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He Doesn’t Hoover, He Rages

mindfuckHi Chump Lady,

 I’m 2.5 years out from D-Day (3-year affair with his assistant), divorce final a month ago, 20 year marriage, 2 great kids, one who is almost 19, the other is 15, which keeps us in limited contact.

I did all the things we chumps do: pick me danced for a year, although I filed at 6 months from D-Day, still hoping he would “come around ????‍♀️. I was not 100% mighty and I’m still hurting, but I had enough strength to move forward (decent divorce settlement, kids are with me 95% of the time and, though they discovered the truth, are healing) and try not to think about the shit show he turned out to be.

Basically, I discovered the affair, he flip flopped around for a year deciding what he wanted and left. The affair partner did not work out — as far as I know — but he was done with me.

I moved forward, painfully, with a few shameful begging incidents (I am ashamed of now) and am mostly ok — not healed, still deeply hurt, still shocked, but over the idea of who I thought he was (or who he became).

Here is the question: I have to discuss issues with him about our younger kid — only by email, and specifically only about her situation (brilliant kid who got slammed by depression/anxiety over the past two years — it’s bad, she and I are coping and very close, but I am supposed to keep him apprised of school/health etc.).

Any exchange with him on this (or any issue) is laced with anger. At me. Why? He left — did not want this life. He is not hoovering or anything like that. His rage in emails is so unreasonable. Can you tell me why?


Dear ChumpedTooLong,

Sounds to me like he fucked up his life and you’re a nice rage receptacle.


This question comes up a lot (so much in fact, I have put a similar letter in my book). I call it the If You Didn’t Want to Go to Chicago, Why’d You Get on the Train? problem.

He wanted his affair, his new life, to leave you all (destination: Chicago), now he arrives in Chicago and it’s not at all as he imagined it.

Life is not an all-night pizza buffet and the streets are not paved with gold. There are consequences. Unpleasantness. Stockyard smells.

Even though he got on the train, and the platform was clearly marked Chicago (YOU ARE LEAVING YOUR WIFE AND FAMILY), and he got off in Chicago — he is just astounded that he’s in Chicago.

Outraged, really. Heads must roll.

Why the confusion? Part of this is the genuine cluelessness of the narcissistic — they don’t connect actions to consequences too well. (Consequences are for the little people — you there in the clean-up crew).

And part of it, I believe, is that these people don’t like the definite. They prefer cake — all options open, all the time. So the problem’s not Chicago, per se, it could be any destination. They’d find fault with Peoria, or South Bend, or anywhere.

And you, the change agent, the person who MADE them, by your sheer awfulness, get on that train to Chicago are to blame.

This is all untangling the skein of their fuckupedness. Who knows why he’s angry? Maybe his bowels are obstructed. His anger is really HIS problem. The point is he takes it out on you. Don’t let him.

The minute he rages at you, shut it down. Hang up the phone. Stop texting. Send all his emails to a folder called “Outrageous Clown” and let your lawyer or best friend sift through them. Don’t allow his negativity into your life.

Here’s another thing I suspect you’re doing (chump), that you should not be doing — trying to get him to face the mess he left behind.

“Well, here I am with our daughter, sobbing her heart out because her father left. Had to run to the ER tonight because she cut herself. And how is Schmoopie?”

I know you want him to see the trail of broken hearts and damage, but he won’t. LET THAT GO. If he were the sort of man who had empathy and remorse, he wouldn’t be on a train platform in Chicago, okay?

Instead, YOU be the Sane Parent. You do what you’re doing. You show up. You care for your daughter. You let her work out her relationship with shitty dad on her own and in therapy. You don’t burden her with your grief or judgment of the fuckwit (very hard, I know. I get it. I’ve sat in an ER waiting for a fuckwit to show and he didn’t, so I have tasted this particular shit sandwich.) Focus is on supporting your daughter’s healing, and modeling mightiness. We’re going to be FINE. I’ve got this. How are you feeling, honey?

You have some court order to keep him apprised? Do it sparsely, without emotion. Do it with parenting software.

Tuesday, ER visit. Discharged with meds. Wednesday, therapy appointment. Billing through Dr. Humpty. 

That’s IT. No relationship autopsies. No asking how the weather is in Chicago. No recriminations. This is the pick-me dance trying to get him to care. He doesn’t.

What?! And let him get away with what he did?

YES. Because he is living his punishment. He doesn’t have you and he doesn’t have his kids 95% of the time. He’s hopping trains and living the hobo life with his dick. That was his CHOICE. That idiocy will pay dividends. You just get on with YOUR life.

His feelings are NOT your problem.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Interesting that the very first thing Matt Hancock did when his life went down the toilet due to his shitty behaviour was rush home and take his anger out on his wife. She was fired from his life. We are the scapegoats and whipping boys for these narcissists. It is NEVER their fault. If it is anyone’s fault it has to be their faithful spouse’s. Unbelievable but true.

    • So true. During my pick-me dance, XH would go to his therapy session and come home all smiles, telling me the therapist “validated” his position. Then, one day, he came home grumpy because the therapist had the audacity to suggest he quit blaming ME for his life screw-ups. He fired the therapist, I fired him.

    • Absolutely true. I know my ex blames me for the fact that adult daughter has utterly rejected him from her life. She closed the door firmly, and it was her choice, based on her assessment of his behavior. (The downgrade tried to tell me that it was my anger and “bad mothering” that was my problem. Bwa ha ha. Early on–many years ago–I tried to tell her that she had taken up with a liar and a cheat. Big mistake! but I digress.)
      Yeah, despite his family-wrecking actions, somehow I am the bad actor in his imagination. Tough cookies, he can just live with the consequences of his leap at uh what? unbridled joy? or something.

      • They are all the same. I too get blamed for adult kids wanting nothing to do with XH and his one of many sugar babies????????????. XH says I “alienated” the grown kids! As if I could have said anything worse than what he actually DID and has continued to do for seven years since Dday! ????‍♀️????‍♀️????‍♀️ I’m no contact and way too busy with the wonderful life I’ve built to spend my time bad mouthing him to anyone. At a certain point it simply becomes boring. Trust they suck, by definition. Nothing to work with, move on. Easier said than done but it’s the only option.

  • This is exactly my life. EX is fulllll of rage at me and the kids. Says the most hateful things to all of us. Its so bad my oldest has blocked him on his cell. All in all I have the same court agreement. In the beginning I sent messages. Was in the ER…this happened that happened…etc. Im very limited in what I say now. I just send one sentence…ER visit for X child. And that is it. If he wants more info he can text me…. 99.9% of the time he doesnt text bc he doesnt care. Half the time it takes him a few days to even read the message anyways. We have gotten to a part in our lives now where he is no longer a part of it. No calls or texts from him…and it is so much more peaceful.

    • Same! Except if I email that our child is going to the doctor/ER/getting shots, his game is to email me back that he wants me to email explicit “details.” He doesn’t really care — just wants to make me do more. So usually I email back — “sorry, it’s a lot to type. Please let me know a good time and we can schedule to discuss it.” And I never hear back. 🙂

      He also knows that in my state, it’s legal for me to record phone calls without telling him. He no longer calls and rants on me. He won’t call at all anymore. (YAY!)

      Also helpful — Ring doorbell. He stopped harassing me at my house when he saw the camera. (YAY!)

      • MichelleS: Whenever I take the kids to the doctor I send him the same sort of email. But I also include the line “I gave Dr. X your name and mentioned that you may be calling to discuss Child.” He’s such a narc he’s never called any of the docs because he’s embarrassed to highlight the fact that I won’t talk to him. When his lawyer complained that my emails were “lacking in detail” my response was that I take care to register him as Child’s father and ensure he has access to ALL medical records. The issue hasn’t come up again.

        • I have 2 years ago via lawyers provided a list of professionals involved in s5 therapy and care (non verbal multiple special needs child) and encouraged him to seek their input directly as he continuously rejected my concerns about his ability to manage child (issues even at supervised visitation).
          He eventually reacted to comments in a therapists report in January that she had never had any contact with father….. demanded permission to engage with therapist… *eyeroll…. my lawyer pointed out he had had “permission” for more than a year and redirected he and his lawyer to a letter they never responded to (one of many)…
          I hadnt even considered the “embarrassed I wont talk to him” angle!!!… I assumed it was just another lazy selfish pity party tactic.. the howorker has stated she “doesn’t know why i make things so hard for him”….. eyeroll…

  • I have to deal with this asshat crap too. And now it’s just an email of “Here’s the info” in the Our Family Wizard (parenting software). And when he doesn’t show up or do what he’s supposed to for his son, I just take over as sane parent. Everything he was supposed to do is in the parenting software. Fuck him.

    • Yup, same here. It has take me years to come to my senses and believe all the evidence, but now I know: it is impossible to co-parent with these people.

      In the last few years I’ve stopped myself from sharing with her all but the absolutely necessary information about the kids. Because it always–always–results in her attacking my parenting and criticizing me. Never support, never sympathy, never gratitude.

      Now if I take them to a doctor, I send a picture of the documentation and the bill. That’s it. I don’t even know if she looks at it. She sure has never reimbursed me as she is supposed to. I’ve dropped asking for that too. It’s easier.

      I just trudge on: my oldest will be 18 in six months and my younger in 3.5 years. The prison doors will then be flung wide and I can step outside and never deal with the “warden” again.

      She will be blocked and informed that all correspondences be sent via hard copy snail mail to my residence–which will be many hundreds of miles away from her.

      • XH weaseled out of parenting software, cried ‘Boo hoo’ to the parental coordinator that he couldn’t use it properly after I managed to print out all his rage e-mail to present to the judge. PC believed XH and pushed for us and the judge to eliminate the parental software as non-productive of co-parenting. Fine. So XH starts up rage on the phone. Well, I had to use special software to stitch together all the rage text. Additional non-starts, but I seeded to PC that XH was not interested in co-parenting one bit as evidence by XH’s behavior and continuing law-suits to reduce support and remove children from their schools. Finally, judge agreed to just let me use email, which is easier to track. So, I blocked XH on the phone and forced email communication to one email address. XH got around the blocks by creating group chats with our children. Dealt with that too. XH tried to circumvent email trails by sending email to my different email addresses. He raged on different emails, and I added a block on my work email, and then when I had to go through the process of piecing together emails by date and time, I finally got the judge and the PC to agree to one and only one email address. XH raged again. I finally got the PC to start seeing that parallel parenting might not be so bad. And, then in early 2020, XH raged on PC about him not agreeing to one of our agreed-upon alternate vacations. Soon thereafter, XH sued to pull the kids out of their schools (again) and to reduce support (again) and that he wanted support from me (which he forgot was null the minute he married schmoops). He also wanted to reduce his income by making the business income be attributable to schmoops. Lots of drama there. It took until late 2020 to resolve these additional suits. I expect the annual rage lawsuit any day now.

        The one thing I finally mastered in 2020 was ‘gray rock’.
        I am counting the days until my youngest turns 18 in 6.5 years.
        And then I can move hundreds of miles away from my ‘warden’, block all email, and the only snail mail communication will have to go through a PO Box.

        • I have had zero luck with coparenting coordinators. Why do they side with narcissists / bad parent? Forcing coparenting with a FW is impossible. But we are forced to pay someone to tell us how to email each other and do sane drop offs with our kids — at $350 an hour. It’s paying for more trauma.

          • PCs are a joke. They spout “co-parenting” generalities without any clue as to the facts of the relationship. When pressed, they can’t even define what co-parenting looks like for a specific couple. They’re becoming like attorneys – keeping the conflict alive so they can rack up the fees.

            Before I went to mediation during year 8 of 12 so far, I sent the mediator Douchecanoe’s original motion, my initial response and the final order for the 4 times he had taken me back to court for utter nonsense. I don’t know if she read them but she sure expressed her dislike for the Douche the moment he ended his first 10 minute me, me, me narc monologue. And the mediation session didn’t end well for him. Each time he proposes some new nonsense, whether in direct email to me or another court filing, I suggest we go to mediation per our divorce decree. That shuts him down.

            T-11 months to emancipation!

        • I’m sorry you’re being subjected to this. Keep looking at that light at the end of the tunnel. This abuse is finite!

  • Amen!!! Let him figure it out if he ever does. In other words not your pig, not your farm. Move on and enjoy life, mamma!!

    Mucho thanks Chump Lady for helping me see the light!!

  • Thank you CL – this was my letter (forgot to sing my screen name). And yesterday I got an email from him saying I should also be open to doing stuff as a family, for the kids. That my continuing to harbor a grudge about his cheating (which is according to him not why our marriage failed – it died 10 years ago) makes the kids hate him and is not good for “their development.” I cannot tell you how much this email – that I have not responded to- mindfucked my whole day yesterday. Today’s advice – no response – is just what I needed to hear. This shit just keeps piling on.

    • I’d say don’t reply, just repeat to yourself: This is what leaving is. Leaving is us having to be healthy together – minus you. You’re in Chicago. It’s not “best for the kids” to use their time on someone who prefers Chicago.

      Stay strong. These are HIS consequences to deal with. You can be more than sane and healthy enough for your children without his input.

    • Umm, no. You don’t do things “as a family” because you’re not a family.

      He doesn’t get to play happy family as it suits him and frankly it’s confusing for the kids.

      Don’t respond to such nonsense. The fact that he’d say something like that tells me his life sucks and he’s looking for some of what he abandoned in favor of his dick…the cake CL referred to.

      Fuck him and the horse he rode in on. Grey rock him and don’t respond with anything but bare minimum facts.

      It’s only a mindfuck if you pay attention.

    • Ewwww, it’s really the worst when they cheat, they leave, and they still make it all your fault because you can’t “just let it go.” I’m so sorry you’re getting this garbage from the FW; I’ve gotten the “it’s your fault for being hurt by this” song sang to me too. It stinks and it really brings us down.

      He’s not going to change his tune so throw up those healthy boundaries and, no, you don’t have to do “everything together as a family for the kids.” That sounds just as miserable as the “we’re staying together for the kids” tune. 99% of the time the kids in those situations look back and wish that their folks hadn’t stayed together because everyone was miserable!

      Set boundaries for your mental health and stick to them no matter what song he sings.

      • I have been reading here for weeks but have not posted. Am the chunkiest of chumps. I just had this said to me from my serial cheater FW who is doing ‘all the things’ to make himself a better person – therapy, sex addiction therapy, figuring out his traumas and roots of his entitlement, trying to be as supportive as possible etc etc after being caught seeing sex workerS. To say, ‘I know I have damaged you so so much’ that you will get mad at so many things and you have a right to…’. All I could think was, ‘You are not that central’. Yet…here I am afraid to pull the plug on something that is beyond repair.

        • COC–you are NOT alone. My FW did “all of the things” too. Still, less than 72 hours ago it was (at an EPIC decibel level): “I had an affair. I am a bad person. Why can’t you just accept I am a bad person?! You need to be a better parent and get those kids to respect meeeeeeeeeee!”

          My response: “I will not talk with you while you are emotionally dysregulated.” Click.

          Then I giggled. Seriously. GIGGLED. That I don’t ever have to go back to that shriveled up, toady, whiny, mealy mouthed, emotionally stunted and vacuous FW life. I didn’t even call for emotional backup as I have for 18 months now.

          I’m supposed to be “co-parenting”–I told my PC I don’t think it will work because step one is putting the children’s needs first. #notFWforte I endeavor but the more time passes, the less my kids give AF. My oldest are out of house, 52 months until total freedom. They don’t give a shit about him, his “need for respect”, and his emotional tantrums. They are DONE–love him from a distance because being too close isn’t healthy. I support them to set appropriate boundaries and reinforce them as needed. It is LIBERATING.

          It IS beyond repair. Not because you failed. But because he did. Period. There is NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO FIX SOMEONE ELSE’S BEHAVIOR. He eats the steak daily, he’s the one who gets the heart attacks–not you. We deal with the consequences, sure, but I’m in control of what/how I deal with, not him (anymore)(ROAR).

          Remember–this is NOT your pig (he’s in Chicago) and not your farm (that too, is in Chicago). I’ve never been there but frankly if that is where “they” are, fuck it. I’ll waive as I fly over on my way to Meh.

    • I hate that phrase “as a family” when it’s used to include the asshole you divorced. Your family is you and your kids. Adding a former spouse means it’s not your family any more. You and your kids is a family. A complete family. Don’t let your ex make you think that it’s not a family without him.

      • I agree. My FW father (FWF) talks about “our family” and how he’d like mom and me and sibling and our spouses to come visit in his new state where he owns an AirBnB next to his house. “Our family” blah blah blah blah blah.

        Fuck you, asshole. You gave up a right to call the four of us a “family” when you chose to neglect, abandon, abuse us, and step out and fuck around. Fuck you you fucking fucker!

        It is all just for show. Image management at its finest. FWF is a master manipulator. People think he’s all kinds of a great man who made some mistakes in his life. Boo hoo, poor him, he is a victim. My tiny violin strings are about to break because I’m playing such a sad song for you. He’s got people wrapped around his finger thinking he is a sad sack whose wife left him for no apparent reason after 54 years. “Why did mom dump me?” he asked me one day. I had a long list of answers…. you didn’t treat her with respect, you were disloyal, dishonest, you cheated on her a lot, you took away her agency in life, you were demeaning and demanding, you treated her like an employee and raged at her when you didn’t get what you want, you are an addict, you ignored your family….shall I go on?

        These assholes are so fucked up. The world is a worse place for having pieces of shit like this around.

        • “Why did mom dump me?” he asked me one day. I had a long list of answers…. ”

          The denial is pathological.
          Nothing to work with.

    • I would not even respond. Screw him and his ten years ago bullshit.

      How odd that all our marriages died ten years before Dday. We were just too wrapped up in ourselves, you know; working, running the house, washing their underwear and cleaning their toilets, (god forbid they pick up a toilet brush) supporting them in their volunteer work, scrimping money so they could have a boat (and unknown to us a schmoopie). Ok I am talking about me here; but the ten year deal, bullshit.

      • “… god forbid they pick up a toilet brush…” My now-ex straight up tried to claim he didn’t know how to use a toilet brush. ???? I told him to try YouTube.

        • I witnessed my ex FW cleaning our toilet shortly before D-Day. Such a shocking sight after 40 years of marriage. Looking back – should have realized he was preparing to announce his love (surprise!) for schmoopie.

          I do often wonder if he cleans for her. I’m pretty sure she carries his balls around in her purse. They married 60 days after the divorce was final

        • Re: see YouTube
          I really should have said that one!
          My stbx said in regards to housework “ I don’t know what needs doing each week’ what a total dork. After 33 years he still didn’t know the vacuuming needs doing weekly etc. Wtf.
          It is a total comedy. I just laugh at what a complete moron he is.

          • Lol. Oh my ex knew how to use a toilet brush, and do his own laundry, he spent four years in the Army. He just thought he was above it, and tht was woman’s work.

            I wonder if a lot of younger men are still like that. In part it is a generational view.

            But, again; I didn’t really mind doing the work, but finding out I was doing it all while he was fucking his girlfriend and treating her to dinners and flowers, not so much.

      • Yes, it’s telling that they always use a round number like that, with ten being the most popular, from what I’ve seen here. They just pull a number out of their asses and ten is the first one that comes to mind.

      • Ditto “ten years ago” bullshit. I kept all the cards and notes where he professed how lucky and happy he was— and knew we’d had sex several times a week, shared finances, owned homes and cars as a married couple …. Things I wouldn’t do if the marriage had been “dead” or “over.” What a load of horseshit.

        It’s dead now for sure once I found CL and went no contact and filed and divorced and built my new life. Too bad, so sad…. Not!

        • Omg, my FW told my daughter that he had to leave because he’d been “miserable” for *ten* years. Behind all the laughter and snuggles, all the hand-holding and “I love you’s” was abject misery. Well then, someone needs to hand him an Oscar for best actor in a family screenplay!

          • I got the “I’ve been miserable for 29 years” ya right!! 20 years of family times trips boats cars every thing he ever wanted. Me twisting myself into a pretzel to make sure it all happened for him. Gaahhh!

            • I got the ‘ten’ years thing too, out of 26. The one that got me was ‘and our holidays weren’t that great’. We travelled the world together and he looked as if he was having a good time. What kind of weak, cowardly human being endures 26 years of multiple holidays a year, keeps going on said holidays, books said holidays, chooses locations every other year, and concludes that they ‘weren’t that great’. That was part of his rage against me, which continued after I filed and throughout. I remember how furious he was that I would not talk to him and, ultimately, insisted that all communication was via lawyers. These people should come with a visible health warning. Ugh!

          • Love the “Oscar” reference.
            You have a great sense of humour!
            I think my ability to just see how silly he is has helped me a LOT.
            Laughter = the best medicine.

        • Right, the asshole conned me into signing for a River Front property six months before Dday, no doubt he was already planning to dump me. If the marriage was dead by his standards then why did he con me into a huge financial deal. I didn’t want the property as I thought we couldn’t really afford it easity, and he was screaming at me non stop for every fucking little thing he could latch on to. But, hopium… ( didn’t suspect a whore was in the picture at that time) About three months later I did.

          ????‍♀️ I can answer that: because he wanted that property for him and schmoopie and schmoopie didn’t have good credit (she had previously filed bankruptcy).

          So what does it say about him that he pulled a con on me knowing in his heart he had abandoned the marriage and was about to dump me.

          It is ok, he got his, and lost it all; but in real time it really pissed me off.

          • I got the 10-year BS too.

            And, in our case, it was a business we purchased together.
            Unbeknownst to me, he made schmoops his biz partner – splattered her ‘credentials’ all over FB.
            They got together (when I was pregnant with our youngest) to ‘use each other’. Well she wanted a green card and he wanted to ‘use her’ for sex and whatnot. And this business has now become an extension of their cons.
            In due time, I am sure they’ll get theirs.

            Anyhoo, not my farm anymore.

          • Susie Lee, my husband did similar to me…he convinced me we needed to sell our house (which I loved with all my heart) and buy a new, retirement home outside the city – where I didn’t want to be. I did it because it seemed to mean so much to him. I cried the entire time I packed our house (alone – he could not be bothered). Two months before our dream, retirement home was complete, he told me he was unhappy and had to leave. Turns out his coworker (21 years younger than he) was the reason. When he left, he left me with no job, no home, two dogs, in the middle of winter. My piss-poor lawyer let me take half the losses on the house – when I had no job! He, meanwhile, moved halfway across the country to support his 29 year old girlfriend and send her to school to become a doctor (her third college degree! Guess she just likes studying, and living off an old man – not actually working!). He claims her as a dependent on his taxes. To me, that is sick…living with a girl who could be his daughter, supporting her while she fucks him, and claiming her as a dependent on his taxes? WTF??? He’s got another 13 years of paying me alimony so he better watch his wallet!

            Again, claimed he had been unhappy for years – well, what was all that laughing and having fun together then? Really!

            • “Again, claimed he had been unhappy for years – well, what was all that laughing and having fun together then? Really!”

              Yep, when my ex said he had been unhappy for ten years, I should have just looked at him and said, you are either lying or you are insane.

              I hate you got the financial hit, at least I didn’t have to pay it off, he got that property along with most of the rest. I got the small property that was paid off.

              I did have a good lawyer who knew the law and wasn’t afraid to use it.

              My guess is when she has gotten all she can from him, she will split. Likely won’t be long because she will want to lasso another sugar daddy before her bait gets droopy.

              • “Likely won’t be long because she will want to lasso another sugar daddy before her bait gets droopy.”

                I love this and will remember this phrase…but she is his twu wuv…

        • I got the 10-year bs, too.

          I don’t know about you, but, if I wanted out of a marriage, I wouldn’t mark the moment by getting my spouse’s initials tattooed on my upper thigh. That’s what he did around the time he says he was not happy.

          He would later get a massive fash tattoo on the opposite thigh. Schmoopie got one, too! Matching!!! Just a couple of wild-and-crazy kids (they’re in their 50s/60s).

      • At least you got it has been dead for ten years. I got “it has been miserable from day 1.” The funny thing is, the one time when I really wanted to throw in the towel, at around year 12, he convinced me to stay. If he had been that miserable you would think he would have helped me pack and thrown a party as soon as I pulled out of the driveway. Fucking delusional liar….gawd I hate image management!

        • I was generalizing, but what he actually said was “I have not been happy for ten years”

          He also said I haven’t loved you for ten years and I have been “dating” a lot of women” Then in almost the next breath he said he never loved me. Somewhere in there he also said, my house keeping bothered him. (that was the only insult he actually hurled directly at me. Honestly he was flailing. I don’t think he remembered what he said from one second to the next. He just wanted to blow up the bridge and get out of the house.

          When he wanted to come back it was “oh I just told you that to make you hate me”

        • That’s what I got too. He was miserable the entire 20 years. I actually gave him an out at year 18 because he told me he wasn’t attracted to me anymore. It hurt me like hell but I said ok, if you don’t want this anymore, I just got a small inheritance from my dad, we can separate easily and move on with our lives. It could’ve been completely amicable. I was sad but thought we could be friends.

          Cue him taking time off work, crying, pleading with me, telling me he loved me, it was all a misunderstanding, etc.

          Dumped me cruelly two years later and then said we could split my inheritance while telling me how the divorce would go down. Well, no, bitch, our state law says you can’t touch my money from my dead father, oh and since it’s been 20 years I can get alimony for life so suck on that! Guess you should’ve taken that out I gave you since you were planning on dumping me anyways!

          I wish I had a picture of his face at that moment. I would treasure it forever. LOL I settled for 10 years of alimony to get the divorce done in six weeks. I’m still poor but at least I have a small savings from my dad and a small income for the next ten years. I grew up crazy poor so I’ll be fine. I can live on very little. But he cost himself over $100,000 with his little stunt. I hope he kicks himself every time he thinks about it. Those two years were very expensive for him.

          • My STBX was “never happy” in 26 years. Poor asshole! Then why the hell didn’t he leave? He had ample opportunity, enough earning power, etc. Fooled me and everybody else in the world who thought we were the cutest couple on earth. Then after DDay-BAM!! We were apparently a shitty couple. Truth is he was a horrible, lazy, absent, sexless (with me), boring man who was addicted to his S&M fantasies and Magic card playing. He was not there for me but I put up with him. Little did I know he was out there fucking hookers and eventually he found a sex slave. Shame- he lost his job in our business and has almost no contact with our daughter or any of our friends or family. I hope he likes Chicago! Maybe he’ll find happiness there. God forbid me standing in his way of happiness ????

    • These asshats only see the people as actors in their play. The failure of the actors to do exactly as he wants produces rage. Why aren’t you saying your lines right? Why are you holding him accountable? No one is capable of independent opinions about him so clearly you are poisoning them all, especially the kids! You are missing your cues and failing to stand on your mark.

      No one is allowed to have any friction against His Highness. He reserves the right to change his mind and you all had better get on board with anything he flops around to next otherwise it simply proves how awful you all have always been. He gets to destroy the family but you better jump up and play-act like a family, even if it is pure agony, whenever he wants it. Otherwise you are the problem.

      You are his punching bag.

      They are pathetic. Let him be pathetic and hopefully that 95% will be 100% as your kids reach the age of majority. He adds nothing to their lives but only causes pain.

      No response is correct.

      • Now I.C.,
        I love this: “You are missing your cues and failing to stand on your mark.”

        Doesn’t that line just sum it all up perfectly for all of us!!!

    • Rule of thumb: When they say anything that appears to indicate concern for “the family” or a member of it (a child), you can be sure it is really all about themselves.

      My ex said something like this, too, when I said I wanted our son to know the truth about why his parents were divorcing: “You don’t care about our son,” he said, “because this knowledge will hurt hm.” What he really meant was, “I don’t want him to know the truth because he may think less of me, and my relationship with him will change. I don’t want to be held accountable and I don’t want there to be any consequences for my behavior.”

      • He didn’t care of your son in the first place when he committed adultery. He now trying to tell YOU that it’s you who does not care about him. The audacity. ????‍♀️

    • Doing things ‘as a family’ is more impression management for them. They think it shows everyone that they are a great parent and person because their former spouse still likes them. Mine insisted on this and I really regret giving in. It was another shit sandwich for me. It’s true that at the time the kids liked it more, they were embarrassed by their parents sitting in different places. But I could’ve easily explained it to them… as long as we were civil with each other it would’ve been OK. People actually thought we were still together because he sat with me at so many event

      The other part to it is it makes them believe that it’s not so bad that there’s a broken home, it doesn’t affect the kids that much because we still do some things as we would have before the divorce. For some people this carries on forever, to make it easier for the adult kids supposedly. Fine if both parents want that I guess.

      The anger is more blame shifting.
      They go way back to « if I had never met this person, if I had never married this person I wouldn’t be in this mess now. » It’s like they want to eradicate you from everything, like you never happened. Because you are the source of all their problems. And if you show anger towards them, it really gets them going.
      I’ve had two husbands tell me something to the effect of -we should’ve never gotten married… or they weren’t ready to get married, or they didn’t want to get married!
      Grown men who proposed, who lived with me first, who got married without a gun to their head,
      who were VERY happy and knew they were lucky at the time.
      And then when it’s not a Disneyland ride every minute of every day, the blame shifting comes in, the devaluing and the divorce.
      Then, time goes by and the consequences hit them and life is not a Disneyland ride all the time –
      and the anger – because certainly if they had never met me they would be on a perennial Disneyland trip.
      Ex 2nd H actually blamed his former wife (he had divorced her) for his affair in OUR marriage. Because his first marriage wasn’t great (supposedly) it messed him up and he had to cheat in his 2nd marriage!
      These people are disordered.

      • “Ex 2nd H actually blamed his former wife (he had divorced her) for his affair in OUR marriage. Because his first marriage wasn’t great (supposedly) it messed him up and he had to cheat in his 2nd marriage!
        These people are disordered.”

        These guys are so messed up. I wonder if my ex blamed me for him screwing around on schmoops after he married her. Couldn’t have been his fault, couldn’t be that his dick just wans[‘ getting the same thrill as when they were humping in secret, because that would have meant he destroyed his life for a temporary thrill and now he is stuck with a whore.

        Lordy he and they are just so stupid and quite frankly thick headed.

        • Yes,when I think about it…how did I not realize how messed up he is! He said his ex-wife was a controlling miserable woman and that he stayed too long in that marriage – and that’s why he had an affair in our marriage. He had not spoken badly of his ex previously.
          1st he blamed me……..but I countered his nonsensical attracts. Then later, as we’re making arrangements- he blamed her.

            • And what does OHFFS stand for? And I apologize for typos etc ugh- usually writing on the go or talking into my phone lol.

              • OHFFS screen name is perfection ????

                Zip, think of a chump, well on the way to meh, observing wryly some latest mindfuckery from a FW. Taking a sip out of her coffee (or something much stronger) the chump sighs “Oh for fuck’s sake” and calmly blocks the FW in her phone / refuses to take the bait of the hoover etc and goes back to living her best life!

              • Exactly as Samsara said, except I drink tea. I have sighed “Oh for fuck’s sake.” more times about my own fuckwit and when reading about idiotic fuckwits here than I can possibly count.

                I didn’t notice any typos, Zip, but we all make them.

      • “The anger is more blame shifting.
        They go way back to « if I had never met this person, if I had never married this person I wouldn’t be in this mess now. » It’s like they want to eradicate you from everything, like you never happened. Because you are the source of all their problems.”


        My FW blamed and blamed and blamed until he literally had no other coping skills. He started right after we married and he took his last breath blaming.

        No matter what challenge came along…nothing was too big or too small to blame the marriage for it. After about 25 years of marriage, a handle on an older care we had broke in the driveway. He started murmuring under his breath and I picked out a few words “never should have married her” was mixed in there.

        For the love of God, as if handles wouldn’t have broken if he had married someone else.

        One of my crucial errors was that when he was alive, I still hoped that he would improve somehow. What I seriously ignored (to my own peril) is that his pattern was so deeply entrenched, he couldn’t have changed it if he tried. It was part of him down to his marrow.

        I can’t imagine what a revelation it must have been when God told him “Well, my child, what I need you to know is that not everything that inconvenienced you in life was her fault”

        • Unicornomore, it’s like the opposites attract thing. A lot of us chumps are really hard on ourselves. I didn’t know that, but unconsciously the not feeling good enough was there. We married FW’s who also felt not good enough – maybe unconsciously – but they blamed outward. We were the perfect receptacle for their blame-shifting. And instead of saying ‘fuck that shit’ early on, or even at Dday….we tried, while they blamed us. They didn’t love themselves so they didn’t love us. We didn’t love ourselves enough – so we loved them. That’s my pop psychology take on it – it may fit somewhat in my case! Why did we give our power away to these people? Once your in it’s tough I guess.

          • Good line of reasoning.

            Once you’re in, it’s tough but once out, so much better.

            It’s ( the time spent with a fuckwit and why and for so long ) hard to wrap my head around but getting on with my life is my focus and helps me recover and get reconnected with me, who I am, what I need and want.

    • Chumptoolong — it gets easier. Hang in there. As everyone said — don’t respond. And truthfully, you can bet that will bother him more. So win – win!

      Your youngest is 15. Your oldest is 19. There’s nothing more you need to do “together” with him. He’s clinging to the last residuals of how he can continue to be ABUSIVE to you.

      FW can make better choices with the kids on his own — but that no longer involves you. And your kids are old enough to decide what they are willing to do or not.

      Your family is together — you and your kids. FW moved away to Chicago.

      • Is it time again for Father of the Decade award?
        Smells like it with eau de Bullshit in the air.
        Nothing says Good Riddance like SILENCE.

        • Patti — all three lines are totally quotable 🙂

          I think we should all post a reminder on our walls:

          “Nothing says Good Riddance like SILENCE”

    • He wants to do stuff as a family purely for Impression Management. This will provide opportunities to take pics for social media, or talk about it off hand in conversation…silently projecting I’m not THAT bad. You see you avoiding him let’s the world know he’s a dick without actually saying it.

      Someone truly concerned with their child’s welfare would never have cracked their home foundation in the first place.

    • Love that “marriage died long ago” script. Part of the cheaters playbook. If he was so concerned about the marriage why didn’t do something constructive and healing? Two choices: Because they were to immature and do adult things or this is just another example of projection.

    • My version of “it died 10 years ago” was “Our marriage was over a long time ago” Funny how they fail to send that memo to us isn’t it? When he said that to me on dday I was too gobsmacked to reply with anything intelligent. After 3 years of wreckconciliation fell apart and I filed for divorce I told him “By the way, now the marriage is actually over and this is how you declare that fun fact!” It was cathartic.

      As to the rest of it. You don’t need to reply to him. Your family is your children and you minus the fuckwit. That is a consequence of divorce. You enforcing that boundary is not making the kids hate him and it doesn’t impact their development negatively. His douchebagery and decision to “go to Chicago” is the reason they are mad at him and pretending to be a big happy family with him will do more damage to them than your decision not to do so. One of the basic tenets of divorce is that you don’t live together or spend time together…duh. Why cheaters forget this is beyond me!

      Anyway, as you can see by all the responses here, he’s not original. You’re not alone. CL’s advice is gold!

      • Whenever they say that the marriage was over is
        Tell to when they started the cheating…
        Just a thought.
        My FW reported in counseling 3 years after returning from AFGH” as when the “marriage was not the same”
        Turns out he was electing to go to AFGH to fuck someone, then when he came home and started up with the howorker he got caught…
        Oh well, quite telling, think about this……..
        Wish I was more astute then
        Don’t miss that BS

    • So I also got the odd rage from ex. It was so confusing because he was the one who asked for the divorce (although surprise, surprise I had to file). But I also got the push to do things as a family and being told it would be best for the kids if I could be mature enough to be around the OW and kids’ birthdays. That has never ever happened as I think the reality of bringing her around family and mutual friends has been more mortifying than the fantasy of it. But I digress, the doing things as a family while divorced when he couldn’t bother to be part of the family while married – I don’t think it’s just image management. I don’t think these people know how to have relationships with their own children and need us chumps to facilitate that for them. I know in our house it was always me planning family outings. It’s a job he wants you to keep, for the kids, so he doesn’t feel like such a shitty dad.

      • “I don’t think these people know how to have relationships with their own children and need us chumps to facilitate that for them.“
        This is it. I think this hits the nail on the head. And to continue the mind fuckery- one of his reasons for the failure of our marriage is my controlling all the kid’s stuff – that he was too busy to give a shit about. Suddenly he does not know wtf to do with them for about 24 hours per week.

      • ” I don’t think these people know how to have relationships with their own children and need us chumps to facilitate that for them. ”
        I agree. About 6 or seven years into his marriage to the whore she and ex fw blew up his/and her relationship with my son and daughter in law, over his and her shitty comments to them; which much like our last year of discard started mildly then escalated to the explosion. The explosion happened when they lasered in on the granddaughter. Fatal error for both of them.

        Had I still been with the fw, the first time he opened his mouth to insult my son or sons wife, I would have pulled him aside and asked him to not treat them like that. But the whore joined right in. I was always aware of how he was treating our son, and I will say that while we were together, he pretty much listened to me when it came to the son. I am grateful for that. You can pull some shit with me, but no my son.

        I would never let my now husband insult my family, nor would he let me his. Not that either of us would do it anyway. But, you put two selfish folks together and misery is what happens. They can run, but they can’t hide.

      • That’s a great insight. ITA. I think their rage is about the fact that they can no longer control the chump and make us help them with the adulting anymore. In their bizarre fantasy world, they are entitled to cheat and leave and yet not lose the benefits of having a sane partner and the privilege of controlling and manipulating the chump. The chump is no longer willing to be their appliance and it’s SO UNFAIR. They rage the way toddlers do when mommy won’t let them eat candy for dinner.

      • Omg I never thought about the possibility that they NEED us to manage their relationship with the kids!! I just thought he was a regular shitty dad! You have opened my eyes with this insight!!

    • Omg, this does suck. I like CL’s idea of not reading emails, sending them to a dedicated folder and have someone else look through them. Maybe you could try that? Then your day would not be ruined. Hugs to you!

    • Chumptoolong, I am sorry you are going through this. Their rage is truly unfathomable. Mine raged at me because I used joint funds to go to counseling after D-day….while she used joint funds for dates with AP. I for the longest time, I did not understand how she could have the GALL to be angry at ME. But CL is exactly right…consequences suck, and for these people are simply shocking and unacceptable (not to mention unexpected)! How dare WE give them grief! We were so horrible that we drove them to cheat and blow up their lives!
      NO CONTACT, Chumptoolong. And watch him squirm. When he finally stops trying to contact you, you’ll know you have won because you’ve stopped giving kibbles. Hugs to your daughter, too.

    • He has no intention of following through on “doing stuff as a family”. He is attempting to plant the seeds to blame you for your daughter’s depression, etc. He’ll say “see I wanted to do the right thing but you couldn’t let the affair thing go” or some other lame crap. It’s not always imperative that kids have a relationship with both parents. It’s best if the dysfunctional parent is out of the picture or made insignificant and the sane parent shows the kids how to survive and thrive when your world is turned upside down. Making nice with the shitty parent is not a great example but showing the kids how to be polite and civil (because of mandated visits) to dear old Dad but a the same time you can start to joke about Dad’s “antics”. When narc Dad says things or does things that are confusing or hurtful turn it around so you can all have a laugh. It will be a great release and maybe just what your daughter needs right now.

    • They always say “ten years”.

      “Ten years” for cheaters is like “two drinks” for alcoholics.

      Who knows why certain numbers get used for cover stories in certain situations? But it’s still fascinating to me.

      All I hear whenever that BS is uttered is that it tacitly proves at least how long he’s been an expert liar and holding me hostage with his fake husband con game.

    • My ex told me the same things. I had 2 things I would reply, “actions have consequences—these are your consequences” and “actions over words.” After a while, he shut up.

  • I am so glad our son was grown when he left. Though he knew I was a good mother, he would have fought me for custody just to keep from paying child support, at least I think he would have. He did some weird things; like delaying our D, so I can’t be sure.

    But, it would have been awful if my son went to live with him and the whore. She had already raised two sons who dropped out of school and were in constant trouble, and the youngest one was in line to be the same. The youngest got into drugs after she and fw married, and unfortunately he died in a motorcycle accident at age 20. That had to be horrible for her and I am so sorry for her about that.

    It hurt my son too, because he had formed a relationship with the youngest and he was trying to help him get straight.

    Both her surviving sons are still a mess. The oldest one is working, but he abandoned his young wife and left her with two small children, the younger one has produced kids with several women, but does not support them.

    My son has nothing to do with them anymore since his dad dies, but he opened up to me about a lot of stuff that he dealt with. We used humor and a few tears to talk it through.

  • This letter swept over me like an uncomfortable draft of frigid air. The dynamics between the Writer and Cheater were exactly what me and my Cheater were involved in during post Dday and wreckonciliation and rage was his default reaction ESPECIALLY when he was at fault. (There was no calm, humble acknowledgement of wrongdoing in his universe.)

    I had saved money to go and could see storm clouds on the horizon and his behavior declining. This is exactly what I would have lived if he had…lived that is.

    I had developed a few techniques (like hanging up when he started to rage on the phone) and never approaching him with concerns (invitation to be blamed yet again) but our dynamic was EXACTLY was CL described…he was headed to a bad destination that he would again blame me for.

    CLs advise is spot on and I hope the writer takes it. It is very weird for me to read a description of exactly what was (and would have been) had he lived longer. Gulp

    For the record…for my childrens and inlaws sake, I would still not have chosen for him to die, but I didn’t choose any of it, it just happened.

    • This may be a terrible thing to say, but I have had SO MANY people tell me it would be better if he were dead, and I am better off thinking he is dead. These are my friends who are widows who had great marriages (I think). It’s better to have FELT LOVED up until a spouse dies, and then all family and friends gather round you for comfort, they are in contact going forward, they don’t mind if you talk about it, it’s healthy for the left-behind spouse. With my FW leaving me after 11 AP’s that I know of, marrying his latest 9 months post d-day, no one wants to ask me how I’m doing, they see signs that we are divorced but won’t ask about anything, they avoid me so they don’t have to learn anything. It hurts. My need to tell my truth is so strong, so yes I have a good therapist. It would be nice if my friends could allow me to share my pain so we can have that conversation once, and then we begin to heal. I don’t want to go on-and-on, just need them to listen to my story and then our friendship can continue. Anyone else feel like their entire support system is gone?

      • The film « Hope Gap » with Annette Bening was hard…. but she made the point about how she would have been better off as a widow. We could make a list…..both are awful …..but one has a lot of traumatizing negatives the other doesn’t usually have as much of.

      • Today, I was talking with a friend who is now forty and lost his father at twenty. He shared that even though his pain has softened and is now manageable most of the time, there are still days when something in his life – often related to his own daughter – overwhelms him with grief and longing for his father. Milestones and accomplishments and family traditions are bittersweet.

        I do think the experience of learning about and letting go of a cheater is similar to the death of a loved one. I didn’t know what to do with myself as I went through the grief process unable to celebrate the memories and relationship and person I had lost. Today, I realized that there is a flip side of this coin I hadn’t considered: I will not feel like I am missing someone special as I go through life. I will not meet my new niece, or go on an adventure, and wish my ex was beside me. I will never miss him, and I will never be sad he’s not beside me though life’s big and small moments.

      • The whole “you would be better off if______” assumes that there are well defined categories and clear binary options: 1.they love you but die young and you grieve a lost love or 2. they such and are mean to you but die so you can forget them.

        In reality, life is much more complicated than that and I think we waste a lot of energy thinking of what is “better”. I have had to learn to keep my dead cheaters terrible behavior mostly a secret because if I infer that he was an abuser, my listener wants to quickly default to “he was terrible so its great he is dead, problem solved”. For me it’s tragic that a person I love who had all the pieces he needed to create a decent life of meaning, purpose and love instead developed a series of behaviors that weakened him and inflicted pain on those around him.

        When we watch movies, the magic turning point is often a recognition of the dysfunctional person that they need to change and they do so slow or fast but they change. I forever want to throw things at the TV when the disordered person becomes healthy just in time to tie up the whole story – in my life, people are simply mean and selfish until they die or become demented.

        I urge us to not fall into the pattern of insisting that people can be categorized quickly and easily and their impacts on us can be deemed as “better” or “worse”. In reality its all hard. We are also wise to do as CL says and not try to untangle the skein of their fuckedupness. Maybe we need to acknowledge general patterns, but when we get down to a granular level of every act of abuse, we (meaning me) can get lost in the reeds and not benefit from the exercise.

        Nevertrustagain, I understand what you say about support systems. I feel like mine is slim because many of the people in my life who I seek support from were not abused by Cheater the way I was and will never understand.

        I warn of this regularly, but as much as I understand the urge to tell the widows “MY PAIN WAS WORSE!!” even if that is true in some cases, there is nothing to be gained from trying to get them to understand. Our pains are different and complicated and even if they admitted to us that we had it bad, it doesn’t fix anything…we need to avoid this whole activity.

        • Unicornomore,
          Your words are always so wise.
          I often read them several times!
          Thank you for reaching out & helping others.

        • Unicornnomore, “ For me it’s tragic that a person I love who had all the pieces he needed to create a decent life of meaning, purpose and love instead developed a series of behaviors that weakened him and inflicted pain on those around him.” I feel this for my stbx keenly – it is a grief for the living, a weird kind of tragedy to try to comprehend.

          • Your words are right on, this profound sadness I feel is not for me, but for him and his family who loved him. No one recognizes stbx, it’s like he’s stepped into a different universe. Very much like a death but with a socially awkward twist. It’s not something that is addressed socially, so people just look at him and wonder wtf is wrong with him that he would just crash and burn and forfeit his entire social network like he did. It’s so hard to believe he is at all happy, but he states that he’s “never been happier. ” If he wants that life, then he could never have wanted me…and I have wasted 37 years of my life on him. Makes me so angry.

        • I agree with everything you have said, and your words said it perfectly. I do want to clarify that I would NEVER tell a widow that they are better off than me…these are widows saying it to me (and actually only two widows). I mention it because I am completely in awe that these ladies would consider their misfortune worse than mine. I only agree with them in my head, and feel grateful that these ladies understand the depth of my pain. Before it was said to me, I never considered comparing my pain to that of losing a loving husband to death. It’s just interesting that those feeling that incredible loss can walk in my shoes and see how much it hurts me.

          I have often thought my recovery would be faster if my cheater was dead. There is closure in knowing he is dead. Knowing he is remarried to a 24-year-old and living in a million dollar house (ours was $350K) makes me think about him more, and resent him more. I know this will end badly for them, but it’s hard to wait. When is the Karma bus coming?

      • never trust again,
        I hear you, so loud & clear. Just to be able to tell someone our story, to have them listen. I understand completely.
        I am a Chump who told no one. At the time I just went on with life.
        Years later it all hit me and I would love to be able to tell my best friends, but there are reasons I can never do that, the biggest is that it would hurt my youngest child so much. I know it would devastate her to no end. He did not want the pregnancy in which I was carrying her.
        I am so very very sorry that your friends, who know your story, do not reach out to you.
        They are not true,true friends if they lack empathy for all you have been through.
        Tell your story here, anytime. CL,CN get it.
        Much love and understanding to you,
        again, so very sorry for your pain.

        • “I am a Chump who told no one. At the time I just went on with life.”

          I didn’t either, I was just too humiliated at the time. I went on with life, and have had a blessed life, but it bubbled up again when the rat faced ass hole and his rat faced whore started causing my son and his family grief.

          That was when my research happened me upon CL. I took some of the advice I read and started talking to my older brother.

          I told my brother how he had treated me and the things that went on in our house before he left. My brother was horrified, and we had planned to have some long talks when we visited them in Feb. Unfortunately my brother did not live long enough for that to happen.

          I am glad I finally told him though. I should have told several key folks, but I didn’t know.

          That is why I would encourage folks now going through it, don’t be reckless; but determine the key folks in your life that need to know the whole story. Hold nothing back. It is your story.

          I realized I had buried some anger at myself for being a doormat, when if I had talked to some key folks like our preacher and my family, maybe they could have helped me process it and realize it wasn’t about me.

  • “Tuesday, ER visit. Discharged with meds. Wednesday, therapy appointment. Billing through Dr. Humpty.”

    This is brilliant grey rock communication between parents. I love it. All business, all data, no insertion of anything personal.

    I used to try to keep my childrens’ father abreast of their lives. I still want him to be a part of their lives and he is… every weekend. I used to send him the yearly school portraits and invite him to every little concert of theirs because even though I knew I didn’t–*really didn’t!*–want to see him, he was their father and should be a part of these childhood experiences. He and his affair partners never showed up to any of the concerts, thank goodness.

    Then it occurred to me (years ago) that he was a part of their lives. They were carving out their own relationships each weekend and doing things together and making their own memories (good, bad, whatever) and taking trips together and whatnot. I was not invited to anything that FW and his new family was doing with the kids, nor was I being sent photos of what their weekend family life looked like (thank goodness), so why was I sending him invites and photos for what life was like here? The line had been drawn and those worlds were separate.

    I stopped sending him the annual school photos, inviting him to concerts that he never went to, and keeping him abreast of their lives as people. He never raged about it; he was having too much fun being a weekend dad. It was hard to stop reporting to him about how they were doing as people and just let them (the kids) take control over how much they wanted to tell their dad about their lives, particularly because they were so little. But they learned and they adapted. If they wanted to tell their Dad over the phone one night that they were feeling depressed then they did; if they didn’t, they didn’t. I stopped running interference and let them take control over their personal connection to him. This had the added bonus of helping me detach from him even more and not using the lives of our children to keep us in communication. It helped me go dark which gave me my emotional sanity back.

    But, I still do have to communicate with him about “business stuff” (kid logistics, money) and the above quote is an excellent example of non-personal grey rock communication. It’s *chef’s kiss*, as the kids say. I liked seeing that example because D Day is years behind me and I still struggle to keep the personal out of our communication. I still slip in little bits and Bob’s about how I’m doing but I nearly always erase them before pressing “Send.” His texts often have personal interjections about his life (“It’s been a hard month, so child support will be a week late”) and my first instinct is to respond in kind. I usually correct myself and keep it grey rock though. It’s a learned skill that I have to keep working on or I’ll slip up.

    Good luck to all my fellow chumps who are co-parenting with a FW. We have to adapt and learn new skills but we can do it!

    • Dear Fourleaf,
      Thank-you for taking the time to share your thoughtful insights into coparenting.

      I thought your words “ I stopped running interference and let them take control over their personal connection to him.” really helpful – it reverberated in me.

      I’m at the start of the coparenting journey so your shared experiences were interesting.

      From a Mummy Downunder

      • Good luck! We learn how to navigate these choppy waters over time; it doesn’t come all at once.

  • Yup, they use custody arrangements to vent their rage on us if we let them. Disgusting. Parenting software is the way to go. All the info is there. I blocked his email and phone number – rage was a constant – when i finally grasped that he could message through the software and it was his responsibility to check calendar , and manage his custody days. After my son chose to live 100% with me, xh mostly didn’t show up to anything. I never relied on him and was always there. Thats the reality. We show up. Its hard for the kids but they soon cotton on.

  • My X-FW also jumped on the rage train recently – suddenly finding himself victimized by a divorce settlement that he himself had agreed to and signed! Somehow that was all my fault etc. I said goodbye to him (thank God my grown children are not his), thinking I’d never see/hear from him again – and I was ok with that. A week later he showed up, Dr. Charming, wanting to help me move! It was just then that I remembered Chump Lady’s maxim about the three settings of the “Mindfuck Channel:” Rage, Charm and Self Pity.

    Yup. Rage wasn’t working (I wasn’t able to be manipulated by that anymore, thank God), so CLICK, let’s try Charm! Thanks to LACGAL and this blog, I saw exactly what was happening, real time, and it didn’t work either.

    • Rage, charm, self pity.
      Rinse and repeat. That is what I got too. The rage with me got her a restraining order. But being raised to be a proper southern lady she could lay on the charm and self pity. By this time I was pretty much past caring. She vented her rage against me through our young adult son’s who said she felt taken advantage of in the divorce settlement. I told them that we had discussed mediation, but after I discovered her ongoing lies and deceptions that was no longer possible. We each had legal representation and CA law was pretty straightforward. After that it was mostly NC, but charm and self pity when she wanted something.

      • Glad to know I’m not alone on the “felt taken advantage of in the divorce settlement.” Talk about DARVO! When I pointed out to my X that he’d agreed to the deal, he said “I was just trying to be a nice guy!” Law straightforward, but he sent me several angry email screeds delineating why I shouldn’t really have deserved half of the marital assets. The last one had a subject line of “Ethics.” I stopped reading there and forwarded to my lawyer. The entitlement, the mindfuck! So glad I found LACGAL, CN, and I’m FREE!!!

  • The summation, they don’t like consequences, is perfect. They are the disruptors. They did not keep promises. They did not show up. How could you not only survive, but thrive, without them? Your children will always remember who the sane parent is. They may rail against you as they grow, but one day they will realize who always showed up, who took them to the ER, who came to school functions.

    One night my youngest son had an encounter with a slicing machine at work, and got a deep cut on his thumb. I came to take him to the doctor for stitches, and called his father to let him know what happened. He told me he really didn’t want to get out, it sounded like I was handling things, and he needed to be home to talk to his girlfriend because her child was in the hospital. Both the girlfriend and her ex were at the hospital with their child, and he didn’t want to get out to check on his. That was the flashbulb moment for me, I never bothered to let him know about anything again. If he asked me why I didn’t call, I told him I was handling it, and didn’t think he wanted to be bothered. It is not that we “hold on to a grudge”, it is that we learn. Pavlov’s dogs might salivate when the bell rings, whether or not there is food, but we figure out that even if there are a few scraps, it’s not worth our time and effort to notify them at every bell. They are not worth the emotional cost. Our children are.

    When my oldest son married, he paid me the greatest compliment loudly and publicly, by his choice of song for the mother and son dance. He chose the Beatles, My Life, and sang it to me. I will never forget the feeling. His father sat like a lump and watched.

    “Though I know I’ll never lose affection
    For people and things that went before
    I know I’ll often stop and think about them
    In my life I love you more”

    What else needs to be said?

    • That song to honor you is a stunning tribute after your rough time being the sane parent.

      Totally freaking awesome.

      I still tip-toe around how I speak of their father to my kids but once (while coaching my daughter through some milestone of adulting) I told my daughter that I was sorry that she only had one parent and she said “no one I know has 2 good parents… whether they are dead or useless, one of them is always missing”. Maybe our kids are living a more normal life than we think they are.

    • Portia, that bought a year to my eye. You are deeply loved. Nothing else matters. Well done. You rock.

  • Thankfully that FW can’t get to me at all anymore. I only communicate via my solicitor (still in the divorce grinder named by a chump on here as ‘battle royale’). NC and grey rock Rule! However, the FW does try all those channels on my 3 adult children. He’s alienated 1 who no longer wants anything to do with him now the other 2 are fast coming to this conclusion also. My heart still breaks for them. As they are all adults (25, 27, 29) I have been able to step back and let them navigate the relationship but I still feel for them all. Their pain is my pain. LACGAL and CN has certainly helped me so much in being able to support them with how they’re feeling.

  • It has been 12 years and my ex still rated at me when he gets the chance. Luckily the kids are older so the times are more sparse.

    Why does he do it? Because he is an abusive narcissistic a$$hole. He is mad at how pathetic his life is and I. Don’t. Care.

    We have two sayings in my household. 1)”There the a$$hole, not you.” And 2)”Karma is a bigger b!+ch than I am.”

    His rage and pathetic life is not your concern any more.

  • Excellent response.
    I have my kids full time. My youngest is now 16 and the past 2 years since d day, when she discovered the affair, have been hard in her.

    Initially I kept ex more informed, and then I realized I was doing it as a mini pick me dance. It forced a connection and I know I was waiting for him to swoop back in and save us. To make this all have been a mistake, etc.

    In the end, he can’t fix what he broke and I definitely no longer want him too. He is a minor interest in the large scale of our life. The kids and I are living an amazing life, and he gets very few crumbs.

    No contact is for you. It took me a bit to see this, but that is how one takes control of this shitty situation. And most of us desperately want and need some control after being screwed over.

    Ex doesn’t need to know anything about the kids health that isn’t life threatening. They could always contact the kid, in my case she has him blocked. Or the doctor. But what kind of parent thinks they deserve any influence over a child they rarely see?

    Minimal info relating to treatment and insurance. No discussions. No debates.

    I am always grateful my kids were teeens when this happened. I don’t have to share them. My ex stays away, mostly, and respects our space. I do nothing to change that.

    Enjoy your asshole free life! He doesn’t deserve any opinions.

  • In addition to 1) “consequences? what consequences?”, and 2) “I should always get all the cake”. I think there’s the third tier (of the cake?) where they just love conflict/arguing/reasons to play sad sausage. I have a “friend” who runs a facebook group, let’s say it’s called “Millennial Introverts” (not the real name but “introvert” IS in the title) so people in this large group always comment introverted things. But my friend has put in the rules that there should be NO talk of introversion. (wtf). And she loves to complain about the “idiots” that always talk about introvert stuff when the rules CLEARLY state not to. She has created her own little complaint loop for her personal narcissistic, gaslighting pleasure. This is something I now look for in friends and family- are they inventing scenarios where they can pretend to be sad or angry? My ex did this all the time. Also, I’m not actually “friends” with this person I’m just in a group with her (not the introvert group) and I ignore ALL of her posts which I’m sure she notices lol. Imagine wasting your time inventing ways to trap people with your not so clever gaslighting. Personally I’m to busy working on research for my masters…

  • Screw that nonsense. I bought into that one time.. when he said he was coming “home” for Christmas because it was what our grown children wanted..worst Christmas ever with him trying to get physically affectionate with me while he was living with schmoopie. And the kids did not want him there. So much more but suffice to say I ended up on the sofa crying and he left before dessert, not saying a word but sending a text saying “I know when I’m not wanted” no sh#t Sherlock!!! Totally disordered fuckwit.

  • I learned something recently about my ex FW. He has consistently tried to find something that really gets under my skin and would send a text message that begins with ‘Not having a go…but’. Immediately it would get my heckles up and I would be fuming…. But as soon as I let that sh** go, he had nothing to get at me with until he thought of something else.

    His most recent one and the one that really made me realise his game was over my son’s weight. My son has put on some weight and we’ve been working really hard to help him lose it. He loves swimming, so we swim everyday. We watch what we eat.

    When my son would go to FW’s house, he would weigh my son and then send pictures of how my son looks now to how he looked last year with his exact weight. Knowing how hard my son was working on his weight, I really had an issue with this behaviour.

    Then, the final straw, FW asked for my permission to contact the school nurse about my son’s weight. At first I said no. Then he asked again and it finally dawned on me… he knows he is getting to me.

    So, I told him if he wanted to contact the school nurse then it was fine…. 8 months later …. he hasn’t contacted the school nurse and I have heard nothing about my son’s weight since. He’s no longer weighing him every time he is at his house.

    • ChumpyLou: I have a similar issue with my daughter. She is 16 and had terrible constant nausea starting at around 11 years old. FW left when she was 12 and has seen her twice a year for a total of 9 weeks since then.

      She had always been in the 25th percentile for weight (literally since she was born), and the nausea led to her getting skinnier and skinnier. Everywhere she went, people would ask her if she was anorexic, and she became so self-conscious that she always wore baggy clothes and kept herself covered up.

      Finally, when she was 13, she got a diagnosis of gastroparesis. She was given medication, relied on smoothies for nutrition, and her nausea lessened to almost nil. Then she started eating regularly, gaining weight, and feeling good about her body.

      Fast forward to now. She’s currently in her 2nd week of 6 total weeks with FW and schmoopie. She called after week 1, sobbing. Apparently, they had been harassing her daily about her eating habits. Then FW accused her of being anorexic.
      This, after being told by us both that she has gastroparesis, after being sent the doctor’s evaluation, after her therapist assuring him that she does not have an eating disorder. Wtf?!

      Her body confidence has plummeted and her anxiety is causing the nausea to return. There’s nothing I can do but listen to her and keep her as grounded as possible.

      He’s a narcissistic asshole that believes whatever passing thought he has is God’s word, and there’s simply no reasoning with him. So, I say nothing, and it’s killing me.

  • Dear Chumptoolong,
    We can’t help but keep thinking and asking ourself, “ why” “why” “why???”
    WHY, How, can they act in the ways that they do?
    I will probably ask myself, until the day that I die. “How could he do that to our tiny child, to me, his wife, carrying our child.” I truly believed, (I lived it), that we had a good life.
    ( of course I read all the reasons WHY here & it has to do with their narc character, it was never us, the chump)
    I am so glad that you found CL, CN, that you can gain wisdom and strength here.
    YOU are doing all the right things.
    Stay Strong!
    My heart goes out to your young daughter in her struggles.
    YOU are the present, sane, loving parent.
    She is going to be ok.
    Sending love to you & your precious Children.

  • “Maybe his bowls are obstucted”, oh my gawd you make me laugh. Regardless of the story line there are overlapping similarities that help to provide insight and the courage to move on. Not sure where I’d be without your thought provoking, belly laughing, advice.
    Thank you!

  • This story sounds so familiar. I just pick me danced longer and am just now going thorough separation. I know I shouldn’t but I still am shocked at his entitlement. We can’t agree on anything, shocker, but custody is especially hard for me to wrap my brain around. Unlike your FW mine is unwilling to compromise and at least let me walk away with a fair settlement and custodial time that reflects near what the children are accustomed to. He thinks he on the underground railroad to Chicago, and pissed that in reality he’s not. In his mind this underground railroad was going to allow him to skate through a separation agreement that let him retain the most money and way more time than hes ever spent with the kids. All consequence free, with him retaining most of the power and control. I’m sure Chicago is not all its cracked up to be, in my situation Chicago was an assistant older than me, divorced twice, and with her own set of control issues and a bankruptcy to boot. I wouldn’t call that a vacation destination. The only thing she had that his homeland didn’t was peace and quite away from responsibilities and children. If I were him I’d be pissed about the sham of Chicago too, but he chose it now he has to suffer.

  • Living the hobo life with his dick!! HA! I LOVE the Chicago analogy.
    Absolutely brilliant advice/response, CL!

  • Chicago would be a resort for my ex. He moved to Armpitville with an apartment over a dollar store. His schmoopie was a divorced subordinate who didn’t have custody of her 5 children. That relationship ended once the light of day came – I’m sure she didn’t want to lose her job.

    Ex moved out 3 weeks after dday & I went no-contact within the next few months at the urging of my therapist who saw that any contact just made me lose control.

    About a year after he left he emailed asking if he could stop by to get some belongings. I agreed & later that he day emailed to say he couldn’t come because it was short notice – WTF? – he picked the day & time. Whatever. The next day I got a rant filled email telling that basically I was a horrible person & all the reasons our marriage sucked – all news to me by the way.

    Why the ranting after he cut loose a year earlier? He eventually sent his niece to get his stuff. I put it all on the porch because she was a known heroin user & certainly wasn’t welcome inside.

    • And ex went on to marry a woman who wasn’t even born when we married & they live in a suburb of Armpitville where trees are just starting to grow back after decades of toxic factory waste – yeah, toxic waste that’s him alright.

  • Yes, my ex did “Chicago” game and blamed me 100% for both his departure and every problem he encountered afterwards. Being who I was then, I dutifully paid half of his hotel bills and gave him half of my inherited IRA and start-up funds from one of my accounts. I even packed up his drawer of blue pills and male hormones as he asked, hoping that didn’t mean what I thought it meant.

    Six months later he wanted me to pay half of the outrageous amount he spent setting up his furnished place, and I said no. I was still taking hopium at times but getting better. We moved and set up a new place for about 25% of what he did, including the rental deposit, moving van, and a few basics like cheap curtains. I sold all kinds of stuff to finance the move. I also went 50/50 on a few minor house fixes to get it sold, and then held my breath because I was nearly broke. He was sending support, but I determined not to ask for more because he kept threatening to cut it off and said I didn’t deserve it. Of course I deserved it, but it took awhile for me to get that.

    He said the divorce would be merciful and quick, but it only would have been that if I had been willing to agree to his crazy terms, which I didn’t. His attorney told him that because he had earned most of the money, he would get nearly all of the money. That attorney also didn’t mind fighting for money that wasn’t even mine yet as a part of an inheritance, which state law says is excluded. Nope, I wanted the marital ratios for the financial split and exclusion of inheritances not comingled like anyone else with half a brain.

    Anyway, thankfully it’s all over. I had no custody issues, and “Chicago” is far enough away that I doubt that our paths will ever cross again. The young adults were so frustrated with the situation (both were in college when he left) that they went no contact when I went no contact during the divorce process and have remained so.

  • And as soon as youngest is old enough block and go NC.
    The charm, rage, sadz model predicts narc modes so well. NC is healing and light.

  • This post really speaks to me . My ex had an affair , I did the usual chump like behaviour for about a year. Eventually I knew that I couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore and kicked her out. A couple of begging events in the initial phase – I know what the author means when she writes that she isn’t proud of it all.
    Looking back at that immediate pain, I can only conclude that I was under a massive amount of stress.
    Anyway, my logical brain finally stepped up. I got the divorce organized. And it was really me – I had to pay for her lawyer ; we had to force documents out of her and almost get a court order, instead of settling via mediation. ( I am in Australia, initial step is always mediation if possible ). She cried trough the mediation, but went home with a massive pay cheque. I know it’s not her fault, but it’s the system: She only works 3 days a week, and I had to massively increase my hours and activities to somehow soften the blow.
    We never had a full on argument afterwards, she tried to hoover a couple of times but overall she just gave me silence treatment. Unlike when we were married, I now enjoy this and don’t mind.
    I nowadays always have the best interest of the kids in my mind to guide me in difficult situations, and I almost always succeed.

    She however now hates me:
    Emails that I shouldn’t be friends with her cousin;I’d only continue the friendship to punish her.
    How badly the kids were dressed at a birthday party. ( They weren’t)
    How I have been “absolutely disgusting” ever since the divorce.
    My answer is always the same: I am not interested in a fight, lets focus on the kids, let’s not stir up the past.
    Nowadays at kid’s handover , she fumes, If she would be a cartoon character, her face would be red and swollen and steam would come out of her ears.
    Everything is a fight.
    Questions like : Should our daughter have piano lessons, should we change our son’s training sessions from Friday to Wednesday evoke a hate filled response, which lacks any logic.
    Usually I just shrug it off, I just don’t have any expectations any more. I hope that once the kids are older this will all fizzle out anyway. Whilst they are young, there needs to be some sort of communication.
    I understand why it happens. She needs me to be the bad guy in the narrative, I totally get it. I used to fight that a lot , trying to show people the evidence of her cheating and so on.
    But I have accepted that I will be the bad guy in some people’s mind and that’s ok for me now.

    • Yep I regret writing him a not a couple days before he left, that I would always love him. I meant it when I wrote it, but I had no way of knowing within three months it would nauseate me to even look at him.

  • The ex rages. Meh. Not my fucking problem. It took me several months to get to the point that I no longer cared how he felt or why he felt that way, but boy was that a beautiful day. So, he rages on….and I ignore the shit out of his childish mantrums. Plus, I get a little bit of glee from watching him expend the energy while I laugh at him and his silly self. Also, Shrek is none too happy either that he still has enough emotions for me to work himself up into a rage. Perhaps she sees how much he still cares about my comings and goings. Methinks there is a bit of dysfunctional jealousy going on in that household. But, gracefully, I couldn’t give one fuck, much less two.
    Work on getting to meh and ignoring the Chicago trapped dumbass.

  • I could have written this letter. This very mysterious anger at me despite that he is right in the middle of Everything That Was Missing In His Life. He Missed the Boat! She showed him What Was Missing In His Life! She is his Sole Mate! [sic]

    And you’re angry at me because…..I showed up in counseling for 27 years and talked to you? And I didn’t cheat, lie, lead a secret sexual double life or hide money from you for twenty years, like you?

    Well, Dr. Co-Parent agreed with reason again and told him last week to stop getting angry at me and turn the focus on himself and talk to his therapist about what he did to create our situation. That was worth 300.00 an hour to me.

    It just makes sense that if everything were rainbows and lollipops, he wouldn’t be angry at me. If the traitor is angry at you, it’s because you took away the most important piece from the cheating game….YOU.

    • I get anger, but not so much from my xfw, it’s from his new wife. I love your statement that if everything were rainbows and lollipops…I am gathering that Chicago has some pretty big surprises, and they have no one to blame except….me? I’m minding my own business, having no contact, etc. Out of nowhere, the sheriff appears at my place of business (I am the owner so there was a public shaming that came with that) to deliver TWO harassment restraining orders. They say I have been emailing, calling, and texting them and threatening them. I haven’t done ANY of this. Their statement is completely false, and extremely vague. I wonder what judge felt there was any grounds for signing off on a harassment restraining order, much less TWO OF THEM (they read identically). Shaking my head….

  • Spot on CL: “he fucked up his life and you’re a nice rage receptacle.”

    That about sums it up.

  • All of what CL said plus:
    He’s angry because he’s an angry person. (And probably was before he cheated and left, as well.) He rages at you because he has nothing to lose (anymore with you), he can get away with it (with you (only)), and you continue to give him an audience.

  • So simple for me now, it didn;t used to be. They all rage when we get mighty. It simply doesn’t compute for them. Why won;t he respond to my 6 paragraph temper tantrum? Well, quite simply, I don;t have to anymore. Grey ROCK!!. I’ll say it again. Grey ROCK!!!. Do not engage. I know it;s so hard for chumps to believe, but this person has NONE of you’re best interests in mind. They don’t want to be with you. They aren’t sorry. They believe that you are the one in the wrong. About EVERYTHING!!. Yes sometimes they might cry and beg and plead, but never take action. That’s only if schmoopie is gone. Or they get faced with the reality of financial or familial loss. If you really must go full on chump, then ask them this. Does it take 6 or 7 figures or the thought of being with your children 25 percent of the time to love me ? The answer is pretty obvious. They don’t have one. They only love one person. You know the answer to that.

  • He sounds like an immature child man. My ex (Cheater McLiepants) is the same- either radio silence or full, unadulterated rage from the moment he left to go live with Shmoopie. It still hurts, but I’m clearer now on seeing this as his way of trying to get me to engage (cake).
    The High Conflict Institute has amazing resources on how to deal with idiots like this- they call them high conflict personalities. If you can go low contact then try Bill Eddy’s BIFF responses and go grey rock on him. Some people think the only way they can gain control is to be controlling, they’re too short-sighted and reactive to realise that it’s their behaviours that destroy all their relationships.

  • “because he is living his punishment.”

    I was just thinking about cheaters in general today, and this same thought flitted through my mind. It’s comforting, when I can get my head around it, but it’s tricky to think about.

    Supposing the cheater is a guy:

    We can live the rest of our lives without worrying so much about whether or not a new guy in a new relationship will cheat on us because – really – the cheater punishes himself when he cheats. He has it worse than we do. So worrying about possible cheating is like worrying that the guy is going to put his own head into the blender. Of course we don’t want that, but he’s not gonna be having it perfect while we’re experiencing the consequences of his actions. Those actions cause consequences for him, too. Like Chicago.

    We hold our heads up high. We didn’t cause the tragedy. He has nothing to feel proud about.

    We work hard for our kids and some of us for our food and our tiny apartments. He might have more things; they’re things. And things will never love him. We have the love and respect of our children, and the rest of the family, friends and community.

    We don’t get to have someone to hold and caress and care for us (right away) but he gave up true blue love for a woman who was willing to commit adultery, and that’s who’s in his arms.

    I guess that some of the angst and pain of it all is that the cheater might be having more romantic times than we’re having. And maybe so, temporarily. But those times come with such a price!

    It’s a small consolation, to think about such things.

    I was trying to explain this to a friend who was getting married for the first time, and she said, “but I don’t care about that. I care about my heart, and I don’t want him to break it.”

    And yes, there is no consolation there. A broken heart is a broken heart, no matter how much the person who breaks it suffers.

    • All so true.

      “I guess that some of the angst and pain of it all is that the cheater might be having more romantic times than we’re having. And maybe so, temporarily. But those times come with such a price!”

      I suspect for most of them the romantic times end fairly quickly after they are outed. Oh I am sure there are exceptions such as a really loaded old coot romancing a 20 year old. He can likely keep that afloat for a while. But, generally nope. Reality bites.

      It bites us and it bites them, just in different ways.

      • Yes!

        And the whole thing about cheating, and the pain of it, is about being left out. This line of thought asks the question, “left out of WHAT?” And the answer makes me feel a bit more okay with the idea. The special times that I had with the same person were not tainted.

        I’m single, many years out from D-Day, and there were three relationships since D-Day. All of the guys were handsome, single for a long time, and flirty (like my dad.) And I worried about them cheating on me, and basically I just could not trust them enough to marry them.

        I worked on being “the jealous type,” which I never was until D-Day. And my working on it led me into a whole area of my brain where I still work on it from time to time. Like the other day, when I was thinking it all through again.

        Sometimes getting these things in place in the abstract, before getting out there and dating, helps me when I come across them later. The problem presents itself; the solution is worked out. I go on.

        So my thought about what to do if a date starting flirting with other women is just, “hey… if the guy is gonna look around and start flirting with other women (the first stages of cheating behavior,) we both lose.” I don’t lose as much. I lose being included in those flirtatious glances or those messages on Facebook. He loses my respect. He loses my trust. He loses my hand in marriage.

        My heart hurts about it, yes, and that’s the whole thing I’m trying to avoid here, but HAVING A TEMPORARY HEARTACHE is part of the dating game. I get my hopes up. I get my hopes smashed. I keep my eyes open. The heartache, when it comes, is a blessing. It’s a warning. I’m thankful for it. It says, “Don’t go this way!” And I’m learning to listen to it, not just stay with the person and let him keep hurting my heart, over and over.

        Some men need kibbles all the time. Some do not. Next time around, I want a man who is not out for kibbles. I want a man who wants real food.

        This is so much progress, for me. I feel mighty, writing about it. I love my mistakes. They’ve made me who I am today. I love my fearful feelings. They lead me into preventive behavior. I love the experience of knowing the ins and outs of cheating (which is why I’m here.) This knowledge will help me when it’s time to get out there again. And that time will come!!!

  • It’s just grey rock. Hard pill to swallow. Insane for the sane mind to comprehend. I’m 4 years out and I can tell you that it does get better, but sadly I haven’t seen the end of it and I don’t think there will be one. But it’s better. Even tonight, didn’t answer her phone call, still surprised she does that cause I ain’t gonna answer. Text or email me or leave a voicemail. They want to engage on the phone so they can’t be accountable for what they say. Don’t let them. Every time she has ever called has never been an emergency and if it was, you’d think you’d leave a voicemail or send a text. Normal people would. I remember the last time I called her was on the way to the hospital late with our son. Left a frantic voicemail. Then called a couple more times. That is NORMAL. They call 3 times no voicemail, no texts. They just want to engage you and not be accountable for what they say. DO NOT DO THIS!!! It’s always a sham. This person lied to you and had and has no guilt about doing it again and again and again. They just want to engage you in a private setting, where they know they have the advantage over us chumps. Do not allow it, EVER.

  • I can relate. I don’t receive hoovers (emails) unless they are laced with rage. I offer this perspective:

    When he rages and you get upset = HE wins.
    When he rages and you laugh to yourself at his arrested development, pathetic tantrums = YOU win.

    Everything is a game with Narcs. There’s no sweeter victory than you being the winner in his game. Laugh to yourself while applying a good dose of no contact. He will climb the walls.

    • I’m not dogging, just asking you a question that I;ve asked myself many times. Is it a victory that they fail? I’m not saying it’s not ok to be happy wihen they fail. But who’s winning there? No one. You win when you don’t care, because they didn’t and don’t. No, you win when you care about you and the people that really do care about you. Victory, is when you win for you and the people you care about. Call it selfish human nature, but that’s what victory is.

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