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Only Fools Break Tiffany Glass Windows

This is a column I wrote awhile aback about knowing your worth, and how many beautiful things get destroyed  — not because they aren’t beautiful — but because some idiot cannot see their worth. Happy Tuesday. — Tracy


Hi chumps! I’ve been on vacation with my family in Orlando, Florida for a few days. Yesterday my mother and I visited the Morse Museum in Winter Park, which if you find yourself in the Disney World orbit, I can highly recommend over rollercoasters, crowds, and uber-commercialized touristy crap at the theme parks. The Morse Museum is a mind-blowing collection of Tiffany glass, jewelry, and Arts and Crafts pottery. Really, I cannot convey to you how exquisite it all is. Make it a must-do if you find yourself in this neck of the woods. But the crowning jewel of the museum is the Tiffany Chapel.

tif-peacockThe chapel was created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It’s this Byzantine-inspired Art Nouveau confection of glass mosaic and stained glass. It’s freaking amazing. The altar piece is a mosaic of two peacocks facing each other with a crown floating above — it looked like a technicolor dream of Gustave Klimt to me, the swirls and jewel-like abstractions. They say it was Louis Comfort Tiffany’s masterpiece.

The chapel had a rather sad history, which you can read about. Suffice it to say, it was a sensation when it debuted, but then struggled to find a home. Tiffany rescued it at one point, had it restored and installed in his mansion estate Laurelton Hall, (which is its own amazing story). By the 1950s, the estate was abandoned and in 1957 a fire raged for three days and most of the place was destroyed. The chapel survived, only just.

The daughter of Tiffany called the McKeans, a couple that ran a small museum in Winter Park, Florida and asked if they wanted a few of the windows. Okay, TRY and imagine a world in which someone is saying “here, please TAKE a Tiffany stained glass window off me, because I know you would appreciate it and no one else apparently does.” So the McKeans travel to Long Island, New York and viewed the wreckage of Laurelton Hall. The fire fighters had salvaged some of the windows, which were leaning against a wall — some miscreants had come and thrown rocks through some of them. The place was full of debris, open to the elements. The McKeans decided then to rescue the chapel and save as much as they could. At the museum are photos of the ruins and the salvage company that came to move it — who didn’t treat it right, threw all the pieces in the back of a truck with the crowning indignity — topping the pile with an old tire.

Mind blowing.

Tiff-MorseWhat does this have to do with infidelity? Well, as I was listening to this story during the narrated film at the museum (which my mother insisted on attending… thank you Mom…), I thought — what kind of MONSTER throws a rock through a Tiffany glass window?! What kind of idiot cannot see how freaking beautiful these works of art are? What sort of world do we live in where an entire mansion full of Tiffany glass is just abandoned?

And it occurred to me, that some people can’t see obvious beauty. They destroy and devalue. Or they can only appreciate something if it is set in a context of What Is Fashionable and Approved Of, versus just seeing it for what it IS — beautiful and worthy.

Cheaters are the sorts of people who would throw a rock through a Tiffany glass window. To give your heart to someone, to be faithful to them, to try and forgive an unforgivable betrayal — that makes you a beautiful person. Tiffany glass windows are no less valuable because some idiot could not appreciate their beauty and threw a rock. Tiffany windows should not think… Gee, if I’d only been some work of abstract expressionism… something in vogue… if I’d only been a Jackson Pollack painting, they wouldn’t have thrown that rock. No, Tiffany windows are what they are — exquisite, obviously beautiful things. It just took escaping the ruins and the rock throwers for the world to notice was was really apparent all along — that these are works of art. Precious creations.

I believe this is true for chumps as well. Get away from the burning ruins and find someone who appreciates you. Your worth was never in question. Some people throw rocks. Some people are ugly and can’t see true beauty. It’s not you. It’s them.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Love this! I believe some of these idiots, do see the beauty in us. This is why they want to throw the rocks. Somehow, they think they increase their value, by decreasing yours. Their jokes are at your expense. They shine from your hard work, taking credit. When it becomes obvious it’s your worth, your beauty. They start throwing rocks, to break all your windows.

    • Well said, HCard!
      To me, the best analogy found in CL’s essay is the image of a tire being tossed on top of the heap of damaged art glass.
      The cheating isn’t the throwing of rocks. Instead, the rocks are all the various levels of mistreatment and disrespect Chumps suffer prior or in addition to the subsequent infidelities. (Devaluation, deliberate erosion of self esteem, constant lack of common courtesies, and withholding intimacy to name but a few.) The “death by a thousand pin-pricks” as they say.
      The cheating is the tire. The last possible and most egregious indignity one can suffer before either being sent to the trash pile, or hauling one’s self away by escaping for renovation and restoration.
      We are mighty when we remove the weight of the tire and seek out our chapel where out beauty and worth is unveiled for all the world to see and admire. In my humble opinion, T
      that is meh.

    • Chump Lady & Hcard,
      You’re describing a Sadist.
      A sadistic abuser
      aka a demonized soul
      with same goals of Satan:
      Steal. Kill. Destroy.

    • Rings true. There seem to be strains of “Apres moi, le deluge” in cheater behavior. RIC and the Perelistas (Rick Astley cover band?) paint this mythic portrait of the average cheater as someone who quietly bonks around while maintaining a perfectly positive and affectionate demeanor towards their chumped partner. Maybe that exists but I’ve never heard of it in real life. Every story I’ve heard has involved rock-throwing, as if cheaters want chumps bleeding from every pore and with sub-zero self esteem, crying in a fetal position and calling out cheaters’ names for the rest of their significantly shortened lifespans.

      I dated and broke up with a few people before getting married and the response from the guys I broke up with was generally how nice I was being about it. I wanted to imagine them moving on seamlessly and having happy lives so I’d build them up. Just because they weren’t right for me or had to be thrown back in the water until they grew up didn’t make me wish them ill. So why do cheaters typically do the scorched earth thing? It appears that cheaters’ greatest fear is that their chumps might thrive without them and move on to find love and happiness. It’s like cheaters know that outcome is highly likely as long as chumps know their value so the point is to spellbind chumps into believing they have no value and no future.

      It could arguably be because cheaters want to destroy chumps’ reputations and perspectives so chumps can’t bear witness to others and tarnish cheaters’ images. But the big take-downs generally start before chumps even know what cheaters are really like so I think it’s more about ensuring that chumps will have no life in case they figure things out and leave.

      This is why I started thinking of cheating as just a subviolent form of battering. I’ll die on that hill! It all seems to fit too well. I’ll repeat my usual spiel about it for any newcomers:

      According to some of the more cutting edge clinical research, batterers often “suffer” from dueling, internally-triggered fears of either abandonment or engulfment by intimate partners. No one knows why this is centered specifically on intimate partners but I suppose it’s because partners often represent parent figures– either the one someone had or the ideal that they wish for. By it’s nature, the dependency and dueling fears are an infantile state. For an infant, abandonment by caretakers means death. But when babies start individuating, they experience rage when caretakers impinge boundaries. Anyone who’s raised children knows the terrible twos and batterers are basically giant, conflicted toddlers who never grow out of it but form enough social awareness to know they’d never keep a job or have relationships if they didn’t conceal it. This dependency apparently causes them deep shame because of whatever fucked up, kill-or-be-killed backgrounds they come from so they mask the dependency even from themselves and try to foster it in partners (“s/he needs me and I don’t need him/her!”). Because they have no defined selves, no solid characters, batterers tend to mirror partners’ characters, views and perspectives at first like hermit crabs requisitioning new shells. It’s also an expression of wormy dependency to prevent partners from abandoning them (“See proxy-mommy/daddy figure, I’m just like you, please don’t leave me!”). But then abusers become threatened when the borrowed persona feels too constraining or becomes confusing when they start to mirror others outside the relationship whom they need things from/want to emulate and the newly adopted views/image/persona conflict with the partners’ “model.” If the partner is loyal and ethical, the ethics abusers initially “borrow” from partners might start to make the abuser feel bad about what they do, which generally involves cheating (virtually all batterers cheat if they can) as an attempt to dilute the shameful, wormy dependency on partners by spreading it out among more than one. When emulation gets constricting, abusers will blame partners for trying to dominate them and attempt to push partners back to a more comfortable distance. But when this succeeds, it re-triggers abandonment terrors and abusers threaten or “love-bomb” to pull the partners back in. And on and on, push-pull, back and forth until their partners don’t know which way is up– aka, the cycle of abuse.

      It’s a myth that most batterers are violent all the time. Most reportedly operate on a “beat by need” basis so if the above psychological torture program is successful in destroying a partner’s agency (and abusers are almost mystically sensitive to every cue from partners since they feel their very survival depends on partners’ dependency), the abuser may never need to ramp it up to violence. If the victim starts rebelling, going cold or the abuser simply imagines they’re losing control of the partner, the abuser may resort to violence as either a “push” or a “pull.” Throw them a lovely birthday party– push. Don’t throw them a birthday party– pull.

      Because happy people tend to feel somewhat in control of their lives, the victim’s very happiness becomes threatening to abusers so they will systematically spoil anything that makes partners secure or content until their partners are like Skinner dogs lying inert on the electrified cell floor not even trying to escape the shocks. This is why I think the opposite of love is not indifference but dependency. Even studies of “cold, methodical” serial killers have revealed evidence of this kind of underlying worminess. But worminess is catastrophically shameful to abusers so, again, they conceal and try to infect others with it.

      It’s not mental illness per se because mentally ill people don’t have the wherewithal to manipulate others to this extent. It’s more a criminal disorder but a different take on abuser psychology than the cartoon, airtight sociopath concept. Instead it frames sociopathy as the “goal” or aspiration of the abuser but deep down they’re a gooey, repulsive mess of hidden infantile need and rage. Their emotional diapers overflow. If anyone wants to know what it’s like to be them, just look to the effect they have on partners. I lean to the idea that it’s all displacement, like passing on a psychological STD. If the victim ends up suicidal from being abused, it’s because that’s what the abuser is trying to repress in themselves– partly by displacing the state onto another person. If the victim feels collapsed, inert and dependent, voila, there’s the inner life of the FW, the thing they’re always trying to stay one step ahead of. Even when victims feel rage or schadenfreude, it’s a peek into abusers’ chronic psychological states. Fortunately for most normal people, the infection isn’t internally perpetuated or permanent.

      I think it’s statistically mostly victims who initiate separation from abusers but I’m not exactly sure what triggers some abusers to give up the game and abandon former victims. There’s very little research on cheating in domestic abuse, only on abusers’ tendency to be territorial or paranoid about being betrayed themselves, but that leaves a big gap between research and survivors’ reported experiences. When I worked with survivors as an advocate, I never met one who hadn’t also been sexually betrayed one way or another. Most wouldn’t talk about it outside advocacy circles because of the tendency of legal authorities, average dumb bystanders and incompetent members of the helping professions to misconstrue (often deliberately) stories of betrayal as a motive for victims to “make stuff up” about their exes out of pure jealousy and retaliation. So survivors tend to clam up about it.

      But cheating seems to be fundamental to abuser psychology. I get the feeling that abusive personalities tend to switch back and forth between pursuing people who are either dead ringers for their own childhood abusers or a departure from this pattern. They may get burned by one type and then run to the other to balm their wounds, then get drawn to the other again to triangulate against the not-abuser-ish type (because destroying an innocent person isn’t a good look and proxy-betrayers are often helpful in demonizing victims and helping abusers to restore their self-images as normal, upright citizens) and on and on and back and forth. So abandoning the latter might result from a fatwa issued by a “childhood abuser-ish” affair partner whom the abuser is in the throes of mirroring and forming a new pathological dependency on.

      Since abusers achieve equilibrium by “diluting” dependency and hedging bets against abandonment by triangulating, it may take a state of fear to be exclusively dependent on one person for any length of time, so the more a partner/affair partner tends to have “negative relational strategies” (manipulating, punishing, controlling, retaliating), the more the abuser might “obey,” at least at first. An affair partner who knowingly abets betrayal is obviously also a disordered, psychologically dangerous person. Chumps were the departure from this so chumps may sometimes lose that Pickme death match. They’re just not scary enough, particularly to an abuser who’s in the “Looking for Mr./Ms. Goodbar” phase. Maybe it’s simpler than that. Abusers might also abandon at the point the former toy is too broken and not fun to torture anymore. Or they may just be trying to stay out of jail because their destructive impulses are becoming progressively more murderous towards partners. On the dependency model, I imagine that abusers who do the sudden disappearing act, split up by text and seem to never look back are actually trying extra hard to engineer their own indifference for fear that, if they did look back, they’d see their partners recovering and thriving again and they’d end up with 20 to life.

      Sorry if this is redundant for anyone who’s already seen me go on about it. If anyone wants to read clinical sources, I’ll share what I remember. 🙂

    • Spot on Hcard. The rock throwers have a mindset of “all bad” thinking. They look for flaws in your glass. They perceive there are flaws were there are none. They build resentment upon resentment at those perceived flaws. They add hatred and contempt. They envy, they degrade and devalue. They destroy.

  • I have been to that museum (with my then wasband), and yes, it was remarkable. Unfortunately my memories are tainted by the fact that he was cheating on me at the time. Speaking of “rocks”, a few large ones seemed to drop out of the sky on my lawn when I was learning about the affair. I also had someone drive over my lawn and throw a brown liquid from my patio on to my house! I was not the one cheating, just uncovering what “they” had done. Almost six years divorced and these incidents of vandalism only occurred as I was outing them!

    • Affair partners can get very angry when they are being outed. The OW, who lived across the street from us, toilet papered my front yard one night ???? My gawd, she was a jerk!

    • Funny, my car was keyed and the air in my tires kept deflating after I outed my FW. The mechanic could find no issue with my tires. They magically stayed full of air when FW moved out and I haven’t had these issues since.

  • This is quite true. How I wish I had read this post over seven years ago. I realize now I should have never been with the rock thrower anyway. At least I’m beginning to make a nice patio with the rocks and rebuild the windows.

  • Yes to this. The cheater loves to throw rocks to devalue the chump as they start their discard. They do everything they can to destroy us both physically and mentally. Eventually, the chump can come out of it and rebuild with some repairs and be beautiful despite having been broken.
    I know my FW tried everything he could to break me and grind me into dust but he is not winning. I am still in the battle and he and his attorney are trying to settle so the FW will not have his adultery on public record. My attorney and I are trying to get the right numbers because if they couldn’t destroy you before, the FW will try to destroy you financially. I am confident he will not succeed because FW has been reluctantly offering better numbers. The fantastic thing is that he has to or the judge will make the decision on a fault based divorce in November (we have a videos he uploaded to our adult son’s photo account showing him and Schmoopie doing the deed).
    The point is that I am away from him now and living in a new home and he did not destroy me. Sure, I am a bit broken but the repairs are in progress. The FW is having to face consequences and he was always shielded from those so he is not the happy cheater he had been before with a wife appliance that took the abuse. May he and his 32 years younger Schmoopie enjoy what they have created. I am mending the broken pieces and am going to be better than ever.

    • This ????????????????????????“… if they couldn’t destroy you before, the FW will try to destroy you financially.” Yup. They are evil – cheating is not only about the sick thrill some strange genital buffet. XH refused to settle for 50/50 asset division (25 year marriage- 4 kids). Judge gave me 82% and said Xh was still coming out ahead with much higher earning capacity. BOOM. It’s been 5.5 years since then and XH is still furious about it. He chose this! What a sociopath! Good riddance!

      • During the rounds of unnecessary litigation that followed settlement, Douchecanoe and his lawyer would regularly mention that I got 55% of the marital assets, as if that was some unfair windfall. In fact, the “extra” 5% equated to roughly $67k for giving up 11 of my prime income earning years to be a SAHM.
        When I stopped working, Douchecanoe and I were about equal in salary. He currently earns almost 4x what I do and has caused me to waste $38k on years of his post-decree court bullshit. Asshole and asshole legal system. Not so meh today.

        • I want to talk about mediation and continued destruction
          After a very long day verging on 14 hours 8 AM to 10 PM my ex put on the table an offer of 51% of the assets, a China cabinet, and he would continue to support our young adult children or
          53% of the assets, I don’t know who is pushing for that # , and he would remove himself from supporting the kids
          I Turned to my attorney and the mediator came over zoom and said just take the offer. Mediator is a retired attorney I think he was probably in his early 70s and he was exhausted so I shrugged my shoulders and I said OK
          I also got 50% of valuation of my husband‘s business and he was furious about that, he had been claiming that it was going bankrupt but he never hired his own business valuators, he just kept trying to talk to mine, so the mediator really had nothing else to work with

          for days after mediation he kept texting me saying that there are two kinds of deals and this was the kind of business deal where we will never see or talk to each other again. He has kept his word and he has kept not helping my kids with any of their expenses including my daughter asking for help to pay for therapy to process the divorce and pay for medication her insurance did not cover

          He also said that he was going to take 50% of their remaining education funds so he could support himself. He also has done that
          He was the cheater, he was the abuser, he was the sadist, he was the one who chose to destroy our marriage and throw the rock through a 30 year marriage and a tight family unit
          He tells everyone who will listen that I took advantage of him because he did eventually lose his business, but as my attorney said he didn’t present anything legally admissible and everyone who is going through divorce says they are going bankrupt

          It is hard for me to fathom his ability to completely disconnect

          sometimes I regret the mediator pushing me into the deal but I think he might’ve ghosted me anyway

          Total destruction , total scorched earth, total shattered window, just because he could not take responsibility
          Punishment continues

          • I’d say he probably wouldn’t have helped the kids even if there was an agreement in place. You’d have been fighting him tooth and nail to get him to help and having to go back to court to enforce the agreement, much to his cruel delight. A man who can so easily absolve himself of any responsibility for his children is highly disordered, so it’s good to have a settlement that leaves no further room for him to engage in litigation abuse. Getting only 53% sucks, but at least he’s GONE. However, be wary of future attempts to circle back. He sounds like the kind of guy who has no use for you or the kids as long as he has a schmoopie, but if they break up he can’t be alone and will try to use you until he finds another.

        • Same here, Sunrise. I quit work to raise the kids. I would do this again in a heartbeat because those early years are irreplaceable.
          But it turned out to be a VERY expensive option.
          We had similar careers and we both have a Master’s degree.
          After 11 years, guess which one of us is making six figures?
          The same one who says: “I told you to get a job. It’s time to stop blaming me for your problems, BTL”.
          He’s an asshole of staggering proportions.

          • Same experience BTL
            He Kept telling me to get a job at the same time sabotaging everything, making his needs the number one priority in our family and threatening to leave or sulking etc. if he did not get his way.

            I deal a lot with the idea that I could’ve helped myself more, but I have some empathy I that he made it really difficult. Imcludimg 3 three cross country moves to support his career alone, one with our children in middle school

            We did everything we could to accommodate him and then he Weaponized it. He kept constantly telling me to get a job, while making himself my number one job being a neglectful coparent a nonexistent responsible homeowner etc. etc. and generally neglectful Rejecting and dishonest spouse

  • Great museum! Enjoyed my visit as well. It’s hard when you think you’ve married Michelangelo and then realize no, it’s Attila the Hun.

    • Haven’t been to the museum, Trudy, but I get the Michelangelo turning out to be Attila the Hun. For me, from the guy’s side, I thought I had a Rosa Parks. But instead I had a Sarah Palin. Not trying to offend anyone, but this is the closest comparison I could come up with. I will definitely have to get to the museum someday. I’ve gotten enough appreciation for anything Tiffany after years of watching Antiques Roadshow.???? At least you’re free of your Attila! Sending peace your way.

  • One of my all time favorite CL posts. I re-read a few weeks ago to get me through an encounter with the EX.

    The abuse they inflict is senseless and cruel with no regard for what gets broken and damaged. It’s up to us to gather and repair those broken pieces and see the beauty and goodness that’s still there.

  • A couple things happened in the last few days & your post just hits it home! I realize I had been doing the pick me dance without wanting to be picked!! A friend told me I’m like a Jennifer Garner & the AP is a man’s low-rent J-Lo, but somewhere I had forgotten that I’m more a natural, wholesome beauty & started taking on traits of AP’s J-Lo which I shouldn’t because I’m completely beautiful on my own. Well, I just cried. They were right. I guess I was still carrying around that my ex-husband left me for more sparkle & pizzass (even though I don’t want him back & even though I hear their relationship has gone south), so I upped the sparkle & pizzazz (correctly spelled here). But it wasn’t me, my ex husband just couldn’t see my value or my worth. I’m Camp JG again from here on out! Thanks CL, enjoy your vacation with your mom!

  • I’ve written about this before but I was at the hairdresser’s one day when she asked me to step outside and introduced me to a friend of hers. Said friend used to frequent the same skank bar as my ex did and mentioned to the hairdresser that it was a shame for P (my ex), what with having his wife attack him physically every night when he came home from work!!!!! When she repeated this in front of her friend I just burst out laughing and said “what an AH that guy is”! It took me by surprise! Another time I was a my friend’s coffee shop when said friend introduced me to Motormouth (also a frequent visitor to skank bar) and pointed out that I was P’s wife. Motormouth said “YOU’RE P’s wife”?????? I was dressed nicely and had make-up on because I had just come home from work. Makes me wonder what HE had been told about me! Oh and Motormouth asked me out (dream on buddy, you’re no friend of mine)! So yeah, my ex did a hatchet job on me – or at least tried to!

    • At ex husband’s funeral, so many of our mutual “friends” (whom I hadn’t seen, or even interacted with on social media for a couple of years) commented “wow, you look GREAT” (I did, actually, NGL). It made me wonder what he and OW had been saying about me. It was like they were truly surprised I hadn’t turned into a hag or something. I am sure they spun it as OW was rescuing FW from his horrible wife. I’m continually surprised that people who had known me for 10-15 years were so quick to believe all the lies about me. Whatever. I cut all of them out of my life and it hasn’t been a loss.

      • You’re so right. AH moved out and within weeks people were telling me how good I looked! AH-free is the way to go, right?

  • This is one of my favorite posts! It always brings tears to my eyes, because just like the Tiffany glass rock throwers, the cheaters break down their own homes with their selfish choices. Homes and lives that some of us have spent decades building. In an instant, years of work gets destroyed by the monster cheaters and the monster cheaters don’t ever care. They don’t care that their spouse is laying on the floor in a fetal position bawling her eyes out. They don’t care that their children are crying and depressed. They only care about their “happiness” and themselves. They cannot see the beauty of the family in front of them, so they destroy it.

    I read this right after reading Chump Lady’s beautiful blog post. “You’re worthy, you matter, you belong here…and you deserve so much more than what you’re getting from toxic people and manipulators. You have simply forgotten how the angels sang on the day you were born.” ~ Kim Saeed (narc abuse coach)

  • Well, the cheater I used to be married to also didn’t see the worth in a car we had. It came to our marriage by way of him. We purchased a van, that I used, after the first 2 children were born. He relied on this car for work. But he neglected oil changes, he neglected to put oil in it even after the check oil icon lit up. Then one day he couldn’t start it & he couldn’t get to work. That’s when I found out that he just ignored the light. Because he didn’t like the car. Not only did we miss any trade in value, but we had to pay to get it towed to a junk yard.
    If only I had known he was treating me the same way. But I thought he was sacrificing his time at home with me & the kids “to be a good worker” and “to get ahead” and because “my job is really stressful“ and “I have to travel again.”

    • Up And Out-thank you for writing this. It’s a powerful metaphor. FW neglects basic maintenance and blatantly ignores the unmistakeable dash lights because they don’t care. Simply because they “don’t like” the car.
      What a waste.

      FW let my gardens and yard die one summer while I was out of town. I came home early and saw him watering the dead plants but it was too little too late.
      My landscaping and gardens, my pride and joy, completely destroyed. Beautiful flowering plants were brown and brittle.
      He had the nerve to say the grass was “dormant”.

  • My teenager recently has told me some of the disparaging comments he heard my ex say about me while we were married. It’s obvious that the teen felt hurt by them, not just at the time but also now, years later. Teen is bothered that ex made them, and also that he was unable to defend me. Cheaters devalue chumps to convince others, as well as themselves, that we are literally “worth less ” and deserve their poor treatment.

    • That’s really sad GF. It’s a testament to your relationship that he was able to share that experience with you and also how it impacted him. A great example of the damage these FWs leave in their wake. Whether they are blissfully unaware or don’t give shit about collateral damage is another conversation and probably too close to untangling the skein.

      • Gems from my excellent therapist that helped my brain get off the hamster wheel and stop trying to understand the infernal WHY loop:
        They are aware —but they just don’t care.
        They understand (your POV)— but just don’t agree.
        You don’t want the same things.

        You can argue all you want that they SHOULD care, agree, want what you want but it doesn’t and can’t change the fact that they don’t. Doesn’t matter what they said or promised or that they married you in front of god and everybody and swore to love, protect and be faithful. They had their fingers crossed the whole time behind their back. Accepting reality and accountability for our own failures (broken picker) and happiness is the hardest thing to accept.

        No matter if the partner is disordered or not, if they don’t care, substantially agree or want the same things in life as you, you don’t have anything to base a relationship on and have nothing to work with. It takes a huge helping of self respect to call it like it is and walk. Time to get out.

  • Honestly, I think if I had appreciated myself more, I would not have stayed as long as I did. Therefore, Job One for me is to repair my self esteem and love myself (verb) the way I have always wanted someone else to.

    I can control how I treat myself, how I feel about myself, how I think about myself. Therein is the key to fixing my picker, IMHO.

    • Velvet Hammer, You are so right! I have started treating myself better and it feels really great. I now get great joy from relaxing when I get a mani and pedi. I just enjoy the moment. I used to feel so rushed because I always had to get back home to serve the FW so I never had time to relax and enjoy getting pampered. It is also nice now being able to have my hair in any style I want because I won’t have a FW to tell me how awful I look.
      I am not sure about fixing my picker because I am not sure I want to do any picking. I suspect I will be very cautious if I should ever decide to date. Right now my thought is to run stuff through a UBT then measure it on the FW Evaluation Meter. I know it seems like over analyzing but I want to be sure I will open myself up to be betrayed again.

      • Chumped, we use our pickers for everything we elect to put in our lives, way beyond romantic partners, which I’m sure you already know.

        My unkindness toward myself extends way beyond choice of romantic partners, and it is the picking of those people, places, things, and situations which makes picker recalibrating necessary.

        As if on cue, the observation made just a half hour ago by my trusty therapist was that it is not my second nature to be kind to myself…..I agree.
        And I have the power to change that, instead of trying to make someone be kind to me who crystal clearly does not want to.


    • Same. I put up with so much seemingly “small scale” disrespect before the cheating because I didn’t recognize the patterns of devaluation and emotional abuse.

    • Velvet: This times a million. Every word. Hopefully we can all or most of us control how we treat ourselves. Love your comments.

  • Thank you! I really needed this today.

    In my beliefs now, cheater narcs are not human. They are slinking around in human bodies mimicking us. They are lizard like, hunting prey, sucking life energy like cowards in the darkest corners, intoxicated with duping the brightest and most loving of us who unwittingly let them into our homes and hearts.

    They will never see Tiffany glass beauty. They listen for others they feel are worthy of their respect, (the crowd they are trying to impress), to tell them what is valuable and beautiful.

    My FW has no idea the beauty he held and destroyed. His penis was engorged and he needed a new soft, warm place to masterbate because his wife appliance had finally said “no more.” If only I had seen this truth 40 years earlier. But, today, I do feel your words of beauty. I am that intricate glass art, whether or not anyone ever notices.

    • 40 years is a very long time to love someone and then let go. I was with my ex 37 years, he was cheating the whole time. Constantly telling me how much he loved me, how beautiful I was, etc. The cognitive dissonance remains today, and it’s been over a year now that we separated. While I’m much improved in my perspective, the trust I once depended on for a compass of stability feels altered beyond
      repair. My entire life has been altered. Beautiful home gone. Decades cultivating a lovely, nurturing garden gone. An entire family of in laws, nieces, nephews, gone. Because I am worth better treatment and unconditional respect. What is true and essential in an authentic life, I carry within me. Integrity and character is a lived quality that cannot be bought or sold to the highest bidder. TRUTH!

      • Carolina Chump:
        You are right! In the words of author, James Allen, written in 1902:

        “The essential things in life are the enduring elements in character – integrity, faith, righeousness, self-sacrifice, compassion, love; and out of these all good things proceed.”

  • Wow, that’s powerful. FWIW I am someone dealing with a difficult family life which, so far as I know, does not involve a third party. There’s a lot of wisdom here, for me especially in this kind of post, and I am still a chump with a lot to learn. Well done CL, I really enjoy your writing, and I am thankful for your site.

  • I needed to hear this especially today after WS cheated and impregnated AP . Tomorrow is that child’s first birthday and today WS was screaming at me on the phone about how he doesn’t have to endure shit from me. Shit being that the whole situation still hurts me. See, he cheated when our rainbow baby was just 6 months old after 4 previous losses. So the pain and 12 years of my life gone down the drain without notice. I tried wreckonciliation and ended up pregnant. Found out 4 weeks after I called it quits and separated. I’m 34 weeks now on bed rest but hey let’s scream at her. I am now to be blamed for taking his children away, for making him not see and live with his children everyday.. why can’t I get over it he says? I want you back… hey I will look for a house for us… but excuse me as I still fuck AP and refuse a paternity test. I was so brilliant, top of my class but I have been so beaten and battered emotionally that I hardly recognize myself anymore. I live with relatives as I try to save… it was hardly the life I envisioned for myself at 30. A broken woman to soon to be two children without the home I had built over the years. Today was difficult but reading some mighty stories on the comments have given me a bit of courage to take one more step a day at a time. Hopefully I get to the other side safe and sound of mind

    • SBS
      You still are brilliant! You still have all your talent! You have nowhere to go but up. I can’t imagine how hard this is. As my buddy told me.
      How do you eat an elephant?, one bite at a time.
      I will pray for you daily

    • Slowbutsure, you can’t see the grass grow, but it’s growing right now. You don’t notice it until it has grown.

      It is the same with healing from infidelity. As surely as that grass is growing, you are healing. It is a long, slow, painful process, but it is a process that is happening as surely as that grass is growing. You don’t get to observe it happening. You get to notice it after it happens.

      It is a challenge to trust that process, and trust is what coming here and reading gives me. Look for those comforting similarities, especially from those who have made it out of the lifeboat onto dry land, and are so graciously coming back here to help you to shore.

      I don’t believe it’s possible to heal by staying with a person who intentionally beats one senseless on many levels; only prolonged pain and suffering.

      You are on the path to peace of mind, freedom, safety, sanity, and thank goodness your littles are with you!

      Come here and read when you feel weak or awful or ready to give up. This site will give you the spiritual food to keep you going forward in the right direction.


    • You will get there, Slowbutsure. Oh, but how I wish I had your strength and resolve at your age!
      Concentrate now on bringing that precious life to the world and taking good care of yourself! And bless your family members for their help in your time of need. It may not be what you envisioned, but you are are far mightier than you realize now.
      And please don’t take his calls. Let him talk to your attorney. Your best life, and the best life for your children, is ahead. Hugs to you!

    • That is awful, SBS. Your FW is delusional if he thinks he can impregnate another woman, yet whine that you are talking his kids away.
      The good news is you are 30. You have lots of time to heal and rebuild. It’s going to suck, you not used to being a single parent, but you’d pretty much be one even with him anyway. I can’t seem him stepping up to the plate to do his share with the baby if he won’t even admit he fathered the other one. You will get used to single parenthood and you have family help. It will get better. We all have weak moments, but when you find yourself in one, just don’t give in and go back to him. You’ll only find yourself in the same spot at 40, 50 etcetera. It’s harder to rebuild when you are older. You have a long, FW free life ahead of you and you will find happiness.

      I had a bad day today too, because I was thinking about how FW is suffering no consequences for what he has done to me. He doesn’t seem to care that he lost his family. I find that extremely disturbing, and it’s unfair that he should be okay when I am not okay because of his actions. It’s hard coming to terms with injustice. We know injustice is all around us and that’s hard enough to deal with, but to experience it personally is life changing.
      All we can do is keep the chin up and keep taking steps towards healing. In my case that means trying not to ruminate about FW’s consequence free life. Sigh.

      • I have same struggles I often wonder if I am the one in denial about how little he cared and how truly character flawed he was.
        They are sadistic and then they get mad at you when you finally create a boundary and file. I pray and hope everyone on this site will heal

      • OHFFS,
        I think about him and his consequence-free life all the time. Even though it’s wrong, wouldn’t it be liberating just not to care, like them?
        They move on to the next shiny thing with no regard to the destruction they leave behind.

        HOWEVER, at this point I try to remember that deep inside they are all miserable. Keeping the pain at bay and lying to themselves take up a LOT of energy. So does image management and the need to constantly fill the black hole in their soul. Always trying but never enough. It has to be an exhausting existence.

        During divorce My FW moved in with a step parent he had HATED for 25 years. The feeling was mutual.

        Now they are making themselves and each other miserable every day without me having to lift a finger.

        • BTM, I agree, they are miserable. I doubt it feels liberating, because their own minds are a kind of prison, each day empty and the only thing to look forward to is the possibility of getting high (on narcissistic ego fuel and whoring around, and they are often substance abusers of one kind or another as well.)
          To be unable to love is one of the worst fates I can imagine. Without it, what meaning is there in their lives? Not that I feel sorry for them. They choose to live the way they do and deserve to live in unacknowledged despair. They should face some other sort of consequences other than just being the losers they are. It burns me up that they don’t.
          I love that your FW at least had some consequences in having to live with somebody he hates! ????
          My FW has spun having to live alone as a opportunity for personal growth.????

          • OHFFS,
            Opportunity for personal growth? BWAHAHAHAHA! I almost just fell out of my chair.
            Somewhere deep down inside he’s gotta know he’s a complete loser/ fraud. Like I said before, it takes so much time and energy to lie to one’s self. The next kibbles high is the only way they can stay afloat.
            “Opportunity for personal growth” reminds me of a friend of mine. He held a steady job and kept the household from falling apart. Meanwhile XW lost job after job, etc…
            Her Internet friends told her he was stagnant in his career while she was constantly reinventing herself.
            I asked; “Why couldn’t she reinvent herself into someone that can hold down a job?” ????????

            Oh, the tales they spin…
            They are fooling no one but themselves.

            After divorce I had nothing. FW took the house, money, car, almost all my earthly possessions.

            But I am the fortunate one. No matter what, I will always have integrity, kindness, self-respect and respect others.
            I have the ability to love and be loved, a sense of connection with others and a strong community around me.

            I still mourn the house, but the things I have that he doesn’t are irreplaceable. They cannot be bought.
            I am rich beyond measure and he’ll never be.

  • It makes me sad that Tiffany and Co. went bankrupt just because Art Noveau was no longer in fashion. Tiffany went into a stress related decline and died a year later.
    Our marriages went bankrupt because rather FWs were shallow and flighty, too. But we will survive.

    I have three stained glass windows and three stained glass light fixtures in my home. None of it is Tiffany of course, but the windows are old, restored Art Noveau that I bought on Ebay. FW thought my obsession with stained glass was weird, but thought his obsession with a cheap, ugly slut was cool. ????

    ????I’m raising a glass to true beauty and intrinsic value. Fuck anybody who can’t see it.
    I am taking up art myself now that I have no FW dragging me down. I’m no Louis Comfort Tiffany, but it makes me feel good.

  • This is spot on. Discerning and recognizing real treasure takes a little more depth than most cheaters could ever hope for. Thus, they miss out on the treasure.

  • Precious Tracy! I love that you re-post this periodically. It is such an important piece, really.

    Thank you always for this special ‘Nation’ you birthed

    Love to all as we continue to ForgeOn!

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