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UBT: ‘I’m Flabbergasted by the Narrative You Created’

Universal Bullshit Translator
The Universal Bullshit Translator

Dear Chump Lady,

I divorced my emotionally abusive narcissistic husband of 17 years. He is a religious Jew, so I don’t know if he cheated sexually. But he definitely had women friends that he spent a lot of time with emotionally. He once went on a business trip with his self-proclaimed ‘work wife’.

He also told me that if he cheated I would never know because he was way too smart (good at lying).

The afternoon of the divorce, I received this letter from my sister-in-law. I was wondering if you could feed it to the Universal Bullshit Translator.

Hi Dee. This morning was much harder than I anticipated. It was a very sad day. After everything that has passed this last year, I fundamentally believe that this is the best outcome I could imagine for (Schmuck). Although a family was torn apart, being completely misunderstood, attacked and put down by someone he loved is no way to continue a partnership for life. I’m flabbergasted by the narrative you created. You manipulated friends and family, perhaps even yourself into believing that such a kind and giving soul is abusive. I’m not in a position to tell you that you should have stuck with your marriage. But to falsely accuse Schmuck of such horrible things is unforgivable. To lie to the Beth din about him refusing a get is unforgivable. The list goes on. Creating such damaging lies to validate your decision is inexcusable. There are simple facts, and I don’t think I will ever be able to understand your “version of reality”, a phrase I commonly heard repeated by your support. I am not an avocado simply because I feel like one. He is the father of your children. I hope that you have enough self respect and respect for your children to stop the cycle of fictitious rumours. I hope that you can let go of whatever anger you project onto my brother so that you can learn to raise your 5 beautiful girls together. And while I appreciate the gifts you bought for my children, there is no need in the future. I do not feel comfortable accepting them, because you cannot repair any relationship with me, my husband or children. You have caused too much pain. Let me be clear, not because you decided to divorce, but the manner in which you did (and with lack of remorse). I will do my best to be polite in public, to not cause embarrassment, but that is my limit. I hope you learn to surround yourself by truly honest friends, ones who are not afraid to tell you when you have gone too far.

Thanks,

Dee

****

Dear Dee,

Good grief. Why on earth is this woman so invested in your divorce? I mean, even if she thought these things (it’s not uncommon for family members to believe the best of their kin) — to commit her poison thoughts to permanent record and send them to you? Yikes. There’s no point in it, that I can see, other than punishment. She can blow you off, return your gifts, build a shrine to her sainted brother, whatever, minus the commentary. But clearly she wants to be in your head.

Well, here’s her letter, so now she can be in everyone’s head. And the crushing mandibles of the Universal Bullshit Translator.

Hi Dee.

I like to begin my abusive screeds with a casual greeting. #aloha

This morning was much harder than I anticipated.

Your divorce is hard on me. Harder, really.

It was a very sad day.

sadz

I am sad. Of course, you’re there kicking up your heels as a single mother of five. Aglow with legal bills, swilling champagne.

After everything that has passed this last year, I fundamentally believe that this is the best outcome I could imagine for Schmuck.

I fundamentally believe that this is all your fault. But being rid of you is the best outcome.

Although a family was torn apart, being completely misunderstood, attacked and put down by someone he loved is no way to continue a partnership for life.

He is but an innocent man who loves you. Yet you misunderstand, attack, and insult him. So, on his behalf, I shall send you a letter misunderstanding, attacking, and insulting you.

#familyvalues

I’m flabbergasted by the narrative you created.

I’m flabbergasted by your autonomy. The script clearly states: “My brother is infallible.” Where is this sweet obedience we were promised?

You manipulated friends and family, perhaps even yourself into believing that such a kind and giving soul is abusive.

You experienced his abuse, yet had the unmitigated gall to speak of it.

I’m not in a position to tell you that you should have stuck with your marriage.

I leave that to the patriarchy.

But to falsely accuse Schmuck of such horrible things is unforgivable.

Horrible acts are invisible. Speaking of them is unforgivable.

To lie to the Beth din about him refusing a get is unforgivable. The list goes on.

We keep a running tally.

Creating such damaging lies to validate your decision is inexcusable. There are simple facts, and I don’t think I will ever be able to understand your “version of reality”, a phrase I commonly heard repeated by your support.

How dare you have supporters! And your own reality! What cheek!

You presume to know your own marriage.  I don’t think I will ever be able to understand that.

I am not an avocado simply because I feel like one.

I am not an avocado. I am a rancid, withered prune pit.

He is the father of your children.

Know your place.

I hope that you have enough self respect and respect for your children to stop the cycle of fictitious rumours. I hope that you can let go of whatever anger you project onto my brother so that you can learn to raise your 5 beautiful girls together.

You had enough self-respect to leave an abusive marriage and model resiliency to five young women. This scares me shitless. BACK IN YOUR BOX!

And while I appreciate the gifts you bought for my children,

I put them in a sack and flung them in the river.

there is no need in the future.

My rotator cuff aches.

I do not feel comfortable accepting them, because you cannot repair any relationship with me, my husband or children.

I’m certain you covet a relationship with me. Those gifts weren’t thoughtful gestures from an aunt to her nieces and nephews, but tribute to me. I reject them!

I imagine you groveling. Oh please, I need more of this kind of incisive commentary in my life! Whatever shall I do without such a trenchant analysis of my shortcomings? 

You have caused too much pain. Let me be clear, not because you decided to divorce, but the manner in which you did (and with lack of remorse).

The proper manner would be to explain that you grew apart, never lost the baby weight, and spent too much time with the children.

I will do my best to be polite in public, to not cause embarrassment, but that is my limit.

I hope you learn to surround yourself by truly honest friends, ones who are not afraid to tell you when you have gone too far.

I could use a friend like that. Oh… hang on.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Dee,
    First, I’m so sorry! As a Jew myself, it makes me sick when I see this. The FW I was married to was not Jewish but when everything went down, I went to Chabad for community and peace. I learned from one of the community that their sister had just dealt with a FW too … an ultra-religious cheater who abandoned his wife and kids. Even the Hassids can be FWs.

    I just want to say that religious or not, have faith in your instincts and your experience. You know he’s a FW. And if he’s calling a woman his “work wife” I have little doubt that he was cheating physically —- especially since he so proudly says you’d never know because he’s “so smart.” He might as well have just shouted out “yep I cheated.”

    As for your sister in law, you can ignore the letter. I got one that was equally abusive and shitty from FW’s mom. Or if you can’t bear to deal with her idiocy, you can state simply “Here’s the truth about your brother.” And list factually his abuses. Then tell her that she can believe what she wants but you won’t allow more gaslighting from him or his family. I’d probably go with no reply at all though… you can’t change the minds of FW flying monkeys.

    I hope you got your get without further issue. And I’m glad you’re free of him. You are doing what matters for your girls.

    • Yep, he cheated, he told you, he would get away with it ’cause he’s so smart. And he was enjoying knowing he’d cheated when he said it. They derive a weird deranged pleasure from moments like this.

      • The way to outsmart a cheater is to have a great attorney. Consult with the top attorneys in your area. He won’t be able access them. Then go for a settlement based on your needs.

        • If you consult with all of the top attorneys just so your ex can’t hire adequate legal counsel, judges may see you in a negative light.

    • Mine said he would never cheat because the guilt would be more than he could bear and he wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret. I fell for that and thought he couldn’t possibly be cheating because of it. What really bothers me, however, is that I accepted that as a reason he wouldn’t cheat. I should have held out for “I would never cheat because I love you and have no reason to cheat”. His statement alone should have been a red flag. Same with this Shoo’s statement about being to smart to get caught.

      • FW said the same thing. At D Day we had been married 35 years. He said his hooker habit was not technically cheating because he had never loved me or wanted to marry me and never considered himself married. It was just for convenience. Ouch!

        • “In my imagination it wasn’t cheating, therefore it wasn’t!” The gall.

        • Mine is telling people the same. His young prostitute habit wasn’t cheating either because he deserved it and it didn’t count because he paid for it.

      • My ex was still devastated by the girl who cheated on him in high school. Imagine my surprise when I found out he had been cheating on me the entire time while whining about that sob story. It’s all just part of building their facade.

    • Pfft. My XW threw a fit when I dared to observe that because we are both secular rather than observant, perhaps a rabbi would not need to officiate at our wedding. Not a big deal for me—I conceded—and he did a very nice job.

      We hung the ketubah we’d made ourselves over our bed. It proclaimed love and devotion and yadda yadda yadda. After she destroyed our family with her lies and betrayal, I destroyed our ketubah. Literally. I smashed it with a hammer into many tiny fragments.

      I hope to put the pieces back together some day (figuratively) for someone deserving and who truly adheres to her faith—secular or not.

  • The utter lack of humility in this letter….wow. It’s evident the cheater and his sis both spawned in the same narcissistic milieu.

    • 1000% agree with you, ChurningOceans. I recognize the dynamic from my MIL and her ilk, flying monkeys AND superior as all get-out. Pretty sure my MIL is a vulnerable narc, allowing her to garner attention by playing the victim. Religious too. (()) to all, especially the OP today.

    • And lack of empathy…

      She can’t even muster something like, “While I can’t imagine how much pain you must be in, I blah blah.”

      Instead we just have the blah blah part, which I hear as, “Don’t talk smack about my sainted brother because it tarnishes MY reputation, too. ME, me, me.”

  • Love this UBT, especially these:

    “You had enough self-respect to leave an abusive marriage and model resiliency to five young women. This scares me shitless. BACK IN YOUR BOX!”

    “I’m certain you covet a relationship with me. Those gifts weren’t thoughtful gestures from an aunt to her nieces and nephews, but tribute to me. I reject them!” Also, I notice that the sister/aunt assumes without question that it was Dee who bought all those gifts for her kids, and not her supposedly wonderful brother, Dee’s ex.

    SIL’s whole letter makes me wonder if she’s angry and resentful because now that her brother lacks a wife appliance, she’s expected or pressured to fill the gap.

    • SIL would only be pressured to fill that void if no schmoopie is filling it. If that’s the case, there is only one common denominator. Perhaps SIL would like to set some boundaries with that denominator instead of abusing others who also have no interest in putting up with his crap.

  • Dee, So sorry that you had to deal with this. I also noticed that FWs family always defended the FW. That’s fine because I am sure they do not know the whole story. I got a text from ex SIL just before the divorce went final where she ranted about how I am getting more out of the settlement than I deserved and whatnot. The problem I had with that is that I am sure that he never made any mention of how many $$$$ went to Schmoopie. At that pointed I just laughed, deleted the text, blocked the bitch and moved on with my day. I can’t do anything about their opinions, and I really don’t care enough to want to.

    • I concur with ChumpedForANewerModel. My SIL was crystal clear she did not need to hear details such as cops interventions and the like to make her verdict #PerryMasonFan 🙄

  • The missives and blame from flying monkey in-laws are yet one more of the wonderful (/s) experiences of being chumped.

    My ex-sister-in-law tried to convince me to keep the reason for our divorce “private” (meaning, secret, so my ex would suffer no effects/consequences).

  • I would be sorely tempted to go to her house, knock on her door, and introduce her face to a cream pie. But my superior character prevails, and it sounds like Dinah’s superior character has prevailed.

    But I just might say the following should I ever have the misfortune of seeing her again:

    https://youtu.be/HHF9ONATi_U

    • I would also add, “I will tell whoever the fuck I want about the facts of my experience with your brother, and add to that the facts of my experience with you.”

      • Love this response, . you could also add, “Who the F#%k do you think you are”?

        • You could write back and say, “Thank you for the letter. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.”

          • or just send the link to this analysis of her letter. I know, if it feels good don’t do it, but I would love for that whackjob to be exposed to another angle on her tirade.

      • Finally, keep the letter.

        It’s for Show and Tell with your children someday. They need to know who the safe and trustworthy people are, especially amongst the relatives.

        My former untreated alcoholic addict SIL trashed me and stepped on me ever since her brother and I became an item. One Christmas, years before I had our daughter, she gave me an ancient partially used jar of Avon body cream. I think it was from the 70’s. Something she probably found under the sink in the bathroom at her parents’ house.

        Something told me to keep it.

        Years later, when I had my daughter, by C-section, she called our house at 8am the day after I got home from the hospital as a new parent, wanting to bring over gifts right away. When politely told it was not a good time and asked if could we set something else up, she said, “Well! I don’t want to give them to her when she is eighteen!” The request for a more convenient time was rejected. She returned the gifts and made sure we knew about it. That was the last straw of sixteen years of childish boundary-less backstabbing, and I was done with her. Traitor supported that, incredibly enough.

        Now that I am divorced from her lying cheating stealing abusive criminal brother, she is trying to worm her untrustworthy duplicitous way in with my daughter. She wants my daughter to “know who she is.”

        I want my daughter to know who she is too. I want her to know exactly who she is. Which is why we my daughter and I see our long-term beloved trusted family therapist every other week. Who also knows exactly who Aunt Traitor Ex is.

        And I even have props from real life experience for Show and Tell.

        So, dear Dinah, your sister has spelled out exactly who she is, in writing, and given you the evidence.

        File it away. I have a feeling it’s going to come in very handy someday.

    • VH, I think this is one of the very best things I have ever seen in my entire life. Thank you!!!

  • Dee,

    You can safely ignore the drivel written by your ex-SIL. She is either utterly appalled by her brother’s actions but wants to supress the truth because it is embarrassing to her and her wider family, or she’s fully bought into her brother’s “I did nothing wrong” BS narrative and is acting as a flying monkey on his behalf.

    Fck her and fck her noise.

    LFTT

    • I thought flying monkey immediately, probably projecting a but as my SIL is one. Kisses the ground klootzak walks on and defends him no matter how horrible he is. Thank goodness she never reproduced but will probably step up her contact with kiddo through klootzak. Suddenly she will be the special aunt (though she hasn’t laid eyes on him in 6 years because she has been too busy going on vacations with her friends to visit her beloved nephew).

      Gaaah, these people.

      • MrW’sEx,

        Flying monkeys can be taken down with a well aimed shot.

        Ex-Mrs LFTT’s mother (my MiL) was one until she saw the light. She told me that she was planning to explain our youngest’s planned non-attendance at an event that Ex-Mrs LFTT and AP were going to be at with “she’s still struggling with the small gap between Ex-Mrs LFTT leaving and then taking up with her new boyfriend (ie the AP).” I put this straight very quickly with “There was no gap; rather there was a huge overlap AKA an affair. You know it, I know it and the kids know it, because it was them that discovered it. The kids do not like you lying to save Ex-Mrs LFTT’s face and, if you continue to do so, it will drive them away from you like Ex-Mrs LFTT’s lies have driven them away from her.”

        To give MIL her due, she took it on the chin and is now very supportive of me and the kids. I took the kids and her out to lunch a couple of weeks ago and, when Ex-Mrs LFTT tried to get herself invited and then threatened to crash the event anyway, MIL shut that sh*t down. 🙂

        LFTT

  • “You may not be an avocado, simply but you sure are the pits.”
    #MonosaturatedFathead

    • “I am not an avocado simply because I feel like one.”

      What the heck ???
      Is she “not an advocate,” or is this some new slang term I’m unfamiliar with?

  • I almost wrote a letter to my ex SIL when she was caught cheating with my brother’s business partner & after my brother moved out & filed for divorce. I felt she was family & was distraught by not only the bomb she dropped on my brother’s personal & professional life, but that she wasn’t what she pretended to be to the rest of us either. I’m glad I never wrote the letter. I saw her a couple years back & it was obvious that she could care less about me or my family. After a pause, I realized I didn’t care anymore either. Burn it, flush it, trash it or read it once in a while for a laugh, but don’t let it ruin your day or week.

    • My sister-in-law was having an affair with her own brother-in-law (who lived across the landing from her, both in apartments owned by her husband’s parents). I managed to not write her a letter.

  • Yup, I remember the day I got my very own flying monkey “How dare you!!?!” social media message from my, at the time, soon to be ex-SIL. Possibly the only time I ever heard her defend her brother (they weren’t close). It still hurt. So, I closed the door on another chapter of my life: I blocked her.

    It’s been glorious silence from her ever since. I have not heard a peep from her in over a decade.

    • I did the same to my very very bitchy sister in law who I ALWAYS hated!! It was so freeing!

    • I thought of my sister in-laws as sisters.. I chatted regularly with one of his sisters and thought we were close.. I was in her wedding and she was in mine. When Cheater didn’t come home and I found out through my son he wasn’t coming hime. I was understandably upset. I called this sister and left messages asking her to call me. The following day cheater calls to inform me that Anne would like you to quit calling her. she doesn’t want to talk to you..which reminds me, I regret not trusting my gut feelings when I met his family. I thought they were weird and wondered if should continue seeing ex. He assured me he wasn’t like his family.and I believed him. He was right he isn’t like his family, he’s much worse.

      • “I regret not trusting my gut feelings when I met his family. I thought they were weird and wondered if should continue seeing ex.”

        Me too. Almost all of them are disordered. Knowing what I know now I would probably not keep seeing somebody with a looney tunes family. The person might be okay, but it’s too big a risk.

        • Ditto ditto here. FW’s family was odd and overbearing, but they liked me and I thought I was okay with them. I did always think that FW was the “white sheep” of the family. I was wrong.

  • Wow. what an absolute c#nt. I remember after Dday 1 (17 years ago) I kicked FW out of the house and he went to live with his parents. His mother told him he was an idiot and must have spread some details to the rest of the (very large, Italian) family. I got a call from my SIL telling me that she had had a similar experience with HER husband (at this point I only had evidence of an emotional affair with one of his university students) and she expounded on the fact that HER husband has “friends” too but it doesn’t bother her. I think I threw the phone and broke it after that conversation. Every single person in my life (including my “friends”) told me that I should “forgive and forget” and stay together with this absolute pile of shit. Not sure why his sister felt the need to call me and tell me that (she had never called me ever). Fast forward to after the final Dday (4 years ago) when my OTHER SIL made sure to get me a Christmas present and just tell me she hopes I’m well- absolute class act. I have no contact with anyone in his family, but I DO miss his sweet sister- not that other beyotch.

  • 1) He absolutely cheated. He almost certainly told himself it was OK because technically it isn’t “adultery” under halakha and anyway polygamy could be a thing.

    2) Ex-SIL is embarrassed because other people know. You didn’t quietly go away, you told the bet din the truth and now other people are talking about her perfect family. This word salad she sent you is one long screech about how you hurt HER feelings and made HER look bad.

    Toss her little written tantrum and let her stew.

  • I actually liked and enjoyed my three sisters in law. Two passed before my breakup and the third really turned fast. Of course, I robbed him of all his money. Lived like a queen on his money. Was bad wife. Bad mother. Bad bad bad. She was arms open to ow. (Now that he’s broken up with ow SIL must be flying high monkey or worse-staying friends to get dirt or spy for bro. She loves gossip). But I’ve never missed her crazy Petty jealousy for a minute. They always loved my presents and couldn’t wait to get them. I relieved not to have that chore anymore. They have no idea how cheap their shitty brother/uncle was. He had no prob showing up empty handed but taking credit for gifts? He was right there. Dinah, once you unload that whole family, you’ll feel so relieved and free. They think cutting you out will hurt you but when you don’t owe them anything – freedom. Do consider changing your place of worship if shunning occurs. Because fuck that shit.

  • This part: “You had enough self-respect to leave an abusive marriage and model resiliency to five young women. This scares me shitless.”

    I believe this is the crux of the matter. I suspect former sister-in-law is also in an abusive marriage.

    I have known those women who put marriage on a pedestal. If your husband is cruel to you, it’s supposed to be some kind of lesson from God to teach you a lesson. You’re supposed to submit harder. Be a better wife. The Husband is always right. Blah blah blah.

    That kind of message is a lie from the pit of hell designed to hurt women. I’m so proud of you, Dinah. You got out.

    • “I suspect former sister-in-law is also in an abusive marriage.”

      +1. Also please note the sanctimony is strong with this one.

    • It’s not just women who get abused with that drivel. I’ve seen male chumps get abused with it too.

  • I have never understood why people pretend to be perfect. It is so obvious that humans are prone to imperfection that no-one should believe it exists, but we strive to convince others anyway. My FOO had a few annual Christmas brag letter writer’s. This was long ago, before the days of Facebook and selfies. The letters were often hilarious to those of us who knew the family well. The version of reality presented in these letters was nothing like the reality of life in the FOO, but no one was ever confronted. It was considered impolite to point out truth in my FOO. I often felt like the child in the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Why was I the one who knew he was naked? Why was I shushed?

    Many folks just cannot bear the truth being exposed to the public at large. They feel the whole family gets painted with the same brush which exposes the wrong doer. They close ranks and alter evidence. They issue “alternative realities.” My belief is when you come across this phenomenon you should try to avoid it, and don’t waste your time worrying about what these fools think or say about you. You will never convince them of the truth. It is a further waste of your time.

    My parents tried very hard to force/mold each of their children into who they wanted them to be. It was an interesting experiment, but it failed miserably. Each of us went through some type of rebellion, and ended up being who we really were anyway. The awful legacy is the feeling you somehow disappointed your parents, that you were never “good enough” for them. Finally, I was able to learn that my self-evaluation and my determination of what made me happy was much more accurate. When I did what was acceptable to me, and discarded people who tried to enforce their “alternative realities” of my life, I was much happier.

    The sister-in-law is threatening you with isolation and shame. I’m surprised she didn’t send a monogram for you to wear to identify yourself as an outcast to the public she is so afraid of. Be grateful that you no longer have to spend time with her, your Ex-FW, or the whole delusional family. Whether they know the truth, or not, if they choose to act like it does not exist, that is clearly their problem. You are free. Their disbelief is of no consequence to you. Get on with that gain a life portion of CL’s advice. You will find it much more satisfying!

    • “Closing ranks and altering evidence.” I saw that in technicolor during separation to the point that I cut his very religious family off just before he kicked off the divorce. Of course, he played it that he “had” to divorce me because I wouldn’t “reconcile,” and I’m sure they were sympathetic for at least a time because he had a “rebel wife.”

      The “alternate reality” part was hard for me to work through. He was one person behind closed doors with me, and another with his family. The family was told that I was a crazy, delusional mess that would never make it without him, so nothing I said could be trusted. How do you begin to work through that? I didn’t. I walked away into my own truth.

      I think any time you believe that you can create a uniform, religiously-compliant family, you have a problem. I wasn’t compliant though, obviously.

  • What I see is a mental illness that has infected the whole family. If you’re so enmeshed in what you consider faith that you cannot see the forest for the trees, you’ve gone around the bend. I would take this as a really good sign never to have anything to do with that family again. If you are a practicing Jew, surely there is somewhere you can go that does not have to deal with this group.
    Congratulations on finding a life.

  • The narcissism runs deep in his family. Gag. My xFW (the one I am STILL afraid of over 30 years later), was raised an Orthodox Jew, though turned away from it by the time we met.

    He had a hooker habit he developed when he was still orthodox. Of course he told me he no longer did such things, and I, of course, believed him. What a chump I was.

    Being raised extremely religious hardly inoculates a person from temptation, especially when one already thinks they are above the rules.

  • I have a four-year-old letter saved and never sent to my SIL. Initially I thought that, after 30 years, I should provide some explanation. I realize now that the in-person talk I had with my local in-laws was adequate. To continue to press the matter would put others in a difficult position and suggest that their brother couldn’t be “that bad” if I was continuing to grieve.

    I am also aware that they didn’t reach out to me, except for holiday cards. Reciprocity is one of my markers for a healthy relationship. The OP’s ex can send gifts to his children’s cousins if that’s his family’s tradition. No contact is the way to go.

    • I wrote a letter to my ex’s relatives with the whole truth and how much their enabling and denial hurt me, but I never sent it. At the time, I was divorced and knew that he was still in close contact with them, but I didn’t want any problems that would blow back on me. Closeout wasn’t going well, and my attorney predicted long-term flare-ups, which was correct. Best to drop it.

      They haven’t reached out to me at all.

  • Just because SIL refuses to believe the truth doesn’t mean it didn’t happen and sending angry, unhinged letters won’t change reality.

  • Ugh. My FW used the “work spouse” excuse as well. He claimed everyone at his work has one. I said; “Oh really. Do they fuck them, or was that something you came up with?” FW turned red.

    This SIL must have bats in her belfry, spouting off like that. Facts? Self serving lies from a fuckwit are the furthest thing from facts. Sounds like the family is deep in denial about what a creep he is. I don’t think there is any point in ever speaking to them again. It may seem like a loss, as they have been family, but with people like that, not dealing with them means you gain a great deal of peace. It’s vile that she is depriving her kids of gifts and affection just to make a stupid point. Who uses kids for such a purpose? Being her kids must suck.

    • I was taking a financial class post-divorce when I first heard the “work spouse” term. A lady there openly talked about her “work spouse,” and it triggered me. She had a better relationship with her “work spouse” than her husband, according to her. Just off…

      • As cops would say; JDLR, meaning just doesn’t look right.
        They may or may not be having sex with their so-called work spouses, but it’s only common sense that it isn’t appropriate for married/partnered people to be that close to somebody else and to give that person the title of spouse/wife/husband. Putting the word work in front of it doesn’t change that. It’s disrespectful to your real spouse even if it is not an affair. I had not even heard of this work spouse thing until D-day and I was shocked to find out how common it is. Geez, what asinine things people do. I despair for humanity.

      • I don’t understand this modern fixation with “work spouses”, even in jest. I find it inappropriate.

    • My ex husband used to joke about having a work husband. I genuinely thought it was a joke because he and his coworker were really good friends. Plus I didn’t think he had sex with men. I used to make them desserts for their lunches. His wife did the same. We even had dinner together a few times with this couple.

      My ex was fucking them. Well, at least the wife, maybe the “ work husband” just beat off in the corner and cried through it. I don’t know the details. I think of that every time I hear someone “joke” about a work wife or husband. It doesn’t seem innocent to me anymore. It makes me think they’re cheating on their actual spouse.

      • Ugh. That “work wife” or “work husband” business drives me mad. What’s it supposed to do — elevate a co-worker to some imaginary exalted status, or lower your status as spouse? Neither one seems great. Neither one seems funny. It always adds the uncomfortable question of what that “work relationship” really is.

        My FW loved to loudly over-praise people and proclaim such “spouse” stuff in work and other contexts. Now I understand that it was her test to see whether someone was up for a sexual relationship. Might as well say “This is ___, my work red flag.”

  • Oh my goodness. I am so sorry, Dee. She acts as if she knows your relationship better than you do. Sounds like the whole family is toxic. cough ugly flying monkeys. Bye bye toxic people. There is no room for you and your gifts either!

  • Dee, you are well rid of Shmoo and bat shit crazy sis. I feel sorry for sis’s husband and kids…talk about dysfunction.

  • What a fool. She sounds like your typical sheltered, shallow, naive, “polite society” lady who thinks that using table manners at the synagogue fundraising brunch means that someone is a perfect human being. “Oh goodness gracious, MY beloved brother, who kisses old ladies’ hands and wears perfectly ironed shirts, an abuser? Could not be! Abusers are those wretched POORS, the grumpy ones in the stained undershirts who hit their wives for no reason! Not from a nice, proper Jewish family like mine! HMF!”

    I’ll bet that when her brother abuses his next wife too, she’ll be sitting there bemoaning all these random lying women her poor brother just as the sheer misfortune of running into. Either that or she’ll realize she was wrong but do nothing about it because she cares more about hiding her embarrassment than being a good person.

    • That’s my problem with the church, although I still go. The belief is that if someone is “right” there, they are “right” the other six days of the week.

      I try not to be paranoid, but you cannot consider a religious meeting “safe.” Now that my gut is fine-tuned, I know the signs, but as a friend of mine likes to say, “There are wolves in the pews.”

      • Unfortunately, you’re not wrong. Not that religion necessarily makes people bad, but more that people who are already bad are more likely to gravitate toward religious communities in order to disguise themselves and find easy marks, because they know that these communities tend to be very naive and have simplistic ideas of good and bad that can easily be manipulated.

      • That concept was illustrated for me by the time I was 11 years old. My father, a leader in our local Lutheran Church, was not the same man on Sunday that he was Monday – Saturday. He sure showed me the hypocrisy of hanging out in bars with his girlfriends rather than coming home to his wife and kids. (My mother would have me call the bar and ask for him and then ask if he was going to make it home for dinner.). And this is why I don’t do organized religion. Every single time I tried, I found those fucking wolves in the pews. So I stay out of there. Much nicer (and safer) hanging out in the woods with the real animals instead.

  • I got similar stuff from my ex’s religious family during the separation. They are a family of preachers and missionaries with a “name” to uphold. Except I didn’t uphold the name because I refused to reconcile. They shut down everything I went through with him, saying that the only path forward was with him in marriage. The reality is that they didn’t know just how bad he truly was (documented addiction/mental health issues along with the rest) because I had a rough time processing it. One of my SILs was so embarrassed about our separation that she lied to her brother, an elder/preacher himself, saying we were doing fine. I gave up on his family and told them to focus on my then-husband. I’d be fine on my own.

    During the divorce, more came to light. We also found out that my ex was in a serious downward spiral. His attorney freaked out several times about what my ex was saying to his attorney and called mine for advice, which wasn’t right but gave us a needed window into the situation. His attorney wanted to quit, but mine convinced him to stay in the game. We decided to double down and get it done, and we did. There was more of that in the closeout that didn’t surprise me either. What a relief though to get it all done. Thankfully, our kids were in college, so I did not have custody issues.

    I’m not sure what the situation is with his family, but they still don’t know the depth of what I went through. I know that everything I told them during the separation went right to him, so I’m not a fan of opening up that door again. Reportedly he estranged himself from at least some of them, but I don’t know the details. They have not reached out to me.

  • Aah.the pile on..kick a person when she is down..her poor Sadz brother. I’m guessing angry SIL thinks your story that is getting around temple reflects on her and the family ..the horrors! Appearances must be kept up you know! I bet if you talk to his colleagues, they would have stories to tell too. Divorce sucks! What sucks worse is Divorce because of infidelity. There are no winners in this scenario. It took me awhile to get to a place where I actually believe and feel that how people feel about me is none of my business. I do the best I can, try to live a life of integrity. Hugs! Be kind to yourself.🫂

  • dear dee,

    you stick to your narrative because, after all, it’s your story to tell. who better to tell it?

    sincerely,
    damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster

  • Oh, I would reply.
    I can only imagine this sad little missive has more to do with your own marriage problems, rather than an objective and sorrowful acknowledge of the poor character demonstrated by your brother’s lack of fidelity and poor performance as a faith driven spouse. For shame. You for inserting yourself where you do not belong and repeating lies. Do not contact me again regarding what you believe to be intimate details of my marriage and divorce. Your intrusive, poorly thought out accusations and words are sullied, an embarrassment to our faith. Be gone, wicked woman.

    • Also, as a rule, please never ask me to do this after the fact. Thank you.

  • Raise your hand, if former FW was a saint in his/her family of origin, and if they seemed a little enmeshed.

    I think the sister thinks she’s married to her brother or something.

  • The best part of divorce:. Getting rid of the crazy ass in-laws! Well, at least a great bonus! Getting rid of a Lying Cheater is the best part, of course.

  • I was surprised that my ex’s family still expected me — as the female — to still select xmas gifts and make sure they got delivered and make sure the kids were delivered to their houses for various family events. I never said anything out loud when one of them called to make sure the kids would be there, but I was thinking, “hey, I divorced you as well”.
    What I said out loud was more along the lines of “you need to talk with their dad. I don’t manage what they do when they’re with him.”

  • I guess I did get lucky in one respect. Ex-FW’s family has always been good to me and is still supportive of me after the divorce. I’m sure they love ex-FW, but they know who he is and what he did, and they act accordingly to me. I’m very thankful for that.

  • For me the giveaway is the SIL’s complaint about Dee’s “lack of remorse.” Such a lovely form of victim blaming! The implication that a person who wants a divorce to get out of a bad marriage must show remorse for their decision to protect themselves is rather sickening. In short, Dee is only supposed to make decisions that make her feel bad. Putting her own best interests forward is selfish and requires remorse (no doubt permanent, relentless, and ceaseless remorse).

    I also suspect that ticked off in-laws are often angry because a divorce means that taking care of the imbecile is now on their list of family chores . . . again. Who is going to host those five lovely daughters when their father has them for any holiday or event? My bet is on the angry SIL. Who is going to help the SIL take care of the grandparents or fulfill any other traditional obligation? Will her brother help? Seems unlikely. Nope, Dee’s divorce probably just means a lot of work got dumped in SIL’s lap because her brother hasn’t ever taken responsibility and certainly isn’t about to start now. She’d be angry with her brother, but that didn’t work for the first few decades of his life, and unless SIL starts drawing some boundaries now, she’s his keeper again.

    I hope your day is going well, Dee!

  • Dear Dinah,

    CL is so right this all boils down to your exFW’s FOO issues. My ex in-laws sucked too and often demonstrated the hallmark of FOO issues– acting like the problem isn’t the problem but that talking about the problem is the problem.

    But first off, many commendations for not only speaking your truth but apparently doing it in such a way that you garnered enough social support that it’s foiling your exFW’s and his family’s scheme to darken your name in the community. There they were, casually preparing to get ahead of the narrative with their poison gossip only to run into the brick wall of your social credibility. D’OH! Google “Professor Jennifer Freyd + DARVO” (deny, attack, reverse victim-offender): abuser coalitions always try to get ahead of victim narratives.

    They also tend to be good at it because the behavior is passed down from one generation to the next and becomes pretty polished. It would be so tempting to write a response to this letter, mostly because the sister is clearly someone whose entire life is a tinder box and it would be easy to get into HER head. It’s surely not worth it but I strongly suspect there are some dark secrets lurking just under the surface of that family, something everyone’s been trained from birth to spackle to the point that spackling is the presumed norm and they’re “flabbergasted” that not everyone else in the world ignores flaming pink elephants. It would be too easy to blow the spackle off your ex-SIL’s frantic brain and leave the twisted creature convulsing in dissonance. She gave it away with “manipulated… even yourself to believe” and the thing about projected anger. Even after being married to the guy for 17 years, you may only know a fraction of that family’s dirt because of that typical toxic FOO rule of silence.

    As they say, “every accusation from a narcissist [or insert appropriate personality disorder] is a confession.” ExSIL accused you of dementedly projecting which– as you probably already know but are likely just seeking confirmation on– is her own MO in a nutshell. Abusers don’t come out of a vacuum. Not everyone raised in abusive families becomes an abuser and some spend the rest of their lives combating bullying. Those are the true survivors. Those who didn’t emotionally survive childhood trauma are the ones who internalized abuse and then, like infected zombies, continue the family’s toxic tradition, which will nearly always include preemptive triangulation to discredit victims. But it’s not just abusive traditions which can be generationally honed but also defensive, anti-bullying strategies. I learned this from my father and one of his fellow GI Bill college friends, both of whom had managed to survive discrimination on the mean streets of NY and confrontations with military bullies without ever getting into physical fights. They were probably acting from necessity since they were both tall and extremely skinny when young and not built for brawling. They used what my dad jokingly called “two cent psychology” instead– automatically assuming that whatever bully they were dealing with came from a traumatic childhood and was projecting anger elsewhere. So when I was bullied by a suburban kid named Ted (silent “Bundy”) in fourth grade, my father instructed me to say, “Don’t pick on me just because your old man beats you up.” It was like a magic incantation and I’ll never forget that kid, who’d just leapt out a hedge to assault me, turning pale and bug-eyed and backing through the bushes from whence he came.

    When I started working in a narc-filled, competitive and sometimes dangerous industry after college, I dealt with workplace assholes by preemptively plying them for dysfunctional family history. That’s surprisingly easy to do because would-be aggressors typically try to do exactly that to their prospective victims– dig around for Achilles heels. Sex pests and pick up artists especially seem to follow some secret operating manual saying that all women have “daddy issues” that can be used later to gaslight, invalidate and silence them. But my “daddy issue” was that my Dad had warned me about this kind of f*ckery so I’d turn the tables– get them confessing to childhood FOO dysfunction while I’d embellish my own story in the other direction, painting my “daddy” as very protective (true) and very rich and powerful (um, hah, not so much). This was before #MeToo when there were fewer protections against harassment or worse and the stories circling the industry were horrible.

    Of course, being a basically empathic person, I’d never use the information against someone unless they became nasty. Preemptive weaponized intel gathering might seem like a really weird thing to do but my dad and his friend and their respective forebears had either survived potato famines or pogroms, poverty, gangland and military goons without internalizing the horror. The stakes were high and they weren’t playing around. They were formed by crucible and had some chops. In any case, when I’d reverse the plying, there was invariably something there. I mostly did this as a kind of personal anthropological study to “consider the source” and keep my sanity but, at one point, used what I dug up in a civil trial against a violent workplace harasser/stalker. Long story short, just as expected, when confronted on the stand about his own father’s violence, stalker-freak reverted to typical toxic family gag orders and perjured himself, was impeached by audiotape (Dad’s advice + new technology!) and that contributed to swaying the jury in my direction. My father’s two cent psychology turned out to be worth a quarter million and might very well have saved my life.

    This brings me to the main point that, in order to really “stop the buck” of your FW’s FOO family psychodynamics, I’d recommend finding a balance between protecting your daughters from adult dramas and “inoculating” them with the basic facts (told in age-appropriate ways) about FW and his family– including any icky FOO history– because the FW family tradition will surely include typical relentless campaigns to turn your children against you.

    For what it’s worth, my own personal method of kid-inoculation included dinner table discussions that abstractly dealt with things like criminal psych, gaslighting, triangulation, blameshifting, brainwashing and inculcation in historical, literary and political contexts. I actually started this simply because it was my own family tradition to prepare children to guard their integrity and combat bullying as adults (because anyone who tries to maintain integrity is going to be targeted at some point). My dad’s perspective came from a rugged experience but my mother’s family had applied the same thinking to organizational psych and business management. After D-Day, I merely continued the “tradition” but with the added awareness that it would probably foil any attempt by FW to blameshift. Beyond initally letting the kids know that dad had some fidelity issues, blew family assets on undeserving randos and his family had some
    “sad,” icky secrets they didn’t deal with, I didn’t have to make the object lessons personal. By their tweens, my kids were all reading Primo Levi, and other political and historical tomes and novels focusing on victim-blaming and methods of cover up used by every breed of abuser in history. The kids were really into it because I’d employ another of my dad’s tactics– using a bit of humor to mock hypocrisy and liars and also to buffer the dark subject matter a bit without trivializing atrocity, interpersonal abuse or victims.

    Now I sometimes feel like I’ve created social justice monsters because my sons are even more into cracking wise about political sex scandals than my daughter. I’d wince when, in mixed company, my middle son would start making Epstein island jokes. Yikes. But the kids are so cheerful and clear on everything that it hasn’t worked against them socially. They make awareness look irresistibly fun. Even my kids’ animation teacher was cracking up about a cartoon my son made about corrupt politicians collecting yachts and hookers. So when FW decided to be a FW, he was basically screwed if he had plans to sway the kids to his side. I didn’t plan it that way but, oops, it worked out. The kids quickly called FW on any bs behavior and he stood down. It was like some battle over who’s ancestral hand was going to rock the cradle of the next generation. My ancestors won, nyah nyah.

    I have a dear friend who sort of overshot in trying protect her tween daughter from everything. I feel like she was probably faced with a bigger trap than I had to deal with because her ex is so extremely wealthy that my friend might have felt cornered into gearing her daughter for social life in exclusive “.01 percenter” private schools where all kids talk about is tennis, swag, country clubs, exotic vacations and TikTok. She might have tamped down her former activist mindset for fear of raising her daughter to be a misfit (something else I learned from my parents: advantages can sometimes become disadvantages). Now my friend has to whisper on the phone so her daughter doesn’t overhear anything personal and rat to my friend’s evil, controlling ex. My friend’s good intentions were turned into a liability and allowed her ex to get far ahead of the narrative. It breaks my heart but it made me less conflicted about having to at least fill my kids in on the basics about dad’s conduct. I didn’t start this war but, now that I’m in it, I don’t feel like losing it.

    In the end, expect abusers to always campaign to control the story, sew divisions and deliberately undercut victims’ support system. You’re exSIL was stupid and sloppy enough to basically make an official announcement that this was the toxic clan plan. I’d recommend taking it as a heads up if your kids are forced into regular contact with that family and you’re not able to completely detach from the same social community for awhile. If you haven’t already, you could, if you wanted, start taking your kids to various social justice events, create reading lists, watch documentaries together on, say, third world sweat shop slavery, follow the news together and talk in age appropriate ways about political perverts and how sex often plays into abuse of power, etc., so that these themes are afloat. Kids naturally extrapolate the personal to the political and vice versa.

  • SIL product of the same family as FW. So when you are a child you either 1- get in line with the narrative or you dont. If you dont 2- you are the black sheep and ostracized. Kids dont want to be attacked by their family. They want to fit in so become narcs too, drink the kool aid. As a black sheep who calls out their BS you are smeared to everyone. Yes they do this even to their own kids. The other option is they keep to themselves and try not to draw any attention 3- have no needs and get away ASAP. I did option 3 with a bit of black sheep mixed in. My brother drank the kool aid as the golden child. Now he is with a controlling woman who has been unkind to me. But I dont care, I try to minimize contact. Its a shame my family sucks, but I made a good life.

    Yes my FW had work wives and train wives. Its amazing that there are so many people out their either so desperate for attention, or who have loose morals that they will have a relationship with a married person. My FW would regularly pick up train women. He would exchange numbers, contacts, be invited to parties and events. He would minimize it by saying oh its good to have these contacts, all women mind you, incase I need a new job. As a trusting wife who had a devoted husband and great marriage and sex life. I didnt pay much attention. I would think he is just very outgoing, friendly, a flirt, he loves me, does everything for me, comes home to me, adores me. All these poor women I am sure would love to be with him if he were available. But he isnt. I am sure they wish I would die or just go away. But I have nothing to worry about. And I didnt, he would never want to divorce or leave me. He just wanted to have side chicks. But guess what turns out I dont like him having all these female side friends and howorkers. They deny anything inappropriate. You are just jealous of all the numerous side female friends. Which one is in favor now? You find out about one get mad, they minimize contact with that one and switch to another one. Go more underground. There will always be another woman waiting in the wings waiting to be elevated to the side chick. Whether it is just a friend who they talk to and text all day long while ignoring and barely talking to you, or outright sexual affair. My FW loved to seduce women. Even just to be a friend, but it wasnt just as a friend. He put out the vibe that there was a chance with him, why else would he be so attentive to her? That this person she just met on the train and clicked with could be her soul mate, but for the pesky wife. They love the centrality, the power, feeling desired. So they arent just friends. They are POTENTIAL.
    And when you have been with that person so long you have been trained to minimize these interactions. It was just flirting he comes home to me. Then one day you wake up and see their behavior for what is is, sleezy! And thats when you divorce. Noone has seen the behavior except for you. All these female friends noone knows about. And they will say oh my ex was jealous, she was crazy because a had a few platonic female friends. Who would end a marriage over a few friends? Ahuh. Sure.

    • “Its amazing that there are so many people out their either so desperate for attention, or who have loose morals that they will have a relationship with a married person.” Actually I’ve been pretty amazed at how few people are into it but I’m measuring that relative to how wide average FWs have to throw the net, how much ceaseless concentration goes into constantly trawling around for willing participants, how low they’re willing to stoop, how often they bat out and what kind of Teflon ego it takes to keep sniffing around despite getting ego-deflating “ick” reactions from so many unwilling targets. Having money can up the odds but not as much as you’d think. Even rock stars rarely score with their first tier targets.

      Some so-called “permissive” work environments are easier hunting grounds and can increase these losers’ odds of scoring because, let’s face it, some organizations pre-filter female employees for their “ready and willing” cues and their male employees for collusive, sleazy, won’t-tell-on-pervy-bosses vibes. Student loan debt helps and underpaying women helps. When I was fresh out of school I got hired by a few places like that when my relative inexperience and puppy dog willingness to please were mistaken for “free blowjob candidate.” That would dawn on me when, after being led to believe that the company only hired the creme de la creme, I’d find myself in a bimbo ghetto of under-qualified, suck-uppy hair twirlers while all the new male hires were Ivy League. Now I can tell if this is going on from online company bio pix where all the women look the same and are all smiling like someone’s holding a gun to their ribs ordering them to grin but the men aren’t. Another clue is if, in internal communications, women put too many cutsie exclamation points after every banal communication and over-thank (but men don’t). Got the memo! Thanks so much!!

      Kill me now.

  • Good God, the SIL is deranged! I can picture her sitting there, so smug and self-righteous, composing her masterpiece. I imagine it would be tempting to burn it and then cleanse the house but I would keep it in a safe place – it may be useful if custody issues ever arise. That family is toxic.

    In my case I always liked my ex-SIL and while I realized we probably wouldn’t see each other any more I hoped we could remain civil. That illusion was blown out of the water when, at our son’s wedding, our daughter went over to SIL and said why don’t you come over and say hi to Mom. SIL lashed out loudly enough to be heard across the room and sent dear daughter away crying.

    It doesn’t seem to have crossed SIL’s mind that I might have a good reason (or several!) to leave a 40 year marriage. Or that FW “falling asleep” every evening is not because of a poor night’s sleep but because of the quantity of alcohol he consumes. FW has obviously omitted to tell her of his extra-curricular activities and instead sings a sad song about how badly he’s being treated by me and the court system. I started on the divorce over three years ago and due to FW’s stalling tactics we are no closer to settling than we were then. His lawyer has questionable ethics or is senile – I don’t know which. Maybe both. Fortunately, the judge awarded me decent support and so I can afford to wait him out but I am so looking forward to the day I am finally free of FW.

  • I received a letter almost exactly the same. Down to the gifts my kids sent hers for a Birthday. So I sent back all of the proof I had already shared with Ex (there is more, but that is my ferret for the hole). Messages, call logs, pictures, videos etc. Made sure to put the pictures from schmoopie’s Facebook of her trip to FL with her girls at the same time Ex, his brother and her husband were also in FL on a fishing trip right on top. The boats looked oddly similar to the pictures I’d seen of just “the boys”. I received radio silence back, but my MIL, who is firmly in my camp, made sure to let me know that some shit went down at sister’s that month. A shame my kids can’t be close to their cousins, but she and her husband still can’t look me in the eye. Ex is too narcissistic to care but I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall for their conversation about it.

  • I think a huge fringe benefit of a divorce from your cheating FW is getting rid of this toxic freak of a SIL Dee Dee. I can’t believe she wrote you a letter like that, she saved you a lot of work exposing her toxicity to you though.
    BTW, sure sounds like solid cheating from your spouse too, the devaluing of you is clearly there, his haughty entitled talk of how you would never know of his infidelity, he would be so skilled at hiding it. Yeah, there’s not anything loving and caring about him to you. He is devaluing who you are and deeply disrespectful to you flaunting is “ work wife” in your face. Even if he weren’t actually physically cheating, which I very highly doubt, the emotional hurt and abuse he is flinging in your face is not love towards you, it is a level of abuse, 100%. You are most wise to get out.
    The toxic SIL shows her entitlement and superiority to you by thinking she has two cents of any right to even an opinion of your marriage. Who the hell does she think she is?! No right on earth to send you such a letter, at least you see her fully now, that’s the only benefit there and it’s a pretty big one to be able to see.
    I have an ex SIL in the same grouping as your beaut there, unfortunately. My son explained it perfectly just this w/e saying, that his aunt( my ex SIL) would be just as huge a Narc as his father, but she doesn’t have the skill set to pull it off as well as he does.
    Certainly not from lack of wanting that, she’s a malignant narc in training and her brother is her idolized role model. They are all toxic and messed up deeply in that FOO. I tried to see the good in ppl and disregard the crappy things I saw and it’s done me great harm to approach it that way I now see.
    They all sell the “nothing is more important than family” theme, but in reality it’s the “nothing is more important than me me me” and what I deserve to have, no matter the cost to anyone else is really the story being sold there.

    I was on a 6 mos hike the year the divorce was finalized( 2018) and my kids and I were still in complete shock their dad left to marry his mistress of 5 years no one saw coming or even knew existed. It was overwhelming for all of us and we were deeply traumatized by it.
    The FW’s sister, disregarding any pain we might be experiencing entirely, bullied my daughter while I was on the hike texting her to “ call her immediately!” when FW was crying to his sister that he was losing control over his kids believing his narrative and they were giving him the cold shoulder.( poor sad baby man, no one in your family wants your shit sandwiches!)

    She ( the crappy SIL) put on her cape of entitlement and thought she would be the one to save the day and to guilt my daughter into meeting and accepting the OW while I was not around to protect her from the onslaught of evil people. ( FW had a stroke 6 months before this because he went ballistic not one of his kids nor I bought his BS narrative that he loved us but found his true happiness and wanted to live an honest life now and we should, therefore, all be so happy for him if we truly loved him).
    So he tried coercing my kids to get on board with the f’ed up narrative with me now out of the picture for a bit and his sister( who we only have seen twice a year at best for their entire lives living in distant states) was going to save the family and force my kids to love their dad, accept his choices because he might die from the stroke if they did not and they would be responsible for killing him, or life is too short and they should forgive and forget and move on, or some lame ass reason that family needs to stick together through even the very worst offenses inflicted on one another. Or the final guilt idea she dreamed up was that my daughter needs to accept all of this BS because her FW dad paid her college tuition!
    The shitty SIL then bragged to my daughter that HER children were better than she was since they paid every cent of their tuition money back to her, trying to imply, in the strangest of suggestions, that my daughter OWED her father love, respect and acceptance. He had more value than she had. No matter how badly your father hurts you, he purchased your love with countless material things through the years, even paying your college tuition. He didn’t do it because family takes care of each other, he did it so you would always be indebted to him on some level for the rest of your life.
    F that idea my kids and I say! You don’t do loving things to be rewarded for them later down the line, you do loving things because you love and care about others and want the very best for them all the time. Their FW father and his toxic family don’t understand love, because they were not shown what real love looks like in families. There were tallies being kept in his family, my own family didn’t have tally sheets and neither do I and my kids keep score. Love is just given because we love one another, it’s not complicated, it’s just genuine.
    Proud of my daughter for refusing to call this witch of an aunt back.
    She didn’t give up, she then sent my daughter a scathing lengthy text trashing her for this life choice decision and saying many other hurtful things to her my daughter has never shared with me.
    It turned out to be the turning point in all of my children’s connection to his toxic family. They were able to see with their own eyes, not through mine alone, how messed up and truly dangerous to their sound mental health they all were to be around this kind of energy.
    My daughter viewed with shocking clarity that FW couldn’t give a rat’s ass about her and her two brothers and of course not me, the evil mom who messed up the poor man.
    His sister would protect her adulterous brother, regardless of how horribly he was destroying his family. His life was the only one of any value to her, the rest of his family needed to bow down and kiss his feet irregardless of the abuses they were incurring. Nope, we didn’t buy any of that story, much to their greatly annoyed dismay. Narcs get really angry when you dismiss their narrative.
    The very best fringe benefit of getting rid of my abusive serial cheater in the divorce was simultaneously losing his toxic family as well. With the added bonus of them showing my kids who they are and who they really had allegiance to and it certainly wasn’t them.
    It was scary and sad to see, but really so valuable to deeply know its truth.
    My daughter was smart enough to blow off that aunt( her godmother who she thought adored her for the last 25 years of her life). She saw the toxic evil in her heart and was able to lift up a barricade to protect herself from it.
    My daughter has been no contact with her for the last 5 years and sees her dad maybe once a year at best knowing full well now who he and his family as well are not healthy people to have in her world and boundaries are essential.
    Extremely hard concepts to grasp, but invaluable to keeping your own life on a healthy path.
    Your SIL told you who see is DeeDee, believe her and keep her out of your life and your childrens. Your lives are going to greatly improve without her negative and sinister energy causing damage.

  • Dee,
    Congratulations on ridding yourself of not only your FW, but his whole damn family of piranhas.
    I’m sorry your precious daughters will still have some exposure to these toxic fiends, but at least you can model for them an example of sanity. You are mighty.

  • This is actually brilliant. The UBT is truly gifted and excels at it’s job.

    Perfection! :::: chef’s kiss ::::

  • Chump Lady and the UBT – I’m speechless. Readers thank you all for the support and love!!!!!

    • Dee, when D-day happened here, I texted the whole horrible truth to my former MIL and FIL — including the fact that their baby boy was an alcoholic and drug addict. I was met with disbelief and even “but I don’t think tramadol is an opioid.” (For the record, yes, it is, and FW was eating his massive illegal purchases like candy). The next three months consisted of MIL constantly trying to call and text FW, (“Matt, we are so worried about you!”) and not one word to me or our little boys. That was in May 2019, and I have never heard another word from either of them again.

      You know what amazing thing you’re going to find out now, Dee? The same amazing thing that I found out: That never again having to deal with people so lopsided they’re delusional is going to be one of the happier things in your life.

      Mazeltov on your freedom!

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