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How to Help a Chumped Parent?

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broken heartDear Chump Lady,

I would be truly grateful for some advice here and don’t know where else to turn.

I have always known my father is kind of an asshole. My mother, who is a successful civil litigator, did 100% of the domestic labour and childcare, while his fragile ego and constant criticism caused 100% of our family discord. Mom was a perfectly sane parent and rarely ever revealed her dissatisfaction; nonetheless, my sisters and I watched with increasing resentment as his entitlement and narcissism ran roughshod over her life. When we tried to talk to him about his behaviour, he instantly became the victim of female persecution. As adults, we all have cordial, shallow relationships with him.

All this to say, while I’ve always known him as a shitty husband, no one ever believed he was a cheater. I don’t know when he found the time, as mom always seemed to be crowded by him; she has always managed his entire social life. She has even joked that she wishes he’d have an affair so he wouldn’t call to ask what was for dinner. So his recent announcement that he is leaving their 30-year marriage for a long-term business client came as a tremendous shock.

My sisters and I are in our 20s and are privately relieved that our brilliant, kind and soulful mom is free of our father’s bullshit. That said, we are watching helpless as she begins an emotional spiral. This is no pick me dance, as she has not loved him for many years, but she is absolutely drowning in her rage, humiliation, and regret. She has spent the past three decades making sacrifices and compromises for my dad. I think she knew he wasn’t capable of understanding, loving, empathizing, or seeing her — but she always believed he respected her. She is absolutely devastated to realize that the father of her children lacks even the most basic decency. Mom is too proud to put this all directly on us, but we’re aware of what’s going on in our own family. She has taken to drinking heavily in the evenings, and I was recently heartbroken to hear her say “he wasted my entire life.”

I’m writing to you because, in an effort to help, my sister recently sent mom an article from your site; as she read it, she laughed aloud for the first time in at least a couple of weeks. As a daughter, I have no idea how to support my mother through this. How can my sisters and I do our part to ease the grief and guilt, if at all? I would love the input of you and your wonderful network.

Best,

Chumpdaughter

Dear Chumpdaughter,

It’s a very helpless feeling to see someone you love in so much pain. And I imagine it’s exponentially harder when that source of pain is your other parent. That puts you in a very difficult position as support services go. I think your sister did a good thing — to direct your mom here, to a bunch of peers. People who lived this particular nightmare and can offer perspective and solidarity.

In addition to this blog and my book, there’s a community page here where you can find the private CN Reddit and Facebook groups. (I do not run or moderate these. They were created and are moderated by members of CN.) Introduce your mom to this safe space. She can vomit all her anger and grief on the interwebs anonymously.

A curious thing happens with a chump collective — you see that your situation is not at all unique. That cheaters say the same stupid shit from Chicago to Helsinki. And there are only so many manipulation moves on the chessboard. The sheer banality of it offers a certain comfort. It might be really cutting to hear: “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Then you see it recited 174,388 times…. and not so much.

I know you’re probably hoping I have a magic elixir I can give you to take away mom’s trauma right this minute, but I don’t. And remember, you’re the kid. You have your own grief to deal with here. You don’t have to take on your mom’s pain. That’s beautiful of you. It’s also the chumpy kind of thing that children of a shitty narc parent do — I’LL SWOOP IN! I’LL SAVE YOU!

I’m not saying be uncaring. I’m saying, stay in your daughter lane and out of the therapist lane. You can bolster your mom by telling her how much you love and admire her. What an awesome parent she’s been. You can show up with a casserole. You can take her out to a movie. You can do all the daughter things. And that will have the effect of demonstrating to your mother that her 30 years were not a waste. You SEE her. You totally appreciate her.

She has spent the past three decades making sacrifices and compromises for my dad. I think she knew he wasn’t capable of understanding, loving, empathizing, or seeing her — but she always believed he respected her.

People who respect you don’t tolerate toxic lopsided relationships. Did he sacrifice or compromise for her? Forget the cheating, the fact that he allowed a relationship where only he was reaping the benefits of an invested partner, and she was not, means he didn’t respect her.

“he wasted my entire life.”

There are two ways to react to this. This first is: Yes, he did. This is a real loss. Cheaters rob chumps of opportunity costs. Years spent where they could’ve invested their energies in a better life with a better partner. It’s theft. It’s unjust and chumps have every right to be FURIOUS that they were conned.

Even if your mom spackled and did the cost-benefit analysis of being with a jerk — she did NOT deserve to be cheated on. To have her health risked. To invest in a fraud year after year and be used. To have her trust and fidelity weaponized against her. Of course your mother is heart sick about this.

“he wasted my entire life.”

The second way to react to this is: No, he did not. This is STILL her life. She brought her A-game. She was real. That’s all we control, ourselves. His deception is no reflection on her. She still kicked ass at her career, and raised two loving daughters. She gets to leave this marriage with integrity knowing that, whatever her faults, she was deeply committed and she tried.

If anyone wasted their life here, it’s your father. He threw away a family who loved him for a business client. Relationships can end, of course. But it’s how you end them. He didn’t need to cheat and lie and lose everyone’s respect. He didn’t need to detonate your mother’s life 30 years in. (I sincerely doubt this is his first rodeo.)

Anyway, your mom has lost a shitty partner. And you’re NEVER too old to rebuild your life and reinvent.

She has taken to drinking heavily in the evenings

Here you’re allowed to speak UP. “Mom, I’m really concerned about your drinking.” Is she getting any kind of support? Therapy? Is there someone in her life to keep her company now?

Self-destruction is a lousy response to being chumped. Why turn the anger inward? Why fuck yourself? Why give a loser so much centrality? Okay, they may have stolen decades of your life, do NOT give them one second more. Do not give them your liver and vital organs. FUCK them.

Chumpdaughter — you and your sister are good kids. Do share today’s column with her. (waving!)  I’m opening up the floor to CN.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Oh golly…I really hope that your mom comes here and commiserates with us to see that even though her Cheater did steal a lot from her, there is so much more to live for.

    To the mom of Chumpdaughter letter writer, PLEASE – from the bottom of my heart – please curb the drinking …stop for a while until you get your wits about you. You currently HAVE a life to live but you may lose it to drinking. PLEASE dont do that. My mom was a very heavy drinker and it has caused her to lapse into dementia and she has no idea who I am. She has destroyed herself. PLEASE dont do that to yourself or your daughters.

    Come here and dump it all…we KNOW what this feels like. I gave 29 years to a man who was angry, critical, and mean…I knew he was an asshole but I thought that he was MY asshole. It was only after he died that I learned that he was a whole bunch of women’s asshole. I know some envy him being dead, but I envy you having the chance to say “You are a lying asshole” each story has twists of its own, but the shard pain and healing here is real.

    Tuesday is out there for you. Understanding is right here.

  • #Sometimes … recognizing that taking your 4-TRILLION-to-1 DNA unique human experience and choosing to love someone every day is the best decision at the time…

    This is a LEGAL phrase that I have used EVERY TIME “Those People” have taken me back to court over everything is this…

    “With the Knowledge I had at the time … I made a decision” …

    What a fantastic daughter you must be to recognize the situation growing up …

    I will pray for y’all wherever you are … The good thing is that your parents aren’t fighting over custody like lots of us here.

    You also get to choose the type of relationship you have with both of your parents.

    • Please tell your mom this from a fellow chump. I did my grieving for years with him, tried to fix him, and finally left after 30 years. have not regretted it for one day. Yes, he wasted my youth, damaged my confidence, undercut me, and denied me children. But I AM FREE NOW. A bad day without him is better than the best day with him. He can’t waste my future. My life is my own now.

          • This this this.

            I was married 27 years. He cheated last 10 yrs and is now married to one of the OW’s.
            Tell your mom to find chumplady nation on Facebook. We get it. I’m 57. Figure I’ve got another 25-30 years. More importantly, I’m in a place where he will never take one more day of my life. Your mom can get there too.

  • Chumpdaughter,

    Fundamentally your mother needs to take control; you can help her but you can’t do it for her. I’d advise:

    – Get her a copy of LACGAL (it’s a lifesaver).
    – Advise her that she needs to get the best lawyer and the best therapist that she can ( and don’t you become your mother’s therapist or lawyer).
    – Advise her to protect herself financially; Cheaters can get very creative and very quickly once they are busted.
    – Advise her that she needs to protect her health; not just the drinking, so think holistically.
    – Lastly, advise her of the support available here; most of us have been through what she’s going through, although every Chumps’ misery is in some ways unique. It’s a safe space and she will be welcomed.

    As for yourself; be there to support her, but remember that the first principle of First Aid is not to become as casualty yourself.

    LFTT

    • I second this! Especially not becoming a casualty yourself.

      You have described a lot of role reversal. You are trying to support your mother when she is the one who should be supporting you. Yes, you are now an adult and your relationship changes but you are still the daughter. You are describing years of knowing about a very unhealthy relationship dynamic that shouldn’t have been yours to bare.

      While your dad maybe an abuser, your mother used this to gain sympathy and alienate you from your father rather than addressing the issue. Instead, she became the martyr that did everything. I had a mother like this. She was very passive aggressive towards my father and ever the martyr with all the amazing things she did. There was no cheating to my knowledge or divorce but I remember wishing they would divorce and even saying that a few times and all of the discourse which led me to this was passive- no fighting or yelling.

      So now, what happened to me- I became a chump. I married someone like my mother who took it a step further by drinking to excess and cheating and finally abandoning. My children ranged from 20’s to pre teens when he abandoned us. For the first 3 months I was a complete mess, struggling to comprehend and taking it out on my children. I was expecting them to comfort me. I was reversing the role. Through alot of reading, I saw the light. I was still a mess but I saw that I needed to be there for the children going through abandonment and I need to adult. I couldn’t expect them to support me. Not to say that I haven’t slipped in the 5 years since that day but overall I parent and I hold on to the fact that my kids each told a therapist some version of “mom was a wreck the first few months after dad left but then she got strong.”

      As to the drinking- go to al anon. Get yourself a therapist. Maybe look into co dependents anonymous. Put on your own oxygen mask. Don’t be afraid to say “hey mom, I love you but I can’t be your confident or therapist. I love you and appreciate you but have to deal with what my dad did to the family too.

      You were a victim too. You are at a higher risk going forward of becoming a partner to someone emotionally abusive and thinking you can fix things.

      You can’t fix your mother or father. You need a parent to meet your emotional needs and it doesn’t sound like it is there now nor was it in the past.

      • “your mother used this to gain sympathy and alienate you from your father rather than addressing the issue”

        You don’t know this. Its not fair to apply the dynamics in your family directly onto someone else…maybe her mom tried everything including “addressing the issue”. I specifically tried everything in my power to get my then-spouse to agree on a minimum level of behavior that we could agree on and he refused. I didnt play martyr and maybe neither did this mom.

        Your other advise was good

        • Agree. There is nothing the letter writer said to indicate that the mother ever tried to gain sympathy or alienate her from her father.

          • Thank you for pointing this out. I had the same reaction.

            And I know I’m a little defensive on this issue because my x accuses me of alienating the kids. In fact, he did the alienating all by himself. I refuse to accept that blame.

            • Ditto. There is nothing in this letter that would justify pathologizing the mom. She sounds like a woman who was doing her best for her family. I get the parental alienation garbage all the time and I am just sick of it. I was a great mom for ten years. My ex was an absentee father — at work or at hotels with his mistress. All of a sudden he leaves and its MY fault the kids are not as close to him? F that.

        • Exactly. “Doing it all” happened very slowly over the course of my 30+ year marriage because the FW became disengaged and kept breaking promises to do things with the kids. They told me that when dad says “I’ll think about it,” they translated that to “no” because he would not ever remember the conversation.

          • Wow this is my life exactly. The doing it all thing and the disengagement and the “I’ll think about it” answer which always kept the ball in his court and thus in control. I’ve been inadvertently blamed for doing it all – but as you said it happens slowly, slowly over time and you just get used to doing everything. I also tried literally everything to get him to engage-I begged, I got mad, I got overly happy, I cried, I compared, I bought books, I asked my friends and I even did sexual favours. Still, no help and no engagement. It’s easy to think people like me are doormat, martyrs who didn’t put their foot down, but it doesn’t happen that way. We are the boiled frogs who fell into the long, slow devaluation of narcissistic cheaters. I suspect the writer’s mother is one of us too.

      • Greener Pastures,

        “While your dad maybe an abuser, your mother used this to gain sympathy and alienate you from your father rather than addressing the issue.”

        This is a judgement based on you own experience and not helpful here. Chump daughter DID NOT say that her mother told her anything about her father or their marriage. She states that it was obvious that her father is”kind of an asshole”. That she watched her mother be the sane, involved and loving parent. In fact she states that “(Mom) rarely ever revealed her dissatisfaction.”

        It is very possible for children to see for themselves that one parent is involved, responsible, sane and loving and to also see that the other parent is none of those things. And they are free to form their own opinion/experience their own feelings about it. This is not a failure or manipulation or alienation on the part of the mother….it’s simply a fact.

        I’m sorry that you had the experience with you own mother, but please don’t paint all mothers married to assholes with that same brush.

      • Good grief – parental alienation has been pretty thoroughly discredited!

        https://stopabusecampaign.org/campaigns/family-court-custody-crisis/parental-alienation-syndrome/.

        My ex used to call me a martyr often but if I didn’t parent the kids and do all of the heavy lifting no one else would – he had no intention of stepping up and acting like a parent or a husband or a functioning adult for that matter. I always covered for him and spackled furiously in order to keep up appearances- I would always tell my children what a great guy he was. To be honest when my kids were younger it worked against me because he always got to be the fun parent. In their late teens and early 20s they realized what a cruel and difficult man he was. Two of my three kids asked me to divorce him before dday – they thought he was trying to kill me with stress.
        Painting those of us who chose to stay as manipulative martyrs is victim blaming at its lowest.

      • BS.. Victim shaming?

        You don’t know that.

        I quit reading the Facebook chump group, where every man is guilty and CN quickly advises her how to extract max alimony from anyone with a penis.

        Except all that bs works on male chumps too.

  • Dear Chumpdaughter. Happy holidays and welcome to CN— I hope your stay is short since this is no longer about your mother ( she’ll be fine. Tell her to listen to CL and at some point in the future, she will be at MEH and have an amazing life. It is a difficult path for the chump but your mom sounds awesome and strong so I have faith in her.) I am still on Wednesday with the approaching DDay anniversaries. The holidays are not awesome, but we chumps are resilient and tough.
    Now back to you, you are young, you have data points, learn from what you experienced and I hope that you’re never chumped.
    Take care and wish your mom the best from CN.
    NYChump

  • “I think she knew he wasn’t capable of understanding, loving, empathizing, or seeing her — but she always believed he respected her.”

    Oh, this cut deep this did. I remember realizing this myself. It was horrible to finally face this truth. I knew my cheating husband didn’t understand me, love me, or empathize with me, but–at least!–I thought, he thinks of me as one of the best friends he’s ever had. He, at least, respects me that much and holds me in that sort of esteem.

    I tucked myself into bed each night thinking I was holding onto, at least, that much.

    It was an absolute blow when he told me, as he was leaving for the last time to shack up with the last AP that he would have (with me, anyway) that he never even considered me his best friend or any kind of friend, really. He thought of his male coworkers as closer friends than me. Surprisingly, this just gutted me. He didn’t even think of me as a friend to him. It was his parting blow.

    I’m so sorry, Chumpdaughter, that your Mom is going through this. Going through this and losing that last lifeline we thought we had to these jerks is devastating. For myself, I didn’t start drinking (I sure thought about it) but I went to other, darker places and would cut myself. My children were tots but I’m sure if they were adults, oh yes… they would have noticed my raw pain and my zombie evenings and nights.

    I don’t share that unhappy story in search of sympathy but rather commiseration. I hope your Mom comes here. Sometimes one of the steps in climbing out of that hole that an unrepentant FW pushes you into is just seeing another chump raise their hand and say “Me too.”

    • What an awful jerk to say that to you. They don’t even know how to leave a relationship without trying to further destory someone. Its as if they need to throw gasoline on the fire on their way out because hey, bonfires are fun.

      • It was the last thing I was holding onto with regards to my husband. I thought “Well, at least he respects me as a friend; at least I have that.” I thought “How could he not? Years and years of friendship and heartfelt talks and sharing our experiences and feelings and loving to do the same things. Add all that to how he can see that I never gave up on him even when he cheated on me and left me and came back again. He’s got to see that I’m always there for him and that I’m the closest friend he’s ever had–I’ve proved it!”

        Yeah, he didn’t see any of that. He was leaving again to move in with his next GF and I thought that he would at least respect me as a friend because of all our shared experiences and how I had shown him that I was always there for him. He shrugged (shrugged!) and told me with a fairly blank voice that he never considered me one of his close friends at all, really. Receiving this news hurt just as much as D-Day #1, quite honestly; I threw up for days afterwards.

        He didn’t even respect me. I truly was just an appliance to him.

        I just desperately wanted him to think well of me. Thank goodness those days are over. My locks are changed, he’s not allowed in my home or my life, and my contact dial is set as far to “No Contact” as I can get it. I have days where I slip up, understandably, but I can truthfully say that most of the time I don’t care what he thinks of me anymore. And that’s a glorious, freeing feeling.

        Come into the fold, Chumpdaughter’s mom. We understand. We know.

    • “He thought of his male coworkers as closer friends than me. Surprisingly, this just gutted me.”

      Not surprising at all. Of course it gutted you. I’m sorry you experienced that. He tossed an extra little gratuitous grenade with that comment. So hurtful!

      ((Hugs))

      • It’s like WeAreTheChumpions said: they can’t just leave a relationship without destroying it first. I highly suspect FWs have a “Scorched Earth” mindset–y’know… salt the fields so no one can grow crops there anymore. My FW let me know, before he left to be with GF#3/Wifetress, that it was one of his biggest nightmares that I’d marry about and that his children would have a stepdad who would abuse them because that’s what happened to GF#3 (whom he, of course, has saved) and he was so worried that history would repeat with his kids. I fell all over myself assuring him that there wouldn’t be anyone for me except him and then… he left.

        He kind of got what he wanted. I have no interest in ever dating another person ever again. But, years later, I still seethe that he had the gall to have affairs, girlfriends, and give his kids a stepmom (Wifetress) all the while telling his first wife (who was, admittedly, his doormat and had never seriously dated anyone else or slept with anyone other than him) that I was never a friend to him and that he ardently hopes that I never marry again because stepdads are not good people.

        Uncaring. Unkind. Insane. Use up the wife appliance, scorch the earth, and salt the fields before you leave. You don’t want the appliance anymore but you don’t want anyone else to want the appliance for themselves either.

        In time, I was able to reflect and cobble all these moments together into one horrible pile and then I realized that talking with him would only produce these weird, unkind, and utterly *insane* conversations that would leave me confused or sobbing. So, I stopped talking to him. And it was glorious.

        Begin the process of No Contact, Chumpdaughter’s Mom. It is liberating.

        • Fourleaf, My STBX told me something very similar when I asked why he stayed if he did love me and he responded with I was convenient and familiar to have around. I was an appliance. He then happily grinned and told me his Schmoopie made him feel alive again. Yep, they suck. The great thing is, he now found out that Schmoopie is still on dating sites and probably spreading her love around like peanut butter on bread. Regardless, he SUCKS.

          • “My STBX told me something very similar when I asked why he stayed if he did love me and he responded with I was convenient and familiar to have around. I was an appliance. He then happily grinned and told me his Schmoopie made him feel alive again.”

            Chump: Yes, but what about my feelings in all this?
            FW: *blinks in confusion* What do you mean? I’ve already covered feelings in this conversation: mine.

            We truly are just appliances.

            I hear you, CFANM (all FW’s APs have been younger than us too). He said he never “really loved me” and I yelped “So why did you marry me? It was one of the happiest days of my life!” To which he responded, “I was a fat kid and I thought you were a good catch, and we had a lot in common. I figured I could never do any better, so I ‘took what I could get.’ But I’m with someone who truly loves me! (this being GF#1 at the time).” I wanted to scream: I truly loved you, you idiot!!! But he wouldn’t have heard it anyway.

            So, like you I married him because I loved him; he married me because I was convenient and, most importantly, I was “there.” They sure do salt the fields when they leave. They don’t even want us to hold onto any happy memories.

        • They not only salt the fields. After they’ve gutted us, they love nothing more than to take the knife and twist it. Why? Because they are evil.

    • Fourleaf, I heard something very similar. “You aren’t my best friend. I never thought of you as my best friend.” That devastated me at first, made me think that there was something wrong with me. Of course, there wasn’t and isn’t. I am a fucking awesome friend to a whole crew of wonderful people, none of which is a cheating Fuckwit.

      We all get to hear horrible things said about us by the cheating Narcs. Most of the time, it is actually about them and nothing to do with us. We end up being collateral damage in the swath of destruction they usually leave in their wake. But it also means that we can walk away from it, knowing that shitshow wasn’t really because of us or caused by us. It can make one feel both powerless and powerful, all at once.

  • Chumpdaughter, you have come to the right place. Just get your mother here often to know that she is not alone and that many of us know the pain of wasting decades of our lives on cheaters. CL and CN are here to help and to listers as well as validate. I will say at first it is devastating to find out about the cheating. You become physically ill and may do the pick me dance and go with the RIC. The RIC is the biggest time waster because in my case they told me that I own part of his cheating. That along with CL and CN woke me up and got me moving towards getting rid of a FW. He owns his cheating. The Chump owns getting their life back. Yes, the drinking is concerning, maybe a 12 step? Maybe just waking up and realizing that she is not alone?
    My son who is 25 helped me a lot. The FW still had stuff going to a shared account and he found wonderful evidence of the cheating, Schmoopie, financial dirty dealings and more. I woke up after 29 years and about a month in the RIC. I took about six weeks to get everything in order and lawyered up. The FW is out and playing sad sausage but has been served and is going through his stages of torment (with Schmoopie to console him). My son and I are no contact and everything goes through the attorney. Even though my son is in the Navy and away from home, he went grey rock with his father and then decided no contact was better than listening to cheater lies. Although still in the divorce process things get better. I am very lucky that my DS will be home for Thanksgiving. My parents are delighted as well. A peaceful holiday after years of drama during the holidays.
    Your mom needs to come here often and find comfort here and start her process of becoming free. It may happen slowly but there is still a life after a cheater. She is lucky to have supportive daughters and you can help her get there. Good luck. We are here for your mom with snark and hugs.

  • Chumpdaughter, can you think of things to do with your mom to get her out of the house and moving? A walk around the block or around the lake at a nearby park, just being with her and commenting on the pleasant, neutral things you see as you go? Bonus points if you can convince her to join you in a yoga or a kickboxing class. The early pain is a body blow. Moving your body helps get the adrenaline out and centers you. She may also be drinking because she can’t sleep, and nothing in the world is better for that than vigorous exercise. Being in nature is also healing in itself.

    Any chance you can set up a consistent, ritualized get- together, so she has something to look forward to? Every other day you’ll check in via phone or in person at 11 am? The early days are so disorienting, having a structured connection with someone who loves her can be a lifeline.

    Can you take her out to places that have people in them, but she doesn’t have to interact with them, like a coffeehouse or museum? The early days are incredibly lonely and isolating – you’re in so much pain you feel like no one has ever felt like this before — so being around people, but not having to talk to them, can help with that sense of isolation.

    I wish you and your mother the best. I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you are looking for ideas of concrete things you can do for her. Of course you can’t live her life for her, etc, etc, but she’s hurting right now in a deep way, and she’s been a good mom to you. Sometimes I think we’re all so on guard about not being co-dependent that we err in the other direction and don’t help each other as we could. You want to help, and there are so many ways you can. Wishing you all the peace and healing you deserve!

    • “Any chance you can set up a consistent, ritualized get- together, so she has something to look forward to? Every other day you’ll check in via phone or in person at 11 am? The early days are so disorienting, having a structured connection with someone who loves her can be a lifeline”.

      Yes! This is exactly what is needed by anyone suffering trauma or grief.

    • Agreed. Get her active and doing things. One day in my deep, post-abandonment despair, my father called me over to help him shovel gravel off of his truck and onto his driveway.

      Let’s be real: I’m super weak and I was in the midst of a deep depression. I’m sure my gravel shovelling skills were sub-par. But it felt good to be needed for something and it felt food to be helping my father out and it felt good to be physically active. I mean, I still hate shovelling but it felt really, really good to sweat, shovel, and help someone out. I felt useful.

      Get out and get active. It really does help.

    • Yup. If at all possible, go out and do things with her. If you can, have dinner together or an early morning workout (it’ll head off some of the drinking if she can’t start at/before dinner because you’re there or she has to be in bed early and sober-ish so you two can be up in the morning).

  • 1) LACAGAL

    2) “Mom, you should see the doctor (stds, stress, etc.), dentist (grinding, dry mouth if on anti-depressants), a trauma specialist and a scary divorce attorney. Make the appointments and I can drive you or arrange a ride if you can’t drive

    3) Mom, your drinking is worrisome and stopping you from taking care of yourself. Please know I love you and want you around for many years and in good shape.

    4) I love you Mom. This sucks. I will always love & appreciate you.

    Fuck turkey this year. Take her out for a crab boil or bring it to her. Or something different but kick-ass awesome.

    Hugs.

    • I’m adding #5.

      My oldest son went to see my tough as nails lawyer. The lawyer said my son’s request for an appointment was unusual but not unethical. The lawyer would just meet with my son to see what he would say.

      My son explained that I was the rock of our family. In his eyes I was the best wife ever to his dad and that I did everything for him! I never cheated, was always available to my husband and my children and his fathers extended family. I was active in the community and was very philanthropic.

      My son told my lawyer that he (the lawyer) had to make sure I was well taken care of because I had done nothing other than love and trust my husband. He also volunteered to testify if the trial went to court.

      The lawyer listened. My son never asked any questions and the lawyer offered no details about my case.

      Did the case hinge on my son speaking with my lawyer? Absolutely not. Did it speak volumes to everyone about who I was? YES!

      My lawyer told my ex’s lawyer about the meeting and the opposition was less than thrilled to hear a very dedicated child was willing to offer testimony about life inside our household.

      All this is to say that, in addition to all the other wonderful advice you will receive here, I want to offer my experience for your consideration as your mom progresses thru the legal system.

      Walks, your time and your hugs will help your mom more than you may ever know.

  • There are so many ways humans wind up with shame. (Not guilt. You need that on occasion to make sure you try your best in all things,) Shame often starts in childhood but it can be any time we feel hopeless. As adults we are told to be stalwart. We are suppose to be able to carry on with whatever life throws at us. So how do we feel when we are told we are not enough? It can be at work, as a friend, or as someone whose skin is a different color. Shame is someone telling us we don’t matter. We are not lovable. We can be replaced. Getting out of shame takes a village telling us a different opinion. Tell your Mom to come here. This is the best village on the planet.

    • Yes. This right here. The RIC trades in shame and tells the chump you were not good enough or had not tried hard enough. Society makes you feel like a failure. For someone like the chump mom who had a legal career and still raised the kids and got dinner on the table, she spent her life doing all the right things and thought her disrespectful husband was an issue behind closed doors. Now he has gone public and bailed and that feeling of shame hits even though it is undeserved. We all know that feeling. It really does take a peer group to rally and help you understand that there is no shame in having played he hand you were dealt as beat you could. Chumps should not be ashamed of having been victimized. It takes time to accept and really internalize that.

      I hope she joins CN and regularly reads the many stories here. Reads LACGAL and makes better sense of her current position. It is early and things are raw. Please put down the bottle and start putting one foot in front of the other. I have a JD, too. It makes us no less vulnerable to fuckwits. Don’t let this define you, ChumpMom. There is a big world out there for you to find and it is honest and asshole free.

  • This too happened to my mother after 22 years back in the day when she couldn’t divorce my dad because in the grand old state of MS everything (including her inheritance, herself, their kids) were considered ALL HIS!!! She had fo find due-cause to divorce him and when she did, she hired one of the meanest lawyers that would actually take on her case (the others were afraid he would kill them). He had abandoned his family for multiple women while we were living in a huge home on a lake with no food or heat/air because we were THAT poor since he took everything….however they were still married. She fought and got a divorce, however, was left destitute and broken. Being asshole free was liberating but the reality of it was the years of abuse killed my kind hearted mother. It drove her to drink heavily and she ended up pissing away the last 40 years. She is only now realizing the damage she did to herself by internalizing the hurt and pain.

    Thankfully, in your situation, you have put your mom in the right direction by guiding her here. Take CL’s advise and suggest a therapist!!! I suggest pointing her into the direction of one who specializes in Narc. abuse bc there is a different level of mindfuckery when dealing with these assholes than a cheating asshole! A Narcs mindfuck can have lasting negative effects because of all the psychological games they play upon their victims…..it’s like their level of game play is ramped up by a 1,000%. Recommending a good therapist also keeps in alignment with CL’s advice and helps you stay in your daughter lane because, I promise you, being your Mom’s therapist is not healthy! My siblings and I unfortunately were subjected to that unhealthy behavior and the barfing up years of abuse in-turn negatively effects you and your Mom’s relationship. I also suggest getting your own therapy sessions since you are having to deal with your narc dad from a child’s perspective. There are certain pieces of narc parent/child dynamic that become deep seeded in your subconscious. Anyone who has been in that kind of parent/child dynamic needs to be enlightened about it so they don’t continue the same patterns throughout their life. (For example, we as narc parent survivors typically have poor boundaries or don’t understand boundaries at all. This goes either way on the extreme scale….some of us children are conditioned to give and give and give until we find ourselves tapped out. The others, learn to take and take and take. Sounds like you and your sister have become over givers. I am an over giver too! -Big hugs-)

    Hope that bit of advise helps!

  • Chump Daughter, I salute you. You see your cheater Dad for what he is and not what you would like him to be. That is an amazing accomplishment for one so young. Your Mom must be so proud of you.

    I encourage you to ask Mom to seek help dealing with the devastation caused by the betrayal of infidelity. It is traumatic to be treated so cruelly. If ever there was a time for therapy it is now. Tell her to ask any prospective therapist their views on cheating. Don’t allow anyone to suggest that somehow his cheating is her fault. It isn’t.

    I wouldn’t have made it without my earthbound angel of a therapist. I wouldn’t have made it without LACGAL and Chump Nation.

    Send your Mom here. She will see the absolute banality of cheater speak. She will see she isn’t alone.

  • So much here has touched my heart today, but what stands out most for me as someone who has been sober and in my 37th year of recovery going is the comment about her drinking. Yikes. This is very very serious.

    Al Anon, which I have also belonged to
    since 1986, is alive and well in the UK. It is for anyone who has concerns over anyone else’s drinking. It’s not a perfect place with perfect people, but it’s the best place to go for How To Help Someone Else Who Is In Emotional Mental Psychological Spiritual Trouble and Their Drinking Is Alarming You. I have found it to be an invaluable resource and endless font of free wisdom since I first peeked in the doorway. My Al Anon recovery has also been extremely helpful to me in my infidelity recovery.

    I’ve also had great therapists on board since then. Those two guardian angels have been my guardrails and guides. I tell people I have a doctor for my body and a doctor for my mind. There are lots kf situations I can handle at home. Others require outside help. Cheating and drinking are very very big deals I would never consider navigating without outside help.

    Without my sobriety, my therapists, AA, Al Anon, my other 12 step groups, my pit crew of awesome friends, Chump Lady and Chump Nation, I could have easily relapsed and committed suicide, homicide, or drunk/drugged myself to death.

    Anything I have ever said here that has been helpful to anyone came from those sources.

    I mentioned the other day that I helped clean up a crime scene of a friend whose daughter’s ex-boyfriend beat her to death with a baseball bat at their child’s first birthday party. (The case made national headlines). My friend ended up dying in the hospital in 2019 from cirrhosis of the liver. Severe trauma is definitely the cause of people drinking themselves to death, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. One night years ago I should have died from just a few hours of drinking which resulted in a blackout and alcohol poisoning. By some miracle I came to instead of dying. That can definitely and easily happen to a chump in off the charts pain.

    Tracy has my permission to give you my contact info. I am available for anyone in your family who wants help.

    • I often speak at the meetings held at our local detox center, which was founded by some family friends whose daughter died of a heroin overdose and named after her.

      One time after DDay I spoke at meeting there and mentioned being cheated on by my husband, getting divorced, and the astronomical pain I was in when I got to the “what it’s like now” part of my share. I said, “I wish I had a happier story to tell you about what it’s like now, but I need to be honest because people need to hear about staying clean and sober when real life happens and is painful.”

      After the meeting, one of the people there detoxing came up to talk to me. He was a serious hard core outlaw gang member. Very intimidating-looking man covered with gang and prison tattoos.

      He was crying.

      He said he had been cheated on and had been drinking and using over it for years. Little old white woman suburban law-abiding me, with no tats, who had stayed drug and alcohol and cigarette free through the same pain without killing myself, even though I often felt like it, had made a very deep impression on him and he
      felt inspired to try this recovery thing.

      The pain of being cheated on is unbelievable and excruciating. It’s not a joke and it’s common for people to self-medicate with substances that may result in their death.

  • Chump Daughter, your mother’s story could be me. I spent 35 years trying to make our home life right but he was never happy and did his fair share of sabotaging our lives. I have a career where more often than not I was the only female in the room. The misogyny and prejudice was exhausting and I felt I had to justify myself to both men and women. One way I did was to show I could have a family and a career and do well at both. All my life because I am female it was insinuated that wanting more than the typical at the time career was not for me. If I had listened to that and all the times I was told I could/should not do it I would be nowhere. I looked at my marriage the same way. I truly loved him but he was difficult, introduced unnecessary chaos, ruined community relationships in so many small ways I couldn’t keep up. But I was determined because failing in my mind was not an option.

    So I found out he had been cheating and mishandling funs our whole married life. He left after giving me a long list of pitiful reasons why I was not enough (ex I did not wear pink). Working so hard and having a POS fuckwit throw it away was devastating. It was the biggest “fuck you” he could do. And why? Makes him feel like a big man.

    I’m so Tuesday about him but not the time and energy and the justifying I did to have both family and career. I still have my girls but I was very hard on them. They were going through their own pain part of which is seeing the rock of a mom fall apart. I drank like a fish. But after I got done hurting myself I stopped. I found what and how I want to do the rest of my life.

    What helped the most was my girls telling me I was a good mom and retelling stories of things we did together to give joy. One of the huge things about being married long term to a fuckwit who abandons is your present and future are unknown, your past is a lie. So many things to adjust to. The discard in your 50/60’s is especially brutal as it can confirm your worst fears in that no matter what you do you are still an appliance and once you have aged you can be replaced.

    Let her know you are worried about her drinking, you understand why and hope she will taper off. God the pain is horrific! Also let her know that she is loved and important and most important needed. Most important is to introduce her to all things Chump Lady

    • I love the Freudian slips that work: “So I found out he had been cheating and mishandling funs our whole married life. ”

      My x mishandled funs, too.🤣The list of ruined “funs” is extensive. Holidays, vacations, dinners, even sledding. Yes, sledding! He really had an uncanny ability to be unpleasant and critical. When the kids and I get together now (as we often do), the lack of tension is palpable. No more walking on eggshells.

      Wifetress has all that unpleasantness to herself now! 💃🏻

    • “One of the huge things about being married long term to a fuckwit who abandons is your present and future are unknown, your past is a lie. So many things to adjust to. The discard in your 50/60’s is especially brutal as it can confirm your worst fears in that no matter what you do you are still an appliance and once you have aged you can be replaced”.

      Yep. And what’s with the 30 year mark? In my case, FW was 69 years old, so not exactly a mid-life crisis.

      • @Almost Monday:

        Hey, a lot of people live to be 138 (69 times 2). It *could* be a mid-life crisis. /sarcasm

  • “You have to go through it to get through it.” Sadly your mom does have to go through the process and no one can do it for her. Being an ear and letting her vent without always giving advice to her is helpful.

    As for the wasted life; she needs to remember that she enjoyed her career, her friends and family and raising her children. That part was not stolen.

  • Chump Daughter, I really wish your mother the best. I know how hard this is.

    Here’s one ugly truth: the process of divorce can be an even greater betrayal than the cheating and stealing. The legal system doesn’t care about how hurt or vulnerable you are. Spend a morning sitting through family court, and you’ll see who’s getting rewarded and who’s getting punished. For women my age — presumably the same as your mother — we end up living below the poverty line 27% of the time, at a point when we thought we were entitled to retire, having sacrificed so that our husband and kids could enjoy a middle-class life we’re now being denied.

    It’s easier to endure the humiliation of being chumped … but to be left destitute while he walks away with everything that he stole, is pretty harsh. That pain doesn’t seem to go away.

    • Walkbymyself, I find this ^ losing the ability to retire and praying you don’t get ill or some other financial loss to be the worst part.

      • I’m almost 40 and normally financially healthy, but you learn how fragile financial security is when real disaster strikes and your tender underbelly is exposed. When my husband died we were in a comfortable position – we had savings for the baby and could manage all the bills, mortgage, maintenance etc. He dies and suddenly the savings for the baby are used to bury him. My medical expenses due to the trauma of his death affecting my body and the pregnancy suddenly skyrocket higher than I ever imagined (at least two specialist appointments per week of which health insurance doesn’t cover as much as you’d hope) and lawyer fees to finalise his estate run $525 an hour and the number of hours (even with me doing as much of the paperwork on my own as possible) add up fast because that’s just what it is like dealing with agencies that want to see the same forms and death certificate 5 or 6 times in different departments just to confirm someone is dead. It’s a nightmare to do when sick and heavily pregnant and working full time to keep paying all the bills. Financial stability can really become a joke when disaster strikes.

        When I left the exhole cheater I was financially supporting him and when I ripped all that away I had more money left over paycheck to paycheck but no ‘reserves’ since he drained them. Setting up a new life without savings and paying for things and living paycheck to paycheck was the name of the game for a while. I recovered but boy it took longer than I expected and I did pray I didn’t get ill or suffer a new disaster while rebuilding. It’s extra stress on top of the pain you’re already going through.

        Until you live it, that financial destruction despite having a good job makes you aware of how easy it is to fall into serious distress. I sincerely hope that everyone looking at leaving a cheater gets their ducks lined up before they leave! I can’t stress this enough. If I’d lined up my ducks before leaving the cheater then I would have been in a much better position instead of struggling for at least a year afterwards.

        • You are exactly right. Trying to salvage the finances and not be driven to bankruptcy is a real concern. And the chumpmom being an attorney, maybe the FW will try to get alimony. Who knows! The stress of losing her retirement, her home, who knows what else… it’s hard for those chumps who don’t get a choice when to file.

          I hope that chumpmom gets a real tiger of an attorney.

    • Totally. Being financially solvent after divorce is everything.
      The chump in this case is a lawyer, so chances are good that she will make out okay. The chumps who were SAHPs really get screwed, watching schmoopie get what they EARNED by putting up with fw, raising fw’s family and keeping fw’s home.

      On the other side we also see chumps being forced to support their cheating exes even though they live with their AP.

  • I temporarily went through the ‘he wasted my life’ phase. But when you stop and think that you have no idea what your life could have been like, in fact, it could have been much worse, you just become grateful for everything that you have. I think that I could have married someone that knocked out all of my teeth, set me on fire, murdered me, and dumped me in a ravine out in the desert. Instead, I married someone that I was able to have three children with and there were good times. We traveled and saw quite a bit of the world. No one knows what our lives would have been like. I might never have had children. And though it’s definitely tough to raise them, I would never wish that I had not had them. Knowing all the shit that I went through to have my three sons, and if that was the only way that I could have had them, i.e., was that I had to go through a fuckwit’s stupidity, I would do it all over again. Your mother is pretty down right now which is totally understandable, but when she heals (and she will heal because this ugliness is finite), she will not be saying that she wasted her life. She’ll be glad to have a wonderful life again. I didn’t realize that I was starting to ‘live my life’ until about 4 years after my divorce. Looking back, I started to live my life the day the fuckwit was out of my life. I finally started to do things that I had always wanted to do, but had been stifled by the fuckwit. I never spread my wings (so to speak.) I am very much living my life now, and I’m very much grateful for everything. The fuckwit is the biggest loser. He went on and married his twat-waffle. And now she gets everything she coveted. Yahoo! He’s not my problem anymore. Tell your mother that you love her, you’re grateful that she had you, and you look forward to having a wonderful mom who’s going to finally spread her wings.

    • I agree with Amazon Chump’s take on this. It’s hard to reframe it this way in the early days when you’re still reeling, but yes, after some time and healing I think it’s important to get the 30,000 ft view.

      Nobody gets any guarantees when they marry someone. Your spouse could develop a serious illness and die young, they could get hit by a car and die instantly… or, as Amazon Chump says, they could knock your teeth out. Or they can turn out to be cheaters.

      When thoughts of unfairness or “why me?” creep in, I think it’s good to ask “why not me?” Bad things happen to good people all the time.

      We studied The Book of Job in a World Literature class. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the universal lessons contained in it. You can have all kinds of bad things befall you but your reactions to it are yours to choose. Cursing at God or harming yourself, from the 30,000 ft view – now THAT’S a waste of your life.

    • I have reached this perspective, too. I am fairly certain that had I not married FW, I would not have married at all. I would not have had my son. I would do it all again to have him. He is what keeps me going, getting everything in order so we land as softly as we can once the divorce gets rolling. Before my son was born, I did so much walking on eggshells, I cannot say there was a lot of joy. Then when I was 7 months pregnant and D-day 2 hit, I was done. Emotionally, I started to check out Divorce was no longer an if but a when. Have I wasted 20 years? Not necessarily. But I am choosing to look forward. The future I can control but Monday morning quarterbacking choices I made and my time with klootzak is a waste. What is in the past is over.

  • chump daughter, it’s got to be hard watching someone you love suffer. as a relatively recent chump (30 year marriage, one year since D-day), i have 2 adult kids (university aged) who are watching and learning, and i see them suffer, too.

    this weekend, i’m in another city on an emergency visit to my son who is trying so hard not to cause any trouble for me, that he’s masked his feelings and, of course, they’ve come out sideways. he’s in distress and rightfully so. an incident involving a friend pushed him right over. he called last week and asked me to come, that he needed to talk to me. so here i am.

    we’ll figure it out. open communication.

    families are systems and changes affect us all. we struggle on our own and, also, together. but boundaries are needed. kids aren’t therapists and moms aren’t always 100% available when they’re walking through a divorce storm. so, we try to keep the lines of communication open.

    al-anon is a good resource. i’m a member. there are life skills shared/taught/learned in al-anon that i swear all teenagers should learn before striking out into the world. i know i could’ve benefitted.

    • All the best to you and your son. Thanks for being there. Sending wishes for a thanksgiving full of good things for you and yours.

  • It’s good to hear that your Mother has some rage and anger. That’s a good thing and maybe there is hope. She needs to direct her rage, anger and humiliation into divorcing her FW husband and getting on with her new life. Her spiraling, heavy drinking and feeling sorry for herself means he wins, yet again. Your mother has propped up this son of a bitch for 30 years, time for her to let go and start enjoying life without a dead weight. Oh and she should hurry because there is a good chance the OW will not put up with your father’s bullshit and he’ll be out on his ass.

  • You know how I know your mom is going to get to the other side of this pain? Because it changes the game when your children love and care what happens to you, and your mom feels exactly the same about you.
    The first year with the divorce process was a complete blur, you are expected to be so strong and mentally on the ready, you are more like a crumbling tower of corn flakes that has completely lost your mind, never to return again.
    You need that cheerleading squad of support to remind you who you are, because you have no idea.
    I realize, as children of the betrayal, you also occupy that space of deep distrust and hurt. No one walks away from this situation unscathed. You will all discover strengths in yourselves you were not even conscious you had, and the deep empathy you are displaying for the ppl you love right now is def one of them.
    Thank God the hell pit of despair doesn’t last forever, because it’s truly a terrifying place to be.
    Your mom will take years to get past this, it is not a rapid transition. Honestly, you never really get past it, you just accept what is in life and go forward from there. It’s a life altering event.
    Your mom will have more mental and actual discoveries rising to the surface constantly, like someone put the lights on in her life and she can actually see what the hell was happening. Then the triggers and memories are pretty painful and the random meltdowns at unexpected intervals, expect all of that.
    When the fog clears and she allows herself to believe that she will somehow, but maybe not be able to fully envision, be okay. She will be okay and so will you.
    Her deepest unspoken concern will be for her kids. She doesn’t want it to screw up your lives, she wants you to seek and find joys and not be responsible for saving her. And that you want the same for her is what will get you all through this. I was always very close to my kids, but our bonds are even deeper going through all this together with compassion and love.
    I feel so much love in your story in your own family, you will probably never get the closure you seek on your dad’s complete psycho lapses in judgement or moral compass. There isn’t an answer out there that can make that hurt any less. But there’s a better, safer mental space out there, just a grueling process.
    Put your mom on the yellow brick road of Chump Lady and her nation.
    She may need some intervention to hit the drinking issue head on, but she sounds like one amazing and strong woman. She’ll need time to believe that again, and to no longer allow some one that doesn’t see her value to assign her worth. No, that’s toxic to her healing, she needs to get away from that fully. There’s freedom in taking your life back in your own hands.
    Yes, please send your mom to CN, it’s a great source of validation and genuine care from ppl who fully get it. Get her Chump Lady’s book, my number one favorite on this topic,hands down. I also recommend The Body Keeps the Score( van der kolk). I’ve also gotten educated from You Tubes by Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a very frequent content poster on narcissistic abuse. And yes, infidelity is abuse.
    And please look out for yourselves daughters! It’s the most critical component to your mom’s healing, knowing you will all be okay and not be destroyed by the divorce drama going down.
    Counseling if you need help navigating how to manage your position in your hurting family. I’m sorry for your pain.
    Send your mom over, we’ll take good care of her. She’s going to be okay.

  • Well Chump Daughter and Chump Mom…welcome to the club no one wants to be a part of. But…the vast majority of Chump Nation (CN) has moved on to incredibly rich and green pastures. Truly! However, we still start our days here. Every day. Even those that are decades out from their cheating discover day. Why? Because even though logic would say that once you moved on you should only look ahead, CN knows that with THIS kind of trauma the work is infinite. The pain is NOT infinite. But the work is and at least here, with Chump Lady and her wonderfully wicked and genius humor, the work is kinda fun and entertaining. Your mom, like so many of us, will read the book and spend hours looking up blog entries that describe her specific situation. Then she will write an entry on FB or Reddit and get support and more confirmation that her situation is so common. And within a few months or years she will begin creating the life that she always wanted FW free. As will you. Celebrate your freedom by having the holidays that you always wanted without catering to your tyrant dad. And follow all the advice about the drinking above. (I am not a drinker, but I too hit the bottle hard to numb the pain in beginning.) And finally—some good advice I got was to start exercising Bc there is something about the tangible feeling of doing something physical that you thought you couldn’t do that acts as an analogy to the thing in your life (divorce) that you think you can’t do. (I loathe exercising, but it helped at time of discovery.)

    Your letter was eloquent. I have no doubt that your family will emerge from the travesty even better FW free! ❤️

  • Whew, this feels familiar. This line jumped out:

    “Did he sacrifice or compromise for her? Forget the cheating, the fact that he allowed a relationship where only he was reaping the benefits of an invested partner, and she was not, means he didn’t respect her.”

    Ask the cheater and they say oh yes, they sacrificed and compromised all along, MORE than the chump! It was hell living with us chumps with our controlling, judgmental ways. They are finally free now to pursue their happiness and be who they were meant to be. They shamelessly dump the faithful long term spouse and are giddy about it. They kill their families with decades of neglect and abuse and then bayonet the bodies before they finally walk off. They believe they are righteous in doing so.

    Chump Lady’s words are 100% correct but no one can convince the cheater of that. Be sure not to try. Be sure not to protect them from consequences, EVER.

    Chumpdaughter(s), you have zero obligation to make sure he is included in any of your or your families’ lives, and your utter rejection of him and going NC would be a gift to you and your honest and hard-working mother. Please consider it. Stop being ‘privately relieved’ about your ‘asshole’ father being gone and shout glee to the rooftop. Give your mother the rewards she deserves.

    • Agree with you that it is the children’s choice of going no contact. Our son (I guess now my son) saw all STBX’s nudes and porn selfies come through on a family shared account and that just shut him down with his father. My son was sickened by what his father is doing. Of course, we chumps get blamed but that is just another shit sandwich to deal with.
      To be fair, my son did send his father a nicely written note of why he does not want contact with him at this time. His feelings may change one day but I am not sure. He is 25 so it is his decision as an adult who actually wants to do adulting.

    • The fuckwit’s universal response that is widely accepted is, “I have a right to be happy.” No one ever stops to think that his/her “right” should not have come at the expense of the family that the fuckwit vowed not to abuse but did in the pursuit of happiness.

  • Chumpdaughter, I am so sorry that you and your family has to go through it. You and your sister are an amazing support for your mother just by being there for her. Help your mother find a good therapist for her; it really helps to channel that anger and hatred, and rage in front of a third party without burdening your loved ones. I can’t tell you about myself yet, fresh out of a long term relationship; but I will tell you about my mother. She was in a long relationship(20+ years) with a man who was a cheater, and he basically dumped her on her 50th birthday. In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened to her. She really blossomed. 10 years later she is doing something that she loves, has great friends and community that supports her, and just enjoys being herself. She is so much happier than she was before. It took her some time to get to meh but she did and I am so proud of her.

  • What a beautiful letter, Chumpdaughter. Your concern, insight and eloquence is a testament to your mother, and she’s lucky to have you. Way to go, pointing her to CL (and keeping her out of Esther Perel and the RIC’s clutches). What’s more, in describing your mother’s situation, you’ve somehow managed to express the pain and desperation of my own chump experience and emotions better than I can.

    As CL and others have already said, be there for your mom *and* prioritize your own well-being. ‘Don’t sacrifice yourself for your loved ones’ is one of the morals of this story. Many chumps here came from FOO with some degree of abuse and infidelity. Don’t know your age or relationship status, but this will change you, too, Chumpdaughter. You are not destined for chumphood, but you too were betrayed, and you may also have qualities that make you more vulnerable to getting stuck in an abusive relationship. (Empathy, willingness to accommodate, strong work ethic, etc.) Even if you can deftly spot abuse and inequality in others’ relationships, it’s much easier to normalize and accept abuse of yourself when that’s what’s been modeled to you by your parents. A toxic relationship doesn’t feel good, it’s not what you want, but it does feel normal – at least that was my experience. I’ve also learned to accept (trying not to expect) that people you love can willfully hurt you, so don’t put up blinders or project your values and love onto someone who can’t/won’t reciprocate. And of course, CL’s famous words to live by: If there are mixed messages, run. If I ever am lucky/brave enough to date again, this adage will guide and protect me.

    My ex did not fit the mold of a cheater in obvious ways, but looking back, I can identify red flags that showed up even at the beginning. Questions to help evaluate a partner/relationship (substitute appropriate pronoun), even for the un-chumped:

    – How does he treat those closest to him? How does he treat his mother? Is he willing to make you and your relationship central? (No, you are not needy or controlling for expecting this of a life partner.)
    – Does your partner ever ask what you want/need? Do you feel comfortable asking for what you want/need? Do you feel important and listened to? Equal? Does he ever bring up important or difficult conversations? Is he willing to make *real* compromises/sacrifices for you? Within a reciprocal framework, are you willing to let him? Does he have any skin in the game, so to speak, or are you the only one risking consequences if things don’t work out?
    – Is he honest, or does he say he’s honest… but in reality, he lies, breaks rules, makes excuses, feels entitled to take (or steal) things? Does he think it’s okay to tell white lies?
    – Substance abuse?

    Anyway, back to your mom. The practical and legal advice in LACGAL and here is crucial, key to regaining a sense of control and getting the best possible outcome (take it from one who did everything wrong and is paying for it). Emotionally, I’m thinking about what’s been most helpful. When you’ve been deeply betrayed by a long-term intimate partner, it’s natural to believe that anyone, at anytime, will stop loving you. I am so grateful for the friends who find small ways to let me know they still like and are thinking about me – even if it’s just a sweet text or funny photo, even though I’m far away. It tells me that even now, sad and changed, they still care about and believe me. It’s so reassuring. Sometimes it feels like the world is against you and no one believes you, so it is a deep relief to be around people you can trust and are totally comfortable with. I know that my friends and family aren’t responsible for making me happy or for fixing my life, and I don’t want them to feel burdened or guilty. Just knowing I am loved and seen makes all the difference. Hugs, walks, tea, puzzles, funny t.v. shows, meals together.

    Chumpmom, we’re here for and with you. Keep rereading your daughter’s description of you whenever you start to doubt your worth – and as a reminder that not every part of your life was a waste. You managed to raise two loving daughters and kick ass, and you had to deal with a cheating, abusive husband.

    • ^^^ wow, this.

      White lies are a HUGE red flag. I questioned the embellishments for years . . . they are definitely a form of gaslighting but I didn’t understand what it meant until 20/20 hindsight.

      I’ve read that serial killers started with killing animals. So too, little white lies can be the beginning of more consequential murders.

  • I was with my ex 28 years except I have teenagers. I did the same I felt I had wasted my life and drank too much for about 18 months. Suddenly I woke up one day. I am back to drinking socially once in a while with friends. I no longer feel I wasted my life. Tell your Mom therapy helps. I went through domestic violence therapy and I have a regular therapist. It helps a ton. Also coming here and other groups. Reading books. That wanes after a while. She will do great. She is so lucky to have you as support!!! She must be amazing.

  • This was hard for me to read today and I wasn’t able to read the comments.

    I wish you were my daughter. My two adult children reacted the exact opposite and ran to scoop up their poor dad who was so mistreated he had to go get blowjobs in the closet at work. I was married for forty years and had no clue. I had decided he was likely undiagnosed aspergers and had resigned to the rest of my life to keeping up my marriage commitment even though he was horrible to me.

    My two adult children immediately spooked and scattered when he called to tell them about his affair. I am still ranting and diving two years later because they have never let me know anything except they do not want to be involved. Except of course, to invite schmoopie to family functions and make sure she feels welcomed. They decided to act as if nothing happened. And certainly, their father is not at fault. He is the victim.

    This week is incredibly hard.

    Please know from me that I would give anything to hear my adult children say these words you have written. Your mom will be okay. Let her know she won’t lose her family. Only fuckwit.

    • Tallgrass, not sure if it is at al helpful my kids are young so they have no idea what is going on. But our friends all of a sudden “don’t want to get involved” and it feels like a very deep betrayal all of a sudden I am not invited to events because they don’t want me to cause a scene; I can’t even imagine what it feels like if you do not get an acknowledgement from your children that you were mistreated. You mentioned that you think you ex might be on the spectrum, as I suspect is mine, and my therapist told me that because I have a lot of trauma and emotions and hurt to go through he used this time to manage his image and it is easier for him because his response is not really emotional.

  • As a child of a chump and cheater couple, I have lots to say but I don’t have time this morning. I’ll share my experience and how I would have done it differently later today.

    Thank the universe that your mum and you have this lifesaving resource that Tracy created !

  • Dear Chumpdaughter, thank you for caring for your mom and directing her here.

    Dear ChumpMom, Welcome to the club none of us wanted to join. Many of us invested decades, had kids with someone who turned out to be a cheater. It is not fair. You deserved better. You didn’t cause it, can’t change it, and all that you can control are your choices going forward.

    On this site CL and many others further along the journey shine a light saying hey you can survive this, you are going to be okay, it gets better. It is possible to gain a better new life.

  • Chumpdaughter,

    If you mom was married 30 years, with kids in their 20s, I’m guesstimating that she’s around 60, give or take a year or two.

    She may have 30 years ahead of her to live! Right now she’s busy looking at the past, not at the present, where she is (we are happy to say) still alive and on the road to being cheater-free. And once the divorce is final, she will be in charge of her own life and happiness for the first time in 30 years. I’m here to tell you that can be a wonderful and rewarding life change.

    I have some advice for you:
    1. Get her a copy of CL’s book, in which she lays out the whole cheater/chump dynamic and give stellar advice for how chumps can “gain a life.” It would be good for you to read this, too, in order to take your own eye off your righteous fury at what your father has done and to turn it to supporting your mom’s attempts to “gain a life.”
    2. She’s an attorney, right? Her job now is not to drink herself into a stupor but to fight for her share of the marital assets. She needs to line up her financial ducks. She needs to get the best divorce attorney out there and bulldoze her way to a settlement.
    3. Urge her to get into therapy and once there, to admit to the drinking. You are 100% right to be worried about this. First, anything she does along this line(from drinking to abusing medication to over-eating to dating right away) is a form of self-medicating. That prevents her from processing the “discard,” as we call it or processing the extent to which he was an abusive, detached, and inadequate husband in the first place.
    3. You and your siblings should consider Al-Anon if the drinking persists. You do NOT want to enable the drinking. And remind Mom that falling into alcoholism is not going to help her financially. She doesn’t want to screw up her work life on top of the divorce.
    4. Moreover, beware the codependency trap. Your mom may be a mess for a while, but don’t think your job is to fix her pain or make her “happy.” THAT’S HER REAL WORK RIGHT NOW. She has to figure out how to have a life without a jackass making her miserable.
    5. I’ll make a pitch here for the Reddit forum. There are lots of really good chump veterans there. She can vent there any time she needs to and people will be both kind and honest.
    6. I benefitted tremendously from reading and posting replies on this main board. She can read the whole archive! It’s eye-opening to see that you’re not the only one who was married to a jackass or involved with one for years. It helps Chumps to stop blaming themselves.
    7. If you or your siblings live nearby, consider getting into the habit of walking with mom every day. Take turns or go as a group. Get her into the habit of walking outdoors in whatever weather! Exercise will help. Fresh air helps. Having someone with you when you walk can help.

  • Chump daughter- thank you for your letter. I went through a lot of sadness about my sons having this happen. They are adults and were really upset. One went on antidepressants. They still have a strained relationship with their dad 4yrs later. We dont talk about it anymore and I have no idea what FW says to my sons. It was difficult at first trying to find how to communicate about the trauma. I was very open with my sons about what was going on and I hate to say it but probably cuz I wanted them to side with me. Finally at one point we agreed not to discuss FW. That was hard cuz I was still feeling very rejected and unloved. It is very hard not to feel that way for everyone-it is. It is not just a ruined marriage it is a bomb that’s been thrown in the middle of the family. They are still negotiating that relationship and I am very happy to not be involved. There are a lot of good suggestions here. Importantly for you and your mom, it would help not to discuss FW if you can and focus on building a new relationship. My sons would tell you to get into therapy too. I wish you well. You are also a victim and need to take care of your heart. Hugs!!!

  • Your mom will benefit from Leave A Cheater Gain A Life. Also the best “evidence-based” effects of infidelity on the chump is “Cheating- in A Nutshell”. Maybe you can order these for your mother. My guess is she is self-medicating right now with the drinking. Your concern for her welfare goes a long way towards her healing. You also will benefit from reading about the mental emotional and physical effects and how to counter them and protect yourself. Hugs and peace. Your future will be bright.

  • Chumpdaughter, I sincerely hope your mom comes over and reads what you wrote to CL, sees all the supportive responses and becomes a regular contributor herself.

    CN has people of all ages — many older than your mom, I’m sure. We were all suddenly thrust into the crazy of being a Chump and having to start over. But as you read through the many posts here and the ones throughout the archives, you’ll see all the kindness and wisdom and support. We all want the “Gain a Life” part. She will find kindred spirits here and not feel alone.

    Your mom needs time to adjust to the trauma of your dad leaving after 30 years… she’s angry. She can’t get 30 years back. We all grieved the loss… but then the ANGER kicks in. It takes time to let that anger go and move on.

    Please remind her though — she’s been given a gift. It just came in a fucked up wrapper. She probably should have left HIM long ago. She now has her life back to do with as she wishes. And it’s scary. And it seems too late. But it isn’t. Now every day she has is up to her. Tell her not to waste another minute. Enjoy every single moment and make her life into what she’s always wanted.

    Start with therapy. Seeing someone to help her work through the feelings is so helpful to many of us here.

    And this is exactly the time for her to decide to stop drinking and stay lucid. When I was chumped, I refused to drink or do anything that would impair my judgement or contribute to my depression. It was hard… but hopefully she can get the help she needs to stop drinking. It helps to have people to turn to and talk to… whether it’s therapy or AA or both.

    I hope she joins us here. You are a great daughter for seeking help for her like this.

  • Chumpdaughter, your mom needs to know that numbing her feelings out with drinking makes it impossible to recover. You have to let yourself feel all the awfulness of a trauma in order to get to the other side of it.
    Yes, he did waste her life. But now, she is the one wasting the rest of it by turning to substance abuse. It’s understandable that she just wants those feelings to go away, but coping this way only means they never will. She needs to go through the healing process, and yes, it’s agonizing, but if she does it, and does it sober, it has an end. I think she needs a therapist to help her with this. You just keep showing up for her and that you are on her side.

    I’ve been where she is, realizing an asshole stole three decades of my life. The outrage at that injustice will always be there, but if you process it and go through the grief you must go through, you can learn to channel it into productive action rather than wallowing in it. But it takes time and it takes working on yourself. Be patient with her.

    • In the aftermath I drank too much. One night I decided the drinking was not helping, and was bad for my mental and physical health, and therefore it was letting him “win.” I was determined he wasn’t going to destroy me, even by my own hand. That was it for drinking controlling me.

      OHFFS, you say you “have to let yourself feel all the awfulness,” and I agree. I also think, however, that there’s only so much awfulness one can take in, and, in my case, drinking was indeed self-medicating. I was on a steady path to dealing with the awfulness, and when I’d felt as much as I could bear, then I drank because I’d been feeling it, not in order to avoid feeling it.

      I don’t recommend this, especially as not everyone stops drinking. Better to have healthier ways of coping. I would have done better to drink a cup of tea and do some deep breathing. (I did exercise a lot.) But it’s possible the letter writer’s mother is feeling the “awfulness,” not drinking to avoid it.

      I like the suggestions for the letter writer and her sibling(s) to get their mother out walking, whether specifically for exercise or for a ramble in a natural area. Also for them to tell her exactly how important she’s been to them, and how much they value her steadiness and steadfastness over the years.

  • As an older Chump, part of the distress of D-day and dumping him was the realization that the future I had planned on, our dreams together, were gone. The future was now a wide-open chasm of nothingness. That’s daunting. Even in a shitty relationship you still have a shared future.

    Now there are financial, housing, medical, retirement, etc. uncertainties and decisions. That is where you can support her.

    But also, help her rethink her hopes and dreams for the future. Is there something that she has been held back from doing because of him? Is there something she wants to do (travel for instance) that is uncomfortable for her to do alone? Help her see her new future.

  • Having a cordial, shallow relationship with your dad and describing him as a shitty husband to your mom was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Cheating isn’t out of the ordinary as a grand finale on the way out.

    We all overestimated our partners. We all gave credit where it wasn’t due. We all had hopes, dreams and a vision for the future as we lived our personal best. Don’t underestimate yourself or commitment to your marriage, family, career and many successes that make you the better half. Character, conscience, courage, integrity,and the ability to love and be loved has not been taken from you.

    It’s the loss of your hopes, dreams and vision of the future as a couple and family that has been taken from you. Now is an opportunity to reframe and develop new visions for the future. It’s hard, takes time, grows you wiser and stronger, and sets you free. Set aside the bottle. It has no place in recovery and will delay and interrupt your healing. Come visit CN instead; people here understand. All the best!

  • I got chumped in my 60’s. So humiliating. More humiliating that my adult daughters and teen granddaughter witnessed it. I could discuss it with friends, but not with my daughters.

    Enough time has passed that we can laugh about it, but it still hurts that they witnessed it.

  • Chumpdaughter,
    I am simply amazed at your very caring letter.
    Your Mom is very unlucky in what she is going through with a horrible cheater, but look at what she has accomplished. She raised 2 loving, caring, kind daughters. She has a successful career. It definitely sounds like she has been the present, sane, loving parent.
    Your dad is the loser here.
    So happy you wrote to CL. You have pointed your dear Mom in the right direction. By reading in the archives here your dear Mom will learn:
    That she is not alone.
    That she can, and that she will, survive this.
    There is strength in the knowledge and caring of those here who understand.
    Combining together with CL, CN, and 2 beautiful daughters, your Mom will rise up as the winner.
    I see a Tuesday & Meh in her future.
    Stay strong ❤️

  • Let her drink, it won’t last. She is a fucking attorney much better off than say 80% of the chumps here. Draw your energy in towards you. Focus on you. Do as Chump Nation says put the mask on you. What will be will be. You can’t save her, the marriage or the situation. What you can do offer support, DO NOT JUDGE and do not make the same mistakes. Cut the line between your mom and dad and their situation, your life and responsibility…….She continues to drink on her. DRAW a line save yourself. The fact YOU wrote to CL is a huge clue I do not discount your trauma but DO NOT take on your moms trauma as your own…Self Care for you…offer help, advice, then self care…The chips going to fall as they may YOU HAVE NO CONTROL here recognize that and move on with YOUR life…harsh? maybe….my two cents.

  • Hello Chumpdaughter,

    I loved Chumplady’s response to your very heartfelt letter.

    I’m also a chump’s daughter. And a cheater’s daughter. And the chump and the cheater were the most wonderful people on earth. My parents. I loved them equally.

    My dad cheated on my mom (many times over) and she didn’t find out about it until we were almost all adults. When she found out, she was devastated.

    I knew about my dad. Sometimes children know things, even if they don’t understand what they know, and I just grew up knowing about him. He felt normal to me. He was my dad. He loved beautiful women. And that’s the way it was.

    He was wonderful. When he came home, he always picked me up and swung me around and told me he loved me, and kissed my mom and told her how beautiful she was, and how much he loved her, and then he went out and threw the ball with the boys, and told them how proud he was to be their father. He was intelligent, a leader in the community, everyone’s idea of what a father and a husband should be, and everyone loved him.

    My mom was (and still is) an angel, the mom everyone everywhere would want. I’m so lucky to be able to call her my own flesh and blood. And every day that I get to talk to her she is beautiful and loving and warm and gracious, and she answers the phone with a giggle that makes you feel like Life is Good, no matter what.

    I was sad for her when she found out. I cried as many tears as she did, for her. And for the loss of her vision of what our family was. When she seized to have that vision, the family stopped being the family it was, and since I had grown up knowing and accepting the way it was, in all its imperfections, her loss was a very big loss for me. I no longer needed to protect my dad for the sake of her innocence, for the sake of the vision that was keeping my family alive. Her loss was everyone’s loss. The truth was out, and I was sad for all of us.

    Although looking back, the truth was more important than the vision or the family.

    My parents worked it out. My dad confessed to her and to his partners in business, to his best friends and to the elders in the church, and I believe that he changed his life and became a unicorn. He seemed to be genuinely repentant. For him I think it had been more of a game than anything else, and when he was found out, the game was over, and he knew it. And it seemed that he accepted that it was not something he could continue to play. It seemed that he understood how selfish he had been, and was humiliated by that understanding. And he cared (finally) about my mom’s feelings, and he showed her love in countless ways.

    They took trips. They did fun things. They entertained friends. He published a book. She got a master’s degree. They built a house. They made more memories.

    And then he died.

    And all of this was long, long ago. And it’s still very, very painful for my mom.

    As Chump Lady said, your mom will have to sort everything out for herself. All you have to do is love her.

    I believe that my biggest help to my mom through the years has been the knowing. I was a witness. I am a carrier of the memories of her most painful moments. And I have been always ready to listen when she has needed to talk. As someone who was also there. As someone who knew about it, as it was happening. As someone who was also affected by it. As someone who also loved him. And as someone who loves her.

    Don’t be afraid to love him, too. People don’t grow up to be calloused to other people’s feelings without some terrible thing/s that happened in their pasts to make them that way. Sometimes it’s the people who are the most sensitive, and the most caring who become the worst people in the world because they’ve adopted a form of protection against further hurt, and that protection looks like Not Feeling and Not Caring. Somewhere in there, your dad is a person, too. It’s okay to love him. Even if he is far, far, far from perfect.

    As we all are far, far, far from perfect.

    And as we all need love.

    It seems to me that love is the answer. And just being there. And you’re already doing both those things.

    They are enough, sweet daughter…

    • There are perfectly imperfect people and there are people who get off on playing games and hurting those they purport to love. I’d rather be in the first group-human, not a sociopath.

    • Light Heart – Your analysis veers dangerously close to accepting cheating behavior.

      While you found some peace in your own inner work, many in your mother’s community seemed to have also been willing to “forgive and forget”. That can translate into decades of pain, financial and emotional abuse for most chumps.

  • He/she treated me like shit for years, then had the nerve to leave me

    A lot of processing needs to be done after a crappy marriage ends

  • Yes.

    My mom is still processing and it was over 20 years ago. It will never be processed.

    I included all that about it being one of the best breakup scenarios I could have had, and about two of the most loving people there could have been (aside from, of course, the secrets, the lies and the game playing on the part of my dad,) because I still witnessed so much pain that it was downright heartbreaking. I think there might be the hope out there, amongst the sons and daughters of infidelity, that… “if my dad was a unicorn, and he repented…” or “if my mom had not just kicked him to the curb so fast…” or “if they had just not divorced…” but I’m here to say that parents staying together, in the best of all possible scenarios, is incredibly painful.

    Love. Truth. Integrity. These are the things to give to each other. And I’m with Chump Lady. Chumpdaughter’s mother gave it her A game! She gave love. She gave truth. She gave integrity. What a productive life! What a beautiful example! What a legacy.

    Cheating is the one of the most devastating things there is in this life, in any scenario. As an onlooker into this well of pain, the only thing that comes to mind is – not acceptance – but grace. Probably easier for me because I grew up knowing… and loving my dad at the same time. Oh, my eyes said everything to him and were full of questions, sarcasm and accusations, but I didn’t talk to him about it until I was in college, and we were discussing my own romantic life. He talked frankly to me. I felt that it was all close to the surface at that time, and when I went home again, my mom found out.

    Somewhere in there I realized a lot about living in situations where what you see is not what is real. And I also developed a respect for my dad, for the complicated person that he was, aside from the cheating. He truly loved my mom. Of that, I was certain. And I just gave up the judging and that was a big relief.

    Years later I was dating a guy who lost his temper at a party and caused a scene. His son, who was 20 at the time, shook his head and looked at me. “Ya just gotta love him, that’s all,” is what he said. Same thing.

    Not that I’m advocating that for anyone here. I’m reporting. On my own personal situation. Not giving instruction. One of the people I most loved in this world was living a double life that was actively causing pain for the other person I loved most in this world. And my young mind rationalized that. I left home when I was seventeen and never returned to live there, so I was not an adult. But I like it that I came to that. I like it that somehow I compartmentalized his actions and was able to see some of his other actions, which were outstanding.

    I find some of the comments to be so one-sided here that sometimes I just feel the need to say something. This is something that I LIVED. Day in and day out. Probably why this blog fascinates me so.

    And I know, I know, most are coming from the forgiveness side, from the tolerance side, and they’re learning new behaviors, and new names, like “narcissist,” and “cheater,” to describe people, and I get that. And maybe it’s a dawning phase or a getting a new life phase, and I’m not saying to just look the other way.

    But I am saying that 1) we’re all infallible, 2) infidelity is a life-changer and extremely painful, and 3) love is just always the answer. Faith, hope and love. Love never fails.

  • Or rather…

    My cheater left me and I gained a new life.

    (Big difference.)

    D-Day. It changes everything. “Oh. I guess this means we’re not gonna go on that picnic on Saturday with the neighbors…???”

    My hat is off to all of you who have had to do the leaving, for your sanity, for the kids’ sake, for a new life, for truth, and also in the name of love. (From a safer place. “Go do your thing and I’ll love you from afar.”) It takes guts. And panache. And an ability to change on a dime. And so much critical thinking. And it requires so many plans. And the ability to calm yourself so you can execute. Soooo difficult…

  • Tell your mom it’s not her fault, she’s beautiful, hot or whatever fits. Tell her you have no desire to have a relationship with the cheating partner (if that’s true). Tell her you love her and she deserves better.
    Tell her you will be getting support ( if you will be) and suggest she do the same.
    Tell he she’s wonderful and a gift to the world, and you’re sorry your dad didn’t recognize that, but he has his problems and not to waste the rest of her life on him.
    Get her out of the house for exercise or laughter.
    Tell her she will get through this. Take the advice mentioned above re the drinking.
    Take care of yourself, set gentle boundaries for your own MH, but keep telling her she’s loved.

  • Wow! This could be my story, only with the sexes reversed. I also did 100% of the household tasks even though she was a stay at home mom. She was critical of how I did those tasks but couldn’t bear any criticism herself. She was always right even on things she had no knowledge of. I did all of the carting of kids around to activities, cooking, cleaning, etc. She got us into heavy debt with nothing to show for it. When she went back to work she chose a job in another town so she could work with her friend depriving the family of a vehicle on weekends so we couldn’t do anything outside the home. We couldn’t afford a second minivan because of the debt she got us into. Then she announced she was leaving me. Like her, I felt I had wasted three decades with her.

    First, have you given you Mom a copy of Leave a Cheater Gain a Life? It’s important that she gains a framework in which to process this that is not contaminated by the RIC and the myth (lie) of ‘shared responsibility.’

    Second, it wasn’t a waste if she got wonderful daughters out of it. I had 8 kids with my ex and they are what I look at when I wonder what those 27 years were for. It was for them. Anything else is a sunk cost. Look up the fallacy of sunk costs. They cannot be recovered, and so should be disregarded in any decisions moving forward. As Chump lady noted in her response, he stole thirty years and so he shouldn’t get one second more. It is ironic that if your dad were to pass away people would bring casseroles. But when they kill the marriage it becomes crickets with the people around you. Instead of just sadness, there is sadness, anger, confusion, misplaced guilt, and other emotions that complicate the whole thing. It will take time for your mom to recover from this. My blood pressure skyrocketed and I had to go on medications. I had real difficulty sleeping. The increased cortisol from the stress response, and I was in a continual state of stress, led to a weight gain of thirty pounds. It took a year for symptoms to improve, and two years for them to end. This is a brain and hormonal response to a stressful situation, and it takes time to recover from that. Your Mom needs time, support, and a way to process it that doesn’t lead to a negative thinking feedback loop. It’s unfortunate that the forums are gone. They were a great help to me. But the stories here in the comments are also helpful. Encourage her to read the book and the blog, going through the comments. These provide a perspective that is not shared by our society at large, but is the right one. It’s remarkable how similar the stories are, and how many people note that the cheaters all seem to be reading from the same script. I hope your Mom recovers from this quickly, but quickly is relative. Chumplady’s book and blog are a great way to speed the process along.

    • TTMMG,
      Thanks for sharing your experience and strength from a hetero male’s perspective. Chump Nation has citizens from around the world, etc.
      The ostracism my mother and I faced many moons ago when my father drop kicked all of us was brutal. Certainly no casseroles, more like “get away from us with your divorce cooties !”
      (((Hugs)))

  • wow–I am your mother (age 59 now, 54 at D-day) and it was painful to read CL’s response and the various comments. I am so sorry your mother is in dreadful shape but I suspect that (my own theory) many participants in this forum are “people pleasers” that put others’ needs above their own. Many different reasons for that, but I’ve read enough of CL’s comments/blogs/readers’ reactions to situations to know I am not alone. We sacrifice for husband/children/family etc because we are not worthy unless we are useful.

    I don’t know if I passed that on to my kids: I have 2 sons and a daughter and I hope I have not inculcated this mindset in them. (Goal: stand up for your needs, wants, job opportunities, etc). But I can’t be sure. So, as I tell my adult children: NEVER give up something vitally important to you for a relationship: if it is meant to be (the relationship) a compromise can be found.

    And yes, I have spent the 5 years since Dday trying to poison myself with alcohol and I know it’s a problem, but (perhaps like your mother) it seems the least harmful way of floating out of life.

    Good luck to you and your sister!!

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