I told mine that I suspected for awhile, he asked “Why didn’t you say anything?” I’m the asshole for not saying I knew?

  • I have lived in the mindfuckery field for far too long. No, I am NOT perfect. I make mistakes like any other human. And I’ll own my mistakes. My mistake hurt you? I feel horrible about that and I’m sorry and I’ll try better next time. I’ll learn. I’ll get therapy. I’ll practice. I’ll get better for everyone.

    No, Chump! You’re abusing me. You’re an abuser. You’re [insert labels – bc I’m a licensed therapist]. But what? Wait? I did what? When? Where? Was I out of line? I’m so so sorry? I don’t understand. Why are you texting him? Why are you flying to him? Why are you moving out? Why are we splitting up our family? Why are we divorcing? Why are you telling our Young children about your sexual endeavors? Why do I feel like a fucking lunatic right now. What THE FUCK is going on?

    Listen, chump! You’re controlling me. You’ve emotionally abandoned me. You aren’t being vulnerable. Sure we get a long like best friends, have great sex all the time, partner with each other and parent with each other and laugh and love each other. But, chump, you’re not listening to me right now. This is working for me any longer. It’s not working bc inside my warped ass mind I’ve made you out to be a horrible person. I’ve created scenarios in my mind that don’t actually exist and I e hurt my own feelings now. And I’m blaming you. And you can’t point fingers at me because that just proves everything. Bc abusers act like the victims.

    But honey, you’re being the victim right now. No, chump, you’re not listening. This proves my point now. You’re manipulating me. Stop saying I’m sorry and I love you. That’s manipulation. He had nothing to do with why I left. It was a missed connection from 20 years ago and if you treated me better I would t have reached out to him, chump.

    But honey, it feels like you’re gaslighting me right now. Bc I saw the texts for two years. You literally broke up with me one week and was telling your friends how sexy AF the other man is the next week. And, for the record, he looks like Sméagol.

    No, chump. You’re not validating me right now. This is why we can’t be together. You’re dishonest. The kids and I just want a decent human being who tells the truth all the time. Ummm, okay but what about you! No chump. You still don’t get it. You’ve done this to me. I’m working 60+ hours per week and I’m exhausted. I work 13 hour days some days. You did this to me. Ummm, I did that to you? We had a great life. I just put you through 3 years of grad school and 3 years of Interning. So you can just leave? We were drifting apart, chump. I’ve outgrown you.

    • That is a perfect description of an especially mindfucking element of the overall Mindfuck. I don’t know how many times I’ve questioned whether I was the one who was the unreasonable narcissist (or other fill-in-the label term). I’m not over doing it still, either. When Velvet Hammer writes, above, that he said he had “become a person he didn’t like because of our relationship,” I think, “I thought that about myself. I even said that to him once. Does that mean I’m the one with the disordered personality?” And I doubt myself even though I know and have evidence that he positioned me to act in ways that I didn’t want to act.
      Leaving him was an act of self-preservation. Coming here daily for the wisdom is my morning dose of sanity.

      • I, too, spent hours wondering if I was the narcissist in the relationship. But just remember: we all have narcissistic tendencies. We’re human. More importantly, a narcissist can’t self reflect. So, the fact that you’re even questioning yourself is proof you’re not a narc.

    • Holy fuck! Switch genders and kids ages and….spot on. I did get an extra “you’re manipulating me with the kids to make me stay” when I told him he’s going to lose his kids with all his bs because my kids were adults, but other than that…dayam.

    • One of the pleasures I have as a single woman is going to the grocery store, and deciding what I want to cook and eat. I hear “couples” in the store often. Usually they are arguing about what to purchase and what to eat. Yesterday I heard a man tell the woman he was with NOT to buy some fruit she was bagging. He told her it would not be eaten, and would rot. She said, I want to eat this fruit, I am buying this for me, not you. He continued to berate her. It is interesting that he felt entitled to tell her what she wanted and whether she would eat it. I think she showed remarkable restraint. She continued to bag her fruit, and didn’t throw one piece of it at his head.

      He is probably going to be forced to cheat now, since she did not respect his disdain for her fruit choice, and she bought it anyway. Poor Thing. As we say in the South, “Bless his heart, he just can’t do any better!”

      • Years ago, I overheard a man telling his girlfriend she could not buy some salad dressing she wanted. I couldn’t resist, and I was young. I walked over and told her to keep the salad dressing and get rid of him.

        Back in 2013, I spent the entire day cleaning the garden shed, with the help of a friend who is a professional organizer. The same shed that was an ungodly mess, that he had walked by, and neither done nor said anything about, for years. We emptied it, pressure washed the inside, got wheeled shelving racks, took all the tools to be sharpened, boxed and labeled the like items. Martha Stewart would have hired us. What did he say when he got home? “It doesn’t work for me.”

        “What doesn’t work for you?” I said.

        “It just doesn’t work for me.”

        He waited until a day when I wasn’t home and took it all apart. He took the shelving rack I bought up to our business. Instead of putting the tools away, whenever he used them he left them out in the yard. I got no response when I told him I was upset. At the same time, he regularly complained whenever things around the house were messy. I never got an explanation for any of this, but obviously I have a deep resentment about it.

        Following my own advice, all these years later….and I share your enthusiastic appreciation for not having to negotiate with anyone about anything.

        And the garden shed is exactly the way I f**king want it.

        • It all came down to pita chips. He took them out of the cart while we were checking out.

          I first argued (pathetic) that we were expecting guests (our kids), so it would be nice to have some snacks.

          That didn’t work (he shot back that adult kids are not guests, which is another issue altogether), so then I just said through gritted teeth, “I want the pita chips.”

          He put them back in the cart, but I bet used this incident as yet another justification for cheating.

          p.s. The man is a physician who had plenty of $$ to buy a small bag of chips. Boggles the mind.

          • Spinach – it’s not about the chips, it’s about control. Same thing here:
            – on the way home stop by Starbucks, I would like to have an ice coffee
            – but why, we can make one at home
            – sure, we can, but I feel like having Starbucks
            – we shouldn’t be spending money
            Etc.
            after few minutes- I’m pissed, he is angry and heading towards drive- in Starbucks
            At this point, I don’t want my coffee anymore

            Was that the point? Destroy my tiny joy?

            I told him, that that was the last time I’m arguing or justifying my choices to him. I’m an adult and I will drink my damn coffee, whenever I feel like it.

            I was thinking about 100000 other situations when he wanted something…
            My reaction? Ok, sure, if it makes you a pleasure. Case closed, not a biggie.

            I’m normal.
            He is a controlling narc.

  • My ex, would decide to spend 3 days with ow. I wasn’t entitled to know where he was.
    I had no right to complain about him spending all his money on drugs, alcohol ow (s).
    Apparently women would take their clothes off in front of him, but he wasnt interested, why are you there them.
    Don’t worry yourself I’ll provide for the kids, don’t promise them presents the addicts are always thought of first.
    Your ow (s) think they can treat me like shit, that doesn’t mean I have to take their crap.
    They dumped their kids but get pregnant, and are using drugs, alcoholic, sti (s).
    YOU SAID SHES ALWAYS TO ME SHE CALLED ME A CUNT AND MORE INSULTS FOR YEARS YOU DID FUCK ALL TO HELP ME.
    He knew all about it didn’t give me a toss.

  • When my cheater found out I had an audio of their encounter in his office, he lost his mind that I bugged his office. When I questioned him about events and details of his adultery, he continued to lie and spin…and then I played back the audio for him. Tracy is right— no shame, regret, embarrassment— he was angry that he was caught.

    • Yup, mine was angry he got caught too. Definitely no regret, shame, etc until months later.

      Good for you for having his office bugged! Clearly he messed with the wrong woman!

  • All of this is so spot on and relatable. I’m so glad I learned about DARVO while I was taking that hellish journey towards divorce.

    Also, whenever my ex-wife would attempt to use the whole “It’s Not What I Did, It’s How You Found Out About It“ thing, it always reminded me of the ending of every episode of Scooby Doo when the villain says, “…and I would have gotten away with it, if not for those meddling kids!”. 🙂

  • If I had a nickel for every moronic excuse he used for screaming at me, I’d be rich.
    I’m sitting here trying to remember which one was the dumbest. It has to be either for not buying Tupperware or for making him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich be cause we were out of lunch meat. Wait, no, it was because he hit the curb with his tire….I should have been watching….🙄

    • My XW screamed at me for 8 1/2 hrs (I put the dresser in front of the bedroom door, she just screamed thru the door) because I accidentally touched her underwear with a dust rag. How does someone do that?

      • I was just thinking, your ex and my ex should hook up. Then they can beat the snot out of each other.
        8 1/2 hours? That’s commitment….what a bunch of assholes!

    • My h was mad at me and yelled at me, because he got a 200$ ticket for being on the phone while passing driving
      Me: stop talking,
      H: quiet I’m on the phone
      Me: stop talking, or you will get a ticket
      H: hold on, don’t you see I’m on the phone?
      Me: police is there
      H: I’m still on the phone, don’t you see?!?

      After he was stopped, ticket was issued, all set and done

      H: why the he’ll didn’t you stop me from talking on the phone???
      Me: I told you to stop
      H: but you should have try harder, now we will have to pay 200$

      🕳🕳🕳🕳🕳🕳

      • I got blamed for him getting a speeding ticket. Police officer suggested he use his cruise control next time. STBXH said he didn’t have one. He refused to let me install it. Where was he going in such a hurry? A topless donuts shop. Can’t make this up.

  • Brilliant as usual. It’s so true. When I had a second bout of anger discovering how much money he spent on traveling his sociopathic partner in crime around romantic European cities, he said, “That’s money I spent on things for me. You spend money on things for you like haircuts and a gym membership. I don’t get anything out of those.” I remember being torn between more anger and laughing at the absurdity of the comparison. And I remember getting yelled at because I fought back for our daughter who was going to have to go to summer school to make up a graduation requirement that she only had because we moved between two districts (for his job that he didn’t need to take and relocate us, but we supported him anyway) between her freshman and sophomore year and the school district was refusing to honor the equivalent class from her previous district (despite the fact she had an A in the class and had gotten an A in the subsequent AP class at their school and a 5 on the exam–my point being it was a rational thing to fight). Anyway, I asked him to support our daughter with me, when I had to take a meeting with the principal, and explaining that this wasn’t a case she should have to fight herself because she was in the situation solely because we uprooted her and the district was steeped in bureaucracy. He laid in to me about how hard he worked and how this was my “thing” and I remember being very confused at the anger and realizing that somewhere deep down I believed the situation was his fault, as we had only moved for his career benefit and the move had actually put immense strain on my career. The injustice was evident but I still felt guilty. Had I listened to my gut at that point, or had I known about CL…there are many other sacrifices I made that I would not have.

  • STBXH bent down to get something from the freezer and said, “Stop buying so many fucking ice cube trays. God!”

    I’ll meet you all in hell, I guess.

    • I don’t know why but this made me laugh so hard I almost spit out my coffee lol

      Well sir, you’re gunna need all that ice for your man bits once I’m thru with you in court!

    • Yes this made me double up too. You evil evil ice queen. It frightens me these minds exist.

  • Oh yeah, the anger and defensiveness …. The DARVO….. The entitlement ….

    I sure wish I had learned about this stuff when I was younger. Because I should have left Cheater Narc LONG before he cheated the first time, never mind the second.

    Or at least have treated him very very differently (ie ‘How to Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist’ – excellent book!). Because I think my kowtowing to him and over-functioning and trying to help him be happier actually made the entitlement worse. If I hadn’t put up w/so much bullshit, either he would have shaped up, or the relationship would have ended MUCH sooner. That would have been a benefit to both myself and the kids.

    Sigh. To soon old, too late smart.

    I love that CL and CN can help other people smarten up sooner than I did!

    • >To soon old, too late smart.
      I’ve seen too many women of my mother’s generation who never got free. I’m glad you have time to share you life, and don’t want to waste any more. (Curing my self talk too)

  • It got so bad our teenaged son wrote her a letter,
    “Mom, why are you so hard on Dad? You yell at him at the dinner table and blame him for things he didn’t do. I am losing respect for you.”
    She doesn’t even address it with him. She hands it to me and says, “I want you to punish him for this!” I say, “I can’t. It is all true. Why can’t you hear it from your own son?” I got fury in response.
    A couple years later she wants a divorce. Despite her denials, I discover she has been chumping me with a coworker. I force her out of the house with a restraining order after she broke down our bedroom door in front of the kids. As I am boxing up stuff in her closet I find a printed out email she had hidden away. She had been shagging a different coworker during the time our son wrote her the letter.
    It all started to make sense.

    • I’m so sorry your son had to witness all of this. I sounds like his mother will never be satisfied in life. Glad you and got away from her.

  • We learned about the cycle of abuse along with sex ed in school around 13/14 years old. If I had learned about DARVO as well, I could have saved myself three and a half years of his bullshit. I am going to teach my nieces and nephews about it right now. (I dont have my own kids).

  • Mine thought he was head and shoulders better than most cheaters, because he confessed. I believe, in his messed-up mind, THAT made it all better. A confession of 7 years of devaluing me, with an international affair, buying hookers, Craigslist chicks, and a robust porn habit. And, even after the confession, when he agreed to “no contact”, he still tried to contact Schmoopie via a third party.

    He felt my demand for transparency was just too, too harsh. I mean, c’mon! I can TRUST him! He TOLD me, after all!!

    Oh. And just so y’all know, I didn’t put trash in the container properly. You should’ve seen the therapist’s face when the cheater pulled out a piece of trash that he thought I hadn’t folded properly.

  • Oh yes the whatabout was strong with my ex. One day my kids found not only kissy kissy texts between him and his gf but ALSO some super hardcore porn he had wedged in behind the dvd player. When I texted to let him know and ask him if there was more crap like that in my house (we were separated at that point) his response was not an answer or an apology. It was to tell ME that I was a terrible person! Because once, three YEARS ago, I got drunk and threw up on a library book!!! Ha ha ha! Not my finest moment, to be sure, but it had literally nothing to do with the situation at hand!
    They have no shame.

  • Yes, my ex was upset with me all the time and always moody when around me. If I asked him to help me with unloading groceries, he was annoyed. If I came home from just getting my haircut he’d say I wasted money because it looked the same. If he wanted to have sex, he’d tell me to be quiet during. Even when I got a new job making more money, he never said he was proud of me.

    I think it really hit me when I’d text him asking what he wanted me to make for dinner and he wouldn’t respond all day. Then he’d get home late and say I needed to stop bothering him at work (mind you we both worked full time jobs).

    I realized he just didn’t want to be a husband anymore and there was nothing I could do right no matter what I did.

    In the months leading up to D-Day#3 he told me he only married me because of my looks, that one hurt like hell.

    • Mine told me she only married me for my financial potential!
      We just verified a couple of stereotypes there. LOL

      • Wow. So glad we are away from them. Maybe they will both meet someday and make each others lives miserable haha!

  • My ex was shouting at me for months over nothing and I just didn’t get it , he had never ever spoke to me like that before . He shouted at me for putting to much salt in the boiling water for pasta and how was he supposed to eat this shit .

    I then was shouted at as I take too long to pee before bed – no one in the world takes that long to pee as me .
    It was everything I did nothing right .

    I would say – you said you would Look at the broken mail box this weekend

    Him – no I fucking never said that all you do is go on and on

    Me – this is first time I’ve mentioned it where’s this coming from ?

    Him – slam door go away in car for hours

    He’s never once ever apologised for anything and I wasn’t expecting it when he came home either so I went to bed .

    I went to the cinema after work the following evening after work I honestly couldn’t stand another night of getting shouted at and his mood swings sitting on his phone ignoring me .

    Then on D Day I got , that night you went to cinema that’s when we ramped up the affair , you broke me that night .

  • The original reason I checked the locations on his phone was because he started criticizing my cooking. I’m really a good cook. And he eats everything I put in front of them. So when he started criticizing my cooking, for some reason a little bell went off in my head and I thought, let me see.

    I just put that together with other little “tells” that he had.

    Let’s just say I could win every game in a poker match. Idiot.

  • I know I am late to the party, but I think you all might appreciate this one. My ex, Dumpster Diver, is on probation. About 2 months ago he was being questioned about 7 violations of his probation and decided to pull this mindfuck on his team. It didn’t go well. He has been sitting in jail since the end of May, during the pandemic, waiting for the arraignment where they will decide if he gets 30 days or 6 years in prison. All because he got indignant about being questioned for BREAKING THE LAW. Yup, some fuckwits are just this dumb.

    • Never sensible to go down the ‘How dare you question me?’ route with law enforrcement! Dumb as.

  • This was a helpful reminder to me.

    After 3 years of NC, I got a call last week demanding I send him the government issued stimulus check because one of our kids decided to go see him (he lives in another state) during part of the pandemic. Years we have been divorced = 8. Number of dollars he has paid in support for the kids over this period = 0. He lost his official custody years ago. I have raised and supported the kids since our divorce and am glad I have been able to do so.

    His first sentence on the phone was a demand for the check. The second was a string of raging accusations calling me a thief and liar for “claiming” the check. I didn’t need to “claim” it–it came to me automatically. I expect he is the one who tried (and failed) to “claim” it.

    The only explanation for the rage is the one CL described today–absolute entitlement. I pay college expenses; health insurance, car insurance, clothes, incidentals, braces and dental work, phone bills, and all food except for one month of meals this year–but, damn, if he didn’t think that money should be his.

    Making an argument logically for that petty quantity of cash would have been impossible, so he went with rage and insults.

    Best part of the pandemic–I am not spending it with him! My heart goes out to all of you who have been stuck for months with a spouse you need to leave.

    • Way to go! NC for 3yrs that’s awesome!

      He clearly isn’t happy with the way his life turned out. I hope you had a lovely glass of wine after that call and smiled 😉

  • I had just funded a business for my ex. She always acted like I didn’t make enough money despite me being the only one who had any type of worth ethic. I started making really good money and opened up a business for her to fulfill a dream and so that maybe we could finally have two incomes.

    As soon as it was finished and we had just celebrated our wedding anniversary, two weeks later she asks for separation out of nowhere. Starts citing arguments from four years prior, me not giving her 100% attention at all times, any flaw imaginable. I still threw her a great birthday two days later. She left me and the kids to go hang out with a supposed female friend.

    Found out, it was an old high school boyfriend through her cell phone. Checked phone records and saw it had started a month prior and she was texting him at the restaurant dinner table where We were celebrating our wedding anniversary. I caught her in the act a week later with him, didn’t get to confront her but her affair partner (who also had a girlfriend) knew they had been caught and told her to call the police and file an EPO. Lol.

    She then blames me for “scaring her” and needing to feel safe. Still to this day, she accepts no responsibility and blame shifts like crazy. I went no contact earlier this year and she blows my phone up constantly despite still being with him.

    Anyway, she’s a narc. The red flags were there but I didn’t think she was capable of anything like that. Found out he want the first. But back to the point, the signs are there. Your gut is trying to tell you what your heart is overlooking. I got everything. Saw phone records, saw social media chats, saw them on dates, saw that she inside his place. She made me feel like a failure all the time when in reality, she was the human garbage.

  • I will never forget the first time I experienced the fury with Mr Twatwaffles. It was January 2013 and he had been going to school for a year and I was just starting. We drove together because we lived 40 miles from where we went to school. On my first day, I’d gotten some new clothes and when he went to light a cigarette, I asked him not to because I didn’t want to smell like smoke. Normally, he was an easy going guy, but this made him furious. He didn’t say anything, but he was seething.

    It bothered me for the next 4 years, until one day a few months after we divorced, it suddenly dawned on me. Another student that he used to “study” with had suddenly stopped going to class and dropped out When I started going. He had introduced her to me And when I asked him where she was, he gave some vague answer of her life not working out or whatever. I shrugged it off.

    That day, he was pissed at me… and I thought it was about the cigarette. Nope. His AP broke off their affair because she didn’t want to risk facing off with me. Coward.

  • Mine said, “You walk like a slut,” while unbeknownst to me he was being the slut. I was just stupid enough to be his exclusive slut. How dare I let him poke me while he ran around poking so many others.

      • I was too shocked to say anything, but the woman I am now would have left and never came back (we were not married). These people and what they do to us (in retrospect) are learning tools, on which we sharpen our teeth.

  • This thread is so upsetting to me. How did we all go through the exact same shit at the hands of such losers?

    My xh used to have such great outbursts of anger at least once a month and lasted for a week. So much so that we would all be terrified in the house. We didn’t talk loud on those days in case he heard us, we would pussy foot around him, speak when spoken to, not ask him for anything and wait until he came around… A fucking nightmare honestly. I thought it was work stress and that his moods were a result of his ‘diabetes’.

    At some point I even started to give him anti depressants but the anger outbursts still arose, although fewer than normal. I knew everytime he came home angry that I wanted to leave him, and many times we did separate. I just could not understand where this anger was coming from. I had been the model wife, mother and lover, or so I thought. I was just too fucking patient and kind to put my needs first. He always came crawling back and I always wanted to save my family. I never thought he was cheating.

    Only 9 years later I got an anonymous call to tell me that he had made someone pregnant. Once I had started to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together I was sick to my stomach. This motherfucker had never been faithful. His anger was a tool to control and abuse. And the most profound part of it all is that when he realised that I saw right through him, all the anger and fighting magically and mysteriously disappeared. That fucked me up. Like how dare you do that to me and the children for so long? All because you feel entitled? Putting us through those bouts of anger that have scarred me and the children emotionally.

    Thankfully the kids see through him now and I am repulsed at the sight of him. It took me a year after dday to feel like this and get a divorce, but damn was it worth it.

    I still have sad moments thinking about the pain, rejection, hurt and mindfuckery, but no amount of apologies nor changed actions will ever get me to give him another chance. Fuck that.

    • I’m sorry he put you through this. I too feel incredible anger at times about the betrayal. About how it impacted my family and how unfair it is. I guess it’s just another experience that I have to go through. I’m pretty tired of learning right now. It’s been 7 years of just challenges in the family. From my ex quitting his job in 2013 because he didn’t like how was being treated or some b******* like that – and not working again, to my son being severely injured leading to me giving up my business to take care of him 24/7 till he got back on his feet; then 3 years of my ex just being a really unpleasant person to finding out he was having an affair and then the divorce, retirement – starting over, and now everything going on in the country. it takes its toll. God I’m tired.

  • So much of what’s been written above lays out for me how much I spackled. During the last 3 years of my relationship before I discovered the affair, my axe just stopped doing stuff. he left projects started and not completed, he hibernated in his music room, drank, and played his guitar or watched TV-shows I didn’t like. Hed come to bed late, curl up in the corner of the bed back turned to me. Every Thursday he had to be at our vacation property which he was remodeling -I found out was when he met up with his AP for a dart tournament – that is where they met – in a bar throwing darts. Mr cool taught her how to throw darts. while I busted my a** to work to pay for our lifestyle, the remodel of the retirement property and saving to retire. 3+ yrs later I’m still reading this blog, trying to sort it out. many days I’m good, others like today and this weekend, I’m back there feeling it. my sons were with me on the 4th which was good. I missed our family unit, playing games, being together. everyone is paired up now – I’m the lone single person. anyway, feeling sorry for myself. towards the end he was cocky, grumpy and dismissive. generally unpleasant. I really disliked him. now he has a new family and rarely connects with our sons – hurts them. people need parents even as adults. my parents were together until they died. I expected to be that way also-so his betrayal was a huge shock. I just didn’t think it would happen to me. but his Dad did the same thing to his Mom and she was the ow to one man the rest of his time at home; it was normal for him. I assumed (yep ass of u and me) a stable family life is what he wanted, at least that’s is what he said – he always wanted to be there for the boys. but he “loved her more than he has ever loved anyone.” all must be sacrificed for the worlds great loves. oh well got to shake it off and carry on. hugs all.

    • I spent the 4th alone, with the pandemic and all my friends coupled up I actually spend a lot of time alone. I’d like to start dating again but it’s scary after what I’ve been through, plus it’s impossible with covid going on. Try to stay positive, some days are hard for me as well but I have faith things will be better eventually.

      • I had to send my son back to his father’s custody on the 3rd. I spent the entire weekend alone too, for the same reasons. But I kept busy, made myself tasty treats and pampered myself all weekend, so it didn’t turn out too bad.

        Hugs.

        • fortunately my sons are grown and married. I feel for those of you raising children still. glad you took care of yourself! hugs

  • Sometimes I think this blog should be mandatory course study for any psychiatrist or therapist. You want to know what pathological looks like in the real world? Here you go. Study this blog in depth.

    This article in particular pretty much knocked my breath out. When we had first met and started dating, I noticed that fuckwit had a very strange reaction to people asking him questions about pretty much anything. Sometimes he would outright rant about it and claim it was rude of them to ask. He would justify his rage as people being too nosy therefore rude. Notice how it’s not his reaction that’s abnormal, it’s the everyone else’s fault and bad behavior that makes him react badly.

    Other times, I’d see rage flash across his face even though he controlled himself and simply responded to the question like a normal person. It was so so strange and it wasn’t like these questions were inappropriate or abnormal. Just simple, normal, social, get to know you or chit chat type questions. Yet if I ever questioned his reactions, he’d always have a glib response that sounded rational. On the one hand it stuck like a craw in my mind that something isn’t right, on the other hand I had no idea what to make of it.

    Since I had no idea what his behavior meant and whether it was something to worry about, I just ignored it. If only I had known then what I know now. Biggest most dangerous red flag ever.

    This post in particular needs to be published in a major paper as a PSA, so people can learn and get educated better on how to recognize pathological behavior.

  • I find the affair thru the cell phone. How dare I go thru his phone, he can’t trust me anymore.
    I find the dating sites on the computer. How care I go thru the history like he’s some kind of child.
    He throws the puppy into the coffee table because he doesn’t want him on his lap. How dare I act like that. All I did was look at him, didn’t say a word. Had already learned to keep my mouth shut.

    Good riddance to garbage. Threw him out. Only regret is I picked me dance for a while first and didn’t throw his sorry good for nothing ass out sooner.

  • My STBX got progressively meaner and meaner the longer the affair went on. He would sit and glare at the kids and I. He even called “Family Meetings” which were really nothing more than us having to sit and listen to him talk about how much we sucked and how we needed to change. This while my son and I were on antidepressants.

    Now that we are working towards a divorce, he just informed me that he has the right to stay in MY life (our only source of contact is over email). His reasoning is that my (righteous) anger over his adultery is detrimental to the kids character. REALLY! I thought that maybe you lying, cheating, and betraying us might be more detrimental. At 17 and 15, they know that he has the moral compass of a gnat. Like others above, my daughter knew that something was wrong for a long time, she just didn’t know why she felt that way. For 5 years, poor thing, had to live with that abuse, BUT he thinks he needs to save her from me. Good luck! The court says the kids stay with me!

  • Thank you for this article! This is what happened to me too. He was mean, hateful, picking fights. Gaslighting on steroids so bad that I would curl up in a ball and rock back and forth on the floor. He told me it was work stress but also that he was so sick of how I was a poor communicator. He said I needed to sort my shit out and take anger management classes 🙄. Then upon discovery it was that it was all my fault-he wanted his girlfriend on the side and I wouldn’t let him. At my darkest hour through the tears and pain he said “shut the fuck up, stop crying, get up.” It was my fault he was fucking up at work. Our house wasn’t nice enough for him, he deserved better in life and I was holding him back, I was getting older, I was selfish, and then it got worse-I’m a liar, a manipulator and I’m withholding time he could be spending with our daughter. He was mad that I wasn’t friendly and he was soooo mad that I was hurt. He was mad that I was too stupid to realize our marriage was over, that I’d fucked it up. Now he’s mad that I want half his retirement, child support and to keep the house. He’s said so many times that he thinks I’m just punishing him. Thank god for lawyers

    • sounds horrible! take everything you can get. consider it hazardous to your welfare pay. fuck him!

  • That “It’s not what I did, it’s what you did” mindfuckery turned out to be years of financial abuse and tens of thousands of dollars being pilfered from our joint accounts (that’s excluding the thousands from our family business that regularly earned cash on the side for years but never made it home the last 5 years of the marriage).

    We were consistently maxed out on our credit card at 20% interest. Year on year I was able to earn more and more, slowing etching up my earnings and doubling them over the course of the 15 years we were together.

    When we just weren’t getting on top of the debt (my bonus was able to pay down credit card every year so we could start again each year) I suggested a few times we needed to budget. I’d start looking at our accounts and he’d start RAGING and putting my financial skills down, my spending habits were the problem etcetera etcetera ad nauseum ad Infinitum.

    Over the last year I just checked out. Basically I just focused on dreaming up ways to leave but kept on getting stuck at our financial situation and that we would both lose the house, in middle of a housing bubble, losing the kids school security (zoned by suburb) and so on. So I stayed.

    Stayed through OW#5’s BFF breaking the news that they had been screwing each other for 3 years, but the BFF couldn’t handle it anymore after hearing for 18 months how they would meet up in my home, in my bed, while I worked, doing coke and blowjobs and spa sex parties. He was telling his dad (boss) that he was running around after our kids (who were at school, who I organised all after school activities and logistics for).

    Fast forward through 6 months of just giving up and waiting it out (he was still denying it all, yet I didn’t believe him, but asked him to leave and he didn’t) and caught him red handed.

    Finally I was free. I realised within a month I could pick up mortgage and pay him out (doubling my mortgage) and be rid. 2 years on he’s stonewalling settlement even though he is the one about to pocket $300k for a brand new house.

    Bank account forensics revealed it all. So did her instagram wearing same underwear he’d buy me (on my credit card) after a confrontation. Undies are his love bomb move. That’s a whole other story of revelations there, least of all him convincing HER to swing with Guys (for her) when really he’s a closeted gay man with a penchant for wearing women’s underwear (autogynophile) and massive mummy issues so the guys were for him. I know this because he did the same with me (and I still stayed because MY spending was out of control so there was NO WAY I could afford to live on my own without his pathetic income coming in 😂💁‍♀️)

    Oh yeah. It was MY spending that made us poor. Not the thousands of dollars on underwear, not the tens of thousands of dollars withdrawn on HIS card ;that’s just the withdrawals over $100 too), not the hundred dollar spends at the pub next to his work for lunch and blow job dates when they couldn’t make it to my home for lunch, not the years of flying totty down to his annual boys weekends away (no wives and girlfriends allowed apparently).

    That DARVO is strong. I see it everywhere now. It’s a shame to see so much toxic amongst humanity but at least I’m safe from it now.

  • Things I wish I had known:

    1. Someone being mean to me, repeatedly, is an excellent reason to get a divorce.
    2. Someone who spends every weekend drunk but complains that I spend too much time at work: another reason for divorce.
    3. Someone who usually speaks in a condescending tone of voice and then gets angry when I point it out: yet another reason for divorce.
    4. Someone who promises to help me with a time-sensitive project, then makes plans to do something more fun with someone else, and calls me controlling for challenging him about it: another good reason.

  • Snakeface was, in general, a patient person and not inclined toward anger during many years of our marriage. One early evening, when our sons were about 7 and 11, we went on a hike in a local nature reserve. He was going out of town for a long weekend with friends, and I wanted to make sure he spent some time with me and our children before he left. I was already uncomfortable with the aforementioned friend group because it included the Spiritual Slut. They were going to a reservation in South Dakota for sweatlodge ceremonies with their spiritual leader, and Snakeface really knew how to drag those weekends out as long as possible.

    He was already showing the dark and secretive side I’d seen during affair #1 (which was merely DRESS REHEARSAL for affair #2), but I was completely floored when we were walking along the trail along the woods and he turned to snap at all three of us: “HURRY UP! I do this for EXERCISE!” I’m seeing that hostility in an even clearer light now.

  • Just want to give a shout out to the original coiner of “DARVO,” psychologist Jenner Freyd. https://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/defineDARVO.html.

    Jennifer Freyd’s work helped me understand that wider political abuse grows from the seeds of interpersonal abuse and her work also helped me pen a take-down on an industrial front group that, among other disgusting activities, has a less publicized side specialty in defending toxic industries, big polluters and the arms industry (I didn’t write the following article on the fortuitous collapse of this organization last year but the article gives an overview https://news.isst-d.org/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-false-memory-syndrome-foundation/)

    Freyd’s story demonstrates how far abusers will go to cover up their abuse. At the age of 33, Jennifer Freyd began having flashbacks of being raped by her father as a child. Her parents, both psych professionals, were so defensive about the accusation that they founded an organization with the primary aim of using “science” to debunk claims of “recovered memory of childhood sexual abuse.” They were quickly able to put together a board of “esteemed experts” who, as it turned out, mostly had similar questionable pasts and motives. The organization eventually became the go-to source for expert witnesses to testify in the defense of accused child abusers, wife killers and serial rapists such a Ted Bundy, OJ Simpson, the Hillside stranglers, Harvey Weinstein and a Serbian war criminal accused of rape at the Hague.

    If you want the definition of brave, Jennifer Freyd wasn’t just up against her own childhood abusers as she forged a career in exposing the mechanisms of abuse and cover up. She was up against a powerful organization originally founded for the sole purpose of discrediting her.

    Defending child rapists was such a sought-after and lucrative operation for board members of FMSF that they began expanding into political and corporate defense, applying their expedient, cherry picked or homegrown “science” of debunking the memories of child sexual abuse victims to discrediting victims and witnesses of industrial crimes and misdemeanors. It was a seamless transfer. The group’s star expert, Elizabeth Loftus, consulted on the successful defense of the Butcher of Treblinka in his first trial and later testified on behalf of Scooter Libby.

    Other members of the group made their living “debunking” claims of victims of industrial atrocities and war crimes and were further richly rewarded with positive press attention from media sources sponsored by the same industries being defended. Some will recognize a few names on the group’s former board and might be surprised that these popular cultural figures were, in fact, only visible because they rendered services to purveyors of wide-scale abuses.

    I’ve posted this before but it’s worth a research dive if anyone finds macro analogies to cheating useful. I find it useful because interpersonal gaslighting, mindfucking, manipulation and cover up give me a chill that feels much bigger than just personal. I think that partly explains the paralyzing power of discovering certain kinds of interpersonal betrayals. It’s like having an encounter with a “fractal” of much greater evil, a bit like finding a recognizable shard of a Hitler Youth badge in the estate sale lot of a deceased neighbor you always had a bad feeling about but could never put your finger on why.

    Normal people do not DARVO. Furthermore, it’s the common link between your local gaslighter, serial rapists, murderers and ruthless dictators.

  • Mindfuckery is 100% accurate. I realize now that while I was struggling to keep my marriage together during a rough patch (after many previous rough patches), my now ex-husband was engaged in at least an emotional affair with his current fiancée. I had been blamed for so many of his misdeeds. His lying? My fault because he didn’t feel safe. The gambling addiction? He was stressed because I was pregnant. Lying about work trips when he was on a golf getaway? He was upset that I said my trust in him wasn’t back to 100% after the gambling debacle. I was twisting myself into a wife pretzel trying to accommodate what he needed while trying to set my own boundaries (and failing). Now I’m working on silencing his voice in my head and standing up for myself and our daughter while I attempt to coparent with an unreasonable person. I’m so glad I found this site a few months ago. I’ve learned so much and am comforted by the fact that it does get better.

  • This matches my experience exactly. Now that the the divorce is close to final, we get along great. It’s amazing what a regimen of IDGAF will do.

  • I have found this topic particularly sad for me as I read about the anger so many of you experienced. This was also my journey for so long and I always blamed myself when his anger spewed out of him on some irrational context. Fucktard deliberately destroyed my self-esteem for a long time. With military precision he employed the strategies of Deny, Attack and Reverse Victim to Offender.

    The months and years of experiencing such an assault ( before he left and then after) still brings up such sadness for me. I only found about the OW six months after he had left, and even then it was by chance. I had two children ages 11 and 14 and for the next couple of years I would stand in the shower and just cry and go through the motions each day. I allowed three years of my life to be stolen from me as I struggled to make sense of what I experienced at the hands of this disordered human being. I forgot how to laugh and how to feel normal. I struggled to parent with poor mental health at times, but I did my best. My kids have lost so much but they also know they have a mother who would never ever abandon them and they know that.

    Years later the sheer terror of being a victim of his anger still haunts me. It was chilling and surreal. This is a person I was with for 25 years.

    This group is wonderful!! I dip in here often and reset. I love my online reality compass for mindfuckery.

  • Not pasta sauce but cat food! How dare I ask him where the cat food is? What kind of person would EVER ask about cat food? Oh….I so remember that conversation. Standing in the garage. Called him to ask him where the cat food was. His annoyance quickly escalating into anger.

    I created long long lists of things not to talk to him about: cat food, raspberry shakes, yard work, hotels, phone bills, vacuuming, etc. I went two years trying very hard not to ask him questions. Instead of saying, “Would you like anything from the store?” (Cue potential anger) I’d say instead, “Text me if you need anything from the store.” That’s how bad it was. I quit asking after he got home from work, “How was your day?” Because, yeah. He’d bite my head off with, “How DARE you ask me that?! If I had something to say about my day I would say it. STOP asking!”

    Not coincidentally, the anger started exactly at the same time as the first affair.

    I endured roughly 12 years of this. Now divorced, thank goodness. (Maybe he’s now happily yelling at schmoopie about cat food? One can hope.)

  • I explained to a nice person who commiserated at my recent separation that the hard part is the run up to the separation (which in my case was a shocking half decade) and it’s relief when the separation occurs! In truth it’s been massively upsetting, But also a relief as the pain of a slow discard is over. I thought I was living with an agitated, grumpy middle aged man, and put his bad tempered behaviour and crazy drinking down to the many hardships and challenges that life throws in your path (sick parents, his poor relationship with his youngest son, his struggling business, etc.) while I REALLY felt his resentment of me (and he was basically ignoring me and being spiteful), I was dreaming of escaping him, as I didn’t like him, but I loved who he had been (I met him when he was 24 and he’s now 57). Our home environment was feeling toxic. Yet When I accidentally discovered his 18 month affair, I was blind sided by his cheating. I feel so used (and now angry that I was taken for such a fool). I should feel lucky that this awful man is no longer my problem; a man who who stayed with me for the last decade for financial reasons, who is now in AA for his drinking, and physically abused his youngest son, admitted to a penchant for porn, is considered by his kids as lazy, by his therapist as controlling, and lied to his gf of 18 months (told her he was a divorcee). We grief for what we lost, and I lost him a decade ago.

    He’s crying a lot of the time (while drunk, even though he’s in AA) about how he’s hurt me. Yet while sober he said that he was able to engage in a new life with his girlfriend while married because “I just didn’t care”. It’s the sheer callous deception that I’m so utterly consumed with! From a guy that despite all his narcissistic personality traits, I just never thought he was a cold hearted monster! How did I miss that!!

    I know he’s twisting a dreadful narrative to deflect blame on me! It’s abhorrent. My friends tell me that many of his friends are not buying it. Yet I’ve heard nothing from his family in months. I love them dearly and I’d hate that they’d be taken in by his twisted story (ie. I’d intimacy problems!! Yes,I did cos I didn’t want to be intimate and used by a drunken narcissistic). Sadly they won’t know what he was like, sure he had me fooled too!!

    My kids can’t believe I’m wasting time thinking about it all, they say it’s the end of something bad and the beginning of something new. I know they are right, but I’m stuck at the disbelief stage!!

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