The Mirroring Cheater: Who Is He Really?

Her cheater ex seems to be mirroring people. Including adopting qualities and personas he swore he hated. What is this chameleon schtick?

***

Hi Chump Lady,

I know you have addressed previously the whole idea of narcissistic copycatting, but I have a question that’s a bit different.

When the FW was with me, he took on my basic character traits of family, character, hard worker, citizen, Intellectual. I noticed over the years that he would morph strangely, which I realized far too late was character traits he was taking on with whomever he was cheating with. Cowgirls, strippers, POLITICOs, techies, crunchy granolas, you get the drift.

His clothing, musical tastes, and even food preferences would shift.

Unfortunately, a Switzerland friend sent me some information and photos to show me that he is now with a much younger, hot-pink-haired, Grateful Dead tribute band groupie, alcoholic, smoker, and “artist“ for supply. He grew his severely thinning hair long, and now is a smoker — something he always abhorred in others. He never liked that type of music as long as I knew him. Also, he admitted after we had our only child, that he did not like children and proved it by harassing the neighborhood kids until the police were called. Her children with different baby daddies now lives with him…

To the best of your non-psychologist ability, what is your take on why and how this happens? Can you offer me any comfort for the 29 years he’s sucked me dry, other than I divorced his ass?

FuckwitFree at Last

***

Dear FuckwitFree at Last,

Okay, he sucked you dry, but now when he wants narcissistic supply, he has to endure amateur jam bands. Karma thy name is Sugar Magnolia.

This is an untangling the skein question and your “neutral” friend did you no favors letting you know what he’s up to. I get the whole point-and-laugh impulse, but if you still need comfort from the OMG I wasted 29 years on this creep grief, no contact is best. Spoiler:

He still sucks.

However, your letter is instructional. The copycat phenomenon is real. Let’s pick it apart.

I noticed over the years that he would morph strangely, which I realized far too late was character traits he was taking on with whomever he was cheating with.

He’s mirroring them. All humans do this to a certain extent. Babies mirror their parents to mimic speech and learn how to talk. You might unconsciously pick up the same verbal ticks as a friend you’re conversing with. Maybe you catch a contagious smile or laugh.

Cheaters (narcissists, FW, whatever you want to call them) engage in mirroring for more unsettling reasons.

They aren’t that deep.

If you lack an identity and core sense of self, you need to borrow one. Helps you pass among potential victims. Think of these users as deranged magpies stealing shiny little personality trinkets. That’s how you get the cowgirl-stripper-techie. It’s Franken-self.

So, when you inevitably wonder what you ever saw in this person, you probably saw a mirror. And who they reflected to you is different than who they reflect to someone else. When with a cowgirl, it’s all things cowgirl. When with a techie, it’s the techie persona. It’s only when you stand back and cobble all these identities together that you’re left with a big WTF.

Remember too, it’s flattering to be mirrored. It can lead to all those gooey limerence feelings. Wow, he really gets me! We have so much in common! You like the Neue Galerie? OMG me too!

I’ve written here before about discovering my cheating ex’s dating profiles, only to discover he’d listed weird, obscure things that I liked, that he had zero actual interest in. He was creating a chump decoy. Nothing personal, I was a shiny trinket. Assemble those trinkets into dating profile — more trinkets!

Cheaters use mirroring because it gets results.

he is now with a much younger, hot-pink-haired, Grateful Dead tribute band groupie, alcoholic, smoker, and “artist“ for supply.

How nice to have a muse. From his standpoint, he gets to fuck a younger artist all for the low, low price of stringy hair and lung cancer. #winning

He never liked that type of music as long as I knew him.

You didn’t know him. That’s the scary thing after 29 years. There was nobody there to know. His likes are about as deep as his dislikes. Everything and everybody is situational. You were of use.

And now you’re not. You win. And he’s still as shallow as a puddle of piss.

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Elsie_
Elsie_
1 month ago

Ick, mirroring. I saw my ex do that over and over, adapting to who he was with. He’d do it without revealing much of himself, which is, of course, the point. During our dating days, he morphed into exactly what I was looking for and then became yet something else after we had kids because he didn’t like the focus shift. Never mind that I was struggling with babies and his workaholicism; it was all about him.

As our kids became older teenagers, even they saw it. They both took AP Psychology their senior year of high school and put more of it together because, yes, he had a disordered personality. After he left, they discussed it between themselves and then with me. Yes, his sense of self was rather unstable and disturbed.

Thankfully, he’s doing whatever he wants with whomever now, apart from us. I truly feel sorry for whoever he’s with now if he has someone because she will experience it, too.

He does come across really, really well by mirroring, though.

Last edited 1 month ago by Elsie_
KatiePig
KatiePig
1 month ago
Reply to  Elsie_

Yep, I remember when my ex’s laugh changed. I found it deeply disturbing and even asked him about it. He bitched to other people that I was complaining about the way he laughed and I’m sure they all thought I was such an awful harpy, “OMG, he can’t even laugh?! She’s such a bitch!”

But why would your laugh suddenly change in your late 30s? That’s fucking weird. The way he stood changed as well and he started speaking with an accent he did not have at any other time in his life. It was incredibly fucking creepy. He was switching to full on mirroring the girl our son’s age he was leaving me for. It was like watching an alien wearing my husband’s skin over a six month period. It was one of the most unsettling experiences of my life.

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
1 month ago
Reply to  KatiePig

Mine started having really off the wall and insane beliefs where previously he had scoffed at that sort of thing. He would go on and on about these absolutely bonkers ideas. And for a short while, I sincerely thought he had a brain tumor. Not only was what he was saying crazy-sounding, but it was so removed from the him I thought I knew. I was genuinely scared and concerned for him.

Then I found out that many chumps also had thought their FWs had brain tumors because those complete shifts in personality are not even remotely rare in a FW.

I later learned that Schmoops was also into all that stuff and that this was just extreme mirroring. It really is unsettling to see after decades with someone. It seems impossible, but I saw it with my own eyes and then saw that so had many other Chumps.

FW apparently has always mirrored. Easier to spot in hindsight. And now we aren’t together and it also didn’t work out with Schmoops. He is very lost because he isn’t with anyone currently and hence has no idea who he IS.

I Count
I Count
1 month ago
Reply to  Elsie_

You are telling my story! workaholic who morphed after kids because of the focus shift. My older teens don’t see him… Same. Mine also mirrors.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
1 month ago

Anyone might think that the Cheater is adopting whatever persona they need to get their “fix” rather than being true to their authentic self.

I mean, who would have thought it?

LFTT

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago

I like the wryness 😆

Celene
Celene
1 month ago

My cheating ex took this mirroring thing to the extreme. He’s recently been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder and says everyone he’s ever known/been friends with is a personality within him – including That Woman.

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  Celene

Oh goodness, sounds like he’s becoming unhinged!

Celene
Celene
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

When things first started going downhill many of us wondered if he somehow suffered a stroke that totally changed his personality. With everything that’s happened since the affair started, the things he’s done during seperation, and our pre/post divorce proceedings it feels like that diagnosis of multiple personalities is only a small a drop in the bucket of his rejection of reality.

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago
Reply to  Celene

Wow, this is so sad. I’m sorry you went through this (and sorry for him, he sounds very ill).

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
1 month ago

I am watching the mirroring and future faking with her new husband with bemusement at a distance, the boys are catching on as they will not watch a sports game on TV as that is what they do most of the time (she’s mirroring a lot of what he is doing and into). And they also have grand plans to conquer the world that don’t seem to be panning out.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

Funny how that conquering the world shit never works out. She needs to go watch some old James Bond movies to see how Goldfinger and his pals made out. The world’s bigger than all of us, LOL!

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

Sounds like she’s a pick me girl to the AP. She’ll be pretty unhappy & unfulfilled down the road, but that’s a HER problem, not a you one.

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

Oh, she is. It’s kinda sad to watch, all of it is slow motion. She has no real personality of her own, to be a shell is sad. I am glad she’s not my problem.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh McDowell

Someone who has no real personality of their own, can’t really effectively judge others because they can only go by surfaces. OM is probably mirroring someone else himself.

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I think he is, but I can’t really make a call; it’s rather bizarre to watch.

Chumpasaurus45
Chumpasaurus45
1 month ago

Pretty fascinating, the mirroring they do. Better than any chameleon I’ve ever seen.
I didn’t recognize some of the signs of him mirroring his mistresses as mirroring at the time, but I know that’s exactly what it was now.
He could morph into a two steppin cowboy, full decked out outfit and texting the mistress with ‘darlin’ this and ‘darlin’ that. I was so confused reading that darlin stuff. In 30 years or more I knew him, it was not in his lexicon. I questioned to myself if he had a split personality disorder of some kind. It was in the days of me trying to diagnose and help him, the wasted years.

The kids knew him as a strange and quirky kind of dad, that would do odd ball things at times. He had a CD in his truck he would play over and over when you drove with him that sounded like a 10 year old girl singing the blues. We would all laugh about that and think, WTF?! Is he into pedophilia too?? It was not the musical vibe anywhere else in his life. It was mistress music, I’m certain of that now.

Some other texts to a different mistress I read one time talked about him all excited he was going to “ sleep with the girls” again and how he missed them all. And then writing “ please please please, can I walk them when I get there?!” She had two labs that were her only kids, he morphed into a massive dog lover for her. ( we had two dogs of our own, the only person who ever walked them in the entirety of their lives was me).

I agree they don’t have an identity to call their own, so they borrow all over town. They become all you were ever hoping and looking for, but much much more, but with incredible believability too.
It’s so bizarre. Mirroring is a highly effective preying tool for them though. They could be anything at all.

weedfree
weedfree
1 month ago
Reply to  Chumpasaurus45

Tick to the dog thing – we had a dying elderly 20yo dog and a puppy, and at home FW couldn’t give a shit about either, acted like they were a nuisance. The dying dog smelt from leaking fluids shortly before she was euthanised, and FW came aggressively barging in the door one night after I had thoroughly cleaned the house after work and disinfected the floor complaining “we shouldn’t have to live like this” as our poor old dogger smelt (do you think he made arrangements for the vet to have her put to sleep etc, also no).
Meantime I later found out from a neighbour around the same time Fw had taken up running along our local beach (in about 10 degrees celsius) topless with our puppy alongside talking to the locals one of whom was an attractive bikini clad year round swimmer talking to her about our cute puppy wuppy. I found messages to APs sister also talking about our cutie patootie puppy, so adorbs.
Ergh, double ergh.
These blogs sometimes take me back to bad places.

Last edited 1 month ago by weedfree
Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  Chumpasaurus45

Luv that expression “so they borrow all over town”!

ChumpedForANewerModel
ChumpedForANewerModel
1 month ago

Yes, it is strange how they become a new person based on the AP. I guess they can’t be themselves because who wants to be a lying cheater????? My ex mirrored his affair partner by totally changing his style of dress, his taste in music and food. Later on he took it to the extreme and was on several odd diets as well. It is all so odd.
I can look back now and realized that when you are disordered that you must really dislike who you are. They don’t have any true sense of self that they could be happy with. I had a conversation with my fiance the other day about his disordered cheating ex. He said he could never seem to make her happy. My response is that happiness is up to you while having a relationship should just add to the happiness that you already have. We both live on that premise and are our true selves with each other. It is vastly different than the relationship with my ex where I frantically danced to try to make him “happy”.

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
1 month ago

“It is vastly different than the relationship with my ex where I frantically danced to try to make him “happy”.” h

I can’t believe how much I lost of myself trying to make him happy. I can’t blame that all on him because I allowed it. But I really became less of a person, my goal became making him happy or at least not making him mad at any given time.

And the joke is, it didn’t work,no matter how many hot buttons I avoided he found something to be critical of or pissed about and ultimately he cheated and said it was because he wasn’t happy. The joke is, he will never BE happy because he isn’t happy inside. At some point he will find a new partner and he’ll look happy for awhile, but she will ultimately fail him too.

ChumpedForANewerModel
ChumpedForANewerModel
1 month ago
Reply to  SortofOverIt

Agree with you totally!!! Not matter how hard you tried, nothing could make them happy, you could tie yourself into knots. After DDay 1 and 2, the efforts to so much out of me that I was suffering physically. There is just nothing in them whereby they can be happy or get joy from something. It must be very hollow to be in their little world.
As soon as he left, I started feeling better. The divorce was stressful but after he left, my physical symptoms went away, I could eat again and my hair started filling in.
I was just lucky to find a fellow chump after all this because I pretty much thought that I would never be able to be a good partner to anyone. That changed. When my fiance sees me, he just lights up and so do I. It was so unexpected the first time I saw him just look so happy just to see me. The reciprocity thing is just so amazing. I am grateful every day and not just because I found him but also that I have support from my parents, my son, my friends, his friends and his son.
As for a FW, I just think they are totally incapable of experiencing happiness, joy and gratitude. The only thing that they get any type of “joy” from is the shiny object and then desttroyin what they had professed to love.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

Anyone remember the Woody Allen (I know, ew) film “Zelig” about a guy with no core character who simply turns into whomever he’s talking to? Frankly I think the film is kind of Allen’s first hand confession about abusive personalities. In the end they morph themselves so much to attract prey and evade detection that they become like onions. Except, rather than there being “nothing” or a total void underneath, I think what underlies the mirroring is something so scary and loathsome that it explains why they have to suppress and reinvent themselves to exist in polite society.

From what I’ve read regarding domestic abusers who “suffer” from something called “masked dependency,” their fear of abandonment is so intense, pathological and infantile that they tend to mirror those close to them, channeling an abnormal amount of psychic energy into image management. If the fakery seems real at first it’s probably because, at least at the start of relationships, the abuser is fully, passionately invested and even fear driven. They really, really want to be this thing they’re pretending to be. But eventually the disguises become so tight and suffocating that this leads to the other dueling terror that abusers “suffer” from: fear of “engulfment” (in turn explaining the infamous push/pull of abusers in manipulatively drawing victims close and then pushing them away).

This could explain why resentment and rage towards primary partners build up underneath the fakery. Precisely because abusers often sense their underlying infantile dependency is abnormal and unlovable and because they consequently mask this dependency from others and from themselves, they’re incapable of taking responsibility for their own mirroring/fraudulent self presentation and consequently begin to blame their partners for “forcing” them to suppress their “true selves.” It could explain the almost seamless transition from fear-driven fakery to deliberate and conscious deception– because the abuser, in blaming their partners for fostering this shameful dependency, has begun to build a case against the partner that makes the partner supposedly “deserve” betrayal or other forms of abuse. This in turn could explain why abusers (and cheaters) seem to periodically explode in righteous-seeming rage towards their partners and act like any abuse they dish out was “deserved.”

When I worked in advocacy back in the day, I started to suspect the above dynamic is at least part of the reason why virtually all abusers cheat. I think the main reason abusers cheat is because of “masked dependency” itself. Cheating is arguably a way to further “mask” the dependency by a) displacing jealousy/fear of abandonment/dependency onto a partner (as if the abuser is saying, “Hey I’m not the dependent, jealous, pathologically fearful one– my partner is!”) and b) diluting and spreading that dependency out among more than one partner; and c) a way to hedge bets against internally generated, pathological fear of abandonment by lining up a replacement. But there’s another built-in benefit to cheating for someone who presents a fraudulent self. Affair partners who know the abuser is married or committed are conveniently pre-screened to “embrace” part of the abuser’s hidden “true self”– the disloyal, lying, empathy-impaired, cheating, mindfucking, pathologically selfish self.

The relief of finally being able to let their freak flags fly after years and years of doing a kind of pick-me dance and pretending to be normal, moral, upstanding, honest, decent, caring, etc., is probably intoxicating. It’s as if abusers deludedly begin to think of themselves as members of a repressed class– like being gay in a violently homophobic culture or trying to pass for white in a racist one. They think they’ve at last found this person (affair partner or series of hookers, whatever) who accept them and they act as if what they’re doing is standing up for civil rights– coming “out of the closet” or declaring that “black is beautiful.” This tends to make abusers feel even more rage and resentment against partners who, for the purposes of this demented narrative, are cast as “bigoted oppressors.”

Of course the abuser’s traits that are being embraced and accepted by cheating partners (or other flying monkeys) are nothing like sexual identity or race but are essentially criminal in nature. I guess in the end that what abusers resent in partners is that partners wouldn’t accept that the abuser is, in fact, an abuser.

Anyway, just a summary of some of the better theories I’ve read on the subject of mirroring with a few of my own little suppositions thrown in.

KatiePig
KatiePig
1 month ago

I think you nailed it. I really do think my ex husband wanted to be the man he pretended to be with me. I think he might have desperately tried to be that person but he couldn’t, and that’s why he hates me so much and wanted to kill me. Because I don’t have to try to be this person. And he can’t be like me no matter how much he tries. I think it made him hate me.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  KatiePig

The attempt by abusers to truly be the thing they pretend to be always reminds me of the scene in Schindler’s List where the psychopathic commander of the death camp, Amon Goeth, momentarily falls for Schindler’s exhortation to be more merciful. For a brief time following this, Goeth is actually merciful to a young prisoner who improperly cleans a bathtub and then practices his Christlike genuflections in the bathroom mirror, saying “I pardon you, I pardon you.”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v_JwLdpjhA

But then a second later he gets bored with his own Jesus routine, aims his rifle out the window and kills the same kid. So much for the whimsical experiments of shitheads in trying to be better people.

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago

That’s close enough to perfect- thank you 😊

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
1 month ago

So you’ve met my ex husband…

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

If you’ve met one FW, you’ve met ’em all lol.

The director of the advocacy program used to say that, while survivors can come from every walk and stripe to the point that it’s statistically impossible to predict who will or won’t become a victim of intimate partner abuse in their lifetimes and defy stereotyping (save for all humans’ predictable reactions to abuse), the forces creating abusers are pretty predictable as are the results– which is an exaggerated narrowing of character traits within a primitive, survivalist MO: Kill or be killed, Dog eat dog. Zero sum game. Not a lot of room for nuanced perceptions, individuality and originality in there. The fact that some narcissists strive to appear to be groundbreaking and original in their intense campaigns for validation and power is belied by how much this type also tends to plagiarize and steal ideas from others (i.e.,Bill Gates claiming claiming credit for developing the internet while he really just mined publicly funded research).

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago

“begin to blame their partners for “forcing” them to suppress their “true selves.

Head on the nail: I remember right after he left, I went with my mother in law to our river property to get my personal items and a vacuum she wanted back. He and 0-whore were there. I looked at him and said why are you doing this to us? he said with his head hanging down “this is who I am”. I believe to this day this was the most truthful comment he ever made to me.

On a lighter note my mother in law was chasing 0-whore around the place saying “you should be ashamed of yourself”. In real time I didn’t react, but later when I was alone, it tickled me.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

It’s interesting he said that to you, because from what you’ve said before sounds like OW was quite a step down for him, a big ole step, and I guess that’s what he really thought he was worth. For some people it’s more comfortable living in the mud than it is to come in the house and sweep the floor and make the bed. Can’t turn a pig into a house cat. Unless his name is Arnold.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

I hope MIL was holding a broom as she did this!

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

That would have been perfect. It was indeed in my afterthought anyway, much like a old timey cartoon.

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago

I can just skip psychology class on disordered personalities & come to the school of HOAC 😂

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

Welcome to my alma mater lol. https://images.app.goo.gl/MXPz7qDgRAtWLdCL8

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago

😂

OutButNotDown
OutButNotDown
1 month ago

Sounds a lot like my ex. Thanks HOAC!

Chumpasaurus45
Chumpasaurus45
1 month ago

“Affair partners who know the abuser is married or committed are conveniently pre-screened to “embrace” part of the abuser’s hidden “true self”– the disloyal, lying, empathy-impaired, cheating, mindfucking, pathologically selfish self.”

👆This is so so true, I believe! Well expressed and solid post, HOAC, as always!
It’s all part of the elaborate mind fuckery going down.
My FW told me he always let his mistresses know he was married out of the gate. That was getting one of his boxes checked off. ‘She knew I was married, what did she expect would happen?!’ is what he tells himself when it inevitably blows the hell up.

It is a upfront disclaimer to absolve him of the guilt and shame of conning someone. Even though for years, he’ll work on her, convincing her she is the one true love for him, that he wants to give ALL his days to, before he quite suddenly drops her off a cliff when another Schmoop comes strolling by. He is always scanning the horizon for a replacement, always.
Man, they sure hurt a LOT of people! So senseless.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Chumpasaurus45

I think you’re totally right that it’s partly a disclaimer– “Hey, bitch, I warned ya I was a creep so don’t go cryin’ about it! ”

But it may also have been experienced by him as something akin to “being loved for who he really was” which is something every human being fundamentally craves (whether they deserve to be loved or not). It’s kind of like a klepto living in monastery (imagining the monks were actually honest) who feels intoxicating relief and a joyous sense of having found his right place in the world the first time he gets to hang out with a gang of street thugs. Of course that relief is going to be pretty short lived as there is no actual honor among thieves but at first it might seem like finding one’s “tribe.”

Of course FWs also heavily mirror APs but, unlike with chumps, I think they feel relief at having at least one aspect of their toxic, deplorable inner selves exposed and seemingly embraced. They typically leave out the bit where they’ll also eventually cheat on the AP. I thinking that’s the part that appeals to knowing APs. because the latter are probably something akin to hybristophiliacs (who get off on being with liars, felons or even serial killers because it makes them feel extra special to be “spared” by an otherwise dangerous person).

weedfree
weedfree
1 month ago

Today your posts have achieved the status of “screenshot to save on my phone”. Thanks HOAC.
Although I do sort of laugh at the juxtaposition of the content of your mind cf the mind of a common FW who, as CL says, really ain’t that deep, and probably just wants to get his dick wet.
Basic bitch Pavlov’s dog rings a bell (pardon pun) for me – e.g.
Feigned interest in Grateful Dead = Empty Balls. Scratchy record collection and bad haircut ensues.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  weedfree

Yes, totally, the appearance of vapidity seems to go well below the surface down their boring socks and listless souls.

But here’s something that a few late great twentieth century philosophers chewed on: is vapidity really “empty” or does a capacity for evil quite often underlie it? What happens to some people to make them so blank and generic? Nature/nurture?

I could go all blahditty blah “banality of evil” but it’s too long a discussion because I’m not sure I fully agree with Arendt that banal people are capable of evil because they’re simply missing the ability to think or, like Stanley Milgram concluded about “agentic” personalities, simply following orders. At least in Arendt’s case I suspect the reason she discounted arguments that the architects of the Holocaust were probably created through dysfunctional and violent childhoods because it was outside her wheelhouse and she was in a bit of a turf war over the importance of philosophy in solving everything that ails humanity. She had a “thinking” hammer so every problem was the nail of “inability to think.”

But other analysts of the Holocaust didn’t agree. Elie Wiesel could never get over the fact that the architects of the Holocaust were often among the most educated people in history who’d gone through 12, 16 years of schooling. His point was that education could not confer ethics. And some researchers who also observed this boring banality in Nuremberg prisoners noticed how even those high on the Nazi pecking order couldn’t so much as take a shit without being ordered to by guards. A few tied this to a particularly violent trend in child rearing among German elites at the time of brutally raising boys in order to create perfect soldiers. What this produced, the observers noted, was an adult who, in their day to day life, might have the personality of slug but who, when drunk or in a violent mob setting, might go completely apeshit.

It suggests that there could be a vein of sadism running under that boring surface. I just re-watched the film Post Mortem by Chilean political filmmaker Pablo Larrain and noticed that I missed a fleeting little hint about this from the first few times I watched the film. Spoiler alert: with the backdrop of the violent US-backed coup by Pinochet against Salvador Allende, the antihero of the film is the world’s dullest, most boring, vapid, empty, apolitical coroner’s assistant in the world who meets an almost equally vapid, boring, apolitical burlesque dancer. and they have the most boring, detached sex in the history of cinema. The lead character doesn’t even notice the sound of fighter jets and tanks rolling down the street because he’s in the shower. When he goes outside and sees evidence of catastrophe, he seems barely rattled, though he does try to help an injured dog. When he goes to work and finds he has to participate in performing an official autopsy of the dead president Allende, he seems expressionless through most of it but then, at the end of the autopsy, the faintest shadow of a smile crosses his face.

Aha. That’s the only foreshadowing of the character’s later heinous actions. He is not, in fact, genuinely apolitical. In fact, the setting of a violent dictatorship allows him to finally fly his freak flag high because it puts the rather capricious burlesque dancer under his thumb.

This wasn’t the first or last time that the filmmaker made the point that the secret reason average Joes may support violent authoritarianism is because it basically enables average Joes to commit rape with impunity. I suspect Larrain is trying to correct “banality of evil” or “agentic/following orders” concepts by showing the overlooked investment in evil that may underlie bland conformity.

Oh wait, I did go all blahditty blah after all. Anyway, food for thought. 😀

Chumpty Dumpty
Chumpty Dumpty
1 month ago

If you’ve read this blog for a bit, it’s evident that education does not confer ethics. My fw has a side gig as an ethics professor.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Chumpty Dumpty

I’m trying to remember the joke that some medical industry whistleblower told about the newish field of medical ethics but can’t quite pin down the way it was phrased. In short, following a major report about how much payola academic “medical ethicists” were taking from the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, the professional whistleblower compared medical ethicists to hookers. Not funny if put like that but the point should still be sort of clear: those who present themselves as ethical shamans should be given a second look.

weedfree
weedfree
1 month ago

Which circles us back to Ed Norton’s character in Primal Fear. Think we had a similar discussion a year or two ago.
I have no doubt these scumbags are capable of far worse, given the right circumstances. Thanks for your insights HOAC.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  weedfree

I remember that thread. Chalk it up to the power of great performances that, so many years after the film was produced, people still use that “turnaround” scene to illustrate the penny drop moment of dealing with a narc.

As far as what these scumbags are capable of in the darkest sense, we wouldn’t have to worry about it if humans were related to, say, some famously non-aggressive species like butterflies, manatees or koalas. But we happen to be closely related to the most murderous, Clockwork Orange species of ape in the natural world. Any indication of impaired empathy is very bad news and very disconcerting because it was never clear if our species had all that much empathy to begin with.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Chumpasaurus45

It’s amazing to me to think of someone willingly exposing him or herself to drama over and over again. But I guess normal people run away from the possibility of being involved in love triangles with abandoned lovers as just being draining if not downright horrifying. But I guess they must love this stuff. Some people just love chaos!

Last edited 1 month ago by Mehitable
Chumpasaurus45
Chumpasaurus45
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Yeah, they live for chaos. Life is too dull without the erratic, dramatic chaos lifestyle of a disordered Cluster B. It’s exciting, the chase, the possibility of getting caught at any minute, the disruption to other people’s lives. They feel empowered to be able to juggle it all, they don’t see themselves as plain vanilla in anything. They are all of Baskin Robbins’ flavors, as rare as they come. That’s why all the women want them, don’t you know. They are a hot mess and always will be. They ruined our lives as much as they possibly could have and now they are off to the races to find someone else to destroy. It’s highly entertaining for them to live this way.

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago

This! It is true as are all words CL. Mine #2 cheater took on my church, my request for a vasectomy, my vegetarian diet, my friends. Why he fell from heaven even got baptized to.show his devotion
It took.20 years and one evening he flipped on Wrestlemania to watch and loved especially the hair pulling bra snapping woman.i said Wait what? He said and I quote..It time for me (Cheater) to be me. I went into 😲 shock but this was just the beginning before body shaving, Hair dyeing, working late, hours on the computer.i still saw the Godly man I had married no matter how he morphed.. so I asked myself, Chump, why did you not blow the whistle and end the match? What was my skein to untangle with my head in the sand. My skein? Too much to lose and sunk cost. Too many Forgiveness moments so I was trained all things were my fault even wrestling matches and body shaves..i was not good enough to hold a man.as i was told by cheater #1. Too many losses. Fast forward D day, filed in days and closing the door on my mirror image who jumped ship .
I’ll never be the same but I am healing. I’m sure my cheater is eating Phillipino food and speaking the language as he quickly married someone who could serve him well until he gets tired of whatever that mirror has. Perhaps it is a cheater hiding in an actors body waiting for the next stimulating role. It still confuses me…but I’m free at last.

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago

I think it is very possible that for most of the 21 years we were together he was mirroring me, and those in the community he was trying to impress. Once he got his captains bars, he was ready to turn over all we worked for to another woman. At least that is how I saw it in real time. It was heartbreaking on so many levels.

But, in time I realized he wasn’t turning over anything to o-whore but his nasty self indulgent self. After his house of cards fell, he was demoted, he lost his standing of respect in the community, he was tolerated; but obviously not trusted anymore; so there was no reason to pretend any longer.

I felt sorry for him as my sons father; I didn’t want to see him self destruct. But it was by his own hand. It still baffles me that someone who had so much just threw it away. I can only assume that what he really enjoyed was the chaos and dumpster fire.

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

To clarify, I don’t think he was mirroring o-whore at all, I think she was his moral equivalent, so he could just be himself with her. I think he just didn’t realize what the fallout of that would be. He just figured he could switch us out and the parts of his life that he valued like his position in the community and his perks at work would remain.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

I think you’re absolutely right here. So often they try to live up to our standards and they can succeed for a while, especially as it brings accomplishments and rewards. But I guess it’s not really who they are or feel they are, at the core. You can’t turn a pig into a house cat. He felt more comfortable with another pig out by the pen in the mud. Not to dis pigs, but every animal has its basic nature and I think so many of these cheaters just revert to what they think they really are over time. What feels comfortable to them. It’s rarely an upgrade unless they can get more money to indulge themselves but that’s not often by their own efforts.

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

It was really weird to me in real time. I came to terms with it in hindsight, but in real time, to use an old reference so “discombobulating”.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

I LOVE discombobulating! It’s so great to hear these old words that had so much flavor in them!

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

Interesting take “moral equivalent”…I might have to rethink FW & Schmoopie.

Stepbystep
Stepbystep
1 month ago

I had an unsettling realization watching a Loretta Lynn documentary.

My ex-FW played in the house band for a country western bar with a series of nationally known stars. He was around 21 years old and immersed in the lyrics and lifestyle of drinking cheaters. I think the man I was with from the time he was in his late 30s to late 60s was still informed by those early experiences. The OW? One of his biggest fans!

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago

I was talking with one of my kids last night about how handy & knowledgeable his dad is with the house repairs. This came after my son said he would consult with his dad on a house problem my son is helping me with. It occurred to me later, that’s about ALL I truly know about his dad. His personality, likes & dislikes were barely evident. He never voiced an opinion, never what movie to see, what restaurant to go to, where we should holiday. I led the show. Now Schmoopie leads the show with his designer duds, toupee, and her endless poking him into buying a boat to join the boatset. Kids tell you everything (which I decided I would rather have than the other way around). Who HIDES their personality? People who are either emotionally underdeveloped (I could see this happen with his parents) or a monster, because monsters hide who they really are too. I’ve decided without going down the rabbit hole too much that my ex is emotionally underdeveloped & that makes him a mirroring person, never true to himself. I did notice that towards the last few years & did try and encourage him to figure it out. But he’s chosen not to, so that’s on him.

Last edited 1 month ago by Orlando
Involuntary Georgian
Involuntary Georgian
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

Shortly after XW left, when our kids were starting to spend time at her new house, someone asked me whether I was worried about conflicting parenting styles in the two households. I realized I didn’t know what her parenting style was, because she’d done so little parenting. She also wasn’t interested in art, or books, or sports, or politics, or current events, or food, or games – basically, all she did was work. And buy shoes, to be fair. Everything in our lives (except her profession) came from me; she was a complete cipher.

I have no idea how she runs her life now. I only know (because the kids mentioned it) that she went from someone who had literally never voted in 20 years to someone who (with AP) attended conventions of the Democratic Socialists. Before meeting AP she hadn’t voted in her home country for two decades and couldn’t be bothered to take her American citizenship (which she’d been eligible for for at least a decade, but it was too much trouble to submit the paperwork) so she hadn’t voted here either, ever. Three months later she is taking the kids to political party conventions and encouraging them to take notes during policy speeches. As you may imagine, this story was recounted to me with much eye-rolling by my teenage daughter.

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago

What boring people we were married to!!!

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

I tried to edit twice to say “my ex chose to hide himself in another woman instead and that’s on him”, but it didn’t save.

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago

Noticed this morning the ads on several of CL discussions are from counselors that want our business to restore our marriages and renew us after infidelity. Interesting location for us chumps who will pay to untangle us.

Chumpasaurus45
Chumpasaurus45
1 month ago
Reply to  2xchump

I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what any of the adds are.
I’ve mentally blocked them, just like I’m trying to do with the FW, lol!

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  2xchump

I’ve just seen WalMart & IKEA ads. But there’s been a lot more videos today.

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

Maybe different markets but it was when I went back to older writings …as I cross reference from Tracy’s post today back to her former stories. When I touched the blue explanatory previously written gold nuggets. I laugh so hard sometimes!!! I have no taste or smell after covid 2 weeks ago, that Chump lady is my only humor source!

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  2xchump

Hope you feel better soon. I had Covid last year & it was weird losing taste & smell.

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago
Reply to  2xchump

Amen on blocking 🚫 them!!

Overmim
Overmim
1 month ago

Ex started mirroring his new “best friend”. A guy who drinks way too much and had been “miserable for years”. That guy’s sob story about having a demanding and nagging wife, who didn’t understand his “passion for farming” became the excuse my Ex used to walk away from me and our kids. Recently found out Ex also mirrored that loser’s cheating on his wife behavior too. Now that Ex has been seen out and about with his new love – he now loves world traveling (It was difficult to get him to go on a beach vacation because he “loved his parents farm so much” and didn’t want to be away from home) and everything ethnically-related to his new babe.. I’m just glad the kids see it. I haven’t seen or texted Ex in over 6 months and it is GLORIOUS!

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  Overmim

My ex didn’t want to vacation either- even to take our kids to Disneyland or camping at a lake! Now the fucking asshole takes Schmoopie to Mexico, Palm Springs & Dominican Republic. Prick. I’m outraged on my kid’s behalf that their dad preferred staying home over making his kid’s happy memories!

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

He’s probably only doing it because she insists and he’s pleasing her to keep her. He has to “win” after all. Losing her would be embarrassing for him after all he fucked up to get to this point. I bet he still doesn’t like to travel if he were honest….which he isn’t.

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Thanks Mehitable, that’s actually great insight & comforting words 💕

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

I think about this too. I am sure he is going to suddenly become “mr vacation”. He’s already “mr goes out all the time even on weekdays” which was unheard of in our marriage. I get mad at the thought as I will not be able to afford to travel. And then I remember wat he is LIKE on vacation. Whoever he takes to exotic locales is welcome to him. He is so stressful to travel with.

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  SortofOverIt

Yes, I have to remember it too. Pouting was FW’s favourite pastime on vacations

Overmim
Overmim
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

I feel your pain. Ex didn’t want to go anywhere. In the 6 years since he left, he took our kids on a 1 week vacation ONCE!!!! In the last 9 months he has taken schmoopie on 2 trips out of the country with an upcoming 2 week trip this summer, that he is taking our youngest and her kid too. Ugh…

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  Overmim

I’m outraged for you & your kid’s too! Selfish jerks these FWs!

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago

When I hear of this I always think of a strange little cat I had years ago who didn’t seem, for whatever reason, to know how to do cat like things and it tried to copy what it saw my other cats doing. This was a rescue cat so I don’t know what happened to her but she just didn’t seem to know how to behave like a cat. I kind of think this is the same for these cheaters (maybe dysfunctional non-cheaters too). They’re like space aliens who have to mimic the natives because they really DON’T know how to act. Certainly they don’t feel the same EMOTIONS that normal people do and that may be the key point. When you don’t actually FEEL these things you have to learn to mimic them to “pass” as a human.

On the other hand, mirroring is what a con man might do to a potential mark (victim) because mirroring creates rapport. If you want to have almost instant rapport with someone, start mirroring their gestures (in a subtle way), fall into their manner of speech, agree with their views and express interest in what they say. If you’re good at this, you’ll be able to get in with someone and earn some level of trust pretty quickly. It also provides you with camouflage also. You will see a lot of POLITICIANS do mirroring, like when they go to a particular ethnic group’s gathering and they start mimicking what they think this group is like. Sometimes this is utterly revolting (at least to me) when they can’t get it right but as defective people (which politicians almost always are) they frequently make the chameleon effort to fool people into voting for them.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

True. I also think that they want to feel what others feel. On some level they know they are not normal, because they observe others having heartfelt emotions which they do not have. They hope they can fake it until they make it, and if they try hard enough they can convince themselves they have made it. That’s why they want the creepy intensity of a cheating relationship. It’s to feel something. That’s why they insist that an obviously cheap, shallow connection is “twu wuv.”

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  OHFFS

That’s a very interesting observation – it reminds me of a line from Mystery Science Theater 3000 “to live like the hooman….to be like the hooman”. I hadn’t thought of it that way but they might be trying to experience or understand things they really can’t…which is sad. But if they were only honest about what they think they lack, we might be able to help. I know I have certain deficits in life, especially in an athletic sense (I’m the type to walk into walls while reading) but I try to be aware and honest about what I lack. It’s they LYING that creates so the problems….not necessarily the lacks.

Divorced Wine Aunt
Divorced Wine Aunt
1 month ago

Holy moly, ever since I found Chump Lady almost four years ago, I’ve continuously been AMAZED at how I was not alone in my experiences.
But this post takes the absolute cake. This post is more my FW than anything I’ve read. He even admitted it as such when we first got together, except he phrased it in Biblical terms: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel…” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23. Why in Biblical terms? Because back then he was a minister and hung out with church people.
With every subsequent job change, his personality and interests changed with the culture of whichever organization he worked with.
When I married him, I thought I got a unique prize. Now I see he’s a big ol’ copy+paste of nearly every FW out there.

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
1 month ago

Dangerous people are good at mirroring. It’s how they flatter a mark, gain their confidence, and get someone to let down their guard.

We all adopt and discard likes and dislikes, behaviors, mannerisms, hobbies, etc. You have to consider context and many details to assess a situation.

When someone cheats, lies, deceives, betrays, and adopts the identities of those around them, IMHO you can take it to the bank that it’s a dangerous person it’s wise to avoid.

If others want to be fools, let them.

KeepYourWaffles
KeepYourWaffles
1 month ago

My ExFW didn’t really mirror me but one of the things that struck me about him (even more so when I reflect back) – was his ever changing list of hobbies/projects/passions. He was really into something until he wasn’t and then seemingly moved on to the next thing. I can give dozens of examples. One year he wanted to take up snowboarding – so he bought a seasons pass to the indoor ski area, all of the (expensive) snowboard gear and was there every sunday with a couple of friends. He even went on a few short ski trips. And then suddenly he was done and all of the snowboarding gear ended up in the attic next to his DJ-ing gear and boxes of records and a whole other bunch of ‘toys’ from other hobbies. I get that people pick up new hobbies/interests along the way but there really was a pattern there of a new ‘project’ every few years while the old stuff got discarded. Luckily we had separate accounts for personal stuff – so except for some home ‘projects’ (he suddenly wanted a koi fish pond) there was no money lost for me. I did support him in all his stuff (let him go on trips alone, go to weekly rehearsals, help him pick gear, …) and looking back there was no reciprocity 
I should have realised that someone who gets bored so easily would get bored with the same romantic partner over the years too. On DDay (when I discovered a several years long double life with sexworkers, random hookups and who know what else) he admitted he wanted ‘variety’. Apparently I was only there for image management purposes and I made it easy for him by being so trusting and reliable.

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
1 month ago

I have to admit that regarding hobbies/projects/passions, Traitor Ex said the same thing about me as your experience with ExFW. So it did strike a nerve….😪

I don’t think that indulging in numerous interests for a period of time and then dropping them means one a is flake or a cheater. It could be so, but not necessarily.

❤️

SandyFeet
SandyFeet
1 month ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

FW was a golfer, runner, then biathlons, then marathon, then triathlon, paddle boarder, long boarder, bicyclist. I thought he was probably adhd. Definitely not a flake.
He did start mirroring young AP (33 years younger). They got a little dog, he thought they must be easy to train. Ha, we had an Irish water spaniel, she was smart, I trained her, she was an also a trick dog. I heard their dog peed all over the office. He was listening to rap, eating fast food, tossing around Snap Chat and IG, like he knew how to use it, yeah- I had to show him how to copy & paste, suddenly he likes road trips, please. Must’ve been for drug buys. She worked in office, they deserve each other

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago

I hate to say this but you’ve probably thought it anyway, I have to wonder how many of those new hobbies were each associated with a new Schmoopie or a place he was meeting Schmoopies.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago

My FW did that not just with schmoopie, but with friends. For example, as long as I had known him he hated country music. Then he started carpooling with a country music fan. Next thing you know, he’s suddenly into country. The interest died as soon as the carpooling stopped. He was back to hating it again. That is, until that Johnny Cash biopic came out and he took his parents to it. Then he was into Johnny Cash for a bit, because his dad liked him so much.
When he was with schmoopie, he started liking pop music, which he had also previously disliked, and the kind of bad TV sitcoms he would have never been caught dead watching before.

They take on the interests and characteristics of others to make people like them and also to try to feel something. If somebody else is enthusiastic about country music, pinecone elves, Jackson Pollock or whatever, they want to know what it feels like, because they don’t genuinely have those kind of feelings about anything or anyone. As CL says, a narc has no authentic sense of his/her own identity. They don’t have convictions, only self-delusions.

There is no way to feel better about wasting all those years with one of these critters. So your focus needs to be in the here and now and on your future.

Mighty Warrior
Mighty Warrior
1 month ago

The clue for me should have been his sudden passion for the final series of Fleabag which he had never shown the slightest interest in before. He watched the last series rapt, because ‘someone said it was really good’ i.e. exgfOW. Sadly I didn’t laugh much while watching it. I’m a Brit, love some of the actors in the series, but didn’t get the hype. He looked sad, because I didn’t appreciate the humour. 🤷‍♀️ I also didn’t appreciate being lectured in exgfOW’s ‘life coach’ speak including being diagnosed as a ‘self-harming’ when, with respect and empathy to those who do self-harm, that wasn’t something I did. Self-sabotage by staying with a vacant idiot for 26 years? Yes, I’ll accept that one. I’ve often described the ex as a chocolate bunny, pretty on the outside, plain on the inside, and empty in the middle.

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago

Tracy, from months of reading your posts I’ve almost started to take your exquisite humor for granted! But this: “You like the Neue Galerie? OMG me too!” Dead-on, wildly perfect.

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Leedy

Not only do I like the Neue Galerie, I have the Gustav Klimt smock reproduction sold in their catalog. For which I earned heaps of judgement and criticism from Traitor Ex.

(It was only OK for me to do/be/have what he approved of…I am thoroughly enjoying doing/being/having whatever the F I want now….and I LOVE my Klimt smock.)

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

“I am thoroughly enjoying doing/being/having whatever the F I want now”–same here, after I separated from my first husband. The sheer freedom is the gift that keeps on giving.

weedfree
weedfree
1 month ago

Chumplady (and posters) you really get this, it is so reassuring when I’m sure the general public perhaps thinks we lot have watched one too many Netflix conman docos.
Ergh and the smoking thing. That was one horrifying twist when I was discussing FWs general hatred of smoking with a third party witness, and they said “oh FW used to stand outside all the time with AP at work whilst she smoked like a chimney.”
It is unbelievable. They have no identity whatsoever.

2nd Gen Chump
2nd Gen Chump
1 month ago

My ex not only described me in his post-divorce dating profile, he plagiarized things he read in mine. I guess it is just more proof that he was in love with me but not IN LOVE with me. 🤡

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
1 month ago
Reply to  2nd Gen Chump

Mine goes on dates and speaks well of me and our kids.

2nd Gen Chump
2nd Gen Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  SortofOverIt

While you are still married?

SortofOverIt
SortofOverIt
1 month ago
Reply to  2nd Gen Chump

No. LOL. But I can see where you got that. We are split up. But he went on a date with a woman who I don’t know, but she knows a friend of mine. They must have made te connection on the date. Apparently he spoke SO highly of me and our kids. The woman went to our mutual friend and ask about him/me/”us”. My friend told her that he was an abusive cheat.

But to be honest, we are split up because he cheated with a long time OW. And while I don’t know what he told her about me, it would not surprise me if he told her I’m great too. Seems to be the way he rolls, like he knows saying I’m terrible/crazy /bitter would be a red flag to smarter women. Instead he can say I’m amazing and that we “just grew apart” as opposed to I left because he is a cheat.

To say that I am enraged that he uses ME to make HIMSELF look better is an understatement.

Conchobara
Conchobara
1 month ago

Oh, the mirroring. In retrospect, I can see exactly when he stopped mirroring me and started mirroring other people (women). At the time I was just so confused and hurt, though. We had shared the same interests for a decade and a half (with some exceptions)–looked forward to the same movies and TV shows, were interested in the same kinds of vacations/trips, etc.

And then suddenly… we weren’t.

I remember when Wanda Vision came out. We had both been super into Marvel; we saw all the movies, etc. Me, maybe a little more so than him since I read the comics too, but he’d never been much of a reader. But Wanda Vision came out and he wouldn’t watch it with me. If I tried to explain it he would act completely bored and try to “get away” to get back on his computer.

That’s just one example of millions. Suddenly we didn’t have anything in common but I had no clue what was going on. He started listening to different music (he’d always listened to the music his parents liked when I met him and then we had some crossover interest) – suddenly he liked pop and indie music; the kind of stuff he’d professed to hate before. He started eating different kinds of foods that I could never get him to try before. The big one was when he suddenly started drinking wine after years of us trying together to get into it and deciding we just weren’t wine people. But now he was and I was left behind.

That’s really what the last several years together felt like–he was moving on into these new areas and I was being left behind. But I couldn’t understand it. He certainly wouldn’t talk to me and everything was chalked up to depression and missing his dad (his death was supposedly the catalyst for FW’s break from reality and our life together). If I questioned his new interests, it was something he wanted to do because his dad would’ve liked it or advocated for it, and if I questioned THAT I was insensitive.

Learning here about mirroring was actually such a relief because I can clearly see when he stopped mirroring me and started to mirror these super young, classless women. His language even changed; he became much more coarse and rude. He was trying to talk like a 20-something, trying to mimic their humor and failed spectacularly. I just didn’t know who I was with anymore and thought one of us was losing his/her mind. I just couldn’t determine which of us was the problem.

Now I know.

RecoveringHopiumAddict.
RecoveringHopiumAddict.
1 month ago

After a lifetime of being the most meat and three vege kind of person you know, my cheater ex went vegan after the final D-Day.

Surprising I know, but it ended about the same time as he and Schmoopie broke up. They’ve got back together and broken up several times again since then, yet oddly the veganism does not appear to have reappeared.

(Please note I neither ask nor care – but my kids are young enough that they’re excited to tell me how dad takes them to McDonalds every day they see him, and to give me a rundown on what everyone eats there).

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago

Same for me, with three kids I’m bound to hear about the FW & Schmoopie show 🙄

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago

Yep, when we share kids (grown or not) we are going to know some things. And sometimes like in my case you read stuff in the local paper.

RecoveringHopiumAddict.
RecoveringHopiumAddict.
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

lol. There’s a case of “there but for the grace of God” if I ever saw one.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

Not sure which is worse– going vegan in order to mirror an AP or, as FW in my case did, becoming an ultra-processed junk food junkie like Schmoopie.

In some ways it added to the chaos and amped up the verbal abuse because FW mirroring an unhealthy lifestyle wasn’t limited to junk food. Something else FW kept pace with was Schmoopie’s long term alcoholism and pothead habits. If anything is worse than a sober FW it’s a drunk, stoned one going through weekend withdrawals because they’re trying to hide their galloping addictions from family. But in some ways it was funny because how can a FW– in the course of pre-D-day DARVOing and blameshifting– properly damage a chump’s self esteem with standard putdowns on physical appearance when he’s turning into a sodden, puffy-eyed, sallow blob himself? Furthermore, how’s a FW going to incite a proper pickme dance after D-Day when his Schmoops is also a bloaty train wreck?

Maybe FWs going all crunchy in order to mirror an AP is worse if just because, for however brief a time, they might look a bit better which probably fuels extra smugness. But, then again, narcissists can be particularly vicious when they age or experience health decline because they tend to project low self esteem onto partners. So, whatever, it all evens out and sucks in its own way.

FuckWitFree
FuckWitFree
1 month ago

HOAC, the FW lost 65 pounds post split (all for schmoopie I) and buying all new wardrobe, then promptly put it all back plus 20 or so giving him man boobs. Pink Hair dresses like a dude (think Kurt Cobain clothes). Quality, there.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

It’s nice to hear that both scenarios can provide their own potential schadenfreude-y laughs for chumps. In those situations, laughter can be like a tourniquet to someone who just lost an arm in a wood chipper.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago

Mine went vegan when she got serious with Schmoopie(though honestly I could just as easily roll that into the gaslighting and headgames that came at the end). No idea if she still does it-I’ve been no contact. I wouldn’t be surprised if she dropped it-she had no willpower of her own. Sounds like yours didn’t either.

FuckWitFree
FuckWitFree
1 month ago

Hi everyone, I’m FuckWitFree, the one who posed the original question with the balding Grateful Dead groupie. Thank you Tracy, for your stress relieving insights, and to all the amazing posters for sharing and commiserating. The FW even went so far as to vacation at our honeymoon location, take pink hair photos in the same spots, and then send me the photos. All vacations were copied. Nothing original. But I agree very much that it’s more than shallow piss puddle personality; to send me pics contains an element of evil satisfaction. Shallow criminals indeed. There was also matching jackets (while with me as well) and when he bought a new car it wasn’t the one he always “wished” for, it was a replica of our old family car. Hated our pets and never cared for them? Of course new Pink has exactly the same pets and he LURVES them. Right. Until he throws one of them against a wall like he did with ours. Again, pure evil cruelty. He was giddy when I kicked him out, going on sex, booze, and pot binges. Until he blew out his adrenals and now is on dialysis. Balding, stringy haired smoker can only offer his wallet (so far…) as an attraction for the thrice married artiste who paints rocks…it’s only a matter of time when he gets caught using the company internet for porn. Thank you, CN, for being there for me!

KatiePig
KatiePig
1 month ago

My ex is one of these! When we met I was blown away by how we had everything in common! It was incredible how we agreed on everything and had such similar tastes and backgrounds.

LOL I was already married and had a kid before I started figuring out he had lied about some of the ways our childhoods were similar. It was too late at that point.

But yeah, his tastes would change constantly. My body was never good enough. My appearance was never good enough because the goal posts were always moving and changing. I realize now his preferences were probably based on whoever his favorite fuck at the moment was. If she was bigger than me, I was scrawny. If she was smaller than me, I was too fat. He would tell me my boobs were ridiculously big and then a few months later they weren’t big at all, they were actually really small. It was such a mind fuck.

I remember at one point I was in the best shape of my life. I was 10 pounds less than when he met me (I was in damn good shape then too but I’d been really working on my fitness.) He pushed me so hard to get surgery that my surgeon sat me down and begged me not to get any more surgery. He said I did not need it and it was not worth the possible complications.

I had a breast augmentation, which I’m still happy with because I had loose skin on my breasts after childbirth and breast feeding and it caused me pain and I now have no pain. But when my husband sent me back for a tummy tuck after that surgery because I have a line on my stomach from where the bottom of my baby bump was, my surgeon picked up on something being wrong and nipped that right in the bud. I’m so grateful to him for it. I thank God I went to such an ethical and caring plastic surgeon.

But it was always something. He bitched I had stopped wearing thong underwear and then when I bought some he gave me a disgusted look and said people with my body type shouldn’t wear thongs and I was embarrassing myself. He mocked me for wearing lingerie until i stopped and then bitched in our divorce negotiations that I didn’t wear lingerie. There was just no being acceptable with someone like this.

And you know, when our son was young we found out he had autism, it was asperger’s at the time. My ex told me that when he was young, he didn’t have his own voice. He would only speak in character voices from TV and movies until he was five or six, then he had to figure out what his own voice actually was, and it had been hard for him. At the time I thought, “Well, that’s where the autism comes from.” and I didn’t see it as a big deal but now I think he was telling me something much more sinister and disturbing. I wonder if he ever found his own voice or if he still doesn’t actually have one and just speaks in the voices of the various characters he wears as costumes.

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago
Reply to  KatiePig

I went through some of that too, pressuring & joking with me to get bigger boobs (mine are pretty normal size). I started to joke back “I will if you go in for a bigger dick”. Hmmm… All of a sudden it wasn’t as funny anymore.

OutButNotDown
OutButNotDown
1 month ago

My ex suddenly became very Catholic-like and crossed himself whenever he prayed, mirroring his Catholic affair partner of ~ 3 years. This, from being a longtime Baptist!

Confused AF
Confused AF
1 month ago

If you lack an identity and core sense of self, you need to borrow one.

You didn’t know him. There was nobody there to know.

And he’s still as shallow as a puddle of piss.

Thank you, Tracy. These all hit home.

oldchump
oldchump
1 month ago

The FW wasn’t even as deep as a puddle of piss more shallower than spit on the pavement. The funniest, strangest mirroring was of a dead person! OW ‘s dead husband. He was apparently into all the more adventurous activities like pot holing, mountaineering and died on an expedition. The FW didn’t actually take up the sports but read books on mountaineering. He also spouted a lot of pop psychology as the dead guy had been a psychologist.

And yes he no longer snored and none of us now recognise his voice.

jahmonwildflower
jahmonwildflower
1 month ago

Yes, saw this repeatedly. Why an interest now in horseback riding and playing chess? Since when did he love Country and Western dancing and bars? Why now all the familiarity with cruises to the Bahamas and vacations in Hilton Head? Why so much interest in renovating historic Georgetown townhomes? Well, one of his very long-term whores owned and lived in one and they renovated it over a period of about 20 years. I often heard him pick up slang and poor grammar.
He despised cats, but said once he had an easily-available slut who had a cat, so he pretended to be a cat-lover. This particular one was an alcoholic apparently, and called him on a Friday evening in a drunken tizzy, claiming she was falling apart because her cat fell in the water. He thought it was so funny that he put the call on speakerphone for all his pals to hear, from what one of them told me.
I heard him use vocabulary words incorrectly and saw him misspell simple words. He was picking up the behavior of the people he spent time with the most. You put it well–there was nothing there to know.
Great article!