In Defense of Anger

bitter_monsterToday I just wanted to give a shout out to anger. I think it’s misunderstood. The other day I responded to a letter from a friend of a chump wishing she wouldn’t be so angry, and that seemed to touch a nerve with you all. (400+ comments!) I began the post by saying, look, your friend has a right to be angry

Writing about anger is a delicate balancing act, because no one wants to be seen as an Advocate for Anger. Oh, you bitter people. You angry Chump Lady sycophants. Whipped into a frenzy of cheater hate. I hear that shit All. The. Time.

I am all about MEH here and gaining a life. But before you get there, if you’re really going to process what happened — you are going to get righteously pissed off first.

And that’s not a bad thing. It’s a necessary thing.

Anger is your friend. Anger is your internal warning system setting off security breach alarms. Code RED! You’re being abused! This isn’t RIGHT! Anger is fuel. Anger makes you call that lawyer. Anger makes you protect your money. Anger kicks paralyses ass. Anger says “Stand up and FIGHT!”

Anger is chump kryptonite.

What? Where did my nice, compliant chump go? Can’t we be friends? I don’t understand your hostility. If you’re going to overreact like this, it will damage the children. 

Oh cheaters hate it when you get angry. It’s so not like you. Hey, DON’T TOUCH MY CAKE!

And it makes many people around you uncomfortable too. I thought you two just grew apart. I hope you can keep things civil. 

If you don’t understand that betrayal makes people angry, then you don’t understand injustice. And if you refuse to understand the injustice, then you probably have an agenda.

Chumps, you don’t need those folks.

Now, you don’t need anger forever. I’m not saying become one of those embittered old people yelling at children to stay off their grass. I’m not saying give way to rage, pour gasoline on their possessions, and dance around the burning pyre. I’m not advocating revenge. You’re too classy for that.

I’m saying pay attention to your anger. Channel it. Let it drive you to safety.

When you’re out of this shit quagmire, then you can relax into a hard won “meh.” One Tuesday you’ll wake up and find you just don’t care a thing about this person. If you’re totally no contact, you won’t need that anger. If you know how to enforce boundaries, anger won’t have to work over time.

If you nurse anger without gaining a life? If you just suck on the injustice like a painful tooth? That’s not going to help you. It’s going to make you a real drag at parties. Anger at your cheater is going to take up precious mental real estate that could be better devoted to cute puppy videos. Or cookies. Or anything more pleasant than a cheater.

If you’re stuck on the Injustice of It All, redirect your focus to What Next? Throw your energies there, okay?

But I’ll tell you this — I’d rather you be an angry chump than some sad sap who posts “I miss you!” on your cheater’s Facebook page. I’d rather you be pissed, than so stupid as to let them clean out the investment accounts. I’d rather you be Godzilla than some blubbering, pick-me-dancing fool. I’ll take ANGRY you over that shit any day.

As the bumpersticker says: “If you’re not mad, then you’re not paying attention.”

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Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago

Ooh, oohl!!! Count me in–Advocate for Anger!!

I’m bitter, too–bitter that my cheater’s lack of impulse control and need for novel stimulation for his dick broke up my family. So F-you cheaters. (And don’t cross me, because I brought back extra voodoo dolls from New Orleans and I WILL use them).

Jen
Jen
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Does that work?

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Jen–I’m going to give it 3 months, and then reposition the pin as necessary ; ).

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

The : ) should obviously have been on one line.

Kelly
Kelly
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest, when you’re ready for “meh”, just toss Mr. Cheaterpants voodoo doll into the nearest large body of water.

P.S. Hey, I see a future business opportunity for an enterprising fellow member of chump nation–customized Mr. or Ms. Cheaterpants voodoo dolls! Better than American Girl dolls!!

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Kelly–it’s true! a chump business venture.

I’m trying to remember distinguishing features of cheaters–

Correct me if I’m wrong:
NWBiblio will need a voodoo doll with a mohawk, right?
Moving Liquid’s needs pressed jeans and designer shoes, right?
Mine needs a velveteen Armani jacket and haughty look.
KarmaE’s needs an earthenware mug filled with Chai.

Other custom orders?

pookyand3
pookyand3
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

I need mine with a receding hairline and the turkey neck because of the lap band surgery.

kim
kim
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

I need my voodoo doll to be wearing full dress whites, complete with medals, please. It’s imperative that he be in his hero suit, because this is the image that allowed him to seduce all the young, dumb. and vulnerable girls in small town america, and feel sooooooo full of himself. Make his head twice the normal size, maybe out of a balloon, so I can stick the pin right between his eyes and pop his ego in one fell swoop. PAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAHP.

Friend
Friend
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Make one look like the little guy in Tracy’s cartoon above. With a Norwegian beard and ironed mechanic’s onesie. And I want him polled (you know, remove those devil horns like they do the young cattle… They burn the bones off). (Ex, you goin’ to a special prison.)

CRHCHK
CRHCHK
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Mine *needs* a full wall, floor to ceiling book collection of 1st edition hardbacks, please.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  CRHCHK

Mine would need a pair of tight jeans, pointy toe boots and an embroidered tight fitting floral shirts though any overtly feminine grometric pattern would do.

Looking back I should have realised there was a big problem when my X would shop at second hand stores and come home with womens items and would get all cut up when I pointed it out.

Jen
Jen
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

You are so funny! Can I buy them online? Just kidding.

kb
kb
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

I dunno, but the mother of one of my colleagues makes voodoo dolls. She’s offered to do one for me.

I’m tempted, but I’m not so sure how the voodoo doll would fit in with my goal of “meh.” Since I don’t have to deal with children, I can go completely No Contact once the divorce is final. Having a voodoo doll of STBX might serve as a reminder when I’m past that need.

On the other hand, for Chumps who have to co-parent with Cheaters, that voodoo doll might be really useful! ;-D

linda2
linda2
9 years ago
Reply to  kb

I believe that you harvest what you plant. Plant good things into your life. Be certain that that cheater will harvest a bumper crop of rot given all the shit that was used as fertilizer!

Hesatthecurb
Hesatthecurb
9 years ago
Reply to  linda2

I agree with you, linda2….I frequently told the XBF that he would eventually reap what he had sown his entire cheating since teen years life. Not only I, but both his chumped ex-wives told me they had warned him of the same.

He’s been gone for almost 4 yrs but my anger toward him still bubbles to the surface now and then.

Considering what I am aware of that has been going on in his life since our time together ended, he is definitely reaping the spoiled fruits of his intensive deceit–and I couldn’t be happier for him 😉

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  linda2

I have planted many wonderful things in my life since D-day (not least of which are many new friendships sparked by CL). But I’m not averse to helping Karma a wee bit.

mrsvain
mrsvain
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

me too. maybe i should youtube how to make a voodoo doll. i always thought you had to have something of the cheaters, like hair or clothing. i dont have that anymore

krking911
krking911
9 years ago

following

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago

Finally! My family seems to think that I was over the top! Of course I was. I was pissed when my ex of nearly 41 years blew our marriage up for a Sparkly married woman on Facebook! You think?? But I was told by many helpful people that my anger was justified and I did channel it into a magnificent settlement. As a matter of fact I was talking to my lawyer the other day and she told me it was the best settlement she had ever seen anyone get and she has been practicing law for 34 years! I am healing now and I still get angry because I was so totally blindsided, but I shudder to think about what could have happened if I had stayed in that weepy, weak Hopium place! My ex wouldn’t have blinked an eye if I had been homeless because of his selfishness. Believe me, he didn’t care that I was fighting lung cancer during this time either! Survival of the fittest folks!

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Roberta, I was also in a long term marriage and I’m in awe that you were able to negotiate a good settlement on top of fighting cancer. Good God woman, you are mighty!

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

Lyn, anyone can do it! I learned the secret from my therapist. She assured me that I was powerful because I had the weapon to stop him from doing anything I felt didn’t benefit me! The secret: just say “NO”! Simple, but effective. When they offer to give you some BS deal you simply say, “no”! Keep saying it until they realize that the only thing you will accept is a more than fair agreement! Just a simple “no”, no justification, no back story. There just is nowhere for them to go or argue! It’s simple, but it’s incredibly effective!

happily never after
happily never after
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

I am making a copy of these 2 for my mediation file! So glad I found this!

Nicole S
Nicole S
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

I am at the beginning of negotiating our divorce. I will keep your secret at the forefront of my mind because I’ve already wanted to give up so I can move one but it is important to say NO, you will not continue your abuse even in court. He wants 50% custody of the kids and I have said NO they do not want to be with him. I pray it works for me too. Thanks for the reminder!

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole S

And for the court and STBX–“No, it’s not in the best interest of the kids for Cheater to have the kids 50% of the time. They need a stable home and traditional visitation will work best.” The court wants to know what is in their best interest.

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole S

It works Nicole S. Mine wanted to avoid court at all costs cause I told him I was going to drag Schmoopie in and anyone connected to this crap. We also live in a very, very small conservative southern town with open courts. I told him I would be sure to let his Boss know the court date and his co-workers! He apparently believed me! He then wanted mediation which I really didn’t want, but it is cheaper than a court hearing. It also lulled him into believing that he could gain something. Wrong again! In the end he gave me everything I had already asked for the past year! It was rich! I just stood my ground, but I had done the numbers nearly a year before and had told him to his face why I wanted it!! Be prepared, but don’t give up anything that threatens your future security. You only get one bite at the apple! Make it a big bite!

Char
Char
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Roberta,
41 years and he goes for a married FB floozy? He is SUCH a cliche’! And he is just lucky you didn’t kill him. I thought after a 25 year happy marriage I would die when mine ran off with a married co-worker. But anger really was my best defense. He was such a master manipulator and pulled out all the stops about how I was “still” family and how could I not see this was for the best and my anger was poisoning our grown children and blah, blah, blah. Dissect all that drivel and what you find is that he was very angry and terrified because I was no longer covering for him – I was telling the TRUTH. And. He. HATED. it.

So between truth and anger – I came out the other end better and not bitter. Just smarter and less naive. I think you are AMAZING and want you to enjoy your children, your money and life. You won, my girl!

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  Char

Char, I did very well considering I was a medical mess through a lot of this crap. And I will tell anyone that after all is said and done that sometimes anger still wells up in me. I get angry when I see these “defective” self delusional poor excuses for human beings inflicting even more pain on their children who are ill or their spouse that they gave an STD to as a parting gift. And then they just can’t understand why we are angry!! Really??? Every Chump needs to get to the anger stage and focus on their own needs. Then execute that plan. Trust me, I wanted to throw in the towel and make the pain stop! I’m so glad I rolled with it and it payed off. My cheater is now pulling crap on me because he realizes he has little or nothing left! It’s amusing and he is a cartoon. An old, ugly cliche!

Donna
Donna
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Yes, he fluctuated from bragging about me to customers to picking up a whore. When he left he said he couldn’t get anywhere with me. I said let’s see where you are in a year. Well he’s disconnected with his kids living in a shit apartment and sitting in a casino with his gambling addicted whore who wears a fringed biker jacked slugging beers 20 hours a week. Limp dick left his family for all that success. Living large I see. Haha what a fucktard gets when you dump them is laughable. No chumps they DONT live better, they live dirty.

sephage
sephage
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Go, Roberta! You’re awesome!!!

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  sephage

Thank you Sephage. There were times when I didn’t feel so mighty, but CL and CN were a beacon of light and hope! We are all going to survive this poop storm. Our cheaters??? Not so much! They have crap life skills!

KB22
KB22
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Good for you! Chumps have to wrap their heads around the fact that they are engaging in a war-Tell yourself you’ll cry and get depressed (at some designated time during the day/week) over the demise of the so called relationship but please use the anger to fight the battle. Remember these cheaters had a head start on this war and anger, channeled correctly, will help chumps win. It has been my experience that while narcs are sneaky, shady and cons, most are easily duped. Use that weakness any way you can.

NoMoreLies
NoMoreLies
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Roberta – you rock!..as do so many others here on this site!

A friend advised me to read Phil McGraw’s book “Life Code”. I really have never watched Dr. Phil’s show (he looked a bit slick to me), but I have to say, he nailed it when describing who he calls “BAITERS” – acronym for Backstabbers, Abusers, Imposters, Takers, Exploiters and Reckless and advises everyone to be on the look out for these lowlifes since those who who are good-natured and trust people are targeted by these types. And he is ANGRY about these kinds of people.

These are what he calls the ‘evil 8″ traits of toxic people:

1. Arrogant Entitlement to your life
2. Lack of Empathy
3. No Remorse/Guilt
4. Irresponsible/Self-Destructive
5. Thrive on Drama
6. Brag About Outsmarting
7. Short-Term Relationships
8. Fantasy World/Delusional

I listened to the audio book and was sickened as he went through each one of these traits (with examples). They describe my cheater SO accurately except for #7 but that’s only because I stayed in the marriage way too long (I take responsibility for that). I realize the problem is not just about the cheating with other women, but it’s the realization that these traits are part of who they are – like it’s hardwired – and it affects other realms of their lives. Someone arrogant in their personal life is going to be arrogant at work, etc. Your library probably has this book – it will clarify what toxic means and get you out of the weepy Hopium place that Roberta describes so aptly!

Buddy
Buddy
9 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreLies

Wow! My cheater is 8 for 8 for the items on the list.

Sad. Pathetic.

NWBiblio
NWBiblio
9 years ago
Reply to  Buddy

And I bet they’d be proud about that, as well. Perfect score, 100%, A+.

Buddy
Buddy
9 years ago
Reply to  NWBiblio

In a twisted sense, that was the silver lining of the affair. Prior to the affair, I always gave her the benefit of the doubt based on supposed good intentions as I started to question her behaviors. After the affair, it finally all made sense as I replayed the entire relationship from the beginning … Entitlement? … check, Lack of Empathy? … check, and on and on …. 8 for 8 – perfect score – A+ … everything was finally clear.

Donna
Donna
9 years ago
Reply to  NWBiblio

Yes the only test they can pass.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreLies

NoMoreLIes, he may have had many, many “short term” relationship (and not just affairs) with people, even people he sees every day. You can count your years, but for how many of them was he “all in”? Fully engaged? Your deep, close friend? Your truly intimate emotional partner? My guess is that he was pretty checked out and you didn’t know any better. Perhaps you just thought that’s what happens in marriage….

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

LAJ, you are spot on. When you look back you can see where they drifted in and out of the relationship with you. There were many times I asked my XH “where are you? Your physically here with us but emotionally you are somewhere else.

You become just a little box that they packed up in their head and stacked in the corner along with all the other things they want to keep but not actually engage with.

NoMoreLies
NoMoreLies
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

Yes, you’re right! Thanks for pointing that out, LovedAJackass. There were a lot of short term relationships or whatever you can call them….found out much later he was a serial cheater from newlywed year, sporadic at first and escalated to a double/triple life/mistresses/prostitutes. He was able to do that because he traveled a lot for work (or at least that’s what I thought). I guess he didn’t cheat before that with me because that would have been too risky (thinking from the cheater frame of mind). However I did find out after D-Day that he cheated on his previous girlfriends. It’s was all a game. I just don’t get it…why get married? And he’s the one who pushed for that. I was the one in the long term relationship (28 years), not him. Dr. Phil states in his book that trusting people don’t look for nefarious behavior because they don’t operate that way themselves. So you have to become very aware that these toxic people are out there.

KarenE
KarenE
9 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreLies

NoMore, why would a guy like your ex marry? Because that is the BEST way to get CAKE! All those transient relationships for the thrill, and you for the stability, image, back-up kibbles .,.

Disgusting creatures.

moose
moose
9 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreLies

Truly intimate emotional partner? What’s that? Oh yeah….that was ME!!! 😉

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreLies

All of those traits are my XH. I considered that #7 was not mine either as we had been together 20 years and then I realised that all of his other relationships outside of ours, friends, work, even ap’s were all short term ventures.

Tick, tick, tick. I think I will ad this book to my list.

mrsvain
mrsvain
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

yes, that describes the exhole also.

all the other relationships he had…friends never lasted long. i wondered how could a person not have very many friends but then i wasnt worried about it as i dont have very many friends. (i have lots of family thou) i would met someone new that he would tell me was his BEST friend from school. and i would think Best friends, huh? then why havent i met this person until after X amount of time being married to him? i STILL have people coming up to me saying they were friends or cousins of exhole and it amazes me that after 14.5 years with him that was the first time i met them.

i honestly believe that the only reason our relationship lasted so long was because of all my hard work and effort i put into it to keep it going. i am sure if i wasnt such an honest, loyal, caring, forgiven, and loving person we would not have made it after the 3rd year, 5 yrs max…..i am not sure if that was a good thing or not. apparently i was a LOT naive all those years also because i truly thought we BOTH were trying. most likely it had only been me working on it for the past 9 years ish. truly a chump i am

p
p
9 years ago
Reply to  mrsvain

love that, ex-hole!!!

Arnold
Arnold
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

My Xw’s dad told me ” Arnold, she has to reinvent herself ever 3-4 years, as she pisses people off so much.”
Dr Phil’s list describes a cluster B.

Buddy
Buddy
9 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

Arnold, my cheater’s father said “You have to be careful. She is very manipulative and she is very good at it. You have to [something to the effect of not putting up with her manipulative ways]”

I think since he knew her manipulative ways were destroying our financial situation, he was worried that she’d eventually impact his finances as well.

Arnold
Arnold
9 years ago
Reply to  Buddy

The families know. Just wish I had been warned sooner. Financial abuse is one of the tools of the disordered.

informal
informal
9 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

It may have been a long term relationship from my prospective (33ys) but for him it was a lot of short term relationships with prostitutes and a longer term affair before those and how many in between I don’t want to know. I think short term fits the description of most cheaters well.

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  NoMoreLies

Thank you NoMoreLies, but the credit really does go to Chumplady and all the great people who are a part of Chump nation. I will pick up the book you suggested. It seems to describe my ex to a “t”. I too stayed in our marriage too long ( nearly 41 years) so the short term thing is the only one that doesn’t apply. I now study and read all I can to educate and protect myself from these flesh eating zombies! Thanx for the tip!

ringinonmyownbell
ringinonmyownbell
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

I stayed in my 32 year marriage too long too. 31 years too long. The first year of the marriage was a killer… I knew there was something really wrong with him. He went from a shy basically nice guy to a raging, sullen, uncommunicative loonatic and all of that was my fault according to him. (I will never understand how asking a guy what he would like for dinner turns in him into a raging monster, makes it my fault. but it was) When my mother asked me what I wanted for my 1st year anniverary and I said ‘A DIVORCE’ She said you get back up the Bay Area where we were living and make this marraige work. You are not a quitter. So I did. Way back then, you didn’t have interet, and I clearly had no family support.

CFMily, you have no idea what you have in store. He looks nice now, so sweet and kind, but unless you are a silent doormat (you are kinda) you are in for it. The only trouble with this is I won’t get to see it.

zyx321
zyx321
9 years ago

Hear hear!

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
9 years ago

Anger charges are especially destructive when used to manipulate spiritual chumps, IMO. It is a very misunderstood emotion in the Church. Some may even hear sermons preached about how anger is ALWAYS bad. So, it follows that one is bad or in sin if one gets angry. This is so FAR from the truth. God got angry. Jesus even braided a whip to drive out the money changers (as one person pointed out to me). Anger is a true gift. It is neither good or bad. What we do with it is what determines if it is good or bad. Use it to fuel you forward and set boundaries, exactly! Also, I am of the opinion that someone who truly loves me gets angry when I am willfully hurt by another. The injustice matters to him/her just as it would matter to me. My God is angry when such things happens because my God loves me (and others).

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago

Divorce Minister, I really struggled with the anger. I was brought up in the church AND the south, and women were taught not to get angry! For the longest time I couldn’t feel anything but sadness and paralysis, but my gosh when anger showed up it was like a raging inferno. It’s still an uncomfortable emotion for me, but I did like it better than paralysis because it motivated me to get stuff done and to stop pining after my ex.

Just the other day I discovered that anger is just below the surface. One of my parents is very ill and when I got the news my first reaction was to be pissed that my ex isn’t here to support me. This was a totally crazy emotion because my ex was never there for me during the hard times. I guess there’s still something in me that believed I wouldn’t end up facing life’s biggest challenges alone. It’s okay, though, because I’m stronger than I used to before the betrayal. I’ve definitely toughened up.

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
9 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

Lyn,

I am glad you have found a way to embrace the constructive aspects of anger. Personally, I am frustrated at how poorly done the teaching from the pulpit is on this wonderful emotion. I see it as a flip-side of love. If someone can’t get angry on my behalf, then I strongly doubt they love me in actuality. Ps 18 talks about God getting angry on behalf of David. It is one of my favorite Psalms for that reason. David’s pain mattered to God.

Also, I’d suggest that surprise anger is a matter of grief issues. Anger is one of the many emotions people experience when grieving losses. What you described is a loss–no support from a spouse during a critically difficult time– and being ambushed by grief, IMO. I’m a hospice chaplain; so, I live and breathe dealing professionally with loss and grief. It’s okay to be angry. And it is quite normal to be ambushed by strong feelings when something so significant is lost like a spouse who we normally would expect to be supportive at such times.

Hugs to you and violet,
DM

FoolMeTwice
FoolMeTwice
9 years ago

DM, thank you for this. I always watch for your comments, but this one in particular really struck me. It *is* weird when our so-called “loved ones” don’t feel angry or righteously indignant on our behalf when we’re not being treated right. Looking back, this was my first real clue that something was very wrong in my relationship–way before Dday. There was some major, major stuff happening in my life, which previously would have made him livid. He would have been busting some major chops to keep me safe and make me feel protected. But . . . he didn’t. In fact, I literally had to BEG him to help me (this when my whole life revolved around helping him), and then when I lost someone very dear to me, he even told me, “Get over yourself.” Yep, that’s verbatim. At one point I started self-harming. I was just so lost, and I couldn’t figure out what the hell had happened to the person I fell in love with. Where was the guy who sat at my kitchen table and told me that once I knew how much he could support me, I’d fall completely in love with him? Now I know that man never really existed. The self-harming stopped the minute I left him, but I’m still in counseling and probably will be ’til Kingdom Come.

After I’d left, but before I went NC, he called me once and asked for an update on my situation (which got resolved thanks to my own resourcefulness and resilience). Even then, his whole tone was kind of cavalier, and I could tell he was just saying the socially expected lines without any real emotion behind them. It’s really unbelievable that I stayed for as long as I did with a person who clearly couldn’t give two shits about anything that didn’t involve one of his numerous addictions.

Absolutely, from now on I will always look to how people close to me respond to injustice. If it’s nothing more than “Gee, sucks to be you,” they won’t be in my life at all. Thanks, DM!

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  FoolMeTwice

FoolMeTwice–thank you for your honest post. First, it confirms that we all need to pay attention to if/when someone stops being supportive of us in a relationship–time to get out then, as we deserve better.

Secondly, you are always a strong, supportive, voice of reason on CL, and to hear you admit to self-harm is heartening. I, too, scratched myself sporadically as my X’s criticism and lack of warmth toward me took their toll over the 3.5 years before D-day. The worst of it was the summer before D-day, when I am now sure he had employed another fuckbuddy, and was devaluing me and giving me the cold shoulder a lot (before I discovered evidence in his computer bag of the main affair from 8 years prior). My pain had nowhere to go, and the sense of helplessness and loneliness resulted in several instances where I simply raked my fingernails into my skin, with some cosmetically unappealing consequences. I don’t think of myself as an unstable person in general, and it’s important to bring these issues out of the closet so that people don’t feel ashamed to seek help.

Hugs, friend.

FoolMeTwice
FoolMeTwice
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest, thank you for that, and I am so glad you found your way on this board. Sometimes I worry about TMI (hey, my whole life has been an after-school special), but like you said, I think it’s important to step forward and be real about our experiences. It’s what makes this blog so incredibly powerful. I’ve never seen or felt anything like it, and it’s that honesty and safety that keeps me coming back every single day. I’ve read the profiles of self-harmers and thought, Yikes! Is that *me*? But honestly, it was all this stuff happening all at one–really brutal shit–and even just one of those things could’ve caused someone to lose it. And in the middle of it all, he was being SO crazy and SO obsessive, and people kept telling me how worried they were about him and how afraid they were that he was having a mental breakdown. So I kept trying to keep him from going over the brink, but there was nobody left to keep ME from going over the brink. Worst of all, nobody really saw how he was treating me behind closed doors. So in the context of these huge medical issues, everybody thought he was just this amazing guy. The great tragic hero, the poor tortured soul. They didn’t see how abusive he was being to me, and because the family situation was playing out in the public eye, I felt completely powerless and voiceless. Someone in our home was dying, and there wasn’t really anything we could do about it, but he had the utmost sympathy of the community while I was the invisible woman–the invisible chump. All that turmoil had nowhere to go–so it felt at the time–and that’s when I self-harmed. I pinched my inner arms until they bled, and I discovered that I could do this out in public with my ex, when he’d start obsessing, or “scanning,” and nobody would even notice. Later, I’d sit in the tub and look at the bruises and feel like at least my body had heard my pain, even if nobody else had. I still have scars from it, but they don’t bother me anymore. Anybody who would get close enough to me to see them will be able to love me enough to understand.

So, yeah. That’s how a reasonable person becomes a human pin cushion. I don’t consider myself unstable, either. In a way, a crazy reaction to a crazy situation is completely normal! I think talking openly about this stuff is healthy–necessary, even. That’s why all of us are here, right? Because to really be seen and heard is our deepest longing, and the greatest gift we can bestow upon someone else.

FoolMeTwice
FoolMeTwice
9 years ago
Reply to  FoolMeTwice

free2live, I totally get what you mean. You know it’s not healthy, you know it’s not right, but at the time, bringing the unbearable “inner” to the outside feels like a kind of relief. Just like you, I haven’t had even a glimmer of that urge since I left, and when I think about it now, it feels a bit like remembering labour and childbirth. I know it happened; I’ve got the 2 kids to prove I was there, but I honestly can’t remember what that pain was like. I just know it hurt like a mofo. 🙂

Like I said before, I have read about self-harming and what kind of people tend to do it. I think it’s usually associated with teenagers, and as a teen, I briefly self-harmed during some batshit crazy episodes with my mom. Funny, I also know my younger SD also had a history of self-harming, long before I arrived on the scene. She couldn’t handle the crazy, either, and I sincerely hope she’s still in counseling, which I pushed for in a major way. We’re not in contact anymore, which is sad but maybe inevitable. How people make meaning from tragedy is a hard thing to explain, even when you’re the one who’s there living it. For me, I felt like Cassandra. I think that’s the right character? The Greek chick who had the power of prophecy, but nobody believed what she said? My ex kept chasing down all these medical pipe dreams, which I understand he is still doing, and who could ever presume to say what you should or shouldn’t do for your dying child? Certainly not me. But meanwhile there was the emotional and spiritual reality of a terminal young woman in our midst, and it was our biggest and most important duty to help usher her out with some grace and understanding and love. All there was in the home was denial. she was literally screaming out to be seen, to be heard, but he was off tilting at big pharma windmills. While he was gone, I took the brunt of her rage and pain, even though I was the only one who seemed to be able to see what she was trying to say. “Let me live while I’m alive.” And he’d play that goddamned Coldplay song “Fix You” over and over. I hate that song now and will literally run away if I hear it playing somewhere. How do you make someone understand, we’re not on this earth to “fix” other people; we’re here to love them and bear witness to their lives. The truth of this was really brought home for me when my older daughter tried to commit suicide last fall. Worst day ever, and every parent’s nightmare, but I realized that I ultimately had no control. All I had was my love for her and the commitment to stand beside her. Talk about letting go! And slowly she is getting better and embracing life again.

So that’s what I meant by saying the greatest gift we can ever give someone is telling our stories, and listening to theirs. Hey, you. I see you. I hear you. I acknowledge you. I will never be able to repay CL and CN for the many blessings I have received on this forum.

free2live
free2live
9 years ago
Reply to  FoolMeTwice

The openness and honest here is just incredible. I too would on occasion harm myself. Immediately after one of his insane rages. The emotional pain was too much to bear. I would scratch my thighs until they bled. I knew it was unhealthy but it was easier to feel “real” pain than the pain from his screaming, it was real. It felt like relief.

I have not done that in over a year now. We have been separated for over a year and divorced for 8 months. I never even have a glimmer of that urge to hurt myself.

It was so crazy and I find it so disconcerting that I didn’t see how crazy it was while I was living in it.

Now though, the realizations keep on coming and it is a bitch. I think I am still trying to sort through it all.

violet
violet
9 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

Lyn, I am also navigating the terminal illnesses of both my parents without any help and it is almost overwhelming. When X’s parents passed, I was there every step of the way,but there is no way I want him near my folks. Like you, I never imagined I would be carrying this burden alone. I am doing the very best I know how. Unfortunately, my mother is classic NPD and suffers from dementia-talk about an awful combo! Some days I just want to run away and not leave a forwarding address.

Fifi
Fifi
9 years ago
Reply to  violet

No pearls of wisdom, just wanted to give you a cyber-hug.

conniered
conniered
9 years ago

I was SOOOOO angry right before and especially after DDay. And I couldn’t believe how venemos it was. Wow. But I also felt that it saved me from the paralysis that could have seized me. It spurred me to action. I used it to my advantage and made smart decisions about those things that needed to be done immediately like protecting myself financially and taking care of our son. Now, my STBXH got a couple of very nasty emails from me also. My family counseled me to be careful in showing anger where it’s documented though. I took their advice. But I did feel that my anger was not wrong or sinful. God made us. He made us with all these emotions. They can serve us well if we use them constructively. Without that anger, where would I be now? Where would any of us be right now?

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  conniered

Yes, anger is like a 5-hour energy drink for chumps.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago

Yes the attitude of ” thou shall not be angry”. This really got to me in the beginning. And if anything made me even more angry.

newchumpatl
newchumpatl
9 years ago

Great points. That’s how I knew it was really over. When I would get angry, or sad.. he’d get defensive and never made any effort to comfort me. He took “offense” at my anger, sadness, and feelings. Because I no longer matter to him. I am the enemy, the thing that holds him back from his awesome single life and neverending supply of whore kibbles.

WhatAChump2015
WhatAChump2015
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

This really struck a cord with me. Just before Dday my Cheater got furious with me that I had been crying before I called him for a simple question. He mentioned that it was wrong to have gotten mad for the pain he was inflecting just in our regular lives with him deciding that he needed space to “work on his issues”. In retrospect, he had checked out and was already with OWhore.

Several months before Dday, my cheater told me that I had an “anger management issue” and started to list everytime I had gotten upset or angry in OUR ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP. He said that he was keeping score. WTF? That he was afraid of my anger. Interesting. As learned from above, Anger is an alert system that something is wrong. Red Flag! Obviously I’m color blind. Couldn’t be that the switch was flipped from being part of the family to “not sure if he is doing the right thing”. I can tell Mr. Cheater for sure that destroying the family, etc. etc. for OWhore was not the right thing to do.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  WhatAChump2015

WhatAChump2015–just one major way your cheater tried to invalidate you. Having started up with OWhore, he devalued you to the point of not being allowed to feel–even when he inflicted the pain. Jerk.

PA Princess
PA Princess
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

OMG. Mine made lists of injustices as well. Our injustices so that they can become their excuses. The list of true injustices in this divorce performed by him CRUSH any thing I would have done in the past, i.e.. show disappointment and hurt in the morning when he did not make love to me the night before. UGH! Hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it?

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

Yes, how dare we hold them back from their awesome single life?! Now, THAT’S selfish anger on cheater’s part.

Arnold
Arnold
9 years ago

I refrained from expressing any anger to my cheating XW’s. It feeds their egos, which are already inflated.
I never screamed, yelled or anything like that. These assholes thing they are the shit and do not need any more attention devoted to them.

Divorce Minister
Divorce Minister
9 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

Agreed that showing the anger to the cheater is not always the best thing to do. Plus, it might help them triangulate other people like pastors/counselors who think YOU are the one with the “anger problem.”

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago

Depends on the degree of anger, how the cheater is likely to react, and how public the context. I went into the situation after D-day with the public perception that I was the kinder and more stable of the two of us, so my skyscraper-high anger could not be used against me. It did give me leverage (plus a bit of emotional release, if I do say so). I agree it’s best not to show anger when it can be used against you.

newchumpatl
newchumpatl
9 years ago

I vacillate from anger to sadness and back again, but I am more mighty everyday. I thought about if my
STBX came crawling back, on bended knee.. confessing all that he refuses to confess now, pledging to get himself help,to give up the 100K sports car he bought without my input, pledging to call the whore in front of me and breaking it off… I still don’t think I’d take him back.

Bottom line, he’s a liar. And you can’t build anything with a liar. He went off the rails, became someone I don’t know… all for the love of a cigarette smoking whore who is cheating on her H as well. That’s the caliber of person he threw our 20 years and our family over for. It’s despicable. If my old H showed up, it might be hard to resist but the emotional damage he’s done to me is permanent.. at least in regards to my feelings towards him. I would never feel safe again with him.

Meh, here I come.

Jeepin4me
Jeepin4me
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

newchumpatl xmr did all of that just before the divorce was final…started waging an emotional campaign to come home…said he loved me…cried…said he’d buy me some horses, build me a new house…cried…texted me how we were the perfect storm…with pictures of his sparkly self…confessed that his married ap was a ho…ugh…I almost hurled! All the knowledge gained here at chump nation and from CL was screamin in my head. Tempest and Willow Chump and MsVain…all their wise counsel yelling at me to OPEN MY EYES to the lies! Yeah, you wouldn’t go back either…the damage xmr caused is permanent and I have learned those lessons well… The divorce was final on the 4th of February, the settlement is amazing to me…and there will be NO reconciliation and there will be NO friendship. xmr is a disease I have been inoculated for! 🙂 I am still navigating toward meh…but I’m closer each day 🙂 We become stronger with conviction and the TRUTH of that does set us free!

mrsvain
mrsvain
9 years ago
Reply to  Jeepin4me

Yes!!! i am so glad that my pitiful stories has helped someone else out. You just made my day Jeepin4me!!! but then that is the glory of this site. when i first came on, i was full of denial and smoking that hopium pipe. the more stories i read, the more i could relate that the same happened to me. i had forgiven so well that i did not even remember the incident until i read it happening to someone else. After a while i finally started to TRUST THAT HE SUCKS!!!!

i wish you well on your journey.
Be strong
Be F.R.E.E.

Jeepin4me
Jeepin4me
9 years ago
Reply to  mrsvain

🙂 Thank YOU MsVain! For sharing your insights into these disordered assholes!

mrsvain
mrsvain
9 years ago
Reply to  Jeepin4me

which is where i got the word exhole from

conniered
conniered
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

I would NEVER take him back. The “ugly” has been seen and I just can’t unsee it. There is nothing he could say or do that would sway me in the least. It would disgust me to see him do anything like that. I just woulnd’t be able to take him seriously.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  conniered

I know, conniered. Mine now physically repulses me, despite his good looks and Armani jackets. Wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole.

FoolMeTwice
FoolMeTwice
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest, I feel repulsed, too. It is just surreal to think that you can actually feel that way about someone who used to be your whole world.

hurt
hurt
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Ex told me he bought OWhore earrings for Christmas. The first gift he bought me when we first started to date was a nice pair of earrings. Of course he has much, much more $ today so I’m sure it was a nice piece. Yuck on the similarity!

hurt1
hurt1
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

I consider my ex as being deceased. The loving, supportive & compassionate man I was in love with for over 26 years is gone. He morphed into someone I didn’t know. But in death there is comfort knowing there was love, with a runaway cheater there will never be closure in my heart.

married a jackass too
married a jackass too
9 years ago
Reply to  hurt1

Same here.

Kelly
Kelly
9 years ago
Reply to  hurt1

I was talking to a friend about my children (who ex has abandoned), and how they were going to handle life since “their father is dead.” She had to stop me and point out to me what I had just said…I literally didn’t realize it until that point.

What is that quote –“Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest.”

kb
kb
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

Newchumpal, all of that is the last-ditch effort to avoid child support, loss of retirement-and most of all–loss of kibble!

Tracy’s written some great stuff about real remorse and genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse. If your cheater were truly remorseful, he’d not pledge (i.e. promise future action), he’d act. Pledging is contingent upon your taking him back. If he really wanted to change, he’d have already booked the therapist appointment, broken up with the girlfriend, etc.

newchumpatl
newchumpatl
9 years ago
Reply to  kb

He actually wanted me to agree to a trial separation.. and when I refused, it made him angry.. so now he wants to blame me for the split. No fuckwit.. you are the one doing this to US. Just because I wouldn’t agree for you to move out and string me and the whore along.. I decided to make the decision easy for you. You can’t carry on with the whore and then show up over here and “have dinner” with us.. and go on “dates” with me to “recapture the spark”. Uh, No thanks. If I’m going to date, I’d rather not date a two timer. thank you very much.

lisahaight1969
lisahaight1969
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

Funny – if I had just met my x, I would never date him. Probably not even be friends with who he is now.

So, they wanted us to audition ( and I didn’t know for years I was on trial ) for the role of wife again. Nope – so sorry – i think I deserve better.

WhatAChump2015
WhatAChump2015
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

Holy cow, were we with the same fuckwit? He wanted to move into an apartment to work on his issues to come home happy. We’d “go to dinner and spend time together, Text and talk and work with therapists to put things back on track”. What bullshit! He was setting up his WhorePad and stringing me along. Taking stuff from our home to his apartment. Red Flag…didn’t want me to know the address of the apartment and said that for now I was not welcome at the apartment…as “he needed to make it his own”…..WOW! Went along with it as I THOUGHT that we were working on US. Not him working out on OWHORE.

I made the decision to not do the “Pick Me Dance” that I didn’t even know I was involved in on DDay. Now he can have his known cheater OWhore all he wants.

moose
moose
9 years ago
Reply to  WhatAChump2015

Same here…sparks and remembering why I loved you. Translation..live got some interest from another side whore and I want to see where that goes. Wait for me just in case it doesn’t work out! No thanks, douche.

Donna
Donna
9 years ago
Reply to  WhatAChump2015

Consequences. Yes!

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

NewChumpatl–the blameshifting will get worse before it gets better. Don’t accept ANY of it. Hugs to you going through this.

newchumpatl
newchumpatl
9 years ago
Reply to  kb

Oh I know.. he has no intention of doing any of these things.. I am just saying that if he did a 180 and started doing these things, as you suggest, it still might not be enough for me.

I am starting to hate the sight of him. Hurt is turning to rage. What he’s done to me is unforgivable.

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

Newchumpal, I fell the same way you do about my ex. I now know that I could never entertain taking him back, but I have moments where I fantisize that he is begging forgiveness and I walk over him apathetically just the way he did me when I needed him most. He just doesn’t deserve a person like me. He’s trash and he can stay with the trash he picked up on Facebook!

ringinonmyownbell
ringinonmyownbell
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

There is a grace in learning about the disordered. You can’t go back to them, you were blind but now you see. You know that there is no hope for them to ever be a human being a fully functional human being, that they are destined to live this half light, and mostly hell. We, on the other hand, can and will feel sublime love, joy, trust again. Our anger doesn’t stain our soul.

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago

THIS!!!

Hesatthecurb
Hesatthecurb
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

I learned just the other day the genesis of the hymn, Amazing Grace. I wasn’t listening really closely but this is pretty much the gist of it: A slave trader was captaining his ship during a storm. A slave near him was swept overboard to his death. The captain penned this hymn and never was involved in the injustice of slavery again,

syringa
syringa
9 years ago
Reply to  Hesatthecurb

No…..I can’t EVER go back to my XH. I have a feeling he thinks I might still be Plan B. I can’t stop him from moving back to this area but he will never move back into MY house. I know exactly what kind of person he is now and I know EXACTLY what kind of harm he can do to me. No way in hell is that man ever EVER going to get another chance to smash my heart in again.

Donna
Donna
9 years ago
Reply to  syringa

Syringa, never again! Yes you are stronger. Getting to that place leads to MEH

Jen
Jen
9 years ago

In one of the last few arguments we had he said, “you are very angry these days.” It was a tactic to get me to back down on calling him out.

Our very last communication was an email response from him confirming he would help me transfer. He said, “I was never really angry. I just wasn’t going to take that verbal abuse. I didn’t desreve that.”

So everything was my fault. I was supposed to be happy he took another woman to dinner on his birthday.

mrsvain
mrsvain
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

one of the last things i heard was “All you care about is the money” and i thought (i wish i had said it out loud) “well ya, you killed everything else there was between us, so that is the only thing left”

of course he was pissed off because i was bugging him about paying the child support. now that he has disappeared i havent been in contact with him for 10 months. setting up the paperwork for child support enforcement to go after him. he is not working at a company, but under the table. he could do that forever and i would never get a single dime. his oompa loompa doesnt care one way or another. the garnishment papers i have only work when he is getting a paycheck, so now i am going after his drivers licenses, income taxes and anything else. one thing for sure is he IS NOT going to be walzes off into the sunset happily ever after, without a care in the world. because as soon as this thing gets going, he will carry this over his head for the rest of his life. he is suppose to pay 1100.00 a month. anytime he gets a job, or gets pulled over, or gets a refund or tries to buy a new car and register it, he will be punished for not paying child support. he will not be moving forward for much longer.

Irish
Irish
9 years ago
Reply to  mrsvain

Me too mrsvain!
1000$ in child support and he’s already missed the first payment. Mfpos also works under the table. He’s behind 5600$ in back interim support ordered before divorce was final, 4500$ for half of the 9500$ income tax he had deposited into a separate account so I could not touch it. I will go after him just like you. These guys SUCK. Oh he cried and boohooed at the divorce hearing about what a great father he is and how he was so saaaaaad. Boo fucking boo asshole.

My financial hearing is May 8th. I hope the judge realizes his bad faith.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Jen–“I just wasn’t going to take that verbal abuse. I didn’t deserve that.”

Ask him if we can take a vote as to what he deserves.

Jen
Jen
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Well he won’t have to take it anymore, except that’s stupid, I was actually really nice most of the time. He didn’t like it when I screamed, “go home and fuck her some more!”

You would think he would be happy, I thought that was in fact what he wanted to do.

MsChump
MsChump
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Wow, it’s all my fault too!! Bad chumps for speaking the truth. Bad chumps for not putting up with piss poor treatment anymore. My anger is not outward anymore, it just fuels my determination now. The more detached I become, the more calm, cold and clear I become with him (aka calling him out on his lies and setting firm boundaries) I then get the line ‘you’re so angry these days’ – only when I’m with you cheater pants. My life as I rebuild and move in – it’s pretty damn lovely!!!!

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  MsChump

I get told often my my XH and his support crew that clearly I am angry because I have told people the truth about his adultery. Yes I am clearly angry because I chose not to lie or remain silent on the subject to protect his faulty character.
Basically every person who asked why had we separated was told that he had been unfaithful. It is not my fault that the next question out of most peoples mouths was ” was it with a guy?” Hard to cover what was clearly evident and so just chose not too. My bad.

newchumpatl
newchumpatl
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

They’ve lost their ever loving minds.

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

Yep, they are off the rails and in a ditch! It’s unbelievable the way they think! No reasonable person can take them seriously!

Stayin Strong
Stayin Strong
9 years ago

I love my anger. My anger lead me to snoop. My snooping lead me to reality. My reality lead me to divorce. My divorce lead me to freedom. My freedom lead me to a more secure life. My more secure life lead me to confidence. Confidence has lead me to generally being happy.

If I had never gotten angry and sat passively by while I was disrespected, used and lied too, I would never be where I am today. I love my anger. It keeps me focused.

FoolMeTwice
FoolMeTwice
9 years ago
Reply to  Stayin Strong

What a great post!

Erbrown83@gmail.com
Erbrown83@gmail.com
9 years ago
Reply to  Stayin Strong

Perfect way to put it! Feel exactly the same way!

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  Stayin Strong

Stayinstrong, very well said! I second this!

Red
Red
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

I third it! Very well said!

glinda
glinda
9 years ago
Reply to  Roberta

Yes, agreed!

Dr. I Can't Believe I'm a Chump
Dr. I Can't Believe I'm a Chump
9 years ago

I always say it’s my party and I’ll be pissed if I want to.

KarenE
KarenE
9 years ago

Ear worm!! Now I’ll spend the whole day with that in my head …. But that is a better version, for sure!

Moving Liquid
Moving Liquid
9 years ago

At times in the 18 months since separation and d-day I have feared I’d get stuck in angry mode and become BITTER. I’m finally starting to see that it’s just not in my makeup to stay that way. I’m not talking about forgiving or god forbid, forgetting, but at some point I realized my anger wasn’t very helpful any longer, in fact it was harming me. I couldn’t force it to leave, but it is waning on its own accord, thank goodness. At the same time I sometimes remind myself of how my cheater betrayed me so that I can continue to keep him at arm’s length.

ringinonmyownbell
ringinonmyownbell
9 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

And ML, waning because something new has taken its place… friends, a new job and just the start of all the good things you deserve.

NWBiblio
NWBiblio
9 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

I think this is a healthy balance. I seem to be in the same spot. I was also worried I’d end up bitter, but my IC assured me it wasn’t my nature (thanks, dude), so I choose to believe him. Already I lack the hallmarks of bitterness: global dismissal of all men and all relationships as doomed. I just need to figure out what’s the best way for me to find someone who fits well into MY life now. But for now, I’m good being alone w/the dogs.

itsAJourney
itsAJourney
9 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

I’ve also experienced anger off and on; it always scares me when it lasts longer than a few days. I know a couple of people who have been divorced for over 20 years and still harbor anger towards their x. It’s pitiful to see them devoting so much energy to the past… it’s preventing them from fully enjoying the present. I don’t want to be that person. But also, like many of you have stated, anger has also propelled me into action, and helped me to understand what my triggers are, and why. Like CL said, it’s a delicate balance.

“At the same time I sometimes remind myself of how my cheater betrayed me so that I can continue to keep him at arm’s length.” Me too!! I’ve got a box of letters, photos, receipts, and other memorabilia to remind me just how screwed up he is, and how badly he deceived me. It’s crazy… he has always accused me of never letting things go, but in reality I need constant reminders so I don’t forget the sick mind I’m working with. I guess I could call it the “anger box.”

BestPathForward
BestPathForward
9 years ago
Reply to  itsAJourney

I should also start keeping an Anger Box! This is my problem with striving toward “meh.” I get there and can be completely indifferent but after a while in this state I start to view him as maybe not so bad. I find myself inching toward niceness again.

Luckily, he keeps adding things to the Anger Box. Last week I stumbled on receipts that proved my closet and the OW’s are filled with the exact same clothes – in different sizes. In the grand scheme, not sure why this set me off, but the idea of him spending years dressing both his wife and girlfriend up in the same clothes like little dolls for his own amusement made me FURIOUS.

I think CL hit on the key with what you do with anger. You can sit and tenderly feed it with baby spoons for months or you can plow it into something that helps you stand on your own two feet. But the latter is easier said than done…

itsAJourney
itsAJourney
9 years ago

I think they do the same things for spouses and affair partners alike because they have no real concern for anybody except themselves. They don’t think in terms of each individual’s wants/needs because that would require thoughtful consideration. I realized something was up when I opened up a very expensive camera from him. I’m a photography buff, and only use a certain brand… it was not that brand. I later pieced things together and he confirmed that he had sent another woman the exact camera. What a douche bag!! I don’t blame you for being upset, you should be angry… but this should also demonstrate that it’s not you, it’s him. He didn’t give her an ounce more consideration.

NoMoreLies
NoMoreLies
9 years ago

Eww – the same clothes for the both of you. That is SO creepy. Truly disordered.

glinda
glinda
9 years ago

It has taken me quite a while to get to the anger stage. I think in some way I feared my response. I have a hard time with gray areas so for me to get angry means I needed to go to war, be willing to torch everything and take no prisoners. Hard to do while still taking care of kids. When STBX was still living at home I had to keep my anger in check because if I showed any he would use that as a springboard against me and the kids (and the animals).

I feel my anger has taken a patronus form – a huge tiger that sits there silently reminding me to stay on guard. It’s good now. Anger came back when I realized the kids and I were putting up with things that aren’t normal – that are abusive. So I traded silent hurt projected inward to an anger that protects by projecting outward.

Little Mighty Me
Little Mighty Me
9 years ago
Reply to  glinda

As a Potter Geek, this image of the Anger Patronus is absolutely beautiful to me! It captures perfectly how I feel about my own anger, and the powerful tool it is.

Lania
Lania
9 years ago

Hear, hear!
(I feel the exact same way, glinda – that imagery and thought is awesome).

Glinda
Glinda
9 years ago
Reply to  Lania

So I guess we all just have to figure out what our Patronus would be. And some of the imagery from C.S. Lewis.

NWBiblio
NWBiblio
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Expecto FURIUM!!

Mary
Mary
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I just blew coffee through my nose!
>XD

TheClip
TheClip
9 years ago

I am angry at…. X Y and Z…. I am not an angry person. Thats the difference to me. And I am sooooooo fucking good with that.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago

Angry is my default setting. (Was)

Two months after d’day and a month after my 9yr olds cancer diagnoses (she is doing well) I was extremely sleep deprived at the hospital and my XH was being a totally self entitled ass. A physical altercation between us lead to a meeting with staff. Fuck I was so angry at his self entitled bullshit, his expectation that I should remain the diligent submissive chump I had been for more than a decade while he acted like nothing had happened, and was happily living the single life while I watched our daughters hair fall out, spending day and night at the hospital with her. He would come for 10 min to an hour depending on what else he had to do. One night he didn’t come to see her because he was being taken out for dinner by a friend for his birthday a few days later. He never cared that while he spent a bit of time with her I was then rushing home to feed our animals sneek in a shower and pick up clean cloths for myself and our daughter. I lost my shit in that meeting and was horrified when my ex sat back in his chair waving his hand at me in a dismissive manner stating “see this is just more of her verbal abuse I have lived with all these years”. WTF? This was a huge light bulb moment for me. I still did the chump thing by apologising a few hours later for my behaviour. I tried to explain to him that being angry was the only thing that was preventing me from totally loosing my state of mind. Trying to understand that my husband was not the man I thought he was, and how I was struggling to get my head around it all. My apology was somewhat accepted but my XH’s behaviour did not change. It was at this point I realised he is possibly NPD. But because he is such a great sales person especially when selling himself and that for years now I have constantly been in a state of fight or flight when dealing with my him, People who didn’t bother getting to know me any deeper than surface, just considered me to be an irrational angry bitch and have judged everything I have done since I learnt of my XH’s adultery from this view point.
Since seperation and now divorce I have become a much calmer person, but I get in the same room as my XH and I begin to shake. I do my best not to feed his ” she is so mean to me routine” but sometimes I can’t deal with it and if he presses the right buttons before I know it I am off like a fire cracker. And once off it takes a lot of focus to put the lid back on my emotion. And I hate myself when I am like this, because deep down it is not me, it’s my self protection against the bullshit.
I hate the person I became being married to him. And his denial of my right to be angry in the beginning just made it worse.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Thankful: “I hate the person I became being married to him.”

Yes, I was with mine for 24+ years, and around him, became a less cheerful, optimistic person who started to slide into anxiety and depression.

You had, and have, every right to be angry and contemptuous to the air-thief who is your X. Do NOT let him invalidate you or your anger or your disgust at his cheating. I would worry about you if you WEREN’T angry–it’s all justified. However, to wrongfoot him, make it a cold anger–plaster on a beatific smile, and then *pretend* to agree with him (with just a frisson of sarcasm), “Why, yes, dipshit X, we DO all want you to be happy, more than we desire happiness for ourselves.” or “It was important for you to get dinner while our daughter suffered through chemotherapy; wouldn’t want you to faint from hunger.” You get to express your outrage, he can’t easily accuse you of being bitter and mean to him, and he probably doesn’t have the psychological wherewithal to counter your response. (But keep that smile!)

Eventually, your daughter will be old enough that you’ll get to have minimal contact with him and your anger will evolve into eye rolls at his behavior. In the meantime, channel it into a “win.”

Anger is a defense mechanism, and a useful one, until we get to indifference or complete No-Contact. Just hone it for your purposes so that it can’t be used against you.

And BTW–your X is a nasty piece of work. I’m running out of voodoo dolls, but he warrants an entry ;).

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Thank you for this ^^^^

I just laughed so hard at my entry I snorted.

Lania
Lania
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Fucking despicable that he thought little ‘dinners’ and other crap were more important than his flesh and blood going through probably one of the worst things medically to endure. Really shows where his priorities layed, doesn’t it? Fucking self-entitled prick.
I’ve actually learned from your story – and with a quote that I feel fits: “Never make someone a priority who thinks of you as an option”.
That if someone has to feed their own ego with pathetic shit and feels that’s more important – over shit that really does matter – they aren’t worth being with. Period.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  Lania

Thank you to everyone who has commented.

This post has really struck a cord with me.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Thankful, you had every right to be angry–enraged–at how the Cheater treated you and your daughter (who, after all, is his child, too). The fact that he used this in a public setting to make you (the person taking care of his very sick child) look bad and to make himself look good makes him a monster. A monster.

I’m not Tempest, but I have long had trouble with flashbacks and falling through what my first therapist calls “holes in time,” where a present event (being in the room with your cheater, for example) triggers the pain and trauma of a past event (like the rage and powerlessness you felt in the hospital). While you will never, ever forget the terrible things he did (and I am not talking about the cheating, but of his behavior in the situation), you can work on managing how things in the present trigger you and send you back to the feeling state of that time. This is the road I’ve walked regarding PTSD from an abusive childhood. You are so powerful and such a strong Mama Bear. Don’t beat yourself up for remembering on the DNA level what a shit he is.

Miss Sunshine
Miss Sunshine
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Thankful, your story made ME angry! What an asshole!

And isn’t he just really great at manipulating you to become emotional so that his shittiness is disguised.

Jen
Jen
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Thankful,
Guys like that love to watch you become derailed. So sorry that you had to be the only parent to your daughter while she is going through something so scary. He’s not a man.

Let go
Let go
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Thankful, you have to realize that he has taught you very well how to act. He does x, you do y. Every single time. People who are this disordered are so self protective they will never let you relax, never let you “in”. Have you ever waltzed? You have to know the steps in order not to crush your partner’s foot. You and the dick head have been waltzing for years. Only you didn’t know it. All you knew was that he had the exact tone of voice, facial expression and other body languages to set you off. There is an underlying reason why he, and others, are like this. They don’t want true intimacy. Oh, sure, they can dine and wine and fall in love because it is all surface. They are never going to let you get closer than that.
This is a tried and true method to stop all this but you need to practice with someone you trust. When he is around for any reason you need to have no more reaction to him than a piece of wood. That means you can’t roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders, get stiff, or huff and puff. It truly means he becomes invisible. If he ask you a question that can be answered with a yes or a no you can answer it. If he does or says anything else he becomes invisible again. It really does change the dynamic. It might take you weeks or months but I promise you at some point he will stop playing head games with you because he is not getting anything out of it. There has to be a pay off or people stop doing things. Your payoff is that after while he really will become invisible to you even when he is standing there. There is a name for the game he plays with you,it is called…..now I have you, you son of a bitch. And he does have you every time. Lots of my education is around these kinds of people and I can tell you that he can keep up this craziness for the rest of his life. He will never, ever, let anyone get close to him emotionally. He can charm the birds out of the trees if he is a good salesman but that means absolutely nothing in his private life. This is truly interesting to me because I think so much of behavior is rooted in the genetics we are born with and the amount of injury done to us as children. A child who does not learn to trust is never going to be able to handle true relationships. They can play act all they want to but it is just that, play acting. I think they yearn for something deeper but their mistrust is so embedded that it will not let them put their guard down. You, and other chumps, pay a terrible emotional price trying to get close to these people. The best way to get to meh is to understand that even though he damaged you terribly he is missing the best part of being a human. He is missing the ability to except to love, to except trust, and to give them an equal measure.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  Let go

Let Go, this^^this^^.

The surface relational stuff is as deep as a paddling pool. The hours I wasted longing for more.

Following d’day I could not understand the who this cold, heartless, self entitled POS was. And how had we managed to stay together for so long. Was I stupid? No just blinded by what I did see in him and what I considered he could be, part of the heart break was realising and accepting he was never going to be that person. No for me. Possibly not for anyone.

ANC
ANC
9 years ago
Reply to  Let go

Holy Cow, Let go! You just described my cheater. Will he ever develop true relationships with our kids? Or will these relationships be surfacey too? He’s working on creating deeper relationships with the kids, but it looks a lot like love Bombing to me. (Or is that because I am highly skeptical?)

My relationship with him is over, except to attempt to create a healthy co parenting environment for my kids.

Let go
Let go
9 years ago
Reply to  ANC

ANC, ask other Chumps, but I’ll bet as long as he controls the narrative he can play act. Let them become mouthy teenagers and he will probably back off. He might blame you for poisoning their minds, or accuse them of being ungrateful brats. Nothing will be his fault.
The sad truth is that kids want the unconditional love their parents are suppose to give them. If you can find a way to gently encourage him he might make it. At some point, when they are old enough and asking questions, you may have to explain how difficult being settled is to an unsettled mind.
I make it sound like you have to tiptoe through life with this guy. Remember the title of this post. Anger is about reacting to specific behaviors. You need it to get a good lawyer, get child support, get a good financial settlement. We start out teaching our children to be polite to people and then don’t understand that when they are grown they don’t know how to say “no”. That is one of the best words in the English language. It keeps others from steam rolling us.
Good luck.

newchumpatl
newchumpatl
9 years ago
Reply to  Let go

Wow, this is an awesome comment and I can relate to it. My STBX is exactly like this. I thought he was so gentle, kind, loving, loyal and generous.. and he was.. but at some point he flipped.. he got bored and restless. He’s always been like that but maybe he placated it in other ways. Addition to food, to video games, to cars, to buying trinkets. Then the MOW came along and that’s an addiction too, also took up smoking cigarettes again….. a lot of what he does is manic.. he becomes addicted to the high quite fast.

I loved him.. I thought he loved me but maybe he never did. He is disordered.. his childhood was a mess.. and I know now it has nothing to do with me.. but damn if he hasn’t blown my life to bits.

The good news is that I have two beautiful kids, a good job, and a head on my shoulders.. but it’s still rough as hell. The fact that he could throw over all the things I’ve done for him, all I’ve been to him over the years.. for some two bit whore (who also smokes, that’s why he took it up again) is the most painful thing I’ve ever endured,

WhatAChump2015
WhatAChump2015
9 years ago
Reply to  newchumpatl

Flipped….EXACTLY! like a light switch. One day everything was fine and the next I am the devil incarnate. Addiction….yep, right there with you. All at the same time I figure OWhore came back into his life looking in retorspect. Any woman that would pursue a committed (oops, right, I was the one committed) man and offer up sex and promised not to tell……..This is what he choose over a loving, committed woman and his family. Agree. Blown my life and our family to hell, and agree that this is the most painful thing I have ever endured. I don’t think I will ever recover.

ByeByeCheater
ByeByeCheater
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

“I hate the person I became being married to him. And his denial of my right to be angry in the beginning just made it worse.”

^^THIS – YES!!!!

oh, and of course, he’s a GIANT ass for not spending every moment with his daughter while she was in the hospital fighting cancer.

Lina
Lina
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

“His denial of my right to be angry…” I got this all the time. I could never be angry without his judgment and downplaying of what ever I was angry about. Every single time. It was “get over it” or “you make too much out of everything”. It’s making me sick to my story thinking about it.

Lina
Lina
9 years ago
Reply to  Lina

Sick to my stomach, not story.

Lina
Lina
9 years ago

I’m having trouble getting to righteous anger. When I do get angry I feel stronger. But it’s very fleeting. Most of the time I’m sad. When I do get angry my anxiety level skyrockets. Not good either. This is a nightmare.

NWBiblio
NWBiblio
9 years ago
Reply to  Lina

It might help you to know, Lina, that you ARE angry, but you’re directing it inward, at yourself — she who is LEAST deserving of anger in this situation.

It’s generally established that depression is anger turned inward. Keep that anger where it belongs — on HIM. *HE* did this, not YOU!!

Our society frowns on anger. I really got an earful from our closest mutual friends during the first few months when XH was staying at their house (until he & Schmoopie could find a place). They were distancing themselves from me, so I went over to have a “So, whazzup?” talk. And they kept DEFENDING him, saying they couldn’t be angry with him, and why was *I* angry with him, “You know, he feels really bad for hurting you and wishes he could take away your pain.” And then I REALLY blew up and said, “Fuck that! And Fuck him!! He HAD the chance to not make me feel bad by STAYING and WORKING on our marriage, and by WARNING me he was unhappy!” Then they said they were “uncomfortable with my anger” and I essentially never heard from them again.

I imagine they all sit around the dinner table now & play Carcassone and forget that I ever even existed.

Anger is there, so you might as well put it on the person who deserves it.

Lania
Lania
9 years ago
Reply to  NWBiblio

“You know, he feels really bad for hurting you and wishes he could take away your pain.”

That’s precisely why the dick decided to fuck someone else, right?
People are fucking morons, I swear.

KarenE
KarenE
9 years ago
Reply to  Lania

“You know, he feels really bad for hurting you and wishes he could take away your pain.”

This is my ex’s attitude entirely, The fact that he feels bad about it NOW makes it all OK, and means he’s actually a good person! Of course, he didn’t feel bad in the least about a) being a negative, critical, difficult person to live with, for 14 years, b) sporadically scaring the shit out of me and the kids with his threats and near-violence (only stopped that because of some severe limit-setting by me, not because he felt at all bad about it), c) cheating the first time, breaking my heart and creating huge turmoil in our family for months, d) cheating the second time, and breaking up our relationship as well as his kids’ family, and e) treating the kids so poorly after the separation..

He felt FINE about all this stuff. None of it was a problem, we were over-reacting. He was completely justified in EVERYTHING he did. Until, of course, he started feeling the consequences in HIS own life.

Somehow, remorse after years of CLEAR CHOICES to do hurtful, harmful things, and remorse that only appears because of the consequences FOR HIM of those choices, that really really doesn’t do much to reduce my anger, or make me see him as a decent person.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  Lania

Those who want to deny your right to be angry in support of the cheater are very low in character in my view and believe me when I say they are not worth your time. Or your anger.

My situation was made worse by the fact my XH is a Jesus Cheater. And because he hid behind God and the church to prevent being held to account for his behaviour. Some of it I am only just learning about now 16 months post d’day. It was put to me by people that my anger was a sign of my refusing to let God work in my situation and bring about reiteration.

I am so glad for those God did put in my path to help me see the truth. Especially those who share here who enabled me to see that my XH had more issues than the need for sex with strangers. And that I had a right to be very pissed of over it.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

That should read ‘restoration’ not ‘reiteration’

Tempest,
Most of his apologists spoke without thinking. They were so desperate to hid his adultery that they needed to keep a lid on my anger because it indicated that there was far more to my separation/ divorce than what he and the church were letting on.

And still only yesterday I was held to account for letting my anger get the better of me by a pastor of his church, for telling members of the church the truth.
I was also asked if my XH signed our settlement papers (rather than my having to pay to take him to court to sell our family home so I can afford to support myself and our kids moving forward) would I be able to speak nicely about him because, the pastor was not happy that I was speaking about my XH in a negative manner.
Gee let me think if he treated me with concern and respect, and agreed to disentangle himself from me financially now we are divorce and he has a GF, without my having to cover huge court cost. Could I say a nice word about him??????
Again speaking without thinking.

MrsVain
MrsVain
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

actually in the catholic faith, there is adultery, stealing, do not bare false witness against your neighbor….in other words DO NOT LIE!! do not covet they neighbors house, wife or possessions.

maybe the next time your pastor decides to hold you to account for letting your anger get the better of you by a pastor of his church, for telling members of the church the truth….you might remind him that your XH broke AT LEAST 4 of the 10 commandments!! and ask him if he is suggesting that you lie and withhold the truth of the sins of your XH? something like “are you really counselling me to brake a commandment and lie about my XH behavior that caused the break up of our marriage?”

if your pastor continue to badger you, then take it up with HIS supervisor. even in church there is a chain of command.

Kimberly
Kimberly
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Thankful, in my Catholic Faith, adultery and stealing are two of the big Ten. If anything, your pastor should have been talking to your ex – not you! If my priest ever tried to make me feel bad for telling the truth – priest or no priest he would have gotten my wrath as well. I probably would have told him to shut the F up. But I’m crass like that. Minimally, I would have said, well – watch your poor box when my ex is around because he’s a lying cheating thief! You keep spreading the truth my friend and don’t you feel one ounce badly about it. If your asked, then you tell!

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Thankful, practice these statements: “That’s none of your business.” “You would be better off putting your concern into helping your members live up to a few of the 10 commandments.” “It’s disgusting that X had no concern for his daughter who was gravely ill and no concern for the person he left to take care of her.” “My church frowns on adultery. Where does your church stand on that?” And, over and over, “That’s none of your business.” “Excuse me, I have an appointment.”

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

You owe no one an explanation for your anger, especially someone who know what that creep you were married to did.

Let go
Let go
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Thankful, who the heck are these so called religious people? I guaran damn tee it is about money. You speaking loudly about a church going cheater might close some wallets. Go for it! Tell every single person. Don’t yell, just say he broke your heart and one of the Commandments by cheating. If I were you I would let the folks in that church see the back of me. Have you noticed people use their so-called faith to excuse some awful behavior. Religion is suppose to make us better. Him having a little hanky panky behind the church is not religion. It is cheating.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

Egads, Thankful!! That your anger was preventing you from allowing God to work in you. Well, Jesus got angry when worship of God was being corrupted by people (much as your X corrupted God’s will):

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2000/05/Did-Jesus-Get-Angry.aspx#

So take that, Jesus-Cheater-apologists.

Lina
Lina
9 years ago
Reply to  NWBiblio

Thank you. X

Jen
Jen
9 years ago
Reply to  Lina

Lina,
I do not like anger too much because it makes me feel out of control. Also. the jerks I’be been with tend to use it against me later and accuse me of being crazy.

Don’t get angry. Get even.

But what is more likely with chumps like you and me, “don’t go away mad, girl, just go away.”

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

“Don’t get mad, get everything”! Ivana Trump

ByeByeCheater
ByeByeCheater
9 years ago

Thank you CL for this post on anger – it is much needed. I have been severely hurt and as you said, my ‘internal warning system is setting off the security breach alarm’ for my anger to step up and protect me. The betrayal, lies, manipulation, gas lighting, blame shifting, etc. that has gone on for years from the person who committed to love me and me only hurts terribly. And he just wants to ignore what he has done and it’s impact on me. No f’ing way I can ignore it so I’m no contact with him unless it involves our daughter or untangling our financial matters.

The a-hole called me last night so he could tell me what I need to do to take care of daughter’s sports injury. That set my anger off. I have always taken care of her and he’s been disney dad. He thinks dictating the responsibility to me means he’s an involved dad. I simply said ‘so you called me to tell me what I need to do to take care of her – got it.’ and I hung up.

Most days, I’m pretty good but I derail when I have to interact with him. It’s been 2 years since DDay and almost a year since I gave up hope that he would step up and change. I know there’s no magical cure but please tell me that someday, the hurt will subside.

Red
Red
9 years ago
Reply to  ByeByeCheater

ByeBye – my ex does the same thing: he’s an armchair parent. Like the armchair quarterback hollering at the TV at the people actually playing the game, my ex tells me everything I’m doing wrong from his new wife’s house 40 minutes away. We’ve been divorced for 4 years, but I’ve been a single parent for 13, because dealing with toddlers took the focus off him, so he stayed at work 80 hours a week and eventually started having sex with women there. He’s never parented all three of ours by himself for more than two days since he became a father, yet he seems to think he has all the answers.

My suggestion for you is to take your ex’s advice with a grain of salt. Calling plays is easy when you’re sitting in an armchair, knocking back the beers. But if he actually had to run the ball himself? He couldn’t do it. He’s all talk and no action. Remember that next time he calls to offer advice. You’ll be rolling your eyes dismissively in no time! 😉

sephage
sephage
9 years ago

“If you don’t understand that betrayal makes people angry, then you don’t understand injustice. And if you refuse to understand the injustice, then you probably have an agenda.”

Now **that** is true in as true a way as true can be.

I had a lengthy discussion with my IC therapist about this. Her (very valid, IMHO) concern was that she didn’t want me to “get over” my STBXW’s infidelity; she wanted me to “soar into a new life.” If you are angry, it’s hard to soar because that shiz is a rock-like weight holding you down (potential outcomes include resentment, bitterness, and constant retreat into victimization).

My response to this (also very valid, IMHO), was that anger is a necessary launching pad. As CL puts it, anger is a clarion call to get your butt in gear and take up metaphorical arms to defend your dignity, and other important aspects of your life. I *need* to be angry; as part of the grieving process, as part of processing all of the bullsh*t, but most importantly as a driver to a) file for divorce, b) go as NC as possible with the person who inflicted this on me and my family, c) focus on protecting my daughter and get my cheating wife the hell OUT of my life, and d) begin to move on to better things.

That is a sh*t ton of work! It is NOT going to happen through timidity. Chumps, you MUST be angry in some way/shape/form to get that started. It is anger that is totally justified!

Having said that, as CL indicated you MUST be ready for a second grieving period – the one in which you let that driving anger go, when it’s the right time. That does NOT mean that you become friends with someone who screwed you over, but it does mean you can be civil to them. It means you focus on the future and not the past. It means that you have no place or time in your life for petty shiz like revenge or cheating (and yeah, I think revenge drags people down to the level of cheaters… sorry, had to be said).

You don’t need to be in a hurry to get there, though; let it come naturally. And it will, so long as you check yourself: when anger starts to feel like “woe unto me, I am forsaken!” then you need to slap it back into its proper place. If it starts to look like black-hearted resentment, it needs a slap. If you start to feel bitter about life beyond the scenario the cheater inflicted, then you need to kick that bitter in the crotch. In some ways, you need to be justifiably angry at your anger if it gets out of line. If you start to want violence and revenge, then you’d better get some professional help, because you are letting anger run amok like an out of control power tool with sharp blades attached to it!

Is the anger helping to make you a better person? If you look at the anger, does it feel justified, or does it shirk in shame? If the former, you’re probably on the right track, I think.

Anger is **your** tool; use it! But always remember who is the boss of that anger: YOU.

NWBiblio
NWBiblio
9 years ago
Reply to  sephage

This is a lovely post, Sephage.

Your comment about anger as a launchpad is right on. Before I even knew (for sure) about Schmoopie, I remember the first & only MC appt I convinced XH (then STBX) to attend. By the end of what I thought had been a fairly productive & civilized hour, the MC suggested an exercise we could do for our marriage that would take about 30 days (of us treating each other better, etc.), and the look on XH’s face was like, “Thirty days?? HELL no!” So the MC (who also saw this look) backpedaled and said, “OK, well, how about I see you back here in two weeks then?” — Same look.

And right that minute, I felt like I’d been shot out of a cannon by rage. I thought, “After SIXTEEN YEARS together, he can’t even invest another TWO WEEKS in our marriage??” That night, I went online & printed the paperwork so we could file, researched the state laws on divorce, polled my friends to find a good divorce attorney, and first thing next morning, I stood at the other end of the kitchen table (I felt like a general in a war, “negotiating” with the enemy) and said, “So, I guess we’re done then,” and slapped down the papers. Got his signature, and I filed that day.

When I look back on what anger helped me do, and how I was running on adrenaline all of last summer, I’m amazed I could even get out of bed in the morning. Now, I love my single life. But I couldn’t have gotten here without the anger.

sephage
sephage
9 years ago
Reply to  NWBiblio

NWBiblio – thanks. It’s hard to think of my thoughts as “lovely” when I cannot stand to even look at my STBXW, but I understand what you are saying :).

In a lot of ways, I cannot wait until she’s gone and I can start the next chapter of my life not worrying about her reactions anywhere near as much as I have to right now. I am very glad to hear that you are loving your life now!

I had a similar reaction to my STBXW’s lackadaisical approach to anything remotely related to reconciliation. She couldn’t be bothered to read any of the better books on affairs or divorce, after 10+ years of marriage, but could find the time to read her affair partner’s favorite 300+ page novel? Uhm, yeah… I think we are DONE! 🙂

CalamityJane
CalamityJane
9 years ago
Reply to  sephage

Great post on anger, Sephage. I, personally, have no problem voicing righteous anger. I use it as a bridge to get me to the next level.

Anger gives me super human strength to get out of a bad situation and into a good one. I don’t keep it with me because it will take my attention away from the peacefulness I am trying to obtain. Continued anger after the job is done keeps me focused on the past, or the cheater in my case, and robs me of my future. It’s a great weapon to defend yourself or someone else who is being abused. It should naturally dissipate when no longer needed to propel you forward or get you out of danger. It is a very powerful emotion.

I have a wonderful SIL, who I loved dearly and still do. I would do anything for her. I always kept in touch and I love my nieces and nephew, her children. My brother was a terrible husband to her, he admits it and they divorced in their twenties. It’s been over 30 years and she never dropped anger. It completely robbed her of her life on this planet.

There comes a time when you have to set it down.

sephage
sephage
9 years ago
Reply to  CalamityJane

Thanks, CJ – yeah, see my comment further down. Revenge is bad news, and is largely unnecessary against people who are f-ing up their own lives, which is what the vast majority of cheaters are doing. Their hell is self-inflicted and it doesn’t need any additional assistance from chumps. Best to just get away from their sinking ship.

I should note that while intellectually all of this makes total sense – filing for D, trying to get STBXW out of the house, contributing and reading here, eschewing revenge, etc. – emotionally it’s much more difficult. It takes time for that to align to the intellectual / factual side. But it will come, and when it does the anger, I think, will stay in its proper place.

One thing I would encourage chumps to do to help is IC, and specifically ask the therapist “what does a mature, functional, loving relationship really look like?” I know that I have few role models for that personally, and I definitely want another long term, functional, intimate, loving relationship so I want to make sure it’s a viable one from early on; it helps to have a very high-level template, one that doesn’t have to bear any resemblance to what we experienced with our cheaters.

Cheers!

GladIt'sOver
GladIt'sOver
9 years ago
Reply to  sephage

“One thing I would encourage chumps to do to help is IC, and specifically ask the therapist “what does a mature, functional, loving relationship really look like?”

This question is huge. CL, please do a post on this topic, I’m sure that many chumps really aren’t sure what healthy actually looks like. I know after 20 years with my ex, I really have no idea what a good relationship is all about.

Lania
Lania
9 years ago
Reply to  GladIt'sOver

I think it boils down to altruistic selflessness for the core – but be willing to call people out on their shit if they do something that’s selfish and harming the other person in some way.
Too much altruistic selfishness gets people chumped though.
Its about considering your needs – but being mindful and respective of the other person’s needs as well. And no agenda-pushing in the background!
Two people who meet each other half way is a beautiful thing.

Lania
Lania
9 years ago
Reply to  Lania

Selflessness, rather. My fingers have a mind of their own it seems!

Moving Liquid
Moving Liquid
9 years ago
Reply to  sephage

” (and yeah, I think revenge drags people down to the level of cheaters… sorry, had to be said).”

I agree.

Tessie
Tessie
9 years ago
Reply to  Moving Liquid

Gee ML, you mean I don’t get to go and pee on cheater ex’s grave? Aww your’e no fun!

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Tessie

Absolutely, you do, Tessie! It won’t hurt him now, so it doesn’t count as revenge!

Patsy
Patsy
9 years ago

Thankful, don’t laugh but the BEST thing for this is Al anon or another 12 steps programme. They really teach you to detach lovingly and keep the focus on self. My X drinks but that doesn’t upset me half as much as his narcissism (triple diagnosed) and so I mentally substitute ‘narcissist’ for every word ‘alcoholic’. And lo and behold, addiction and narcissism are very linked, so Al Anon IS about dealing with a narcissist!
I no longer rage to him, try to ‘get him to see’ or think that ‘this time he will understand’. I have come to accept him for who he really is.
It is a wonderful compassionate programme, and it costs me $2 a time.
My X still uses my ‘abuse’ as his justification. He hasn’t noticed at all that I don’t do that any more and haven’t for around two years. And that is absolutely fine: he is entitled to be on whatever journey he is on. It is none of my business (see what al anon does!).

Jen
Jen
9 years ago
Reply to  Patsy

My first x is a former Mormon, and does not cheat or drink that I know of, but is a huge narcissist. My second x is a very functional addict and I don’t think he is a narcissist.

Addicts start letting go of obligations and accountability in favor of the high. Narcissists want everyone to focus on them. Good or bad, just pay attention to them. They must win, losing is not an option. Sweep the leg!

moose
moose
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

That would be my STBX…I’ll take any attention, good or bad.

NWBiblio
NWBiblio
9 years ago
Reply to  Patsy

I also found AlAnon helpful but used to cry so much during the meetings, it made me feel worse, so I quit going for a while. But I knew I was crying because I could relate, y’know?

ItsAJourney
ItsAJourney
9 years ago
Reply to  Patsy

Sounds like I could use Al anon. I’ve been striving to detach lovingly. I’ve got a way to go, but I’m getting less concerned about him “getting it,” which I tried earnestly for 2 years to do. I’m moving on without him… hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.

Donna
Donna
9 years ago
Reply to  ItsAJourney

ItsAJournry, you get it. That’s all that matters. Separating yourself from them means you have to face the pain of what you wanted if only they could see or get it. I wasted most of my life in that exact place. I finally let go and filed. It is a journey and at some point there is clarity. You are worth it!

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago

Thankful, don’t hate yourself for feeling anger. After all you have been through it is quite normal. This is a process. And if we push those angry emotions down in us then we will never get to that light at the end of the tunnel. My adult children at times thought I was just awful, but I told them very nicely that if they didn’t care for my attitude then they were welcome to leave! They didn’t like that, but I knew somewhere deep inside that I had to vent this poison from my system. I had faith that I would get “better” whatever that meant. Screw these people and our cheaters who think we should just accept and adapt immediately! I want to see them walk a mile in my shoes. But I would suggest we focus on getting to the other side of this and start envisioning and defining what we need, want and how we want our lives to look like after the destruction our ex spouse has piled on us. I had some friends who had been through this type of betrayal and they kept assuring me that my life would be much better post cheater. It was almost impossible for me to imagine, but sure enough, it does happen. Like CL says, “this shit is finite.” She is right. But it still has to be processed by every chump and that’s the suck part!

Gypsy57
Gypsy57
9 years ago

I think it was someone on this blog who recognized that cheating is about POWER. But the cheater recognizes that there is POWER in our ANGER.

And that worries the cheater, even if the cheater doesn’t admit it.

Ever notice how when D-day arrives, the cheater is often angry at the chump for some *perceived* offense(s)? “I cheated because you weren’t meeting my needs”. “I cheated because you never buy me flowers”. “I cheated because you made me go to your parent’s house for Thanksgiving back in 1994, when you knew I wanted to stay home and watch the game”.

I believe that the cheater KNOWS their “anger” is bogus. But they also know that OUR anger is righteous, and the cheater’s don’t like that at all (“Just how LONG do you –chump–plan to stay angry?!”).

The cheater wants to get as far away from our anger as possible because they don’t want to feel BAD about their ‘wonderful’ selves.

CalamityJane
CalamityJane
9 years ago
Reply to  Gypsy57

“The cheater wants to get as far away from our anger as possible because they don’t want to feel BAD about their ‘wonderful’ selves.”

Yep. God forbid we take away the vision of who they think they are.

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  CalamityJane

Calamity Jane, they simply don’t want to hear or see the unvarnished truth about themselves. It’s too much for their ego and fantasy to accept that they are really shitty people, outcasts! Deep down these MOFOS know it, but taking responsibility for it is a whole different thing.

Koru
Koru
9 years ago
Reply to  CalamityJane

That is exactly what my stbx said ‘Koru you are the only person who makes me feel this bad about myself’. Yeah, I am the only one who ever stood up to his and called him out on his shit.

KarenE
KarenE
9 years ago
Reply to  Koru

Koru, my ex is like this! At one point he said ‘you made me feel inadequate, like I wasn’t a good husband or a good father’. I just looked at him. He got it, and he was PISSED! How dare I point out reality, when that made him look bad!

wtfimik
wtfimik
9 years ago
Reply to  Gypsy57

This! My cheater just wrote this “I can also read the hate and loathing in your emails and text messages and I know you are angry. I’m desperately trying to get past all of this and move forward – if anything I’ve ever said means anything to you at all, you need to find a way to do the same.” He is upset because I’m angry? He had an affair, with a coworker, for 5 years and I had no idea. Dday was 2 years ago and I just caught him lying to me for another month, and poor wounded thing can’t understand my anger.

You hit the nail on the head when you wrote “they don’t want to feel BAD about their ‘wonderful’ selves.”

ANC
ANC
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfimik

Yup. Cheater was angry because I made him feel bad about his actions. Woe to him for feeling sad and angry when I had to explain that nice guys don’t serial fuck other people, carry on a decade long life with a MOW, steal from their kids and endanger not only their spouse but their children as well.

I’m not allowed to call him a coward. So I call him One Who Lacks Courage. Ironically, he accepts this description of himself. Wacko.

Angelgirl
Angelgirl
9 years ago
Reply to  ANC

Oh so I see that I am not the only one ANC, thanks for that. The one time I allowed myself to really show my anger and yelled that he was a liar, a cheater and a coward, he called my daughter and told her to come over to my house and calm me down or he was going to call the police on me!!!! Poor smuck was sooo afraid of his yelling 115 lb wife? Oh pleaz.

He just couldn’t stand the fact that after 38 years, I finally told him what I thought of him. And I hope to get that chance again before this is all over.

Roberta
Roberta
9 years ago
Reply to  Angelgirl

I told mine he was a liar, a cheater and he & Schmoopie were just like common thieves! He just had this blank stare on his face! But then I told him he was a coward and a fraud and that got him all pissed off! I must have hit the nail on the head then!

hurt1
hurt1
9 years ago
Reply to  ANC

I was told by cheater several times via nasty-grams (emails- the only way he choose to communicate) that I had to move forward in my “new” life just as he was moving forward in his. His new life involved reaching happiness. My “new” life became a tragedy.

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfimik

I think there’s nothing that invokes anger more than the “you need to move on” statement from people who have grievously injured you. They act like they are the better person because they’ve been able to “move on” from something they planned and knew was coming. I remember my MIL told me she hoped I’d be able to move on 2 weeks after my 36 year relationship imploded. I remember thinking “I’ll move on all right, and I’ll move you right out of my life.” After that she kept contacting me wanting to be friends, but it was just too upsetting. My main focus after my ex left was protecting myself from unnecessary pain. It still is.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  Gypsy57

So true, Gypsy, so true. ^^^^^^^

Red
Red
9 years ago

I watched an episode of “My 600 Pound Life” last night which showed a woman who had been kidnapped and held hostage by an abusive boyfriend when she tried to leave him 20 years ago. It was so traumatic that she started eating to comfort herself and never stopped. When the episode opened, she weighed over 800 pounds and had been confined to her bed for over a year. Even after moving to another state to see a doctor who specializes in obese patients, she spent an additional 8 months in bed, refusing to move, telling the doctor again and again, “You don’t understand. You’re pushing me too hard.”

Every time she whined, I kept thinking, “She needs ChumpLady!” because she’s STILL being held hostage by that man. She’s allowed him to control her life for 20 years, endangering her health and preventing her from being a hands-on mom to her 3 kids. Instead of getting mad, she got addicted…to food.

I wonder how many other chumps have succumbed to a similar fate? I’ll take anger over addiction ANY day. Because one day, the anger will be gone. The addiction? Not so much…

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  Red

I’ll take anger over addiction ANY day. Because one day, the anger will be gone. The addiction? Not so much…

Yes, Yes, Yes,

I hate to cry, being raised by two emotionally void but seriously strong women (mother and grandmother) I feel the notion of My crying ( not others) is pathetic and self indulgent. I cried so much in the beginning of last year I am surprised I did not become dehydrated.
So anger was a welcome relief. Although it was regularly used by my cheating X in the defence of his action.
But I can choose not to be angry.
My XH no matter what he says or how nice he is to people or how many relationships he has with women will ever be able to deal with his addictive behaviour unless he acknowledges it for what it is. And he won’t do that while he is pointing the finger at me.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Thankful

I had been numb for as long as I can remember. So what the discard started and then I found out about MOW, I was angry, sad, terrified, heartbroken, and at times enraged. But feeling is better than being numb. And it was a good thing to go through the whole thing without medicating myself with food and workaholism and/or some other man.

Thankful
Thankful
9 years ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

I personally think that if you need help to get it through speaking with a health care professional and use all the resources available to you.
That being said I am so grateful that I was able to get through this period also without having to medicate myself.
I remember sitting in my doctors office crying uncontrollably, I asked about medication, she asked what was weighing on me that I was so upset. My divorce hearing was was in a few days. She suggested I go home have a great big cry get it out of my system. Go to my divorce hearing with my head held high and if I was still like it a week afterwards to go back and see her.
I didn’t go back the next week I didn’t need to. I have to lean not to be afraid of my emotions. Talking with others has really helped.

not Juliet
not Juliet
9 years ago

What really pisses me off is when the Cheaters get mad, when they are the ones completely in the wrong. Fuck that noise. I love it when Chumps no longer accept that crap. And, yes, it will likely require some righteous anger.

KarenE
KarenE
9 years ago
Reply to  not Juliet

A couple of months ago the ex texted me, and self-pityingly told me he was to blame for ‘what happened’. I replied that yes, he was to blame. He was FURIOUS! How could I be so mean????? THIS was why we weren’t together any more.

Made me laugh.

That pissed him off even more, but at least he’s leaving me alone now. I’m no longer accepting that crap, and he can’t stand that. Good.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  KarenE

KarenE–which just goes to show that their “remorse” is purely instrumental–designed to get our pity and lure us back into being nice to them. Cheater remorse is much like the cheater themselves–shallow & superficial.

(I swear, Karen, if I didn’t know you were in Canada (right?) I’d think my X had been living a double life shuttling between the two of us. Many similarities. Yours didn’t have a penchant for Italian designers, did he?)

chump-ness
chump-ness
9 years ago

Sephage, I agree! It’s almost one year to the day of my d-day (and only a month to go until I can file) and I find my anger comes and goes. True I’ve been calmer in general but initially and during false reconciliation I was angry yes, and that was powerful and kick started me to take action… but I didn’t expect a ‘second wind ‘ of anger. That happened after my stbhx left for the office grad all sorry and depressed that his affair had been exposed and left me to do all the paperwork to call in our investment s and sell our home by myself. On the day we exchanged contracts (he was so ‘sad’ he couldnt sign them at the house in person.. I had to ferry them around the city with his dad, no joke) he accidentially, or so he said, transferred money from our remaining small joint bill accout to his AP. Seeing her name in my bank transactions (and it’s still there of course) made me angrier than I’ve been all year. True, it made me a bit vindictive but it also has given me the strength to get through what will be the hardest part of all in the upcoming weeks…. settling division of assets and filing divorce paperwork.. while not falling victim to the sadness of it all especually the loss of half the people I called family and friends in the process. . Without this renewed anger I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to trust that he still sucks… so I agree!! Anger = chump power boost.

Lania
Lania
9 years ago
Reply to  chump-ness

That’s theft. And that should be used as leverage, too.
Fucking pricks.

Lania
Lania
9 years ago
Reply to  Lania

If it truly was an ‘accident’ as he says, he will have no issue with returning the money, right?
Fact is, it wasn’t, and he won’t.
(Pressed ‘Submit’ too early!)

sephage
sephage
9 years ago
Reply to  chump-ness

chummp-ness – I say, flex that anger muscle! Just don’t let it get overworked and you’ll do great!

In my situation, I have been looking at it this way:

– My STBXW is a decent mom, so I don’t want my anger to even inadvertently cause issues with that. My daughter is AMAZING and deserves whatever humanity her mother has left to offer.

– My STBXW is also a liar and a cheat, and capable of enormous financial infidelities. Anger is going to get me a very good settlement with all of that stuff, and then if she blows the money she gets on her debts and incurring more debts, that’s her problem from this point, not mine or my daughter’s as it would be if we stayed married (and if she needs to sleep with guys old enough to be her father who have rich moms, as she had been doing, that’s also her problem).

So the “not my issue anymore” take on things I find really helps to mitigate the anger into its proper place.

And here’s the other thing about anger and why it shouldn’t be puffed up into revenge – and it’s important:

Only one of you has to possibly lie on their deathbed and contemplate in at least some ways f-ing up a family through their selfish behavior.

Only one of you dealt with marriage problems in one of the most immature ways possible, and will have to examine that as part of their character.

In my case, only my STBXW will have to answer to our daughter when she asks what really happened, did you do everything that you could to keep the family together, and other tough questions. Now, the cheater might answer with some BS, but they will know it’s BS and in most cases eventually so will the kid.

Living with that stuff? Noooooooooooooooooo thank you! That would be a nightmare that eats a black hole into your soul… I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even my STBXW and her sleazy affair partner (while I feel they deserve one another, I don’t think soul torment is good for the Universe in general).

So, chumps don’t really need revenge; nothing anyone could do to someone else could be as bad as what cheaters have brought upon themselves already; having to eventually look into one’s soul and find it lacking, to *know* that you inflicted harm on innocents like kids and family members, that you lied and then blamed someone else for it, etc. (and only the most screwed up, disordered people won’t contemplate at least some of that stuff, eventually).

Yeah, I know some of the folks here have disordered cheaters in their lives, but there is a continuum of that. My STBXW is probably disordered, but not so much that I haven’t caught her saying things like “I don’t know what I doing,” “I am not myself,” and “I hate myself for letting things get this way.” Yes, these are followed by her blaming me, but the point is when I am out of the picture of the marriage, will those thoughts and feelings for her just go away? I think it’s much more likely that they will then be directed inward. Again, not my problem, but think about the pure hell that would be. No, they won’t feel it as much as a more functional person would, but most of them will feel it in some way.

I can think of nothing I could inflict on someone that is worse than that. NOTHING.

That’s why I don’t like the idea of revenge – it would mean drinking the same acrid poison that will eventually gnaw at the hearts and souls of most of the people who cheat on their spouses.

sephage
sephage
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

CL – well put (obviously, I require an editor! 🙂

I know that some cheaters do come around. But usually, in my experience, it’s sadly after their lives have gotten all kinds of screwed up.

My IC therapist told me that a lot of well-adjusted chumps end up feeling pity for their cheaters. And I have to admit, I do see that in my case; I pity my STBXW in a lot of ways.

Unfortunately, being pitiable is just as unattractive to me as being dishonest, cheating, and being immature about life’s issues and conflicts, so I am still getting divorced! 🙂