Telling People Your Chump Story

Paul Doncaster, UXWorldIdeally you’d live in a world where you’d never tell people your chump story because you’d never have been chumped. Failing that, your choices are disclosure, emotionally vomiting on everyone’s shoes, or suffering in silence taking the secret to your grave.

If you tell, who do you tell? How do you tell? (Age appropriately? Discretely? Spray painted over a bridge span?) When do you tell?

In this week’s Tell Me How You’re Mighty podcast Sarah and I discuss being out there publicly with our chump stories. And our guest, Paul, known here as UXWorld — creator of snarky song parodies — tells the story of his very public sharing. The man told his D-Day story “The Stranger” in front of a live audience as part of a Moth Radio storytelling contest.

I won’t give too much away (listen! subscribe! review!), but his ex-wife shows up with her latest Schmoopie. The proverbial turd in the punch bowl. Do you know how much mightiness it takes to IGNORE THE TURD IN THE PUNCHBOWL and keep going? A LOT OF MIGHTINESS.

Oh Tracy, these stories depress me. I don’t feel mighty. If a turd appeared in my punchbowl, I would sip around it and ask for second helpings. 

Stop it! The point of showcasing mighty stories is to demonstrate that YES you too can be mighty, because Paul stood up there in front of a gazillion strangers and shared the most mortifying, traumatic thing that ever happened to him. If he can do it, you can shower and call a lawyer. Yes you can.

And you can TELL someone. Sure, you run the risk that they’ll say something moronic like, “I’m glad the worst thing my husband ever did was buy that TransAm.” (This is something someone actually said to me.) But more likely a compassionate person will be horrified on your behalf. And that’s perspective. Something you really need when you’re living in a shitstorm.

So, in the comments, tell me how you told people. Did you feel lighter?

I always feel lighter when I emotionally vomit on strangers’ shoes, Tracy.

Well, it’s sloppy in the beginning.

Speaking of beginnings — did you know that we’re having the first ever CHUMPALOOZA, Nov. 3 – 5? And that you can get in front of an audience of friendly chumps and tell your chump story? And Paul will coach you?

That sounds terrifying, Tracy.

No, it sounds like the beautiful start to a stand-up comedy career. Because there is no absurdity like cheating FW absurdity. And I KNOW you have mighty stories to burn. So sign up!

Will there be turds there, Tracy? 

No. There is a zero turd policy at Chumpalooza. If your ex or their Schmoopie show up, we will chase them off with piñata sticks.

So, without further ado. You can listen to the latest podcast on Spotify or Google podcasts, or embedded here below.

***

Speaking of the podcast, you’ll notice something new. There are ads. At the beginning and end.

What?! This is outrageous.

I have to pay the audio engineer. I make zero dollars on this. I spend $800 a month on this. Sarah does this FREE out of the goodness of her BBC professional heart. To be sustainable, we have to get this thing to pay for itself, or (OMG) eventually turn a profit. Because, like, I gave up my day job.

I still hate ads.

No problem. You can listen ad-free over at Patreon. Sign up as member and you’ll get the podcasts early AND ad-free. Also, I really appreciate the support. Thank you.

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ELBee
ELBee
9 months ago

I told everyone. Well, first I made a lot of super cringe Facebook posts because I was so angry. I eventually took them down. But I told EVERYONE, all of our family and mutual friends, that he was leaving me for someone ten years younger. Most people empathized. I started to lose friends off social media – I figured out later on that he most likely logged into my FB account and unfriended our mutual friends and a lot of his own family. Made it look like I was the one dropping them, from their end. But it was a blessing in disguise because most of those people never reached out to ask why “I” unfriended them, so fuck them too. I emotionally vomited on a lot of people and those that stuck by me are wonderful friends.

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago
Reply to  ELBee

I also told everyone!!! Have zero regrets about vomiting this information on everyone and anyone. I was suffering and it was my coping mechanism.

First people I told were my kids (please notice the “my” in there. That was the day they became mine.)

Second person I told was his elderly mother. Woke her in the middle of the night and found some comfort in her tears. That later changed as she accepted the AP and never told her husband. That’s another story.

99.9% of the people I told were simply amazing. The 1% were banished from my life immediately. The support I asked for by spilling my guts was so needed and so welcomed.

Counting the minutes until I can take off the divorce decree imposed duct tape off my mouth and join the ranks of those who speak publicly. I want to speak for those who can’t and help change the narrative.

PLEASE support CL and CN by joining Patreon. It’s so important and goes so far to help Tracy help all of us. I’d much rather give my money to CN over any latte or manicure or any take-out any day. I know there are many in dire straits and I’m not addressing those chumps. It’s the chumps that have a bit of extra $ to give back or pay it forward!

And as for any cheaters at Chumpalooza? NOT happening so fear not!

BattleDancingUnicorn
BattleDancingUnicorn
9 months ago

Telling people was scary. I didn’t tell anyone outside of a pastor and a therapist for EIGHT YEARS. Once I did, though, it was so freeing. Only a few people said stupid things. Can’t wait to listen to UXWorld today!

And, honestly, I can’t believe you didn’t have ads on the podcast out of the gate. Don’t sweat it. You gotta eat, and so does the audio engineer.

Pandora
Pandora
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

This chump has been telling her story because, as we say in AA, you’re only as sick as your secrets. I’m not keeping his secrets anymore.

And this former scaredy cat has become a female captain of a mostly male pool team and I stand up for my people and myself now.

Chumpy VonChumpster
Chumpy VonChumpster
9 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Thank you so much for these podcasts! I’m a big podcast listener and I wish this had been available after my D Day. A couple of years ago, the only podcasts available for infidelity were from the RIC and I would go for aimless walks listening to them for advice. These podcasts were usually done by a ‘life coach’ who encouraged their listeners to eat shit sandwiches, so I appreciate you and Sarah more than you can know.

susie lee
susie lee
9 months ago

I honestly just took the silent stance. I talked to our preacher, but I didn’t go into the horrible stuff. I wish I had, he was very supportive of me as was his wife; but I did him a disservice by not telling the whole horror of the abuse I quietly endured the last year of our marriage. Yes he had been cheating long before the year of discard; but he still needed the appliance in place, working for him, so he treated me decent. Lucky for him he had never been a giving person, so he didn’t have to do a lot to keep me quiet.

I finally years later spilled to my son and my brother, it was prompted by FW/whores treatment of my/fws son.

I told my now husband most of it before we married. I figured he should know that I might end up being a nut job.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  susie lee

My FW was never overtly horrible to my face either. He put on an ok act of loving me, for the same reason yours did, I expect. It was mainly the “mini-abandonments”, disappearing for hours or even days on a couple of occasions that were doing me in.
He’d say he was going for petrol and milk, or to see a workmate or some other bs and be gone ages. If I rang him he’d lie and say he would be home in such and such a time then not come home. He once went for milk and petrol, a five minute job and after an hour I rang him because we’d ran out of milk and I was gasping for a cup of tea. He was at his mother’s. Now you’d think people go to their mother’s and have tea and biscuits/ coffee and cake but turns out he was sniffing cocaine there because 2 of his nephews live there and one of them was dealing it! Such a lovely family!
The Saturday he still hadn’t come home from work on Friday night by teatime I rang him; he said he was stuck in traffick on the way home. Several hours later I rang again and he still lied and said he was on the way home. Now Ireland isn’t THAT big! It doesn’t take over 15 hours to get from Dublin to our village, so I said I didn’t believe him and he doubled down on the lie. He bowled in at about 3am Sunday morning! That really did me right in and was when I realised I had to get rid of him to save myself, and my son! It was emotional abuse and gaslighting and being all nicey-nicey to my face didn’t make it any less cruel and evil!

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
9 months ago

I am so bummed that I cannot attend Chumpalooza (#collegevisits)… so much mightiness in one room!

Friends and family alike were not happy that I was fully transparent about why I was getting divorced. If asked, I would remark that Mr. Sparkles was a cheater and didn’t limit himself to the OW he abandoned our family for, shockingly. I was filled and fueld by righteous anger. Why weren’t others in my life picking up the pitchforks?!? (Ha)

I think people were “put-off” by my truth and my passion for it… surely I could sweep it under the rug and say we just grew apart, right? WRONG. I may have picked me danced for a year after the discard, but I was never unclear about what I knew about Mr. Sparkles. (Cognitive dissonance was very strong.)

But, I admit, there did come a time where telling my story didn’t serve me (or my son) anymore. My circle knew my truth. My stepkids knew the truth. My son knew the truth. (Heck, I even made sure the OW and the subsequent GF knew the truth.)

At some point, I had to make a decision to put down my sword. I didn’t need to be in this fight with my past and seek validation for the wrong-doing of Mr. Sparkles anymore. I needed to put my past in my past and get working on a cheater free future.

I’m very very no contact with Mr. Sparkles. My son is 17 now (he was 9 when it all went down) and navigating how he wants his father in his life is up to him at this point. I don’t bring up Mr. Sparkles in conversation unless I’m helping a new chump – our numbers are growing every day – and I try to keep it constructive and non-emotional.

I’m so grateful to all of you – especially the folks still here who were with me back in 2014 and 2015… we are mighty because we confront our truth and heal.

Goodfriend
Goodfriend
9 months ago

Awesome post and insight. I emailed myself so many phrases to remember, and shared them with teen.

Chump no more
Chump no more
9 months ago

I told everyone I could trust and then I told every stranger that would listen. And I still do. Because so many things have happened in and out of court that you just can’t believe so it is kind of fun telling people just to see the reaction. Of course people can’t believe all that he got and gets away with and how so many people think of him as so charming. And now he comes off as Daddy of the Year when outsiders are around. So Yeah I still people it is still my therapy. I wish I could move on from it and not let it occupy any space but I’m not there yet. It’s not that I am even mad so much at him but more the entire legal system and how much they let him get away with.
Example.. Judge giving him a month to try and buy the house yet judge granted him that I had to help pay the mortgage because he admitted he couldn’t afford it. How does this make any sense? This is just a small example of the many things that happened.

OMG see I can’t even help but spill it here!! I’ll stop now!! 😉

SortOfOverIt
SortOfOverIt
9 months ago
Reply to  Chump no more

Chump No More,
Sometimes I will comment here with something that seem relevant to the exact topic at hand….and then notice my comment spirals into me just sharing one more random shitty thing the FW did. I think in early days many of us are bubbling over with things we want to tell someone and this is a safe space for that. And then those who are NOT in early days and are in meh or close to meh? They probably have so many insane stories that they can’t help but share. I think all of it helps new chumps. It did for me, it opened my eyes to the fact that all these cheaters are practically exactly the same. Different flavors maybe, but so much of the baseline fuckery is the same.

Formerchumpnowbride
Formerchumpnowbride
9 months ago
Reply to  Chump no more

Pretty sure here is a good place to spill it. What better place to get the support you deserve from people who understand what it is like? Chumplady lets us be mighty here.

nothisfriend
nothisfriend
9 months ago

I told my boss and co-workers because I might cry at my desk. I told my family within hours of finding out; sister got me to schedule some counseling immediately. Waited two days to confront and asked him to leave the house. Then…I told my hairdresser. I said I don’t care who she tells; that was worth gold! Bless her, she backed me immediately. Then I went to the doctor for my physical and told her what was happening. She did STD tests (I never thought of it) and took such good care of me. I had such a community around me immediately. Saw some friends over the next few months who said X and AP are just “good friends.” I told them of the proof I had and they were horrified. I knew there was no possibility of reconciliation so why not burn it to the ground.

Conchobara
Conchobara
9 months ago
Reply to  nothisfriend

One of the first I told was a trusted friend at work who I’ve known for 18 years because I needed her to run interference. I needed her to let a few key people at work know because I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone and we work in a small office (13 people) and the first week all I did was cry. I needed them to let me work from home that week (something the big boss hates). When I came in the second week I got so much love and support that I cried more and vomited word soup all over everyone but it actually helped me. Then was the OBGYN when I got tested, my hairdresser (whose brother was chumped by a former friend of mine), my GP and soon anyone who stood still for 2 minutes.

10 months later I have more control but in the beginning it was EVERYBODY.

nothisfriend
nothisfriend
9 months ago
Reply to  Conchobara

And the day the divorce was final my awesome co-workers brought out a big cake for us all and it was like a party that day.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  nothisfriend

Oh yes, I forgot I told some of my GPs as well. I’ve only just had a test last week though. A bit remiss of them not to offer me one straight away when I told but hopefully the results will be clear. I’ll get them on Thursday, wish me luck!

bepositive
bepositive
9 months ago

Oh my. I began by telling my family but then I got ticked off and reached out to mutual friends. The thing about these mutual friends is that one of them was in charge of the ministers in our district (my ex and the AP were both pastors). He promptly reached out and told the AP he could no longer be a reference for her (in her new job search) because of her misconduct. My ex has had his standing in the church revoked and can’t have a church until he completes 2 – 3 weeks of in-house therapy. He has refused to do this for 8 years now because he didn’t do anything wrong.

At that point, my EX asked me why I was telling everyone our business. I just stood and stared at him and finally said, I have the right to tell my story.

By the way, the punishments were all my fault. LOL!

FYI
FYI
9 months ago
Reply to  bepositive

If he did nothing wrong, then why does he care who knows? Logic is not their strong suit.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  bepositive

What a hypocrite your Ex is! “Thou Shalt NOT Commit Adultery” applies to him as well as the rest of us!
From the Gospels it’s clear that whilst Jesus is loving , He can’t STAND hypocrites! They were the only people He ever gave out to or about really!

Viktoria
Viktoria
9 months ago

Initially, and for many months in the throes of utter shock, I was in a daze and blurting out emotional retch randomly to “associate” friends, complete strangers on the street & store clerks things like, “My husband was dating colleagues & fucking prostitutes for decades!”

Then I told the “whole story” of the pre-D day marriage abuse back story, and the horrifying D-day story in detail to my very close friends. My poor dear close friends…. I ranted to them. They were and still are very kind & compassionate with me.

Now after processing the trauma for a year, I’m able to comparatively control myself. I’m learning how to say short & quippy things when asked about my impending divorce like, “Yeah he made his choices and lost me. I’m moving on & taking care of myself.”

Orchid Chump
Orchid Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Viktoria

I did the same. I told my boss, coworkers and anyone at the hospital who asked or didn’t ask. Lol. At first I kept the details simple but over time I started to tell everyone anytime about all of it. People were so supportive. I needed to talk about it because seeing people’s reactions helped me understand that it isn’t normal to fuck prostitutes unprotected and then fuck your wife. I also knew that if I didn’t tell people then I might stay.

The more people I told the more people told me they too were cheated on and how it happened. In my case it was super therapeutic to vomit my story.

I never told to his moms, his extended family or his friends about it. I figured they would just blame me for not “being enough”. I’m sure they know what he is like and they don’t want to see it.

justme
justme
9 months ago

Tried to talk to his Mother, she cut our convo short and hung up on me. His Aunt asked why I was tossing him out, when I said ” because he is a lying lier who lies” she said ” that does not sound like him.” Ya well it was. None of his family wants to know. And none have reached out in over a year to see how I and our son is doing. My own family do not seem to care either. NO ONE wants to deal with a womens anger.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  justme

I tell you what, bad times really show you people’s true colours, don’t they?
In my case I found out most of my extended family don’t give a toss about us really after my mother died, and then again after my father died. They just didn’t bother with my son and me, not even phone calls to to see how we were. It’s the sort of abandonment you never forget and though you let it go and sort of forgive it in terms of not seeking revenge nor starting a feud over it, it changes the way you see them forever. I’ll take the way our family turned their backs on my son and I after those bereavements to my grave!
Thanks be to God I have REAL fiends who DO care!

Bruno
Bruno
9 months ago
Reply to  justme

No one in my XW family would even talk to me either. Not even her brother, the Baptist pastor who married us.

Chumpdedump
Chumpdedump
9 months ago

I told one person before I left. My whole community assumed my ex had thrown ME out because I was having an affair, a lie that he conveniently encouraged. For a few years I told no one anything more than my ex wasn’t managing his free time well. After a few years I began telling colleagues and some new friends, but while I was telling the story, I noticed I was shaking, and afterwords I felt nauseous, so I stopped talking about it for several years. Now, 9 years after I left, I recently told someone I work with the entire story and I had the same response, so I got myself into therapy to deal with the PTSD.

Viktoria
Viktoria
9 months ago

Forgot to add, I also right away told my employers, my parents, my adult children, my in-laws, my pastors, my old college friends and everyone I have relationships with in my life. After years and decades of wondering “What is wrong with him, why does he do that?” (referring to his strange and covertly abusive behavior) I finally had the answer, I finally understand the “why”. The why was that he was lying to me and cheating on me with work-mates & paid sex workers, keeping secrets and living a secret double life. Although I was devastated and completely horrified, I was also relieved to finally understand what the hell was going on in my own marriage that I never understood or knew about. In a sense, that was a relief.

Squeaks
Squeaks
9 months ago

I told everyone too. I had/have no shame over this. I was an amazing wife to FW — I put so much of my time and care and support into him. Fuck his “I was neglected and abused” narrative — absolute nonsense. “I didn’t know I was miserable until AP showed me!” Nah. Fuck all of that. More f-bombs. I’m happy to tell anyone what happened.

Formerchumpnowbride
Formerchumpnowbride
9 months ago
Reply to  Squeaks

Amazing how when it all falls apart how horribly unhappy they have been for (pick one:) 1. So long 2. Our entire relationship 3.Didn’t know until AP showed me!

Freaking scriptwriters need to come up with some variety. Tired of those reruns.

SortOfOverIt
SortOfOverIt
9 months ago

There was a period where he was living a double life and I was not yet aware. He often mentioned how much he hated his life. ( gee..thanks) Then there was an embarrassingly long period where I knew about AP, and he still complained about how much he hated his life. ( during that stint, I think what made him genuinely miserable was that he didn’t want to be the guy that leaves his wife and kid for a schmoopie, but he also very much wanted to leave. But also wanted me to be on board with this plan so he didn’thave to feel bad…none of those can coexist so I think he felt completely trapped). Anyway, things didn’t work out with schmoopie and now he will be living alone. I guess he can either make himself a new bettrr life or he can actually have a life worth hating. He begged me to reconcile and all I can think is ” guess you didn’t hate your life so bad, huh?”

Squeaks
Squeaks
9 months ago

Yeah. First it was 4 years. Then 6 years. Then the whole relationship. Then he didn’t know he was miserable til AP showed him what being in love truly was. She’s welcome to him. They both fuckin suck.

His exit was 2 weeks after we had a really great family roadtrip vacation — hit up water parks, ate great food, visited long-time friends. Talked, made love (despite my never having sex with him and we were roommates and blablabla). It was great. But nah. He was miserable the whole time, apparently.

Whatever. Someone better will appreciate and benefit from my awesome vacation-planning, life-wrangling skillz…. just have to find him.

Attie
Attie
9 months ago

Thanks for a great half hour you guys, and well done to you Paul. As for the Cornish tattoos they probably said “I’m with stupid”! Now there’s a delicious thought!

Samsara
Samsara
9 months ago
Reply to  Attie

Hahaha Attie, brilliant! Probably whoever came up with those vintage gold Tshirts back in the day should start making them again — just with the stupidity we encounter here they would be the new billionaires!

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
9 months ago

I vomited, or, as I like to think of it, shed a cleansing light on FW’s dark secrets.

It helped to talk about, and god bless
the people who listened to me go on and on. Talking allowed me to process what had happened and to get my version of events out there.

I’m a proponent of talking rather than suffering in silence. And I saw no reason to protect the FW.

Formerchumpnowbride
Formerchumpnowbride
9 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

One of the reasons I’m glad I didn’t keep it a secret was that my friends have always seen me as a “strong, independent, professional woman who has it all”. With the financial and emotional abuse I was taking for years, I realize it was important that they saw it wasn’t “weakness” that made me put up with it for so long. It wasn’t me, it was him. I’ve had friends who said they no longer put up with it without shame because they saw me, someone they felt was a strong outspoken woman, who dealt with the same crap they did. They knew then, that it wasn’t their fault, they weren’t weak, broken, flawed, or failures at being a partner. They too could be mighty.

After I met my now husband, I was living my best life. A friend had just left her husband and going through a very stressful divorce as he was really abusive. He is still friends with my ex. When she had simply gone to dinner with a male colleague he accused her of jumping into someone else’s bed right away (irony!) and that he “Just knew she would go the way of (Formerchumpnowbride)”. She told me over drinks.

So I said, “Go the way of me? What, get financial freedom, personal freedom, relief from abuse, and live happily ever after? Oh no, how terrible!” She laughed. I hadn’t seen her laugh in a while. She’s now several years out and happy again. If we keep these thing secret out of shame (although there is nothing wrong with keeping it close, we all have our boundaries) then we perpetuate that there is shame to be had as a chump. I won’t let my friends suffer like that.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
9 months ago

Now that I separated my finances, the first expenses I initiated was Patreon. CL is my therapy and a heck of a lot cheaper. lol

I mainly need the snarky cheerleading to keep me going. This blog is incredible but hearing voices in a podcast sharing the pain and laughing at the absurdity is so healing.

Telling our stories is healing. I’m considering signing up to learn how to tell my story better though I don’t think much of mine is entertaining. It has had some moments that maybe I will laugh at later. I have not been shy about telling. I knew I needed to tell if I was to get any support anywhere in my journey out. My RBF doesn’t make me a great candidate for standup comedy. I think I would come off like a bad Lewis Black impersonation, pissed off and sticking my finger in the air at the injustice and stupidity. Well, damn. Maybe that’s my schtick. lol

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago

The purpose isn’t always to entertain although that may happen. A good story wraps the listener up and can result in learning, experiencing something through someone else’s words or just sharing someone else’s feelings.
Try it!

UXworld
UXworld
9 months ago

FWIW, I love Lewis Black.

Formerchumpnowbride
Formerchumpnowbride
9 months ago

I’d watch that standup. Solidarity in RBF with snarky comedy. 🙂

Formerchumpnowbride
Formerchumpnowbride
9 months ago

So many reasons I was not wanting to tell anyone. I was ashamed. It shouldn’t have been my shame, but I had at least ONE person ask me what I did to make him cheat. Another who believed his lies that if I had “put out more”, he wouldn’t have left. Neither of those people are my friends anymore. Apparently never were.

At first, you’re scared that if you tell people, they will see you as a failure. Or, if you decide to reconcile (ha!) that they won’t treat your FW nicely anymore. All sorts of stories out there as to why you should keep it secret. FW is an actual covert narcissist so he hoped I wouldn’t tell anyone because he didn’t want “anyone to think I’m a deadbeat/bad husband/cheater/whatever he is”. When I gathered my wits, my answer to that was “If you don’t want to be known as one, DON’T BE ONE.” I didn’t bother shouting it from the rooftops but I didn’t sugarcoat it when people asked. The answer to “why did you guys split up” literally came from his own mouth: “Because he knew I wouldn’t accept his girlfriends”.

Telling our son came a lot later, and in age appropriate terms, but no lies. He knows I won’t lie to him about anything, as I’ve been the sane parent for as long as he can remember. That has been super important to our relationship.

Don’t sugarcoat it. Don’t lie. The only person who benefits from your silence (beyond court-ordered, that is) is the FW and his Schmoopie(s). It takes some time stop internalizing society’s blame on the chumps, but once you do and realize you don’t carry the shame, they do, you move more toward mighty.

Love the podcast. UXWorld, you are amazing and mighty, and so impressive. If you can do that, we can persevere. The one time I had a hard time, I was in the grocery store with my toddler and a former coworker of FW saw me. She asked after him, I mentioned we were divorced now, so I had no idea what he was up to. Then she proceeded to ask me why we got divorced, I mean, why would I ever divorce him? Since I had no connection, personal or professional to her and she was pretty much a stranger, when she asked “Can I ask what caused your divorce?” I just said “No”. I’m not letting her enjoy my trauma in the produce aisle when I just want to get my onions and leave.

So both. It is mighty to tell anyone you want, but you also don’t owe anyone an explanation if you don’t feel like it either.

UXworld
UXworld
9 months ago

Exactly so, Formerchumpnowbride. Whatever strategy keeps you at your mightiest is the one you need to go with. #GetYourOnionsAndLeave

Formerchumpnowbride
Formerchumpnowbride
9 months ago
Reply to  UXworld

Ha! Great hashtag. Now I’m going to remember that anytime I decide not to entertain someone’s morbid curiosity. #GetYourOnionsAndLeave. Thanks for your mightiness on the podcast. You give us all strength.

Bruno
Bruno
9 months ago

I told a friend, then my siblings, my therapist, my pastor, my mortgage broker, everyone in my men’s group, my teenage sons, my neighbors, my employer, almost anyone who would listen. I needed to be heard. I needed to be validated. It was therapeutic.
I got involved in divorce recovery groups through my church and eventually co-led them. Every new group I would tell my story as an example, then listen. Encourage others in the group to tell theirs as they felt safe. Sometimes their stories would come out like a firehouse. Others would tell a bit, but then hold back out of shame or embarrassment. Eventually as we bonded as a group and they felt accepted the stories came out, frequently with tears and shuddering sobs. That is a sacred moment. That is claiming your value as a child of God.

TooManyTears
TooManyTears
9 months ago

I was so stunned when I found evidence that X had been secretly texting, emailing and FBing with someone he knew 30 years earlier.
They started the year before we married, when we married, and a year after til I found a stupid love collage she made him… (it fell out of a book)
I wrote everything down I had discovered, every detail, met my sisters for a drink and handed them the paper. I was literally speechless.
That ended soon enough and I told EVERYONE. Even strangers – the upside? So much kindness from strangers. The downside? Seeing the true colors of his miserable family and mutual friends who headed for the hills.
Turned out to be a good vetting process.

TooManyTears
TooManyTears
9 months ago
Reply to  TooManyTears

Wanted to add- ^^^^^
That was the first “indiscretion”
After the next few episodes of “just friends” – I told everyone everything like it was a TV sitcom, perhaps “Shitcom” is more apropos.
Every-time anyone new got hired at his job, people would line up to hear the latest episode. Lol

Lollipop 🍭
Lollipop 🍭
9 months ago
Reply to  TooManyTears

TMT, I love the “Shitcom” idea 👏👏👏

Stephen
Stephen
9 months ago

I like the part of this where we share what people said to us 😂. I got “those things happen”; “she’s always had problems”; “at least it was only a 10 month marriage”; “how long did you know her before you got married?”; “at least it is over”; “it could have been worse”. Mostly people just wonder how long I knew her before we got married – a year. There were a ton of red flags but I blew past every one of them. Love, trust, lust – you know, the usual things that interfere with getting to “know” someone

Formerchumpnowbride
Formerchumpnowbride
9 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

I’ve discovered they ask those things to find out what you did wrong to “trigger” or “deserve” being chumped. Humans are deeply frightened of everything, especially potential to be hurt. They need to reason that “Ah, he didn’t know her long enough, I made sure to do the right thing, my spouse will never do that to me!” While it is super crappy of them, it’s a weird maladaptive self-preservation mechanism. Hopefully someday people would realize how crappy, but alas, humans will human.

No matter who you are, what you did, what you didn’t do, you never deserved, you never caused the cheating. There are a million ways to deal with relationship problems, up to and including ending the relationship without hurting the other person. It’s never about that. FWs want to abuse and blame you, and that’s the whole of it. People trying to reason themselves into their own protective bubble are not good support.

Now I.C.
Now I.C.
9 months ago

I vomited on everyone. I still tell the whole story (as appropriate) but I don’t cry while doing it now so it is less of a violent purge, more of a statement of my life history. My story now includes my tale of mighty.

My story is a filter. Anyone who reacts with curiosity about how I caused him to do this or starts talking about how no one knows what goes on in a marriage gets filed away in the idiot box and are not considered friends. It has been 6 years.

BTW, Paul’s story for those who can’t attend Chumpalooza is here: https://www.chumplady.com/2016/10/the-stranger/ October 20, 2016 in the Chump Lady Archives.

KK traded down. WAY down. I mean seriously, what a moron.

BlueChumparoo
BlueChumparoo
9 months ago

First two “indiscretions” (his word), I didn’t tell anyone because I was humiliated. It was a complete embarrassment to me that my husband was abusing me. I had, yet again, picked the wrong guy. He fooled me for two years, then in a fit of rage he screamed at me, “I’M TIRED OF PRETENDING TO BE WHO YOU WANT ME TO BE!” Like it was MY fault, I FORCED him to pretend. Such a mind-fuck. I was 4 months pregnant, had recently quit my job because he made plenty and I wanted to be a stay at home mom, and I felt stuck. I spackled with “he was just angry and doesn’t mean it”.

The third D-day was a full-blown months long affair and I told everyone. We did wreckonciliation, “therapy” with FIVE therapists. I thought he had realized his mistakes and didn’t want to lose me. Ugh I feel so stupid. All he did was go underground.

The fifth and final, (with my married mother of three friend, his nurse), I told everyone I was around. Grocery store clerk, hairdresser, neighbors, strangers, parents at mutual school, my doctors, social acquaintances, his family , my family, her husband. Reactions were all over the board. Her husband defended her and attacked me for making up stories that were hurting our children. Said that Skankawhoreus saw him as a “father figure” only. “She said that’s why they’re so close” gag. My ex is 18 years older, looks 25 years older, but could actually be her father. So gross. (She finally confessed to her husband. She had cheated on him THREE times before. They tried to work it out but my ex wouldn’t stop love bombing her. They finally divorced, and her husband apologized to me. I told him I wasn’t upset with him, only felt badly for his pain, and wished I had a husband who loved me so much, who would come to my defense. Not fair that she has men falling and fighting over her!)

It was, and still is, humiliating to me, but I speak my truth. I refuse to keep their dirty secrets. They were secretly married immediately after our divorces and I told my son, who in turn told his much older half-sister (ex’s daughter), who questioned her father, who then said to our son, “It wasn’t her secret to tell”. Those two dysfunctional asshats thought I would keep the fact that they were MARRIED a secret? Crazy.

Paul is one mighty chump! I’d like to imagine I could do that, storytelling is an art and talent. Awesome he’s going to help coach! It will be very empowering to tell an audience. And what a perfect audience it will be. Full of kind supportive fellow chumps ❤️

Roaring
Roaring
9 months ago

For a while I told ‘everyone’ and my close friends, daughter, and family supported me. So grateful.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, for me) our church and his family supported x.

Also unfortunately for me, x continued his life in our community brazenly and I was so ashamed I crawled into a cave of depression. It seems so unfair now, but TBH, x had been living his brazen life for a long time before D-day.

What really surprised me though is that, despite knowing all along that he had raped his little sister for eight years (when she was a child – statute of limitations prevented litigation (I checked) – as well as knowing the ‘new’ details of his secret sexual basement, his family blamed me for the demise of the marriage and our ministers shamed me for being unforgiving when I reached out for some understanding. One of them actually devoted a service on the ‘gifts’ of promiscuity (and his husband, our one-time-only marriage counselor, shamed me for having contempt for x. He was Gottman trained and used all the buzzwords).

Apparently nothing/no one shames x.

I wish I could focus more on the compassion I’ve received from the good people in my life and quit thinking about how unfair that x is remorseless.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago
Reply to  Roaring

Just when you think you’ve heard it all!!
Those people who turned on you for a child rapist are nearly as evil as he is! The fact that some of them pretend to be Christians makes them even worse! Shame on the lot of them! Snakes!
I’m so sorry, what appalling injustices you’ve had done to you!

Leftbehindlily
Leftbehindlily
9 months ago
Reply to  Roaring

What an appalling story! You have my sympathy.

Orchid Chump
Orchid Chump
9 months ago
Reply to  Leftbehindlily

Mine too, I’m soo sorry you went through that!!

Josh
Josh
9 months ago

My closest friends and family know, they watched it and heard about it. I will let the boys figure it out as they get older.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago

I’ve only told the story to 2 of my old mates in England, my counsellors, and couple of Samaritans. I’ve told my priests some of it, editing any sordid details because they don’t need to hear it. I’ve told my adult son that STBXH committed adultery and that’s all. He went very quiet and I could tell he was shocked, upset and angry. He hasn’t mentioned it since so I haven’t either; I suppose he just doesn’t need to hear it either, he was aware of enough of FWs bollixing as it was! In fact only last year he said that FW “…just does what he wants and I don’t know how you put up with it!”
I put up with far too much even before I found out he cheated as well, because I was so isolated, have no life really, and scared stiff of being almost totally alone and living on Social Welfare and my tiny NHS Pension. Scared stiff of the poverty!
Once I found out he cheated, those things became far less scary than letting him carry on living here and carry on treating me like dirt, making me ill!
The other people I’ve told most of it too is CL and CN! Thank you so much Tracy and CN for being here for me, I can’t thank ye enough!

Chumpnomore
Chumpnomore
9 months ago

To this day my ex denies anything was going on even though he and his OW/coworker married each other six months after our divorce was final. When I tell people I’m divorced I tell them “it’s ok. He’s happy now. He married his coworker who left her husband the same time he left six months after our divorce was final.” I let them do the math. I think I was actually the last person to believe he was cheating. Other people told me they suspected so I didnt really have to tell.

Leftbehindlily
Leftbehindlily
9 months ago

I didn’t have to tell anyone. Apparently everyone knew except me. I was determined to keep it from our adult children, and so suffered in silence only to later learn that he’d allowed our youngest to “discover” him weeping “because your mother thinks I did something I didn’t do.” What a sack of feces he turned out to be!

SouthernChump
SouthernChump
9 months ago

If the situation lends itself, the convo typically goes something like this:

Me: “I am a survivor”

Them: typically gasp and say
“Oh cancer is awful! I’m so sorry!”

Me: “Oooooo NOT that kind of survivor, my kids and I are domestic abuse and narcissistic survivors.”

Them: Wide Eyed and Shocked, not sure of what to say next.

Me: “It’s ok. I get that it is shocking and I own it. I promise no one wants this as part of their story but it is part of my story. I’m stronger for it and now I use my experience to help other women and children in need of getting out of controlling relationships.”

Them: “That’s amazing!”

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
9 months ago

I shared from the start. And the more I was told that I shouldn’t share (“you need to save your marriage for your child….don’t let anyone know about this”), the more outspoken I became. Because from the minute I opened my mouth about it, I realized it ensured I put a nail in any relationship with that FW. There was no going back. I let everyone know so that FW would never even CONSIDER me a back up plan. He became terrified of me because I was LOUD about it. He couldn’t hide his cheating — everyone knew. I listened to the podcast just now and how narcissists hate to be ridiculed … I was the queen of ridiculing that FW narcissist.

FW’s office knew the night he left me for his coworker — I sent an email to his 2 bosses.

The first call I made was to my Rabbi — who was so stunned that he asked to hang up for a few minutes and called me back and gave me the most incredible support and brought the community around me.

I called my mom — and she went through her own trauma and fear because she had trusted FW too. He was the executor of her will since my dad had passed away just 3 years prior, and they both trusted FW. But she stepped up to help as best she could.

I called his mom. That started as helpful but she turned on me quickly. Lesson learned.

I called my sister. We had been estranged for years (she’s not the healthiest herself), but she stepped up for a few years before she disappeared again. But at least I got some support for my son and she knew some lawyers when I needed to get out of the one I hired initially.

Thankfully I had a therapist I had just started seeing after DDay and she even recommending sharing. She said “you are no longer his secret keeper.” Best advice ever

Everyone in the neighborhood knew straight away… I needed their help. Within a couple of weeks of moving out, FW wanted to come by to get a bunch of his belongings — but he chose to mock me and scare me by saying AP would drive her minivan and come with him. When I said that she couldn’t go anywhere near the property, he laughed at me. I was shaking with anxiety at the thought of being alone when they came. Luckily a friend from Australia was in touch with me and he was a former chump too. He gave me some awesome advice. He said “call all your neighbors and have them there in the driveway when they get there. Have a party.” It was a Sunday morning when I was dropping my son off at Hebrew school ….and FW was supposed to pick up his things right after. I called neighbors and nearby friends and about 12 people showed up! We put all of FW’s things in the driveway and I gave out coffee and donuts. For real. FW and AP showed up and were mortified. They kept their cars in the street and quickly grabbed FW’s things and left. FW’s face was red with anger. Later FW drove by creepily and stared at me while I was cleaning up outside. I was scared inside but just stood up and stared back — he raced off. About a month later, he screamed at me about my “party” LOL I was so very thankful for the support of my neighbors.

I didn’t share on Facebook…but I did privately message friends to let them know. And now — 8 years out — I share very matter of factly with anyone and everyone. I easily share that I’m divorced from a cheating loser. Sometimes it helps me discover if someone else has been through it (divorced from a cheater themselves or many people share about their experience with a cheating dad).

Share away! Remember that you have zero shame in this. It took me a while to see that clearly but it helps so much when you out FW creepy gaslighting and secrets.

KB22
KB22
9 months ago

Too funny! The last thing the cheaters expected when they drove up was an audience. What a great idea.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

Fantastic tip from your Australian friend. Forced encounter? Throw a party. Yay.

In regards to your advice to have “zero shame,” as an advocate I would sometimes get to hear battering survivors being coached by lawyers on how to testify in court and one suggestion I’ll never forget is the idea that if the survivor doesn’t feel shame, the jury won’t feel shame for them and the perp’s defense will only embarrass themselves by trying to instill shame. In that sense you were “shameless” and that’s amazing. The fact that he had to drive by after the party to glare was probably terrifying but also solid proof you took back power in that moment and, by doing so, exposed how everything your ex did was about siphoning power from the get-go. It’s all branch waving, chest beating and knuckle dragging primitive monkey shit.

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
9 months ago

Hell of a Chump, interesting point about how survivors are coached to testify in court. I only appeared in court once (for emergency financial support/pendente lite) and my whole goal was to just be polite, honest and non-reactive. But his attorney tried to shame me. She tried to make it look like we had always had a bad marriage. But I stayed calm and polite. I only answered the questions and didn’t elaborate. And FW looked worse and worse. I kept reminding myself that I had nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of — I didn’t do anything wrong. The judge awarded me “more than maximum” 🙂 (to be clear — it was still not enough to pay my bills — but it was the best possible outcome under the law)

In mediation, my “party” did come up with the attorneys at one point because FW continued to harbor anger over it (LOL!). But my therapist coached me on it. She said that I should tell the truth — that FW threatened to bring AP to my home and refused to be reasonable. So I too was entitled to have friends with me to support me. My neighbors didn’t say anything to AP or FW. They were just present to ensure that everything remained calm and keep the peace — since FW was threatening and bringing AP to my home. And I corrected his attorney that it wasn’t a “party” — they were only there to support me and as soon as FW left, they went home. However FW came back — in an attempt to inimidate me when I was alone again. Once that was stated, his attorney backed way off. And I think she reprimanded him for his stupidity. AP never came by again 🙂

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

MichelleShocked– What you did is brilliant. And I love this thing of lacing what otherwise might be a horrible, trauma-flooding memory with some prank-like gesture that makes you crack up for years. I think we extend our lifespans with moments like that. So, between us, I really like thinking you threw a party because clearly that’s the impression FW and the dogtress had and precisely what bothered them so much. For the purposes of court, sure, it’s a “gathering of supporters” which is fine because both things are true simultaneously.

That reminds me of something else the director of the service I worked for would say a lot: that, in legal confrontations, it’s rarely enough to simply be innocent and tell the truth– the idea being that the innocent party needs to have a better grasp of the facts and overarching themes than the opposition. In other words, the victim needs to have a sophisticated political “armature” to keep from being destroyed by lies. It seems really sad and unfair that innocent parties have to be canny and shrewd about countering perp maneuvers (i.e., throwing a “witness party”) to prevail but that’s the reality we live in. Because I’d already been subjected to intense blameshifting by flying monkeys, I was already aware of this reality when I went through a criminal case and lawsuit against a workplace stalker when I was a college intern and had to take the stand in the civil case (a jury trial because the perp wouldn’t settle). At first it seemed kind of sickening that the whole thing was performance art and all about who could present better bullshit, but then I came to a less cynical way of looking at it. If legitimate victims cast off all the false shame foisted on us by culture or whatever, we can simplify the optics for observers– help them see the truth.

The judge assigned to the civil case was sharp so there was zero room for drama or sarcasm on either side but the rule of this kind of confrontation seems to be that the person with the better grasp of all the facts and more evidence can afford to be subtler. The defense attorney would try to grandstand with typical shenanigans like grilling me on sexual history. He could barely contain his predatory excitement in doing this because it was his only hope of biasing the jury. All I’d have to do to mess him up was basically to not feel shame in response. I simply stared back at him with a “Oh, huh?” look for an extra beat– nothing the judge could cite me for. I micro-shrugged off the attempts to slut-shame and would give straightforward answers with no hemming or hawing or downcast glances. Again, I knew it was a kind of performance art but I realized it wasn’t my fault I was aware of the optics. We live in a horribly victim-blaming culture and the deck is stacked.

The most moving part of the process was this feeling that the act of seeking justice and being clear about events and my role in them appeared to have some spiritually elevating effect on the jury. I think what every genuine survivor consciously or unconsciously seeks in telling their story is the sense that something meaningless, awful and pointless can be transformed into something meaningful and positive. At first I was painfully embarrassed about the fact that thirteen average people were disrupting their lives and work to commit to jury service so this had a real impact, especially after one juror bowed out because she was in the middle of chemotherapy. But then I started sensing the jury were getting something out of their participation. They couldn’t have been a more diverse group but, in the hallways on break throughout the trial, my attorney and I watched as jurists were all lightheartedly bonding together. We saw them trading phone numbers by the end. The happy fraternizing obviously wasn’t because they didn’t take the case seriously since the punitive award the jury granted was massive. In organizational psych, that behavior is apparently a mark of people who feel really good about what they’re accomplishing. In other words, stand your ground, refuse to be ashamed over crimes you didn’t commit and watch the positive ripple effects.

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
9 months ago

Hell of a Chump — thank you for sharing this. Wow. You are mighty in many ways.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago

Hi fellow chumps, it took me years to tell anyone what I was going through. But once I started telling, I could hear how absurd I sounded. How fearful and ashamed and embarrassed. One friend said, it sounds abusive! And I really felt that. Another friend said, he is a manipulator. Before I told anyone, I could not have conceived of those labels because in my mind, he’s my husband and should be the most important person for me, right? I can’t believe I looked up to him. I thought he was smarter and more hard-working than I was. I went to him for advice. I depended on him. I had children with him! Turns out I was projecting all my OWN good qualities onto him and he did not deserve it. He acted like I owed him for staying with me??? Like I’m such a hideous freak that he took pity on me? (Before I kicked his ass out, he actually said that he married me out of pity.) WTF.

Right now, I am trying to reframe things for my own sanity.

One, I loved and shared everything I had with someone who eventually came to treat me with contempt. I had 3 kids with him. I committed with my whole heart and my whole bank account. So that is a win for me. I was able to go deep and I assumed he would/could do the same for me. But I realized, no. He can’t or won’t. That’s his loss.

Two, although I hate his guts and wish he would just disappear, it would be useless to unload my hatred on him. It would be like screaming at a rock. The rock will just sit there and not care. That is him and my energy is better served on myself and getting through the divorce. And on loving my kids no matter where our lives go from now on.

Three, it’s only money. I can make more! And it will be mine! Now, I don’t enjoy the idea of having to split my assets with him to get the divorce. But it looks like it’s the cost of admission to FW FREEDOM, so I need to get to it. I need to think of it as a business transaction and just move on with my life. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk!

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

It really bites when chumps are the higher earners and have to actually pay their abusers. The idea of it is appalling. I hope that changes one day but your attitude towards it is inspiring. You’re the Golden Goose in many ways– in terms of positive energy, creativity, love and authenticity and, of course earning potential. Let him choke on your leftovers and watch your dust.

Ain't It a Shame
Ain't It a Shame
9 months ago

I told my sibling and a good friend but hadn’t planned on telling anyone else, but I’m grateful that they encouraged me to not keep it bottled up. They really helped me keep my sanity the first few weeks.

Fuckwit supposedly was pissed that I told his family. Oh, well! Even though some people were shocked - fuckwit wore an effective public mask - telling people the truth was cathartic in a way that I hadn't anticipated. I no longer felt compelled to pretend that everything was OK, to fix or feel shame over fuckwit's issues and it gave me the push that I needed to make changes to my life.

New York nutbag
New York nutbag
9 months ago

Originally I never wanted to talk about the betrayal…I’d have rather it was just assumed we couldn’t make it as a couple and just ended it. We had 3 small kids and I needed to make sure they had no incriminating questions for me when they got older, mostly the AP was a predator and I wanted desperately to keep the kids from such scum.
So we went to counseling with our pastor . As I told my part of the story and what I discovered she cherry picked segments of my story and the DARVO thing. After the session I met with some of our “Alpine,”friends that yodeled her side to me that had more holes than their regional cheese. The narrative she spewed to them had more hills and dales than the area surrounding the Matterhorn. My description of the events never changed as it was factual and not something she pulled from her “Guyerie” to do impression management. Soon the lederhosen clad clan started to have “ah ha” moments and realized she was full of shit. Too late for me to interact with them again but strangely satisfying. I kept telling the truth and she to this day plays the victim and the furry woodland creature. Bottom line? I can look in the mirror at the guy I’m shaving and like him

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

That bottom line is so important if just for basic mental health. Personally I suspect that what makes some people stupid isn’t so much a lack of brain cells but that, in order to alter and disremember their own histories of ill deeds, they develop huge and growing blind spots in their ability to think and perceive the world. Ending up dumb is probably the less serious outcome but I also think it can make people downright nuts. Most abusive people are too devious and wily in avoiding consequences to be categorized as crazy. But it’s possible that committing abuse eventually makes people crazy.

Chumpkins
Chumpkins
9 months ago

Destructive people becoming insane is a theme which goes way back.

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.”
A proverb falsely attributed to Euripides, but it is a theme in ancient greek literature. Even the bible has such stories, like Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel. Modern authors too, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Maugham, Longfellow. Even the famous firing of General Douglas Macarthur by the Truman white house. Not that a cheater deserves such exalted company.

Shadow
Shadow
9 months ago

Yes, a person can be both bad and mad! Look at Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer and Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper!
Extreme examples, yes, but true nevertheless!

CheatingIsTreason
CheatingIsTreason
9 months ago

I’ve started thinking of that time in my life as a ‘plot twist’ I thought my life was going to be with him forever.
the princess thought she found her prince, but PLOT TWIST he was an abusive FW in disguise, she snapped out of his spell, rescued herself, escaped and built a life that her 6 year old self would be so excited about!! and no men included.

The skills I gained when going no contact with him gave me the skills to stop taking shit sandwiches from crappy friends too.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

Wow, so great to hear from a familiar avatar “coming out” publicly as himself. It takes grit or “sisu” as my mother would put it.

In regards to Paul’s ex’s habit of showing up wherever he happens to be, it makes sense from the perspective that FW’s are really nothing more than abusers and, in my experience, all abusers are stalker-ish on some level. As a woman I’d probably find conduct like that more threatening than Paul does but I’m sure that depends on the history of the FW in question.

It’s certainly demented behavior. I was listening to a rambling, half-sciency and half-subjective segment by narcissism researcher and self-designated narcissist Sam Vaknin about how covert narcissists are so vapid and empty that they seek to usurp and take on the identities of victims and then destroy the latter. Frankly he made it sound sort of like the “woman suit” from Silence of the Lambs but maybe he’s onto something considering many FWs’ weird tendencies to borrow tastes and views from chumps, the way they drag affair partners all over places and events that had significance to marriages, show up like bad pennies on chump turf, etc. Then there’s also APs’ frequently reported compulsion to copycat chumps and pee all over chump territory.

It’s beyond my ability to understand. I’m really pedestrian about these things and tend to, you know, move towards people I love and respect and away from people don’t.

weedfree
weedfree
9 months ago

HOAC Sam Vaknin got me through some dark times. Saturday mornings I spent listening to his YT videos whilst scraping dog hair off the rug. His videos with Richard Grannon are very interesting, even though they have now fallen out (Sammy thinks Richie is a covert saviour type who steals his ideas, even though they are in the public domain). I now consider myself somewhat healed as I barely listen to him anymore, although occasionally something interesting pops up.

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

From the mouths of babes and self-designated narcissists, right? I appreciate some of the things Vaknin talks about. He seems to be a kind of confessionalist. By exposing his own MO, he’s created a marketable niche by explaining how abusive narcissists think and operate. It makes him a constructive type of traitor.

I also relate to listening to this stuff less and less the further away I get from “ground zero.” 😀

weedfree
weedfree
9 months ago

I dont know whether it was cognitive bias, or desperation to find a new world order where my entire life made any sense, but Vaknin’s videos on narcissistic mortification described perfectly the mental demise of my FW – the bits I got to witness were absolutely bizarro. Post D-Day he wrote a letter to my son’s teacher about the parallels between driving a taxi during off peak hours and school attendance – it was the rantings of a madman. Although FW had the ability to sound like a maddy, enough for me to worry whether my child was safe, I noticed he could switch it off when it wasnt getting him what he wanted (flashback to Ed Norton clapping in Primal Fear: “Well good for you Marty” – how many of us felt like that?!)
Oh to be fuckwit free in ’23. I am single and ready to single.

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

Wow, with the Primal Fear quote, you just gave the ultimate illustration for those weird “did that really just happen?” wtf moments where FWs– ever so fleetingly– show they’re fully cognizant of being psychos (mediocre movie with a brilliant performance by Norton. Clip for anyone curious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbaW0HZ_Qy8). There was a very similar moment in the Debra Newell part of the Dirty John series where the John Meehan character played by Eric Bana is busted for cheating by his ex wife in a flashback scene. His demeanor suddenly shifts from “me-so-unassuming” to cold, malevolent exasperation and he says something like, “Are we really going to do this now?”

weedfree
weedfree
9 months ago

and the classic Stepfather “Who am I here” scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZRgNWSKAvU

OHFFS
OHFFS
9 months ago

I told my people. I was heartbroken by how unsympathetic many of them were. They were angry because I was planning to leave FW. FW was useful to them, did them favors, so as they saw it, I was cutting them off from that. A minority of them were empathetic and outraged
on my behalf. The rest either didn’t want to hear it (it made them uncomfortable) or were angry with me. So now I know which ones weren’t ever really my people. They changed their tunes later on when I cut them off (I guess they found me useful and still wanted me in their lives) but the damage was done. I can’t see a way to forgive them for kicking me when I was as down as I’ve ever been in my life. Sadly, my eldest child was the worst one. She ghosted the whole family so she wouldn’t have to deal with it, so we have not spoken for almost five years. FW managed to get back into contact with her and sucked up to her, so now he gets to visit my grandchildren once a month. I doubt I’ll ever see them again. ☹ She would only consider it if I do what FW did and kiss her ass, letting her have complete control and power. I am constitutionally incapable of being a sycophant and giving anyone complete power and control over me. DD1 is a lot like FW, and I suspect she was once an OW herself. Consequently, she is his favourite and he dances to her tune. DD2 is more like me and has been a lifesaver. She’s a darling girl. FW never really did appreciate her and she is now extremely LC with him. I bought and restored her dream house for us (I let her pick her fave one) and left FW. She loves it here and loves being without FW.

I also told my doctor and a couple of people I had just met. One of the best responses I got was from a stranger who saw me crying. She was so compassionate it made me cry harder, but with relief that somebody understood. She guessed FW was a narc, because her cheating ex was as well. Fellow chumps are everywhere.

FW told his people. He was the one doing most of the emotional vomiting. He admitted what he’d done, and I know he did because I heard him on the phone. I haven’t heard from any of them since.

luckychump/hesdead
luckychump/hesdead
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

By allowing FW to become a wedge between you and your oldest daughter and your grandchildren you give him power to hurt you even more. This is the kind of damaging hurt that will incrementally increase over time. FW stole the years he was married to you and cheating. Don’t let him steal your future years with your older daughter and your grandchildren. You don’t have to kiss anyone’s ass. Tell her you love her, and start a new chapter in your life. You never have to mention FW or the past. Don’t let him fuck up your future. The ball is in your court.

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

So sorry that you lost contact with your eldest daughter, that is so sad, even if she is a lot like FW, it must be a very hard thing to deal with, and your grandkids too 🙁

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

I’m so sorry this happened with one daughter. One thing is clear– you were modeling something far healthier.

DrDr
DrDr
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

It breaks my heart to hear about your oldest daughter. Glad the other daughter is close to you. I am struggling with one of my sons. He blames me for a lot.

New York nutbag
New York nutbag
9 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

My heart has been broken many many times but never by an enemy…you are mighty OHFFS

Elsie
Elsie
9 months ago

Initially, I said nothing, then let ‘er rip when he decided to live in another state. I quickly figured out that our long-term friends at church were far more sympathetic to him than to me, so I backed off. They helped us move and someone sometimes paid our rent, but I kept it brief after that. I also discovered that they were far more positive about him coming back and things working out than I was.

I learned who I could rant to and who I couldn’t. Most people who could tolerate my rants had been through something similar. I eventually found new friends through a twelve-step group who knew how to let me rant and how to make productive comments. They are my best buds now. They know the WHOLE story, especially my sponsor. And they are enough.

Almost six years later, there’s still one lady at church who is praying that he comes back so that we can remarry. It’s like she forgot all the mess that led to the divorce. Just…no…I’m truly A-OK, as-is. Truly.

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

The lady at church praying for your worst nightmare to manifest? They say God hears all prayers but I get the feeling some end up in the round file, otherwise my neighbor’s endlessly barking dog would get laryngitis.

Kokichi
Kokichi
9 months ago

Google “Anti dog barking device.” I used one that looked like a bird house. Ended up needing more than one since the neighbor’s backyard was big, but it shut down a super noisy German Shepherd that had zero oversight. Since the “bird house” was hanging on my side of the fence and the neighbor didn’t know what it was… problem solved! And it was water proof and the batteries lasted forever.

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

Thanks so much. I’m definitely going to try it. The dog is dictating our schedule.

UpAndOut
UpAndOut
9 months ago

I suffered in silence for over 20 years – don’t be me! The abuser wins if no one speaks up.

I grew up with my parents’ belief that you “don’t air your dirty laundry” and that personal problems should be discussed “only in the confessional,” and that counselors are quacks. They did not care about emotions or feelings. They shut down my emotions early in childhood, by sending me to my room whenever I cried, and by ignoring any emotions except for happiness.

As a result, I told no one when the Ddays occurred. I took on the shame of the XH’s actions. And then took on more shame because I knew that I should be able to say “I deserve better.” Acquaintances probably thought I was strange when I never seemed happy. Once when I complained about his travel, an acquaintance said “well as least your husband is faithful.”

I felt like I was living two lives – the one I knew, and the one projected to everyone else.

I did not heal much when I opened up to a counselor, 20 years after the first Dday. The counselor took me at my word when I told him “I have to find a way to stay in this marriage.” I was directed to the SA 12 step group, & found some relief in opening up and being with other women who’s husbands were cheaters. Then, almost out of obligation, I told my parents what was going on. They didn’t even believe what I was saying! I chalk that up to an older generation, ignorance of current societal problems, and a northern European family background of people that stayed safe by not telling anyone anything. By that time, I understood that my parents could never be emotionally supportive. And I was learning that I had ignored my own emotional needs over the years. My brothers were as low in emotional intelligence as my parents. I didn’t tell them until I was close to divorce & they were helpful in their own ways.

The healing took on speed when I came across Chumplady, a full 25 years after the first Dday. It took at least a year to have the concepts sink in. Then I found a DV ministry & began meeting with one of the intake people. Seeing the look on his face when I told him what I had been through, told me that the relationship with my then husband WAS NOT NORMAL, and was abusive.

During all those 25 years, I really did not have close friends. We had moved too frequently. The few times I did have close friends, I was too ashamed to speak up.

I was super grateful to CL for the posts about how to tell kids, and from CN’s responses about successes and failures. It helped me choose how to tell my adult children, relatives, neighbors, close friends (I actually have some!), acquaintances, and those that I rarely see (think dentist, optometrist, parents of my kids’ friends). I have been aiming for telling succinct facts, not avoiding the truth, and not opinionizing. That works for me.

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

Northern European– I would know very little about that part of my family if it wasn’t for the fact my mother had bat ears growing up and eidetic memory (not just a visual memory trait–she could remember the things people said before she could understand the words because the “head film” of conversations in two languages would lodge forever). She was a stealth historian. Apparently that family was stoic to a silly degree (in modern eras) though I’m sure keeping things close to the chest served survival in some way in times of yore. From stories of the “old country,” it seems there were bloodier consequences for information leaks or displays of either good fortune (beckons jealousy) or bad (beckons vulturing).

It’s pretty amazing that my mother ended up a lively conversationalist and always had uncanny insight into other people. Maybe growing up around all that reticence hones the ability to read gestures and unspoken cues or something.

The Colonel’s Ex-Chump
The Colonel’s Ex-Chump
9 months ago

The list would be MUCH shorter of the people that I didn’t tell. 🤣 Besides those you might expect – friends, family, neighbors, and even mere acquaintances – I have these cringeworthy memories:

The dental receptionist called to remind the recently relocated Colonel that his annual cleaning was due. She got an earful. (Now that I think about it, I have yet to get a call to remind * ME * about my annual cleaning. I must now be blacklisted). 🤔

I informed my doctor that he could no longer treat the Colonel as I now considered it a conflict of interest. 10 minutes later I was still blathering on… amped up and crazy. I live in a small town. Not my best moment.

When I had to go change the cable bill into my name only, woe to the rep who got blown out of the water when she asked why that change was necessary. No doubt my name is still synonymous there as the Unstable Cable Psycho.

It’s 5 years later. I’m better now. 😎

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
9 months ago

The Colonel’s Ex–
I’m a violent crime survivor and worked as an advocate for survivors of DV so I’m aware that the same person who shows up wild haired, wild eyed, clinging to the walls and either rambling full tilt or quasi-catatonic when first emerging from trauma will often turn out to be the sanest, most rational and insightful person a short time later. Hell, it happened to me. The director of the resource program would warn new advocacy recruits how it would be a big mistake to patronize or dismiss people like this as “nuts” or pathetic because of how often it happens that, when they’ve had a moment to breath, they’ll end up towering over their helpers. One really standout case was the client who first showed up as a teen and then, seven years later, emerged as a prominent activist and represented like a boss on major cable news shows. The joke is on anyone– especially the abusive public figure father she had thrown out of office– who mistook this person’s initial, normal traumatic response for incompetence or inherent instability.

The Colonel’s Ex -
The Colonel’s Ex -
9 months ago

Hell of an Advocate –

I hope you get this as I realize my response was a bit delayed.

*** MANY THANKS *** for your very kind and thoughtful reassurance regarding the period of time when I was between being 1/ A frozen-in-fear catatonic zombie…. and…. 3/ Plotting revenge worthy of a Dateline show. The month in the middle I was —> 2/ Round-the-clock borderline insane characterized by obsessive FaceBook stalking, skein-untangling, and continuous verbal vomit.

I now look back on that 6-month shit show and think, “Damn. Was that REALLY me?”

Your very personal response warmed my heart! (I also noticed your subtle reduction of my sign-in name, a nod & hug to overcoming my previous Chump status. 😉 Like many here, I found CL and CN after most of the fireworks were already winnowing down but it helped tremendously to know that I was not The Lone Ranger. Prior to that? I was convinced that no one in the history of the universe had been through the mind fuck that I had. I was in so deep that I never recognized any of it as abuse (and that was even long before all the deception, lying, and cheating). In my mind, it couldn’t be abuse because he never stuck me. It was just “my life with a Type A, OCD, and difficult man”. And every marriage has problems, right? 🫣 After devouring LACGAL in 2 days as well as all the insight and encouragement gained from CN, I became 100% focused on my emotional, mental, and financial independence after 17 years.

YOU overcame much worse though also having physical violence involved… and then you went on to be a beacon of light for others going through that very dark and dangerous tunnel. Not only here in this forum but in real life also. You are my hero. 🏆

Eve
Eve
9 months ago

Saddest story ever in two lines:

I told about the domestic violence.
Nobody believed me.

The end.

Next story:

I kept the kids and my self-respect.
We’re killing it!

Not the end 🙂

marissachump
marissachump
9 months ago
Reply to  Eve

I believe you!!

Daughterofachump
Daughterofachump
9 months ago

Chump Lady, off topic, from context I think you meant “discreetly,” not “discretely.”

I apologize for correcting you because I truly worship your incredible mightiness, and, you’re better educated than I am. But I’m kind of a grammar nerd.

marissachump
marissachump
9 months ago

I told all of my friends full scale. And I told some of cheater’s friends. But it’s scary territory for me because the worst of it was that serial cheater was also a serial rapist/statutory rapist. The children victims are now adults and I do not have their permission to tell their stories. When I have told cheater’s friends, I mostly kept it pretty vague and said cheater has permanently traumatized a long line of victims, including children. None of them bothered to follow up and ask what I meant. (They probably already know and defend cheater anyways.)

A few months after the most recent tell, cheater text messaged me in a way I found deeply threatening. Said needed to pick a bone with me and how could I isolate someone in recovery like that? (Clearly cheater is still the “victim” in this situation….”)

I took it as a threat to my safety and am too scared to tell others.

Sunny Side
Sunny Side
9 months ago
Reply to  marissachump

Isn’t that kind of person a reason to get a police protection order, change your name and disappear to live far away?

BastilleDDay
BastilleDDay
9 months ago

On recent flight back from London, I shared my story with unwitting 25-yr-old Oxford student. When I woke up somewhere over Atlantic, she had changed seats. I hope they moved her to First Class! 🤪

DrChump
DrChump
9 months ago

I told everyone, everyone! Postman, Garbage man, person on customer help line for Att, guy making my sandwich at subway. I think I was trying to make sense and convince myself it really happened. It was the last thing I would have ever suspected. Many people knew already

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

Same. And when I told the handy man and the painter, they gave me a hug. 100% innocent–the kind of hug I got from countless women, like my yoga instructor.

When I mentioned to FW (before NC) that people were wonderfully supportive and hugged me when I told them about the infidelity, he got really angry/jealous. “What do you mean these guys were hugging you?” “Why were they hugging you?”

This from the man who was in the midst of a multiyear affair. Goose/gander.

WTF?????

weedfree
weedfree
9 months ago

I chased people down the beach yelling “he’s a fraud” whilst they ran off in the opposite direction screaming “leave us alone – we just wanted take Snuffles the Schnauzer for a walk”.
Not really, although I did overshare. I realised it was time to get a grip after about a year so I started writing to myself on Messenger, instead of spamming friends and family. A journal would be a good idea too, if anyone is at this stage. I think you have to go through this stage in order to process the shock and grief so no shame but it does have to end. I have now deleted my messages to myself although when I looked back at some of them I couldnt really relate to the person who wrote them (preoccupied with the internal goings on of a fuckwit?!).

Oldchump
Oldchump
9 months ago

I told everyone. It was good therapy. Early on I told an elderly acquaintance who started laughing. Then he explained he was laughing at the FW. I did start to see the funny side many years ago -from the matching short hooded white bathrobes through to the suggestion from TT they should take up dancing in the nude. Remember these two were then in their late 60s now well into late 70s.

And the strangest thing happened when FW and TT turned up together at an event a year or so ago. I knew pretty much everyone else in the room. They stood on the edge the whole time looking like the couple in American Gothic. Was it because they knew everyone else present knew their fantasies? Perhaps.

2xchumpneveragain
2xchumpneveragain
9 months ago

Yes, when I was chumped and knew from my cheaters mouth how he blamed me for HIM doing a co worker and she turned him in to HR and he was under investigation. Later finding out it was mutual and she was disappointed? I don’t know but that was an awakening on how far my then husband had gone from porn to emotional affairs, to being inappropriate with my daughter to using outright strangers. I had no idea why I had STI’s. His behavior degenerated over the years. It was a progression of a terrible addiction and disease of using sex to calm himself and make himself feel like the boss.When I had the evidence in my face, it was scorched earth and I told everyone I met, yes the bank teller ( she had been cheated on ) my hairdresser, everyone in church, the Prime delivery guy, the entire family, the lady at the DMV, the doctors, yes details. The pastor who sided with my then husband and Re baptized him with his AP in the pew, prior to our divorce and with a protection order in place from the judge?? Well he knew too but didn’t care and later apologized too late….So I did not keep my mouth shut at all. I got tremendous support from strangers and friends alike. Yes I Lost some family, lost the step kids and grand kids who were supportive and then backed away( I hope they change their minds but I understand) . It must be horrible to be SILENT when you are trying to reconcile. WHO SUPPORTS YOU? You are so terribly alone except for the therapists who are encouraging you to protect the perpetrator. How is that loving to a wounded person.That is tremendously abusive to tell someone to BE QUIET about how you have been gutted. Just filing for divorce frees you from that kind of horrific advice. It is freeing even if you are poor forever, or have to share the kids or the pets. Self esteem grows when you open up and people can be very kind. If anyone looks blank at me or wants to know how long we dated( 2years) how long we were married (32 years) did I see it coming, or it takes TWO to make a marriage. I cross them out and don’t talk to them again. The people I spilled too who went away due to TMI, not my people, not my tribe. I hope I can be supportive to anyone who needs it and if they come from a cheater relationship, they are my friends forever. Let’s tell the story and not shy away from embarrassing stories because there are many silent people out there who need to see healing and true self love. Thank you CN and CL for undying love and support.

London Chump
London Chump
9 months ago

When I found out my ex-husband was cheating, I suddenly became significantly less helpful. Our move to the countryside was suddenly off but I couldn’t possibly cancel the removal men so FW had to actually do some admin for once. He copied me in on the email he sent the removal team which vaguely blamed the fact that “we had decided to separate”. I took him off copy and emailed them back with a long ranting message and all the gory details of his affair. They were so lovely about it. I used them for my solo house move a short while later and they were all exceptionally kind. It’s a bit cringey to look back on four years later, but it is NOT MY SHAME.
I told everyone everything and FW was furious and scared, which just made me tell more people. I was lucky that most people were shocked and appalled which kept me sane. I was also happily surprised that all the men in my life were just as outraged as the women, if not more so. They cut all contact with him instantly and expressed their opinions of him to me eloquently and with plenty of snark. I needed that. FW is all alone now and the saddest sausage and oh how we laugh.

Working On My Picker
Working On My Picker
9 months ago

Have you listened to the podcast Betrayal? Jennifer Faison made a podcast to tell her chump story. It was nothing new for readers of this blog (narcissist husband, double life, many many affairs, etc) but I thought it was well done… although she does a lot of skein untangling.

2nd Gen Chump
2nd Gen Chump
9 months ago

After DDay and the divorce I was cool and callous, told anyone who asked “oh, he never quit dating so I kicked him out.” Some were shocked, some had their own me-too stories, some were uncomfortable and I let them be. I was angry but had no tears. Good riddance.

Last week I was having a conversation with a friend about how much I missed intimacy. Not sex. I missed being seen by someone, understood. I missed being touched for the purpose of connection, for comfort. Every time I hugged my ex, he’d grab my ass or my tits. A kiss always escalated to tongues, a cuddle or massage always turned to sex. It felt deliberate, like he was making fart jokes at a sermon to lower the tone.

She said to me, very quietly, “it doesn’t sound as if you were very safe in your relationship. I’m glad you got out.” Five (six?) years post divorce and I can finally cry for what happened, how lonely I felt.

susie lee
susie lee
9 months ago
Reply to  2nd Gen Chump

I am so sorry.

What is it about this type of injury that we can’t get it out.

My fw cut off physical contact about two months before he left, though it had been a rough year, he had been claiming work stress. I would reach out he would walk away, he told me I was being clingy. The last time I tried was when I put my hand on his arm (his back was to me) in bed. He grabbed my hand and threw it off him.

I didn’t tell anyone that, and I did bury it for many years.

I wonder if victims of domestic violence do that, by “that” I mean repress it. I don’t mean just don’t talk about it but actually bury it in their head somewhere. Actually now that I am stating it, I know they do repress it.

It is all humiliating for different reason, and DV has to be so much worse, but this is pretty bad too.

Innocencelost
Innocencelost
9 months ago

It took me months to tell anybody. I couldn’t tell my best friend because she was maid of honor at her wedding, and I found out on our honeymoon that he was cheating on me. In fact, everyone important to me was at the wedding, and I felt like I just couldn’t tell them when we got back in the country. It was too shameful (for me).

After 6 weeks, questions at work about the honeymoon, my parents’ curiosity of our newly married life, and loss of appetite, I had to get help. I had to find a therapist, and then I had to make myself call her and arrange to see her later. It was incredibly hard to do so. I hated having to do it at all.

The third time of finding out– which was the last time, I told anyone and everyone. I even posted a public series of posts on facebook, which are still there today for anyone who wants to know the truth of him. Almost every friend in that state chose his side so I didn’t cry too many tears when I moved.
Heck, I even warned his new piece!

I don’t have an elevator chat for it yet because it depends on my relationship with the other person on how I will answer.

I shall rise.
I shall rise.
9 months ago

I wasn’t planning on telling people but pantic attacks and breakdowns brought out the truth. First person that knew was my boss because I had to call out from panic attack the first day back at work after DDay. I didn’t say much details but he was supportive and was patient with me through it all. The next ones that found out were some coworker from a breakdown I had the week after DDay. Boy I am glad I did because they have been amazing cheerleaders for me and put me on the path to therapy. Then I did break down drunkenly at a bar with my STBXH in front of his friends on his birthday within the 1st month so that was a oopsie. His BFF threw a barstool and tried to punch him. I wish I saw it but I was in a puddle of my drunken tears and missed it all. Let’s just say he doesn’t have his bestie anymore.

This was all before I found LACGAL. Once I realized the truth that he was still not being honest with me I said enough. I told my fam and they helped me get an attorney. After I filed for divorce a slew of coworker and friends found out. I am soo thankful for all of them. They have been amazing support. I also found so many were in my shoes and are living happy after leaving their cheater.

Did I do verbal vomiting? Oh so much in those first 3 months after filing. Do I do it now? No, not really. I have grown so much. Am I afraid to talk about it? Not at all. This horrible thing happened to me. I won’t ignore that it did but I have gotten to a point where I don’t need to tell everyone what an idiot my to be ex is.

For me, it was as if someone broke a dam. I spent my life believing that you don’t talk about martial issues outside of your spouse so I never told anyone. Well that betrayal took a sledgehammer to that belief and it sure flowed like a raging river. It is as if I was playing catch up to all the thing I wanted to talk about before but didn’t think was appropriate.

Anywho, thank you to my support group. To all the people who showed me that life is better without your cheater. For all the men who showed me there are decent guys while I was spiraling into despair. Thank you to my mom for being the example that divorce isn’t a bad thing, and who is finally while in her 50s living her best life with an amazing husband.

Nut Cluster Free Zone
Nut Cluster Free Zone
9 months ago
Reply to  I shall rise.

I can’t help laughing that the jerk’s BFF punched him and threw a barstool at him ! If only more people took up for us chumps like that 🤣🤣