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UBT: ‘You Made Me Leave You’

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Universal Bullshit Translator
The Universal Bullshit Translator

Hi Chump Lady,

Thank you for being there as a light post through this journey. My question is more of a request for some classic CL snark.

My former “nice-guy” soccer coach ex-husband, (kids’ ex-father) left me and my middle-school aged children out of the blue BY A GROUP TEXT for a woman half his age (yawn at the cliche) several years ago. Let’s just say it was a bit traumatic for the three of us. My kids were adopted by us as infants and his abandonment, and the way he did it, really triggered deep wounds for both kids. My son definitively says “He’s not my father. A father creates you or raises you. He did neither.”

Fast forward 7 years and it’s been a hell of a ride navigating the teen years. Substance use, anger, picture a TV show kind of troubled teen, and you’ll see my son a couple of years ago. My daughter has had other super worrisome teen concerns. But I’ve tenaciously loved these kids, gotten them the mental health care they need, listened, held them, and cried, and miraculously, both kids are doing well right now. He’s in college, in recovery, and building a great life for himself. She’s a happy junior picking out prom dresses this weekend. It’s two steps forward one step back, but I think they’re going to find their ways. Their lives won’t be perfect but they will be good.

Some background on me. I’m an anxious person by nature, but in a normal way (thank you Lexapro). I was pretty anxious for the 2-4 years of gaslighting before his affairs were revealed. (Duh). I’ve been anxious about my kids’ problems, but it seems like a normal response to tough stuff. I work, I laugh, I love. My anxiety has served me well in mobilizing the right supports for my kids, I think.

I’ve aged 20 years in 7, haven’t had a chance to even consider dating again, but I’m rocking my job and friendships, wondering what my empty nest years will hold for a tired old lady. Meanwhile, ex lives in another state with his child bride, lives a very glamorous high-income lifestyle, and sees the kids maybe twice a year.

Finally, my request. Last night, I did something stupid. I texted him for support about something going on with the kids. My text wasn’t my high point. After asking for what I needed from him, I said “You’ll never know how much pain your leaving caused the 3 of us. I hope it was worth it for you at least.”

He responded with: “I lived with you for 20 years. Your anxiety will turn anyone to drugs and self-harm. Let them make their own mistakes and stop trying to control everyone. You still don’t get that you made me leave you and destroy the family, do you?”

All this background so you can read that text from him and validate the giant “FUCK YOU” response I did NOT send back to him.

GettingThereSlowly

Dear GettingThereSlowly,

Wow. That took amazing restraint.

On behalf of Chump Nation, let me validate that response you wanted to send.

If anyone deserves to fall backward into a vat of acid, it’s your ex. What an abhorrent little man.

Alas, trying to shame fuckwits never ends well. I completely understand the urge, however. Anyone who’s ever been left holding the bag as Solo Sane Parent gets it.

You’re there doing all the heavy lifting and he’s swanning about oblivious to the therapy bills he left in his wake. You’re attending to the care and feeding of teenagers (more frozen pizza, STAT), while he’s being glamorous. (Whatever that means. Vacations to Moritz? Sunning his balls on rocky beaches? Cruising for ever-younger Schmoopies?)

Who are you to interrupt his idyl with recriminations? He canceled his subscription to parenting! Why must you spam him with these constant reminders?

It was one reminder, Tracy.

Unacceptable! Can’t you all understand your obsolescence? He sent a GROUP TEXT!

GettingThereSlowly, this is why we preach No Contact here. He has no better angel to appeal to. Anyone who abandons his family by group text is an empty vessel in a Tommy Bahama shirt. A void. A vacant canyon of vapidity.

I mean, what’s he going to say? “Yes, GTS, I am human excrement. Here’s $10 million for your pain and suffering.”

No! It’s not going to happen. You shall be punished for your accountability demands.

Enter the Universal Bullshit Translator. (Who in anticipation of the new site launching this weekend, is revealed today in cartoon form. It wants you to know its much better looking.)

I lived with you for 20 years.

I served a horrible sentence of misery. Every moment tethered to you was an eternity. I have no idea who made me adopt two children.

Your anxiety will turn anyone to drugs and self-harm.

My abandonment would turn anyone to drugs and self-harm, but let’s blame the byproduct of my abuse.

DARVO!

Let them make their own mistakes

I don’t understand why you care. Have you considered a group text?

and stop trying to control everyone.

It’s ridiculous the way you try to keep children from drugs and suicidal ideation.

You still don’t get that you made me leave you and destroy the family, do you?”

You’re so controlling, you made me destroy the family! You! With all your powers! You chose that! I said, GTS, wouldn’t you rather have flight or x-ray vision? And you said, “No! I choose FAMILY DESTRUCTION.”

And then you cast me out. Made me schtup a much younger woman. You and your mind rays.

You still don’t get it.

 

***

GTS, we all wobble sometimes. (((Hugs))). Keep rocking the sane parenting.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I’m right there with you, GTS. I’ve made mistakes breaking grey rock, too. (I have to communicate some bc my ex has created a public father of the year persona after ignoring our kids throughout our marriage.) You have been incredibly strong through such a difficult stretch. You are indeed rocking it and an inspiration!

  • He is a POS, narcissistic asshole that is so fucking stupid it’s sad, and the 3 of you are better off without him. NO CONTACT FOREVER!!!!
    All contact through lawyer or court mediator. He sees them twice a year? Cut that off for 2022. Amputate that relationship with a swift, clean cut!!! Block him on your phone, any social media, and start your new life with that POS in the far, far away rear view mirror!!! ❤️☺️🥰🤗😊Hugs and much love from a thriving single “former chump”!!!

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen the UBT in toon form!

    GTS, your kids know that you’re the safe place, I hope you can take comfort in that.

    • EXACTLY as I pictured the UBT.

      Except, perhaps, friendlier.

      The UBT always comes across as a bit of a curmudgeon. Having to be bribed with European sweet breads etc.

      ps loving all the gifs today

      • Agree. In my mind, the UBT has been grumpy, squat and overweight from all the Lebkuchen. Good to know the truth!

  • GTS it sounds like you have done an amazing job getting your precious children through the nightmare trauma of abandonment. Its not entirely miraculous – its your attention and love and care and sleepless nights worrying that have brought them through to happier times.

    Your ex is a foul douche with his unspeakably disgusting lowlife response, and how you resisted a big FUCK YOU wrapped round a Molotov cocktail and lobbed through his glamorous window seems miraculous to me.

    You. Are. Mighty.

  • You are rocking life, and I totally understand why you did what you did. My therapist has coached me on this rule that has helped me immeasurably: Never ever tell a narc what you feel about anything. They are incapable of human qualities like empathy that most of us probably take for granted.

    • I second this! I discovered that my now-ex would take any feeling I had and use it against me. He’d either ridicule it, appropriate it, or weaponize it against me.

      • He’d either ridicule it, appropriate it, or weaponize it.

        Perfectly said!

        I wonder if it’s because they’re threatened by the fact that feeling deeply comes so naturally for us. Maybe it reminds them too much of how empty they are?

        GTS: I get the urge to reprimand FW and OW a lot. And I’ve broken NC in the past plenty of times to send a sarcastic reply or comment. Pretty much any time they come to mind, I start itching to tell them how f-ing evil they are. Sometimes I play it out in my head, which is oddly satisfying and frustrating at the same time.

        But over the past year, I’ve come to really get what a waste of energy they are. If decent people (including therapists) don’t completely understand this trauma, we can’t expect the fuckwits to get it. Their neurotransmitters just don’t fire that way. Even if they did, their existence depends on being fully invested in the lie. No one with a drop of empathy could stab their children and leave them to bleed out for a sex fantasy.

        They have to blame us; otherwise, they would rot from the guilt and shame.

  • I’m on a forum and it is a divorce support group for women only (I’m now band 🤣)

    Now I fully understand this group is women supporting women with all aspects that divorce brings .

    But yesterday there was a woman posting saying she had an affair she left her husband for the OM and one anyone else in the same situation . There are over 200 replies ( before I was removed ) some women were not the cheaters but saying that she gets everything she deserves etc but everyone who were the cheater came away with some amount of BS excuses . Ranging from emotionally neglected for years , wasn’t happy for years , not in love for years blah blah chumps know the story .

    Not 1 if these women could leave even by their own without opening their legs ?? Who knew !!

    But anyway the amount of support they were getting was unreal . Women saying girl no wonder you had an affair he left you with no option . Girlfriend he made you do this he is a total narcissist glad your out and found your happiness

    I was sitting reading this thinking – wow us chumps male and female have some amount of supper powers . We should get a marvel comic especially for us .
    Like we make people have affairs – can’t prevent them but we can make them happen by our controlling powers .

    We make families implode by our sheer ability to overlook their flaws and carry the slack

    We can make people abuse us by our ability to not being mind readers and holding cheaters to stay in miserable marriages for decades without them saying a word .

    We can make 2 people meet and have sex with out super powers of being trusting .

    I mean we really made them do this with all our super powers !! I should start wearing my underpants over my trousers and get a cape !

    Ofcourse I can’t hold my mouth so I said no one made you have an affair . You could have left without dropping your pants you are just a run of the mil cheating bitch

    So as you can see I’m banned 🤣🤣 oh well

    • Karmeh, come on over to the Facebook Chump Nation site. You’d fit right in. We had an OW show seeking sympathy for the fact that the man she had poached cheated on her. That particular OW received a verbal beat down that was a thing of beauty. The thread was deleted but while it lasted it was a scorching red hot retribution for OW audacity.

      • “The thread was deleted…”

        Why?

        I had a nasty experience on the FB site, similar scenario, skank OW posted about how she’d now seen the light, or something like that. I was still very raw, and posted my anger and contempt.

        I didn’t get any support, in fact I was told several times my anger was ‘concerning’ and several people posted there was something wrong with me, and I needed therapy. Never again.

        I’ll stick with CN, *real* chumps, who understand the pain, not apologists for whores.

        The fact you say the thread was deleted says it all. 🤢

        • I was banned from the Facebook group. A woman with disabled children had just found out her husband was cheating and some other woman told her she deserved it for “neglecting” her husband to take care of their children and told her she’d been a bad wife. I called the second woman a nasty piece of work.

          Instant and permanent ban. It’sa a bad group. Nothing like over here.

          • I agree it is a bad group. With few exceptions, it rants and flails with no focus, logic, or info. In other words, it’s a lot like fuckwit!

          • “I called the second woman a nasty piece of work.”

            Probably an OW, I think there’s quite a few over there.

            Stick with CN, Karmeh, we get it.

            • I know, right ?

              I’m prepping for a trip to Western Europe and I’ll be packing a few copies of Tracy’s book in my suitcase. I’ve already decided one copy will be placed in one of Paris’ decommissioned phone booths that have been converted into free libraries. I’ll staple the translated blog posts inside, with a note to the chump who finds it.

              • That is a *fabulous* idea Saffa, good on you!

                I hope you have a lovely time on your trip, it’s so nice we can now plan normally for things. 💕👍

                If you get to the UK, I live in Northumberland – Hadrian’s Wall Country. 🇬🇧🤗

    • With the way these FWs treat their chumps, it’s the chumps who should be driven to having affairs after surviving on rancid crumbs in an emotional wasteland from these FWs for years. No one ever seems to bother considering what chumps have to put up with from FWs or how they weren’t meeting our needs of having a decent partner who put our well-being ahead of their impulses. You know, the bare minimum you’d expect from your partner. After years of having our needs ground down to nothing, it’s still always about their almighty needs and they can’t be arsed to ever consider ours. Couples therapy follows this model too. Cater to the FW, ignore the chump.

      • Well said. I hated couples therapy (we went a couple of times early in marriage because I was so lonely in my marriage). I’m the one who quit because somehow his ‘needs’ were more important to the therapist than me needing human connection. Even back then the RIC blamed me for him neglecting me. Maybe they just can’t understand what it’s like being married to a narc.

      • Yep. I dealt with his erectile dysfunction for a decade. That wasn’t fun for me. My needs weren’t met. But he was still cheating. He had to take drugs to cheat on me but he soldiered on and got it done. Bless his heart.

    • I love you for saying what you did. We all need to speak up like this and change the narrative around infidelity.

    • Can somebody teach me this amazing power of making somebody to do something for me? I’d like to make my next boyfriend to shower me with diamonds and precious metals.

    • Karmeh, thank you, I needed a good laugh this morning. Made me laugh so hard I woke up my dogs.

      Unbelievable how so many cheaters are indignant about blaming the chump for their decision to cheat. They don’t care how stupid it sounds, it’s justified because they said so.

    • K,

      You are absolutely right about Chump Superpowers; we should trademark them.

      According to Ex-Mrs LFTT, it was my behaviour after she walked out on the kids and I – and my behaviour alone – that drove Ex-Mrs LFTT and the AP that she denied having an affair with into a relationship that was “FB Official” within a month of her leaving and cohabiting less than a year after the divorce was finalised.

      I wish I had known I was this powerful; I would have monetised it.

      LFTT

    • The problem is with cheaters they can dish it out but they can’t take the truth so those of us that tell it like it is get banned!

    • Before I realized STBX was cheating I signed up for Marriage Helper because STBXW was becoming distant. I am still a member of there private page but stopped all the bullshit classes once I realized I was a chump.
      Anyway now thanks to LACGAL I go to that page and see how these people are living on hopium and it is sad. I will comment and say ” sorry he/she is cheating again you don’t deserve this. For a different perspective read LACGAL and visit chump lady”
      It’s my way of saying thanks to Tracy for doing God’s work

  • GTS, communicate with this absolute fuckety fuck fuck only through a parenting app. In the future any time you need comfort and support come here, join the Facebook or Reddit Chump Nation support groups for further succor.

    Tighten up those boundaries..This FFF doesn’t give a good goddamn about you or the kids. He doesn’t care and you can’t make him. Your words aren’t going to fix him. He isn’t capable of offering you support.

    Unless there is a court ordering you to maintain contact I’d block him. Let your older teens handle their relationship with him. Discuss this with your kids. Don’t push them to interact with FFF who clearly has abandoned them.

    GTS, that FFF is the enemy. He does not care. Your pain is delicious to him. He will never be the support you need. Block him, delete the contact, leave yourself notes that your pain delights him. Never give him another chance to further his abuse.

    • You might want to ask what to think about a grown up man who runs away from his horrible, controlling, neurotic wife yet leaves two children with her, practically full time? Hmmm …

      • I often wondered this myself, cheater confided in everyone with tears in his eyes, that he was concerned for my mental well being, I’m unstable, an alcoholic, he tried everything to save our marriage, even therapy but I refused. (a old faced lie).
        Poor cheater, he was so concerned he secretly moves into an apartment to be leaving his child ..

  • “Alas, trying to shame fuckwits never ends well.”

    Yes, I remember the pre-NC days where I thought if I could just get it across to him that, at the least, he broke my heart and, at the most, almost destroyed many lives…. if he could just understand that “he did a bad” then that would be some closure for me.

    I never got that and never will. Nothing is ever his fault. If I pushed (“I’ve lost 20 pounds, I’m on antidepressants, you’ve left me with children and in debt, and you’ve broken my heart”) then he pushed back (“I take no responsibility for your feelings or happiness, Fourleaf. You are in charge of your own life and you can’t pin that on me. If you are feeling badly then that’s on you. You’re a bad person for trying to make me feel bad.”). Each of these conversations had the opposite effect of what I was hoping for. I was hoping for, bare minimum, a sincere apology or admittance of.. y’know… guilt. I would get DARVO. Every time. And I would feel like throwing up after every conversation. It would take me a few days to recover from each one.

    Communicating how you feel to a FW is nothing but banging your head against a brick wall. When you are done, the brick wall continues to stand tall and proud but your head is bruised and bloody. No good ever comes from banging your head against a brick wall; you’re just hurting yourself.

    We all slip in this journey. I don’t even remember how many times I, still thinking as a partner or even as a friend, would send him (while he was living with a GF), I would send him a text or an email explaining my side of things or how I was feeling and all I was hoping for, at that point, was an apology or… something… anything that indicated to me that he was capable of empathy. I never got it because he never does anything wrong. :S

    Then one day it clicked… like *really* clicked. I can never have personal communication with him again ever. He can never know how I’m feeling about anything ever again. He will never get access, if I can help it, into my thoughts or feelings about anything from how he blew up our marriage twice to how I feel about salt and vinegar chips. He will *never* get to know my personal feelings on anything ever again. Because anytime I’ve offered him personal communication, he weaponized it. I don’t know how he did it but he did it. Eventually I locked him out of personal communication and the only thing I communicate with him about now are numbers. Calendar dates, times, or child support dates. That’s it. Business only. Short and polite.

    NC is a blessing and it has brought so much peace into my life. He doesn’t get to know how I feel about anything anymore and that feels great.

    • Is this ever true. They are horrid unfeeling zombies, sucking the life-force out of everything. They always try to turn it around and have zero empathy and feelings.

    • “Alas, trying to shame fuckwits never ends well.”’

      Yep, they will either admit their wrongs or they won’t. (few do). Same as criminals, almost all of them are innocent and blame others.

      • FW: I feel that ‘these things’ happen for a reason.

        Me: Yes! The reason is you are a lying, cheating, hypocritical piece of shit! 🙄

    • Thank you so much for this, Fourleaf. It really helps me to read this. I had to text my ex the other day, and each time I do, I find myself so emotional exhausted for the next day or so – I’ve come to call it an “emotional hangover.”

      I’ve mentioned to my therapist that I feel each time I’ve been vulnerable about my feelings since he left – at best, it’s simply been ignored. There is no ownership on his part.

      He can’t validate himself (his actions are so driven by external validation), and there is no way he’s willing to validate me when I call him on things he’s done. It sucks. I am told there are potential partners out there who will do that, somewhere.

      • I know that emotional hangover well. I feel ill for days after some sort of personal communication with my X. But I can manage “business texts” with him. Think of him as a business partner that you are shackled to for the tenure of a contract. You can’t get out of it; you have to do business with this person. Handle him how you would handle any other business partner that you have a contract with (but that you desire no personal communication with). There’s no need to be long-winded or rude because, well, this is just business. And there’s *never* any reason to get personal about anything (from big things like “relationship” to little things like “Did you watch the new Batman movie? Did you like it?).

        Long-winded communication, rudeness, personal thoughts/feelings on anything. These are all things that are simply not needed when you are communicating with someone that you are doing business with, particularly if you do *not* want to be doing business with them but, for the moment, you must.

        Dehumanize him. This is not a person you are trying to connect with. This is just a business arrangement for now.

        This comes with practice. You’ll find, often, that you write a text/email… proofread it for that short, polite, professional tone you’re aiming for. To this day I still hammer out a text in response to business (again, usually only dealing with numbers like payments, calendar dates, or times), reread what I wrote and then I revise it for shortness and clarity.

        For example:

        I may have written out “The kids will be ready for pickup at 5:30 today. [Son] needs 15 more minutes to pack his backpack.”
        This may not strike you as a very personal text and it’s not. There are no indications of my personal thoughts/feelings anywhere there so… yay me! But, I now know (after… sigh… years of practice) that the above text is simply **too much information.** X will take it and use it.
        His response may very well be: “I can’t control when I get off work. You know that 5:15 is when I arrive for the pickup. You’ve known this for years. Can’t you arrange it so the kids are ready by then to see me?”

        See what he did there? I gave him too much info (even though it wasn’t a personal communication/it was still business) and he DARVOed me in return. I will read this and feel like crap about myself for days. In telling him that [son] needed some more packing time, he was able to find the wiggle room to call me a bad organizer of time and, effectively, a bad mother.

        So, through multiple… multiple… *multiple* communications like these I got a lot better at giving him no ammunition. The same text from today would look like this: “FYI, [son] will be ready at 5:30.”

        That’s it. And, honestly, I could even make that shorter. It’s not long. It’s not rude. And I didn’t tell him *why* it was 5:30 and not 5:15 because I’ve learned that giving him information he doesn’t really need is opening up the lines of communication And I’ve found that the less I give him to work with, the less chance I will receive a DARVOed response. The answer to a text like this from him, these days, is usually “Okay.”

        For those of us still stuck in some form of communication with our FWs… well… it *really* sucks to have to get good at playing these “how to communicate with a FW” games. But we get good at it.

        An additional point: the longer a text/email, the better the chance my X will take advantage of the idea that he can be confused about what I mean. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve sent him a long email about calendar dates and child scheduling stuff (to which he will agree to) and then, weeks later, he claims to be confused about which dates I meant and what times I meant. These days, I make sure all texts/emails are *short and clear.* I also keep them relatively polite which really helps to… y’know.. not give him ammunition. I am never rude (that would just give him “an in” to berate me). But, really, this is how you would handle communications with someone you’re doing business with.

        When communicating with the FW, always scrutinize your texts/emails. Proofread them before you send them. Ask yourself:

        – Is there anything personal here?
        – Is this clear and to the point?
        – Is there information here he doesn’t really need?
        – Could this be shorter?

        And watch those communications with the FW shrink. Don’t give him ammunition of any kind because he’ll use it. Business only.

        • Thank you for these tips! The only text communication I have with klootzak is to discuss our child’s school drop off or pick up or when kiddo and I are returning home from somewhere and klootzak demands a report of our whereabouts or timing. When I hear the sound of a text from him on my phone, my stomach used to flip. (I used to physically jump so this is an improvement.) I have made the text sound like notes going downhill which I call “the sound of disappointment” because that’s what he is. Anyway… I have tried to respond and keep it short and – just like you said! – he would find a way to attack me from it and make me ill. Your examples are great. I now understand that I have been offering too much info. I don’t need to report but the barest minimum. I will put this into practice immediately.

          • Why do you have to ‘report’ to him at all regarding your whereabouts? I can understand about times certainly, but whereabouts? That’s going too far. Also, start lengthening the amount of time between his text and your reply. Make yourself wait at least 5 minutes then longer and longer. He still has you on the ‘hotplate’, jumping when he wants you too. Put some distance (figuratively) between yourself and his requests. He might throw a fit, but that will just gain him more and more time before you answer.

        • Fourleaf – this is precious wisdom, and I love how specific your examples are! They are truly resounding. And I, too, have (slowly) learned to do exactly the same.

          On the last occasion I communicated with FW, it took about an hour. I started with 2 paragraphs. By the time I hit send, I had 2 simple sentences. “Daughter will visit from x date to x date. Please return her by x date for school.”

          It’s hard to describe the satisfaction of that process. Not to mention how lovely it is to get no reply. Ahh… peace.

        • Wow, thank you for this! I’ve been trying to keep my texts to just business (really, thank God, it’s the last thing tying our communications together), but I suspect I could be even less verbose.

          It’s also quite frustrating when I ask a direct question about a time to discuss business and get no response for several days, including on one of the days that I had suggested. He has such a dearth of consideration and respect…even when he’s the one who started this particular discussion.

        • Thank you, Fourleaf. I’m in the shock phase of FW using every tidbit of my life against me in divorce. Shameless. I practice keeping every ounce of his evil spirit out of my mind, down to my preference of potato chips — as you say. You are so right. Never again will he have any part of me. Even a grunt is too much.

        • I’ve told my nephew who is going through a high conflict divorce with a Narc – five words or less. Less is better. Yes, No (with no explanation), That does not work for me, etc.

  • I hope he’s paying some type of support?

    He’s just continuing to gaslight. My ex did that too playing the whole anxiety card on me. (He was a secret high functioning alcoholic with a 700 dollar a month spending habit he was hiding) Sure I’m a bit anxious but who isn’t.

    What helped me – when I was adulting mom and he was going out on vacations etc was reminding myself of this….

    I would never ever want to switch roles with him. I would never want to be him. I would never want his life over my own. He had freedom, was able to relive his college years, earn more money. But I have most of the moments- good and bad – with my son. I reminded myself of this every night while living with my parents (cause I couldn’t afford a place to live – and I have a doctorate and work as a physical therapist) when my young son was cuddled and sleeping next to me in bed.

    Just use him for whatever money you can get out of him and view him as some extra cash. (I view my ex as a baby sitter that pays me).
    It also helps to view them as Jeffrey dahmer. You would never try to convince a serial killer that it’s wrong to kill. To have empathy for their victims. Why? Cause they are dangerous and not wired that way. And even if they said differently – it would just be an act anyway. So they can get out of jail or fool everyone else.

    Good luck and try to reframe your thoughts

    • This is what I do too. Would I want his life? Hell to the no. Bad reputation, strained relationships with kids, no respect from anyone, embarrassing younger GF who cheated on her husband also. Maybe great vacations but those aren’t really my thing anyways and I know that’s just a couple weeks of the year and never as fun as they are worked up to be.
      And same reasoning with NC. I might as well send myself a mean hurtful text or email because that is what I get in return. He’s an expert in zingers. Written amongst long diatribes of condescending righteousness where I get blamed for anything he can think of.
      No thanks.
      Also caring and worrying about your children does create anxious feelings – I have six kids and I know. My STBX said when he went to work it was nice to just have fun (with ho-worker) and then I would call about some serious issue with a teen to get his opinion and he wanted to just be happy.

    • Thanks, it’s so true. My son’s home for spring break and my daughter and I played hooky yesterday and we had an awesome day hanging out in the city that ended with a cuddle party on the couch watching a show we used to watch together when they were little.

      I shared what my son thinks of him “not my dad’ and my daughter calls him “uncle daddy” because he’s a relative she sees once in a while. (I swear, I don’t talk bad about him in front of them, that’s one rule I’m able to follow).

      I wouldn’t trade yesterday for all the sailing cruises in Croatia. He lost the most important thing in the world when he left, and all I lost was him.

      • Yes it’s those times where the real parenting relationships happen. I will take my six kids with their friends laughing till we are crying on my back porch with take out pizza 10000x over some week long fancy vacation that usually ends up with tempers flaring when he’s involved. Those times of simple connection is where the memories are made anyways.

      • Yesterday I thanked my child for sharing with me all about his day at school. I realized that he tells me everything and klootzak has to prod him just to find out what he ate for lunch. I know the names of the girls he thinks are cute, that he wants to learn how to dance, and about the reason why the teacher gave him a hug the other day. I also know which kid is the bully and what things kiddo fears. I listen and ask questions. Kiddo offered to me, “You don’t pick on me when I talk so I like to talk more.” Klootzak is constantly correcting his pronunciation or if he uses the word like or if he says ummm or a million other things. So because of that, kiddo doesn’t like to talk to him. But he talks my ear off. And I love listening to what he thinks.

        Klootzak is missing out on that. I’m sure he doesn’t criticize his APs like he does us. So let him have them. Fuck him. I’m raising a good human being. That will be my legacy. When klootzak leaves this earth, he won’t be missed very much. Kiddo will be sad for a time but as time wears on, he won’t have happy memories of klootzak to look back on.

        Klootzak is getting ready for a trip out of town and already made dinner plans his last night in town out someplace without us. Klootzak will claim the whole time he is gone that he misses kiddo but will spend his last night out on the town and missing out on dinner and bedtime stories. His own desires always come first.

        FWs are just spouse-shaped black holes. They turn things to crap. Their APs will move on to the next piece of meat willing to buy them a meal. They leave nothing for us or their children to grieve or miss. They don’t even have awareness of how shallow they are.

  • GTS… you are mighty! I’m sure you know the root causes of anxiety include things like gaslighting and cognitive dissonance, both byproducts of living with a cheater (and in my case, a narcissistic personality disordered fuckwit who placed personal ads as a BiMWM and/or SWM and/or MWM looking for a couple)… pass the lexapro please.

    You had a “no contact” slip. It happens. Start over, just like in the 12 step programs, and get back to your no contact sobriety. As you learned, there’s nothing for you there… just the same insanity you and your kids got away from (isn’t schmoopie lucky how you X has evolved and become a man who can look back on his life and his choices with emotional intelligence…. hahahahahahahahahahha).

    Keep being you – find a different person to text next time… even talking to a stranger at a bus stop would be better than that fuckwit.

    Thanks for sharing – we’ve all been there… and we keep coming back here to get us/keep us on track!

    You’ve got this!

  • Your kids are old enough that it should be optional to see your ex. If they don’t want a relationship, I don’t think the courts will force them at this point (particularly if one is college). There’s no reason to have this “man” in your lives at all. Cut it cleanly and live your life without that worthless sack of shit.

    We have all had that moment where we tried to get our kid’s other parent to help with “parent” things. It rarely goes well. Any time I appealed to my ex for help with some issue our son was having, he would turn and use it against me in our divorce case, as evidence that I was a shitty mom and thus unfit. Meanwhile he was a raging alcoholic who was abusing his live-in girlfriend (who ended up leaving him because of it). He never paid for anything, didn’t pay child support, never took the child to the doctor or bought him clothes or anything else a parent should do. Although he made sure that he put every recreational thing he did with the kid on social media so everyone thought he was dad of the year.

    YOU are your kids’ parent and their only parent. It sounds like you have been rockin’ it, and have done your best to support your kids through some tough times. You all will be fine without this person.

    I would encourage you, now that your kids are older and sound like they are doing well, to take some time for YOU. Find something that nourishes your soul. You deserve love and care. You don’t need someone else to give it to you. Give it to yourself.

  • GTS – Thanks for sharing your experience. It is a helpful reminder to not wish for or expect comfort from the person who hurt us.

    As you know, cheaters have a choice in how to leave. The mental gymnastics to live with their own deceit and cowardice remain close to the surface.

  • I think that’s the big factor of infidelity. It’s not losing the person, it’s losing the security. You feel like you’re safe. You are in a relationship where there is stability, security and safety and just like that, it’s gone. While we might grieve the loss of the person we thought we had, maybe we grieve the loss of that structure more? For kids who are adopted, it’s a double whammy. Given up twice. That’s huge. Especially in the teen years when there is so much going on with social groups, school etc. I raise a toast to you, GTS, for showing your children that you are their rock. That they are worthy of being safe, secure, stable and loved. That you will never give up on them. Your ex is a serious douche-canoe. I agree, cut all ties (unless the kids really want to see him). You are mighty.

  • I always think of An Idiot Abroad when the UBT kicks in. One episode they were talking about what superpower they would like to have and one responded with a bullshit detector so he could fly into any room or situation, point a finger and declare “Bullshit”. It’s so funny!
    Seriously, if chumps a superpower, I know it would be to conjure an honest relationship with respect instead of destroying everything and everyone in life. Those that do that and pass the blame are twisted and will never ever have a different perspective. They are wired differently.

  • Early on in my separation my best friend was annoyed with me for texting FW emotional things and expecting something loving back. She said—think of my as your d$&kless husband. I will do anything but please you sexually. So anytime you want to reach out to him—text or call me. (I regret declining the t-shirts she offered to make.) I had so many words to vomit that NC was impossible. But swapping recipients worked like a charm. GTS—go find your DL husband! (And lawd knows there is a PL wife equivalent and more!)

    And CL—the UBS is a lovely sight! 👏

  • FUCKING ASSHOLE. This, dear newbies, is exactly why we preach no contact around here. It blows up in your face every time. Spare yourself.

  • Narcissists are sick with a very particular kind of disorder: their emotional development got short-circuited as kids, so they think all their emotions come from other people, so they’re always ravenous for emotional energy, like leeches looking for a warm leg in a cold lake. Positive or negative, they’ll take either type.

    They know the easiest spots to get emotional energy out of their partners are their weak spots: anxiety, co-dependence, need for approval. Early on in the relationship, their anesthetic (i.e., love-bombing) works so you don’t feel them sucking your energy out at those spots. But once you develop a tolerance to their bullshit, the sucking hurts like a bitch, every time.

    Notice in like 4 sentences, GTS, your narc poked you in 5 weak spots: a. your anxiety; b. your kids’ mental health; c. your sense of responsibility for your kids’ mental health; d. your worries about being overly responsible for that; d. your sense of responsibility/guilt for your (former) marriage. You bled some emotion into the water: he latched on at those weak points and tried to suck out some more. Yum yum. You did the right thing by not responding; it’s the only way to pull off the leech.

    I can’t stress this enough: ANY engagement with a narc is a self-inflicted wound. They DO NOT know how to interact with other people other than to bleed them for emotional energy. It’s not like they choose: it’s who they are. Leeches are leeches. All you can do is stay out of the lake. Good on you for wading out, and ((hugs))

  • Slowly, do not ever go to him again. This was about your kids and that’s what he says to you? He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about them. Please accept that. Do keep that correspondence of that conversation. Keep the entire convo somewhere saved in case you need it. You might need it one day.

  • …..said the liar, cheater, thief, family annihilator…..

    On the upside, it’s validation that divorce was your only choice. I find a lot of comfort in certainty. Emotionally mature people with working moral compasses acknowledge when they are wrong and make efforts to make amends, even for wrongs that can’t be undone. His response proves he’s still in the waiting room for a heart, a brain, and courage.

    On the downside, anything you say can be and was used against you.

    In 2019 I informed him that there would be no more texting. It’s too easy to hit SEND and you can’t get it back.

    EMAIL. Then it’s documented and can easily be saved. I only actually speak to him of absolutely necessary. I also document anything he says or does that is out of bounds in an email to myself, putting the date in the subject line.

    PAUSE WHEN AGITATED.

    RESTRAINT OF PEN AND TONGUE.

    WAIT 24 HOURS BEFORE RESPONDING.

    Little Handy Phrases that help me when I have the urge to give away a piece of my mind (which I can’t actually afford to do; I need them all for myself).

    Check out Bill Eddy’s BIFF book on co-parenting communication. Read, highlight, and review BEFORE you communicate in any way.

    I have very old patterns with Traitor X and I have to slow down, be very careful, respond rather than react. It takes practice. There will be slip ups. But any time I slip up, I try to learn from it for next time.

    It has also helped me to have a WRITTEN LIST of reminders to review before I respond or communicate with him.

    • VH if you aren’t a therapist you should be one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve copied and pasted your comments in my Notes on my phone and referred back.

      • I was busy getting my psych degree in 1982 when I realized I was the patient I wanted to fix. The first thing you learn is that you can’t treat yourself or your family. Damn! My evil plan was foiled!
        Now what?! So I dropped out to work on me, and I remain a work in progress…..

        “Therapist” is still on my To Do list. And I will be the therapist who spreads the gospel of infidelity as abuse.

        Thank you for your kind sentiments . I hope to live up to it.

        ❤️

      • Same! Thanks, VH!

        I’d like to see all of your handy phrases, and/or maybe CL can do a handy phrases Friday challenge. 🙏

      • …..and what I share here is what I have learned….therapy and 12 step groups….you can’t keep it unless you give it away, and you can’t give away what you don’t have….as proven by the former “husband” of today’s writer….who is clearly broadcasting he has a LOT of growing up to do…..enjoy, OW!

      • And when the cheater says “I guess I’m not as strong as you” I was literally speechless he used this as an excuse. Someone please dig in on this one!

        • I got this from the couples counselor. When FW left the room after a particularly painful and one-sided session, I broke down sobbing and asked her, “Why am I the one who has to do all the work and be perfect when he’s the one who cheated on me?” She looked at me and said, “Because you’re stronger.” Ex was too macho to call me “stronger,” but he routinely referred to me as better/too good for him.

          I think it’s just one of their cowardly plots to get off the hook – and to keep chumps on the hook. Vulnerable, we feel temporarily flattered and loved at a time when we aren’t being treated with love. It even tricks us into feeling pity for them and continue to put their needs above our own. We’re stronger, so we can handle it. This reinforces the uneven dynamic that keeps us functioning as appliances. (Someone on CL – probably CL herself – has referred to it as weaponized incompetence.) They want to continue to manipulate us even after they’ve discarded us, so they pretend to care or think positively about us. We look to them for validation, and they know it, so they employ intermittent rewards to manipulate. If we “screw up,” then we lose value.

        • I got a version of this, too.

          He said, “I’m not as psychologically strong as you.”

          Ugh.

          A couple theories: He likes to paint himself as weaker in order to elicit sympathy. Also, it helped him justify what he did. The implication is that he wouldn’t have cheated if he’d thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But, hey, Spinach is so💪. 🤬

        • Well, I think these things are a matter of character more than strength. Different values. Standards. Ethics. Scruples. I don’t enter into discussions with Traitor X anymore about any subjects requiring introspection or emotional intelligence. He proved himself out of his depth in those areas when I discovered his true identity. I don’t know how many times he’s seen Roadhouse, but his Netflix watched list, a big clue to his inner life, is akin to what I think would appeal to the average fifth grade boy.

          It takes an awful lot of energy to conduct a double life. Some could see that as “strength.” That same energy could be used to build an amazing authentic intimate connection with a chosen partner, but that’s not what people who cheat want. If they did, they wouldn’t be having an affair in the first place. An affair is probably the second most shallow association there is, the first one paying a stranger for sex.

          My experience is that doing the right thing is easier, way more effortless, no deep internal debate required, no massive expenditure of energy to manage the chaos created. Definitely the easier, softer way. No strength required. Like swimming in the direction the river is flowing. It’s exponentially harder to live a life of deception. Just MHO.

        • I got this, too. He said in front of the counselor that I “had more balls than him” and on another occasion that he was a “pussy”. He has a limited vocabulary.

  • DARVO with the Devo gif?

    I’m dead. Ah CL just when I thought I couldn’t admire you more……

    I also am looking at being the “old” lady w the empty house – maybe we all need to pitch in together and buy rooming type houses in different desirable locations that we chumps who refuse to audition for partners can just rotate between!

    • Ragingmeh, come join us! My two best friends (one a young widow and one left by cheater when pregnant with #2 kid many many years ago) are going to buy a big piece of land and build a bunch of tiny homes with one big central house for kitchen, crafting, tv, fun) to retire. We really are. It’s been our plan since FW left and each year we get more serious about it. One friend has a committed boyfriend now and we’ve decided he can live with her in her tiny home because we like him. My daughter and another close family friend in her 20s wants to come too, but we won’t let them cuz they need to live a bit before they can come. It’s going to be so much fun!

      • Fabulous idea!! I have lived in this area for over 12 years and still have no close friends that I can trust. I would love to be able to ‘live’ alone but have a communal eating area and ‘safe’ entertainment area!

  • Ok — before we get serious, I have to fan girl over CL today. The Devo meme and animated mind powers (She-Ra?) meme had me doubled over. And “If anyone deserves to fall backward into a vat of acid, it’s your ex. What an abhorrent little man” 👏 👏

    Now that I’m done enjoying the brilliant CL snark… this post is an awesome reminder to all that you can’t reason with a FW. Ever. No contact is for real.

    It’s the old adage: “Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig enjoys it.”

    FWs are self serving pigs. You can talk until you turn blue and they will just turn it on you and LEARN NOTHING. There will never be that “oooohhhhh now I understand — I’m so sorry!” moment. Not for real, anyway.

    Ever try to argue politics at Thanksgiving with a relative with opposite politics as you? Did they ever learn anything? Did they change? No.

    Follow CL — and just trust that FWs suck. And keep moving forward with your life for you and your kids. Do your best and who cares what FWs think anyway? No matter how amazing you are as a parent, you won’t have things perfect for your kids — you can only do your best. I’m dealing with this now myself… my son is struggling in school and now FW is showing up just to add 2 cents to the IEP — meanwhile that dick doesn’t help his son with school at all. FW couldn’t name any of the kid’s teachers. He doesn’t even have custodial weekends anymore. FWs are pigs

  • So we’re not supposed to turn our kids away from loser ex. SO WHAT. All of you need to cut him out of your lives permanently. Say all the mean shit about him to anyone you want, kids included. Save his nasty text and use it as proof if no one believes you. Cast spells on him. Make a voodoo doll in his image and pound nails into it and throw it on a bonfire. Do whatever makes you feel better. (Guaranteed he’s the one who caused your anxiety.)

  • First off was alcohol involved prior to you requesting support from someone that walked away from you? If so make a note to not do that again. When things turn really sour just have a few belts and do not contact anyone. Now if you are not familiar with John Rosemond it would be worth your while to look him up. Even though he deals with spoiled children your ex is indeed a very spoiled adult child. Deal with him as you would any other misbehaving brat. The response you got is an “educated” equivalent of “It is all your fault and I hate you”. Ignore it and just look at what you have done and say never again will I contact the SOB for anything.

  • I am so incredibly sick of these asshole sperm donors who accuse their wives of being toxic and so they MUST run away. If they honestly thought the mother of their children was abusive and horrible they would take the children with them when they leave. Cheating and running away just shows who is the terrible one in the marriage.

    • Whoops. Just remembered that this guy wasn’t even a sperm donor. He chose to be a father to those kids and then abandoned them. He’s even worse.

  • How would that fucker even know what kind of parent you’ve been? He abandoned his kids. Even if he told you that you walk on water, it would be meaningless; he’s the architect of his own irrelevance.

  • Without the false narrative, their lives are the reality they created. Can’t have that.

    OP sounds trauma bonded.
    There’s no reason ever to ever talk with this person again.

    Learned that lesson – don’t need to learn it again.

    • “Without the false narrative, their lives are the reality they created. Can’t have that.”

      This is so well put.

      My ex carefully crafted a persona that was NOTHING like reality, and just about everyone bought it (including me, for a long time)…but eventually it started to crumble. My divorce petition contained some pretty damning evidence of abuse, his GF (OW) left him citing abuse as well and she had no issues at all with telling everyone she knew (including his employer), he was completely broke (left with a rental home he couldn’t afford on his own and lots of debt), he didn’t have a lawyer anymore, his creative endeavors weren’t paying off, the “wonderful” job he got had lost its shine, the magistrate was ruling more in my favor, the custody evaluator believed my stories of his abuse, etc. Rather than facing the absolute DISASTER he’d made of his life from his behavior, he decided to end his life and leave me clean up the mess. He blamed everyone but himself, even at the end. His suicide note was 25 pages of playing a hapless victim and mourning the loss of “the One” (i.e. the GF he thought was going to solve all his problems – which is truly ironic because she is almost as much of a disaster as he was; completely unstable, selfish, immature, etc.). He pushed away all the people who truly cared for him, because we were the ones who knew the truth of who he really was and he couldn’t bear that. Me, his parents, his sister, his brother in law, his child. People who actually loved him in spite of what he was like. He chose the shallow OW who didn’t have a clue (and ran as soon as she realized what she was involved with) and looked at him with stars in her eyes and friends who KNEW that he had tried to kill himself and did absolutely NOTHING to help. They didn’t say a word, and they certainly didn’t reach out to me (his child’s other parent). It’s really very sad.

      But even before he died, I had gone mostly no contact and had emotionally distanced myself. To the point that when he called me in tears a few weeks before he died, I felt absolutely nothing. I felt guilty for a bit when I realized later that he had attempted suicide multiple times and was looking for help. But on the other hand, he had done everything in his power to kill my feelings for him. It should not have surprised him that I wasn’t there when he finally decided he needed me. I had to realize that not everyone can be saved. Some of them don’t want to be.

      • I’m so sorry he created this situation. I hope neither of you are or feel pressured not to speak ill of the dead–neither of you should be deprived of the opportunity to vent or rage. You ex was selfish and cruel in life and his choice of dying. His 25-page letter suggests he wanted to punish those he left behind. I wish the best for you and your child.

        • I agree. I can’t understand the mind of a person who, even in their last moments, would choose to deliver such a cruel blow. What a monster.

      • A 25 page false narrative.

        Anybody buying that is sharing his psychosis.
        ( credit: shrink4 men dot com)

        Glad you got free of the abuse.

  • I can’t imagine sending something that evil to anyone, let alone someone I spent that long with.

    I’m going to try to restore some of my faith in human nature by imagining that he wouldn’t have said it to your face (I know, I’m living in fantasy land).

  • It’s All Your Fault!: 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything https://www.amazon.com/dp/1936268027/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_7TS8D3H70MXYZQQKTMYF

    Looking for validation from a cheater and a liar is like going to the butcher for bread. It took me a long time to learn to not answer the phone after 6pm because my mother would always be drunk. Velvet, quit asking for five dollars from someone you know doesn’t have it. Practice, not perfection.

    I recommend sticking to accredited sources for validation…people or print.

  • Yes, I made mine leave me too, according to my ex, who was retired at the time. And the college kids contributed. Then he told me that “if” he cheated after he ran, it would be my fault. As if I was there to unzip his pants for him, you know. He even claimed that we abandoned him even though he was the one who took off many states away.

    Later, my divorce attorney railed at times about the immaturity of all that and how he was treating the divorce like a playground brawl. Partway in, my attorney stopped using my 60-something ex’s name and called him “the boy.”

    I made a lot of mistakes, but thankfully the college kids stayed with me (they were commuter students), and I handed the rebellion and misbehavior without his involvement. They were barely talking to me at times, but I was the parent who waited up for them when they were out and celebrated their birthdays, Christmas, and graduations. I encouraged them to spill to emotionally healthy friends, even if it involved me. I paid for therapy for them even when I could barely afford it and didn’t ask about what was said. I told them that their relationship with him, if any, was their business, not mine.

    Both graduated from college and are working professionals. Both have nothing to do with their father and don’t want me even mentioning him now, which I can understand.

    It still seems strange to me how all the blame got flipped, but thankfully we got to the other side.

  • “You deserved it because you made me look bad”. Narc blaming others for their own deplorable behavior.

    Okey dokey. And that was the final straw with my older sibling. When was my last contact with him ? I forget.

  • I wrote a long response, but I’m going to trim it to:

    Has anyone else have an ex who, with the entire universe of possible responses available, always choose the response that escalates the confrontation?

    I really, honestly, don’t expect an apology from my XW. Or sympathy. But I still am regularly surprised that she so reliably chooses a reply that increases the level of hostility, when so many neutral options (including, for instance, not answering!) are available to her. Sometimes I make a little mental list of possible responses she could make, from 1 (apology) to 10 (lawsuit), with 5 (factual answer containing no insults) in the middle. My XW regularly comes in at 8 or 9. If I didn’t ignore 90% of what she says, we’d be ratcheted up to lawyers all the time.

    • Yes, absolutely. During the intake appointment, my wonderful attorney actually asked about how often my STBX escalated with very basic interactions. I had to say that he nearly always did. I asked my attorney why he asked that, and he said that escalation before the divorce is a major marker for escalation during and after the divorce. Ah, yes.

      That was a sign of things to come, indeed. Live and let live is not part of their vocabulary. I expect it now although there was almost a year between the last one and the most recent one. He’s not letting go yet…

    • Yeah I hear you brother.
      When my ex wants to discuss something via email she always puts in that my efforts for the kids are always limited and i’m almost absent, although my kids see me every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and every other Sunday. Plus I take my daughter swimming on Tuesday.
      She and AP are the ones that really do all the caretaking. If only I would ever contribute…

    • Of course not. Chumps try to always make things better including de-escalation of volatile situations. That is what we are vetted for in the first place! Peace, calm and harmony are the MO and we will spackle our fannies off and shrink our needs to nothing just to keep the peace and keep life limping along in endless indentured servitude to the FW. I used to feel like Encantos’ Luisa (the super strong sister) where I’d just take up every burden he decided to put down! Just throw another donkey up there! What’s one more? How dare I insist he take a fair share of kid activities pick ups? He showed me! All he had to do was show up late or not at all “I forgot” —even though I reminded him in the am and then again in afternoon (or even drunk, yes it’s true) for picking up from sports practice. After a few times of that impossible irresponsibility I said to myself FW can’t be trusted so I’ll just have to do that all the time too. I was all time IT for every drop off or pick up, school, daycare sports or friends, and still had all the housework, finances, shopping planning and decision making, on top of a full time job. I was too busy and too tired to even wonder if he was cheating and THAT WAS BY HIS DESIGN—during the discard he said as much. In the end he wouldn’t do anything, even mow the grass, without a direct request from me, would procrastinate as much as possible and then do a half assed job that I would have to decide if I was going to have to take issue with or just give up to have some peace and avoid an argument. Nothing ever got fixed, no project completed, in the end I had to hire people to help. His “home”position was in his recliner in front of the large screen TV with sports on, his phone in hand and laptop on. He would get up, do absolutely only the one thing I’d ask and immediately return to “home” position, every night, all weekend (unless he was sleeping in til 1pm) If I was exasperated or angry because he would not help me he’d ignore me or tell me I was a nag. That right there was not a marriage, it was slavery and a misery on top of that. And I would have kept on probably until I died if it weren’t for the cheating catching up with him. Somehow that and the alcoholism were finally the straw that broke the camels back. So then he threatened suicide like 5 or six times during 18 month separation limbo (living in the same house and refusing to leave!) pulling the sad sausage but never actually making any effort to make anything better. He wouldn’t lift a finger to even get the house ready to sell. It was just horrible.

      FWs modus operandi is kibbles and cake. They must always be central and if they are not at any given moment (someone else’s birthday, graduation, Even Christmas for crikes sakes) they must cause a scene, sulk and pout or in some way cause the focus to shift back to them. Whereby ruining my or the kids enjoyment of said celebration and often embarrassing me to downright humiliating me with his crass, lewd behavior. Believe me, we did not start out at the place we ended up, but I sure wish I knew then what I know now. I could have done so much better and suffered so much less. Anyways—They are drama kings and queens and all must worship or feel their wrath! FWs want to escalate a situation not the opposite. Chaos is king with them, the anti-Force, the Dark side.

  • Narc! No contact! Mine said, “Why did you destroy my life Susan?” Blameshifting, entitlement, zero accountability. March on. He sucks. And that was an awful thing to say to you.

  • It’s amazing how these cheaters will always claim you are a horrible, crazy person while also leaving the kids with you nearly 100% of the time. I think the EX is irresponsible and unreliable… which is why I took custody of the children. If he really thought she was a terrible person and a bad mother, why did he leave her with all the children and take off with Schmoopie? Oh, that’s right… because she is the responsible one doing all the parenting work, and he knows she will keep right on doing it through good times and bad times because she actually loves those kids.

  • The FW I was married to still sends inane texts or calls from time to time – “I got a postcard from this magazine – do you want it?” Or – “So and so passed away and I thought you’d want to know.” I left (marriage, FW, and state) 11 years ago, so any mail he’s getting with my name on it is junk, and I probably heard the bad news already from good friends in the old hood. I am guessing he’s feeling lonely, maybe his old hag of a schmoopie is out of town – who knows? But I know he has nothing to say that I want to hear. Bless whoever invented voicemail. I feel so powerful when I delete his messages without responding. You had every opportunity to be a good person, Fella, and you blew it. Byeeeeee

  • Back in my wreckonciliation days, I once responded to one of these blame attempts by asking FW why would I have “made” him cheat if I truly had any power to control his actions? Wouldn’t I have made him loyal, honest, trustworthy, and faithful if I truly had any power? Dumb silence from FW, of course.

  • One time he actually said, “You told me to get a girlfriend.”

    Right.

    And if I did, how come you totally ignored that Raiders of the Lost Ark final scene warehouse of other things I asked you to do?

    🙄

  • I am envisioning a plush purse-like version of the adorable UBT, with a zipper where the mouth is so I can print out his emails, crumple them up, and feed them to the UBT in real time in the comfort of my own traitor-free home.

    • I kind of want UBT’s mouth to be a shredder. The garbage gets shredded in and is digested with the lebkuchen and translated.

  • CArol39 wrote: “It’s amazing how these cheaters will always claim you are a horrible, crazy person while also leaving the kids with you nearly 100% of the time.”
    My ex was afraid I’d speak the truth, so he scared away our friends by claiming that my brain had deteriorated, that I was unstable, paranoid, jealous, crazy and mean, and that I was waving a gun and threatening people. At least one couple asked why he left me with the sole care of a 12 year old, and he told them I’d never hurt a child, just adults, and to leave me alone or I might shoot them.

  • Years ago, when I was separated but not yet divorced and was clinging to the last shred of hope that there was *something* worth salvaging in my marriage, our son was having a fairly severe crisis so I called my then-husband, told him about what was happening in great detail, with lots of tears on my part because I was so scared for my boy. I asked then-husband to call our son and help him through this crisis by just being there for him and supporting him. There was about ten beats of silence before my child’s father asked if he should call his son right now or, you know… wait a few days for things to settle down. WTAF??? NOW!!!! That’s when I knew for sure there was nothing inside him. Nothing to work with.

    The fallout in my situation wasn’t as severe as yours, GTS, my now ex *only* blamed all my kids’ issues on me because I was too soft on them. He didn’t go so far as to say I was the root cause of everything wrong with everyone the way yours did, but the lesson is the same. Count on them for nothing. They are empty, soul-less shells. You can’t hurt them or make them feel remorse because they’re already dead inside. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing – you’re doing great without him!

  • Stop texting. Just stop. Move any necessary communication to email. “Necessary” means you legally have to contact him about a kid’s injury or sickness or he owes you money. Otherwise, the kids are old enough to arrange their own infrequent visits with Mr. Sparkles.

    Texting is an invitation to this kind of stuff. It’s quick. It’s INSTANT. And then the pipeline is opened are you get a reply designed to hurt you.

    If you use email, you can draft a 1-3 sentence message, stick it in a folder and wait 24 hours before you send it. And of course, you learned because of this ugly response that you never show your vulnerable underbelly to this loser.

    Lots of people suffer from depression, anxiety, and trauma. Others have cancer, Parkinson’s, or other chronic problems. And their partners don’t cheat on them. As CL says, it’s classic DARVO, but the DARVO excuse also exposes his callousness. So it’s not safe or healthy to open the door to his cruelty. Keep the business to a minimum. And absolutely no appeals to his decency, because their isn’t any. Understand that whatever he really thinks or feels, it is about him and his pain, not about you or the kids.

    • ^^^ I emphatically endorse all of this.

      There is no reason to text unless it is something that MUST be answered in minutes.
      Everything by email, and let it set overnight at a minimum before you respond. Best practice is: draft your answer. Then text your best friend and vent. (I actually text OBS, but you get the idea). Then delete draft.

  • My ex said he had to cheat because all of the following were my fault:

    -I didn’t do a big sexual performance on his birthdays
    -I’m controlling
    -I’m too vanilla and not into S&M
    -We had periods where we weren’t sexual (eg after birth)
    -I didn’t get him and I was judgmental

    And the final blame was that I was 100% responsible for the martial breakup because I wouldn’t accept him having a side piece whore in the form of an “open relationship”. You see, because I was so bad, he needed to have his “needs” met by someone else, so his solution was to have a girlfriend. He offered to be around for 3-4 days a week to help out a bit and do a bit of parenting. But, because I didn’t go for that deal, I am forever responsible for the end of our marriage. He’s the real victim here my friends!

    You can’t make this shit up.

  • X said he left bc he was tired of my anxiety and there was always something wrong with me. He also said I was focused on my own things which were actually his things. When I was watering my plants for 10 minutes he said he hoped they would die. I should have fed him to the Venus Flytrap! They all read the same playbook.

  • I’d just have to reply, “So that’s how you justify your actions huh? I’ve been wondering.” THEN I’d go back to no contact.

    • I’d skip the second line. FW would read that as kibbles. “Oooh! She has been wondering about ME! Thinking of me! She is obsessed with me!”

      I would change it to. “Wow.”

      In fact, maybe that would be my whole response. “Wow.”

  • First, for all constructive worry-warts out there who are sick of having their instincts to care and appropriately parent pathologized by negative bystanders, there’s a wonderful old and under-appreciated theory in psychoanalysis created by a Polish psychologist named Kasimierz Dabrowski called “positive disintegration.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_disintegration

    Regarding GTS’s ex’s ugly words– I’m imagining the current shmoopie sits around listening and likely enthusiastically nodding along to the vile crap this creep hurls at his ex family, never realizing that that fire hose of shit will eventually be aimed at her.

    I’m surprised this FW wasn’t violent since his words reek of it. Crossing fingers he gets caught in a federal sting for embezzling or child porn or whatever low down dirty thing his viciousness is wrapped around like an electric fence to keep any would-be snoops at bay. Here’s an axiom you can bank on: nobody is that vicious without harboring incredibly filthy and often felony-level secrets even beyond cheating.

    • “First, for all constructive worry-warts out there who are sick of having their instincts to care and appropriately parent pathologized by negative bystanders, there’s a wonderful old and under-appreciated theory in psychoanalysis created by a Polish psychologist named Kasimierz Dabrowski called “positive disintegration.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_disintegration“.

      Thank you very much for sharing this, Hell of a Chump!

      I had never heard of Dabrowski and his positive disintegration theory before, and it piqued my interest instantly as I read through the wikipedia link you provided. I found it interesting for several mutually unrelated reasons, which I will not delve into here. But I think the main tenets of the theory and the proposed development of a second-integrated personality have a ring of truth to it, despite the little work that seems to have been done either clinically or academically on the subject from an experimental approach. I am not a psychologist and work in a totally unrelated area, but would very much like to see more studies on this subject being done. I think it’s worth it.

      Thank you once again for introducing me to this very interesting theory!

      P.S.: worrywart father here (the constructive kind, I hope); had enough of my worries pathologized by FW(s).
      I am just glad to know that maybe the crises my kids have been put through as of late and the accompanying psychological unease will ultimately cause disintegrations that will lead them to more integrated, peaceful, healthy, moral and authentic states. Overexcitability is there in both of them, I can tell you. I am glad to say I have seen lately a lot of healthy emotional development from them, and I think the uprooting of their previous (quite covertly oppressive) world had a lot to do with it.

      Cheers, love your posts!

  • I keep wondering about this gene pool that keeps procreating these monsters. Can’t forget the ex fast enough.

  • The ex told me that he ‘couldn’t stand ill people or people with mental health issues’. This was true: he loathed himself when he was unwell but that didn’t stop him letting everyone know about it and milking the situation for sympathy. Days of holidays were ruined by his illnesses. But I made the best of things. During the marriage I had 3 years on anti-depressants apparently due to work stress although I never had a day off work during that time. With hindsight, my stress and depression were caused by being married to a selfish, abusive man. During the year of my discard for exgfOW, I broke my leg skiing, my father died, and I was being badly abused by the ex. I felt sad but smiled through it because that was what he required and I was a lost soul. At the same time he was responsible for managing two junior lawyers in the office, females, who both went sick with workplace stress-related issues. Another female lawyer in the office, his assistant, had previously sued the company for discrimination regarding her maternity leave. Two years down the line, it isn’t difficult to see the pattern of his thinking. This man hates women no doubt for deep psychological reasons which I don’t need to trouble myself with. I’m completely no contact: we have no children. GTS, the fact that he felt it appropriate to say what he said reinforces that your decision to get out and reduce his impact on your children was spot on. A quick look round the world tells us that for all that wonderful people exist, there are an equal number of wrong ‘uns out there. It was ever thus. And the decisions of the wrong ‘uns have far reaching consequences for us caring, loving worryworts. Consign the ex to history. You are worth oh so much more and your special children deserve much better.

  • Even if every word he wrote were true (and they aren’t), you would STILL be the better person because you stuck by your kids and did your best while he abandoned them. His text amounts to a claim that he believes living with you was dangerous for him and for the children, so he responded to the threat by saving only himself! What a role model! He is the guy who thinks the boat is sinking, so he steals the life raft and blames everyone else for nearly drowning.

    Three cheers for you, your resilient son, and your prom-going daughter! I believe your kids are better off with his absence.

  • First – love the new design. Bet you feel as much better as this place looks now! Gratz for wading through all the nonsense to get it done.

    GTS, it was a wobble. By bkw you already know he doesn’t care. But every so often the fairy of “But surely there’s SOME humanity in there?!?” likes to tap us on the shoulder and suggest we try again.

    The correct response is to flick it away like the annoying gnat it is. But it’s hard. A good person wants to find good in people, even if it’s just the tiniest glimmer.

    You’ve done amazing things these last few years, and you should be proud of your kids, and yourself.

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