I am 8 months post divorce from FW, we were married for 21 years. It was such a long road though, years of lying, gaslighting, blameshifting, and slow movements away from me and towards Schmoopie (The coworker and family friend for 10-plus years) that were disguised as “working on us.”
From her calling to wake him up in the morning while he slept next to me, to him following her on find my friends, them renting cars together on business trips while all other coworkers took a bus, to them rooming next door to each other on those business trips, etc…all of which I questioned and was told “she is just a professional woman.” I am still attempting to heal from all of that. But one of the saddest losses for me has to do with my fierce feminist passion — which I used to have and which was used against me.
I am a veteran, and advocate for survivors of sexual assault, writer, member of RAINNs Speaker’s Bureau, etc… I have always been a strong, proud, and loud defender of women and children. However slowly over the years of sensing boundary crossings, by both fuckit and Schmoopie, my feminism was used against me, thrown in my face, and flat out questioned, angrily.
And I bought it. Because of that feminism, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Fuckwit would outright yell at me, “I guess you don’t want me working with ANY women then!” I would think, “no…just her…something is off with her.” Even when she began posting what looked to me, and every other woman I have asked, like pictures that were slightly intimate of him during their business trips (FW, her boss, walking from behind with beautiful landscapes in the background, or FW looking off into the distance in front of a waterfall) even when I saw those and my entire body screamed “she’s in love with him,” I silenced that voice, called myself a bad feminist, gave her the benefit of the doubt.
Now they live together and are getting married. And even now, they both deny anything “started until after we were over,” which I know to be a lie because of an accidentally shared google doc of their “family plan” (6 pages single spaced) that was created the day after he told me our marriage was over. It speaks of them getting married as soon as possible, and that she would be my child’s mother. (FW claims it was a “thought experiment” and nothing more and I misunderstood what I was reading. He also would say, “that’s between you and her” when I would mention HER betrayal of me in additional to his betrayal.)
Now, I am mad at women as well as at men. Now my trust of both sexes is shaken. She used to post all over her social media that she was a “supporter of strong women and girls” etc. That hypocrisy makes me so mad I go numb and silent. (I have blocked them both since then.)
I find myself wondering how many women out there who profess to be feminists have participated in the slow break up of marriages. Every “Woman’s Day” and even today the anniversary of women’s right to vote, I feel a twinge of anger and sadness and cynicism. That fierce protector of women that used to reside in me has gone and been replaced with someone who sees the hypocrisy, who has lost trust in my gender, who feels silenced to even speak about these things because I will be called “bitter,” or worse yet my feminism would be questioned once again because “she’s not to blame, he is.” It feels like a feminism catch 22.
There was never an outright D-Day, it was years worth of drips and drops of questionable behavior. I know the years of lying and gaslighting and blameshifting are the cause of this identity crisis… but I just don’t know how to heal from it. I don’t know how to be who I was. It is like I have seen behind the curtain and what’s back there is all rotten. Please help. How do I heal that part of me, how do I even find her again? It feels like my fierce identity and savage soul were shattered along with my heart.
Sorry so long, but your wouldn’t believe the shit I left out,
An Angry Woman
Dear Angry Woman,
Look, fuckwits gotta mindfuck. It doesn’t matter what set of beliefs you hold sacred — feminism, federalism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism — they’re going to use it against you.
Can’t forgive them? You’re a BAD Christian.
Your originalist interpretation of the Constitution made you unlovable.
Unnerved by your husband’s affair partner? A true feminist would roll with that!
Mindfuckery. They’re just weaponizing your values to keep you in line. Which is all part and parcel of the chump experience. Are you trusting? Generous? Hard-working? Every good and decent thing about you will be weaponized.
Cheating is a power play. People think it’s all sexy time and the Heart Wants What the Heart Wants bullshit. No, it’s a power grab. It’s a toxic dynamic of getting over on someone. It’s an unequal playing field. You invest all your kibbles in a fuckwit, and they’ll just pretend to return the investment.
Feminism is all about saying no to unequal playing fields.
Nothing is more repulsive than Other Women wrapping themselves up in a narrative of feminist empowerment. As if cheating and colluding in the abuse of others was some sort of journey of self-actualization.
Other Women suck the dick of the patriarchy.
What could be more pathetically retrograde than pick-me dancing to win a cheater? You think Alice Paul was force fed so little girls could grow up to have Sugar Daddies?
Other Women are Vichy women. Collaborators. They’re denying another woman consent about her own body. When they fuck a partnered man, they’re agreeing to that health risk for themselves, but together with the cheater, they’re denying that choice to the chump.
Now, I am mad at women as well as at men. Now my trust of both sexes is shaken. She used to post all over her social media that she was a “supporter of strong women and girls” etc…and that hypocrisy makes me so mad I go numb and silent.
Her hypocrisy is not your problem. Who cares what fuckwits think or post on their Instagram feeds. What you’re really asking is — how could she? As a fellow woman, how could she backstab one of her own?
There is no universal sisterhood.
If we are to be fully human (and this goes for ALL humans, wherever you are on the color, gender and orientation rainbow), you must accept that some of us are going to be assholes. Women aren’t saintly or better. Oppressed, condescended to, disenfranchised for centuries? Sure. But we are not monolithically ethical. Some of us are back-biting, vicious, narcissistic, entitled monsters. Exhibit A — Phyllis Schlafly.
Not everyone is going to feel oppressed by sexism. Some women are going to use that shit to their advantage and suck up to the power players. That’s true of people, that’s true of unjust power systems. Me over You.
Feminism is refusing to do the pick me dance. Feminism is building your OWN life independent of fuckwits. Feminism is supporting other women and having compassion for shared experiences.
Angry, YOU are the true feminist here. Don’t question yourself and your belief systems.
Now my trust of both sexes is shaken.
Your ex and his Family Plan Special are the fuckwits. They aren’t everyone. They’re just a couple of common, garden variety cheaters. It’s normal to feel flinchy in the aftermath, but don’t let them get you down, or sour you on social justice.
The work you’re doing for veterans, for sexual assault victims, for kids MATTERS. And you WORK at it. That makes you authentic — your words align with your deeds.
I can call myself a jelly donut. It does not make me a jelly donut.
The Other Woman isn’t a feminist. She’s just dimwitted and thinks she’s special.
You’re still a fierce woman with a savage soul. She’s still there. Rise up.
This is a rerun and OW still suck the dick of the patriarchy.
Also, the twig lady cartoon I drew awhile back is my homage to feminist writer Andrea Dworkin.