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Shark Eyes and Dead Stares


In a recent post, a thread broke out on the shark eyes FWs give you when you confront them with their lies.

What is that look? Condescension? Vacancy? Amusement? Are the manipulation wheels spinning so fast, the facial expressions are set in neutral? What’s going on in there?

We all know how the mindfuck channels flip between rage, charm and self-pity. I think the Dead-Eyed Stare is the static between stations.

Oh right. That’s who you really are — a void.

(Shudder) These people exist.

So, what’s your theory? Gotta shark-eye story for CN?



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    • My whore fucking ex-husband had the prettiest green eyes.

      A few months before D day, he got these weird green contacts to make his eyes look “greener” I told him more than once that he didn’t need them but he wore them anyway. They were weird looking. (Do prostitutes give discounts for unusual eye colors?)

      After D-Day, I definitely got that dead eyed stare, but they were covered with those fucking bizarre green tinted lenses. I actually have a photo of him staring at me, no expression, with those horrible in-human colored eyes. I wish I could post a picture here.

  • Oh yes…shudder is the correct term for what you sense when they look at you with those bottomless black eyes. It’s like nothing you’ve ever witnessed. They are empty….there’s nothing left of “them”. You’re left wondering what it is that you’ve just encountered. The first thought in my mind was that I had just seen a real life demon. Stone cold dead. No light, no life, no love, nothing!

    • Angie, I do think he had lost all humanity when his eyes went black. He looked other than human. He looked like a stone cold killer.

      In retrospect I think he was. He is a combat vet. I feel lucky to have escaped with my life. It looks so melodramatic in print.

      Demon, stone cold killer, psychopath? I’m just relieved to be away from him. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to relax and not be hyper vigilant. Maybe once he dies.

      • I know that feeling. Klootzak hass a favorite photo of himself in his camo holding a ridiculously scary looking knife, looking like a killer. Stone cold face. It’s the same face he has had when he has been found out. He likes to watch Forensic Files a bit too much, like he is taking mental notes.

        It’s why my escape plan is taking so long. He needs to think this is his idea. His work is opening a new division and they will be having him switch positions. With that, he will be told to move but it is to an are he wants to go. Pretty sure he has an AP or more there. So when this happens for him, I will tell him to go on ahead and I will file. I am scared of what he is capable of. If things go wrong, that photo of him looking like a mass murderer waiting to happen is what will be on every article. He gives me the creeps.

        • MrWonderful’s Ex,

          Please send this to your lawyer. You are smart to listen to your intuition. I suggest you let him be gone before you file. On the advice of my lawyer and my therapist I moved four hours away before filing. You owe him no face to face confrontation. Make sure you hire a lawyer familiar with a military divorce. Better to be safer than sorry.

          • Check and check. The attorney asked if I felt our child and I were in immediate danger. I said no, not immediate. It’s when I say it is over that I fear he may snap. I am hoping to use his job opportunity (and if this one in his company doesn’t happen for some reason, he is still networking that geographical area like mad so I am sure he will be taking some position at the other end of the state because he loathes his current boss) to say, “You know, why don’t you go see how things go over there. I’ll stay here with kiddo until the end of the school year,” and then file for separation the minute he has moved.

            I don’t trust him at all. He has connections and means to run with our child which I think is more likely than a violent scenario. I want him far away when I file. It’s only a matter of time before he moves. This town is too small for him. He wants a big city where he can pick up all kinds of women with relative anonymity. He is fine with divorcing me but he will want it on his terms. His idea was originally to move us with him and then divorce me so I would be stuck in a high cost area with no friends or means. It’s his angle to keep our child. I don’t think it has occurred to him that now when he takes a gig over there, that I won’t go. And I will file to keep our child from being moved.

            I think once he moves and starts fucking strange every night of the week, he may realize he prefers that to being a full time father. Given the choice, he will choose the sparkletwat buffet. But he is going to have a visceral response at first because he always insists on getting his way. I’m treading carefully.

            • It’s so nice to see a betrayed spouse be cool headed enough to assess the situation from various angles, identify threatening scenarios to her and her kids and take her time to strike exactly when it’s the safest for her and her children. Fuckwits think so less of us chumps; they regard themselves as masterminds; they believe they pull the strings and we just go along (and for a long time some of us do).

              Stories like yours, MrWonderful’sEx, of the chump outsmarting the cheater while keeping calm and collected (even if only on the surface) cheer me up a lot – without failing to acknowledge how scary and difficult this situation may be for you sometimes; it must be hard.

              We are better than them, not only on moral grounds, but also our heads are in way better places (for one, we would never destroy our families in exchange for cheap thrills), even through the turmoil FWs leave in their wake. We’re mighty in a way they cannot even dream of.

              I look up to you, MrWonderful’sEx, and admire your wisdom. Wish you good luck and that your plan goes exactly the way you want.

              Here’s to your and your kids’ safety and freedom!


            • Be sure to change the locks, get dead bolt locks and make sure he can’t get access through the garage door. Invest in security cameras and alarms the minute he is gone. I know that money is an issue, but it is an investment worth making for you and your child’s safety. Also make sure that all her schools and extra-curricular activities are aware that no one but you are able to pick your child up – tell them of the possibility of abduction because it’s real.

              • This is damn good advice right here. 1. Make sure your child’s school has it on record, who is allowed to pick them up. 2. Make sure the school requires a valid photo id that matches the one on record of anyone allowed to pick your child up. 3. Make sure the school’s policy is that anyone trying to pick your child up, who’s not on the allowed list and with a photo id to prove it, is promptly refused any access to your child, and local law enforcement and you are immediately contacted. This must be treated as a suspected kidnapping attempt.

        • “Klootzak hass a favorite photo of himself in his camo holding a ridiculously scary looking knife, looking like a killer”.

          Let me just mention that few weeks prior to DDay#1 my FW XW sent my mother pictures of herself and then AP (they’re cops) close together in combat uniform and holding guns. Also, I discovered she was looking for a Glock online. I was shocked by both. Don’t know what she was thinking at the time, but I allow my mind to wander through the darkest scenarios and don’t regret it. The fear propelled me to take what now in hindsight I see as the safest measures and now me and our kids are safe.

      • “It looks so melodramatic in print.”

        I agree. And many times my brain plays a scenario where I am contacted by law enforcement about a horrible incident, and I would have to honestly say, “Yes, he could have done it. He is an expert liar and is completely capable of living a secret life.”

        Since I live in Kansas, my mind wanders to BTK. I wonder where Fuckwit kept secret stashes in our home. He always had no problem killing things and practiced taxidermy. He could have made a lamp out of me and been very proud to show it to friends. I tell myself I am way too imaginative…….yet there is a dark truth winding through these wild thoughts.

        I know now that he was reading things like my journal writing, etc. and snooping on my phone calls. I spent years tsk-tsking myself for thinking such silliness about someone so obviously loyal and honest.

        He cannot control his rage (without someone like me who knows how to immediately coddle and adore him back into a stable state). I honed my skills over 40 years of trial by fire. I have recently learned that it is called “fawning.” I’m good at it. It’s a survival skill learned in childhood.

        Schmoopie doesn’t have that 40 years with him to draw from. He was hot on the lovebombing and white knight behavior for all of the time she spent with him before he suddenly discarded me and immediately married her. And schmoopie has her own addiction and strangely standoffish family relationships that lead me to think she also has rage issues.

        Quite a recipe, huh? I just continue to check my protective bubble of spirit, stay alert and hope that when this shit show happens, he does not choose to come back on me as the cause. We all know he cannot be the cause of the mess he made. It will have to be someone’s fault. Time is ticking……

        • I know exactly what you are talking about. 6 months after our separation (due to ex-husband’s cheating), I discovered that he posted a fantasy on his Fet-life account in which he kidnaps, tortures, and brutally rapes an un-named ex, then leaves her for dead, zip-tied on a deserted road off a Florida highway. He seems out women who will indulge his ‘kink’ through consensual/nonconsensual gang rape scenes.

          Unfortunately, I only discovered this after the divorce and 50/50 custody were firmly in place.

          Is there such thing as a wannabe BTK who never acts out in nonconsensual ways? Who happens to also be a liar, cheater, and nonconsensual family destroyer? Who has shared custody of a girl and boy he claims to love and would never harm?

      • “It looks so melodramatic in print”.

        Maybe for those who had never experienced anything like that, and only those. Here we got you.

        Don’t underestimate your instincts and what a fuckwit is capable of. These people are dangerous to everyone around them (partners, exes, children and even APs included).

        It takes a lot of evil to betray and humiliate a life partner; I always expect the worst from them.

        • It takes a lot of evil to betray and humiliate a life partner; I always expect the worst from them.


    • Wow! This is the perfect description! I thought my husband was definitely a demon. It’s like when he came into the room, I could feel life being pulled away from my body.

      • definitely the no soul look.

        Not saying they were always like that, or that they always will be; I do believe in redemption; but for that time in space, no soul or at least a seriously lost soul.

    • I saw the same thing in my STBXW eyes… just dead. Demonic stare. It actually scared me a bit. Can’t trust anything they say!

  • We were arguing. I was asking him to spend more time with me. He stood up, walked over to the gun safe and pulled out a handgun. He turned around and looked at me. His eyes were flat black and empty of expression, his aspect was flat, he didn’t even look human. He looked evil.

    I ran. I left him. He didn’t come after me. He made no attempt to contact me. I think he intended to kill me. I don’t know why he didn’t shoot me. He could have killed me that day. I saw his intent in his brandishing a weapon and in his flat black, shark eyes.

  • That dead-eyed stare still gives me nightmares. Memories of it keep me firmly on the NC path. It was just bizarre and frightening to know that once “the jig was up” and he truly had no use for me, he would look at me like I was nothing. Less than nothing. It was sobering to grope for any kind of validation from him and learn how little I mattered in his eyes. The picture finally began to get clear for me when I was grasping at straws; I asked him, “Well, I’m still one of the best friends you’ve ever had, right?” (Hoping that he would see my worth as, literally, the best friend and biggest supporter he’s ever had.) His voice was deadpan as he finally admitted that he never thought of me as “a best friend” and then he ranked me, as a friend, below one of his good friends from work.

    It was shocking. I didn’t even understand how he could spend years pretending to love me and consider me to be of so little value and I didn’t understand how his eyes had turned into shark eyes… just lifeless whenever he looked at me. He didn’t even look at me in pity anymore. Nowadays I’m content that he thinks very little of me. I want to be “nothing” to him. The less he thinks of me, the less I hear from him and I absolutely require his absence from my life.

    But back in the D-Days I hoped that I could love him enough that it would bring life back into his eyes. I was wrong. If all a chump needed to do was love hard and “not give up” to bring back some humanity into the FW’s eyes, I’m sure most of us would have done it by now.

    Whenever the day comes where I have to be around him again for any reason I’m sure I’ll have my Grey Rock cloak on so tight that, should I chance to look at him, my stare will be equally lifeless.

    • Powerful post, Fourleaf. I asked ex during a dead eyed phase whether there was anything he liked about me. He thought for a moment and said ‘I can’t think of anything’. After 26 years! News for him, there’s so much that I like about me and he’s a FW!

      • Same! After hearing the litany of things he didn’t like about me for months, I finally asked if there was ANYTHING nice he could say about me. He paused, thought, then said, “You know, [chump], even your voice irritates me.” They are truly lacking a soul.

      • I was told “You’re good at getting groceries, I guess”. Twenty six years, two kids, left home at 20 to marry him and supported his 26 year military career and my only redeeming quality is I was good at grocery shopping.

        • Military wife here, my only redeeming quality to cheater is “Brit was a good cook.”

          Funny he’d say I was a good cook, since the entire 20 years we were married he never complimented my cooking. There were a few times I’d ask how he liked his dinner or a special meal I prepared, he’d either shrug his shoulders or respond with “it’s alright.”
          I’d ask him, isn’t it better than alright? he’d say, no, it’s just alright.

          Moving away from friends and family, living in the middle of nowhere, supporting his career, all of what being a military spouse entails. Then transitioning to civilian life.

          “Brit’s a good cook.”

          • The compliments observation just made me smile. The highest compliment I ever received from him was ‘nice’. The dinner was ‘nice’, ‘you look nice’ and so on. I didn’t get compliments very often. But ‘nice’ was the best he could manage. So withholding to get his power kicks. What a sad little man he is.

        • Yup…military career where I ended up having 14 jobs to balance the budget while I was dragged here and there. Truth be told, Im not good at either grocery shopping or cooking but I got “you are a good mother” (which I think was a relief for him since he didnt want to ask Schmoopie to help raise them.

          The sacrifices of being a military spouse are many and I know that he used the “if you ever question me, you will be considered an ‘unsupportive spouse’ “. Imagine me seeing his suspected OW sitting in row 2 at his retirement ceremony.

      • I believe that they withold validation in order to control us. They may in fact believe that we provide a good standard of a lot of services, and that is why they stay with us (when they stay). But by refusing to praise or in some way validate what we do for them and who we are to them, they keep us off balance, feeling diminished and invisible, so we are easier for them to manipulate. There is a lot about this process in “Why does he DO that?” by Lundy Bancroft.
        In fact the things they openly criticize us about are often our strengths, again because they want to undermine our sources of self-worth.
        Over time, it is very damaging.

        • Withholding praise may be calculated and intentionally manipulative, or it might just be that they don’t see us as human beings. People don’t compliment their laundry machines for cleaning their clothes or their refrigerators for keeping the food cold. So why should he compliment you? That’s what you are to him — an appliance.

          • “or it might just be that they don’t see us as human beings. ”

            Or even if they see us as human, they don’t see us as equal to them in value.

            My ex rarely ever remembered my Birthday. It didn’t bother me so much in real time, (I spackled that he was a good guy otherwise) but when I found out all the shit he was doing I recognized that him forgetting was a tell of my value to him. (I always remembered his).

            Here was a man who had an anal obsession with appointments and order. He kept a pocket calendar long before cell phones were a thing. He could have easily remembered my Bday, but he rarely did and in fact would joke about it when he forgot. Even the few times I reminded him a week or so early, he would forget.

            Schmoops got flowers and dinners for Bday and Vday. For me he didn’t celebrate Vday because you know man made holiday and all that shit.

            I did always get a Christmas present, usually a robe; which I liked because they were nice robes and I chose them. He did get me a sewing machine one year, nothing fancy; but it was a welcome gift. I did tend to like practical gifts. Yes I was much more generous with him. The last C gift I gave him was in the year of discard, it was an expensive table saw. He used it to make a clock for whore. It took all I could do to keep from taking that thing apart with an ax. But I didn’t. That last C, he gave me two necklaces, gold and silver. I immediately gave them to my daughter in law after Dday, which was Christmas day. He had given me the necklaces a week earlier.

            I guess those necklaces were my gift for years of service. gag.

            • “The last C gift I gave him was in the year of discard, it was an expensive table saw. He used it to make a clock for whore”.

              Motherfucker piece of shit!

              My last Father’s Day gifts (back in 2019) where (I kid you not): a PVC raincloak (for me to ride my bike back and forth work – kids’ schools – home when it was raining) and a braided cotton belt (maybe to hold my shorts up while I was emaciating myself to death). All worth less than 10 US dollars. And she was outearning me by then. Hers was jewlery and flowers at the same year’s Mother’s Day. Not too expensive (as she would rub on my face during wreckonciliation) but the best I could afford at that moment.

              It did not upset me then and does not now. I feel uncomfortable to be given presents (my therapist has to tell me yet why is that). I remember being relieved by the cheapness of what I got and being happy that it was exactly what I needed at the time.

              But your comment just lighted a fire in my chest, Susie, because I know the AP that wrecked our home and kicked her ass to the curb was worth much more in terms of spending. I can safely bet she bought him a car for his side hustle as an “alternative transportation bussiness” entrepeneur. Maybe hoping to be partners in crime?


              May they rot in hell!!!

              • Motherfucker piece of shit! Even worse, he said he was going to make me one after Christmas. I am actually glad he didn’t. I would have demolished it anyway. I had no idea of course that whore was his direct report. I just thought he was making a gift for his employee. He also made one for my grown son. I assume that was the decoy. They were clocks in the shape of our then home state.

                And yes MTRIH.

                I don’t know if my son still has it. I don’t remember if he had it in his office or not. He had so much of his grandpa’s (my dad) WW2 stuff, I didn’t notice.

            • “Or even if they see us as human, they don’t see us as equal to them in value.”

              Exactly this.

        • I too believe witholding praise and criticizing our strengths are meant to break our spirits, MC. Whether a method counsciously applied by them or just their second-nature as spiritual vampires that they are, it really doesn’t matter to me.

          The compliments I would have been so glad to hear along the 20 years we spent together came only during the end stages of wreckonciliation, when I was gaining back my senses and extracting myself and the kids from that trainwreck of a life. And by then it was way over the top and fake; I wouldn’t fall for that.

          What I just read in this thread would sound astonishing if I haven’t been through as much cruelty as well. That they further humiliate and torture us just when we are the more vulnerable and they should be the most ashamed of themselves says a lot about their wickedness. They’re sadistic motherfuckers and I hope either karma, or hell, or life or whatever just give them a taste of what we endured at their hands. It would be enough punishment.

          • Oh, and just by contrast: how many times we chumps found strength and compassion to – from the depths of our despair – forgive, comfort and cuddle our cheaters at the times they faked repentance and guilt convincingly enough?

            I for one did it too many times, with tears, and hughs and kisses and reassurances that she only committed a mistake, she wasn’t a bad person, I was *never* going to abandon her over that however hurtful slip in judgement (what people here call trauma bonding – I get it now).

            Thank goodness she slipped again and again.

            Yes, she is a bad, bad person, if a person at all.

            That they cannot come up with a kind word at the exact moment we are agonizing over their selfish choices??? Fuck them all!!!

    • THIS: It was just bizarre and frightening to know that once “the jig was up” and he truly had no use for me, he would look at me like I was nothing.

      Yup… exact same moment of realization for me. Frightening.

    • Fourleaf, your post reminded me of an aspect of my Lying Cheating Loser sociopath ex that I always found puzzling. His lack of long term friendships. He claimed to have many friends he was oh so close with. The majority of these friends were in fact women he was fucking, had fucked, or was hoping to fuck.
      Without the “fuck shit” (my term for all his sneaky cheater behaviors with these women) there was no substance to his friendships. The one or two male friends he had were more work colleagues than friends.
      And, without fail, all his friendships would fall apart within a span of 2-5 years (the typical length of his idealize-devalue-discard cycle) and the “friend” became persona non grata for some diffuse reason.
      The no friends / no long term friends / no same sex friends is definitely a marker for character disorder if you ask me.

      • Yes Walkaway, friendships were short term appliances for my Ex need at any given time , a work connection or another women’s name to add to a long list of others in his phone made him feel like a real Stud and he did believe he was a real treasure that way . But his allusions were that which gave him more falseness to his ego.

      • Yep, no long term friends.

        FW’s besties were all from a far, far away place and a long, long gone time, waaaay before we met. All the stories about their adventures always sounded a bit off to my ears (now I can say: fake).

        All she’s got as of late are coworkers (all of them her subordinates in a way or another) and social media sycophants. The two categories overlap a lot.

  • Put a picture of my FW next to Adam Lanza (SandyHook) & you have a dead cold ringer. FOR REAL A PSYCHO

    • I live only 6 miles away, in the next town over, from the school in Sandy Hook where that massacre took place. That was truly a horrific day!

      • I lived in the little white house across the street from the firehouse from 99-01. It was so heartbreaking to watch. I still think of the families and pray they are able to heal.

  • When I discovered my ex was paying for an account on, I waited for the right moment to confront him. He was watching TV in our son’s room while waiting for some chicken wings to finish in the deep fat fryer. I went in the room just as he was getting up to check the wings and said to him, “So, have you hooked up with anyone you met on” I could literally see the transformation of his expression wash down over his face as his mind raced for a response. He of course pointed his finger at me and said, “Well that’s because YOU don’t do anything for me!” I stopped him in his tracks (literally, with my hand up like a stop sign) and said, “ Don’t you dare put this on me! It was YOUR ass sitting in YOUR chair at YOUR computer in YOUR office with YOUR fingertips typing in YOUR credit card information! For once in your life, be a man and own up to it!” With that, he pushed past me as the timer went off for the chickens wings. He removed the wings from the fryer, threw them in a bowl of sauce he had waiting, shook them up, then spilled them out on the serving platter he had on the counter, then turned to leave. All the while spewing filth about me. As he prepared to leave, gathering up all his needed items, and stormed out the door, I called after him, “What about your chicken wings; aren’t you going to eat them?!” ????????????

    Catching him off guard and seeing his expression change so quickly was quite amusing!

    • I knew my then-husband to often be an asshole, but (even though there were times when things didnt add up) I thought he was MY asshole and that cheating was truly beneath him. I thought that I could tell if he lied.

      He had given me the “I plan to divorce you because you are a terrible wife” speech about 2 weeks earlier and I knew I was a great wife so I had started pick-me dancing to fix my family.

      While vacuuming the stairs (he had become exacting in how he demanded the house be kept) I considerd his behavior and the recent repeated mentioning of Susan the sales rep from the company he was tasked to do purchasing with.

      I decided to cash him off guard and stare right in his face when I accused him of an affair with Susan. In a random moment when the kids were out of earshot I looked at him and said “You had sex with Susan ___”

      His face did not flinch and he denied. He got annoyed and brushed me away like a pesky mosquito. His ability to keep his game face actually kept me bamboozled for QUITE a while longer.

      It was only later that I learned that he was so good at lying because he had done so much of it.

      • “ It was only later that I learned that he was so good at lying because he had done so much of it.”

    • You go girl! Cheating and deflecting. Sounds like my story. Sex addiction is what it is. Take you time placing a body cam so you can obtain all the abuse so you can remove his
      Ass from the home. Remember the Narcissist never wants you to stop the double life!

  • I got everything from extreme rage, screaming and throwing anything that he could pick-up to (my favorite) the totally fake, dismissive, condescending laugh followed by him telling me that “for someone so smart, you sure are STUPID.” (By the way, that was his “charm” reaction.) Also, just that look of incredulity and “I never said/did that.” Lies to cover lies. Or, I used to get the total change the subject into a screaming diatribe about how hard he works and no one could do the job that he does, which was total bs. He’s been fired from every job he’s ever had.

  • Psycopathy . is characterized by diagnostic features such as superficial charm, high intelligence, poor judgment and failure to learn from experience, pathological egocentricity and incapacity for love, lack of remorse or shame, impulsivity, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, manipulative behavior, poor …Oct 7, 2014 › …

    • behavior, poor self-control, promiscuous sexual behavior, juvenile delinquency, and criminal versatility, among others.1,2 As a consequence of these criteria, the image of the psychopath is that of a cold, heartless, inhuman being.

      • Mine too… He’s quite accomplished in his profession, sports, philanthropy and hobbies. And then you really get to see the psychopath. And those things aren’t so impressive any more

    • ^^THIS^^ I got a lot of therapy over the last 22 years as I am a narcissistic abuse survivor, a domestic abuse survivor and a 3x Chump. I had abusive parents which desensitized me to abusive/controlling behavior in others later in life. That includes friends, romantic partners, and even bosses. The therapist who truly understood my situation had PhD’s and specialized in narcissistic behavior. However, it is only until the recent years (due to MRI’s) that they are coming to understand more about narcissism, psycopathy and other personality disorders. Psychologist are now diving deep into this area of personality disorders because they are seeing such an increase of this behavior to epic levels…some are calling it a personality pandemic (you can thank social media and technology). That said, the best interpretation I was given was a couple of years ago. Narcs, Psychopaths and all personality disordered individuals are on a spectrum similar to Autism. All personality disordered individuals are Narcs but not all Narcs are Psychopaths or Bi-Polar or Manic. However, the one thing they ALL have in common is MANIA. And, that mania is one of the major indicators of where they fall on that spectrum. If they get high from being better than others to build themselves up….most likely a Sociopath. If they have major highs and lows they are falling on the Bi-Polar/Manic Depressive level of the spectrum (which is more chemical imbalance). If they get their kicks from severely hurting people or animals in any form (mentally, emotionally but especially physically they are on the Psycopath level. It all depends on what levels that mania spikes and dips for that person. And, they can slide on the scale going from a Narc/Sociopath to a full blown cold blooded killer Psycopath depending on what season of life they are in, chemical imbalances, drugs, alcohol, etc. Obviously chemicals play a major role. So before y’all go on tangents of chemical imbalance isn’t a personality disorder…..know that they do play a huge part in how someone acts. So, they put them on the spectrum along with other personality disorders even. For example, if they have a major chemical imbalance and not taking their meds you can see major mood/personality shifts….you add full to the fire (like alcohol or drugs) and BOOM you can have one raging killing machine on your hands.

      Back to that dark stare…..My therapist told me that is MANIA! That is the moment when they either are getting their kicks off because they got caught and you are hurting, go into a rage, in a major depressed state, getting ready to kill you, etc. All of those moments are mania and they are experiencing either high highs or low lows and, sadly, all all of those moments are detrimental to the victim whether it be mentally/emotionally or even turning violent and deadly.

      • Sorry for the typos….I’m trying to run out the door but wanted to share all of that with you. Understanding this realization helped me so much and allowed me to put my perpetrators in my mental salt box (salt keeps away negative energy) so I could heal and helped me flip the switch from overly nice, naive, and people pleasure to cautious and discerning. I am now narc free and set major boundaries with toxic people only surrounding myself with healthy individuals. Understanding this helped me to realize that if someone is red flagging to keep my distance because they just aren’t worth my time/energy as they can fall anywhere on the toxic spectrum scale.

      • @Southern Chump, my goodness, I feel seen and heard by your post. I also had (narcissist/cheater/abusive) parents who desensitized me to abuse. I too have been married to two narcissist cheaters.

        With my XH, who I was married to for 25 years, during wreconciliation when he was trying to manipulate me into not fililing for divorce, he “agreed” to my demand that he get therapy. They did a complete work up on him and diagnosed him with bi-polar II and BPD. He’s also an addict alcoholic. Add work stress, a lot of money from a successful law career, turning 45, ED, and Dday and being confronted by our 4 kids who caught him, and then me and my family, and presto, the mask fully slipped and I saw the face of true evil. I still cannot wrap my head around it, but I trust he sucks and am lucky to be free.

      • SC, bipolar disorder is a psychosis, not a personality disorder. They are not on the same spectrum. In bipolar mania the person is out of touch with reality. If severe enough, they are legally and clinically insane.

        Cluster bs are sane and their delusions are self imposed. They have choices. A person who is bipolar or schizophrenic does not have any choice or control over their delusions.

        Perhaps you are confusing BPD (borderline personality disorder) with bipolar disorder?

        • OHFFS, you can get into semantics all you want about psychosis vs personality disorder. It doesn’t matter! Bipolar people, BPD, schizoid, manic depressed, etc. ALL have major narcissistic traits especially when they are not on their meds and even more so when they are in a state of mania. You add fuel to the fire such as alcohol or drugs and they are that much more likely to be narcissistic. So, very much yes, OHFFS…..they are most indeed on the narc spectrum! If it makes you feel better, you can call it the toxic or asshole spectrum. I really don’t care!

          Here’s an idea….about you go to the 22+ years of therapy, the 42 years of dealing with narc parents/family/friends/romantic partners/bosses, the 8+ years of dealing with the after math of divorcing a sociopath, the YEARS of abuse (which almost cost me my LIFE after physically being beaten during a psychotic manic episode) and the 2 year custody battle that lead us to be TESTED by a PhD Psychologist who specialized in narcissism, personality disorders, as well as psychosis disorders. (Yep! That’s right, me and my narc sociopath ex husband were TESTED because the court believed his blatant lies and the truth was so fucking twisted). How about you also pay for those bills that I incurred for all that BS too! I would really love some help on that $20,000 loan that I took out for that 2+ year custody battle and testing that I am STILL paying for.

          And, get this, I was reading Chump Lady (since 2013) through all that crap and still found myself surrounded by narcissistic assholes. Why? Because I was desensitized to abuse! Because I rationalized their toxic behavior as “everyone is different”, “see the good in everyone”, etc. So, when that doctor FINALLY gave me some insight that broke the barrier for me to remove and set boundaries around toxic people for good….bet your sweet ass I was thrilled! I’ve been toxic free now for 3 years and did an absolute life overhaul including quitting my job without a replacement because my manic depressed boss (he told me about his disorder and his meds) sexually harassed me, threatening my wages if I didn’t have a relationship with him. (His ex wife said he was diagnosed with narc personality disorder too if that makes you feel any better).

          Oh! You want to know something else that will probably blow your mind….all of those disorders (narc, BPD, manic, Bipolar, sociopaths, etc.) all have another common red flag other than mania….sleep problems! These are especially noticeable in times of mania. For example, I almost lost my life to my either bipolar/BPD/or manic ex (further testing had to be done to determine which one he was, of which, he never got) during one of his manic episodes that included major sleeplessness followed by major oversleeping. He threw me around the house and beat the shit out of me leaving me bloody and bruised. Looking back at the other toxic relationships, EVERY time there was an epic shitstorm they were on sleepless manic binges.

          So, after you go through all that shit OHFFS, then you can come to this forum and question semantics with me. Until then, you and CN are welcome! Hopefully, that gave some other poor empathic chump such as myself who has had a lifetime of absolute shit some insight so they can see learn about the red flags, set healthy boundaries and stay away from “toxic spectrum” people. If that struck a cord with you bc you have a BPD/BiPolar/whatever person in your life, I pray that person gets the help they need and they stay on the meds to keep them in a healthy state of mind. Most of them don’t because they don’t see themselves as the problem. (Can you say, Narcissistic much?)

          Before I go, I’ll leave you with another really good example… older friend of mine was beaten beyond recognizable by her Bipolar husband because, unbeknownst to her, he stopped taking his meds and had been off of them for months. He broke her jaw, her eye socket, bashed in her head, broke her collar bone, and hands. She is lucky to be alive! When he snapped out of it, he says he didn’t remember any of it. He just snapped. When she questioned why he wasn’t taking his meds, his reply was that he felt like nothing was wrong with him so why should he take meds (not sure about you, but that is a very narcissistic and selfish response….ahem! aka: narcissistic tendencies). During the year they were separated, she did a lot of reflection and admitted that before the attack he wasn’t sleeping and was clearly in a state of mania for weeks. Sadly, she went back to him bc she felt that was the “Godly” thing to do. I had never been around her husband as I met her during their separation….but I can tell you, the one day I did meet him, he gave me chills down my spine. One minute he would be charming wanting all the attention and then as soon as she got attention from anyone he would nonchalantly come in between her and whoever and discreetly isolate her from the attention. I quit hanging out with her because it was clear to me that she was very much still in danger and she was allowing this type of abuse.

          So, my suggestion to you is this….when you start wanting to correct someone and interject your “opinion” of what you think something is, shut it down! Be open to what you don’t know. To me, it is clear there is a narc/toxic spectrum and it does cross between personality/chemical imbalance/psychosis disordered people. I have YEARS of my own experiences and situations to prove it as well as all of the stories in CN and others that have shared similar fates as myself. This is the reason why CL lumps them into the fucktwit category because they all suck! If you have a problem with that reality, then that’s on you!

  • When I confronted him on DDay 2, his expression was completely vacant. He tried to shake but released me quickly as though he realized what he was doing. He was expressionless but tried too hard to continue eye contact. This is when I knew he was a lair and for the first time, I felt fear. It was then I knew no contact was the only way to avoid confrontation and potential violence.
    That helped me realize his 32 years younger Schmoopie won the pick me dance and I decided that she could have her prize.

  • The most difficult fact that I have confronted as I’ve gotten older is that some people are just “not right.”

    I’m sure it’s early trauma that produces antisocial personalities, and I am truly sad for them, but i am also very afraid for the people unfortunate enough to cross their paths.

    It is so sad. They are not fixable.

    • I tend to save my feelings for at-risk kids who can still be reached. After interfacing with dv survivors for years, understanding and untangling the skeins and histories of typical batterers doesn’t equate to sympathy. I can fully understand the horrifying FOO issues of perps– it was even required as part of the job– but still feel nothing for them because feeling anything for them is a liability and comes out of the emotional “budget” that victims and their children require.

      But I do feel for the children the perps once were. That’s something positive that can be salvaged from the numbing experience of seeing how perps feed on empathy to strengthen their aggression and escape consequences. All that skein untangling of abuser psychology underscores that the outcome– traumatized children turning into brutal adults– could potentially be prevented by bolstering policies and encouraging public attitudes that help victims and their children escape abuse.

    • I fully agree that there can be FOO issues that “create” these monsters we married. And, when it comes to narcissistic personality disorder, “curing” is a hard battle… easier to cash out your chips and find a new chump for many.

      This is why it is so important to NOT go down the rabbit hole of untangling the skein. You didn’t cause it… you can’t control it… and you can’t cure it. That is all you need to know before getting your ducks in a row and calling a lawyer.

      My empath heart breaks for the abuse my X suffered as a child that directly impacted the man he became, but it doesn’t make his abuse of me right… EVER.

      No contact has been the cornerstone of finding Meh for me.

  • I saw the cold black dead eyes for years when my ex was drunk (often).
    It was the same cold, unglazed, black eyes I saw when his father was drunk(often after a bottle of vodka).
    I hated it but picked up the pieces for years (vomit, urine, shame), pretending everything was okay but it wasn’t.
    But it wasn’t until the very end when he vomited on our son drunk one night that I was so angry I viewed his phone for the first time (after I put him to bed and had cleaned everything up). I found a lifetime of a double life. Many women, it was disgusting.
    I told him to get out forever.

    Then when he was moving out and the mask had fallen, that I saw the shark eyes when he wasn’t drunk. The coldness, the disdain and the hatred to me. Pure contempt.
    When I saw this, I knew then what he really thought of me. I knew who he was/is, so full of hate for no reason.

  • Although I saw this from FW (after months of no eye contact or turning over and going to sleep), my understanding comes from my own experience.

    I suspect my eyes looked like this when I left a previous relationship as a young woman and, later, a job. Maybe the pupils dilate in response to an absolute conviction. Maybe it’s an evolutionary warning by mammals that things are about to get real.

    I think the evil is in the sense of entitlement and deceitful actions.

    • When I see photos of myself from that era, I have a totally lost look. I look sad, alone and forgotten. I looked way older than my years.

      When I started dating Colonel Greatguy, people kept telling me that I looked younger. I was very happy for the first time in so long.

      • I just got a new drivers license pic yesterday. Amazing how much lighter and happier I look than the lady one—months before day and divorce. The clerk even agreed.

      • I remember catching my reflection in a mirror and noticing my eyes looked sad. After that I would pick up on it in photos – there I was smiling away but there was an anguish that was plain to see.

        I think when you are trying to ignore an emotion it expresses itself in other ways.

        Same as you Unicornomore, now that I am free people keep telling me I look rested and full of energy and well. I may not feel amazing yet, but just being able to openly feel my emotions, whatever they are, keeps them from leaking out my face.

      • My niece told my sister that I always looked sad when I was with the ex. She said “it was like Auntie was trying her hardest to be happy, but I could tell by her eyes she just wasn’t.” Everybody does tell me how great I look now – but when my sister told me that it really struck home how much I thought I was hiding, but couldn’t really hide. I think it’s true that the eyes are the windows to your soul. Which would explain the dead shark eyes of cheaters perfectly – no soul.

      • Similar experience…. as recent as a few months post D-Day, people whom I hadn’t seen in a while told me that I looked great, even younger! Which I didn’t understand — I was still in the thick of the grief. But now a year and a half later, I’m seeing how he dragged me down and I wasn’t even aware of it.

    • Me too. This is something that most people just wouldn’t understand… even therapists. It’s just devastating on a very primal level.

    • At Major Cheaterpant’s retirement ceremony, he was understandably anxious….his wife and whore were in the same place as well as his parents and 2 kids (one kid didnt go because his father had scheduled the ceremony during finals week at school – he had long before forgotten his to act like a dad. Scheduled for his fuck-buddy but not his son).

      I was taking photos as one would at a family milestone event and got one of Cheater, OW and a friend…in the photo, Cheater is looking at OW and has a smile on his face. He then turned his head towards me and I clicked the photo.

      Looking at the second photo was bone-chilling…he has absolute hatred for me on his face. In wreckonsillyation, I showed him the photo and he claimed to not understand what I was saying. I have the photos on my phone all these years later to validate what it was I experienced.

    • Me too. The complete absence of care, love, anything. Just a blank, dead stare.

      I remember crying, curled into a ball on the floor, while he just stared. No comfort. No remorse. I found out later that he’d texted his prostitute right afterwards to tell her his family was “bullies” who didn’t know the real her and that he was sorry I’d cried into the phone to her (she’d called our house).

    • This. Suddenly there’s a stranger there, one who hates you. And all those years of feeling safe evaporate. If he can look like this even one time…you were never safe, not really.

    • Spinach I got the stare of hate too. It was like power, entitlement and contempt. Then I got a few empathetic looks that were more confusing. Then ultimately I got the stare of the void and the one where he didn’t look at me at all and he made no more eye contact. You could tell he was dreaming about his new life. Like he’d stare into space and say “where’d we get this lamp? I’d like to buy another one?” Treating me like a flat mate. In a way that was worse than the evil eye of hate.

  • I had never in my life seen someone’s eyes go black before until I confronted my ex-husband about his cheating. They literally changed color.

      • I first saw it when I asked him if he was having an affair. This was after he said he wanted a separation, which came 100% out of the blue. He was so cold an unemotional.

        Oh, and while he stared at me with those eyes, he denied having an affair.

        Three days later he would fess up.

        So I decided that the cold stare was a tell that he was lying.

        But he’d lied to me every day for almost three years, and I’d never seen that look. Then again, I’m not sure he ever really looked at me while lying before. I don’t know.

        • I remember my ex for quite a while before Dday would not really focus on me when he was talking to me. Kind of looking around or doing something distracting.

          But the shark eyes, I think that was a clear message to me that we are done, and he was outed.

          • In the year or so before Dday, I remember cheater not looking at me whenever we were having a conversation. I’d ask if he was listening to me, he’d say yes, while his eyes would be darting around, I’d see him watching tv, distracted by a commercial. I’d ask him a question about what I had said. He never knew.

            I thought poor guy, has a lot on his mind, or maybe he’s suffering from a brain tumor, or just needs time to get over his middle age crisis.

            • It is crazy the way we bend over to excuse them. I did it too. Human nature to defend someone you love I guess. Likely why they defend the whore over their spouse. Oh I doubt most of the time it is real love for the whore, (most are incapable of real love) but it is where their version of love is at that time, so they defend it.

  • The dead stare began to make me wonder if I should be concerned about my safety. I never saw it when we were dating, but it arrived quickly within Year 1. Then one day in Year 8, I dropped a teaspoon. The noise annoyed him enough to stop him in mid-sentence and glare at me while raising an arm. My mind was thinking, “I’ve got to leave this situation.” I said nothing. The next morning I called my realtor friend to find me a place and physically left 10 days later.

  • That’s what’s really underneath the mask… the empty, black void where basic humanity and decency should be. It’s shocking to witness. You have absolutely no doubt about the level of contempt that they have for you. They despise you and you are nothing to them. Nothing. I will never forget that look. It touches something deep and primal within you that screams “Danger!” It also showed me that even after twenty years, you can never really know a person. I was literally sleeping with the enemy and I had no idea.

    I still shudder when he said to me “You’d be better off (financially) if I were dead.” Given that narcissists engage in heavy projection, in that moment, it meant he wished *I* was dead and that *he’d* be better off financially (no consequences!) If I were dead.

    I got one of the stone cold FWs. Meh isn’t anywhere to be found three years after dday.

    • Yep, projection. Mine told his mistress, at the height of their affair and with him desperately wanting me gone, that she should call the police if he was ever in a suspicious accident. He said it would really be a murder because I had caught him.
      Seems like he had some thoughts of his own along those lines.
      Of course he denied projection was the reason and of course I don’t believe him. I believe 100% of cheaters in the throes of obsessive twu wuv type affairs, or when faced with ruin to their reputation from the chump telling all, have thought about killing their chumps. Most probably rejected the idea immediately, but it certainly crossed their minds. So of course they need to attribute the same to us so as to feel normal.

  • During a casual at-home dinner months before D-day, x asked our daughter and me if we could tell that he was looking at our foreheads instead of our eyes when talking to us. He explained that sometimes he didn’t want to look his patients in the eye, which is weird enough.

    While laughing (because it seemed so ridiculous), we conducted a little experiment. He talked while staring at our foreheads. Both of us said we could tell.

    Looking back, I think he was practicing lying *to me*. No laughing matter, but, hey, clueless chump.

    That he would enlist my help in a little experiment so he could lie more easily to me (and others) reveals a certain level of depravity on his part.

    “Here, help me sharpen this knife, the one I will later use to stab you. Hey, you missed a spot.”

  • I saw it after he took his phone to toilet, death grip on it, I called him out on it. He blocked me from passing him for a second. I felt he was considering violence (he never had been). The only time I have really been afraid of him.

  • When I finally caught him at 1:00 am at the Owhore’s house they both made fun of me laughing and insulting me. Days earlier we had gone for a small vacation and I desperately said “we just returned from Niagara Falls! What’s going on ? “ Owhore screamed “he was with me” He looked at me with cold black eyes I’ve never seen before in 35 of marriage, and said “No I didn’t go with you.. you must’ve went with someone else”. He lied to her right in front of me. I realized then that there was no longer love for me. She had won the evil ???? prize. Had him served divorce papers week later at her house. For my mental and physical health I had to remove him from my life.

  • My ex had dark eyes anyway but when I got “the stare” they went completely black. It was like a film came over his eyes and there was the stare. That and the self-satisfied smirk that I wanted to wipe off his face with a razor blade!

  • The black dead eyes. They even showed up in photos. To me it seemed he must have a tumor — it was such a bizarre shift in personality.

    Ask him something he didn’t want to answer or couldn’t — dead stare. And he also did like his mother… he’d start to look off as if a bird was flying by…he seemed to be thinking “maybe she can’t see me la la la”

    It’s the inability to deal. It’s the inability to adult. He can’t manage himself. But it was freaking creepy.

    My son doesn’t even bother asking his dad anything anymore. He knows he’ll either get a lie or no response at all.

  • I had lunch with a friend who lives far away about a year after Dday. She was in town for the first time since it all happened and she admitted to me she couldn’t believe my nice guy ex would have an affair let alone with his intern let alone walk out on his family. She thought there must be more to it. So she had lunch with him first. She said when he started speaking about it, it was like “a mask fell” and she saw the “stone cold psycho underneath” through his “dead eyes”. Most of our friends were disappointing Switzerland types, but she definitely got it once she looked.

      • I get it. It’s so hard for people to believe, especially when it’s the “pillar of the community” type like my ex. We’re so programmed to blame the woman for pushing her man to an affair – I would probably fall into that misogynist trap if it hadn’t happened to me.

        • Oh I get it. FW looked to be the “perfect dad.” Even my closest friends (several in my book club) said “but he’s so quiet and has always doted on his son.” There was a lot of disbelief. There was a lot of people questioning me — they just couldn’t see this quiet man acting the way I described. But then I was meeting at a Starbucks on a Friday night with about 5 ladies from my book club. And my 10 or 11 year old son (who was with FW for a custodial weekend) called me hysterical crying. Then I got a call from the police. And a call from a screaming angry “mask-off” FW. THEN my friends saw it. They got to hear it too — even with the phone NOT on speaker. It was the crazy I was living, all playing out in front of them over a book and lattes. And I got to explain about covert narcissists.

          It’s hard for anyone to see until they see it for themselves.

            • Cam and MaisyL — thank you… my son is ok now. FW realized that he couldn’t get a reaction from me anymore unless he picked on our son… so the abuse got worse and worse. I spent about 4 years having to go back through attorneys and fighting that asshole. Cost a fortune (not kidding… $30k+ in idiotic battles with that douche). The state I’m in really protects “custodial rights” more than treatment of the kid involved.

              I kept asking for our son to at least “have a say” if he was melting down and couldn’t manage time with his father. I wanted him to be able to come home to me when things were going sideways. Asshat FW was locking the kid outside. He was physical with him — shoving him and holding him down. Yet no one would permit it… and FW and his flying monkey AP kept calling the police on the poor kid.

              Finally I got an attorney who backed FW’s attorney against a wall and they forced FW to sign that the kid (at 14 and standing at 5’10”) would get a say. And the minute that was signed, FW no longer wanted custodial weekends. Now they just get together for a lunch or dinner once in a while and our son never goes to their house or to see AP or her kids.

              My son is 16 now. He uses his dad for a movie, a meal, or whatever, but doesn’t respect FW or trust him at all.

              • Calling the police on a 14 yo son? What a sorry excuse for a father.

                “Asshat FW was locking the kid outside. He was physical with him — shoving him and holding him down”.

                Maybe I did not understand who was shoving and holding down who, but if it was the FW father assaulting the kid… I’d better keep it to myself what I would like to happen to this asshole. If this was the case, nevermind, the kid was already 5’10” at 14… now he’s 16… I bet the coward fuckwit would not dare to shove or hold him down anymore.

                But if you suspect FW and his whore might still get physical with your son, or that your son is angry or frightened, may I suggest you enroll your kid in bjj classes? If only to puff some steam off, it may do him well.

                I took my eldest son to the dojo when I realized his outrage over his grandma calling him a “retard” and a “pussy” was not going away. It helped him a lot and he hadn’t have to choke her nor anybody else to let go of the bad feelings. But bjj and karate do make him more self-confident and makes him realize he is not totally helpless against aggression (not a retard, not a pussy).

                Anyway, I’m glad to know your son is okay now and I’m sorry for the legal battle and the financial cost you had to endure to ensure his safety.

        • Because FW was so sweet, petite and pretty everyone thinks it has to be the “mean surgeon” even though I took care of so many of these people. She followed the Gone Girl script telling people bullshit. Now some are starting to come around but it is just an uphill battle. A battle that I just don’t feel like dealing with. I want to scream when her friends say ” she is so happy how do you explain that?” So frustrating. My answer to them is “do you feel comfortable with her hanging around your husbands, because records show she was with 3 married men.” That changes the looks on their faces immediately.

  • The dead eye stare comes when the mask drops momentarily. It’s the evil exposed. It wasn’t that he didn’t love me; it was pure hatred. What makes me shudder was that a few weeks earlier he said he needed my signature to buy a home. Whatever were they planning.

    • I agree. Like you and others here I experienced the dead eye stare when she was caught in a lie and the mask had been pulled down unexpectedly for her. The important other element was that I had trapped her in the situation, and that she had unwittingly revealed her tactics for lying. That might be why she couldn’t flip to one of the manipulative channels. Like CL said, she was caught in the static between channels. I had physical proof of a particular lie, but didn’t reveal it until the end of the confrontation. During the course of it I let her weave her own trap and played anxious as if I were being gaslit and desperately seeking the truth (which had been the case until then). Just before surprising her with the proof that would show I knew the truth the entire time she thought she had been convincing me, I began to point out her ease with lying, her “naturalness” with it, as if she were an object for study instead of the all powerful god of manipulation she was clearly thinking she was. Then I showed her the proof. Power was in the hands of the mere object, me – it’s the ultimate “caught off guard” for these creatures. The look is the contempt that is their core. It isn’t a reaction to anything. It’s what’s left when they aren’t occupied by distracting and deluding themselves, and by deceiving and manipulating others.

      • “Power was in the hands of the mere object, me – it’s the ultimate “caught off guard” for these creatures”.

        I hear you and think you’re right on the money on this. Have been through something like this myself. It does feel good to outsmart these heartless grifters and beat them in their own game.

        • “It does feel good to outsmart these heartless grifters and beat them in their own game.”

          Yup. In my case I worked for him in the community/politics for years, at least 15 years of our 21 year marriage. All for what he wanted, I certainly wasn’t working to promote myself, that was never in play.

          When he started the year of discard, I was of course crushed and helpless to outsmart him. He however outsmarted himself, in the form of the mayor. He got demoted, lost his cushy office. (he had only had it for a few months when it all went to hell and someone called in a complaint). He had become radio active to the administration. How did he ever think he was going to pull that scam off. But he certainly did for a while at least.

          The way I chose to look at it once I could think again was; hey ass wipe, I took you to the heights of your capabilities, and likely beyond. Now lets see what whore can do for you. The answer was, nothing. He continued to sink into a shit hole of his own making.

  • I can still tear up thinking of the one & only time I saw the shark eyes. Three weeks after dday ex moved out with pretty much the clothes on his back. A week later he came back with a Uhaul & packed up. Trembling & falling apart I stood in his way & asked, “Why???” All I got was shark eyes.

  • It was the look of a predator. It was shark eyes. For me, the eyes weren’t black; they were green and other worldly. I’d seen them for thirty years, but never in this way, as if there was absolutely nothing behind them. In that moment — before I ran in terror — I saw him as a predator, and I saw myself as prey. Shark describes it because these creatures live and hunt below the surface. They are chilling. Like the shark in “Jaws,” who comes out of nowhere and pulls the innocent victim underwater. I don’t believe they are human. I think they are devoid of human qualities and are less evolved. Unless a person has experienced this, it’s impossible to fathom.

    I find that I have recurring images of swimming to shore, of pulling myself up and out of the surf. If I was to share this with non-Chumps, they would think me crazy. But as a former domestic violence prosecutor, I’ve seen this predatory quality again and again. I never expected to see it in the person I trusted in my home. His behavior through divorce confirms that he is nothing more than a dangerous predator. That is why this is trauma, not “oh well, just an affair.”

    That said, I am better at not scaring myself with imagery, of replaying it in my head with the Jaws soundtrack. I take a breath and find comfort in the fact that I found CN and others who have been in the sea. It reminds me that I have untold strength. I’m a strong, smart swimmer, and I thank God I made it to shore.

    • It’s interesting to me that you have seen this in your work, too. And that he was able to hide it while living with you.

      I agree that they are something not quite human. And that, unless you’ve survived it, a person would never believe it.

    • My FW had the green eyes that I pictured as reptilian, even when I was deep in love, well before D-day. I didn’t look at them once after D-day. I knew for sure he was a snake.

  • Oh yes. The deadly stare when you confront or ask a question they don’t want to answer. I worried about my physical safety. At this point I have no idea what he’s capable of and would never be alone with him. NC all the way.

  • My ex wife eyes turned from green to brown like a shark. I have a witness to it. It freaked him out so much that he refused to continue helping me move out. I would have a friend come with me because she was trying to get me arrested on DV charges. It is either demonic or you are seeing the real person underneath their “charm” or front they put on.

  • I took that creepy dead-eye look—which only showed itself at the moments of highest conflict—as a sign she was occupied with an internal calculus, weighing her options: 1) continue to try to manipulate me with lies, blame-shifting, and fake indecision; 2) provide a partial confession and negotiate divorce; or 3) have me killed for the insurance money.

    • I think about point 3 often and still, to this day, waffle between “he may have never loved me but he’d never physically hurt me” to “thank God I don’t have a life insurance policy on me.”

      I still don’t have life insurance. The thought makes me nervous. Maybe one day.

      • When I realized in the middle of the night after d-day 2 that I had a $1 million policy with cheating wife as sole beneficiary, I immediately emailed all my family members of my intent to change beneficiaries next morning due to then-wife’s cheating—just in case anything happened to me.

        What a fucking Jerry Springer life those cheaters make us live!

        • I’ve often said my life has turned into a Jerry Springer episode.
          It’s humiliating.
          There’s nothing they won’t do to create drama.

        • Yes Jerry Springer shit! my FW had a 70 year old female neighbor attack me in my own house while she was helping FW move out. I guess it was a desperation move. After she attacked me they called the police. Fortunately It backfired on them. I had the video running and when I showed the police they made me press assault charges on the neighbor and the female neighbor had to go to court and take anger management classes. The rest of the neighborhood at that point realized who my FW really is and have turned against the neighbor. Now I see that FW paid for the neighbor’s legal fees which according to my kickass attorney was not a bright move.

    • Yes. I think you’re right. The eyes go blank as they consider how to respond.

      OMG option 3. Funny but not.

  • Of course she lied about there not being another person, but when I found the undeniable evidence. When I confronted her with it during a counseling appointment her bright blue eyes did that shark eye thing. Despite the proof in my hands, she denied it all and tried to make it about me invading her privacy. Ha!

    • Oh, yeah, the privacy card… ????
      Got dealt that myself many times.
      As if she and her then AP didn’t have a laugh at my expense reading together (what I thought was) our private communication. Talk about privacy…

  • Yeah, I saw those shark eyes when ex-h came home to leave me for OW. It really was unbelievable; the love was just gone and there was no emotional connection to me at all (or emotion in general). Evaporated. It felt like a light-switch change.

    When my recent (noncheater) ex came home to leave me, the love was also gone from his eyes. It wasn’t the same as the shark eyes of (cheater) ex-h, but it was still shocking to see all love was just gone. He was sad about it, but there was a wall he had put up and it was as if our past was gone.

    It’s really mind-boggling to me how they both just walked away suddenly from a long-term partnership that had no arguments or problems that I could see (from my end). Maybe both had varying degrees of incapacity to connect. I struggle to comprehend how it’s even possible to leave like that…

  • I also got the cold empty-eyed stare. Coupled with being told that “I wasn’t there for him, but his newfound drinking buddy was”. I helped take care of his dying parents (mom in 2015 and dad had a stroke right after mom died and dad lived until 2017). Ex was living with his dad as hospice. Didn’t come home after his dad died. Called to tell me my FIL died. Didn’t see our 3 kids until calling hours. Ex wouldn’t hold my hand at the funeral. Shook me off and said I hadn’t been there for him, but his drinking buddy “was always there for him”. Unbelievable. His drinking buddy lived with my Ex for a year and then went on to get remarried. Ex now lives alone in the house of his dead parents….Psycho!

  • When E the Elder was 4 years old, she was in her first (and only) dance recital. At the dress rehearsal, when the curtain opened up, she froze. Wouldn’t move, blink, not sure if she took a breath. Someone backstage had given her a lollipop, probably to try to settle her down. When the music started, you could see the panic setting in. She put the lollipop in her mouth, closed her eyes, and started sucking madly on it. The entire number, she didn’t move off of her spot. The longer it went, the more furiously she worked that sucker — at one point she opened her eys a bit and you could see that they were rolling back in her head.

    My heart was breaking for her — it was clear that she thought if she just concentrated and wished hard enough, the whole horrible experience would just go away.

    I couldn’t help but think of this as I berated the Kunty Kibbler after catching her trying to bring the Carrot Singer into our home for a midday fuck. I’m convinced that the dead, black-eyed stare was her way of desensitizing herself to the situation, to my words, to her own inability to wrap her brain around what was happening — just like a 4-year old.

  • I still have nightmares about those eyes. The ex had pretty eyes and he knew it! Beautiful grey with long lashes. His best facial feature. He started the discard at his mother’s birthday party. She always did big house parties at an unconnected location in the UK where we live. My Dad was dying in hospital but I’d been able to go to this 3 nights event (I shouldn’t have gone but FW and ex MIL had demands). Journey down was ok, bad traffic, but I kept him laughing and on stable mental track as usual. As soon as we got there those eyes appeared. He was with family, I was alone and outnumbered and very vulnerable. And I had no idea what was going on. I’d not seen those eyes before. He was all over his 22 year old niece. And she was all over him. I was obviously and embarrassingly excluded. At one point I tried to sit with him and her. He refused to make space and ‘waved’ me ‘bye bye’. Came to bed at 3, completely drunk and started a row with me. He said that he had to pay for everything and I contributed nothing. Half asleep, and in a state, in a small room surrounded by his relatives sleeping in other rooms, I challenged him because what he was saying was a lie and he knew it. And I saw those eyes. A cold shudder ran through me. I realised that this mid-50s lawyer hated me with every cell in his body. He could have killed me without hesitation. Everything everyone says above was there. Anyway the nightmare weekend continued. Too much horror to cover here. We got home. Dad died 2 weeks later. I was dumped 7 weeks after that. I then saw the eyes every time we met. I knew nothing about the affair. I found out that he’d been rekindling his love for exgfOW for years about 7 weeks later. They had exchanged emails while we were at the event and just before my Dad’s funeral. I never did know what the score was between him and his niece (she was as bad as him). I have been no contact for nearly 2 years now.

    It is the strangest phenomenon. If not for CL and CN I would never have known that it was not just me. I’m so grateful for that knowledge. Those eyes belong to people with no souls. They are the eyes of dangerous creatures. They are there to warn us to get away as quickly as we can. And even more curious. When we married (together 26 years, married 18), my then beautician asked to see my wedding photos. She was a strong, spiritual, woman. When I did so, she looked at me and said ‘you have the face of an angel, but her, she has the face of evil’. I looked at who she was pointing at. My then MIL! At the time I was embarrassed and tried to laugh it off. Where did that come from! Now, I know that she was warning me. And I did half listen. But I didn’t recognise just how much ‘like mother, like son’ applied to the ex. His mother had those eyes too!

    • “He was all over his 22 year old niece. And she was all over him.”

      Say no more. Gross ????

      p.s. Sorry about the double post. This was supposed to be in response to MightyWarrior.

      • Spinach, it was just weird. They went out running together the next day. I saw them coming back and saw how they were looking at each other, like lovers. She was diagnosed bipolar and her partner now is 30 years older than her. A lot of complex, rotten stuff going on that I’m pleased not to be party to.

    • Your father was dying and your ex and x-mil had demands on your time? WTF? I experienced the same shark eyes and hatred. I continue to get abusive comments my children unknowingly funnel to me from their visits with Fake AF but this! Taking time away from you and your father, yet you had to keep your ex happy on the drive to the 3 day event. What is wrong with people like this. I am so sorry. ????

      • Thank you Irish Chump. With the benefit of time and distance and without blaming myself, it is a good indication of how trauma bonded I was. That man and his family’s word had become law over the 26 years of our joint relationship. The ex watched my father lowered into the grave knowing that he and exgfOW had planned a holiday together for a few weeks later, at the end of which I was to be left. The pretext for the holiday, which was dropped on me a few days before it happened, was that he needed ‘headspace alone’. How does someone do that, stand at a graveside knowing what their intentions are. I now know that decent people with integrity don’t do that. My overriding feeling about my marriage is disgust. I shudder that someone like that was ever in my world. I wish him and his family nothing but sorrow.

        • “He was with family, I was alone and outnumbered and very vulnerable.”

          Check – I know the feeling all too well
          (but I get that besides you being surrounded by enemies your father was ill, I am not comparing things, this is way worse).

          “(…) she looked at me and said ‘you have the face of an angel, but her, she has the face of evil’. I looked at who she was pointing at. My then MIL!”

          Check – I can’t stand looking at my XMIL or talking to her anymore. It always demanded a lot of me. I am not exaggerating, the first time I set my eyes on her I’ve got shivers down my spine. I was 16 years old by then. She is not just ugly, she exhales wickedness and cruelty. She was an enabler of my FW’s affair and abused me and my eldest son verbally after the wreck she helped to bring about.

          “That man and his family’s word had become law over the 26 years of our joint relationship”.

          Check – same here, much to my shame. How could I abase myself to the status of a doormat to that bunch of self-important hillbillies? (nothing against hillbillies – I am sort of one myself – only hate the self-important ones)

          “My overriding feeling about my marriage is disgust. I shudder that someone like that was ever in my world. I wish him and his family nothing but sorrow”.

          Check – mine would be better described as shame. That I could love and devout myself to *the worst human being I have ever met* I think says a lot about how much I have to improve as a human being myself. This is a judgement about me – specifically me -not applicable to other chumps here, please, don’t get me wrong. That I had tolerated racist comments; that I shared a laugh at the expense of someone else’s look or age or weight, etc. – all to try and remain in the good graces of FW and FW’s FOO – says I had to grow a spine, to say the least. It’s growing now. And, yes, I do wish FW’s FOO all the sorrow there is in the world. Not gonna happen, but I cannot falsify myself to try and please them anymore.

          “He was all over his 22 year old niece. And she was all over him. I was obviously and embarrassingly excluded”.

          Check? – a-ha moment right now: FW and an uncle of hers always had veeeery weird exchanges and eye contact. Their whole demeanors would change awkardly whenever they were together. He was the youngest of 9 brothers and I think only 10 years or so our senior. Very good-looking but undeniably gay (or at least bi, the stories of his affairs are of public domain in their little home town). He ultimately settled down with a hiddeous woman at least 10 years his senior (to facilitate a greencard, I guess). She is really hiddeous, that’s nothing to do with her age or her looks. I don’t know, something about him and FW always felt off to me and I could never pinpoint what it was, but now… maybe??? I don’t know, the guy was too gay, but who knows? These people are fucked up. Enough unhealthy untangling for today.

  • Reptilian eyes, frightening.

    Cheater reminds me so much of Scott Peterson, Chris Watts and Ted Bundy.
    Sounds dramatic but it’s accurate.
    I have a photo of ex looking at me with the reptilian eyed glare, full of hate, chilling.

    • I hear you, Brit, it is real and it is frightening as fuck.

      I’ve got myself a screenshot of FW’s blank stare one time she was caught off-guard; a screenshot of her hate/contempt stare when I made it clear I was not going to go gentle into that good night of hers; plus a lot of pictures FW admiringly took of herself and sent to both me and her then AP – those devilish eyes I can’t even describe or ascribe a meaning to. Absolute evil, maybe?

  • When I confronted him about his affair his eyes went pure black , it was like I seen his soul leave his body .

    There was nothing there except pure hatred for me I’ve tried explaining this to my friends but I think only chumps understand this . I hope I never see that eyes again it’s frightening

  • The first time I saw the shark eyes was New Years Eve. We had invited close friends over before he had ramped up the discard phase. I wanted to cancel but he refused. I was still in the emotional fetal position I guess with some hope (ium) that he would suddenly swith to the person I had loved.

    But, I view the look as part his anger at me for being an obstacle to his new life, and in part it was a deliberate look on his part to let me know without a doubt that he was done with me.

    This was all pre CL, who was likely still in grade school at the time, and no public internet, so I knew nothing of terms, but I did in real time think his eyes looked like a shark.

    When he circled back he still had those semi softened shark eyes, but in my bout of hopium I overlooked them. When that crashed and burned I was done. The next time he circled back I in my own way told him to go to hell. I was done.

    • What is it that they not only kick us when we’re down, but have to invite people over to see our sad figure? It’s like they decapitate us and then parade our heads around. I find this pretty sick.

      My FW XW used to invite over people I didn’t want to see just when I was in the worst position possible (sort of fetal position, so to speak). I too would argue that that was not a good time just to have my feelings ignored and be told that having (almost strange) people around might cheer me up (of course it never did).

      I hate fuckwits and will never, ever allow any one of them into my life again. What they do to us is nothing short of sadistic.

      • True, but honestly I don’t think insisting they come over had anything to do with me, he simply didn’t want them to know yet that anything was amiss. It was going to hit the fan within a week, but I am guessing he was desperately hoping he could keep the fallout contained. There was no way it would stay contained, but a controller trys until the end.

  • The shark eyes came when he first denied the affair looking directly into my eyes and lying. It was for this reason, when the affair was confirmed, the first thing I did, was take his gun and lock it in the safe and change the code. I only handed the gun over after the divorce on the day he moved. It was hell living with him till then, but I least had a fighting chance. Had to call the cops on him once due to his threats. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have used that gun towards me. I thank God that he gave me the sense to get and lock up the gun. X-hole was a sociopath with no soul. His shark eyes showed me that true evil does exist.

  • I think that CLs theory that Dead Eyes are what you see while their channel changes from one to the next. Really interesting idea and I can see logic in it.

    I am a religious person (currently flailing in our current society) who thinks that the concept of “mortal sin” where someone does something so bad that Gods presence leaves them and they are left open to whatever evil comes along and takes occupancy of their self.

    I dont believe that God is an abandoner, but He gives each of us Free Will and He will not violate it. I surely did see evil in his eyes back then.

    If we had no kids, he might well have pushed me off a cliff but I think he kept me alive so that he and Schmoopie wouldn’t have to raise our kids and could go off into the sunset with her. I wasn’t afraid but looking back, maybe I should have been – he had told me that he could snap my neck in an instant (and I didnt see that as strange in the moment).

    I fought the evil I perceived around me with the weapons I had at hand…I put Holy water in his shampoo, I blessed our home, his clothes and other things.I wrote a powerful prayer and put in under the mattress on his side of the bed. I started going to daily Mass.

    I look back and I think my decisions were simultaneously noble and misguided. I stayed hoping he would change and that was fool-hardy…he was who he was. I thought it was best for my kids but they suffered by his terrible example and I was too afraid to see it. I would never recommend anyone follow my example because they might not survive. I do believe God leads us but each situation is different

    • I just hate that you, and all of us really went through hell.

      I did pray and pray in the beginning, but it wasn’t too long before my preacher said “you need to get mad, I am waiting for you to get mad” And behold I did. Then I called my dad and asked him to pray that my love for fw die. Didn’t take long after that.

      We each do what we can until we can do it better.

        • I think there are a lot of them. He was (is) a police chaplain, they are not meek generally.

          Also, I don’t think God intends us to allow ourselves to be bullied and abused. Turn the other cheek does not mean pacifism, it means we won’t seek revenge against someone who harmed us. Doesn’t mean at some point we won’t have to fight to protect ourselves or others.

          Just leave the vengeance to God. Anyway that is how I have been taught.

          But dang sometimes it is hard not to seek revenge. In my case I imagined him floating face down in the Ohio River for some time. I didn’t wish it, and I didn’t push him in, but for a while I imagined it.

          Once I quit imagining that; I knew that was the beginning of forgiveness and that forgiveness never meant I had to let him anywhere near me.

          Like a person that would destroy my property. I can (hopefully) get to a place of forgiveness, but he/she must be dealt with in a court of law. Render unto Caesar… and all that.

    • Unicorn I have been going to daily mass as well as saying rosarys trying to get through this. STBXW was a Eucharistic minister at our church and president ofWomens Guild while having affair on church property. I don’t know how she was able to separate carry on the evil. When I told our priest he said it was satin acting through her but he has since been avoiding me. I feel that the other women’s guild members have poisoned him. She is now at a different Catholic Church and continues to deny everything. Her women’s guild friends give me the stink eye when I am at mass. So very difficult but I have to just believe that people are imperfect beings. This has bought me closer to God and I don’t blame him. It was her free will. We were a staple at 7:30 mass for the last 18 years and my son would serve every week while she lectured and administered communion. I will just have to put my trust in GOD.

      • As a once serious roman catholic, I can only imagine the angst and confusion you are going through, DrChump. I hope this timid priest is not your confessor. And God forbid he hears both yours and your (X?) wife’s confessions. If this is the case, please try to find another confessor for you. Having the same confessor as your wife is a recipe for disaster (ask me how I know). Back when I was a christian, I would get hints from our pastor that I should lose weight lest my wife could be tempted into adultery… that keeping myself in shape was an act of charity towards my wife… then I lost a lot of weight and all of a sudden I got advised the other way around… what I didn’t realize back then is that it was her using the confession booth for character assassination and getting a headstart for her narrative years before the attempted final discard (which blew up on her face, praised be the lord). And I now suspect the priest was an enabler… or worse.

        Them fuckwits play the long game, they plan ahead. Listen to yourself: she followed the script of Gone Girl. I believe you. I think mine tried that too, only was too incompetent. In fact, the film adaptation was her favourite movie of all times (okay, Ben Affleck was a crush of hers, maybe it has something to do with it…).

        What I am trying to say is: you probably already lost the narrative war within your parish. She probably began the smear campaign long ago and people are lazy creatures with itching ears. You are just further torturing yourself to keep going to the same places as these folks. It sounds like you’re not getting any support from this environment. Isn’t there any other church you can go to in your parish?

        In any case, I just wanted you to know that I hear you and wish you well.
        My FW XW also pays lip service to the holy mother church. Her status on social media is the Nihil Amori Christi Praeponere, from Saint Benedict’s rule. Many of our old fellow church goers and parents from ours kids’ old catholic schools do believe her story, whatever that may be (I really don’t know).
        Since I am no longer part of any of it, I have the luxury of not giving two flying fucks. But I can imagine what I would feel if I was in your shoes.

        May the holy communion be your strength. If the scriptures are worth anything, your fuckwit is playing with fire eating the bread and drinking from the chalice unworthily (but I guess it is also part of your worries for her… sigh).

    • “I put Holy water in his shampoo, I blessed our home, his clothes and other things.I wrote a powerful prayer and put in under the mattress on his side of the bed. I started going to daily Mass”.

      You almost made me cry, unicornomore. What uneven yoke such purity of heart of yours besides the cruelty of your fuckwit. May your God bless you! I’m not a believer, but I wish you’d be blessed for praying for someone who despitefully used and persecuted you, as your lord commanded.

      “he had told me that he could snap my neck in an instant”.

      And I bet some chumps here wish we could snap his (not a believer in turning the other cheek, as I said).

    • Maybe that’s why a lot of the pros wear sunglasses at the table. ???? ♥️ ♦️ ♣️

  • I experienced it once with the now XH.
    I will never forget it, how it frightened me.

    He had moved out (at my request). And immediately moved in with the OW the very same night, I was in shock over that, as he had denied denied denied their involvement.
    Many of you here laughed along with me at the absurdity of him telling me they weren’t living together, they were “cohabiting!”
    3 months in I found out (sorry, by FB snooping) that they were moving into a bigger house together. I texted him, to see if the weasel would come clean and actually admit it. No. He told me he was staying put for the time being, he was still confused, didn’t know what he was doing, this wasn’t a permanent situation… blah blah blah.
    I already KNEW he had signed the lease!
    Well, not one to let things slide, I told him to come by our house and pick up the rest of his things, but in reality I wanted to show him the proof I had – finally! Proof! That he was a liar!
    When the confrontation happened – and he knew he couldn’t lie his way out of it… OMG
    The eyes turned completely black! It was a horrible and frightening thing to witness.
    Luckily we were outside and I just said: you better go.
    My theory on the “Shark Eye” is that they are caught. They know charm, rage, or self pity will not work. Their black souls are revealed through their eyes in that moment.
    I’m getting the chills just recounting it.

  • I don’t remember a shark-eye moment, but the instant I found out I will never forget.

    He was on the couch sleeping and I woke him up. He sat up and I was standing over him, his phone in my hand open to an email I found in his email trash, a business trip itinerary he sent to the mysterious woman whose name and “Bday” was on the calendar of said phone, asking her, “Do you want to come?” Even with hard evidence in his face, you could see him mentally scrambling for a lie to tell. “It’s someone from Company X.” I said, “This is not business language.”

    (He NEVER EVER tells the truth. He ADMITS, after he is trapped in an absolute corner of a box canyon with hard evidence in his face. He will lie lie lie lie lie until there no discernible crack to slither through and escape).

    Before my eyes, there was a literal visible sensation of him changing into a total stranger as he admitted to having an affair and telling me he loved her. Before that moment, I had truly believed (I don’t know why now) that he was incapable of cheating. I went out to the front porch, sat on the steps, and screamed and screamed and screamed into a pillow like I was being murdered. Because I was being murdered. Soul-murdered. Which I consider more torturous and painful than being physically assaulted, based on my experience of being physically assaulted.

    And based on my experience of what it feels like to be cheated on, no one can tell me, and no one had better try to tell me, especially anyone who has never been cheated on, that it’s not abuse of the first degree.

    • Amen to this!

      Also, I think “mentally scrambling for a lie to tell” describes the look well, at least in the case of x. I’m only surprised it was a scramble because he apparently had a black belt in lying.

      And up until that point, I’d thought he was ethical and beyond reproach. He always had harsh words for liars. And don’t get me started on how he felt a certain moral superiority, handed down by his holier-than-thou parents.

      By the way, I wonder how own eyes looked in that moment.

      • My fw on the night he told me the “whole story” in on e breath said he had been cheating on me for ten years, and he never loved me. In the next breath he hung his head and said; and I quote “I am just not very good at lying”.

        If I could go back in time, there is so much I could say to that lying sack of shit, but alas…

    • “Before that moment, I had truly believed (I don’t know why now) that he was incapable of cheating. I went out to the front porch, sat on the steps, and screamed and screamed and screamed into a pillow like I was being murdered. Because I was being murdered. Soul-murdered. Which I consider more torturous and painful than being physically assaulted, based on my experience of being physically assaulted.”

      Absolutely, word for word. I would have taken a bullet for him and my mind could not grasp something like serial adultery…like you I thought him incapable of it.

      At the time, I reflected that it would have hurt less if a band of thugs had beaten me senseless and left me in a puddle to die and I still feel that way (even though my mind let go of what the pain actually felt like, I cant fully recall it)

  • My ex had big gaps between his teeth and used to joke about how he looked like a shark. He even bought shark memorabilia when we went on holiday. Apparently psychopaths are often obsessed with apex predators and he also sponsored tigers with WWF.

    The first time I saw his shark face was less than a year into the relationship when I made some lame joke about his almost flirtatious relationship with his mother. It was like the temperature dropped 10 degrees in the room. His eyes went black, his jaw and fists clenched and I felt my stomach drop and a chill run right down my spine, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I somehow knew that if I moved or spoke I would be in grave danger so I just froze to the spot and lowered my gaze, waiting for him to leave the room.

    It was genuinely like the moment in a movie when Dracula’s fangs come out. Later we joked about it and I tried to deny to myself that it has really happened, told myself I was overreacting.

    It was only on D-day 20 years later when I discovered he’d been living a double life for 12 years with no conscience and remorse that I realised what that early warning really meant. So many red flags missed.

    • My XH has a flirtatious relationship with his mom too. She rubs up against him and flirts with him. It’s so gross. And I’m not the only person who saw it. Post D-day, a family friend brought up that she thought that my XMIL acted flirty towards my XH. XMIL always said about her son, “He’s so perfect and special.” Barf!!!! No doubt she’d marry him if she could! lol

    • Cheater’s sister wrote poetry about cheater that was borderline insestuous. I even read it to my adult daughter who said the same. Ew. This sister hated my guts from day 1 (onward for almost 30 years)

      • Is this a common thing? My ex had an almost infantile relationship with his sister, who seemed to savour speaking to him like a baby. The whole thing was borderline creepy. The mother and a few of the adult kids, mainly my ex, seemed trapped in a shared fantasy of their own superiority – he was very covert about it though. But there was something sexual about her behaviour toward him. He did had control of family assets so I assume she had worked out he was a perve and was using her feminine wiles to extract resources from him. Sick

        • I’m another where the mother would flirt with the ex. I noticed early in the relationship that if we were hugging or standing close, she would come over to us and physically grab him by putting her arm round him and snuggling up. It was awkward. ???? horrible woman. He was becoming more like her physically as he aged. I found that awkward too. It was like sharing a bed with my MIL. Looking back, only 3 years ago when we were still together, something malign oozed out of them. Greasy, oily, malodorous.

  • The dead stare vacant eyes: as he walked past me in the kitchen of our lovely new home, & stated ( totally out of the blue) “ You couldn’t be pregnant at a worse time.”
    I thought he was concerned about the finances as we had a lovely 3 year old daughter and I was in first trimester pregnancy. I just thought, everything will be ok, I will just try harder so he doesn’t worry…thinking like go back to my work sooner after the baby is born, etc.

    I was sososo naive and he was sososo into the OW.

    • While you were pregnant??? Ugh. That’s awful. I’m sorry Peacekeeper.

      I hope you and your kid(s) are doing ok now.

    • …..spoken as if he had nothing to do with you becoming pregnant… extra layer of effed up in that comment to you…..

    • Peacekeeper, your (I hope X or at least STBX) husband is a monster unworthy of his blessings. Wish you and your children health and peace miles away from this crap. (((Hughs)))

  • I’ve seen it go the other way with people who have naturally light colored eyes, blue or gray, where the color seems suddenly drained from their eyes, appearing like a pale gray wash. Likewise their skin takes on a gray hue. They appear dead. I occasionally see auras around people in highly-charged situations, so at the same time this is happening I see a pale grayishness around them. It’s like the mask, or veil is lifted for a bit and their real self is exposed; the aspect of their true self they are usually sucessful at hiding. They temorarily appear inhuman. Perhaps they were all along.

    • My ex has light blue/hazel eyes and this is exactly what happened with him. He raised his eyebrows at the same time which completed the look of utter condescension. I came to dread that look.

      My son is the spitting image of my ex. He gave me this look once, but he’s a teenager so I’m hoping it was just an instance of teenage angst. I had such a visceral reaction when it happened and my son was surprised. I explained the situation to him and I haven’t seen the look from him since. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t turn out like his dad.

  • I think that the shark eyes were as a result of the cold hard fury that Ex-Mrs LFTT experienced when she realised that I (and our kids sadly) saw her for who she really was, and that no amount of lies on her part were going to cover it up.

    Didn’t stop the lying cheater from lying though …. not by a long chalk.


    • ” I (and our kids sadly) saw her for who she really was, and that no amount of lies on her part were going to cover it up.”

      That may be accurate. I know the first time I saw his shark eye look, he had already had an ethics violation lodged against him, his mgt knew he had been screwing his direct report for years, and in fact had been screwing her when he gave her a reference to get her job as his direct report. I didn’t know any of this yet, all I suspected was that he was ephing a local whore; I didn’t realize his house of cards had imploded. It would take about one more week for it to hit the fan big time.

      • SL,

        The sad thing is that, nearly 7 years on from D-Day, she has not once apologised for anything to myself or to our kids. It was the kids that found out because they could see the texts she was sending to her AP as her iPhone was synched to the iPad they used, and I don’t think that she’s ever forgiven them for telling me.

        I get her not apologising to me (because I had already been devalued and discarded in her eyes), but the kids ….. not so much. I was there when she dismissed their hurt and fears by telling them “lots of your friends’ parents are divorced and their kids are fine, so you’ll be fine” and then stormed off, leaving me to deal with the collateral damage.

        At the time I sensed that she was shedding the kids and I like a snake sheds its skin; without a second thought and without remorse.

        So I guess she’s a snake-shark hybrid.


  • Yep, those shark eyes were there when in the middle of an argument cheater ex told me that when he felt depressed, he felt like killing me and my boys and then killing himself. I saw those shark eyes and knew he meant every word.

    That’s when I started making plans to get my boys and I safely out. We did eventually make it out away from him and had 18 good months of peace.

    Unfortunately I could not convince the powers that be cheater ex was dangerous, but that’s another story.

  • Luke 11:34-35 The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good (reflecting light), your whole body is full of light. But when they are bad (no light in them), your whole body is full of darkness.

  • Their eyes project a deep, rageful anger and hatred that they are unable to keep under wraps any longer. The gig is up and the mask no longer fits them.
    I think it is a transference of the hatred they have for themselves onto us.
    Our eyes are actually a part of our brain. That cold dead shark eye stare that makes our skin crawl is a view into the workings of their really sick and very scary minds.
    The last year we had any interaction, I was unable to make direct eye contact with him and would look to the side or down when talking to him.
    I only realized I was doing that in retrospect because I was too scared to look directly into those lying, manipulative, cold black eyes.
    My gut was telling me I was no longer safe and this animal with the dead eyes before me, meant me harm.
    They can hide all their lies and deceits with great agility for decades, but their eyes broadcast loudly their true contempt, hatred and intentions.

  • Oh, I have a lot dead stares stories… one very recent (last hostage exchange), but I will just let this one slide (or probably post it here later ????).

    Prior to DDay #1 I didn’t know what these blank stares meant (not sure if I understand now). But I think this is gold:

    “We all know how the mindfuck channels flip between rage, charm and self-pity. I think the Dead-Eyed Stare is the static between stations”.

    One that is very precious to me was the dead stare she gave me when I confronted her with my knowledge of her crossing several state borders to spend a weekend with AP at a resort (it was in the heights of the pandemics; both of them came back with covid). She had left our kids with her fuckwit mother and told me she had to go back to work.

    One day she fowarded me some silly feel-good meme about how “we” (them fuckwits, I guess) find happiness in “moments of carelessness”. I videocalled her instantly to let her know I knew exactly how many moments of carelessness she had spent where, when and with whom, while abandoning her kids and giving false reasons for that. The extent of my info on her funny bussiness must have scared the shit out of her and her expression just turned blank.

    This was during wreckonciliation and I was playing the marriage police.

    What is precious for me in all this shit is that I’ve got myself a screenshot of her dead stare at the exact moment I told her what I knew. It was a videocall and I knew what I was up to, so my fingers were ready! ????

    Wish I could post it… Seldomly I’ve found a picture so instructive. It should illustrate the entry for sociopathy in every encyclopedia. When I feel the least doubt that she sucks donkeys’s asses lurking from my mind’s background (which I don’t as of late), I just take a good look at that picture. And I trust that she sucks again. As Tracy summed up brilliantly:

    “Oh right. That’s who you really are — a void”.

  • The eyes are supposedly the window to our soul. And there’s that!! During the 32 yr fake marriage I did notice that his countenance changed whenever he was self preserving his lies. Looking at photos over the years he would be the only one that had a distant look. No smile, no expression, eyes seemed to sink in a bit. He simply wasn’t present. When the kids were young and they were jabbering away about their day while having dinner, he would have that empty stare. I used to call him an empty box.

    During the divorce nightmare, the “stare” was pure HATE. 6 years post D he still looks at me that way when we have to be at events for kids/grandkids. It is common for him to wear his dark sunglasses the enitre time he is present (or not). His career was in LE and that intimidating stare was probably helpful, but to use it on me was just evil and hateful. Reptilian eyes are scarey and behind them is an ugly cold heart.

    When so much effort is put into living a double life eventually it catches up to them, especially as they age. The Gift of Fear teaches to always trust your gut. These people are NOT.NOT.NORMAL and truthfully I believe are capable of anything.

    The EYES don’t LIE.

  • It’s funny how trauma helps you forget the worst sometimes (I have “blanks” in some of my memories from right after DDay). I suddenly recalled the true dead shark eyes moment. It was the night of DDay.

    Earlier that day I had an epiphany about why FW was acting so cold and strange the past few months (2015) and ended up confronting him and asking if he was having an affair with the woman we kept “coincidentally running into” from work. Unfortunately, I was right. But I was unprepared and really didn’t expect it to be true. He left me, our son and the house within an hour and never returned. And I was left shaking and falling apart.

    That night I called him trying to reason with him and he mocked me that he was in bed with his coworker. I fell apart and he called the police on me saying that I was threatening suicide. And he showed up with the police at 1am (I think — it’s all a blur now).

    The police ended up cuffing me and taking me away. And I’ll never forget FWs face. As I knelt on the floor with my hands behind my back (I’d never been in handcuffs before), he stood there dead-eyed. His eyes were very literally black.

    That was when I realized that he wasn’t who I thought he was. And it helped me stay the course and serve him with adultery 2 weeks later. (I was ok btw… police apologized and brought me my back). But those eyes —- they were the eyes of a cold-blooded monster.

    • What kind of creature does that! MS, you are well away from that beast. It must have taken so much courage to hold yourself together.

      • Thank you NoKibble4U and MightyWarrior.
        Even though that was nearly 7 years ago, it still gets under my skin thinking about it. But I’m thankful his mask came off so cleanly in that moment — it made it completely clear that my only option was to move forward with divorce. Still, it was traumatizing as Hell.

        • MS, I recall reading this part of your story some time ago. This is horrific. Your XH is a monster. I think I told you I hated him, and I still do, even more so after reading more about what he and his whore did to you and your son. It is a shame you’ve been put through this.
          My heart goes out for both of you. (((Hughs)))

          • Thank you. I don’t bring it up except in this space. I really try to block out that whole thing. But it’s important that as new chumps join, that they see the reality of these FWs. That monster ex is exactly that — a monster. Here was a guy that was “nice” “quiet” “smart”… he worked in education finance…a real “gentle giant” (standing 6’5”)… a “great dad.”

            But he’s a covert narcissist. Everything he did was selfish. He was passive aggressive… acting like things were fine then acting out behind my back. Then when I discovered he was cheating with his coworker, he walked out on me, his 9 year old son and his home without so much as a glance back.

            And no one believed me. To the outside, he was “such a nice guy.” Meanwhile, he is a real monster.

            I was a straight A student. A goody two shoes as a teen. I’d never had a run in with police. And this guy stood there dead eyed as they took me away in cuffs — while I was having a complete meltdown from the trauma of discovery.

            There is nothing to work with. Nothing to reconcile. For anyone wondering if they should “try for the kids”… or they “don’t want to waste all the years invested in our marriage”… ask yourself if the person who has revealed themselves is who you married. If it isn’t, then don’t waste another minute with them. When I saw the dark eyes of a demon peering back at me from the man I thought I loved, that was enough to slap me awake and force my hand. I didn’t marry THAT. I don’t want to stay married to THAT.

            • “But it’s important that as new chumps join, that they see the reality of these FWs. ”

              This is so true MS. Eventually most chumps will not only survive but thrive. But understanding this, and having some early tips and choices can make a huge difference. I so wish I had access to someone like CL when I was hit by my own Mack Truck.

  • I stumbled on this blog last night and can’t stop reading. I feel I’ve been given permission to shed the responsibility of the relationship. We sat in couples therapy where the therapist looked at me and said the fate of the relationship is with me. I can’t let him feel too much shame or guilt. That will push him away. After reading this blog? Fuck him. He feels whatever shame and guilt he deserves. Two years ago I sat in our bed crying saying we should break up(yeah we weren’t even married then). He got so angry “are you fucking kidding me!!! You’re just gonna give up when things get hard! We need to be all in!” The next day he lied about going into work and fucked an ex girlfriend. Two days after that he got a hotel room for the afternoon and fucked another girl! Did he tell me any of this? Nope. I had to snoop and put the pieces together years later. Then when I let him know that I know he fucked three girls in the space of 4 days he loses his shit on me telling me to let things go. Oh I will let things go. The 200 pound bag of talking horse-shit that is mad at me for seeing who they really are.

    • Yes, as a therapist friend of mine likes to say, sure you had problems, but you were not THE PROBLEM. Big, ugly choices like you describe are THE PROBLEM.

    • Camille, sorry for your situation, but really glad you’ve had a change of heart about exactly who should bear the responsibility for it! There is a great deal of support to be had here. On Reddit there is a private subreddit for ChumpLadyNation where you can post and find support from lots of wise people who have walked this path. Are any of the mods here that can help Camille out and get her logged in? I’ll drop a line over there. Congrats on the 200+lb weightloss!

    • Camille ,

      Glad you found us. As a proper grey haired grandma, I shamelessly say: Fuck that therapist, fuck his nasty lying ass and fuck the horse they came in on.

      Read the Timid Forest Creature posts from the archive

    • Welcome to chump nation – sorry you have to be here.

      Leave a Cheater Gain a Life – Tracy’s book title says it all.

      Read or listen to it if you need resolve to leave.

      And you WILL gain a life – a much better life. It’s hard to leave, but don’t throw away any more of your life with mr. horse shit.

    • Camille, reading what you’re going through is like traveling back in time. I can feel the overwhelming sadness and indignant rage I felt when I started to understand all the ways I’d been conned and taken advantage of. It was almost too much to bear for awhile. I am so sorry that this happened/is happening to you.

      I think what you’re feeling is a very sane and human response to learning you’ve been coerced and betrayed for years by someone you’ve given so much of yourself to. You will likely continue to be fucking furious (among other unpleasant states) for awhile. The unfairness and consequences will never go away (which made me feel hopeless and stuck for awhile, because I didn’t see a solution or a way out of the pain – no matter how many times people reassured me I was better off and would one day feel ok again), but somehow, the centrality of it does.

      I wish “it” hadn’t happened, but what does that really mean, and where does it get me? I’m relieved I know, and I’m glad I left. I’m thankful I don’t have a dishonest POS for a “partner” anymore. Let the anger at what he’s done to you fuel your escape, and do whatever you can to take care of yourself and get the best possible outcome. You don’t owe this FW *anything*. Definitely keep reading here for advice – and specially about financial/legal advice, protecting yourself from the Hoover and going No Contact. The sooner you can stop communicating with that manipulative, dishonest FW, the better. Vent and process here instead, because you will receive validation and wisdom, and even comfort, in CL/CN’s compassionate and sane responses. A virtual chump hug is better than anything an FW has to offer. (Trust me – I learned the hard way.)

  • there are many instances, i don’t know. they’re difficult to process. i’ve lumped them all together into a shark eyes 101 file. EMDR works.

    i suspect it’s emptiness showing but there’s a lot of anger, too.

    i have come to the conclusion that my X hates women and that includes me. i mean, he wants to have sex and control women (physical appearance and clothing/shoe choices), but he hates women. but he’s a faux feminist.

    it’s this shit that drives me nuts. i believed him when he talked about promoting women in the workplace, etc. etc. but he has no female equals, only adoring junior employees who are all a little fucked up, you know? hanging on his words. until they figure him out for what he is.

    my problem is that i have a daughter with him and she’s smart and sees him for what he is, but for fuck’s sake, her dad is a misogynist.

  • I think it’s the “I give 0 f**ks about you” stare. This likely goes along with the fact that we are an appliance to them.

  • As soon as I discovered the affair I texted him and told him to pack up his things and leave. So I left him immediately and while he tried to hoover, I never looked him in the eyes again.

    Before D-day, I recall the one thing that had changed with him – he used to look into my eyes during sex, and then he stopped doing that.

    But it occurred to me always that he had snake eyes – green, almond shaped, reptilian. It was disconcerting to see that in the man I loved. I had to shake it off many times. And I can only admit it now, now that he betrayed me and I realize that it was always in him to betray me.

  • When light blue true go black cold . I’ve faced plenty of scary situations in life but this is in a class of its own. When one knows the capability with violence that their Husband has and his past history , it makes it all more unnerving . It solidified the need to get away. Young Ow has no idea who she is with . Buckle up Punkin!

  • From my personal experience the dead-eyed stare or shark eyes appeared whenever I confronted my ex FW’s lies with irrefutable information and she attempted to devise an impromptu explanation or retort. The gears inside the calculating, reptilian center of her brain were turning so fast and demanding so much energy that her expression would turn blank. It was kind of like someone trying to pass a lie detector test. Revert to the mean or neutral setting on the outside while the gears in her head were turning so fast that at any moment you might expect smoke to pour from her ears.

  • Yes, I saw it so many times and squashed what my gut was saying and stayed…and stayed.

    The last time I saw him, it finally started getting me. The college kids and I had already moved out, and we were just things ready for the moving van that would take the last of his stuff out. Then the family home would go on the market. We had a deeply disturbing conversation in a restaurant, and I left. That was the last time I ever saw him. The divorce was all done long-distance, thankfully.

    Late in the negotiations, my attorney commented that even having never met my husband, he felt that he was an evil person and that we had to adjust our strategy accordingly. My husband’s attorney had been blabbing some disturbing things that mine summarized in that conversation and others to follow.

    I took that as a “believe them when they tell you who they are.” The gaze that I finally grasped when we were getting the house ready said it all.

  • Mine is a misogynist too. The covert, slimy kind, one that comes across as having high regard and respect for women on the surface, but plays with them purely for entertainment.
    He envelopes and entangles their emotions, making them jump through all kind of hoops and then leads them to believe he is the real deal and they fall in love, then he drops them off a cliff when done and on to the next with ease.
    I think he gets off on their devastation, tasty kibble feed to him.
    With one of his ‘tells’, he talked about a mistress that he dragged along for years and finally dumped that never did marry in her life and he believed it was the cause of that.
    I could tell by the smirk on his face, that it brought him a strange satisfaction knowing he had destroyed her so badly, no other man could possibly take his place in her life.
    It’s way more important for him to feel that level of special than it is for someone to find true happiness in life. It’s so damn dark and disturbing, next level dark.
    I also have a daughter, she knows her dad is a misogynist. She does try to have a relationship with him, so I worry for that negative influence on her life and I try to be the balance.
    Even for my sons to be exposed to that element of disrespect for women is so unhealthy for them.
    My x-hole once told my eldest son when he was a freshmen in college that he was a good looking guy, so he should be getting more ass than a toilet bowl seat.
    My son shared that with me only years later and told me how very much he was disturbed by it, it really hurt him to hear that from his own dad.
    The disrespect for women was profoundly obvious. It made my son feel such a confusing skivvy vib coming from someone he had greatly admired and loved his whole life causing great confusion for him.
    My kids now look at their father as an example of what not to be in life, despite his high level of accomplishments in many areas on the surface.
    I do feel greatly relieved that they truly do get it.
    They are caring and loving kids, they try and love their dad still, but they all know he is a greatly flawed man with limitations in the things that matter most in life, like family, integrity, honesty and love.
    Not one of them wants to walk in his footsteps. Thank you Jesus every single day of my life for that gift!!

    • “My x-hole once told my eldest son when he was a freshmen in college that he was a good looking guy, so he should be getting more ass than a toilet bowl seat.”

      My fw’s dad was like that. My ex told me a couple things he told him like that. I wish he had told me before we married. He made it like he didn’t want to be like his dad (who was an alcoholic and gambler) yet that is exactly what he was in his other life apart from me.

      As far as I know he never went back to drinking after he quit when our son was small, but he sure did the whoring around and gambling.

      I still don’t get how they keep the whores quiet for so long. Who spends years sneaking around with a man they know is married, and that he is obviously lying to his wife, and they are both lying to their bosses.

      Yes I know, desperation.

    • Chumpasaurus45
      YOU, are the role model, that your children look up to, that is a gift you are so deserving of.

      Still I am so sorry for all your pain. I understand. ????

      • Thanks so much for your kind words Peacekeeper! I just drove two/ 700 mile days( 600 left tomorrow) on my way to help my eldest son get some of his stuff moved to Texas from Boston. ( he will be much closer to me now, yeah!)
        I jumped in the tub and the very first thing I viewed was your sweet comment. How nice that was to receive?! ????
        We are most def the role models for our kids as their last sane parent standing ( which feels pretty scary just to say that!)
        The only difference is they will never lose me or my love and it goes both ways, which is a priceless gift their father has no clue he gave away.

    • “My x-hole once told my eldest son when he was a freshmen in college that he was a good looking guy, so he should be getting more ass than a toilet bowl seat”.

      My father is a misogynist too. During my childhood and teen years I overheard him saying the most disgusting things about my mom, female employees and his whores.
      He just once tried to talk about sex with me, but I shut him down – I’ve already had enough of his shit to know he was in no position to lecture me.
      I remember as a kid (maybe 8 yo or so) accidentally overhearing my father talk obscenities to my autistic adult brother. The content and the form of the lecture was disgusting. I lost a lot of respect for my father that day. My father also bought my brother some porn tapes and magazines, to which I too had easy access. He defiled our home with that shit.

      Just like your kids, Chumpasaurus45, I spent my whole life regarding my father as an example of what not to be in life. Life paid me with chumpdom, but that’s okay. I still prefer that than to have been my father (who I love, but do not aprove).

  • I just experienced this last night. It is so unsettling to have someone you once trusted look at you like that. This has got to be some form of trauma considering how deeply it burns into your brain.

  • Mine would do this sort of fake pondering face when I’d confront him with something I’d found. That was always my tell that I’d stumbled upon something he didn’t want me knowing about. Of course the ponder face would always be followed up with a lie. Once I found a business card that had “Susie, Wyndham, 2pm” written on it. I was pretty positive this was a hooker because the Wyndham is one of the cheapest hotels where we live, but he did the pondering face then said “Oh yeah! I was taking notes for a travel expense claim I was doing for one of our attorneys!” I knew it was a lie because the attorney would have been requesting a hotel for the city she’s headquartered in, which makes zero sense because she’d never get reimbursed for a travel claim so close to where she lives. The pondering face was always my clue he was cooking up bullshit.

  • Ah, the eyes of a narc, sociopath or psychopath! I too saw the shark eyes and it was frightening!

    True story: The cheater was extensively interviewed for his present job. One person that interviewed him was a psychologist or psychiatrist: this company takes it very seriously who they put in top positions. I swear it took months for them to decide to hire him. What was the reason they were apprehensive about hiring him? HIS STARE! I kid you not! We laughed about it at the time, but that psychiatrist/psychologist was getting sociopath vibes. He should have trusted his gut on this one!

    I didn’t know it at the time, but XH was very close to getting fired from that job. I found out post D-day from a friend who was married to the companies HR person. They ended up sending him to a job coach and I was aware of that at the time, but he never told me he might get fired if he didn’t get his act together! That is lying by omission! I guess when you spend huge chunks of your day going from department to department talking to all the ladies, you don’t get your work done! No wonder why he had work at home every single f*cking night. No surprise he met all his whores at work! Life is so peaceful being cheater free!

    This is a good article about the sociopath’s eyes:

    “There’s a physiological reason for eyes turning black. Anger activates the sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the autonomic nervous system from the primitive, cave man part of the brain that creates the “fight or flight” response. It triggers rapid breathing, increased heart rate and blood pressure, more adrenaline in the bloodstream and dilation of the pupils, which are the black parts of the eye.

    The dilated pupils make the eyes seem black. They indicate that the person’s brain perceives a threat and is preparing to respond with aggression. You don’t want to be the object of possible aggression.”,the%20object%20of%20possible%20aggression.

  • I have talked to many people about this and come up with some categories based on what they have observed, combined with research on eye expressions.

    The shark eyes (meaning dilated pupils) are a signifier of rage or of machiavellian calculation. The eyes will also go into slits if they are calculating.

    The vacancy in their eyes is their inner emptiness and apathy coming through. If they say they care, or if they smile, but their eyes are expressionless, believe the eyes.

    The dead eyed stare, or thousand yard stare as it is known in prisons, is indicative of dangerous sociopathy. Run like hell if you see that look. It’s hard to describe, but you’ll know it if you see it. It’s like a peek into their empty elevator shaft of a soul, combined with malevolence.

    Sometimes they will get what my daughter coined evil clown face. The corners of the eyes will lift up, as it would if they were smiling, but the brows scrunch in as if they were angry. It looks as if it’s a parody of an evil character. It’s most often accompanied by the classic smirk or sometimes a big, toothy, but nasty smile. This happens when they are relishing making their horrible plans or are sadistically delighting in duping you and in your suffering.
    When my FW did this, he looked like a creepy jack o’ lantern.

    If the eyes seem to go dark, it is because the pupils are expanding, indicating that they are experiencing pleasure, or at least fantasizing about it. If a fuckwit does this when being cruel, the fuckwit is a true sadist. It shows they don’t even need the usual fuckwit-being-denied-an-entitlement rage in order to enjoy hurting you.

    Finally, their is, as CL says, the switching between stations to try to find the right tactic look. The eyes will be empty of expression but the pupils will be darting around. They also do this when trying to come up with a plausible lie.

    • Sorry, I meant to say that they shark eyed look is contracted pupils, not dilated.
      Constriction is usually associate with anger or fear and dilation is associated with attraction, pleasure, rapt attention or surprise.
      Cluster bs get pleasure from being nasty, so their pupils can dilate instead of when they are being mean, causing the eye to look black.

  • Those are the eyes of a predator fixed on its prey. At that moment they’re not “thinking” or “calculating” or “considering.” They just see something–you!–that sets an instinct clicking away in the depths. If they were actual sharks, those dead eyes would be the last thing you saw.

    • I think that’s true with cats – pupils dilate when the pounce or the attack is for real. How about dogs? Primates?

  • I had a call with my FW ex when i was fully expecting to reconcile with him. All I thought was that he wanted to say he was sorry and maybe needed more time with some boundaries I asked like deleting his APs texts. It was like a demon had possessed him. The pure venom that came out of his mouth. That cemented my decision to end things with him. I told him he was an asshole and that I should just break up with him then. I did end up breaking up 2 days later with the encouragement of a wonderful friend. I had never cried that much on a call in my entire life and had a panic attack after. He was starting to get emotionally abusive. He had mentioned before some people found his eyes scary. Guess they saw the abuser in him early on that I missed.

    My situation was very different from many of you long suffering posters. I was planning on marrying him later this year. Glad I saw the danger signs to shake me to my senses. Now I’m living a FW life free.

    • “I had a call with my FW ex when i was fully expecting to reconcile with him. All I thought was that he wanted to say he was sorry and maybe needed more time with some boundaries I asked like deleting his APs texts.”

      Ah, been there! Makes me laugh now, but made me cry then. Sorry you had to go through this, OnceChumped, but glad you didn’t waste too much of your one precious life on that loser, and glad you found CL for recovery and moving forward. Keep it at ‘once’!

      • Thank you bread & roses. Single life feels a lot better. The pity shown me by the two individual therapists who I met was enough proof that I made the best decision of 2022 already by dumping him and going no contact. My breakup is fresh and only a couple of weeks out. I had given him 4 months to fix his boundaries before I ended things with him. One interesting thing about him was he wanted me to really go to couples counseling with him before he would actually just implement any boundaries . I’m more than certain he was using it as a tactic to manipulate me. I didn’t fall for his idiotic ploy. Had a wonderful mentor tell me the same thing, I’m not the one needing therapy here.

        The joke of his situation is, the OW doesn’t want to have anything to do with him either. She thought he was single and ignored him after he told her he was in relationship once the emotional cheating got physical. I hope for his sake he has a come-to-Jesus moment now but I’m not going to bother finding that out.

        • Very common for cheaters to beg chumps to go to couples counseling. Part of the hoovering/love bombing or some other part of the skein. I fell for it, as have many other chumps here… just read the archives! Many of us even feel retraumatized and ganged up on from the experience. Good for you for shutting it down.

          Also, I doubt this guy will change I’d save your well wishes and concern for those who deserve it and offer you the same. I extended the same hope to my ex for many years, in spite of his abuse, but I eventually learned it was a lost cause. I also learned I couldn’t care about myself while caring for him. Plus, after everything he did to destroy my life, I now feel he deserves any pain he brings upon himself!

          You sound strong, wise and well-supported. Best of luck as you GAL… doesn’t sound like you have far to go. But, do stay strong and go No Contact ASAP.

          • Thank you bread&roses. I hope you’re doing much better now without your ex around and that you’re finally taking care of yourself the way you need to.

            Thanks for your advice, I have been no contact since the breakup. Blocked him seconds after telling him I was done with him. I’m glad this insanity came out before I actually committed to a marriage.

            I am truly loved and supported by so many wonderful people in my life from my amazing family to close friends who dropped everything to check up on me when I finally told them what was going on. My ex even admitted several times that he thought and several friends told him I could do much better than him because I am far more attractive than him and had my life in order. Too bad for him, that was not incentive enough to not lie, cheat and gaslight me. I’m looking forward to finding someone better. I am now working on developing a better picker now before I jump into dating again. One loser can’t bring me down like that.

            • Once clumped , it seems another ruse for them to say “you deserve someone so much better than me” . Mine was not overly handsome but that did not matter as I loved who I thought he was and was able to overlook and forgive stupid stuff. We had worked hard to be together from a distance love and then moving so that it was a new start far away. But he began falling into same naughty patterns of porn , flirting , fighting and lies overload plus more. I fought for us to the end and two known Full on cheats. Fixing a picker and so far all imitated every guy after me , I’m still broken and wary like many on this site.

              • I’m so sorry for your experiences. The thing is I know many ethical guys who don’t cheat like my FW. None of my guy friends single or married have indulged in cheating, they have healthy boundaries with other women besides their wives or girlfriends. My boyfriend before this one was honest about all his interactions with women even though that relationship lasted a much shorter time and we broke up for other reasons. I do not doubt that man will be a faithful husband to whoever he ends up with.

                I did have a gut feeling about this ex’s untrustworthiness early on. I refused to give him my phone number for a whole month while giving it out to other guys a lot earlier while we were still talking. His emotional unavailability was pretty obvious but he had good excuses for it, which I believed. Literally never had feeling that with another man before. Looks like I have to learn to trust my gut better, my picker is not really as broken, but needs a bit of fine tuning so I don’t fall for idiotic sob stories anymore. Well hindsight is 20/20.

  • If “Shark Eyes” can be construed as righteous indignation , then yes , I saw it , more than once.

  • I have experienced the “shark eyes” (and accompanying tone and body language, and even brandishing of weapons), but I don’t read into anything supernaturally evil – even though I understand how it can feel that way. Cheaters are actors, con artists, skilled manipulators. They’re great at playing TFC, and they’re great at playing evil masterminds. They’re okay with being aggressive bullies, especially when their lies are exposed and their masks begin to slip and their previous tactics no longer work so well on chumps, and/or they’re in full on devaluation and discard. They control chumps with threats and try to scare us into submission when all else fails. (For me, “shark eyes” wer accompanied/followed by physical agression.) Sure, cheaters are shallow, phony and cruel, and they lack consciences and basic decency; they’re abusive and really can hurt, or even kill, their victims. But so much of their power is undeserved and/or an illusion. They are just abusive, pathetic losers underneath it all.

    • They are weak and pathetic losers. I don’t consider being weak enough to let evil in your life being strong. Evil actions have always been the acts of weak sick folks. Even the master minds. Weak sick p’s of shit. They usually show their weakness upon discovery.

    • So true bread and Roses ! Walking into court there was a bench out front . My once masculine chest puffing bully ex sat there , alone , looking like a little boy that’s in big trouble , looking so small and whipped. He just looked completely deflated . It was so weird I hardly recognized him!

  • Oh the unforgettable scary stone eyes. The eyes really are the window to the soul.

    We were in St Malo during a holiday with 2 of our children. Ex decided to shave off his full beard to a 3 day growth like all the young french guys were sporting. He messed it up and came out of the bathroom clean shaven – what a shock. His beautiful brown eyes were stone-grey, cold and empty. He was ugly (and not just because his beard was hiding a multitude of chins). I was horrified and recoiled inwardly if not outwardly.

    I had already decided to leave but were I still wavering that moment would have persuaded me.

  • What a Friday challenge! When I challenged my Fuckwit’s gaslighting he’d bite back. He had me convinced that I had an audio processing disorder. The crazier part is that I believed him even though I have an advanced degree and had no history of misunderstanding anyone else besides a previous boss that used to mumble under his breath inaudible nonsense.
    I’m now free of the Fuckwit and my senses have stabilized- go figure.

  • I detest that stare! I never knew what I was going to say that may invoke it. I interpreted it as full of hate towards me. Disgust with me. It was palpable energy.
    I should have been the one sending those messages. My therapist said that he got that message when we left and went no.
    A funny story. Recently I went to the grocery and recognized him crossing the lot. I no longer know what he drives. Everyone was wearing masks. I noted he wasn’t limping at all like he does in court. I went in just ahead of him, got my items and went to the express line. I was looking around as I was waiting and saw him on the back isle furiously pushing his cart and dead eye staring down the isle towards me. I only felt relief that I never had to be around him again.
    I told my friend about it and she said I should have walked/ ran towards him with intent then vear or stop suddenly and get a product. I don’t know why that suggestion was so funny but we still get belly laughs playing that scenario in our head. I honestly think he would have been stunned but he’s horrible and carries a gun so in reality I don’t want to confront him where he would say he felt threatened.
    He has come towards me in that manner making me feel threatened.

  • The dead black stare is a common device used in CW television shows to indicate demonic possession. The person looks fine but when the jig is up the eyes flip to totally black and the demon reveals itself. It makes me wonder whether the writers on Supernatural, Charmed, etc. had personal experiences similar to those expressed here; a case of art imitating life or of using personal trauma to inform their craft.

  • I didn’t get the shark eyes.

    I got the pity eyes. The sadz!!

    It’s been 2 years since the strange began following a long mirage of 31 years.

    17 months since DDay.

    Heard something today that I didn’t want to hear and am processing it but struggling too.

    ‘apparently’ our mirage had been over for years. It was dead. I didn’t know this. FW didn’t tell me this. Like I said I’m struggling…… Again when I have done so well. Someone give me something ????

    • “‘apparently’ our mirage had been over for years. It was dead. I didn’t know this. FW didn’t tell me this. Like I said I’m struggling…… Again when I have done so well. Someone give me something ????”

      Yep, same with mine, he had been unhappy for ten years. That didn’t stop him from having frequent sex with me, using me as his “wing man” in our community, letting me spend all my free time, working volunteer assignments in the community under his name. Telling every one how great I was, and putting on the family act.

      Then I assume his original plan was to drop kick me as soon as our son graduated from HS. But, alas the fall before my son graduated, a possible new mayor came to town, he wanted me to help him get new guy elected. Of course whore couldn’t do that, she had neither the skills or the clean background that I did, and that he pretended to have.

      So that bought me two more years until he could get his two promotions, first LT, then a year later Captain. As soon as he had his bars, the year of discard began.

      He had no more use for Susie, and was going to hand over everything I had worked for to the whore.

        • I agree with Martha, just start from the old to new on CN. To help you of course, but also to help you eventually see some humor in these twits.

          They do rewrite history. It is so convenient for them.

          It is so hard when it is new.

          You will be ok, it just takes a while. Also the further you get out from it the more clearly you will see him.

    • Claire, chalk what your husband said to you as “Stupid Sh*t Cheaters Say”. My cheater said to me, “I haven’t been happy in ten years, but I didn’t know it.” Just stupid stuff they say when they get caught cheating, want out of the marriage, etc. It’s garbage and not true! Chump Lady has written about this topic a few times, so go read up on those old blog posts and the comments sections. I think they will be helpful to you. I’m sorry you are struggling, but you’ll get through this. We are here for you. (((HUGS)))

        • No contact is the way to recovery. They know how to manipulate and devalue. Don’t trust them and don’t give them the opportunity.

          • Claire, I feel for you. It’s a horrible, unpleasant comment to hear, especially after a long marriage. I’m a bit further along the road but I’m still regularly triggered by memories. Generally though life is more peaceful when you’re not being abused daily! I got ‘I’ve been unhappy for a very, very long time, about 10 years’. This alleged unhappiness had never been expressed to me explicitly. And part of me thought, ‘what an idiot to be unhappy for so long and be too much of a coward to do anything about it’. In truth, he had worn me out and it suited him at that point to leave for exgfOW (who was very long distance). The scales of convenience tipped in her favour. And they lie. I do think that there is value in asking ‘what if’. What if what they say is true. Does it excuse cheating? No. This particular comment is intended to devalue the old relationship and justify the monkey branch activity. It’s a moral coward’s way out. And moral cowards are cowards in every part of their life. You can’t build a reliable life with a coward.

            • And of course, there’s the implication that “doing something about it” means abandoning the old ball and chain. The chump is to blame for the problems in the relationship and ultimately, for the cheater’s unhappiness. Cheaters valiantly put up with burdensome chumps for years because they are good people and couldn’t in good conscience just abandon their spouses like that. (It’s only fair that they get little glimpses of light and happiness on the side… these poor, martyred saints.)

              What about “doing something about it” by taking responsibility for oneself? Being grateful and positive? Learning how to be a better communicator and person? Treating loved ones with appreciation and kindness? Learning about abuse and treating partners as just that: equal partners? Making amends? Behaving with honesty and integrity? What might happen if cheaters cut the shit? I remember being stuck on this when I was still high on hopium – see CL’s “in love with the potential” theory: I thought “we” could salvage all the good (i.e. the life I’d put many years into building) and come out better for it. It seemed so obvious, and painfully within reach. The problem is, FW didn’t care if I lost everything, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I never could before, and this was even more true during wreckonciliation, when I had less power than ever. Instead, I finally faced the hard choice in front of me and chose the lesser of two evils. I left everything behind because I knew I could never be free or safe with an FW. What’s more, I was ashamed to go through life associated with such a dirtbag. I didn’t respect him, I couldn’t trust him, and I couldn’t count on him. Once I knew this, it was just a matter of getting the courage and resources together to leave. (As it turned out, I didn’t have the luxury of planning because I moved out suddenly when his physical aggression crossed a new line – in some ways, for the best because who knows how much more abuse I would’ve taken otherwise, having left my job and family to put all my remaining chips in the pot with him – in pandemic lockdown and with very few, if any, good alternatives.)

              • Bread and Roses , I so empathize with all you’ve said and went through . The full investment into ones we love and then the agony to realize , then escape from fear of more violence. It must be something on the order of what is termed “shell Shocked” . Escaping and learning to live alone has been a big process for me , the memory triggers good and bad , although I have friends from very young they are far away I’m in a very rural area so there is isolation. The isolation from Covid has made it tough for many also. This community at Chump lady has been much help and sharing of experiences.

    • They say all sorts of things, especially when they percieve they are backed into a corner. Some of it is an attempt to justify their behaviors, other times to hurt us, or both. Almost all of the time it’s lies. Take what they say with a big grain if salt. Why would you believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a known and proven liar? They lie to us because we intimidate them and have their number. Don’t believe anything they say, and consider it a strange sort of compliment; you have the upper hand.

        • I always picture a toddler in his high chair saying “I hate you, mommy” because she won’t give him a cookie. That’s who they are: terrified whiney little kids who got caught and/or can’t get what they want, lashing out in the only way they know how.

  • I got the shark eyes from D-day onward whenever I looked sad or asked to talk about what happened. But the worst incident was when I was on the floor crying so hard I was dry heaving. He walked past me, stopped and stared with a deep contempt I could feel, mixed with fascination, like the way you would look at a hideous but unusual insect. In that moment I knew he was a stranger who hated me, and that my whole relationship with him was an illusion.

    Later in wreckonciliation, after hours of his ranting that he had done nothing wrong and I was “beating him up” with my requests to talk about it, I finally got a chance to share my feelings and I said that moment was the real issue, not even the cheating anymore, the contempt in that moment when I was the most vulnerable. He was genuinely surprised by that, readily admitted that yes he felt nothing but contempt in that moment, and then explained, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, that he was raised to see people who are “being weak like that” with contempt. People should pull themselves together and never look like that, no matter what happens.

    And that was that. He was raised that way, you see, so there couldn’t be anything wrong with being like that. It was unbearably insulting of me to suggest therapy, and so I was finally discarded. But on my way to Tuesday now! It does get better. But if I ever see that look from anyone else again, they are going to be out of my life from that moment.

    • RuralChump, you are mighty. When life deals your despicable ex a blow, I hope he remembers that conversation with you, and I hope he feels the contempt in someone else’s stare. The ex had a similar approach to ‘weakness’ ie normal human frailty and emotion. He could not abide to see illness or disability. It truly offended his sensibilities. The irony is that their behaviour shows how weak and cowardly they are. They are afraid and they haven’t got the guts to face the fear and deal with it honestly. There is more true strength in the end of a chump’s little finger than in the whole of a cheater’s body. I despise these misfits.

  • I saw them about a month after DDay, 1month after finding the white lace bra in his luggage after being out of town “working” for 2 weeks. He had spent the night out one night a week since DDay. And Then I “forced” him to cut smoopie off. He did and began to me livid and off put by me.

    He said one night I want to spend the night out once or two nights a week. I said fine go ahead. He started asking my why I loved him and I told him. His eyes go black and he scowled- you always say that! That’s so typical why do you love me or need me or want me? Then he was so drunk that it was scary he was getting angry drunk. I got the intuition he was going to kill me. Hs grabbed / touched me. Somehow I got him to sit down at the table and I just defused the situation the best i could. I sat in his lap and acted like a Barbie doll, smiling and cooing- are you going to kill me? Haha hahaha ha! I said.

    Pretty soon I’m getting him out of the house for the one or two nights out a week. Starting right fucking now preferably. Hw grabs his phone and his laptop all angry snd showing me what for. As he walks out the door I said wait- here’s your charger! Haha, and I gave him 2pieces of gum for his liquor breath when he gets pulled over for the DWI tonight. His eyes go back to normal he looks down at the ground took those things and slunk out if the house.

  • I was smashing my head into walls. Curled up sobbing over a pile of shoes near the doorway. Begging him. Wondering why. Why he kept disappearing on long drives. Why he kept disappearing for long phone calls. Why he spent so many hours in the shower. He pretended to comfort me while he knelt with that dead, blank stare. Didn’t tell me the truth even though I begged.

    Whenever there wasn’t a dead stare, there was fake guilt and crocodile tears. He either tuned in to the sad sausage mindfuck channel or to the shark eyes. The eyes that used to love me were gone. Or whatever facade he put on that fooled me into thinking it was love.

    So glad I caught on relatively soon.

  • Just reading this post this morning. Just wondering if anyone else has ever noticed when these defects are posing for the camera they look normal, but when they are caught off guard having their photo taken, there is that unmistakable blank or psycho stare.

  • Blank dead stare. Totally compartmentalizing what he did or having some sort of out-of-body disassociation. Did not give one fuck about what it meant to me, or even to our infant daughter. He became a stranger in an instant.

  • I never imagined pale blue eyes could look so flat and dark. I started to think of the empty eyes like a doorway to a dark room. The only thing I ever saw a hint of in that darkness was a deep controlled rage.

    Before I even knew who he really was, I became fascinated with “micro expressions”…,,the quick, tiny responses- in his case sneers, contempt, and rage that passes across the face before the acting covered it up.

    I did online training to learn how to watch for these expressions and thought I was doing it to help me in business. I later realized this was my subconscious taking steps to protect me.

    We become so used to taking in empty words “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, when all the actions indicate otherwise. The micro expressions that flicker across the face always matched the behavior.

    Those dark eyes and the micro expressions giving me a peak into the deep rage is why I never wanted him to know how much life insurance I had. I didn’t think he would kill me, but I wasn’t sure?!?

    That’s still difficult for me to reconcile in my head. That I spent years sleeping in bed next to this person without knowing how dangerous or dark they really were. .

  • Simple; it’s aggression. But they’re still hoping to manipulate you so the aggression can’t be too overt.

  • My STBXH used to stare at me when we were dating and early marriage. I thought it was because he was smitten and in love. His whole pupil filled his eye. If i didnt think he loved me it would have been unnerving.A few months ago on D day, that dark eyes stare looked more like a shark in the deep ocean, eye on the kill. I believe his good conscience and soul left his body and his mask was off. It was as if he was no longer human. Very frightening. I got a restraining order and kept his guns locked and locked him out of the house and garage. Who was this man? I had fallen for a hologram. His life with me and D day was the last act.

  • One more thing! I talked with my dear friend who is a therapist. She says those shark eyes and cold stares are DISASSOCIATION. That person who looks at you with a ” you are dead to me” stare are really pushing any compassion, any human empathy into a cave in the back of their brain and putting their loose brain rocks,in the mouth of the cave so no human feelings leach out. The cold reptile brain with no human compassion or love is at the front of their Brain and in FULL CONTROL. After cheating on you for hours days, months or eons…the reptile gets stronger and stronger, while the cave that used to have compassion, dies for lack of oxygen. There IS NO HOPE for this person..They can only mimic and pretend and act as if…but they are empty vessels. I ran from mine and locked 🔒 him out. It is too.scary for me! I like humans that have true loving feelings not reptiles.

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