Cheaters Are Not Worth Your Precious Life

Dear Chump Lady,

God bless you for being there to help chumps! God bless Chump Nation for sharing stories and support to help chumps!

Five years ago, I connected with another chump via the Facebook Chump Lady group. We had similar stories with severe verbal and emotional abuse in 20+ year marriages, plus cheating, by our then husbands. We messaged each other multiple times a day, words of encouragement and understanding. We struggled. We celebrated. We struggled some more. We kept saying we were on the path to meh together!

A week ago, this amazing woman… an absolute hero, and the brightest, shining star this world has ever experienced… committed suicide.

In honor of my dear friend, would you please rerun “Please Don’t Kill Yourself For A Fuckwit”, or a new post, reminding fellow chumps that their lives are worth so much, and not to end them because of the abusers?

Thank you,

In Honor Of My Friend

****

Dear Honor,

I am so sorry you lost your friend and hero. I know how jagged and raw suicide grief can be. You can haunt yourself with the woulda, coulda shoulda’s. It’s like they take a part of you out with them. I hate that she was suffering. What a testament to her goodness that she was able to lift you up and help others even when her own world felt so dark. If you think a column would help you now or anyone else, I’m happy to rerun it.

Big ((hugs)) to you.

Tracy

****

Don’t Kill Yourself for a Fuckwit

I get a lot of sad letters at Chump Lady. Letters like:

“I know I should leave him. But I am in pain, I really really love him so much!!! My life is meaningless without him. I think about him every single minute. I keep hoping he will realize I am the best girl, without me, he won’t be as happy as before. I am hoping he will change for me, I am hoping we can get back together. My world is only him. I don’t want to live without him. If he leaves, my world has no meaning anymore. I want to end my life.”

Please don’t end your life for a fuckwit! If anyone out there is feeling suicidal over a fuckwit, call a suicide hotline, call emergency services for an immediate psych evaluation, get on anti-depressants, find Jesus, find Yoga, adopt puppies — but whatever you do, do NOT kill yourself for a fuckwit!

Can you imagine a more pointless death? Offing yourself for a cheater? This is like committing hari-kari for finding gum on your shoe.

Look, I’m not trying to make light of your despair, chumps — I’m trying to offer perspective. I’ve been there, but let me tell you, these feelings are transitory. It baffles me now. but I once imagined driving into highway medians. For what? A bald, fat serial cheater who read fantasy elf lit and draped his trousers over chairs? A man who couldn’t pick up the dinner check for his widowed mother living on a coal miner’s pension, but would happily drop $800 on a new crossbow for himself? That selfish bastard? I marvel now that I wasted 5 minutes in his company, let alone considered ending my life over him. WTF was WRONG with me?!

I couldn’t live without THAT? The mindfuckery? The gaslighting? The constant drama? The pick me dance? The fucking elf lit?

Oh but there were good times! He… he could be really charming! 

Yeah, like that time he threatened to kill me. #Kodakmemories

Fact was, I had sunk costs. I’d been whiplashed between sparkly impression management (KIBBLES! I GET A KIBBLE!) and straight-out abuse. I was EXHAUSTED. I had invested so much in that lie, but it was my lie. It was my LIFE. Please God, don’t make me start over.

Starting over was exactly the plan. And thank you Jesus, because I have a pretty swell life. Like yesterday, my son’s home from spring break and we went to the Smithsonian African American museum (his idea!) and had a great day together! And the day before that, he went to art class with me, and my Russian instructors swooned over how handsome he was, and told him he looked like Pushkin! And this kid hung out with me, drawing (my thing) for three straight hours, because he loves me, and maybe I’m kind of fun to be with sometimes, now that I’m not a snotty mess mourning a fuckwit.

Sure, my son would still love me if I was a snotty mess mourning a fuckwit, but I am infinitely more cool without the fuckwit.

And you are too. Which brings me to the Universal Bullshit Translator.

“I know I should leave him. But I am in pain, I really really love him so much!!!

It’s completely rational to leave people and things which PAIN us. Loving pain? Not rational.

Healthy love doesn’t inflict pain. Do you want to be healthy, or unhealthy?

My life is meaningless without him.

No it is not. YOU ascribe meaning to your life, not him. DO NOT GIVE HIM THAT POWER. Fill your life with a thousand things that are NOT him — peonies, Broadway showtunes, warm cookies, Agatha Christie novels, handknit socks. These are just a few of my favorite things… that aren’t fuckwits. Make your own list.

When you give him ALL meaning, that means you are prioritizing his God-like status above people who actually DO love you, like your family or your children.

Really? You want to worship at the Fuckwit altar when you have all that?

I think about him every single minute.

Don’t.

Seriously. STOP IT. Go out for a walk. Dial a friend. Dial a stranger. Get on my forum. Drop and give me 50 pushups. Just STOP this shit.

I keep hoping he will realize I am the best girl, without me, he won’t be as happy as before.

That’s not going to happen. If he valued you, he wouldn’t cheat on you.

Forget about his happiness. Trust me, he’s happy fucking you over. It’s what these people do.

How about you be the “best girl” for you?

I am hoping he will change for me,

Not gonna happen.

I am hoping we can get back together.

Could happen. And then it will bring you pain and thoughts of suicide. Ergo, I don’t think getting back together is a good idea. The fuckwit isn’t having a character transplant.

My world is only him.

Your world is too small. Why not have your own world instead of being a minor satellite to Planet Narcissist?

I don’t want to live without him. If he leaves, my world has no meaning anymore. I want to end my life.”

“Here lies the remains of a Minor Satellite Chumptronic 45DK0983, which crashed to earth after its last voyage to Planet Narcissist. Its exploratory mission ended when it found Planet Narcissist arid and uninhabitable. Scientists believe the minor satellite then had an existential crisis when it falsely concluded that no planets could sustain life if Planet Narcissist could not sustain life.

The satellite was last seen hurdling towards Pittsburgh, as a fiery ball of space trash.”

Don’t end your life over a fuckwit. Live. Explore. There are better worlds out there.

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

177 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Attie
Attie
9 months ago

I’m tough, I had a job where I earned more than the asshole. I already hated him, BUT I felt I could no longer stand the physical, mental and financial abuse from him. I did once think that maybe death would be a relief but then I realized my kids would be left to be raised by that asshole! Thank god for that. He’s out of the picture and I have both my kids nearby! Never, ever, ever give up your life for a fuckwit!

nomar
nomar
9 months ago

I considered what a relief it would be to end my life, but it quickly occurred to me that she’d stolen 25 years from me and I’d be damned if I let her steal any more. And I clung to that thought like an orange life preserver (“HMS HellNo”) for the next 18 months. And I also made lists, including a list of what I wanted more of in my life moving forward, without her, including among others (it was a long and ever-growing list): more music, more conversation, more listening, more travel, more time with my extended family, more affection, more baseball, more train rides, more cold watermelon on hot days, more boat rides, more time spoiling dogs, more long walks, more smiling. That list focused me and buoyed me when seas got rough. And today, years later, my life is largely described by that list. And by dozens of other shining joys I couldn’t even imagine in that dark time.

DrChump
DrChump
9 months ago
Reply to  nomar

It is a horrible situation when you don’t want to live anymore but you know you have to. I went to bed each night praying I wouldn’t wake up. I prayed the cancer I had just survived would come back and take me out. The thought crossed my mind but there was no way I was going to leave my son to be raised by FW.

SortOfOverIt
SortOfOverIt
9 months ago
Reply to  DrChump

I did a lot of hoping I wouldn’t wake up too. I have a child, I didn’t want to end it myself because I thought that would hurt their feelings. (As if being left to be raised by a FW and his AP would not be a problem? I didn’t say anything I thought made sense. I was in shock and reeling and could not for the life of me think straight) I thought frequently about how I could do it and have it look like an accident. This was in the earliest time post D-Day. It’s been 3 years, my sense has returned, thankfully it did quite some time ago, not in small part due to Tracy and CN. But in the early days, he blamed me for the affair. I just didn’t quite worship him enough, despite not doing a god damn thing I wanted for myself for 2 decades, always deferring to him who was never happy despite all my efforts. I believed him and I was in a bad, bad place. We are separating this month and while ending a marriage of decades is not pleasant, I am in a much better place and often remember those early days and thank god that I made it through.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  SortOfOverIt

I’m glad you are feeling better.

KADawn
KADawn
9 months ago
Reply to  nomar

HMS HellNO was my life preserver also! And now it’s HMS HellYesIbelieveIWILLThankYou!

It Is What It Is
It Is What It Is
9 months ago
Reply to  nomar

I wasn’t ever truly suicidal because I knew my STBXFW would have loved to be the “tragic widower”. During the dark days what I really wanted was a nice coma. I just didn’t want to have to think about everything and function. But alas, I had children to feed and care for and a graduate degree to work on. So a coma wasn’t an option. I’ll admit to crying, screaming cuss words, and taking afternoon naps to block out my misery. Eventually, with time, healing happened. So sad when anyone takes their own life, especially over a FW. It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem, even though it feels overwhelming.

Involuntary Georgian
Involuntary Georgian
9 months ago

XW and AP (now husband) are flying 1000 miles between their households because neither I nor his ex-wife have been courteous enough to off ourselves. I’m sure they’d love it if one of did commit suicide, as they could immediately uproot that set of kids and unite them all under one unhappy roof. I’m not going to give her the satisfaction.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  nomar

Nomar, I am really happy for you and your kids!!

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  nomar

Nomar, your presence here for so long is a testament that recovery is real and possible. Your posts keep me rowing my lifeboat in the right direction.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
9 months ago
Reply to  nomar

Your list of what you wanted more of matches mine. (I’m no longer a dog owner, though. lol) I have spent so many years missing out in those things, I can’t imagine ending life and missing out on my chance to really start living life better post-FW!

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  nomar

Oh Nomar, I love your list of good things you wanted out of life and IM glad that you decided to keep going.

There were times when I really prayed for death to take me because I couldn’t bear having to end my life to end my pain and my kids feeling like they weren’t worth me sticking around for. The amount if time I had an actual Death Wish was too long…on and off for over a year, Im sure.

It is so strange to actually remember that time yet now have a much clearer understanding of why dying for him would have been such a tragedy. There are times now when I savor life so deeply and fully, I wish I could bottle it and give it away.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
9 months ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

There were many days when you were my lifeline unicornnomore ❤️❤️❤️

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago

Oh golly MC99, that warms my heart

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

Unicornomore AND Motherchumper, you’re oars people on my lifeboat, and I thank you.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago

oars people …what an image…you are so kind. I think you are badass yourself

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

One thing I know to be true, no matter the circumstances, someone cannot get out of the dark alone. I know I can’t. When I feel very dark and lost and hopeless, I am not going to be able to find my way out by myself.

My therapist went to a workshop for therapists at residential treatment facility There was an exercise where the participants were blindfolded and taken into a maze to find their way out using a rope tied to trees in a forested area. They were left to find their own way out. Finally, my therapist yelled “Help!” The facilitators came to help. As it turned out, yelling for help was the solution to the exercise.

If nothing else, please do your best to yell for help.

I can’t think my way out with the same mind that is lost in the dark. I need the help of others. I need the perspective of others to find my way.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CsyyFTiOA8J/?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago

I felt sad and hurt, but not suicidal. Now I feel mostly angry and embarrassed that I had a life with FW. Obviously I am grateful to have my kids. But the rest of it I could do without.

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
9 months ago

I remember when suicide looked tempting… and I remember my faith in Jesus got me through that darkest of times. I walked in faith that it would get better and trusted that I was not alone even though I felt otherwise. So glad I did not give into temptation as my life is SO much better today than I could ever imagine. It does get better!

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago

It’s been my faith in Christ that’s kept me going through it all as well DM! The last 6 months he was living with me, I was not well at all ( clinical depression with repetitive thoughts of being better off dead if it weren’t for my son!) and often couldn’t get to Mass or Confession but I’d watch Mass online and prayed every day, even if I was exhausted. I believe that if we refuse to let go of Our Lord, He keeps hold of us and my faith has become stronger than ever because of what I’ve suffered and am suffering, not least because my STBXH has admitted he’s all but lost his faith and look what that’s lead to! Drug addiction and adultery, betraying God and himself as well as me,. I offer it up to Christ on the Cross and trust Him that He will bring me through this dark time and back into the light.
Maybe Our Lord allows these things sometimes to test our faith and encourage us to turn to Him, to make him central to our lives and King of our hearts? God brings good out of evil and I have experienced this. I also believe He executes His Justice on adulterers, in His own time and way. There’s a reason the Commandment against it is the next Commandment after “Thou Shalt Not Kill”- it’s deeply evil and is such a grave offense to Him !

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
9 months ago
Reply to  Shadow

I hear you Shadow…my faith got me through also. I think though that the Catholic Church doesnt do enough to help people in truly abusive relationships discern if ending the marriage is the best thing. I was SO focused on praying that my Abuser would change, it kept me stuck while I ignored the fact that he was rejecting whatever good urgings God was sending to him. I did have moments of clarity when I admitted to myself that God gave him free will and would not take it from him.

I will share with the Chumps that when I considered divorce, one thing that held me back was that I knew a divorce would take at LEAST 2 years in my state if not more and I could not apply for an annulment until it was final and that would take years so I was looking at 4 to 7 years before I had any chance at love in my life and at the time, hoping that Cheater would improve felt like a better option. That 7 year time frame felt like a mountain I could not scale. It felt really odd to me when that time did pass and crazy irony, right at the 7 year mark is when he died. What I’m trying to say is that I let that detail contribute to scaring me into inaction.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

And thank goodness you didn’t , Divorce Minister. Without your glowing breadcrumbs guiding me, I would still be wandering around in the infidelity Fire Swamp.

YetAnotherChump
YetAnotherChump
9 months ago

Yes. Faith and the thought of my kids being left with him. That is what pulls me through some of the hard days (ongoing still due to financial issues). Thank you for your reminder that it gets better.

Ladybug Chump
Ladybug Chump
9 months ago

Finding meaning and purpose in one’s life is always an inside job. I’m working on this now. Not suicidal, just lost.

I’ve found it to be so hard to find a pinprick of light in the pitch black tunnel to follow. Meanwhile, I still know it’s worth figuring out how to navigate this journey. The pain tells us lies about how it won’t end. But it does. Even if one lays on the couch and sleeps for months or years. Time and healing still occur. If I add any effort (like a list of things I’d like – see some prior posts – or going outside for a walk) things move a little quicker.

Also, I love how Tracy succinctly writes something that describes my experience when I can’t. Like this: “Fact was, I had sunk costs. I’d been whiplashed between sparkly impression management (KIBBLES! I GET A KIBBLE!) and straight-out abuse. I was EXHAUSTED. I had invested so much in that lie, but it was MY LIE. It was my LIFE. Please God, don’t make me start over.”

All the work I’d done on myself before FW, the whiplash, and my desire to be a wife and have a partnered life. Please God, don’t make me start over… PLEEEEASE.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  Ladybug Chump

Ladybug Chump, you ARE a light, and not just a pinprick, but a blindingly bright beacon of light more brilliant and spectacular than the Northern Lights, like every person here who comes here and posts.

nomar
nomar
9 months ago
Reply to  Ladybug Chump

Well said. Your reference to “pinprick of light” reminded me of that old Bruce Cockburn lyric, “Got to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight.” That thought was helpful to me during the divorce process as it emphasized the connection between my actions and my ability to see a way forward.

Marcus
Marcus
9 months ago
Reply to  nomar

‘…when you’re lovers – in a dangerous time…’ 🙂 BC is something like 78, and still going strong. I was a big fan.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus

“One day you’re waiting for the sky to fall, the next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all.”

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus

Also a big fan. “If I had a rocket launcher” is still a phrase that comes to me when I see behavior warranting it–most recently Russia’s veto of the aid checkpoint from Turkey to Syria, which will condemn many to die of starvation.

Anarchyintheukok
Anarchyintheukok
9 months ago

It is horrible, it is a battle but they are NOT worth it

I wanted to die so badly at one point during discard and the RIC only made things worse, telling me if I only tried harder, maybe I wouldn’t be in this situation and I believed it

Good, kind people do not treat you this way, you would not treat others this way

I have a straight talking GBF, who is amazing and doesn’t pull any punches

I explained one day that, for a split second, I had felt so low, that I wanted to call ex FW to take our child because I just wanted my life to be over and to take my life

Instead of saying, oh no, poor you, he said don’t be so absurd Anarchy! What were you thinking?! FW doesn’t even really want your child, except for the fun parts. He’d be palmed off from pillar to post while FW did what he always does, exactly what he wants

It made me laugh and I decided I’d never give the idiot that power over me again

Choose life, choose Chump Lady, choose self esteem

I spent hours every day, in between dropping my child to school and job hunting, reading the archives and realising these clowns are not unique

Nemo
Nemo
9 months ago

Comment on your very last sentence: Yes, there are only so many ways for a cheater to manipulate their trusting partner.

FYI
FYI
9 months ago

Bears repeating ….
“Choose life, choose Chump Lady, choose self esteem.” 🙌🏽

It Is What It Is
It Is What It Is
9 months ago

What a fabulous friend!!!!

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
9 months ago

Perhaps we can expand the scope of this discussion?

My youngest daughter started self-harming and experienced suicidal ideation as a result of her mother’s actions. Additionally, my son self-harmed and attempted suicide; again as a direct result of something that his mother did. I got both of them the help that they needed (at significant financial and emotional cost) and they are both in a much better place now than where they were 5 or 6 years ago …. but it was a long and hard road for both of them, and with absolutely no help at all from Ex-Mrs LFTT

My point is that we should remember that, in addition to understanding that no Cheater is worth a Chump’s life, we need to ensure that our children get this message too.

LFTT

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

LFTT– Yes, that’s the sum of it for me– asking how everything would effect the kids, particularly since I think suicidality can be contagious in families. Considering how FW was drinking himself to death leading up to and during the affair, I always suspected that whatever despair I felt due to his abuse and betrayal was simply what he secretly felt underlying all the nihilistic behavior. It was like he was throwing me in the path of the mental bullets he aimed at himself. I worried that, if I “caught” that shrapnel, would my kids then “catch” it from both of us? The thought of my kids going into catastrophic future depressions was so heartbreaking and terrified me so much that it put a bit more metal in my soul during the worst of it. For a while, daily life became about maintaining perspective as an antidote to FW’s “perspecticide” and attempts to insert his own sick views onto me. I would get up in the morning, read, write or reread things I’d written to pound sane reality into my skull. I’m not religious but it was sort of like repeating the Lord’s Prayer over and over again as an incantation to ward off evil.

Involuntary Georgian
Involuntary Georgian
9 months ago

My kids never got to that point, but AP’s kids are in bad shape. The sad part is they say that they are less important than their father’s new wife (my XW), and there’s really no response because it’s true. He prioritizes his time with my XW, which means spending more and more of the year at her household (1000 miles away from them) and missing more and more of his supposedly 50/50 custody time with them.

The second time AP’s daughter was (voluntarily) committed for self-harm / suicidal thoughts, she told him she was in a bad way and thought she needed to go back for in-patient care. He replied that he couldn’t do anything about that because had a plane to catch in a few hours (to go back to my XW’s house), but he would drop her off early at her mother’s. It boggles the mind. Every time my XW tries to insert AP into parenting situations for my kids I think of that story and tell myself “no way I am letting this person have any legal say in my kids’ welfare.”

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

Keep up the good fight, IG. Thank God your kids have you.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
9 months ago

My kids too👆🏻👆🏻😭😭😭

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

LFTT, I agree. And it’s a long game. The immediate effect I saw on our daughter was like watching a bird falling to earth after being shot out of the sky. I will never ever ever forgive cheaters and side pieces for the damage their behavior does to involved children.

We have always been in therapy but I got Little Hammer her own individual therapist. Still, I am fearful of long-term impact. These are wounds that can resurface and require cleaning and redressing for life. Down the road when she gets into a relationship….if she has a child…

Being aware of the impact is extremely important IMHO.

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago

This is just my experience with my now adult children.
Because I treated mental health therapy as just another acceptable approach to anything needing addressing (as normal as going to the pediatrician), they are now both comfortable turning to mental health professionals if and whenever they feel it necessary.

I believe that the attitude that you show toward needing any support, physical or mental health, will result in their being comfortable as adults.

Sandyfeet
Sandyfeet
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

My daughter needed help in college after knowing some kids that had died, one by suicide others in accidents.I was pleased she was able to get it at university. After Dday she sought help without my suggestion and son also found a therapist. The only one that didn’t had been a psychology major for undergrad. She was a new mom of twins but conferred with her sibs. They don’t show their hurt and rarely mention him. NC for all three. Glad it’s normal seeking help for them.

Elsie
Elsie
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

I agree that therapy should be normal if you aren’t coping. And if the therapist doesn’t work for you, find another! But in some religious circles, that’s considered not having enough faith. No, because I have faith, I seek help to find my way out of things I can’t deal with.

When my ex left, I was seeing a therapist. The leadership of our church told me to stop that and lean on two elder’s wives. With all due respect, they had no clue how to help me. I went to a local lay counselor/coach who was far better at teasing out the faith and marriage issues than they were. I did periodically also go back to the therapist, but it was the lay counsellor/coach who really got me on track.

Elsie
Elsie
9 months ago

Yes, one of mine required therapy because of their messed-up father. I didn’t know the extent of the horrors against that child until after he left. I looked for opportunities at one of my jobs to get overtime, and we made it work.

They are now a working adult and restarted therapy a year ago, now paying for it themselves. I’m really impressed with this therapist from what I’ve been told.

In his eyes, he was a wonderful father.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago

My son was talking about suicide at one point too, and was severely depressed (he was only 8! it’s heartbreaking). I checked him into a pediatric mental health facility. At the intake, FW was like “I’ve never heard him say anything like that.” My son only felt safe to let his feelings out with me, and that is sad too. I know what it was like to live with FW and expressing unhappiness wasn’t really an option. My son hated the constant back and forth between homes, and he was dealing with an angry, controlling, alcoholic dad, and an OW who was mentally unstable and also an alcoholic. It was chaotic at his dad’s house, to say the least.

Good for you for being a PARENT and getting your kids the help they needed. They are lucky to have you.

My son is doing so much better now (FW died two years ago). No more anxiety, no more nightmares, no more stress, no more depression. I let him be himself instead of trying to turn him into a copy of me the way FW did. We laugh and play and hug. I let my son relax when he needs to instead of a flurry of “activities” because I don’t know how to just BE with him.

Our kids need a sane parent. One of the things that got me to get help for myself (medication and therapy) was the thought that I couldn’t be a good parent if I was a mess, and my son deserved better.

My son still goes to therapy regularly. He doesn’t talk much about his dad or his feelings about the last 6 years, but I want him to have the opportunity to do so when he needs to, with someone he knows and trusts.

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

ISawTheLight,
Your post is so inspiring. You made the best decision to take you son and get the professional help he need and continuing his therapy. Especially without the full support of your ex.
I wish him, and you, much luck and better health as the grows.

Anarchyintheukok
Anarchyintheukok
9 months ago

It’s tragically so common. My sunny, happy little boy told a teacher he wanted to die and to self harm to take the pain away

That’s why the ‘mistakes were made’ narrative needs to change. These despicable people are monsters

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

The day he found out from his sister what their dad had done was the very last time I ever saw my then tween middle kid cry. I would say all the kids are doing really well now following a lot of careful professional guidance and time. They resort to gallows humor if any of them are reminded of dad’s fuckery (it doesn’t come up directly much anymore though man do they trample all over pervy public figures caught in freaky scandals). But clearly some real damage was done since my younger son was forced to “man up” at such a young age. I know the feeling, kind of like the IRS has frozen your emotional accounts. Meanwhile FW kept throwing all these weepy bully tantrums at the bitter end of it all. Frankly I don’t think it’s any accident that FW established himself as the “only one who gets to shed tears” just like he hogged the whole “victim camp” for himself even as he victimized everyone else. Makes me sick to think about it.

All a Blur
All a Blur
9 months ago

This is the path I’m walking now as a parent. It’s brutal, and it’s scary. Glad to hear they navigated it successfully. Hoping to get there, too.

chumped48
chumped48
9 months ago

absolutely! My mother is a narc and I was a self-harmer growing up. (that stopped when I cut her out of my life- go figure). Fast forward to filing for divorce from FW- I was in a bad place and my mother tried to swoop back into my life with a large check that I desperately needed, but fortunately tore up so I could keep her out. Mostly I didn’t want her in my children’s lives. I strongly believe that behind every suicide is some sort of FW pulling the strings. This is another reason why NO CONTACT is so important. I truly hope my kids cut FW off some day soon.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  chumped48

“I strongly believe that behind every suicide is some sort of FW pulling the strings.”

Sorry, but I can’t let this go uncommented on, because even inadvertently it blames survivors, who already are feeling (irrational) guilt. My father was manic-depressive, and killed himself, at age 72, after a lifetime of suicide attempts. He was controlling and abusive–in all the ways, including cheating on my mother–to everyone in our family. His suicide was a choice he made, not one he was forced into. The only FW who was “pulling his strings” was himself. Or, if you want to be generous, his mental illness.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

Just like not all addicts are driven by the same causes, neither are all suicidal people. For example, battered women are at very high risk of addiction due to extended trauma but this bears zero resemblance to addiction found in many abusers who are simply trying to numb their own sense of stigma for their crimes the better to commit more crimes or even as an alibi (“Demon whisky made me do it”). I would agree that, for victims of abuse who experience suicidal ideation, their abusers were definitely pulling the strings. But this differs entirely from the very high rates of suicide among domestic abusers who usually come to this pass when they run out of hostages to scapegoat.

Nemo
Nemo
9 months ago

Thank you, HoaC. You are a valuable source on the psychology of abuse. I now know to use “captor bonding” instead of “trauma bonding” — the latter implies comradeship — survivors of a common trauma, like an earthquake or something.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Nemo

Thanks back, Nemo. I don’t think CSAT guru Patrick Carnes hijacked “captor bonding” by accident and recoined it as “trauma bonding.” Sex addiction therapists (aka, those who frequently rebrand sexual abusiveness as “addiction”) would have trouble retaining most of their clients if they used clinical terminology in which the finger pointing/perp identification was built right in (as it should be).

Samsara
Samsara
9 months ago

Also want to add to HOAC and Nemo’s comments above, the importance of distinguishing the terms “captor bonding” and “trauma bonding”. I absolutely agree with HOAC that Patrick Carnes has “muddied the waters” and has deliberately hijacked the true meaning of the terms relating to Stockholm syndrome and by extension the very meaning of post traumatic stress itself.

Language matters and abuser-manipulators know this, so as survivors we must re-claim the true position.

It was explained to me when I was diagnosed and in hospital for suicidal ideation the difference between the terms between C-PTSD and PTSD as follows:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder* (PTSD*) normally refers to the syndrome and symptomology a victim experiences as a result of a traumatic event eg a natural disaster or an earthquake, car crash, war, and combat or say, a front line responder situation (medical and paramedical, search and rescue etc) . In other words “trauma bonding”.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder* (C-PTSD*) is the term used now for interpersonal trauma, as in, from person to person specifically and refers to the specific symptomology victims experience as a result eg. power abuse dynamic situations (hostage, abduction, prisoner, battery, rape, sexual abuse etc). This is “Captor bonding” which leads to Stockholm Syndrome which is a pure survival mechanism, so the victim can live.

I was clinically diagnosed with both PTSD and C-PTSD as I have experienced situations in both categories with the caveat that C-PTSD is not (to my knowledge) officially in the DSM yet, although anyone working in the space with victims absolutely knows it is legit. The hospital I was in diagnosed me anyway as my symptomology fit every single criteria for both.

I also added the asterisk* on the word ‘disorder’ as the current thinking in the space is trending away from the word towards avoiding stigmatizing the condition as a disorder.

So, to extrapolate: PTSD is specific to “trauma bonding” as survivors often bond together having been through the same or similar traumatic experiences as per the list above. This is what Carnes has conveniently co-opted and weaponizes to support his bullshit CSAT theory. There is no such thing as sex addiction. There are only choices. It’s not a process addiction (gambling and porn) nor is it a substance addiction (drugs, alcohol) nor is it a compulsion addiction (obsessive compulsive etc), yet he has slyly tried to present it as sitting on the same spectrum as such and in doing so created much misery for the actual victims of such abusers. He gifted the abusers the get out of jail card. They are self medicating with people. That is all and it’s a choice to do so, otherwise if they were true addicts would be running around trying to hump lamposts.

The term “captor bonding” is specific to interpersonal trauma like sexual abuse, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse etc etc and therefore it’s link to C-PTSD is more relevant to the abuse chumps have endured.

For a chump, there is no equivalent trauma a cheater suffers for abusing us. There is no “us” in the trauma. There is only trauma for the chump and any kids and pets. End of.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Samsara

Samsar–

This whole discussion is fascinating and worthy and I’m glad to see things being carved down to finer points. Very interesting that “trauma bonding” is starting to be applied to the bonding between fellow survivors of similar traumas. I hadn’t heard that. I can see how that’s better than using the term to describe the bonding between victim and perp (as if both were equal victims of, say, a flood clinging together in the swirling torrents) except I can’t help seeing everything politically more than “scientifically.” So if I really think about it, even if I mind the former application of it less than the latter, more common, creepy usage (victim and perp clining), I’m still not sure I like it because it could almost be seen as pathologizing people who bond over intense common experience. Why not call it “survivor bonding” instead since this would highlight that the “points of connection” between people aren’t just traumatic memories and frazzled trauma symptoms but their survival strategies, shared strength and insights, etc.?

Furthermore, it strikes me that only in relatively sheltered, modern, first world societies (which are experiencing a very rare and probably temporary extended period of relative domestic peace– at least for whomever represents the dominant wealthier members of these societies) is “trauma” considered so unusual that it’s required as a prefix to describe a specific type of interpersonal bonding. Meanwhile in the rest of the not-so-sheltered world where trauma is often “last Tuesday,” it’s seems beside the point to indicate that people are bonding over trauma. Of course they are because trauma is a given. I live part of the year in a country that overcame a string of violent military dictatorships, the survivors of which often ascend to cultural and government leadership roles. Everybody bonds over that history (except for the embattled, shriveled, pissed off remains of supporters of the last dictatorship). Is the entire culture “trauma bonded”?

I’m also a little uncomfortable with social sciences putting their fingerprints on the bonding between trauma survivors by giving the phenomenon a name simply because I don’t trust mainstream commercialized social sciences. It’s all so often weaponized (read David Price’s “Weaponizing Anthropology” for a glaring example and the genera gist). Naturally the first phase of these weaponized campaigns of pathologization seem to drip with the milk of human kindness: “Oh, we’re just naming this behavior because we’re so concerned for these people…” But then the second something like this– say, the interpersonal connections made between survivors of similar ordeals– gets given a clinical title, it’s like planting cross hairs on these normal human social strategies marking them for further pathologization the better to fuck with and snuff social mobilizations that arise from “those damned demented victims getting together and shaking shit up” that might inconvenience the interests of power and profit. To give an example of this, there’s currently a weaponized campaign to officially dub survivors who lead movements and causes “career victims.” WT ever loving F? It cheapens every survivor movement from Black Lives Matters to Indigenous activist groups fighting deforestation and climate change to survivor advocates of any type of crime or disaster. And I think that’s the point. Cheapening, pathologizing, otherizing, etc., is one of the classic steps in “manufacturing consent” as Chomsky put it– as in manufacturing public consent to destroy these uppity targets. Maybe in better hands and in a better world, the tendency to name these normal behaviors and strategies wouldn’t be a bad thing. But we live in this world and those hands are often dirty.

When I was treated for PTSD in the late 90s following a workplace stalking incident and subsequent criminal proceedings and then later trained and worked in survivor advocacy, no one used the expression “trauma bonding” as far as I remember though apparently it’s been in the literature since the 80s. It was difficult enough to get those in helping professions and policy makers to acknowledge that captor bonding (the original application of “bonding” in traumatology coined by founding psychotraumatologist Frank M. Ochberg for the Stockholm bank hostage crisis, which was later dubbed by the press “Stockholm syndrome” which Ochberg then used himself for quicker recognition) was common among domestic battering victims and abused and sexually exploited children and adult. What made it seem so critical to get this recognized was that, in the gap of explaining why victims don’t “just leave” or would “often go back” to abusers would slip all the really heinous victim-blaming bs like the debunked “psychological deficiency” theory of battered women (the idea that all DV victims had preexisting pathology and “low self esteem” that “drew” abusers to them on Voodoo tractor beams).

Back then it seemed like a terrible scandal that “captor bonding”– aka “Stockholm syndrome”– hadn’t been entered into the DSM for any application, even for hostages that had had no “previous relationship” to captors (which was not Ochberg’s original distinction. Ochberg pointedly included battered women and sexually abused children: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2005-apr-08-oe-ochberg8-story.html ). The artificial and unwarranted exclusion of battered women/child sexual abuse survivors from definition of captor bonding seemed political because it upheld the lame claims that captor bonding/Stockholm syndrome is “rare” and that there weren’t enough cases of it to perform a wide study. This seemed absurd considering the stats for dv and victims of the sex industry where protracted abuse always hinges on captor bonding. The refusal to perform broad studies also seemed political to the extent that patriarchy or really any kind of exploitative top-down, hierarchical social structure absolutely depends on every shade and form of captor bonding to function, from corporate minions accepting abuse by powerful bosses to everything else. Basically it’s ironic that societies disparage and pathologize battered women because– in any capitalist, neoliberal or neofeudal society– we’re all battered women. We’re just scapegoating the ones who’re getting it so badly that they can’t hide the effects of it precisely because we’re expected to hide the effects of the forms we’re enduring ourselves.

Anyway, it seems that the concept of “Stockholm syndrome” had to spread first in public recognition before other iterations of “bonding” related to victimization could follow in the slipstream and gain popular recognition. I’m not sure but I suspect self help guru-promoters like Oprah helped get Stockholm syndrome into the modern lexicon a bit in the early 2000s. Before that happened, “trauma bonding” first appears in the literature only as a speculative replacement for captor bonding in application to battering victims, trafficking victims, etc. Maybe the term had previously been used casually as “bonding between victims of traumatic experience” but it’s not published anywhere prior to the 80s.

I know the work of the individuals– Donald Dutton and Susan Painter– who originally tried to “brand” the term “trauma bonding” in the 80s. It looks like nothing more than a one-sided turf war against Ochberg’s camp. Dutton and Painter started out as legitimate researchers and Dutton’s studies of domestic abusers in prison settings remain a massively important contribution. But apparently being the foremost expert on batterer psych didn’t win him any patriarchy brownie points or pay that much because, at some point, Dutton changed tacks and seemed to be trying to make a cottage industry out of it. But even then the expression didn’t really take off until Carnes grabbed it for his own creepy cottage industry. Since then the expression has spread and mutated among well-meaning people to the point that even Dr. Ramani uses it, probably because it easily overtook the recognizable but never-quite-viral “captor bonding/Stockholm syndrome” in terms of public awareness.

Again, I can see the upsides of it if the term “trauma bonding” is now being hijacked from the original hijackers of “captor bonding” and being given a less damaging meaning– simply the bonds that form between survivors of the same or similar trauma. Sort of like, haha, screw you, Carnes. But I’d still prefer “survivor bonding” if we’re going to give it a name.

I’m also a little on the fence about differentiating between PTSD and CPTSD and creating separate categories for victims of interpersonal trauma and victims of general disaster for the same reasons I stated above– I don’t trust commercialized social sciences and their habit of putting cross hairs on normal social behaviors and survival strategies. I think it’s almost safer, for instance, to continue to place battered women under the same aegis of respect that combat vets with PTSD are shielded by. That way, if sleazy sell-out social scientists wants to start casting icky, pathologizing, demeaning clinical aspersions at interpersonal trauma survivors and their adorable yet pathetic habit of clumping together to hold up each other’s weakness, they’ll be pitting themselves against a far more politically formidable segment of society– not to mention a segment that’s trained in the use of fire arms.

Orlando
Orlando
9 months ago

This is so sad. I think horrible spouses can do so much damage, financially & otherwise that it can seem insurmountable to overcome…even five years later. My heart breaks for her. My life is smaller now than it used to be, but I’ve come to accept it & embrace it. This took a lot of inner spiritual work though. Even now I sometimes get angry over what I lost (a family with intact mom & dad & a nicer home) and I have to talk myself out of going down that ruminating road. It is not always easy. I understand why chumps think of suicide especially when blindsided by a D-day – the pain is excruciating & enormous – because I considered it myself ….getting into my car in the garage & turning it on. Thankfully I told my mom & she drove like a bat out of hell to help me. I’m sorry that your friend still carried the pain inflicted by her unworthy ex-spouse. I wish she could have come out from behind his shadow to see the light. I hope she rests easy now. And he does not.
P.S. Take care of yourself too & reach out if you are struggling over the loss of your good friend. ❤️

UXworld
UXworld
9 months ago

“YOU ascribe meaning to your life, not him. DO NOT GIVE HIM THAT POWER.”

I was 12 years old when the movie “Oh, God!” came out, but even at that age, something stuck with me that I’ve never forgotten.

In one scene, God (George Burns) has been given a series of questions that he’s supposed to answer to prove that he’s God. For the question, “What is the meaning of man’s existence?,” he replies:

“Man and women — persons — their existence means exactly and precisely, not more, not one tiny bit less, just what they think it means. And what I think doesn’t matter at all.”

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  UXworld

UXworld, the Minstrel Laureate of Chump Nation, providing laughter, crucial medicine around here, I am happy that we met and honored to know you. Thank you for your service as an oarsman on my lifeboat.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago

I felt suicidal at one point shortly after D-Day. After 35 years with that FW, I felt abandoned, lost, and 100% alone. He was with the AP. I grabbed the dog’s leash and headed for the basement to look for a place to secure the noose. In that darkest moment of my life, I got an alert on my phone. My adult daughter had just sent me a video of my then 6-month-old grandchild. It jerked me out of my despair. In that moment, I decided I needed to live for my granddaughter.

She’s 4 now and (I know this sounds sickly sweet, but it’s true) the love of my life as is her little sister, now 2. Yesterday I went swimming with them. The 4 yo stood on the side of the pool and jumped into my arms. She can’t swim, so every jump was a leap of faith in me that I would keep her from sinking. She smiled so broadly as she entered the water, confident that I would catch her.

Little does she know that she’s the one who kept me from sinking.

My life is rich now. I can’t believe there was a time that I let that selfish, emotionally abusive cheater be the arbiter of my worth.

To new chumps who might feel desperate, please know that you won’t always feel this bad. It gets better.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

My thing was tall buildings because, statistically, it’s the one method known to fail the least as I’d learned in sociology. I would gaze up at towers over ten stories and calmly wonder how one got roof access, if they had barren courtyards below where there was no chance of hitting a pedestrian, etc. Then I’d think of the trauma to my children, the trauma to anyone who came upon such a grisly scene and I’d redirect, mostly because I knew these weren’t my feelings or thoughts but ones I’d been infected with like an STD. Deep down, it was FW who was subconsciously suicidal as I mentioned before. Frankly, I think the AP was as well. Abusive people are all walking abortions. I would remind myself that FW was right about my not being “good company” on the road to hell because it’s not my natural terrain.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

Spinach, your posts here are like cans of spinach to Popeye, and I thank you!

Ladybug Chump
Ladybug Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

I had the very similar situation (except I never got to any action step. I was asked to babysit my then 5 year old grandson and his baby sister (from FW side of family) and I said yes. Four years, pretty much every Sat/Sun sunrise to sunset and driving them back and forth and home (this took over an hour) because mom didn’t have a car, I took care of them. Swimming at the community pool almost all year was the main attraction. I taught them both to swim. So rewarding! And it pulled me into a future that mattered.
Finally divorced FW and was no longer watching those grandkids because their Dad was getting his life on track and took care of them. Moved across the country to be near my son’s family and grandkids. Just last weekend I got my youngest grandson out of the life jacket and he’s swimming and ready to give away the floatie jacket. This has made me so happy!

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

Your post made me tear up.

“My life is rich now. I can’t believe there was a time that I let that selfish, emotionally abusive cheater be the arbiter of my worth.”

That’s so true. My life is rich now too. Hang in there newbies. There is so much to live for.

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago

As someone who struggles with almost constant suicidal thoughts since DDay and has been institutionalized twice, I feel the need to add that it isn’t always as easy as finding reasons and ways to stay alive.

It is important to understand that suicidality changes one’s mind to such an extent that rational thoughts cannot exist. That is the issue “normal” people need to embrace and understand.

The diseased mind only sees itself and shuts out all rational thought and even awareness of anything outside of one’s head. The view is so narrow and so dark that there is no room for anything else.

No one truly intent on suicide can be talked out of suicide but they MAY be able to be talked into thinking differently by a professional or accepting professional help. Any caring person wants to help but it is important to know that a layman does not have all the tools necessary to do that. If any of us know someone who is suicidal, please report it and not try to handle it yourself. The suicide hotlines are also for reporting others. Suggestions of yoga, music or meditation may make things worse if the person is truly desperate.

There was an excellent article in the New York Times that came about as close to explaining suicidality as anything else I’ve ever read:
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/09/opinion/despair-friendship-suicide.html

I’ve been very public about my ride from suicidal intention to better mental health and am happy to talk with anyone here who is struggling or knows someone that is.

My story is too long for the comments but Chump Lady can give anyone my contact info!

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Rebecca, you are so brave, I cannot imagine how difficult that must be. I used to be a person who couldn’t understand why some people didn’t just “lighten up” or “focus on the positive”, or whatever you are supposed to do when feeling down. But I went through a phase where, as you say, the view becomes very narrow and dark, and then I realised why people can’t always just lighten up. Wishing you all the best xx

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Thanks for this reminder, Rebecca, and for the link.

ActaNonVerba
ActaNonVerba
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Thank you for this valuable contribution to the discussion, Rebecca. You got it spot on. What I never understood, until I did, is that both physical and emotional wounds can be mortal. A body can survive a terrible illness, a car accident or a shooting, but it may never be restored. Some injuries are permanent and survivors endure the alterations to their body systems for the rest of their days, adjusting to prosthetics, colostomy bags, or prescription medications. Survivors experience varying degrees of ability or inability to function going forward.

People with CIPA are at risk of unintentional self-injury because their nervous systems can’t feel temperature or pain. They can’t choose to start feeling again; they have to learn how to live without the built-in safety features that most everyone else takes for granted.

I believe it can be similar for survivors of emotional abuse, betrayal, war, and other forms of psychological trauma. The injuries change the brain and nervous system. In some cases, we lose the fear of death. A moderate fear of death is a healthy thing; it keeps us cautious and prevents self-harm. If trauma short circuits or rewires the brain, and the normal, adaptive fear of death switches off, we’re vulnerable.

Those who have lost the adaptive fear of death can no more choose to restore it than those with anosmia can decide to start smelling again. To guard against harm, to stay alive, we must take a multi-faceted approach to an external system of safeguards.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

“It is important to understand that suicidality changes one’s mind to such an extent that rational thoughts cannot exist. That is the issue “normal” people need to embrace and understand.”

Absolutely. Or they exist, but are overpowered by the darkness. A lot if people seem to think it’s a matter of changing your attitude, so they try to reason you out of it. It is so much more complicated than that. Approaching it that way may actually make the person feel worse. A suicidal person can know that they do have things to live for, yet it doesn’t matter because the constant pain actually feels like you’re slowly dying. It makes you want to speed up the process.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Thank you for this, Rebecca. Most people approach the disordered mind through the lens of their own rationality, and they simply are unable to comprehend or even imagine the workings of a disordered mind.
My father was bipolar, and, when he was in a down phase, suicidal. This was a life long condition for him, and he attempted suicide for the first time as a teenager. Bipolar comes with both manic and depressive phases, and in both he was delusional. When he was up, he could believe he was a prophet of God or the next Einstein. When down, he lived in a blackness so complete he could not see outside of it. After he died, I listened to a tapes he made during one his “black moods,” which gave me a view into the specularity of his reality then. As you say, he was able only to see the blackness, and nothing outside of it. Unfortunately, he never sought help for himself, and wouldn’t–his illness pushed him to believe his problems originated outside of himself rather than in his own mind.

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

I’m so sorry you had to live through this. The positive is that you gained knowledge and awareness that most don’t understand.
May you always be a light to others, especially those in the darkness.

Ms Done With Him
Ms Done With Him
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Rebecca – thank you for sharing this perspective. Best wishes to you as you continue on your healing journey <3

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

I felt really guilty after FW’s suicide, because he had reached out to me shortly before (though I didn’t really know why) and I’d brushed him off. She explained that it wouldn’t have made any difference. FW always said (over the almost 20 years I’d known him) that he was going to die at 45. He said he just had that feeling. And he was 45 when he took his life. My therapist explained to me that he had no intention of living, and nothing I could have said or done would have changed that. I told FW’s mom I was sorry I hadn’t been able to save him, and she said “we’ve been trying to save him for years”. He’d attempted suicide as a teen, but been hospitalized in time. There were many occasions he talked about ending his life. It’s very hard. He didn’t get the help he needed (he didn’t trust mental health professionals). Reading his last thoughts, there really was no logic to them. He had spiraled into a really, really dark place. Yoga or a walk wouldn’t have done a thing for him. He needed to be in a mental hospital with some experienced doctors, but I know he’d never have gone willingly.

I’m glad you got help, and I hope things continue to get better for you.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

“She explained” refers to my therapist. I somehow left that out.

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
9 months ago

When FW left me, I wanted so badly to be gone. But it only lasted a night… because I saw the glee in FW’s face. It would have thrilled him if I would just go away completely. And he’d get complete control of the narrative (“see? I had to leave. She was crazy). Once I saw him smiling when he thought he’d broken me, I knew I couldn’t give up. There was no way I’d make this easy for him. He still continued for 3 years with his story to his lawyer that “I was so in love with him and obsessed with him” … until I introduced his lawyer to my boyfriend (of nearly 2 years at that point) and made FW look like such an idiot that his attorney never worked with him again lol

But what really kept me going was my son. What would happen to this 9 year old little boy whose dad just abandoned him… Then suddenly his mother was gone too? I knew I had to fight fight fight for him. And stay alive as long as I could so that he wouldn’t be left only with that selfish creepy FW and his creepy AP.

Please — we all understand how bad this can be. It’s debilitating grief and trauma. But just know that you are wanted here, needed here and loved. And you deserve so much better. Life is so much better without a FW. I got a therapist that I met with weekly — I even got free sessions through a group dedicated to survivors of abuse (FW’s treatment of me and abandonment qualified). I spoke with my Rabbi often. And I walked daily with friends. I chatted all night by text to friends in Australia when I couldn’t sleep. Get help and support and you’ll get through this.

Ginger_Superpowers
Ginger_Superpowers
9 months ago

I honestly thought Asshat pushed me so far so I would kill HoWorker/Wife, solving his problems and using me as the “see, I had to leave her she’s abusive”.

Not sure if you’ve ever seen Dear Evan Hanson, but there’s a song sung by a divorced mom that I play when I’m feeling low. I happened to see the play with my then 19 year old son, a few months after divorce final. There was a gasp from a women in the audience that only a woman who had been through divorce could understand

So Big, So Small: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vD2JBq0ns8

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
9 months ago

OMG Ginger_Superpowers, that hits home huh? I had never heard that song. I’ve wanted to see the show but haven’t yet. “So Big / So Small” could have been written by so many of us. And it’s exactly why I knew I couldn’t do that to my son. Thanks for the good cry. And for anyone reading this that is still going through the worst of it, please listen to CL. She often says that Chumps have to be the sane parent and to be honest with our kids. My son trusts me. He depends on me. And he’s happier now. He knows I am there for him.

YetAnotherChump
YetAnotherChump
9 months ago

Yes. I understand the feeling of hopelessness and wanting it to just end. I’m currently feeling exactly that. Depressed and sort of dead inside and I just want it all to be done. It’s hard. I’m fighting for fair spousal support, he wants to cripple me financially, it’s been 3 years, and I’m tired. One of the few things that keeps me going is the fact that my kids would be left with him if I were gone.

It’s hard. I’m so sorry for the woman who died and for the people she left behind. There’s just so much pain that comes from cheating.

Attie
Attie
9 months ago

Hang in there sweetheart. You WILL get through this and life will be so much better, believe me!

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago

YetAnotherChump,

Hang in there. It WILL get better for you, and you won’t always feel this bad. Yes, there’s so much pain that comes from cheating, and it can be hard to see past it. But you matter. You deserve a good life. And people need you and love you! He sucks! Don’t let him tear you down.

Please come back here often for support!

((hugs))

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago

YetAnotherChump, you are not alone. Many others are here cheering you on. My heart goes out to you. Better days are right around the corner. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I pray for good things. I hope something special happens for you today. Hugs.

No Shit Cupcakes
No Shit Cupcakes
9 months ago

I’m so very, very sorry about your friend. You and her family have my deepest sympathy. NO FW is worth self-harm, let alone suicide. Tragic.

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago

Every day I think I cannot be any more stunned, shocked or saddened by what I read here. Dear Honor, I am very sorry for your loss and I hope you can find the strength and support you need here. Please give yourself time, that is a very hard knock to take.

The shock of reading this post has really got to me. I’ve been sitting here feeling paralysed by fear all day. I know I need to take some very big steps in my life but I am procrastinating. I very nearly succumbed to the idea of ending it all a couple of years ago and literally have my cat to thank that I didn’t, she used to stalk me continuously and insist I held her, bless her.

Now I can’t believe I even had such thoughts because a FW isn’t worth even blowing your nose for, never mind blowing your whole life. But I find myself so damn stuck – again! I just wish I could find my courage today to take the next big steps. I don’t even know what I am frightened of. Perhaps just lack of self-confidence after being almost annihilated by FW over the past 20 years. I’m mad at myself for being so paralysed because I have already lost so much of my life to the FW and each remaining day is precious.

FYI
FYI
9 months ago
Reply to  Sunny Side

Baby steps! No one — not chumps, not presidents, not athletes — can take big steps all at once.

Instead of “find a shark lawyer,” try “open the computer.” Instead of “get financial ducks in order,” try “get phone number of bank.” One tiny step is all you have to do, and the momentum will build.

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago
Reply to  FYI

Thank you for reaching out FYI, my tiny big step today was writing some things down. I’ve been avoiding doing it for weeks now. It wasn’t at all hard once I started, I just hope I can keep going now.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  Sunny Side

Hey Sunny Side! I get that. I feel paralyzed too. Is there one tiny step you can do. Something small, but that might help you feel a little better? I did some cleaning recently and that gave me such a feeling of joy. I was surprised by it. I hope there is something small you can do today to help you feel that you are healing. Hugs!

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago
Reply to  DrDr

Hi DrDr, really kind of you, and a good idea. Normally it would be baking a cake but it’s too hot here to bear the thought. Re. cleaning, I would get a feeling of joy if someone were to do it for me, LOL!! I probably should get myself out of the house. I’m wasting the day anyway, so your suggestion has given me the idea to get dressed and go out for cake, which I wouldn’t normally do due to being broke but sod it! And I’ll take my journal in case my mind gets free of the fog and fear. I feel I just need a human being right next to me saying, “just do it”. Hugs back to you, and thank you 🙂

Erin
Erin
9 months ago
Reply to  Sunny Side

Hi Sunny Side,

Some days I feel paralyzed and fearful too. D-Day was two years ago, after 35 years of marriage to FW. Today, I will go shopping with my daughter and out to lunch. We will walk on the boardwalk next to the Chesapeake Bay. These simple things help when the darkness gets to be too much. Hugs to you.

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago
Reply to  Erin

Thank you Erin, and what are the odds: I was out today on a boardwalk on the opposite side of the Atlantic, staring across to your side! Listening to the crashing of the waves and having the wind blow through my hair was so soothing.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago

Well said. One of my sons is going through a tough time. I bring up therapy almost every day. He says no. But then he’ll say I just want to kill myself. We get into arguments. It’s ongoing.

He’s struggling to cross over from child to adulthood and he never had much guidance from his dad, who is a spineless jellyfish person. On some level it hurts my son to see that the person who should be the wise and loving father is instead a weak coward.

Also, metaphorically, leaving one type or stage of life for another is really painful. It feels like death. I totally get that.

I lost my mom recently and that has been really hard. More painful than when FW left. My mom actually love me whereas FW can’t even love himself.

Life is painful. It will throw all kinds of things at you. My dad used to say Al mal tiempo, buena cara. In bad times, you must put on your best face.

Be tough. Cry. Write down your feelings. Watch some funny tv shows. But love yourself, respect yourself. You CAN move on!!

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago
Reply to  DrDr

I mean no disrespect to you or your father, but telling someone who is truly contemplating suicide to put on your best face or to be tough, may make things worse. The recipient of the advice will just not open up to you or turn to you anymore. It creates shame and/or embarrassment.

We would never say that about any other medical issue. Suicidal thoughts need to be approached with the same sensitivity.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

I never felt overtly suicidal until being cheated on, and I am currently experiencing another episode of pain where at the end of the day when I am exhausted, the idea of going to sleep and not waking up jumps into my mind.

I don’t discount any suggestions from anyone who has the experience of feeling suicidal, and appreciate them very much.

THX.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago

Please make an urgent appointment with your doctor Vlevet Hammer, and make sure they referr you to counselling or therapy and don’t just gve you a script for anti-depressants, as what you really need is someon to LISTEN to you and support you in finding a way out of the dark.
Meanwhile, have you any close friends you can confide in? If so, please do. There’s always the Samaritans as well. I have found them a great support on and off over the years when I have been in abusive relationships and having suicidal ideas, including the weekend I finally realised my STBXH was lying to me. And I’m still alive and what’s more, want life, but more abundantly! I suspect most people who have suicidal ideas don’t really want to die, they just want a better life!
Keep posting here too, VH, CN is a great means of support, empathy and caring. God bless!

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  Shadow

Thank you Shadow. I have had a therapist on a regular continuous basis since 1985 and I have friends and also am a member of 12 step groups. I recognize that I am seriously burned out from chronic emotional/psychological pain management, and in my situation can’t be total No Contact yet, and new landmines of lies from Traitor Ex that affect me and our daughter keep coming.

I am tired tired tired of being in pain. Thinking of others that are in pain that is much bigger than mine (family of Shanann Watts for example, people whose children have died) that are finding a way to keep going is actually very helpful to me. The real life story of Mother Jones is also on my Keep Going list.

Thanks for your message.

❤️

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago

When I went through a very bad phase, I found Kelly Howell a Godsend. I used to lie down with little headphones on and have her BrainSync audio running on my MP3 player/mobile. It is sound wave technology, it only works with headphones, but it works! The audio signals literally change your brainwaves and you feel calmer and with time you start to feel generally better. She has free videos on YT, these are guided meditations where you hear her voice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm6RVOgb4e4&list=PLBKl8E_6L1GX9Q2Yfm_-mnGLF7hMg37c-
and she also has a lot of subliminal message audio too, but I think they are mainly on her website. But they are not at all expensive.
I tried out a few and noticed which ones worked best for me and then listened to them on loop. I was in a hell of a state, and it really worked.

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago
Reply to  Sunny Side

oh dear, that link doesn’t look right, sorry! If you search for BrainSync on YT you will find her.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago

I never felt suicidal, not really, but I did think that I would never be happy again and that my life would be forever empty without him. My son kept me going. I decided I could live in misery if I had to, but I needed to be there for him. So I kept going.

But guess what? I AM happy. I am happier than I ever was with FW. “Happiness” in my marriage equated to a day without abuse. It was still a life where I basically didn’t exist except as an extension of him, filled with trying to keep HIM “happy” (he didn’t know what real happiness was), staving off his anger, catering to his mood swings, making myself small and ignoring my needs, setting aside every want that I had, for him. When he dumped me (via text message!) for his howorker, I didn’t even know who I was anymore. A decade and more of abuse had nearly erased my identity. The first day that my son was with FW and I was all on my own, I just sat on my bed. I had NO IDEA what to do. No idea what I liked to do (eat, read, watch, go). My life had been consumed by FW and what HE wanted. I always deferred to him because the consequences of disagreeing with him were … unpleasant. If I wasn’t thinking about FW, I was thinking about my child. Never about ME. It took several years, and it wasn’t easy, but I found myself again. I learned it wasn’t selfish to want things for myself. It was okay to take care of myself first. I found it very hard to not think about FW and OW just by sheer willpower, but once I started to add good things to my life and focusing on getting myself together, they started to fade into the background, until I didn’t care what they were doing. I brought back all the things I loved that I’d given up because FW had ridiculed, insulted, demeaned, and abused me for enjoying them and it wasn’t worth it. And I added even new good things I hadn’t tried yet.

I realized that my life with FW had actually been very small and narrow, and that there is a WHOLE WORLD out there. Without him holding me down, I was free to explore it. My life now is so much better than I ever dreamed. There are times I just find myself smiling because I can’t believe it. I work in my garden, I planted an orchard, I decorate my house (MY house, that I bought, by myself – FW told me I’d never survive without a man to take care of me, LOL. My house costs twice what our marital home did, and I don’t need anyone’s help to pay for it), I read books that I love (multiple times! something FW couldn’t stand me doing), I watch the shows and movies I like (instead of depressing, violent horror movies), I have a cat (and we adopted another kitten who will come home in a few weeks), I have a flock of chickens, I sew, I took a vacation to England (by myself) to take a medieval cooking class (I’m planning a trip to France with my son next year, too), I play with my kid, I spend hours in thrift stores, I go to festivals, I cook whatever I want to eat (or don’t cook at all if I don’t feel like it), I listen to music that I love, I can scroll Twitter without FW trying to paw me or getting mad that I’m not having sex with him, I talk on the phone with my best friend for hours. I have so much more time now that I don’t have to do everything for HIM. I have more money than I’ve ever had because FW isn’t spending it all on comic books and alcohol (or wasting it on traffic tickets and sky-high insurance rates). I no longer have to juggle my bills like I’m a circus performer just to stay in the black. I sleep like a log in my own bed. No one snoring, no one yelling at me because I shifted position, no one hogging my blankets, no one sweating, no one turning the A/C so high I’m shivering in the summer. No more depression. No more anxiety. No more abuse. No more fear. My son is so much more relaxed. He’s happy too (I’m turning him into a country boy – he loves our chickens, and he plays outside instead of playing video games all day). Our house is full of love and laughter, not stress and screaming and walking on eggshells so we don’t upset daddy. I don’t have to play secretary to FW and do all the adulting for two. I don’t have to nurse him through all his (mostly imagined) maladies. I don’t feel pressured to dress a certain way or weigh a certain amount (or be told I’m ugly). My health has improved so much – my lungs have healed, my tachycardia is gone, my insomnia is gone, I gained back all the weight I lost from depression. There’s less housework because I’m not cleaning up after FW too (I did it all anyway).

In a few weeks I’m heading to the beach with my son and my mom and we’re going to have a wonderful time. FW always managed to ruin vacations (when we could afford them, which was rarely, as we were somehow always broke, even on two incomes).

FW wanted to be famous, to be in the spotlight. He needed constant activity and validation to not feel empty and alone. He was always striving for the next thing (because THAT would be the thing that finally made him happy). I never wanted all that. I only wanted a quiet, simple life filled with small pleasures. I stand on my porch and watch the fireflies twinkling in the field across the street and sometimes think about how FW would never have appreciated that simple beauty.

Interestingly, it was FW who killed himself over a lover. OW left him and he couldn’t be alone. She left very suddenly, he had no backup plan, and his life wasn’t going well to begin with (lots of debt, especially, and the divorce wasn’t going his way). OW told everybody she could that he had been abusive (including his employers – I TOLD him that getting her a job at the same place as him was a bad, bad idea) and FW couldn’t take that . For him, his reputation (his carefully crafted good-guy persona) was EVERYTHING. His “friends” (really hangers on and acolytes) were nowhere to be found when he needed someone. He reached out feelers to me, but I had already gotten to the point where I didn’t love him anymore and would never have gone back to that life, and I had little sympathy for the fact that he was all alone. He wrote and recorded a lot of sad and angry songs about OW, and I read his suicide letter, so I know it was mostly due to her that he took his own life. He set the last song to auto-publish to YouTube a few days after his death (not a flattering song – it was about her physically abusing him and was titled “My Girlfriend is Punching Me”). He tried to kill himself 11 times before succeeding on his 12th attempt. By then it really didn’t take much to end him. Sleeping pills and alcohol. He’d damaged his heart over the years with alcohol and opoids, so he passed out and didn’t wake up. I was the only one who noticed he was missing. The cops and I found his body almost a week after he died. After the initial shock, I have to say my overwhelming feeling was relief. And anger that he left his mess for ME to clean up (especially having to tell our 9 year old son, which is something I wouldn’t wish on any parent). FW had always been someone who catastrophized, and who thought that whatever he was feeling RIGHT NOW was how he would ALWAYS feel. So he couldn’t see a way out or envision things getting better. I’ve always been an optimist (a realist, but an optimist), and think that there must be better things to come.

Ending your life over another person is NEVER worth it. The misery is temporary. There is always something you can do to better your situation. Death is forever. There are BILLIONS of people in the world. FW isn’t the only person out there for you. And there’s only one you. So yes, please get help if you need it. There are better days ahead, and you will be grateful you stayed to see them.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

I love this post. Thank you.

Chumpawamba
Chumpawamba
9 months ago

I’ve struggled with depression in the past, so I’ve been surprised that it hasn’t come for me yet in this 18-month ordeal. For some reason D-Day sparked defiance for me instead. My mantras have been, “Fuck you,” “Who the fuck do you think you are,” and “This fucker isn’t bringing me down.”

KT
KT
9 months ago

I remember how I was curled up on a floor, cried my eyes and heart out, PUNCHED myself (like a real fucking pshyco) in the face because I felt so unworthy, so small, just a piece of shit (like he said I was). I was constantly comparing myself to the dozens of his affair partners. If I had thicker hair, he would love me, if I had better boobs, he would love me, if I lost a few more pounds (I was already underweight), he would love me, if I commited suicide maybe he would realize what he had … yadda yadda yadda. I now laugh at the stupidity of myself but oh boy, the urge to unlive yourself is true. Partly thanks to chump nation, partly thanks to my son and partly because I got myself up and went to doctor to get myself diagnosed with depression, I’m still here. Alive, thriving, happier than ever. I have to co-parent with the fuckwit but I NO LONGER CARE who he fucks, because I trust that he sucks (what a great rhyme), I feel so much freedom and have light and love in my life, for myself mostly, and others who love me the same. Ohh what a wonderful world on the other side. So keep pushing, chumps, there actually IS a light at the end of the tunnel

Josh
Josh
9 months ago

I’m glad I didn’t, otherwise my boys would have a crappy version of a man in my place, and I would have given power to someone in my life who didn’t deserve it.

I wouldn’t be sipping coffee, watching the sunrise over a beautiful lake in the Upper Peninsula of MI. Or taking my boys tubing in my uncle’s boat, or listen to their laughter over a fart during our annual road trip out.

Yeah, life can be painful and lonely at times, but it is also filled with brilliant splashes of color and beauty.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  Josh

Josh, you’re reminding me of my uncle’s cabin, deep in the woods on the banks of the Au Sable river. His driveway was three miles long through the woods. I rolled down the window of the car and breathed in the fragrance of the woods and said to my grandmother, who was sitting in the back seat, “Smell the woods, grandma!” She snapped at me, “I know what the woods smell like!”

Josh
Josh
9 months ago

The Yoop holds a special place for me, a place to recover and rest, a place where my parents grew up and family roots are.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  Josh

“brilliant splashes of color and beauty”

I love that.

MightyWarrior
MightyWarrior
9 months ago

What kept me going, apart from my amazing friends, especially my special chump WhatsApp friends, was the certainty that I was not going to let exgfOW benefit in any way from all my hard work if I could help it. Had I done what I wanted to do in the first 6 months, the ex would have inherited everything. Pension, house, savings, and there was no way I was going to let that happen. I wanted him to walk away from the marriage with as little as I could accomplish. And he wanted me to commit suicide for that reason and because it made everything so much more convenient. My motives for staying alive (no kids, no pets, no job then), were spiteful and revengeful. Thank goodness for that! Sometimes we don’t have to be high-minded but just grub along until we get to a safe place.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  MightyWarrior

I don’t think your motives were spiteful nor vengeful at all! I think you were motivated by righteous and anger and were perfectly justified in doing what you did. Not only that, it saved your life, which means your motives were good! They were to preserve life! Fair play to you for minding yourself so well in the face of such evil, because deliberately trying to drive someone to suicide IS evil!

MightyWarrior
MightyWarrior
9 months ago
Reply to  Shadow

Thank you, Shadow.

IcanseeTuesday
IcanseeTuesday
9 months ago
Reply to  MightyWarrior

MW – I also moved forward, as if on autopilot, to make sure my affairs were in order and the divorce was final. Combined that with work, cooking, cleaning, laundry, house repair, gardening, volunteering, adopting a senior kitty and I’ve built a new life.

MightyWarrior
MightyWarrior
9 months ago
Reply to  IcanseeTuesday

We are survivors, ICST

LeftToxicTown
LeftToxicTown
9 months ago

This was me. 30 years together. No hint of marital problems until one day – wham. Trauma, shock, followed by emotional and psychological abuse. I became borderline suicidal. I thought my life was over. He told me that I was fat and old and unattractive (I was 48, a size 4 and attractive). If I didn’t have him and my life, what was the point. I started therapy, journalling. The thought of leaving my children pushed me through. After the 4th d-day in 10 months, I kicked him out. The anger had set in. A year later I was diagnosed with chronic emotional pain and situational depression. Two years of anti-depressants, yoga, meditation, journalling, reiki, I pulled myself through (during covid lockdown!). Now I’m 5 years exactly from thinking these thoughts. I know my worth. I am confident, talented and sexy as all fuck. Get help. They do suck. You, on the other hand, are mighty.

Florence
Florence
9 months ago

A few years ago “Don’t kill yourself for a F**kwit” saved me out of a very dark place. I was home alone with six kids who were very small at the time, gradually turning in on myself with dark thoughts (due to the trauma and betrayal of the person who should have had my back) and spiralling downwards fast when I first read it. I even remember the room I was in at our old house. It was the wake up call I needed and helped me re-frame my thoughts towards survival rather than despair. A few years on I’m in a much better place, divorced, and always recommend this article. So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend OP. I hope this article will continue to help many today and that you are always able to hold on to your memories of your friend’s specialness.

Blind Sided Chump
Blind Sided Chump
9 months ago

I had never thought of killing myself until my ex-husband of 32 years cheated on me and picked his 1-month lover (you know the story – the love of his life) over our daughters and me. As hard as I fought the pain and grief and appeared I was kicking ass. I moved out of the family house within a month, it was sold within 3 months, I bought my own house within 6 months. I had my two daughters love, support and respect. I had family/friends that loved me and helped me see how worthy I was. I had my fur babies, I had a full-time job, I read ChumpLady every day the list was long.
However, there were days I would come home from running errands, pull into my garage with tears streaming down my face, knocked to my knees with such pain and grief that I would close the garage door and sit in the car. I thought that it would be such a relief not to feel the most absolute pain I had ever experienced in my life. With all that grief and heartache, the one thing that made me shut off the engine was the thought of my beautiful daughters and my family. I would think, if I ended my life, it would take my pain away, but I would inflict pain on them.
It’s been 8 years now; do I still have some hard days, yes indeed. However, I know that the next day or the next hour maybe one of my happiest moments. Life does go on (it’ll never be the same, but it goes on).

portia
portia
9 months ago

I can only remember one time in my life where I thought about suicide. It wasn’t for a husband. It was because I was just exhausted from the constant fight with my father, and the lack of emotional support from my mother. I thought of the suicide as having a peaceful escape from my turbulent existence, and also producing a glaring piece of evidence that my home life was not as “perfect” as my parents tried to project. I decided that I only had to endure until I was able to go to college, then I could make a clean escape and live my own life. I was too stubborn to give into my father’s quest for domination.

So, contemplating suicide as an escape from pain, and to leave a lasting effect for a bad actor in your life is not a good idea. It is a clear indication of the toll constant stress and dysfunction takes on your active mind. The ghosts created inside your head from living in a gaslit world will haunt you long after you escape that world. Your logical mind sees the reality of your situation, and then you are told that all your legitimate perceptions are not true, and you think you have no power to change them.

Those ghosts clouded my thinking when I came of age and decided to marry. I thought my spouses were not like my father, but I later learned that some early programing by my FOO kept me from seeing the similarities. When these men tried to behave in a manner that was not acceptable to me, it triggered a deep rage within me that had never been rightly resolved. I felt like they were trying to force me to live under their will, due to economic disparity or some type of inappropriate pride. The difference was that I had achieved the means to make changes in my life. The choices were tough, but if I survived the total economic abandonment by my dad at the age of 18, I damn well was not going to let a husband make me live in misery.

This is the very reason seeking therapy is a life affirming act. My parents thought therapy proved you were weak. I believe seeking therapy means you are strong — you are ghost busting those old ways of thinking which have haunted you. You are seeking the help of a guide to see your situation with new eyes and point out the inconsistencies which hobble you going forward with your life. Seeking help does not mean you are unable to cope, it means you are willing to change, to find new strength, to find new allies who will help you build a better life.

Don’t ever kill yourself for a FW. If you survive and thrive because you find the will to live a better life without a FW you will be much better off in the long run. Eventually, you will look back and wonder why you ever believed the FW was worth your attention, at all.

Elsie
Elsie
9 months ago

This is not something I struggled with, but I get the despair. We all cope differently when our world is shattered.

For me, working and staying so busy that I didn’t really have time to process it was my coping mechanism. Then the pandemic hit. I slowly began to process it and finally hit a good stretch as things began to open up again. I flew out to help a relative living in the area where I grew up, taking my remote work with me, and it helped me reconcile some sticking points in my past.

It’s all good now.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago

Thanks Rebecca. I stand corrected.

Spoonriver
Spoonriver
9 months ago

Back when my pain was so strong and felt insurmountable and I couldn’t see a reason for being, I held on to the ideas planted in my head from Chump Lady “It gets better”, “The pain is finite”. I remember rocking back and forth in the fetal position in my bed repeating those phrases like a mantra. I got through the worst of it and am at Tuesday. I’m angry for that poor women that was put through so much pain. It becomes a bit like childbirth. You know there was pain but can’t really remember it. Please believe it gets better..I could list all the ways my life is awesome now but doesn’t help your pain now. Give yourself grace and hold on. It’s exhausting but I promise there is light and relief. It gets better. The pain IS finite. Thanks CL and CN.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago
Reply to  Spoonriver

My mantras were “It’ll be okay,” “You’ll be okay,” and “It’s okay” (when I needed to calm myself down right then).
Maybe a good Friday challenge might be for us all to list those mantras. (Or was this already a Friday challenge?)

Too many times a chump
Too many times a chump
9 months ago

This so on point.

How tragic a loss to those who loved this person who felt she couldn’t go on after (loosing) being freed from the mental abuse, lies, manipulation of someone she placed so much power and control in.

The points in this article are relevant to anyone going through a break up even if it isn’t because of cheating. You can’t force another to be with you.

I know that in my 1st and only marriage I thought the only way out was through a rock cut or the back of a transport truck. There wasn’t any cheating but basically when you call your husband from the side of the hwy, 200km away, 2 children in tow and a broken down vehicle while he’s at home on the couch with a 2nd vehicle in the driveway and he says: ‘what do you want me to do about it, you’ll figure it out.’ I figured it out with an especially kind tow truck operator. I also figured out that my husband was not invested in his family. There were so many other options he could have chosen. I shudder at the thought that I didn’t think there was any way out of a loveless, dysfunctional marriage that we were modelling as normal to 2 impressionable minds.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
9 months ago

I also had an existential crisis in the aftermath of Dday. I was physically and emotionally abused by my narcissistic/sociopath/cheater/alcoholic parents, sexually abused, subject to DV since age 14 from my boyfriends, homeless at 16 and pregnant at 19. I fought my way through alcoholism and eating disorders and finished my BA (literature was a lifelong escape that served me well) and went to law school as a single 22 year old with a 3 year old daughter in tow. I met X on the first day. Classic narc relationship— he love bombed me- moved in on the first date, engaged in 12 weeks. He promised me all the things I longed for— loving parents (his never spoke to me again after Dday) a home (I bought our first home 5 years later after landing a high paying job)….We were married 25 years. Three more kids. Turns out he was a serial cheater but a master manipulator- I never suspected— i thought he had anger issues, alcohol issues, depression … when the mask slipped after Dday and the devalue and discard was complete I was so traumatized I couldn’t swallow water. I lost 30 lbs in 8 weeks (150 to 120# – I’m 5’4 and muscular). I wanted to die the pain was so crushing. My precious kids became depressed and suicidal – one almost succeeded at 15. My baby girl’s anxiety was so bad she developed debilitating panic attacks. I had to live for them. Even the dog went nuts and had to be put on Trazadone. Thankfully, I had 27 years of sobriety and a robust spiritual life when Dday hit. I had to do All.The.Things. Support my kids, get through a divorce trial from hell (we are both lawyers but X earned 7x my income and was bent on taking everything we’d ever built and didn’t see kids for years and didn’t want to pay any child support -he didn’t even come to the hospital when our child tried to kill herself over his discard… evil bastard). Anyhow, all of this is to say, I know exactly how it feels to want to end everything. I couldn’t see that there would be happier days.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago

I’m so sorry MC99. You and your kids did not deserve this. You sound like a strong, smart, amazing person.

Adelante
Adelante
9 months ago

Suicide has lived in my house as long as I’ve been alive, and it has lived in my mind as long as I’ve known what it is. My father was suicidal, and even when I didn’t know the reasons for what I felt going on in our house, I knew something was wrong, and our house felt unsafe. We lived in California, and I always think of those years as like standing in the surf and feeling the sand slip out from under your feet when the water retreats from the shore back to the ocean. My father’s unhappiness was palpable, and his violence unpredictable and volcanic. He also believed no one else had worth or value in our family apart from him. My mother was conditioned by this abusive system, and passed on her training to me.

By the time I was twelve I knew about my father’s suicide attempts, but I was already conditioned to his behavior, and it wasn’t until I was in college, in therapy, that I understood that I had grown up in a household in which suicide was normalized as a solution for life’s problems. I thought of my life in terms of “things going well, live; things not going well, kill myself.” One day in therapy that I realized I could recalibrate those poles, and take suicide off the table. Because my father was mentally ill, he never was able to do that, and he killed himself when he was 72.

Only after that could I fully process the abuse we’d all suffered living with him. As the daughter of a suicide I knew I was at risk. I fought survivor’s guilt and despair (“Why couldn’t I stop him? Didn’t he love me enough to want to live? What’s wrong with me?”) by deciding that if I killed myself he would “win,” in that I would prove that I thought I should have no life on my own terms.

In a perverse way, after D-day, I was glad I had this experience with my father, because I’d already had to overcome the idea that my worth was dependent on someone else and the use I could be to them. That conditioning is deep in me, and I haven’t kicked it yet, or drawn a healthy line between when being of use is healthy and when it isn’t, or of deriving my self-worth from my use to others. I still have despairing days. I’m sometimes lonely. I sometimes think the life I’ve built is not satisfying or worth living. But I remind myself that it is up to me to change what I don’t like and that I’m lucky I have resources. I practice gratitude, and take pleasure in small treasures (a red cardinal splashing in the birdbath this morning, for example–my own version of William Carlos Williams’s “red wheel-barrow). In extremity, I remind myself that I don’t want to kill myself and do to my son what my father did to us, and I don’t want my FW ex to get the last word.

Lizza Lee
Lizza Lee
9 months ago

Before I kicked out the Fuckwit I was suicidal. But I knew that I could not leave my children to be raised by him. I spent a lot of time wishing he would die. I had been convinced by my religion that divorce was not acceptable except for certain reasons and I did not think he had stepped over that line.

Now that I’m sane again I realize that he enjoyed making me miserable. And I know that his cruelty was enough reason to divorce him. I have no idea how many women he cheated with, but I do know about the one he decided he was in love with. And after the divorce I learned that some of my children were suicidal, too.

The important thing about my story is that those feelings of wanting to die did not last. There is life beyond that misery, and it can be a good life. Never, ever end your life because of a jerk.

Cuzchump
Cuzchump
9 months ago

I can remember feeling like I could not take the pain anymore. One month after D Day I kept hearing my x’s voice in my head. “No one likes you. No one ever liked you. Not even your daughter.” I took pills and drank Rum and called my daughter sobbing. Apologizing for being a horrible Mother. My daughter and elderly Mother came to my house and sat with me while I sobbed. I texted my husband at the time goodbye. He would not come home from work. He just called his Mother. Who came down and called me names while I was having a breakdown. Called me a liar and said she did not raise a cheater. My Daughter told her to leave. Thankfully I did not take enough pills. Chumplady is spot on. Never commit suicide for a FW.
Five years later I am myself again. It takes time to move on from the betrayal and emotional, verbal and financial abuse.

TooManyTears
TooManyTears
9 months ago

Terribly heartbreaking to read all these common feelings of despair so great, that we could all be in such depths to contemplate ending our lives… I’d like to add, especially to the newbies, lack of sleep, or no sleep! Or even interrupted sleep – makes you spiral down fast.
Please, please get help with medication or anything (chamomile tea? Melatonin?) to help you sleep. I recall it being such a terrible cycle, I did feel I was losing my mind.
And I remember him, sleeping like a baby… snoring away. Not a care in the world… Grrrrr. !

Attie
Attie
9 months ago
Reply to  TooManyTears

You’re absolutely right! I think I got maybe 5 non-consecutive hours of sleep a night over a period of maybe 10 years. I was on my knees and what I could have/should have done so many years earlier became impossible. Now I sleep like a baby and him – well who gives a shit, he’s torturing someone else now!

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 months ago

One thing I learned, once I got through the “snakes are crawling in my brain, when will this stop?” stage, was that the cause of the all-encompassing pain I was feeling was not Jackass. It was that I had made Jackass the center of my life, giving him the power to eviscerate me emotionally.

I heard an old Whitney Houston song the other day, which says, ” have nothing, nothing, nothing
If I don’t have you, you, you, you, you, you.” That’s the belief that leads to the massive black hole left when we find out that we are nothing to a cheater we have give all our power to. “….you, you, you, you, you, you” and none of “me.” Once chumps get sucked into post-D-Day problems like custody and finances and divorce retainers, it’s easy to lose sight of–and have little energy for–the relatively simple fix: have a life before and after you commit to a romantic relationship. Have a life. As CL says, “Fill your life with a thousand things that are NOT him — peonies, Broadway showtunes, warm cookies, Agatha Christie novels, handknit socks.” My own was writing, reading, making my home beautiful, gardening, photography, playing softball, coaching a different sport, walking, yoga, boxing, movies, music and probably more. I had over 70 Pinterest boards! There’s nothing like “hoarding” stuff online!

My BFF and I are over 70 now. She misses have a significant other and ponders online dating. I do not. My life has room for friends but my home does not have room for a guy hanging out here all weekend. That’s me, having done the “gain a life” portion of the Chump Lady program. My BFF will thrive with a boyfriend, once she commits to holding on to her own life. Someone who fits will come along and that will be great for her. But even in the midst of the worst pain, Chumps are wise to identify and nurture and protect against all pressures the things that love, the things that give them joy and comfort and challenges.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

“My life has room for friends but my home does not have room for a guy hanging out here all weekend.”

I feel the same! I like my space, and I don’t feel any lack in my fabulous life.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 months ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

“…they things they love,” not “that.” GAH! Oh, for an edit button…

IcanseeTuesday
IcanseeTuesday
9 months ago

It would be hard to overstate the physical impact of betrayal trauma on the brain.

The healthiest individual can expect cortisol surges, oxytocin and dopamine deficits, hypervigilance, insomnia, ruminating, lack of concentration.

Anxiety and depression often follow.

It takes years, not months, to begin to feel normal. But recovery is no longer hampered by darvo and gaslighting.

Chumps need to practice wellness and self-care with the intentionality of an injured athlete.

CheesyGrits
CheesyGrits
9 months ago
Reply to  IcanseeTuesday

Yes, I totally agree with this. I didn’t have active thoughts of suicide, but I disappeared from my own life in a hundred small ways for a few years post divorce that added up to me not being myself. I thought I was fine at the time, but in retrospect I was not. I wish I had taken more time to address the trauma because it affected me in ways and for longer than I had expected.

damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
9 months ago

“a minor satellite to Planet Narcissist”

hilarious! but seriously, i just caught up with a high school friend and we spent time talking about this toxic group of boys in our class. i’m talking small-town living, here. a class of 33, so one group dominates. these guys were SO BAD.

we talked openly, shared it all, and it was, well, it was bad. there was a lot. and, as i sat there, i realized that my high school environment was so negative that it affected me in this way: when i met my X, he seemed SO NICE in comparison. i mean, i noticed that he was moody and particular, prone to criticism, and bit bossy, but he didn’t hit me, etc. etc. that was my social point of reference.

to be clear, i had a fairly good family life. i’m just referring to the social environment i was stewed into.

this conversation was a real moment. i need to talk this over with my therapist.

IcanseeTuesday
IcanseeTuesday
9 months ago

I was thinking how programmed I was by early (1960’s) Barbie propaganda followed by Tiger Beat heartthrob magazines to define myself by relationships with men.

damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
9 months ago

i suspect girls were space trash in my high school, if that. god, that is sad.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
9 months ago

I remember when Ex asked for divorce, I briefly considered killing myself to show him (and everyone else) how badly he had hurt me. The thought of leaving my daughter, and knowing how it would affect the rest of my family (we had already lost my older sister to suicide a decade before), I didn’t want to put them through that. Thank goodness I didn’t! Killing myself wouldn’t have changed FW at all. He’d have a spun a narrative, then gone about his merry way…. Is this life always easy? No! It’s a challenge sometimes to co-parent w/a FW, and I have to budget and worry about money more. Is it lonely sometimes not having that partner to build a life with? Sure. Is dating in your 30’s, with a kid a challenge? Yeah, it’s a shit-show, lol, and most of the time I stay away from the dating game and focus on other things. But I was feeling so lonely so much of the time with FW before the divorce. Now I’m getting to rebuild a more authentic life on my terms. Am I there yet? No, but it’s coming along, lol (3.5 years since the divorce has been final).

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  CurlyChump

I was also much, much lonelier in the last few months FW was here than I am now. I do still get lonely now, because I have no family except my son, and my only friends live in another country, plus I’ve such a small income, I can’t afford to do anything nor go anywhere where I might make friends; Ireland is a very expensive country.
However, I was also a bit lonely for the last 10 years of being with FW, lonely for close female friendship, because I have realised that FWs just do not provide the emotionally deep and rich connection that close female friends do! Also, when they have made themselves the centre of your world, and your only company like mine did, the loneliness creeps up on you slowly and makes you feel you need more from them, which they’ll never give you, so you get sadder and emptier, until they can’t get much supply from you anymore. The you really ARE alone because they start to discard you.
Once you get rid of them, you can start to form a better relationship with yourself again, as they’re not sucking the life out of you anymore! You can start to reach out to others and get a good reaction, and to become closer to others that FWs have subtlely drawn you away from, or pushed away or out altogether.

Zip
Zip
9 months ago

I’m so sorry, this is heartbreaking 💔.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago

I’m so sorry this lady has died, Lord have Mercy on her, and for her friends and family. They must be heartbroken, as she sounds like a very loveable person. It is tragic and brought me to tears.
You are so right CL that FWs are not ever worth doing away with ourselves for. All they bring us in the end is misery and getting them out of or lives is our only chance of happiness, or even just peace of mind!
I’ve had a set back this July because NHS pensions paid my June payment into the old joint account and I’d got my name removed. This means they gave MY money that I earned slogging my guts out as a nurse to the man who was using, abusing and betraying me! I’m still battling with them because they keep fobbing me off even though I have proved to them they received the mandate for my new current account in plenty of time, so I’m having to make a formal complaint. It’s drained me again and my health and vitality had been improving!
I am still very upset and angry as I need the money to live on BUT, even though I have been in bits some nights, roaring and crying, I am NOT remotely suicidal. I have remembered that in the last 6 months he was living here, I was having repetitive thoughts that if it weren’t for my son, I’d rather be dead!!! Now how I didn’t realise at the time that it was a form of suicidal ideation shows how ill I really was. Those thoughts stopped once I kicked him out and haven’t come back, although I do panic sometimes at the thought of not being able to sell up and move back home to England but I refuse to let these panicky thoughts take root.
Please, please anyone who is having any thoughts of suicide or death, contact your doctor or mental health services or the Samaritans. Never give into them nor give up hope, you matter so much more that you realise and people DO care! God bless all here!

Stronger
Stronger
9 months ago

I attempted suicide in 2020 after discovering my husband of 20 plus years was cheating on me with a gutter troll. When I confronted him about the cheating, he played the victim, told me I was crazy, accused me of being a stalker, convinced my children, my mom, and my sister I was crazy and it was all in my head. I was drinking too much to try and full the pain. I was recovering from a hysterectomy and my hormones were out of whack and I believed I was crazy and my family would be better off without me. Fortunately I was unsuccessful and after a week in the hospital the gutter troll’s husband discovered their affair and brought it to light for all the people who believed him and not me. Since then I have dealt with my now ex bullying, manipulating and lying to my kids. I had a major cancer scare, lost family and friends, etc. I am alive and haven’t touched alcohol since and am stronger everyday. I am learning to like myself again and am doing things I have never done before. I am so glad God spared me and I didn’t lose my life over to a lying, cheating narcissistic asshole and his gutter troll ( who looks like Lord Farquad from Shrek).
My fellow chumps we are worth so much more than these cheating, fucking jerks!

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago
Reply to  Stronger

Gosh, Stronger, that was a hell of a lot of trauma in a short space of time, and look at all the transformations you have achieved, you are Mighty!!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

This post is coming a day after the news of Sinead O’Connor’s death which, given her struggles over the years, may have been due to overdose whether deliberate or accidental. If anyone suffered the legacy of relational trauma, I think she did.

This post is a reminder to me of why it’s so important to label cheating as “abuse,” full stop, because survivors of it need to be triaged in the same way that survivors of DV are supposed to be (ideally speaking, though many DV survivors still encounter incompetent helping professionals and are subjected to idiotic bystander interpretations as well). Because suicide is such a high risk for survivors of domestic violence, I tend to think of abuse as being the cause of suicidal despair far more than betrayal and abandonment. This distinction comes up a lot in DV because almost all domestic batterers also cheat. When I worked as an advocate for DV survivors, one of the first things we’d address with new clients is the fact that Stockholm syndrome is the farthest thing from love as anyone can get. It “looks” like love and “feels” like love to the degree that this is what was required by the abuser to extract a bit of mercy. A lot of survivors would cling to the idea that they still “loved” their abusers almost as a way of groveling for amnesty and saying, “See how loyal I am? Don’t hurt me!” Or it’s a way of begging a bull not to gore them because they’re vegan (“See, I’m not a loveless person! I don’t deserve to be harmed!). Traditional therapy would tend to validate those feelings as “love” without recognition that, in abuse, this might deepen the abuser’s conditioning (the message that “The reason I hurt you is because you don’t love enough”). It’s not like we would tell people that what they were feeling wasn’t love but we’d offer a different perspective by describing how Stockholm syndrome is induced and what it’s purpose is. Agreeing to call the victim’s feelings “love” can actually defer the important moment when the victim wakes up and realizes not only don’t they “love” the abuser but they actually hate and fear them; and not only does their lack of love for the abuser not make them a “loveless person” but, in fact, someone who knows the meaning of love (and what it is not).

I had the impression many survivors tend to realize the above the farther away they get from the abuser’s orbit and the safer they feel. That was my own experience too. One thing I hope will happen as coercive control is increasingly viewed and treated as criminal abuse is that victims of sub-violent abuse may feel safer faster because authorities may restrain or remove custody from abusers (at the very least this facilitates no-contact), causing Stockholm syndrome/captor bonding to fade faster.

Betrayal and abandonment following years of various forms of abuse seems particularly evil because the whole pattern is theoretically an expression of an abuser’s own internally-driven, infantile abandonment terrors related to attachment disorder (not a sad sausage plea for amnesty for poor pitiful abusers since serial killers apparently have roughly the same pathology). The betrayal or abandonment are like falsely putting a final experiential stamp– that of being “rejected”– on trauma that would be better categorized as resulting from “abuse and control,” including typical “fear-obligation-guilting” campaigns that abusers engage in, projection of abusers’ ill deeds and bad motives, social isolation, etc. The “prank” of betrayal and abandonment following repeat cycles of abuse is that the victim has internalized fears of abandonment they may not have started out with– in other words, they’ve been forcibly injected with someone else’s disease so that, by the time they are betrayed and/or abandoned, they react in extreme ways just as someone with reactive attachment disorder would.

It’s a super fucked up way that abusers “share their feelings” or “illustrate” that which ails them– by causing it in someone else. I’ve started to see cheating as a particularly diabolical means of projection/transference of an abuser’s pathological fears onto a victim as if doing this would somehow “relieve” the abuser of having to experience them– “Hah, look who’s terrified of being betrayed and abandoned! It’s you, not me!” Since abusers typically whittle away at all of their victims’ resources and supports over the years to ensure that only the abuser can play “fireman” to the fires they set and only they will be available to “bind the wounds” they themselves cause, separation following years of abuse is a bit like those cases where someone shows up in the ER with an axe in their skull which, when removed, causes the patient to bleed to death.

In the above case, the cause of death will still be listed as the “axe,” not the removal of it, so whoever wielded the axe will be charged with murder. And it’s not like the “axe” will be viewed as having been “good” for the victim because it became the only thing to stop them from “bleeding out.” The latter is an analogy for how the victim’s artificially intesified dependency on the abuser had been systematically and artificially fostered through conditioning which certain DV experts have noted is identical to professional interrogation techniques. The latter– with or without physical violence– can be so effective that even the most psychologically strong veteran intelligence agents are rarely given whole parcels of state secrets but only fragments because, if captured and subjected to certain stressors, they will predictably crack, spill the beans and bond for survival with their captors. The human tendency to “captor bond” under duress probably evolved to the degree that it can be a successful survival strategy since captors/torturers are often not immune to the effects (experts on torture say the most effective torturers are not empathy-free sociopaths but instead are able to use empathy selectively as a guide for how best to break a captive) and will respond to the captive’s nearly cellular level “show of loyalty” by feeling merciful towards the captive– at least for a while.

Anyway, I hope it happens one day that survivors of infidelity and the abuse that typically comes with it are immediately referred to therapists with expertise in domestic violence, coercive control, Stockholm syndrome and trauma and referred to support groups with those perspectives. I think it could save lives. By the same token, I think the fact that this CL and CN identifies cheating as abuse is likely saving lives.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

HOAC,

A week or so ago, Traitor Ex told me and our daughter that he was tracking me because I had “parked in front of his house a number of times.” Which never happened, even once. And he’s probably been tracking me for years.

How’s that for a batterer ID tag?

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

Dear Lord, VH, stay safe. That sounds like bonafide, USDA batterer. Can you get a system on your phone or in your car that proves where you go and when? In the case you need to get a restraining order, being able to easily disprove any absurd counter-allegations he makes that you’re “stalking” him might be helpful.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

The police and the DA are on the case. The tracking device has been booked into evidence and the case is open with the DA until the end of the year. I’m working to get the records for the tracking device, which are necessary for the DA to file formal
charges, and part of a legal loophole.
(The police can’t get a search warrant for the records unless it’s a felony, and the charges are misdemeanor domestic violence….a very screwed up loophole which means I have to do the footwork to see if I can acquire the records….). It’s been suggested I get a DVRO by the police and the DA and am in the process now.

IMHO, if they are tracking you they are capable of killing you. I take this very seriously and I appreciate your input.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
9 months ago

“the victim wakes up and realizes not only don’t they “love” the abuser but they actually hate and fear them”

This was my experience. I thought I loved my husband so much, and I was devastated when he left, but after a time I realized that none of the “love” was left. It had been much more like Stockholme syndrome and an attempt to get him to stop hurting me (and get back to the initial stages where he seemed to love me too – i.e. the grooming stage). I ended up being much more afraid of him AFTER we separated, because I couldn’t let myself be afraid when I was living with him. Too preoccupied, it wasn’t safe to show fear or anger, etc. It started to dawn on my how much danger I had been in. It was only then that my PTSD reared its head and I started getting panic attacks. Thankfully those are gone now that he is dead and I don’t have to be afraid of him ever again. My therapist explained that you can’t always process trauma until your brain feels that you are safe.

When he finally started circling back to me, after OW left him and a few weeks before he died, every last feeling had disippated. He was crying about how “alone” he was and I was…bored by it. I felt NOTHING. Can’t help, sorry. You chose this.

Ginger_Superpowers
Ginger_Superpowers
9 months ago

Her death brought back a memory I had from early in my marriage to Asshat. I used to listen to Sinead’s song, Last Day of Our Acquaintance. I always just had a gut feeling Asshat would eventually leave me, so this song always stuck with me.

This is the last day of our acquaintance
I will meet you later in somebody’s office
I’ll talk, but you won’t listen to me
I know what your answer will be
I know you don’t love me anymore

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

One thing that I personally think establishes O’Connor as a truly great artist is a particular fool-proof mark of an honest soul. A famous voice teacher argued that nothing is worse for the vocal cords than lies or fakery, not even smoking. But no matter what O’Connor suffered or put herself through, despite the depressions, on and off drinking and pharmaceutical carpet bombing (most likely the fault of lousy doctors), her voice never lost power. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h4sUelnhTM The same thing was true of Aretha who also had a very difficult time of it but kept her voice to the very end. These were very honest people. RIP to both.

Ginger_Superpowers
Ginger_Superpowers
9 months ago

“nothing is worse for the vocal cords than lies or fakery”

So true! I could often tell when Asshat was lying because his voice would quaver, especially when he hadn’t had time to “rehearse” his alibi.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

I remember every note of that song. She really chronicled every stage of modern abuse and heartbreak. Here’s the next chapter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD_Z3td4nRU

Ginger_Superpowers
Ginger_Superpowers
9 months ago

I had two Chump aunts that were divorced, both in the 1970s. One remarried, one never did.

The never remarried aunt (FW left with the church secretary), sincerely laughed every time I saw her. She counted her blessings daily, and there weren’t many material ones. What she had was an ability to see joy and laugh at what life brought her, and one time it was burning her trailer to a crisp, only her bible survived. She is the one true person in my life that I know went straight to heaven. And she died with the love and respect of her 6 children, which I’m sure their FW father didn’t have.

My aunt who remarried almost right away, ended up with a complete a**hole second husband, because she was afraid to be alone. She was miserable, repeatedy choosing her second husband over her children. She eventually did kill herself a few years ago, and I had to call her estranged son to let him know. He cried and I thought how sad for him, never having a mom he could depend on.

Watching two women through their divorce journey provided such a stark contrast in how a similar event can effect people so differently. Ultimately, I’ve realized I’m the one who has to decide how I’m going to navigate the rest of my life, with Door #1 being truly happy with what I have, not needing someone else to “complete” me even if that is scary or Door #2 being miserable and not making a change because of the paralysis of fear.

I’ve chosen Door #1, even if it’s taken me longer than I want it do. Life’s a journey, but now I’m the one setting the boundaries. I’ll get to meh…….on my time.

I saw this today: “Sometimes when you are in a dark place, you think that you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted”. Asshat made every attempt to bury me, financially and emotionally; what he doesn’t understand is how much I’ve grown and changed. He’s still a lying, cheating Asshat, while I’m blossoming.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago

I saw this today: “Sometimes when you are in a dark place, you think that you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted”.

OMG, Ginger.

This is the Gem of the Day.

I am putting this on a Post It and sticking it on the bathroom mirror.

XXXOOO

❤️

Livingmybestlifenow
Livingmybestlifenow
9 months ago

This post and all the comments are so timely for me and so appreciated. Immediately after dday I was so angry that it sparked my will to live. Now, two and a half years later, divorced but still involved with lawyers, my children moved away and my dog passed on I sometimes am tempted by dark thoughts. I quickly dismiss them because of my children and because, no, I am not going to let that loser destroy me. It’s good to know that others have experienced this as well.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago

Honor, I am so sorry about your wonderful friend. That is tragic beyond words.

Regarding the suicide issue, it’s not necessarily about losing the cheater. I was acutely suicidal from trauma and the resulting depression, not because I felt life was meaningless without him. It was, in fact, meaningless with him. I knew that. My brain was just so broken that I constantly felt like I couldn’t bear living another day. I used to wake up every morning and cry because I hadn’t somehow died in my sleep. There is no reasoning somebody out of something like that. I got through it, but far too many people don’t.
So I just wanted to make the point that it’s not always about making the cheater too important or feeling lost without the cheater. When you find out that most of your life was built on a lie, and at the same time you’re being bombarded with yet more lies and more abusive ugliness, when you realize that the person your trusted with your heart is actually a sadistic monster, suicide can seem like a reasonable option just to silence the screaming inside your head.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

OHFFS, this is me too. It’s not about him being gone. It’s about the pain and all the ramifications of being assaulted and abused, by him and any side piece who knew our daughter and I existed.

Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago

💜 Velvet. Yes, it takes a lot of healing to overcome that. It goes deep. It feels like the murder of your soul.

ugh@him
ugh@him
9 months ago

Oh Honor I’m so sorry for you, your dear friend, and her loved ones.

I’ve definitely felt low these last 6 months but it’s more the “why do I bother struggle existing” sort of passive suicidal thoughts I had even before everything with my ex. The infidelity only exacerbated it.

One of my favorite bands, Trophy Eyes, came out with a new album a month ago and while they’re definitely not for everyone (pop punk/post hardcore, screaming, etc) so much of the album is about suicide of a friend and difficulties in existing in a world you maybe don’t really wanna be in anymore while knowing you need to keep going. There’s a song called Stay Here that hit me so so so hard… “..so busy looking for a reason to stay / you miss them waving in your face everyday / if you go now you’ll only pass on your pain / stay here”. It was everything I didn’t realize I needed.

Thinking of you and your friend today, Honor. We all have reasons to stay even when they’re not as obvious as we’d hope.

FreeWoman
FreeWoman
9 months ago

I so feel this regret over pining away for an idiotic Fuckwit! I cried so hard over mine, for almost a whole year. Now, I just shake my head. He was never worth it, but it felt so raw.
I’m so sad for the fellow chump, who left this life from depression. RIP sweet chump! You were so valuable, even though you didn’t feel it. May your soul fly free 🕊️

Chumpolicious
Chumpolicious
9 months ago

Here’ s a story for you. Its a doozy. FW mom got remarried, to the first man she met and dated after her divorce. It was a very short courtship, few months. To her credit she did not date till the youngest was 17. Her best friend from HS got divorced 1-2 years previously because her husband came out of the closet. They never had kids. Her husband showed F W at the time a 12-13 yo boy gay porn. Luckily for FW he was not molested and didnt show any interest in men. So FW and i were dating and lived close to his mom. We went to her house. The new husband had issues with sciatica. We walked in, and BF and new husband jump up. There was a couch in the way, so didnt see much when walking in. There was a blanket in the floor and new husband was not wearing a shirt. They said she was helping him with his back, which it did appear that was what was going on, but they acted very guilty and uncomfortable. We decided not to mention it to his mom. I didnt want any part of that. But new husband always seemed too handsy with me when saying hello. He got paint all over back of my white shorts once, and trying to kiss me hello on lips! Yuck. I steered clear of him and started to just wave at him and say hi. A few weeks after the walking in incident, maybe 2- 3 months, mom gets a call from BF elderly parent. She cant get in touch with BF and got a weird letter. So FW mom goes to the house and finds her body. BF had written a letter to her gay FW and he was supposed to go to her house and find her. But he got the letter and decided to ignore it. I cant help but thinking BF and new husband had some hanky panky and that she felt guilt about it and ended her life. But who knows! It just seemed at the time for the timing to be suspicious.

ToHaveAndToWithhold
ToHaveAndToWithhold
9 months ago

Suicidal ideation is a bottomless, numbing abyss. I was stuck in it for the better part of a year, despite doing everything I could think of to get better (time in hospital, new combinations of meds, talking to friends and family every day, doting on the dog, trying new hobbies, working constantly). I would dread the night, home alone and left to my thoughts.

I have no tried and true solution, but I recommend calling a loved one. Failing that, distraction also works surprisingly well when the pain is unbearable. Anything that gives you even the slightest bit of good feelings will work. Even if it is embarrassingly silly or supremely unproductive. Use it to occupy your mind for as long as you need it to. For me, that took the form of weird music, engrossing video games, and research into obscure history.

If you find yourself walking in hell…keep walking. Stay away from the booze (“crying juice”). Try to see a therapist if you can. Many employers have EAP offices to help if resources are an issue, as they were for me.

Sometimes you can only wait it out and trust that you don’t know the future. Things are better for me now, like so many others have said too. Focus on the good, those who love you, and especially those who need you. For me that was my dog. Imagining him not knowing why I was gone was enough to make me grit my teeth, stare back at that abyss, and give it the bird.

OverIt
OverIt
9 months ago

I never thought about suicide. I did heavily research disappearing and going off-grid. This was 100% in the devaluation phase and I had zero idea of FW’s second life. I just KNEW I had no worth to the asshole..this was a 20+yr marriage with 4 kids. It was the thought of the kids only having FW raising them that kept me from running away.

NO asshole is worth your life or worth you disappearing.