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Olivia Newton John’s Unwavering Positivity

Olivia Newton John
Source: Wikipedia

Olivia Newton John, the Australian singer, passed away this week and by all accounts she was a class act — gracious, professional, philanthropic. (She left a large part of her estate to cancer research.)

Did you also know Olivia Newton John was once a chump? Her first husband, Matt Lattanzi, screwed the nanny. This was back in the 90s.

According to the Daily Mail:

Olivia Newton-John‘s first marriage ended in heartbreak when her husband ran off with the couple’s young babysitter while the singer was fighting breast cancer.

Dancer Matt Lattanzi split with Newton-John after he was confronted over his ‘very close’ relationship with Cindy Jessup, then 23, during a cancer charity cycle ride.

The Aussie legend divorced him in 1995 and Lattanzi, then 40, married his young lover two years later – but Newton-John refused to be bitter over the split.

‘She’s delighted,’ a friend insisted to reporters at the time of the wedding.

Delighted? Was this said dripping with sarcasm? Was the friend stabbing a small effigy as she spat the words out? Delighted?

Isn’t it enough to co-parent with the guy? To cool-bummer-wow oneself with dignity for the next decade? Must she be elated at their nuptials?

Well, hey, that’s the only way to avoid being tarred with the Bitter brush. Newton-John refused to be bitter over the split.

How about just refusing the shit sandwich of having to comment on your cheating ex’s marriage to his affair partner at all? How about that?

The guy fucked around on her while she was battling cancer. And the onus is on HER to prove she’s the better person for not being BITTER?

Newton-John continued to blame her fight with cancer for what she said was the inevitable end of her marriage, and not her husband’s love for the babysitter.

‘I think our marriage would have eventually come to an end, but it happened sooner because of the cancer, which was a good thing,’ she told the Daily Mail.

Cancer cells can’t help dividing. Your husband can keep his dick in his pants. It’s a matter of choice.

This blaming herself for getting cancer is so incredibly sad. I understand that Newton-John was a public figure, a pretty blonde, a sugary sweet pop singer who probably couldn’t afford righteous anger to tarnish her sweetheart image. But geez.

from Grease GIFs via Gfycat

Imagine the pressure to be good girl Sandy.

Reflecting on her fight to beat the condition, she admitted: ‘I don’t see it as a battle. I don’t think about it a lot, to be honest. Denial is a really good thing and I’m getting stronger and better all the time! I am doing well!…I am feeling wonderful.’

I wish there could’ve been some Rizzo makeover, a black-lycra bad girl Olivia. Who stubs her faux-positivity out with a cigarette and admits, “cancer sucks.”

And being cheated on sucked. And co-parenting with a FW sucked.

She rises above it anyway — because of course she did — but doesn’t have to pretend it was improving, or okay, or wasn’t hard or impossibly sad.

Sexy Sandy with an edge was the better ending.

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  • I will just believe it was dripping with sarcasm and/or amusement. “Delighted” that the low character/broken FW and the AP deserved each other. I sympathize with her poor child and her for having to deal with them. Rest in peace, Olivia.

  • poor Olivia. never good enough. are any of us ever good enough? it doesn’t feel like it. the expectations, the expectations to act a certain way. for me, being chumped feels like an extension of all the misogyny i’ve experienced. i’m so tired of it.

    be a good girl, but not too good of a girl. sexy in the bedroom, but not in the street. smile! you’re too thin, too heavy. i like my girl a certain way and you’re not it. change for me, dress for me, act a certain way for me. be smart, but not too smart. read, but not too much–you’re too smart. who do you think you are? good grades, but don’t emphasize them. good job, but don’t be too ambitious. who do you think you are? be a good mom, but don’t get too involved with your kids because you’ll end up maternal. that’s not sexy. stay sexy in the bedroom, but not in the street. smile! you’re too heavy, too thin. I like my woman a certain way and you’re not it. change for me, dress for me, act a certain way…

    there’s no space.

    • Beautifully said, DIFGTBAC. Spot on target and beautifully said.

      We are not dollies to be picked up at a toddler’s whim and tossed in a jumbled pile while they are bored… dressed and preened for sport, force-fed words and actions, then bashed and scarred for prank and in apathy.

      We are beings, born for living, and loving, and born to be loved and treated like we matter.

      We have to treat ourselves like we’re these beings, deserving of goodness and love, and seek out others in this world like us, beings who do the same for themselves and us. And we have to reject and repel those who don’t treat us these ways.

      I make space for you, as you are and as you’ll be, and me the same way, and CL, and all the huge-hearted chumps — and so do you, every day. Thanks for sharing you. ⭐💛

    • Spot on, Damnitfeelsbad.
      I wish we could change it, but sometimes I lose hope. I feel like this comes from your partner looking at you to fulfill them, instead of working on their own shit! We can’t get inside your mind, and make it all better, you need to do that. Anyway, I’m single again, because people have such expectations.
      As far as Olivia, she seemed like a very sweet, positive person. RIP, you will be fondly remembered. She probably looked at the shit sandwich of being replaced with a babysitter model, and wanted to bring her sunny attitude to it, especially because she had a young daughter! I couldn’t do it, I just got extremely mad, and cried a lot. I didn’t find CL till a couple of years later. Her way is probably healthier, staying positive, and as some of us find out, life improves once the Fuckwit is out!

      • Whatever you honestly feel is probably the best. Most of us get ANGRY and that’s okay and it’s perfectly healthy. Anger and hurt at being lied to and abused and deceived is a natural, normal response. It’s also incredibly empowering because anger gets you to DO things. It creates movement. It gets you active and into the future. If people don’t experience their anger, righteous anger I like to call it, then frequently they become depressed. I believe repressed anger leads to depression….which can lead to your life stalling and even to physical illness. I can’t help but wonder if that was part of the equation for poor Olivia. Who could be sweeter or lovelier than Olivia Newton John and what a sphincter he must have been. We should remember her whenever we think we’re not good enough. To a cheater….no one is ever good enough.

    • You nailed it! Not only is there societal pressure you also get it multiplied to infinity at home. You just can’t win!

      Yes. I know men go through some of the same issues too, but not to the extent that women do.

      • It’s too bad the cheater doesn’t get as much backlash as a chump does for being angry at the cheater.
        If a chump shows anger or any normal emotional response to being betrayed the chump is questioned.
        Cheaters narrative that she’s crazy is supported because chump is angry.
        She’s an angry bitch no wonder he cheated.

        Look at cheater, he’s happy, why can’t Chump move on, and be happy?
        Not many people want to call cheater on his lack of character.

    • Expectations from partners, but also parents, children, siblings, friends, colleagues, acquaintances…it’s so much.

    • So true! I know its idealistic, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could just be accepted for who we are? Not be forced to comply with social standards applied by society as a broad brush. Misogyny cuts both ways, and I tire of it as well. Olivia held to a standard we can all strive for. She will always be loved!

    • Wow, amen. I’ve come to think of what you describe as a kind of “bonsai woman” syndrome. To create the seamless appearance of a properly stunted woman, the pruning has to start at birth. If we weren’t raised like that and are trimmed as adults, the results are awkward and we eventually just wither and die.

      FW’s sister was a perfect example of bonsai’d-since-birth. I felt like she straddled the razor’s edge between conflicting misogynist stereotypes and her whole being was focused on avoiding being pegged as too much/too little of anything. It was to the point that she became blank-faced, opinionless and impenetrable with a scary amount of unconscious rage brewing underneath that would come out from time to time. She always made me think of the scene in French Kiss when Meg Ryan’s character expresses bafflement about the “ideal” obtuse French female stereotype https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtYrx-XLLKE I didn’t love the film because I lived in France and thought the movie was full of tropes but the comment on bonsai vs. natural behavior in women was sort of apt if not particular to French culture. I think a proper sequel to the film would be where Kevin Kline’s cartoon French dude eventually tires of dabbling with Meg Ryan’s character’s cartoon Yankee openness, no longer finds it “refreshing” and goes back to the cartoon bonsai type.

      The sad thing is that FW’s mother was the one instilling this in her daughter the most aggressively. FW’s mother fundamentally hated other women (except the friends who abetted this hatred) and would justify it in contradictory ways based on whatever her target happened to be. That hatred flew around like the propellers of a crashing helicopter and everyone would have to duck to avoid the blades. To FW’s mother, career women were dried up, unfeminine and egotistical but caretakers were too pathetic and neurotic. Women who accentuated appearance were narcissistic succubi but plane janes were contemptible. All were responsible for anything bad that befell them and so had no grounds to whine and play victim because they were also all attention-seeking, duplicitous devils (which of course exonerated FW’s mother’s scheming social take-downs of other women). And on and on until there was nothing left for her daughter to aspire to and nothing left for her son to love in women since any type of woman imaginable had been surgically condemned.

      I now have a hinky reaction when I encounter adult siblings where the brothers seem “engaging,” “gregarious” and expressive but the adult sisters are conversely dead-eyed, whispery-spacey and spooky. It’s really a thing. I smell something sexually fucked up buried within FOO histories– abuse, violence, whatever. It’s like boys in the family got all the developmental elbow room and sunlight while females are stunted to keep them from triggering the landmines of misogynist rage strewn around family dynamics. The really fatal thing is when the women in the family have internalized this and become weapons to police other women. As “engaging” and happy-go-lucky as men raised in this kind of environment may seem at first, ultimately they’re going to bring out a pair of giant pruning shears and start chopping away at your limbs to reclaim their unfair share of sunshine and freedom while the women in their families may chew away at your roots like termites.

      I’ve also wondered if women from these dynamics have the makings of she-cheaters. Interestingly, FW’s sisters buried rage would sometimes come out towards non-fuckwitty men. I saw FW’s sister viciously abuse an Asian-American waiter behind his back merely because the guy had seemed friendly and showed a normal amount of vulnerability and openness. Though the guy gave no particular indication of being gay, she sneered that he was going to go to the kitchen and suck the chef’s dick. I was shocked because, aside from always playing the passive supporter around her domineering husband, she also pretended to be groovy and an LGBT ally. Had a non-cheating, non-raging-asshole had the misfortune of marrying her, I suspect that contempt for normal emotional vulnerability in men would have emerged.

      Anyway, can you tell I’ve been untangling? 😉

      • “Bonsai woman” is a great metaphor. Have you seen images of ONJ’s daughter? She started out looking quite lovely and wound up a victim of your syndrome; add in depression, anorexia, and scary amounts of really bad plastic surgery. She’s well into uncanny valley territory. She and her dad both tried their hands at acting (think Sharknado 5), didn’t do well in the business, and now grow pot in Oregon.

          • @HOAC I second 4YA comment – I love your contributions. I always learn something.

            Your use of language is superb – compelling, informative and entertaining. Your metaphors are so creative, vivid and relatable.

            If you don’t already, you could make a great living at writing. Trust me – I get paid for articles and I’m clumsy af in comparison to you!

            You have talents I can only dream of!

            • WTITTAF– hugs and thank you. I did write/edit for many years (not copy editing– my spelling and punctuation are neurotic). Maybe one day I will again when the kids are all independent but all power to you for getting your voice out there. I think you’re being too modest about your work. I’ve noticed that creative people who are typically generous to others tend to have the very traits they externalize. 🙂 xoxo

      • Yes, HOAC, great take-down! I’d guess that the men in those types of families tend to become entitled predator types as well. Like FW. He didn’t come out of nowhere, right?

        And thinking about the rage toward non-cheating men–narcs and their enablers value those who are powerful and have contempt for those they perceive as ‘weak’. You know, the normal, kind, thoughtful folk that exemplify the best of humanity.

        With ONJ, I dunno. Possible he said it was ‘only’ an emotional affair…until the divorce, and she perhaps took him at his word.

        • Wow, yes. Maybe because of gender expectations, this contempt for loyalty/normality/decency seems especially accentuated in she-cheaters. So often the story is that female FWs find the stable, nice provider for a husband and then hanker after the knuckle-dragging douches.

          It’s not like male FWs aren’t also looking for Ms. Goodbar in a sense even if women are mostly indirect about expressing aggression (as studies have it). Affairs are situations in which both parties generally know how sleazy and creepy and willing to do harm the other participant is from the start. That must be part of the draw.

    • What a great post Damn! And this is how I feel. In my marriage I had the Madonna/whore dynamic. My husband wanted/needed me to be the adult and take care of him and everything else but resented me for it. He wanted a whorey woman for sex and me to be the “Madonna”. It was classic. This plays out in Grease a bit too coincidentally. My ex couldn’t and didn’t want me to fulfill his sexual needs which were all fantasy and dark anyway. I never felt enough, never felt whole and adored fully for who I am.
      Interestingly in my case he chose to live with the “whore” in this dynamic. I admit I’m curious how that plays out now that he doesn’t have the Madonna.

      • Madonna/whore. Yep. Bogglingly he veiled it as feminism. Cotton mom gear and no makeup were great on me. I didn’t need all that other crap. Women wear that crap to please men and I didn’t need it to please him. He loved me in natural form. In fact could you remove the lipstick? Did you know women swallow thirty pounds of lipstick a year? Imagine what that does to your intestines. You look so wholesome without it. Ew, you’re wearing lipstick. Wipe it off so I can kiss you. And shipping your sexy designer career gear is going to cost more than it’s worth when we move. You should donate it. When are you going to wear it again anyway?

        And on and on and bloody on until he wore me down to old jeans and tatty t-shirts. Then he bangs the fast fashion retail-junky office doorknob with her three pounds of wrong-shade pancake makeup and huge collection of sleazy polyester Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie. Rit iz?

        First thing I did after D-day was get my hair done for the first time in 10 years and go on Ebay to start replacing all the clothes I’d been pressured to give away. It wasn’t for him but in spite of him. I was just returning to my former self.

    • Great post, DIFBTBAC.
      People were always telling me how lucky I was to have FW and warning me that I might lose him.
      When I asked them what they thought I was doing wrong to make him want to leave, they had no answer, or just said; “Well, you know how you are.” I took that to mean that I wasn’t self-effacing and submissive enough to deserve any husband at all.
      FW was nothing special, so I took the “you’re lucky to have him” crap to be hostile in intent as well.
      Expectations based on sex role stereotypes have really not changed that much for a lot of people.
      Fuck those people.

      RIP Olivia. She survived both a FW and breast cancer.

      • I remember Sylvia Plath writes something about how men get to be the “arrows” (for their families, for society) and women could not. I think by arrow she meant great white hope. It’s so typical but how much fun is it to be the “arrow?” I have a feeling that too many parents raise their boys to be narcy on the idea that the families’ legacy, status or very survival depend on boys’ success (he’s the “arrow” of the family moving into the future!) and that being narcy is what it will take to succeed out there in the dog-eat-dog world of men. At root in this is not a particularly high esteem for the fundamental characters of men and a damaging amount of “prodigy-ing” (using a child for adult gratification for any purpose is psychologically akin to molestation). When a dog-eat-dog-boy then encounters a healthily-raised non-narc dude, he might feel a mix of both envy and contempt. How dare this healthy specimen walk around thinking life could be fair and one can succeed with honor? The first impulse of dog-boy might be to destroy the other.

        Frankly it doesn’t look like much fun either. A lot of perks come with power but most of them are empty in the end. It all sort of sucks. I try to construct a little garden where these dynamics can be banished as much as possible.

    • This. Soooo much this. Even my own father has put me in the “impossible to win” box. I am a veteran, and when I was in the service (in D.C. during 9/11) my dad was so proud and bragged and puffed his chest. Now that I am out and a civilian, and divorced, and single, and happy about that, he has decided I am “too independent and too intimidating” for most men to love. He now has decided that those same qualities that he was “proud of” years ago, are now “too much.” He has told me I need to give up my alimony, my financial security that I earned after 20 plus years of marriage and putting FW through school with MY military pay. My father says I need to give it up so that a man, some nameless faceless man I haven’t even met yet, will not feel bad about himself and will feel “needed.” And my dad doesn’t not even see his hypocrisy. I guess my independence was good enough to serve alongside men, but is not “too much” to live beside one.

        • I guess your bravery and accomplishments were all great while in service to the patriarchy (not that you thought you were serving a “patriarchy” but clearly your dad thinks of it that way). But the second there’s any hint that your bravery and accomplishments thwart the patriarchy by way of thwarting a male– any male, even the world’s puniest shithead– yer bad! And unlovable!

          I’m so sorry you had to endure that bs from someone close to you. I think you’d get a kick out of Richard Wrangham’s Demonic Male: Apes and the Evolution of Human Violence because Wrangham has some insights about the token acceptance of powerful women within otherwise misogynist social structures but ONLY if those females faithfully serve male aggression. Again, not that your service was about that for you but it might make misogynists more marginally accepting of women’s participation in the military because that’s how misogynists view the military.

          Wrangham is a premier primatologist and evolutionary scientist who spent decades studying great apes in their natural habitats. He came away from that experience concluding that only female equality across every sphere of society (including the military one would presume) will reduce war because it’s the only thing that reduces inter-troup aggression among our closest ape cousins. He’s not actually that condemning of all men and notes that men are mostly victims to each other’s violence and most aggression is perpetrated by the dominant few.

          Read the book. You’ll see monkeys everywhere for awhile. It’s very enlightening and the author can be funny about it in places.

      • I am sorry your Dad has taken this completely idiotic stance. My Dad said something similar. I was living in poverty and struggling with childcare to go back to school, and he told me I had “no business going back to school, because I wasn’t self actualized yet.” Never mind that for me the road out of poverty is education. And a *math-y* education, at that. 🙄

  • By all accounts Olivia was just genuinely sweet and nice so maybe she forgave/got over Lattanzi’s betrayal. This morning I saw an item by a UK journalist who said he was due to interview her at the tv studios many years ago and she asked if there were changing rooms. When he said unfortunately not, she said “well I’ll just go and change in the loo then shall I?” RIP Olivia!

    • Her forgiveness was no one’s business but her own. My point is simply, why is the bar set so high? Mustn’t be bitter! About this traumatic, abusive thing that happened. I wish she’d given herself the grace to not answer.

      • I think she learned to make polite sound bites to get the media off her back. And who knows what was agreed to legally too (in terms of what she could be share publicly). She endured a lot… including a creepy ex boyfriend Patrick McDermott who mysteriously disappeared during a fishing trip (in CA).

      • “I wish she’d given herself the grace to not answer.”

        I agree, No comment is a complete sentence. That was the same time frame as my fw blew up my life. Our D was finalized in 91.

        My guess is the “friend” that said she was delighted was trying to help, but likely should have kept quiet.

        In those days there was a lot of pressure to be the bigger person, to be “friends” with exes. Many celebs in the day were bragging about how they and their ex’s remained “friends”, lived in the same houses in different wings (for the children don’t ya know)it trickled down to the general population.

        I told my ex flat out when he mentioned being friends, nope, nope, nope. I also didn’t go along with the yapping by quite frankly mostly younger women of how mature they are for being friends with exes. If they want to be friends, fine; but don’t lecture about how everyone should.

        I had already given him two shots at me, he wasn’t getting anymore.

        Being a friend is a totally different thing than just being civil.

        Thanks for all your work CL. If you had been around when I was blindsided, I would never have given the ass wipe that second shot at me.

      • I actually listened to an interview last night which was done by a journalist colleague of mine 4 years ago. She actually said her pain over the marriage breakdown was that she had failed

  • I think blaming the cancer is easier than blaming the person you thought loved you. IMO she was using denial/deflection as a pain management tool. I don’t fault her as she was trying to manage a helluva lot of pain at that point. So glad she made a much better match at age 59 and had 14 years with him.

  • BITTER stands for Being In Totally Truthful Emotional Reality.

    My answer to being called BITTER.

    “That’s MS. Bitter to you.”

    Yes, it is normal to feel what I feel when your partner and his/her cohorts stick a knife in your back and mentally beat you senseless.

    Coming from a family tree loaded with cancer, and also taught not to feel, I have always wondered if there is a link between those two things.

    • https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-crying-good-for-you-2021030122020

      I learned as a psych major that our bodies produce chemicals under stress that are released through tears. I have always wondered about the detrimental effects of being taught not to cry. Where do those chemicals go?

      I am totally an advocate of crying; when Little Hammer was in elementary school, the yard duty lady got a polite earful from me after I learned she told her to stop crying. During our walks to school after the incident, I taught Little Hammer to hold up her hand like a STOP sign and say, “I’ll be with you as soon as I am done crying.”

      I think being honest about emotions is essential for physical health as well as mental health. I also respect declining to state. I personally think that being up front about my feelings around this might help change the narrative, but declining to comment is a valid option.

      It’s an extremely painful subject and everybody gets to decide for themselves how to respond.

      • If we look at the old standard theory of ~ after any loss,
        there are Stages of Grieving, one stage being anger. Does bitterness represent being stuck in anger stage?
        I’m thinking that betrayal is
        something more than & different from loss. Maybe adultery is actually trauma.
        Maybe traditional Talk Therapy
        is the best treatment for loss, but wrong treatment for trauma
        Wonder if anybody who has been traumatized by betrayal has tried EMDR? And if that treatment succeeded when other methods failed?

  • “…it happened sooner because of the cancer, which was a good thing.”
    My take on this is that it was, in fact, a good thing. Fuckwits are spectacularly bad at support during challenging times. They can’t deal with the loss of their centrality, not even for a brief moment. And a protracted reduction in kibble supply like serious illness? Takes the fuckwittery to a whole nother level.
    Maybe Newton-John’s cheating ex-husband had his mask firmly in place until her cancer diagnosis. And then it slipped. And she was spared from having to perform the pick-me dance during a time when she needed all her energy to focus on her health.
    Those of us who have tried to depend on a fw during a crisis know what a clusterfuck that is.
    My own example is illuminating: on the day that my mother passed away unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism (she was in Sweden, I was in Texas), the Lying Cheating Loser picked a vicious fight with me which culminated in his stomping out of our shared home, triumphantly declaring that he was going to call his mother, because unlike me, he still had a living mother and could call her anytime he wanted.
    I shudder to think what battling cancer with him still in my life would have been like.
    Rest in peace, Olivia.

    • I lost count of how many of the women I support tell me a version of your story. As soon as we deserve basic support in a public and obvious way, we must be punished. They may put on a show when others are around, but when no one’s watching the abuse level increases, and any secret life of sexual and sexualized activities is accelerated in a sloppy way so that you find out and are hurt even deeply.

    • ” … unlike me, he still had a living mother and could call her anytime he wanted … ”

      Geez. I have heard about some bad shit (a lot of it here on this website) but that is on a different plane. So very sorry.

      • Thank you, Violet. It’s like CL says: there’s an empty elevator shaft where their soul should be.

    • “Fuckwits are spectacularly bad at support during challenging times”

      Boy, ain’t that the truth. My grandmother was dying right around the time of GF#3/Wifetress and he couldn’t have been less supportive or interested in my not-him-related grief.

      • Thank you, Free Woman. He made no space for my grief, yet every year on his late grandmother’s birthday he put on a spectacular performance of grief, replete with social media self pity, much alcohol, many cigarettes, loud music and wallowing.
        It was all for the kibbles.

    • All too true WalkawayWoman. I got ‘I was lonely’ in an angry, accusatory tone, when I hit my own crisis

      I still can’t believe it and how much anger and hatred he still has towards me

      Very insightful words. It’s all about them

      • Anarchy, we’re supposed to be kibble-dispensers orbiting around them, without needs or feelings of our own. Unless it’s feelings about them.

    • They cheat when you have cancer, they cheat when you are pregnant, they cheat when you have a special needs infant, they cheat when you need support, the bottom line is: they cheat.

    • You are so right, Walkaway Woman. Anything that takes away from their centrality must be ignored. This reminds me of a patient I had with end-stage metastatic ovarian cancer with a colostomy bag and a vaginorectal fistula (poop coming out of her vagina). She was suffering, and she was dying. When I saw her and her husband, at the end, I asked “Do you have any questions?” Husband says “Can you please tell us when we can have sex again. She’s full of excuses.” 😳

      • Omg, Chumpupthejam, that’s unfathomable. And says everything about what your patient’s life must have been like with that tool for a husband.

        • That guy needs a single car freeway accident. Preferably on a roadway that needs better markings so that his demise leads to upgrades that save lives to make up for the black hole of his existence.

      • Amen, sister. RN for 35 years and I’ve heard similar comments – if not about sex then impatience as to when she could get off her butt and start cooking meals again, etc. But your story really takes the cake.

      • CUTJ, that is an almost unbelievable level of entitlement, selfishness and lack of empathy, seemingly to the point of insanity.
        That person is seriously disordered.

  • To me this is just piling on heaps of the adage “no one knows what goes on behind closed doors”, even with huge celebrity, wealth and public admiration. This was a woman millions of men would have fantasized a relationship with, and probably did. Can you imagine her fan mail? Yet, she was hit with the same every day reality we all are. Rest in peace indeed.

  • I am still confused about whether I ever reached the “angry” stage, so “bitter” seems evasive, as well.

    I am fortunate that hopium mixed with self-respect and coming to this blog took me through the steps of self-preservation without sharing my pain in headlines. Even as I’m healing, I am less inclined to try to convince others of how bad my experience was.

    I am more inclined, however, to not overlook others’ infidelity – especially public figures. And I am certain that chumps need local support and advocacy. Seems like there’s enough Hollywood and Washington, DC chumps to fund the effort.

      • I think chumps also need carefully enforced coercive control legislation. Cheating seems to rarely be “just cheating” but typically involves heaps of emotional abuse and control and endangerment as well if not outright violence. Once those subviolent forms of coercion are properly categorized as plain old abuse and this impacts public consensus, social support might be more available.

        The slippery slope in coercive control laws is that abusers specialize in getting the jump on victims by preemptively playing victim to their victims and expend so much more psychic energy than normal people honing their bs narratives and manipulating social perceptions about themselves. Abusers commonly frame victims’ reactions to abuse as “unprovoked abuse.” That could lead to victims being wrongfully charged. I’m keeping an eye on places where CC laws have been instituted to see how they’re enforced. To quote GK Chesterton, “Laws are like dogs. If you let loose a law, it will do as a dog does. It will obey its own nature, not yours. Such sense as you have put into the law (or the dog) will be fulfilled. But you will not be able to fulfill a fragment of anything you have forgotten to put into it.”

        Another slip-slidey issue is that some regions have outlawed audio recording without all-party consent. How else would victims’ get proof of emotional abuse/control (often expressed verbally) if they can’t stealth-record it since injuries from emotional torture aren’t visible? How would they prove abusers’ claims of victimization were lies? Hire an impartial witness to live in their broom closet to take notes? It’s a problem. But on the other hand I’m a big anti-surveillance advocate. One solution may be to have a general ban on recording non-censenting parties UNLESS a law is being broken or disclosure is in the public interest. That loophole exists in some US states but would not extend to victims of coercive control unless coercive control were outlawed. It’s kind of a moebius strip.

        • Hell of a chump – I always appreciate your analysis. I think that local chumps might benefit from initial funds to obtain separate housing and legal guidance. Although there is a great deal of shared needs with all domestic violence victims, chumps have the additional burden of an affair partner and the more likely prospect of shared child custody or even paying alimony to their abuser. Support systems such as friends, family, employers and school systems may not be available in the absence of physical violence.

          • Social support systems aren’t always available to victims of physical violence either. Victim-blaming seems to know no bounds, even the face of murder. But I agree this can be particularly prevalent when there aren’t even visible injuries. Basically every expression of victim blaming mythology needs to be rooted out of institutions and institutional policy. The problem with bystanderism is that most people simply flow with the dominant paradigm, Milgram experiment-style. But this also means that official views will likely deeply influence public attitudes. In this way, I think coercive control laws could even help victims of violence. Joe Schmo bystanders might one day say, “You went through all that AND physical injuries on top of it??”

            The rub is that even the tiniest dab of victim blaming in public ethos reduces public sympathy which reduces pressure to properly fund victim resources. Vicious circle.

  • Olivia ate a lot of shit sandwiches caused by a couple of men in her personal life. I’m sure she did in her career too. Expressing anger is healthy (I’m not talking about uncontrollable or destructive anger). Suppress it & it causes all kinds of illnesses. I have a perennially cheery friend who refuses to let anything get her down & that girl suffers from one illness after another. Shit sandwich eating is unhealthy! Say No to Shit.

    • I agree, Wow. My mother suffered in an emotionally abusive marriage. Never once did I see her get angry or rage. For her generation it wasn’t proper and could be dangerous. She died of breast cancer. I’ve had major problems with anger and have battled breast cancer. As a general matter, I don’t think our cells can handle the constant stress and heartbreak. So much better to scream.

    • The founder of the dv survivor advocacy network I worked with put it beautifully: “Emotions are just colors in a paint box– neither good nor bad. All that matters is what picture you paint with them.” This was her response to the number of abuse survivors who, when they first approached the service, would initially express fear of being/seeming “too angry.”

      Turns out most survivors didn’t actually deeply fear their own anger but were just playing possum (only convincing if you sort of believe your own possum performance) to avoid typical victim blaming. They’d quickly embrace the free pass to feel what they felt. Some had internalized the ways in which they were policed against being angry, starting with their abusers and then continuing on to average helping professionals to bystanders. At first I thought this was just an expression of gender double standards but adult male survivors of child sexual abuse also report having their natural anger stifled by “helpers” and bystanders. The bystander response might be partly misdirected empathy: the bystander can only imagine (unconsciously) how murderously angry they themselves might feel if they were violated in this way and so they treat recent victims like activated bombs that might explode at any second and take the whole block out with them. I suspect that’s why you get “helpful” bystanders preemptively telling you “not to be bitter!/angry!” (or the more oblique approach– saying “I’m so glad you haven’t been embittered by this. So many chumps are bitter!”) before you’ve even opened your mouth to tell them how you feel regarding some offense.

      • I really think being allowed to feel how you feel diffuses the natural rage-y feelings. Instead of stoking anger, being authentic about it does more to counteract “bitterness” IMO. Some of the most “bitter” people I’ve encountered are in the RIC, eating those shit sandwiches and pronouncing them delicious. They don’t get to move on.

        Chumps need to be careful where they share their pain, and of course, not everyone wants to hear the particulars. I understand why people are attracted to positivity over negativity. Why triumphalism sells. Why sadness and vulnerability are hard to be around.

        But it’s also worth examining why we shut victims down. Who does that serve? When we’re not authentic about chumpdom sucking we play into the narrative of minimizing what happened. What would’ve happened if ONJ just said, it was awful. Or I don’t want to talk about it/him. Or, of course I was upset.

        To my earlier point — why is it incumbent upon ONJ to assert that SHE is not bitter, to someone who has been demonstrably horrible to her? Well, he fucked the babysitter. Shrug. God forbid she be *angry* about it. Or hold it against him. Why is the discussion not what a shit he is, but how well she’s taking it?

        That’s always the playing field with the abusive dynamics — your reaction. I’m saying, don’t play on that field.

        • Amen. So true that victims who try to be too rigidly pozzy can end up brimming with unexpressed rage to the point they go scattershot and aim it at harmless targets. Worse is when victims who internalize the “equal responsibility/takes two to tango” stuff become cruel and commandeering to other survivors who don’t express the same view of abuse dynamics.

          What was concerning or maybe just touching is that poor ONJ didn’t seem to have any anger at all. In a better world she might have been perfectly equipped for peace and happiness. But in this one not so much.

          Amen also to the point about the danger of indiscriminate sharing. I think it’s easier for survivors who are getting an abundance of appropriate support to be more selective about sharing their pain with others. If survivors aren’t starving for support, they won’t be forced to knock on every door to find it.

  • ONJ appeared to recognize that no mate defines her. Likewise, she wasn’t going to let another’s actions drag her down into bitterness or interrupt her own zeal for living. A couple helpful reminders to Chumps is that being chumped is never personal; it is pathological. Also, that it was waiting to happen whether it was us in the parnership or anyone else. ONJ seemed to intuit this with her statement, “I think our marriage would have eventually come to an end, but it happened sooner because of the cancer, which was a good thing.”

    • Nomar also wrote something about ONJ doing the best she could. I might assume she needed to avoid delving too much because recovering from cancer requires so much energy. If you think about it, even healthy processing initially causes more stress before it relieves it and this could eat into the energy required to simply survive.

      As a cancer and abuse victim– even a celebrity victim with a platform– I don’t think ONJ had any responsibility to be a “role model” of recovery. As a former advocate I kind of hate the expectation that victims lead others to safety and freedom as if they have to somehow exonerate themselves for having been victims. Huh? Why would innocent people need redemption if they weren’t being somehow blamed? If they do decide to share and help others, kudos to them because I don’t think it’s required. It’s enough they endured that shit to begin with. But this also means that not all survivors actually are role models and not everything they say about their experience has to be taken as a guide to healing. ONJ was entitled to view her cancer as a “good thing” in disguise but, in advocating others, I don’t find a lot of guidance in those words. Holding the idea up as wisdom comes too close to putting more pressure on victims to “think positively” about misfortune, to somehow thank it, view it as “God’s plan” or whatever. That pressure already exists to an inordinate and damaging degree. What’s potentially more hurtful is that it skirts too close to wishing that others could also experience this kind of “education.”

      But I wouldn’t wish any of this on mine enemy’s dog. What really brought this point home to me was after I was stalked as a student intern by a workplace psycho and got hit with a wave of out-of-the-gate bystander policing not to be “angry/bitter,” not to “play victim” (how can you “play” at being what you actually are?) and to “think positively” or, ugh, “everything happens for a reason!” The barrage was so merciless that I started parroting it preemptively to anyone I told the saga to just to keep them from spewing the same spiel again.

      The spiel didn’t feel right. It was borderline humiliating with a side of covert blame. It was beating me down more than the actual attempted assault. But I was very young and confused and I couldn’t really identify this effect. Then one day I met with a family friend for coffee– a classical musician who’d been raised in the mean streets of the Bronx. He was tough as nails, had been through everything and then developed kidney disease and lost a kidney on top of it. But he was also kind and and funny and had an almost cult following among friends because of his emotional intelligence and wisdom– which one might assume was developed “thanks to,” you know, gang violence and losing a major organ. So I thought he’d pat me on the back when I told him about the stalking and criminal proceedings and then capped the story off with, “Well, at least I learned something.” But instead of nodding approvingly at my pozzy-positivity, he burst into sobs in the middle of a cafe and said, “Knowing you, you could have ‘learned’ about it in a book! Why do people think everyone has to go through hell to ‘learn’?” Then he offered to hook me up with someone who could break the perp’s legs. He wasn’t kidding.

      That’s when I got it and it was a relief. I felt pressured by bystanders to parrot positivity but I was getting hurt with it and, if I parroted it, I risked causing harm to others who’d endured misfortune. Not that I was obliged to be a role model to redeem myself from having been a victim but I admired this friend for being role model and wanted to do the same in my life, give or take leg-breaking street connections. And if I were to be an advocate, would I also apply the “pozzy” thinking to children who died due to political atrocity or any number of terrible things that happen for no good reason other than the demented callousness or beastly sociopaths? Even my friend’s kidney disease could probably be traced back to toxic dumping and the long-standing practice of zoning toxic operations in working class and poor neighborhoods. There were reasons it happened: greed, graft, environmental racism, etc. Not good reasons. And he died six years later. What did he learn from that? Was his death worth someone else’s learning? Do we need to light ourselves on fire to keep others warm? It doesn’t make sense.

      Anyway, the above isn’t directed towards anyone else commenting here. It’s all by way of saying something kind of elemental. I think if people acquire wisdom and strength from terrible events or turn lemons into lemonade, it’s thanks to themselves. If this does arm survivors with wisdom that they can share with others– which my friend certainly did– it’s certainly not thanks to misfortune itself or the terrible people who too often deliver it.

  • I have a different take than CL this morning. Like Olivia, I am glad that my ex crossed a line, leading to divorce. I was miserable in my marriage but I would have put up with it because I was married, and I felt like I was committed for the long haul. I wouldn’t have left for anything less than him spending thousands on sexual services. But since he did cross the line, now I am free! It was a horrible transition, but the end result is so worth it. I am thankful every day that I don’t have to live with my ex or grow old together.

  • Ugh. Chumps are expected to enjoy the shit sandwich while choking it down. “That wasn’t so hard now. Was it? Have another. This time, smile more.”

    “Bitter is so….ugly and unpleasant for society. Rise above. EVOLVE!!!”

    When I first met a new neighbor, I explained that I was recently divorced and mentioned that I had no contact with my x. I detected a wince. Then she quickly rolled out a story about a divorced couple she knows who now live next to each other and walk the same dog every damn day. KUMBAYA!

    The not-so-subtle message was that I, too, should rise above my bitterness.

    Or, at the very least, hide it.

    My x-MIL raises the stakes by implying that my “bitterness” and “inability to forgive” will relegate me to the fires of hell for eternity. Speaking for God seems to come naturally for her.

    Eh, I’ll be bitter if I want to. Chump nirvana isn’t necessarily the absence of bitterness. For me, I can be meh but still feel whatever the hell I’m feeling. And if that includes bitterness, so bet it. My goal is to not give a rat’s ass about whatever the hell x is thinking and doing. He existed. Now he’s dead to me. That’s not to say I don’t have massive feelings about what he did. I just don’t care about him anymore. And I am living a new, much-better life on my own. KUMBAYA!

    • “Then she quickly rolled out a story about a divorced couple she knows who now live next to each other and walk the same dog every damn day. KUMBAYA!”

      🤮

    • What really bothers me about being called “bitter,” and I guess any label actually, is the underlying assumptions about behavior that always go with it. I don’t go around telling people I barely know WHAT TO DO. Why do people feel that if chumps don’t PERFORM a certain way, like the ridiculous dog walking, that we’re bitter? Why can’t it be that chumps are just trying to live happy lives by avoiding an asshole?

      My ex is a grade A #1 narc asshole. It doesn’t matter to me that I bred with him. I won’t share my one precious life, whether it’s chit chatting like the cheater in yesterday’s post wants or sitting near them at kid’s events, with anyone who’s an asshole, including him. This is how most people live their lives – shutting out the assholes.

    • Ugh, unless you’ve been cheated on in this heinous way, no one knows how it feels. I will never forgive FW, ever

      My first marriage ended also but with a unicorn. He told everyone who would listen, how he was fully to blame and also gave me a more than fair divorce settlement. He told me to draw up what I wanted and he would sign. He gave me lots more than I was entitled to

      I was therefore able to stay friends with him for years and my faith in human nature remained intact

      Not so this time. I remember reading CL days after D Day and thinking ‘oh no, that won’t happen’

      Of course, Tracy was right, to the letter. What a shock and thank goodness for her book and Chump Nation

      • Exactly. I watched a video from Dr Ramani (not sure of her last name) on Youtube (an expert on Narcs). She said you don’t have to forgive. She said something like: “You made me feel a way that I never wanted to feel. I resent you for that.” Short and to the point.

        I was raised Catholic. I talked to a priest following D-day and while I didn’t get a lot of comfort, he didn’t push me to forgive XH, although I did try. I sat in church for a year praying for him while he went about setting up a family with OW.

        My time has been better spent on me. Dr Ramani is right.

        • I’m Catholic. The resurrected Jesus never forgave Judas. That gave me the courage to step away from forgiveness and concentrate on a better life for myself. The bitterness, 24/7 thinking about FW, tends to give way as I could save money and find better friends. I forgave myself for staying with an abusive husband – an unlawful marriage. That’s all the forgiveness that’s warranted.

        • Ramani is very good. Common sense first.

          My theory is a lot of the emphasis on forgiveness in our culture is actually a form of self righteous disguising and underlying need for control. Essentially is a form of virtue signaling.

          While it is unhealthy to let anger eat you up inside, there is a middle ground between that and all out forgiveness. Some acts are so bad the victim shouldn’t be expected to forgive. Not on this earth & not in this life. God can forgive the perpetrator if he asked. The victim shouldn’t have that responsibility.

          • This is true, also how can/why should you forgive someone who isn’t a bit sorry or only sorry for themselves if they experience consequences

            Tracy makes this point, in her book and it really resonated with me

            Their behaviour during discard and divorce is unforgivable, let alone the damage they inflict on their own children

  • I had no idea she was a chump. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer a month after discovery, (married 27 years and have six kids together) went through months of chemo and years of surgeries, while hiding the secret I was forced to hide from my cheater husband, ingesting large amounts of hopium and chemo all through it, while being traumatized again and again with more discoveries I can tell you it wreaks havoc on your body and your mind. I get where she is coming from with denial because it’s almost too much to absorb at once. I felt like physically mentally and emotionally I was taken down to absolutely nothing and had to rebuild it all back while also parenting six kids. I have had years of weekly therapy but I still can’t talk about some of it. I have little memory of so many years but carry the scars in and out and always will.
    I do remember standing almost naked in front of a male reconstruction surgeon (I looked like a concentration camp survivor at the time) while he and my cheating husband talked about what my reconstruction would be like and my husband asking if the surgeon could make something different on my remaining breast. That goes along with the comment above- here’s someone to be molded into my liking. How inconvenient my cancer was to him. And he let me know it- and I still didn’t leave until a year or more later.

    • sarah, i’m so sorry that you experienced that with the surgeon and your X re: reconstruction. i sincerely hope you’ve found some ease through therapy. i would think EMDR for trauma would be helpful for a memory like that particular one. it’s helped me a lot.

      if i could, i’d make you some soup.

    • I’m so sorry, Sarah. What a brave and mighty woman you are. I feel a hint of shame that maybe you should have left earlier? If so, I get that. FW was carrying on with a young nurse — not involved in my treatment — while I was undergoing radiation. Goodness! Look at you! What incredible strength, and such a role model for your children. ❤️

    • (((Sarah))) OMG, that is awful. Since when does anyone but the patient get decision making power in a surgery? That was unethical of the doctor to even entertain the FW’s opinions. I’m so angry for you.

      I know what you mean about being unable to to talk about some of what you experienced. I did have some therapy but found there were things I could not talk about even with a therapist. The things I could talk about just made me blubber throughout the session. I was paying then to watch me cry. So I stopped therapy. I decided to save my money and do whatever I could to heal on my own, and I’m much better, but yeah, the scars are there for life.

  • She was 73, grew up and succeeded in a filthy, misogynistic, sexist industry where men controlled her and probably took most of her money. I can’t fault her in any way. She seemed like graciousness was part of her core. She was also very clever. Her answers had layers.

  • Walkawaywoman wrote: “…on the day that my mother passed away unexpectedly… the Lying Cheating Loser picked a vicious fight with me which culminated in his stomping out of our shared home, triumphantly declaring that he was going to call his mother, because unlike me, he still had a living mother and could call her anytime he wanted.

    This is incredible cruelty. And yet, I read it about a year or more ago, either from you or another poster. Who does things like this? Cheater narc sociopaths.

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and so glad Lying Cheater Loser is either out of your life, or on the way. Like Diane Strickland, I have also heard different versions of “partners” starting to cheat, upping their cheating, or walking out when chumps need them most, often due to their own or family illness, particularly cancer and high risk pregnancy.

  • I think CL’s point here is less about ONJ specifically and more about the expectations and practices of others that forced her to respond publicly (and, of course, positively) to something that is intensely personal and painful; thereby normalizing such expectations for the rest of us.

  • My wasband cheated on me with my bff while I was going through cancer treatment. With him 20 years, bff with her longer than that.

    100% accelerated my finding out who he really was. It WAS a good thing, that the cancer did that. I say it to people: the only worse thing would have been to find out one day later. Cancer brings dark gifts.

    Also, I HATE the cancer war metaphor. It’s diminishing and presumptuous, and assigns positions and roles to people with cancer that they aren’t choosing. I’m not a “warrior” in a “battle.” I choose to be a person with a team of doctors doing their level best to meet the biological challenge with me.

    She can choose denial if she wants. Since she got treatment, this type of denial is a decision to spend less of one’s energy focused on the vagaries of cellular division and move on psychologically. Another word for this type of denial is compartmentalization. My cancer has a chance of recurring whenever it pleases. My oncologist told me to take that thought, write it down, fold it up into a square, put it in my back pocket, and live my life. I’m a very dead-on, “own the suck,” face the truth person. Hard to do with cancer. She got there faster than most, hella faster than me, and bully for her.

    Also: “back in the 90s.” bacK iN tHe ninETieS. When did I get so old :)))) ?!??!? Weren’t the nineties yesterday?!

    • “Also, I HATE the cancer war metaphor. It’s diminishing and presumptuous, and assigns positions and roles to people with cancer that they aren’t choosing.”

      ITA. People refer to how the patient is “bravely fighting.”
      It’s insulting to the people who don’t survive as it implies they did not fight hard enough. Also in some cases it is quite hopeless and I feel this attitude is disrespectful to the people who choose not to make what’s left of their lives even more hellish by trying.

  • I had an interesting discussion with my youngest son this morning about attitude and generation. My parents’ generation were deemed “the greatest” by a reporter once upon a time because they were born during the depression, and survived WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. Transitioning with the industrial revolution, and the emergence of human rights for minorities and women of all colors is a daunting task. However, I was born in the 50’s, and my generation has been caught in the midst of change and is now sandwiched between caring for our children and our parents. I think that’s pretty daunting, too.

    I also realize that decisions I made in the past were influenced by my FOO and what was going on in the world at that time. My comment to my son was even though we now regard some attitudes of the past as bigoted, or racist, or sexist. and no doubt they were, they were still representing a time. It is hard to be a lone naysayer in a time where your opinion is out of place. It is hard to do something you don’t want to do so that your children can eat and be cared for. It is hard to work for a sexist bigot when you need a job so badly, albeit underpaid, to enable you to pay your bills and have some version of a life. It is hard to choose a word to convey your opinion and not generate additional questions from nosy news reporters.

    It is also none of our business how she felt about her FW husband behaving like a FW. Questions like that are “stir the pot” questions the press uses to make news out of none of our business issues. A celebrity’s opinion is no more or less important than our own. We live with our decisions and mistakes, and errors in judgement. How delightful.

  • Myself as a surviving breast cancer woman is amazed how strong she was.
    My ex cheater met the evil OW 😈 right after my chemo treatments ended. I guess my shaved fuzzy head and the loss of one breast made the whore more desirable. Married 35 years meant nothing to him but his wandering dick did.
    These men are selfish with no soul and
    hopefully they will their punishment.
    RIP Olivia. 🙏. God Bless

  • Get the gut feeling Olivia was sincerely a gentle soul & just
    not aggressive. Wonder if
    it’s bitterness or unexpressed emotions that tax the immune system more. Maybe a calmer based person would stress out
    more by expressing than by remaining true to temperament.
    “An iron fist in velvet glove”
    comes to mind.

  • I’m back to CL after a long hiatus because I forgot to trust that he sucks. I’ve gained weight, look like hell, feel worse. Was watching FW and his young bride from a distance in their bliss, blaming myself. But if Olivia N-J got cheated on??? While she had CANCER?!!! This helps me remember he’s the problem, not me. Thanks Chump Lady and Chump Nation!

  • My immediate family (7 siblings plus spouses plus children) love the drama. Although I’ve been divorced for 40 years from the father of my children, the family still has to dig. I learned early that delivering a line with a straight face that could be interpreted either as a Pollyanna answer or a sarcastic answer was the best.
    Them: “Looks like Tom married someone pretty much like you … only 15 years younger” Me: “that’s very practical. His alcoholism means he’ll need senior care much earlier than the average person. I’m too old to handle that crap.”
    Them: “His new wife is young enough to bear him children.” Me: “I sincerely hope she does have a child or two. He’s learned so much about what a good father does now that he’s a grandfather. He would be able to change diapers and take them to the pediatrician now that he sees his sons-in-law doing that. Since he’s now retired, he could also be taking his child to and from sports events. I’ve lit a candle in front of the Blessed Mother statue to pray for their fertility.”

  • FW Matt had his wife (#3) release a statement on ONJ’s death. He still doesn’t (and never will) have what it takes to do the right thing. Loser.

  • This was very hard for me. So many people judged me on how I responded (1massive DDay) to my ex wife’s years of cheating and finding out one of my kids wasn’t mine. I was bitter or I should have gone around all smiling and happy is how some people felt. Not that you should be all mean to everyone but come on, we are human. Betrayal kills you inside when the one who you trust the most is capable of such evil things. I had a crush on Olivia when I was a kid after watching Grease amongst others like Farrah Fawcett and Lynda Carter. I would hate to have said that I was happy for my ex and her AP.

    • The people who judged you aren’t interested in hearing about your problems. They don’t want the responsibility.

      Blaming you is a ham handed way to avoid the situation.

  • I truly hope ONJ was positive about the experience and did not feel obligated to answer that way. There is a lot of pressure on us Chumps to not be bitter, move on and be friendly with the ex. I say no f’ing way to that. It just doesn’t feel right / true to me and I have a strong negative reaction when I hear those words.

    It’s been 2 years post-divorce and 3 years since D-Day and I’m finally beginning to realize the depths of abuse I went through. Why has it taken me that long? Maybe a bit naivety on my part. Also, NPD is pure evil and there is not enough info out there about it and I don’t believe society as a whole wants to address it. As I’m beginning to understand this, I’m becoming very angry at the professionals (marriage counselor, therapists, lawyers) I worked with that did not help me understand what was going on and support me the way I needed (I did not find CL until post-divorce). They all made it sound like, divorce happens, marriages are hard – no acknowledgement of the cheating / abuse. During the time, the FW was raging/crying/charming and getting what he wanted during the divorce. It was all about meeting his needs. I felt helpless/isolated and could either express my feelings and be called crazy/uncooperative or eat a shit sandwich and maintain my self respect. Of course, I chose taking the high road and will continue to do so. I still have faith that doing this will provide me with a better life.

    Thanks to CL and CN for keeping me sane and making me feel not alone.

  • I don’t know… after the separation people thought I was being sooo sweet and generous when I said I was happy that my ex and ow had eachother. What I actually meant was that I could not have designed a better revenge if I had tried! The kids tried not to show what life was like at Daddy’s, but it was obvious that the happy couple weren’t very happy at all.

    • Love your post.

      I remember that I told my ex sister in law that fw and whore had more in common than he and I did. (this was a while after I had recovered some). What I meant was they were both dirt bags. Thing is, life went on and I never clarified what I meant, though I have always known that if she ever brought it up to me again, I would say “You know I didn’t mean that as a compliment, right?”.

      As time went on, turns out I was right. They continued to both be lying nasty pieces of shit. The only reason I know is my son and his wife told me.

  • Maybe this explains why her daughter Chloe has struggled so much in her own life-drugs and addiction to plastic surgery.

  • I don’t know, I see it more as her saying that her cancer revealed his character than she is blaming herself for getting cancer.

  • RIP Olivia, I loved you. She probably was delighted to get rid of him and have him be someone else’s problem. I’m sure the nanny wasn’t his first rodeo. Sure its hard to get through, but imagine having her money and support system. If chumps had those resources Im sure they would kick the FW to the curb sooner instead of getting on the RIC train.

    • “If chumps had those resources Im sure they would kick the FW to the curb sooner instead of getting on the RIC train.”

      I agree. I did love my fw and I was so hurt; but I wonder if I had those recourses if I would have stayed with him for the year of discard. My guess is I might have kicked him out on his ass.

  • ” … it happened sooner because of the cancer, which was a good thing … ”

    Transl: I got rid of that bag of shit, and not a moment too soon.

  • ONJ might have been livid behind closed doors but strategic in PR. Although I wish that rich and famous women would use their influence to change the narrative around cheaters, they probably get used to live in a certain economical position and that’s hard to give up. I don’t blame them — cheaters make more than enough damage as it is.

    There are so many cheaters in Hollywood that ONJ would basically burn herself in the industry if she’d shun one of them. Who’d want to work with the “difficult” woman who criticizes what many of the powerful men do in their private lives? Hollywood is ramped with misogyny and abuse and women who want to succeed must comply.

    I’ve noticed that the more cutting-edge, rich and fashionable people are — not only in Hollywood but also doctors, finances, tech — the more cheater-apologetic they become. I guess that with every social ladder, the higher you go the more dysfunctional people there are. You either silently agree, or you’re ostracized.

  • When I first learned of FW’s betrayal – and for long thereafter – I struggled with my self-esteem and truly felt ugly. I still have my bad days, but when I find myself focusing on superficial things like ‘looks’, I think of the OJN’s, Beyonce’s Jennifer Garner’s, Jennifer Aniston’s, and Shakira’s of the world, and I remind myself that cheaters are gonna cheat no matter what.

  • Funny how there is a double standard about being “judgy”. When somebody cheats, people say there are two sides to every story, nobody knows what goes on in a marriage, bla bla bla.
    Yet the same people feel it’s okay to judge how you, the victim of the cheater, respond to the situation.
    If you aren’t forgiving, positive and don’t want to be friends with the turd, they judge you harshly and unfairly. ONJ was probably aware of that unfortunate reality and censored herself accordingly. Jennifer Garner did the same thing. Notice they both have a girl next door image. When you’re considered “nice” you aren’t allowed to be angry no matter how justified it is. But an asshole can do practically anything and won’t be judged for it or held to account. People don’t want to identify with a victim. It’s like they think it’s contagious and that kissing up to the victimizers is the magic elixir that keeps it at bay.
    Assholes rule the world, chumps. We need to take it back.

    • Victim-blaming is definitely a factor here. It is universal, applies to all sorts of victims suffering all sorts of misfortunes, and is an atavistic attempt to avoid contagion. One of the less attractive behaviors characteristic of humans.

  • Wow that was the saddest post I have read on CL.
    As an Aussie, I didn’t know that she was a chump too.
    Just really sad about that
    I adored Olivia

  • I didnt know about her chumpdom. I do know that before she married her now husband, she was ghosted by a lover who ran off to another country without breaking up. She said it was a horrible experience. One story said that she later came to know another former partner of his. Integrity, people…cheating and ghosting are not decent ways to end serious relationships

  • Cheating is viewed as natural, normal, a biological imperative, yet any response to it, other than “men will be men,” is unnatural, unfeminine and in bad form. Of course ONJ, as a celebrity good girl, had to gracefully accept his cheating and wish him and the nanny nothing but the best. To do anything less would’ve marred her image/career.

    I couldn’t helping thinking, when reading about her death, that suppressing her rage and pain for the sake of her image and perhaps her daughter played a role in her illness.

    The more I pay attention, the more I see how misogyny is killing women on so many levels.

    • Agreed, skeeter! I was heartbroken to learn that she died. I’ve been a fan of hers since I was a kid. She always seemed to be a wonderful person, with inner AND outer beauty.
      In this world (and in the Hollywood world) that has become rare.
      Her song “A Little More Love” is one of my favorites.

      There is definitely truth in your statement about how we as women are expected to handle infidelity.
      Or, for that matter, any harm inflicted on us. I won’t judge Olivia for how/why she handled it in her own way. But yes…she seems to have been the type to smile no matter what, and maybe (like so many of us) she was taught to hide her pain.

      Misogyny and other ills are truly hurting us all!

  • Society seems to be deeply invested in keeping us as chumps – we’re not supposed to get angry – or certainly not STAY angry, or want revenge (I’ve had those fantasies), or be outraged, or grey rock or any negative feelings at all. Just forgive all, become “friends”, and stay Forever Chumps. I guess a narc society supports itself and its foremost citizens, which ain’t chumps. I’m tired of the dishonesty – we all have to start being honest about how we really feel, that’s always the starting point – not how we should feel or what others would like to see, but how we REALLY feel. Till you’re honest about your feels you can’t start your heals.

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