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How Did You Deal with the Anger of Being Chumped?

bitterDear Chump Lady,

When I was in the middle of severe trauma after D-Day, I was filled with so much rage I didn’t know what to do. I am not someone who gets angry normally, so this was something very new to me. And the anger felt like toxic acid that was going to kill me if I kept stewing in it, ruminating about every horrible thing my husband did. Therapy, exercise, and a meditation app were life savers, but I had to come up with additional ways to cope. Here are some unconventional things that worked for me. When I was filled with intense anger, doing them calmed me down and made me feel a bit better.

I wrote down my thoughts and then burned them. I would think of things that I was extremely mad about in that moment (i.e., How could he throw away 27 years of love and devotion? How could he spend thousands of dollars taking his girlfriend to a luxury spa while I’m watching every penny shopping at Walmart? How dare he blame me for his betrayal and say he lies to me because he doesn’t trust me! WTF?!!). I would write each thought down on a small piece of paper, wad it up, and put it into a disposable tin foil baking pan. I would spend several minutes furiously writing and crumpling up the strips of paper until the pan had a decent amount in it. I then took the tin foil pan into a safe, windless part of the backyard and lit the papers on fire. As the papers burned, I did my best to imagine that I was purging those horrible feelings of anger out of my system. Somehow it gave me some comfort to see the tormenting thoughts turn into ash.

I kept an “anger magnet” in my pocket. I found a small round pebble outside and washed it up. I would then put it in my pocket any time I had to see my husband in person (after I filed for divorce and kicked him out). When I would feel like yelling at him and telling him what a scumbag he was, I would instead hold onto the pebble. I imagined that all of the rage surging through my body was exiting into the pebble as if it were a magnet for my anger, and I imagined that the pebble was neutralizing all of it. I think this was basically a mindfulness activity that helped keep my rage from spiraling into the extreme during those stressful early days.

I tuned in to live animal cams. The San Diego Zoo website has a lot of great animal cams that are live streamed every day. I found that watching the cute polar bears, koalas, and baby elephants playing melted a bit of my anger away. I highly recommend them!

I realize that these are unusual coping mechanisms, but they were super helpful to me when I was going through the worst time of my life. They were tangible things I could do when I was desperate to get even a tiny amount of relief. I am now five years post D-Day and l thankfully haven’t needed to use these methods for years, but I wanted to share them in case any new chumps find them useful.

For the Friday Challenge, I hope other chumps will share creative strategies they used to deal with rage when they were going through the trauma.

Thank you for all that you do, Chump Lady!



Dear BuildingANewLife,

Great challenge idea. I might reword it as how do you deal with intrusive thoughts and overwhelming emotions. Anger at being abused is perfectly normal. It’s the paralyzed chumps I worry about. The ones so numb and mindfucked, they can’t find their anger. They stay stuck. To me, anger is fuel to get you through the worst of it. To assert yourself and gather an army (legal, medical, psych).

But I get your point. A person can’t go through the day imagining their cheater’s head on a pike when there’s laundry to fold.

I love the creativity of your approaches, especially the diversions of animal cams. Or whatever brings you joy. Part of getting through the trauma is giving your brain some stimulus other than pain.

So, CN, what’s your advice on getting through the overwhelming anger stage?

Ask Chump Lady

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  • In a word… cats. My cats, pictures of cats, cat memes, other folks’ cats, happy stories about rescue cats.

    And laughter and the ridiculousness of it all. And being mighty.

    I’m not sure cats is that unusual a coping mechanism at all.

    • Dudder yes! I have 2 cats inside and one I fixed, in a doghouse outside. They helped me smile when hugged and laugh when they did something funny. Unconditional love I get from them unfortunately not from my ex after 35 years married then abandoned. Very hard time 🥲

    • Yes, cats! I have 3: Lucca, Maisie & Brioche. At the lowest point of my life I cried to my therapist that I have nothing to live for except my cats. Her reply, “well, then live for your cats.” Here I am going on 13 yrs after dday.
      Do I still have anger after all these years – hell yes! But it is an anger that has mellowed to a lingering sadness for what I thought was a loving husband & financial security into retirement.

      • For me, Hurt1, it’s the financial insecurity into retirement more than anything. I had banked on us having a comfortable retirement. Now he will, with his 32 year old wife, while I worry about taking care of myself in old age. It scares me every day. And he, I’m sure could care less.

    • Yes to cats! The Lying Cheating Loser and I adopted a gray tabby together. We named him Gus. The LCL picked him out, but Gus quickly switched his allegiance to me. Maybe it was because the LCL would throw shoes at him when Gus disturbed our sleep wanting to go outside.
      When I left the cheater, naturally Gus came with me. He didn’t leave my side for the first two weeks.
      A couple of years later, I adopted a longhaired calico I named Scout. She adores Gus and tolerates me. Gus still adores me and tolerates Scout.
      We’re a happy one-human, two-feline family.

  • Anger is what got me to the lawyer. Anger is good and right when dealing with betrayal, but also at some point you need to control it and finally let go. I still get angry, even 10 years after DDay. I’m angry as I finish the document that gives half of my pension, ending at the date divorced of course, to a person who betrayed and abused me. So to deal with that anger, I remind myself it was the price I paid to rid myself of him and it was worth every penny for the peace and joy I have gained. Plus, I’ve been able to save and invest now that he’s not spending all the money on himself anymore. I should have all the money I’m losing in my pension and then some once the stock market goes back up.

  • I wrote down every insane, cruel, baffling, and/or self-centered thing he ever said or did. As I remembered things, I added to it. At first it was recent stuff. But over time I started to recall ancient history, and so began my journey to seeing him for who he really is.

    Whenever I would feel despair or rage take over, I would break out The List, and those feelings would wash away, partly because I would recognize how pointless anger with a narcissist was (what did Carrie Fisher say? Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die). But also, it would just crack me up. Some of it was so bonkers, I would laugh out loud at the absurdity that I had ever wanted such a shallow excuse for a man. It’s hard to stay angry when you’re laughing. Example, years earlier he made a spreadsheet of all the things he would do with my grandmother’s money after she passed. You would think it was his grandmother, that I would have no say in what I did with my own inheritance, and that he was in a hurry for her to pass away. I remember getting that far in my list and laughing right out loud. Then I didn’t need to read any further. Eventually, I got rid of my list. I didn’t need it anymore

    • I mean no criticism or disrespect here, Struggling…..

      What Carrie F. said is a very old saying from the rooms of AA, to which she belonged. I don’t know that AA is where it originated, but it in the rooms of AA long before she came in.

      In the case of this expression, it refers to repressing anger by drinking instead of expressing/processing anger in a healthy way. Certainly growing up in an alcoholic home means you will be given a MasterClass on denying and dismissing and repressing anger, in yourself and others, which really messes up a human.

      (I would add my two cents here for chumps to be aware of their drinking. I’ve made it 37 years sober so far and by some miracle cheating did not take me out. It easily could have, and I know a lot people for whom this pain meant nosediving into addiction).

      Hazelden, one of the oldest and most respected rehab facilities in the world, has a great selection of books on anger in their catalog, which anyone, in recovery or not, can benefit from. It’s a great resource for learning about healthy anger, an emotion that I got no education on in my super troubled violent alcoholic family of origin.

      I do think HOW to express anger is incredibly important, info that far too many people don’t get growing up. I got into recovery and therapy at 22. I am now 59 and still have trouble being OK with feeling angry and expressing it in a healthy way. ☹️


      (If any chump here is concerned about their drinking, drug use, or someone else’s, they can go through Tracy to contact me. I am in Al Anon and ACA too.).

      • As for me, as far as processing the rage and anger, I am doing something right because the thoughts that jumped into my mind, if acted on, would qualify me for prison.

        I’ll share a few strategies that worked for me.

        I voluntarily enrolled in the batterer’s intervention and prevention course at The Center For Domestic Peace, formerly Marin Abused Women’s Services. They created a batterer’s intervention program, ManKind, which I learned about back in the 80’s because of a violent boyfriend. Later they created the companion program for women, WomanKind. Yes, women can be violent too, and usually start out as victims. The class was every Tuesday night for 52 weeks. Mediation session were on Wednesdays. It was a great idea. My classmates were all court-mandated. I was the only person there voluntarily. We got interrupted by COVID. When classes resume in person I will be going back.

        Therapy went up to three times a week, for a long time. I am back to once a week, and extremely grateful to have a great therapist and that I can afford it. There are great therapists who work on a sliding scale. FIND ONE.

        Physical activity.

        LOTS of talking with friends who have been there. Reach for the phone when you want to reach for a weapon or verbally attack.

        Meetings. Any 12 step meeting I could get to. Zoom meetings play like a radio at my house slot. A blessing of the pandemic.

        A foam bat and a pile of folded towels.

        Writing with a big black crayon. Scribbling. Burning what I wrote in the fire pit.

        LOTS of reading here. Reframing is miraculous.

        VERY helpful to remember local Marc Klass, whose daughter Polly was abducted, sexually assaulted, murdered, and left by the side of the road. His dignified demeanor in court in the presence of Richard Allen Davis is an impressive reminder to keep my composure. Remembering people who have experienced worse rage and anger than I is very helpful to me.

        Tools tools tools. Not to deny or dismiss or repress but to acknowledge and express, in a safe way that does not hurt me or others.

        • This is what I am reading now…

          How to Be Angry: Strategies to Help Kids Express Anger Constructively

          The re-parenting around anger continues (repair-enting) for me, because I don’t want to drink, use, eat, shop, pick my skin, etc. The misguided, damaging maladaptive repression strategies are endless….

          One of my most important parenting achievements is that Little Hammer can be angry at me. It’s scary because of my childhood programming, but it was important for me not to handicap her emotionally. Good thing, because she is off the charts angry at her dad too.

          Our children are angry and need tools as well…..

          • When my brain needs a break, there is Netflix, etc. I could not read for a long time, which I understand as common in profound loss/trauma situations, so I could get some relief from myself by watching something.

            I envy anyone who is able to retain their superpowers of reading. I just hit the five year mark and my ability to read returned at a frustrating pace.

            My love of books was on his laundry list of grievances.

            • Good lord, he objected to your READING??? Let me guess–because when you were reading, you weren’t paying attention to him?

            • I didn’t know that …I was an avid reader …..I still can’t concentrate to read 10 years later.

        • In the five years I am sure I have worn the ears off of my therapist talking about this situation, the anger, etc. I know I have bored her dachshund as she goes to sleep while I am on the couch venting.

          She has never once told me how to feel, to “move on” to “let go”, or anything else to indicate how I should feel or how long. I keep this in mind when I run into people who do…..

          • My therapist validated my anger and said I had a right to be. That really helped. I needed to feel and express all the anger I’d had to hold in while I was in the relationship because it wasn’t safe for me to express it then. It did dissipate on its own after I let myself experience it.

      • Why I jumped in here is also because alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, though they work very well to stuff feelings, they are not the only things that work.

        I was clean, sober, and nicotine free when I met Traitor Ex and am to this day.


        Since the end of our relationship, I have seen how I used other things (eating, spending, picking at my skin) to tranquilize the anger, had I really allowed it to come up, would have helped me leave much earlier. All relationships have problems, and in our case we had therapist oversight our entire relationship. This was at my request because we both came from seriously troubled violent alcoholic families and I did not want to repeat. I mistook his therapy attendance for sincere willingness to learn. I believed his claims of sobriety and recovery. But my body was onto him long before my mind was. There were pieces that didn’t fit what I believed about him. I tranquilizer myself in other ways. That anger, those feelings were trying to clue me in! Raised in a family where feelings were not allowed, punished, denied, dismissed, mocked, invalidate, meant I was a sitting duck.

        Anger is a signal, and being out of touch with it was like ignoring my hand on a hot stove.


    • Hi Strugglingnomore,
      I love your post and did something very similar.
      There were 8 weeks between when he told me he was leaving me (later I found out if was for the AP) and when we sold our home. I was mostly numb during those 8 weeks as my life blew apart. I started a list and called it “All the Things I Will Not Miss.” I keep the list on my phone and although I am 2 years out, I still find random things that come up that I have to add to the list. It is now titled “All the Things I Do Not Miss.”
      Just recently I remembered how he took pleasure from causing me pain during intimacy and I believed this was normal. I added it to the list. Last week I added one about him clipping his toenails in bed.
      I was surprised to read in your post that you could let go of the list. Maybe because I have toddlers and I still have to endure interacting with these trolls … Maybe it’s because I have not started dating … when did you know you were ready to toss the list?
      Yesterday would have been our 7-year marriage anniversary and I hadn’t remembered it until someone asked me about it. I feel that shows so much growth that I hadn’t remembered. Maybe Tuesday is closer than I know.

      • This past spring I completely forgot about our anniversay until it had already passed. It would have been 13 years. That was a big sign to me that I was healed.

  • I changed his name in my phone to Kid1 and Kid2 Dad…so that way when I was tempted to go a anger fueled rant that could be used against me later. I withheld and kept it about the kids.

    I agree with you about the need for anger to be unstuck. When I needed the push to file for divorce. I got online and read about all the sex trafficking that was done at the rub and tug places he liked to frequent. It was a lot easier to press send on the divorce papers thinking about the women who came here for a better life and ended up playing with his little guy.

    • Finding the definition for “rub and tug” led me down quite the rabbit hole!

  • I wrote in a journal what I would have liked to say to him after each time I saw him (we share a son, so school events, etc.). I always was polite and cordial in person, but that journal was an entirely different story lol. I also found that a workout that involved kickboxing was amazingy therapeutic. I would envision him and his AP and that my punches and kicks were in their faces. Highly recommend it!

  • The anger became my rocket fuel, it propelled me out of the orbit I was in.
    I just had to accept the anger.

    I did wear a rubber band around my wrist and would snap it if my brain got too busy down the anger path, especially during any procedures or conversations. I rode my bike a LOT. I journaled, I went to therapy, I talked to my team.

    Once I saw it, I realized that anger had been inside me for YEARS and I tried so hard to ignore it. But when D-day occurred, that same anger helped me move forward. Then you have to let the anger go, but thats another post.

  • Axe Throwing and kickboxing. I mentally pinned his photo on the axe target or the punching bag and went completely Towanda.
    In addition to using the anger to fuel the throws/punches, my arms got quite toned.

    • I throw axes too! Weirdly, I don’t think about FW at all while I’m throwing. I just kind of zen out and enjoy it. I’ve also met some great people in Axe League. It’s been a blast!

  • Karaoke in my basement alone channelled the rage. Dance fitness classes made me sweat and smile (and sometimes cry right in the middle of class but I kept on dancing). A women’s therapy group showed me I could survive and thrive.

    • Yes! I have often cried during workouts. Not sure what that is all about but whether it is running, walking or even during lifting weights I have cried. I used to hold it in, but then I stopped holding it in and just let it come. It’s a release of sorts is all I can tell.

  • “It’s the paralyzed chumps I worry about. The ones so numb and mindfucked, they can’t find their anger. They stay stuck.” Thank you CL, I’ve internalized it all. I attempted suicide twice, ended up in the hospital for a few days. This site is the first place I’ve found that doesn’t place most of the blame on the chump, and instead brings understanding and compassion to the chump. I’ve even been reticent to post here. One comment was pounced on since I’m not at the same place as the successful chumps, at least not yet.

    • Hang in there. Most of us were paralyzed once too. Who wouldn’t be? It’s scary at every level — losing money, family, perceived security, identity. FWs do a lot of damage. But you’re stronger than what one idiot and his Schmoopies can dish out. As for pouncers, a site this large is going to have some people you don’t vibe with. It’s a lot to maintain, and I rely on CN to be civil to one another. 99.9 percent of the time they are. This is a safe place and you’re welcome here.

    • I, too, have had posters jump on my comments. One person here -who posts everyday- called another poster a “B” & I completely scroll by whenever I see that poster’s name. I guess she gets the freedom of speech get free card because she wasn’t banned (hopefully warned) for that. Anywho, ignore those comments, some people are at a different place (like you said) or intolerant of other’s opinions. Continue to share your opinion (in a supportive way) because we all receive messages differently & sometimes that one message is the one that clicks for someone & helps them enormously. I know because it happens here daily for me. That one poster says something that speaks to me. Also, anywho, Chump Lady I agree is awesome & extremely helpful in waking us all up to cheating & other bad behaviours is abusive in relationships (which have been normalized) & that’s really worth being here xx

      • Compared to just about any place else on the internet, CN is amazingly kind, generous and supportive. Of course not everyone every time, but the vast majority of people here are great. I would say the most frequent comments – by far – are “yep, that happened to me too”, “yeah, that sucks” and “cut yourself some slack today and try again tomorrow”. Actually, the contrast with the kind of knuckle-dragging comments you encounter in most other places online is pretty amazing. I don’t know how CL keeps the trolls away, but kudos to her (and her elves, I assume)

    • What you are going through sucks and it’s hard. Depending on how your relationship was, if you were completely blindsided, if he is a controlling Narcissist and is gaslighting you and manipulating you, I’m sure you probably still don’t understand what happened etc. I was like that. My brain couldn’t process what was going on. Nothing made sense. There were a couple of times, I pulled into my garage and thought about ended my life too. I’m a Taurus and way too stubborn to let him “win” like that. I told him about my suicidal thoughts and he swept it under the rug, like everything else. That’s when I started therapy. It took 3 more D-Days in a span of 6 months before the anger allowed me to see clear enough that his words meant nothing. That the feeling of being paranoid and constantly suspicious and checking find my iphone every second he wasn’t with me and feeling like I was a shell of a human being that I woke from my being stuck and said F-you. Get the F out. I want a divorce. You’ll get there. It’s a decision that no one else can make except you. Just know, YOU are important. YOU are loved. YOU are being abused. You can do this and honey, once you get through hell, life is your oyster. Cheers, hugs and happy Friday. LTT.

    • I just want to give you some hope – it’s going to get so much better. Life without a FW is wonderful. It sucks to go through the process, but I love myself so much more on the other side. Please hang in there.

    • I spent 18 months struggling to understand what was “real” and what had been “fake”. Hang in there, and give us a shout-out if you need us. I only began to heal when I physically moved out of the house, so that he couldn’t continue to control and manipulate me while I navigated the divorce. When my daughter was a baby, she had a tape of a song called “Bear Hunt”, and it kept coming back to me all these years later: “Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, got to go through it.” I won’t say time and distance healed me — it took a lot more than that — but time and distance were both necessary so that the things that helped heal me could get a foothold.

      • We’re going on a bear hunt – YES!!! A beloved children’s book in our home. Heaven knows if the author had symbolic intent but .. my mother has always had a saying, since I can remember, “there’s no way round but through it”. And se had a cot death.
        That was my MO after my daughters death (one of her favourite books btw), my Dday, and the many many traumas besides.
        My “healing” is that time doesn’t heal, time just allows the space to learn you can live with a wound, and you can keep growing, and you can be happy again.

      • One of my favorite books I read do my kids, Going on a Bear Hunt! I never thought of it then as a life analogy, but I sure see it now.
        Willie Nelson’s song, ‘ Something you Get Through” is one of my very favorites of his pointed out to me by my BIL during my divorce.
        I played it a million times. He sings of dealing with loss as “ it’s not something you get over, but it’s something you get through”. It’s a beautiful song.
        I don’t think time heals all wounds, but we can get through it to a much healthier place for us. On the journey to get there every single day.

    • I can relate as I’m also a person who internalizes and freezes and can’t express anger. It’s something I continue to work on. I had suicidal ideation many times. It took me longer to stop hitting the hopium pipe than everyone else – it seemed. I also didn’t always feel comfortable posting bc I was in and out of reconciliation, and this crowd tends towards 2x4s for people like us. You’re in good company. I pray you get where to you need to go to be happy again. There’s life after this trauma. It’s just down the road.

      • Thank you skeeter for your prayers, and for all the kind words from everyone. Being dismissed and gaslit makes all my interactions feel tenuous. I’m probably quite a bit more sensitive than I should be.

        • You are you. Meet your sensitivity where it is at. Create a healthy boundary for you and don’t make accommodations for others if they can’t see your kind soul. Tune out their advice. I watched a documentary with Oliver Sacks and he did a brain scan playing Bach and Beethoven (or it could have been Mozart). I forget which was which, but one of them was like fingernails on a chalkboard to him. Chump advice isn’t one size fits all and I tell myself everyone is well intentioned.

          This shit is hard. Being gaslit, disrespected and invalidated for years takes its toll. Take time to heal.

          Several times I grabbed my butcher knife and went down to the beach in our town and sat for hours, thinking I was going to swim away from shore and end it. I also got in my car and went 90MPH+ on the parkway wanting the pain to just stop. Crazy times. Dday April 2017 and divorce final May 2018, loosing both my parents along the way. I’m solidily on my way to meh. You will get there, one day at a time & one moment at a time.

          • “You are you. Meet your sensitivity where it is at”

            Exactly. When people say you’re too sensitive or you’re overreacting, they actually mean “your feelings are inconvenient for me at this time”.

            In other words, the problem lies not with my actions but your reaction to what I did.”

            Complete bull.

    • Dear IamChump,

      I’ve been here about four years. I have been pounced on. I think I have pounced (you can’t edit here after posting yet, unfortunately). Tempest and Tracy have both reminded me that people here are pretty raw and sensitive. I know I am. For the most part, it’s respectful and civil here.

      I take what I like and leave the rest as best I can. Just scroll past who and what doesn’t work for you.

      And in case I was the pouncer, I am sorry! 😪

      • Yes. just lately I have regretted being off-topic, or provocative … Chump Nation is a bunch of humans, wounded humans actually, and year in year out, it astonishes me and heartens me the level of respectful, supportive and mature discussion. Not to mention, seriously, how many lives saved? And that’s not being melodramatic. I’m just waiting for a research project that employs this wealth of data gainfully. Velvet Hammer, think I’ve said before, I’ll be in your posse anytime.

    • I’m sorry you were pounced on IAm. There’s a commenter in particular here usually skip because I just don’t care for what she says / how she says it. Another one on here that tends to be long winded that I’m sometimes not in the mood for as it feels to me like the “Insert Name Here” show. But, while those comments might not help me on those days, they may help someone else, and it probably helps the commenter get it off their chest.

      Take what helps you and leave behind what doesn’t. Works here, works for self-help books you may read, works in a fitness / hobby class.

    • “One comment was pounced on since I’m not at the same place as the successful chumps, at least not yet.”

      Oh hun, I’m sorry you felt pounced on. Everyone here tends to be at different stages in the whole shitty scenario, and what looks like ‘success’ is another stage. It takes a *long* time to process this shit, and it’s *ongoing*. I’m 5 years out, and still feel anger and sadness occasionally.

      CL often says this is not the “Pain Olympics”, and it’s not the “Success Olympics” either, so don’t judge yourself by other chumps, who seem to be at a more ‘successful’ stage, just remember we’ve all been through it, and we truly understand and empathise with *every* stage. ((hugs))xx

      • And how wise CL is there. Pain is pain, grief is grief, suffering is suffering. Full stop, no competition.

    • I don’t know where you are in your journey but I’ve corresponded with various people in similar situations, who are friends of mine in real life, and they have offered their support regardless of where I was in my journey. One, in particular, stood out as she suffered from various abuse not just betrayal. She said she’d understand if I stayed because she had and she’d understand if I left because she eventually did. So there may be a goal to aim for – respecting and caring for yourself – but there are different paths to get there. I too have suicidally depressed and it was directly related to the value others had subscribed to me and the internal messages I had been living by. I suspect there are many lurkers on here that aren’t on the other side of this journey yet. Hugs.

  • I wish I had that beta-blocker (from your blog the other day)….but driving helped me enormously. I would drive to unknown places & explore. It was therapeutic, as well as, a metaphor for my new life.

  • Im still pretty fresh, but city builder games (I personally play Caesar 3 the most) have been a lifesaver lately. Can’t focus on the hurt when you need to fix your fictional city’s economy.

    • I need to branch out to city-building; that sounds like fun. Online solitaire has been my go-to when I need to shift the energy. Honestly, 5 years out I’m pretty bored with solitaire (though it still works, and now my worries are about my kids, not ex-what’s-his-name so thanks for the suggestion!)

        • Words with Friends !

          You have to watch out for some of the cheaters and assorted freaks who want to chat with you though.😆

          • I’m glad that Words with Friends works for you, Chumpnomore, but it is incredibly triggering for me because Cheater #2 used that for undercover communication with The Town Bicycle (his slut). I can’t even play Scrabble anymore because that was something we did together. It never ceases to amaze what they take from us.

            • Fucking *bastard*. I’m so sorry Blondeness. Yes, they take so much, and spoil so much. What scum they are.😡

            • The Town Bicycle…….Outstanding name! I’d say more like a tricycle…..anyone can ride her, she’s so easy!

  • 1. I took a close-up photo of the side of our toilet and saved it as his contact photo in my phone. No one else knew what it was. It is still there. 2. My list of what he had done was crucial and I needed to review it when I would start to feel soft. Anger early is very important to fuel forward motion. 3. I reminded myself that these are ditch-dwelling – losers and for me to act on anger for them would bring me down to their level. Acting on anger would make me appear as a jilted equal with dirt-balls, and I was above that and had to remind myself of this often. He eventually broke up with the whore and married what appears to be a decent woman who is good to my son so I am able to soften up on the image since I don’t need the anger at this point.

  • “Part of getting through…trauma is giving your brain some stimulus other than pain.”

    Thanks, needed this today.

    • During the first few months, I found I could really lose myself in a great book, and it was a great escape from the grief. He had always resented my reading, I think because I could be happy without being with a bunch of loud drunks, and he just could not understand that. It’s so easy to buy into their idea of what a good life is – constant stimulation, lots of people, booze and too much food – and accept that you are dull and no fun. But the truth is you have internal resources that they lack, and for which they desperately try to compensate.

      • FooledAgain, I had the very same experience. As you said, he could not do without constant stimulation, lots of people, booze and too much food. They find it boring if you do not feel like drinking sometimes, do not want to go out every night, want to have a quiet evening. Sadly, at some point I thought I was boring for liking books…

  • I have several that worked for me. One was playing some mind numbing computer/phone games. That just distracted me enough. Next, I made up songs about cheaters. I do have some classics like “Fuckwit Games”, “Cheaters Gotta Pay”, “Look at me, I am a Schmoopie”and others.
    I was so angry at the start especially since I was the one who was blamed for his cheating by him and the RIC. Fortunately, I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation and got out of the RIC and filed. Finding this place really helped me so much. FW finally signed the agreement and started acting on what he is supposed to do. We will be final later this month on a Tuesday!!!!!
    Since one of the greatest things he did for me was to upload his amateur porn with Schmoops to my son’s shared photo account (yep son is NC with FW after that) if he does anything to piss me off I remind FW of the videos. It is very effective. He says ” hey I will be a few days late with that check…….” instead of ranting, I just say “hey just love that video of you and Schmoops at the Lake…..” then “can I just give you cash????”. Probably not the best thing but FW should know enough not to leave a footprint (well porn video) on the internet/cloud/electronic device.

    • The FW formerly known as my partner and father to my kids (now neglected and abandoned) left downloaded porn videos and porn games on the family computer! I was livid!

      • Mine left a porn dvd in the player for my now partner to discover. I was mortified but affirmed. I also still have screen shots that I don’t hesitate to share with Switzerland friends who think this was mutual.

  • I recently performed at a storytelling event (theme was “Turn The Page”) in which I describe the coping mechanisms I depended on during the 10 months of forced cohabitation while the court was making its decision on who was going to be forced to leave the family home.

    I gave the audience a primer on gray rock (for dealing with the source of the anger) then related how I created a Shutterfly book for M the Younger containing her many quotes, malapropisms and attempts to get me to laugh that had given me so much joy at being her father.

    The last sentence I spoke was: “When life feeds you shit sandwiches and forces you into situations you don’t want and didn’t ask for, gray rock the toxicity, and (holding up the book) focus on the joy.”

  • I took up jive dance classes. Exercise, social, fun and you can’t be angry when spinning about to grest music!

  • It helped – well, “helped” – me that my FW was an eternal eruption of anger. She did all the things. The blame-shifting, the ridiculous false equivalents, and some really advanced gaslighting like, “yes, so I met him for a drink last night. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t paranoid.” I’d bought her BS for years. When I stopped because I knew what was really happening, she switched to a different way of being, became like another person, channeling pure rage quickly and easily.

    My method for not getting angry in return was observation and humor – will she do the weird twitch? Will she say the thing about how she’d never let anyone into the end zone? Will she do the rapid blink? It became like a bingo card. I stopped listening to the content, and just watched her. It let me stay untriggered long enough to exit calmly.

    Only ever when no one was home, I’d give myself a few minutes to yell, throw something, come up with the best string of curse words I could. The rage eventually spent itself in those moments. But it still shows up when she pulls new shenanigans with our offspring. I don’t know what to do with that long term version. Looking forward to hearing from others.

    • “It became like a bingo card…” This is just outstanding. And your username is great too.

    • Out from the insanity after 7 years, just ran a full marathon. Running is excellent for us chumps.

  • Great Friday Challenge! I love the animal cams idea too. I did a lot of conventional and unconventional things bc sadly, my anger and rage wouldn’t dissipate. It escalated for 6 years due to still being stuck in a horrible custody battle and in toxic relationships. I even tried hypnosis and that didn’t work bc it was so deep seeded in my unconscious due to being desensitized to abuse from my narc father and step mother that it took a lot more unconventional digging on a solo trip to Sedona to do healing work to finally let it go. That trip changed my life and I call it my pivot point. Here are some of the conventional and unconventional things I did that “finally” changed my life:
    1) took up running and eating right bc the huge amounts of cortisol and fight/flight hormones we’re doing a number on my body…doctors were afraid I would have a stroke with the levels I had… so I started being very careful to what I ate, drinking more water, and running (sometimes multiple times a day) to burn off anxiety.
    2) had a “what I am grateful” list and recited them everyday on my way to work. I did this with my kids too and we would talk about all the things we were grateful for.
    3) if something (or someone) hurt me or them we would also talk about “what hurt us today” so get our feelings on the table and have a safe space to emote. I kept this age appropriate. We still do this and my kids are now teenagers. They don’t understand how teens can’t talk to their parents about difficult things bc I’ve been so open with them and given them the safe space they needed to emote.
    4) Journaled
    5) kept a prayer stone and anytime I got upset would rub it and pray to keep me from exploding in rage
    6) meditated and learned breathing techniques (such a life saver when your stuck and can’t immediately exercise)
    7) I connected with nature. I did this by mediating and praying to Mother Earth. The neatest things would happen when I would do this as if God and Mother Earth were telling me I was doing it right….if it was too windy I would ask the wind to stop and it would but just a few feet in front of me it would still be blowing, wild/not tame animals would come up to me (birds, squirrels, rabbits, dogs, cats, horses,etc) sometimes just to be inquisitive other times to ask for help (wild squirrel begging for water, goose with a stick stuck in its wing, etc.). When I did this a lot of activity would happen with my exes that would be positive for me.
    8) I took cleansing baths with lit candles while meditating
    9) I wrote on pieces of paper of what I wanted in life and what I didn’t want and put it under my pillow
    10) I found a therapist that connected the dots instead of letting me “self discover” because I just kept missing the mark and learned how to set boundaries confidently

    ***On the Life Changing Sedona Trip that Changed My Life and was the Starting Point for the Rest of My Life***
    – we worked on a lot of unconventional trauma healing technics (only bc the conventional trauma healing technics had not worked and I was desperate to do anything).
    1) we did exercises and stretches that opened up our nervous system and chakras then we focused on more deep breaths while closing our eyes (weird thing is the more oxygen you take in the more vivid visions can be) and through guided therapy they helped me unravel what was keeping me stuck in these toxic relationships and situations. I vividly saw myself at younger stages (hypnotist or therapists couldn’t even get me here even though several tried) and I gave her a hug, told her she is loved, and did a lot of inner child healing. We did this with other areas too like letting go of toxic people and healing my brokenness
    2) we did magnetic therapy where they can detect major trauma and the age that it occurred (they were amazingly accurate) then used sound waves and other technics to help process and heal that trauma
    3) we connected to Mother Nature as well God and the neatest encounters happened here. I could see the aura of the land (I have a pictures), I calmed the wind multiple times during my nature outings, and several animals visited me including a little wild bird kept sitting with me during a meditation session (like right next to me) and an owl swooped down and sat above us looking down and hooting as us during the middle of the day in the city while we were going through a session.

    *NOTE: less than 24 hrs after I got home from that Sedona trip I got a call from my ex that smoochie had been beating him and I needed to take the kids. And, just like that my life became extremely easier. God told me on that trip He was changing it and this was the next chapter to the rest of of my life and He was right. My life is sooooo much better now.

    • Where did you go in Sedona? I’ve been trying to find a place to go when my divorce is finalized. I want to get weird with it. I’m not a religious person, but I feel like I need rituals to help define this transition in my life and set the tone for what is coming after.

      • It’s called Inner Journeys and the website is
        They are a husband and wife team and can bring in different specialist to help you during your retreat depending on what you want to work on. Kurt Raczynski was the husband and I forgot the wife’s name. She does a lot of angelic work. While you are there, I highly recommend you truly open yourself up to accept what we don’t understand and allow yourself to be vulnerable to new technics to help you heal and grow. I promise you, if you have that mindset it will change your life forever!

  • In general I’m not much of an angry person, but I have lashed out at FW on a few occasions, mostly having to do with bringing the kids around AP really early on. What usually keeps me in check around him is the thought that it drives him up a wall to not get a reaction out of me. I just turn it into a game. He wants to piss me off and I won’t let him. Nana nana boo boo. I only cared what he was up to while we were married. No more.

    • Yeah, that’s gotten me in some hot water. I’m getting better now and treat it as a game. On the positive side, I finally got her to admit she was a cheater, still didn’t take responsibility, but the words were said.

  • re: intrusive thoughts

    i find the ruminating the worst part of grieving, the 3 a.m. swirl of thoughts and feelings. so i created a mantra that i repeat until the swirl slows and stops. this mantra is specific to my situation and slowly morphs over time, as i understand myself more. it’s a lot of work.

    1. he’s an active alcoholic
    2. he refuses to get help for alcoholism
    3. he is not emotionally capable
    4. he was raised in a dysfunctional, alcoholic home with parents who fought all the time, and had no boundaries
    5. the result is that he avoids conflict and uncomfortable feelings
    6. he is not interpersonally capable
    7. i was primed for this relationship because i was raised by a narcissistic mom
    7. this relationship is not sustainable, that it lasted as long as it did is kinda amazing
    8. but, i deserve more and i will have more

    by the time i get to the end of the mantra, i’m thinking of myself and what i deserve. that’s the biggest shift over the first year–shifting focus to your self.

    yoga, walking, talking to my team and therapist help, as does burning items (assorted papers, photos, his travel journals that had nothing of substance written in them) in the firepit. i say “fuck that guy” or “FTG” A LOT–even wrote it on the underside of the dining room table i lost in the separation agreement. because, FTG.

  • I found that pulling weeds is a great way to vent my anger. I have a big garden and there are always weeds. Yanking them out of the ground was very satisfying when I was so very angry.

  • I never felt anger. If anything I felt sorry for my ex, trapped with dull me and our dull toddlers. He cheated on me so many times with so many different women that I became completely numb.

    When he disappeared one day, I just went on with my life. It’s like he never existed. He hasn’t contacted me or our young kids for years.

    I imagine him as the hero of the story, who finally got the courage to leave his boring conventional life for something new and exciting. The kids and I are the disposable secondary characters who serve as background, but who the reader has completely forgotten about by the end of chapter two.

    I wish I felt anger. I wish I felt anything at all.

    • You matter! You are the hero of this story. He was just a side character who was passing through.

    • “I imagine him as the hero of the story, who finally got the courage to leave his boring conventional life for something new and exciting. The kids and I are the disposable secondary characters who serve as background, but who the reader has completely forgotten about by the end of chapter two.”

      Quinn, he’s not the hero, *you* are. You’re building a life for your children and yourself, after being brutally discarded by a shallow piece of shit. You are *mighty*. Hugs xx

    • Quinn, I am angry at your ex for you.

      I also understand feeling nothing because I felt dead for so long. I needed to shore up the part of me that demands justice.
      I had to have some one else acknowledge that what my XH did, and continued to do, was far out of the range of normal, and was destructive to me and the kids. That person was not a counselor.

      Quinn, your ex abandoned you & the kids. He is not a hero. He is someone who broke a promise. He shirked his responsibility. He weaseled out instead of manning up.
      Is he really an ex, as in you are divorced? Is he paying child support & spousal support? If not, I am angry for you. What do you tell the kids when they ask where he is? I am angry for you – no kid should have to ask where their dad is.
      First get that anger going, then you’ll have to “metabolize” it.

      Then, I hope you can come to realize that it’s good the rotten asshole is out of your life.

    • Quinn, that guy is not a hero. He is someone who is incapable of real feelings. People like that need constant external stimulation – whether it’s new women and new “friends,” new toys, substance abuse – to feel anything. And all those things have a shelf life. He doesn’t have an exciting new life – just an onslaught of new sensations to try to feel alive. Please talk to a therapist. This loser shouldn’t be allowed to steal your joy.

    • Don’t you dare relegate your children to being “disposable secondary characters” in someone else’s life.

      Get therapy, do whatever it takes to pull yourself past this numbness you’ve wrapped yourself in. Your little ones are helpless and dependent on you right now.

    • You’re the hero for surviving his abuse and abandonment. Thank God he’s not around your kids. Who cares what his internal story is? He’s a fuckwit of the highest order.

    • Quinn. I agree with everyone here that you are the heroine of your own story. You are stepping up and raising the kids. You are important. You matter. Being a wife is just one hat you wore. And not that important in the scheme of things. I wish you well.

    • Reading this I feel so sad. I definitely hear that you are numb and that is not necessarily a bad place to be. From here you can decide what you want for you and your kiddos.
      I have been trying to focus on shaping the smaller details and that helps. I love the idea that I am authoring my life moment by moment so that each mindful moment is delicious. Last night my boys (toddlers) and I washed the dishes together and it was a soapy mess, but I loved it.

      • Your day-to-day life defines most of who you really are. If you can’t enjoy the little things, you can’t enjoy life. And I think that is what is wrong with most FWs, certainly mine. They can’t enjoy ordinary life, so they reach for nonstop “excitement” in the form of side pieces, booze, whatever, and it inevitably fails them.

    • Quinn, please make sure you are telling yourself the truth. The thoughts you have create the feelings you have. (Yes, thoughts create feelings.) When you tell yourself that he is the hero of the story….wow, I have no words. He is a lying cheating coward with no integrity, no strength of character; most assuredly not a hero.
      And dull you and your dull toddlers? That’s all of us at home with toddlers – it’s repetitive, loving, caretaking and not all that exciting. Please please be careful of telling yourself things that aren’t true. A good therapist can help you reframe your story into something more true and something that will not depress you. ((((Hugs))))

    • Quinn, he is a loser of the lowest order. YOU are the heroine. Please find a great therapist to help you realize it. Sending hugs….


    • There are days raising children and going through the monotony of making breakfast, lunch, dinner, doing laundry and ensuring everyone has underwear that fits feels less than glamorous. But our roles in raising little humans is greater than any movie could be. Those minds shape the future. Could anything be more important? My ex abandoned our children, too. They know who to trust, they know who loves them, they know who they can count on. Being this source of stability for them as they discover who they are is a role not for the weak; the weak run away. It is for the strong and amazing- like you.

  • How did I deal with my anger? I accepted it as my inner self’s way of protecting me, like, “Are you really going to put up with this nonsense?” and put the anger energy into crushing him in the academic arena. (Still waiting on word that he’s failed out. Any day now, I expect…)

    • SAME battledancingunicorn!! FW used to lord his masters over me so I applied to graduate school 4 weeks after Dday (finishing that degree in 8 weeks). Now I’m pursuing a second bachelor’s in a completely different subject and one day I hope to out-earn him. That’s not my prime motivator (keeping my kids’ house is and learning ALL THE THINGS is) but putting FW in his place will be a happy accident. Also hoping your FW fails!!

    • Please, BattleDancingUnicorn, update us when he does. I sooooo love a happy ending.

  • Boxing / kickboxing classes. The kind where a trainer puts on mitts and has you hit them. Soooo cathartic.

    I struggled with ruminating while driving, and music would just get me so, so emotional & stuck. I started listening to audiobooks! Lots of free ones through the local library via Libby or Hoopla apps.

  • It’s really a blur, but I recall channeling the misery into a lot of exercise. My predominant emotion was fear. I belonged to the YMCA and did every class I could— HIIT, boot camp, kick boxing, step, strength…. I joined a mountaineers club and started serious day hikes, I bought a stand up paddleboard, I ran a race. I also was so scared of being impoverished (I was homeless and pregnant as a teen and lived for years not knowing how I would even feed myself after my dad died suddenly when I was 15 and my sociopath alcoholic mom kicked me out at 16) so scarcity mentality was terrorizing me when Dday hit and XH threatened to leave and take everything we’d built over 26 years together. So I took your advice and got busy building a life. In the middle of my divorce from hell while working full time and raising 3 kids solo I studied for the California bar and passed! 48% pass rate that year nonetheless. 1 month after the divorce was finalized I got a new job as a partner in my new field working remote in CA. In the ensuing years I’ve tripled my income and met my financial needs, helped my kids with college and down payments on starter homes. Finally, I watched a lot of Marvelous Mrs. Meitzel episodes and Call the Midwife. Those were soothing.

    I know it was unlikely to be long-lasting, but I dated a bit and flirted a bit with friends from the gym and hiking club and started seeing one man exclusively. We’ve been together 7 years and engaged for 2 years. The care, kindness, socialization, and yes… the intimacy, helped me heal from the discard. As a 50 year old mother of 4– brutally devalued and discarded by the man I thought was my lifelong best friend and beloved— left for a girl almost the same age as my eldest daughter…. The knowledge that there are lovely, decent potential intimate partners was a balm.

  • Caveat. I have never done anything violent to anyone in my life. Yes I TPed an ex boyfriends house in HS. My mother had some sort of PD. Very difficult person. Did not have a good relationship with her growing up. So as a teen/ young adult I would imagine stomping on her head and having it explode like a pumpkin. It brought me relief and made me feel calm and zen. I tried that scenario on FW, with no satisfaction. So I visualize different things happening to him. Such as he gets into a car accident, he gets a foot cramp while swimming and drowns, he chokes on a hotdog. It lowers my heart rate and makes me feel calm and relaxed. Not sure why. Maybe thats the same feeling someone gets cutting themselves.

  • Yelling the worst words I could to describe him, at the top of my voice, alone in my car.
    Singing along to song lyrics that were meaningful, at the top of my voice, alone in my car.

    • Yes, absolutely. I did this all the time on my commute to and from work. I especially liked loud, angry songs, like Papa Roach’s “Burn”.

  • I wrote down every shitty thing he did or said in journals. On pads of paper. Any time I had them and then burned them. Some of the things that I wrote I wrote again and again and again until I started to trust that he sucked. I like the idea of pulling weeds. I also find that therapeutic. I’m still finding journals with crap written in them from 2007 which well predates my 2019 DDay. I will burn those too.

    My therapist also suggested being my own best friend and take that invisible best friend with me wherever I go. If I have a question about something I ask my best friend. If something doesn’t seem to be right I ask my best friend.

    Walking with a friend also helped. Cleaning and purging junk helped.

  • This may sound strange but I was so shocked and scared and angry to learn I’d been living with a man for 30 years that led a double life – I was truly more scared than angry but thank goodness I had my fluffy dogs and I would spend hours at night looking on-line at paintings – of all the great masters – like walking through a museum – it held my attention when sleep was impossible and if I did fall asleep the nightmares about his whores were terrible. Scrolling through 1000’s of pieces of art – I could disappear and learned a lot too. “Living well is the best revenge” I kept trying to focus on not letting his freaky antics destroy me but it almost did.

  • Boxing, started running again. Highly recommend physical activity to channel the anger and stress. If you are acting it out, it dissipates. As much as I’d rather punch his face directly, this was more legal. It also was beneficial for my health. Once you’ve expended that energy and are too tired, you will feel yourself settling back into an even-keeled state. Anger/stress sitting around is no good and can lead to deep sadness and other self-harming behavior.

    • Yes! I poured myself into my chosen workout, I even own the place I started in now, I became that passionate about it. I lost 30+ pounds and am in the best shape of my life. Best of all I did it for me, not to be pretty for someone else.

  • I had to focus so hard to get past the anger and get what I wanted after FW left! I HATED the guy for my lost youth, the beatings, the way he spent us into one hole after another, despite us having damn good incomes. I also resented the fact that he got to retire at 50 (disability – bipolar) and all his debts were paid off by the insurance, whereas I now had to take out a $350,000 mortgage to buy the AH out of the house at the age of 53! Yeah, I was angry as hell! So I kinda made a game out of aiming to get my mortgage paid off as soon as possible – that’s what had me plugging the leaky holes where money used to dribble through every month. Hell I knocked €1,000/month off my bills as soon as he moved out and threw everything at paying the mortgage off. Oh I still travelled with my solos groups but I was so disciplined about packing a lunch, not wasting money etc. that I paid off my 17 year mortgage in just 7 years! All the while I was posting pictures on FB of me hiking in the mountains round here (he misses France) and on my solos trips. I did it on purpose (which probably makes me shallow but whatevs) to show him what he had thrown away and what he would never have himself because he had no self-restraint or discipline and just threw money away! So yeah, living my best disciplined life with an end goal allowed me to retire early – that’s how I channelled my anger. It took time, but then I’m a tortoise not a hare!

  • I went to the thrift shop in town and bought about $10 worth of colorful, 25 cent ceramic mugs. Then with a friend, threw them against my garage wall screaming things I hate about him. Then I collected the pieces and on my first wedding anniversary post-separation I made a mosaic from the shards. It hangs in my kitchen as a reminder of hope, that broken things can be reimagined into something beautiful.

  • My futon couch absorbed a lot of my anger (and tears). Rage screaming into the pillows. Punching and kicking. I also wrote in a notebook and then burned the whole thing in the wood stove. I sometimes wish I had kept the notebook to look back and see just how crazy he made me, but it was toxic poison and needed to be purged.

  • Kept busy spiritually, volunteering at my church and prayed for hours. Left things in God’s hands. Volunteered at NPE, infidelity, and “chump” support groups. Was interviewed by the BBC, Good Morning America, and The Atlantic magazine. Traveled, hiked and hung out with friends. Focused on my kids. Therapy and sympathetic friends helped me out a lot.

  • Alternating between sobbing on the floor, and screaming expletives in the woods:

    Walking into my solicitor’s office and starting divorce proceedings 2 days after D-day.

    Throwing the photos of fuckwit and me at the wall, then stomping on them before ripping and binning.

    Throwing anything he ever gave me into the bin(unless it was worth selling).

    Selling all the jewellery he gave me and adding the proceeds to my divorce fund.

    Starting a meet up divorce group.

    Blocking him and his flying monkeys everywhere.

    Going on the Israel holiday he bought me anyway, and totally ignoring all his texts reminding me about my passport etc.

    Calling the police about his continual texts, phonecalls, and coming over uninvited, which resulted in him being visited and sent a warning letter.

    Most of what others have said as well, journalling etc.

    And last, but not least, reading LACGAL over and over, and finding chumplady, and wonderful, wonderful CN!💝💖💕

  • He’d call her on a drive phone…I found out by calling scratched down numbers on random pieces of paper, he was a cop made sense. So I located every dive up pay phone and wrote in permanent marker”BACK THE FUCK OFF JIM” and signed my name to the message. Not really effective but very satisfying

  • I wish I had used my initial rage to kick his ass to the curb. Two years of trickle truth and constant attempts at rugsweeping, left me numb and disconnected. Even now , I wish I felt anger. All I seem to be able to muster is an overwhelming sense of grief and loneliness. Even four months after kicking him out, I find myself actively telling myself to not go near the hopium. Depression is becoming my default. For all the newbies, please , PLEASE! use your anger to get out. It is what got me out the first time my picker was shown to be broken. Second time is so much harder. Thanks CL. You and this blog are helping. Here’s to “Trusting that they suck”.

  • I went on antidepressants and propranolol for awhile. They helped my mental health immensely. There were some side effects so I’m off them now but I wished I took care of my mental health from the beginning.

    • I went on Prosac for about 9 months. It helped me a lot. I had to work and I couldn’t think or sleep.

      Honestly to me it was a part of taking care of my mental health. All I had to depend on was my job. Luckily it was fairly secure, though minimum wage. But, if I didn’t perform well; promotions which I needed would be a long time in coming. It was issuing checks to military and doing monthly financial report to the feds. And numbers are not my strong suit. Luckily, before long I got out of that and got into inventory, which was still numbers but not the same stress.

      I was fortunate that I suffered no side effects using it or coming off of it. But, I kind of knew when it was time to stop; and by then I wasn’t quite as raw.

      I think as chumps we just have to do whatever we can. Most of us don’t get a lot of down time to figure it out.

      Especially those with children. I can’t even imagine how stressful that would have been. Mine was fully emancipator at the time of discard.

  • My strategies for managing the anger have been in two parts:

    1) Active channeling of the rage

    -Listening to my favorite head-banging metal band of my youth over and over again, and repeatedly playing music from the likes of Carrie Underwood, Billie Eilish, and the Chicks – who sing quite a bit about cheaters and abusers. Music is powerful and cathartic.
    -Water aerobics in a pool – “punching the water”, imagining my abuser and the OW.

    2) Calming down

    -White lights on the balcony in my new apartment and burning candles every night
    -Caring for plants for the first time ever
    -Deep breathing techniques

    It’s all helped a lot! Big hugs who are new to the nightmares/sleeplessness and shock and rage. You’ll get through it.

  • White rage-never been so angry as long as I can remember. Over time my CoPing with anger has changed. One helpful activity was taking a bay to a big punching bag and a tennis racket to the bed. Being physical was helpful. At the beach house where the affair happened, I went to get My stuff and threw all the deck furniture off it and dumped all his booze down the drain and dumped his viagra in the toilet and left the empty bottles sitting on the counter. Was that childish-well yes it was but oh so therapeutic. It’s been 5 yrs and I still get angry on occasion. Now I hit golf balls and see his face on them. And I do nice things for myself-main-pedis, new clothes, hikes but most importantly talks with my friends! Peace and love! Turn your anger outwards to a safe activity. You can’t let one prick ruin your life. He or she is not worth it! Hugs!

    • “It’s been 5 yrs and I still get angry on occasion”

      I’m so glad you said that, Thrive, I thought I was the only one !

      It’s been 5 years for me, too. 5 years since D-day, and 3 years since the Decree Absolute. I’m not consumed with rage anymore, but as you say, it still hits on occasion, sadness too.

      Cheating is such a visceral horror, the knowledge that the one person you loved and trusted was prepared to lie and deceive you, gas light you, steal from you, and the humiliation of being taken for a mug, just turns ones whole world upside down.

      • I look forward to the day he doesn’t show up in my thoughts but honestly can’t really believe that will happen. It is so traumatic. Hugs to you! May you find peace and joy!!

  • I have a refrigerator that is stainless steel. My grandbaby uses it as his white board with dry erase markers…. I thought well I can do that too… Somedays I have reaffirmation quotes and other days its anger like… FU Scott and the WHore you road in on… I hope you both rot in hell…etc… my daughter came over one day and saw one of my rants ( I leave them up until I don’t feel that way then I erase and write something else..) she was actually ok with it. She said well its better than calling him up and giving him the fuel… YEP exactly.

  • Decluttered my house and repainted it from top to bottom, exercised and read a ton of books. Worked on other projects that I’d been procrastinating about. Planned a vacation with my sibling and a friend. Understood that my anger was a wake up call from my self esteem that I shouldn’t put up with this abuse any longer.

    A counseling group really assisted me with dealing with the anger and grief over losing my loved ones in healthier ways (my good friend and my beloved pet both passed away within three months of the drama being exposed) and to see fuckwit and his schmoops for the dysfunctional losers that they are.

  • First, here’s what did not help:
    1. Long walks in nature. As much as I normally find solace in the woods, long walks alone only served to give my brain plenty of space to ruminate and replay the awful things exfw said, the things I wish I had said back to him, the past 2 decades of lies and so on.
    2. Texting exfw angry messages. It was very hard to stop myself doing this but much more satisfying and effective to give him nothing. Any time I started texting I couldn’t stop and would spend a few hours ranting angry message after message. (Actually finding CL and reading the book 3x was what finally cured me of this particular behavior and marked the end of my days of angry text messages – so this belongs on the list below)
    What did help:
    1. As others have suggested, strenuous physical activity. I’m personally not big on running but I started swimming laps again and there is something about the water that makes one feel incredible post-swim. Buoyant, powerful and like all the stupid crap doesn’t matter.
    2. I took up a new sport that a friend of mine was involved in – rowing – never occurred to me before to row but it was perfect. Having to focus and pay attention to all the technical things (arms, legs, timing, coordination, commands) is wonderfully distracting from all the intrusive thoughts. And rowing is a social sport so a new community of people who are not at all associated with ex or anyone who knows him.
    3. As others have suggested – laughing about it. Realizing how astonishingly, ridiculously pathetic he is. I received a particularly dumb email from him and rather than respond I channeled the UBT to create my own translation. I read the translation to a few girlfriends over drinks and they crowed with laughter.
    4. From above – reading CL’s book 3x and visiting this site to find comfort in the stories of others and the similarities of so many of our stories

    • I keep coming back to this post and all of the comments as this one really resonated with me.

      And I wrote my original comment above on a pretty good day while this week was not as good (had an in-person work meeting with ex where he showed up in a new motorcycle. I don’t know why this makes me SO angry – who cares if the Slimeball bought himself a motorcycle? I think it has to with the fact that the Worm seems so pleased with himself which is also how he seemed when he was cheating and lying to me in the year before I found out about OW. And during that time he kept accusing me of hating all the things he thought were cool and fun – motorcycles, hanging out with his music buddies etc – which was totally baffling and untrue as I used to play music with him in many of his various “bands” before the discard.)

      All of this to say that I have a few additional and more quick-acting anger-dissolving strategies to add to the ones above:

      1. Singing. I’ll put on some early country/ Appalachian tunes and belt out the lyrics along with them. Lots of lying, cheating, stealing in those tunes and there’s something about the physical act of singing that has an immediate effect.
      2. Indulging myself in re-reading some of my favorite young-adult fiction from my childhood. In particular Joan Aiken’s “Wolves Chronicles” – which are probably not too well known in the US. They are full of good vs evil characters with satisfying plot turns. While I’ve read all of them multiple times I can still get lost in the narratives and it is a fairly immediate respite from the anger and intrusive thoughts.

  • I signed up for boxing lessons about 10 days after FW discarded me. I NEEDED to hit something.

  • I didn’t find my anger for a while……maybe 6 or 8 months after D-Day. One thing that worked for me was to go to my bed and just scream like a two year old for as long as it took before I collapsed into tears and usually fell asleep. The only way anyone would have known about this is sometimes someone would comment on my voice the next day. I would scream so hard for so long that I was tearing up my throat and it would take a couple of days to clear up.

    I have one (now 10 year old) granddaughter who expressed anger this way as a young child. She would be tripping along in life as a happy little girl until something would set off her anger. And there was nothing to do but let her go thru the entire anger cycle. Hopefully we were not away from home in a crowd…..but regardless, this was what would happen. No shortcuts. She felt it fully until it was finished.

    I decided to just try and follow her example and it was freeing. It was an important time for me to get through and lasted several months.

    Only my big outdoor dog knew. I’m sure he was quite puzzled but I’m happy he keeps my secrets.

  • Humor is how I cope. I’d rather be laughing than raging, so when I feel the anger welling up, I think about the things FW has done and said that were so stupid I had to laugh, even while in the depths of despair.
    My daughter and I have made fun of FW a lot. It helps her to cope as well.

    • OHFFS I think I’ve mentioned before, knowing now that my ex is a covert narc, I wished I’d laid the boot in more. The stupid things he did over the years, I thought he realised they were stupid!
      I dont know if you recall an earlier thread i said my rings were removed from house around D Day ~ lo and behold I go away for a few days and the rings have been returned to the exact same place. What a mystery ~ I must have lost my mind 🤔Nothing like a bit of break and enter coupled with a bad attempt at gaslighting to pass the time.

  • I spent over 20 years in a furious, screaming, throwing-things rage, after it became obvious that he was a lying, cheating scoundrel dating from even before our wedding. However, I had also suffered a vertebral artery dissection (stroke) ten months after we were married, so that (plus a three-month old infant) kept me tied to him financially. And there was also my inability to walk without constantly falling, my 50% visual field loss, and my memory impairment that continues to this day.

    I probably would have remained stuck forever, mostly because I didn’t think we could actually afford to divorce even though I was adding to the household income with my measly minimum-wage job. Those six daily hours of entry-level office employment took me 18 hours to recover from, especially since I was also running the household single-handedly. I was an angry, depressed mess, trying to make a happy home for our daughter.

    The dam broke and all my anger was finally released on the day that our 20yo daughter and I found incontrovertible evidence of his cheating. I cried for two years (not kidding–sobbed in stores, wept at work, blubbered at my doctor’s office) as I released all my pent up fury. Eventually I got it all out of my system, and my life became once again my own, with no lying, cheating anchor to cart around. Literally the best thing ever to happen to me.

  • CB had a collection of beer glasses and steins that he couldn’t bother to pack when he left. On particularly angry days, I would smash one of those in a a storage tote I called the “smash bin”.

    I also took up Krav Maga for a bit.

    But mostly it was the daily routine of walking the dogs, yoga, meditation and journaling that got me through it.

  • I am 3 years out from the final of 4 D-days…mostly at meh. But one of the things I did – at the behest of my trauma therapist – was to join a local choir. It was something that I used to love doing, before I became “too busy” for it (so I thought – actually, I was just spending all of my free time trying to fix an unfixable marriage). I was super skeptical that it would help that much, but it turns out I was SO wrong. I get so much joy from it, even though when I auditioned, I was convinced that I wasn’t able to feel joy any longer. Who knew that singing was the answer? (My trauma therapist, apparently.) I had been convinced that I wasn’t good at making friends (another gift from FW) – but I proved that wrong as well, I have several new friends in the choir and they are wonderful. And it’s something that makes me feel like ME again, which I hadn’t felt in YEARS. So, I say: Do the thing that you thought you didn’t have time for while you were trying to manage a FW! It’s WAY less exhausting.

    Another thing that really helped – though not at first, maybe more like 1-1.5 years in when I was a little better at managing triggers – was meditation. Specifically, “witnessing” meditation where you practice acknowledging your thoughts and feelings without judging them. A good example is to allow a thought or feeling to come into your head, say hi to it, then tie it to a pretty balloon and watch it fly away. This never would have helped me in the beginning, as the thoughts and feelings were too overwhelming – but later on, it really helped me realize that I am not my thoughts. This may be a little too “woo woo” for some, and I was also skeptical before I tried it, but it really worked for me. I continue to meditate on an almost daily basis.

  • I miss the Fuck! thread on the old forum. Very therapeutic. We have a Fuck flair on Reddit, but I will say there were some grand rants in the old days.

  • Batting cages. The kind with aluminum bats, helmets, and quarter machines. It was catharsis in a safe and even fun/satisfying manner. Friends ended up joining in too. Petting dogs always helped, too.

  • “I think about the things FW has done and said that were so stupid I had to laugh, even while in the depths of despair.
    My daughter and I have made fun of FW a lot. It helps her to cope as well.” OHFFS

    This. Fortunately, Fraudster gave me plenty of fodder, and I shared it with almost everyone I encountered, because it IS funny, in a pathetic kind of way. Grocery store clerks, banks tellers, etc. He was desperate to be respected and admired, so he made up all sorts of lies about himself. Told a veterans’ symphony group that he was a veteran (never) and an MD (never even applied to med school or did anything related to healthcare). He fabricated MBAs from Harvard and then Dartmouth. Claimed he won international awards multiple times when he wasn’t even a runner-up.

    He’s still at it. The latest claim is that he’s a literally a rocket scientist. He recently added a (fraudulent) degree in aerospace engineering to his Linked-In page.

    He wanted a hot, less-than-half-his-age babe so people would look up to him. So yeah, I also mention that he sent tens of thousands of dollars to a catfisher, even though he watched shows about romance scams ever week. Every time somebody laughs at him, it cuts him down to size.

  • At first, it was listening to LACGAL the audiobook and taking notes like in a calculus class. Rinse and repeat until it started to sink in which took at least a dozen passes through. Anger and fear were my twofold sides of the coin. A biphasic existence

    “Anger is the dubious luxury of more normal (wo)men”…the Big Book lesson kept me from relapse along with “When I stopped living in the problem and started living in the solution all my problems went away” (eg. Filing for D), a course of antidepressants and talks with my VA psychiatric staff with lots of dialog with friends, family and neighbors .

    Early on, Walking miles helped for a temporary reprieve. It’s hard to stay in the funk mindset when your muscles are screaming at you to stop and sit down. Joining a TaeKwonDo dojang was next: the benefits of exercise and social interaction started my recovery path. I started playing guitar again in open circle jams locally and added more friends into my world.

    Online support from Surviving Infidelity website led me to CN. It was here that got me through the divorce process in 10 months (no dependent children). July 2017, the weight lifted a lot and self discovery started to happen again. Who was I before this? Can I find myself again? MEH!

    Since then My brother died of a Heroin fentanyl OD and I had to redirect time to support my 85 yo moms needs. I got Lyme disease from my beagle Max a few months ago ( he shared a tick with me), did the Doxycycline course, lost hearing in my right ear ( which returned this week) and still struggle with abdominal cramps which slowly are dissipating. About the same time my pickup truck caught fire right after I had a new fuel pump installed and was totaled with only liability insurance. Despite all that I’m still here, single and relatively happy. Narc radar stays switched on and I’m learning about not investing my time in anyone who treats me as a second option.

    At 62 I think I’m pretty much done with the opposite sex as much as I’d like to think the third time would be a charm. I have zero expectations of people today which lowers my anger factor to nil. I’ve got way more miles behind me than in front of me. The time I have left should be spent doing things I value ( per my shrink) and helping others as a life of service work is the finest life I can live. Release from the bondage of self.

  • “Part of getting through the trauma is giving your brain some stimulus other than pain.”
    This is so true! I did find that watching comedy shows was another way to take a break from the overwhelming anger. I also went down rabbit holes on the internet, researching different topics (music, history, art, etc.). Anything to take a break from the absolute agony of having my life blown up so dramatically.

    I also agree with you that anger is fuel. It certainly propelled me into action. After decades of being endlessly giving, I was enraged to find out how my devotion was repaid. The anger woke me up. I thought, “I refuse to be a doormat anymore! You do not get to keep walking all over me.” I also needed to work fast before he drained our bank accounts. The anger almost served as a forceful friend who strong armed me into protecting myself.

    For all the newbies who are struggling, I would like to recommend something that worked for me. Self affirmations helped me start to repair some of my damaged self esteem. I needed a reminder that I am a good person (and not the horrible person my FW suddenly said I was). “I deserve to be treated with respect. I am capable and strong. I trust my instincts and have boundaries. I am a unique person and I have value.” I said these things to balance out all of the negative messaging from my FW. And over time, bit by bit, it actually helped me see myself in a new, positive way. It was just another step toward building a new life for myself. I hope you will give it a try.

    • Oh yeah I forgot I did that too! I have a big mirror in my bedroom and I wrote in the mirror of all the good things I am. And then I wrote a list of all the things the FW told me I was, but I’m not. Such as I’m not an anxious person, I’m not a bad communicator. It was good to be forced to see it each day

  • In the early days after Dday, I did lots of journaling which helped calm some of the ruminating. I remember going down to his man cave (he was living elsewhere but still had some of his stuff in our basement) and smashing beer & shot glasses all over the tile floor and throwing darts at the dart board picturing his face. I increased my therapist appointments from monthly to biweekly. I also did much more self-care on weekends he had the kids, so I was frequently getting massages & manicures.

  • In the early days I was focused on trying to pretend everything was okay for my kids while also fixing everything up around my FW-abused house. I painted, I used wood epoxy to fix dry rot, I built a retaining wall in my backyard which required moving an enormous amount of dirt from one area in my yard to another (and moving lots of rocks). I did that all with my trusty shovel and my 50-year-old body. It’s been 4 years since Dday and while the anger flairs up occasionally I use it to fuel the two degrees I’m working on while working and being the sole caretaker of my two children. For respite these days I’ll hang out in my backyard (which will be 100% MY backyard in a couple of months when the divorce is final) and admire all my work (FW did NOTHING with our landscaping- I did everything). I also make damn sure I get a full night’s sleep every night. Getting rid of all the OTHER FWs in my life and learning to set boundaries also helped a great deal. It’s pretty much just me and my kids and that simplicity makes life much easier.

  • This one really hit home. Long time reader, first time commenter, chumped after 27 years. Surreal experience. Angry? Absolutely! Could not believe it happened to me, could not understand it, any if it. Knew he was selfish, did not get it was a full on mental health condition. Not sure how I missed that since I had to set up every engagement with our kids over the years as a TV set he could walk onto and play the role of super Dad. Out in public he was Mr. Wonderful, wasn’t I lucky? His mother thought I should be more appreciative. I really appreciated the two times we nearly lost our home because he could not stop spending. I also really appreciated the affair he had after my Mom died and the one he had while my Dad was dying of a brain tumor. I later found out, from the mistress’ chumped husband, that affair #2 had been going on for at least two years. My D-Day was 6 years ago and I am in a good place now. Lots of work to get here and I am sure it is not over yet. There is still fallout with adult children who would like to split the blame. Happy to report they are beginning to “see” now that I no longer filter their Dad for them. The truth inevitably comes to light but often too little too late. It does nothing to make up for all that I have lost. That is still a bitter pill.

    • BP relatable content. I literally wrote scripts for eldest kids birthday parties, got costumes and voila, ex was the greatest father on earth. The last party, for our youngest, he was so busy he couldnt even muster up one puff of air to blow up a balloon. The only blowing he was interested in by that stage didnt happen at kids parties.
      I realise now how much I had created a character for everyone ~mostly the kids ~ that never existed. I think a lot of mums do that whether they have been chumped or not.

  • I second everyone who recommended music. Music is great way to break the chain of intrusive thoughts. You can create a playlist or even two: one to vent and the other to lift you up.

    I sang the “vent” one at a piano bar (karaoke works too) and the “lift up” one in the shower to start the day on a positive note. There’s a study indicating that ten minutes a day of singing will increase your energy in a good way.

    Baking bread is also a good way to release stress, and then you have the joy of creating something good to eat and to share with your friends and supporters. It’s multiple levels of turning that energy into something positive. You are creative, have good nourishment, and good relationships with decent people. Even if you end up giving the excess bread to the hungry, that makes you a person of virtue and caring, which is as awesome as it gets

    • I made a playlist on YouTube (a private one) when FW left. It started as sad “I wish I could get you back” kind of songs. I even titled the list “If Only…”. It gradually became angrier, with ranting songs about cheaters and betrayal. Eventually it changed into songs of being done with all that nonsense, and hope for the future. I changed the name to “You Got This”. It was a really interesting timeline of my healing.

  • I wasn’t able to get angry after D-Day. I was too busy with pick me dancing and sucking the hopium pipe. Then I was busy with all the details involved in un-doing a 30 year marriage. When the divorce was finalized a couple years after D-Day, any thoughts of communicating with him were quickly pushed away. I was only able to move through those actions by reading CL every day and finally understanding that if my love and devotion didn’t change his behavior, my anger wasn’t going to change him.

    I joined a 12-step program for the solid and frequent group support. It provides reminders about what we can and cannot control, gratitude and the importance of service. I attended meditation and mindfulness sessions/videos, walked with friends, volunteered in my local park, journaled and learned new skills. I kept up with my routine health care and got my legal/financial affairs in order.

    Music was a trigger for me. So were cats, unfortunately. I volunteered in a cat rescue and am finally open to the possibility of adopting an adult kitty. I am terrified, however, of losing a loved pet now that I live alone.

    My only “revenge”? I bought scented candles and laundry detergent which I wasn’t allowed for 30 years. But FW has not been around for years to offer any opinion on any topic.

    • What is it with the refusal to allow scented candles and washing powder and FWs! The ex said he was ‘allergic’ to everything I liked. It has been a total joy not to have to care what someone else thinks of my house, what I bring in to my house e.g. my dog and, last night, his doggie friend for a sleepover. My theory is that FWs have to control every element of their environment to sustain the lies, and that they need to exert their power over the unknowing chum to survive.

  • I think anger comes in good and bad forms. One form of anger is a trigger caused by you or someone you care about being abused or suffering from some form of injustice. This form of anger is short lived and I believe is very healthy, a great release. It’s the type of anger that can actually motivate and can be constructive. The other anger is a constant, very unhealthy anger. This anger comes in the form of passive aggressiveness, self abuse (addiction), low self esteem, being destructive/volatile/abusive, judgmental and even depression. Most chumps that suffer from chronic anger more than likely learned early to keep everything in and never permitted themselves to show any emotions that would be construed as aggressive or uncomfortable for others. I’ve had a couple of friends that suffer from chronic anger and as much as I would urge them to go bat shit crazy on their abusive partner or parent, they just couldn’t do it. Both suffer from health problems, both have eating disorders and both have been hospitalized for mental health issues. Very sad.

  • Rabbits on Pinterest.
    I have two house bunnies, they destroy the house but I don’t mind because they are my fur babies.
    I didn’t want to take time off work because I didn’t want him knowing how bad I was hurt, so I kept going by sometimes taking a walk out of the clinic (I’m a dentist) and looking at bunnies on Pinterest. The staff knew I had to do this and were very accommodating.

  • I was so traumatized that nothing worked to distract me. I couldn’t watch movies or tv or read for two years. My situation had a lot of evilness to it because I discovered that he was deeply into sexual sadism and basically paid women to hurt them.

    I wrote poetry to express my pain, and as I’ve said before here, I kept a knife by my bed and when the rage came in I would open up the garment bag and shred and deface his wedding suit. I literally wrote the most gnarly rage filled hate on that suit with a Sharpie. I let my inner vitriol flow out. I used to worry if I was nuts, but I realized I was temporarily so I didn’t care. He held onto that fucking suit for 25 years and it hung in our closet with pride. I always felt so lucky that he was so sentimental about our marriage that he kept it right there as a sweet memento. Yeah-right! Shredding with a knife in a rage was just what I needed at the time. I also stuffed little notes in the pockets like “fuck you and the whores you rode in on.” It was dark and twisted and cathartic.

  • I’m afraid I didn’t cope with it very well and a lot of my anger spilled out to my young teen son. (I did not tell him about the cheating. He found out from someone else at the same time I did.) Anyway, in the early days I said I wanted FW dead. My son said he’d do it for me, and he seemed totally serious. Yikes! I felt so bad that I’d said that in my son’s presence and quickly explained I didn’t mean it literally, but that’s how mad I was. Honestly, I think my son was that mad too, but it was my job to ensure my son didn’t make any final judgments about his father until he was older, let alone literally try to kill him!

    • CBN never mind we all snap sometimes ~ I facetiously made the sign of the cross, may he rest in peace a couple of times when I mentioned daddio to my teenage daughter. She came home this week from last day of school party and had obviously been day drinking. I said her glazed eyes were giving me some “dad vibes”. I dont think we have to be robots, do we?

      • No, we don’t, weedfree. 🙂Sometimes when I feel guilty for how much hate I spewed about FW in front of my son, I remind myself that I wouldn’t have had any reason to be angry and say those horrible things if FW hadn’t cheated. It wasn’t my responsibility to hold my tongue in response to FW’s cheating, it was FW’s responsibility not to cheat. Any emotional harm to my son from my anger at his father is extremely unfortunate, but it’s not my fault, it’s FW’s. I was a total mess after D-day and in no shape to monitor my words carefully. I did nothing to intentionally harm my son. I refuse to abide by the “it’s not what I did, but your reaction to it that’s the problem” mentality.

  • I read about the Freudian hydraulic theory of anger/aggression when I was studying psych and behaviorism. Researchers wanted to test whether people can really “let off steam”– express their rage, do something aggressive, deliver comeuppance, etc.– and be less angry afterwards. What they found was that Freud (surprise) was wrong. People are actually angrier after expressing anger. Athletes who play violent sports tend to be more aggressive after a season (partly measured in incidents of domestic violence).

    Some people– like abusers– don’t need any encouragement in being angrier than they already are. But for some of us, boosting defenses and becoming generally angrier isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It depends on where you start out in life. Most of the prohibitions against exercising anger, including Jesus’s, tend to look at the overall history and social and political effects of male anger– clan warfare, honor killings, domestic murder, deadly vengeance, war, etc. But some of us (mellow dudes included) might have spent periods of our lives being Beeker from the Muppets and needed to cultivate a bad side.

    I got very, very angry at being gaslighted, coerced, controlled, endangered and robbed. I may now be an angrier person than when I started but I really needed to be. Like learning a new language, adjusting to my new world view caused a few headaches at first but as trauma resides, the new information gets integrated. And– throw me a parade– I haven’t attacked anyone with an aluminum bat so far. Plus, according to my kids and close friends, I’m funny when I’m pissed. I now have the great luxury of having to watch my tongue a bit. That’s actually a positive shift from the angerless Tinkerbell I used to be.

    • “I got very, very angry at being gaslighted, coerced, controlled, endangered and robbed.”

      Same here. I definitely came out on the other side with the ability to express more anger. But, I also could control it, and used it effectively rather than destructively.

      In the very beginning I imagined fw to be floating face down on the Ohio River. In short time though, I stopped that and let go of my revenge fantasy’s. By then he was publicly crashing and burning and I got to enjoy some well earned schadenfreude.

  • It’s a long time ago now, but I still remember that sort of rage and anger. I screamed to the sky, beat my pillow senseless, and on an absolute feral level wanted to smash his smug face in. In the end I specifically went out to buy a melon that was the size of his head, and dropped it from my second story window where it made a satisfying “thunk, crack” sound before spilling everything out onto the concrete. In my mind, it wasn’t melon seeds expiring in front of me… That seemed to do it for me, and I then turned my energy onto renovating the small fixer house I had managed to buy on my own!

  • Exercise, movement, dancing, lifting weights, yoga. Working through the pain gave all that adrenaline somewhere to go, and helped with the sleeplessness. Going to a gym allows you to be around other human beings without having to struggle to make conversation when you might not feel like it. Plus, feeling stronger and healthier wasn’t bad either!

  • How did I deal with the anger of being chumped?
    Lots of things you try, hard to know fully what really worked best or was it a combo of all the different attempts that was the ticket to helping.
    I still don’t know. I still cry about it, just randomly and unexpectedly now and no longer daily. I cried every single day for the first 5 years( not a typo, 5 years!) A good deal of the time in the supermarket for some reason and only today one possibility hit me with that, FW and I did meet in one. I worked there for 6 years through HS and college as the bookkeeper.
    I think it has something to do with ppl being around that makes me cry in public. People just living ordinary lives, hectic, happy, excited, engaged, stressed, but together, sharing. I still feel my most lonely around people. I do okay with me and my pup.
    Some things that have helped me deal:
    Went on a 6 mos hike once the paperwork was signed for the divorce. It was extremely physically challenging, mentally I was not at all online. I was somewhere else.
    I would be fine hiking, but in my tent at night was really rough and I would muffle my crying because I didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s experience nearby. I stayed as strong as I could.
    My house was on the market, so I had no clue where I was going to live after the hike, but I was such a zombie I don’t think that registered fully. I thought the intensity and the pain of walking up and down mountains with 35-45 lbs on my back doing 15 plus miles every day at age 63 would keep me plenty distracted! I didn’t want to think at all if possible.
    I think having a pup helped me so so much too. That’s been a gift to me. He’s 7 years old now and I tell him all the time he can’t die before me. He has saved my life!
    I take a daily bath, scented bath oils or Epsom salts, lights off with a candle. I still take a bath every day. Sometimes with a glass of wine or beer.
    Journaling has been a big one. First writing all the ways he screwed me over and now it’s not as much about him, it’s more where I am and how I am doing. Writing was how I was able to prove to myself he was not a good person.
    Cooking was a helpful diversion for me too. My kids have greatly appreciated that, lol. They are three of my biggest fans.
    I wasn’t able to pick up a book or read anything profound for maybe two years. Just couldn’t keep my mind focused on anything fully, concentrating was next to impossible. I think you don’t come down from that ‘fight or flight’ feeling for sometime. Have to keep your guard up, so you don’t have time for any other Maslow’s list of hierarchies when you are barely getting the minimal basic ones checked.
    I’m glad that didn’t last, got to be able to enjoy books!
    For a year after the last DDay when he had left our main home and was living at our retirement to be beach house( not really I later found out, he was flying to the schmoopie more often than at the house anyway). I would text him back and forth until he said I was being abusive with my texts, the f’ing DARVO clown!
    I was hoping to get some answers and closure after 44 years together, but he just wasn’t into that, the poor little sad victim. I was so mean to him!
    Self affirmations were helpful and being your own best friend and compassionate to yourself and patient is important. It is trauma and grief, there’s a lot going on.
    It was a godsend to wear Covid masks so long for me, cause it’s easier to hide your crying behind one. While I was grabbing veggies for dinner and fighting off tears, I would talk gently to myself and say “ you’re going to be okay, you’re okay, we’re going to get through this”. Even if it was only me talking, it was pretty calming and worked. I guess I was the only one I fully trusted at that stage anyway.
    I have laminated quotes of inspiration all over my apartment. Words fortify me. On my notes on my phone I have a page of Rumi quotes, Marcus Aurelius, John Muir, Thoreau, Mary Oliver, many many writers with deep human insight, etc and so on. I pull up a list and read repeatedly. That was great in my tent.
    The importance of CL, her book and blog has been critical to my getting somewhere better. Being able to be pissed off at these A-holes as a group project has been highly cathartic ( apology for the rambling way too long posts I put up, one right here, lol! ) It’s been such a help. When I didn’t trust hardly a soul on earth, I trusted chumps.
    I was always able to read quotes even when I couldn’t read books and that helped me feel less alone in my pain.
    I like to exercise, bike riding, long hikes, lifting weights, rowing, and my go to is jump roping. I count the jumps and set a goal( 1000-2000 range). The counting is a great distractor and it gives you something to strive for.
    Another go to is blasting music and dancing around like a maniac. And I enjoy long road trips with me and my doggy and some great podcast on.
    My anger at what he’s done to our family is not gone, but it’s not front and center in my every waking thought any longer. He’s on the back burner, someday he will be off the stove.
    I’ve gotten so much more quality time with my kids since he took off with schmoop. My son invited me to some Celtic festival tomorrow and all three kids and I did a three day music festival in Austin mid October. No way FW would take the time from his all important one project after another, way way more important than anyone else in the families’ life life! I don’t have to calm down his raging unnecessary explosions anymore, he can rage on all he wants and I don’t need to hear a thing. I’ll be at a Celtic festival in Austin having a great day!
    Buh-bye! 👋

  • Something I did to get closure after d’day and divorce was the gathering all of our wedding photos and taking them to a large, nearby cemetery. It was a beautiful Fall day. Nobody was around except a flock of Canadian geese.

    I took the photos and ripped them into minuscule pieces and scattered them between the grave stones. It was my way of putting some closure on our over 30 year marriage. A physical burial of what I thought we had. I didn’t have what I thought I had because he is a serial cheater as well as a covert, passive aggressive narcissist. It was like burying two things simultaneously – our marriage and the man I thought he was. Who he is now is a stranger to me. I buried the man I loved 5 years ago.

    (I was also a RIC devote until I found CL so I was pretty stuck and blamed everything on God….pretty good blame shifting for a chump 🙂

  • What a timely challenge for me. Long time reader, first time posting. CL and the entire CN have opened my eyes. I am leaving the FW after 25 years of devaluing, discarding and gaslighting. I don’t have concrete proof of cheating, but there’s been enough smoke to power a Memphis barbecue chain. I am still in the house, gah, with two young kids going through divorce proceedings. Just found out that STBXW wants custody M-F and every other weekend. WTF. I’m a devoted, caring, involved dad. My kids love me. Four days a month would be devastating for them and me. At first her throwdown hit me like a sucker punch. I was smoking the “let’s do this amicably” hopium. No more. I was a husband appliance for way too long. Now I’m (finally) pissed. She’s trying to say that transitions of 50/50 custody would be too hard on my special needs son. It’s a load of bs, esp. since he does much better with me. Trust that she sucks without exception. To keep my sanity in the house I read CL daily, pray my ass off, focus on my 12 step recovery and therapy and get out in nature as often as I can. I also daydream about my future peaceful home without her drama queen narcissism. So grateful for the wisdom and humor of this space.

  • Power tools! They helped tremendously. I learned how to use them from my amazing retired neighbor and set about doing all of the things FW said he would get to and never did. I ripped put my son’s bedroom carpet and laid new floor; scraped, skim coated and painted my old popcorn ceilings; tiled the kitchen; made and hung a barn door; painted the house; and although it took 6 months, I removed the old crappy trim and cut and installed 1000+ feet of oak trim; my son and I built a deck. I recently bought a small but capable Ryobi chainsaw and have been cutting up the tree that sat downed in my backyard for YEARS. I used to have to wait around for FW to get home to chop wood and make a fire and now I feel like a boss out here sweeping the chimney and doing everything I didn’t know I was capable of. My son is proud of me too. It’s important he learn the skills that I was never taught. It’s a real confidence booster and a hammer is a great way to release anger. I’m still damn angry but my ex is incarcerated, so I don’t have to deal with him. I know I will have to do more therapy and less physical work when he gets out.

  • I lived near a bunch of forest hiking tracks. When my emotions were too overwhelming I’d go for a hike and like a lunatic I would have an all out one sided fight, mumbling out loud. I would mimic the infuriating dumb shit FW had said but this time I replied with everything I wanted to say, or, I’d hysterically blubber and cry while calling him names. Super cathartic.

  • Well, ya. Like everyone here, I got very angry. But then I just decided to get “rid of him”. He died not long after D Day, so I ended up a widow and not a divorcee. I just started erasing him from my life. Read all the notes/letters/cards he’d given me over 33 years…then ripped them up and threw them away. Went back to my maiden name. Gave away or sold all his clothes, sports stuff, fishing equipment, etc. Kept a few pics out of our wedding album (pics without him, like me with my dad..) then threw the album in the trash. Went through a bajillion photographs from all those years and was crazy brutal and got rid of most of them (I did send quite a few to friends/his family whom I thought might want them…). My wedding gown went to Goodwill, as well as sending his high school letter jacket there!

    The last thing I waffle on is one of my 2 cars (like I have a collection or something…not!)-for some reason he bought me a very very lightly used American muscle car 3 years before he died (wasn’t paid for-I had to pay that thing off after he died). It was a body style Dodge “revisited” that I always wanted, and I always told him it made me “smile” to drive it. Now it makes me SMILE when I drive it but for a different reason. Monthly I wonder if I should just sell the thing and move on.

  • Dumped his football club branded dart board which I had given to him for a birthday present. He left it behind when he raided the house while I was away. Too lazy to unscrew it from the garage wall. I took it to the local tip. The warden said: ‘someone getting rid of their football team?’ I replied: ‘no, I’m getting rid of the someone’. We burst into laughter. It was a turning point. And then, joy of joys, the ex asked for it (rather than the hundreds of books he’d left behind) in the brief final list of ‘wants’ in the settlement negotiations. I arranged for removal men (at the ex’s cost, to be deducted from the money I was paying him to get rid) to pack and deliver every single possession of his that was still in the house. This included the books, a bookcase, tatty saucepans, horrible gifts from his mother, that were about all he brought into the marriage. The removal guys were entirely on my side. They delivered everything to his tiny luxury flat (costing nearly as much as the mortgage). His face must have been a picture: a full removal van of his junk. Not the ten or so specific items he asked for. And no dartboard. For once he had to take responsibility for his mess and it was going to inconvenience him badly. I refused to allow him to force me to clean up after him this time. I could imagine his narcissistic rage and his cursing. The petulant sulking, bottom lip jutting out, flouncing. It was my last contact, two years ago. That’s how I got rid of my anger. ExgfOW is, hopefully, enjoying the benefit of his hoard, excluding the very special dartboard.

  • For me anger was necessary. I thought I could bypass it but it turned out to have a purpose: anger was necessary in order to be able to detach from my FW. But letting go of the anger once it had served its purpose was not/is not easy. I read The Book Of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu which was so helpful. While my FW need never know that I forgive him, the purpose of the forgiveness is for me to have peace. My project to forgive is a work in progress. I can’t say I have achieved it yet but even having the intention to forgive and facing in that direction has taken a huge weight and pressure off of me. I feel so much better.

  • I came up with a mantra that I would focus on in my head. Something that I needed to believe that was both powerful and comforting. I would use it to interrupt my repetitive thoughts and drag myself back to the here and now. I would keep repeating it over and over until I was refocused. In a work meeting, I would write it in a notebook. Sometimes I would have to repeat it a dozen times a minute before I found some relief. Then 2 minutes later I’d have to do it all over again. Eventually, it was instinctual, and the times between needing the mantra got longer and more manageable.

    “God is with me. God is my source. I am wise and I am motivated.”

  • Honor your anger. Pissed off, raging music works great for me. I now have tinnitus in one ear – I think from so much loud music through ear buds- but totally worth it. (I also don’t use ear buds anymore)

    Fairly quickly a lot of that rage turned to gratitude because I was so grateful to be out of the chaos and gaslighting and abuse.

  • What I knew when he died was just the tip of the iceberg. I was loving and devoted and felt like I had triumphed over life’s challenges. The universe served me up trickle truth for the next 3 years until the big Dday about 3 years after he died.

    Sadness had always been my default with him, I was hardly ever mad because I really loved him. One day when I found hotel receipts in his stuff and proof that his “coming clean” was riddled with lies, I dropped the papers from my hands and my love (spanning 30 years by then) for him died before the papers hit the floor.

    I was never as mad as I should have been. The day my love died was about 8 years ago and I let myself be mad. Anger was his default setting and he was inappropriately mad at me for 30 years. The way I see it, I easily have another 22 years of being mad before I need to be concerned over it.

  • I started a Divorce Diary. I would wake up early in the mornings and write for an hour or two. I wrote about D Day, the divorce, and all the red flags through the years that I had missed. My revenge fantasy was that I published the diary, it became a best seller, and my ex and his AP learned of my best seller when I was interviewed on the Today show.

    I would never burn my entries. I like to take my thoughts out, after time has passed, and re-examine them. Yes, my ex FW hurt me, at the time, more than I thought was possible. But now (3+ years out) I see him as a sad, weak little man who could not come to terms with his aging. I am strong, happy, have a wonderful new guy, and have a good relationship with my adult children. His children are not in contact with him. I am proud of my resilience.

  • I struggle with finding anger. What’s the point? It won’t change anything that’s happened. It won’t get me what i want.
    And being angry at him is also pointless – an asshole is who he is, and he’s been true to that, which is what the self-help gurus push: “be true to yourself.” Kudos to him on that!
    If anything I should be angry at myself for holding on WAY too long and wasting so much. So i am.

    • Don’t be too hard on yourself for having hopes and dreams like we all did. Once you have learned something the hard way, you don’t forget it. So there’s that.

  • I am five years out. Although I am close to Meh; I continue to struggle with anger, grief and loss. In the early days, I was suicidal, and diversion was the only thing that helped with the obsessive thoughts. I adopted a puppy and took great care of him although I could barely care for myself. He gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and was a warm, comforting little body at 3am when I was the loneliest I’ve ever felt. I also joined a makerspace and learned woodworking during this time. I’d go to the facility at 2am when I couldn’t sleep and no one was around. When I was concentrating on not accidentally cutting off my fingers in a table saw, I didn’t think about him or anything else. I wasn’t angry or crying; I was focused. Friends, real ones who let me express my fury, were also essential during the first year out.

    Many things didn’t help at all: exercise, movies, and reading, for example. These were all activities I’d previously enjoyed, but became intolerable to me for a long time afterwards. Oddly though, I found reading Harry Potter books over and over to be soothing; I could recite whole chapters in my head after a while; I suspect it was like a mantra. Being by myself in the car was terrible for me. I’d ruminate, rage, and cry, and my driving would become erratic. More esoteric healing efforts, such as hypnosis, Reiki, tarot, and massage, didn’t work either. I remember sobbing silently and continuously through yoga class after yoga class. Journaling was only moderately helpful; I now possess a 168 page memoir of misery which I’m not sure I’ll ever want to reread, but can also not bring myself to toss.

    Among the most helpful items – and they continue to be helpful — were therapy and appropriate anti-depressant medications. I am on much lower doses now than during the thick of it, but I still need both. For a while I was embarrassed by this, but not anymore. I understand that what happened to me was trauma. Terrible, life-destroying, psychic trauma. If I’d been in a catastrophic car accident and needed anti-inflammatories and physical therapy for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t be embarrassed. There is absolutely nothing for me to be ashamed of here either.

    Finally the passage of time has been helpful. Time has not healed all my wounds, not even close, but it has given me opportunity to learn new ways of dealing with my injuries and to evolve. Reading CL every day, as well as removing and avoiding toxic people and situations instead of thinking I can “fix” them have changed me. I initially thought I could force myself to get to Meh through hard work. I can’t, (although I still wish that were possible.) Meh is coming more slowly for me than for others, but I like the person I am becoming, and I’m proud of the life I’ve gained. I’ve accepted my rage as a completely appropriate emotion, but can now usually either shake it off or use it as fuel for Gaining a Life.

    • The whole experience is just so painful on many levels.

      I was reading on another site and I read the following:

      “When the WS enters into adultery, they are somewhat anesthetized from the pain of severing the bond to their BS by limerence which HAS been compared to a drug. When the BS learns of the affair, they experience the severing of the bond sans anesthesia, kind of like surgery with no sedation, and the pain is indescribable ” (anon)

      I think this is so to the point. Apologies to the person who wrote it. Hope it is ok to repost.

      While we can debate the limerence theory, I do whole heartedly agree that the thrill of adultery is in part due to the heightened chemical cocktails provided by the sneaking, and furtive togetherness the cheater and adultery partner are engaging in. So not only does the cheater get a head start on the severing of the relationship, they have a drug of sorts to get them to the finish line.

      • Yes. I think of limerence as a fairy dust that comes into our minds in early love. I believe that God created it (like sex) for good..that entering love is pleasurable and can lead people to bond and some may eventually get to a place of abiding love.

        (I will add here that I refuse to call that early stuff or a relationship started in deceit as “love”, so I appreciate the word “limerence” because there surely is an inner feeling but love is a good thing while limerence can just be a brain reaction)

        But early love (like sex) can be abused to the point of hurting people. I think it was in one of Frank Pitmans books where I read something to the effect of “if you want to endlessly feel the excitement of new love, be prepared to get married and divorced every 3 years”.

        Returning to your point, while the cheater is high on fairy dust and destroying the marriage, the chump is being ripped apart one direction and another – feeling every amount of pain with no relief.

        Susie, both of our cheaters have died. Part of my religious tradition is one of accountability…that we have a debrief at the end of life…one where denial can not be used to pretend that the pain we caused didn’t exist. There is a part of me which hopes that God will let him know how badly he hurt me and how much I loved him. I try to not indulge any smugness of wishing pain on him because I will make mistakes in life I will be accountable for and I hope for mercy when it is me facing my failings. I DO believe, however that the God who created sacraments and intended marriage and family to be a holy bond will hold accountable a person who stood in a church with witnesses and swore a sacred oath. God knew we would be weak and love alone isnt enough…it is interesting that we are called to “honor” others perhaps most when love seems to fail. If honor was all they could come up with in a moment of temptation, that would likely have been enough but honor went out the window with love, fidelity, patience, kindness…

  • I just gave myself permission to be pissed off and rant any time I felt like it and I freely shared what he’d done with my friends.

    I’m fortunate to have bad ass friends that don’t mind when I vent, and eventually I felt less and less need to vent.

    Also I threw out our wedding pics and deleted all pics of him or us on social media. My kids aren’t his anyway so it’s like he never existed.

  • I’m afraid that I’m probably still in the anger phase to a large extent (having offspring w/fuckwits can do that, even w/grey rock), but may have some stuff to say that’s useful to newbies.

    The callousness/cold-bloodedness of the exit-affair after almost 25 years of marriage, the selfishness of the act against not just me but our three children and therefore our collective family (destroying us), the fuckwittedness of thinking I would still want to be “friends” w/her (she still thinks this way), her leisurely coming or going out of what was early on effectively my home/house after she left me for her AP partner (and now it actually is), not hers, whenever she felt like it, as if she was entitled to do whatever she wanted to me and around me post D-day…

    I could go on and on. I’m sure we all could.🤬

    What I have found that works for me, and I make no claims that it’s ideal, is to use this daily anger (w/occasional bouts of meh. It’s not all the time.) to propel me forward in getting up every day, getting into work on time, trying to make sure nobody is taking advantage of me at work or in life-in-general, and motivating me when I need it to deal w/tough things in life.

    It sounds worse than it actually is. At least, to me, that is.

    I’m going to use that anger soon in responding to the FW XW’s latest desire for us to renegotiate our child support setup, w/less than a year left till our youngest child is no longer a minor, and her sudden reoccurring fuckwit entitled wish for us to be cordial to each other.🙄 Civil? Yes. Cordial? Not likely. I haven’t seen shit from her or her partner of any remorse. So cordial’s a very, very hard sell for me.

    I won’t get nasty. I never really did in all this time. I simply try to speak my mind plainly and clearly about my thoughts that involve answering her and/or her fuckwit wishes and/or partner. The anger gives me the fuel to have no compunction in answering her bullshit in a business-like way.

    Like others that have said it here, it is amazing I never got physically violent w/her or her partner. But then, I’ve never been physically violent against anyone who hadn’t physically attacked me first. But I have never been abused like this before. Hmm…🤣🤣🤣

    So, I use the anger to give me the confidence and lack of giving a shit about what the FW XW thinks, says or does. Or anybody else’s attempt to send shit my way. Which is very helpful in surviving and thriving. At least, it has been for me!😁

    I hope this helps newbies, and anyone else that hasn’t used anger as emotional fuel to get things done. Or really, however you want to make it work for you. Just don’t be paralyzed. Anger can be helpful in this type of situation, just in reasonable doses.

    Wishing all us chumps the best, and nothing for the fuckwits. Except for them to get the hell away from all good people.

  • I was so blindsided that I became numb instead of angry. After the initial shock, I was demanding him to answer my questions, and the only thing he said was “I do not know”. He hated my questions and expected me to act normal. I became numb not to scare him. This saddens me so much when I think about it. I wish I had kicked him out right away shouting the adjectives he deserves. I spent so many months pick-me dancing. One day I just stopped the maddness and removed him out.

    Simple things like taking long walks, sitting in the sunlight, watching the rain helped me empty my mind for brief moments. I stayed away from movies and music, as they did no good to me. Especially music, it was too emotional. I baked often as the sweet smell of air soothed me. I cut my hair and threw away certain things that reminded me bad memories. I forced myself to go out with friends at night but I felt incredibly alone among the crowds. Spending time with one friend at a time in a quiet setting helped me. I spoke to my husband in my head like he was nearby, and told him how horrible he was and why I will never forgive him. I still feel deep sadness but I am doing much better.

  • Sadly I was one of the paralysed chumps. I found this site as I was looking for ways to end my life. CL & CN truly saved me that night. Although I filed within 4 months after DDay it was all robotic. I still wonder now if I only filed in the grim hope that he’d realise what he was losing….

    Its 2 years now since DDay, 6 months since divorce and my anger, the fury is here now caused by FWs disgusting treatment of me but more so about how he’s treated one of my daughters. It’s something I’m working through currently.

    I can say that once the divorce came through I did and still do feel free ❤️

  • My technique was to write on my bedroom wall in pencil. After a year, I no longer needed this outlet and Mr. Clean easily erased it.

  • I guess if you click on enough articles and videos about infidelity, you become part of some algorithm. Yesterday, a Phil Donahue episode about being divorced from a celebrity showed up. A group of women had formed a support group in the 80’s (I think) called L.A.D.I.E.S. to help each other through high profile and “regular” divorces. The audience questions and observations went right to the heart of the matter in a non-sensationalized way. They talked about anger and regret, power and helplessness. L.A.D.I.E.S stood for Life After Divorce is Eventually Sane.

  • I didn’t, except to my therapist and a select group of my family and friends. By the time D-day came around, he’d been PAS’ing all 3 of our children so long and so hard that merely by saying, “No you may not have a cookie. It’s nearly dinner time,” I was taking a real risk that one of them would call CSD. It was that bad. I had to stay calm and keep my mouth shut.

    Of course he didn’t even try to get custody. His was interested only in using the kids to make me miserable.

    God, what a shitheel.

  • The things that helped me were:

    – Therapy (when I finally found a good one). My therapist, when I told her that I was worried about becoming an angry bitter person, assured me that I had every right to feel anger after years of abuse. That I hadn’t been safe to express (or even feel) my anger when I was with him, and I needed to now. That really helped. So I let myself feel the anger. I could rant to my therapist (and my poor mom and best friend, who put up with a lot from me in the first few years, bless them). I also took an antidepressent because I could barely function for awhile and couldn’t eat or sleep.

    – Journaling all the angry things I wished I could say to him or writing the reply to the email that I WANTED to write but then not sending it. This particularly helped when I was still dealing with seeing him and OW in person – I’d get all the anger out in writing ahead of time and then could behave calmly and civily in person. I’d write angry letters to OW too, and not send them.

    – Music. Belting out loud songs about betrayal in the car was extrememly cathartic, as were songs about a brighter future.

    – Humor. The anger really started to dissipate when I started finding the humor in the ridiculousness of it all. The absolutely ludicrous, elaborate lies he’d tell that were so easy to disprove. OW’s pathetic attempts to copy me. Seeing OW as silly and pathetic and vain. Recognizing FW’s obvious attempts to goad me whenever he needed to send or reply to an email about our kid or finances and deciding to infuriate him by NOT taking the bait. Now when I think about everything that happened to me, humor is the dominant emotion.

    – Learning about narcissism and abuse. I watched a million videos on YouTube. I read Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That?” and another book called “Psycopath Free”. Understanding the sort of person FW was really helped me detach my emotions. I stopped taking things so personally. I started being able to accurately predict his behavior and responses and was able to say to myself “Oh, there he goes again, throwing a tantrum”. Which made dealing with him less scary and less stressful.

    – Taking control of my future. It helped to have a plan and be actively DOING something. So I got a great lawyer. I took an honest look at my finances and started making calls. I paid off all my debts. I filed for divorce. I assembled all my evidence for court (I had lots). It gave me confidence, since FW had said many times that I was stupid and would never be able to take care of myself.

    I didn’t really use exercise to help with anger, but I did take up running early on because, since I have bad lungs and running/breathing requires ALL my concentration, it helped stop the hampster wheel of intrusive thoughts and untangling the skein, and it made me tired enough that it helped me sleep.

  • I had to find another place to focus; I love live theater, so I began to focus on opera, symphonic performances and great plays. I had to get the correct dress, shoes, and jewelry, then obtain the tickets to the performances and how to get there, park in a safe place, and then reverse the steps. I was able to distract myself with the beautiful performances and was able to avoid thinking about the betrayal in my life. It helped by taking me out of myself and focusing on something else.

  • I was one of the ones so numb and mindfucked, that I couldn’t find my anger. Yes, you stay stuck. I just got sad.
    It also sank me into severe depression.

    It was only after a started getting angry (maybe 2-3 years after d-day) that I started, slowly, to heal.
    To anyone stuck, get angry. It helps.

    14 years out at this point. I still get both angry and sad when I realise that I chose to marry a psychopath, and I still deal with the aftermath of his covert abuse.

    • “I still get both angry and sad when I realise that I chose to marry a psychopath, and I still deal with the aftermath of his covert abuse”


      You didn’t know. That’s the whole point. You didn’t *choose* to marry an abuser. He LIED to you. I can guarantee that if you had known his true character, you would have run the other way.

      It’s okay to be sad and angry, but don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up for it. If abusers couldn’t hide their true character from good people, they’d never find partners to abuse.

  • Hey Chump Nation!

    Fury was my companion on and off for “a while”. I did quite a few things immediately after finding out on D Day. I won’t mention here lol.

    Then fury became stagnated with grief and sadness.

    I converted all power from these horrible emotions into a steely determination to smash the monster in COURTS.
    I joined Facebook with a singular purpose…. to deceive him LOL! And it worked!
    Closed FB groups helped me with all sorts from settling my anxiety for Court appearances to free Legal advice.

    Besides getting 20 rescue chickens lol, I studied up to 700 pages of Family Law per night and drove that baby home BEFORE even getting to Family Law Court.

    I PRAYED. Repeated the Full Armour of God prayer relentlessly.
    Got the kids 100% and dickhead got around 5% can’t remember lol.

    MY home has risen in value almost triple in less than 8y.

    I lived by “the best revenge is to live your very best life” and WE DO.
    ALL my kids are doing so well now!

    I Meditated on “forgiveness” over the weekend, not sure if it’s worked 100% yet lol BUT there’s NO way that demon is going to weigh me down as I live a wonderful life!

    Btw went swimming in the Ocean on the weekend, demon “hated sand” the wooss.

    OH yeah me too. Demon HATED how I loved BOOKS! (Hated how I loved the kids, my pets, my work lol).
    The entitlement oozing out of that creep was astounding. Me not allowed to have BOOKS but it taking all the rec time in swamp places ewwww.
    When I found “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” well he hated books more lol!

    Your BADGE OF HONOUR Tracey is that he hated the Chump Lady website I laughed out loud on from the moment I found you. Gotta love that lol.

    MANY BLESSINGS to you all in our Precious Chump Nation!

  • Yoga. Tried it before D-Day and hated it. Trauma therapist said it was great for calming the mind and the nervous system. She was right! Found a home-y yoga studio nearby, without too many pretty people, and it became my oasis.

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