Stress of Staying in a Toxic Relationship

So, at the risk of having a fun Friday challenge that sounds like a weekly phone call home to my aging mother, tell me about your health ailments!

One common refrain at Chump Nation has been the health costs associated with staying in a toxic relationship. The strange rashes, the sciatica, the teeth grinding — which miraculously cure themselves when you throw the cheater out of your life.

Stress is a killer, they say. So what’s the cost to our health staying with  cheaters? Can you die of malnutrition if you eat too many shit sandwiches?

Now, I’m not saying you can blame all your health problems on your cheater, but I am curious about what plagued you before you left, and if and how your health improved after you gained that new life. Of course, one benefit to leaving cheaters is it gives us much more room in our life for self-care.

I had all sorts of weird stress illnesses after D-Day, and especially in the months where I was plotting my escape, faking reconciliation as I lined up my ducks. My hair was dry and brittle, I broke out in hives, for the only time in my life, I ground my teeth when I slept… And sleep? I had nightmares, hyper vigilance, a racing heart…

All of which disappeared when I left.

So what happened to you? Muffin-tops gained? Muffin-tops lost? Any health benefits to report from leaving cheaters? Remember, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger — but first it gives us splotchy skin and thinning hair.

TGIF, CN!

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ArtistFormerlyKnownAsChump
ArtistFormerlyKnownAsChump
1 year ago

I lost 28lb because I wasn’t eating, and my Doctor put me through all the cancer tests. The cognitive dissonance of being sure he was still talking to and maybe seeing schmoopie when he’d promised not to started to affect me and I’d go around feeling like there was an invisible wall between me and the world. Plus it would almost bring me to tears when people were ordinarily polite, or kind to me. So glad he left when I said it was me or her. I think I narrowly escaped a proper mental breakdown.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 year ago

I remember that “wall.” It was worse when the sun was shining and flowers were blooming because it only underscored the joyless, tomb-like detachment.

LeavingToxicTown
LeavingToxicTown
1 year ago

I lost 25 lbs. 106lb isn’t healthy. Four years later my weight is back up and then some. My doctor feels like my body doesn’t know what a healthy weight is for me due to that fast and large loss. I think my cortisol is out of control – still in “flight or fight”. Need to reset by exercising less with high intensive workouts and more walking/yoga. I was diagnosed with IBS about 8 years before D-day. Haven’t had a flair up in the last three – since I kicked him out. With the weight loss also had thinning/falling out hair. I think my body knew well before I did.

SupineChump
SupineChump
1 year ago

My legs were covered with flat warts!! And my hair fell out. Both of which “healed” on their own after I cut free from the liar/cheater. Yay for liberation!

Leftbehindlily
Leftbehindlily
1 year ago
Reply to  SupineChump

Funny you should mention warts on your skin. FW began complaining of body warts everywhere during his dalliance with our co-worker, and now 12 years out, I am discovering the same nasty thing on my previously unblemished skin. I don’t deserve this.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 year ago
Reply to  Leftbehindlily

Some warts are communicable. So are ulcers, dandruff, skin fungus, staph and caries. The AP may have been very warty which suggests impaired immune function. The latter might relate to high risk lifestyle and excessive alcohol consumption but it’s easy to see how chumps can develop impaired immunity from stress– not necessarily risky lifestyle– that can set them up to “catch” certain conditions they might not have otherwise.

There were studies from many years ago that certain autoimmune diseases could be transmitted from mouse to mouse via blood transfer. The results remain unreplicated but it’s an unsolved riddle.

Latitude69
Latitude69
1 year ago

It’s been mentioned here before and bears repeating that a very helpful read on today’s subject is the book:

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessell Van Der Kolk, M.D.

It relates specifically to the brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. It draws the co-relation between trauma and what is known as psychosomatic injury, which are the physical symptoms and conditions following abuse and trauma.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 year ago
Reply to  Latitude69

Is the author really saying these injuries are psychosomatic– as in imagined or mentally manifested? I would recommend Dr. Kelly Brogan’s work in nutritional psychiatry. She discusses the real, cellular level and physical manifestations of stress and trauma and has developed a program for recovery.

Chumpkins
Chumpkins
1 year ago

Dr. Kelly Brogan has been discredited. She’s said some wacky things about Covid and HIV.

Latitude69
Latitude69
1 year ago

Hell of a Chump:

Yes, Van Der Kolk, M.D., author of The Body Keeps the Score, does make the case that negative emotions caused by trauma cause significant changes in the brain areas that receive nerve signals from the muscles, gut, and skin – areas that are crucial for regulating bodily functions. These are psychosomatic reactions. The author offers common expressions that we all use as a basic illustration. ” You make me sick”; “It made my skin crawl”; “I was all choked up”; “My heart sank”; “He made me bristle”.

Elevated and/or sustained trauma stress levels are actively breaking down the body.

As a personal example…while in the throes of discard and emotional abuse, I broke out in what appeared to be severe contact dermatitis on hands, elbows and arms. I headed to the Dermatologist for an ointment, salve or cream. Upon examination, the Dr. immediately closed the door, wheeled in very close, and simply asked, “What is going on in your life right now? This is not contact dermatitis. You are having a severe stress reaction and it is literally poking through your skin to get out!” He then recommended any and all efforts to practice self-care to calm and reset mental and emotional distress.

The problem did resolve and has never returned, nor had I ever experienced it in my lifetime. This experience heightened my awareness of maintaining stable mental and emotional balance – even while under stress.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 year ago
Reply to  Latitude69

I couldn’t argue with Van Der Kolk’s medical explanation of how stress damages the body but get nervous that he brands the process “psychosomatic.” I have reservations because of the history of the term and how it’s generally interpreted, veering too often into “imaginary,” invented physical symptoms. It’s the term often used when physical cause of symptoms is undetermined and not identified, sometimes despite evidence that there could be physical cause but that evidence has political ramifications. Moreover it’s a label often used in behaviorism and psychiatry like a “case closed” stamp to stop further investigation into physical cause due to the professional turf war between psychiatry/behaviorism and neurology and other medical specialties.

I was flinchy about the expression before being chumped because I formerly advocated for domestic violence survivors and it came up a lot. My being flinchy about a term obviously doesn’t invalidate it. To quote Margaret Atwood, “An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it” (or misuse it). Van Der Kolk isn’t wrong in the usage since psycho=mind and soma= body and it’s clear he he means to indicate real physical and medical manifestations caused by trauma. He doesn’t appear to be guarding professional turf since his theories open the gates to contributions from other disciplines (such as nutritional psychiatry and observations of nutrient depletion in PTSD). He valiantly shifted focus to non-drug treatments even before the opioid epidemic made that an easier position to take, has been a rebel voice against the DSM’s often dubious diagnostic standards and has pointed out that ADHD has become a catch-all for symptoms with multiple divergent causes.

But the term “psychosomatic” is still pretty loaded. A bit the way my mother rolled her eyes and protested when I asked her to stop calling me “pussycat” as a kid because, er, the term had been hijacked by slang, I’m curious if Van Der Kolk is trying to rescue psychosomatic and return it to root meaning.

I’m just not sure how such a tainted term can ever be fully rescued and restored to root meaning, not after such a history of misuse. Battered women used to be referred to in medical circles as “known women of unknown complaint.” While it’s true that many health conditions can be caused by severe stress and sustained terror, the medical profession historically ignored the legacy of actual physical injury in abuse survivors such as headaches, vertigo, nausea and memory loss from past closed head injuries, the legacy of undiagnosed STDs contracted in the course of sexual coercion, the effects of systematically-induced sleep deprivation which causes visible changes to brain anatomy and women who were not allowed to physically heal after childbirth among many other examples. These women were typically denied proper medical care according to researchers Evans and Flitcraft who authored, “Women at Risk.” Other researchers argue that injury due to violence can cause an endless ricochet of emotional issues too due to physical cause (depression caused by inflammation due to infection, under-recognized side effects from inappropriate sedation, poorly healed bones).

Evans and Flitcraft argue that institutional reluctance to recognize the health consequences of DV has political roots. Politics may be at play in the fact that, in the face of mounting evidence of potential physical cause, Havana Syndrome has been cast as psychosomatic and/or “psychogenic.” https://theconversation.com/havana-syndrome-fits-the-pattern-of-psychosomatic-illness-but-that-doesnt-mean-the-symptoms-arent-real-167275

Then the fracking industry has successfully employed behavioral specialists to apply conversion theory and “mass hysteria” to deny genuine injuries from fracking chemicals in mass outbreaks of tics and seizures near fracking operations. People living near outbreaks would be taking videos of lighting their tap water on fire but industry and its sponsored media would host a bevy of behaviorists discussing mass conversion and psychosomatic symptoms to the exclusion of any other potential cause. Medical practitioners in affected areas would be hesitant to order toxicology studies and more extensive labs because of political pressure from formidable opponents. This has been a perfect crime in several cases, successfully scuttling lawsuits.

The interesting thing is that the entire concept of psychogenic and psychosomatic illness arguably began as tort defense. That doesn’t mean that conversion isn’t possible but that it had always been “handy” to deflect fault or cover for stumped practitioners. Freud’s predecessor in psychogenic theory was the French neurologist Charcot who developed the theory of psychogenic illness when he was contracted by the early rail industry to create a defense against worker and passenger lawsuits. In retrospect we know that most of the complaints of passengers and workers can be explained as whiplash, a type of spinal injury that hadn’t existed before high speed travel and had mystified doctors at the time. Charcot quarantined the problem to the neuroses of victims who were then never compensated and the rail industry– without legal and financial incentives to improve rail safety– continued to lag in creating adequate break systems, safety gates, scheduled stops, etc.

Will we ever be able to say pussycat again without causing Butthead snickers? I hope Van Der Kolk’s usage of “psychosomatic” is influential.

One Potato Two Potato Three Potato Four
One Potato Two Potato Three Potato Four
1 year ago
Reply to  SupineChump

I think you’re rid of the biggest wart of all in that your cheater is gone, ie he was the wartiest wart of all. Your cheater was definitely the frog that didn’t turn into a prince and just dispensed warts. Glad you are all healed and cheater free..

Rebecca
Rebecca
1 year ago

Does chronic confusion count as a health ailment?

For years I had no idea why my marriage wasn’t a marriage at all. No sex and all discussions about why were met with what I now know was professional gaslighting. He was a different person than the kind, happy man I married. Was it work? Was it me? Was it the kids? Who knows.

Post DDay included severe weight loss, me spiraling god knows where, 2 stays in psychiatric hospitals and a multi-year effort to claw my way to mental health. DBT, much therapy, EMDR and a public struggle to get on the right medications got me to today. And swimming and the gym got me to the best physical health of my life. Im still a work in progress but we’ll on the road to greatness.

Ugh. They do so much damage to us. They can all rot in hell.

He ReallyDoesSuck
He ReallyDoesSuck
1 year ago
Reply to  Rebecca

I’m convinced they are evil.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  Rebecca

It is so horrible ins’t it? I’m down 11 pounds, and I was close to ideal weight. The aniexty, the depression the sleeplessness. It’s all taken a severe toll on me in so many ways. How one does that to anyone, let alone a loving, devoted husband is beyond me.

Anna
Anna
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

It shows they don’t love. Not just the romantic love of a spouse. They are unloving humans. To partake in the suffering of another in such a disturbing way. I recall expecting my cheater to at least care that I was ill from what he was doing and when I finally saw the truth that he did not notice or care, so many things became clear. They may value others on their terms for what they offer at the time, but no real love in there.

thelongrun
thelongrun
1 year ago
Reply to  Anna

“They may value others on their terms for what they offer at the time, but no real love in there.”

Truth! Again, this fits my FW XW to a T. Looking back, I think I am convinced that my most glaring flaws in my prime years of marriage were that I’m awful at doing housework (which is something I’m still working on and not at all proud of) and that I got her pregnant w/our son (a whole other story I’ve recounted before).

But because I earned an eventually pretty damn good salary over time, was a very loving, caring husband in general, and a pretty good father, she was willing to put up me. I met most of her needs, basically.

Once the financial crisis of 2008 rippled out to affect our state and the pharmacy profession, and I allowed myself to get caught in an area of pharmacy that never suited me well, my stress level at work went through the roof, and I had to leave pharmacy or suffer a nervous breakdown (came close to that). That stress also moved me from being pre-diabetic to diabetic eventually.

In addition, I went into a deep depression after leaving pharmacy, as I couldn’t figure out another job situation to support our lifestyle (mainly, her desired lifestyle and by extension, the kids. On my own, I don’t need a lot to make me happy).

A lot of these mental and physical problems arose from my stress at trying to make the FW XW happy. I was half-killing myself to figure out how to keep her happy, and still maintain a small bit of happiness for myself.

As the discard process started (in earnest after we were forced to downsize due to my reduced salary at my then new job: mattress salesman) that small bit of happiness for me started to shrink. I knew something was wrong in the way she was treating me, but I couldn’t step back to see what it was at the time. Now I know she was discarding me.

I had all this shit impacting me health-wise, while she and her AP boss were probably mutually seducing each other over roughly a two year period. I have no doubt her narcissism and discarding of me contributed to my health problems, even before I was in trouble with my job situation.

So I definitely feel that for the majority of our marriage, even though I wasn’t even close to perfect, I did enough to satisfy her terms for staying married to me. But I really don’t know if there was actual love there. Once I couldn’t support the lifestyle we had attained and a job that provided her w/the status she wanted? I was out the door. I just didn’t know it.

And again, if she was so unhappy, she could have made the ethical, moral choice and just asked for a divorce. It still would have gutted me, but it would have been a more honorable way to go.

But starting to exit-affair me while telling me at the same time I need to step up, and get a job w/better pay and hours? Which led me to me deciding I had to go back to college, to learn something new, putting even more stress on me? I was literally in the middle of the semester of taking two classes towards a computer programming certification to meet her request when I confronted her about her iciness towards me for the past few months, and found out she’d been cheating on me w/her boss.

No. That shit was not right. Not fucking right at all. And I don’t think I will ever forgive her for it. I knew my work situation and depression was putting her and the kids through a lot of stress. But I didn’t plan to burn out in pharmacy. I wasn’t cold -heartedly deciding to stress out her and the kids (and myself as well). And I certainly didn’t want to be as depressed as I was around them.

But she unilaterally and w/a cold heart fucked me and the family over w/her adultery (God, those months I now definitely know she was carrying on a full physical and emotional affair w/her boss! The coldness from her!). I was confused, depressed but still so in love w/her. Told her I loved her constantly, sincerely thanked her for putting up w/me and my problems, and tried to show her I loved her to the best of my ability at the time.

So, no. I don’t think there was ever real love there. I was simply a reasonably good husband appliance for awhile. Then I wasn’t. So it was time to discard me.

Well, to paraphrase from one of my favorite novels to address the FW XW:

Fuck you fuckwit. Fuck you for all eternity. I’m so glad I’m done w/YOU. As much as I can be w/sharing three kids w/you.

Thanks again, Anna, for clarifying this. It’s very helpful. Peace and love to you and those you love. Stay well.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
1 year ago
Reply to  Anna

I think FW and OW actually ENJOYED watching me fall apart.

Unfeeling monsters, both of them.

thelongrun
thelongrun
1 year ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

ISawTheLight,

I’m so sorry you were treated like that.

I hope you’re closer to peace now.

As for you FW and their AP? May they rot out from their genitalia to their brains, following a path from the most used parts of their bodies to the least!????

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
1 year ago
Reply to  thelongrun

FW abused OW too and she left. He’s dead now (self-inflicted). So Karma came just fine and I didn’t have to raise a finger to help. OW even sent me an “apology” (even though it was like a textbook example of how NOT to apologize), but I didn’t dignify it with a reply. It’s not my job to alleviate whatever guilt/regret she feels (and she wasn’t sorry until it came back to bite her in the ass, so…is she sorry? Or is she sorry it didn’t work out?).

I doubt OW has learned anything, but whatever. I never have to see her again and she completely disappeared from my kid’s life (even though she said loved him SOOO much), and that is good.

Leftbehindlily
Leftbehindlily
1 year ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

I know OW did. She went out of her way to show up everywhere I went.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  Anna

That’s it exactly Anna. In the first few weeks after DDay when I still had to see WW now and then I never got any sense that she remotley understood (or cared) about the immense amount of damage she had done to me. To do what they do they can’t have ever truly loved you the same way you loved them, if at all. It’s impossible. I wouldn’t subject my worst enemy to this, let alone someone I loved, or even just “liked” as a friend. It’s so disheartening to think about the thirty years I invested as a good husband and father, all with someone who never really flet the same way. My therapist knocks me over the head with this a lot, and it hurts.

thelongrun
thelongrun
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Same here, Dadof2sons. My FW XW, right after D-day said, I hope we’ll be friends, the AP is so smart, you’re a lot alike, yada yada yada.

Insane. Absolutely insane. Or at the very least disconnected and stupid. And completely lacking in empathy. I think she was hoping for some conscious uncoupling bullshit to happen.

I think that idea’s ridiculous enough on its own, but to think that’s going to happen after fucking me and the family over w/your incredibly selfish act of adultery? Wow. Way to keep the selfish and lack of empathy streak going!????????

I’m so sorry you went through this as well. You got a little farther than my almost twenty five years of marriage. It hurts no matter how many years, but the more time you had invested in the marriage (you, not the FW’s, who you’re right, probably never did invest the way us chumps did), the longer it seems to take to get over the injury to you: heart, mind and soul.

Tell your therapist from me to lay off you if he or she is knocking you around for being a trusting, loving person. You’re learning from any errors you made now. It doesn’t help to rub your face in it. You’re not an idiot. You’re figuring things out now.

I got something similar from the psychologist I saw for a few months after D-day. He couldn’t believe I was so trusting and devoted to the FW XW. I said that’s how I was raised, and that’s who I am. I told him I thought it was a good quality to be devoted to your spouse. He said something to the effect that devotion isn’t good if it blinds you.

Well, my answer to that now is that people like you and me need direct life experience and time to understand that. I hadn’t had that experience until that point, and my time to understand it had just begun. Now I have both. You will too, eventually.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  thelongrun

Sorry about your situation therlongrun. Mine had the audacity about a month ago when she came to pick up things to ask if the four of us (me, her two sons) could do something at the house (where I’m living aone) for Christmas. Sure!! Then you can go back to OM’s place after, absolutely honey!
I told her “You are either my loving, faithful wife (which you’ve already decided you’re not…) or your are out of my life.”
I’m not going to be your “friend” after what you did to me. It was so unreal, even in the grand scheme of all the BS I had to deal with from her.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

At the time, I remember reflecting to myself that I would rather be beaten up by thugs and left to die in the street than to have had the person I most trust betray, hurt me and treat like trash.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

The physical pain from what you describe would be child’s play compared to what we go through. The day I was discarded, and I mean that word totally, an hour or so later after she dropped the bomb that shed been having an affair, wanted it divorce and was going to leave for OM I was lying on the couch in a heap and she walked right by, basically over my corpse to do laundry in the next room. That and the demeanor when she told me were so cold, so heartless, so cruel. Oh, and to boot it was Father’s Day weekend. Thanks for that FW!!!

Brit
Brit
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

They are incredibly cruel and cold hearted. Remember this whenever you think to assign normal human emotions to her. They don’t think like us. Their only concern is themselves.
Cheater left on Mother’s Day, I was a blubbering mess as I watched him take things from our house. He stopped, looked at me and said you’re pathetic. This is who they are.., keep this in mind Dadof2sons. You have a long road ahead of you. Stay strong.

Piper
Piper
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

I am so sorry you are experiencing this. It is a pain no one should have to endure. Looking back on the first year, maybe even 2, I don’t remember much and not entirely sure how I even did it. He was abusing me by proxy through the courts, and some days it felt like it took all I had to keep one foot going in front of the other. He ruined and took away everything that I thought was dear to me- friends, heck even some of my family thinks I am being dramatic and I had to play a role in it somehow. Meanwhile, he not only left me, but our autistic daughter on her 6th birthday! Hasn’t spoken to her since, she is 11 now and still hates her birthday. There really isn’t a level of depravity they aren’t willing to travel to, it seems. I kept it together for all 3 of our kids, even the 2 older ones, but the nights in the shower just balling, I get a pit in my stomach thinking about it now. I am 5 years out total, 3 years since our divorce was final, the judge actually signed those documents because the ex jerk (may a tree fall on his head) refused. Everyone in the legal system part of our divorce had enough toward the end – his lawyer even fired him. I say all that because I still wonder what was wrong with me that I could be so easily discarded after 21 years on rare occasions. Then I remember it isn’t me at all- he is a monster, and I kept it all together for all 3 of our children. That is mighty, and so are you. SO ARE YOU. ????

kimsoverit2
kimsoverit2
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but I have to believe that her leaving quickly is better than a lingering, drawn out gaslighting and mindfucking. THAT keeps your head in the blender. Somewhere in the CN archives there’s a story or three about cheaters ‘stepping over you for a Hot Pocket’, which is what they often do. Absolutely cold, dark, and missing any empathy at all. It’s a character disorder imho.
Feel better soon and stay on the path to NC. I wish you peace.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  kimsoverit2

Thanks, I appreciate it. You’re probably right in a way with the quick departure. At least I wasn’t subject to some false reconciliation attempt. I know I’m dealing with a disordered person, it just doesn’t make it any easier.

Sunrise
Sunrise
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Sending you strength Dad. Douchecanoe dumped me in a similar manner the night of our youngest’s first day of kindergarten and never once expressed any concern for my feelings. You’e doing well and acting mighty. Just watch out for the long drawn out gaslighting and mindfuckery that comes AFTER the divorce is final. I gave my ex too much mental real estate in those early years and allowed myself to be trampled on ‘for the sake of the kids.’ Once I started to trust he sucks in any and every matter, built boundaries like brick walls, and realized just me and my kids made a lovely family, I was truly able to form a life without him in a starring role.

thelongrun
thelongrun
1 year ago
Reply to  Sunrise

Fantastic, Sunrise. Good for you. Those fuckwits definitely don’t deserve more than the most minimum of mental real estate in our normal lives. If you can cut them out all together, so much the better. But it’s hard when you have kids together.

Wishing you and your family peace and happiness as well.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  Sunrise

Sunrise
Thank you. I’m very fortunate my sons are adults. Once the divorce is final I’ll need to have nothing to do with her.

Michelle Leer
Michelle Leer
1 year ago
Reply to  Rebecca

The mental confusion for the first year or two was a nightmare. I can only see it now as I’ve healed from the trauma. You said it!

Brit
Brit
1 year ago
Reply to  Michelle Leer

Yes the mental confusion is a nightmare.., I blamed my self, I accepted the blame but wondered what I did to deserve this? what could I have done differently? What was I doing that was making him so angry.
When I asked him why he was so unhappy around me, He answered that he got long with everyone but me so it had to be me.
It never occurred to me that he could be cheating or that he was lying.

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
1 year ago

For the few months FW was with his coworker AP behind my back before he walked out on us, I was mostly on edge. My brain kept telling me something was wrong. Something didn’t feel right. FW was getting more and more disconnected and picking fights and creating problems over nothing (just not paying bills and letting things fall apart). I didn’t have illnesses per se, but it wasn’t until he was gone that I realized that most of my marriage was spent in a general malaise. Just not happy. I was always dragging FW along like dead weight. He wouldn’t have sex. It was just bleh. The freedom I felt when FW left (after I got past the trauma, crazy weight loss and despair the first year) was incredible! I felt younger and more free and happier than ever. FWs ARE an illness

Done
Done
1 year ago

Ditto to everything in this post.

Done
Done
1 year ago

Ditto to everything in this post!

BTAW
BTAW
1 year ago

This resonates with me. So sorry you dealt with it too! FW used to overly care about his stuff, bills, work, his health. Since D-day he’s let everything slide. I’ve taken over so much more to make sure it got done and he just keeps sliding into despair. He “just feels so awful as a person because of what he’s done to me and what he’s become”. Without the alcohol, porn, and visits with hookers he can’t make himself have sex either. He’s “so worried about not being able to perform”. Guess I shouldn’t have told him he never really gave me orgasms. What-evs. Ha!
Unlike others, I gained weight when not eating for months. Have a stomach pouch that sucks, can’t sleep past 2:30 on weekdays, am dizzy, force myself to eat, and forget words. Am picking myself up though and emotionally distancing. Financially, divorce can’t happen right now. Am writing a progression plan though.
Go to the gym every morning with son before he goes to school, and that really helps.
I’m stuck on being alone, but realize that I’m alone right now. Worse actually, feel rejected every day.

Georgie
Georgie
1 year ago
Reply to  BTAW

BTAW, It is better and healthier to be alone than living in that unhealthy situation. It would be better for you and your children to move out or have FW move out. Take care.

susie lee
susie lee
1 year ago

I think our bodies know for sure.

The year before the year of discard I was feeling so down. Oh I went about my work and duties, and I even enjoyed our time with friends; but the joy seemed to be gone. Towards the end of that year, I began to get upset at fw more than I ever did. I remember one day after work in the parking lot, I put my head on my steering wheel and prayed. I told myself all my blessings and even said to myself and I quote “you have a husband that loves you”. HAH, I had no such thing and with a few months it would all be revealed to me. But, my body was screaming danger at me.

I believe that we are reacting to small changes in them that we can’t quite grasp. I still wonder if they are doing the small changes on purpose, or if they are not aware of their behavior. Who knows.

Duped for Years
Duped for Years
1 year ago
Reply to  susie lee

After about 10 years of marriage, I started having compulsions – did I turn the stove off? The coffee maker? Did I lock the door? I’d check things repeatedly. I was constantly anxious. It drove my ex crazy. I went on antidepressants at his request. But, they helped only slightly. Before the discard, I started having nightmares of my ex saying he was leaving me and just walking away from me in my dream. They were the same dream over and over. I’d tell him about it and he’d say, “I’d never leave you.” Well, he did exactly what he did in my dream. Walked away from a 30 year relationship like I was nothing. And, I guess I was nothing to him after all that time. He, too, mentioned us being friends and still going to concerts together. Image management. It’s all a farce. Since he’s left, my compulsions have subsided and my anxiety has waned. Your body knows the whole time.

Shelly Leer
Shelly Leer
1 year ago

YES!

The Universals Meh
The Universals Meh
1 year ago

Yes, due to all the gas lighting and lack of sleep after affair discovery and his continued double life and abuse, I also ended up in psych hospital. Though I’m no gym bunny I now feel genuinely healthier, happier and no longer disturbed and on edge daily. Divorce, finances, kids arrangements is still really stressful. But I can handle them now I am in the driver seat of my life. Happy Friday fellow chumps! X

portia
portia
1 year ago

I have had a recurring nightmare whenever I experience stress, throughout my lifetime. I feel I am paralyzed; I know I need to move to stay alive, or stop an impending disaster, but I cannot move my arms or legs. I don’t need an advanced degree in psychology to figure this one out. My mind knows what I need to do, and the lack of movement stresses me out. I have even made a sound loud enough to wake myself up! I learned years ago to pay attention to those small voices inside my daydreams and nightmares. Social constraints and FOO training do not overcome an instinct to survive. Listen to your instincts, examine the clues your body gives you. It is amazing what we know, even if we are not ready to accept what we know.

FYI
FYI
1 year ago
Reply to  portia

Wait, what does that “paralyzed” dream mean? That you need to take action that you aren’t taking?

portia
portia
1 year ago
Reply to  FYI

Yes. Either I have not started taking action, or I am somehow prevented from taking action. My panic is that if I stay still, I know I will die. Sometimes it is a FOO issue I have to overcome, sometimes I am being actively restrained by the intentional actions of another, sometimes I cannot seem to get others motivated to help me get moving. The stress may be from different sources, but my subconscious realizes I have to start moving to survive. As an adult, I interpret the dream as stress related, and once I am awake, and moving, I need to examine what is going on and what I can do to relieve the helpless feeling. If I am really stressed, I dream I cannot move and I am falling.

Ex #1 once told a marriage counselor, in a joint session, everything would be fine in our marriage if I would just be silent and wait quietly for him to provide for the family. The counselor was amazed that he would say something like that, and that he thought that was what I would do. He asked my STBEX, “How likely do you think that is?”” My STBEX looked at me, and replied, “I guess not likely.”

Imagine being restrained in a chair and watching a thief remove all the things you have worked so hard for all your life from the room. You know you are losing what is rightfully yours, and you wonder if the thief will actually kill you before he leaves. That is the feeling of panic due to the stress of living with a cheater.

ChumpedToTheMax
ChumpedToTheMax
1 year ago

Had it all- teeth grinding, nightmares, back pain, bouts with serious infections…after the divorce, I went to my chiropractor for a scheduled visit. He noticed my neck issue was healed up. I told him, “yeah, the pain in my neck is finally gone!” I’m much healthier, barely ever sick and nightmares have finally stopped!

Martha
Martha
1 year ago

For Christmas, XFW gave me an electric neck massager, because I had chronic neck tension/pain. After I moved out with my kids, I gave him the neck massager back and was tempted to write a note with it — “I no longer need this, because the pain in my neck (you) are gone!” And it’s true! My neck pain and tension have been gone since I moved away from him!

Also gone is the recurring nightmare I had the last four or so years of my mirage. I used to wake-up around 1:30, heart racing and frozen in fear. The recurring dream was I was all alone in the world. The even crazier part is that the FW actually came home from his date with the newly divorced whore at 1:25am! Crazy that my recurring nightmare had me waking up at the same time I discovered the FW was dating when he was supposedly “working”.

Another thing gone is the constant stomach pain. I honestly thought I had an ulcer the last few years of my mirage. I used to constantly down Tums and liquid antacids to get rid of the pain.

It’s amazing to me that my body knew something was terribly wrong, but I didn’t.

justme
justme
1 year ago
Reply to  Martha

Martha, You could be describing me right now. Due to finance entanglement I am still in contact with the stbx. But it is getting better. Some days are harder than others. I to have started referring to my marriage as a mirage. The body keeps the score. It is a truth, just one of the harder ones to accept. You got out, all chump nation got out. This site is a life line right now. You all give me hope and inspiration. thank you.

Almost Monday
Almost Monday
1 year ago

What’s with the 30ish pound weight loss? Is it a percentage of original weight? A maximum response to increased cortisol and adrenaline? I lost that much in a few months though I can’t say I completely lost my appetite. I chose to quit drinking alcohol at the same time and all my health numbers improved.

I think the cognitive dissonance has been the longest lasting symptom. The sense of separateness, hypervigilance, a bit of OCD (need to be efficient). I also have to work hard in my mindfulness practice to head off rumination and judgmental words. There’s also been the welcomed memory loss of big parts of my 30 year marriage

That number 30 again.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  Almost Monday

My marriage is thirty years as well (just filed this week). Sorry to hear what you’ve gone through…

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
1 year ago
Reply to  Almost Monday

I lost 30 lb too. I didn’t have it to lose. I ended up at 96 lb (I’m 5’2″). I was just skin and bones. A size 00 was almost too big. Everything I ate made me feel nauseated. I lived on cigarettes, coffee, Doritos, and the occasional beer, because that’s all I could stomach. (The sickest part is that people COMPLIMENTED ME ON MY WEIGHT LOSS; when I was, under doctor’s strict orders, FORCING myself to eat, I got a lot of “I wish I could eat like that and be as slim as you”. It took a lot not to say “I’m choking it down because I’m under medical orders to to gain weight so I don’t die or end up with serious health issues, and my doctor has forbidden me to exercise until I put on 20 pounds”. I looked sick, with hollow, dark circles under my eyes and sunken cheeks, and all people could see was that I was thin, like that’s the ultimate goal. Ugh.)

My ex (who had been calling me fat and ugly when I was 128 lb) told me, when I lost the weight, had the audacity to say that I “didn’t look good”. Jesus H. Christ.

I’ve gained it all back (and then some) since I got therapy (and filed for divorce) a few years ago. Even now it is hard for me not to feel like I’m “fat”, though frankly I’d rather have a few extra pounds and be healthy than be where I was three years ago. I got rid of all my super skinny clothes because I never want to be that size again. The best compliment I get is when people say that I look happy.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
1 year ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

At 5’ 3”, klootzak always said I was fat at 130 pounds. It seemed to be my body’s happy weight, though, as I could maintain 130 while eating reasonably and working out reasonably. It took a lot of constant effort to get under that number and I never wanted to invest more than X numbers of hours in my week to working out and scrutinizing every bite I ate.

At 18, I weighed 106 and was constantly sick. I could imagine, though, that klootzak would have preferred me to be a sickly 106 than a healthy 130. He constantly stressed me out about my weight and working out. So much so that I still have a bit of an aversion to working out because it so much became something I did to shut him up rather than for my own happiness and healthiness. It will take years for me to unravel him from my mind when it comes to my weight.

Fourleaf
Fourleaf
1 year ago

Weight loss, hair loss, so many health problems to choose from while I was with FW, but the big “it disappeared after he left” health problem? UTIs. Had ’em when I was with him but after he left… they miraculously disappeared. No more pain while peeing. What a life upgrade.

Juniper
Juniper
1 year ago
Reply to  Fourleaf

Not sure how to classify one of my symptoms – vaginitis maybe? A low-level irritation of my lady parts. Almost like that part of my body was tensed up and dry all the time. When STBX moved out of the house, the irritation alleviated. Then started having a clear, watery fluid consistently flowing. Maybe it sounds kooky but I truly feel it was my body cleansing herself. Washing out the past, if you will.

Lola Granola
Lola Granola
1 year ago
Reply to  Juniper

I think it’s wise to see a doctor when anything changes in your discharges. It can be a range of different things, but only medical testing will tell you the truth.

2nd Gen Chump
2nd Gen Chump
1 year ago
Reply to  Juniper

I had that, too. My lady-bits doc said that introducing new flora from a new sex partner can set it off. My ex was meeting women on Craigslist. ????

Sunrise
Sunrise
1 year ago
Reply to  2nd Gen Chump

Reading this now I think docs call it a “vaginal flora issue” when their patients can’t face reality. I had a lady-bits problem and my doctor wanted me to give me an std test. Chumpy me said that wasn’t necessary since my husband would never cheat. So she dropped the idea of the test, but still wrote me an Rx for a powerful antibiotic and it cleared up. Such a wise doctor… and such a stupid chump.

Juniper
Juniper
1 year ago
Reply to  2nd Gen Chump

Last time we had sex was a year ago. The irritation only started this past spring. I think it may have had something to do with him still living in our home, knowing we were headed towards divorce, and the feeling of inauthenticity it induced.

Laura
Laura
1 year ago

While I was with my cheating ex husband – chronic tonsillitis. Since I left him – not had it in the 4 and a half years he’s been gone.

While I was with my cheating, abusive, violent, sociopathic ex boyfriend (oops I did it again!) – unexplained drastic weight loss, night sweats, gut issues, terrible skin, recurrent yeast infections, neck and shoulder pain, heart palpitations – 4 months since I left him – all gone!!

SeeKay
SeeKay
1 year ago
Reply to  Laura

This!!! I had such bad chronic tonsillitis they took my tonsils out at 36. Along with that, constant TMJ. I also had terrible heart palpitations that began at age 28, the year we moved in together. One episode was so bad that I had to be given some crazy drug to reset my heart. Then my cardiologist had to do a heart ablation. They actually go in and purposely scar part of your heart to prevent it from reverting back into that crazy cycle. Wow–talk about the body keeping score.

FormerlyKnownAs
FormerlyKnownAs
1 year ago

With FW I had:

Depression
Stress
Hyper vigilance
IBS
Gluten intolerance
Hideous PMS
Yearly bronchitis
Asthma
Low self esteem
Extreme Confusion and “forgetfulness” (gaslighting)
Anxiety
Feelings of isolation
Negativity
A hard time relaxing
Frustration
Feeling trapped

After DDay I had (for 2 years):

PTSD
Severe anxiety
Panic attacks
Suicidal ideation
Disassociation
Anger
Loneliness
Heavy drinking
Extreme weight loss
Heart arrhythmia
Positivity despite it all
A massive empathy for others
A strange sense of calm sometimes

Now I have:

No IBS
Normal weight
No heart issues
No respiratory issues, no asthma
Fewer allergies
Focused
Relaxed
Calm
Perspective
Easy transition to menopause
Enhanced sexuality
Better skin
Brighter eyes
Higher self esteem
Much more confidence in spite of it all

Reflecting on this week’s re-run post about Ester’s dumb ass theories, we should send her the link to today’s post where she can see how we all nearly went down due to death by 1000 cuts. Those who haven’t felt the deep sting of this kind of betrayal and abuse will never fully understand.

I’m proud to be a Chump and thank you ChumpLady and Chump Nation for helping me survive and thrive. I literally needed this post every day and still do because I need my tribe to keep me going! ❤️

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
1 year ago

Your post reminded me that I had terrible PMS and suicidal thoughts.

Sunrise
Sunrise
1 year ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

I had it too in the years when I was being cheated on and didn’t know it. I was even diagnosed with PMDD and on medication. With medical tests and a symptoms diary, my doctor and I determined the worst times of my cycle so that I could take better care of myself and keep my stress down. Douchecanoe chose these times to pick fights, gaslight me or put me down for maximum effect.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
1 year ago
Reply to  Sunrise

Much later, looking back, I can see that whenever I was calm and have my shit together, Cheater would often create a difficulty or problem to upset or preoccupy me.

One odd yet typical example was when we were moving. I had a house to sell and 2 little kids, a job to get etc etc and he randomly told me that there was no mail delivery to the house. (Im like a little kid with mail – everyday I look forward to it arriving like there is some great thing coming – its just a funny quirk of mine.)

Of course that sent me spinning for a minute or an hour or a day or whatever…it wasn’t true and if I had confronted him, he would say he had been mistaken or was kidding but multiply this by thousands for the many times he did it. He seemingly couldn’t afford for me to be calm and balanced or I might figure his game out. Gaslighting…everyday

damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
1 year ago

i have SVT (supraventricular tachycardia), a life-long condition of periodic increased heart rate. basically, there’s something wonky with the electrical wiring of my heart. it isn’t life-threatening and, for the past few years, i’ve taken a beta blocker to keep things even. i monitor my heart rate with an apple watch.

anyway, in the last couple years of my marriage i was having more episodes and, in fact, that’s when i was diagnosed. but ever since my marriage ended, i’ve had fewer episodes, and am down to 3-4/year. even with the stress of divorcing an active alcoholic and narcissist (gah), i’m calmer and my heart rate is lower. so is my blood pressure.

i don’t have many migraines anymore, either.

Adelante
Adelante
1 year ago

I also have PSVT, and, as yours did, mine ramped up in the last few years of my marriage.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
1 year ago

That’s so interesting. I also had tachycardia, which got worse during the affair/separation, and since FW died last year I haven’t had a single episode…

Classy Chump
Classy Chump
1 year ago

I had the same, problem, Fourleaf! Now, no more UTI’s and no more panic attacks. I’m working on getting to a state of health in all areas: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially!

Neveragain
Neveragain
1 year ago

Fibromyalgia. Hard to nail down as a diagnosis, but often related to stressful events over many years. So basically soft tissue pain that is ALWAYS present. Also comes with the added bonus of insomnia.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 year ago
Reply to  Neveragain

Me too, Neveragain. Has yours improved since losing the FW? Mine has not.

Babymummachump
Babymummachump
1 year ago

Since leaving my partner a few weeks ago following his prostitute use, my ‘permanent, antibiotic resistant’ uti has miraculously cleared up and various ailments improving. Can’t believe how quickly that’s happened!

justme
justme
1 year ago
Reply to  Babymummachump

Good to hear that you are UTI free Bmc. It also sounds like you are in a much safer place. Great news. Huggs.

ChumpOnIt
ChumpOnIt
1 year ago
Reply to  Babymummachump

This made me the most angry. He risked my health and the health of our daughter.

HappyChump
HappyChump
1 year ago
Reply to  Babymummachump

The UTI’s are a thing, I had that too.

HappyChump
HappyChump
1 year ago

I lost over 20 lbs, constant UTI’s, ulcers, anxiety, depression, insomnia. BUT the weird one was a pain behind one ear, I went to ENT’s , dermatologists, and internal dr’s, they could find nothing. Left the cheater and it was gone. Stress is a bitch and your body pays for it.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  HappyChump

Is the UTI one a common one for women? I ask because heven though FW wife abandonded me two months ago for OM, she’s still on health insurance til we are divorced and I saw a claim for her recently for a UTI. Maybe she’s suffering a little bit too. Hard to believe…

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

A lot of women get reoccurring UTIs, and having multiple partners can be a reason, but is certainly not the only reason. Sometimes you can have a urinary track that is super sensitive to even small amounts of bacteria. I couldn’t take a bath for over 30 years because of bacteria in the water. I can now since I’m no longer having sex with the human petri dish that is the FW, but I do have to be extra careful about cleaning the tub first.
Even wearing tight pants can predispose your UT by irritating it. Anything the causes irritation can allow infection set in.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
1 year ago
Reply to  OHFFS

I used to have a UTI set off if I didn’t shower at the gym but came home to shower instead. Just the time of the car ride home in sweaty shorts would set it off. For years I had to be super vigilant to shower quickly right after workouts or yard work. I was super sensitive.

I also couldn’t take baths.

Now that I don’t sleep with a FW, UTI is so rare. I have had only one in the last 8 years.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

It’s likely because she’s having sex with multiple partners. Good riddance to that mess! Better days ahead, sir. Your stock will trade high once your free and healed!

HappyChump
HappyChump
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

It is common if you have multiple partners….

TitsAndAssAndAllThat
TitsAndAssAndAllThat
1 year ago

Went into the marriage with a minor heart blip. Now it’s major.

I developed a stress-related rash on my face that took multiple doctors and prescriptions and time after separation to get under control. It still flares up occasionally; it’s how my body tells me I’m under stress without knowing it.

My sleep pattern appears to be permanently altered; I don’t get enough from years of hypervigilence and punishment from him. And it’s rare I sleep without waking up every hour or so.

My neck is a mess. Frozen muscles. Vagus nerve is a freaking carnival.
And the broken bones. No actual punches were thrown, but mysterious trips and falls occurred. I went to a different clinic each time but one finally picked up on what was happening and sent in a social worker to give me a list of resources before casting my foot.

I was just in a constant state of stress and bewilderment from the abuse and gaslighting.

The night of D-Day, I became violently ill. Lost 10 pounds in just a few days. Lost another 5 within a month. Had to force myself to eat. Friends in the know had me keep a couple of cans of “senior” protein drinks in my car so I would get nutrition when I ran routine errands.

I pick-me danced for several months before working on the escape plan. It was like living in a field planted with land mines. He had ramped up the abuse after D-Day; a monster was awakened and went ballistic on me at every opportunity.

Although now free and safe, some damage is permanent. And some issues will resolve with time, I hope. Tuesday has come and things do get better.

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
1 year ago

In ~2000 when we were ostensibly a happy family (except that he suggested that he move to go to grad school by himself and I stay with the kids – 3000 miles away…for almost 3 years – red flag). I had zero sex drive (likely from chronic badgering and belittling), I was always cold and other hypothyroid sorts of symptoms. I consciously had zero suspicious of cheating but I now think there was all sorts of shit going on.

Right when I turned 40 and he was deep in it, I looked old and bedraggled. Dday happened and I lost weight, my hair fell out in chunks and I had hives.

Now in my late 50s, I look younger than I am, I feel well and Im remarkably healthy. I will put in a plug for alcohol-free/ low alcohol-intake living (Im not shaming your glass of wine) but my mom destroyed her brain/life with heavy drinking and I am choosing to avoid that path.

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
1 year ago

I was wearing a heart monitor for 48 hours to see if I was having mini strokes. I went through a sleep study to see if I had sleep apnea. I was drinking wine with dinner every night. I dreaded going to bed and having to sleep next to him. I’ve been out 8 years and these memories are so far from my mind now… I’m so grateful to have found CL and CN. And, I pray daily for his GF/fiance because I know he hasn’t changed.

Sandyfeet
Sandyfeet
1 year ago

My mental health was so off, I was turning down activities with our (now MY) adult children and little grandchildren bc I was always trying to figure out what I was missing with him. Rushing off to office to see if he was actually where he said he was. The financial infidelity was so awful, so out of character. I started losing weight and hair too. Then came Dday, and discovering his infidelity, a month or so later, the drug use and thank goodness, LACGAL. When I filed and took back my power, I thought he’d immediately seek treatment (and of course give up young woman). Slowly I have gotten my back to myself. My teeth and wallet have $uffered from the grinding. My body cleared the HPV within 6 months. Still working on confidence.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
1 year ago

In 2016, after taking three rounds of antibiotics for what I was told was bronchitis and eventually ending up in the hospital with double pneumonia (after working a 14-hour shift in a restaurant on Mother’s Day), I was diagnosed with a rare lung infection called micobacterium avium intracellulare (MAI). MAI is for all intents and purposes TUBERCULOSIS. The only difference is that it is not communicable person to person (it is environmental). This disease is almost always found in people with severely compromised immune systems (AIDS patients, the very elderly) or in tropical climates (since it has to be inhaled in an aerosolized state). My infectious disease doctor said she saw it a lot in Cambodia. Most people fight it off with no issues at all.

I was at real risk of dying from this disease. My lungs looked like swiss cheese – full of holes. I was coughing up handfuls of green phlegm. My coughs sounded hollow and deep, like a drum. I couldn’t walk up a staircase without stopping halfway to rest. Walking down a hallway at a moderate pace left me gasping and sweating with a racing heart like I’d just run a sprint. I was put on a brutal antibiotic regime (four different medications). Things like Rifampin, that turns every bodily fluid you have orange (like your tears and sweat), with the possible side effect liver damage. One of the drugs had a potential to make me go blind. Another drug, Amikaycin, had to be administered intravenously, so I had a PICC line placed in my arm with a catheter that went straight to my heart. One of the side effects is nerve damage to your ears and possible deafness. A few weeks after I started on it, I developed tinnitus, and had to stop. I still have lingering effects from that, but thankfully we stopped in time and I am not deaf (though certain sounds are painful for me). I was on the medications for nearly two years. Had the drugs not worked, the next step would have been chemotherapy and possibly removal of portions of my lungs. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that.

With the PICC line in my arm, I wasn’t supposed to lift anything over 8 pounds, nor make repetitive motions with my arm (like vacuuming). FW never lifted a finger to help with the housework, and instead left me to lug baskets of laundry up and down two flights of stairs (when I couldn’t breathe), lift and carry our toddler, and clean. I had to stop working for three months, doctor’s orders, so I didn’t die. And far from being concerned or taking care of me, FW missed no opportunity to tell me how much he resented the fact that I couldn’t work and make money and that it was all up to him to “carry us”. He called me a ball and chain around his ankle, worthless, lazy, useless, a waste of space. Daily. We nearly lost our house because he was laid off his job (but of course, it was all MY fault).

The thing is, I was a healthy 35 year old woman. I had no comorbidities, no risk factors, hadn’t traveled. There was no reason in the world why I should have gotten it. That question has never been answered from a medical standpoint. Nor do I know where/how I contracted it.

My personal belief is that my body was so worn out with the stress of my abusive marriage that I had nothing left to fight with. I was dealing with vicious verbal abuse daily, with neglect, with emotional abuse. I was blamed for every problem we had. In the midst of my treatment for this disease, my ex met OW and the affair was begun within a few months. So gaslighting, lies, and eventually being dumped (via text message!) was added on top of the rest. And the abuse only got worse after we separated. I no longer had active disease, but my lungs were a mess of scar tissue and cavities, making everyday activities exhausting and leaving me vulnerable to every upper respiratory sickness that came around. I got pneumonia at least once a year, once landing me in the hospital.

Three and a half years of pick me dancing while he lied to me. I couldn’t eat or sleep, had terrible anxiety, could barely function. I lost over 30 lb (I was only 98 lbs at my lowest, basically a skeleton with skin). I would lie in bed and shake uncontrollably. I cried every day.

Then finally I could not deny my gut, my eyes, my ears, and I was ready to be done. Divorce proceedings began. FW amped up to legal abuse, stalking, trying to blackmail and intimidate me, threats of harm, threats to take my child away, accusations of child abuse, you name it. Fortunately, I got myself into therapy, got a kickass lawyer, and had the truth (and evidence to back it) on my side and the court didn’t buy it. Eventually OW left my STBX and he spiraled out of control, in the end taking his own life in despair.

Fast forward to today. STBX has been dead just about a year. My life is good. I’m happy. The stress is gone. I’m financially stable. I no longer worry about my son. I no longer have to endure abuse or fear what FW will do next. And guess what? I just got a follow up CT scan and check up from my pulmonologist and the very last hole in my lungs has healed (since my last scan a year ago)! It is amazing what removing the stress (or having the stress removed) from you life can do for your health. I’ll never be 100% again, but for the first time in five years I can take a deep breath, both literally and figuratively, and it is good. Never underestimate just how big a toll these people take on our lives and health.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 year ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

ISTL, this is one of the worst abusive cheater stories I’ve ever heard. I’m sorry you went through hell and happy you are still with us and abuse free.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
1 year ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

Wow! What a terrible ordeal! I’m so sorry you were abused and mistreated and suffered this. You are a miracle!

Goodfriend
Goodfriend
1 year ago
Reply to  ISawTheLight

So glad you got through all that and are healthy now.

Moving On Up in El Chuco
Moving On Up in El Chuco
1 year ago

No more BV and yeast infections. I don’t think I need to go into why. 5 years FW free! Happy Friday!

thelongrun
thelongrun
1 year ago

Happy Friday indeed. Even though as I read/write this, it’s Saturday.???? A shout out to ISawTheLight. You are an amazing recovery story. I’m so glad you got away from the FW XH, and that he committed suicide. I don’t like normally saying that personally, but it sounds like he was a horrible person in general and to you specifically. So I think he got what he deserved.

I’m glad he’s gone for your sake. And for every other woman in CN that was not only put through the infidelity wringer by their FW XH or partner, but abused by them as well. It’s unconscionable what these assholes do.

We don’t tend to have any reports in CN of adulterous FW XW’s physically abusing the chumped husband; at least not to any level equal to what I’m hearing here (if I’m wrong, please let me know). The worst I got was the FW XW once flinging my keys at me hard in front of her roller derby friends. Doesn’t compare.

I wish all of you that suffered abuse lots and lots of happiness and peace for you and your loved ones. You certainly deserve it.

ISawTheLight
ISawTheLight
1 year ago
Reply to  thelongrun

Thank you. 🙂 After the first shock of finding my STBX dead (well, the cops did – I stayed outside), the overwhelming emotion I felt was RELIEF. It was over. Truly over.

I felt guilty at first for feeling that way, but I don’t anymore. I was living in a constant state of high alert, poised for whatever he would do next. Once he was gone, I didn’t have to be vigilant all the time. I didn’t have to panic opening my email or answering the phone.

My son misses his dad, and I let him have his good memories. I almost feel like it’s better for him to remember his dad like this, than for him to learned by experience what his dad was really like (he is a cute kid who wants to please, and so FW didn’t have too many issues with him), or have to deal with a string of his dad’s girlfriends and keep witnessing abusive relationships (since FW couldn’t be alone, and abusers rarely change). Maybe some day my son will want to know what really happened (I haven’t told him about the suicide, and he’s too young to really grasp infidelity or narcissism), but for now I just let it be.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago

I am actually suffering the health effects now, post DDay.
My marriage seemed generally pretty good, and I never knew about the cheating before that. Ever since I have chronic anixiety and depression as well as terrible insomnia. I don’t know how I continue to function on such little sleep. It’s debilitating. As i said to my sister the other day “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”.
No one I talk to about it can remotely understand the level of cruelty this is, to be cast away without warning after thrity years, and for her to move right out and into OM house. Why do we have to suffer all the consequences?

thelongrun
thelongrun
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Suffering a fate almost identical to yours, Dadof2sons, I wondered the same. Why me? Then I think of the Bible text that says something about the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Someone earlier here said bad things happen to good people. Same thing.

You’ve at least got a therapist to bounce your problems off on. Write this stuff down and ask him or her (or however they want to be addressed), if you’re not already doing that. CN is my cheap therapy, because my current job doesn’t allow me much time to either find or see a therapist. So I work my stuff out here. Or try to.

This is going to sound odd, but after D-day, I found a children’s or young adult audiobook (read by the author) to listen to in the car w/my son (he was 11-12 years old at the time, but it’s how we still enjoy time in the car together).

It’s called King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill[ill]-Advised Autobiography, by Chris Crutcher. Besides being hilarious, it’s chock full of grownup wisdom. He tackles the Why me? problem head on in a way I’ve never heard before. He was a social worker/counselor for years before he became an author. It’s chock full of wisdom that was obviously hard-won. I really recommend it. Especially to answer your: Why me? His answer may surprise you like it did me.

IcanseeTuesday
IcanseeTuesday
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Dadof2 – The insomnia will improve. Probably best to just get up and use the time for self-care – exercise, healthy meal prep, decluttering. There’s something about cortisol levels in the early morning (maybe they’re at their lowest?) Check out Tara Brach’s podcast episode(s) called RAIN for mindfulness tips.

notjustawife
notjustawife
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Dadof2sons, it’s completely unfair and I keep trying to tell myself that they have to live with themselves. None of it makes sense unless we look at it from a cluster B: narcissism/sociopath perspective. I thought I had a great marriage but then upon reflection I can see the red flags now. Take things one day at a time, try to stay hydrated and eat small meals if you can. Don’t keep things inside- it is your story to tell. There is also the Reddit group and you can post there for support. <3

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  notjustawife

Thanks. I too see the red flags in the rear view mirror; they just didn’t seem so big at the time, and I never added them all together. I’m lookng for outlets and support and will certainly lean on the good folks here in addtion to my real world support network.

Claire
Claire
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Dadof2sons we know. We are all with you. My 31 Yr mirage was a good one… Or so I thought. Its only upon reflection now that I see there were many red flags. I was the spackle queen! It’s been 2 years since separation almost to the day. I endured 6 months of discard during 2020. The divorce was finalised this April. I found this site after searching the Internet for ways to end my life. The pain. The trauma. It felt relentless. I visited here everyday. CN is full of intelligent, witty, funny, empathetic souls. There is always something here I read that I really needed. Lots of good advice. I picked up a gold piece from LFTT about the house. I’m waffling I know but I really want you to feel supported by us!!

Remember no contact is the way to go.

We are all here for you. You can do this. You are mighty.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire

Thank you Claire. I’m so sorry to hear your story as well. It is relentless. I struggle to find joy these days, and am a bit jaded and cynical at the moment; I was never like that before. But…even though I always thought I was a very caring, emapthetic person those things have skyrocketed for me and I feel so much the pain I read about us poor Chumps and what we suffer, usually from people who show no remorse for their actions at all.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

I hear you, dadof2. I could have written your words although 25 year marriage (ahem, mirage) and 4 kids.

Better days are ahead. It’s been 8 years for me- 6 since divorce. I’m completely no contact. Engaged to a loyal man. Life is wonderful. Things will get so much better now that she’s gone. I promise you.

Chumpcity
Chumpcity
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

We understand on this blog. We have all been there. I went to the dr to get medications for depression and insomnia. It helped. The meds allowed me to think clearly and function. You can’t think straight when your mind and body are in constant anxiety and stress.
I was married almost 30 years and it was terrifying to be alone,…BUT I am 5 yrs out and it is so much better. Seek help if you need it, but just know that you will get through this!

Juniper
Juniper
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

My marriage seemed generally pretty good too, Dadof2. It’s truly a shock to the system, right? Maybe you’ve mentioned it somewhere else but – have you talked to your doctor about sleeping meds?

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  Juniper

I’ve been going to doctor sonce about a week after DDay. They’ve changed my sleep mediciation and dosage three times. I’ve tried meditation, Velarian tea, Melatonin etc… I fall asleep OK, it’s just I wake constantly and only ever get 4-5 hours a night. I do have an appointment with a sleep specialist in a few weeks.

MightyWarrior
MightyWarrior
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

That sleep pattern is pretty normal for chumps for a while after Dday. Mine was 3 years ago today. I could only sleep if my iPad was on a repetitive radio programme or a meditation session. I’d wake every half hour. Citalopram helped eventually but I still have nights like that now. I also lost a mass of weight and developed a terrible cough. My dr sent me for a chest X-ray to check for lung cancer. It was so fast and so dramatic. I fantasised about walking in front of vehicles. Tonight I’m on my way home from a black tie dinner at the Guildhall in London. I’m single and that’s fine by me. It is getting better and I have hopes for the future (climbing Kilimanjaro next year which FW would never have done). Hang in there. 30 years is a long time and it will take time to recover. But you will get over this.

Leftbehindlily
Leftbehindlily
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

This is exactly like me and I am more than a decade out from DD. I still have days when I wake and find myself thinking about it all, like background music on replay. I hate that they live in my head.

GuideDog
GuideDog
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Hey man
Sleep isn’t your problem, but the stress is. Because of the stress you wake up early.
You need to work out or go running to manage the bodily stress. Als you could go for a walk in the evening to get your stress levels down before you go to bed. Medication can assist in taking asleep but don’t take care of the underlying problem

Rebecca
Rebecca
1 year ago
Reply to  GuideDog

Dadof2sons,

You are in VERY early days!
Sadly, you are at the beginning of a long slog to peace; the divorce process with kids will be tough.

Listen to GuideDog.
Sleep isn’t your problem. You are loaded with stress and the only way to get to the other side will be to plow through it.
You need to be mindful of your eating and get daily exercise (even just walking or playing with your kids).

You need as much support through this as possible. A great lawyer and a fabulous therapist along will get you further than any sleep study.

If you haven’t read Chump Lady’s book, keep it next to your bed. When you can’t sleep read it multiple times and take notes.

Also, read through all the many years of old posts. There are many tips and advice that will help you SO much.

We are here for you!

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Thank you Rebecca (and everyone else) I appreciate it. The fortunate thing as far as children go is they are adults, living on their own. I know I am LOADED with stress, and my therapist said it is a cycle that tends to feed on itself. I do have good support, family and close friends, and my lawyer and therapist are both good.
Believe me, I’ve trolled through the archives quite heavily already. I need to get the book.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
1 year ago
Reply to  GuideDog

What really helped me get the “stress” out of my body was boxing. There was a kickboxing circuit gym I signed up for. It was a brutal workout, but hitting the trainer’s mitt’s until there was nothing left was so cathartic. I’d be grunting and yelling my way through. I chose not to care what anyone else thought of me in the gym (a 30 something woman sounding like Serena Williams on the court in her workout, lol), I was going through some shit. I followed up my workouts with a primal scream in the car, and often hysterical sobs would come pouring out after. Was I a ridiculous mess? Yes… but it was healing.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
1 year ago
Reply to  CurlyChump

mitts*

susie lee
susie lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Agree it is so hard to get through.

If there is anyone at all you can talk to, I would encourage you to do it. Maybe a close friend, a sib and tell them you aren’t asking them to fix the problem you just need to get the story out.

My big regret is that I held it in out of embarrassment, confusion, fear of being called bitter etc.

I have been blessed with a wonderful post D life including great husband and his wonderful family and mine. However, when fw pulled shit with our son some twenty or so after the fact, I went into a tailspin. I talked to my brother and told him everything. He was devastated that I didn’t tell him in real time, as he knows how bad it was to hold it in.

I realized while holding it in what I was really doing was holding anger at myself in for not standing up to that piece of shit. Screw taking the high road.

You don’t have to break laws or really hurt anyone else, but some key folks need to know about those ass wipes.

I did tell my husband a lot, but I even held in some of the worst of it until a couple years ago.

It was only then that I did some research to help my son and his wife and I found CL. Oh if only I had someone like CL at the time.

This crap is hard and it changes us forever. Doesn’t mean we can’t go on with life, be happy, have joy. The scars for most last forever though.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago
Reply to  susie lee

Thanks susie lee.

I am in therapy, and I have two sisters and one dear friend that will listen any time I just need to pour it out.

The affair and FW wife subsequent departure to live with OM IS out. Her parents haven’t spoken to her since that day, and I have had dinner, and been to their house a fair amount since then. They’ve been very supportive, as they’ve always treated me as if I were a son to them. FW has two siblings who know as well. I don’t think they really know how to handle it actually…

Wow
Wow
1 year ago

Depression & weight gain, loss of sense of humour.The xFW used to tell me I was the most unhealthy & unhappy person he knew. I used to feel so awful when he said that! Like I was a shit wife & mother! So he’s gone now & miraculously! so is my depression, weight gain & my sense of humour is back!! Hmm..didn’t have think too hard what the root cause of all that was!!!

Housepet
Housepet
1 year ago
Reply to  Wow

I gained weight too and couldn’t lose it no matter what I did. When I left I dropped 10 pounds almost immediately and the sense of impending doom went away.

Chumpy VonChumpster
Chumpy VonChumpster
1 year ago
Reply to  Wow

Yes, the loss of a sense of humor was terrible! It was when I began laughing again that I knew I was getting back to being myself.

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago

I need to get my sense of humor back too. I find such little joy in things these days, but I’m not that far out from DDay yet either.

TheDivineMissChump
TheDivineMissChump
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Be gentle with yourself, Dad. You are in the throes of untangling so much right now. You can’t have your life totally incinerated by a flame thrower and not still be suffering 3rd degree burns. Your therapist, doctors, and friends are carefully skin grafting at this juncture. But you are raw, and growing new skin is painful as hell.

You will find peace. It begins and ends with NC and thank God our brains are wired to help with that. You’ll discover so much about what is divine and mighty in you. Let the scabs fall where they may. We are all here for you!

Dadof2sons
Dadof2sons
1 year ago

TheDivineMissChump
Thank you so much. It really is still raw, just over two months out. I literally just got off the phone with my attorney. She’s putting together the divorce complaint now and it should be served on FW wife within a week. NC has been good to me, but she is still living rent-free in my head, even as much as I conciously try to shove her out. I’m triggered by so many things it seems…

AFS
AFS
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

Cheering you on from the sidelines. You are right in the midst of it and the advice to be gentle to yourself is excellent. We have all been there and we can all tell you it will be better.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
1 year ago
Reply to  Dadof2sons

I didn’t start to feel better (like my old self) until divorce was final, properties transferred, children were stabilized, my career took off, and I experienced a healthy relationship with a loyal man who treated me with respect and care (and, in full disclosure, a lot of really great intimacy helped heal me too). It was about 3-4 years out from Dday, and after divorce. Hang in there.

Chumpy VonChumpster
Chumpy VonChumpster
1 year ago

I had a weird rash on my arms, lost handfuls of hair, had urinary tract infections and lost 30 pounds. Long story short, I kept the 30 pound weight loss and lost the FW. I am healthy and happy now!

Involuntary Georgian
Involuntary Georgian
1 year ago

I just went to the dentist yesterday, to get quotes on two tooth extractions / implants (probably $10k).

In the 45 years of my life before DDay, I had a total of three cavities. During the two months of in-house separation after DDay, I had extreme dry mouth (basically, two months of over the top adrenaline, panic attacks, extreme weight loss, etc) due to stress, resulting in 7 cavities, two of which were undetected (below the gum line) and have now destroyed a pair of teeth.

FuckWitFree
FuckWitFree
1 year ago

Mysterious frequent UTIs. Miscarriage. Ectopic pregnancy due to chlamydia. Almost died twice. Migraines. Ulcers. Repeat strep. Insomnia. Nightmares. Teeth problems. Hair loss. Extreme weight loss. Shaking. Vertigo.

It’s a freaking miracle I’m still alive. His subsequent gf started developing same symptoms.

They are evil.

Alas rainy again
Alas rainy again
1 year ago

Mine is a bit unusual, maybe far-fetched. In addition to loosing (and later getting back) 40 pounds, I lost my allergy to cat fur when moving out of the conjugal bed! I had been diagnosed allergic to fur and feathers since childhood. I had mild symptoms: a rhinitis (aka a cold) and coughing fits when triggered. Dust and tobacco smoke were also triggers. A feather pillow would induce snoring and sinusitis for 2 weeks. Same for cleaning the attic or taking care of horses. I love animals and always kept cats (sleeping outdoors), so my sense of smell was chronically poor. My ex knew that and had stopped smoking the year we got engaged. I noticed he was secretly smoking again three years before the divorce but he denied, denied, denied. When I moved out, I had to let my elderly cat sleep on my bed. I thought “who cares that I snore anyway?”. Well… Within 3 weeks my sense of smell came back and I haven’t lost it again! The kids tell me I don’t snore (much). Now, thinking of it, I never was tested when I was a kid, and my father was a smoker and a narc. My mother said he never smoked upstairs but who knows?

Felice Kaufmann
Felice Kaufmann
1 year ago

I developed three autoimmune conditions starting the first year of marriage. Didn’t think much about it until a few months ago when I read a data based article about the correlation between autoimmune diseases and domestic abuse. Have not had one moment of illness since he pranced out with his young thing….

N
N
1 year ago

I felt tired ALL THE TIME and had to get on anxiety pills which I blamed on my newfound motherhood. One time my anxiety got worse “out of nowhere” and I had to increase my dosage. I was so confused as to why and XH simply said “that sucks.” Turns out he was cheating on me! I’m almost 1 year out from leaving him, 3 months out from divorce and I’m getting off my anxiety meds and no longer feel exhausted 24/7!

Chumpman
Chumpman
1 year ago

Blood pressure dropped 30 points and went off of medication. Amazing!

LifeIsGood
LifeIsGood
1 year ago

The biggest one was a loss of joy. I stopped singing in the car, I stopped dancing around my home, I stopped being silly… I simply stopped enjoying all the little things that can bring a smile to your face. The first time I started singing & chair dancing in my car after dday was such an epiphany!

On the physical side, I developed rosacea on the right side of my face, insomnia, depression, panic attacks, skin & hair were dull and lifeless, constant anxiety & hypervigilance, canker sores, cold sores, season allergies that needed an inhaler, and just overall sadness. With the exception of the rosacea, which still flares up with stress, every single ailment cleared up after dday. My body finally had a source for all the stress it was holding & was able to let it all go.

I’m 3.5 years from dday & almost 3 years out from the divorce and I feel like the old me. I will never lose her again!

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
1 year ago
Reply to  LifeIsGood

Klootzak would never let me sing along with music. To quote him, “I don’t put music on so I can hear YOU sing.” So very early on, I stopped singing. I grew up in a home where people sang when they were happy. Just that change alone started to suck the joy out of me. I stopped even putting music on in the car when I was alone because it had become ingrained that I could only listen to music and not sing along and it was torture, so I commuted to talk radio or silence.

Looking forward to spontaneously busting out in song someday. It’s currently a mental effort to tell myself it’s OK to sing instead of something that just happens. I need to get happy first.

LifeIsGood
LifeIsGood
1 year ago

I’m sorry that you are still dealing with that pain & his heartless comments.

I hope you find your joy and break out in song very soon!!

Bossynova
Bossynova
1 year ago

What an ass. My ex was like this and once told me that if I sang along to an old musical we were watching on vhs I would “ruin it”. I dont have a great voice …but ffs. This is a way for them to take away our small joys. So glad you are healing from him and his abuse

TheDivineMissChump
TheDivineMissChump
1 year ago
Reply to  LifeIsGood

Loss of joy … this!! I too love that I love music again! And dancing! And singing!!

DejaBlue
DejaBlue
1 year ago

Gigantic welts erupted all over my body. I saw a dermatologist who told me it was from the chronic insomnia and stress, and that they would likely clear up after my divorce was done. She was right.

susie lee
susie lee
1 year ago

I am likely old enough to be your aging mother.

I am doing pretty well for 73 next month. However, I do believe that the high sugar situation started not long after my traumatic and rather quick discard. I was 40, so maybe it was just getting older, but the issue does not run in my family, so don’t know.

I didn’t start to really feel the effects until a few years ago, though I knew I was borderline. I have nerve damage in my feet, though now I have it under control sans meds and with diet and exercise.

I also had some significant hair loss about a year after the D. Much of it returned, but it never went back to its fullest. I am so glad I had really thick hair, other wise I might be wearing a wig now.

So yeah, I am happy to pin that on fw.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
1 year ago

Klootzak announced he wanted me to move with him but then “find (my) own place to live” just as the pandemic started. Then I faked disagreement with the idea to buy time and line up ducks. So the health symptoms I have had, I have not been sure are from living with him while plotting my escape or from the pandemic and peri menopause.

My entire marriage with him, I have been jumpy, jittery, anxious. Then when I made up my mind to leave, that seems to have dissipated. Because IDGAF about him anymore. I don’t let him near me. I look at him and am filled with disgust. But he no longer walks in a room and makes me jump.

The other symptoms? My hair is thinner. I have gained 15 pounds, which is deeply upsetting to me. I also rarely sleep well. I had been doing fine with sleep for a while, but I am not sleeping well as I am now very close to filing. I have nightmares about semi trucks driving wildly toward me while I am in my house looking out the window, things being thrown at me by my mother, all kinds of stuff that makes me flinch. My heart races and then I can’t get back to sleep.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
1 year ago

Jeez… am I the only one who has GAINED weight? Maybe I’ll lose when I file and I’m poor as a church mouse.

CakeEater'sDaughter
CakeEater'sDaughter
1 year ago

Doubt that you are. People’s physical reactions differ under stress.

Feeding Electric Sheep
Feeding Electric Sheep
1 year ago

Even my dog is doing better. She used to do this repetitive lip licking thing that I read was a symptom of anxiety. Totally stopped when FW moved out.

Alas rainy again
Alas rainy again
1 year ago

Feeding, my elderly cat’s health also improved after I kicked exFW from the conjugal home! Yr comment makes me realise… I allowed the old cat to sleep on my because he appeared frail and close to death (as I commented elsewhere). Well, three years later he is stil alive, resplendescent fur and all. I even started vaccinatng him again! And he still sleeps occasionnally on the bed ????

Chumpasaurus45
Chumpasaurus45
1 year ago

Symptoms I experienced after D-day:

Weight gain ( cortisol stress belly)
Overactive arousal reflex ( easily startled and jumpy and on high alert, waiting for the next shoe to drop)
A deep profound sadness ( from a very optimistic person)
Anhedonia
Hyper vigilance
Loss of humor
Loss of purpose in life
Deep sense of being unsafe in the world
Cried daily for 3-5 years!
Disconnection from life and people( robot, just existing, going through the moves but feeling separate from everything, a veil was up and I was on the other side of it)
Sense of daily unsafety and impending doom
Daily continual chest pain for over 3 years ( definitely stress, have no heart ailments)
I was dx with breast cancer 3 years after the first D-day.
Confusion and brain fog
Altered concentration, difficult to stay on tasks
Constant rumination
Migraines
Easily overwhelmed
Emotionally labile
Loneliness
Lowered self esteem
Anxiety
Suicidal ideations

Right after divorce:
Had the above symptoms along with:
PTSD
Heightened startle reflex ( if I misplaced my cell phone, my knees practically gave out)
Emotional disregulation ( just randomly started crying in the supermarket or wherever)
Depression
Felt an ego death experience ( who am I and what is even real? Where is the truth? I’d forgotten who I was at my core. Needed to reset ALL my beliefs about life and start from scorched earth level)
Deep lack of trust and feeling unsafe in the world. ( paranoia)
Felt like I suffered a trauma so severe it fit in no category I’d ever experienced or known could exist.
Triggered constantly
Felt an existential end to my life

4 years post divorce:
Intermittent waves of a profound internal peace ( wth?!)
Deeper connection and appreciation for nature.
Migraines gone
Able to feel joy, even if fleeting.
A calm presence and a heightened ability to take in the simplest of joys that show up.
A deep gratitude for everything.
A reconnection with my long missing and traumatized self.
More spirituality
Even tighter bonds with my kids,and we’ve always been close and connected.
A pride and increased strength in myself for getting through something very few ppl in my life can fully understand. ( thank God for CL and CN!!)
Appreciation for the freedom to be myself.
A ineffable sense that the universe “ has my back”, so I rarely don’t feel alone.
An awareness of the connectivity of everything and feeling like I am part of it all too. I belong here!!
A massive sense of empathy for others.( as FKA also stated, which is quite an interesting phenomena)
Increased self compassion and love
Still feel a deep dark sadness that never fully lifts, but it’s like an old friend now that I understand and accept.
My mind came back, and it’s always excitedly curious and voraciously growing and expanding.
Humor back.
Still flashbacks, ruminations and triggers, but I have more control over them now and can usually distract myself
Stronger ~physically and mentally
Pain in my chest just vanished one day.
Still can easily and randomly just tear up, but I like the fact that I care very deeply and I don’t berate myself for it.
Way way less anxious and worry prone almost like I’m not even an anxious person and I felt anxiety throughout my whole life with FW.
Heightened curiosity about so many things, like I’m being reintroduced to the world.
Heightened awareness and presence in the world.
A genuine belief that I can rebuild my life and it’s going to be awesome! ????????

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
1 year ago
Reply to  Chumpasaurus45

Chumpasauras, I copied the parts of your list that reflect my experience and added a timeline to help those more recent chumps:

Symptoms I experienced after D-day:
Dday to Divorce-Freedom day (26 month time span)—

Rapid 25lb Weight loss
Overactive arousal reflex ( easily startled and jumpy and on high alert, waiting for the next shoe to drop)
A deep profound sadness ( from a very optimistic person)
Insomnia
Nausea
Hyper vigilance
Loss of humor
Loss of purpose in life
Deep sense of being unsafe in the world
Crying daily
Stopped reading or watching TV/movies
Disconnection from life and people( robot, just existing, going through the moves but feeling separate from everything, a veil was up and I was on the other side of it)
Sense of daily unsafety and impending doom
Daily continual chest pain for over 3 years ( definitely stress, have no heart ailments)
Facial rash
Confusion and brain fog
Altered concentration, difficult to stay on tasks
Constant rumination
Irritable and full of despair
Nightmares
Rage
Teeth grinding
Easily overwhelmed
Emotionally labile
Loneliness
Lowered self esteem
Anxiety
Suicidal ideations
PTSD
Heightened startle reflex
Emotional disregulation ( just randomly started crying in the supermarket or wherever)
Depression
Felt an ego death experience ( who am I and what is even real? Where is the truth? I’d forgotten who I was at my core. Needed to reset ALL my beliefs about life and start from scorched earth level)
Deep lack of trust and feeling unsafe in the world. ( paranoia)
Felt like I suffered a trauma so severe it fit in no category I’d ever experienced or known could exist.
Triggered constantly
Felt an existential end to my life

5.5 years post divorce (8 years since Dday):
Intermittent waves of a profound internal peace
Deeper connection and appreciation for nature.
Able to feel joy, even if fleeting.
Enjoy reading and watching shows again.
Look forward to future now.
Pride in surviving and thriving
Pride in getting free and filing for divorce- finalizing it and securing my financial future.
Health great – nothing wrong now.
Easy menopause.
Look 10 years younger than my age.
A calm presence and a heightened ability to take in the simplest of joys that show up.
A deep gratitude for everything.
Connecting with myself for first time in my life.
More spirituality
Even tighter bonds with my kids,and we’ve always been close and connected.
A pride and increased strength in myself for getting through something very few ppl in my life can fully understand. ( thank God for CL and CN!!)
Appreciation for the freedom to be myself.
A ineffable sense that I have my own back and will care for myself
A sense of empathy for others.( as FKA also stated, which is quite an interesting phenomena)
Increased self compassion and love
Still feel a deep dark sadness that never fully lifts, but it’s like an old friend now that I understand and accept.
My mind came back, and it’s always excitedly curious and voraciously growing and expanding.
Humor back.
Occasional flashbacks, ruminations and triggers, but I have more control over them now and can usually distract myself
Stronger ~physically and mentally
Enjoy food
Still can easily and randomly just tear up, but I like the fact that I care very deeply and I don’t berate myself for it.
Way way less anxious and worry prone almost like I’m not even an anxious person and I felt anxiety throughout my whole life with FW.
Heightened curiosity about so many things, like I’m being reintroduced to the world.
Heightened awareness and presence in the world.
A genuine belief that I’m better off without XH (even the version I thought he was) and that I’ll never suffer like that again (because I’ll never be vulnerable and dependent with no assets (I got my own in the divorce and by my investment since divorce) as a single mom with kids who need me 24/7 (kids grown) —
I’ll never be ignorant of narcissistic abuse again.
Thank God!

Cuckoo4Karma
Cuckoo4Karma
1 year ago

In the several months leading up to D day, I was having daily asthma attacks. I wasn’t responding to my steroid inhaler treatment. I was having terrible insomnia and entertaining suicidal thinking. I was self harming by digging my fingernails into my palms. In a very vague, hard to pin down way, I was being treated terribly in my marriage. And I was being gaslit over it. This had been going on for about three or four years, maybe more.

Immediately on D-day, the asthma attacks stopped, like a switch had been flipped. I could sleep better. The suicidal fantasies were replaced by murderous fantasies—which isn’t ideal either, but was a huge upgrade over suicidal thinking. I think all of my physical health and mental health issues were the results of my felt senses being in a major conflict with my rational senses—i.e., the results of being gaslit to death for years.

After D day and before divorce day (about 18 months) was no picnic either. But it wasn’t as bad as being gaslit to death.

Nearly 7 years post divorce, I am so happy…. and so happy I am free of that selfish FW a-hole.

Goodfriend
Goodfriend
1 year ago

He literally crippled me, twice, for over three years, by kicking me hard in my knee, then my ankle, supposedly while dreaming he was playing soccer. He had never played it, and did not kick in his sleep other than these two incidents, when he managed to strike relatively small areas with amazing precision. Given our 1’3″ height difference, and since we both had our heads on our pillows, he had to pull his leg up incredibly high to kick my knee. In retrospect, I think these were deliberate. They gave him a reason to exclude me from any activities that required walking or standing.

During his discard phase, I developed frequent GERD (heartburn), that would wake me, and I had migraines every two or three days.

After discovery, I lost about 25 pounds or more (and sadly regained the weight). His parting gift was to beat me unconscious. I’m not sure when the sleep loss started, but I went from instantaneously falling asleep and staying asleep until the alarm went off, to waking with GERD during discard. For the two-plus years from when I filed until the divorce was final, I was awake much of the night, and if I fell asleep, I invariably woke up at 2, 3 and sometimes 4. My tween was also waking up screaming with nightmares about being tortured and killed because FW was secretly calling and terrorizing him.

Despite all the stress, my GERD disappeared, and so did most of my migraines and UTIs. The GERD came back recently, after his attorney contacted me about a few issues that were left unresolved.

As for mental health, in the year before separation, I was so miserable that I declined to got to my neighbor’s daughter’s shower, because I was afraid I’d burst into tears. The wedding was painful because I was so depressed by his barely-concealed hostility and contempt. Last week, when the white-haired woman who walks my dog twice a week invited me to her wedding. I was thrilled to accept. What a change!

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 year ago
Reply to  Goodfriend

OMG, GF. What an ordeal. I hope that psycho no longer has access to your son.

Juniper
Juniper
1 year ago

Pretty sure the trauma of being betrayed jumpstarted menopause for me. STBX and I were in midst of attempting reconciliation. It’s like my body was trying to protect me from being impregnated by the traitor.

Lots of same symptoms mentioned by others: weight loss, insomnia, heart palpitations, etc. Also experienced lots of physical pain in and around my heart. Heartache thanks to heartbreak. It’s real. Sometimes I would feel the ache in my back, behind my heart. Once I decided to dissolve my marriage – too hard to stay after everything that’s happened – the nagging, everyday heart pain disappeared.

just me
just me
1 year ago

Wow, I hadn’t even heard of the word sciatica before D-Day; and then I developed this pain in my hip (my butt really) and the outer part of my lower leg. I did the pick-me dance for a bit more than five months, and the pain was constant. Now I finally made up my mind and we are separating, and this literal PITA has started to wear off. I so hope it stays away.

ChumpInCharge
ChumpInCharge
1 year ago

Living in that toxic hell of a marriage turned on my alcoholism gene. I just wanted to escape and withdraw so badly but didn’t have the courage to leave for so long. I think he enjoyed me escaping to my cloud so he could keep having is affair, financially and emotionally abusing me. He encouraged it. I developed psoriasis, had shingles and had high blood pressure. I finally got help when I filed for divorce after his mistress called me at work. Almost 2 years sober now, normal blood pressure and no psoriasis off all medications. I would probably be dead or close to it now if I had stayed.

Informal
Informal
1 year ago

I had severe hip pain esp in bed for years. It completely went away after I left. I believe what I read that we carry emotions in the hips.
I had hives once in my life prior to leaving when I knew I had to have a conversation regarding a kid which required a trip to the emergency room.
No more UTIs.
Now only occasional nightmares.
Still have other health related issues I’m dealing with that was stress induced.
Still have triggers.
Trying to find who I am at this stage in life-late 50s- and where my old hobbies that I loved and had to abandon(ex reading) fit
Working on focus and attention since it was spent twisted in a life that was not what I thought I was living.

This Shit is NOT my Story
This Shit is NOT my Story
1 year ago

Perfect timing Chump Lady! I had wanted to ask if it were possible to suffer the same ailments when the trauma resurfaces?

Here’s a little back story for reference:
My cheater left me, but my body knew something was off. I gained weight, stopped dreaming at night, lost all creativity, couldn’t sleep and had pain from tense muscles that required frequent chiropractic adjustments. Every muscle and joint ached.
It has been nearly 2 years since he left. For the first year and a half, my health dramatically improved. But over the last 6-8 months we were wrapping up the divorce and all symptoms returned. My body feels the same as it did in the marriage. Now that the veil is lifted and we both know (but never acknowledge) he is a shithead, he doesn’t even try to be kind. His toxic way of speaking to me and lying has been at an all time high. Are these symptoms resurfacing because he has been more in my life? Or are they just me not being strong enough to manage the stress?
I totally get how lack of creativity and dreams seems like a weird thing to add to health ailments list, but truly this is sooooo weird for me. I have dreamt my whole life and now, nothing.

Rebecca
Rebecca
1 year ago

The one thing that everyone still in the divorce process needs to understand is that you cannot even begin to heal until the divorce is done and final.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
1 year ago

The symptoms are resurfacing because the toxic ass-hat is in your life more. Do not blame yourself for your body’s response to the stress he brings you. My anxiety went through the roof during the divorce process. He knew what to say to push all my buttons. My therapist was an immense help with breaking that connection and disrupting those loops. Exhausting exercise complete with primal screams in the car after (usually followed by some serious sobbing) also helped release the stress.

It’s funny, for years I had often had vivid dreams, but I had stopped dreaming the last few years we were together. Didn’t even realize it, until one day, a few months after moving back in with my mom, I realized I had dreamt that night for the first time in years! I used to have a creative side (not that I was ever any good, but I enjoyed drawing and working w/pastels, and used to write crappy poetry for myself). I haven’t had the inspiration to do any of that in well over a decade. Hope that creative side comes back to me some day too.

notjustawife
notjustawife
1 year ago

What didn’t I have? I developed a tremor and actually saw a neurologist who told me there was nothing wrong with me. Constant yeast infections, Bartholin cyst, beyond heavy periods, eyelashes falling out every day, acne, back pain, knee pain, three broken molars, panic attacks every morning at 3am, constant anxiety to the point where one day my legs felt like jello and I could barely walk, confusion. When X left he told me there was always something wrong with me- yes it was being with him. (And guess what- all these symptoms disappeared when he left).

Chumpawamba
Chumpawamba
1 year ago

I lost 15 pounds in a month after D-Day even though I was still eating enough. For me it’s the start of correcting a health issue, though: I’d never been overweight until I met my fat, gluttonous, alcoholic FW. I ate and drank too much with him, gained 35 pounds, and couldn’t shed more than 5 pounds no matter what I tried. My body shape has completely changed, beyond what could be explained by 15 pounds – it’s like it just snapped back once I was free.

Quetzal
Quetzal
1 year ago

I always had lots of ailments from a young age forward and I have to say during the relationship with the cheater there were ups and downs. For the sake of our relationship I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and managed to solve or have a better relationship with some aspects of my health. But also I found that I would focus a lot on my health issues because I felt this pressure to be “perfect”. The saddest part is he would later accuse me to focus “too much” on my health, when I was trying to be healthy so we could have a happy life!

He was supportive of my health needs until the very last stages, when he was cheating more actively and had gotten quite dismissive.

Sadly, though, due to immense trauma and grief, and the increased demands due to survival on my own, took a tremendous toll on my body and 5 years after leaving, I’ve been through a lot of deterioration. Getting better now, but still have issues to solve (internal bleeding to be addressed, for example).

I say this because I understand it’s a bit against the grain of this topic, but chumps need to know and not feel bad for the fact that your health MAY not improve and in fact worsen due to the stress you’re going to have to navigate. So be prepared to escape by having a PLAN. I left on impulse and dealt with the heavy aftermath (I don’t regret it, though. I was hoping my body would support me while getting out, but it did what it could).

Layne Myer
Layne Myer
1 year ago

I lost 30 lbs, starting losing my hair basically a week after the first affair came to light, developed an autoimmune disorder that I now have to take medication for the rest of my life to alleviate, had a cancer scare, numerous panic attacks, crippling anxiety, and suffered from complete insomnia, often going days without a wink of sleep. All of which my doctor directly attributed the stress of my personal life causing inflammation in my system.

Of course, when I brought these issues up with my ex-wife, she would say, “Oh, you must really have some deep-seeded and suppressed emotional issues from your FOO that are now just coming to a head. You should see someone for the that.”

Nope, not the five affairs, thousands of lies, thousands of dollars flushed on couples therapy, endless gaslighting, and the impending collapse of my family. It’s gotta be something I suppressed from years ago!!

tallgrass
tallgrass
1 year ago

My stick straight hair started curling! My DIL now teases me about my long mermaid tresses. Also, immediately when FW walked out the door to go be with schmoopie I quit digging at my nails and cuticles. All my marriage my fingers were in pain and bleeding, tore down to the quick. It was about two weeks (in the fetal position, of course) when I noticed I had nice, healed fingers.

About 10 years before D-Day, I was throwing up in secret every night. My liver was on fire. A chiropractor did a biofeedback and offhandedly said, “Oh, you flagged for wheat. Not sure what that means, but you might want ot check into it.” That’s how I uncovered my gluten intolerance. I was unable to work for a couple of years and barely left the house. It became very obvious that I would not have any spousal support if I needed help to care for myself. After five years of gut healing, isolation, etc. I finally got well enough to take a job. And I knew I needed to be very independent and not let my self-care slack or it could be a downhill slide to a nursing home. In looking back, this was probably my first steps into breaking the narcissistic abuse cycle. My choices were to take care of myself or die, I knew that to be true. And he lost his direct control of my every move and every thought. I had to take attention and time away from him and it changed the dynamic.

Sally
Sally
1 year ago

I’m fairly sure that my chronic illness has, at least in part, been caused by tolerating sociopaths and internalising all of their hideousness for years. It’s an easy trap to fall into when you’re raised to babysit the feelings of caregivers. “I’m not worthy so I’ll take on the cruellest treatment because hey, they aren’t perfect either and I’m lucky to get whatever I can and maybe I overreacted to something that one time”.

It takes a lot of work to change a belief system like that.

Physical symptoms I generally suffer while in the belly of the beast are crushing headaches, tight chest, body pains, burning skin, dizziness. This in turn leads to sleeplessness and lack of appetite.

At one point early in my self-liberation, I met an old friend and we went shopping. I tried to keep it light but I ended up fainting when I’d previously thought I felt fine. Never did find out why, maybe it was the fact I was run into the ground. This in turn revealed my friend to be a terrible person; she quite literally walked off while strangers helped me.

After I got up and dusted myself off and some time passed, I quietly confessed that I was escaping abuse and that’s maybe why I was coming across strange. She barely looked at or spoke to me for the rest of the day and she then ghosted me even when my grandmother died days afterward. I never heard from her again.

Ironically, she is now a nurse.

This was a long time ago, I’ve come a long way. I suppose the point of my embellishment was this; toxic partners will kill you but so will people you never suspected. We need to raise a level of awareness about this too because toxic partners will always prosper while people supposedly on the side of the victim sign off on whatever they’re doing.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 year ago
Reply to  Sally

Sorry about your friend, Sally. That’s horrible.

Sally
Sally
1 year ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Thank you, I appreciate that. Apparently bad friends are not so uncommon!

It’s a strange thing and probably a fault in the way a lot of us view others and situations but while I’ve been able to reconcile myself to horrible partners a little too well, the way SHE treated me has stayed with me for almost twenty years. I haven’t seen her in all that time and I still absolutely resent her.

I feel like we have a level of acceptance when it comes to shoddy treatment in relationships (when we shouldn’t, to be honest) but when a supposed friend turns, it cuts deeper and presents even more questions.

Hope to God she’s a better nurse than a friend!