Dear Chump Lady, How do I make it through the holidays?

holly_petraeusIt’s that season again and it’s time to rerun this column. If you’re in a bit of a holiday slump, this goes one out to you. For the survivors of previous sucky holidays, tell the new ones how you did it in the comments. Thanks! — Tracy

Dear Chump Lady,

I am six months out from separation. Facing holidays alone with three grade school age boys. Friends all happily married (for the most part). Family all happily married.

I need any and all survival tips. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more easily I cry. I can’t stand to open Christmas cards from friends because their beautiful intact families reminds me of my broken family thanks to my cheating husband.

Offers of help and generous gifts from neighbors and congregation members just make me feel inadequate as a mom. I don’t want to be known as “the single mom” of the neighborhood, but I will be.

Divorce is amicable so far, which is a huge blessing; but about 45 days away from being able to be finalized.

All of it is still surreal. When I calculated today that I had asked him to move out exactly six months ago, I couldn’t believe that much time has past. It feels like I have been treading water without help for only a month or two.

It is a relief to not have the tension and day to day interactions with STBX. However, I am mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. All of you who have been single parents know that this is one tough gig! And relief every other weekend isn’t even close to enough time to catch up on everything that falls by the wayside when you are doing it alone.

I don’t know if everything is compounded because of Christmas. Or if my new reality is just settling in and I am scared to death to raise my sons without a full-time support system.

I figured this was the best place to go for ideas on how to make it through the next three weeks and make it as good a holiday season as possible!

Next year has to be better, right?!

LimboLand

Dear LimboLand,

Some holidays suck. When things suck — let them suck. You’ve been separated for 6 months. Your divorce isn’t finalized. You’re trying to get used to your new reality during a season of oppressive bonhomie. Who can blame you for occasional fits of weepiness? Even the sturdiest of us reel at the disconnect between our drab, ordinary lives and the manic imperative to be fabulous at the holidays. What? You don’t have your presents wrapped in artisan, wood-block print paper made by free-range lepers in India? You didn’t translate those Christmas cookie recipes from the original German? Didn’t you get invited to that party? You know, the one with the live nativity outside and the imported camels? No? Oh. Sorry.

I guess only the Intact, Happy, Married people were invited.

Please stop comparing yourself. Not every intact family is beautiful. Many of them are flaming cauldrons of dysfunction. And yes, some are happy. Be happy for them. The world needs all the sane, happy people it can get. Your problem is you need to expand your notion of “beautiful” and “intact.” You have custody of three boys. You’re at the helm. That’s an intact family. You’re just missing a fucktard, which is not missing much.

Yes, single parenting is hard work. But single parenting is not LESS THAN. It doesn’t mean you’re defective. Frankly, I found single parenting much, much easier than parenting in a bad marriage. In my first marriage, I paid the mortgage, all my own bills, my car, my son’s childcare, pre-school. I had a surly husband who didn’t much want to hang out with me, and the full weight of his untreated mental illness. I realized I was already a single parent. I didn’t have a fully invested partner. Having him out of the house was liberating and, hey, at least it was honest.

You were married to a cheater. No matter how many soccer games he attended, or bills he paid, that man was not a fully invested partner, in your marriage or in your family life. He directed his resources at fucking around on you. You’re mourning what you thought you had, how you enjoyed being perceived, not who he really was.

You don’t want to be known as the single mom? You ARE a single mom. Wear it as a badge of honor. You’re freaking HEROIC. You’re raising three boys on your own. This is your chance to raise good men with YOUR values. Did you really want to stay “intact” with that man and model to your sons that husbands and fathers cheat? And women must eat that shit sandwich and let the man enjoy his side-dish fuck entitlement?

Or do you want them to know that women are strong and life has deal breakers — and if you fuck with someone’s dignity and betray them, you will find your ass divorced?

Divorce is not failure. Cheating is failure. The shame of infidelity is not your shame to wear. I realize this is not how you expected your life to turn out, but it’s the rare person whose life turns out how they expected. And those people are dull and risk adverse. Intact can be enviable, it can also be boring as hell. And smug.

LimboLand, trust that in time you will find your sea legs on this parenting thing and you will have better days ahead, and yes, even happy holidays. But right now, you’re in crisis. Your world just got turned on its head. You are blessed that you are surrounded by kind people who want to help you. Accept the help. You know how you keep good people in your life? You let them help you. Don’t shoo them away. Be gracious, accept their kindness, and do a good turn for them later, when you’re able.

Reciprocity is what makes a relationship healthy. That means you don’t always get to be the giver. It means you also have to accept taking — graciously. That can be humbling for the more control freaky of us chumps. Makes us feel vulnerable. If you’ve been with a narcissist, you’re expecting that score card. Shit, I’m going to owe you and this is not going to be pretty. 

No. Some people are actually nice. Take the fucking casserole. Say yes to the babysitting. ENCOURAGE these people. Keep them close and do not reject them because you fear being pitied. That’s about you and you internalizing Single Mother is Less Than. They don’t see you that way. They see you as a lovely person who is in crisis and alone for the holidays, who could use some bolstering.

I could not have done single parenting without a lot of help. I had a dear friend who had my son for sleepovers every time I had to travel for work, or even sometimes when I had a date. And every chance I got, I reciprocated. I took her sons. Nearly every weekend I had a motley assortment of boys at my house. I looked for opportunities to do for my friends because I KNEW I was going to need their help too.

Being a single parent can open up your world in new ways, and deepen friendships. “Intact” families can be very isolating. As you build this new life, build a tribe. Lots of people are cribbing it together, doing this parenting stuff by the seat of their pants, even the married ones. Make some more friends.

But for now, just get through the holidays. Focus on your kids, making their Christmas bright. Create some new traditions (cookies for breakfast!) Relax. Please don’t spend those precious kid-free weekends doing chores. Enjoy some self-care. Watch a movie. Have coffee with a friend. Blob in your pajamas. You deserve it.

This new stage of life isn’t a punishment, it’s a gift. I know it doesn’t feel that way now — but you’ll get there. I promise.

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PucksMuse
PucksMuse
7 years ago

This is so minor compared to all of Chumplady’s excellent points, but keep in mind that just because a family takes a nice photo, doesn’t mean they’re intact or loving or happy. It just means they can take a nice photo. I was conked over the head by this lesson two years ago when the most photogenic, fashion-coordinated, Pinterest-perfect family in our church – the one everybody held up as an example of a good Christian marriage and family – fell apart because the husband cheated in a blatant, jackassed fashion. Appearances can be deceiving.

And if even if they are happy families, that doesn’t diminish you at all. You’re living a life of integrity, separating yourself from someone who makes you and your children unhappy. You’re creating a safe happy home for your children. That is also worthy of respect and you should be proud of yourself.

Chumpless
Chumpless
7 years ago
Reply to  PucksMuse

I married at 35. Spent five years with a guy who pretended to want children with me. Never told me he had a vasectomy. Faked disappointment every time test was negative. Left the cheater with no children and my best reproductive years behind me. I’m an only child with both parents passed. I’m blessed to have my health, good friends and freedom. I look for magic in the world. Appreciate your gifts. I can’t help you with the scary part of raising children alone (Chump Lady did that) but I can tell you change is always scary—-you be fine. Be proud of your beautiful intact healthy family!

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Chumpless

Chumpless & Hopiumrecovery–the evil deception of your Xs is chilling. Using someone is horrible enough, but tricking them out of having children when they wanted children is cruel beyond measure. May both your exes get what they deserve.

hopiumrecovery
hopiumrecovery
7 years ago
Reply to  Chumpless

I feel for you. I married at 40 to Durt, who also wanted children and a family. Except he didn’t. He wanted my money and support for him and his mom while he screwed the slut puppet, side sluts and harem members. When I was crying during the divorce that I would now never have children, he laughed and said he couldn’t have children. “My swimmers don’t swim”.
Cruel and heartless that they would ruin a woman’s dreams for their own sick wants.

CAGal
CAGal
7 years ago
Reply to  PucksMuse

This was my thought when reading the letter. I absolutely know that it hurts, but that picture is not always the truth, it may be an artifice.

My now-ExSIL is married to an absolute asshole. Cheater, got the OW pregnant, mean, manipulative… all the usual stuff. A counselor told her he was not able to be a good partner… but she stayed married to him, for financial reasons I think. They fucking hate each other. She drinks too much and finds any excuse she can to be away from him. I don’t all ways he is terrible, but there many I’m sure.

But every year they send a Christmas card with the family together, smiling usually from Hawaii and/or some other destination. A Chump fresh off her divorce would probably find it hard to look at. But it’s not real, it’s set dressing so people don’t know how bad it really is.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago

What a timely post. It set me to reflecting. I have had many lovely comments here that I am going quite speedily through the journey to ‘meh’. Who knows. I don’t feel speedy. Today I feel treacly and stuck and low. But I think what HAS helped me is that I have been a de facto single parent for YEARS as STBX travelled the world. I knew first off that I would be able to cope. It would be hard but I would cope. I can fix stuff, get neighbours to help with stuff and generally do it all. One year he didn’t come home at all – just had the boys visit him while I stayed home with youngest.
So it’s definitely been easier on me that way.
And actually I must confess that it was harder sometimes when he was home as he interfered with all my ‘systems!’ This last two years were very hard for me as I was very ill and then went through a depression/burn out. I begged him to come home and now know why he was not keen.
But holidays on your own can be lovely. Lovelier than with a fuckwit. Peaceful and your own style. Yes it’s hard work but raising a family is MEANINGFUL. I have always felt my life has been meaningful and that will keep me going.
Make new habits and traditions at holidays. Go your own way. If you can survive a cheating fuckwit you can survive pretty much anything.
I don’t have a family of origin either so my life has always been cobbled together from friends and neighbors but I get to choose!
Life is short. Make joy. Model joy for your children. Model having fun, being independent, bucking the trend.
I’ll stop now!!! Seems to have got carried away!
?

The EX-orcist
The EX-orcist
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

This is a good idea!! I’m gonna try it today. ?

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

So many of us were defacto single parents in our marriages. And I find parenting much easier now that someone is not chopping at my knees.

LOVE the “I get to ___________” mentality, Capricorn. And after awhile, you really *feel* that liberation in both large & small ways.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

This was what I thought about when I read CL’s post. Why is a family living on eggshells to cater to a cheating, lying narcissistic jackass “intact”? How is a family where one of the parents can’t be trusted “intact”? I’ve come to the point after 3 years of reading here where I think fixing our picker starts with being willing to challenge unhelpful concepts like “intact family” and “single parent.” Anyone married to a cheater who is in an active affair or affairs is essentially carrying the burden of the family alone, as the cheater has checked out. Of course chumps will be afraid of living without a second full income or of having to leave the kids in daycare and look for a job. That’s all legitimately scary. But holding on to an “intact family”? Once the lying and cheating starts, the marriage and family are broken. What chumps do when they file is allow the family to heal in an authentic way.

FreeNow
FreeNow
7 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

LAJ,

Thank you for your summation of the past 35 years of my life with fuckwit! I have a lifetime of experience from walking on eggshells and spackling to keep the marriage and family intact.

It took my highly aggressive cancer diagnosis, in January, to shock me into the realization my will to live was stronger than keeping his image intact and needs central.

It’s been 10 months since final DD, filing for divorce and starting cancer treatment. I have listened to the collective wisdom of CN and lawyered up. I also found an excellent counselor who helped me get out of my unhealthy life of narcissistic trauma bonds. STBX is not doing well and I find myself ever closer to divorce settlement meh and Tuesday.

Thanksgiving in my cheater free home was authentically delicious. No eggshells, no lies, no I’m going to the club to work out (read: quick fuck with AP du jour before being back to carve the turkey) and no one missed his fake self. I looked around my beautiful full table of loved ones and know now that working through my fears was worth every minute of pain and suffering this year. I have my dignity, self respect and am feeling mighty.

I realize I was the rock, the anchor and still am. My family and friends have rallied around me in my new cheater free and hope to be cancer free soon life.

Don’t let fear keep you in the sick and unhealthy world of a cheater. What you spackle dims your sparkle. Don’t let your awesome light go out. They (and their paycheck if they’re working) aren’t worth it.

lovedandlost
lovedandlost
7 years ago
Reply to  FreeNow

So admirable!

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  FreeNow

Yes to dignity. Yes to self respect. You are mighty. CN is mighty!

Physical healing and restoration to you FreeNow. Thanks for these great words!

brit
brit
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

In my marriage I was a single parent to our son. I married who I thought was a man only to discover I married a pathetic overgrown teenager. A few weeks after X moved out I read an e-mail from X to our son in his quest to convince our son to live with him (to avoid child support) he told our then teenage son that if he were emancipated he could live with X full time and they could be like college room mates. Animal house?? 16 year old boys need a mature father not a college room mate. The judge agreed to have our son emancipated and lived in X’s apartment without adult supervision. X lived with his GF at the time. My son needed a mature parent and role model at a pivotal time in his life to guide him instead he had a college room mate who was never there.
Capricorn you’re posts are enlightening.., thank you!

Fed up
Fed up
7 years ago
Reply to  brit

We need a conversation around how pathetic the legal system is regarding divorce. The lawyers and judges should be held responsible for when their shitty advice and/or decisions prove to be misguided and harmful. Some of the stories I hear are pure insanity!

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Sorry one more thing. I tiny trick I learned but weirdly seems to help me is ; instead of saying “I have to do x,y, z”- change it to “I get to do x, y, z”.
Makes you see how lucky you are.
I get to go shopping (I have a car and money)
I get to clean up (I have somewhere to live and care for)
I get to divorce a cheating fuckwit
I get to arrange my Christmas
I get to have my own career
I get to figure out myself.

You get the picture! Hope it’s not just me who likes this!!

WellRid
WellRid
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Huge thanks Capricorn ☺️ I really want to model positivity to my two teenage girl. But it’s hard not to think negatively when there’s always a long to-do list of mundane chores as a single parent. This is a brilliantly simple way of turning the never ending to-do list into a ‘count my blessings’ list. Love it!

Paintwidow
Paintwidow
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Yes to all of that.

cdclocks
cdclocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

“instead of saying “I have to do x,y, z”- change it to “I get to do x, y, z”. <–Love that Capricorn! …gonna have to practice that one. 🙂

rickb89
rickb89
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

That’s good!

FindingBliss
FindingBliss
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Yes, Capricorn, you are a quick learner and even if you don’t feel it, you show that once a chump has the tools, vocabulary, and support they need, they use their well-honed survival skills to move forward because they were doing all the responsible, sane stuff anyway. Now they just do them without a cheater interfering and messing things up.

This is not to say that you don’t have pain, grief, and setbacks. Healing is not linear and this huge betrayal takes time. No one passes through this crap and comes out unscathed. But as you say, you were so used to living on your own and doing all the heavy lifting, that not much has changed in your day-to-day living. I think it’s harder for the chumps who thought they were married to their best friends, and then one day “poof,” that person disappeared and a hateful monster took over.

The beauty of CL and CN is that they provide the head-clearing truth and the soul-healing balm of support to get through the time of deep grief and insanity. Best wishes for you as you navigate your cheater-free life.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  FindingBliss

Finding Bliss

Thank you. I have been ‘lucky’. It makes me go cold to think of chumps whose cheater is woven into the fabric of the family life and then must be detached. I think I would have been in reconciliation for a while if that were me. My fear of being a single parent would have been insurmountable for a good long time.

I often said I was like a single parent. The actually reality of being one feels much lonelier but I know I can manage. I’m a bit of a loner anyway so more time on my own will be the best tonic for me. And knowing that I survived and thrived even after a rubbish childhood helped.

When I think of chumps that have been suddenly abandoned I have such rage on their behalf. That is a seismic psychic shock. Some seriously brave people here.

paigeup
paigeup
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Piggybacking on this great point is the suggestion to change “expectations” to “preferences.” I find myself holding me to a ‘way-to-high bar. If I don’t overachieve, I fail. So, I prefer to get something done, but if it doesn’t happen, I remember I’m human & mourning.
The majority of relationships don’t make it. You are in that majority.
If you’re lying in a hospital bed with 2 broken legs, try not to beat yourself up for your inability to run today. See your emotional injury in the same light as a physical one. You will in fact heal, either willingly or kicking & screaming because you are “shoulding” on yourself.

nomoreskankboy
nomoreskankboy
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Bravo! I just love this way of thinking, thank you.

Martha
Martha
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Thanks, Capricorn. I really like this suggestion. 🙂

Martina24
Martina24
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Thank you Capricorn for reminding me of this! I was starting to feel bad this am and I read your response. You are spot on with this!

JeanM
JeanM
7 years ago
Reply to  Martina24

Thanks Capricorn for the rewire!
Its sublime.

Kay
Kay
7 years ago
Reply to  JeanM

Thank you Capricorn. ?

StartofSomethingGood
StartofSomethingGood
7 years ago

I remember my first Christmas post DDay, it sucked. Second was better. I went to Cuba with my Mom. Third was even better. This year, will be great! Hang in there newbies.

As a side note, and not to focus on the cheaters, but the holidays are all about family. Trust me, many cheaters who have left think about their families constantly during the holidays. I don’t believe for a second the holidays are a great time for them. Their loss of course but still. They’re not happy.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago

I really hope this is the case. He appears to have moved on so quickly and to be so happy. Of course, I’m completely NC so I wouldn’t really know and am trying to focus on joy and peace and new holiday traditions!

Being divorced will take some getting used to, but I know I really had no other choice. I honestly don’t think it’s possible for him to feel the loss like we do. His repeated actions show we didn’t mean as much to him as he did to us. He sucks.

brit
brit
7 years ago

neverwouldhaveimagned, “actions speak louder than words,” I wish I had paid more attention to X’s actions rather than his words or my words, the spackling, sugar coating, glossing over, even ignoring blatant disrespect. It took me a long time to accept that he didn’t care.

No they doesn’t feel the loss like we do and sadly we didn’t mean as much to him as he did to us. They’ve moved on long before they leave us.

I came across an interesting website this morning called “The Flying Monkeys, Oh my” has some good information on narcissists. I have been reading another site ,”After narcissist Abuse, There’s Light, Life, & Love” Along with Tracy’s book I’m reading “From Charm to Harm and everything in-between with a narcissist” Gregory Zaffuto. Reading helps confirm what we already know.

cdclocks
cdclocks
7 years ago
Reply to  brit

Thanks for the reading suggestions, brit! Nothing has helped me more than Tracy’s book, CN, and a truly awesome counselor, but I’m always looking for more reading material that sorts through all this chaotic mess. 😉

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  cdclocks

If you even only suspect that you might be dealing with a cluster B personality disorder, narcissist, sociopath or psychopath, go to
saferelationshipsmagazine.com. They have a wealth of articles and information that really blow the lid off everything. After Chumplady opened my eyes to the reality of being married to a cheater, that many of them were personality disordered, that is when I really started to put the puzzle pieces together and understand the severity of the person I spent decades with.

Shechump
Shechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

‘but I’m always looking for more reading material that sorts through all this chaotic mess. ;-)’

I’m so sorry but there is no such manual or any reading materials that make sense of it.”

Don’t try to analyze the “skein of fuckedupness’.

I’ve been working on it for over 3 yrs now.
Read so many self-help books, many radio programs and a good blog I live on.

Bottom line. There are no answers at all. And, you have to move on in life without that non-information.
So sorry 🙁

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago
Reply to  Shechump

She Chump.

Once I read about the three phases of a narcissistic relationship the passageway to freedom opened.

I lived those cycles through many Ddays and reconciliations.

I had no idea about the role I played in tollersting abuse.

I believed; I couldn’t believe. My emotions were so wrapped around The Limited I never considered leaving.

I was told by both my therapist and kick ass lawyer that I had Stockholm Syndrome.

I became obsessed with reading everything about these types of relationships.

I had NO IDEA of the level of abuse I suffered or the fact he enjoyed my pain.

I had NO IDEA of the level of power and control he had over me.

Then one day in my obsessive persuit of untangling 41 years of lies I stumbled upon something that made me see the light.

Richard Grannon, the Spartan Life coach was describing life with a covert narcissist. That was my life.

I knew cheating was the tip of the iceberg. His actions were deliberate and calculated. He planned every loss that I suffered including the loss of my home. He degraded me to his family, my children, coworkers, and OW for years.

Untangling the layers of deception helped me in many ways. It was a painful journey knowing I was never loved, appreciated, or cherished.
It allowed me to see him as a malignant sociopath and to save myself.

KarenE
KarenE
7 years ago
Reply to  Shechump

Chumpitude, ALL of what you said, exactly! I deal with things by figuring them out. For a long time I tried to figure out cheater narc in order to make things work the way they should in our family. But once I understood that would never happen, the figuring out was super helpful anyway, not so much about him, but about ME and what had happened to me, what I was dealing with, how to help my kids with it ….

And everytime I read something or saw something on CL that made more sense of what had happened, it moved me closer to just accepting that what is, is, and we deal with it. Not untangling anymore, and I have put down my (practically worn out from use) spackling trowel.

Chumptitude
Chumptitude
7 years ago
Reply to  Shechump

Shechump,

Reading about personality disorders did not change the past. Reading about cluster Bs did not change the fact that I was married to a lying cheating coward who got off on deception. Reading about infidelity did not lessen the pain of the realization that I had no good options left, only very painful days ahead as I pushed the divorce forward…

But reading helped me immensely in my recovery. I read not to understand him better, but to understand my situation and options in terms of how to minimize the length and depth of my pain. Reading reinforced me resolve to stay NC and helped me avoid triggers and exposure to his twisted mind and 3 channels of fuckedup-ness.

At first, the more I read the more I hurt as I realized how much I had used my olympic-level spackle skills to keep our family intact for our kiddo.

I stumbled across evidence of his affair randomly, I was taken by complete surprise, and than faced with irrevocable evidence that his main problem solving strategy was to lie his way out of problems…

None of the reading helped with the pain at first, and they certainly did not help my X treat me with respect. But the knowledge I gathered through reading helped me recover faster, helped me develop strategies on how to talk about the divorce with my kiddo, and have better boundaries in all areas of my life.

Susannah
Susannah
7 years ago
Reply to  Shechump

I don’t think cdclocks is doing the skein untangling, I think they are merely doing a lot of reading to help them identify all of the red flags of a cluster B. Cd didn’t state they were trying to figure out why their cluster b was the way they were, they are just wanting to learn more about those types of personalities. Nobody wants to go back through that again, so information is the best defense.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  brit

Brit

I think I should have ‘actions speak louder than words’ tattooed on myself!
‘Stop talking – note to self’ would be another, lol.
I could start a new trend The Illustrated Chump – maybe then I would be safe from the next predator that swims into view!

I’m going to check out those sites and get that book. I think mine was covert, but he may just have been a crap sparkly narc.

KarenE
KarenE
7 years ago

Neverwould, it became abundantly clear to me that even while he was whining and trying to come back, cheater narc didn’t actually miss US, he didn’t feel the loss as we did. He didn’t like that HE wasn’t getting what he used to (and what he thought AP would provide), and that the kids and I didn’t jump to provide kibble when he couldn’t get it from AP (she lived in another city, where he had been spending part of each week when the affair began).

The only thing they miss about us is supply, we really never did mean that much to them, because nobody does. Blergh.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  KarenE

Yes, it’s just the consequences that hurt them. And the loss of cake. They suck.

KarenE
KarenE
7 years ago

Yeah, my ex admitted during one of his several attempts to get me to take him back that, surprise surprise, it didn’t feel right to be with HER family and not his own for holidays and celebrations. It didn’t feel right to be on vacation where we always went, doing the things we always did, with HER.

Well doh!

The difference is, I knew this already, I already valued what we had, so I did everything I could to protect my family and my relationship with him, which was the foundation of our family.

He only figured that out after fucking around (twice) and blowing it all up.

And I knew it was super important and valuable to our kids, as well, so I did everything I could to make it work. That aspect was never important to him.

The EX-orcist
The EX-orcist
7 years ago
Reply to  KarenE

I don’t know how they can fake through that shit. I could not do it. They just move right into a new life like the old one never existed. They are so completely void of any life skills and decency. I always told The ClusterFuck B Sociopath the he “failed to perceive a threat” from his actions, or another words, either didn’t consider consequences, or refused to acknowledge consequences applied to him as well.
I don’t know, I threw my hands up after his 5th DWI. I quit trying to figure out why ANYBODY would continue to drink and drive. Then when he ends up with felony convictions and no drivers license forever again, and sits in jail for a year he thinks that’s way too harsh. “I don’t deserve to be called a felon, I didn’t kill anyone”
If you didn’t agree ( which of course I didn’t agree) he would rage at me.
I fucking hate his dumb cunt guts.

Kar marie
Kar marie
7 years ago
Reply to  The EX-orcist

Yep. Throw your family away for the new one like thirty years of life never happened. Just brush it under the rug. Forget about it. Its the past doesnt matter. Took me a long time to realise how a person could do that? A pod thats who. After asswipe moved in with his whore id get texts from him occasionally asking for facts about stories that happened to us for his displays to new family and friends. I texted back its the past fucker remember? He would insist to get the story straight! I realized i am his memories. He didnt remember cause he never really cared. Gave a great appearance of a good family man hell he fooled me! Still insisted texting me to tell him the story. I finally texted back if you cant remember stories about your own son fuck you! Ask whore juice shes his new mom right and turned off my phone. Whore juice was telling stories one time with my daughter present for wj friends and family about when she was little and infront of everyone said how the fuck do you know you werent there that would be my mom not you. Her sperm donor said nothing in whores defense. I love my girl! Pods just never get it and they never will. Useless pieces of shit.

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago
Reply to  The EX-orcist

The rules always applied to others and he never had consequences until I filed.

And EX, I was always the designated driver.

The EX-orcist
The EX-orcist
7 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

I couldn’t go out with him for an enjoyable few drinks because he would turn into a fucking asshole who wanted to beat on me and rage if I didn’t agree with anything he said.

The EX-orcist
The EX-orcist
7 years ago
Reply to  The EX-orcist

Interesting to me because Cock Slobber is a common ordinary bar whore who will drink with him. They must have some good fights. I have no doubt she has seen his drunk rages. Lol. She is so fucked???

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago
Reply to  The EX-orcist

It’s not a pretty picture. I’m indifferent to his life for the most part. My children have little admiration for him and as my daughter stated, “I have to live with this for the rest of my life.”

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  The EX-orcist

EX-orcist: They get a boner from deception. It makes them Big Wo/Man on Campus–“I know something you don’t.” Their deception of being a married/family-wo/man keeps us hopping to maintain their facade of legitimacy, which is much better for public relations than “I fuck Craigslist skanks on my lunch hour,” or “I’m banging my boss in the copier room,” or (in the case of mine, “I’m carrying on sexual delights on gradwhore’s single bed while my wife is at Home Depot picking out stainless steel appliances for our kitchen remodel.”

After the initial adjustment, holidays without the fuckwits are a source of relief.

WarmSocks
WarmSocks
7 years ago

When I am struggling with the idea that ‘my whole life has been a lie’, this has helped me see that he is the only lie.
“Accept the help”
Because you will get so much more than help. When you open up and let others step in to help you realize that you are surrounded by loving, trusting relationships. Letting people step up and support you and be there for you in ways your cheater likely wasn’t, helps you see more clearly thru the spackle.
All the lies and betrayal your cheater brought to your life are the exception, not the rule.

unicornomore
unicornomore
7 years ago
Reply to  WarmSocks

“When I am struggling with the idea that ‘my whole life has been a lie’, this has helped me see that he is the only lie.”

Wow, thanks for that…I have very much been struggling with the “my whole life was a lie” since husband of 26 years cheated for many of those years, but you are right…MY life wasn’t a lie, HIS was and thats on him.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  unicornomore

That is by far the hardest part. Your memories are now corrupted and you wonder what was real or what (or who) he doing during that time you are recalling. 4 decades with many Wonderful Magical Memories are instantly changed into deeply heartsicking aches inside. These disordered people steal your life without a care in the world. You’re left to pick up the pieces and try to heal when much of your life was a complete lie. It’s hard for others to even begin to grasp the depth of devistation that does to someones soul.

MotherChumper99
MotherChumper99
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

These posts are exactly what I need to hear. Thank god you guys get it.
Decorating for Christmas and doing Thanksgiving this weekend has had many triggers and I’m worn out today. DDay #1 two-year anniversary is coming up in a few weeks and I’m remembering all the “lasts.” Hurts like a mofo but I’m surviving.

Shechump
Shechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

I’m sorry this is happening to you too, Chump Change.
No, I don’t think people understand that is happening to you unless they experienced it personally.
(very frustrating) Nobody I really know which is hard.
The majority think I’m contagious.
I’m in a small town and C/N has become my divorce ‘group’.

This Magical Mystery Tour just took me off my feet and a perfect song for what he did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTOyVcs2jkI

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Shechump

Yes SheChump, I know what if feels like to be in a small town. I went from a very active in full social life to two friends. All the couples we knew pretty much dropped us when I originally kicked out Gaslighter and were separated. People are polite to my face, and I do hear from the grapevine that they Know my husbands a ConMan asshole…. but I know there are many Switzerland friends and people that just don’t want to look too deeply. I do think married couples are very uncomfortable around is divorcing and I learned that an attractive female is not a popular invite in this couples world. I’ve never felt so alone in my life.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  unicornomore

Yes, brilliant, WarmSocks–“He is the only lie.” That just advanced me a year in healing! Thank you.

Chumptitude
Chumptitude
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Agreed, thank you warmsocks, knowing how much of my family life was real and what was fake tortured me (and still does at times)… But I am secure in my belief that I brought my A game to my marriage and as a mom, and that belief really helps me move forward authentically no matter how much history rewriting X tries to introduce in our kiddo’s and his family’s minds…

whodoesthat
whodoesthat
7 years ago
Reply to  Chumptitude

this is important : they gave us lies and we react as if the whole dam time was fucked up. but no – we were authentic and so were our kids – friends – relations – the only person who had the delusion was them . let them own it and keep the memories.

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

WarmSocks

Love, Love this post. Recently, I found a WANTED ad the SlunT placed in a newspaper two weeks before he called her. She clearly stated SINGLES only. Yet he bragged that she didn’t care that he was married.

He was always the lie and a lifelong predator.

Shechump
Shechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

WarmSocks – Bravo! I, too, have had a lot of struggles about my last 36 years being a lie. Well, I wouldn’t have gone along with a lie that long, if at all, if I knew it was a lie. That made me feel a lot better that *I* was authentic, at least. My families love for him was authentic, at least. Our friends love for him was authentic, at least. That much I know and as Tempest said, you also just advanced me a year in healing!

Shechump
Shechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Shechump

I do feel like such a loser, however, for the wool being pulled over my eyes for so long.
Hugely embarrassed for all his ‘loved’ ones.
Somebody stated in another post, that I’m sure he got very frustrated that it took me 3 long years to figure out his affair. He started getting very sloppy to the point it was almost thrown in my face and still, I couldn’t bring myself to believe he’d ever do something so sinister. He pretty much laid it right on my lap, along with that damn smirk of his!

AlohaFreedom
AlohaFreedom
7 years ago

Oh Chumplady, you have me in tears.

Ian Dubito
Ian Dubito
7 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Leftover pie is good for everything.

AlohaFreedom
AlohaFreedom
7 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Thanks….

I don’t have any pie here. Better get some today … Maybe the stores will have pie on sale? Silver lining?

Happy Hausfrau
Happy Hausfrau
7 years ago

The first one is the hardest. And I mean HARD. I will never forget waking up to an empty house on Christmas morning, after years of hearing kids sneaking downstairs at the crack of dawn. I’ll also never forget the time I fell asleep on Christmas Eve, before I’d had a chance to get all the “santa” stuff out and ready. I woke up before the kids (a miracle) and got it all ready. And then cried because it was yet one more tradition, one more chapter in the old parenting book that was never going to be the same.

But guess what? The new chapters are different, yes- but they are good. Better, even, because we made new traditions that are ours and ours alone. There are still moments when I feel a pang, a bit of weepy nostalgia but those moments become less frequent and hurt less as time goes by.

You will get through this and so will the kids. Just remember that. And my dear, take care of yourself too. It’s easy to neglect yourself while trying to make everything good and normal for the kids, but your mental and physical health are now more important than ever.

Hugs to anyone who is going through this for the first time ❤️

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago
Reply to  Happy Hausfrau

Yes HH the new chapters ARE different. Holidays and birthdays are now celebrated with new traditions. And they are much better minus the slug.

Thanksgiving with my son and all night shopping with my granddaughter and her friend replaced feeding assholes who made negative comments.

Potluck Christmas dinners with my children, Yankee Swaps, and picking a secret Santa replaced endless shopping and the cheap thoughtless gifts I received as an afterthought. Joy replaced pain and constant complaints.

Birthdays are special. We select a day we spend together based on the interests of the person we are celebrating. It’s FUN.

Reinventing ourselves is a must. It takes time. It gets better every year.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

This will be my third Christmas after ending 38 years with the Gaslighter. The first 2 years my young adult boys and I continued our 10 year Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Traditions with our dear neighbors and their extended family – minus Gaslighter. The first year was hell. The youngest was a senior in high school and a full witness to my devastation. There were many emotional go rounds with my older son who lives in NYC, because I wouldn’t allow Gaslighter to be anywhere near these holiday traditions. I set very firm boundaries, I told them on no uncertain terms their father had lost the right to enjoy any part of things as they used to be. They could go see him somewhere else, and spend as much time with him and they wanted to. The second year was bitter sweet, but so much less stressful I couldn’t even believe it. Again my sons both spent the great majority of the holiday time with me, and only spent an obligatory couple of hours with their father and the other woman. The first year my oldest refused to even meet her. A few months ago my eldest and his fiancé and her mother (my friend) endured the AP explaining the story of their “love” and it was obvious the timeline did not add up to what they had witnessed or what his dad had told him. In other words he was clearly cheating on me for quite some time, while pretending to be a loving husband and father. So he Heard it directly from Schmoopie’s mouth that his Dad is a Shameless Lying Asshole. I don’t know why any of them didn’t say to this woman “Wow Schmoopie, Dad was very much married to my mom and with us during that year, so he’s been lying to you too”. Urggggh! But then I remember that this year I am going with both sons to Mexico City for Christmas and then to Cuba for New Year’s and my 60th Birthday. They will be with me. Thanksgiving for these the last three years I was with my younger boy who is in College an hour away. Gaslighter gets to spend his holidays with Shmoopie and her family instead of his own. I Win.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

You do win, Chump Change! Enjoy your trip to Mexico (and happy birthday!).

chump change
chump change
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Thanks Tempest. You have been such a big contributor to this site! Sending Holiday Hugs!

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

They could send as much time with him AS (not and) they wanted to…

Shechump
Shechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

Doing – ‘And they are much better minus the slug.’

Made me think of a recent video – perhaps a sloth moves a little slower?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES32UFlPOUA

sadlady15
sadlady15
7 years ago

This brings me back to last Christmas. Stbhx had moved in with his AP. He wanted to come “home” for Christmas with our grown kids. Big mistake! He tried to act like it was a normal Christmas. He was triangulating trying to hold my hand putting his arm around me. Working in the kitchen to make dinner. It was a disaster nobody enjoyed. I ended up in tears and he walked put before dessert, sending a text that “he knows when he’s not welcome”. I apologised to my kids and said there would not be a repeat.
This year we are celebrating at my daughters tiny city abode and no plans have been made with their wackjob dad. Daughters birthday was yesterday and she did not hear from her dad. He’s too busy with AP and her daughter, young enough to be his granddaughter.
They really suck. Your boys are better off without him and if they spend part of the holiday with him that is the time to take care of you and think of a new tradition to celebrate. I got through it and so will you.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  sadlady15

Sadlady–yet more proof they were never invested in their children, either. Your X probably didn’t even remember it was daughter’s birthday.

I have a funny (funny/sad?) story about birthdays–DD15 still won’t talk to her father two years out, and he sends her occasional texts or emails, but hasn’t really made tremendous effort to win her back. He texted her “happy birthday” last year a day early, then corrected himself.

DD21 is still in contact with her father. He forgot her birthday last year, so asked her this year for something special she wanted as a gift, sent the item, and warned her “don’t open it until your birthday on Monday!” He was a month early. SMH.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  sadlady15

Just ew for the wackjob Christmas disaster. I’m so sorry he did not even wish his own daughter a happy birthday this year but glad you are rid of him. They just move on to a new, sparkly family. They are so shallow and phony. They suck.

Dixie Chump
Dixie Chump
7 years ago

I think the holidays can be difficult for many people, not just chumps weathering infidelity, separation, and divorce. Our expectations are ridiculously high for what it is *supposed* to be like. My advice is to pick a few special traditions (old or new) and just enjoy them. Quietly. Let this time be a chance to relax and unwind from a crazy year instead of being a manic to do list competition to meet silly media-generated expectations.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
7 years ago
Reply to  Dixie Chump

Dixie, this is sound advice. We set up so much unhappiness with unrealistic expectations. One of the big things I learned after D-day was living in the present moment. And many times the present as we live it is just fine if we don’t compare it to the idealized past or future.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

My favorite silly poster to remind me to live in the moment (and let’s face it, ridding ourselves of cheaters is “leaving the gate open.”).

live gate open

Dixie Chump
Dixie Chump
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

I love that!

Mandie101
Mandie101
7 years ago
Reply to  Dixie Chump

I agree. My friend lost her father yesterday. Her birthday is on the 29th of this month. The holidays will not be cheerful for her and cheating was not the cause.

We all lament certain elements but loss of family is felt especially at holiday.

For those of you who are fresh in the process and still raw…hugs!

I knowany of us would be loath to do so, but take a page out of the narc’s book and fake it til you make it.

unicornomore
unicornomore
7 years ago
Reply to  Mandie101

Yes, loss comes in many forms. I work with people whose children die and holidays are not easy for these folks even if they have wonderful marriages.

My 2 oldest children have suffered from pretty serious mental health issues that changed them dramatically fro the wonderful loving children that I wrapped gifts for years ago. One of them moved very far away this year and Im thrilled that he isn’t homeless. The other visited briefly last week and caused a bit of a stink that me and new hubbby had to work through, so yea, there are lots of ways that people suffer from.

Accept also that there will be those awkward moments when the reality of the changes will bite your ass…one year after H1 died and I was dating H2, I had to order return address stickers…normally I would get ones that said “The H1lastname Family” and I cried when I wondered to myself if that entity existed any longer…I got all mighty and ordered some that said “Unicornomore lastname”. Now that I have H2’s last name I still felt awkward with “The H2 family” (does that ignore the folks with H1s name?). You get the jist, awkward, in-your-face moment that new widows and divorces have to trudge through. suckfest but survivable.

Shechump
Shechump
7 years ago
Reply to  unicornomore

This isn’t near as serious but, just last year (after being separated 3 yrs/divorced 2) I was still getting xmas cards from his friends. Some from college who we used to be close to that didn’t have a clue we had ‘a marital issue’ and were no longer married – I was actually shocked he didn’t let them know!. So, I wanted to rub my hands together and just send them back a note that their ‘wonderful college buddy’ had walked out on me and our family of 4 big dogs 3 yrs prior because of a whore he met. It would have been SO easy with their current addresses.

But, alas, I didn’t get that far in the gutter and just told him to call these people.
Of course, I never heard from them again. pfffft Great – 10 less xmas cards to send this year!

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Dixie Chump

Dixie. So much yes to this! Do you know when I read this my shoulders actually came down from where they had been hovering somewhere around my ears …….and relax…..?

brit
brit
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Dixie I felt the same as Capricorn as I read your post. A weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I can relax, I don’t need to go over the top with Christmas decorating
Simple or whatever we have no one to please but ourselves.
We can enjoy a peaceful Christmas without the miserable slug, and really how much help were they during the holidays? X never looked happy during the holidays. One day I mentioned it to him, he said it was because Christmas is so commercialized. I don’t know how I kept myself from laughing, as if that would make any difference to him.

KibblesNBits
KibblesNBits
7 years ago

This is the first Christmas I will be without my son, the first I will not see his sweet face delighted on Christmas morning and I feel a pit in my stomach that wells up to tears. The weight we put on this holiday is enormous, and the traditions hold us captive as does the loss of it. I am trying to remember that I have no memories of my parents together on Christmas, and I was kind of cool with it. I liked the two Christmases and two kick-ass meals. Trying to stay focused on what matters, namely a new life without a flaming Narcissist.

Eilonwy
Eilonwy
7 years ago
Reply to  KibblesNBits

Also, remember that we can celebrate Christmas as a season, not just as a day. Take advantage of what you can do–put up lights together, have your kids invite friends over for a cookie decorating party (prize for the ugliest cookie or best repair job on a broken cookie, etc.), take turns choosing and singing Christmas carols in the car together. The only Christmas tradition your kids need to remember is that you did fun things together. If you do the same things every year, that’s great. If you do different things different years, that is great too.

Finally, be for others what you need for yourself–the bearer of a kind word or an offer of a helping hand. I like to bake. I began giving away a lot more tins of treats after the EX left. Not only did I have time to bake when the kids were away, but it made me feel good to give a small gift to people who had offered me help during the transition as well as people who had no reason to expect a gift but who lit up with pleasure when I gave them one.

I enjoy the holidays much, much more now because it is not a constant argument or negotiation with the EX. He wanted a tree, but it was never a good time to put one up. He wanted lights, but got angry both if I asked him to put them up and if I stopped asking and did it myself. As with many aspects of the marriage, the holidays were usually about him–anything I wanted or the kids wanted were grounds for grumbling or a tantrum. Sure, there are things I miss about the image I held of my “intact” family, but I do not miss all the spackle I was putting up to sustain that image.

Last of all, plan ahead. If your kids will be with the EX for part of the season, have things to do. It doesn’t matter if it is novel you want to read, an “appointment” with a long-distance friend to have a leisurely phone call, or a long walk in the park followed by a cup of coffee you linger over with a trashy magazine. Plan ways to indulge yourself so that you have something (or several things) to look forward to.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  Eilonwy

So encouraging! I love CN and our collective light.

Shechump
Shechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Eilonwy

Eilonwy – Standing ovation!

‘Also, remember that we can celebrate Christmas as a season, not just as a day.’

This is wonderful because, it truly is an entire season of which Christmas occupies 2 months of Winter.
As always, the journey is so much more fun than the destination – destination, just the cherry on the xmas tree.

This is the first year in so many that I am actually full of the Christmas spirit!
I don’t think I was all that happy for the past 5….wonder why.

Tomorrow, I’m going to put up outdoor lights – he also was one who refused to do it. The one time he tried, he got so mad and frustrated I told him to stop. But, when I put them up he liked them. The entire point of having Xmas tree lights outside (logically speaking) this time of year is because it’s so darn dark out so darn early. I love the extra lights it gives you for 2 whole months!, and so many types and colors now. I think I’ll go buy myself new strings for my new little house but wait until everybody is done shopping this weekend.

Now you guys are getting me all excited. I really feel I’m about 70% on the meh level these days, hitting 90% pretty soon!

Thank you Chump Lady and Chump Nation.
You got me out of my quagmire.

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago
Reply to  KibblesNBits

Kibble , We do put so much weight in this holiday. The newness is also paired with the injustice of it all.

You can celebrate another day with your son. Be creative and I’m sure as time passes this will become a tradition you look forward to with joy.

There is so much fear associated with sharing your child. Hugs to you.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  KibblesNBits

Hugs to you! And all those with littles! Christmas must not suck. You just gotta pull yourself up by your bootstraps or put your big girl panties on or whatever phrase you use to mean weather the storm. We are clear on what matters. No more narcs! No more cheaters. Peace, joy, compassion for others…

AlohaFreedom
AlohaFreedom
7 years ago

Chumplady, please consider a “where are they now?” update post on occasion. I would love to know how LimboLand is doing.

Giraffe
Giraffe
7 years ago
Reply to  AlohaFreedom

Love this!!! It can be so helpful and interesting to read where people are a few years afterwards. I vote for a once in a while ‘what has become of’ blogpost.

seriously?
seriously?
7 years ago

I have 3 boys as well. Divorce seems very prevalent in 3 boy families! (even if a girl makes 4).
Just wondering if a/ cheaters tend to have boys more often or b/ its all the competition they cannot stand??
The wheels fell off my marriage when my eldest hit 14, but EX was revealed as a serial cheat so not sure that age is relevant.
Xmas has been ruined for me, hopefully not forever, but I have zero enthusiasm for it.

kaycan
kaycan
7 years ago
Reply to  seriously?

Hmm… interesting. I’ve also noticed that many Chumps have special needs kids, so there’s that, too.

Those damned kids with their damned “special” needs! What about me and my special-er needs?! Waah!

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
7 years ago
Reply to  kaycan

You said it, kaycan! One of my kids has special needs, but STBX says that he [our child] has none and that I just ‘don’t appreciate our children.’ ‘What about me and my special-er needs? Waah!’ truly represents my STBX. He is taking me to court yet again for the umpteenth time because I purportedly make him feel unsafe, although he has physically, financially, and legally threatened me (and others) and violated my rights for years. All this projection of his onto me (and the resulting taking of me to court) is terribly expensive, time-consuming, and wearisome. For what? After he burns me to the ground, he will very likely still be miserable, miserable over the damage HE caused. Really sad that people like this can take down society.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  RockStarWife

Seriously, it’s the cheaters who are “special needs” adults–they think of themselves as oh-so-special, they “need” fresh p***y/c**k, they need constant adoration, they need novelty! now! they have impulse control problems, they can’t connect to other people. I certainly don’t minimize the parental effort it takes to help and raise children with special needs, but on the continuum of abnormality, those kids are faaarrrr more “normal” than cheaters.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  kaycan

Cheaters suck. Selfish fuckers for abandoning their spouses with illnesses (or pregnant ones) and their own kids, especially those who need extra care.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  seriously?

Interesting hypothesis about the father-son dynamic. I doubt it works for serial cheaters, though–they are just immoral fucktards. I have two daughters; oldest one was very close to her father until his infidelity broke (she was 19), but he was probably cheating on me from when she was a fetus.

ANC
ANC
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Mine is a serial cheater who is extremely jealous of his eldest son’s achievements. I’m very observant, as hindsight is 20-20, with my younger two sons to have a good understanding of this fuckery. I was the buffer with my oldest but didn’t have the knowledge that asshat is an asshole.

I also have a daughter. He tried to create situations whereby I guess if I were insecure about myself, I was supposed to get jealous of her. Nope. Not me. I did create a huge buffer once I discovered his love of nubile porn and my adolescent daughter. No fucking way was he going to be alone with her. Creep.

Who the fuck are these assholes? I quit trying to unravel the skein. I’m 100% comfortable knowing they are fucked up sacks of skin parading as normal people- educate yourself and your children. This is a sad lesson to learn but very, very important as they leave the nest.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest.

I love it when you use technical terms Immoral Fucktards! Lol. I agree I think they are just crappy people all round.
Sorry to hear about your dog. That’s hard. Wish I could do more than send hugs your way.
❤️

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Thanks, Capricorn. Still sad about my dog, but spoiling the beejeezus out of him right now. (one of two “healing” dogs I got after D-day has a cancer diagnosis with only 6 months to live).

And I have long thought that “Asshole” should be an official DSM diagnosis ; ).

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Sorry to hear about your dog, Tempest. Always remember that your dogs have great lives living with you though. The rest is out of our hands.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  kiwichump

Thanks, Kiwichump. My dog is an elderly, deaf, blind Shih Tzu named Gramps, so I knew I only had him for a short time, but he’s such a gentle little soul, and there is so much symbolism imbued in him, that I’m finding it rough to contemplate life without him. No doubt the other 4 dogs will rally to fill the void ; ).

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  seriously?

What an insightful point.

We have girls, and I gave to say, even though it’s cliche, once they started developing, X was very uncomfortable.

They have crappy life skills. Seeing your boys as competition or struggling with your objectification of women because your own daughters are now teenagers are issues well adjusted people either do not have or thoroughly address and resolve.

Cheaters are dysfunctional and choose to hide or run away instead of grow and heal. And their families pay the price. They suck.

Also, they do not do intimacy or regret. They are shallow and selfish and so are their APs.

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago

Never

” once they started developing, X was very uncomfortable.”

He abandoned his first daughter at 16, lied and she moved out.

When the second daughter turned 16 he moved, I lost my home and she was homeless.

He abandoned his granddaughter at 13.

Needless to say I trauma bonded with the asshole and thankfully they finally see the pattern.

Olesammie
Olesammie
7 years ago
Reply to  seriously?

Interesting point, I have three boys as well, POS was always very hard on the eldest and it made for many confrontations, where I took my son’s side as I could see X was being unreasonable. He was very involved in the boys’ lives but when they reached a certain age, around 14, there was definitely an element of competition, especially for my attention( which you couldn’t make up considering he was cheating! ) He became physically confrontational with them, leading to many terrible rows especially when they began to try to protect me when he was being overly controlling! I don’t think he could cope with other males in his domain, it was fine when they were little boys but when they became young men, he freaked out.

The irony is the OW has a son who is now 13 ( 7 when they began the affair), it will be interesting to see how he copes as that boy gets older.

He has a very good relationship with all my boys, mainly because I facilitated it but it is very superficial based mainly on sports, there is no depth and certainly no discussion about feelings or emotions. He avoids that at all costs, despite the boys trying to engage him ( I ensured they have emotional intelligence, didn’t want them growing up as emotional immature as their father) so he really is a lost cause.

A salient point, narcissistic personalities do not like competition, sons are competition to these type of men.

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago
Reply to  Olesammie

Great post. The traitor has 4 sons. I used to call him “competitive dad” after the character in The Fast Show. Always had to beat them, sore loser and proud of it. He also stole all their Christmas chocolates from under the Christmas tree once. Two birds with one stone, he sabotaged my preparations and peed all over his boys…

ANC
ANC
7 years ago
Reply to  Olesammie

The competition thing with their sons, if the father is the cheater, is HUGE. As you noticed, it begins around their son’s adolescence. They begin trying to cut the child down in any way. The other parent becomes the buffer. It’s really messed up. Even more messed up when the off spring has more IQ points than the abusive parent. Rather than celebrating their offspring’s gifts and talents, they make it a mission to tear them apart-little by little.

I have one son out of the house and thriving and two boys still home. Thank GOD the asshat is nothing more than a fantasy figure for them. He never engaged in real parenting, just impression management. The younger two are tweens now and I am no longer fogged out.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Olesammie

Olesammie

Wow. Your post made me sit back on my heels. I remembered suddenly when my STBX first went to work abroad. All the tension and almost physical confrontation between him and my eldest (14at the time) left with him. I have always had to step in to stop things escalating between him and the boys as they got older.
And similarly he has millimetre thin relationships with the boys based on nothing more than them actually being in close physical proximity to him. Out of sight out of mind really is true.

Ahhh. That’s like my dad. Crap. He was great when you were in his eyeline but step out and you just disappeared from his mind. No object permanence.

I love this site. So much to realise.

unicornomore
unicornomore
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

The last Christmas nowdeadhusband was alive, he had a rage because the tree fell over and he grabbed it to throw into the yard, trouble was it had many heirloom ornaments on it that would have been broken if he were left to his devices.

Oldest son stopped his dad midway through the kitchen dragging the tree and told him “We’re not doing this”. Im so glad son took that moment to claim his authority and fix the situation.

KarenE
KarenE
7 years ago

Let people help! Let them help! I didn’t have time to post on yesterday’s thread, and people were focusing on the big stuff they were grateful for, but I am so grateful for the small bits of help we got in the first year or two after I kicked cheater narc out.
– our dentist who knew money would be tight for a while, who ‘forgot’ to bill me several things – even after I reminded his office!
– the people at our local small grocery store, who were super extra warm to the kids and I, and put free Hallowe’en pumpkins and Xmas panettone in our deliveries.
– our family friends who made sure we had plans and good things to do for every single holiday and many times in between (and who never again spoke to the cheater).
– my sister and brother, who stepped up with bits of cash here and there for kid stuff and time/attention for my kids.

People LOVE to help, and if we let them, it deepens our relationships with them. Don’t you love to help? Allow others that pleasure. Accept, and even ASK for help.

The EX-orcist
The EX-orcist
7 years ago

I guess I was very fortunate The ClusterFuck B Sociopath never participated and/or ruined every single holiday. I tried to make them special but they weren’t.
Cock Slobber is. Very much into holidays, etc and she has a large family. I’m sure he tries to find a way out of it. I do know for a fact that last Christmas Day she was moving from their fuck shack 1/4 mile down the road (Thank Jesus). I laughed because making her move on X-mas was his excuse for not having to participate in any holiday festivities.
Who the fuck moves on Christmas Day???? I knew then that he was the same old piece of sociopath shit he had ever been.
He showed up here last X-mas, and went upstairs wasting time so he wouldn’t have to help her physically load anything into their moving trailer.
Lazy piece of shit. She obviously had no idea he was avoiding having to do any manual labor.
Ha ha ha ha. They do not change, ever.
This is my 2nd round of holidays without the ClusterFuck. We had no happy traditions during 18 years, so that part wasn’t missed. It was devastating regardless thinking he was with Cock Slobber all happy & shit.
To new and recovering chumps-the healing process is soooooo hard. There are no choices but to deal with it, pain, shit sandwiches, and all. I’m sorry for your suffering and hope you can remember that next year you will be much better equipped to manage.
I’m meh, but it still stings when I think of what could have been. I tried to take Satan and make him into a person who I thought he had potential to be.
Just keeping moving chumps. It gets easier.

LongTimeChump
LongTimeChump
7 years ago
Reply to  The EX-orcist

Hi Ex-orcist, same here. When I got married and moved to another country a week before the New Year of 2005 to live happily ever after with my husband whom I loved more than life, I was looking forward to our first Christmas together. I wanted to arrange something but my narc husband kept telling me to relax. Stupid me, I thought he was preparing a surprise for me. I cried and cried when I realized late into the evening that nothing was happening. And then nothing happened on the following ones. And nothing happened on my birthdays, no “happy birthday” ever – for 12 years. Friends tried to invite us over to their places for celebrations but he declined. I recall two times we went over to our friend’s place but he insisted to come home early and go to bed. He just treated those days as any other calendar days, leaving me in front of the TV by myself. I hated all holiday celebrations including my birthdays. The past 6 years we lived in two different countries seeing each other twice a year. The Christmas/New Year was together in a resort on the seashore with strange people. The family holiday environment never existed. Actually, the family environment never existed. He attributed his reluctance for family celebrations to his teen-age years when he had to live with his uncle in another country while his parents were going through an ugly divorce. Some people go through pain and decide to not repeat it in their lives, while others opt to punish everybody in their family for the pain they had once suffered. I came to dislike all holidays. I now have to make myself like them again. I have a 9-yr old son who still believes in santa and it’s really up to me what kind of father and husband he will become one day.

One pattern we chumps have is that we lived laser-focused on our narcs and their moods and desires and in the pursuit of pleasing them we forgot what we were about. Now it’s the chump-discovery time for me.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  LongTimeChump

Long time
Well I fir one would love to know what you choose to do from now on. How big will you go for Xmas?? I love Xmas I absolutely love it so have always had fun. The less I fear what others think the more fun I have. Our lives seem similar with our cheats working away for the last 6 years – snap!
It’s so difficult to actually believe what has happened isn’t it. But you have a 9 year old who you can really go to town with on the celebration stuff. Good luck. Let us know!

Longtimechump
Longtimechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Capricorn, I am still not divorced. Have not even filed yet. Not sure if I will any time soon. Christmas is as usual with him on the beach. The tickets were bought a while ago when we were in a fake-reckonciliation and I was elated that he finally understood the pain and thought won’t do it again. The CL and CN were not part of my life then to help open my eyes. He was always distant and secretive so after DDay he realized he had to change tactic and he layed it out in heart to heart long talks. Of course blaming me for all the affairs because I was not tending to his needs. What I thought I discovered when I read the texts was only 10% of his serial cheating. But just the fact he talked to me made me think that this was finally a soul to soul conversation which we never had in 12 yrs. So I bought in. It took him 4 weeks after that to show he won’t change.

I wrote in bits and pieces here and there but I have a situation where my son holds his dad’s citizenship in a middle eastern country. We all are also Canadians. When we reconciled the decision was that my son and I would move back by September next year. I now know how stupid this idea was.

So I have not confronted him yet and frankly have to thread this carefully. If he gets mad he can simply keep our son there and not let him come back. I will probably post my story in the forum to get some advice. I know I need to speak with a lawyer, in search for the right one now with experience in double citizenships.

For now Christmas on the beach (4th year in a row) and I always had the uneasy feeling abt him but this time I know. With some new friends he made. I have to pretend. For my son. Let’s see how it goes.

kiwichump
kiwichump
7 years ago
Reply to  Longtimechump

Longtimechump, can you get advice from Canadian authorities about what, if anything, they can do to protect you both when you go to his country? How old is your son? How long would you have to pretend wreckonciliation? Big hug, thinking of you.

Longtimechump
Longtimechump
7 years ago
Reply to  kiwichump

Capricorn, I am moving in that direction. As a matter of fact I have a business meeting with the Cad embassy staff (another dept) while I am there but it’s still good for contacts. I need to lawyer up – just need to find the right one. Thank you really for your support. Hugs

CeliA
CeliA
7 years ago
Reply to  Longtimechump

Longtimechump, please know that you are one mighty, level-headed parent. I hope you find the right person to help you. Good luck to you, from a fellow Canadian.

Longtimechump
Longtimechump
7 years ago
Reply to  CeliA

Thank you CeliA. Will be speaking with a lawyer tomorrow.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Longtimechump

Longtime.
This is a truly horrible situation to be in. I filed for divorce about three weeks ago. My husband usually works abroad.
He is home at present to sign paperwork and provide financial details.
It is tricky to say the least.
I’m thinking you will have to be a very sneaky very smart very thoughtful Chump from now on you will definitely be able to extricate yourself and your son if you plan and are careful.
I’m following your replies. Let me know if you post in forum. Would love to offer help if I can.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago

Limboland–Tracy is right on all counts.

How to get through the holidays?
1. Accept help whenever it is offered.
2. Accept help even if you have to ask for it.
3. Keep ALL the traditions YOU want (even if they remind you of fucktard–you have a future in which, eventually, he will be “someone you used to know” and you’ll want those traditions to have been kept).
4. Downsize–I usually put up two Christmas trees (I’m a Christmas addict), the December after D-day & filing, I only put up one. Kids got fewer, but better-thought-out presents
5. One step of self-care every day. I know it’s rough with children, but even 5 minutes a day of a bubble bath, quiet tea, three pages of a novel, will help.
6. Accept help, accept help, accept help.

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

This! YOU own the fact that you love what you love. YOU own everything that is true about you. If you can’t bring yourself to do something year 1, maybe year 2, or later. Still, nobody can take the beauty that is your heart away from you.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

I just can’t bear to bring out all the amazing Snow Globes that were so lovingly collected over three decades… so tacky yet actually really beautiful during the Christmas holiday all arranged on my baby grand piano. People loved them so much and always commented about them and many started their own snow globe collections after visiting. I especially remember hunting all over Greece for a Parthenon snow globe and believe it or not we actually found one. Only that a single one after searching 3 different islands and Athens. Each snow globe had a story and a history of a special time. My heart can’t bear to display them now. It would be like going through old photographs. Damn what are we to do with those?

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

ChumpChange: Don’t display your globes this year if they trigger you. But in another year or two or three, they will no longer be associated with the traumatic memories, and you may be glad you kept them.

I think we all go through a phase where we want to “clean house” of reminders of the cheater and our former life with them. But that urge may not last, and you should be able to keep the things you love just because you do love them.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Thanks Tempest, I agree with you on that one. My kids may want them someday, time will tell. There in the barn. The last two years I put up an adorable little 3 foot live tree and curated the ornaments, not putting ones that were sentimental or representing trips we have taken as a family. I am slowly getting to the mind space that I designed and built this house, I designed every stick of everything in it, it reflects me not him. My goal is to keep this home and ranch and be able to pass it on to my boys who are very emotionally invested in this property too. Time to put my energies back into my art business so I can achieve this goal.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

Chump change.
It’s hard but you have to let them go. Say goodbye and move on. Accept that this life you had ended. A new one has begun.
Grieve them but let them go. Start a new collection, or none. You keep the memories associated with them. Now you need to keep moving forward like a shark. You can not afford to let them weigh you down with nostalgia and mourning.
Stuff like that is heavy.
Look forward. What do you like now?
Change. Become the person you were meant to be. ❤️

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

It’s very interesting that when I finally moved Gaslighter’s crap out of our beautiful home it easily fit into five boxes. FIVE. Nearly 40 years of life together. His clothes were most of it. I stood with open boxes in front of our large library hall expecting to fill boxes quickly. In shock I realized his only books were his high school and college yearbooks. Oh and a few Tom Clancy type novels given as gifts over the holidays. A huge long floor to ceiling hallway library overflowing with books on Art History and Design, Architecture, Biographies, Gardening and Landscaping, Horsemanship and history of the Vaquero, books about Wine, many spiritual authors, 1st editions regarding Arts and Crafts movement and on and on. I realized right then that there was no evidence of his life, there was “nobody home”. He had no interests, no collections, no sporting equipment, no music or instruments, no art, no books. The only beautiful things he owned I had either created myself for him, or designed to have made or handcrafted. How had I not realize this sooner. Yet again it just proves the point that these Custer bees pretend to be what you need them to be my life and interests are reflected in the design and contents of our home and life. Both my boys are musicians and voracious reader is and each have their own libraries. I am an artist and designer and he reaped the rewards of the beautiful environments I created for him. Not gonna let any damn Snow Globes get me down. Not going to give him any credit for any collections. He’s an empty shell.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

I have a very different take on this than most. My mantra since throwing the cockroach out after D-day has been “He does not control any aspect of my life.”

Thus, if I like something he gave me (such as a beautiful emerald ring–his most extravagant gift), then I keep it and simply divorce memories of him from the item.

The Chinese carved furniture we bought at an auction for a song during happier times? I LOVE that furniture–keeping it. The dining set & china cabinet bought with gift money from the wedding? I considered selling that and getting something more mod, but I like the furniture–keeping it.

The biggest dilemma was what to do with family photos, as I inherited my father’s love of geneology (and it’s tough to throw away items that count as ‘history’)–keeping them for my kids to sort through later. However, I did glue a picture of Francois Arnaud in leather pants over X in the main wedding photo ; ).

Longtimechump
Longtimechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

This is hillarious, Tempest! I banged a few big wedding portraits smashing the glass on the floor and tearing off the photos. Maybe this is what I should have done instead. I also can’t even look at the wedding band or the 2 rings he gave me. O yes, and a silver bracelet he bought for me from mexico while vacationing with his split soul whore. Considering to give back the treasures to him. I don’t want any reminders.

Kar marie
Kar marie
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

Maybe donate to a nursing home or set up as a display on loan for xmas. Or give ones to special friends. I have a large collection of pewter asswipe gave most of them. Im keeping two and giving the rest away. I cant display them amymore i took them down three years ago havent been near them since big triggers for me. So ive decided as i see friends and family over the years the special ones get one as a gift that was special to me. Just a thought.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Kar marie

Great idea, maybe pass them on to my kids once they have their own families. right now they’re kryptonite to me so I just ignore the boxes in the barn.

Paris
Paris
7 years ago

This will be my first Christmas alone as my adult children want to cancel it! As they have a close friend who experienced a complete false gathering of their soon to be divorce parents for Christmas, they said it was a disaster!! My daughter is spending it with her boyfriends family and my son who has a place ticket to come home has decided to stay with friends in Europe. I filed in October. My DD was in September. Turns out there was more than a decade of deceit, lies and basically another life that he had. He claims he is in “Recovery” after rehab stay and yesterday I went to check his google history and there it was 23rd Nov on Craigslist prowling for a hook up! Left the room for instance and he then remotely cleared that date but left all other. My heart is broken and shattered, I smoked the hopium pipe for short while but now I know that I am doing the right thing for me and my children.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Paris

Paris–that first year is hard to navigate the holidays; it is abundantly evident that everyone feels that something is missing, despite our best attempts to compensate. Your children may have the right idea to skip Christmas this year in its usual form; regroup next year.

But…if that leaves you alone, find something else to do–volunteer in a soup kitchen or home for the elderly, tag along with a friend. Take a hike, go to a movie. Just do not sit in the house alone; it will set you back and the first 4 month are bad enough. Hugs!

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
7 years ago
Reply to  Paris

I am devastated for you. I also recognize your discovery as a gift (a crappy one, yes, but a gift.) Now you know, no sugar coating.

Peace to you.

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
7 years ago

I agree with doing something out of the ordinary to break the mold. It is hard to entirely focus on what you are missing when you are actively seeking something fun.

I don’t mean to suggest that anyone ignore tough feelings or try to avoid grieving. I just think we can feel other things, like joy, at the same time. Our hearts are big that way.

Since the end of the cheater marriage, the only new holiday tradition I have formed is to refuse to feel obliged by any tradition. For the first couple of years, I cried through a fair amount of it, but I laughed, too.

Since then, I have spent holidays in unusual places, in usual places eating unusual meals, in the homes of people outside my family… I have even spent some years foregoing mutual gifting and focusing on giving to the needy and the grieving.

This year I am spending Xmas at the ocean with the little blended family I enjoy nowadays. I have always wanted to do that. I definitely don’t intend to spend all day on weary feet in a kitchen ignoring the surf, nor do I want that for the others, so the food plan is morphing to accommodate quality time.

It has been very freeing to me — more so over time than it was right at first when the grief was still so fresh — to feel unbound by old ways that don’t fit my life, and not just at holiday time. Over time, I hope all of you can make peace with your own paths. I just wanted to offer a bit of social permission for those who would be relieved to let go of the reins and trust the horse to know where she is going. It has worked well for me.

Cry, but laugh, too, and give and accept as much loving kindness as you can stand. You were made perfectly you, and you deserve the support and the love. Hang in there.

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Lovely, Amiisfree. Especially the “our hearts are big that way.”

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Yes, Amiisfree, very mighty. I will be at the beach!

Olesammie
Olesammie
7 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

What a fabulous post, you lightened my soul, thank you.

FindingBliss
FindingBliss
7 years ago

Good morning, fellow chumps. This is my second round of holidays after divorce, so I thought I’d contribute for the sake of the newbies here.

Last Thanksgiving and Christmas, I was officially homeless. Had all my possessions in storage (one 8 x 10 storage locker). I was living in a combo of short-term guest house rentals and friends’ guest rooms with just a suitcase. Why? Because after being a mostly SAHM and after almost 30 years of marriage (and gaslighting, blameshifting, emotional abuse, cheating, etc.) I didn’t know what I wanted and was terrified of being dead broke and it seemed that until I figured that all out it was best not to sign a lease. It made for a very unstable season. I went to the home of relatives of a relative for the two major holidays. Was grateful for the invites, but felt like the odd duck. Definitely lost and adrift, going through the motions.

This year, I have an absolutely lovely new home that I’m renting that I’ve been in for 10 months, the best new neighbors in the world, and enjoyed a lovely meal, post dinner games, and lots of laughter yesterday at that same home of relatives of a relative. I love to cook and host holidays, but it seems fitting that after all those years of doing all the work to prepare a huge meal and cleanup only to have the cheater criticize or disappear from any share in the work, that I should enjoy letting others do most of the work and just enjoy their generosity and kindness.

I have planned to be gone for Christmas this year, having been invited by new friends to a barbecue on the beach in a sunny and tropical location for the holiday. I will give my children and grandchild who live locally their gifts early, and then head out to experience this new adventure. My son and his family will be joining me to share in the sunshine and new traditions. I will also be working in an orphanage and volunteering at a library while there, so I will enjoy blessing others. I also have plans to tutor students who want to learn English who do not have the money to pay for lessons. Here’s to the new cheater-free life! It doesn’t look at all like what I expected my life to look like at this stage of living, but it has its own joys and rewards.

Hang in there, newbies! It does get better. Get those cheaters out of your life, headspace, and heart space and keep coming here for support and life lessons. CL and CN saved my sanity.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  FindingBliss

Finding Bliss.

Well. You are spectacularly mighty!!
To go from that horrible uncertainty of not even having a home to where you are now. All hail you!

And your posts and everything that EX writes makes me just completely mystified as to why anyone would not want you in their lives.

Is is normal to feel a huge wave of pity for the cheaters? They have lost everything, all the wonderful chumps here, children, homes, reputations, self respect – all for what????
Don’t mistake me. I’m not suggesting we leave anything for them but our quality dust as we run far away but really WTF? What for? I really don’t get it.

Helen
Helen
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Neither do I. Doting wife, SAHM, three normal, healthy young adult children university
educated, mortgage free home, paid a salary more than he deserves but he cheats with the
office slut aka gold digger. She disappears but #2 moves, in naturally. Never alone, right?

Cap, if you ever figure out why it was worth losing everything that it took you 30 years to
acquire, please let me know. Yes, my life is now better, thanks CL and CN, but WTF?

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Helen

Yes, scratching my head why is it worth losing everything you spent nearly 40 years building, two fabulous kids, a loving wife and mother, tons of friends, a great social life, and a gorgeous custom home on an amazing California ranch property. Now the facade is all crumbling. It was never real. His reputation is ruined on many fronts. Ongoing lawsuit of over five years for fraud and cheating his business partners. Learned after the fact he was sued two other times last couple of years we were together, and he lost both times with staggering financial implications. He completely hid that from me too. I don’t know how the man can sleep at night. That’s extra proof that he’s a sociopath because he has no fear, no emotion, he just doesn’t give a shit. He throws it all to attorneys to take care of, charmes them, and then he doesn’t pay, so they drop him and he hires another one and strings that one along. He is now stalling paying legal bills to four separate attorneys, is deeply in Credit card And IRS back taxes debt and his credit is shot. Maybe that is why he has to live this fake life and cheat with other women. So they see him how he wants to be seen – not how he actually is. He is a very handsome charming man with a silver tongue, educated as a rocket scientist. In actuality this makes him a dangerous predator with the intelligence and social skills to hide in plain sight and seem on the surface like an amazingly great guy. I feel like I sent the Devil to Cotillion! I taught him proper manners, took him to dancing lessons and showed him how to dress well. Once I started finding out all of the financial realities and what he had done in his business dealings I was gobsmacked. Had he just done things normally and slowly and not always tried his “get rich quick scheme’s” it wouldn’t have been this way. Naïvely, I had forgiven him for a supposed “one night stand” very early on in our marriage and thought we were done with that. Joke was on me. A leopard doesn’t change his spots. I realize now he never stopped. He was always getting away with something in taking great joy in doing so. I just received a forwarded email from a friend of his that was congratulating him on “their big holiday vacation to the East Coast and living the Good Life.” WTF???? I know for a fact he’s over $100 grand in debt with attorneys alone. It’s mind blowing because it’s a completely fake life. He’s broke, driving a 12-year-old broken down truck, most of our town knows he’s a crook, and young widow Shmoopie be thinks he’s Prince Charming, even though several people have tried to warn her. You just can’t make this shit up. I finally realize I was covertly emotionally abused, Gaslighted, trauma bonded to him since I was 19, and when I read what I just wrote I am astounded that I still grieve. He doesn’t deserve one single cell in my brain to give even a thought to him. Whew.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

Chumpchange
Wow. I can hear your amazement in your post! I felt / feel the same. Just “who is this thing??”
I just think we are so normal and securely wired that we actually can not get it. It’s impossible for us to even imagine how people can live like this which is also odd because I have the imagination to make up a whole person in my mind that never existed!!
He’s a fraud a fake a pretender.
Just inexplicable.

Chump Change
Chump Change
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Yes Capricorn (I am a Capricorn too?!) I believe that’s how they so easily fool us real human beings who have empathy, a conscience and decent morals – we had no concept that these evil manipulative creatures even existed, and at such a frightening proportion (at very least 4%) of our population! My Gaslighter actually had me convinced that he was a man of extremely high ethics and morals. Butter wouldn’t melt and his mouth. An Officer and a Gentleman….what a Mind Fuck. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. As part of my therapy, I am asked to keep a “Him Journal” so when an abusive “ah ha” memory bubbles up from the past, I can note it briefly in the journal, about what year it happened in the marriage. ( that’s the tricky part, the marriage was 36 years, dated for two before) Very quickly it became obvious that my Gaslighter has a Pervasive and Ongoing personality disorder which is part of the diagnosis. It needs to be pervasive and ongoing. I also see that he does this crap to everybody. It was chilling at the end when I caught him in a blatant lie, and he was able to very convincingly deny it. My blood ran cold. I realized I couldn’t tell when he was lying. I got angry and said “Oh my God! You lie about absolutely everything. You’re a pathological liar! How can you live like this? And he actually answered “It’s my fatal flaw!” Wearing a sly grin of Duper’s Delight as he flopped on the chair. He actually thought he was being cute. Frightening and dangerous is what it is. This thread is helping me a lot fellow Chump’s. When you really put it all out there in writing it’s mind blowing what we’ve been subjected to. I’m so grateful to Chump Nation and Tracy for this special place to share and heal.

longtimechump
longtimechump
7 years ago
Reply to  Chump Change

And I just love you called him a cockroach! Mine looks like one. A very handsome tall sleazy shiny cockroach! He thinks his beard makes him sexy. Hahaha! I wonder if he sees a roach in the mirror. I now do!

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  FindingBliss

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing and giving others hope today.

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago

+1

Over and Out
Over and Out
7 years ago

My divorce was finalized 2 days before Christmas. It was gut-wrenching. I managed to force myself to put up an itty-bitty tabletop tree – that was all I could do. My heart just was not in it. It was nothing compared to what our Xmases past had been.

“Tradition” was that our family loaded up and went to my ex’s parents’ for Xmas Eve with all of the aunts and uncles and cousins there. That first year, my kids went and I was left completely alone. I had a total of 4 gifts to wrap and place around that pathetic tree… I cried and cried. When the kids came home that night, following our usual “family tradition”, they each chose a gift to open early which meant they each had one remaining gift to open on Xmas morning…

The following year was a little better. Friends invited me to spend Xmas Eve with their family. I was worried about intruding or imposing on their tradition, but they reassured me that I was like family to them. I was so glad I went. I had fun with them (just as I had any other time that wasn’t labeled “Xmas”). The third year I had the kids for Thanksgiving and I spent Xmas with my brother’s family. I was fine.

This coming Xmas will be #6 post-divorce. I moved to another state 2.5 years ago. My kids are functioning adults and have lives of their own, but this will be the 3rd Xmas that they have flown out to spend with me. They decided that all on their own. And considering that for their whole lives every Xmas was spent with their father’s large family, it certainly speaks volumes about how new traditions can become just as meaningful as and possibly more important than the old.

Holidays are so hyped up that we place an awful lot of importance on them as “The Time” to spend with our loved ones. Unfortunately life has rough edges. Things aren’t always neat and tidy. Divorce makes that glaringly obvious, especially around the holidays and kids birthdays. I have found that changing my outlook on things has vastly improved my state of mind. I look for the positives and gains rather than what I might be missing out on. I accept that my kids are separate entities and it’s ok for them to have fun and be happy with their father and his family. I can choose to spend a holiday alone or I can make other plans and have fun myself! I can vouch that my life is especially nice without having the burden of Mr. Buzz-kill in it!!

Eilonwy
Eilonwy
7 years ago
Reply to  Over and Out

Thanks, Over and Out. I’m moving into the 6th holiday season post-marriage too. My kids are younger, so some of my challenges are different than yours, but I so admire your attitude and choices. Your post inspires me.

Over and Out
Over and Out
7 years ago
Reply to  Eilonwy

I empathize with you having younger kids. Mine were teens at the time of my divorce. It was hard then, but I can only imagine how difficult it is with younger children who are not old enough to understand and have a different set of fears, etc. Hugs to you Eilonwy! The things my kids remember about holidays are the special things that I did with them when they were little (making cutout cookies, decorating the house, shopping for special gifts for others, waking up to find Santa’s footprints on the carpet, etc). My narc ex did not contribute in those areas… He was too busy making his own xmas list to be bothered with parenting…

Virago
Virago
7 years ago

CL, you response is both hilarious and thought provoking. That is not unusual, I guess, as you do that veery day!!! But it heals me just a bit more every time I read your work. And I never miss. Thank you, you exceptional one!

LimboLand, you are way beyond ‘adequate’. You are on the border of MIGHTY. You have your three boys, you’ve somehow kept the divorce process amicable (who can do that???? with cheating cluster Bs??????), you have supportive friends and church community and neighbours who like you so much that they adore helping you, you are doing the entire parenting business single handedly (I can hardly look after myself sometimes), you have provided a roof and food!

Okay, CN. Let’s vote! Amazing? I vote YES!

Last Christmas was my first without MoFaux, his kids, his FOO, his plans, his ideas of how it should be, his expectations of my performance feeding 25 people. I was alone in my Salvation Army decorated apartment (!!) with three small presents. One from his son (whom I adore), one from his daughter (who is neutral towards me) and one from my therapist’s clinic (yes!!!!!!). I touched them every day for days and felt so grateful, even though I usually had many, many gifts. I savoured them.

And a lady I knew (not well) invited me to her home for dinner with her grown kids, their kids and her husband. OMG! I did NOT want to be in that situation. The thought of it gagged me.

I accepted!

And I gave gifts to older people in my building that I knew by name. And hosted them for treats and wine one afternoon. That was very rewarding to me. Very!

There was not one hassle that day. The therapy office gave me socks, a comb, mouthwash, a toothbrush, and about 12 other things! It was hysterical and perfect and I marvelled. And my financial advisor (who is adorable, smart and entertaining) sent me a wondrous table centrepiece that smelled divine. And dinner was exceptional ~~ wonderful food, endless laughter, actual Joy. My new friend said it was their best Christmas in years, even though some had voiced reservations about having a ‘stranger’ in their midst that day!!

Why on earth am I telling you this? I’m trying to explain, in my addled way, that everything might be different but it can be remarkably so. You will be provided for. I did not have any plan. I was quite without hope. But I experienced the true meaning of it all in such surprising ways. And you will, too. Sending Love & Laughter, ? V

Enraged
Enraged
7 years ago
Reply to  Virago

Wonderful story, Virago.
You touched his kids and they thought of you way beyond those gifts. You are missed.

Virago
Virago
7 years ago
Reply to  Enraged

Ahhh, Enraged, that comment really touched my shrivelled heart!!! Thank you.

I loved your contribution below at 3:22pm where you tell about all of the people who showed you that they cared about you. That you matter. You very much do!! V

Ian Dubito
Ian Dubito
7 years ago

I never really gave a flying fuck about the Thanksgiving to New Years season anyway. My FOO is fucked, and I don’t have kids. So I am glad to be single and cheater free. Live to fight another day. That’s what this stupid fucking shit-show year is all about.

Ian Dubito
Ian Dubito
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Thanks, Capricorn. You are doing great. Your clever posts and cheerful support of the newcomer chumps is so welcome.

Maree – I have had a number of days in the past year where you kind words have repeated in my head and brought me great comfort. Thanks again for your concern.

Jeep-Tess – always a pleasure to hear from you too. You are such a riot! I do have a lot of love and laughs to give, but I come here when I feel compelled to complain about how things are going with my divorce.

Match Girl is making this a painful as possible for me. I won’t be divorced before the end of the year. I don’t want to go into detail, but she just doesn’t want any consequences. I refuse to let her off easy. It makes me a bit of a laggard in a way because most of y’all are divorced. I am not.

I have spent a lot of time on this site. I have decided to spend most of my time trying to be funny, and support newcomers. Other than that, we don’t have a lot in common. (We may, but it’s outside the scope of this site.) So I sometimes get a little bitchy. It’s just who I am. Nobody in the real world has time for my bleating after a year – you feel me?

And, no. I don’t have a good support network built up yet. We moved so many times in the last five years, and I was the trailing spouse. I don’t get on with other dudes because of my radical feminist ideology. Add in the fact that I fear for my Republic; I am a walking fountain of hate for women; 80 percent of the people my age have children at home; and most find that I am not great company sometimes. It’s slow going, but it is better without her. Okay? It’s *so much* better.

JeepTess
JeepTess
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Ian,

I feel ya, yep. There is nothing fun or happy about high conflict divorce from a disordered, soul sucking, empathy challenged narc, nope, NOTHING. So, yeah, I feel ya. It took almost 3 years for my divorce to be final, so, no, you are not being a laggard. You get one shot at this, take your best shot and leave no stone unturned. Protect yourself and your future self. You will heal and you will go on with your bad self and you will thrive! Trust me on this.

Someday you will thank your lucky stars for this experience. I know that is hard to imagine right now but it is true. This experience will enlighten you in ways that will make the rest of your life better, brighter and, yes its true, MORE AWARE. Not only will you value yourself more, you will value others and everything more. You will find joy in even simple pleasures, that, until now you will realize, you took for granted cause you were FEEDING THE NARC and not yourself. No more! AND you will NEVER EVER allow ANYONE to take you for granted EVER AGAIN. 🙂 Yep, its true! The minute THE VERY MINUTE you feel like an option and not a priority YOU WILL WALK AWAY. Poof! Gone! 🙂

I highly suggest getting a kite. 🙂 And a Beau. 🙂 Kar Marie is correct, pets are the best anti depressants on the planet! …and kites! 🙂

(((((((IAN)))))))

Ian Dubito
Ian Dubito
7 years ago
Reply to  JeepTess

I am 45, Jeep. A wizened old bachelor! I forgot you had to spend three years getting divorced. So much pain here and so many stories. And then so much hope when somebody survives. Most people trundle on to the next phase, but it’s people like you, Tess, and many others (y’all know who you are) that keep coming back. And you are right, Jeep, I will never allow anyone to take me for granted again. If you are anything like me you were deeply in love with your spouse, and you never imagined how evil they could become in the divorce. I guess I am a little jealous of those that are already divorced. She’s the albatross I carry that make the journey that much more difficult for now.

You are right, Shechump, I need a new pup. When she stole my dog it broke my heart more than when that bitch left 😉 I’ll get a dog soon enough. I still don’t know my housing situation after the new year, so it’s complicated.

But kites! Yes!

JeepTess
JeepTess
7 years ago
Reply to  JeepTess

Ian,

OOOOO Baby! Gotta get me one o those giant kites!!! Whooohooo!!!!

Okay…you are a little bit older than my sons. But you still got this!

Yes, I loved satan with my entire being…woulda died for that disordered ass…almost did. Thankfully I survived. I remember I weighed just under 90 pounds…it was like I was melting away or something…horrible. Horrible to feel that bad day after day after day! It was unrelenting. I didn’t think it would ever stop…that I would ever feel better again. Normal was so out of reach…

But, I made it! And you will too! When you are finally able to close this last chapter you will feel like a mountain has been lifted off your shoulders!

While you are involved in the legalities of high conflict divorce your life feels so ‘up in the air’ it is hard to even just get through the days…you can’t make plans for anything more than ‘dinner’ or ‘just this day’ or whatever. Nothing ‘long term’ cause you don’t know what you are gonna have to work with, or where to work from. Once it is all over you can begin to make a new plan for your life. One that will evolve over time to suit ONLY YOU. And you will be the master of the design. And you will choose who gets to be a part of it and who doesn’t fit anymore. It can be a very wonderful time in your life…its just sometimes hard to feel wonderful about it cause you’ve been forced here…but, that too will pass and you WILL start to enjoy it and it will begin to feel like you must actually be in Heaven! 🙂

No more drama! No more chaos! No more WTF just happened?! No more wondering where they are or who they are with! NO MORE HELL ON EARTH! 🙂 Just aaaaaaaaa 🙂 …like the most soothing balm for your aching soul you can imagine 🙂 I PROMISE!

…get flippin EXCITED Ian 🙂 It’s comin on! SAYIN!

Mary
Mary
7 years ago
Reply to  JeepTess

You give me hope, too : ) I love the sound of everything you’re describing and look forward to that someday. Ian – and all of us – deserve nothing less! Thank you for the encouraging words!!

JeepTess
JeepTess
7 years ago
Reply to  Mary

You are awesome too Mary!

The other chumps are right, it is a struggle for a while. So please do take very good care of yourself! I am almost 2 years from my divorce and about 5 years from dday…I struggled for a good long time. But it truly does get better.

Come here to learn about No Contact / Limited Contact, that will empower you and help you achieve clarity.

Please take very good care of yourself.

Ian Dubito
Ian Dubito
7 years ago
Reply to  JeepTess

I’m not crying, Tess. You’re the one crying. ???

JeepTess
JeepTess
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Ian, I’m not crying 🙂

Dixie Chump
Dixie Chump
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Ian,

Your day of freedom is coming. And all of CN will celebrate with you when it does. Hang tough, friend.

moominmamma
moominmamma
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Ian, you don’t have to ‘ try to be funny”. You are funny.And for someone who describes himself as a fountain of hate for women, you are often very supportive and inspiring.Bitch away mate, you’re entitled to it. Sorry to hear things are dragging out. I found making a voodoo doll and sticking pins in it very soothing.

Shechump
Shechump
7 years ago
Reply to  moominmamma

I’m also disappointed you are having troubles, Ian.

Moominnmamma – ‘I found making a voodoo doll and sticking pins in it very soothing.’
I still want to get one . .

However, Ian – how about a puppy? Amazing therapy. Not sure it would work for your family, but dogs don’t always come along at the right time but they can save the moment. Just something to think about.
You haven’t really said recently what is going on . . . ?

Ian Dubito
Ian Dubito
7 years ago
Reply to  moominmamma

Gracias, Tempest & moominmamma – it’s nice to be heard.

We will never surrender!

Tempest
Tempest
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Ian–as painful and dragged out as this is, I hail your decision to make sure the evil wench MG has consequences. For inspiration, I give you Churchill’s “We will never surrender” speech:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkTw3_PmKtc

(and you know you have a very strong support chorus here; complain away.)

JeepTess
JeepTess
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Ian…DUDE! What the hell?

I sense that you are much younger than me…like my sons ages…both of my sons have been through this shit storm way before me…so…they got it way before I did and tried to get me to understand what the hell was going on…still took me a hot minute…but, I got it…FINALLY.

Ok…enough of the back story…

Do NOT let this holiday get you down Ian…its all about selling turkeys and such. Movin the economy…yep… Just another day sloggin through the rubble of life after UNenjoyment of divorce. You got this.

You have been a bright light for me since you got here Ian. …I don’t like that light going off…so turn that baby back on please! And Thank You.

Sooo…on to sharing your awesome self with others in your community and flashin that, more than likely, heart stopping smile with others that need lifted out there? Yep! Bet you a dollar to a donut you will save souls! Giddy Up! 😀

Hugs!
Jeep and Beau

Doingme
Doingme
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Ian

“Live to fight another day. That’s what this stupid fucking shit-show year is all about.”

And fight we must, each and every day. Once I shifted to fighting for myself it became clear the playing field was lopsided. Even that shit out. Live better Ian and take care of yourself always.

Maree
Maree
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

“Live to fight another day”. Ian you have a tremendous amount of fight in you like most of us. From what I can gather most if not all families are f’ed. Some just seem to be more functional than others. Since being discarded by my family and by that I mean my 2 children and ex husband I have not celebrated a birthday, mother’s day, Easter, Christmas, anything and I am not acknowledged on these occasions. The reason I have chosen this isolation for myself at certain times is because I choose it. It is easier for me to be on my own than to be reminded of what I think I have lost. Don’t get me wrong because I do receive invitations but I prefer to stay home. Can I ask you Ian, do you have some male friends who you know and hang out with? You sound lonely to me which is only natural. Sorry if I am asking you for too much information but you really do come across as a top bloke to me.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Ian Dubito

Hey!!
You are my early Christmas present to myself this year!! I don’t know what it is about you but I just feel better when you are around like having a big brother that’s not afraid of anything or anyone and says it like it is (is that ok to say?). I think the word is bracing!!
I’m imagining you as a Santa for cheaters checking your lists. Hahahahaha. Any video thing for this?

Beth
Beth
7 years ago

My first Christmas after D-day was 6 years ago. My 2 boys left bright and early Christmas day and I was all alone. I endured the quiet for a few hours and later went to a movie. I thought I’d be the only loser there but to my surprise, the theatre was packed. By the time the movie was over, I had killed over 2.5 hours and Christmas day was almost over. I don’t remember, but I’m sure there were plenty of tears. For the last 5 Christmas Days I’ve been invited to my BFF’s house for Christmas dinner and it has become a wonderful, loving tradition. My boys, now in their late teens, don’t really enjoy being with their dad so they cut out early and come to my friend’s house and all 4 of the kid’s leave around 8 pm to go to the movie theatre.

Yes, it sucks, it’s lonely, it’s fucking PAINFUL but I promise you, it gets better. I really don’t think cheaters are as happy as they pretend to be, especially during the holidays. Most of them are in a truly pathetic/dependent state and they *know* it. I know for a fact that my cheater XH is not happy with his life, even after all these years. He looks like shit, he doesn’t have much money left after he pays child support, and the kids could take him or leave him. The the first year of our divorce, he begged me to take him back, he still tells people that he made the biggest mistake of his life. I’ve never said that, I’ve been sad and mad but leaving him was the best thing I’ve done for me and my boys!!

Over and Out
Over and Out
7 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I have never once regretted divorcing my ex either. Best decision I ever made! I did a lot of crying in the beginning because I felt so violated and used after everything I had invested (mentally, physically, financially) over 2 decades… BUT I’m not wasting any more of my precious life with someone like him. Not worth it.

CeliA
CeliA
7 years ago
Reply to  Over and Out

Over and Out, I can attest to the feeling of exhaustion. When DDay #2 came for me, I just felt so fucking tired that every fiber of my being felt that it is just DONE. No more taking this crap.

It has been a year out and I still feel exhausted when I realized the mental and emotional abuse I spackled the hell of to survive and maintain the image of our relationship.

I wish to get my strength back once I get over the last hurdle which is filing for divorce.

Lady Batshit
Lady Batshit
7 years ago
Reply to  CeliA

I needed to wake up to this, three weeks in for me. Exhausted, working and dealing with kids 100 percent.
Terrible dreams last night about him and my heart just aches.
The love is going though being replaced with disappointment, hurt and occasional anger.
My kids are dragging their asses around and my heart feels their pain.
13 years of dealing with his less than effort for me and our kids and this is the thanks I get.
I think it was a deliberate act to hurt me to the core as he knows how strong I am.

moving forward
moving forward
7 years ago

My XH was always miserable during the holidays, so while the first Christmas was rough, it was relief to have the curmudgeon gone. Here are a few hard learned suggestions.

1) Your new life is a as divorced person. Let that sink it. Surprise, this means your kids have 2 Christmases. This means YOU do not spend time with your X or X’s family for the sake of the kids. YOU practice no contact as much as possible.

2) Let go of the idea that there is a single time to celebrate (i.e., Europeans celebrate on the 24th and North Americans on the 25th).

3) Say ‘no thank you’ to any events/gatherings that feel, well, uncomfortable and frankly weird.

4) Go for a walk everyday. This helped me stay sane and reduce my anxiety.

5) Get dressed and get out of your house for at least an hour a day. Get a coffee. Go skating. Just get out.

Hugs

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
7 years ago

“Divorce is not failure. Cheating is failure.”

This is important to remember and internalize. Our society and–wrongfully–faith communities often suggests otherwise, but reality is this is truth.

The divorce is the public and official acknowledgement of the cheater’s character failure.

Maree
Maree
7 years ago

DM, when my ex husband told me that he had filed for divorce I just died inside and I actually said to him, “I feel like a failure”. He could not look at me but he commented that he didn’t. Sums it up !! I was the loyal, loving non-cheater but I carried all the blame for the failure of my marriage but not any longer.

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
7 years ago
Reply to  Maree

I know you are not alone in having felt that way. Often, it takes time for what we know–or learn–to be true cognitively to register in our hearts.

Dee
Dee
7 years ago

New chumps: trust what you’ve heard here – holidays really do get much better! But YOU need to DECIDE that it’s better.

I made a really conscious decision on my first cheater-free Christmas (last year) to put my kids first in all things. So I asked how they wanted to spend the holiday. Turned out they wanted to spend Christmas Eve and Day with ex’s relatives. Gulp…. But I smiled and said, “No problem!” And I made it happen. There was no stress, because there was no fight from me. I decided to give it up willingly. (As was suggested before, I “got to” give up the stress of Christmas Day. Yay!

The result has been the creation of a fantastic new tradition. I now have ‘Christmas’ with my kids on Dec 23 and it’s wonderful because we do it our way. No interference from anyone. We enjoy fondue, open gifts, and spend time with friends instead of cranky relatives. I can say I truly enjoy this more than hanging out with ex’s family.

While alone on Christmas eve, I pampered myself with a pedicure, put together a “repair my soul” plan for the upcoming year, and shared a steak dinner with a special friend who was also alone for the holiday. It was great night because I made it so.

The added bonus of this arrangement? Giving up Christmas gave me excellent leverage with my ex for the rest of the holiday season. I picked up my kids on the 27th and took them skiing in the Rockies for New Years. Honestly, we enjoyed the whole season so much, that I’m doing the exact same plan this year.

Always remember who is in charge of your happiness. It’s YOU.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  Dee

So much mightiness in this! Thank you!!!!

Warrior Princess
Warrior Princess
7 years ago

The first holiday I spent without my husband and daughter was just after Christmas and lasted about a week through New Year’s Day. They went to the home of his AP about 200 miles away. (She was ideal for him because he could go visit her and she would wait on him and audition without the glitter wearing off too quickly.) The week was just time to get through and was very hard but I did things to pamper myself. Then on New Years eve I made a list of all the complaints and responsibilities and nasty habits I no longer had to deal with. I burned the list in the fireplace, and made a list of things he could no longer keep me from doing just for me. I played beautiful music, watched the fire and burned beautiful scented candles in the dark. I realized that you only notice the light when you are in the midst of the dark. It was actually an evening that was more pleasant than any I had spent in a long time. When my daughter came back she told me about how he had lectured the AP and her family about playing Canasta the right way. Made me laugh! The years since then have been so much better.
By the time he had left I felt like a line drawing of who I had once been. I am now a joyous person with an awareness of what I had to offer people. I am truly grateful that she took him off my hands!

Warrior Princess
Warrior Princess
7 years ago

I spent a lot of years trying to become an organized linear thinker because that was what he was and thought I should be. I never accomplished that, because I could only be a poor copy of what I was never intended to be. I have since learned to value the creative person I am. I distract easily, so I start a lot of projects that don’t always get finished. But I actually complete far more than he ever did. I couldn’t see that when I was in the midst of all of the “stuff”.

thensome
thensome
7 years ago

I always try to remember that Christmas is “just one day.” And that doesn’t mean that it’s a sad day but it’s one day and not a life. I am a few years out from Dday so I have great compassion for those new to this. It’s difficult for sure and I hope you have some nice moments planned for yourself. I was a bit scared, nervous for the first Christmas alone but it turned out to be lovely. It was quiet, peaceful, I spent it with friends and we exchanged gifts. I cooked a delicious turkey. I can honestly say it was one of the nicest Christmas days I have had.

I’m relieved not to have to spend Christmas with cheater or his family. We always had Christmas with them, rushing around and boring conversation at the table. I don’t miss Mr. Grumpy cheater and his comments on my decorations or gift buying. Now I decorate the way I want to, wrap as many (or few) gifts as I chose. It’s actually very pleasant and I look forward to the Holiday again. I do miss my daughter when she is not here, but I know she’ll be back and we will celebrate the season our way, together without the doom and gloom of that mean-spirited cheater.

To those spending their first Christmas newly divorced or without their children, I send you big hugs and know that you are brave and good. Be gentle with yourself.

Calmafterstorm
Calmafterstorm
7 years ago

Christmas. I don’t know. I’m sure it will be like Thanksgiving, go to my families then I go to work and my kids go home. Fucktard has them on Christmas Eve. I know he will be spending Christmas day with CF and his and her families. That hurts so much more then I thought it would.

So. I just need to learn to disengage. I need to learn to embrace change. I need to learn to celebrate the new life with new choices. Hopefully I will be applying to allied health colleges. I’m afraid that I fucked up a class and won’t be able to . I don’t know. Cheaters suck.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Calmafterstorm

Calm.

No question that this all hurts like nothing else. I’m not sure of your story sorry. I know you often post lovely comments and I love your name.
One thing that jumped out at me from what you said is the pressure you are putting on yourself. You don’t ‘need’ to do anything but be very gentle with yourself right now. You are perfect the way you are, that fact that your fuckwit didn’t see that is his problem not yours.
Have you read the Desiderata? I love reading it. Calms me down. If you are kind to yourself, easy on yourself, loving towards yourself then you will change, you will disengage, you will celebrate a new life and will make new choices. It will all come to you if you put your own arm around yourself and hug.
As to the class. Worst case yes it got messed up, you can’t apply as you thought. But there are a million ways to skin a cat. You are a chump which means a decent loving person who trusted and got hurt. But we chumps are survivors.
Determine what YOU want YOUR xmas to look like this year. If I didn’t have kids I would spend the day sipping champagne, wearing my fav pjs with my fav fluffy slippers eating whatever whenever watching some Nordic noir thrillers on tv. I would read and put the fire on and dance around a bit have a pamper session for myself and stay up way too late.
ITS YOUR LIFE. OWN IT. FIND YOUR GROOVE. WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE….? We already have lost so much. Don’t let the fuckers run off with your soul. Fight for you. FIGHT HARD. we love you here. ❤️

CeliA
CeliA
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Capricorn, thank you for these kind words – they resonate with me as well. I am reading here today because the holiday season is the beginning of the nightmare unfolding and my whole world came tumbling down a year back. Every memory is still fresh – like it just happened yesterday. I’ve been trying to keep busy with decorating our house with upcycled Christmas ornaments. Still, the feelings of loneliness manages to creep in at times. I feel like CN is like our warm camp fire on a cold holiday night. To me, you are all comrades who have fought in the same war and we all share this incredible journey towards healing.

So here’s to a toast for the CN community – to good health, authentic relationships and a rich life that is free from the disordered!

Warrior Princess
Warrior Princess
7 years ago

I broke my foot once and my Pastor told the people of the Church to ask me what they could do to help. I kind of sank down in my seat in embarrassment, because asking for help was not something I was able to do. One woman I knew slightly came up to me and gave me her phone number. And she told me, “don’t deprive me of a blessing by not calling me.” I had never thought of it that way before. I was always ready to help others. And I enjoyed doing so. But it also works the other way. So don’t be afraid to ask others. They need to be needed too.
2 days later 17 people came over to my house and did yard work that had needed done for ages. Some of them were people I didn’t even know. I think more work was accomplished that day than my husband had done in years.
My life is filled with anticipation these days. I am seeing so many things I never knew I was capable of. God also seems to connect me to people in need of encouragement. I have a life of joy and hope.

lady jane
lady jane
7 years ago

Warrior Princess, thank you for sharing. That was just beautiful.

Enraged
Enraged
7 years ago

I’m in the same place as LimboLand, but I’m not exactly alone. I managed to escape the hell I went through and now I landed at my parents. My son will have a lovely Christmas, as everyone of my family will be around for him. God bless him and everyone in our life!

But I think this whole experience – divorcing a cheater – is about much more. “Build a tribe” says Chump Lady. I was thinking along the same lines. This stage we are in, teaches us and forces us to connect with people. People in our shoes or simply people around us. Not everyone can “get” what it feels like, but anyone who has a shred of empathy can see we need support. Even a shoulder to cry on, a joke to brighten our day, a casserole, a walk, a talk.

Through this, I made friends I never thought I would. A pair of old folks, who babysit my son for a good price. We didn’t even speak the same language, but we all tried. 🙂
A mother with her own hectic schedule. Just a short talk, a cup of tea and wishes. It meant a lot.
These people saw me in distress and offered what they could. And now I know to whom I’ll send my Christmas cards – not to fake friends on Facebook who still keep him in their circle!
Building connections takes time. And I think it also opens our eyes to other people’s needs.

LimboLand, today accept that helping hand. Make friends. Re-build yourself. Return a helping hand tomorrow to someone else. And don’t worry about labels such as “single mom”. You’re a hero! Ask around, they’ll tell you.

Finally Free
Finally Free
7 years ago

I haven’t had time to read everyone’s response about how to get through Christmas (and other special family occasions), but thought I would share what has happened for me. On my first Christmas I was alone. Both my boys were away working and I knew it would be hard. So, I invited two girlfriends for dinner. They had been on their own for years and has spent many Christmas’ just the two of them. They were happy to come and it did help, though inside I was crying the whole day. The next couple of Christmas’ I was invited to friends for dinner and that helped too, but it wasn’t quite where I really felt I wanted to be. Their families were lovely, but I felt somehow outside. Then two years ago, my boys returned, one with a new wife. They are now here for Christmas and we started a new tradition. They (along with several of their friends) and I serve Christmas dinner at the homeless shelter. We go there early in the day and then when we get home, our turkey is cooked and we get to have a wonderful meal together and share stories of the people we met that day. We laugh and just enjoy being together. Their father is always with someone different each Christmas and I presume goes to their family for dinner and we don’t seem to miss him at all (at least I don’t, the boys never say anything about their dad). Christmas is now a time of serving, sharing, loving and I wouldn’t change it in any way. It took time to get to this place, and I couldn’t have made it happen through force of will. It just evolved to something beautiful. Sometimes we have to go through some really tough stuff before the good stuff starts to happen.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  Finally Free

Finally
I love the idea of this “and I couldn’t have made it happen through force of will. It just evolved to something beautiful.”
There is a lot about acceptance and trusting that everything has a time and place in that statement and I love that.
Thank you.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

+1

NewMeme
NewMeme
7 years ago

I remember that first Christmas after X moved out, five years ago today. The next month was one of the low points of my entire life. My mum was in a care home, deep in dementia, X’s family cut me off completely (my X m-i-l’s contribution to my Christmas was a notice saying that she had cancelled a magazine subscription she had gifted me for years), my wonderful neighbours of of twenty years had moved away, my sons had huge issues and two of them moved in with X (who was, unbeknownst to me, living with OW), I had just been diagnosed as severely diabetic. A week before Christmas I was on the phone with my sister and I started to cry, huge great sobs just tearing out of me. I couldn’t stop. I felt so alone. It was like being in a cold, dark hell and I didn’t think the light would ever come again.

That solstice I sat alone in the darkness, the only bit of colour my Christmas cactuses blooming abundantly in the kitchen windows. I wrote and wrote and wrote, got it all out. I was so sad but at some point I remember thinking this is a beginning. You can start again. I didn’t really believe it but I just keep it in my head.

Five years later and I am going to meet up with one son in Amsterdam on Christmas Day. I’ll celebrate the week before with my other two sons, a nice dinner out after a concert. My kids are happy and healthy and working hard to get to where they want to be. I have a lovely place to live, light and clean and welcoming. I am healthy, active and sleep well. The Elderly Cat, who saw me through all this, is contentedly retired in the new place. I have new friends, new activities, new supports. My family is much smaller now, but loved and loving.And my holidays so much better.

There are only two constant things I do in December now. One is to write down all the blessings of the year and on the Winter Solstice I go down by the ocean and release them to the water. I sit and meditate on all the joy that has come to me, look forward to the new year, and give thanks. The other thing is to go to Midnight Mass where ever I happen to be.

Every year I give thanks for CN and CL. When I found this place in 2012 it was truly the crack in my world that let the light in. Every year after that has been better, easier and more joyful. I would have never believed this life possible five years ago.

New chumps, it will get better. This year let it go. Take it easy. Give yourself permission. Forget all the gifts, the frantic entertaining, the obligations, the expectations. Do want YOU want to do for a change – spend a morning eating cereal with the kids and playing monopoly. Put on a sad old movie and get the hankies out and cry when you are alone and sad. Make a bowl of stuffing for Christmas dinner and eat it all yourself. Walk, write, binge watch Netflix, sleep in. Read the CL archives all night. Ignore texts and emails from people you no longer want in your life. Don’t go to anything you don’t want to go to. But do go places you really want to go.

As chumps we spend our lives caring for everyone but ourselves. This Christmas, treat yourself well for a change. It will get better. It will.

neverwouldhaveimagined
neverwouldhaveimagined
7 years ago
Reply to  NewMeme

I SO needed this! What a huge blessing these words are to me, Newmeme. You lived it. Thanks so much for sharing this hope (and permission to grieve) with us first-year chumps and chumpdomkind.

New Meme
New Meme
7 years ago

Never and Cap (((((((hugs))))))) to you, and to all the newbie chumps out there. So happy that my words help, and that I can pay back a little bit for all the wonderful wisdom I have found here in CN.

Capricorn
Capricorn
7 years ago
Reply to  NewMeme

❤️❤️❤️❤️?

moominmamma
moominmamma
7 years ago

The sentence that brought me up short was the one about the scorecard, about expecting favours to come with a price. My ex has been extremely nice and helpful to me lately and I have been scanning the horizons for the catch- there will be one, he’s going to want something.Thank you for the reminder that that degree of suspicion only applies to him, not to normal people who show kindness.My favourite post split Christmas moment came 4 years ago when XH took my daughters interstate to visit his parents, and OW2, for Christmas. I had my goddaughter staying with me and we were sitting around in pyjamas reading. He rang to tell me that my eldest daughter had gastroenteritis, then he put her on the phone. Her little voice said ” I threw up on OW2’s couch, Mummy”.”Poor honey” I was saying, ” there there”, while doing a victory dance , with my goddaughter looking at me doing the WTF expression. It was a white couch, apparently. OW2 made my ex pay to have it cleaned.

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
7 years ago
Reply to  moominmamma

LOL, my cat threw up on exassholes couch twice before the settlement was done, for the record, the cats had never done that on any other piece of furniture. Anyhow, I didn’t see any reason to clean it for him, hope he appreciated a little memento from the cat.

Maree
Maree
7 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

Dat, cats are not dumb fur people !! They can detect crap a mile away. 🙂