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The Family Next Door

I’ve gotten a few notes asking me if I’d seen the new Netflix documentary American Murder: The Family Next Door about the murder of Shan’ann Watts and her two children by her cheating sociopathic husband, Chris Watts.

As cheating sociopaths are my particular wheelhouse, I watched it last night. Apologies to any of CN who haven’t watched it, consider it a discussion on the extremities of devaluing.

Let me be quick to add, I don’t think every cheater is a sociopath. But I do think every sociopath is probably a cheater. And a subset of them are murderers. Because, why wouldn’t they be when they have no operating conscience?

The part of the story that will be familiar to every chump here, however, and that makes compelling viewing, is the mindfuckery. The arc of the affair. The gaslighting — is there someone else? — no, no everything is fine. The complete cognitive break between what he is doing (leaving her, withholding sex, hiding his phone) and what he’s saying (“I love you TONS!” “I miss you!”)

And Shan’ann’s breaking heart. And her sweet, innocent kids.

My thoughts on the film in no particular order.

1.) Big takeaway, nothing surprised me. I must have a particular kind of poisoning reading the stories here every day and my mail, and knowing that we have one member of CN, Tessie, who survived a murder-suicide of her cheating ex and her son. So I know that sociopaths are real. I was married to one, who threatened my life. I know that they aren’t that rare. (An estimated 1 to 3 percent of the population.) A bland man who fronts a family life while fucking around on the side? He’s Every Fuckwit.

2.) You can clock Chris Watts doing the charm, self-pity, and rage cycles. How did I know to write that? Because I lived it and observed it, and a bazillion of you have observed it too. There’s Chris chummy with the cops. Gosh! The baby’s blankets are missing! Gosh! Here’s her phone! Aren’t I a helpful lad? There’s Chris making his faux plea for his family’s safe return. “I just MISS THEM.” (Which is a really WEIRD thing to say! It’s never more emotional than he “misses” them. No sobbing. No fear. No PLEASE ANY INFORMATION OMG BRING THEM HOME breakdowns. Just all about Chris Watts. He misses them. Like he misplaced the channel changer.)

Rage cycle is off camera. That’s where he confesses to strangling Shan’ann and dumping the babies in the oil tank.

3.) Shan’ann is Every Chump. You can feel her desperation. Is she a bit cringe-y and oversharing on social media? (Asks the woman who runs an infidelity blog). Sure. Is she a bit assertive with her early impression management that her family life was #blessed? Yes. And I also think the poor woman believed it. Her gratitude for finally meeting a Nice Man. I could see her doing that thing chumps do — projecting her family dreams on to this blank lump of a guy, who is playing along. AND HOW THE HELL COULD SHE TELL THE DIFFERENCE? He’s there playing wash-the-dishes man, or take the children on an outing man. But Chris Watts never EVER looks at those babies or Shan’ann with connection. He looks like a guy playing a part. His soul is a potted fern.

4.) Shan’ann is Every Chump Part 2. She can’t understand the devaluing. And he won’t explain it to her, he just keeps using her. Up until the night he murders her. He has sex with her first.

5.) The OW is forgettable. He lied to her too? Ho-hum whatever. She seems seriously irritated and flippant in police custody. Are there three missing people presumed dead? Hey, HE LIED TO HER.

6.) Shan’ann’s tribe are real. I was impressed with how loved Shan’ann was. How her friend Nickole senses something is off very quickly and jumps into action. How fiercely her parents loved her. How her father breaks down. All of these deep, deep loving people are in contrast to Chris Watts who can’t gin up much emotion. I don’t know about you? But if my babies were missing? I’D BE HYSTERICAL. Shrieking. Rending of garments. Barfing. All of it. I would be FLOODED with emotion — as you can see the people who loved Shan’aan and her children are.

Not Chris. As the neighbor says, “Something’s not right with him.”

Your thoughts, CN?

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  • Learning about sociopathy was the main reason I left and never came back.
    Not all cheaters are sociopaths, but most sociopaths are cheaters, meaning being a cheater raises dramatically your chances of being a murderer one day, and I wasnt about to take any more chances with my life.

    • I agree. And I would like to add the affair partners are often sociopaths too. The Sha’nann Rzucek Watts story also broke my heart, but is also so scary
      She is all of us here. We are just lucky.
      I would highly recommend “Unmasking NK” a serial YouTube / podcast on Chris’s Watts bizarre and scary affair partner, Nichol Kessenger. It dissects her interviews with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. CN often wonders what are affair partners thinking? Well, this self involved shallow manipulative woman gives good insight. They think about themselves.
      NK was never charged but these tapes cast a lot of doubt on her innocence and how much she knew and was involved in the PLANNING of the murders.
      Chilling. The depth of deception Sha’nann experienced is all of us.

      I will also note her family now refers to her with her maiden name Rzucek and has dropped Watts

      • I forgot to add there is some evidence that the affair partner Nicol stalked Sha’nann on line
        And, may have actually been out to destroy her from the very beginning. And just used Chris to accomplish that goal

          • And Stephanie the Murderer was a police officer. Bashed the victim’s face in so badly (RAGE), the husband couldn’t recognize his wife. Thanks to the husband screwing around for years with Lunatic Stephanie,his wife is dead. So much for his impact statement at Stephanie’s sentencing.

            • yeah he didn’t mention that. Sickening and terrifying. I had women who absolutly hated me with thier eyes enraged and now I think I know why – he would say to me ‘I would never leave you’ (as if I where a precious possesion -which ofcourse I was to a certain extent) and so they must have hated me. I was clueless as to why someone I didn’t know was looking at me like I was ruining thier whole lives. Now I know he was ripping thier hearts out with false hope and blaming me. I was so nieve. He would be overly comforting to said stranger with murderous rage. She would be alive today if he hadn’t been a serial cheater.

  • It was really hard to watch and I agree with everything Chump Lady wrote. It’s easier to see from the outside but he is damned convincing from the inside. There were some details I learned that I didn’t know, but it made the whole thing worse, not better. You are right, they just play a part, until they find something they think is just a bit more ‘shiny’ and then they slam that door shut and move on. Same as Scott Peterson and many of the others we hear about. The fact that astounded me was at the end it said that three women every day are killed by their significant other or an ex. THREE WOMEN PER DAY!!! Why is this not a national tragedy????

      • The federal government doesn’t compile data on femicide. Violence against women and girls is normalized and many don’t see it as a crisis.
        Dawn Wilcox, a nurse in Texas, created a database of females murdered by men in their lives (Women Count USA). She escaped an abusive boyfriend and then a controlling first husband, now happily remarried.

    • When I was leaving my abuser, my mom, who worked as a county court clerk for 20+ years, checked on me every single day. She knows the stats – she was present in the courtroom for the cases. That’s the most likely time for a spouse (usually a woman) to get attacked. My stepdad made fun of her and said she was overreacting. He’s worked in a hardware store since high school. He thought his knowledge was more accurate than hers. It’s not a national tragedy, because half of the population doesn’t even believe it happens. That or they don’t care that it happens.

        • I can’t believe how many pple blamed Shannan for tje murders. Saying things like she drove him to it. She was kind of a bitch etc. At some point, she says I’m the dominant one in this relationship and I said out loud: no you’re not, you’re just with a bland and passive mother fucker who is not invested and doesn’t give a darn.

          I also was the “dominant” one and some pple were trying to make me understand that I had brought this on to me. Even friends. Now i see it for what it truly was, I was the only one truly invested in my family.

          • Anyone who blames Shannan in any way doesn’t fully understand what years of being in a relationship with a sociopath does to someone’s mental health. Not to mention her relationship before him, where she was also abused.

            If her mental health was suspect, I would still plant that squarely at the feet of the men who destroyed her.

            • That’s the problem.
              Unless you know one- you HAVE NO IDEA
              Why?
              No one teaches us how to SPOT a sociopaths, red flags… none.

          • How the hell can anyone blame the victim for her own murder! What about the children, was it their fault too? Fuck’s sake! 😳👀

        • When you consider the pain you caused a person, the person’s fault, that’s EVIL. Secrets are like a callous on your heart, you tell enough of them and your heart won’t feel a thing.

      • You are lucky to have your mom and although I hope sincerely your stepdad was only gently teasing about her very serious concern over you at that time, that she was able to set him straight with the entirely realistic fears she had for you.

        It only seems hyperbolic till it happens.

    • My FW is capable of murder. I know he is. Once I was out and the brain fog lifted I could see how danm lucky I was to get out alive. I still think he’s capable of doing great harm to someone, and I pray I never see his god forsaken face again. The documentary broke my heart as well. What a waste of human Chris Watts is.

      • When I confronted my ex-FW w/email proof of his affair, he went into a blind rage that he was caught, and went to yank me by the hair, but stopped. Then he went to bite my face, but stopped. He then put his hands to my throat, but stopped. I must have had a guardian angel, since there is no other explanation as to how he was able to keep from following through with his violence.

        • Wiser Now….grateful you had a guardian angel! I did too. One night very soon after I filed and while we still had to live together in the house, x got very drunk, and very rageful. The way he glared at me that evening….I can still remember that look…it scared me. Especially now when I think about what happened later that night. I went to relax in my room, but pretty soon heard noises outside my window. I threw the curtains open and heard someone running away but couldn’t see anything because it was too dark. My kids heard it too (they were nearby). We got settled down again and about 15 minutes later it happened again. This time I quietly snuck out of the room and ran to the front door to see who it was….just in time to see x running to the back of the house. My kids came running to see what was happening and then we heard a gunshot….from the back side of the house! My daughter was screaming that he was going to kill us. I locked him out of the house and he left. After he left I went outside and saw that there was a ladder stuffed in the bushes just outside me bedroom window…he had been trying to see me through the curtains. I went to my lawyer the next day and got.emergency orders to have him removed from the house. We were lucky….I really think he meant to shoot me through the window in his drunken rage.
          Three years later later, after our divorce was final, the OW ended up dead….of a broken neck…apparently a “freak accident” in their home. But I wonder….

    • One of the detectives said this to Watts during the police interview:

      “What it looks like is that you found a new life. And the only way to get that new life was to get rid of the old life.”

      This pretty much sums up every cheater and it’s chilling. These people are soulless the way they just casually discard a shared life together. Murderers or not.

      • Yup. When confronted about the affair, mine didn’t even apologize–he claimed it was his right (in Islam to have more than one wife–which it is not, you’re supposed to follow the laws of the land where you live–and secret marriages are a giant no no.)

        When he realized that the court might hold him accountable, he sent every dollar of savings abroad and left. He didn’t look back. No contact with any of our four kids.

        Hasn’t sent any child support, etc. because he’s so broke, but is fighting the divorce, appauling, etc.–because of $$$. Not about caring/wanting the kids. Just HIS money.

    • My ex s one of those….”Nicest Man ALIVE” types. I, too, like her thought I hit jackpot. Now, all I see is his shark eyes, no soul there. And THE OW is nothing but an embarassement. It’s all in there: stupid work out routines, stupid “sauna yoga”, ridiculous camping trips, the workaholic excuse to go on trips with her, the “I don’t know why but I just can’t do this anymore but there is no one else”….and the anger, the anger towards me. I’m sure he would do it if he knew he could get away with it and sometimes I wonder f he tried, or changed his mind at the last minute. But, what really brought chills down my spine was his enabling family, and sociopathic mother…her “boo hoo, I lost my son to the criminal system because his wife and kids got in the way of his happiness” is my MIL to a T.

  • I watched this last night too and agree fully with your assessment!

    What really got me was her pick me dancing right up to her death… texting her friend from Arizona as she was trying to “own” his cheating… “I don’t make him feel like a man”… “I will make up with his family”… “I could be doing more XYZ…” and he was developing a plan to KILL HER. That little nugget at the very end (SPOILER ALERT)… where they close with statistics about spousal deaths (it is usually the partner; it is usually premeditated).

    And, I think back to Mr. Sparkles… how I let him stay in the house for almost 3 weeks after telling me his was leaving me and breaking up our family… 3 weeks where he ate the dinner I cooked every night and then “went out” or “went to the gym”… and came in at 3am (at least I was making him sleep on the couch)… BUT… at any time, he could’ve killed me… once they decide to discard you, you really are nothing too them… not even lint on their shirt… you are an inconvenience standing in the way of their happiness. ALL THE MORE REASON to kick them out, go no contact, and get the lawyer filing… don’t give them a chance to hurt you, your family, or come crawling back.

    It is an odd thing as a chump right now to feel grateful “at least he didn’t kill me”… but I do feel like, especially when I think of how many times I saw those dark, soulless shark eyes staring at me in court.

    #smallblessings… and sending Tessie chump-love wherever you are!

    And Chris Watts… who is “triggered” by this new movie… FUCK YOU. I hope it triggers you enough that you kill yourself in prison.

    • Wow, does your comment ever hit home for me …

      “once they decide to discard you, you really are nothing too them… not even lint on their shirt… you are an inconvenience standing in the way of their happiness.”

      My ex is self-employed. At the end of each year, the week between Christmas and New Years, he would write down his goals and objectives for the coming year, both personal and professional. Just a few days into the new year 2013, I found his list when I was dusting off the top of his armoire. There were 8-9 items on the list. The top three were: (1) change marital status to divorced, (2) get Sue out of the house, (3) hire a housekeeper. Wow, hire a housekeeper. That’s when I knew I was nothing more than the maid I had felt like for years.

      The remainder were goals regarding our children and his business, but I couldn’t tell you what they were specifically because the image of the top three was burned too deeply into my brain. I soon began the task of finding an attorney, squirreling away what money I could as a SAHM and filed by June. He did not take it well and my life for the next 7 weeks I remained in the house was pure hell. Our children (sons) were 15, 18 and 20 at the time. He had denigrated me in front of our children their entire lives and he managed to brainwash them into believing I was mentally ill. I walked away with nothing but $200 in my pocket, but I had never felt so free! He’s remarried now and our sons still live under his roof. The ex doesn’t do well with stress and I can only imagine the hell it must be in that household during this pandemic! I often check the judicial website to see if the new Mrs. has filed for divorce yet. She hasn’t, but it’s coming!

      At one point during therapy in the two years leading up to the divorce (yes, I know, major chump stop-gap measures!) he actually acknowledged he was a misogynist. I should have immediately run then!

    • Thank you Sue, much appreciated.

      I’m quite a few years out from all this crap and still can’t watch anything about domestic abuse and child murder. Still too painful.

      At that time I knew nothing about personality disorders and sociopaths. I wish I had, maybe I could have found a way to save my son’s life.

  • Like CL said, not every cheater is a sociopath but those of us who survived a sociopath/narcissist, I bet you noticed chilling similarities between the Chris Watts case and what you’ve gone through. I remember when his trial was on, I had just left my own abusive relationship and was absolutely floored how alike my ex and Chris Watts were. I remember crying when I listened to yt videos about this case because it was just so eerily similar to my life and I just knew exactly what Shannan had gone through. I made it out alive (my ex was physically abusive too and would tell me many times that he’d kill me if I tried to leave or kidnap me and keep me chained somewhere).

    I pray for the safety of all of you, CN.

    • Abso-fucking-lutely. That’s the only way to put it.

      And I STILL feel like my family would Pooh-Pooh me and think I’m being melodramatic when I say that, because you never let them know how bad it is really, while you’re pick-me dancing. They didn’t hear how he spoke to me whenever I cried and asked why. So clear and so cold. They didn’t see him rage and trash the house when I wanted to talk about it. They didn’t see his smirk and his blank eyes the night he left, telling me he had cheated on everyone he ever had been with, he liked to do so, and he would continue to do so.

      He was completely pathological, and it took me so long to see it. Because he didn’t want me to see it. Able to turn entire parts of his personality on and off, blending in with anyone, he liked everything they liked. Zero personality of his own. He was like a chameleon.

      • So I haven’t watched the documentary yet (it’s in my list!) but I’ve been following the Watts case from the beginning and that bitch doesn’t give a single damn. At least Amber Frey had a lot of deniability there-she says she had no clue he was married and I believe her. (Correct me if I’m wrong on this.). She even wore a wire to bring him down. This Nicole bitch was googling wedding dresses and stalking Shan’Ann on Facebook. And her whole attitude is still “that was none of my concern” about his wife and kids. I hope she truly gets the best life she deserves.

        • You’re correct about Amber Frey. She lived an hour away from the Peterson’s. The attorney Gloria Allred represented her because Amber had no idea the media storm that was headed her way.
          Any man I meet who doesn’t mention his children when we first meet is suspect in my book.

          • “Any man I meet who doesn’t mention his children when we first meet is suspect in my book.”

            My ex took two years to get round to mentioning to his latest Soul Mate that he had children. Who he hooked by agreeing that he wanted children with her. ‘Failing to mention’ and allowing you to assume things is his tactic of choice.

            I feel vaguely sorry for her, and marvel at how many red flags we as women just do not see or fail to understand their true meeting. This poor girl has overlooked 4 serious red flags. Even the children understand that she is irrelevant and if it wasn’t her, it would be someone else. ‘She has no idea of what she has got herself into’ – wise kids.

        • I was shocked at how callous Watts’ mistress was. She’s obviously lying when talking to the police and can’t even pretend to act horrified, just outraged at how inconvenienced she is.

        • Another fun fact was that Nicole googled Amber to see how much money she made in her book deal. Fortunately no one believes her innocence is on the same level as Amber and instead of a book deal she had to start her life over somewhere else.

      • Thank you for bringing up the importance of family members’ reactions. Speaking up about any sort of abuse is hard, and many of us deal with family members claiming we are exaggerating, being dramatic, etc. When we are already being gaslighted by the sociopathic cheater, this can make us further question ourselves and stay stuck. I also wish more people discussed that abuse happens slowly over time (they groom you for it) and that it doesn’t just look like what the movies portray.

      • My ex blended in with a far right wing anti gay crusader lady and then with an African American liberal democrat, both the women had Ivy League degrees though. Status hound. It is so creepy to see a person with zero real identity that I still can’t quite process it.

        • Creepy! It almost seems that he tries to take on his targets’ personas, like a chameleon changing color to fit in with its surroundings.

          • My ex was this type of chameleon.

            Of all the wild baseless accusations he made, the weirdest was his accusation that I was a “social chameleon without peer” who mimicked other people and stole their mannerisms, jokes, and ideas.

            I was bewildered by this accusation. Even in the thick of the abuse, I knew that wasn’t me at all.

            It took me years to realize he was talking about himself. Even his insults and accusations were projections. He never knew me at all. That freaked me out, that he knew me for years and yet never understood one thing about me. Total sociopath.

  • People thought my ex was nice, I think it makes a difference if people were brought up with family with substance problems they make excuses for them. The problem is the phase domestic violence, there is nothing domestic about domestic violence is there.
    In a high street in east London a man goes to hit his wife, only one person, a man, stops him. It was busy as well.
    It was only a. Few years ago a married man in England could not be charged with rape.
    The irresponsible parent won’t pay for maintenance but still has parental rights.
    I knew a lady strangled on train, nobody would help her, by her husband.
    Lady locked in house by husband, she crawled out of window, neighbour of mine said she deserved it.
    You would be surprised how many people condone domestic violence.
    I forgot this one
    Neighbour screams he will rape his daughter in law, his wife has him back in house.
    You couldn’t make this shit up could you.
    He actually said hi to me last week

    • The banality of Evil…..

      When I was in my 20s I was travelling by bus at night and the guy sitting next to me didn’t touch me, but kept saying awful things that the whole bus could hear. We were sitting right behind the driver, no partition in those days. NO ONE did ANYTHING to help me and I was terrified, I did not know what to do.

      By an incredible coincidence a month later this guy is next to me again on the same bus route. This time the driver did something, but only because the jerk was travelling with a puppy dog on his lap (full of fleas BTW). A male passenger offered to change places with me, but it turns out the passenger sitting next to him, a woman, was royally drunk. I preferred her company, we talked and it turned out she was a nurse at the hospital where I worked. She fell asleep and, other than her smell, did not bother me.

  • Wasn’t the neighbour right on the money with that observation? He had him banged to rights immediately. Very upsetting tale really for her family.

    The arrogance of doing a polygraph and I presume he thinks he’d beat it or be able to come up with a plausible reason.

    What the hell. We live in one crazy world. Very sad.

    • They always think they are going to beat a polygraph because they think they are smarter than everyone else. There is an underlying arrogance to the way the view themselves. They are “superior creatures” so, of course, mere mortals cannot keep up with their genius.

      In reality, Mr. Watts might as well have painted an ‘Arrest Me’ sign on his residence. There was absolutely no way he was going to escape detection, as these murders were as crudely executed as they were reprehensible. He left a trail of evidence everywhere, from start to finish. They are never as smart as they think they are.

      • I’m bewildered as to how Watts thought he was going to murder his family and … nobody would come looking? Nobody would ask questions? Family, friends, neighbors?

        I’m baffled by this guy’s thought process. Truly baffled.

        • Does he have a book or TV show coming out? Is he trying to become famous off of it? He seemed pretty willing to be caught.

        • He has found God and talks to his daughters every night, they have forgiven him BTW. He is a true example of a sociopath. I cant imagine the hate that goes into what he did then easily brush it off with God’s and his daughters’ forgiveness. This is his life now and he seems ok with it.

          • As a Christian this is hard for me to say but; my ex decided after he detonated our marriage and married schmoopie to become a lay preacher (no pun intended) My son told me about it and was optimistic. He said maybe he has realized how bad he was etc. I know he wanted to have hope for his dad. (Son was grown, married and out of the AF by then)

            When we were together he was also going to church and playing the Christian.

            Then not long after that his dad was busted by schmoopie for cheating, with at least two different women (lol) , then after he either quite cheating, or took it further underground, (most likely) he told son he had to file bankruptcy as he had run up massive gambling debts (almost 300 thousand in debt) he had to sell his property.

            Son bought his property at market value, then let Dad and schmoopie move into the small mother in law apartment attached to the house. It all went to hell from there. Dad and schmoopie treated son and daughter in law increasingly like shit, until they got so bad it all blew up. (took about five years) There is a lot more crap in there, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

            So yes some can find God/faith and turn around; but if they do you/we should be able to see the change in them.

            I had told son when he considered the buying of the property plan, that it worried me; and I was afraid he would get hurt. I never once said I told you so, or even hinted at it; but now he knows.

            It is unlikely at age 71 that his dad will ever change. He knows that now. He talks to him once in a while, but sons wife has refused to talk to either of them Dad/schm. When they went to Florida to visit him, she stayed in the motel and he went to visit his dad. I know that is hard for him, but I understand his wife’s view. She was the main target of their bile, just because she was around the house more.

            She may soften in time, but right now she is still hurting.

  • Did my ex abuse me physically…? Only a few times. The one I remember, he was strangling me because he was angry that I asked him why he was home so late? I was lying in bed at the time. I remember saying “stop I can’t breathe, you are going to kill me!” He let go and said “if I wanted to kill you, I would”…he never had to get to that point again because I just cowered for fear the next time he would. Thats all they need is for you to fear they will do it! I am gone now and we live far away and have no contact!! I believe these people are more common than thought and just a firecracker waiting to explode!

    • It’s scary to look back at the times my ex could have killed me. I suppose many of you feel the same way.

      During our marriage, I never feared for my life. But there were a few instances of physical abuse (throwing a hard sofa pillow at my face; throwing ice cubes at my face; dragging me off the bed by yanking the blankets; literally picking me up and throwing me out of the house; sex that was a little too rough).

      The most scary time was the night before he asked for a separation. My back was hurting. I was having trouble sleeping. He got out of our bed, went to the bathroom, and returned with a glass of water and about 6 or 7 pills. Because he’s a physician and I trusted him, I didn’t question the meds. I swallowed all of them. That was at about midnight. The next day, he phoned me at 2pm. I had just awakened!! He asked how I felt. I responded, “I feel drugged.” He said, “That’s because you were drugged.” I shiver when I look back on that. Had I died, it would probably have looked like a suicide.

      Also, after D-Day, I told him that it was as if he’d committed suicide because his life as he knew it had ended (no more kids, no more wife of 35 years (not that he cared), no more grandpa etc…). He actually said, “Better suicide than homicide.”

      • Spinach, your x sounds like mine. Our separation and divorce filing are barely a month in, and he’s crowing about his freedom. He’s also a physician and I look back at the times he refused to get medical care for our family (I had friends take me to the ER even) or he’d just shove pills at us. The quiet, shy, caring doctor he presented to the world was not the surly, angry man he was at home.

        • “The quiet, shy, caring doctor he presented to the world was not the surly, angry man he was at home.”

          Yep. Same.

          He once handed our then 10-year-old daughter a bottle of a liquid cold medicine when she was having trouble sleeping because of a cold. He said, “Drink the rest of this.” At 10, sick and bleary-eyed, she knew to read the label and said, “But I’m only supposed to have x amount.”

          Smarter than her mom who swallowed 6-7 pills without question.

          Side note: She is now a physician herself. The true narcissist that he is, her dad insists that she became an MD to be more like him. I’m happy to report that, other than being a physician, she’s NOTHING like her dad.

          • My X was a health aid. He had all sorts of compassion for everyone in the community. Me, not so much. I was not allowed to seek medical assistance at the clinic where he worked (probably was, but he said no). So when I went to other doctors for health care or chiropractors to work on my chronic neck injury, he would tell me that I was a hypochondriac. That the chiropractor was a quack and they’d only make me worse. He always made it seem like he thought any physical complaint I had was made up, not as bad as I thought, etc. His complaints were always so much more valid and severe.

            When his grandmother’s health began to fail and she needed care, I saw how XAss and his father treated her. She was an inconvenience. They couldn’t really be bothered. After all that woman had done her whole life for those two men, and they treated her like she was some old farm dog that was costing them money and should just hurry up and die already.

            When his Grandfather was failing ( a few years before Grandma) they couldn’t do enough for him. People always coming by to visit. Demanding all sorts of care for him. When he passed, a big funeral, a special casket, etc. But not for Grandma.

            That’s when I knew I would be treated exactly the same way.

            • Skunkcabbage- my ex was a chiropractor and I had witnessed him break a feral cats neck before, which still traumatizes me to this day being an animal lover. When he was wrapping his hands around my throat, he was letting me know he could kill me with his bare hands. He didn’t need a gun or any other device. He wanted it clear in my mind. My kids and I were forbidden to see medical doctors. He did all the so called exams…didnt even look at kids just wrote stuff down. Now I find out one of my children has moderate scoliosis never treated. The ex is former military short term and is covered under VA so he is well taken care of while we are left to fend for ourselves getting bread crumbs every once in a while of support in order to pacify the courts. We all would have ended up like Grandma!

              • One of the traits of a serial killer is torturing and killing animals.

        • He has found God and talks to his daughters every night, they have forgiven him BTW. He is a true example of a sociopath. I cant imagine the hate that goes into what he did then easily brush it off with God’s and his daughters’ forgiveness. This is his life now and he seems ok with it.

      • I am a retired physician. I personally know of two cases in our small town in which I am convinced that physicians murdered their spouses. One in fact, was written off as a suicide. The victim had plans to go to lunch with her children and my own aunt the next day! The other was the husband of a cardiologist who died suddenly (and with no antecedent medical history) of a “cardiac arrest” while home alone with his wife. I think it probably happens much more often than the public suspects.

        • Yep. I know of a drug/alcohol fueled death in the village I lived with XAss. It was ruled that she “fell down” and hit her head while intoxicated. When everyone in the village knew that her husband had beaten her up again.

  • I haven’t seen it and wonder if I should on this, my one-year D-Day anniversary.

    Although my ex wasn’t a sociopath (to my knowledge), he could certainly be charming on demand. A pathologically quiet man who displayed few emotions, he could cry like no other at his daughter’s wedding. Heck, he threw a big, expensive party for me on my 50th, but looking back I think he did it to impress our friends and family (“Hey, look at what a great guy I am!”) more than to celebrate me. It made for great PR.

    My therapist thinks he has no conscience. I mean, how else can you lead a double life while keeping a straight face and saying, “I love you” to your wife.

    One year out, I’m just trying to figure out how I picked him and stayed with him. I’m not dead like poor Shan’ann (although I did fear he might hurt me) and, heck, it happens to be Tuesday! So, onwards and upwards!

    Have a good day, fellow chumps. CN and CL, thanks for getting me through this first year.

  • I didn’t mention
    All true
    Colleague at work tells me, her sister was murdered by her husband, kicked to death, body left for 3 days. Teenagers were in the house. He got a expensive barrister, served 3 years.
    Customer at work told me, her sister was killed by husband, he then killed the child, then killed himself.
    Where I grew up a postman killed his wife.
    Someone from children’s school, her husband raped a woman, served 5 years. She has him around the grandchildren, takes him to hospital appointments..
    He had a girlfriend who is more interested in moaning about her weight, than living with a rapist.
    He would actually laugh at you in the street.

  • After my cheater killed himself, I remember my therapist saying “the line between suicide and homicide is thin, you are lucky he didn’t kill you”. While I was watching this and watching Chris Watts with his dead shark eyes it just gave me chills.

    The neighbor had this guy dead to rights within five minutes. The video footage of Watts “playing” the dutiful dad and husband was just so nauseating and hearing Shan’aan not being able to figure out what the hell was happening between his withholding sex, not answering his phone but then showering her with “I love you’s” was beyond triggering for me. The horror of knowing how he deposed of those beautiful little children’s bodies really shows what a monster he is. Psycho hidden behind such clean cut good looks. Special place in hell for this guy.

    • I watched this the other day. Watts reminded me of my ex. The dead eyes especially. I was so afraid of the ex’s dead eyes. I was very afraid that he would kill me once I discovered his cheating. Once I got him to move out, I changed the locks and made sure they were locked 24/7 and the kids knew they were not to open the door to him. Ever. We were lucky.

      • I saw the dead eyes twice during the relationship and the memory still scares me. I tried to describe this once to a friend but you really need to see it with your own eyes, how the mask falls down and you can stare into the abyss.

    • Yes! I am watching this now and the neighbor…WOW…how did he do that? Because I swear this psychopath was a really hard one to decode…his mask does slip, but it’s almost infallible.

      Also, does anyone know how come there is sooo much footage of this? From when the police first arrived, then the whole camera set-up already the next day…how was this possible?

      • Most of the footage is from the the initial investigating policeman’s body cam. They also use Ring doorbell footage, and interrogation footage. Bodycam and dashcam footage is usually freely available under the freedom of information act.

        I was drawn to watch this because of the type of footage used, definitely the dawn of era where new types of stories are going to be able to be told.

        So much of domestic abuse is shrugged off because of “he said she said.” I’m waiting for the day when we have better wearable tech, and women can have body cams in their jewelry or eyeglasses uploading continuously to the cloud. Only then will the world see (and believe) what we endure.

        • Whatever happened to Google Glass ? Perfect tool to record street harassment and domestic abuse.

      • Because the neighbor that saw what he was had a camera that looked onto the Watt’s driveway. I don’t think Chris knew that. He looks ready to shit his pants while he is watching that tape to see what can be seen.
        Plus Shann’nan’s friend that dropped her off in the early morning hours called and reported her missing when she didn’t call her after her drs. Appointment. The police that responded had body cams on. And Chris had gone to work. He probably expected to have time to clean up. And he wasn’t expecting that camera that shows his wife and kids didn’t walk out the front door on their own.

        • It’s unbelievable how stupid Watts was, yet he fancied himself a criminal mastermind. These people operate in a different reality from the rest of us.

  • I credit finding CL and subsequently reading Dr. George Simon’s A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing, (and an intuitive, experienced, kick-ass attorney) for saving me when I uncovered a plot by my sociopathic ex to file false charges against me to try to “win“ custody. That was a nightmare within a nightmare! So grateful for escaping in the nick of time.

  • It was disturbing to watch and a good example of why we need to get out and be safe. Rest In Peace Shan’aan and babies. That monster needs to rot in jail.

  • Thank you to CL and CN for changing the narrative about infidelity. Infidelity is abuse. Plain and simple.

    Having unprotected sex outside of a committed relationship/risking another person’s health, when the chump knows nothing about it, is physical abuse. Plain and simple.

    Physical abuse is more than just hitting, punching, and kicking. Risking someone’s physical health = physical abuse.

  • I think abuse groups are also fully aware of the danger. It is an online abuse group that urged me in the middle of the night (after he had stalked me and came out of the dark inside my locked house to scream at me) to PLEASE go to the police which I did the next day. They said he was very dangerous. He was and I’m lucky that nothing worse happened.

  • I’m certainly not qualified to diagnose KK (or anyone else) as a sociopath. Here’s what I do know:

    Public post on Facebook, Dec 1 2015: “Thank you for dealing with my shit, letting me go nuts, showing me patience, supporting my crazy ideas, giving me two daughters who are beautiful inside and out (all because of you). Even when it’s been hard, and we’ve had hard times, we’ve made it through together. Baby, let’s not ever get that way… I love you with every fiber of me. Happy 15th anniversary.”

    Texts to the Carrot Singer, Dec 2 2015:
    “My husband and kids will be out of the house by 8am tomorrow”
    “I feel a fever coming on…”
    “You can come down and take care of me”
    “My husband is around for the rest of the evening, so might not have an opportunity to text again until tomorrow. Tell me your ETA tomorrow when you know what it might be”
    “Can I tell you at this point I’m way beyond ‘want’. I NEED you to fuck me”

    • The painstaking retracing of messages and timelines I put myself through (over about 3 years before I pieced together substantial evidence) showed me…what I can only describe as the work of the devil.

      We were remodeling and refurnishing our new apartment at the peak of his cheating.
      He’d be picking chandeliers with me and texting saucy birthday wishes to one OW just hours later.

      He’d be celebrating my 30th birthday privately with me, while having been secretly chatting with everyone from his office on FB just hours prior.

      He did this at least 3-5 years that I know of, but parts of it go way back. No wonder I never went back because I was afraid of closing my eyes at night. Abuse is terrifying.

      And the devil is in the details…

    • UXworld….. Holy Crap! I just did a spittake reading this.

      “Public post on Facebook, Dec 1 2015: “Thank you for dealing with my shit, letting me go nuts, showing me patience, supporting my crazy ideas, giving me two daughters who are beautiful inside and out (all because of you). Even when it’s been hard, and we’ve had hard times, we’ve made it through together. Baby, let’s not ever get that way… I love you with every fiber of me. Happy 15th anniversary.”

      My cheater wife stunned me in 2015 (married 20 years at the time) by suddenly cutting off all affection and telling me “something is missing” and she “just couldn’t put her finger on it”.
      I could do nothing right, I felt like I was the problem, she pointed out everything that was wrong with me…..I felt worthless. I was at rock bottom and even mildly contemplated moving away or ending my life as I did not want her and my family to suffer. My kids were what kept me moving forward.

      STBXW and I went to counseling for many months and we reconciled. I was so happy and I received a handwritten card (a rarity) which stated:

      “Dear Nothing Chumpares 2 U, Thank you for being you! You are an amazing father and husband. The kids and I are so lucky to have you! I know we have been thru a lot these past months, but I truly feel closer to you now than I ever have before. I appreciate all the changes you made and your patience with me. I really do love you and hope that you know that and feel that every day. I cannot imagine my life without you in it. I Love You! Here’s to the next 20 years!”
      (I think she missed a decimal point…..was only 2.0 years before she cheated in 2018….100% proof).

      Some of the content is eerily similar to the Facebook post you cited….granted it was only a day later for you….2 years later for me (or sooner…..who the hell knows what is the truth with these lying, gaslighting cheaters).

      What do you think CL Nation….what are the odds she cheated on me in 2015 when she originally stated “something is missing”? I know my guess!

      What I suspected but was in denial at the time was that she was deep in limerence with her f*ckbuddy, adultering co-worker. I feel now that anyone in that state of mind is dangerous. You never think they are capable of what they did….but they were and you don’t mean shit to them.

      She even called me a narcissist (knowing full well she was cheating on me and lying to me). Me? Who was lying and cheating?

      • “just couldn’t put her finger on it”.

        Yep, she knew exactly what “it” was, and my guess is her fingers had been all over it.

        FW are a scary bunch. I don’t know if I would have ever believed that had it not been for my last year with my FW. My FW was a police officer, and he was a controller, huge controller. I think he thought when he started his crap he had it all under control and then it started imploding, at work, and at home. But, mostly at work, because I think he could have strung me along for another year. I was just that stupid. Of course I was pretty busy, working full time, doing all the domestic work, and in my spare time doing all his volunteer work, because he was so busy with his new promotion.

        • Controller….funny thing….during the gaslighting and lying phase, I was accused of being controlling….always held her under my finger. Funny thing….we had our own bank accounts, own phones….I never asked her where she was or what she was doing, never checked her phone or email. I moved to a different state because she wanted to. She was able to get a job where I worked. I always drove the shitbox while she drove the new/nice vehicles.

          You know why? I trusted. I took a vow. I never thought she’d cheat. She completely weaponized my trust against me. And then blamed me for everything. She controlled the destruction of our family.

          I never cheated, abused, lied…..I provided, am a great father and have integrity.

          I thought neither of us were jealous (I found out she was jealous of her paramour…who has dumped her since…..karma much?)

          • Yep, we shouldn’t feel stupid for trusting, but dang it is hard for me not to. What I needed was counceling during that time to understand that. I just buried it and never told anyone. Except my now husband, and that took a few years. I thought my situation was unique and was so ashamed.

            As for controller, the funny thing was when we went to our one counseling session, he told our preacher that he had always tried to get me to be more self sufficient. Not that I am not, but to live with him he had to be in control, he didn’t want me out at night, he insisted I turn down a good promotion, he insisted on managing the money. (many examples)

            The preacher just looked at him in a funny way, as if to say what does her being more self sufficient have to do with you committing adultery? Anyway in the next breath he said, but “I (meaning him) am a controller and that isn’t going to change.

            I looked at the preacher and said “I think we are done here, thank you for your time”

            The preacher called me later and said, honestly he didn’t say the things I thought he was going to say for someone who wanted a chance. I said “really, he said exactly what I thought he would say”.

            It was all about him, and what I would do to win him back. The only way we would have reconciled is for me to eat the shit sandwiches, and him to go on with life as he chose. Plus there is no doubt that he was in bed with schmoopie the last night, heck likely even just before he came to the counseling session.

            • Susie Lee….sorry for your situation. Trust is a fine line.

              I consider myself an intelligent person and I can honestly say I have never, EVER felt as stupid in my life as when I found out the truth. How could I be so dumb? How could I have missed the obvious signs?

              I will tell you how…..deep love, trust, denial and manipulation.

              I was so stupid as to tell her I would consider forgiving her if she had cheated on me (which at the time, she denied). I took her at her word that she was not cheating.

              Based on how she acted during our “first troubles” in 2015 and how she acted a few years later, I am 100% convinced she cheated in 2015 (and who knows how long back…..what is real?….What is true?).

              I will probably never know. And it’s funny….had I not uncovered her cheating (she was being so horrible to me that I decided to investigate the unthinkable), I probably would have blamed myself (again) and been heartbroken for all of the wrong reasons.

              Only a low character person would do this to a loyal, loving spouse. She has zero remorse and the hate keeps flowing. It is still shocking to me that this is the woman I put on a pedestal.

              My advice to anyone who hears “I Love You but Im not in love with you” or “Something is missing”…..RED FLAGS……99.9 % chance what you always feared would happen is, in fact, a reality.

              • Yep, or if they suddenly or even gradually turn hostile and pick fights; that is a big sign. Another one, which my FW used too, was “I need space” I don’t know about women, but if a man says “I need space” he already has a space, and there is a whore in it.

                I didn’t have internet, or CL back then. I had no idea what I was going through was classic cheater behavior. Had I known, at least I could have questioned him sooner, he still would have lied, but I likely would have shared with a friend, who had been through it. But, I was too embarrassed, as I thought as I said it was just my situation, and since he was blaming me…

    • In between last minute emails to the band, jeweler and caterer for our upcoming wedding were messages to women on match.com and prostitutes.

      • What a monster! They are so calculating. Like they’re thinking ‘I’ll need one wife, and then I’ll need one side piece, and a few Ho’s’
        We are just items to them!
        One thing this has made me appreciate about myself- I can love! I do feel love and devotion, and can feel it for years! This is a pretty big deal to me, because I had a rough childhood, so I’m glad at least I can be a real lover of another person. I feel real feelings, and I bond. Grateful for that!

  • At the end of my relationship he started putting his hands on my neck during sex and that spooked me big time. I started treating him like a poisonous snake then. That poor woman. I will never not be grateful to be out of that confusion and suffering.

    • Interesting, mine did this at the beginning of our relationship and I did not like it. I would sort of shrug him off and he stopped doing it.

      • Mine would pull my hair and “ spank “ me during sex . I told him i didn’t like it it was sore he told me to shut my fucking face it’s not sore and you do like it .

        I’ve never ever once thought that was abuse just him getting the sex the way he wanted it

    • If you watch Killer in the Family on Netflix, this will terrify you. I think it’s the number one sign of danger

  • I found the story of the French family that disappeared – the Dupont de Ligonnes murders- more chilling. It’s on Netflix too: Unsolved Mysteries episide 3 House of Horror. There was the same handsome, charming dad who seemed to really love his children…

  • Ironically I watched this too, with my 13 year old son. My son, not because of me, knows his Dad cheated on me. His Dad’s name is Chris as well and they look freakily alike. My son got up and left the room when he found out that Dad committed all 3 murders including his kids. I am sure he had the same thought, at least my Dad just left and moved half way across the country.

    It wasn’t bad enough he cheated on her, killed her, but he accused her of killing her own kids.

    The death sentence would of been too good for this guy.

  • I think the only thing that saved me from my sociopath was that on D day, he was raddled and I was pitching a fit. He went to sleep in the basement and I grabbed his gun and put it in the safe. In the days following, he searched the room. I used a spy book trick showing if someone had opened the door. I knew he was looking for the gun. Of course, he made up another lame excuse. I then put deadbolts on the bedroom door and he thought I had cameras (ha!). He refused to move out and in this state I couldn’t make him. I had to stay in my home because of my work. He did threaten to hit me and shoved me up the stairs and the cops were called, but couldn’t do anything because I had no marks (how stupid is that?). But at least the police scared him enough, that he stopped confronting me and I went grey rock. The day he moved out, the gun was the last thing I gave him. I gave him the bullets first and while he was walking to the truck, I put the gun on the front step and ran and hid with my cell phone until he left. The divorce has a no contact. So, even if he comes on the property, I can have him arrested. 1 year and 3 months out getting closer to Meh and realizing all the things in the marriage that he did that were sick and I would spackle because everyone thought he was such a good man.

  • I find people like Chris Watts fascinating. Family Annihilators like Jeffrey MacDonald, Chris Coleman, Chris Watts and Scott Peterson all have so much in common. The most predominant similarity starts with their parents, particularly their mothers. All of their mothers have narcissistic tendencies which I think builds rage against females from a very early age. They also portray themselves as high achieving “nice guys” and are so enmeshed in that narrative that they cannot stand to be thought of as a bad guy. Can you imagine what people would have said about Chris Watts divorcing his pregnant wife and leaving his two little girls? With these guys, their wives and children are just cast members in their lives – only an extension of them – and instead of just divorcing them and being seen as a bad guy, they erase them to protect their image. The book “Fatal Vision” by Joe McInnis about the MacDonald case is a very deep dive into how seamlessly sociopaths live among us. It has great insight into the entitlement of cheaters.

    • A lot of men have narcissist mothers who don’t go on to despise and murder women and children. I just think the blame-the-cold-mother psych trope has done a lot of damage in our culture.

      How about these men are entitled and misogynistic? There’s a lot of that in our society. From many sources.

      • Here here. Autism and so many other things were also blamed on “cold mothers.” Just another way to blame women for things they have no control over.

        • Yep, mental illnesses were also blamed on mothers. Religious homophobes still claim domineering mothers cause their sons to become gay.

      • I see merit to noticing the trend. Peterson and Watts in particular had moms who stood by them even after what they did. I think this alone says a lot about how their sons turned out. I think it is important for us to still talk about parental impacts and having unhealthy attachments with parents.

        • I agree. We talk a lot here about not modeling narc/chump dynamics. A narc parent of any stripe can be really damaging.

          People abuse out of entitlement. Mothers can absolutely feed that entitlement. Or be entitled themselves. I think that’s a different discussion than “cold” or “enmeshed” mothers create certain outcomes.

        • Other family members also “stood by” these murderers, not just their mothers. Particularly early in my career, my work put me in direct contact with convicted murderers on death row. I interviewed more than one murderer and also read in-depth psychological assessments of them.

          If there is one overriding factor that I saw-almost 100% of the time-it was the presence of often extreme childhood abuse or neglect. Even the malignant narcissists like Bundy had severely fucked up childhoods. Women often get blamed for those childhoods, but the fact is that the failure to care for children is often generational and runs throughout the family. Add those deficits to the failure of our institutions to intervene, and the groundwork for pathology is laid.

          So let’s be cautious with the mom blaming. There is plenty of blame to go around.

          • Parents can abuse their children by grossly overvaluing them or undervaluing her/him. Little princeling or princess or the black sheep

      • CL – I agree not all men with these types of mothers don’t become Family Annihilators. I was just pointing out that the men that I listed have mothers (and possibly fathers in the case of Chris Coleman) who may have set the stage for the particular type of psychopathy displayed by these murderers. All cheaters can’t blame mommy, but I feel in the case of people who decide erase their wives and children because they have become “inconvenient” didn’t get that mindset on their own. That is entitlement to the nth degree.

    • I did watch an interview on youtube with Chris Watt’s mother. She so fits the profile of a narcissist. Acting all horrified, but not because her grandchildren or daughter-in-law were murdered by her son, she took issue with her son being driven to murder by his pain in the ass wife. Watching this interview will make your blood boil.

    • You just described my ex and his mother to a T. Nice guy narrative and all. In retrospect he did everything short of physical violence (against me) to get me to file and be the bad guy. He ended up walking out. I didn’t realize it at the time but now realize how lucky I am.

    • Narcissism is far more common in men. This means many more girls have narc fathers than boys have narc mothers, yet the number of girls who grow up to be violent man-haters and kill their families isn’t even a statistical blip.
      Conclusion; it’s not caused by the parents alone.

      • It is a fact that high testosterone is independently associated with more violence, all other factors being equal. For instance, almost all men with Fragile X syndrome – with super high testosterone – are violent offenders.

        >90% of reported domestic homicide is by men; and having looked at many cases in which the woman did it, rarely have I personally seen a case of a long history of brutal physical violence by the woman (beating, strangling). But, she like the man also tends to be ‘crazy’, abusive and an addict (so men / gay women, beware too).

        That’s what’s wrong with the current blind legal system in which a petite 5’2″, 120 lbs woman calls cops for assault by her 6’1″ 200 lbs muscular husband, but he can say she was the abuser cause he has some scratches on him, and yes, he’ll get away with it, +she could get locked up and have a permanent rap sheet for domestic violence. Read the MRA forums – misogynists understand the game.

        Of course, countless evil women have also used the law to attack their male victims. In general, neighbors and associates tend to know who the real meanie is.

        In my view the fight is good vs evil. We need true enlightenment at every level.

  • And tell me who are these women who are still in contact with him and want to be his girlfriend/new wife? Some people in life just need to be put down, there is no way, nor any amount of therapy to fix this amount of crazy. This includes pedophiles.

    • Could not agree with you more. Getting real tired of evil and obnoxious insane people operating under the guise as “evolved”.

    • There is a subset of disturbed women who love guys like this. Ted Bundy had multiple girlfriends while on death row; he also got married & fathered a child.

  • Wow. Another epiphany with this post today.

    When my infant son died in 2007, it was naturally devastating to my whole family. I had 5 other children ages 19 down to 12. My ex was remorseful as expected, but as time went on… we mourned separately. I was very open about it… he seemed very private about it. My kids and I were open about our feelings, we’d visit the grave frequently.

    My ex and I never mourned together, never visited the cemetery together. He changed after that.. as expected, but now I’m seeing that differently.

    I think all the attention and energy the rest of us put into morning him, took away my ex’s thunder. None of us felt sorry for HIM because we were all missing that child.

    Holy hell… I’ve never seen this before.

    This adds a whole other layer of mindfuck.

    • When we divorced, the only thing I wanted were the grave plots we bought. I will be buried in the one next to my son and I sure as fuck wasn’t going to allow his ashes to be buried next to me and in the same plot as our son. He kind of fought over that, but not really… just enough to show how resentful he was that I took that away from him…he can still use that for good show to him wife appliance as to how evil I am.

      Wow, wow, wow….

      • Ex used to “joke” that he was going to leave instructions that I was to be buried in the same grave as him, face down on top of him so we could have sex for eternity. Even when I thought I was happily married that “joke” creeped me out. Now it horrifies me and even though I know it would never happen, even if we were still married, I’m having my body cremated. Just to be sure…

    • Kintsugi – Wow. I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that and not have a partner to lean on. The coldness is so scary. Sending you hugs.

  • Haven’t read the comments yet and I only know what I’ve read (very little) about Chris Watts, but the other night I watched his mother being interviewed on youtube. What a piece of work. Never missed an opportunity to bash Chris’s wife. No sympathy for the murder victims, only herself and her Chris.

      • All narcissists may have had something off with the family dynamic. Chris Watt types seem to have had a dominant yet dysfunctional narcissistic mother. It seems a narcissistic mother will wreak more havoc than a narcissistic father. Not saying a narc father doesn’t cause damage but the children of narc fathers seem to have more empathy and are less predator like. We had neighbors when I was growing up and while they portrayed the perfect family, something was just off. Even as a kid I knew something was not quite right. Looking back I think the mother was a narcissist and I believe all 3 children (two boys and a girl) all became narcissists. All 3 adored the mother. All 3 lead successful but dysfunctional lives and all 3 are very angry.

        • The children of narc fathers, especially daughters, often become the victims of these stories! And I speak from years of experience in abuse recovery.

        • I seriously doubt that. An abusive father does as much damage as an abusive mother. Narcs can come from non-narc moms, too. I have a child I believe is a narc. She’s certainly highly narcissistic, if not quite NPD. It doesn’t come from me, but there are PD genes on the biological father’s side and her cheaterpants adoptive father is a narc. She was like that from a very early age as well, extremely selfish and entitled. This is the only child I have who is remotely like this, so I believe it is probably almost entirely genetic, as I have no other children from that same bio-dad. Studies found almost all the narcissistic traits can be inherited.

          • I believe that a son’s father can have a very detrimental influence on their sons view & attitude of women in general. The ones they see on the street together (where sexual or sizing up comments are made) or that the son sees their father interact with. Also of course watching their father disrespect, verbally abuse or strike their mother. It ingrains the behavior as normal.

        • The earliest bonds to an infant’s primary caregiver seem to have a huge effects on personality development. This most often is the mother.

          For instance, babies whose mother is distant/depressed, withholding, cruel or overly enmeshed /indulgent, exhibit poor development of object constancy, a common trait of the disordered.

          It can also be the father. In my case, my abusive narc ex spent a lot of time with my newborn son while I was in grad school … son is now sadly a difficult, entitled teen version of his dad.

          Another example, orphans adopted from say a soviet orphanage even as an infant often exhibit a lot of disorder which cannot be overcome by the most loving of families.

    • I’m not surprised his mother was awful. I watched it tonight since I hadn’t seen the show. I was doing fine until the bit about Chris’s mom giving one of the babies food she was allergic to. My former MIL did that. My ex didn’t say anything to his mom, either.

  • All sociopaths are narcissists but not all narcissists are sociopaths. Most narcissists cheat. I think we can see similarities in Chris Watts, Scott Peterson, maybe our own stories thru the narcissism shared common thread. I also think the timeline is really chilly; about 8 years from the start of the relationships until the end. I always think about that when I hear a lot of divorces occur on or around the 7 year mark; I know the cycle of idealization-devalue-discard is different depending on the person/circumstances but I have wondered if it could be the average amount of time the rage can be contained before the mask drops. I try to remember while I don’t feel lucky I am lucky my discard was divorce.

    • “Discard” can run the range
      *from the disordered one discarding the spouse while still living in the home and intending to stay legally married and cohabiting (The chump may not even know this is a discard; this goes on a lot before D-Day or between D-Days).
      *to living in the home, pretending to be “happily married” while plotting a scorched-earth full discard of ones or another
      *to separation but foot-dragging on divorce and support (one foot in the marriage, the other out)
      *to abandonment without support or separation of assets (just disappears)
      *to divorce but hoovering (texts, emails, visits, requests. “be friends)
      *to divorce with abandonment (the ones that move away or ghost the family)
      *to family annihilation.

      And some cheaters go from one stage of discard to another.

  • I have posted this a few times on our Reddit group and the old CL forums. I am 4 years out and I do feel lucky to be alive. Dr. Cheaterpants left the first time when our kids were 2 & 4 years old for a nurse howorker in the ICU unit (she was twice divorced with history of cheating on her ex’s, a pitiful case that couldn’t have children according to him and she needed him). Before he confessed to being in love with her, he wanted a divorce but just wanted me to leave the dream house we just built and leave the kids there. When I filed for divorce and he got every Wednesday evening and every other weekend he was flabbergasted. We had to go to court mandated therapy and he told me and the therapist he was daydreaming I would die in a plane crash for an upcoming work trip.

    I cannot believe I took him back right before the divorce was finalized. Many more years of suspicious secretaries and dumsels in distress til our iClouds were joined and I catch him pursuing DD14’s 20-something asst sports coach in our kids’ Catholic high school. Another poor pitiful type that no one thought about or cared about. He was having me buy her gift cards for Christmas and giving her stuff of our daughters.

    I filed for divorce immediately and he moved out 3 weeks later. He has since discarded our young adult kids for the most part and I am no contact. I spackled for his self centered behavior for years. I built him up to our families, our friends, and our work colleagues as a great guy. I was the queen of spackle. I can see how Shan’ann did that as I did it too. And really he was just a big ole angry guy behind closed doors but all smiles to the world. All the while secretly trying to find the next sparkly and looking for something ‘better’.

    I have said many times I feel lucky I discovered what he was up to and he didn’t kill me this time around so he wouldn’t lose anything. He could play the grieving widower and keep his reputation and all his stuff. A win-win for a sociopath.

    • Ah, the saga of Dr. Cheaterpants and TeenageBarbieSchmoopie. As time rolls on, her turn for the discard is coming.

      Once someone is fantasizing that you are going to die on a trip AND they have the whacked-out idea that you will just step aside and let them have it all in the divorce, you are truly at risk.

      “I feel lucky I discovered what he was up to and he didn’t kill me this time around so he wouldn’t lose anything. He could play the grieving widower and keep his reputation and all his stuff.” This is the story of Shann’ann Watts, Susan Powell, and so many others. It’s not even that divorce is such a stigma or such hard work. They just think they should get EVERYTHING. If Clint Watts leaves wife and kids alive, he’s looking at 25 years of child support and college.

      Another version of this is when a cheater will cheat but string the spouse along until the kids are almost through high school, to avoid having income divided by two households. They live their secret life, see the kids when they want and still have access to the full household income. Then they bail as the kids get old enough to require just a year or two of child support. If the youngest kiddo is, say 14), a good lawyer can drag out final divorce for a couple of years and by that time the kids are old enough that the SAHP has to get a job and is worrying about paying for college.

      • Ah money as motivator!

        Mine retired 4 months before D-Day and 2+ years into the affair. I think he timed it to avoid paying alimony. And in the discard phase (that I didn’t realize was the discard phase), he became so damn cheap. A wealthy physician, he begrudged me a new sports bra while we were at REI. “You have enough of those?” What? At that same moment, he was buying expensive hiking boots for an upcoming hike with the OW. Of course, I was in the dark about that. Did my chumpy self insist on the sports bra? Sorry to say that I didn’t.

        Ex assumed all of our assets would be split 50/50 because we were in a no-fault state.

        Not so fast!

        Because I had the better attorney (who argued fraud) and because my ex was so damn stupid, leaving a paper trail of his infidelity, I ended up with much more of our assets.

        He’s still with the OW (I think), but he has so much less money than he thought he’d have and is now back to work. So I’m getting alimony after all!

        This is all bitter-sweet, of course, The situation sucks, but I’m free (and alive).

      • TeenageBarbieSchmoopie will forever be seared in my mind when I think of her! You’ve helped me more than you can ever know LAJ!! Especially when you told me to stop pain shopping. That’s really what helped clear the way towards meh for me!! Thank you!!

  • I learn something new everything, or should I say I learn somethings and I re-learn other. Yes, that was me too. I remember saying to myself on more than one occasion, I finally found a nice guy, a great guy…and even as the devaluing was happening, it was a rollercoaster with good guy, hurtful guy, mean guy, but I still held on to good guy, even though he was disappearing before my eyes.

    • Absolutely. Me too.

      This is a brilliant description of the slow death of the Great Guy.

      They fade away like a Cheshire Cat, and all that remains is the smile.

  • I am still incredibly triggered after watching this documentary. So much of it was similar to what I went through… I will never forget the night I found out about the affair. Naturally I was incredibly furious and hurt, but I was beyond shocked when, in the middle of a fight in the hallway by the laundry area, he physically grabbed me and slammed me repeatedly against the laundry shelf over and over again only for me to break away and run into the kitchen where he then proceeded to slam my back against the counter by the sink all the while growling horrible things in my face. And the things he said… I’ve never heard him talk that way to anyone ever in his life. It was like he was a whole different person. I was stunned and terrified, but even more than that I felt ashamed that I had been duped so badly. I also happen to be incredibly anemic so when my then 12-year-old daughter came in to talk to me while I was in the bath the next day and saw most of my body covered in bruises she panicked. After I threw him out and started divorce proceedings, She or her twin brother reported the abuse to their guidance counselor who called adult services, and as a result our divorce included domestic abuse as an issue. My ex was furious because he felt like I pushed him to it, I was exaggerating, and I was trying to gain sympathy. No remorse or responsibility for what he did to me. And it was not the last time he was abusive even though it had been the first. I always was the kind of person who thought, after surviving and enduring an incredibly abusive childhood, it would never happen to me until it did. My heart breaks for that woman and her poor babies. And the other woman? More irritated than ashamed and heartbroken? Fucking trash!

    • Also looking for your posts, Kalamazoo. You and your kids are on my heart. I hate your situation and wish I could do something to help. Please keep us posted. So sorry you went through that on top of everything else. Your kids are strong and brave to have reported to the school. You are mighty to have raised them to be so courageous.

  • Is that the greatest spell check goof ever or simply a cosmic thing? Well done.

    Even ordinary cheaters often believe they can just go to the Next Store and get a whole new life, whiz zap presto. The collateral damage inflicted on other people in their pursuit are not important. The sociopaths murder on their way out to tie up the loose annoying ends. People are not real and are only props to be disposed of after their use is extracted.

    Sadly the worst of them get off on the national spotlight with first outpourings of support then ultimately disgust. At least they get their own Wikipedia page and probably receive love letters in jail from the mentally ill.

    Pardon if I am missing something here since I didn’t watch the movie yet. Too heartbreaking, I don’t think I will ever understand these situations.

    • Next door. OMG. (dies of mortification). I can’t edit it, alas. Don’t write before coffee. Given the amount of content I produce, I’m shocked I don’t screw up more often.

      • I think it was the pun of the century and obviously beyond your control, it is just so damn perfect.

        As Chumps we have all been Next-ed so the cheaters could skip off to their twu happynez. Hopefully this is a good reminder that it was nothing personal and as appliances we were easily replaced with a quick trip to the slut store.

        • Also, this will be fascinating to see your search engine metric get some shopping hits- I hope more Chumps accidentally find you as a small silver lining.

        • “as appliances we were easily replaced with a quick trip to the slut store.”

          That pretty much says it.

      • So glad it could be edited!

        Tracy, feel free to delete this nest of comments– my feelings would not be hurt in the slightest. Your message is the most important thing and I hate the grammar/spelling police.

    • I think a lot of these cheaters just don’t want to pay child support. You will be surprised how much some guys dodge it even though they can afford it just the idea of having to pay child support kills them. In Chris Watts case he has 3 kids he would have to pay quite a bit I think in his emotionless no conscience mind it’s just easier to get rid of them forever, they are not humans to him he probably just see them as bills.

      • Agreed, and him and Shan’ann were constantly teetering on the edge of financial insolvency. I think they had already or were about to claim bankruptcy. Kinda hard to hide a mistress if your wife is pouring over your financial statements in preparation for court, no?

  • Shanann had previously been in an abusive marriage, and was divorced when Chris pursued and lovebombed her. Their wedding footage was hard to watch.

    It’s common to end up with another type of abuser (the younger, the less therapy the survivor has had access to, and repartnering fairly quickly the more likely that becomes), and psychopaths are masterful at playing the role of the perfect man so they look amazing compared to a woman’s past partners.

    Ugh. Abuse dynamics are horrible. The key takeaway I had was what CN is always recommending: NEVER CONFRONT. They speed up the discard when they know the jig is up— I know my psycho ex did.

    • I am inclined to believe that he was fully expecting a bad confrontation when she got home, after busting him from the bank statements after his dinner with OW. She might have threatened to take the kids as he alleges, but I believe her father’s theory that he attacked her in her sleep. She came home at 2am from a business trip, no way she was up at 5am when he went to work and initiated sex (as he narcissistically claims) and then a hard conversation. She probably crashed to sleep announcing the confrontation for the next day and he got right in front of that. He said he woke up with the intention to kill her, there was nothing between that and the execution of his plan, if you ask me.

      Im just glad he gets to wrestle those demons for many decades, instead of releasing them into the world,as would happen if he’d gotten the death penalty.

      • The problem with life rather than death sentences, is that evil corrupts and breeds more evil in society. It is a true cancer.

        Murderers in prison actually turn the younger lesser prisoners into hardened violent murderers. See Sam Vankin – the goals of a narcissist are: to be a god. That is, to dominate and subsume you, then turn you into a copy of himself, or else destroy you utterly. Just like a cancer, or the Devil.

        I’ve personally observed it in 3 generations of my dysfunctional family: the narc picks a golden child and a scapegoat, the rest are flying monkeys: all seem to adopt the manipulative awful behaviors – first as an unconscious survival mechanism, then gradually vying for favor, then vying for supremacy as the next Narc.

        Also watch the behaviors of prison gangs, cults, political cliques, Hollywood, news networks, universities, etc. They’ll all cover for the perp as they curry his favor and position themselves into the inner circle.

        Usually the perp is the wokest, most charming and most philanthropic. I think we may be stunned to learn how our fave most beloved stars and leaders silenced and even murdered their victims.

        We as a society hate truth, and we call truth-tellers crazy, hateful, unstable. In many cases, they have been driven to true illness and alcoholism by the abuse. This was a powerful weapon of the Communists. Victims ended up in asylums.

        That’s why I believe abuse and particularly femicide is gonna get worse and worse, to the point of the ‘Dark Ages’.

    • Yup. There is another case, I forget the names, but the wife was shot by her cop husband and he claimed it was suicide. Fortunately, she survived and is still alive and well today but she cannot remember what happened that night. They never “proved” that her husband tried to murder her despite multiple experts testifying that the bullet hole angles are such that it would have been impossible for her to have fired those shots and it was his gun.

      In the documentary, it’s not quite clear whether she confronted him or he found her diary where she had written about her intentions to divorce him. Either way, neighbors heard them fighting and then he attempted to kill her and set it up as a suicide. He is still walking free.

      Most definitely do not confront and be super careful about not putting anything in writing, no consultation receipts or pmts (use cash), do not call from your cell where he could see the phone numbers, nothing at all that would tip them off. No matter how firmly you believe that he wouldn’t cross that line…..you simply don’t know. Better safe than dead.

  • My ex was not physically or verbally abusive and had never threatened me. But, I was so incredibly afraid he would snap and kill me and my kids that I would lie stiff in bed at night so I wouldn’t wake him. He acted like a doting dad and loving husband but I had a feeling in my soul that he was full of rage and violence.

    As soon as he walked out on us, I cancelled my life insurance and let him know. I found a letter he had written but never gave to me where he said he was leaving me and the kids because he didn’t trust himself not to snap and harm us. I had never told a single soul about my fears, especially not him, and here he had written it exactly as I imagined it would happen.

    Months later, I was still so afraid that I gave my parents a sealed envelope to keep in their safe. I told them it was my will but there is also a letter in there telling them that if I were missing or found dead, it was him (above letter also attached).

    He was a ticking time bomb, just like Chris Watts, and I have no doubt that I could’ve ended up just like Shanann. My ex would also be sitting in jail telling everyone he is triggered too.

  • This was hard for me to watch. My ex was never physically abusive but I don’t believe Chris was either. I do remember the neighbor saying he would hear Chris yelling loudly at times..I don’t know if that was in this documentary or a different one I watched. My ex first yelled at me a week into our marriage. I remember texting my mom that he was a different person and I was scared of who I may have married. He apologized to me later..crying. He would cry at strange times. It was always manipulation.

    What is most striking to me in similarity is the almost split personality of both him and my ex. The night before D-day, my ex held my hand across the table at dinner, gazed into my eyes lovingly and said “hey I want you to know that I know it’s been really hard on you to go back to work after maternity leave, I want you to know that I am here for you and we will get through this together”. I was so lucky to have such an understanding husband.

    No more than 24 hours later he was calling divorce attorney’s after I discovered his secret relationship with the neighbor when I was pregnant. THIS is what people don’t understand. These small moments in time that mess with your head. Who was I married to? What exactly is this person capable of? People like this are just actors in life. My ex is so charming and it gets him far in life. I’m more blunt and honest and people sometimes don’t love that. I just can relate so much to this relationship dynamic.

    • Completely agree. I caught mine with a 24 year old at the bar three weeks after he had been a pallbearer for my father…and three days after we had spent a romantic dinner-sex-filled few days in the city in a nice hotel. As in we got back Thursday and I caught them on Saturday.

      • Yup, fuckwit would go off on his “business” trips and fck the whore and immediately after coming home, would act all loving and sex starved and oh how he missed me, etc, etc, etc. Tired from the trip or not, he just had to have sex with me immediately because he missed me so much. Try that on for a mindfck. For that reason alone, I stupidly believed he is actually loyal and never suspected that he is whoring.

        Whenever people imply that a guy was cheating because of a lack of a sex life, it makes my blood boil. What a load of bs. Cheating isn’t about that, it’s about deceit. Getting off on duping people is what actually makes his dick hard. Sadly, I don’t think the whores ever actually grasp that concept. They are too lost in their own delusions of how “special” they are.

        • Yep.

          Also, adultery sex is filled with extra excitement because of the sneaking around and hiding. Can’t get that in an honest relationship.

          Teenager sex.

          While they are all fuckwits, I firmly believe most of them (not all, but most) don’t start it with any intent of it being permanent, they just get caught up, and actually convince themselves this whore will always be exciting to them. They are thinking like a teenage boy with their dicks.

  • I watched this last week and followed up with “The Murder of Laci Peterson”. The similarities are chilling. This was produced and aired in 2017 before the Watts case.

    Without a confession? Hey, Scott’s just a schmuck who had a girlfriend! Hey, if we jailed every guy who cheated on a pregnant woman every expectant father in the known universe would be in jail! Scott’s weird demeanor? Disregard! Everyone grieves differently! A TOTAL LACK OF EMOTION IS TOTALLLLLLY NORMAL! How dare we consider his bizarre flat affect as any kind of indicator of guilt?!!! Carrying on the affair while carrying out his New Life’s Purpose of Finding Laci? He loves Laci and the affair has nothing to do with that! It is separate!!! And it’s just the biggest most unbelievable coinkidink in the galaxy that Laci and the baby washed up where he just happened to be fishing. On Christmas Eve. Ninety miles from where they lived and where she was last seen. It was the house burglars!!!!

    IMHO, the Watts case is more damning circumstantial evidence in the Peterson case. Inadmissible, I know. But I think the biggest obstacle in the Peterson trial was DENIAL. People just could not believe it was possible for someone to kill their pregnant wife to clear the slate for a new life.

    Now we know. Chris Watts proved that a lying, cheating, murderous Big Foot is real. And no wonder we all wanted to stay in denial.

    • I live ten minutes from San Quentin. Very near to where Laci and the baby were found. SCOTT PETERSON GETS MARRIAGE PROPOSALS.
      Remember this when you feel agitated by the cheating accomplice. To quote Nicole Kessinger, Chris Watts All That cheating accomplice, “their cheese was sliding off of their cracker long before they met…..“

      OF COURSE not every cheater is a murderer. But infidelity and murder go hand in hand so often that to deny it is at the very least an insult to the victims. People who are cheated on commit suicide and homicide too; the pain and damage is off the charts. Cheating accomplices are also capable of murder. Another very good reason to stay away from them. You never know. Better safe than sorry.

      • When I took the ferry to Larkspur, we passed San Quentin. I made an announcement and a bunch of us gave Peterson the middle finger 🖕 salute ! 🦇 💩 women are his pen pals and he’s appealing for a new trial.

  • XH was too image conscious to do anything to look other than a wonderful person. I know he hated me and would kill me if he could, but it’s just not in his best interests – and I still pay him alimony 🙄
    After my divorce, some nurse friends wanted to set me up with a nice pediatrician who worked at the big children’s hospital. A few months later his ex- wife was found dead in her bathtub and the coroner ruled suicide. Her wonderful friends and family said NO WAY and fought hard to get that case reopened. It seems as if he injected her with Xanax (they never could find out how so much Xanax was in her system but not in her stomach). Her beloved scrapbooks of her children were found floating in the water with her – that psycho tore them up in a rage. A woman I know who works in the nicest eye glass shop in town saw him the day after the murder because the ex-wife had fought back so hard she broke his glasses. He lied to the eyeglass woman (and said something different to police about the glasses) and she testified in court. It was a long haul to justice (years) but he’s in jail for life. I always wonder if I had gone out with him would I have seen anything or would I have been my chumpy naive self and thought that he was wonderful. Sends chills down my spine.

  • I watched it just two nights ago and thought the same things as you. I will also add some other things that stood out to me:

    1. he was good at fooling Shan’ann (other people, not so much). They indicated she had been in a previous abusive relationship so, to me, it was clear she couldn’t see the red flags because they were normal to her. This is why it’s so important to fix your picker. (Not judging, I’m a 3x chump and one of those relationships almost cost me my life….even after escaping bloody, bruised, financially destitute and learning that hard lessons I chose a 3rd abusive partner. Thankful, I didn’t marry him but it was very clear I was picking the wrong people and I had to fix myself)

    2. Her tribe knew something was off with him. Seeing how outspoken and vigilant they were for her (especially her friend Nikole) and based on my own personal experience, they probably told her they felt something was off with him and she probably spackled it. If someone in your tribe tells you something is off with someone you are seriously involved with, pay attention! It could save your life.

    3. She kept referring that if he isn’t having sex with her then where is he getting it from? I would say the same for his attention and affection. It was clear he was emotionless and withholding! And, it was clear he was that way before the murders….even the next door neighbor said he was always “quiet, calm, shy” and even Shan’ann’s friends said something’s off with him. You could tell by the way she overshared, he was withholding. All she was seeking was attention and affection from him. Just like you said CL, poor girl didn’t understand that he was devaluing her and it seemed to be happening the entire span of their marriage.

    4. Last but most definitely not least, how horrible the public was about her on social media and how the media ran with it. It was like these rando flying monkeys who didn’t know either of them jumped in on these social media forums and ripped poor Shan’ann apart saying “She drove him to do this”. What sick and twisted person says that???!? (Mind you, a lot of them were women). And, then what sick and twisted media outlets run with it???!? It was just another affirmation for me that social media has become a hate platform and that’s why it so important to have boundaries.

    • Before a beloved young friend was found dead of a gunshot wound, I told her “there’s something off here with this man you are working for and living with.” She was jittery, losing weight, and her whole life revolved around him. She was hip deep in sparkle. He claimed she shot herself and being in law enforcement, that was the official verdict. But many of her friends and family member don’t believe for a minute that she shot herself in the head. We never got her beloved camera back, or the china I had given her, or any of her things to remember her by.

      He sent me an email, unsolicited, to express his great sorrow that she had committed suicide. I had never met him. That was when I knew for sure that either he had killed her deliberately or his son had done it.

      I still wish I could have saved her. Somehow.

      • I’m so sorry to hear about your friend😓🙏. That is awful and I hate she went through that abuse. May I suggest you keep her legacy going by doing a couple of different things such as having a girlfriends reunion every year and celebrate her, help other women in abusive relationships and give them guidance to get out, reach out to your church or other organizations (such as the YWCA) and see how you can help women in need. I suggest these things because they helped saved my life in my community. Heather Palumbo-Jones was murdered by her controlling ex husband and it effected our community tremendously! Dateline did a story on her and what happened. Her friends featured in that Dateline story came to my aid 4yrs after her death. Some of them have become my good friends. After I healed, did the hard work on myself to fix me and gained my confidence back I joined the crusade to help women gain the courage to get out of abusive relationships. I easily could have been Heather (or Shan’ann) and I got out with my life because of good people who knew the warning signs and red flags. For safety reasons (for you and any women you help), I recommend remaining anonymous and only letting safe people know what you are doing. It does really make me nervous about her abuser being in law enforcement and him being so brazen to email you details. That kind of person is very very scary! It’s almost as if he was fishing for a reaction. Please stay no contact with him, no mater what. I was fortunate to have good police officers (the same who were on Heather’s case) help me. They knew what I had to do to get out of that situation and how to keep me safe. I fled, served him with a restraining order, moved into my own place (not making my address public), got a new number, new job, etc. The police would stop by, check on me and park their cruisers around the corner from my house to survey traffic, etc. I was lucky and I listened to every word the people who were helping me. Sadly, Heather didn’t.

  • When I was emotionally devastated one night early in our relationship and I sobbed in his lap…I now realize 1/2 of what I was upset about was his lack of empathy for WHY I was so upset in the first place. It was like he decided that the correct response was to play the LetHerCryItOutInMyArms game, but he wasn’t ever really emotionally involved in it at all. (I later learned that he was the cause of the emotional devastation and he had done it for long-term behavioral control.)

    One morning I was extremely pissed off at him for totally blowing me off on an outing that we had been planning and I was really looking forward to. When I lost it and yelled at him about it, he laughed at me. He tried to hide how much he was actually enjoying my distress, but I could tell he thought the whole thing was funny.

    During my pregnancy I kept waiting for the together moments when a couple snuggles together and enjoy the growing baby – nope, never had that. When I gave birth to his one and only son that he desperately wants to be his ‘mini-me’, he was really happy to have his son. But he barely looked at me after and did a huge play for sympathy from the nurses (he’s a health aide and helped deliver his son, his first birth) for himself – actually flopped down on the bed next to me with his arm over his eyes, groaning.

    When he got busted for mailing drugs through the mail and the police showed up at his work to question him – then I saw some real emotion. Lots of tears and fear and self-pity. Those emotions showed up again at our custody hearing.

    Yep, he’s only got empathy for one person. Himself.

    • Wow our ex’s are very similar!

      I remember crying because he didn’t seem happy about ring shopping before our wedding and he was “comforting” me. There were just so many instances where things felt off and I blamed it on my hormones of being pregnant.

      When the baby was born after a traumatic labor, he spent the time in the hospital either sleeping or having long conversations with the nurses about himself. He would find things in common with anyone in the room and go on long tangents about himself and how great he is. I remember thinking during labor how shocked I was he wasn’t being the supportive person he always claimed to be and I felt very alone.

      He is fighting for 50/50 custody of our baby, of course.

  • My ex was frequently violent. At first it was just the temper tantrums, then it was pushing, then it was slapping, then it was tripping me up, until it became kicking me in the back when I was curled up in a ball on the floor. And I was so crazed (from the exhaustion of never getting more than 3-4 hours non-consecutive sleep) that I kept thinking “oh he’d never”. And I kept thinking that until one day the penny finally dropped and I realized “yes he would”. I doubt that he would ever have planned to kill me but I now knew he was capable of doing it in a fit of rage! THAT’S when I took it to the police. But even getting a DV judgement against him wouldn’t have saved me in the end would it – Schmoopie did that by taking the trash out, although she was telling people a couple of years later that she had to leave him as she was afraid he would kill her! Ha, I kudda told you that sweetheart if you’d just asked me! I did watch the Watts sentencing and I know I shouldn’t try to untangle the skein but when he was stifling sobs I couldn’t help wondering if the grief was for himself – as is most likely – or if even a tiny bit of him actually regretted what he did to his own babies. Not because it caused him to get a life sentence, but because he had killed his own babies. I guess I’ll never know the true answer to that!

  • When he got to the rage stage of his narcissism, I did start fearing for my life. I was not going to die because he wanted to be with Schmoopie. There were two instances where he was on the brink of hurting me. I told him to leave, and he did. I am so grateful every day that I had the wherewithal to get him to go; else, he really might have killed me at some point. I was just a “thing” in his life, after all. Nothing of importance.

    • Yep, my ex was really nasty the last year (ish) we were together, which was during his cheating (of course I didn’t know why, he said it was work stress)

      He would come into the house and his eyes would dart around for something to scream about. It got worse and worse.

      In hindsight, I realized he was being squeezed at work, by schmoopie and of course by (clueless) me.

      I think what brought it to a head, is his adultery with his direct report had been discovered, and he no long needed me to help hide her, so he was losing control.

      Would he have come to blows, I don’t know. I didn’t think so, but I also never thought he was cheating. The last rage was in public at a Gas station, he started screaming at me, then realized several men had stopped what they were doing and were staring at him. He told me to go home, got in his car and slunk away.

      When he came home, he apologized, which was the first time he had apologized for a screaming fit. I think he hated me.

      • I feel like “it’s just stressful at work” is the go-to excuse for men when you feel them pulling away. I heard it too, so many times. Not sure what the cliche is for women.

        • Yep. And it is believable because most of us go through periods of stress at work. I know I did. Though I tended to talk about it vs pull away.

  • While going through the divorce 7 years ago, my therapist told me my now XH was a sociopath. He was the ‘nice’ guy that would walk a spider out of the house, instead of smushing it, the guy that would return a shopping cart to the proper spot for an old person.

    Like Watts and Peterson, XH was emotionally enmeshed by his mother. Therapist said it was emotional incest. Like Shan’ann, I had opted out of a relationship with his mother following 18 years of her overstepping into our marriage- always with the accusation that I was failing her golden child. Within 10 months of severing ties with her, XH had left for an affair partner.

    • My ex has a gross relationship with his mother as well. She also is a narcissist and I spotted her right off the bat. He really did not like when I pointed out that her crying “all weekend” because she didn’t see us get married was manipulative. We were going to have a bigger wedding the following year but that wasn’t good enough. I also assume that instead of telling his parents he cheated, he did some kind of narrative where I called his mom crazy (she is) and it made his family instantly turn against me and encourage him to file for divorce. No one is allowed to question the family matriarch. I’m basically battling her in court for custody. I’ll be quietly smug when his trans escort activities come up in trial.

      • Ditto with Jackass. He was both enmeshed with his mother and contemptuous of her. That’s a terrible combination. And I take CL’s concern, elsewhere in the comments, that we don’t blame the mother, which is often a reflexive and misogynistic way to blame shift for a murderer.

        That said, enmeshment with a disordered parent can produce both people with narcissistic traits (having learned how to dominate others from the parent) and those who are chumps (trained from birth to serve a narcissistic or sociopathic loved one). The point here is that enmeshment with a parent is a very very big red flag. Run when you spot it the first time.

        • Yet another huge red flag I missed that was waving at me like a matador for a bull. Dr. Cheaterpants is the youngest of 11 kids and totally enmeshed with his mother. She used to tell me stories of how when he was a baby, the older boys were in charge of getting him to sleep and if they were particularly loud and rambunctious they would come up from the basement asking for another bottle. Yikes!!! He would be devastated when she wouldn’t answer his phone calls and would blow him off. Yet he would do the same ignoring crap to her.

          When we lost a baby in my second trimester and planning the funeral, he was on the phone with her and she was telling him what we should have engraved on the headstone. I drew a line there! And when she visited us, she would go through and reorganize the closets, the kitchen, clean the entire house, and give suggestions for improvements. He would be all in with this. He couldn’t understand why I would ever be upset about any of this.

        • LAJ – I agree with CL – the mom isn’t to blame for the murderer. I also agree with you, the enmeshment is a huge red flag.

          In the case of my xmil – she was horrible to me from day one. Asked me if, at the age of 26, I was a virgin when I married her son. How much money I made, what my bonuses were, how much I spent, how much our vacations costs, how often I had my nails done, and the same for xh’s brother’s wife. She even asked if my parents were upside down on their home. She did this right up until I was 42. And to be clear, I out-earned her golden child and was frugal, so she had no real concern about our finances.

          When I told xh that I was done with her, he agreed. He didn’t talk to her either, even though I thought he should not turn his back on her (“You only get one mom”). Through-out our marriage, I had asked only that he establish appropriate boundaries with her.

          I’ve said this before, but I think xmil was the first wife to xh. I was their OW. I pick-me-danced in my marriage before the affair with his coworker. I “won” that round, only to lose in the finals to coworker. The enmeshed hate the enmesher, and like that someone is trying to liberate them. After xmil was cast aside, he picked up coworker whore. I had become the enmesher. Once I was severed, he resumed his relationship with his mom. The old dynamic is once again in play – but now OW is wife.

    • My ex got super pissy when I started (rationally and calmly) pointing out his mother’s narcissism. Not to mention the fact that HE had complained for years about how smothering and controlling she was growing up, apparently I couldn’t have an opinion on her. I think it was really about me doing emotional labor-if I wasn’t playing all nice anymore than he had to manage the relationship and that was just too much work.

    • Ditto on the MIL from hell. Mine was a horror show from beginning to end. How incredibly chilling that that dynamic also existed in the Watts case.

      Along with FW, I had– after years and years of verbal, social and psychological abuse from MIL-from-hell– also finally cut contact with her just months before FW cheater started the drunken campaign to have an affair with whatever was available.

      In retrospect, it seemed pretty obvious FW was hunting for a twat-mom replacement because– and this says only good things about me– I NEVER FILLED THE BILL! In all honesty, I can say I’m nothing like his mother. Oh happy day.

      Turns out that searching among office floozies for one who’s game to have an adulterous affair is the absolutely perfect automatic filter to find that perfect twat-mom replacement. Anyone game to get involved with the married dad of minor kids is going to be dark triad all the way. I know we’re supposed to say that witting and willing APs aren’t a monolithe but social science tells another, creepier story.

      Anyway, I have wondered at times if what FW needed to replace wasn’t so much the general maternal figure and all that symbolizes but something more specific– the destructive TRIANGLE she carried with her. He needed the ally who would be naturally pitted against “the spouse” to contain me because… attachment disorder blah blah pizza.

      All the years his mother had been attacking me, she was doing him a service by acting the role of outsourced batterer. That way he could seem innocent of the role of cutting me down into traditional squashed-wife shape. It might be the modern workaround now that overt marital battering and soul-crushing campaigns of yore are frowned on in certain circles.

      The day MIL-from-hell first met me was two weeks before the wedding and it was clear as a bell what she was about. I had been working on a travel commercial that was shot outdoors in the burning sun for weeks and was skin and bones from the long hours and stress, but very happy. That alone irked the woman. I also have an allergy to the sun and obviously had a peeling sunburn the first time I met her. So MIL-from-hell asked how I could possibly be an actress with such ugly skin. Said with a smile.

      This was within hours of meeting her and I remember thinking, “Hmm. So that’s how it’s gonna be, lady.” I said nothing about the sunburn because I recognized the trap– attack my appearance/sexuality/self esteem and, if this visibly upset me, bingo! It was I who was the narcissist, not her! But I did ask her where she got the idea I was an actress. It was a rhetorical question. I knew– tall, young and blonde, so couldn’t possibly be a writer and producer as her son had told her countless times, right? I took note that she was a woman with “deeply internalized misogyny” and emotionally about 11 years old. I wondered if she was a sexual abuse survivor from childhood. I was really young then but had majored in behaviorism and experimental (radical!) women’s lit.

      During the rest of that first visit, she made little digs about how much I ate as opposed to how skinny I was, the obvious implication being that I must have had an eating disorder. Nice. If it had been true that I’d had any kind of eating disorder, her digs could have been lethal. Though this wasn’t true of me, the takeaway was still about her intention, which was evil. I decided then and there that if I got pregnant, I shouldn’t let her near me for the entire 9 months or the freak would probably send me into preterm labor. I avoided her as much as possible.

      I sensed all the things she was saying to me were set-ups so she could recount my reactions to her requisite group of equally vicious, emotionally stunted friends. You can smell a triangulator from 20 paces. What depressed me was not so much the nature of the attacks, which were brutal enough, but that I’d have to give up on the dream of having a cohesive extended family. Not possible with someone like that in the mix.

      19 years of this and I never lashed back even though, in my work since my teens, I regularly went toe-to-toe with screaming Harvey Weinstein ogre types. I was once in seventh grade and know how the mean girl thing works. I could be light and civil if she (on rare occasion) behaved and then grey-rocked her the rest of the time, particularly after having children. For years FW commended me on playing it close to the chest, admitting his mum was a lost cause. I’m not so sure my forebearance was pure codependency or shit-sandwich-eating. I knew anything I said would be used against me to anyone who would listen and this could isolate my kids.

      The day MIL-from-hell finally took things way too far, did it in front of the wrong audience and made the mistake of grazing her precious golden boy son in an attack that was mostly meant for me, I felt relief. At last I had solid grounds to cut her off without alienating the entire clan and condemning the kids to extended family orphanhood. I knew she was incapable of apologizing and had miscalculated her own son’s reaction. She thought he’d choose her but he didn’t. At least not openly.

      While I was completely unsurprised that she’d taken things this far, FW was so furious, shocked, heartbroken, tormented and wounded at having been subjected to her vicious side– the side he’d seen her aim at others his whole life, but which he thought he was exempt from–that it was like she’d broken a pact.

      I misjudged the situation too. What I didn’t foresee is that the part of FW’s mummy that he missed and was heartbroken to lose was the part that put me down to build him up. She’d basically trained him since birth to do a pick-me dance for her! The heads-on-pikes effect of verbally ripping down people in front of her kids since they were tots was like cult programming via terror. I wonder if this is a universal dynamic among FWs– that they apply a twisted version of the golden rule to their victims, only expecting victims to do the same dance FWs have done all their miserable, broken lives for some evil caregiver or parental figure.

      Without evil mum around to emotionally batter me, it was as if FW could no longer delegate and had to do the job himself. Over the next year, he began having periodic fits of verbally berating me, using literally all his mummy’s attack points. After D-Day he admitted that his AP, who’d never met me and whose existance was unknown to me until the explosive D-Day, had called me names and criticized me. But even in his reconciliation dance, FW sort of crazily disowned the fact that all the grounds on which AP attacked me were precisely the same his mother had used for years, so these things could only have come from him.

      Of course this didn’t speak well of the AP either. No normal person takes to the role of bully cohort like that. But this is what she was chosen for by that not-so-proverbial motherfucker– to fill out her corner of the battering triangle, the sacred geometry of bullies near and far. So no surprises there either.

      I think I’m going to force myself to watch this documentary even though I’d taken the initial trigger warnings to heart and decided not to subject myself to it. It sounds almost validating. There are so many aspects of emotional abuse that are confusing when they happen because our own fearful, paralyzed reactions to it seem sort of excessive. But the dirty details of stories like the Watts case might illustrate that part of what we are responding to is the “potentiality” of this kind of abuse– that even if the abusers in our cases don’t turn to violence, the logical extreme of that kind of negation and the dynamics of abuse have an inherent pall of death around them.

      To negate and dehumanize is on the spectrum of annihilation. That potentiality is something that can be felt. “Zero at the bone” as Emily Dickenson put it. Shudder.

      • Wow what a story! Truly a bunch of freaks.

        The older I get, the more I realize a sad truth—people can have complete shitshows of families and come out normal. That said….it’s rare.

        • Beans– I didn’t know quite how rare. I did a recent review of how certain long lost acquaintances turned out to see if my assumptions about them had been correct. I’d assumed for years that several had dodged the bullet of their upbringing. I kind of used this knowledge to keep an open mind when meeting new people who report horrible FOO issues.

          I’d conclude it’s very important to have an open mind and there are definitely people who end up better than average for the crucible they endured. Those people are so valuable, loyal, wise, enduring and insightful that it’s worth taking a measured risk to believe this is possible. But, all things being equal, it’s still not that common. Bums me out.

  • I was amazed at the cop that asked CW if he was cheating because he used to be fat and now he is all buff.

    That was my ex, btw. He was a fat kid and battled his weight for the entire time I knew him. He lost it all (thanks testosterone supplements!) and I….well, I gained. More reason for him to leave me, I suppose.

    Cheaters are cowards. They can’t own their emotions, their desires or their own damn problems. Enter the chumps who make the world easier for them but more importantly – we make the world admire them as the Good Guy/Good Girl.

    I thank god for that cowardice. If my ex didn’t fear consequences so much he would have totally killed me. As it was, he tried to passively kill me a few times. Even at the time there was a small voice in my head saying ‘for fucks sake! He is hoping you die!’.

    The first time was when I used to love riding my bike. He would warn me that I should never just use my front brakes because that could cause me to flip over and get hurt. Eventually the back brakes went out. I asked Fucktard to fix them. He wouldn’t and wouldn’t and wouldn’t. Finally he ‘fixed’ the breaks and within a couple weeks they were out again with only the front ones working. We would go out riding together and he would encourage me, then tell me, then get mad at me for not going faster downhill. With no back brakes only front ones. I said I wanted a new bike because my old bike (20 years old) brakes just can’t be fixed. That is when he said he had no idea what I was talking about. My brakes? They don’t work? Why – that is dangerous! Why would you ride your bike that way? When I said he knew about it and even attempted to fix them several times he said he didn’t and had never heard me say those things before.

    The second time was a few months before dday. We were alone in the car at a red light. Suddenly I noticed that he was mouthing words to the guy in the car ahead of us. The animosity between the two was bizarre. Suddenly they started giving each other the finger and yelling out their windows to each other. When the light turned green the guy switched lanes so he could be next to us – or rather, next to me on the passenger side. My ex rolled down my window and leaned over me to yell at that guy while he was yelling at my ex. Total road rage on both of them and me literally stuck in the middle. The guy wanted Fucktard to pull over to fight, he told him yes and then when that guy turned the corner my ex sped off going straight. He looked so happy and so damn excited and proud of himself.

    Anyways, I always felt he was hoping that guy would pull a gun and shoot me.

    Or perhaps I would have a tragic bike accident.

    He would be a widower with all that insurance money (in the divorce I found out that he has over $500,000 on me. A STAH for fucks sake) and he could date in the open and still be the Good Guy for evermore.

    Luckily he is a coward. Luckily that guy did not have a gun. Luckily I gave up riding my bike.

    Sometimes luck is all we have.

    \

    • Scary stories. Chilling words about it being all down to luck.(because it’s truth). But I suspect his pleasure with deceiving the road rage guy might be mostly duping delight. They feel victorious & superior, of that’s my experience.

    • So sorry you lived through that creepery. Very chilling an fits my theory that cheaters are batterers who just veer left (into cheating) instead of stoking and actualizing fantasies of beating our brains in with a tire iron.

      I wonder if this is why so many seem almost braggingly proud after being caught cheating. I can imagine the internal monologue: “Hey, give me some credit!I didn’t run you down with a truck or shoot you! I’m a lover, not a fighter!”

  • Reading this post and the comments today gives me better insight into the dangerous situation I was in with the ex. A friend who gave me money for an apartment deposit said to me about two months after I moved out: “I didn’t want to say anything when you were living with him while planning to get out, but I was afraid he was going to kill you.” I am five months out of his house and five months no contact. His selfishness combined with his low self esteem and methamphetamine addiction (that I was unaware of until after D day when he really lost control) put me at great risk of murder. The last time he had sex with me was too rough and I never had sex with him again. I was thinking about that last night. I was thinking about how he abused me. I will never forgive him. I will never forget. I will always root for the underdog who is being abused. I am so grateful to get out alive.

      • Here’s one: using meth at all. (Or cocaine or heroin or Oxy or binge drinking consistently or drinking from 5 pm to bedtime every day…etc.) Meth is nothing to take recreationally.

        If someone is emotionally and/or physically abusive to you and abusing substances, then that person has a problem. They don’t need to be an ADDICT for you to leave. You should leave because you can’t fix a relationship with someone who is abusing substances.

        If someone is using any substance and is becoming less functional in life or non-functional, that person has a substance abuse problem. If you want to save a marriage to such a person, separate. Levy a consequences. And don’t return until they are 2 years sober.

        • I’m asking in terms of behavior as she wasn’t aware he was using. Or at least that’s what I take from the comment.

      • The biggest indicator was the lack of money. He was making as much money, if not more, than I but would never EVER have any. He was unable to control or regulate his emotions. High body temperature, flushed skin often, feelings of grandiosity and paranoia.. INCESSENT TALKING.
        In hindsight, he was using from day one, so I thought these were his baseline – “I run hot” and he was never good at controlling or regulating emotions and he is grandiose and jealous and paranoid and talk A LOT normally. I knew this man since he was 18 years old and he is now 53… So, I do know his baseline for behavior. The meth took it to the extreme. By the time I started snooping, he was beyond acting crazy and everything was exaggerated.
        He started to become confused and unable to grasp intangible ideas – he became very frustrated easily with details. Oh, problems at work – being fired from several jobs with “no reason” and “no notice” but this also plays into the cheater game, too.
        Honestly, the biggest red flag is the MONEY – where was it all going? Well, now I know.

        • Jo – all the red flags were there. No, I didn’t know because I trusted him and I didn’t snoop and I WANTED to believe he was telling me the truth. I am in recovery from heroin and alcohol addiction, but do not have experience with methamphetamine. When I look back, I know the signs, the lack of money is the biggest one… the inability to manage daily affairs… I feel so dumb, but I was willing to trust.
          oh – the alcohol use increased A LOT and he was constantly thirsty. He lost a good deal of weight and made a big deal about it and his appearance. He would glorify his past use of meth…. I could go on and on.. Trust your gut, it knows before the brain does.

          • Thank you so much for answering. I’ve noticed odd physical behavior from my ex as well as weight loss recently so I was curious. Much appreciated for your insight.

            • You are welcome – It is my privilege to be of service. I found out about these symptoms after witnessing them by using a search engine for “methamphetamine addiction” and “symptoms of methamphetamine use” and “long term results of methamphetamine use.” and “effects of methamphetamine use”
              Many sites are for rehab centers, but the information they provide can be useful.

              Some good resources:
              The National Institute on Drug Abuse
              https://www.drugabuse.gov
              Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
              https://www.samhsa.gov

              I began these searches to know the horrible things that will happen to him and how quickly he will die from it. If he keeps it up, at his age, it will be soon.

            • Jo– Lots of adults get themselves diagnosed with adult ADHD so they can get prescription Ritalin or Adderall which are both about one molecule away from meth. They do it for the same reason that tweakers do it– the dulling of conscience, weight loss, hyperfocus and euphoria.

              Unlike people who innocently accept their doctor’s advice to take a prescription with heavy side effects like radical personality change and violence, people with abusive personalities often drink or take certain drugs to facilitate abuse/violence. It’s the same principle as the Norwegian mass shooter Anders Breivik writing in his diary that he took stimulants and steroids to deliberately amp up his desire to kill and destroy empathy (remove impediment to killing). Or like Hitler ordering the Luftwaffe to take amphetamines to turn them into killing machines (as did US command, sadly) and had a habit himself. Much darker than a basic garden variety addict.

              • This is true abotu the Nazis and the US armed forces using meth, Hell of a Chump – Now I am thinking about his conversations glorifying the use of meth within the Nazi regime. Yes, the feelings of invicibility and the dulling of emotion and empathy were all evident with him. There were other symptoms, too… Yes, much darker than a garden variety addict. Again, I am grateful to get out alive and relatively unscathed. I am becoming much more informed about this type of addiction and it is becoming more prevalent in this rural area where I live. The long lasting reprocussions from methamphetamine addiction are dismal – real damage to the brain and nervous system and the circulatory system – I know he was also taking the drug to feed his sexual libido, but it is probable abuse of the substance will cause erectile dysfunction – sucks for him.

              • I don’t know why people on certain drugs end up obsessed with the same evil icons, even when it completely contradicts their backgrounds or ethnicity. Some drugs, including a long list of prescription drugs, definitely do cause violence in people who were not previously violent. But those who use drugs in ORDER to commit violence show the tendencies prior to substance abuse. The combination can make them lethal, which is no doubt the intent.

                I’d say you were lucky to get out alive but I think it was probably more than luck– intuition.

      • They’re twitchy. Dilated pupils. Skin sores for some. Significant weight loss. Rotting teeth. No appetite (hence the weight loss.) Most of the rest of the signs are a lot like alcohol–taking risks, problems on the job, driving under the influence, etc.

        They call them “tweakers” because at the end of a binge if they can’t get high, they suffer from insomnia and jumpiness. They can also crash and sleep for days. If you’ve ever seen a meth head, they’re worse than crack heads.

  • My ex used to always project and accuse me of what he was actually doing or thinking. When he was cheating, he’d accuse me of cheating, when he was attracted to another woman he would accuse me of behaving inappropriately with a co worker, when he was resentful of having to get groceries (or whatever), he’d turn it around on me that I was the one refusing to get groceries.
    At the end of our marriage, he was making over $200G a year. He started accusing me of hiring someone to murder him for the life insurance. I wasn’t working because I’d gone back to school full time. I didn’t want to believe it, but I didn’t have the luxury of denial. You better believe I bought 2 more guns, a rifle with a scope, and another handgun that fit nicely on my ankle so I could carry concealed at all times. Conveniently someone tried to break into my house less than a month after his projections. I had increased the security measures to more cameras and more floodlights as well. I’ll never know if it was a coincidence or not. Regardless, I had canceled my life insurance immediately after finding out about Shrek. He didn’t know that. In my state, I couldn’t change the beneficiary without his signature, so I canceled it and cashed it out and got a completely new life insurance policy with him not on it. If he’d actually been able to kill me, he’d have found out the hard way that he wasn’t getting a dime.
    Like I said, i’ll never know for sure, but I don’t need definitive proof. It’s a scary thought that someone you love more than anything else in the world, only wants to do you harm.
    My heart breaks for her and her two precious baby girls who will never see their full potential in life now. I hope he lives a long life in prison and then dies and goes straight to hell to burn for all eternity.

  • I swear all this is so triggering for me today. They are all the same. I amvglad to be away from my ex. He is definitely capable of great bodily harm and murder. He is a police officer. He use to brag about how he/they “tuned up” someone they arrested. Yea..uhhh.hmmm… My youngest daughter always feared her dad would kill me. She said she was glad when we split up. She has a really good sense of people. Now if I could just get my child support..

    • I’m glad you got away.

      Interstingly enough, my oldest daughter (an adult now) told me that she always worried her dad would kill himself but also take me down with him. Yikes! They see what we don’t!

  • Yea, that one hit home. Watts and my ex are absolute twins, right down to the way they “chased” their wives. Shanann couches it as him “sticking around” and what not, that’s what I said too, but in actuality I tried several times to make a clean break from my ex early in, but he wouldn’t leave me alone. And I think he ultimately wore me down.

    The compulsive exercising tho…that one’s a classic cheater red flag

      • And…based on her own words, Watts was “trying to save his marriage” and yet, this woman still stuck around…and tried to orchestrate his departure from his marriage that he, supposedly, had told her he was trying to save. Found him apartments, etc. Sheesh again. Get your life together lady. In her own words “the only part that I screwed up on…” LOL, there was well more than one screw up on her part.

      • OMG thank you so much for posting this! It led me to another video of text/calls retracing between C and K and it is now firmly planted in my mind that she was the driving force behind this. My personal belief is that she was aware he planned on killing them.

        Something wasnt adding up for me on his account (from studying his behavior + birth chart/transits), but when she is factored in the equation, a lot more details pop out.

    • This woman, sheesh…classic other woman mentality…”oh no no, I respected his situation and kids, I’m a good person, we were taking it slow” AND THEN “but I went to his house AND checked out his ‘basement room’ AND late night texted AND…blah blah.” Yes, you’re a special snowflake to him, you did all the right things lady. I also love her subtle digs at his wife vis-a-vis how much THEY had in common and the fact that they were together for like 2 weeks and she was already meal planning for him. This guy is the standard man baby, repeating a cycle.

    • Wow….I actually kind of got triggered a bit by this. What a typical whore.

      This entire interview can be summed by the initial “I saw him and wanted him and that’s the only thing that actually matters” and the rest was just borderline psychotic mental gymnastics of trying to appear decent and normal while distancing herself from “whatever his existing relationship was” and delusions of a happily ever after future with a cheater…or in this caser a murderer.

      So much like fucwit’s whore it’s not even funny. The specific details might be slightly different, but the overall mentality is identical. Pure psycho.

      • Yep.

        I remember when my FW seated his whore and his whores best friend at out table for his work Christmas Party. Whore just sat there staring ahead. FW sat there sweating like a hooker in church. Whores friend who we will call Pam, sat there and said, you and FW are such a cute couple, you guys are always holding hands, people would be so surprised if you got a divorce. I remember thinking what the hell, I looked at my best friend who was seated across from me, she looked back at me and made some kind of snide comment about Pam, which I could remember what it was.

        That was just about three weeks before Dday (Dec 25th) When FW moved out the second week of Jan, I said; that is why Pam made that comment about divorce, she knew what you guys were planning. FW said, she didn’t know anything about it. I said “that is a lie and you know it”

        Pam was also a whore, and well known for it. He sure found his people. But I still don’t get why these assholes have to parade the sluts in front of the wife. It is like they have to grind their boots on us.

      • I read, and things might have changed since then, that she’s had to go into virtual hiding because of the (rightful) hate she’s gotten. And I’ve also read that Chris is still sitting in jail pining for her and wanting to be with her.

        • I don’t think sociopaths are actually capable of that kind of caring that he would be pining. More just an ongoing show and image management on his part – he did it for twu luv kind of a thing and there are way too many people out there who are willing to swallow that bs and feel sorry for him.

          • I can see that. Easier for the ego too, to say you went to those lengths for tru wuv, rather than realize you were just duped by a whore.

      • But isn’t it fun to imagine a gaggle of side pieces seeing the documentary on a boring night during COVID lockdown and recognizing themselves?

  • There are patterns and stages to most of these stories. Red flags that we ignore but our but screams at us yet we do not believe in listening to ourselves. If your life feels like a bad movie then that is a warning sign!
    Once my ex’s house of cards tumbled he was off. No more pretence. I am glad. I didn’t question enough. I just quietly accepted all the bizarre late night working, constant phone use, bailing on family holidays, his dead eyed look and attitude towards our darling new men baby. The baby who’s last time spent with him ended up howling every nappy change for the following 5 months. I dread to think k what he had done to her and my gutbagain knew that this was his insidious payback for me blowing up his triple life and spoiling his new business venture that I bankrolled – a cafe with one of the OW. I knew then that all the jigsaw pieces fitted. I didn’t know anything back then about personality disorders, narcissm, sociopaths, abuse. But i knew I would never let him near my kids again. I couldn’t prove anything but I collapsed in grief at the possibility. He’s never asked after her for the past 4 years. That tells me enough. He is a monster. And if he isn’t he is cold hearted, twisted and callous.

    • I am so sorry this happend to your little girl. I am sure there is no peace for monsters like him. Much love and kindness to you, no-way.

  • As someone who survived over 2 decades with someone VERY much like chris, I *knew* in those first news reports (when they were still considered missing) that he had killed them. When her social media was shown, I instantly recognized what I HAD TO do to survive. If I didn’t play the part of the overly doting, worshipping wife, “to his satisfaction” (It would be easier to satisfy a black hole!) I was “punished”
    Secretly I hated his guts and prayed that God would take him home (it was the only way I thought I would ever be able to get free safely) but in public, I was the “adoring, thankful, worshipping, blessed beyond belief, wife”

  • Looking back, it’s usually not that hard to spot the red flags flying after the spouse (usually the wife) and kids have disappeared. If any of you know the parents of a missing child, you know that a missing child is absolutely agonizing, devastating, world-changing. Years ago, I had my indoor cat go missing from my duplex apartment when someone left a door open. I spent two days searching for that cat. I couldn’t sleep or eat until I found her. When we LOVE–whether that love is for a spouse, parent, friend or pet–and that loved one is missing, not knowing where that loved one is or what is happening to them is agony that never ends. That’s trauma. A missing pregnant wife and two adorable kids? Agony and trauma times four–a whole life missing.

    And even when these family annihilators show emotion, it’s usually a simulacrum of emotion, a hollow and unconvincing imitation of what a family member of the missing would feel. And always, that mask slips, sometimes in language (using past tense too soon, etc.); sometimes because they start getting rid of the missing person’s possessions; sometimes because they miss the cue that the mask should be up so we see the lack of emotion. If we see enough of them live or on video, we can often spot that they are “off” even before an arrest or confession. (I’m thinking here of Susan Smith, the mother who put her kids in her car and drowned them so she could continue an affair, unencumbered.)

    But all of those things flow from what is missing in the first place–a capacity for genuine connection to other people. And I think there that Shan’ann’s social media posting is a clue to us that she felt uncertain about his situation, that writing about her happy, blessed life and posting cute photos could make it all so. In that way, she could silence her intuition.

    That she had sex with him just before he killed her confirms my iron-clad conviction that no chump should sleep next to a cheater–or in the same house. If someone has devalued you, you are not safe with that person.

  • Because the neighbor that saw what he was had a camera that looked onto the Watt’s driveway. I don’t think Chris knew that. He looks ready to shit his pants while he is watching that tape to see what can be seen.
    Plus Shann’nan’s friend that dropped her off in the early morning hours called and reported her missing when she didn’t call her after her drs. Appointment. The police that responded had body cams on. And Chris had gone to work. He probably expected to have time to clean up. And he wasn’t expecting that camera that shows his wife and kids didn’t walk out the front door on their own.

  • a couple thoughts : (a) I can see the dynamic playing out in my own ex’s life (not murderous!) with the downgrade. It’s really kind of bizarre to watch–like an old black and white movie.

    And (b) this reminds me so much of a local murder : Jennifer Farber Dulos, mother of 5, was in a contested divorce with her (clearly sociopathic) hubs Fotis Dulos–who was living in their old house with his sidepiece. The sidepiece is the only one alive today. Police still can’t find Jennifer’s body: it’s probably in all of the many Hefty bags that Hubs + sidepiece dumped in multiple trashcans. Hubs (also deeply in debt to Jennifer’s family) suicided in jail, leaving sidepiece to– erm –clean it all up.

  • My ex tried to get me to commit suicide. It was subtle, but when I talked to my counselor about what was happening, he sent me to see the social workers at my local Womens refuge. It was a type of brain washing and the refuge recognized the signs. Basically he (and his girlfriend who was in on it) would call me (which otherwise he abandoned me) and he’d be nearly in tears and say, “when you kill yourself, please make sure you leave lots of photos and videos of yourself for our daughter.” Or, “it will be so sad when you’re gone. Please leave notes for our daughter so she can remember you.” These calls happened during the horrible days following DDay when I was vomiting and sleep deprived. I was literally hallucinating from no sleep. He was doing this to make suggestions to me about suicide.

    He left himself logged into an email account at home, and I found an email that his girlfriend had written and they were exploring private mental hospitals and where to “send me”. In one of those weird calls, he said, “I’ve found a place where you can go and get help. It’s down south and you can be there for as long as you need to.”

    At that time, I wasn’t that freaked out, but the refuge was thank goodness. They monitored me and the situation carefully. The calls from him didn’t continue because luckily I’d seen the email about the mental hospital before the phone call so I played along a bit to irritate him. I actually said, “oh, you mean a day spa? I’d love to go to a day spa! Thank you!” And he kept saying, “no, it’s not a day spa, just somewhere you can get help.” And I kept talking about the day spa to derail him. It worked. Now that I’ve got some distance from it, I see how chilling it is. My refuge counselors said that it’s not uncommon for abusers to try and make you commit suicide because it is complete absolution for them – it would show the world how crazy I was, he would get the money, he would get the children, and the world would forgive him for having a new partner so soon because their crazy ex was just so terrible he was just innocently looking for love. My ex is all about impression management – it means more to him than anything else, so this would have been the perfect solution. It’s really gross his girlfriend was a player in this sick shit. And I have to send my child over to spend weekends with this asshole knowing he tried to “kill me” via brainwashing.

    Stay safe chumps.

  • My name says it all, and ties right in with CL’s post today. So many similarities between my ex and Chris Watts, and I feel so fortunate to have survived it. Mr. Sociopath literally told my mother “I can make anyone believe anything”.

    I insisted that we see a marriage counselor many years before he finally started confessing about the affairs. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he had a polygraph, wrote the questions so he’d pass, then called the counselor before our first meeting and told him that I was crazy and making things up, and he had a polygraph to prove his innocence. Who in their right mind goes to such lengths to hide what they’re doing? And what kind of counselor BELIEVES IT?! After D-day, I went looking for the payment records so I could find the dates of our sessions – the ex had destroyed everything.

    Mr. Sociopath used to bring me a couple ‘ibuprofen’ after we’d gone out and had a couple drinks, saying it was so I wouldn’t wake up with a headache. Funny, I’d wake up and not remember a thing after taking the meds, and would tell him so. His response? “too bad, we had a great night”. I later found out that that was when he would take porn pics and video of me. I asked at one point if he’d been giving me sleeping pills, he said “I don’t have any”. Not ‘no’, not ‘I wouldn’t do that’. I learned very quickly that I had to phrase my questions in just the right way if I wanted the truth, but even then he’d start with the projection, gas-lighting, and anger to avoid being pinned down.

    As for being ‘poisoned’ to the horrifying reality of sociopathic behavior as CL points out, I can totally relate. After everything I’ve been through, finding out about the double life, the secret pics and videos, him frequenting sites online where those things could be posted ‘anonymously’, the voyeurism at hotels (and who knows where else), the viewing of increasingly abusive and humiliating porn, and just the level of deceit and betrayal, I think the shock value in life is pretty much gone for me.

    It is devastatingly sad that these sociopaths can take the life of their own wife, their own children, and not blink an eye. They never feel true remorse, more likely that they were somehow cheated in life. I hate to say anyone is beyond redemption, but some people are such a danger to others that when, IF, they’re finally caught, they can never be allowed to run free in society again.

  • Like Chris Watts, some of these covert personality disordered types will blindside you with their behavior. I was sickened when I heard the details of this case, especially because at the time it was occurring in late 2018, I discovered Former Nice Guy’s texts and gmails to Batshit Crazy, where they not only shared ‘fantasies’ of torturing and murdering women, but also discussed physically abusing me. All the while, he was role playing the ‘nice’, considerate, empathetic role that he had the previous two decades. None of us ever imagined that he would ever behave this way and his parents continue to be in denial.

    The OW in the Watts case, Nichol Kessinger, was a reprehensible POS. She was aware that Watts’ wife and children were missing, but instead of contacting investigators, she deleted evidence from her phone and discussed pawning the ‘missing’ wife’s jewelry with the murderer.

    • Wow. Yeah I really wonder how much ol’ Nicole knew, aided and abetted, assumed, suggested and/or helped plan. None of her behavior in this is innocent. Not that I can wrap my mind around being an OW, but I would LIKE to think that if I woke up and my married with kids boyfriend was on the news with a missing family I’d realize what surely happened, if I was innocent in the murder and disappearance. Makes you wonder.

      She didn’t ever give a damn. Not sure she even does now.

      • I remember the woman that Peterson was messing around with, came out the next day with a news conference. She was scared to death. She said she didn’t know he was married, and given the circumstances; I believe her.

        • I do too. Remember how he was saying he was in Europe with this family over Christmas? How he called her “from Paris” on New Year’s Eve? He definitely kept that shit hidden. This was all before mainstream social media, too.

          As I remember they found evidence that Amber wasn’t even his first affair.

  • I suspect that but for the grace of God goes many of us. Strange to feel compelled to tell people close to you, even years later, where to look first if anything happens to you.

    Serial cheaters who gaslight, manipulate, humiliate, and exploit you for 20 years are capable of anything. When the curtain gets pulled back and you find out what was really going on, you realize they never had the feelings and values you attributed to them. So glad to have gotten away. Wish this poor woman and her children had been as lucky.

  • I just finished reading the book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young. It is a book about the causes of impostor syndrome and methods for overcoming it. There is a lot of research cited throughout, and a lot of it details about how (emphasis on the U.S.) society highly values the risks males take in the business realm, but don’t value the enormous risks women take in the personal, relationship realm. When it comes down to it, the truth is that women are the bigger risk takers; males may lose a business deal or bankrupt their startup with a bad decision, but when women make a bad choice in romantic partner they can potentially lose things related to personal safety, health, and even their lives.

  • I read the book, My Daddy is a Hero, by Lena Derhally… it is about Chris Watts and the covert narcissistic pattern… wow – it was eerie… it really hit home that my hubby did all of the same things at the end of our relationship while having an affair.. I realised how lucky I am that he didn’t flip and kill on his exit but just quietly slunk away to his new life, with no real explanation… I then felt so grateful to still be here…

    I agree that the scariest thing about it was to see how Shanann was battling for her family and was in such a low place trying to work out what was happening, while Chris was making all kinds of plans with the affair partner.

    I think it is really weird that affair partner has never really come out with more of her side of the story, but I know there is a lot of conjecture that it is because she was more involved in the murders than she lets on…

    Very sad all round… RIP shanann and babies…

  • Yes, that was said about my X, he really doesn’t show emotion does he? I always thought it was because the line of work he was in, Police work. That was how he could function with what he saw everyday. Which is bullshit, he told me on several occasions, he would know how to hide a body, then he would smile or laugh. He is not right. I told my family that if anything happened to me, to check him out, and I am thankful I am not with that fuckwit!

    • Mine is ex LE (law enforcement) as well, and I believe a covert narcissist by some of the reading I had done when it all started but who knows. I’ve come to believe that he didn’t suppress his emotions because he was LE, rather he was in LE because he had no real, deep emotions. Well, unless it had to do with himself.

      I texted a friend while I had the documentary on that I was starting to get the shakes watching the show. The similarities between Watts and ex and how the situations played out…hoo boy. It rattled the hell out of me and I still have yet to get my bearings back, I feel like I’m back to the early PTSD days though not as bad. I know coming on this blog that no matter what there is always someone here who has the almost exact same story as I do but seeing it play out like it did was something else.

  • Did anyone notice how much alike the girlfriend and wife looked? Very strange. This movie, using only texts and video, was very powerful. I was especially fascinated by the footage in the police station. It truly hit a nerve in this community. Chump lady, thank you for writing about it!

    • The AP had ink like Chris Watts and seemed to lean more towards the “cool/sporty badass” image, but otherwise looked identical to the wife (sans children or responsibility though. Important distinction).

    • You see that a lot. More proof that people are interchangeable to psychos. All they need to do is find someone of their ‘type’ and they are off.

  • Okay, watching the documentary now.

    Let me just say– Chris Watts’ “micro-shrugs” when denying knowledge of his family’s whereabouts. I saw a thing about that– Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi trying to whitewash the company’s Saudi ties by downplaying the Saudi assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NReTNRlF6g

    Shrug– not responsible. Shrug– victim didn’t matter. Shrug– ask me if I give a shit?

    • I posted this below, but watch the head shake “no” when he’s unemotionally “video plea” for the family to come home.

  • I haven’t watched it, but it’s next on my list.

    It concerns me that my adult (adult meaning over 18) children have said to me… if you ever go missing, the first person we’ll suspect is dad 😱. They aren’t estranged from him, or have a bad relationship, they just see it in who he is.

  • I just watched the documentary. When Chris Watts was making his faux plea for Shan’ann, Bella, and Cece to come home, he was shaking his head side to side, his body language contradicting his words.

    I’m quite certain the police saw this video and new immediately he was the murderer. That’s a classic tell in statement analysis, looking for the body language that shows the UNCONSCIOUS truth under the lie.

  • My ex isn’t a sociopath but does lack meaningful connection with people who should be significant (isn’t that the trauma? Just how insignificant you are to these people, how easily replaced with a stranger?! Kids found that out for themselves, too). There was a lot of the series that frighteningly, rang bells:

    His passive aggressive diminishing of her the dismissal
    Shanans bewilderment
    Her attempt to ‘fix’ things including being accountable for her part to play (minuscule % of the problem)
    His rejection of her sexually
    His complete disconnect (out of sight, out of mind)
    Her attempts to connect with him.
    Those dead eyes and lack of emotion

    Ooh, horrible humiliating memories of an empty soul!

    The sociopathy of murdering your family .. how did he think he was going to stay undiscovered???
    CL’s cartoon of the man holding the mask shut says it all.

  • I was super triggered by the Watts doc. I got away from my covert narc ex husband, but he admitted to me not long ago that he and his ho-worker (love of his life) had talked about «getting rid of me». He said that he was glad they «didn’t go through with it».
    I am safe, and well taken care of, but the similarities of my ex to Chris Watts are uncanny.
    That feeling…that I dodged a bullet. No wonder I get physically unwell every time I see or talk to him – we have children we «co-parent»….

    • You actually heard him say that?!?! This is mind boggling. He actually said that. A father said that about the mother of his children and still “loves” a woman who thought it was a good idea. I hope your kids are old enough to see him on their own. Wow! Sociopath Next Door, a book about people just like those two. Just wow!

      • He literally told me this, like he was absolving himself or something. It all kind of fell into place after I saw the doc. Chris Watts and my ex husband could have been the same person.
        I am so glad I got away from him, and am safe. Just the thought of it all makes me shudder.
        5 kids together and 30 years gone for a ho-worker.
        I decided to enjoy every moment of my life after he said that. The doc just put it all into perspective for me. I sure didn’t think he was capable of hurting me, but after Chris Watts – I am convinced I dodged a bullet.

  • People do murder their spouses for gain, or jealousy. And it is horrible.

    But to do that to little children. No punishment is severe enough for someone that does that. That shows the truth depth of psychopathy and why we all need to be wary.

  • This would have saved me five years of torturous wondering.
    ‘Her gratitude for finally meeting a Nice Man. I could see her doing that thing chumps do — projecting her family dreams on to this blank lump of a guy, who is playing along.’

  • On my second date with my ex, a narcissist (probably cheater) at a minimum, he actually literally made the case for how easy it would be to murder me and get away with it. He told me he would just escape back to his home country (Morocco) and doubted anyone would go through the trouble of tracking him down there. I wouldn’t be a big enough deal for people to go through the effort of chasing him down. Because I’m a dark-humored person myself, I played along with that lightheartedly. As we walked from a first location to a second near the Space Needle, I joked that if he killed me I’d really appreciated my body being dumped somewhere real nice like Seattle Center. A few years later knowing how little empathy he actually has or is capable of comprehending … it creeps me out how much I don’t think he wasn’t kidding.

  • http://psychopathsandlove.com/psychopathy-and-the-eyes/

    Good read. Watts and Peterson could have easily been my story. Just because I survived 3 decades with X doesnt mean those thoughts hadnt crossed his mind. He was a homecide detective to make it even worse, he “solved” murders. I was filled with terror for a long time PTSD was through the roof. He was also one of those men who everyone thought was great, helpful, loving to his family, always looked good. But I knew the real person. @Sucker Punched by a Saffia …. “He who jokes professes” ^^

    • Fireball, my ex is a cop too and I witnessed firsthand his ability to compartmentalize. He killed someone in an officer involved shooting and when he came home it was as if nothing had happened. I thought it was his training, but now I think it spoke more to him being a sociopath. So glad we got out!

  • Everything the prosecutor at the end says is spot on. Why not just get a divorce?

    He was constantly reassuring her through text but pulling away in real life. Why bother?

    Seems to me his mother is somewhat to blame. He never learned to stand up to his mother (who protests their son’s wedding day??) and couldn’t stand up to his wife. This resonated with me too. My ex couldn’t stand up to his mother either and I guess that’s why he couldn’t be real with me either.

    I should have known too (that’s the hardest part of this isn’t it? the self blame…) because he was open about the number of lies he had told his mother over the years so that he could pursue the things he wanted to pursue. *This is an adult I will remind you all* Anyway, looking back, I should have realized that anyone willing to lie to their mother to sneak around and do things that she was against – versus just standing up to her and saying this is ‘who I am and what I want and either you support me or you aren’t a major a part of my life’ to which I suspect most of these mothers would either shape up and respect their adult sons or are too narcissistic, can’t handle it and should be relegated to a less important role in their son’s lives.

    I saw some comments blaming the OW. I am not sure about this. She was the one who came forward to the police on her own. I imagine that if she hadn’t it would have been a lot harder to pin the crime on him (or not, I am not that knowledgeable in crime law). I wonder if he blames his OW at all for his incarceration.

    Anyway, we never think these folks are capable of these things. I didn’t think my ex was capable of the things he ultimately did. And after 4 months or so of stalking, I started to worry and wonder “if he was capable of these things, what else is he capable of??”

    So I picked up the Gift of Fear which really helped me navigate life. If you are afraid, at all, listen to that.

  • My thought is he is too close to where I’m at (literally the prison is 20 mins from my house). Yikes! Crazy sociopath!

  • I’m almost five years past D-day and living a good life, but I hopped on the blog to see if you had posted anything about the documentary. You nailed it as always! While I’m here, I wanted to say thank you for creating chump lady. Watching that documentary made me so GRATEFUL that I got a divorce. That wasn’t always how I felt. When I first found chump lady I was heartbroken. I felt like I was losing the best thing that ever happened to me, and the pain was beyond description. But I kept coming back to your site, and everything you said empowered me to leave. After watching that story, I can clearly see so many similarities between my ex husband and that monster Chris Watts (it scared me to think if I had stayed). I truly think you are saving lives with this blog and you will always have my support!

  • @NotThisGirl
    I’m glad we got out too. I’ve almost been divorced 5 years, married almost 32 years. When I was cleaning out the attic I ran across his box of “treasures” from his cop days. Something struck me hard when I found a box of books, files etc that he had saved. They were all books on murder!!! And he had pictures from crime scenes (too graffic to explain). Im not saying every divorced, cheating cop has tendencies to kill. My x never lifted a finger at me, we didnt even fight. I thought life was good for the most part. What I do know is he bragged to me he KNEW he could pass a polygraph if ever needed. Im sure he could bc he was such a good liar. Nothing to be proud of. One of the most concerning things he did while we were separated, waiting for divorce was I discovered he had increased a life insurance policy on me to $400K. We had been paying on the policy for 25 years. I remember when we got the policy my his amount was more as I would be raising children if something happened. He made a comment to the agent that all I needed on me was enough for him to buy a new TRUCK. Ya that was really funny until it wasnt. I cancelled that policy and confronted him about the increase. No answer!!! I changed my locks — again and told people important to me that if something should ever happen to me – look for him. One more thing was the state I live in mandated that half of his retirement went to me – forever!! He was livid. I know that cops have twisted thinking sometimes to deal with all the crap. It just gave me another layer of pain and heartbreak I went through.

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