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UBT: ‘The Program Has Made Me a Safer Person’

Universal Bullshit Translator
The Universal Bullshit Translator

Dear Chump Lady,

Mere hours after telling my soon-to-be-ex not to contact me any more, I received this fodder for the Universal Bullshit Translator.

We are about a month away from being divorced, have lived apart for nearly 18 months and I want nothing to do with him.

He’s seeing three therapists and is apparently in a new program for couples (by himself!) where he is finally “learning not to abuse” me. He refuses to tell me what this program is because he says “You and your therapist and friends will find it online and will get the wrong idea”.

This is on top of SLAA, his CSAT, and the marriage counselor that he still sees even though I bailed when she tried to blame me for his cheating nearly two years ago. Her behavior actually opened my eyes to the entire Reconciliation Industrial Complex and that’s how I was able to finally leave.

I know all of this about him because, up until very recently, I was too scared to cut him off entirely. Afraid of what he might do to me in the divorce if I did. Now I no longer care. He’s already doing everything he can to burn through his savings so he won’t have to pay me. He has visited 10 foreign countries in the last 10 months, all while crying “broke” and “poor” and threatening to not pay me. Talking to him doesn’t stop him from being a totally abusive prick. So from now on I will be completely no contact.

Apparently telling him not to contact me means “Please send me a letter of non-apology word salad ASAP”.

There’s a weird preamble to the letter that I think is fodder for the UBT too.

Thanks for all you do CL,



My letter is attached, and also embedded below. Thank you for possibly reading it. The program suggests I send you letters like this every few weeks after the initial one, not expecting a reply, but I will respect your wishes and not do that unless I hear differently.

If you ever need a place to cry you are always welcome to come here. I would leave before you arrive, come back after you leave.

Also, I went over the household bills and I am sending you plenty of money. You need to budget better.

I truly do want you to heal, too.

Here’s the letter:

Dear MollyWobbles,

First of all, there’s no need to respond to this. I’m writing because I’m still holding myself accountable for my past actions, and working to be the best person I can be. Knowing that you’re reading this helps me be accountable to myself.

I know the things I did made you feel abandoned, devastated, like nothing is real, like you can never trust anyone again. I broke your boundaries, like when I called you when you said not to, which made you feel unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless. I also let myself get overly emotional at times and raised my voice, out of fear and neediness, which made things worse. I was supposed to honor you, but I let you down. I took you for granted, and that’s not what a husband should do. I feel terrible that I have so badly hurt the most important person in the world to me, the person who has made my life immeasurably better in so many ways.

The program I’m in now is making me a better, safer person and the best man I can be. It truly has given me a new perspective. It has allowed me to better realize the ways I have hurt you, and see that breaking your boundaries was never about me being concerned about you (no matter what I told myself), it was about my self-involved neediness, and me basing my self-worth on others.

From now on, I am focused on not letting neediness control me. I want you to feel respected and heard. Instead of being a source of fear or anger or neediness, I’m getting in touch with my inner strength and peace, to be a source of confidence, stability and positivity. I want to hear that amazing cackle laugh of yours more, and be the guy who earns it. That is the work I have started, and it is going great. To be a better man, in my relationships with everyone. Including the dogs! ☺ I thank you for reading this.



Dear MollyWobbles,

So much ugh. I try to work up a good head of snark on a Monday morning, but frankly your FW creeps me out.

If this guy is a “better man,” I’m a potato pancake. Nothing says I respect your boundaries like immediately violating your boundaries. And the Hail Mary therapy ploys — textbook fuckwit. The important thing is to keep up that iron-clad no contact. Alert your lawyer to all the international trips and expenditures. (Theft of marital assets?) And perhaps invest in one of those home security cameras. Major freak vibes. Be safe!

Well, just because my snark is failing me doesn’t mean the UBT’s is. As a bullshit machine it’s made of sturdier stuff.

My letter is attached, and also embedded below.

Read it. I’ve attached it, embedded it, nailed it to your door, sent it to your brother, and stuffed copies under all the windshields in the tristate area.

Thank you for possibly reading it.

I am but an abject man who humbly thanks you for the possibility of your attention.

The program suggests I send you letters like this every few weeks after the initial one, not expecting a reply, but I will respect your wishes and not do that unless I hear differently.

It’s not me violating your boundaries, it’s the program.

I will respect your wishes to not to contact you by sending you a letter every week.

Unless I hear differently… in which case, I will send them daily.

If you ever need a place to cry you are always welcome to come here.

So I can drink your sweet, salty tears.

I would leave before you arrive, come back after you leave.

Like a vampire. Who only wants what is best for you.

Also, I went over the household bills and I am sending you plenty of money.

Says the man who’s taken 10 international vacations in 10 months.

You need to budget better.

I need an eleventh.

I truly do want you to heal, too.

So I can break you all over again.

Dear MollyWobbles,

First of all, there’s no need to respond to this.

Don’t talk back. I’m not interested in a conversation. I’m here for kibbles.

I’m writing because I’m still holding myself accountable for my past actions, and working to be the best person I can be.

Yes, the way I hold myself accountable for abuse is to continually harrass you with unwanted contact. #BeBest

Knowing that you’re reading this helps me be accountable to myself.

Only YOU can make me a better fuckwit. And prevent forest fires.

I know the things I did made you feel abandoned, devastated, like nothing is real, like you can never trust anyone again.

Nothing says accountability like vague, unspecified “things.”

Point is, I knew. And I did it anyway.

I broke your boundaries, like when I called you when you said not to, which made you feel unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless.

I broke your boundaries. Like when you said not to contact you and I wrote this letter. Which I hope finds you feeling unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless.

I also let myself get overly emotional at times and raised my voice, out of fear and neediness, which made things worse.

I rage because I’m a timid, needy, frightened forest creature. Just a meek garden vole. Snuffles❤️U

I was supposed to honor you, but I let you down. I took you for granted, and that’s not what a husband should do. I feel terrible that I have so badly hurt the most important person in the world to me, the person who has made my life immeasurably better in so many ways.

ChatGPT says hey.

The program I’m in now is making me a better, safer person and the best man I can be.

Because you can trust a predator when he says he’s safer now.

It truly has given me a new perspective. It has allowed me to better realize the ways I have hurt you, and see that breaking your boundaries was never about me being concerned about you (no matter what I told myself), it was about my self-involved neediness, and me basing my self-worth on others.

My new perspective is the same old perspective. ME, self-involved ME, no matter what — ME!

From now on, I am focused on not letting neediness control me.

My dick runs the show now.

It wasn’t me that abused you, it was that monster Neediness. BACK IN THE BOX Neediness! No! You can’t have a virgin before dinner! DOWN!

I want you to feel respected and heard.

In that shut-up-and-read-my-letter kind of way.

Instead of being a source of fear or anger or neediness, I’m getting in touch with my inner strength and peace, to be a source of confidence, stability and positivity.

Instead of flambé trousers, Dusseldorf! Hast du eine kugelscreiber? I’m in touch with angels. I source them from Japan with inner spleens and dirt, a source of felicity and cabbage.

I’m sorry, the UBT has irretrievably broken down from too much bullshit. Lebkuchen stat! Its sugar is low.

I want to hear that amazing cackle laugh of yours more,

And burn you at the stake as a witch. #cacklepretty

and be the guy who earns it.

And be the guy with the match. Whoosh!

That is the work I have started, and it is going great. To be a better man, in my relationships with everyone. Including the dogs! ☺

Dogs have endorsed me! Do you speak dog? I do and they said it’s going GREAT. Then they ate a dead squirrel and rolled in deer poop. ☺

I thank you for reading this.

I thank you for your continued chumpdom. Keep cackling!


All the crickets, Mollywobbles. Stay NO CONTACT.

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.
  • I’m with CL completely. This letter from FW is creepy as fuck. As CL pointed out, FW states that “there’s no need to respond to this. I’m writing because I’m still holding myself accountable for my past actions,” then says “ I broke your boundaries, like when I called you when you said not to, which made you feel unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless.”

    So he’s just continuing to break your boundaries and contact you… only now his excuse is it’s for whatever “program” he’s supposedly in.

    Just stay safe. Stay no contact. Send this to your attorney — and if needed have your attorney contact his lawyer to cease and desist further communication of this ilk.

    You are not the source of FW’s “healing.” He doesn’t get to ignore your boundaries and harass you further because he’s “in a program.” Everything about this is creepy creepy creepy. I’m so sorry

    • What’s really the kicker is that he’s ALWAYS in a program. He always has a new answer for why he’s done all of these terrible things. He’s constantly searching for excuses for his behavior because, if he really stopped and looked at himself, he’d hate himself and he can’t do that. So he always has a new “thing” that is the answer to everything. He’s been a “new man” so many times it makes my head spin. This is just the latest.

      • I have read all the replies about you returning the letter. I don’t think you should. This man does not understand the word no. In fact, he stomps on it. This says, in no uncertain terms, that he is going to get his way. He’s doing it right now in the sweetest way, but he still determined. That makes him dangerous. This is going to take some slippery, slithering, behavior on your part. You are going to have to slide quietly and silently out of his life because if you slam the door in his face, he’s going to kick it open. Please be very careful because I think you’re dealing with a dangerous narcissist.

        • I totally agree. He emails or texts most things so it’s easy to just DELETE and not read. That’s what I’ll do if he sends more garbage.

          • Molly Wobbles — please don’t delete. Create a “shit head” folder and stick them in it in case you need for evidence (police, legal etc)

          • You might want to save these emails as proof of harassment. You have a month to go and as Tracy stated, it’s creepy. Has he ever been evaluated?

          • Maybe don’t delete them in case you need them for court. What I did was created a folder that I didn’t look at and then I had a friend read through it periodically to see if there was anything I needed to know or be concerned about. I never ever set eyes on them myself!

      • “ I want you to feel respected and heard. Instead of being a source of fear or anger or neediness, I’m getting in touch with my inner strength and peace, to be a source of confidence, stability and positivity.”

        Does he really use language like this? Just about everything he wrote appears to be taken from a program. Yikes! Can you block him from sending more?

        • He didn’t used to talk like this, but now, yes he really does. It’s infuriating! He’s so steeped in Therapyland that he actually sounds like a self help book when he speaks. Before NC I would have to say “Stop using therapy speak with me!” because it drove me nuts.

          • My Dday phone call came from the middle of his 3-day “become your authentic self” workshop. Your ex’s rubbish does sound v familiar … I wonder if it is Landmark Forum?

            And besides being ridiculous word salad, it comes out of their mouths in such an infiriatingly patronising way!! He was insisting that I had to do it too! Because otherwise I would be roscrambling around in the gutter of un-self-awareness” (yes, he told me I was ‘un-self-aware’, of course also angry and controlling). Still not sure where the hyphens are supposed to go on that word.

          • All these abusers do is make excuses for themselves. They are so self absorbed. Don’t open his crap and give it to a friend to hold in case you need it in the future. He’s trying to distract you as he cooks up ways to screw you financially.

          • Sorry I’m a day late but I received a letter just like yours. Same ideas, same flow, same boundary violations, same tug at the heartstrings while blowing hopium smoke. My ex freak of a husband was also a “sex addict”, supposedly attending 12-step meetings and working with a CSAT to save our marriage. These letters are textbook. I wouldn’t be surprised if Patrick Carnes wrote the original letter and it gets passed around by the “addicts” year after year.

            Six months after d-day I woke the F up. The smoke cleared and I found out that all his claims of being a changed man and practicing rigorous honesty and accountability were nonsense. He wasn’t even going to meetings or seeing the therapist regularly. He was hiding assets. He was still seeing prostitutes. The day I filed for divorce was the last day I spoke to him. He hired a lawyer he met in SLAA and the two of them did everything they could to drag out proceedings, refuse to return my property, file nonsense motions that I had to respond to and cost me considerable pain and money. And the lies. Lies in writing, lies to the judge’s face, lies to family and friends. He still owes me part of my settlement.

            Please proceed cautiously and don’t accept anything that gives him more time to abuse you. I fired my lawyer because he couldn’t keep pace with the lying “addict” lawyer and the settlement was going to take 3 YEARS to be paid out. I found a pitbull who works with domestic violence workers and told her that I absolutely couldn’t have the “addict” in my life in anyway any more. She got it done and I got 95% of the cash portion of my settlement within 14 days of decree. I controlled the dispersal of the other non-cash items so he couldn’t drag his feet on those. He still owes me some QDRO funds but I’ve written that off as the cost of getting away.

            I put “sex addict” in quotes because I don’t believe it’s a real addiction. Ex fuckwit has a serious cluster B personality disorder somewhere between sociopath and psychopath. His sexual activities are just one aspect of his psychopathology. CSATs will never explore the possibility of a deeper disorder. Every horrible behavior fits nicely into the “sex addict” model. CSATs will monetize your trauma by prolonging the abuse, promising your marriage can be better than ever.

            • Geode,
              I’m so happy you switched attorneys and found one that pushed things along. And a word about your ex finding his legal counsel in a 12 step group. That goes against the guidelines of any 12 step program be it AA, CoDA or SLAA-no solicitation of services. Quel surpris

      • Yet this time he won’t tell you what the program is. Almost as if the program is also creepy as fuck. (My money is on some redpill ‘men are the ones who are truly oppressed and women are the enemy’ stuff.)

        Keep up the MIGHTY no contact, send all of his letters unopened to your lawyer, and also look into a security camera (you can get them very inexpensively on Amazon). You may also want to ask your lawyer about other safety measures you can take. This reeks of a man who hasn’t fully accepted that you are becoming free of him.

        • You are totally correct. He absolutely thinks that we are together even though we’ve lived apart for over a year and a half. He still says “we” all the time. I had to constantly remind him that there is no “we” anymore. There is him and there is me. “We” no longer exist.

          • If he is truly a narcissist, correct in him, and trying to pop the bubble of his delusion, will only enrage him. Others have said it but please be careful. Go gray rock with him. And if you can change residences, quietly/covertly and not leave a forwarding address, that might be your best bet. Good luck and stay safe.

          • Do you have to tell him “there’s no we-ness between us”? 😉

          • I worked with Sandra L Brown’s group during my divorce proceedings. They helped me see how truly disordered fuckwit is and gave me great go-to’s for handling things. Please keep one of their phrases in mind “HE IS SICKER THAN YOU ARE SMART”. He knows exactly what he’s doing when he uses the word “we.” Just like he knows what he’s doing with is money. T

          • This is next level delusion. Not to scare you, but someone this delusional tends to be a control freak and only responds to legal enforcement of boundaries.

            Do NOT delete anything he sends you. Create an email filter that automatically filters his missives to a folder. You need the paper trail in case he escalates.

        • I also wonder if not telling is an attempt to maintain secrets and control. Once chumps leave and are over trying to figure out if they love us/what they did/whether they’re still cheating, what do FWs have left to hold over our heads? It’s always about the uneven power dynamic. Withholding information gives them the upper hand.

      • A lot of narcissists actually love therapy…the attention is definitely on them and most of the time they are told their bad behavior is really not their fault. Or at least that is what they hear:)

        • They also love to pull the wool over therapists’ eyes. They get off on being in control by knowing things (by keeping secrets, exaggerating, and of course lying) that the therapist doesn’t.

        • KB22, I was thinking about the questionable contributions of therapy in our culture just today, while listening to an interview with yet another FW-flag-flying celebrity sing the praises of therapy.

        • My ex loved it so much that he is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is also about to marry his 5th wife. The irony is hilarious to me.

      • MollyWobbles – – – when the divorce is finalized, please let us know.

        I would like to toast the event with some warm lebkuchen (dunked into a bowl of soft-serve vanilla custard).

          • Is your lawyer investigating your ex’s theft of marital assets, and trying to get you an upfront division of assets so you’re not dependent on alimony? This guy is a freak and a spendthrift so better to get everything you can ASAP.

  • Let me make you feel safe where you can laugh and smile again…….and then I will abuse you………again. Keep away, keep the dogs away, I smell bullshit, stay sane and safe 🙏

  • Oh, CL, those GIFs !🤣👏🤣

    I especially like the Jack Nicholson one, you could superimpose the face of every cheater who’s ever tried a hoover, on that. The UBT is, as always, spot on. I also love it when the UBT breaks down, it’s Alice in Wonderlandish stream of consciousness always makes me literally scream with laughter.

    Dear Molly, that was such a stream of puke inducing *bilge* – so sorry you had to read it, but thanks for providing the UBT with a tasty titbit. Of course I know you wouldn’t break NC over this crap, but I’ll just endorse CL, crickets, and *no contact*. Hugs.xx

    Incidentally, what kind of weird ‘program’ is it that tells you sending self-exculpatory letters into a void every few weeks or so, somehow helps healing ? I’d think this arsehole is making it up, but there’s a lot of this utter bullshit out there. Stay strong.xx

    • “Incidentally, what kind of weird ‘program’ is it that tells you sending self-exculpatory letters into a void every few weeks or so, somehow helps healing ? ”
      I find it really weird that he won’t tell me! I actually said “Are you in a cult?” and he laughed. I have no idea but whatever it is it’s awful. Yes, please instruct the abusers to further abuse their partners “every few weeks”. My god!
      I am staying NC.

  • Actions speak louder than words. MW’s husband’s actions stink. Spending like crazy and shopping around to find just the right advisor/counselor is common here. Married adults shouldn’t act like irresponsible teenagers who get to indulge in whatever whim they want. My ex did something similar, which didn’t inspire confidence when we supposedly were trying to patch things up.

    My divorce should have been simple (no real estate, no custody issues), but when it was blowing up every way, and my ex was demanding things that weren’t his to claim, my attorney began calling him “the boy.” I asked why because my husband was sixty-something. His answer was, “Because real men don’t act that way. He is not a man; he’s a boy.”

    Ultimately, I got divorced from “the boy” but not without more time and expense than I had hoped for. That in itself was a message indicating how little he valued me.

    • Elsie is right: the spending like crazy and acting like teenagers is very common.

      It’s weird how they can act like adults and fool us for a long time. But once the mask falls off, we see the immaturity and it’s astonishing.

      Despite their actual age, these people are emotionally still children and are incapable of being true partners, and also incapable of treating others fairly. “It’s all about ME” – and their entitlement knows no bounds.

  • Great (and funny) UBT!

    This has echos of the previous UBT (April 5) about the guy who is recovering from “fear.” For this particular FW, it’s “neediness.” Tom-ay-to, tom-ah-to.

    Blame the program. Blame a feeling; Blame the cat. But don’t blame me.

    Also, this guy tries so hard to sound like a “bigger” man who’s fighting his own personal demons by participating in a program that’s making him oh so self-aware and evolved. But here’s when that bigger-man mask slips: “I went over the household bills and I am sending you plenty of money.” Ultimately, it’s all about the money. The rest is blah, blah, blah.

    • Oh yes, and the “You need to budget better.” He ceases to understand that what she does is no longer his business. He thinks he can still tell her what to do.

  • UBT GOLD!!!!!! So much LOL!!!!!

    Sheesh, MW, sure sounds a lot like this dude doesn’t think the divorce will really happen. The extreme arrogance of his assumption that he will continue having centrality in your life is actually pretty terrifying. Creepy alert.

    On the other hand, that trait can sometimes work in our favor. I wrote up my own divorce papers (do not recommend, but my circumstances were unique, so I could and did.) The whole time I was preparing them, the cowardly liar was both walking through the steps with me and assuming he still had time to back out. So right at the end, he showed up at the notary office and made a big public show of sobbing all the way through the signing.

    What I knew that he didn’t was that once I filed it would be final within three days if uncontested. He thought it was 30. I didn’t correct him when he said “we still have a month to reconsider”.

    I drove straight from the notary to the courthouse and filed. Five days later we got our dissolution letters. He hit the roof. Called me and left a terrible message. Total rage. Felt super betrayed. By me. For not spoonfeeding him the actual rules. And for daring to actually divorce him.

    And I didn’t have to answer it. Because we had no kids and we were divorced. Boo yah!

    So, though this letter is both scary and absolute BS, it is also a window into his cheaterthink. He’s busy feeling euphoric about his new changes and his new program, basking in the glow of his radiant self. A lot can happen behind the scenes while he’s busy processing this novelty through his novelty-hungry brain. I hope the divorce is filed soon and moves quickly!

    • Loool! Now that’s some karma! What an idiot 🤣 Hit him like a ton of bricks! You’re a hero! 👏👏👏

    • I wish that I lived in a place where the divorce could go through in three days! We have a mandatory six month waiting period here after filing.
      And yes, you are correct, this is just another “new thing” that he’s discovered that allows him to live with himself after what he’s done. He’s always finding a new program, a new excuse. Anything that takes the blame off himself and allows him to cry that it wasn’t his fault. This is just the latest in decades of bullshit.

      • Molly, what the hell is he talking about when he offers you a place to cry? Does he think you’re homeless or something? That was weird. Yeesh, what a freak.

        • I think that was because I once yelled at him about the fact that he’s constantly crying. I told him that I don’t get a chance to cry because I’m too busy with the kids to have time to break down. I was calling him out on his self pitying bullshit while I’m getting on with life, taking care of the kid that no longer speaks to him because of what he’s done. His answer to that was to say “cry at my apartment”. Talk about missing the point FW!!

          • Haha. Classic. Completely missing the point. So much self protection to be sure.

      • MW, it was a long time ago (about 20 years), and also no kids, no house or real estate, no investments. It was so simple that I just took my recently divorced friend’s documents (prepared in Word), removed their names and specifics and added my own, took them in with the eejit to the notary, got ’em signed and notarized, and went over to the courthouse and paid and filed. I suspect a LOT of the reason it went through so fast is due to those circumstances.

        I had gotten him to agree to everything, partly by moving faster than he had time to think up schemes (thank god for that friend), partly by not asking for much money, and partly by explaining how easy it would be to get the small town conservative court to 100% find in my favor (because of the evidence I had of his massive financial abuse and also how clear the evidence was that he had clearly spent the money on wooing other women — which may not have mattered, but the key was that he believed it would have mattered, so he was motivated to not have to show the court our bank statements in a money battle.)

        And also, a big part of my success (again, thank god for that friend, who helped me with everything) was how distracted he was by his smorgasbord of strange genitals, about 25% underage I think, combined with his certainty that I would want to reconcile and he could charm and manipulate anyone in his own favor. He usually gets his way using charm, distraction, and deception. By then, though, I knew his pattern, so it was pretty easy to work around it. And, I did.

    • Not at three days here! But it was entirely his fault that he didn’t do his own due diligence.

      For various reasons, it was over a month from filing to the judge’s sign-off in my case. My attorneys carefully went through what was OK during the waiting period and what was not.

      Then after the judge signed off, the younger one handling closeout told me that my ex had thirty days to file an appeal once the judge signed and had it marked on his calendar because it seemed more likely than most that my ex would do that. He also said not to mention even the word “appeal” to my ex. It was January (a busy month for divorce lawyers), and mine said that we’d work on certain items on our side during the thirty days.

      The appeal period passed, and my ex’s attorney was apparently ghosting him, so we just went on.

  • Returning to this space after a lengthy absence . . .

    (music by the Beatles, lyrics by MollyWobbles’ fuckwit)

    Dear MollyWobbles, will you read this mail?
    I wrote it overseas on my parasail
    I’m doing a program and it’s going great
    But I need to vent
    So I’m gonna be a hoovering loser
    Hoovering loser

    It’s a lengthy letter with a lot of words
    And I got some help from my fellow turds
    You need to budget for the monthly bills
    And I miss the dogs
    So I’m gonna be a hoovering loser
    Hoovering loser

    Hoovering loser (hoovering loser)

    It’s a new perspective and a new routine
    It’s a new supplier of dopamine
    And it doesn’t matter if you’ve shut me down
    You’re my cackling girl
    And I wanna be a hoovering loser
    Hoovering loser

  • He gave away the whole game when he said “you need to budget better.”

    That’s pretty much the reaction I got before D-day when I was trying to figure out which bills I could pay from the joint checking account. It turns out he’d transferred 40% of his paycheck to a private top-secret bank account only he had access to, and then he’d spent about another 35% on something completely innocent, for which he was withdrawing cash from various ATM’s across the city in wierd neighborhoods late at night, which is what fiscally responsible men do.

    He left me about $2,000 to pay maybe twice that much for ordinary household bills. And suggested that I needed to budget better. And the funny thing is, now that I’m rid of him, the money seems to hang around in the account long enough to cover the bills.

    • I had a similar reaction to “you need to budget better” giving away the whole game. To me, that phrase showed that he believes he is the one who gets to be “the decider.” And that kind of entitlement never bodes well.

    • “And the funny thing is, now that I’m rid of him, the money seems to hang around in the account long enough to cover the bills.”

      This is the refrain of so many chumps!

      As a group, chumps seem to be more responsible with money. Funny that.

      • Yes, and it’s also funny how many of us were on the receiving end of “you need to budget better”.

      • Haha. So true. And somehow the money just rolled in, too. I was amazed. I got refunds and overages, tax refunds, etc. I was able to buy my own home within 18 months of being free of him (he died before the divorce was finished), with a good bit of money in the bank after all was said and done. My new mortage is more than double what our old house’s was, and FW couldn’t manage that without my help (after my lawyer required that he pay the entirety himself since he was living in the home and I wasn’t). We made the same salary. He moved in with OW and we sold the house. He let it drop in one of our meetings with the magistrate that the decision to move in with her was based on financial necessity. She dumped him a month later and he was left with the whole rent to pay himself and he couldn’t manage such a big house. He died up to his ears in debt. I had already paid off all my credit cards and had a nice little savings going. He had tried to get me to help him financially and I declined.

      • I remember talking to my 30 something year old divorced neighbor after ex left. I confessed I was scared of paying the bills, not that I would have many bills. She said you will be surprised at how that works out, because you will be the one to decide where the money is spent.

        She was right. Of course I made sure not to run up bills, for a long while I only spent money on bare necessities, but there was money to pay my bills and some to actually save.

    • Fantastic how much useful funds are available when they aren’t being sucked up to service his cock.

  • “You need to budget better while I take off for Ecuador for no real reason.”

    Crikey, these people.

  • “You need to budget better”

    Aside from violating your wishes not to contact you, this line is the tell that all he’s changed is his disguise.

    Sending plenty of money, every few weeks, with no notes included, for the rest of Molly Wobbles life, would be the least and the most he could do to make amends for what he did.

    Words from someone who cheated on you and anyone they cheated with who knew about you are worthless. Any and all words. They can shove their words.

    Less than zero value, actually.

  • He writes this as if he thinks they’re going to get back together.

    “Hm, she met with a lawyer, they drafted a divorce decree, served me, she signed the papers, had hearings, and she told me to never speak to her or contact her ever again.

    I can salvage this!”

    The delusion…

    • Oh, he absolutely thinks this isn’t happening! He still wears his wedding ring. He constantly tells me “I’m the man you deserve now”. Dude, I deserve soooooooo much better.

      • Ooof…buddy…no…yeah…nnnnnooooooo…


        I actually see a lot of this on the relationship advice subreddit. Guys who serial cheated or did abusive controlling things to their girlfriends or wives, the woman leaves, blocks him on everything, tells him not to contact her ever again and then the guy is like, “How can make it up to her?”

        Comments are always “Dude she dumped you…”

      • Please, please be careful. There will come a time when reality will override his delusions and that’s when FWs become dangerous. Be prepared.

        • Yes. I’ve seen it. He has blocked doors to stop me from leaving. His eyes, normally a very light color, seem to turn dark. He’s almost in a trance. He also once stood in front of my car, almost daring me to run him over, same look then too. What’s really scary is that he claims he doesn’t remember doing any of it. That scares me more than the fact that he did it.

          • In other words, he has already used force against you to keep you from leaving. He has stepped over that line. Please, please take steps to protect yourself and your kids, because what you are describing is textbook “this is what happened before he murdered his estranged wife and children” stories.

            National Domestic Violence Hotline info:

          • Please consider getting a dash cam for your car immediately (if you haven’t already done so).

          • Please be careful. My EX did these exact same things. (Except he didn’t pretend not to remember them, he just lied and said I was making it up). Then he escalated to felony assault. Your husband is unlikely to take it well when he realizes you are truly divorcing him. Have plans for a secure and secret place to stay. Refuse to be alone with him for any reason.

            • Same here, Eilonwy. Started exactly like that — blocking doors, banging on doors I shut and locked, punching walls and breaking things, trying to stop me from leaving in my car (taking keys, blocking car, once ripping me out of the car and ripping my jacket). We would talk after about it not being alright and I said it was a red line… but it kept happening and I kept staying. (Later, he tried to twist these patterns to say we were both abusive… but it was always one sided.) Also, for some still confounding reason, I still didn’t see it as abuse. (It’s weird to realize how true the cliches are.) Even after his grabbing me started leaving bruises, even when I started leaving a go bag in my car and hiding an extra pair of car keys. It got much worse when it became clear there was no fixing the mess he’d made. After I left, he was unstable and scary in a way that felt different.Which reminds me, you’re smarter than me (and obviously you won’t go there to cry) MW, but do not go to that house alone under any circumstances. I went to get some of my things after my ex had agreed to not be there, but he was waiting down the road and showed up when I was in the house.

          • He remembers. He’s just avoiding responsibility and trying to make you think you’re crazy.

          • Does he know where you live? Please get security cameras for your home and talk to a resource like the National Domestic Violence Hotline for advice on how to protect yourself.

            Blocking doors to prevent you from leaving, stomping all over your boundaries, insisting that you get back together… this guy is dangerous and entitled and I wouldn’t be surprise if he flips out when the divorce goes through. Plan accordingly.

  • I couldn’t wait to get to the UBT’s take on the dogs. Huahuahua! Choke cof cof! That’s what you get going to three online therapists.

    Be strong Molly!

  • Agree, no contact with this character, who appears to be vying for king of all the freak show candidates.
    I think the 15 therapists he’s seeing are making him even crazier than he may have started out.
    Worse decision for a FW is to look internally, IMO.
    It’s already too late for that. It just becomes a source of ever more material to manipulate and control situations at whim.
    CL advises wisely here, and if our poor UBT had wheels, it would be half way to China. ( I’ll send my left over chocolate bunnies for the much needed sugar jolt.)
    The images from The Shining and Young Frankenstein were masterfully chosen to express just the perfect emotions being felt here. My reaction to “stuffed copies under all the windshields in the tristate area”, made my dog wonder why I was disturbing him! 👍😂
    A neon sign with large bold letters needs to be front and center in your mind, Molly. It’s bright, glowing NO CONTACT letters flashing most urgently before you on the daily.
    Let him travel the globe for his self improvement and quest for zen-dom on his own damn dime. You’d be safer in the ocean with some sharks than in any boat with this entitled FW.
    His letter is written for him to make him feel better about him. Your concerns and fears are only mentioned, he IS aware he is hurting you, but with no intentions whatsoever of changing that up. You provide him with previously reliable kibbles until some other kibbles show up.
    It’s only the easily manipulated narrative that changes for these FW’s, it’s never the actual abuse. The abuse is forever, as long as we chumps play the game.
    He definitely has some creep vibes going on, I feel that too.
    Just escape while he’s cycling through the charm and self pity phases from the FW dog-eared manual. When he fully realizes he’s not going to be able to control you any longer, the powerless rage will come calling. It is presently masked in the pile of BS excuses he knows have no validity whatsoever, he just needs you to accept them just the same for HIS healing. Your healing is not on his radar screen.
    The healing that you need can only start once you are free of that toxic orbit you are caught in.
    Good luck to you on your journey to freedom. Better tomorrows are out there waiting on you.

    • Thank you C45! I agree with everything you said. Especially about how therapy makes FWs worse! Mine has definitely found a place where people just blow smoke up his ass and tell him how great he is. Nothing is his fault. He has excuses for everything and there’s nothing I can say or do to show him otherwise. He’s often told me that I need a better therapist because I haven’t forgiven him yet! He’s said similar things about our children’s therapists too. He is absolutely mystified at why our youngest (17) no longer speaks to him and is absolutely convinced that he will win me back.

      • Sounds like he is around chapter 42, “Delusional Thinking” in the FW Bible. It’s the period that you wonder if they stroked or are headed towards dementia or if they could possibly actually believe their own narrative?!
        Hold the line, they will expose themselves to their kids too over time, they can’t get the mask back up once it has slipped down.
        Then the wheels start coming off the train and it ain’t a pretty scene.
        I took no joy in watching it happen, to be honest. I found it tremendously sad how an individual could go as far off course in their lives as these ppl can get.
        You are officially your kids only sane parent, and thank God they have you. You’ve got this!

  • Is there any way to just send all the future letters back to sender unopened.
    This way he can find another way to be accountable to himself?

    • Steam them open to check for threats. If there are threats, turn the letter over to authorities and file for an order of protection. If none, carefully re-glue and drop in mailbox with “return to sender” like the Elvis song.

    • Then he’ll try and find another way to contact her. Better to just pass them on to the lawyer unopened.

  • “I know the things I did made you feel abandoned, devastated, like nothing is real, like you can never trust anyone again.”

    and i liked it. i really, really liked it. i liked it SO MUCH that, of course, the opening sentence of this letter refers to my mistreatment of you and how much i liked it. it’s great to remember, isn’t it? i mean, you cried so hard that you couldn’t stop trembling, remember? i, on the other hand, got off on it.

    good times.

    oh, send more fulsome receipts for your pain and suffering, and i might consider it adequate, but maybe not. i need control of your pain and suffering. my balance sheet is unbalanced.

    • What you describe is more true than you can imagine. My first husband, (more than twenty years ago) was a genuine domestic abuser — the kind that hits and chokes and leaves bruises and threatens to kill you, then can’t figure out why you don’t love him. The kind who got more and more into serious sexual kinks. I am reminded of one incident at the absolute end of the marriage in which he slammed me against a wall, thumping my head pretty hard and when I started to cry…that mother-effing monster actually grabbed my hand and shoved it down his pants to feel his erection while saying, “You see this? See what affect you have on me? How much I love you?!”

      That was a real life physical example of what FWs do mentally to their chumps. Sorry for TMI.

      • Jesus, I’m so sorry. My ex was a horrible abuser too, though he never *actually* hit me. Pushing and shoving so hard I fell. Punching the walls. Slamming door so hard they cracked. Breaking my things. Cornering me and screaming in my face. Verbal abuse (horrible, horrible things) every single day. One night he came home drunk out of his mind from OW’s house and tried to rip my wedding ring off my finger (it didn’t come off easily and it HURT when he yanked on it) and threatening me that if I didn’t “give him his diamond” he’d make sure I never saw my son again. I didn’t realize how bad it was til I got away. It’s amazing what you can become immured to. Even after he picked me up by my neck and threw me across the room, I tried to “fix” our marriage.

        I don’t know what he was holding in all those years, but at the end he started telling me sexual fantasies he wanted to act out with me, and they were chilling. Incest, rape, Craigslist threesomes, wife swapping, sending videos of us to other people, etc. I was absolutely disgusted. I hope OW had fun with that.

        • He hit you. The kind of hitting he did wasn’t a punch or a slap, but he hit you. Pushing and shoving is violence. Picking someone up by the neck and throwing them across the room is violence. It’s so awful how we are taught to see domestic violence as different from any other – if you were mugged and the mugger picked you up by your neck and threw you across the sidewalk, nobody on earth would say “well, he didn’t actually HIT you”.

          • Yes. I know better now. It was DV for sure. But I talked myself out of that mindset because I “loved” him (was trauma bonded). He threw furniture and other things at me as well. Sometimes while our little child was watching and begging him to stop.

            My real wake up call was after we were separated, I was listening to a favorite true crime podcaster and the episode was about a couple who ran a scam and the husband was verbally abusive to the wife. The podcaster played a recorded audio clip (the wife wore a wire to try and get a confession from her husband for the police). The podcaster apologized for how awful the clip was going to be but he felt it was important to the story, and then he apologized again after. In the clip, the husband yelled at the wife and called her a bitch. That was all. My first thought was “that wasn’t so bad”. And my second thought was “I can’t believe my first thought was ‘that wasn’t so bad'”. Clearly other people thought that that sort of verbal abuse was horrific and needed a disclaimer and an apology.
            For me, that was just an average day, and I’d been called so much worse than “bitch”. And I realized that I had been in an absolutely heinous marriage and had become so accustomed to abuse that I didn’t even see it as anything significant.

        • I would hug you if I could. Monsters exist. I was shoved and knocked over things more often than I can even count. My abuser started picking up swinger magazines, wanting to go to BDSM clubs, and dark, dark stuff. I didn’t want any of it, but I was a SAHM with four young kids and couldn’t figure out how to get away. Then one day after he shoved me into a wall, all my naïveté shattered and I found — to my true amazement — that the core of me was titanium steal. Something just clicked, something that told me if I stayed he would eventually kill me for real…and knowing I was truly done with it all, something in my demeanor must have changed, because suddenly he knew it too. I remember the moment. I was painting the bathroom the next day, and this ferocious lioness reared up inside of me and announced inwardly that if he ever so much as raised a hand in threat, I would either call the police or pick up a nearby object and smash his skull until he no longer moved. My decision was made, and it probably pulsed like electricity around me. He never tried anything again, not even a threat, Four months later I filed, and the month after that he moved out. Toward the end of the marriage, (but before I made up my mind), he hooked up with some BDSM swinger from a nearby town. I knew because he told me…but I seriously didn’t care. She could have him.

          So I carry all of this forward and circle it back around to the lessons Chumps should take: At the very moment a FW cheats, they will keep cheating because they can. No one outside the marriage ever steps in to call them on it. The cavalry isn’t riding in to make things right. The Chump who wants and deserves better must stand up and decide fully and completely to have an irreversible 100% non-tolerance rule….”Cheater, you’re a broken, sick, messed up a$$wipe. Even if you never do it again, (yeah, right), you already did THE damage, and none of the King’s horses and none of the King’s men can fix what you did or put us together again. So right now and forever after, be informed that I am gunning for you. I will take you apart in every legal way and I will keep going on this path until you scream ‘uncle!’ and absent yourself from my life. I don’t even have to be angry, I don’t have to feel anything at all…I will just do it. You chose to cheat and I am choosing to respond. But I will now play by my rules, not by yours.”

          And that line of thought is how I finally headed down the fast track to MEH. 😉

          • I too got to the point where I decided OW could have him. I knew she’d find out soon enough what she had signed up for (she did, and left). I wasn’t even angry anymore. I just knew what had to be done. I got the courage to just…not answer the phone when he called. Not answer emails that had nothing to do with our kid (though for awhile I’d shake and sweat when I did that). Hang up the phone if he started yelling. I did call the cops (finally) when he was stalking me online.

            Fortunately, the courts believed me about the DV enough that they bypassed mediation (which normally in my state you have to try first). The custody evaluator agreed to us having separate meetings to discuss our history, AND she called out FW when he tried to harp on irrelevant things. I even got up the courage to call him out in one conference (video) call with the magistrate when he started making veiled threats. The magistrate ended up awarding me primary custody of our child.

            I almost regret that FW died before our trial, because I would have loved to see my attorney take him apart on the stand, and call OW as witness (she offered to testify on my behalf after she left FW for abusing her in much the same way as he did me). But is saved me a ton of $$ not to have to do that, and since FW’s lawyer dropped him as a client and FW was pro se, I would have had to endure him questioning me and being his own defense, which would probably have been traumatic.

  • Psychopath….. literally.
    run, Molly, as if your life depends on it. No contact means no contact. We don’t tell our abusers anything. All communication through your lawyer. This guy is dangerous. Scary.

  • The Shining gif is spot on. What is this mysterious “program” that would be “misunderstood”? Anger management therapists who work with prisons and courts would never tell clients to harass their victims with letters.

    To get some perspective on whether this rises to the level of stalking, there are plenty of Reddit threads beginning with, “If I send a letter to my ex who blocked me everywhere, is it stalking?” The typical reply is “It’s stalking! Don’t do it! You’ll go to jail!”

    • I think the program is “how to use chatGPT to write fake apology letters.”

      I removed the obviously added specifics and ran it through ChatGPTs classifier. The result:

      “The classifier considers the text to be likely AI-generated.”

      • ChatGPT currently has a distinct accent that is redundant and loquacious. It will spit out many sentences that all have the same structure and basically say the same thing.

        For those who want the low down – I removed areas where it is clear that a specific example is shoved into an otherwise generic sentence with the use of the word “like.”

        It’s only a few words, but after their removal the classifier has no problem identifying the text as ChatGPT:


        “I know the things I did made you feel abandoned, devastated, LIKE nothing is real, like you can never trust anyone again. I broke your boundaries, LIKE when I called you when you said not to, which made you feel unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless. I also let myself get overly emotional at times and raised my voice, out of fear and neediness, which made things worse. I was supposed to honor you, but I let you down. I took you for granted, and that’s not what a husband should do. I feel terrible that I have so badly hurt the most important person in the world to me, the person who has made my life immeasurably better in so many ways.”


        “I know the things I did made you feel abandoned, devastated, and like you can never trust anyone again. I broke your boundaries which made you feel unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless. I also let myself get overly emotional at times and raised my voice which made things worse. I was supposed to honor you, but I let you down. I took you for granted, and that’s not what a husband should do. I feel terrible that I have so badly hurt the most important person in the world to me, the person who has made my life immeasurably better in so many ways”

        • Fascinating, NA. I didn’t even know this thing existed until a few weeks ago. It’s scary.

  • Sigh. Another assclown, another re-write.

    “Dear MollyWobbles,

    First of all, I need you to respond to this. I’m writing because I’m still holding myself accountable for my alleged, unproven past actions, and working to be the best person I can be, with a little help from my Fetlife friends and the rub and tug gals. Knowing that you’re reading this helps me to feel in control.

    I know the alleged things I purportedly did that you can’t prove made you feel abandoned, devastated, like nothing is real, like you can never trust anyone again. I break your boundaries, call you when you said not to, send you letters when you said not to, which makes you feel unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless. I also let myself get overly emotional at times and raised my fist…I mean my voice, out of fear and neediness, my brokenness, toxic shame, FOO issues, and my sex, romance, frottage and compulsive masturbation addictions which made things worse and are totally not my fault, they are totally real illnesses totally beyond my control. I was supposedly supposed to honor you, but I allegedly let you down. I took you for granted, and that’s not what a husband should do. A husband should honor the little woman by teaching how to treat him right, so he doesn’t have to resort to alleged extracurricular activities. I feel terrible that I have so badly hurt the most important person in the world, which is me, the person who has made my life immeasurably better in so many ways by getting blowjobs from chicks dressed as department store mannequins. A mannequin fetish is part of my illness of sex addiction. It’s a terrible affliction!

    The program for healing my many terrible afflictions is making me a better, safer person and the best man I can be. I haven’t thought about mannequins in three whole days! It truly has given me a new perspective. Like, do I really need full on mannequin or can I do without the stickers that say “Property of Target” on their butts? But I digress. The program has allowed me to better realize the ways I have hurt you, which allows me fodder to do it again. I see that breaking your boundaries was never about me being concerned about you (no matter what I told myself), it was about my self-involved neediness, and me basing my self-worth on others. These are also serious illnesses beyond my control. I suffer greatly. You have no idea how much. So I’ll tell you. A lot is how much.

    From now on, I am focused on not letting neediness control me. I am focused on letting it control you. I want you to feel respected and heard while I spend hours telling you all about my pain and neediness from brokeness and FOO which resulted in these illnesses. Instead of being a source of fear or anger or neediness, I’m getting in touch with my inner strength and peace (which involves mannequins) to be a source of confidence, stability and positivity. I want to hear that witchy cackle laugh of yours more, and be the guy who earns it. Please believe that when I reference that, I am not being passive aggressive as you have so unjustly accused me of in the past. Well, that is the work I have started, and it is going great. I’m sure to be cured of my ailments in weeks! That’s how amazing this program is! To be a better man, in my relationships with everyone. Including the dogs and the mannequins! ☺ I thank you for reading this. I’d also like to thank my sponsor, all fifteen of my therapists, my barber, and the girls at Lucy’s Tingle Palace.

    All my best,
    Tremendously better man soon to be cured of dreaded diseases.”

  • This was very creepy to read. Did anyone pick up on the insults and how angry FW is. Calling her laugh cackling, talking about a dog, almost reminiscing about how much he made her feel unsafe, and about all the pain he caused her. He’s getting off on this. Directing her to spend less!

    Scary stuff. I would get cameras. This letter made a chill go down my spine.

    FW is very very angry with the lost of control.

    • “Did anyone pick up on the insults and how angry FW is.”

      Oh yeah. Passive aggressive dickhead. I know the routine well.

  • Fifteen international judges from the Cheater Olympics gather around to see if this latest contender should move on to the semi-finals, scrupulously pouring over the non-apology email. Their scoring will take into account SINCERITY… REALITY… CREATIVITY…and THE LANDING.

    SINCERITY — Score: 0.02 out of 5.
    The routine is largely copy/paste, just a rehashing of what they’ve seen a thousand times before. And although they like the extra sequins on his figure revealing bodysuit, they point out that his camel toe verges on being a semi-erection as he travels from country to country. Ultimately this FW’s routine lacks any humility whatsoever. The judges point out that Ted Bundy did it better in the 1980s. The Argentine judge remarks that an ordinary ‘recovering’ alcoholic can do this apology more sincerely while holding a bottle of vodka and slurring his words.

    REALITY — Score: 0.006 out of 5.
    Excessive international travel offers too much untraceable hoochie to be avoided. The unnamed “program” as well as the unwillingness to name it tells them what they already suspect: it’s probably just a sub-forum on Reddit, populated by other justifiers and leading to multiple hookups between members who share tales of their ridiculously unforgiving spouses. Also it appears that FW’s floor routine has never been practiced outside the spotlight and four ‘coaches’ are shouting directions from the sidelines. Just showing up for the non-apology competition counts as “Reality” only slightly more than watching the reruns on TV. The East German judge gave FW a thumbs up for the redundancy of ‘embedding’ AND ‘attaching.’ The South Korean judge gave FW a ‘negative 0.4’ because it came as an email, which didn’t even require a stamp. Or a postmark.

    CREATIVITY — Score: Zero. Just zero.
    They’ve all seen this before. Thousands of times. All of it. Also, none of them like FW’s homemade mix-tape performance music, which consists disjointed snippets of an unnamed piece that could only be described as ‘background piano for a beginner’s tap dance class.’

    THE LANDING — Score: undetermined.
    FW is still out there and it appears there will be no landing or ending to this routine. When his homemade mix-tape ends, he re-cues it with a finger signal and continues undeterred. Most of the judges gave up and left, two are sleeping, and the East German judge can be heard snickering and mentioning the name “Tonya Harding.”

    In the meantime, Tonya Harding herself is stomping and cheering approval from the stands. “Yo, FW! Yes! That’s how you do it! Break her shins with a tire iron then cry a little and ask if you can start over!”

    Just wait ‘til his Reddit forum ‘program’ hears how he nailed it!

    • “In the meantime, Tonya Harding herself is stomping and cheering approval from the stands. “Yo, FW! Yes! That’s how you do it! Break her shins with a tire iron then cry a little and ask if you can start over!””

      😄 An apt metaphor. Great scoring!

    • LOVE THIS! Thank you for the laughs! And you absolutely nailed everything. Especially the Creativity category. This is just the latest in a string of “new things” that are making him “a better man”. I’ve heard this song and dance so many times that I know it by heart now. Thankfully I got smart enough to finally walk the Hell away!

  • This letter sounds made up, faked. Unless you have experienced the level of stupidity they reach everyday, it seems unreal. At one point I realized how truly smart I must be, to make him look good. Because they are dumb as dirt!

  • Thank you so much CL and CN! I am getting closer to meh every day, but I will admit to mostly being stuck in the anger phase right now. When I got this letter and the ridiculous preamble, I could not stop laughing! It was just so absurd. He is an extremely smart person and all I could think is “How can you not see how awful this is? How do you just not see it?” and I had to immediately send it to you. Thanks for the laughs this morning! I am strongly NC and will stay that way. Hoping the divorce is final next month!!!

    • Darling, the ordinary psychopath is ‘smart.’ The catch is that a psychopath knows what they’re doing…they simply don’t care. They never will.
      Keep moving forward. Meh is coming and it feels amazing.

    • Being able to laugh at the absurdity is a huge step toward “meh”. At least it was for me. Wishing you all the best.

    • I hate to put definitions on someone because I’m really not educated enough to do so, but it makes me wonder if he could possibly have Asperger‘s. He is so delusional and you said he’s smart. What does he do for a living, and you certainly don’t need to answer that, because if he’s that smart surely he would pick up some hints unless subtlety is beyond him.

      I hate using titles because many people on the spectrum are very loyal to their loved ones.

      • My FW has Asperger’s. In fact he put the “ass” in Asperger’s! My daughter is “on the spectrum” too. She’s not sensitive about it. She says her brain just works differently than mine – not better, not worse, just different.

      • Missing social cues isn’t the same thing as lacking empathy. A lot of people on the spectrum would be totally mortified to discover they’d accidentally hurt someone’s feelings. From the time I researched a series on institutional abuse of the disabled for a disability law project following a GAO report of disabled children dying in schools, I came to view the “empathy-impaired” stereotype of autism as a kind of fatwa justifying deadly “disciplinary” practices like restraint and seclusion. The stereotype equates autism with dangerous behavior, making it seem more justified to use excessive force. The GAO report discovered that most disabled people who were killed in schools and institutions through use of restraint and seclusion practices (more than 150 deaths a year as of twenty years ago which means the numbers have probably risen along with rates of disability) had merely been “disruptive”– not a danger to themselves or others– prior to having five adult staff members pile up on top of them or being stuffed into a closet. But every time the American Association of School Administrators defends the use of restraint and seclusion, they run straight to “impaired empathy” and “dangerous” characterizations of disabled children, particularly those with autism.

        Unfortunately, due to some misguided self esteem PR campaigns for autism that’s led members of the public to associate it as a kind of “Einstein” disorder equated with automatic giftyness, there’s been a trend of adults with personality disorders or drug-induced brain damage (which can mimic several traits of autism) to self-diagnose because “neurodiverse” sounds better than “antisocial personality disorder” or “larval dementia.” Some psychiatrists go along with the hoax and ignore things like lack of childhood onset history, etc., because it pays the bills. Worse, the practice of diagnosing dead celebs with autism has opened the door to armchair diagnosing historical tyrants like Hitler which is, in turn, leading to more clinial speculations that autism explains school shootings (statistically untrue) and terrorism (terrorists are generally pragmatic, not mentally disabled, even if mentally disabled people are sometimes lured into acting as suicide bombers).

        Autism is being turned into a kind of all-purpose devil with horns to patly sew up an explanation for all human evil. Many ambitious researchers are trying to make a name for themselves by associating autism with “evil genius” like Cambridge dork Simon Baron-Cohen and his headline grabbing “zero empathy” boogeyman theory. This only adds to the fatwa where people most likely to be killed by police are mentally disabled. Jerry Seinfeld had his head taken off by autism advocates when he tried to pass off his typical narcy celeb behavior (which was probably destabilizing yet another of his relationships) as being “on the spectrum.” Advocates recognized that casting all assholery as autism can have severe fallout. Even the gifty association can be damaging because it ignores the fact that over 60% of people on the spectrum are low- to non-verbal, only about 7 to 15% will ever live independently and young people on the spectrum face a 500% elevated risk of dying prematurely.

        Funding for autism is already terrifyingly low and gets worse as the public is led to believe affected individuals are “just different” and don’t require public support. Some are just different but hardly the majority. The whole gifty trope thing reminds me a bit of the pseudopositive stereotype of the “strong black woman” which has ended up a racist disaster where black women are frequently denied proper medical care and basic social support. But the worst thing is that “empathy impaired” stereotype which, by the way, happens to be rooted in racist genetic crime theory which Simon Baron-Cohen cites unironically throughout his awful “Science of Evil” book.

        • My son and I are both on the spectrum. I would argue that the majority of autistic people that I’ve encountered (us included) are actually HYPERempathetic. We just express that differently. It drives me crazy to see this idea that autistic people are assholes, or using an autism diagnosis to excuse hurtful behavior. For myself, if I miss social cues and upset someone, I’ll ruminate on it and feel terrible for days (years?). It’s one of the reasons I took so much blame in my abusive marriage. I was used to being told there was something “wrong” with me, that I was “weird” and “different” too outspoken, that I was clueless, that I hurt people’s feelings without meaning to, that I was antisocial and had no friends. My ex took full advantage of that history to isolate and abuse me and make me feel everything that went wrong was my fault.

          I’m not sure your numbers are correct (60% non-verbal), since the criteria for diagnosis have been greatly expanded for autism, and now there isn’t a requirement to be “severe” in order to get a diagnosis. I know many autistic adults who live independently, have families, hold jobs, etc. My son had delayed language, but now he is highly verbal, with an unusually large vocabulary for his age. I was always several grade levels ahead of my peers. We all have our individual struggles, but you have probably encountered a larger number of autistic people than you would imagine. Some of us can mask as “normal” quite successfully (though it is exhausting to do so). But no, we aren’t all savants. The fact that so many autistic kids are abused or even killed in schools is absolutely terrifying to me, though so far my son’s school experiences have been positive. I was homeschooled, and so spared a lot of the trauma of being a social outcast.

          Also “Aspergers” isn’t used anymore as a diagnostic term. It’s just the autism spectrum now. Hans Asperger was a nazi-sympathetic doctor who supported the euthanasia of disabled children, “race hygiene”, and forced sterilization of the “unfit”, and we prefer not to embrace that person’s name as a descriptor.

          • Thanks for letting us know that Asperger’s is no longer used as a descriptor.

    • This reminds me so much of the regurgitated psychobabble jargon my exFW threw at the wall to see if it would stick. It’s bad ventriloquism. I became a therapist between Ddays # 2 and (3?). And practiced for 23 years. He thought going to my colleague/friend’s husband for therapy would impress me.

      Wifey #3 can have that.
      Meh tastes so sweet.

    • Honestly, MollyWobbles, the anger phase is a good phase to be stuck in. Be there as long as you need to, in order to get things done. Anger is a powerful motivator and an antidote to “hoovering” attempts. You’ll get to Meh in due time!

      • I’m glad I’m at least on the way to Meh. I’m either angry or numb when it comes to him. I’m learning that I dissociate which is kind of terrifying. I think it’s what kept me with him for so long after Dday. So at least being angry is a feeling. The numbness is very alarming.

    • Bravo for sending that to CL instead of responding to tell that FW how fucked up he is. Engaging keeps chumps stuck. Also, the anger is good! You should be angry! It will subside with time, don’t worry. For now, use it as fuel and as a shield, and lean in. There’s a lot of pressure on women to be “humble and kind” no matter what. How has that worked out for you? For FW? Standing up for yourself is not antithetical to being a woman. Abusers just want to make you feel that way so they can maintain control. Fuck that. You don’t meet his/society’s feminine ideals? Congrats!

  • My FW was also good at repackaging psychology as his own thoughts. I now realize how much he did this even before D-Day. This feels like the same – “I am restating the things I read on my program’s flyer. I have been told you may have felt unsafe. I don’t know why because I am totally safe. But I guess I have to acknowledge this even though I think you’re totally overreacting. Please hail your newly evolved king.”

    • Yes! That’s what it feels like. Like these words are not even his. It’s just what he’s glommed on to in his latest attempt to excuse the inexcusable. Lying, deceiving, gaslighting and cheating on your wife for 30 years is something I don’t think he can stomach that he actually did. But he did. So he needs excuses to cover up the abuse. He just grabs the newest shiny thing in his face and yells “See! It’s not my fault!!!”

  • As I told my first husband (did stupid young man stuff & needed to grow up more) “that’s awesome you’re doing the work to be a better man for your NEXT wife”….because it was just too late, too much crap. He did keep doing the work & we are friends to this day .… but not married to each other. The Fuckwit is my second husband (covert narcissist, believes himself to be superior) and if he did any therapeutic work (perfect people don’t have to just so you know) – the only thing he would get out of it would be to manipulate others with it. So important lesson for me was categorizing genuine man vs fake man. Even if the OP’s husband is sincerely trying to grow up, is it like my first marriage: too little/too late? I would think so.

    • I think FW thinks he’s trying to become a better man, but what he’s actually doing is just making excuses for himself. He just desperately needs all of his horrible behaviors to not be his fault. So he grabs whatever/whomever is blowing smoke up his ass and says “See! It’s not me! I didn’t really do these horrible things!”

      • Mine is on a spiritual awakening. His AP is very woo woo, and he has never been. So at first, it was extremely difficult for me as it felt like a double whammy. “Oh, for them you will adopt all this stuff that you scoffed at previously AND it simultaneously will make you a better man?” It was so insulting! But then I learned to trust they suck. They are not going to actually BE a better man for AP.
        Now, I just want out. And getting out is proving difficult.

      • “He just desperately needs all of his horrible behavior to not be his fault.” It’s something known as “neutralization,” the favorite mental trick of serial killers and other serial offenders. Click “download” for a free read of a study on it.

        How do you know someone’s going repeat an offense again and again? If they get to the point of adopting an actual system for deflecting blame. An accidental shoplifter who just forgot to pay for an item doesn’t walk around with a magnetic security tag remover in their pocket. Someone who made one mistake and truly regrets it doesn’t need ornate, polished rationalizations. In this case, even as he writes this hoovering bilge, you can tell he’s perfectly aware he’ll betray and abuse again because he starts out blaming “circumstances” but can’t help shifting into “devaluing” with the snipe about spending and the passive aggressive putdown about “cackling.”

        No one ever casts a lovely laugh as “cackling” any more than someone describes skillful dancing as “lurching” and “plodding.” “Devaluing” is just a pop-psych term for neutralization– the victim-blaming hate tapes that cyclically run in abusers’ heads during the “tension-building” stage whereby abusers– when overtaken by a self-generated need to commit harm– start to distort and rewrite victims’ identities until the victims appear monstrous and contemptible and therefore “deserving” of mistreatment.

        The weirdest part of it is that abusers will believe their own “neutralizing” distortions, sort of like the Stephen King villain who hallucinates that other people are monsters. I’m sure your laugh isn’t a “cackle,” just adorably authentic. I’m sure you’re financially responsible. But casting your best traits in a positive light would undermine his own alibi, making him the bad person, and that’s not allowed. To abusers, the truth is only what you can get others to believe is true. Abusers’ realities and perceptions are such flimsy houses of cards that, in order to invest in the lies themselves, they compulsively try to get others to believe the lies, including attempting to convince their own victims, which is why they can’t stop escalating the putdowns. A bit like how every accusation from a narcissist is a confession, putdowns tend to correspond with the type of attack that’s coming. For instance, I would guess that calling a woman’s laugh “cackling” (“witchy”) is a classic attack on attractiveness and femininity, i.e., a sexualized putdown. Therefore the attack on you will be sexualized in some way, targeting your sexual agency, self esteem, etc. Hinting that you’re a spendthrift means he’s planning more financial abuse. They give themselves away.

        • Hell of a Chump, This is fascinating. I always enjoy your analysis and read every word!
          I have never heard that put downs correspond to the type of attack that’s coming. I just hired an attorney and we’re headed into the divorce process, so I’ll listen closely when (not if) he starts being nasty.

          • Enough–

            Thank you. I’m not being very original but am just extrapolating from statistics that batterers tend to target sexual areas of their victims bodies during physical attacks (breasts, face, groin, abdomen, etc.) which led some researchers to identify battering as a type of protracted sex crime. It’s also something I’d noticed and read about as an advocate for DV survivors. Blame-shifting is typically pure projection. The abuser washes their own soul of sin by externalizing all their own specific sins onto victims. Like the sexual body part targeting, the nature of verbal attacks also tends to be prophetic of the kinds of damage that abusers will wreak on victims and can also give away motives for causing the damage. If, for example, the abuser fears the victim will escape and move on to form new and fulfilling relationships, attacking the victim’s sexuality (attractiveness, femininity/gender identity, morality, self esteem) is a bit like performing a mental form of genital mutilation. If the victim’s sexuality is the target, rape would be a direct form of inducing sexual trauma and sexual betrayal and attacks on victims’ sexual self esteem would be the less legally risky covert route to ensure the victim is too traumatized to have future healthy relationships. Accusing the victim of financial mismanagement could be a giveaway both of the abuser’s own financial abuse and the intentions behind it. Financial abuse is considered a form of battering because it’s a way of hobbling and crippling victims to prevent escape and can have dire or even life threatening outcomes for victims and children.

            • Your description sort of took my breath away, in regard to my first husband, the abuser. Then I realized it also described numerous things about FW, particularly the projecting as a predictor for what the FW was beginning to do and would eventually do. I can look back clearly from the beginning of our relationship to see his invasive, over-controlling behaviors in questioning me constantly of things he was either thinking of doing or already doing. I suspect that every critical line of his questioning was hoping to find I was betraying him in some way…precisely because he was already betraying me. His insistence on knowing what every text on my phone was and from whom, (virtually always family or advertisements), began at the same time I now know he was having at least an emotional affair with a pretty young co-worker, with whom the texting never stopped. Making sure that less and less money was available for me to simply run the household ran parallel to him both spending more and more on drugs and alcohol, and then sending money to the AP. If you can paralyze your victim — either DV or cheating — you can lock them in a smaller existence without windows. Is it truly any wonder that victims of DV Feel there is no way to get out? Or that chumps almost invariably cling to their FW after finding out about the betrayal? We have been reduced to accepting our FWs as the only possible source of oxygen or love available to us.

        • I’ll have to look at that link, thank you Hell of a Chump. As for the “cackle” remark, he’s always called my laugh a cackle. I have a very loud laugh, but it’s not a cackle in the true sense. I never thought of it as putdown but I didn’t think a lot of the things he said were putdowns until now. For instance, he absolutely refuses to call me by my name. He only calls me by the nickname he gave me when we were dating. After we separated I told him that if he needed to address me he should call me by my actual name and he refused! He actually mocked me for it. I realized then that for 30 years something I thought was cute was actually his way of devaluing me. I wasn’t my own person. I was something that he could rename and devalue. It has shaken me to my core to realize how abusive he actually was and still is.

          • Yikes. Was the same with my ex. He pretty much only called me by the diminutive nickname he gave me — mouse. At first, I hated when he did it in public; I just gave up, and in time I stopped noticing. All of his funny nicknames for me were “affectionately” diminutive, even babyish, and this seeped in to how I saw myself over the years. When I was away from him, people saw me very differently, and it was refreshing and even surprising.

            The only time my ex used my real name was when he was being patronizing and condescending, during wreckonciliation. Like, he was the adult, talking down to me like a child in trouble.

            • My nickname was literally a derivative of the word “baby” because when we were dating I called the kids I babysit for “bubbas”. So he called me “Bubbers”. I hated it. Truly loathed it but he never stopped. He still uses it and won’t call me by my given name.

          • Molly. This is the power and control game. Take back your power. If you must break NC and communicate with this clown. Tell him (we do not ASK FWs; we know how that goes) to call you by your name and warn him ONE TIME that you will not respond if he doesn’t use it. Then stick to your guns. You may have to enforce it a few times but I assure you he heard you and if he wants something he will comply.

            • I would not break no contact, considering she’s already told him to not contact her.

              Breaking no contact to tell him AGAIN to respect her boundaries (whether it’s about her name or to stop contacting her) just tells the abuser that all he has to do to get a response from her is continue to disrespect her boundaries and harass her.

  • Print them off and give to lawyer. Also handy for orders of protection. I’m not sure how hard this will be but I would relocate, get rid of emails and old phone numbers. Advise your near and dear to do the same. Warn your employer. I hope you don’t share custody. Change vets. Hugs and blessings

  • “made you feel abandoned, devastated, like nothing is real, like you can never trust anyone again. … made you feel unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless.”

    He 100% gets off on causing her pain/fear, and the Shining GIF is spot on. Who lists things like this??

    Glad you got out safely, MollyWobbles. Stay that way!!!

  • CL: FYI, the ads today that are running on your website are for a “California polyamory therapist”. I’m not sure if you have choices on what ads appear on your webpage, but it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

    • Screen shot and send it to me please. I can opt out of certain ads if I complain.

  • Return every missive unopened and labeled “Return to Sender”. F**k him sideways.

  • It’s like he’s suddenly realised that he’s going to court and that preamble is like the setup in some amateurish stage whisper where he pretends he doesn’t know that anyone’s watching, as he speaks ‘inner truths’. Especially the ‘you need to budget better’. That’s like he’s hoping that the judge won’t look at the huge pile of international bills that will come to the bench, because his letter has pointed the finger at YOU. He really has poor thinking skills. I wonder if he’s in a 12 step, found God at the last minute or doing one of those internet ‘get back your lost partner for only $9.95’ internet courses. Stay safe!

  • I died at “ChatGPT says hey”
    If there was coffee, Id have spewed.
    That paragraph reeks of AI. Worse RIC FW AI.

  • As I’ve commented before, I forced myself to be “nice” to FW until the divorce was finalized, and even afterward for a while. I recommend it, if possible, to help you get what you want in the divorce without a fight. For my particular FW, it helped me get what I wanted, but your mileage may vary. It was so hard not to tell FW off, though, and it felt so good to finally do it recently and be done with him forever. Good luck, MW. Hugs.

    • That’s exactly what I was doing until I found out about his foreign vacations. After that, there’s no point. He’s spending like he’s made of cash while crying that he can’t find work. He’s doing the worst already. I’m out. Totally NC.

      • Does your lawyer/the court know? This is theft of marital property and needs to be calculated into the division of assets.

  • There isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t want her laugh to be described as a “cackle” am I right, Ladies?!

  • As CL and others pointed out above, the programme he’s probably working smells suspiciously like CHATGPT, and he probably getting a buzz off of thinking he’s so clever being up with the latest technology and that you’d be softened up by something made up by a machine.

    This guy reeks of someone who’s running a desperate internal monologue to keep his internal reality from accepting the obviously signs that he’s pushed you too far and he’s lost you for good. Somewhere in his twisted thinking/reality, he’s been working on the premise that you will always be there to put up with whatever he wishes to do or say to you, and that’s why he’s felt so entitled to treat you like this, because you’ll always tolerate it.

    Now that the reality of your actions is in direct conflict with his internalised paradigm, he is desperately casting about for something to counteract that, as the enormity of that revelation in direct opposition to his reality will hit him so hard that he will feel like his world is crumbling, if that assumption is incorrect then he will be opened to the terror of the ambiguity of life, he will feel like he’s vulnerable to all the terrors of uncertainty and it will lay bare the instability and incorrectness of his life view, and he will feel like he’s disintegrating.

    This will make him dangerous, as he stumbles about trying to reassert his version of reality, to avoid falling into the void, or accepting that his version of events was so faulty (Don’t ask me how i know this, but i believe this is part of the terror that Chumps go through when they realise the assumption they have been working on about their lives is shattered by the reality of what FWs have been doing). I believe this may be the process that many abusers who go on to try to physically destroy the partner that leaves them, goes through: they seek to destroy the opposing version of reality that exposes them to who they really are, so that they can reassert their narrative and avoid the existential collapse that would come with admitting that their version of reality is a lie.

    So please be careful, make people who need to know aware of any contact FW makes, and set up plans for safety. Please don’t return the letters, while he thinks they are getting through, even though he is not sure how they are being received, he has hope, and that will hopefully keep him at bay. Take steps for safety, and have plans B and C for when the time comes to settle things up. He is acting this way to protect his fragile version of reality from being disrupted by the truth.

    • Excellent points, Stig.

      “but i believe this is part of the terror that Chumps go through when they realise the assumption they have been working on about their lives is shattered by the reality of what FWs have been doing”

      Yes, I absolutely felt that. I was out in a void, not knowing what was real anymore. It is indeed terrifying.

      “He is acting this way to protect his fragile version of reality from being disrupted by the truth.”

      Yes, and when it doesn’t work, they turn to another fantasy, that they are being victimized, which relies on demonizing the chump to an extreme. They seethe with hatred and rage. That makes all of them potentially dangerous.

      • Because they will never ever ever accept the blame for anything. They think they are Teflon.

  • the witness protection program has ALSO made me a safer person.


  • Yeah, he’s unsafe and up to no good.
    **DANGER** No Contact!
    When he writes this- ‘which made you feel unsafe, abused, frustrated, and hopeless.’ I picture him rubbing his hands together. Steer way clear of this guy, Molly!

  • Dear Molly Wobbles,

    Over two years out, I can read most letters to CL at this point with empathy but from a healthy distance. Your submission, however, left me feeling nauseated, angry and shaky. The situation and the words themselves are sickeningly similar to what I experienced (down to “I miss [insert one of your charming idiosyncrasies] and “you can cry on me and I’ll take care of you” and “I want to treat you the way you’ve always deserved” etc.). Hopefully, you’re further along than I was when my ex mounted his final Hoover offensive. Even so, I’m worried for you. If you aren’t yet at 100% trust he sucks, he repulses you and nothing he could ever do, not even a character transplant and happily ever after, could make you want to be with him… do not trust yourself. There is no reason to engage with an FW, so if you are finding reasons to rationalize doing so, you’re not yet safe and free.

    DO NOT return the letter, do not answer it, stay the NC course. I would also recommend blocking/not reading his emails, because you don’t need that garbage reopening wounds (best case) or wearing you down (worst case). Keep your guard up. If it feels good, don’t do it. Call in the reinforcements — family, trustworthy friends, legal, DV resources. I’m with CL that this guy is creepy, and it sounds like you could use assistance navigating it safely on a variety of fronts. In my case, after a few months of a GNR campaign from my ex, I caved and went back again. Despite FW’s promises, it was instantly exponentially worse — and that is saying a lot. Not only did returning jeopardize my mental health — the psychological abuse became extreme, during the lockdown phase of the pandemic — but he also became increasingly physically abusive. Guns, padlocked rooms in our house, veiled threats, and I finally moved out after one particularly violent incident that left me with injuries that didn’t heal for months. I still didn’t cut contact, and he started stalking me and flipping through the rage/pity/“charm” channels. It was awful and surreal at the time, but I never expected “my” FW to be like that, and even while it was happening, I still thought he/we were different. It took months of safety and distance to get clarity and have my head/heart sync up. Find some way to give yourself the space and time you need to have a real break, and you’ll get there. Abuse is a cycle, so you’re either out or in. When you’ve closed the door for good are genuinely free and clear (because YOU have decided you are), you’ll know it. (Maybe you’re already there? But sounds like not quite.)

    Haven’t read the other comments yet, so apologies for the inevitable repetition. And sorry for writing so frantically, I just had a really close call after falling for BS like your ex is sending you — and hope you don’t. Hugs, and stay steady. We’re on your team.

    • bread&roses, I am so sorry that his letter triggered you. And yes, so many of the things you described I feel too. I am ashamed to admit how many times I took him back and how many Ddays I actually had before I walked away. I am finally done.

      My STBXFW is already flipping through “rage pity charm channels” and it’s very scary. The part of his letter where he says he “raised his voice” at me is a staggering understatement. He screamed over the phone at me when I refused to give him information about our oldest son. Information I didn’t even have. All of the sudden he just went insane. He started screaming “I’m not a villain! I’m not a villain! Why are you trying to make me a villain?!” I was walking into work when it happened and I couldn’t stop shaking for a full hour. It was one of the few times I was really scared of him, of what he might do. I even had to tell my co-workers because I so scared that he could come in to my place of work in a rage. I didn’t recognize him in that moment.

      I’m so sorry for all the things your FW put you through. I’m glad you’re away from all of that and hope that you have peace now.

  • Your comment about ChatGPT was so spot on that I decided to ask ChatGPT to write an apology letter from the perspective of a cheating husband who wants to save his marriage. This is what it came up with, which hilariously has all the hallmarks of standard cheater BS, but also oddly sounds more sincere at the end than a real cheater. Imagine that.

    “Dear [Wife’s Name],

    I don’t even know where to begin with this letter. I know that I have hurt you in the worst possible way, and for that, I am deeply sorry. My actions were inexcusable and wrong, and I understand that I have betrayed your trust and shattered our marriage.

    I want you to know that I take full responsibility for what I have done. There is no excuse for my behavior, and I am not trying to justify it in any way. I know that I have caused you immense pain and heartache, and I am truly sorry for that.

    I understand that my actions have caused you to doubt my love and commitment to our marriage. But I want you to know that I love you more than anything in this world, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to make things right between us.

    I know that it will take time for you to heal from the pain that I have caused, but I promise to be patient and understanding. I am committed to making amends and rebuilding our relationship from the ground up.

    Please know that I am fully transparent with you about my actions and where I have been lacking in our relationship. I am willing to be completely honest with you about everything and anything that you may ask.

    I am also willing to seek professional help and counseling to work on our marriage and address the issues that led to my infidelity. I know that it will take time, but I am committed to working through this with you.

    Lastly, I just want you to know that I love you with all my heart, and I am truly sorry for everything that I have done. I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me and give our marriage another chance.


    [Your Name]”

    • W-O-W – – the similarities are amazing. Laughable AND scary – both at the same time.

      What you did shows a lot of practical intelligence. (And, as they say: “Enough common sense is genius”.)

  • Center for Change. Based on Lundy Bancroft. Clearly, he’s not committed to the program. Spouse is required to be the reality check to the therapist. Don’t know how he got accepted.

    • It’s definitely not Lundy Bancroft’s program. I’m sure he’d tell me if it was that one. I know he’s seen my copy of Why Does He Do That so he’d tell me.

    Only a couple days later and I have received this text…
    “Have you read the letter I sent? I really do think this new program I’m in is the final key to stop me from doing things that make you feel unsafe. When I said I’d need another program, this is it.”
    I replied
    “You’re breaking my boundaries right now”
    And then blocked him.

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