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Be a Hell Raiser, Not a Chump

Mother Jones in tent city

Today, in honor of Labor Day weekend, I’m rerunning this column about Mother Jones. Raise a glass to hard-fought child labor laws and the 8-hour workday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow! — Tracy

I’m struck by how often the catalyst for an extraordinary life is loss.

A friend of mine posts various nuggets of history on Facebook and the other day she featured Mother Jones. (Not the magazine that is named for her, but the labor organizer.)

Mary Harris Jones had a shit hand dealt to her if anyone ever did. Born in 1837, she became a school teacher, married a George Jones and together had a family of four children. Then as a young woman, she lost her entire family. Her husband and all of her babies perished in a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis. The children were all under the age of five.

That would be enough tragedy to send you to the mental ward for life, but Jones rebuilt and moved to Chicago to work as a dressmaker. By all accounts, she was quite successful at it. And then the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 hit and she lost everything. Again. Her home, her business, and all her worldly possessions.

Can you imagine? She reinvented again. In middle age! For the rest of her life (she lived to be 100), she was a fearsome labor organizer — called “the most dangerous woman in America.” What was she fighting for? To keep children out of coal mines and in school. Yeah, radical stuff. There were no child labor laws back in the day. The protections we enjoy today, we owe to protesters like Jones. I like this quote — she said: “I’m not a humanitarian, I’m a hell-raiser.”

She had a smart-ass Irish wit. When denounced on the Senate floor as the “grandmother of all agitators,” she replied: “I hope I live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators.”

In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children’s March from Philadelphia to the home of then president Theodore Roosevelt in New York.

The picture above is her outfitting children with shoes for that march. She was in her 60s by then — leading marches on foot, hundreds of miles. The children she marched with, many were missing fingers and limbs — maimed from factory work. She tried to get the president to give them an audience. Roosevelt was unmoved, but she never stopped fighting for workers’ rights.

“I am not afraid of the pen, or the scaffold, or the sword. I will tell the truth wherever I please.”

Take those words to heart, chumps. Loss can make you brave. When your world has been obliterated, it can provoke a fearlessness that is a gift. What can they throw at you that you haven’t survived worse? Could the pen, scaffold, or sword be worse than losing four children, a husband, and everything you ever worked for? They couldn’t touch her.

She could’ve let that loss kill her. Send her into mourning or the care of relatives for life. No one would’ve blamed her, it would’ve been the expected thing for a woman her age back then. But she did the unexpected thing — she became a fighter. She transmuted that pain into a courageous empathy that did some good in the world.

The futurist and inventor Buckminster Fuller once said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

I love that quote. I first saw it as a tag line in an email from an organic farmer. I think there is great wisdom in that quote for chumps. You do not change things by fighting the “existing reality.” If that reality is infidelity, you will not change it with the pick me dance, by trying harder, by chasing reconciliation unicorns. To change, you need to build a new model — YOU — that makes the existing model (chumpy OLD you) obsolete.

You need to invest in an entirely new reality. A BETTER reality (leave a cheater, gain a life). So often we “fight” instead — we butt up against the existing reality of being cheated on. We fight by trying to prove our worthiness, by obsessing over the affair partner, by staying locked in unhealthy ways of relating, by being the marriage police, when what we need to do is make our old crappy lives obsolete. It’s harder to mourn something, when you’ve got a better something to replace it with.

Did you know Buckminster Fuller was another one of those extraordinary people transformed by loss? If you’re not familiar with Fuller, he was a prolific inventor, architect and designer, who is best known for the geodesic dome. He was also a futurist and humanitarian, and a total odd ball. (He was expelled from Harvard twice: once for spending all his money partying with a vaudeville troupe.)

By age 32, Fuller was bankrupt and jobless, living in low-income public housing in Chicago, Illinois. In 1922, Fuller’s young daughter Alexandra died from complications from polio and spinal meningitis. Allegedly, he felt responsible and this caused him to drink frequently and to contemplate suicide for a while. He finally chose to embark on “an experiment, to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.”

It’s a grandiose thought — to contribute your life in such a way to benefit “all humanity.” But then again, chumps — why the hell not? If labor marches and inventions aren’t your thing, find something that is. Invest in your better self. If you find your personal life destroyed by infidelity, yes, it’s tragic. It’s also an opportunity. Think of all the things you could be filling your new life with… making that past life obsolete. So what’s going to be next, chumps?

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”  — Mother Jones 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I was journaling today and one of the things that I wrote to myself was that I need to stop the self-destructive behaviors that I’ve been doing lately. I need to quit cutting my hair. Let me rephrase that I need to stop shaving my head. I don’t like it. I don’t know why I’m doing it except that I can’t stand myself right now.

    I’m trying to make myself so ugly that men won’t look at me.

    I’ve realized that the broken me needs some super glue. If anybody knows where to find super glue for the psyche, please let me know.

    • Mutha, you can’t make yourself ugly enough for some men to stop looking at you.It isn’t possible. Rise up, dear. You have the power here. Those men can look all they want, you have the option of No Contact. You do not have to engage, that is up to you. Let them look, you do not have to notice they looked.

      My therapist has helped me so much. I hope you can seek out a therapist. Therapy has been the “superglue for my soul”.

    • Mother, you have journaling, which is a good way to vent, but please don’t internalise the anger that you feel, perhaps instead look at something somatic that will allow you to move your body and your energy in a way that will dissipate the energy, give it a place to go. You have been wronged, but your body does not have to bear the brunt. You deserve better than to be treated like you have been, you intuitively know this. Show the world how you deserve to be treated, by giving yourself that gift of car, and fuck the rest. Hugs to you.

    • I don’t know about super glue, but…

      With the traumas we’ve received as chumps that bring us to this place (been there), trauma therapy (with the right therapist) makes sense and can help. Not a miracle, but helpful.

      EMDR and Brainspotting are similar and many people find them very helpful. I have had several Brainspotting sessions and it was pretty dang effective for me — specifically, it took the sharp edge off of much of what I was feeling and helped me begin to feel more comfortable with myself again. Sounds small, but it’s not, at all.

      In any case, if you do seek out trauma therapy, look for a therapist who (a) has some years of experience (b) has clearly taken targeted trauma-informed trainings, (c) has a focused area of treatment interest (they all say they treat trauma, but some of them just list everything they think people will search by to get site visitors), and (d) doesn’t specify whose PTSD they specialize in treating (like if they seem to think PTSD is only a military thing). And don’t feel stuck with the first one you see. if the person isn’t 100% on board with “cheating is harmful and not ok”, that is NOT the therapist for you, so toss that fish back and try again. It’s not a bad thing to let a therapist go.

      You have my heart, Friend. I am so sorry you are in such pain. It’s valid, and I hate that you have to live it, and I send you all the strength the air will carry.

    • Mutha, you are already journaling. That will help. I also recommend yoga and meditation.

      And here’s a thought: you don’t have to make yourself ugly. You can just decide that you don’t want to be involved with men, or a man, for a while. You can be supermodel gorgeous or girl-next-door pretty or exotic or tomboy or whatever–you still don’t have to welcome interest from anybody. I’m not talking superglue here; I’m saying that you have agency in your life. You can focus on your own inner growth and you can determine, at every point, whom to allow in your life. What you’re doing strikes me as you picking up the abuse that you’ve experienced from a man or men and taking up the job yourself.

      You don’t need superglue. You need to make a commitment to your Self. To you as a human (not a potential partner for someone). Here are the questions I ask over and over: Who were you before you started dating? Who were you as a little girl? What was nurtured in you that you want to keep? What got neglected or squelched or dropped from your life because you got involved in with boyfriends? What changed in you as you committed to someone or got married? Or had kids? What interests evolved as time went on? (e.g., I was a distance runner for years but my knees can’t take it any more so now I walk).

      Now you have a chance to confront things that haven’t worked and pick up things that you left behind or that perhaps are entirely new to you. I call this a relationship autopsy, to see how you got where you are and what needs to change. I think of being chumped as an opportunity to rebuild but by leveling up, as in a video game. You don’t want to go backward and replicate what you had. As it was for Mother Jones, the question is how can I become more authentically myself? When I did my autopsy, I learned that even as a small child I saw marriage as my opportunity to get the love and comfort I didn’t get from my parents.

      Seeing that changed my life. Looking to fill childhood needs as an adult is a disastrous way to live. So I had to come to terms with my childhood and restore the little girl and the young woman by paying attention to what was lost along the way. You can’t get things you lost BACK. What you can do is figure out what to mourn and what to pick up and nurture. I joined a sports league in my 60s and won a championship. I bought a good camera and got serious about photography. I started writing again. But it’s not about DOING things. It’s about loving your SELF. It’s about for once focusing on your own inner needs, which are of course not what they were when you were 10. It’s not superglue. It’s a deep dive into yourself to figure out how you go here and what you want to do with the rest of your life, for now.

      • LovedaJackass,
        Thank you for your post, so positivity and inspiring. I’ve always wanted to get into photography but I keep thinking it’s too late.

        • A close friend of mine (Eda Kavin….you can Google her) began Chinese brush painting in her mid-70’a after retiring. Her instructor, Ren Ming, was so impressed with her talent that he began taking her work to an old master in Chinatown (San Francisco) to be framed. He could not believe these paintings were coming from an elderly white lady who had never painted in her life. She became so accomplished that she began exhibiting and teaching.

          It’s never too late unless you are dead.

      • LAJ — love your inspirational advice, decide what to mourn and what to nurture, and figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. It is all about choosing who you want to be, instead of letting others decide for you. Women generally are not encouraged to be courageous or brave, yet those qualities are exactly what are needed to forge a new life.

        You cannot change the past, and you cannot make someone love you, either. This is such a hard lesson to learn, but essential before you can learn to love yourself, and invest in your own dreams. Learn to adapt your own dreams when confronted with reality (bad knees). Adaptation is a way to achieve a dream, not a failure.

        Great inspirational post today! Maybe a labor of love for a Labor Day post? You go girl!

    • Mutha…… cutting, over eating, one night stands, drinking; all can be used in maladaptive coping attempts for stress. And we have all used poor or unhelpful things to try to stop that inner ugly critical voice.

      Find new healthy ways to cope with stress. As CL said, to change a life you have to do new and better things.

    • Mutha, Lisa Arends’ has a site – from the site: “Even though there are some things you never get over, you don’t have to let them hold you back.”
      Hopefully her site can be an extra tool in the toolbox of recovery from trauma. I also agree with others that the right therapist can do wonders…I’m still searching for the right one for me.
      You won’t always feel this way; I seem to have 1 or 2 good days then not so much. But before there were 0 good days. ????

    • Hugs to you. Although I didn’t shave my head after dday, I did get a very, very short haircut & stopped looking in the mirror at my constantly teary, bloodshot eyes. It wasn’t until a few years later when I looked back at the one or two photos taken of myself from that time did I see a broken woman. The photos are still a trigger but I have managed to move from broken to ok. You will too. Just stay with this site and among those who understand you completely.

    • Ah Mutha, I had the impulse to shave my head too. I wanted to be ugly. I didn’t want to be a woman anymore because that’s what brought me this pain. These cheaters destroy our identity. Your pain is legit. Be kind to yourself.

    • Hi Mutha,

      This could be a form of BFRD….in the event that it is, here is a resource for you:

      I ask this because I have a BFRD (skin-picking).
      These are complex (and surprisingly common) and often misunderstood behaviors that require outside help to manage and extinguish.

      My daughter’s best friend started cutting, and she has started shaving her head recently.

      A good therapist on your pit crew is always a good idea, no matter what is going on.


    • Mutha you need to become a hell raiser!!! Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you’re worth it and that Scoundrel that pulled the rug out from under you is not worth a damn!!!!!! Quit cutting your beautiful hair!!! You’re too good for that!!! Keep reading Chump Lady and Chump Nation!!! We’re here to encourage you!!!!

    • >>please don’t internalise the anger that you feel

      I wish I’d heard that 30 years ago. I had so much going for me, but I didn’t find traction for myself until late in life. My family of origin was pretty clueless about caring for our hearts. I wish one of therapists I sought at that time weren’t clueless. That might be an interesting Friday challenge, bad therapist stories.

  • I had the fortune of meeting Bucky Fuller not once but twice when I was in college and a couple years after. A totally self-actualized individual.

  • God bless becoming a Mother Jones! It’s a tough cycle but the gumption, grit and guts you receive after accepting trauma is tremendous. ????.

  • Thank you for this. I was feeling especially down today.

    My lovely Wife is texting her OW as I type this. Killing me slowly everyday.

    Stay strong!

    • She’s not texting the OW, she’s (flip it):
      -fueling your rockets to leave
      -building the foundation to your new life

      I can’t tell if you’re stuck there as she’s texting, but free yourself if so.

      • @ Tall One…

        Thank you for your kind empowering words. I am stuck for a little while due to finances but am digging my way out no matter what.

        She has no shame at all. Everything she does is hateful and she can go off with her new woman who is also cheating on her spouse. They have a crazy pact. Absolutely disgusting.

        • Keep working toward your exit.

          She is like the tennis shoes you had on when you stepped in dog poo. You can wash them, air them out, set them in the sun; but that stink isn’t ever going away until you toss them.

          • Oh, awesome analogy!

            Mine refused to leave the house and continues to see the other guy.

            We have an agreement she is gone by January.

            Absolute hell!

        • Rainbow – I went through the same thing. I was in that house with him while he would text, talk, have video sex, and would send hundreds of selfies to her. It made it easier for me to know I had to leave because he is so distracted by her! He was getting fired from jobs alot, too – no wonder! I’m sure he was in constant communication with her while he was at work – complete dumb ass. His AP is also married (we were not, but still had an agreement. Well, I thought we had an agreement) and she is a truly sick individual and she was getting her kicks with the abuse I was experiencing. That was torture. I did get out. I was deliberate about my search for a new place to live and that time I spent looking paid off. I also had to swallow my pride and borrow money from a few friends and my mother (it is nothing short of a miracle that she lent me money 🙂 ) With the help of CL and CN, and a few very dear friends, I got through it – so will you. She sucks she sucks she sucks she sucks she sucks she sucks she sucks she sucks.

        • She sounds disgusting. In your mind you have already left, and she is just a old shit stain from the past.

          You deserve better.

      • Rainbow, that’s when it started to sink in for me – the phone thing. I realized then he had a GIRLFRIEND while married to me. My mind processed that differently than thinking he’d made a mistake…a full fledged GIRLFRIEND- his allegiance to a woman who likes to fuck other people’s husbands.
        That’s when feeling destroyed, I knew I could not watch that abusive phone idiocy one more sec. If there’s anything you can do to get away from that phone sucker punch please do.
        I told him to get out and stay at his parents so he could play with his phone all he wants…then I kept repeating myself more forcefully until he left.
        It’s abuse in your face, one of you should get out if at all possible.

        • Yeah. I thought my ex hung the moon and put her on a pedestal. I thought she was the most beautiful woman and best person I knew. Hahaha

          Turns out, she was a pathological liar. She’s not as beautiful when you realize what type of person she is and she wasn’t worthy of a pedestal considering she was the type who was a willing side piece for a guy who had a girlfriend, sneaking around and blaming others for her behavior. She also can’t be alone and is on dating apps while still working the AP (after many attempts to come back to me as she saw me as a backup). Lol

          She certainly wasn’t worth the pressure I put on myself to provide and make her happy while being put down consistently.

        • Zip – it is a sucker punch. It hurts and it is totally unexpected. he sucks he sucks he sucks he sucks he sucks

          • Thanks ????
            For anybody who is further along, what is the trick to not lapsing into pain shopping and time wasting? I generally don’t Facebook stalk… I didn’t even know her name, but I waisted a few hours this morning playing detective and now I’m quite certain I know who she is and what she looks like. I’m not even 100% sure it’s her but yet I’m sure it’s her. I suspected she’d look like either his mother or his daughter and she looks like his daughter.
            Why???? I don’t know why I did this? How do you do NC in every way shape and form?
            The no contact with him is the easiest, but I’m having problems with the brain doing no contact. I’m so mad at myself – I feel like Ike I need a sponsor.
            What is the trick?

            • It sounds like you’re out scouting the enemy. Even though you’re NC from him, your brain may carry the memory of feeling unsafe. What do you need to do to feel safe? I have learned that my searching activity is a reflection of feeling less confident, or more worried about something else. I’m trying not to beat myself up emotionally when I find myself wanting to search for evidence. Instead , I re-label it as safety seeking behavior. Then I can concentrate on what I need to do to feel safe, & my mind settles down enough to attempt to meet my real needs.

              • Thanks Limbo,
                I feel safe, I’m on my own now. But I feel incredible anger towards the 2 of them. I feel like the sparkly happy Hpoacher who puts an ! after everything, got away with murder. Then I get curious and it wrecks my day and mindset.
                How do people stop themselves from not thinking about the co-conspirator that you were dumped for and doing online searches etc?
                Something tells me she’s the lovely lady always smiling and being cheerful to everybody at work …. it kills me that probably no one cares that she poached my husband – while she was married.

              • Zip–I’m sorry. Pain shopping. That’s a great way to put it. My therapist suggested that I probably am so used to being emotionally abused that I derive some comfort from pain. Ouch! I bristled when she said that. It’s like I’m a tortured, caged lab rat who keeps looking for the electric shock even after it’s been removed.

                Maybe you could force yourself to avoid FB altogether, at least until you feel stronger. My sister-in-law deleted FB when her then husband’s ex popped up as a friend suggestion!!!

                I have no trick (I don’t know if I’m further along then you), but talking to others who remind me that my ex is a miserable human being–always has been–and that he hasn’t had some personality transplant with the AP certainly helps. Oh and I keep a running list (google doc) of all the shitty things he’s done and said over the years. I think writing that down helps, too.

                These lying cheaters are not prizes and are incapable of true happiness.

                Today I climbed a mountain with my adult kids. We had a great time–no drama, wonderful conversations along the way. This was in such sharp contrast to past climbs with my ex who would walk ahead (it was more of an angry stomp) and criticize the rest of us for talking. For talking!!!!

                Re Mother Jones. I know that getting involved in something else–gaining a life–is the ultimate “trick” to not giving a rat’s ass about the cheater and his mistress.

                That said, I think that we need to have some compassion for ourselves for pain shopping (and other less-than-helpful behaviors) because healing takes time, and this damn pandemic isn’t helping with the gain-a-life part of recovery.

                I hope it helps to know that you’re not alone. Here’s to pleasure shopping in the future!

              • Thanks Spinach,
                This wouldn’t post in the right place .
                “It’s like I’m a tortured, caged lab rat who keeps looking for the electric shock even after it’s been removed.” Sadly interesting. I’ve referred to myself as a caged wounded animal. The problem is he left after only good times. The fuckwit in him only came out shortly around DDay.
                Nobody wants to hear me talking about him let alone remind me about what an ass Mr Wonderful is. I think people are surprised I haven’t gotten over this by now.
                Maybe I need to snap an elastic band around my wrist every time I want to go there.

            • Zip, it helps me to fantasize about revenge agains the ugly hag. I did FB stalking, too. I think LimboChump is right about scouting out the enemy and feeling a sense of danger. This is the reptilian part of our brains. You have an advantage, becasue the two of them ONLY know how to use the reptilian part of their brains and they are driven by ego. Give yourself a break, do what you need to do, trust that they suck. I found my passion again – my physical health and my career. These are two things that suffered while I was with him, because he needed so much attention. Without a baby in an adult skin suit to care for, we are free.

            • Understand that it is not about her and it is not about you; it is 100% about his shitty character. It does not matter if she looks like a Victoria’s Secret model or the back of a bus. She did not make him forsake his vows to you; he did that of his own accord. If she hadn’t come along, some other woman would have. I’m not saying she’s a nice person, if she knew he was already married she isn’t, but place the blame where it belongs: with him. She did not swear to love you, forsaking all others, in front of God and man; he did.

              I agree with whoever said give Facebook a rest for awhile. The face they are going to present to the Internet isn’t an accurate reflection of who they are anyway. Who here HASN’T, at one point or another, glossed over the less pleasant aspects of their lives on social media? I cringe when I see my old posts about what a wonderful husband I had. Wonderful lovebomber more like. Trust that they suck and a lot is going on behind the scenes that they are not broadcasting on Facebook.

              • Thanks Peregrine and NoMoreMsNiceChump,
                They are not posting on Facebook, they’ve gone undercover. Against my better judgement, sometimes I try to find more info and I’m trying to stop myself from the madness.

                NomoreMs, I agree with you that if it wasn’t her, eventually there would have been someone else. The sooner the truth was revealed the better I suppose, so thank you office slut. However, I didn’t make vows to my neighbour that I wouldn’t walk in their house and steal their money – I simply know right from wrong.
                My skin crawls when I hear people excuse the OW because they didn’t make any promises to the betrayed spouse.
                OW & OM take their happiness on someone else’s back; they happily go along for the joy ride of other people’s lives being bulldozed. They either lead the way or help navigate.
                I cut them no slack regardless of the fact that they never made me any promises.

      • Thank you so much for reading my comment. Your site has been my strength during this period.

        I am gathering everything and I want my own life back.

        • Mighty!

          We’re behind ya, all the way. You don’t deserve this badness and we all know it right along with you. ????

        • Rainbow.lover – I’m hazarding a guess that you may be another LGBTQ+ chump. There are a few of us who gather here. Either way, you’re very welcome, and I feel for you!

          If you’d like to chat with some of us one-on-one, you can do so at the Reddit group r/ChumpLadyNation. While a lot of our issues are common for chumps of all stripes, there are also some things that are specific to having been a woman married to a woman, for instance. I can definitely relate and am always happy to chat with other Rainbow chumps.

          Best wishes to you (((Rainbow.lover))), and I hope you can at least start getting your ducks in a row, even if it’s hard to leave just yet.

          • Thank you for responding. Yes I am a lesbian and married to a woman who just cannot stop with emotional online affairs. It is such a shame in so many ways but she will never stop. I will join up on reddit with a similar name and hopefully see you there.

            • Hi, Rainbow.lover –
              Thanks for introducing yourself! I’m so sorry you have had to join this group that nobody wants to join. But the point is that we chumps have to make choices, and find support, based in the reality of what our cheaters will do. CL responded to another LGBTQ+ person in June:

              I am also a woman working to get divorced from a woman who had “hot” affairs at least twice over the course of our 25-year relationship (we have 2 kids). She also kissed her “best friend” (other than me) once that I know of, and had emotionally intense friendships with women she was attracted to. I thought her boundaries were better, but eventually learned they are crap. I made excuses for her for a long time, stayed for 15 months after D-Day #2 in 2018, but finally couldn’t take it anymore when I knew (thanks to this site and others) that she was just performing Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse. Once you see something, it’s impossible to unsee it. So, I moved out in March and am doing much better, though Covid has presented a different kind of shitshow (esp. with shared child custody).

              I hope to see you around here and on Reddit! It sounds like you already know what you need to do, and it’s just a question of making it happen. Keep being mighty in the face of fuckwittedness. I’ll be thinking of you.

              • @ LezChump. I have tried to join the group on reddit but it did not let me. My username is _rainbow_lover on there. Hope to have your support. You did the right thing.

    • May I suggest not even calling her “my lovely wife” as an ironic gesture. Give her a name like “Jackass.” “Fuckwit” is popular here, FW for short, which can also be “former wife.” CrazyPactCheater comes to mind. If you stop using marital language to think of her, it’s a way to saw at the old ties that were once precious to you as you endure living with this duplicitous woman.

      • Yes! I can’t even choke out the fuckwit’s first name, let alone refer to him in any way that suggests a connection to him. He is fuckwit, dickhead, psychonarc, or the ole sperm donor to me. It may seem childish, but names and labels are powerful. For me, it’s an important step in maintaining NC.

      • Rainbowlover, same thing for me on reddit, I put in my email and user name, and it just sits there. Will keep trying, but it is weird.

  • Built your own life
    Your ex will try and make your life difficult
    That’s there only hope of happiness
    Pissing you off
    They think they have power over you
    Deluded as ever
    Don’t let anyone be in charge of your happiness apart from you

      • I needed this post today! Tried to go the amicable route, but I’ve had enough. Reached out to an attorney and they responded on a Sunday over a holiday weekend. Following Mr. CL’s advice and hiring a Super Lawyer.

        I spent 19 years justifying my every action to an insane narcissist. He is going to rain rage down on me. I am going to break up his family business and it is going to be ugly. It’s scary as all hell.

        • Good luck! Prepare for battle.

          With a family business:
          – Hire a litigation pitbull attorney
          – Hire a financial analyst to value the business. Have them make a list of the data they need for a valuation
          – Production Request to STBX for needed business documents
          – Subpoena the company for needed business documents (can include duplicate info from the Production Requests)
          – If you don’t get ALL the documents, file a Motion to Compel Discovery. Get a judge to order the production of documents.
          – If they still dick around, file a Contempt of Court Motion and request that they pay for your legal fees.

          Accept that STBX will likely not give you a single document voluntarily. It sucks, but you’ll have a huge advantage if you understand what you are up against. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

          • Yes–and don’t go into it with a lawyer who can’t lay out a plan as With2Under2 just did. Sometimes new chumps ask what to look for in a lawyer. I say “someone with a plan and a timeline to get you divorces and financially untangled, with your share of the assets and adequate alimony and child support, if applicable.

            • Thank you everyone. Rainbow.lover, maybe I didn’t hijack your thread, let’s walk this path together! Go online. There are ways to get divorced without a lawyer. Let’s be mighty!

        • Ditto to your situation. Do everything With2Under2 suggested. Be patient, trust your counsel, and trust the process. I’m 19 months into a divorce from a narcissist with at least two APs. We own a business together, and he’s refused to cooperate from Day 1. Multiple hearings to get him to turn over documents not only to me, but to the forensic accountant I retained. It’s a battle, and I will not surrender. And, get a good therapist—I found a great one who specializes in narcissistic abuse. Most days I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster that’s on fire, but she’s been right next to me the entire time. You can do this.

        • Left it all behind– If it helps, share “war correspondent” updates on the process as you go along.

          “September 19th, 2020, 03:32, Day 11: Enemy fire abated for an hour during peace negotiations but began again abruptly following the lobbing of a text grenade by enemy forces at 13:00. This was bravely tossed back by a member of the resistance before it exploded mid-air.
          The ordnance officer advised against senseless frontal assaults and warned of retaliatory fire. We realized we were standing in the open as a shell struck a nearby hut, incinerating it in less than three seconds. Reality has set in for many of us: This ain’t no disco. The blood is real. This is war.
          It thundered hell all day. Six wounded, none critically, and morale remains high. Strains of the rebel anthem could be heard ringing from the canyons long past midnight…”

          • Oh gosh, thanks Hell of a Chump, I needed that laugh. I was going to say the same thing to Book and Dog Lover to keep us updated on the business aspect.

            I told STBX, offer me a generous sum to walk away from everything. But, no, the Stupid One offered 1/7 of what the company is worth. Here we go! Channeling Mrs. Jones!

  • Thank you for this post! It is good to hear stories of bad ass women, because it helps me see and feel my own strength. While I was with the abusive fuckwit, I lost my passion and could not concetrate on my goals. It feels good to have peace in my home. I am 4 months out of his house today!!! 4 months no contact!! I can concetrate a bit better now. I fluxuate from mad to happy to sad to fucking furious to day dreaming about revenge. I make it my goal now to put that energy into my passion, my goals in life. We do recover.

  • There’s not much choice other than rebuild and rebrand. Reminds me of that quote in Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

    There is no returning to the old ways. It’s over. It cannot be fixed. You just become a willing participant in an illusion.

  • My grandmother, born in 1895, broke off a seven year relationship and engagement to a physicician because he was too contolling (we all know what that means, here). Her parents and everyone were dissapointed. How could she give up the good doctor and a secure, prestigious future? Nearing thirty, her father saw her heading down the “old maid” path and sent her to teacher’s college. She became enamored of Darwin’s theory of evolution, which was very controversial at that time. She slipped it in to her curriculum at the one room school houses where she taught. Not a good idea, because it was illegal in Tennessee at that time (the Butler Act) to espouse such ideals. The only reason she wasn’t arrested was because she was from an old, established family, which means everything in the south. She was repreatedly fired from teaching positions, yet preservered due to her passion for the “truth,” as she called it. She found positions to teach farther and farther into the Appalachians where they so badly needed an instructor that they would grudgingly put up with her ideas. She attended the Scopes Trials in the mid 1920s. She believed the bible was a “pretty good history book,” which was as far as her feeling about relugion went; another reason why she was out of place and time for where she lived. She married my grandfather who grew up in the same area who was much older. He had left the south to work as a logger in the PNW for his own sad reasons. They bought land and farmed and ran cattle. She remained politically active for the rest of her life and raised one of the world’s top scientists, my uncle. She completely reinvented her life from a bad relationship, turned it around, and made things happen.

    • She was the first woman in her county to ride astride horses in a divided skirt, which created a big stir. She would not back down because she had seen too many women with broken legs and backs due to riding side saddle. She rode far distances to teach every day because her teaching positions retreated further and further into the mountains; in fact she had to change out horses at changing stations along the way (a thing then) to get to school and back. She was a tall redhead and a true badass.

        • She was inspiring. One of her main concerns was separation of church and state, which she took with her to her new western state. She wrote phenomenal letters, which is how she communicated with her state’s senators and governors, who all knew her. She always said that you can accomplish more with one well-written, well-placed letter than you can possibly imagine. Growing up, she answered my letters and put mine in the envelope along with hers, with red pen corrections. For some reason I didn’t mind, hence I write very good letters. This has seved me well, as any good lawyer will tell you. It proved invaluable in getting back some money I loaned fuckwit. Same with dealing with companies, my child’s school, whatever. I have rarely used lawyers due to what she taught me. Be brave, chumps: write good letters, get them placed in the right hands and watch things unfold in your favor. And as Churchill said: “Never, never, never give up.”

        • Yes – what a great woman! Thanks for sharing her story. Keep telling it; more people need to hear about smart, courageous women like her!

          • Because she was so strong, determined and intelligent, her son the scientist (that I mentioned above) mentored and helped his fellow female scientists. Women began showing up in his field of science in the 1970s and were received with considerable prejudice. It was inconceivable to him that they would be considered less capable or intelligent. Due to his standing and clout, he was able to help them succeed and to be taken seriously. I put that all back on her. She also espoused no chemicals used on the fields of the farm. Her son, in turn became an early environmentalist and wrote papers and gave talks about over population, the depletion on fossil fuels, and pollution. Because he did this in the late 1950s and very early 1960s, even fellow scientists thought he was too far out there.

            • WeAreTheChumpions – what an inspirational read! Your grandmother was truly extraordinary.

              You are such a strong writer. Perhaps you should consider writing her biography. It is a story of a beautiful/fascinating life that holds both great historic insight and powerful current relevance.

      • Dang, I’ve read about way too many women I wish I could have had the pleasure of knowing lately. Your grandmother just joined the list!

      • Thank you. Sometimes in life when I’ve had to kick ass it feels like she’s right there. She never doubted herself.

  • Bucky was a visionary.
    I fell in love with the geodesic dome structure he created and wanted to build one.
    Even researched companies that provided plans for a DIY dome.

  • I’m too scared of COVID-19 to get out and march myself in support of BLM but I have young relatives who are out there, and I am their cheerleader despite their having conservative parents who disapprove.

    It warms my heart to get a text reply from one of them saying something to the effect of “you don’t know how well timed your text was – was really feeling down after Dad said something disparaging about my joining the protest.”

    We have been too complacent about systemic racism and I’m glad the young people are demanding change NOW – so proud of them! I will continue to support and encourage them in their efforts, plus keep reminding them to make a plan now re how they are going to cast their VOTE in November.

  • I really admire people who setout to systematically right a wrong. I am very conflict avoidant, unless someone crosses one of my immutable boundaries and then all hell breaks loose and I unleash my reservoir of righteous anger on people. Then they say I’m being dramatic. I wish I was one of those people who didn’t give two hoots about what others thought and stare them down with the certainty of their convictions on their side. Here’s to more hellraising chumps!

  • In 2019, I got laid off from a 25-year journalism career – 9 months after I’d spoken up & brought documented evidence about pay inequities, the harassment of a Black intern, and the predatory/bullying treatment of women by a top editor (who once leered at me after he’d had a few drinks and told me I was ‘a carbon copy of his new girlfriend’). I don’t regret any of it – and I have a great new job and also helped start a new business.

    In 2020, I lost my beloved dad. My brother has spiraled further into his addiction, and my mother has doubled down in her codependency, which has fractured our family. My teenaged daughter has been diagnosed with OCD and her nightly rituals/fears consume her.

    But today I was telling a friend that I feel more resilient & fearless & capable today, at almost 50, than I ever have. This story about Mother Jones was inspiring and much-needed, so thank you, CL.

  • It’s what I’m trying to do w/my life. Build a better one and forget the FW XW and AP. In the process, I’m hoping to get my children to, if not be on my side post-divorce, at least not distance themselves from me, like it feels like they’re doing now. All I can do is try. I can’t control them.

    Hopefully at some point they’ll figure out that everything their mother says about me isn’t true, and maybe not to judge me too harshly because I don’t always agree w/their every thought (I frequently agree to disagree w/people. I’m a liberal, but I’m a fairly independent-minded liberal. I don’t always follow the norm). In the meantime, if I can better myself and help others as well, so much the better.

    • Nitwit managed to get all the people we gamed with on his side; right now the only friends I have are old college friends I knew before I met Nitwit. I can only imagine how much worse it is when it’s your children that are being turned against you. I don’t know what lies Nitwit told them about me and, as per CL’s excellent advice against pain-shopping, I don’t want to know. The way I see it his “camp” may be bigger than my “camp”, but they have been lured there under false pretenses (is there any other kind when dealing with a narcissist?). Bad things tend to happen to generals who grossly deceive their soldiers.

      If there is any evidence that she is deliberately alienating the children from you, gather it and present it to your lawyer. Kids are smart. As they grow up they start questioning everything their parents ever told them. I have confidence your kids will see through your XW’s lies in time.

  • In addition to kicking Nitwit to the curb and going full NC, I am learning to code and writing a novel. I doubt it will ever be published but it sure helped keep my mind busy. The ironic thing is it is based off some DnD characters I rolled up but never had a chance to play because of COVID, and it was Nitwit who introduced me to DnD in the first place. So at least one good thing came out of our marriage.

    Gyms are still closed, but I have bought a yoga mat and an adjustable dumbbell. The dumbbell came with suggested exercises that I had never tried before. Now I feel mighty in the physical sense as well.

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